Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ARC Review: Tristant and Elijah by Jennifer Lavoie

Tristant and ElijahBlurb:

Tristant Whitfield has had a secret crush on straight Elijah Cambridge since the start of high school. He’s okay keeping his distance, but when Elijah starts visiting him at work and bringing his favorite coffee, Tristant begins to wonder if there’s something more there.

Then Elijah uncovers a scandalous old letter from Tristant’s great uncle tucked away in a book, and the two boys begin a journey through journals and letters to discover the real Uncle Glenn and the secrets he hid from his family. And Tristant realizes that Elijah has been hiding something as well.

A secret that just might change everything.

Sandra's rating:

This was a really good coming-of age/coming-out story.

What I really liked was that the author chose to make one of the teenage boys, Tristant, to be secure in who he was, something that is rather unusual in a YA novel. He knew he was gay, his family knew he was gay, he had the support of his mother and grand-mother, and was thus able to be happy with himself, even if there were a few normal teenage struggles he faced just the same. The major struggle was his crush on Elijah, who is seemingly straight.

As the story progresses, the two boys are united over a letter Elijah finds in a book, a letter written by Tristant's uncle Glenn, a letter that appears to hint at an illicit (for the times) relationship. As the boys find out more about Glenn, with the unwitting (or not) help from Tristant's grandmother, they are also becoming closer, and their relationship becomes strong enough for Elijah to find the courage to be true to himself.

This was my 2nd book by this author, and I liked it better than the other one I've read of hers. She has a wonderful way of making her characters sound realistic, giving them organic, believable dialogue, and doesn't use contrived conflict. Instead, we're given a sweet romance, set against a backdrop of historical views, and two protagonists who made me smile and think.

I'm obviously no longer a teenager, but we all remember our own struggles of finding our true identity. Some take longer than others, some come into their own at an earlier age, but we all get there eventually. Sometimes it takes having someone on your side to give you that final push to be true to yourself, and in this novel, Tristant becomes that person for Elijah.

ARC Review: Walk a Mile by Sarah Madison

Walk a MileFrom the blurb:

Sequel to Unspeakable Words

Six months after starting their hunt for a serial killer who is still at large, FBI agents Jerry Lee Parker and John Flynn are partners in every sense. But Jerry has serious doubts about their relationship and whether they would even be together if not for the way Flynn changed after touching a mysterious artifact in a museum.

Flynn hates the extraordinary power bestowed on him by the artifact and wants nothing more than to have a normal life again. Jerry fears that without the unusual connection they forged, Flynn will no longer want or need him. Chasing after a similar artifact takes them back to Flynn's old stomping grounds in Washington D.C., where his newfound abilities uncover long-buried secrets, the kind people would kill to protect. But they aren't the only ones looking for these powerful relics, and what they discover will threaten their relationship—and their lives.

Rosa's Rating


Oh, gawd, this book. It gave me a stress headache.

If you're looking for some answers after the first book in this series, Unspeakable Words, you're not going to find them here.

The mystery behind Flynn's sudden sixth sense ability? Nope.

More than one mention of the serial killer investigation that started this series? Nope.

Instead we get 240 pages on Jerry and Flynn's relationship. Which should be great, right? I did say in my review of the first book that I'd like see more relationship development in the sequel, and we did get some answers as to Flynn's sexuality and personal history, but as for the rest of it...nope. The author uses about 214 of those pages to use my least favorite plot device ever, ever, ever; constant lack of communication. 214 pages of:

"I want to tell you....You know what? Never mind." [No! Do NOT never mind!]

"This isn't the time to talk about this." [YES IT BLOODY IS.]

"Of course you would think that. I'm going to stomp away now." [Well, why don't you school him on what he should be thinking, you mopey bastard?]

Okay, the lack of communication does stem from personality conflicts--both of them are insecure in the relationship and neither are willing to talk about their feelings. I can appreciate that type of miscommunication. It feels more natural than, "I saw you kissing that dude!" "No, no! He kissed me!" "Oh, alrighty then. We shall now get married and inherit a small child from a conveniently dead relative."

