Monday, 23 April 2018

Release Day - Murder Takes the High Road

I've been picking up books to review (under my alter-ego) on Netgalley, but most of the big names in the genre don't pick me because I don't run a book blog under my other name, and while I will post reviews here, they aren't connected to my Netgalley account. One of the publishers that regularly passes me over is Carina Press, but I keep trying. I had no doubt the same would happen again when I requested this book, so when Carina agreed, I was so excited I almost peed my pants. It must have been fate (and a glitch because they are still refusing my requests). But if this is the only book I ever get from them I'll be more than happy.

So, disclaimer: I got this book as an ARC from Netgalley for review (although I was under no obligation to review it here in my author persona).


Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon
Published by Carina Press
Release date 23rd April 2018

Buy Links

Amazon // Barnes and Noble // iBooks // Kobo 

Add to Goodreads



Blurb

Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can't pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.

Carter's roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa's books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler's death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there's anyone on the tour he can trust.





My two pennies worth

Josh Lanyon does it again with another 5 star read for me. Cosy mystery meets fish out of water/stranger in a strange land.
A librarian, on a book tour to meet a murder writer, gets embroiled in murders. And solves the mystery with...books!
Well written and plotted, this book reminds me of a modern Christie, a la Murder on the Orient Express or Death on the Nile, albeit with a much less glamorous mode of transport. The romance is slow burn and the two leads are really endearing. I love Lanyon's laid back approach to the romance. 
Overall this book has humour, mystery, romance, and fun. 

What more could you want? An audiobook?

Oh, there's one of those too. Find it here at Audible. And that's my next stop, to buy the audio and visit Scotland again.





Friday, 20 April 2018

Fiction Friday is still playing catch up

Unfortunately last week I didn't get a chance to finish telling you guys about my favourite reads for March and April.

The God Game (Dan Sharp Mystery #5) by Jeffrey Round - This is not a romance. It's a political mystery with a gay hero. It's also very good. The mystery had me stumped for much of the story. Also, although this is book 5 I never once felt like I'd missed out on background info. Can definitely be read as a standalone. Word of advice, don't be put off by the writing style in the prologue, the rest of the book is nothing like this.

Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon - This is excellent. Classic Josh. Look out for a post on release day. But you can preorder now.

36655752Office Romance Box Set by J.M. Snyder - 22 short stories in one volume.Yes, 22. Most were first meetings, some sweet with no sex, others little more than hook ups. A few involved existing couples but they were in the minority. Several involved multicultural pairings and I had some issues with the way POC were described in the stories. I understand some of the stories were originally written several years ago, however this is a new anthology and it wouldn't have taken long for the author to address this matter in the required stories. As is often the way with shorts it's hard to get a HEA without making the whole thing seem rushed and unrealistic but the author leaves all the stories on a positive final note that allows us as readers to envisage a happy ending for the couples. As you can imagine I enjoyed some stories more than others, some because the story just wasn't to my taste, some because they had obviously been written several years ago and the style felt slightly dated. My favourite stories were:
Maintenance!
Knocking Boots
Speed Trap (Working Man #9)
Easily Addicted (Working Man #3)
Cafe de l'Amour

The next book might surprise you...
Wolf & Bunny by Tara Harris - On Kindle Unlimited. Yes, I'm reccing an MPREG book. If you follow these posts regularly you'll know MPREG isn't normally my bag, but this one took me by surprise. A fairy tale with fated mates, a prince, the wicked villain, a wedding, and a nick of time rescue.

Kelpie Blue (Out of Underhill #1) by Mell Eight - This is a lovely N.A. paranormal tale of a broken boy and the kelpie who decides not to eat him. I loved the way this was written with the narrative interspersed with diary entries, mostly from Rin with Blue adding comments. I enjoyed it immensely.

You're My Everything by Lily G. Blunt - On Kindle Unlimited. A single author anthology of 6 stories. In case you missed the post on this one, you'll find it here.

Between the Lines by J. Scott Coatsworth - An urban fantasy set in the seedy world of politics. I'd have liked some more interaction between Sam and Brad earlier in the story to base their eventual relationship on. But overall a enjoyable way to pass an hour or so.

Fairytales Slashed 3 (Fairytales Slashed #3) by Megan Derr,  A.R. Jarvis, Remington Ward, Mara Ismine. -  This is an excellent anthology. I'd be hard pressed to pick my favourite. Unfortunately I'm doing something that I hate to do, because the anthology is no longer available and only one of these stories is actually still in print. I did try to contact the authors of the missing stories on your behalf but only had one response.

