3 Stars, Cecil Wilde, Genre Romance, Less Than Three Press, Reviewed by Jules

Review: A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde

Title: A Boy Called Cin

Author: Cecil Wilde

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Pages/Word Count: 150 Pages

At a Glance: I love diversity in my books. I have really enjoyed the few transgender-related books that I’ve read, but I think Cecil Wilde tried to do too much here.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: On the search for a cup of coffee before the guest lecture he’s giving, Tom spies a tired, half-frozen young man who looks even more in need of coffee than him. On impulse, he buys the man a cup—but an attempt to strike up conversation ends in the young man walking off, seemingly put off by Tom Walford—the tabloids’ favourite billionaire—buying him coffee. But when he reappears in Tom’s lecture, all Tom knows is that he doesn’t want the man slipping away a second time.

Agreeing to dinner with a man he only knows from internet gossip columns isn’t the wisest decision Cin’s ever made, but he wants to like the infamous Tom Walford and he can’t do that if he doesn’t give the man a fair chance to be likeable. Which he is, almost frustratingly so, to the point Cin wishes maybe he hadn’t been so fair because he never had any intention of getting attached to Tom, who seems to come from a world far too different from his own for anything between them to last. Little does Cin know, they’ve got a lot more in common than he imagines—including their shared discomfort with their assigned genders, and all the complications that go with it.

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Review: This was a really interesting read…I’m actually having a bit of trouble putting into words all of my thoughts on this book. I’m not gonna do any type of synopsis recap – which I don’t typically do much of in my reviews anyway – but instead, I’m going with a sort of stream-of-consciousness of my thoughts.

I liked both main characters quite a bit. Tom is a sexy billionaire with a heart of gold, and Cin is a twenty-year-old art student. Cin is snarky and intelligent, and, honestly, seems very put-together for being so young. Tom is basically just a huge sweetheart, who seems to wear his heart on his sleeve. They were very cute and sweet together. In fact, for the most part, that’s how I would characterize A Boy Called Cin: cute and sweet. I would describe it as fairytale-ish, even – which I think perhaps was the author’s intent. I don’t think that every book that deals with heavy subjects has to necessarily feel heavy, so in that regard I like what Cecil Wilde did here.

A Boy Called Cin deals with gender topics that are oftentimes confusing for a lot of people, transgender and gender dysphoria, or genderqueer, mainly. Cin is transgender, born biologically female, but identifies as male. Tom, we discover, is genderqueer. He doesn’t feel like a girl, per se, but doesn’t always feel entirely male either. Then, the author throws in there that Tom’s sister, Poppy, is also trans. Now, I love diversity in my books. I have really enjoyed the few transgender-related books that I’ve read, but I think Cecil Wilde tried to do too much here. Learning about Cin and what he was going through, and what he needed in order to truly feel like himself, was interesting and engaging.
Tom’s story, on its own, is interesting. I would have been more satisfied with the story, though, if the two hadn’t been combined, not to mention bringing the transgender sister into the mix. I think Tom could have been the same intelligent, handsome, open-hearted, open-minded man that he was, who fell in love with Cin just as he was, without him also having gender issues. I felt like it took away from Cin’s story a bit. That’s just my opinion, of course. Perhaps the author is writing from experience, though…maybe a similar thing happened to them in their life. Who knows? I realize it’s not my story. As far as a reading experience, however, it was a lot to wrap my mind around.

The other slightly quirky thing about the book was the writing style. Written in the present tense, it definitely jumped out at me. On the one hand, it was kind of cool; the book read as a documentary almost – a sort of a play by play of the action. As most fiction books are written in the past tense, it was noticeably different. Unfortunately, because of that it was also somewhat of a distraction. I have to admit that it did pull me out of the story on several occasions, just because my mind kept recognizing it as unusual. It came across as somewhat less personal at times, especially during some of the more intimate scenes.

Overall, I enjoyed the characters and the snappy dialogue very much. Cin and Tom were just as cute as they could be. The book was definitely thought-provoking as well. I think if you can go into it with an open mind, and overlook some of the tidy set-ups, you will enjoy it and even learn a few things you may not have previously understood about gender.

TNA_Signature_Jules







 

You can buy A Boy Called Cin here:

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CoolDudes Publishing, Giveaways, Mia Kerick

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Love Spell Blog Tour With Mia Kerick

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The Novel Approach welcomes author Mia Kerick today on her Love Spell blog tour. Enjoy the mini-interview we did together, then be sure to enter for the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card by clicking on the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck!

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TNA: Hi, Mia, it’s good to have you back for a visit.

Mia: Thank you. As always (I write a lot of books) I am thrilled to be here!!

TNA: Could you come up with a paragraph or two (or more) for us about your writing process?

