And the Winner is…

Last weekend we ran a giveaway of Jeff Erno‘s new release, Forever Young. The winner of this contest is…Sherrie!

Sherrie, please contact us at top2bottomreviews@gmail.com and we’ll get Jeff to contact you!

Great news! Jeff is giving our readers a 10% off discount for Forever Young. Please go to this LINK to purchase this book at the discounted price. Don’t forget to use the coupon code!

Thanks to everyone who entered Jeff’s contest! We will have many more contests to come:)

Thanks!

Gabbi

Lost and Found

LostandFound_draft

I came across a picture on Facebook about how 40% of our GLBT teens are homeless due to their so-called families turning their backs on them because the kids are gay. NO LOVE THERE! And this picture made me mad. There’s NO reason why a kid should end up homeless over their sexual preference. PERIOD. NONE. Their parents forgot to love. Probably because their parents didn’t teach them love either. Sick bastards. Anyway, that picture made me want to write a story about it to bring awareness to the situation. Do you have any idea how many teens sell their bodies so they can eat? So they don’t have to sleep under a park bench? How many teens are out of school because their families threw them out? It’s disgusting.

I went to a fellow author who is a friend and talked about doing a project on the situation. I’m a writer for a reason. Not for the money, but to get messages across in a different way. We ended up putting a call out for others to take part in. We put together an anthology and found a publisher to back us up and publish it. It’s called: Lost and Found. There are ten writers involved and the stories are amazing. All of us, including the editor will be donating every cent made on the book, which is coming out sometime in May, to a foundation also called: Lost n Found based out of Atlanta Georgia.

This organization is just a year old and they’ve helped well over a hundred homeless kids. They were very excited and very grateful to us. We are all just as excited to be able to help them too. Writers aren’t rich, regardless of what anyone believes. Some of us struggle daily, so giving our time and royalties to those kids is all we can do to help them. And I’m thrilled I’m able to do something for them. I’m thrilled with my fellow writers as well. They helped me to make something I came up with a reality. And we will do it once a year, if not more. We are now here to stay and we are here to help.

Michele L. Montgomery


Note from our editor: Kris Jacen and link to buy the book.

In the Fall of 2012, DH Starr approached me about Featherweight publishing an anthology that he was a part of. It was a special project being organized by Michele Montgomery. All the authors wanted to donate their royalties from the anthology to charity. They wanted the monies to go to a specific cause—they wanted the money to go to a charity that worked with LGBT homeless teens.

The inspiration for the anthology was a picture that they had seen with the text over the image that said “40% of homeless youth are LGBT. The #1 reason they’re on the streets in family rejection.”

Once we got to final editing stages we realized, we didn’t know WHICH charity to donate the monies to. There are so many great charities out there working with LGBT youth that we weren’t sure which to choose. We wanted to make sure that no matter how much, it would make a difference. So the search was on.

I was pleasantly surprised to come across one that had the name of the anthology almost exactly—Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc. It seemed like fate talking to me and after speaking with one of the board members, I was convinced of it. You see the board member told me that the day before we spoke, they received a call from a teen that had been on vacation with his parents and when they found a gay romance on his eReader, they left him on the side of the road. Yes, you read that correctly, abandoned him for reading a gay romance.

Our hope is that with these stories, these teens realize that there are many out there that care about them. That no matter what anyone says—THEY MATTER.

Kris Jacen

MLR Press

Buy Here

Losers by Jeff Erno


Title: Losers
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 83
Characters: Jacob, et al.
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Bullying, High School Crushing/Romance
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb:

Jacob Stevens is a high school freshman facing an onslaught of constant bullying. When the unthinkable happens and he falls victim to a cruel prank, he and a small circle of friends band together to form a Losers’ Club. By embracing the name their tormentors have assigned them, they reclaim their power and try to fight back. With the help of a mysterious stranger, Jacob finds the strength he needs to stand up for himself and his friends, a group of losers like himself.

