Out now! ALPHA KNIGHT

Hi there! I’m spreading the word on a newly-released New Adult paranormal romance from Renee Rose. ALPHA KNIGHT pairs up two high schoolers in trouble–one who’s being pursued by her late-father’s shady partner and the other a wolf shifter whose brother’s on the run for helping the new girl in town.

Scroll down to enter the giveaway!
About the book:
SHE’S GETTING A FAKE BOYFRIEND–ME.
WHETHER SHE LIKES IT OR NOT.

The leggy car thief is trouble with a capital T.

My brother went down because of her

I need to find him before the cops do.

Which means I’m not letting her out of my sight.

Anywhere the human goes, I go.

I’ll play her fake boyfriend.

Sleep in her bedroom.

Go to her prep school classes.

Take her to the homecoming dance.

I will learn all her secrets, find out all her games.

By the time I’m done with her, she’ll be sorry.

Sorry she ever set foot in our shop.

Sorry she ever met me.

Sorry she made me fall for her.

I didn’t review this title on my blog because I decided not to complete reading it. It was not the right book for me, but it may appeal to readers who enjoy erotic teen paranormal romance with recurrent episodes of stalking, scenes of sexual/partner violence and threats of human trafficking.

If you want to check out a free excerpt, click here for the first chapter.

Interested? You can find ALPHA KNIGHT on Goodreads and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this link to enter the Facebook giveaway!
Good luck and keep reading my friends.

About the Author:
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR RENEE ROSE loves a dominant, dirty-talking alpha hero! She’s sold over a half million copies of steamy romance with varying levels of kink. Her books have been featured in USA Today’s Happily Ever After and Popsugar and she was named Eroticon USA’s Next Top Erotic Author in 2013.

Catch up with Renee on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Get free Renee Rose books by signing up for her mailing list.

Operating Beyond MALICE–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a release day blast for a YA thriller with romance elements from bestselling author Pintip Dunn. MALICE sounds like a fast-paced read that I’m excited to check out.

About the book:
What I know: a boy at my school will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.
What I don’t know: who he is.

In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice she’s lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way―because now she’s drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved…

How about a little taste?

Before I know it, I’m a foot away from the basketball court. The players are taking a break, and Bandit stands at the edge of the concrete, taking long pulls from a water bottle. Up close, his brilliant hair looks almost purple, and his T-shirt sticks to his back in sweaty patches, hinting at his solid muscles.

Now what? Do I clear my throat? Tap his shoulder? Going for broke, I do both at the same time.

He turns and lifts his eyebrows, as though wondering how a mere mortal such as myself dares to approach him. He’s tall—really tall. Almost a head above my five feet five. His jaw is chiseled, his shoulders broad. I’m so close that I can feel the heat rising off his body.

My brain scrambles. I forgot to check if I had any food in my teeth! Did I brush my hair this morning? Put on clothes?

Okay, so clearly I’m not naked, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what I’m wearing. Please don’t let it be the navy T-shirt with the faded splotches on the shoulder, from when I accidentally added bleach instead of detergent to the laundry.

I glance down. Jeans and a white tank top—my favorite shirt because it has Lin-Manuel Miranda’s autograph. More than passable.

“I, uh…” My entire vocabulary chooses that moment to flee.

His lids lower, and he looks at me, decidedly bored. “Yes? Can I help you?”

Three, four, five of his basketball friends angle their towering bodies toward us, probably wondering what the interruption is about.

Sweat gathers at the nape of my neck, and electricity hums along my skin. The Voice is about to zap me again. I just know it.

“Running out of time,” the Voice pipes up, as if on cue. “Tell him.”

Say the words and be done with it. Say the words. Say. The. Words.

“I love you,” I blurt. “That is all. Goodbye.”

I wheel around, ready to sprint, when a hand snags my arm. His hand.

“Wait a minute,” Bandit says, his eyes 2 percent less bored. “Are we in third grade? Do you want to give me a note asking if I love you back, so I can circle yes or no?”

My cheeks burn hotter than the sun assaulting my skin. Hotter, even, than the flames that got me into this mess.

I could really use that alien abduction right about now.

The object of my supposed affection smirks. “We can skip the note. Can’t say I blame you for falling for me. I mean, I’m a lovable guy. But have we actually met?” He lowers his voice. “Outside of your wildest dreams, that is.”

