Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Books We Were Mad About in March, and a Giveaway!

Cheers, fellow book addicts, and welcome to another month of outstanding reads from your friends at The Novel Approach! We have another great selection of titles we loved in March, and there’s also a chance to win two eBooks from the list, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget for details on how to enter to win.

And now, here they are, our choices for the Best Books of March!


MaryannDeceiving a Raider by Ana Night – “In this action packed, exciting and tension filled sequel [to A Detached Raider] we get up close and personal with this quirky Black Raider team—Dom, Tank, Davin, Franklin and Axel (aka Mad Dog)—as they come together for a rescue mission. The returning characters—Grace, Cade’s sister, who gets into the action, and Lara along with her daughter, Morgan—add a strong female representation element to the storyline. The camaraderie with Cole and the acceptance of others delivers a lot of heartfelt and humorous moments. Cole and Cade have a chemistry that leaps off the page, and there is no gray area when it comes to the matters of the heart, especially with Cole. He lays his heart on the line, and the emotions make it difficult for Cade to even think he could live without him.”

JenniferThe Law of Love by Fyn Alexander – “While the ending may be seen coming by astute readers, it does not leave the story any less exciting. My heart raced every time there was risk of Rafe and Ivo being caught, and my heart broke when Rafe insisted they could not be together. I felt for Ivo and wanted nothing more than for him to be happy. Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this book. If you like high stakes, it’s even better. All characters are fully realized and different from those seen in most historical romances. Rafe and Ivo can stand on their own and brook no comparisons to those in the genre who’ve come before them. I highly recommend this book!”

JennDead Reckoning by Pandora Pine – “The author balances the plot of the murder case and Ronan and Tennyson’s relationship seamlessly, never leaving us wondering what’s going on in the other plotline while she focuses on one of them. I loved watching Ronan and Ten get closer to each other and see the small group of friends develop and grow that bit bigger as Ronan’s captain reveals more about himself and becomes a friend. I also like the way that the romantic plot was tied down and secured before the serial killer, allowing both men to focus completely on the danger the killer represented. It felt like a bit of secure footing to balance on while throwing some great twists and turns at us.”

SammyLiving on Air by Susan Mac Nicol – “Well, this novel was an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. It was also excruciating to read, at times, due to the absolute mental and physical turmoil Cary endured. I will echo the author’s own warnings and say to you that Living On Air is a minefield for those who suffer from any emotional flashbacks when it comes to sexual abuse, self-harm and childhood trauma. Cary’s life has been a nightmare but in the midst of his pain and despair there is hope, and that is what makes this story sing—the love and assurance that the darkness will not win.”

JulesInvitation to the Blues by Roan Parrish – “As with Parrish’s other books, Invitation to the Blues is very character driven. Character development is definitely one of the author’s biggest strengths, and the amount of thought and research that must have gone into her depiction of Jude’s character in particular is incredible. Depression is a horrible thing to have to live with and can be crippling and even baffling at times. Reading about what that was like on a day-to-day basis for Jude was both eye-opening and heart-wrenching. I can’t personally imagine that struggle, but I have several loved ones living with depression and anxiety, and I know how vulnerable it can make a person feel. I saw red several times in the book when Jude revealed how his ex, Kaspar, treated him when they were together. And, by contrast, I loved the way Faron really saw Jude, and the straightforward way he dealt with the depression.”

KyPoint of Contact by Melanie Hansen – “At the end, in the Acknowledgments page, the author says that “there were a million tears shed in the writing of this story.” Well, Ms Hansen, I can assure you that a lot of tears were shed while reading it too. I don’t think I can do this story justice, no matter what I write here. The emotional impact of Point of Contact is unbelievable. It will hit you from all sides and once you’re done reading, you’ll be left crying for a life that ended way too soon and left behind so much pain and anguish. 5 stars for a story that wrecked me…”

LindseyHeat Trap by JL Merrow – “I have had the great joy or reviewing the first two books in the Plumber’s Mate series, Pressure Head and Relief Valve, and was so excited to continue on my journey with Tom and Phil as well as their extended family and friends. I have made it pretty clear in prior reviews that I adore Tom, and that didn’t change one little bit in this next installment. His dry wit, the banter, the places his mind goes even when faced with adversity—I want a Tom in my life. I love this series and this is a great addition. If you haven’t read the prior books and enjoy a good mystery/romance with quirky characters and packed with humor, I recommend getting Pressure Head and starting it right away. If you have already fallen in love with the wonderful world and eccentric characters, like me, my guess is you are going to love this one, too.”

LisaOne Giant Leap by Kay Simone – “The balance between the components of the mission, the brilliant narrative elements that allow readers to feel and form a necessary mental-visual, the entire cast of characters involved (including some thinly veiled, and not-at-all veiled, references to real people), and the budding relationship between Curt and Patrick, is seamless. The relationship between astronaut and the love of the job is even so clearly absorbed within the whole of the story that its presence adds a secondary romantic element. Simone’s narrative choices are a stand-out element that make this storyline feel topical and relevant. There is so much showing that the telling added a nice change to the pace of the story, and the flashbacks in particular worked to enhance the present tense narration. It gives the book a sort of documentary feel with a shot of romance that, in case it isn’t obvious, I loved. In the end, it all coalesces into a lovely work of fiction.”

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



a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Note: Books that are available exclusively via Amazon/Kindle Unlimited will require a US Amazon account for delivery*

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Not A Wolf--Just a pet

Chickie Baby

I love animals in books and even more so as almost secondary characters. I think you can tell a lot about a character by how they regard their pets, how they take care of them, and what lengths they will go through to keep them safe. One of my favorites is Oberon in Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series. And yes, Oberon can speak, telepathically to Atticus, but he’s still a dog through and through and so he’s POV is all about honesty and “hey, check out that poodle!”.
I think the whole loving animals thing can be traced back to having had dogs my whole life, and awesome cats as well, but the loving them in books is directly related to my mother. I grew up with her reading to us and when I was old enough to grab books off her shelves myself, it was the works of Albert Payson Terhune, that were there first. She had read them as a child herself and written to the author when she was old enough AND he wrote her back which was a huge deal in the days before Facebook. Because of that, and her constant devotion to his books that she continued to have her students read over the years, I had a special love of collies. But big collies, like the ones that used to roam the hills of Scotland, but because they don’t get that big anymore, when it was time to give Miro and Ian a dog in the marshals series, I decided on a werewolf.
Not really.
Chickie Baby is a mix. He’s part Caucasian Ovcharka, Husky or Malamute with a little wolf thrown in. Not that Ian or Miro will cop to the “wolf” part as hybrids are dangerous and Chickie is not. But he’s played a big part in the stories as a companion, something Ian could talk about instead of his feelings, he grew Ian and Hartley’s relationship from fear to a new understanding and has been the bridge between the guys when words failed them. He’s also the companion of a little girl. It wouldn’t be the same book(s) without him.Thank you all so much for loving him. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Book of the Month and Giveaway: It was a Fab February of Reading!

Hi, friends and fellow bookworms, welcome to The NovelApproach’s Book of the Month picks and giveaway for February! We have such a strong list of contenders this month, thanks to some talented authors, so without further ado, here they are: the books we loved in February!


KyJust Here for the Pain by K.A. Merikan – “Just Here for the Pain, the second book of The Underdogs series, is even better, even hotter, even kinkier than the first!

Dusk and Lolly of course make an appearance here. It was good to see them again, though Dusk irritated me at times. I didn’t remember him being so annoying in the first book, but maybe that had something to do with the fact that now he is in couple-heaven, so he feels free to tease and torment his bandmates about their relationship troubles. I still like Dusk and Lolly very much, but Sid and Asher are by far my favorite couple. Even though Asher starts off as a stalker, I liked him a lot from the beginning of the book, and this held firmly till the end of it. Trust KA Merikan to make you like an unconventional character! 5 star read – highly recommended!”

