blog tour, books

Book Blitz: Love Him Hate Him – Chris Bedell

LoveHimHateHim

Today we are celebrating the release of Chris Bedell’s latest novel, Love Him/ Hate Him! Read on for more details!

LHHM digital coverLove Him/ Hate Him

Publication Date: February 16th, 2021

Genre: YA Thriller/ LGBQT

Publisher: Willow River Press

17-year-old Connor doesn’t believe his best friend’s death was an accident. Falling down the stairs was random, and Connor can’t help but wonder if someone might’ve pushed her…

Determined to find out the truth, Connor starts his own investigation. Along the way, he discovers Evelyn’s affair with a married man and thought she was pregnant before she died. Connor thinks he’s found her killer, but an airtight alibi forces him to look in a new direction. Perhaps closer to home.

Complicating the situation more is Connor’s own secret – an unexpected hook up with Evelyn’s twin brother, Liam, at a party the previous spring. Afterward, Liam goes on a homophobic rant and punches Connor, leaving him confused. His confusion deepens when, after Evelyn’s death, Liam apologizes and they start to hook up secretly.

Liam is trapped between his attraction to Connor and his abusive father. Connor struggles with his growing attraction for Liam. Their secret rendezvous are fun, but if Connor is going to have more with Liam, he’ll have to be honest about his feelings and his suspicions on who killed Evelyn. Will either survive the truth coming out?

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About the Author

My previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Entropy Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, among others. My debut YA Fantasy novel IN THE NAME OF MAGIC was published by NineStar Press in 2018.

My 2019 novels include NA Thriller BURNING BRIDGES (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Paranormal Romance DEATHLY DESIRES (DEEP HEARTS YA), and YA Thriller COUSIN DEAREST (BLKDOG Publishing). My 2020 novels include my YA Thriller I KNOW WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED (BLKDOG Publishing), YA Contemporary I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN (Deep Hearts YA),  YA Thriller BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER (Between The Lines Publishing), YA Sci-fi DYING BEFORE LIVING (Deep Hearts YA), and YA Thriller LOVE HIM/HATE HIM (Between The Lines Publishing). I also graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016.

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Not Quite Out – Louise Williamson*

William Anson is done with relationships, thanks. He’s starting the second year of his medicine degree single, focused, and ready to mingle with purely platonic intentions.

Meeting Daniel, a barely recovered drug addict ready to start living life on his own terms, might just change that.

There are two problems.

One: William isn’t out.

What’s the point in telling your friends you’re bisexual when you aren’t going to date anyone?

Two: Daniel’s abusive ex-boyfriend still roams the university campus, searching for cracks in Daniel’s recovery.

No matter how quickly William falls for Daniel, their friendship is too important to risk ruining over a crush.

William is fine with being just friends for the rest of forever.

Well, not quite.

Content warning This book includes references to abortion, PTSD, drug addiction, abusive relationships, and self-harm.

My thoughts:

I really felt for Will, being 19 and at uni is tough enough without trying to come to terms with your sexuality and come out. I know, I’ve been there.

But I’m now in my 30s so a lot more time has passed, those late teens/early twenties are tough.

Plus Will’s new friend, Dan, has a lot going on too, an abusive hovering ex, a drug habit he’s trying to kick and no family to support him. So Will is trying to provide that support while wrestling with his feelings and worries.

The book is very thoughtful, like its protagonist, and his other friends, Peter, Cas and Lilley are also dealing with the things life likes to throw at you, and uni, so there’s a lot going on around Will.

A sweet, sensitive, heartfelt portrayal of working out who you are, what you want, and where you fit in to the world. Friendship, love, pain, heartbreak and joy are all in the mix.

Really worth reading and then pressing a copy into the hands of a young person you know who looks like they could use some solidarity.

*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, reviews

Blog Tour: White Trash Warlock – David R. Slayton*

Not all magicians go to schools of magic.

Adam Binder has the Sight. It’s a power that runs in his bloodline: the ability to see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits of every kind. But for much of Adam’s life, that power has been a curse, hindering friendships, worrying his backwoods family, and fueling his abusive father’s rage.

