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review 2018-09-23 11:30
The Raven Prince and Other Stories by Jean-Paul Whitehall

Our Lady of the Axe: In a Regency England where magic used to be real, Eleanor, her dear friend Diana, and three young girls are kidnapped. It will take all of Eleanor’s strength and courage, plus a magical axe and cleavage (not that kind) to set them free, and foil the man behind the kidnapping.

Edging: Will a mistake about meaning make a mess for Tommy and Vince? Or maybe lead to something more?

The Plan That Didn’t Gang Aft Agley: Jack’s plans have a tendency to go way agley. He hopes his special plan for Billy at football practice is the one that won’t.

Family Be Damned: Look for the two Br’er Rabbit moments. One: She wasn’t unhappy Tommy got paid to take her to the eighth grade dance. She even slipped him $25 to agree. Two: Her mom made her older brother take her to the dance. The $50 she paid him was just a sisterly bonus.

The Raven Prince: Sixteen-year-old Mike hopes he can blend in at his new school. Except he’s short, slender, goth-looking with the shiny black hair, black eyes and thick lashes, wears an elegant suit and tie, and drives a Mercedes convertible. He’s also gay, a raven shifter in a human school and eventually he has to be the Raven Prince.

Standing up to the bullies who rule the school—Preacher’s Son, Banker’s Son, Sheriff’s Son, Principal’s Daughter—isn’t blending in. When the Four can’t get to Mike, they go after him through his best friend, Johnny, the devoutly straight wrestling star who doesn’t care about the gay thing.

If Johnny is hurt, will it take the Raven Prince to get justice? Raven justice?

100% of the author’s royalties will be donated to a local LGBT youth organization.

 

--------------------

 

REVIEW

 

Book – The Raven Prince and Other Stories
Author – Jean-Paul Whitehall
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 176
Cover – Great!
Would I read it again – YES!
Genre – FF, MM, Romance, Fantasy, Anthology, Historical, Contemporary
Triggers – some stories contain instances/references/explorations of: bullying, homophobia, bloody fights, underage (consensual) sexual situations and threats of rape.


** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine


The Raven Prince and Other Stories is a charity anthology (100% proceeds going to a LGBT youth charity) that packs an immediate punch. Weaving together historical and fantasy tales, with magic, romance and YA-appropriate experiences and feelings, the writing sweeps you away into another word right from page one.

At the root of every story, at the heart of every relationship, is friendship. And, in this era, where romances can be fleeting and love not always ever-lasting, it's especially important to embrace and remember the friendships that have lasted and helped us move through each struggle that comes out way.

~

Our Lady of the Axe

★★★★★

POV: 1st person, one character
Length: 1-22%
Theme: Historical, Regency England, marriage, FF, Magic
Triggers: rape threats, scenes of blood/gore,

This was an amazing story. Right from the start, Eleanor was a little girl with a big future, a girl who didn't quite fit into the proper ways of young women in Regency England. The story progresses through three important periods of her life: questioning a family legacy as a young girl, finding out the secrets of the family legacy as a young lady, and then facing the horrible fate of a marriage to someone she didn't like, as a young woman.
Through these experiences, we see Eleanor grow and become braver, become stronger, and start to find her way in her own life. When she's kidnapped by ruffians who are being paid to ensure her marriage to a big-headed Duke, things begin to really ramp up excitement wise. There are the historically accurate, if horrifying to think about, threats of rape towards young girls, one as young as seven, but thankfully nothing ever happens to them and they don't even remember the incident, later.
With magic, a sweet thread of FF romance, and a whole lot of strong women, this story is a great start to the book, but also a really great read. I loved Eleanor and I loved the journey she went on, finding strength from within and learning to view life in a different way to the way she'd been raised.

Favourite Quote

“He was still holding my hand as he led me to the settee. I was too ladylike to knee him between his legs to retrieve it.”

~


Edging

★★★★☆

POV: 1t person, present tense, one character
Length: 23-28%
Theme: Contemporary, Teen Romance, Edging, Fear of Heights, Established Couple, MM

This was a really cute story about how one word can have two different meanings to two different people. Although it was cute and funny, it did revolve around two guys who were only 15, so I felt more like a pervy adult spying on kids – which is icky – than I would have felt if they were older. I had to squint real hard and just think of them as immature 20-year-olds. There is a lot of sex talk, about boners and what experience the two guys have with each other, and I think teens would appreciate the honesty and relatability of it, so I'm giving it bonus points for that. For an adult – squishy. For a teen – perfect teen comedy in a short bite.

