Thursday, March 31, 2016

It Was a March to Be Mad About, and We Have the Books to Prove It

Cheers, friends and fellow book lovers, and welcome back to another edition of Booyah Books. We at The Novel Approach have compiled another great list of outstanding reads from the month of March, and we're so giddy to share the love with all of you.

There's also the chance to win a couple of the titles we've chosen via the Rafflecopter widget below, so click away to enter. 

Now, here they are, our fave books of March!

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JenniferLove Is for the Living by Nicholas Kinsley: “This book is phenomenal. I mean, honestly, I loved it so much I couldn’t put it down and at one point was shoveling popcorn into my mouth in a frenzy, along with the pace of the story, because I was just so hyped up. So to portray everything that’s right about it, I’m just going to make a list.

First, there are the characters. They’re so realistic. And by that, I don’t just mean the dialogue. I mean they are real people with real quirks and faults that make them human and not just stock characters in a romance novel. I adored Blaine and Andrew, and what makes them perfect is their imperfections. Neither one is drop dead gorgeous, which, let me tell you, was a breath of fresh air. While they find each other attractive, the descriptions are of realistic men.”

Inversion Point by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen: “This book is my favorite of the series. And I know I likely say that every time, but honestly, the books just keep getting better, and I cannot wait to see what these talented authors have in store for the final (NO!) book in the series, Phase Shift. This book is filled with even more character development, more heart-wrenching moments, and awesome new aliens who just immediately make you happy, as if they are also communicating with you.

This new species is fascinating, and I don’t want to give too much away, because the initial introduction to them is just fascinating. They are completely unlike the other species already at the Hub: humans, ashushk, and stin. And yet, because of the Guardians, Zed is able to communicate with them. They seem peaceful enough, so that must be good for the humans and ashushk, right? I wish I could talk more about them, but it would give away critical information, so instead I’ll talk about my love for Qek and how it continues to grow with every book.”

SammySleight of Heart by Aisling Mancy: “Anyone who is under the misconception that author Aisling Mancy does not create stories with engaging plot lines, fascinating characters who capture the imagination, and thoroughly researched ancient cultures that seem to step right out of history, obviously has not read his latest offering, Sleight of Heart. In this novel, you step into a fantasy world rich with different gifted magical creatures who instantly tug you back in time to a world where living by a strict set of standards ruled over every decision made. From gypsies to the fae, vampires to dragons, we are invited into a story that speaks of the harsh hate of bigoted minds juxtaposed with the gentle love and passion of creatures that have been mindlessly feared throughout time. What a stunning novel Sleight of Heart turned out to be.”

LisaThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: “The Song of Achilles is a glorious feat of storytelling, far too magnificent in scope and with a cast of characters too vast to easily encompass it all in a review. Even if you’re only vaguely familiar with “the face that launched a thousand ships” and know only the most basic details of the Trojan war (and the roles Hector and Paris played in Achilles’ fate), there is no mistaking the legend of heroes and the bonds of love forged between Patroclus and Achilles in this novel. And, the price they both paid when war and the Fates came to collect.

For ten years I watched the gods take sides in this war and lost myself in the romantic idea that those thousand ships sailed with the intent of mounting a rescue of the most beautiful woman in the world, but then ended on little more than pretense, an excuse for men to go to battle over a woman who seemingly didn’t want to be rescued. It was to be Achilles’ own launch into eternal glory, his swan song before his own demise, this war and the death of Hector, and though Achilles and Patroclus did their best to defy fate and thwart Achilles’ destiny for a time… in the end, the gods and a man’s destiny always win.”

Dirty Heart by Rhys Ford: “Told with a skill and precision we’ve become accustomed to from this author, and in this series, one that’s part mystery and part romance, Dirty Heart gathers together all the loose threads that have become the warp and weft of the series’ tapestry, and has lain them all out for us to see in the culmination of years of weaving these characters and their lives together into a family and, finally, reveals all its beauty—in the building of these relationships through trials and triumphs, through joy and sadness, through hilarity and heartache. We’re drawn into each scene, viscerally, emotionally, imaginatively, and, I might add, quite happily. And, in the end, Dirty Heart culminates in a place we’ve all been waiting for yet dreading because The End is never easy once a colorful palette of characters become so deeply ingrained in our lexicon of favorites.”

