Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Sizzling Start to the Summer - Booyah Books! The June Edition

Welcome back for another look at some of the books we at The Novel Approach loved in the month of June. As always, it wasn't an easy choice--I read no less than four novels that could have easily made the cut--but I think we've got an outstanding and varied assortment of titles to offer this month--from a look back at 1969 and the Stonewall Inn, to some sci-fi and supernatural, and everything in between.

And, as always, we're giving one reader the chance to win TWO e-titles from our selections. To enter for the chance to win, just leave a comment (**Including Your Email Address**) right here by 11:59pm Pacific Time on Sunday, July 5, 2015. One winner will be selected at random on Monday, the 6th, and notified by email for prize delivery.

Good luck!

And now, here are our list of June's Book of the Month titles:

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KarenMurder and Mayhem by Rhys Ford – “Not that I didn’t know it before reading this book, but I honestly, in my opinion, don’t believe Rhys Ford can write a bad story. Everything I have read that she has written is amazing, and this may be my new favorite from her.

This book is a little different than what I am used to getting in a Rhys Ford book, and I have sat here and rewrote this sentence multiple times, trying to come up with the right words, or something to try to explain what makes it different, and I got nothing. The best I can think of is that this book is a little grittier than I what I am used to in her books. You still get all the things you love in a Rhys Ford book, though: you get mystery, love, humor – but in maybe a little darker package.”

Read Karen’s Full Review HERE

AngelA Counselor Among Wolves by Liv Olteano – “Paranormal politics, as well as those of the PIB, are a big part of this book and bring up even more of the realistic issues people face today. The dynamics were dizzying, but understandable, and all too relevant to real world debates on similar topics.

The mystery here deepens and expands on the first book, and though this is, again, a complete story, you are still left with questions about who exactly is behind all the disruptions. Other characters that I adored in the first book made a return appearance, and I want to see their stories, too, no matter if they are straight or gay. In fact, I’d really like to see the author’s take on a good straight relationship in this world she has created. Regardless of my desires, I am really loving the series and hope the author continues to deliver an excellent tale.”

Read Angel’s Full Review HERE

JulesFor Real by Alexis Hall – “Alexis Hall perfectly executes the alternating POV between the chapters. It changes each chapter, beginning with Laurie – though, there is one chapter near the very end where the author gives us both together – and I’ve never seen a better job done of giving such clear, distinct voices to the players. Granted, the age difference alone makes them completely disparate characters, but Hall gives Toby such a PERFECT nineteen-year-old voice, it makes all the difference. And, Laurie’s exasperation with his life in general, as well as his passion and reluctance to let Toby in, are written so incredibly well. I felt an instant connection to both of the guys.

Toby’s relationship with his grandfather is remarkable, and allows the reader to see where he got some of his stability and ideas of what love should be like. The way Hall trickled out the information about Toby’s mother, and kept it a bit of a mystery, was also interesting and worked very well. And, the class/economic differences between Toby and Laurie, and how that affected particularly Toby’s mindset and choices, was handled very well and was so realistic.”

Read Jules’ Full Review HERE

CarrieWood, Screws & Nails by Piper Vaughn and Kade Boehme – “It is Malachi’s steadfastness and honorable work ethic that wins Aaron over little by little. These two do not just jump into a relationship; they build it like they are building the lake house, a little at the time. And what an incredibly hot journey! Who wouldn’t love two incredible men working construction, with the sexual tension being off the charts?

I would highly recommend this book – especially in audio! Paul Morey does a fantastic job with the narration and vocal inflections of the characters. I always knew which character was speaking from the tone of voice Paul used. This was my first audiobook, and I thoroughly enjoyed having Paul Morey tell me a story – especially such a hot one!”

Read Carrie’s Full Review HERE

TazNo Boundaries by SE Jakes – “No Boundaries is the first book I’ve read by SE Jakes. All I can say is, what the hell is wrong with me that it took me this long? In this story, we meet Marcus and Cole. Both men have spotty pasts which haunt them, which makes them hesitant to accept what the other has to offer…namely, happiness and acceptance.

The action in this story is crafted beautifully, interwoven seamlessly with the emotional struggle of each character. The cast of secondary characters are well-developed, although they don’t deter from the main protagonists and their journey.”

Read Taz’s Full Review HERE

LanaTruth & Tenderness by Tere Michaels – Evan, Matt, and the gang are back for more adventures in the city! I am sooooo in love with Evan and Matt, I just can’t explain how much, but if I have one pet peeve about Trust & Tenderness, it is that there was too much focus on the supporting characters and not enough of Evan and Matt. Yes, I know I always say that I wanted more of the supporting characters, but here, less would have been more. But, I loved this peek into their lives nonetheless.

Evan and Matt have settled into a routine. Matt’s security business has taken off. Evan is now a captain and has his own precinct, albeit a trophy one and he still feels that he got the job because he is gay rather than on his merits. Jim and Griffin have moved to the East Coast. Jim is in business with Matt and Griffin, and is finishing his first major movie production. Both are restless and are wondering what the next step is. Is a baby the answer? And…you’ll need to read the book to find out. Jim’s past also catches up with him, and there is some excitement. Let’s just say that loose ends are neatly tied up!

