blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Twelve Percent Dread – Emily McGovern

A fast-paced, laugh-a-page graphic novel about friendship, capitalism, and never putting your f***ing phone away!

Katie and Nas are best friends, exes, co-dependents. They share everything, including a tiny room in a North London townhouse belonging to their landlord Jeremy, former host of the hit 90s show ‘Football Lads’.

While Katie bounces from job to job and obsesses about falling behind in life, Nas has bigger things in mind—waiting endlessly for their visa to come through, while working on a seismic art project that will revolutionize politics and society as we know it. Their friend Emma, meanwhile, seems to have it all figured out—job, mortgage, engagement—yet the long hours working for tech giant Arko and endless wedding admin prove equally dread-inducing.

But when Katie’s latest job finds her tutoring the daughter of Arko’s formidable CEO, Michelle, and Emma welcomes the eccentric and enigmatic Alicia to her team at Arko, none of the three women are aware that their lives—and possibly the future of society itself—are about to change forever.

Twelve Percent Dread is a fast-paced, laugh-a-page graphic novel about friendship, capitalism, and never putting your f***ing phone away from Emily McGovern, author of Bloodlust & Bonnets and the hugely popular webcomic My Life As A Background Slytherin.

My thoughts: Bloodlust & Bonnets is still one of my favourite graphic novels of the last few years – it’s very, very funny and we need a sequel please! So I was delighted to be gifted a copy of Twelve Percent Dread to review.

It didn’t disappoint, funny, insightful, intelligent and wry, this is very much a book for right now. With a giant tech firm, its megalomaniac founder poised to try to take over everyone’s lives, while threatening the Prime Minister and barely parenting her teenage daughter, and two young people who have to share a room even though they broke up – rent is not cheap people, just trying to get through life, make enough money to survive, oh and not get deported, this is the satirical read we need!

Katie and Nas are just about surviving, Katie’s addicted to her phone, just lost her job and needs to get a new one – not least because the rent is due. Nas is hoping to stay in the UK (why?) and isn’t allowed to get a job. And now they want to bring down Arko. As things start to spiral out of control, will they be ok?

*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 Grooms Wore White – Charlie Lyndhurst

Even wedding planners struggle to get it right…
Jason is the best wedding planner around, known as the Fairy Godfather to the couples whose special days he plans. But coming up against workplace prejudice is taking a toll on his love for his job.
His mother-in-law, Mel, has just discovered her husband has been cheating on her with a younger woman. Nearing fifty, jobless and struggling, she needs to work out who she is aside from a mum and a wife, and get her life back on track.
Meanwhile, up-tight wedding planner Harriet is struggling to find her own true love – if such a thing exists. Between liars, married men, and disaster dates, she thinks she may never find the one. And
her outdated attitude toward LGBT marriages make her even more bitter.
When Jason starts Extra Weddings – helping people marry whoever they like, in whatever way they want – he, Mel and Harriet find themselves coming together to help couples make memories to last
a lifetime. But can they bridge their gaps, and be a unit when others need them most?
Fans of Casey McQuiston, Lindsey Kelk and Justin Myers are invited to the most heart-warming and extravagant wedding event of 2022.

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Charlie Lyndhurst is an award-shortlisted gay romance novelist, writing tutor, ghostwriter, and the Diversity Officer of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. The Grooms Wore White is his first commercial crossover novel.
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My thoughts: I really enjoyed this, Jason and Pete were lovely and Mel getting her groove back made me cheer. Her stupid husband deserved everything he’d done to himself. It took a while to warm to Harriet, whose opinions were stuck in the 1950s, and needed a good sharp shock to jump into the 2020s.

I liked the clever use of almost the correct names – The Fridays, Appledrama, for real bands and brands, that made me laugh. Having planned my own wedding, nightmare!, I think I’d hire a wedding planner like Jason if I ever had to do it again. Let someone else deal with all the chaos and stress.

Funny, thought provoking, sweet and heartfelt, a really enjoyable book. Hope for more from this author soon.

