BOOK BLAST

Trans Deus by Paul Van der Spiegel

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Trans Deus

Author: Paul Van der Spiegel

Publisher: Perceptions Press

Cover Artist: Paul Van der Spiegel

Release Date: August 11, 2020

Genre: LGBTQ – Christian

Tropes: Trans Christ in modern day England 

Themes: Trans Christ persecuted by the religious, the transphobes, the haters; closeted Peter, terrorist Judas, addict Andrew, humanist Thomas.

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 75 000 words/ 249 pages

It is part 1 of 4 Queer Gospels – each one is a different take.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Trans Christ born in a modern-day, transphobic England

Blurb 

The Word was with God. The Word was God. Nothing was created apart from the Word. The Logos became a trans woman and she dwelt amongst us, full of grace and truth.

Four men have their lives changed forever: Jude, the terrorist sent to kill the transgender Christ; Peter, the repressed gay man grasping after a religion of certainty; Andrew, the slave to his sexual appetites; and Tom, the ardent atheist with crippling financial problems.

From the towns and moors of northern England to the shadow of the cross in the City of London… the light shone in our darkness and the consumer, military technocracy comprehended it not.

Excerpt

Tom Bauer scanned the myriad titles in the Selfish Help, Mind n’ Body, Religion, and Pop Psychology subcategories, publications propped and penny-stacked on white MDF shelves.

Pop Psychology? What’s the world coming to? Tom thought. What he wanted was Death Metal Psychology, Hip Hop Head-Help, Roland TB 303 Counselling: anything but fluff and bluff. He started to laugh, at book shops, at life, at himself for being such a useless sack of shit. How have I ended up here? he demanded of existence, desperate for a fix of some arsehole’s fake positivity? 

The woman stood next to him reading the inside cover of The Secret slid it back onto the shelf, then hurried away.

The man who didn’t believe in belief pulled a volume from the packed display and examined the recommended retail selling price printed beneath the barcode—the book was the same price as a leg of lamb, as three large chickens. How the fuck can I justify spending that? he thought.

There was enough money to last another couple of months. His personal account was overdrawn, as was the joint account. There was always the credit card and the emergency second credit card, the one that Kristin didn’t know about. The feeling of being overwhelmed, of drowning, washed over him. Tom was scared: scared that they could lose their house, scared that what had been certain, mundane, predictable was now fuzzy and nebulous.

He picked out a copy of the Selfish Help bestseller I can make you Bulletproof and tried to read the introduction, but the words expanded and went blurry against the paper. Kristin stepping up her working hours to full-time helped, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough to cover the shortfall in his wages: the choice was now which bills had to be paid. 

Tom knew that he was not on his own: across the Public Sector thousands of people were being let go, especially, it seemed, in the north of England. Every suitable vacancy had hundreds, thousands, of applicants. His mind flicked to the visit he had made to the Didsbury Job Centre that morning: there was nothing, not unless he wanted to be an amusement park squirrel on minimum wage. He had asked the stony-faced Employment Agency manager whether a drug habit was a mandatory requirement for the role. 

Some people have no sense of humour, he reminded himself.

Once he had been on an upward trajectory within society. Now, Tom visualised his family falling into the abyss of poverty.

Tom pushed I can make you Bulletproof with its free hypnosis CD back into the shelf. He stared at the rows of crack-lit books, at the dope publications, at the trash written by authors selling glass pipes and rocks to the vulnerable, pushers who peddled badly cut gear to existential junkies. Bluffers and bullshitters, he thought, the lot of youAnd yet, I want to buy your product, get high, face the inevitable come down, buy the sequel. The thought compounded his sense of despair. 

That was when Dave Lucas and Bob Nielson from the Salford Health Trust Planning Department strode past the end of the aisle and took their seats in the coffee bar. Tom had forgotten the two spreadsheet goons read manga and graphic novels for free during their lunchbreak. The last thing he needed was Dave—the Lurch lookalike in his X Files T-shirt—and Bob—his skinny anaemic monosyllabic sidekick—asking him how he was. And he certainly didn’t want to hear how things were going back at the office, didn’t want to see that “you-poor-bastard” smile, or, even worse, the sparkle of glee in the eyes of those spared the executioner’s axe. In Tom’s considered viewpoint, anyone who still believed in “love for your neighbour” need only set up a corporate redundancy programme to see the reality of the human: fuck thy neighbour lest thou too get fucked.

Bob Nielson—a sadistic un-helpful prick in Tom’s opinion—was the man widely suspected of being the elusive Phantom Logger, that desperado of the digestive system who delighted in cooking up foot-long turds and depositing them in the men’s third-floor toilets and leaving without flushing. A closed toilet bowl lid was a sure sign that Nessie was back in town. Neilson had been spotted giggling outside Trap One just before one particularly unpleasant discovery. Maybe Bob n’ Dave took it in turns, Tom considered, competing in their own ghastly gastrointestinal game.

How had those two morons survived whilst he’d been cast aside? 

He needed to escape the book shop ASA-fucking-P. Tom knew that if he had to engage in any form of communication with Beavis and Butthead, he was liable to murder one, or both, of them; bash their heads in with a British Bake Off cookery brick. 

Option One was to hide in the stinking toilets for an hour like a junkie. Screw that, Tom decided, which left him with Option Two. 

Option Two was printed on the flyer that he had been given by a smartly-dressed woman outside Boots the Chemist on Market Street, a piece of paper that announced Manchester Cathedral were running a lunchtime programme of speakers with that day’s febrile attempt entitled, “The Myth of Eden—a new approach to Genesis.” Having someone attempt to defend the Great Book of Fairy Tales enraged and fascinated Tom at the same time. 

He decided that facing down a representative of a misogynistic, homophobic, corrupt organisation staffed by paedophile pensioners would take his mind off his financial woes, even if only for a short time. Tom wondered if he could get thrown out of church for heckling. Watch out all you bishops and kings, he thought, the Pale Rider is at your gate

He paid for a copy of The Times at the self-scanning machine, extended it to its full height, hid his head behind the newspaper, and strode through the main door. Once he was on Deansgate, he stuck his tongue out at Dave and Bob through the window. The two men didn’t notice, but an old man drinking a latte from a tall glass stared at him in surprise. 

It took two minutes for Tom to walk to his favourite place in the whole world, the John Rylands library. Tom loved everything about the building—the décor, the stillness and, most of all, the collection of ancient writings, works that covered every aspect of the human experience across three millennia: legal, medical, science, and the history of tribes and lost nations. He could spend his entire life in this one library and still only scratch the surface of the knowledge within. 

Plus, it was free admission.

Through the glass entrance, through the gift shop and café, up the modern staircase, past the Italian tourists, then into the red-stone vaulted cloisters, and up the stone staircase to the third floor where Thomas reverently entered the Reading Room. There, he was greeted by old friends: Luther, Milton, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Calvin, evidently no girls were allowed in Enriqueta Ryland’s library, apart from the lady herself. Tom sat at the mahogany table beneath the statue of Gibbon. Trusting in the presence of this enemy of Faith he read the newspaper, searching all the while for the one-liner that would transform his life.

Tom finished the easy, then started the medium difficulty, Sudoku puzzle. Thirty minutes later, he had ground to a frustrating halt. Checking his watch, he noticed he was late for the Genesis gig at God’s gaff. He had a choice to make—sack off scripture or go and put the righteous in their rightful place. Still holding the newspaper, Tom legged it from the library, dove down Deansgate, veered along Victoria, and arrived, gasping for breath, at the Cathedral doors. 

