An Alisa Release Day Review: In the Desert (States of Love) by Elliot Joyce

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

Can a Navajo trans teen and a nerdy Catholic find the place they belong… and maybe themselves? In the desert, anything is possible….

 

When Wren came out as transgender before his senior year, it cost him most of his friends. His father hopes joining a Boy Scout troop might help Wren meet other young men his age and be accepted for who he is.

 

Felipe Nieves wants the new guy in the troop to feel comfortable, and he reaches out to Wren. They become fast friends… with something more beneath the surface. Those feelings confuse Felipe, since his religion considers this a sin—and he’s always assumed he was straight—but he can’t help pining for Wren. Asking him out will take courage, and getting together won’t be easy… but through their friendship, both young men might find their identities… and learn to embrace them in a unique coming-of-age story set against the beauty of the American Southwest.

 

Ohh, both of these boys are adorable. Wren is still dealing with coming out and all the backlash he received but finds friends and acceptance joining his brother’s Boy Scout troop. Felipe doesn’t have many friends other than Kyle and Travis but sees something in Wren that draws him.

 

I love trans stories because they seem to get so much more in depth than many. This was different getting to see an accepting and loving family along with the new friends Wren has made, many are when the characters are older and usually haven’t have good experiences. I was able to connect easily with these characters, they didn’t try to hide their emotions but needed some help to accept their feelings. The encouraging friends and family helped both of them the most. This was such a feel good story and shows how much love and acceptance can help anyone.

 

The cover art by Brooke Albrecht is nice and perfectly understated.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 106 pages

Published: May 4, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-448-7

Edition Language: English

Series: A States of Love Story

 

Release Blitz for Second Chance by Jay Northcote (excerpt)

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Length: 67,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Everyone deserves a second chance.


Nate and his teenage daughter need a fresh start, so they move back to the village where he grew up. Nate’s transgender, and not used to disclosing his history, so it’s hard living where people knew him before. When Nate reconnects with Jack–his best friend from school and unrequited crush–his feelings return as strong as ever.


Jack’s returned home to get his life in order after an addiction to alcohol caused him to lose everything: his job, his driver’s licence, and nearly his life. He’s living with his parents, which is less than ideal, but rekindling his friendship with Nate–or Nat as Jack once knew him–is an unexpected benefit of being back home. Jack is amazed by Nate’s transformation, and can’t deny his attraction. Trying for more than friendship might ruin what they already have, but the chemistry between them is undeniable.


Doubting his feelings are reciprocated, Nate fears he’s risking heartbreak. Jack’s reluctance to tell his parents about their relationship only reinforces Nate’s misgivings. With both their hearts on the line and their happiness at stake, Jack needs to make things right, and Nate has to be prepared to give him a second chance.

Excerpt
 

A hint of cigarette smoke carried on the wind caught Nate’s attention, and he realised he wasn’t alone. A hunched figure sat on a bench by the church. Wearing a heavy coat with the hood up, their head hung low staring at the grass between their feet rather than at the landscape stretched out before them. A cigarette hung from bony fingers that protruded from black fingerless gloves. As Nate watched, the man—because Nate could see his face now—raised his head to take a long drag before stubbing the cigarette out on the bench.


A shock of recognition made Nate’s heart jump, thudding erratically.

Jack.



Torn between conflicting urges to approach and flee, Nate stared at him, powerless to move.


How many years had it been since Nate had seen him? At forty-five Nate found each year passed faster than the one before. It must have been twenty years at least since he’d seen Jack, maybe more, and longer still since they’d spoken properly. Their last meeting had been nothing more than an awkward exchange of greetings when they ran into each other in the village pub one Christmas. The distance between them had cut Nate like a knife, so different to their teenage years when they’d been best friends, and almost inseparable.


Jack slumped forward again, letting the cigarette butt fall from his fingers. He put his hands over his face and Nate recognised despair and hopelessness, because they’d been his companions in the past. Acting on instinct, he approached.


“Sorry to intrude,” he said, pausing in front of Jack. “But are you okay? Is there anything I can do?”


Jack jerked his head up in surprise. His pale cheeks flushed as he shook his head. “Not really. Just having a bad day. You know how it is… or maybe you don’t.”


“I do.”