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

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Instagram Tour: Atonement Camp for Redemption – Evan J. Corbin

Head over to Instagram to find out my thoughts on today’s book – sequel to Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes

Rick Harris finds himself back at a place he never thought he’d return—the Atonement Camp. With Marilyn now serving as camp director, Rick turns away from his empty home—and his equally vacant pursuits with headless online suiters—to accept a job teaching at the camp. With Garrett missing, Rick and his friends soon learn that there’s more to the jobs they were offered than they were led to believe.

Meanwhile, Missy Bottom seeks revenge against Rick and those who thwarted her plan: to invalidate the New Revelation and gain her esteemed Luminary membership. Caught in the middle of warring factions of Luminaries and camp spies, Rick and his friends struggle to uncover Missy’s plans while concealing their true purpose at camp from those who begin to suspect their teaching credentials are somewhat lacking.

Old enemies become allies as Rick and his friends are forced to choose between those who would seek to invalidate the New Revelation and sacrifice all the newfound LGBTQ freedoms that came with it, and those who would leverage the ancient teaching for retribution. Rick faces an equally intractable decision—whom does he truly love? And why? Rick soon learns that the answer to those questions may be the key to solving more than one problem.

*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: Dr Susan’s Reign – Katerina Degratte

When a mad scientist swipes her chatty pet, she’ll claw her way through any danger to get her back…

Cat Johnson just wants a quiet life. Living paycheck to paycheck, the soft-spoken game-store clerk prefers to spend her nights home alone in the company of her sassy, talking kitty, Maori. But when a beautiful woman lures her out on a date, she’s devastated to discover it was a ruse to abduct her beloved feline friend.

Forcing the duplicitous dame to show her where Maori was taken, Cat races to a secret research lab to rescue her bestie. But she’s horrified when her snarky pal has been transformed into a giant killing machine.

Can Cat free Maori from a terrifying fate?

Dr. Susan’s Reign is the electrifying first book in the Cat Johnson Chronicles LGBTQ science fiction series. If you like strong female characters, sarcastic four-footed heroines, and non-stop action, then you’ll love Katerina Degratte’s meowsome tale.

Available on Amazon

My thoughts: the premise of this was interesting and having discussed it with my cat, Ted, I’m not sure I wouldn’t want a giant cat, however the food bill would be astronomical and I don’t think a super sized Ted would fit through the cat flap!

Cat Johnson’s precious Maori is turned into such a giant fluffball and hangs out in the woods with a giant tiger and some creepy giant spiders (not into that, thanks) while Cat tries to get an antidote made up, even though the outfit she works for wants to turn her pet into kibble.

Cat herself is woefully naive and keeps falling for the worst women, first Susan, then Raven, neither of whom are exactly on the side of the angels. But she does love animals and wants to help them rather than put them down – it’s not like anyone asked them if they wanted to be made gigantic!

*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

Blog Tour: No Good About Goodbye – C.T. Liotta

nogoodaboutgoodbye-copy

“Like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, if Simon’s mom were a vodka-soaked spy and grown assassins were trying to kill Simon.”

Welcome to the book tour for No Good About Goodbye by C.T. Liotta. Read on for more info and a chance to win some fun giveaways!

Ebook Final Cover

No Good About Goodbye

Publication Date: November 24th, 2021

Genre: YA/ Coming-of-Age/ Adventure/ LGBTQ2+

Publisher: ‎Rot Gut Pulp

Fifteen-year-old Ian Racalmuto’s life is in ruins after an embassy raid in Algiers. His mother, a vodka-drunk spy, is dead. His brother, a diplomat, has vanished. And, he’s lost a cremation urn containing a smartphone that could destroy the world.

Forced to live with his cantankerous grandfather in Philadelphia, Ian has seven days to find his brother and secure the phone—all while adjusting to life in a troubled urban school and dodging assassins sent to kill him.

Ian finds an ally in William Xiang, an undocumented immigrant grappling with poverty, a strict family, and abusive classmates. They make a formidable team, but when Ian’s feelings toward Will grow, bombs, bullets and crazed bounty hunters don’t hold a candle to his fear of his friend finding out. Will it wreck their relationship, roll up their mission, and derail a heist they’ve planned at the State Department?

Like a dime store pulp adventure of the past, No Good About Goodbye is an incautious, funny, coming-of-age tale for mature teens and adult readers.

