Queer 2019 Releases I Can't Wait For (Part One)

It's the most wonderful time of year. Christmas lights are twinkling everywhere, my room looks like there's been a tinsel explosion and the book release dates for next year are finally making their way into the world!

I was writing down a list of them just for my own knowledge and I reached the end of Page 1 before I noticed they were all queer. I'm not even doing a reading challenge next year so this truly was an accident - I actually think I only know of one non-queer book that's being released in the entirety of 2019...oops! Anyway,  I put up a little poll on twitter to see if sharing that list would be something people would want to see and here I am sharing away! Some of these have been on my list since the day they were announced and others are more recent additions but they are all ones that I'm already counting down the days until I have them in my hands.

more than surviving

University is kind of a terrifying experience. Moving away from home, living in a new place, meeting new people and studying on a whole new academic level is an awful lot to deal with in one go. If you've been around on my blog for a little while it might not be a surprise to you that I found my undergraduate a totally overwhelming experience. I struggled and stressed and worried for three years straight - I had a panic attack that included the really ugly, messy kind of crying on my third day there (in front of two office staff and a lecturer - great first impression I made!) and that just set the tone really.  London, despite being a city I'd had my heart set on for a decade, was a very harsh place for me. It was always slightly too much: too busy, too loud, too fast paced and I constantly felt like I was on the outside looking in, not really a part of the bustling city life but also not really wanting to be.

That being said I don't regret going to London, or staying there. I can't regret the decision that resulted in the most wonderful bunch of weirdo's - girls I'm privileged to know let alone count as friends. I can't wish I'd picked a different path when it brought me back to writing, when it has led me to studying my passion in a city I'm falling more in love with every day.

I second guessed every moment I spent in London, never feeling capable and always feeling more like I was just surviving than actually living. In Edinburgh it's already a completely different story - I know it's still very early days but I'm actually living in this city as opposed to surviving each day and disliking most of them. Every part of it has completely captured my heart and I haven't found anywhere I don't like yet. Edinburgh even looks magical when it's miserable and gloomy! Putting aside how pretty everywhere is for a minute I do feel like there are tangible reasons for this feeling and have summed up my top four.

june reading: bisexual ya

Radio Silence - Alice Oseman
What if everything you set yourself up to be is wrong? Frances has always been a study machine with one goal: elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret - not even the person she is on the inside.  But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom and the Real Frances begins to come out, for the first time she is unafraid to be herself. When the blossoming trust between them is broken and her dreams come crashing down Frances finds herself suffocating on the guilt of her past; torn between who she was and who she wants to be she is going to need every bit of courage she has in order to face up to her fears.

Image result for radio silence alice oseman

june reading: gay adult

A Tiny Piece of Something Greater - Jude Sierra
Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness - on their own and with each other

Image result for a tiny piece of something greater cover

june reading: gay ya

I Was Born For This - Alice Oseman
For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark - a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark's fandom has given her everything - friendships, dreams, her place in the world. Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He's their frontman - and playing in a band is all he's ever dreamed of doing.  But dreams don't always turn out as planned and when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together they discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

Image result for i was born for this alice oseman

Sweethearts | Gemma Gilmore

Sweethearts by Gemma Gilmore

june reading: lesbian adult

Jericho - Ann McMan
Librarian Syd Murphy flees the carnage of a failed marriage by accepting an eighteen-month position in Jericho–a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Her plans to hide out and heal her wounds go by the wayside as she gets drawn into the daily lives of the quirky locals and becomes fast friends with Maddie Stevenson, the enigmatic physician who has returned to the backcountry community to take over her late father’s medical practice.

Image result for jericho ann mcman cover

june reading: lesbian YA

Everything Leads to You - Nina Lacour
Emi has been entrusted with her brother's LA apartment for the summer as a graduation gift with one condition: that something great takes place there while he's gone. She may be a talented young production designer, already beginning to thrive in the competitive film industry but she still feels like an average teen, floundering when it comes to romance.  But when Emi and her friend Charlotte discover a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, Emi finds herself chasing down the loose ends of a movie icon's hidden life. The search leads her to uncover a decades-old secret and the potential for something truly epic: love.

The Princess Deception | Review

A modern day queer retelling of Twelfth Night - finally my dreams have been answered! This refreshing take on a classic story features a Belgium Princess, a freelance reporter / former women's football player & a whole tangled heap of feelings - I adored it!

The Princess Deception - Nell Stark 

university: one year later.

Hello; I hope you're settled in comfortably because there's a chatty, slightly emotional post ahead as today marks the one year anniversary of me finishing the whirlwind that was my undergraduate degree!

This time last year I was in the final rehearsals of my last university performance - ready to take to the stage (or technically the floor..) later that evening.  I was waiting on three grades - one of which belonged to the performance I was about to start, but apart from endlessly refreshing the feedback page I was officially done with university. I was free, I was floating and I was totally freaked out.  In the words of Phoebe Buffay: I didn't have a pla.  I barely had a P.  What I did have was a mile long list of things I wanted to do and a desperate desire to run far away from education and never look back.

