A Caryn Release Day Review: When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wow.  Just Wow.  This book is everything I love to read in a coming of age story, and I guess the only thing that surprised me is that it was not marketed as YA.  I would absolutely recommend this book to the YA crowd as well as to adults

Our protagonists are Theo and Chris, two boys who are entering their junior year in high school, who have been best friends and next door neighbors for years.  The story is told primarily from Theo’s point of view.  He’s suspected that he is gay for a few years, and thought maybe he was falling in love with Chris, but when Chris returns from his summer long visit with his Dad in California, it hits Theo like a ton of bricks.  Yes, he is definitely gay, and yes, he is definitely in love with Chris, and he has absolutely no idea what to do with that.

The characterization is phenomenal in this book.  Theo is a  skater boy, a geek, a good student, and a good son to his mother.  He’s just a great kid, a little messed up, and a little thrown by all the events that befall him as he comes to terms with who he is, but he maintains a surprisingly calm and mature attitude about everything.  Chris is almost too good to be true – one of those popular kids who is nevertheless a genuine friend, the type of boy that everyone wants to be;  as Theo says “people gravitate to Chris like sugar ants on a soda can”.  And as the story unfolds, he shows his uncertainties, his mistakes, and Theo is able to appreciate him as still the true-blue and staunch friend, even as he steps down from the pedestal Theo put him on for all those years.  There were so many moments when I thought these two boys would separate, let circumstances or bad choices come between them, but it never happens.  And I think that loyalty they have for each other is my favorite aspect of the book.

There are amazing secondary characters as well – Theo’s twin sister Tabitha, who is obsessed with being popular, with social media, but is nevertheless protective and supportive of Theo.  Theo’s father, who is on his third family and focussed only on how Theo can make him look good.  Theo’s demented great-uncle, who is difficult and disrupting and calls everyone “cocksucker”, but who has a secret past that makes a lot of things clear to Theo when he discovers it.  David, the new kid in school, gay and experienced and kicked out of his parent’s house, who introduces Theo to gay sex.

The process of coming out is certainly changing as our society changes, easier in some ways, harder in others.  Social media is a great platform for anonymous bullying, and the incident that affects Theo and those around him was frighteningly believable.  The way Theo and Chris handle it just showed the depth of their maturity, and their devotion to each other as friends.

The writing was engaging, funny, the dialogue realistic, and the plot unfolded naturally and easily.  This is definitely a book I will go back and read again!

Cover art by AngstyG is absolutely beautiful, the top portion setting the scene, and the bottom and really capturing the tender friendship between Theo and Chris

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleWhen Everything Is Blue
ISBN139781640801448
Edition LanguageEnglish

Need A New Romance to Love? Check out Chase Potter’s The Music of the Spheres (guest post and giveaway)

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Cover - The Music of the Spheres

The Music of the Spheres by Chase Potter
Publisher and Cover Artist: Chase Potter
Release Date January 21, 2016

Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have Chase Potter here to day to talk about his latest novel, The Music of the Spheres.  Welcome, Chase, please tell us a little about the inspiration behind the story and that gorgeous cover.

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The Music of the Spheres by Chase Potter

Never before have I written a book quite like The Music of Spheres. Even the writing process itself was unique for me. At the beginning of November, I had just released my third book, and I wasn’t remotely interested in starting another project.

Then the inspiration came. A post about two guys graduating college who had shared a close friendship for years. A friendship defined by an innocent physical intimacy and a captivating sense of shared affection. A friendship that ran deep, touching each of their lives in a hundred different ways and eventually bringing the original poster to ask, “Are we… boyfriends?”

I was hooked. I built an outline over the next two days, and then I began to write. With my husband out of state, I had nothing but time. And just three weeks later, I was done. It took forty cups of coffee, five bubble baths, and a dozen beers spread across several tough scenes, but barely after I’d started, the manuscript was done and it felt like something amazing.

It’s no big secret that I like metaphors, and I put a lot in this story too. The title has its own special place in the book, and the covers features me and my husband as the silhouetted figures, courtesy of our engagement pictures (which incidentally were taken years ago by the young woman to whom the book is dedicated and who was the basis for one of the main characters.)

From the beginning, creating The Music of the Spheres was really a wonderful experience. The story had a certain symmetry and cohesion that not only made it painless to create but also let me fall in love with it. I laughed and I cried, and the emotions stuck with me longer after I’d finished writing. That’s the kind of story I love to write, and I’m excited to share it with readers.

About The Music of the Spheres

Cover - The Music of the SpheresAn athlete and introvert from a family touched by loss, Ryan Mattson splits his life between reading and spending time with his dad and precocious younger sister. With the wounds of Ryan’s past almost healed, high school is simple, and so is everything else.

But that changes when he’s paired with Adam for a class project. Adam, the guy with birthmarks like flecks of mud and compost-brown eyes that hide behind dorky glasses. Grudgingly, the two young men work together, and as they do, an unlikely friendship is formed.

