Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Message From Me & Reviews of The Transitions Series by Will Parkinson

The Transitions Series
by Will Parkinson

Genres: Young Adult, M/M, Contemporary, Romance

As young people transition to adulthood they are faced with many choices. To continue school. To get a job. To start a family. 
What happens when some of those choices are taken from you? Be it by accident or design, life doesn’t always go the way we plan.
Taylor Andrews never dreamed he would meet someone like Jackson Kern. Benny Peters never imagined falling in love with Addy Dean.
Two different couples, each with an abiding love and understanding of what it will take to make it work, despite insurmountable odds.

 A Message From Me:
Followers of my blog know that I rarely post reviews for books that depict the physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of young people because I am a survivor. I don't particularly enjoy reminding myself of that time in my life, rarely do so intentionally, and never without purpose.
When Will Parkinson offered me a copy of Pitch it took me awhile to get into the right head space to start reading.  Not only is Will a talented writer, he is someone I have come to consider a friend. I respect him, and knew that if he chose to tackle sensitive story content he would do it right. I wasn't disappointed.
Addy's character appears in both stories. We first meet him in Pitch. Taylor and Benny are his peer counselors. He's struggling to open up emotionally is just starting to emerge from behind the walls he has built to protect himself.
Life is a journey. Some people travel a road with hills and valleys. Others find themselves strapped into a roller-coaster that seems to be spinning out of control. It doesn't seem right or fair, but I have come to believe that it is the emotional extremes that have given me the passion and determination to move forward. I refuse to be defined by my experiences and instead have accepted them over time to become a part of who I am moving forward. I believe that, like Addy, it is important not to hide our scars, be they physical or emotional.
Stepping up, having those hard conversations, and increasing awareness is one of the best tools we have to break the cycle of abuse. After all, it's pretty hard to hide a monster under floodlights, and it's easier to ask for help when someone who understands is there to hold your hand.
Using the tools of time, counseling, friendship, and even medications I have been able to step away from the walls I built years ago and open myself to love again. That doesn't mean that the walls aren't still there, or that I don't dive back behind them every once in awhile, because even though the scars have faded, they will never disappear. What I have been able to do is use those experiences, the horrible dark ones that make me cry out in the night, and the softer warmer ones that represent each person who helped me along the way, to reach out with understanding and show others that it is possible to find happiness again. ~Carly 
If you or someone you know is or was a victim of abuse, help is available.
No Fees, no names, no judgement. Just help.

Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you’re afraid your internet/computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer or call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline.
1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Pitch - Book 1
The day Jackson Kern walks into Taylor Andrews’s classroom is a momentous day in Taylor's life. He's had crushes before, sure, but as time goes on, this is starting to look a whole lot more serious. Still, Jackson doesn’t return Taylor’s feelings. 
Taylor has his own admirers, though. Kevin Richards is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants right now is Taylor, so when Taylor rejects him, Kevin retaliates. At first Taylor’s entourage rallies around him, but then Kevin takes his deception one step further and Taylor sees his support dwindle, teaching him the valuable lesson about who he can truly consider a friend.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in Wisconsin, PITCH contains primarily high-school aged characters who encounter the full spectrum of emotional fluctuation one would expect from members of this age group, including ambivalence, acceptance and hate. The backbone of this story is rooted in how they react to their frequently complex and ever changing social environment. The time spent transitioning from adolescence to adulthood is never easy, but when those closest to you are sending mixed signals it's even harder to .

A multi-layered story with a full cast of dynamic characters. The interactions between Taylor, Jackson, and their families and friends is presented with an authenticity that breathes life into the story. What starts as a well written coming-of-age story steadily builds into a continuum of events that blew me away.

Dramatic and intense, PITCH'S characters are emotionally engaging and encourage readers to expect the unexpected!

 Wet Paint - Book 2
Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.
High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.
When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what–or who–they face, they belong together.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**This review contains spoilers from Pitch (Transitions, Book 1) and I highly recommend that this series be read in order.**

I started WET PAINT the day after I finished Pitch without reading the synopsis, so my first reaction was "Benny and Addy. Awesome!"  I was already emotionally invested in their characters, so my second thought was "Nothing bad better happen to Addy, he's already been through enough."

It's never easy for me to read books that depict abuse, but it's especially hard when the characters who experience it are young.  Addy is a survivor. Moving on after something terrible happens does not erase the experience or prevent the memories from impacting the future. Addy is a wounded dove; slightly timid but with a bright spirit that looks hopefully towards the future.

Benny can barely bring himself to imagine the horrors that Addy endured. Sweet and talented, Addy is the most beautiful person he's ever met. Their first kiss ignites a spark of love that burns bright and true. Together they face moments of happiness and hurt, harmony and misunderstanding while keeping their focus on living for the day. When the past threatens to derail their love, each must take an honest look inside their hearts in-order to keep moving forward.

I loved Pitch, and WET PAINT took me to a whole new level emotionally. The characters I first fell in love with stole my heart all over again. I cried tears of sorrow, joy, anger and healing. The challenging subject matter is realistically written and without being overwhelmingly dark. 

Caution: Contains subject matter that I do not consider excessively graphic but could be an emotional trigger for some readers.

Will Parkinson believes that no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path of young love, it will always find a way to win in the end. He wants his characters to have their happily ever after, but that doesn't mean that it's going to come easily.

None of this would have happened if he had followed the advice he was given many hears ago. "What are you wasting your time on that for? It's never going to amount to anything." He believed it for the longest time, abandoning characters he'd created in his childhood.

He picked up his very first m/m story by a writer named Eden Winters, who was an absolute joy when they corresponded. She asked him if he wrote and he told her the story. Eden explained to Will that the voices in his head would never go away and how he needed to let them out. With that thought in mind, Will put e-pen to e-paper once more. It was truly a liberating experience and one he has no intention of giving up again.


  1. Thanks for sharing! These sound great.
    Featured you on my List of Very inspirational Bloggers today!

  2. And, also, what great courage to review books that are known triggers. You amaze me.