A Caryn Review: A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I actually had a hard time rating this book, because there were pieces I loved, and pieces I hated.  Mental illness and mental health – I think its very important to mention that, since the MC is actually in successful therapy and making progress at controlling what has to be understood as a chronic illness – are the predominant themes of the book, much more so than romance.  Personally I like reading about that, but it might turn some readers off.

Reid is a 20 year old young man who had been struggling with mental illness for years before he was finally diagnosed and started receiving proper treatment.  He was a cutter – a behavior that left him increasingly isolated.  The years he went untreated, and his eventual breakdown that led to inpatient treatment, created an increasingly difficult environment at home, where he was constantly reminded of his failures, and could not find a way to break out of that mold while living at home with his parents in Wisconsin, near his on again, off again dysfunctional boyfriend.  His grandmother owned a condo in the Florida keys, and offered it to Reid so he would have a place to stay away from all the unhealthy influences at home, and have a chance to continue his recovery.

In Key Largo, Reid met Joachim who was teaching dive classes.  Both men were instantly attracted to each other, but dating, much less forming a relationship, was incredibly difficult due to Reid’s illness.  The fact that Joachim was a wanderer at heart and only in Florida temporarily compounded those difficulties.  When they did commit to each other and admit they were each in love – way to soon as far as I was concerned – they continued to work through issues.  The ending however, was pretty abrupt and unsatisfactory.

The author mentions at the beginning that this is an #ownvoices book, and I will be honest that I wasn’t quite sure what that was in relation to – was it ethnicity or mental illness?  Although there are two MCs, Reid – white, American – is clearly the predominant character in the book.  Joaquim is Brazilian, but to a large extent I felt that his character existed primarily to offset and highlight the struggles Reid went through, and that his character was not very well developed.  The descriptions of Reid’s mental illness – cyclothymia – how it affected his behavior, his perceptions, and his interactions with others was detailed, but sensitive, and definitely one of the aspects I loved.  Those descriptions were so well done, in fact, that it felt like the author must have lived through them – if not personally, then perhaps witnessing cyclothymia in a family member or friend.  I don’t know if it was because there was so much focus on Reid’s condition, but I found that I couldn’t connect well with either of the MC’s, and the romance did not feel convincing to me.  The fact that the book was written in present tense, however, is what really turned me off.  I find present tense obnoxious, a little pretentious, hard to read, and it brought my rating down, but if other readers don’t mind alternating POV in present tense, this would probably be a more highly rated read.

Cover art by CB Messer is just lovely, and I thought the small size of the divers in a wide expanse of ocean really played up the title.

Sales Links:

Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2FbYh4V

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/791892

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-tiny-piece-of-something-greater/id1348808986?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-tiny-piece-of-something-greater

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781945053603

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 264 pages
Published May 17th 2018 by Interlude Press
Original TitleA Tiny Piece of Something Greater
ASINB079YZ6XKW
Edition LanguageEnglish

RELEASE BLITZ for A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra (exclusive excerpt and giveaway)

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A Tiny Piece of Something Greater

Publisher: Interlude Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): May 17, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 258 Pages

Subgenre: LGBT, Interracial/Multicultural, New Adult

Editor’s Note: Some readers may find some of the scenes in this book difficult to read. We have compiled a list of content warnings, which you can access at interludepress.com/content-warnings

All buy links or pre-order links:

Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2FbYh4V

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/791892

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-tiny-piece-of-something-greater/id1348808986?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-tiny-piece-of-something-greater

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781945053603

Book blurb:

Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.

Jude Sierra talks A Tiny Piece of Something Greater: I want readers to walk away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of what it is like to thrive with mental illness—or strive toward it—and what it is like for two people to be and fall in love in these situations. I’d love for readers to come away knowing that love doesn’t cure mental illness, nor should it. Reid and Joaquim love each other as they are.

 Exclusive Excerpt :

“Reid!” Joaquim stands a few steps down, not wanting to have to go all the way to the beach only to climb back up.

“Coming!”

By the time Reid’s all the way up, he’s slightly out of breath but smiling. “I am ready for my surprise. You didn’t install a sex swing in my grandma’s condo, did you? I’d have a hard time explaining that away.”

“No, you pervert.” Joaquim takes Reid’s hand. The sun is setting, leaving a lovely glow at their backs and a slightly dimmed living room. It lends the perfect ambiance. He covers Reid’s eyes.

“Really?”

Joaquim glances behind himself as he walks backward while leading Reid in.

