Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein

Book Description

Mercedes Helnwein’s Slingshot is an exciting debut contemporary young adult novel perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Mary H. K. Choi

“I didn’t think it was going to be anything like this when I finally fell in love. I thought it was going to be pretty simple. Like, I’d love someone and they’d love me. I thought that’s the way it worked.”

Grace Welles is stuck at a third-tier boarding school in the swamps of Florida, where her method of survival is a strict, self-imposed loneliness. And it works. Her crap attitude keeps people away because without friends, there are fewer to lose.

But when she accidentally saves the new kid, Wade Scholfield, from being beaten up, everything about her precariously balanced loner world collapses and, in order to find her footing again, she has no choice but to discover a completely new way to exist.

Because with Wade around, school rules are optional, weird is okay, and conversations about wormholes can lead to make-out sessions that disrupt any logical stream of thought. Nothing’s perfect, but that’s not the point. When they’re together everything seems uncomplicated in a way that Grace knows is not possible.

Except it is.

So why does Grace crush Wade’s heart into a million pieces?

Acidly funny and compulsive readable, this debut is a story about two people finding each other and then screwing it all up. See also: soulmate, stupidity, sex, friendship, bad poetry, very bad decisions and all the indignities of being in love for the first time.

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All Kinds of Other by James Sie

Book Description

In this tender, nuanced coming-of-age love story, two boys—one who is cis, and one who is trans—have been guarding their hearts, until their feelings for each other give them a reason to stand up to their fears.

Two boys are starting over at a new high school.

Jules is still figuring out what it means to be gay…and just how out he wants to be.

Jack is reeling from a fall-out with his best friend…and isn’t ready to let anyone else in just yet.

When Jules and Jack meet, the sparks are undeniable. But when a video linking Jack to a pair of popular trans vloggers is leaked to the school, the revelations thrust both boys into the spotlight they’d tried to avoid.

Suddenly Jack and Jules must face a choice: to play it safe and stay under the radar, or claim their own space in the world—together.

My Review

I loved the way in which the narrative unfolds in this book. It begins with Jules’ first person perspective as he first sees Jack from a distance at a friend’s house and then meets him again at school. We get to know him and his family life—parents are divorced, and he’s starting public school for the first time in his life. He’s getting to know Jack better and then there’s an incident at school.

From there, the perspective switches to Jack, and we go back to the end of the summer when he first arrives in Los Angeles with his would-be actor father. They’re both here for a fresh start, and Jack will have the opportunity to start school as himself for the first time. As was the case with Jules’ portion, Jack’s part of the book leads up to the same incident.

The final part of the book consists of alternating chapters as both boys—and their families—deal with the incident.

Interspersed throughout the narrative are references to people named Adam and Evie. At first these interludes don’t make much sense, but eventually they do. I can’t say much more, but they add another layer of depth to the big picture.

Jack and Jules find each other at a time in which they both needed someone the most. Their initial misgivings give way to a mutual understanding, as they bond over the gulab jamun that Jack’s mom taught him to make.

I would absolutely recommend All Kinds of Other. I had a hard time putting it down because I had to find out what was going to happen next. This is a heavy story at times, but there’s always an undercurrent of hope, and that’s what kept me riveted. I’m looking forward to reading more from Sie in the future.

I received an ARC of this book from Quill Tree Books/NetGalley

The Hate Project by Kris Ripper: Review and Exclusive Excerpt

Book information

Book Description

This arrangement is either exactly what they need–or a total disaster

Oscar is a grouch.

That’s a well-established fact among his tight-knit friend group, and they love him anyway.

Jack is an ass.

Jack, who’s always ready with a sly insult, who can’t have a conversation without arguing, and who Oscar may or may not have hooked up with on a strict no-commitment, one-time-only basis. Even if it was extremely hot.

Together, they’re a bickering, combative mess.

When Oscar is fired (answering phones is not for the anxiety-ridden), he somehow ends up working for Jack. Maybe while cleaning out Jack’s grandmother’s house they can stop fighting long enough to turn a one-night stand into a frenemies-with-benefits situation.

The house is an archaeological dig of love and dysfunction, and while Oscar thought he was prepared, he wasn’t. It’s impossible to delve so deeply into someone’s past without coming to understand them at least a little, but Oscar has boundaries for a reason—even if sometimes Jack makes him want to break them all down.

After all, hating Jack is less of a risk than loving him…

The Love Study

Book 1: The Love Study (available now!)

Book 2: The Hate Project (available April 27)

Book 3: The Life Revamp (coming November 30)

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Up in Smoke by Annabeth Albert: Review and Exclusive Excerpt

Book Information

About the Book

Three Men and a Baby meets Backdraft with explosive chemistry and heartfelt feels.

Freewheeling smoke jumper Brandt Wilder thrives on adrenaline. He’s never met a parachute he can’t repair or a dangerous situation he couldn’t wrangle his way out of. He’s popular and fun-loving and not at all looking to settle down or form lasting relationships. It’s a lifestyle that’s served him well…right up until the day he finds a baby on his doorstep.

Shane Travis is used to putting his country music career—and his own happiness—on hold after his sister rolls through his life. Like last spring when she convinced him to try skydiving for his birthday—and she walked away with the hot parachute instructor.

Now he gets to deliver the piece of news that will upend Brandt’s carefree life: he very well might be a dad.

Shane’s niece is safe in Brandt’s strong, capable hands, but too many questions remain unanswered. Co-parenting while they sort it out leads to late-night talks, and soul-bearing confessions lead to a most inconvenient attraction. Still, Shane can’t leave this makeshift family behind—even if it means playing house with the one man he can’t resist.

Hotshots

Book 1: Burn Zone (available now!)

Book 2: High Heat (available now!)

Book 3: Feel the Fire (available now!)

Book 4: Up in Smoke (coming April 27)

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I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

When NYC high schooler Emma learns about a film competition, she sees an opportunity to make her dreams come true. She enlists her friend group to help her, including Sophia, who has recently moved back after spending a year in France. To make a long plot summary short, creative differences lead to Sophia deciding to make her own movie, which means that now she and Emma are competing against each other for the same prize.

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Best Laid Plans by Roan Parrish: Review and Excerpt

Book Details

About the Book

Title: Best Laid Plans

Author: Roan Parrish

Series: Garnet Run, #2 

Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Romantic Leads: Male/Male

On-Sale: February 23, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Price: $14.99 US

ISBN: 9781335924803

Book Description: A man who’s been moving his whole life finally finds a reason to stay put.

Charlie Matheson has spent his life taking care of things. When his parents died two days before his eighteenth birthday, he took care of his younger brother, even though that meant putting his own dreams on hold. He took care of his father’s hardware store, building it into something known several towns over. He took care of the cat he found in the woods…so now he has a cat.

When a stranger with epic tattoos and a glare to match starts coming into Matheson’s Hardware, buying things seemingly at random and lugging them off in a car so beat-up Charlie feels bad for it, his instinct is to help. When the man comes in for the fifth time in a week, Charlie can’t resist intervening.

Rye Janssen has spent his life breaking things. Promises. His parents’ hearts. Leases. He isn’t used to people wanting to put things back together—not the crumbling house he just inherited, not his future and certainly not him. But the longer he stays in Garnet Run, the more he can see himself belonging there. And the more time he spends with Charlie, the more he can see himself falling asleep in Charlie’s arms…and waking up in them.

Is this what it feels like to have a home—and someone to share it with?

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Wonderstruck by Allie Therin

I have been waiting for the conclusion of the Magic in Manhattan trilogy for nine months, and now it’s finally here! The plot picks up after the events of Starcrossed. Ace and Rory and their supernatural friends are still trying to stop the big villains before they unleash utter destruction on the world. This probably doesn’t make sense if you haven’t read the rest of the series, but I’m keeping the details vague so as to not spoil the first 2/3 of a trilogy.

But for those of you who have read the other books, Wonderstruck is an absolute treat. Rory is still as grumpy as ever, and some of the funniest scenes involved defending slights—both real and perceived—against his beloved Ace. As Rory would say, this book isn’t just mushy lovey dovey stuff: there’s plenty of action and a couple of real close moments where you aren’t sure if everybody is going to come out okay.

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The Beautiful Things Shoppe by Philip William Stover

New Hope, PA is a special town with a strong LGBTQ+ community. It is the perfect place for Prescott to open his antique store and for Danny to open his vintage toy store.

Unbeknownst to them, their mutual friend has purposefully rented the same store to these two men, intending for each to have half of the space.

Naturally, this simply will not do: Prescott thinks Danny is a slob and Danny thinks Prescott is a snob. Both men believe that sharing the store will be disastrous for their respective businesses, but they have no choice. They’re going to have to work together if they want to succeed.

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For Better or Cursed by Kate Williams

My thirteen year old daughter asked me to request this book because she enjoyed the first book in the series so much. Here is her review:

For Better or For Cursed is the sequel to The Babysitters Coven, so if you haven’t read that book, you need to do so before reading this one.

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