Book review: The Whites of Their Eyes: A Collection of Queer Horror by Xen Sanders

Blurb

There are no happy endings here.

In the town of Inverse, Silvino and Scott Orellano discover the darkness in their deepest hearts. At the cusp of a new life, Kane Orwell learns terrible truths whispered by a black and eldritch mouth. Torn between one identity and another, Shania Logan struggles to hold on to the fragments of her self. 

And standing on the threshold of the afterlife, a grieving wife balances between life and death on the flicker of a candle’s flame. 

Inverse. 

Insurrection. 

Mouth. 

Flicker. 

Four tales of horror, written from a queer perspective. In this collection of short stories and novellas, our heroes and heroines will explore the depths of terror both macabre and mundane–and live their darkest fears, reflected in the whites of their eyes.

Review:

This was some strong stuff, most of it quite intense, packing a powerfully visceral and psychological punch. Seriously, it was the stuff of nightmares. 

But it was also just incredibly good, very moving and so well written. 

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I guess one was Mouth, because I loved the relationship between Kane and Michio, even though that made the horror aspects of the story even harder to take. 

Mouth also contains these words, which so struck me with their feeling of familiarity; it’s one of the best descriptions of toxic shame and it’s causes, that I’ve ever read in a work of fiction. 

“He’d spent so long being told he had no right to exist, that he should apologize for being in this space or that, for taking up room, for breathing air.

It was like some deep harsh part of him demanded he apologize for his success, too, as if the entirety of the world was leaning in and saying how dare you.


How dare you, someone like you, want anything for yourself.

The other one I was especially drawn to was Flicker, because it was so full of love. Even though I cried all the way through, because the story of that love was told in context with it’s imminent, heartbreaking loss, it was still very beautiful.

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Looking for Group by Alexis Hall – Blog Tour with Giveaway

From Top to Bottom Reviews

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Please welcome Alexis Hall who kindly agreed to submit himself to our questions. We hope you have as much fun reading his asnwers as we did planning the questions. Here we go!

First of all, we want to thank you for agreeing to this interview. You’re one of our go-to authors, and we were really excited at the idea of getting to ask you some questions. We promise we’ll behave. We’ll do a few general questions, and then some related to your latest release Looking for Group.

What does your typical writing day look like? Do you have a writing schedule?

I’m actually full-time employed so I usually write in the evenings and weekends. I don’t particularly have a schedule, but I try to write every day if I can.

Where do you think you’re your most comfortable writing? Home? A café? The train station? The possibilities are endless and…

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For You

Wow, incredibly good post on this subject!

'Nathan Burgoine

One of the things about being a gay author of short fiction that usually finds itself on the more spec fic side of the street than the romantic is I’m not often a part of the romance culture as I’d like to be. I love romance, and a great deal of the short fiction I’ve written has definitely been gay romance, and even my first novel, Light, had a romantic sub-plot that was almost as weighty to the sum total of the book as the spec fic content was.

Often, this means I don’t often see a lot of the discussions that occur until they’re very well underway, and often those discussions have turned into a lot of anger before I see them at all. Which sort of sucks. I often only see a topic when someone posts a “This is So Damn Wrong!” post, a “It’s No Big…

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The Mythical Unicorn of LGBTQIA Novels (Or, the A doesn’t stand for Ally.)

Really important piece about asexuality!

Just Love: Queer Book Reviews

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I read a book last week that made the breath catch in my throat, made me pause and re-read a dialogue exchange once, twice, and then punch the air and shout “YES AWESOME!” That book was Part & Parcel by Abigail Roux. The scene that affected me so strongly was this one:

“Are you asexual?” Kelly asked carefully.

“That mean I don’t really like having sex?” Digger asked, and Kelly shrugged and nodded. “Then I guess so.”

