LGBT

Honorary Blogger Alex Stargazer: Fallen Love + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Fallen Love

by Alex Stargazer

Hello readers at the Blogger Girls! Today I’m going to talk to you about Fallen Love, my brand new LGBT urban fantasy book. More specifically, I want to discuss the question “What are LGBT books really about?” and “Why do we need LGBT representation in young adult urban fantasy books?”

Before I dive into things, check out the blurb so you can familiarise yourself with what the story is about.

From a successful crowdfunder, Fallen Love comes action-packed with flying cars, dark magic, and fallen angels.

Upperclassman Conall is rich, impeccably dressed, and set for a prestigious career in the Party hierarchy. He doesn’t lack for anything—except, maybe, love.

When he finds Mark, alone, abandoned and hurt, he doesn’t expect one act of kindness to alter the course of his life forever. There is more to Mark than Conall can even dream of. The beautiful, vulnerable boy Conall knows is not human. A dark power lies within Mark. It can make him immortal… but love might be the price.

Discover why readers are calling this book “nothing short of amazing” and “superb”. If you’re a fan of Cassandra Clare or Lauren Kate, you don’t want to miss this.

What readers are saying…

★★★★★ “To say this novel took me by surprise is a total understatement. This story surprised, astounded, and made me so happy that it is right up there with the top ten books I have read this year.” —Sharon, Blogger

★★★★★ “The writing is polished, even compelling in spots. If you’re looking for an entertaining read with ambitious world-building, give it a try.” —KD Edwards, author of the Last Sun (Pyr)

★★★★★ “This book was nothing short of amazing. I loved the characters, the action, it’s safe to say I loved everything about this book. I hope to see more in this series because I’m hooked.” —Ashley Tomlinson, author of Becoming Grim

★★★★★ “The world-building in this book is superb.” —Rion, Goodreads Reviewer.

What exactly is LGBT, anyway?

This question seems simple on the surface, yet think about it more carefully, and you realise there are multiple answers. It used to be that LGBT books were “issue stories”: they dealt with themes of alienation, homophobia, love and family, etc. For a long time, these sorts of stories were extremely depressing; the main character usually died from AIDS.

Sometime in the late 2000s, and particularly after the self-publishing boom facilitated by Amazon and Smashwords (2012 or thereabouts), we began to see a new kind of LGBT book. I say LGBT as a useful catch-all, but really I mean M/M.

These kinds of stories were a breath of fresh air, in a lot of ways. They showed that a romance between two men could be successful, beautiful, and even wondrous. The genre evolved away from issue plots and more towards the usual fare of romance: the characters desire each other but something is standing in the way (work/family/travel/whatever). Or, equally often, the characters themselves stand in the way.

I want to say that M/M books became less angst-driven during this transition. But that’s not really true; the angst became different. Gay romance retains one fundamental problem: it does not appeal to a large enough audience, and the reason is angst. To be frank, most men (of all sexualities) don’t want to read M/M romance because it’s boring.

What we need is another literary revolution. Authors like KD Edwards, Alex R Kahler and J Scott Coatsworth (not to mention yours truly!) are part of a movement to write LGBT books about adventure. I use the word deliberately. Fantasy and science fiction are about adventure—they’re about going on a quest to slay dragons (or befriend them) and venturing into deep space. Thrillers also count as adventure, as do many books for young readers.

Gay romance will continue to exist, like issue-based LGBT stories continue to exist today. But more than anything, what we need to see is fiction that just happens to represent gay characters, rather than fiction that is about a gay relationship.

LGBT Characters in YA, Paranormal and Urban Fantasy

I want to arrive at my ultimate question: how do we apply the principle of representing gay characters through adventure to the genre of YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy? This is what I set out to do in Fallen Love.

The thing is, these two sub-genres have very particular traditions. Heterosexual books in this category—such as Fallen by Lauren Kate, Hush Hush, and Halo—follow a set formula: the heroine falls in love with a bad boy. They balance teenage angst with worldbuilding and action. I could have written something very similar and swapped out the heroine for a dude. I certainly played with the bad boy character.

The story I actually wrote can’t quite be described in these terms—it’s something else, something unique. The internal conflict works very differently when you have two boys instead of a girl and a boy. A good example is from Cassandra Clare (who is one of my favourite authors, by the way) in her Dark Artifices series. Mark, Kieran and Cristina’s love triangle is something that’s totally distinct from a straight love triangle. The boys don’t have to fight it out, and the girl doesn’t have to choose one of them; they can all be together.

I still think Cassie Clare’s story suffers from a little too much teenage angst, which is something I avoided throughout Fallen Love. If there has to be internal conflict, I want it to be something grittier; there have to be bigger stakes. Power asymmetry, persecution, life and death struggle—that’s what I want to read about.

