Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Top reads on #NationalComingOut Day

Coming out for any reason and for any situation is largely not an easy and comfortable thing to do ( at least in my experience). We are all different and experience things in different ways, with so many emotions mix up within this, it can be a hard time in anyone's life. That;s why in any situation books can be there for us. Books not only take us to other worlds but into other peoples lives, lives that often mirror our own and that we can draw emotion, experience, advice, comfort and confidence from. SO on this National Coming Out Day we've got a small list of just a couple of titles that have a strong LGBTQ themes and that we can all draw something from...this list is just the tip of the iceberg in both fiction and non-fiction and we'd love to hear what books you've read and that have influenced YOU!  

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

School life is complicated enough as it is! I can only imagine what it would have been like to go trough high school if this has happened to me! This was a time where I was still finding myself and getting bullied for something i hadn't even properly understood let alone accepted yet. BUT it was a time that shaped me and i feel we're coming into a more open age and I hope more people can be open about their sexuality and more goes into education and information around this for children!

More Than This

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

This book isn't focused specifically on LBGTQ issues but there was a beautiful relationship and description of someones feelings here and i remember really connecting with the character at that moment and getting a bit teary!

Fan Art

The Art of Being Normal

Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. 

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan. 

When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…

This Book is Gay

Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author James Dawson gives an uncensored look at what it's like to grow up as LGBT. Including testimonials from people 'across the spectrum', this inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know - from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more. Spike Gerrell's hilarious illustrations combined with funny and factual text make this a must-have read

This is the Kind of book that was not around when I was younger when there were a million and one questions and I didn't have the internet! It;s a book I want more people to read to feel comfortable about themselves 

Audio Book: Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen
Author: Jazz Jennings, Narrated by: Jazz Jennings
Available on Audible.co.uk

Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable about or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series, I Am Jazz, making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults. In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn't all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don't understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence - particularly high school - complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy - especially when you began your life in a boy's body.

Again this is a subject that I don't think is discussed about enough, but that there is a lot of movement in the last few years to bring about awareness and Jazz's story is a really inspiring one! Its made all the more personal that she narrates the book herself! 

Not My Father’s Son Audio Book
By Alan Cumming, Narrated by: Alan Cumming
Available on Audible.co.uk

Tremendously moving and eloquently written, Alan Cumming's Not My Father's Son is a brutally honest memoir of the extraordinary life he has led. In this autobiography audiobook edition of his novel, Cumming narrates through the journey that has been his life - from a young boy with an abusive father to the icon he is today. Heartfelt, inspirational and awakening, Cumming's story is one that stays with the listener long after the final word is spoken. This book is not just for fans of this incredible man but for anyone who is touched by the emancipation of a child from the grasps of a violent beginning.

Aside from looking vaguely like me...Alan cumming is a great actor who has been through much and who not only has an interesting life but one that can bee looked up to!  Go on Alan!

No one should every feel that it's not ok to be who you are and who you want to be and I hope on this #NationalComingOutDay you feel inspired to be the best you you can be!
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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

YA Shot Blog Tour: Author Profile Joshua Khan

Today is the Dark Readers stop on the YA Shot blog tour..and what a tour it's been so far. The event which is in it's second year is not only a fantastic way to engage with a bunch of amazing authors but is putting libraries and their importance at the forefront...something we care a lot about here! For our stop I'm doing an author Spotlight on Joshua Khan, whose debut novel Shadow Magic comes out this October! SO let's get this Magic show on the road....

Joshua Khan was born in Britain, a land filled with ancient castles, dark forests, and tales of legendary heroes and fantastical monsters. He can tell you who King Arthur fought on Baden Hill, but can't tell you what he himself had for breakfast. So, his head stuffed with magical stories, it was inevitable that Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he'd rather live in a castle. It wouldn't have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements.

You can follow him at :@WriterJoshKhan
On Shadow MagicHigh fantasy's been my first love. Shadow Magic took a long time to write. Two years, solid full time. The first version was a quest through a couple of kingdoms and the Shardlandsm, but didn't work, too sprawling. So I decided to set it all in Gehenna, and all in Castle Gloom and focus on doing one area in super-fine detail. I purposefully wrote it so BOTH are the MCs. Hence half the chapters are Thorn's POV, half are Lily's.The humour element was pretty critical, I didn't want people being frightened about the concept of living in a kingdom of the undead. The Six Princes are utterly ancient, and no-one knows the whole truth. All the different houses have their own (biased) version of the tales regarding these long ago sorcerers. But I will be revealing some critical things in DREAM MAGIC and then in BURNING MAGIC which will turn everything upside down.
I love mysteries, so Shadow Magic is like those Poirot episodes, there's been a crime committed in a lonely location so the culprit in one the people staying there. I had an awesome time writing it, but DREAM MAGIC will take it to another level.

On Characterisation:
I wanted to write about a new style of heroine. I love the kick-ass warrior types but I wanted a girl who was powerful, independent and changed her fate without picking up a sword. I'm a big fan of English history and read a lot on Elizabeth the First. She reigned 45 years, was patron to William Shakespeare and set the foundations of the empire, yet never carried a weapon. Lily Shadow is very much based on her. But Lily needed a foil, so i again dug into English lore and came up with the best outlaw there ever was, Robin Hood. He's my inspiration for Thorn, the peasant boy from Herne's Forest.

On Dream Magic: Can't give too many details away about DREAM MAGIC except it's out in April 17, but the cover's gives you a few hints of what Lily and Thorn will be up against next..And here it is in all its glory

On his inspiration to write: The Hobbit was read to me when I was about 7, and it utterly transported me to Middle Earth. i remember it clearly, sitting on the classroom floor, looking at the sun come in from the window, wondering if I might be able to spot a hobbit myself, if I was really quiet.
That was a long, long time ago and I don't think I ever really came back from that trip.

On Writing: FINISH. If you can write a whole story, beginning, middle and end, and type THE END, then you are a writer. The pay cheque will come if you carry on doing it, learning your craft. I know a fair few great writers of openings and middles, but they never reach the end of what they begin without detouring off onto a new project. No, stick with it, see it through. FINISH!!! Cannot emphasise than enough. And if, when finishing, you realise you didn't enjoy it and never want to do it again, then you've learnt something about being a writer too. If you hit writers block Simple, do something else and step away from the keyboard. I find sitting at the screen, hoping for ideas to come is the worst place to be. I get on with cooking, making, wandering the streets, even fixing stuff up allows the idea to filter through, no pressure need be applied.

What's Next:  BURNING MAGIC [Book three in the series] is on its way! I'm working on it right now and all I can tell you is it'll be set in the Sultanate of Fire. But you have to survive DREAM MAGIC first, and that's going to be INTENSE.

The YA blog shot tour continues tomorrow. Check out the YA Shot website (www.yashot.co.uk) where you can get tickets for the event, get involved on social media using the  #YAshot and #YAShot2016 hashtags and also the YA Shot Twitter Account - @YAShotMediaTeam.

P.s Please not that the information for this blog has been pulled from Johsua's Goodreads page
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Chasing Embers Blog tour: The review

Title: Chasing Embers
Author: James Bennett
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: 8th September 2016
Synopsis: Behind every myth there is a spark of truth . . .There's nothing special about Ben Garston.
Or so he'd have you believe. He won't tell you, for instance, that he's also known as Red Ben. Or that the world of myth and legend is more real than you think.
Because it's his job to keep all that a secret.
But now a centuries-old rivalry has resurfaced, and the delicate balance between his world and ours is about to be shattered.
Something is hiding in the heart of the city - and it's about to be unleashed


First up the cover was really doing this for me. I know we go on and on about not judging books by their covers but I feel like at times I know when i'm going to be drawn into a book just from the cover. It made me want to pick this up...then Dragons, so it kept going from there obviously..

This is the kind of book that I like. There is a great mix of the magic and the modern and all the rules that go with them, I also really liked that this was a new series and i had to establish all the history because it creates a different feel to something that I'm say four books into and feel a part of. It was also quite a nice touch that the folk lore and fairy tale that we all know was all mixed in to the histories..there was King Arthur...there was Gods, and this really lovely way of describing things, for example "They sprang up wherever the Fay set foot, like forest vines trailing in their wake, surrounding them in mystery". Woof that bit of imagery game me chills. Bennett has his style down and he really creates his own voice here.

Ben was built as this bad ass character. Rough around the edges...been in a few fights...seen a few things and this made him compelling. You knew you were in for a ride with him... I nearly added 'or on him' but that sounds weird...but he isss a dragon so it's sort of a legit thing to want to say so I said it anyway....and I've gone off on a tangent. Back to the book...Like any character he has a lot more to give because he cares which gets him into trouble and he has an underlying purpose...and if you annoy him he's gonna come through your window like a tone of dragon!

There was this great terminator moment that was thrown in so casually every now and then...Ben arrives all dragon, then there rises this man completely in the buff like no ones business. Because why not eh! All these little references and the ways that the mythology was incorporated into the book really worked, There was even a little story ( with pictures...clearly it doesn't take a lot for me) that I felt was a really fun moment in the book, adding those layers of depth that I look for.

I'm looking forward to more adventures with Red Ben..and i'll probably spend a lot more time thinking what it would be like to be a man dragon mythological beast...

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour!


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