Andy Squared: Now Available! From Bold Strokes Books

Do you want to get your hands on Andy Squared before anyone else? You’re in luck! You can now order the ebook of Andy Squared from Bold Strokes Books in multiple formats and get it IMMEDIATELY!

But that’s not all! You can also order it in paperback and it will be shipped right away! That’s right, you’ll get it before everyone who orders it from Amazon or waits for the bookstore release. Just follow the links for the correct format!

If you have any other questions, please leave a comment here or email me at writerjenlavoie [at] gmail [dot] com

Book Review: Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? by Dan Bucatinsky

I’m a member of a book club that sometimes ships the new books automatically…because I’ve forgotten to decline the books. In this instance, Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? came to me because I had – once again – forgotten to turn down the selections chosen for me. Since I already paid for them and the package had come, I didn’t really feel like sending them back. It was too much of a pain.

I’m glad I didn’t.

Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? Confessions of a Gay Dad is a hysterical memoir on a gay man’s struggle to adopt a child with his husband, and become a parent. But it’s also much more than that. The book has anecdotes from throughout his life that pretty much anyone can relate to. One example, the chapter “The F Word.” No, it’s not what you’re thinking. The word in question is “fat.” Bucatinsky relates his experiences with food, both positive and negative, and how he still struggles to overcome them, and how he tries his best not to pass the food anxiety on to his children.

The book is hilarious, too. By page two I had already laughed three times (I stopped counting after that) and the laughs just kept coming. I couldn’t put it down, either. I stayed up late to read it and had to smother laughs behind a hand to keep from waking up everyone in the house.

But the book is also heartbreaking. The author talks about the loss of his father and struggling to find the right time to open The Box that was left for him. It is the exploration of two men who have different backgrounds and try to find a common ground in not only parenting, but cultural traditions.

Whether or not you are a parent, I highly recommend this book. It has a little bit of something for everyone, and it shows us that no matter what sort of marriage you have or who your partner is, all parents have the same fears and insecurities – and grossouts – about their children.

You can purchase this book now from Amazon.

Book Review: Sometime Yesterday by Yvonne Heidt

About the book: Successful artist Natalie Chambers impulsively buys a Victorian house  overlooking the Pacific Ocean after her divorce. Immediately, her dreams  are haunted by Sarah and Beth, two lovers from the past and the Dark  Man who controlled their lives. When she begins to look for explanations  for the things going bump in the night, the only answer she can get  from the locals is that several previous owners had fled screaming into  the night.

Landscaper Van Easton hasn’t had a serious  relationship since her partner died. Content to let women and alcohol  distract her from her pain, she is surprised at the intensity of emotion  that bubbles to the surface after she meets Natalie. Contracted to  restore the gardens at Natalie’s house, she refuses to believe that the  mansion is haunted. Until the ghostly Dark Man follows her home.

It  appears he will stop at nothing to keep the new lovers apart, and the  violence continues to escalate. Can they solve the mystery that will set  Beth and Sarah free and banish the evil presence in the house? Or will  the evil echoes of the past destroy them as well?

This book has quite the emotional ride and a lot of twists and turns to satisfy just about all readers. It’s a mystery just as much as it is paranormal and horror. I really enjoyed all of the characters, from the two main women – Natalie and Van – to Mary, Natalie’s mother (ESPECIALLY her mother), and Van’s father.

Though the love blossoming between Natalie and Van is beautiful, it is not without its hitches, and I liked that about it. There were moments when I wanted to smack Van upside the head for jumping to conclusions. Likewise, I wanted to do the same to Natalie sometimes! Without the paranormal elements, the story and romance was very believable. I could feel the desire between the women through the pages of the book.

With the paranormal elements, it’s a fantastic read. I was on the edge of my seat, especially towards the end, when the haunting starts to escalate. And when the “key” and other secrets are revealed a literally gasped, “Oh, shit!” because I did not see them coming! I don’t want to say to much because I want readers to have the same reaction.

As a final note, though he is a minor character, I loved Van’s grandfather. It saddened me that he has Alzheimer’s, but his way of describing it moved me to tears and I had to pause. It really puts the disease in another perspective if you think of it as your loved one visiting moments in life that they loved so much they wanted to visit them twice.

You can purchase Sometime Yesterday by Yvonne Heidt from Bold Strokes Books or Amazon.

Book Review: The Pyramid Waltz by Barbara Ann Wright

I hope you have some time to read, because you’re not going to want to put this one down.

About the book: To most, Princess Katya Nar Umbriel is a rogue and a layabout; she parties, she hunts and she breaks women’s hearts. But when the festival lights go down and the palace slumbers, Katya chases traitors to the crown and protects the kingdom’s greatest secret: the royal Umbriels are part Fiend. When Katya thwarts an attempt to expose the king’s monstrous side, she uncovers a plot to let the Fiends out to play.
Starbride has no interest in being a courtier. Ignoring her mother’s order to snare an influential spouse, she comes to court only to study law. But a flirtatious rake of a princess proves hard to resist, and Starbride is pulled into a world of secrets that leaves little room for honesty or love, a world neither woman may survive.