With the passing college years, their bond deepens and grows. Even Ryan’s sister and dad take a liking to Adam, and the family – always missing a voice – seems to gain another. But just as Ryan is forced to confront what Adam really means to him, his family is dragged toward crisis. And beneath the silent snows and starlit sky of a Minnesota winter, their friendship will be tested more than ever before.

Contemporary, friends to lovers, gay fiction, romance, coming out.

Kindle Edition, paperback (coming Jan 25), 239 pages
Published January 21st 2016 by Chase Potter Books
 authorphoto Chase Potter

 About the Author

 Chase Potter lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his husband Mitchell and their dog Alex. The Music of the Spheres is his fourth novel. Raised in rural Minnesota, Chase has also lived in Germany and Austria. The experiences growing up in a small town and his struggles to adapt to foreign culture and language have served as inspiration in his writing.

Giveaway

For the Rafflecopter giveaway, five copies of The Music of the Spheres. Copies will be in the form of a gifted Amazon Kindle copy.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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A Book Spotlight: Sawyer ( Torey Hope – The Later Years) by A. D. Ellis (excerpt and giveaway)

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Sawyer_BTBanner

AboutTheBookSawyereBook1TITLE: Sawyer

SERIES: Torey Hope – The Later Years

AUTHOR: A.D. Ellis

PUBLISHER: A.D. Ellis Publishing

COVER ARTIST: Andrea Michelle with Artistry in Design

LENGTH: 372 Pages

RELEASE DATE: August 06, 2015

BLURB: Sawyer Morgan has a secret. Revealing his true feelings to his family could bring devastation and destruction, so he keeps the burden firmly on his own shoulders. When he moves back to Torey Hope to help with the family business, Sawyer’s hidden truth becomes too much to bear.

Luke Hamilton has a past overflowing with emotional and physical scars. A promise to his dying mother prevents him from seeking the love and acceptance he longs for. Taking a job in Torey Hope brings Luke face-to-face with taboo desires he thought long extinguished.

Secrets, lies, hatred, and fear threaten to destroy their lives. But, love has the power to overcome and lay claim to victory.

Will Sawyer succeed in proving to Luke some connections are worth fighting for?

A poignant tale of two hearts valiantly fighting to stay true and find love.

**This is a male/male romance. It has adult themes, language, and situations. Readers sensitive to homosexual relationships, abuse, hate crimes, and derogatory terms should take note. This story is meant only for readers aged 18+**

Excerpt

 

I’m gay.

His brother, Decker, had taken the news fairly well. He’d needed a solo walk through the woods to gather his thoughts; Sawyer suspected his always-in-control, serious, black and white brother also needed to come to grips with the fact that he’d never suspected his brother’s sexual preference was different than his own. How ironic that the one person Sawyer was the closest to in the whole world was the one person who was the most clueless.

Sawyer had held his breath practically the whole time Decker had been walking through the woods. A deluge of rain poured down as the dark sky broke open, yet Sawyer still sat alone at the campfire. His head had started playing tricks on him. You disgust him…he can’t stand the thought of having a gay brother…you’ve lost him…he’s not coming back. But Sawyer held out hope that Decker was just doing his usual thinking things through.

He had breathed a sigh of relief when Decker emerged, soaking wet, from the woods. Walking towards him with purpose, his twin had stopped in front of him and spoke the most heartwarming, sincere words Sawyer had ever heard from him.

“You’re my brother, always have been, always will be. I wish you could have told me sooner, but nothing has changed between us. I’ll be there in any and every way that I can.” Decker grabbed Sawyer and pulled him into a deep embrace, communicating his love and acceptance through his touch.

Telling his cousins, Zach and Kendrick, had been less emotional, and a lot more entertaining. Sawyer had to laugh at the questions his admission had stirred up.

“I’m gay.”

Two words that held such power. Would they laugh? Would they walk away in disgust? Would they be angry?

Zach smiled and nodded. “I think I’ve known that for a long time, man, but thanks for telling me.”

“Wait, you knew? Why didn’t you ever say something? Why did you joke with me about girls?”

“I don’t know, I guess I figured you’d tell me when you were ready. I didn’t want to bring it up if I was wrong and it offended you. I think I joked about girls thinking it would give you the opportunity to bring it up if you wanted to.” Zach stood and walked to his cousin, reaching a hand down, he pulled the other man up into a hug. “Nothing changes, I’ve got your back, man.”

Kendrick sat with his hand rubbing his chin. Would he be the one who couldn’t accept it?

Eyes twinkling and a shit-eatin’ grin on his face, he finally spoke. “What’s it like to suck cock?”

The other three burst out laughing.

BuyLinks

Amazon US

Apple iBooks

AuthorBio

 

AuthorPicA.D. Ellis is the award-winning author of two related collections of stories, A Torey Hope Novel Series and Torey Hope: The Later Years. Her debut novel, For Nicky, was voted #3 of the Top 50 Indie Books of 2014 by ReadFree.ly readers/voters. A.D.’s fourth novel, Loving Josie, was awarded the bronze medal in the contemporary romance category in the prestigious Readers’ Favorite 2015 International Book Awards.

