Friday, July 31, 2015

Just How Hot Was July? Check Out This Installment of Booyah Books!

Cheers, everyone, I hope your summer has been filled with lots of great reading! I know for a fact we at The Novel Approach had a record month, and I'm so glad to be able to share it with you. Never before have we come up with a list of Top Picks this extensive. Not only are there more of us able to participate this month (because more of us had titles we could personally choose from), but there are more of us than ever before who had a hard time settling on just one title, which is why you'll not only find a couple of honorable mentions, but we also have our first Buddy Read title included too.

As always, I'm offering the chance for one reader to win an e-copy of any TWO titles on our list this month, so if you see something you haven't read yet, and that title captures your fancy, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway!

Good luck!


PiaWork in Progress by John Inman – I adore John Inman, I really do, and I’m glad I got to listen to Work in Progress, the second book in the Belladonna Arms series.

I think Caleb Dickinson did a great job narrating. Each person had depth and character, and I never once got confused or had to ask myself who was speaking.

Find Pia’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE

KarenThe Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune – I honestly don’t even know where to start.

I originally read this blurb and thought, nope not going to be for me. But come on, it’s TJ Klune and you are going to have to read it.  Oh I was so, so wrong. This book was exactly what I needed.  I didn’t think I would ever come across another book that would have me laughing so hard I was crying the way that Tell Me It’s Real did, but this one absolutely did.  The dialogue and banter was super fast and snarky and random and filled with complete awesomeness!

Find Karen’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE

JulesHim by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy – Seriously hot. Seriously swoony. Seriously good.

When I first started reading Him, I was just coming off of a couple of really fantastic reads, both of which were completely different types of books from what I expected this one to be. I worried that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do adrenaline-fueled, high testosterone, alpha males. Him blew my expectations out of the water. I quickly realized that I was putting it in a certain box in my head, which also ended up getting blown to smithereens. I absolutely loved this book.

Find Jules' Full Review and Buy Links HERE

MaryannWounded Hearts by Remmy Duchene and BL Morticia – What a terrific start to a new series. Wounded Hearts is such a great collaboration by Remmy Duchene and BL Morticia. I really loved this story; lots of humor, sexy talk, ranching, a cop, and a cowboy. And watch out for the mud wrestling! There’s no mysterious plot or outrageous secrets, just a young, beautiful man from the city, and a crazy, gorgeous, older cowboy, who get so wound up in each other they just keep putting those important conversations on hold. And that certainly leads to some head-butting.

Find Maryann’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE

CarrieLessons for Idle Tongues by Charlie Cochrane (Honorable Mention: Make Me Soar by K.C. Wells) – How does she do it? How does Charlie Cochrane’s mind come up with this stuff? Just when you think you might have it all figured out… That would be a no. I love it!

Each of the installments in the Cambridge Fellows series is a standalone book; however, you do really get a continuity of characters if you read them from the beginning. Many of her main characters, Jonty and Orlando and their friends and family – even the servants – all have their places in the timeline.

Find Carrie’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE

LanaThe Butcher, the Baker, and the Custom Bike Maker by Mathew Ortiz – Mr. Ortiz knows how to write hot Southern men. They have sex appeal, charm, some are more alpha than others, they are secure in who they are, yet they are always looking for their true love. They love their families and friends, some are real mama’s boys, but they are all good men who just want love and companionship. These are my favorite type of characters to read about. All his characters are sarcastic and funny, and always find the bright side to life. This story is a love affair between two men who are meant to be together. They get their happy ending and eat more food!

Find Lana’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE

JenniferLonely Shore by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen – If book one in this series was intense, book two punches you in the gut on page one and keeps going until the end. I mean honestly, the authors do not let up, and even though you want the pain to stop, you need to know what happens, so you keep reading. I whimpered from page one on, and full out cried from chapter ten through sixteen, and I’m not exaggerating either.

If you read book one, you must read this book. If you like science fiction, I highly recommend this series. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Skip Trace, which I’m sure will be another fantastic installment!

