Tag Archives: lgbtq

Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson Audiobook Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young man must decide between the woman who has given him a home and the young man who has stolen his heart in turn of the 19th century America in author Shaun David Hutchinson’s “Before We Disappear”. 

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The Synopsis

It’s a new star-crossed romance about the magic of first love from the acclaimed author of We Are the Ants and Brave Face, Shaun David Hutchinson.

Jack Nevin’s clever trickery and moral flexibility make him the perfect assistant to the Enchantress, one of the most well-known stage magicians in turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Europe. Without Jack’s steady supply of stolen tricks, the Enchantress’s fame would have burned out long ago.

But when Jack’s thievery catches up to them, they’re forced to flee to America to find their fortune. Luckily, the Enchantress is able to arrange a set of sold-out shows at Seattle’s Alaska–Yukon–Pacific World’s Fair Exposition. She’s convinced they’re going to rich and famous until a new magician arrives on the scene. Performing tricks that defy the imagination, Laszlo’s show overshadows the Enchantress, leaving Jack no choice but to hunt for the secrets to his otherworldly illusions. But what Jack uncovers isn’t at all what he expected.

Behind Laszlo’s tricks is Wilhelm—a boy that can seemingly perform real magic. Jack and Wilhelm have an instant connection, and as the rivalry between the Enchantress and Laszlo grows, so too does Jack and Wilhelm’s affection. But can Jack choose between the woman who gave him a life and the boy who is offering him everything?

It’s a stirring tale about the magic of love from award-winning author Shaun David Hutchinson.

The Review

This was such a magical read (pun intended)! The author does an incredible job of crafting an alternate history setting with a magical realism story element while still incorporating the hardships and struggles of not only that era but the struggles of the youth in the LGBTQ community. The theme of family and finding one’s place in the world was felt in every chapter of this book, and really captured the heart of the narrative.

The characters were so engaging to read. The alternating perspective of protagonists Jack and Willhelm were so interesting to see unfold, as they came from very different paths in life by the time they found one another, and yet found a sense of belonging and home within one another’s lives. The background of magic, both real and more illusion-based, was fascinating to see unfold, especially considering the era of the narrative.

The Verdict

A brilliant, heartfelt, and engaging YA Magical and LGBTQ Historical Fiction, author Shaun David Hutchinson’s “Before We Disappear” is a must-read (and listen) book of 2021.  The perfect book to grab as we head into the fall season, the balance of history, magic, and LGBTQ-forward romance was amazing to see in this novel, and I look forward to reading more of this amazing author’s work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, Shaun grew up twenty minutes north in the town of Jupiter. He has three brothers (two older, one younger) and a half-sister.

Shaun attended Jupiter High School before going on to Florida Atlantic University, where he studied medieval and renaissance literature. Shaun has also studied emergency medicine, gaining his EMT certification, and firefighting. Ultimately, he ended up working with computers designing databases, building apps, and coding websites before publishing his first book, The Deathday Letter.

Shaun currently lives in Seattle, WA and works full time as an author. In his free time, he enjoys baking, running, designing 3D environments for virtual reality, and reading.

http://shaundavidhutchinson.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Before-We-Disappear/dp/B08TSPMKS2/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1632448823&sr=8-1

Any Dumb Animal by AE Hines Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author and poet AE Hines shares his memoir in a unique in-verse collection of poetry detailing the life of a gay man born and raised in the South, who came of age during the AIDS crisis in his acclaimed book, “Any Dumb Animal”.

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The Synopsis

Any Dumb Animal (Main Street Rag, 2021), the debut poetry collection by AE Hines, presents a memoir-in-verse as told by a gay man raised in the rural South who comes of age during the AIDS crisis. Flashing back and forth in time, a cast of recurring characters and circumstances are woven into a rich tale of survival and redemption, exploring one man’s life as a queer son, father, and husband, over a span of more than thirty years.

The Review

These poems were so incredibly emotional and moving to read. The mark of a truly great poet and writer is always when they can convey in words the emotions that ran through them at that moment, and I can say that the conflicting thoughts and emotions that the poet underwent here were felt greatly. The struggle to understand ourselves and our own identities are hard enough in this world, but the author and poet’s struggle against a toxic relationship with his father and later his own marital struggles really elevates these conflicting feelings tenfold.

What really stood out to me was the near cinematic and storytelling quality that the poems themselves took on. Each poem painted an image in the reader’s mind as the overall narrative of the writer’s life took shape. The balance the author found between the raw emotions these events evoked within himself and the narrative approach to these poems made this collection feel so alive and passionate in its delivery. 

The Verdict

A heartfelt, heartbreaking, and engaging collection of poetry, author AE Hines’s “Any Dumb Animal” is a must-read book of 2021! The narrative quality of the poetry and the way the author was able to relay something so personal to himself and make it relatable to the reader as well as incredible to see unfold. I felt myself tearing up as the author’s words pierced my heart and I felt his pain, making this a true one-of-a-kind story that everyone should read for themselves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

AE Hines (he/him) grew up in rural North Carolina and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. His poetry has been widely published in anthologies and literary journals including I-70 Review, Sycamore Review, Tar River Poetry, Potomac Review, Atlanta Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal and Crab Creek Review. He is winner of the Red Wheelbarrow Prize and has been a finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Writing at Pacific University. Follow him on TwitterFacebookInstagram.

The Left Hand of Dog by Si Clarke Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

An innocent hiking trip takes a strange and dramatic turn when strangely adorable aliens aboard a teapot ship abduct Lem, leading to a bizarre race to discover why they were taken and must face alien worlds, space stations and more in author Si Clarke’s “The Left Hand of Dog”. 

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The Synopsis

Escaping intergalactic kidnappers has never been quite so ridiculous.

When Lem and her faithful dog, Spock, retreat from the city for a few days of hiking in Algonquin Park, the last thing they expect is to be kidnapped by aliens. No, scratch that. The last thing they expect is to be kidnapped by a bunch of strangely adorable intergalactic bounty hunters aboard a ship called the Teapot.

After Lem falls in with an unlikely group of allies – including a talking horse, a sarcastic robot, an overly anxious giant parrot, and a cloud of sentient glitter gas – the gang must devise a cunning plan to escape their captors and make it back home safely.

But things won’t be as easy as they first seem. Lost in deep space and running out of fuel, this chaotic crew are faced with the daunting task of navigating an alien planet, breaking into a space station, and discovering the real reason they’re all there…

Packed with preposterous scenarios, quirky characters, and oodles of humour, The Left Hand of Dog tackles complex subjects such as gender, the need to belong, and the importance of honest communication. Perfect for fans of Charlie Jane Anders’ Victories Greater than Death – especially ones who enjoy endless references to Red DwarfStar Trek, and Doctor Who. This book will show you that the universe is a very strange place indeed.

The Review

The author has crafted a truly brilliant and expertly crafted sci-fi story for the ages. The novel takes the humor and wit of sci-fi sagas like Doctor Who and The Orville, and the mind-bending galactic storytelling of Star Wars and Star Trek. The author found the right balance of homages to classic sci-fi storytelling while still incorporating modern-day storytelling that highlights LGBTQ themes and character developments.

Lem was a brilliant protagonist, showing the complexities of their personality and inner struggles with their identity while also stepping up to the plate to become a new sci-fi hero who readers could root for. The author’s ability to craft such an incredible juxtaposition of identity struggles and the hardships of the outsider with the more silly or obscure sci-fi tones the genre is known for is just amazing and really drew me in as a reader.

The Verdict

A gripping, fun, and reflective sci-fi and LGBTQ-driven narrative, author Si Clarke’s “The Left Hand of Dog” is a must-read novel of 2021. The engaging way the author connects the reader with the themes of the narrative without sacrificing any of the humor or character growth really helped this story to shine brightly and should be read by any and all fans of classic and modern sci-fi storytelling. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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The Left Hand of Dog - SI Clarke

SI Clarke has a new quirky queer sci-fi book out (ace/aro/agender): The Left Hand of Dog. And there’s a giveaway!

Escaping intergalactic kidnappers has never been quite so ridiculous.

When Lem and her faithful dog, Spock, retreat from the city for a few days of hiking in Algonquin Park, the last thing they expect is to be kidnapped by aliens. No, scratch that. The last thing they expect is to be kidnapped by a bunch of strangely adorable intergalactic bounty hunters aboard a ship called the Teapot.

Falling in with an unlikely group of allies – including a talking horse, a sarcastic robot, an overly anxious giant parrot, and a cloud of sentient glitter gas – Lem and the gang must devise a cunning plan to escape their captors and make it back home safely.

But things won’t be as easy as they first seem. Lost in deep space and running out of fuel, this chaotic crew are faced with the daunting task of navigating an alien planet, breaking into a space station, and discovering the real reason they’re all there…

Packed with preposterous scenarios, quirky characters, and oodles of humour, The Left Hand of Dog tackles complex subjects such as gender, the need to belong, and the importance of honest communication. Perfect for fans of Charlie Jane Anders’ Victories Greater than Death – especially ones who enjoy endless references to Red Dwarf, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. This book will show you that the universe is a very strange place indeed.

Warnings: anaphylactic shock, minor injury to a dog, this book is not for TERFs.

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads


Giveaway

SI Clarke eBooks giveaway

SI Clarke is giving away four eBooks with this blog tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47201/?


Excerpt

MEME4 - The Left Hand of Dog

Copyright © 2021 by SI CLARKE – All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Startled by the sound of movement behind me, I whirled around to face three … they had to be children in bunny costumes. ‘What?’ That’s what they had to be, right? I mean, they weren’t actually rabbits. Definitely not. For one thing, they stood upright. Real bunnies don’t normally do that, do they? For another, they were about the size of Spock.

But the costumes looked real in that no skin showed through – not even on their faces – and I couldn’t see any zips. Also, I was pretty sure rabbits didn’t come in pastel rainbow colours. Actually, they reminded me of a toy I’d had as a child. Bunnyboo, I’d called it. Four-year-old me was terribly inventive.

‘Check out your floopy-floppy ears! How adorable are you?’ Nervous sarcasm still intact then.

I was nauseated enough that shaking my head seemed like a bad idea. ‘It was beer I had last night, right? Not, like, psychedelic mushrooms? Maybe some natural tree spore that makes a person have trippy visions?’ No one answered me. Or even looked at me.