MaryannThe Danger in Bohemia by H.E. Kollef: “The Danger in Bohemia is a first time reading author H.E. Kollef for me, and the book was excellent. Ms. Kollef created an absolutely suspenseful, dangerous, adventurous and romantic tale that takes place in Prague. In her Author Bio it’s written, “Her favorite city is Prague and she recommends it to everyone she meets, especially if she thinks they’d enjoy romance, hearty beer and snowy walks along the winding Vltava river.” The Danger in Bohemia brings all this and more. Ms. Kollef’s architectural descriptions and a tour of the many sites in Prague really show the appreciation that she has for this city, and made me take time to look up many of the mentioned places just to see that architecture.”

House Hunt by Jackie Keswick: “House Hunt is another double thriller from Jackie Keswick. It’s suspenseful, fast paced and action packed, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. And, once again, Ms. Keswick brings us an amazing cast of characters that will peak your interest. We also get to learn a little more about Aidan Conrad’s life.

I liked that she gave that little flaw of jealousy to Gareth in this story, but she also brings love and warmth with Roz, Nico and Daniel. No matter what Jack’s endeavors are, there is a family for him. I’m hoping Ms. Keswick is going to add another book to the Power of Zero series because there are two major questions that haven’t really been resolved. One does concern Nico and Daniel, and the other involves Jack, Garth and the boys. This is an intriguing series and I highly recommend all three books: Job Hunt, Ghosts and House Hunt.”

JulesFinley by Ella Frank: “I adored both characters so much. Finn is cocky, mischievous, fun, adorable and sexy as hell. And, while Brantley is nervous at first that the seven years his love spent becoming a big city lawyer in Chicago have taken some of those qualities—qualities he loved—away from Finn, he couldn’t be further from the truth. Daniel is still the same fun, cocky, sexy man he was back then, only a thousand times hotter. And, the two together? Sparks for days and days. They are all about intense heat, yet aren’t afraid to do tender and soft. There is never a question about what they mean to each other. So good!

Finley was fun. Sooo romantic and lovely, but without being overdone. A great love story that I highly recommend. Can’t wait for the next one! I’m crossing my fingers that it’s Derek and Jordan’s story!”

Under a Sky of Ash by Brandon Witt: “Brandon Witt is so good at mixing in humor with the drama in his heavier themed works. This book is definitely on the heavy side. Extremely heavy at times. But, one gift he has given us here is the unbelievably fabulous ManDonna to help brighten up some of the darkness. ManDonna, who Ben calls “momma,” is unforgettable and hilarious. For more levity, there is also a wonderful wedding in the book. And, Isaiah’s relationship with his co-teacher and roommate, Charity, is so lovely and lighthearted as well.

Ok—I feel like I’ve given you all enough reason to go out and grab this book. Under a Sky of Ash is a fantastic, suspenseful, soulful read. I wanted to hug both MCs, as well as Aaron and Hershel and Daniel/ManDonna, throughout. I got goosebumps on more than one occasion.”

SadonnaHat Trick 3: Penalty Shot by Jeff Adams: “The truth is that life is unpredictable and sometimes things are great, sometimes you get slapped upside the head with crappy circumstances that are beyond your control. The true strength of character and of a relationship is forged during those times. Alex and Simon have faced many trials and tribulations, and each time they come back stronger. Ideally, this is what building a partnership and a truly lasting relationship should do. Are some of the situations they face wrapped up a little more neatly than many times happens in real life? Maybe. But this series has really shown these guys growing together and facing whatever comes their way, with courage and love and with the support of their friends and families. Penalty Shot is a thoroughly enjoyable book and a fitting end to this series.”