The presentation in the Saviour Chapel had already begun and all the black metal chairs had been taken. Tom edged right and stood, leaning against the cold stone wall. 

A blonde woman in jeans and a blue t-shirt prowled the front of the chapel. “Clothes are made from the cotton plant,” she said to her audience, “from animal hide, from nylon that is made from oil found under the seabed. Clothes are human constructs of naturally occurring materials. Gravity is a physical law, but our certainty that the universe is a matter machine is a human construct, a metaphor. Even when we are given fact, we fashion it into meaning to wear about our person.” 

“Amen,” a man in front of Tom said.

“For fuck’s sake,” Tom muttered, shaking his head, realisation dawning on him that he had made a dreadful mistake. 

“Our certainties adjust during our lifetime,” the woman said, “new knowledge and different learning become more important, people we love die, friends change, our pets grow old and die, the world around us changes, new roads are built, and our favourite breakfast cereal has a packaging redesign.”

To his left was a disabled man in a wheelchair—twisted limbs, twisted face, thick oversized ears, and jam-jar spectacles. Tom averted his gaze. Poor sod, he thought. It would have been better for him, for his family, for society, if he’d never been born.

“That which is our reality, our certainty, is but a metaphor. It is unreal in the sense that it is a construct of a construct. All our certainties are torn down at our death. We arrive at check-in stark naked and shivering, belonging to no culture and belonging to all. Stripped of all that we have ever wrapped around ourselves, what is left?”

You’re shit-boring, love, Tom thought. Wish I hadn’t come now. Behind the altar, a huge red curtain hung from the roof. Tom was struck by how much the church resembled the 2-3-74 temple in Ultimate Negation 2—the first-person shooter game that had used a digitised version of the building as the backdrop for all-out war between the remnants of humanity and hordes of gun-toting alien invaders. The Church authorities had claimed on the TV news that their Cathedral was a “space for grace,” and the Japanese corporation who had produced the game had violated this sacred principle. Tom had never heard anything so stupid in all his life: most city-centre tourist attractions would give their right arm for that kind of publicity.

About the Author 

I am the author of Trans Deus, 7 Minutes, Parably Not, and A Particular Friendship. My stories are about the intersection of faith and sexuality. I am a William Blake obsessive, and I’m working on new books with Blake’s themes – sex and gender, revelation and rebellion – at the heart of the narrative.

Author Links

Blog   |   Twitter

Giveaway 

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BOOK BLAST

AN EYRE OF MYSTERIES BOOK BLAST

An Eyre of Mystery by G. Leeson

BOOK BLAST JULY 5, 2022

About An Eyre of Mystery

An Eyre of Mystery Fantasy Portal/Mystery Grace Abraham Publishing (July 12, 2022) Print length : 177 pages Kindle ASIN : B09ZDLM7B7

Classic literature is at risk of disappearing from the world…

When Gia accepts a job as a library archivist at a manor house in North Carolina, she has no idea what she’s in for. On day one, she finds herself outside her comfort zone when she accidentally travels through a magical portal to the world of Jane Eyre. She finds Edward Rochester imprisoned as he awaits his death sentence for killing his wife. But Gia has read the book, and she knows Edward is innocent of murder.

Soon, she realizes that there are sinister mystical forces working to rewrite the narrative, hoping to destroy the manuscript altogether. To restore order and reset the book to its original state, Gia must discover who actually killed Bertha Rochester and framed her husband for the crime.

But few of the people she meets are who they claim to be and they all have secrets…including Edward.

About G. Leeson

Gayle [G. Leeson, for this book] has taken a real leap of faith with An Eyre of Mystery and the world of Literatia. She decided to explore what would happen if a reader–or in this case, an archivist–actually got lost in a great book. But when she travels through the portal into the world Jane Eyre, she finds it to be a topsy-turvy mess. Edward Rochester is facing a death sentence, and Gia has been tasked with finding out who really killed his wife so that Edward can go free, the book will reset to its original form, and Gia may return home. If you’d like to get a sample of the book, please check out this extended sneak peek (first five chapters) at https://BookHip.com/SFPWRLD. Author Links Gayle Leeson: https://www.gayleleeson.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GayleLeeson/ FB Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2295294234027608 Twitter: https://twitter.com/GayleTrent Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gayletrentleeson/?hl=en Purchase Links Amazon Books2Read BOOK BLAST PARTICIPANTS JULY 5, 2022 Ruff Drafts Nadaness In Motion I Read What You Write Reading Is My SuperPower Lisa Ks Book Reviews The Book Diva’s Reads Moonlight Rendezvous Maureen’s Musings Celticlady’s Reviews FUONLYKNEW Sapphyria’s Book Reviews #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Books Blog Books a Plenty Book Reviews Baroness Book Trove Christa Reads and Writes a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js Have you signed up to be a Tour Host? Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today! Additional Banners
BOOK BLAST

Self-Care Workbook for Non-Binary Teens by Michelle Mann

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Self-Care Workbook for Non-Binary Teens

Author and Publisher: Michelle Mann

Release Date:  April 1, 2022

Genre: LGBTQ non-fiction, self-help book

Themes: Non-Binary

Length: 89 pages

It is a standalone book.

Goodreads

Buy Links – Hardcover and Paperback

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Blurb 

Looking for skills to navigate sexual orientation and gender expression?

Tired of being defined by labels?


It’s no surprise the people on this journey of self-exploration need tender love, care, and a safe container to explore and express themselves.

The good news is – you can have that space to feel accepted, loved, and heard.

It’s only fair to release yourself from the restrictions of gender conformity and, instead, allow yourself to experiment with gender (or a lack thereof), as if you were an artist experimenting with a new medium.

“Self-Care Workbook for Non-Binary Teens” is an interactive workbook that has exactly what teens need to help them work through internalized negative messages, handle stress, build a community of support, and embrace their true self.

It’s time to discover more about who you are and who you might want to become now!

Inside these pages you will find:

  • Exactly what gender identity actually is;
  • Why understanding your gender identity is core to embracing your full being;
  • How to discover and begin living as your authentic self;
  • How to build unshakable confidence and resilience in a world filled with ignorance, inequality, and discrimination;
  • Practical advice with journaling prompts and space for reflection;
  • Mindfulness techniques for coming out, euphoria and dysphoria, building new friendships and navigating relationships with your friends and family;
  • And much more!


Whether you’ve been pondering big feelings and questions about your gender, or you’re just a little curious about it, the “Self Care Workbook for Non Binary Teens” will show you that there are endless ways to express yourself and that there’s no right or wrong way to identify.

You do NOT have to conform to a singular definition or narrative anymore!

You have the power to make changes and become your most authentic self – It’s your birthright!

If you’re ready to shed labels and identities that no longer serve you and your inner world and find the supportive community you’re destined to have…

Then waste no more time, scroll up and grab your copy now!

Excerpt 

STORIES FROM THE CLASS

As you read through the stories below, do any of them resonate with you? Maybe it’s not the whole identity, but only parts? That’s ok – that helps you to define who you are and how you want to identify.

Clarence is a genderqueer young adult who loves knitting and reading mystery books. They use the terms “genderqueer” and “non-binary” interchangeably when describing themselves. They’ve also accepted that as time goes on, they may find another name to express their identity.

Thomas is transmasculine. He is an adventurous guy who likes cooking, hiking, and movies. He is comfortable using he/him pronouns, and also uses they/them. Thomas knows that he can use either pronoun based on their preference.

