The History of Us By: Nyrae Dawn Release Date: June 11, 2015 Publisher: Harmony Ink Add to Goodreads Source: eARC from author for a honest review GR's Summary: Sometimes it's not about coming out, it's about settling in. Eighteen-year-old Bradley Collins came out a year ago and hasn't looked back since. Who cares if he doesn’t know any other gay people? Bradley has friends and basketball—that’s all he needs. Even if that means always sitting on the sidelines when the guys go out looking for girls. When cute film-boy TJ tries to flirt with Bradley while his friends are doing their thing, he freaks. Yeah, he’s gay, but he’s never had the opportunity to go out with a boy before. He’s never had to worry about how his friends will react to seeing him with a guy. Bradley accompanies TJ on a road trip to film TJ’s senior project documentary. In each city they visit, they meet with people from different walks of life, and Bradley learns there’s a whole lot more to being honest about himself than just coming out. He still has to figure out who he really is, and learn to be okay with what he discovers.
The History of Us by Nyrae Dawn was a powerful, poignant, real, and though provoking story. It gives us a clear look in to the thoughts and feelings of eighteen year old, Bradley Collins. Bradley has been best friends with Chase, Jabbar, and Marcus since Kindergarten. They are an extremely close knit group, and are all on their high school's basketball team. Bradley came out to his friends and his mother, his sophomore year of high school. Now, he is a senior in high school and has never had a boyfriend, shared a kiss with a guy, or even found a guy that he was interested in.
At times, Bradley feels lonely and left out with his friends. When they flirt with girls, or go out in a group to date, he prefers to hang back. One day, when his friends go to an arcade/coffee shop that they frequent, Bradley notices the cute guy that he see's around every once in a while. Bradley is attracted to him, but would never make a move. When they guy approaches Bradley, he introduces himself as T.J. and tries to pick up on him. Bradley is embarrassed, and responds rudely to T.J. However, he eventually apologizes, and they begin to hang out without Bradley's friends being made aware. Even though Bradley has admitted to being gay, he is still not comfortable in his own skin. He worries about what other people think of him, doesn't like feeling different from his other friends, and doesn't know how to move forward.
Bradley's mom stands strongly by her son's side and wants him to be happy. She see's him struggling, and when he tells her about a road trip that T.J. is going on, she encourages him to accompany T.J. The decision to go on the road trip is the beginning of an eye opening, soul searching experience, where both Bradley and T.J. learn about themselves as they interview a variety of gay couples, from different walks of life, and with various experiences and points of view.
The History of Us was a story that touched my heart. I cried for Bradley, and my heart broke for T.J., as well as those couples that were in horrible emotional pain. The theme that was beautifully woven throughout the story was that first and foremost, we are all people. We love, we endure painful loss, we struggle with who we are, we crave acceptance, and if we want something badly enough, we need to work and fight hard for it. Life isn't always fair or easy, but if you surround yourself with good people, they can help you through those tough times.
The History of Us was a story full of depth, and reflection. It impacted me deeply and I loved how Ms. Dawn spoke about derogatory gay stereotypes, as well as made me feel for and relate to these characters as people. It was eye-opening, profound, and compelling. I give, The History of Us, by Nyrae Dawn, 4.5 Touching, Enlightening, and Authentic Stars!
Ro's Take on this Journey:
The History of Us, by Nyrae Dawn, is a wonderfully written story of first love, learning how to become your authentic self, letting go, and becoming a giving, and loving human being. This story is filled with life lessons, wonderful characters, and an honest look at how being different from the norm can leave you lonely, hopeless, and sometimes suicidal.
Bradley Collins has been out to his mother and his closest friends for quite a while. It's easy, they are all accepting of him. It's uncomplicated, and honest, he thinks. In actuality, Bradley is living a lie, because he hasn't tested the limits. He won't allow himself to push forward into a relationship with another guy, because then he will have to see how his friends react, and test the bounds of their true feelings.
T.J. Bennett comes from an affluent family. He comes across as self-assured, beaming with confidence, and as angry towards anyone who can't be who they really are. One day, he approaches Bradley. As T.J. attempts to flirt, Bradley shoots him down in front of his friends. T.J. is a gorgeous young guy, with spiky hair, and beautiful piercing blue eyes. Bradley is the school basketball champ. They are both attracted to each other, but Bradley lets fear hold him back.
