Tag Archives: Young Adult

New Release: The Camp by Victoria Zagar #FF #MM @landale

0.2

Title: The Camp
Author Name & Publisher: Victoria Zagar (Torquere Books)
Publication Date & Length: August 5, 2015 – 27, 600 Words

Synopsis

Jesse Harvan comes home from school one day to find his parents have discovered the gay pornographic magazine hidden under his bed. Disgusted, they decide to send Jesse to Camp Grady, a summer camp which prides itself on converting people’s sexuality.

Once at the camp, Jesse meets the other inmates: Charlie, a disabled African-American gay teenager, Natalie, a transgender girl, her sister Lita, Japanese lesbian Sakura, and last of all, Minister Grady’s son Jacob, who works for the camp under duress. These teens must learn to bridge their differences and get along if they’re to beat their common enemy and keep their identities–and sanity–intact.

Add to GoodReads

Excerpt

I sit in the back of an old school bus that has been converted for the camp’s use. It rankles that I didn’t even get to say goodbye to Sam. Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me near him. I tried to send him an e-mail, but it was blocked. I didn’t have time to figure out how their new family-filter software worked. The next morning, I was on a plane to Pennsylvania, Mom and Dad accompanying me like this was some kind of family vacation. They left me at the airport and went their own way, transferring me directly to camp custody so that I wouldn’t get infected with any gay on the way.

I know I’ll be going back home eventually, but it doesn’t feel like it right now. I feel like Camp Grady will go on forever. My greatest fear is that the me who goes home won’t be the same as the one sitting here right now.

What if they can change me? What if they do have the power to fix me? That thought in my head argues with its natural opposite: I’m not broken. I won’t change. There’s nothing they can do to change who I am.

Last night I scared myself. I went onto the Internet and looked up ex-gay camps, which surprisingly were not filtered out. There are people who claim that they work. That they’ve thrown away partners, friends, and husbands because they’ve been ‘cured’. I read reports of abuse and beatings that made my stomach clench. I cried myself to sleep for the first time in a long time. I’m genuinely scared. How can something like this be legal? Apparently in California it isn’t. I wish I was a San Francisco kid. Maybe then my parents would be cool, and I wouldn’t feel so alone in the world.

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under F/F, M/M, New Release

5 Stars for Summer Love (An LGBTQ Collection) #MM #FF #Trans (CAROLINE HANLIN INTERVIEW)

SummerLove 400x600px COVER-Front

Title: Summer Love Anthology
Author Name: Ella J. Ash, Rachel Blackburn, H.J. Coulter, Caroline Hanlin, Suzie Ingold, Rachel Davidson Leigh, S.J. Martin, Amy Stilgenbauer
Publication Date & Length: June 23, 2015 – 276 pgs

Synopsis

SUMMARIES & AUTHOR BIOS

Beautiful Monsters

A campaign volunteer is assigned to assist his high school’s Gay Straight Alliance for the Pride Parade, forcing him to face the students he had previously avoided, and the truth about himself.

Author: Rachel Davidson Leigh is a writer, educator, and small town native who tells stories she wishes she could have read as a teen. Beautiful Monsters is her first published work of fiction. She lives in Wisconsin with her family and two dogs who are spoiled out of their tiny minds.

The Willow Weeps for Us

Jack, the young son of a grocer, falls for a charming piano teacher at the dawn of World War II.

Author: Suzey Ingold is a writer, linguist and coffee addict, currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Brought up in a household where children’s books are quoted over the dinner table, literature has always had a strong influence on her life. She enjoys travelling, scented candles and brunch.

The Fire Eater’s Daughter

When a traveling carnival comes back to town, Ruth must choose between caring for her mother and a life with the beautiful and mysterious Constance, the fire eater’s daughter.

Author: Amy Stilgenbauer is a writer and aspiring archivist currently based in southeast Michigan. She is the author of the novelette series, Season of the Witch, as well as the Young Adult novel, The Legend of League Park. When she isn’t writing, Amy enjoys all things bergamot and tries to keep her cats away from her knitting.

Surface Tension

Logan just wants a summer where he can be anonymous and fit in without labels, but that all changes when he meets out-and-proud Dave at summer camp.

Author: Ella J. Ash is a lawyer by day and an author by night. She has been a writer in online fan communities since 2006. She also enjoys dance parties with her family and cooking experimental vegetarian cuisine. She lives in Toronto with her partner, three daughters and four tropical fish.

My Best Friend

In a letter to his best friend, a young gay man reminisces about their relationship.

Author: H.J. Coulter lives in Winnepeg, Canada, where she works as a respite worker and studies music, in hopes of one day becoming a musical therapist. My Best Friend is her professional writing debut.

What the Heart Wants

A young student discovers attraction and desire through her experience drawing figures in her summer art class.

Author: Naomi Tajedler was born and raised in Paris, where art has always been a part of her life—including painting, restoring books, and working in auctions. She started writing in online fan communities in 2009.

The Most Handsome

Carter, a Cape Cod boy who recently came out as transgender, meets and falls in love with a college student visiting for the summer.

