Monday, November 28, 2011

50 books I want: My book wishlist of 2012

Even though I still have quite a big pile of unread books to go through, there are many, many more books I would like to have.

Here are 50 books I want to buy/read in 2012:

01. Robin Alexander - Devil in disguise (2011, romance, lesbian)
02. Anthony Bidulka - Amuse Bouche (2003, mystery, lgbt)
03. Jacqueline Carey - Santa Olivia (2009, fantasy)
04. Cassandra Clare - City of Bones (the Mortal Instruments book I) (2007, ya, fantasy)
05. Cassandra Clare - City of Ashes (the Mortal Instruments book II) (2008, ya, fantasy)
06. Cassandra Clare - Clockwork Angel (the Infernal Devices book I) (2010, ya, fantasy)
07. Harlan Coben - The Woods (2007, crime, mystery)
08. Harlan Coben - Caught (2010, crime, mystery)
09. Martina Cole - The business (2008, crime)
10. Martina Cole - The faithless (2011, crime)
11. Erica M. Cook - Rainbow's end (2010, dystopia, lgbt)
12. Mayra L. Dole - Down to the bone (2008, ya, lesbian)
13. Amanda Downum - The drowning city (the Necromancer chronicles book I) (2009, ya, dark fantasy)

14. Amanda Downum - The bone palace (the Necromancer chronicles book II) (2010, ya, dark fantasy)
15. Cordelia Fine - Delusions of gender (2010, non-fiction)
16. Jane Fletcher - Wolfsbane winter (2010, fantasy, lesbian)
17. Ariana Franklin - Mistress of the art of death (2007, crime, mystery)
18. Lisa Gardner - Gone (2006, crime, mystery)
19. Lisa Gardner - Say Goodbye (2008, crime, mystery)
20. Sue Grafton - V is for Vengeance (2011, crime, mystery)
21. Nicola Griffith - Ammonite (1992, dystopia, lesbian)

22. Nicola Griffith - Slow river (1996, fantasy, lesbian)
23. Laurell K. Hamilton - Skin Trade (Anita Blake vampire hunter book 17) (2009, fantasy)
24. Laurell K. Hamilton - Flirt (Anita Blake vampire hunter book 18) (2010, fantasy)
25. Laurell K. Hamilton - Bullet (Anita Blake vampire hunter book 19) (2010, fantasy)
26. Brent Hartinger - Shadow walkers (2011, ya, fantasy, lgbt)
27. Daniel Hecht - Land of echos (2004, mystery, fantasy)
28. Daniel Hecht - Bones of the Barbary coast (2006, mystery, fantasy)
29. Catherine R. Hyde - Jumpstart the world (2010, ya, lgbt)
30. Caitlin R. Kiernan - The red tree (2009, dark fantasy, lgbt)

31. Grace Krilanovich - The orange eats creeps (2010, horror, fantasy)
32. D.L. Line - Headtrip (2010, sf, lesbian)
33. Malinda Lo - Huntress (2010, ya, lesbian)
34. Francine S. Marie - The secret trilogy (2008, romance, lesbian)
35. Adam Nevill - The ritual (2011, horror)
36. Ann Roberts - Beacon of love (2010, romance, lesbian)
37. Karen Rose - Scream for me (2008, crime, mystery)
38. Karen Rose - I can see you (2009, crime, mystery)
39. Karen Rose - Silent scream (2010, crime, mystery)

40. Michelle Sawyer - They say she tastes like honey (2003, romance, lesbian)
41. Johanna Sinisalo & Herbert Lomas- Troll: a love story (2004, fantasy, lgbt)
42. Karin Slaughter - Blindsighted (2002, crime, mystery)
43. Karin Slaughter - Fractured (2008, crime, mystery)
44. Karin Slaughter - Broken (2010, crime, mystery)
45. Nicola Upson - Two for sorrow (2011, mystery, historical fiction)
46. Sarah Waters - The little stranger (2009, fantasy, historical fiction)
47. Malena Watrous - If you follow me (2010, lesbian)

48. Robert C. Wilson - Spin (2005, dystopia)
49. Ellen Wittlinger - Love and lies (2008, ya, lesbian)
50. Brenna Yvanoff - The replacement (2010, ya, dark fantasy)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New fall TV shows I'm watching

The new fall TV season saw the return of many of my favourite shows, including House, Dexter, Fringe, Grey's Anatomy and Lost Girl. Like every season, there were also plenty of new shows and I tried to give many of them a chance.

Now that we are a few weeks into the season, there's only 3 new TV shows left I'm still watching. Those I couldn't be bothered to continue watching were: Free agents (It just wasn't funny), Prime suspect (The dumb humor made me switch off after just 10 minutes), the Secret Circle (After a few episodes it got rather boring), and Ringer (I really wanted to like it because of Buffy, but I just couldn't get into it).

