Blog Series

Friendship, Fiction, and Coming Out by Marie Landry {A Pride Month Guest Post}

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I started selectively coming out about eleven years ago. I pretty much always knew I wasn’t ‘straight’, but I didn’t know what to call myself, largely because I grew up in a time when calling someone ‘gay’ was considered the funniest/best insult by a lot of people, and I didn’t really know any labels beyond gay and lesbian. For a long time, I figured it would be a part of me I kept mostly to myself, but when I started dating a girl, I knew I needed the people closest to me to know about this side of my life and this important person I loved.

The first person I came out to was my friend Meghan. I don’t remember how I told her. I can’t remember the exact words. I honestly don’t even remember if I did it in person or on MSN Messenger (showing my age here, haha). What I do remember is one of the next times I saw her, she gave me a book: Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall. Meghan was always lending me books – books that often ended up being favourites, like The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. When she gave me Bottle Rocket Hearts, a book about 18-year-old Eve, a French-Canadian lesbian, I was grateful, but I don’t think I got her true intentions. I was excited because the book is set in Canada and there are so few books set in my beloved homeland.

It wasn’t until a few years ago, as I found the LGBTQ+ community on Twitter and heard about people’s experiences with coming out that the significance of Meghan’s gift really hit me. It wasn’t just that she was giving me a book she thought I would like. It was her way of saying ‘I love you, I support you, I’m here for you’. I cried when I realized, and I still get teary at times when I think about it. She was the perfect first person to come out to; I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, or a better friend.

Meghan’s thoughtful gift got me thinking about what book I would give a friend who came out to me, or was newly out. I’ve read a lot of LGBTQ+ books, but there are a specific few that come to mind.

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{THE SEAFARER’S KISS RELEASE DAY} ARC Review of The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

HAPPY RELEASE DAY TO THE VERY ANTICIPATED THE SEAFARER’S KISS BY JULIA EMBER! 

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Today is the day, after my week long The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember Countdown the book is finally out in the world. If you haven’t pre-ordered the book before today, you can now buy the book at the purchase links I have linked below. I’m sure you guys will love this book, I know I did.

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The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Publication Date: May 4, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT and Mermaids

Rating: sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5sliceofcake5

Selling points: Fat bisexual MC and a unique story that is a retelling of the Little Mermaid but with a darker twist.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository | Duet Books

Synopsis: Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

About the Author

Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.

Connect with author Julia Ember at Julia-Ember.com, on Twitter @jules_chronicle, and on Facebook at facebook.com/juliaemberwrites.

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Thank you, Julia Ember, for my advanced reader copy of The Seafarer’s Kiss. I really appreciate the opportunity to read and review it.

The Seafarer’s Kiss is a breathtaking story about a mermaid and a human with Norse mythology and unforeseen plot twists woven into their story. This book will move readers that cannot get enough of magical, beautiful worlds and characters that are relatable in the way they are flawed and the way they grow. This is a book you need on your radar, as even though it has an incredible f/f love story the book focuses heavily on personal growth. The main character, Ersel, is a fat bisexual mermaid who goes through a lot of character development throughout the book and by the end of it still isn’t perfect (like none of us are). That is what makes her such a compelling character, and a protagonist you can truly feel for.

The world in The Seafarer’s Kiss is one that will mesmerize you, and how the mermaid culture and human culture is woven into the story will have you enjoying every single moment. We see the power balance between the mermaids, mermen, their leader, and the gods. Loki, the trickster god, plays a large part in the story, is genderfluid and uses they/them pronouns. Even though they are the villain in a lot of ways, you will still find yourself truly liking them for their unique personality and scheming ways. I also fell in love with the belugas, they were such a beautiful part of Ersel’s life, and I just really enjoyed reading their interactions with the other characters. This book is based on Norse mythology and is also a retelling of the Little Mermaid and the entire concept of the story makes you want it to never end in order to stay in the world forever.

The Seafarer’s Kiss is a story about breaking free, creating your own path and deciding who you want to be and what you are willing to do to get there. It explores how easy it is to make rash and irreversible decisions that can have catastrophic consequences, and how to deal with that afterward. Both Ersel, Havamal, and Ragna all made mistakes that they have to live with, at times they are selfish and mean, but that is what makes you truly remember these characters. They are flawed, and they fuck it up like the rest of us, but we see their journey of growing and dealing with their mistakes. This book and its characters show readers that making mistakes is okay, and though we cannot undo them, we can move forward and do differently next time.

The Seafarer’s Kiss is filled with strong and flawed women, who are so much more than just their love interest, and are all about personal growth and finding their own path in life. Throughout this book you will be rooting for the characters, hoping they are safe and that no harm is done to them as they fight their way through unforeseen obstacles. Reading the Seafarer’s Kiss felt a lot like being on a rollercoaster. I was screaming at some parts out of fear for the characters, and squealing out of joy at other parts where everything was just right. This is a book every reader needs on their radar this spring. Explore the world and its complexities with Ersel, Ragna, and Havamal and never look back.

