It’s the first Sunday of the month, so here’s my To Review list. I have not one, not two, but FOUR books to talk with you about this December!
Three are Fiction (two novels and a short story), and one is a guide. So, which are they?
Junkyard Heart – Porthkennack, Book 7
Note: The books follow different couples so you could read this one even if you haven’t read Books 1-6.
Author: Garrett Leigh
Themes & Genres: Contemporary LGBT Fiction, Romance
WARNING: Mature Content
Tired of the London rat race and the heartbreak that comes with it, photographer Jas Manning returns to Porthkennack, the Cornish seaside town where he spent every childhood summer on his father’s farm. Resigned to year-round rain, wind, and homemade jam, he’s sorely unprepared for the impact that artsy carpenter Kim Penrose has on his heart.
Kim’s free-loving reputation precedes him, and he’s as generous with his inked-up body as he is with his time. The sex is hot, the easy friendship even better, and Jas’s time with him building his family’s new farmhouse canteen is everything Jas was missing in his empty city life.
But Kim’s carefree existence isn’t as simple as it appears. He’s worked hard to vanquish his demons and build his dreams, but the devil on his shoulder is ruthless, and when it comes to call, their happy bubble bursts like it was never there at all. The canteen opening looms, but Kim is gone in more ways than one, and it’s down to Jas to shore up Kim’s soul and convince him that he deserves his place in Jas’s heart.
Date of my review: Monday, December 04
Add Junkyard Heart to your Goodreads shelf (link takes you straight to the book)
Wanting – Wanting, Book 1
Author: Piper Vaughn
Themes & Genres: Short Story, Gay Fiction, Romance
WARNING: Mature Content
Jonah Beckett has been in love with his older brother’s best friend, George “Laurie” DeWitt, since he was thirteen-years-old. When his boyfriend, Dirk, breaks up with him for refusing to put out, Jonah uses his heartbreak over the situation as an excuse to ask Laurie to teach him all about sex before he starts college in the fall. Problem is, he made Dirk up, and Jonah has no idea what will happen when Laurie finally finds out the truth.
Date of my review: Sunday, December 09
Add Wanting to your Goodreads shelf (link takes you straight to the book)
Author: Robin Reardon
Themes & Genres: LGBTQ YA/NA, family, religion, acceptance
Something is drawing seventeen-year-old Jesse Bryce toward the community of Pagans who live in “the village,” just outside his rural Oklahoma town. Maybe it’s that he has a crush on Griffin Holyoke, a tall, dark-haired boy with a tree tattooed all up his back. Or maybe it’s that the Pagans accept Jesse for who he is, unlike his family—or his church, where he hears that being gay is a sin.
After a man from the village is murdered while trying to prevent an assault on a girl from the town, Jesse’s confusion at the town’s unsympathetic reaction inspires him to set a mission for himself: to build a bridge of acceptance between the town and the village.
As Jesse defies his parents and continues to visit the village, he witnesses mysterious rituals that haunt him with their beauty and intensity. And he falls in love with one enigmatic, mercurial Pagan who opens his eyes to a whole new world.
This first-person story explores what can happen when we make conclusions about others based on too little information, or on the wrong information. Whether we’re misunderstanding each others’ religions or each others’ sexual orientation, everyone benefits from learning the truth. And everyone benefits from forgiveness.
Date of my review: Sunday, December 16
Add Throwing Stones to your Goodreads shelf (link takes you straight to the book)
Romancing the Beat – How to Write Kissing Books, Book 1
Author: Gwen Hayes
Themes & Genres: Writing Guide
What makes a romance novel a romance? How do you write a kissing book?
Writing a well-structured romance isn’t the same as writing any other genre—something the popular novel and screenwriting guides don’t address. The romance arc is made up of its own story beats, and the external plot and theme need to be braided to the romance arc—not the other way around.
Told in conversational (and often irreverent) prose, Romancing the Beat can be read like you are sitting down to coffee with romance editor and author Gwen Hayes while she explains story structure. The way she does with her clients. Some of whom are regular inhabitants of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.
Romancing the Beat is a recipe, not a rigid system. The beats don’t care if you plot or outline before you write, or if you pants your way through the drafts and do a “beat check” when you’re revising. Pantsers and plotters are both welcome. So sit down, grab a cuppa, and let’s talk about kissing books.
Date of my review: Sunday, December 23
Add Romancing the Beat to your Goodreads shelf (link takes you straight to the book)
Have you read any of these books?
What did you think of them?
Share in the comments!