Find Jennifer’s Full Review HERE

LynnThe Secrets of a Twin/When a Twin Peeks by Liberty Lace – I’ve never read this author before, so I went into this not knowing what to expect. Having said that, I have read twincest before, so I knew what my expectations were. This author delivered in more ways than one. I’ll definitely be reading more of her stories. I know the sub-genre of twincest isn’t for everyone, but if I could recommend a starter book for those who want to get their feet wet, The Secrets of a Twin would be the one I’d pick.

What I like most about these taboo stories is the understanding behind the characters. I like going through the process with them; the confusion they go through when they realize they love their sibling more than is socially acceptable. Typically, shorter stories don’t let us see that process, so it feels as though we’re missing a big chunk, but that isn’t the case with When a Twin Peeks. This author knows how to get a full story in with very few words. I loved it.

Find Lynn’s Full Reviews and Buy Links HERE/HERE

SammyBilly Goat Stats by John C. Houser – This story…wow. Coming of age? Check. Coming out? Check. First love? Check. Humor, intelligent dialogue, fast paced action, honest emotions, realistic consequences, no easy fixes, beautifully heart wrenching relationships? Check Plus! The development of both Jonah and Billy’s characters that takes place in this sequel was all one could hope for and then some. Here is the place these young men begin to really grow up and make life choices that will map out their futures either together or apart. As coming-of-age novels go, Billy Goat Stats was handled expertly and carefully, making it as realistic a story as possible and yet still remain fiction. Actions had consequences, friendships were developed—sometimes painfully so, and teenage boys made their first steps toward being mature and responsible adults. Intermixed with all this was a burgeoning love story that simply swept you away in waves of humor and vulnerability.

Find Sammy’s Full Review HERE

SadonnaWild Fragile Vines by Vivien Dean – There is nothing better than a good short story that is emotional without being melodramatic.

What a beautifully poignant story of a love that smolders for many years before it can burn brightly. Wild Fragile Vines is highly recommended as a wonderful example of a complete short story.

Find Sadonna’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE

TazLove on the Web by Neil Plakcy – Whew! This was a book I couldn’t put down. In fact, I woke up this morning with my Kindle resting on my chest after having lost the battle to stay awake late into the wee hours. Of course, I simply picked the book right up and continued on the journey. What I enjoyed about the book was how all the elements I love about stories were present. The main character had a clear talent for coding of computer apps (well, anything techie really), and the pages were filled with descriptions of the work he needed to do and how his work made him the cream that rose to the top. Along with that, the author included a cadre of weird family members, co-workers and roommates who fleshed out the main character. And, of course, Larry had not one but two extremely hot men who were both pursuing him. One of those men was sweet as sugar, while the other was vile. Don’t you just love when there’s a villain you can hate?

Find Taz’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE

AngelWhere There’s Fire (Honorable Mention: Retrograde by RJ Scott) – Cari Z. delivers another excellent, action packed adventure from Panopolis! I will never look at Heroes and Villains the same way again, and neither will you. This is a most excellent thing, indeed.

When I saw this title go up as one of our choices, I jumped on it. I could not get enough of the first book in the series, and though it was only a little over a month ago that I read Where There’s Smoke, it felt like forever. It was so well done, I hadn’t forgotten a thing about the plot, and Fire picks up shortly after where Smoke ended. It is still the gritty, realistic fantasy that packs a well-placed punch to the gut when all is revealed in this installment.

Find Angel’s Full Review and Buy Links HERE

LisaDeath by Dragon by Madeleine Ribbon – If you’ve ever finished a book and thought, Dear gods of all fiction, please let there be a sequel, then you’ve been exactly where I am after reading Madeleine Ribbon’s Death by Dragon. Not because the storyline necessarily needs one but because the characters and the world they live in need one. And me. I need one too.

