Tag: book review (Page 2 of 3)

Book Review: “The Inheritors,” by William Golding

In my trek across the Nobel Prize in Literature spectrum, I found The Inheritors at a Savers for next to nothing and thought, “Well now! Golding is a Nobel Prize winner. ADD.”


The Inheritors by William Golding

I confess myself less than awestruck. I’ve already prepared myself for the barrage of hate mail and troll comments about William Golding being an amazing writer and Lord of the Flies was the best novel they ever read. I sense saying Golding isn’t all that is akin to saying The Beatles are “so so.” But there it is.

The Inheritors takes the reader back to the Before time, when Neanderthals were just beginning to be over taken by Homo sapiens, assuming that’s how it happened. We meet a group of Neanderthals who live primitively but quite like humans with feelings for each other, language (though simplistic), thought processes (though muted and simplistic as well), and religion that includes burying the dead.

Golding does a good job of making the reader care about non-human species we know little about. On it’s face it goes above that of Animal Farm in that we are feeling for non-humans for non-humans value rather than for animals AS humans. For that, the praise came in from all angles when the book was introduced back in 1955. His concept is imaginative and daunting in terms of what he has to consider and overcome to write this piece.

But I couldn’t help but feel two very strong ideas playing out.

First is the idea that Golding wrote this book in a sort of “Look what I can do” like New Age Western poetry tends to do rather than the wanted “I have a story to tell…and by the way, I did this really awesome thing with that story.” There’s a nagging sensation that this is a poem with no real guts or meaning beyond the “I have feelings for a dead species. Look how good a person I am.” God, even as I write this review, I feel like I’m just as guilty as Golding. So I see the irony here.

Second is a sensation I get often, and is fully a function of my time spent in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (regrettably). There’s a sense that Golding is trying to show how much better he is than other writers because HE can feel for a dead species. Not that he can’t, or that others can, or that he did so in an insulting way, but that he still managed to impress upon these Others (Others being the Neanderthals, not the Others from the book, which are homo sapiens) that they are “inherently” human. Which, by his storyline, they weren’t. But there is still the Western understanding of life, death, religion, hierarchy, etc playing out among his characters.

I wanted to love this book. I really did. The concept had such potential. The themes were so politically and socially charged. My mouth watered waiting for this book to come up in my virtual cue on my not-so-virtual real-life bookshelf. But my own prejudicial thoughts on privileged white “artists” (myself included) kept me from pulling it together to enjoy this rarely read novel.

Book Review: "Super Sad True Love Story" by Gary Shteyngart

I love a good dystopian novel. Super Sad True Love Story is one of those great “This is what we’re becoming” stories that makes you as uncomfortable as it should.

Super Sad True Love Story is, as one might guess, a love story. But the love story takes place in a sort of dystopian United States some few decades into the future. Anyone who knows me, knows I love dystopian novels. They tend to shed more light on the here and now and on human psychology and sociology than any other genre of fiction.

There are usually only two types of dystopian novels: those that suggest we are moving away from something good (the ones that romanticize the past), and those that show Today in a spotlight by overemphasizing the Truths about the world as it is today (indirectly romanticizing about the future that could be by showing the terrible future we’re building). Very few step outside this realm. For instance, Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale does not romanticize about the past, because it was/is bad for women. Nor does she romanticize about a future to come, because, as she points out, even the pseudo-counter culture that is created in response to the over Puritan principles is just as ugly and womanizing.

Super Sad True Love Story is the former.

Shteyngart’s portrayal of overemphasis shows us that we’ve begun to care more about preserving our own life–our body–that we’ve given up attempting to preserve our future or our legacy. In a way, one could think of it as a New Age Fountain of Youth.

There’s also strong overtones of the over-sexualization of everything and the instant gratification of social media. These two things could be separated, but I’m not sure Shteyngart would want to separate them. He’s holding on to a time when women wore clothes that “left something to the imagination” as if doing so changed the simple fact that he was still undressing her in his mind. The only positive I have to mention here is that, though Shteyngart denigrates to over-sexualization of the U.S. culture, he doesn’t get gratuitous like one might expect.

