Welcome everyone to Queerly Recommended. I’m Kris Bryant and with me as always is Tara Scott.
Hey, everyone, we are so glad that you’re joining us for episode seven. So, Kris, you are feeling a little bit under the weather today. You want to talk about why.
Okay, so yes, last night, I did an episode of Drunk Lesfic with Rachel Spangler about our recent books, and we drank screwball peanut butter whiskey. We did shots. I think I did six total. And here’s the bad thing. The bad thing is that I just started keto. So I have like, no carbs in my system at all, and then to drink that much. But it was, um, it was a rough night, as well.
It sounds like it was a rougher morning.
It was a rougher morning, you know? And, and thank you for being the moderator last night and kind of keeping us in line.
Yes. Oh, my God. So Kris told me about this- It was either two weeks ago, or like a month ago. And she was like, Rey and I are gonna do this. And I was like, “Oh, my God, that sounds hilarious. But also, do you want to sober person to moderate this for you?” And then it just turned out that it was like herding drunk cats.
It’s so true.
So Kris, is too humble to plug her own Patreon, but I’m not. I would say if this is something that you think would be fun, and I definitely had fun watching and moderating. Please sign up and support either Kris’s Patreon or Rachel Spangler’s. Either one will get you there but the reason why I especially want to plug Kris’s is that she takes all the proceeds from her Patreon. And with it, you get exclusive content interviews, like this one, newsletters, all that kind of stuff. I took a peek at it last night. And then all the money goes to buying food for animal shelters, which I think is the sweetest thing ever. Who doesn’t want to support an animal shelter?
Right! And this is for like the wet food, specifically wet food because I think a lot of agencies donate food to shelters, like kibble. But a lot of the older animals, a lot of the older cats and dogs can’t really use the kibble, they can’t chew on that. So I have made it my mission to pick wet food up and drop it off to area shelters. And what we’re going to do on the Patreon page is we’re going to, every month focus it on a different patron’s animal shelter in their area. And then we’ll just check out the want list that they have and then use Amazon and send directly to their shelter in their name.
Yeah, so get on that. On a somewhat similar but totally different note. Something else that we did quietly was set up a Kofi account and we added the link to our show notes and to our Facebook page and to our link tree. We didn’t announce it, we just put it up just to see what would happen. And for anyone who doesn’t know what it is, Kofi is like a digital tip jar. And the analogy is just like you’re buying us a coffee. And so it’s kind of one of those if you want to just send money to a creator one time, it’s a great way to do it. And we actually have some people who sent some money. So we really want to say thank you to the people that noticed that link and sent it in.
Yeah, and you’re awesome. And we’re so grateful because it’s going to help pay for things like website hosting, and our podcast syndicator. And when Pkris & Mamas also known as Phoenix, bought us a coffee they included the message, “Thanks for all the awesome recommendations”. So we’re so glad you’re enjoying the recommendations and keep enjoying them.
So Chris, you remember how in the last episode you got super excited when we started talking about lesbian superheroes?
Well, guesswhat? Alix sent in a recommendation through our Instagram DMs and said, I’m listening to episode six and wanted to recommend a superhero type book you might want to enjoy is called Drum up the Dawn: Galaxy Girl Book One and it’s by Kate Christie.
Nice. And I’ve read Kate Christie before I read the soccer. She has a soccer series so I read some of those. Nice Okay, I’ll look that up.
Yeah. And actually, speaking of listener questions, I keep saying speaking up, but here we are. I said it. We actually got a couple more listener questions. Carrie sent in a question. She said, “I sent an email in specifically for you. Which of your characters that you’ve written, would you most want to date, marry or sleep with? And why?”
Who would you most want to date?
It’s funny because I didn’t really, like think about this question until right now.
Because when I asked you first you were drunk at the time.
No problem. Now that we’re like, here, and we’re talking about it, I would say to date, I would have to say, maybe Tristan from Roven Romance. I think because she’s more like me, it sounds awful that I’m dating myself. But I think you kind of find you kind of find attraction and people that kind of share similar things. And I just feel like she’s just a genuine down to earth person. And she was also one of the first characters I wrote. So she is somebody I would definitely dates.
As far as marry. Oh, marry. Ooh, I would probably say, Taryn from Taste. I would-
I would say the same thing! If I had to choose from your books, that’s who I would definitely marry.
Yes. Because she’s sophisticated. She’s a chef. She has a fantastic accent. She’s beautiful. She has a child. Everything is just it’s, it’s she just has such a great heart. And I really loved that character.
So she would be the one I would marry. I would marry her. Okay. And then to sleep with. Oh, for sure. Emery Pearson from that I wrote under Brett Rider.
