An Ashlez Release Day Review: The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick

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Rating : 5 stars out of 5

When she was a child, Joey Kinkaid, assigned as a boy at birth—wearing Mom’s purple sundress and an imaginary crown—ruled the Baker Street neighborhood with a flair and imagination that kept the other kids captivated. Day after day, she led them on fantastic after-school adventures, but those innocent childhood days are over, and the magic is gone. The princess is alone.

Even Eric Sinclair, the Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel, has turned his back on his former friend, watching in silence as Joey is tormented at school. Eric isn’t proud of it, but their enchanted youth is over, and they’ve been thrust into a dog-eat-dog world where those who conform survive and those who don’t… well, they don’t. Eric has enough to deal with at home, where his mother has abandoned him to live in isolation and poverty.

But Eric can’t stay on the sidelines forever. When Joey finally accepts her female gender and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies readily take the opportunity she hands them, driving Joey to attempt suicide and leaving Eric at a crossroads—one that will influence both their lives in not just the present, but the future.

Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?

I adored this book, I had never read anything like this prior to jumping in and it was so well worth it.  It’s definitely YA and nothing steamy happens but it was written with such heartache and feeling I just couldn’t put it down.
Joey – finding themselves throughout the whole book (most of it anyway) and it’s equally heartbreaking and eye opening to read – book smart and just trying to survive
Eric – bad luck of that draw, I was surprised how life turned out for him honestly it’s unreal what he went through within the book only to come out the way that he did, I felt bad for the inner turmoil of sticking up for someone/being made fun of yourself.

High school is hard, bullies are jerks, life gets better.. those are the takeaways from this book and 100% recommend people read it especially if you have someone going through a gender crisis, etc. it’s so well written and amazing.

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design. This cover is amazing and vibrant and totally relatable to the book!

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 180 pages
Expected publication: January 22nd 2019 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 139781640803947

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

This starts in first person with Jason experiencing a horrible act of violence. He is saved by a stranger named Liam and they are both probably in shock because they flee the scene and wash off any evidence. Not that I’m sure how any of it would have helped the police. With the killer still at large, they are holed up in a hotel room. Two months later Jason has PTSD and is not coping well. Once again, Liam comes to his rescue. When they start back to school in the Fall, their relationship continues to develop. All of the sudden Jase is like a new, different person or maybe he is his old self. I don’t know because I don’t know who he was before the event. What I do know is that the second half of the book focuses on yet another tragedy, this one is Liam’s past. The point is for Jase to save Liam, as Liam saved Jase. The confrontation with a fellow survivor seems created just for drama and conflict. When there is yet another emergency, Jase’s reaction is OTT. Liam does need to see a mental health professional, but all of this feels like an adult Afterschool Special (yes, I am aware this dates me) with a pointed message and no subtlety.

People can get close when they’ve shared life changing moments, but this is slightly exploitative–as if the tragedy is a way to execute a gay for you story. The sex scenes are not all that sexy, just intense. There could be a believable, heartfelt story of a man who realizes he’s attracted to another man in the wake of a trauma. Tragedies make people question who they are and confront their view of themselves. Two guys bonding and realizing they are bisexual when they develop feelings for each other is entirely possible. This would have been more realistic if they had gotten to know each other first, before the sexual element was introduced. They even read more as demisexual, although I’m not sure that fits either. Then they get to the point of power exchange and I feel like that is another reason/excuse given to why they are attracted to each other. It’s the delivery that makes it feel unnatural.

The message of the book is a good one (“gay, straight, bi, pan…all labels, and I don’t need them”); I’m just not convinced by the execution of this example. But this message rings loud and clear, “time to live life fully because you never know when it’s all going to be over.”

The cover art by Natasha Snow shows the two main characters and a theater that played such a huge part in their story. The pixelation seems to convey how scattered and torn apart they are by trauma.

