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And now, here they are -- our Book of the Month selections for April
Chris – After the Fire by Felice Stevens – “Be prepared with Kleenex for this one, readers! It had some moments of sniffles that just couldn’t be held back. I’ve said with each new book, Felice Stevens can’t create a better couple, and she keeps proving me wrong. Jordan and Luke pretty much tore my heart up and then patched it all back together by the end. She also introduced a secondary character, Tash, who I utterly fell in love with and can’t wait for his story.
While there is some external conflict, this is a character driven story and what a story it ends up being. It kept this reader involved to the very last word on the very last page.”
Karen – Spring Break at the Villa Hermes by Xavier Mayne – “One of the things I have loved about this series is how Xavier Mayne builds all of the characters, so whether they are the primary characters or secondary, by the end you feel as though you know them all. Story time was amazing, and at parts had me cracking up and laughing out loud. Thor’s story about the floppy, one eyed slug, and looking another man right in the anus, had tears running down my face I laughed so hard.
This story was sweet, funny, and hot, while still bringing up and addressing serious issues such as being honest and true to yourself, and the struggle for equal rights. Looking at the different characters, you can almost follow the changes and steps forward that have been made from generation to generation—from Winnie and Vic, to Brandt and Donnelly, and now Ted and Bark and the other guys who spent their week-long spring break learning about themselves and having their lives change at the Villa Hermes.”
Lana – A Soul Remembered by Vivien Dean – “A Soul Remembered isn’t what I expected. It’s a gritty sci-fi gem, in the same vein as Blade Runner, that I didn’t want to put down. I was very pleasantly surprise.
The story’s plot and premise is a little bit complicated, so take your time reading. In the future, everyone has implanted chips that store information and memories. This all came about because one scientist didn’t want to lose the love of his life. Adam Silver started the Reborn project because his husband was dying; its goal being to save memories and transfer them to random fresh bodies. The people who hold those memories do not have access to them. Adam spent countless Reborn-lifetimes looking for him to be Reborn. The way he looks for his lost love is to work as a prostitute, because he’ll see his clients naked and will see the genetic mark, Alpha Letter, to let him know if he’s found his husband’s memories. There’s also a twist I can’t reveal, but it’s a good one.”
Jules – Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson – “There is so much to love in this book. The title is perfect, and the continued usage throughout the story of the idea of ‘trusting your focus’ works so well. All of the author’s little touches: Dad’s notes in the margins of the atlases, all of the moments that show the shared history between the boys – a history that includes the love of Justin’s father—the cinnamon candies, Justin’s tattoo, etc.—all lend to the fabulous reading experience.
I loved the many lessons in the book as well. Be who you are. Be honest with those you love. Life is too short to live with regret, to point out just a few, and it was the regret that was eating Justin alive. The agreement they made toward the end, for ‘no if onlys’ was fantastic. I try to live by this same rule.”
Jennifer – Gyrfalcon by Anna Butler – “This book is not a light read. It’s heavy. There is a lot of military and scientific jargon because of the setting, but honestly, don’t let that throw you off. For me, it just sucked me into the story even more. I was thoroughly engrossed in the lives of the characters and enjoyed reading about the military operations as they unfolded. I loved reading about the various ships, from the tiny Mosquito to the massive dreadnought, and all their inner workings.
The characters, too, are richly detailed, from their home colonies to their importance on the ships. The two heroes, Bennet and Flynn, are spectacular. Both are expertly characterized and have their little differences and quirks that make them unique, from Bennet’s almost forgotten stutter–except when he gets too emotional–to Flynn’s unapologetic love of sex.”
Angel – For a Rainy Afternoon by RJ Scott – “For a Rainy Afternoon is one short story in an anthology of five in which the rest of the collection share the common theme of a mysterious cookbook. I have not read the other stories in this book, but this one stands alone, and I definitely want to read the others. I’ve read and liked RJ Scott’s work before, so it was no surprise to me that this novella was just as enjoyable for me as her other works.
The setting in a tiny rural English town was lovely for this tale. It was a soft sort of romance, slow building and without a lot of on onscreen sex. The mystery, which I won’t spoil here for you, was interesting and sad at the same time. More bittersweet than anything, I think, but I really enjoyed the entire story overall.”
Sadonna – Healing Hunter’s Heart by Charlie Cochet – “Another disclosure: I am a big Charlie Cochet fan (she is an auto-buy for me) – both her historicals and her latest THIRDS series are favorites. Now I can add this series to the list as well. Warning: It is not recommended that this series be read out of sequence, as the setup for this story is a spoiler from the first book.
