by John Stewart Wynne (Goodreads Author)
Strangely enough, that opportunity presents itself in the form of a present given to him—a pair of shiny red shoes—by a handsome eighteen-year-old modern dancer named Jared who arrived in the city
nine months earlier fresh from the country. But Jared failed to make his mark in the city as an artist—the red shoes didn’t help him win auditions but spun him out of control into a series of casual affairs culminating in a sexual assault on Gay Pride Day. Narrator John Laith helps Jared recover after that assault and gets him on a bus back home. Jared has nothing to offer Laith by way of thanks except his red shoes.
Laith now possesses the sparkling red shoes. Or perhaps they possess him—propelling him on a perilous journey through both the affluent and seedy sides of a vividly brought to life Manhattan at the turn of the millennium.
An innocent in a sinister underworld, Laith tries to survive his newfound ties to unpredictable and chillingly unforgettable characters. There’s Crewe James, a multi-millionaire living with his imperious wife and daughter in a Gothic castle-like Central Park West penthouse, who has unsavory secrets and a possibly dark agenda for Laith ... Silvio, a taciturn Brooklyn cop with a propensity for rough sex ... Baily, a drug-fueled bouncer in a Euro-trash Chelsea nightclub owned by his boss Maxo, who works the front bar yet oversees some business in the backroom as well ... And Maxo’s absinthe-addicted, ethereally beautiful “lady,” Patrizia, a kindred spirit to John Laith who tries to become a protective fairy godmother to him.
Laith inexplicably cannot escape his fascination with exploring the dark side. Is it because of the terrible magical powers of those red shoes given to him by the young dancer? Or is it because of some hidden desire within himself?
As Laith collides with these mysterious characters and immerses himself in their obsessive lives, he finds he still can’t quite let go of his lost love. His poignant preoccupations with loss, danger and safety continue to loom in and out of focus in the surreal fog of his escalating drug use and increasing periods of sexual oblivion. Eventually Laith must confront his own downward spiral. A riveting battle between the sacred and the profane is at war inside him—and in the end there comes a shocking moment of realization where he must finally choose between them.
Part of Riverdale Avenue Books' PRIDE Month Giveaway! [close]
by Rachel Shane (Goodreads Author), Shana Silver
Sixteen-year-old Alice just can't find a way to be free. Her parents are environmental activists whose cringeworthy public protests…more
Sixteen-year-old Alice just can't find a way to be free. Her parents are environmental activists whose cringeworthy public protests might involve chaining themselves to a fence and pleading with passersby to “Save the World. Save Alice!” It’s not that Alice doesn’t believe there’s work to be done. But after a petition to start a farmers’ market meets with more snickers than signatures, she figures she should shut up instead of speak out. At least, that is, until she can find something that feels real. Then along comes Whitney Lapin, a girl who speaks in cryptic riddles and spends her free time turning abandoned warehouses into beautiful gardens. Charismatic Whitney leads Alice on a rabbit trail into the underground—a.k.a. secret society—of Wonderland High.
Curiouser and curiouser. Alice is in wonderland! Even though Whitney’s group of teenage environmental vigilantes operates on the wrong side of the law, with them, Alice is finally free to be herself. She stomps on her good-girl image by completing a series of environmental pranks to impress the new group: flooding the school and disguising a pig as a baby in order to smuggle it out of a testing facility. She wants to trust them, and she especially wants to trust (or maybe kiss) Chester Katz—a boy with a killer smile, a penchant for disappearing, and a secret that will really turn Alice’s world backwards. But then one of the young vigilantes tries to frame Alice for all the pranks, and she must figure out their secret before she ends up in front of a jury that’s screaming, “Off with her head!”
For more: http://www.rachelshane.com. [close]
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