August TBR!

Hey everyone!

Happy August! It is officially Taylor Swift month. For the first time in what feels like forever, I actually have quite the quiet month planned. So I’m aiming to get lots of writing and reading done! So onto the TBR!


My August TBR

  • Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors
  • The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  • How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie
  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  • As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson
  • FOXES by MA Bennett
  • TIGERS by MA Bennett
  • HAWKS by MA Bennett

And that’s my rather jam-packed TBR for August! They all look so exciting so I’m really hoping I get around to them!

WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam on Taking on a World of Words. Everyone can participate in answering the three questions below and posting a link on Sam’s website or just answer the questions on her post, if you don’t have a blog.

the three questions are:

1.) What are you currently reading?
2.) What did you recently finish reading?
3.) What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m excited to share updates with you guys about my reading rather than just seeing it on Goodreads!


1. WHAT I’M CURRENTLY READING

The Transgender Issue

thoughts: It’s about damn time that I finally got around to it seeing as it’s been on my shelves for so long. And since it was just recently Trans Pride in Ireland, I thought it was fitting to finally pick it up. It’s good so far and just as I thought – important, powerful and teaching me so many things I hadn’t been aware of as a cis person. Definitely think this will have to be a must-read for every person on this planet.


2. WHAT I RECENTLY FINISHED

Memphis

thoughts: This was so good, I really enjoyed it. I kind of went in with the expectation that I would like it because it’s exactly the sort of novel I would usually enjoy, and I was not disappointed! It’s very hard to believe this was a debut, and it was full of incredibly resilient women.


3. WHAT I’M GOING TO READ NEXT

A Little Life


What about you guys? Let me know what you’ve been reading lately and what you’ve been loving in the comments below!

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WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam on Taking on a World of Words. Everyone can participate in answering the three questions below and posting a link on Sam’s website or just answer the questions on her post, if you don’t have a blog.

the three questions are:

1.) What are you currently reading?
2.) What did you recently finish reading?
3.) What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m excited to share updates with you guys about my reading rather than just seeing it on Goodreads!


1. WHAT I’M CURRENTLY READING

Lessons in Chemistry

thoughts: I’m really enjoying this. It’s actually nothing like I expected it to be, which is a pleasant surprise because it had seemed like one of those books where you basically know everything from the blurb. Some really good twists and turns and keeping me totally entertained. Also Elizabeth Zott is just a total badass.


2. WHAT I RECENTLY FINISHED

All The Young Men

thoughts: This absolutely destroyed me, and I absolutely loved every page of it. Such a beautiful, moving true story and I really admired Burks for her bravery and for her never-ending compassion. A must read to learn more about the truth of what the AIDS epidemic was truly like! I’ll never forget this.


3. WHAT I’M GOING TO READ NEXT

How High We Go In The Dark


What about you guys? Let me know what you’ve been reading lately and what you’ve been loving in the comments below!

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The Mid Year Book Freak-Out Tag!

Hi everyone!

It’s not sitting right that we are already halfway through this year (what?!!) but nevertheless that’s the truth. I’ve read some really fantastic books this year so it’s time to reflect in the Mid Year Book Freak-Out Tag! Onto the questions…!


BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2022

This is not an easy question because I’ve read so many wonderful ones, but I think I’ll definitely have to go with Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart. Just an incredible, beautifully moving book.

BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2022

This one has to go to Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi! I wasn’t all that wowed by their first book, Pet, but Bitter absolutely took it to a new level for me. So, so good!

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

There are still so many books that have come out this year, but one in particular I’m excited for is This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron. It will be one of the next books I pick up for sure, because I loved This Poison Heart so much!

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

God, there are too many to choose from!! But honestly I do love me a bit of Holly Bourne, so I’m gonna have to go with Girl Friends, her new adult novel coming in September.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

I’m gonna go with The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett! I was literally so impressed with her first book, the Appeal, so I went into this with very high expectations, and honestly it just did not deliver in the way I wanted it to!

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou – I received a proof of this and picked it up more out of necessity than want (I was judging it for a certain shortlist…) and I ended up absolutely LOVING it. I couldn’t recommend it enough!

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR (DEBUT OR NEW TO YOU)

I think I’m going to say Dolly Alderton for this. I read both Ghosts and Everything I Know About Love this year and I loved them both so much. I really fell in love with her conversational writing style, that has so much humour but also so much heart. I cannot wait for what she writes next!

NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER

Has to be Dimple Pennington from Candice Carty-Williams’s People Person. She was just such a fantastic protagonist and someone who felt so genuine and authentic, I’ll definitely be remembering her for ages to come.

A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. God, this book, this book, this book! Read it. It’s one of the most moving and powerful books I’ve read this year.

