A VVivacious Review: Love Spell by Mia Kerick

Standard
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

Standard

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)

Standard

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

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

Mia Kerwick Talks Trans and Gender Fluid Characters and her book Love Spells (interview, and contest)

Standard

 Photo

 Love Spell by Mia Kerick
Release Date: June 1, 2015

600x600Banner

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris

Buy Link:  Amazon

Mia Kerick Talks Writing Trans and Gender Fluid Characters…Our Interview With Mia Kerick

Do you consider your character Chance gender fluid or transgender?

The way I think of it, Chance is gender fluid, which means that his gender identity falls under the trans* umbrella. So, in some respects, Chance is both (trans* and gender fluid). If you are asking yourself, WHAT EXACTLY IS THE TRANS* UMBRELLA? I will offer you several explanations.

I found the following explanation and image on TransAustin: A space to foster development of the transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming community of Austin. Here is how TransAustin defines The Trans* Umbrella: “The Trans* Umbrella is a term used to refer to the range and diversity of gender variance. The words “transgender” and “trans*” are all-encompassing terms that refer to a broad spectrum of identities and expressions.”

ItsPronouncedMetroSexual.com (IPS), another online organization that supports the reality and correctness of nontraditional gender identities, defines trans* as “an umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum.” Sam Killerman of IPS created the graphic below to illustrate what his group means by the term trans*.

And I found this simple image on the blog Disrupting Dinner Parties, which speaks very clearly to me:

But what really matters is the way that Chance thinks of his gender identity, right? And this topic is a great source of agitation for him throughout the entire novel. In fact, it has been a source of distress for him over the course of the better part of his life. You see, labeling an aspect of yourself that is this individual and distinct from one person to the next—and in Chance’s case constantly changing—is not a simple task. He sees himself in many of the terms in the graphic below, and he struggles to find one ideal term to fully identify with. Interestingly, Chance is never actually successful in finding the perfectly appropriate term for his gender identity; he does not realize “the trans* umbrella” even exists in a formal sense. Instead, over the course of the story, Chance learns more and more about himself as a person—he very gradually accepts that he likes some things that are considered too feminine for a boy, but that he also likes being male. And without finding the perfect label for “who or what he is”, Chance pushes through his emotional hardship and manages to find meaning and acceptance in his life with friends and romance.

Transgender or gender fluid?  What prompted your decision to make this the focus of your character and story?

You have heard that children learn what they live, I’m sure. But more truly, all people learn what they live. The aspects of life with which we are familiar become “normal” (I dislike that word but you know what I’m getting at) to us. For example, if you see lots of people whose faces have been dyed to resemble the stars and stripes of an American flag, then red, white, and blue skin will eventually become, in your mind, commonplace. Picture this… at the grocery store—half of the shoppers sport patriotic faces. On television—red and white stripes on the cute guy in the car chase scene, whose nose is incidentally a solid navy blue. In romance novels, you can’t help but be reminded of Betsy Ross when you’re reading the physical description of the romantic lead character.

My point, however, is less patriotic than it is merely encouraging of open-mindedness. The more we see anything the more “normal” it becomes in our eyes. For kids who are struggling with gender issues, they need to see their likenesses in books. The message “YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR STRUGGLE” is truly quite comforting. And for those who are not struggling with gender issues, they need to see characters who are. They need to read about boys who feel like girls sometimes, and girls who are certain they were born with the wrong body. All kids and people need to become familiar with those who are unlike them in terms of gender identity. This is the only way we can get past all of the alienation and isolation and depression and suicide. And we can finally find acceptance.

Transgender people are in the news recently, from Bruce Jenner to the Washington Post article on Asexuality. All of which has sparked a lot of discussions over sexuality, acceptance and equal rights.  How big a part do you think literature plays in the LGBTQIA community gaining acceptance?

I guess I went into this subject in question number two, but I will elaborate. Literature MUST open people’s eyes. As a writer, I am inspired when I see Bruce Jenner bare all in front of the harsh American and worldwide public. He is opening eyes by sharing the most intimate details of himself. In my eyes he is a hero, as I am certain that it will cost him a large measure of pain. And I can do no less in my literature. There doesn’t have to be a super-preachy theme—the story doesn’t need to be a moral wrapped up as a story. Just by creating characters who are “different” –ones who love differently, in that they love the same sex or both sexes or neither sex, and ones who identify differently than what is traditional in terms of gender, and ones who decide to change their sex from male to female or female to male, we are all together creating a very different “new normal”. Which is true acceptance of all varieties of people.
. Or does it play a part?

Yes!! I won’t say I feel a responsibility to open people’s eyes, but I really am inspired to do so.

Q This doesn’t look YA but would you consider writing a YA or New Adult novel?

