4 Stars, Amazon Digital Services, Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson’s “Sweet Tooth” Is A Sweet And Funny Memoir – Reviewed by Tina


“Besides, it’s my God-given right as an American to speak my mind and fill others’ ears with my thoughts, my opinions, my innermost feelings, and my repressed childhood memories.” ― Tim Anderson


Title: Sweet Tooth

Author: Tim Anderson

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 333 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: What’s a sweets-loving young boy growing up gay in North Carolina in the eighties supposed to think when he’s diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? That God is punishing him, naturally.
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Amazon Digital Services, Riley Hart, Self-Published

Riley Hart’s “Broken Pieces” Is A Masterful Bit Of Storytelling


“The attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one’s whole being. Nothing less will do. There can be no easier conditions, no substitutes, no compromises.” – Carl Jung


Title: Broken Pieces

Author: Riley Hart

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 339 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Can three broken pieces make a whole?

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All Romance Ebooks, Amazon Digital Services, Leighton Rose, Self-Published

True Love Makes Its Way “Back to You”


“Some things just couldn’t be protected from storms. Some things simply needed to be broken off…Once old things were broken off, amazingly beautiful things could grow in their place.” ― Denise Hildreth Jones


Title: Back to You

Author: Leighton Rose

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 195 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: When two stubborn boys fall in love there are bound to be fights, but when those fights become the norm and there are more bad times than good, is love enough of a reason to stay?
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Amazon Digital Services, Nana G, Self-Published

“Slave of Heart” and “My Warrior, My Slave” – Stories Of Dominance And Submission In An Alternate World



“A Dom never takes away. He only builds.” ― Delaine Moore






Slave of Heart and My Warrior, My Slave are companion novellas, though they can be read as standalones and don’t need to be read in a certain order.

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Amazon Digital Services, Lavinia Lewis, Self-Published

Lust Rules In “Blood Ties”



“Because no one has more thirst for earth, for blood, and for ferocious sexuality than the creatures who inhabit cold mirrors.” ― Alejandra Pizarnik



My vampire book this week was Blood Ties. I was excited to read it because second to shifters, vampires are my favorite! There is something primal and very sexual about vampires. For example, biting and marking. Need I say more?
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Amazon Digital Services, Kade Boehme, Self-Published

Kade Boehme May Be “A Little Complicated”, But His Contest Isn’t!



“Nothing worthwhile is ever without complications.” ― Nora Roberts



Ryan Borja is a freshman in college and the only real friend he has is his sister. One day he is asked for directions by the hottest man he has seen in ages. When Ryan talks to Brady he finds out he has a daughter, so he assumes Brady is straight. Well, this puts Brady in the “friends only” category, but Ryan makes the most of it. He starts hanging out with Brady. The two men do lunch, have movie night with Brady’s daughter Delilah, and simply become great friends.

The bottom drops out of Ryan’s world when Brady asks him to babysit because he has a date. Now, it’s not just any date, nooooooo it’s a date with Ellie….Borja, Ryan’s sister. So not only can he not have the man of his dreams as more than friends, but he has to watch the man date his sister. It is his own personal hell. Ryan knows it won’t last between them, but he doesn’t want that to affect his friendship with Brady. So, when Brady announces he has been offered a job in Phoenix and is leaving town, Ellie drops him like a hot potato. Ryan goes over to help Brady pack and make sure they can stay friends, except the two men end up doing a lot more than talking. Ryan is freaked out and leaves afterward. When he comes back the next day, he finds Brady is gone, no note, no phone call, just gone, and he took Ryan’s heart with him.

One thing Ryan never knew about Brady is that he is bisexual. He never told Ryan this because he has had so many bad experiences with “friends” that just didn’t get the whole “bisexual thing”. It turns out that Brady had a thing for Ryan the entire time they were friends and just didn’t know how to bring the subject up after he had dated Ryan’s sister. So when Ryan walked out after that one night they had together, he figured it just wasn’t meant to be.