In Shameless. And probably because I’m coming off of finishing up the full length erotica novella with Emery in ir and it’s called Not Guilty and that’s coming out in June. And so probably because, you know, she’s been in my mind that I’m picking her to sleep with.
Mm hmm. See, I feel like I’ve just decided I’m going to answer the question too, with your character.
Except, here’s the part. That’s embarrassing. I can’t remember names of characters, okay, ever. So this isn’t just about your book. It’s me. So I would for the date and the sleep with I would actually split it between the couple in Temptation. I can-
Brook and Cassie.
Yeah, I would date the mom. And I would sleep with the nanny.
Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Yeah. Brook is she? Yeah, you know, maybe maybe, I don’t know. Maybe she is somebody I would marry.
I’m saying, if Taryn. If Taryn didn’t exist, I would marry her, but she does. So I would say Brook.
Yeah, yeah. Okay. And Cassie, but that’s okay.
Um, okay, so this question is for both of us from multistan on- I think it’s multistand. Is that how you say it? Yeah. I’m multistan on Twitter. How you two came across FF women loving women stories.
So I can take this one first.
Yeah, please do.
I actually, I had no idea that FF romance was a thing. I knew, I knew that- I knew that lesbian fiction existed, but I knew it in more of a literary context. Because when I was in university, I stumbled across Jane Rule in a used bookstore. And when I was in graduate school, in Kingston, Ontario, and they had- That city, I don’t know if they still do, because it’s been, I’m not telling you how long. Too long.
Okay, it’s been about 20 years, but they had the best used bookstores and I say multiple, like for it’s not that big a place and they have more than one and they were awesome. And I bought way too many books that I no longer own. So that was, and I didn’t read all of them. Why am I going so off track? Anyway, um, so I came across Jane Rule, and was like, “Oh, my God”, and tried to read as many books as I could, which should have been a clue, but was not.
Then, when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. So, Oh, Jesus, it was about 10 years ago, then. So about 10 years ago, I was at work. I was very much disengaged at the time because it was a toxic place to work. And I also was pregnant felt like garbage all the time. And so I was like scrolling through Jezebel, because that was one of my favorite sites. And they reprinted a top 10 list from Autostraddle. And it was the top 10 lesbian romances on my Kindle right now. And I was like, “Holy shit, this is a thinb” These are a thing?” And I turned to my coworker sitting next to me who is actually I’ve talked about her on here before, Amanda, she’s one of my very best friends in the whole world. Like we’ve we’ve stayed in touch since both of us leaving that job. But I was like, “Did you know that like, there’s lesbian romances?” and it was just weird. Like, I mean, yeah, lesbians could be in love. It was like the books, the books!
And so there were books on there, like, Above All, Honor, which I definitely read, Fated Love, which I read right away. But the first one that I picked up was And Playing the Role of Herself by KE Lane. And it was just incredible. Like, I burrowed into the BSB backlist as a result of that, because there are quite a few. For people that don’t know, books from Bold Strokes Books, Kris’s publisher, and it was just like, revelatory. And I think it was because at the time, I was reading a lot of romance and it’s funny, I stopped reading romance. I read romance in high school. And even before that, like I was swiping them for my mom’s book casewhen I was probably 12. And I stopped reading them when I went to university because I was an English major and I turned into like a gigantic literary snob. Like I can’t read romances, and I’m like, I was such an asshole about it. I wish I wasn’t because romancees are written by and for brilliant women, like, come on. But I picked them back up again. Because like I said, my workplace was so toxic, and I just needed something. Like life at home was awesome. You know, Neil was amazing. All that was fine. But like work was just such a drain that I needed something to kind of fill me up again. And romance was doing that. But it was also at a period when alpha males were the thing. And I was so fucking tired of these guys that are like, you definitely want sex. And I’m gonna tell you how you want it. And I’m like, What if you went and ate your own dick?
So getting to see these romances between two women, that, that power dynamic just dropped away. It was equals coming together constantly. And it was actually through lesfic that, you know, I came to understand my own queerness because at some point, Neil was like, “Hey, no judging, but like you’re reading a lot of romances where it’s just women. And then do you think maybe you might be bisexual because that’s okay. And you’re not going to go to hell, like, I still love you. I’m not threatened by this, but maybe it’s something to consider”.
And I was still involved in the church at that time, and very much like evangelical churches, and it was just something that I couldn’t even pause to consider. And I needed somebody to give me the permission to do that. And he very much gave me the permission. And that led to, you know, some months that were, frankly, terrifying. Having been so churched, like always churched, like, we were Catholic until I was 10. And then my parents took us into the Baptist Church, where it was not okay to be queer of any kind. And, you know, now I can reflect back. And there was a lot a lot of that, like a part of why that was scary was like reflecting back and seeing how much of myself I’d suppressed. It was always there. It was always there. I just never had the permission to look at it and acknowledge it and embrace it.