Mia: I start the writing process by doing research on what is going to be the major theme of the book. This constitutesa good part of the hard work I conduct prior to the fun stuff, which is the creating of characters. (Character creation=frosting on the cupcake.) For Love Spell, my research focused on gender confusion. I had a concept in my mind of Chance César—a teenage boy who is quite in touch with his feminine side, even admitting he wishes, at times, that he were a girl. But he has no urge to physically transition to become a woman or even to live his life as a woman. Chance just wants to be all-girl sometimes, all-boy others, and a little bit of each in-between.

After researching the theme I will tackle, I spend time creating a rough version of a plot. This part is difficult and intense. For the most part, I just sit and think. I think about popular culture, events in the news, what kinds of things kids deal with everyday, current music, and music that spoke to me as a teenager. Themes of different song lyrics give me ideas, as do people I see in real life and issues I am confronted with on social media. Sometimes I even think about fairy tales to get plot ideas. This can feel like a desperate time for me until I have the plot idea, and then I feel AWESOME.

The next step in my writing process involves creating a very rough outline of the events that will take place in the story. I do not use a standard outline form, just a long rambling list.

And then the fun part—creating the characters. I take the mental image I have conceived and flesh it out fully. First I write a description of the character’s personality and appearance, very detailed, and then I search for visual images. This part is fun, but can be tough. I do not stop until I have a visual “YOU ARE MR. RIGHT” feeling about the image I have chosen for each character. My original mental image of Chance César was a Johnny Depp-as-a-pirate kind of guy-but with Edward Scissorhands hair in neon ORANGE. Heavy eyeliner included.

Time to start writing!!

TNA: Do you go into the writing of a book like Love Spell in a different mindset than you would, say, a book like Not Broken, Just Bent? Does the difference between writing a lighthearted book and one with a weightier theme affect your mood away from the computer, or are you able to leave your emotions at the keyboard when you step away?

Mia: Love Spell was so much fun to write, from the very birth of its concept. Similar to my mental preparation for writing The Red Sheet, I told myself that, as an author, I was just going to let myself go. I would write whatever I wanted—I’d break rules. And let my sense of humor show. Some of my most recent releases, like Here Without You, for example, required me to stay within a rigid structure. Each of the three young men in Here Without You had speech patterns and behaviors and pasts to which I had to stay consistent. Inclination involved two boys with a very certain mindset, that of devout Christians, and as such, they did not veer much from their life goals. Although they were learning and changing, I was to some extent restricted by these characters’ well-defined convictions.

Chance is “totes” different. He is unpredictable and wears no label. (He claims to hate labels but is constantly searching for one that would fit him, in terms of gender.) Writing about Chance was extremely freeing for me. And like I said, it was fun. I brainstormed creative use of language with my college-age daughter and we had a lot of laughs as I chose Chance’s unique style of verbal expression. I spent a lot of time on Urban Dictionary finding hip ways of saying everyday things.

Not Broken, Just Bent, on the other hand, and many of my other YA books, are, as you mentioned in the question, weighty in theme and plot. But althoughLove Spell’s plot is humorous and outwardly light-hearted, it contains a heavy theme, as well. Chance is dealing with gender confusion, and though he is an extremely upbeat sort of person, it drags him down. The difference between Chance and many of my other YA characters is how he deals with conflict—by spitting at it rather than avoiding it.

I do feel differently when I write humor than when I write drama. Humor fills my heart with a sense of joy—cheesy, but true. Drama fills my mind with anticipation, because I write with a constant sense of waiting for the moment when the paths of the two young lovers finally cross, and then for the moment when they meld together. Both are satisfying to me, but in completely different ways.

Thank you so much for welcoming me to your blog today! I hope everybody checks out Love Spell—a romantic comedy with an inner lining of poignancy!

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PhotoBlurb: Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.

As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”

But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.

An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance eBooks

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Mia KerickAbout the Author: Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Stop by Mia’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind. Find Mia on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Amazon.

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THE GIVEAWAY:

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Heartspell Media, Ines Johnson

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Pleasure Hound (Part One) by Ines Johnson

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The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome Ines Johnson’s The Pleasure Hound blog tour today. Enjoy the excerpt she’s shared with us, then be sure to leave a comment to enter for a chance to win an e-copy of the book.

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED Continue reading

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3.5 Stars, Drama, Erotica, Jake Biondi, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Prepare For A Drama Fix In Jake Biondi’s “Boystown: Season One”

Title: Boystown: Season One

Author: Jake Biondi

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 303 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: One of the most diverse and lively neighborhoods in the country, Chicago’s BOYSTOWN has something for everyone. So it’s no wonder that Jesse Morgan and Cole O’Brien chose to live there upon graduating from college. Ready go begin the next phase of their lives in an exciting new city, Jesse and Cole quickly find themselves at the center of a new group of friends.
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4 Stars, AR Moler, Genre Romance, JMS Books LLC, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Jackie

First Love Gets A Second Chance In AR Moler’s “Does the Feeling Go Both Ways?”