So what am i still watching?

Person of interest
A guy who built a machine that tells you exactly who is going to be involved in a crime teams up with an ex-CIA hitman to prevent people from getting killed. Or more precicely, they try to prevent crimes before they happen. It's a very interesting concept, and so far it doesn't disappoint. The episodes are interesting and captivating and I like the main characters a lot, especially the quirky guy who has the machine.

Emily returns to the town where she lived when she was young to take revenge on the people who killed her dad and deprived her of a happy childhood. She takes getting revenge to a whole new level and it's intriguing to see just how far she will go. Most people in the town seem rather evil anyway, so you don't feel that bad for them. It's like watching an evil version of the OC, but with less teenagers.

Crime show featuring a woman who has a perfect memory, which helps the FBI solve crimes. It's a good crime show, although I have to admit it's not that outstanding and the first few episodes I kept forgetting what the show was about, making Unforgettable rather forgettable.

One show that will start next week that I am really looking forward to is Grimm, a creepy show where detectives try to solve crimes that feature (bad) fairytales coming to life. Put differently, all the fairytales are real and only one guy (one of the last Grimms) can stop them a la Buffy. 

What shows are you watching? Do you agree with my choices or not at all?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book after book book review: Edge by Jeffery Deaver

My latest book review has been posted on Book after Book:

Book review: Edge

By Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Natazzz

Jeffery Deaver is an international bestselling author of crime novels, having written over 25 books in the last 20 years. Yet somehow I'd never read any of his novels, let alone heard of him. After finishing Edge (2010), I wish I'd discovered him sooner. Edge is a crime novel, which, at first glance, looks kind of average and run of the mill. However, once I started reading I could not stop and it had me interested and intrigued throughout.

Edge tells the story of Corte, a protection officer whose job it is to protect a family targeted by a lifter named Henry Loving. The last time Corte came across the man, he ended up killing one of his mentors. Needless to say, Corte is very determined to catch Loving and not let him hurt anyone else every again. The members of the family he is protecting aren't making his job easier with all their personal drama, but in order to find out who hired Loving he does have to delve deep into their lives.

Read the entire review here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Living together

I used to say I didn't think I could live together with someone. The idea of being in a relationship and sharing a house, being together all the time, didn't seem very appealing. In fact, I used to be known for saying I didn't want anything alive in my apartment besides me, including other people, pets or flowers/plants. I used to say a lot of things...

It's interesting how things change or how different/new experiences in your life change your perception of them. Over the last few years there's sure been a number of those that changed not only how I see the (my) world, but they also changed me. Actually, I'm not quite sure I believe people really change. So perhaps it's not so much that I changed, but I just became more myself.

For most of my adult life I thought I was happy, especially with being on my own. I didn't really get relationships. I thought they were nice, but I honestly didn't understand why they could be anything more than that. I also didn't understand people's need for them, how so many people around me couldn't just be happy being single.

Sure, I'd been in love, but it usually was either complicated or resulted in a lot of drama. In sum, I thought my life was pretty good, until I met my gf and I realised everything that I'd been missing.

I know it's so corny to say, but I'm going to say it anyway; she changed my life completely. I never knew I could feel as much as I was feeling. I never knew I could love as much as I was loving. I never knew I could be as much and as many different things as I was being. I never knew I was lonely until I wasn't any longer. I never knew I was incomplete, until she completed me.

My former self never could've written that last paragraph. I would've rolled my eyes at it, and maybe even made some sarcastic comment. I don't really miss that person. I like being who I am these days, happy and positive and everything that comes with it. Being in love and in a relationship with Heidi has been such a wonderful experience that finding an apartment together was a logical next step.

We've only been living together for 2 months, but it's been wonderful.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book after book review: Faitful place by Tana French

My latest book review for book after book is online:

Book review: Faithful Place

By Tana French
Reviewed by Natazzz

There are crime novels that you read to pass the time and crime novels that you truly enjoy. Faithful Place (2011) by Tana French is one of the latter. Having already read her previous two novels - In the Woods and The Likeness - which I thought were both great, I was eager to get started on this one. Luckily, it did not disappoint.

Faithful Place tells the story of Frank Mackey, an undercover cop in Dublin (who was also a main character in the previous novels). Twenty years ago he planned to run away with his then girlfriend Rosie, but she didn't show up and he never heard from her again. He decided to leave home anyway and hasn't looked back since. That is, until he hears that Rosie's suitcase has been found. Frank is forced to return to the place where he grew up and get reacquainted with his dysfunctional family. Back home, Frank is soon to discover exactly what happened all those years ago.

