Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Booyah Books To Fall In Love With - Our Top Picks For September

Hi, everyone, thanks so much for stopping by to see what we got up to in the month of September at The Novel Approach. Of course, thanks also to Mary for letting us take over her blog once again so we can share the books we read and loved over the course of the last month.

There's a diverse cross section of authors and genres to celebrate, so without further delay, here are our top picks for September.

Tina – Happy Independence Day by Michael Rupured – “Reading this book was like traveling back through history to get an eyewitness view of the events that shaped LGBT history. I’m honestly (and ashamedly) not real clear on the true historical details of the famous Stonewall Uprising, the very riots that this story is centered around. I do know that those riots were the inspiration for modern day Pride celebrations worldwide

It was fascinating to read the story in context. By today’s standards much of what was said and done in this story would be offensive, but it’s not today in Happy Independence Day, it’s the end of the 1960s and everything is changing before our eyes. Mr. Rupured is able to take us back in time to experience all the sights and sounds of the time. His exceptional details and imagery make the characters as well as the setting come to life for the reader. It feels so real, genuine.”

Tina’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Jackie – Encore by Lori Toland – “Lori Toland did a great job of bringing Blaze and Jason back together, and apart, and back together again throughout the series. None was better, however, than the ending of this book. I think Jason finally got the idea of what it takes to make a relationship work, and Blaze learned to empathize and to forgive the little things so he could avoid losing the most important thing in his life.

There is definitely a HEA for Blaze and Jason, but it is hard earned and required some give and take from both men. There’s also plenty of material for maybe a spinoff from this series. I know, I wouldn’t hate that (hint, hint). If you have read any of the installments in this series, then this book is one you won’t want to miss. If you haven’t, then maybe it’s time you gave The Replacement Guitarist series a try. I highly recommend the entire series and dare you not to love these guys.”

Jackie’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Lynn – The Devil You Know by Kol Anderson – “I loved that Mr. Anderson chose now to let us in on some of Vince’s secrets. We’re at that part of the story where we know what goes on behind the scenes of reconditioning, for lack of a better word, and later at the brothel. Now we’re getting to know and see the people behind this disgusting human trafficking business. I’m ready, are you?

To wrap things up here, I can never say it enough, this author has a way of bringing the reader into his world, shaking them up and spitting them out. I’ve never read an author who can put so much story and emotion on thirty pages that leaves the reader feeling as though they’ve read an eight hundred page novel. That’s how I feel when I read Kol Anderson.”

Lynn’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Kim – Brute by Kim Fielding (Audio) – “There’s nothing worse than finding out that you’ve had a fantastic story on your TBR shelf for a couple of years, and it takes a newly released audio for you to finally figure it out. Then again, I could say that I waited to get the full impact of Brute by reading both the story and listening at the same time. I could say this too: Kim Fielding is a master storyteller!

Damn, what touching story. I had a couple of moments where tears were welling up. I love these types of fairy tales, and K.C. Kelly did a wonderful job of narrating Brute. It’s highly recommended as a read or a listen—or both. I’m giving Brute 5 very enthusiastic Stars.

Kim’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Lana – Avaritia by Mathew Ortiz – “I love Mr. Ortiz’s writing style. Even though Avaritia is written in the third person, I felt like I was reading William’s and Rush’s inner monologues. Their dialogue and interactions were spot on, and the back and forth between the two made me laugh out loud. The dirty talk was fun too.

I loved Avaritia and was entertained throughout. I know my review is not doing it justice, but it’s a story that needs to be read. It will make you laugh and tug at your heart. A great ball of energy that will make your witch’s senses tingle!”

Lana’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Sammy – Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey – “...there was just so much to author Lissa Kasey’s novel, so many layers of subtext and plot twists that left me racing to learn more about Shane and Aki, Candy and Paris, and, yes, just who was torturing, dismembering, and killing the poor victims. Shane, so gruff and aloof, yet so determined to see justice done, to save his precious Aki and to maintain some semblance of his own humanity when the beast inside threatened to consume him every moment. The gentle and loving way he thought of Aki, the deep desire to save him, see him pampered and taken care of, kept safe, was so lovely. This was not your typical romance. Sex between Aki and Shane could kill Aki, or leave him hospitalized, so Shane wooed him instead. He became the take-charge partner that Aki needed and the lover he desired. Such a careful dance between these two men that played out in this amazing story, it was nothing short of beautiful.

Hidden Gem is a stunning thriller that left me breathless! If there were flaws here, I could not find them, for this story was just that good. I highly recommend this incredible novel to you.”