Title: Does the Feeling Go Both Ways?

Author: AR Moler

Publisher: JMS Books

Pages/Word Count: 124 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Deep cover DEA agent Landon Cross can’t seem to escape his past. First, his cover is blown by a guy he’d busted in another operation. Then, his rescuer is medic Trey Jernigan, his best childhood friend, first love, and a person Landon betrayed as teenager. Continue reading

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2.5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Grace R. Duncan, Reviewed by Sammy

Grace R. Duncan Takes On Homophobia And Coming Out In “No Sacrifice”

“Burst down those closet doors once and for all, and stand up and start to fight. – Harvey Milk


Title: No Scarifice

Author: Grace R. Duncan

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 400 Pages

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Blurb: Patrick has taken his acting talents from high school all the way to a role in a major television show.

But as the show progresses, his life of absolute certainties crumbles when he finds himself reacting to the kisses of his male costar. He refuses to accept it, reminding himself he’s married and a father—and thus, straight. Continue reading

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Amazon Digital Services, Rhys Ford, Self-Published

The Life Of A SoCal Stalker Ain’t All Glitz And Glamor – Sometimes It’s The Blues

Whore or mercenary. That’s pretty much how life is. – Kai Gracen

I want to preface this by saying I am a dedicated Fangirl of Rhys Ford. I love her writing style and I always get her humor. Even with saying all of that, I was a bit leery of reading this book. I do like some fantasy, but it really isn’t my go-to genre. But, since it was Rhys Ford, I gave it a try. Boy, am I glad I did.

The universe Rhys Ford built for Kai’s story was not only magical and scary, but also much like our own. The elvin world, Underhill, has merged with our world; however, it wasn’t a smooth merge. While driving down a two lane highway in the desert you can suddenly find yourself in an ancient elven forest. Whole towns are turned into wastelands and some wastelands are turned into lush meadows.

Since the merge of the two worlds, Earth is also introduced to the creatures of Underhill. There are dragons, shadow dogs and many other out of this world things that go bump in the night. These creatures are what makes Stalkers a necessity.

Stalkers are the hunters of the things that go bump in the night. The Stalkers are government licensed hunters tasked to take out the creatures that have crossed over. They are paid basically by the yard for the pelts of the animals they hunt. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a living. Some of the jobs are optional, but some of them are not. If a Stalker turns down a government assigned job they can be stripped of their license and lose their source of income.

We first meet Kai Gracen hunting a small pack of the shadow dogs. Kai has been raised by Dempsey, a human Stalker who won Kai in a poker game. Kai is elven, an outcast, who was kept like an animal until Dempsey won him and trained him to be a Stalker. When Dempsey retires due to an injury Kai decides to keep up with the job and moves his home base to San Diego.

Kai has tried to distance himself from any other Elvin people. Actually other than a couple chosen Stalkers, his close friends are Dalia and Newt his cat; he tries to stay away from just about everyone. He wants nothing to do with the Elvin people which is very understandable after hearing his story. Kai would be happy to never have to deal with any of his kind again.

While Kai is turning in his pelts from the recent hunt for his pay he finds out that he has been tasked with one of those not so optional jobs. It seems while he has been keeping as much distance as possible from the Elvin world, a Sidhe lord has set up a new Dawn Court right under his nose in San Diego. The job is to pick up a pregnant human and bring her back to San Diego for sanctuary at the Dawn Court. Easy peasy, except for the fact they will have to drive through the dragon mating lands, which are also volcanic wastelands inhabited by the black dogs. The worst part for Kai is the fact that Ryder, the Sidhe Lord, will be riding with him. Ryder has awakened some needs in Kai that he has never felt before.

During the ride, Kai’s heritage is exposed, a dragon is killed, and some babies are born. All of this happens while Kai is being tracked down by his past, a past that follows him all the way to San Diego. Kai fights his feelings for Ryder as hard as he possibly can. Ryder is not going to give up easily and the chemistry between these two is amazing.

The final scenes of this book show so much of Kai’s strength, and it is astounding. Kai overcomes the abuse of his past long enough to save two innocents, he finally stands up to Dempsey and he realizes that he may care for the people around him more than he ever thought.

Now if you are in search of a happily ever after, this isn’t the book for you. There is very little if any true romance in this book. It is not a love story. This book is about Kai. We meet Kai, we get to know the ins and outs of his inner voice. We see his weaknesses and his strengths, and I for one loved him all the more for it. One thing that shone through clearly was Kai’s sense of right and wrong. There were many times that he could have collected his fee and left, but he stayed to help and did the right thing. I also got the feeling that beneath all the self loathing Kai is trying to redeem himself for things that happened in his past that were no fault of his own. In this book we truly get to know Kai, we see where he comes from and we see a possible future for him. There are a few avenues that Kai could travel; only time will tell where he ends up. I for one will definitely be along for the ride.

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Black Dog Blues here:

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