My Review:
Alice and her brother Archie are a junior and a senior, respectively, at a prestigious gifted high school. Their mother walked out several years ago and Archie and their father are both certified geniuses, not like Alice. She’s smart, but pragmatic–her talents lay in graphic arts like photography. Their dad runs a pharmaceutical research lab, and spend very little time with Alice and Archie’s a bit of a loner–having trouble making friends is one of his issues. Alice “mothers” him the best she can, and loves him dearly, but he’s a bit on the depressed side, and often the butt of pranks from his peers.

Alice is at school one day when she’s assailed by a painful voice in her head. It’s her own voice, speaking to her from the near-future warning her that there will be a deadly virus unleashed in the next decade that decimates the population. She must stop the Make of the virus, not, before that person can develop enough research to lead to this disaster. In the future, Alice goes by the nickname of “Malice” and it seems she’s closely connected to several students from her school that she’d never befriended before: ultra-popular Bandit, super-smart Cristela, Archie’s bestie Zeke, and she’s got an odd connection to the school bully and her brother’s personal tormentor Lee. Any of these people seem likely candidates to grow into the Maker of the virus. Adding more trouble for Alice, and she tries to unravel the identity of the Maker, her absentee father reconnects with his old college lab partner, Charlie, a sketchy scientist with a grudge who meets nearly all of the likely candidates at a banquet where Archie and Cristela are being honored.

The pacing of this story is really tight, with plenty of tension surrounding the Voice, and the intentions of Malice. Though Alice suspects it, she doesn’t learn until much later that other actors are talking to their “past” selves, in the way Malice informs her, and their agenda is not always to stop the Maker. It’s a deep game and Alice doesn’t know who to trust, but she’s really banking on Bandit, as he seems to be the most trustworthy. Also, she knows through Malice that Bandit plays a really big role in her future-life. There are lots of spins and twists, with Alice trying to build bridges between herself, her tiny family, Bandit and Cristela. Her natural protectiveness at points fosters and harms Archie, but her resolution to find a way to stop the Maker without killing leads to a new possible future, and one she hopes includes Bandit.

I enjoyed the story, and it’s many turns. I’ll admit I was dubious about her odd family from the start, but I was glad to have a plausible explanation for what seemed an avoidable dysfunction. Archie’s bullying situation was deeply troubling, and I know it was intended so, but the lack of action bothered me, especially as Alice often had a front-row seat to his plight. In all, Alice, the not-so-bright-as-her-genius-peers ends up saving the day with good old-fashioned love. I’m not sure if that’s a commentary on the sociopathic nature of intellectuals, on the ingenuity of the common person, or a moralistic stance on the heart being more intuitive than the brain. Her banter with Bandit was amusing, and I got how his brashly antagonistic flirting was more endearing than off-putting. It’s a fun and interesting start to what could possibly be the love of her life.

Interested? You can find MALICE on Goodreads, AmazonBarnes & Noble Kobo, Book DepositoryiTunes, Books-A-Million , and Google.

About the Author:
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.

Pintip’s novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. In addition, her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award; and a Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Book of the Year. Her other novels include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, STAR-CROSSED, and MALICE.

Catch up with Pintip on her websiteFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Out Today: MALICE by Pintip Dunn

Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a release day blast for a YA thriller with romance elements from bestselling author Pintip Dunn. MALICE sounds like a fast-paced read that I’m excited to check out.

About the book:
What I know: a boy at my school will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.
What I don’t know: who he is.

In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice she’s lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way―because now she’s drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved…

How about a little taste?

Before I know it, I’m a foot away from the basketball court. The players are taking a break, and Bandit stands at the edge of the concrete, taking long pulls from a water bottle. Up close, his brilliant hair looks almost purple, and his T-shirt sticks to his back in sweaty patches, hinting at his solid muscles.

Now what? Do I clear my throat? Tap his shoulder? Going for broke, I do both at the same time.

He turns and lifts his eyebrows, as though wondering how a mere mortal such as myself dares to approach him. He’s tall—really tall. Almost a head above my five feet five. His jaw is chiseled, his shoulders broad. I’m so close that I can feel the heat rising off his body.