Review:

Note: In addition to Jacob and the other Losers’ Club original members, Darien, Lily, Jena, Karen & Benny, other key players would include the spiritually evasive Austin, the Key Bully Elijah, and the school Principal Mrs. Holbrook.

This story really hit home with me as in my high school days I was a constant victim of bullying in an environment that not only accepted it but in ways also encouraged it; or at the very least turned a blind eye to it! I personally lost 3 friends to teen suicide, and had contemplated the act more than once myself!

This is obviously a subject that is not only too often center stage news in today’s society but in our past as well and Mr. Erno has done a wonderful job of capturing its attention while providing a comforting tale in which to absorb it. One key truth emphasized in the story is that although “Zero Tolerance” is easy on the ears, it is not so easy in its administering.

The characters are well defined and easily identified with. Excluding the inclusion of Austin, the story could ring true in just about every high school across this country. I found myself not only reminiscing my own teen years but also being quite nicely entertained and hoping that things truly are changing for the better.

Another concept I thought the author presented quite well and entertainingly was that although a victim might not necessarily have an other-worldly compatriot, the notion that ‘something’ is looking out for them is not so out of the question as we quite often do not bring ourselves down to our tormentor’s level, although opportunities might present themselves for us to easily do so; we stand above them, and proudly so!

In summation, if you were bullied in high school this little story will ping your heart and if you were fortunate not to be bullied, you will still be quite nicely entertained.

Reviewed By: Jymbo

BUY LINK

You Belong With Me by Jeff Erno


Title: You Belong With Me
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Harmony Ink
Pages: 164
Characters: Wesley Harris, Brad Johnson
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5+


Blurb:

High school junior Wesley Harris is a stereotypical shy, soft-spoken nerd. He is obsessed with crafts and art and doesn’t even need to come out of the closet to become the target of antigay bullying. Though he has the support of close friends and liberal-minded mother, he finds it hard to believe in himself.

Brad Johnson, Wesley’s new neighbor, is Wesley’s age—and his complete opposite. A popular jock and hero of the school’s baseball team, Brad has an outgoing personality and a reputation as a ladies’ man. When he and Wesley are alone, away from their classmates’ scrutiny, they become friends despite their differences. But when Wesley confesses to wanting more than friendship, Brad walks away, unwilling to risk their romance being exposed.

Though devastated, Wesley resigns himself to accept that they were never meant to be. The next time he runs afoul of bullies, school counseling empowers him to report them. Encouraged by his new confidence, he decides to attend the school dance and face Brad….

Review:

Once in a while you’ll come across an author that really seems to know how their characters tick. In my opinion, Mr. Erno’s characterization is always spot on. I’ve read almost all of his books and every one of them are on my keeper shelf. He writes likeable, humanly-flawed characters that really live and breathe off of the written page. By the end of his stories, I always feel like his characters do a lot of personal growth as well as becoming more self-assured men. They are people I’d proudly call a friend in my own life, and so darn easy to love. In You Belong With Me, Mr. Erno once again swept this reader into the realistically written world he created as well as made me love these two heroes.

The story is told in first person through Wesley’s eyes. Wesley is a junior in high school who is really coming into his own person. Although he’s never announced that he’s gay to his classmates, almost all of them suspect he is. Because he’s a smaller teenager and because of his sexuality, Wesley is picked on by several bullies in school. Wesley really tries to take this in stride and keeps telling himself that things will get better, but sometimes the cruelty from the bullies does get the better of him. Wesley is a typical teenager. He hides his pain from being bullied from his parents, but he does have a few friends that he’s learned to rely on.

When popular jock, Brad, moves in next door, Wesley is both thrilled and terrified. Wesley has always noticed the handsome, nice boy and has a crush on him. Before he knows it, Brad is being nice to him and taking him under his wing. Even better, Brad seems to like Wesley as much as Wesley likes Brad. But the stress of being labeled keeps Brad from revealing his feelings for Wesley, and soon both teenagers are faced with the harsh reality of loving someone that many bigots do not consider normal.

