19 May 2013
in Book Reviews, Books, Contemporary fiction, eBooks, Historical, Loose id, M/M Fiction, samhain press, Uncategorized
Tags: Andrea Speed, Bailey Bradford, Ben Ryder, books proceeds donations, Dreamspinner Press, Featherlight Press, gay cowboys, gay ice hockey players, Kris Jacen, m/m anthology, m/m contemporary anthology, m/m contemporary ficiton, m/m erotic romance, m/m fiction, m/m romance, m/m short stories, Mary Calmes, mm book proceeds donations to LGBTQ youth shelters, Promise Place shelter, Samhain Press, Sarah Grainger, Sue Brown, the Ali Forney Center, the Wanda Alston House, Total-e-Bound Publishing
Tis the season for winding down of the school year and various holidays, Mothers Day and Fathers Day among them. And while there are many families out there celebrating their love for one another, there are also many children, including 40 percent of LGBT youth*, who will be spending these holidays out on the streets, abandoned by the very families who should be their mental, emotional, and physical support.
The current fiscal situation at the Federal and local government levels has been devastating to the few shelters currently operating and a hindrance in opening new badly needed shelters and group homes. In our area, a bright light has been the opening of a new LGBT shelter, Promise Place, on the Washington, DC/Prince Georges County, MD line. But on the flip side, the Wanda Alston House is in dire need of donations and assistance in order to continue. And the same can be said for the Ali Forney Center in NYC, whose outreach building was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy last year.
Every day we hear more about bullied or harassed gay youth in the media, the politicians make speeches and little seems to be done at the practical level. We need more legislation, more enforcement of said legislation, and just an increase in overall awareness of the fragility of LGBTQ youth in our society today.
Luckily, there are a number of M/M authors who are helping the cause with donations of royalties from their books. I will be listing some of them here. If you know of others, please let me know and I will add them to my list. This week, editor Kris Jacen introduced the anthology Lost and Found by Featherlight Press. Her announcement and the book details are listed below. I have not read it as yet but its on my list to do so. If you have read it, and want to post a review, contact me. Also listed is Sue Brown’s book, The Sky Is Dead, recently reviewed here and a must read recommendation for me. Sue Brown is also donating proceeds of that book, here is her comment:
Thank you so much for the review. Your review highlights many of the issues LGBTQ kids face. The royalties from this book are going to The Albert Kennedy Trust, a UK charity supporting homeless LGBT kids.
And Kris Jacen on the Lost and Found Anthology:
From Kris Jacen, editor to various M/M author websites:
Some might know, others might not, but I’ve been working with ten very talented authors on an anthology entitled, Lost and Found. The book released last night from Featherweight Press. All of the stories deal have the theme of hope for those teens that are kicked out/told they don’t matter by their families for being who they are or loving who they love. Each author (and me) is donating their royalties to charity. Below is my editor’s note from the front of the anthology. I hope you pick up a copy or help spread the word so that we can make the most of the donation to help these homeless LGBT teens.
Lost and Found http://www.featherweightpublishing.com/ShowBook.php?YA=ANTH_LOSTNFND
In the Fall of 2012, DH Starr approached me about Featherweight publishing an anthology that he was a part of. It was a special project being organized by Michele Montgomery. All the authors wanted to donate their royalties from the anthology to charity. They wanted the monies to go to a specific cause—they wanted the money to go to a charity that worked with LGBT homeless teens.
The inspiration for the anthology was a picture that they had seen with the text over the image that said “40% of homeless youth are LGBT. The #1 reason they’re on the streets in family rejection.”
Once we got to final editing stages we realized, we didn’t know WHICH charity to donate the monies to. There are so many great charities out there working with LGBT youth that we weren’t sure which to choose. We wanted to make sure that no matter how much, it would make a difference. So the search was on.
I was pleasantly surprised to come across one that had the name of the anthology almost exactly—Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc. It seemed like fate talking to me and after speaking with one of the board members, I was convinced of it. You see the board member told me that the day before we spoke, they received a call from a teen that had been on vacation with his parents and when they found a gay romance on his eReader, they left him on the side of the road. Yes, you read that correctly, abandoned him for reading a gay romance.
Our hope is that with these stories, these teens realize that there are many out there that care about them. That no matter what anyone says—THEY MATTER.
ManLoveRomance Press http://www.mlrpress.com
Passion in Print Press http://www.passioninprint.com
Featherweight Press http://www.featherweightpublishing.com
So I am making a list of books whose proceeds or part of their proceeds will be donated to LGBTQ youth shelters and organizations. I know I am missing quite a few so help me fill in the list and send me the names and publishers. Here are the first
two three books to start the list:
Finding a Dream by SJ Frost
Bullied and harassed at school for his sexuality, Dillon Davis can’t see his life getting any better, but he can see it getting worse. Depressed, wounded in spirit and body, he’s nearing a point of hopelessness, until he sees a picture of his favorite stage actor, Brandon Alexander, with his partner, Shunichi Miyamoto. At learning Shunichi runs a karate dojo, a spark of hope comes to Dillon of learning to defend himself, and most of all, meeting Brandon.
Brandon Alexander is filled with compassion for Dillon the moment he meets him. He knows all too well what it’s like to be scorned for being gay. He and Shunichi want nothing more than to help him, but when Dillon never returns to the dojo, they fear what’s happened to him
Per SJ Frost: “Kris Jacen and I are donating our royalties from this story to The Trevor Project.It’s with the support of all who buy this book that we’re able to do this, and from both of us to you, thank you, so very much, for joining with us in giving to those in need.”
ebook, 79 pages
Published December 28th 2010 by MLR Press
original titleFinding a Dream
Lost and Found Anthology:
Lost and Found (from the Goodreads website):
by Kris Jacen (Editor), MF Kays, T.A. Webb (Goodreads Author), Tabatha Hart, Dakota Chase, Caitlin Ricci (Goodreads Author), Jeff Erno (Goodreads Author), D.C. Juris
*Some statistics say that 40% of all homeless teens are GLBT. They’re on the streets after their families have thrown them away, told them that they don’t matter, that they’re not normal. Well, guess what? Those families are wrong. This collection of stories by ten talented authors spans the spectrum (historical, paranormal, transgender, cutter, gay) to show that – it’s okay, there are people out there that care, and these teens are perfect just the way they are.