Why I loved this book has much to do with the narrator of the story, Fell (short for Raphael) Harwick. Fell is a witch with extraordinary healing abilities. He’s also become a bit of a recluse since there’s a vampire who aims to kidnap him and make Fell his mindless meat-puppet in an attempt to reign supreme over the kingdom of “others” with which Ribbon has populated this novel. Witch: check. Vampires: check. Shifters: check. Dragon: check-check. What makes Fell an outcast even more than being a witch, though, is the other half of his biology, courtesy of his father. Fell’s also part incubus, and we all know what sort of shenanigans the incubi are capable of.

But wait, there’s more…

Find My Full Review and Buy Links HERE

Buddy Pick (Jules and Lisa)Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell – When Jules and I both wanted to read and review Santino Hassell’s Sutphin Boulevard, we decided the only fair way to accomplish it was to do a buddy read. What happened after that decision was a series of text messages and Facebook PMs that probably could have turned into a single review for how much we loved every single thing about this book, from the gorgeously drawn characters to the heartbreaking descent of one man’s downward spiral into addiction, and another’s promise to wait for him until he finds a way to heal all the ways his life had become an affliction.

Rather that copy and paste quotes from both of our reviews, I’ll just post the link HERE and tell you that this book is everything great contemporary fiction is about. :)


And that does it for this month. Until August, happy reading!

And here's that Rafflecopter widget I was telling you all about:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Sizzling Start to the Summer - Booyah Books! The June Edition

Welcome back for another look at some of the books we at The Novel Approach loved in the month of June. As always, it wasn't an easy choice--I read no less than four novels that could have easily made the cut--but I think we've got an outstanding and varied assortment of titles to offer this month--from a look back at 1969 and the Stonewall Inn, to some sci-fi and supernatural, and everything in between.

And, as always, we're giving one reader the chance to win TWO e-titles from our selections. To enter for the chance to win, just leave a comment (**Including Your Email Address**) right here by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Sunday, July 5, 2015. One winner will be selected at random on Monday, the 6th, and notified by email for prize delivery.

Good luck!

And now, here are our list of June's Book of the Month titles:


KarenMurder and Mayhem by Rhys Ford – “Not that I didn’t know it before reading this book, but I honestly, in my opinion, don’t believe Rhys Ford can write a bad story. Everything I have read that she has written is amazing, and this may be my new favorite from her.

This book is a little different than what I am used to getting in a Rhys Ford book, and I have sat here and rewrote this sentence multiple times, trying to come up with the right words, or something to try to explain what makes it different, and I got nothing. The best I can think of is that this book is a little grittier than I what I am used to in her books. You still get all the things you love in a Rhys Ford book, though: you get mystery, love, humor – but in maybe a little darker package.”

Read Karen’s Full Review HERE

AngelA Counselor Among Wolves by Liv Olteano – “Paranormal politics, as well as those of the PIB, are a big part of this book and bring up even more of the realistic issues people face today. The dynamics were dizzying, but understandable, and all too relevant to real world debates on similar topics.

The mystery here deepens and expands on the first book, and though this is, again, a complete story, you are still left with questions about who exactly is behind all the disruptions. Other characters that I adored in the first book made a return appearance, and I want to see their stories, too, no matter if they are straight or gay. In fact, I’d really like to see the author’s take on a good straight relationship in this world she has created. Regardless of my desires, I am really loving the series and hope the author continues to deliver an excellent tale.”

Read Angel’s Full Review HERE

JulesFor Real by Alexis Hall – “Alexis Hall perfectly executes the alternating POV between the chapters. It changes each chapter, beginning with Laurie – though, there is one chapter near the very end where the author gives us both together – and I’ve never seen a better job done of giving such clear, distinct voices to the players. Granted, the age difference alone makes them completely disparate characters, but Hall gives Toby such a PERFECT nineteen-year-old voice, it makes all the difference. And, Laurie’s exasperation with his life in general, as well as his passion and reluctance to let Toby in, are written so incredibly well. I felt an instant connection to both of the guys.