Eight years later while tending bar, Ryan’s sister announces she has a date. Ryan is used to this since his sister goes through more men than most of us do underwear, but the name she squeals out is a total shock to his system. Brady. Not only does she announce that he is back in town, but he also lives in Ryan’s building. Ryan can’t believe it; once again Ellie has beaten him to the punch with Brady.

When Ryan and Brady finally come face to face again, all the old sparks are still there on both sides, but Ryan is not about to open himself up to that brand of heartache again. Brady has different ideas this time around. He tries his best to make it clear to Ellie that they will NEVER be more than friends, but Ryan keeps stumbling upon them at the worst possible moments. Watching these two men fall in love all over again while Ryan tries to keep his distance and Brady puts on the full court press, is one of the funniest things I have read in a while.

This book was a refreshingly funny read with just the right amount of angst to remind you that you are reading a Kade Boehme story. Ryan struggles against his own heart trying to be loyal to his sister, and Brady has a full cast of southern women fighting on his side. I don’t know who I felt sorrier for. I love the snarky humor in this book. I don’t think anyone pulls the snark off quite like Kade. Then he turns around and makes you just fall in love with the characters. If you have read any of Kade’s books before, you know these two are going to have to get out of their own way to find their HEA, but I love the assist they get at the end of this book. With friends like theirs they have no options but to succeed.

If you like a sweet friends to lovers, lovers reunited type of story, this one is a solid pick that I would highly recommend.

Reviewed by: Jackie

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

You can buy A Little Complicated here:

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Amazon Digital Services, Kol Anderson, Self-Published

Submit To Kol Anderson’s “Slave”



“Something unappeased, unappeasable, is within me; it longeth to find expression. A craving for love is within me, which speaketh itself the language of love.” – Friedrich Nietzsche



I’ve previously read two books from this author that I absolutely loved, so I knew what I was getting myself in for when I started reading this one.

Jesse is a sub let go by his cheating Dom, Matt, after a three year relationship. Jesse is at a loss on what to do. He’s been replaced in Matt’s life. He must find a way to get him back at any cost. He seeks out a Dom named Noah, who is known for his sadistic treatment of his subs. Jesse’s time with Noah is not for the faint of heart. It’s blatant torture and abuse, and at times, a little hard to read. Jesse wants this from Noah, craves it, needs to feel something other than his broken heart. I loved how the author put us in that room, made us feel Jesse’s desperation.

The bulk of the story is told from Jess’s POV, so at first I really didn’t like Matt. How could he leave Jesse all alone and lost? After seeing the way he took care of Jesse after a session with Noah, there was no doubt Matt still loved him. He showed such tenderness and concern for Jesse’s well being that it was hard for me to understand why he would leave him. I’m glad we got to see a bit of Matt’s perspective too, we finally know why he felt he couldn’t live up to Jesse’s expectations. Jesse sees him as more than a person, has put him on a pedestal, but he’s just a regular guy and feels as though Jesse will be better off with someone else.

Now Noah has a story to tell. We don’t get much from him in this story, but I would love to know why he needs to give out harsh punishments to subs. He seems so sad and lonely. He wants Jesse for his own, but knows it’s never going to happen. Is this why he was so hard on Jesse? I’m intrigued by the many layers this character must have.

This is a short story with some life lessons the characters learn the hard way. This isn’t a story for the person who wants sunshine and happy times. This is a story of someone in pain, who has been pushed aside and let go by the one person who is everything in his world.

This is a HEA story, despite the dark beginning. Highly recommend it!!!

Reviewed by: Lynn

You can buy Slave here:

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Amazon Digital Services, Kol Anderson, Self-Published

“Hell And Beyond (Broken, Book Two)” – The Clue’s The Thing That Draws The Truth That Much Closer

“There are moments when even to the sober eye of reason, the world of our sad humanity may assume the semblance of Hell. ” ― Edgar Allan Poe



I really liked the first installment of this series, so I was very eager to read the next one.

