The Taking of Jake Livingston | Ryan Douglass

Published 13 July 2021

Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

Buy links:


How was it?

I meant to read a couple of chapters to decide if I was starting this book or another but just a few paragraphs in I was pulled in. This book has a solid plot but it’s emotionally charged and can be quite heavy. Yes there are gruesome murders in it that makes it spooky, but it’s the way it depicts these little cuts that hurt more in the long run that I gravitated toward.

This book dives into trauma and micro agressions but does it in a clever way. Because it’s not just Jake, the black queer kid, that is the target of this kind of death by a thousand cuts, Sawyer, our now powerful and vengeful ghost, was also a target. Both in their own way are somewhat victims of circumstances. In Sawyer’s case it’s not used as an excuse for what he did but showcases what lead him to it. As for Jake the author does a great job at telling what it’s like to surfer race based micro agressions on top of being gay in an unwelcoming environment.

The story is dark and has a lot of paranormal elements in it but it depicts the bullying, violence, and abuse well. I also enjoyed how the story showcased how some parents are more concerned about how bad a child with mental health problems make them look rather than helping the child get better. It’s a hard situating to see, it’s disgusting but feels all too real. In facts, the quotes “She checked on me at  heptfill only to harass my crisis counselor about when I could leave. Threw a fit when Tom said I’d have to decide that For myself.”, or “The trouble with my mother is that she’s too busy pretending problems don’t exist to ever really fixed them.” really got to me.

All the heavy stuff aside the story is visually interesting and I could see a live action version of this. The budding romance was also nice; I could see myself checking out another story about this black queer teen who sees dead people.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Taking of Jake Livingstone is available on The Book Depository, Amazon, Audible and other book retailers near you.

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

July readings | Baseball, Roommates, FWBs, and Magic

Title: Bat Boy
Series: Easton U Pirates #1
Author: Christina Lee
Genre(s): Contemporary, MM, Sports, Romance
Page count: 218 pages
Published: 20 November 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: First Impressions
Series: Auckland Med. #1
Author: Jay Hogan
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Mystery, Crime, MM
Page count: 351 pages
Published: 15 December 2019

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Carry On
Series: Simon Snow #1
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBT, Romance
Page count: 522 Pages
Published: 9 May 2017

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: True Mate
Series: Prosper Woods Chronicles #1
Author: Patricia Logan
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBT, Romance
Page count: 202 pages
Published: 30 April 2021

My review (soon) | Book | Audiobook

Title: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Genre(s): Poetry, Fantasy, Fiction, Mythology, Historical
Page count: 208 pages

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Enthralled
Series: The Knight and the Necromancer
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal, MM, Fiction, Short stories
Page count: 78 pages
Published: 12 January 2021

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Roommate
Author: Sarina Bowen
Genre(s): Contemporary, Queer, Romance, Fiction
Page count: 304 pages
Published: 12 January 2021

My review (soon) | Book

Title: THE taking of Jake Livingston
Author: Ryan Douglass
Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Queer, Fiction
Page count: 308 pages
Published: 13 July 2021

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Lux
Series: The Reckoners
Author: Brandon Sanderson, Steven Michael Bohls
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy,
Runtime: 13h55min
Published: 22 July 2021

My review | Audiobook

Title: Home Plate
Series: Eastern U Pirates #2
Author: Christina Lee
Genre(s): Contemporary, MM, Sports, Romance
Page count: 257 pages
Published: 29 January 2021

My review (soon) | Book | Audiobook

If you’re interested in any of these, help us by getting them from the links above at no extra cost to you

These books are also available on The Book Depository, or you can get them from the links above at no extra cost to you

Line Mates and Study Dates | Eden Finley, Saxon James

Line Mates & Study Dates (CU Hockey 4)
by Eden Finley, Saxon James
published 23 June 2021

ASHER

Hockey, studying, and school runs. That’s my life now.

After a tragic accident that took our parents’ lives, it’s up to me and my big brother to take care of our five younger siblings.

In between burning their meals and keeping them from killing each other, I’m supposed to get a college degree. It’s hard when I don’t have time to breathe let alone study, and if I don’t get my grades up, I’m in danger of losing the one thing that makes me happy: my spot on the hockey team.

Which is why when the new equipment manager offers to tutor me, I really can’t afford to say no. Even though I should.

