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Salisbury Avenue, Coventry (CV3 5DA)

House: E.M. Forster died of a stroke on June 7, 1970 at the age of 91, at the Buckinghams’ home in Coventry.

Address: 11 Salisbury Ave, Coventry, West Midlands CV3 5DA, UK (52.38834, -1.50951)



Place
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the centre of England. It was the capital of England more than once in the XV century when the seat of Government was held in Coventry. Coventry’s heritage includes the Roman Fort at Baginton, Lady Godiva, St Mary’s Guildhall (where kings and queens were entertained) and three cathedrals. Located in the county of West Midlands, historically part of Warwickshire, Coventry is the 10th largest city in England and the 13th largest UK city overall. It is also the second largest city in the West Midlands region, after Birmingham, with a population of 337,400 in 2014.



Life
Who: Edward Morgan Forster OM CH (January 1, 1879 – June 7, 1970)
For 40 years, E.M. Forster and the policeman Bob Buckingham were in a loving relationship. Buckingham was 28, Forster 51, when the two met. They shared holidays, friends, interests, and – on many weekends – a domestic and sexual life in Forster’s Brunswick Square flat. Buckingham’s wife, May – also became E.M. Forster’s friend and nursemaid. Perhaps this is not so surprising for the writer who valued personal relationships above all else, and for whom the motto "only connect" applied as much to his private life as to his novels. Buckingham was a large, good-humoured man, with a nose flattened in the boxing ring, a wide smile and a deep, loud laugh. On the day they met, he impressed Forster with his knowledge of the Thames and told him he was reading Dostoevsky. Forster invited Buckingham to his flat, and soon the two became close, with Forster taking over Buckingham’s reading list, and Buckingham thrilled to become something of a highbrow. Soon Forster was in a position to write of Buckingham’s falling "violently in liking" with him. To his friend Sebastian Sprott, Forster wrote with rather old-maidish coyness that the "spiritual feeling" between him and Buckingham had now "extended to my physique.” During these early years of their relationship, Forster seems to have at last found happiness. In his Commonplace Book, he reported that "From 51 to 53 I have been happy, and would like to remind others that their turn can come too." This was in spite of Buckingham finding a girlfriend – May Hockey, a nurse – not long after he’d met Forster. In 1932 Buckingham announced that he was to marry May; the register-office wedding took place in August, with Forster as witness. Once Buckingham was married, Forster’s worst fears seemed to come true – Buckingham became rather unreliable about their meetings, and Forster panicked, calling his rival "domineering, sly and knowing" and wondering if he should break with his lover and go abroad to escape the situation. Buckingham, ever the voice of calm sense, wrote that the two of them simply had "to go without pleasure for a bit.” Following his final stroke in May 1970, Forster was fetched from his rooms at King’s College by the Buckinghams and put to bed at their Coventry house, where he died. For most of that morning, he held May’s hand. After his death, May wrote: "I now know that he was in love with Robert and therefore critical and jealous of me and our early years were very stormy, mostly because he had not the faintest idea of the pattern of our lives and was determined that Robert should not be engulfed in domesticity. Over the years he changed us both and he and I came to love one another, able to share the joys and sorrows that came." E.M. Forster’s ashes were mingled with those of his friend Robert Buckingham and scattered in the rose garden of Canley Garden crematorium, Canley, Coventry, West Midlands near Warwick University (Cannon Hill Rd, Coventry, West Midlands CV4 7DF).
Source: Connecting with E. M. Forster: A Memoir, By Tim Leggatt



House: Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) was born at 5 Hillmorton Rd, Rugby CV22 5DF, the second of the three sons of William Parker Brooke, a Rugby schoolmaster, and Ruth Mary Brooke, née Cotterill. At the end of Regent Street, there is a bronze statue of him. He was educated at two independent schools in Rugby: Hillbrow School and Rugby School.



School: Rugby School (Lawrence Sheriff St, Rugby CV22 5EH) is a day and boarding public school (private and co-educational) in Rugby, Warwickshire. It is one of the oldest private schools in Britain. Rugby School was founded in 1567 as a provision in the will of Lawrence Sheriff, who had made his fortune supplying groceries to Queen Elizabeth I of England. In many ways the stereotype of the English public school is a reworking of Thomas Arnold's Rugby. It is one of the original seven English public schools defined by the Public Schools Act 1868. Rugby School was purportedly the birthplace of Rugby football. In 1845, three Rugby School pupils produced the first written rules of the "Rugby style of game". Notable queer alumni and faculty: Christopher Lloyd (1921–2006), Rupert Brooke (1887–1915).



House: Born to a wealthy Plymouth Brethren family at 30 Clarendon Square, Leamington Spa CV32 5QX, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) rejected the fundamentalist Christian faith to pursue an interest in Western esotericism. He was educated at the University of Cambridge, where he focused his attentions on mountaineering and poetry, resulting in several publications. Some biographers allege that here he was recruited into a British intelligence agency, further suggesting that he remained a spy throughout his life.

Warwick Castle (CV34 4QX)

House: Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from an original built by William the Conqueror in 1068.

Address: 51 Mill Street, Warwick CV34 4QX, UK (52.27966, -1.58522)
Phone: +44 871 265 2000
Website: www.warwick-castle.com
English Heritage Building ID: 307361 (Grade I, 1953)



Place
Early site, probably dating from pre-Norman times. Much mediaeval work remains. Good XVIII century and later additions. In 1871 a fire gutted the Great Hall and East Wing, these being restored by Anthony Salvin. This castle, (containing a fine collection of antiques and works of art) is considered of very great national interest. Main block with XIV century walls and vaulted undercroft. Caesan's tower and Guy's tower, the Gatehouse and its Barbican also XIV century. The curtain walls may date from this period. Bear and Clarence towers XV century, left incomplete 1485 and later given battlements; probably intended as a stronghold within the castle similar to that at Raglan. Late XVII century internal features include exceptional plasterwork and wood carvings to the Cedar Room by Roger and William Hurlbut, completed 1678. Altered 1753-5 by Lancelot Brown, who rebuilt the porch and stairway to the Great Hall. Porch extended forward and additional rooms built beside it, 1763-9, by Timothy Lightoler. Watergate tower restored by A Salvin 1861-3. It was used as a stronghold until the early XVII century, when it was granted to Sir Fulke Greville by James I in 1604. Greville converted it to a country house. Fulke Greville spent over £20,000 (£3 million as of 2016) renovating the castle; according to William Dugdale, a XVII-century antiquary, this made it "a place not only of great strength but extraordinary delight, with most pleasant gardens, walks and thickets, such as this part of England can hardly parallel". It was owned by the Greville family, who became Earls of Warwick in 1759, until 1978 when it was bought by the Tussauds Group. In 2007, the Tussauds Group merged with Merlin Entertainments, which is the current owner of Warwick Castle.

Life
Who: Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, de jure 13th Baron Latimer and 5th Baron Willoughby de Broke KB PC (October 3, 1554 – September 30, 1628) and Sir Philip Sidney (November 30, 1554 – October 17, 1586)
Sir Philip Sidney was a poet, courtier, scholar, and soldier, who is remembered as one of the most prominent figures of the Elizabethan age. Returning to England in 1575, Sidney met Penelope Devereux, the future Lady Rich; though much younger, she would inspire his famous sonnet sequence of the 1580s, “Astrophel and Stella.” His artistic contacts were more peaceful and more significant for his lasting fame. During his absence from court, he wrote “Astrophel and Stella” and the first draft of “The Arcadia and The Defence of Poesy.” Somewhat earlier, he had met Edmund Spenser, who dedicated “The Shepheardes Calender” to him. Other literary contacts included membership, along with his friends and fellow poets Fulke Greville, Edward Dyer, Edmund Spenser and Gabriel Harvey, of the (possibly fictitious) “Areopagus,” a humanist endeavour to classicise English verse. Sidney had returned to court by the middle of 1581 and in 1584 was MP for Kent. That same year Penelope Devereux was married, apparently against her will, to Lord Rich. Sidney was knighted in 1583. An early arrangement to marry Anne Cecil, daughter of Sir William Cecil and eventual wife of de Vere, had fallen through in 1571. In 1583, he married Frances, teenage daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham. In the same year, he made a visit to Oxford University with Giordano Bruno, who subsequently dedicated two books to Sidney. Later that year, he joined Sir John Norris in the Battle of Zutphen, fighting for the Protestant cause against the Spanish. During the battle, he was shot in the thigh and died of gangrene 26 days later, at the age of 31. As he lay dying, Sidney composed a song to be sung by his deathbed. Sidney’s body was returned to London and interred in the Old St. Paul’s Cathedral on February 16, 1587. The grave and monument were destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. A modern monument in the crypt lists him among the important graves lost. An early biography of Sidney was written by his friend and schoolfellow, Fulke Greville. While Sidney was traditionally depicted as a staunch and unwavering Protestant, recent biographers such as Katherine Duncan-Jones have suggested that his religious loyalties were more ambiguous. Sir Fulke Greville, was an Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1581 and 1621, when he was raised to the peerage. Greville is best known today as the biographer of Sir Philip Sidney, and for his sober poetry, which presents dark, thoughtful and distinctly Calvinist views on art, literature, beauty and other philosophical matters. In 1628 Greville was stabbed inside Warwick Castle by Ralph Heywood (or Haywood), a servant who believed that he had been cheated in his master’s will (he had been left only £8,000) Heywood then turned the knife on himself. Greville’s physicians treated his wounds by filling them with pig fat rather than disinfecting them, the pig fat turned rancid and infected the wounds, and he died in agony four weeks after the attack.

Collegiate Church of St Mary (CV34 4RB)

Church: The legend is that Sir Philip Sidney might have been secretly buried in Fulke Greville’s monument, without a tomb, in St Mary’s Church.