With the encouragement of Bradley's mom, he finally apologizes to T.J., and asks to accompany him on his road trip, so that he can get to know someone that is like himself. This is Bradley's first time stepping out of his comfort zone, and it takes him a while to let go of all his fears, and just let life happen.
The two leave for an extended two week trip, meeting people with original stories of their challenges, obstacles, pain, and loneliness in their journey through their private life experiences of being gay. This is an eye opener for Bradley. He finally starts evolving, realizing that he has nothing to be ashamed of, and this allows him to open up to the experience of love for the first time in his life.
The History of Us, by Nyrae Dawn, was a Beautifully written, painstakingly carefully written novel. There is nothing over the line, or offensive, in this well written YA novel. It does however have a lot of say to the youth today, and will teach family and friends how important their role is in their children, friend, and/or sibling's journeys.
I give, The History of Us, 4, Eye Opening, Life Changing Lessons, New Love Stars!!!
Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn's passion. Nyrae gravitates toward character-driven stories. She loves going on emotional journeys with characters whether it be reading or writing. And yes, she's a total romantic at heart and proud. Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids. When she's not with her family, you can be pretty sure you'll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her. Nyrae also writes adult romance under the name Kelley Vitollo.
We are so excited to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Laura Kaye's HARD TO LET GO! HARD TO LET GO is the 4th novel in Laura's Hard Ink Series, published by Avon Romance. Grab your copy of this sexy, suspenseful book today!!
Beckett Murda hates to dwell on the past. But his investigation into the ambush that killed half his Special Forces team and ended his Army career gives him little choice. Just when his team learns how powerful their enemies are, hard-ass Beckett encounters his biggest complication yet—a seductive, feisty Katherine Rixey.
A tough, stubborn prosecutor, Kat visits her brothers’ Hard Ink Tattoo shop following a bad break-up—and finds herself staring down the barrel of a stranger’s gun. Beckett is hard-bodied and sexy as hell, but he’s also the most infuriating man ever. Worse, Kat’s brothers are at war with the criminals her office is investigating. When Kat joins the fight, she lands straight in Beckett’s sights . . . and in his arms. Not to mention their enemies’ crosshairs.
Now Beckett and Kat must set aside their differences to work together, because the only thing sweeter than justice is finding love and never letting go.
“Kaye wraps up her bestselling series with this action-packed story, highlighting her talent for alpha military heroes, hot romance, and an ensemble cast of characters who are unique and engaging. A super sexy, high-octane romantic suspense novel that concludes the popular Hard Ink series in a completely satisfying way.”~Kirkus Reviews
“TOP PICK! Kaye brings her Hard Ink series to a spectacular conclusion that successfully wraps up the overarching mystery and brings closure to her compelling characters. Kaye really nails it with this awesome book and series!”~RT Book Reviews
“HARD TO LET GO will blow you away! Anyone who has been following Laura Kaye’s fantastic Hard Ink series will expect something great for the last book in the series, and to say HARD TO LET GO does not disappoint would be the understatement of the year! Ms. Kaye writes sex scenes like it’s nobody’s business, and the blistering chemistry between Kat and Becket will leave you panting and begging for more! If you expected world-class action in HARD TO LET GO, think again and multiply that by ten! HARD TO LET GO has to be the most explosive conclusion to a series ever! Do not miss it at any cost!”~Fresh Fiction
And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:
"TOP PICK! If you're looking for danger, gritty action, and sizzling passion, then Kaye has just the book and the series for you." ~RT Book Reviews Magazine
Taking a deep breath, Beckett knocked on the door. No answer. He turned the knob, and the door opened. “Go away,” came a strained voice. Beckett poked his head through the opening. Kat sat in a ball in the corner, her legs pulled up to her chest, her arms hugging herself tight. “Aw, Jesus, Beckett. Really?” Her face was splotchy and her eyes watery, though he didn’t see any tears. Ten-to-one she was going through some adrenaline letdown right now, too. Which no doubt made it all worse. That shit could fuck you up even when you were used to how it left you feeling drained and shaky, by how all the stress you’d suppressed during the height of the crisis boomeranged twice over after the fact. He came into the room, closed the door, and turned the lock for good measure. And then he crossed to Kat, scooped his arms under her knees and behind her back and lifted her up against him. She smacked his chest. “Put me down.” “No.” He moved to the edge of the bed. “I don’t need this right now, Beckett. Put me down.” “Yes, you do,” he said, sitting on the edge of the mattress. He pulled her face in against his throat and smoothed her hair back from her cheek. She trembled against him, just the littlest bit, her skin hot to the touch. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and hugged her tighter. “You did good, kid.” Every one of her muscles went tight. Her hand fisted in his shirt. And her breath caught as she buried her face against his neck and shoulder. Then Kat burst out crying. And it was like being torn apart and put back together, all at once. He hated her pain, but he adored that she wasn’t hiding herself from him, and that she was letting him be there for her.
He didn’t shush her, or try to talk her down, or encourage her to dry her eyes. To be sure, her tears were like daggers in his heart—they hurt like fucking hell. But the only way she was going to feel better was to let this shit out. Ironic realization for him—he did actually see that. But just because you could see what was good for others didn’t mean you had the first goddamned idea how to apply those principles in your own life. And that was a problem for another time anyway. What mattered right now was Kat. What mattered … was Kat.
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Stel Alaster has never known life without the Corridor. It appeared suddenly seventeen years ago, the only portal to a parallel version of our world—Second Earth. Everyone on First Earth fears Mods, the genetically modified Second Earthers who built the Corridor. They are too smart, too strong, and have powers that can’t be controlled. Any Mod found on First Earth is branded, then detained in the Corridor’s research labs.
Only Stel has a dangerous secret. She has a power, too: She can open a portal to Second Earth . . . and several other parallel universes she’s discovered. If anyone ever finds out, she’ll be imprisoned, no better than a Mod or common lab rat.
But when the Corridor starts to fail, emitting erratic bursts of energy that could destroy First Earth, Stel must risk everything to save the people and world she loves. With the help of an escaped Mod and an infuriatingly arrogant boy from a third universe, Stel sets out to unravel the mysteries of the Corridor and stabilize it before it’s too late. The fate of every world lies in the balance. . . .
I Agree Libra is the BEST
I don’t know what it is but I’ve been reading some serious amount of sci-fi here lately and its pretty weird. Not the books just the fact that I’ve been drawn to the genre…Hm, that’s a new thing. Any who this was a great read for me! I was first drawn to that cover GAW-JESS! Right? Then the synopsis? Well I knew right away I wanted to read this. I can honestly say I am delightfully pleased with everything about this book, except the date? It takes place in 2032 and it references back to 1990’s in different universes so it was hard for me to grasp that concept because I was around in the 90’s and I’ll probably be around in 2032. Totes Magotes Weird. Don't get me wrong because I will be following this series closely. Wonderful world building but because of the time frame and what I know of it. My imagination felt restricted…does that make sense? Like steampunk…totally cool cause even though I know it’s all fake and none of that really happened, I wasn’t alive during that time so…ya know? But the 90’s through 2032? Other than that! I loved everything else, Ria went through the whole gambit of emotions with this one.
The Story, the world building was wonderful there are a multitude of dimensions. Traveling between worlds is every worlds dream. Cue the Corridor throw in some super genius scientists and what can go wrong? Ka-boom you guessed it! The people of first earth are the main focus the story is centered around their world. The people of second earth have all but been shattered. Something is amiss between these two worlds their are Mods that have come over but the reason is a pretty big secret. There are 2 other worlds that are visited but we know of thirteen. Through traveling between worlds and discovering who she really is Stel has the weight of the multiverse on her shoulders. There are a lot of shocking discoveries nice twists and turns and the tried and true knife in the back!! Yowza! My heart seriously broke at the end…Nice little cliff hanger but nothing like is she isn’t she? I can’t wait for the next to come out!
The Characters, our main girl was wonderful! She is lost but something about the essence of her was engaging and she made me cheer her on! One of her most wonderful traits was the devotion to her family. Stel loves openly and with an unwavering loyalty. There is some turmoil between her and her friends because ever since discovering her power she doesn’t know who she is anymore. Wahoo!! I picked the right guy!! I’m beyond excited! The infuriating guy yep thats my guy and I’m beyond excited. These two clashed bonded and collided and I ate it up like I would an ice-cream sundae. There are several side characters that added wonderful depth to this story. I can’t wait to see how these characters develop.