Toby’s relationship with his grandfather is remarkable, and allows the reader to see where he got some of his stability and ideas of what love should be like. The way Hall trickled out the information about Toby’s mother, and kept it a bit of a mystery, was also interesting and worked very well. And, the class/economic differences between Toby and Laurie, and how that affected particularly Toby’s mindset and choices, was handled very well and was so realistic.”

Read Jules’ Full Review HERE

CarrieWood, Screws & Nails by Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme – “It is Malachi’s steadfastness and honorable work ethic that wins Aaron over little by little. These two do not just jump into a relationship; they build it like they are building the lake house, a little at the time. And what an incredibly hot journey! Who wouldn’t love two incredible men working construction, with the sexual tension being off the charts?

I would highly recommend this book – especially in audio! Paul Morey does a fantastic job with the narration and vocal inflections of the characters. I always knew which character was speaking from the tone of voice Paul used. This was my first audiobook, and I thoroughly enjoyed having Paul Morey tell me a story – especially such a hot one!”

Read Carrie’s Full Review HERE

TazNo Boundaries by SE Jakes – “No Boundaries is the first book I’ve read by SE Jakes. All I can say is, what the hell is wrong with me that it took me this long? In this story, we meet Marcus and Cole. Both men have spotty pasts which haunt them, which makes them hesitant to accept what the other has to offer…namely, happiness and acceptance.

The action in this story is crafted beautifully, interwoven seamlessly with the emotional struggle of each character. The cast of secondary characters are well-developed, although they don’t deter from the main protagonists and their journey.”

Read Taz’s Full Review HERE

LanaTruth & Tenderness by Tere Michaels – Evan, Matt, and the gang are back for more adventures in the city! I am sooooo in love with Evan and Matt, I just can’t explain how much, but if I have one pet peeve about Trust & Tenderness, it is that there was too much focus on the supporting characters and not enough of Evan and Matt. Yes, I know I always say that I wanted more of the supporting characters, but here, less would have been more. But, I loved this peek into their lives nonetheless.

Evan and Matt have settled into a routine. Matt’s security business has taken off. Evan is now a captain and has his own precinct, albeit a trophy one and he still feels that he got the job because he is gay rather than on his merits. Jim and Griffin have moved to the East Coast. Jim is in business with Matt and Griffin, and is finishing his first major movie production. Both are restless and are wondering what the next step is. Is a baby the answer? And…you’ll need to read the book to find out. Jim’s past also catches up with him, and there is some excitement. Let’s just say that loose ends are neatly tied up!

Read Lana’s Full Review HERE

JenniferThe Captain’s Pet by Samantha Cayto – “Before you purchase this book, please be aware of the reader advisory. This book has a lot of sex, and about 90% of it is non-consensual/rape or, at the very least, dubious consent. There is also a lot of violence in the form of abuse and torture.

That said, I liked this book way more than I should have, given the content, but the world was incredibly well crafted and the characters even more so. The non-con/dub-con, while difficult, serves the purpose of displaying how different humans are from the Travians. They hold very different codes of conduct.

There are some tense moments at the end of the book that involve a mutiny and rebellion, but it was awesome, and I don’t want to give any of that way. Just know that I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next in the series. If non-con and dub-con doesn’t bother you too much, I recommend checking this one out.”

Read Jennifer’s Full Review HERE

SammyA Way Back to Then (Tales from Foster High) by Robert Halliwell – I could give you paragraphs about the supporting cast, the main characters, the wit and humor of the rapier sharp dialogue, and the incredible journey that Robbie finally begins once he allows himself the luxury of being happy, and trusting that emotion again. I could remark on Robbie’s family and their love/fighting/bitchery that makes them some of the most interesting and hilarious secondary characters ever to grace a novel. I could tell you that while this novel draws its origins in the Foster High series, it is a completely different animal and could indeed be the anchor for a new series by Robert Halliwell—should he choose to continue Robbie and Sebastian’s story (by the way, I vote a BIG YES on that idea). Finally, I could tell you that this new author, this amazing new “voice,” is never run-of-the-mill, overdone or trite, but dynamic, humorous, heartbreaking and incredibly well written.