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{THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN} The Seafarer’s Kiss Book Playlist

THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN: Two Days Left – The Seafarer’s Kiss Book Playlist

Hi readers, and welcome to another day of my The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember countdown. It’s only two days left now *queue dancing* and things are truly getting closer. Today I have a really fun post for you guys, a playlist inspired by The Seafarer’s Kiss made by yours truly. I love to make playlists for books. Trying to get the vibe right with the songs you pick out is enough to make you feel the essence of the book all over again.

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The playlist consists of 12 songs, and I’ve made sure that you can listen to it both on Spotify and Youtube. You can listen to it on Spotify here or Youtube here. You can pre-order The Seafarer’s Kiss on Amazon, The Book Depository or on Duet Books’ website. Add the book on Goodreads here.

About the Author

Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.

Connect with author Julia Ember at Julia-Ember.com, on Twitter @jules_chronicle, and on Facebook at facebook.com/juliaemberwrites.

Will you be listening to the playlist? Are you excited about The Seafarer’s Kiss? 

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Five Days of Romance: Day 5 – Anticipated Romance Reads

Hi everyone and welcome to the last day of Five Days of Romance. Even though Valentine’s Day is over doesn’t mean the romance has to be. Personally I love romance the most, and have a bunch of books I own I’ll be reading when I get more time away from some of my ARCs. I thought I’d share some of the romance books I’m truly anticipating to read at the moment.

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These are 14 Romance novels that I own and am dying to read, but haven’t gotten around to just yet. They all come highly recommended by friends and loved ones, and I’d take their recommendations over anyone’s so I know these books will be great. Hence, why I’m excited to read them. The books I’m anticipating to read are,

  1. Act Like It by Lucy Parker.
  2. Dare to Love by C.P. Santi.
  3. Ash by Malinda Lo.
  4. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.
  5. Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler.
  6. More Than Distance by Elizabeth Briggs.
  7. Trade Me by Courtney Milan.
  8. Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David.
  9. Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee.
  10. Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz.
  11. Love On My Mind by Tracey Livesay.
  12. That Thing Between Eli & Gwen by J.J. McAvoy.
  13. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler.
  14. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.

This was Day 5 of Five Days of Romance, and the end of this blog series. However, the romance lives on, and we can always find it in a book whenever we desire. To check out my earlier posts for Five Days of Romance, go here.

Have you read any of these books, or are you also excited to read any of them? Is there a special book you have your eye on?

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Five Days of Romance: Day 4 – Recipe for the Perfect Date

Happy Valentine’s Day my loves, and welcome to another day of Five Days of Romance here on my blog. Today I’m here to give you the recipe for the perfect date. You don’t want to miss this. In only five steps you’ll be sure to have the perfect date by tonight, amazing right? Well I won’t keep you waiting, for all my single people and not so single people. Here is how you get the perfect date in only five steps.

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The first step to fixing the perfect date is to choose who your date is going to be, and yes my friends, the perfect date is of course a book! So be it an old favorite or a new book you’ve had your eyes on for ages. Date night is all about you and a book you would love to read at the moment, nothing more, nothing less. Just pick a book you want to read and ignore all other distractions.

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The second step to a perfect date is deciding where you want to have it. Where will you and your date have the most amazing time together? Now this all depends on the weather, opportunity and circumstance but a few excellent options are listed above. If the air is not chilly and the sun is out, perhaps a picnic outside is the way to go. However, a library or café might be a better option if you want to go out but the weather is not that welcoming. To make it extra cozy, a blanket and pillow fort or a bubble bath might be just the right way to spend your perfect date.

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On your date, the mood is also very important, which leads us to step three. In order to make the perfect date you might need a few mood setters, perhaps a few lit candles, your favorite music or fresh flowers. Anything that will make your evening feel more magical is just what you need for the date. Truly, the sky is the limit. If it helps you relax and enjoy your date, it’s clearly perfect.

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The fourth step to create the perfect date is to bring snacks with you, because what is a date without something to snack on? It sure isn’t perfect. Deciding exactly what to bring will differ depending on where you go, but having something to drink with you is always a smart move. With your date you can eat cupcakes, cookies, cake, chocolate dipped strawberries, a bowl of watermelon or potato chips. Mix and choose however you like, all depending on what you love to snack on when you spend time with your date. Do you prefer it sweet, sour, salty or a mix of them all somehow?