Brit is in their late 30s and identifies as ‘agender’. They identify as a person instead of a specific gender, or a spot on the gender binary. They have a love of fashion and excel at personal expression. 

Ellie identifies as ‘neutrois’ and describes themselves as being gender neutral. Ellie loves taking walks in the park with their dog and is especially fond of the spring when they can see flowers bloom everywhere. Ellie knows other neutrois individuals who describe themselves as genderless.

Clair is an ‘autigender’ individual who thrives in their neurodiversity and linking it to their identity experience. In conversations with their friends and family, Clair sometimes refers to themselves as “neurogender” or “xenogender”. Clair loves teaching others about neurodiversity, listening to all kinds of music and reading comic books in their free time.

Clay is an ‘androgyne’ person who experiences both a masculine and feminine identity, sometimes simultaneously. Clay loves experimenting with the balance between their identities and the creativity that results from it. They are great at encouraging others to express themselves without fear or restraint.

Danny is an intersex individual who also identifies as genderfluid. They enjoy explaining the intersection of their biological sex and identity to their friends. In their free time, Danny enjoys classic video games, especially the older Mario games.

Ash is a ‘bigender’ person who has both a male and female identity. They’re an artist who loves using canvases to express their emotions and dreams. They choose to express each one as they please and enjoy combining both for unique expression.

About the Author 

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door…”

Michelle Mann is a native of New York City and holds a degree in psychology. She is a busy but happy mother of 4 and an author of self-help and parenting books that are designed to help stressed-out parents to make the most of their child’s formative years.

Her book, Parenting Pre-schoolers 2 to 5 Years Old, provides 20 tips for parents that are aimed at helping them deal with their child’s emotions and build effective lines of communication in what can often be the most challenging of times for parents, whether they are first-timers or have already experienced it and want to avoid making the same mistakes.

She hopes that the future will provide her with enough spare time to write even more self-help and parenting books, so that she can reach even more parents who are struggling with busy careers and family lives, enabling them to find the solutions that will help them to thrive.

Author Links

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your choice of ebook from author’s backlist

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BOOK BLAST

Symphony for Connor by Shane Ulrrein

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Symphony for Connor

Author: Shane Ulrrein

Publisher: Deep Desires Press

Cover Artist: DreamScape Cover Designs

Release Date: March 4, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance/Mystery

Tropes: Opposites attract

Themes: Coming of age, Gay College/ Tragic/Dark/Sad/Spicy Romance

Heat Rating: 4 out of 5 flames

Length: 60 510 words/207 pages

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Publisher’s note: Symphony for Connor contains scenes of suicidal ideation and the death of a main character.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

B & Noble (NOOK)  |  Smashwords  |  Google Play Books  |  Kobo 

David falls in love with Connor—a man in every way his opposite—but he can’t stay away, no matter how toxic this relationship becomes.

Blurb

“David Schoenberg is shy, nerdy, and has big dreams of becoming the next great composer. Those dreams seem to become reality when he is newly admitted to the Barnard School of Music, a selective academy for future musicians and artists.

It’s here that David meets and falls in love with fellow freshman, Connor Pfeif. Connor is handsome, a gifted composer, and the biggest flake in school. He’s everything the studious, hard-working David isn’t, and no matter how David feels about him, it seems Connor would never return that affection.

This all changes when the truth comes out after a wild party and David and Connor form a deeper bond than either of them has ever known.

But with this newfound love comes a dark side as he learns terrible truths about his new boyfriend—unfinished relationships, a history of reckless behavior, and suicidal tendencies. Things turn tragic and ugly, putting David to the ultimate test as he must decide if he can stand with the greatest love of his life.

Publisher’s note: Symphony for Connor contains scenes of suicidal ideation and the death of a lead character.”

Excerpt

“I was seated in front of a desk, playing with the keys on one of the lab keyboards, trying to create something, anything, for the next part of my symphony. My music notebook lay flat on the side ready to absorb all of my best ideas, but, still, nothing was coming to me. Many times, I’d stop playing and end up tapping the end of my pencil on my manuscript paper, racking my brains, my mind blank like the staves.

Earlier, I had come up with a great theme for my symphony, a melody that I’d played that sounded good and had wanted to repeat over and over in my piece. Yet, once I heard the tune again in my head, somehow, the very last note didn’t sound right to me.

I played the theme countless times, but, for some reason, I kept harping and insisting on another note. I had to play the whole damn A scale up on the piano but got stuck on the penultimate note. I played it again and again but didn’t finish. I sat here, straining hard in my chair, my eyes and eyebrows raised, trying to find it.

“It’s that last note,” I said aloud, angrily.

It was driving me crazy! At that moment, I wondered if Connor was having any composer problems like me with his project. Then again, he was the compositional genius in Barnard that I doubted he’d have any trouble writing an entire symphony. He was probably already done, smiling smugly at me with his good-looking face in my head.

Slowly, I began to picture my cute boyfriend, shirtless or maybe in his underwear. Or maybe naked and sprawled all over the piano in front of me, smiling, just like during that magical sleepover when we’d made love on his bed in his messy room. I was getting aroused and lusted over him, not even bothering to finish my project.

The other night, I had an erotic dream about Connor. He was standing naked in my shower, staring at me, while smoking a cigarette. My boyfriend had a longing, sensuous stare on his face, the water dancing all over his beautiful, bare body. Every trickle rode his alluring curves as they accentuated his divine nudity, my eyes following as they circled around his cute belly button then went down to his nether region.

There was a small window facing out from inside my shower that let in the daylight that shone on my attractive boyfriend. The bright light illuminated Connor’s boyish face, and I could almost touch his soft-looking skin that was wet from the shower.

“Fuck me, David,” he said in his sexy, breathy voice. “Please.”

It was that same seductive voice that always excited me, and it all soon became the biggest homoerotic dream of my entire life. I’d had plenty of other steamy dreams when I was a teen, but this was definitely the hottest one yet. I remembered the next morning when I’d woken up, the inside of my pajama bottoms had been moist, and I’d felt hot and sweaty, as though I’d actually taken a refreshing schpritz with that fuckable guy.

Then, all of a sudden, I began to feel warm and really turned on. I looked down and saw a small bulge from the crotch of my shorts that only seemed to grow bigger. Connor was giving me such a hard-on that I was so glad I was alone in the student lab!

Oh, shit, I wailed inside of my head. I’m soooo horny.

I needed Connor; I needed him right now so badly that it hurt. He’d really wanted me to fuck him in my dream and now, I wanted to fuck him. And I wanted it to feel exactly like that very special night when I’d lost my virginity to him. My boyfriend was like a catchy tune that got stuck in my head, no matter what I did to try to get him out.

But he was more like that elusive song you fell in love with and searched everywhere to find out what it was and who sang it. That infectious melody that you just begged to hear one more time and would do anything to own forever. He was like that. Connor was so addictive, and I just had to see him again and again. It was like tapping “Repeat” on that song from your playlist for the hundredth time, only you never get tired of it…”

About the Author

Shane Ulrrein is a life-long storyteller and first-time LGBT author currently living in Orange County, California, USA, who one day dreams of leaving his home in sunny Southern California for the wet, dreary weather of England.


