Author: Sari Taurez
Page Count: 338 pgs.
Genre: LGBTQ, Thriller, Dystopian
Trigger Warnings: Sex Trafficking, Blood, Sex, Prostitution, Profanity, Guns, Corpse, Cannibalism, Alcohol, Smoking
*Receiving a copy from the Author doesn’t affect my honest opinions*
Hello Unicorns, it’s Lori!🦄 Halloween is approaching ah! I’ll be passing out candy to everyone and binging on Halloween themed movies later. Well, I received this book from the Author and LOVED it, it has non-stop action & lovable LGBTQ characters!
Tiana is your typical pampered young blonde with a love for expensive shoes, hot guys, and murder.
After Tiana is cut off from her family’s riches, she takes advantage of her talents and becomes a killer for hire. It’s a lucrative business in her country, where a call to the police can amount to a lifetime of debt.
Her first client: Julia, a lower-class IT genius, lesbian, and devout Catholic. When the orphanage Julia volunteers at is targeted by the infamous brothel-owner Bobby Nails, Tiana is excited to take the job. But when she discovers Bobby Nails has a full army of mercenaries at his disposal, Tiana wonders if she may be in over her head.
Tiana and Julia face an unexpected adventure as they seek vengeance against the elusive Nails. Along the way they are joined by Ruby, a pyromaniac ex-prostitute who catches Julia’s eye, and William, a mysterious acrobatic fugitive searching for his daughter.
In the end, will they be enough to stop Nails and the chaos he has created?
1) Who/what inspired you to create a unique novel with a mixture of genres such as Feminism, GBTQ, Thriller, and Dystopian all within a novel?
A: To put it simply, I write what I want to read. To have all of these elements in a novel and be able to write it was a dream come true and it was an absolute adventure to write.
My main ensemble is mostly LGBT because I want to see more LGBT action heroes in stories. So often these characters get pushed to the side, placed as token characters or shown as the sensitive ones or characters that need to be saved. But LGBT people are so much more badass than that. I want to see characters that fight injustice not just with words, but with weapons. Why can’t we have a lesbian computer genius, trans girl pyromaniac, and bisexual dual-uzi wielding renegade all in the same book?
As for the feminist stance, I keep seeing this pattern in mainstream novels where the female protagonist is fighting off some sort of threat to her, that she’s just sort of a victim that fights back. I wanted a female protagonist that picks the fights, one that fights first.
The dystopian background of the novel came from me imagining the course that America seems to be going on in the past year, and thinking: what if this keeps going? What if nobody tries to fix anything and we just see where this goes? I’ve had several reviewers compare the society in Bubblegum to what we have now, and parts of it seem eerily close.
2) Bubblegum features a Transgender couple which isn’t often represented in the bookish community. What advice would you give for future LGBTQ writers who want to feature characters of the gay community in their work?
A: My wife is transgender, and I based the relationship between Julia and Ruby partially on our relationship. What I can say is – and this goes out to cis writers, especially – don’t make your transgender character just a transgender character. It is a character trait, not the character entirely. Now, I see this problem much more in Hollywood, but it happens in books too. If you have a character who is transgender, you damn well better have a list of interests, a backstory, wants, and feelings just as intricate as any other character. Because, as someone who has been in love with a trans woman for 10+ years, there is so much more to a person than whether they are trans or cis.
On another note, if you are writing a transgender character, don’t just take my advice. There are many articles on the internet about writing trans characters written by trans people. It is always best to consult someone that has actually had the life experience you are writing.
3) Throughout the novel, which scene was your favorite to write and why? Without giving spoilers, of course.
A: The fight scenes are always a blast to write, especially the ones involving Blue, who is a blue-haired cannibal and one of the villains of the story. There is a fight scene between Blue and Tiana in a parking lot: Tiana has run out of bullets so she’s using her rifle to fight back the best she can. It’s a very visceral scene and was probably the most fun to write.
4) Bubblegum highlights dark topics often not discussed in main stream society such as Sex Trafficking, etc. Is there a significant underlying message you are trying to give the audience about these topics?
A: I want the audience to know that while many of the more dystopian elements of the book are exaggerated, these are all based on real things that happen to people all over the world. Sex trafficking is a very real issue, and it’s astounding to see the statistics, especially among children. I suppose my message is, always be aware of what is happening in your society. Take a closer look.
5) Which character can you relate the most to and why?
A: I feel I have put parts of myself in each of the three main female characters. I am like Julia most of the time, calm, analytic, and probably more anxious than I should be. I am like Ruby when I am around close friends and people I love, I can get chipper and excitable and just want to have fun. Tiana is who I sometimes wish I could be (without the killing part, of course). I wish I could just say what I think and not worry about the consequences, and that I could be intimidating enough to get away with it.
6) Lastly, Do you have an upcoming novel or projects? Are you able to tell us?
A: I have two projects at the moment. The first is a sequel to Bubblegum, with Fire Hazard as the working title.
The second is something completely different. I wanted to challenge myself by writing a short novel during NaNoWriMo, and wanted it to be the opposite genre to Bubblegum. So I will be writing a romantic comedy called The Officiant, which I hope to have out at the middle of next year. I’m working on Fire Hazard at the same time, and am hoping to have that out by the end of 2018.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate how beautiful and lively the cover art is! Bubblegum discusses the dark truths within society that is hidden and silenced. This novel does have a kick ass female protagonist, but also has underlying tones to it such as Sex Trafficking which can be incredibly secretive and overlooked.
I appreciate Sari shedding light to such a traumatic & heavy subject that’s written so beautifully. There is also a Trans & Bisexual relationship in this book which is defined properly, beautifully & such phenomenal rep.
The characters are incredibly diverse, flawed and lovable. Throughout the novel it’s incredibly action packed, fast paced, LGBTQ characters, strong feminist characters and bloodshed. I’d like to mention that this book made me LITERALLY cry which can be hard to do.
Within the story everyone has ranks based on their bracelet color and people who have a high ranking status they have the liberty to get away with anything which can include Murder, Sex Trafficking etc. The police have no power to stop them. How dark and chaotic do you think it can go?
This book is an example of what the future can be which can be quite scary to think.
The ending really made me contemplate whether there will be a sequel to a jaw dropping last few chapters. (There WILL be & has been confirmed by the Author). I still have so many mixed emotions about it wow… I’m utterly astonished. This book also had many plot twists that caught me off guard and a few that didn’t. After I finished reading Bubblegum I couldn’t stop thinking about it DAYS after I read it. The ending made me so emotional and it’s jaw dropping as well. How does a Dystopian LGBTQ Thriller that’s action packed not sound like a phenomenal read?
If you’re searching for an action packed, fast paced novel with LGBTQ Feminist leads, this is a perfect read for you! Check out my blog: Majesticreadingblog.wordpress.com For more reviews & an Interview with the Author!
If you’re searching for an action packed, fast paced novel with LGBTQ Feminist leads, this is a perfect read for you!
I rate this….
A film school graduate, Sari strives to make every novel feel like an action movie.
Sari is an advocate for LGBT rights, and strives to create thrilling adventures with LGBT characters.
Sari’s debut novel Bubblegum released on October 9, 2017!