Spock sat neatly and dropped her brain in my lap. She lifted a paw towards the nearest of the bunnyboos – for want of a better word. The creature’s mint green fur matched the emerald hue of its humongous Disney princess eyes. ‘Yip,’ said Spock in her smallest, most polite voice.

This is not happening. I must be dreaming. Or hallucinating. Something.

Pulling a device from a holster like a carpenter’s apron, the bunnyboo pointed it at Spock. Or maybe it was merely reading what was on the screen – if it even had a screen. Who was I kidding? I had no idea what they were doing.

Another, slightly taller bunnyboo – this one periwinkle blue with eyes like Wedgewood plates – stepped forwards and ‘spoke’ to Spock as well. That is, its mouth moved and Spock’s full attention was on it. But no sound emerged. Spock yipped again in response to whatever it was I couldn’t hear.

Spock pointed at me with her long, sable nose then looked back at the bunnyboos and emitted a low noise, not quite a growl.

‘Would someone please tell me what the bollocking pufferfish is going on here?’ I demanded. Okay, not demanded. Requested. Well, pleaded. Whined, maybe. Whatever verb it was I verbed, no one paid me any heed.

The bunnyboos of my strange hallucination were too deeply engrossed in their silent conversation with my very real dog to spare me any of their attention. It was like watching a TV on mute – except I could hear movements and breathing and the sound of my heart beating a drum on the inside of my chest.

After a few further moments of this bizarre fever dream, Spock leapt down out of the coffin and turned to face me. She sat on her haunches and looked me in the eye. Then she lifted one paw at me in a clear imitation of the ‘stay’ command I used with her.

A bunnyboo with heather purple fur lowered a rope lead over Spock’s head. Spock stood and followed them from the room.

‘Where are you taking my dog, you fluffy bastards?’ I clambered out of the coffin-bed and scrabbled after them as fast as my besocked feet would carry me. But the thick metal door slid shut seconds before I got to it.

I pounded impotently on the door, screaming, ‘Spock! Come back. Don’t let those fuzzy arseholes hurt you.’ Unable to find a door knob or control panel or anything, I leant against the wall next to the door and slid down until I landed on my arse. I shivered and hugged my knees to my chest.

Why can’t I wake up? Letting my head fall forwards, I cried for a bit, whimpering Spock’s name periodically.


Author Bio

SI Clarke

SI CLARKE is a Canadian misanthrope who lives in Deptford, sarf ees London. She shares her home with her partner and an assortment of waifs and strays. When not writing convoluted, inefficient stories, she spends her time telling financial services firms to behave more efficiently. When not doing either of those things, she can be found in the pub or shouting at people online – occasionally practising efficiency by doing both at once. 
As someone who’s neurodivergent, an immigrant, and the proud owner of an invisible disability, she strives to present a diverse array of characters in her stories.

Author Website: https://whitehartfiction.co.uk

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/clacksee

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/clacksee

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/32693/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/SI-CLARKE/e/B082GXW66G/

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QWYRK (QWYRK Tales #1) by Tim Rayborn Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A member of the Shadow folk must help a young girl who witnesses a terrifying supernatural event, and soon finds herself joining the girl and a band of misfits in order to confront ancient magic and a web of villainy in author Tim Rayborn’s “QWYRK”, the first in a brand new fantasy series.

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The Synopsis

Qwyrk is having a bad day; several, in fact. One of the Shadow folk tasked with keeping an eye on humanity, she’s ready for a well-earned break in Yorkshire, but now she’s (literally) run into a girl, Jilly, who just saw something quite supernatural and truly awful happen in her town. As Qwyrk tries to unravel the mystery, layers of villainy are exposed, and she’s stuck with an assortment of unlikely folk that she’d rather not have helping her. Together, they confront ancient magic, medieval conspiracies, and the possible end of the world (that again?). It’s not the holiday Qwyrk was hoping for!

QWYRK is the first in a series of four novels about the adventures of a group of misfits at the edge of reality in modern northern England, a world of shadows, Nighttime Nasties, sorcery, intergalactic councils, tacky nightclub attire, Monty Pythonesque humor, and even elves… though they are a bit silly.

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The Review

This was a truly well-developed first entry into a brand new fantasy series. The author doesn’t waste time delving into this supernatural world, where the creatures of myth and legend live hidden in the shadows of our own world. The balance of mythology that the author has crafted and brought to life through the characters of this narrative and the unique humor that helps define the relationships between these characters was exciting to read.

The action of this novel was perfect. Jilly was a great character, as she served to bring humanity into the larger-than-life supernatural mischief that the protagonists faced along this journey. Personally, it was the author’s setting that really had me hooked. While I am a huge fan of YA Fantasy and LGBTQ-driven narratives, as well as mythology, I am an even bigger fan of the UK and loved seeing the interactions and the way the setting impacted the character’s personalities as well. 

The Verdict

A beautifully written, engaging, and mesmerizing YA Fantasy and LGBTQ-Supernatural tale, author Tim Rayborn’s “QWYRK” is a must-read first entry into a brand new, modern-day fairy tale series. The action and mythology really helped to bring this narrative to life, and the characters kept the reader invested as the villain and hero rose to light. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this incredible read today!