Don’t get me wrong: angst has its place, especially in books about teenagers. But I believe I can write a better story, with broader appeal, when angst takes a back seat in favour of good old adventure.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2020 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Crossing Nuwa: Trials by Sean Ian O’Meidhir & Connal Braginsky: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Crossing Nuwa: Trials

by Sean Ian O’Meidhir & Connal Braginsky

Enjoying the weightlessness as the plane lifted into the air, I studied my boyfriend as he excitedly watched the world shrink below us. His enthusiasm for everything sent sympathetic thrills through me, and I was soon grinning.

It had been an unexpectedly blissful couple of months with only one small hiccup. A week after Robbie moved in, for some strange reason I felt the need to define the parameters of our relationship. It was a first for both of us. Many firsts. I was his first everything; he was my first boyfriend. I can’t remember how the conversation started, but vaguely recall me saying that I’d like to get some clarification.

“We haven’t really talked about us.”

“What do you mean?” he had asked, his lips naturally curved curiously. One of the things I learned was that Robbie is never plagued with the same doubts about relationships that it seems like the rest of us have. Or at least that I have had my entire life. He’s wholesome, and I know how that sounds, but it’s true. His very nature is one of trust and acceptance.

He had never experienced any doubt until I stupidly said, “Well, exclusivity, monogamy, I don’t know. Just curious what you want.”

“I don’t understand. You’re my boyfriend….” Though his curiosity had turned to confusion, I pressed on.

“Yeah, but that’s for now. I just don’t want you to feel held back. You know, if you want to bang someone and—”

He shook his head, his confusion intensifying and darkening into something else. “Why are you saying this?”

“I just don’t want to break up over—”

“Break up? Why… why would we ever break up?” His emerald eyes shone with tears that had made my heart immediately ache. I had done that to him. If I live to be a thousand years old, that look will always haunt me. That with a simple and quite stupid misspoken phrase I could hurt him so much.

“Why are you frowning?”

I turned to find him gazing at me intently. Robbie took my hand, shaking his head with concern.

I chuckled. “Ah, sugar… just about how foolish I was.”

“You’re gonna have to be more specific,” he said with the sweetest smile that had me falling back laughing. My boyfriend had quickly caught on to sarcasm and the importance of a good burn.

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Cat Escort by Melissa E. Costa: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Cat Escort

by Melissa E. Costa

Seth and Nao wove through the busy street, talking. Both wore winter clothes. Streetlamps awoke with the onset of the evening. The loud music coming from clubs and bars enhanced the city nightlife, and rushing traffic added to the ambiance. Thankfully the crowds thinned as they reached the park.

Seth loved that he could see his breath in the chilly air.

Nao shivered. “You look like you’re enjoying the cold weather?”

Seth’s smile widened. “And you’re not?”

Nao shook his head. “We cats like a temperate climate, not too hot or cold. The cattery would be nice around this time. There’s a lot of open spaces, for sure, but inside is warm and cozy.” Seth loved the spark of life that entered Nao’s eyes. “We also have awesome hot chocolate.”

“Didn’t think cats could eat chocolate.”

“We’re not that sensitive to it, thankfully. As with everything, we need to moderate ourselves. But we include some wild grass for digestion and a touch of mouse meat for thickness.”

“Meat? In hot chocolate?”

“It’s more like broth, and it’s amazing!”

Seth wrinkled his nose. “I’ll take your word for it.”

“You’d think I would get better winter clothes.” Nao continued to shiver, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “Guess I just hide indoors when this happens.”

Seth took a deep breath for courage. Then he put his arm around Nao’s shoulders and pulled him close. Nao’s startled breath released condensation into the air. Looking over, he smiled and nuzzled into Seth’s neck.

Seth jumped. “Cold! Your nose is freezing!”

“So warm it up,” Nao whispered against his skin. His hot breath left Seth’s neck damp and made him shiver.

Wrapping both arms around Nao’s smaller frame, he tightened his hug. Nao hugged him back, his teeth chattering. “Wanna find a place indoors?” Seth suggested.

Nao nodded. “Although,” he purred. “I’m enjoying you holding me.” His purr was adorable, but Seth craved to hear that whimper-pant of surrender Nao made when Seth had entered him. How had they not had sex since? Then again, they weren’t technically dating. What did dating mean for them anyway? Nao would still be an escort. Would Seth be able to handle that? “You should come with me.”

“Huh?”

“To the cattery, to visit my family.”

“Um…don’t you think it’s early?”

