Sunday, April 29, 2012

3rd Installment of Booyah Books!


 The lovely Lisa from The Novel Approach is here again with her feature Booyah Books!

What A Month It’s Been!

There are two absolutes about the month of April: 1.) I read a lot, and 2.) it was a great month for my obsession, so awesome, in fact, that I had a hard time narrowing down my list of fabu reads for this installment of the booyah that is books.

I read a really eclectic mix of books this month because, well, I have fairly eclectic tastes in reading. I demand a lot from the books I read, but I also forgive a lot if I find characters who reach out from the page (or Kindle screen, in my case) and pull me into the lives the author has created for them. My list this month runs the gamut, from time-travel romance to historical tragic romance to a gritty prison drama to an unexpected collaboration to a FREE short story from a new to me author.

Because they’re two of my favorite authors, I’m going to start with my unexpected collaboration, Country Mouse. When I found out Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov were writing a story together my initial reaction was, what the junk?! How will these two authors whose styles are so uniquely their own ever possibly carry off a project together? Oh me of little faith. I have since repented for my lack of belief in their prose prowess.

This is a cat and mouse story, in which the line between predator and prey begins to blur when the mouse becomes the trap that catches the cat by the tail and turns his controlled and well ordered world upside down. There’s none of that “if you love something, set it free” rubbish going on here. No, this is all about wanting and needing and giving and taking and letting go and then grabbing on, all at the same time. And ah, the romance of it all.

I’ve never, in all my experience with Aleksandr Voinov’s work, been compelled to call a book of his sweet, but I’m gonna. Shh, don’t tell him I said so. I blame Amy Lane.



This month’s FREE title is a short story from Taylor V. Donovan called Heatstroke, the story of a teenage boy, Michael Spencer, whose family’s deep, dark secrets not only robbed a boy of his father, but also robbed that father of everything in his life he’d once held dear. This is a story of sacrifice, a story about a young man in the 1960s who had it all—fame, fortune, a meteoric career in show business—and love: the greatest of all his blessings was the love. But in the 1960s, a time when mere gossip and innuendo, a time when the slightest whisper of an inappropriate relationship could ruin a man, the love that Richard Bancroft and Manny Guzman shared was a love that they could never allow to see the light of acknowledgment in public. And it was that secret, the surrendering of what was an all-consuming bond, and the discovery of that secret by a wife Richard didn’t love, that nearly destroyed two men’s lives, cost one his career and his child, and tore the men apart.

Michael comes to know his grandfather through the journals he discovered in his grandmother’s attic. If you’re not a fan of epistolary storytelling, the style might not appeal to you, but let me just say that this was a story that snuck up on me and has become one of my favorite shorts, free or otherwise, that I’ve ever read.



If you love the idea of traveling through time, risking life and limb for the sake of finding the love of a lifetime, then Ethan Day’s A Token of Time might be just the book you’re looking for.

If you’re at all familiar with Ethan’s work, you’ll very quickly understand that this book is unlike any he’s written before. But sometimes different is, if not better, then at least awfully damn good. This is the story of a young man who has inherited a power normally only bestowed upon the women in his family. The gift (or curse, depending upon how you look at it) has made a fugitive of Zachary Hamilton and his boyfriend Nick Williams, on the run from Zachary’s twin sister, who is the personification of madness. But nowhere is remote enough or safe enough to outrun the evil that dogs their heels, and eventually it catches up to them, with tragic results.

With his life in utter shambles, Zachary receives a box with a mysterious necklace inside, a necklace that makes the impossible possible and sends Zachary back in time, to a time before he ever existed but to a time he’s been before. A time where he encounters a love that spans two lifetimes.

A Token of Time fractures the laws of forward motion. It makes time an illusion and reality malleable. It’s a “love will always find a way” romance, heartbreaking and hopeful, and it left me wishing for nothing less than a bit more of that illusive and elusive time with these characters. If you’ve ever in your life wished it were possible to be able to go back in time and do something differently or to influence a change in history, then Token might speak to something in you that you know is impossible but won’t stop the wanting of it anyway.  



My last two books are both Challenge Reads, and one of them, I swear, has left me scarred for life. Okay, maybe not scarred, but the story still haunts me to this day.


I’ll start first with the historical prison drama Protection by S.A. Reid. The story begins in 1936 in the fictional Wentworth Prison in pre-World War II England, where Gabriel MacKenna is serving concurrent life sentences for murdering his parents. Gabriel is a hard man and a dichotomy of behaviors, incredibly violent and philosophical about the justice he metes out—it’s necessary for his own survival as well as for those he chooses to protect, after all—yet there is a charisma and charm about him, an innate intelligence and aching quality to him that made him irresistible in spite of how much I tried to convince myself he should be entirely beyond redemption.

Dr. Joseph Cooper was framed for the murder of a mother and her newborn child, a crime he did not commit but for which he was tricked into confessing to nonetheless. The worst possible thing that could’ve happened to Joey was to catch Gabriel’s eye upon arrival at Wentworth, but that’s exactly what happens, much to Joey’s misfortune.

Gabriel is a pragmatic man who sees things in black & white, and in his world, a baby killer who’s still walking the earth deserves to suffer a fate worse than death. And Gabriel means to make Joey pay.

This is the part where I warn you that this book contains scenes of rape and brutal violence and does not have a happy ending. No, this is a tragic romance that challenges perceptions and confronts perspectives and as heartbreaking as it was, it was also breathtakingly beautiful.



