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Book Review: Winter Blossoms by Paul Iasevoli

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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?

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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.

 

About Me
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.

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365 Challenge: Day 292 – Crash (Author Alert: Lina Langley)

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Crash: (a) collision, (b) name of a company in a cool book, or (c) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Lina Langley

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who (s)he is, what (s)he is writing and how to buy any future work. 

I am pleased to present the very talented Lina Langley. Lina and I met about one year ago when we were reading each other’s draft work. She was helpful with feedback and suggestions on very early versions of my debut novel, which I will always be grateful for. I’ve read one of her more recent novels and can’t wait to jump into more in 2018. You’ll find my review of Welcome to Crash here.

Lina’s novels bring dynamic characters and interesting conflicts to the forefront of the story. You immediately connect with them, but you’re not sure how/where you want it to end up. It’s increased my interest in reading other genres with surprising elements I didn’t know I’d enjoy — I won’t say much as I don’t want to give away the plot or the cleverness within the story. It wasn’t at the forefront of the book I read, but it touches the surface in a way you find yourself drawn in… wanting more. It’s a different kind of read – a good one – something that will push your boundaries and offer a great surprise and connection.

Without any delay, let’s hear from Lina…

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Welcome to Crash isn’t a romance.

I can see how it would be easy to expect a romance. I half-expected it to be a romance myself, when I first started writing it. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance. I love writing romance. It’s one of my favourite genres!

So I set out to write a poly m/m/m with one of my all-time favourite tropes. But that wasn’t what Welcome To Crash became at all—the relationships are important and romance is a huge part of the story, but the story isn’t about the romances.

The story is just about Damien. He’s 20-year-old visual arts student with epilepsy, and things are changing rapidly for him.

But regardless of what happens around him, or to him, the story is about Damien. Who Damien is as a person, from the beginning to the end, the decisions he makes, the person he chooses. It never becomes about anything else, not even when everything around Damien begins to change.

Damien is an oblivious character,  which is necessary, in some ways, for the plot. But he’s oblivious in other ways too, in ways that don’t immediately make sense. His obliviousness is something of a defense mechanism. Damien is both extremely vulnerable and detached.

In a way, the story is about bringing these two parts of his personality together to make him whole, and how he’s trying to do that.

So if you decide to read the book, don’t expect a romance. What you should expect is a real mess.

A relatable, young, sweet mess, who is totally trying his best. Even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, not even to himself.

 

Links To Learn More About This Great Author

http://linalangley.com/

https://www.subscribepage.com/langleyreader

 

To see more about Lina Langley on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out the author’s dedicated page where future content and books will added as (s)he publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

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’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. 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.

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Review: Cut & Run

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Cut & Run
Cut & Run by Abigail Roux

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.

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Review: Shattered Glass

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Shattered Glass
Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander

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.

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Review: Wake Up Married serial, Episodes 1 – 3: Wake Up Married, Meet the Family, Do the Holidays

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Wake Up Married serial, Episodes 1 - 3: Wake Up Married, Meet the Family, Do the Holidays
Wake Up Married serial, Episodes 1 – 3: Wake Up Married, Meet the Family, Do the Holidays by Leta Blake

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. 🙂

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“Divided Intentions” – Short Story

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Divided Intentions tells the story of Brody Monteron who meets Ethan Cory, his first love, on his first job interview post law school.  Unfortunately, his mother’s best friend Claire has designs on Brody for a very peculiar reason. Claire threatens to reveal Brody’s secret to his mother unless he does her one life altering favor.  But just wait until momma finds out what’s going on!  Who will win in the end…