Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Reading Round-up

Regular service is resumed after the comic edition on Monday.

There's several freebies in this list...

Afternoon Americano (Coffee Boys Book 3) by [Brant, Becca]
A pretty typical gay romance cover
Afternoon Americano by Becca Brant (Coffee Boys #3) – The only one of these books that is a recent release. And more than 99p. However it is available to read on KU. Sweet romance, low angst, and an easy read. With the added enjoyment of one of the MCs being a gay romance author. My first read by this author. I will probably pick up the rest of the series.

Half Past Forever by A Morell. - A free DRitC story. A stripper and a half-incubus walk into a bar… Actually, a far sweeter and more romantic story than I was expecting from the prompt.

The Backpack by Sue Brown – Only 99p! Don’t read the blurb! I mean it. This book benefits from not being aware of what is going on and the blurb really does give too much away. An unusual dual tense choice which may put some readers off. I found the story both hopeful and melancholy. It made me cry.

25925078
Something a bit different.
I really like this cover.
Atle’s saga by Kit Edwards. - A free DRitC story.Viking era historical. Excellent. I was enthralled. Yes, I know Vikings didn’t talk like that but when the story is that good I really can’t bring myself to care.

Knowing Patrick (Maewyn’s Prophecy) by Emily Veinglory. - Free short read from Loose ID. Interesting. I can’t say much more without giving away the suspense. It leads into a series but I’ve not read anymore of the stories. 

Ask, Answer, Look, Kiss by Livia Frost. Another free DRitC story. Fiends to lovers. Miscommunication. Sweet story with low angst.

So that's a couple of recs there that you can grab with very little outlay. How do you feel about free reads? Are you willing to take a chance on a new to me author if you don't have any outlay?

Monday, 24 July 2017

Reading Round-up


Because I can't keep calling it Fiction Friday when it's not (Friday).



I know not many of you follow this for recs on graphic novels but I feel remiss when I leave them out since they do make up a large proportion of my reading. Since I'm still catching up from my FF hiatus I thought I'd give this one up solely to my comic reads in that period.

Flintlock by Steve Tanner – An indie comic. I picked this up at Comic Con. I always enjoy this way of buying graphic novels because you often get to speak to the creators. Black and white line drawings make up the majority of the panels here. It’s a collection of three short stories, almost an introduction to three of the six characters the author intends to focus on. All the stories take place in the same timeline, although there is no guarantee that they will ever meet (or so the author tells me) and feature diverse main characters. My favourite of the three was the final one, with two urchin pickpockets recounting the tale of the newest addition to the Bow Street Runners—a metal man called the Clockwork Cavalier.


18710780Widdershins Vol 1: Sleight of Hand by Kate Ashwin. - Another Indie comic that I picked up at Comic Con. Magic. Victorian. Crime fighting. Well-drawn and an interesting story.

The Backstagers issue 1. - Firstly, I was disappointed because I thought I was getting the whole volume but it turned out to only be the first issue. However, it was an interesting introduction to the world behind the stage. Jordy, the new boy at school, needs to find an after-school club and he joins the backstagers, the prop boys that support the theatre club. Jordy might have found somewhere to belong, some friends and maybe someone who can be something more. Wacky and well-drawn. Kudos for a comic with LGBTQ characters.

Fantastic Four, Vol 3: Doomed – I know this has been quite widely slated but I enjoyed most of it. There were three (yes three) Johnny Storms in this volume. Seriously people, three. What’s not to like.

Dash – Issues 1-4. - Independent comic. 1940’s hardboiled PI meets Indy meets The Mummy with an LGBT lead character. Be still my beating heart. The artwork is kind of basic but it suits the story. I loved this, devoured all 4 issues. My only complaint is the story arc isn’t finished. Things are left very up in the air. With the last issue having been published in 2015 I was prepared to put this down to one of those things. (Books/comics don’t get finished for whatever reason, any fanfiction reader will tell you that. Hell, as a fan fiction writer I’m guilty of that myself.) I was all ready to fix everything with a bit of fanfiction. But I decided to do a bit of Google Fu and I found that the project is back on track after a two-year hiatus and there should be two new issues in the autumn. Hoorah. Highly recommended. 