And so it wasn’t until I was in my early 30s and lesfic was the thing like FF or wlw romances however you want to put it-
-was what gave Neil the information he needed to give me the permission that I needed. and-
Yeah, yeah, that’s my story. How about you? How did you come across?
Um, so for me, it’s kind of the same thing it was about, it was 2011 my parents got me a Kindle. And like Kansas City is not and I’ve mentioned this 1000 times we are like 20 years behind everybody else. And like finding gayness, queerness in Kansas City is not easy. Especially you know, back 10 years ago even it wasn’t easy. So I got a Kindle even though I fought it because I was like I’m an English major and I need books and books are beautiful.
Right, we’re such assholes.
We are. So I finally got a Kindle and then I don’t know how I got on to like how I found it. But I found lesbian romance and I’ve always wanted- I mean, I’ve read romances from the get go. Ever since I could pick up a book. I have been reading romances. So like all through high school, all through college, and it was all you know straight. And I didn’t even think to look for lesfic or lesbian romance at all because it I didn’t think it existed. And somehow I stumbled upon it on my Kindle. And and I was like, “Wow, this is amazing”. So I read, I read a ton of books in the course of a year. And I finally told myself, you know what this is, this is what I wanted to do my whole life was to write romance. And so I just went ahead and wrote it and started writing, and they accepted it. And so this is what I’m doing. I’m writing lesbian romance.
Do you remember what any of those very early ones were?
I do. And I actually looked at my Kindle, because somebody else had asked me this question. And now I hate you because I can’t think of it but I know, I know, my second my very first, my second read was Radclyffe. So I totally lucked out. Because I got Radcliffe’s second. The first one was pretty good, too. And then I read some Syd Parker. And then I got into the Melissa Good series, The Dar and Kerry series, yeah, based on Xena.
There were there were a lot of lesfic novels that came out in the 90s and early 2000s with a very tall dark haired woman and a very short petite all over blonde woman that-
Like it took me 10 books to realize that that’s it was kind of based on Xena like no, because I didn’t watch Xena I’m not a Xenite, whatever they’re called, I’m not that person.
And so I didn’t know that. So I started reading those books early on. And then I just said, You know what, I’m gonna do this, if they can do it I can do it.
So, multistan. I hope that was interesting for you.
Now sidenote, when I first saw the text, I literally just kind of rolled out of my, my drunk lesfic hangover thing. And what’s the first thing you do in the morning is you look at your phone, at least I do. I was like, Oh, I can’t see anything that I’ve ever read my phone. So I saw the tweet. And I I took it another way. I thought by asking that question, like, why don’t we say more women loving women recommendations. I took it like that. And I was like, I’m gonna recommend several things today about no lesbians and stuff like that. So that’s I took it so my apologies. I took the question wrong but at the same time. I literally just woke up and I shouldn’t be on social media. Such an event.
We live and we learn, Kris.
Yes, that is true.
Speaking of which, what have you been watching or reading recently?
I actually just started Dickinson on Apple TV plus.
Is it good?
Oh my gosh, I’m gonna love it. I am 100% gonna love it. Like most lesbians. Like we all love Emily Dickinson. This is obviously about Emily Dickinson’s life and it starts- like I don’t know, I’m only on episode one. I finished it. It was great. Emily Dickinson is somebody I used as a character in my first book, my debut book Jolts. Because my character kind of whenever she gets in situations, she slips into this conversation with different poets. Sounds weird. And it was weird, but it was also different. So-
But anyway, so I’ve always loved Emily Dickinson poetry, I always have. So when I when I saw this, I was like I’m in. It has Hailee Steinfeld from Pitch Perfect. I don’t know if you know who that person. Yeah.
Oh, yeah. I mean, I super saw her in True Grit, which I think shee was nominated for an Oscar for wasn’t she? And she was like 13 at the time of or something.
I don’t know- I remember her being 13. And I remember the movie because it has Jeff Bridges in it too. Right? I think it’s Jeff Bridges who’s the person she hires?
She was great and Pitch Perfect as well. I had no idea that she was also a singer.
Yeah, as she does a fantastic job and both movies for sure. But she’s in this and I love her in this. And she kind of gives Dickinson this grit that I never thought that she had. I mean, kind of like when I was growing up, Emily Dickinson was like, straight laced, very quiet, lived at home, was a recluse, never married, you know, all these things that you’re taught, you know, when you’re younger. And then the older you get, you know, the more knowledge you get. And so they took this, and I love this because Wiz Khalifa is Death. And Emily has a lot of death poetry. And he shows up all the time. And he’s like, “Hey, let’s hang out”. She’s like, “Okay”.