My brain scrambles. I forgot to check if I had any food in my teeth! Did I brush my hair this morning? Put on clothes?

Okay, so clearly I’m not naked, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what I’m wearing. Please don’t let it be the navy T-shirt with the faded splotches on the shoulder, from when I accidentally added bleach instead of detergent to the laundry.

I glance down. Jeans and a white tank top—my favorite shirt because it has Lin-Manuel Miranda’s autograph. More than passable.

“I, uh…” My entire vocabulary chooses that moment to flee.

His lids lower, and he looks at me, decidedly bored. “Yes? Can I help you?”

Three, four, five of his basketball friends angle their towering bodies toward us, probably wondering what the interruption is about.

Sweat gathers at the nape of my neck, and electricity hums along my skin. The Voice is about to zap me again. I just know it.

“Running out of time,” the Voice pipes up, as if on cue. “Tell him.”

Say the words and be done with it. Say the words. Say. The. Words.

“I love you,” I blurt. “That is all. Goodbye.”

I wheel around, ready to sprint, when a hand snags my arm. His hand.

“Wait a minute,” Bandit says, his eyes 2 percent less bored. “Are we in third grade? Do you want to give me a note asking if I love you back, so I can circle yes or no?”

My cheeks burn hotter than the sun assaulting my skin. Hotter, even, than the flames that got me into this mess.

I could really use that alien abduction right about now.

The object of my supposed affection smirks. “We can skip the note. Can’t say I blame you for falling for me. I mean, I’m a lovable guy. But have we actually met?” He lowers his voice. “Outside of your wildest dreams, that is.”

Interested? You can find MALICE on Goodreads, AmazonBarnes & Noble Kobo, Book DepositoryiTunes, Books-A-Million , and Google.

About the Author:
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.

Pintip’s novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. In addition, her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award; and a Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Book of the Year. Her other novels include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, STAR-CROSSED, and MALICE.

Catch up with Pintip on her websiteFacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Wild Escapes in EXIT PLANS FOR TEENAGE FREAKS–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary LGBTQ YA paranormal romance from ‘Nathan Burgoine. EXIT PLANS FOR TEENAGE FREAKS is a rollicking adventure featuring a high school senior with an inexplicable ability to teleport!

About the book:
Being the kid abducted by old Ms. Easton when he was four permanently set Cole’s status to freak. At seventeen, his exit plan is simple: make it through the last few weeks of high school with his grades up and his head down.

When he pushes through the front door of the school and finds himself eighty kilometers away holding the door of a museum he was just thinking about, Cole faces facts: he’s either more deluded than old Ms. Easton, or he just teleported.

Now every door is an accident waiting to happen―especially when Cole thinks about Malik, who, it turns out, has a glass door on his shower. When he starts seeing the same creepy people over his shoulder, no matter how far he’s gone, crushes become the least of his worries. They want him to stop, and they’ll go to any length to make it happen.

Cole is running out of luck, excuses, and places to hide.

Time for a new exit plan.

My Review:
Cole Tozer is two weeks from his high school graduation when his normal plan-making life gets upended. Instead of heading inside from the lunch courtyard, Cole steps through a door and into the aviation museum 80 kilometers away. Then, he botches the return trip–not entirely sure how teleport–and ends up inside his own locker at school. It’s only the perfect mess that he’s rescued by Malik King, a boy Cole has crushed on for some time. And then, he promptly passed out.

This isn’t the first time Cole’s had struggles with times and places. He wad kidnapped as a child–some of the nastier kids call him “Colenap” as a joke, but he’s re-evaluating that situation in light of his newly discovered teleporting ability. Still, he’s always been an odd ball, so he fastidiously plans to ensure he doesn’t get himself into any trouble, ever. And, now, with every door he walks through potentially being a door to another plans, Cole needs to keep his wits about him–or else he might just find himself in worse positions if he keeps thinking about Malik, who happens to have a curiosity streak a classroom wide and a glass door in his personal bathroom shower at home…

This is a really creative and interesting story, with a lot of great moments–like when Cole and Malik go out on their first…outing together. Turns out Malik is recently accepting that he’s bisexual, but he’s not exactly out, and he’s not sure how to deal with it. Cole’s experience as a sign interpreter of Deaf people helps him read the situations and draw connections that help Malik. Also, there’s some folks who are trying to track and attack Cole, to lock his teleportation down so he can’t get into trouble like back when he was a kid. Yep, for all his awkwardness, Cole’s precocious when it comes to his powers of teleportation. It takes some doing, but he manages to outsmart the beaurocrats and endear himself to Malik in the process. Well, for part of the climax, anyway. Cole gets some help with his traveling from a gal more experienced than he, and he’s able to save the day–and rid himself of the controllers on the teleportation pathway.