Read the entire review here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book after book book review: Why girls are weird by Pamela Ribon

My latest book review has been posted on Book after Book:

Book review: Why Girls Are Weird

By Pamela Ribon
Reviewed by Natazzz

A few years ago I discovered the blog by writer Pamela Ribon, which I have been reading ever since. Here she shares personal accounts of her life as a writer, as well as what she gets up to in her spare time. The blog is quite popular and was already around ten years ago, when having a personal blog was still something unique. During those early years Ribon decided that her blog and the traffic it created might be an interesting topic for a novel and that's when Why Girls Are Weird was born.

Why Girls Are Weird (2003) tells the story of Anna Koval, who decides to start a personal blog. To make it more interesting, and mainly to entertain herself, she starts making things up.

Read the entire review here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rereading Pages for you by Sylvia Brownrigg

"An uninformed, innocent student in her first semester at university, Flannery Jansen initially encounters her lover in a local diner. But her tentative overtures - a look, a blush - are dismissed and Flannery retreats, humiliated. Future chance meetings discourage Flannery even more, for Anne arden is sophisticated and poised; in Flannery's eyes almost impossibly beautiful. Until, one day, she realizes that Anne Feels the same way about her..." (-from the backcover)

Pages for you by Sylvia Brownrigg (2001) has always been one of my favourite lesbian novels. It had been a while since I read it last, so I thought it was time I gave it another reading. I still thought it was a great novel, but it was interesting to see how when one changes (becomes older, wiser, more successful at love if there's such a thing) a story you read also changes, or at least your interpretation of it and the impact it has on you.

This book tells the story of first love. Of first sight, first kiss, first sex, and ultimately first betrayal and first broken heart.

Written after the fact, in diary form, it gives such a detailed and vivid description of a first lesbian relationship, it is at times almost painful to read. However, I no longer found it as painful as I did a few years ago. I guess that's what I meant with changing or perhaps just getting older. Memories of first crushes and relationships are now so long ago that they are just memories.

Pages for you tells the story of 17-year old Flannery, a freshman in college, who falls madly in love with a graduate student. She first sees Anne reading a book and thinks she is the most beautiful person she has every seen. Talk about love at first sight.

It turns out Anne is actually teaching one of Flannery’s classes, and that is how the two get into contact. Flannery is totally intimidated by this beautiful and amazing older woman, and soon she becomes her pupil both inside and outside of the classroom.

Anne teaches Flannery all about life and love, and Flannery is eager to learn everything Anne has to teach her. As you can probably guess, things eventually start to fall apart. The naive little college freshman finds out the hard way that Anne is not as wonderful and perfect as she thought she was, and that first love never lasts forever.

This book captures perfectly the intensity of first love and the naivety of it all. You cannot believe what you are feeling and experiencing, and you want it to last forever. And you think the other person is feeling exactly the same way. But they don’t. Or they do, but somehow it just cannot last. And nothing hurts like the ending of your first lesbian relationship, especially when you are only 18. Everything is life and dead at that age.

If you're looking for an intense and troublesome lesbian account of first love and first loss, you should definitely check this book out!

This novel was read for the GLBT Reading challenge as well as the LGBT Book challenge.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Rainbow Duo Comic: How not to tidy up

The latest Rainbow Duo Comic is out! This time it's all about tidying up. Like many couples, the Rainbow Duo both have very different ideas about how to clean up the apartment.

Check out the entire comic here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Book review: Martin Misunderstood by Karin Slaughter

"Martin Reed is the proverbial butt of everyone's jokes. Working as a glorified accountant at Southern Toilet Supply and still living with his cantankerous mother, he has become resigned to the world in which he lives -- the school bullies now pick on him in the workplace, women still spurn him and his arch enemy is now his supervisor. So when he leaves home one morning to find his car bumper hanging right off, he thinks it's nothing more than the usual pranks his toxic colleagues like to play on him."(-From the blurb on the back cover) 

If you enjoy suspense novels, chances are you have read something by Karin Slaughter. I quite enjoy her writing and so far I've read about half of her crime novels, mainly her Grant County series. Because I like her as an author I picked up a copy of Martin Misunderstood, which isn't like any of her other books I read.

The novel tells the story of Martin, the biggest loser you've ever seen. He's 36 but nothing has really changed for him since his high school days. He has a crappy job, where he is constantly harassed by his co-workers, and he still lives with his mother who is an enormous bitch, and that is putting it mildly. His boring and depressing life is changed completely when one of his co-workers ends up dead and the police start suspecting Martin has something to do with it.

What I liked about this novel is the way in which Martin's existence is described. At first I didn't think I'd enjoy reading about a guy like him, but the struggle that is his life is told in such detail that you cannot help but imagine what it would be like to be him or at least sympathize with what he has to go through. At the same time I also found it excruciating, because Martin can be so stupid at times I wanted to scream at him: "Come on, get your shit together!"

