An Island in the Stars by Susan Laine: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Thank you kindly, Denise, for having me here today. Hello, readers. I’m Susan Laine, an author with Dreamspinner Press. I’m here to talk about my novel, An Island in the Stars, that comes out today.

Here’s the blurb:

“Sam, a geeky college freshman, has bigger problems than lusting after Marcus, sexy jock, college junior, and his big brother’s best friend. Chasing after a beanie caught in the winter wind turns into a tumble down the rabbit hole for them both—science fiction style.

Sam and Marcus find themselves trapped on a tropical island in the middle of a strange ocean on an alien moon. The sole structure is a ruined temple devoted to the art of love. Flustered, confused, and unable to return home, they need to figure out a means of escape from a hostile jungle teeming with dangerous life-forms.

In this tale where opposites attract and secret crushes are revealed, two very dissimilar young men discover they actually have a lot in common after all, but it will take their differences as much as their points of connection to survive on an island in the stars.”

The topic today is themes. The main theme depends on the perspective. From Sam’s POV, this is a frenemies-to-lovers story; from Marcus’s POV, this is friends-to-lovers. They view their relationship in a different light. Sam sees Marcus as his big brother’s best friend, the jock he’s crushing on, but also a bit afraid of. Hence… frenemies. Or perhaps acquaintances-to-lovers. Yes, Sam has issues. Marcus sees them more as friends, viewing Sam as someone he could be very close to. Marcus hangs around Sam a lot in an effort to gain Sam’s attention, respect, and attraction. He’s friends with Simon, Sam’s big brother, so it’s natural for Marcus to see Sam as an extension of that friendship—all the while hoping for more.

The other major theme is a typical one for teenagers: Growing up. Making tough decisions, learning to work with others, even people you might dislike, adapting to new identities and sexualities, planning for the future, understanding the consequences of one’s actions and taking responsibility, developing a sense of self, learning one’s own strengths and weaknesses, analyzing one’s own feelings and empathizing with others, finding solutions to problems. All that and more are present in the story, as Sam and Marcus struggle to make sense of the new world around them—and each other. I hope the problems and issues they face feel realistic and relatable.

Here’s an exclusive teaser excerpt showing the theme of having to make a choice:

Marcus chuckled, but his eyes were round and his skin pale, so he clearly was more shocked by what had happened than he liked to admit. “Listen. If and when that thing wakes up, it’s just going to rain on our parade again. I think…. We have only two choices: Trap it somehow or… or kill it.”

Sam gulped. Could he murder an alien life-form to save his own life?

“No. I don’t want to kill it,” Sam replied emphatically. “I just don’t want it to kill us either.”

Marcus nodded. “That’s why my other option was to make a trap, not that we’d trap it only to kill and eat it. Though the meat—”

“Don’t even think it. We’re not eating an alien animal. No freaking way in hell.”

Marcus grinned, seemingly back to his old self. “That’s a no, then, is it?”

Thanks again to Two Chicks Obsessed and Denise for arranging this guest post.

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After the Romance Novel by Susan Laine: Release Day Review with Giveaway

after the romance

synopsis

Romance novels always end with a happy ever after. Right?

Evan and Adam are best friends, but they don’t know everything about each other. For one thing, Adam doesn’t know Evan writes and publishes gay romance novels until he discovers one while snooping on Evan’s laptop.

This revelation changes their relationship in ways neither could’ve imagined. Adam’s reaction to reading Evan’s stories is not what he expected, nor is the new way he’s looking at his lifelong pal. After all, Adam is straight, or so he’s always thought, and that is what Evan believes about Adam as well.

When Evan admits he might be bisexual, Adam suggests he try dating girls to find out for sure, but when Evan follows his advice, Adam is caught off guard by his feelings of jealousy. And when the date proves Evan isn’t bisexual, but gay, Evan’s request that Adam find him a guy might be the last straw.

How can Adam admit he wants that guy to be him? His epiphany will either end their relationship—or change it into something wonderful in their very own friends-to-lovers romance.

Title: After the Romance Novel
Series: Before… and After
Author: Susan Laine
Release Date: February 22, 2017
Category: Contemporary, New Adult
Pages: 63

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denise review

I don’t normally read YA. There just seems to me to be something creepy about being a woman in her (cough, cough) middle 40’s to be reading about 17 year old kids falling in love, possibly having sex. However, the subject on this one intrigued me, so I gave it a shot. And I’m glad I did!

After the Romance Novel is the first thing I’ve read by Susan Laine, and I really enjoy her writing style. I enjoyed the alternating POV’s, and the mindset of these two young men. They’ve known each other for years, been best friends for years, and yet didn’t realize they could fall in love with each other.

There were a few things that seemed implausible to me. First, how introspective they seemed. These are 17 year old boys, with large vocabularies, introspective about what they wanted. Their mindsets in many ways felt as if they should have been 10 years older. In addition, when Adam finds out about Evan looking at his current work in progress, Evan has written his 12th story, and always writes Adam and Evan as the MC’s, then changes before he publishes, yet he didn’t ever once consider being in love, or attracted to Adam?

However, all that being said, I enjoyed their relationship. They didn’t take each other for granted, and even though they were dealing with uncomfortable, and heavy subjects with each other, they never wavered in their friendship. There were uncertainties as to how they would move forward, but they always felt they were best friends, and would always be.

3.5 pieces of eye candy

3.5-pieces-of-eye-candy1

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