And it’s so it’s so interesting. I love it. And they sit and talk. And she’s like, “Are you here for me?” And he’s like, “No, I’m not here for you for a long time”. So she like puts her head on his shoulder and like they’re in a carriage you know, because “because I could not stop for death. He kindly stopped for me”. So it kind of has apparently like Wiz Kalifa’s is throughout this whole entire series. So I’m very excited to get to the next one. The next episode.
That sounds really really good
Yeah I’m very excited. I’m sure that once I’m done with it, I will- it will be a recommendation for me. For me.
I can’t wait to hear more about it. Was there anything else?
Well, you know, I watched a movie last night because I saw this recommendation on Facebook and it’s a book- or it’s a movie called More Beautiful For Having Been Broken. And it’s a very long title. But I really didn’t read the synopsis much. I saw FBI agent gets fired, goes to small town. And you know, so I’m like, I’m in small town I’m in anything gay I’m in. So- but also they had I saw that one of the credits is Harley Jane Kozak and goes back to my soap opera crushes back when I was a child, the Annabell on Guiding Light. That’s who it is. I don’t know who watches Guiding Light, but I was like, Oh my gosh, that name like it just came into, you know, I haven’t heard it in 35 years. And I’m like, Okay, I’m in for that. That alone gets me in.
And so she’s actually narrating the story. You know, there’s like a story going on as as, you know. Simple small town.
Heavy Duty. Nice. You know, FBI agent, like, big city goes to a small town. And the love interest has a special needs child. So it’s, it’s a movie that you know, kind of has a happy ending. It’s kind of a different way to approach love and sex in this movie. And then plus, it’s a whole different level of how this special needs child, how the whole town’s kind of helping raise him and his journey and what he sees. So I watched that last night.
Is it as depressing as the title makes it seem like it might be?
Um, you know, it’s not it? Well, I mean, it depends. It depends on how you want to see it. It’s one of those where, like, you know, nothing has, well, I don’t want to say anything, okay? Because I don’t want to say anything, because it’s happy. ish. It’s happy ish. I’m gonna go happy ish. So if you have time to kill, I mean, I don’t know that. It’s like a solid recommendation from me. But if those are things that that you were interested in, for sure, then then it’s only two hours out of your life.
Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.
I can’t say yeah, I can’t say anything else without giving it away. So enough about that. Tara, what about you? What have you been reading or watching?
Okay, so I’ve actually been watching anything while I mean watching – Oh, geez – we are recording this two days after the last episode of WandaVision dropped, which is not queer at all. But it is the thing that I walked, walked off watched. With, we watched with Neil and Amanda the other day, and oh, I very much like that.
I can’t get into it. I can’t get into it.
I wasn’t sure about it at first. The first few episodes, I was like, um…
Right. That’s where I’m at
What’s with this skipping through time? And then I think it was around the fourth episode. When we get to see the people that are not there in that town. I was like, oh, and then that was kind of where I was personally hooked.
Okay. Yeah, most people because I said something. I tweeted it. Like, I can’t get into WandaVision, it’s unpopular opinion, you know, change my mind. And so most people were saying by Episode Four, then that’s when it really gets, you know, yeah.
I- honestly I think is brilliant. I think it’s some of the best writing in the MCU. It’s much much, much better than a lot of the movies. For people that don’t know what that stands for, it’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So like all the like, I don’t care for half of the Iron Man movies. Half of the Thor movies, although actually
I love those.
which ones you’re with? What is your favorite of the Marvel movies?
Don’t ask me that.
I just did. Y
You know? No, I just don’t. I don’t know. I love them all. I mean, I’m the first one at the theater when these movies come out. And whether it’s, it’s you know, Marvel, whether it’s you know, any of those.
Okay, but let’s be honest. Yeah, Antman and Doctor Strange were just okay.
Yeah, Doctor Strange is probably the lowest on the list. Yeah, for sure.
So for me, I have a very strongly held belief that Thor Ragnarok is the perfect movie for bisexual and pansexual people. Because they’re all so beautiful. How can I not be happy looking at Tessa Thompson, and Cate Blanchett? Hmm. And why is his name Chris? What’s his name? What’s his last name? Why am I playing-
Chris Hemsworth. He is the most beautiful of the men in the MCU. And Idris Elba, Idris Elba see two gorgeous people.
That’s true. That’s true. But you get all of them in all the Avenger movies, too. I mean,
Although there’s a lot of eye candy for all of that. All of those.
It’s true, except I like I hate the one that Joss Whedon directed so much.
Which one was that? I can’t think of it.
