Monday, August 31, 2015

Booyah Books! Brings You An August Full of Great Books and a Giveaway

Cheers, everyone, and many thanks for dropping by Mary's place to check out the books we loved in the month of August.

As always, The Novel Approach is giving one reader the chance to win an e-copy of TWO of this months chosen titles, so be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

Good luck!

And now, here they are, August's Booyah Books!

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Taz – Violated by Jamie Fessenden – “While highly disturbing and difficult to read, it was clear Mr. Fessenden had researched the experiences of men who had been raped. The honesty of the physical experience was described, but moving forward, the book focused on the emotional damage as the protagonist struggles to regain his shattered sense of self-control and power.
And that was what made this story a brave and important read. I don’t know of anyone who has admitted being raped to me, and therefore I have no first-hand knowledge of what the experience is like after the fact. In reading Violated, I feel like I have a better understanding of the multi-faceted and deeply rooted injuries (both physical and emotional) that impact the victim, making recovery an uphill battle.”

You can read Taz's full review HERE

Lana – Plaid Nights Anthology – “The Plaid Nights Anthology is a collection of stories about men in kilts. Yes, I said men in kilts! What else do you need? If your kink is men in kilts, like mine, then this book is for you. If it’s not, then it’s going to be if you read this book. I have three words to describe this anthology: Men. In. Kilts! All the stories were ridiculously hot and very well written, but really, all you need to know is that they were hot.
Any book that has gorgeous kilted men in it, who love sex and sin, is one I can get behind. This book has a little of everything: sexy bad boys, a little mystery, a little paranormal, and a lot of entertainment. It’s a must read.”

You can Read Lana's full review HERE

Sammy – Sunset Lake by John Inman – “I never saw it coming. The murderer? The gasp worthy ending? I never had a clue, and I am an avid mystery reader. In fact, one of my pet peeves is that I often figure out the ending of a novel and solve the mystery before it is revealed. But not this time. No, this one was so cleverly written, so intricately drawn that I had absolutely no inkling of how it would all play out. When John Inman finally disclosed who was viciously killing the old women in town, I was shocked. But Mr. Inman was not done with me, not by a long shot, for the ending of this novel was perhaps the most gut-wrenching solution ever offered up by a novelist.
However, the mechanics of this mystery were not the only thing that made this story a nail-biting page turner. What this author does with defining his characters and revealing their inner thoughts and emotions is nothing short of brilliant! In this case, even the town of Nine Mile becomes one of the “people” in his book.”


You can read Sammy's full review HERE

Karen – BOSS by Ashley John – “It is no secret that I am a huge Ashley John fan. He has a unique way of making you feel for the characters, but not always happy, loving feelings, even for the main characters in the story.  Whether you love them or hate them, though, you want to know more.
I found myself, through a lot of this story, wanting to punch one (or both) of the main characters in the face, then randomly mumbling to myself, “What is wrong with you two?” But I was also so invested and drawn in to the story that I couldn’t put it down. Each character has his own past that has caused him to put up walls and mask how he really feels, and until he meets the person who is willing to break through the mirage, he coasts through life, convincing himself he is doing exactly what he wants, when just below the surface he really wants so much more.” 


You can read Karen's full review HERE

Lynn – Double Heat by Lynn Kelling – “First off, this is a series that should be read in order. My Brother’s Lover and Dual Affairs are the first two books in the Twin Ties saga. Second, this books deals with some pretty heavy issues that may be triggers for some readers: rape, pedophilia and incest. Please take heed to the warnings.
Having read the first two books, I thought I knew where this story was headed. We’ve already met both sets of twins, and watched as all four men evolved into a relationship with one another. They went through some rough spots, figuring it out along the way, and by the end of the second book, Evan, Brennan, Alek, and Luka are moving in together. So, I’m thinking the third book is going to be an adjustment period, a “getting to know you better” phase. I mean, when you’re in a relationship that involves four people, there’s going to be some issues to tackle, right? Oh boy, was I wrong.”