Sales Links:   NineStar Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, Second Edition
Published October 29th 2018 by NineStar Press (first published February 14th 2016)
ISBN 139781949909074
Edition Language English

A VVivacious Review: Love Spell by Mia Kerick

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

Miss Harvest Moon, Chance César has a crush on The Harvest Moon Pumpkin Carving King, Jasper Donahue and he is going to make Jasper fall in love with him with the help of his bestie, Emily Benson, Today’s Lady Online Magazine’s Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You and a love spell (or two) to boot!

Chance is very into following the list, though it was kind of distressing to see what Chance’s allegiance to the list was doing to Jasper and the worst part is we don’t even get Jasper’s POV so yeah, I could feel his distress across Chance’s POV. It was painfully obvious that all these tactics made Chance seem like he was running hot and cold and all the mixed signals would mess with anyone’s head. Personally, all I wanted was for Chance to be himself.

I didn’t like Emily’s character. The only thing I would have wanted from her was two things – one, to tell Chance that he needs to be honest in his dealings with Jasper because what is the point of Jasper falling in love with someone who is not even real and two, that he didn’t need to figure out if he was a boy or girl or both or neither he could be anything he wanted to be and he didn’t need a box, he could just be uniquely Chance and that could be his box if he so desired and since, she did neither, I don’t even know why she existed. She doesn’t even contribute much to the plot and felt very much like an unnecessary character. I am pretty conflicted about her, I wonder if I should excuse her on the grounds of immaturity or the fact that she is just a teenager with no life experience but somehow, I can’t absolve her even with those considerations into place. Simultaneously, I also realise that we actually don’t know anything about her which brings me back to my first point, what was her contribution to the story, it felt like she was a character because someone was ticking off a list which said a female best friend was mandatory to a YA novel featuring a gay guy.

Though I couldn’t get behind Emily’s character I still ended up liking Chance probably because it was easy to see his foibles for what they were and somehow, it’s easy to lose perspective when your own feelings are hanging in the balance and I can somewhat excuse him especially as we see him learn the lesson he needed to learn. I really feel for Chance and being in his head it was really easy to like him because I could see where he was coming from. I really wanted to give him a hug every time he gets conflicted about his gender identity. I really connected with him even though I don’t know how many times I was shaking my head as he went along with things on the list.

I guess my best character in this book has to be Jasper. He was amazing and I loved him truly, I almost think I love him more than Chance. Getting to know Jasper was the real treat of this book and I literally can’t think of one single thing about him that I didn’t like (okay, in hindsight, I can think of one).

I had issues with the book and somehow, I really wanted to shake Chance up and tell him to forget the list and just be himself but despite the list and how much I was dreading the complications of the list the whole time it was in effect, I still found this an interesting read once I got into Chance’s head space. I feel like the ending changed things for me because during the whole list debacle I was like I am going to rate it like two stars or something but then we got to the end and we see Chance learn from his mistakes, learn that he can be himself, uniquely Chance and that significantly redeemed the book in my mind to some extent. I guess what I want to say, is that this book is not a painful read, it wasn’t ever a problem where I had to convince myself to finish the book just because I had to review it, in fact, it was the opposite. I finished it pretty quickly and there was something about this book that had me turning the pages even though I couldn’t stop myself from shaking my head at the words.

Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I love the cover, especially the background which has a kind of magical feel to it.

Sales Link  Amazon   |: Nine Star Press

Book Details:

ebook, 43,300 words

Expected Publication: 2nd edition, August 27, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949340-50-1

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Review: Love Spell by Mia Kerick

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Chance César is fabulously gay, but his gender identity—or, as he phrases it, “being stuck in the gray area between girl and boy”—remains confusing. Nonetheless, he struts his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug-in-all-the-right (wrong)-places orange tuxedo as the winner of this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon Festival. He rules supreme at the local Beans and Greens Farm’s annual fall celebration, serenaded by the enthusiastic catcalls of his BFF, Emily Benson.

Although he refuses to visually fade into the background of his rural New Hampshire town, Chance is socially invisible—except when being tormented by familiar bullies. But sparks fly when Chance, Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper (Jazz) Donahue, winner of the Pumpkin Carving King contest. Chance wants to be noticed and admired and romantically embraced by Jazz, in all of his neon-orange-haired glory.