Another great character in this book is that of Annie, a very competent but lonely police officer. To get her fellow police officers off her back inquiring about her love life, she invents an imaginary girlfriend who she end up finding much comfort in. Not that her character is gay, but she's so lonely the idea of a girlfriend sounds very appealing. I didn't like where Annie ended up, but that part I liked.

With only 147 pages, this novel is rather short and I read it in a few hours. I usually prefer longer books, but it was a really good read. It kept me entertained and intrigued, and I was totally taken by surprise by the outcome, which doesn't very often. In sum, if you're looking for a good suspense novel to read on a Sunday afternoon, check out Martin Misunderstood.

This novel was read for the GLBT Reading challenge as well as the LGBT Book challenge.
What's queer about this book?: Mainly the author (and also the imaginary girlfriend of the police officer).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book after book book review: Living on a Prayer by Sheila Quigley

My latest book review was just posted over at Book after Book:

Book review: Living on a prayer

By Sheila Quigley
Reviewed by

I'm a fan of crime novels, but picking the right one can sometimes be tricky. A good story combined with a nice paperback cover is sure to get my attention, but it's not until you actually start reading that you notice if it's any good. At that point things can go either way. A crime novel that looked very promising can disappoint, while a novel that you did not really expect too much of can surprise you. Living on a prayer (2006) by Sheila Quigley falls into the latter category.

Read the entire review here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lists are hot: Queer TV characters and storylines I obsessed about as a little lesbian

Lists are hot is a monthly column for all those that love lists. This time I want to share with you some of the queer TV characters and storylines I loved when I was younger.

These days lesBians seem to be on our TV screens everywhere (Grey's Anatomy, Coronation Street, Skins, Glee, Hand aufs Herz), but back in the day when I was a little (closeted) lesbian, lesBian storylines were few and far between. Needless to say, whenever anything remotely queer was shown on my TV, I always got really excited.

And with excited I mean my face would turn bride red, my heart would start thumping in my chest, and I would hope no one would interrupt my private viewing of the most amazing thing in the world. Ah, it feels like a life time ago.

So what kind of TV lesbianism did I get excited about? Pretty much anything and everything involving two women that was more than friendly. Sometimes even just lone female characters who "might be a little gay." Want examples? Ok here's a list of some of these queer TV characters and storylines:


1. Ellen Morgan on Ellen (Comedy, US, 1996-1998)

I always loved watching the US comedy series Ellen and I thought the character played by Ellen DeGeneres was great. She was so awesome and cool, and I wanted to be just like her! When around 1997 it became apparent that not only Ellen DeGeneres was a lesbian, but also the character she played, I was shocked and at the same time it totally made sense.

I remember watching each episode wishing something "gay" would happen, and at the same time hoping it would not, just in case my mom would walk into the living room and things would get embarrassing.

2. Zoe Marshall on Pacific Drive (Soap, Australia, 1996)

Pacific Drive was one of those bad daytime soaps that was shown on television in 1996 (or we probably watched in the year after in Europe). One of the characters was Zoe Marshall, a girl questioning her sexuality. This wasn't a main plotline, but during the season I did watch her get seduced by a woman, get confused by her feelings for women, and sleep with her husband Tim (who she married so he could stay in the country) just to make sure she wasn't straight.

I could relate so well to Zoe's struggle with her sexuality (although not so much the having sex with a guy part), and at the same time I thought she was really hot. I wonder if I would've thought that if she hadn't played gay.

3. Dr. Kerry Weaver on ER (Medical drama, US, 1995-2009)

Years before Grey's Anatomy there was already another medical show that everyone seemed to watch and love: ER. When I still lived at home we use to watch that show together every Friday night. I always loved Dr. Kerry Weaver. She was very strict, and not always much fun, but she was fair and she did not care what everyone else thought. That was, until she realized she might be a lesbian.

That storyline totally took me by surprise, and I watched with a bright red face and a beating heart when Kerry wanted to be with the beautiful, hot woman so bad, but she just couldn't. She wasn't ready, it was all too much. Luckily, she got another chance with fire fighter Sandy Lopez (who of course had to die in a fire just as Kerry was about to become really happy for once). This show also featured a young Jorja Fox as lesbian Dr. Maggie Doyle for a while, but she never really held much interest to me.

4. Lesbianish episode of La Femme Nikita (Crime, US, 1998)

I loved La Femme Nikita and it was probably one of my favourite shows during the late nineties. Nikita was so cool and tough, but of course very much in love with creepy Michael. However, I remember feeling very excited when in one episode during Season 2, Nikita seduced a woman. This was probably done in order to win her trust and save the world, or something like that, but I really didn't care. It was so incredibly hot at the time.

