If it was inspired by a true story, this would've got four or five stars from me, but reading the dedication page it seems it was not, therefore onlyIf it was inspired by a true story, this would've got four or five stars from me, but reading the dedication page it seems it was not, therefore only three stars. As it features such young characters I believe this story will have many readers similar to them. And it's clear enough the message the author delivers through this book. That's why I don't agree with the direction it took, I would've preferred an alternate development.
The protagonists, Rick and Kevin, are teenagers, both sixteen at the beginning. In no way this story should be classified as young adult. The book is challenging in matters of content and actions of the characters. It contains many on page scenes of violence, child abuse, drugs and alcohol abuse, prostitution. Not sex, though, that was glossed over, and this was one of my main "dislikes". If you present your protagonists the way you did why not show them in their sexual interactions as well? Especially as one important point is Rick's sexuality, and I think we needed to see as well how he reacts to his first gay experiences and the dynamic between Rick and Kevin in these moments. If you dare to bring on page such strong and uncomfortable themes, why not go all the way with your characters? In terms of dislikes I could tell a few more: (view spoiler)[I don't remember a justification why Kevin never fought back when he was beaten by his father; the scene at the end when Kevin's father caught them seemed very forced, also the fighting in front of the house party that got Rick to follow Kevin back to his house and all that happened after; the epilogue was told in such an unemotional, clinical voice. (hide spoiler)] In terms of likes, because there were despite my overall reaction: I appreciate authors who don't avoid portraying flawed characters, characters who act bad, make bad choices, try to survive psychically, psychologically and emotionally as their circumstances and means allow, and Kevin, with his background, his issues with control, aggressiveness, was the perfect example. I appreciate when real problems are detailed and not looked over in a story. And Rick and Kevin were beautiful together. They had many sensual, tender, emotional and some tensioned moments together. It was great to see Kevin and his game of seduction turning against him. It was a beautiful romance.
A very heartwarming story! The romance between Skylar and Rafael is so beautiful, sweet, they make such a great couple. I loved their moments togetherA very heartwarming story! The romance between Skylar and Rafael is so beautiful, sweet, they make such a great couple. I loved their moments together and how their relationship evolved from mistrust, reticence, friendly exchanges, deep friendship, little touches, unconscious attraction to finally true love. All felt natural and the characters very real. I have some niggles of a technical nature, like the transition between scenes that in some parts is not so fluidly done. But these faults pale in comparison to all that is transmitted through this story. I gather this is part of a series, so I can't wait for the next book! ...more
Well, this is one book where I found the supporting characters to be more interesting than the protagonists. Vincent - Carmine's father, Corr3.5 stars
Well, this is one book where I found the supporting characters to be more interesting than the protagonists. Vincent - Carmine's father, Corrado and Celia - Carmine's uncle and aunt were the characters who in my view added the biggest value to this story. It's good to see well-represented individuals who are not just good or just bad. There are some pretty heavy themes featured here: human trafficking, slavery, loyalty to a criminal organization and the values that support its existence, good people who do bad things with the knowledge of their loved ones. But foremost this is a love story, so unfortunately these themes were overshadowed by the romantic development between Haven and Carmine. I expected more especially from the human trafficking subplot seeing how this novel started. Good ending I should say, it lefts open some threads for a sequel....more
A good coming-out story that explores themes like self-identity, self-acceptance, peer pressure, culture factors that have an impact on the individualA good coming-out story that explores themes like self-identity, self-acceptance, peer pressure, culture factors that have an impact on the individuals and are influenced as well by the individuals' actions. I really liked that the novel left me with a feel of authenticity of the places, of the neighborhood, of the different sub-cultures, of the people themselves. And the love story between Chulito and Carlos is very sweet, and could be very inspiring to other teenagers having to deal with similar environments. ...more
3.5 stars Too short to really afford any serious character development. I liked how the author dealt with one particular event and the message she sent3.5 stars Too short to really afford any serious character development. I liked how the author dealt with one particular event and the message she sent through it(view spoiler)[(the France episode and the very difficult moment Trent is forced to face) (hide spoiler)]. But without this, Clean Sweep is a simple romance between a Dominant hair stylist and the teenage son of one of his employees. The sequel should follow their relationship, and hopefully there the elements that lacked in the first part are given a better attention. ...more
I'm always looking for fantasy titles with gay romance plots, and Ginn Hale is an author that writes very well this genre. Lord of the White Hell is aI'm always looking for fantasy titles with gay romance plots, and Ginn Hale is an author that writes very well this genre. Lord of the White Hell is a great combination of fantasy, romance and mystery. The settings feel like medieval Spain and some oriental influences. I love the difference of cultures between Kiram and Javier. Their relationship tries to overcome this barrier, but the resolution is not easy to attain. ...more