Image description: a Facebook post reading: Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. 3 names we should not have learned this month. #Murder #BLM #RIP

In recent days, several Black people have been murdered, both by police and by civilians. This is not a new problem. Nor is the dismissal of the pain of Black people who want us to acknowledge that Black Lives Mater. Nor is the condemnation of protesters and how they protest.

In response to all of this, many people are sharing resources to help white people learn to not just be “not racist” but to commit to being anti-racist. I have nothing new to contribute to this conversation, but I want to compile the resources I find into one blog post so that I, and anyone else who wants to, can find them all in one place.

I will update this blog post as I find more resources.

Out Now by Saundra Mitchell (Review) (Blog Tour Post)

Hey everybody! Today I’m sharing a review of Out Now as part of the blog tour. Thank you to Harlequin for providing an eARC.

-Kick. Push. Coast. by Candice Montgomery: 5/5
This story had a good exploration of change, labels, and coming out.

-What Happens in the Closet by Caleb Roehrig: 5/5
This had vampires, puns, and enemies to lovers. Plus, it’s by Caleb Roehrig, so, of course I loved it.

-Player One Fight by Eliot Schrefer: 2/5
I didn’t connect with the main character at all and the video game references pulled me out of the story.

-Lumber Me Mine by CB Lee: 4/5
The romance was adorable, and I loved the asexual rep and characters showing boundaries. That said, I feel like it would’ve been better either as a full novel or a shorter story.

-Follower by Will Kostakis: 3/5
This was funny, but I didn’t really click with it.

-Refresh by Mark Oshiro: 5/5
This was so cute! And I was very happy to see a story about recovering from a bad start on a date.

-Victory Lap by Julian Winters: 5/5
Full points just for Luke’s dad

-A Road of One’s Own by Kate Hart: 2/5
I felt like the story was trying to do too much in too little space.

-Seditious Teapots by Katherine Locke: 5/5
This was so cute and nerdy!

-Starcrossed in DC by Jessica Verdi: 4/5
This was well written, and I loved Squeaky and Em.

-Floating by Tanya Boteju: 4/5
This was soft and lovely.

-Soft Place by Hillary Monahan: 4.5/5
I loved the descriptions of the soft place and the contrast of suffering and hope. My main criticism is that “religious” was used, not “Christian.” Setting aside the fact that not all Christians are homophobic (I know, I’m one of them.), please stop saying religious when you mean Christian.

-A Pound of Flesh by Kosoko Jackson: 5/5
Starts strong with a Shakespeare reference in the title. The emotions (Longing, anger, sadness) were really strong and the story had an interesting philosophy about conflict.

-One Spell Too Many by Tara Sim: 5/5
Baking+magic=wonderful!

-Far From Home by Saundra Mitchell: 3/5
I just wasn’t interested.

-The Coronation by Meredith Russo: 2/5
I’m sorry, this just lost me immediately.

-Once Upon a Seastorm: 4/5
This was a sweet story of home, exploration and love.

4.55/5

About the Book
A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom…aliens run from the government…a president’s daughter comes into her own…a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer…a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops…skateboards and VW vans…Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page!

This essential and beautifully written modern-day collection features an intersectional and inclusive slate of authors and stories.
About the author
Saundra Mitchell has been a phone psychic, a car salesperson, a denture deliverer and a layout waxer. She’s dodged trains, endured basic training and hitchhiked from Montana to California. She teaches herself languages, raises children and makes paper for fun. She is the author of Shadowed Summer and The Vespertine series, the upcoming novelization of The Prom musical, and the editor of Defy the Dark. She always picks truth; dare is too easy. Visit her online at http://www.saundramitchell.com.
Social Links:
Author website: wwww.saundramitchell.com  
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saundra-Mitchell/164136390442617
Twitter: @saundramitchell
Instagram: @smitchellbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52172088-out-now

Out Now is…out now, and you can find it here.
Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Out-Now-Queer-We-Again/dp/1335018263
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/out-now-saundra-mitchell/1133810272
IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335018267
Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Out-Now/Saundra-Mitchell/9781335018267?id=4861510030088
AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/out-now/id1481649552
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Saundra_Mitchell_Out_Now?id=0SeyDwAAQBAJ

Queer Lit Readathon Round 5 TBR

Hey everybody! Round 5 of the Queer Lit Readathon is happening from May 31- June 6, and you can find the details here. Today I’m sharing my TBR.