I loved this book! I loved both Wesley and Brad and highly enjoyed all of the moments they spent together. They truly fit together very well and before long, I found myself really rooting for them to be together. Both Brad and Wesley go through a lot of personal growth and make some very mature and strong decisions. As a reader, I appreciated how Mr. Erno did not sweep some of the difficult issues both boys had to face; instead they had to deal with them head on.

Inspiring, lovely, realistically written and an all-around wonderful read, You Belong With Me is a must read! It’s a great book for both teens and adults and a realistic look of how hard life can be for a teen if they are considered different than others. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to see what Mr. Erno has in store for us in the future.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

BUY LINK

Dumb Jock 3: Appearances Matter by Jeff Erno


Title: Dumb Jock 3: Appearances Matter
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Self Published through Amazon
Pages: 218
Characters: Todd Hoffman and Galen Caulfield
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Series
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Todd Hoffman, age sixteen, doesn’t have an easy life. Not only does he live with his alcoholic mother in a rundown mobile home, but he’s also a bit of a social outcast at school. He doesn’t have the nice clothing, shoes, and car the other students have. He has only one really close friend, Shannon, but even she doesn’t understand him completely. He knows he can never confide in her his deepest secret. He can’t tell anyone,not even his favorite teacher.

But Todd finds a way to express his feelings when he learns about fan fiction. Being a gifted writer, Todd begins to write stories–gay stories–about another boy he’s secretly crushing on. He posts the stories on a fan fiction website.

When the object of Todd’s affection one day notices him and asks him out, Todd feels like he is suddenly living a dream, that his literary fantasy is become real. Soon, however, he realizes that reality and fantasy are two different things, and he has to determine if Galen, the high school soccer team captain, is the boy of his dreams or just another dumb jock.


Review:

Appearances Matter is the third book in the Dumb Jock series by author Jeff Erno. Like the previous stories, this book tells the tale of a high school geek and the high school jock. Mr. Erno makes his characters very easy to care about and it was not long before these two young men joined those ranks.

Todd, our geek, has slowly come to the realization that he is gay, but has no one to talk to about his discovery, which leaves him feeling alone at times. With an alcoholic mother Todd’s home life is hell and he wonders if he will ever find a way out. The anger he feels towards his situation and his mother is understandable and believable. Galen, the story’s jock, is the captain of the school’s soccer team and, unlike Todd, has known for some time that he is gay. Galen’s life is also different from Todd’s in other ways as Galen comes from a well to do family, yet there’s more to him than what others know. I have to say that in the beginning Galen was not someone I always liked. At times he came across a little self-centered, yet once more of his life was revealed it was easy to understand why he behaved the way he did.

The young men come together in a way that’s different from the other stories. While in the first two books the geek was ask to help the jock with a particular subject in school, in Appearances Matter, Galen runs into Todd after school and asks him out on a date, which was a nice change up and keeps the series fresh. I wish I could say that the men’s lives flow smoothly after this but it does not as they run into issues caused by outside forces, some of which have harsh consequences. Previous characters show up from time to time which also helps tie in the three books.

Like the other stories, Appearances Matter was a fast read. I could not put it down, wanting to see how the story would play out. I hope the author has plans to add more stories to this series as it is one I love to read over and over again.

Reviewed By: Lydia

BUY LINK

Choosing America’s Next Superstar by Jeff Erno


Title: Choosing America’s Next Superstar
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 220
Characters: Corey Dunham and Jimmy Sawyer
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Series
Kissses: 5


Blurb:

For years, eighteen-year-old Corey Dunham has been a die-hard fan of the reality show and nationwide talent competition Choosing America’s Next Superstar. Now he finally has his chance to show off his natural ability and perfect pitch—not to mention meet other talented young musicians like Jimmy Sawyer, a country crooner from Kentucky.

