"The Hunted" by Karen Black






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When Yvonne’s tranquil existence is invaded by nighttime terror, her days become haunted, filled with exhaustion and fear. From a garden lush with lavender to a forest brimming with danger, the Hunted will take you on a journey bursting with perplexity, incomprehension, and disbelief. In the end, you’ll understand.




In "The Hunted" by Karen Black, Yvonne abruptly moves between two worlds; one calm and happy and the other a nightmare. The beginning felt awkward, but the story soon gained traction, and my favorite parts fell during her terrifying dreams with the author's portrayal of action and emotion. Within fourteen pages, the tale holds a couple of surprises. What is real?

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'Just Stay' by Michelle Abbott






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The last place Pia wants to be is on a family vacation in a sleepy Cornish village. She's anticipating two weeks of mind-numbing boredom. Then she meets Trey, a local boy. He's absolutely gorgeous. The trouble is — he knows it. He's arrogant and egotistical, and Pia intends to avoid him at all costs. 

But Trey is not the kind of guy who gives up easily. When he sets his sights on Pia, her resistance is futile. 

It's just a holiday romance, some light-hearted fun, right? But one of them is about to discover that still waters do, indeed, run deep. When what lurks beneath the surface finally erupts, the consequences may prove to be catastrophic. 


For ages 17+ due to sexual content and strong language





In "Just Stay" by Michelle Abbott, Pia's family guilted her into joining them for a final family vacation before she headed to uni; she anticipated a boring trip but agreed to go. A local boy named Trey entered the scene. Pia finds him creepy. Pia's mother unwittingly helps Trey in his pursuit of Pia in a comical misunderstanding. Spending time with persistent Trey, Pia falls under his spell; but, she doubts his fidelity and sincerity due to his admissions and his friend's warnings. Trey's relationship with his mother overflowed with heartache. The poor guy seemed like a whipping boy for anyone that ever hurt her, but Trey never showed anger towards her. Their relationship also caused stress on Pia and Trey's budding romance. Not a flowery love story; it has some dark moments but is a worth-while read, and Trey is a powerful character.

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"Journey to the Rainbow's End: A Drag Queen's Odyssey" by Forrest Stepnowski



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Forrest Robert Stepnowski captures the essence of "coming out" and coming of age as a gay male today, and over the past three decades. "Journey to the Rainbow's End" captures the joys of love, the pain of heartbreak, surviving the darkness of suicide, and the self-discovery of finding one’s voice and place in society. Forrest Robert Stepnowski is a community advocate, a writer, a social worker, and a female impersonator, known as Victoria Eyesli, in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing poetic works and prose for many years and focuses on empowering others who have dealt with similar pathways of self-hate, self-deprecation, and self-loathing, in the hopes they can find they are not alone, that they are not deviants, nor are they against “human nature.” We all have voices, and the world should hear them all.




This book contained a collection of poetry, but I favored the short story that finalized the author's thoughts. I have a family member who went through this emotional rollercoaster more recently. If you think things have changed dramatically, you're probably correct. If you feel young people struggling with their identities don't face these same challenges and attitudes anymore, you're wrong. Thank you for a peek into your personal experience and baring your soul to help others. 

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"Strange Hwy: Short Stories" by Beem Weeks







DESCRIPTION AS ON AMAZON:

If you ever find yourself on the Strange Hwy—don’t turn around. Don’t panic. Just. Keep. Going. You never know what you’ll find. 
You’ll see magic at the fingertips of an autistic young man, 
•A teen girl’s afternoon, lifetime of loss.
•A winged man, an angel? Demon—?
•Mother’s recognition, peace to daughter.
•Danny’s death, stifled secrets.
•Black man’s music, guitar transforms boy.
•Dead brother, open confession.
•First love, supernatural?—family becomes whole!
You can exit the Strange Hwy, and come back any time you want.
See, now you know the way in, don’t be a stranger.





A collection of short stories with plenty of meat and backbone, brimming with a variety of characters, settings, and ideas that provoke thought and wonder; Mr. Weeks entertains every moment in his tales, but if I had to choose a favorite, I'd pick "Overcome (Holy Water)." I highly recommend this book; it is one of my top reads this year, and I favor the author's voice.

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