He’s Coach’s son and way too tempting.

KOLE

As this year’s equipment manager for Dad’s hockey team, I’m expected to deal with sweaty jock straps and herding hockey players to their rooms at away games.

The job is easy, but babysitting Asher Dalton is not supposed to be a part of it.

So why, when his brother asks me to keep an eye on him, do I agree?

Why, when he’s struggling in classes, do I offer to help?

And why, when we’re studying, do I suggest a reward system that lands us squarely in bed?

Asher’s trouble, I know he is. But there’s something about him that makes it impossible to stay away.

Buy links:


How was it?

It took me a while to while to warm up to Asher. Not just because of his memorable introduction in “Goal Lines & First Times.” For most of the first part I was chanting to myself “Hurt people, hurt people” even when I had glimpses of a softer side in the hockey player, but the authors managed it. I came to like Asher, not that I wasn’t seeing through his behavior from the start, but I was curious to see how he would turn things around. I enjoyed the growth and more the fact that what lead him to act the way he did was explained but not excused, otherwise that would have pissed me off.

I liked Kole from the get go even if he did give me major vibes of, as a friend would say: wanting a project and not a partner, but I guess they are people like that. The friend in question would call them social workers. Him being a pre-med student who recues tortured animals did not help. Where I thought that Kole would have been the one carrying the story, making Asher look good, I found that it was a bit of the opposite for me. I smiled and laughed at how Asher turned out to be around Kole, I love their banter, it was entertaining and fun.

Talking about fun, the steam here is excellent, I loved how it built and plateaued but that was just the cherry on top. The real draw is Asher’s journey, his heartfelt moments were great and his confidence when it came to Kole was hot.

CU Hockey 4 is a great read, and amazing addition to the series that I can’t wait to rediscover in as an audiobook. It’s as close to be my favorite as it can be but Face Offs & Cheap Shots is still my fav.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the authors in exchange for a fair, unbiased review and will be *FREE* with Kindle Unlimited membership when it is released.

Line Mates & Study Dates is available on Amazon and other book retailers near you.

Previous books in the series:

CU Hockey 1
Review | Book | Audiobook
CU Hockey 2
Review | Book | Audiobook
CU Hockey 3
Review | Book | Audiobook
Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

White Trash Warlock | David R. Slayton

White Trash Warlock (The Adam Binder Novels #1) by David R. Slayton published 13 October 2020

Guthrie was a good place to be from, but it wasn’t a great place to live, not when you were like Adam, in all the ways Adam was like Adam.

Adam Binder hasn’t spoken to his brother in years, not since Bobby had him committed to a psych ward for hearing voices. When a murderous spirit possesses Bobby’s wife and disrupts the perfect life he’s built away from Oklahoma, he’s forced to ask for his little brother’s help. Adam is happy to escape the trailer park and get the chance to say I told you so, but he arrives in Denver to find the local magicians dead.

It isn’t long before Adam is the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, he’ll have to risk bargaining with powers he’d rather avoid, including his first love, the elf who broke his heart.

The Binder brothers don’t realize that they’re unwitting pawns in a game played by immortals. Death herself wants the spirit’s head, and she’s willing to destroy their family to reap it.

How was it?

This book could almost be a mental health story within a family. There’re a lot of real down to earth elements that makes it grounded enough that the fantasy elements could be believed to be dreamt or imagined by the main character, Adam. In fact, removing all the paranormal elements of the story would have still make it an interesting one. The family history, the fraught relationships are just as interesting as the fantasy world that Adam can see.
But does the fantasy and the reality mix together well? Kind of, for a good chunk of the story I was ready for it to be the musings of a mentally ill patient. It attest to the how this world and its none believer characters feel like everyday people, like your average Joe would react to someone discussing magic and such. I liked it the book, it’s a good start to the Adam Binder Novels.

