blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Always Human – Ari North*

First serialized on the popular app and website WebToon, Always Human ran from 2015-2017 and amassed over 76,000 unique subscribers during its run.

Now reformatted for a print edition in sponsorship with GLAAD, Always Human is a beautifully drawn graphic novel about a developing relationship between two young women in a near-future, soft sci-fi setting. Always Human is drawn in a manga-influenced style and with an incredible color palette that leaps off the page!

In the near-future, people use technology to give the illusion of all kinds of body modifications-but some people have “Egan’s Syndrome,” a highly sensitive immune system that rejects these “mods” and are unable to use them. Those who are affected maintain a “natural” appearance, reliant on cosmetics and hair dye at most to help them play with their looks.

Sunati is attracted to Austen the first time she sees her and is drawn to what she assumes is Austen’s bravery and confidence to live life unmodded. When Sunati learns the truth, she’s still attracted to Austen and asks her on a date.

Gradually, their relationship unfolds as they deal with friends, family, and the emotional conflicts that come with every romance. Together, they will learn and grow in a story that reminds us no matter how technology evolves, we will remain . . . always human.

Rendered in beautiful detail and an extraordinary color palette, Always Human is a sweet love story told in a gentle sci-fi setting by a queer woman cartoonist, Ari North.

Ari North is a queer cartoonist who believes an entertaining story should also be full of diversity and inclusion. As a writer, an artist, and a musician, she wrote, drew, and composed the music for Always Human, a complete romance/sci-fi webcomic about two queer girls navigating maturity and finding happiness. She’s currently working on a second webcomic, Aerial Magic, which is about the everyday lives of the witches who work at a broomstick repair shop. She lives in Australia with her husband.

My thoughts:

This was adorable, a sweet, pastel coloured love story about falling in love, making mistakes and finding a way back to each other and developing a deeper understanding.

Sunati and Austen are young women on the cusp of their adult lives, Sunati works as a programmer and Austen is a student, struggling with her course load and stressed about exams.

Set in a future where people use ‘mods’ to alter their appearances, Sunati uses technology with ease, while Austen’s allergy to these patches mean she retains her features and can’t alter them.

Both women try to do what they think the other wants, instead of actually speaking to one another. After a rocky start, their affection for each other grows and blossoms.

A gentle, sweet, old fashioned love story with a high tech twist. Simply charming.

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

Images reproduced by kind permission of the publisher.

books, LGBTQ+, reviews

🏳️‍🌈 Pride Month Reads 🏳️‍🌈

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?

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Bloodlust & Bonnets – Emily McGovern*

Georgette Heyer meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this smart, funny graphic novel by Emily McGovern, the award-winning author of My Life as a Background Slytherin.

The year is 1820, and bored young debutante Lucy knows there must be more to life than embroidery and engagements – no matter how eligible the bachelor might be. Some bachelors, she has discovered, are less ‘eligible’ than they are ‘bloodthirsty,’ however… literally.

It turns out that there are a lot of vampires in late-Regency England, and Lucy has an eye for spotting them and the desire to rid the world of them. It’s not long before Lady Violet Travesty, leader of a mysterious vampire cult, spots Lucy’s talents and offers her a place amongst her vampire acolytes.

Unfortunately, Lady Violent is most horribly slain by the famous Lord Byron before Lucy can accept. Lucy instead joins Lord Byron and his enormous, psychic eagle Napoleon in their ongoing fight against evils such as bloodsucking ghouls and bad taste.

Before long they’re joined by the mysterious Sham, an androgynous bounty hunter, who catches Lucy’s eye. The trio lie, flirt, fight and manipulate each other as they make their way across Britain, disrupting society balls, slaying vampires, and making every effort not to betray their feelings to each other as their personal and romantic lives become increasingly entangled.

A balm for the soul for readers who love Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, novels by Eloisa James and Jane Austen, and the action and adventure of Xena, Warrior Princess, Bloodlust & Bonnets is the most modern action-heavy love-story set two hundred years ago that you’ll read this year.

Emily was born in the UK but grew up in Brussels, where she attended the European School of Brussels II. After graduating, she began a Foundation Art Diploma course at London College of Fashion. She studiously avoided any fashion, and instead spent her time making hand-drawn animations and weird paintings of witches.

She began a BA degree in Russian Studies at University College London and spent a year in Russia working in a rural commune, where she ran a weekly art “gathering” for the kids. The year abroad allowed her to go to many Russian art galleries, which were a revelation to her – artists such as Vereshchagin and Vasnetsov she found influenced her greatly.

She graduated with First Class Honours and by 2016 was building a comic driven social media platform based around the regular posting of her ‘My Life As A Background Slytherin’ comic. Bloodlust & Bonnets is her first graphic novel.

From the author’s website

My thoughts:

This is hilarious, brilliant and just this side of utterly ridiculous. Lord Byron, in possibly his most sympathetic role ever, is a complete buffoon and the vampires are fairly hopeless. Napoleon the psychic eagle is the best character – trust me.

Even my grumpy husband loved it.

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