Years after his brother, Bobby, had him committed to a psych ward, Adam is ready to come to grips with who he is, to live his life on his terms, to find love, and maybe even use his magic to do some good. Hoping to track down his missing father, Adam follows a trail of cursed artifacts to Denver, only to discover that an ancient and horrifying spirit has taken possession of Bobby’s wife.

It isn’t long before Adam becomes the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, save his sister-in-law, and learn the truth about his father, Adam will have to risk bargaining with very dangerous beings … including his first love.

David R. Slayton grew up in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where finding fantasy novels was pretty challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters was downright impossible. Now he lives in Denver, Colorado, with his partner, Brian, and writes the books he always wanted to read. White Trash Warlock is his first novel. In 2015, David founded Trick or Read, an annual initiative to give out books along with candy to children on Halloween as well as uplift lesser-known authors or those from marginalized backgrounds. Find him online

My thoughts:

This was a really fun read, it reminded me a bit of the very short lived TV series Midnight, Texas (of which I may be one of a total of three viewers) in that there’s a hero with the Sight and a ragtag band of supernatural friends along for the ride.

It’s also hella gay, which is very much my bag. Supernaturals, gays, monsters, yes please!

Adam is an everyman figure who really wishes he didn’t have any magical powers thanks all the same, but he does and he wants to use them for good. He’s been tracking a warlock making artifacts containing the souls of various creatures and then his brother, who he very much does not like, calls and he, being a better person than he wants to be, goes to help.

I basically love, want to be his best friend, although the scary elf queen might have a problem with that, and why are you still here? Go read the book.

As someone who would quite happily drown a certain boy wizard and his Terfy creator, this was a balm, sometimes you need to learn what they can’t teach you in any fancy pants wizard school, and the only way to do that is by, well, doing.

This was a fun, funny (the dry humour was very much my thing too) and clever romp of magical proportions and I enjoyed it very muchly. It has really heart too, in the shape of Adam and Vic and the whole reluctant hero thing.

Can’t wait to see what madness book two will hold in store, since Adam still has a few things left to tick off his to do list…

*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, reviews

Blog Tour: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre – Robin Talley*

Read my review of Music From Another World here

Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this #ownvoices romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley has something for everyone: backstage rendezvous, deadly props, and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to True Love.

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.

What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.

Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

My thoughts:

I loved, loved, loved this book. Be still my theatre nerd, bisexual heart. Honestly, it’s freaking adorable. Funny, silly and very realistic to the stress of putting on a show.

If this book had been around when I was a teen theatre geek, it would have been my go-to read. I loved the characters, Melody and her friends are so charming and snarky and funny.

The relationship between Melody and Odile is sweet and romantic, their sneaking around less so, but we all make mistakes when we’re young.

The triumphant staging of Les Mis is a joy, when all the disasters of rehearsal (as any theatre kid knows, a terrible dress makes for a great run) finally come together, and if you can get through this book without breaking into One Day More, you’re dead inside (and as someone who is dead inside, I mean really dead inside).

*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, reviews

Blog Tour: Dead Moon – Keith Crawford*

Humanity will be extinguished in less than seven days.

Wing Commander Jude Styles is a Starfighter Pilot trying to get pregnant before the world ends. Her wingman, Hamid Ashkami, just wants to block the spam messages he is receiving from someone claiming to be his dead ex-husband.

Instead, they are locked in a media tour, shown off as the heroes that stopped the alien invasion by destroying the massive mothership known as the “Dead Moon”, persuading the masses that all will be fine if they keep calm and carry on.

Trapped telling the same lies, driven over the edge by post-traumatic stress and the constant flow of alcohol, it is only a matter of time before Jude and Hamid break down – and the fragments of the Dead Moon have already begun to fall from the sky.

