Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TV Review: Partners

Partners TV Show

Review by Lauren

IMDB Summary: Two lifelong friends, who are both architects, form a business partnership.

Review: The above summary is the shortened version of Partners (which premiered last Monday, so there have been two episodes thus far). The longer story is that Louis (Michael Urie) and Joe (David Krumholtz) have been best friends for years, and now they work together as architects. Louis is gay, Joe is straight. Louis is with Wyatt (Brandon Routh), and Joe is with Ali (Sophia Bush).

Louis and Joe are friends with each other, but they also get along with each other's significant others...sometimes a bit too much in the case of Louis, who is always getting in the middle of Joe and Ali's business (especially in last night's episode where he talks to Ali about sleeping with Joe more, and then cooking Joe dinner at night).

For those that don't know, Partners is created by the same people that created Will and Grace. When you watch the show, you can see the similarities...four friends, the gay/straight duo are partners at work instead of roommates, the humor, etc. And boy, does this have humor, especially when it comes to Louis. He really does make the show, as my mom says. Not that I don't like the other characters but Louis is very interesting...hilarious, selfish, and yet he does have a big heart and wants to take care of his friends (especially Joe).

I'm really excited that Joe is played by David Krumholtz because I see him and think "Bernard!" aka Bernard the Elf from the first two Santa Clause films. Yes, that's him. Fun, eh?

Bernard the Elf, source

Sophia Bush does a great job as Ali. Her interactions with Louis are particularly amusing and fun.

As for Brandon Routh as Wyatt...he's a bit amusing, and seems like a good guy, but we've gotten more about Joe and Ali's relationship so far than Louis/Wyatt, so it will be nice to have that expanded in future episodes. They also seem to make Wyatt a bit of a bumbling fool...moreso in the second episode though. He's a nurse, so he's obviously smart, but he seems to be the "stupid funny" aspect of the show and that's not really fair for Routh as an actor, so I hope we can see him grow more as time goes on.

Besides that little quibble, I really love the show. I think it's fun and humorous and I like the idea of a gay/straight friendship between two guys. I hope this one does well!

What do you think? Have you seen it? Plan to check it out now?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

TV Review - The New Normal

The New Normal TV Review

By Lauren

Tuesdays at 9.30 EST (NBC)

Watch the first two episodes on IMDB

The New Normal is bound to get compared to Modern Family, which is fine, but you should still go into it knowing there will be similarities and differences. I like Modern Family a lot but based on the first two episodes of Ryan Murphy's (GLEE) latest, I really like The New Normal too. If you don't know the story, David and Bryan are a couple who decide to have a kid. Goldie becomes their surrogate mom,  who has a girl of her own named Shania. She wants to get away from her Nana (Shania's great-grandma) and give a good example for her daughter...so she asks to be a surrogate for a gay couple. Her Nana is not ready to let go though and keeps her claws in their lives as much as she can. The other cast member, Rocky, works for Bryan and David. I can't really gather what she does, but I think she's a personal assistant.

Back to show- the only two people I really knew before watching the show were Nene Leakes as Rocky (and only from Glee) and Justin Bartha as David (who was in The Hangover movies), but I love them and everyone else. Nana has quite a mouth on her...she says a lot of things that are highly inappropriate from homophobic and racist statements to more. Even Shania tells her, "Nana, you're a bigot" in the pilot episode. And it's true. It's funny in the "this is so awful, I can't believe anyone says these things" sort of way, but it works for me. It's awful, yes, but it's how some people view life and it will be interesting to see how Nana's point of view changes as time goes on and she realizes that Goldie really is going to carry a child for a gay couple.

I loved Goldie and her spirit. She really wants to follow her dreams and do right by her daughter. Shania is quirky and odd, but she's herself and Bryan tells her that makes her special, like him, in the second episode.

