Blog Tour: Enjoy the Dance by Heidi Cullinan (Author Guest Post, Teasers, Review + Giveaways)
RELEASE DATE: October 11, 2016
Format: Novel • Genre: Contemporary • Length: 80,000 words
Publisher: Heidi Cullinan
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9961203-6-4
Print ISBN: 978-0-9961203-7-1
Characters: Spenser Harris, Tomás Jimenez, Ed Maurer, Laurie Parker, Duon Graves
Dance with your heart, and love will follow.
Kindergarten teacher Spenser Harris has carved a quiet, stable future out of his tumultuous past, but his world turns upside down the night a homeless teen appears on his doorstep—a boy whose story mirrors the one Spenser has worked so hard to overcome. The decision to shelter Duon is easy. What’s tricky is juggling the network of caregivers in Duon’s life, especially Tomás Jimenez.
Tomás wouldn’t have hesitated to take Duon in, but his plate is already full working three jobs to support his family. Though Spenser’s carefully constructed walls are clearly designed to keep the world at bay, Tomás pushes past Spenser’s defenses, determined to ensure the man is worthy of his charge. As the two of them grow closer, Tomás dares to dream of a life beyond his responsibilities, and Spenser begins to believe he might finally find a home of his own after all.
But Spenser and Tomás’s world is poised to crash around their ears. Duon’s grandmother isn’t sure she wants him to be raised by a gay man and challenges Spenser’s custody. Tomás’s undocumented parents could be deported at any time, and all the while the state of Minnesota votes on a constitutional amendment against marriage equality and the US Supreme Court debates whether or not Spenser and Tomás get a happily ever after. All they can do is hold tight to their love, hope for a better future…and remind each other to enjoy the dance.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review.***
While Enjoy the Dance can technically be read as a standalone, Ed and Laurie from book 1 play a very big part in the events taking place in book 2 and really, if you haven't yet read Dance with Me, please do yourself a favor and do so. You're really missing out on an amazing book!
Spenser Harris is a kindergarten teacher, he's had a rough life and prefers to keep to himself, but when he finds a teenager in front of his door, bruised, homeless and waiting for Spenser's neighbor to come back, he just can't bring himself to leave him there, especially not when Duon reminds Spenser so much of himself at that age.
When it's obvious there's no alternative but taking Duon in, Spenser steps up to the challenge, even if he has no clue of how to be a parent to a teenager.
Tomás Jimenez has had to work hard all his life, sometimes having up to 5 jobs to help his family make ends meet. His parents help him all they can, but with their illegal immigrant status, there's only so much they can do, and they all live in fear that the INS will come knocking on their door and extradite them back to Mexico. While Tomás has noticed his cute neighbor, it isn't until one of his students from the dance studio is in trouble and Spenser steps in to help him, that they start interacting and they strike up a friendship which gives way to more through their mutual love and concern for Duon.
While this book has romance, the focus in it isn't just Tomás and Spenser. There are several themes being dealt with, like immigration and LGBT homeless teens issues and marriage equality, among with Spenser, and eventually, Tomás, having to take care of a teenager and adopt him, so the focus is not solely on the main couple. It was very informative, but a little too much at times, with so many things happening at once.
It was a slow burn romance, due to Tomás having so little time to interact and I loved that his mother pushed him a little to move things forward. I think Heidi Cullinan did a wonderful job portraying what a Latin family is like, a bit meddling but with Tomás' best interests at heart. My heart broke a little with all Tomás had had to do to help his family and it was lovely to see Ed and Laurie and the rest rallying to help him with it all, taking a bit of the weight off his shoulders. And Spenser, well, he was a sweetheart. Having been homeless himself at one point, he opened his house and his heart to Duon, and did all he could to make things better for him. The chemistry between Tomás and Spenser was not as explosive as with Ed and Laurie, it was softer and sweeter, more romantic-like, than hot, and I loved them together.
All in all, Enjoy the Dance was a great read! Well-written and engaging, with an amazing cast of characters you'll grow to care about and love and just want them to find their HEA. Very recommended!
Rating: 4 Stars!!!
LGBT youth homelessness has been a cause I’ve addressed in my books before, and I’ve urged readers to consider donating to causes before in blog tours and other social media campaigns, but in Enjoy the Dance I’ve made the issue an integral part of the story in what I home is a way to put a more human face on the issue.
We hear the word “homeless” and think of old men in stocking caps with scruffy beards and women wearing too many sweaters with hair sticking up, pushing shopping carts full of assorted belongings on movie sets. The reality is much more complicated and all around you. It’s a lot younger. And a lot of that population is queer.
This is a three part fact series about LGBT youth homelessness. You can read more at Gay Book Reviews and Oh My Shelves, and of course check out the rest of the blog tour for other facts and behind the scenes information.
If you want to be part of the solution to stopping LGBT youth homelessness, here is a list of resources to get you started. If you know of more resources, email me, and I’ll add them to my list.
LGBT HOMELESS YOUTH FACTS, PART 2
Seven different studies of homeless youth in the U.S. have concluded that approximately 20 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ. This is disproportionately high when compared to the 10 percent of LGBTQ youth in the general population.
Frequently, homeless LGBT persons have great difficulty finding shelters that accept and respect them. LGBT individuals experiencing homelessness are often at a heightened risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation compared with their heterosexual peers. Transgender people are particularly at physical risk due to a lack of acceptance and are often turned away from shelters; in some cases signs have been posted barring their entrance.
◦ According to the Williams Institute, 40% of the homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT
◦ 43% of clients served by drop-in centers identified as LGBT
◦ 30% of street outreach clients identified as LGBT
◦ 30% of clients utilizing housing programs identified as LGBT
Previously on the series:
Dance With Me
Winner, Rainbow Awards 2011, 3rd place Contemporary • Nominee, 2011 Cupid & Psyche Awards, Contemporary • Best Book of 2011, Joyfully Reviewed
RELEASE DATE: August 29, 2015
Format: Novel • Genre: Contemporary • Length: 94,000 words
Publisher: Heidi Cullinan
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9961203-2-6
Print ISBN: 978-0-9961203-3-3
Characters: Ed Maurer, Laurie Parker
Sometimes life requires a partner.
Ed Maurer has bounced back, more or less, from the neck injury that permanently benched his semipro football career. He hates his soul-killing office job, but he loves volunteering at a local community center. The only fly in his ointment is the dance instructor, Laurie Parker, who can’t seem to stay out of his way.
Laurie was once one of the most celebrated ballet dancers in the world, but now he volunteers at Halcyon Center to avoid his society mother’s machinations. It would be a perfect escape, except for the oaf of a football player cutting him glares from across the room.
When Laurie has a ballroom dancing emergency and Ed stands in as his partner, their perceptions of each other turn upside down. Dancing leads to friendship, being friends leads to becoming lovers, but most important of all, their partnership shows them how to heal the pain of their pasts. Because with every turn across the floor, Ed and Laurie realize the only escape from their personal demons is to keep dancing—together.
This novel has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
We have two giveaways for you this time around! The first one is the one for blog tour and that you can enter through the Rafflecopter below and the second one is exclusive to us, where a lucky reader can win a copy of Enjoy the Dance, just please leave a comment on what you think of Heidi's Guest Post and congratulating her on her new release, don't forget to add your name and e-mail to contact you in case you win and we'll pick a winner on Saturday, October 15 at around 9pm CST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway