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    Fracture (Gigi’s Review)

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  5. Meghan McCain sat down with RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Monét X Change, Nina West, and Adore Delano for an hour-long interview on The View and it had people feeling all kinds of ways. First, we should say, we love Monét X Change, Nina West, and Adore Delano. They can do no wrong in our books. And they were great on The View! Meghan McCain, on the other hand, is another story. McCain’s husband, Ben Domenech, is the co-founder and publisher of the extreme right-wing blog The Federalist, which regularly posts anti-LGBTQ op-eds and transphobic hit pieces by America’s rising class of bigots. Domenech, who was fired from The Washington Post after just three days after it was discovered he plagiarized several articles, also has a history of making antigay remarks, including saying Seth Meyers “gargled” Lorne Michaels’ balls for a job and repeatedly calling Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan a lesbian. Related: Husband of Megan McCain launches vaguely homophobic rant against Seth Myers, and just wow. Of course, Meghan is her own person and is certainly not defined by or responsible for her husband’s actions. But she does profit from the money he makes from peddling anti-LGBTQ propaganda on The Federalist, and she’s never really acknowledged his long history of antigay remarks. In fact, she’s often gone out of her way to avoid discussing it, while continuing to support him and his work publicly. Oh, and let’s not forget she proudly aligns herself with a political party that, just three years ago, adopted an official party platform that formally opposed same-sex marriage, endorsed anti-sodomy laws, declared transgender people shouldn’t have access to public restrooms, and called pornography a danger to society. So the fact that she was chosen to interview three drag queens in celebration of Pride month on yesterday’s episode of The View was, well, kinda awkward. Even if she does claim to be an “ally” (which, for the record, she’s not) and loves using the phrase “Yaaas, qween!” whenever possible. Adding to the awkwardness of it all, the episode aired the same day The Federalist ran a story titled “Mixing Kids With Drag Queens Sets Gay Rights Back Decades,” an op-ed by senior contributor Chad Felix Greene that falsely equates identifying as transgender with being a drag queen and warns about the dangers of Drag Queen story hours at public libraries. The queens spoke with McCain about a wide range of topics, including the difference between drag queens and transgender people, Drag Queen story hour, and being on the cover of New York magazine. And while things remained civil, and there were even a few genuine laughs, the whole thing ultimately rang hollow. queerty.com/dragaholic
  6. Having survived both Drag Race and Rent: Live, drag superstar Valentina has returned, this time as the subject of an episode of Werq the World, the new documentary series streaming from Drag Race production company World of Wonder. Werq the World shows off the behind the scenes exploits and drama of the Drag Race alumni currently on the world drag tour of the same name. Each episode of the new series focuses on a different queen from the Werq tour, and the effort it takes to tour the world in heels. Related: Valentina on honoring the past of her role as the saintly Angel in ‘Rent’ This week’s episode focuses on California native Valentina. In it, she dishes on the origin of her drag persona, her non-binary identity out of drag, and the responsibility of representing Latin culture on a global scale. Along with Valentina, Alyssa Edwards, Shangela, Latrice Royale, Sharon Needles, Kim Chi, Detox, Violet Chachki, Aquaria, and Kennedy Davenport all perform on the Werq the World tour, and appear across the season of the new series. Werq the World streams exclusively on the subscription service WOW Presents Plus every Thursday. queerty.com/dragaholic
  7. In Columbus, Ohio, Nina West isn’t just the Miss Congeniality of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 — she’s a hometown hero. And now the drag queen, a.k.a. Andrew Levitt, has her own street in the Biggest Small Town in America. Related: Nina West on raising millions for LGBTQ causes and dreaming of SNL Nina announced the news on Instagram on June 10, showing a photo of the intersection of Hull Alley and High Street in the city’s stylish Short North Arts District. In the pic, Hull Alley has been renamed “Nina West Way.” Actually, the rainbow-hued street sign reads, “Be Kind The Nina West Way.” “Today is an overwhelming day,” West wrote on Instagram. “Thank you to my fair city of Columbus for the honor of naming a street in my honor. ‘Be Kind THE NINA WEST Way’ — I am speechless. I am so humbled. I am beyond proud to represent a city that has taught me so many invaluable lessons and allowed me to grow and be the best I can be. I am so in love with you, CBUS. Forever and always, and so proud to call you HOME. Huge thank to the Team Nina West group on Facebook who helped make this happen. I really don’t have words.” Related: Don’t be surprised if these 10 queens make it to ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ season 5 West, who raises money for LGBTQIA-specific causes through her self-named foundation, praised Columbus in a Queerty interview last month. “The thing I am most proud of is representing my hometown of Columbus, Ohio with such pride,” she said at the time. “Columbus is this tremendous city of collaboration and heart, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and guidance of the community. I am so proud to be theirs.” queerty.com/dragaholic
  8. Her one-woman show may be called “Help Me, I’m Dying,” but Katya Zamolodchikova, aka Katya, aka Brian McCook is doing just fine, thank you. The RuPaul‘s Drag Race season 7 and Drag Race All-Stars season 2 standout has had a wild ride, from coming up in the Boston drag scene to finding a massive audience through TV and an ever-expanding one with the success UNHhhh, her web series with Trixie Matell. UNHhhh was later picked up by Vice for television as The Trixie and Katya Show for one season, and now the pair are back to producing UNHhhh. Along the way, McCook took time off from the series, and from drag, to focus on mental health, and his willingness to be open about the process was a welcomed dose of honest realness. It’s easy to scroll through Instagram and convince yourself that people are living the ‘dream,’ but we all have work to do throughout our lives. As queer people, some of that work can be especially challenging to unravel. The good news? Katya is back and on a world tour, baby! “Help Me, I’m Dying” is set to make its way across Europe, Canada and the US. Head here for tickets and info. Queerty’s Dan Tracer caught up with Katya to talk about dreams, drag names, shapeshifting, and more. Hi Katya! Good morning–is it morning where you are? Yeah, I’m in bed still. Oh wow, that’s actually the perfect location for my first question. As Katya, part of the gig is you have to be so extroverted out in public, but you also seem like an ‘inner world’ queen, too. What are your dreams like? [Laughs] It’s going to be that kind of an interview. OK perfect. Actually last night I had sleep paralysis! Do you know what that is? That’s like when you consciously wake up but your body is completely inaccessible. I got it a lot as a kid. I’d start to fall asleep and then I’d feel like I’m being attacked. The one that happened last night, I was on my side and I felt like there were two people, one on my back and one facing me, that were trying to attack and I was trying to scream “Help!” And I couldn’t get anything out of my mouth. Oh that’s terrifying. It’s horrible, yeah. But there were two sleep monsters this time. Usually, there’s only one. Have you ever lucid dreamed? Yes. Yes! What’s that like for you? I have too, I’m obsessed with lucid dreaming. Yeah it’s really cool. It invariably goes sexual. Yeah? Because I’m in a dream and I can do whatever I want. Right, you have that moment where you’re like, “Oh, anything’s possible?!” Mine’s always flying. I’ll think, “Oh I can do anything? I can fly!” And then I’ll float up and get so excited that I wake up. [Laughs] Oh that’s funny. So in dream world or in real world, if you could choose between invisibility or shapeshifting as a power, which one would you go for? Oh shapeshifting for sure. I mean you kind of already are a shapeshifter. Right but it would be so much easier to just do it at the drop of a hat. Oh god, yeah, that would save you several years of your life. And plausible scenarios, if a UFO came down right now, and some goopy alien prince discreetly took you aside, and you know, offered you some tea, was very nice to you, and then gave you the chance to leave, right now, no time to tie up loose ends, no goodbyes, would you go? [Pause] Yep. Yeah, that’s fair. And if he said you could make one phone call before you left, who would you call? I’d call my mom. Or… maybe Barak Obama. Oh! [Laughs] I sort of assumed you’d have to have the person’s phone number already, but that wasn’t part of the question. I would love to hear that conversation, you, on the line with President Obama, just before your interstellar departure. But leaving Barry out of the picture, you’re close with your family, yeah? Yeah they’re amazing. So they do know you’re a drag queen? Nope. They think I work for UPS. Your secret’s safe with us. I have a really wonderful family, an older brother and a younger sister. They’re great. Has your older brother ever tried on one of your wigs? Well we used to have wig parties. Oh! And he just had a child. So I’m an uncle now, and I’m looking forward to procuring some child wigs. What names did you cycle through before becoming hermetically sealed to Katya? Gosh I can’t even remember… There was Sigourney Beaver. She was in the mix at some point. Stop it. The name I’ve been floating for years is So-horny Beaver. Ohh that’s like a double-whammy. And run us through the characters in your one-woman show, Help Me, I’m Dying. It’s a one-woman show, but you come out in multiple characters. Katya is there but she doesn’t snag all the stage time. Who are the other featured players? So there’s Katya the Russian character, so I go through her origin story, and then I come out as another character called Trish, who’s like a junkie/townie from the suburbs of Boston. And then I come out as me, like, without any character, just me in drag, which is slightly confusing. Which of those three is the most comfortable for you? Probably the Russian one. I just get into the accent and the origin story, which changes all the time. And I love that about it. It’s like, “Now I’m going to tell the truth,” and it’s never the truth. I was lucky to have seen the show at the ACE Theater in Los Angeles back in March, which featured Trish in the most bizarre and brilliant physical comedy crowd-play I could ever imagine. For people reading