Mr. Ulrrein has a Bachelor of Arts degree in music composition in California State University, Fullerton and is a proud member of the LGBT community. In his spare time, Mr. Ulrrein likes to draw, read, and write music that he hopes someday will be heard in all the great concert halls in the world.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website   |   Facebook   |  Twitter  |  Instagram

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BOOK BLAST

DEATH UNDER THE PERSEIDS BOOK BLAST

Death Under The Perseids (A Havana Mystery) by Teresa Dovalpage

About Death Under the Perseids

Death Under The Perseids (A Havana Mystery) Mystery Hispanic American Literature & Fiction 4th in Series Soho Crime (December 7, 2021) Hardcover : 336 pages ISBN-10 : 1641292164 ISBN-13 : 978-1641292160 Kindle ASIN : B08Y8DT7GL

There’s no such thing as a free cruise in Cuban American author Teresa Dovalpage’s addictively clever new Havana mystery.

 

Cuban-born Mercedes Spivey and her American husband, Nolan, win a five-day cruise to Cuba. Although the circumstances surrounding the prize seem a little suspicious to Mercedes, Nolan’s current unemployment and their need to spice up their marriage make the decision a no-brainer. Once aboard, Mercedes is surprised to see two people she met through her ex-boyfriend Lorenzo: former University of Havana professor Selfa Segarra and down-on-his-luck Spanish writer Javier Jurado. Even stranger: they also received a free cruise.

 

When Selfa disappears on their first day at sea, Mercedes and Javier begin to wonder if their presence on the cruise is more than coincidence. Mercedes confides her worries to her husband, but he convinces her that it’s all in her head.

 

However, when Javier dies under mysterious circumstances after disembarking in Havana, and Nolan is nowhere to be found, Mercedes scrambles through the city looking for him, fearing her suspicions were correct all along.

Praise for Death Under the Perseids “Dovalpage allows Mercedes a vivid, emotional tour of Havana as she explores the areas where she grew up and how the city still lives in her heart . . . Death Under the Perseids offers as many surprises as the meteor shower it is named after.” —Oline H. Cogdill, South Florida Sun Sentinel “From the start of Teresa Dovalpage’s Death Under the Perseids, a highly entertaining mystery set in Havana, there’s an ominous tone, a hint of something repressed beneath the main character’s narration . . . Like the Perseids meteor shower that once every hundred years or so lets us ‘look back across time’ in the universe, this trip to Havana forces Mercedes ‘with a biting awareness’ to confront her past.” —Carole E. Barrowman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “[A] refreshing and elusive Cuban crime novel.” —Jack Batten, The Toronto Star “[Death under the Perseids] has wonderful descriptions of mouth-watering food, Cuban architecture, history of the island, and the lifestyle of an average Cuban (in this case, Mercedes’ grandmother).” Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine “Beyond being a riveting and pleasurable read, Death Under the Perseids by Teresa Dovalpage provides an uncommon perspective on present-day Havana, one that is apolitical and unclouded by nostalgia . . . Savor the delectable food and evocative place details, the crafty plotting, and laugh-out-loud humor . . . Death Under the Perseids makes an outstanding contribution to the whodunit genre and to contemporary Latinx literature as a whole.” —Latino Book Review “The latest Havana Mystery won’t disappoint Dovalpage fans or newcomers alike. The combination of plot, setting and characters make for a compelling read.” Ms. Magazine “Dovalpage excels in her portrayal of old Havana.” —The Taos NewsDeath under the Perseids is much darker than Dovalpage’s three earlier mysteries . . . A must for the shelf.” —Kingdom Books “Highly captivating . . . If Agatha Christie was Cuban, she would have written this mystery . . . Teresa Dovalpage’s expertly penned mystery, Death under the Perseids, is a character-driven revenge thriller.” —Gumshoe Review “[An] engagingly escapist mystery.” —Everything Zoomer “[T]he last third of the novel [Death under the Perseids] delivers revelations like hammer blows. They’re well worth waiting for.” Booklist “Armchair travelers will appreciate the views of Havana through the eyes of Mercedes and her grandmother . . . Dovalpage remains a writer to watch.” Publishers Weekly “Sharply-plotted, highly readable, evocative, and timely—Teresa Dovalpage’s latest is her best yet. Death Under the Perseids is an author at the top of her game, and a must-read for mystery fans who love great locations paired with even better characters. I couldn’t put this book down.” —Alex Segura, acclaimed author of the Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery series and Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall “A twisty mystery filled with complex characters caught under a cloud of suspicion, Death Under the Perseids will keep you guessing until the end. Teresa Dovalpage transports readers to Havana on an ill-fated cruise where danger abounds.” Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba “In this tale of love and betrayal, Dovalpage reminds us that, much like the meteors that illuminate the night sky, so will the past catch up to cast a light on our darkest moments.” —Melissa Rivero, Author of The Affairs of the Falcóns

On Sale During the month of June at Amazon $2.99

About Teresa Dovalpage

Born in Havana, Cuba, Teresa Dovalpage has a PhD in Hispanic Literature from the University of New Mexico and is currently a Spanish professor at New Mexico Junior College. She is also the author of twelve novels, three collections of short stories, and three theater plays. Her Havana Mystery series, published by Soho Crime, debuted with the culinary mystery Death Comes in through the Kitchen (2018). The second novel, Queen of Bones (2019) was chosen by NBC News as one of the top 10 books by and about Latinos in 2019. The third and fourth — Death of a Telenovela Star (2020) and Death under the Perseids (2021) — are set on Caribbean cruises. You can find more about her on her English blog or Spanish blog.

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BOOK BLAST

THINKING IT OVER – BECCA SEYMOUR

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Book Title: Thinking It Over

Author: Becca Seymour

Publisher: Rainbow Tree Publishing

Cover Artist: BookSmith Designs

Release Date: June 13, 2020

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Small-town romance, age gap, low-angst

Themes: Reluctant to love

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 330 pages

It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.

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When a young teacher connects with the principal of his school, work and ex issues, the possibility of happiness and a chocolate Labrador called Penny means they have a lot to think over.

Blurb

Newly appointed teacher, Jasper Taylor, can’t believe his luck. After a year, he’s found a job with the possibility of a permanent contract, which finally allows him to put his teaching degree to good use. After meeting the silver-haired principal of the school, Jasper discovers his new position offers an additional temptation. He knows he should retreat, but who said avoiding attraction was easy, especially when the man he’s crushing on seems too good to be true?

Well-respected and focused on his career, Austin Harrison is at the top of his game. He’s turned a struggling school around, has finally put up boundaries with his demanding ex, and may just have secured full custody of his chocolate Lab, Penny. The appointment of the new English teacher, Jasper, threatens to unsettle the stability he’s been working towards. Austin’s attraction is immediate, heady, and oh so complicated. But does complicated mean he has to walk away?  

Excerpt

The past week had been a challenge. Not only was the honeymoon period over with a couple of my classes, which meant they were pushing me to see just how much it would take for me to crack, but the uncertainty between Austin and me left a bad taste in my mouth. Feeling ill at ease was never pleasant. Add in that we hadn’t managed more than a handful of text messages, and it made everything feel so much more difficult.

But then he’d kissed me.

When his own concern had stared right back at me, the turmoil making life so unpleasant had immediately eased. Not quite disappeared, as a conversation between the two of us was overdue, but as I pulled up outside his home, excitement tumbled through me.

The previous weekend away had been incredible, close to perfect even. It was only the appearance of his high-maintenance ex that had abruptly put an end to the bubble of happiness.

A sweet grin lit Austin’s features when he opened my car door, having arrived a few seconds before me.