The one where like Hulk and Black Widow become love interests. And I’m like, “What the fuck is this?” And Black Widow was talking about how she’s a monster now because she can’t conceive. It’s just like, it’s garbage. It’s not good.
Neil is going to be editing this podcast. I don’t know if people know this, but my husband actually edits the podcast because he’s amazing, in many ways, including that one. But he’s gonna be editing this and he’s gonna be like, “Oh my god, you’re the worst. This is what it’s called.”
I love I just I love action movies, you know, because I fight with ADD, and I need I need a lot of things coming at me so to speak, you know, on the screen Yeah, I love action movies. It keeps my interest you know, anything else? I’ll put the time. I’ll writee while I’m watching something.
If you can keep going with WandaVision, it will be worth it because- I feel like it’s been out for long enough and this isn’t going to be that much of a it’s not really going to be a spoiler, but it is a fantastic study of grief. And what grief can do it a person are.
Okay. That’s interesting, because like the very first episode is very campy. Very,
You know, I Love Lucy type, you know, feel to it. So I know they’re doing a decade’s thing. I know they’re kind of like, yeah, advancing.
And it gets slightly darker with each one where you’re like, wait, but it’s supposed to be a sitcom. What is that about? And then you start to figure out what that’s about. So yes, worth it. In terms of gaming, because I’m sure everybody is dying to know what’s going on with my Switch.
I’m bouncing between a bunch of games and most of them are not queer. So I’m bouncing between like Tales of vesperia, Diablo 3, Dicey Dungeons, which is fine. I know I know it sounds ridiculous. But it’s actually like, a lot of fun. But I am back on my bullshit with Hades.
So Neil started playing it again. And then I found out I was like, Oh, yeah. Okay, so I beat Hades 10 times I got the epilogue, but there’s so much more story left to go. And so I started playing it again. And guess what?
What is his name? I was- this one is much better if I could have grabbed the main character’s name immediately out of my head. But here we
Doesn’t it with an L or something?
No, it’s Zagreus. Yes. So Zagreus has a boyfriend now. His name is Thanatos. It’s very, very cute. Actually, the other thing that I love about this game, I haven’t done it yet. But I know other people who have and Zagreus is gonna have multiple romantic partners. So I love that polyamory is a totally valid option in this in this game.
So that’s cool. Yeah,
You can have your boyfriend Thanatos. And then you can have your two girlfriends, Maghera and dusa, which is short for Medusa. I think that’s really cute.
That’s cute. I like it.
One more thing, which it I think if I would have waited until the next time we recorded it would 100% be a full on recommendation. And frankly, maybe that is going to happen. But I am going to do a rude thing and talk about a book that is not out yet. But it is coming out this month. So please don’t be mad at me. If you’re listening to this and you’re like, I want to read it. Very rude bitch. I am reading a book that is coming out later this month from Carina Press and it is called Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl by Hettie Bell. And purl is spelled the knitting way unless it’s a crocheting thing, in which case it’s the crocheting way, I don’t know. I don’t knit or crochet.
I didn’t even know that was like a thing I was like oh look I thought it was a name? Not even going to lie, I thought it was a name.
That’s fair. And first of all, I just want to say, Hey, this is an Alberta author, which I think is amazing. I live in Alberta. There are not that many authors writing FF romances out of here. I think it’s just Hettie Bell, and then Jenn Alexander who publishes with Bywater Books. So I’d love to give extra support to my local authors even though they live in the other city.
And so the premise is that- so it’s all in the first person following a character as she finds out that she’s pregnant, she had a hookup with an ex. And she’s going to Planned Parenthood, and thinking she’s probably going to get an abortion. She’s six weeks along, this takes place in New York City, but goes to Planned Parenthood and talks to the counselor, who I just I loved this whole part of the story, because the counselor is so non judgmental, and even when the characters like, what would you do, and she’s like, I can’t, I can’t tell you that, but just lays out all the options, and every single option is valid. And they’re all seen as valid by the character too. And so I just I love that recognition that abortion is a part of healthcare, it is fine to choose that or to choose not to, it’s really up to the individual. And so she and she’s only, I think she’s only 21. She’s a college dropout who’s working at a dental clinic as a receptionist, and is very clear that she doesn’t have her shit together, but realizes that Actually, no, she wants to go through with a pregnancy and then keep the baby.
Her family treats her like a fuckup all the time. But this is a thing that she’s going to do. And when she’s at Planned Parenthood, two things, two other things happen. The first is that she really kind of connects with and appreciates the escort who walks her, you know, up to the doors, because it’s a place where there are protesters who are saying some pretty vile things and have the usual garbage signs. And she also sees a notice up on like a, you know those like notice boards where people can pin
Right, like guitar lessons.
