Friday, September 30, 2016

The Books We Fell For: September Book of the Month Picks

Hi, everyone, and welcome to this month's peek at some of the books we read, reviewed, and loved at The Novel Approach.

One of the things I always love about compiling these titles is the eclectic variety of genres we're able to offer--from Urban Fantasy to Historical to Contemporary--variety is the spice of reading, I guess. :)

So, here's a little taste of the books we loved in September, and don't forget to enter our monthly e-book giveaway!

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Cassie Mad Lizard Mambo by Rhys Ford – “One of the things I love about Rhys Ford is that I always feel like I learn something reading her books. I pick up new vocab words or end up googling pictures of paho’eho’e lava in the first five pages so I know what the landscape actually looks like. Her phrases are innovative and complicated in that fun way that feels like your brain just took a yoga class and came out bendier and hotter, or you know, sore and sweaty. Either way, FUN. It also has the added benefit of slowing this speed-reader down and prolonging my enjoyment. I dig it.

One of the other things I love (yeah, there are lots—just strap in for the gushing, okay?) are the opening sequences. All her books tend to start off with a bang, this series and the Cole McGinnis series in particular. But this time, Ms. Ford REALLY outdid herself. I’ve never been so concerned, while laughing so hard, while also feeling slightly ill. It was great. I went back and read it again before I moved on just to be sure it had actually just happened. It had.

The writing style is visceral. The hard living and pointy edges of Kai’s character are very clear in the voice of the book. Well done, as it’s first person from Kai’s perspective. The fight sequences are graceless, glorious, mad-scrabble scrambles for survival; not well-choreographed bouts, but sheer, desperate brute force and stalker-wiles. It communicates a sense of reality and urgency that I thoroughly enjoy.”

Maryann Cougar Chaos by A.J. Marcus – “Cougar Chaos is really an emotional read. Besides the danger Brock and Landon face, they have to deal with the worst crime imaginable to wildlife. It was painstakingly hard for Landon just to put down a creature who was already suffering.

If you are a true lover of nature’s beauty and wildlife, you will never regret reading A.J. Marcus’s Mountain Spirit Mysteries series. He never ceases to educate and entertain with his amazing stories. He takes us into the world of Parks and Wildlife, the rehabbers and the creatures that are in danger.

Come along and follow Brock and Landon’s adventures, and Bear’s too, starting with Eagle’s Blood, Grizzly Discovery, and Moose Fever.”

Lindsey The Pill Bugs of Time by Angel Martinez – “Not only did Ms. Martinez do a phenomenal job with the present day in this book, but I quite enjoyed the additional world building from both future and past that Vikash himself reveals during the course of this investigation. The future world and its changes was extremely intriguing and unique in its portrayal. I found myself wanting more of the future world.

I am officially hooked on this series and the quirky and creative world that Angel Martinez has built. This book was just plain fun, and I can’t wait to see what the next installment has in store for the readers.

If you are a reader looking for a book that is quick, light, and bizarre, and that leaves you with a smile on your face, this book—and this series—is highly recommended.”

Sammy What About Everything? by John Goode – “I laughed until I cried–that is a given in a John Goode novel. What should be so simple—loving another–is so fraught with pitfalls, and these men leap in every time. It’s not just miscommunication that has Tyler and Matt on the brink of a break-up; it’s the fact that Tyler cannot seem to allow for the idea that his past should not define him. When we cannot forgive ourselves, Mr. Goode tells us, we can hardly expect to embrace happiness in any form when it’s offered. Forgiveness must start at home, and Tyler learns this the hard way. Matt is the most patient man ever written, but even he has his limits and every one of them is pushed in this novel. Through flawless humor, incredible moments of intimacy and support from the craziest yet most loyal friends ever, Matt and Tyler begin to realize that a relationship takes work and in order for it to stay afloat, one must recognize the life rafts floating alongside and grab hold of them.”

Angel David, Renewed by Diana Copland – “I love the realism, I suppose, is the word for both Diana Copland and her writing. This new story doesn’t disappoint in any way and delivers what it promised in spades. I loved David and his broken down house and the reasons why he was renovating. Jackson was cute and I loved his attitude and perseverance. This story was fraught with real-time angst and the characters were involved in the tragedies of their stories, but they’re weren’t caricatures of the angst. It made blips in their lives, but it didn’t destroy them, and I think the entire story was stronger for that. The MCs settled their problems with real solutions that weren’t hand waved away.”

Carrie Dinner for One by Meg Harding – “Overall, the French cooking bites are delicious. The secondary characters hold up their portions of the story, weaving in and out of the main characters’ lives. These are family men, both of them, and the secondary actors are important in the development of who these men are. I laughed at James’ family, and I adored Bastien’s niece, Avery.