Author: S.J. Martin lives with his partner and their cranky, rotund cat in Washington D.C. He’s a barista by day and a writer by night. He makes a mean cappuccino and lives for good coffee, good books, and good company. The Most Handsome is his first published story.

Something Like Freedom

A boy finds a safe space from which to imagine a new future after leaving his conservative parents’ home, thanks in part to a new friend.

Author: Caroline Hanlin is a full time statistician, a part time stage manager, and an avid sports fan. She currently resides in Boston, where she enjoys writing during her commute. Something Like Freedom is her first published short story.

On the Shore

A young woman retreats to her parents’ beach house to nurse a broken heart, but instead meets a vivacious girl who helps her find joy again.

Author: Rachel Blackburn is a writer, musician and librarian based in central Ohio. When free from work, she enjoys cuddling with her cats, drinking tea, and baking more cupcakes than necessary. On the Shore is her professional writing debut.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

This is a wonderful collection of stories about first summertime romances.  The stories are about young adult characters, but they will resonate with anyone who has ever enjoyed or dreamed of a summer romance.  Bonfires, beaches and summer jobs form the backdrop to stories about first glances, first kisses and first touches.

Unlike many anthologies, the content here is cohesive and the writing is consistently excellent.  I was surprised by the stories I was most drawn to.   I loved Ella J. Ash’s story, Surface Tension,  about a summer camp romance.  Naomi Tajedler’s story, What the Heart Wants, about a young girl’s sexual awakening in art class, is a beautiful, emotionally honest piece.  I also loved Rachel Blackburn’s On the Shore, a sweetly exuberant story of a beach romance. I found The Most Handsome by SJ Martin, the story of a transexual boy’s first romance, to be compelling and beguiling.

This is such a great collection.  I think it will make young LGBTQ readers feel hopeful while it makes the rest of us nostalgic.  A wonderful summer read.

Sarah

Excerpt

Beautiful Monsters

By Rachel Davidson Leigh

“Glad to see you could join the party,” Terrence deadpans, pressing a rainbow bandana into André’s hand. André grabs a second bandana out of the bag, stuffs one in each of his back pockets, and then goes in for a third.

“Cody was checking out the parade route,” André replies, in a smooth lie. “It turns out we’re still walking six blocks through absolutely nothing and then calling it a day.” Terrence laughs, and, as he turns away, André presses a handkerchief into Cody’s hand. “Use it wisely,” he whispers into Cody’s ear. “You’re one of us now.”

One of us. He’s never been part of an “us.” Cody stares down at the lines on the handkerchief and then at the two patches of color on the back of André’s jeans as he walks toward the arriving cars.

Cody expects panic, but it doesn’t come. Maybe he isn’t ready to be Gay with a capital G, but if “us” can mean being one of these idiots, then maybe he’s ready to have people of his own. As he watches the sharp sway of André’s hips, the heat rising up his neck doesn’t feel like fear. It feels like… clarity, as though the run put everything in perspective and now he can’t stop seeing André in crisp, dazzling color.

Someone presses a sign into his hand and guides him toward the parade staging area with the rest of the crew. Once again, he can’t hear himself think over the din, but it’s different now. At the meeting, and for years before that in the hallways, he felt like an invader locked out by a wall of sound, and now he’s somehow wandered inside.

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under 5 Star, F/F, M/M, Review, Sarah, Trans

5 Stars for The Rules of Ever After by Killian B. Brewer (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #YoungAdult #Romance @killianbbrewer

Rules cover

Title: The Rules of Ever After
Author Name: Killian B. Brewer
Publication Date & Length: June 9, 2015 – 256 pgs

Synopsis

The rules of royal life have governed the kingdoms of Clarameer for thousands of years, but Prince Phillip and Prince Daniel know that these rules don’t provide for the happily ever after they seek. A fateful, sleepless night on top of a pea set under twenty mattresses brings the two young men together and sends them on a quest out into the kingdoms.

On their travels, they encounter meddlesome fairies, an ambitious stepmother, disgruntled princesses and vengeful kings as they learn about life, love, friendship, and family. Most of all, the two young men must learn to know themselves and how to write their own rules of ever after.

The Rules of Ever After is the debut novel from Duet Books, an imprint for Young Adult LGBTQ fiction from Interlude Press.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

I don’t know how to describe this book in a way that captures its grandeur. Every adjective I come up with is diminishing. Fairy tale. Humor. Adventure. Trope-bending. Epic. It’s more than the sum of its parts. Though, per “epic” it is quite long. Too long to be a light romp. This, my friends, is a novel.
It has multiple plot lines that all come together at the end! Different perspectives that are so fluid they aren’t jolting. Puns that evoke happiness, not despair.
Anyway, Prince Phillip is living a Hamlet-esque existence with his evil aunt-turned-stepmother, who’s trying to marry him off to various princesses for Reasons, and he keeps thwarting her for Other Reasons, and then halfway through the book everything’s New Reasons, which, spoiler. When Phillip finds a man-prince in his bed instead of another woman-princess, he gets an idea.
Which, right there, isn’t that our secret fantasy? Marrying a royal of our appropriate gender and living happier ever after? I mean, it’s mine.
Anyway, Prince Daniel, meanwhile, is living a Prince Harry-like existence. He decides to go wandering about with his bros all over the kingdom. Also, he has Insomnia. THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Everyone but the villain is nice, affable, funny, and heroic. This is a “light” novel, but it is not a “shallow” novel. It is escapist in the best sense.
Killian states in his bio that it took 20 years to produce this novel. Which 1) shows in its glorious tight details and his GRRM world-building, and 2) is an international tragedy, because he should be writing one a year.
C.E. Case