A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

The Secret Sunshine Project by Benjamin Dean. This was just such a joy from start to finish!

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT (OR RECEIVED) THIS YEAR

I think The Dangerous Kingdom of Love by Neil Blackmore has one of the best covers I’ve ever seen (but also Young Mungo is definitely my favourite!)

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

So many!! But ones I really want to get around to include: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong and Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid.


So there you have my mid-year catch up! So many good books read already and I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months have in store for me 🙂

WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam on Taking on a World of Words. Everyone can participate in answering the three questions below and posting a link on Sam’s website or just answer the questions on her post, if you don’t have a blog.

the three questions are:

1.) What are you currently reading?
2.) What did you recently finish reading?
3.) What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m excited to share updates with you guys about my reading rather than just seeing it on Goodreads!


1. WHAT I’M CURRENTLY READING

Vagabonds!

thoughts: I’m really enjoying this. I’ll admit it had a slow beginning and I wasn’t sure what to think of it, but it’s definitely not like anything I’ve read before and Osunde has such a grip over the language and prose she weaves.


2. WHAT I RECENTLY FINISHED

Cheer the F**k Up

thoughts: I absolutely loved Big Boys on Channel 4 recently, so when I saw this in work I had to pick it up. Jack Rooke is such a funny writer, but this memoir also has such love and compassion weaved through it, as he takes us through his journey of grief after losing his dad to cancer and losing one of his closest friends to suicide. He also delves into his sexuality, and his years at uni, and these were definitely elements I also enjoyed.


3. WHAT I’M GOING TO READ NEXT

Lessons In Chemistry


What about you guys? Let me know what you’ve been reading lately and what you’ve been loving in the comments below!

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July Anticipated Releases!

Hi everyone!

There are so many exciting books coming out this month, so as usual I thought I’d share some of the ones I’m looking forward to the most! Looking to the year ahead, my TBR pile is definitely in for yet another rude awakening…


The King Is Dead

by Benjamin Dean

Out July 7th

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets The Inheritance Games in this Black LGBTQ+ royal romp full of heart-swooning romance, scandalous secrets and one hell of a mystery.

James has been a prince all of his life, and since he was born, he’s been thrust into the spotlight as the first Black heir to the throne. But when his father unexpectedly dies, James is crowned king at seventeen. Now, the secrets he could keep as a prince with no real responsibility – namely, his sexuality and hidden relationship – are rocked as his life irrevocably changes.

When his boyfriend suddenly goes missing, the royal secrets and scandals that only he knows start to leak online. And when it becomes clear that whoever is behind the messages isn’t going to stop anytime soon, James begins to question everyone around him.


Something Certain, Maybe

by Sara Barnard

Out July 7th

A powerful novel about first love, friendships and embracing the uncertainty of an unknowable future, from Sara Barnard, winner of the YA Book Prize.

Rosie is ready for her life to begin, because nothing says new life like going to university. After years of waiting and working hard, she’s finally on the road that will secure her future.

Except university turns out to be not what she hoped or imagined, and although she’s not exactly unhappy – really! – she might be a little bit worried that she doesn’t really like her course much. Or her flatmates. Or really… anything? But it’s normal to be homesick (right?) and everything will have settled in a month or two, and it’s totally fine that her friends seem so much happier than she is, and that the doctors don’t seem to know what’s wrong with her mother.

But then she meets Jade, and everything starts to look a little brighter. At least, it does if she’s only looking at Jade. But is first love enough when everything else is falling apart?


H.A.W.K.S

by M.A. Bennett

Out July 7th

Determined to crush the Order of the Stag once and for all, and in a desperate last throw of the dice, Greer walks willingly into the lion’s den by accepting a sinister invitation to Castle MacLeod, a Scottish stately home in the Isle of Skye. Greer will be aided and kept safe by Shafeen and Nel, and the enigmatic Abbot Ridley. Plus, of course, Henry de Warlencourt who will accompany her and insists he has changed his colours. But as their darkly fraught romance evolves, can Greer trust him as she places her life in his hands? A deadly and shocking finale that will have readers on the edge of their seats.


Her Dark Wings

by Melinda Salisbury

Out July 7th

The great love of Corey’s life has always been her best friend, Bree: closer than sisters, their bond is unbreakable.

Or so Corey believes, until Bree betrays her, and Corey’s world is shattered.