It’s clear that Shteyngart has some sexual issues of his own. A middle aged Jewish man feigning over every tiny, “boyish” Asian girl, like some Anime nut that just wants to live out the Manga wet dream fantasy. Perhaps he was attempting a sort of “Love in the Time of Cholera” experience where the “love story” was actually the OPPOSITE of love while still duping the reading into thinking “real love” was playing out. Though, somehow, I doubt it.

Sexual frustration aside, this is Shteyngart romanticizing for the past. A past before social media, before Brittany Spears and Miley Cyrus sexualized Disney and young women, before books were uncool. A world where all was a little bit better. Yet, like with most romance, this is a farce. Books have never been the rage, teens were ALWAYS sexual, whether or not the Cleavers or the Brady Bunch cared to talk about it, and social networking has almost always been about self-promotion than about social-anything. 

The dystopia he creates is two fold. First is the super social media, everything has to be live and recorded for the world to see, world and the hyper-sexualization of everything like Onionskin pants and nippleless bras and pornography for children. But then there’s the Marxist look at the U.S. system of economics.

Shtyengart builds a world where all the U.S. corporations have joined in mega-corporations and the economy is tanking because of some force unknown to the reader. There’s mentions of Marxism and capitalism, but I don’t recall a reason given for the fall the U.S. Empire other than China and Korea taking over. The Dollar has lost almost all value, and the violence and sensations the characters feel are best described as what anyone in states where economies go to shit.

Once violence is finally exposed to the reader, it’s too late to fix anything. As much as I hate to say this, this can’t be closer to the truth. The Occupy Movement, tanks being purchased by local police stations, drones flown over U.S. soil for surveillance, and NSA data mining of EVERYTHING, is taking place at this very moment. And who gives two healthy shits?

Sure, there are protesters floating around state capitals and D.C. Sure, we’re kind of talking about these things in the periphery. But they are in the periphery. Nobody not being arrested or hunted down for leaking the truth about ILLEGAL UNCONSTITUTIONAL government actions or protesting the bailout of corporations (they have time to protest because they’ve lost their jobs and people attack them for being “lazy” and homeless…the irony makes me vomit) even gives a damn.

Shtyengart is saying what needs to be said. You think you care about things, you don’t. You only care about yourself. And all those “others” dealing with “their problems” will become your problem only after it’s too late for you to stand up! By the time the people with the power to change things get it through their thick heads that things are bad, they will be running from the stream of bullets.

France said it was everyone else’s problem until Germany came knocking on their door. Then what? The U.S. will do the same. The U.S. will fall apart and those with the power to do anything will wait too long and then take what they can and jump ship to leave the poor and ugly to deal with death and poverty and tyranny on their own. Just the way it has been for centuries.

"Disgrace" by John Maxwell Coetzee

My readers know me as one who only reads well-written fiction from well-respected authors. This past year I decided to trudge through the entire list of Nobel Prize for Literature winners. A couple months ago, I found J. M. Coetzee’s “Disgrace” at a Goodwill and added him to my short list.

Unlike my reading of some of the other Nobel Prize for Literature winners like Saramago, Marquez, Morrison, Pamuk, and others, Coetzee’s Disgrace left me wondering how to feel.

Many times throughout the novel I hated the main character. At times I thought it was intentional. With White Guilt a quiet (or not so quiet) condition in South Africa, I thought, maybe that was the intent. Then other times, I found myself feeling for him. But if I was supposed to feel sympathy for David because of his genetics, I didn’t get a big sense of sympathy for many of the black characters.

Petrus came in and out of favor, much the same way David did. But the other black main characters did not score such favor. Not the least of which was the young man of the trio that attacked David and Lucy.

I can’t help thinking this was done on purpose to make one understand that the state, or the culture of the past and present had turned the young man into a monster. If so, I think he failed in making that point clear.

What Coetzee did succeed in doing, too subtly as well, was that it appears nobody free of blame. That the culture has turned everyone, or at least all the males, into exploitative beasts. The only ones who seem to keep their hands relatively clean are the women. I can’t believe Melanie was actually vindictive, or that Lucy instigated crimes against her.