When I Grow Up (Tales from Foster High) by John Goode – “Read every single word and chapter of this novel; trust me, it is vital you do so. Revel in how this author creates such an imperfect world, peopled with very flawed characters, and reveals through their interactions with each other how much those who society marginalizes can love and support one another. Delight in the idea being offered that while life can be so very hard, it can also contain such impossibly perfect moments that it gives a person the strength to carry on despite the odds being stacked against them. Finally, enjoy every single second that you can visit with these amazing characters once again.

When I Grow Up is told in multiple parts, narrated from the perspective of several characters, and is such a gripping story that you will not be able to put this one aside before hitting the very last page. This author, his writing, his stunning ability to weave a story just gets better each time, never fails to leave me shaking my head at the truth and compassion his novels impart. John Goode makes it laughably easy to say, ‘I highly recommend this novel to you.’”

Read Sammy’s Full Reviews HERE and HERE

MaryannStonewall Inn: Settling by D.J. Manly – “D.J. Manly has written a heartbreaking and heartwarming story set in 1969. There is fact and fiction melded together in this story, just a little touch of a mystery too, and it’s very well done!

The Stonewall Inn: Settling is a well written story of two men—one who already knows he’s gay, the other just facing that realization, but both struggling with telling their families. There’s also a little bonus in the Author’s Note by D.J. Manly. Stonewall Inn, of course, is now a landmark in New York City and was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on June 28th, 1999. Besides the historical facts within the fiction, this novel gives us a look at an “ideal world” for Luke and Samuel.”

Read Maryann’s Full Review HERE

LisaThe Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles – “Each of the chapters in this collection of Robert’s memories offers an emotional payoff: in the erotic, the horrific, the bittersweet, and the layering of each of our heroes as they evolve from their first wanton tryst into two complementary forces who each needs the other in every conceivable (and sometimes, inconceivable) way. This was not a simplistic building of a relationship—there are trials and communication missteps which make our heroes the realistic contrast to all the unreality they face on a day-to-day basis.

From a macabre butterfly obsession to a demented Pied Piper to the very human enemy bent upon destroying our Mr. Caldwell, KJ Charles has mined the depths of imagination to come up with another outstanding novel to add to her body of work. One can only imagine there are more stories Robert Caldwell had to tell, but he saved the best of them for this collection, ensuring the novel’s place as one of the best I’ll read in 2015.”

Read Full Review HERE


And that's it for June, friends. Until next month, happy reading!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

She killed me

This is just the best thing ever because Rhys Ford made it for her Killing Them Softly Blog Tour that's going on now to celebrate the release of Murder And Mayhem. You can see the schedule here and catch up if you haven't been following along. The book is great, I beta read it so I can vouch for the wonderfulness, but also the blog tour with the Edward Gorey style killing off of fellow authors is so very clever and fun. She killed me off on Mercy Celeste's blog here and poor Mercy will get it on someone else's I'm sure.

What's particularly awesome about my mode of death is that Rhys flew across the country to teach me how to cook. I can't do it at all so she came to show me and one of the dishes she attempted to teach me was fried rice. Once she left, I tried to make it and ruined a perfectly good frying pan in the process. There was, in fact, fire, so little chibi me expiring in flames is ironically hysterical.

Anyway, don't miss the blog tour, who knows who's dying next. And the book is out June 5th at Dreamspinner Press. :)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Booyah Books ~ The May Edition

Cheers, everyone, and many thanks for stopping by Mary's place to check out some of the books we found outstanding in the month of May! Because, really, what's better than sharing our love of books with each other?

As always, The Novel Approach will also be offering the opportunity for one lucky reader to win their choice of TWO e-books from our selected titles this month. Just leave a comment below and tell us some of the best books you read in May, and you'll automatically be entered in the contest.