The pace of this book was brisk, and Cole’s narration is sardonic and adorably self-deprecating. His habits of mind: list-making, signing in ASL, extensive planning, all helped create a fully-developed, slightly goofy, teen boy. I was amused and “transported” along with him on this journey of self-exploration. I liked how the romance aspect developed–just the right tone for YA–and wanted to keep taking adventures long after the resolution closed. It’s a fun and sweet read, with a collection of realistic characters whose details I wanted to discover and figure out further.

Interested? You can find EXIT PLANS FOR TEENAGE FREAKS on Goodreads, Bold Strokes Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble , Kobo, and iTunes.

About the Author:
‘Nathan Burgoine grew up a reader and studied literature in university while making a living as a bookseller. His first published short story was “Heart” in the collection Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction. Since then, he has had dozens of short stories published, including in This is How You Die (the second Machine of Death anthology), and has released his first collection, Of Echoes Born (Bold Strokes Books).

His first novel, Light, was a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror, and the BOTYA 2013 Gay & Lesbian (Adult Fiction) ForeWord award. His second and third novels, Triad Blood and Triad Soul, are also available from from Bold Strokes Books. ‘Nathan’s first YA novel, Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks, released December 2018 from Bold Strokes Books, and is a finalist for the Prix Aurora Award.

A cat lover, ‘Nathan managed to fall in love and marry Daniel, who is a confirmed dog person. Their ongoing “cat or dog?” détente ended with the adoption of Coach, a six-year old husky. They live in Ottawa, Canada, where socialized health care and gay marriage have yet to cause the sky to cave in.

Catch up with Nathan on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

Now Available in Paperback! THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US

Hi there! I’m just spreading the word on a newly released paperback version of a YA contemporary novel by Samantha Young. THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US was released last year, but it’s now out in paperback! I’m really intrigued…

About the book:
“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.”

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

How about a little taste?

“India, I’m not using her. I mean, I am, but it’s not like that. Eloise is getting what she wants out of this relationship, as well.”

“Like what?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“You are using her.”

“I’m not.” His chair screeched as he pulled it closer so our knees touched. His dark eyes moved over my face and I sucked in my breath at the open appreciation I saw there. “I’m not using her…but we are in a relationship together. I guess it just never occurred to me that I might actually meet someone in high school. Someone I…”

That feeling in my chest, that thick, hot feeling, threatened to overwhelm me at all the things he wasn’t saying. “Finn, Eloise is going to be my family.”

He looked so forlorn it took everything within me not to reach for him.

“What is it you’re hiding?”

“I can’t tell you. Please, just trust me.”

Hurt and frustration swept through me in equal measure but I tamped it down. It wasn’t my place to demand his secrets.

My frustration was suddenly mirrored in his eyes as he looked up at me. “I wish things were different.”

But they weren’t different. And yet they were the same, history repeating itself. I cared about someone and they didn’t care enough about me back to be honest about what was really going on.

I didn’t know if I was angry at Finn or just angry that nothing ever seemed to be easy for me. Everything was always a fight.

It felt like I lived in a constant clusterfuck.

I gave a huff of laughter. “Story of my life.” I shook my head, grabbed up my bag and, unable to look at him, said, “Thank you for your help tonight.”

“You’re not leaving without me.”

His protectiveness confused and pissed me off even more. “I’m not? Funny, it looks like that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

His familiar scowl was back in place at my sarcasm. “You’re also not going home alone after what happened here. I’ll give you a ride.”

“Finn.” I slumped, suddenly feeling exhausted. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Sadness flittered through his eyes before he managed a carefully blank expression. “I think I can handle driving you home.”

Still a trembling mess after everything that had happened, I gave in and followed Finn out to his car.

