Book Review – ‘Nathan Burgoine “Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks”

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First, I just have to say the title of this book is awesome. I was a teenage freak, and I would have loved to have had an exit plan of any kind, especially an ability to teleport myself out of high school.

I need to make a little caveat here, and that is that young adult books are pretty far out of my wheelhouse. I mean, I didn’t even read them when I was a young adult. By then, I was already leafing through my parents’ collection of books to find the graphic sex scenes. I was reading Erica Jong, Ann Rice, Henry Miller and Philip Roth.

But ‘Nathan Burgoine is a friend of mine, and I absolutely loved the title and the concept for this book. Which is, essentially, that an extremely organized queer boy who is gathering all his resources in order to graduate high school discovers, by accident, a sudden ability to teleport when he goes through doors of any kind. This ability throws a wrench into Cole’s plans and forces him into a world of unexpected departures and arrivals, until he begins to figure out how to control his powers.

I loved Burgoine’s representation of the collection of friends surrounding Cole, Cole’s parents and his crush, Malik. This is a very inclusive book, featuring many characters that defy the heteronormative lifestyle, and a character with a disability as well. The embarrassing encounters between Cole and Malik were well done and put me right back into the world of desperate crushes and burgeoning high school romances.

The science fiction angle was great, and I was truly wondering where these sudden powers of Cole’s came from and how he was supposed to handle things until about two thirds into the book when things suddenly become more clear, and also more dangerous. The second half was exciting and expertly paced with a lot riding on Cole’s intelligence, bravery and ability to outthink his new rivals.

If you are a regular reader of young adult fiction, or, in fact, an actual young adult who is looking for something beyond the traditional, with positive queer characters, inclusive language and a really lovely heart, Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks is your book.

Find it at Bold Strokes Books, Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble to name a few of the online retailers where it is listed.

Friday Flash Fiction – Tea at Home

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They were awaiting his return.

“Would you like some tea, Jonah? I’ll put the kettle on.”

It still seemed strange to hear a disembodied voice, even though he was aware of Delilah’s presence in a distinctly physical way, though not the usual one.

“Sure. That would be nice.”

“I’m sure the children will want some too,” Delilah added.

“Yes!” said a child’s voice.

“Yes, please!” said another.

Jonah smiled and made his way to the armchair under the mirror. He sat down and sighed. He’d had three meetings in a row and, really, all he wanted to do right now was flake out in front of the TV.

But his unusual guests wanted tea.

“Read to us from THE BOOK!” the first child’s voice said.

“Yes, please read some more! It’s so entertaining!” said the second child.

Jonah sighed, removing his tie and opening the top button of his white shirt. “Have a seat then.”

Jonah heard the rustling of clothes and observed the eddies of dust in front of his chair. He listened to Delilah making tea in the kitchen and picked up the book from the side table.

He opened it and began to read:

She looked back at us from the door, and I had a last impression of that beautiful haunted face, the startled eyes, and the drawn mouth. Then she was gone.

“Now, Watson, the fair sex is your department,” said Holmes, with a smile, when the dwindling frou frou of skirts had ended in the slam of the front door. “What was the fair lady’s game? What did she really want?”

“She probably wanted some tea!” said the first child.

“Do you think so?” Jonah said, looking up from the page, although there was no-one to look at, exactly.

“Oh yes! Who doesn’t want a cup of tea when they go out?” said the first child.

“Or when they come home,” said the second child, in a more somber voice. A voice that held years of wandering and loneliness.

Jonah smiled sadly. “I do want some tea, now that I am home. And I shall share it with the both of you, if you’ll keep me good company from now on.”

“Oh, we will Jonah!”

“We will!”

Delilah’s footsteps sounded on the floor boards as the tea pot came, steaming, into view.

“Go get the teacups, my darlings, and bring them in here. The tea will be ready to pour in a moment.”

“Yes, mother,” they said in unison.

“You’re a good man, Jonah Morris,” Delilah said softly. “I wish I had known you when I was slightly more corporeal.”

“You’re a wonderful mother, Delilah. You’ve done the best you could, all things considered. You are welcome to my home as long as you need it. I’ve gotten quite used to the three of you.”

“Bless you, Jonah. Now, let’s all have some tea, shall we?”

Book Review – Sara Dobie Bauer “Escaping Mortality”

 

Sara Dobie Bauer’s vampires are a lot of fun.

In Book One of the Escape Trilogy – Escaping Exile – long suffering vampire, Andrew, finds a shipwrecked sailor washed ashore like a sea-tossed care package sent just for him. He quickly falls for the delectable and unpredictable human, and swears never to do him harm.

In Book Two, Escaping Solitude, Andrew falls more and more in love with the impulsive Edmund, agreeing to find an Elder vampire to change Edmund into an immortal being like himself.

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In Book Three, Escaping Mortality, Edmund struggles with his newfound health and strength, and wonders what the mysterious Elder, Brien, truly wants from him.

Exploring fascinating settings like a tropical, cannibal-infested island, the bustling port city of turn-of-the-century New Orleans, and Victorian London, Sara Dobie Bauer propels her vampires through escapades and adventures while weaving a tale of love, dark magic, sensuality and violence.

I enjoyed the fast-paced conclusion to the expertly written trilogy. Sara places the reader right in the action and keeps them interested with diverse characters and compelling personalities. I loved the dynamic between Andrew and Edmund, but also the way they interacted with their chosen family – Michelle, Felipe, Flynn and Elder vampire, Brien. The historic details seemed accurate and Dobie Bauer is able to paint a picture with words so that the reader has an immediate sense of place no matter where they end up.

If you like vampires, historic settings, graphic sexuality between men (and vampires), and gory outcomes, you will love this exciting series.

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – Whiskey

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The glass was empty, even though I swear I’d just ordered the drink a moment ago. I felt the burn in my throat through a hazy brain-fog and realized I must have already downed it.

I ordered another.

This wasn’t the way New Year’s Eve was supposed to go down – in a painful swallow of booze and grief that made me want to sob. But I wouldn’t. Goddamn it, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of buckling under the disappointment and abandonment.

The bartender placed another drink in front of me, side-eyeing me with suspicion. “You got someone to drive you home?” he asked, piercing my heart with yet another arrow.

I winced. “I’ll get an Uber.” My voice came out quiet and meek. I cleared my throat. “Thanks,” I said with more force.

What was I thanking him for? For caring enough to ask, or for bringing me the drink even though I was drunk as fuck already? I don’t know.

The whiskey soothed me even as it burned its way down. It warmed my insides where he’d shovelled cold words and sharp insults. It dulled the memory of our last tumultuous encounter and allowed me to wallow in a pool of disfunction.

I was worthy of love. I must be. I needed to hold onto that conviction despite the doubt and the loneliness that threatened to send me into a dark spiral.

It was all that was left. A basic instinct for survival that I would grip gladly in my two fists and use to keep my head above water.

Book Review – Misha Horne “Looking for Trouble”

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If there was ever a cure for the dismal second half of Brokeback Mountain, this book is it:

“Will…”

“You say my name so pretty,” he told me, his breath drifting over the root of my cock, his mouth just a second from where I wanted it. So close, but years away. “I want you to say it just like that, all night. All dirty and desperate and wicked.”

My god, I didn’t know how this was the same man who grunted half his words and thought I reckon was a full conversation. I wanted to weep for all that was inside him I didn’t know.

~ Looking for Trouble, Misha Horne

We’ve got Will Caplan, one older loner cowboy who lives on a farm with just his dog, Captain, some horses and chickens, only coming into town once in a blue moon to sell his homemade whisky. And Jesse Morgan, one young troublemaker from Chicago – a city boy through and through – looking for guidance and discipline, though he only realizes it when he hooks up with Will.

Then saddle up your horse for one long slow burn of a sexy romance between two men who barely know how to kiss each other, and sure don’t know how to say the things they need to say to get the good times rolling.

But when they finally do – hold on tight. The final few chapters of this book are some of the hottest I’ve ever read and sweet as hell to boot.

I love everything Misha Horne has ever written. She is the Queen of writing emotional and loving kink, with characters who are discovering their sexuality and digging their way out of shame and confusion to determine exactly what they need in a lover.

Looking for Trouble strikes me as the most pure of all her stories, with two innocents who meet by chance only to discover they fit perfectly together.

Looking for Trouble

Two other Misha Horne books I recommend:

Working Out the Kinks

Old School Discipline