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satisfying-summer-reads-0Mikey Rox is an award-winning writer, blogger and journalist whose work has appeared in more than 100 print and online publications in North America and Europe…

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satisfying-summer-reads-2Miguel’s Secret Journal
By A.V. Zeppa
In this debut novel by recently out author A.V. Zeppa, a teacher of English and music at New York City’s Hostos-Lincoln Academy, title character Miguel is a 15-year-old gay Latino who lives in a poor and violent section of the South Bronx. A gifted artist who is emotionally, physically and sexually abused, Miguel meets Gabriel, another gay student at school with whom he falls in love. As the boys’ relationship deepens, Gabriel lets Miguel in on a not-so-little secret that will change his life – and perhaps the course of humanity – forever. Miguel’s Secret Journal is the first in a planned series.

satisfying-summer-reads-3Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender
By Nick Krieger
Author Nick Krieger’s eye-opening transgender memoir isn’t just about making the transition from woman to man, but rather about dismissing a binary way of life and blurring the lines between gender and identity. This story of self-discovery starts when lesbian travel writer Nina moves to San Francisco’s Castro district and meets a group of queer friends who modify their bodies and debunk tradition ideas of gender. Soon Nina begins to make her own appearance more masculine – first by refusing to shave her legs and eventually opting for surgery to reduce and reform her chest. During this empowering journey, Nina transforms into Nick, a self-aware entity who’s content existing somewhere in the middle.

satisfying-summer-reads-4Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens
By Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke
A sort of handbook for LGBT teens everywhere, authors Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke offer this comprehensive guide that includes sections on how to come out (and handle the repercussions), ways to deal with bigotry and homophobia, how to find likeminded friends, dating, sex and more. Often interjected with humor and personal anecdotes, this must-read also includes fascinating sidebars on queer history and a wealth of health, community, safety, political and reading resources that send a message more along the lines of “the best is yet to come” opposed to “it gets better.”

satisfying-summer-reads-5Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight
By Loren A. Olson
Between three and eight percent of the U.S. male population is gay, and prominent Midwestern psychiatrist Loren A. Olsen is among them. But for 40 years his life was built on a lie: After two decades of marriage to a loving and devoted wife, Olsen – a father and grandfather – accepted that he was romantically and sexually attracted to men. The result of his experience is this powerful tell-all that explores human sexuality – particularly that of mature men – and how to cope with coming out later in life.

satisfying-summer-reads-6Rounding Third
By Walter G. Meyer
In the eyes of his father, 17-year-old Rob Wardell is a failure. He doesn’t fit in at home, at school, or on the baseball field where he warms the bench if only to appease his disappointed dad. But Rob’s outlook changes when he befriends the team’s new star pitcher, Josh Schlagel, and engages in an off-field relationship that leads to an outcome that neither boy anticipated. Popular jock Josh has a secret – and the bruises to prove it – and when all is revealed, Rob must step up to the plate to save his friend from a harrowing truth that he’s kept hidden for so long.

satisfying-summer-reads-7Palm Trees on the Hudson
By Elliot Tiber
Before Woodstock and Stonewall, author Elliot Tiber was one of Manhattan’s most sought-after interior designers. Hired to throw a lavish party on a Hudson River dayliner – the guests of which included prominent politicians and entertainers, including his icon Judy Garland – Tiber vowed to outdo himself, transforming the ship into a floating Arabian oasis, complete with exotic palm trees, top-notch cuisine and deck-out servers. Mission accomplished – almost. Because as the cruise was underway, the evening veered dramatically (and often humorously) off course – ultimately taking Tiber’s life with it.

satisfying-summer-reads-8Games Frat Boys Play
By Todd Gregory
In this sizzling follow-up to Every Frat Boy Wants It, author Todd Gregory returns to California State University-Polk where boarding-school brat Jordy Valentine is starting his first semester. Immediately intrigued by Beta Kappa fraternity and enamored by its rush chair, Chad York, Valentine pursues the handsome Greek god only to be rejected. Scorned, the freshman devises a plan to physically transform himself in order to catch the eye of York and in the process is thrust into a world of illicit locker-room trysts and late-night encounters with other brothers.

satisfying-summer-reads-9Mogul
By Terrance Dean
Hot on the heels of the latest same-sex hip-hop scandal (NYC DJ Mister Cee was recently arrested for public lewdness – receiving oral sex in a car from another man), author Terrance Dean’s compelling page-turner follows Big A.T., who climbs the rungs of the music industry ladder with the help of powerful Larry “Pop” Singleton. Identifying A.T.’s potential to become a powerhouse producer, Pop introduces the rising star to Tickman, a Brooklyn lyricist with whom he begins a secret affair. But when scandalous photos of A.T. surface on the desk of a national news program – and land in the hands of his girlfriend, Jasmine – A.T. must decide whether to come clean or keep quiet for the sake of his career.

satisfying-summer-reads-10Hidden
By Tomas Mournian
After enduring 11 months of abuse at Serenity Ridge, a gay-to-straight bootcamp for “troubled” teens, Ahmed escapes to San Francisco where he finds an underground safehouse inhabited by seven other runaways. Now know as Ben, Ahmed find solace in his new life with these misfit strangers, who struggle to survive omnipresent angst, infighting and desires that threaten their secret society, while also struggling to remain below the radar of would-be captors until they’re legal adults. Publishers Weekly said that author Tomas Mournian’s fiction debut will have readers “almost suffocating on the palpable sense of fear and claustrophobia that permeates this heartbreaking story.”

satisfying-summer-reads-11The Road Home
By Michael Thomas Ford
After a car accident incapacitates 40-year-old photographer Burke Crenshaw, he returns to his widowed father’s house to recuperate and receive temporary full-time care. As his dad embarks on a new relationship, the ailing Burke begins a quest of his own – to uncover a 125-year-old mystery hidden in a series of letters from a Civil War soldier to his fiancé. With the help of local librarian Sam Guffrey, Burke unexpectedly unlocks a past that forces him to confront his own – the choices he made, coming to terms with his mother’s death, repairing the relationship with his estranged father, and ultimately how to live as a successful and confident gay man.

Mikey Rox is an award-winning writer, blogger and journalist whose work has appeared in more than 100 print and online publications in North America and Europe, including The Advocate, CNN.com, The Washington Blade and The Examiner newspapers, among others. He can be reached at mikey@paperroxscissors.com

Is it possible that President Barrack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. read my recent article in Hotspots Magazine on why same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry?

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