Monday, July 30, 2012

Booyah Books! Hot Summer Reads

Hey everyone, Lisa from The Novel Approach is back with another edition of Booyah Books:

Summer’s in full swing and I don’t know what it’s like in where you live, but the Midwest has decided to do its best impression of Death Valley, so my plan for the month of July was pretty much to stay cool and read some great books.
I was all over the place again this month and discovered a handful of new-to-me authors in a variety of genres in the process.
So, time to share!
Fantasy/Literary Fiction/Non-Traditional Romance
King Perry by Edmond Manning
Honestly, I’ve run out of ways to say how much I loved this book. There are some books you read, then there are books you experience, and King Perry is most definitely an experience unlike any I’ve ever had.
It’s the journey of a man, Perry Mangin, whose adult life and relationships are all influenced by his father’s untimely death, when Perry was just a boy. Perry wears the scars of his father’s unintentional abandonment like a permission slip to live a could’ve/should’ve/would’ve/didn’t sort of existence. Perry Mangin is a Lost King, you see, and it’s this book’s narrator, humble auto mechanic Vin Vanbly, who is the navigator on Perry’s journey to give absolution and, ultimately, to become one of the Found.
Vin is unlike any narrator I’ve ever encountered. He’s smart and quirky and funny and sees things just a little bit differently than most people do, but what he does best is give freely of his love and passion and compassion. There are no lengths Vin is unwilling to go to for the men he chooses to King, and he does it with a fervent belief in the healing that comes along with the truths he helps these men to see.
While this book is not a romance, it is utterly romantic. The book doesn’t have a traditional happy ending, but it ends happily. It’s a part of Dreamspinner Press’ Bittersweet Dreams collection, but while I good-cried, I found the story far more sweet than bitter. It’s seductive and as enchanting as any fairy tale I’ve ever read, and Edmond Manning completely charmed and disarmed me with both his humor and the heartfelt joy with which he tells this beautiful story.
Buy King Perry HERE.

YA Fantasy
(In)visible by Anyta Sunday
Surprising. Magical. Unbelievable.
Those are the final three words of Anyta Sunday’s wondrous novel and to be perfectly honest, there are no three words I could come up with that would better sum up all that this book was for me. Part coming-of-age story, part fairy tale, part fantasy, part love story, this novel is so much more than I’d expected it would be when I began reading. It’s a journey of self-discovery for two young men, filled with all the teenage angst of awakening sexuality, first love, the first kiss, and the bitterness of loss when fate and misfortune burden Rune and Scott with the curse of witnessing the harshest realities of the world around them, all too soon.
From the opening paragraphs of this book, as Rune stands at the edge of a river, contemplating yet another attempt at ending his own life—as he’s done every year for the past three years—the mystery and the need to unravel the tangled threads of his affliction begins. Rune is invisible, you see, which I’d mistakenly believed to be a metaphor for a lost child who’d been overlooked, ignored, dismissed, and become dispensable, but it soon became very clear that I was wrong. No, Rune is not the unseen; he is quite literally the invisible, a curse handed down to him by his mother, and one that figures prominently into every aspect of this narrative. Rune is the personification of magic and mystery and it didn’t take but a few sentences for him to cast his spell on me.
The journey with Rune and Scott was not an easy one to make; in fact, I had myself completely prepared for a tragic ending, but it was indeed magical and unique and absorbing, and I read all two-hundred-nine pages in a single setting. I guess I loved it pretty well.
Buy (In)visible HERE. *This book is self-published and available only in Kindle format.*