Yeah, exactly. So there’s one for a stitch and bitch group. And she says- she kind of has this conversation with herself. I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, maybe now’s the time, and I can knit a bunch of stuff for my baby. So it’s ready when the baby gets here, and she goes to her first group session and lo and behold, the clinic escort is there. And they have a conversation just to each of them to make sure like are you cool with? Are you cool with this, given how we first met and they’re both cool with it, and they’re obviously very attracted to each other. The girl who’s pregnant I’m not saying her name, because I can’t remember what it is. It’s gonna take me a while to look it up. I didn’t tell you I cannot remember character names even when I’m reading the book. But also, she’s fat. And I love that. So it has like, awesome fat rep. Awesome. Like pro choice rep. The chemistry between them is really good. Their banter is adorable. And so yeah, I am loving it. And I’m telling people like put it on your notice. I am hoping Oh my God, I’m crossing my fingers that the author sticks the landing on this one. Because it’s just so good. I am loving it. So Kris, it is time for official recommendation. What is your official recommendation this week?
I actually have two and so after the last podcast, you know, was all about music. It got all pumped me up got me going. So I found a movie with a really good cast called Becks. And it’s a- this- it’s a struggling musician whose girlfriend kind of rises to fame and leaves her behind with nothing. So she has to go move back home and live with her mom. And her name is Rebecca. But she goes by Becks. So that’s that’s where the title comes from. And like the cast is amazing. It’s like I saw the cast and I’m like, how do I not know about this movie? And so Lena Hall, Christine Lahti and I can never pronounce her name right. But it’s Mena Suvari. I think
Yeah. See this is what I’m saying look at the cast.
That’s a good cast.
And so like, I recommend this for the awesome music has great music in this for sure. I love the music.
Wait, when she goes home, though?
So she goes home and she moves in with her mom.
And so her mom is very, she’s also very churchy, very religious- she used to be a nun. Like the mom used to be a nun, like, dropped out of the nunnery to marry Beck’s dad and have kids and she has a brother. And she has a sister too. So- but I can’t remember if the father dies because of alcoholism, or he’s not in the picture anymore. And there’s an issue with alcoholism. So there are some triggers in this movie, for sure.
But anyway, so it’s kind of her figuring things- I mean, she like hit rock bottom, like she loves her girlfriend, she lost her place in New York. And she just was like rock bottom, and living out of her car. So she goes home. She goes back to you know, this bar, you know, because everybody knows her in town because it was a small, smallish town. And so the bully, the town bully, has married this beautiful woman. And so she starts a guitar lessons with the bully’s wife.
So there’s more triggers in this book or in this movie, but I recommend it, like I said, because the music was so good. And great sex scenes. If you’re into women, like with acoustic guitars, and you also like strap on scenes, sex scenes, then I recommend this movie. I wasn’g super fond of the ending, but at the same time, it’s you know, it is=
Does the rest of it make up for the ending?
I think so. I mean, because I love music that much that I just love this, you know, alone just for the music, you know, and-
Is the ending happy?
So I need people to watch this movie and then come back to me and we’ll talk about the ending because I need to I need to have conversations. I need to have words about this ending.
Is it happy?
Put it this way. I wasn’t happy.
Does anyone die?
Nobody dies. No. Okay. Nobody dies. Nobody.
See my brilliant idea that I am too lazy to execute is that I want you to have a website Does the Dog Die? where you can look up whether dogs die?
Watch them? Yeah, cuz some people don’t want to see more Marley or Old Yeller? No. So I want one that’s like a lesbian die, or does the queer woman die like, and I want to know, do they die? Do they get institutionalized?
Do they get like, Is there some kind of a punishment, I guess, for the queerness? But I don’t want to watch all those movies to find out the answer.
I think this is this this movie is more of a thought provoking. ending. It’s one of those where you you can you understand it, but then you don’t and you’re just kind of pissed and you’re not pissed at same time. So like I’m feels and I need to get it out. So I need people to come at me.
I need to talk about this. So- so that’s one recommendation and then the second one. So because I’ve watched all these really- movies that like had me all over the place, I really needed a movie to kind of ground me and make me happy. So I needed happy ending. I need good acting, and humor and I found it in a movie called Almost Love.
Oh, what’s that about?
So here is the synopsis of it. Does every relationship have an expiration date? Adam and Marklin are about to find out. Their five year relationship has gone from a passionate flame to medium burn forcing them to reconcile with each other shortcomings all the while watching their support network crumble around them. Best friend Cammy’s latest beau checks all of her boxes, if you don’t count that he actually lives in a box. That is the funny part. Haley’s student is more interested in studying her than for the SATs and Elizabeth and Damon, the stable ones are on the brink of a divorce after 15 years of so called bliss, but in this mess, hope springs eternal as they are all hilariously muddle their way through to try to make life work.