This is a continuation where The Prisoner left off. It opens up with Sebastian and Eric trying to rekindle their relationship. We know Aaron is still on Sebastian’s mind and he’s really concerned about what happened to him. I like the way the author is incorporating Sebastian and Eric’s life into this story. We’re seeing that life is moving on despite the hell Aaron is going through.

I’m not sure I like these two as a couple. At this point we really don’t know them, but part of me is really wanting Sebastian to find Aaron and forget about Eric. Eric is hoping Sebastian forgets about Aaron, and concentrates on them.

As for Aaron, it’s been ten weeks now that he’s been held captive, and it doesn’t look like it’s ending for him any time soon. At this point we are introduced to Vince’s boss, Carson. He seems to be the mastermind behind this whole operation and he’s not happy with the progress of Aaron’s training. He wants Aaron to be ready now. Vince now steps it up a notch and some of these scenes are very hard to read.

I think the author wants us to see how Aaron is coping mentally. He’s not completely broken, but I see cracks starting to come to the surface. We’re still seeing Aaron as he was before the kidnapping and there’s still fight left in him, but slowly he’s becoming exactly what they want, a slave. I believe the author does a great job in showing the progress of human reconditioning. Even though it’s tough to read what is happening to Aaron, I found the whole process fascinating.

As this installment is winding down, Sebastian finally finds a clue as to what may have happened to Aaron. It’s a strong enough clue that Vince’s boss knows someone is getting close. As things go from bad to worse for Aaron, help from an unlikely source flips the story on its head. I really like this because the reader never knows what’s going to happen next. There is nothing predictable about this book. For such a short story, so much happens.

Will Sebastian’s evidence be enough to find Aaron and bring him to safety? Will the plot twist take us in an entirely other direction? Or will it all just be too late? I am so eager for the next installment of this story!!

Reviewed by: Lynn

You can buy Hell and Beyond (Broken, Book Two) here:


You can also find the paperback version, which includes Books One and Two in a single volume, by clicking on the cover image:


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Amazon Digital Services, Kol Anderson

Are You Brave Enough To Experience “The Prisoner”?

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” ― Lucius Annaeus Seneca



Wow!!!

From reading the blurb for this story, I kinda knew what I was getting myself in to. What I didn’t expect was the way the author makes the reader actually feel as though they are right there in the room, feeling the pain and emotions of this character. This book hits the ground running and never stops.

When the story opens we find Aaron, who is a male escort, in a heated discussion with Sebastian, a former client. He has fallen for Aaron and wants him to stop seeing clients, but Aaron insists that Sebastian try to fix things with his lover, Eric. When Aaron meets his client for the night, Aaron thinks he’s hot and in for a night of fun. Unbeknownst to Aaron, Vince has bought him from his escort company and will be training Aaron to be a slave.

I was on an emotional roller coaster the whole time I was reading this book. This book made my heart race; it made me have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. At times it was even hard to read, but I never wanted to put this down and stop reading. Aaron is kidnapped and there’s no one to help him, and he knows it. He slowly comes to terms with what is happening to him, which in itself is heartbreaking to read. On the outside he’s submissive but his inner dialog is still fighting for release from the hell that is now his life. He’s becoming dependent on the drugs Vince is injecting him with. He’s being raped, caned, whipped, flogged, tortured with a cattle prod being dehumanized and humiliated. The author puts you right there in the middle of all this madness and forces you to feel, see and gasp in horror at what is happening to Aaron. I loved it.

I loved how the author incorporated other POV’s throughout the book without taking me out of the story. Vince’s POV is the most interesting to me. We know that he’s developing feelings for Aaron. He’s kind to him at times, he takes care of Aaron when he’s hurt real bad. But in his mind Aaron is just a job no matter what. Sebastian’s POV if great because it gives us a sense of hope that Aaron will be rescued. Sebastian knows Aaron is missing and is actively looking for him.