YA Contemporary
Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble
I’m not going to lie to you; I had a hard time getting through this book. I ugly cried like nobody’s business, but all the anxiety was so worth it for me in the end.
Nate Schaper and Adam Jeffries’ love story is one for the ages until a chapter of their romance rewrote itself and rather than happily-ever-after, they became yet another tragic ending, overwhelmed by the weight of expectations and the burden of miscommunication. Where there ought to have been trust there was doubt and where that doubt was allowed to fester, it thrived, and just when it seemed they’d put paid to all the misunderstandings, Nate himself put the final exclamation point on how far adrift he and Adam had gone.
Theirs is a love that’s tested by a brutal crime, a crime, which I discovered from J.H. Trumble, was loosely based upon an actual hate crime that ended far more tragically, and though their love withstands the horrific aftermath of that violence, it survives only to be tested again and again, by bitter regret and insecurity, by a distance of miles that causes a distancing of emotions, by a blatant manipulation that severs what should’ve been an unbreakable bond, and in the end, by a misguided farewell that eviscerates their relationship and leaves it hemorrhaging its lifeblood all over a future that never had a chance to become.
This book is filled with angst and conflict, heartbreak and hope, anger and betrayal, misunderstanding and hurt, damnation and redemption, destruction and recovery, judgment and forgiveness and finally, healing. It’s a love-overcoming-the-odds story, and while I had myself fully prepared for a variety of endings, the one I got was probably for the best.
Buy Don’t Let Me Go HERE.

Free Read (Historical)
Roses in the Devil’s Garden by Charlie Cochet
It was an Ava March/Charlie Cochet kind of month for me. In other words, I read a lot of their work, and I was NOT disappointed. If you love Regency Romance, I’d definitely recommend giving Ava March’s Brook Street series a go, but before I get too far off topic, let’s talk Charlie.
I was introduced to her through this free story she did for the M/M Romance Group at Goodreads, but don’t worry if you’re not a Goodreads or even a Group member. You can get the story at All Romance E-Books too.
Roses in the Devil’s Garden is a short and sublime little story set in New York City during the height of prohibition in the United States, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution made it illegal to manufacture, transport, sell, and consume liquor in America, but the Amendment did more than further the agenda of the American Temperance movement; it was also the catalyst for the swell of organized crime in the US, as well as fostering rampant corruption within law enforcement, which is often a side-effect that comes along when enterprising men exercise the ability to exploit power and human want for financial gain. There was no gray area in those days: there were good guys and there were bad guys, and sometimes it was difficult to tell the difference between the two until you found yourself on the wrong end of a gun.
Agents Harlan Mackay and Nathan Reilly care about doing the job they were hired to do, even though they don’t care very much at all for the temperance movement itself or for the corruption it has bred. Their jobs involve nabbing the small fish that swim in the much larger pond of criminal activity, attempting to bait and hook the much bigger fish that remain in the shadows and who are the untouchables.
A man from Nathan’s past resurfaces, a man Nathan thought had died during World War I, but he suddenly turns up in their precinct’s interrogation room, attempting to work a little information out of one of those proverbial small fish Harlan and Nathan had just nabbed in a speakeasy sting, and while Danny’s at it, he also tries to work his way back into Nathan’s life. Danny Brogan is Nathan’s childhood friend and his first love and he is a temptation the likes of which Nathan has not faced since he fell in love with and committed himself to Harlan. Danny is the Devil’s garden where temptation is the poisonous thorn on every rose, a poison that could very well kill what Harlan and Nathan have worked so hard to grow.
Every single thing about this book drew me in: the title, the cover, the setting, the time period, the writing style, and most of all, the men who populated the piece. Though it’s a short story and I didn’t get to spend much time getting to know Harlan and Nathan, I was immediately attracted to them, individually and as a couple.
This is the first book in a new series and it sets things up perfectly for a budding romance between Danny and Detective John Flynn, a man Harlan and Nathan literally talked down from the ledge of despair and a man I can’t wait to get to know better. There is also a secondary character, Julius, who plays a small but significant role in the story who’ll be getting his own book in the series as well.
I’ve since read every single thing Charlie Cochet has currently published and wasn’t disappointed in a single one of her books. In fact, I’d also recommend checking out The Auspicious Troubles of Chance, another historical set against the backdrop of the French Foreign Legion. Chance, Jacky, and the boys are pretty amazing too.
Download Roses in the Devil's Garden HERE.
And that brings a close to another month of Booyah Books! Until next month, happy reading!
The Novel Approach


  1. Lisa, Thank you for that beautifully written and insightful review of Don't Let Me Go! You definitely got it.

  2. I loved King Perry, too! I'm looking forward to more from Charlie Cochet in that series.

  3. Hi, J.H.! Fancy meeting you here. I'm glad to be able to say hello to you again. :)

    Hi, Chris! King Perry... I'm still in awe of it and will definitely read it again before the next book in the series comes out. Vin already feels like an old friend to me, and I miss his wonderful self. :)