Book Review: Just A Dumb Surfer Dude

Quick summary: Cooper’s life is fine but uneventful. He’s smart, his classes are easy, he has people who care about him, but he mostly feels like he’s waiting for his life to start. Then a new kid comes to school and everything changes.

(I tried not to spoil things but there are probably mild spoilers and hints about what happens in my review.)

What I thought: Just a Dumb Surfer Dude: A Gay Coming-of-Age Tale is a quick, fun read that would work well for reading during the summer or at the beach but can be read anytime. The “surfer dude” is less important than one might think by the title, but those who like humor, sweet romances, and romantic comedies will enjoy this story.

I really liked the narrator’s voice and liked that there were multiple love interests, that’s not always something you see in LGBTQ teen fiction. It started out a little slow for me, but I got more interested as I kept going.

Depending on how perceptive you are, there may be a fun twist or two. I am usually much better at picking out this kind of thing, but I didn’t see it coming, so I really liked the surprising direction the story went in.

The Romance: Cooper is presented as an intelligent guy, but he has no experience with relationships or dating, so there’s a coming-of-age aspect where he explores getting close to guys romantically. It’s all new and intense and scary. While this story is on the shorter side, it still tells a complete story about finding love. It’s not heavy on the angst but has a few ups and downs and isn’t completely predictable.

If you’ve been reading a lot of stories about boy meets boy and then one or both boys freak out about liking another boy, this book offers variety. Cooper already knows he’s gay, so the story explores finding that special person more fully and what makes someone “the one” without any sexuality crises.

There’s also a sequel.

Plotty Details: Cooper’s life at his all-boys school is okay, but there isn’t much going on. He has one best friend he’s close with and his relationship with his father is important to him. Both he and his father don’t enjoy being single. He’s one of the only gay kids he knows and hasn’t had any romance yet and is sort of getting impatient waiting for it. While there’s no love interest in his life, his best friend is also gay. They aren’t out to everyone, but Cooper’s dad knows.

Cooper finally gets some excitement in his life when a new student comes to school. He’s even paired up with the hot guy in one of his classes. The problem? This new boy seems to like him even though his best friend really wants to go out with the new guy.

Best Part: Cooper has great relationships with his father and his best friend Alex. If you like your romances to have a little more depth, there is also plenty of father-son moments. Cooper and his dad don’t relate to each other perfectly but love each other and that comes through. The father is an English teacher and there’s a lot of little quips I enjoyed about different books. The dialogue was at its most witty when Cooper was with Alex or his father. Cooper’s a big smart alec who loves tormenting the people he loves.

Faking it

Captain of the baseball team Luke Chambers never falters when he’s on the mound. He can make split second decisions without breaking a sweat. In real life? He might have just told a lie that he was dating the only out kid in school. He should stick to baseball. Get the young adult novel One Little Word here.

In this excerpt, Ryan and Luke pretend to date with varying results.

Ryan
It was another wonderful day at school, being some kind of reverse beard for my amazingly attractive straight friend. My hand was casually linked in Luke’s while we walked down the hall. I still felt a tingle just touching him, but I worked hard to hide it while he tried to suppress whatever instincts told him this was too gay. We made an awkward, stilted pair that somehow people still didn’t figure out.

“You two look so queer.” Lydia watched us with an unimpressed look. I glared at her.

“That’s offensive,” Luke protested.

“Don’t let a teacher hear you say that,” I scolded. I couldn’t pretend to date Lydia too.

“I don’t mean queer as in gay,” she explained. “I mean as in weird.”

“You’re not very comfortable,” Alicia agreed.

“Well, everyone’s staring,” Luke protested.

Lydia rolled her eyes. “Please, everyone stares at both of you all the time.”

“Wait, shouldn’t we look queer as in gay?” Luke questioned.

“You should,” Lydia acknowledged. “But you don’t.”

I sighed. We stopped near my locker. I leaned on the metal instead of opening it as that would make this even more awkward since our hands were still joined.