As for Bryan and David, I love that we have a gay couple that is affectionate and not afraid to kiss each other and kudos to the writers for making it happen and NBC for allowing it to happen. They obviously love each other and are so excited to be fathers. It's great to see how different they are too, though. David loves sports and Bryan loves to shop. Yes, a bit superficial on the surface, but that's not all there is too them. I just like the idea of opposites attracting and the show giving viewers more of a stereotypical gay man, as well as a counter to that.

In the end, I like the show. A lot. And I hope people will give it a shot and not decide if they like or dislike it by comparing it to Modern Family or other such shows. Give it a chance. I hope you enjoy it, because I want it do well so I can continue with these characters and the actors that bring them to life in such fun and - yes- even shocking ways.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Eagle Scouts Protest Gay Ban

image from wikipedia, not my own

Eagle Scouts (the highest level of Boy Scouts) are turning in their badges in protest of the BSA not allowing openly gay or lesbian youth or parents in their troops. According to the site, the BSA policy states that "While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”

The website set up explains how you can send in your badge and also shares letters/photos of those that have already done so. They say-

Many Eagle Scouts have returned their badges in protest since the Boy Scouts of America announced it’s decision to reaffirm the ban on openly gay people participating in the organization. This site was created to display those letters and encourage more Eagle Scouts to join the movement against BSA bigotry and discrimination.

And that-

127 Eagle Scouts have shared their pictures and letters renouncing their Eagle award on this site as of August 17, 2012.

I applaud these Eagle Scouts for sticking up for what they believe in and supporting their fellow human beings. I know it can't be easy for all of them to give up a symbol of all their hard work, but they are definitely doing it for a great and just cause. I've been a Girl Scout since elementary school. I stopped working at it around Junior year of high school but we did finish while trying to achieve our Gold Award (the top award for Girls Scouts) and I know that if I'd actually earned it, I would be sad to see it go but I'd know that I was doing the right thing and would happily be part of a wonderful movement.

What are your opinions? Do you know any Eagle Scouts that might want to send a letter?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The New Cast of Glee + More Spoilers for Season 4!

It's not really a surprise that I'm a huge fan of Glee. I know people have problems with the show and I get that. There are things that I just have to shake my head at too, but when it comes down to it, I feel for the characters. I believe in them. I love the songs and how they relate to life. I like that they are the outcasts. They might not all look like the "nerds" or "dorks" you think of but that's a good thing too...it shows that people are all different and you can be pretty on the outside but full of diversity on the inside. It's a mix.
Anyway, I'm not here to talk about my love of Glee for pages and pages until you stop scrolling and throw your comptuer across the room. I have some news about the upcoming season!

Glee comes back on Thursdays (note the change from Tuesday) starting September 13th at 9 p.m.

There are also a lot of new characters like two new girls, Melissa Benoist and Becca Tobin, playing Marley and Kitty, respectively.

Benoist is the left, Tobin on the right

There are two new guys as well- Dean Geyer and Jacob Artist.

From the article, "Geyer... has been cast as Brody Weston, an upperclassman at NYADA who shows an interest in Lea Michele’s Rachel. Meanwhile, back at McKinley, Artist will play Puck’s younger half-brother Jake."

Geyer on the left, Artist on the right

I don't know what roles the girls will play, but I think having Puck's younger brother should be pretty interesting...I'm curious about the characters we all know so well having family we have yet to really get to know, like Blaine and his older brother (who we met last season; played by Matt Bomer).

One of last year's Glee Project winners was Damian McGinty who played the Irish exchange student, Rory, who I'm a huge fan of...so I'm bummed to hear he won't be coming back to McKinley...at least not for the fall season. Fingers crossed for the spring!

Want to know more about Damian, as well as 14 other spoilers about the fourth season of Glee? Check out this exciting article! If you don't want anything at all ruined for you, well, don't read it. But avoiding any and all spoilers about the new season of Glee might be a bit difficult if you're attached to the internet like I am.

What do you all think about the upcoming season? Feel free to share your thoughts. As long as you aren't rude to another commenter, then we're good!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie

Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie

Out September 18th!

