Friday, 31 March 2017

Fiction Friday

I’ve been a bit quiet this month. Lots going on IRL. I’m afraid I got a bit behind with my Fiction Friday posts. Let’s see if I can do a quick round-up for you guys now.

Hexmaker by Jordan L Hawk. (Hexworld #2). This is probably my favourite series of Jordan’s. I like having a different couple in each story but still having contact with the other couples in a shared world. This one is Owen’s story. When we met him in Hexbreaker, Owen seems very standoffish. Of course, there are reasons for his behaviour that we discover here. Owen is all about doing ‘the right thing’ for his family’s honour. Shame that his familiar is a common thief. Even more infuriating he is everything that Owen wants. Only one problem, Owen’s getting married in a week.  Well plotted and exciting. And so many more people whose stories I want to read, especially Nathan, Owen’s transgender brother.  All the stars!

He’s Behind You by Rebecca Cohen. (Treading the Boards #3) This final book deals with a Christmas panto for the Players. It also has an older MC, who is recently divorced and just starting to embrace his sexuality, and a gaming nerd. I’d have liked more from the Players side of things.

The Laird’s Forbidden Lover by Amelia C Gormley. Men in kilts, what’s not to like. This one is historical. It has a format that I enjoyed but might put other readers off.

I Hate Summer by HT Pantu. This one was hard work but ultimately worth it. At first you wonder why Idrys is attracted to Trystan but it soon becomes clear that Idrys is an unreliable narrator. This one was hard going but I ultimately worth it. I'm surprised there have been no more books from this author.

The Last Grand Master by Andrew Q Gordon. (Champion of the Gods #1) Fantasy adventure. Relationship-wise this is pretty much instalove/fated mates but the relationship isn't really the story. And this is actually a Book One. The story is in no way finished at the end, just at a semi satisfactory conclusion. I’ve already bought book two.

Winter Kill by Josh Lanyon. There’s no use pretending that I’m not a huge Lanyon fangirl. I adore her work and she can get away with a barely-there romance plot because the mystery is so often strong. Honestly her books could have been written just for me. These are the books I wish I could have read in my twenties when I was devouring murder mysteries like chocolate. This one is strong in plot with a slow, low burn romance. Loved it.

When to Hold Them by GB Gordon (Bluewater Bay #9) The Bluewater Bay series general hits all the right buttons for me. This one is no exception. First class hurt/comfort with hot as hell sex scenes.

Laid to Ruins by Isabelle Arden (Lancelot’s Fall #1). Surprise read of the month for me.  This was a freebie purchase. After the first chapter I was seriously considering this as a dnf but I persevered and by the 50% mark I was sucked in and devouring every page. I think my issue with the beginning was that the start felt quite insular and info dumpy, then I couldn’t get my head around this portrayal of Arthur or Lancelot (Merlin has a lot to answer for and fan fiction only makes it worse). Warning: the pov MC is a wanker, the sex borders on dub con (certainly at the beginning), and love doesn’t change people. I have added the sequel to my ‘to read’ list for April (and to buy, because I don’t own it). I can’t think of higher praise than that.

I am the Highway by Jason Huffman-Black. Gorgeously well written with obvious affection between the MCs. Free for Don't read in the Closet event.

I'll Be Your Drill, Soldier by Crystal Rose. I laughed, I loved. I cried. I cried even more when I realised this author had published nothing else. I wanted a sequel that should us how our boys got to that epilogue hint.

And I finally finished Jack of Thorns. So good. Don't worry that it took me so long to read. I was savouring this one. If you don't plan to read the next book straight away then don't read the epilogue.

Only two 5 star read this month (Hexmaker & Jack of Thorns) but plenty of fours.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Grab a bargain

To celebrate the upcoming release of Renaissance, all the other books in the Village Love series will be reduced in price leading up to the release on 3rd April.

Resistance will be $0.99. That's 75% off! A reduction of $3.
And Resonance will be free.



Payhip - To obtain the discount use the 'share' button.


NB apologies to anyone that has tried to grab Resonance at Amazon for free. Despite me contacting them for a price match, Amazon have yet to reduce the price :( Unfortunately all the power is with the authors in Kindle Unlimited.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Cover reveal - Renaissance

Renaissance, Book 2 in the Village Love series will be hitting the virtual bookshelves early in April. and I have an amazing cover and the blurb for your perusal.
As with the rest of the series the cover art is by the multi-talented Garrett Leigh.

The Book

Smudge really needs to get laid, if only to stop himself wondering about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and why he keeps running away.

After his tumultuous teenage years, Smudge has settled into his quiet life in the sleepy English village of Slopy Bottom. He’s his own boss with the time and space to indulge his artistic creativity. And he has friends. He’s happy. Satisfied. Lonely. And the pool of potential soulmates is almost non-existent. His friends, Rick and Mal, flush with their own happy romance, keep trying to set him up with the most incompatible men, and he's never finding true love on Grindr. Hell, he's not even going to manage a hook up based on the kinky messages he’s been getting recently. He'll just have to slake his desire to find his own HEA in the pages of bosom-heaving romance novels.