Luke looked around, seemingly trying to gauge how much people were buying this. His calculations didn’t please him because it was like I could see a sign in his heading lighting up that said ‘drastic measures’ as he leaned in to me.

“Don’t kiss me again,” I warned. I couldn’t handle it. Both the hotness and that he then got all weird.

“Dude, we’re boyfriends,” he defended. Yes, a kiss was pretty effective at convincing people; it just worked a little too well on me. Especially now. I faced towards the windows at the end of the hallway while he faced away. Being lit by the sun made him positively glow, like a super-hot angel or something.

I pulled my hand out of his. “You need to relax. You’re trying too hard.”

“But this is… crazy.”

“Yeah, and you don’t let yourself stop thinking about that.” I looked to Lydia and Alicia. “Pretend I’m Lydia,” I said, grimacing.

He considered it for a second, then shook his head. “I can’t.” Thank God.

“Pretend you’re European,” Alicia suggested instead.

Luke nodded like that made perfect sense. “Yeah, okay.”

“That will work for you?” I asked.

Luke shrugged and nodded. “Europeans are weird.”

This was weird. Stupid. He was a terrible actor too, but I still got all nervous and weak-kneed at being so close to him. Luke shuffled his feet, and I prepared myself for insanity. He looked up and past me and something changed. All he did was take my hand and send me a flirty smile, but it seemed way more natural now. Was this him pretending to be European? Did he think Europeans gave bedroom eyes to everyone?

I felt light-headed. I could barely handle him struggling to be my fake boyfriend. I would die if he started to excel at it.

“Well now, this is better,” Lydia said in her version of an approving tone.

“I’m inspired,” he said while looking at me.

I couldn’t help blushing. This would kill me.

“Hey guys,” a new voice interrupted.

“Oh, hi Zach.” I turned my head to see him approaching from behind me. This was awkward, as close to a love triangle as I’d ever get. Holding hands with my fake boyfriend while an actual guy who was interested looked at us, his lips quirked up like this was hilarious. He didn’t seem to notice how weird this was.

“You guys can keep doing… whatever this is.” His smile grew, it was really cute. “I just wanted to see if we were still going to study tonight?” he asked me.

“Yeah,” I nodded and unconsciously gripped onto Luke’s hand tighter. He sent me an annoyed look that I ignored. I shyly looked up at Zach. “Yeah, of course.”

“Good.” He grinned at me, sent Luke another amused look, and went on his way.

“You’re studying with him?” Luke asked.

“It’s just studying.” I shrugged.

“That’s an obvious line,” Luke insisted.

“Who cares?” Lydia said, smiling. Her and Alicia took turns giving me a high five.

 

~~~

One Little Word

My next book, One Little Lie, will be released on Oct. 20, As it’s the sequel to One Little Word, I’ll be blogging about that book some to gear up for the next one. I expect to post excerpts, graphics, and… well, mostly excerpts and graphics unless I think of something else.

olwfnNEWWhat happens when the most popular guy in school must depend on a social pariah to save his skin?

Luke Chambers is about to find out. When one stupid word heard by the wrong ears sends the captain of the baseball team’s life into chaos, his plan to get out of trouble involves the one kid who seems to hate him.

Ryan just wants to have some fun at the jock’s expense. He won’t be stupid enough to fall for the gorgeous blonde with green eyes, dimples and impressive arm muscles from pitching. Okay, he might like to look, but it’s difficult being the only gay kid in a small town.

Relationships are never easy, especially when both people want different things. Ryan wants a boyfriend who wants him back. Luke wants things to start making sense again. But what if they both wanted the same thing? What if they want each other?

Could one terrible word lead to something great?

One Little Word is an LGBT teen fiction book for anybody who loves fun romantic comedies, fake boyfriends and silly situations, enemies becoming friends and opposites who attract. This gay romance novel also includes a ridiculous amount of hand holding. This is the first book in a series, though this novel can stand alone.

Pool Boy – Gay Summer Romance

plbymerfednewSomewhere along the drive from the city to the oceanside, I had died and gone to heaven. Even better, a clerical error occurred and I was sent to the heaven for rich people. Nobody inform God because I wanted to stay here forever.

Opulence. I never understood what the word meant until I stayed at the Monroe’s summer home. It was so elegant and posh that thinking I crossed over to the other side made sense. I’d never seen such luxury during my time on earth; it couldn’t possibly be real.

It was all gorgeous. I wanted to rub my face over every surface, roll around in the decadence. It was the best place to spend the summer that I could ask for. It had everything I needed and several things I didn’t. It was perfect. Practically.

Everyone wants to win the lottery, and I felt like I did, even if this paradise of mine had an expiration date and I had to go back to Earth eventually. Winning the lottery is the dream for millions of poor people like me.

But those who have won will tell you to be careful what you wish for.

I don’t want to complain. My boyfriend said he would take care of everything and he did. Just…

He wasn’t around very much.

Having this palace to myself was a little lonely. But I’m not ungrateful! There’s a TV screen that’s larger than the length of my living room at home. The balcony connected to my room has an amazing view of the stars at night. The best food I’d ever tasted is always fully stocked in the kitchen.

There’s a long, clear-blue, fantastic pool.

And there’s the pool boy.


Read more or get the book here.

 

Outshine the Stars review

 Outshine the Stars – Nash Summers

Plot: Witty and self-absorbed Justin catches feelings and has to admit the world is bigger than himself.

My thoughts: I don’t know the right way to describe the writing in this short story. I think of it as ‘poetic as hell.’ It’s gorgeous and lyrical. The format wasn’t my favorite but I’m glad I stuck it out because it’s a good quick read with witty dialogue and a sweet love story.

Fave Part: I really enjoyed the prose, but the dialogue was good too. The conversations were a mix of how I actually talked in high school and how clever I wish I was in high school.

My Next Book

Were you wondering what projects I’m working on? For the purposes of this post, I’m going to pretend you are. “Hi, Finn, good to see you!” I imagine you said. “You’re looking great today!” Stop, you’re too kind. “I’ve been dying to know about the new book you’re writing,” you fake said.

onelwYour enthusiasm is touching, so I’d be happy to share with you. I’m working on the sequel for One Little Word right now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share a few excerpts soon. The first one involves a fake relationship between the two main characters. The sequel, One Little Lie, also deals with a fake relationship.

It also continues to explore Ryan and Luke’s relationship. In the first one, there’s fake dating, a little kissing, huge amounts of hand holding, and the boys heading towards actual dating. The second one greatly improves upon the amount of real dating and kissing.

Oh gosh, I guess I was being self-centered before. You were so kind asking about me and I didn’t even find out how you were. Can you ever forgive me? Of course you can, because I’m imagining that you’re very accommodating and agreeable. How are you? How’s your life? I can come up with some fake answers or you can let me know in the comments. Either way, tell me about yourself.

The Magicians Best Tricks

magic-3315128_960_720“Is the trick being lamer than humanly possible?” asked my little brother while we watched a magician pull a never-ending scarf from his wrist. My brother Eli was only 10 but even he had seen that one before.

“Stop it,” I muttered.