Perhaps, as Coetzee seems to want to make us think about, humans are not, and cannot be decent creatures easily. No (male) person is devoid of guilt in his story. Serious and continuing guilt.

In conclusion, I will add this: Coetzee’s Disgrace was by far the easiest read of any Nobel Prize for Literature winner in my trek so far! There is not obtuse language or flowery sentence structure or even overtly third-person omniscient POV that pokes at you to tell you want you should think or what the story is really about (I don’t mind this method, but apparently most do).

For the record, neither JM Coetzee nor anyone else has paid me for this post or any of my other post. That’s not to say I can’t be purchased, because I can. Also, the image above is mine, and of my copy of the book.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera

The next stop on my trip through every author who has won the Nobel Prize winner for Literature is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The book: Love in the Time of Cholera. Here’s my take…

Never thinking I would say this about Marquez after having read half of Love in the Time of Cholera, I stand corrected by my original thought: this is the driest book ever.

In my initial throngs, torture of the inhumane kind would best have described reading this text. It was akin to reading 400 pages of John Galt’s speech over and over and well…over. Round about the midway point however, something clicked. I still have not decided if the click was internal or on the page but it happened. Suddenly, I found myself enamored by his prose.

On its face, Love in the Time of Cholera is about love, an unending, pure love during the time when Cholera was still an issue in parts of the world that the rest of the world gave a shit about. If one could not pull this from the title, perhaps, thne, a brain enema might be suggested. However, this is not what it is about! Florentino’s love is infatuation and blinded by lust and self-loving and self-hatred. Fermina’s love for him is apparently not as strong as her love for her father, so she marries into money and power per her father’s request. She spends the next 50+ years pretending not to hate the Doctor husband she married. All the while, Florentino carries his infatuation to disturbing heights–buying a mirror her reflection drifted across–and screws every wife and whore that will have him.

Marquez seems to purposefully mention dark concepts whenever the true love affair is described. He likens deep infatuation to disease, calling its symptoms out as equivalent to that of Cholera. I can’t help but think Marquez did not intend this as a happy love story. Nor can I help but believe he has a dark view on love and aging. Himself an aging, I can understand it. Only 34 myself, I’ve never concerned myself with aging except my recent inability to maintain a flat stomach and my ever-receding hair line. Perhaps if I cared about such things, I would take notice that my testes hang lower than they used to, but if I were that type of man, I would simply comment to myself that my balls have gotten more impressive in view (I bring this disturbing point up since Marquez himself raises equally uncomfortable points about aging and one’s thoughts on aging and dying).

I find it funny (nay, disturbing) that many of the few who have read Love in the Time of Cholera think it’s a beautiful love story. Then again, perhaps that was Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s plan all along.

PS: The image is mine, of my own copy of the book. Nobody paid me for this review. Though I’m not objectionable to anyone paying FOR it.

Book Review: "Snow" by Orhan Pamuk

Recently finished yet another novel from a Nobel Prize in Literature winner. This time it was “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk. As my readers know, I don’t give synopses. For that, head elsewhere. But here are some thoughts.

First, this massive 426 page novel essentially took place over 3 days. That’s it. Three days. That is, if you don’t count that the narrator wrote the book some four years after the main character’s death and that there is some commentary that ties loose ends up from the narrator after the fact. By the way, this isn’t that big of a spoiler because the narrator tells you this midway through the book.

Second, Pamuk does for social and political commentary what Jose Saramago did, but he does it in the style of Haruki Murakami. His prose are easily readable by most standards and hold a surrealist slant that dips in  and out of consciousness. Not that I don’t enjoy a tough read. Tough reads make me feel like I’ve actually learned something and grown as a reader, as a writer, and as a human being. But there’s something to be said for readable prose.

Now to the topics Pamuk brings to the reader in “Snow.” There’s discussions of Eurocentric understandings of the world. The story takes place in Kars, Turkey and there are constant reference to what Europeans think of Turks, why they think what they think, and why they are wrong, but not for the reasons the average European would think.