“Early? We’re just friends. Nothing’s too early in a friendship.”

Now that hurt. Seth knew it shouldn’t have. Nao was being practical. There was no way Seth could date an escort. Absolutely not. Then what? He’d forever pester Nao to quit his job? Still, hearing Nao’s words made it sound final like he would never get to call Nao his partner.

“The second Napping Feast is coming up.”

“What’s that? A dinner you nap at?”

Nao smiled. “Close. It’s a day where the entire cattery naps. In-between napping, we have huge feasts. Let me tell you, you’ve never tasted salmon until you’ve had one baked at Napping Feast. The first one happens on Winter Solstice, which we missed. But personally, I think the later Napping Feasts are better.”

“How many of these do you have?”

“Three. From Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox.”

“That’s pretty interesting…but I probably shouldn’t. Am I even welcomed there?”

“Not by everyone, I’m sure. But my mom, aunts, and uncles would be okay with it. Most of my papas too. You being just my friend helps a lot with that. I know the kittens will adore you—”

“What if I don’t just wanna be your friend?” Seth regretted saying that as soon as the words left his mouth.

Nao studied him, and a small smile graced his handsome face. He kissed Seth—a mere touch of skin against skin that ended just as quickly. “I am an escort, Seth. That isn’t something you want your boyfriend to be.”

“Yeah, but…”

“No buts. I won’t quit. This is my job, and I like it. It allows me to stay in the human world. Hate to say it, but I’m not good at anything else.”

“Now that I can’t believe.”

“Believe it or not, it’s true. I can’t even read or write human.”

Seth smirked at that. “You mean English?”

“It’s all the same to me.” Nao’s cheeky smile squinted his eyes.

“You can speak it fine.”

“I have an accent.”

“So? You can do it. That means you can learn to read and write it.”

Nao shook his head. “See, this is why we can’t be together. I really like you, think I love you even, and I don’t wanna put you in a position where you’ll be unhappy.”

Seth let out a sigh. “Yeah, probably, …but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to be with you.”

Nao kissed him again. This time Seth grabbed his shoulders and prevented him from leaving. After all those memories that plagued him, kissing Nao again felt amazing.

“Nao,” he moaned. “I want you.” Seth licked into his mouth. Nao sucked Seth’s lower lip. Then flicked his tongue against Seth’s. They tasted each other as an undertone of heat grew.

A car sped by, flinging mud everywhere. Nao stood closest to the edge, facing away from the road. The splash zone started at his ankles and went up to his middle back. “Seriously?”

“Shit!” Seth went to take off his coat, but Nao held up his hand.

“Pretty much ruined at this point.” He dragged out a frustrated, tired sigh. “I could never get this amount of stain off. Looks like it’s time for Plan B.”

“Plan B? Nao, you’re freezing as it is. You’ll catch your death out here.”

“Do you mind?”

“Mind what?”

Nao didn’t answer the question. Going over to a homeless man, he said, “Would you be interested in taking these clothes off my hands?”

The man looked confused. Then his eyes brightened. “Fancy, huh? Sure.”

“Give these to this fine fellow, will yah, Seth?” Nao went over to Seth. “Will you keep me in your jacket?”

Seth only recognized what Nao planned to do when he started transforming. Then a black cat stood at his feet. He rubbed around Seth’s legs, and Seth got the message. He slung Nao’s purse over his shoulder and gave the clothes to the stranger. Then he put Nao inside his jacket, so his tiny head peeked out.

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Book Review: Dead Man Stalking by T.A. Moore

Reviewed by Susan65

Title: Dead Man Stalking
Author: T.A. Moore
Series: Blood and Bone #1
Heroes: Took & Madoc
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Length: 260 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Agent Luke Bennett proved that humans could rise just as high in the ranks as their vampire colleagues—until a kidnapper held him captive for a year and turned him without his consent.

Now he’s Took: a reluctant monster afraid to bite anyone, broke, and about to be discharged from his elite BITERs unit.

When an old colleague suggests he consult on a BITERs case, Took has little to lose. The case is open and shut… but nothing is ever that easy. As he digs deeper, he discovers a lot more than one cold case is at stake, and if he wants to solve this one, he’ll need the help of the BITERs team. Even if that brings his old commander, Madoc, back into his life. Continue reading

Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twin Mages by G.E. Mayberry: Exclusive Excerpt!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Twin Mages

by G.E. Mayberry

The following day, the Elder Jordan and a small group of villagers gathered the surviving Mana Hunters and departed with them deep into the wilderness. The elder and his retinue returned solemn faced. They would not speak to what became of the Mana Hunters. The village moved on.

