Title: Crystal’s House of Queers Author: Brooke Skipstone Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary, LGBTQ+ Release Date: 24 May 2021
Three senior girls in rural Alaska escape their abusive pasts by raising their dyke flag for themselves and their community.
Crystal Rose woke up at three in the morning today, drenched in sweat and breathless after another sex dream with Haley Carson. Later at school in the tiny town of Clear, Alaska, Crystal saves Haley from an assault by her abusive boyfriend.
The two girls renew a love started years ago that had to stay hidden until now. But with Crystal’s grandparents in the hospital with Covid and the possibility of her drug addict parents returning from a 14-year absence, Crystal needs Haley as much as she needs Crystal.
They connect with Payton Reed, a gun-toting artist who helps them feel proud to be gay and willing to stand up to anyone. Together they struggle to make Crystal’s house safe for those who are hated for their love.
There is so much here to unpack. L.A. Cotton has covered some important topics in this book.
Jason Ford’s nightmare has come true. Lewis Thatcher’s spawn has come to Rixon High, and he wants to be Jase’s next QB1. Can Coach Ford get his head straight to let Kaiden have a chance, or will bad blood spoil Kaiden’s only opportunity to get out of Rixon?
But the dynamic between Jason and Kaiden isn’t the only thing going on here. L.A. Cotton also introduces a complicated heroine in Lily Ford. A delicate and traumatized girl on the edge of womanhood or a nervous breakdown–whichever comes first. Lily has friends and family to support her, but she is wounded and healing but not thriving, and more importantly, not living until Kaiden Thatcher sets her aflame.
Dare Frost is just the sort of book boyfriend I needed this week.
When Viola Kent says she likes being under the radar, she means it. She doesn’t want to be part of the crowd, and in the spotlight, she means it. And when she says she doesn’t need any more friends, she means it. So color her furious when she finds her father is trying to manipulate the school playboy and sports star to be her new best friend. Just because her dad is his coach doesn’t mean that Dare owes him the favor of feeling bad for Viola with him.
Fear Viola once she discovers her dad’s duplicity. Because now the manipulated becomes the manipulator, and her ideas include using Dare to show her dad his idea was terrible, by pretending Dare is her new boyfriend.
Oh, but Dare is an incredible boyfriend, and Viola is so lucky. She just hit the lottery. He is one in a million. I personally would trade all the other men I read about this week for Dare in a second and he was one of seven. #LetsKeepDare
Haters will hate The Boy on the Bridge hard, but too bad because it’s Sam Mariano at her finest.
Not for the weak, Sam Mariano’s newest book has a hero that is broken and twisted. Hunter Maxwell’s character has an ambiguous moral compass but maintains the ability to be remorseful of his most heinous and tragic actions. It doesn’t necessarily stop him from doing heinous or tragic things.
Riley Bishop is a glutton for punishment. She knows that she did something that Hunter can’t forgive, but she still tries to make him forget it until she has something she can’t forgive. Her greatest sin was to fall in love with him and try to protect him. His is his inability to stop manipulating her and the people around him—a far larger problem.
I have read that you have received a good deal of negative feedback because you named a female main character after yourself. I think it’s brilliant, and haters gonna hate. What was your thinking there? Why did you want to name her after you? And how much of Janie, the character, is you? Ooh, those are loaded questions. This is going to be a lengthy response! To properly explain, I have to give a lot of background. I originally drafted this story on Wattpad a few years ago. I had no idea it would become so successful—it had over 24 million reads before I pulled the incomplete draft. So I was not prepared for the attacks that came from the instant Team Kylie readers. They didn’t care about the fact that Jane, Janie’s G&M form, was named after me because I was trying to heal myself. When I decided to write G&M, I was grieving my best friend’s death, my marriage was falling apart, and I was suffering from severe depression, anxiety, PTSD from sexual abuse and other traumatic stuff, and learning to cope with a Bipolar Disorder diagnosis. All they cared about was “this is Kylie’s story… get over yourself.” They didn’t care about anything I was actually doing—only that they wanted Kylie and Logan, and it was wrong of me to shove myself down their throats. Or to give myself the hottest guy. Lol.
Anyway, it was my late friend, Tifani, who told me on the day we found out she wasn’t going to survive that I needed to share my story. After writing the first chapter as a sort of memoir/horror story, I chickened out. Then I saw Jane in my mind. She was me, but also not. I gave her part of my soul, my name(Janie is a diminutive of Jane), and I gave her every bit of sorrow, fear, pain, but also happiness, my hopes, and my heart. I still almost changed her name, but it felt wrong to ask another to suffer what she would. Together, we pulled each other through the journeys we were on. She gave me strength and I made her fight harder to show me I could survive. When it came time to writing WAotBBW, she was meant to be there for reasons readers will find out. And on her first appearance in the book, I wrote Janie instead of Jane. I hit backspace, but she appeared in my mind, shaking her head at me. Her boys did the same, and I realized she was telling me to be braver, be greater. To truly not hide anymore and embrace myself. After all, the story I was telling with WAotBBW is my way of speaking to my daughter and the continued path of healing I was undertaking for myself. So even with the insults, the threats, and plagiarism I held strong. I couldn’t turn my back on my girl. So Janie is my acceptance that I’m a very flawed girl. I’m one that can be hated and admired. I can be broken and healed. I can be brave and I am always loved. Never forgotten.
For people who aren’t familiar with your book, what genre is Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Lol it’s all over the place. I mainly consider it A Coming of Age Fairy Tale Adaptation. But it has just about everything besides SciFi.
WAoTBBW is a spin-off from your previous series, Gods & Monsters. Could you explain where the characters of Kylie Hood and Logan Grimm come from and who they are? Ooh, you have to keep reading to find out. The big reveal comes in book 3 of the Big Bad Wolf Trilogy. It’s a huge twist when you read all of my books.
I have not read Gods & Monsters yet, but could you tell me what cross-over characters appear in WAoTBBW, and why should we know them? Gosh, there are too many to name. I’ll say every “soul” WAotBBW comes from G&M. Readers love finding out as they read. Some know right away who is who and others are stumped, but I do clarify in WAotBBW.
I am so pleased to have Fir’s story! What a story he has to tell!
Robin Kirk’s second book in The Bond Series, The Hive Queen, picks up with the Living Wood’s escape from Bounty. Fir and his nineteen brothers are heading east to the Master’s land. They’ve heard from the wildmen that he has a cure for the virus and that it’s a place for males–where men aren’t in the service of mothers.
Fir is against unbeatable odds from the start. He is full of self-doubt while trying to lead, and it tears him apart when anything goes sideways. And everything is going sideways. I liked that Robin Kirk builds Fir with such vivid internal struggle. It makes you understand his motivations and his actions better for it. It also helps that she highlights some of the Living Wood so you can see that his brothers pull him in all directions and muddle the pot often when he’s trying to do the right thing.
I love these Dystopian/Sci-fi stories where I’m in a world where women control EVERYTHING. This sounds like it would be all good or super bad.
The Bond by Robin Kirk isn’t questionable at all; it’s all good.
Dinitra 584 KxA is a student struggling to pass her courses at the Collegium. It’s graduation day, and she has a dismal compendium with one weak merit. Truth be told, she spends most of the time she should be working on her studies drawing or painting. As she has to make and mix her paints–that takes up a lot of time. That’s how she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, with two Legion’s Commanders questioning her for her artwork.
Oh, this book is sheer brilliance and so twisty-turny. I had no idea where we were going. Robin Kirk lead me around by the proverbial ear, and I read like an addict because the story is pure joy. Well, not joy like it makes you happy because much of it makes your heart a little sore but joy in that it’s a damn good book.
If you could, please take a minute to introduce yourself to readers. I’m Janie Marie. I live near Austin, Texas, with my husband and our three children—plus four adopted fur babies. I’m the only girl of six children. My parents each had two sons before marrying and having me then my little brother was a surprise. I remind him all the time I was supposed to be the last. Lol. I’m totally winging this author thing, but I’m happy to constantly grow as I share my life and art.
And it will in no way affect the way I think about you as a person, but what are your thoughts on coffee? Keep in mind coffee drinkers are the best people in the world. Haha, I don’t like it. I love the smell and have had friends give me various types, and I just don’t like it. My morning drink is always Dr Pepper.