Nate studied him. The years had changed Jack, of course, but the essence of him was still the same. Sharp features, the strong nose Jack had always hated, even more defined with age, but more balanced now with dark stubble and the lines that the years were beginning to carve around his eyes and mouth.


As Jack stared back, Nate realised there was no recognition dawning on Jack’s face. To Jack, Nate was a stranger. Five years on testosterone had changed Nate to a point where Jack couldn’t see the person Nate had been before. Normally this was something Nate was glad about, but now he felt a pang of regret.

 

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.


One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.


Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.


Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.


www.jaynorthcote.com
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A Stella Review : Having Her Back by Ann Gallagher

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RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars

Trevor Larson is a Navy brat. He’s used to moving every few years, and thanks to social media, he can stay in touch with the friends he leaves behind. But shortly after he leaves Okinawa, his best friend, Brad Gray, cuts off contact and disappears.

Four years and two bases later, Brad resurfaces—and announces his family is coming to Trevor’s base in Spain. But a lot’s changed in four years, and Trevor is stunned to find out Brad is now Shannon. Their reunion isn’t quite what either of them had hoped for, but they quickly find their footing, both relieved to have each other back.

Except nothing is ever all sunshine and roses. The military is a small world, and there’s no keeping Shannon’s transition a secret. Parents warn their kids away from her. She can’t attend school on-base for fear of harassment or worse. And although her parents try to hide it, being ostracized by their only social circle while they’re thousands of miles from home is taking a toll on them too.

More and more, Shannon leans on Trevor. But she’s also drawn to him, and he’s drawn right back to her, feeling things he’s never felt for anyone before.

Trevor’s scared, though. Not of dating a trans girl. Not of damaging his chaplain father’s career or reputation. After finally getting his friend back, does he dare take things further and risk losing Shannon a second time?

Having Her Back was a lovely surprise, I adored the story from the start till the last words. The relationship bewtween Trevor and Shannon caught my heart, althought I’m not a huge fan of young adult books, this was a truly gem.

I’d like to make a little premise, this is not an MM novel, yes Shannon is a transgender character but she is a girl and the reader needs to approach this book like it is going to read an MF novel with important themes linked to the LGBTQ world.

Having Her Back was the first book I read by Ann Gallagher but having read title she wrote under other pseudonims, I knew this new release was well written, and the double POVs in this case were very well done and needed to understand both MCs’ minds.

This is not just a YA book, but a friends to lovers too, a trope I always enjoy. I loved how Trevor and Shannon found each other again four years later, but this time when they met, Trevor came face to face with Shannon and not the Brad he left behind. And after a misunderstanding, they realized nothing really changed, on the contrary little by little, Trevor will discover an attraction he wasn’t expecting at all. Beside them, an important net of friends and family ready to stand against the world and support Shannon and Trevor on their new lives.

Never title was more fitting than Having Her Back, it sums everything the story is about. And then there’s love, in every form it can be showed, there’s sweetness, a lot of misunderstandings but they are young characters so it’s normal, at the end a good believable story. I loved it so much and feel to recommend it.

The cover art by Lori Witt is adorable.

Sales Link:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 250 pages

Published May 19th 2017

ASIN B07172NXLP

Edition Language English

Review Tour – Ann Gallagher’s Having Her Back (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 64,000 words approx
 
Blurb
 

Trevor Larson is a Navy brat. He’s used to moving every few years, and thanks to social media, he can stay in touch with the friends he leaves behind. But shortly after he leaves Okinawa, his best friend, Brad Gray, cuts off contact and disappears.

Four years and two bases later, Brad resurfaces—and announces his family is coming to Trevor’s base in Spain. But a lot’s changed in four years, and Trevor is stunned to find out Brad is now Shannon. Their reunion isn’t quite what either of them had hoped for, but they quickly find their footing, both relieved to have each other back.

Except nothing is ever all sunshine and roses. The military is a small world, and there’s no keeping Shannon’s transition a secret. Parents warn their kids away from her. She can’t attend school on-base for fear of harassment or worse. And although her parents try to hide it, being ostracized by their only social circle while they’re thousands of miles from home is taking a toll on them too.

More and more, Shannon leans on Trevor. But she’s also drawn to him, and he’s drawn right back to her, feeling things he’s never felt for anyone before.