“Brilliant… a rollicking good read. Rich with often realistically crude boy lingo, No Good About Goodbye is an utterly charming teenage LGBTQ falling-in-love adventure while simultaneously rocking an international crime storyline.”—C.S. Holmes, Indiereader

A smart, funny pile-up at the intersection of Surrender Your SonsGrasshopper Jungle, and a pulp spy thriller.

IndieReader Review

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Excerpt

The airport baggage conveyor spun for twenty minutes while Ian and Mario caught up. Ian’s voice differed from his grandfather’s. His Italian was perfect, but his English fused accents learned around the world. He merged British and American dialects, rolled an occasional r, and mispronounced words. He hated his patois. Worse was that, like Mario, he flailed his hands when he spoke. Deena would sometimes say that to silence the two, she might cut off their arms.

“So let me get this straight,” said Mario. “Richard Finzel wants to start a war using codes on your mother’s smartphone.”

“Yes.”

“Where is he now?”

“Dead. I triggered a bomb.”

“They recovered his body?” asked Mario.

“No, they found three of his teeth.”

“Teeth aren’t vital,” said Mario.

“Of course they are,” said Ian. “He won’t be able to chew things, and he’ll die.” He tilted his head. “Even if he survived and still wanted to start his war, he’d have to find mom’s phone and fly to D.C. to activate it. I hid the phone inside Aunt Judy’s funeral urn. Diplomatic security recovered it while I was in hospital. It’s out of my hands.”

“You’re certain they have it?” asked Mario.

“They said they would handle it,” said Ian.

“Shit,” Mario groaned under his breath. A blue suitcase appeared. “Ecco qua!” he said.

“No,” said Ian. “Mine has a Pan Am logo on it.”

Mario wheeled a cart toward them and stacked the bags Ian had pulled. A glittery tag on a steamer chest revealed his mother’s address in her script, and Mario’s eyes saddened. “You shouldn’t be the one to do this.”

“Someone has to,” replied Ian, “though I’d rather be with dad.”

“Algiers is too dangerous.”

“Algiers has always been too dangerous!” Ian erupted, throwing his hands up. Mario stepped back, surprised by the outburst. Ian lowered his voice. “Non voglio pensarci. Erik’s missing and dad’s sitting alone in a hotel room with a stuffed shirt convincing him he’s dead. I can hear the conversation now. Erik is gone. It’s a recovery, Cardiff, not a rescue. Little Ian has an undeveloped frontal cortex and uses denial to cope with grief.” He dug his hands in his pockets and settled back.

“Are you in denial?” asked Mario.

“I would deny it if I were,” said Ian. “I’ve developed the good sense to shut my mouth when adults think one way and I think another. Let’s discuss it, they say. Discussion only ever means debate. I’m sick of debating. I’ll say whatever people want me to say in public if it makes it easier to be who I am in private.”

“No man can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” Mario winked. “That’s Nathaniel Hawthorne. Bet you didn’t know that. In spycraft they call it the wilderness of mirrors.”

Ian waved the old man off. “Erik’s out there. I have, at best, seven days to locate him before the trail turns to ice. It’s not just about finding him—living with him abroad is the only way to get my life back on track. Philly is perdition. No offense, but I shouldn’t be here.”

The bag carousel stopped. Mario pointed to a stuffy office for lost bags, and Ian gathered his backpack.

Grab a copy at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Bookshop

About the Author

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CT Liotta was born and raised in West Virginia before moving to Ohio for college, where he majored in Biology. He now uses Philadelphia as his base of operations. You can find him backpacking all over the world.

Liotta takes interest in writing, travel, personal finance, and sociology. He likes vintage airlines and aircraft, politics, news, foreign affairs, ’40s pulp and film noir. He doesn’t fear math or science, and is always up for Indian food. His favorite candy bar used to be Snickers, but lately it’s been 3 Musketeers. He isn’t sure why.

