blog tour, books, LGBTQ+, reviews

Blog Tour: Gender Euphoria – edited by Laura Kate Dale*

So often, the stories shared by trans people about their transition centre on gender dysphoria: a feeling of deep discomfort with their birth-assigned gender, and a powerful catalyst for coming out or transitioning. But for many non-cisgender people, itโ€™s gender euphoria which pushes forward their transition: the joy the first time a parent calls them by their new chosen name, the first time they have the confidence to cut their hair short, the first time they truly embrace themself. Gender Euphoria seeks to show the world the sheer variety of ways that being non cisgender can be a beautiful, joyful experience. What each of the bookโ€™s essayists have in common are their feelings of elation, pride, confidence, freedom and ecstasy as a direct result of coming out as non-cisgender, and how coming to terms with their gender brought unimaginable joy into their lives.

Laura Kate Dale is a full-time video game critic, video creator, podcaster and author. Her first book was Uncomfortable Labels, a memoir about growing up at the intersection of being a member of the LGBT community and living with autism, and she writes regularly on the theme of transgender rights and experience. She can be found tweeting at @LaurakBuzz, where she has over 53k followers.

My thoughts: this collection of essays was moving and powerful, it made me cry a few times – happy tears, the joy of finally being able to express your true self leaps off the page.

I identify as non-binary, I’ve never really felt “female” and it was a long time before I understood that you don’t have to be one or the other, you can just be yourself.

This is something I have in common with the writers of this collection – a need to identify as the person you are, not other people’s perceptions of you. This is a wonderful sample of some of the complex and infinite variety of human that there is in the world, enjoyable and thoughtful, I am pleased I got to read it.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, LGBTQ+, reviews

Blog Tour: Fin & Rye & Fireflies – Harry Cook*

Fin Whittle is sixteen and he likes guys. A fact which seems to be complicating his life.

One minute Fin’s kissing the godlike Jesse; the next he s been cruelly outed. His family’s response? To up sticks in search of a ‘fresh start’.

A fresh start won’t change the truth of who Fin is. Obviously. But it does introduce him to the best squad in town: kick-ass Poppy, her on-off girlfriend June and the super cute, super irresistible Rye.

Fin soon has a serious crush. And Rye might just feel the same way. But Fin’s parents aren’t happy. If their son won’t change his ‘lifestyle’, they ll force him onto the straight and narrow . . . by way of ‘conversion therapy’. An outrageous plan is needed to face down the haters and to give Fin and Rye (and their fireflies) a chance at the happy-ever-after their story deserves . . .

From moonlit meet-ups to vintage diners, pride parades to a passion for old vinyl, Fin & Rye & Fireflies is a gloriously upbeat tale of being true to yourself no matter what.

Amazon

Born in the UK, Harry Cook is an Australian actor and international LGBTQI+ activist. He has starred in major film, TV and theatre productions, including the lead opposite Geena Davis in Accidents Happen. In 2013, at age 22, Harry came out to his fans on YouTube. The video went viral and Harry became front-page news in Australia, the UK and the US. Harry lives in Sydney with his rescued English Bulldog Poppy.

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My thoughts:

This is a sweet, lovely story of first loves, fireflies, being true to yourself, and the importance of friendship.

It’s also got a dark side, and I would be remiss to say it’s not something every reader will feel comfortable with. Conversion therapy is horrible and cruel and harmful.

There is light in the darkness too, from fireflies and knowing that people can change, that parents make mistakes too.

As Mrs Potts sings in Beauty & the Beast “bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong” – I think Fin’s family would agree.

Find your tribe, the people who will always have your back, like Fin does, and you’ll be OK.

This is powerful, moving story telling and I hope it finds its audience, because we need stories like this to counteract the sadder ones.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

books, LGBTQ+, reviews

๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Pride Month Reads ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ

June is Pride month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and the people we’ve lost over the years.

Pride as an event spun out of the Stonewall riots and if it wasn’t for brave souls like Marsha P. Johnson we wouldn’t have the rights and freedoms we have and we must fight to keep them in the face of homophobia and transphobia.

It’s also a fab time to boost the sales of own voices books written by and about our community. Here are some of my recommendations, please leave yours in the comments.

This was such a fun, joyful read, set at an LGBTQ+ summer camp it follows Randy as he tries to become what he thinks his long time crush wants and learns a lot about himself along the way.

Lia has inherited her uncle’s crown, a kingdom with debts and a poor harvest, there’s conspiracies afoot and she will need her new spymaster Xania to help her save the country and her crown. I’ve read this several times now and love it.

This is madcap adventure where Edward and his friends indulge in some “creative vandalism” and attempt to get Edward into Juilliard. I adore this book, and its sequel Attack of the Theatre People, and even though this isn’t a recent book (it’s from 2004) it is immense fun. Can you tell I’m an overgrown theatre kid!

Fun fact the author and I went to the same secondary school but at different times.

Another gorgeous fantasy novel with a f/f love story, this also has dragons. It’s a chunky book so be prepared to spend some time on it as you follow Queen Sabran and spy/mage Eade as they try to prevent war between their queendom and its enemies.

Currently with 3 volumes published, Heartstopper, the adorable illustrated love story of Charlie and Nick is one of my absolute faves. Starting life as a web series this is now hugely popular, rightly so fyi, and just brims over with love and goodness.

So tell me, what are your favourite queer reads and writers?