PREORDER MY UPCOMING YA NOVEL — BOOK OF DREAMS!!

My next young adult novel, BOOK OF DREAMS, is now available for PREORDER!

Release Date: May 24, 2022

Synopsis:

Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be. He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his—whether he wants it or not. It’s bought and paid for and there are no returns. The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape. Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from the previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape. When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.

Book of Dreams is a bit of a horror/contemporary mix. It’s being published by Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press. This is the same publisher that published my last novel, The Camino Club. They will also be publishing my YA contemporary, Where is Ethan Sinclair, in 2023.

LINKS TO PREORDER BOOK OF DREAMS:

If ebooks are your thing, BOOK OF DREAMS is now available for preorder at both AMAZON USA/AMAZON CANADA and KOBO USA/KOBO CANADA (It’s on preorder at all the Amazon and Kobo countries)!!

One of my early readers shared a doodle they created while reading Book of Dreams. He has given me permission to share it…I really adore it. It’s such a simple sketch, and it perfectly gets the vibe! Of course I’m going to share it here again…

Original Artwork by Jarom Verdonk – Artist’s rendition of Jack Chalek, the villain in BOOK OF DREAMS.

 

When you visit a site to preorder your copy, you’ll still see the following placeholder cover:

Rest assured, the final cover will be phenomenal! I’m still overwhelmed by the beauty of the cover for my last novel, The Camino Club! Never has a cover been so perfectly matched to one of my stories. I have super high hopes for Book of Dreams!

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

 

Announcing Two New Young Adult Novels with Duet Books!

The news is out! The publisher of my most recent novel, The Camino Club, has contracted another 2 novels with me! I could NOT be happier!

The Publisher’s Marketplace Announcement

I have TWO YA novels forthcoming from DUET BOOKS, the YA imprint of INTERLUDE PRESS!

The first, a horror, will be released in the summer of 2022. The second title, a contemporary, will come after it and details will be announced later.

THE BOOK OF DREAMS

WHERE IS ETHAN SINCLAIR?

I’m looking forward to working with the amazing team at Interlude Press again. From Candysse Miller, who looks after every little detail always, to Annie Harper, who is the amazing editor who makes my work shine, to CB Messer, the extraordinary cover and interior designer who makes my books look visually beautiful, I am in the best of hands! I can’t wait to see where these new ventures go!

Stay tuned for all the details! Cover Reveal, Pre-Order, and all the rest! I’ll let you know when things begin to happen!

In the meantime, you can check out my current Duet Books/Interlude Press title THE CAMINO CLUB HERE.

Pride and Summer – Redo!

You may have noticed a couple of new covers if you recently visited My Amazon page. Both Pride Must Be a Place & Summer on Fire are now sporting new clothing. (-;

Unfortunately, my publisher, MuseItUp, had to make a tough decision and close their doors. It was a great pleasure working with the folx at MuseItUp! We had a long relationship. They were the publisher of both my debut novel and my sixth novel. I’m grateful for the time we spent together!

I now offer the SAME stories wrapped in newer clothing.

Here are the new covers:

PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE – Ezra Caine is gay. He’s sort of out at school but not at home, where he fears the wrath of his father’s bigotry. When Ezra’s flamboyantly out friend Alex Mills takes one too many beatings from homophobic bully Will Carter, Ezra finally snaps. Fed up with the situation at school, he decides to do something about it. With the help of his BFF, Nettie, and some unlikely allies, Ezra rallies to create their small-town school’s first gay-straight alliance. The Rainbow Alliance Club is formed. But the changes don’t come without hiccups, one of which being a messy scandal involving Alex and a gay hook-up app. As Ezra and his friends attempt to sway their school into an alliance of tolerance and acceptance, Ezra experiences a few surprises of his own on the home-front. He also learns the hard way that friendships out of convenience aren’t always a good idea, just as some enemies might not be as bad as he originally imagined them to be.

