Scattered Thoughts July 2013 Book Review Summary

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Scattered Thoughts July 2013 Book Review Summaryjulyjpeg

It was an outstanding month with regard to books I read.  So many great books and authors that it made this month a joy to be a reader and reviewer. And even more remarkable is that every one of the 5 star rated books were all part of a great series, whether it was a long established series or a series just getting started.  Mary Calmes released her 7th book in her A Matter of Time series,, Missouri Dalton new Guidebook series promises to be an instant classic for young and old,  Amy Lane made us weep as she  finished up her beloved Promises series, and Kendall McKenna continued to prove she is one of the best military fiction writers I know with her third book in the Recon Diaries series.   And that’s just the tip of the books read and reviewed this month.  So many great stories, truly something for everyone.

All the reviews are linked.  So take a look, see what story you might have missed or new author to add to your must read list.  The bar has been set really high for August.  Just saying.

 

July 2013 Book Review Summary
5 Star Rating:
Birds of a Feather (Bellingham Mysteries #5) by Nicole Kimberling (contemporary romance)
Forever Promised (Promises #4) by Amy Lane (contemporary romance)
Necromancy and You (Guidebooks #2) by Missouri Dalton (YA horror supernatural fiction)
Parting Shot (A Matter of Time #7) by Mary Calmes (contemporary romance)
The Final Line (Recon Diaries #3) by Kendall McKenna (contemporary romance)

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:
Attachment Strings (Jeff Woods Mystery #1) by Chris T. Kat (4 stars) (contemporary romance)
Fever Anthology by M. Rode (4 stars) (contemporary romance)
Grime and Punishment (The Brothers Grime #1) by Z.A. Maxfield (4.5 stars)(contemporary romance)
Son of a Gun by A.M. Riley (4 stars) (contemporary romance)
Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma #3) by Anne Tenino (4.25 stars)(contemporary romance)
The Curtis Reincarnation by Zathyn Priest (4.25 stars)(contemporary romance)
Vampirism and You (Guidebooks #1) by Missouri Dalton (4.75 stars) (YA horror supernatural)
Worlds Collide (Sanctuary #7) by R. J. Scott (4.75 stars)(contemporary romance)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:
Bully For You by Catt Ford (3.75 stars) (contemporary romance)
Love On The East End by Lily Sawyer (3.5 stars)(contemporary romance)
Pick Up Men by L.C. Chase (3.75 stars) (contemporary romance)
Tattoo You by Willa Okati (3.75 stars) (contemporary romance)
The Heir Apparent by Tere Michaels (3.75 stars) (contemporary romance)
Waiting for Ty (Lovers and Friends #2) by Samantha Ann King (3 stars) (contemporary romance)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:
Changing Planes by Karenna Colcroft (2 stars) (contemporary romance)

1 to 1.75 Star Rating:
Side Line by Ben Ryder (1.5 stars) (contemporary romance)

Review: Grime and Punishment (The Brothers Grime #1) by Z.A. Maxfield

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

JGrime and Punishment coverack Masterson was a firefighter until one massive blaze ended his career and put him on disability.  Needing a new career and a way to help people involved, Jack created The Brothers Grime, a biohazard cleanup company.  The Brothers Grime go to work at the crime scenes after the police and other agencies have cleared the site for clean up.  Jack’s company’s job is to help people move on from a traumatic event by physically cleaning up all  the mess left behind, the blood, the gore, everything.  Then one night, The Brothers Grime get a call that changes everything for Jack.  A man committed suicide at his cousin’s house and a clean up is needed.  The suicide?  One Nick Foasberg, former friend and more of Jack Masterson.

Jack’s memories of Nick are as traumatic as the accident that disabled him, perhaps more so.  A high school attack on Jack involved Nick and others,  an attack so savage it put Jack in the hospital for months and has had ramifications for Jack’s life ever since.  And Nick’s suicide brings them all back with a vengeance.  Further complicating things is Ryan Halloran, Nick’s cousin and owner of the house Nick was living in.  Ryan looks like Nick while acting nothing like him.  Nick’s life had been spiraling out of control for years as drugs and alcohol took control of his life.  Ryan, a nurse, had been trying to help Nick recover.

Nick’s suicide brings the men together.  And while Ryan only knows part of Nick’s past with Jack, the two men decide to gain closure and clean up Ryan’s house together.  As an attraction grows between them so does Jack’s guilt over a secret he is keeping hidden from Ryan.  Ryan has made Jack feel alive again after years of numbness and Jack doesn’t want to lose this chance at love.  Both men need to move beyond their involvement with Nick and their pasts before they can find love again with each other.

I love Z.A. Maxfield’s stories and Grime and Punishment is no exception.  In this first book in a new series, the author delves into the relatively unknown field of crime scene environmental cleanup, a fascinating aspect of the trauma crimes leave behind.  With that occupation as a foundation, Maxfield gives us a group of emotionally and physically wounded men around which to build her story and series.  I am sure I am not the only one who has not given a thought as to what happens when the police and medical examiners leave a scene.  Maxfield takes us there and shows us the people and companies that make a living cleaning up the tragedies that life brings.   The reality of these firms is both ugly and redeeming.  They descend upon the scene, jockeying to throw in their bids and grab up the job before anyone else and that often means talking to the victim or victims shortly after the trauma has occurred.  The manner in which that interaction is handled swings between sensitivity and rapaciousness.