Aaron, for all he’s going through isn’t broken, he’s still the same Aaron that was meeting Vince for the first time that fateful night, he’s not the victim. On the inside he’s fighting Vince all the way. Outwardly, he’s doing what he can to survive and to keep Vince happy, to avoid punishment and for the drugs Vince had him hooked on. He knows the only way to escape his reality is to be stoned out of his mind and the drugs do that for him. Vince on the other hand, is cruel and unforgiving. He’s a little on the psychotic side too. One minute giving viscous training sessions to Aaron and then being kind and almost loving while attending Aaron’s wounds. He’s like a Jekyll and Hyde personality. I’m really curious to see what the author has in store for Vince. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

This story is not for the faint of heart. It’s a devastating story but it’s also a story about survival. This is a serial, so I’m real excited to see where it goes from here.

Reviewed by: Lynn

You can buy The Prisoner (Broken, Book One) here:


You can also find the paperback version, which includes Books One and Two in a single volume, by clicking on the cover image:


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Amazon Digital Services, Chris O'Guinn, Self-Published

Chris O’Guinn’s Fearless Gave Me A Raging Case Of The Ugly Cries

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. – Rabindranath Tagore

Chris O’Guinn’s Fearless is the story of fifteen-year-old Justin, a boy whose one and only aim is to be the unseen. He has decided that friends are not worth the risk because he is un-friendable and therefore, he would rather not try at all than to go through the time, trouble, and eventual heartache of the inevitable rejection. This story is told in Justin’s words and chronicles a brief few months of his freshman year of high school—through the awkward growing pains, through the pain of being on the outside looking in, through the pain of being seen as a freak.

Justin is not athletic nor is he a brainiac; in fact, the only distinguishing characteristic Justin can boast is that he’s the gawkiest and most uncoordinated boy in 9th grade. He lives with a single mother who’s struggling just to put food on their table, while his father tries to be the great weekend dad who sometimes withholds child support to spite his ex-wife. In short, Justin is not only confronting the start of those awkward and sometimes torturous high school years, but he’s also dealing with the fear of almost everything, including the fact that he’s gay.

Enter Liam, resident stoner and perpetual truant, the guy Justin knows only by his well-earned and much deserved reputation as the kind of guy who spells trouble. Justin has absolutely no desire to know Liam beyond all the conclusions he’s jumped to about the sort of guy Liam is. But Liam has other plans. Liam is a force of nature who sees something in Justin worth knowing: he is outspoken and he is fearless and he is cheeky as can be, and above all else, he disproves beyond a shadow of a doubt all of Justin’s misperceptions. Liam is the embodiment of the Plato adage “everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle,” and it’s not long before he and Justin are nearly inseparable. Liam becomes the best friend who teaches Justin that courage is not about being fearless but about facing your fears head on; he teaches Justin that life is about taking chances and about standing strong when the first instinct has always been to run away.

Justin learns through swimming the meaning of courage and leadership. He learns about camaraderie and, perhaps most important of all, he learns to own his sexuality in spite of his fear of rejection at best and a beating at worst. Coming out for Justin, while not easy, pales in comparison to some of the other challenges he will face in his life, as he learns about unrequited love but he also learns about unconditional friendship and about taking chances, about winning and about losing, not only in the pool but in ways far more significant, ways that will force a boy to grow up all too quickly but will also teach him a lesson in what it means to be truly courageous.

Let me tell you, I love to cry just about as much as I love a root canal and shoes that pinch my feet and people who drive slow in front of me…and maybe also an ice pick to the temple, which is to say, not that much.

But secretly—don’t tell anyone—I also have a huge amount of respect for books that don’t manufacture happy endings (even as I try to convince myself up to the bitter end that the author is just one deus ex machina away from saving my mascara), which is why I both loved Fearless and wished bad juju on Chris O’Guinn at the same time. Yes, I got a raging case of the uglies and needed many tissues to combat it.

The author takes a very purposeful aim at the heartstrings and tear ducts in this coming-of-age novel, but he also infuses the story with humor and heart and a sweet friendship to balance it all out. If you’re fearless in the face of uncontrollable weeping, I would definitely recommend giving Fearless a good seeing to, especially if you’re a fan of Young Adult fiction.