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The last step is choosing what to wear to the date and it’s probably the easiest step out of the five. The clear answer is, wear what you love to wear, so be it nothing at all or your favorite pair of jeans and a top. If the weather allows it, a fluffy dress might also be just what feels right. The best part is that no matter what you wear, I can 100 % guarantee that your date will love it. You look gorgeous just the way you are.

This was Day 4 of Five Days of Romance. Tomorrow we’ll have Anticipated Romance Reads, and you don’t want to miss it. To check out my earlier posts for Five Days of Romance, go here.

These five steps were it for my Recipe for the Perfect Date, what did you think? Will you be following these steps tonight for date night?

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Five Days of Romance: Day 3 – Book Girlfriends

Welcome to another day of romance, and this time I have some book girlfriends for you. Eight of them to be exact. Honestly, these girls are the best literature have to offer, they are beautiful, strong, vulnerable and you need them on your radar. Trust me on this. Don’t hesitate to get to know them and fall in love with them as much as I have.

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My first book girlfriend today is Jamaican-American Baylee Wright from Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie. This amazing girl loves to dance, especially to soca music and together with her best friend Luka. Baylee also loves juggling with all her heart, which is done in the Las Vegas circus, and she is truly a star in the show Infini. She’s a born and bred New Yorker, loves grilled cheese sandwiches and deserves the world. When I read Infini I fell in love with her, and have not looked back since.

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My second book girlfriend is Giselle Stewart, often just called Gigi, from Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton. She’s a ballerina in a very competitive world, where the girls are vicious and competition relentless. Gigi is sweet and truly wants to be the best at what she does without any cheating or fighting. She dreams of being the third black ballerina to succeed in the company, and she deserves it so much. You cannot help but love her, and her sunshine personality.

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The third book girlfriend on my list is pansexual Chris Morrison from The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis. This girl is confused about what to do with her life, and when I read about her struggles I cried and then laughed because finally, someone put into words how I feel about my dreams, university and finding the right path in life. Chris loves to read books, works in a bookshop and plays the guitar. She’s totally amazing, could eat all the pizza and I really love her.

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Five Days of Romance: Day 2 – Romantic Book Postcards

Welcome to my second day of Five Days of Romance! Today I have romantic and funny bookish postcards to share with you all. Save them, share them, and send them to your friends and loved ones. Just don’t claim them as your own when asked. I had so much fun making these, I love pick up lines and puns and whatnot, which is why this was so much fun. These postcards are perfect in time for Valentine’s Day on Tuesday.

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(inspired by Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember)

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(inspired by Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie)

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Five Days of Romance: Day 1 – Romance Book Recommendations

Hi fellow readers, and welcome to Five Days of Romance. For five days, including today, I’ll be posting romantic bookish posts in celebration of Valentine’s Day, and this lovely time of romance. I’ll be posting the following posts,

  • Romance Book Recommendations (today, see below)
  • Romantic Book Postcards (Feb 12, 2017)
  • Book Girlfriends (Feb 13, 2017)
  • Recipe for the Perfect Date (Feb 14, 2017)
  • Anticipated Romance Reads (Feb 15, 2017)

Stay tuned the following week, because you don’t want to miss these posts and get that romance on. There is something for everyone!


This first day of Five Days of Romance I have some romance book recommendations for you all. I specifically have 14 books that I’ve read and loved. These books are a mix of Young Adult, New Adult and Adult books, and they all have diverse characters in one way or another.

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These 14 Romance novels are ones that I really love. They all vary a lot in style, age of protagonist and story, but they have all mesmerized me in one way or another. I really recommend them, and they’re perfect in time for Valentine’s Day. A good romance novel is just what you need when love is in the air.

  1. The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen. New Adult, sports, disabled protagonist.
  2. Rumor Has It by Farrah F. Polestico. Young Adult, theater, Filipino main characters.
  3. We Awaken by Calista Lynne. Young Adult, Fantasy, asexual protagonist.
  4. Keeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicolas. Young Adult, camp, bisexual Indian protagonist.
  5. Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour. Young Adult, Hollywood, gay biracial protagonist.
  6. The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis. New Adult, pansexual protagonist.
  7. The Unforgettables by G.L. Tomas. Young Adult, Haitian-American protagonist.
  8. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkes. Young Adult, forbidden love, Mexican love interest.
  9. Complementary and Acute by Ella Lyons. Young Adult, boarding school, gay protagonist.
  10. Roller Girl by Vanessa North. Adult, sports, trans lesbian protagonist.
  11. More Than Fashion by Elizabeth Briggs. New Adult, reality TV, Korean-American protagonist.
  12. Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra. Young Adult, Fantasy, Filipino main characters.
  13. Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan. Young Adult, gay Persian protagonist.
  14. Prep and Prejudice by Miren B. Flores. Adult, Filipino main characters.

Have you read any of these books, are you excited to read any of them? Do you want to get that romance on with a cozy book?

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