Read Lana’s Full Review HERE

JenniferThe Captain’s Pet by Samantha Cayto – “Before you purchase this book, please be aware of the reader advisory. This book has a lot of sex, and about 90% of it is non-consensual/rape or, at the very least, dubious consent. There is also a lot of violence in the form of abuse and torture.

That said, I liked this book way more than I should have, given the content, but the world was incredibly well crafted and the characters even more so. The non-con/dub-con, while difficult, serves the purpose of displaying how different humans are from the Travians. They hold very different codes of conduct.

There are some tense moments at the end of the book that involve a mutiny and rebellion, but it was awesome, and I don’t want to give any of that way. Just know that I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next in the series. If non-con and dub-con doesn’t bother you too much, I recommend checking this one out.”

Read Jennifer’s Full Review HERE

SammyA Way Back to Then (Tales from Foster High) by Robert Halliwell – I could give you paragraphs about the supporting cast, the main characters, the wit and humor of the rapier sharp dialogue, and the incredible journey that Robbie finally begins once he allows himself the luxury of being happy, and trusting that emotion again. I could remark on Robbie’s family and their love/fighting/bitchery that makes them some of the most interesting and hilarious secondary characters ever to grace a novel. I could tell you that while this novel draws its origins in the Foster High series, it is a completely different animal and could indeed be the anchor for a new series by Robert Halliwell—should he choose to continue Robbie and Sebastian’s story (by the way, I vote a BIG YES on that idea). Finally, I could tell you that this new author, this amazing new “voice,” is never run-of-the-mill, overdone or trite, but dynamic, humorous, heartbreaking and incredibly well written.

When I Grow Up (Tales from Foster High) by John Goode – “Read every single word and chapter of this novel; trust me, it is vital you do so. Revel in how this author creates such an imperfect world, peopled with very flawed characters, and reveals through their interactions with each other how much those who society marginalizes can love and support one another. Delight in the idea being offered that while life can be so very hard, it can also contain such impossibly perfect moments that it gives a person the strength to carry on despite the odds being stacked against them. Finally, enjoy every single second that you can visit with these amazing characters once again.

When I Grow Up is told in multiple parts, narrated from the perspective of several characters, and is such a gripping story that you will not be able to put this one aside before hitting the very last page. This author, his writing, his stunning ability to weave a story just gets better each time, never fails to leave me shaking my head at the truth and compassion his novels impart. John Goode makes it laughably easy to say, ‘I highly recommend this novel to you.’”

Read Sammy’s Full Reviews HERE and HERE

MaryannStonewall Inn: Settling by D.J. Manly – “D.J. Manly has written a heartbreaking and heartwarming story set in 1969. There is fact and fiction melded together in this story, just a little touch of a mystery too, and it’s very well done!

The Stonewall Inn: Settling is a well written story of two men—one who already knows he’s gay, the other just facing that realization, but both struggling with telling their families. There’s also a little bonus in the Author’s Note by D.J. Manly. Stonewall Inn, of course, is now a landmark in New York City and was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on June 28th, 1999. Besides the historical facts within the fiction, this novel gives us a look at an “ideal world” for Luke and Samuel.”

Read Maryann’s Full Review HERE

LisaThe Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles – “Each of the chapters in this collection of Robert’s memories offers an emotional payoff: in the erotic, the horrific, the bittersweet, and the layering of each of our heroes as they evolve from their first wanton tryst into two complementary forces who each needs the other in every conceivable (and sometimes, inconceivable) way. This was not a simplistic building of a relationship—there are trials and communication missteps which make our heroes the realistic contrast to all the unreality they face on a day-to-day basis.

From a macabre butterfly obsession to a demented Pied Piper to the very human enemy bent upon destroying our Mr. Caldwell, KJ Charles has mined the depths of imagination to come up with another outstanding novel to add to her body of work. One can only imagine there are more stories Robert Caldwell had to tell, but he saved the best of them for this collection, ensuring the novel’s place as one of the best I’ll read in 2015.”

Read Full Review HERE

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And that's it for June, friends. Until next month, happy reading!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

She killed me

This is just the best thing ever because Rhys Ford made it for her Killing Them Softly Blog Tour that's going on now to celebrate the release of Murder And Mayhem. You can see the schedule here and catch up if you haven't been following along. The book is great, I beta read it so I can vouch for the wonderfulness, but also the blog tour with the Edward Gorey style killing off of fellow authors is so very clever and fun. She killed me off on Mercy Celeste's blog here and poor Mercy will get it on someone else's I'm sure.

What's particularly awesome about my mode of death is that Rhys flew across the country to teach me how to cook. I can't do it at all so she came to show me and one of the dishes she attempted to teach me was fried rice. Once she left, I tried to make it and ruined a perfectly good frying pan in the process. There was, in fact, fire, so little chibi me expiring in flames is ironically hysterical.

Anyway, don't miss the blog tour, who knows who's dying next. And the book is out June 5th at Dreamspinner Press. :)
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6468