Corey finds herself heartbroken, furious and alone…

Only to discover that the Underworld – and Hades, Lord of the Dead – is closer than she thinks…


Her Majesty’s Royal Coven

by Juno Dawson

Out July 21st

At the dawn of their adolescence, on the eve of the summer solstice, four young girls–Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle–took the oath to join Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, established by Queen Elizabeth I as a covert government department. Now, decades later, the witch community is still reeling from a civil war and Helena is now the reigning High Priestess of the organization. Yet Helena is the only one of her friend group still enmeshed in the stale bureaucracy of HMRC. Elle is trying to pretend she’s a normal housewife, and Niamh has become a country vet, using her powers to heal sick animals. In what Helena perceives as the deepest betrayal, Leonie has defected to start her own more inclusive and intersectional coven, Diaspora. And now Helena has a bigger problem. A young warlock of extraordinary capabilities has been captured by authorities and seems to threaten the very existence of HMRC. With conflicting beliefs over the best course of action, the four friends must decide where their loyalties lie: with preserving tradition, or doing what is right.

Juno Dawson explores gender and the corrupting nature of power in a delightful and provocative story of magic and matriarchy, friendship and feminism. Dealing with all the aspects of contemporary womanhood, as well as being phenomenally powerful witches, Niamh, Helena, Leonie and Elle may have grown apart but they will always be bound by the sisterhood of the coven.


Honey & Spice

by Bolu Babalola

Out July 5th

Sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship-evasion and the host of the popular student radio show Brown Sugar, she’s made it her mission to make sure the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of “situationships”, players, and heartbreak. But when the Queen of the Unbothered kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” in front of every Blackwellian on campus, she finds her show on the brink.

They’re soon embroiled in a fake relationship to try and salvage their reputations and save their futures. Kiki has never surrendered her heart before, and a player like Malakai won’t be the one to change that, no matter how charming he is or how electric their connection feels. But surprisingly entertaining study sessions and intimate, late-night talks at old-fashioned diners force Kiki to look beyond her own presumptions. Is she ready to open herself up to something deeper?

A gloriously funny and sparkling debut novel, Honey & Spice is full of delicious tension and romantic intrigue that will make you weak at the knees.


And those are all the books I’m looking forward to being published this month! What about all of you? What books are you looking forwards to being released?

My July TBR!

Hey everyone!

Happy July! This month I don’t have anything major planned, other than LADY GAGA(!!!) at the end of it, so I’m hoping I can get loads of reading done this month to make up for the very little time I spent reading in June. So I’ve made a hefty TBR for this month – am I overestimating myself again? Probably. Do I care? Nope. Onto the books!


My July TBR

  • This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron
  • The King Is Dead by Benjamin Dean
  • The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.
  • The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye
  • Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde
  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
  • Cheer The F**k Up by Jack Rooke
  • All The Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks
  • How High We Go In The Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

And that’s my rather jam-packed TBR for July! They all look so exciting so I’m really hoping I get around to them!

WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam on Taking on a World of Words. Everyone can participate in answering the three questions below and posting a link on Sam’s website or just answer the questions on her post, if you don’t have a blog.

the three questions are:

1.) What are you currently reading?
2.) What did you recently finish reading?
3.) What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m excited to share updates with you guys about my reading rather than just seeing it on Goodreads!


1. WHAT I’M CURRENTLY READING

Devotion

thoughts: I’m like 300 pages into this and honestly cannot stop thinking about it every time I put it down! It’s so beautifully written and I’m really savouring every line. Also has a great story, and I still have no idea what sort of direction it will end up going in and I love it!


2. WHAT I RECENTLY FINISHED

This Poison Heart

thoughts: I was already expecting to love this, but not nearly as much as I actually did! This was so much fun and had some GREAT characters, particularly Briseis, Marie and the moms! It was also REALLY clever, and there were so many twists I did not see coming. I am very excited for the sequel!


3. WHAT I’M GOING TO READ NEXT

The King Is Dead


What about you guys? Let me know what you’ve been reading lately and what you’ve been loving in the comments below!

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#LGBTQMonth Author Interview: Kalynn Bayron!

Hello everyone!

Ah, I’m so excited to welcome you to the fourth Author Interview of #LGBTQMonth 2022! How are you all getting on with your TBRs? Let me know in the comments!

For our next interview, I’m very excited to welcome back the amazing KALYNN BAYRON to my blog for a special interview. I absolutely loved Cinderella is Dead and I can’t wait for her newest book at the end of this month!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kalynn Bayron is the award-winning author of the YA fantasy novels CINDERELLA IS DEAD and THIS POISON HEART. Her latest works include the YA fantasy THIS WICKED FATE and the middle grade paranormal adventure THE VANQUISHERS. She is a CILIP Carnegie Medal Nominee, a two-time CYBILS Award nominee, and her work has been featured on Booklist’s Editor’s Choice list. She is a classically trained vocalist and musical theater enthusiast. When she’s not writing you can find her watching scary movies and spending time with her kids. She currently lives in Ithaca, NY with her family.