“And who said chivalry was dead?” I said when I exited. “Thank you.” Sweet gestures were a surefire way of making me swoon, and from the softness in his gaze changing to heat, I figured he knew as much.

“My pleasure.” He reached out and took my hand, the connection pleasant and reassuring. “Be warned, Penny may pounce when she sees you.”

I laughed. “Is that right?”

“She’s been pining.”

I side-eyed him. “After three weeks of knowing me, I would imagine that’s a vast exaggeration.”

He shook his head and stopped, angling to stand before me, hand still clasping my own. “Sometimes all it takes is one meeting to know there’s a connection. Add in the next handful of times, and when you’re left smiling, your heart hammering in your chest, already counting down the time until you’ll see that person again, pining is a given.”

Swallowing to clear the dryness in my throat, I fought hard to maintain my composure. “Penny does smile a lot with her eyes.” The words came out breathily, not as flippant or even as jovial as I’d intended. But, in all fairness, beyond slamming my mouth to his, I was unsure how else to respond to his sweet words.

He nodded, his eyes searching mine. “She’s lucky that you came back,” he settled on.

While my heart flipped, my lips quirked. “I’m lucky that you’ve reminded me how good and right it feels to be here.”

 

About the Author

Becca Seymour is the #1 gay romance best seller of the True-Blue series. Known for “steamy and endearing” and “emotionally profound love stories” (InD’tale Magazine) her books have been nominated for multiple RONE Awards.

Becca lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, Becca’s life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers.

Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.

Author Links

https://linktr.ee/beccaseymour

 

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BOOK BLAST

Fagin’s Boy by Jackie North

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Book Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway: Fagin’s Boy By Jackie North

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Oliver & Jack, Book 1

In 1846 London, respectable young men do not fall for street thieves. This is the love story of Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger.

Oliver Twist has one desire: to own a bookshop and live a simple, middle-class life, far away from his workhouse-shadowed past. One thing stands in his way: Jack Dawkins–The Artful Dodger–who’s just returned to London and is looking for Fagin’s old gang.

Jack’s visits cause Oliver nothing but trouble, but he finds himself drawn, time and again, to their shared past, Jack’s unguarded honesty, and those bright, green eyes.

Oliver craves respectability, which he won’t find with a forbidden love. Can Jack convince Oliver that having one doesn’t mean losing the other?

A gay, m/m Victorian-era romance with grumpy/sunshine, hurt/comfort, opposites attract, emotional scars, and pure, sweet love. A little sweet, a little steamy, with a guaranteed HEA.

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Excerpt:

This excerpt is taken from a point in the book, early on, when Oliver Twist sees Jack Dawkins (the Artful Dodger) again for the first time in five years. Jack wants to know what happened to Fagin and the gang, and Oliver, horrified, doesn’t want anything to do with Jack.