And so at a sleepover, Chance and Emily conduct intense, late-night research, and find an online article: “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love With You.” Along with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure, it becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

But will this “no-fail” plan work? Can Chance and Jazz fall under the fickle spell of love?

This was quite the story.  Chance refuses to hide who he is, no matter if others don’t like it.  But being a teenager, he is always sure he knows what is best and that’s following his “plan”, even if it goes against what his instincts tell him.

Though we saw the story through Chance’s eyes I was able to see the stress and responsibilities that Jazz has on his shoulders, even if Chance missed every clear hint about it.  Chance is quite self-absorbed as many teens are but his mind is a strange place.  I really think Chance needs to quite steadfastness for Jazz in his life and when he stops trying to push and actually is himself, he gets an even bigger award.  Young adult isn’t really the best genre for me, but this is one that had caught my eye before and I was excited to see it available again.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I love all the color, just like Chance’s personality.

Sales Link: Nine Star Press

Book Details:

ebook, 43,300 words

Expected Publication: 2nd edition, August 27, 2018 by Nine Star Press

ISBN: 978-1-949340-50-1

Edition Language: English

Cover Reveal for Love Spell by Mia Kerick (giveaway)

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Title: Love Spell
Author: Mia Kerick
Re-Release Date: August 27th 2018
Published by: Ninestar Press
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT

Sales Link:  NineStar Press

BLURB

Having come to terms with being gay, Chance César is still uneasy with his gender identity, or, as he phrases it, “being stuck in the gray area between girl and boy.” This concern, however, doesn’t stop him from strutting his fabulous stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug-in-all-the-right (wrong)-places orange tuxedo as the winner of this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon Festival at the local Beans and Greens Farm’s annual fall celebration, serenaded by the enthusiastic catcalls of his BFF, Emily Benson. Although he refuses to visually fade into the background of his rural New Hampshire town, Chance is socially invisible—except when being tormented or beat up by familiar bullies. But when Chance, the Harvest Moon Festival’s mockingly-elected Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue (Jazz), the legitimate winner of the Pumpkin Carving King contest, sparks fly. Chance wants to be noticed and admired and romantically embraced by Jazz, in all of his neon orange-haired glory.

And so at a sleepover, Chance and Emily conduct intense research on their laptop computers, and come up with an article in an online women’s magazine called “Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You.” Along with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure, it becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely “sickening” (this is a good thing), and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

 

What reviewers are saying about LOVE SPELL ~

“Kerick devotes most of the book to sassy fun and first-love desire, but her depiction of the loneliness caused by apathetic parents, the insecurity of extra pounds, the stress of college applications, the meanness of bullies, the importance of forgiveness, and especially the uneasiness of being “stuck in the gray area between girl and boy” make this novel thoroughly enjoyable. The book not only hits upon all manner of teenage angst, but also on the significance of true family values and on the joys of such simple pleasures as high–thread-count sheets, sharing homemade pizza, and playing card games instead of “head games” on a Friday night. The characters are memorable and the dialogue is consistently bright and believable, featuring authentic-sounding teenspeak. The author even defines Chance’s invented vocabulary words (such as “Randatorbs” and “Dooza-palooza”) in a back-of-the-book glossary for readers who can’t keep up.

A comical, thought-provoking YA novel for those who believe in the magic of love without all the hocus-pocus.” – Kirkus Reviews (2015)

GIVEAWAY: WIN $5 Amazon Gift Card

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About the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said 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 and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. 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. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour for My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: My Crunchy Life

Author: Mia Kerick

Release Date: 26th June 2018

Genre: LGBT, Young Adult

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John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dying his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.

After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school.

When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.

Find My Crunchy Life at Goodreads

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Harmony Ink

 

EXCERPT

Julian, 4: 00 p.m.

On my first day back to school after the incident, Sydney Harper, a junior from the right side of the tracks, cut me off in the hallway by the gym and got up in my face. “You didn’t really wanna die. My mother said it was just some kind of pathetic cry for help.” Having made her point, she spun around on her Ugg-booted nonheel and headed for the girls’ locker room.