Dr Keith Crawford is a retired naval officer, disabled veteran and qualified barrister with a PhD in Law and Economics. After years of crazy adventures, from speedboats and aircraft to theatre and lecturing at Sciences Po, my French wife and I decided it was time to properly settle in Paris and have babies. Being the good feminist I try to be, I quit my job to look after the kids, support my wife’s career and write books. Each time I get offered a job my wife says “stop looking at jobs and get back to writing books.” Which shows, with marriage as with everything else, it is better to be lucky than good!

Dead Moon is my second novel. The first, Vile, a science-fantasy about toxic-patriarchy, the evils of aristocracy and swordfights, is available on Amazon.

After years of crazy adventures, from speedboats and aircraft to theatre and lecturing at Sciences Po, my French wife and I decided it was time to properly settle in Paris and have babies. Being the good feminist I try to be, I quit my job to look after the kids, support my wife’s career and write books. Each time I get offered a job my wife says “stop looking at jobs and get back to writing books.” Which shows, with marriage as with everything else, it is better to be lucky than good!

Dead Moon is my second novel. The first, Vile, a science-fantasy about toxic-patriarchy, the evils of aristocracy and swordfights, is available on Amazon.

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My thoughts:

This was completely bonkers, but in the very best way. Hamid and Jude ricochet around the country trying to solve various mysteries, being pursued by different dangerous people and slowly utterly destroying the luxury vehicle they’ve accidentally stolen, all before the world ends on Monday.

Both of them are dealing with the aftermath of the space battle that killed the rest of their squad and left them being hailed as heroes, while feeling anything but.

Their Survivors Guilt and PTSD lead them to do some very questionable things, including head off on their crazy adventure, technically going AWOL from their TV appearances reassuring the public that all is well.

The plot races along with the protagonists as they flee Manchester via Yorkshire, Milton Keynes and London on their way to Bexhill in Kent to find the person sending Hamid messages claiming to be from his dead husband.

Along the way they discuss gender, sexuality and how to get Jude pregnant, they team up with some scientists attempting to get humanity off the planet, engage in several gunfights and drive a tank.

It’s all completely crazy, and trememdously enjoyable and great fun.


*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, reviews

Blog Tour: Vampires Never Get Old – edited by Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker*

In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.

Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.

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Zoraida Córdova

Zoraida Córdova is the author of many fantasy novels, including the award-winning Brooklyn Brujas series, Incendiary, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate, and The Way to Rio Luna. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, Star Wars: Clone Wars Stories of Light and Dark, and Come On In. She is the co-editor of Vampires Never Get Old. She is the co-host of the writing podcast, Deadline City, with Dhonielle Clayton. Zoraida was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she’s not working on her next novel, she’s finding a new adventure.

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Natalie C. Parker

Natalie C. Parker grew up in a Navy family finding home in coastal cities from Virginia to Japan. Now, she lives surprisingly far from any ocean on the Kansas prairie with her wife where she writes and edits books for teens including the acclaimed Seafire trilogy.

Twitter | Instagram | Website | Goodreads

My thoughts:

This is a really enjoyable selection of vampire stories that play with the conventions of the mythology that starts before Dracula, exploring issues of race, sexuality and gender.

As a massive Buffy fan my favourite two stories dealt with slayers – Julie Murphy’s Senior Year Sucks and V.E. Schwab’s First Kill.

They were different from each other but explored the difficulties of juggling your secret identity and high school, getting a crush on inappropriately fanged hot girls, and not ending up friendless and alone as the “weird girl”.

I loved the twists on the genre and the interplay of various themes around identity and the ultimate outsider – the blood drinking, nightwalking vampire.

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*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, reviews

Blog Tour: The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life – Dani Jansen*

Alison Green, desperate valedictorian-wannabe, agrees to produce her school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That’s her first big mistake. The second is accidentally saying Yes to a date with her oldest friend, Jack, even though she’s crushing on Charlotte. Alison manages to stay positive, even when her best friend starts referring to the play as “Ye Olde Shakespearean Disaster.” Alison must cope with the misadventures that befall the play if she’s going to survive the year. She’ll also have to grapple with what it means to be “out” and what she might be willing to give up for love.