Address: 17 Church Street, Warwick CV34 4RB, UK (52.28226, -1.588)
Phone: +44 1926 403940
Website: http://www.stmaryswarwick.org.uk/
English Heritage Building ID: 307351 (Grade I, 1953)





Place
The Collegiate Church of St Mary is a Church of England parish church in the town of Warwick. It is in the centre of the town just east of the market place. It is a member of the Greater Churches Group. The church has the status of collegiate church as it had a college of secular canons. In governance and religious observance it was similar to a cathedral (although not the seat of a bishop and without diocesan responsibilities.) There is a Bishop of Warwick, but this is an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Coventry. The church foundations date back nearly nine hundred years, being created by Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick, in 1123. In addition to founding the church, de Beaumont established the College of Dean and Canons at the church. The only surviving part of the Norman church which de Beaumont had built is the crypt. The chancel vestries and chapter house of the church were extensively rebuilt in the XIV century by a later Earl of Warwick, Thomas de Beauchamp (later pronounced Beecham), in the Perpendicular Gothic style. His descendants built the Chapel of Our Lady, commonly known as the Beauchamp Chapel. It contains the effigial monuments of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, and Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. Buried in the chancel of the church is William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton, the brother of Queen consort Catherine Parr. The chamber of the Chapter House is filled almost to the ceiling by the monument built by Sir Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke. The tombe’s inscription reads: “Folk Grevill / Servant to Queene Elizabeth / Conceller to King James / Frend to Sir Philip Sidney / Trophaeum Peccati.” A letter written by Fulke Greville to his friend and assistant Sir John Coke in 1615, shows that Greville was outraged that his famous friend, the great Sir Philip Sidney, was “in pawls church wher he lyes open.” Following the first state funeral for a commoner, held in St Paul’s and attended by the Queen, Sidney’s body had been buried into a hole in the wall and marked with a small wooden plaque. Within a short time the plaque fell off. The letter makes clear that Greville had “long promised” that his “brother” Philip would be reburied in a magnificent tomb and that Greville would be buried with him. Greville describes the tomb he would build as a “sepulchre” with himself lying below with Sidney lying above him, like bunk-beds. Greville never built the tomb for Sidney and himself in St Paul’s but he did build a magnificent monument with a black marble sarcophagus in St Mary’s Church, Warwick, which bears the name “Sir Philip Sidney” and Fulke Greville is buried in the crypt directly beneath it.

Nottingham Castle (NG1 6EL)

House: Nottingham Castle is a castle in Nottingham. It is located in a commanding position on a natural promontory known as "Castle Rock", with cliffs 130 feet (40 m) high to the south and west. In the Middle Ages it was a major royal fortress and occasional royal residence. In decline by the XV century, it was largely demolished in 1649. The Duke of Newcastle later built a mansion on the site, which was burnt down by rioters in 1831 and left as a ruin. It was later rebuilt to house an art gallery and museum, which remain in use to this day. Little of the original castle survives, but sufficient portions remain to give an impression of the layout of the site.

Address: Lenton Rd, Nottingham NG1 6EL, UK (52.94935, -1.15446)
Phone: +44 115 876 1400
Website: www.nottinghamcastle.org.uk



Place
Edward III used the castle as a residence and held Parliaments. In 1346 King David II of Scotland was held prisoner. In 1365 Edward III improved the castle with a new tower on the west side of the Middle Bailey and a new prison under the High Tower. In 1376 Peter de la Mare, speaker of the House of Commons was confined in Nottingham Castle for having “taken unwarrantable liberties with the name of Alice Perrers, mistress of the king.” In 1387 the state council was held in the castle. Richard II held the Lord Mayor of London with Aldermen and Sheriffs in the castle in 1392, and held another state council to humble Londoners. The last visit recorded by Richard II was in 1397 when another council was held here. From 1403 until 1437 it was the main residence of Henry IV's queen, Joan. After the residence of Joan maintenance was reduced. Only upon the Wars of the Roses did Nottingham Castle begin to be used again as a military stronghold. Edward IV proclaimed himself king in Nottingham, and in 1476 he ordered the construction of a new tower and Royal Apartments. This was described by John Leland in 1540 as: “the most beautifulest part and gallant building for lodging... a right sumptuus piece of stone work.” During the reign of King Henry VII the castle remained a royal fortress. Henry VIII ordered new tapestries for the castle before he visited Nottingham in August in 1511. By 1536 Henry had the castle reinforced and its garrison increased from a few dozen men to a few hundred. In 1538 the Constable, the Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, reported on the need for maintenance. A survey in 1525 stated that there was much “dekay and ruyne of said castell” and “part of the roof of the Great Hall is fallen down. Also the new building there is in dekay of timber, lead and glass.”

Life
Who: William Neville (died October 10, 1391)
The guided walk in Nottingham called the Gay Robin Hood tour examines the alleged homosexual origins of the man and has been researched by Nottingham historian Tony Scupham-Bilton. Scupham-Bilton believes Robin's origin dates back 700 years. It revolves around the relationship of two real life characters - Sir William Neville, the constable of Nottingham castle, and Sir John Clanvowe, a poet. According to the historian the two were as good as hitched, even though Sir William had a wife, Elizabeth. "The two men were soldiers who'd fought in the One Hundred Years War. They formed a close friendship. It's commonly accepted now that they were a gay couple." As a writer, Sir John Clanvowe was always looking for inspiration. "One of the ideas he had when King Richard II visited was to write a brand new ballad," says Scupham-Bilton. The result was “The Jest of Robin Hood.” According to Tony Scupham-Bilton all the stories created in the ballad became the basis of every film, book and television series around the character. "It was the gay connection that Sir John Clanvowe had with the constable of Nottingham that formed all the background to Robin Hood." Sir William Neville and Sir John Clanvowe died on pilgrimage near Constantinople. Neville died two days later of Clanvowe. Their tombstone survives in the Archaeological Museum of Constantinople.
Source: Was Robin Hood gay?, BBC Nottingham website, London Road, Nottingham, NG2 4UU



School: Nottingham High School (Waverley Mount, Nottingham NG7 4ED) is an independent fee-paying day school for boys and girls in Nottingham, comprising the Infant and Junior School (for ages 4–11) and Senior School (for ages 11–18). Located on Waverley Mount, the school's main building is close to local amenities and public transport. The main building is in the style of Gothic Revival architecture. In 1513, the school was founded as the "Free School" by Dame Agnes Mellers, after the death of her husband, Richard, partly in his memory, but also as an act of atonement for his several wrongdoings against the people of Nottingham. In order to do this she enlisted the help of Sir Thomas Lovell, who was both the Governor of Nottingham Castle and Secretary to the Treasury. As a result of their combined efforts, King Henry VIII sealed the school’s foundation deed on the November 22, of that year. D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) attended Beauvale Board School (now renamed Greasley Beauvale D. H. Lawrence Primary School in his honour) from 1891 until 1898, becoming the first local pupil to win a County Council scholarship to Nottingham High School in nearby Nottingham. He left in 1901, working for three months as a junior clerk at Haywood's surgical appliances factory, but a severe bout of pneumonia ended this career. In the years 1902 to 1906 Lawrence served as a pupil teacher at the British School, Eastwood. He went on to become a full-time student and received a teaching certificate from University of Nottingham, in 1908. During these early years he was working on his first poems, some short stories, and a draft of a novel, “Laetitia,” which was eventually to become “The White Peacock.” At the end of 1907 he won a short story competition in the Nottingham Guardian, the first time that he had gained any wider recognition for his literary talents. The University of Nottingham (Nottingham NG7 2RD) is a public research university based in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. It was founded as University College Nottingham in 1881 and was granted a Royal Charter in 1948.

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Mason Croft (CV37 6HB)

House: Mason Croft, now the home of The Shakespeare Institute, takes its name from the family who lived in the building for more than 150 years.

Address: Church Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6HB, UK (52.18972, -1.7093)
Phone: +44 121 414 9500
Website: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/edacs/departments/shakespeare/index.aspx
English Heritage Building ID: 366202 (Grade II, 1951)



Place
In 1900 the famous novelist Marie Corelli was living at Avon Croft in Stratford when she became aware that Mason Croft was available for rent. Although it was somewhat dilapidated, the house appealed to her sense of romance. She and her lifelong companion, Bertha Vyver, made it their permanent home. An elegant XVIII century town house of two storeys, with a simple symmetrical line of three windows on either side of the oak front door and seven on the first floor. The rear of the building, however, is gloriously different, with its seemingly haphazardly-placed pointed gables, conservatory and extensive gardens. The site was originally occupied by two houses: one a large freehold property owned by the Bartlett family since 1610 or earlier; the other a tenement belonging to the manor of Rowington (near Warwick), but associated with the Bartletts since 1632. In 1698 Ann Bartlett married the lawyer Nathaniel Mason and in 1710 they began to create a bigger, more modern dwelling. Their first additions were to the rear of the house, building a kitchen wing and chambers above, along with a “portal” and a tiny gable. Ann Mason died in 1717 and two years later Nathaniel married Elizabeth Rowney, a wealthy heiress from Halford. The joint income from Nathaniel’s business and Elizabeth’s leasing of property meant that substantial rebuilding of the family home could now take place. A new phase of building, beginning in or around 1724, created a more symmetrical house, with a butler’s pantry behind, “a place for coals,” a study, rear staircase and cellars. Above were bedrooms and, at the top, new attics. In 1727 Nathaniel bought the adjoining house, and in 1728 he had a plan for an expanded dwelling drawn up. In 1735, his son Thomas Mason bought an additional strip of land to the south of the house, and the following year he acquired two cottages on the northern boundary where the “great gates” to the rear were still sited. This impressive stone gateway was moved to its present site on the south side. The kitchen wing was extended, and to commemorate his improvements he fixed a new rainwater head, inscribed “1735 TM,” onto the rear of the building. Thomas Mason rebuilt the study wing in 1745. The paddock, acquired the previous year, was encircled with a brick wall, with “handsome gates, pillars and stone balls handsomely erected and finished.” The house remained in the family until the death of the last of the line, Thomas Mason, at the age of 90 in 1867. The property was bequeathed to Thomas Mason’s cousins John Paget and William Harcourt Clare, who sold it on to a Stratford ironmonger, Henry Newton. In 1869 the property was acquired by one William Daniels, who sold it five years later to Dr John Day Collis. Dr Collis was founder and headmaster of Trinity College, next door to Mason Croft, and he used the newly-acquired building for teaching purposes. In 1901 Marie Corelli was able to buy the property, and set about fashioning it to suit her taste. The interior decoration was renewed and she converted what had been the dining room of Trinity College into a music room. She also made a significant addition to the street frontage, adding a low wooden fence along the front of the house and a portico over the stone entrance steps. Striped blinds also appeared, a swathe of Virginia creeper, and window boxes packed with flowers according to the season. At the back of the house Corelli built a large conservatory called the “Winter Garden,” filling it with wicker furniture and palm trees. Marie Corelli died in Stratford and is buried there in the Evesham Road cemetery (Evesham Rd, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9AA). The marble angel that Bertha Vyver had ordered from Italy is set up to watch over her tomb with one outstretched arm pointing the way to heaven. Bertha died in 1941 and is buried next to Marie. Some rooms at Mason Croft remain substantially as she left them. The sitting room retains its oak display cabinets over the fireplace, and the latter its copper hood with recurring motif of waves and a single heart. The massive fireplace in the music room still bears the intertwined initials M.C. and B.V., encircled by laurel leaves, and with the legend “Amor Vincit” (love conquers.) In 1951 the building was bought by the University of Birmingham, and the paddock was reclaimed from the Fire Station. Mason Croft has now been the home of the University’s Shakespeare Institute for 60 years. Much of the building is still as it was in Corelli’s day. The most obvious addition to the grounds is the Shakespeare Library, a purpose-built research library designed by alumnus V.H. (“Johnnie”) Johnson, which was officially opened in 1996.