Rating: 10/10

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Qwyrk - Tim Rayborn

Tim Rayborn has a new bi urban fantasy book out, book one of the Qwyrk Tales: Qwyrk. And there’s a giveaway!

Qwyrk is having a bad day; several, in fact. One of the Shadow folk tasked with keeping an eye on humanity, she’s ready for a well-earned break in Yorkshire, but now she’s (literally) run into a girl, Jilly, who just saw something quite supernatural and truly awful happen in her town.

As Qwyrk tries to unravel the mystery, layers of villainy are exposed, and she’s stuck with an assortment of unlikely folk that she’d rather not have “helping” her.

Together, they confront ancient magic, medieval conspiracies, and the possible end of the world (that again?). It’s not the holiday Qwyrk was hoping for!

Aboyt the Series: Qwyrk is the first in a series of four novels about the adventures of a group of misfits at the edge of reality in modern northern England, a world of shadows, Nighttime Nasties, sorcery, intergalactic councils, tacky nightclub attire, an abundance of sarcasm, and even elves…though they are a bit silly.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Booksamillion | Blackwells | Liminal Fiction | Goodreads


Giveaway

Tim is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47191/?


Excerpt

Qwyrk Meme

Qwyrk and her friends sat on the slanted rooftop of the Ecklesons’ large old home a little later on, quite annoyed. Now they were just trying to avoid all of the clatter and the obnoxious human adults stomping around below. Jimmy’s second outburst had no doubt earned him a grounding for the next month. Mr. Eckleson had let out a few stern words that were decidedly inappropriate for young Jimmy’s ears.

So Qwyrk, and her mates Qwypp and Qwykk, sat and surveyed the scene. It was a nice detached Edwardian home, with a lovely yard. Well, it would have been lovely except that it needed more tending than the Ecklesons were prepared to give it.

An old rosebush had grown to quite a size, such that its thorny branches often grabbed people as they walked by, often to gasps of surprise that then turned to annoyance as new victims found themselves unable to walk any farther until they became untangled. Those that ventured forward to smell the roses risked never being seen again.

At least twice a month, Mr. Eckleson threatened to hack the whole thing down, but somehow, he always got distracted by other weekend activities, such as football on television. And secretly, he harbored a slight fear of the thing, as if it were watching him. He worried that if he cut it down, a mob of rosebushes might return one night to enact a brutal vengeance. Mr. Eckleson needed a bit more fresh air.

Yes, it could have been a charming entryway to an old house, even with the disagreeable rosebush. But the plastic pink flamingos that Mrs. Eckleson had brought back from their Florida holiday and displayed with pride out front ensured that “charming” was not a word on the lips of guests. So did the bright blue ceramic garden gnome.

So, the trio looked down on the yard now: gnomes, flamingos, petulant rosebushes, and all. Humans could only see them as shadows with glowing red eyes, but up here, all alone, they saw each other on their natural form, which was basically like humans, except for their pointed ears. Humans would probably be disappointed by that. The occasional human—like a witch, a druid, a shaman, or some such—who could see them in their true form called them elves or fairies, which the Shadows resented. Elves were pretty silly, after all.

“So… what are we looking at?” Qwypp asked. Her bright red bob haircut clashed with her blue overalls and purple Doc Marten boots in a noticeable way.

“The rosebush,” Qwyrk sighed, as she ran her hands through her short but oh-so-stylish blonde hair.

“The rosebush,” Qwypp repeated. “And we’re looking at this rosebush because…”

“Shhh! Did you see that?” Qwyrk interrupted.

“What?” asked Qwykk, curling a strand of her long, wavy brown hair around her finger, and smoothing out wrinkles in her new designer exercise outfit. She obviously prided herself on being the glamorous one of the three.

“One of the branches moved.”

“Oh. My. Goddess!” Qwypp exclaimed. “You mean they have… wind up here in the north? We got here just in time!”

Qwykk stifled a giggle.

Qwyrk shot both of them an angry look. “It bent a little, like an elbow, you idiots! The rosebush is taking on anthropomorphic qualities. I’m sure I just saw it.”

“Anthro-what?” Qwykk asked.

“It means it’s becoming animated, moving like a bipedal being,” Qwypp answered, looking quite proud of herself, and smiling a smug smile.

“I don’t care what its sexual orientation is! That’s its own private business,” Qwykk answered in an equally snooty voice, clearly trying to sound impressive.

Qwyrk sighed and rolled her eyes. “Look, let’s just focus on it for a while, all right? It may do something else. We have to find out.”

“I wonder how that would work?” Qwykk mused after another minute of the three of them watching in silence.

“How what would work?” Qwyrk knew she’d regret asking.

“I mean, if you was a rosebush, how would you know who you fancied? Like, what if you had a knob with thorns? That wouldn’t be very pleasant! And even if you did know, what could you do about it? I mean… suppose you liked the rosebush on the other side of the street, how would you know if it fancied you back? And even if you knew it did, how would you actually get over there to get a snog? It’s not like you could move or anything. And how would you actually snog? Like, with what? Rosebuds on your branches? And suppose you actually fancied the oak tree next door instead, well, that opens up a whole new set of problems!”