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  • Rasnake by Megan Derr - Banished brothers, dragons, magic, mad kings and missing princess. All written with Megan Derr's excellent fairy tale panache.
  • Pretty by Mara Ismine - this was cute but it finished too abruptly, wrapping up what I thought was a major issue in a couple of paragraphs.
  • He Shall Go To The Ball by Mara Ismine - this was a sweet take on the Cinderella story. Unfortunately it ended without a proper resolution.
  • Greenwood by Remington Ward - A magic loose reworking of the Robin Hood story. I adored this.
  • Moth To The Flame by A.R. Jarvis - Ninjas, people. Do I need to say more? It's well written and funny with a passionate (although low steam) pairing. And ninjas! I managed to get a response from this author, unfortunately though there are no plans to re-release this story at the current time. But I've included the link to several of her books on Amazon. 


To decorate the post I had a varied collection of covers this time around. Only one had the m/m standard naked torsos and was discarded straight away (although the cute bunny almost made up for it - kidding, I preferred the wolf). Two are featured else where in this blog recently (or in the future). I chose two that I felt were atmospheric covers. Let me know which cover you think should have appeared.



Wednesday, 18 April 2018

RJ's Autism Blog tour

Autism Fact:  Dogs have been shown to improve autistic children’s quality of life, independence, and safety. The presence of a trained dog can reduce aggressive behavior, calm the child, and serve as a link to the child’s community.


The theme of this years blog hop is hopes and dreams. Wow, I feel like Miss World, you know, just without the sash, big hair, and perfect skin. I know I should wish for World Peace (TM) but I've lived long enough to know that is a futile gesture; there is always someone spoiling for a fight. Maybe..., no still too big. Hopes and dreams on a global scale seem futile, like that Miss World speech, it's too easy, too candy floss wishes to say I want peace in our time, acceptance for all, children to be able to grow to adulthood. I want all those things, of course I do, what right-minded person doesn't?

So maybe I need to rein it in, look closer to home. But it seems selfish to wish for happiness for me and mine and the kids in my life to grow up fulfilled and successful in their chosen field. For my writing to... Stop right there. This is what I was hoping to avoid.

Trying to make a difference on a global scale is too hard to grasp. But we can all do something every day to make a difference in someone's life. Treat people how you want to be treated. It's easy to say, not always accomplished. If I can raise a smile from someone who is stressing about workloads, or a word of encouragement where someone is struggling. Educate rather than argue when someone expresses a harmful opinion, you might only get through to one in ten, but that is a start. So, yeah, that's what I hope, that we can all do little things to make life better/easier/more understanding for others, and if we have to do it one person at a time, I'm ready.

And I really hope that this damn rewrite, Under the Radar, is ready to publish by the end of the year. And if I could do the entire thing in a dream, all the better

I have nothing fresh to pimp, no new release or cover reveal, since I am mired in said re-write. But since animals are mentioned in my fact and Theory Unproven will be heading to Kindle Unlimited on the 1st May I'm going to share the buy links for anyone who wants it on a different format.







Monday, 16 April 2018

Cover Reveal - Under Five by Michael War

COVER REVEAL



Book Title: Under Five

Author: Michael War

Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju

Genre/s: Gay, Contemporary, Urban Fantasy

Release Date: May 30, 2018



Blurb


Mike is good looking, charming, and has no trouble attracting men—as long as his clothes stay on. But the moment they come off, something always seems to go terribly wrong. When his sister takes him to a faith healer to fix the problem, he is provided with a spell—and left with a lot of doubts.

But after meeting Kevin, Mike decides to give the spell a try...




About the Author

Michael War is a writer whose real life tends to be on the boring side, which is why his imagination seems to float towards gay romance. Aside from writing about beautiful gay men of all types (bears, jocks, twinks) getting it on, he also enjoys writing poetry and screenplays. War holds an MFA in Creative Writing and plans to write more romance themed books in the near future. Follow him on Twitter (@michaelwar1) and Facebook (facebook.com/michaelwar1) for updates on upcoming stories or with any questions or comments. Or, you can read his blog for some mindless ramblings.


Social Media Links







Sunday, 15 April 2018

Release Blitz - Rising Tide: A Changing Tides Novel


RELEASE BLITZ


Book Title: Rising Tide: A Changing Tides Novel

Author: Bryce Winters

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Resplendent Media

Genre/s: MM Contemporary Romance

Length: 73,000 words

It's a standalone story. The first book in a trilogy (The Changing Tides Trilogy)



Blurb

The rising tide brings storms...