Review by Lauren

copy from Bold Strokes Books and Netgalley

Official Summary: Seventeen-year-old twins, Andrew and Andrea Morris, have always been close. They share everything—from their friends to a room—and they both enjoy star positions on their high school’s soccer teams. All’s right with the twins...or is it?

When new student Ryder Coltrane moves from Texas to their small New York town, he spins Andrew’s world upside down. All of Andrew’s past relationship troubles begin to make sense and his true feelings start to click into place after Ryder comes out to him. His friendship with Ryder turns secretively romantic, but secrets, they soon find out, are hard to keep. Once rumors start to fly, so-called friends turn on them, and the boys’ relationship turns into a bomb about to explode. But Andrew never expected it would be his own twin, Andrea, holding a lighter to ignite it.

Review: Andrew never thought that he might like guys. After all, the only out guy in his school was called names and pushed around. Even Andrew's best friend Charlie used derogatory terms, so it's no wonder when Ryder moves to town and Andrew learns he's gay, he doesn't tell anyone and does everything he can to downplay the rumors. When the two of them decide to give each other a chance, it works. In their own little world, though.

Ryder lives with his aunt and uncle and teaches Andrew how to ride. They spend many afternoons after school just basking in each other's company. It's relatively a sweet romance. There is kissing and sex, but nothing gratuituous. Andrew is finally learning to be himself, and it's easiest to do so with Ryder. However, Andrew's twin, Andrea, isn't ready to let her brother go. She doesn't know about Andrew's new relationship, but she is already upset about Andrew wanting to stop playing soccer in college and even go to another university than his twin.

Andy Squared is great when it comes to including family, which often seems lacking in YA these days. Andrew not only has to deal with Andrea's anger towards him before and after she finds out about him and Ryder, but there is also plenty of fun and a bit of drama concerning other aspects of his family from grandparents to parents. Even Ryder's aunt and uncle play a large role in the novel.

I really enjoyed Andy Squared overall. I actually read it in one night. Whenever I wanted to stop and actually get some sleep, I would start a new chapter just to see what would happen next with Andy, Ryder, and the drama that slowly unfolded upon their perfect world. I would say the ending was a bit too quick. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I guess I just wanted more, and I suppose that's never a bad thing, right?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Got to Meet Chris Colfer (Glee Star)

photo from Fox.com

This past Sunday, I saw Chris Colfer at a local bookstore where he did a signing for his debut novel, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, which I pre-ordered in order to attend the signing. Now I have a lovely autographed copy and I got to stand in Chris' prescence for like 5 seconds. He was too adorable though!

I hope to have a full Author Signing post up soon with photos of Chris and whatnot...and as soon as I get a chance to read his book, I'll be posting a review on this blog as well.

Do you have a copy of The Wishing Spell?! Did you get to see Chris live?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The New Art of Coming Out: Jim Parsons and Anderson Cooper

This was actually last week's issue of Entertainment Weekly and I apologize for not letting you know ahead of time. I'm sure you can still find this issue online or at a Half-Price books type of store. At any rate, as you can see from the cover, the main article is all about The New Art of Coming Out. There is still fan fare surrounding a new celebrity coming out but it's definitely less than it was and more and more celebrities are coming out in very understated ways. I think this is great. It's your choice to be open about your private life, but I know being a celebrity makes it more noticeable, so it's your choice to come out however you like.

Jim Parsons

Jim Parsons recently came out in an interview about his role on broadway in Harvey. The fact that he was gay was actually mentioned by the interviewer and not Jim at all, which is very cool, in my opinion. If you read the article online, the news isn't even revealed until the third (and final) page:

“The Normal Heart” resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said.

The reason I'm finally posting about all of this (as I meant to do a post when Jim Parsons came out...by the way, he plays Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory) today is because newsman Anderson Cooper came out!