The whole story revolves around the “Suicide girls” and cultural questions revolving around revolution, wearing of the hijab, and religion. Unlike where the average Westerner might think Pamuk to go, he goes everywhere else. He manages to paint a picture that does not denigrate Turks or Islam while at the same time not promoting it outright. All this is done while also not playing the “everything is relative and nothing is moral without relativist understanding.”

For the record, I have not missed the irony that a Westerner is telling you how to think about a book written by a Turk about the Western interpretation of Turkish life.

"Thirteen Reasons Why" and Suicide

Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, a YA novel that apparently is a huge hit around the world, is something to behold. Not just as a first novel, but as a prolific, captivating story.

***Fair warning: there may be spoilers below***

First, it touches on a subject few really want to discuss beyond the usual pep-rallies that hype up the “awareness” of suicide. In almost every culture around the world, depression (and all mental illness) is seen as a “get over it” disease. “If only you’d smile more, you wouldn’t be so depressed.” “If you stopped wearing black, maybe you’d have friends.” “Stop looking for attention and get over yourself.” “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

These are all comments I heard directed at me (and others).

Second, Hannah (one of the main characters…the one who commits suicide) makes it a point to acknowledge several things. For one, the councilor did nothing to stop her though he of all people should have known the signs. The reason for Mr. Porter’s misstep remains unclear, but given my professional background, I can say that many professionals in the field of mental illness and teens (or adults) hear different versions of “I’m gonna kill myself” so often, even they begin to go blind. It’s a field that one can rarely remain successful at for very long. It’s too draining.

If, on the other hand, Mr. Porter wasn’t really a professional, he still acted like every other school faculty member I’ve ever engaged. When I went to several different school faculty members about bullying I was told everything.

“Get over it.”
“Boys will be boys.”
“Everyone’s going to die. ‘You’re going to die’ isn’t a threat.”
“You can’t possibly believe they did that on purpose.”
“If you stopped dressing like you do, maybe you wouldn’t draw so much attention.”

These are all comments teachers and principals said to me when I approached them. And, yes, I received phone call death threats. I brought the answering machine tape in as proof. The administrator looked me square in the face and said, “Everyone’s going to die….this isn’t a threat.”

There remains an overarching culture of “teenagers are just melodramatic” and “teasing is a natural part of life”. That’s a main reason why so many, like Hannah, commit suicide. Which leads me to something else Hannah mentioned that I’ve never heard spoken by anyone except my own troubled thoughts when I was a teen.

These “isolated” incidents can get to a point where nothing in your life is sacred, nothing is safe, and psychologically, it hollows you out. You’re not safe at home or in your room. You’re not safe in school, at recess, at the bus stop, on the street, in the store, in the car, or anywhere. Crowds become something you avoid, as are places of isolation, places where you can be surprised, where there’s no bright lights. You stop using the bathroom since nobody can see you in there. You stop going into public because people can see you.

A friend of mine and I were chased on foot by three jocks in their car one night. Three blocks they followed us and screamed what they planned to do to us. We ran into a VFW where they were holding a fundraiser. We begged to let us use their phone. They said they didn’t want that kind of trouble there and kicked us out…where the three other students continued to follow us. Finally at home, we called the police. They took statements but nothing happened. Why? One of the other guy’s parents was a police officer.

Lastly, Hannah was seeking attention. But not in the way most mean when they utter those words. She sought help. You can’t just walk up to somebody and say “I want to kill myself.” And if you did, they’d simply say, “If that were true, then you’d have done it already…you’re just looking for attention.” The next morning, when questions were asked, they would say, “Yes, but I didn’t believe she’d actually do it.” Then pep-rallies would ensue and the cycle would continue…without that person.

You’re right! They are looking for attention. They came to you for help. They still don’t really want to kill themselves. There’s still a shred of humanity inside them they’re clinging to and they are looking to you for the reason to continue holding on. But since they have not yet found a safe haven, death seems the only relief.

