Friday Reads | If I Should Stumble

I’ve been staring at the screen for quite a while now not knowing what to write. My book this Friday is If I should Stumble by Claire Davis and Al Stewart and it’s fabulous. I went to check what I’ve read this year as to be sure I’m not lying when I say it’s one of my absolute favourites for 2016 – it is one of my absolute favourite 2016 reads. But that’s not why I can’t find the words to write, what I’m struggling with is that I want to say that this book is important.

Kaz has a home, a family, and a coach who helps him run. Every day he runs with his coach by his side until one day when he is told to keep running and never look back. Kaz’s world falls apart, breaks, shatters. He ends up in the UK, but even though he has a place to stay and people around him who care, he is lost. Like so many in real life who has been forced to leave everything behind he struggles to find a way to cope. Nothing works until Tork persuades him to help coach their running team.

It’s through that team he meets Zack.

I don’t know if it’s because I teach Swedish as a second language to immigrant in RL and have met people just like Kaz that this book affects me the way it does. I’ve talked to young men who have had to run for their lives, one who got his boyfriend murdered by his own family simply because he loved a man. I’ve had students who have described the days they’ve spent hidden away in trucks and boats.

They are real people, Kaz might not be but he very well could have been. And this book is important because if it can touch people’s hearts, if they can empathise with Kaz, then maybe they will be a little more understanding next time they met a real life Kaz.

This story will rip you apart; it did rip me apart.

Book Cover If I Should Stumble by Claire Davis and Al StewartLove is sure and timeless and forever. It whispers over the morning coffee and the last thought before sleep. Love is beyond hope, and cruel as life.

Kaz has been in the UK for almost a year, but the days pass by in an endless round of alcohol and nothingness. He has a story but no words good or bad enough to tell it, until one day, he is assigned a new peer mentor who asks him to help train a sponsored running team. Something that was stretched as old parchment breaks inside, and memories begin to re-surface.

Zack is overjoyed when his friend Adam asks him to be part of the sponsored run team trying to make money for the local homeless shelter. All day he makes cakes to lighten people’s load, but something is missing from his life. Then he meets the boy with eyes like the desert, and with every step he runs, Zack’s light burns away the darkness in Kaz’s heart.

As the race heats gets nearer, Tork, Adam, Zack and Jo realise that under Kaz’s careful programme, they have a chance to qualify and set right some of the wrongs of this world.

This book features the characters Tork and Adam from The Invasion of Tork and The Invasion of Adam.


Friday Reads | M/M Holiday Delights

This isn’t a real Friday Reads post, I haven’t read anything since yesterday, but… There is this blog called Books, Coffee & Captured Moments and for the third year in a row, I think at least, they post M/M Holiday Delights. Every day several holiday stories are presented, so what better way to get gear up for the season than to go over there and check it out?

Yesterday, Shiny Things by Amy Spector, The Invasion of Tork by Claire Davis and Al Stewart, and Once in a Snowstorm by moi had their turn, all on the same day.  There are more of Beaten Track’s authors there too, and many many others. Books from 92 different writers plus 21 anthologies will each have their turn from now and up to the end of the year.

I wrote a little about Shiny Things yesterday – you can read it here – and if you haven’t read The Invasion of Tork I dare say it’s time. Not only is it time, it is also free.

It’s time to start the holiday reads!

Book Cover The Invasion of TorkAdam is cool, intelligent and drop-dead gorgeous – all the guys tell him so! When he is forced to start voluntary work at the local homeless shelter, all he worries about is keeping the clients well away from him and finishing the placement as soon as possible. Until he meets Tork.

Tork is clever and funny. He makes origami models and reads Dickens. Tork has green hair and makes Adam’s heart race with longing. But Tork is homeless and not at all impressed with Adam’s attitude.

Can Adam see past his fear and arrogance? Can Tork give Adam a chance?
Can two such different men turn the world upside down and find out what really matters? Read to find out their story.

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A story from Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology

Shiny Things – a Thanksgiving Read

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays I watch in movies and think ‘well, that looks nice’ and then I move on with my life without sparing it much more thought. This year, I thought I’d read a story for Thanksgiving – we do it for Halloween and Christmas so why not Thanksgiving? Well, maybe because people are too busy eating turkey or for the fact that Thanksgiving stories are pretty hard to come by. I spent quite some time looking for a Thanksgiving book I wanted to read and I’m sad to say nothing really caught my interest, but then I remembered Shiny Things by Amy Spector.

If you think Amy Spector is all horror and blood and gore you’re wrong. Shiny Things is a gentle new adult romance.  I loved it when I read it in 2014. Back then I didn’t know Amy Spector and everything with writing was new and shiny and rather scary. The story made me cry then and I thought maybe it wouldn’t now, but I got quite emotional while reading it this morning.

Shiny Things is about Nathaniel who’s father kicked him out when he found out he was gay and Vincent, the boy who got him kicked out. It’s Thanksgiving ten years later and these boys, now young men, meet again. Vincent is the owner of a gallery and Nathaniel is there to renovate said gallery.

There is one scene when Nathaniel is watching the paintings in the gallery and sits down to talk to the artist that had me sobbing – both in 2014 and now – it’s just a few lines but it’s enough to stir my emotions.

If you haven’t read it, you should! Shiny Things is part of the Boughs of Evergreen anthology and the proceed from that anthology goes to the Trevor Project.

Book Cover Shiny Things by Amy SpectorA story from Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology

At sixteen, Nathaniel Avery was shipped off to live with an aunt in hopes of quelling a budding relationship between him and another boy. Ten years later, a frantic call from his younger brother and his father’s failing health, brings him back home.

Just weeks before Thanksgiving and the most important day in Vincent Cooke’s career, he nearly collides with the grown version of the boy he never really forgot.

Will a gallery renovation, the holiday season and the art of a mad genius help them to rebuild a friendship and rekindle a romance?