Monday, February 23, 2015

March Madness

There are a shit load of books releasing in March; so many I may have to get a small loan. Please excuse me for not linking but hey, that's what Google's for, right?   ;-)



Who Buries the Dead, A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery by C. S. Harris.  (Side note: I just discovered that Harris writes (wrote?) romance as Candace Proctor). I have no idea what number this book is in the series, but it's on up there. This is a great series, but because of the character arcs it really should be read from the beginning. Releases March 3.

Dead Heat (Alpha and Omega Book 4) by Patricia Briggs. Anna and Charles ... *sigh*. Their romance has come a long way since their debut in the short story in On the Prowl. And this installment involves horses! Yes! Releases March 3.

Vision in Silver: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop. The third book in the Others series. This is not really a romance series, although it does have romantic elements. I enjoy watching Simon get all confused about his feelings for Meg; worth the price right there, lol. Releases March 3.

Four Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James. The plot sounds a little over the top but, well, you know, it's Eloisa James and it's also the convenient marriage trope, so of course I'm getting it. Releases March 31.

Deep by Kylie Scott. This is book 4 in the Stage Dive rock band series and is Ben the drummer's story. I'll be sad when I finish reading this book because there are no more band members. *sob* Releases March 31.

Of Silk and Steam (London Steampunk Book 5) by Bec McMaster. I really like this series; it has a unique take on vampirism and the first book, Kiss of Steel is on sale right now for $1.99, if you want to give it a try. Releases March 3.

It Started with a Scandal: Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long. I really like Julie Anne Long's writing and I like the cover of this book. I'm so easy ... Releases March 31.

Soaring by Kristen Ashley. No idea what this is about, I just automatically get KA on principle, I guess. Anyway, it's Book 2 in the Magdalene series and releases March 16.

Murder in Hindsight (A New Scotland Yard Mystery Book 3) by Anne Cleeland. Good mysteries with a romantic arc over the different books and a very unusual hero. Some might not call him heroic but I (obviously) find him fascinating. Releases March 31.

Adam (Riding Hard Book 1) by Jennifer Ashley. The start of a new series by Jennifer Ashley. This story was in an anthology, but I want the stand alone copy - hell, I can't even remember the name of the anthology! It's cowboys, baybee, cowboys! And stunt riders and stuff. Oh, and of course, the wimmens who love them.  Releases March 10.

Shooting for the Stars (Gravity) by Sarina Bowen. Don't know what it's about, don't care. It's Sarina Bowen. Nuff said. Releases March 16.

                                                                             ***

I may or may not get these next two. The authors are unknown to me, but the blurbs sounded interesting.

The Fighter and the Fallen Woman by Pamela Cayne.

London, 1883

"People like us don't get happy endings."

In twelve years as a bangtail, Lady has never feared a man's kiss. Owned by the ruthless Hannibal Adams, the "Earl of the East End," she's draped in jewels and dead inside. Lady learns fear, however, when she kisses Mr. Adams's best fighter for luck—for King sees the real woman locked away behind finery and falsity.

King's life is made of fists and scars, the only things that have ever felt real to him. Even his name came from the man who owns him—the man who turned him into a champion. From the moment Lady's kiss sends him reeling, King resists wanting what he can't have. Mr. Adams never gives up what he owns.

When Lady is sent to nurse King through the tournament, she finds a new strength through the one man who's never treated her like a whore. King discovers that the woman who shares his dark world might also be the one to lead him out. And as the tournament comes to a violent finale, Lady and King must decide—stay spoiled and shackled, or break free and risk what happens when fear and dreams collide.

104,000 words

Releases March 9.

and also ...

Time Served by Julianna Keyes.

Dean Barclay had nothing to do with my decision to flee my old life, but he is 100 percent of the reason I vowed to never look back.

I've never forgotten how it felt to follow Dean—dangerous, daring, determined—away from the crowd and climb into his beat-up old Trans Am. I was sixteen and gloriously alive for the first time. When I felt his hand cover my leg and move upward, it was over. I was his. Forever.

Until I left. Him, my mom, and the trailer park. Without so much as a goodbye.

Now Dean's back, crashing uninvited into my carefully cultivated, neat little lawyerly life. Eight years behind bars have turned him rougher and bigger—and more sexually demanding than any man I've ever met. I can't deny him anything…and that just might end up costing me everything.

101,800 words

Releases March 23.

                                                                                ***

So, these are my March books. Are there any that you're looking forward to/buying? If so, please share because my philosophy is: One can never have too many books.