And there is one extremely good reason these two think they should just naturally communicate--it has to do with Flynn's sixth sense ability. But there was no resolution to Flynn and Jerry's miscommunication. There's no big talk, or acknowledgement between them that just because one partner has mind powers it doesn't mean things (like communication skills) will magically work themselves out. They still have to open their mouths and SPEAK. Instead a Major Worrisome Event (half a star for that though, it is interesting) happens to one of the MCs, and the other one is suddenly super sweet and supportive. Which is still enjoyable, 'cause I eat that stuff up. Bring the fluff, baby.

But you know what happens then? [You probably saw this coming.]

Monday, October 20, 2014

Heather's GRL Experience: Day 1

Hello boys and girls! The moment you've been waiting for all year has finally arrived! My GayRomLit 2014 recap is here (*is deafened by hoots and hollers from the crowd*)!! Welcome to my journey of partying and dressing pretty... and authors and readings and all that stuff!

So I arrived bright and early in Chicago (and I use that term loosely because the location for this year's event was about 35 minutes outside of the city), ready to get my GRL-on! I checked into the hotel around 9 am and made a beeline for the swag room. I LOVE me some swag!
Well, hello my precious!
After collecting all of the pens, buttons, and candy that I could get my greedy hands on, I checked out the supporting author book signing. I saw many of my faves, including the lovely Vanessa North, who signed a copy of the a-mazing book, The Dark Collector, for me!
Ain't it pretty!?
So sweet!! <3

ARC Review: Red Dirt Heart 3, by N.R. Walker

Red Dirt Heart 3 (Red Dirt, #3)From the blurb:

Life for Charlie Sutton has never been better, or busier. With Travis now a permanent fixture of Sutton Station, a permanent fixture at Charlie’s side, Charlie’s convinced he couldn’t do anything on his ever-growing to-do list without him. He can run a multimillion dollar cattle business, finish his degree, try and further the local beef industry, deal with staff issues, Ma’s failing health, and an attention-demanding wombat. He can even deal with an unexpected visitor and some shattering news. He can deal with it all, as long as he has Travis. But what happens when he doesn’t? Red Dirt Heart 3 is the story of Charlie Sutton finally realising he can be the man Travis Craig deserves, even if he doesn’t have Travis. It’s a story of love, family, holding on, letting go and coming home.

AnnaLund's rating:

I just read number 2 in this series about a month ago, and I positively love that I get to walk into Ma’s kitchen again at Sutton Station, and sit down for a new episode. I love that place.

This time there is a little drama, handled in the calmest of ways, and then there’s the added bonus of a wombat that walked straight into my heart and sat down and nested. By DOG, I love Nugget.

The Aussie drawl is perfect, without ever going into any kind of tedious weird spelling. It just flows right, and I hear a voice-mixture of all the Australians I’ve ever heard, (which are admittedly far too few, and including Steve Irving, the ladies of Drover’s Run, and some of the cast in Spartacus. But hey, it works for me).

I love cattle work, I have done it for years, and this setting rings true. For sure, it tells a good story also about some strong and feisty women, which I cannot but adore. Thank you for them, thank you for Trudy, Ma, and Nara. Thank you for giving Nara a future, and for not quitting on Trudy. Ma? Thank you. Thank you.

I adore the modernization of the station, the look to the future, and I am simply amazed at the evident research behind this story, to bring it alive. Or maybe N. R. Walker is in the cattle business? One would believe so.

There were moments of tension here, and there were moments of knee-slapping hilarity, too. I think the naming of the poddies had me screaming out loud. Travis is to die for, truly.

Here, I’ll leave you with a short paragraph, just so you can see what I’m talking about:

I scoffed out a laugh. “My life used to be boring! I can still remember thinkin’ nothing ever happened out here. It wasn’t that long ago.”His eyes went wide. It matched his smile. “You make it sound like it’s my fault!”“It is!” I told him. “Since you got here, it’s been not-boring every day.”

Language is important to me, and even though I was given a pre-edit ARC copy, I found very few errors and typos. This is a serious author who self-publishes, with respect for the readers. I salute that, and point my finger to this series in evidence for those who say that self-published isn’t up to par. It may be true sometimes, but with this author, not at all.

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