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!!