Happy March reading, y'all!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wishing Well by Patricia Briggs

Link to a short story on Patricia Briggs' website:


Wishing Well


It's short but packs a punch.

Monday, February 16, 2015

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

First Frost is a continuation of Ms. Addison Allen's Garden Spells. A story of the Waverly sisters 10 years later as Claire and Sydney have settled into their marriages and lives and Sydney's daughter Bey has become a teenager with magic of her own.

Like Garden Spells, this ia a tale of magic realism. A small town where people all have something about them: that family always marries well, that family is known for their luck and the Waverly's, well they're the most magical of all.

Claire is a chef who uses flowers and essences from her garden to enhance her food. She's a candy maker now and not enjoying it, not enjoying her success as it takes her away from the cooking she loves and adds more stress to her life. Sydney is a hair stylist who can always create the perfect haircut for someone. And Bey has the innate ability to see people and know where they belong in their lives (physically, such as that person belongs to an ivy league college, that one belongs to traveling 'to the wind' and that beautiful boy belongs in my life).

Bey is in love for the first time.

This is a small story about learning to reach out for happiness. But the thing is... more than anything... Sarah Addison Allen is a gorgeous writer. Each word is a polished gem, each movement in the story matters. She spins gold with her words and it's a true magic of her own.

There's a moment where Sydney is trying to help someone who doesn't want her help and she thinks that you can't catch someone who doesn't know they're falling. My heart beat faster reading that.  Or "..happiness isn't a point you leave behind. It's what ahead of you. Every single day." Wowza baby.

It's a gorgeous read. The kind of book that you curl into a comfy quilt with a plate of cookies and hot cocoa and give yourself up to. I'd give it a 10 out of 10 and feel like I graded it too low.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Infected Series by Andrea Speed

I can't get these books out of my head; I can't figure a way to do justice to them. Not without huge spoilers. I can, however, try to convey the world and the people and see how that does.

There are eight books in the series. In my opinion, the strongest are the first three:



These are m/m books with the bedroom door closed. The protagonist is Roan McKichen, who is a viral child. This means he was born with the werecat virus while most people are infected through blood and other body fluids. Most viral children are defective and don't live very long; in fact all infected have significantly shortened life spans, especially if they're infected with the tiger strain, as Roan's partner is. Roan himself has the lion strain and has beaten the odds; he is the only one of his kind. There are also panther and leopard strains.

These books were first published by Dreamspinner Press and now are reissued by the author. They are very noir; Roan is an ex-cop and a PI, and because of the virus there's a lot of blood and death. This was one thing I didn't understand or managed to miss in the text: most cats will flee if confronted with a bunch of humans, but these infected cats attacked without provocation. Perhaps it's because they're human at their core, although it was made perfectly clear that when the change is made, nothing human is left, only cat.

The infected must change once a month for 3-5 days. They have no control over this and they make sure they have cages and reinforced rooms to keep themselves and others safe. The world Ms Speed builds is much like ours, with all the HIV and STDs included and without trying Roan makes a family of his own (he was a foster child), with his partners Paris and Dylan, and Holden who used to work the streets. Hell, a damn hockey team adopts them. I love the hockey team, every one of them.

Each book contains two or three cases Roan works, along with the building of relationships. Yes, the books are dark, but the relationships more than make up for that.. The love between Roan and Paris is a beautiful thing. Roan's powers grow throughout the books as his health deteriorates, until at the end he has a decision to make. I would say the books end with a HFN.

Book Two absolutely devastated me.

I'm so glad I found these books - can't remember how I found them, but I do rejoice. This is a great series and I highly recommend it.


Reading and Reading and Reading

If you've read Carolyn's recent reviews then you know there's been some damned good books on our Kindle. And damn the woman, it's hard to say no when she's raving about titles.

RISE by Karina Bliss is really all that. I wasn't crazy about the first book and if this was a continuation then I wasn't crazy interested. But Carolyn told me to try and I did and wow, that's a damned good story.

One of the best things was that they were all adults. Acted like adults, fucked up like adults and again, acted like adults.

Radiance by Grace Draven. Holy everything that's good and sweet and wonderful. Here's a book that starts great and stays at that same level throughout. The characters understood what was happening to them and therefore didn't blame the other, they got to know each other (one human, one not) and went from friendship to love in a natural progression that was sweet.

Hated the end though and only because it was a cliffhanger.

Just Kids by Patti Smith. I'm an old Patti Smith fan and this is a book about her early life in New York with her lover/muse/best friend Robert Mapplethorpe. If you don't know Mapplethorpe, he was a highly talented, controversial photographer. I had some of his prints years back.