Life
Who: Marie Corelli (May 1, 1855 – April 21, 1924) and Bertha Vyver (died November 20, 1941)
Marie Corelli was a British novelist. She enjoyed a period of great literary success from the publication of her first novel in 1886 until WWI. Corelli’s novels sold more copies than the combined sales of popular contemporaries, including Arthur Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells, and Rudyard Kipling, although critics often derided her work as “the favourite of the common multitude.” For over forty years, Corelli lived with her companion, Bertha Vyver (died in 1941); when she died she left everything to her friend. Although she didn’t self-identify as a lesbian, biographers and critics have noted the erotic descriptions of female beauty that appear regularly in Corelli’s novels, while admitting they are expressed by men. Descriptions of the deep love between the two women by their contemporaries have added to the speculation that their relationship may have been romantic. Following Corelli’s death, Sidney Walton reminisced in the Yorkshire Evening News: “One of the great friendships of modern times knit together the hearts and minds of Miss Marie Corelli and Miss Bertha Vyver... Her own heart was the hearth of her comrade, and thought and love of “Marie” thrilled through Miss Vyver’s veins... In loneliness of soul, Miss Vyver mourns the loss of one who was nearer and tenderer to her than a sister... Over the fireplace in the fine, old spacious lounge at Mason Croft the initials M. C. and B. V. were carven into one symbol. And it was the symbol of life.” Corelli is generally accepted to have been the inspiration for at least two of E.F. Benson’s characters in his Lucia series of six novels and a short story. The main character, Emmeline "Lucia" Lucas, is a vain and snobbish woman of the upper middle class with an obsessive desire to be the leading light of her community, to associate with the nobility, to see her name reported in the social columns, and a comical pretension to education and musical talent, neither of which she possesses. She also pretends to be able to speak Italian, something Corelli was known to have done. The character of Miss Susan Leg is an author of highly successful but pulpish romance novels who writes under the name of Rudolph da Vinci and first appears in Benson’s work a few years after Marie Corelli’s death in 1924.
Source: Idol of Suburbia: Marie Corelli and Late-Victorian Literary Culture, By Annette Federico

Hall's Croft (CV37 6BG)

House: Hall's Croft, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, was owned by William Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna Hall, and her husband Dr John Hall whom she married in 1607.

Address: 7 Old Town, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6BG, UK (52.18856, -1.70864)
Phone: +44 1789 338533
Website: www.shakespeare.org.uk
English Heritage Building ID: 366336 (Grade I, 1951)

Place
The building now contains a collection of XVI- and XVII-century paintings and furniture. There is also an exhibition about Doctor John Hall and the obscure medical practices of the period. The property includes a dramatic walled garden which contains a variety of plant life that John Hall may have used in his treatments. John and Susanna Hall later moved to New Place, which William Shakespeare left to his daughter after his death.



Life
Who: Marie Corelli (May 1, 1855 – April 21, 1924) and Bertha Vyver (died November 20, 1941)
After the death of Marie Corelli’s mother, in either 1876 or 1877 Bertha Vyver, a childhood friend, moved into Fern Dell Cottage, at Box Hill, near Mickelham, from her mothers home in Belsize Park, London. Bertha Vyver's mother, the Contess Van de Vyver died in May 1890. Marie and Bertha took a break and spent ten days in Stratford-upon-Avon, staying at the Falcon Hotel opposite the site of William Shakespeare's home. They signed the visitors book at Shakespeare's birthplace on 20th May, went boating on the river, and visited the Flowers family at their house on the banks of the river Avon. In 1899 Bertha suggested to live in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Marie wrote to Mrs Croker, the owner of Halls Croft, to ask for a furnished let for four months. Marie and Bertha moved there in mid-May. Sarah Bernhardt arrived in July to play at the Memorial Theatre in a production of “Hamlet,” and stayed at Halls Croft. Marie entered into the social life of the town; she was frequently asked to be the guest of honour at public functions, opens bazaars, and gave public speeches. Marie and Bertha decided to stay in Stratford, and offered to buy Halls Croft but Mrs Croker wished to return home. In September they moved to The Dower House, then called Avon Croft, a few doors down the street, and stayed through 1900 while they looked for a suitable property. Marie nearly purchased Alveston Leys, a house with lovely gardens on the banks of the Avon, but worrying it might be damp, she decided to lease Mason Croft in Church Street for 18 months with an option to buy. The house was a little dilapidated, and needs renovation work before it was ready for the two ladies to move in 1901.
Source: Memoirs of Marie Corelli. B Vyver, Alston Rivers 1930

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Oratory House & Cardinal Newmans grave (B16 8UE)



Church: The Birmingham Oratory is an English Catholic religious community of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, located in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. The community was founded in 1849 by the Blessed John Henry Newman, C.O., the first house of that congregation in England.

Address: Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8UE, UK (52.38483, -2.00464)
English Heritage Building ID: 217208 (Grade II, 1952)

Place
The living quarters of the Birmingham Oratory, called the Oratory House (1850–51), fronting Hagley Road, served as Cardinal Newman’s home from 1852 to 1890 (except for four years spent in Ireland). His personal papers are located here. The Birmingham Oratory was to play a major role in the life of J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of “The Lord of the Rings,” who was a parishioner there for about nine years during his childhood. J. R. R. Tolkien lived at Fern Cottage in Rednal at the age of 12, and his mother died there in 1904. He wandered widely around the Lickeys and later recalled: “When I think of my mother’s death ... worn out with persecution, poverty, and, largely consequent, disease, in the effort to hand on to us small boys the faith, and remember the tiny bedroom she shared with us in rented rooms in a postman’s cottage at Rednal, where she died alone, too ill for viaticum, I find it very hard and bitter, when my children stray away.” The body of Cardinal Newman was buried in the small Roman Catholic cemetery at Rednal, by the Oratory country house. Attempts to move his body to Birmingham Oratory, near Birmingham’s city centre, as he was being considered for canonisation, failed due to the absence of any mortal remains.



Life
Who: John Henry Newman Cong. Orat. (February 21, 1801 – August 11, 1890), aka Cardinal Newman and Blessed John Henry Newman and Ambrose St. John (June 29, 1815 – May 24, 1875)
In accordance with his express wishes, Cardinal John Henry Newman was buried in the grave of his lifelong friend Ambrose St. John (1815-1876.) The pall over the coffin bore the motto that Newman adopted for use as a cardinal, “Cor ad cor loquitur” (Heart speaks to heart), which William Barry, writing in the “Catholic Encyclopedia” (1913), traces to Francis de Sales and sees as revealing the secret of Newman’s "eloquence, unaffected, graceful, tender, and penetrating.” Ambrose St. John had become a Roman Catholic at around the same time as Newman, and the two men have a joint memorial stone inscribed with the motto Newman had chosen, “Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem” (Out of shadows and phantasms into the truth), which Barry traces to Plato’s allegory of the cave.
Source: Newman's Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint, By John Cornwell

Housman’s & The Clock House, Bournheath (B61 9HY)

House: Housman’s was the home of A.E. Housman, the poet, during childhood. Very simple but attractive XVIII century, 2 storey brick farmhouse with roof of old tiles. Sashes in cased frames.
Address: Valley Road, Bournheath, Worcestershire B61 9HY, UK (52.35841, -2.07569)
English Heritage Building ID: 155679 (Grade II, 1972)



Place
Housman’s is a private home, originally The Valley House, an early Georgian farmhouse, part of the Clock House estate. Here in 1859, A.E. Housman was born, just before the family moved to Perry Hall. The Clock House once stood where there are now several modern houses, behind a long brick wall. Originally XVII century, it was at different times home to three generations of Housmans. A.E. Housmans lived there in his teens and with his brothers and sisters enjoyed the large garden (now private), country life and long walks. The high ground a few hundreds yards from the Clock House was known to the Housman childrens as Mount Pisgah. It commands extensive views including Bredon Hill, the Malverns, the Abberley Hills and to the west the Shropshire Clees which were to Housmans the “blue remembered hills” behind which the sun set. He romanticised about the land beyond them and it became the setting for “A Shropshire Lad.” It also overlooks Bromsgrove and the spire of St. Johns is a marker for where Housmans enjoyed his early years at Perry Hall and to where he walked daily to school.



