Superhero by Eli Easton
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on July 24, 2013
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
Jordan Carson met Owen Nelson in the second grade. Ever since, the two have been inseparable. There’s always been something about Owen that held Jordan’s fascination. And as they grew older, Jordan learned exactly what that was. Jordan’s gay and Owen is the object of his affection. There’s a few problems with that, though. For one, Owen is straight. He’s also a jock, the star of the wrestling team. And they live in a small town in Wisconsin. It’s not the most open or accepting sort of community.
Although Owen doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that Jordan is gay, there’s still a strain on their friendship. Jordan wants more from Owen, even though he knows Owen can’t give it to him. The heart wants what the heart wants. And sometimes even when one knows something in their head, the heart won’t listen. So while Jordan is happy that he won’t lose his best friend by coming out, it’s a bittersweet happiness. Because he’s just not sure he can stay close to Owen while knowing they can never be more than friends.
As someone who grew up in a small midwestern town, there are many elements of this story that rang true for me. The author has done a great job of capturing the environment where this all takes place. And that adds a real richness to the story. And the characters are great. It’s not hard to like and empathize with both Jordan and Owen. Owen comes across a bit larger than life at times, but that’s coming from Jordan’s perspective. Knowing how Jordan feels, it makes perfect sense in the context of the story.
There are some expected twists here just by the nature of the story. And there are some unexpected twists as well. But it is a rather enjoyable one to read.
I’ve given this a young adult label because of the ages of the characters and the issues they face. I should note that there is some sexual content, just to be clear and upfront.
Title: A Summer Fling
Author: Sarah Madison
Published: July 27, 2013
Publisher: Sarah Madison
Author Website: link
Daniel goes through the motions of his summer job at a small resort hotel. It’s not really exciting work, and sometimes the guests require more help than he thinks should be necessary. But when he chases after a slightly awkward guest who he’s certain is going to get himself injured in a surfing accident, he finds that maybe–just maybe–he’s willing to give some guests the attention and help they need. Summer guests are only there for the summer, though, and summer has to end sometime…
This is a quick, quirky, and fun read. Although it’s short, the dynamics here don’t seem rushed at all, and I found myself really connecting to the characters and their story. I found them both very endearing, and absolutely enjoyed my visit into their world.
Title: Wide Awake (Wide Awake, Book 1)
Author: Kade Boehme
Published: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Kade Boehme
Author Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Tyler Marcus has found a guy he’s interested in, but it’s not as easy as just saying “yes.” Because the guy is Mark Riley, a man much older than him and who also happens to be his best friend’s father. On top of the challenges of starting a new relationship, the two will have to contend with the opinions of their friends and family, something exacerbated by the fact that many of them are still rather upset with Mark since his divorce. Can they find the strength to be true to themselves? And is their bond strong enough to withstand the negative feelings of everyone around them?
This was a cute story on a number of levels. I thought it was interesting to see how both characters’ families reacted to learning about the relationship and the complex dynamics that came into play. Sometimes I felt like the reactions were a bit contrived, but it didn’t really detract too much from the overall story. I also was slightly confused by the age difference as it never really added up to me (did Mark and his wife have their son when they were 11 or something?), but that’s another item that I was able to tuck away and not have it distract me.
In the end, it’s a nice romance with a focus on finding and being true to yourself, and it’s a generally enjoyable read.
Title: Apple Polisher (Rear Entrance Video, Book 1)
Author: Heidi Belleau
Published: July 29, 2013
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Christian dreams of becoming a teacher and has enrolled in an academic program that has very strict expectations of what one must be in order to succeed in that profession–both academically and personally. So when Christian meets Max, he struggles with his feelings and the fact that he’ll need to keep it all a secret. And then when Christian’s aunt falls ill, he struggles again with how to help her. He desperately wants to help her keep her business going, but can he really work at a porn store and expect to become a teacher? And then there’s mystery surrounding Max, as well. Can Christian find the balance between who he needs to be and who he wants to be?
This is an excellent story about expectations and living up to them (or choosing not to). Christian has many pressures he has to sort through from all sides and figuring out what to do means really thinking about what is going to make him feel happy and fulfilled. While I was honestly frustrated at times with the school–their rules seemed a bit over-the-top–I do know that some programs are like that and it really helped drive home the dichotomy that exists in Christian’s life.
Well-written and definitely a recommended read.
Title: The Raven King
Author: Nora Sakavic
Publication Date: July 10, 2013
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: The second installment in this series, I found The Raven King to be just as gripping as the first. While the first book gave us some insight into the life and background of Neil Josten and his new teammates, this one takes us even deeper – and we learn the truth about the past of the rest of the Foxes (including a few secrets that some of them hoped would never be known). And after Neil embarrassed Riko on television, he knew Riko wouldn’t let it slide, but is he truly prepared for what Riko may do in response?
Honestly, this one was just as difficult to put down as the first book. There were more twists in this one than the first, and it really went in some unexpected directions that really surprised me, but kept me hanging on for more. I can’t wait for the third and final book in this series.
Content Warnings: [Violence, Sexual Assault, Murder, Torture references]