You can read Lynn's full review HERE

Sadonna – Cherish & Blessed by Tere Michaels – “This combination of two shorter episodes in the lives of Evan and Matt gives us more insight into how they are adjusting to combining their households and lives. Once again, Matt is the standout character for me in this series. He is the real glue that holds this couple and this family together, much to the chagrin of Miranda. He calms Evan, takes charge when needed, backs off when things get too hot to handle and pretty much absorbs the shockwaves of this family.
Finally, we also get to enjoy a weekend away for Matt and Evan with no distractions, no kids, no commitments to anyone else – just a focus on themselves. They get down to the heart of their relationship, and it’s really sweet. Evan still struggles with expressing his feelings, but he’s come a long way. These guys are so fun to watch grow together, and it’s nice to see them work through their relationship and continue to move forward together.”


You can read Sadonna's full review HERE

Jules – Lonely Hearts by Heidi Cullinan – “One of my other favorite things about the story is that it is once again filled with music and pop culture references. At my house we are massive Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli fans, so I LOVED all of the nods to Howl’s Moving Castle (Baz and Elijah’s relationship is compared many times to Howl’s and Sophie’s, which is…wait for it…perfection) and all of the other Miyazaki films. Also, for a chunk of my reading I listened to Heidi Cullinan’s Spotify playlist that she made for the book. Completely. Fabulous. If you’ve never done this, I highly recommend it, especially this playlist; it was too good.
In closing…
Go. Read. Now.”


You can read Jules' full review HERE

Maryann – Enigma/Blood & Dirt by Lloyd A. Meeker – “Enigma is so much more than a case of blackmail, it’s a mystery melded with the mystical. If there is any chance you can listen to Enigma’s music, do so because the lyrics will define James Richardson’s character.
I liked what Mr. Meeker did with Russ Morgan’s character. He doesn’t flaunt, overuse or abuse Russ’s abilities. In fact, Russ could solve a case with just his investigative skills. Mr. Meeker had me fascinated with Enigma from the beginning to end. Excellent story and excellent music!!
After reading Blood & Dirt I have definitely become a fan of Lloyd A. Meeker and the Russ Morgan Mystery series. This is the second installment, so if you have not read Enigma, it’s a must read before Blood & Dirt. Mr. Meeker takes us on another roller coaster ride, with so many clashing personalities for Russ to examine before he can solve the case.”


You can read Maryann's full review HERE

Carrie – Winter’s Wolf by Tara Lain – “This book has a more complex storyline than the others in the series, and as such, there was no skipping ahead or putting it down mid-read. This was an excellent book to listen to as well as read along with because you got a good and captivating story, which kept all your book-loving senses engaged.
Winter’s Wolf is a story about finding family, discovering family, and becoming family. In the end, Winter discovers that having mates you would live and die for is what pack is all about.”


You can read Carrie's full review HERE

Lisa – Charmed and Dangerous Anthology – “If you’ve looked at this lineup of authors and thought to yourself that there’s no possible way this anthology could fail…you’d be absolutely right. For fans of speculative fiction, Charmed and Dangerous is a collection of wild wonderment that’s been long overdue. This company of ten of the genre’s consummate storytellers dug into their depthless cache of talent to ensure each of these tales lived up to the challenge presented to them: to create new worlds, to introduce both new and familiar characters within the allotted word count, and to do so without sacrificing a single iota of detail, imagination, or compromising the quality of each tale.
Mission: Accomplished
Whether you’ve only read one of these authors before, or, like me, you’ve read all ten, Charmed and Dangerous is a spec fic lover’s Wonderland… Or whatever it is you call that place we go during those not-quite-aware-of-reality moments when we lose ourselves in a great book.”


You can read Lisa's full review HERE

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THE GIVEAWAY
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Guest Blogger: Dirk Greyson

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6793


I’m always honored when Mary Calmes has me on her blog, she is an awesome friend.  Challenge the Darkness is one of those stories that takes you by surprise.  A few months before writing it, I went on a paranormal shifter story kick and read a lot of them, including Mary’s L’Ange series.  Kate Douglas had also sent me her Dark Wolf series and those two things combined to inspire this particular story.    Originally I hadn’t seen myself as writing paranormal stories.  I thought it was something I didn’t have in my wheelhouse and I knew I wanted to come up with something different as well as a world that would seem to fit within our current reality.  

Then I saw the video, Wolves Change Rivers in YouTube and the idea was born.  It took a few months to percolate, but when I sat down to write Challenge the Darkness, the story seemed to pour out of me.  Mikael and Denton were in a huge hurry to tell me their story and they included all the amazing hot details.  It seems these two guys have very little shame at all, which certainly made my job easier.  Denton and Mikael are also men of action, both in and out of the bedroom, strong, powerful, and definitely a formidable pair, once they got their act together.  

I have so many people to think for helping with this story.  Mary and Amy Lane for listening to me prattle on as I wrote the thing, Kate for letting me use the idea of her goddess.  And to Lynn West and Elizabeth for their constant inspiration and support. 

Excerpt
But he’s gone,” Anna mumbled. “The other half of my soul has been ripped away from me. We’ve lost our home and our family. All of it was taken from me in the instant Gregor died.” Her voice remained steady, though, and Mikael knew she’d keep it together. She was the mate of an alpha, and that alone would sustain her.
“I know. But the boys will need you, and your new pack will need you.”
She turned to him. “You lied to Anton.”
“In a way. When Gregor asked me to come to ensure the fight would be fair, he told me if anything were to happen to him, he wanted me to take care of his family. You and those two boys were important to him. So when Anton tried to claim you, I had to step in.” He glanced in the backseat and saw that both boys were asleep, lying down on the seat, curled together just the way he’d slept with his siblings, Karl and Catherine, when they were pups. “What he was doing violated everything I believe in, and if I could have, I’d have helped everyone in the pack, but I can’t. They are beyond me, but not you and the boys.” He had to save a piece of his old friend. If Anton had taken the boys, odds were good that at some point they would end up dead too. Gregor’s blood in Anton’s pack would have been a threat to him, especially if they grew to be as strong as their father.
“What if they grow up to challenge you or your sons?” Anna asked with a touch of pride.
“They won’t. I won’t have children.”
“You’ll find a mate,” Anna said.
“I might, but I know my mate will be another man. The Mother told me so in a dream when I was eight years old. She showed him to me—another eight-year-old boy. I remember his blond hair, fierce eyes, and the way he looked back at me. It was like we could see each other for a brief time through the ether. Then he was gone, but I always knew he was my mate. I just haven’t met him yet.”
“What about your brother and sister’s children?” Anna asked.
“You’ll see. Karl is my beta and he’s fantastic at it. He always has my back, and Catherine is an enforcer. No one messes with her, including her husband, Stan. My younger brother, Christopher, is away at college.” Christopher’s role in the pack was up in the air at the moment, by his choice. He’d always seemed to go his own way and follow his own drummer. “They are my support, always, and I couldn’t be the alpha I am without them. We’re not a large pack, only about twenty in all. The core of the pack is my family—my siblings and their spouses, their children, and my uncle and mother. And now you and the boys. So if they grow up and follow in their father’s footsteps, as long as they care for their pack the way Gregor always did, they’ll have my blessing and support.”
Anna didn’t say anything right away. “Thank you, Alpha,” she finally said softly.
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Blurb:

When alpha shifter Mikael Volokov is called to witness a challenge, he learns the evil and power-hungry Anton Gregor will stop at nothing to attain victory. Knowing he will need alliances to keep his pack together, Mikael requests a congress with the Evergreen pack and meets Denton Arguson, Evergreen alpha, to ask for his help. Fate has a strange twist for both of them though, and Mikael and Denton soon realize they’re destined mates. 
Denton resists the pull between them—he has his own pack and his own responsibilities. But Mikael isn't willing to give up. The Mother has promised Mikael his mate, told him he must fight for him, and that only together can they defeat the coming darkness. When Anton casts his sights on Denton's pack, attacks and sabotage follow, pulling Denton and Mikael together to defeat a common enemy. But Anton’s threats sow seeds of destruction enough to break any bond, and the mates’ determination to challenge the darkness may be their only saving grace.

Purchase Link: http://bit.ly/1JEM7iq


Friday, August 28, 2015

Guest Blogger: Rayna Vause

I'd like to thank Mary so much for celebrating my released day with me. My name is Rayna Vause and I write urban fantasy and paranormal romance. My first full length novel is releasing today from Dreamspinner Press and I can't tell you how excited I am. Let me start by telling you about my book Demon of Mine.



DemonOfMineFSClimbing the corporate ladder can be hell….

As a Collections Demon, Zavier grants his “clients” one wish in exchange for their souls. His job sucks, but once you make a deal with Corporate South, they own you. The trouble is, Zavier’s not a very good Collections Demon, with his tendencies to spurn authority and find loopholes to help deserving clients out of their contracts. He’s under scrutiny from the head of his department, who would quite literally like to see him burn. He just needs to close a simple deal to get upper management off his back. Instead, he meets Ryan.