Qwyrk almost put her face in her palms. Almost.

“Why can’t we just go downstairs and do some yoga?” Qwypp interjected, and for once, Qwyrk was glad for her whining.

“I told you…” Qwyrk started.

“You didn’t, though!” Qwypp said, annoyed. “Just that you’ve got a job up here to do, because of some funny reports.”

“Yeah, Qwyrk, what’s up? You dragged us all the way up here from London, when we were going clubbing this weekend, and we have a right to know why.”

Qwyrk assumed a mock pleasant voice. “Look, here it is again, in small words, so you’ll understand: that big rosebush has been doing some strange things over the last couple of weeks. It’s been moving like a human, and people have also been seeing things like ghosts, goblins, strange lights, and apparitions in the neighborhood; there was even a little earthquake a few days ago. When a plant starts moving by itself, it’s usually not a good thing, and if there’re ghosts and goblins involved, and the earth starts rumbling, it doesn’t usually lead to snogs and chocolate. All clear now?”

“But what are we supposed to do about it?” pouted Qwykk. “Now I can’t use my VIP pass to London’s ‘Club Nitro Ibiza Hedonistic Fun Dome’ this weekend.”

“The council wants us to keep an eye on it for a bit, to watch over everything. Our mate Jimmy down there is making that a bit difficult and making me question the wisdom of that order. I’ve a good mind to gag him tomorrow night.”

“The fact that we’re the ones that scare the bejeesus out of most kids who see us is somehow lost on the council, eh?” snarked Qwypp. “I don’t make the rules,” Qwyrk answered. “I just follow them.”

Qwyrk did ponder the irony of it all. “Well, what can I say? Sometimes kids are up far past their bedtimes and spot us. Then they get more scared of us than of the dangers we’re supposed to be watching for.”

It’s time for a change in policy.


Author Bio

Tim Rayborn

Tim Rayborn is a writer and internationally acclaimed musician. He plays dozens of unusual instruments that many people of have never heard of and often can’t pronounce, including medieval instrument reconstructions and folk instruments from Northern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East.

He has appeared on over forty recordings, and his wanderings and tours have taken him across the US, all over Europe, to Canada and Australia, and to such romantic locations as Marrakech, Istanbul, Renaissance chateaux, medieval churches, and high school gymnasiums.

On the writing side of things, Tim lived in England for nearly seven years and has a PhD from the University of Leeds, which he likes to pretend means that he knows what he’s talking about. He has written several books and magazine articles about music, the arts, history, and business, and undoubtedly will write more (whether anyone likes it or not).

He currently resides in Northern California amid many books, antique music reproduction devices (i.e., CDs), instruments, and with a sometimes-demanding cat. He’s also rather enthusiastic about good wines, single-malt Scotch, and cooking excellent food.

Author Website: https://timrayborn.com/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/timrayborn

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/TimRaybornMusicandWriting

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tim_Rayborn

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rayborn.esoterica

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3160656.Tim_Rayborn

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B00DWY5J8E

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The Witch King (The Witch King #1) by H.E. Edgmon Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

TRIGGER WARNING: Death and mentions of parental death; physical assault; sexual harassment; child abuse; trauma relating to fires; suicide attempt; misgendering and deadnaming (dead name off the page). Reader Discretion is Advised.

A young transgender witch must decide between his people and his freedom after the royal fiancee he left behind after a traumatic incident comes back in order to save the royal throne in author H.E. Edgmon’s “The Witch King”, the first in THE WITCH KING series. 

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The Synopsis

To save a fae kingdom, a trans witch must face his traumatic past and the royal fiancé he left behind. This debut YA fantasy will leave you spellbound.

Wyatt would give anything to forget where he came from—but a kingdom demands its king.

In Asalin, fae rule and witches like Wyatt Croft…don’t. Wyatt’s betrothal to his best friend, fae prince Emyr North, was supposed to change that. But when Wyatt lost control of his magic one devastating night, he fled to the human world.

Now a coldly distant Emyr has hunted him down. Despite transgender Wyatt’s newfound identity and troubling past, Emyr has no intention of dissolving their engagement. In fact, he claims they must marry now or risk losing the throne. Jaded, Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy, hoping to escape Asalin forever. But as he gets to know Emyr, Wyatt realizes the boy he once loved may still exist. And as the witches face worsening conditions, he must decide once and for all what’s more important—his people or his freedom. 

The Review

This was such an impactful and engaging dark fantasy read. A fantasy storyline that incorporates some hard-hitting and intense themes, the novel challenges the reader to consider questions of equality, acceptance, and the rights of those who may live differently than what is considered by society to be “the norm”. The pacing and voice in which the author writes really elevate the overall tone and realism that is blended with the magical elements of this fantasy novel, creating a truly engaging story.

Yet it is the characters themselves that really make this novel shine so brightly. A mature story that features some heavy topics, (hence the trigger warning), the novel itself features a truly memorable protagonist in Wyatt. The characters evolution not only physically in his background, but emotionally as well as he not only overcomes the trauma he suffered in the past and his own actions as a result but the anger and resentment that has built up for so long inside of him for not being seen for who he really is, as well as the treatment of not only him but all witches by the high social class of fae, makes his overall character arc both relatable and emotionally investing. Combine this with the relationship both strained and growing stronger between Wyatt and Emyr is incredibly engaging, keeping the reader invested as they follow the path these two betrothed make with one another, from combative frenemies to allies and possibly something more.