In the cutthroat audition round, Corey and Jimmy get off on the wrong foot. It doesn’t help that they seem to be complete opposites, both in terms of musical taste and personality. But when both make it through to the finals and become roommates, an unlikely romance blossoms.

Reality show dating is nearly impossible. Corey worries that the competition itself could spell the end for them. At any time, voting results could send one of them home and force a separation. And one of the judges wants Corey for himself and will do anything to get Jimmy off the show. Can Corey and Jimmy win each other’s heart, regardless of who wins the show?

Review:

Choosing America’s Next Superstar, the newest book by Mr. Erno, is a great story that kept me up reading until the last page. The author takes the reader through the whole reality show competition process, from first audition to big show finally, with characters that are well written. The main characters, Corey and Jimmy, come from two totally different lifestyles, yet there is a connection between the two from the beginning. When the men have the chance to come together they really heat up the page. These young men are also really easy to care about and you can’t help but hope there is some way that both men can win the competition. There are also a variety of secondary characters, some of whom it is very easy to dislike. These characters not only help move the story along, but add a richness that makes the story such a great read.

It is not only the wonderful characters however that brings this story alive. The author packs this story with a wealth of background detail, making the competition believable. It is easy for those who enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching these types of reality shows to recognize similarities to well know judges. There are of course some twists that I did not expect, and while it was easy for me to belief some of the behind the scene manipulation that the author portrays, there is one particular twist that I hope is protected against.

According to the author’s website Choosing America’s Next Superstar is the first story in a new series. I can’t wait to see where the author plans to take this series next, and hope the wait is not long before we can find out.

Reviewed By: Lydia

BUY LINK

Cocktails by Jeff Erno

Title: Cocktails
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: eXtasy Book
Pages: 116
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kissses: 4







Blurb:

Rustin has his Associates Degree and leads a successful life as a retail store manager. He’s dissatisfied thought, and wants more. Afforded an opportunity to complete his education while working as a bartender at a trendy gay club in New Orleans, he leaves his Michigan home behind. He’s barely off the plane when he encounters Dutch, a Texas cowboy who is visiting the city on business. Will the connection they share that weekend lead to a lasting relationship, or are they destined to go their separate ways to pursue their own destinies?


Review:

Cocktails is the second story in Jeff Erno’s The Men’s Room series, and revolves around a popular gay bar in New Orleans by the same name. In many ways I enjoyed this story more than the first one. While Tommy and DJ, from the first book, show up throughout this book, the main characters are Rustin and Dutch. Both men are looking for a change but are not prepared for what they find when they get to New Orleans. While there is a connection between the men from the beginning they do not hook up right away. As the men grow closer together their relationship changes from new acquaintances, to friends, to lovers. The passion that flares up between the men is hot and what fans of Mr. Erno would expect. It’s while things seem to be going smoothly for the two men, however, that the author throws in a few monkey wrenches. I was surprised by some of the turns the story took and could not wait to see how the story would play out.

If the first two stories are anything to go by, this new series by Mr. Erno looks as if it is going to be a fun hot read. I would highly recommend that if you have not yet tried a story by this author that you give these stories a chance.

Reviewed By: Lydia
Buy Link

We Danced by Jeff Erno and a chance to win a copy. Just leave a comment.

Title: We Danced
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 210
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kissses: 4.5





Jeff Erno is offering one lucky person a chance at winning this amazing book. Please leave your comment here along with your email address and he’ll draw a winner on June 5th at 11:59PM EST. Good luck!!

Blurb:

For six years, Rex Payton has focused on two things: keeping his late father’s small-town Kentucky bar afloat and raising his nephew, Tyler. After the tragic loss of his parents and sister, Rex has no interest in romance. He’s respected in his community and regarded as one of Carlisle’s most eligible bachelors, but he’s accepted that his life isn’t conducive to a romantic relationship, especially as a closeted gay man.

