"The Hunted" by Karen Black

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?

'Just Stay' by Michelle Abbott

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.

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

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 for baring your soul to help others. 

"Strange Hwy: Short Stories" by Beem Weeks

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.