The Verdict

A memorable, emotionally driven, and heartfelt fantasy novel with a multitude of important themes and story elements that remain relevant in our own modern world, author H.E. Edgmon’s “The Witch King” is the perfect start to a brand new fantasy series. A great LGBTQ-driven narrative, the amazingly well-rounded and complex cast of characters, when combined with the entertaining and haunting narrative that the author has created, makes this the perfect read not only for PRIDE month but for 2021 overall! Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

H.E. Edgmon (he/they) was born in the deep south but has had many homes, dropped out of school to be gay, and is at least a little feral.

In both his writing and daily life, he aims to center the voices of Indigenous people, trans people, and survivors of trauma. It is always his goal to create safe spaces for the vulnerable, while being the thing predators are afraid of.

H.E. has an eclectic little family of his own design and they’re currently living out the found family trope in Brooklyn. Online, he can most often be found on Twitter @heedgmon.

https://heedgmon.com/

https://www.instagram.com/heedgmon/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-witch-king-by-h-e-edgmon

DC PRIDE #1 (DC CULTURAL ANTHOLOGIES) REVIEW

DC Pride (2021-) #1 (DC Cultural Anthologies (2021-))

by Andrew WheelerSam Johns (Goodreads Author), Nicole MainesVita Ayala (Goodreads Author), Sina Grace (Goodreads Author), Danny LoreMarc AndreykoMariko TamakiSteve OrlandoJames Tynion IVTamra Bonvillain (Cover Art), Scott Williams (Cover Art), Jim Lee (Cover Art), Luciano Vecchio (Penciller), Klaus Janson (Penciller), Kevin Wada (Penciller), Travis Moore (Goodreads Author) (Penciller), Sophie Campbell (Penciller), Rachael Stott (Penciller), Skylar Patridge (Penciller), Ro Stein (Penciller), Mildred Louis (Goodreads Author) (Penciller), Kris Anka (Penciller), Nick Robles (Penciller), Brittney Williams (Penciller), David Talaski (Penciller), Amy Reeder (Penciller), Stephen Byrne (Penciller), Trung Le Nguyen (Penciller), Ted Brandt (Inker), Rex Lokus (Colorist), Alejandro Sanchez (Colorist), Enrica Eren Angiolini (Colorist), Marissa Louise (Colorist), Dave McCaig (Colorist), José Villarrubia (Colorist)

I am proud to share my review of the brand new collection of PRIDE inspired stories within the DC Universe, featuring some of the greatest LGBTQ DC Heroes around in the new anthology, DC Pride. 

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The Synopsis

DC Pride #1 will feature LGBTQIA+ characters from all corners of DC’s ever-expanding Universe, including cameos by fan favorites Batwoman, Renee Montoya, Alan Scott, Midnighter, Apollo, Extraño, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Constantine, and more. The DC Pride creative teams, and the characters they’re developing stories for, are:

Batwoman (Kate Kane) by James Tynion IV & Trung Le Nguyen

Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn by Mariko Tamaki & Amy Reeder

Midnighter by Steve Orlando & Stephen Byrne

Flash of Earth-11 (Jess Chambers) by Danny Lore & Lisa Sterle

Green Lantern (Alan Scott) & Obsidian by Sam Johns & Klaus Janson

Aqualad (Jackson Hyde) by Andrew Wheeler & Luciano Vecchio

Dreamer by Nicole Maines & Rachael Stott

Renee Montoya by Vita Ayala and Skylar Patridge

Pied Piper by Sina Grace, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt

Additionally, DC Pride #1 will include full-page profiles of DCTV’s LGBTQIA+ characters and the actors who play them, and fans of The CW’s Supergirl will be thrilled to see the first comic book appearance of Dreamer, a trans woman superhero, in a story written by actor Nicole Maines, who plays Nia Nal/Dreamer on Supergirl.

Rounding out the DC Pride anthology is a forward by Marc Andreyko (Love is Love), single-page pin-ups by artists Kris Anka, Sophie Campbell, Mildred Louis, Travis Moore, Nick Robles and Kevin Wada, with more surprises to come!

The Review

Some of my favorite heroes in the DC Universe are proud members of the LGBTQ community. From the incredible story of Alan Scott trying to bond with his son Obsidian in an attempt to recognize how far the world has come since the days of gay men having to hide in secret bars, to the heartfelt romance of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, and even the promise of a future league within the DC Universe that celebrates the wide range of LGBTQ heroes that the comic book company has to offer, this collection celebrates a wide range of stories and heroes that showcase not only their PRIDE but of the power and rich stories that they embody. 

However, my personal favorite story within this collection comes from the Arrowverse, which focuses on one of my favorite new heroes and favorite actresses, Dreamer, played by the lovely and incredible Nicole Maines. Her story of fighting for peace and allowing people’s dreams to become a reality was beautifully brought to life with rich artwork and a story that felt both fresh and unique to the character dynamics established in the Supergirl corner of the Arrowverse. Nia is a truly great hero to embody the future of the DC Comics universe, embodying both powerful heroics and in-depth and emotional character development, making her story feel like the future so many of us comic book fans have been waiting so long for.