I can only say that this book was incredible. The characters were complex and well-written. The dialogue was fantastic and often humorous. Each character brought something new to the book and was very distinct. Not a single one felt forced or unreal to me. By the end of the book I was so caught up in their world that I found myself wish I lived in it.

It’s not just the main characters, Katya and Starbride, that are well-written, though. Each secondary character became larger than life and had a huge stake in the book as well. I could easily see each one having his or her own book because I wanted to know that much more about them.

Wright creates an interesting world where magic is harnessed through pyramids, and Fiends lie sleeping just below the kingdom, controlled only by the humans in charge. In this world, love knows no bounds, be it gender or ethnicity. Starbride is from Allusia, another country, and it is visible in her looks. While some of the other courtiers scorn her, she does find some friends. And, of course, the Princess.

I loved Brother Brutal. I want to know more about his chapterhouse and how he seeks enlightenment through fighting. And Pennynail is such an intriguing character! Communicating only through gestures, he does not talk, and it seems the only person who knows his true identity is Crowe. It makes me wonder just who or what Pennynail is. I also have to admit a fondness for Lord Hugo and Countess Nadia.

If you enjoy fantasy with romantic elements, this is one book you will not want to miss out on. Finding the identity of the true enemy will leave you guessing until the last page. Wright weaves together a wonderful tale full of peril, intrigue, romance, and magic.

This book will be released on September 18, 2012. You can preorder the book from Bold Strokes Books or Amazon.

 

Book Review: The Jetsetters by David-Matthew Barnes

Originally I was not going to post adult book reviews on this site, but I’ve decided the heck with that. I’ll just label the books as adult and put them under a different recommended reads page! So with that, here we go.

Justin and Diego are great characters, and let me tell you, that opening paragraph of chapter one almost killed me. I knew from the start that I was in for an emotional ride and it did not let me down. I’ve also come to realize that I suck at relationships BECAUSE of books. I expect them to be like THIS relationship, between Justin and Diego.

The attraction between the characters might be instantaneous, but it feels so realistic. It is a phsyical attraction, but they both have that feeling that everything is just right. And why can’t that happen? Their fears and lives are also real, and I felt for them the entire time I read the book. (Okay, so it took me less than a day to read, but I still felt for them.)

The secondary characters are phenomenal, too. By the end of the book I loved Mary Jane. She has some great one-lines towards the end that I even highlighted them on my Kindle! And Nina. What’s not to love-hate about her? Or Darla?
My only gripe with the book is that it wasn’t longer. I wanted to know more about what happened to Justin and Diego. While I have no doubt that they are back together and committed 100%, I still wanted to see it. And cherish it with them. And then cry because that’s what I want in a relationship to.

Barnes does an amazing job with this book. The music is wonderfully chosen and fits the tone (yes, I went and found the songs as they came up in the book), and I wish Diego was a real person so I could hear him sing his song for Justin.

Now, excuse me while I go stare at my ceiling and pray for a love like theirs.

This book will be released on September 18, 2012. You can preorder it from Bold Strokes Books or Amazon.

Book Review: Sara by Greg Herren

Are you one of those people who often can guess the endings of books or solve the mystery before everyone in the book even has all the clues? Because the book is often that predictable?

Fear not. This book will leave you guessing until the end, and when all is revealed, you will be blown away.

Sara by Greg Herren is the story of Tony and his friend, Glenn. When Glenn decides to come out during the summer before school starts, Tony stands by him, but finds it difficult to accept the change. Nevertheless, he remains a friend and when others turn their back on Glenn, he stays by his side. Despite feeling uneasy about his friends newly revealed sexuality. When Sara shows up in town, things start to go very, very wrong. All the students who have tormented Glenn start showing up dead. One after another they die, and Tony starts to wonder what is happening in their small town.

This book was incredible. It is a mystery that will stay with you until the very last page, but it does have supernatural/paranormal elements at times. After all, why do these kids start to die? How is it possible?

I don’t want to ruin anything by saying to much, because the story is just that good. Go read it for yourself. I will, however, say that I loved the characters. Even the teachers are fantastic. When coach gives a speech to Tony about trusting teachers, and the reasons people become a teacher, I felt as if the author had taken my words from my mouth and put them in the book. It is the same thing I have said to my students time and time again. The reason I teach is because I care, and I want to help.

But I see Tony’s view, too. Teachers are often thought of as “untouchable.” I also can’t tell you how many times my students have seen me outside of school and are shocked that I actually emerge from the building to live a life outside of my classroom.