13227852Justice League of America #1 Origins (New 52) - Geoff Johns (writer) and Jim Lee (artist). I like this writer/artist pairing.  This, as the title implies, shows the formation of the JLA at the start of the New 52. The panels are bright and colourful, and all the characters look great. The origin team are Green Lantern (Hal), Flash (Barry), Batman., Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg (Cyborg is the only one whose Origin story we get and it’s pretty much the same as the one I’ve recently read in the Rebirth issue of the same name). Hal is a bit of a dick (think Johnny Storm at his most obnoxious) but this makes for some very funny scenes between him and Batman. And OMG Superbat <3 Batman strips off his cowl and as Bruce Wayne goes to rescue Superman!  I read this as a copy from the library but I’m already planning to buy a copy of my own.

Justice League of America #2 The Villain's Journey (New 52) – An excellent continuation of the previous volume.

And Justice League of America #3 The Throne of Atlantis (New 52) – A change of artist for this volume but not too great a change in style. There was a weak story to start with Cheetah as the villainess but thankfully Arthur (Aquaman) is the focus of the rest of this volume. Oh and we get to see Clark rip open his shirt to reveal Supe’s costume underneath.

I've got the next volume of this already lined up and hopefully by then volume 5 will have turned up in the library.

I've been a Marvel gal for a long time but I'm really enjoying my new foray into DC.


Friday, 21 July 2017

Fiction Friday

All For Show: A Fake Boyfriend Gay Romance by [Kane, Rachel]
Back to showing my favourite covers of the books
recommended here. It's probably the dog.
I would have picked KJ's but 

the cover model reminds me of Jason Orange.
Yes, it's really Friday this time. And this post is a catch-all of different authors.

Babyvamp by Lyssa Dering – Okay, now as a rule I don’t do vampires but I did two in the space of a week and enjoyed them both. I thought the world building was excellent with the vampire police and registration etc. Certain parts squicked me out (the bloodily fluids and use of the word ‘child’ for a lover) but the story was entertaining and the characters were fun. I’d happily read more in this world, especially about the human, Taylor.

Fake it ‘til you feel it by Ashley Oaks – This is just the cutest fake boyfriend trope story I’ve read in a long time. (There’s a short sequel, Valentine, Interupted, catching up with the lads on their first Valentine’s day, which while cute had one event that made me ragey. I'll link you to my GRs review because I can't put things under a spoiler tag here.)

Make Me a Match Vol 2 – Dreamspinner anthology. Overall a mixed bag with a couple of right clunkers in there, but I’m listing it here for ‘Fragments of a Fiery Sun’ by M Jules Aedin. A glorious historical about wharf rats and an Irish lad fresh off the boat. I could have happily read a novel about these guys. Well-crafted and a joy to read.   

All For Show by Rachel Kane – Would have benefited from less introspection and more dialogue tags, but I adored Owen and the author had a deft hand with a lot of Owen’s amusing one liners. Not quite the romantic comedy I was expecting. With issues of poor self-esteem, depression, and manipulative relationships this story had more substance than the light and fluffy tale I thought I was getting. 




And my highly recommended, 'must read' book for this post...


An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities) by [Charles, KJ]
Sod it. I love the background of this cover.
Even if the cover model looks like he's going to
burst into a verse of 'Pray'.

An Unnatural Vice by KJ Charles. (Sins of the Cities # 2)
 This overlaps with An Unseen Attraction and continues the overarching story line.
 This book was damn near perfect for me.
I adored the awkwardness of the first book and how sweet Clem and Rowley were together.
This one has a completely different vibe. Enemies to lovers and flawed heroes. Perfect. 
Now I can’t wait for Mark’s story.
5 stars. 





Enjoy. They'll be at least another 3 FF posts next week, but one will be graphic novels only.

And I'll leave you with two questions to consider.

I've blogged about vampire stories two days on the trot now. How often do you read outside your comfort zone?

And how likely are you to give up on an anthology if the the first few stories aren't very good?




Thursday, 20 July 2017

My poor neglected blog (aka Fiction Friday - the Clare London edition)



It's been a month since I last posted here. And nearly two since I've done a Fiction Friday post. That’s what happens when you try to write and publish a book in two months. (Just Hanging Out, for any of you that might have missed it.)

Hasn't stopped me reading though and I've decided to share my highlights over several posts until we are all caught up. So Fiction Friday will be cropping up on other days, don't let that confuse you. I take no responsibility for confusion over the day of the week from reading my posts.