5. Julia Salinger experiments on Party of Five (Drama, US, 1998)

Back in the late nineties/early 2000s I had a huge crush on Neve Campbell. I watched her in just about everything she was in (Scream, Wildthings, boring ballet movies), but before she became a famous movie star she played Julia Salinger on Party of Five. I loved that show, I watched it for years, and I always thought her character was really cool.

She was straight of course, and had a series of cute boyfriends. However, in some of the later seasons when Julia goes to college, there are a few episodes where she experiments a little. Or actually I think there really wasn't that much action, but lots of speculation, and little lesbian me eagerly ate up up every little crumb they gave me.

6. Carol Willick on Friends (Comedy, US, 1994-2001)

The character of Carol on Friends (Ross's ex wife) was one of those recurring characters that did not make me feel nervous or strange, but she just seems to make lesbianism look both cool and normal. I liked having her there on a TV show I loved. Even though it was very clear she was a lesbian, her being gay was not always the most important part about her character, which I appreciated. There were a lot of lesbian jokes though, but then again, it was a comedy show.


That concludes my list. I know it only has six entries, but trust me, back in the late nineties, these were pretty much all the lesBian characters/storylines that were around. They increased quite rapidly by the time we entered a new millennium, but back in the day we had to make do.

What do you think of my selection? What were some of your lesbian characters and storylines that made an impact on you when you were first coming out? Let me know in the comments.

This post was first published on eurOut.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Studying LesBians: Lesbians make housework fun

Studying lesBians is a monthly column about recent (and not so recent) research involving lesbians. This time I want to talk about studies into lesbian households.

A few weeks ago the results of a survey of part of the Australian population was published, which showed that same-sex couples (read lesbians, not enough male same-sex couples took part) are better at doing housework than straight couples. Or more precisely, they do a better job at dividing the labour.

Even though we live in 2011, in the household of straight couples the housework is unequally divided, with women doing most of it, even when both partners are equally busy with work and other responsibilities.

Not only do women tend to do more of the housework than men, the kind of chores they both do is also based on old-fashioned gender roles. Women usually do the cooking and the ironing, while men take out the garbage and mow the lawn.

According to the research of the Work, Love and Play research project at the Bouverie centre in Victoria, Australia, when it comes to lesbian households a totally different picture emerges. Apparently, we are much better at dividing the housework equally than our straight counter parts. Most lesbian couples in the survey said they had an equal division of chores.

It is interesting to note, that one of the reasons the researchers give for this is that lesbian moms compared to straight moms are less likely to think they should be doing more of the housework than their breadwinning partner. Does this imply that straight women are to blame for their workload, because they feel they have to do more than their husbands and not because men are just lazy, chauvinistic pigs?

Besides having a more equal division of the amount of housework both partners do, lesbian couples, compared to straight couples, are also not burdened by a division of chores based on gender roles and specific expectations. Instead, they decide who does what according to what they both like to do. Shocking, isn't it? I think it's even more shocking not more straight couples do it like that.

I find it very hard to believe all straight women enjoy cooking and cleaning and all straight men like to fix things around the house. When I look at how it works between my girlfriend and I, our distribution of the housework is mainly determined by what we like to do best. Or more correctly, what we hate least. Then again, I think a lot of the chores like cooking and doing the dishes we always do together.

The survey also showed that besides an equal division of the household, most lesbian couples also had an equal part in raising the kids and both mothers tended to work part time. So perhaps some of these differences between straight and lesbian couples are due to the fact lesbian couples both have as much time for housework.

I wonder if all this dividing things equally and fairly is something to do with lesbians or just because you put two women together. It's a shame the survey did not include enough gay male couples for comparison. That way we could see if it's a gay thing, or a male/female thing.

Although, of course, in an ideal world we would see none of this matters and everything is split equally based on what the other likes or dislikes to do. In this ideal world, housework would also be fun, just because we're lesbians. Unfortunately, I might only have to do half of the housework, but that does not mean I enjoy it anymore.


What do you think of the results of this study, in particular the difference between straight and lesbian couples? How do you and your girlfriend decide who does what around the house? Let me know in the comments.

This post was first published on eurOut.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Rainbow Duo Comic: iPhone obsession

Our latest Rainbow Duo comic is out. This time it's all about obsessively using your iPhone, something that might be familiar to many of you. Go here to check it out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lists are hot: 8 Lesbian and bisexual authors you should know

Lists are hot is a monthly column for all those who love lists. This time I've put together a list of 8 out authors I think you should know.

I've always been an avid reader, reading pretty much anything and everything in the fiction category. I prefer good books (well written, with a good story) above anything else, but of course I appreciate if the novels are more relatable, especially if it involves a queer storyline or the novel is written by a queer author. Here are 8 lesbian and bisexual authors you might like to check out.

These are by no means the best, although they are all great writers, but I tried to make a selection based on the kind of novels they write. I'm just a book lover, not an expert, so don't bite my head off if I might have gotten some of the genres wrong. It's just intended to give you a general idea of the sort of novels each author writes.