Though Mr. O’Guinn might not forgive me the use of the word, I have to say his book is pretty awesome.

Sometimes that’s the only word that fits.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Fearless here:

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Amazon Digital Services, Anyta Sunday, Self-Published

My Thoughts On Lenny And Lenny For Your Thoughts by Anyta Sunday

Being together, we harm nobody; being apart, we extinguish ourselves. – Tabitha Suzuma

Leonard Krause is in the process of moving away from the past. Forward, after all, is the only direction he can move when the single reason he’d even think to cling to what once was has abandoned him. There’s no point really in trying to hang on to the years that were, or try to hang on to all the memories, when all they can possibly do, especially the good ones, is end in pain.

Lenny’s in the process of moving from the village of Waldau to the city of Berlin, but there are a few things he must factor into the equation before he can complete the transition from past to future, the most important being that he must make the move as uneventful for his oma as he possibly can, which means he must manufacture as much of the present for her as he’s able to within the walls of their new home. The move will also bring him closer to his best friend Ben and his sister Carolyn, not to mention it will keep him away from his cousin Julien, the cause of poor Lenny’s broken heart.

Lenny For Your Thoughts is the story of four childhood friends, told in chapters alternating between the present and the past and allowing the reader to live through all the events and secrets and dreams that led Lenny and Julien directly up to the point that Julien betrayed Lenny and broke his heart.

If I thought I was going to have a difficult time accepting a romantic relationship between these two men related by blood—which, if I’m being honest, I thought I might—Anyta Sunday quickly put my fears to rest by creating characters whose journeys forged bonds that went far beyond family and friendship and delved into a sole-baring kinship. (And yes, it’s spelled correctly. :) You’ll get that charming little detail of the story when you read the book. )

This is the story of the taboo relationship between two cousins who spent years falling in love with each other and moments falling apart, thanks in large part to Julien’s mother but made just as difficult by the fear of rejection from everyone they love. But, in the end, when all thoughts and feelings were accounted for, when things were done and said that couldn’t be undone or unsaid, it was Julien’s denial of Lenny that caused the greatest harm.

I adored this book and the attention the author gave to each moment that led to the culmination of Lenny and Julien’s love story. Oma was such a surprising treat, and Ben and Carolyn both got their own happy endings too, which was a nice compliment to the conflict in Lenny and Julien’s relationship. Before I knew it, I’d become nearly as invested in the supporting role players as I was in the story’s MCs.

Lenny For Your Thoughts is, at its heart, a story of rejection and redemption, a story of revelation and second chances, and ultimately, it is a story of the unstoppable force that is love, which is a concept I’ll gladly buy into, especially when it’s told by and for characters I’ve grown to love.

You can buy Lenny For Your Thoughts here:

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Loose Id, Mercy Celeste, Self-Published

In Which I’ve Discovered That Having Mercy Is A Really Good Thing – Behind Iron Lace & The 51st Thursday by Mercy Celeste

No man is rich enough to buy back his past. – Oscar Wilde

Darcy Butler moved from Oregon to New Orleans, following the woman he’s been in an on-again-off-again relationship with for the past decade. It’s a new beginning for the online magazine he’s made a success of, even while the economy has made it difficult to build a business, and Darcy’s friendship with Bailey, one that happens to occasionally include sex, is a habit he’s formed over the years, so following her didn’t necessarily make sense as much as it was just a case of abiding the status quo. It’s a relationship that has become a convenient crutch for Darcy, but it’s about to become painfully obvious that he’s been wasting far too much time living a lie.

Landing an interview with award winning photographer and artist Caleb Mitchell was a stroke of good fortune and exactly what the magazine needs—Caleb’s vision and talent to help revamp the graphic art department and take the publication to the next level of polished professionalism. But, oh, Caleb is far from a polished professional. He’s a sublimely seductive, smooth talking French Cajun, whisper that in my ear one more time, bebe! sex god, and he takes an immediate interest in the very straight, very staid Darcy, something Darcy isn’t at all flattered by or interested in exploring.