Anderson Cooper

There have been all sorts of rumors about Cooper being gay, and personally, I always figured he was...but I think it's his choice to come out whenever he wants and it's great that he finally has in hopes that it will help others. The article I linked to above includes some of what Cooper wrote but I really enjoyed this: "In a perfect world, I don't think it's anyone else's business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Punk Rocker Comes Out as Transgender

Laura in Rolling Stone (do not own photo)

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, punk-rocker Tom Gabel from the band Against Me! talks about being transgender and her transition to becoming a female. She will take the name Laura Jane Grace. I actually have the issue with me right not but haven't had a chance to read the article, so I might edit this or leave a comment with extra thoughts once I do. However, I'm really happy for Laura and I hope she is treated fairly kindly and with understanding...as she hopes. It's great she's being open about it though, and I hope it will open people's eyes up to what being transgender means for people.

Laura is married to a woman named Heather and they will continue to remain so, which is great. I hope they can help each other through this process. I enjoyed the short article Rolling Stone posted online and it makes me excited to read the entire thing because they do refer to Laura as a "she" even as they call her by the last name, Gabel still, which is important to show others that this is who she is and she deserves the chance to live as such.

As far as I know, she will continue to be a part of Against Me! and I wish her all the best.

Another article on the news was published by LA Times and though they do refer to Laura as a he in this one, I still wanted to note it because of something I wasn't aware of. I know who Against Me! is and I'd enjoyed a song or so in the past, but I never really payed much attention...though I do hope too now because they are good and I want to show support!

At any rate, the LA Times mentioned a song that the band released in the past called "The Ocean" where Laura states her true feelings-

And if I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman
My mother once told me she would have named me Laura

I'd grow up to be strong and beautiful like her
One day, I'd find an honest man to make my husband

She might not have a husband, but hopefully her wife and her can make it through and she will grow up to be as strong and as beautiful as her mom.

If you would like to hear an acoustic version of the "The Ocean"...just look below-

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

President Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage

I do not, of course, own this image

President Obama has come out in support of same-sex marriage. Regardless of what you think his reasonings were, I am extremely excited about this development and I think it was courageous of him in an election year. It could certainly help with some votes, but I am sure there are many that will go against him- even more- for this.

I'm not really a political person and that's not what this blog is about, but I figured this was news that would be worthy to share. Feel free to express your opinions in the comments but be kind to other points of views please!

While reading the article, I learned that Vice President Biden had recently come out in support as well, so that's amazing! I didn't read the comments, though I see there are a lot already, because I just don't want to deal with the hateful/downright negative ones. Feel free to do so with care, or just read the article like I did.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Win a Copy of Queer Greer by A.J. Walkley

not my picture

Over at my other blog, Shooting Stars Mag, I interviwed author A.J. Walkley about her newest release, Queer Greer. I figured all of the readers over here would be interested, though, so I thought I would pass along the information...especially since you can win a digital copy of the novel. Giveaway ends on May 5, so enter soon, and please spread the word to your readers!!

Again, I'm going to try and start posting on this blog more, but it's often hard to keep up with one blog...let alone more than one, so I hope you understand! If you would like to see anything in particular, please let me know. I'm more willing to try a bit harder if I know people are reading, so leave your thougthts. I always comment back!!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada by Keith Hale

Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada by Keith Hale

Review by: Lauren

Copy From: I bought this...all images are not my own though

Review: I couldn't find an official summary for the book, so I'm going to do my best to describe the book via the review. To be honest, this is a hard book to summarize. It follows Steven Trottingham Taylor, or Trotsky, as those who know him best call him. He has just moved to Little Rock with his mom and younger brother, Freddy. Trotsky first meets Cody in history class and immediately becomes a bit mesmerized by him. Cody is a good-looking guy, who isn't afraid to say what he feels in class, and who everyone seems to like. Trotsky and Cody eventually end up friends, Cody letting Trotsky join his circle of best friends with Christian and Flipping (who are both in a band together).

Cody is an interesting character because you really aren't sure about his sexuality for awhile. I don't want to give anything away, as the answers don't really come until near the end, and even then...it's what you would call complicated. Trotsky loves him though, whether they are just friends or not. It's not quite enough though, and he does find himself attracted to Freddy's friend, Mark.