Oh man! This was quite a ride, and very different in many ways from the first book in this series, An Intrepid Trip to Love(from the M/M Goodreads group free Love Has No Boundaries event in 2013). I am embarrassed to say that I JUST read the first story in March of this year, in anticipation of the release of this story. *hangs head in shame*”
Sammy – Slaying Isidore’s Dragons by C. Kennedy – “While Slaying Isidore’s Dragons is most assuredly a young adult novel, never does it flinch away from the sexual aspect of the young lovers’ lives. While there is limited on-page experiences, those moments are written with such care and tenderness that one almost weeps at the first time experiences for these boys. Always attempting to be realistic, there are varying responses from the parents of these gay young men who choose, or are forced by circumstances, to come out during this story, some accepting and loving, others harsh and hateful. Not once can it be said that Slaying Isidore’s Dragons wraps itself in anything less than reality. These are flesh and blood characters who repeatedly must pull from extraordinary reserves of strength in order to survive. As such, they love fiercely and completely.
Awww me, there is so much to this novel I have barely given you the beginning of why it is such an outstanding read. This bold, sweeping saga is a compelling story of redemptive love and healing grace.”
Janet – Winging It by Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James – “This book was absolutely brilliant!! I loved it. The writing duo of Kane and James is producing stories that are technically perfect, full of humor and excitement, and guys you just can’t help falling in love with. I can see the progression to excellence through their writing history, as each book gets better than the last; a single voice for the pair, strong characters, and seamless plots that are really out there and so very original.
This particular book is about hockey, professional NHL hockey players, and coming out against that background of media frenzy and the politics of professional sports. It may sound strange, though, that I don’t think of it as a sports book, per se, as the characters are so well developed that the focus is on them, their emotions and reactions, so the hockey is just a backdrop, a part of them and their world, and this is made clear to the reader.”
Carrie – Trowchester Blues by Alex Beecroft – “This book teaches us that growing, and becoming better people because of it, can be painful and soul wrenching experiences. That shattering the paradigms in which we view ourselves and others can be an incredibly freeing experience, but no one said it was easy. In Michael’s words, “Finn restored his faith in everything, in God and man, in the earth and the sky and even in himself.”
The author, Alex Beecroft, does an incredible job of drawing pictures of these men and the place they live. By reading this book I have been to Trowchester, and I have met these men – I would know them on the street if I met them. When she describes Trowchester, I can smell the rain on the streets and picture the cathedral in the distance of the flower lined sidewalks. I am dying to go to Finn’s bookshop, where the smell of leather and paper and knowledge permeates the air. I am looking forward to the next installment of this series Blue Eyed Stranger and would highly recommend this book!”
Jackie – Payback by John Inman – “In true John Inman style, the tension gradually grows in Payback until it reaches an action packed climactic end. The journey, however, was the focal point of this book and it was amazing.
I can’t count the number of times I cried while reading this book. It was such a realistic portrayal of the grieving process, and I felt like I could have been living this story instead of just reading it. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next from John Inman.”
Kathie – The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye – “What do the Seven Dwarfs, a blue butt plug, and a machine that scans a page for text and reads it back have in common? The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye, a journey that has these three things intertwined within the story, and move Jake and Patrick towards their happily-ever-after. And if for one second you think there is no way they fit together, read and/or listen to this story and you will understand just how much of a genius Renae Kaye is in weaving a great story.
And now on to my favorite part of the review: the narration. Jonathan Young clearly had fun with this story. At one point in the book, Patrick describes Jake’s voice as sounding as though he’s always smiling. Jonathan Young captures this quality, his voice does sound like it’s smiling. Patrick’s voice, on the other hand, is hesitant, intelligent, and resigned, just the voice I would have excepted from this character. And the supporting characters? The best ever.”
Lisa – The Box Sets Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary & A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion by Jordan Castillo Price – “Reading these novellas is a full-immersion trip on Michael and Wild Bill’s journey to nowhere special, as they trek their way through the Midwest, eventually lighting in Vegas–for now. They meet while hunting the same vampire for their own personal reasons, they connect through something far more intangible and impossible to name than simple vengeance. Michael and Wild Bill live a vagabond life and exist on little more than blood, sex, and trying (when it’s possible) to do the right thing.
The Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion series is a fusion of spec fic, red-hot erotica, and a study of the human condition which exists for two men, one of whom isn’t technically human any longer. It’s sexy and original while staying true to the vampire mythos, the allure which makes the undead live on in fiction, century after century. Michael and Wild Bill have become iconic in the M/M lexicon and are at the top of my list of all-time favorite characters, human, non-human, or somewhere in between. Every time I read them I suffer, though—they’re my addiction and give me book hangover for days. I can’t recommend that hangover highly enough.”
You can find the full reviews for these and many more books at The Novel Approach. Until next time, happy reading!