Love Spell is true Young Adult literature. In the unique, snarky voice of a seventeen-year-old a story is told of self-questioning in regard to vital contemporary issues. The main character experiences peer pressure and parental woes, and he dares to try some rather risky behaviors for the very first time. To teens, the main character is relatable in terms of his language and the way he sees popular culture and the world, as he struggles to find his unique place. I would, however, definitely consider writing a New Adult or Adult novel on this same topic.

  What prompts you to write a certain story?  Where do you get your inspiration or story prompts from?

Inspiration comes most often from pop music, but I am also inspired by events in the news, actors and movies, or even a concept I come up with for a character. Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow was very inspirational to me as I wrote Love Spell. Chance César and Jack Sparrow share some characteristics.

7.  What’s next for Mia Kerick?

I have put aside a very dramatic, not nearly as humorous as Love Spell, YA novel. I wrote fifty thousand words, found it to be a very heavy and emotional topic, put it aside, wrote a novella inspired by The Beatles, and am now promoting Love Spell. But I will get back to my partially finished book soon. And I look forward to it. Lanny and Trevor need their HEA.

 

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.
As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.)  However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”
But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.
An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

Pages or Words: 44,300 words

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Not to say that I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days, but I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days. Yes, I was oh-so-pathetically waiting for his call, which I am aware fully explains the need for the phrase “get a life.” But Jazz hadn’t been at school on the Thursday or Friday after he had called and cancelled our playdate, and now it’s Sunday night, and I still haven’t heard from him. And although I’m frustrated that all of my elaborate plans to make him fall head over heels in love with moi have apparently tanked, I’m also growing genuinely concerned.
That’s when my cell phone, which I placed on my chest before I lay down on my now “love-spell-pink” wrapped mattress, starts singing Express Yourself.
“Yo.” I don’t check the number. It’s Emmy—who else would it be?
“Hi, Chance.” The deep voice is so not Emmy’s.
Yaaassss!!! This is what ninety-nine percent of my insides shout. One percent says quietly, “It’s about frigging time you called, asshole.”
But my voice is calm. “Jasper,” I say blandly. In my opinion, he hasn’t earned the right to be called Jazz any longer.
“Um, sorry, no. It’s Jazz.”
I try not to roll my eyes even though I know he won’t see, but it’s an epic fail. “Whatever.”
“I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch for a couple days. My mom’s been real sick. I was lookin’ after her, gettin’ her to the doctor, goin’ to the pharmacy, bringing JoJo back and forth to school, and stuff.”
Oh.
“Mom caught JoJo’s strep throat and had to go to the ER because she couldn’t even swallow.” He stops talking for a second and then clears his voice. “Alls she could do was spit into a rag whenever she needed to swallow.”
Well, that’s definitely TMI, but I get the fucker-nelly revolting picture. “I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault, dude.”
And then there’s silence.
“Gonna take JoJo to the library after school tomorrow. But first I gotta stop by the cable company and pay up or we’re gonna lose our TV and internet at home. They already warned us like twice.”
“Want me to pick up Yolo at school and take her to the library?” I’m so freaking pissed off at him. Why am I offering to save his ass again?
“That’s cool of you to offer, but there’s a bus she can take to the library from her school. Could ya be waiting for her at the library, in case I get held up?”
“Of course.” I’m a Class A sucker.
“You’re such a cool pal.” Ugh—so not what I’m going for.
“Thanks.”
“I’m not gonna be at lunch tomorrow seein’ as I’ll probably be collecting my makeup work. So, I’ll see ya at the library. ‘Kay?”
I don’t say kkkk cuz it’s not even slightly cool. “Sure. The libes after school, it is.”
“Thank you, bro,” Jazz offers.
One more silence, and then I say, “Later.”
I have research to do.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of 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, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. 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.

Stop by Mia’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind. Find Mia on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.
Where to find the author:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mia.kerick?fref=ts
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MiaKerick
Pinterest: http://www,pinterest.com/miakerick/

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

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

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

BannerTemplate

 

Tour Dates & Stops: 

25-May

Bike Book Reviews

Hearts On Fire

MM Good Book Reviews

Rainbow Gold Reviews

Amanda C. Stone

Carly’s Book Reviews

26-May

BFD Book Blog

Cathy Brockman Romances

Mikky’s World of Books

The Novel Approach

Divine Magazine

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

27-May

Because Two Men Are Better Than One

3 Chicks After Dark

Cate Ashwood

Prism Book Alliance

28-May

Love Bytes

Velvet Panic

Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Chris McHart

29-May

Inked Rainbow Reads

Bayou Book Junkie

EE Montgomery

Molly Lolly

My Fiction Nook

Nephylim

Jessie G. Books