While compiling these posts I noticed one author got a lot of my attention in these last few weeks so I have decided to dedicate this post just to her. Welcome to

Fiction Friday (on a Thursday) - The Clare London Edition

22550592
Normally I pick my favourite cover to illustrate
these posts. Not this time. Publishers take note,
this is not an enticing cover. The cover models
bear no relation to any of the characters &
it gives no indication of the content of the story.
Out of Time – A short read (less than an hour). An interesting take on vampires (although that word is never used), the effect of immortality, and of being turned against your will. Well written and slightly melancholy as the two MCs meet periodically over time and their attraction turns to affection. Lovely.

No Angel – Okay. Let’s get my grumps out of the way first. I hate this cover. It has no bearing on the story and the models don’t seem to resemble any of the characters. But this cover is for the out of print edition so anyone buying in the future won’t need to put up with it. Second grump: It’s out of print. Boo *thumbs down* (as opposed to Boo!) Because yes, this story is about ghosts, or one in particular; Bryn, a ghost who pinches Felix’s bum on the bus. Be prepared to dislike Bryn at first, he’s a dick, but he’s dead and he’s not had any (dick, that is) for a while. And he’s not the love interest. The love interest is Mickey who is adorable.  This is a really fun read, with lots of Clare London’s trademark humour.
Rest assured this is being repackaged (with additional content - yay!) and will be available again soon. So add it to your GR shelf for a future purchase. You won't be disappointed.


Looking for a quick read. Try...

Chat Line  - Short read. Less than 30 mins. Jerry needs a hand cleaning up his flat. He phones Helping Hands, surprised to find them open on New Year’s Eve. But the service Sean is offering isn’t quite what Jerry was expecting. Sweet, sexy, and funny.

And my highly recommended, must read choice...

Romancing the Ugly Duckling - Clare's latest release and part of the Dreamspun Desire range from Dreamspinner. Gorgeous re-telling of The Ugly Duckling. It had the perfect balance of gentle comedy and romance. Some nice fish out of water moments with Perry. But it’s Greg, all gruff and self-deprecating (and the perfect book boyfriend for me) who steals the show. I got to the end and I wasn’t ready to let this story go. Brilliant. 5 stars.
And I don't have to let them go because I have just purchased this book in audio. I'll let you know how that goes in a future post.


I could recommend Clare London's books until the cows come home but these are the books of hers that I've read in the last six weeks. Enjoy.




Wednesday, 21 June 2017

It's Release Day - Just Hanging Out

Just Hanging Out

Only 99p

The Book
“Come and honour the Oak King.” 

The countdown to the company solstice picnic is one of Shawn’s favourite times of the year. The scents of sage, mint, basil, sunflower, and lavender fill the air as the workshop mixes up the final batch of Litha, their solstice soap. It’s celebration time! This year, Shawn has an extra spring in his step, and it’s all for the new buyer, Tim. Shawn’s fine having a crush on the gorgeous new straight guy. Until he isn’t. 

As the clock ticks down to Picnic-Day, Shawn’s confidence and Tim’s sexuality become mired in doubt and second guesses. It’s a minefield of embarrassed glances and missed opportunities. Seems like they’ll never get together… 

To cap it all, Shawn’s drawn Tim in the secret solstice gifting. What to get for the quiet man who turns Shawn’s legs to jelly and has the best underwear hanging from the washing line in his garden? And will that tempting rainbow of colour be forever seared onto Shawn’s brain?

Word count: ~16700

Cover designed by Lillian Francis at Finally Love Press


Buy Links: Kobo // Payhip // B&N // Smashwords
Universal Amazon link: myBook.to/JustHangingOut_LF

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf here. 


About the Author
Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write. 

Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com


Excerpt
“Come on, everyone. Time to honour the Oak King.” Miriam stood in the centre of the office and jiggled a deep wooden bowl, exquisitely carved with the face of the Green Man. “Come and pick your giftee.”

Yes, I did say Oak King. Miriam’s a new-age hippie, whose 100% natural soap has taken her from cooking the stuff up in her kitchen and selling it from a stall at various markets, to a thriving shop and workshop with a staff of twenty plus. We’ve branched out into candles in the last few years, but it’s the soap, especially the seasonal range, that brings in the punters. Oh, and she’s a Pagan. Hence, the honouring the Oak King statement.