MikeThe Long and Winding Road by TJ Klune – “Bear and Otter are the makers of a logical family, one Armistead Maupin taught us is what we do when our blood families are not enough to fill our lives. Bear and Otter along with the Kid have finally overcome so much—moving from coast to coast, the death of someone close to them, near fatal accidents, and addiction. But just when things begin to settle and life is finding a balance, an unknown sister, a rekindled romance, and super sperm all land at once and conspire to take their nice and quiet (never mind normal, that never happens), the occupants of the “Big Green Monstrosity,” and all their sundry friends and family, and toss them into the air like a cartoon salad. The results are funny, sweet, sad, and ever so satisfying.”

CarrieJoshua’s Rainbow by Victoria Sue – “This is the first book in a brand new series by the amazing author Victoria Sue, and if this book is an indication of what she has planned for the remainder of the series, then I cannot wait for the rest of them! This book drew me in and I cannot say enough good things about it. This quirky, atypical cast of characters won my heart, but even the island of misfit toys needed someone to lead them and ground them, and this is what Joshua’s Rainbow is all about. Yes, technically this is a May/December romance, but honestly, the MCs fit together so well that they don’t notice the age difference, and neither will you. At first glance, you’re not sure how the two will get together but as the story unfolds, you realize the big picture of how they are yin and yang to each other. They are both at a crossroads. They are both so unsure. They both see the good and positive in the other that they cannot see in themselves.”

JulesSomewhere Over Lorain Road by Bud Gundy – “Bud Gundy’s Somewhere Over Lorain Road is riveting. There’s just no other word for it. I was absolutely enthralled with the story from the opening paragraph until the final moments, and went through a small rollercoaster of emotions in between. Gundy keeps the reader guessing up until the very end as to what really happened that long-ago summer in North Homestead, Ohio, but it wasn’t only the mystery that had me on edge throughout the book. Somewhere Over Lorain Road is as much a portrait and study of human behavior and small-town dynamics as it is a murder mystery. And, it’s almost more a survival story than anything else. It’s about the Eskers surviving the onslaught of ill will and ridicule and small-mindedness they endured back in 1975, and coming out the other side.”

JennDead Speak by Pandora Pine – “This book grabbed me from the very start with a rush of action that was the bottom of a long spiral of despair for the main character, built into a complex and wonderful book that hooks you in and gives you a satisfying ending.

I liked how the author never really went into how or why Tennyson had his gifts, instead focusing on how he used them and how they impacted his life, leaving that air of mystery and potential magic for the readers. I loved his family and can’t wait to read about how his best friend, Carson, met the man he loved, since just the summary we’re given was fantastic. Tennyson’s caring personality and determination to help the ghosts he sees is endearing, and I loved watching him interact with the ghost of Michael Frye.”

SammyKing Daniel by Edmond Manning – “If there were enough descriptive words or phrases to describe how incredible this last book is, I would no doubt continue to wax prosaic. However, given my lack of imagination when it comes to sharing how greatly this book, this whole series, impacted me, I will leave this scant review with this last thought or two. What Daniel experiences is as foreign to me as is humanly possible, and yet, through the deft and masterful hand of Edmond Manning, I am able to step into Daniel’s world, share his pain, weep for and with him and then, blessedly, experience the emotions he has when that burden gets lifted. What this author does is remind us that we all carry scars of one sort or another and, if we can take just a moment to tap into that shared experience, we will find the lost king or queen within ourselves and others. For just a second or two, we can understand what it is to walk the path of another person and appreciate how hard their journey is, and see how it sometimes connects to our own. And that? That is beautiful, redemptive, inspiring and majestic.”

LindseyRelief Valve by JL Merrow – “The first book in the Plumber’s Mate series, Pressure Head, reeled me in, and Relief Valve hooked me completely. Tom continues to astound me, and I can’t get enough of his internal thoughts and observations. He captured me with his wittiness, and I wasn’t let down one bit in the second book.

This installment surrounds Cherry, Tom’s sister, who he is mildly estranged from. She enters dropping all kinds of drama into his life. Between the death of his sort-of aunt, and her last will and testament, and Cherry being poisoned, Tom has his hands full. The mystery surrounding the poisoner was intriguing and kept me glued—so many possible characters, and each with their own brand of crazy, some you can’t help but like, others you may hate, while some just make you scratch your head and wonder what the heck is up with them. I thoroughly enjoyed working through the clues uncovered to find the whodunnit. And, most importantly, the why.”

MaryannWhere Death Meets the Devil by L.J. Hayward – “This was my first time reading L.J. Hayward. Where Death Meets the Devil is excellent, and it will keep you guessing! The title alone was intriguing enough for me to select it, and I was not disappointed. There’s high espionage, a great deal of fast-paced action and danger and suspense and mystery, with a touch of futuristic technology too. I just can’t say enough about how very well-written this novel is, down to the fight scenes and the environment being so descriptive. I also like how the plot is set up in a Then and Now way, each Now chapter coinciding with the flashback Then chapters. I couldn’t see this story being told any other way.

Both Jack’s and Ethan’s personal stories are heartfelt. They each have their quirks and issues, and their banter brings the humor—their sincerity is just so pure. The chemistry between them is explosive, and they are a force to be reckoned with. I also have to mention Sophia, who is definitely a star in her own right!

LisaBad Boyfriend by K.A. Mitchell – “The undeniable truth here is that Quinn and Eli are combustible together. The sex, the chemistry, the age play, it’s all there in spades, but the only way it works is if their characterizations are strong individually, which they are. They’re both so charming and funny and sassy and passionate, and their conversations run the fine line between revelation and evasion at the opportune moments. It all came together in such a perfect storm of storytelling that the book was unputdownable even though I already knew how it all played out. Mistakes were made. Of course they were. That’s to be expected when a relationship begins on one big lie and mind-blowing sex is the only thing going for you, but Mitchell builds on it and leads readers to a believable happy beginning for Quinn and Eli. That’s the definition of well-written erotica as far as I’m concerned—if you can take out the sex and be left with a good story that develops into a credible relationship, it’s been done right.

And yeah, we get to savor Peter’s day of reckoning too, which is altogether delicious.”


And that does it for this month, friends! Until next time, all the happy reading!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Books published in the Kindle Unlimited program are available only via Amazon gifting and will require an Amazon US account**

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Together Tied
To celebrate Valentine's Day, you're all invited to spend some time with my marshals. I put a short novella on Instafreebie here of Miro and Ian having dinner with their boss Sam Kage and his husband, Jory Harcourt. What could possibly go wrong?

I hope you all enjoy it and I hope you all have a wonderful, shmoopy, candy and flower filled day.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

We're Ringing in the New Year with Some Great Books and a Giveaway!

Cheers, friends and fellow bookworms, and welcome to our Book of the Month picks for January as chosen by the team at The Novel Approach Reviews! It’s great to be back after a December hiatus, and I’m so excited to share our picks with all of you. We’re kicking off 2018 in a great way, to the point where some of us had a hard time choosing a clear favorite. Some of the honorable mention titles include KA Merikan’s On His Knees, Marshall Thornton’s Hidden Treasure, and Harper Fox’s Guardians of the Haunted Moor: Book Five in the Tyack & Frayne series, so if you haven’t had a chance to grab them yet, they’ll be included in the Giveaway too!

And now, here are the books we loved this month!


SadonnaTheir Life As They Live It by A.M. Arthur – “This story is an exceptional illustration of how to tell a story effectively in flashbacks, which can be really difficult to do. As the tale winds between the stress of present day and Richard’s health emergency, Bear remembers everything that has made his life with Richard what it has been over the past thirty-plus years. The time jumps are well labeled, and the narrative is so well done that it does not detract at all from the tension in the present day. The expository sections of the past are well done and provide a lot of insight into Gabe’s motivations and his difficulties growing up, accepting who he is, and making a life with Tristan.”