The villagers came together and started repairing all they had lost. I had never seen such orderly cooperation before, not outside the military anyways. The loss of life was almost too much for the sheltered villagers to consider. There were a great many funerals over the next few days, over twenty people were killed in the raid.

To ensure that nobody had to endure an empty funeral hall, Elder Jordan arranged it so that no two funerals were held at the same time. Not everybody accepted the offer, some had private funerals.

#

Lettie and Alyson opted to bury their parents together behind the farmhouse. They couldn’t stand to be around anyone else. I allowed them their privacy upon their return home. I stayed in the village while they went to bury their parents. There wasn’t much of anything left. The fields were barren and the farmhouse was nothing but a hollowed out wreck.

“Maybe you should stay out here, Lettie,” Alyson suggested, staring up at the burned building with hollow eyes. “You shouldn’t have to see them like that.”

Lettie placed her hand on her sister’s arm. Alyson looked over at her and saw the same hollow eyed look reflected back at her. “We have to do this,” Lettie responded. “Together.”

Alyson nodded. They stroke together into the farmhouse. The blackened living room was unrecognizable as they room they had grown up in. The smell of charcoal overwhelmed their senses and they struggled to look around, the memories they had lost bringing tears to their eyes.

They didn’t see them at first, the fire-blackened bones blending in with the dark wood floor.

The fire had burned so hot there was nothing left of Jepol and Yasmin. Lettie broke down crying when she finally recognized what she was seeing. She dropped to the floor, the weakened boards crumbling at her touch.

Alyson knelt down with her sister and held her tight as they both cried, the full scope of what they had lost finally hitting them. Only then did they realize this was real. They were never going to see their parents again. Together they wept.

#

After some time Alyson and Lettie collected themselves.

“We have to bury them here, in the yard,” said Lettie. “It’s what they would have wanted. Do you remember the story of how they met?”

“Dad had come to work on Grandpa’s farm. She was doing the breakfast dishes when he arrived,” said Alyson.

“He thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen,” continued Lettie. “They hit it off right away. He saved up for years to buy this farm, all for her. There is no better place for them to spend eternity.”

“I agree,” declared Alyson. “I’ll get something to move them with.”

Alyson walked outside. Once on open ground, she incanted ” Earth Geo Form Slab.” A flat piece of earth formed in front of her and she carried it inside.

Together, she and Lettie carefully placed their parents’ charred bones on the slab and they carried it outside. Lettie pointed to a tree at the edge of the woods and they set the slab down beneath it.

“I can’t remember the prayer,” said Alyson.

“I remember it,” said Lettie, her voice measured. She spoke with a careful purpose as the words of the Goddess’ Prayer came forth. “From the Goddess you came, to the Goddess you now return. Your earthly body no entombed, your loved ones mourn. May we know a measure of the Goddess’ tranquility in this our hour of despair. Your reward has been earned, in this life and the next. You shall not be forgotten.”

“You shall not be forgotten,” Alyson echoed, her voice cracking from the strain. ” Earth Geo Open,” she incanted, opening a perfect grave in the shadow of the tree. ” Earth Geo Control,” she continued, lifting her parents and placing them gently into their grave, nestling neatly into the bottom. Here, she hesitated.

Lettie took Alyson’s hand in hers and gave it a squeeze, her cheeks were stained with tears as she looked to Alyson.

With a sense of finality, Alyson spoke the final incantation, ” Earth Geo… Close.”

With their parents now buried, the two sisters knelt there in silent prayer, their grief on full display for one another.

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Book Review: Death of the King by Jake Biondi

Reviewed by Susan65

Title: Death of the King
Author: Jake Biondi
Series: Majesty #1
Heroes: Various
Genre: Historical
Length: 266 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: December 13, 2019
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: “Checking to ensure the king was dead, his murderer pulled the dagger from the monarch and rolled Zachary’s body onto its back. The king’s blood coated the ornate etchings on both sides of the knife. His dead eyes looking up toward the heavens, Zachary lay lifelessly on the tower floor.” -Chapter One

The shocking murder of King Zachary Chamberlain sends his entire family and kingdom into turmoil as the hunt for his killer begins. As Zachary’s eldest son Prince Tobias prepares to be crowned as the new king, suspicions arise between him and his three younger brothers. In the meantime, the once-ruling Henderson family seizes on the chaos in the kingdom in an effort to overthrow the Chamberlains and retake control.

As tensions rise and the search for the king’s murderer continues, some relationships crumble, forbidden love flourishes, a prisoner escapes, and a common farmer rocks the royal family to its core.

It all leads up to an exciting series of cliffhangers that plunge every member of the royal Chamberlain family into peril.