Until, of course, he is.

Darcy has never been interested in men, and outside of Bailey, has never been particularly interested in women either. Mediocre sex is all he’s familiar with, so he has no idea there’s any other way for it to be. But Caleb is eager to seduce the man he can’t seem to keep his eyes or hands or lips off of, and eventually, he smooth talks his way behind Darcy’s walls of resistance, obliterating Darcy’s belief in his heterosexuality and blurring the lines between what’s lust and what could grow into so much more in the space of just a few days, and proving beyond all reasonable argument that sex and mediocrity don’t belong in the same frame of reference.

The sex these two guys partake in is about as hot and steamy as the city of New Orleans herself, though Darcy grows much fonder of one than the other, which is a conflict that bubbles just beneath the surface of whatever it is that’s going on between these two men. Their story is complicated by lots of drama and doubt and ghosts of the past that hang on like a miasma of self-abuse, the kind of pain that won’t allow for anything like peace. It’s a torment that Caleb eventually misuses as a weapon against Darcy and one that nearly ruins everything they could need or want from each other.

Four hours. That’s exactly how much sleep I got while I was reading this book. I didn’t want to put it down; then once I did, I think I must’ve dreamt about it because I couldn’t wait to wake up and start reading it again. I’d be lying if I said Caleb didn’t make me want to go all Gomez Addams on him every time he spoke. (And if you get that reference, give yourself a pat on the back.) Basically, I wanted to attack him with my lips. I know, that sounds a little scary weird, but it’s truthiness wrapped in weirdity, so there you go.

I really, really liked this story a lot, though, for reasons that go beyond my obsession with Caleb and Darcy. I loved the struggle and the tragedy and the passion and the rage inherent in their relationship, as they fought not only each other but the things that’d already happened, things they couldn’t change, but things that intruded on their relationship nonetheless, things that brought them to the breaking point and forced them to face the question of whether they could be together and build a future with each other.

You can buy Behind Iron Lace here:


Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. – Vivian Greene

Shelby Bainbridge has made a habit of living his life the way everyone else, especially his Senator father, the same father who has presidential aspirations, has dictated he should live. Once a ‘Bama football star, now nothing more than the shell of a broken man, Shelby has made it a habit of showing up at Deacon’s Place every Thursday for the past year of Thursdays, for a few beers, and, if he’s lucky, to find a woman who’ll take him home and make him forget who he is and everything he’s lost for a little while.

Joe Deacon is the proprietor of Deacon’s Place, and has been watching Shelby, each and every one of those Thursdays, not knowing who he is or what his story is, though he knows it’s not a happy one. On the night a hurricane is bearing down upon the city of Mobile, Deacon doesn’t hold out much hope he’s going to see “Thursday” at all that night, something he realizes he’s come to count on, but he’s seriously underestimated just how much the “come-for-the-beer, stay-for-the-atmosphere” routine means to the man Deacon has taken an intense interest in.

Playing out against the threat of a storm the likes of which neither man has ever experience—and I’m not talking about the hurricane—Deacon and Thursday give in to their mutual attraction to each other, creating a firestorm of need and emotion that leaves them both reeling and causes Shelby to run away as soon as Mother Nature’s storm blows over.

There’s too much baggage and too much pressure weighing Shelby down to allow him to admit he wants Deacon for so much more than just that one night of passionate sex. It’s too much for him to process, knowing that if he’s outed it’s going to cause a shit-storm for his father’s presidential run, not to mention throw him and whomever he’s involved with into the media spotlight. It’s so much better that he hide from himself and from the truth that he’s gay than it is to deal with the repercussions. Or it would’ve been easier if Deacon were an easier man to resist.

