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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Ouroboros

 

Ouroboros
(Circuit Fae #2)

Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: March 2018
Genres: LGBTQ+, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Syl’s a princess of the fair Fae.

Her girlfriend Rouen is a princess of the dark Fae.

Mortal enemies. Girlfriends.

Relationship status: It’s Complicated

All introverted geek girl Syl Skye wants is to get close to her girlfriend. But when you can kill with a simple touch, a normal date night’s not really in the cards. As it happens, Syl is also a sleeper-princess of the fair Fae. Last year after a freak accident, her power Awakened, granting her white flame to purify the darkness.

Rouen Rivoche is that darkness—a dark Fae princess whose power to bewitch mortals is as terrifying as the violet lightning she controls. Rouen is Syl’s total opposite. Her mortal enemy.

She’s also Syl’s beloved girlfriend.

And even though they joined forces to defeat the evil Circuit Fae who harnessed the killing magic in technology to take over the school…that was so last year.

Now, Syl’s touch could mean Rouen’s death. Her increasing power is spiraling out of control, threatening to burn down everything she and Rouen have built together.

Their lives, their love, their very world..

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Raised by witches and dragons in the northern wilds, GIE writes angsty urban fantasy YA romance–where girls who are mortal enemies kick butt, take names, and fall in love against all odds.

She enjoys long hikes in the woods (where better to find the fair folk?), believing in fairies (in fact, she’s clapping right now), dancing with dark elves (always wear your best shoes), being a self-rescuing princess (hello, black belt!), and writing diverse books about teenage girls finding love, romance, and their own inner power.

She might be planning high tea at the Fae Court right now.

GIE is multi-published, and in her role as an editor has helped hundreds of authors make their dream of being published a reality.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Newsletter

 

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Blog Tour, Teasers, Giveaway, and Review: Freak

Freak banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for Freak by Erin Lee. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 27 June till 3 July. See the tour schedule here.

FreakFreak
by Erin Lee
Genre: LBGT/ Contemporary
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 29 June, 2017

Blurb:
Regret Comes in Every Color of the Rainbow

Based on Erin Lee’s novella, Her Name Was Sam, Freak is the story of Kelly and Morgan, the mother and sister of Sam Harris, in the aftermath of her suicide. Bullied for being brave enough to show her true colors to the world, Sam has been gone exactly one year and Kelly and Morgan are left to tackle the grief that comes with regret in her absence.

But Sam’s story is far from over…

Through the love of Willow, a teenager intent on standing up for her “Freak” best friend at all costs, Ryan is able to finally come out to family and friends. His transformation from ashamed to proud with Willow’s help gives new meaning to Sam’s story and how things could have been.

Because love comes in all shades too.

Freak graphic

You can find Freak on Goodreads

You can buy Freak here on Amazon

Freak square graphic

Erin LeeAbout the Author:
Erin Lee is a freelance writer and therapist chasing a crazy dream one reality at a time. She is the author of Crazy Like Me, a novel published in 2015 by Savant Books and Publications, LLC, Wave to Papa, 2015, by Limitless Publishing, LLC and Nine Lives (2016). She’s also author of Alters, Host, and Merge of the “Lola, Party of Eight Series,” When I’m Dead, Take Me As I Am, Greener, Something Blue, Once Upon a Vow and 99 Bottles. She also penned Her Name Was Sam, an LGBTQ awareness novella. She is author of Losing Faith, and co-author of The Morning After with Black Rose Writing. These days, she spends her free time working on the sequels to this novel, Jimmie’s Ice Cream and Thing Fifteen.

Lee is a co-founder of the Escape From Reality Series. She, along with authors Sara Schoen and Taylor Henderson, are working with twenty other authors to bring the hopes, dreams, fears and terrors of a tiny fictional town alive. The town and its setting is exactly the type of place a man like Jimmie might escape to as the bodies thawed.

Lee holds a master’s degree in psychology and works with at-risk families and as a court appointed special advocate. She cannot write horror with the lights off. However, these days, she’s getting braver and dimming them. She’ll get there . . .

You can find and contact Erin Lee here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Freak. One winner will win a signed paperback of Freak by Erin Lee. US only.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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bookreview

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: loveloveLOVE the juxtaposition of colors; really, this whole novel is a juxtaposition; the experimentation with the paranormal/death was heart-breaking and well-done; complex, well-written characters; love to love the love; this read was not what I was expecting going in

Huge thanks to Erin Lee and Lola’s Blog Tours for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for a voluntary honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

Slight trigger warning for sensitive readers: the first half of this book is, at times, a bit difficult to read. Mature subjects such as suicide, grief, and bullying are woven into this story, so please keep this in mind if you’re bothered by or uncomfortable with reading such things. While the subjects are handled with sensitivity and tact, these characters do struggle with and are surrounded by them daily–so please, keep yourselves safe while reading! That being said, these characters are gorgeously written. I really loved how Erin Lee juxtaposed this entire novel–in the first part, looking at a family dealing with grief after the suicide of a loved one. In the second, a family banding together to try and heal a dear friend. This method of compare and contrast was gorgeously handled–and so thought-provoking to read!

Freak Quote1

The use of colors throughout was also beautifully done, though I feel it might have been even more intriguing if the colors that head each chapter were the ONLY colors mentioned in that passage. Of course, this is mostly wishful thinking–I know how difficult it is, as a writer, to try and limit oneself like that, and can’t imagine trying to pull it off. Still, I found it interesting that, in the first section of this read (for Sam) the colors are described normally–the names are common, like orange, red, yellow. In the second section (for Willow) the colors have vibrant, alternative names–things like citrus and plum. Each section, however, shares two very distinct colors–black and white. This is sort of a yin-yang way to wrap each section up–and tie the two halves of the novel together.

 

This novel was a gorgeous, though challenging, read–and I thoroughly enjoyed the way Erin Lee wove this story together. While it tugged at heartstrings and, at times, hurt to read… I came out of this with a different viewpoint. The juxtaposition was a really effective, beautiful way to pair and piece these characters together. I definitely recommend to lovers of beautifully complex personalities, the realities of emotional turmoil, and reads that pack a moral punch. Take a paintbrush to the world, Penguins; this rainbow’s bound to stick with you.


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Cover Reveal: Mick & Michelle

 

Mick & Michelle
Nina Rossing
Published by: Harmony Ink Press
Publication date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

Fifteen-year-old Mick Mullins has a great life: his parents are sweet, his sister is tolerable, and his friendships are solid. But as summer descends on Queens, he prepares to turn his carefree existence upside down by disclosing a secret he has kept long enough. It’s time to work up the courage to reveal that he is not a boy, but a girl—and that her name is Michelle. Having always been the perfect, good boy, Michelle is terrified that the complicated truth will disappoint, hurt, or push away the people closest to her. She can’t continue hiding for much longer, though, because her body is turning into that of a man’s, and she is desperate to stop the development—desperate enough to consider self-medicating with hormones.

Most of all, Michelle fears that Grandpa, who is in a nursing home after a near fatal stroke, won’t survive the shock if he finds out that his favorite grandchild, and the only boy, is a girl. If she kills her beloved Grandpa by leaving Mick behind, she isn’t sure embracing her real identity will be worth the loss.

Add to Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Nina Rossing lives in Norway, where the winters are long and the summers short. Despite the brilliant nature surrounding her, she spends more time in front of her computer, or with a book in her hands, than in the great outdoors (though you may find her out on her mountain bike if the weather is good). She works as a high school teacher, which in her opinion is probably the best job in the world.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: It Could Happen

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It Could HappenIt Could Happen
by Mia Kerick
200 Pages
New Adult / Romance / LGBTQ+
Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: June 5th, 2017
Get a copy here!

Three misfits, mismatched in every way—Henry Perkins, Brody Decker, and Danny Denisco—have been friends throughout high school. Now in their senior year, the boys realize their relationship is changing, that they’re falling in love. But they face opposition at every turn—from outside and from within themselves. Moving to the next level will take all the courage, understanding, and commitment they can muster. But it could happen.

Henry is a star athlete and the son of religious parents who have little concern for the future he wants. Brody is a quirky dreamer and adrenaline junkie, and Danny is an emo artist and the target of bullies. Despite their differences they’ve always had each other’s backs, and with each of them facing a new and unique set of challenges, that support is more important than ever. Is it worth risking the friendship they all depend on for the physical and romantic relationship they all desire?

In this unconventional new adult romance, three gay teens brave societal backlash—as well as the chance that they might lose their treasured friendship—to embark on a committed polyamorous relationship.

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About the Author:

mia kerickMia 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.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com.

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Giveaway!

$25 Gift Card

Click right here to go to the Rafflecopter!


bookreview

 

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: cutesy contemporary; loveloveLOVE the love happening; not much depth overall; endearing, though not real complex, characters; believable romance, though the butterflies didn’t take wing for this read

Huge thanks to Mia Kerick, Dreamspinner Press, and YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

This was a super cute, contemporary LGBTQ+ read. The characters were endearing and entertaining, and face some realistic and difficult struggles in the course of their journey. I really adored watching their relationship blossom from friends into something closer; the connection between them was believable and so super easy to root for. I particularly loved watching them face and overcome the odds together–there was a lot of strength written into this relationship, and I really admire that Mia Kerick wrote them first and foremost as friends, as that helped make their connection even more realistic for me as a reader.

ICH Quote1

However, while there are some nail-biting moments, overall I didn’t feel as if there was much depth to this journey. The characters don’t really grow much apart from their discovering the inner turmoils of their feelings for one another, and nobody outside their circle really does much in the way of growing or accepting. Which, on one hand, is probably realistic…but on the other hand, made me, as a reader, just a little bit angry. I suppose I went into this book looking for more than I got in the end, which disappointed me. So while I’m super happy with the love that happened, and the relationship growth between the boys… I wasn’t entirely convinced with the rest of the characters, or the rest of this read. Unfortunately, it just fell a bit flat for me personally.

 

So, to recap: I LOVE the relationship between the boys–it’s super realistic and endearing. The story and the rest of the characters, unfortunately, fall a bit flat for me–possibly because I went into this read looking for something deeper than what I received. I’d recommend this to lovers of diverse romances, contemporary fiction, and journeys with a few slight bumps along the way. Keep your eyes open, penguins; a love like this? It could happen.

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Book Blitz, Excerpt, and Giveaway: It Could Happen

 

It Could Happen
by Mia Kerick
Published by: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: June 5th 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance

Three misfits, mismatched in every way—Henry Perkins, Brody Decker, and Danny Denisco—have been friends throughout high school. Now in their senior year, the boys realize their relationship is changing, that they’re falling in love. But they face opposition at every turn—from outside and from within themselves. Moving to the next level will take all the courage, understanding, and commitment they can muster. But it could happen.

Henry is a star athlete and the son of religious parents who have little concern for the future he wants. Brody is a quirky dreamer and adrenaline junkie, and Danny is an emo artist and the target of bullies. Despite their differences they’ve always had each other’s backs, and with each of them facing a new and unique set of challenges, that support is more important than ever. Is it worth risking the friendship they all depend on for the physical and romantic relationship they all desire?

In this unconventional new adult romance, three gay teens brave societal backlash—as well as the chance that they might lose their treasured friendship—to embark on a committed polyamorous relationship.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Brody

Lunch block B is symbolic of our ruin:

Henry has joined forces with the jocks. He is a jock, so it makes complete sense. And he seems happy enough, which is good. He hasn’t looked at me once since the last night he slept in my bed— tucked between Danny and me—the day before he refused

the offer of my Jeep keys. Henry had no interest in taking the Jeep for a final joyride. I respect him for that.

Danny has taken to eating upstairs with the artsy crowd. For all I know, he has his eye on Mr. Lansing. Mr. Lansing is middle-aged, kind of cute, and likely even gay. He’s nuts about Danny, if not way too old for him, but that’s par for the course in Danny’s life. He’s better than most of Danny’s boyfriends who came before.

As for me, I eat alone. It’s okay. I’m a loner, really. It’s cool. And I write this without any bitterness, which is hard to believe,

but it’s also true. I’m returning to my natural state, after an almost four-year break. High school was a pleasant interlude of connection in a life I’m meant to spend without anyone to answer to.

LOL. “Pleasant interlude” makes pain sound so inviting. But it’s all good. I like being alone. Time to stop being so dramatic. There are so many important things I’ve long neglected to do.

I’m ready to get started.

 

Author Bio:

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 young 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.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Blog Tour, Giveaways, and Review: Cry Wolf

 

Cry Wolf
Greta Stone
Publication date: March 1st 2017
Genres: Gothic, New Adult, Paranormal Romance

Peter is a kitsune. Chaos follows him wherever he goes. Good intentions, bad intentions—it doesn’t matter. Even mimicking the howl of a friend he hasn’t seen in over a decade turns out to have disastrous consequences.

The wolf doesn’t have a name. For now, he goes by Luca. He has no past, and as an escaped slave, if he can’t stay hidden in the shadows, he’ll have no future. When someone steals his howl, he’s drawn to investigate, and ends up saddled with a mouthy fox who insists they used to be friends once upon a time.

Petty problems and a dubious reunion are pushed aside the longer they’re stranded together. The Underwood is a dangerous place.

They have two choices: work together or die.

Join Greta Stone in a dark paranormal MM romance retelling of Aesop’s fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and David P. Mannix’s classic novel, The Fox and the Hound.

Goodreads / Amazon

 

Author Bio:

Greta is the unruly offspring of a tiger and a dragon. She spends most of her time reading, stalking her favorite musicians, and harassing other authors with pranks.

Underwood District Series (MM Romance/UF)

Cry Wolf – Book 1

Cry Wolf: Mating Season – Book 1.5

Take a Tour of New Gotham: http://www.brimstonepub.com

Sign up for GRETA STONE’S MAILING LIST and receive access to a bonus adventure featuring Peter and Luca.(Their fates might be changed forever.)

Copy and paste to join my newsletter: tinyurl.com/l99rh6m

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Newsletter

 

GIVEAWAYS!

eBook giveaways:

The first 5 people to comment on ANY tour post (given on each day) will automatically win a free e-book copy of Cry Wolf. Greta will keep tally and submit prizes at the end of each tour day.

Take a trip to New Gotham!

A paid vacation to New Gotham is an expensive affair. I found a witch who specializes in crafting gatestones. These magical pendants are used for traveling between dimensions. The bauble offered as a contest prize should take the winner to Avaline’s Trees. Keep in mind, gatestones are touchy things. It might not do anything at all. Or you might up in oblivion. Good luck with that. We’ll read about it in the papers, no doubt.

Elderstone Keys – What’s the big deal?

There is a house in New Gotham that is rumored to be haunted. No one has lived in it since the Great Depression, and no one can recall what its last occupants looked like, what they did for a living or where they went. Only one is fated to enter and learn its secrets. Anytime I host a contest, I give away keys to Elderstone. The person who collects ten of them is fated to own the house. Among their keys, they’ll have the mystical key that opens the door. (More information)

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bookreview

3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: intriguing, entertaining takes on some well-known classics; vibrantly written, well-rounded characters; some awkward writing and grammatical mistakes; adorable, stubborn romance; whimsical, but a bit meandering plot-wise

Huge thanks to Greta Stone, Skeleton Key Publishing, and Xpresso Book Tours for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

CW Quote1

So, okay. This was definitely an entertaining, intriguing read! The characters are vibrantly written and complex, each with their own defined struggles and inner demons. I really enjoyed being pulled along for this journey with Luca and Peter; their individual arcs and growths are only intensified when woven together, and I adored watching the transformation take place!

There’s a lot of the “oral narrative” vibe happening in this read, which I also really love. This being said, though, it felt as if the plot was a bit more meandering than anything. While there IS a story happening here, it seems to take place more in the background; we are, instead, at the whims of the characters, following blindly where they lead–which is in a lot of different directions at times. While this type of story-telling works for some journeys, I don’t feel it really did THIS journey much justice.

CW Quote2

The romance was slow-building but so super steamy, I was impatient for them to get past the walls entrapping them and just kiss already! And penguins, the fireworks when the walls finally got torn down?! I thought my kindle might go up in flames in my hands! It was a believable, endearing romance, and I loved watching them interact with and react to each other–and the world around them. There were, throughout, some awkward grammatical moments and missing words…but I was so caught up in the romance, I didn’t even care. Honestly, I was ALL ABOUT the love between these two.

This was a fascinating, whimsical read, and I adored every minute of the journey! The characters were vibrantly portrayed, the romance was believable and easy to root for, and the whole read had an air of the oral narrative to it. I definitely recommend this to lovers of the fantastical, to seekers of complex character arcs, and to those who adore whimsy. In this forest, the trees are purple and love abounds; step outside, won’t you?

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Hard to Get: This Steamy Read Wreaked Havoc on my Heart!

bookreview

 

Hard to Get

A standalone romance with a happily ever after! Includes a 10,000 word excerpt of ON THE ROCKS by Hildred & Cynthia

What do you do when the hottest and richest woman in town asks you out?

Run, apparently.

NADIA

No one has seen more billionaire-matchmaking carnage than Nadia Gaines, receptionist to the most expensive office around. If it’s not some old (and married) guy trying to impress her with diamonds and trips to paradise, then it’s…

Well, it’s Eva Warren, an old-money heiress whose tabloid exploits are as sordid as they are really, really gay.

Nadia is no stranger to lesbian lust. But no matter how much she wants to give in to Eva’s seduction, one mantra lurks in the back of her mind: Never date a billionaire!

Until the one night she does give in, anyway. Then everything goes to hell.

EVA

Life as a billionaire heiress isn’t all sunshine and kitty whiskers, especially if that heiress is Eva Warren. She’s managed to shake off tabloid gossip that’s ruined more than one woman’s life, but she’ll never be able to shake the two things she wants most: to work for her family’s business, and to date every beautiful woman she meets.

Curvy Nadia isn’t like the others, however. Even though the mutual attraction exists, for some reason she keeps shooting down Eva’s advances. Until Eva finally gets Nadia right where she wants her…

So begins one of the hottest games of hard to get to ever befall womankind. High society might not survive it.

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Erotica / Romance / LGBTQIA+
468 Pages
Barachou Press
Publication Date:  September 29th, 2016
Get a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: diverse romance for the win!; realistic, engaging, and steamy; complex, well-rounded, awesome characters; delicious drama, serious snark; true-to-life, heavy-handed themes; entertaining and thought-provoking read

In my (undeniably never-ending) search for the next great romance, I stumbled across THIS gem–and immediately knew I needed it in my life. I mean, for one–that cover? drool-worthy. Not because it’s the prettiest cover ever, but because hooooooly penguins, it’s hot.

 

And this book? DEFINITE HEAT LEVEL, penguins. Seriously, if I were to gauge the temperature found between these sheets ahem, pages, I’d give it a 15 on a 1-10 scale. Seriously, the heat is scorching, and I was taken on a journey of delicious drama, serious snark, and steamy scenes. I mean, don’t get me wrong–this book, along with one specific character, definitely played hard to get. But the anticipation? The build-up? The formation and then breaking of the tightrope that Cynthia Dane and Hildred Billings lead their readers across? There’s something super satisfying in it all that kept me glued to the pages even when I knew I should be focusing on other things.

HTG Quote1.png

The characters are realistic and well-written. I found myself rooting for them even before I was sure THEY were a thing–and not just because the chemistry was undeniable. Their personalities surged from every page to embrace me, to push me away, to make me thing and reconsider. The more heavy-handed, important morals were handled with sensitivity and respect, and interlaced into a story that, in the end, has a much wider scope than the bedroom scenes. There are so many things readers can take away from this novel, I won’t try to list them all here–just know that there are some super important, poignant messages shared.

 

In the end, I had a ton of fun reading this title! The steam level was through the roof, the characters were adorable, and the bigger arcing messages were important and wide-reaching. I really enjoyed getting to know Nadia and Eva, and watching their relationship wilt and blossom with the drama. I’d recommend this to lovers of romance, butterfly-inducing moments, and realistic relationships. This book may play hard to get, penguins, but trust me–it’s so worth it!

2

Piper Perish: Poisonous Family Dynamics, Open-Ended Ending

arcreview

Piper Perish

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and into art school in New York City, the better. It’s been Piper’s dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she’s never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper’s sister’s tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper’s art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power, even if it means giving up what she’s always known? Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this ridiculously compelling, utterly authentic work featuring interior art from Rookie magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What is home? And who is a person when she’s missing any one of these things?

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Contemporary / YA / LGBTQIA+
Chronicle Books
Publication Date:  March 7th, 2017
Get a copy here!

3.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: realistic and true-to-life; I LOVE how open-ended the ending is; an interesting glimpse into family dynamics and sibling rivalries; a focus on opportunity, self-preservation, and personal sacrifice; Piper has an entertaining, strong voice, but she comes off a bit unreliable at times

Huge thanks to Kayla Cagan, Chronicle Books Publishing, and Netgalley for granting me free early access to an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

The first thing you need to know about this book: it’s written in diary form. Therefore, the only perspective we get is Piper’s–and while I adored how strong and unique her voice is throughout this novel, I also struggled a bit with seeing the world through her eyes. Don’t get me wrong–single perspective reads are not in any way a bad thing! However, Piper’s perspective is (as to be expected, with diary entries) very biased. A couple of times, I found myself wondering if she was more unreliable than honest. You know that saying, “there’s three sides to every story. His, hers, and the truth.” ? I felt it applied to a lot of this book, when perhaps it shouldn’t have.

pp-quote1

I really enjoyed the different themes that Kayla Cagan explored, though! One of the biggest focuses, sibling rivalry, was a new one for me to encounter in YA, and it was beautifully done. Growing up with a TON of half-siblings and one younger brother, I know just how volatile and dramatic such relationships can be. They are, at times, downright caustic. When you add in pregnancy and the additional hormones that come with it, it’s pretty easy to believe in Marli’s terrifying unpredictability.

PP Quote2.png

In fact, the entire family dynamic was never once sugar-coated or glossed over. Kayla Cagan did an awesome job of asking the right questions, and then employing the answers in ways that shifted the plot and changed my perspective as a reader. Both parents are fully present and realistically flawed, acting and reacting in predictable AND surprising ways. After all, who hasn’t done or said something out of character when stressed? Unlike a lot of YA reads with missing or “side-note” parents, I felt as if I got to know Piper’s mom and dad as fully as I did Piper and Marli. I felt as if all these characters came to life for me, honestly–and that’s a hard thing to do in writing, to make each character feel individualized and equally vibrant.

 

In the end, this was an entertaining and thought-provoking read. There are tons of moments filled with teen angst, family drama, and abstract philosophies or ideas. It is, at times, difficult to put yourself in Piper’s shoes and understand where she’s coming from. Marli is, throughout, downright terrifying–and, at times, emotionally abusive. Still, each character feels fleshed out and unique, and the ending is open-ended enough to let readers continue the story on their own, if they want. I recommend this to lovers of contemporary fiction, “differing” family dynamics, and the exploration of abstract ideas/human nature. This was an interesting read; I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the next project Kayla Cagan tackles.

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Book Blitz, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Scarred

 

scarredScarred
by Mia Kerick
Publication date:
March 1st 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance, Suspense

From bestselling author Mia Kerick comes a New Adult novel of Gay Romantic Suspense that will keep you up reading all night!

Matthew North waited ten years to heal from the devastating wounds inflicted by the man who abducted and abused him as a child. Living reclusively on a tropical island— with no company but his four cats—he merely avoids the lingering pain.

Wearing twisted ropes of mutilated skin on his back, Matt struggles with a profound
hindrance—the scars that deaden his soul. However, on the night he meets lively Vedie Wilson, a local restaurant busboy who expresses his gender by wearing lipgloss and eyeliner along with his three-day beard, things change.

Gradually, Vedie and Mateo unite in friendship. Through a series of awkward encounters, the pair learns each other’s secrets. Vedie learns that an angelic face can
front for a scarred soul. Matthew learns that the line between one’s masculine and
feminine sides is blurred. Can they embrace the painful stories behind each other’s
scars if they’re to find everlasting love? Or will surrendered love come to be yet another blemish on their souls?

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Vedie

“Lookin’ good, pretty Miss Vedie.…mmmhmm….” No matter if I’m dressed like a
dude or a lady, Joey always stares at me as if I’m a juicy bowl of strawberry shortcake— he licks his lips and I know he wants to take himself a nice big bite of a flavor he can’t get at home. Then he slaps a hand hard against my thigh, and creepy-slow, it climbs my leg. It’s headed for my ass cheek, or my name ain’t Vedie Wilson.

“Hands outta the cookie jar, Joey, my man.” I don’t appreciate it when any dude
gropes me without asking for permission first. But the sad truth is I ain’t never gonna like Joey’s hands on me. While he gawks, I pull a shimmery hairband out of my
bag and wrap it around my head to hold the damp dreads off my face. “Got yo’self a
sweet tooth, looks like, Joey. You’d be wise to get your ass home to your sweet
wife, not that you asked me for no words of wisdom.”

“Not gonna even think about going home ‘til I had me some fun,” Joey replies,
jamming his hand in his pocket—probably to keep it from curving ‘round my ass.

When I bend down to rinse the sweat off my face he stays quiet and don’t goose
me. Maybe this time he heard what I told him about gettin’ his butt home to Miz Joey.
But more likely he’s checking out my butt.

“Baybeee… uh huh…. mmmhmm… nice ass you got there in them sweet little
shorts….”

I sigh real loud, “I got some shit to do here, big dawg, so’s if that’s all you wanted…”
The only way to get this guy to take a hike is to tell him point blank that he’s gotta head on out. “Catch ya on da flip side, ‘kay?”

He leans in so close I can feel his scratchy beard brushing on my neck and I shiver
in the bad way. He takes a deep sniff—I guess he likes the smell of sweaty dude—and
then finally bails. Right now, I sorely wish the tiki hut restaurant I work at had one of
them one-person anything goes restrooms—for a dude, a lady, or whoever you feel like at the moment—but at least now I’m finally alone in the men’s room.

I pull out my makeup bag and quickly powder my nose so’s it don’t shine, and glide
a deep shade of maroon over my lips, but I take the time to be an artist with my eyeliner and mascara ‘cause I figure eyes oughta say somethin’. When I look good enough that I’d wanna do me, I figure I’m looking good enough for public viewing. My
new perfume smells like the freedom I got down here on Placida Island—coconuts and
wildflowers and the ocean and honey— I spray it all over my neck and chest.

As I saunter outta the men’s room, I don’t miss that it’s kinda funny how I went in
here looking all-dude but comin’ out, you could mistake me for a lady. Ha! More like a red-hot, sexy mama—smooth and silky everywhere ‘cept for the four-day beard.

 

 

miaAuthor Bio:

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 young 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.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Blog Tour and Review: Night Ringing

night-ringing-bannernight-ringing  “I revel in the genius of simplicity” Laura Foley writes as she gives us in plain-spoken but deeply lyrical moments, poems that explore a life filled with twists and turns and with many transformations. Through it all is a search for a fulfilling personal and sexual identity, a way to be most fully alive in the world. From multicultural love affairs through marriage with a much older man, through raising a family, through grief, to lesbian love affairs, “Night Ringing” is the portrait of a woman willing to take risks to find her own best way. And she does this with grace and wisdom. As she says: “All my life I’ve been swimming, not drowning.” -Patricia Fargnoli, author of “Winter, Duties of the Spirit, ” and “Then, Something

“I love the words and white space of poetry. I love stories even more. In this collection, Laura Foley evokes stories of crystallized moments, of quiet and overpowering emotion, of bathtubs and lemon chicken. The author grows up on the pages, comes of age, and reconciles past with present. Almost. Try to put the book down between poems to savor each experience. Try, but it won’t be easy. -Joni B. Cole, author of “Toxic Feedback, Helping Writers Survive and Thrive”

Plain-spoken and spare, Laura Foley’s poems in “Night Ringing” trace a life story through a series of brief scenes: separate, intense moments of perception, in which the speaker’s focus is arrested, when a moment opens to reveal a glimpse of the larger whole. Memories of a powerful, enigmatic father, a loving but elusive mother, a much older husband, thread Foley’s stories of childhood, marriage and motherhood, finally yielding to the pressure of her attention, as she constructs a series of escapes from family expectations, and moves toward a new life. In these lucid, intense poems, Foley’s quiet gaze, her concentration, and emotional accuracy of detail, render this collection real as rain. -Cynthia Huntington, author of “Heavenly Bodies”

Foley’s voice rings with quiet authority undercut by calamity, examining a life so extraordinary, she seems to have lived several people’s lives, setting a high bar for poetic craft she meets, in great mystery perfectly expressed in the tiny, quotidian, “spent matches pressed on wet pavement,” to soulful beauty, “as wind lifts/every shining wave”; in wisdom rooted in humor, from the deliciously funny “Flunking Jung,” to self-deprecating wit, misreading “poetic” as “pathetic,” reminding us wisdom is love, grown from self-compassion. -April Ossmann, author of “Anxious Music”

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About the Poet:Laura Foley is the author of five poetry collections. The Glass Tree won the Foreword Book of the Year Award, Silver, and was a Finalist for the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Outstanding Book of Poetry. Joy Street won the Bi-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines including Valparaiso Poetry Review, Inquiring Mind, Pulse Magazine, Poetry Nook, Lavender Review, The Mom Egg Review and in the British Aesthetica Magazine. She won Harpur Palate’s Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Award and the Grand Prize for the Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Contest.

Find Her:
Website | Goodreads

Buy Night Ringing here:
Amazon


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Quick Reasons: gorgeous, powerful, poignant; the poetry in this collection is emotive, evocative, and thought-inspiring; while the progression isn’t always clear, it’s obvious there’s a story to be found here, interlaced with both the abstract and the realistic; human nature–and personal growth–are very strong focuses throughout

HUGE thanks to Laura Davies Foley and the crew atWorldwind Book Tours for sending me a copy of this poetry collection in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this title.

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Let me just start by saying…. POETRY, HOW I MISS YOU!

I mean, honestly–this collection? makes me want to go out and scoop up as many poetry books as I can find, to devour, to be inspired by, to fall in love with. Laura Davies Foley has woven a journey–to self-acceptance, to loves and to heartbreaks, to the abstract and the realistic–that I both related to and was captivated by. This collection is FULL of human nature and the assurances that everything you do–even the worst mistakes you think you’ve ever made–make up exactly who you’re supposed to be, and that’s just beautiful to me, as a reader, to come across in poetry.

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The poetry herein is emotive and evocative. Subjects range from the abstract to the wholly realistic–from sea turtles on page one, to experimentation with partners later on. Marriage, children, divorce; happiness, disappointment, anger–all are touched upon and explored, a tapestry of emotions.

Every sense is ALSO brought into play, though sometimes more subtly than you’d expect. Laura Davies Foley chose her words with care in order to take readers along a path of reminiscences, heartaches, and self-discovery. Split into different sections, each portrays a different event in the poet’s life. Sometimes, this connection is easy to spot. Other times, readers will need to piece the seams together as the poems come.

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I really enjoyed basking in the beauty of Laura Davies Foley’s words–and the journey transcribed within these pages. There’s something heart-wrenching and honest about this collection that is bound to be relatable to even the newest readers of poetry. I definitely recommend this read to lovers of the poetic, the juxtaposition of abstract with realism, and seekers of an emotionally evocative journey. I am determined, after reading this exquisite collection, to read much more poetry in the near future!

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