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Superhero by Eli Easton

SuperheroSuperhero by Eli Easton
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Harmony Ink Press
Short Story:  35,121 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

It’s not easy for a young gay artist like Jordan Carson to grow up in Jefferson, Wisconsin, where all anyone seems to care about in middle school and high school are the sports teams. But Jordan was lucky. He met Owen Nelson in the second grade, and they’ve been BFFs ever since. Owen is a big, beautiful blond and their school’s champion wrestler. No one messes with Owen, or with anyone close to him, and he bucks popular opinion by keeping Jordan as his wingman even after Jordan comes out at school.

Their friendship survives, but Jordan’s worst enemy may be himself: he can’t seem to help the fact that he is head-over-heels in love with a hopeless case—his straight friend, Owen. Owen won’t let anything take Jordan’s friendship away, but he never counted on Jordan running off to find a life of his own. Owen will have to face the nature of their relationship if he’s to win Jordan back.

Excerpt

This was a super sweet YA story.  It was shorter than I thought it would be.  The story shows the development of the relationship between the two main characters from meeting in second grade to college sophomores.  The story contains little that is surprising. 

The writing was good.  The beginning of the story is very slow.  I know this is part of the development of the story, but it just didn’t draw me in.  After the boys hit high school I was more into the story as more happened and developed. 

I wanted to really like this book.  I did like it but was unable to connect to the story so didn’t love it.  The characters just felt flat and the ending was swift and a little too pat.  Still it was enjoyable and as a YA I think the ideas behind it will appeal to a younger audience.

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The Colony Book 2: Revolution by J. Tomas

The Colony Book 2 RevolutionThe Colony Book 2:  Revolution by J. Tomas
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Queerteen Press
Novel:  59,874 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  4
 

Sequel to The Colony Book 1: Rebellion

The only way sixteen-year-old Aine and his true Other Kyer can be together is to escape the Colony with its Code, its pills, and its constant monitoring. Breaking out of the Colony was hard enough, but living outside of its protective walls proves to be even harder.

The boys have been raised to believe all life outside the Colony was destroyed by the last war. However, Aine soon discovers this is a lie. On their first day of freedom, they meet Sinda, a girl their own age who has grown up in the harsh new world outside the Colony. In return for some food, she agrees to help them out and leads them underground, where people must live to avoid predators, acid rain, and disease.

It doesn’t take long for Aine to tire of living hand to mouth. He misses the comforts of his bed, his friends, and his family. Why should he be the one to run away? He and the boy he loves have done nothing wrong.

Aine is destined to be the next Overseer, so why can’t he return to the Colony and start a revolution to change the way things are run? Why can’t people love who they want to, rather than who they’re told to? Why can’t they think for themselves, and live as they want?

When he receives a message from Brin that she, too, has stopped taking her pills, Aine realizes he isn’t the only one unhappy with the Code. If he and Kyer return, maybe they can enlist their friends’ help to bring about some much-needed changes.

But breaking back in proves even harder than breaking out. They must dodge the Officers, evade the Monitors, and convince a drug-controlled Colony it deserves better. But will anyone listen to them? Or will they be caught and medicated back into compliance?

Excerpt

This is a continuation of a previous book “The Colony Book One: Rebellion”.  Aine and Kyer are outside the Colony.  They must find a way to survive out in the world.  They do not start out very well.  They fall asleep on the beach and wake up covered in sand fleas.  Luckily after they wash off a girl calling herself Sinda finds them and helps them discover what living outside of the colony is like.  The boys find it a difficult existence.  No running water, limited electricity, constantly salvaging for food, and staying below ground except in early morning to avoid burning and acid rain.  This is not what the boys had hoped for their life outside the Colony.  Finally they decide to go back and reclaim their places in the Colony but on their terms.

They writer does a good job of engaging the reader and showing them the details of this future created world.  You can feel and see what the characters are seeing and feeling.  Aine is the “voice” of the story and you get to know him well.  He seems like what he is, a scared, confused boy who finds the will to fight for what he believes in though the odds are against him.  For me this is just like a teen, they don’t have the pessimism that an adult would.  Teens and children believe they can do anything.  That they will succeed even against all odds.  Unfortunately we don’t get much of the other characters.  They are a lot flatter than Aine and react as one would expect in accordance with the story.

I did love the story.  It is perfect for a young adult to see that one person can change the world or at least their corner of it.  I do wonder if there was enough action for the kind of world created.  There was really no fighting involved but still lots of plotting and running around.  I did enjoy it and it is a fairly tame read for younger teen.  There is no sex only kissing and some light “making out”.  I would recommend it for those teens on the younger side of YA as introduction to gay romance and a “hero” in the story being gay.

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The Colony Book 1: Rebellion by J. Tomas

The Colony Book1 RebellionThe Colony Book 1:  Rebellion by J. Tomas
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Queerteen Press (YA of JMS Books, LLC)
Novel:  58,329 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  5
 

Sixteen year old Aine lives in the Colony, and his whole life was decided before he was born. In two years he will marry the girl next door, Brin, who was assigned as his Other at birth. Then he will be given a position in the Colony’s workforce that best suits his talents. Each night he takes four pills, like everyone else in the Colony, and he knows the pills keep them safe and their world in order.

Everything is fine. Perfect, in fact. Until Aine accidentally drops one of his pills.

Terrified, he tries to hide the mistake, but when he dreams for the first time in his life, he discovers all he’s been missing. What scares him more than not taking the pill, though, is how alive his dreams make him feel. Because it isn’t Brin he dreams of but his best friend Kyer.

Another boy.

Suddenly Aine’s world turns upside down, and he doesn’t know what to think or who to trust. All he knows for sure is he’s falling in love with Kyer, which is forbidden by the Colony’s Code, and he will do anything to protect their budding relationship.

Even if it means defying the Overseer and leaving the Colony behind.

 Excerpt

Aine is a teen in an extremely controlled world.  He is monitor everywhere he goes and must take pills every day to “keep him safe”.  Aine accidently doesn’t take one of his pills and dreams of his friend Kyer.  After that it’s down the rabbit hole, discovering what he never knew about and how it changes his view of everything.

I seldom read YA books.   I’m not sure why, I just don’t.  I’m so glad I read this one.  I really thought about how this might be like a LGBT teen discovering him/herself.  The secrecy, the fear, the repression, the attempts to change them back by others, the shame, and, for some, the fact that they would have to leave everything they know as safe to be true to that discovery.

The writing is excellent.  The author did a wonderful job building up the world.  I do admit the world isn’t far off from some that I have heard described before but the author still needed to build THIS world.  The character building was well done.  Aine’s change in the book is done in a way that is believable and revealing.  I easily connected with his character and could empathize as he went through the shame, joy, fear, and outright terror.

In regards to this being a YA book and therefore aimed for them, I think many teens would enjoy the story.  They can relate to Aine and his struggles and triumphs.  It teaches that sometimes questioning what always is is not a bad thing and to be different is normal.  I admire that the author has done such a good job relating the story to youths and creating a story that can speak to them.  For me this was soooooo close to our top rating!

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