The tension that we’d shared before was nothing compared to how it was now. Now that Finn had in a roundabout way admitted he liked me and I’d realized that what I was feeling for him was attraction, the tension could not be mistaken for anything else but sexual.

I’d never felt anything like it before—it was the most frustrating, scary and exhilarating feeling in the world.

When we eventually pulled up outside the house, the guilt washed over me. I shouldn’t be feeling this way about Eloise’s boyfriend and he certainly shouldn’t be feeling this way about me.

I felt like we were to blame for the whole thing but I didn’t know why.

I hadn’t asked the universe to make Finn like me.

And I had definitely not intended to like him in return.

“India,” he said just as I moved to get out of his car. “I’ve never really cared what anybody thought of me before…but I really don’t want you to think I’m a bad person.”

I stared into his beautiful eyes. “I can’t imagine ever thinking you’re a bad person. I meant it earlier…thank you for coming for me tonight. I’ll never forget it.”

“This feels weirdly like a goodbye,” he said with a bitter twist to his gorgeous lips.

“Maybe it is. I guess we’re both just a complication the other doesn’t need.”

Slowly, so slowly my heart had time to increase in hard, steady thumps, Finn slid his hand over the center console between us and stroked his thumb along the side of my hand. I felt that simple touch in every nerve, my body reacting to it in a way it never had to the touches and deep kisses that had come before it.

I stared at our hands for a moment, wondering how different my life could be if Finn wasn’t Eloise’s boyfriend, if we’d just met as strangers at school, felt the inexplicable bond between us and were free to do something about it.

Suddenly very aware of how long I’d been sitting outside the house in his car, I fumbled for the door handle. “See you around, Finn.”

Interested? You can find THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US on Goodreads, Amazon (US, US eBook, UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks, IndieBound, GooglePlay and Kobo.

About the Author:
Samantha Young is the New York Times,  USA Today  and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us was published by Harlequin TEEN in eBook and hardback June 2017.

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for HeroOn Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author. Catch up with her online on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Cephalopod Coffeehouse May 2018–Trio of Love: THE WEEKEND BUCKET LIST–A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month I’m sharing a review for an atypical YA romance. In anticipation of the holiday weekend I’ve been featuring stories of three-way love, and this book fits the bill.  THE WEEKEND BUCKET LIST is an exploration in the spectrum of love, with three kids who connect in a way none had anticipated. I’ve read and enjoyed other books by Mia Kerick, including THE ART OF HERO WORSHIP, RANDOM ACTS, and LOVE SPELL so I was eager to read this one.

About the book:
High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line—they’ve never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

There’s a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another—feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?

My Review:
Cadence and Cooper are the best of friends, but Cady has a massive crush on Cooper, who they both agree is likely gay. They live in a small New England town and make a pact to complete ten zany things on a weekend bucket list quest before graduation. On this list are facing fears and getting tattoos and…along the way they collect a carny drifter named Eli. Eli is a lithe young man who essentially quits his job, and is rendered homeless in the process, to follow his new best friends on this quest.

While they share some beers on the beach, and skinny dipping in the brutal Atlantic, Cooper is able to kiss both Eli and Cady–and realizes that he’s maybe bisexual. This weekend of experimentation has rough results, though. Cady is frustrated that Cooper and Eli seem to connect, and Eli is blithely unaware that his new pals aren’t the staying type. The story is told from all three points of view, and this final summer before college is a giant turning point for Cady and Cooper’s friendship. Cady’s family is struggling with her addict brother coming back from yet another stint in rehab, and Cady’s anger with her home life bring even bigger problems.

Cooper and Eli connect, but not in the way Cady feared. They work on building a friendship and it’s beautiful and special. Eli needs help, and Cooper’s family becomes invested. It’s also important that Cady comes to terms with her family troubles and allows her brother the space to rebuild his relationships. There was a lot of hurt there and Cady’s a master at avoiding confrontation. Cooper isn’t about to let her just walk away from his life without giving their friendship a fight.