Trevor’s scared, though. Not of dating a trans girl. Not of damaging his chaplain father’s career or reputation. After finally getting his friend back, does he dare take things further and risk losing her a second time?

August 28 – Cupcakes & Bookshelves, Au Boudoir Ecarlate
September 1 – Dog-Eared Daydreams
September 4 – Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews, Sarandipity Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Bonkers About Books
September 6 – Making It Happen, A Page To Turn Reviews


Author Bio

Ann Gallagher is the slightly more civilized alter ego of L.A. Witt, Lauren Gallagher, and Lori A. Witt. So she tells herself, anyway. When she isn’t wreaking havoc on Spain with her husband and trusty two-headed Brahma bull, she writes romances just like her wilder counterparts, but without all the heat. She is also far too mature to get involved in the petty battle between L.A. and Lauren, but she’s seriously going to get even with Lori for a certain incident that shall not be discussed publicly.



Website: http://www.gallagherwitt.com
E-mail: gallagherwitt@gmail.com
Twitter: @GallagherWitt
Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com

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A MelanieM Review: Ghost (Executioners #1) by JM Dabney

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Gideon Jane earned the name Ghost for his reclusive nature when he joined a group of guys in Powers, Georgia in a band called Executioners. It had been his way of settling into small town life after living in New York for the past twenty years. He loved the band and his small organic farm. What he didn’t love was being single, but it appeared it was his new reality. He didn’t want his ex back, although he did want something. What that was eluded him until the evening he walked into Nightingale’s Books.

Small town girl Harper Sage knew pain, and she’d lived with it—she had the scars both mental and physical to prove it. It would’ve been easier to hop in her car to find safety and anonymity, but Harper stayed to prove she was stronger than hurled fists and bruising prejudice. She found herself within the safety of a close-knit group of rough bikers and bar bouncers. That didn’t mean it was all perfect.

What’s a girl to do when she craves normalcy and acceptance: she just smiles. Choices are made, some with dire consequences and others that bring her closer to her dream. Will she make the right decision or finally discover escape is her best option?

Author Note: This book contains scenes of violence and descriptions of self-harm.

I was wavering about reading this story as I have a huge stack of books to read but something about that cover and synopsis reached out to me.  That and the fact that the times we live in has made it so important that people in the LGBTQIA spectrum be made to feel loved and normal and as part of society as everyone else. Ghost helps highlight the lives that many have been made to live as it has a main character who has been marginalized and abused for most of her life.

So I picked this up and dived into a world of pain, self abuse, recovery and love.  It’s a remarkable story, full of characters that have such staying power that I’m still mulling over how to write this review even now.  Told from Gideon’s (aka Ghost) and Harper’s perspective, an emotionally gripping, deeply moving story unfolds. From Harper, we see her pain, her self-harm, her journey from boy to woman and the trauma inflicted by others on her for that choice.  This story does contain graphic descriptions of violence as Harper chose to inflict harm on herself through bad choices in men, one horror of a man in particular.  The scenes are vivid and carry a huge emotional impact.  If this is a trigger for you be warned.  We are there inside Harper’s heart and mind, we feel how little she believes she deserves in life and how far to the ground her self esteem has fallen.  Prepare for your own heart to be as bruised and broken as Harper.

Then there’s Gideon Jane, known as Ghost because his presence around town is so fleeting.  He’s moved to this small town needing peace, quiet, friends and a new start after a long-term relationship destructed.  Gideon is beautiful and layered, moving solidly and quietly into Harper’s life like a balm, a wonderful large, perhaps chubby (his ex’s words) rock of a man.  He recognizes how wounded she is and how slowly he has to move, winning her trust inch by inch.  It’s done through communication and by actions, the reader falling in love with Gideon along with Harper.

J.M. Dabney has also chosen to have Harper not undergo gender reassignment surgery and Harper talks/muses about her emotional choice to live with body dysmorphic disorder and what it’s cost her.  Everything about this aspect of the story is handled realistically and with extreme sensitivity.  The scars that line Harper’s body are extensive.  How she views her body image and how that changes over the course of the story will bring tears to your eyes.