Power reigns. Absolutely.
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Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Published in 2019, Susan65's Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sticky Fingers by Davidson King: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Sticky Fingers

by Davidson King

I found everyone in the dining room polishing crystal. “Hey there, Maddox,” Tomas said. “Gilly’s ordering pizza tonight.”

There was nothing wrong with that. “Great.” I surveyed the pieces of chandeliers, vases, candlesticks, and bowls. “Need help?”

Kyle was wiping one of the baubles but almost dropped it at my offer. “You’re gonna clean?”

Tomas chuckled. “Don’t let the fancy suit fool you, kid. One thing about the boss man you need to know, he won’t ask anyone to do something he’s not prepared to do himself. It’s the Baron family work ethic.”

Kyle’s face softened, and he rewarded me with a gorgeous smile. “Well, then, sit next to me, boss man. I have some baubles you can rub.”

Everyone burst out laughing, but the heated look in Kyle’s eyes made my dick twitch. It was time to throw caution to the wind. I knew my family would approve of him. I always knew they wouldn’t of Nadia, but I was sure of him. I didn’t let our age gap bother me, or the fact he’d be leaving at the end of the summer to go hundreds of miles away. I couldn’t know if we were anything if I didn’t give this everything I had.

I sat next to Kyle, rolled my sleeves up and took the offered rag. When everyone was busy working and talking, I leaned into Kyle and whispered only for him to hear, “I’ll rub anything of yours you’d like.”

That time he did drop the bauble, fortunately it was on his lap. Continue reading

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Release Blitz: T.A.G. You’re Heard by A.G. Carothers + Excerpt & Giveaway!

T.A.G. You’re Heard by A.G. Carothers

Hello again, Mr. No here, communications agent for T.A.G. and your inside source to your favorite agents.

Our next file is on Operation Gingersnap and none other than Agent Code name Mr. Kr, aka Connor Foley Turgenev, our snarky and hyperactive computer genius.

Connor gets hit with a blast from the past that he’d thought was long dead. Yoshi and the rest of Upper Management must scramble to save him before his situation turns dire.

In the meantime, will nearly losing Connor push our gentle giant of a Chef, Asbjorn Sternberg, to open himself up to Connor and truly be the Daddy and partner that Connor wants and needs? Or will he let injuries obtained while serving in the Norwegian Army fuel his self doubt?

Find out this and exciting news that might change the face of T.A.G.’s future in this next installment from the archives.

Available at: Amazon

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Release Blitz: The Empires of Luxor City by Sasha Hope + Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Empires of Luxor City by Sasha Hope

In the aftermath of his father’s funeral, Dom Wesa, the new Alpha of Luxor City’s Central Empire, stumbles upon an Omega in desperate need of help. The Omega, Lin Vasiliev, wakes to find he’s been taken into Dom’s home to be rehabilitated. Dom thinks the young addict may have information about the illicit drug trade going on in his Empire. He gets Lin sober to question him only to discover that Lin is new in town and ignorant of Luxor’s laws.

Dom and Lin are both suspicious of each other at first for their own reasons, but as that wariness wears away a deep attraction develops between them. Dom dotes on Lin, leaving the once stone-broke Omega bathed in finery he never could have imagined. They start planning for Lin’s upcoming heat, when they will be driven together by their kindling bond and strong compatibility as an Alpha and Omega pair. However, in the midst of their swelling romance, Luxor’s most notorious Alpha reappears sparking a gang war that threatens to turn the entire city into a battleground.

Available at: Amazon

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Book Review: Back in Black by Rhys Ford

Reviewed by Heather C

Title: Back in Black
Author: Rhys Ford
Series: McGinnis Investigations #1
Heroes: Cole McGinnis
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 192 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: There are eight million stories in the City of Angels but only one man can stumble upon the body of a former client while being chased by a pair of Dobermans and a deranged psycho dressed as a sheep.

That man is Cole McGinnis.

Since his last life-threatening case years ago, McGinnis has married the love of his life, Jae-Min Kim, consulted for the LAPD, and investigated cases as a private detective for hire. Yet nothing could have prepared him for the shocking discovery of a dead, grandmotherly woman at his feet and the cascade of murders that follows, even if he should have been used to it by now.

Now he’s back in the dark world of murder and intrigue where every bullet appears to have his name on it and every answer he digs up seems to only create more questions. Hired by the dead woman’s husband, McGinnis has to figure out who is behind the crime spree. As if the twisted case of a murdered grandmother isn’t complicated enough, Death is knocking on his door, and each time it opens, Death is wearing a new face, leaving McGinnis to wonder who he can actually trust. Continue reading

Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, Heather C's Reviews, LGBT, Published in 2020 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment