Tag Archives: Harmony Ink Press

Book Review: The Grim Life (The Grim Life #1) – K.D. Worth

Published March 12, 2015
Format: Novel
Genres and Themes: Young Adult, Fiction, LGBT, Death, Suicide, Religion
Length: 180 pages, ebook
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Ebook ASIN/ISBN: 1632168928 (ISBN13: 9781632168924)
Characters: Max, Slade, Kody Michaels

I abso-freakin’-lutely loved this story! It started when Max lost his life on prom night and he was recruited as a ‘reaper’ by a very mysterious ‘angel’ named Slade. Three years after joining the group of teenage reapers, he was assigned his very first suicide case and that’s when he defied the number one rule of his job – saving a life!

After failing his first suicide attempt, Kody is determine to end it all by jumping off a bridge. Until Max intervened and made him realized that there’s got to be more to life.

I had so much fun reading this one because it’s an interesting premise with charming characters. I loved Max’s character the most because he was very likable and relatable. I loved that he wears his heart on his sleeve.

I also want to give poor Kody the tighest hug ever and let him know that it’s gonna be alright. Such a darling boy. I’m excited to learn more about the mystery of his character.

It’s interesting how the author tackled sensitive topics like suicide, gay conversion therapy, religion and bigotry. These are issues you’d rather avoid in a book but the author was able to breeze through it in a way that doesn’t sound preachy and all that shit.

It was a well-built world where we get to see “reapers” differently. Although there’s still the usual bad guys ala-Dementors which are equally interesting as well. We get to see the mindset of people all too real in this world. And we also get this message in the book that makes you wonder why it’s so hard for people to accept other people’s differences.

This is a really good book and I thought a lot of people should give it a go. It’s all worth it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

BUY LINKS:
AMAZON | Dreamspinner Press

About the Author
K.D. Worth has always considered herself to have the heart of a teenager with an old soul. When not talking to the characters living in her head, she loves to hang out at her favorite townie bar then go dancing and partying with her husband and friends. There is always music playing in her home, and if it’s too loud you’re too old! On the flip side, K.D. enjoys spending time in her vegetable garden, canning the food she grows, and making homemade jams and jellies. She also is known to crochet washcloths and blankets for her closest friends and smiles when they tease her for her “grandmotherly” ways. These two different sides to her personality create a layered tapestry of life experience that brings depth and believability to the characters she writes. She loves to hear from her fans almost as much as she loves her cocker spaniels. You can find her on Facebook or get updates about upcoming books on her website.

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ARC Book Review: Do-Gooder – J. Leigh Bailey

DooGooderDate of Publication: September 15, 2016
Genre and Themes: LGBTQI, Young Adult, Kidnapping, Africa
Format: 200 pages, ebook
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
ISBN: 9781634775281
Characters: Isaiah Martin, Henry

Blurb: No good deed goes unpunished, and for seventeen-year-old Isaiah Martin, that’s certainly the case. The gun he was caught with wasn’t even his, for God’s sake. He only had it to keep a friend from doing something stupid. No one wants to hear it though, and Isaiah is banished—or so it seems to him—to live with his missionary father in politically conflicted Cameroon, Africa.
However, when he arrives, his father is so busy doing his good deeds that he sends Henry, the young, surprisingly hot do-gooder with a mysterious past, to pick up Isaiah and keep him out of trouble. Even while Isaiah is counting down the days until he can go home, he and Henry get caught in the political unrest of the region. Kidnapped by militant forces, the two have to work together to survive until they are rescued—unless they manage to find a way to save each other first.

***

I’m still contemplating my feelings towards this book so the things you’re about to read would be my ‘just-finished-reaction’ towards it. I so enjoyed Isaiah’s perspective – voice alive, thoughts so vibrant and just overall fun to read. When you say young adult – Isiah is the perfect embodiment of it.

Henry meanwhile is a very fascinating character. I loved that he represent a strong character – a character you’d root for once you get to know him.

The Do-Gooder theme between the men in this book is lovely and all but I find it extremely annoying in the case of Chuck / Dr. Martin because of that twist about his character. It’s so not acceptable for me If I were Isaiah – I am so gonna flip the way he did.

I’m probably going to be in the minority here and I feel that I will be getting a bit of a flock for writing this one because it would seem like I’m making a big deal out of the circumstances the boys have found themselves into but it’s seriously bothered me to no end since finishing the book the other day. I didn’t like what happened with Henry during their captivity. It maybe one of those inevitable things given their circumstances but it was too much for me. Hasn’t the boy endured enough? It was a bit disheartening and I don’t believe for one second that it was nothing to him, that he’s done it before and all that shit. It’s a cruel twist of fate and the story could’ve go on without that scene.

I find the writing extremely thoughtful overall though, I’ve some issues with the story, I still had fun reading it. I also wouldn’t mind reading more from the boys in the future!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Pre-Order Link

About The Author
j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.

She wrote her first story at seven, which was, unbeknownst to her at the time, a charming piece of fan-fiction in which Superman battled (and defeated, of course) the nefarious X Luther. She was quite put out to be told, years later, that the character’s name was actually Lex. Her second masterpiece should have been a best-seller, but the action-packed tale of rescuing her little brother from an alligator attack in the marshes of Florida collected dust for years under the bed instead of gaining critical acclaim.

Now she writes Young Adult LGBT Romance novels about boys traversing the crazy world of love, relationships and acceptance.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an impartial review.

Book Review: Finding the Sky – A.M. Burns [ARC]

Finding The SkyRELEASE DATE: Feb 10, 2016
Format: Novel
Genre: Young Adult
Length: 180 pages, ebook
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-63476-338-7
Characters: Dillon Smith

I thought the book has a pretty diverse plot points that were scattered throughout the story. There’s gangs, interracial relationship, homosexuality, terrorism and wildlife. It centers, though, on sixteen-year-old Dillon Smith who has been getting harassed by a gang trying to recruit him. An implication in the gang robbing a convenient store made his mom decide to send him away to his Uncle Bryan for the summer. On their way to the country, Dillon and Bryan rescued a hawk and took it to a wildlife rehabilitation center. There, Dillon meets Scott, the son of the  two gay rehabbers and from then on – Dillon eyes were open to a lot of possibilities which includes falling in love. Little did he know that the gang is not planning to let him go that easy.

In general, I liked this book. It’s very neat and very quick-paced. I liked Dillon’s character. He’s only sixteen so I appreciate that his mindset and his attitude is very apt to his age. I wished that he wasn’t that prim and proper though. Actually, thinking back – I thought the dialogues were a bit too polished – almost unrealistic at times. It didn’t bother me at all. I mean, it worked in the story so that’s a win for the author.

I also loved the romance between the two teenagers. Scott is an equally great character. Perhaps a bit too perfect? Not that I’m complaining tho. Can I also say (I dunno, maybe it’s just me) that there’s this rippling sexual tension between Dillon’s uncle and Scott’s Dads? I mean, if the author wanted to explore that idea – I thought it’d be wonderful or maybe a book for Bryan as well with a different guy?

That solution to Dillon’s predicament was almost too convenient but I’m totally buying it. I loved how everything turned out, although, not as realistic as some people would see it but at the end of the day, it made me feel really good. This is a really good young adult read – not too angsty and not too light – just the right amount of zing.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pre-order Now via Harmony Ink Press 

About The Author
A.M. Burns lives in the Colorado Rockies with his partner, several dogs, cats, horses, and birds. When he’s not writing, he’s often fixing fences, splitting wood, hiking in the mountains, or flying his hawks. He’s enjoyed writing since he was in high school, but it wasn’t until the past few years that he’s begun truly honing his craft. He is the president of the Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group: http://www.csfwg.org. Having lived both in Colorado and Texas, rugged frontier types and independent attitudes often show up in his work.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

Book Review: Mad About the Hatter – Dakota Chase

Mad About The HatterHenry has never believed his sister Alice’s tales about the Wonderland until he finds himself thrown in it with an instruction to find the Mad Hatter. Enter Hatter who’s trying to keep his head from rollin’ by delivering Henry also known as Boy Alice to the evil Red Queen.

This modern take on Wonderland by author Dakota Chase is nothing short of ‘wonderful.’ At the beginning, I was a bit wary because I find the first few chapters slow-going with all their ‘adventures’ at the Drawrof, the Neverglades, the confection mountains and so on and so forth. I thought it‘d just be a series of adventures where they have to pass through it and that would be it. But no, all along – we see how Hatter and Henry seemed to be developing feelings for each other. I really loved the subtle approach of the author here when it comes to the budding romance between the two main characters. There’s sweetness in it. It’s not hurried and you know it’s there even if it’s not obvious. It’s feel good and I loved that in this story. There’s this sweet innocence about it. I also loved the fact that sexuality wasn’t such a big deal for both Hatter and Henry.

I also adore their banter. I especially love Hatter’s characterization here. He’s about the most charming and adorable ever especially when he went to Henry’s world and got to see the vehicles, the buildings, taste the food, watch cinema – he’s just so funny, charming and all kinds of adorable I just wanna keep him! Haha!

The conclusion was rather anti-climactic but apt for our characters since it was established early on that it’s not gonna be some sort of an all-out war thingy and stuff.  Overall, the author’s fresh approach on the story will endear its readers to the characters especially with Hatter. Plus, it’s absolutely well-written so hat’s off to Dakota Chase.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Expected publication: August 20th 2015 by Harmony Ink Press

Pre-orde Now:
Dreamspinner Press | Kobo | AllRomance | Barnes&Noble

About The Author
Dakota Chase writes stories of the fantastical, of ghosts and monsters, and time travel. She lives right on the border of Normal, and has been known to take quick trips into the next town over, Crazy, although she usually finds her way home again without little trouble. She shares her home with Nibbles, her Shar-Pei/Labrador mixed breed that may or may not be a werewolf in disguise, and a husband who definitely isn’t a werewolf even though he’s been known to be shaggy and howl from time to time. She has four grown children, one of whom has spawned, resulting in two grandchildren whom she adores. When she isn’t writing, Dakota likes to crochet odd things, like killer shark slippers and skull dolls. She loves sushi, spicy foods, and grapes, but is highly allergic to any form of math.

WEBSITE: http://www.dakotachase.com
E-MAIL: dakotachase@tampabay.rr.com
TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/dakotachase
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/dakota.chase.1840

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

Book Review: Fox-Hat and Neko – August Li

Fox Hat and NekoReading this whole thing feels like reading a manga in a subdued mood (at least I know I was in one since it took me three full days to finish this). I mean, I really liked 60% of the book but I’ve a bit of a concern with the length of the story and the development of the story arc of each character.

Here, we have Tokyo high school student Tsukino Ayumu who got sent by his parents to the small fishing village of Yuuyake to spend a school year and live with his grandfather. Ayumu’s not concern about being notice or standing out –

“It was what he had done his entire life – tried to stick to the middle of the pack, do the minimum expected, draw no attention, just blend it.

But his first few days in Yuuyake didn’t agree with Ayumu’s gameplan. In his new school, he was immediately befriended by the poor fisherman’s son Ikehara Hariku along with two girl classmates, champion archer Shizuka and aspiring artist Chou. As they go with the usual middle school flow, something big seems to be brewing in their small village that will require Ayumu and his friends’ participation.

Getting plagued by violent dreams who terrorized the children of the village and nearby places, the group tried to fight the so-called dream phantoms with the help of the mysterious Fox-Hat and Neko who came out of nowhere and seems to know more about what’s happening than Ayumu himself.

Now, it’s up to Ayumu and his friends to defeat the one creating the chaos in the dream world and create their own destiny in the process.

It’s very easy to like the characters here most especially Ayumu and Hariku. There’s just something special about their friendship. This story was told from multiple perspectives and I thought it’s more fun that way but I somehow feel the need to go back a page of two to remember who’s actually doing the narration at times. Those times are minimal though. The drawings at the end of each chapter will give us a preview of what’s about to happen next.

I find the storytelling a bit slow for my liking no matter how likable the characters are. I wished it was a bit shorter because it’s basically repeating itself midway through the story. It’s also a bit disconcerting reading about the characters’ feeling towards each other. Like, who will end up with whom. Of course, they’re still young but I got prickly about the whole “who’s doing who” business. I got alarmed when Neko started doing “it” with Ayumu but finally knowing their history in the past – I somehow see the connection they had. I was a bit mad though about the “I’m not gay” declaration by Hariku. I though it was clearly alluded from the start that he will reciprocate Ayumu’s feelings but dear lawd! No! It was pretty annoying to be honest. Of course not everyone in the genre can be gay but I wished Ayumu got a happy-ending of some sort for himself.

The “Mr. Mallory” angle was a bit predictable but I loved that the author made his character very much interesting and given how the story ended, I would expect a second book in the future and I do have this niggling feeling that Ayumu and Mallory will be more than friends in the future. He’s older like 10 years or so than Ayumu right? I’d say that’s totally fine!

I don’t really know the culture in Japan especially in the secluded areas there so I’m kind of on the fence about how receptive the people are about same sex relationship. I mean it’s great and all but it’s not very realistic at all. Still, I loved how the author focuses on narrowing each character’s feelings towards each other and their plans for the future.

I’d really like to read a second book related to this one because it just felt unfinished. August Li surely knows how to write some really good premise but sometimes, I’m missing his point with some of the scenes which felt contrived at times. Overall though, I’m giving this book a four-star rating because despite my dislike with some of the characters development, I still think that it’s a solid book that represents the youth challenging them to be free about choices and believing in their ability and basically just being a decent human being.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Published July 16th 2015 by Harmony Ink Press (first published May 21st 2015)

Buy now:
Harmony Ink Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble| Kobo 

About The Author
August (Gus) Li is a creator of fantasy worlds. When not writing, he enjoys drawing, illustration, costuming and cosplay, and making things in general. He lives near Philadelphia with two cats and too many ball-jointed dolls. He loves to travel and is trying to see as much of the world as possible. Other hobbies include reading (of course), tattoos, and playing video games.