Too many nights, as a teen, I spent trying to figure out how I’d do it. Friends, parents, teachers, peers, principals. I went to them all. The dark clothes and the anger didn’t come until after I had given up. As  someone I knew once said, “The only problem was, I was too depressed to lift the knife to my wrist.”

I can’t thank Jay Asher for bringing those horrible memories of my own past to light, but I can say Thank You for producing a book, and apparently a moment that will, I hope, change many. It would be my guess, however, that most schools will ban this book the next time a teen within their walls french kisses the barrel of a gun. Having read many of the negative comments about this book, I find it hard to believe Asher is winning this uphill battle.

Addendum: Jay Asher and I don’t know each other, have never spoken, and nobody and no organization or company paid me for this post.

Gathering Blue: A look at Lois Lowry’s 2nd book in the Giver series

I have to say I expected more from Lowry in this second book. I loved The Giver. And though Gathering Blue was not a bad book, and I’d recommend it to any young adult reader, I felt it lacked.

It started off strong and I thought Lowry was going to give the reader serious social commentary on the treatment of people with disabilities. There remained an undercurrent of this, but outside of the first few pages, it drifted into the background.

The ending was by far my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong. I’m the first to admit, I love sad endings, ambiguous endings, and any story where not every loose end is tied. I’m thinking here of The Chocolate War, The Giver, Nothing, and any number of young adult stories. But without giving away the ending, this one left me confused. Assuming names are based on 10 year increments, I expect Kira to be a relatively young woman, yet her grown-up decision involving her past seemed just too adult-like, even for her. She seemed relatively unmoved by the last thirty pages. As was I. It was as if Lowry had no idea how to end Gathering Blue and just went with the first idea that popped into her head.

But I’m still going to read her last two books in the series. Perhaps it’s my more recent book choices which include Morrison, Saramago, Atwood, and now Updike that has upped my threshold for great literature. This all said, Lowry is still one of my favorite young adult writers. And for such a short read, I would not pass up another read sometime in the future.

Addendum: Rereading this post I noticed how harsh I was on Lowry. Perhaps its the Monday blues. Gathering Blue reads well, reads easy, doesn’t talk down to the reader, and, frankly, expects more from her reader than the average author. I blame Lowry herself for raising the bar so high for my expectations ^_^.

Soon I hope to finish Updike’s The Coup. This is one of Updike’s least known novels, and certainly one of his most experimental. Apparently, I like experimental. Unlike most, I’m digging this novel so far.

"Beloved" by Toni Morrison: Lessons I Learned

Just finished Beloved by Toni Morrison. Having read it, I learned three important lessons.

First, as I mentioned in a previous post, I learned from Morrison that accents do not have to be written in a degrading format. Throughout history, when journalists or political leaders wished to make opposition sound stupid, illiterate, and/or unreliable, they wrote quotations verbatim. If it was a thick Boston accent, quotations would exclude end of word “r’s” and add them where they otherwise wouldn’t go. Urban speakers lose “g” at the end of every -ing word.

Morrison’s main character is the epitome of underprivileged and illiterate: a black “freed” slave woman in the 1860’s. But Morrison does not resort to this degradation. She allows the disrespect from whites in the U.S. speak for itself. But, Morrison also does not disregard the fact that her characters have strong Southern and Southern Black accents of the time period. Instead, she uses a technique of word choice and grammar of the characters’ dialog to bring forth one’s accent. While reading her dialog, the reader quickly begins to read the passages with the accents.

Morrison gives a double whammy. She does not insult the characters. But she also does not insult the reader.

Second thing I learned is that Nobel Prize for Literature winners are AWESOME.

I’ve now knowingly read two: José Saramago and Toni Morrison.

Not only do I gain insight to the craft of fiction writing not attainable from typical fiction authors, but I feel genuinely satisfied after reading their work. It’s as if I’ve just finished drinking a cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer afternoon. It physically feels this way. Satisfaction fills my innards.

Thirdly, Nobel Prize for Literature winners are TOUGH TO READ.

I say this from someone who loves reading literary works and classic texts. José Saramago is one of my favorite fiction writers of all time. But his style of writing can be a bit, how shall I say, uninviting. His sentences go on for paragraphs. His paragraphs go on for pages. He never uses quotation marks. So you never know who’s speaking (he does this on purpose so he can screw with you). And he uses periods so infrequently you’d think he had to pay for each one he typed.

Toni Morrison’s style in Beloved slowed me down. It took me two weeks to read it. The dialog was not second-nature to me, as it probably shouldn’t be. Above all this, I couldn’t tell if 124 was actually haunted, if it was all in Sethe’s mind, or if it was all in my mind. Again, I’m sure this was done on purpose. I struggled to even know which part of the timeline I was engaged in. Perhaps this too was done on purpose to show “once a slave always a slave” irrespective of “freedom” status. Or perhaps, I’m just not a versed enough reader to wrap my head around it.

Next on my agenda is Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. I was going to read Tepper. But I need something a little less engaging. Also, I’m learning how to write grants, so I’m reading lots of dry non-fiction grant writing mumbo jumbo.

Review of "Black Sheep: Letting Go of the Past" by Kia Zi Shiru

Remember two weeks ago I featured a burgeoning author on my blog? Kia Zi Shiru? In that feature, we discussed her writing and also talked about the release of Book Two in the Black Sheep series: Black Sheep: Loving in the Present. Because I tend to read more than one thing at a time, and am quite a slow reader, I finally finished Part One of that series: Black Sheep: Letting Go of the Past. Here is a review.

Anyone who knows my reviews knows that I don’t give summaries. Summaries are dull. When I read a review, I don’t care about plot. If I wanted that, I’d find the Spark’s Notes on the piece or go to Wikipedia. I want to know if I should read it and what I should watch for. Therefore, that’s what you get here. Check out Shiru’s Amazon.com page for summaries of each book and reviews that dig a little deeper.

As mentioned in a previous post, Black Sheep is a Young Adult novella series with an LGBT slant. But don’t let the LGBT slant scare you off. Vic, Jack, Anne, and the lot of characters draw you into the confusing world of all our teenage years regardless of one’s own orientation.

To be fair, however, this YA read might not be for all young readers. The language can get a little coarse for a YA read (as these are teenagers living in the real world) and adult themes like sexuality, self-destruction, and LIFE  play out. Then again, books that don’t skirt the line between YA and inappropriate don’t belong in the genre in the beginning. Parts some parents will find offensive are true to the core. Only parents trying to protect their children from life will find offense.

The dark realities of teen life come out in buckets. Shiru lets us into the Vic’s life slowly. But with each new sliver of information comes a torrent of pain. In a good way, if one can call it such. I had zero problem falling hard for these characters. I even had to put it down briefly on the bus to keep from tearing up at one point. In the comfort of my own apartment, crying is OK. Public transit is another story.

I look forward to reading Book Two. I can only assume her writing voice has sharpened since finishing Letting Go of the Past. After reading her first novel, I’m comfortable saying with authority that Shiru will be a name to watch for in the coming years.

Disclosure: Kia Zi Shiru and I are acquaintances as fellow Google+’ers and writers. She neither paid me for this nor gave me anything except a thank you for this review. However, I did win a contest several weeks ago…of which many participated…and I won an ebook copy of this book. 

Black Sheep: Book Release and ebook discount!

Burgeoning author, Kia Zi Shiru, just released her second dark YA novel in a series that follows the young Vic on his trek to find love while finding himself. Along with this Book Release comes a 66% discount on Book One!!!

Having chatted with Shiru several times, I’m honored to feature her newest novel, “Black Sheep: Loving in the Present“. I had a chance to ask Shiru a few questions about her book, her previous books, and even upcoming books!

What possessed you to write YA LGBT stories? 

I like to read them, and I often find it easier to identify with them. Don’t ask how that works, it does. Black Sheep hasn’t been my first try at gay characters but it is the first one the world got to see. But the lack of LGBT books in the library or to be found online was what made me push through with writing Black Sheep until the end.

Is this your first attempt at novel length writing?