All royalties from this anthology are being donated to Lost-n-Found Youth in Atlanta, Georgia. A wonderful charity working with these teens, helping them find their new place and get on their feet.
Paperback, 421 pages
Expected publication: May 31st 2013 by Featherweight Press
The Sky is Dead by Sue Brown:
Danny is young, gay, and homeless. He lives in the park, preferring to avoid attention, but when thugs confront a stranger, Danny rushes to his rescue. He and the would-be victim, Harry, form a cautious friendship that deepens months later, when Harry persuades Danny to visit his home. Daring to believe he has found happiness, Danny finds his world turned upside down yet a…more
ebook, 232 pages
Published April 17th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
And now the week ahead in book reviews:
Monday, May 20: Breaking The Devil by Bailey Bradford
Tuesday, May 21: Noah by Ben Ryder
Wed., May 22: Still by Mary Calmes
Thursday, May 23: Closet Capers Anthology
Friday< May 24: Isle of Where? by Sue Brown
Saturday, May 25: Unforgiving Minute by Sarah Grainger
28 Mar 2013
in Book Reviews, Books, eBooks, Fantasy, M/M Fiction, Shifters, Supernatural, Uncategorized, Vampires
Tags: Creature Feature, gay demons, gay human mutants, gay wolf shifters, m/m erotic romance, m/m fiction, m/m paranormal fiction, m/m paranormal romance, m/m romance, m/m supernatural fiction, m/m wolf shiters, Mary Calmes, Poppy Dennison, Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Diagnosis Wolf by Poppy Dennison
Rating: 4 stars
Andrew Hughes life sucks and its all due to his twin brother. For as long as Andrew can remember his twin has caused problems for everyone, especially Andrew. His brother has gambled, lied, then stolen Andrew’s identity and savings. This has left Andrew miles deep in debt, with an unsalvagable credit rating, and scrambling to rebuild his life and move forward. Andrew can’t afford to be choosy, so when his temp agency offers him a job with a client that has run off all other nurses, he takes it for the money he can’t afford to turn down.
His client is Caleb DiMartino and no one will let him see his chart or tell Andrew what illness his new client has. Caleb comes with armed body guards, a mansion and an intimidating father. But the pale unconscious patient pulls Andrew in and Andrew wants to help him despite the mystery that surrounds him. But the truth behind Caleb’s illness will bring Andrew’s brother back into his life and pose a threat to Andrew and Caleb that neither expects.
Diagnosis Wolf spells out the problem in the title and wolf shifters is something that Poppy Dennison is very familiar with. She has her own take on wolf shifters and does a great job in creating a universe for them and Andrew. Andrew is a lovely, sympathetic character whose twin brother has made his life miserable their entire lives. I liked that Andrew had reached a point with his twin where he no longer enabled his twin’s problems (that his brother stole his identity and savings helped push Andrew over the edge). I loved that Andrew was a nurse and his empathic caring nature made it plausible that he would stay with Caleb, even as the situation escalated past complicated and into scary.
I had some issues with the villain of the piece because I kept wondering how it was that the rest of the pack had not figured it out. And maybe a little more exposition would have been nice with respect to Andrew’s brother, Danny and his future at the end. But those issues aside, I loved Poppy’s wolf shifter culture, especially when it came down to the mate bite and the politics surrounding it. So nicely done and the complexities surrounding the status of the bite made the “aha” moment more angst and adrenaline filled. It also made the slow build to a permanent relationship between Caleb and Andrew extremely satisfying at the end. All in all, a really lovely story.
Landslide by Mary Calmes
Rating 4.5 stars
Courier Frank Corrigan is injured again and while he is waiting for his wounds to heal, he gets a call from his sister, Lindsey. Lindsey is in trouble as usual, but this time her impetuousness has lead her to get bitten by a werewolf who just so happens NOT to be her fiance. And the wedding is this week and she doesn’t know what to do and needs her big brother now. Frank feels certain that his boss, the demon Cael Berith has the solution to his sister’s problems. But Frank is also certain that there will be a price to be paid for Cael’s assistance. Cael told Frank that Frank was Cael’s mate. That was three years ago and Cael’s patience is running out. With a love hungry demon on one side and a werewolf sister to be on the other, what will Frank do to save the situation and perhaps his love life in the bargain?
I will admit this was my favorite story of the two. It was perfect Mary Calmes in every way from the characters involved to the plot. First let’s take a look at the characters. Paranormal courier Frank Corrigan is tall, a former Marine who just so happens to be a mihr. A mihr is a mutant human who has all the typical human frailties except that he cannot be influenced by any otherworldly magic or glamour or tricks. And in the universe Mary Calmes has created for Landslide, this makes Frank the perfect go between the paranormal beings. It seems that wolf shifters, vampires, ghouls, demons and what have you exist openly in human society. All must register with Homeland Security and various rules and regulations apply to their movement and existence within human societies. Take everything currently going on with border regulations and green cards, illegal aliens and extrapolate that times ten and you begin to get the picture that Calmes is so vividly painting for us.
Into this world, we meet Frank, a bundle of complexities. A former Marine with excellent combat skills, he also has huge self image issues and an abusive family in the background that has made him doubt his worth and attractiveness. His friends are a odd group of non humans, and his sister is his one family member who loves and supports him. Frank also has a secret that is helping to keep the one person he wants at a distance. And that would be his current boss who also claims Frank is his mate.
Incubus demon Cael Berith is 1,000 years old and only now has he found his mate in Frank Corrigan. But misunderstandings and Frank’s insecurities have kept them apart for three years and a demon can only take so much frustration. Cael is such a mouthwatering character. He has so many facets to his personality. Scary demon, check. Romantic suitor? Check. Patience personified? Check and check. Mary Calmes makes us see Cael in all of his dimensions and still gives us a character to fall in love with. And when you add him to the soft, insecure and honorable Frank Corrigan, well then, just sit back and watch the sparks fly.
