Sharing a Pond by Alex Whitehall

Penny’s Rating B+ ~ When I first hear the words: frog-shifter paranormal romance, my first thought was, I am skeptical. What? I was. I wasn’t sure in spite of the bizarre plethora of stuff that I read, (which, let’s be honest, includes a fair amount of shifter paranormal romance, mostly of the werewolf persuasion) that a three-way frog-shifter romance was going to work. I was pleasantly surprised and my skepticism proven wrong by this story. I have found that I usually enjoy Less Than Three Press publications, because their authors do bring a different perspective to their stories. They do LGBTQIA fiction, but their stories are not always your typical m/m or f/f romance. Things are not always that clear-cut, and LTTP embraces that, which is awesome. This story instead turned out to be really cute. The frog thing works, and is actually used to explain (rather conveniently) one MC’s gender bending which occurs prior to the start of the book, and which furthers the plot of the story. These three are adorable together, and I can just picture three little frogs swimming and playing in a huge claw-foot tub. Being a frog-shifter story, this is a new take on a fairly standard…

Life, Some Assembly Required (The Rebuilding Year #2) by Kaje Harper

Penny’s Rating: A ~I have had this review on my to-do list for far too long. First of all, let me say that this is a great series. The Rebuilding Year was one of the books I read within my first year of discovering gay fiction. I love it then and have reread it several times over the past few years. So when Kaje Harper announced that she was releasing a sequel, I knew that reviewing it was inevitable. Let me preface this by saying that if you have not read The Rebuilding Year, go do that first. It really is fantastic. Book two picks up exactly where book one ends. There is no passage of time between The Rebuilding Year and Life, Some Assembly Required, which was something that I wasn’t expecting. So there is still angst (so much angst!) as the two MC’s continue to build their lives together. There is also baby mama drama (Kaje is probable wincing as she reads that sentence sorry Kaje!), but really what else can I call it without giving away huge pieces of TRY2? If you are like me, the baby mama drama will drive you crazy. You will talk back to this book. It will not…

The Midnight Gardner by R.G. Thomas

Penny’s Rating: B It’s been a while since I read a YA fairy-tale that I really enjoyed. This is a super-cute quick read, that just happens to have an inter-species (Gnome/Human) age appropriate romance. This is also book one in a series: The Town of Superstition, so if you want to read something that doesn’t end on a to be continued cliffhanger, this is not that book. There are going to be three in the series, and if you read, you’re going to want to read all of them, and you’ll have to wait for them to come out. Like I have to now. Thomas has successfully created a modern-day fairy-tale, that ties together witches, werewolves, dragons, garden gnomes, with one very unusual small town. There were twists and turns that I didn’t expect in this book, and given that the book is written with young teens in mind, I find that incredibly refreshing. So many LGBTQIA YA fiction novels often fall into those tragic archetypes of familial rejection, rebellion, tragedy, prejudice, or angst. I’m not knocking that at all – we all learn from tragedy and pain, but sometimes that is not what we need. Sometimes we need the fairy-tale. Sometimes, we need simple, clear-cut,…

Love Spell by Mia Kerick
Book Reviews , Grade B Reviews , LGBTQUIA , Young Adult / November 29, 2015

Penny’s Rating: ~ B ~ Do not, I repeat, do not, get your love/ dating advice from a magazine. I spent most of this book going “No Chance, don’t listen to the article, Chance, just be yourself!” That is ultimately the awkwardly painful lesson of this book. Be true to yourself, because that is what others are drawn to. Yelling at fictional characters is very therapeutic for me. Chance Cesar, the utterly fabulous gender-fluid, MC of our story decides to take dating advice from an online article to with the heart of his crush. Chance couldn’t have possibly picked worse advice to follow. Being yourself is not always easy. Especially when who you are doesn’t fit into a nice neat little box. Which, most of us don’t, not really, but when you are a kid, and questioning where you fit on the gender spectrum, it sure doesn’t seem that way. It seems like you are the ONLY one who is different in a sea of normal peers. It is also matdatorbs (yes, really) that you learn a whole new vocabulary to participate in this world. I have to admit the vocab threw me for a bit, but it was true…

Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English Mystery Series

 ~Penny’s Series Rating: A ~ SO this wasn’t a review I planned on doing, but I ended up enjoying this series so much that I wanted to give it a shout out. I am in love with this series. I’ll be honest, I don’t love every mystery I pick up. But this is mystery with a side of exquisite, yell out loud at the fictional character’s you are reading about, angst. I will admit, I read all five books in three days. I barely slept because I couldn’t go to bed until I knew what happened, and I was useless the next day, but it was so worth it. Josh Lanyon, it’s official, I am a convert. He’s become my go-to mystery author. Adrien English Book Blurbs and Links Fatal Shadows (Adrien English #1) One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening. Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few…

Lonely Hearts Blog Tour and Rafflecoptor Giveaway

~Penny’s Rating: A ~ After reading Lonely Hearts, I have come to the following conclusions: 1. This series rocks. 2. I now want to own a Tesla. 3. I want to relive my college years at St. Timothy, and sing my aca-scuse me ass off. (I may be combining this with a Pitch Perfect fantasy…) 4. I have a renewed obsession with all things Studio Ghibli, especially Howl’s Moving Castle. I am so glad that Baz and Elijah got their story! If you haven’t read the Love Lessons series, I really do recommend you start with book one, Love Lessons, because you will have a better idea of who all of the characters in the series are, and they are all awesome sauce. This book is like old home week, because we get to visit with the MC’s from Love Lessons and Fever Pitch, see all of our pals from St. Timothy and even run into a few (spoilers) other slightly older residents of Heidi Cullinanland Minneapolis/ St. Paul (I won’t say who exactly, but I was so glad that they showed up in this!) Heidi Cullinan has a gift for tackling really intense issues: drug use and trauma recovery, affluence and…