The book describes New York at a time when artists were searching for new expression, when there were patrons for art and well, a real bohemian kind of life. The personal story is a heartbreak: Smith and Mapplethorpe being best friends, lovers, friends again and ultimately each other's heartbreak.

Until the Sun Falls From the Sky and At Peace by Kristen Ashley. These are books 2 and 3 in the Bur series (I think). Until the Sun is a story with a widow and her security guard neighbor. He has a bad history, a mobster keeps killing the men in her life and of course, there's lots of sex and the woman is feisty.

In this one basically the hero tells the mother of 2 how to raise her children and she doesn't slam his head into the sidewalk but rather accepts that he's right and she's wrong. By the way, I would have shot him. (That's a KA thing in every book: the hero tells the heroine how to act and she always knows that he knows best.)(Barf)

At Peace just sucked. Start to finish, bad book.

Got a new Laura Florand, a new Sarah Addison Allen and a few more... might come out later once I get them read.

**Edited to add**

I WISH by Elizabeth Langston. It was a daily deal (I think) at DA and sounded good. Well, I just finished it in one sitting. Oh my, such a good book.

It's YA. A 17 year old girl whose life has fallen apart and she's barely keeping her family together. She gets a genie and her choices for wishes are unlike what anyone would expect.

It's an intriguing story and one that doesn't go where expected. So good. I'd highly recommend it.

Now I'm going to read Trouble in Texas. Hot cowboy on the cover. I am so all over that.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Almost Like Being In Love

A high school jock and nerd fall in love senior year, only to part after an amazing summer of discovery to attend their respective colleges. They keep in touch at first, but then slowly drift apart.

Flash forward twenty years.

Travis and Craig both have great lives, careers and loves. But something is missing .... Travis is the first to figure it out. He's still in love with Craig, and come what may, he's going after the boy who captured his heart, even if it means forsaking his job, making a fool of himself, and entering the great unknown.


I saw this book discussed on Dear Author and it sounded like my cup of tea. Told in emails, lists, narrative... it's a charming book. And the characters are awesome.

Travis is a delightful mess. He's neurotic, a theater geek (I so relate), smart as hell and the guy who gets pushed around and called names by the jocks. Which, by the way, is taken care of by Craig in a delightful manner.

They're a delightful pair and their falling in love is sweet. You can't help but root for them.

Then the story fast forwards and the strangest thing happens. Travis decides to go after Craig, the true love who got away. But Craig has been in a 12 year relationship with Clayton and damn it all, I was rooting for the 12 year relationship to survive.

Travis was still an awesome character but there was no way that the reader could want a really terrific relationship to end.

It was the first time I didn't root for the hero even though I loved him. even Travis thought that Criag and Clayton belonged together.

What can I say? Mr. Kluger wrote the characters so well that a happy ending wasn't all that happy.

Still, I'd suggest this book as a fun read and charming as all get out. Just watch the emotional roller coaster when it comes. And I don't mean the characters, I mean yours.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Radiance by Grace Draven

I checked waaaay back, since I've been delinquent regarding labels/tags, and can't find that I've ever written anything here about Radiance, so ... now I am.   :-)  Have a blurb:


~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.  


And have a cover:


Btw, it was fascinating watching this cover come together. Ms Draven tantalized us on Facebook with updates, from the time she found her model for Ildiko to the finished produce. I like it because it's not a photograph or people hugging in the snow.

It was fun watching these two go from wary strangers to loving couple. There's not an ounce of instalove in this book. Both characters have loving hearts and want to make a success of their political marriage  This is, in its own way, a quiet romance in an arranged marriage where the couple did not automatically hate each other 'just because'. 

I especially liked the way they teased each other, using this as a way to try to become comfortable with the differences between them. Ildiko got a shock every time Brishen smiled because he had fangs; she called him Wolf and he called her Horse, which is the only thing he could compare her square teeth to. Their eyes were different too, and Brishen (and all Kai) felt nauseous when Ildiko rolled her eyes (something romance heroines tend to do). She began to roll them deliberately, just to watch the reactions.

And so, as they lived and traveled together, they advanced from respect to affection, to trust and to love. 

The second half has much more action; fighting, kidnapping and the ending! The ending left me with my mouth agape and I hope Ms Draven is writing quickly because I want the next book in the Wraith King saga, like NOW!

The setting is fantastical; the world isn't ours nor are the people. But this is a very realistic romance, with characters I can relate to and root for. There's not one of Grace Draven's books I haven't enjoyed.

Highly recommended. Hope you'll give it a try.