CarrieJury of One by Charlie Cochrane: “So much subterfuge! So many lies! Jury of One is the second book in the Lindenshaw Mysteries series; it follows The Best Corpse for the Job. These books are about Inspector Robin Bright, of the Stanebridge Police Department. The cast of main characters is rounded out with Anderson, Robin’s partner on the force and Adam, Robin’s partner at home. Robin and Adam meet in the first book of the series, but their relationship really doesn’t get off the ground until the end of that book—this book is set a short year later. The two men are still very new with each other, and with what each expects from their relationship. Be warned, however, this is not a romance book. Adam and Robin’s relationship is touched on because it is part of the mystery and rounds out the characters, but it is not the focus of the book. The mystery is. We could not, however, have a clear picture of Robin if we did not have Adam. There is also a cast of secondary characters that totally hold their own in the story and are exceptionally well written.”

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And that does it for this month. The full reviews for these and many more books can be found at The Novel Approach. Until next time, happy reading!

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THE GIVEAWAY


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Weather May Be Frightful, But February Was Delightful for Reading

Cheers, everyone, I trust you all put that extra day in February to good use, reading! :) The Novel Approach is glad to be back at Mary's Place to share some of our fave Feb reads with all of you, and, as always, there's a chance to win a couple of the e-books we loved, so make sure to put that Rafflecopter widget at the bottom to good use.

Good luck!

And now, here are our Book of the Month selections for February

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Karen – Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell – “In this book you get kind of what you would expect from these authors: the sort of brash, grumpy, smartass grittiness I love from Santino Hassell, and then the sweetness and spunkiness from Megan Erickson. Both these authors can write some pretty hot and smoking scenes individually, but together, they pretty much set the pages on fire. Like, seriously smoking HOT!

The characters and situations felt very real to me. My husband suffers from extreme social anxiety and panic attacks, and me having had a couple panic attacks and being introverted, shy and kind of antisocial, especially if I don’t know you, it can become life consuming. I thought the way this book portrayed this issue was outstanding, and it made me love it even more.”

Kim – Good Bones by Kim Fielding – “Dylan and Chris both start off on the wrong foot, each stereotyping the other. Dylan thinks Chris Nock is an unsophisticated redneck, and Chris thinks Dylan is too “big city folk” to get his hands dirty. The fun part of Good Bones is that both men are proven wrong as they get to know each other, and eventually become lovers when Dylan hires Chris to help with the remodel of his new home.

What’s sweet is that you can tell that Chris is falling for Dylan when he opens up to him, but he’s frustrated that Dylan is keeping secrets from him. By secrets I mean that Dylan is terrified that Chris will run from him if he finds out Dylan’s a werewolf. And… It doesn’t help that Andy, the man who bit Dylan, keeps showing up to lure Dylan back into his pack.”

Carrie – The Law of Attraction by Jay Northcote – “The Law of Attraction just hit all my hot buttons. It begins with a scene from a bar where a guy—no, not a guy—a man leans against the wall with a drink in his hand, suit and tie slightly askew, eyeing all the possible distractions that could be had for the night… Yeah, you had me at hello. Remarkably like Alec has Ed at hello, also!

These two equally strong men are desperate for each other, caught in a working relationship and fighting personal demons in their own ways. The push and pull between these two men is delicious, and their rapport keeps the book flowing and the story easy to read. It is also a story of family and how our formative years have such an impact on how those people can shape our lives. Jay Northchote draws such a poignant picture here of the difference a loving supportive family can have on the people we become.”

Maryann – My Man Walter by JS Cook – “I can’t say enough about all of J.S. Cook’s stories, but My Man Walter was outstanding. There’s not one romance going on in this book but two! The author gives us an abundance of likable and not so likable characters, along with a tension filled plot, danger, suspense, drug and human trafficking. There’s also the moments of sadness with our MCs, Walter and Chase, and the tragedy of losing loved ones and knowing when it’s time for letting go. Most of the entertaining books that I have read by J.S. Cook have been set in historical eras, but this novel is set in 2014, though she mixes in music from the past and references the movie My Man Godfrey.”

Lisa – The Seer by Jordan Reece – “The investigation of this crime is nothing less than superb, the action at times intense, the danger significant as more clues are revealed, and the man-child Jibb is revealed to have been, along with the fact that no one mourns his loss, makes him a touching and sympathetic character even in death, which was an unexpected bonus. The evidence piles up and leads to so many suspects which leads to twists and turns and, in the end, a motive for murder that is not only entirely plausible but is so well detailed that it almost overshadows every other aspect of this story. Jordan Reece gets the historical feel of the novel down well, but it’s the steampunk that makes The Seer fun.

Dovetailing with all of this is the third person omniscient narrative—a mode that’s not easy to write and not be accused of head-hopping, but in this case is finessed well. The dialogue is outstanding, serving to move the story forward and completing the exposition of not only the characters but the plot as well.”

(Note: This book is available only via Amazon.com)

Jennifer – Some Assembly Required by Lex Chase and Bru Baker – “Quite a few moments of the book, especially at the end, left me aching for Benji and Patrick. When Benji makes a few startling discoveries, which I cannot reveal without giving too much away, I teared up and, in one case, cried for him. Patrick’s revelation was a little more difficult for me to understand, but no less heartbreaking.

And the passion! This book contains one of the most, if not the most intense love scene I have ever read in romance. Lex Chase and Bru Baker truly did a remarkable job of describing what Benji and Patrick were experiencing, and it quite literally took my breath away. I read through it once quickly, in the moment with the boys nearly as frenzied as they were, and then went back to reread it for the brilliant details the authors included. I may have even had to fan myself after one of the readings, but I plead the fifth on that one.”

Sadonna – Unbreak Broken by J.K. Hogan – “I really loved how the relationship between these two developed. Neither is very adept at adult relationships. Bennett isn’t exactly out at work, and he really hasn’t had a serious relationship—but he’s never met anyone like Rory.

Rory has been so busy doing what he thinks he’s supposed to that he’s never figured out what he really wants. His therapist helps him immeasurably, whether it’s getting to the root of his issue or dealing with his new-found desires. She is a wonderful character in this story as well. I feel like each of the books in this series have just gotten stronger. I hope we get more in this world, whether it’s Bennett’s partner, or Rich’s brother, or Alex, I’d love to see more from this author in this nice little community she’s built. Highly recommended.”

Jules – Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North – “When I saw the cover for this novel back in the fall, I had an immediate Gimme! reaction. And, the title just has such a nice ring to it, ya know? I had high expectations for Blueberry Boys—both built up in my own mind, and then as early praise started to roll in—and I’m happy to say that it completely lived up to the hype.

I started a list—a pros and cons of sorts—with things I loved on one side, and then a list of things that maybe didn’t work so well, or I would have liked to see done differently, on the other. Well, the ‘things I loved’ side kept growing and growing, and, well, you get the idea. This book worked for me on a multitude of levels: as a family drama; as a peek into small town Americana; and absolutely 100% as a romance.”

Sammy – Foxes by Suki Fleet – “I so wish I had the words to describe this incredible story. Such gritty reality poured off every page of this novel. I could not put this book down. The fate of both Danny and Micky, alongside a secondary cast of characters that ranged from other homeless youth to the compassionate souls who occasionally fed them, watched out for them and helped them as best as they could, all mixed together to create a gut-wrenching tale that held me in its grip from beginning to end. I must repeat that word—honesty. There is no fairytale ending to the incredible journey Micky and Danny take together. At the end of this story, each boy still grapples with their demons, but this time with a sense of hope—a hint at a future that will see them stronger and happier. And, sincerely, this is the strength of this author. Rather than lead us into some unbelievable conclusion, Suki Fleet shows us that some can make it beyond the horrible life one endures in a barely survivable existence.”

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And that does it for this month. These and other reviews as well as guest posts and giveaways can be found at The Novel Approach. Until next time, happy reading!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway


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