Friday, May 31, 2013

May Was Very, Very Good To Us

And again....the lovely Lisa from The Novel Approach is here for another edition of Booyah Books!

Bruce and I made it through a big month at The Novel Approach, not only loving lots of great books, but also in an outstanding response to the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia. It was lovely to see so many folks responding to all the participating bloggers with stories of their own, was well as with hope for a future in which the voice of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia will be nothing more than a resounding whisper met by deaf ears.

Because I have such a long list of recommended reads to share, I'm keeping things short and sweet this month, so just know that these seven books that we've selected are the ones that made a big impression.

The first book on this month's list is Mercy Celeste's Behind Iron Lace, the story of Darcy Butler, a man who follows his on-again, off-again girlfriend from Oregon to New Orleans, where they'll continue to expand their successful online Magazine venture, with the help of photographer, artist, and all around sex-on-wheels, Caleb Mitchell.

Darcy's never been pursued by a man before... never been pursued by anyone quite like Caleb before... never been pursued in quite the same way Caleb pursues him before... And have mercy, is it one hot pursuit. I loved the struggle and the tragedy and the passion and the rage inherent in their relationship, as they fought not only each other but the things that’d already happened, things they couldn’t change, but things that intruded on their relationship nonetheless, things that brought them to the breaking point and forced them to face the question of whether they could be together and build a future with each other.

You can buy Behind Iron Lace HERE

Next up is a YA paranormal novel from Harmony Ink Press called Evolution, by author Sam Kadence. This is a story set in contemporary New York City, in the world of music, and teams up seventeen-year-old struggling artist Genesis Sage with the infinitely older and enigmatic guitarist Kerstrande Petterson.

Gene sees dead people, and Kerstrande is one of the walking dead, and their relationship is anything if not volatile. Sam Kadence’s briskly paced and tightly plotted introduction to this world has tucked me neatly into the bloody and fantastical city these character’s populate, but a word of caution here: don’t get overly invested in the hope that the end of this book won’t leave you hanging. There is an evil cliffhanger, but hey, what’s life without a few loose ends? There’s angst and drama galore to be found, and a little bit of horror thrown in too, just to satisfy my love of Urban Fantasy and to give some added complications to this Young Adult romance.

You can buy Evolution HERE

Bruce's pick this month is Poppy Dennison's Soul Magic, book three in the Triad series. This is what he had to say about it:

"The series follows a mage, Simon, who from all accounts is a very beloved and rightfully so character in the series. Simon falls in love and becomes the alpha mate of Gray the alpha of a local werewolf pack. There are many supporting characters in this delectable series, but all three books find themselves centered in one way or another around Simon and Gray. Dennison takes three kinds of magic—mind, body and soul—and weaves them into her tale of her two main characters. Their struggle to find love and how the other characters find love and all of them deal and relate to the magical gifts bestowed upon them, is well told and makes for a wonderful, hopeful, and incredible story.

The fact that each story can stand on its own is a tour de force by Dennison, but even more so is how intricate and seamless the three books work together. It is a remarkable series that if one is a fan of paranormal romance or not is well worth reading."

You can buy Soul Magic HERE

Next up is a book I don't mind admitting brought me to tears. I've read a handful of M/M prison dramas and have discovered that I love the built-in tragedy of two men finding and falling in love in the stark and cold prison setting. Well, let me tell you, Brandon Shire uses the theme and the scene to its fullest advantage. He skillfully feasts upon and serves up to the reader all the heartache and yearning that his MCs, Anderson and Lem, have for something more than is possible for them to hope for. Cold is a book that is sometimes frightening and sometimes heartbreaking, a complex love story that is a contrast of thoughts and feelings. It’s a book about loss–the loss of freedom, the loss of choice, the loss of trust and privacy, the loss of connection–that left me anxious and hopeful and yearning for more from these characters, which he has promised is coming, hopefully sooner rather than later.

The fact that the author was capable of making Lem, the man who is by turns gentle yet also is an unrepentant killer, a sympathetic character is truly impressive; the fact that he was capable of making me yearn for a happy ending for Anderson and Lem is nothing less than pitch-perfect storytelling.