Comments must be received my Midnight Pacific time on Friday, June 5, 2015. One winner will be selected at random on Saturday, the 6th, and notified by email for prize delivery, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment.

Good luck!


SammyPieces of Jack by BJ Sheppard – “The mystery element in Pieces Of Jack is center stage and riveting. The action is swift and pulls you along, the terror and fear palpable and slowly ramps up until your heart is in your throat. As each piece of this novel unfolds, you watch with horror as death takes center stage, and the final scenes, where all is revealed, is just gorgeous in its insanity.

Pieces Of Jack is a real testimony to how a writer works hard to ply his craft and just gets better with each story he shares. BJ Sheppard has arrived, and his fans will no doubt grow in numbers with the release of his latest fascinating story. I highly recommend this novel to you.”

Read Sammy’s full review HERE

KarenMeant for Me by Ann Lister – “To say that this book is better than the last, or the first, or any in between isn’t exactly an accurate statement for me. I honestly love each and every one of the books in this series. As I go back and do a reread of the series (because I know I will soon), I do think I may have a slight soft spot for this book, though. I am a sucker for friend-to-lovers, and, off the top of my head, I can’t think of one that can top Jared and Tony’s story. The struggle as they realized how they felt about each other, scared of losing what they had but knowing that they couldn’t stay away from each other, just pulls you in. Watching them care for each other, and be each other’s strength, and support each other through illness and loss had me teary a couple times while reading. A whole range of emotions raced through me while reading this; I laughed because of the banter between the guys, exactly what you would expect from a bunch of “brothers”. Oh, and I may have forgot to mention these two together are HOT! At times they were sweet and caring, but they sizzled together.”

Read Karen’s full review HERE

LanaHawaiian Lei by Meg Amor – “How do I describe Hawaiian Lei? The only way I can is to say that it’s all about the feels! I suggest having a box of tissues and a pint of ice cream handy, because this is a very emotional story that you will not soon forget. I had goose bumps while reading it, and kept thinking about it long after I was done. Yes, I loved it.

The story is set in Hawaii, and after reading another Hawaii story, I think I have to plan a trip there soon! Hawaii itself is such a character.

Two men, Matt and Beau, are brought together through fate, destiny, or whatever you want to call it, but nevertheless, they were meant to be together. I do believe that sometimes there are forces at play that just cannot be explained. If you are not as open minded, though, this book might seem hokey. But, if you are open to the unexplained, you’ll be left with goose bumps as I was.”

Read Lana’s full review HERE

JackieWrestling With Passion by DH Starr – “As usual D.H. Starr takes us on a journey with Scott and Derek, both of them having to dig deep and be up front with each other about their deepest, darkest fears. Once they lay all their cards out on the table, though, it seems like they are better than ever. Wrestling With Passion is a great continuation to Scott and Derek’s story. I truly love the fact that these two haven’t just had an easy path to happiness, but have had to work hard to get where they are today. Their sexual chemistry is off the charts, and the love they feel for each other is one that seems to be able to overcome any obstacle that comes their way.

The believability of their relationship, and the fact that their love leaps off the page, is the direct result of the author’s writing ability.”

Read Jackie’s full review HERE

SadonnaKnight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain – “The resolution to this story is so very rewarding. I really enjoyed every single second of this book. All the secondary characters are really well written – even that PITA mother. I loved the rest of Billy’s family and Shaz’s “family” as well. This story is really about being true to yourself and finding what makes you happy then just going for it, even if you don’t think it maybe fits all your visions of what your life would be like. What a great lesson! I wish I had learned that lesson a lot sooner in life. :)

This may be my new favorite story from this author, and I have loved quite a few of her books. I’m so looking forward to the other books in this series that are planned. There is a lot of material to be mined here, and I think this is the author to do it. Well done!”

