Andrea

Andrea
Andrea's first friends, role-models, vices and safe places were the fictional characters that filled her world as she was growing up. Her life is a study in devouring stories, and unraveling the tapestry of possibility meeting reality. All grown up now, Andrea spends her time consuming as many expressions of media as possible, and writes to discuss their role in our (sexual, financial, fandom, political, sartorial!) liberation. Being a South African woman plays a large role in Andrea's passion for diversity. She's online everywhere as @stargirlriots

Recent Posts

Review: Throwing Hearts, by N.R. Walker

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 17, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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Throwing Hearts had me nostalgic for a time when we could volunteer at an old age home and strike up casual conversations at coffee shops. I laughed out loud many times, and really enjoyed that N.R. Walker makes use of allll the innuendos possible during a pottery class.

The folks from the LGBTQ centre are a mix of lovely and grumpy old people who throw out love-hate banter at all their classes. Clyde, Leo’s old-person partner and friend, is hilariously grumpy –like, people have made formal complaints about his ridiculous insults. The Clyde sub-plot reminds us about the perspective of gay men of the 80s: that they paved the way, the loss they felt, and the stigma many older people in the LGBTQIA+ community still carry with them. Clyde’s romantic interest is from the same generation, and struggles with unlearning the need to be undercover about being gay. He's also given a wonderful introduction to the world of feeling genderqueer and publicly dressing accordingly.

One of the best and most laugh-out-loud enjoyable things about this book is the extremely current dating situation. Leo has to explain to Clyde why he didn’t ask for Merrick’s number (because he needs to stalk him online first to see if he’s married and/or racist) and we obviously experience the classic, painful accidental Instagram double-tap crisis. There’s an unpacking of whether he has the rainbow flag in his bio and a panicked avoidance of actual phone calls. The Instagram ‘like’ situation escalated so amazingly and almost too realistically! I was sitting on the couch listening and felt like I was sitting on the couch right next to Leo and his best friend. Their adorable friendship also had me missing casual late-night hangouts over-analysing crushes with friends. Sidenote: Leo’s voice sounds a lot like Troye’s Sivan, incase that’s something you’re into.

Throwing Hearts is everything N.R. Walker's books always are: Adorable, warm, charming and fun, with interesting characters who are undeniably and openly into each other, which results in memorable dates and sweet, intimate affection. 10/10 recommend!

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If you'd like to purchase a copy of this book, please consider using one of the following links to support the site: Amazon  (Kindle Unlimited) ◊  Barnes & Noble  ◊  Bookshop  ◊  Kobo
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Andrea purchased this audiobook.

Content Warnings: There’s some casual meanness and judgement of men who use Grindr and hook-up at gay clubs. Grief and mention of Clyde’s boyfriend who died in the 80s along with most of his friends.

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Review: The Adventurers, by Bryce Oakley

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 24, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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The Adventurers is a cute, quirky, friends-to-lovers Romance that's filled with queer staples like Hayley Kiyoko songs, Sarah Waters’ “canonical lesbian fiction” and looking for possibly-queer clues when spotting a woman out in the wild.  

Kendall is a vet, which is nice, but she’s quite moody and judgey about her clients, especially when she’s on-call. She’s vegan, divorced, and has a close circle of queer friends. She also has two cats named Bacon and Eggs. She’s a bit too comfortable, though, and realizes she should really get out more and enjoy life. Enter Joey and the meet-disaster: After an intriguing introduction to each other while waiting at a laundromat, Kendall (who has a meowing cat in her handbag) makes a rushed exit. The chaos results in them switching laundry loads and leaves her in a “lost scrubs, found thongs” situation.

Joey is new in town, ready for a fresh start, and totally belongs in one of our Romantic Occupations lists. –She’s a French-language translator, mostly of manuals, most recently of hair-dye instructions and shampoo bottles. She makes a memorable entrance at the vet where Kendall works (her dog just ate her leather harness) when she’s asked: “Full name?” and proudly says “Ozzy Pawsbourne, Prince of Barkness!” only for the receptionist to reply that “…Oh, I mean your full name...”

Kendall and Joey's adventure list is inspired by a line in a Frank O’Hara poem: 'Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more adventurous.’ Their adventures include buying a sex-toy in a female-owned sex shop, an appointment with a gender-freeing hairstylist, and having a suit made by a queer-friendly tailor. There’s also an attempt at having a one-night-stand and a camping adventure that ends up being a series of absolute fails.

Both women feel an attraction from the beginning, but tell themselves to just stick to friendship. So The Adventurers overall feels like a low-angst, slow-paced adventure in queer friendship. The actual Romance bit happens quite quickly at the end of the book, so it feels slightly rushed but we're happy for them! I'd recommend if you're looking for something light, sweet and hopeful.

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If you'd like to purchase a copy of this book, please consider using one of the following links to support the site: Amazon (Kindle Unlimited) ◊  Bookshop

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Review: The Hate You Drink, by N.R. Walker

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 2, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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This friends-to-lovers romance is really a beautiful story about coming to terms with an alcohol addiction, and what the journey to recovery looks like when you have the support of people who love you dearly. It's told from the two points of view: Monroe, who has used alcohol as an escape since his parents died three years ago and Erik, his best friend since they were eighteen (they're about 27 in the book) who bails him out, cleans up his messes, and also has been in love with him since they met.

One of the best things about this book is that everyone sees and treats and talks about Erik’s addiction as a physical illness, something that can be managed and requires support to heal from. It's so comforting and almost a relief to have the shame and judgment that often is thrown at a person who needs help completely absent from this book. When Monroe’s (amazing) sober coach / therapist / recovery guide Saul informs Erik that this is a life-long illness Monroe will deal with forever, Erik is offended at the thought of abandoning him: “If he suddenly lost the use of his legs or contracted a disease like diabetes or fucking cancer, I wouldn’t turn my back on him because it all became too hard.”

Erik's family plays a wonderful, encouraging, lovingly supportive role in the story. The helplessness, hurt, concern, and impact of Monroe’s alcoholism on Erik’s life is also brilliantly portrayed here. The book is filled with men sharing their honest feelings and fears, conversations that communicate their vulnerabilities, and so much openly unashamed sobbing, which is a thing I wish we saw more of in books (and in life).

Monroe and Erik's best-friendship and its unfolding into ‘We are in love’ is so, so sweet. As Monroe begins the process of confronting his addiction, their relationship is expressed through intermittent phone calls and scheduled meetings as his recovery plan allows. Everyone around them can see their love for what it is, while they seem to just be awakening to it. The essence of the story is about Monroe allowing himself to grieve, give love to the people in his life, and believe that he is worthy of receiving the love that surrounds him. I loved when Saul told him: “You are good enough. You are exactly who you were born to be.” It’s warm and wholesome and it’s got truths that aren’t easy to hear, but The Hate You Drink is a recovery story that is hopeful and comforting to read.

Sidenotes: I found the audiobook narrator’s voice robotic and emphasizing all the wrong words, but the story kept my interest and the writing totally shines through. There are often bits that are repetitive, though. Usually when switching between perspectives describing the same moment, and when a character goes from thinking something to saying it.  

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Review: Better than People, by Roan Parrish

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 19, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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Better Than People is the charming, cozy, low-angst comfort read I didn't know I needed. The anxiety rep is startlingly accurate, and Jack's once-scorned-now-grumpy mood is relatable as heck. It's kind of a hurt-comfort bring-the-life-back-into-me book for both characters. Simon discovers that, despite what he's felt, been told, and experienced in his life thus far, he can be loved and fall in love and enjoy a wonderful relationship that becomes his life alongside the anxiety.

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Floral Faves: Romance Covers Andrea Loves

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 12, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in list

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Summer in South Africa is ending; pouring rain has started to creep between days with blue skies. Even when it's sunny outside, these days it always kinda feels like the skies are grey. And at least once a day, I remember that I was supposed to be in Seoul, Korea right now for cherry blossom season, and then my heart aches even more. So! I’ve compiled a list of books that bring the much-needed spring blooming feeling with their covers.

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Review: Camp, by L.C. Rosen

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 2, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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Reading this book really felt like being on camp. Lockdown had just been enforced when I received an advance review copy, so the days were strange and stressful, but the experience of climbing into bed to see what Randy and his (Incredible! Amazing!) friends were up to brought me so much joy.
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Review: Date Me, Bryson Keller, by Kevin van Whye

[fa icon="calendar'] May 19, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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"And just like that, I've kicked the closet door open."

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An Interview with Date Me, Bryson Keller author Kevin van Whye

[fa icon="calendar'] May 18, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in interview

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Sometimes you meet a novel that just clicks. Such was the case for Andrea and debut author Kevin Van Whye's Date Me, Bryson Keller.

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Review: Don't Read the Comments, by Eric Smith

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 26, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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I enjoyed this book from the very beginning. The opening line is the title! "Mom, we've been over this. Don't read the comments." —It's kind of Divya's slogan. She's got an Etsy sign and everything. 

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Review: Jackpot, by Nic Stone

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 18, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Andrea posted in review

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Jackpot is a wild ride. Often literally! Rico and Zan spend a lot of time in the car on their way to chase only-vaguely-possible leads. There’s also a lot of family drama and a lot of feelings. 

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