Title: Gut Feelings

Author: CG Moore

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: UCLan Publishing

The Blurb

At school,

I learned that words,

More than weapons,

Could destroy bodies,

Could break hearts

More than fists or fury.

This is the story of Chris, what happened to him at the age of eleven and how that would change the rest of his life.

Based on personal experience, Chris Moore’s Gut Feelings is a life-affirming and powerful coming of age verse novel that shines a light on chronic illness, who we are and how we live. Chris’s condition – familial adenomatous polyposis, an inherited disorder characterised by the rapid growth of small, precancerous polyps in the large intestines – would come to define all aspects of his future, from his everyday life to his personal relationships.

Gut Feelings is Chris’s brave story of how he attempted to come to terms with this devastating diagnosis as a teenager.

Perfect for fans of Sarah Crossan, Louisa Reid and Dean Atta, the novel also tackles issues of invisible disability, family dynamics and LGBTQ+ themes.

The Review

I had personal reasons for wanting to read Gut Feelings. I have suffered with gut problems for as long as I can remember and I have never seen someone like myself or what I have gone through represented in books. I am so grateful that disability awareness – in particular invisible illnesses – is getting recognised in writing. Plus own voice stories are so powerful.

CG Moore’s Gut Feelings is a story told through poetry and explores Moore’s own experience with having an invisible illness. He brilliantly describes the drained feeling of constant hospital appointments, the fear of the next thing you are going to be told by a specialist, the remission and the flare ups. Maybe it is because my experience has been similar but Moore’s writing feels powerful.

Invisible illnesses are difficult for the person who has it but equally for the patient’s loved ones. They don’t know how you feel or what you go through or the pain you feel. However, CG Moore has done a damn good job of describing it.

Gut Feelings is definitely worth a read.

Gut Feelings by CG Moore is available now.

For more information regarding UCLan Publishing (@publishinguclan) please visit www.uclanpublishing.com.

Title: The Queer Bible

Author: Jack Guinness

Publisher: Harper Collins/HQ

The Blurb

‘We stand on the shoulders of giants. Now we learn their names.’

Read by Jack Guinness, Amelia Abraham, Paula Akpan, Munroe Bergdorf, Joseph Cassara, Juliet Jacques, Paris Lees, Freddy McConnell, Paul Mendez, Mark Moore, Graham Norton, Matthew Todd & Russell Tovey. 

THE QUEER BIBLE is a collection of essays written by queer icons, about the queer trailblazers throughout history who inspired them.

From Elton John on Divine to Graham Norton on Armistead Maupin; Russell Tovey on David Robilliard to Lady Phyll on Moud Goba; Tan France on the Queer Eye cast to Mae Martin on Tim Curry, today’s queer heroes write about the icons that provided a creative inspiration to them. Other contributors include Amelia Abraham, Paula Akpan, Courtney Act, Munroe Bergdorf, Mykki Blanco, Joseph Cassara, David Furnish, Paul Flynn, Paris Lees, Juliet Jacques, Gus Kenworthy, Freddy McConnell, Paul Mendez, Mark Moore, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Hanne Gaby Odiele and Matthew Todd. Each essay is accompanied by exclusive, bespoke illustrations by queer or ally artists, to create a truly beautiful celebration of queer culture.

Based on the popular website QueerBible.com, founded by model and activist Jack Guinness, this timely collection, edited by him, continues his mission – to create a space dedicated to the celebration of queer history.

The Queer Bible is a love letter to the LGBTQI+ community and its allies.

The Review

I have read a lot of Queer literature this year, I love LGBTQIA fiction but I have to say that it has been the non-fiction that has stuck with me. I decided to listen to the audiobook of The Queer Bible and I con honestly say that I think it was the best decision for me. I got something from the audiobook that I don’t think would have had the same impact had I read it on a page. I heard the passion behind each of these essays. Whilst not all of them were read by their author you still got the feeling of importance. It was joyful.

The audiobook opened on an essay about George Michael and straight away I was sold. The rest of the book highlights queer icons. What is fantastic is that you are hearing/reading queer icons talk about their own queer icons and the impact that they had. It is both educational and entertaining and by far one of the most positive books I have listened to in a long time.

The Queer Bible by Jack Guinness is available now.

For more information regarding Jack Guinness (@JackGuinness) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQ Stories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: How to Kill Your Family

Author: Bella Mackie

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

I have killed several people (some brutally, others calmly) and yet I currently languish in jail for a murder I did not commit.

When I think about what I actually did, I feel somewhat sad that nobody will ever know about the complex operation that I undertook. Getting away with it is highly preferable, of course, but perhaps when I’m long gone, someone will open an old safe and find this confession. The public would reel. After all, almost nobody else in the world can possibly understand how someone, by the tender age of 28, can have calmly killed six members of her family. And then happily got on with the rest of her life, never to regret a thing.

A wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder.

Outrageously funny, compulsive and subversive, perfect for fans of Killing Eve and My Sister, the Serial Killer.

The Review

It is fair to say that How to Kill Your Family is not an ironic title for this book. In Bella Mackie’s story we meet Grace Bernard who sets out on a pilgrimage to kill the members of her family. All very Ronseal so far. It does what it says on the tin…or the book cover in this case.

Through the story we learn about Bella’s past. About the struggles of her mother and the absentee father and we see where she gets he homicidal motivation.

How to Kill Your Family reminded me of the Sweetpea by CJ Skuse. Yet what made the Sweetpea series so interesting is that the protagonist didn’t necessarily always justify her motivations which for me made the book more enjoyable and whilst I did really like How to Kill Your Family, Grace lacked the lackisdaisical and glib nature to make her a memorable serial killer.

How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie is available now.

For more information regarding Bella Mackie (@bellamackie) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: We Can Do Better than This – 35 Voices on the Future of LGBTQ+ Rights

Author: Amelia Abraham

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Random House UK

The Blurb

How can we create a better world for LGBTQ+ people? 35 extraordinary voices share their stories and visions for the future.

We talk about achieving ‘LGBTQ+ equality’, but around the world, LGBTQ+ people are still suffering discrimination and extreme violence. How do we solve this urgent problem, allowing queer people everywhere the opportunity to thrive?

In We Can Do Better Than This, 35 voices explore this question. Through deeply moving stories and provocative new arguments on safety and visibility, dating and gender, care and community, they map new global frontiers in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

Pabllo Vittar pleads for the end of hate murders, Olly Alexander champions inclusive sex education in schools, and Beth Ditto calls for a revolution in representation. Elsewhere, Mykki Blanco sets out a vision to end HIV stigma, Owen Jones demands improved LGBTQ+ mental health services, and Travis Alabanza imagines a world without gender policing.

Moving from the UK and USA to Russia, Bangladesh and beyond, this is a guide to understanding the crucial issues facing LGBTQ+ people today. But it’s also a passionate call to action and an important manifesto for how – together – we can start to create a better future.

Edited by journalist and author Amelia Abraham, with writing from:

Peppermint – Wolfgang Tillmans – Olly Alexander – Jonathan Anderson – Pabllo Vittar – Naoise Dolan – Amrou Al-Kadhi – Shura – Beth Ditto – Owen Jones – Riyadh Khalaf – Tom Rasmussen – Mykki Blanco – Phyll Opoku-Gyimah – Travis Alabanza – Yasmin Benoit – Mazharul Islam – Kate Bornstein – Adam Eli – Shon Faye – Fox Fisher – Hanne Gaby Odiele – Sasha Kazantseva – Andrew Gurza – Holland – Levi Hord – Juliet Jacques – Leticia Opio – madison moore – Matthew Riemer (@LGBT_History) – Vincent Desmond – Juno Roche – Bobbi Salvör Menuez – Carl Siciliano

The Review

During PRIDE month I read a fair bit of LGBTQIA+ writing. Come to think of it a large portion of my reading does link to the LGBTQIA+ community regardless of month. And much like the other texts that I have read We Can Do Better than This really hot home to me how far things have come but equally how far they still have to go.

With impassioned voices fighting the cause, We Can Do Better than This highlights the issues that are still so relevant and that I, as a cis white female, sometimes take for granted. It isn’t my lived experience. What I can do is be an ally.

We Can Do Better than This is a call to arms to get people to join in this fight for equality. It is essential reading and you should read it now.

We Can Do Better than This by Amelia Abraham is available now.

For more information regarding Amelia Abraham (@MillyAbraham) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhouse.com.

Title: The Phone Box at the Edge of the World

Author: Laura Imai Messina

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Bonnier Books

The Blurb

We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .

When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue. Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people will travel there from miles around.

Soon Yui will make her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.

What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking.

The Review

Nearly every book that I have read that has been translated from another language I have found to be enjoyable. The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina is no exception. It is the story of Yui. She is a survivor of a tsunami yet she is trapped by a tsunami of guilt over the death of her mother and daughter. When she hears of a telephone box that somehow helps victims of grief she is drawn on a pilgrimage to the spot. When she gets there Yui can’t bring herself to enter the phone box and we see her cling on to her guilt.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is a gorgeous story that is so hopeful about the future and discusses grief and promises that acceptance of loss does not mean that you are guilty but that life does move on. In allowing herself to move forward with her life she releases herself from survivors guilt.

Overall, The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is a story of loss and hope. The story is so beautifully told that you cannot help but feel uplifted by it.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina is available now.

For more information regarding Laura Imai Messina (@LaImsiMessina) please visit www.lauraimaimessina.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Books (@bonnierbooks_uk) please visit www.bonnierbooks.co.uk.