A Stella Review: Under a Sky of Ash by Brandon Witt

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RATING  5 out of 5 stars

Under A Sky Of AshMore than a decade after leaving Colorado to attend college and escape his past, Isaiah Greene moves back and builds a life in Denver as a special education teacher. When he meets Ben Woods, the mentor of one of his students, the attraction is immediate. The revelations that they’ve both suffered traumatic childhoods form a bond between them.

Raised by an abusive grandmother, Ben is a recovering addict who has made a family with his construction worker boss, Hershel, and Hershel’s husband, Daniel—drag queen ManDonna. Adding Isaiah to his life gives Ben a glimpse of a future he’d never dreamed possible for himself.

Both Isaiah and Ben are survivors, but when guilt drives a wedge between them, the past threatens to end their relationship.

Ben and Isaiah embark on journeys of self-discovery. Though their path will be difficult at times, humor and love find a way to bring light to the darkness.

Under a Sky of Ash was my first book by Brandon Witt, although I already knew him and heard good things about him, I hadn’t had the pleasure of reading one of his stories. Yes, this novel was a huge pleasure to read. Since the first chapters, I understood the talent of the author’s style.

The story touched my heart deeply, of course the prologue broke my heart, I met Isaiah, only twelve years old, having his first kiss with the sweet RJ, both so young and enthusiastic of the life, until RJ’s dad almost killed them. And then my heart broke again each time Isaiah and RJ met later in the years. Each time Isaiah couldn’t forgive himself and forget that night. Each time I saw Aaron and that time when he finally found a family. The book was a continuos of “times” to me, some made my soul cry, others lift it.

This is not an easy read, it is pretty heavy, a punch in the gut, the characters very complex, but Under a Sky of Ash was so worth all of my tears, it packs so many feelings hard to ignore. And all of them delivered. Probably this was what I most appreciated, the author’s ability to deliver everything he wrote, making me part of the characters’ lives and their emotions. He delivered their strength and courage and I felt the comfort when  they finally found a little happiness.

If you’re looking for a light story to escape your reality, look away, but if you’re a fan of angst, this novel is a winner, you can’t miss it. I’ve discovered a new author and I’m soon going to read more of his works.

The cover art by Anne Cain is good but I would have preferred something different, it didn’t convince me.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 270 pages
Published March 21st 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634770484
Edition LanguageEnglish

Southern College Boys in Love: University of Southern Georgia: Davy & Tony by Heath Greenfield (excerpt and contest)

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University of Southern Georgia: Davy & Tony by Heath Greenfield
Series: University of Southern Georgia
Release Date: July 1, 2015

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Goodreads Link:
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BS Clay

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Sales Links:   Torquere Books

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Love is a funny thing…it happens when and where you least expect it.

Tony has been having a rough couple of days. His dad caught him with a dirty magazine, which would have been embarrassing enough. But when his dad realized it was a gay magazine, he chased Tony down the street. Luckily, Uncle Alfonso and Aunt Luciana have taken him in. Now, he’s out to the world, going to school during the day, and working in the family restaurant at night.

Davy has become what he always dreamed of being: an Army Ranger. He loves everything about it. He’s assigned to Fort Benning and works as an analyst. He also happens to be gay, but even with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, he’s careful not to let his personal life get in the way of his professional goals. His friends know, but he’s never introduced them to anyone he has dated…until he meets Tony, who changes everything.

Between their sexual chemistry and their deepening friendship, their love seems fated, but when Davy is about to be deployed, he finds out something that rocks him to his core and makes him doubt both Tony and himself. He’s left wondering if he’s strong enough to win this battle.

Pages or Words: 31,200

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Monday morning dawned with red in the sky.
Rolling himself out of bed, Davy dressed in shorts and a T-shirt and went for a run. The park, woken by the sun, stretched out in early morning beauty. The birds called revelry, and the squirrels their chattering. The park was large enough to encompass several trails, and it was made up of gentle, rolling hills. The trails were smooth and kept mulched to encourage walkers and joggers to use them. The trails intertwined liberally with the sidewalks and, with them, little stands where food carts met the needs of the morning rush. He thought it was an odd but comfortable intersection of those enjoying time away and those rushing to get somewhere.
Davy’s muscles uncoiled as he ran. His strides lengthened, and joy filled him as endorphins rushed throughout his body. He was master of his fate.
He passed a few early morning joggers, then saw a runner whose path was merging with his just ahead. Not jogging, but flat out running as though hellhounds were loosed upon him.
As their paths met, Davy realized that it was Tony…the elusive librarian/waiter. His face was plagued with sorrow, and his pace ate away at the ground. Tony pistoned around each curve chopping away at the distance. It looked like his body was an automaton separate from his mind.
“Hey,” Davy called out. “Tony, wait.”
At first, nothing happened, but then, as though the words had needed time to sink in, Tony turned his head toward him. Davy was shocked to see a black eye and jagged scrapes across Tony’s cheek.
Tony slowed and stopped. He looked so lost.
Davy’s heart ached at the pain in Tony’s face but he stayed quiet for the moment and nodded toward a coffee stand off to the side of the path where it joined up with the sidewalk. Tony hadn’t said a word…he just sort of floated to the sidewalk beside him.
He ordered two coffees and when Tony indicated, doctored up one with milk and sugar. Walking over to a grassy rise off to the side of the walkway, he waited for Tony to sit. Tony stretched out his long legs.
“Here.” He handed him the coffee, then sat down next to him.
“Thanks.”
They sat there silently for about ten minutes before he had the ability to speak.
“What happened?”
Tony laughed, a slightly high pitched noise that held no humor.
“My dad…he doesn’t approve of my…life choices.”
“Mm.” Davy grunted, but he kept still.
“He doesn’t want a faggot for a son.” Tony slid his gaze sideways as if to assess Davy’s reaction.
“That’s rough,” Davy said, but he bit back more.
“Sorry if I shocked you,” Tony said.
“Of all the things I am, I’m not shocked.”
“No? Then what are you?”
Davy gave him his own assessing glace. He smiled a little. “Glad.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Sharing adventures, love, passion, and even sadness informs us as humans. That’s what motivates Heath Greenfield’s writing. Heath sits at the computer in Daytona Beach and wishes thoughts could just flow straight onto paper. Assisted by two cats, a schnauzer, a boxer, and the best mutt ever, the author gets to write novels…and considers it the best job ever!

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008744179016
Twitter: https://twitter.com/heathgreenfield
Blog: http://heathgreenfield.blogspot.com/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/117892188593521718157/posts

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Tour Dates & Stops:
Parker Williams, Full Moon Dreaming, Andrew Q. Gordon, Happily Ever Chapter, Michael Mandrake, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, Bike Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, MM Good Book Reviews, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Jessie G. Books, Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘University of Southern Georgia: Davy & Tony’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and   Pride Promotions.

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