Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jo Ramsey's newest book, Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts, is out! Book 4 in the Deep Secrets and Hope Series!

It is my great pleasure to welcome Jo Ramsey to my blog and her newest novel, Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts, book four in the Deep Secrets and Hope Series!

Blue Jeans and Body Image

In my new novel Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts (Deep Secrets and Hope series book 4), main character Holly McCormack is struggling with her relationship with her girlfriend Chastaine. Not because the relationship isn’t going well, but because they’re hiding it… and because Chastaine, in Holly’s eyes, is thin and gorgeous. The complete opposite of how Holly sees herself. And because Holly wants to see herself as worthy of Chastaine’s affection and attention, she tries to starve herself down to her ideal weight. Whatever that might be.

The title of the novel, like the titles of the other three books in the series, is something the main character would be likely to wear. In Holly’s case, she’s always been a little “chubby,” at least in her opinion, and for years her preferred outfit has been baggy jeans and sweatshirts. Clothes that hide her body. With Chastaine’s encouragement, Holly has been trying to break out of her jeans-and-sweatshirts box, but the tighter clothes, miniskirts, and skinny jeans Chastaine wants Holly to wear only make Holly feel worse about her appearance. To Chastaine, Holly is beautiful, but Holly can’t see herself through her girlfriend’s eyes, only through her own. And in her own eyes, she’s sadly lacking.

Unfortunately, a lot of teens, regardless of gender or gender identity, battle against negative body image. Whether it’s a case of feeling too fat, or too skinny, or a developing body that doesn’t match one’s gender…or any number of other things. We live, unfortunately, in a society where beauty is valued too highly, and no one can quite agree on what “beauty” is. And some people pay the price with eating disorders, excessive surgery, or other unhealthy choices. (To anyone who’s had plastic surgery… please note that I said *excessive* surgery can be unhealthy. Not plastic surgery in general.)

By the end of the book, people in Holly’s life have realized that she needs help, and she’s getting that help. Some people don’t get help. Some don’t dare to ask for it. Some don’t believe they need it. Some simply don’t realize the harm they’re doing to themselves.

Recovering from an eating disorder, or from body dysmorphia (defined as a mental illness which causes someone to fixate on a flaw in their appearance—a flaw which may not even exist), isn’t as easy as “just start eating right” or “take a good look in the mirror, you’re fine”. It takes help and support. If you’re struggling with your body image, regardless of how serious the struggle seems, please reach out to someone you trust. Talk to them. If you need help, seek and accept it. Please.

Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts is now available from Harmony Ink Press
and third party retail sites, in e-book and paperback.

About Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts

Holly McCormack has secrets. She’s started a support group for sexual assault survivors at her high school, but she was never assaulted. She’s also dating a girl, but she’s not a lesbian—at least not to the outside world—and that’s how she hopes to keep it. To top everything off, her girlfriend, Chastaine Rollo, is the most gorgeous girl at their school, and Holly is eating as little as she can because she thinks she’s “too fat.”

When hearing the stories of survivors begins to take its toll, Holly’s eating becomes even more of a problem. And as she struggles to hide her relationship with Chastaine from her parents, the stress becomes too much. But when keeping secrets has become second nature, it leaves her with no one to confide in.

About Jo Ramsey

Jo Ramsey is a former special education teacher who now writes full time. She firmly believes that everyone has it in them to be a hero, whether to others or in their own lives, and she tries to write books that encourage teens to be themselves and make a difference. Jo has been writing since age five and has been writing young adult fiction since she was a teen herself; her first YA book was published in 2010. She lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, and two cats, one of whom likes to read over her shoulder. Find out more about Jo and her books at JoRamsey.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Timmy's 5★ Review of When I Grow Up, Book 8 in the Foster High Series

This is a hard book to review. I have had this trouble with all of Mr. Goode’s books and the same problem with Cody Kennedy’s books. You see, I don’t write spoilers, but these guys don’t write books that have down time in them. They are constantly moving at rapid pace, so everything in the book is a spoiler. Sigh… Way to make my job harder, guys. Thanks.

There are many different ideas on what a reviewer is, and what their goals should be, so let me tell you mine. My goal in every review is to be forthright in a way that is not hurtful, but will give readers and authors my honest opinions. I have heard it said that a reviewer doesn’t have the right to tell an author anything and the reviews are not supposed to be for the authors, but that’s bullcrap. I bought their book, or they have asked me to read their book, so I have not only the right, but the obligation to give them my honest opinion. If they are writing books for young gay kids, who is better to tell them if they have hit the mark but someone like me, a young gay kid? But I also write reviews to help promote books I like. Because word of mouth will sell just about anything. So, I take my job seriously. When I say a book is good, I don’t say that because I feel I have to, I don’t say that because someone asked me to, I say it because it is true. So with that in mind, here goes….

John Goode did it again. I don’t know how he keeps doing this to me. It’s like he reaches in and pulls out my heart and rips it to shreds, then uses tissue paper to wrap it up and put it back where he found it. I know, “drama much?,” but damn, I’m hurting right now. This book was like the worst and best rollercoaster in the world. You go up, up, up, up, and all the tension builds and builds, and when you think it can’t possibly go any higher, it does! Finally, we reach the top of the ride and start to speed down at full speed. You scream and cry and laugh, it’s like watching yourself go down and being unable to stop it. Then when you hit the bottom, he throws you into a loop and you see the ride is not over yet. God! I wish I was a great author, a god of words, because I can’t seem to explain in words how I feel about this book and that kills me. I will say, please don’t read this book before reading the others. The emotions, the story, these boys’ lives will not mean as much to you if you haven’t first read everything they have been through together. You will waste both Mr. Goode’s talent and your time. I wish the right person would read these books and make them into movies. That would be awesome.

We see everyone in this book! We hear from most of them, and a few new characters who add to the drama of the Foster High Series. I really liked how this story was told. It wasn’t in the usual way Mr. Goode tells the stories. I liked that. It changed things up a little. I loved how we heard from everyone. That really snagged me in this story. I have grown attached to every character he has written and in this series. I got to be inside each of their heads. It was great. So… Like always, some big shit goes down in this book, and like always, I can’t tell you what it is. LOL But please don’t let that stop you from reading it!

The way the story ended is not what I expected, and I’m on the fence on whether I’m feeling ok about it or not. But the ending is exactly the way it needed to happen given the reasons in the story. It takes a strong person to do what Mr. Goode did with these books. He wrote about real life. Real life is not a happy thing unless you really work at it. It can have happy moments, but it’s not generally a happy thing. Most of the happy things people find in life come with strings attached. They aren't obvious or clear strings, they are hard to see, and easy to pretend they don’t exist. Every time I think I have found a happy thing, someone or something always pulls on one of those strings and tells me it’s time to pay up. This is sometimes the way I feel real life is. This is just how it goes, but not many people are brave enough to actually write about that. Most authors want to give the readers what they want. They want to make money. But a real author, and good author writes what no one wants to face but is real. And, on top of that, they make us believe this is what we WANTED to read in the first place, when we all know we were looking for a fairytale! So, I would like to thank John Goode for being brave, and telling these guys’ stories without warping it to make it what readers think they want.

I do have to be honest and say, though I like how you ended the book, you didn’t give us enough of an ending. I was very disappointed in that because I have never had that problem with your books. I would like the next book please. I promise to be a good reader and not dismember you, if you promise to hurry with the next book!

I give this book 5 Marbles and the series 5 marbles. Please don’t let these books sit at the bottom of your TBR list. That would be a mistake, and when you finally got to them, you would kick yourself for waiting so long to read them.~Timmy

When I Grow Up is available 
in eBook at Dreamspinner Press and Amazon,
and in Nook & paperback from Barnes & Noble

About When I Grow Up

After graduation, Kyle Stilleno and Brad Graymark move to California to pursue their dreams. But high school sweethearts are called that for a reason, and their love rarely stands up to the test of time. As money, school, sex, and jealousy test their relationship to the breaking point, Kyle and Brad fight to hold on to the love that brought them together.

But when a frantic phone call sends them back to Texas, they discover love and understanding might not be enough this time.
To Wish for Impossible Things 
(a lost tale from The Tales from Foster High) 
Dear God 
(a lost chapter from The End of Innocence)

Find John Goode on Goodreads, his Goodreads blog
on Facebook, on Twitter @FosterHigh, and on Tumblr

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Join me in Celebrating a Divine Affair with!

Join me and several other artists, authors, and entertainers
Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PST to celebrate
Divine Magazine's Divine Affair on Facebook!
I'll be hosting a live author chat from 2:30-3:00p PST!
Join me and ask questions or simply share what's on your mind!
See you there!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Join me in celebrating the release of Cheryl Headford's Ari!

Join me Friday from 12:30-1:30p PST for a live chat to celebrate 
the release of Cheryl Headford's Ari on Facebook!

About Ari:

After having known each other online for some time, writers, Benji and Ari meet at a convention. Their attraction is both immediate and mutual. But all is not straightforward—Ari is intersex and Benji transgender. Together they embark on a journey. A journey that unites families, and heals old wounds. But not everyone is happy with the blossoming love between these two unique and special individuals. Will an act of aggression crush the flower before it can bloom?

Pre-order now!
Don’t miss Wayward Ink Publishing's 1st Anniversary Sale and get 40% off!