One of the bigger instances in the book is with Trotsky's mom, who is a professor at a local college. Students begin to complain about her being a Socialist and talking about that in class. There are a lot of protests for and against his mom losing her job, and many threats from those that don't believe in her way of thinking. If I remember correctly, the book takes place in the 1970's, so it's not a current novel. It was heartbreaking to see how cruel people could be, but I did love how the family stuck together. Trotsky could leave all the hate and move away from Little Rock, but he refuses to leave his mom.

For just one novel, there is a lot heartbreak and devastating moments, with at least one death. Again, I don't want to give things away...so you'll have to read the book to see what happens. It was very much a book about a time period in someone's life, and how people come and go, and as time goes on, it's all just a memory.

Clicking Beat on the Brink of Nada is what I would call an intellectual novel. There are a lot of deep, philosophical questions pondered, especially between Cody and Trotsky. It's a book that makes the reader think and wonder and in the end, you feel for these characters as if they were real. It's a slow-moving book at parts, and faster in others. It's not full of action, but there are parts that make you laugh, parts that make you sad, parts that make you think. It was an interesting novel and it's one I'm glad I finally got around to reading.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Series Spotlight: Killian Kendall Mysteries

There are currently four books in the Killian Kendall series by Josh Aterovis. They are all mysteries and usually deal with some sort of murder that Killian is either directly involved in or becomes involved in do to someone else in his life. I've read and reviewed the first two for Shooting Stars Mag awhile ago, but more recently, I read the All Lost Things and The Truth of Yesterday. For more information on all of the books in the series, visit PD Publishing.

All Lost Things was interesting as Killian's ex asks for his help to prove his new boyfriend's innocence. Yeah, tricky situation right there. Sure, this is what Killian does...but can he keep his feelings out of the situation long enough to prove if this guy really is the killer or not?

As for The Truth of Yesterday, Killian must figure out just who murdered male escort, Paul...who happens to be the ex of Killian's currrent boyfriend, Micah. Again, can Killian's luck get any worse? Killian's more unique abilities start to come into play during this book (as I don't believe it's really touched on earlier...I could be mistaken though!) and you start to delve a bit more into the world of spirits and the afterlife.

I didn't want to do traditional reviews for these books since it's been awhile since I read them. Sorry for not getting the reviews posted faster! However, I think it's nice to spotlight the entire series since there are already four books.

I think this is a fun series. It's got the mystery, the suspense, the romance. It's a bit unbelievable in certain ways though. It seems like so many people that surround Killian are gay, which hey, could happen...but it's not as likely. All of the murder and crime also seems a bit much, and it makes me think of certain crime shows on TV. Regardless, you might enjoy these! It doesn't hurt to grab the first one and see what you think.

I'm curious for the next book, A Change of Worlds. I don't have a release date for it yet, but the summary looks good...Killian's ex seems to be back in the picture!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dan Radcliffe Talks LGBT Rights...and his Male Talent Crush

The above magazine, Attitude, can be found in England...however, the Huffington Post gives us a few interesting quotes from Dan Radcliffe about LGBT rights and who he has a Talent Crush on (yeah, it's a guy...and I agree!)

From what we can read of the interview, it's great! I wish I had the entire thing. Dan is always really well-spoken and if you read the blog, you know that I'm a huge fan of his in general, but I also really love that he's so outspoken about his support for LGBT rights.

Courtesy of HuffPost from Attitude:

"The ultimate reason gay marriage should be legalized everywhere is because, as a kid, you look to your mum and dad and they're married, then you look at the gay couple who've been together for the same amount of time, but because they can't get married their relationship doesn't seem the same," Radcliffe told the magazine. "Gay people should have equality in law everywhere. If you grow up as a young gay man knowing you don't have the same opportunities as everyone else, you're going to feel victimized and massive prejudice towards you."