Don’t worry. There’s no sacrifice involved. We have a massive picnic on the Downs on Midsummer’s Eve, drink too much local ale, and the Oak King—normally Ali from Packaging, in a headdress made of antlers and a myriad of leaves, flowers, and herbs—hands out our jokey gifts. Then we settle in to watch the sunset and bid the Oak King farewell for another six months. In other words, it’s a chance to eat well, drink better, and have a laugh, all the while showing appreciation for an amazing boss and honouring her beliefs, even if we’re a mix of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists. Dunno why the atheists can’t have their own capital letter. Me, I’m probably an agnostic with Taoist leanings.

“You too, Shawn,” Miriam called over to me. “Stop hogging the copier and grab a name.”

I glanced at my watch and then flicked my gaze surreptitiously out the window. Still time. If I was quick, and Miriam didn’t choose that moment to chat, I could be back at my station without missing a moment of the action. Shaking a leg, and my impressively pert behind, I slipped in between two of the admin clerks and plucked a slip of paper from the pot. Without bothering to even glimpse at the name written on it, I stuffed the folded slip into the front pocket of my jeans and returned to the photocopier. One more glance at the time—8:52—and I pressed the button to start my items printing.

There were enough pages in this print run to keep me at the copier for a good few minutes. I saved up all but the most urgent for these five minutes just before nine. It was a routine I’d been keeping for the last few months. As the copier warmed up after a night of inaction, with the gentle whirr of reanimated machinery, I took a moment to enjoy the view from the window. The azure blue of the sky contrasted with the white blossom on the tree just on the edge of the company’s land at the rear entrance. Beyond, a neat row of cottages caught the eye and drew the gaze of anyone who had time to stop and watch.

As I appreciated the view, a door of one of the cottages opened and a tall, broad man stepped out onto the path that led down a well-kempt front garden to the road. Yeah, I know that kempt means well cared for, so the well is redundant. I work in communications and I’ve a Desmond in English Lit and Environmental Science. That’s lower second class honours for those of you not in the know. Not bad for a lad from Saath London. Of course, four years at Canterbury, another four living in this small Sussex town, coupled with some conscious effort, have more or less knocked that accent out of me.

Less about me, back to another thing that was kempt and well put together. The object of my voyeuristic tendencies stepped through his gate and out onto the pavement then turned in my direction. A happy sigh escaped me as the early morning sun caught his wavy hair just right; fiery copper reflected back to me in reds and gold. His eyes were green, and flecked with amber. Not that I could see his irises from this distance—I could barely make out the strong features that made up his ruggedly handsome face. And the freckles that gave him an oddly incongruous boyish look were filled in from memory at this point. I sighed again, far too dramatically for my own liking.

Rather than concentrate on the parts of him that required my imagination, I studied the visual feast in front of me. Now he’d cleared the obstruction of his neighbour’s privet, I had an uninterrupted view, where I could drink my fill without the risk of getting caught.

Chinos—the russet pair today—encased long legs, and heavily muscled thighs bunched beneath the material with every determined stride that brought him a step closer. Finally, the man disappeared below my sight line. The photocopier whirled to a stop, spitting out the last few pages of my weekly comms report and a stack of sample leaflets for Miriam’s perusal. I had about five minutes to school my features and get back to my desk, or get caught tongue-tied. Again.

A flash of colour caught my eye as I turned away from the view and I spun back to the window expecting to see the swoop of ring-necked parakeets. The birds were becoming a more common sight in local gardens these days. Maybe the green bastards thought I was homesick and followed me from London.

Instead of the expected flap of wings, my gaze found the source of the flashes of colour: a washing line strung in the back garden of one of the cottages. Clothes hung from the line, fluttering in the gentle breeze of a pleasant June morning. Not just any clothes, though.

Nope, a whole line full of bright, skimpy, tight underwear. Underwear that I’d seen advertised in Attitude that very morning as I read on my bus journey to work. And by seen, I meant studied. Intently. Double-page spread. Three all but naked guys getting handsy with each other and appearing to love every minute of it. Hell, I’d even stuffed in my headphones, thanked any deity who wanted to listen that I was sitting in the back, and watched the ‘making of’ video. Those models were having fun, no doubt about it.

Get A Grip. Flamboyant, colourful, crotch-cupping, butt-caressing underpants. With a marketing campaign that focused on the gay man. Ask a straight guy about GAG and 95% wouldn’t know what you were talking about.

Not only that, but the garden the washing line was located belonged to—

“Morning, Shawn. Printing again?”