SUMMER ON FIRE – Zach Carson is a loyal friend. But is loyalty enough to keep best friends together when one of them sets fire to the rural barn they use as the local hangout? Zach, Jeff Barsell and Arnie Wilson struggle to pick up the pieces when news spreads that a body was discovered in the burnt out shell of the neighboring home. When the word murder is used by the local police, the stakes grow even higher. When the police start searching for their most likely suspect—none other than Jeff’s older brother, and nemesis, Marty Barsell—the boys decide to join forces and come up with a way to prove his innocence. But just how innocent is Marty Barsell? When Marty admits to being at the scene of the crime, the three friends enlist the help of Zach’s annoying sister, Sherry, as well as the sympathetic town eccentric, Ms. Halverton. But can they keep it together long enough to save Marty, and themselves, from eminent catastrophe? Summer on Fire is the story of friendships, and the lines we are asked to cross in order to keep them.

To purchase copies of either of these novels, you can visit MY AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE RIGHT HERE. Maybe consider grabbing a copy of PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE for #PrideReads! Pride month is almost over.

Please note that if you already have copies of either of these books–THE CONTENT IS THE SAME. ONLY THE COVERS HAVE CHANGED.

Pride Month Pride Reads

It’s Pride Month once again. Despite the fact that we are in the middle (nearing the end??) of a pandemic, June is the month set aside for celebrating the liberation of the LGBTQ+ community. The Pride Protest continues…and it is far from over. Though we celebrate how far LGBTQ+ rights have become human rights, we can’t lose sight of the fact that Pride is still more Protest than Celebration.

But…we do celebrate.

One thing to celebrate is how far we have come in a very short time with LGBTQ+ literature. The diversification of this literature is blossoming, driven by the demand and desire for LGBTQ+ peoples to see themselves in the fiction they read.

Here’s some LGBTQ+ literature I have been and will be reading in June…

JUST READ:

Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore:

Carey Parker dreams of being a diva, and bringing the house down with song. They can hit every note of all the top pop and Broadway hits. But despite their talent, emotional scars from an incident with a homophobic classmate and their grandmother’s spiraling dementia make it harder and harder for Carey to find their voice.

Then Carey meets Cris, a singer/guitarist who makes Carey feel seen for the first time in their life. With the rush of a promising new romantic relationship, Carey finds the confidence to audition for the role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the school musical, setting off a chain reaction of prejudice by Carey’s tormentor and others in the school. It’s up to Carey, Cris, and their friends to defend their rights–and they refuse to be silenced.

Told in alternating chapters with identifying pronouns, debut author Steven Salvatore’s Can’t Take That Away conducts a powerful, uplifting anthem, a swoony romance, and an affirmation of self-identity that will ignite the activist in all of us.

This is such a lovely read! I was swoony and teary-eyed half the time I was reading this one. It tackles some tough LGBTQ+ issues around identity and equality in a high school setting. It also balances these issues with a sweet romance. It has genderqueer and bi representation and a high school musical. It’s definitely a summer read one could fall in love with. I can’t say enough about this gorgeous story! I have only heaps of praise.

CTTA on Amazon USA

CTTA on Amazon Canada

CURRENTLY READING:

When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson:

As kids, Mark and his cousin Talia spent many happy summers together at the family cottage in Ontario, but a fight between their parents put an end to the annual event. Living on opposite coasts—Mark in Halifax and Talia in Victoria—they haven’t seen each other in years. When their grandfather dies unexpectedly, Mark and Talia find themselves reunited at the cottage once again, cleaning it out while the family decides what to do with it.

Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that’s about all they have in common, other than the fact that they’d both prefer to be in Toronto. Talia is desperate to see her high school sweetheart Erin, who’s barely been in touch since leaving to spend the summer working at a coffee shop in the Gay Village. Mark, on the other hand, is just looking for some fun, and Toronto Pride seems like the perfect place to find it.

When a series of complications throws everything up in the air, Mark and Talia—with Mark’s little sister Paige in tow—decide to hit the road for Toronto. With a bit of luck, and some help from a series of unexpected new friends, they might just make it to the big city and find what they’re looking for. That is, if they can figure out how to start seeing things through each other’s eyes.