Then in precalc, some guy I barely knew poked me hard in the back with a Sharpie marker, and I was the lucky recipient of another dose of compassion. “You just crave attention, don’t you, girly-boy?”

Maybe, on some level, they were both right.

But on that night in October when I decided my best move in life would be to wash down the last of the Extra Strength Tylenol in our medicine cabinet with a bottle of Citrus Cooler Gatorade, I knew I couldn’t lose, however it turned out. The alternative to my clever plan to get some attention, and maybe even a measure of help, was that I’d fall asleep and never wake up— which, in my opinion, served just fine as Plan B.

If nobody heard my “cry for help” and I checked out, we’d probably all be better off. No real harm done… except to Mama. But the freaking UPS man heard my “pathetic cry,” or more accurately saw my apparently lifeless torso hanging from the tree house in the side yard, and saved me.

 

GIVEAWAY: WIN $15 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said 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 and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. 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. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

 

Release Blitz for My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: My Crunchy Life

Author: Mia Kerick

Release Date: 26th June 2018

Genre: LGBT, Young Adult

BLURB

John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dying his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.

After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school.

When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.

Find My Crunchy Life at Goodreads

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Harmony Ink

EXCERPT

So, Kale, you say you’re a champion of human rights, hmm?” It’s clear to me that Julian detects my discomfort. When he steps up close, his voice emits from directly beneath my left ear. “That means you’re here to protect my human rights, even if it takes you to a place you never figured you’d go— not even in your wildest, but most certainly unoriginal, dreams.”

His breath tickles my neck— or maybe I just imagine it— and I shiver. “Yeah… that’s why I came here tonight.” My urge is to add “dude” to the end of my sentence, but I don’t want to make an assumption.

“Really.” It isn’t a question or a statement. It’s just a word. But the way he says it is sharp enough to cut glass.

I nod for the zillionth time tonight, and about ten thousand prickles of dread pop up in my armpits, which might sound strange, but I hear it’s a common response to stress.

“Really.” He says it again in exactly the same way, then steps in front of me so we’re standing face-to-face. I don’t want to look him in the eye. I’m not sure why I feel this way, because I’ve got balls. So I force myself to be a man and drag my gaze up his body from the badass combat boots, to the tights, to the oversized purple plaid flannel shirt that would make even a lumberjack look like he’s going dancing. And finally I focus on the important stuff: long, dark hair, freshly brushed and falling over his shoulders, even darker eyes that lift a little bit at the corners, and an “I dare you to mess with me” smirk on shiny red lips.

His lips… well, they’re moving again, but I don’t have a clue what he’s saying because I’m too busy staring.

At. His. Lips.

Are hippie dudes supposed to get captivated by other dudes’ lips?

Because this is a first for me, and not just in my brief life as a hippie. I’ve never been one to suffer with debilitating crushes on movie stars or pop singers or the high school’s most popular girls. And here I am totally caught up in the lips of a dude I don’t even know. Weird.

GIVEAWAY: Win $10 Amazon Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said 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 and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. 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. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

A Lucy Pre release Review: My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick

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Rated 5 stars out of 5

This young adult book focuses on Kalin, who goes by Kale, a 16-year-old searching for himself in that angsty adolescent time known as high school.  He’s facing a mother who was downsized from her job and has no pretty much abdicated from her adult responsibilities, a dad who is trying really hard, and a brosin, Hughie, (“…by my definition, a person who is midpoint between an irritating brother and an annoying cousin…”) who is sharing (invading) his room.  Kale is now a hippie, with dreadlocks that fall into his eyes, organically hand tie-dyed t-shirts, a vegan diet and a need to do “hippie things”, meaning he needs to find a social cause to embrace.  He does this by joining REHO, Rights for Every Human Organization.   It is here that Kale meets Julian.  Julian has big time problems at school, mostly in the form of a huge bully named Sydney.  Julian is incredibly smart, wants to be the best at academics so he can get a scholarship to college and be a doctor, attempted suicide and is now seeing a therapist.  Julian is transgender, a female trapped in his male body, and he’s bullied unmercifully for that.  “I have no problem with the world addressing me as Julian.  In fact, I insist upon it, even with those like Dr. E, who know that, inside, I’m actually a girl.  I want to be called Julian until the day I begin to live as one.”    Julian joins clubs to make sure his academic resume is complete and one of those is REHO.