Read Sadonna’s full review HERE

JulesLove Me Tomorrow by Ethan Day – “This was one of the most romantic books I’ve ever read. Some people will definitely take issue with the fact that Jake is still with his boyfriend of many years when he and Levi start to fall in love – but I had no problem with it whatsoever. People grow apart. That’s life. And sometimes you’re not with the right person for you, and stay with that person for the wrong reasons. The relationships were all handled with care, and though it was painful for Levi and Jake to not be together – the tension and the longing was gooooorgeously written, by the way – nothing was truly pursued until things were cleared up. The way Levi and Jake felt about each other was undeniable, though, and the last quarter of the book was just beyond romance.

If you want to smile, and laugh, and feel good all the way down to your toes, read this book. If you love romance and timeless love stories, you should absolutely read this book. In fact, I can’t think of a single reason for you to NOT read this book. I know I’m so glad I did!”

Read Jules’ full review HERE

KimGumption & Gumshoes by Alex Kidwell – “Have you ever had something on your TBR shelf that’s just been sitting there gathering dust, figuring you’ll get to it sooner or later? Well, I’ve challenged myself to finally read that backlog of books this year as part of a personal challenge, and dang, I came across this cute little jewel that has been out and circulating for awhile.
Apart from being a chinchilla shifter, August is basically an ordinary person, and I easily fell in love with the character. 

Alex Kidwell, you now have a new fan, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. I also would love to listen to Gumption & Gumshoes in audio. It’s a reread for me.”

Read Kim’s full review HERE

AngelWhere There’s Smoke by Cari Z. – “The heroes, some mentioned only by name, made me want to know their stories, too. Freight Train, our “hero” of this story, seemed to have that same aspect—the fully justified arrogance about being a hero, with a bit of “Aww shucks, just doing my job” thrown in for good measure. This is what makes them our supposedly beloved heroes, and despite the fact, he made my skin crawl. Some of the other villains are over-the-top creepy, and it made me wonder about the speculation that, for all intents and purposes, it seems the city made both the heroes and the villains. Even the exposé writer SuperTruther is a viable presence, and I so wonder who it is.

I loved the world building Cari Z has done for this verse. The city of Panopolis is recognizable as both a regular city and one from a popular superhero series, be it Gotham or Metropolis. It has that adult, gritty and realistic feel to it. I’d say it was The Incredibles on steroids and totally mean that as a compliment. I am a first time reader of this author, but I will definitely be going back for more of her work. Thanks for a wonderful tale, Cari Z, I’m looking forward to reading more!”

Read Angel’s full review HERE

ChrisIn the Fire by Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin – “This was a good follow-up to In the Raw, which introduced these two characters. In the years that have passed, Ethan and Jaime have grown up in so many ways, but they do still have some of the same issues from the first book. Ethan still has a temper, hates to ask for help, and still worries about others before himself, which really puts him in a bind a few times in this book. The story was solid from start to finish and kept a good pace with both points of view.  This book did offer closure for Ethan and Jaime, which is ultimately what I’d wanted from both stories.

I recommend this for anyone who loves a man who knows their way around the kitchen, and is able to admit when he’s wrong, or didn’t pay attention to what was going on.”

Read Chris’s full review HERE

JanetStarting With the Unexpected by Andi Van – “When I first read the opening lines of Starting With the Unexpected, I howled with laughter and knew it was going to be good. What this book really turned out to be was pretty awesome, and it in no way read like a debut novel. There are serious authoring skills at use in this book, and if the old ideas of authors growing into their talent and developing skills along the way are true, then we are all so lucky and hopefully, Andi Van is going to be prolific. This debut novel is first class.

The characters are well developed and so vividly described that they were colorful in my head as the story unfolded. They reacted to others, and to each other, in such a real way that it was hard not to think of them as real people, and the conversations they have are also spot on in both timing and humor.”