I’ve discussed this a few times previously here on my blog. I am asexual. I am part of the approximately 1% of the world that is*. Think about that. 1% of the entire world is ace. That’s more than 70 million people. By comparison, only about 2% of the male population in the world identifies as gay. And yet there are thousands of books with gay romantic pairings, and only a handful with…

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Tuesday Night Book Review: Glitterland–A Spires Story by Alexis Hall

What a lovely review of Glitterland <3!

The Story Struggle and Beyond

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I just finished reading Alexis Hall’s Glitterland. I need a moment or thirty to get myself back in the right frame of mind to do anything other than flail and be relieved. Oh, who am I kidding? This book is going to dog me for days, if not weeks. (And, to be perfectly honest, perhaps even years.) I knew going into this I adored Alexis Hall as you may remember if you read my glowing review of For Real a few weeks ago, so I wasn’t surprised I liked the book, but I was surprised BY the book, if that makes any sense? Enough chatter from me.

Let’s begin in our usual way with the blurb, shall we?

The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash…

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You are oppressing us!

Wow, I think this is an important piece. Incredibly complicated & thought provoking.

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Those who are oppressed – who have to struggle to exist often by virtue of being a member of a group – are often judged as the oppressors. We only have to turn the pages of feminist history to know this. When lesbians demanded entry into feminist spaces, we were called a “lavender menace.” We got in the way of the project of making feminism more acceptable. To be rendered unacceptable is often to be treated as the ones with the power (the power to take something away). I recently heard a heterosexual feminist speak of lesbians in feminism in exactly these terms: as wielding all the power. When black women and women of colour spoke of racism in feminism we were heard, we are heard, as angry, mean and spiteful, as hurting white women’s feelings. The angry woman of colour is not only a feminist killjoy she is often…

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The Pronoun Talk

How not to hurt someone: Great post by J.K. Pendragon, about some very important things to keep in mind about book reviews & pronouns for trans & genderqueer people

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I wasn’t going to write this post. Originally this was going to be some “How to Review Trans Books” shit, but I reeeally didn’t want to do that for two reasons:

1. I really, professionally, do not want to ever write something that would suggest I have anything to say to reviewers about how they should review my books. I understand that reviews are not for me. I also understand that there is a long history of authors being absolute shit to reviewers, despite the fact that reviewers are pretty much integral to their success. Reviewers should be lifted up on a pedestal by authors, not dragged down and attacked.

2. I had really hoped that the few particularly transphobic reviews out there (not of my books, actually, but of other trans books) were just an anomaly. I wanted to believe that they were just trolls who were being mean…

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Guest Post and Giveaway: There Will Be Phlogiston by Alexis Hall

This is a fan-freakin’-tastic book & a great (and FREE!) introduction to Alexis Hall, if you haven’t read him before (& wow, if you haven’t, are you in for a treat!), as well as to his Prosperity universe stories.

The Novel Approach

Phlogiston_TourBannerHello, and welcome to the mini blog tour for There Will Be Phlogiston (released: 8th December), a free novella set in the Prosperityverse. Many thanks to Lisa at The Novel Approach for hosting me today!

To celebrate the release of Phlogiston, I’m also doing a little giveaway of any book from my backlist, which you can enter by entering the Rafflecopter below:

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In a town called…

Fantastic review of an utterly fantastic book!

A Very British Book Blog

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It seems fitting that the penultimate post on this blog will be a book review, finally.

Hopefully either just before, or just after Christmas I will be involved in a new review site so it will be all about books,  no more meandering about plays and gin; although of course I will continue to enjoy both of these, often simultaneously.

This is however a kind of review of Prosperity by Alexis Hall, and as Iron and Velvet was practically my first review there is a kind of completeness about it.

I was quite resistant to reading Prosperity, as Alexis is one of my favourite authors, and I’d heard that it was written in cant, which is a type of private language.  It sounded scary.

My grandparents were once part of a circus, and they spoke the circus language- Parlari, especially when they didn’t want us to know what they were…

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