Finally, let me tell you about Maria McCann’s As Meat Loves Salt. Never, ever in all my years of reading have I loathed a book with such a white-hot intensely. Never, ever in all my years of reading have I loved a book with a passion that burns like a madness that has wormed its way into my psyche and haunts me to this day.

The story is set in the 17th century, during the English Revolution, and at nearly 600 pages it is utterly impossible to summarize all that this book is. As Meat Loves Salt is the sort of novel you read and it makes you realize how ridiculous it is to either rate or review it, because sometimes a book is so unparalleled there’s nothing to compare it to, nothing that you can use as a barometer against which to measure all you felt about it as you became absorbed by the words the author chose to tell the tale, words that were pure poetry and the writer’s postscript to a love affair with storytelling.

It is epic, from the gruesome opening to the forbidden obsession to the betrayal and eventual descent into madness; this is not a romance, nor is it a love story. It is a story of possession, of control, of dominance, of manipulation. It is the story of two men who misused the word love, when what they really meant was they wanted and needed each other with a fixation so overwhelming that it consumed them whole. Jacob and Christopher utterly ruined each other, and at times it was difficult to discern whose sanity was more questionable.

As Meat Loves Salt is a story of deception and a deceptive story, a study of virtue and vice, in which Patience, Wisdom, Grace, and Mercy are no more than mere humans, a story in which Courage and Providence stand shoulder to shoulder with Vanity and Shame, a book where Eternity is Hell, not Paradise. In the midst of revolution there can be no Eden, no Utopia where men and women will live as equals, in spite of how fervently Christopher fights for it. In the end, there was only Sodom and Gomorrah and a pillar of salt to witness its destruction.

I am lost to describe the beauty of this book. I reckon I’ll never read another like it again. If you’re feeling brave and want to try something different, something that might make you feel a bit like you’ve gone off the deep end, give this one a try.



Until next month, happy reading!

Friday, April 27, 2012

More Acrobat fun

So the lovely Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos is running another contest for a book of mine, this time for Acrobat. The blurb is up and the excerpt so that will give you an idea of what it is about and these pictures will give you an idea of my men. Have you noticed that sometimes it's not the exact face, but a smile or a look or just the smile or look in a particular photo? Like the black and white one of David Gandy here. No, Dreo doesn't look like him in my head, but the sort of vulnerable look there, that's all Dreo. And Nate doesn't look like Eric Dane, but the smile and the laugh lines, that's Nate.

Nate is 45 and blonde with a beard and mustache, very much the dashing English professor. Dreo is 28 and tall and dark and dangerous and sexy.  You get the idea. Sometimes I really wish I could draw. I think that's why hand drawn covers are fantastic, they give the reader some insight into the vision of the writer. How awesome is that?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Release Day for Frog

So tomorrow, April 25th, Frog is out and I'm nervous as I am before any book's release but I think even a little more so here because I like Weber Yates so much. Reading, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and so the hope is that the reader sees what the writer intended. You all will have to let me know what you see after you read it. If anybody wants me I will be hiding out in the tree house up in the crazy tree eating raw cookie dough by the barrel. I never said I wondered why I don't lose weight. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Contest for Frog

I'm using a different badge for Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos today because I have the permanent one on my site and I use it for contests too and I simply felt like mixing things up. Besides it's way cute.

So the lovely Chris is giving away a free copy of Frog over at her site so if you get the chance, pop over and visit.

The Dreamspinner Daily Dose Is Up

My favorite part of the summer Daily Dose going up is seeing what everyone wrote about and reading the blurbs. This is the one for the whole thing:
“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” ~Henry Van Dyke

Millennia, centuries, decades, years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds... if it’s a love for the ages, then past, present, or future has no meaning. In these stories, time travel—forward or backward, for an instant or for a lifetime—is the way to fulfilling romance. The Time Is Eternity Daily Dose package delivers 30 M/M stories (plus a bonus short!) about love conquering all through the ages.

Summer reading fun! A story delivered automatically to your bookshelf each day in June. Over 1,500 pages of fiction.

The expand button, if you click on it, then you can read all the individual blurbs and read what everyone wrote on. It's always so interesting to see individual takes on a theme. I tend to be very "in the box" but after perusing the list I can see that so many people went outside and just blew the box to bits. I so admire that and wish I was the same. I will have to keep working on it. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Acrobat

My new novel Acrobat will be released on May 7th. I love the cover by Anne Cain, it shows the slow build of the romance. I hope you all enjoy it. And here's the blurb:
Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.

Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been looking for. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.

I will be so interested to hear what you all think.:)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Things

Okay so why the labarum? For my warders who are going to print. Yeah! There will be two volumes and I'm pleased about that because I like to hold things in my hands. I was telling a friend just the other day that for long stories, I need to flip pages. My kids probably won't have the same need, growing up as they are with laptops and Kindles and PlayStations, but for me, I still need it.Go into any Barnes & Noble and it's easy to see that it's not just me. People have been prophesying the end of paperbacks for years but I don't see it happening quite yet. So I am thrilled that my warders will be in print, makes me happy.
This morning I was at Wal-Mart (Walmart, I think they changed the spelling) because the Target is on the other side of the island from me and I'm looking at the faces of Easter bunnies for my kids. A man beside me just grabbed two and I thought, what if the eyes are misaligned, what if the expressions are mean, I have to LOOK in the faces of the stuffed animals I get my kids. My husband is always like, "it's just a bunny or a bear or a frog", and I explain to him that there is character there and you have to be picky.
So I am not going to GRL, am really going to try and go next year for sure, but if anyone else is at Yaoi-Con in Los Angeles in October, please stop by the DSP table and see me and Nessa Warin. We'll be there. :)