Favourite Quote

“I figure if this works out, when we get really old, like thirty or something, I'll tell him he coulda had my boner and the rest of me at “Vince, I'm gay,” and not wasted a whole damn year.”

~

The Plan That Didn't Gang Aft Agley

★★★★☆

POV: 1st person, present tense, one character
Length: 29-35%
Theme: Contemporary, Teen Romance, MM 

Ugh, the cuteness is off the charts!
I'll admit that I was confused about location, at first, as both previous stories took place in the UK and this one has a Robert Burns quote at the start. But, it takes place in Dallas, which made sense of some of the setting details.
Again, it has that teen speech that was in the previous story, but to a lesser extent. And, again, it has two 15 – almost 16 – year olds, so feels a little uncomfortable when they talk about all the sex stuff and boners etc. But, again, it would make a fantastic read for a teenager. The cuteness, the romance, the relateability and the contemporary setting all make for a great teen story.

Favourite Quote

“I'm looking at you, William Robert “Don't you effing dare call me Billy-Bob” Jones.
I like looking at you, Billy-Bob. I don't tell you often enough.”

~

Family Be Damned

★★★★★

POV: 3rd person person, dual character
Length: 35-37%
Theme: Contemporary, School Dance, FF, Teen Romance

Adorable. Perfect. Just right.
I love that we got to see both girls as they got ready for the school dance, and how they managed to make it happen according to their plans. I love that both sets of parents were worried about Big Tony and all the rumours about him, yet he didn't even look at either girl and they weren't looking at him.
Really cute, adorable, lovely story.

Favourite Quote

“She looked around. Smiled. Yes!”

~

The Raven Prince

★★★★

POV: 1st person, one character
Length: 38-99%
Theme: Contemporary, High School, Bullying, Homophobia, MM, Friendship, Shifter
Triggers: Bullying, Homophobia

Wow. I barely know what to say. It's been a while since a story left me this speechless.
Powerful. Heart-wrenching. Equally beautiful and sad. It makes you stop and think, and cry, and breathe, and wonder...and not stop reading.
If there is one thing I can say before I get into the bones of the story, is it that you CANNOT stop reading at Fin. This story has so many P.S.'s that I lost count. And each and every one of them is more important than the rest. Even the last one. Because, yes, it all applied to me. Even the last, poignant message “Wipe your eyes at the beauty of life, love, and Ravens of Unusual Size, and go!”
I'm crying while writing this, just as I've been crying while reading it. And don't think I didn't love the 'The Princess Bride' references.

This story is about bullying, yes. But it's also about strength, friendship, love, resilience in the face of fear, justice, the power of lies, strength in numbers, and revenge. It's about facing the truth, no matter how hard it might be. About finding strength within yourself to do what is right, even if it's hard. It's about standing up for yourself, and others, because no matter how small an act of bullying might be, allowing it continue unchecked can lead to untethered escalation, until the consequences are so dire that no one involved can remember how it got that far.
I have to give a shout out to the author for the warnings. Not only at the beginning of the story, about how hard it might be to read about bullying, but also the warnings throughout, that told me I could just skip to the next chapter, or avoid reading the next bit, if I was going to have issues with it. As someone who is a major 'book trigger' advocate, I heartily thank you for those warnings.
However, I kept reading and I'm an emotional mess right now, because of it. Because, what came after hurt, was painful to read, and hit me where it hurts, but was so, so important. I can't stress enough how IMPORTANT it is for people – adults, too, but especially teenagers – to read stories like this and realise the serious impact and consequences that bullying, or even ignoring bullying going on around you, can have. That lies spread quicker than the truth and are more likely to be believed. That words are a real weapon, just as real as any gun or locker or knife.
I can't think of a more adapt phrase than “I remember...” because, it's the truth. People who are bullied or who have witnessed severe bullying, will never forget it. People who are impacted by bullying in any way, will NEVER forget it. They always remember. And the most important thing that anyone who reads this book can do is...remember. Remember the pain. Remember the love that fought through it. Remember the injustices. And remember that words are humanity's most vicious and most frequently used weapons. We wield them without thinking and they always hit their mark. And just as physical injuries can't be undone, words can't be taken back.

I remember...and I will never forget. This story, the impact it has, or the lessons it can teach us all.

Favourite Quote

I honestly couldn't pick one. It was hard enough to get it limited to these four.

“I am the master of my face. I am the captain of my cock.
I lost control of both in English class.”

“I decided I'd enjoy what I had while I had it, and when I didn't have it any more...I'd cope.”

“I'll make sure there's a do-no-mpreg-the-Raven-Prince clause in the unwritten contract before I agree to serve.”

“Please remember...if a bird shits on you, don't get angry. Pause. Think about what you did to deserve it. And mend your ways.
Birds are, as you now know, instruments of justice.”

~

OVERALL

While I enjoyed each and every story that was contained in this collection, the first and last had the most lasting impacts on me. I would so happily read more stories about Eleanor, the brave, independent young woman, who kicked ass and took names. But, most especially, Mike stole my heart. I'm not sure when I last read a story that impacted me the way 'The Raven Prince' did, but I sure as heck would want to read more. I want Mike to be happy, to see more of Lisa's writing endeavours, and to check in at least one more time, to make sure that he gets his happily ever after. Even if it can't be with Johnny.

While this collection is generally about love, I also feel that it's just as equally about friendship. Every couple here were friends before they became anything more. Their friendship led them through hardships, through trials and heartache. Those friendships helped them fight and change and shift into new, stronger, better people.

If this is how his short stories feel, then this is definitely an author I want to read more from.

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text 2018-09-23 10:27
Reading progress update: I've read 75 out of 387 pages.
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Wow. Ok, this is turning a lot better than expected and is dealing with a lot of issues like body modifications, medical consent (and consent in general, really) and, just for the opening pages salvo, problems with unfit prosthetics (representation for the win!)

 

I'm at the mind-rape bit, and I'm taking a bit of a break because I've spent the last 30 or so pages in a rage.

 

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quote 2018-09-21 11:30
Harrison turned back to the stranger and made a face at the way he lifted himself onto his elbows and began poking the back of his head with fingers. He smacked the hand away by instinct. “Stop that, you stupid idiot. You might make it worse,” he protested.
Suddenly, he had the man's full focus and when those deep blue eyes met his he realised that he wasn't quite a man yet. Older, yes. Maybe even out of high school already. But there was something quite innocent about him, too. Something that made Harrison wonder why he was out here alone, sitting in the middle of the trees for his lunch break, when he could be surrounded by people.
Until he realised how that sounded and smacked himself on the forehead.
“Us loners really need to learn to eat somewhere public,” he grumbled, lowering his hand to glare at the man.

The Bright Side Brigade, by Elaine White

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text 2018-09-19 14:01
Cover Reveal - Royally Yours

     

 

 

 

Princess Lenora Celeste Beatrice Arabella Pembrook had an unusual childhood. She was raised to be a Queen—the first Queen of Wessco. It’s a big deal. When she’s crowned at just nineteen, the beautiful young monarch is prepared to rule. She’s charming, clever, confident and cunning. What she isn’t…is married. It’s her advising council’s first priority. It’s what Parliament is demanding, and what her people want. Lenora has no desire to tie herself to a man—particularly one who only wants her for her crown. But compromises must be made and royals must do their duty. Even Queens. Especially them.

 

*******

 

Years ago, Edward Langdon Richard Dorian Rourke, walked away from his title and country. Now he’s an adventurer—climbing mountains, exploring jungles, going wherever he wants, when he wants—until family devotion brings him home. And a sacred promise keeps him there. To Edward, the haughty, guarded little Queen is intriguing, infuriating…and utterly captivating. Wanting her just might drive him mad—or become his greatest adventure. ** Within the cold, stone walls of the royal palace—mistrust threatens, wills clash, and an undeniable, passionate love will change the future of the monarchy forever. Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story. This is theirs.

 

 

 

ADD TO GOODREADS      

 

 

ROYALLY YOURS will be available on October 30th

Pre-order:

 

iBooks | B&N | Google Play | Kobo

Get an alert when the book is available on Amazon

     

 

 

 

Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

 

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | NEWSLETTER | TWITTER | GOODREADS | READER FAN GROUP    

 

 

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review 2018-09-19 08:10
Cover Rebrand - With Strings Attached

 

The San Amaro Singles Series by Kelly Jamieson just got a hot makeover!