The 51st Thursday is a story of passion with a side of tragedy mixed in, set against an atmosphere of longing and denial. It’s not a long story but it’s not lacking in emotion or a connection to the characters. This is one of those books that I finished and asked myself if I wish it’d been longer and can honestly say, maybe. Probably. But then again, it’s always that way with the characters I want to spend more time with.

You can buy The 51st Thursday here:

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Amazon Digital Services, J.C. Lillis

If You’d Love To Learn How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, J.C. Lillis Is Here To Give You A FREE Shot At It!

Look! It’s The Nifty Retro-Sci-Fi-Flavored Cover! Sweet!

Hi guys!

I’m very excited to offer a free copy of How to Repair a Mechanical Heart to the winner of this contest. It’s only available as a Kindle version for now, so the winner will just need to provide an email address that’s linked with an Amazon account so I can gift a copy. The giveaway winner will also receive a FREE POSTER of the nifty retro-sci-fi-flavored cover, created by Baltimore artists Mindy Dunn and Andrea Sabaliauskas. Good luck! And thanks again to Lisa for having me as a guest on the blog and organizing this giveaway. – J.C. Lillis

A free Kindle copy of the book AND a free poster of the cover sounds pretty great, right? Well, all you have to do to be eligible to win is leave a comment right here on this post between now and 11:59pm Pacific time on November 19, 2012. A random drawing will be held on November 20th and the winner will be contacted by J.C. for the distributing of the goodies. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment, as well, so she knows how to reach you. And good luck from me too! :-D

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Amazon Digital Services, J.C. Lillis

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m just going to go ahead and say right out of the gate that finding How to Repair a Mechanical Heart was at least, at least, eleventeen kinds of awesome for me.

This is a story that deals with one boy’s coming out and with his struggle to reconcile who he is with whom his religion has instructed him to be. It’s a story of contrast. It’s the story of a guy who decides it’s better to simulate a heartbreak with a perfectly fictional perfect ex-boyfriend than to risk his real heart on real romance, especially when it comes to the one guy he wants more than any other. It’s the story of three friends who go on a six-week-long road trip and along the way discover that sometimes life truly does imitate art, and that sometimes truth is very much stranger than fiction, and that oftentimes if you don’t like the way a story’s going, you have to be brave enough to go ahead and rewrite it and give yourself the ending that can best mend a fractured heart. It is a story of two friends who play their roles in a popular lexicon but quickly discover the pretense might exact a far higher price than they’re able to pay, especially when it stops being a game. It is a story of what it means to begin something in the public eye that suddenly becomes very personal and private, and how difficult it can be to live up to the image that’s been spun for you when things begin to unravel.

But the part that really makes this story rock out loud in so many different ways is the “Castaway Planet”-worshipping fandom it’s set against, where fanfiction meets purists, where lines are drawn, wagers are made, illusions are tarnished, and Brandon Page and Abel McNaughton discover something a bit creepy/flattering about a group that follows their vlog, Screw Your Sensors. But in the end, for Brandon and Abel, it all boils down to the blurry line of conflict between what is the fact and what is the fiction of the virtual reality romance they allowed themselves to be lured into.

And there you have it. Just when I’ve become complacent in the belief there can’t possibly be any more original ways to tell me a coming-of-age story, J.C. Lillis happens along and not only tells it but sells it in a colorfully wrapped package of humor and pop-cultural icon worship and maybe even just a smidgen of satire, then plops a big red bow of characters I unashamedly fell in love with smack-dab on top of this ginormous gift.

Brandon, Abel, their fabulous friend Bec, and perhaps the most prominent character of all, Brandon’s hyperactive and very vocal conscience, shared a story with me that made me laugh, brought a lump to my throat, and tweaked the part of me that made me want to hug Brandon close and tell him that love is never wrong.

I can’t even recommend this book highly enough.

Be sure to stayed tuned, folks, because tomorrow, I’ll have J.C. Lillis here to tell us a bit about herself and how she came up with the idea for How to Repair a Mechanical Heart.

And coming up on November 16th, she’ll be back to offer the chance to win a FREE Kindle copy of the book!

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