The End, Wow I mentioned a knife earlier…I can’t really go into it but through and through my heart went out to everyone involved in the last scene. I can’t wait to see what happens from here on out. I will say one thing and I hope its not too spoilery but something is resolved in an epic showdown that will have you on the edge of your seat. I seriously gasped a few times. Aside from my own imaginary mental blocks and a few things that I wished had been explained more this was a wonderful read. Anyone into Sci-Fi should absolutely give it a go, even those that aren't into it so much should give it a whirl like I did!
4.0 January, Explosion, Barrens, Trip, Resignation, Betrayal, Show, Late Night, Barcode, Libra, Observatory, Friends, Bear, Sagittarius, Leo, Pulse, Helix, Sister, Father, Thirteen, Hallway, Confession, Best Friend, Portal, Hospital what the what filled stars!!
A.N. Willis spent way too many late nights in high school watching sci-fi shows, resulting in a possibly unhealthy obsession with yellow-eyed androids, renegade FBI agents, and wormholes to distant galaxies. She feels at home anywhere she can see the mountains.
An engrossing, complex, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore or Maggie Stiefvater, set in a wholly unique world.
Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn't forgotten their warning to "stay away." For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the "special gifts" that must be left at the back of the property.
Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, his interactions with Salome take her life in a new direction. A direction where she'll have to decide between her longtime crush Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop. An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.
Love and Magic Does Exist
I have to admit this one has been on my TBR for quite some time…I could kick myself for not reading it sooner. I will say this though I’m pretty stoked that I've read it. The summary leaves out key components of this story so you won’t find them in my review. I hate Spoilers and such. Any who this is a very engrossing fantasy read that kept me engaged and enthralled with what would happen next. Almost everyone knows what is going on except the main character and for those that are inpatient I can see why that would be frustrating. NOT FOR ME THOUGH!! I loved trying to figure it all out and falling in love right along with Salome! Once we get the big reveal there is still some tribulation our character has to face, but I got my HEA and enjoyed the journey getting there.
The Story, I will try to talk about it without spoilers so bare with me. Something is amiss in the woods around Salome’s family estate. After a tragic accident she nearly escaped as a child there is a dark terror that haunts Salome. Fast forward to the present we are re-introduced to Salome and her best friend. Things are happening around Salome that she doesn’t understand. Unable to get help from those around her Salome will have to figure out what is going on and how she can stop it. The love interest was something that was well developed throughout the story. I won’t touch more on that even though I’m dying too because it was AWESOME…Just know the romance aspect was refreshing and probably the best part of this read.
The Characters, I’ve touched a bit on Salome but what I haven’t mentioned is her unwavering dedication to her family. Honest and a little awkward suited her perfectly, Salome’s personality was endearing to say the least. When faced with an impossible decision she makes the right one because it is just. She isn’t perfect though there were a couple of times I wanted to shake her but by the end I was 100% okay with all of her choices. Brave Kind and Honest! Salome’s best friend was the perfect partner in crime and complete opposite of Salome in every way. Their friendship felt seamless not perfect but perfect for them. I will say Kadie gets around a bit so if you’re a stiff then you might not care for her. I’m with Cal Naughton when he says “I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party.” though so I loved her. The grandparents were great…The parents not so much, I’m guessing the mom doesn’t know much because she sure acts like she doesn’t know what's going on. The dad was a loser in my eyes we find out why he is so crappy but that was about it. The guys…They were perfect each one in their own way added to the story and I thoroughly enjoyed their very different and individual contributions.
The End, through great sacrifice Salome saves the day and all is well for now. Her heart and soul sing to the one she belongs with. The Winter People felt a lot like a fairy tale but it ended a bit differently than most…if you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about ahem (castle, crown) if you haven’t read it then once you do you’ll know. Thank goodness there wasn’t a cliffhanger I would’ve died seriously died if there were. No this wrapped up pretty well…there are a few open story lines that I hope we delve into later but as I said all is well for now. I recommend this for those into fairy tales and sweet innocent love.
I was born and raised in Michigan (just look for the mitten-shaped state on the map). I’ve lived here most of my life other than the few years I spent in the U.S. Army. At which time I got a chance to experience MO, KS, SC, and CA.
I work full time for the court system and in my free time I write YA stories. Pretty much any genre within the YA realm is game for me, but my favorites are fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, thrillers, light sci-fi, and some time travel.
I also have a big family–I like to consider us the modern day Brady Bunch. When my hubby and I met and got married, he had 3 children from a previous marriage, I had 2 and we have 1 together. It’s a lot of fun though.