I still don’t know where exactly this one is going, but I am obsessively devouring it to find out! I love that it is set in Toronto and Muskoka, here in Ontario. As if the dynamic duo of two wonderful Canadian authors, Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson, wasn’t enough to make it a must read for my TBR pile, the COVER! I love to see Canadiana represented in fiction. But to see the CN Tower on the cover of a YA book? I couldn’t even imagine it. The second I saw this cover, I knew I had to have it. I’m really loving this story. I’m halfway through and already a little worried I’m going to miss it when it’s over.

WYGTC on Amazon USA

WYGTC on Amazon Canada

NEXT READ:

The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver:

Everything happens for a reason.

At least that’s what everyone keeps telling Liam Cooper after his older brother Ethan is killed suddenly in a hit-and-run.

Feeling more alone and isolated than ever, Liam has to not only learn to face the world without one of the people he loved the most, but also face the fading relationships of his two best friends in the process.

Soon, Liam finds themself spending time with Ethan’s best friend, Marcus, who might just be the only person that seems to know exactly what they’re going through-for better and for worse.

The Ghosts We Keep is an achingly honest portrayal of grief. But it is also about why we live. Why we have to keep moving on, and why we should.

I fell in love with Mason Deaver’s debut novel, I Wish You All the Best. Some authors immediately go on my Must Read list for all future books. Deaver is one of those authors for me. I can’t wait to read this much anticipated story!

TGWK on Amazon USA

TGWK on Amazon Canada

An Incredible Pride Reads Announcement from Julian Winters and Interlude Press/Duet Books!

Everyone on campus knows Remy Cameron. He’s the out-and-proud, super-likable guy who friends, faculty, and fellow students alike admire for his cheerful confidence. The only person who isn’t entirely sure about Remy Cameron is Remy himself. Under pressure to write an A+ essay defining who he is and who he wants to be, Remy embarks on an emotional journey toward reconciling the outward labels people attach to him with the real Remy Cameron within.

From the author of the bestselling novel Running With Lions, a story about overcoming the labels that try to define our lives

Speaking of authors who immediately go on my Must Read list for all future books, Julian Winters made an incredible announcement this week during the Edelweiss Book Fest! His 2nd novel, How to Be Remy Cameron has an audio book in production! Interlude Press is going AUDIO! I can’t think of a better way to begin that journey than with a Julian Winters book! Watch their Twitter account for more information, but THIS IS HAPPENING!

HTBRC on Amazon USA

HTBRC on Amazon Canada

Upcoming Pride Month Pride Release Read:

There are always new LGBTQ titles dropping! So refreshing to see this market growing so rapidly! Here’s a title that is coming out DURING PRIDE MONTH 2021!

L.I.F.E. by Felyx Lawson:

Rider Williams is your typical high school student. He has classes, hangs with friends, plays video games, writes for the school paper, plays guitar, collects comics, and is gay. Okay, so he’s not your typical high school student.

Rider is trying to finish his senior year of high school while struggling to accept himself and hide his secret. It’s difficult and he might have succeeded if not for two challenges in his way. The first, an assignment about the one thing he doesn’t understand and hasn’t experienced: love. The other, Cameron Walker, a transfer student who looks like a stereotypical jock, but seems to be so much more.

Can Rider survive the weight of his secret?

It’s only the start of the school year but Rider already knows L.I.F.E. isn’t as easy as it seems.

Looking forward to this one! It drops on JUNE 25th, but you can pre-order Felyx Lawson‘s debut novel from Deep Hearts YA any time!

L.I..F.E. on Amazon USA

L.I.F.E. on Amazon Canada

My Own Pride Reads Selections:

Okay, this is where I share my own Pride Reads Books! What?! You knew it was coming.

I just so happen to have 3 Pride books of my own. Now’s as good a time as any to share them! Pick one of them up for Pride Month Pride Reads!

Billions of Beautiful Hearts (Interlude Press/Duet Books) is a young adult story with two nonbinary teens finding love online during the time of Covid Lockdown. The Camino Club (Interlude Press/Duet Books) is a young adult story with six teens walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across Spain as atonement for their crimes back home in Toronto. It features a gay narrator with lesbian rep. Pride Must Be A Place (Muse It Up) is a young adult story with Ezra Caine and his friends coming together to create their small-town high school’s first Gay Straight Alliance. Ezra discovers along the way that he can find happiness, love, and safety in the places he once feared.

KEVIN CRAIG AUTHOR PAGE on AMAZON USA

KEVIN CRAIG AUTHOR PAGE on AMAZON CANADA

It’s Pride Month. Whatever you choose to do with your reading time this month, just consider spending some of that time reading and supporting LGBTQ+ fiction!

HAPPY PRIDE!

Memorial Day Weekend Sale on EBooks at Interlude Press!

Just a quick heads up on an EBook sale that my publisher is having! It’s on now and lasts the remainder of the US Memorial Day Weekend! It’s on all EBooks in the Interlude Press and Duet Books catalogues! This includes my latest Duet Books YA novel THE CAMINO CLUB.

The sale is 40% off all EBOOKS and the discount will appear automatically in the cart (no code required).

Click the pic:

Sale is on all titles!

Don’t miss out on your chance to snag some amazing books!

Click the pic:

Here’s the direct link to THE CAMINO CLUB

You can also click right on the amazing cover with the shiny new silver seal!

TO SHOP BY IMPRINT, CLICK HERE TO GO DIRECTLY TO THE DUET BOOKS YOUNG ADULT STORE.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE INTERLUDE PRESS ADULT TITLES STORE.

Sale is on for the remember of the Memorial Day Weekend. Act now to save on some amazing titles!

Happy Reading! And Happy Memorial Day to my American friends and readers!

Awards Season is Here! And THE CAMINO CLUB is UP FOR ONE!

This is me right now, for shame!

Hello Dear Readers!

Have I got news for you!

The book of my heart is being celebrated! I don’t know yet where it falls on the podium—silver or gold—but…THE CAMINO CLUB is up for an award! I could not be more proud or thrilled. This book is my homage to a pilgrimage route in Spain I fell deeply in love with back in 2014. I’m so thrilled that it has found a publisher in Duet Books (the YA imprint of Interlude Press) and a readership. This recognition is the icing on top of an already amazingly incredible cake for me!

This book is so close to my heart it hurts. You put your babies out into the world and you hope for the best, but ultimately you never know how they will be received. Will they find a home with a publisher? Will readers discover them? Will readers enjoy them? It’s all unknown…and yet still we do it. We try our hardest to make real the vision we carry of what the story should be and we hope our execution lands somewhere near to that vision.

THE CAMINO CLUB has been SHORT-LISTED! The 2021 Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARDS FINALISTS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED! And THE CAMINO CLUB is represented in the category of………………. FINALIST – TEEN: FICTION (13-18 YEARS)

Much thanks to the powerhouse publishing team at Interlude Press/Duet Books! Thanks to my amazing editor, ANNIE HARPER, for believing in THE CAMINO CLUB in the first place, and for making it so much better than it was when the original manuscript first arrived in her lap! So much gratitude to CB MESSER for creating a more beautiful cover than I ever could have imagined. She literally captured the entire heart and essence of the Camino in that cover! Not to mention how pretty she made the book’s interior! And so much thanks to CANDYSSE MILLER for every single little (and big) thing she does for her stable of authors! I’ve never met a multi-tasker so dedicated to the art of multi-tasking! Huge thanks to all three of you for taking a chance on my little story! When I say I’m thankful that it found THE perfect home in Duet Books, I seriously mean it! I’m so grateful for this amazing publisher.

Click the link below for the three titles on the Teen Finalist List:

IBPA BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARD TEEN FINALISTS

The Gold Winner and Silver Winners will be announced during online ceremonies between May 11-14, 2021.

Thank you to the judges who chose The Camino Club to be represented in the Finalist list!

While you’re here, you can CLICK THIS LINK for PURCHASE OPTIONS FOR THE CAMINO CLUB. It also contains the Goodreads link, if you’re interested in reading (or leaving!) reviews.

Thank you so much for reading THE CAMINO CLUB and for supporting it in any way. I truly appreciate all of you!

Summer of Lies and The Lines Between Our Stars! It’s a DUO BOOK LAUNCH!

Two debut Young Adult Authors on one ticket! Barbara Baker and Lyndi Allison both have new books to shout about! What better way to do that than with a duo-launch?

Mark your calendars! On Thursday, April 15th, 2021 you will be able to join Barbara and Lyndi in the celebration. This online launch will take place at 7:00pm EDT on the 15th. Barbara and Lyndi will chat about the publishing process, from both the traditional and the indi perspective. Join them and help celebrate the launch of two new young adult works from these two debut authors!

And pick up their books while you’re at it! Click on the book covers below to visit their perspective Amazon pages.

SUMMER OF LIESFourteen-year-old Jillian has no idea who her dad is but uses her banishment from summer parties in Toronto to isolation in Banff National Park to track him down. But it’s not easy. A reclusive log cabin, a grumpy aunt, few trips to civilization and seriously—no cell phone reception?

When she’s not searching for her dad, Jillian pursues an elusive girl, Mika, who lives on her own in the wilderness. Together they track down a poacher and Jillian reunites Mika with her family. All should be well – but it isn’t. Big secrets in Jillian’s family surface, Jillian’s boyfriend ditches her, and her dad wants proof he’s her dad. Like she’d make this up?

Jillian swaps her English saddle for a western one as she unravels the truth about who she really is. What she learns changes everything she knows about herself and demands an inner strength she never knew she had.

THE LINES BETWEEN OUR STARS – When a dragon-snake slithers into the lab where fifteen-year-old Jas volunteers, he and his artsy rival, Gloria, teleport to an exoplanet to rescue the life form’s son. Now, the Interplanetary Space Agency is determined to stop them.

With water scarce and few comforts of home, the teens find themselves up against a formidable foe. They’ll have to overcome obstacles together or be stranded on this dusty planet light-years from Earth.

To register for the book launch on Thursday, April 15th at 7:00pm, simply email either Barbara or Lyndi NOW to save your spot! Their email addresses can be found in the flyer at the top of this post! Come on out and celebrate these new YA offerings and their amazing authors!

You can also register here: Zoom Registration

The Lines Between Our Stars! A new YA Coming from Lyndi Allison!

Longtime writing friend LYNDI ALLISON has a Young Adult DEBUT novel landing soon! I’m so excited to share the details with you here today! I first met Lyndi through the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR), where she held various roles on the Board of Directors…including president of the organization. Always a champion for writers everywhere, Lyndi now gets to celebrate her own amazing debut!

Lyndi Allison in her newfound Nirvana! You too can visit Panama and get some writing on. Visit her links to find out how.

Before I share the cover for THE LINES BETWEEN OUR STARS, though, you might want to go back up and click on Lyndi’s highlighted name above to visit her Instagram page. Her bio says it all…I travel. I hike. I write. YA Author, writing facilitator, writing tour and retreat host.

Lyndi did what a lot of us only dream of doing. She packed it all away up here in Ontario a few years ago. She now resides in PANAMA. Not only that, she runs a retreat there for writers.

You can learn more about her Hands-On Adventurous Workshops here. Her retreat also has a Facebook page here: TRANQUILO RETREAT.

Now for the stunning cover!

Isn’t it gorgeous! THE LINES BETWEEN OUR STARS! It’s book one of THE SUMMER TRIANGLE TRILOGY.

RELEASE DATE: MARCH 31, 2021

Here’s the synopsis of Book 1:

When a dragon-snake slithers into the lab where fifteen-year-old Jas volunteers, he and his artsy rival, Gloria, teleport to an exoplanet to rescue the life form’s son. Now, the Interplanetary Space Agency is determined to stop them.

With water scarce and few comforts of home, the teens find themselves up against a formidable foe. They’ll have to overcome obstacles together or be stranded on this dusty planet light-years from Earth.

Now for the all important details! This is dropping soon (March 31st), so now is the perfect time to PREORDER!

Here are some AMAZON preorder links! You know what to do! Please click the links below. Please preorder:

AMAZON CANADA

AMAZON USA

AMAZON UK

AMAZON AUSTRALIA

Short Story Release Day is 2 Weeks Away! Billions of Beautiful Hearts…

It’s almost that time! My short story BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS will drop two weeks from today!

This is a story I was invited to write as part of INTERLUDE PRESS‘s series called COME WHAT MAY. The idea for the series was that no matter the circumstance, love finds a way. Whether it be during the chaos of a pandemic, or any other impossible situations…love finds a way, come what may. My story is one of FOUR stories in the Come What May series, mine being the only young adult.

In BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS, I write a cute YOUNG ADULT story about two nonbinary teens who quite possibly find each other during the opening chaotic months of the Covid-19 disaster.

It releases on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9th, 2021…but you can PREORDER it now for half price at 99 cents. Preorders help the author, and the independent publisher, greatly! So if you’re even considering eventually picking up a copy of this short story, there’s no time like the present.

Wen & Kaye are two teens who find themselves in an unprecedented situation, lost in the new world of social distancing and screen-only interactions. Find out what they do with this new world order. Preorder BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS today!

BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS (Duet Books/Interlude Press)One of Four Short Stories in the COME WHAT MAY project – Wen Devante is Insta famous with a massive following and a flare for fashion. At almost 18, they have already published a book on gender nonconformity, released several songs on Spotify and appeared on television. During the first wave of Covid-19 lockdown, they reach out to an unsuspecting Kaye, one of their 2.3 million followers. The two form a bond, first through Instagram messages and then through Zoom. They discover there are ways to have a meaningful relationship despite the bleak circumstances. In fact, the pandemic seems to make reaching out even easier than it used to be.

AVAILABLE FEBRUARY 9th! PREORDER NOW FOR HALF PRICE AT APPROXIMATELY 99 CENTS DIRECTLY FROM INTERLUDE PRESS OR AT YOUR FAVOURITE RETAILER:

Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK | Kobo USA | Kobo Canada | Kobo UK | Interlude Press Store | Barnes & Noble Nook

As I mentioned above, BILLIONS OF BEAUTIFUL HEARTS is one of 4 short stories in the COME WHAT MAY series. To read about the other 3 stories, CLICK HERE to be taken to AMAZON where all 4 stories are collected. The remaining stories are; GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING by Claire Rudy Foster, AND ALWAYS COMING BACK by Jude Sierra, and, SUNNY PASTURES by Lilah Suzanne.

Christmas Suggestions for Readers and Others…

I do this every now and again, and 2020 is a good year to boost books you enjoyed. It’s been a bad year for releases, as far as in-person events go. Authors have suffered, and bookstores have suffered. Here’s a few book suggestions for those on your list (Or for yourself! We all deserve to pamper ourselves after the year we’ve had!)…these are books I read and loved this year.

Before the books, though, I’d like to highlight another kind of gift! Small businesses just starting out right now are the kind of thing we need! I know just the one to support. LET’S TALK ABOUT SIMCOE & CO.! From their simple but elegant branding, to their FRESH products, I love everything about them!Click on the logo image below to head over to their Facebook page:

Full Disclosure: This brand new company is my niece’s brainchild. They’ve just released their first product in time for Christmas. If you’re in the GTA area (or even if you’re not) check them out at the link in the logo above. They’re located in Port Perry, Ontario and they’re currently featuring SUGAR SCRUBS in various delectable scents.

Their products are cruelty free and vegan. Give their Facebook page a like so you can watch as things unfold!

BOOKS? BOOKS! Did someone say books?

I’m going to suggest 5 from the 25 I read so far this year. Honestly, though, all the books I read this year were awesome. For the ones I don’t highlight here, you can check them out on my Goodreads.

(CLICK ON COVERS TO VISIT AMAZON LINKS)

For travelers and wanderlusters–or those thinking of becoming one–I have just the book! No surprise I read a lot of Camino books. I just finished two more, and I’m about to highlight both of them! First is the travel memoir…

There’s Something Going On! Walking the Camino de Santiago – by Simon Donlevy.

If I say this felt like an audio-book without the audio, you might look at me kind of funny…but that’s exactly what it felt like. Simon Donlevy is a storyteller. I felt like the author was telling me the story of the 6 month sabbatical they took. This retelling of the sabbatical not only covers their travels on the Camino, but also the decisions and planning that went into taking the sabbatical and the trip to Spain. And it covers the after-Camino experience as well. I found it well told and quite enjoyable. Wasn’t fully what I was expecting. That’s what I love about Camino books…they’re always about more than just the Camino. They’re about decisions, plans, serendipity, the unexpected. If you have walked the Camino, you’ll enjoy this book for taking you back to the journey. If you haven’t, it’s a good primer for getting to know both the locations on the Camino and its magic.