The story is told in alternating first person point of view of Julian and Kale and I truly appreciated that.  I liked getting into the problems that both these teenagers are struggling with and how they are trying to deal with it.  It connected me with these characters so much more.   When Kale goes on socialactivism.com to find a cause I rolled my eyes at him. But it got us to where we wanted to be, REHO.

In addition to the trials of Kale and Julian, there is also the family trouble facing Hughie.   He’s a sweet boy who was living under a bridge until Kale’s dad took him in.  Hughie’s mother, “Serenity”, is a stripper and a truly bad mother.  When Serenity (real name Mary Pat) wants to see Hughie, I felt so bad for him.  “It’s like he can’t bounce back from the idea of coming face-to-face with his own mother.”  Because she isn’t a good mother and poor Hughie doesn’t have that sense of belonging to Kale’s home and family.  He’s like a sort of permanent house guest. He is the one who gave Kale the nickname, Crunchy, because of all the granola he eats in a house of serious meat-eaters.

Hughie, Sydney and Julian are in all classes together and they are all vying for the top spot of valedictorian.  That is one reason that Sydney is such a nightmare – she wants to stress them both away from being able to snag that spot. 

The one thing that saved this story from being an “all women are horrible” type is the volunteer best friends of Julian, Anna and Kandy.  Thank Pete for them, because they supported Julian and they were evidence that not all women are horrible.   Yes, Kale mother is not great, Hughie’s mother is awful, Sydney the bully and her female posse are the worst.   But Anna and Kandy, along with Julian’s mother, are gems.  Mama is so amazing, her support is what every kid should have.

As Kale comes to realize he likes Julian, he is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.  Is he gay? Is he bi?  He isn’t really sure, he just knows he is coming to like Julian.  He sits by him at REHO, and is stunned to realize Julian goes to the same high school.  It’s funny that even though both Julian and Hughie have much bigger stresses and issues to face, I still was sympathetic to Kale as he tries to navigate what he’s feeling.  Anyone who says the teen years are the best is delusional in  my book. 

Julian is attending REHO as he is facing his body changing even more into something he abhors.  He is also facing the aftermath of trying to kill himself.  “I still have soul-sucking nightmares about the day I tried to die – dreams about the loneliness, the anxiety, and the hopelessness that brought me to the point that I thought it would be better to be gone.”  It’s heart-wrenching to know that there are so many kids who feel that way.  Julian is his true self- Julia – at night and then has to do the difficult task of “…putting the boy back on in the morning after being myself all night.”  He has to “…numb his body and spirit” in order to be what society says he has to be.  But not forever, Julian. 

Julian doesn’t immediately hit it off with Kale.  He believes Kale is cute, but a poser.  When trouble comes for Hughie, and he takes off,  Kale gets some insight into himself and he doesn’t like what he is seeing.  “Like self-absorbed…or insensitive.  Or both.”  And really, he is.  As he comes to realize that “I’m the Walt Disney World Hippie Theme Park of teenage boys in Crestdale” he begins to do what many adults fail to do.  Look at himself and realize he needs to change. “And maybe I have no idea who I really am, other than a guy who professed to be pro-human rights but who looked the other way at the human being in desperate need who lives in my frigging bedroom with me.”  He’s only 16 but he’s going to be an amazing adult. 

Kale and Julian are slowly becoming friends when Kale is hit with a revelation at REHO that he didn’t see coming and he handles it badly, mainly because he sort of makes things all about him.  But it seemed a true reaction from someone who is struggling with their own identity.   Julian has his mama’s support again and I wanted to cheer for her.  “You chose the only path you could follow.  And now, by beautiful, smart, and courageous daughter, I hope you will follow it with pride”.  Jules has the strength because of that support.

The moment when Kale has to decide whether to do what is right, what is best for him, and what is easy was a great moment, even as it was a painful one.  The ending of this was so perfect, sweet and YA and lovely.  This coming of age story isn’t incredibly angsty, despite some very serious themes, but it’s a story of growth and I thought it was just right.

The cover, by Aaron Anderson, is simple and completely captured the feel of Kale.  The tie dye, the mushroom dreads, the sweet face – it all really leant the picture of who Kale was trying to be and I liked it.

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon – no links yet for Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 180 pages
Expected publication: June 26th 2018 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN139781640803923
Edition LanguageEnglish

Blog tour for The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick (excerpt and giveaway)

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WBL Tour

Title: The Weekend Bucket List

Author: Mia Kerick

Release Date: April 19th 2018

Genre: Young Adult, LGBT

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High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line—they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another—feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Interlude Press

Find The Weekend Bucket List on Goodreads

I think if I_ve learned anything about friendship, it_s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don_t walk away, don_t be distracted, don_t be t

EXCERPT

Ever since we skipped the junior prom together last spring— neither of us is the type to participate in overrated school events, especially ones that involve dancing—and came to this very spot at the end of the Wellington Town Beach, I’ve felt a flicker of “something more” for my longtime BFF. It wasn’t exactly a romantic evening—we listened to eighties music and downed a full bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken while gazing at Tamarack Lake—but for me, our relationship changed. When Cooper touched my face that night I was overwhelmed by an urge for something completely new and different and dangerous: I wanted to kiss him. The urge has been lurking since that night, but right now, it’s stronger than ever. I want so badly to drop down on top of him and plant my lips on his, just to find out how it tastes… just to find out how it feels. But I don’t because it isn’t next on the list.

And because I just don’t.

GIVEAWAY: Win $15 Amazon Giftcard

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About the Author

Mia

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said 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 and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. 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. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

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A Caryn Review: The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is one of the best YA books I’ve ever read.  It is emphatically not a romance, and to be honest, that’s what makes it so wonderful.

If you were asking for advice, Coop, I’d tell you that friendship is the deepest form of love.  But society deems the love between friends less important than romantic love.  Friendship is highly underrated.

That quote is from Cooper’s father, and I think sums up the theme of the book pretty completely.

Cooper is the high school valedictorian, a nerdy kid who’s never really been tempted to act out, and who has been good as gold for his entire high school career.  His best friend is Cady, another outcast nerd who “has always been game for any kind of fun that’s rated G.”  The two have been best friends who became especially close when Cady’s twin brother overdosed and went to rehab.  They’ve supported each other through high school, and now that they’re near graduation, Cady came up with a plan to do all the things they missed by being “good” kids – the Weekend Bucket List.  They are both frightened of leaving each other when they go to different schools, and both are wondering if what they feel for each other is more than just an extremely close friendship.

While carrying out their plan, they meet Eli, a lonely young man who dropped out of high school and has been working with carnivals and moving from town to town.  Cooper and Cady spontaneously adopt him into their plans, and they have an intense weekend that answers some questions, but raises even more difficult ones.  When the weekend is over, everything falls apart.

Fortunately, they have the summer to repair things before they go their separate ways.

I love how all the emotions are in this book – love, anger, jealousy, betrayal, hope, fear, and faith.  All three of these characters are at times unintentionally cruel to each other, and each at different times gives up on the other two.  Eli especially just broke my heart, because he had so little to begin with, and was so open and trusting, “falling into friendship” too quickly because he was so starved for affection.  In the end, all three of them learned strength and faith as they came together and fell apart over the summer, and learned how to be kind and honest and to truly appreciate the depth of their friendship.

Learning to differentiate between platonic love and romantic love can be very difficult, especially when there is some physical attraction, and definitely at that age!  What this book did so beautifully was elevate platonic love to the level it deserves, validate it in a world that talks way too much about finding “the one”, and legitimize the idea that soul mates don’t have to be lovers.  It was a beautiful book, and one that I am going to recommend to a lot of people.

Cover art by CB Messer is simple, eye-catching, and perfect for a YA book.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: April 19th 2018 by Duet Books
ASINB0797P1NX1
Edition LanguageEnglish