Well said, Dan. I totally agree. Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Matt Bomer on Glee

According to the latest issue of US Weekly, White Collars' Matt Bomer (above) will be guest-starring on an April issue of GLEE. I'm very excited about this, as I think Matt is great. But what is even more exciting news is who he will be playing...

Matt will be on GLEE as Blaine Anderson's older brother. As all you GLEE fans know, Blaine is played by Darren Criss (above, second photo). I can see it, can't you?

Who else is excited about this news?

*photos aren't mine!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Cover Reveal: The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer

I just came across this and I figured I had to share with the rest of you. GLEE star Chris Colfer (he plays Kurt Hummel, by the way) has his first book coming out this summer. AfterElton says it has been pushed up to July 2012, even though Amazon still states August. I'm not sure which is correct but at any rate, I'm excited.

I think the book, called The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, sounds amazing and I'll definitely be reading it when it's released. I think the cover is great though. Snow White on the left? Sleeping Beauty on the Right? And look at that frog and wolf in the bottom corners. It's the perfect cover for this book and it really pops, sure to grab people's attention!

What do you all think of the book, the cover, Chris Colfer? Be respectful, but feel free to be honest.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble (Top 2011 Pick!)

Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble

Review by: Lauren

Copy from: The author, through her publisher, but all opinions are my own


Official Summary: Some people spend their whole lives looking for the right partner. Nate Schaper found his in high school. In the eight months since their cautious flirting became a real, heart-pounding, tell-the-parents relationship, Nate and Adam have been inseparable. Even when local kids take their homophobia to brutal levels, Nate is undaunted. He and Adam are rock solid. Two parts of a whole. Yin and yang.

But when Adam graduates and takes an off-Broadway job in New York--at Nate's insistence--that certainty begins to flicker. Nate's friends can't keep his insecurities at bay, especially when he catches Skyped glimpses of Adam's shirtless roommate. Nate starts a blog to vent his frustrations and becomes the center of a school controversy, drawing ire and support in equal amounts. But it's the attention of a new boy who is looking for more than guidance that forces him to confront who and what he really wants.

Review: I just want to preface this review by saying: Go and Read This Book. Right Now. Okay, read the rest of the review, and then go and get the book. I finished Don't Let Me Go a few days or so into 2012, but it's actually a 2011 book...and one of my favorites for sure of last year. How do I know this? Because this book has now been added to my list of all-time favorites. It really is that good.

As you can tell from this blog, I love LGBT themed books and this is a great one. To explain, the book jumps back and forth through time a bit. It starts with Nate driving Adam to the airport as Adam is about to take an off-Broadway job (since he's a recent high school graduate). Nate is about to start his senior year, without Adam. This would be upsetting to any couple that really loves each other, I'm sure. It's especially hard for Nate due to a tramuatic event he suffered the year before. As you read, more about that is revealed and how integral Adam was in Nate's recovery. The flashbacks are also great in showing the progression of their relationship in general, which gives an added depth and suspense to the present day situations.

Being away from each other is hard on both boys, but as we're reading this story through Nate's point of view, we mainly get his thoughts. And he's not really great at being away from Adam. Nate is independent in his own right, don't get me wrong, but Adam has become a large part of his life and being away from him is hard. Adam is in what Nate sees as fabulous New York, and what if that means he'll forget about his high school boyfriend back home in Texas? Not to mention Adam is living in a tiny apartment full of other boys, with one particular one intent on being flirty and trying to get inbetween Nate and Adam.

This book is just amazing. I love the fact that Nate and Adam are a real couple. This isn't about them coming out. They are quite fine with their sexuality, even if other people aren't. Nate, especially, must deal with that homophobia...and he's a really, really strong person. But back to their relationship! The two of them go through a huge range of emotions, like any relationship. They are happy and have great moments together. They get jealous. They get mad and/or frustrated with each other. They fight, they yell, they kiss, they make love. It's full of passion and romance and the desperate yearning for another person to be there for you, no matter what.

Don't Let Me Go is incredibly well-written and it makes you feel all sorts of emotions. I love that we got Nate's point of view, but it's easy to forget that there are two sides, and one must always keep Adam in mind while reading. To Nate, he's like a rock. He's always there, helping him, taking care of him. But Adam has his own worries and feelings...and those do start to come out as you read, and it's great to see. This is a two-sided relationship and I love that! Sometimes you get books that feel too unrealistic, and that's not the case here. I especially love that the two boys make mistakes. They screw up in various ways. Nobody is perfect, and relationship can sometimes be messy and ugly and hard. And Don't Let Me Go really shows that.

Now on a different note, music is definitely mentioned throughout the book. I love that. But what I really enjoyed is that the author included her actual "soundtrack" (a list of songs she feels fit the story/character) in the back of the book after the discussion questions. There is even a little note on why each song works. For example, "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi is on the list and under that it says: Nate chooses Adam over his fear. If you want the rest, you should obviously get the book. I will recommend that you don't read the list of songs or explanations until you've read the book though. There is a reason it's at the very end. You don't want to ruin any part of the story, do you? Let me answer that for you: No, you do not. Because there is a lot to be learned in these pages. You get a look at the past, the present, and even the future. It's surprising, suspenseful, romantic, and all sorts of amazing. You'll get mad at the characters, you'll feel bad or him, you'll feel happy for them, and more than anything, you'll feel connected.

Again, buy this book now. It really is a new favorite of mine.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Awake Anthology - Nancy Garden and More

Awake by Nancy Garden, Robin Reardon, Jordan Taylor, and Brian Katcher

Review by: Lauren

Copy sent for review, but all opinions are my own

Official Summary:

A girl trapped in a war between her school, her church, and her own family. A boy facing the pain of injustice and prejudice in the same rush as new love. A town shocked by the death of a young person, while one alone knows why. A loner fighting a losing battle inside, terrified by society, longing for respect. Poignant, funny, tragic, uplifting-Awake brings together the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens through four gifted authors, including Nancy Garden, author of the groundbreaking Annie on My Mind, who have donated their time and talents. The Trevor Project is the nation's leading organization dedicated to ending suicide among LGBTQ youth. All net publisher proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit The Trevor Project.
Review: This is a collection of four very different short stories by a group of amazing author. The link between these stories though are the characters. Each one is somehow dealing with being gay, bi, lesbian, or transgender.

The longest story is probably Worth Waiting For by Nancy Garden which deals a lot with religion and wanting to be true to your self any way, but not having the proper support.

However, my favorite of the whole collection was probably A Line in the Sand by Robin Reardon. Dustin is out and proud, but he's had a hard time finding someone in the same situation that he can be with. Now he's on vacation with his parents and starts falling for a boy named Randy...except, Randy isn't out to his parents either and his father is far from accepting. I just thought this was a really wonderful story and you can't help but feel bad for both of the boys, for very different reasons.

It's been a little while since I read this book, so I might just be forgetting the name but I actually don't think the narrator in Shattered Diamonds has one. At any rate, this is either my second favorite story in the book or perhaps even tied for first place. It deals with a very different narrator...someone who picks on a new kid, Jeremy. From the beginning, you know that Jeremey is dead and you can guess just how that came about. The narrator tells his side of things, and even the things that he learns about Jeremy after he's gone. It's a very powerful, unique story. I would have loved to see this type of storyline in a full-fledged novel.

The final story is is Pervert. The narrator here is just the boy. It's all about how he likes to dress in his mom and sister's clothes, feeling more comfortable as a girl than the boy body he must live in. It's a sad story, but it's also a nice concluding one because it deals a lot with acceptance from various sides.

Overall, I really enjoyed Awake, and I do recommend it. Besides, a lot of the money goes to The Trevor Project, which is an amazing charity.

Don't forget about my auctions for the Living Beyond Tolerance scholarship, speaking of good causes. The first auction will start soon!!