The Verdict

A memorable, heartfelt, and action-packed comic book anthology comic, DC Comics’s “DC Pride” is a must-read anthology for not only PRIDE month, but for the future of DC Comics. Engaging characters and emotional storytelling make these stories both entertaining and resonate with fans around the world. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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https://www.bookbub.com/books/dc-pride-2021-1-by-andrew-wheeler-sam-johns-nicole-maines-luciano-vecchio-klaus-janson-kevin-wada

Confined Desires (Rehoboth Pact #1) by Katherine McIntyre Blog Tour

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two women who have been best friends for years find themselves sharing a home during a required Quarantine during a pandemic, and in the process find their buried feelings for one another coming to the surface in author Katherine McIntyre’s “Confined Desires”, the first in the Rehoboth series.

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The Synopsis

Sky’s crush on her best friend has always been unrequited… until they’re stuck in quarantine together and sparks fly.

Sky’s high school bestie is moving back to the area and staying with her for a few weeks. Easy, right? Not when she’d held a torch for the woman since high school. The moment Mia walks through Sky’s door, those unrequited feelings return full-force. So, when a spreading virus keeps them confined in Sky’s apartment even longer, Sky is screwed.

Mia returns home after a bad breakup, but Sky is the only one who offers a safe place to land. However, the seven years they spent apart has her looking at her best friend through a different lens, attraction sparking with every inside joke, shared dinner, and cuddle on the couch.

That flare of desire fast turns physical. They can’t get enough of each other. Yet, whenever Mia tries for the “where is this going” talk, Sky dodges. Sky lost her sister in high school, and ever since, she’s become ace at keeping dates at a distance. Yet if she doesn’t manage to push past her own fears, she might lose her one shot at happiness with the woman she’s waited a lifetime for.

The Review

This was such a well-balanced and engaging read. The author brilliantly delivers a powerfully romantic story of two friends who reunite after years apart, only to be forced into quarantine together where feelings both had pushed down without the other’s knowledge begin to stir up. The author expertly brings the real-life feelings and complications from a romance such as this to life, from the fear of losing that best friend should the relationship fail, to the pain of the past threatening to loom over their relationship, and more.

What makes this novel stand out is not only the amazing relationship between these two women and its evolution throughout the narrative but the setting of the novel as well. While not the exact same virus, pitting this romance story against the backdrop of a pandemic is inspired at a time like this. The real-world pandemic has not only been stressful and painful for many around the world but has forced us all to reexamine our lives and the relationships we hold dear as well. This makes the romance even more profound and emotional in this story.

The Verdict

A romantic, emotionally investing and remarkable read, author Katherine McIntyre’s “Confined Desires” is a must-read novel. The author’s use of the two central protagonists for a majority of the novel’s plot was an inspired choice and really elevated the book’s setting as well. Combine this with the extreme emotions these two women share together and apart from one another throughout the narrative, and readers will be thoroughly invested in this book. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Confined Desires - Katherine McIntyre

Katherine McIntyre has a new FF contemporary romance out: Confined Desires. And there’s a giveaway!

Sky’s crush on her best friend has always been unrequited… until they’re stuck in quarantine together and sparks fly.

Sky’s high school bestie is moving back to the area and staying with her for a few weeks. Easy, right? Not when she’d held a torch for the woman since high school. The moment Mia walks through Sky’s door, those unrequited feelings return full-force. So, when a spreading virus keeps them confined in Sky’s apartment even longer, Sky is screwed.

Mia returns home after a bad breakup, but Sky is the only one who offers a safe place to land. However, the seven years they spent apart has her looking at her best friend through a different lens, attraction sparking with every inside joke, shared dinner, and cuddle on the couch.

That flare of desire fast turns physical. They can’t get enough of each other. Yet, whenever Mia tries for the “where is this going” talk, Sky dodges. Sky lost her sister in high school, and ever since, she’s become ace at keeping dates at a distance. Yet if she doesn’t manage to push past her own fears, she might lose her one shot at happiness with the woman she’s waited a lifetime for.

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads


Giveaway

Katherine is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47177/?


Excerpt

Confined Desires meme

Mia twined her arms around Sky and leaned her head against her shoulder. “See, this is why I missed you so damn much.”

Sky froze, unable to move. Part of her melted at this touch, while the other freaked out. The last thing Mia needed was her best friend dumping a lifelong crush on her lap. This close, she could feel the woman’s sleepy heat, and the sweet scent of peaches wafted off her. Sky’s mouth watered—the response instinctual. She forced her hand up to run her fingers through Mia’s silken strands. That was friendly, right?

“Missed you too, babe,” she murmured.

“So, wait, are you working tonight, or no?” Mia asked, pulling away to grab her mug.

“Uh, no,” Sky murmured, mind racing as she tried to come up with an excuse to leave.

Mia tapped the edge of her mug with her fingernail. “Then maybe we could take the day to play catch up?” she asked. When Sky didn’t respond, the words refusing to leave her tongue, Mia’s eyes widened. “I mean, as long as you didn’t have plans or anything. I know I kind of dropped this on you. Fuck, I don’t even know if you’re seeing anyone or who you hang out with anymore.”