I thought the title was clever. At first I thought dinner for one was a play on the fact that James is a food critic—except he never eats by himself, always taking his brother with him. I appreciated that it turned out to be a play on what James has to do to win Bastien’s affections back. That was refreshingly original, and I appreciated that he had to work for absolution; it wasn’t just given to him.

Low angst, high romance, amusing banter, hot guys, good sex with a little kink, an interesting plot and great writing. Sometimes it’s enough that two men fall in love.”

Jennifer The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian – “The Soldier’s Scoundrel is set in regency era London and focuses on Oliver Rivington and Jack Turner. The two men could not be more opposite. Oliver is the son of an Earl, former military, and very high class and proper. Jack, on the other hand, is lower class and circumvents the law at the request of the people who hire him. It seems that the two men should not be together, should never fall in love, but love is blind and all that. Of course, there is the initial tension between the two men, but that slowly melts away as they get to know each other.

There is a bit of a mystery in this novel, which was fun to read even if it wasn’t overly complicated; however, the heart of the story lies in the relationship between Oliver and Jack as it unfolds. The problem with their relationship is not that they are two men, but the status difference between them as it makes associating with each other in public even more difficult and downright dangerous. This might seem like a common trope in many historical romances, but Cat Sebastian really did a great job at highlighting those differences as well as bringing up the justice system without making it heavy-handed. Instead, the risk was high, yes, but you had hope for them, even if my heart broke several times for Jack.”

Jules Empty Net by Avon Gale – “I love the way Gale handles so many things in this book. She does a really wonderful job with the sharing of Saint’s cruel and abusive past, as well as with discussions of his substantial eating disorder. Both topics demand being handled with care, and she certainly does that. I felt like she covered all the bases, but also kept things within the spirit of the series, i.e., there was plenty of emotion and respect for the subject matter, but nothing ever got too heavy.

So many things to love in this book. More Misha for one. Gahhhhh. I LOVE that man. He’s perhaps my favorite character in all of the books. Also, I thought it was so cool that we got two different perspectives of the game in this one. Unlike all of the players in the series thus far, Saint does NOT play for the love of the game, and I love the story that Gale tells there. And I just used ‘love’ four times in this paragraph, annnnd thirteen times total in the review…Perhaps I should take this as a sign to wrap this up!”

Lisa Bad Judgment by Sidney Bell – “Bad Judgment is author Sidney Bell’s debut novel, and I hope to the gods of fiction that it’s not her last, because this. Book. Is. Awesome. As a change of pace in the M/M romance genre, it’s not a story about being gay. Rather, this is a story of intrigue and danger and espionage and revenge, which happens to feature two gay protagonists, Brogan Smith and Embry Ford. This is also not a run of the mill love story. Not by a long shot, thanks to Embry, who hasn’t built walls as much as he’s constructed a poison tipped razor wire fa├žade meant to deter familiarity, and a sharp tongue he’s not afraid to use to cut to the quick as a means of avoiding conversation.

Heaped upon my love of Bell’s gift for characterization is her overall talent for telling a fast paced and gripping story. There’s not a single throwaway scene or word of dialogue in Bad Judgment, not a moment where I didn’t want to give this book my full and undivided attention. The author wrung every conceivable emotion from me, from happy to horrified, as we learn more about all of Embry’s motivations and watch as he comes near to being psychologically dismantled in a ruthless way, which ultimately justifies (at least in the fictional sense) his actions. The pivotal confrontation scene was pitch perfect and rife with tension as Embry enters the final showdown with his demons and must decide how far he’s willing to go to sacrifice the man he has a difficult time admitting he loves.”


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And that does it for this month! Happy reading and here's the giveaway!




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10 comments:

  1. I loved Mary Calmes' Tied Up in Knots. I felt like it was a gift to her readers. :)

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  2. I have to agree with Fallow, Mad Lizard Mambo and also Cyber Love Book Two: Fast Connection were my favourite September reads.

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  3. I read Spirit Sanguine, which I have had on my TBR for a while because I'm not a fan of vampires. But I loved it!

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  4. I loved The Weight of it All by N.R. Walker - it was so sweet! I also loved The Game Changer by Kay Simone and Reading the Signs by Keira Andrews.

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  5. I want to try Bad Judgement and Dinner for One. They sound amazing.

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  6. Just heard "Smoke and Mirrors" and "Absinthe of Malice"

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  7. I rated all of these 4* and more

    The Soldier's Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian
    Infected: Holden by Andrea Speed
    Unsafe Exposure by Kaje Harper
    Twice Shy by Kate Sherwood
    Dead and Lost by Lou Harper
    Empty Net by Avon Gale
    Poison Tongue by Nash Summers
    Overexposed by Megan Erickson
    Divergent by Lyn Gala

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  8. Layrinth Lost, Across Your Dreams, Seven Tears at High Tide, Refraction, The Song of Achilles, How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, and Timekeeper were all, in various degrees, great reads for me in September.

    Carolyn

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