And for sure, I mean, it’s it is a fluffy light movie, and the acting is very smooth. You know, you see a lot of LGBT movies that are maybe the they don’t have the right or the amount of money to to support a project. And so I think sometimes these cinematography fails, because it’s not they don’t have what they need. And this was great. And like if you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, Kate Walsh plays Elizabeth in this and she’s one of the- she’s Elizabeth is one that’s in the marriage, the 15 year relationship. But my favorite character for sure was Cammy, she’s played by Michelle Buteau. I think that’s how you pronounce it. And she was in Always Be My Maybe that we discussed a couple of podcasts ago.
She’s the the lesbian, the pregnant lesbian.
Oh, yeah, she’s fantastic in that
She is just as fantastic in this movie. And she really to me, she stole the show, because she’s dating a homeless guy. And she doesn’t know that he’s homeless. And he’s trying so she finds out like, he starts taking advantage of her like she’s she says it’s okay to you can come stay on my couch, and she doesn’t tell her friends and like the whole thing is just, I loved it. It’s hilarious. It’s so good. And it goes to show you that there are just so many relationships going on around the people around you and in your life. And that you don’t even know about or you do but it’s just like, like you know somebody so well, but there’s so much of them. I don’t know. And so this is kind of a fun movie and I really you know, if you want a light hearted romance with happy endings all the way around, then for sure, this is your movie.
Okay, that sounds great. Where did you find that one?
So most of the movies I find are on either Netflix or Amazon Prime. So I’m going to guess that this was a Netflix one.
Okay. I think I’m gonna look for that one because that sounds really fun
I think you’ll really like it. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. So, okay, so Tara, what is your big recommendation for us this week?
So my big recommendation is a book that I just finished within the last week. It is by a debut author and it is called Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers. If you’ve been hanging around on Twitter, you’ve probably been seeing a lot about this and for good reason. So I’m gonna start with a blurb.
Yeah, do. Tell us
With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand. 28 year old Grace Porter goes on a girls trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A work through the summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know. Until she does exactly that
This one moment of departure from her stern ex military father’s plans for her life has grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree staggering under the weight of her parent’s expectations. And that’s singular parent, which is actually important for the story because her mother is incredibly supportive of her no matter what she does. So staggering under the weight of her parents expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows. In New York, she’s able to ignore all the constant questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in Grace must face what she’s been running from all along the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal, and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.
It was so good. I have a friend who actually stopped reading it very, very early. And I kind of know why. Because it has a prologue that is written in the second person.
Which for people don’t know, who don’t know, when you’re reading it, it means it says things like, like, it basically means that you are the character. So it’s like, you wake up in Las Vegas, you find a note and it’s it’s a weird tense. And so I get why people don’t like it. But like, just press past that prologue, because it’s not very long. Oh, my God, it’s so worth it. And so the first thing that I want to say is that this is not a romance. And that’s 100% okay, and actually, I kind of love that about it. But there is a very, very strong romantic element to it. And the love there is really deep and beautiful. But don’t expect this to follow the typical trajectory of a romance novel, because what it actually is, this is about Grace, and her coming of age. And what I kind of love about it is that, you know, we’re used to coming of age stories being about teenagers, or college students, but that’s not always how it happens. Sometimes it takes being an adult like 28 like she’s been a legal adult for a really long time. But you know, like I said, when I was telling my own story of how I came to wlw fiction, sometimes you don’t learn crucial things about yourself until you’re in your 30s or beyond. It’s an incredibly inclusive book. Grace is biracial. Her father is black, her mother is white. Yuki is Asian. Yuki has a roommate that is a trans man who is Native American. I hope that’s the right way we say that in the United States. I apologize if I’m wrong in Canada we talk about, Yeah, in Canada, we talk about First Nations people. I don’t know
Okay, cool. Hurray
American, yes, yeah, there are a lot of people of color in this book between their friends, their family and all this. And, you know, they, both Yuki and Grace, have such strong found family, in their friends and their roommates. And I know that that’s something you know, so many queer people need that.
Because their family just can’t be there and be the right people and that even if you still have your family in your life, you can’t necessarily be authentic with them. And that was definitely a big thing, especially for Grace. She couldn’t be fully authentic with her father, but thank goodness she had her best friends that could do that for her. So just really, really lovely. The one of the other things I loved about it too, is that mental illness is a big theme, you know, Grace- Grace goes through serious burnout in this book, in a way that I definitely recognized having been through burnout before.
