Saturday, May 5, 2018

Timmy's Review of Mia Kerick's "The Weekend Bucket List"!

I want to thank everyone who reads this review. I pride myself on always giving an honest review no matter who the author is, even if s/he is my friend. It’s important to me that I give people my honest thoughts because, as a teen, other teens look to my reviews to see if it’s a book they might like to read; and parents look to see if it is a good book for their kids to read. I want there never to be any surprises. Also, I work hard on not giving spoilers away. But this review may have a few spoilers because I feel it’s necessary to explain my feelings on the book.

Mia is one of my favorite people, both as an author and as a person, so this was a hard review for me to write. As always, the writing was great! I love the many ways in which she pulls her readers in with the stories she creates. Mia has a way of telling a story so you feel you are in the book with the characters.

This book was not really for me, but that doesn’t mean others won’t love it. I will explain my concerns in this review and the things I liked, and then you can decide for yourself if you feel the book is for you.

First, let me say I love the concept behind the book. A book about deep friendship and not romance is new to me. I like that this book was about three older kids learning about themselves and what their friendship means to them. That is an important life skill that even I am still working on!

My concerns about this book has to do with recommending it to teens and preteens who are still in school. I feel like the bucket list that they follow would cause kids to believe they need to do these things to be “normal.” If they never did anything on the list, they would still be normal. If I was to follow the logic of the characters from this book, I would not be considered normal. That is hard for me because it has taken me YEARS to believe I am normal. I don’t want any kid who reads this book to believe they are abnormal because they haven’t done any of these things.

Next, I’m a good student. I spend all my time either in school, at track practice, or doing homework. I know there are things I’m missing out on by doing this, but it’s worth it to me for the future I hope to have. I want to be someone important in the future and help people in some way. Again, if I follow the logic in this book, I would not be a good student because I would be concentrating on doing other things—like things on this bucket list. You can still do all the things on this bucket list AND be a good student.

Finally, about half the list contains good things to do, but the other half worries me. I cannot recommend things like getting drunk, or getting naked in public. To me, those decisions not only should wait until I’m older, but they are things that could get me into trouble!

I understand that it is a work of fiction and not a life manual, but I read books to learn, gain knowledge, and hope. I read this hoping to identify with the kids in the story and for them to help me understand that I’m normal (even if it is fiction).

Here’s the bucket list with my comments in parentheses.

          1. Go skinny-dipping (Illegal).
          2. Stay out all night (Not safe and can really worry people if they don’t know where you are).
          3. Face a fear (This is a great goal!).
          4. Sleep under the stars (I would love to do this in a safe environment).
          5. Take a road trip (This sounds like fun!).
          6. Get drunk (Not only is this illegal but not a good idea. I grew up with a father who drank a lot and it was always hard to feel safe around him. Alcohol dependency comes with stress, and it is always stressful in school no matter who you are). 
          7. Have a first kiss (This is a great goal if you feel ready and safe with the person).
          8. Run naked on the beach (Illegal).
          9. Sneak into a movie (Illegal and can leave you with a record if caught and prosecuted). 
        10. Spend twenty-four hours with no electronics (Wow! This is a good one but would be hard to do if you are still in school—almost all homework requires internet in some way). 
        11. Get pierced and tattooed (Never get a piercing by someone who is not a professional. It can be dangerous. And being tattooed before 18 is not legal for the person doing the tattoo).
        12. Say thank you to someone (Well this is something everyone should always do, especially to people who have made a positive difference in our lives in any way). 

So, you can see why I have a few concerns. I do not want to recommend to any kid that they need to do these things to be normal. However, if that person can read this and KNOW it is fiction and not take it as a life guide to be normal in HS, then I think they will like the book.

The deep friendship angle of the book is really an awesome concept except in parts where it feels like a love triangle that isn’t complete. There is tension between the characters, which is normal when trying to figure out your feelings, but I felt like it was a lead up to a romance but then it just wasn’t. I understand what Mia was trying to show, but I’m not sure it worked so well on the written page.

