SHIFT: a story for Thea

once upon a time there was a magical girl
poised after transitioning to take over the world
one day she came across a world-builder who had lost their way
stuck in their head
thinking all the things their voice could not say
so together they sang until they both felt brave
they sang songs of a better world
one where if you didn’t feel your true self
you were given the chance to start again
and up to the stars for this world to be they sang
they sang and sang until their throats weren’t needed again
until the fabric of reality altered
one planned a new body to unlock her power
one planned the unlocking of their mind to re-capture their power
so that they could shred the very meaning of time
and share the secrets of life and love
found family, friendly farmers, and future plans
it all comes back around in the end
it comes from you
it comes from me
it comes from the ground under our feet
not some nothing man in the sky above
it comes from the ground
and it’s given with love
feel the earth under your feet
it grew you
it grew me
it grew our very reality
so stand on our earth
and with it SHIFT

long dormant circuitry reconnected
a past best left with the dead resurrected
with the powerful pull of rage, i revenge this
no longer do i see in grey
the blackness from which you descended
i remember and i am free

the earth grew me
and now i know i am free
watch as i SHIFT into me
watch as we SHIFT all the realities


Thanks for visiting Sarah Says. I hope wherever you are you are happy and healthy.

Odd Voices: Review

Odd Voices: An Anthology of Not So Normal Narrators
Genre: Multiple – Queer YA
Publication: February 21st 2020
Publisher: Odd Voice Out
Review copy provided as part of Review Tour – Thank You
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Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

In every new story we pick up, we’re seeking an exciting original voice. So why are there still voices we don’t hear from nearly enough? Why are there characters that so rarely take centre stage? In this collection from Odd Voice Out press, we discover the stories of twelve teenagers who stand out from the crowd and who’ll not easily be forgotten.

With settings that range from Scotland to Syria, Mexico to Mauritius, Africa to Russia, these stories take us to all corners of the globe and into the lives of young people with their own unique circumstances and perspectives. Characters dealing with issues of culture and class, exploring their sexuality and gender identity, or letting us into their experiences with illness, disability or neurodiversity. Their tales span all genres and can’t be reduced to labels. These are stories about bending the rules and breaking the law. Stories of fighting for survival and finding your place in the world. Stories of family solidarity, unlikely friendships and aching first love told by teenagers who don’t always fit in and aren’t often heard.

With a foreword by award winning YA author Catherine Johnson, this anthology brings together the top ten stories of Odd Voice Out’s 2019 Not So Normal Narrators contest, as well as bonus stories from in-house authors Kell Cowley and K.C. Finn.

How can you not be keen to read this anthology after a synopsis like that! Odd Voices is a brilliant and inclusive feeling anthology. There are stories with narrators that we do not get to see much of in mainstream YA, and the stories span multiple genres. Obviously, as with any anthology, I preferred some stories to others. But all the stories were of a high caliber.

Breathe by Eddie House. Dystopian, with F/F rep. A Great story to kick start the anthology with and one of my favourites. Captivating from start to finish, I would love to see this turned into a full-length novel. I need to know what happens next for Emmaline & Arabella, underdog teens rebelling against a corrupt health system together. 5/5 Stars.
“the thought of losing her makes my stomach shrivel. Em is my everything. My sun, sky, stars. Loving her feels like my body is a bonfire of salt and skin and blood built human.”

For Hugo by Tonia Markou. Contemporary, autistic rep. The mummy in me just wanted to hug Xander, so damn adorable! I loved this heart-warming story of a sweet boy looking for his lost pet lizard and struggling to behave the way he feels others expect him to. 5/5 Stars.
The Silence Rock by Mary Bill Howkins. Contemporary. A day in the life type story following an eleven-year-old Nigerian boy as his eyes are opened to the struggles of the women of his village community. This is a beautiful story about a thoughtful and caring young boy. 5/5 Stars.

Anchor by Colby Wren Fierek. Contemporary, non-binary rep. An achingly beautiful story about a 13-yr-old in the process of coming out. While the style of the writing caught me up a bit in some parts, I loved the relationship between dad Todd and child Viv (previously Victoria). 4/5 Stars.
“It’s hard sometimes, remembering that the way you are isn’t something that can be summed up all neat by phrases that belong to everyone else.”

Imago by Jack Bumby. Magical realism, M/M rep. The story follows Charlie as he explores his sexuality while battling memory and motor function loss. A deeply tormenting but gripping and beautiful tale. 5.5 Stars.

Love Makes Everyone (Into Poets) by Oceania Chee. Magical realism, F/F rep. The story of a teen so lovesick for her friend that she has flowers growing in her lungs that threaten to suffocate her. While I understand and appreciate the symbolism, I did struggle with the magical realism elements a little bit. 3/5 stars.

Oblivisci by A.Rose. Dystopian, with visually impaired rep. Set in a world were memories are currency, a young girl uses her extra abilities to try and save her sister and ends up overwriting the computer system that controls the memory trade. 3/5 stars.