I will drop a content warning though, for self harm. Grace has a tendency, especially when she’s very, very stressed and anxious. And like when her overwhelmed, she’ll scratch her skin until she draws blood. And so if that’s a problem for you, you might want to give a pass on this book, or try to kind of skim past those moments, but you know, I loved seeing her friends stop her in those moments. When they’re there, and just to say, “Grace, you’re hurting yourself, like you need to stop”. And although this maybe it’s a touch spoilery I don’t know, I don’t think it’s that spoilery. But one of the things I really love is that she goes for therapy, we see her go for therapy and dealing with her problems, which I think is something that we don’t necessarily see as often as it might be helpful for readers to see in these books.
Now, is she honest with a therapist?
Okay, good, good.
Yeah, she is. And actually, the thing that I especially love about the fact that she goes for therapy is that we see her go through multiple therapists, because the first few don’t work. They’re not a good fit. And that idea of, you don’t have to accept a therapist who’s a bad match for you, and you don’t have to give up. If the first one you try is a bad match, either. Like you, you can go to multiple therapists until you find the one that you click with, who understands who you are as a person, and who can help you on your journey. Like it really is a relationship. So I thought that was very good.
And just the last thing that I want to call out is that the writing is so fucking good. How is this a debut? I don’t ever-
I’m jealous, jealous as a writer, I’m really jealous about this. As a reader, I want to read it.
So I know you are more prone to showing up with quotes than me. But this time, I showed up with quotes, because this book is worth quoting. I have no idea how many highlights I made in this book. But the answer will no matter what be ‘too many’, like I highlighted so much it started to become irrelevant. So I chose one. The first quote that I chose is just to showcase that to me, sometimes the writing is just hilarious. Like I love how she brings the characters to life and gives them so much personality to be quite funny. And so this bit is near the beginning when Grace is visiting her father and her stepmom and it’s a conversation between her and her stepmom. So Grace says, oh, no Grace is. Wait, where am I reading? No, that’s right. Sorry, going back and forth.
So Grace, says to her stepmom, “You know, you could always come live with me. I am Dr. Porter. Now, I’m a catch”. Sharon rolls her eyes, “Is that a no?”. “It’s also a Hell no”, she says humor twisting her lips. “Unless you start making the same money he makes”. Grace shrieks, the laugh carrying through the echoes of the big home, she and Sharon fall into each other laughs eking out into little cackles. “After almost 10 years”, she says “you finally outed yourself as a gold digger”. “Oh, honey”, she gently fluff Grace’s curls. “That was never a secret”. Which I just think is so good. And the other quote that I chose is to highlight just how exquisite the writing is sometimes.
I can’t think of any other way to put it. It’s just so beautifully done. And so, Yuki has a radio show. And Grace knows this because when she wakes up the morning after they’ve gotten married, there’s a little business card for her. And it doesn’t have Yuki’s name and phone number, but it’s a business card for her radio show. And so she finds it online and she listens to it. And her show is all about monsters, like it’s her telling stories about various monsters through kind of like mythology and history and whatever.
But she closes her- When Grace is listening to it, this is the closing of one of the shows that Grace is listening to. “We are all lonely creatures in our own way,” Yuki admits “That’s where I’ll end tonight. I have one last thing. If you’ve been following along you guys will know I’m hoping there is someone out there that’s listening. Someone who glows like bee honey and has golden hair that spreads out when she’s sleeping like a halo. Someone who shares a key with me perhaps a key to the messy ridiculous core of me but me nonetheless”. Grace’s breath pitches, Yui is talking to her. She is the bee honey. She reaches a hand to the key under her shirt. Grace is talking about Grace to Grace, lonely creature to lonely creature, “If you’re out there, honey girl, I’m singing you a song. It’s a good song. It won’t lure you to the depths of the ocean. It’s a song that leads you just to me. I think if you’re listening, this has been Are you there and I am Yuki Sleep tight, everyone”.
How beautiful is that?
It’s so, so good.
And yet not a romance.
Not a romance. No, because it is about Grace. It is about Grace’s journey. It is about her going from being this overachiever who has pushed her up into burn, pushed herself into burnout. Who is learning that she might be the most qualified astronomer, but she won’t necessarily get hired because she’s black. And having to reconcile with all that because she’s always pushed for the best. Why should she settle for jobs that are not the best? And how does she reset her expectations so that she can have a life that makes her happy. That is for her, that is not for her father. But but but the love story between her and Yuki is so it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
Unlike the other book I talked about that I’m reading this one is out everywhere. So definitely go and pick it up and then come talk to me if you love it as much as I love it. Oh my God, please, please, please reach out. And let me know because I want to find other people that love this book as much as I do. And I think that’s a good place to end it.
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