Title: Diary of a Drag Queen

Author: Crystal Rasmussen

Pages: 365 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House/Ebury Publishing

The Blurb

Life’s a drag… Why not be a queen?

‘Stories like the one where you shagged a 79-year-old builder and knocked over his sister’s ashes while feeding him a Viagra. Or the time you crashed your car because you were giving a hand job in barely moving traffic and took your eye off the car in front. That’s the kind of dinner-party ice-breaker I’m talking about.’

Northern, working-class and shagging men three times her age, Crystal writes candidly about her search for ‘the one’; sleeping with a VIP in an attempt to become a world famous journalist; getting hired and fired by a well-known fashion magazine; being torn between losing weight and gorging on KFC; and her need for constant sexual satisfaction (and where that takes her).

Charting her day-to-day adventures over the course of a year, we encounter tucks, twists and sucks, heinous overspending and endless nights spent sprinting from problem to problem in a full face of make-up.

This is a place where the previously unspeakable becomes the commendable – a unique portrayal of the queer experience.

The Review

I have always wanted to be a drag queen. I know it sounds strange and inherently being a drag queen is mainly a male role but dammit drag queens get to have so much fun. They are so glamorous and it just seems like an amazing element of performance.

This is why I was drawn to the memoir Diary of a Drag Queen by Crystal Rasmussen. Rasmussen is so very candid when explaining the life of a drag queen, about his life as a gay man – whether this be the difficult relationship with love, random hook-ups and how gay men are still victims of hatred.

It is hard not to like Diary of a Drag Queen. It is dry, funny, warm and endearing. My favourite thing was the little asides littered within the text – they were often hilarious.

Diary of a Drag Queen is a wonderful read and I fully recommend it.

Diary of a Drag Queen by Crystal Rasmussen is available now.

For more information regarding Crystal Rasmussen (@TomGlitter) please visit clippings.me/tomrasmussen.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

Title: Proud

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Stripes Publishing

The Blurb

A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.

A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.

Following A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, winner of the YA BOOK PRIZE SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2018

The Review

I love a collection of themed short stories. I find it completely captivating when several authors can hook a reader with their take on a contentious topic and completely engage the reader. Proud did this for me.

I came across writers that I have previously read works by and also some brand new authors; now I have the desire to read more of their work. Each unique story showed the struggles and the triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community. Proud really is a collection that should be shared and spread far and wide.

Proud by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

For more information regarding Stripes Publishing (@StripesBooks) please visit www.littletiger.co.uk.

Title: Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel

Author: AW Jantha

Pages: 528 Pages

Publisher: Freeform

The Blurb

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don’t quite go as planned, it’s a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches’ latest vile scheme.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I absolutely adore the movie Hocus Pocus. I was ten when it was released in cinemas and it as the first time that me and my older sister were allowed to go to the cinema by ourselves. It has always been a firm favourite of mine, one that I re-watch every Halloween. Now, I have my niece watching it (although she did make me watch it three times in the space of 24 hours).

So you can imagine my joy when I saw that the movie has been made into a book AND that there was a sequel included also. Joy of joys.

Firstly, let’s talk about Hocus Pocus. It doesn’t deviate from the film and for that I am thankful. The film is perfect. You should never monkey around with Bette Milder – whose hands are perfect in that film might I just add.

The sequel, however, was surprising. It follows on from the adventures that Max, Dani and Alex had 25 years ago and the story centres around Poppy, Max and Allison’s daughter (it is nice to know that they stayed together). The reason why the story is surprising is the LGBTQIA element to the story. Essentially, Hocus Pocus is a Disney classic and whilst strides have been made recently to make Disney more inclusive (just this week it was announced that there will be an openly gay Disney character in one of their next up and coming movies) it is still a major step for the wholesome Disney family oriented image. I, for one, salute this move and hope that it brings about more.

