Book Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss

Written by Julia Ember, a self-identified “polyamorous, bisexual writer.”
Published May 4, 2017 by Duet Books
230 pages
Goodreads, Kirkus, School Library Journal
Bisexual female protagonist, genderqueer Loki

Ersel is a mermaid living in an Arctic society ruled by a callous king, and is prized for her breeding capabilities in her low birth rate community. She has a fascination with human objects, often trekking into shipwreck ruins to search for new collectibles. She witnesses a ship going down and is intrigued by the lone survivor, a woman named Ragna with mysterious moving tattoos. Wishing to become human and be with Ragna, Ersel makes a 51d+jc+WPDL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_deal with the shapeshifting and genderqueer Norse God Loki, but deals with the God of Lies often backfire. Now banned from her home and unable to be with the woman she loves, Ersel must find a way to outsmart Loki and save her community.

Marketed as a “Little Mermaid” retelling, The Seafarer’s Kiss definitely has some of the main plot points: mermaids, deals with “villains” involving legs and voices, and wanting to be human, but it manages to be its own story. Ersel reads as bisexual, having feelings for her male childhood best friend and for a human woman. Readers never really get much of an insight to the characters, and the writing (especially the ending) comes across a bit rushed. A lot is packed into the 230 pages, and there is enough happening to keep the story going, but it is easily skimmed.

The romance side also leaves a bit to be desired. There is a brief non-graphic sex scene between Ersel and Ragna, and they both declare their desire for one another, but there is not much beyond that.

I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers who don’t mind occasionally flawed writing, and for anyone looking for a quick and easy read. If you’re looking for more queer merfolk, check out this list on Goodreads.


LGBTQ+ Library Spotlight: Out On The Shelves Library at UBC

One of our lovely members, Casey S., has written up this profile of the newly re-opened Out On The Shelves Library up at the University of British Columbia! Thank you Casey!


For those of you in the Vancouver area, there is very exciting news in the world of queer books: Out On The Shelves, Vancouver’s only LGBTQ2IA+ library, has just re-opened! I’m one of the co-coordinators and I couldn’t be happier and more excited and proud that my and a lot of volunteers’ hard work over the past year has resulted in our precious little library actually being open to the public again!

Some of you might remember the Out On The Shelves library from its time downtown off of Davie St in the Qmunity building. Out On The Shelves was actually founded in 1983 by a group of volunteers and it has had a long journey at different locations around the Davie St gaybourhood before its arrival at our new location on the West Point Grey UBC campus on Musqueam territory! If you frequented the old Out On The Shelves, we would love to have you back! If you’ve never heard of Out On The Shelves, we would love to sign you up for a library card for the first time! We are also always looking for volunteers to staff the library as well as other library tasks such as collection development, fundraising, social media, cataloguing, and more. No library experience required, although of course we love to have library workers and/or library students.


It’s free for anyone to get a library card with us. Although we are located at UBC, you don’t have to be a student or staff at UBC; we’re not affiliated with the university library. We have some pretty rad LGBTQ2IA+ books, including some you can’t find anywhere else in Vancouver. We’re a great place to find an available copy of a new queer book that your local public library has a long hold list for or an older book that your local public library doesn’t carry anymore. We have a diverse range of popular fiction and non-fiction with strong collections in Canadian materials and a nice balance of older seminal books and brand new ones. We are presently focused on building our collection of underrepresented parts of LGBTQ2IA+ communities, including books by authors of colour and/or featuring bisexual, trans, two-spirit, intersex, and asexual characters and/or written by BT2IA authors. We are always accepting donations of materials and suggestions for specific items that we should have.

Check out our catalogue here to see what we have. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Stay tuned for an official grand opening and party in January 2018!


If you know of an LGBTQ+ library or special collection, please write up a profile and submit it to either Lindsay or myself!

2018 Rainbow Book List Nominees

Every year the Rainbow Book List Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association puts out a bibliography of “quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content, which are recommended for people from birth through eighteen years of age”. On November 1st the committee released the nominees list for the 2018 Rainbow Book List, compiled from suggestions by the public. The final list, including the committee members Top 10, will be announced in February 2018.

The goal of the Rainbow Book List is to provide youth with a list of high quality LGBTQ+ books and to aid library staff in collection development.

2018’s nominee list sees authors April Daniels, Adam Silvera, and Robin Talley each nominated twice. We also have Canadian representation in Emma Donoghue, Carrie Mac, and Sara O’Leary.

Visit the GLBT Roudtable’s website to view the full nominee list.

Where Are All The LGBTQ+ Book Subscription Boxes?

My family and I celebrate Christmas, and I like to get my gift shopping done early. As I was wandering around the internet looking for wow inducing gifts, I stumbled upon the website for Gertrude Press, a non-profit organization that publishes Gertrude, a queer literary journal. On their homepage is this image:


Intrigued, I look a little further. The Gertie Book Club is a box of two new literary works by LGBTQ+ authors sent every three months, and there are three subscription options: The Boy Box (gay fiction only), The Girl Box (lesbian fiction only), and The Queer Box (anything goes). Other than Gertrude, Gertrude Press mainly publishes poetry and/or chapbooks, and it seems to me that that is what would mostly be in this box. I figured I’d pass, but I got thinking about other LGBTQ+ book subscription boxes and if there was one more to my liking, so back to Google I went.