Camino Maggie: Teen Rebel Series – by Joy Llewellyn

Truth be told, it feels almost risky telling you about this one! The synopsis is close to the synopsis of my most recent release. It follows four young teens (all girls) who walk the Camino de Santiago in order to avoid the punishment of their crimes. I just found out about this book in November and read it out of curiosity. I loved it! Maggie is a rich girl who breaks into her aunt’s store out of some sense of daring…not to mention to impress the boy who sort of put her up to it. She gets caught. Her Aunt Camille suggests (gives her no option, really) she accompanies her, her friend Andy, and a small group of delinquents to Spain for the experience. The four girls bond as they make their way across Spain. I think young adults would really enjoy this book…as well as any Camino enthusiasts.

Chasing the Sun (The Campfire Series Book One) – by Melanie Hooyenga

This is also a YA book. I’ve spent most of my reading year reading YA…both for pleasure and because it’s what I write. Teens would love this book…but as with all YA books, they’re not just for teens. Anyone on your list who enjoys a sweet love story will enjoy Chasing the Sun. Here’s my review from Goodreads…

Chasing the Sun was such a lovely falling-in-love story between two extremely vulnerable teens who were both a little reluctant to do so. Sage comes to the story having experienced an emotionally tumultuous relationship with a manipulative emotional abusive partner. Neb arrives having just lost his father suddenly in an extremely traumatic way. Together they navigate a path toward each other first through texts and then in person when they finally meet at a summertime school camping trip to view a total solar eclipse together. Both are tentative but excited. Sage wants to believe in love again, but doesn’t fully trust her own judgement. Neb is adjusting to a new city…and isn’t quite sure how to allow himself to feel joy while simultaneously mourning the loss of his father. When Sage and Neb do meet in person, sparks fly immediately. But are sparks enough? This story is filled with wonderfully cute falling in love moments. The eclipse almost becomes a character as the story winds down and the tension mounts and the moment of the eclipse nears. I loved everything about this story!

Now for a book with a one-two punch!

Surrender Your Sons – by Adam Sass

I absolutely loved this book and the power it gave to gay teens! I felt like I could conquer the world after reading this heartbreaking heartrending heartracing story! Get it for LGBTQIA+ readers on your list, whether or not they’re teens. We all carry wounds and trauma that will be both re-lit and assuaged by this book. It would also be an eye-opening read for straight readers. It’s a powerhouse. I honestly thought I reviewed this on Goodreads, as I have talked about it so much and so often that I misremembered actually leaving a review. I will have to rectify that. Just take my word for it, it’s an incredible book. Follow gay teens to a formidable island of oppression as their whisked off from their lives to a disgusting conversion camp. Watch as they try to take their fates into their own hands.

Last, but not least, a book from a pub-sib! From DUET BOOKS, the same Interlude Press imprint that published my latest, The Camino Club.

The Summer of Everything – by Julian Winters

I love Julian Winters books. Like their author, they just radiant light and joy. My Goodreads review below isn’t really enough. Winters’ books are always exceptional! This one was no less so. All readers would love this YA set in Santa Monica. Here’s the synopsis:

Adulting is hard. Just ask Wes Hudson. An avid comic book geek, Wes excels at two things: slacking off and pining after his best friend, Nico. Advice from his friends, ‘90s alt-rock songs, and online dating articles aren’t helping much with his secret crush. And his dream job at Once Upon a Page, the local indie bookstore, is threatened when a coffee shop franchise wants to buy the property. To top it off, his family won’t stop pestering him about picking a college major. When all three problems converge, Wes must face the one thing he’s been avoiding—adulthood.

And my review: Another amazing offering from the incomparable Julian Winters. Loved, loved, loved this story! Loved Wes and Nico and Ella and Coop and the rest of the group! This so so heartfelt! Bring tissues.

That’s 5 books and 1 fantastic small business that promises to have you savoring the aromas of Bergamot, Peppermint, Maple Syrup and more!

Happy 2020 Socially Distant Masked Christmas to you all!