Alison manages to stay positive, even when her best friend starts referring to the play as “Ye Olde Shakespearean Disaster.” Alison must cope with the misadventures that befall the play if she’s going to survive the year. She’ll also have to grapple with what it means to be “out” and what she might be willing to give up for love.

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Dani Jansen is a teacher and writer who lives in Montreal. She should probably be embarrassed to admit that she has performed as part of her school’s Glee Club for eight years. She should probably also be ashamed to tell people that she named her cats after punctuation symbols (Ampersand and Em-Dash, in case you’re curious).

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My thoughts:

I am a recovering theatre kid so this book spoke to me on so many levels. I have been involved in shows where things can go wrong, as an extra I once stood on an actor’s stomach and thought I’d injured her badly (Romeo & Juliet 70s punk style, she was on the floor and I had to jump off a box and she wasn’t supposed to be there, then I fell off the stage and almost landed on the mayor!), then there was the year our leading man got stoned on opening night and couldn’t remember his lines in front of the headmaster, mayor and other local notables – as stage manager I had to stop our director/drama teacher from killing him during the interval. Basically I’ve seen a lot of drama on stage and off.

So I empathised massively with Alison, producing her school’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, when an actor quits, her costume designer has a relationship malfunction and she gets threatened by the theatre mafia!

This book was a total hoot, I was laughing out loud at times (cue some strange looks from my very own Mr Shakespeare, my husband (yes that is our last name)) and cheering Alison on as she went on a date with the hot girl of her dreams (and corgi lover), Charlotte.

I highly recommend this book to any theatre kids out there, or anyone who loves funny, entertaining books with heart.

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

books, reviews

Book Review: The Scapegracers – Hannah Abigail Clarke

I was sent this book to review at the beginning of the year but then 2020 went insane and publication was delayed, so I held this back and re-read it. Hope you enjoy my thoughts!

An outcast teenage lesbian witch finds her coven hidden amongst the popular girls in her school, and performs some seriously badass magic in the process.
Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends.

But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends.Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven.

They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent on stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing.

Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?

My thoughts:

When I was 14 or 15 I wanted to be a witch, Practical Magic and The Craft made me wish for powers, a way to drown out the intense sadness and loneliness coiling in my brain. Instead I had books, which have a kind of magic all their own.

Even now, I sort of wish I had the ability to cast spells and make things happen, I wish I was a Scapegracer.

Sideways, Daisy, Jing and Yates are baby witches, taking back control from fuck boys and doing fun magic things, like levitating. Sideways has always been an outsider, but the ultimate cool girls are inviting her in.

Obviously it all goes a bit wonky, there are witch hunters, and dangerous love interests and book demons and gay dads (I adore Boris and Julian and would happily read a book all about them) and some parties to throw and high school, yada yada.

Sideways takes Jing to her first gay bar, Dorothy’s, and they meet a sort of witch librarian, who I would also happily read a book about, and I just love the idea of witches living amongst us, hidden by their ordinariness.

Basically this is a really fun book with teenage witches, some of whom are gay, and I want the next book ASAP!!!

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, reviews

Book Review: Camp – L.C. Rosen

I was gifted a copy by the publisher with no requirement to review.

Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.

This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.

But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?

My thoughts:

One of my favourite films is an indie called Camp, which is about an arts camp with a drag queen coming into their own and Anna Kendricks as a rather evil young woman, determined to be the star.

This book reminded me of that in more than just the title, because this book is also set at summer camp and is also full of joy.

There’s a love story, there’s learning to be yourself and embrace it, there’s so much hope for the future and there’s a group of wonderful, funny, talented friends at its core.

We dont really have summer camps in the UK in the same way as the US, so most of my knowledge comes from books and TV (Lumberjanes and Wet Hot American Summer are my favourites), but I worked at a summer playscheme (a sort of day camp) for 3 years and it was the best job I have ever had.

Anyway, I loved this book, it’s very upbeat and fun, and I think I would have loved this camp.