You can buy Cold HERE

Mr. Eric Arvin gets the award this month for most brilliant use of fairy tale magic and epic fantasy in his latest novel The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men, a story that is a walk through the valley of the shadow of death, where animals speak and the forest is enchanted, where magic and faithcraft contest the encroachment of the Outside World, and where superstition and science wrestle with zealotry and spirituality. It is a valley where a chapel resides on poisoned ground, as those who are called there are swallowed into the very bowels of its corruption. It is a place where a famine of birds has allowed a plague of bugs, a place where the Angel of Death lurks in the treetops and keeps an ever watchful eye upon the few remaining souls there. It is a place where God and Gaia have yet to find a way to peacefully coexist.

The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men is a story of hope and faith and of courage, in which courage doesn’t mean an absence of fear but is the sort of bravery a man sometimes finds when he feels he has nothing left to lose. It’s a book that feeds the imagination and is a feast for every reader who loves the sort of prose that flows poetically through a world that is just on the other side of extraordinary. It is symbolic and supernatural and is the sort of book that makes me want to celebrate my love of reading. It’s one of the more unique books I’ve read in a very long time and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

You can buy The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men HERE

The next pick goes to Keira Andrews and her novel The Chimera Affair, as well as its companion short story The Argentine Seduction
Kyle Grant and Sebastian Brambini play international spy and unwitting pawn, respectively, in a shoot-to-thrill, play-to-kill game to outwit the bad guys, the baddest of whom happens to be Sebastian's own father, the father who would rather see Sebastian dead than in the arms of a man.

What’s not to love about an action packed story filled with danger, espionage, international intrigue, and seduction? Not a lot, right? And Keira Andrews pulls this all off in a big way, with cover-to-cover action, exciting locales, and two characters I can’t wait to read about again and again. Kyle was the perfect blend of sophisticated agent for whom the mission is everything, and the lonely man for whom life is a lot less empty now that he’s found The One. Sebastian is a little bit innocent, a little bit hopeful, a whole lot intelligent and is no one’s shrinking violet, doing what needs to be done when it needs doing, whether he believes in all his strengths or not, and whether he believes he can trust Kyle or not.

The next mission has been assigned and danger is guaranteed to await these two men. I have no doubt that whatever is waiting for them on their next mission, I’ll be there to be sure they make it through.

You can buy The Chimera Affair and The Argentine Seduction HERE

And last, but certainly never least, is Z.A. Maxfield's latest release Grime and Punishment, the first book in her new series The Brothers Grime, the story of ex-firefighter Jack Masterson, a man whose disability suffered in the line of duty has forced him to leave the job he loved and turn his talents in a new direction—crime scene clean up. Jack doesn’t do much field work himself these days, but when his friend, sometimes buddy-with-bennies, and full-time closeted police officer, Dave Huntley, calls with the news that Nick Foasberg has committed suicide, well, Jack has no choice but to rush to the scene. Love and loss and lies and pain and a purgatory of self-denial have an uncanny way of motivating a man to revisit a past he’s never overcome.

Nick committed suicide in his cousin's bathroom and has effectively stolen Ryan's home and security out from under him, which is why Ryan needs what Jack is there to offer him—his company’s talent for erasing the stains of violence left behind for the survivor to bear. It’s not as easy a decision as it sounds, though, for Ryan to make. See, Ryan knows full well—or at least he thinks he does—the history Jack and Nick shared. But when the past comes clean with all its secrets and truths, secrets and truths that weren’t anyone’s but Nick’s to tell, they threaten to collapse the bridge the two men begin to build between the past and the present.

This book is quintessential ZAM, so if you love flawed characters who seem determined to keep wrecking their own chances at peace, and love lots of emotional substance to sink your heart into, you'll probably love this book.

You can buy Grime and Punishment HERE

And that's it for May's Booyah Books. Until next month, happy reading!

6 comments:

  1. Oh wow, thank you. Very much. And so happy you liked Lace.

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  2. Aww! Thanks you! I find myself wanting to shout Booyah now....

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  3. Thank you! I'll be shouting Booyah too!

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  4. I'm honored to be in such company. Thank you.

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  5. Thank you, all of you, for making what we do so much fun!

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