Some New Fangirl #HotReads #Recommendations

IMG_1317With the really crappy weather keeping me busy caring for critters, I didn’t have as much time to read as I would have liked. That being said, I still managed to find a few new authors whose works (I think) are heads above the competition, and some old favorites who added exciting new titles to my virtual book shelves.

Here are some authors you might want to consider. Note: the genres are largely gay fiction and literature, some are erotic, some are closer to erotica. Many defy convenient categorization—and those give me warm fuzzies because they push against tropes and boundaries and thumb their noses at tiresome formulaic storytelling.

So, in no particular order:

Santino Hassell

I stumbled across this author when the first book in his Five Boroughs series, Sutphin Boulevard was on special. I swear to you, within a few pages I was hooked on the writing style, the raw, gritty characterizations and the authentic vibe of NYC’s unique polyglot culture. A pseudo-romance edged in harsh realism, the characters and situations gripped me and refused to let go. I followed up with Sunset Park, book 2 in the series. This one captured the essence of Millennials struggling to find their way, a late bloomer coming-of-age story, and it rode the rails of a more standard romance trope, with the expected outcomes. Next up was After Midnight, a dystopian tale of survival after war nearly destroys the country. This is Edge City on steriods—tough, lyrical and totally mesmerizing. You won’t be able to put it down and you won’t ever forget it.  After Midnight is nominally a standalone; however, in the acknowledgments, the author discussed how this story evolved from an earlier, revamped series and featured some recurring characters. I’ll have to check that out. Currently, I’m reading Strong Signal (co-written with Megan Erickson)—jury’s out on this one. Check back later.

Dan Skinner

Xperiment deviates drastically from Dan’s usual style (über romantic, make me ugly cry). This is old style SciFi mashed with political thriller, the kind that takes the time to fully develop both characters, situations and outcomes in a straightforward, linear fashion. The pacing might best be called determined, the approach earnest, and the denouement will have you nodding your head and wondering about tomorrow’s headlines. The plot is complex and the subject matter at times challenging, but the execution faltered in that the tone too frequently devolved into preaching to the choir (as this is a matter of taste, I’m sure it would not be a turn-off for everyone). It’s a BIG Book with big, thought-provoking ideas… just what Science Fiction should be.

Joe Cosentino

Joe writes funny, and I mean that in the best way possible—belly grabbing, face hurting, I can’t believe he said/wrote/implied that, with laugh-out-loud moments of sheer lunacy and merriment. His latest (for me) was a fairy tale mashup collection: The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland—read my full review HERE. I’m amassing a nice collection of his works: A Home for the Holidays (sweet, gentle humor and sighworthy feel good moments), A Shooting Star (sophisticated, filled with suspense of the gothic variety and elegantly precise in characterization and execution, this one I consider a master class in writing), and finally Drama Queen which has rightfully won the hearts and minds of discerning readers.

Isa K

I adore Scott Burkett. He challenges me with books I might not normally pick up, then asks me to evaluate them dispassionatley and without prejudice. Sometimes I can, other times… not so much. Isa K’s I’m the Guy You Hate was one of those works I hated with a vengeance and loved with such passion that it was difficult to express my reactions in a review, but I tried. Everything about the story, the characters,  and the events was out-sized and outrageous, and it out-classed most writing I’ve seen, but for a few (points forefinger upwards). This is one I’m giving some time and space before diving in and re-reading with an eye to deconstructing the insights and the inner workings of the damaged psyches populating today’s urban jungle.

There you have it, Dear Readers. If you’ve loved a story, please share the love. Authors work hard to take you away from your mundane world. Let them know how you feel. It will make their day.


Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be real.



About Nya Rawlyns

Crossing boundaries, taking no prisoners. Write what’s in your soul. It’s the bass beat, the heartbeat, the lyrics rude and true. Nya Rawlyns is the pseudonym of a writer who cut her teeth on sports-themed romantic comedy and historical romances before finding her true calling in the wilderness areas she has visited but calls “home” in that place that counts the most: the heart. She has lived in the country and on a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay, earned more than 1000 miles in competitive trail and endurance racing, taught Political Science to unwilling freshmen, and found an avocation in materials science. When she isn’t tending to her garden or the horses, the cats, or two pervert parakeets, she can be found day dreaming and listening to the voices in her head.
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