Piano Wire by Rowan Curtis. Contemporary. The story of a Syrian girl’s life from having a peaceful and happy family life to hiding out alone in war ravaged ruins to overcrowded refugee camps to starting a new life in the UK. A Heart breaking but absolutely beautiful story. I’d love to see this story explained on and turned into a full-length novel. 5/5 Stars.

Shoplifting by Frances Copeland. Contemporary, wheelchair user rep. A day in the life style story about an orphaned teenager who uses her wheelchair invisibility to steal merchandise that she later has a friend sell. Her plan, to save up enough money to get her own apartment. Super sad, but beautiful. I’m telling myself that she gets her wish for her own place. 5/5 Stars.

Size of Rice by Sabah Carrim. Contemporary. The synopsis for this story being “A Muslim girl who finds her growing pains at odds with her religious doctrine.” Teenager, she’s just a normal teenager, being a teenager and coming to question the world around her. I think we can all relate to that. 3/5 Stars.

A last meal of magic by Kell Cowley. Urban fantasy, Albinism rep. A starving teen sets off to try and bargain for some food for his family with a woman who may or may not be a witch. Spoiler, she’s a witch. Also, cats can see ghosts – you’ll have to read it to understand why it’s so upsetting when we, the reader, find that out. 4/5 Stars.

Sixty-Five Days of Night by K.C. Finn. Cli-Fi (No not Sci-Fi, Cli-FI* – This is the first time I’ve ever come across the term. How about you?)
A gripping tale set on a future post-climate change catastrophe earth, where humans must take shifts in being in hibernation chambers as the earth can no longer support the whole population awake at once. This story has a super dark ending, but I still really liked it. 4/5 Stars.

*Definition of cli-fi in English: cli-fi. noun. mass noun. A genre of fiction that deals with the impacts of climate change and global warming. ‘cli-fi, like the science behind it, often presents bleak visions of the future’. – Google.

I’m feeling blessed to be on this tour. Odd Voices was even better than I’d hoped for!

It seems this anthology is to be an annual competition and publication process. So I will definitely be keeping an eye on this publishing house’s future releases. For more info on Odd Voice Out publishing house contest see HERE.

“If you look out of your window, wherever you live, even if you live in a tiny village, there will be different sorts of people out there. People of different races, gender identities, abilities and social classes. If your books are not reflecting that then, as a writer, you’re not truly reflecting society. And obviously stories are fiction and fiction is lies. But you should be aiming to tell the truth with your lies.” – Taken from the anthology forward by Catherine Johnson.

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Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Candy Hearts: Review

Candy Hearts by Erin McLellan
Series: So Over the Holidays #2
Publisher: Erin McLellan
Release Date (ebook): Feb. 3, 2020
Length: 50k word
Subgenre: contemporary romance, holiday romance, erotic romance
Warnings: explicit sex and language
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Mechanic Benji Holiday is so over Valentine’s Day and men who don’t get him. A weekend getaway with friends to escape the holiday hubbub is exactly what he needs. But William O’Dare—a stern and silent nightclub owner with “Be My Valentine” practically stamped on his forehead—throws a wrench into Benji’s plans.

William has spent years focused on his career, and it has cost him friendships and love. Inexperienced in the business of romance, he’s on the hunt for the perfect partner, and he’s armed with specific criteria to guide him. But William didn’t expect a hunky mechanic wrapped in satin and lace to show up on his doorstep.

Unable to resist their attraction, Benji and William agree to be secret fake valentines for the weekend, but secrets have a way of getting out. William gets struck by Cupid’s arrow, and as the weekend winds down, he doesn’t want fake or secret. He wants Benji to be his valentine for real and for keeps.

Candy Hearts is a male/male Valentine’s Day novella featuring a house party power outage, meddling friends and siblings, naughty lingerie and naughtier toys, homemade Valentine’s Day cards, and a happily ever after.

The story opens with Benji heading off for a party weekend that his sister roped him into out of town.  Benji gets all the way out to the lake house his sister told him it was being held at, only to find out no one else is there other then the attractive but standoffish home owner. We quickly find out the William (the home owner) had told the quests that the power was out and the party had to be pushed back a day – Benji never got this message. Awkward introductions out of the way, boisterous Benji is a crack up as he maneuvers around sour socks William. Soon Benji starts to wear off on William and sexy high jinks proceed. I mean what else are two queer men who are physically attracted to each other supported to do in a house without any electricity, hmmm.

Benji’s been hurt many a time and now tries to remain closed off from romantic connections. William has been out of the dating seen for quite awhile, focusing on building his carrier. All the sexy high jinks give Benji and William a feeling of instant connection and they open up to each other through a series of deep and meaningful conversations. By the end of the party weekend they both realise that there may be more that’s worth exploring other than erroneous zones and how to make each other moan. 

All in all Candy Hearts is a super cute, cheeky and fun happily-ever-after queer read, that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I recommend this book to anyone who’s after a super cute romantic pick-me up type read – as long as you man handle of whole bunch of man on man action.



About the author: Erin McLellan is the author of several contemporary romances, all of which have characters who are complex, goodhearted, and a little quirky. She likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after. Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows.

 Connect with Erin: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website | Newsletter

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