Ok, so the sequel wasn’t (and probably – in my eyes – never could be) as good as the original. However, a modern audience may appreciate it more than me. I did enjoy the story though and I loved revisiting much loved characters. I kind of hope that they make it into a movie – that would be amazing.

Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel by AW Jantha is available now.

Title: So Glad To Meet You

Author: Lisa Super

Pages: 284 Pages

Publisher: Diversion Books

The Blurb

Daphne and Oliver have almost nothing in common…

Seventeen-year-old Daphne Bowman, a bookish drama nerd in public school, might never have crossed paths with Oliver, the popular, outgoing mascot for his private school’s football team, but one event has bound them inextricably. Daphne’s older sister, Emily, and Oliver’s older brother, Jason, who were high school sweethearts, committed suicide together seven years earlier.

When Daphne uncovers Emily and Jason’s bucket list—a list comprised of their “Top Ten” places to visit before they die—she knows she has to tell someone. The one person who might actually get what she’s going through and who might not think it’s silly that she wants to complete the list, is also someone she’s never spoken to—Oliver Pagano. Throwing caution to the wind, Daphne sends Oliver a Facebook message that will come to change the course of both of their senior years—and maybe their entire lives.

Tackling grief with a wry voice and an unflinching eye, So Glad to Meet You tells the story of two people who, in searching for what they’ve lost, end up finding what they never knew they needed—each other.

The Review

What if the only connection you had with someone was shared grief? That is how the relationship between Daphne and Oliver starts. Both have suffered a loss and both are handing it in a very different way.

Both Daphne and Oliver’s older siblings committed suicide but when Daphne finds a bucket list of things that they had wanted to do she sets off on a journey with Oliver to try and do a facsimile of the things on the list.

What is truly special about So Glad To Meet You is that it looks at the issue of mental health from the perspective of the family; those who are indirectly dealing with mental health issues because they have a family member with a mental health condition. Personally, I don’t think this is explored enough and fiction is the ideal platform. The relationship between Daphne and Oliver is constructed in a way that you know that they really feel like they are the only ones who understand each other. Their losses are coming from the self same place. It really is like the world revolves around them.

So Glad To Meet You is a wonderful page turner that needs to be on everybody’s TBR pile.

So Glad To Meet You by Lisa Super is available now.

For more information regarding Lisa Super (@LisaSuper77) please visit www.lisasuperbooks.com.

For more information regarding Diversion Books (@DiversionBooks) please visit www.diversionbooks.com.

Something BeautifulTitle: Something Beautiful

Author: Amanda Gernentz Hanson

Pages: 220 Pages

Publisher: Pen Name Publishing

The Blurb

Cordelia and Declan have been best friends since they were three years old. By the time they hit middle school, Cordelia—Cord, to Declan—is already feeling the blackness in her life as depression takes hold. Their mutual attraction to each other leads to a serious high school relationship, one with their foundation of friendship at the forefront. Cordelia seems to have her mental health under control. All appears to be well.

However, when Declan starts to accept his own fluid sexuality, it sets something in motion in their lives that is both beautiful and tragic as they learn to love each other for who they are.

The Review

There are some stories that just help you pass the time away, and there are some that you get mildly sucked into and then there are some stories that take your breath away. Something Beautiful took my breath away.

It focuses on the lifelong friendship of Cordelia and Declan. They are destined to be together. However, life makes things difficult for them. Declan deals with his sexual fluidity, Cordelia deals with her mental health. Even though life throws spanners into their lives the one constant that they have is each other. Something Beautiful is the story of two people who need each other. And it is stunning.

The non-linear multi-perspective narrative keeps the reader on their toes and heightens the tension throughout. Something Beautiful is, at times, un-put-down-able.

This is definitely one book I will be recommending to my friends.

Something Beautiful by Amanda Gernentz Hanson is available now.

For more information regarding Amanda Gernentz Hanson (@amandamaregh) please visit www.amandagernentzhanson.com.

For more information regarding Pen Name Publishing (@PenNamePublishing) please visit www.pennamepublishing.com/home.

4 Stars