***

Oliver walked along the pavement, his chin ducked into his red scarf, the snow almost up to his ankles, until his heart settled in his breast and his rage dulled to a low ache in the shivery air. The row of white townhouses, all neat and tidy, looked cream-colored against the smudged sky, their green-painted ironworks hidden by layers of snow. The world was white all around, a thin swirl about his head and dark flakes coming down from the smoking chimneys, black against the newly laid white. There was, at this hour in the afternoon, yet a gleam of sunlight slanting over the chimney pots, silver through the clouds. The street was not very busy, as was typical during the late afternoon hours, especially when a deep cold was coming on. All the deliveries had been made, tomorrow’s milk and eggs ordered, and toast and tea were being prepared in houses all up and down the tidy street. People were inside, as they should be, but Oliver needed to be outside. The townhouse was too full of memories of good things, many of which he’d taken for granted, in a way. Not that he was ever less than mindful of always having a full stomach. Or that his boots were sturdy and without holes, that his stockings were woolen and thick against the cold. And, best of all, he always had books aplenty to read and considerable amounts of time to read them. When Oliver got to the corner of Old Church Street, he turned in the direction away from the church and the dark grey workhouse, not wanting to be faced with the reminder of the funeral that morning nor the dark, towering walls that represented his past. He could go into Elm Street Park, where the path was likely to be shoveled and trampled. Though now the dark treetops were humped in soft white, in springtime the path was kept private by boughs of willows and thickets and smelled of greenery and flowers. Oliver determined he would think of that, instead of the snow that now bowed branches and lumped over shrubbery. He thought maybe that the snow would forever remind him of Uncle Brownlow, catching a chill, growing weaker, the fever taking him, and then this emptiness. Surely spring would come. Surely the memories would fade into something more pleasant than the ache in his heart. Oliver walked along the street till he got to the path that wended its way through the park. He faced the wind as he went; it was prudent to do this, for then he would be able to walk home with the wind at his back and his face turned away from the cold as he retreated from his memories. But for now, he walked face in the cold, shoulders back, braced against what might come. The trail beneath the snow was a little slippery, but there was enough traction from stones and branches and roots of trees to help keep him upright. A gust of snow caught an exposed part of his neck, and his cheeks were burning with cold. A group of men with shovels over their shoulders came walking toward him on the path. Their boots were thick and their clothes were thick, but they were bare-headed, their faces gleaming with sweat from their efforts to clear snow. As they walked, the heads of their shovels knocked snow from the upper branches, and they seemed neither to notice nor care upon whom the snow fell. Oliver hesitated on the path, and then, at the last moment, jumped out of their way, to the edge of the path, shivering as a face full of snow caught him anyway. Sputtering, he wiped his face with his gloves. He should get back to the funeral reception anyhow, before he was missed. Even though there was really no one to miss him now, and the reception was mostly full of conversation of the idle type he’d never much cared for, there were expectations of propriety and guests waiting. He felt a hand on his arm and jerked backward. “Leave me be,” he said, low, almost muttering. “I’ve got it, I say.” “Leave you be, Nolly?” said a voice, using the pet name that no one had called him in years. “That’s all anyone’s ever done, is leave you be.” The voice was close, and Oliver could smell small beer and unwashed skin and something familiar that made him freeze. He did not know that voice, and yet he did. He shrank inside his greatcoat, but the hand jerked him again and pushed him against a tree, where the snow rattled down and obscured his vision again even as he opened his eyes. When he could see through the curtain of snow, there, to accompany a voice from long ago, was a face from memory, five years on. The face was thin, hollow-cheeked, the skin sallow, as though fading from being sunburnt, with snapping, bright green eyes, that rough face grown into itself. It was, impossibly so, the face of the Artful Dodger, also known to his more intimate acquaintances as Jack Dawkins, back from the grave, back, back from wherever he’d been. And he’d found Oliver. “Oh,” said Oliver. “Oh.” A prickly feeling rose along the back of his neck and along his scalp, and he was cold all over. He felt as though something had punched him in the gut, a deep blow that sent his whole body reverberating with shock waves that made him reel, unsteady, on his feet. In spite of this, all of a sudden part of him flickered with the memories of Jack from so long ago. Jack, taking Oliver by the hand on a crowded High Street in Barnet; Jack acquiring ham and bread, and feeding Oliver with it till Oliver’s stomach had been as full as it had ever been, more full than he could ever remember. And then how Jack had pulled him through the streets of Barnet and Islington, to the thickness of London, darting across posh, wide boulevards, and trotting down rackety-packety back lanes full of sewage and open doorways with dark figures looming inside. There was, as well, the memory of Jack’s touch in Fagin’s den. Jack’s hands pulling him back, Jack putting his body slightly in front of Oliver’s when Fagin ranted, waving his iron fork about. Jack, with his hands in Oliver’s hair, or patting his cheek, stroking his arm. Jack had been a constant part of that time, his hands leaving a sensory memento of those days so long ago. The echoes of which Oliver realized he were now stirring inside of him, and which he did not quite know what to do with. And then, sometime along when Oliver had been snatched off the streets by Nancy and Bill Sikes, Jack had disappeared, never to be seen again. No one had ever told him what had happened to Jack, and Oliver had never known whom to ask. And yet here Jack was, cutting a bright figure in the snow, dapper in a new greatcoat that was no doubt, no doubt, stolen from some fine establishment, where the staff were, even yet, quite possibly peering through the racks and crates and boxes, trying to figure out where the coat had gone. They’d probably never even seen Jack, neither coming nor going. Oliver thought to say a word, and he opened his mouth to say it, but his confusion over whether it should be of welcome or recrimination stopped him. Jack was not his friend; that finely drawn illusion had been shattered some time after Jack had dragged him into a den of thieves. Oliver had been taught how to pick pockets and how to break into homes. And yet. Jack had been the first person to show him any real kindness. In the midst of Oliver’s exhaustion after his walk from Hardingstone and his confusion as to what to do next, Jack had taken Oliver under his wing, fed him, had given him a smile and a pat on the head, and Oliver had been so grateful, so unbelievably grateful. Yet, it was hard to separate what had happened on the High Street at Barnet from what had come later. Jack Dawkins had found the life of a thief a grand one; in his mind, it was something to be grateful for. So he had not meant— But now, Jack’s eyes were narrow, and his thin face was shadowed and grimy from cold and exposure. With a snap, he shoved Oliver against the tree, sending snow to sift inside the red scarf folded about his neck. “You’re goin’ to tell me what I want to know,” Jack said. His teeth were gritted together, and the accommodating smile, which had flitted among Oliver’s memories through the past five years, was nowhere to be seen. Lurching forward, Oliver tried to push past, but Jack caught him, the breadth of his shoulders creating a barrier. The group of men who’d been shoveling snow was too far gone, and there was no one else near the little copse in the park, no one to help. When he’d gotten snatched by Bill and Nancy, he’d shouted, and although there’d been plenty to hear, no one had believed him. This time, there was no one even to hear. “Let me go, Jack,” said Oliver. His teeth were chattering. He wanted to tell himself it was from the cold, only his knees felt as though they’d lost bone and were ready to give way beneath him at any moment. “I won’t tell anyone you’re here, I won’t, promise.” “Tell anyone what, then?” asked Jack. He pushed Oliver hard against the trunk of the tree with cold, gloveless hands, his smile showing the tips of his teeth. “I’m here on orders of the Queen an’ all; got papers an’ everythin’. Been hextricated an’ that. Five years, served me time.” “Extricated from where?” Oliver had no idea what Jack was talking about, and yet it seemed that Jack assumed he did. He didn’t correct Jack that the word hextricated was pronounced extricated; it wouldn’t help, and Jack would hardly appreciate the difference, anyway. “Got shipped back, by orders of the Queen. Been deported to Australia, to the colonies, haven’t I, but now I’m back. On good behavior, no less.” Jack smirked, still pressing Oliver against the tree. “They don’t let you come back; they send you there and you never come back,” said Oliver, his jaw tight. He couldn’t believe that Jack had actually been deported, let alone returned. “And yet here I am,” said Jack, smiling fully now, showing more teeth, his green eyes flashing. Oliver’s rage during the funeral reception, which had begun to turn into grief, sprang anew within him. His heart raced, as it had so many times in the past, pushing against his breastbone in a painful, sharp way, as though battering its way through his chest. But Jack did not notice or care as he held Oliver’s shoulders. And even though it seemed Jack did this as if by afterthought, no matter how hard Oliver twisted and pushed, he couldn’t move. “I come to London three days ago an’ go straight to the bottom of Saffron Hill. The Three Cripples was there, but no Fagin, no gang,” said Jack. The words came in a blast from Jack’s chapped lips. “I asked; no one knows the story. I go to the other hideouts, the perches, the dens, an’ then ask around some more. I hang about the Three Cripples till they almost throw me to the peelers. But no one’s seen anythin’ of Fagin’s gang, an’ no one will tell me exactly what happened, why they’re all dead an’ gone. An’ no one’d ever heard of me neither. It was as if I t’weren’t never there.” The words and the grip took Oliver back in an instant, as if the intervening years had never been. As if the last door he’d stepped through had not been the cream-trimmed one at the townhouse on Old Church Street, but the one to the room in Fagin’s backup den, where Oliver had been kept forever. Kept in semi-darkness and utter silence and fed a meager diet and given books about criminals to read until he’d all but broken. “Let me go, let me go,” said Oliver. He could hardly breathe to get enough air in his lungs, and the words came out thin. Jack laughed a little under his breath and seemed only amused by this rather than moved, though he stepped back and dropped his hands from Oliver’s shoulders, as though to let him pass. Oliver took a single step, and then, in a blur, he was on the ground, shoulders and back pushed into the snow, almost smothering from the weight of Jack on top of him. Jack held Oliver’s face between two hands. “You tell me,” said Jack, low, snarling, his breath warm, shocking, on Oliver’s face. “You tell me where they are.” Oliver could hardly move. Dizzy from lack of air, he could only blink the snow from his eyes and stare at Jack. When he tried to inhale, his breath throttled in his throat, and Jack still didn’t seem to care. “Who?” Oliver managed. “Who?” He couldn’t imagine who Jack was looking for after all these years. “Them! Everyone! Like I told you! I’m lookin’ for ’em.” Jack slammed Oliver’s head deeper into the snow until the white walls cupping around his ears threatened to collapse in on him and smother him. “Charley, Nancy, even Bill Sikes. And where’s Fagin? Fagin!” Oliver’s eyes fluttered half-closed. He didn’t want to be the one to tell Jack, Jack who had come so recently back to