ABOUT THIS POISON HEART

Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.

When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.

When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.


THE INTERVIEW

Hey Kalynn! Now having written a series with the upcoming sequel to This Poison Heart and also a standalone with Cinderella Is Dead, which do you prefer writing? 

It’s hard to choose! There are great things about both standalones and series titles. I love standalones because I don’t have to be too concerned with what happens after the book is done. However, writing a series allows me more opportunity to really dive into the worldbuilding and characters. I will say, writing a series, for me, has been more difficult. Maintaining consistency over the course of two or three books can be really challenging.

Oh, that’s interesting! How do you like to spend your time when you’re not writing?

I love music and I love movies. So I spend a lot of time enjoying those things. I’m a huge musical theatre fan and now that I have recently moved to New York I’m hoping to spend some time in the city catching my favourite Broadway musicals in person.

What LGBTQ+ books or films have stood out to you lately?

There’s so much amazing work being done right now. I really love seeing queer content in big franchises like the Marvel cinematic universe. Seeing openly queer characters in movies like the Eternals feels like a big step forward. And seeing characters of color get to take center stage is always a big plus for me. I’ve really been enjoying Our Flag Means Death. In books, my TBR is a mile long but some of my favorites so far include No Filter and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado, Golden Boys by Phil Stamper, Ophelia After All by Raquel Marie, and Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters.

Some really great recs to add to my TBR!! What’s your favourite part about being a writer than doesn’t involve the writing?

I won’t lie, the free books. I’m a reader first, so getting free books and fun book boxes is always a highlight for me. 

Have you got any advice for aspiring artists reading this?

With the recent spate of book bans, with the target being placed specifically on marginalized groups, I know there is some hesitancy about entering into publishing or other creative fields. What I’d like to say to aspiring artists is that your work is important, and it’s needed now more than ever. Take care of yourself and understand that there is a place for you and your work.

Some amazing advice! What does an ideal writing day look like to you?

It’s always changing for me. For the most part any day that I can get words on the page is ideal but if I could have the perfect environment, it would probably start with a big cup of coffee, a clean desk, and some quiet time to get the words in. I try to be flexible though because it doesn’t always work out like that and I still have to get the words in!

That’s so true! Sophia and Briseis are such great characters just to name a few. How do you go about crafting such strong, realised characters in your work?

I think the key to making strong realistic characters is to make them flawed. Real people have fears and hopes and dreams and quirks, it makes sense that my fictional characters should also have those things. It usually takes me a full draft to really get to know my characters and then they come alive in revisions. During the revision process I can really dig into who they are, and all of the little things that make them unique.

And finally, can you tell us what to expect next after This Wicked Fate?

This Wicked Fate comes out June 21st and then on September 20th my middle grade debut comes out! It’s called The Vanquishers and I am just so excited! It is a vampire story that takes place in modern day San Antonio. My main character Malika “Boog” Wilson is living in a world where vampires were known to have existed but were wiped out twenty years prior by a group of masked slayers called The Vanquishers. When suspicious things start happening in San Antonio, Boog questions the history she’s been taught and wonders if, perhaps, the Vanquishers might be needed once more. It is Stranger Things meets Watchmen, with a Buffy twist. I am SO excited! It’s going to be a lot of fun! 


Oh, and I cannot wait from the sound of that! This Wicked Fate is out on the 21st of June and I urge you to go all and pre-order it from your local indie!

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Kalynn Bayron – and stay tuned, because there’s plenty more to come!

My #LGBTQMonth TBR!

HELLO!!! And happy June and welcome to the FOURTH YEAR of #LGBTQMonth!! Ahh, can you even believe it? I’m so excited for everything I have planned this month – there’s some very exciting things coming your way, so you better stay tuned!

I figured the best way to kick off the month is to share my TBR and all the books I’m planning to read for this readathon! So without further ado, here’s the books I’ve chosen for each of the prompts.


Trans/Non-Binary Rep

The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye


Orange On The Cover

Nothing Burns As Bright As You by Ashley Woodfolk


A Book Recommended By A Friend

The Colour Purple by Alice Walker


A Fantasy Book

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron


Free Choice

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich


Set In Ireland

What Love Looks Like by Jarlath Gregory


Published in 2022

Devotion by Hannah Kent


Adapted into a Film/TV Show

My Policeman by Bethan Roberts


An Author You’ve Never Read Before

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.


So there you have it – my TBR for June and for #LGBTQMonth. I am SO excited for all these wonderful books!

And what are you reading for #LGBTQMonth if you’re taking part? I would LOVE to know! Remember you can double or even triple up on the prompts if you don’t think you can get through one book for each in a month! So do let me know in the comments below if you’re taking part!