 1. Sarah Waters (England) – Historical fiction

Years ago I was flipping the channels one night, when I stumbled upon the BBC's adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel Tipping the Velvet. I remember how much I loved the story and I couldn't believe they could just broadcast something like that without my knowledge. Since then I have read all of Waters' books, most of which I loved. I'm not normally a fan of historic fiction, but Waters made the era appeal to me. Must be all those lesbians.

2. Val McDermid (Scotland) – Crime/Suspense

I have always had a soft spot for crime novels, and probably half of my book collection consists of crime and suspense books. Scottish author Val McDermid has written many, many great crime novels, and some of those even inspired the awesome crime TV series Wire in the Blood. Her latest novel is Trick of the dark, which you should definitely check out if crime is a genre you enjoy.

3. Emma Donoghue (Ireland/Canada) – General fiction

Emma Donoghue's novels are widely known both in the queer and mainstream world. If you enjoy reading, chances are you have read one of her novels like Landing, Room or Slammerkin. I particularly enjoyed Landing, which is about a lesbian long distance love story.

4. Nicola Griffith (England/US) – Suspense/Science Fiction

I'm a big fan of all of Nicola Griffith's work, but I especially love her novels about hot and dangerous queer PI Aud Torvingen. The second novel in the series, Stay, made the most impact on me. She's also written different genre books like Ammonite, that tells the story of a world without men.

5. Manda Scott (England) - Crime/Historic Fantasy

If you are intrigued by ancient Rome and enjoy a good fantasy novel or thriller, British author Manda Scott might be the author for you. She's written, among other things, a series called Boudica, about a historic fantasy world where ancient Romans spend a lot of time in battle. Don't worry if you prefer less ancient stuff, as she's also written some crime novels set in the near future.

6. Caitlin R. Kiernan (Ireland/US) – Science Fiction/Dark fantasy

I've enjoyed the dark and mysterious writings of Caitlin R. Kiernan ever since I picked up a copy of Silk at a book fare. Her latest novel The Red Tree is even better than Silk, which is really saying something as that novel has always been my favourite. Both novels also have queer main characters, which is always a plus.

7. Malinda Lo (US) – Young Adult fantasy

Long before Malinda Lo published her debut novel Ash, I already loved her writing. The former managing editor of After Ellen could always have me reading all of her articles and columns. So I was really excited when I found out she was going to be a fulltime novelist. If you enjoyed Ash, you're in for a treat, because her second novel Huntress will be released soon.

8. Ali Smith (Scotland) – General fiction/Short stories

Scottish write Ali Smith has written a number of great novels you might not have heard about yet, including Like, Girl meets boy and The Accidental. Of interest might be Girl meets boy, which is a modern retelling of the Ovid's myth of Iphis. When she's not writing novels, Smith is a writer for newspapers like the Guardian and the Scotsman


So what do you think of this list? Are your favourite queer authors listed or are they missing? Did you discover some new names? Let me know in the comments.

This post was first published on eurOut.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book review: Kill Chain by Meg Gardiner

I'm happy to announce I will be reviewing books for the great book blog Book after Book. Here's a preview of the first one:

 Book review: Kill Chain

By Meg Gardiner
Reviewed by Natazzz

I'm a big fan of crime novels. In fact, it's one of my favourite genres when it comes to books. Over the years I must have read hundreds of crime novels and I have a pretty good idea of what they usually entail and what I like and dislike about them. I picked up the paperback of Kill Chain by Meg Gardiner (2006) at a book fair last year because the cover appealed to me and I thought I would enjoy it. The book didn't disappoint but it also did not stand out much.

Read my entire review here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book review: The true deceiver by Tove Jansson

"In the deep winter snows of a Swedish hamlet, a strange young woman fakes a break-in at the house of an elderly artist in order to persuade her that she needs companionship. But what does she hope to gain to gain by doing this? And who ultimately is deceiving whom?" (From the back cover).

Background story:

When I was in London last year, I visited the only gay bookstore there called Gay's the word. I was really excited to be there and my girlfriend and I spent a while looking around. Unlike many other gay bookstores, they had quite a broad lesbian section and among those books was The true deceiver by Tove Jansson. In fact, the novel had a recommended sticker on the cover. I thought I couldn't go wrong with this book. How wrong I was...

The plot:

The plot is pretty much summed up by the blurb I posted from the back cover of the novel. It's about every day life in a little village in winter, and two unusual women who's paths cross, and they get to know each other, unaware of the other's true intentions.