England and didn’t know. The newspapers depicting the events were five years old, and even if Jack could find them, Jack’s reading skills had never been a known thing. But to tell him? To be the one? Jack would surely kill him then. Oliver shook his head and clamped his mouth shut, and was shocked to feel Jack’s fist slamming into his face. He inhaled snow up his nose and coughed and thrashed as Jack held him down. His struggles only shifted Jack’s body till Jack’s legs were between his own, warm and heavy, shoving, part of Jack’s body pressing like an iron brand against the inside of his thigh. “Tell me,” said Jack, thrusting forward. “Tell me or I’ll bury you in snow.” It would be foolish to doubt this. Oliver felt the warmth on his face and was sure his nose was bleeding as his jaw throbbed. The press of Jack’s chest on his was pushing him further into the snow, and whether Jack buried him or used more of his fists, it didn’t matter. Oliver was already marked up, and he was to see Mr. McCready the next week— Oliver pushed up, growling, and for a second, this seemed to surprise Jack, who pulled back, only to slam down again as he punched Oliver right on the mouth, sending hot blood from his mouth to sear on the snow. Gasping, Oliver sank back, trying to shift his legs so that Jack’s weight didn’t press so close against him. Jack brought his face very near Oliver’s. He wasn’t looking at Oliver directly; it was as if he didn’t care what Oliver looked like. He breathed through his nose, and when he spoke, his lips almost brushed against Oliver’s. “You’ll tell me,” he said. His breath skittered across Oliver’s skin. “Or I’ll bury you.” “Jack,” said Oliver, unable to breathe. “I’ll make you,” said Jack. He drew back his fist. “No, wait,” said Oliver. He turned his face away. “I’ll tell you.” It would be useless to try to explain to Jack why Oliver mustn’t look like he’d been getting into street fights. Why it was so important that he get away from Mr. Grimwig and start his new life, start working toward that bookshop he’d always wanted. He couldn’t tell Jack any of that because Jack was likely to use that knowledge somehow, to control Oliver and make him turn back into one of Fagin’s boys. To make him sink to the level of the street, to the throng and pall of those who barely had enough to eat, and where there would certainly be no quiet corner in which to read. Too much was at stake. He’d tell Jack what he needed to know, and then Jack would leave him in peace. Jack moved. Half his weight was off Oliver now, and Oliver felt the relief in his chest, gasping with it, even though Jack’s legs were still tangled with his, sending some humming thing moving through his stomach. But more, he shivered with the touch of Jack’s skin, warm against the coldness the snow had left behind, the tiny roughness at the ends of his fingertips against Oliver’s jaw, the heat and pulse beneath Jack’s skin. “You goin’ t’start talkin’?” asked Jack. “Or do I get to shove my fist down your throat?” “It’s difficult to begin,” said Oliver. On top of shaking with cold, he could hardly believe that he was having this conversation, which threw him back in time, back to when he’d been a child of the streets, a poor orphan that nobody wanted and could never love. Oh, Fagin had once had use for him and his pretty face, that was certain, but it was for his own gain and never for Oliver’s. “Try.” “You have to promise—” “Promise what?” “I wasn’t there, Jack,” said Oliver. “I wasn’t there for any of this, you have to understand it, you have to—” Jack tightened his fist; Oliver shied back and put his hands up to his face, but Jack’s hand upon him was firm. Snow flew up around Oliver’s arms like white lace, beautiful but cutting and cold. “I can’t tell you more about where they’ve gone,” Oliver said, thinking to take the gentle road, something comforting and soothing, as might be said, even regarding the likes of Fagin and his gang. “Unless it is to the hereafter, and God speed to them.” “What the fuckall does that mean?” Jack spat this, as if his temper had been frayed by hours of attempting to lure the truth out of him rather than only two moments in the drifts of snow. “Something happened to Fagin’s gang,” said Oliver. His lips felt numb. “I don’t know exactly, but that’s what Uncle Brownlow told me. It was in the newspapers, but that was five years ago, and they never let me see them. They said it would be too much for me, after—well, after everything.” With a shove, Jack pressed close, his hand clenched around Oliver’s jaw. “I know you know more, an’ you better tell me quick, or—” “Wait!” Oliver took a breath. Cold air whistled down his neck where the red scarf gaped. “It all happened so fast, you realize. Once Nancy was killed, the hunt was on, and the courts, they took it personally, having let Fagin’s gang go on so long. So they hanged him. They hanged all of them, as far as I know.” “Where?” “Where what?” “Where did they hang him?” Then it became clear. Where a criminal was hanged was markedly important; Oliver remembered this from the books on criminals that Fagin had made him read. This, then, was the crux of it for Jack. “Fagin was hanged at Newgate,” said Oliver, as plainly as he could. “I went to see him, to pray—” Jack slammed Oliver in the chest with the flat of his hand, then pulled him close again, breathing right into Oliver’s face. Cold snow slithered down his neck; Jack’s hot breath simmered against his cheek. A low, cold wind whistled around them both, the dark branches stirring overhead, sifting down snow as delicate as though from angels’ wings. “Prayers? For Fagin? From you?” Jack looked white, his eyes enormous dark spots, the breath winged out of him, as though he’d been struck in the gut. “I stayed with him to give him some comfort,” said Oliver as quickly as he could. Only it had been so long ago, and Oliver had buried much of it, and couldn’t dig up enough of it fast enough. But he had to try. Something, somehow— “It was a horrible place. There were two guards outside of Fagin’s cell—” “Of course there would be two, for someone as dangerous and canny as ol’ Fagin,” said Jack, arching his neck proudly. “Go on.” Now Oliver understood, and he stopped thinking about what he could recall and instead began to imagine what, exactly, it was that Jack wanted to hear. Jack wanted the romantic story of it and not Christian platitudes, that was plain enough. “It was one of the most secure cells, guarded by the warden, an important cell,” Oliver continued. He focused on Jack as this news, only slightly false, fell into the cold, raw air. “Because he was an important prisoner, of course.” Jack nodded, some color coming back to his cheeks. “Then what?” Oliver considered the reality of what had actually happened that day. Fagin had gone mad with terror, had crouched on his pallet, shivering and shaking and spouting nonsense. He’d continually muttered about a man who should have his throat slit, someone who had betrayed them all. Someone who had peached. This last was the worst possible sin for anyone of Fagin’s ilk, so Oliver could well imagine that the person in question should have his throat slit. At least according to Fagin. And, probably, according to Jack, who was waiting for more of the story. Oliver swallowed, settled his chin, and determined to make the best of it. “He didn’t want my prayers,” said Oliver, the lies, like the words in a story, coming more easily to him now. “The major of the guards had questioned him for some time, Fagin told me, wanting to know details and names, but even on promise of a lighter sentence, Fagin never gave anyone up. He waited, upright and strong, for his fate.” At least part of the story was true. Fagin had been too busy trying to pretend that Oliver was going to escort him out of Newgate, as innocent as you please, to even come close to naming names. Except there had been that one name, new and unknown to Oliver at the time, and which now remained firmly out of reach. It didn’t matter, anyway. At that point, the guards hadn’t cared who Fagin had been able to mention, so in effect, he’d peached on no one. “Of course not,” said Jack. “I always knew he’d go like that.” Jack’s eyes were blind to Oliver now, as though he was miles away, back where he’d come from, back in some moment of his own past. He made a small gesture with his hand toward Oliver, as if asking for something. “What is it?” said Oliver. Jack focused on him then, but didn’t say anything. “That’s all I know.” Oliver said this as quickly as he could. “Something happened, I don’t know what, but Bill killed Nancy. A mob chased him through the streets and he was shot. Along the way, as he ran, he must have led constables to the various hideouts, and they were able to track their way to Fagin, and—” Jack pulled his hand away, and he sat back on his heels, the edges of his coat digging dark trenches in the soft snow that sparkled whiteness all around. He pulled Oliver to sitting but kept him close by, hip deep in snow, and banged his fist gently on his own bent knee. “Hanged.” Jack’s voice quivered, and it seemed as though he were trembling. Teeth chattering, Oliver looked up at Jack and tried to shift to a more comfortable position in the snow, but Jack gave him a shove and refused to let him move. “Stop,” said Jack. His face was the color of iced paper. “Fagin was hanged because of you. You an’ your snivelin’ face an’ your stupid, pious—” Oliver felt the rush of his temper, like flames shooting out of his belly. He rolled to his side and shifted to his feet, ready to be away from Jack and his fists, poised, ready to run. The snow flew about him, and his red scarf fluttered loose about his neck. “I wasn’t there for any of it!” He almost screamed this. He had been there for part of it, but if Jack was going to keep at him like this, then maybe Jack did deserve to know that his precious mentor, his leader, went so mad in the head that he thought Oliver was there to take him away from that horrible place. Fagin had kept babbling about someone who had sent them all to the gallows, leaving Oliver unable to make sense of any of it. “I was in the country, I was at church, I was studying my new textbooks; I simply wasn’t there.” Jack bent low and scooped up some snow with his bare palm and placed it on Oliver’s jaw. Without thought, Oliver knocked his hand away, making the snow, already dappled with blood from Oliver’s nose, fly and drift down anew. “Stay away from me,” said Oliver, low, his voice rough from the distaste of having his past, this past, barrel its way into his life just when he was taking a new direction and starting over again. He felt rough, as well, from his shock at the unexpected but not unfamiliar touch of Jack’s hand, the gentle kindness, the casual intimacy of the gesture. “You stay away from me or I’ll call the constable and explain to him exactly who you are and what you were arrested for.” Oliver could almost taste his disdain for Jack. “And this time? They’ll carry you off for good.” Something flickered across Jack’s face, and there was a twitch along the edge of his mouth. Oliver knew he merely imagined he saw the hurt there because Jack had been on the streets most of his life; no hard words could ever hurt him. If Jack was wounded, it was because Oliver had threatened to break the code, the one that dictated that none of Fagin’s boys ever peached. Jack straightened up and took a step back, stumbling against the roots buried beneath the white lumps of snow. “As you wish, Nolly,” he said, smirking. “I’ll leave you be, but you know, Fagin’s boys got to stick together, help each other out. Find good jobs to get to the glittery stuff an’ that.” Jack had always been happier in a group, and if he couldn’t find his gang, he’d be all alone. But then, it wouldn’t be too long till Jack had another gang, would it. Though that was none of Oliver’s concern, and bad business besides. “I’m not one of Fagin’s boys,” said Oliver. “And I’ve got nothing for you. Nothing. Stay away from me, or I will call the law.” “You won’t do that, Nolly,” said Jack, not at all worried, it seemed. “Good-bye, Jack,” said Oliver. He picked up his red scarf that had fallen in the snow and started to push past Jack, stepping back on the path, shaking snow from his shoulders as he went. He could sense Jack standing there, watching him, but he didn’t turn back to meet his gaze. Those old days were gone, and Oliver wanted nothing to do with them.
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JackieNorthBySarahJoChreene