 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2xcdake

iBooks: https://apple.co/2Ofqb3O

B&N (Nook): http://bit.ly/2xcu3vb

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2MrJ8i3

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2NGShI7

 

 
 
 
With Strings Attached (Book 1)
 
Two’s company…three’s a crowd… Corey Fenwick keeps her bitter past as hidden as the sweet centers inside the handmade chocolates she sells to a growing list of upscale customers. She’s learned that the only person she can rely on is herself, so her best-friends-with-benefits relationship with Matt is perfect—no strings attached. Matt Ferber watched his last girlfriend ride off on the back of a Harley with a rock musician after calling him boring.
 
He’s resigned to being “just friends” with women, so his arrangement with Corey suits him fine too. Until his old friend Dylan Schell rolls into town to hang out while recovering from a surfing injury. The sexy bad boy surfer makes Corey’s mouth water, and she figures a harmless fling won’t hurt, especially when Dylan suggests she come between him and Matt—in bed. It’s a win-win-win situation…until somehow there are strings attached. And too late they realize they’re getting all tangled up.
 
 
 
 
 
With Strings Attached (San Amaro Singles, #1)With Strings Attached by Kelly Jamieson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Corey has a friends with benefits arrangement with her buddy, Matt. She just does not want him to help her so much that she gets dependent. Why is she okay to have him help her with orgasms and not other things?

Matt and his buddy Dylan are giving Corey a taste of the forbidden. As they explore each other maybe all of them can learn what true intimacy is. Matt is so devoted to all those he cares about. Dylan has a secret that may rock their world.

These characters were up to some pretty hot stuff. I thought the heat was dialing up and up while I was reading. Is it hot in here? Anyway, true to form, this author had me hoping for a cool cloth while I enjoyed the escapades of these three. Start of a great series, cannot wait to read more.



***This copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews
 
 
 
 
 
How to Love (Book 2)
 
The greatest mistakes we make are the risks we don’t take. Ever since Jules’s new neighbor moved in, she’s been undressing him in her mind. Mike is the fresh inspiration she needs to make her erotic photography studio a success, if she can convince him and his equally buff roommate, Carlos, to strip for her lens. And maybe indulge in a little off-camera fun as well. Jules doesn’t do relationships, but she loves men and sex—and in her experience, most men are okay with that.
 
Judging from the raw emotions in the images in Jules’s gallery, Mike senses there’s a lot going on beneath her flirtatious, slightly cynical exterior. He and Carlos are happy in their committed relationship, but they’ve always felt there’s a piece missing. They want a woman. Jules could be that woman. Jules thinks sex is as intimate and committed as she can get. A threesome with two men already committed to each other is perfect for her—emotionally risk free. But when she learns Mike and Carlos want more than sex, can she open herself to real intimacy and love, not just with one man…but with two?
 
 
Slammed (Book 3)
 
Love’s a wave. And they’re about to get slammed. Brooke Lowry has a mission: fly to Tahiti, pluck PR nightmare Dylan Schell out of whatever party he’s in, bring him home and clean up his image. It was her idea for Jackson Cole clothing company to sponsor the pro surfer. But the chances of saving this deal—and her career—look pretty slim when she finds the sexy party boy “shooting the curl” with two beach bunnies. Dylan is finally getting back on track in his surfing career after a near-death accident.
 
The next big event would put him over the top…if it wasn’t being held in San Amaro, where he’ll have to watch his best friends Matt and Corey tie the knot and move on without him. What would help? A girlfriend so his friends don’t feel sorry for him. Brooke will do anything to get Dylan back to San Amaro — even be his date for a wedding. But suddenly Dylan finds himself facing a lot of things—his hometown, his past, his fears…and something he didn’t see coming…love.
 
 
 
About Kelly Jamieson:
 
Kelly Jamieson is a USA Today bestselling author of over 40 romance novels and novellas. Her writing has been described as “emotionally complex”, “sweet and satisfying” and “blisteringly sexy”. She likes black coffee, white wine and high heels…and of course cheering on her Winnipeg Jets during hockey season!
 
Connect with Kelly:
 
 
 
 
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