This is the Bingo Board for the challenges:

  • Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kahn (Choose your own category: Asexual MC, Bi/Pan MC, Host Rec)
  • Mrs. Martin’s Incomperable Adventure by Courtney Milan (Rainbow Cover, Female MC over 40, Non coming out – I think)
  • Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler (Backlist, Five-star)
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Nonfiction, Graphic Novel)
  • The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace (Poetry)

If I complete this TBR, and if I’m right about Mrs. Martin’s Incomperable Adventure, I will complete four BINGOs, including one diagonal.

Are any of you planning to participate? Lemme know in the comments, and if you are, I’d love to know what you plan on reading.

That’s all for now. Stay safe, and I’ll see you later 🙂

The Girl Next Door by Chelsea Cameron (Excerpt) (Blog Tour Post

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Carina Adores-Horizontal Logo

This post is part of the Blog Tour for The Girl Next Door by Chelsea Cameron. Thank you to Carina Adores for an eARC and excerpt.


My parents and I hadn’t really talked about what happened and why I was back, mostly because it wasn’t for just one reason. There were many reasons, all culminating with me packing my shit in my car, loading up my dog, abandoning my friends, and driving back here.

I asked Mom if there was any ice cream in the freezer and she said that there was. While I was getting a spoon, I glanced out the window, which happened to look right into our neighbor’s living room.

Jude.

The lights were on and she stood in the living room wearing nothing but a sports bra and some athletic shorts. The spoon I’d just grabbed clattered on the floor. As I stood up from retrieving the spoon, I found her staring directly at me. Instead of looking away like a normal person, I stared back.

Her hair had been long in high school and her arms hadn’t been so…sculpted back then. At least not that I remembered. My mouth went dry and I held on to the spoon for dear life.

“What are you looking at?” a voice said behind me and I shrieked and dropped the spoon again. I turned around and found my mom leaning over my shoulder to see what I’d been staring at.

“Oh, nothing, just staring off into space.” I rushed with my spoon and the ice cream back into the living room. My parents kept the room dark and the only light was from my dad’s lamp and the TV, so I could hide in a corner with my lobster-red face.

What had come over me? I’d just stood there leering like a fucking creeper. Part of me expected a knock at the door and for her to storm in and ask what I’d been staring at.

That didn’t happen, but it didn’t stop me from looking up from my book every few minutes to check and make sure.

Before bed, I took Dolly out to do her business and my eyes kept flicking over to the house. The lights were still on, but I wasn’t going to stare this time. I hadn’t asked for more information from my mom about Jude, but I did wonder what she was doing back here. She’d hated this town, from what I remembered, so it couldn’t just be because of her parents’ house.

High school in a small town in Maine was brutal for anyone who didn’t conform, and Jude had been adamant about not conforming. I’d done my best to get through, and the drama club had been my safe haven. I’d never thought seriously about acting after high school, since that was way out of my league, but I still thought about it every now and then. There was a community theater group a few towns away. Could I put myself out there and get into it again?

Dolly was taking her sweet time, sniffing the bushes at the edge of the porch to find the right one to pee near. I jumped as I heard a door slam, the door to the neighbor’s house.

I froze with my back to the house, pretending I wasn’t completely aware of what was happening. Was she leaving again on that motorcycle? Where would she go tonight? The only bar in town closed in less than an hour, and there was nothing else open. Unless she might be going to a friend’s house for a party?

Or perhaps she was going to the beach for a midnight swim. I shivered at the thought of Jude slipping beneath the waves like a mermaid.

 

Copyright © 2020 by Chelsea M. Cameron


The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron is a Contemporary Romance from Carina Press (Carina Adores). It’ll be available on May 26, and you can find it here: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Next-Door-Chelsea-Cameron/dp/1335146946

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-girl-next-door-chelsea-m-cameron/1135551933

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-girl-next-door/id1491603923

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-girl-next-door-77

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Chelsea_M_Cameron_The_Girl_Next_Door?id=GjXEDwAAQBAJ

Book Description: New York Times bestselling author Chelsea M. Cameron is back with 3-Cover_TheGirlNextDoor_Cameronthe opposites-attract, sweet-and-sexy small-town romance you’ve been waiting for.

