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All reviews and opinions shared on The Faerie Review are mine alone. I review books of my own accord. All books reviewed on this blog are e...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

And You Can Love Me



And You Can Love Me is a story for everyone who loves someone with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). It is the fictional story of Ethan, a nonverbal autistic child, based on the author's observations and experiences with her grandson. The bounce of a ball is not only a metaphor, but also how the author imagines that the child is releasing his innermost physical and emotional challenges. It is a love story that can be recognized by parents, caregivers and teachers; a story that embraces Ethan, a nonverbal child, who may never/or not yet be able to write his own story, yet he lives it every day and tells it by his actions and by bouncing a ball -- any ball, any size, any color.

And You Can Love Me is also a picture book that a child with ASD may, in some way, recognize within himself/herself. It doesn't try to explain, define or even educate; it is merely Ethan's story - the story of one particular nonverbal autistic child; one of the many stories that will add to the diversity of ASD stories.

Rating: 5 out of 5 fairies

Review: I loved this book. The font chosen is reminiscent of a child's writing, and the illustrations match up perfectly with the story. From the start, it makes clear that everyone with ASD is different, and this is only one child's story. The story focuses on the positives, and what Ethan likes. A great book, that will give children with ASD someone to connect to. I highly recommend.

ACCLAIM FOR AND YOU CAN LOVE ME
"As a mother and grandmother, this story speaks to me about the power of unconditional love we bring to any situation. This book is an excellent resource for adults who have a child or grandchild with autism. It acknowledges the different ways a loved one with autism may communicate and reminds me that we love completely. As a former special education teacher, I am able to keep sharing with people, through this story, about the wonderful diversity that we see in the world. Everyone has gifts."
--Deb Holtz is a former special education teacher, a current end-of-life doula and a mother and grandmother.

"In And You Can Love Me, Sherry Quan Lee gives us the world of Ethan, a little boy with autism. Although Ethan is mute, his daily routine of bouncing a ball and expressing his needs, as well as his interior life, are revealed through simple sketches and lovely lines, like Today I am another year of being me. A welcome and wonderful addition to the as-yet-tiny body of work about children with autism, And You Can Love Me is a beautiful, profoundly moving book."
--Alison McGhee, New York Times bestselling author of many books for children and adults.

From Loving Healing Press www.LHPress.com

Available to buy from...

And You Can Love Me: A Story for Everyone Who Loves Someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by Sherry Quan Lee
More books by the author

About the Author
Sherry Quan Lee, MFA, University of Minnesota, is the author of Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, Love Imagined: a mixed race memoir (a Minnesota Book Award Finalist); and, editor of How Dare We! Write: a multicultural creative writing discourse. Teagan Trif Merrifield attended Minneapolis Media Arts Institute for computer modeling. Her passion is bringing what's inside of the mind to life. And You Can Love Me is her first venture into picture book illustration. Kyra Gaylor studied education at Southwest Minnesota State University. Most of her teaching experience has been at the kindergarten and preschool levels. She loves to create. She loves to collect and repurpose vintage treasures.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Blitz: Waking Up the Sun


Title: Bumper to Bumper
Author: Gretchen Evans
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: July 15, 2019
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 19300
Genre: Contemporary, age gap, contemporary, dirty talk, gay, hookup app

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Synopsis


Gabe is bored with hookup culture. He’s in his thirties and wants something more stable. But sitting in traffic is even more boring. He expects more of the same tired, headless torsos when he swipes open Cruised, the most popular hookup app for men, during his morning commute. Instead, he meets Mark.

Mark is handsome, funny, and interested in conversation. He’s also interested in meeting Gabe in coffee shop bathrooms for quickies on the way to work. Mark doesn’t rush out of the room after sex either. He’s tender and sweet, and way more than Gabe had hoped for. The sex is hot, but the connection between Gabe and Mark is something deeper.

Gabe’s feelings grow each time he and Mark text, but seeing an attractive woman driving Mark’s car stops Gabe cold. He doesn’t want to hookup with a cheater. He doesn’t want to stop seeing Mark either. But could it all be a misunderstanding?

Gabe knows nothing about Mark’s life or how to negotiate a hookup into something more. Does Mark want something more, or is he already taken?

Excerpt


Bumper to Bumper
Gretchen Evans © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Gabe’s car lurched as he stomped on the brake. His bumper stopped inches from the expensive-looking sedan in front of him. He was going to be late. Again. He groaned and let his forehead rest on the steering wheel.

The traffic on I-40 was terrible. Every day it seemed to get worse. It was also unpredictable. Some days, his twelve-mile commute to the office took fifteen minutes. Other days, it took forty-five. It was impossible to tell which it would be before hitting the on-ramp.

At least he wasn’t the only one suffering like this. He spent so much time sitting in traffic during morning rush hour that he recognized a lot of the cars around him. It was a strange camaraderie. There was the middle-aged lady in the tiny hatchback whose hair color changed every week. The old hippy in a political-bumper-sticker-covered hybrid always rode in the left lane, even when traffic cleared up. The white luxury SUV driven by the angry twentysomething blonde only showed up some days, but she had passed him on the shoulder first thing this morning. He did his best to ignore the giant red truck with gun and Confederate flag stickers that always cut in front of him.

He moved ahead a few feet but stopped almost immediately. The car behind him swerved onto the shoulder to avoid rear-ending him. If someone hit him, he’d at least have a good excuse to give to his boss. But there was no way his twenty-year-old, hand-me-down car would survive.

Gabe gave up dreams of getting into a minor fender bender and inched ahead again. There must have already been an accident up ahead. Traffic was always slow, but it wasn’t usually this bad.

Sure enough, a fire truck and police car zoomed past on the shoulder. Great.