Typical of a Mary Calmes story we also are given memorable secondary characters too from the werewolf called Charming to Sheriff Gordy Roller. All perfectly drawn with interesting layers of their own. As the ending neared, I found myself wanting to know more about Lindsey’s future and other peripheral characters. And I wanted more of what life had in store for Frank and Cael.
And that is almost always the issue with these anthologies or collections. If the plots are well done and the characters engaging, then when I reach the end I find myself wishing for more. But Creature Feature has plenty to offer from Poppy Dennison and Mary Calmes in terms of great stories and characters that will stay with you. Pick up some popcorn and settle in for an afternoon double feature. You are going to love it.
Cover Art by Paul Richmond just takes you back to the theatre and the Saturday matinees with the double features and creatures galore. Just perfect.
24 Mar 2013
in Book Reviews, Books, Contemporary fiction, eBooks, Fantasy, Historical, Loose id, M/M Fiction, Riptide Publishing, samhain press, Science Fiction, Shifters, Supernatural, Uncategorized, Vampires
Tags: Collusion, Creature Feature, Diversion, Dreamspinner Press, Eden Winters, gay demons, gay gangsters, gay shifters, gay telepaths in fiction, gay vampires, gay werewolves, gay wolf shifters, GLBTQ fiction, L.A. Witt, m/m contemporary romance, m/m fiction, m/m historical fiction, m/m romance, m/m supernatural fiction, Mary Calmes, Nessa L. Warin, Poppy Dennison, Storm Season, The Mayfield Speakeasy, Tucker Springs novel
Sigh. The Vernal Equinox has come and gone, the calendar proclaims its spring without refute for all who look at it but the weather will not cooperate! One day of nice weather is quickly followed by a week of sullen skies, cold winds, and the threat of snow or sleet. And while we have been truly lucky here in the DC metropolitan area in that all the snow and ice have gone around us, others like my daughter in Gainesville received over a foot of the white stuff.
To add insult to injury, I just received my first order of plants from a catalog nursery and each morning as I get my coffee, I see them lined up on the windowsill looking out over the gardens where they will live if this weather ever changes. I swear I can hear them sigh along with me as we gaze over ground as hard as concrete and a bird bath filled with ice crusted water.
All the squirrels and birds wait for me to fill the feeders each day as they are emptying them as quick as I top them off. I am sure they too are wondering if the weather will ever turn clement. Red-tailed Hawks along with their smaller cousin, the Red-shouldered Hawks are wheeling over head in their aerial courtship displays. The black capped chickadees are inspecting the nesting boxes in the backyard so I know that soon the weather will change for the better and this cold, glum seasonal waiting room will be just a memory. But at the moment, it just feels as though we are stuck in a pattern that refuses to let us go.
Sometimes that happens in life, whether we recognize it at the time or not. What does it take for us to see that we are stuck in a rut? When does routine translate into a holding pattern? I am not sure of the answer, only that sometimes, if you are lucky, a change happens to bring about a seasonal changeover in a person’s life and you feel renewed once more. Old hobbies are picked back up, or new interests in life are discovered. Much like the small green sprouts I see trying diligently trying to emerge from the ground in my gardens, your outlook on life changes and things take on a bright, new patina. Other aspects of your life that previously seemed dull and uninteresting are rewarded with a double take as they too reveal a different side of themselves.
I love spring and the changing seasons. It doesn’t matter whether it is the spring slowly occurring outside my window or the one happening deep inside. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate winter too for one is necessary for the other to be truly glorious and appreciated. The plants have needed their rest, some seeds requiring the cold in order to germinate in the spring, and a winter chill will keep some insect populations under control. A cold winter’s night can make the moon and stars glow with a beauty found only during the winter months. But oh, how wonderful the first warm, moisture laden air of spring! It smells of rejuvenation, of new life, and I can’t wait to throw open my window and feel its breath on my face again.
It’s coming and soon. I just need to be patient, along with my plants on the windowsill. Sometimes, that is the hardest thing to do.
Here is the week ahead in reviews:
Monday, March 25: Covet Thy Neighbor by L.A. Witt
Tuesday, March 26: Storm Season by Nessa L. Warin
Wed., March 27: Creature Feature by Poppy Dennison, Mary Calmes
Thursday, March 28: Diversion by Eden Winters
Friday, March 29: The Mayfield Speakeasy by LA Witt
Saturday, March 30: Collusion by Eden Winters
01 Jan 2013
in Book Reviews, Books, Contemporary fiction, eBooks, Fantasy, Historical, Less Than Three Press, Loose id, M/M Fiction, No Boundaries Press, Riptide Publishing, samhain press, Science Fiction, Shifters, Supernatural, Uncategorized, Vampires
Tags: Abigail Roux, Amelia C. Gormley, Amy Lane, Andrea Speed, Andrew Grey, Anne Tenino, Ariel Tachna, Astrid Amara, BA Tortuga, Cardeno C, Carole Cummings, charlie cochrane, Dreamspinner Press, Ethan Day, gay fiction, gay stories, GLBTQ fiction, Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane, Isabelle Rowan, James Buchanan, JL Langley, Joel Skelton, Josephine Myles, Kate Steele, Katey Hawthorne, Laura Baumbach, Lynn Lorenz, m/m contemporary fiction, m/m fantasy, m/m fiction, m/m romance, m/m science fiction, m/m series, Marguerite Labbe, Mary Calmes, MLR Press, Nicole Kimberling, Piper J. Vaughn, Poppy Denison, RC Cooper, RJ Scott, Rodney Ross, Sarah Black, Scattered Thoughts Book Wishes for 2013, Shira Anthony, SJ Frost, TJ Klune, Willa Okati
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Book Wishes for 2013:
While everyone has been busy making New Year’s resolutions, I have been thinking about what I would wish for 2013 in books. Turns out I have quite a few wishes, some I would like to share in hopes they reach an author’s ear or more…..
❋I wish that 2013 brings a new book from JL Langley, this one to feature Sterling and Rhys, her wolf shifters…boy have we been waiting for their story.
❋I wish that 2013 brings another book in the Knitting series from Amy Lane *cough Jeremy cough*
❋I wish that 2013 brings Roan, Dylan, Holden, and the rest back with a fervor because Andrea Speed is killing me with anticipation over what the virus is going to do to Roan next.
❋I wish that Josh Lanyon is relaxed and happy from his sabbatical and ready to unleash some new books on his adoring fans.
❋I wish that I finally have time to start and finish JP Barnaby‘s Lost Boy series.
❋I wish that when authors are describing human eyes, the term “orb” doesn’t even come to mind as a word choice. Really, people, you are making me mental with this one. No more “his adoring blue orbs”. Do you hear how dumb that sounds? Magical orbs, alien orbs, fine. Human orbs, no. Emphatically, unwaveringly, absolutely no. See my Vocabulary Gone Bad series.
❋Ditto man tits.
❋I wish to that Abigail Roux doesn’t hurt Ty and Zane too badly in her next Cut & Run series, but that probably won’t happen.
❋I wish to see fewer instances of “instalove”, more measured steps towards a romantic relationship.
❋I wish that 2013 brings new stories about the Roughstock gang (BA Tortuga) and see Sam further along in his recovery.
❋I wish that Mary Calmes gives us another story in her werepanther universe and Domin Thorne and Yuri, really love those two.
❋I wish that I start taking my time reading books I have been waiting for instead of rushing through them (and then having to start over). Patience, I need more patience.
❋I wish that when authors put their characters through hell (rape, savage attacks etc), there is no instant recovery without any effects from the abuse. If you are going to go there, then at least make what happens to these people realistic all the way through. No brutal multiple rapes and then joyful snowmobiling through the countryside. This makes me crazy too.
❋I wish that Andrew Grey is as prolific as he was in 2012. I need more Range stories and Taste of Love series.
❋I wish that 2013 let’s me finish and write the rest of the reviews for Charlie Cochrane‘s outstanding Cambridge Fellows series, really I have no good excuse for this one, time just got away from me.
❋I wish that RJ Scott continues to write in her Sanctuary series, love those boys and TJ Klune brings back more bad poetry from the Kid as well as the Kid himself.
❋I wish to see less rushed endings and more complete backstories.
❋My wish for Sarah Black is for the Pacific Northwest to be as big a muse as the American southwest has been in the past.
❋I wish for more great m/m science fiction.
❋I wish for more in the Wick universe from Megan Derr.
❋I wish for anything new from Laura Baumbach.
❋I wish to see Tucker Springs explode with stories from many of my favorite authors (Marie Sexton, Heidi Cullinan and LA Witt).
❋I wish for more of the Bellingham Mysteries from Nicole Kimberling and Bellski stories from Astrid Amara.
❋I wish that 2013 let’s me discover more new authors I can’t live without. Thank you, 2012 for RC Cooper, Amelia C. Gormley, Rodney Ross, Shira Anthony, Poppy Denison, Marguerite Labbe, Joel Skelton, Katey Hawthorne, Piper J. Vaughn, Cardeno C, Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane to name the ones that jump into my fogged brain this morning.
❋I wish to thank those authors whose stories I have been reading for sometimes for the continued enjoyment and hours of escape you have given me and so many other readers…..Ariel Tachna, Ethan Day, Anne Tenino, James Buchanan, SJ Frost, Josephine Myles, Willa Okati, Carole Cummings, Isabelle Rowan, Kate Steele, Lynn Lorenz, and so many others (again fogged brain from late night and Redskins game).
❋And a final wish for 2013 is for people to remember and rediscover the wonderful Home series by William Neale, an author who will truly be missed.
So that’s it, all my pathetic brain can spew out today. I am sure there is much more trying to battle their way forward but they will have to wait. A shout out to all the couples in Maryland that starting getting married at 12:01am this morning. Congratulations and a Happy New Year. I will be leaving you all with a picture of Kirby in his New Year’s finest, please note the black leis, a nice touch don’t you think to go with his tiara?
29 Dec 2012
in Book Reviews, Books, Contemporary fiction, eBooks, Fantasy, Historical, Less Than Three Press, Loose id, M/M Fiction, No Boundaries Press, Riptide Publishing, Science Fiction, Shifters, Silver Publishing, Supernatural, Uncategorized
Tags: A Token of Time, Amy Lane, Andrea Speed Infected series, Anne Cain, artist Paul Richmond, best of 2012 eBook cover designs, Cardeno C, Catt Ford, cover design, eBook cover, eBook cover designs, Ethan Day, Jan Suzukawa, Josh of the Damned Triple Feature, LC Chase, London Burdon, Mary Calmes, PL Nunn, Posh Gosh, principles of cover design, Reese Dante, Scattered Thoughts Best Book Covers of 2012, Sidecar, Turkey in the Snow, Wake Me Up Inside, Winterheart Designs
Once again its time to talk book covers and book cover design. I have talked previously about my favorite covers from childhood and how the mere sight of a great cover in the window of a bookstore would draw me in like the scent of cheese to a mouse. If the cover is the magnet the publisher and author uses to attract readers, there are certain principles of design that used to be taken into consideration to make that cover the one that grabs peoples attention, that yells look at me, that makes them want to know what that book is about.
For printed books, the designer has to look at several things such as book size, typographic palette (how blocks of text are located on a cover), book covers, book spines and fonts. With respect to eBooks, spines aren’t relevant, nor is book size, at least how it is normally used in the publisher world. It’s not the actual physical size that matters here with eBooks but that readers are often looking at a smaller graphic when choosing eBooks. So now smaller has to make an even greater impact. All the other design elements remain the same. Book covers, whether for print or electronic books, must be compelling enough to make the reader to choose that book, to persuade the customer that what is inside is fascinating, marvelous stuff.
Another rule is that the book cover should match the book it is being designed for. Whether the design is simple or rich in detail, elegant or street tough, uses a cover model or an illustration, there should be no disconnect between the subject matter inside and out. I can’t tell you how many times I thought nice cover but what does it have to do with the subject of the book? And it if is a book series, then all the covers should be similar enough to brand each book a part of a series, one glance tells you who the author is and what series you are reading (ex. Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run series with a singular object on the cover). A great book cover makes you anticipate, endows you with a need to discover.
On every review I write I also mention the covers and the cover artists. There are always some cover artists who continue to turn out one enticing cover after another, there are some artists you can identify just by looking at the style of the design or paintings on the cover (Paul Richmond, Posh Gosh). And then this year saw a new artist or two whose cover reached out with it’s compelling designs and emotional overtones. This year also saw a trend towards retro illustrations and design which I loved and others whose richness in color and detail left me gasping in delight. It was hard to narrow the covers down as there were so many worthy of mention, so I did break it down into a few categories.
So here they are, Scattered Thoughts Best Covers of 2012(with apologies in advance for the formatting problems):
On the Trail to Moonlight Gulch by Shelter Somerset/Artist Anne Cain
The Mystery of Ruby Lode by Scotty Cade / Artist Reese Dante
The Celestial by Barry Brennessel/ Artist Winterheart Designs
Acrobat by Mary Calmes/ Artist Anne Cain
Mine by Mary Calmes/Artist Anne Cain
Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane/Artist Paul Richmond
Sidecar by Amy Lane/Artist Shoshana Appavu
Time Gone By by Jan Suzukawa/Artist Anne Cain
Turkey in the Snow by Amy Lane/Artist Catt Ford
Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C/Artist Reese Dante
The Ronin and The Fox by Cornelia Grey/Artist Nathie
A Token of Time by Ethan Day/Artist Winterheart Design
Science Fiction Novels:
Burn by TJ Klune/Artist Catt Ford
Josh of the Damned, Triple Feature by Andrea Speed/Artist LC Chase
Riot Boy by Katey Hawthorne/Artist P.L. Nunn
Infected Series by Andrea Speed/ Artist Anne Cain
Knitting series by Amy Lane/Artist Catt Ford
Leopard’s Spots series by Bailey Bradford/Artist Posh Gosh
Lost Gods by Megan Derr/Artist London Burdon
There were so many others I wished to include and I know you have your favorites too. Write and let me know who you feel should have been on that list (King Perry, Fallout to name a few that came close). Check out the individual reviews to see the covers in greater detail and read about the books they so beautifully covered!
17 Dec 2012
in Book Reviews, Books, Contemporary fiction, eBooks, Historical, Less Than Three Press, Loose id, M/M Fiction, No Boundaries Press, samhain press, Science Fiction, Shifters, Silver Publishing, Supernatural, Uncategorized, Vampires
Tags: Abigail Roux, Amerlia C. Gormley, Amy Lane, Andrea Speed, Andrew Grey, Animal Magnetism anthology, Anne Barwell, Anne Tenino, Ariel Tachna, B, BA Tortuga, Barry Brennessel, Bella Leone, Best Gay Fiction of 2012, Carden C, charlie cochrane, Dani Alexander, Dreamspinner Press, est M/M Fiction of 2012, Ethan Day, GLBTQ fiction, Harper Fox, Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane, Infected series, Katey Hawthorne, Kim Fielding, Lashings of Sauce anthology, Love Lane Books, m/m contemporary romance, m/m historical fiction, m/m romance, m/m science fiction, m/m supernatural fiction, Making Contact, Marguerite Labbe, Mary Calmes, Megan Derr, RC Cooper, Riptide Publishing, RJ Scott, Rodney Ross, Sarah Black, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Best Books of 2012, Scotty Cade, Shira Anthony, Tere Michaels, Three Fates Anthology, TJ Klune, Val Kovalin, William Neale, Xavier Axelson
What a spectacular year for great books in every genre from historical to fantasy! I have read so many wonderful books and series this year that it is hard to even begin to narrow down the list, although I have tried. What makes a book great for me? So many things, that it needs its own list.
The books I listed here are ones that moved me to tears and made me laugh out loud, they took me to places I have never been to see sights fantastic, miraculous, and awe inspiring. I have watched dragons soar and seen twin suns set over alien worlds. Through these wonderful authors I have met people who continue to stay with me through the power of their stories and the connectedness that I feel with each of the characters I have read about. Sometimes the books have taught me something about myself and how I looked at others or just gave me a deeper appreciation for my fellow beings.
I have grieved with men who have lost their soul mates, been with them as they worked through the trauma and loss, and celebrated as they moved forward with their lives. I watched men fall in love, whether it be with shifters, wizards, or just a man they met on the side of the road. Love lost, love found or lovers rediscovering the best about each other…that seems to know no boundaries as far as who you are and what world you inhabit. It doesn’t even matter whether the story is set in the past or goes far into the future. The authors and books listed here are ones that I cherish and return to often to visit with them once more. If you haven’t already read them, I hope you will add them to your list of must reads, as they are surely mine.
Oh, and by the way, this list is not complete. There are some wonderful books still to be released in the last two weeks of December, and there are some that I just missed from my own reviews. So look to see a revised list after the first of the year. Really there is something for everyone here. Happy reading!
Best Historical Book:
All Lessons Learned by Charlie Cochrane (Best Series) review coming in 2013
The Celestial by Barry Brennessel
The Mystery of Ruby Lode by Scotty Cade
Best Short Story
Eight Days by Cardeno C
Fair Puckled by Bella Leone
Lily by Xavier Axelson
Leather Work and Lonely Cowboys, a Roughstock story, by BA Tortuga
Too Careful by Half, a Roughstock story, BA Tortuga
Best Contemporary Romance – Standalone
Fall Into the Sun by Val Kovalin
Marathon Cowboys by Sarah Black
Fallout by Ariel Tachna
Good Bones by Kim Fielding
Legend of the Apache Kid by Sarah Black
Mine by Mary Calmes
Play It Again, Charlie by RC CooperScrap Metal by Harper Fox
Sidecar by Amy Lane
The Cool Part of His Pillow by Rodney Ross
Best Novels – Part of a Series
A Foreign Range by Andrew Grey
Acceleration by Amelia C. Gormley
But My Boyfriend Is by KA Mitchell
Chase the Stars by Ariel Tachna
Cherish, Faith, Love & Devotion 4 by Tere Michaels
Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino
Full Circle by RJ Scott
Hope by William Neale
Inherit the Sky by Ariel Tachna (Best Series)
Second Hand, a Tucker Springs story by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux (Best Series)
The Journal of Sanctuary One by RJ Scott
The Melody Thief by Shira Anthony (also Best Series)
Who We Are by TJ Klune
Best First Novels
The Cool Park of His Pillow by Rodney Ross
Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander
Inertia by Amelia C. Gormley (Best Series)
Best Supernatural Book:
A Token of Time by Ethan Day
Crucible of Fate by Mary Calmes (Best Series)
Druid Stone by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Ghosts in the Wind by Marguerite Labbe
Hawaiian Gothic by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Infected: Life After Death by Andrea Speed (Best Series)
Riot Boy by Katey Hawthorne
The Gravedigger’s Brawl by Abigail Roux
Science Fiction Books:
Emerald Fire by A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder
The Trust by Shira Anthony
Best Fantasy Books:
Black Magic by Megan Derr
Burning Bright by Megan Derr (Lost Gods series)
Chaos (Lost Gods series) by Megan Derr
Magic’s Muse by Anne Barwell
Poison by Megan Derr (Lost Gods series)
Treasure by Megan Derr (Lost Gods series)
Best Series – new books this year:
A Change of Heart series by Mary Calmes (supernatural)
Blue Notes series by Shira Anthony (contemporary)
Cambridge Fellows series by Charlie Cochrane (historical)
Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux (and Madeleine Urban) (Contemporary)
Faith, Love & Devotion series by Tere Michaels (contemporary)
Infected Series by Andrea Speed (supernatural)
Knitting series by Amy Lane (contemporary)
Lost Gods by Megan Derr (Fantasy)
Sanctuary series by RJ Scott (contemporary)
Sci Regency series by JL Langley (science fiction)
So Many Great Series, here are more of my favorites:
A Matter of Time series by Mary Calmes (contemporary)
Jewel Bonds series by Megan Derr (fantasy)
Superpowered Love series by Katey Hawthorne
Wick series by Megan Derr
Lashings of Sauce
I know that many books are missing but I just did not get to them this year, including JP Barnaby’s Little Boy Lost series, Andrew Grey’s Range series, and so many more. Look for them in 2013. Do you have a favorite I should know about? Write me and let me know.
05 Dec 2012
in Book Reviews, Books, eBooks, Fantasy, M/M Fiction, Shifters, Supernatural, Uncategorized
Tags: Change of Heart series, Crucible of Fate, Dreamspinner Press, Egyptian mythology, Egyptology, gay action adventure, GLBTQ ficiton, Logan and Jin, m/m cat shifters, m/m fiction, m/m romance, m/m shifter romance, m/m supernatural fiction, Mary Calmes, werepanthers
Rating: 5 stars
Domin Thorne should be on top of the world. He is the semel-aten, the leader of the werepanther world, ruler of the city Sobek in Egypt, the capital of the werepanthers. At his side are his new mate, Yuri the former shersuru of Logan Church as well as Mikail, Crane, and Taj from his former tribe, courtesy of Logan and Jin who knew it was crucial to have people he trusted around him as he began his rule.
But the tasks before him are even more formidable than he had imagined. The old priest who supported him has died, and the new priest is intent on undermining his authority. Crane is homesick and both Yuri and Mikail are not acting like themselves. And Domin finds himself short tempered, and impatient with the pace of change in the rules and regulations he wants implemented. Then his ex shows up just as a servant tries to kill him, and Yuri goes on a goodwill mission that turns deadly, and faced with his loss, Domin realizes that he truly loves Yuri, the only one to love him deeply and forever.
As his enemies gather all around him, Domin must prove to himself and all of Sobek that he is truly the semel-aten Logan believes he can be if he is to save those he loves and the werepanther world so desperately in need of change.
I hope that Mary Calmes intends to continue this series because with each book, it gets stronger, more deeply layered and complex. Crucible of Fate picks up after the events of Honored Vow, and the fight in the arena between Domin and the former semel aten, Ammon, a circumstance planned by Logan. Now in Sobek, the werepanther capital city in Egypt, we are given a Domin in crisis mode, inside and out. Everything has changed for Domin and it is overwhelming him on every front. Domin has a mate in Yuri and it is so new for them both that neither has adjusted to their new status. Yuri has always loved Domin, but Domin’s feelings for Yuri are still so brand new, bringing with them a measure of insecurity. Logan gave permission for several close members of his tribe to go with Domin to insure his safety and to insure he would have people around him he could trust but none of them are acting like themselves. Even the goals he wants to set for change within their society seem to distant to enact. Mary Calmes gives us this wonderfully volatile man puts him down within an equally volatile framework and lets the explosions start to happen.
The author places characters we have come to love into situations where their interpersonal relationships must expand and grow to their potential or all will be lost. And it’s not just Domin who must change, but Crane, Mikhail, Yuri and the entire court of Sobek. It’s wonderful because we get to see the start of a social revolution but from the person’s view point who is planning it all. Just a lovely touch. As this author has done in the past, she takes the facts she has given us and then uses them to turn everything we know on its head by the end of the story. All the little twists and turns she throws into the story takes Domin into a place I did not see coming, and I loved that.
And it’s not just the wonderful characterizations that greet us like old friends, but the vivid descriptions of Egypt, from the palace to the catacombs that help the reader visualize each and every scene our beloved werepanthers find themselves in. But no matter how wonderful the settings (and they have been outstanding, especially Mongolia), it is the characters that continue to bring all of us back for more. I never thought I would come to love Domin as I do when I initially met him. Then he was a bully, and a bit of a thug, deserving of a smackdown, which he got and then some. But over the series, we have watched Domin evolve into a man of honor, worthy of both respect and love. One of the true pleasures of this story, is Domin and Yuri’s story, watching their relationship deepen, strengthen and finally reveal itself as one between true mates. It is just so rewarding and satisfying, I can’t wait for you to experience it yourself.
In fact you won’t find a quibble here. Just the plea for another book. Ilia, Jin and Logan’s son is introduced here, and while not giving you any spoilers, let’s just say he is worthy of his own series. Crane has a wedding coming up, and so much more is on the horizon for them all that their story cries out to be heard (yes, that would be Danny’s voice we hear). So here I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the future will bring us more in the Change of Heart series. Until then I will return to the beginning and start over with Jin and Logan. Don’t miss out on any of them.
Here are the books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and the events that occur:
Change of Heart (Change of Heart #1)
Trusted Bond (Change of Heart #2)
Honored Vow (Change of Heart #3)
Crucible of Fate (Change of Heart #4)
02 Dec 2012
in Book Reviews, Books, Contemporary fiction, eBooks, Fantasy, Historical, Less Than Three Press, M/M Fiction, Recipes, Science Fiction, Shifters, Supernatural, Uncategorized
Tags: BA Tortuga, C. Cardeno, Change of Heart series, Christmas advent stories, gay cowboys, m/m Christmas stories, m/m contemporary, m/m contemporary romance, m/m holiday stories, m/m romance fiction, m/m short stories, Mary Calmes, Private Dicks anthology, RJ Scott, Roughstock series, Sanctuary series, The Week Ahead, Torquere short stories
Every year seems to go by more quickly than the last and 2012 is almost gone. It has been a tumultuous time here at home, in Maryland, and the entire northeast. From the scorching heat and drought of the spring and summer months to the recent Derechos which brought high winds and flooding, it has been a regular smorgasbord of geological happenings and meteorological events. We have had a major earthquake from which the National Cathedral and the Washington Monument and other buildings have still not recovered from. A heat wave and drought that killed much of the harvest from land and sea, with water levels down from lack of rain and snow to heat which baked the land and everyone on it. We had high winds, tornados and of course flooding that still did not mitigate the low water table. Really, 2012 has been our version of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and it’s not over yet.
Amazingly it was a year ago yesterday when I rolled out by my first blog, scrambling to get my feet under me and figure out what I wanted to say, what I wanted to review, and everything in between. It took me a while to get my voice and now the mutterings can’t stop! The thoughts keep tumbling out, rolling over one another like pebbles in a stream caught in a swift current, some concerned with vocabulary, others focused on eBook covers and design and more still on book content, reviews to be exact. I hope I have helped some of you find your way to new authors or rediscover old ones that you have forgotten. Later this month I will be rolling out my Best of 2012 lists, from Books to Covers. I bet you have been making your lists too. Let me know what book(s) is on them, and do you have a favorite cover artist, like Anne Cain, or even a favorite model? Inquiring minds and all that.
So here’s to the beginning of the end of 2012. I love this time of year, so much to reflect on and yet so much still to look forward to, including the holidays no matter which one you celebrate. I’ll be talking to you soon. In the meantime, look what’s coming up this week:
Monday, 12/3: Private Dicks:Undercovers Anthology
Tuesday, 12/4: The Journal of Sanctuary One (Sanctuary #6) by RJ Scott
Wed, 12/5: Crucible of Fate (Change of Heart #4) by Mary Calmes
Thursday, 12/6: Too Careful By Half, a Roughstock story by BA Tortuga
Friday, 12/7: Eight Days by C. Cardeno (a Christmas story)
Sat., 12/8 3 Dreamspinner Christmas Advent Calendar stories
So now I will leave you with a Vodka Christmas Cake recipe. You simply have to try this…
Once again this year, I’ve had requests for my Vodka Christmas Cake recipe, so here goes.
Please keep in your files as I am beginning to get tired of typing this up every year!
(Made mine this morning!!!!)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
Sample a cup of Vodka to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the Vodka again to be sure it is of the highest quality then Repeat.
Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
At this point, it is best to make sure the Vodka is still OK. Try another cup just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eegs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick the fruit up off the floor, wash it and put it in the bowl a piece at a time trying to count it. Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver Sample the Vodka to test for tonsisticity.
Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something. Check the Vodka. Now slift… shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window.
Finish the Vodka and wipe the counter with the cat ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
07 Nov 2012
in Book Reviews, Books, Contemporary fiction, eBooks, M/M Fiction, Uncategorized
Tags: a Jory and Sam novel, A Matter of Time series, Dreamspinner Press, drug cartel, end of the series novel, gay enforcement officer, gay families, gay families with kids, HEA, m/m contemporary fiction, m/m contemporary romance, m/m fiction, Mary Calmes
Rating: 4.5 stars
Jory Harcourt finally has everything he has ever wanted. He has his husband, US Marshall Sam Kage, after many obstacles and stumbling blocks. They have their two adopted children, their son Kola and their daughter Hannah, and even a deranged cat named Chilly. They have a house in the suburbs, a minivan Jory loves and their family and friends are happy as well. So of course, this means that trouble is about to barge into their life and turn it upside down.
When Jory intervenes in a neighbors marital dispute by the curb, it figures that the only ones injured were Jory and his minivan. But during his visit to the hospital, the Doctor on call turns out to be someone Sam was involved with down in Mexico during the three years they were separated. Someone Sam has never told Jory about to Jory’s consternation. Then a hitman climbs their balcony of their hotel at the family reunion, and a missing informer may just not be missing after all. With criminals chasing them, and Sam after the criminals and Jory ending up in the middle, things are getting a little bit out of hand yet again. But now Jory and Sam have a family and a normal life and that’s worth fighting for! So the criminals had better beware.
But for You is the last book in the saga of Jory Harcourt and US Marshall Sam Kage which started with A Matter of Time novels. And it has taken Jory and Sam and the readers on a long and complicated journey to get to their Happily Ever After. Mary Calmes has had our boys separated on more than one occassion, they both have been shot and injured, miscommunication and sometimes just bad timing has at one time or another interfered in their passionate courtship but eventually Mary Calmes always brought Jory and Sam back together come hell or high water. When the author created Jory Harcourt and Sam Kage, she endowed each of them with such staying power both as individuals and as a couple, that they are often nominated as favorite couple at poll time.