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under 5 Star, C. E. Case, M/M, New Release, Review

New Release: Coming Out Catholic by Alex Dunkin #YoungAdult #MM @AlexDunkin

comingoutcatholic1400

Title: Coming Out Catholic
Author Name & Publisher: Alex Dunkin (Torquere Press/Prizm Books)
Publication Date: May 27, 2015

Synopsis

Like all good Catholic boys I care what Jesus thinks. Jesus the man, and the faith. Following him make me happy. There’s just one issue… I think I’m gay. Well, it’s hard to be sure going to an all-boys school. It could be simply liking what I know and really, oh so very, liking what I see all day, guys. Being gay and Catholic can’t possible work together. Can it?

Coming Out Catholic follows a year in the life of a private Catholic school student as he comes to terms with his sexuality. Armed with sarcasm and his best friend Mark, he prepares to take on the school thug and the awkward social encounters plaguing his late teenage years.

Confronting himself and his family are just the beginning of his trials. He learns he must find solace with his sexual desires without surrendering any of his faith. He loves both too much but when the time comes he will have to know which one he has to give up or prepare to succumb to a life of denial.

Excerpt

Here I am, on my knees in front of this man. Anyone would think that by sixteen this act would come naturally to me now, but it doesn’t. I’m a bit bothered by the submission implied by my position, but I’m told this is what makes the experience so powerful. My knees ache, my back grows stiff from the monotonously repetitious back-and-forth movement, and all for this one half-naked man in front of me. I look up at him, try to make eye-contact, but his face is averted. Everyone says that I’m supposed to get something amazing out of this too, but I never feel it. All I feel is the wood I kneel upon. Seriously, who uses so much wood when building a place like this? There’s not even a cushion. God, it hurts more now. When I have my own place one day, every room will be carpeted, no question about it. Lots of carpet and fine rugs to soften the place. No wood.

I’m over it now; I just want it to be over. I can’t pull out now though, because people will talk. I know my reputation isn’t a good one, but I can’t afford for it to get worse. I keep rocking back and forth, hoping it will be done soon. I can tell it won’t be long now from the rising vocals – not a word I can decipher but still so full of meaning. I can feel the tension growing, feel something rising up within. Wait for it. Almost there. I forget the pain that infuses my knees with the thought that it is close to over. Almost there… at last. I ready my tongue in preparation; taste the life essence from the flesh of my savior in my mouth. I swallow it quickly, feeling dirty.

The last echo dies from the room, and then: “Amen.”

And then it’s my turn. “Amen.”

Thank God that’s over. I hate communion at the best of times, and it’s even worse at school. Sure, it’s fun to mock and fool around with Father Donovan in religious education classes, but his sermons leave a bad taste in my mouth. It doesn’t make me want to purge my sins, just my breakfast. But I’m glad now that I can dust off my pants and wander back into class to daydream of a world outside of my own, and usually about my classmates. Our school is all boys, so understandably most of my close friends are guys and I’m more comfortable with the thought of interacting with members of my sex, but in the dreaming something else lingers in the back of my mind. Something strange and enticing tickles the back of my mind and hijacks my dream onto awkward yet exhilarating sexual encounters with guys from my class. I’m not sure if that’s normal. I haven’t spent much time around girls to see if they would venture into the daydreams just as naturally as the guys do.

The proper teachers quickly usher us onto our next class. By ‘proper’ I mean they actually went to university and studied education to learn how to teach from someone other than God. Not that I’ve turned apostate – I keep faith in his wisdom and his grace – but I can’t bring myself to believe that a loving God intended his Word to be exactly like how the priests preach it. Until they iron out the crinkles in the fine print in the Bible I think I might listen to the actual biology teacher who knows about evolution, even though I’m not sure I understand it myself, but look how Mark’s short blonde spikes always seem to be in the same place every day. And I’m happy to believe my physics teacher when he tells me about the Big Bang, although Mark’s hair is always perfect, never a hair out of place. Then there are his striking blue eyes, bright to the point of glowing. And he always smells so good. He’s like one of the those plants I am sure the teacher is talking about now, that looks beautiful from a distance, luring in unsuspecting prey, and then capturing them as soon as they get too close, digesting them slowly. What was I talking about again before I got side-tracked… oh yeah. I’m going to hell. At least that’s the deal according to the priestly teachings. And so maybe that’s the best way to describe Mark, a beautiful trap and a hell of a best friend. The more time I spend with him the more my feelings towards boys are confirmed, but I couldn’t allow myself to fall into a trap that meant losing my friends, my family, my beliefs… my entire life.

I’m in the tenth grade now and these feelings have been growing (I like to think of it as blossoming) for quite some time. My feelings towards other guys, I mean. I think I like guys, and in a special kind of way. These feelings excite me, but they scare me more, and I don’t think I can follow through with them. The faith I was raised in prevents me from even considering the possibility that I might like guys. How can I live a good Catholic life, and have a family and children, and be accepted into heaven if I like guys?

Most boys my age constantly think and talk just about sex, and in an all-boys college there’s plenty of opportunity to share stories. I have heard some wonderfully graphic tales about their conquests, who pandered to the every sexual desire of a few of the guys in my class. And while I was vaguely aware most of it was boasting to cover that their first, three-second sexual encounter still blew their pubescent minds but still left them feeling inadequate, I’m honestly in no position to judge. I’ve never had sex, let alone good sex.

BuyTheBook

Torquere Books
Prizm Books

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under M/M, New Release

5 and 3 Stars for Love Spell by Mia Kerick #MM #YoungAdult @MiaKerick

Photo

Title: Love Spell
Author Name: Mia Kerick
Publication Date & Length: June 1, 2015 – 44,300 Words

Synopsis

Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.

As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.)  However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.” But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.

An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

Add to GoodReads

Review

 FiveStarsI would really love some of the young people in my life to read this story. With honest, flamboyant flair, Kerick manages to capture the angst of a teen who finds himself in love, but without a clear sense of gender identity.But this isn’t just an angsty story – it is funny. And sweet. And clever.I have to admit I almost didn’t read past the first five pages. At the start, Chance Cesar’s voice grated. Camp as Christmas and incredibly smug, he first struts across the stage as a femme drama queen. But slowly, carefully, Kerick peels back Chance’s bravado, eliminates his public mask and reveals his strength, his kindness and his insecurities.

Fans of John Green’s books will really enjoy the honest teen voices in this story. The relationships between Emily and Chance and Chance and Jasper are beautifully written. The gritty realism of Jasper’s life contrasts brutally with the more superficial problems plaguing Emily and Chance.

Young adult books have come so far – this is a gem and it is a pleasure to read.

Sarah
ThreeStar
I was really interested in this book because there are not enough books about trans and genderqueer people, and I really like reading about characters outside the binaries. I also thought the concept–trying to catch a boyfriend with a cheesy online article–was funny and cute.

Unfortunately, this was a great idea with poor execution. Most of the characters came across as stereotypes. Chance felt a lot more like a Hollywood gay cliche than a genderqueer kid. I liked how he was just his own person, but unfortunately, it mostly served to make him seem far removed from his peers. I was disappointed that Jazz, too, felt like a stereotype of a working-class kid, complete with being in the tech school (as though rich kids can’t be in tech school and poor kids must be). Emily ended up feeling like a flat character and a prop for Chance rather than a person in her own right.

The writing itself was very challenging. It is full of text-speak/text-spelling and adolescent “lingo” that felt over-the-top and unrealistic. If that had been toned down a lot, I think it would have been more enjoyable just on that alone.

The best parts of this were Chance’s musings about his gender. There was some great, brutally honest stuff in there, and his own self-discovery was excellent. I wish that had been drawn out more and explored in more ways than mostly his fashion choices. At times, his thoughts actually came across as sexist and like gender lines in the sand (such as being “emotional” equating to femininity, referring to breasts as “fashion accessories,” or “hanging out and talking” being a guy thing). When he was honest about how he felt about his identity, it became much less of a stereotype and much more natural and real.

I would be hesitant to give this to a person struggling with gender identity. It felt like the story tried to do too much in too small a space. I’m not convinced it’s the best or most realistic expression of gender identity issues. Despite that, there was some fun to be had, and the storyline itself was sweet, with a decent payoff at the end.

Amy

BuyTheBook

Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3 Star, 5 Star, Amy, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah

Cover Reveal: Love Spell by Mia Kerick #MM #YoungAdult @MiaKerick

Photo

Title: Love Spell
Author Name: Mia Kerick
Publication Date & Length: June 1, 2015 – 44,300 Words

Synopsis

Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.

As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.)  However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.” But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.

An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

Add to GoodReads

Excerpt

Not to say that I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days, but I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days. Yes, I was oh-so-pathetically waiting for his call, which I am aware fully explains the need for the phrase “get a life.” But Jazz hadn’t been at school on the Thursday or Friday after he had called and cancelled our playdate, and now it’s Sunday night, and I still haven’t heard from him. And although I’m frustrated that all of my elaborate plans to make him fall head over heels in love with moi have apparently tanked, I’m also growing genuinely concerned.

That’s when my cell phone, which I placed on my chest before I lay down on my now “love-spell-pink” wrapped mattress, starts singing Express Yourself.

“Yo.” I don’t check the number. It’s Emmy—who else would it be?

“Hi, Chance.” The deep voice is so not Emmy’s.

Yaaassss!!! This is what ninety-nine percent of my insides shout. One percent says quietly, “It’s about frigging time you called, asshole.”

But my voice is calm. “Jasper,” I say blandly. In my opinion, he hasn’t earned the right to be called Jazz any longer.

“Um, sorry, no. It’s Jazz.”

I try not to roll my eyes even though I know he won’t see, but it’s an epic fail. “Whatever.”

“I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch for a couple days. My mom’s been real sick. I was lookin’ after her, gettin’ her to the doctor, goin’ to the pharmacy, bringing JoJo back and forth to school, and stuff.”

Oh.

“Mom caught JoJo’s strep throat and had to go to the ER because she couldn’t even swallow.” He stops talking for a second and then clears his voice. “Alls she could do was spit into a rag whenever she needed to swallow.”

Well, that’s definitely TMI, but I get the fucker-nelly revolting picture. “I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault, dude.”

And then there’s silence.

“Gonna take JoJo to the library after school tomorrow. But first I gotta stop by the cable company and pay up or we’re gonna lose our TV and internet at home. They already warned us like twice.”

“Want me to pick up Yolo at school and take her to the library?” I’m so freaking pissed off at him. Why am I offering to save his ass again?

“That’s cool of you to offer, but there’s a bus she can take to the library from her school. Could ya be waiting for her at the library, in case I get held up?”

“Of course.” I’m a Class A sucker.

“You’re such a cool pal.” Ugh—so not what I’m going for.

“Thanks.”

“I’m not gonna be at lunch tomorrow seein’ as I’ll probably be collecting my makeup work. So, I’ll see ya at the library. ‘Kay?”

I don’t say kkkk cuz it’s not even slightly cool. “Sure. The libes after school, it is.”

“Thank you, bro,” Jazz offers.

One more silence, and then I say, “Later.”

I have research to do.

AuthorBio

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

SocialLinks

Facebook
Twitter
Author’s Website
Author’s GoodReads Page

2 Comments

Filed under Cover Reveal, M/M, Sarah

5 Star review for Go Your Own Way by Zane Riley M/M Romance @ZaneNebula

24675122

Title : Go Your Own Way

Author: Zane Riley

Publication Date and Length: 5-5-2015 326 pages

Synopsis

Will Osborne couldn’t wait to put the roller coaster ride of his public education behind him. Having suffered bullying and harassment since grade school, he planned a senior year that would be simple and quiet before going away to college and starting fresh. But when a reform school transfer student struts into his first class, Will realizes that the thrill ride has only just begun.

Lennox McAvoy is an avalanche. He’s crude, flirtatious, and the most insufferable, beautiful person Will’s ever met. From his ankle monitor to his dull smile, Lennox appears irredeemable. But when Will’s father falls seriously ill, Will discovers that there is more to Lennox than meets the eye.

goodreads add to

Review

FiveStars

Zane Riley’s first book contains beguiling characters, complex relationships and a healthy dose of teen angst. It is one of the best young/new adult books I’ve read in quite a while.

Lennox is that mythical fantasy creature – the tortured bad boy with a heart of gold.  He is a perfect match for the preppy Will.  Both boys are beautiful and clever.  Their banter is witty and their chemistry is hot.

I love the complexity of Go Your Own Way.  Zane Riley manages to weave several subplots across each other with the dexterity of a much more experienced writer.  Lennox and Will struggle with much more than attraction.  The boys learn an awful lot about family, loss and love.  ~Sarah

BuyTheBook

 

Amazon US http://amzn.to/1EawCed

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1Evk6ar

Amazon CA http://amzn.to/1KlVySa

AuthorBio

SocialLinks

Twitter http://bit.ly/1PJg5D1

Goodreads http://bit.ly/1EvjFx2

Facebook http://on.fb.me/1bJ55HF

Leave a Comment

Filed under 5 Star, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah

4 stars for Every Inferno by Johanna Parkhurst #MM #YoungAdult #mystery #comingofage @johannawriteson

EveryInfernoORIG

Title: Every Inferno
Author Name: Johanna Parkhurst
Publication Date & Length: July 24, 2014 – 180 pgs

Synopsis

Depressed. Defiant. Possible alcoholic. These are just a few of the terms used to describe fifteen-year-old Jacob Jasper Jones. Lately, though, JJ has a new one to add to the list: detective. He’s been having strange dreams about the fire that killed his parents ten years ago, and he thinks he finally has the clue to catching the arsonist who destroyed his family.

A murder investigation isn’t the only thing the dreams trigger for JJ. They also lead to secret meetings with his estranged sister, an unlikely connection with a doctor who lost his daughter in the fire, and a confusing friendship with McKinley, a classmate of JJ’s who seems determined to help him solve the mystery.

All JJ wants is to shake the problems that have followed him since that fire, and he’s convinced he must catch the arsonist to do it. But as JJ struggles to find the culprit, he sees there’s more than one mystery in his life he needs to solve.

Add to GoodReads

Review

 FourStars

This story has some triggers – alcoholism, death, suicide, mental health issues and arson.
JJ is such a wonderfully written character. Because Parkhurst wrote about JJ’s past, you really come to understand his mindset – his struggles and his achievements.
Dr. Ben was someone who JJ needed and I loved how despite having a similar tragedy, Dr. Ben’s perspective was mature and helped guide JJ rather than feed the fire within. I think this book would have seriously been lacking if Dr. Ben was not a part of the story. Dr. Ben was able to provide perspective to JJ in a way that no other person had.
Then there is the lovable McKinley. JJ and him have a somewhat complicated relationship at first. But, because they are both young and are working through their relationship, I can understand why some of the childish tantrums that McKinley throws are necessary.
The friend who adopted Penny – I do not even want to use her name – what a b**ch! I could throttle her and I really wish we would have seen what she would have to say for herself when she learned what her precious Patrick had said to 6 year old JJ.  I wanted more from that aspect – but was glad that JJ was maturing enough to say what he had to say, but not harp on it.
The mystery of this story was both tragic and redeeming all in one. It helped tie the story lines together and show that while sometimes the past is harmful and hurtful – you can overcome with support and love.
Great story.
~AvidReader

BuyTheBook

Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble

Excerpt

A SMELL that wasn’t there before filled the bathroom.

JJ drew in a deep breath, trying to match the scent to anything that might already exist in his short memory. It was a difficult scent to describe: like pine trees, but not the real ones in his backyard. More like the smell of the stuff his father used to clean the kitchen floor.

He tried to push off the sudden sense of apprehension that filled him; who cared if someone else had also come into the restroom? This was his town, the tiny world he had spent his entire five years in, and there was a good chance he knew whoever else had just joined him.

Even if he didn’t know anyone who went around smelling like pine trees.

JJ took a few breaths and flushed the toilet, eager to get back to the movie and his parents.

As he shoved the door of the stall open, though, the scent grew stronger. The person who had brought the scent in with him—a man—was facing the wall across the room. He was wearing a backpack and hugging his arms to his chest.

“I did it… I did it,” the man whispered. “I finally did it.”

JJ moved to the sinks, more eager than ever to return to the comforting gaze of his mother. But the noise of his sneakers against the tile alerted the man to JJ’s presence, and now the stranger was turning around to face him.

It was the oddest sensation to only be able to see certain details of a person: blue jeans, a red long-sleeve shirt. And then a detail so clear it almost seemed to be the only thing JJ could see: the outline of a long and winding paintbrush, tattooed on the man’s hand, snaking down from just below his thumb to where it disappeared beneath the cuff of his shirt.

But nothing else. No other details were there. The man was faceless. The color of hair was… what was it? It was as if it had never been there.

Then JJ could see nothing, and all he could hear was the man shouting. Something about how JJ shouldn’t be there, and he couldn’t know, and it wasn’t time yet….

The pain began then. Horrible, burning, pain, and JJ knew he was screaming, but he couldn’t hear himself over the roaring in his ears. He needed to find the door, the door, where was the door—

JACOB JASPER Jones woke up sweating, twisted into a trap of sheets and blankets. He frantically cast his eyes around the walls of his bedroom, looking for anything that would remind him he was not in that restroom again. There was the Modest Mouse poster, his bookshelf, the old dresser that had once belonged to his aunt—yes, he was safe.

Safe from what? Or who?

JJ quietly wrestled with the covers, thankful that he wasn’t a screamer and didn’t seem to have woken Aunt Maggie up. If it was up to JJ, Maggie would never know that JJ was having dreams about that day again.

They’d started about a month ago. Before then JJ had never dreamed anything specific about the fire. The nightmares were always vague and mushy, filled with flames and noise and not much else.

Not like this dream. This dream was clear and specific and so real it was as though JJ was reenacting every detail from that day. Right up until the end, when the faceless man turned and everything went black.

It was so vivid that JJ was starting to think it might be more than just a dream. That it might be a memory.

AuthorInterview

  • Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?

 

I love writing in a comfortable chair in my office or outdoors on my patio in the sunshine. Wherever I feel relaxed and at peace—that’s where I’m likely to do my best writing.

 

  • Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?

 

I relate strongly to Jack from Here’s to You, Zeb Pike. His desire to help others (whether they want to be helped or not) is something that resonates greatly with me. I don’t think I have half the patience that Jack does, though!

 

  • If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?

I definitely need a creative outlet of some kind, so if I had to give up writing, I’d need to replace it with something else creative. Maybe sculpture or pottery? I’m always thought it would be fun to play with clay.

 

  • Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?

Beta readers make life infinitely better! I used to write in a vacuum, not showing anyone a draft until I was so deep into it that I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. Now I have a circle of fantastic beta readers who tell it to me straight when I’ve got a story line that just isn’t working AND who keep my confidence up when I’m ready to give up on writing. It’s a much happier writing life all around.

 

  • Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?

The ending of Every Inferno sometimes garners criticism because the book plays with elements of the mystery genre and doesn’t follow all the traditions of the genre…which frustrates some readers. So sometimes I imagine a world where I’d written the end of the book differently. But I also write the ending the way I did for a reason, and I like the way it turned out. So I don’t think I’ll ever want to change it.

 

  • How do you come up with new ideas for your story?

They come from all over! Often I get ideas from watching my students (I’m a teacher) or news stories I read about. I once saw YA author Gordan Korman speak, and he said the best way to imagine a new story idea is to ask yourself a “what if” question. (I.e. what if a boy started having dreams about the person who killed his parents?) So I spend a lot of time asking myself “what if” questions. Often in random places, where people then give me funny looks and wonder why I’m talking to myself.

 

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I just finished drafting the sequel to my first book, Here’s to You, Zeb Pike. That project’s taken me forever to finish, so I’m excited to be one step closer to a finished product.

 

  • Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?

 

I live in Colorado and I grew up in Vermont, so most of my books are set in one place or the other. Both are places I know well and love, so it’s natural for me to put my characters in these settings. I do want to branch out soon and start writing into some different settings.

 

  • What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?

I love stories, so I’ll read in almost any genre. I just finished a spectacular fantasy novel and immediately followed it up with a romance. Next on the list is a YA sci-fi book.

 

  • Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?

Travel is, in some ways my worst vice. I love to travel and I’ll spend far too much money on trips…on the other hand, travel makes me happy, and I think it makes me a better person and a better writer. So I’m not completely convinced it’s a vice. J

AuthorBio

Johanna Parkhurst grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont before relocating to the rocky mountains of Colorado. She spends her days helping teenagers learn to read and write and her evenings writing things she hopes they’ll like to read. She strives to share stories of young adults who are as determined, passionate, and complex as the ones she shares classrooms with.

Johanna holds degrees from Albertus Magnus College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves traveling, hiking, skiing, watching football, and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband.

SocialLinks

Tumblr
Twitter
Author’s Website
Author’s GoodReads Page

Leave a Comment

Filed under 4 Star, AvidReader, M/M, Review

3.5 Stars for Come to My Window by Mia Kerick – #Lesbian #FF #YoungAdult #GenderIdentity

unnamed (1)

Title: Come to My Window
Author Name: Mia Kerick
Publication Date & Length: January 15, 2015 – 182pgs

Synopsis

Justine Laraby and Kemina Lopez are intimate acquaintances yet they have never exchanged so much as a single word. For months, high school senior Justine, and famed model, “Kemina, the Baby Vixen” of Nightingale Lingerie, have been peering at each other across a narrow alley between brownstones in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This mutual observation soon turns into the exchange of handwritten messages on signs they hold up whenever they come to their bedroom windows. Via this “sign language,” a friendship grows, and Justine learns that Kemina is, like her, a high school senior, but with a controlling mother and a modeling career that requires her to maintain an unnaturally thin physique. And through the window, she also witnesses her new friend exercising fanatically, hoarding food, and being physically and emotionally abused by her ambitious mother.

Window messages evolve into clandestine meetings and soon a tentative romance blooms. But Justine must come to terms with her own “mommy issues,” as well as accept her gender identity and sexual orientation, before she can provide Kemina with the support she needs to survive a family life that resembles a ruthless business transaction.

Will Justine be strong enough to throw open the window so Kemina can escape society’s suffocating expectations?

Add to GoodReads

Review

ThreeandHalfStars

I found this to be an unusual and unlikely storyline.  Two teenage girls watch each other from each other’s windows.  They begin writing notes to each other they press up against the window.  It is through this form of communication they develop a friendship which grows into more as they decide to meet outside of their four walls.

Justine attends a private school and Kemina does an online school so she can pursue her modeling for Nightgale Lingerie.  When Kemina is not studying, going on photo shoots, she is exercising in her room and being weighed and measured by her controlling mother.  Kemina’s mother (only known as Mrs. Lopez) is her manager.  She supports both of them with money made by her modeling career.

Kemina invites Justine over one evening via note to the window when she mom is out for the evening.  It seems like Kemina is not satisfied with seeing Justine the few times she has in public.  Unfortunately, their first kiss is interrupted by Mrs. Lopez coming home early.  Being teenagers, they lie and say they were studying.  Justine goes home.

What I did like about this book was the fact that Kemina wants to start a new line of clothing for women who aren’t a size 2 and can be proud of their bodies.  Not surprisingly, her mom goes ballistic and Justine tells Kemina she can stay at her house so she can be safe.

Kemina does start a new clothing line with Nightgale Lingerine and begins spending late nights working with designers.  One evening Justine cannot get in touch with Kemina and is getting ready to go to sleep and looks into Kemina’s old room.  She sees suitcases open on her bed full of clothes, but there is no one in the room.  She tells her dad her fears and they go to Kemina’s house.  I was shocked to read what Mrs. Lopez had done.  She put Kemina in the backseat, gagged her and zip–tied her hands behind her back.  Guess she was really mentally unbalanced after all.  The police are called and Mrs. Lopez is called and is arrested.

This would be a good book for Young Adults who are worried about being a size 2.  They can read this and know it is okay to be the size you are.

Angela

BuyTheBook

Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

Teaser

CTMWRC

Excerpt

But it’s not until the screen fills with the image of this baby seal,
all white and fluffy with dark vulnerable eyes that we both gasp a
little bit and then turn to look at each other. I can feel her breath on
my lips and my nose is nearly touching hers, and, well, I don’t know
about Kemina, but I’m all kinds of spellbound by this moment. She
reaches up and touches my jaw, just below my ear, with this soft
brush of her fingertips, and I have no choice but to lean down and
kiss her. Not that I was looking too hard for another option. Cuz I
wasn’t.
I kind of thought that my first kiss would be like an electric
shock or the sharp poke of cupid’s dart or fireworks exploding in a
dark night sky, but it’s not like any of those things. The way it feels
when my lips touch Kemina’s is soft and gentle and tender. It’s a
yielding of her mouth to mine, and then mine to hers. It’s an intimate
moment that’s breathy and warm and sweet and just ours.
“Ummmm….” She lets out this sound that makes me think of
how it feels to sink into a hot bath after a long afternoon of ice
skating in frigid temperatures. “That was my first real kiss.”
“Real kiss?” I ask. Our lips are only about an inch apart. I have
a strong feeling that her second real kiss is only a moment away.

AuthorBio

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

SocialLinks

Facebook
Twitter
Author’s Website
Author’s GoodRead Page

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3.5 Stars, F/F, New Release, Review

5 Stars for Come to My Window by Mia Kerick – #Lesbian #FF #YoungAdult #GenderIdentity

unnamed (1)

Title: Come to My Window
Author Name: Mia Kerick
Publication Date & Length: January 15, 2015 – 182pgs

Synopsis

Justine Laraby and Kemina Lopez are intimate acquaintances yet they have never exchanged so much as a single word. For months, high school senior Justine, and famed model, “Kemina, the Baby Vixen” of Nightingale Lingerie, have been peering at each other across a narrow alley between brownstones in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This mutual observation soon turns into the exchange of handwritten messages on signs they hold up whenever they come to their bedroom windows. Via this “sign language,” a friendship grows, and Justine learns that Kemina is, like her, a high school senior, but with a controlling mother and a modeling career that requires her to maintain an unnaturally thin physique. And through the window, she also witnesses her new friend exercising fanatically, hoarding food, and being physically and emotionally abused by her ambitious mother.

Window messages evolve into clandestine meetings and soon a tentative romance blooms. But Justine must come to terms with her own “mommy issues,” as well as accept her gender identity and sexual orientation, before she can provide Kemina with the support she needs to survive a family life that resembles a ruthless business transaction.

Will Justine be strong enough to throw open the window so Kemina can escape society’s suffocating expectations?

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

This is a terrific book. I couldn’t put it down, and I didn’t want it to end. Both the narrator, Justine, and the other main character, Kemina, are complex, interesting girls. The pleasure is in watching them unfold through the story.

Justine is a great narrator–honest, sometimes brutally so, but likable nonetheless. From putting her father’s girlfriend in her place to admitting her own struggles, she tells it like it is. I loved her interactions with her world. She’s the kind of person girls can admire for her ability to withstand whatever is thrown at her.

I loved the theme of perfection woven into the story and how every character struggles with it in different ways. There is definitely a pretty clear black-and-white line between the truly evil characters and everyone else, but there are also a lot of shades of gray. There’s also an undertone of hope and forgiveness in the side plot about Justine’s mother and her ongoing battle with addiction.

Someday, I hope to share this book with my own daughter. It’s a good one for parents of girls to read and talk about, especially with regard to body image, perfection, and what it means to be beautiful.

5 stars

Amy

BuyTheBook

Amazon
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

Teaser

CTMWRC

Excerpt

But it’s not until the screen fills with the image of this baby seal,
all white and fluffy with dark vulnerable eyes that we both gasp a
little bit and then turn to look at each other. I can feel her breath on
my lips and my nose is nearly touching hers, and, well, I don’t know
about Kemina, but I’m all kinds of spellbound by this moment. She
reaches up and touches my jaw, just below my ear, with this soft
brush of her fingertips, and I have no choice but to lean down and
kiss her. Not that I was looking too hard for another option. Cuz I
wasn’t.
I kind of thought that my first kiss would be like an electric
shock or the sharp poke of cupid’s dart or fireworks exploding in a
dark night sky, but it’s not like any of those things. The way it feels
when my lips touch Kemina’s is soft and gentle and tender. It’s a
yielding of her mouth to mine, and then mine to hers. It’s an intimate
moment that’s breathy and warm and sweet and just ours.
“Ummmm….” She lets out this sound that makes me think of
how it feels to sink into a hot bath after a long afternoon of ice
skating in frigid temperatures. “That was my first real kiss.”
“Real kiss?” I ask. Our lips are only about an inch apart. I have
a strong feeling that her second real kiss is only a moment away.

AuthorBio

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

SocialLinks

Facebook
Twitter
Author’s Website
Author’s GoodRead Page

Leave a Comment

Filed under 5 Star, Amy, F/F, New Release, Review