Monday, July 11, 2016

Virtual Tour ~ Into the Blue by Pene Henson ~ (Review, GuestPost, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Virtual Tour ~ Into the Blue by Pene Henson ~ (Review, GuestPost, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: Pene Henson
Book Name: Into the Blue
Release Date: July 7, 2016
Cover Artist: Colleen M. Good


Tai Talagi and Ollie Birkstrom have been inseparable since they met as kids surfing the North Shore. Now they live with their best friends in a pulled-together family, sharing life and the saltwater in their veins. Tai’s spent years setting aside his feelings for Ollie, but when Ollie’s pro surfing aspirations come to fruition, their steady world shifts. Is the relationship worth risking everything for a chance at something terrifying and beautiful and altogether new?

Pages or Words: 236 pages, 72,600 words

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance


Across from them, one of the Brazilians plays guitar. Ollie doesn’t recognize the song even when a couple of others sing along. The beach is wider and the sand finer than on the North Shore, but every beach is a little like home. Ollie misses the Blue House; he misses the surf and the palms and the shoreline he knows so well. He misses Jaime and Sunny and Hannah. Still, though he’s as far from home as he’s ever been, Ollie’s comfortable. These are his people, too. He leans back on his arms and looks up into the dark.
He’s watched the night sky since he was a little kid, but down here in the Southern Hemisphere he doesn’t recognize the hundreds upon hundreds of stars. The Southern Cross is up there. Ollie tries to orient himself.
Tai shifts toward him, then looks up and follows Ollie’s gaze. The warmth of Tai’s body settles into Ollie’s heart, grounds him. Ollie leans into him a little, and their arms brush to the elbow. The contact simmers in the air between them.
Unexpectedly, Ollie knows what he wants. “Come back to the hotel,” he says quietly to Tai. He pitches his voice low. It hums across the tiny space between them. No one else can hear him over the pounding surf and the sound of the music. It’s easy to be bold in the dark of a beach where Ollie’s never been before. He’s shocked by that same boldness.

Buy the book:

4 Stars

*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Tai and Ollie met on the beach when they were 13, and have been best friends ever since. Over the past 10 years they have become more than friends. They have formed a tight knit family, along with Ollie's younger brother, Jamie, and their other two other roommates, Sunny and Hannah. They all live together in a blue house right on the beach. They spend their days working and Ollie and Tai surfing every chance they can get. They are just trying to make ends meet and get by.

This book was hard to get into at first. The first half felt like it moved really slow. Once we get to the competition portion of the story we get some action and it becomes much more interesting. At about the halfway mark the author really pulled me in, and I didn't put the book down until 2:30 in the morning, when I was done. Not the best choice on a work night, but I just HAD to see how it all ended.

The book is really well written, and enjoyable. I don't know anything about surfing, but the author made it interesting and not so technical that you couldn't understand it. I really enjoyed watching Ollie's heats and seeing how he scored and ranked. I adored Tai, he was so lovable and supportive of, not only of Ollie, but the rest of the blue housemates as well. He was a really well developed character. Ollie remained more of a mystery throughout the book. Even though we get his POV, I still wasn't sure what to make of him or his feelings for Tai, until practically the very end of the book. Ollie and Tai had good chemistry and the sex was steamy, but not overly graphic.

The housemates were all awesome secondary characters. I loved that they all pulled together to support one another and to get done what needed to be done. One compliant I did have was the scene changes. When it moved from one scene to another there wasn't always a clear break in the writing. It all just kind of flowed together at times and I'd have to re-read the first sentence or two of the next scene to get a clear picture that we had moved to a new scene. Since this is an advance reader's copy, I am hoping this was maybe just a formatting issue with the ARC, and it will be fixed before the final draft is published.

This was an enjoyable read filled with angst, laughter, romance, sexiness, and most of all love. Really recommendable!!

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Pene Henson, author of INTO THE BLUE.

Hi Pene, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Someone asks you for advice about writing. What do you tell them?

Mostly I'd tell them not to listen to any advice unless it works for them. Except for my advice, which is flawless. I wish I took my advice more than I do.

  1. Read. Read anything that appeals to you and read things that don’t appeal to you. Read poems or short stories or longform articles if you can’t squeeze in a novel. Read scenic descriptions and fight scenes and how things work. The best writers read.

  1. Get comfortable with being imperfect. Get comfortable with your weaknesses and your writing’s flaws. Everyone has them. Know that you tend to overuse unusual verb constructions, or that you undercook setting the scene. Know that your plots could use more actual plot. Know that you are uncomfortable with conflict.

  1. Get comfortable with your strengths too, use them and make them stronger.

  1. Sometimes let one or two people you trust read it. Listen to whatever they say.  Because even if they’re completely wrong there’s probably a reason for whatever wrong thing they’re saying.
  1. Edit kindly and fearlessly. It might seem insurmountable but you’ll get there.

Meet the author:

Pene Henson has gone from British boarding schools to New York City law firms. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is an intellectual property lawyer and published poet who is deeply immersed in the city’s LGBTQIA community. She spends her spare time enjoying the outdoors and gazing at the ocean with her gorgeous wife and two unexpectedly exceptional sons. Into the Blue is her first novel.

Where to find the author:

Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer

Tour Dates & Stops:

Rafflecopter Prize: Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press Gift Card, Five first prizes of an e-copy of ‘Into the Blue’ by Pene Henson
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much, Tracy, both for hosting me here and for reading my book. Your review is thoughtful and lovely and I really appreciate it. And I'm so glad that you loved Tai. He's a darling.

    1. You're so very welcome! I really did enjoy this book and I'm looking forward to more in the future!! <3 ~ Tracy