Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rusty Knob by Erica Chilson Blog Tour

The townsfolk of Rusty Knob, West Virginia, see the Gillettes as ignorant wastes of space– worthless drunk sponges. As the youngest, Wynn may be a Gillette, but he doesn’t act, nor think like one. At only seventeen, he studies hard, plays basketball harder, and works the hardest.

Wynn is numb to his core, no longer feeling the hits that keep knocking him down to the ground. He’s unable to see the bright future laid out before him. Royce Kennedy, a distant relative, tries all he can do to save the youngest generation of Gillettes from the dark shroud of bitter ignorance infecting them via their neglectful upbringing.

Wynn’s studying is to the backdrop of drunken chaos, his relationship with friends and family are tainted by a narrow world view, and his life is filled with more questions than answers. His every dollar earned is bled dry come payday, only to have his parents piss it down the toilet or blow caustic smoke to billow in the air.

A warped sense of loyalty forces Wynn to be his family’s enabler, and he’s paying the ultimate price. With the support system of Royce, the mentor of the school district’s LGBTQ online community, and Wynn’s friends, they try to prove to Wynn he deserves anything he needs, whether he earns it or not. Growing up in an ignorant wasteland, he never learned love, friendship, and respect are unconditional, can never be purchased, and should never be abused.

Wynn Gillette is at a crossroads. One thing’s for sure, he cannot continue on this destructive path. Wynn has to end the only life he’s ever known, breaking the bitter legacy passed down from one generation to the next. One way or the other. Permanently.

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Book 1
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“Are men born with the ability to shut their ears to a woman?”

That warm feeling in my heart is radiating with the force of the Sun. I start chuckling. “Yeah, it’s our only defense against a woman’s momma voice.”

“Shush now, and eat your… plate of gray.” Penny sets our plates on the table, and then nudges my books to the side. “I’m sure it’s tasty.”

I swallow thickly as I stare down at the viscous mass glued to my plate. “Do we have any pepper?”

Penny growls, “No,” while never taking her eyes off of me.

“Kids, did you know kings and queens employ royal food testers to see if they’ve been poisoned?” I stick my fork into the funky-textured food. “We might be getting a dog… and some pepper.” I choke down a bite, holding back a shudder as my taste buds revolt.

Everyone digs in after I swallow.

I down half a glass of water, trying to flush away how it coats my tongue. It’s surprisingly tasteless. I’m not sure how Penny accomplished that feat.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will begin my review by telling you that I was one of the beta readers for Rusty Knob. For those of you who don’t know what a beta reader is, that means I was asked to read the book for storyline continuity, errors, flow, and my general impressions on it. As I have been a huge fan of Chilson’s writing since I stumbled upon her first book Restraint as a freebie three years ago, I was delighted for the opportunity to get my gritty little paws on Rusty Knob as it’s the author’s first venture in this genre – a full-fledged M/M coming of age novel. Although I typically read a book a day, I allotted myself several days for the beta read as I planned to read it twice because I wanted to help the author deliver you the best copy of her work possible. This turned out to be a good decision on my part because I found myself getting so caught up in the storyline that I forgot to look for errors – even on the second read through when I already knew what was going to happen. I was sucked in.

I absolutely loved Wynn and despised his parents and the life he was forced to live because of them. Yet because of it, Wynn knows who he is as a man even if he has no idea who he is as a sexual being. I identified with Wynn so much in this book – not the sexuality issue, but the wanting to do more with his life than tradition called for (and fortunately I had family support that he did not). Because Chilson presents the book from Wynn’s point of view, I felt and experienced his frustration, his confusion, his pain, his ah-ha moments, his relief once he became aware of his sexuality, his lust and love for that person, his anger, his elation, and his overwhelming love for his family (even those who didn’t deserve it). Chilson writes the first person point of view so beautifully that I find myself immersed in her characters (whatever the book) and I am loath for it to end, and Rusty Knob was no exception. Despite the maelstrom of emotions that Wynn experiences, I loved being in his head. Wynn is a good kid, a confused kid who has been forced to grow up long before he should have, but a good kid with a good heart who only wants the best for those he loves. But even Wynn has his breaking point and when he found his, I found myself grabbing for the tissues because I was bawling…on both reads. I repeat. I. Was. Sucked. In.

Now for your warnings. The beginning of Rusty Knob contains a lot of very authentic hillbilly speech, so if you are a reader who cannot deal with a book in which the dialogue is written as the words are spoken you may have an issue with early parts of the novel – but do soldier on because it’s so worth it. As someone who grew up in a redneck area, I recognized many of the ideals and misconceptions fostered by the older generations found in Rusty Knob and this added an authenticity to the book that will drive some readers bonkers because they won’t want to believe people still think and act this way. My final warning is borderline spoilerish so I’ll try to say it without spelling it out. Rusty Knob is a Coming of Age novel about a young man questioning his sexuality and as Wynn is a good kid, there are no full-on sex scenes. But don’t despair because this does not meant that the book is lacking in sexy fun times because what does occur once Wynn embraces his sexuality is HOT!

One of the many reasons I enjoyed Rusty Knob and Chilson’s writing in general is because she makes me laugh and cry and everything in between and it doesn’t matter whether it’s the first time I read the book or the fifth. For me, that’s the mark of a truly enjoyable book and a talented author. Thankfully I have a handful of authors whose writing affects me that way who I can call upon when I’m in need of a cathartic read. And in the case of Rusty Knob, Wynn’s journey is fraught with emotion and I enjoyed every single page of it. In case you haven’t figured it out, I loved Rusty Knob! While I am admittedly biased as Chilson is one of my favorite authors, I do so hope you take a chance and give it a read. As for me, I’m anxiously awaiting the beta read for its sequel and thanks to a rabid muse, I shouldn’t have too long to wait.

Erica Chilson does not write in the 3rd person, wanting her readers to be her characters. Therefore, writing a bio about herself, is uncomfortable in the extreme.

Born, raised, and here to stay, the Wicked Writer is a stump-jumper, a ridge-runner. Hailing from North Central Pennsylvania, directly on the New York State border; she loves the changes in seasons, the humid air, all the mountainous forest, and the gloomy atmosphere.

Introverted, but not socially awkward, Erica prides herself on thinking first and filtering her speech. There are days she doesn’t speak at all. If it wasn’t for the fact that she lives with her parents, giving her a sense of reality, she would be a hermit, where the delivery man finds her months after expiration.

Reading was an escape, a way to leave a not-so pleasant reality behind. Reading lent Erica the courage she gathered from the characters between the pages to long for a different life. Writing was an instrument of change, evolving Erica into the woman she is today- a better, more mature, more at peace thinker.

Erica has a wicked mind, one she pours out into her creations. Her filter doesn’t allow all of it to erupt, much to her relief. Sarcastic, with a very dark, perverse sense of humor, Erica puts a bit of herself into every character she writes.

Connect with Erica

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I was provided a free copy of Rusty Knob (Rusty Knob #1) by Erica Chilson to read and review.


  1. Thanks for hosting a stop on the RUSTY KNOB Blog Tour.

  2. Great review. Looking forward to the second book too.

  3. *waves* Sure is sunny on your blog, Angela! Thanks a billion for all you do: everything with Wicked Reads, organizing the blog tours, and beta reading. But most importantly, for just listening to whatever I type in our messages :D