MaryannTrick Roller by Cordelia Kingsbridge – “Not only did Cordelia Kingsbridge create another exciting mystery in this series, but she really shows her knowledge with detailed police procedure and trial questioning. I was thrown off a little in the first chapter, but I think that was intentional. The pace of the storyline was interesting too, and it made the conclusion of this story very powerful. I really liked how the author presented a deeper look at how Levi and Dominic complement each other, give each other support, and the chemistry between them picks up steam. There’s a lot of heartwarming moments too, with Dominic and his Nonna, Levi and Adriana, and with Rebel. There’s some very solid secondary characters as well, in Martine, Justine, Carlos, and family and friends, which gives a nice balance to the story.”

JennFelix and the Prince by Lucy Lennox – “As always Lucy Lennox provides a wonderfully sweet, without being saccharine, tale. I’d happily label this as a modern fairy-tale. If the author hadn’t mentioned it at the start that the kingdom of Liorland wasn’t fact, I’d have completely believed it to exist (but then, geography has always been a place for stories to take place in for me) as she crafts a story with depth and grounding in the world we know.

A real treat for me was hearing more about Doc and Grandpa Wilde, as they help the struggling lovers reconcile all the responsibilities placed on them with their own desires and love. I really want to see a Doc and Grandpa Wilde novel or short story, and I’m positive I’m not the only one.”

SammyIn the Absence of Light by Adrienne Wilder – “This novel—it is just breathtaking. It pulls you into a world where fragments of light far outweigh the dark. It does not apologize for the moments of pain and anguish both men must suffer, but surrounds them with equal portions of beauty and grace. Author Adrienne Wilder never shies away from delivering a story that bursts with action, pathos and delightful flashes of humor. In the Absence of Light is a carefully balanced story which exudes compassion and love, wrapped up in a compelling plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I can only end this review with the highest praise and recommendation. It is a story that solidifies the idea that Adrienne Wilder will be an auto-buy novelist for me from now on.”

MikeEnlightened by Joanna Chambers – “There are so many good things here. The relationship between the two men becomes a true love affair during David’s recuperation, but pressure from the outside world, and the realities of late 18th century life, come calling all too soon in the sanctuary the two men have come to thrive on. But the political life of Murdo’s father, and the fate of David’s mentor, Patrick Chalmers, now hang in the balance. This entire series is a definite buy. As a historical romance it is accurate, and as an exposé of the life of the middle and upper classes in Georgian England. The love affair is deep and true, and the final chapters of this series do not disappoint and leave the reader with a satisfied smile.”

CarrieTwo Feet Under by Charlie Cochrane – “I totally enjoyed revisiting murder with these characters, and I am really hoping that this series continues. I adore how very British they are, and Cochrane is a master at creating time and place, mixing them with good, solid characterizations and police procedurals. Each of the stories in this series is a standalone. You could pick them up individually and read them, but start with the first to get Adam and Robin’s love story from the beginning. These two met, fell in love, and now are thinking about the future amidst all the chaos and colorful people in their lives. These books are witty, the banter between the MCs entertaining, and the mystery is always just that, a mystery to be solved. I highly recommend them.”

TazIn the Blood by Hailey Turner – “Ms. Turner pulled no punches when it came to the violence of the military sequences. I don’t want to ruin anything by giving examples, but the villains are so hateful and sadistic in this book that the way she brings them to their demise is remarkably gratifying. To that end, people who find graphic violence off-putting should read with caution. But read the book anyways, just skip over some of the more gory scenes. There aren’t too many, but the ones that are there are truly visceral.

Overall, another amazing book by an author who is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I look forward to the next book in this awesome series.”

JulesRelay by Layla Reyne – “First and foremost, I loved, loved both Dane and Alex. I loved Dane’s drive and his perseverance in becoming dominant in his sport once again, after being sidelined by an injury and left out of the last Olympic games. I loved his friendship with Mo, and his respect for his other teammates. And, I loved that he never stopped loving Alex. He knows how badly he hurt Alex when they were kids, and that he needs to put in some OT in the sucking up and apologizing category. Tell me this quote doesn’t make you swoon pretty hard…

Another thing that worked quite well, I think, despite there not being much competition in the book, was the pacing and flow of the story. Reyne managed to keep the intrigue and excitement up with the sheer charisma of the characters, and their individual and collective dramas, and with the doping plotline.”

KimWedding Bellskis by Astrid Amara – “I love how Ms. Amara can make each story in a series even more interesting than the last, with a surprise twist in Wedding Bellskis that kept me, the reader, eagerly turning the page to see what would happen next. I love these types of stories, where the two MCs continue to grow in their relationship with each other. It also helps that I’m familiar with the location that the story takes place in.

Highly recommended to those who love this series and want more!”

LindseyPressure Head by JL Merrow – “How much do I love this book? Let me count the ways….

The plot. How amazing is it to have a plumber by trade who has this knack for finding things; a gift of divination, if you will? Utterly brilliant. Or at least the way this carefully crafted tale is delivered. Mind you, they aren’t usually lost things. They are hidden things. And water. And sometimes people. Tom can sense secrets people don’t want others to find or know about, and in his unique case, water, which makes him a pretty fabulous plumber to have come around. Mostly what he senses is more or less harmless. Water leaks (of course), porn stashes, expensive jewelry, love letters… But sometimes his gift can be used under more dire circumstances. Like finding dead bodies. In this case, after his pal in the police requests his services in finding a dead body, Tom’s path ends up converging with Phil’s—Tom’s former bully and a now out-and-proud, gorgeous private investigator who thinks Tom’s particular talent can help him track down the murderer and, in turn, save Phil’s friend from falsely taking the fall.”

LisaAgent Bayne by Jordan Castillo Price – “It’s been eight years since I picked up Among the Living, book the first in the PsyCop series, and eight years since I discovered that author Jordan Castillo Price had not only brought two fantastic protagonists to life, but that she’d done so with intricate detail and precise execution in an alternate reality that isn’t only intense and densely woven but is also a love story tucked in between murder investigations and ghost encounters on the streets of Chicago. Every time I open a PsyCop book and Vic starts speaking, it’s like hopping back into the middle of a chat with an old friend—albeit a usually oddish, non-sequitur sort of conversation—but no matter how long it’s been, I fall back in sync with him in no time at all.

The true testament of the adroit storytelling here, however, is the author’s disappearance into her narrator. Victor Bayne is given full agency, is a fully realized character who’s motivated by external voices and events to draw the listener into his story. Something that, in reality, would probably make him feel uncomfortable, being the center of our attention, and is one of the reasons I love him—that in his efforts not to draw attention to himself, we readers are drawn to him in every single way.”


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


The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Note: Some titles are available exclusively through Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program and will require the winner to have an Amazon US account for delivery

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Audio Tuesday with Jessie Potts

Hello all, welcome to another Audio Tuesday, and Jessie Potts is here again from the HEA blog to talk about some of her most recent audio recommendations.


How has your 2018 been so far? Awesomely better than 2017 already? Well regardless I have some fun listens to make you forget about the cold weather and whatever else may be bumming you out. 

The Hookup by Kristen Ashley, narrated by Lance Greenfield and Stella Bloom
This is the first book in Kristen’s new Moonlight and Motor Oil series and it starts off sizzling. I love dual narrators and Kristen always writes the best romances. There’s so much heat and feels in this story that it’s sure to make you think of small towns, hot sex and adorable quirks!

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman, narrated by Armie Hammer
This is an oldie (ish) but it came out in October and I just can’t get it out of my head. While this isn’t a perfect feel good romance, it’s one that’s guaranteed to get your mind off your chilled toes and the news. There’s so much to this novel… so so much and Armie literally brings the characters, not just to life but right there in front of you and at your ear, whispering everything that happened to them and to each other.

A High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle, narrated by Angela Starling
This book didn’t really hit my notice, I’m not a super big mystery reader and most of them have cats on the cover have you noticed? But this one was on sale (it’s still on sale for $2.95) and is was the first in her Fixer-Upper Mysteries so I gave it shot! I have to say it was a cute vacation away from the real world. The mystery isn’t hard to solve and the plot isn’t deep, and I think if I read this first I wouldn’t have liked it as much. Having listened to it first though, Angela did a fantastic job keeping me company folding laundry and driving. It kept my attention enough that it was definitely worth the $3!

Happy listening everyone, have a great rest of your week.