this, you brought an audience member up onto the stage, sat him in a chair and crawled all over him, creating what I can only describe as some kind of kinetic, living, comedy sculpture. Has it changed or evolved as you’ve been touring? Yeah, it changes all the time. In Singapore, I actually had another performer come up who I used to perform with in Boston, join me on stage, and we did a duet — we did Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion’s “Tell Him,” which is a song about a woman in love — she’s so in love with this guy but she’s too afraid to let him know how she feels, and the audience member we brought up was really not up for it. He was this straight dude who was probably dragged there by his girlfriend, and the song is really long, so he was just tortured for probably like, ten minutes. It was hysterical. And did the audience love that or was it uncomfortable? Oh they loved it. That sounds right. Yeah it was amazing to watch and probably harrowing for him to experience. But maybe, ultimately, a good experience for him? Yeah, or maybe not! Or not! And so you’re touring now, you have quite an ambitious schedule ahead of you, and I strongly encourage folks to make it out to your gigs — how does the tour life treat you? It hasn’t been so bad! And we’re actually on a bus starting next month, which I’m very excited about. And I see you have a show in New York during World Pride, are you even ready for that much queerness? I don’t think so. They say 4.5 million people are expected to descend upon the city. That’s too much gay, I think I’m going to be homophobic by the end of that. And the reason it’s this massive confluence is it’s the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, and here at Queerty, we’re doing our Pride50 series honoring 50 LGBTQ trailblazers. We’ve been asking people where they see the movement headed in the next 50 years. What do you think Pride100 will look like? Well, it’ll probably look like Atlantis because we’re going to be underwater. But one of the things I find encouraging is that young people these days, their conception of sexuality is much more fluid and less defined, which I really like. On the one hand, Gay Pride is great, but I also love this kind of like… ‘it doesn’t matter’ sort of attitude about it. You’re interested in who you’re interested in, it’s the blurring of the boundaries of sexual identity. Identity changes. I think it would be better if there were more consensus on larger, broader issues like compassion, non-violence. That sounds pretty good to me. Now one last question, a really important one. There is this theory that when the Big Bang happened, it actually created our reality and a second mirror reality which is just like ours except time moves in reverse. So I want to know… what is your drag name in the mirror reality? Ohh… in the Benjamin Button one. Oh gosh. Sharon Stone. Sharon Stone. Sharon Stone, yeah. Just like the actress. Oh because I guess she wouldn’t really exist as “Sharon Stone” in that universe. No, she’d be something else. So you’d just be Sharon Stone. I’d just be Sharon Stone with a dick and that would be the huge gag in Basic Instinct. Hello! That’s a great place to leave off, thanks! queerty.com/dragaholic
  9. If you happen to have $5 million in the bank, you could sashay away with your very own World of Wonder: RuPaul is selling his Hollywood Hills bungalow. Related: RuPaul teases details about hotly-anticipated Netflix series “This property is a developer’s dream, just waiting to command top dollar alongside its $20-million-dollar-plus neighbors in this star-studded celebrity enclave,” the house’s Wish Sotheby’s International Realty listing page raves. “Built in classic 1960s style, the existing home has been immaculately maintained and boasts floor-to-ceiling glass walls with sliding glass doors opening to the pool, spa, and breathtaking jetliner views spanning from Downtown to the Pacific and beyond. It is move-in ready, can be easily brought up to today’s standards, or completely reimagined, taking advantage of the stunning views and embodying its quintessential California lifestyle, just minutes away from hip restaurants, boutiques, and the newest hotels and clubs the Strip has to offer.” The listing doesn’t mention Ru, but The Advocate reports the property — located “just above the world-renowned Sunset Strip in the Bird Streets, one of the most coveted neighborhoods in Los Angeles” — currently belongs to the Drag Racehost and his husband, Georges LeBar. (The couple also has a ranch in Wyoming, a condo in West Hollywood, and a residence in New York City.) Related: Here’s why RuPaul, Michelle Obama and Adele were all hanging out The photos of the 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath house show that its 2,362 square feet are decked out in the fabulous style you’d expect from Mama Ru: vividly painted walls, geometric wallpaper, animal print furniture, and artwork of icons including Dolly Parton and Diana Ross. And if you don’t have that $5 million lying around? You better work! queerty.com/dragaholic
  10. After last week’s finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11, it’s off-season for the franchise. It’s nice to have a break after six (!!!) months of Drag Race, but it’s never too early to begin speculating who will appear on the show’s next iteration of All Stars. While fierce finalists like Shea Couleé and Asia O’Hara are obvious choices, it’s exhilarating to watch less-expected returnees – like All-Stars 4 finalist Monique Heart, who had a mediocre eighth-place finish on season 10 – come back with a vengeance. Read on for our dream cast for All Stars 5. 1. Shea Couleé It’s been rumored that Shea turned down offers to be on All Stars 3 and 4, but when the queen decides to return to the Hunger Games of drag, she’ll be entering as the frontrunner: She is one of two queens in the show’s history with four challenge wins on a traditional season. Sharon Needles got her crown – now it’s time for Miss Couleé to join the winners’ ranks. 2. Miz Cracker Superfan sleuths are already convinced that Miz Cracker is cast on All Stars 5 thanks to some tour dates cancellations. Given her rabid fanbase, it would be a no-brainer to bring back the NYC queen. 3. Vanessa Mateo Vanjie The whinier side of the fandom would complain that she’s being overexposed after appearing on both seasons 10 and 11, but let’s be clear: there’s no such thing as too much Vanjie. The Cardi B of Drag is magnetic, makes great television and continues to grow as a fierce performer. 4. Sonique After her appearance Drag Race Holi-slay Spectacular, fan attention has been reignited for the season 2 starlet. The WeHo queen has shared stages with Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus – and most recently popped up in Lizzo’s video for “Juice.” 5. Asia O’Hara The Dallas-based queen is sure to stomp her competition as if they’re helpless insects dodging a pair of high heels. Jokes aside, Asia proved to be a fierce competitor on season 10 – she’ll most certainly be back sooner or later. 6. Willam Given her sour relationship with the show, the odds of this happening are about as likely as All Stars 5 not having some infuriating twist – but one can dream. With a resume that includes a number one comedy album and a role in A Star Is Born, Willam is one of the smartest, hardest working queens in the show’s history. Not only that, but her zero-fucks-given attitude would be a welcome contrast to the franchise’s newer stars who’ve entered the arena with carefully curated camera-ready personalities. 7. Jiggly Caliente Despite an unremarkable eighth place exit on season 4, this Filipina queen has remained in the spotlight. Not only did she nab a recurring role on Pose, but she and Peppermint starred in a Saturday Night Live sketch alongside Steve Carell and Cecily Strong. It’s past time for Miss Caliente to have another shot at the crown. 8. Nina West The newly minted season 11 Miss Congeniality won over fans including Rihanna and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with her camp-tastic approach to drag. Her radiating brand of positivity would bring a welcome ray of sunshine to an otherwise cut-throat competition. 9. Yara Sofia It was smart of Drag Race to bring back Manila and Latrice for All Stars 4; new fans of the show were reintroduced to OG favs. While all of the first round of All Stars deserve another shot at the crown, it would be most exciting to see redemption for this Puerto Rican spitfire. 10. Ginger Minj Another All Star worth bringing back? Ginger Minj. The self-described Glamour Toad got lost in the All Stars 2 mix, but has gone onto appear in two Netflix originals, Dumplin’, and Super Drags. Not only that, but fans have campaigned for the drag star to portray Ursula in the upcoming live-action Little Mermaid. She’d surely turn her competitors into poor, unfortunate souls. Which queens would be in your dream All Stars 5 cast? queerty.com/dragaholic
  11. RuPaul’s Drag Race already has regional versions for Thailand, South American and the U.K., but because Mama Ru won’t be happy until she achieves world domination, she’s apparently creating a Canadian version, and the guest judges better include Celine Dion, a hockey puck covered in maple syrup and moose made of poutine. According to Entertainment Weekly, Drag Race Canada will feature 10 one-hour episodes and air on the Canadian networks Crave and OUTtv. It’s being produced in conjunction with the Drag Race production company World of Wonder (WOW) and Blue Ant Studios, and it will not feature RuPaul as the main host (though RuPaul will serve as an executive producer along with WOW’s enton Bailey, Randy Barbato, and Tom Campbell). It’s unclear who will host the show, but casting begins this summer and production will start in the fall. It’s also unclear when filming and airing will start. Blue Ant Studios’ Sam Sniderman said, “Canadian drag is world class and we could not be more excited to bring these artists and their stories to Crave. We are thrilled to be working with WOW on this legendary and game-changing global format.” Related: Reddit sleuths uncover the rumored contestants of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ Perhaps this all happening because season 11’ of RuPaul’s Drag Race featured the series’ first-ever Canadian contestant, Brooke Lynn Hytes, and the Canucks went wild, eh? Just kidding. It’s more likely that the North just wants in on the mega-lucrative Drag Race franchise and Mama Ru and WOW are striking before drag-fatigue inevitably sets in. But if you’re impatient for some foreign Drag Race action now, don’t fret. Drag Race UK will air on BBC 3 later this year, two seasons of Drag Race Thailand are already available online and so is one season of the South American Switch Drag Race. It features trans contestant Gia Gunn, and yes, she acts like a royal b*tch in it as well. (Very on-brand for her.) queerty.com/dragaholic