“Okay, we’re going to die like this,” he mutters. “Close your eyes.” He comes around Reid, covers his eyes with his palms, and then leads him forward. “Sit,” he whispers once they’re in the middle of the living room.

“On a chair?” Reid waves a hand around blindly.

“No, on the floor.”

Joaquim kneels and helps Reid onto the floor. Once they’re down, he presses himself against Reid’s back and whispers into his ear, “Now.”

“J…” Reid says. All around them are small white candles in glass jars. Joaquim bought out the store with his measly savings. More than a hundred candles are on the table to their right, on the shelves by the TV, and surrounding the carefully laid, soft plaid blanket beneath them. Their light butters the hush of sunset through the glass doors at their backs. Strewn everywhere are rose petals and shells. Joaquim painstakingly removed the petals from the flowers, trying not to bruise or tear them; his fingers bear pinpricks from their thorns. At Shell World, he endured Delia’s teasing after exacting a promise not to say anything to Reid about what he was planning. The stillness of Reid’s body, though, speaks of the worth of the time spent.

“I’ve never…” Joaquim starts.

“No one has ever—” Reid breaks off, his voice is thick and unsteady. He turns his face to tuck it into Joaquim’s neck. “How did you know?”

“That you’re a hopeless romantic even though you try to hide it?”

“Yes.”

“Because you’re terrible at hiding it,” Joaquim says. He holds Reid’s hand in tender counterpoint to the light amusement in his voice.

“Fuck. I guess my cover is blown.” His eyes, bright with tears, don’t shy from Joaquim’s.

“I hope,” Joaquim says, and touches Reid’s cheek, “that you know you don’t need a cover with me.”

Reid smiles, but looks away. Too much? Joaquim isn’t pressuring. He’s offering. He’s laying something bare.

“I do.” Reid kisses him.

 

About Jude Sierra:

Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include HushWhat it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews.

Connect with Jude: Site | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest

Giveaway Prize of A TINY PIECE OF SOMETHING GREATER by Jude Sierra (5 eBooks + $25 IP Web Store credit Grand Prize):

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A Stella Review: Idlewild by Jude Sierra

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RATING 4,25 out of 5 stars

idlewildIn a last ditch effort to bring the downtown Detroit gastro pub he started with his late husband back to life, Asher Schenck fires everyone and hires a completely new staff. Among them is Tyler Heyward, a 23-year-old recent college graduate in need of funds to pay for med school. As their relationship shifts from business to friendship, Tyler falls for Asher and finds himself caught between the things he thought he wanted and the things he hasn’t allowed himself to dream about. Working together, they get to know each other’s dreams. Set in the backdrop of Detroit’s revival, Idlewild is a story about love and healing.

Asher is reopening Idlewild, the restaurant he neglected during the last difficult years, years where after losing his husband, he let himself be swallowed by the grief and overlooked his business. Asher is hiring new people, Tyler is one of waiters. He has decided to take a break from med school and work doing something he actually like. What both of them aren’t expecting is  the strong friendship that born between them.

Idlewild by Jude Sierra is a very good story, it packs a lot of feelings, real ones, the emotions come out through the pages so clearly. I liked how it is paced and I adored how I was able to see the love Tyler and Asher had for each other even before they realized it.

This is a book relation focused, there are some second characters, well defined too, but they don’t play huge roles in the plot, the focus remained spotted on the MCs and their initial friendship and it follows them in the discovery of a new unexpected love later. We see them deal with life, with their fears and the happiness found in each other arms.

I liked how John and Malik were presented and often mentioned, as it could have been in real life; because ex boyfriends and dead husbands can’t be forgotten in the span of a moment like  too often happens in books, while in RL you hurt, suffer and recover with time and the help of your beloved ones. And I saw exactly this in Idlewild, although maybe Asher isn’t really ready yet to go on, but he’s there, and Tyler is just waiting for him.

The only little negative note I want to make and the reason why I didn’t give the novel the five full stars, is the use of the present tense as verbal form, I’m usually not a fan of it but in this particular case it bothered me quite a lot because it seems it clashed with the writing. I can assure you the book is very well written but to me it wasn’t perfect just for the verbal form.

I feel to recommend Idlewild, especially if you are looking for a real story, with real characters and a real setting. I quite enjoyed it and I’m now interested in reading more by Jude Sierra.

The cover art by CB Messer caught my eyes at first sight, it’s well done and fits the story.

