Book Review – Love, Joy, Heartache & Pain by John H. Ames

BLURB: A collection of new entwined stories by best-selling Young Adult author, John H. Ames. Love that reaches beyond the boundaries of the physical realm…

Swapatize!
The not so unrealistic detailed account of how my best friend and I swapped bodies for a short period of time. -High school is one of the most excruciating and painful periods of any teenager’s life. To Kyle, it’s hell on earth. Being the target of the jocks made him hate high school more than anything in the world. All he has is his best friend and the center of the jock’s interest, the beautiful Kylie Bursnell. But Kylie is not your typical beauty. She hates the jocks even more than Kyle, especially Lucas Edward Johnson, a jock who is madly in love with her and Kyle’s forbidden dream. After a bizarre and freaky night, they swap bodies and are force to live each other’s live. Can this actually be true? Has Kyle’s dream come true? Will he be able to love Lucas Edward Johnson unconditionally until the end of time? Or is their love nothing but a beautiful dream enveloped in heartache and pain?

The Spirit Indestructible
Brandon Angelo William has it all. He’s hot, popular, shy, humble, and one of the typical and regular guys in high school. But, unbeknownst to everyone, he’s a closeted gay teen who came out to his parents the previous year. They loved and accepted him with open arms so what more could Brandon want? Love. The one thing that his soul and body need. After a late night out with his best friend, Kevin, Brad sees one of the most beautiful guys he has ever laid eyes on. But could the teen in front of him be real? Or is he the legendary hitching ghost that everyone talks about? Brad needs to find out and what he discovers shocks him and changes his young life forever…

The Lake View Psychopath
Jocks beware, he’s here and he’s not scared. Ashton Hall hates his existence at Lake View High. The jocks have made his life a living hell and his friends have completely turned their backs on him. Why? For being gay and dating the love of his life, Austin Young. Almost overnight, they became the center of every joke and every bully’s paradise. To make matters worse, even the school’s coach allows his ‘jock superstars’ to make fun of them.

But everything the night Austin Young is brutally murdered by the jocks and they walk free. Something snaps inside Ashton’s head and the only think he can think of is revenge. Will Ashton come to his sense and let Austin go? Or will he become one of the greatest serial killers of all time?

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Heartache-Pain-John-Ames-ebook/dp/B00IAE4M4S/

Review:
Thanks to the author and Creative Minds Promotions for the opportunity to read and review. Love, Joy, Heartache, & Pain by John H. Ames isn’t exactly an anthology but more a collection of stories set in the same location. I liked the way the author connected the three stories with main characters from one story mentioned in passing in the next—although reinforcing the idea they are set in the same universe, it also brought across the feeling of being in a small town where everyone knows everyone else.

I had different reactions to each of the stories. The first story Swapatize reminded me of the plot of Freaky Friday, but with a few twists. It was great seeing a guy having to deal with the stuff women do, but I found Kyle a not very likeable character. Some of the stuff he did I shook my head over. There were also quite a few grammar mistakes in the story which pulled me out of it, just as I was enjoying some of the humourous bits.

On the flip side, I loved the second story The Spirit Indestructible. This was my favourite by far and I’d recommend reading the book just for this story. It was a lovely twist on a ghost story, and very poignant and romantic. I loved the mention of these guys in the third story—it felt like getting good news of old friends.

Sorry, but I didn’t enjoy the third story The Lake View Psychopath. The author does too good a job with the main character, and he is disturbing as hell. It was a little too violent for my tastes, and I couldn’t justify the MC’s actions at all. Kudos to the author for creating such a disconcerting character—it worked well on that side of things.

I’d recommend Love, Joy, Heartache & Pain to readers who like stories which are linked by setting and in which major characters from one story are mentioned in the next, and to those who like humour, a few twists, and don’t mind a bit of gore courtesy of a psychopath. 3 out of 5 stars.

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About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning. In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher and a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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