For a YA romance this isn’t traditional. Eli, Cooper and Cady build a bond that isn’t conventional, and it takes them some time to sort it out. The weekend they share is the beginning of the book, but the relationships they build map out their future, which seems sound. Aside from some lusty thoughts and a bit of kissing, there isn’t any steam. I really liked how naively introspective these kids are. Their lives are opening up in all new ways, and they have appropriate levels of angst. Eli, having had so little love in his life, is so loving himself. He’s hurt by Cady and Cooper, but his capacity for forgiveness is vast, and Cooper is a rock when Eli needs him to be. Cooper’s fledgling assertiveness added stability in a situation that was tenuous. These are all adolescents, and they make impetuous choices. So that felt realistic. I liked the kids and how they drove a new path, one that wasn’t dependent on their respective sexualities, but on their capacity to love each other without bounds.

Interested? You can find THE WEEKEND BUCKET LIST on Goodreads, Interlude Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

About 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, 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.

Where to find Mia online: Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thanks for popping in, and be sure to check out my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers, and see which books they liked best this month…

Tough Road to FINDING HOME–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a recently released YA story with a touch of M/M romance from Garrett Leigh. FINDING HOME is a touching tale of a troubled teen boy trying to protect himself and his younger, deaf, sister once they fall into the foster care system. I’ve really liked MISFITS, WHAT REMAINS, HOUSE OF CARDS, and JUNKYARD HEART, so I was eager to read this one.

<a href="https://vsreads.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/finding-home.jpg”>About the book:
How do you find a home when your heart is in ashes?
With their mum dead and their father on remand for her murder, Leo Hendry and his little sister, Lila, have nothing in the world but each other. Broken and burned, they’re thrust into the foster care system. Leo shields Lila from the fake families and forced affection, until the Poulton household is the only place left to go.

Charlie de Sousa is used to other kids passing through the Poulton home, but there’s never been anyone like his new foster brother. Leo’s physical injuries are plain to see, but it’s the pain in his eyes that draws Charlie in the most.

Day by day, they grow closer, but the darkness inside Leo consumes him. He rejects his foster parents, and when Charlie gets into trouble, Leo’s attempt to protect him turns violent. When Leo loses control, no one can reach him—except Charlie. He desperately needs a family—a home—and only Charlie can show him the way.

My Review:
This is a contemporary YA story with a hint of M/M romance set in England.

Leo and Lila Hendry were unwilling witnesses to their mother’s murder, and barely survived the fire their abusive father set to their home. At fifteen, Leo’s had a rough life, and his outbursts of temper are causing problems with their foster placements. Getting sent to the Poulton’s home is a last-ditch effort to re-home them together.

Charlie de Sousa has lived with the Poulton’s since he was a toddler. He’s fifteen and out-gay, always struggling to fit in in school. Though the youngest kid in this foster home, Charlie was formally adopted years ago. Still, his parents know how soothing a personality Charlie has, and they hope he can help Leo mellow out. Lila is shy and skittish, but Leo is openly hostile to Charlie’s dad. Something Charlie can’t understand. Both his parents are the most generous and loving people he’s ever known. His mom suffers some hearing loss and all the kids can sign, which helps Lila fit right in–and unsettles Leo.

The more time Charlie spends around Leo, the more he recognizes the signs of PTSD–night terrors and irrational hatred of certain men. He does become a buffer, of sorts, sometimes coming into Leo’s room to lay a comforting hand on him when the nightmares are too fierce. Also, there’s an attraction. Charlie definitely thinks Leo is cute, but he’d never force himself on another boy–he has no idea that Leo feels the same. An unplanned moment of intimacy leads Charlie to make a terrible decision that nearly gets Leo arrested. Just when it looked like Leo had gotten the better of his temper issues, too.

There’s a whole lot to this story that I haven’t mentioned. It’s dark and troubled; the kids all have tough backstories and we get a front-row seat to Leo’s tragic family. The love he feels in the Poulton’s home is enough to draw Leo into therapy for his anger issues, and seems to be the home he’d always dreamed of. I loved the ending of this story, and how fantastically this foster family operates. Charlie and Leo do have a wee bit of passion for Charlie and Leo, but it’s age appropriate and a small part of the narrative. The bigger part is coping with one’s self, and finding a way past tragedy. Charlie’s such a giving kid, and his eagerness to make Leo and Lila welcomed shined through. Expect some pretty graphic scenes–including drinking, fighting and some drug use. It all felt very realistic, and bittersweet. I loved it, honestly.

Interested? You can find FINDING HOME on Goodreads, Riptide Publishing, Amazon Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Otherwise you can find her on her website, twitter or Facebook.