Sales Links

Interlude Press

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BOOK DETAILS

Published December 1st 2016 by Interlude Press

Kindle Edition, 250 pages

ASIN B01MAXJFMU

Edition Language English

In the Contemporary Spotlight: Jude Sierra’s ‘What It Takes’ (author interview, excerpt and contest)

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What It Takes by Jude Sierra
Release Date: January 14, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Art: Nelli I, Cover Design: C.B. Messer

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jude Sierra, author of What it Takes. Hi Jude thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  • Tell us something about your character’s friends. They’ve grown up in a small town, so they have a small group of friends that Andrew keeps in touch with as an adult – that Milo reconnects with when he comes back home. Ted is a fun guy. He’s kind of the class clown but in an irreverent ways. Their other friend Sarah is a steady, down to earth girl. She’s a good friend who is honest and direct and also a really steady presence in their lives.
  • What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food? Milo has a soft spot for baked goods, particularly any made by Andrew’s mother. He loves snickerdoodles and macaroons. Andrew loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Even as an adult, they are his go-to food. He takes some ribbing for it, but nothing can come between him and his lifelong love of a good old-fashioned sandwich.
  • What activity does your character absolutely hate? Andrew isn’t a huge fan of exercise for the sake of exercise, particularly things like running or biking. He likes being outside in nature, but at a slower pace.
  • What other author’s book do you think your character would be good in? Selfishly, I wouldn’t mind seeing them in Courtney Lux’s Small Wonders. Although I think as kids, their particular dance might leave Trip eyerolling hard core and perhaps not biting his tongue.
  • What’s your favorite decade and why? Well I’m a fan of the 80’s, but that’s because I was born in the 80’s which gives that decade a leg up automatically. I kid. I think that nostalgia can make decades we weren’t alive for seem awesome but the realities are more complex than that, which makes me want to name a decade I know, which limits my answer. I have to say that the late 90’s were brilliant though. Pop culture wise, you had Friends, the X-Files, the rise of boybands and some great alternative rock as well. Lots of great books – including the first half of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Good stuff.

Blurb

The connection was instantaneous.

Mere moments after Milo Graham’s family relocates to Cape Cod, he meets Andrew Witherell—launching a lifelong friendship built on a foundation of deep bonds, secret forts, and plans for the future. When Milo is called home from college to attend his domineering father’s funeral, he and Andrew finally act on their mutual attraction. But doubtful of his worth, Milo severs all ties with his childhood friend. Years later, the men find themselves home again, and their long-held feelings will not be denied. But will they have what it takes to find lasting love?

 

Pages or Words: 274 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

Excerpt

Andrew gladly lets Milo drive his car; he hates driving, especially when he can play radio DJ and watch the scenery go by. He looks at Milo: the way the fading light before dusk changes the tone of his skin; the way the muscles of his arms stand out and his lips curl as he sings along, awfully, to the radio. Milo smiles at him and Andrew flashes a brief one back, wonders how obvious he’s being, and looks back out the window at the slipping sand that spills onto the road and the ramshackle businesses along the road.

“So what got this bee in your bonnet?” he asks suddenly.

Milo shrugs. “You sound like my grandma.”

“Awesome; I like her. Let’s focus.”

“So… okay.” Milo clears his throat and his fingers tighten on the wheel. “I um, think I have something to tell you. But I’m—”

“Is everything okay?” Andrew interrupts, scanning his memory for any signs of additional distress Milo might have displayed in the last few months.

“Yeah. Well. I mean, um… whatever. But I—”

“What? You’re worrying me.”

Milo sighs and pulls into the parking lot of a restaurant with a giant crab on the roof. “I can’t do this and drive.”

“Okay,” Andrew says slowly, then unbuckles his belt and turns to face him. Milo’s face is a little drawn.

“So, I think I might be gay,” Milo blurts. “I mean, I know. I know I am.”

There’s a full minute of silence in the car while Andrew tries to work the words out. Static screeches in his ears, fleetingly numbing his reaction. Focus. He has a few seconds to control his face, to tamp down that sprout of irrational hope seeding despite the chaos, and be ultimately supportive.

“Um.” Andrew licks his lips and tries to pull himself together. That seedling wants to grow into something bigger, and he can’t let it. He looks at Milo’s face, which has morphed into something more vulnerable and worried. Hope is a hollow bell in his chest, ringing loud and dissonant; he wants to vibrate out of his skin with the inappropriateness of his own reactions. This is about Milo, not him. “You aren’t worried that I’m mad or something, are you?” he manages to say.

“I don’t know. Um, your face is doing… a thing,” Milo replies.

