Tag Archives: lgbtq

LGBTQ Urban Fantasy Series: The Sleepless City and Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator

2 Sep

Here are two compelling series with LGBTQ characters that will appeal to fans of Tanya Huff’s Smoke Trilogy, Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter, or Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series.  Since they are both available as ebooks they are just a click away for our Hoboken Library Resident Cardholders.  So check them out now for an enjoyable Labor Day Weekend read or put them on your wish list for October when Halloween and Coming Out Day (October 11) make it the perfect time to read about some out and proud Vampires, Werewolves, and Witches.

The Sleepless City by Anne Barwell and Elizabeth Noble

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The Sleepless City is a gay paranormal romance series, written by Anne Barwell and Elizabeth Noble, available to our resident Hoboken Library cardholders through eLibraryNJ.  The series revolves around several roommates and friends, some of whom are vampires.  In the mythology of The Sleepless City vampires have one true soulmate, but just because someone is your soulmate doesn’t mean there is an instant happily ever after and as each of the vampire main characters of the book finds their romantic partner they must navigate relationship issues as well as some suspenseful supernatural dilemmas.  Much like the Hellmouth in Buffy the Vampire series, there is a lot of mystical trouble in the small town of Flint, Ohio.  Besides vampires Jonas, Declan, and Simon, aficionados of werewolves will enjoy the character of Lucas Coate.  I’m usually more a vampire fan myself, but I found Lucas to be one of my favorite characters from the series.

Rather than co-write each book, the authors alternated books in the series.  Barwell wrote the first book Shades of Sepia and the third book Family and Reflection.  Noble wrote the second book Electric Candle and the soon to be released fourth and final book tentatively titled Checkmate.  I was unsure if the series might feel disjointed by having two authors, but I found it had the beneficial effect that their slightly different styles helped delineate the different characters they were focusing on.  If you become a fan of the series you might find yourself wanting to binge read to find out what happens next to the well written and interesting characters.  Although The Sleepless City series ends after book four, the authors will each be working on two separate spinoff series.  The Sleepless City is published by Dreamspinner Press, who specializes in Gay romance titles, some of which are also available to our Hoboken Library Resident Cardholders through eLibraryNJ.

Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator by Alexis Hall

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There are two books so far in Alexis Hall’s Kate Kane lesbian urban fantasy mystery series including Iron & Velvet and Shadows & Dreams.  A third book Fire & Water is planned.  I found myself so immersed in the world of the first book Iron & Velvet that I finished it in two days.  Kate Kane is a terrific character, a half fairy private eye with a biting wit who tries to fight against letting her powers derived from her mother, The Queen of the Wild Hunt, take over her life.  There are so many other wonderful characters in the world including Julian Saint-Germain, an eight hundred year old lesbian vampire prince; Tara Vane-Tempest, the upper class model who is also an alpha werewolf; Nimue, Kate’s ex and a Witch Queen; her assistant Elise, a golem-like “living statue;” and informant Jack who is a part of “the Multitude,” a gestalt mind made up of rats!  Although cleverly original, the book also satirizes some tropes of both the noir mystery and the urban fantasy genre.  Kate has a vampire ex who she met in high school biology class who creepily liked to watch her sleep, is overprotective, and bears other traits that seem reminiscent of a certain sparkly vampire.  LGBTQ publishers Riptide Publishing also have several other series by Alexis Hall including Prosperity, a steampunk series, which is available through Hoopla.  Some of Riptide’s other books are also available there and on eLibraryNJ.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

LGBTQ Pride Month Memoirs: Alan Cumming, Portia De Rossi, and George Takei

3 Jun

For last year’s Pride Month, I looked at three of my favorite authors who are members of the LGBTQ community and who also focused much of their fiction on LGBTQ characters.  For this year though, I wanted to look at memoirs or biopics from some of my favorite actors who are proud to be part of the LGBTQ community including Alan Cumming, Portia de Rossi, and George Takei.  Their lives despite some difficult times are truly inspirational no matter what your orientation.

We hope you can join us for the Hoboken Public Library’s June LGBTQ Events including a panel discussion on June 4 at 6:30 PM, a Gems of In the Life screening on June 18 at 6:30 PM, and on June 25 at 6:30 PM, performances of works written by famous lesbian poets and musicians.  You can learn more on our website and RSVP on Eventbrite.  There will also be a display in honor of Pride Month in the library’s second floor display cases.

Alan Cumming’s Not My Father’s Son

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I’ve always been a fan of Scottish actor Alan Cumming’s work. There is a charm that he brings to any of his performance that gives greater depth from everything from a cabaret MC to his latest role on the Good Wife.  Cumming has been out as a bisexual since the late nineties and since then has taken part in numerous fundraisers for various LGBTQ causes.  Despite all his success, his childhood was much darker time.  Not My Father’s Son looks at Cumming’s relationship with his father Alex, who was emotionally and physically abusive; as well as the history of his maternal grandfather who died mysteriously overseas.  Cumming unflinchingly recounts the abuse his father heaped on him, and although at times painful to read, one feels Cumming’s commitment to shine a light on an often hidden crime, as well as helping give hope to those who have gone or are going through similar situations.  The mystery of Cumming’s grandfather has a bittersweet conclusion, but the love he shares with his brother, mom, and husband shines through in even the darkest moments.  Not My Father’s Son is not a light read, but memoir fans will find it a page turner.  It is available as a print book from the Hoboken Public Library as well as an eBook from eBCCLS and eLibraryNJ.

Portia de Rossi’s Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

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I thought Portia de Rossi was fantastically funny on the quirky TV Show Arrested Development so I was curious to read more about her life.  Looking at de Rossi, who started her career in the spot light as a young model, you wouldn’t imagine she was riddled with self-doubt and desperate to see herself as attractive, but her memoir, Unbearable Lightness, from 2010 chronicles how her need to stay thin for her acting roles and her fears of being outed as a lesbian keeping her from connecting to those around her, precipitated an eating disorder.  She chronicles how her obsession with food began and how she counted each calorie so exactingly.  She keeps her orientation and her anorexia a secret until her body begins to breakdown.  Love and acceptance of herself bring a transformation and an understanding about how to give herself what she needs in balance in both nutrition and her life. Unbearable Lightness will be especially inspiring to those who have or know someone who is struggling with an eating disorder.  Unbearable Lightness is available as a print book from the Hoboken Public Library as well as an eBook from eBCCLS.

George Takei’s To Be Takei

to-be-takei
If you are a Star Trek fan like I am, you will be sure to enjoy To Be Takei, which focuses primarily on George Takei as an actor/celebrity and as a LGBTQ activist.  But even non-Trekkies will appreciate this documentary, which also looks back to Takei’s childhood during which his family was placed in World War II Japanese American Internment Camps besides highlighting happier events in his life such as pivotal acting roles and meeting his husband.  I enjoyed the humorous and insightful remarks of his fellow Star Trek cast mates.  To Be Takei follows Takei to numerous speaking engagements as well as more personal moments such as when his husband is scattering the ashes of his mother at an overlook (which manages to be touching and funny at the same time).  Takei is inspirational in the rode he paved for other Japanese American actors and members of the LGBTQ community.  You can borrow the DVD from the Hoboken Public Library or watch To Be Takei on Hoopla.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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