Raleigh is the darling of Slopy Bottom’s blue rinse brigade: church organist, mobile librarian, and apparently wedded to his trademark cardigans. He seems to be the polar opposite of the artistic Smudge, whose brightly coloured mohawk and piercings should be a red flag to Raleigh. Yet he’s yearning for company too. It’s just that Raleigh has less expectation and definitely less courage to chase after it, for reasons that he keeps very close to his chest. Reasons that don’t stop him from being drawn irresistibly to Smudge.

Smudge is sure that the way Raleigh runs from him whenever he sees him is cruelly deliberate. A reflection on his bad boy looks and his disdain for Raleigh’s precious church.  So why can’t he stop thinking about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and his delicate body? Then Raleigh offers an olive branch of sugar and caffeine, Smudge’s favourite combination, starting them on a road to an awkward truce. And when they are conned into working together on a community project at the local hospital, the proximity ignites a spark that can’t be ignored. But navigating the murky waters that could take their relationship beyond tentative friendship all depends on whether Raleigh can release his secret fears – and whether Smudge is the man to share and allay them.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Missing England – a Theory Unproven extra

Missing England – a Theory Unproven extra 

Eric carefully slit the brown tape on the parcel that Tyaan had delivered earlier. He pulled back the flaps slowly, savouring the reveal of whatever items his gran had sent him over from England this month. While he never asked for anything outright, she had the knack of gleaning from his letters what he was missing the most and sending that over in her monthly parcel. Of course, she was the thing he missed the most but it was unlikely that she would ever jump out of the box herself—figuratively rather than literally, at 5 foot nothing his gran was small but not that small—since she was petrified of flying. 

His fingers closed around a familiar shaped jar and he tugged it from the box. Marmite. Amazing. He’d been craving the savoury, salty spread for weeks now. He couldn’t say why. That and Star Bars. Maybe with a couple of months in the bushveld under his belt he was missing home, just a little bit. Fish and Chips. Ant and Dec on the telly. Slipping his boots on without having to check for venomous creatures first. Porn at the click of a mouse. Mrs Harris’ scones. His gran’s neighbour made the best scones. 

The rain. Eric couldn’t believe he was saying this but he missed the sudden downpour that could blight even the sunniest summer’s day back in London. The days when rain fell in sheets, dripping off your hair and down your collar. When hay and muck was heavy with the added weight of the water, and dampness mingled with the smell of elephant and rhino, monkeys and zebra, goats and pot bellied pigs as he made his way around the zoo. 

No one would ever believe he missed the rain. 

They would have rain later in the year, Tyaan had reassured him, when Eric had mentioned the dust and his concerns about the watering hole drying up. 

Summer—and didn’t Eric struggle to get his head around the fact that Tyaan was talking October through to March rather than a couple of weeks in late July, early August—would bring even hotter temperatures than Eric had experienced so far, coupled with an increase in humidity. And thunderstorms. By December the bushveld would be more green than brown and flowers would spring up under foot like a carpet. And apparently, if he thought the bushveld was noisy now it was nothing compared to the sounds of nature at its most vibrant, with newborn impala and wildebeest and the influx of migrating birds. Rain almost every afternoon, torrential storms with fantastic lightning displays—fantastic, if you weren’t out trying to fix a fence in it or fly a plane—and flash floods as rivers burst their banks. 

Maybe he should look into stockpiling sand bags and check the maps of the preserve for dried up river banks. Maybe Tyaan could help him; after all a local’s knowledge wouldn’t hurt. Maybe by January he would be cursing the rain once again. 

Eric placed the Marmite on the table in front of him and reached back into the box. A couple of packets of Golden Wonder Cheese and Onion crisps, the DVD of Mama Mia, and a piece of paper. His gran always wrote a letter but that was in an envelope waiting to be opened at Eric’s leisure. Perhaps she'd thought of something after she’d sealed the envelope. Eric glanced at the note and grinned as he read the first line. 

Mrs Harris’ scone recipe. 

Now, if he only knew someone who could bake. 

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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Reading Plan - March

Yes, a lot of these title are carried over from February.

To finish:
Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner
Ghost Star Night by Nicole Kimberling

Focus reads:
I'll Be Your Drill, Soldier by Crystal Rose
Hexmaker by Jordan L Hawk
Loving Hector by John Inman

Books by John Inman
Books by Jordan L Hawk
Books beginning with I
Books beginning with H
Books beginning with L

Bluewater Bay:
When to Hold them by GB Gordon
Rain Shadow by LA Witt
How the Cookie Crumbles by Jamie Samms

Next in series:
Stormin Norman by Sue Brown (Bk 4 & finish)
He's Behind You by Rebecca Cohen (Bk 3 & finish)
Threshold by Jordon L Hawk (Bk 2)
Us by Sarina Bowen (Bk 2 & finish)

Now if all publishers could please remain in business I might meet the challenges this month.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Reading Round Up - February

As you may have seen in my previous post my reading plans were scuppered by the announcement that Samhain were closing on 28th February. Regardless, let's see how I did.

Focus books:
Duty to the Crown & Forever Hold his Peace by Rebecca Cohen. Read.
Hexmaker and I'll be your Drill, Soldier have been transferred to next month.

