How We Began (Belen’s Review)

howwebeganTitle: How We Began
Author: Alexis Hall, Delphine Dryden, Vanessa North, Amy Jo Cousins, Annabeth Albert, Geonn Cannon and Edie Danford (Editor)
Publisher: Pink Kayak Press
Release Date: November 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary, Sci-Fi, Futuristic
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


A charity anthology of YA short stories, all proceeds to support The Trevor Project’s work with crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth.

TruNorth by Alexis Hall

He’s the nice one. Everybody’s third or fourth favourite. His name is Noah and his job is to be young and free, wild but not too wild, exciting but safe. He has everything he’s ever wanted, and he’s beginning to think it sucks.
When TruNorth play New Berlin, he follows his bandmate Callum (the quiet one, the one the shy girls go for) into the old city. To a club where everything is possible and everything is true.

Set in a distant future, this short tale centers on Noah who won a place in a boy band on a televised (like a Britain’s got Talent type) show and has basically had his life stripped from him. When he follows his band-mate to an underground privacy club he finds out more than he ever knew about the boy who’s been next to him for years, and himself.

Unexpected Dragons by Delphine Dryden

If Zev could wish his way into his dragon form, he would already be flying with the rest of his training group. But now it’s high summer, and fear is taking over. If he hasn’t made the change by now…maybe he’ll never be a dragon.

Zev doesn’t want to leave the village on the crag, leave his family and the rest of the dragon kin. He doesn’t want to go down to the grasslands where the non-kin live—flat landers, earthbound. He worries his friend Rook may be headed that way. So how can Rook seem so calm about it?

But once Zev does change, a new dilemma greets him. Even staying in the village may mean a life he didn’t bargain for. If only he could borrow a little of Rook’s patient wisdom–reach out and take it from his slender hands, his petal-soft lips. If only Zev could unfurl his new wings and follow Rook up and up and up, into the blinding brilliance of a summer sky.

I just had a lot of fun with this shifter story. I found myself really hoping for more of Zev and Rook’s story.

A Song for Sweater-boy by Vanessa North

Ash Cooper has made a mess—an angry prank turned into a criminal mischief charge and now he’s on probation. Jamie Allen has a talent for pattern recognition, but he’s not so great with people—how can someone as well-liked as Ash Cooper not have all the answers? An unlikely friendship springs up between them as they navigate senior year, a probation sentence, and—oh

Vanessa North’s story was a winner for me. Cute and totally enjoyable. The way Jamie’s autism is handled was pretty brilliant, and I loved Ash and Mel!

The Taste of Coffee and Cream by Amy Jo Cousins

Jude lives for Saturdays, when she can hop a bus and escape to wander the streets of a town where no one knows her, reveling in the freedom to be her true self. She isn’t interested in making friends, but some people become friends whether you invite them to or not.

Owen works the counter at the coffee shop where Jude changes clothes and she thinks maybe he knows things she usually keeps hidden. When he reveals her secret to someone else, Jude will have to decide if she can hang onto enough trust to let her take the biggest risk of all…


First in Line by Annabeth Albert

When new Cathia College freshman, Ethaniel Rhodes arrives on campus, he’s determined to finally be true to himself, but getting the courage to follow through with his plan proves harder than he thought. Unexpected allies, new friends, and an intriguing upperclassman all complicate his first days on campus. Ultimately, however, only Ethaniel can decide whether the time is right to take a leap of faith.

This was good. I found myself holding my breath at odd times until I finally let out a sigh of relief when I got my HFN at the end.

Extinction Level Events by Geonn Cannon

Recent high-school graduate Cassandra Keane is leaving the town she’s known her whole life and heading to college. Before she goes, she has a list of things she has to do that includes a difficult conversation with her best friend. As her time runs out, Cassandra learns there are some things you can’t plan, and other things you can miss even if they’re right under your nose.

This was the F/F story in the group. It had heart and was sweet.

Bottom Line: The stories are good, some are even great, but the cause? The cause is fantastic. 5 Stars for the cause. All proceeds going to support The Trevor Project’s work with crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth means one thing – BUY THIS BOOK!!

Buy Link GoodReads Edie Danford Alexis Hall Delphine Dryden Vanessa North Amy Jo Cousins Annabeth Albert Geonn Cannon

Advanced Review Copy

Copy generously provided by Pink Kayak Press in exchange for an honest review.


I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I'm happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand. I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I'm in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA! My biggest no-no's are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my "Favorite M/M" stories:

Carry the Ocean The Half of Us Red Dirt Heart Adulting 101 Tied Up In Knots
Shelter the Sea Manties in a Twist David, Renewed Ethan who Loved Carter Perfect Imperfections
Wolfsong Fight the Tide How to Walk Like A Man The Lightning-Struck Heart Forging the Future
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