Let’s talk about Tony. He is a fantastic narrator because of how honest he is. And I found his discomfort around Glenn to be realistic. Though there are many people who stand by their friends when they come out, it’s not unreasonable that some of them do feel uncomfortable around them for a while because of the changes and the potential fear that they will have to face whatever prejudices the friend faces. And Glenn’s hurt at Tony’s slight rebuff is also realistic. If Tony is such a good friend, he shouldn’t care, should he?

This is a book that needs to be read. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

This book is available for purchase at Bold Strokes Books and Amazon.

Searching For Someone: The Wonders of Facebook

In my last post I explained that I was searching for someone. For my older half brother whom I had never met. My cousin supplied me with the much needed information and I began my search.

Facebook is quite a remarkable tool when it comes to trying to find someone. True, not everyone is on it, but quite a few people are.

I typed in the known name of my brother and was given a few hits. The first one looked the most promising, so I clicked on it.

And saw for the first time the person who might be my brother.

His information is locked, so it’s hard to tell all the details, but his location matches up, the name matches up, and there was a woman in his friends list with his mother’s name, and when I clicked on her, I found that her maiden name also matches.

Bingo?

I have sent both of them messages via Facebook as this is the only method of communication I have at this moment. I hope they check their pages soon. I will try to find other ways in which to contact them until then. In my long message, I explain who I was and who I hoped they might be.

My fingers are crossed.

Searching For Someone

A long, long time ago, when I was a little girl, I found a picture. It was when my biological father was moving out of the apartment he lived in above my great-grandfather and going off to work as a trucker. I say the apartment he lived in because I lived in a nice house with my mom and step-dad. My parents divorced when I was seven, and my mom remarried when I was nine.

But I digress. In this picture was a little boy. I don’t know why I asked, but I did. I asked my father if that was my cousin, Joe. After all, he IS the only boy in the family in my generation. What my father said next, shocked my then eleven year old mind:

“No, that’s your brother, Jason.”

Brother? Jason? What the hell is he talking about? I have a younger sister, Tiffany. There was no other baby born after that. Uh, hello. I think I would remember. I AM the oldest.

Well, it turns out I’m not. At least, not for my father. I am the firstborn for my mother, but I am my father’s second child.

About three years before I was born, my father was with another woman and they had a child. My mother knew about him but never mentioned him until I brought him up because she had never seen the child except for in pictures. But yes, I did have an older brother who my father did not have custody of, nor did he have interest in seeing, and he was later adopted by his stepfather.

It seems my brother and I have that in common at least, because when I was sixteen, my stepfather also adopted my sister and I. My birth name is not Lavoie. It was actually Michaud.

I’ve thought about the elusive Jason over the years. I’ve always wanted an older brother. Technically I have one in my stepbrother, but he doesn’t want anything to do with me and my sisters, and not even my dad (adopted dad). So I don’t see him at all and haven’t in years.

I wonder if he knows that we exist. Probably not, as his mother did not have contact with my father afterwards. Can’t blame her. I don’t want contact with him now. The last time I saw him or even heard from him, I was twelve. I’m twenty-seven now and doing just fine without him, thank you very much. My adopted dad is my REAL dad. He’s the one who raised me. But I also wonder, if there’s Jason, are there more?

I’d like to at least have a chance to meet him. As I said, I’ve thought about him off and on over the years. I asked once or twice about trying to find him, but my mother always said no. Then the other day Tiffany brought it up out of the blue, and mom thinks maybe we should try to find him. We know his mother’s first name, and we may be able to find out her maiden name as my grandmother worked on a detailed family tree while she was alive, which my cousin still has. We also know about where he was born.

I would like to meet him, even just once. Does he look like me? Do we share some of the same quirks and mannerisms? Does he like to read as much as I do? Does he have kids of his own now? Possible nieces and nephews that if we were to have a relationship I could spoil rotten? Does he have more siblings of his own, like I do with my youngest sibling, Cassandra?

But then I worry. If we were to find him, what if he didn’t want to meet us? I know it’s his right, but it would still hurt. To have my father take off and leave us, and then have a brother who doesn’t want to meet his sisters.

I guess it’s just a risk I’ll have to take. I hope someday I do find him. And I’ll just pray until then that he does want to meet with us.

Andy Squared Review! And an interview!

They gracious blogger over at Rapacious Reading was kind enough to read and review Andy Squared. Here’s just a fraction of what she has to say:

The writing is wonderful (especially in the more physical scenes…tasteful yet steamy!), the dialogue feels genuine, and the characters and their motivations are believable.

To read more, head on over to Rapacious Reading. While you’re there, check out her other reviews. She has quite the eclectic taste and I’m sure there’s something there for everyone!

If you’re interested in reading about why and how I write what I do, check out my interview with Bold Strokes Books!  

While you’re at it, why don’t you check out and sign up for the newsletter through BSB? This month I’m not only interviewed with other authors, but there is a special sneak peek of Andy Squared that hasn’t been seen before! Check it out!