About the Author:

Jackie North has been writing stories since grade school and spent years absorbing the mainstream romances that she found at her local grocery store. Her dream was to someday leave her corporate day job behind and put her English degree to good use and write romance novels, because for years she’s had a never-ending movie of made-up love stories in her head that simply wouldn’t leave her alone.

As fate would have it, she discovered m/m romance and decided that men falling in love with other men was exactly what she wanted to write books about. In this dazzling new world, she is now putting stories to paper as fast as her fingers can type. She creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)

She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.

Connect with Marie: Website – http://www.jackienorth.com/ Newsletter – https://www.subscribepage.com/JackieNorthNewsletter Pintrest – https://www.pinterest.com/jackienorthauthor/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jackie_north Amazon: amazon.com/author/jackienorth Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jackienorthMM


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BOOK BLAST

SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT! by Tonya Bolden




Publisher : National Geographic Kids (January 4, 2022)
Language : English
Hardcover : 144 pages
ISBN-10 : 1426372361
ISBN-13 : 978-1426372360

From award-winning author Tonya Bolden comes a biography of the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Black woman to run for president with a major political party: Shirley Chisholm.


Before there was Barack Obama, before there was Kamala Harris, there was Fighting Shirley Chisholm. A daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Chisholm developed her political chops in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This “pepper pot,” as she was known, was not afraid to speak up for what she thought was right. While fighting for a better life for her constituents in New York’s 12th Congressional District, Chisholm routinely fought against sexism and racism in her own life and defied the norms of the time. As the first Black woman in the House and the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party, Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for those who would come after her.

Extensively researched and reviewed by experts, this inspiring biography traces Chisholm’s journey from her childhood in a small flat in Brooklyn where she read books with her sisters to Brooklyn College where she got her first taste of politics. Readers will cheer Chisholm on to victory from the campaign trail to the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, where she fought for fair wages, equal rights, and an end to the Vietnam War. And while the presidential campaign trail in 1972 did not end in victory, Shirley Chisholm shows us how you can change a country when you speak up and speak out.

You can purchase Speak Up, Speak Out! at the following Retailers:
 

Photo Content from Tonya Bolden

Tonya Bolden is a critically acclaimed award-winning author and recipient of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C.’s Nonfiction Award. She has authored and edited more than 40 books, including Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl (Coretta Scott King Honor book), M.L.K.: Journey of a King (NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children), and George Washington Carver (Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Award and Cleveland Public Library Sugarman Award). Acclaimed for her “skilled storytelling,” “lively text,” and “impeccably-researched” topics, Bolden has received numerous starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Bolden, who loved reading and writing as a child, earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s degree from Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

    

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

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BOOK BLAST

GHOST AGENTS REVELATIONS

Ghost Agents: Revelations (The Ghost Agents Trilogy) by Nita DeBorde

About Ghost Agents: Revelations

Ghost Agents: Revelations (The Ghost Agents Trilogy) Paranormal Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series Mabelonia Press (March 18, 2022) ~300 Pages Digital ASIN : B09QJCVY4Z

A new mystery to pursue … a growing threat… Will she be able to stop them?

 

Claire Abelard has never been normal. She has always been able to see and communicate with energy projections, or the entities more commonly known as ghosts. As an agent of the Bureau for Historical Preservation, her abilities come in handy on the job, but they tend to complicate every other aspect of her life.

 

Now, four months after a series of world-shattering events in Galveston, Claire’s life is still in turmoil. No one at Bureau headquarters in Boston will even acknowledge the existence of the sinister secret organization known as The Syndicate, but Claire is convinced they are behind the disappearances of dozens of rogue energy projections.

 

When Claire hears that rogues in New Orleans are behaving strangely, she immediately joins the investigation. As she and her fellow agents unravel the new mystery, they discover The Syndicate has more ominous plans for the rogues than simply making them disappear… and it appears they have plans for Claire as well.

 

Ghost Agents: Revelations is a cozy, paranormal mystery that continues the story of Claire and her work with Bureau for Historical Preservation.

About Nita DeBorde

Nita DeBorde is a published author and teacher from Houston, TX. Writing and teaching are her two major passions, though traveling and being dog-mom to a crazy Staffordshire-Boxer mix named Mabel are high on the list as well. Nita has taught high school French for more than 20 years and absolutely loves her “day job” job (about 95% of the time). She loves to travel, and not surprisingly, France is her favorite destination, though her home state of Texas runs a close second. She is also a huge history buff, which comes through in her fiction writing, and particularly in her latest novel, Ghost Agents, a genre-defying, cozy paranormal mystery with a little sci-fi and romance thrown into the mix. Ghost Agents: Revelations, is the 2nd book in the Ghost Agents Trilogy. Nita’s first novel, Project Lachesis, is currently available in both Kindle and hardcopy format from Amazon.com. Author Links: Websitehttp://www.nitadeborde.com Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/debordewriter (@debordewriter) Twitter@DebordeNita GoodReads Author Page – https://www.goodreads.com/ndeborde Purchase Link – Amazon a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js Blast Participants BookishKelly2020 Socrates Book Reviews Maureen’s Musings Cozy Up With Kathy Baroness’ Book Trove I Read What You Write Brooke Blogs Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Sapphyria’s Book Reviews #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog The Book’s the Thing Celticlady’s Reviews Lady Hawkeye FUONLYKNEW Books Blog Novels Alive Have you signed up to be a Tour Host? Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today! Additional Banners