CT Liotta | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Newsletter

US Giveaway:

Grand prize winner gets:

1 Autographed ARC Copy of NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE

1 $25 Amazon Gift Card

1 Set of fake mustaches

1 Set of invisible ink pens

2 Fake passports with stamps for blowing town incognito

A custom thank-you note and luggage stickers

Page a day travel journal

Second place winner gets:

1 Autographed ARC Copy of NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE

1 $10 Amazon Gift Card

2 Fake passports with stamps for blowing town incognito

A custom thank-you note and luggage stickers.

Third place winner gets:

1 Autographed ARC Copy of NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE

2 Fake passports with stamps for blowing town incognito

A custom thank-you note and luggage stickers

Click HERE to enter!

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Thousand Eyes – A.K. Larkwood

Just when they thought they were out…

Two years after defying the wizard Belthandros Sethennai and escaping into the great unknown, Csorwe and Shuthmili have made a new life for themselves, hunting for secrets among the ruins of an ancient snake empire.

Along for the ride is Tal Charossa, determined to leave the humiliation and heartbreak of his hometown far behind him, even if it means enduring the company of his old rival and her insufferable girlfriend.

All three of them would be quite happy never to see Sethennai again. But when a routine expedition goes off the rails and a terrifying imperial relic awakens, they find that a common enemy may be all it takes to bring them back into his orbit.

My thoughts: do not mess with creepy snake gods – that’s the main takeaway from this book. I suppose if you keep prodding a bear, it will eventually bite you. Which is essentially what Sethennai is doing. And the gang really need to stop getting mixed up with him. He’s always got another agenda. Csorwe and Shuthmili get the brunt of it after they awaken ancient scary goddess and world destroyer Iriskivaal. Tal of course gets to do his hero bit, reluctantly. And he gets a sidekick too, the latest Chosen Bride to the Unspoken, Tsereg, who might be more than just a complete handful of chaos.

This book was a lot of fun, the characters were more fully realised and their relationships cemented in and realistic. Csorwe and Shuthmili’s bond is unbreakable, even when they’re variously possessed by ancient gods. They’re Tal’s best friends despite his insistence that he doesn’t like them much and Oranna, even undead, is still annoying and knows way too much!

*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 That Dares – Rachel Smith & Barbara Vesey

A good love letter can speak across centuries and reassure us that the agony and the ecstasy one might feel in the 21st century have been shared by lovers long gone. This is all the truer of LGBTQ+ love letters: love affairs and relationships that, until very recently, had to survive within sealed envelopes and behind closed doors.

In The Love That Dares, queer love speaks its name through the words of lovers from years gone by. Alongside the more famous names coexist beautifully written letters by lesser-known lovers, giving us an insight into queer love outside of the spotlight of fame or fortune. Compiled by Bishopsgate archivists Rachel Smith and Barbara Vesey, these letters give us a glimpse into the passion and courage it took to continue a gay relationship in times when it was at best improper, and at worst illegal.

Enlightening introductions to each set of letters give readers an idea of the historical context in which they were written.

My thoughts: this is a really lovely collection of letters from queer writers, artists, musicians and others from across history. From famously gay people to ones you might not have known about, from early philosopher Marcus Aurelius, via Oscar Wilde and Vita Sackville-West to modern voices. There’s also a selection from Dear Sappho, published originally in 1996.

Explanatory notes give context to the writers and their letters, a brief glimpse into the lives and loves of people often living under threat of censure and criminality.

I found this incredibly moving, the ways people expressed their love and desire, their hopes and fears in words to friends and lovers, sometimes simple banal everyday news to passionate expressions.

*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: Other Parents – Sarah Stovell

In a small town like West Burntridge, it should be impossible to keep a secret.

Rachel Saunders knows gossip is the price you pay for a rural lifestyle and outstanding schools. The latest town scandal is her divorce – and the fact that her new girlfriend has moved into the family home.

Laura Spence lives in a poky bedsit on the wrong side of town. She and her son Max don’t really belong, and his violent tantrums are threatening to expose the very thing she’s trying to hide.

When the local school introduces a new inclusive curriculum, Rachel and Laura find themselves on opposite sides of a fearsome debate.

But the problem with having your nose in everyone else’s business is that you often miss what is happening in your own home.