Enter Josh Billings, a veterinary student who’s serving an internship in town. Josh’s deepest passion is helping animals. Romance is the furthest thing from his mind… until the night he meets taciturn, handsome Rex Payton. Chance and an after-hours dance conspire to forge an intimate connection neither man looked for—one neither man can ignore after the dance leads to a kiss.

Suddenly romance isn’t so insignificant, but it’s also not without complications. For this relationship to work, Josh has to decide if he can cope with dating a single dad, Rex has to open his heart, and Ty has to learn to share his dad’s affection.

Review:

We Danced is one of my favorite Jeff Erno stories. From the first page the author pulled me into Josh’s and Rex’s story and I could not put the book down until the last page. Both men really grab the reader’s attention. The instant connection between them is strong, but because of Rex’s parental responsibilities the men take things slowly, which lends an air of reality to the book. I liked the way that Mr. Erno wove Ty through this story rather than having him show up occasionally just to add something to the plot line. Rex, Josh, and Ty make a wonderful family unit, but the author tosses things up a little by bringing in conflict that could tear them apart.

The angst that Mr. Erno introduces is believable and not hard to imagine happening. While some of the problems that pop up can be expected, I was surprised more than once. We Danced is one of those stories that will stay with you long after you finished with it. It is one I will re-read in the future, and I am sure many of Mr. Erno’s fans will feel the same way.

Reviewed By: Lydia
Buy Link

Twinsational by Jeff Erno

Title: Twinsational
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Extasy Books
Pages: 160
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kissses: 4




Blurb:

Double the pleasure and double the fun, two hot go-go boys for the price of one.

Tommy Cooper has just turned 21 and is getting his first exposure to the gay club scene when he meets Darren Maguire, a go-go dancer. Not only is Darren about the hottest guy that Tommy has ever seen, but he also has an identical twin brother named Michael who is also a dancer. Things quickly heat up for Tommy and Darren, but Michael doesn’t exactly approve. Michael is more serious and wishes his brother Darren would focus more on his education. When Michael meets the man of his dreams, however, he begins to understand the power of romance. Both of the twins become embroiled in relationships which are sure to affect their future, but in the party environment of a dance club, can any such relationship last? And what of the parade of hot guys that constantly come in and out of their lives? Only time will tell if Tommy has actually met the man of his dreams or if he’s simply allowed himself to be swept up by a passing sensation…a Twinsation.


Review:

I’m a big fan of Mr. Erno’s and have many of his stories in my library. I am always glad to see he has another story out and try to grab it right away. The first thing I want to let readers know about Twinsational is that despite the title, this is not a twincest story. Something that may be important for some readers to know ahead of time. The next thing is that this is a hard story for me to review. I liked the characters. Tommy’s innocence made me want to protect him from himself. Darren came across as the perfect choice for Tommy, while his twin brother, Michael, was the typical player. The story is hot and the various pairings intense. The story moves fast with a couple of twists that ended up surprising me.

All that being said, I also felt as if the story was just starting when it came to an abrupt end. Even after finishing the book a few days back I am unsure how I feel about that. On the author’s website Twinsational is listed as book one and I hope that Mr. Erno plans on revisiting Tommy and his boyfriend again.

Reviewed by: Lydia

BUY LINK

New Release by Jeff Erno: Twinsational

Tommy Cooper has just turned 21 and is getting his first exposure to the gay club scene when he meets Darren Maguire, a go-go dancer. Not only is Darren about the hottest guy that Tommy has ever seen, but he also has an identical twin brother named Michael who is also a dancer
Things quickly heat up for Tommy and Darren, but Michael doesn’t exactly approve. Michael is more serious and wishes his brother Darren would focus more on his education. When Michael meets the man of his dreams, however, he begins to understand the power of romance
Each of the twins becomes embroiled in relationships which are sure to affect their future, but in the party environment of a dance club, can any such relationship last? And what of the parade of hot guys that constantly come in and out of their lives? Only time will tell if Tommy has actually met the man of his dreams or if he’s simply allowed himself to be swept up by a passing sensation.

Buy Here