Harris Brewer has seen it all – and cut it open. As a cardiac surgeon, he's used to challenges, used to surprises. But when he's slapped with a high-profile malpractice suit the last thing he expects is to get shipped off to a tiny Oregon town to 'let the lawyers handle it.' Then he sees a big blonde hunk jogging down the street and realizes that maybe a hot vacation fling is just what the doctor ordered...

The rising tide brings change...

Never get involved with a tourist. That's been Reid Colburn's policy and it's served him well. They come, bring their money, and leave. That's good enough for his restaurant business – and his heart. But this new guy in town, he's something else. Reid can’t deny enjoying the relentless flirting. Too bad Dr. Stud is just passing through...

The rising tide erodes the past...

Despite being careful to avoid it, Reid finds himself on the brink of falling in love. They both knew this was a temporary thing, so why does it hurt so bad when Harris going back to Los Angeles becomes the inevitable reality? Maybe Reid shouldn't be fighting against the tide. Maybe he should just ride this stormy affair to wherever it leads...




Buy Links








Excerpt

Reid left Harris to peruse the menu, refreshing drinks and chatting with other customers. But even while he remained busy, his attention stayed hung up on the newcomer. By the time he came back around to Harris, the man was staring at him again, chin resting in one hand, the other drumming a simple rhythm on the bar. Reid smiled at him, ignoring the swooping sensation in his stomach.

“What’ll it be?” Reid asked.

“Since I liked your first recommendation, I thought you could give me another,” Harris said, a suggestive smile playing on his lips.

Reid knew Harris meant something off-menu. Preferably in a bedroom. Reid also knew he should shut this down now. It had gone on too long already. He plastered on a distant but friendly smile and said, “Fish ‘n chips. We use rockfish, which has a richer fish flavor if that’s what you’re looking for. Cod can be a little bland. We have cod, too, if you’d prefer.”

Harris pushed the menu toward Reid, all traces of his flirtatious behavior gone. “That sounds good. The rockfish.”

Reid kept the smile on his face, though a hollow ache had suddenly bloomed behind his stomach. Disappointment. In himself for not going along with Harris' suggestive behavior and letting himself have a little fun. He was surprised to find that he wished he had given a different answer, that maybe the night could have taken a different turn for both of them. He resisted the urge to try and salvage it, to flirt back with Harris.

"Coming right up," Reid said instead, heading toward the kitchen.

Julie’s kitchen was on top of it tonight, and Harris’ order came up quickly. Harris ate in silence, though Reid felt the weight of those incredible eyes. They held a sad mystery in them, one that Reid wanted to discover. But Reid had his hands full with drink orders and customers at the bar, the night picking up rapidly. The Irish drinking songs had already begun in the dining room, much to Sasha’s chagrin.

"These men know nothing," she groused. Reid laughed. Sasha had immigrated from Russia only a short time ago. Reid didn’t know much of her past besides what Sasha had been willing to share. He knew she used to be a ballerina, but she remained stubbornly closed-lipped about the rest. Including the family she left behind. Her thick accent threw a lot of customers off at first, but she was generally friendly unless you said the wrong thing to the wrong person.

"They're still paying customers, Sasha," he said as she hefted another heavy tray full of beer.

She muttered something in Russian as she wandered off. Harris snorted and laughed at his end of the bar.

"She's got a mouth on her," he said.

"You understood that?" Reid asked, curious.

"Yeah," Harris said, finishing off his beer. Reid noticed that his plate was empty, with only a used lemon slice and a little bit of tartar left in its bowl.

Reid's curiosity and interest in the man ratcheted up ten-fold. It had been hard enough to convince himself to stick to his principles without Harris proving to be even more interesting.

Instead of asking Harris how he knew Russian or even what Sasha had said like he so desperately wanted to, Reid gathered Harris' plate and took it into the back. Then he printed Harris' tab and slid it his way with an easy smile.

"I hope you enjoy your stay in Seaside," he said and left Harris to it, though every ounce of his being screamed in protest as he walked away.

A few minutes later, well after Reid had watched Harris slip out the door without so much as a wave goodbye, Sasha picked up Harris’ receipt and let out a sharp curse in Russian. At least, Reid had always thought it was a curse. She said it a lot. Reid abandoned the drink he had been pouring and made his way to Sasha’s side.