Subscription boxes have become a very “in” thing, from ones for dog and cat owners, make-up enthusiasts, tea drinkers, and everything in between and outside. The other year I bought a quarterly make-up box as a Christmas gift for my sister, and currently subscribe to a bimonthly box filled with cat treats and toys. They are a fun surprise and have proven to be great gifts. I was hoping that if there was one LGBTQ+ book box out there, there must be more.

There aren’t (at least that my Google skills could find).

Sure, there are a few LGBTQ+ boxes that send sex toys, undies, and even binders for trans men, but no other book boxes. While this should not have surprised me, I was still disappointed. How can there only be one literary subscription box dedicated specifically to LGBTQ+ material and authors? How are we to create such a thing?

Book Review: “Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology”


Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology (edited by Hope Nicholson) was suggested to me by a co-worker and I was thrilled when I heard the premise – stories that sit in the middle of a Venn diagram of science fiction, Indigenous, and queer themes. Hitting even two of the three at a time is impressive, but the stories are also mostly Canadian (!) and some are even femme-centric (!!!). There are big names like Richard Van Camp and new voices like Gwen Benaway, and all contributing authors are Indigenous.

Each story varies considerably as to how heavily sci-fi, queer, or Indigenous themed it is and I didn’t feel like any aspects were forced into the stories. I read a lot of science-fiction short stories and I find the genre, like some queer fiction, thrives in short story format because the length means some exposition has to be eradicated. Concepts like interplanetary travel or gender transition are not new things for the narrator, so the story and the characters are able to shine.

Colonization and objectification of bodies are common themes in Indigenous and queer literature, but also in science fiction. Notions of Indigenous nationhood and identity tend to be framed historically rather than in the future tense, and it was refreshing to read such explicit depictions of Indigenous characters outside of stereotypical environments. When you actually read the words of Indigenous or queer (or both!) people, there is both a universality of emotion as well as insights that you will not get with non-Indigenous or non-queer writers. Love is beyond stereotypes as well as body, space, and time.

Stand-outs for me were: Perfectly You, by David A. Robertson, Legends Are Made, Not Born, by Cherie Dimaline Néle, by Darcie Little Badger, Transitions, by Gwen Benaway, and Valediction at the Star View Motel, by Nathan Adler. I would have happily read a full length novel of Néle, and Transitions is a stand-out introduction to Gwen Benaway.

Some similar titles to seek out are: Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature (various contributors), Walking the Clouds: an anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction (edited by Grace L. Dillon) and mitêwâcimowina: Indigenous Science Fiction and Speculative Storytelling (edited by Neal Mcleod)


Ginny Landry is Métis and Swedish, and does library work on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories in the Lower Mainland of BC.

Book Review: Goldie Vance

Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance has an insatiable curiosity. She lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and it’s her dream to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, together they utilize her smarts, skills and connections to solve the mystery…even if it means getting into a drag race, solving puzzles or chasing a helicopter to do it!

New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award-winning writer Hope Larson and artist Brittney Williams present the newest gal sleuth on the block with Goldie Vance, an exciting whodunnit adventure that mixes the fun of Eloise with the charm of Lumberjanes.

Clamoring for more female-led graphic novels (that don’t involve superheroes)? Missing Veronica Mars and her crime-solving crew? Longing for some Florida sunshine? Then get your hands on a copy of Goldie Vance, stat! This fun,  colourful, exciting mystery romp has a bit of everything – humour, adventure, danger, friendship, romance, betrayal, and a spunky young heroine with both brains and bravery.

Image result for goldie vance vol. 1

Goldie is a heroine readers just can’t help falling in love with – she’s smart and sassy, but also down-to-Earth and extremely likeable. Goldie knows what she wants out of life (to be a detective), and she’s willing to put in the hard work to make that happen. She has great relationships with her friends and her divorced parents, and readers will thrill along with Goldie as she grows closer to her beautiful crush, Diane.


Goldie Vance is such an important book because it presents a lesbian relationship in a refreshingly no-nonsense way. Goldie feels no angst or anguish over her feelings for Diane, and the relationship is handled with the same sweetness as any of the other relationships in the book. It’s so refreshing for young people to be able to see a strong, confident lesbian (or potentially bisexual – Goldie’s sexuality isn’t the primary focus of the text) protagonist being the star of her own show, and having her own sweet, romantic plot-line, completely with adorable blushes.

Goldie is also a biracial character, which adds another welcome layer of diversity.

The retro setting is a lot of fun, with vibrant pops of colour, cute clothes, and gorgeous cars making this feel like a sort of modernized interpretation of Grease, but this time with a clever biracial lesbian girl detective as our lead character!

Lots of fun for tween/teen/adult readers, Goldie Vance is a hero for the modern age, with vintage style but refreshingly modern sensibilities.