He picked up his phone to text his work wife he’d be late. He’d done that a lot lately, so she was a pro at covering for him. Maggie was great to have around but definitely the only type of wife he was ever going to have. She dodged traffic by taking backroads to the office, so Gabe didn’t feel too bad getting her to cover his ass. Her idyllic suburban lifestyle could support his terrible commute.

Maybe Miss Impatient in the SUV was the cause of whatever had them all trapped here. Gabe was annoyed enough to smile at that uncharitable thought.

Text sent, and he was still sitting at a dead stop. There was no harm in using your phone in the car if you weren’t actually driving, right? The highway was basically a parking lot right now.

Gabe tapped open Cruised, the hookup app he’d had the most luck with in the past.

Not that he’d had much luck. In quantity, sure, he’d had lots of luck. Gotten hella lucky. But in terms of quality? Nah. It was a desert of huge cocks with no brains attached out there. But, it couldn’t hurt to look. Looking was pretty much all he did these days, but it was nice to see some headless torsos and dick pics. Better than trying to figure out what the specialty license plate in the lane next to him meant.

He thumbed through profiles, most of which he’d seen before. It didn’t seem to matter if he was checking at home, work, or in the club, it was always a collection of the same tired old faces. Or not-faces. As frustrating and predictable as morning traffic. He glanced away from his phone to cover a few feet of space left open by a car switching to a moving lane. Why was the lane next to him always moving?

His phone buzzed in his hand—a surprise. No one ever messaged him first. Well, some guys did but no one he wanted to respond to. The message wasn’t from a name he recognized either.

SilverFoxxx

That had promise. He swiped the message open.

Hello.

That had…less promise. But at least it wasn’t a dick pic right away. And he’d managed to spell out “hello.”

Hi, Gabe tapped out as he crawled forward. He kept one eye on his phone and the other on the bumper in front of him.

The response came back immediately. Maybe everything seemed instantaneous when Gabe was traveling along at less than five miles an hour.

Your pictures make you look attractive.

Was that a neg? thats bc i am attractive

Your pictures make you look VERY attractive.

Damn right Gabe’s pictures made him look attractive. He’d spent a long time taking the perfect selfie to highlight his dark eyes and scoured through old text messages to find a shot of him at the beach to show off how his light-brown skin shone in the sun. It helped that the clearly defined abs he’d once had were on display too. Gabe tapped over to his mystery man’s profile but didn’t find anything other than the stranger’s picture. No preferences, or kinks, or anything.

Even his picture was just his head and shoulders, turned slightly away from the camera but not fully in profile. And with the sun shining directly behind him so everything was in shadow. The only things easily seen were the outline of his jaw and the clean-cut lines of his hair, but that was it. Very artistic, but not very illuminating.

your picture doesn’t make you look like anything

A little snide, perhaps, but these conversations never went anywhere. SilverFoxxx would eventually ask for a dick pic, Gabe would say no, and that would be the end of it. Or he would skip straight to asking to meet up for a fuck. Gabe might say yes, but he always ended up disappointed.

He was reaching the point where meaningless hookups weren’t doing it for him anymore. Even if the sex was good, it left him strangely listless afterward.

Maggie would say that was what happened when you turned thirty, and Gabe would tell her to take her soccer mom ass back to the suburbs and shut up about it.

That didn’t mean she was wrong, though.

His phone buzzed again.

I value discretion.

Was this guy a robot? Who said stuff like that? Who texted in full sentences?

Traffic started to clear a bit, and Gabe was able to get up to nearly twenty miles an hour. It was exhilarating but short-lived. They slowed back to a crawl less than a quarter mile later. He was going to be very late.

With his foot firmly on the brake and nothing else to do, Gabe turned back to his phone. SilverFoxxx’s last message continued to glow up at him. It was too tempting to ignore.

a hookup app isn’t for u if u want to be discreet

He should have spelled out you. SilverFoxxx probably thought he was an idiot. Ordinarily, Gabe didn’t care about stuff like that, especially from randos on Cruised, but this time, he was anxious. He stared at his phone until the car behind him laid on the horn.

Gabe crawled two car lengths forward but stopped again. Lights flashed on the left shoulder ahead of him. Hopefully, traffic would clear after this accident, and he could get to work.

The vibration of his phone in his hand sent a little thrill down his spine. Traffic was trickling forward, so Gabe glanced back and forth between his phone and the road.

But it’s convenient. What are you here for?

Gabe wasn’t sure what to say. He could be flirty. Or more than flirty and jump to the next predictable step. Or he could be honest.

not sure. mostly bored in traffic

Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to text and drive?

There was no hint of tone, but Gabe smiled anyway. Deep, rich, and sardonic—this guy’s voice was already in his head. So Gabe’s type. Obviously, he wasn’t stretching. Not at all. SilverFoxxx sounded like he was teasing.

im rebelious

I bet you are.

Gabe’s grin grew wider. This was fun. No gross comments or pushy requests yet. It was like SilverFoxxx could actually hold a conversation.

His phone buzzed again before he was able to think of a response.

Traffic is clearing up.

Gabe checked the location information. It seemed like SilverFoxxx was closer than he’d been before.

are u texting and driving too?

Gabe skidded all the way into the work parking lot looking for a response that never came.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Gretchen Evans is a bisexual, cis woman living with her partner in North Carolina. Her day job involves figuring out the best way to ask people questions they don’t want to answer. In the evenings, she does hot yoga and watches any TV show that can be read as queer-coded. She only drinks beer disguised as root beer and her perfect Sunday involves half listening to an NFL game as she reads a book. She plans to continue writing queer romance with engaging characters, sexy times, and feelings. You can find Gretchen on Twitter.

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