My thoughts: what at first felt like it was going to be a gossipy PTA, school drama, evolved into something much more thought provoking and complex story, pulling in family make up, depression, sexual assault, divorce, sex work, child abuse and neglect, bigotry and organising a school fete. All the big important stuff, and some of the less so.

Rachel and Erin are dealing with Rachel’s children’s backlash to their relationship and their parents’ divorce – son Reuben seems unbothered, but his sisters, Maia and Tess both seem to be furious. While Tess acts out by being rude, teenage Maia goes off the rails. But Rachel has taken her eye off the ball and Maia ends up hurt.

Meanwhile Laura is struggling with raising her son as a single parent without much in the way of support or money. When Max’s dad reappears, she starts to reassess all the things she’s had to do to just survive.

Jo is the new Head of the primary school and headed for a clash with Kate, head of the PTA, over her petition against the school teaching LGBTQ+ relationships as part of the curriculum. A clash that drags Rachel, Erin and Laura in and as things start to go tragically wrong in their personal lives, does anyone really care about the Christmas fete?

Funny, sad, moving and ultimately redemptive, this a fascinating read about how we don’t see what’s going on behind the facade at the school gate.

*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

Books of the year 2021

Here’s my round up of 5 of my absolute favourite reads this year. There’s no particular order, just 5 books I really enjoyed.

This book I adored – and you can read my thoughts on it here.

This made me cry, in a good way. It was so lovely and I just totally loved it.

This was lots of fun and a bit weird and huge – honestly it might be the chunkiest book I read all year but it was totally worth it.

Illumicrate sent me some cracking titles in this year’s boxes, it was hard to choose which ones I liked the most but this is definitely up there. Brand new series, amazing adventure, clever magic system and excellent characters.

Inspired by Chinese history, this is cracking. There’s so much going on and it has one of the most interesting protagonists I’ve read.

Overall I read a lot this year, what with not really being able to go anywhere I had plenty of time on my hands and a tbr that seems to grow whenever I’m not looking directly at it. There were lots of super massive chunky books, lots of excellent new series’ kicking off and a few coming to a close. I’m really excited to see what 2022 has in store for us readers.

My 5 books are all super queer, and diverse, something I definitely want to read more of – diverse books equal diverse stories and I want new and interesting ideas, not reruns of the same old. So I will be stocking up on sequels and new titles from as wide a range of authors as I can.

What did you read this year? What did you love? Have you read any of this little list, if so, what did you think? Let me know.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Marvellous Light – Freya Marske

Young baronet Robin Blyth thought he was taking up a minor governmental post. However, he’s actually been appointed parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society. If it weren’t for this administrative error, he’d never have discovered the incredible magic underlying his world.

Cursed by mysterious attackers and plagued by visions, Robin becomes determined to drag answers from his missing predecessor – but he’ll need the help of Edwin Courcey, his hostile magical-society counterpart. Unwillingly thrown together, Robin and Edwin will discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.

The Binding meets Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in debut author Freya Marske’s A Marvellous Light.

My thoughts: does anyone else get crushes on books? I have a crush on this book.

Magic exists and a department at the Home Office keeps an eye on it, it’s undercover in some ways, those with abilities keep them quiet and the general populace hasn’t a clue. Robin, Sir Robert Blyth if we’re being fancy, ends up in a job he’s not exactly equipped for, gets cursed and ends up on a quest for magical artefacts along with the rather lovely Edwin Courcy.

I’m not sure if magic is a metaphor for homosexuality in some way, both Robin and Edwin are gay, and it’s illegal and they mention Oscar Wilde’s trial. But despite this, and the secrecy needed, they fall in love. The descriptions of the way they observe each other are beautiful, the sex hot and the passion between them moving and tender.

As Edwin draws Robin further into the world of magic and they almost get murdered by a hedge, searching for magical artefacts, to keep them from the wrong hands, he realises that the arrogant toff he thought he’d need to get rid of swiftly is actually a kind, noble and brave person, who’d happily sacrifice himself for those he cares about.

When they discover their enemy and Edwin faces up to betrayal, it’s the bond they’ve slowly built that sustains him, the fact that Robin is by his side that convinces him to fight on and stop the rest of the Contract from falling into the wrong hands. I can’t wait for book two.

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