Iris Turner hightailed it out of Salty Cove, Maine, without so much as a backward glance. Which is why finding herself back in her hometown—in her childhood bedroom, no less—has the normally upbeat Iris feeling a bit down and out. Her spirits get a much-needed lift, though, at the sight of the sexy girl next door.

No one knows why Jude Wicks is back in Salty Cove, and that’s just how she likes it. Jude never imagined she’d be once again living in her parents’ house, never mind hauling lobster like a local. But the solitude is just what she needs—until Iris tempts her to open up.

A no-strings summer fling seems like the perfect distraction for both women. Jude rides a motorcycle, kisses hard and gives Iris the perfect distraction from her tangled mess of a life. But come September, Iris is still determined to get out of this zero-stoplight town.

That is, unless Jude can give her a reason to stay…

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

4-AuthorPhoto_TheGirlNextDoor_CameronAbout Chelsea M. Cameron

Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling author from Maine who now lives and works in Boston. She’s a red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader, and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, tweeting, and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is. Visit her at www.chelseamcameron.com

 

Connect with Chelsea M. Cameron

Website: https://chelseamcameron.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chel_c_cam

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chelccam/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chelsea-M-Cameron-Official-Author-Page-304422529610919/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5752359.Chelsea_M_Cameron

The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti [Excerpt] [Blog Tour]

The Summer Set Banner

This post is part of the blog tour for The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti. Thank you to Graydon House Books for providing me an eARC and excerpt.


I MISSED YOU TOO

Charlie studied herself in her bathroom mirror. In just a week her bruised eye had faded to the dull gray of rancid meat, now easily disguised by concealer. She flat-ironed her raven hair, securing it in a sleek, low ponytail, then rummaged the closet for her most professional-looking getup: that slim black suit, pale pink silk blouse with the bow at the neck and the stilettos she only wore when she felt compelled to impress. Her wardrobe from that perfume ad a decade earlier but timeless nonetheless, just like the moniker that had been etched in script on the curved bottle of the fragrance.

Outside, Boston did its best impersonation of her supposed hometown, London. (Though she had lived away from there enough during childhood to have eluded the accent.) The dreary May rain made her think of her mom: the estimable Dame Sarah Rose Kingsbury. News of Charlie’s incident had warranted mentions in a few celebrity weeklies and, unfortunately, made the hop across the pond. Her mother had called, texted and finally, after no response, emailed: Charlie, Did you receive my voice mail and text? I trust you’re alright. Another of your stunts? Please respond. Love, Mum. Her mom’s correspondence always scanned like a telegram, full of stops and full stops—much like their relationship itself. Charlie, reveling in being briefly unreachable and not in the mood to answer questions, hadn’t yet bothered to replace her phone and had indeed missed the call but wrote back assuring her mom that she was fine, though the accident had not, in fact, been performance art.

By the time Charlie reached the foreboding Suffolk County Courthouse, her lawyer/friend Sam—who had shepherded her through the theater purchase (while questioning her sanity)—was already there pacing, barking into her phone.

“This should be easy,” Sam told her, hanging up, hugging her while scrolling her inbox. Sam wore suits and radiated responsibility, two things Charlie found comforting in a lawyer. “Be contrite and it should be open-and-shut for community service.”

The sterile courtroom’s pin-drop silence made Charlie shiver. Next to her, Sam tucked her phone in her bag and rose to her feet, gesturing for Charlie to stand as the judge materialized at the bench. Charlie found it oddly reassuring that the judge was the kind of woman who wore pearls and a frilly collar outside her robe.

“You were okay with my email, right?” Sam whispered, as they sat again.

“What email?” she whispered back.

“My email. An hour ago? You have got to get a new phone,” Sam scolded.

“I know, I know—”

“There was this arrangement, last minute, I hope you’ll be amenable to but—”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Charlie pleaded.

The judge had begun speaking, so Sam hushed her. Too late.

“Ms. Savoy, this is the part where I get to talk.” The judge looked up from the paper she had been reading aloud. “Maybe it was different in your episodes of Law & Order?”