There is so many layers here.  The romance between Gideon and Harper is tender and slow moving as it should be.  There is the element of her abusive ex who is still around. Plus Dabney gives us a town of amazing characters whose stories we need to be told.  I hope that Joker’s story will be the second to arrive in this series.  As a character who pulled on my heart he was on a level with Harper with his angst and trauma filled past history.

The only reason Ghost did not reach a full 5 star rating is that I felt it wrapped up too quickly for everything that had gone on before. Had the author spread out the ending as she had the rest of the story, this novel would have reached perfection.  As it was it came amazingly close.

Ghost (Executioners #1) by JM Dabney is a deeply moving love story.  Its contemporary in it’s subject and timing.  But timeless in its message and beauty.  I highly recommend it but please heed the warnings.

Cover Design: Winterheart Design.  I love this cover.  It’s a perfect representation of Gideon and the story. Perfection!

Sales Links:  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble PayHip | KOBO

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 157 pages
Published July 18th 2017 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
ASINB073WH7WFJ
URL https://www.jmdabneyauthor.com/executioners
SeriesExecutioners #1 settingGeorgia (United States)

Book Blitz & Giveaway Tour for JM Dabney’s Ghost (Executioners #1)

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Cover Design: Winterheart Design
 
Length: 40,000 words
 
Blurb
 

Gideon Jane earned the name Ghost for his reclusive nature when he joined a group of guys in Powers, Georgia in a band called Executioners. It had been his way of settling into small town life after living in New York for the past twenty years. He loved the band and his small organic farm. What he didn’t love was being single, but it appeared it was his new reality. He didn’t want his ex back, although he did want something. What that was eluded him until the evening he walked into Nightingale’s Books.

Small town girl Harper Sage knew pain, and she’d lived with it—she had the scars both mental and physical to prove it. It would’ve been easier to hop in her car to find safety and anonymity, but Harper stayed to prove she was stronger than hurled fists and bruising prejudice. She found herself within the safety of a close-knit group of rough bikers and bar bouncers. That didn’t mean it was all perfect.

What’s a girl to do when she craves normalcy and acceptance: she just smiles. Choices are made, some with dire consequences and others that bring her closer to her dream. Will she make the right decision or finally discover escape is her best option?

 

Author Bio

J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. She lives with a constant diverse cast of characters in her head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. she lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure she does them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and she makes sure her characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more she wants from telling her stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.



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A VVivacious Review: Sex in C Major by Matthew J. Metzger

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5
 
I really can’t write an adequate blurb for this one. My fumbling attempt at writing one for this book yielded this –
“Stefan is a transgender male who has fantasies that could get him killed especially combined with his mile long issues. When a chance encounter with Daz seems to get him exactly what he wants, will he finally come to terms with what he wants or will it take something very different to force Stefan to recognise himself?”
…just read the blurb, its pretty spot on.
 
I finished reading this book on the 4th of June and as I sit down to write this review it is the 8th of June. I have taken a lot of time to assimilate my thoughts regarding this book and I still don’t think I have grasped them all. Reading this book feels like an experience. It’s the kind of book that pulls you kicking and screaming into its world and wrings you out till all you can do is absorb everything this book has to offer. This book is a sensory overload and that might be the most truthful thing I think there is to say about this book.
 
Regarding the warnings that come with this book, while this book is pretty dark and overwhelming with emotions and frankly pulls you in a million different directions it didn’t even come close to my limits so I on the whole didn’t have to deal with discomfort when I read it, but I feel that for a lot of people this is going to be a significant aspect of this book. This book is bare bones reality it doesn’t cover up anything nothing fades to back and everything is starkly defined so there is no getting away. So when you pick up this book heed the warnings.
 
When I started reading the book it was like reading the book you love to hate. I had a million problems with this book when I started it but if I have to be true to myself I realise that I loved the book then as well. But at that point, in the beginning, there was so much I had a problem with. Stefan harps on normal so much in the beginning of this book that I hated seeing the word come up in the text and it comes up a lot. Also Stefan has some extremely outdated views on woman and it felt really wrong to hear those from him. One of the biggest wins for me in this book was when Daz sets the record straight on that account. It instantaneously made me respect Daz even when I was in the love to hate phase with this book. Initially I felt like this author isn’t for me because I have read another book by this author and I didn’t like that much but this book proved me wrong in that regard.
 