“I’m just saying, if that’s what he’s trying to pull off, I’m impressed.” Some of his friends laughed at him and the magician took a little bow. I found him online. He went to a different high school and was an amateur; everyone had to start somewhere.

He pulled a quarter from behind someone in the front row’s ear. I hid a laugh when the magician frowned after the kid took the quarter and wouldn’t give it back.

“You wanted a magician for your birthday,” I reminded him. I wasn’t sure why I’d been the one tasked with handling his party. Mom said something about being a good big brother. Dad said something about proving I was responsible if I wanted a car. I think they just didn’t want to do it themselves. Eli was a tough critic.

“I wanted the guy I saw on TV,” he complained.

“Sorry we couldn’t book Criss Angel,” I muttered sarcastically. My parents hadn’t given me much of party budget. My present to my little brother was trying to pretend like this was quality entertainment.

“Or someone like him.” He looked at the spectacle in front of him with open disgust. “Not this.”

It wasn’t the magician’s fault he was an only child. Or at least his siblings weren’t the right age otherwise he would know that this 10-year-old crowd was too old for the bendy magic wand gimmick. Still, the magician had a smile that never wavered when met with this tough crowd. He also had curly dark hair, rich brown skin, and vibrant eyes. I don’t know. I kind of like him.

Wow. Did he have an actual rabbit for a pet or did he buy a rabbit for his act? Okay, he was a little cliché. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. If he was cliché, maybe he’d get me flowers and candies.

The rabbit was smart. The girls at least perked up when the adorable white bunny appeared from the top hat. Eli wasn’t swayed. “It would be better if he pulled that rabbit out of his-“

“Hey now,” I interrupted.

“I need a volunteer for this next trick,” the magician said. “How about the birthday boy?”

“My brother volunteers as tribute,” Eli said quickly.

The magician looked at me and butterflies appeared in my stomach. See, he was good.

I moved to the front and was instructed to pick a card. “Tough crowd,” the guy whispered to me.

“You’re doing great,” I encouraged.

He smiled shyly. “Maybe you could help me practice later.”

Our hands brushed as he took my card and inserted it back into the deck. Electricity. The trick hasn’t stared yet, but I’m already astonished.

via Daily Prompt: Astonish

Excerpt

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I ran my hands up and down his arms while his biceps flexed under the attention like he couldn’t help it. His skin felt warm and electric. Though the drink I had might have dulled my senses some, any fog in my mind melted away by touching him. My body buzzed and responded to him, senses awakening, all demanding to get as much of him as possible. I wanted to feast on his smell and taste and touch.

My hands moved down his thin but toned body, tightening minutely on his waist, and then he was out of my grasp. My stomach dropped but that’s stupid… there were other guys, gay ones or those who got brave enough to experiment after consuming too much liquor. He probably had a girlfriend and was almost definitely some snobby rich kid. I’d find someone else. I could do better. Except something about him felt magnetic; I’d be drawn in his direction the whole night even if he walked away.

Only he didn’t go far. He turned and looked at me. Maybe I imagined the spark of fire in his eyes or maybe he felt the electricity between us too. His body moved close to mine again as both our hands explored this time. He smelled clean, with a hint of something sharper and appealing. Bright blue eyes peeked at me from beneath his lashes as he sent me a smile that was more shy and uncertain than coy, but his nerves didn’t stop him. He held me tight and rocked his hips into mine in time with the music. God, I wanted to devour him.

Was I in a mood earlier? I didn’t remember. There’s only dancing, drinks, and him. And life was anything but predictable because he made the first move. I couldn’t say whether we spent minutes or hours on the dancefloor when his lips captured mine and a quick tongue slid into my mouth, greedy and demanding, while his hands groped and squeezed at my ass.

I only had one complaint after that: the night passed too quickly.

-Excerpt from What Love Means

Daily Prompt: Elaborate

I’m trying something a little different today. I found the prompt word in one of my works, so I’m posting an excerpt from where it appears. This is from my book What Love Means.

Cal pulled me in for a kiss. When we pulled away, he spoke. “I got you something.” hand-1549399_960_720

The asshole never knew when to quit. Was that why he didn’t take me anywhere nice? He got me some stupid trinket that was worth a small fortune instead?

“I don’t want or need presents,” I started arguing.

“Just let me—”

How could someone so smart be so dumb? “Cal, you know I don’t like—” You throwing your weight and money all over the place. I didn’t say that as he held his hands up insistently.

“I didn’t get you anything elaborate.” He shrugged. “It’s more, I don’t know, a gesture.”

What was Cal’s idea of ‘not elaborate?’ “Is it a pony? I won’t be mad if it’s a pony since April wants one.”

via Daily Prompt: Elaborate