Life
Who: Alfred Edward Housman (March 26, 1859 – April 30, 1936), aka A. E. Housman
A. E. Housman was a classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems “A Shropshire Lad.” Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems wistfully evoke the dooms and disappointments of youth in the countryside. Their beauty, simplicity and distinctive imagery appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early XX century English composers (beginning with Arthur Somervell) both before and after WWI. Through their song-settings, the poems became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself. The eldest of seven children, Housman was born at Valley House in Fockbury, a hamlet on the outskirts of Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, to Sarah Jane (née Williams, married 1June 7, 1858 in Woodchester, Gloucester) and Edward Housman (whose family came from Lancaster), and was baptised on 24 April 1859 at Christ Church, in Catshill. “I was born in a house called The Little Valley (to distinguish it from The Valley Farm on the other side of the road) about two miles north west of Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, in the parish of Catshill, near the hamlet of Bourneheath.” Naiditch demonstrates from census results that A.E. Housman is mistaken, and that he was born at the Valley House, near the Clock House, in Fockbury. “The one (house) I liked best (Fockbury House, known as The Clock House), and lived from 1873 to 1877, has been utterly ruined.”
Source: Alfred Edward Housman: recollections, by Katharine Elizabeth Symons

Perry Hall, Bromsgrove (B61 7JZ)

School: The former home of Old Bromsgrovian A.E. Housman, the only mixed boarding house, the only exclusively Sixth Form boarding house and the only house in Bromsgrove town itself; Housman Hall houses one hundred girl and boy boarders aged between sixteen and eighteen.

Address: Kidderminster Road, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B61 7JZ, UK (52.33594, -2.07239)
Website: http://www.bromsgrove-school.co.uk/housman-hall.aspx
English Heritage Building ID: 155719 (Grade II, 1952)



Place
The house is possibly of XVII century origin but present building is of XVIII century red brick - work with sandstone plinth and two semi-circular arched doorways having (probably XVII century) studded boarded doors with strap hinges. 2 storeys, 3 windows left hand portion has XIX century Gothic headed lights in painted woodwork, and hipped roof of old tiles. Right hand lower portion is of similar brick- work but has square headed casements and gabled end facing the road. Part old tiles and part machine tiles. Now a residential hall belonging to Bromsgrove School, it was built in 1828 as a house for John Adam’s, a distant relative of A.E. Housman. The poet’s father, Edward, set up office there as a solicitor and it was the family home where Housman lived until he was 18. With his brothers and sisters Housman enjoyed its extensive gardens and had a perfect childhood. But the idyll was shattered when his mother died on his birthday in 1871 and in increasing financial difficulties, Edward moved his family to the Clock House. For most of the XX century Perry Hall was an hotel.



Life
Who: Alfred Edward Housman (March 26, 1859 – April 30, 1936), aka A. E. Housman
“From 1860 to 1873, and again from 1877 to 1882, I lived at Perry Hall in Bromsgrove, at the foot of the church hill.” A.E. Housman was educated at Bromsgrove School (Worcester Rd, Bromsgrove B61 7DU), where he revealed his academic promise and won prizes for his poems. A.E. Housman’s poem "Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?,” written after the trial of Oscar Wilde, addressed more general injustice towards homosexuals. In the poem the prisoner is suffering "for the colour of his hair,” a natural quality that, in a coded reference to homosexuality, is reviled as "nameless and abominable" (recalling the legal phrase peccatum illud horribile, inter Christianos non-nominandum, "the sin so horrible, not to be named amongst Christians.”) Despite acclaim as both a scholar and poet in his lifetime, Housman lived as a recluse, rejecting honours and avoiding the public eye. He travelled frequently to France where he enjoyed reading “books which were banned in Britain as pornographic.” A fellow described him as being “descendend from a long line of maiden aunts.” He died in 1936 in Cambridge and is buried as St. Laurence’s Church (Ludlow, Shropshire SY8).
Source: Perry Hall Hotel, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. A Short History of the Hotel and Its Association with A.E. Housman

Ragley Hall, Alcester (B49 5NJ)

House: The country estate of George Seymour (1871-1940), Earl of Yarmouth and 7th Marquess of Hertford. Seymour inherited Ragley Hall in 1912 but never lived there, preferring the high life in London. Ragley Hall is a mid XVIII century park landscaped by Lancelot Brown, with late XIX century formal gardens and pleasure grounds laid out by Robert Marnock.

Address: Arrow, Warwickshire B49 5NJ, UK (52.198, -1.89599)
Phone: +44 1789 762090
Website: www.ragley.co.uk
English Heritage Building ID: 305020 (Grade I, 1967)



Place
Ragley Hall is located south of Alcester, Warwickshire, eight miles (13 km) west of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is the ancestral seat of the Marquess of Hertford and is one of the stately homes of England. The house, which was designed by Dr Robert Hooke, was built for the Edward Conway, 1st Earl of Conway and completed in 1680. The Great Hall is thought to have been decorated by James Wyatt in 1780. Financial instability of the Seymour family left the house threatened with demolition more than once. In 1912, following the death of Hugh Seymour, 6th Marquess of Hertford, the estate's trustees recommended that the house be demolished. However, during World War I and World War II, the house found use as a military hospital. Hugh Seymour, 8th Marquess of Hertford, who inherited Ragley Hall from his uncle in 1940, fought to save it after the war. It was refurbished between 1956 and 1958, when it became one of the first stately homes opened to the public. In 1983, the painter Graham Rust completed a huge mural including pets, friends and family members which is known as "The Temptation" and is exhibited on the Southern staircase. Ragley was the site of the Jerwood Sculpture Park, opened in July 2004. The Park included works that won the Jerwood Sculpture Prizes, and the work of Dame Elisabeth Frink, among others. However the site was closed in April 2012.



Life
Who: George Francis Alexander Seymour, 7th Marquess of Hertford (October 20, 1871 – February 16, 1940)
George Seymour, 7th Marquess of Hertford, was the son of Hugh Seymour, 6th Marquess of Hertford. Seymour became a Lieutenant in the Warwickshire regiment before joining the Black Watch. He became Earl of Yarmouth in 1884 and the 7th Marquess of Hertford in 1901. In 1895 he arrived at the sugar district of Mackay, Queensland, Australia, taking up a small mixed farm. Despite his senior rank and status, the local population showed him little respect, scandalised by his behaviour. The local paper called him a ‘skirt dancer’ and local memory is of him performing dances in a sequined outfit with butterfly wings and of hosting male-only parties on his isolated property. Seymour seems to have returned to England for Queen Victoria's Jubilee then travelled to the US, where he married Alice C. Thaw of Pittsburgh on 2April 7, 1903; their childless marriage was annulled in 1908 on the grounds of non-consummation. Alice Cornelia Thaw (January 2, 1880 – May 8, 1955) was an American philanthropist, born to William Thaw, Sr. and Mary Sibbet Copley. She was the younger sister of Harry Kendall Thaw. Lord Hertford filed for bankruptcy in 1910 and inherited Ragley Hall and its large Warwickshire estate in 1912, but never lived there, preferring the high life in London. Lord Hertford died in 1940, aged 68 and childless, and his titles passed to his nephew, Hugh Seymour.
Source: Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon. Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History Vol.1: From Antiquity to the Mid-Twentieth Century: From Antiquity to the Mid-twentieth Century Vol 1 (p. 403). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Queer Places, Vol. 2.2: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
ISBN-13: 978-1544067568 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1544067569
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Queer Places, Vol. 2.2 (Color Edition): Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
ISBN-13: 978-1535453332 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1535453338
CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/6444429
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Cathedral & Bishop’s Palace, Lichfield (WS13 7LD)





Church: Lichfield Cathedral is situated in Lichfield, Staffordshire. It is the only medieval English cathedral with three spires.

Address: 19A The Close, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 7LD, UK (52.68548, -1.83032)
Hours: Monday through Saturday 8.30-18.15, Sunday 7.30-18.30
Phone: +44 1543 306100
Website: http://www.lichfield-cathedral.org/
English Heritage Building ID: 382775 (Grade II, 1952)



Place
Anna Seward lived at the Bishop’s Palace all her life, caring for her father during the last ten years of his life, after he had suffered a stroke. When he died in 1790, he left her financially independent with an income of ₤400 per annum. She spent the rest of her life at the Palace, till her death in 1809. The Diocese of Lichfield covers all of Staffordshire, much of Shropshire and part of the Black Country and West Midlands. The present bishop is the Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill, the 98th Lord Bishop of Lichfield. There is a plaque to Anna Seward (spelled “Anne,” which is the spelling she used in her will) in Lichfield Cathedral. “Anne Seward died March 25th, 1809, aged 66. By her order this monument is erected: To the memory of her Father, the Rev. Thomas Seward, M.A. Canon Residentiary of this Cathedral, who died March 4th, 1790, aged 81: of her Mother, Elizabeth, his wife, daughter of the Rev. John Hunter, who died July 31st, 1780, aged 66: and of her sister, Sarah, their younger daughter, who died June 13th, 1763, aged 20.



On a lower marble plaque, from a poem written for the occasion by Sir Walter Scott, Anna Seward’s friend and literary executor:
Amid these aisles, where once his precepts shew’d
The heavenward pathway, which in life he trod,
This simple tablet marks a Father’s bier,
And those he lov’d in life, in death are near;
For him, for them, a Daughter bade it rise,
Memorial of domestic Charities,
Still would you know – why o’er the marble spread,
In female grace the willow drops her head?
Why on her branches, silent and unstrung,
The minstrel harp is emblematic hung?
What Poet’s voice lies smother’d here in dust,
Till wak’d to join the chorus of the just?
Lo! One brief line an answer sad supplies,
Honour’d, belov’d, and mourn’d, here Seward lies;
Her worth, her warmth of heart, our sorrows say,
Go seek her Genius in her living lay.”
A full-length figure of a bare-brested woman draped in classical robes sits upon a low stool, carrying a scroll in her right hand and with her head in her left hand in a gesture of grief and despair. Her left elbow rests on the coffin containing the body of the deceased person for whom she is grieving. Behind her is a willow tree, often associated with weeping and sorrow, and from it hangs a harp, the traditional attribute of a poet. The monument originally stood in the aisle of the north transept, but was moved to its present position during Sir Gilbert Scott’s XIX century restoration of the cathedral.