And I can’t forget my other family members–yep, we’ve got some pets: 4 dogs, 3 cats, and 1 turtle. Everyone in the family has one…I won’t bore you all with their names (unless you really want to know). Okay, you talked me into it! Jack, Pearl, Grr…(yes that’s my dog’s name), Callie, Shadow, Mooshoo, Grouchy, and Sorbert. Other than writing some of my other hobbies include: reading (mostly YA of course), singing, swimming, football, soccer, running, camping, sledding, church, hanging with my kids, and traveling.
I belong to a fabulous writing group called YA Fiction Fantatics (YAFF) and you guessed it we all write YA!
Tallgrass, #4 by Marilyn Pappano Release Date: June 30th, 2015 Publisher: Forever Add to Goodreads Synopsis: Sergeant First Class Avi Grant's return to Tallgrass, Oklahoma is a long-deferred wish come true. With her final tour in Afghanistan over, Avi can focus on her future-a job here at home and a family of her own. There's just one thing she has to do first: visit her beloved commanding officer's widow and share her grief. The last thing she expected was to feel an instant attraction to the woman's son. Too bad the sexy surgeon is impossible to ignore . . . and even harder to resist.
The sting of his parents' divorce still niggles at Ben Noble. So when a warm, funny, and beautiful young sergeant arrives, mourning his stepfather's loss as strongly as his mother does, Ben can't help but feel conflicted. If his parents taught him anything, it's that love doesn't last-especially with a career soldier. But try as he might to keep his distance, Ben begins to see that Avi-and the spark she brings to his life-is the stuff forever is made of. As Avi's leave ticks away, can Ben convince her to take a chance on forever with him?
Outside, the sounds of children playing were louder, the splashes indicating that the kids across the street were enjoying one of the last swims of the summer. Avi and Ben walked silently to her car, parked in the driveway. She nestled the pie plate into the passenger seat, tucked her purse around to hold it in place, then closed the door before turning to him. So . . . Would he ask for her cell number? Offer his? Make firm plans to see her again before driving away? For the first time in a long time, the answers mattered. Linking his fingers with hers, he pulled her to the driver’s side of the car, then stood, invading her personal She liked it. “Do you have any plans for tomorrow night?” Yes! “Not a single one.” He combed his fingers through his hair. “Would you like to go out to dinner?” She wanted to blurt out the affirmative as quickly as it had echoed in her head, but he went on. “You would have to drive to Tulsa. Tuesday is surgery day, so if I come here, I can’t get here before seven, and I’ll have to head back before nine.” Drive to Tulsa? An hour or less. No big deal. She’d had commutes between apartments and forts that took longer, and that was just to work. An evening with Ben was such a nicer payoff. “I don’t mind.” “I usually get out of clinic around six. We could meet at my house around six thirty?” A smile spread across her face. “I can handle that.” “Good.” He wasn’t smiling, but his eyes showed something just as encouraging. Relief, maybe, or satisfaction. Hmm. She could show him satisfaction. He leaned closer, just slightly, and lowered his voice. “I’d kiss you good night, but we have an audience.” Glancing over her shoulder toward the house, she caught just a glimpse of Patricia before the blinds at the living room window settled. Looking back at Ben, she smiled. “Kiss me anyway.” He closed the last of the distance between them, lowering his mouth to hers, giving her a sweet, gentle, tender kiss that set her blood on fire. It was impressive and surprising and just a bit scary, considering she’d had tons of kisses that were a whole lot more passionate and evoked a whole lot less of a response. When he lifted his head, her fingers curled, wanting to wrap around the back of his neck and pull him down again. Her heart skipped a beat or two, and something deep inside her felt deprived. In the dim light, Ben looked impressed and surprised and a bit scared, too. For a moment, he stared at her, all intense and searching, then he gave a rueful shake of his head. Stepping back, he asked for her cell phone, input his number, and texted it to himself to get her number. “Six thirty,” he said when he handed it back, his voice rough-edged. “I’ll send you the address.” “I’ll be there.”
Known for her intensely emotional stories, Marilyn Pappano is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly eighty books. She has made regular appearances on bestseller lists and has received recognition for her work in the form of numerous awards. Though her husband's Navy career took them across the United States, he and Ms. Pappano now live in Oklahoma high on a hill that overlooks her hometown. They have one son and daughter-in-law, an adorable grandson, and a pack of mischievous dogs.