Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Missing by Drake Braxton

Title: Missing
Author: Drake Braxton
Rating: 5/5 Hearts 


While attending a 20th high school reunion in Alabama, Blain Harrington loses the love of his life in the blink of an eye. He soon realizes that everything is not always as it seems as he sets out on a journey for answers.

What do you do when the world you thought you knew crumbles around you? How do you piece it back together?


Holy Crap! What a debut novel! It knocked my socks off. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, the author threw a MAJOR curve ball. This book took me places that I really wasn't ready to go. It showed me demons that I thought I had faced and put long behind me. 

Blaine Harrington attends his high school reunion in small town Alabama, only to have his Brazilian born husband, Manny, go missing. Throughout this absolute nightmare, Blaine turns to alcohol to numb himself and deal with his loss. The grief on the pages was so very very real, as is the guilt that Blaine is dealing with for having betrayed his husband years earlier. When Manny turns up dead, your heart breaks for him. 

Mr. Braxton's characters definitely come to life, and he pulls you into the world that he's crafted for them. You have a deep amount of sympathy for Blaine, and yet you also sympathize with everything that he is putting his friends through in his grief process. His best friend Michael is his rock, unwavering in his support of Blaine, but not willing to give Blaine a free pass either. Grayson, who is battling his own demons, is Blaine's enabler as he struggles to deal with his issues. 

I want to take a time-out here to praise Drake Braxton for "getting it right" Many stories have an alcoholic character. Many have sympathetic ones. But I think, rarely does someone write it so poignantly. It's a demon that doesn't go away overnight, and it often comes back to stay a few times before its kicked for good. It lurks in the background, waiting for those weak moments to occur so it can pounce. As a recovering alcoholic myself, I both loved and cringed at its depiction. 

I also loved the evolution of the friendship between Grayson and Blaine, and the slight side-story of Michael's romance (cough cough, this would make a great story.. just saying) I would love to see more of Grayson and Blain, as well as Michael. This story was complex and so very different from what most people think of as a m/m story. 

So if you like Romantic Thrillers, you should check this book out. 

You can find it on his publishers website (linked above, just click on Seventh Window Publications) 

You can also find it on Amazon: here

If you are interested in following Drake Braxton, You can locate him on twitter @drakebraxton
or on his blog, linked above. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

GRL Albuquerque 2012

Albuquerque Scenery photo by author Michael Murphy

If you are reading this blog you probably have either heard of or attended the GRL (Gay Romantic Literature) retreat. It was very neat to meet so many wonderful people, and really the people WERE wonderful. There are always a few of course that you get a less than stellar opinion of, but for the most part that was not the case. I came home with many more books than I had intended, but having a signed book in hand is always very exciting.

Almost all of the authors were just as excited to meet each other and readers as we were to meet them. Everyone, for the most part, was incredibly sweet. I will now expose to everyone just how dorky I am.  I had some seriously major fangirl moments. Like, tongue tied, didn't know what to say, screaming inside fangirl moments. First one was Tj Klune, who is seriously one of the most adorable men I've ever met. Yeah, it took me awhile to get up the nerve to talk to him. 

Scotty Cade and Tj Klune photo by author Michael Murphy
Then there was the super amazing Christopher Koehler, who is as snarky and wonderful in person as he is in online. He actually came up to me, and relieved me of my fangirl nerves. :D

Christopher Koehler during his reading , photo by author Michael Murphy

I met so many others as well that were simply amazing, and far too many to list them all.. but people like J.p. Barnaby, Michael Murphy (a.k.a. Robbie Michaels for his y/a series), Mercy Celeste Deanna Wadsworth, Ellee Hill, Erika Pike, Embry Carlysle, NJ Nielsen, Kendall McKenna, Karenna Colcroft, Shae Conner  among many many many others. This isn't even mentioning other readers.. goodness there were sooo many people there that it was VERY overwhelming. 

And Albuquerque is BEAUTIFUL. I absolutely LOVED it. Seriously, I'm allergic to everything in my state, and it was a novel experience to be able to breathe.. Not to mention the amazing scenery. I really loved the amazing culture, art, and history of the city. I wish I would have had more time to explore. It definitely warrants a return trip someday. 

While in Old Town, my roomie, Elee Hill, stumbled upon the most amazing gallery. Once there we met the handsome Daniel Ramirez and equally gorgeous partner, Jerome. Together they own Studio 13, where Daniel creates the most amazing art, which has won many awards, including what will be " The World's Longest Native American Painting" which showcases mothers and daughters. I can't even tell you how wonderful these men were, and how cool it was to meet them. They thought the reason we were in town was equally cool, as they are a gay and native american. All in all is was an AMAZING experience. :) 

Next year its being held in Atlanta, Georgia, and I'm definitely hoping to be able to go and see old and new friends. I was surprised that my social anxiety didn't rear its ugly head too badly. No panic attacks or freak outs, which is pretty awesome. You might not know it but a year ago, I barely left my house without major major anxiety. Life gets so much better people.

The concept of GRL is unique in that everyone is so open and welcoming that it's a lot like coming home. Meeting online friends was just superb, because even though some people didn't look how maybe they did in my minds eye, their inner selves were just fabulous. I feel like I've made some life-long friendships, and I will always always be grateful for that.

Here is to GRL Atlanta 2013!!

A very HEARTFELT thank you goes, out to Michael Murphy, who let me steal... um share his photos. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October Randomness.

So, if you are one of the um.. 5 people subscribed to this blog, you may be wondering if I dropped off the face of the earth. The answer to this is NO. I realize that I posted a lot of reviews in September, and none so far in October. Don't worry I have a couple in the works. 

What has been taking most of my time and energy is the fact that I am a single mom, (yeah yeah cry me a river, I'm sure you are thinking) and I have 5 kids, aged 10 and under. Okay so two of the kids are my sisters, but I'm raising them. Not to mention that Day after Tomorrow, I leave to go to Albequerque for the GRL Retreat (Gay Romantic Literature), so don't be surprised to see some photos of some of my favorite authors make a few appearances.. and maybe I can pin one or two of them down for an interview. 

October is an exciting month. I have 2 reviews coming, One is a Non-fiction book, by Zane Michaels about the rise and fall of his gay porn career. I have a lot of love for Zane, so despite it not being what I usually review, I'll be making an exception.. The second review is of a book called Missing by Drake Braxton. Those reviews will likely be posted after I return from Albuquerque.