Now I was close enough to see the green of his eyes. The deep rumble that came from his broad chest caressed the vowel sound in my name and threatened to turn my legs to jelly.

Stupid! Answer him. All I could do was echo the greeting, anything else was beyond me, the sight of those pants hanging in a neat rainbow of colour seared on to my brain. “Morning, Tim.”

Tim faltered as though expecting there would be more forthcoming, but I had nothing. Nothing workplace appropriate, anyway. Asking your colleague to model his undies for you was probably frowned upon, even for a liberal employer like InScents, and Tim was still comparatively new and seemed kinda shy for a big guy. I wouldn’t say we were friends yet but I hoped we were getting there. So I kept my mouth shut.

The moment stretched on but it could have lasted no more than a second or two, then Tim carried on past, heading for his desk. I thought I’d detected a dusky flush of rose under his freckles but I was easily distracted and couldn’t quell the urge to watch the tight pull of Tim’s chinos as he walked away from me.

Not an unfamiliar feeling any time Tim walked in front of me.
But now I couldn’t stop myself from imaging his muscular arse cheeks enclosed in a pair of GAGs.

* * * * *


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Cover Reveal - Just Hanging Out

Everything is a mad rush for this release. Why?

Because it takes place at midsummer, which is a week away, and I'm determined to align the release to the celebration (provided Amazon plays ball).



About the book

“Come and honour the Oak King.”
The countdown to the company solstice picnic is one of Shawn’s favourite times of the year. The scents of sage, mint, basil, sunflower, and lavender fill the air as the workshop mixes up the final batch of Litha, their solstice soap. It’s celebration time! This year, Shawn has an extra spring in his step, and it’s all for the new buyer, Tim. Shawn’s fine having a crush on the gorgeous new straight guy. Until he isn’t.
As the clock ticks down to Picnic-Day, Shawn’s confidence and Tim’s sexuality become mired in doubt and second guesses. It’s a minefield of embarrassed glances and missed opportunities. Seems like they’ll never get together…

To cap it all, Shawn’s drawn Tim in the secret solstice gifting. What to get for the quiet man who turns Shawn’s legs to jelly and has the best underwear hanging from the washing line in his garden? And will that tempting rainbow of colour be forever seared onto Shawn’s brain?



Add it to your Goodreads shelf here.


Friday, 26 May 2017

Fiction Friday

The end of the month is nigh. I think it’s time to round up the last two weeks of reading.

35131899The Last Light of Day by Rachel Kane – Don’t let the cover, or the blurb, fool you, this is a contemporary. It’s moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit creepy. I’ve not read this author before, she seems to be comparatively new, with her first release in December ’16 and 10 releases in the 6 months since. If they are all like this I would certainly buy them but I’ve noticed one of her series is dragon based, and I’m really not sure about that.

Rain by LA Witt – I must confess to being a numpty with this one. I didn’t realise this was a sequel. In fact, I was over halfway through before the thought occurred to me.  This is the sequel to Rules of Engagement, which I actually have unread on my Kindle *facepalm* Anyway not having read the first book didn’t impact on my enjoyment at all. I just thought I was going into a new book with an established couple for leads.


I don’t often bring low rated books to your attention but I feel I should here. Making Anthony Watch by Anita Dick. I one-starred this book. To me this book screamed sexual assault, pure and simple. There was nothing romantic about it. Luckily this was a free read and it was also quite short so I didn’t waste either time or money on it.

To cleanse the palate after that one something fairy tale sweet. And who better to go to for that than Megan Derr.

30517107The Rapier Brothers by Megan Derr – A collection of stories about the three Rapier brothers and how they find love.  Low steam but perfectly sweet.

The Maker Jock by SA McAuley – Cute story that is classed as a HFN by the author. I had no problem with how the story ended but I have the sequel to read anyway.

The Magician’s Assistant by LF Blake – This is a very dark read. Again it is free, and I doubt I would have willingly picked it up. I can’t say I enjoyed it because the subject matter really doesn’t allow for that but it kept me enthralled until the end.

An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles – Despite the fact that the graphic taxidermy parts always seemed to appear when I was eating, I thought this mysterious tale was excellent. Well written and diverse leads, and a plethora of interesting side characters inhabited this historical tale of a Lord’s bastard, his manipulative brother, and a quirky little animal stuffer. Even with their quirks, or maybe because of them, the two leads fit together perfectly. 5 stars



This is a really mixed collection, I hope you find something that takes your fancy.