Nov. 3rd, 2015

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Charlie’s Hero by Nic Starr
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 17, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634760948
ISBN-13: 978-1634760942
Amazon: Charlie’s Hero
Amazon Kindle: Charlie’s Hero

Heroes: Book One

Schoolteacher Charlie Matthews returns to his hometown, looking to regain a sense of community, reconnect with friends, and settle down. It looks like his dreams have come true when paramedic Josh Campbell attends an accident at the school. It’s love at first sight, and a romance begins.

But Josh’s reluctance to come out to the brother who raised him puts pressure on their fledgling relationship. While Charlie understands Josh’s concerns, he can’t help growing impatient. After all, Charlie came out years ago.

It’s not until Charlie confronts his own parents and realizes he hasn’t come to terms with their rejection that he fully understands what Josh has to lose. But Josh is Charlie’s hero, and Josh will do anything to prove to Charlie that to be part of a family, he doesn’t need his parents.

I loved this story, and its characters, and got sucked into the book very quickly.  Sweet romance which takes the time to build friendships as well.

Good story-can't wait to get book 2.
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Mitch Rebecki Gets a Life by Julie Bozza
Gay Contemporary General Fiction
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Manifold Press (February 20, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1908312831
ISBN-13: 978-1908312839
Amazon: Mitch Rebecki Gets a Life
Amazon Kindle: Mitch Rebecki Gets a Life

Investigative journalist Mitch Rebecki loves his job and loves New York. He doesn’t mind making enemies, either. When a crime boss threatens retaliation, Mitch’s editor sends him out of harm’s way to Sydney. In exile and resentfully working on lifestyle pieces, Mitch is miserable. But he makes a friend or two, meets a man … and discovers that Australians do organized crime, too, in a small way. Mitch soon finds himself in too deep on all counts, and trying to head home again seems the only solution.

Enjoyable story with interesting characters. Loved the different perspective on Australia and Australians, and the ending was realistic, rather than cliché.
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My Body Is Yours by Michael V. Smith
Gay Biography / Memoir
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press (May 5, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1551525771
ISBN-13: 978-1551525778
Amazon: My Body Is Yours
Amazon Kindle: My Body Is Yours

Michael V. Smith is a multi-talented force of nature: a novelist, poet, improv comic, filmmaker, drag queen, performance artist, and occasional clown. In this, his first work of nonfiction, Michael traces his early years as an inadequate male—a fey kid growing up in a small town amid a blue-collar family; a sissy; an insecure teenager desperate to disappear; and an obsessive writer-performer, drawn to compulsions of alcohol, sex, reading, spending, work, and art as many means to cope and heal.

Drawing on his work as an artist whose work focuses on our preconceived notions about the body, this disarming and intriguing memoir questions what it means to be human. Michael asks: How can we know what a man is? How might understanding gender as metaphor be a tool for a deeper understanding of identity? In coming to terms with his past failures at masculinity, Michael offers a new way of thinking about breaking out of gender norms, and breaking free of a hurtful past.

It's a wonderful book, so gripping and moving and thought-provoking. It's tender and blunt and vulnerable. It's even shocking and surprising, and I don't get shocked or surprised very often. I found the writing beautiful, the words carefully chosen. While there was a great deal of sex, the book was not pornographic. The sex was not there to titillate but to illustrate and explain. Despite the serious nature of the story, it was at times also funny. And it was always captivating. A couple of times, I wondered if the writer was being pretentious, but the fact is that I bought everything he said. There was not much of a linear plot, but there was a definite plot of connected ideas, as the author led us through sex, gender, death, anxiety, depression, and masculinity. About learning to survive the world and oneself. I wasn't keen on the author's repeated use of the word "fag," but that would probably be my only criticism of the book. I hope this book does well with the other judges. I think it's a terrific book.


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