Life
Who: Anna Seward (December 12, 1742 – March 25, 1809)
Anna Seward was a XVIII century English Romantic poet, often called the Swan of Lichfield. Seward was the eldest of two surviving daughters of Thomas Seward (1708–1790), prebendary of Lichfield and Salisbury, and author, and his wife Elizabeth. In 1749 her father was appointed to a position as Canon-Residentiary at Lichfield Cathedral and the family moved to that city, where her father educated her entirely at home. They lived in the Bishop’s Palace in the Cathedral Close. When a family friend, Mrs. Edward Sneyd, died in 1756, the Sewards took in one of her daughters, Honora Sneyd (1751-1780), who became an “adopted” foster sister to Anna. Honora was nine years younger than Anna. Anna Seward describes how she and her sister first met Honora, on returning from a walk, in her poem “The Anniversary” (1769.) Sarah (known as “Sally”) died suddenly at the age of nineteen of typhus (1764.) Sarah was said to be of admirable character, but less talented than her sister. Anna consoled herself with her affection for Honora Sneyd, as she describes in “Visions,” written a few days after her sister’s death. In the poem she expresses the hope that Honora (“this transplanted flower”) will replace her sister (whom she refers to as “Alinda”) in her and her parents affections. She was devastated and outraged by Honora’s marriage to Richard Lowell Edgeworth in 1773 and literally went into mourning. Even after Honora’s death in 1780, Honora remained an important figure in Seward’s interior life. Honora Sneyd Edgeworth (1751-1780) is buried at St Andrew (by the lake, near Weston Hall, Weston-under-Lizard, Staffordshire, ST19 9PD).
Source: Anna Seward: A Constructed Life : a Critical Biography, By Teresa Barnard

Queer Places, Vol. 2.2: Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
ISBN-13: 978-1544067568 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1544067569
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Queer Places, Vol. 2.2 (Color Edition): Retracing the Steps of LGBTQ people around the World
ISBN-13: 978-1535453332 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1535453338
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reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)

1) Even though this book was pretty heartbreaking at times, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters felt so real and I just couldn't stop reading. This is one of those books that will stay with me a long time. Also the writing was excellent. I can't wait to read more by this author.
2) I liked this story a lot. The setting stood out in a bright away and helped me connect with the story and its protagonists. The writing style was really good. The two things that probably need a bit more work are plot, because sometimes it is too predictable; and characters development; because the story progress in a way that don't let them breath enough.

The Second Wave Jean Copeland
Lesbian - Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (October 18, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626398305
ISBN-13: 978-1626398306
Amazon: The Second Wave Jean Copeland

Alice never imagined that meeting co-worker Leslie would lead to an all-consuming love affair. But even in the anything-goes 1970s, feminist attitudes and the sexual revolution can’t change the fact that Leslie is a traditional married mom of two who won’t chance losing her children to follow her heart and divorce her husband. Their year of risk, passion, and heartache takes its toll on both women. Tired of only receiving crumbs from Leslie, Alice makes the toughest choice of her life and moves on.

Although their affair is short-lived, their desire to be together never dies. Nearly forty years later, Alice returns to Connecticut after learning Leslie has suffered a stroke. She soon realizes that time and distance haven’t doused the fire for Leslie that’s always burned in her heart. But is it too late to pick up where they left off?
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1) This fast paced, stream of consciousness first person story of a teenage genius and her posse of four friends explores the sinister dark web and its interface with the Live Action Role Play (LARP) and cosplay cultures.  The plot moves quickly, especially in the second half, taking the reader on a runaway romp that at times strains credibility but is greatly entertaining.
2) This is the kind of gem you join the Rainbow Awards for. A fantastically well written young adult novel - although adults should absolutely read it too - with a stand out heroine. Sid is amazing, and now I want to read all of her exploits. An exceptional character in an engaging novel.

On a Larp Stefani Deoul
Lesbian - Young Adult
Series: A Sid Rubin Silicon Alley Adventure
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Bywater Books (April 11, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612940951
ISBN-13: 978-1612940953
Amazon: On a Larp Stefani Deoul

Question: Do any of you know the truly scary part about being seventeen?

Answer: Your brain doesn't actually know, understand or care what it can't do; and, while this sounds great in theory, in my particular case, my under-developed brain apparently didn't know I couldn't fly.

So I jumped . . .
And I plummeted . . .

And I promise you, if I somehow manage to survive this act of immature-brain-encased-in-unbelievable-stupidity, I will gladly tell you exactly how I got here.

Which, for the record, is chasing a dark-web killer through the middle of a live action role-playing game, better known as a LARP.

On a LARP introduces readers to teen coder, Sid Rubin, a smartass—and super-smart—high school kid with a strong conscience and a knack for solving problems. This high concept, frenetic ride dives into the fascinating world of interactive role-playing when Sid recognizes the photo of a murder victim during an AP field trip to a police station. What starts out as an Aha! moment soon finds Sid and her unlikely posse of friends chasing a dark web killer through the middle of a live action role playing game. Sid and the gang work to unravel a deeply encrypted mystery while simultaneously enduring pop quizzes, endless Ted Talks, teenage heartbreak, suspicious parents, cosplay, and the irresistible lure of the NYC Public Library.

Stefani Deoul is the author of the award-winning novel The Carousel. She has produced TV series such as The Dead Zone, Brave New Girl, and Haven, and was also the executive in charge of production for the series Dresden Files and Missing.
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1) Great book, great worldbuilding, a tad too much info dump. But I loved it.

Coins Not Accepted Chris Quinton
Gay - Fantasy Romance
File Size: 3226 KB
Print Length: 185 pages
Publisher: Manifold Press (May 1, 2017)
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
Amazon: Coins Not Accepted Chris Quinton

"Bring me the contents of the security box from the bank, and make sure you're not followed." Miles Carter carries out his grandfather's instructions, and finds himself caught up in a dangerous tangle of family mysteries - and the unexpected return of Allan Warwick, his childhood friend. Add to that a parallel world and a plot to overthrow its government, both of which seem to involve his grandfather and Allan. Miles' life will be changed irrevocably, but only if he and Allan can stay together and survive the coup.
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1) I absolutely love the two main characters. They are complex and likable, with relatable problems and great chemistry. They’re excellent foils for each other, without being caricatures. Alex Henning, the hot, brawny construction worker with equally heavyweight brains, a heart of gold, and unexpected emotional depths, will remain one of my all-time favorite characters. It’s also a good emotional coming-of-age story for gun-shy Gideon Wallace, whose early experience left him too cautious to enjoy a real relationship. Really an enjoyable story. Loved it.
2) I loved the variety of characters, the interesting setting, and the real life issues they all had to deal with. Gideon and Alex, along with the supporting cast, have a variety of situations and issues they are faced with, their work is not just a thing mentioned in passing, and they are forced to deal with how life, love, friendship, and daily mishaps blend together to create a whirlwind they have to untangle. The story challenges both characters and the reader to look beyond their fears and prejudice, without lecturing anyone. Lessons are learned the way they should be: to trial and frequent errors. As the plot develops, the characters show more of themselves, and everything, including the romance, seems very real.

Clickbait E.J. Russell
Gay - Romantic Comedy
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (Dec 5, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626494959
ISBN-13: 978-1626494954
Amazon: Clickbait E.J. Russell

After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective—but fabulously shiny—outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project—as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.

Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.

Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content—not presentation—that matters.
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1) The author's heart shines through in this genuine romance with well-developed, interesting characters. A recommended read.

Hawaiian Fragrance (The Hawaiians #3) Meg Amor
Gay - Contemporary Romance
File Size: 716 KB
Print Length: 269 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (May 3, 2017)
Publication Date: May 3, 2017
Amazon: Hawaiian Fragrance (The Hawaiians #3) Meg Amor

Danny’s a fourth-generation Big Islander from the wealthy Lucerno ranching family. He’s gorgeous--a mix of Portuguese male and Argentine passion, all dark-haired, smoldering sensuality. His family disowned him for being gay, and now he’s part of the Masterson-Mahikoa “lost boys” family.

When he meets the wealthy, sophisticated, sensuous Brazilian, Paolo Bastini, he’s swept off his feet into a glitzy Las Vegas lifestyle of money and luxury--the world he grew up in. But it takes Danny away from Hawai’i where his soul roams free and his family lives. He struggles as Paolo plays loosely with their partnership and thinks Danny is being “a baby” for wanting a monogamous relationship. And who is this past lover firmly wedged in Paolo’s heart?

Zane is severely deaf--finding new dance partners is hard. When he loses another one, Danny steps in to dance the tango competitions with him. Jealousy flares and things reach dangerous levels between Paolo and Danny. His adopted and birth family must bond together in a daring rescue of Danny from the depths of Brazil.
br>But he’s not completely out of danger. Now he’s fighting an attraction to the feminine Zane, who’s always annoyed him. Which man has his heart?
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1) This book was AWESOME. I was captured by the characters and story from the first page and was held captive until the last.  The world building was vivid and captivating, the characters distinct and fully rounded. The plot moved along at a cracking pace as I went on a journey of discovery with Edward and Burn. Both of the boys worked their way into my heart and I eagerly await for more. What a debut!

To the Left of Your North Star Michelle Peart
Gay - Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Manifold Press (October 21, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1908312696
ISBN-13: 978-1908312693
Amazon: To the Left of Your North Star Michelle Peart

The self-assured Edward has accompanied his father, famous explorer Herb Kemp, to Abaytor. Herb is on a mission to save Earth’s bee population, but Edward couldn’t care less and just wants the comforts of home. Burn, an off-kilter Abaytorian with a desire for change, is charged with escorting Edward down the Copper River to Herb’s spaceship. As they travel through perilous lands on a makeshift raft, they are in a constant battle with the river, themselves and each other. Edward’s problems with his father are laid bare as they are hunted, starved, almost drowned, and confronted by difficult choices. But, among the striking landscapes and colourful people of Abaytor, Edward slowly learns about trust, self-acceptance and love.
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1) September was a very enjoyable read. I liked the realism that the author put into the age difference relationship. We were allowed to see the fears of both characters and how they worked to overcome those fears. 

September Robert Winter
Gay - Contemporary Romance
Series: Pride and Joy
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 9, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 163533117X
ISBN-13: 978-1635331172
Amazon: September Robert Winter

A Pride and Joy novel

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover. David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special.
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1) A thrill-a-minute intergalactic adventure with a slow-burn romance that really satisfies. Truly outstanding worldbuilding, and a multi-layered plot with dynamic characters. This book was an absolute delight from start to finish.
2) Skythane was a totally engrossing read. The world building was rich and detailed, and the characters were three dimensional.  I could never second guess where the story was going and I couldn't put the book down. The true test of a book for me is, 'would I read a sequel' and I can say with this one, I absolutely would.
3) The world building in this piece was phenomenal, as were the characters. Although the story started out a little slow, it quickly picked up pace and made me believe in this alien world along with the different species that inhabited it. 


Skythane J. Scott Coatsworth
Gay - Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 17, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1635334039
ISBN-13: 978-1635334036
Amazon: Skythane J. Scott Coatsworth

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.
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Silken Isobel Starling
Gay - Erotic Romance
File Size: 927 KB
Print Length: 61 pages
Publication Date: February 17, 2017
Amazon: Silken Isobel Starling

Matthew Fisher loved being a dancer, but his ten-year ballet career came to an abrupt end with a knee injury. He had to find a new way to make a living, and luckily, his sister was friends with Annabelle Ramsay-Aiken, only daughter of property magnate Sir James Aiken. She arranged an interview, and six months on the job training saw Matthew stepping out as a real estate agent for Aiken Luxury Lettings. Now, instead of stretching at the barre, Matthew spends his days inspecting the vacant London homes of their rich and famous clients.
Losing his dance career had left a huge hole in Matthew’s heart, and to fill it Matthew began a Tumblr blog dedicated to his fetish for wearing lingerie. He wanted to give his followers the impression he lived a charmed life, so decided to use A.L.L properties as locations for erotic photo shoots.
One of his online followers presses all of Matthew's buttons, and a long distance, online Dom/sub relationship develops between them. But when the relationship suddenly moves from online fantasy to real life... can Matthew really submit?

N.B - This story contains graphic descriptions of gay sex, BDSM, and cross-dressing,
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Tartarus Eric Andrews-Katz
Gay - Fantasy
Paperback
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 13, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626397465
ISBN-13: 978-1626397460
Amazon: Tartarus Eric Andrews-Katz

Long ago, the Olympian Gods conquered and nearly destroyed an earlier race known as the Titans. Echidna, Mother of Monsters, was imprisoned in Tartarus. Centuries later, she has escaped. Entering the modern world, Echidna finds the old Gods are gone, and vows to destroy every descendant of the Olympians.

In the contemporary Pacific Northwest, Adrian and Annelise have lived comfortably--unaware of their Olympian birthright and its significance. When Adrian is introduced to Zack, sparks fly and their initial contact slowly turns to romance.

Echidna unleashes a brutal attack and Zack reveals his Divine lineage. Now he must teach the twins about their own heritage, and how to wield their unique powers for the battle to come. The final battle between Titans and Olympians will be held in the Underworld. Modern weapons have no place and only magic can prevail.
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Consent: Bondage Tales Jeff Mann
Gay - Erotica
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Unzipped Books (April 28, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590210697
ISBN-13: 978-1590210697
Amazon: Consent: Bondage Tales Jeff Mann

According to the third edition of The Mann Dictionary of Savage Intimacy, consent is defined as ''compliance in expectation of being ravished while bound.'' Lauded by both the National Leather Association-International and Lambda Literary Awards, Mann writes stories--perhaps even true tales--that produce dangerous levels of testosterone, vigor, and seminal fluids. But the author's favorite trophies do not hang on the wall--though they are often well-hung--but are kept trussed atop the bed in anticipation of consent.
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Country Jeff Mann
Gay - Contemporary Romance
Paperback
Publisher: Lethe Press (September 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590212401
ISBN-13: 978-1590212400
Amazon: Country Jeff Mann

Brice Brown sings about loyalty and broken hearts, the earnestness of being a proud Southerner, yet his popular country music lyrics are misdirection because Brice has kept hidden his attraction to men for all his life. But when a former lover--and band member--goes to the press with the truth, Brice finds himself sick of all the lies and returning to the sanctuary of his West Virginian hometown. The neighbors who used to be proud of the local boy made good now turn on him. His record label cancels contracts, his wife files for divorce, and he finds himself disgraced and despondent.

But then Brice learns from a fan that there is a compound in central West Virginia run by a man who has helped troubled gay youth overcome their self-loathing. Brice takes a chance at redemption at the forest retreat. There he meets Lucas, the handyman at the compound, who simmers with resentment at his past, angry at how he sees his future will be. While Brice thinks that Lucas is attracted to him both men are suffering. Can they rise above the condemnations the world has given them and find something meaningful...together?
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Our Secret Christmas (SHS #2) H.J. Perry
Bisexual - Contemporary General Fiction
File Size: 3453 KB
Print Length: 173 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: November 30, 2016
Amazon: Our Secret Christmas (SHS #2) H.J. Perry

A feel-good, heartwarming, sexy story unlike any other story that you've read with Christmas in the title.
Christmas is a really big deal in Britain. The parties and preparations begin in November, at the latest.
In the construction industry, Christmas means two weeks off work for Connor and Lee.
Yes, two weeks.
They've only been dating since September.
In secret.
They just want to spend the holiday time together, like any other gay guys in love.
Alone and mostly naked.
And we all know the true meaning of Christmas is explaining and justifying to friends and family how you are spending the holiday and who with.
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Tread the Boards (SHS #3 H.J. Perry
Bisexual - Contemporary Romance
File Size: 548 KB
Print Length: 211 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Amazon: Tread the Boards (SHS #3) H.J. Perry

A feel-good, love at first sight gay romance. There’s lots of kissing and no angst.
Ben’s shook up when two of his work colleagues come out. Ben considered himself liberal and broadminded but also straight.
Macho construction workers aren’t gay. They just aren’t. So of course, he can’t stop thinking about it.
And he can’t stop thinking about Tom.
But if Ben fall’s in love with A MAN how will he tell his family, his friends and his son?

Tom is slowly getting over the heartache of his past when he’s swept away by a straight-acting but flirty scaffolder. With enough baggage of his own, should Tom spend time with Ben when he discovers Ben wasn’t acting?
Is it time for Tom to ditch the low paid work, pick up the threads of his life and resume his professional career?
A standalone romance novel. Overlapping characters with Our Secret Wedding.
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Heathens Jonah Bergan
Gay - Young Adult
Paperback: 540 pages
Publisher: Independently published (May 7, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1521191425
ISBN-13: 978-1521191422
Amazon: Heathens Jonah Bergan

Well it finally happened. The world ended. It didn't happen the way anyone expected it would. No nukes, no pandemics, just a whole lot of rage and a whole lot of violence. None of us saw it coming. There were plenty of clues, but none of us figured it out in time. The real kicker is, I'm pretty sure someone planned it. I'm pretty sure someone did it on purpose.

I'm Holden. I survived. You won't like my story. That's too bad, because your world's headed the same way as mine. Everything that happened to me, is going to happen to you. The same kind of people that did this to me, will do it to you. They're doing it right now. They're making it worse and you don't even see it. Sure, I could help you. I could give it a try, but you won't listen. I'm not the same religion. I'm not the same as you. I'm a different kind than you, so you won't listen. That's why it'll happen to you. Don't say I didn't warn you. Don't say you didn't have a clue. Not when all you had to do was listen.

Heathens is a young adult post apocalyptic science fiction novel. Heathens contains some coarse language and violence.

Can One Angry Boy Save the World?
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Moment Of Fate (Moments In Time #5) Karen Stivali
Gay - Contemporary Romance
Series: Moments In Time
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 24, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1627981446
ISBN-13: 978-1627981446
Amazon: Moment Of Fate (Moments In Time #5) Karen Stivali

A Moments In Time Novel
Bryan Dane's been living the dream-photography student by day, up-and-coming rocker by night. His summer goals are to earn his last few credits, graduate from NYU, spend as much time in the recording studio as possible, and survive the next few months without sex so he can complete his yearlong goal of self-imposed celibacy. Everything is on track, until he meets Oliver Newcastle.
For years Oliver planned a marriage of convenience with his high school BFF, but now that she's fallen in love for real, with someone else, it's no longer convenient. So Oliver came out to his family, quit his job, and left small-town New England for NYC, an intensive summer study program, and a chance to find his own happiness.
From the moment they meet the sexual tension between Bryan and Oliver sizzles. But Bryan wants no part of a relationship, and Oliver wants to sew his wild oats-he just isn't sure how. Oliver seeks Bryan's help navigating the NYC gay scene, which throws them together in increasingly more sexual situations until they can no longer deny they're hot for each other. Bryan is desperate to keep things simple, but fate might have other plans.

This is a standalone novel set in the Moments In Time world. You do not need to have read the other books in the series prior to reading this book.
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Vice City S.A. Stovall
Gay - Mystery / Thriller
Series: Vice City (Book 1)
Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications (June 20, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1635336635
ISBN-13: 978-1635336634
Amazon: Vice City S.A. Stovall

Vice City: Book One

After twenty years as an enforcer for the Vice family mob, Nicholas Pierce shouldn’t bat an eye at seeing a guy get worked over and tossed in the river. But there’s something about the suspected police mole, Miles, that has Pierce second-guessing himself. The kid is just trying to look out for his brother any way he knows how, and the altruistic motive sparks an uncharacteristic act of mercy that involves Pierce taking Miles under his wing.

Miles wants to repay Pierce for saving his life. Pierce shouldn’t see him as anything but a convenient hookup… and he sure as hell shouldn’t get involved in Miles’s doomed quest to get his brother out of a rival street gang. He shouldn’t do a lot of things, but life on the streets isn’t about following the rules. Besides, he’s sick of being abused by the Vice family, especially Mr. Vice and his power-hungry goon of a son, who treats his underlings like playthings.

So Pierce does the absolute last thing he should do if he wants to keep breathing—he leaves the Vice family in the middle of a turf war.
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Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc.) L.A. Witt
Gay - Erotic Romance
File Size: 1292 KB
Print Length: 316 pages
Publisher: Swerve (April 25, 2017)
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Amazon: Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc.) L.A. Witt

Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy sailor approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.

Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.

As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?

Back Piece by L.A. Witt is a sexy, emotional journey of two people learning to love and finding acceptance for who they really are.
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Chief's Mess (Anchor Point #3) L.A. Witt
Gay - Erotic Romance
Series: Anchor Point (Book 3)
Paperback: 254 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (March 24, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626496048
ISBN-13: 978-1626496040
Amazon: Chief's Mess (Anchor Point #3) L.A. Witt

Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.

When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.

But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.
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1) This is the best book I have read in any coming of age genre.  I could feel and believe that I was Peter in the story.  His love/hate relationship with Adam and all the secrecy needed to hide the fact that they were gay in a time when this wasn't allowed, tore him apart.  I can't wait to read the rest of the 4 book series so I can see what happens to Peter.

Pictures of you ('90s Coming of Age series #1) Leta Blake
Bisexual - Young Adult
Series: '90s Coming of Age
Paperback: 356 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 17, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1537740040
ISBN-13: 978-1537740041
Amazon: Pictures of you ('90s Coming of Age series #1) Leta Blake

Growing up gay isn't easy. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee is even harder.

Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior--class of 1990--is passionate about photography. Peter doesn't have many friends, preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.

Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn't do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter's swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery.

But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices? And will his crush on Daniel, a college acquaintance, open a new path?

Join Peter in the first of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

This new series by Leta Blake is gay fiction with romantic elements.

Book 1 of 4.
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1)Thrilling from the first page. The story develops at a swift pace, from the first blush of attraction, and more than a hint of danger, through the deepening of emotion as the stakes rise. I loved all the characters. The secondaries were more than stand-ins. They all had something interesting going on and a reason to be on the page. The heroes take center stage, though. Realistic and sympathetic, in all their moods. I really wanted a happy ever after for these guys--and for both of them to live to see the end of the book.
2) A beautifully written story with so much to recommend it. The setting of Washington, DC is realistic, and the plot has some wonderful surprises and interesting secondary threads. While the romantic leads follow familiar arcs they are well-drawn and always believably in character. The psychological portrait of the stalker is deep, complex and truly frightening. The writing is intelligent, clear, and elegantly paced -- so well-suited to the story.   

Every Breath You Take Robert Winter
Gay - Romantic Suspence
Series: Pride and Joy (Book 2)
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 5, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1635334950
ISBN-13: 978-1635334951
Amazon: Every Breath You Take Robert Winter

A Pride and Joy novel

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.

But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.
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1) "Equality: What Do You Think About When You Think of Equality?" consists of essays describing different meanings of equality. Sometimes it's about LGBTQ rights, sometimes it's about understanding people and their various problems. This collection showed me that I still have a lot to do, because even though I fight about equal rights for everyone, there are still issues that I do not think about. There was just one thing missing - I would like to read what equality means to people from the "right side". Still, this book is definitely worth reading.
2) 25 gifted writers give their views on equality.  Always insightful, these personal and often intimate observations give food for thought and some surprises along the way. The struggle for equality goes on despite the steps forward that have been made over the decades. A timely addition to the many essays on this subject. Highly recommended.

Equality: What Do You Think About When You Think of Equality? Paul Alan Fahey
LGBT - Non Fiction
Paperback
Publisher: Vine Leaves Press (January 15, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1925417263
ISBN-13: 978-1925417265
Amazon: Equality: What Do You Think About When You Think of Equality? Paul Alan Fahey

In the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King's Stride Toward Freedom and Malala Yousafzai's, I Am Malala, Equality: What Do You Think About When You Think of Equality? presents thought-provoking and compelling personal essays that probe a concept professed to be the very foundation of our democracy--a concept that may even be more vital today than in the past. From international bestselling author, Anne Perry who asserts we must look within ourselves to our emotions, experiences, and beliefs before we attempt an honest and truthful answer, to Dennis Palumbo, psychotherapist and author, who claims diagnostic labels used in treating mental illness often stigmatize and dehumanize the patient causing clinicians to view their patients in terms of their diagnosis rather than people, and Barbara Abercrombie, writer and distinguished university professor, who explores ageism as yet another form of stereotyping and discrimination in the language we use to describe older adults. These award-winning and best-selling writers, and twenty-two more, tackle equality across multiple spectrums--racial, social, political, religious, marital, gender--and run with it in surprising directions.
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1) First of all, I need to say "Whew! What a long book!" But I couldn't put it down. The premise is charming, telling LGBT stories set in the early 1800's in the style of Jane Austen. Almost every story was captivating, though I will say I was less impressed with the few in the middle of the book which were set in modern times. The stories at the beginning of the anthology and again at the end, all set circa 1810, were more rewarding. That said, I was a bit put off by the sex scenes in several of the stories, something Jane Austen would never have done. Austen's stories are all about emotional love and societal concerns, not overt physicality. At least, that's how I remember the books from my college days. So the sex scenes felt like a misstep. Perhaps that isn't a fair assessment, given that the current anthology wasn't written for readers in 1810 but today. Still, the few period pieces without sex scenes felt more authentic to me. While I enjoyed almost all of the stories, I think my favorite was by editor Julie Bozza. Most of the other stories were relatively straightforward romances, but Bozza's contained the convoluted conflicts of Austen's works and seemed to me the most successful of all the stories. The book was well-edited and proofed, always welcome features. I highly recommend the book to any Jane Austen fans, and really, to Dear Readers in general.

A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by Jane Austen's novels Julie Bozza
LGBT - Anthology / Collection / Historical
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Manifold Press (October 17, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1908312750
ISBN-13: 978-1908312754
Amazon: A Certain Persuasion: Modern LGBTQ+ fiction inspired by Jane Austen's novels Julie Bozza

Thirteen stories from eleven authors, exploring the world of Jane Austen and celebrating her influence on ours. Being cousins-by-marriage doesn't deter William Elliot from pursuing Richard Musgrove in Lyme; nor does it prevent Elinor Dashwood falling in love with Ada Ferrars. Surprises are in store for Emma Woodhouse while visiting Harriet Smith; for William Price mentoring a seaman on board the Thrush; and for Adam Otelian befriending his children's governess, Miss Hay. Margaret Dashwood seeks an alternative to the happy marriages chosen by her sisters; and Susan Price ponders just such a possibility with Mrs Lynd. One Fitzwilliam Darcy is plagued by constant reports of convictions for 'unnatural' crimes; while another must work out how to secure the Pemberley inheritance for her family. Meanwhile, a modern-day Darcy meets the enigmatic Lint on the edge of Pemberley Cliff; while another struggles to live up to wearing Colin Firth's breeches on a celebrity dance show. Cooper is confronted by his lost love at a book club meeting in Melbourne while reading Persuasion; and Ashley finds more than he'd bargained for at the Jane Austen museum in Bath. A Pemberley-sized anthology...
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1)This book hooked me from the moment I pressed Go. Immediate conflict and a quick establishment of character voice made it an easy and engaging read; I became invested in the obvious plot goal (fake relationship to lovers) very quickly, and, as that's one of my favorite tropes, I then found it quite difficult to put the book down. The characters were unique and well-developed, and I especially enjoyed how there was no apology for Trev's clear wealth and privilege even while his parents' failure to accept who he is was outlined and battled against. He understood where he stood, had decisive opinions, and discovered how all of that might not fit into the larger world. He was forced to broaden his horizons. I admire the author's choice to continue to allow him to be a little holier-than-thou in spite of it. It was true to character. Prevalent use of current slang and references might work against this novel for some readers; I didn't have a problem with anything and it definitely established age and viewpoint. Setting details were sparse but effective, evocative where they needed to be, but not overwhelming at all. It gave me a hint of a picture but plenty of room to let my mind play! I did not give the novel full marks because the dialogue was at times awkward, more in tune with introspection than verbal discourse, and could be somewhat heavy-handed. There was a VERY slight issue with drag in pacing, where whole days and weeks would be glossed over. I would have liked to see more of the subtle mechanics of bringing this relationship together during those missing stretches. The penultimate climax leaned a little more toward melodrama than I prefer, but was well-delivered and paced, with a great resolution on all fronts. The characters were highly relatable and their chemistry was obvious, their angst believable, and their voices individual. The final choice in ending was satisfying for me as the reader: exactly the kinds of scenes I was hoping to see. Closure all around but plenty of room left to move forward in the characters' lives. Gripping, easy writing style. A most enjoyable read! 
2) This was a sweet and often humorous story  and all in all, pleasant to read. The plot worked around a Pretty-Woman-esque kind of trope, rather skilfully at that, and the style was more of a YA with some explicit scenes. 

Boyfriend Goals Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid
Bisexual - Contemporary Romance
File Size: 512 KB
Print Length: 168 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (October 10, 2016)
Publication Date: October 10, 2016
Amazon: Boyfriend Goals Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid

What happens when a nerd and a jock pretend to be dating for the summer? Social justice whiz Trev needs to convince his parents that his bisexuality isn't a phase, and swim team star Lee needs somewhere to stay until the new semester starts. Forced together for three months at a Vermont lake house with Trev's family, the boys influence each other in unexpected ways, and despite their differences, a real bond begins to form. What will it take for a fake odd couple to become a real one?
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1) There was much to like about this book. The title was evocative, and the diversity of characters was both welcome and believable. It was a solid, good read.
2) Delightfully creepy tale that could well have been part of  the Twilight Zone series, complete with menacing townsfolk and rotting buildings A different twist is given in part by the main characters who are mostly transgendered. Interesting and spooky plot.

Harbinger Island Dorian Dawes
LGBT - Anthology / Collection / Fantasy
File Size: 3397 KB
Print Length: 248 pages
Publisher: Manifold Press (February 1, 2017)
Publication Date: February 1, 2017
Amazon: Harbinger Island Dorian Dawes

Every community has a dark side, a sordid past that's kept to hushed whispers and out of the ears of prying tourists - and Harbinger Island has the darkest shades of them all. Professor Bartleby Prouse is obsessed with the secrets and occult conspiracies surrounding the island's myriad of unsolved murders and mysteries. He'll have to use every bit of magic and cunning at his disposal if he is to protect his students after they unwittingly draw the attention of one of the island's most insidious cults.

A collection of character-driven stories which combine dark fantasy and horror elements within a modern setting. The diverse cast of LGBT+ individuals come from various backgrounds, and the stories examine the prejudices they experience in their day-to-day lives along with the supernatural horrors they face.
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For Money or Love Heather Blackmore
Lesbian - Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (September 13, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626397562
ISBN-13: 978-1626397569
Amazon: For Money or Love Heather Blackmore

Jessica Spaulding works for Magnate, her father’s multi-billion-dollar investment firm. But her life of privilege comes at a high personal cost, requiring her to keep aspects of herself under wraps.

Magnate’s new intern, TJ Blake, leads by example. The sole guardian of her teenage sister, TJ juggles work, graduate school, and debt, never taking “something for nothing.”

As TJ discovers there’s more to Jess than she lets on, her pride and notions about wealth run headlong against her growing feelings for Jess. Jess starts falling for TJ but doubts she’s principled enough for her. When Jess uncovers a dark secret, will she do the right thing, even if it means losing everything—including any chance at love?
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The Blacksmith Prince Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus
Gay - Fantasy Romance
File Size: 3079 KB
Print Length: 214 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: July 14, 2017
Amazon: The Blacksmith Prince Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

17th century Perigord is a county of sun-drenched villages and dark forests, languid rivers and moonlit lakes. It is a corner of France teeming with spirits, dryads and nymphs, and like everywhere else, witches are burned at the stake.

Born with the second sight, young fisherman Jehan wants nothing but to keep his head down, work hard, and stay out of trouble. Which works well enough until a suspicious string of bad luck befalls the village smith and his wife. Their adoptive son Giraud is everybody’s dashing darling, who behind his sooty smile and swashbuckling manners has buried a painful connection to the supernatural himself. Fearing that some evil is afoot, Giraud turns to the only other man in town who knows about the hidden world around them - Jehan.

Before long, they are embroiled in a quest involving brigands, witches and noble fey, while their friendship and attraction gradually shifts into something deeper. If they manage to survive ancient feuds and everyday prejudice, they might even have a chance to forge a Happily Ever After all of their own...


From Rainbow-Award-winning authors Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus, ‘The Blacksmith Prince’ is an old-fashioned, swoon-worthy historical fantasy romance about tender love in a time when history and fairy-tales were one and the same.
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Tales from Perach (Mangoverse #5) Shira Glassman
LGBT - Anthology / Collection / Fantasy
Series: Mangoverse
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (September 30, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1537782029
ISBN-13: 978-1537782027
Amazon: Tales from Perach (Mangoverse #5) Shira Glassman

Seven queer fantasy shorts set in the tropical Jewish world of the Mangoverse novels. “Your Name is Love” An energetic royal guard takes her artist wife on a scavenger hunt around the city so she can stop having artist’s block about the lesbian graphic novel she’s supposed to make for the queen. “No Whining” Trans woman Chef Yael dithers over whether to switch wine sellers, at the urging of her husband Aaron, when her regular vendor is incompetent but the delivery girl is a trusted ally. “Every Us” A prince with anxiety is comforted in the arms of his partner when he wakes up from a nightmare. “Take Time to Stop and Eat the Roses” A trans teenager and his girlfriend go on a midnight quest for flowers for her sister’s wedding. “The Generous Princess” A royal family with two moms and two dads puts their own special twist on celebrating Purim. And now, bundled with Tales from Outer Lands, two contrasting stories of heroic Jewish womanhood: “Rivka in Port Saltspray” Trapped in a seedy port town because an innkeeper is holding her shapeshifting dragon-horse hostage until she can pay all the charges he invented, nomadic warrior Rivka finally has a chance at some decent money when a wealthy but weak man hires her to rescue his fiancée. But she has to think on her feet when she learns there may be more at stake. “Aviva and the Aliens” On the night before the royal Passover seder, Aviva has to outsmart the aliens who abducted her to cook for them because they had grown sick of their spaceship's food replicators. Will she get home before Queen Shulamit wakes up and panics from her absence?
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The Olive Conspiracy (Mangoverse #4) Shira Glassman
Lesbian - Fantasy
Series: Mangoverse
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (September 30, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1537757660
ISBN-13: 978-1537757667
Amazon: The Olive Conspiracy (Mangoverse #4) Shira Glassman

A love story between women, between queen and country, and between farmers and their crops. When Ezra tries to blackmail Chef Yael about her being trans, she throws him out of her restaurant and immediately reports him to the queen. But when police find Ezra stabbed to death, Queen Shulamit realizes he may have also tried to extort someone more dangerous than a feisty old lady. The royal investigation leads straight to an international terrorist plot to destroy her country's economy—and worse, her first love, Crown Princess Carolina of Imbrio, may be involved. Since she's got a dragon-shifting wizard at her disposal, contacts with friendly foreign witches, and the support of her partner Aviva, Shulamit has hope. What she doesn't have is time.
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Knit One, Girl Two Shira Glassman
Lesbian - Contemporary Romance
File Size: 1617 KB
Print Length: 68 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: May 22, 2017
Amazon: Knit One, Girl Two Shira Glassman

Small-batch independent yarn dyer Clara Ziegler is eager to brainstorm new color combinations--if only she could come up with ideas she likes as much as last time! When she sees Danielle Solomon's paintings of Florida wildlife by chance at a neighborhood gallery, she finds her source of inspiration. Outspoken, passionate, and complicated, Danielle herself soon proves even more captivating than her artwork...

Fluffy Jewish f/f contemporary set in the author's childhood home of South Florida.
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Five Minutes Longer (Enhanced #1) Victoria Sue
Gay - Romantic Suspence
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 2, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634779150
ISBN-13: 978-1634779159
Amazon: Five Minutes Longer (Enhanced #1) Victoria Sue

Talon Valdez knew when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced were viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.

Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.

Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI from the time he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying, homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with deadly abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.

Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives—four weeks for them to survive.
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Sunset at Pencarrow (World of Love) Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell
Gay - Contemporary Romance
File Size: 3004 KB
Print Length: 211 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (June 7, 2017)
Publication Date: June 7, 2017
Amazon: Sunset at Pencarrow (World of Love) Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
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Try Pink & Indigo Max Ellendale
Lesbian - Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 114 pages
Publisher: Independently published (December 31, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1520192940
ISBN-13: 978-1520192949
Amazon: Try Pink & Indigo Max Ellendale

In the beginning, reclusive Jeslyn finds herself colliding with an unusual stranger on an otherwise ordinary morning. Jillian, a worldly, yet broken, creature accepts Jeslyn’s offer of assistance and, together, the two embark on a paint-spattered journey of self-exploration. Can this redheaded stranger help Jeslyn break free from the grief that has kept her hidden? Or will she crumble under the pressure of a new kind of intimacy? Two years later, Jeslyn wakes up to a simple note, and the world falls to pieces at her feet. With everything slathered in violent torrents of gray, she drifts listlessly from one empty moment to another. A dangerous encounter reintroduces red, but is her heart broken beyond recovery?
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The Making Of Us (Checking Him Out #4) Debbie McGowan
Bisexual - Contemporary Romance
File Size: 3005 KB
Print Length: 313 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing (June 20, 2017)
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Amazon: The Making Of Us (Checking Him Out #4) Debbie McGowan

When English Lit. student Jesse Thomas meets Leigh Hunter, he has to reconsider a few assumptions he's made about himself.

Two years ago, Jesse joined Pride—the uni’s LGBT+ society—to support best friend Noah, and Noah’s boyfriend, Matty. As a straight, cismale ally, Jesse keeps a low profile—not difficult for someone as shy and body-conscious as he is.

Leigh Hunter is Noah and Matty’s new housemate. Born with a life-threatening congenital condition, Leigh is intersex and identifies as queer—none of which alters Jesse’s conviction that they are the most beautiful person in the world.

While Jesse and Leigh get to know each other, a new academic year begins in earnest, bringing with it the usual challenge of balancing work and play. Add in a week’s holiday in Cornwall that Jesse and Leigh half-wish they hadn’t agreed to, Jesse’s unplanned involvement in the election of Pride’s new officers, and some big decisions for Noah and Matty, it’s going to be an interesting semester all round.
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Point Two Max Ellendale
Lesbian - Mystery / Thriller
Paperback: 413 pages
Publisher: Independently published (May 17, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1520477228
ISBN-13: 978-1520477220
Amazon: Point Two Max Ellendale

The case is reopened... "I can't believe this shit is happening again. Four Point's dead and yet, everyone I care about is unsafe. Again. Brody's gone, Maggie's hurt, and now Ben and I have to fix everything ourselves. This time, I'll be the one watching..."
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Trafalgar and Boone in the Drowned Necropolis Geonn Cannon
Lesbian - Historical
Hardcover: 174 pages
Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC (September 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1944591117
ISBN-13: 978-1944591113
Amazon: Trafalgar and Boone in the Drowned Necropolis Geonn Cannon

Dorothy Boone's attempt to help a friend leads her to an encounter with a deadly new rival. Trafalgar and Boone have been working together for a year, taking small commissions in order to learn how to work together. When a friend and colleague is committed to an asylum following a disastrous mission in the Mediterranean, Dorothy takes it upon herself to uncover the truth. What she finds is that her friend was close to the discovery of a lifetime: the remnants of a prehistoric civilization who might have been wiped out by the Biblical Flood. Trafalgar agrees to accompany her on an expedition to finish what her friend began, and soon they run afoul of a powerful enemy: Emmeline Potter, called Virago, is a treasure hunter who is also adept at magic and seeks riches to help fund a violent uprising. Dorothy and Trafalgar must race to defeat their unscrupulous opponent if they hope to preserve the site for future generations, but they soon discover Virago may be the least of their worries. The secrets of the past have ways of remaining hidden, and trying to uncover them may cost Dorothy her life.

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All cover art, photo and graphic design contained in this site are copyrighted by the respective publishers and authors. These pages are for entertainment purposes only and no copyright infringement is intended. Should anyone object to our use of these items please contact by email the blog's owner.
This is an amateur blog, where I discuss my reading, what I like and sometimes my personal life. I do not endorse anyone or charge fees of any kind for the books I review. I do not accept money as a result of this blog.
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