Born and raised in a small farming town in southern Indiana, A.D. was an avid reader from the time she learned to read.  She could often be found curled up somewhere with her nose in a book. Most of her friends and family were not such book enthusiasts, so A.D. got used to dealing with snickers and joking comments about her constant reading habits. Truth be told, Ms. Ellis has always been the definition of a book nerd.

A.D. always dreamed of being a teacher. Graduating from Indiana State University in 1999 and earning a Master’s Degree from Indiana Wesleyan in 2003, she met her goal of entering the world of education. A.D. has been teaching in the inner city of Indianapolis, Indiana for 17 years. She spent the majority of her 17 years in fourth grade, but has now taken on the challenges of teaching 3rd and 4th grade alternative education students. A.D. loves teaching fractions, variables, probability, and graphing in Math. She loves almost all aspects of English Language Arts. Figurative language, theme, making predictions, drawing conclusions, inference, context clues, making writing come to life, A.D. loves it all! Her students don’t always share in that enthusiasm.

She met her husband in college in 1996 and they married in June of 2000. She lives in a south side suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband and two school-aged children. When she’s not reading or writing with music blaring, she can be found shopping at thrift stores, reading to her children, and sweating at the gym in the very early mornings.

A.D. began her writing journey in October 2013, and she is grateful for the friends and support she’s found along the way.

:: Website :: Facebook Page :: Twitter :: Amazon :: Newsletter Signup ::

RafflecopterGiveaway

Winner’s Prize: Signed copy of Sawyer (US only) or Winner’s choice of any of my eBooks (box set titles included)

Second Winner’s Prize: Winner’s choice of any of my single titles

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TourSchedule

November 23  – Hearts on Fire Reviews
November 24  – Man2Mantastic
November 25  – The Purple Rose Tea House
November 26  – Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings
November 27  – Daydream Believer Book Blog
November 28  – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
November 29  – Loving Without Limits
November 30  – Drops of Ink
December 1  – Bike Book Reviews
December 2  – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
December 3  – Cia’s Stories
Bayou Book Junkie
December 4  – Frosty’s Book Corner

A Mika Review: The Book of Ethan by Russell J. Sanders

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Rating: 4 star out of 5 stars

The Book of Ethan coverEthan Harker is the son of The Prophet, the stern, demanding leader of a small Southwestern polygamous community. Ethan has been groomed to one day take his place as the leader of this isolated cult.

But things happen that compel Ethan to flee his stifling community and find his way in the world beyond it. Totally out of his depth, he is sheltered by a remarkable group of people from a loving and accepting church. From them, he learns what family truly means and begins to construct a life free from the restrictions he’s grown up with. Little by little he dismisses the assumptions he was taught about the “evil” people in the outside world.

Amid all this, Ethan realizes something about himself when he meets rapper Kyan, a boy his age. Although he’s been brought up to fear and hate members of Kyan’s race, he can’t help falling in love with Kyan. Fueled by a new understanding and new friends, Ethan gains the strength and courage to conquer the confusing world he has been thrust into.

The book was not on my radar until my “Ethan” brought it to me. I had never read anything by this author so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m very curious about reading books pertaining religion tropes outside of Christianity. For me it’s nice to see how other people’s faith details how they will live their lives.

I think the author did a good job on Ethan’s questions involving the world. I don’t know any person that doesn’t have question about how the world works. I know from experience growing up in a Baptist church we were expected of certain things, and I had all these question about general people. It shows in the author’s writing his familiarity with curious. I’m not familiar with the Mormon religion, and I don’t know if what I’ve read is correct, but if it’s like this then someone needs to pray for the children involved. 

I loved Ethan, I didn’t see him standing up for himself. I did not see him standing up for other people or questioning folks.

I think the author did a very good job on Kyan. I seldom see African American YA male characters, but to see one who is not closeted, not scared to admit him being gay is amazing. What else is amazing is having a supportive mother like Kyan does. It brought tears to my eyes because she didn’t stop loving him because of that, she didn’t want him to rap. It seems silly seeing as this is present day, but her reasons are validated. I think this books shows courage, strength, and seeing good in people. 

If I had to find fault in the story it was my displeasure of the author having Kyan speak in constant slang or Ebonics. I will say, it turned me off in the beginning alot. I didn’t like it, still don’t like it, but it’s a part in the book Ethan mentions that he loves how Ky could turn off his street self, and turn on the son of a professor. I get it’s just a book, but I think we could have done without it.

I really enjoyed the diversity in this book. It had such a supporting cast, and I appreciated everyone in this book. I do love that it was such a positive note instead of the negative things like runaways, prostitution, or drugs something that could have easily happened to Ethan. It had sad moments but it’s life.  I will probably be on the look out for more from this author.

Cover art by Anne Caine. I liked this cover a lot, it showed the boys in the most simplistic view. I liked that we didn’t get to see a full picture of Ethan seeing as in the book he talked about vanity being a sin, and trying to not gauge his looks in the mirror often. I think they did a very good job on the cover.

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press (DPS YA Press) –  All Romance (ARe)  – Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 266 pages, also in paperback
Published April 23rd 2015 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN139781634760065
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.harmonyinkpress.com