“No, ma’am, I mean, Your Honor, sir, ma’am, no,” Charlie stumbled. She had been wrong about the judge. The woman continued on about the damage Charlie caused and the significant hours of service required like Charlie was the honoree at one of those Comedy Central roasts, albeit one that could end with her in a jail cell.

Until finally, the judge cut to the chase: “…an assignment has presented itself,” she said slowly. “Which will make fine use of Ms. Savoy’s expertise…” Charlie caught Sam’s side-eye. “So Charlotte Savoy shall be required to complete sixty days with the Chamberlain Summer Theater in—”

“NO!” Charlie expelled the word, an anaphylactic response. The judge scowled as though jail might still be an option. “Sorry, Your Honor, I just mean—can I object?” Sam shot her a lethal glare. “It’s just that, well—” Charlie tried again as a door at the back of the courtroom creaked open, footsteps echoing. She turned to discover the equivalent of a ghost.

Nick Blunt—director, ex, first love, disappointment, invertebrate—heading her way.

“Mr. Blunt, thank you for joining us,” the judge said, unimpressed.

Charlie’s posture straightened, heartbeat ticking faster than seemed medically sound. She felt betrayed by her own being, muscles, nerves, ashamed of this reaction.

“Sorry, Your Honor,” he said in that deep rasp.

Charlie wished she hated that voice. And it seemed an abomination that he could still be attractive—physically at least.

Rugged with an athletic build, he wore black jeans, a blazer and aviator sunglasses, which he pulled off as he walked (pure affectation since, to her knowledge, it was still raining outside), tucking them into the V of his slim sweater.

He took his place beside Charlie, flashing that smile he deployed when he aimed to be his most charming.

“Hi there,” he said, as though surprised to be meeting this way.

“Shouldn’t you be wearing a cape?” Charlie rolled her eyes, focused on the judge reading again, and returned her body to its proper slouch, recalibrating her expression between boredom and disgust.

“I missed you too, Charlie,” he whispered back.

From the corner of her eye, Charlie spotted the sharp beak of that tattoo—the meadowlark—curving around from the back of his neck. It was still there, which gave her a pang of affection, a flare-up she forced herself to snuff out. She imagined how they might look to those few people sitting in the rows behind them. Nick and her with these identical birds inked onto the backs of their necks, midflight and gazing at each other anytime he stood on her right side, as he did now. Mirror images, bookends, the birds’ once-vibrant golden hue as faded as the memory of the hot, sticky night she and Nick had stolen away from campus to get them together.

Over the years, she had considered having hers removed or morphed into some other design, but why should she? She liked it. At face value. Charlie sighed again, more loudly than intended, as her mind sped to how this summer would now be.

“Ms. Savoy, is there a problem?” the judge asked, irked.

“Your Honor, I just wondered—is there a littered park or something? Instead?”

“We’re fine, Your Honor.” Sam patted Charlie’s arm in warning.

“Ms. Savoy will report to service June 1.” The judge slammed the gavel, which, to Charlie, sounded like a nail being hammered into a coffin.

“I had a client last week who’s cleaning restrooms at South Station this summer,” Sam said apologetically as they walked out.

Charlie just charged ahead down the hall, an urgent need to escape, her mind struggling to process it all.

“So, craziest thing happened,” Nick launched in, catching up to them at the elevator. “I was reading the news and saw about your little mishap—” He sounded truly concerned for a moment.

“Don’t pretend like you don’t have a Google alert on me,” Charlie cut him off, stabbing the down button too many times.

“You always were a terrible driver—”

“That river came outta nowhere—”

“But a stellar swimmer—”

She nodded once. She couldn’t argue with that.

He went on, “So I made a few calls and—”

“Don’t be fooled by…that.” She waved her hand back toward the courtroom. “You need me more than I need you.”

The elevator opened.

“We’ll see about that.” He let them on first. Charlie hit the button again-again-again to close the doors, but he made it in. “How long has it been, anyway?”

“You know how long it’s been,” she said as the doors closed so she was now looking at their reflection. It had been six years, three months, two weeks and two days since they last saw each other. At the long-awaited premiere for Midnight Daydream—which should’ve been a thrilling night since a series of snags had pushed the film’s release date back two years after filming. But instead of celebratory toasts, it had ended with a glass of the party’s signature cocktail—a messy blackberry-infused bourbon concoction the shade of the night sky—being thrown. In retrospect, she thought, there’d been so many signs the movie was cursed.

“You’re just mad your self-imposed exile is over.” He smirked.

“Always with the probing psychoanalysis.” She watched the floor numbers descend, doors finally opening.

Sam scurried out ahead of them. “My work here is done. I’m sure you two have a lot of catching up to do.” She gave Charlie an air-kiss before striding off.

“Wait, no, I just need to—” Charlie tried to stop her, but Sam had already hopped in a cab.

“So, I have an office not too far, off Newbury Street, off-season headquarters for Chamberlain—” Nick started.

“Luckily you’re usually phoning it in, so I haven’t had the privilege of running into you around town.” She walked ahead in the cool, pelting rain.

He stayed where he was. “I’d invite you out for a drink—”

“It’s, like, 10 a.m. That’s too early. Even for you—” She glanced back.

“Summer is gorgeous in the Berkshires, as you may recall,” he shouted, sunglasses back on, absurdly, and that smile again. “Welcome back to Chamberlain, Charlie.

 

Excerpted from The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti, Copyright © 2020 by Aimee Agresti. 

Published by Graydon House Books.


9781525823589_TS_SMPWith a setting inspired by the real-life Williamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires where stars like Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lauren Graham, and Chris Pine have performed, THE SUMMER SET (Graydon House Books; May 12; $17.99) is a salacious rom-com, beach read perfect for Broadway nerds and Hollywood gossips alike.

Charlie Savoy was once Hollywood’s hottest A-lister. Now, ten years later, she’s pushing forty, exiled from the film world back at the summer Shakespeare theater in the Berkshires that launched her career—and where her first love, Nick, is the artistic director.

It’s not exactly her first choice. But as parts are cast and rehearsals begin, Charlie is surprised to find herself thriving: bonding with celebrity actors, forging unexpected new friendships, and even reigniting her spark with Nick despite their complicated history.

Until Charlie’s old rival, Hollywood’s current “It Girl,” is brought on set, threatening to undo everything she’s been working towards. As the drama amps up both on the stage and behind the curtains, Charlie must put on one heck of a show to fight for the second chance she deserves in her career and in love.

You can find The Summer Set, which comes out today, here:

Buy Links: 

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Aimee Agresti by Abby Greenawalt_Folger LibraryAimee Agresti is the author of Campaign Widows and The Gilded Wings trilogy for young adults. A former staff writer for Us Weekly, she penned the magazine’s coffee table book Inside Hollywood. Aimee’s work has also appeared in People, Premiere, DC magazine, Capitol File, the Washington Post, Washingtonian, the Washington City Paper, Boston magazine, Women’s Health and the New York Observer, and she has made countless TV and radio appearances, dishing about celebrities on the likes of Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E!, The Insider, Extra, VH1, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and HLN. Aimee graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and lives with her husband and two sons in the Washington, DC, area.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @AimeeAgresti

Instagram: @aimeeagresti

Facebook: @AimeeAgrestiAuthor

Goodreads

Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab (Excerpt) (Blog Tour Post)

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This post is part of the Blog Tour for Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab. Thank you to Harlequin Publishing for providing an eARC and excerpt for this tour.


PROLOGUE

1,063 days until US Olympic Team Trials

FINA World Aquatics Championships

Budapest, Hungary

Women’s 200m Intermediate Medley Finals

The water is breathing. At least, that’s how it seems. I’ve always imagined it as a living thing, benevolent and obedient and faithful. A gentle beast at first, like a pony, but over time something faster. A thoroughbred, maybe. A cheetah sprinting across a flat, grassy plain.

But, of course, the water isn’t breathing—it’s rippling, with the echoing wakes of eight elite swimmers as they poured themselves into one last swim, one final chance to grab the golden ring. Now they’re gone, and in half a minute, I’ll be right where they were, reaching for my own shot at glory.

This is my first international competition. I turned fourteen in May, so I’m the youngest member of Team USA. In January, nobody knew who I was, but by my birthday I’d broken the women’s 200 IM record in my age group twice and finished first in the same event—my best—at World Championship Trials. My summer of speed earned me a lane here in Budapest. All I have to do now is not screw it up.

Earlier, in the semifinals, I clocked my fastest time ever in this event, and I’m coming into finals seeded third overall. I have to beat that by almost a second if I want to win.

The announcer introduces me over the loudspeaker. I wave to the crowd but my mind is far away, already in the pool, charting out my swim. I shake out my limbs and jump to get my blood pumping, then climb onto the block. I adjust my goggles, my cap, my shoulders. These little rituals feel solid and reliable. The rest is as insubstantial as a dream you’re aware of while you’re dreaming it.

“Take your mark—”

The signal sounds and I’m in the pool. My mind lags half a second behind my body, registering every breath, stroke and turn only after it happens.

First: butterfly, arms soaring over the water, fingertips skimming the surface.

Then: backstroke, concentrating on the lines in the ceiling while waves boil around me.

After that: breaststroke, stretching, pulling, kicking, gliding.

And finally: freestyle, bursting off the wall like a racehorse released from a starting gate.

I go six strokes without taking a breath and snap into my highest gear for a mad-dash last push, coasting along the razor’s edge of my perfectly timed taper. No thinking, just doing. No drag, only flight.

My hand touches the wall, and my eyes begin to burn. It’s over. Instinctively, I look for my coach. Dave’s on the sidelines, frowning, and I think: I blew it.

He notices me watching and breaks into a rare grin. Hopeful, I turn to the board. I can’t find my name, so I force myself to look at the top spot. There it is: RAMOS. Number freaking one.

I whoop and blow kisses at the people in the stands. They’re on their feet, chanting, “USA! USA!” American flags billow like sheets.

It cost my parents a fortune to fly themselves and my sister all the way to Europe on such short notice, credit cards stretched to their limits. I can’t even see them in the crowd, but I know they’re somewhere in that jubilant crush of people. My heart feels so full it’s like a balloon about to pop.

As soon as I’m out of the water, Dave wraps me in a bear hug.

“How do you feel?” he asks.

“Great!” I sigh and shake out my arms. “Tired.”

“Gold, Susannah,” he says. His voice is tight with something like awe.

Gold. It doesn’t feel real yet—won’t, until that medal hangs around my neck, until I can hold it in my hands while the national anthem blooms through the natatorium speakers with patriotic brio. Maybe not even then. I could have more wins here, but right now, this seems like more than enough.

“You’re a world champion,” Dave says. “Next, I’m going to make you an Olympian.”
Excerpted from Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab, Copyright © 2020 by Anna Jarzab. Published by Inkyard Press. 


9781335050236_SHC_prd

This beautifully lyrical contemporary novel features an elite teen swimmer with Olympic dreams, plagued by injury and startled by unexpected romance, who struggles to balance training with family and having a life. For fans of Sarah Dessen, Julie Murphy,and Miranda Kenneally.

Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her Olympic dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews.

As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost–and the beauty–of trying to achieve something extraordinary.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:anna_jarzab_photo credit Marisa Emralino

Anna Jarzab is a Midwesterner turned New Yorker. She lives and works in New York City and is the author of such books as Red Dirt, All Unquiet Things, The Opposite of Hallelujah, and the Many-Worlds series. Visit her online at annajarzab.com and on Twitter, @ajarzab.

Breath Like Water comes out on May 19, and you can find it here:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Indie Bound

Google Play

Apple Books

 

May TBR

Hi everybody! Today I’m sharing the books that I’m hoping to get to in May. I don’t think I’ll get to all of these, but I’ve been wanting to read them lately, so I’m putting them here.

The first two books on my TBR are for blog tours:

download (16)Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab

Susannah Ramos has always loved the water.A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews.

As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost—and the beauty—of trying to achieve something extraordinary.

Out Now: Queer We Go Again! edited by Saundra Mitchelldownload (17)

Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom, aliens run from the government, a president’s daughter comes into her own, a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer, a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops, skateboards and VW vans, Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page!

This includes stories by CB Lee and Mark Oshiro, whose books (the Sidekick Squad series and Anger Is a Gift) I love.

Here are the rest of the books I’m hoping to get to in May.

download (18)When You Get the Chance by Robin Stevenson and Tom Ryan

As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts — Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria — they haven’t seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it.
Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that’s about all they have in common, other than the fact that they’d both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who’s barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it.
When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia — with Mark’s little sister Paige in tow — decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they’re looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other’s eyes.

I really liked Tom Ryan’s last book, Keep This To Yourself, and I’ve heard good things about Robin Stevenson’s books (and not just because I follow her agent on Twitter), so I was excited to hear about this one and grabbed it as soon as I saw it available in the “read now” section of Netgalley.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriartydownload (19)

A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate; she remembers everything and forgives no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but she is paying a price for the illusion of perfection. New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. These three women are at different crossroads, but they will all wind up in the same shocking place.

I really want to watch the show, but as I’ve said before, I’m a book first kind of person. My mom couldn’t get into this, but Cece at Problemsofabooknerd, whose recommendations I’ve generally enjoyed, loved it, so I’m interested to see how I feel about it.

download (20)

Check Please, volume 2: Sticks and Scones by Ngozi Ukazu

Eric Bittle is heading into his junior year at Samwell University, and not only does he have new teammates―he has a brand new boyfriend! Bitty and Jack must navigate their new, secret, long-distance relationship, and decide how to reveal their relationship to friends and teammates. And on top of that, Bitty’s time at Samwell is quickly coming to an end…It’s two full hockey seasons packed with big wins and high stakes!

A collection of the second half of the mega-popular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: Sticks and Scones is the last in a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

I loved the first volume, and I’m really excited to continue the story.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides40097951._SY475_

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

This was one of my Top 10 to read in 2020, and I’m really hoping it lives up to the hype.

download (21)Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

This sounded really good when I saw it on Eric Smith’s instagram (@ericsmithrocks).

Lost at Sea by Erica Boycedownload (22)

When beloved local fisherman John Staybrook is lost at sea his death stirs up more than grief. Hidden secrets throughout the small community begin to bubble to the surface, and everyone from the local librarian to the nurses at the hospital are swept up in the storm.

I loved The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green, so I’m really excited to read this.

download (23)Let’s Tak About Love by Claire Kahn

Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

I heard about this and Tell Me How You Really Feel from Cece, so I think I’ll like them. Plus, I’m also biromantic asexual, so I’m excited to read a book with a biromantic asexual protagonist.

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Amina Mae Safi41150474

Sana Khan is a cheerleader and a straight A student. She’s the classic (somewhat obnoxious) overachiever determined to win.

Rachel Recht is a wannabe director who’s obsesssed with movies and ready to make her own masterpiece. As she’s casting her senior film project, she knows she’s found the perfect lead – Sana.

There’s only one problem. Rachel hates Sana. Rachel was the first girl Sana ever asked out, but Rachel thought it was a cruel prank and has detested Sana ever since.

Told in alternative viewpoints and inspired by classic romantic comedies, this engaging and edgy YA novel follows two strongwilled young women falling for each other despite themselves.

Enemies to lovers will almost always pull me in.

43575115._SX98_The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

I really liked The Night Circus, and I’ve heard good things about this.

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnettdownload (24)

One morning, Jessa-Lynn Morton walks into the family taxidermy shop to find that her father has committed suicide, right there on one of the metal tables. Shocked and grieving, Jessa steps up to manage the failing business, while the rest of the Morton family crumbles. Her mother starts sneaking into the shop to make aggressively lewd art with the taxidermied animals. Her brother Milo withdraws, struggling to function. And Brynn, Milo’s wife—and the only person Jessa’s ever been in love with—walks out without a word. As Jessa seeks out less-than-legal ways of generating income, her mother’s art escalates—picture a figure of her dead husband and a stuffed buffalo in an uncomfortably sexual pose—and the Mortons reach a tipping point. For the first time, Jessa has no choice but to learn who these people truly are, and ultimately how she fits alongside them.

I got this because I heard a lot of good things about it when it came out, and I’m excited to finally get to it!

That’s all for now. Feel free to let me know what you’re hoping to get to in May and how reading’s been going for you lately in the comments, and I’ll see you later 🙂