The best thing this book has to offer is undoubtedly Yannis. Reading a character like him made me realise why diversity is so important because looking at the world from a different perspective can be beyond enlightening it can be transcendent. He is the kind of character that you don’t even know you want to read about till you have met him and then you realise how much you were missing when you finally do. When Yan fights it’s something so amazing.
 
Yan and Daz’s relationship has got to be the most mind boggling relationship of all times because it is missing all the tradition elements that you find in relationships. It is a sexual and romantic relationship but only from one side of the equation and the other side is completely indifferent. While indifferent is the word that comes to mind it has also made me realise that love is more than romance and sex and while those are the two things that love is most often related with and for some people romance + sex = love it is nice to meet a couple that doesn’t fit the former part of the equation at all but still manages the latter. I loved the fact that these two characters loved each other without their Love being love. It’s truly made me realise that Love is so much more than our mind can comprehend and it truly is something else, more than you know, more than you can imagine and is the most unclassifiable thing in the world.
 
Daz is a quintessential male. While writing this review the thing that comes to mind when I think of Daz is a classical romance hero who is nice but dark except Daz’s so called darkness isn’t an indefinable something but something you are made familiar with in the very beginning of the book. He is dangerous and he is sweet. I loved his sweet and cuddly moments and it’s very funny to think of the fact that he is the only romantic one in the relationship he shares with Yan because he is kind of the guy in books who is the least interested in romance but in this book if he wants romance he has to grab it with both hands. Irony thou art funny.
 
Stefan is the one character in this book who was not an instant favourite. Initially his very skewed view on cis gendered people was really getting to me and then his obsession with normal was maddening. The only thing that I could understand of Stefan’s initially was his kink. I got his need for it and I also got his hatred for it and how he would let his want for it made him go crazy but when the want was fulfilled it would leave him defiled. One of the things that Stefan learns during the course of this book was to let be, to not let his impression of normal prevent him from living his life the way he wants to live it. There is a conversation between Daz and Stefan which in a very overly simplified manner amounts to Stefan harping on the fact that he wasn’t normal and Daz telling him to get over it, to get over the fact that he enjoyed things others wouldn’t consider normal because the fact was that he enjoyed them, so he should and fuck anyone else who thinks otherwise. Surprisingly I have been on Stefan’s end of this conversation and while what Daz was saying to Stefan is exactly what I wanted to say to Stefan I also understand how hard it is to just let go of your beliefs no matter how wrong they may be, so Stefan’s struggles made a unique impact.
 
There is this scene at the end of the book which is really intense. I read two reviews that I read before reading this book both in their own way propelled me to read the book. I only read one line of the second review and that said DNF @98%. Now this was really surprising for me and insanely for who would possibly stop reading a book just before it’s about to end. So yeah there is something at the end of the book that could possibly be distressing enough to just DNF the book on the spot, but for me while the scene is intense it also fits the story and the characters, it is not jarring and it didn’t feel unreal in fact I am very surprised how naturally that scene flowed. But I guess this scene will be the source of quite a lot of debate. Personally for me Daz and Stefan’s sex life is something I completely understand. I get both the desire to submit to the extent Stefan wants to as well as the desire to call something someone yours.
 
Whenever I think of this book I think of colours so bright you feel you can touch them.
 
This book is like notes on a page when you play the notes some will hear a noise while others will hear the symphony.
 
Cover Art by Written Ink Designs. I loved the attention to detail in the cover. It is an amazing cover.
Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 426 pages
Published May 27th 2017 by JMS Books LLC
Original TitleSex in C Major
ASINB06Y1QZP55
Edition LanguageEnglish

Katey Hawthorne’s Release Day Blog for THE TAKEDOWN (Superpowered Love #8) (vid excerpt and giveaway package)

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The Takedown (Superpowered Love #8) by Katey Hawthorne
Publisher: Loose Id
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Cover by P.L. Nunn

Buy Links:    Loose id LLC |    KateyHawthorne.com  
Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Katey Hawthorne here today with a new book from her Superpowered Love series. Katey has a great giveaway package for the readers to enter to win and a wonderful vid excerpt to watch.  Welcome, Katey!