Read Janet’s full review HERE

LisaImmortal by Amy Lane – “The beauty of Immortal is in the meticulous weaving and layering of the relationships, the fantasy, and the forging of a life through trial in the fires of grief that threatens to consume, and a burning love that serves as salvation. Time is fleeting, the seasons are the ouroboros of figurative death and rebirth, and love is the immutable within the pages of this book: every detail in this story acts as a shaping and altering of its characters and the village its people suffer to protect, even as Teyth’s own shaping and altering of the base and precious metals gifted to him by their forest become the tangible proof of his heart and soul, his hurt and hope, and the symbols around which he will discover his own immortality.

There is a tang of bittersweet to this fairy tale, which is where the story ends, at a new beginning, begging the reader to find the happy ending within life’s cycles of love, sacrifice, and a separate peace. Teyth’s name means Silence, and is the irony of the words within the pages of a book—that the written word and the characters within are indeed the immortal of all immortals, speaking to us and living well beyond us all, keeping alive the mythologies and mysteries even beyond death.
Immortal is a gorgeous novel, eloquent in its joy and sorrow, hopeful in its promise of forever, meaningful in the way of fairy tales that teach us we are each the crucibles of love, and love is the conqueror of hate.”

Read Lisa’s full review HERE


And that does it for this month. Until next time, happy reading!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Forging the Future cover

I just had to share! This is the cover of the very last Change of Heart book, Forging the Future, due out in either late June or the 1st week in July. What I love about this cover is that it brings out the primal call of Jin and Logan's relationship in their animal form and shows that the book is about them rediscovering each other. Anne Cain, as usual, did a stunning job. I hope you all love it as much as I do. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Guest Blogger: Joe Cosentino
I'm so pleased to welcome Joe Cosentino to my blog today to talk about his novella An Infatuation with Dreamspinner Press and the thought process behind it's creation.

 An Infatuation. We’ve all had one—or more than one. What makes us lose our minds over someone not right for us? Especially when we are young? That sense of urgency and desire is overwhelming. And the most amazing kind of infatuation is one that lasts for many years. Think about your first infatuation. There’s nothing more powerful.  
I was thinking back to my high school days, and how difficult it was back then for a gay teen. Lab partners, gym locker rooms, and club meetings were vitally important. At my high school reunion, I realized that all the homophobes had come out as gay. A story was born. It started as a one-act play, which resulted in hysterical laughter and sobbing tears from the audience. When I read about Dreamspinner Press, I knew I had to expand it into a novella. The Bittersweet Dreams category was perfect since the story is so funny, so romantic, and at times so sad.
While the plot is fictitious, Harold is based on me, and some things I went through in high school. That huge medicine ball really was my enemy in high school! I admire Harold’s resilience, honesty, intelligence, wit, and ability to keep going in trying situations. Harold’s devotion to his spouse is admirable, as is his honesty about his teenage infatuation with Mario. Stuart, Harold’s devoted spouse, is very much like my devoted spouse who makes lists about lists. Mario is a combination of many supposedly straight, perfect guys I met when I was an actor. Guys who are so easily the object of others’ infatuation. I love that the story spans twenty years so we see Harold (and Mario) develop and mature in their special relationship. I also love that Harold and Mario come full circle at their high school reunion. The wacky and touching supporting characters throughout the story (classmates, teachers, family members) add color and another level of substance. I want to play Mr. Ringwood, the principal, in the movie version!
It has been so heartwarming and gratifying for me to hear from so many reviewers and readers who love AN INFATUATION and beg for a sequel. While a sequel is not in the near future, my next Bittersweet Dreams novella releases this fall from Dreamspinner Press. It is another memory piece filled with humor and tragedy. Since I am a college theatre professor, it takes place in that world. Look for it this fall—A SHOOTING STAR!
In the meantime, email me on my web site and let me know how you like AN INFATUATION. I love hearing from readers. Happy infatuations!

With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet. Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario? Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.


Joe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll, the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press-releasing this summer), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Porcelain Doll (the second Jana Lane mystery), Drama Muscle (the second Nicky and Noah mystery), A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press novella), A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella).