TOP REC & REVIEW: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Young Adult LGBT Romance

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♦BLURB♦

Fangirl meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this funny and poignant coming-of-age novel from New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren about two boys who fall in love in a writing class—one from a progressive family and the other from a conservative religious community.

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

 

♦6-STAR REVIEW♦

With an honest and unafraid portrayal of the obstacles a relationship can face when homosexuality and religion are the main components, Autoboyography excelled at capturing an inspiring coming-of-age love story. Top-notch writing and storytelling from this duo further allowed for this story and its characters to feel completely relatable, to open that door to show that anyone from any spectrum can find a piece of themselves in Tanner or Sebastian.

Its lack of bias or agenda and instead its true focus on these characters as real teens, real young men struggling with the pressures of sexuality, beliefs, societal pressures, and familial belonging, was a truly powerful element. In reading this story, it’s incredibly obvious that Christina Lauren took the time to accurately research and portray both a faith and sexual orientation that many readers will have no understanding of. With Tanner’s non-LDS status, his lack of knowledge and stereotypical beliefs of the Mormon faith will connect with many readers, but his journey to researching and understanding it on his own and through Sebastian was both very educational and key in understanding the main conflict of a relationship between the two.

Autoboyography read like a biopic of first-love with teenage awkwardness, exploration of self, and the pressures of society or religion to be like everyone else. Tanner felt far older than his age, confirming that hiding oneself in a crucial time of growth in ones’ life can force a maturity that wouldn’t possibly be there otherwise. But oh the big heart he had to opening himself up to the very real chance his feelings wouldn’t be returned was starkly vivid on the page. The supporting players were truly figures to emulate, all fully accepting and caring and the kind of cast that each teen in this world truly need surrounding them.

Christina Lauren tackled two sensitive subjects with grace and heart and, in their unique way of telling the story, made it very easy to instantly fall into it. Autoboyography told the tale of a messy, but brutally beautiful love story, and the ride as a reader in experiencing it was wonderfully exhilarating. This is storytelling at its best, at its most unputdownable, top-of-its-game best. Every parent, every teen, every adult needs to experience the sheer beauty behind the power of love and how strength comes from opening your heart rather than closing it off.

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The #1 international bestselling coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. They are published in over 30 languages, have received multiple starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal, won both the Seal of Excellence and Book of the Year from RT Magazine, and have been featured in publications such as ForbesThe Washington PostTimeEntertainment WeeklyO Magazine and more. Their third YA novel, Autoboyography will be released in September, followed by a contemporary romance, Roomies in December.

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NEW RELEASE & REVIEW: Second Chances Anthology

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Do you believe in second chances?

Romance Writers of America brings together seventeen of today’s hottest authors in an anthology of never-before-published tales that reveal true love always deserves a happy ending.

Follow New York Times best-selling authors J. Kenner and Christina Lauren back to reader-favorite worlds.

New York Times bestseller Alyssa Day sprinkles djinn magic in her humorous paranormal romance, while Rachel Hauck brings the enchantment of the holidays in her New Year’s Eve contemporary love story.

And Liliana Hart delivers thrills and adventure in her characters’ search for the impossible.

With characters who find love through tough situations, in an elegant 1800s ballroom, with an old friend who shows up when least expected, at a tender age when cliques and homework get in the way of relationships, or after a random encounter in an unlikely setting, Second Chances delivers romance to strike every reader’s fancy.

Plus tales from:
Marilyn Brant
Kerri Carpenter
CiCi Coughlin
Cassandra Dean
Tina Ferraro
Renee Luke
Ariella Moon
Brandi Willis Schreiber
Lizzie Shane
Sharon Sobel
Damon Suede
Tara Wyatt

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

Lovers of second-chance romances will fall in love with Second Chances. There is a story for everyone, from Contemporary to Young Adult to Paranormal to Historical to Romantic Suspense and anywhere in between. Some familiar faces from Christina Lauren’s Wild Seasons series and J. Kenner’s Stark world pop up, and from there, for me, there’s a whole host of authors for the sampling that I’ve never had the chance to read before which is always the best part of an anthology. And RWA did an amazing job at cultivating a fluent narrative with this many authors whose stories all fit together so seamlessly, and into a full-sized novel.

Aside from genre, I loved that each story had its own second-chance elements that tweaked the heart in the best way. That it’s-been-years-but-I’m-still-hot-for-you twinge that each author put their unique spin on, creating wonderful stomach dips and smiles. The greatest part of each one, of course, was experiencing all of these couples overcoming whatever tore them apart (or kept them from trying) in the first place. Each story had something great to offer, to showcase a brilliant love story that was years in the making, and even though we joined them in their stories now, it never felt like we had no know them then to love them now.

With varying heat from story to story, any reader can find their level of romance in more than a handful of these stories, but everyone will enjoy the main subject they each share: love. The Second Chances Anthology is well worth the read and I know everyone who reads it will find at least one new-to-me author they’ll continue to follow past this collection. It has heart and love for the basis of each story, and you can’t go wrong with that.

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NEW & REVIEW: Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken

Players Game Book One

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New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken kicks off a brand-new series in which romance is a game and love is a touchdown.

Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she’ll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done…

No fraternizing with the players.

Problem one is Miller Quinton: Emerson’s first love, first sex, and the guy who still ignites her daydreams and R-rated fantasies. Thrown back together, Miller and Emerson feel the undeniable pull of passion again, even if the conflict that tore them apart seems insurmountable. Then there’s way-too-sexy Grant Sanchez. He has a serious reputation with the ladies, and when it comes to winning someone he wants, he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way.

Now Emerson is breaking every rule in the manual. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s part of a wicked little game—one that could steal both her dream and her heart.

 

♦4-STAR REVIEW♦

Lighthearted and with an angst brought forth by a mild love triangle, Fraternize was unexpectedly fun and unique in the direction it took. Without relying on the usual tools for a love triangle situation, RVD paved her own way in telling the story of a curvy cheerleader, her just-returned first love, and the new footballer. The relationships in the story were unlike anything that was expected, and happily surprised me with the lack of contention and hatred that is always abundant when two men want the same woman.

Fraternize employed two very different men who each played to a different part of Emerson, pulling on the strings of the reader and making it incredibly difficult to choose between them. The pull to each of them was strong, but unique, and yet Emerson never fell through the cracks, instead retaining the center focus of the story–her past, her career, the struggles involved with it, and her future. It became about who could enhance her going forward, and I fully enjoyed watching her find that answer. Can’t say that I was correct on guessing who she ultimately chose, and I admittedly had a moment of not being okay with it, but in seeing where he’s going to go, I’m looking forward to the next story in the series. Anyone who enjoys light and fun contemporary romances with some heat will love this story.

**I don’t recommend reading the blurb for the second book until after finishing Fraternize because it does give away who does not get the girl**

 

♦SERIES♦

Players Game Book Two

Release Date: January 9, 2018

PreOrder: Kindle | Paperback

 

♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦

rachelborder

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

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