A Jeri Release Day Review: Guyliner by j. leigh bailey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

guylinerBoth sweet and sad, this YA coming of age story was a delight to read.

Connor is the classic all American boy. Baseball star, straight A student, beautiful girlfriend. All of those gave him the nickname Goldenboy- which he secretly hates. Behind closed doors he is the oldest of 5, his very existence making his parents marry young and his father to give up on his dreams. So he works hard to get a scholarship and leave the small town with little opportunity.

Graham is new in school. Moving there ostensibly for the soccer team, but in reality it was to escape the town where his boyfriend didn’t stick up for him after being gay bashed by his boyfriend’s brothers. After a year of recovery, he is ready to move on.

Graham knows who he is. He is out and proud- wearing tshirts that blatantly express the fact that he is gay and wearing eyeliner to school everyday. When Connor defends Graham- again- against the school bullies, they are accused of fighting by the baseball coach and are given the punishment of cleaning out the equipment shed every Saturday until it is done. While there, they get to know each other and look forward to their Saturdays.

Connor is fighting his attraction to Graham, and Graham won’t be a dirty little secret again.

I loved how Graham stood up for himself and what he was willing to be and do. But he also did it with general empathy toward Connor- a boy scared to not only come out of the closet, but scared to admit to even himself that he is gay. Graham is willing to be just friends with Connor, because something is better than nothing.

I also really enjoyed that Golden boy Connor is from such a blue collar family. Usually the sports star comes from a well to do family with all of the support in the world. But watching him babysit his siblings, share a room with his brothers, cook dinner for his family- all while doing his best in school and baseball are so representative of real life.

Graham was so strong. I fully expect a character like that to be broken- to hide from the world, put up walls, etc. But he didn’t. He was who he was and he wasn’t apologizing for it, even when he was getting bullied.

Connor and Graham together were just so sweet. I love a great YA book that expresses the feelings of the characters so well. There was no falling back on sex to move the story along.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Love this cover.  It is, in every way, eye-catching!

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Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published October 17th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634777263 (ISBN13: 9781634777261)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Love a Friends to Lovers Story? Check Out Lodestones by Naomi MacKenzie (excerpt and giveaway)

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Lodestones 1600px COVER-Front

Lodestones by Naomi MacKenzie
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Goodreads Link

Publisher: Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Cover Design by Buckeyegrrl Designs
Cover and Interior Illustrations by Abby Hellstrom

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Buy the book:  Interlude Press |Amazon   |Smashwords  | Indiebound

Blurb

On the eve of a new school year, several groups of college students cross paths as they seek out a secret end-of-summer lake party—including Robin and Charlie, two inseparable friends who discover of the course of the twenty-four hours that their relationship is something much deeper than simple friendship.

Pages or Words: 226 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance, Young Adult

Excerpt

Larry holds up the flyer to study the map Florence drew. Barry is leaning to look at it, too, when it’s ripped from between Larry’s fingers.

A greasy man in a campus security uniform stands over them with a pinched expression. His faded nametag reads: Ron Anderchuk. “Another one,” he all but growls. “Where in heck did you get this, boys?”

Barry tries his best to look innocent. Which isn’t all that hard, since he knows nothing.

“Found it on the ground,” Larry lies.

“Uh-huh, uh-huh,” the security guy says. “Extra trouble for littering.” He glares hard at the paper for nearly a minute before looking back at them. “You do know parties like this are illegal, don’t ya, boys? And frowned upon by this here establishment.” He raps his knuckles on the table. “I think it best you stick around here this weekend. That would be best, don’t ya agree?” He widens his beady eyes while he waits for their assent.

Barry looks to Larry. Seeing him nodding, he mimics the gesture.

The security officer’s answering grunt sounds disbelieving. He mutters as he walks away; the flyer with their map is gripped in his fist.

“What are we—”

Larry holds up his hand, stopping Barry’s question in its tracks. “Not to worry; I have a photographic memory. I’ve got the map in here.” He taps a fingertip against his temple.

“Even after all of that? And we do have another problem, if Florence is to be believed.”

Larry hums and strokes his chin. He picks up Barry’s tray and they walk to the windows. The orientation officers are indeed spread across the entire expanse outside, handing out pamphlets and organizing games of lawn bowling and oversized croquet. The entrance to the student parking lot is completely blocked.

Barry should throw in the towel, admit defeat and convince Larry to do the same. And he would, if not for one thing. The one detail that has roped him into the excitement over the lake festivities fully and completely is Kate Zimmermann, captain of the Dicaroon Seadogs field hockey team. Barry was looking through the school’s website while Larry was plotting behind him and he caught sight of her picture. He informed Barry that she was one of the girls who was carrying the van’s bench seat into her dorm room and invited him to the party early that morning.

Barry is in love with Kate Zimmermann. He has been since seeing her on the Dicaroon University website the previous summer. Well, he’s in love with the image of her and her red hair and blue eyes and adorable freckles that are so voluminous that they connect on her face. He has dreamed of red-haired kids calling him Daddy and hitting balls with sticks. Possibly. And she’s throwing the party, so even if Barry will never get up the nerve to speak to her should he live for a thousand years, he has to go. For his future dream-wife.

“Well, then,” Larry says. He sets Barry’s lunch tray down on the bussing station and rubs his hands together. “I guess we are in need of a foolproof plan.”

“A stratagem,” Barry says. He feels immediately foolish for being such a huge dork.

But then Larry grins at him. “Ooh, yes, I like that. A stratagem.”

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About the Author


Naomi MacKenzie is a writer and photographer from the eastern coast of Canada. She considers herself a Maritimer first and a Canadian second, or so she told the standardized testing people in essay form during the eleventh grade. She enjoys vegan baking, walks in the woods and, contrarily, hiding from the sun. Lodestones is her first novel.

Where to find the author:

Connect with Naomi MacKenzie at http://naomimackenzie.com/; on Twitter at @_naomimackenzie and on Facebook at Naomi MacKenzie.

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Giveaway

 

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: 1 – $25 Interlude Press Gift Card, 5 e-copies of ‘Lodestones’. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Tour Dates & Stops:

8-Sep Bayou Book Junkie, Mikky’s World of Books

9-Sep Hearts on Fire, Boys on the Brink Reviews

10-Sep Inked Rainbow Reads, Amanda C. Stone

11-Sep Velvet Panic, MM Good Book Reviews

14-Sep Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, The Novel Approach

15-Sep BFD Book Blog, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Prism Book Alliance

16-Sep V’s Reads, Divine Magazine, Happily Ever Chapter

17-Sep Wake Up Your Wild Side, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

18-Sep Molly Lolly, Love Bytes

21-Sep My Fiction Nook, Jessie G. Books, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

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