The verdict:

I was hoping the story of the two women, their intentions and their relationship would be an interesting and intriguing tale. Unfortunately, I found the whole storyline, and pretty much the entire book, rather boring. Perhaps it is because I'm used to reading suspense novels or the fact that I do not really care about all the details of life in a small village. Nevertheless, the book, which I read in a couple of hours, left me very disappointed. Unless simple village life fascinates you, I would give this book a miss.

The gayness factor: 
 Scandinavian author Tove Jansson

There is absolutely nothing gay about this novel, besides the author.

This book was reviewed as part of the LGBT reading challenge 2011 and the GLBT 2011 challenge.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Studying LesBians: homophobia is bad for your health

Studying Lesbians is a monthly column about recent (and not so recent) research about lesbians or the LGBT community as a whole. This time I want to talk to you about yet another very surprising and shocking research finding: homophobia is bad for you!

More specially, several studies have recently linked having experienced homophobic incidents or being in a hostile, homophobic environment to negative health consequences. In other words, these studies are showing that being around homophobia is bad for our health!

This is yet another line of research that makes me go DUH! but I do really appreciate all these researchers taking the time to look into this, because I am sure their are many (homophobic?) people who actually think a little homophobia doesn't do any harm, and they are just "letting people know what they believe in", or something.

Let's have a closer look at these studies. The study that got the most exposure in the (gay) media the last few weeks was a doctoral thesis in clinical psychology by Michael Benibgui from Concordia university entitled Mental Health Challenges and Resilience in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults: Biological and Psychological Internalization of Minority Stress and Victimization.

In his thesis, Benibgui looked into psycho-social and neuroendocrine factors that may contribute to mental health in LGB youth and young adults. In other words, he followed a number of young LGB people and looked at what kind of environment they were in and what kind of experiences they have had and he also assessed what their mental and physical health was like.

The reason for this research was that it is often found that LGB youth experience more depression, anxiety and have higher suicide rates (although let's not forget some studies have actually shown LGB youth are just like everybody else), but not much is known about exactly why this is. Therefore, Benibgui examined a number of environmental risks and protective factors that he tried to link to (mental) health outcomes.

And guess what he found? Those LGB teens who lived in a homophobic environment, that is to say, who had a lot of arguments about their sexual identity, who were bullied or discriminated against, had higher levels of internalized homophobia and an increased production of cortisol, a stress hormone. In turn, internalized homophobia and high levels of cortisol were connected to things like depression and suicidal thoughts.

In other words, being in an environment that makes you feel bad about yourself, makes you feel bad about yourself! It is interesting though, to see what kind of influence the environment can have on the body and consequently ones mental state.

Luckily the influence works both ways. It was also found that those LGB young people who had very positive, supportive environments, didn't have any problems. Even when LGB youth encountered discrimination or bullying, if they had friends and family who supported them in their sexual orientation, they didn't get depressed or experienced internalized homophobia.

It seems like homophobia can do more harm than some people seem to think, although reading through this thesis I couldn't help but make the occasional duh sound. Just like all young people, no one likes to be bullied or discriminated against, LGB youth are no different in this regard.

It's a shame it can have such negative consequences, and I feel more should be done to make it ok for young people to not only be queer, but to be able to be out and proud, without getting hurt too much in the process.

Even though it is important the situation for LGB youth is improved, I'm also happy to read that as long as you have a good support system in place, if your friends and family have no problem with you being gay and they are there for you whenever you need them, it seems like you are going to be just fine! Now that's at least a positive note to take away from all of this.


What do you think of these study results? Do you think it's good this kind of research is being done? Do you agree all it takes is a good social support system and homophobia can't really hurt you? Or do you think we should seriously try to protect our LGB youth against homophobia? Let me know in the comments.

This post was first published on eurOut.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I love looking up at the sky. My favourite thing, next to sunsets are pretty clouds. Here are some of the pretty skies I captured on film the last few years.

Groningen, the Netherlands (Summer 2009)

Peer, Belgium (Spring, 2010)

Maastricht, the Netherlands (Summer 2010)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fiction-ish blogging from a kids' perspective: Young and Innocent

Are you tired of just reading about lesbians and other gay stuff? Did you wish I would write about something else, perhaps even fictional? Then do check out one of my other blogs Young and Innocent. 

In Young and Innocent I delve into the mind of my kid self, and I blog about my thoughts and experiences as if I was still young and innocent. Because my childhood was rather boring, I tend to make a lot of stuff up. My latest post is all about my former love of playing with fire:

I like playing with fire, with matches to be more precise. I love how simple it is to make a flame, to watch it, to wave my finger through it without getting burned. It’s even more fun when you light many matches at once, and build a little bonfire. Just a tiny one though, tiny fires are fun. Ok maybe not only tiny fires are fun, but I would not make those up in my bedroom. Read more here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

10 European LesBian and LGBT websites you should be visiting

Lists are hot is a monthly column for all those that love lists. This time I want to share with you some of the coolest European LesBian websites around.

Obviously, when it comes to favourite European lesBian websites, eurOut is and should be on top of the list. But since you are already familiar with our site, let's have a look at some other great European lesBian and LGBT websites.

During the time I wrote the website of the week segments, I came come across many very interesting lesBian and LGBT websites, of which I selected 10 European ones that I think are worth checking out. These websites are in no particular order, and I have also tried to select websites from as many different countries as possible.

1. G3 Magazine (UK)

G3 magazine is a UK based online magazine for lesbians and bisexual women. The magazine has been around since 2001 and, according to their website, has an estimated readership of around 140,000 people a month. Readers include both women who buy the printed magazine in the shops and those that read it online.

On the G3 website, besides an online copy of the magazine, you can also find lots of other stuff including the latest LGBT news, polls on various subjects, features and columns not in the magazine, travel suggestions and relationship advice. Their online magazine looks great and is a fun read, and also the general website offers a lot of different things to hold your interest.

2. Pink Pearls Amsterdam (the Netherlands)

Do you like travelling? Do you like dating? Do you like lesBians? If you answered yes to those questions, Pink Pearls (formerly known as Garbo Amsterdam) might be just the thing for you!

Pink Pearls is a social network site for European lesbians and bisexual women. It was originally only focused on the Netherlands (and Amsterdam, hence the name), but they are hoping to extend their network and appeal to lesBians from all over Europe. Some of the stuff Pink Pearls gets up to includes organising European holidays especially for lesBians. This includes regular holidays, as well as trips to events and parties.

3. Lesbisk On Screen (Norway)

Lesbisk OnScreen, the Norwegian website for anything that is lesbionic in entertainment. Lesbisk Onscreen covers stuff like where the lesbians are on television, what all the hottie handball players get up to, and what events are taking place around Norway.

If that isn’t enough for you to check out their website, they also have lists of queer movies and television programs and they show tweets from everyone they deem interesting that follows them on Twitter.

4. Yagg (France)

Yagg is the French media site catering to the LGBT community. The site was created in 2008 by a group of four experienced journalists, three gay guys and one lesbian (Judith Silberfeld).

Yagg started with the goal to be a source of information for every LGBT-person in France which makes the site very diversified. Their articles span topics from coverage of press conferences by politicians, reviews of art exhibitions and theatre plays, a cruising guide for gay men, a “Revue de web” offering links to articles of LGBT interest from all over the world, to video footage of kiss-ins, pride marches and many more.

5. Stupenda (Spain)

Stupenda is a Spanish online magazine aimed at lesbians in Barcelona, Spain. The magazine first started in 2002 and they cover all sorts of things of interest to queer women, like books, movies, music, fashion, gossip, The L Word, events and anything else about women that might be worth covering.

Besides the magazine, Stupenda also holds a monthly party by the same name during which former eurOut writer Clarix usually DJs.

6. Kweens (Germany)

Kweens is a lesbian entertainment website in German, which was created in 2008. What kind of things can you find on their website? Well, they report on things like the latest movies, music videos, and events.

They also have features like 'Lovely Saturday', which features lovely and hot ladies, and they also write about more serious stuff like articles on gender and sexuality, gay marriage and insemination.

7. Jong & Out (the Netherlands)

Jong & Out (Young and Out) is an online community for Dutch gays, lesbians and bisexuals age 18 and under. It provides the opportunity for gay teens to meet like minded others both online and in the flesh, and it's also a great resource of information.

On the website information is provided about being young and out, including how to deal with homophobia and coming out in high school. There's even a section for parents to be reassured about their sons and/or daughters visiting the website.

8. Gaelick (Ireland)

Gaelick is an award-winning Irish website for LGBT news, whose news and entertainment posts we often feature on eurOut.

They have been around for a number of years, and provide the latest news of what queer related things are happening in Ireland, as well as in the rest of the world. Besides great informational posts, they also offer a number of opinion posts, which are always my favourites.

9. Wel Jong Niet Hetero (Belgium)

Wel Jong Niet Hetero (Young, but not straight) is the Belgium website for LGBT youth. Even though their main focus is young LGBT and questioning youth, their website really appeals to me.

They don't just focus on stuff interesting for teens, like information about coming out etc., but they also provide the latest LGBT news both in Belgium and around the world. This includes political stuff, as well as entertainment news and fun events taking place in the country.

10. Queeried (UK)

Queeried is a UK based website for LGBT entertainment and political news and is run by the lovely Michelle Penny.

Queeried offers the latest news from around the world, as long as it's LGBT related. In addition, you can find features there like music to check out, movies to see and even what underwear to buy.


That concludes my top 10 of European lesBian and LGBT websites you should be visiting. What do you think of my selection? Do you agree or are some of your favourite websites missing?

This post was first published on eurOut.