Ryan is desperately searching for a way to save his dying sister. He doesn’t believe in magic and demons, but he’s out of options. Zavier’s not what he expects in a demon, and even more unexpected is the strong sense of familiarity—very intimate familiarity.

While trying to free Ryan from his contract, Zavier discovers secrets unscrupulous even by South standards. Exposing them could cost Zavier everything, but it might be Ryan’s only hope.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hAMcJV | B&N: http://bit.ly/1hRGYZY | Kobo: http://bit.ly/1KcDVGS |Dreamspinner Press: http://bit.ly/1UJgrfC | All Romance eBooks: http://bit.ly/1MsRTWG



When I told Mary about the sale she asked me what inspired the book. I'm a huge paranormal romance fan. I love stories filled with shifters, and magic. Stories where the seemingly impossible becomes possible. So when I started writing I always tended to gravitate toward writing these types of stories. As I was saying to a friend the other day, I love stories that includes explosions, then pec, then someone teleports.

So when I saw a call for submissions on a publisher's website, my brain started churning. At the same time, there was sort of a perfect storm of events. I'd finally watched the movie Office Space, I'd been doing a binge watch of Supernatural, and I'd just discovered the wonder full world of m/m romance. Of those three items, biggest inspirations for Demon of Mine was an episode of Supernatural, I love this show. For the record, if you're in the mood to binge watch a series I can highly recommend the show, it's a ton of fun.

I was watching an episode of season 2 called. Crossroad Blues. In this episode, they play with the Urban Legend of Robert Johnson, a Mississippi blues musician, who supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his talent. So with all of that in my head plot bunnies started hopping around and multiplying and all of these questions emerged. What if Hell really was a corporation. What if demons wore suits, and wheeled and dealed like business men in a conference room. What if one of the branches of this corporation focused on recruitment. Perhaps they offered people the opportunity to have their greatest wish for a while in return for an eternity of "employment". With that Corporate South was born. Of course every company needs a disgruntled employee, enter Zavier, a demon who hates his job but is stuck. Now what is said disgruntled demon encounters someone important to him from his human life who is in a dire situation. Hello Ryan. Now let's throw in a bitch boss, a corrupt board of demons, a few angels and the world of Demon of Mine came to life. I even managed to incorporate my own version of Milton's red staple. If you've ever seen Office Space you'll know what I'm talking about.

Demon of Mine has been a long time in the making and I'm so glad I finally get to share it. I'd like to thank Mary for letting me take over her blog for today. If you do decide to check out Demon of Mine I hope you'll find me on my website or social media and let me know what you though. If you're interested in finding out more about me you can find me at



About Rayna Vause


Rayna Vause loves to craft romances that mix a little action, a little adventure, and, often, a touch of the paranormal. She’s voracious reader and a perpetual student. Rayna has collected more degrees and certifications then she cares to admit and eventually she’ll probably earn a few more just because. She is a proud geek who injects a little bit of her geeky, tech obsessed soul into every story she writes.

When Rayna isn't busy make up stories, she’s likely indulging her love of video games. Why? Because playing through the action, adventure, and romance in a role playing game is as good as reading a romance novel and is sometimes great inspiration for her writing. She’s a martial artist having studied American Kenpo Karate. She is also a Disney fanatic of epic proportions.

Rayna is a member of RWA, RRW, and a founding member of Liberty States Fiction Writers. She lives in southern NJ, just a bit outside of Philadelphia and shares a home with a cat who thinks she’s royalty.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A reminder and news

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6727
Just a reminder that Piece of Cake is FREE at Dreamspinner Press you all. I wrote it as a thank you so I want you all to take advantage of the lack of funds needed to read about Jory and Sam and their special day. I appreciate you all so much so make sure you download it there.
 In other news, Fit To Be Tied, Ian and Miro's second book, will be out Sept.18th and there will be the 4th Mangrove book, Easy Evenings out in October, and the 5th, Sleeping 'til Sunrise, out in December. I am currently still working on Jon's book so it won't be out until January. Sometimes real life kicks your butt, as you all know, so hence the reason for the delay. But we're all busy during the holidays anyway, after the first of the year is a better time to snuggle up on the couch with hot chocolate and a blanket and hot shifters is always a good choice. 
That's it, hope you're all having a lovely weekend. :)

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!

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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. :)

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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:

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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

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