An Ali Audiobook Review: Never Lose Your Flames (New Canadiana #1) by Francis Gideon and Kevin Chandler (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Cop-turned-bounty-hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.

Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.

Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.
 
I thought this was a nice start to a new urban fantasy/paranormal romance series.  I liked the plot and the world that the author created.  It was interestingly done and I found it unique.  I was especially excited to see a dragon shifter.  I would love to see more of those.  There were some really great parts and some really cool characters.  (I especially liked the part with the little elemental children.)  Unfortunately there was too much detail and too many unnecessary scenes.  It felt like the author had a lot of great ideas and tried to put a bit of all of them in this story.  I think this would have been better to be a shorter book and different characters/plotlines to be added in future books of the series.  World building in an urban fantasy story is super complicated in my opinion, and can easily become too confusing to the reader if it’s not done just right.  This was close, but not quite there.
I liked both of the main characters for the most part but Nat was a little too nice in my opinion.  I struggled to understand how he could be so calm and sweet when he’s being taken against his will to some place really bad.  I understood his reasoning I guess but it still didn’t ring super realistic to me.  I had a very difficult time relating to anything he did.  There were some super interesting side characters that I’d like to learn more about in future books.
The romance is a very slow burn but that was a nice change.  I was good with that but these two were an odd mix for me and I didn’t really feel the connection until the very end of the book.
This story is narrated by Kevin Chandler and this was my first time listening to him.  Unfortunately the narration did not work for me at all.  His voice was very nice but it was like he was just reading the story in a monotone voice.  I repeatedly didn’t know who was talking because he did the same voice for everyone.  I could have gotten past that but his the lack of emotions in the character’s voices bothered me.  They both sounded so bored through throughout the story.  I was only able to make it about halfway through on audio.  I was interested in the plot so I ended up switching to the ebook and finished the story that way.
 
I felt this was an unique story that had a lot of potential.  I liked it enough to read the next book in the series and I’m hoping some of my complaints are resolved in that.  I recommend you try a sample of the audio to see if it works for you since it did not for me.
 
The cover is done by AngstyG and I thought it was pretty good.  It had a lot of brown did not stand out or catch my eye because of the monotone colors.  It was an accurate representation of the MC’s though.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
11 hrs 9 mins
Audible Audio, 12 pages
Published March 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB06XC4JLF3
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesNew Canadiana #1

A Lila Review: Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.

Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.

When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.

Hopeless Romantic has the feeling of a coming of age story, but the characters are older than average. Which created the illusion of reading to parallel stories. Nick’s re-discovery of his sexuality and how he acted around his friends being one and his conversations with Katie about philosophy and music showing their maturity, the other.

I’m not a music person, but I’m part of the same generation the characters used to connect with each other. I might not know all the references, but the author provided enough context to understand how their conversations were part of their self-expression. And since I am a perpetual student too, I love the over-the-top exchanges.

Both main characters had a strong arc. Not only we get to know them personally but in relationship to their friendships and families. They didn’t live in a vacuum. The world around them was as important as their intimate moments. Even when some of those aspects were too juvenile for their characterization.

I’m glad Katie felt comfortable enough to be open to a relationship with someone that didn’t know everything about what her transition meant to her and to others. She was patient and perhaps too ready to forgive him, but in the end, it worked for their particular situation.

Nick’s characterization started blatantly transphobic, biphobic, and uninformed in relation to asexuality and other areas of the spectrum, but I think he represents many people in and out of the LGBTQ community.  He reads as an insensitive prick, but I think that was the author’s intent. To show how misconceptions are hurtful and plain damaging. We get to experience Nick’s growth and how Katie and Tucker were there for him, even when it wasn’t their responsibility to educate him.

The secondary characters are lovely and the settings descriptions detailed enough to bring the reader into the different locations. There’s a lot happening in the story, many references to music and philosophical topics, but those never take over the story. Everything is interconnected to create a fictional atmosphere with enough consequence to be realistic.

There are some points the author is trying to show that seem a bit clinical. I think the book is more about Nick’s journey than anything else. As a couple, the main characters are sweet and their growing love ever present. Plus, they aren’t shy with each other. It’s one of the points they discovered/worked together.

The cover by Vivian Ng was the first thing that called my attention, together with the title. I like how it goes with the story and the scenes between Katie and Nick.

Sale Links: RiptideAmazon | Kobo

ebook, 289 pages
Published: April 10, 2017, by Riptide Publishing
ISBN: 9781626495562
Edition Language: English

 

Francis Gideon on Tattoos and Transitions and their release Hopeless Romantic (guest blog and giveaway)

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Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: Vivian Ng

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it Here

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Francis Gideon here today on tour for their new release, Hopeless Romantic.  Welcome, Francis!

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Hello everyone! I’m Francis Gideon and I’m touring for my new release Hopeless Romantic, a trans rom-com of sorts. Follow along this week as I talk about all thinks romantic comedy, trans identity, and being pretty in pink! I’m looking forward to sharing some serious 1980s nostalgia; be sure to comment with your own bit of nostalgia for a $10 giveaway for Riptide publishing.

Tattoos and Transitions

In an earlier post on my blog tour, I talked about how Nick and Katie–the main love interests in Hopeless Romantic–are kind of like my partner and I. One of the major differences in that regard, though, is that my partner has zero tattoos and I have all of them.

When Nick first meets Katie, he doesn’t quite notice her tattoos because her jacket hides most of them. As the story goes on, and of course as they become more familiar with one another minus clothing, he starts to see just how many she has. Katie is covered in tattoos, and many of them, like my own, mark different stages in her gender identity realization and her transition. Her ‘shitty’ butterfly tattoo on her shoulder represents this the most since the butterfly is often used to describe transition itself; starting out in a cocoon and blooming into something more. But as Katie points out to Nick, that idea is old and outdated, and kinda shitty just like her tattoo. She doesn’t view herself as a butterfly anymore, because it implies that she must wait in order to be beautiful, when in reality, she’s beautiful how she is now. Her tattoos after that point become a way to rebel against the standards of beauty that trans women are often forced to comply with. And of course, Nick finds them beautiful–like her.

I’m not a trans woman like Katie, but nonbinary, so my tattoos communicate slightly different things, but they are definitely a record of my transition. I have two tattoos of Artemis and Orion on my lower back, sketched from woodcuts of the Greek Gods, as a way to communicate a dual my gender identity; I also have a series of tarot cards that represent part of my coming to terms with not transitioning medically (so in many ways, my tattoos here became my transition), and I have several other smaller tattoos that marked particular salient moments–like a boy from a children’s book and a grandfather clock.

Both of those last tattoos are on my inner arm. My tattoo artist told me that what we get on our inner arms is what we most want to protect. So to me, those two tattoos represent the parts of my trans identity that I wanted to keep the most: childhood nostalgia in the kids’ book, and my future legacy–since the clock was an inheritance gift in my family.

For Nick, his only tattoo is his inner arm–and it’s a heart with the city of Toronto inside of it. To him, that’s his legacy and his future. Though he lives and works in a town two hours away from Toronto, the Toronto community is where he got his first degree, where he met his friends, and where he found himself. It’s also where he first kisses Katie, and so the city–and his love for her–become intertwined.

About Hopeless Romantic

Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.

Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.

When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.

Now available from Riptide Publishing

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a nonbinary writer who dabbles in romance, mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal genres. Francis credits music, along with being an only child to a single mother, as why they write so much now. Long nights at home were either spent memorizing lyrics to pop-punk bands or reading voraciously. Add a couple of formative experiences in university, a network of weird artist friends, and after years of writing stories Francis never showed to anyone, they now have books to their name.

After receiving an MA in English literature, Francis wanted to do something a bit more fun. They soon found the LGBTQ romance community and fell in love on the spot. Since then, Francis has attempted to balance writing romances with as many different types of couples as possible while also attending school for their PhD. When not writing fiction or teaching university classes, Francis works on scholarly articles on everything from character deaths in the TV show Hannibal, the online archive of Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, and transgender representation on YouTube. Francis is a middle name, used to keep students from Googling their teacher and asking far too many questions.

Francis lives in Canada with their partner, Travis, where they often spend nights disagreeing about what TV show to watch and making bad puns whenever possible. Travis receives dedications in Francis’s novels because he tolerates Francis’s long hours and listens to random story ideas late into the night. Francis also might be a bit of a hopeless romantic—as if you didn’t already guess.

Connect with Francis:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Hopeless Romantic, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 15, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

An Alisa Release Day Review: Black Market Blood (New Canadiana #2) by Francis Gideon

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

black-market-blood-by-francis-gideonIn a world where monsters are known to—and despised by—humanity, vampire Chaz Solomon hides in plain sight as a detective on the Toronto police force. But freedom from prejudice does nothing to alleviate his guilt over the lover he betrayed to gain his label of “normal.” He spends his days living a lie and his nights in a brothel, seeking company and black-market blood.

 

When a serial killer preying on both vampires and sex workers leads Chaz and his department on a twisted chase through New Canadiana’s supernatural underground, one of the brothel employees, Sully, becomes the only person Chaz can trust. There’s much more to Sully than a pretty face, and he’s slowly breaching the walls around Chaz’s heart with his intelligence and kind nature.

 

But as the body count rises and conspiracies come to light, the past Chaz has been trying to escape comes rushing back. Sully might accept Chaz as a vampire, but will he forgive Chaz’s other deceptions? And what will become of Chaz’s life if his secret is revealed? Before he can worry about a future with Sully, he’ll have to find the vengeful murderer threatening everything he cares about.

 

This was a very intense and emotional story; it goes in depth into the world of sex workers from all sides.  Chaz has been living a lie since he was given “normal” papers and doesn’t allow his vampire nature to show when not at the brothel.  Sully has been working at the brothel for a few years before he meets Chaz at a party and then sees him again at the brothel.

 

Chaz has been beating himself up over what happened after he was initially turned into a vampire and how he turned his back on Nat after their time together.  It takes Sully and the murders of some vampire sex workers for him to get a bit of perspective on his life and is he wants to keep living a lie.  Just as he finds some closure for his past he has another wrench thrown at him.

 

In this story I could feel how broken Sully feels after his years as a sex worker and abuse he suffered as a child.  He has a bit of a jaded view of the world, but he still knows there are some people that he can really trust.  For all Chaz has gone through he is really quite innocent because he has never had the opportunity to really live his life.  I loved how this story fully connected with Never Lose Your Flames near the end and brought the story full circle.  I look forward to seeing more of these characters and how they can change the world they live in.

 

Cover art by AngstyG is great and gives wonderful visuals of the characters.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 330 pages

Published: February 27, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635332261

Edition Language: English

Series: New Canadiana:

Never Lose Your Flames

Black Market Blood (New Canadiana, #2)

Francis Gideon on Trans Characters and the release The Santa Hoax by Francis Gideon

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The Santa Hoax by Francis Gideon
H
armony Ink Press
Release: December 1 2016

Sales Link

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words would like to welcome Francis Gideon here today to talk about their latest release, The Santa Hoax.  Welcome, Francis!

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Hello everyone! My YA holiday romance The Santa Hoax came out with Harmony Ink Press on December 1st. The story contains several trans characters, including protagonist Julian, and documents some topical trans issues. Though I wrote the first draft of this book in the fall of 2013, the topics I covered seem more relevant than ever.

The story documents Julian’s coming out as he tells people about his identity. As I’ve talked about in other blog posts during this tour, coming out is never simple and often needs to happen more than once. Trans people in particular need to deal with the reality of depending on other people to get their names and pronouns right. Julian suffers with this–at first because he doesn’t tell anyone he’s trans–and then when he deals with transphobia. There’s not *too* much transphobic language in the story (because at its core, it’s really a sweet holiday romance that just happens to be about a trans guy), but the one thing that I wanted to focus on was the infamous bathroom problem.

Enough people here probably remember the bill H2 in North Carolina and how upset it made the trans community. If not, here’s a brief article on its history and what happened. The bathroom problem is something that’s followed trans people around for ages. If you’re trans, what bathroom do you use, and what will people say when you’re in that bathroom? The common theme in most of these debates is that trans women will come into women’s bathroom and attack other women (except that the opposite in real life is usually true). In Julian’s case, he’s a trans guy and only fifteen, so the same fear or judgement doesn’t exactly apply to him, but he’s still threatened and punished in some way for using the bathroom (I don’t want to give too much away about how/why/who) and this makes Julian, along with his friends, seek some kind of resolution and justice. In the story, I created a fake politician in Toronto (where the story is set) who made a similar ruling like North Carolina’s case, and a social media uprising from trans people that rallied against it.

Even though my take on this issue is fictional, there are far too many real-life examples of this kind of systemic transphobia. Even in Canada, yes. I know that Canada is often held up as the pinnacle of all things diverse, especially now after the US election, but we have diversity issues. Everywhere has diversity issues. The world doesn’t seem like it’s made for people who are different–so I’ve always seen my job as a writer to imagine something better. So while I talk a lot about transphobia in this post and it seems like a general downer, I assure you–the book has a happy ending. It’s also about falling in love and being a secret Santa and learning about your friends in a way that is healthy and safe and fun. I’ve included one of the happier holiday scenes of Julian and his friends looking at Christmas lights as an excerpt, so my post isn’t a total bummer. 😉

The Santa Hoax was a joy to write, so I hope it’s a joy to read. Thank you!

Book Blurb

When Julian Gibson realizes he’s transgender, he doesn’t think anything has to change. His parents and friends still call him Julia and think he’s a girl, but so long as Julian can still hang out with his best friend Aiden and read sci-fi novels with his dad, life seems pretty good.

Then high school happens. Aiden ditches him, and a new girl, Maria, keeps cornering him in the girls’ bathroom. A full year after discovering he’s transgender, Julian realizes life changes whether you’re ready for it or not. So Julian makes a deal with himself: if he can tell his secret to three people, it is no longer a hoax. What happens during his slow process of coming out leads Julian down odd pathways of friendship, romance, Christmas shopping, random parties, bad movies, and a realization about why kids still believe in Santa—it’s sometimes better than discovering the truth.

 
Excerpt

“There you are!” Maria said, eagerly greeting him.

She wore jeggings that clung to her thighs and waist, along with a white coat Julian hadn’t seen before. Josie hung around at her side, wearing pretty much the exact same thing she had earlier, looking up from her phone every so often to verify where they were. She has GPS. How adorable. Davis was by her side, his baseball hat pulled down over his face. The collar of his dark jacket was flipped up in the slight wind and obscured his face.

“Sorry if I’m late,” Julian apologized. “Had to say good-bye to my dad.”

“Nah, you’re fine. Just on time.” Maria linked her arm with Julian’s as they moved toward the sidewalk. “Where are we going now, Josie?”

“Just to the left,” she said, then leaned close to Julian and whispered so only he could hear. “Davis is driving me crazy already. Help.”

“Just focus on the lights,” he said. “And maybe think of drawing a comic or two.”

“Come on,” Maria stated, keeping Julian’s attention on her. “Show me some houses.”

Josie walked ahead of the two of them, Davis by her side. They continued down the block two by two as the sun sank behind the trees. The chill set in almost immediately after, and though the wind whipped at their faces and blew Maria’s hair, she never once complained about being cold. Julian had no idea what he was supposed to do if she was. Do I give her my coat? That was what guys on dates did. But if this was a date—not that it was—then Maria probably saw him as a girl. So Julian was doubly confused and decided to not think about it at all. He pulled the group over into the next subdivision, where they were almost blinded by the first house they saw. Lights lined the roof, crisscrossing and in several different Christmas colors. There were also a few light-up Santas, snowmen, and Christmas stars hanging by the garage.

“Oh, wow. It’s like walking on the surface of the sun,” Josie exclaimed, using a hand to block some of the light.

“Total Griswolds,” Maria commented. “Like that movie Christmas Vacation, you know?”

“Yeah, I guess. Just like that.”

“Their electricity bills must be through the roof,” Josie stated. “No wonder there is global warming.”

“If there is, why is it still so cold?” Davis asked, rubbing his hands together.

Josie began to explain, only getting through a few complex statements before Davis put his hands up. “Okay, fine, fine. I’m wrong. I get it.”

Maria rolled her eyes and then tugged Julian forward. “So is this a house you like? You strike me as someone more subtle.”

“Yeah,” Julian said, grinning. “I walk around a lot, actually. Let me show you a better house.”

After a small walk, Julian stopped them in front of Mr. Stevenson’s house. His blue icicle lights hung over the garage and by his front windows. He also had a floodlight that displayed a small silhouette of a snowman on his garage.

“Okay,” Maria said. “Why do you like this one?”

“It’s not too garish, or even that Christmas or religious oriented.”

“And?” Maria asked, nudging him. “You’re holding out on me.”

“Well, if you think about it, this time of year is really about light, right? All the holidays celebrate light because it’s the darkest time.”

Everyone nodded, so Julian went on. “And this house is usually dark most of the time. Mr. Stevenson used to work at my elementary school, actually. He was the music teacher, but he got sick, and his kids have to take care of him now. But they still put up his lights, and I really like that. I don’t know. The whole thing reminds me of learning to play an instrument in his class. Probably dumb.”

“No, no,” Maria said, squeezing his arm. “Not dumb. What did you play?”

“Piano. I was never that good, though.”

“You probably were, but you’re just shy now. That’s okay,” Maria said, her eyes going back to the house. “I can appreciate this.”

Julian nodded. He wanted to add more about how he had first started playing, but realizing that would involve Aiden, he cut off the thought before it had a chance to catch hold. When Julian heard clicking from a phone, he turned to see Davis in the middle of writing a message, not even listening to what he had just said. That was okay, really. Julian hadn’t really been talking to Davis when he told the story. But as he looked back to find Josie, she was already across the street, taking a picture of a rabbit in the bushes. It had been Maria, and only Maria, who was listening intently to him. When he glanced back over to her, he found her staring at him.

“What?” he asked.

“Nothing,” she said, smiling softly. “Just thanks for telling me. I wouldn’t have known any of that without you.”

“I got a million stories.”

“I’ll bet,” Maria said, then looked past him toward Josie with a sigh. “But we should probably catch up with the group. And I think this street is a dead end, right?”


Author Bio:

Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante.  He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal. Find him at francisgideon.wordpress.com.

A Caryn Release Day Review: The Santa Hoax by Francis Gideon

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

the-santa-hoaxOne of my favorite things about reading – as opposed to watching TV or movies – is that although an author can give me details about a character’s physical appearance, I can take those details and create a person in my mind who looks, sounds, and moves in the way that seems right to me to fit in the story.  It’s usually a shock to see that same character portrayed by a specific actor/actress, because they are never what I imagined myself.

And that’s what I was thinking about as I read this story about Julian, a trans boy who has just started high school.  His image of himself is never what he sees in the mirror, or in pictures, or in how other people look at him.  If the disconnect is so surprising to me when comparing an imaginary character with an actor portraying that same imaginary character, what must it be like to feel that about yourself?  Every day?  What must it be like to have people call you by a name that is not yours?

Julian Gibson is 14, and just entering high school in Toronto, Canada.  He has felt like a boy since he was old enough to know the difference between boys and girls, but he has only found the words for it in the past few years.  He hasn’t told anyone that he is a boy, and of course is afraid of how they will react.  As he and all the kids around him are entering or moving through puberty, he feels that disconnect between who he is and who he looks like much more acutely, and every day it causes him more distress.  He’s always been the quiet, bookish type, very intelligent, but living more inside his head than anywhere else, and high school is the time when he truly realizes that he will need to learn how to interact with the outside world.  If he doesn’t define himself, others will do it for him, and they will never know who he really is.  He decides that if he can just tell 3 people, that it will become real – yes, he is aware that he’s a little like Pinocchio wanting to be “a real boy” – and now he just needs to find a way to do that.

Those were all the things I loved about the story.  The premise is interesting, the description of Julian’s inner world and the discordance with what happens on the outside is exceptionally well done.  But the plot, well, it’s kind of meh.  I was so frustrated that the conflict is all within Julian’s mind.  When he does start to slowly come out, there was no negativity from others at all.  None, zip, nada.  Everyone not only is supportive, but they also know exactly how to be supportive.  No issues with forgetting to use the correct pronouns, no awkward interactions while reconciling Julian with Julia, and not even any questions like “how does that feel?”  Julian’s girlfriend, who mostly identifies as lesbian, basically just says OK when Julian explains how important it is that she thinks of them as a straight couple, and immediately he is her boyfriend, and that’s that.

The only external conflict had to do with gender specific bathrooms.  Really?  I know that North Carolina made a big deal about that, and the far right continues to make a big deal about it, but I personally think there are many more important discrimination issues facing transgender people.  I say this as a heterosexual, cis-woman, so of course I could be wrong, but I thought the focus on the bathroom issue was disingenuous at best, and a cop-out at worst.

Overall, the book fell short of what I hoped it would be, but it at least made me think more about the internal conflict that any transgender person must feel as they grow up and come to terms with their identity.  And I would definitely want to read a story with transgender teens again in the future.

Cover art, by Alexandria Corza, is also pretty meh.

Sales Links

Harmony Ink Press

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Book Details:

ebook, 254 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2016 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634774272 (ISBN13: 9781634774277)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Different Names for the Same Thing by Francis Gideon

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

different-names-for-the-same-thingThe last time Joël Paquet was in New York City, he nearly died. Too distracted by his problems, he didn’t look when he crossed the street and was nearly made into a pancake by a transport truck in the downtown core. The only saving grace of this trip, other than the cute person working as a living statue who saved him and then took him out for coffee, was the fact that his near-death experience finally gave him the courage to come out as trans.

Five years later, Joël Paquet is one of the most in-demand horror writers in North America. Going to New York City from his current Montreal home for the Black Markets Horror Con should be exciting, but when he gets an email that uses his birth name, he nearly cancels the trip altogether. The only thing that keeps Joël going is the thought of that living statue who saved his life once before.

Different Names for the Same Thing was my first book by Francis Gideon and it deeply conquered me. I found it to be well done and the writing so good. In just fifty pages the author kept my full attention on the MCs’ thoughts and desires. I followed Joël and the struggles with his fears and anxieties, I was able to emphasize with him on some level and that was a great success for my reading. Plus this is a second chance at love story. Double winner!

The first time Joël and Theo met, they spent a couple of hours in a bar talking about books and writing. Both of them were at an important point in their lives, still both of them were not who they wanted to be on the outside. Five years later neither of them has forgotten that chat. Surely  Joël can’t forget the living statue who saved his life. The same that captured his interest even if it was called Tracy and he was still Violet. The second time they meet is the right one and the freedom and happiness they are experiencing is evident and it warmed my soul. I enjoyed their moments together, especially the ones spent with a hordes of cats. And the ending was unexpected but so beautiful and deserved.

I feel to recommend Different Names for the Same Thing to everyone who is looking for a light but poignant second chance at love story, a quick reading that will leave you with a smile on your face.

I like the cover art by Natasha Snow, well done.

Sales Links

NineStar Press

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BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 54 pages

Expected publication: October 31st 2016 by NineStar Press

ISBN: 978-1-911153-93-1

Edition Language English

An Alisa Release Day Review: Chase This Light by Francis Gideon

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

chase-this-light-by-francis-gideonWhen Jason Flores moves to the Yukon for a new job, he’s not sure what to expect. His son Micah seems enchanted by the wildlife, but his recent fear of the dark means that the eighteen-hour nights in the winter will be a difficult adjustment. When Jason takes Micah to the local museum’s interactive lecture series on the gold rush, it turns out to be one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

 

Pete Odjick, a tattooed First Nations and Inuit man, dresses up for the weekly lectures as Skookum Jim, one of the first prospectors to find gold. He takes an immediate interest in Micah and an even bigger interest in Jason.

 

As their flirtation grows into something more serious, Jason’s job at a big name oil company and Pete’s volunteer work with an environmental group become a point of contention. Can they come to an understanding and give Micah a family again? Or will the drastic differences between them tear them apart? As the winter nights grow longer, Pete and Jason worry their love won’t be enough to chase the darkness away.

 

This was a wonderful story.  Jason has uprooted his whole life to move to the Yukon when he is transferred for his job.  He can only hope that this move will give his son, Micah, a chance to grow after the loss of his mother and grandmother.

 

Jason and Pete meet when Jason brings Micah to the museum to get out of the house after the long move.  Pete and Jason both recognize the need to move slowly because of Micah and also what they are both looking for.  Micah is such a sweet boy, but not unnaturally so as I see in so many stories.

 

We see this story from both character’s points of view.  Jason has to deal with not only his own grief when he and Pete have a misunderstanding, but also Micah’s.  They both are willing to make compromises to help each other so that their relationship can grow.

 

Cover art by Bree Archer is perfect and I wouldn’t change anything.

 

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Book Details:

ebook, 117 pages

Published: October 12, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781634777582

Edition Language: English

Series: A World of Love Story

An Alisa Release Day Review: Never Lose Your Flames by Frances Gideon

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

Never Lose Your FlamesCop-turned-bounty-hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.

Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.

Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.

 

This was my first book by Francis Gideon and I loved it.  Gabe thinks that capturing Nat will be easy, but soon learns there is a lot more to his story.  Nat has been running from his brother since he discovered his abilities.

 

Gabe isn’t sure what to think of Nat, no matter what evidence his boss feeds him.  They both share their pasts with each other which goes a long way towards earning each other’s trust.  Working together to save others and solve the mystery of why Gabe’s boss wants Nat brings them even closer together.

 

In this story I could feel how confused Gabe was.  Nothing he was being given about Nat was adding up to the man he was with.  I loved Nat and felt horrible that even when things were going well for him he was resigned to the fact that he would be going back to his brother no matter what while Gabe had resigned himself to a life alone without happiness.  Gabe’s friendships with the others in the story really goes a long way towards humanizing him a bit because he tries to keep himself so closed off.  I loved these characters and the different premise of this story.

 

Cover art by AngstyG is great and eye-catching.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe

 

Book Details:

ebook, 310 pages

Published: August 1, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781634775410

Edition Language: English

A Jeri Review: The Taste of Ink by Francis Gideon

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

The Taste of InkTrevor Dunn has never gone to the Calgary Stampede, in spite of living in the city all his life. He would much rather listen to music and draw comics in his basement than hang out with a bunch of cowboys. When his sister drags him to the Stampede’s opening parade anyway, Trevor is drawn to a cowboy sporting a green hat.

Charlie opens Trevor’s mind to the world of country music and country boys. But then an old flame appears in the middle of the festival and Trevor is torn. He adores Charlie, but Mathieu—a punk singer turned acoustic crooner—was Trevor’s first love, and Trevor lost him by being too afraid to chase the dreams they shared.

When the Stampede ends, Charlie will go back to Toronto, Mathieu will go back on tour, and Trevor will go back to his basement. Realizing that’s not what he wants, Trevor enters a mechanical bull-riding contest in hopes of winning the heart of his true love—or maybe both of them. This time, fear won’t stop him from going after what he wants.

When I think of cowboys, I think of the mid-west. Texas, Oklahoma, Montana. Apparently Canada has cowboys too. Who knew?

In this story we meet shy artist Trevor. His sister convinces him to go to the Calgary Stampede with her. A week of cowboys and everything cowboy related. He doesn’t want to go, but then he meets Charlie. A cowboy previously, he loves the Stampede and the men there.

They begin a hot and heavy affair- with the mutual understanding that it would only last as long as the Stampede did. But feelings begin to develop which they were not expecting. Trevor still stings from his last heart break- which he brought on himself and Charlie never saw himself in a relationship at all.

While the relationship developing was cute and the sex was super hot, this book was touted as M/M/M. Yet we don’t meet the third man until nearly the end of the book. And while Trevor and Mathieu have a history, the instant connection between Charlie and Mathieu seemed forced. After one night together all three are ready to pursue a poly relationship.

Trevor came out of his self-imposed shelf, but he came of as very meek, very submissive, being led around by the rich cowboy who bought him things and spoiled him.

A decent story, a new setting, hot sex scenes and some romance. I would have liked it more with either just Trevor and Charlie or with a lot more development of the poly relationship. But it was still an enjoyable read.

Cover art by AngstyG is gorgeous but how much of it speaks to the story?

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published March 11th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634770934
Edition LanguageEnglish