Jory Harcourt has been a memorable persona right from the start in 2009. Full of life, nosy, loyal, and trouble on two feet, Jory captured the imaginations and hearts of readers immediately. How could you not love someone who could turn a mere errand into a disaster with citywide implications in a matter of minutes? Meet someone, have a conversation and coffee with them and have their new friend turn out to be a sought after mobster? That would be Jory. Lovable, klutzy, and way too endearing for his own good. The readers loved Jory immediately. Then Mary Calmes created Sam Kage as his soul mate because goodness knows only someone with the shear mass and attitude of a US Marshall would be enough to keep Jory under control, at least most of the time. But of course, getting Sam to see that Jory was perfect for him was not a easy task, including the fact that Sam had to accept his own “gay” card in order for that to happen. So their meeting, courtship, curtailed courtship, renewed courtship was carried out over a series of books. I can tell you their roller-coaster of a romance caused much angst and heart flutterings along the way. And each time we think their relationship is safe and secure, something or someone comes along to shake them and the status quo up but good. It never mattered how wild the complication or how bad the criminals involved, Sam and Jory (whether Sam wanted it or not) were in the thick of things.
Now comes the last Jory and Sam story and I will be so very sorry to see such an entertaining and adorable couple go. But Mary Calmes has given us a heartwarming portrait of a contented happily married couple with the kids they have always wanted, complete with house, cat and minivan to take with us as we leave them behind. For one thing, it is easy to see that the author is a mother herself. Kola and Hannah behave and talk like real children and I loved them. It doesn’t matter whether six year old Kola is telling four year old Hannah not to lick Chili their cat or if looking at a magnificent hotel fountain makes Hannah need to pee, the children come across as realistic as any child I know. When Kola makes retching sounds when his parents kiss, I was cracking up because I have heard and seen children do exactly that. And when Hannah goes into a 20 minute description about a bug and a leaf, yep that happens too. And then there are Sam and Jory’s reactions to their kids. Trying not to laugh when they know they should be stern? Absolutely. Horrified when someone abuses their power at school and their kid gets hurt? You betcha! All real, all wonderfully familiar, at least to any of us that have children. And I love that they are still as passionate and crazy about each other no matter how complicated their lives get. These great characterizations are why we feel in love with Jory and Sam to begin with.
The Cartel storyline that has carried through all of the books is finished here and loose ends are tied up. Of course, not without Sam disappearing and Jory getting into trouble. It wouldn’t seem like a Jory and Sam story if that wasn’t the case. And all of their family members are here too to say goodbye. Dane and Aja and their kids, Dylan and her kids, Sam’s family and more. Even Aaron (remember him?) and Duncan are here as well. Jory and Sam are hunted by criminals and Sam in turn hunts them right back. There is danger and there is resolution. And in the end, Jory, Sam, Hannah and Kola and even their cat Chili are moving into a new house and happy in their lives together.
Do I have any quibbles? Sure, I wish it would have been longer, I wish I could have had more of Sam and Jory together, more of Sam and Jory with their children, more of……well, you get my drift. But if they have to go, then their creator has done them proud and sees them off in fine Sam and Jory style. There’s laughter, some pouts, tears and lots of sex. Goodbye, Jory. Goodbye, Marshall Sam. You will be missed.
Here are the Jory and Sam stories in the order they were written and should be read:
A Matter Of Time – Books 1 through 4
Bulletproof (A Matter Of Time #5)
Just Jory (A Matter of Time 5.5) find it here.
But For You (A Matter Of Time #6)
Cover art by Reese Dante. Aww, loved it and a perfect way to send them off.
04 Nov 2012
in Book Reviews, Books, Contemporary fiction, eBooks, Fantasy, M/M Fiction, Riptide Publishing, Science Fiction, Shifters, Silver Publishing, Supernatural, Uncategorized, Vampires
Tags: Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGTQ Youth, Amber Kell, American Red Cross, Amy Lane, Amylea Lyn, gay cowboys, GLBTQ fiction, Hurricane Sandy donations, Hurricane Sandy Relief Organizations, Jory and Sam series, Knitting series, m/m books, m/m contemporary books, m/m fiction, m/m romance, Mary Calmes, Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea, Prentiss series, Talia Carmichael, Week Ahead in Reviews
Brrrrrr, it’s gotten cold here in Maryland. While most of Maryland got very lucky with respect to Hurricane Sandy, she brought the artic air from Canada down with her swirling air masses so we have 3 ft of snow in Western Maryland and our ski resorts are very happy indeed to get a jump on the season. Our fall ended with the roar of winds and rain as the remaining autumn color fell with the torrential rains. We might actually have a real winter once more. And looking at all the fallen leaves and branches, I am reminded that people not that far away desperately need our help.
My thoughts and hopes go out to all those in need in New York and New Jersey. The devastation is unbelievable and Hurricane Sandy’s impact on human lives continues to widen along with the death tole. There are several reputable organizations that are accepting donations to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. The Red Cross is one of them. The American Humane Society is another. I have a list below that will link you directly to the organizations accepting donations.
One close to my heart is the Ali Forney Center for housing homeless GLBTQ youth in NYC. It was badly damaged. Here is the link. Every dollar counts. If you can spare $1 or $5, everything is needed, everything helps. However you can help, even if it is just re-tweeting the call for donations, all assistance is appreciated and direly needed.
Ali Forney Center Housing for Homeless for GLBTW Youth
Humane Society of the United States
So, turning away from the subject above, here are the books I am reviewing for the upcoming week. Don’t be surprised if I throw in some extras. Without further ado:
Monday 11/5/2012: How To Raise An Honest Rabbit by Amy Lane
Tuesday 11/6/2012: One True Thing by Piper Vaughn and MJ O’Shea
Wed. 11/7/2012: But For You by Mary Calmes
Thursday 11/8/2012: Ralston’s Way by Talia Carmichael
Friday 11/9/2012: Long Hard Ride by Talia Carmichael
Sat. 11/10/2012: Back To Hell by Amber Kell, Whispered Secrets and Hidden Eyes by Amylea Lyn