“Pitifully single,” Sky responded. “My girlfriend and I split up last year, and I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t been able to get out to the bars or clubs in Philly at all to jump back into the dating scene. Trust me, you haven’t missed much.”

“Bullshit,” Mia said, placing her mug of coffee down. “Get dressed. We’re heading out to Lucky’s, and I’m buying you breakfast.” Her blue eyes twinkled as she doled out the commands, and Sky’s heart thumped harder.

Sky scratched the nape of her neck. “Yes, ma’am.”

She headed to the bedroom, cursing her lack of an excuse. A large part of her was thrilled to be spending all of this time around Mia after so long. Yet the other part of her just wanted to solder metal sheets around her heart.

As if she’d stand a chance with Mia Brownstone living at her house for the next two weeks.

 


Author Bio

Katherine McIntyre

Snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes.

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes—and there’s an equally high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women.

Author Website: http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pixierants

Author Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authorkmcintyre

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Katherine-McIntyre/e/B00J8U4VNU

Other Worlds Ink logo

Tiny Ruins by Nicole Haldoupis Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young woman struggles to understand her growing feelings and her identity as a bisexual woman in author Nicole Haldoupis’s “Tiny Ruins”. 

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The Synopsis

“The dahlias on Sara’s dress scrunched and stretched with her body as she spun on the grass and Alana couldn’t understand why no one else was mesmerized.” Tiny Ruins is a coming-of-age and coming out story that follows Alana, as she grows up, discovers, and tries to understand her bisexuality. Small windows offer us a glimpse of Alana’s memories, often fragmentary, fleeting, and touching. When she confides in her sister that she is attracted to girls, she is met with disbelief, and so the secret is kept and Alana continues as the outsider looking in.

The Review

This is a beautiful and emotional novella. The author has crafted quite an incredible and unique tale that comes in the form of snapshots of memories and events in the protagonist’s life. From the ups and downs of childhood to the hardships and struggles those in their teens coming to terms with who they are and the peer pressure to hide from everyone around them and so much more, this novella perfectly captures the growing up experience. 

The snapshot storytelling component really works here. Each page has sections that look like direct dives into the protagonist’s memories, speaking on random events and experiences that somehow come together to tell a cohesive character-driven narrative that captures so many different emotional beats. 

The Verdict

A short yet powerful and emotional read, author Nicole Haldoupis’s “Tiny Ruins” is a must-read novella. The story that evolves throughout the protagonist’s life is memorable and relatable, especially to anyone in the LGBTQ community who has ever had to deal with conflicting feelings and the journey of understanding who they are. From accepting her own sexuality to a conflict-filled relationship with her sister and the long journey into adulthood, this is a fantastic read that is not to be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Nicole Haldoupis is a queer writer, editor, and designer from Toronto. She’s the outgoing Editor of Grain and a co-creator of untethered and Applebeard Editions. Her work can be found in Bad Dog Review, The Feathertale Review, Bad Nudes, and others. Her first book, Tiny Ruins (Radiant Press, 2020), is a novel made up of linked flash fiction pieces. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @nicolehaldoupis.

http://nicolehaldoupis.ca/

https://www.instagram.com/nicolehaldoupis/?hl=en

The Stark Divide: Liminal Sky #1 by J. Scott Coatsworth Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

As Earth is on the verge of collapse, one of three ships makes the journey across the stars to find a new home as several generations look to become humanity’s future in author J. Scott Coatsworth’s “The Stark Divide”, the first in the Liminal Sky series. 

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The Synopsis

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book One of Liminal Sky

The Review

A truly engaging, emotional and heartfelt sci-fi epic that does a phenomenal job of setting up the saga the author has laid out before readers. The way the author is able to take a universally used concept of Earth on the verge of destruction and humanity’s last hope and blend this theme into a wholly original mythology and sci-fi goodness was a real work of art. 

The defining drive behind this novel was the amazing character development. These characters quickly became the heart of the story, showcasing the diversity and natural way the characters interacted with one another in this sci-fi epic story. The author’s use of LGBTQ+ characters felt natural and part of the fabric of this universe the author has created more than something forced, making these characters and their stories shine brighter than ever before. 

The Verdict

A truly one of a kind read filled with action, emotionally charged stories spanning multiple generations, and a wonderful cast of characters, this is a great sci-fi story that is not to be missed. The Stark Divide is a magnificent story filled with a unique mythology surrounding the survival of the human race, and the eloquent mixture of epic sci-fi with personal character growth and interactions make this a truly memorable read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Ushered into fantasy and sci-fi at the tender age of nine by his mother, he devoured her library of Asimovs, Clarkes, and McCaffreys. But as he grew up, he wondered where the gay people were in speculative fiction.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would write them himself.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently–he sees relationships between things that others miss, and often gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He transforms traditional sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He also runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband, Mark, sites that bring LGBTIQA communities together to celebrate fiction that reflects queer life and love.

Facebook Profile: www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Website/Blog: www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Dreamspinner Page: www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_1189

QueeRomance Ink Author Page: www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