Book Review: Alternative Fiction
Both the title and the cover of this book caught my attention. Winter Blossoms, a novel published in 2018 by Paul Iasevoli, takes place in 1980s New York City where a young twenty-something named Chris struggles to survive amidst everything blowing up around him. Friends dying of a mysterious disease, his boyfriend cheating on him with a woman, learning how to date in a very sexually-charged gay culture… Iasevoli tackles it all in small doses and scenes in this very realistic novella. It’s under 100 pages and reads quickly… taking us through several of NYC’s boroughs where we understand the different types of opportunities presented to Chris over the course of a few months. With each page that passes by, you wonder… will he end up okay or will he disappear and/or fall down along his path?
Running the range of both graphic physical and lighthearted emotional tension, we see Chris handle a break-up, casual sex, the bar scene, falling in love, and learning to trust himself. Iasevoli will transport you to the not-so-distant past and show you a different side of life you may not know of or ever experienced. In some ways, it’s much the same today in terms of trying to find love amidst immediate gratification. It’s also very different than today where our mobile phones, internet-culture, and general acceptance of a different lifestyle offers things much more easily. Thirty-five years ago, it wasn’t easy finding someone to potentially fall in love with in a culture and environment were much was still taboo and opportunity was often slim. Casual might have been easier to find, but that’s not what Chris wants.
As an intro to this author, I very much enjoyed the writing style and scenery depicted in this work. The characters were well-drawn for a short novel… just enough to get a feel for who they are but not too much where the picture is fully painted. I look forward to seeing more from Paul Iasevoli.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.
I read a book from a new genre for me this week: a combination spec fiction with male for male romance and some sci-fi / fantasy elements. It was quite good and I enjoyed both her writing style and her voice. Stay tuned for a profile on the wonderful Lina Langley in a couple of weeks… thought I’d share the review now to give you a heads up and gain interest for Author Alert Fridays! Check out my review below or on Goodreads.
It’s always a gamble when you read a book that might be a bit outside your normal genres, but that wasn’t the case with Lina Langley’s Welcome to Crash. I’ve started reading more in the spec fiction realm, choosing this book based on the cover and a few recommendations from others. I was intrigued by the premise, uncertain how much paranormal, science fiction or fantasy would actually be in it. In the end, that wasn’t the primary point of the story; those elements simply added stronger layers and dimensions to it.
A young guy, Damien, struggles to make a relationship work with his hesitant boyfriend, uncertain if they will end up building something together or splitting apart due to outside circumstances. When he meets a stranger at his job interview, Damien’s thrown off his game, quite smitten, but also confused by John’s style, persona and level of interest. Damien will soon find out as he tries to balance being utterly honest with his boyfriend, Levi, and the growing attraction he has to John.
Just when you think you have it all figured out, the story takes a subtle, then giant, shift away from traditional romance to push you into realizing something different is going on… but readers don’t know at first. Damien suffers from some medical issues, is distant from his family and can’t decide what he wants to do with his life. The book is about his struggle to get through college, become an adult and find love; however, too many forces pull him apart until he has to make a decision about what he really wants for himself and in a potential boyfriend.
This is a psychological book – one where love and desire intermingle with need and reality. Characters are well-drawn; once you know the issues keeping Damien and Levi from truly being together, you recognize why it will be difficult and why Damien looks elsewhere. The writing is direct and clear; dialogue feels realistic and the story keeps you guessing throughout each chapter.
I enjoyed it and will be picking up another of the author’s books to try in the next few weeks.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Cut & Run was my second adventure into this type of novel and it kept my interest. The pairing of Ty and Zane are certainly comical but I have to question why there is always so much anger between the two main characters just like in the first novel I read ([book:Shattered Glass|13420351)? I get that it makes good drama for an intense read, but I thought it was a little too overdone. Ty and Zane get together and separate 4 or 5 times in the course of the 350 page novel and by the last one, I felt like it was just getting to be a routine with them (and not in a totally good way). Fighting is a good thing in a book as it helps the reader develop passion and intrigue, but not when on full repetition.
Despite those initial thoughts, the dialogue is fairly realistic, the characters have many good qualities and the story was strong. It’s easy to guess who the serial murderer is, but I don’t think that was the most important part of the book. I’ll give the author another read but probably not for a bit while I explore this genre for awhile to find the authors I like the most.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After starting the Reading Challenge, I filled my “To Read” list with tons of crime thrillers, cozy mysteries and historical fiction novels. I’ve switched back and forth between the cozy and the grisly murders to my fascination with history and the complexities of family dramas… after 20 novels, I found myself wanting something different. I’m not one to read romance stories though I do enjoy quintessential “chick flick” films… either way, I stumbled upon Shattered Glass mostly because that was a title I was considering for a family drama in which I had started the outline [now I think I’ll call it “Watching a Glass Shatter.” I digress… back to Dani Alexander’s “Shattered Glass.”
After reading some reviews and the love affair with bunny slippers (don’t ask, you have to read it to understand), I thought to myself “this one may have potential” and ordered it online. When it arrived, I was just finishing the new Harry Potter book (talk about a vastly different world) but got to it the next day. It’s about 350 pages long, so I expected about 5 to 6 hours of a read for me, so probably 5 days given that I have about an hour a day where I have time to read. Perhaps because it was a weekend, or maybe I chose to make more time because of how engaging it was, it only took me 2 days.
Mind you, I have nothing to compare it to when it comes to either romance or gay fiction, having read very little of either, yet it feels like it’s at the top of its category. It had mystery and intrigue, crime and thrills, some romance (well, mostly sex) and very bold characters that bordered on obnoxius and charming all at the same time (in a good way). I could never be best friends with either of the main characters as they would eventually annoy the hell out of me, but anyone would be blessed to have a friendship with either Austin or Peter given their intensity and committment to learning about each other.
Could something like this ever really happen? Seems far-fetched, but I could be naive on the subject. Would someone really give up their entire career given the risks being taken? I suppose if they wanted to get out of their job, yes, but Austin seemed to love his job. It is fiction though, so I hold my disbelief given the amazing characters that are created and the sarcastic but real dialogue contained throughout the whole story.
If you’re looking for something with some spice, intrigue, passion and witty humor, definitely give it a read. If you are a bit faint of heart when it comes to this kinda stuff, it may be too much for a first read! I’ll definitely read the second book in the series and will probably add it to the lineup for later this year after an Agatha Christie story and a cozy about a librarian who solves crimes.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
3 of 5 stars to Leta Blake‘s Wake Up Married serial, Episodes 1 – 3: Wake Up Married, Meet the Family, Do the Holidays, the first half of a six-part serial book about a couple who wake up in bed in Las Vegas, learning they’ve just gotten married. I wanted to read something new and different, and the concept of a couple waking up married in Las Vegas, and unable to divorce for a number of reasons, seemed intriguing. The story was cute. At times, it was a bit cheesy. Concept good. Characters good. Writing OK. Funny. A good welcome change of pace!
Interesting set of characters. Loved the grandmother who’s husband and son were in the mob. Ha! She’s a pip. The mother’s OK… but the friends give way to lots of laughs. The ex-bf needs to go. He’s got issues. 🙂