Monday, August 21, 2017

The Godsteed series - Epic Medieval Fantasy with Heroes, Horses, Swordfights, & a Gay Romance

Godsteed series by BJ Hobbsen



Book 1: Night of Wolves

In a kingdom brought to the brink of utter destruction, the unicorn slayer is close to completing his quest - to destroy the white stallion, Aurion, before it can transform into a Godsteed. Can the immortal Horse Lords of Senfar save the last unicorn and restore hope and magic to the world? And can they find the true bonded rider of the horse before all they have fought for is lost?



Book 2: Darkness Before Death

The Queen is dead, taking with her Areme’s one chance of redemption. In a world catapulted into war, he fights to find another way to save all he holds dear. Who is the true bonded rider for the Godsteed, the horse destined to transform into a unicorn and restore magic to the world? Can the immortal Horse Lord of Senfar keep the horse alive long enough to find out?


Book 3: Ascension

Will the true bonded rider of the horse finally be revealed?


Book 4: Dead Man's Race

Swept away by an avalanche, the Queen of Mirador fights to survive in a kingdom torn apart by war. Abducted, press-ganged, shipwrecked and sold into slavery, can Orlanda find a way to escape, reverse a life-threatening curse placed upon her by a sorceress long since dead, and reclaim her throne?

The author wrote me to say that books 5 and 6 are in the works, and that "the relationship between two of the main characters is far from straight :)." Add your review of any or all of the Godsteed series novels in comments!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Escape From Enlightenment - A flipped dystopia where being lesbian is expected... and the main teen character isn't



Escape From Enlightenment by Tessa Rose

Marley is coming of age in a post apocalyptic, radically feminist society. Women have wrested all power and authority from men, who are kept in prison camps so they will never again wage wars and abuse women. Babies are incubated in artificial wombs and engineered to be attracted to their own sex. The process, however, doesn’t always work.
Marley worries about feeling no attraction to other girls until she meets Maddy. But she needs to win Maddy away from the odd values of a barely tolerated subculture. And Maddy would be horrified to know that Marley views illicit online pictures of boys.

The author explains the flip, and the queer content: "The main protagonist is a hetero girl who finds herself in a similar situation to gay teens today … actually a worse situation, because the boys she wants are nowhere to be found in cities populated by lesbians and older eunuchs. The story has subplots about gay teen boys, too."

This novel was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and author-published. Add your review of "Escape from Enlightenment" in comments!

Train - Over ten days in 1943 Berlin, six teenagers witness and try to escape the Nazi round-ups, Including the gay teen couple Alex (who is Jewish) and Marko (who is Roma)



Train by Danny M. Cohen

Marko screwed up. But he's good at swallowing his fear.
By now, the 17-year-old 'Gypsy' should be far from Nazi Germany. By now, he should be with Alex. That's how they planned it. But while Marko has managed to escape the Gestapo, Alex has been arrested in the final round-ups of Berlin's Jews. Even worse, Marko’s little cousin Kizzy is missing. And Marko knows he’s to blame.
Yet the tides of war are turning. With hundreds of Christian women gathered in the streets to protest the round-ups, the Nazis have suspended the trains to the camps. But for how long? Marko must act now. Against time, and with British warplanes bombing Berlin, Marko hatches a dangerous plan to rescue Alex and find Kizzy.
There are three people who can help: Marko’s sister with her connections to the Resistance, Alex’s Catholic stepsister, and a mysterious Nazi girl with a deadly secret.
But will Marko own up to how Kizzy disappeared? And then there’s the truth about Alex — they just wouldn’t understand.

In 2017 this title was selected as the inaugural text of the Museum Teacher Fellows national book club of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Add your review of the author-published (in conjunction with the UnSilence Project) "Train" in comments!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Without Chance - A 14 Year Old and his new friend try to solve a two-year old murder that everyone else thinks was a suicide. But they know better...




Without Chance by Christopher Bailey
Ryan had lost everything. His mother recently died of cancer, and his father had completely shut down after her death. His father even dragged him away from the city he'd grown up in, forcing him to leave all of his friends to move to a tiny, backwater town called Turnbridge, hundreds of miles from anything remotely interesting. Even the school's social scene seemed to revolve around activities and sermons at the local church.

Then he met Chance. Chance was quiet and friendly, and was an extreme social outcast due to his sexual orientation. He was also obsessed with an unsolved murder that had taken place two years previously. Everyone was convinced it was a suicide. Everyone except Chance, who believed the victim had been targeted due to his homosexuality.

Ryan didn't believe him until the accidents started, all seeming to focus around Chance. With the local culture so hostile toward the gay population, there were too many suspects and not nearly enough time as they tried to stop a killer who hunted in the name of God.

Add your review of "Without Chance" in comments!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sparkle Boy - A New Picture Book by Lesléa Newman that I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid



Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Maria Mola

It's 32 pages, but it's so full of important moments.

Like Casey loving his sister Jessie's shimmery skirt, and wanting one of his own. And their mother bringing her son a shimmery skirt that his sister had outgrown.

"If Casey wants to wear a skirt, Casey can wear a skirt," she said. "I don't have a problem with that."

Casey and Jessie's father is equally awesome about Casey wanting to wear glittery nail polish, painting it on his son's nails himself.

And then their grandmother is equally - maybe especially - awesome about Casey wanting one of her sparkly bracelets, just like his sister.

There's the growing plot element of Jessie not liking his little brother Casey's doing all these things that boys "shouldn't do," but in the climactic moment, when some other boys lecture Casey about that very thing - that boys shouldn't sparkle, Jessie has her big moment - and as a big sister, she rises to the occasion!

I love this book.

And I want everyone to read it.

Including you.

Thank you, Lesléa, and thank you Maria.

For Sparkle Boy.

It's the love surrounding Casey that really sparkles.

And the example of how a family can nurture difference and see the beauty in it - in all its shimmery, glittery, sparkly splendor - is beautiful.



Friday, August 11, 2017

The Change Series: Stranger, Hostage and Rebel - Post-Apocalyptic YA with an ensemble that includes a Gay Teen



Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith
Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.



Hostage
A team sent by King Voske captures Ross and takes him to Gold Point. There he meets Kerry, Voske’s teenage daughter, who has been trained to be as ruthless as her father. While his friends in Las Anclas desperately try to rescue him, Ross is forced to engage in a battle of wills with the king himself.



Rebel

In this perilous landscape, a schoolboy can create earthquakes, poisonous cloud vipers flock in the desert skies, and the beaches are stalked by giant mind-controlling lobsters.

The tyrant king Voske has been defeated, but all is not peaceful in Las Anclas. Ross’s past comes back to haunt him, Jennie struggles with her new career, Mia faces her fears, Felicite resorts to desperate measures to keep her secrets, Kerry wonders if Las Anclas has really seen the last of her father, and shy Becky Callahan may hold the key to a dangerous mystery.

In Rebel, long-held secrets of past and present are revealed, family ties can strangle as well as sustain, and the greatest peril threatening Las Anclas comes from inside its walls.

A note about this series: When the authors were shopping "Stranger' around, they had interest from an agent who said they would be happy to represent it -- but only if the authors made the one Gay protagonist straight. To their credit, Rachel and Sherwood said no and took the project elsewhere. I'm happy these books found their way to being published in this LGBTQ-content intact way!

Add your review of "Stranger," "Hostage," and/or "Rebel" in comments!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Pieces - Two Teen Girls With Very Different Lives Fall For Each Other -- Can Everything Come Together Even When It Seems Impossible?



Pieces by G Benson
Orphaned Carmen is sixteen, newly homeless and will do almost anything to survive and keep her and her kid brother safe, together, and out of foster care. Ollie, also a sixteen-year old girl, has a life that’s all about parents, school pressure, friends and dreams of summer. The two fall into each other’s orbit, and one kiss changes everything. Ollie is captivated … but then Carmen vanishes. When they cross paths months later, everything is different.

Add your review of "Pieces" in comments!

Monday, August 7, 2017

My Fairy Godmother Is A Drag Queen - A Modern Gay YA Spin on Cinderella!



My Fairy Godmother Is A Drag Queen by David Clawson

"Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.

With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life."

Add your review of "My Fairy Godmother Is A Drag Queen" in comments!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Waiting For Walker - A Gay Teen Falls For An Teen Who Is Intersex



Waiting For Walker by Robin Reardon

Micah Jaeger's life is a mess. His folks have split, and his mother is seeing a medium to communicate with Micah's older brother, killed in Afghanistan. He had to change schools for his junior year, and he retreats further into himself, hiding behind his camera—and hiding that he's gay.

One sunny day in June, as he's shooting a dead seagull on the shore of Long Island Sound, a mysterious guy appears in a beautiful sailboat. At first, the guy's boat shoes are the image that stays with Micah. But soon it's the person himself, Walker Donnell, who haunts Micah's dreams.

Walker's life looks perfect to Micah. His wealthy parents adore him. He has everything he could want. He's gorgeous and generous. And he falls hard for Micah. But he has a secret: Walker is intersex.

The closer Walker and Micah grow, the more Walker feels the need to be sure of himself in ways he hasn't fully faced before, and now it's his turn to retreat. Micah knows Walker is worth waiting for, so he waits. And waits.

Add your review of "Waiting for Walker" in comments!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Tango Triptych - Paranormal Suspense with Dancing... And The Main Character Has a Gay Dad




Tango with a Twist by John Robert Mack

Ethan is a high school senior. He's also a world-champion dancer forced to move to tiny Dumass, TX where the only dance team thinks their dusty moves and lame studio are the s**t. The only good thing is Tango, the best dancer in town. And she’s hot! What Ethan doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one secretly after her.

Twist searches online for a way to make her fall for him. He doesn’t dance, so he’ll try anything: even a magic spell from the naked chick who promises to help him win Tango forever.



Stretches

Ever wonder what happens when the main character isn’t around? Stretches is a series of short stories that round out Tango with a Twist by delving more deeply into the private lives of all the other characters.

What happened to Ethan’s parents and how did Dad end up with Ethan for a son? What really happened to all Dad’s money? What dark secret is K-pop hiding? Why is Juicy always so annoyed with Boyfriend? Is there anything more to know about the linebacker named Gunner who led the assault on Ethan?

Most importantly, what happens to Twist after the end of Tango with a Twist? The truth will surprise you!

This collection of short stories is like a set of “special features” that takes you deeper into the world of Ethan Fox.



Whisky Tango Foxtrot

When an up and coming Austin Band wants the dance crew to perform for their music video, it’s a dream come true… until they realize it’s a retro swing band, and almost no one on the crew knows anything about swing.

Ethan Fox dances to the rescue so all his friends can experience their fifteen minutes of fame, in spite of the fact that he’s having horrible nightmares that just may be the product of Twist’s deranged imagination.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the lead singer, a rock star wannabe named Whiskey, who seems way too interested in Tango for Ethan’s taste.

The entire crew drives out to an abandoned summer camp to film a set of videos based on every slasher film every made. Can you say”Kill,  kill, kill. Die, die, die.”

When Twist finds out that his enemies are stuck out in the middle of nowhere, it’s an opportunity way too good to pass up.

Who lives? Who dies? How do you finish filming a music video if you’re dead?




Segues

Whisky Tango Foxtrot leaves several questions unanswered. Did Tango cheat on Fox Trot? Why can’t Corey stand to be around his dad since the events at the end of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? What happened with K-pop and his girlfriend Kiki? Will we ever get to see the killer ghost bunny again?

All these questions and more are answered in Segues, the second set of short stories in the Tango Triptych. Consider it the behind-the-scenes special features that makes No Tengo Tango that much cooler.



No Tengo Tango

No Tengo Tango is the final step in the Tango Triptych. Ethan is forced to face the reality of whether he believes in witchcraft or not and whether he believes that love transcends all obstacles.

The bodies start to fall on page one, and no one is safe. Supernatural investigator Morrison “Spook” James helps the crew survive an assault of epic proportions.

Who lives? Who dies?



Add your review of any of the books or short stories in the Tango Triptych in comments!


Monday, July 31, 2017

Timekeeper - Steampunk YA With A Gay Romance!



Timekeeper by Tara Sim

"Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.
And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever."

You can read this interview with the author, where she talks about developing the magical systems of Timekeeper's world, and how few fantasy books have gay heroes. Add your review of "Timekeeper" - the first of a planned triology - in comments!

Friday, July 28, 2017

An Infatuation - Will A 10 Year High School Reunion Re-Ignite The Gay Romance They Had (Even though they're both now married, one to a Man, and one to a Woman?)



An Infatuation by Joe Cosentino

With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario?

Add your review of this Novella, "An Infatuation," in comments!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The House On Fremont Drive - Nate's A Gay Teen. With A Ghost Above His Room. A Boyfriend. And Parents Who Don't Have A Clue.



The House on Fremont Drive by Jere' M. Fishback

Eighteen year-old Nate Ziegler has problems. A dead boy's ghost dwells in the crawl space above Nate's walk-in closet; the ghost won't leave Nate alone. Nate's cross-country teammate is an astrology freak; he wants to recruit Nate as his disciple. Nate's new boyfriend is an emotional mess; he's a victim of physical and psychological abuse. And Nate's parents don't even know Nate is gay. How will he deal with it all?

Add your review of "The House on Fremont Drive" in comments!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Words Inspiring Me Right Now




"Don't let them colonize your imagination. And write." - Lucy Jane Bledsoe at the first Lambda Lit Fest in Los Angeles, March 11, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

Driving Lessons: Sophomore Year - Abbey is back, and this time, she's not confused about liking girls!



Driving Lessons: Sophomore Year by Annameekee Hesik

Abbey Brooks has recovered from her end-of-freshman-year heartbreak and has vowed that this year, her sophomore year at Gila High, will be different in every way. Her to-do list: get her driver’s license, come out to her mom, get (and keep) a girlfriend, and survive another year of basketball. As always, though, nothing goes according to plan. Who will be there for her as her plans start to unravel? Who will bring her back to life after another round of heartache and betrayal? These remain a mystery–even to Abbey.

But one thing is for sure, she’s not confused about who she is. And that is going to make all the difference this time.

This is the second book in the series. Check out my interview with Annameekee on the release of Book #1, "The You Know Who Girls."

And add your review of "Driving Lessons: Sophomore Year" in comments!