🔥

The Takedown Excerpt

(https://youtu.be/qOh-tx4hfgg)

About The Takedown

Jody Aguirre’s family was kidnapped and tortured by witch hunters, and after a few days of captivity, he’s all that’s left. Using his frosty awakened superpowers, Jody manages to escape—and is rescued from the side of the road by Bren Faulkner’s stretch Town Car. Bren, a hot-thermal awakened with government connections, promises to help find the witch hunters who destroyed Jody’s life.

While navigating his trauma and pain, Jody comes to rely on Bren for more than just food, his house, and his superpowered connections. Brendan is all that reminds Jody what’s left to live for, and a strong advocate for justice vs. vengeance, like the proverbial knight in shining armor he is. As their affection for one another deepens and their attraction becomes impossible to deny, Bren wonders if acting on their feelings would be taking advantage. Jody, meanwhile, struggles to claw his way back to something like normality, knowing that Bren’s part of the solution, not the problem.

But none of it matters if they don’t take down those witch hunters.

About The Superpowered Love Series

The “Superpowered Love” books feature stories of the awakened, people with either thermal or electrical superpowers. While they share a world, there is little to no character crossover, and they can be read in any order. For more info: http://www.kateyhawthorne.com/p/superpowered-love.html

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About the Author

Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered and paranormal romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio with her family, two cats, and one very large puppy. In her spare time she enjoys travel, comic books, B-movies, loud music, video games, Epiphones, and Bushmills. Her favorite causes include animal rescue and bisexual representation in media. She is an unashamed fangirl and collects nerdy tattoos like she’s trying to prove it.

Social Media:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/hawthornetaylor
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/katey.hawthorne.33
Tumblr – http://hawthornetaylor.tumblr.com/
Blog – http://www.kateyhawthorne.com/

A Lila Review: Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.

Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.

When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.

Hopeless Romantic has the feeling of a coming of age story, but the characters are older than average. Which created the illusion of reading to parallel stories. Nick’s re-discovery of his sexuality and how he acted around his friends being one and his conversations with Katie about philosophy and music showing their maturity, the other.

I’m not a music person, but I’m part of the same generation the characters used to connect with each other. I might not know all the references, but the author provided enough context to understand how their conversations were part of their self-expression. And since I am a perpetual student too, I love the over-the-top exchanges.

Both main characters had a strong arc. Not only we get to know them personally but in relationship to their friendships and families. They didn’t live in a vacuum. The world around them was as important as their intimate moments. Even when some of those aspects were too juvenile for their characterization.

I’m glad Katie felt comfortable enough to be open to a relationship with someone that didn’t know everything about what her transition meant to her and to others. She was patient and perhaps too ready to forgive him, but in the end, it worked for their particular situation.

Nick’s characterization started blatantly transphobic, biphobic, and uninformed in relation to asexuality and other areas of the spectrum, but I think he represents many people in and out of the LGBTQ community.  He reads as an insensitive prick, but I think that was the author’s intent. To show how misconceptions are hurtful and plain damaging. We get to experience Nick’s growth and how Katie and Tucker were there for him, even when it wasn’t their responsibility to educate him.

The secondary characters are lovely and the settings descriptions detailed enough to bring the reader into the different locations. There’s a lot happening in the story, many references to music and philosophical topics, but those never take over the story. Everything is interconnected to create a fictional atmosphere with enough consequence to be realistic.

There are some points the author is trying to show that seem a bit clinical. I think the book is more about Nick’s journey than anything else. As a couple, the main characters are sweet and their growing love ever present. Plus, they aren’t shy with each other. It’s one of the points they discovered/worked together.

The cover by Vivian Ng was the first thing that called my attention, together with the title. I like how it goes with the story and the scenes between Katie and Nick.

Sale Links: RiptideAmazon | Kobo

ebook, 289 pages
Published: April 10, 2017, by Riptide Publishing
ISBN: 9781626495562
Edition Language: English

 

Release Blitz: Starting From Scratch (Housemates #5) by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 


Cover: Garrett Leigh


Length: 57,000 words


The Housemates Series is a collection of standalone stories set around a student house in Britain. Each book focuses on new characters, with themes of self-discovery and sexual awakening.



Helping Hand (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Like A Lover (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Practice Makes Perfect (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK
Watching and Wanting (Book #4) Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb


Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

Author Bio
 

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

www.jaynorthcote.com
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