Reflexively Andrew puts his hands to his cheeks. His fingers are cold. Okay, so he definitely doesn’t have his face under control. “No, I… wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.” Andrew’s brain, sometimes faster than his mouth, is careening backward. “Maybe I should have had a clue.”

“Oh?”

“Well, for starters, you kissed me back.”

Buy the book:

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Meet the author:

Jude Sierra began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv.” She first began writing poetry as a child in her home country of Brazil, and is still a student of the form.

As a sucker for happy endings and well-written emotional arcs and characters, Jude is an unapologetic bookaholic. She finds bookstores and libraries unbearably sexy and, to her husband’s dismay, is attempting to create her own in their living room. She is a writer of many things that hope to find their way out of the sanctuary of her hard drive and many that have found a home in the fanfiction community.

She is currently working on her Master of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric and managing a home filled with her husband, two young sons, and two cats. Her first novel, Hush, was published in 2015 by Interlude Press.

Where to find the author:

What It Takes will be published by Interlude Press on January 14, 2016. Connect with author Jude Sierra at JudeSierra.com, on Twitter @JudeSierra, on Goodreads at goodreads.com/Jude_Sierra, and on Facebook at facebook.com/JudeMSierra.

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

14-Jan: Book Lovers 4Ever, Lee Brazil, Inked Rainbow Reads

15-Jan: Havan Fellows, Love Bytes, Hearts on Fire

18-Jan: Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, A.M. Leibowitz

19-Jan: Velvet Panic, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

20-Jan: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, The Novel Approach, Kirsty Loves Books

21-Jan: Molly Lolly, MM Good Book Reviews

22-Jan: BFD Book Blog, Happily Ever Chapter

25-Jan: Nautical Star Books, My Fiction Nook

26-Jan: Emotion In Motion, Bayou Book Junkie

27-Jan: Full Moon Dreaming, Alpha Book Club, QUEERcentric Books

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press web store gift card + WIT ebook; plus__5 eBook editions of WIT.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Love Paranormal Romance? Check Out “Hush” by Jude Sierra (excerpt and giveaway)

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Hush by Jude Sierra
Release Date: May 19, 2015

Goodreads Link 
Publisher: Consent, an imprint of Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Artist: Victoria A. with Cover Design by BuckeyeGrrl Designs

Sales Link:  Amazon

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More About “Hush”:

Wren is one of “the gifted”—a college sophomore with the power to compel others’ feelings and desires. He uses his power as a game of sexual consent until Cameron, a naïve freshman, enters his life. As Cameron begins to understand his sexuality and gain confidence under Wren’s tutelage, Wren grows to recognize new and unexpected things about himself. Can their game become a relationship as the power shifts from teacher to student?

Pages or Words: 278 pages

Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

 Hush Excerpt:

Wren looks… different. His eyes are wide in what seems almost like surprise. His lips, darker than Cam’s ever seen them, tremble. Cam doesn’t need any of Wren’s abilities to catch that Wren is overwhelmed. The only thing Cam knows how to offer is what he himself would want.

“Kiss me?” he asks.

Beautifully, Wren doesn’t resist. His clothes are rough against Cam’s skin all those zippers are so cold where Cam radiates heat. When Wren drapes himself on top of Cam, his body is heavier than Cam had imagined. Wren kisses Cam softly, seeking something, and Cam wants to believe it’s from a feeling of closeness, something sweet like the gratitude he feels right now. He cannot believe he just did that—that he let Wren do that. Hulled and shaking, Cam lets his hands wander because even after that perfect storm of pleasure, there is an itch under his skin for more.

About the author:

Jude Sierra first began writing poetry as a child in her home country of Brazil. Still a student of the form, she has expanded her repertoire with her first novel, Hush.

She began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007, and in 2011 began writing in online fan communities, where her stories have thousands of readers.

Where to find the author:

Website: http://www.Judesierra.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JudeMSierra
Twitter: @judesierra

Contest

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions. Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press Gift Card.

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Tour Dates & Stops:

19-May

Wake Up Your Wild Side

Hearts on Fire

Multitasking Mommas

3 Chicks After Dark

The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

20-May

The Novel Approach

Because Two Men Are Better Than One

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

MM Good Book Reviews

21-May

Velvet Panic

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

Bayou Book Junkie

22-May

Emotion In Motion

My Fiction Nook

Divine Magazine

25-May

Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

Love Bytes

26-May

Prism Book Alliance

BFD Book Blog

27-May

Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance

Amanda C. Stone

Cate Ashwood

28-May

Molly Lolly

29-May

The Blogger Girls

1-Jun

Rainbow Gold Reviews

Inked Rainbow Reads