Fast forward to today and although I am still lost and floating I also have the faint semblance of a pla.  A pla that involves going back to university and doing a masters which is exactly what I said I wouldn't do but hey - you live, you learn, you change your mind seven different times! Or is that just me?

Skylarks | Review

I had already seen a couple ARC / early release copies of this beautiful book floating around the online bookish world and was all set to order it into my library when Bloomsbury contacted me asking if I would be interested in receiving a copy and being part of their instagram book tour this week.  I jumped around and instantly (obviously) said yes, yes, a million thankyou's and yes!  And Skylarks absolutely did not disappoint!

leah is a best seller and i am a crying mess.

Picture the scene: I'm sat in my room, aimlessly scrolling around on my phone when I decide to check twitter for the hundredth time (no reason. I'm just checking because what else do I do when I'm waiting for more energy to finish my Charms lesson in Hogwarts?) The app opens and I'm suddenly faced with a feed full of happy yelling and blue love hearts. Huh? Oh. Leah on the Offbeat news; that's cool I wonder what it is. (At this point I'm still not really paying attention.)

Then I look at what is actually being retweeted and immediately burst into tears.

The Wicked Cometh | Review

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

Ripped Pages | Review

There's nothing better than a classic fairytale right? Well, how about a feminist retelling with an f/f relationship and absolutely stunning writing? I think that's definitely better!

Ripped Pages by M Hollis.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda | Review

Now that we've reached the fourth month of the year I've decided I should probably start reviewing some of the books I've been reading; partly because I want to and mostly because otherwise I'm going to have to remove the 'book blogger' part from my twitter bio (*insert the 'I'm a SHAM' Buzz Lightyear gif here...*)

As some of these books are ones that I read way back in January (and I'm just terrible at writing proper reviews) I've decided to slightly let myself off the hook and write smaller reviews because honestly most of the time all I can think of when finishing a book is "well, those words were good words."  I'm never going to write beautifully structured, thoughtful reviews because my brain doesn't do that. My brain does 'aaaaaah this was so CUTE' and 'oh my goodness I want to marry this book' so my reviews are going to be like that. Because that's me and I want to give you the same reaction and 'review' here as I would do if we were face to face and I was telling you about the book in person.

I've also decided (going completely against the whole 'lets do the easy thing' here now) that I'm going to make a masterpost page where you will be able to find every single book I read this year along with the link to the reviewed post.  I'll be posting more about this once I've written and uploaded all the reviews so stay tuned for my reasoning behind giving myself blog homework over the Easter holiday..

Anyway. I've rambled enough here and I have reviews to write so let's get on with that shall we? 

First off is Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

a Q&A with L.J Surrage | Indieathon

Hello! Today's post is a Q&A with L J Surrage, an indie author whose first novel is already out and just waiting to be read.

a Q&A with Nine Star Press | Indieathon

Another day, another Q&A from a LGBTQ+ publisher that I adore! Today I'm over the moon to bring NineStar Press to your attention and I hope you enjoy finding out a little bit more about another wonderful independent publisher.  Once again a massive thankyou to NineStar and Rae for answering my questions!
NineStar Press Logo

a Q&A with L. Austen Johnson | Indieathon

Hello and welcome to another Indieathon themed Q & A! Today we have the lovely L. Austen Johnson with us and I hope you all enjoy the post! 

a Q&A with Ylva Publishing | Indieathon

For today's Indieathon post I have a Q&A that comes from a publishers with a very special place in my heart - Ylva Publishing who focus solely on publishing books with lesbian or bisexual main characters.  If you've read any of my posts before you'll know why I love this publisher so much - even more so this year due to my queer reading challenge (two months in and I'm loving it - update post coming soon!)

With the major publishing houses seeming to only give us one or two LGBTQ+ books a year I had to find my reading material somewhere and that is where Ylva and the lovely Astrid come in!  I'm so grateful from both an indieathon and a personal perspective to now stop waffling and let you read the Q&A!  Hope you enjoy it and don't forget to check out all of the wonderful books and authors!

Phoebe Ritter Q&A | Indieathon

Good morning (or whatever time of day it is for you) and welcome to the first Indieathon Q&A on my blog!

Phoebe is a YA fantasy fiction writer who currently has an independent book out ready for you all to pick up and read! Daughter of the Zel is available on Amazon and sounds seriously epic.  You can also follow Phoebe on twitter here and before you read the Q&A I'd just like to say a massive thankyou to her for answering our questions!

february wrap-up

February was really quite a month! Birthdays, snow days and writing days meant that the shortest month seemed to fly past even faster than usual! Part of that might be due to the fact that January lasted for five years but whatever the reason I definitely feel like we skipped a couple of days somewhere in the middle this month..anybody remember Tuesday 20th?

searching for my history

Your teenage years are a weird time of life. 

Add in realising halfway through Year Nine that girls are so much nicer than boys in every single way - and then promptly pushing that thought to the very back of your mind to deal with later on (anyone else procrastinate dealing with their sexuality or was that just me) my teenage years were a very weird, confusing time for me.  I had no idea why I felt like I had to actively pick a boy to crush on when it seemed that most people around me seemed to just fall into liking someone.

Review: Hearts Like Hers

*sounds the klaxon, rings all the bells and sets off the alarm* because IT'S REVIEW TIME! I was incredibly fortunate to get to read Hearts Like Hers by Melissa Brayden a month early through Netgalley and I've been holding on to this post since then so as to upload it at just the right time.  Publication day is now only three days away so I think it's probably now!  This was a 4 Star read for me and one I shall definitely be reading again at some point this year.

frosty autumn mornings | happy thing 4

I was walking to work this morning through the snow and thinking how pretty it looked when I suddenly remembered that way back in November last year I got up early and went for a walk with my camera just as the frost was beginning to melt.  I meant to publish a few of them on here at the time but for some reason never did so here is today's happy thing:  crisp, frosty, beautiful autumn mornings.

one day at a time | happy thing 3

*this post does contain spoilers for One Day At A Time Seasons 1 & 2*

Last January I opened up Netflix to find that a brand new show had landed. Thirteen episodes of an American sitcom sounded like an easy watch and truth be told I honestly wasn't expecting to find it ground breaking or even that interesting but I had nothing else to watch and over a week left of my Christmas holiday so I clicked play.  I clicked play and instantly fell in love.  The humour was perfectly balanced, it discussed a range of topics from school shoes to mental health, the characters were wonderfully crafted (and beautifully acted) and I laughed out loud every single episode even if I'd just been crying my eyes out at the scene previously.  I watched it once then and twice more in the twelve months since; counting down the days until last Friday when the second season would be landing back on my screen.

any fiction goes

When I say I've always been a reader it's a tiny bit of a white lie.  I've definitely loved books since I could hold them and chew the corners whilst my Mum read to me but I haven't always read them as much as I should.  My final year of sixth form was the beginning of a three year long reading slump - I did read during that time, but it was mainly in the summer months.  Even with a small bookcase full of books in my university room I just couldn't seem to finish them.  Thankfully this major reading slump has well and truly vanished - I managed to read just over thirty books in the second half of last year and am currently still going strong.  Up until this week that is.  I started one book, I started another, I started a third book and just couldn't get through any of them.  But even though I didn't pick up a book in four days I still managed to read seven multi-chapter fiction pieces! The answer - fan fiction.

Even in my days where I would barely touch a physical book in months I would quite happily whizz through a 50k+ fan fiction online and even though I have fallen back in love with books again I will still click through various tags and authors to find just what I'm looking for in the moment.

writing writing writing | happy thing 2

Hello and happy Sunday evening everyone!

I've spent the past few days being a busy little bee and planned out all my posts for the rest of January but somehow (despite knowing exactly what I would put) forgot to write up today's post - this weeks happy thing!  I discovered this when I went to click publish this morning and found nothing to click on..whoops!  But I'm now fresh out of the shower and ready to write..

Literally ready to write.

A few of you may have seen this on twitter / instagram (and thankyou all so much for the amazing replies I've received) but in case you missed the news this weeks Happy Thing is that on Friday I got told I have a place on a Creative Writing MA in September!!!!

remembering the happy things

I'm following the example of a ton of different people when I say this but I have decided to give myself a word of the year this year.  It's something I've never done before and honestly I don't really know why I've decided to this year but I have and it's in my bullet journal now so there's no going back.. (Fun fact: bullet journaling is also something I've never done before this year too, I'm like a new person!)

Anyway; I have a word of the year and it is Balance.

There are number of reasons for my choice, one of them being I want to learn how to do a handstand this year and you have to have balance to do one.  But you also need practice, flexibility and strength - I can't throw myself into a 30 day Handstand challenge tomorrow because I will 100% hurt myself / break something.  To learn how to do a handstand I first need to work on my core strength so after a two month break I'm getting back on the yoga horse.  There's a few more elements to it than that but that's the point - I need the right amount of all them to balance together and work in harmony before I can begin to balance myself on my hands.
First handstand attempt - it consists of kicking both legs up in the air and hoping for the best.

2018 Reading Challenge | #readingitqueer

Hello Hello and Happy New Year!

 If you follow me on anything you might already know this but (drum roll please) I have decided to set myself the challenge of only reading books with a LGBTQ+ element during 2018!

This element could be a queer character, relationship, theme or total point of the plot.  Whether its a comic book, series, memoir, YA or adult; any genre and any style if it has a queer element to it then I'm going to try and read it this year.  The only rule I'm setting is that the element has to be explicitly stated within the book itself; no subtext or vague author comments are going to count this year so I'm saying farewell to my Harry Potter re-read as well as a vast majority of my old favourites.