Overall, I give this book 3 Marbles. I would not recommend it to kids who use books to learn about life, or who have trouble finding a balance between real life and fiction. Though I don’t feel this book was for me, the writing was great, and I feel that college-aged peeps and adults might like it!

Please understand that not every book is for every person and what I got from this book may not be what you get from it. Also, if this is not the book for you, don’t let that turn you off from a really great author! I can recommend many books from this author that you may really like!~Timmy

The Weekend Bucket List is available 
in eBook and Print at Duet BooksAmazon,

About The Weekend Bucket List

High school seniors Cady LaBrie and Cooper Murphy have yet to set one toe out of line they've never stayed out all night or snuck into a movie, never gotten drunk or gone skinny-dipping. But they have each other, forty-eight hours before graduation, and a Weekend Bucket List.

There's a lot riding on this one weekend, especially since Cady and Cooper have yet to admit, much less resolve, their confounding feelings for one another feelings that prove even more difficult to discern when genial high school dropout Eli Stanley joins their epic adventure. But as the trio ticks through their bucket list, the questions they face shift toward something new: Must friendship play second fiddle to romance? Or can it be the ultimate prize?

The Weekend Bucket List is available 
in eBook and Print at Duet BooksAmazon,
About Mia Kerick

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school.  She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Find Mia on Goodreads, her website
on Facebook, on Twitter @MiaKerick, and on her Amazon page.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Elpida Takes 2nd Place in the 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Young Adult Fiction!

Elpída takes 2nd Place in the 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Young Adult Fiction! This award marks the sixth time one of my books has placed or won in the Rainbow Awards. The Elpída Series is an important series and I am profoundly humbled. I extend my deepest thanks to Elisa Rolle for all she does for us authors, and to the judges who work tirelessly to help her!

Elpída received four Honorable Mentions in the 2017 Rainbow Awards!

1) Hands down, this is one of the most powerful books I've ever read.

2) This book kept me captivated chapter after chapter. The boys, Jake and Michael's behavior was par with their age (all over the place), although sometimes I thought their behavior was more childish than it needed to be (again, age). The story is quite heart wrenching, reading what Thimi and Christy went through and knowing there are so many young ones out there going through the same. C. Kennedy has done an extensive research to get this book written with accuracy and I don't envy him, I know it would've been too difficult for me to have done the same and in the end, come out emotionally intact. I wish there was a fourth book for I didn't care much for how it ended; too open and I would've loved to see how/what punishment the evil families would've gotten. All in all, a very emotional story. Well done!

3) This is a well written book, and part of the series involving Christy, a sexual abuse survivor and victim of sex trafficking. The characters are well developed, complex, and realistic. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand what abuse does to a LGBT character and how survivors can still find hope and love.

4) I enjoyed this story and would have no trouble recommending it to others to read.

Michael and Christy attended prom, graduated high school, and Michael leads the USATF tryouts. With Oxford University on the horizon, his future looks bright, and he believes life has returned to normal after Christy’s rescue. He couldn’t be more wrong. 

Christy has been free from a life of slavery for more than a year and has made remarkable progress due in no small part to the love he found with Michael. But the recent prosecution of a past abuser has shattered the life he so painstakingly built out of nothing but a mountain of horror. He now faces the daunting task of building a new life—yet again. 

Twelve-year-old Thimi has been missing since Christy left Greece and, unbeknownst to everyone, has hidden out in a vacant mansion in Glyfada. Learning of Christy’s survival is the only thing that brings him out of hiding. People, open spaces, even the most common of sounds frighten him beyond reason. A mere ghost of a boy, Thimi arrives in the US with no knowledge of the outside world—the only constant in his life a purple marble.

Lost, shattered, and afraid, only hope gives them the strength and courage they need to begin anew.

Available now at Harmony Ink Press,

Friday, November 10, 2017

#FreeRead A Day in the Life of Christy Before Michael

Christy looked at the paper cup containing his medication. It sat in the same place on the breakfast tray every morning. He hated that he had to take medication and, as much as he valued food, he lost his appetite every time he saw the pills. They reminded him of before, of what they did to him. He hated them with the white-hot fury of a thousand suns. He hated the pills even more for reminding him of them. He spent every moment of his pathetic existence fighting not to think about them, not to remember them, not to let them assault his mind as they’d assaulted him—fighting the fear. The fear that one day at least one of them would come for him. To take him back. Back to... before. He struck out sending the tray crashing to the polished tongue-and-groove floor, the food landing with a soft splat. He squeezed his eyes closed, pressed the heels of his hands to his lids, and concentrated. Go away. Leave me alone, he silently begged his vivid memories. 

When the memories slowly faded,... continue reading here.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Timmy's Review of John Goode's "Dream of a Waking Man"!

I’m back with another review of a Goode book! Yay! Does it seem most of my reviews are on John Goode’s books these days? They are! All the Goode books are being passed my way and I am a very happy little fanboy! 

If you have a book you would like me to review please don’t hesitate to let me know. Request a review here!

It seems that my reviews are far and few between these days. Right? Well, there are a few reasons for that. First, I have been super busy with school, tutoring others, and running. It sucks because I enjoy writing these. Second, I haven’t been all that happy with the community on FB lately. I love my peeps (those on, and not on, my friends list), but there has been a lot of drama too. I worked really hard to leave the drama behind when I moved away from my old home, but there are people who still wanna drag me into stuff. Why? IDK. I can only guess that they either hate what I represent (they can’t hate me, they don’t know me), or they don’t really mean it when they say they are in this community to help people; or both. I decided to back away from the community a lot. But that doesn’t mean I’m not reading. That doesn’t mean there aren’t books that I love.

The reason I started out my review like this is because this book inspired me to speak up. It inspired a lot of things in me, but my right to be myself and to be happy was what really stuck with me. I am a gay teen kid in school. All of the Foster High books represent the life I live daily. They show what we go through in school, at home, and on-line. Being a kid really sucks. I hate when I hear someone say… “I wish I was a kid again!” They are stupid because I don’t know what world they came from, but it sure isn’t the same one I’m from. Mr. Goode is an adult, but he somehow captured exactly what it is to be a kid in school, especially a gay kid. 

Bullying, hate crimes, internet bullying, depression, suicide…. These are REAL to any kid in school. It doesn’t matter if they are popular or not. We live it, we breathe it, and we learn how to suck it up. But why do we have to accept it? Why do I have to be bullied not just by kids at school, but also adults I encounter both in real life and on-line? Why is it the very people who tell me it’s safe to ”spread my wings” and be who I want to be can then turn around and cut me down because I’m not the Timmy they want me to be? I’m too smart? I type too well? I can write a short story? I must not be a teen gay kid! Well, I’ma say this for all of you people who believe that: I am that because it is who I am!

That is the bare bones of this story! Be who you are. Fight those who say you can’t be that. Show others they are not alone. Be the changer not the follower. But most of all, you don’t have to be perfect in the eyes of others to deserve to be treated like a human being.

This story had me going through so much! I mean it, really! Tears, love, laughter, anger, and just plain scared. It scares me that this is written as fiction because it is NOT fiction to many teens like me. There are very important topics talked about in this book, and I am trying hard not to give anything away, but I want to say the way Mr. Goode added the topic of insecurities and self-worth to the stories in this series is a big thing. It is in the main story in this book, it is also in the subplots. I like how he shows not only how important self-worth is, but that you can still be a hero even if you need a few pep talks along the way.  

So, there were a few things I gotta point out. There were errors in the book, editing stuff. But nothing will pull you out of this story. Also, I’m not great at grammar when I am messaging or texting someone, but there is one thing I will say about this book: the word OK is used WAY too much. Please fix that, Mr. Goode.

I give this book 5 marbles and I hope you guys will not only read it, but think about what you want from your country. Because one small issue and blowup is the thing that changes lives. You can’t sit back and say I want a better life for Americans, but you expect someone else to be the stepping stone. You can’t sit back and say “I hate bullying!” but then tear others down because of your own insecurities. Because I got enough insecurities of my own, I don’t need ya’ll to put yours on me. Mr. Goode points out these things in a way that makes a huge impact. This book should become a classic. Read this book. Dream of a Waking Man is book ten in the Foster High Series.~Timmy

Dream of a Waking Man is available NOW
from Amazon and Kobo.

About Dream of a Waking Man

With high school long behind them, Kyle Stilleno and Brad Graymark are sharing a life, together, content, but happy?

Kyle seems to have given up that spark that made him who he was and Brad is worried it may never come back. When an email from a gay teen asks Kyle for help, he has to choose between his comfortable life of sleeping his life away, or waking up and doing something about it. 

Dream of a Waking Man is available NOW
from Amazon and Kobo.

Dream of a Waking Man is available NOW
from Amazon and Kobo

About John Goode

John Goode is a member of the class of '88 from Hogwarts school of wizardry, specializing in incantations and spoken spells. At the age of 14 he proudly represented District 13 in the 65th Panem games where he was disqualified for crying uncontrollably before the competition began. After that he moved to Forks, Washington where, against all odds, dated the hot, incredibly approachable werewolf instead of the stuck up jerk of a vampire but was crushed when he found out the werewolf was actually gayer than he was. After that he turned down the mandatory operation everyone must receive at 16 to become pretty citing that everyone pretty were just too stupid to live before moving away for greener pastures. After falling down an oddly large rabbit hole he became huge when his love for cakes combined with his inability to resist what sparsely worded notes commanded and was finally kicked out when he began playing solitaire with the Red Queen's 4th armored division. By 18 he had found the land in the back of his wardrobe but decided that thinly veiled religious allegories where not the neighbors he desired. When last seen he had become obsessed with growing a pair of wings after becoming obsessed with Fang's blog and hasn't been seen since.

Or he is this guy who lives in this place and writes stuff he hopes you read.

Find John on his Harmony Ink Author PageGoodreads, his Goodreads blog
on Facebook, on Twitter @FosterHigh, and on Tumblr or email him at

Monday, August 14, 2017

Introducing Rio from Jackie Keswick's "The Power of Zero"! Check it out!

Join me in welcoming Jackie Keswick to my blog with her newest novella, The Power of Zero, a Prequel to the Power of Zero Series! Check out this awesome interview of Rio!

Available at Amazon!

Like Gettin' to Know a Feral Cat

Hi, I'm Rio. I don' do interviews. People like me don', y'know?

Bu' jus' to be neighbourly an' all, I'll talk to you about Jack. 'Cos he's somethin' else.

Bu' tha' first question on your list right here? Why did you offer a kid squatting in your basement a home? Tha's the kind of question tha' tells you who your friends are. Nobody who knows me - an' is in their right mind - would even think of askin' me tha'. They all know how I'm built.

And Jack wasn' jus' any kid.

Breakin' into my house took serious guts. An' he didn' break in to steal stuff, either. He needed a safe place an' who am I to deny him tha', eh? Everyone needs a safe place, however fortunate we are. Don' you like to hide in bed sometime, whether it's with heartache, a cold, or a favourite book? Imagine you didn' have tha'. Wha' would you do?

Tha's another thing about Jack tha' chokes me up. He chose life on the street over life with the pimp his mother sold him to. No' many people have tha' kind of courage. An' he still had enough heart left to try an' help others.

No' tha' I knew tha' at the beginnin'. Gettin' to know Jack was like gettin' to know a feral cat. You have to do tha' slowly an' carefully or you'll get scratched an' bitten. I did. Figuratively speakin', of course. I got too close too quickly one day, only
tryin' to help, mind. Bu' it scared Jack an' he ran. Worst few weeks of my life. I knew he was out there, all alone an' hurtin', an' I busted a gut to find him again. An' yeah, I was almost too late an' tha' scared the socks off me, I can tell you.

Bu' we got over it. An' Jack... well, he never bothered with school. Never trusted anyone enough for tha'. Bu' he's smart. He studied at home, an' then he started to help me. Gettin' him involved with my kinda crap wasn' perhaps wha' anyone else woulda thought good for him. Bu' I knew. Jack was good at sneakin' around, an' he wanted to help, so I let him.

An' look where he's now. He an' tha' chap he's with, Gareth, they rescued two kids a few months back. So the boy who started out with a mother who didn' deserve tha' name an' nobody to look out for him, now has a family an' two kids of his own. All because he had the courage to accept a bit of help.

Right. Wha' else did you wan' to know?

Jack's favourite colour?

Green, I think. The greener the better. Actually, scratch tha'. He does like really dark greens, bu' I think he has a thing for tha' silver green leather Hotshot makes shoes and jackets from. I'd swear I've seen him in one just the other day. It's the same colour as his eyes, and it looks badass.

Next. Jack's favourite food?

Once upon a time, tha' would have been green apples and pizza and hot chocolate. No' all at the same time, of course. Then he discovered coffee - round abou' the time all the coffee shops started up - an' tha' was tha'.

An' you know wha'? I'm no' gonna get into a music discussion with you all. I'm no' tha' patient. Wha' I will say is tha' when I met Jack he'd been told over an' over tha' he was nothin'. Nobody of consequence. A zero. An' when I told him tha' it's good to be a zero, he looked at me as if I was mad. I meant wha' I told him, though. Zeroes have power. They can change things. An' now tha' Jack's learned tha'... well, you don' wanna mess with him or anyone he cares abou'. Just sayin'. ;-)


When a homeless boy meets an ace hacker…

Twelve-year-old Jack Horwood has run from the pimp his mother sold him to, preferring to take his chances on the streets. A house with a cheerful red door – and a classic convertible out front – prompts him into a spot of breaking and entering, and soon he has a warm, dry basement to squat in.

Until the owner of the house, Jamaican hacker Rio Palmer, discovers his hideout. Rio offers him a safe place to stay, but Jack doesn’t believe a word the man says and runs.

Rio can’t forget the youngster who is scared and vulnerable, and stronger than many men Rio has met. Finding Jack is a tiny challenge. Teaching him to trust is like climbing a mountain. But when faced with a true zero and its power, Rio can do nothing else.


Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She's worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie writes thrillers, suspense, sci-fi and fantasy - often with love stories built in. She loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and characters who don't follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

And she still hasn't found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Mia Kerick Talks About Her Keynote Speech at #EuroPrideCon and Timmy's Artwork!

Mia Kerick recently returned from her first experience as a keynote speaker, which took place in Berlin, Germany, at the Euro Pride Con 2017. It was an amazing and humbling experience, and she thanked Timmy for his amazing artwork. Check out this heartfelt, wonderful post and Timmy's amazing artwork! Please leave a comment for Mia and Timmy, two people who richly deserve all the good things life has to offer.

A note from me:

Mia, your post is utterly amazing and infinitely beautiful. Thank you for helping to give a little boy back his life. 

Timmy, I couldn't be prouder of you. You are an amazing and talented young man, and will go far in life. Your artwork is priceless.

To the both of you, and a friendship raised from the ashes of tragedy and shared pain, I commend you both for never giving up, and living life to the fullest. Bravo!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cody Recieves a Humanitarian Award from Bike Book Reviews!

I have been bestowed with a Humanitarian Award from Bike Book Reviews!
I am honored and humbled. Thank you, Bec!
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”― Winston S. Churchill
I talk about what it means to receive this Award, and about kindness, on Love Bytes Reviews!