White Trash Warlock gets more intriguing the more you read it. Adam’s back story is tragic but captivating in its complexity.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

If you’re interested by the source material, help us by getting it using the links below at no extra cost to you:

January readings | New and Old Book Series

Title: Traitor’s Blade
Series: Greatcoats #1
Author: Sebastien de Castell
Genre(s): Epic Fantasy, Adventure
Page count: 384 pages (e-book)
Published: 10 February 2014

My review (Soon) | E-book | Audiobook

Title: Out of the Ashes
Series: Metahuman Files: Classified #1
Author: Hailey Turner
Genre(s): Science-Fiction
Page count: 106 pages (e-book)
Published: 8 March 2020

My review (Soon) | E-book | Audiobook

Title: White Trash Warlock
Series: The Adam Binder Novels #1
Author: David R. Slayton
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, MM
Page count: 320 pages
Published: 13 October 2020

My review | E-book | Audiobook

Title: An Echo in the Sorrow
Series: Soulbound #6
Author: Hailey Turner
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, MM
Page count: 417 pages (e-book)
Published: 1 March 2021

My review | Pre-order here

If you’re interested in any of these, help us by getting them from the links above at no extra cost to you

September readings | Highly Trained Characters, Magic, Hockey, Aliens, and Ghosts

Title: On The Wings of War
Series: Soulbound #5
Author: Hailey Turner
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Romance (MM), Shapeshifters, Vampires
Page count: 395 (ebook)
Published: 2 Sept 2020

My review | Get it here

Title: Summertime Butt Slut
Series: Fully Loaded Creampie Adventures #1
Author: Malcolm Van
Genre(s): MM Smut
Page count: 94 (ebook)
Published: 10 July 2019

My review | Get it here

Title: Cemetery Boys
Author: Aiden Thomas
Genre(s): Fantasy, Ghost, Young Adult, Queer, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Page count: 352 (ebook)
Published: 1 Sept 2020

My review | Get it here

Title: Decker and the New Guy
Series: Fully Loaded Creampie Adventures #2
Author: Malcolm Van
Genre(s): MM Smut
Page count: 163 (ebook)
Published: 25 Aug 2019

My review | Get it here

Title: Burn Zone
Series: Hotshots #1
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance (M/M), Fiction, Firefighters,
Page count: 336 (ebook)
Published: 27 April 2020

My review | Get it here

Title: Return to Zero
Series: Lorien Legacies Reborn #3
Author: Pittacus Lore
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Aliens, Fiction, Dystopia, War,
Page count: 464 (ebook)
Published: 25 June 2019

My review | Get it here

Title: Trade Deadline
Series: Hat Trick #3
Author: Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance (M/M), Sports, Hockey, Lgbt,
Page count: 304 (ebook)
Published: 17 Aug 2020

My review | Get it here

Title: Classified
Series: The Elite #3
Author: Brooke Blaine, Ella Frank
Genre(s): Contemporary, Military Fiction, Romance, Lgbt,
Page count: 228 (ebook)
Published: 23 June 2020

My review | Get it here

Title: Holiday Hijinks: Escape from the Holidays
Series: Hounds of the Hunt #3
Author: Toni Griffin
Genre(s): Paranormal, Christmas, Romance (M/M), Shapeshifters,
Page count: 154 (ebook)
Published: 23 Dec 2018

My review | Get it here

Title: Common Goal
Series: Game Changers #4
Author: Rachel Reid
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance (M/M),
Sports, Hockey, Lgbt,
Page count: 282 (ebook)
Published: 21 Sept 2020

My review | Get it here

Cemetery Boys | Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas published 1st September 2020

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

How was it?

I put “Cemetery Boys” in my TBR list because it was coming out that week, there were two boys of color on the cover, and I saw somewhere that it was a queer story. I had no idea what this book was about but once I started the Latinx aspects of the book came as a surprise and a breath of fresh air. Then learning about who Yadriel furthered my interest because he’s simply not the type of main character that I’m used to.

Yadriel is trans, gay, and a brujo but not everyone in his life seems to accept it wholeheartedly. His struggles to be seen as who he is, comes across so clearly and real that you can sort of tell that it’s told from personal experience. Yadriel is a compelling character that I easily connected with and understood.

Although I liked him enough, Julian, lost me in one specific scene in the book. Without spoiling, it was when he talked Yadriel into taking something that I rolled my eyes in exasperation. Besides that I admired his dedication to his friends. However, Maritza is the kind of best friend I enjoy reading about. She’s just amazing.

Even if I guessed where the plot was going I was enthralled. The main characters are very strong and make up for the predictability of the story. Having Dia de Muertos at the forefront of the story adds to the plot while also dishing out some light cultural knowledge.

Cemetery Boys is a refreshing story with entertaining and interesting characters. It might be the started of a solid book series or a wonderful stand alone.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Get it here