Sammy’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Rena – The Knife of Narcissus by Carolyne Chand – “Perhaps the best thing to me about books one and two is the fact that the angsting of the lovers over their unlawful feelings for each other is kept at a minimum. In fact, Chand limits the heartbreak and despair to Trio, who isn’t the POV character, so that we’re blessed with Lucius, who’s deeply in love but goes about dealing with his troubles in a very pragmatic manner. He doesn’t spend page after page bemoaning his fate, of being born at the wrong time, of being born gay. Oh, heck no. He slyly goes about learning how to be the perfect lover for Trio and is even very candid about it when confronted by his horrified/mortified/utterly-turned-on dreamboat. Whether by older slave, younger slave, or even a female contortionist – Lucius’ sexual maturation isn’t treated lightly, either. For every experience he enjoys, he gets something out of it, not just in the physical sense but in the mind and the heart as well. The female contortionist is nothing more than curiosity satisfied, and the clinical coldness of the moment – one that’s even slightly edged with wry humor – makes for a sharp contrast to the more sensual and more physically and emotionally gratifying man-on-man scenes. It’s an education that not only eases him into his nature, but also allows him to help Trio overcome his own fears and doubts.”

Rena’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Jules – Fever Pitch by Heidi Cullinan – “Though Fever Pitch does deal with some pretty dark themes, the take-away is absolutely the joy. The joy one can find through music, through finding good friends and realizing that it’s ok to let them take care of you sometimes, through loving someone, it’s all there. I’m not gonna lie…I found myself getting choked up quite a few times, and even shed a few tears. There were several heartbreakingly beautiful moments in the book, one of them involving Giles’s parents stepping up to take care of Aaron when he needed it. The Mulders are amazing and perfect, though not at all in an unrealistic way. I know how it is to be reading a book and think, c’mon…these characters are TOO perfect, but that is not even remotely the case here. They are simply good people, and fantastic parents, and every single scene with them feels genuine and straight from the heart.”

Jules’ Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Chris – Sealed by Fire Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder – “This was a very good introduction into a new series, although it did have a few slow spots along the way. I expect that, though, with a first book in an urban fantasy series. With setting up the world, the characters, and what magics or otherworldly creatures are going to be a part of the storyline, it won’t be all action or love story in that particular book. The story itself was not lacking in any sense, it was very detailed and rich in texture and backstory on many of the characters.

I do look forward to the next book in this series, especially if we get to see more of the snake shifters, or even more of Nash’s world. This is one to definitely check out if you’re an urban fantasy reader or like a good solid dose of shifters, magic and world building in your M/M romance.”

Chris’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Kathie – Upside Down by Andrew Grey – “This story has many twists and lots of surprises, including don’t trust anyone named Moonstone. Who knew you could hide something behind woodwork molding? And my favorite: check your takeout food after it’s delivered. You never know what might have been sprinkled on it.

The ending of Upside Down is awesome. You will never guess it either. You just need to know that Andrew writes really good stories about characters you can care about, even if they are whiny or giggly sometimes. And really. what’s wrong with giggling? Giggling is infectious.”

Kathie’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Taz – The Last Thing He Needs by J.H. Knight – “This story contained all the elements I love: strong characterization, a tight plot line, tension and angst interspersed with sexual or lighter moments. The prose was natural and easy to follow, pages flying by without my even realizing how quickly I sped through the story. Or, maybe it was that I was so engrossed in the story I wasn’t paying attention to time.

What Ms. Knight does beautifully is reveal Tommy’s complexity. He’s tough as nails and soft as a teddy bear all mixed up in a hot package. While he would be considered trash by most, based on his parents, their meager home, and the brood living too cramped under one roof, one thing shone through more than anything…he loved his family. I couldn’t get enough of the descriptions of his observations of and interactions with the kids, from the 1-year-old twins to his 17-year-old sister. He paid attention to each like a true parent would, and held dreams for them the way any good parent should. Everything he did was for them, in an effort to meet their basic needs and to help them to feel safe and cared for.”

Taz’s Full Review Can Be Found HERE

Lisa – Daron’s Guitar Chronicles (Books One—Five) by Cecilia Tan – “Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is literary fiction in its most exemplary form, an exposé that reveals Daron Moondog’s (née Marks) evolution as he begins to come to terms with who he is, and, in the end of the final published book (thus far), finds the courage to begin poking at his feelings for the man who turns him inside out and leaves him feeling raw and vulnerable.

As addictive as any books I’ve ever read, as heart-rending as any series I’ve ever loved, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is, if not perfect, the quintessential compilation of music, drugs, sex, love, lust, and pain. My one fear as I got farther along in Daron’s saga was that the author would fail in her effort to keep this storyline fresh and vibrant and emotionally encompassing through its hundreds of chapters. I’m happy to report she damn well did. Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is a brilliant feat in fiction, far too luminous for this simple 5 star rating.”

My Full Review Can Be Found HERE

And that puts paid to another month of Booyah Books. Until next time, happy reading!

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