Shiru: No, I’ve got a scifi story that reaches over 40k that I worked on for most of my teenage years. But since it’s written in Dutch I abandoned it when I realised there was no big market for them. English is a bigger market so that is why Black Sheep has been totally written in English.

Tell me a bit about your short story collection that’s also on Amazon?

Shiru: Magical Roads, yes. It’s a collection of stories about teens in a magical world. They are both realistic and magical at the same time. The stories deal with things like growing up, traditions and making your own choices. I wrote these stories for my classes at university and thought it was a good idea to share them since a lot of people seem to love them.

I know you’re rather busy with school, but do you have any plans for other novels or short story collections in the near future?

Shiru: Honestly? I’ve got a full year coming up. Not only am I doing my last year of my bachelor I’m also doing my masters next year. But that doesn’t stop me. The third book in the Black Sheep trilogy comes out in April and then the collection in May. After that I’ve got 2 series I’ll be starting during the rest of the year. Though they are for a slightly higher age range than the Black Sheep Trilogy.

Given the natural gravitation toward sexuality in your book, how do you think your books fit into the YA category? 

Shiru: I don’t see sexuality being a problem to being included in the YA category. There are more and more books published for LGBT teens. The thing is that sexuality doesn’t have a lot to do with actual sex. Black Sheep Trilogy deals with some shocking subjects but in relation to sex it doesn’t go any further than a bit of groping over each other’s clothes and some kissing. It wasn’t on purpose that I chose to do this, it seemed wrong to actually let them go further than that with all the body issues the main character deals with. Of all the books I think the first one is the most steamy one.

I don’t think there is a problem of putting Black Sheep in the YA category, since that category is full of teen mum books anyway. In comparison to that, Black Sheep is very clean.

Of course, what you all REALLY want is the DISCOUNT!!!!
EBOOK DISCOUNT: As an added bonus, “Black Sheep: Letting go of the Past” (Part One in the series) is will be a mere $0.99 starting today and running through February 25!!!

So, what is “Black Sheep: Loving in the Present?” Here’s it is in Shiru’s words:

Vic has taken a turn for the worse and is back in the psychiatric hospital. Jack gets kicked out of his house when his parents find out that he is gay. The reason Adam is not getting better is revealed. And that is just the beginning.

Everybody is lost and trying to not let it spiral out of control. Jack moves in with Vic’s family, making it his temporary home until he can move in with his brother and sister. Vic’s health doesn’t improve until he hears about Adam, at which point he put his mind to getting better. Adam on the other hand is fighting his own feelings about Vic’s illness and questions their friendship.

When Vic and Jack visit Adam and Tom for Tom’s birthday, it seems like a great way to let loose, but Vic is hiding more secrets than anyone knew and when they are exposed the situation explodes. Vic storms off in anger and seeks solace in dangerous places and, unknowingly, putting not just himself, but Jack too at risk.

EXCERPT: Get hooked now with a short teaser here

And who is this mysterious author???

Kia Zi Shiru is a Dutch girl studying English and Creative Writing in the UK. Amongst her interests she finds writing, reading, doing research and learning different languages (including but not limited to: English, Dutch, French, German, HTML, Java, PHP and Assembly). Her writing and reading habits include books with Young Adults, gay themes, strong female or minority characters and fantasy elements (more often then not all at the same time).

Too lazy to hunt her books down? Here are all the links!
Purchase Black Sheep: Loving in the Present from the following:
In the U.S.: Amazon.com
In the U.K.: Amazon.co.uk
Anywhere: Smashwords or Kobo

As one might suspect, you can purchase Part One or Part Two in eBook and/or paperback forms. Shiru also has a short story collection available from the same sites mentioned above. 

Best of luck to Shiru! From my reading of Book One, this is only the beginning of a long and great novel writing career. If you’ve read this far, I strongly encourage you to support this new Indie author. 

Disclosure: Kia Zi Shiru and I are acquaintances on Google+ and fellow writers (though she’s published, I’m not). I received no compensation for this post (unless you count the ‘thank you’).

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