"What is it?" he asked, looking over her shoulder. Then he choked on air as surprise shot through him.

Large loopy letters spelling out one-thousand dollars resided on the tip line.


About the Author 


Bryce Winters lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two crazy cats.

She’s a professional tutor by day, writer by night, and loves helping students achieve their goals. When she's not writing, Bryce enjoys crocheting ridiculously large blankets and reading all the romance she can get her hands on.




Social Media Links






Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of 2x $10 Amazon gift cards.




RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE





Friday, 13 April 2018

Fiction Friday got lost along the way

16095148
Love the colours in this cover

It's been a while since I published a Fiction Friday post. To be fair RL and day job have both been hectic.

As you may have noticed audiobooks now have their own space in my Listen with Lillian posts, so they won't appear here anymore.

Right let's crack on with the recs. 

How to Raise an Honest Rabbit (Granby Knitting, #2) & Knitter in His Natural Habitat (Granby Knitting, #3) by Amy Lane - I really liked these two books. Jeremy's story in Rabbit was heartbreaking at times and the scope of his journey stretched from before the first book to during and then after. In Knitter, I liked that Stanley (a secondary character in the first book) got his HEA, and that we got a lot of interaction with previous characters, however I do think that it diluted Stanley and Johnny's relationship.

Set in Stone (Cray's Quarry #2) by Rachel Kane - Available in KU. This is more than a coming out story, and how different people deal with the revelation that their sexuality may not be what they've always thought. Karl carried this book for me. He was opinionated but somewhat adorable.

Cover ImageMyths, Moons, and Mayhem: Paranormal Gay Ménage and Erotic Romance by Dale Cameron Lowry - Anthology. This is a great collection of MMM stories in a variety of paranormal style. I enjoyed most of the stories but my favourites were Inside Man by Clare London (ghost) and The Cave by Dale Cameron Lowry (magic).

The Pride by Joe Glass - Issues 1-6. Fab Man collects together LGBTQ superheroes to make his own superhero team, The Pride. I loved it, the message, the representation not only for LGBTQ issues, but also HIV positivity. The issues were drawn by loads of different artists, which meant there were plenty of styles, some that I liked more than others.

I also read The Pride Adventures which is a several issues of short stories staring the characters from The Pride but they aren't a connected story arc like The Pride. Because of the nature of the issues there is a disconnect between the stories but there were some stories in this collection that I really enjoyed.

I've made no secret of the fact that I funded the recent kickstarter for the next issue of The Pride. And I can't wait to receive it in the post in the coming months.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Listen with Lillian - The High King's Golden Tongue



One of my favourite things about audiobooks is the ability to catch up with a series when a new book appears without having to put aside actual reading time (see last post for all the places I utilise audios). There’s nothing worse than a new book in a series arriving after several years and me realising there is no audio. Or, sacrilege, the narrator is so bad that I can’t listen to it.
But sometimes, when book and narrator align in perfection, I love to be able to simply immerse myself in a favourite book and let the words flow over me.

That’s what I’ve been doing this last week or so.

The High King's Golden Tongue 

Written By Megan Derr

Narrated by Michael Stellman

35556152Prince Allen has trained his entire life to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious mother, who has made their kingdom one of the wealthiest and most influential in the empire. For the past few years he has trained to become the new consort of the High King. The only thing no one prepared him for was the stubborn, arrogant High King himself, who declares Allen useless and throws him out of court.

High King Sarrica is ruling an empire at war, and that war will grow exponentially worse if his carefully laid plans do not come to fruition. He's overwhelmed and needs help, as much as he hates to admit it, but it must be someone like his late consort: a soldier, someone who understands war, who is not unfamiliar with or afraid of the harsher elements of rule. What he doesn't need is the delicate, pretty little politician foisted on him right as everything goes wrong.

Buy links: Audible // iTunes // Amazon

My two pennies worth.

Tales of the High Court is one of my 'go to' fantasy series and this is the book that starts the series. I'm in awe of the world building and the way Megan Derr incorporates diversity without blinking an eye, especially the ease that she has introduced transgender characters into the world. The story is larger than the romance, in fact there are great swathes of pages where the characters aren't even in the same country and certainly not interacting. The plot is rife with politics and court shenanigans, murders and traitors, but the romance is also integral to the plot and affects the actions of more than just the MCs.

Michael Stellman's narration is excellent and his voice is very easy to listen to. He also adds a extra level of understanding to the characters with his interpretations.

Low in sex, but full of passion, plot, and interesting side characters.