Dianne’s Throwback Thursday – Book Style

Hey Everyone!

Returning from a short break, I thought I’d feature my favorite MM author, Josh Lanyon. Truth be told, she’s an all-time favorite for me in any genre. Her ability to capture the human condition no matter the time period, setting or plot of her story is second to none. No matter the story, I always feel as though I’m smack dab in the middle of the action – seeing, touching, savoring, becoming enveloped in the worlds where her genuine characters reside. I’m still trying to figure out if she wraps a romance around a mystery, or a mystery around a romance – she has such an extraordinary ability to weave all elements of a story into a striking whole. 

This time around I’m featuring some contemporary stories. No mysteries in these, rather, we have people bumbling and stumbling their way through life as they discover truths about themselves as well as those they care for. 

I’ve read through many reviews regarding Everything I Know that mystify me. Seems lots of readers don’t see the forest for the trees. I realize many of us interpret the same book differently, yet elements that seem to be “obvious” in Josh’s stories tend not to be the point of them.

Perfect Day is the ultimate short story. I defy any author to surpass this 27 page gem. The follow-up short, Wedding Favors, is a gorgeous, emotional bonus gift to readers.

All reviews (such that they are!) are mine. I urge everyone to check out these stories, and this talented and prolific author.

Happy reading!  😀

everything-i-know-josh-lanyonTitle:  Everything I Know
Author:  Josh Lanyon
Publisher:  JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:  May 27, 2014
Summary:  Connor loves teaching. He loves working with kids, he loves feeling like he’s making a difference. And the kids—and parents—seem to love him. Until the afternoon he makes a small error in judgment, and an angry father’s thoughtless comments start the kind of rumor that destroys careers. And lives.

Everything Connor thought he knew about himself and his world is now in doubt. But sometimes help comes from the most unexpected direction.

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My review:  LYLBTB 50 star   

I absolutely marveled at this story. Josh Lanyon has taken the subject of false allegations – a travesty that has been visited upon too many individuals in our society – and wrapped it in a profound study of interpersonal communication, and lack thereof. The result is a refined and entertaining story with a powerful theme.

Con is a young kindergarten teacher and grad student, who in the blink of an eye, finds himself facing ruination of his career, reputation and his very life. All of this based on the aftermath of a single incident, the decision he made when there was nobody else available to make one, and the reactions and fears of those affected by the incident. Words uttered by an individual in the heat of the moment, words the man – the wealthy Wes Callahan – had not intended to be interpreted as they were, none the less hurt Con deeply on a personal and professional level.

The obvious issue at play – that Con has been accused of improper conduct with a student – is the surface of the story. The complex and fascinating aspect of the story comes with recognizing how the author deftly explores the reactions of Wes, the crushing weight of his misinterpreted words, and the power of societal position – even when not wield with intent.

I was fascinated by getting to witness Con’s behavior in several relationships through the course of the story. Con was very open with Pip, his female best friend and co-worker. He was frustrated, and I believe angered, by his mom’s Alzheimer’s and inability to converse with ‘Con’ vs whoever she perceived him to be on a given day. Con was very doting and affectionate with Lizzy Callahan, the guileless and non-judgmental five year old student. Con found himself utterly blindsided by the administrators at the school where he taught when they made decisions based on what was deemed least messy and most convenient for their interests, rather than Con’s. He would have sworn they would have his back in any situation based on his three years on staff, and being a favorite of so many of the pupils and their parents. Con’s relationship with Eric, his ex-lover, was couched in mixed messages and conclusions that were not as hashed out or as well communicated as Con had thought them to be.

Then we have Con and Wes. These two had a long build- up of acquaintance and attraction. Neither man was aware the other felt this attraction, because neither ever acted upon it. Wes was mortified when he realized the implications his reactions to Lizzy’s incident had on Con’s life. I respected how determined he was to apologize and atone. However, once Con and Wes did begin a budding romance, even when they connected physically and felt a deeper attraction growing, basic communication was lacking. This didn’t get all tied up nicely in a bow, nor did it get overblown with angst. Both men faced up to how they had mishandled communicating.Con eventually realized his culpability in how each of his relationships had progressed. Had thrived, stalled or failed.

Frank communication is so vital. One would think that as humans, who possess such large vocabularies and seemingly high intelligence, it would be a given. It’s not! We tend to project our individual impressions and conclusions on the impressions and conclusions of others. The ability to buck up and come right out and ask someone what is going on, what they are thinking or feeling, is not easy. Nor on the other hand, is apologizing, asking for another chance, accepting what is offered – even if lacking – and moving on. This story is a budding romance, but it is so much, much more. Words and actions should be examined. They carry serious weight. Josh Lanyon’s words certainly do with this fine story.

 

a-perfect-day-by-josh-lanyonTitle: Perfect Day (Wyatt & Graham, #1)
Author:  Josh Lanyon
Publisher:   JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:  May 27, 2012
Summary:  Wyatt loves Graham. Graham is still in love with Jase. But things could be worse. They could be camping.

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LYLBTB 50 star

 

 

My review:

Emotions: love, loss, fear, joy, sadness, uncertainty, delight. We all experience them. Nobody embodies them in the written word as Josh Lanyon does. Perfect Day is a prime example of this writer’s talent presented in a beautifully written short story. This is hands down my favorite MM short story -ever. My emotion after reading it: pure gratification.

wedding-favors-josh-lanyon
Title:  Wedding Favors (Wyatt & Graham #2)
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher:  JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Publication Date:  March 08, 2015
Summary:  Graham thinks Wyatt would feel more secure if they were married. Wyatt doesn’t want to spoil Graham’s wedding plans. So who’s really doing who a favor?

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My review:  LYLBTB 50 star  Wedding Favors had me in an emo mess – a good emo mess. The author’s ability to capture mood, emotions and the gravity of life,whether during huge events or every day interactions, is unsurpassed. My gut was twisting with Wyatt’s, and my heart was singing for them both he and Graham at the end. This is a, well, a perfect complement to the preceding story: Perfect Day. My emotion after reading this book? Pure gratification.

 

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