Theme books read:
Rebecca Cohen titles - 2 plus a beta read
Jordan L Hawk titles - 0
John Inman titles - 0
Books beginning with D - 3
Books beginning with H - 5
Series finished - Jewel Bonds by Megan Derr
Bluewater Bay reads - 1
Off list reads - 5 (these were mostly Samhain publishing books.)
Currently reading (books I started in Jan and carried over) - 2 (Jack of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner and Ghost Star Night Nicole Kimberling)
DNFs - 2
Comics (collections not issues) - 3
Fanfic - 2

Total read - 20
Not a bad haul for February. FYI one of those DNFs was a really popular book in the genre. Never be afraid to give up just because everyone else loves it!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Fiction Friday

Whoa! Looks like I've managed to let February pass me by.
First off I have to confess that February's reading plan more or less went out of the window with the announcement that Samhain Publishing was finally closing its doors on 28th February. I knew I had no chance of buying all the books on my wishlist but I had some sequels on the list where I still hadn't read the first book so these took precedent.

So what books can I pull out of those I read to recommend to you this month?

Back in January I started Megan Derr's Jewel Bond's series with a very sweet secret admirer story called 'The Admirer'. This is the first of four books loosely connected by being written in the same 'world'. To quote the author these are 'tales of mages, warriors, and the unbreakable bonds between them'.They are all set in different time periods and the only overlap is the occasional mention of characters from other books. Also the order of the books is not chronological. Each story could easily be read a standalone, although I believe that the depth of world building is only enhanced by having read the previous books.
Kiss the Rain (Jewel Bonds #2) - This is a prequel of sorts to The Admirer. It takes us back in time and tells the story of how the Heads of combat and magic at the Royal University met. Selsor (mage) is disillusioned and finds it hard to trust and believe what is right in front of him. Jenohn (soldier) is like an adorable puppy, never taking no for an answer and meeting Selsor's negativity with laughter and a go to attitude.
An Exception (Jewel Bonds #3) - This was a short read (under an hour) and I think that is where particular story suffered. There were several time jumps and these could have been utilised to squeeze in an extra scene or two to eek out that delicious sexual tension that I needed to bump this read from satisfying to perfect.
How to Court a Librarian (Jewel Bonds, #4) - This last story in the series is a freebie from the author's website. As such it is in no way as polished as the rest of the stories (in fact it starts at Chapter 2). The story, however, is adorable. We only get Elendt's pov from his journal excerpts at the beginning of each chapter. He's cute and manages to break through the wall that grumpy mage librarian, Carlis, has built around himself.
Honestly I'd love a longer novel in this series, something that maybe ties all these couples together, but the series has been around a while now so I think it is unlikely to happen. I'd definitely recommend this series for short, (mostly) sweet fantasy reads with little to no steam.

In January I also read The Actor and The Earl by Rebecca Cohen, book 1 in the Crofton Chronicles. I followed this up by finishing the remaining historical books in this series.
Even though I haven't reviewed this I'm leaving it here
 because the artwork is amazing and
it was by far my favourite comic book read of the month.
Duty to the Crown (The Crofton Chronicles #2) - Enjoyed this even more than the first. Still only Sebastian's POV but there is no doubt from Anthony's actions that he loves Sebastian and how badly the Queen's request hurts him.
Forever Hold His Peace (The Crofton Chronicles #3) - When 'Bronwyn' is accused of witchcraft it is time to lay her to rest before Anthony and Sebastian's ruse is discovered. The baddies were obvious in this one and maybe the retribution was a little too pat but I enjoyed the relationship development and Bronwyn was given a decent send off.
Book Two was my favourite book in the series, but in this case you really can't read one without the others and they must be read in order. Despite the epilogue at the end of book 3 there is another book in the pipeline with these characters, I know, because I have read it. And it may just be my favourite of the lot because we finally get Anthony's POV.
I plan to read the contemporary Crofton book, Saving Crofton Hall, in March.

Fanfic next? How about some Stucky? haha, jk by relenafanel. I cried gentle tears all the way through this one as Bucky struggled to figure out how he felt about Steve. Non-superhero AU.

And I'll finish with the most surprising read of the month, Hell's End by Ally Blue. I honestly thought I wouldn't like this. Post-apocalyptic and scifi. Both are very low on my genre reads. It didn't help that the it started with the possibility of cannibal activity, in fact there is little doubt that one of the MCs has eaten human flesh, more than that, his former camp mates. Welcome to dystopian romance, people. But what we actually had was an exciting, plotty conspiracy with two leads who were really cute together, loving in love while trying to convince themselves that caring was the one thing they couldn't allow themselves. There were even tears. Mine, that is. And I certainly wasn't expecting that from this book. I enjoyed this so much I bought the sequel, even though the lead in that one creeped me out so much every time he appeared in this book.

I feel bad leaving you with a rec for a book that has just gone out of print, but maybe you have been sitting on it for a while, in which case, read it. Or maybe you want to stalk the author to find out when it will reappear, because it would be a shame to lose this book from bookshelves everywhere.