  12. Rusty Baker is a rich, entitled, oblivious jock, and he might have stayed that way if he hadn’t become friends with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. When Oliver kisses him goodbye before Rusty leaves for college, Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself. But nothing can help Rusty survive a semester at Stanford, and he returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. But with Oliver’s love and the help of Oliver’s amazing family, Rusty realizes that failing college doesn’t mean he can’t pass real life with flying rainbow colors. Second Edition — First Edition published by Riptide Publishing, December 2013. Best Christmas story ever! Rusty is a high school jock. But he’s not the person his parents want him to be. He’s not super smart, he’s not a womanizer, nor is he excited about a future as a lawyer. But he’s still trying to be everything they want him to be. When Rusty meets Oliver, they become instant friends. Rusty isn’t sure what it is about Oliver, but Oliver just makes him feel good. When Rusty goes off to study at Stanford, he is struggling with the course load. He feels he’s not smart enough for Stanford, but with non-stop studying he might make it. But trying to juggle everything, his school work, his new roommate, his confusing feelings for Oliver, Rusty isn’t doing too well. When he goes home for Thanksgiving, Oliver is waiting for him in the driveway. But when his parents catch him kissing Oliver, they tell him he’s no longer welcome at home. So Rusty has no other choice but to drop out at Stanford and sleep on Oliver’s couch for a while. Oliver’s father tells Rusty he can stay as long as he wants, but Rusty doesn’t want to impose. Luckily Oliver’s family helps him out wherever they can, and it is not long before Rusty has a cheap apartment and a cheap car. And he can even work construction for Oliver’s dad…. This had so much hurt/comfort that I was in heaven. Rusty was hurting so much, and Oliver and his family provided so much comfort, it was absolutely wonderful. Rusty didn’t have much, but sometimes that just doesn’t matter. ”We don’t need a bed to be in love.” ”Promise you won’t leave me alone,” I said, my voice so clogged I almost couldn’t get it out. “Promise you won’t leave me in this shitty apartment, all by myself, when the only thing I want is you.” Title: Christmas Kitsch Author: Amy Lane Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Release Date: December 7, 2018 Genre(s): M/M Contemporary, Christmas Page Count: 200 Reviewed by: Susan Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5 Rating: 5+ stars out of 5 gaybook.reviews
  13. Jack Reardon uncovers secrets for a living, and the Meta-State spy is pretty good at it. Or rather he thought so until he met Ethan Blade—assassin, warrior, enigma. The unlikely pair have decided to give living together a shot, but Jack’s not entirely certain what he’s gotten himself into—or exactly who he’s in it with. Jack’s worries are compounded when he’s assigned to a police strike force hunting a serial killer. With each new puzzle piece, Jack considers the true nature of a serial killer—and how similar it is to an assassin. To one particular assassin who’s having trouble adjusting to retirement. Jack’s unsure how to help Ethan—or if he even can. When the killer strikes close to home, Jack must race against the clock to stop another murder, despite the price someone has put on his head. Could the matters be connected? Is a certain assassin at the centre of both? Surrounded by killers, the only one Jack wants near disappears, leaving Jack drowning in secrets. He’ll have to do what he does best—unravel the secrets, including Ethan’s—to stop the killer and save the life he and Ethan have only just begun to build. Who is Ethan Blade? We, along with Jack, find out in this book. Hayward continues to blow me away with her writing talent. She’s just so clever! Every minute of this story entertained me, especially the relationship development. This is going straight to me best of 2018 shelf. The mystery in this one, once again, hits a little too close to home. Jack is especially vulnerable when forced to work with a past hook-up, which he doesn’t want Ethan to find out about. These two flawed men finally open up to each other. A lot. Feelings are admitted, but it’s still not enough. Neither man feels secure in it, and that’s when things go awry. As much as they opened communication, my frustration lingers because there is still so much they aren’t saying! But it was enough, for now. Secrets are revealed, and we finally get to see what has shaped Ethan to be the man that he is. Sigh. I just want to hug him and bring him home. This one is the best so far! They keep getting better. “You give me so much, Jack. Warmth and comfort and a secure place to be myself. You give me acceptance and understanding. You’ve given me the life I always wanted but never thought I could have.” Ohhhhh….and there’s an epilogue from Ethan’s POV. I may have melted. A bit. Title: Why the Devil Stalks Death (Death and the Devil #2) Author: LJ Hayward Publisher: Self-published Release Date: December 9, 2018 Genre(s): Mystery/Suspense, Romance Book Length: 4,972 Kindle locations Reviewed by: Renée Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5 Rating: 5+ stars out of 5 gaybook.reviews
  14. A psychological drama of cat and mouse, A Ladder to the Sky shows how easy it is to achieve the world if you are prepared to sacrifice your soul. If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career. A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful than him. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter entirely. Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them – or to whom they belong – as long as they help him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse. WOW! To my shame I have to confess that around 15% I even considered to DNF it – in spite of being even a little overenthusiastic at the beginning. I snobbishly presumed I recognized what this book would be about and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to devote so much time to a particularly loathsome example of a wannabe writer (Maurice) to see how he would destroy and ruin human fates to achieve his ambitions. John Boyne is an extraordinary story-teller. Yes, somehow, I wasn’t wrong at all in regard of human fates and Maurice’s ambitions that, quoting the old proverb, like setting a ladder to the sky. But the way John Boyne tells us this magnificent and terrifying story about how far one can go for his ambitions, for his idea of himself, is fascinating and captivating. One said that literature was more important than human life so what was the problem if a few people had died in the pursuit of excellence? (Maurice) This book goes directly to my favorite shelf. That is for sure one of the best books I read in the last few years. I can’t recommended it highly enough. Title: A Ladder to the Sky Author: John Boyne Publisher: Lee Boudreaux Books Release Date: August 9th, 2018 Genre(s): LGBTQ Fiction, Psychological Drama Page Count: 368 Reviewed by: LenaRibka Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5 Rating: 5+ stars out of 5 gaybook.reviews
  15. After three years, Snow and Jude’s relationship is still passionate and strong. They’re getting ready for a romantic vacation at home when Jude receives a horrifying call no one wants to receive. His youngest brother was found barely clinging to life. While Jude’s family is rallying around Jordan, Jude is determined to find out what happened to him. Snow and Jude follow the clues, investigating a side of Jordan’s life none of them knew about…and is far darker than any would have believed possible. They get pulled deeper into the seedy side of life, while echoes from a past Snow thought he walked away from return to offer an unexpected insight into the cause of Jordan’s injuries. But someone else has noticed their involvement and is furious, putting them both in danger. The risk is high but so is Jude’s determination to find the truth—though the knowledge could very well fracture his heart. Trigger Warning: This book has a scene that some might find triggering, but the triggers are also spoilers to the plot, so they can be found at the front of the book. Surgeon Ashton “Snow” Frost and parametric Jude Torres are probably my favorite M/M book couple. The only ones that come close are Matt and Kira from Point of No Return and Noah and Lucas from Strength of the Pack. I couldn’t have been more excited when Fracture was announced. Another book, just for Snow and Jude! Woooo! And this sequel did NOT disappoint. Jude and Snow are going strong 3 years after Shatter. They are still sappy in love and sexing it up at every turn. Then Jude’s brother winds up in the hospital, shot and beaten and in a coma. Jude is beside himself and doesn’t believe the police are doing enough to find his brother’s attacker. The Unbreakable Bonds men and Ward security enter the picture after Jude and Snow come up empty handed. (It was good to see everyone, but I’m glad the secondary characters weren’t in this as much. I loved that it focuses almost entirely on Jude and Snow’s relationship. (Read my review for Shatter here.) I absolutely loved this book. It had everything Shatter had except now Jude and Snow are in a long-term, committed relationship. I’m a sucker for an established relation romance and this gave me that in spades. Just like the first book we have: Action Suspense Mystery Sappy/heartwarming displays of love Character drama Angst Kidnapping Hurt/Healing/Comfort Melt-the-paint-off-the-walls sex If you trust my reviews, which are always 100% honest, and you haven’t read the Unbreakable Bonds series, you need to start reading Shatter right now then follow it up with Fracture. There are some short stories with Jude and Snow in them, but nothing that moves the plot along. Outrageously sexy (more wall sex!) and passionate and loving, these men just do it for me. All buttons pushed. This one gets 5+ stars. The last time I rated a book 5+ stars was in April 2018 for Imagines (Imago #2) by N.R. Walker. I don’t give them out willy-nilly. Highly Recommended. Title: Fracture (Unbreakable Bond #6) Author: Rinda Elliott and Jocelynn Drake Publisher: Drake & Elliott Publishing LLC Release Date: March 29, 2019 Genre(s): MM Mystery/Suspense/Romance Page Count: 249 Reviewed by: Gigi Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5 Rating: 5+ stars out of 5 gaybook.reviews
  16. They can escape their enemies, but not the desire between them. Prosecutor Camden Warren is on the fast track to professional nirvana. With his charm, his sharp legal mind, and his father as chief judge in the highest court in NY, he can’t fail. Nothing can derail his rise to the top… until an attempt on his life forces him to accept the help of a man he walked out on five years ago. Wounded in the line of duty, Lieutenant Elijah Stephenson wants to ride his new desk job until retirement—not take a glorified babysitting gig with more risk than it’s worth… especially not protecting the entitled lawyer who disappeared after the best sex of their lives. The threat against Camden’s life is real, but their passion for each other might prove the greatest danger they’ve yet to face. OMG this book completely blew me away. I could not put this book down. Definitely one of my top reads I have read recently and that is saying something because I have read a lot of good books. This book has everything you could want in a read. It has mystery, danger, anguish, past history between the two main characters that did not end well, family drama, blackmail, love, and so much more!!! LaQuette did such an amazing job on this book that a five star review is just not good enough for this book!!! Definitely on a highly recommended read rating from me!! Elijah has never been scared to do his job before. From the time he became a cop he knew he wanted to work his way up through ranks. He is not scared to take the bad guys off the street. But after being attacked and almost killed while undercover, he no longer thinks he is capable of going back to that aspect of the job again. So that is why he put in for the promotion to cyber crimes. Before he is able to start this portion of his career his captain has one more job for him. He is on protection detail for the Executive ADA. He is being targeted by a very nasty group he is about to try and take down. But they are not going to go down willingly. Camden never expected his life to be in danger when he took on the case to take down The Path group’s head leader but that is exactly what is happening. After the attempt on his life he is going into hiding until the trial begins. What he never expects though is his protection detail to be the man that rocked his world five years ago and he walked away from. Now he has to face Elijah head on and pray he can keep his cool facade up on the process. When Elijah finds out he is protecting the one man he could not get out of his head, he tried to refuse but his captain was not having it. Now that he is stuck with him, Elijah would not have it any other way because he is not about to let the crazies get to Camden. Can Camden and Elijah figure out a way to spend time together without killing each other while he is in hiding? Will Camden come clean with Elijah on why he walked away five years ago? Can these two men come to some kind of understanding between them? And what happens when unexpected guests show up at their hiding place? This was such a great read and just when you think nothing else is going to happen and these two may get a happy ending, well let’s just say you are in for another surprise. I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to more by Laquette in the future. Title: Under His Protection (Dreamspun Desires #80) Author: LaQuette Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Release Date: April 16, 2019 Genre(s): Mystery, Romance, Family Drama Page Count: 200 pages Reviewed by: Tosha Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5 Rating: 5+ stars out of 5 gaybook.reviews
  17. Tree surgeon Aidan Drummond is content with his own company. He works alone, and lives alone, and it doesn’t occur to him to want anything else until a life-changing accident lands him in hospital. Then a glimpse of the beautiful boy in the opposite bed changes everything. Ludo Giordano is trapped on the ward with a bunch of old men. His mind plays tricks on him, keeping him awake. Then late one night, a new face brings a welcome distraction. Their unlikely friendship is addictive. And, like most things in Ludo’s life, temporary. Back in the real world, Aidan’s monochrome existence is no longer enough. He craves the colour Ludo brought him, and when a chance meeting brings them back together, before long, they’re inseparable again. But bliss comes with complications. Aidan is on the road to recovery, but Ludo has been unwell his entire life, and that’s not going to change. Aidan can kiss him as much as he likes, but if he can’t help Ludo when he needs him most, they don’t stand a chance. Where to begin with this beauty? Kiss Me Again by Garrett Leigh took hold of me from the first page; I ended up reading it in one sitting. I requested it on the cover alone, and once the blurb was posted, I was ever so glad that I did. Kiss Me Again’s two main characters deal with some weighty issues; both different, but both that some readers can relate to. There’s such beauty to the writing, this quiet, melancholy that’s GL’s signature style. Some highlights: -Opposites attract. Aidan is quiet and irritable, while Ludo is kind and loopy, but each finds precisely what each needs in each other. -Their meeting. Never read anything like it, and I loved it. It was different and sweet. -Dual POVs -Chemistry -Slow burn -Full of feels/Angst -Hurt/Comfort/Healing -Friends to lovers. The relationship development was exquisitely written. -I appreciate that all of GL’s characters come from different walks of life. I’m so tired of the same ol’ privileged characters. -The ending was all kinds of romantic. Kiss Me Again is a beautiful, compelling story of hope- it touched me. I loved everything about it and can’t recommend it enough. 5+ Stars. One of my favorite books of 2019. Title: Kiss Me Again Author: Garrett Leigh Publisher: Fox Love Press Release Date: June 7th 2019 Genre(s): Contemporary Romance Page Count: 227 pages Reviewed by: Lili Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5 Rating: 5+ stars out of 5 gaybook.reviews
  18. Erik Mitchell traveled the world uncovering art fraud and relic theft, which pitted him against spoiled billionaires, unscrupulous collectors, mobsters, and cartels. He worked with law enforcement across the U.S. and Europe, but then a sting goes wrong, Erik ends up injured and returns to find his partner cheating. He decides to stop globetrotting and buy an antique shop in scenic Cape May, NJ, rebuild his life, and nurse his broken heart. Undercover Newark cop Ben Nolan went down in a hail of bullets when a bust went sideways, after a tip-off from a traitor inside the department. When he recovers, he spends a couple of years as a private investigator, only to tire of seeing the worst of human nature. So when his aunt offers him the chance to take over her rental real estate business in Cape May, it seems too good to be true. Now if he could just believe he could ever be lucky again in love. Sparks fly when Erik and Ben meet. But when a cursed hotel’s long-ago scandals resurface, the two men are pulled into a web of lies, danger, and deception that will test their bond—and might make them Cape May’s newest ghosts! Treasure Trail contains sexually explicit material intended for adults 18 and over. The story had an intriguing set up as both men were pulling up stakes and moving to same tiny coastal town in search of a new beginning. Both of them are still nursing wounds from previous relationships and are trying for career change. One night to relax and have fun at their respective friends’ prodding brings them together. Despite similarities both have unique voice and even short introduction gave us detailed view of their history. It made them sympathetic from the start. And hey, Ben puts Marvel posters up on walls when he moves into new place! (I’m a fan!) The suspense plot is nicely set up, there is a little bit of old history, old scandals and just a touch of paranormal. Also it’s a great way for the two to met again. I was practically jumping up and down in anticipation! The story builds up slowly as past and present converge to land our heroes in danger. It had satisfying development and conclusion on all fronts. There is a promise of more to come as this is first in new series and I look forward to reading more of Ben and Erik’s adventures! Title: Treasure Trail Author: Morgan Brice Publisher: Darkwind Press Release Date: June 26, 2019 Genre(s): Paranormal Mystery Page Count: 248 Reviewed by: Maya Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5 Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 gaybook.reviews
  19. Detectives Mark Ruxsberg and Chris Green are very good at their jobs. Being the enforcers for God and Day’s notorious Atlanta PD Narcotics Task Force causes the crazy duo to get into more trouble than they can often get out of. The pair never misses out on an opportunity to drive their Lieutenants crazy with their dangerous, reckless, and costly stunts, landing them in the hot seat in front God… often. Ruxs and Green love their jobs and they don’t mind the very demanding schedule that leaves them little time for socializing or dating. It was fine with them, they enjoyed hanging out with each other anyway. However, most of the men in their close circle of friends and colleagues are pairing off and settling down. God has Day, Ro has Johnson, and their Sergeant Syn has Furious. For the past several years, Ruxs has only sought out the advice and company of one person, his partner and best friend Green, and vice versa. Both of these alpha males are presumed straight, but neither can deny the heat that’s building in their once ‘just friends’ relationship. As the third book in the Nothing Special series, this was engaging and entertaining, but not as full of action or suspense as the first two. Mark Ruxsberg and Chris Green are the ‘enforcers’ on God and Day’s team. They are the muscle and the heat and the ones in the field. They’ve been partners for years, but lately Mark has been having a rough go of things. When his addict mother goes on a binge and Chris decides to start dating, he finds himself falling down a rabbit hole of solitude and alcohol. Oh, and he’s caught feelings for his partner that won’t go away. Green can’t understand what’s going on with Ruxs or why he’s acting so crazy lately, until one night he shows up at his door, the unmistakable look of lust in his eyes. He’s wanted Ruxs for years, so he’s finally getting the man of his dreams. But Mark is straight. And never been with a man. Not to mention his life is pretty close to rock bottom. Is he really looking to start something? I was a tiny bit disappointed at the lack of action in this book. There was a lot of buildup from the start about a raid going down, but it was completely off page. Instead, this seemed to be centered more around Green and his relationship with Curtis, the 17 yr old kid that helped out around the precinct and sometimes stayed at Green’s house. While I totally enjoyed Green and Ruxs building a relationship and family around Curtis, I also found it odd that at the end we started getting into Curtis’ POV. Especially since there isn’t a book devoted to him. This was still a wild and sexy ride…lots and lots of sexy times. The narration by Aiden Snow was brilliant, as usual. There is just no one else that can pull of these big, brawny, cocky bad boys like he can. Title: Here Comes Trouble (Nothing Special #3) Author: A.E. Via and Aiden Snow (Narrator) Publisher: Tantor Audio Release Date: July 2nd 2019 Genre(s): Romance Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins Reviewed by: Kirstin Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5 Rating: 4 stars out of 5 gaybook.reviews
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