For Maxfield’s character, Jack Masterson, this is not merely a job but a way in which he can help the victims move forward with their lives.  He has been on the both sides of this job and knows that he and his people can make a difference and not just a living.  Jack Masterson is one of the walking wounded.  Jack was traumatized early in life by an attack during high school brought on by someone he loved and trusted.  And that betrayal has caused Jack to emotionally withdraw from life.  Jack is a masterful creation, a complex personality whose frailties, his emotional and physical vulnerabilities make him an easily accessible character to identify and like.  And as he starts to change and become alive once more, the reader is so heavily invested in his emotional growth and rebirth that we feel we are there with him every step of the way.

Ryan also has many layers to him, a nurse drawn to the downtrodden and lost, he too must look closely at himself and his motives with regard to his relationships with Jack and Nick.  The build to a relationship between Ryan and Jack is slow and full of obstacles.  It is instead a very realistic portrait of two men wary of each other and their pasts who cautiously proceed forward together with no guarantees.  I loved this aspect of the story and look forward to much more of them and the series.

Of course, there are so many others to grab your attention.  Police officer Dave, so deeply in the closet he has built that he sees no way out,  Dave too was affected deeply by Jack’s past as was everyone Jack has remained close to.  The  Brothers Grime is full of people who care for Jack, whether it is Gabe, Jack’s cousin or the others that work with them.  All characters feel so alive that it is easy to entrust your affections to this diverse group of individuals and their various situations.

i love the way Maxfield has built her narrative here.  At the start, it seems slow, almost a little frozen, just as Jack is.  He is numb emotionally, physically hurting and so is everyone around him.  All are bogged down in life, frozen in status as the story starts and the narrative reflects that.  It’s mood is just as dark and deep as the characters at this stage in the story.  But as their emotional stasis breaks up and the characters move forward in their lives, then the narrative moves forward at a pace equal to the characters emotional rebirth and growth.  It becomes lively, and light in places, only to swoop downward at the first hint of returning troubles.  Really,  Grime and Punishment represents just a remarkable job of storytelling by the author.

I highly recommend this story and can’t wait for the next installment in the series.  This is a great introduction for those of you new to Z.A. Maxfield. And for those of you already fond of this author, here is a new story of hers to love.

Book Details:

ebook, 176 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Loose Id (first published 2013)
original title
Grime and Punishment
ISBN13 9781623003111
edition language English
series The Brothers Grime

This Week’s Reviews From Scattered Thoughts

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Just coming off a wonderful and exhausting week of company and lunch with my fellow Metro M/M Romance Group.  A friend on her way back to the Azores stopped midway to stay with me last week.  It was a terrific visit and we got all caught up on things going on in our lives.  Then on Saturday, my M/M Romance Metro DC Group met at my house for drink, food and book talk.  It was great.  So Sunday?  That was the day I collapsed.  And cleaned.  And did some catchup writing. Now I am about a day behind but not feeling very guilty about it.  Everyone needs at least one day off and yesterday was mine.

So here is how the week is now shaking out.  Not an awesome week, there is one or two redeeming books.  I am saving one stupendously awful book for next week when I will have some great ones to balance it out.  And of course, I have to have one book rant included for the week as well.  This one involves book titles and the willy nilly manner in which some words are capitalized and others are not, depending upon editor, publisher and author.  Makes me crazy and now you are going to hear about it.

Monday, July 29, 2013:                 This Week’s Reviews

Tuesday, July 30, 2013:                 Fire and Light by Berengaria Brown

Wed., July 31, 2013:                        Grime and Punishment by Z.A. Maxfield

Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013:               The Boy Who Came In From the Cold by B. G. Thomas

Friday, Aug. 2, 2013:                     Welcome, Brother by Erica Pike

Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013:                Book Titles and Capital letters are Making me Crazy!

Review: Necromancy and You (Guidebook #02) by Missouri Dalton

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Necromancy and You coverAlter (Al) Skelton is just like  any other 15 year old who is obsessed with death.  He has a purple and black bedroom full of skulls, walls decorated with Day of the Dead posters and a vent where he hides all his copies of Raising the Dead from Cemetery Comics.  Shortly after his 15th birthday, Al sends away for a copy of  Necromancy and You with a coupon out of the back of his Raising the Dead comic along with the box tops from three boxes of Count Chocula cereal. The book he receives in the mail is so much more than he expected.  Instead of a paperback, Al gets a heavy leather bound book addressed to him and immediately his life starts to change dramatically.

From the moment Al starts to read the book, he realizes something is weird.  The spells in the book are working for him as a disastrous incident in his science lab demonstrated.  Al can raise the dead.  Now he’s a boy with a plan and the ability to raise the dead.  That plan? To raise his dead father and get his family back together.  But so many obstacles block his path.  The man his mother is dating is hateful and abusing, too bad he is also Al’s psychiatrist. An evil group called the Coalition operates a school for Necromancers and they will do everything in their power to bring Al into their fold. Suddenly Al’s world is full of ghouls, ghosts, vampires, and talking dead frogs.  What’s a young budding necromancer to do when danger is all around him in a world turned more dark and scary than usual?

Missouri Dalton has created an instant classic for older teens and adults alike with Necromancy and You, the second story in the Guidebook series.  Never have I been so enthralled by a young 15 year old like Al Skelton.  As created by Dalton, Al is a brilliant, depressed social outcast, who lives for his Raising the Dead comics and memories of his old family life.  His father died five years before when Al was 10, an event that happened while his dad was away on business so Al never got to say goodbye. Since then, his mother has turned cold and distant, spending all her time either at work or with her  new boyfriend, a sadistic man who also happens to be Al’s psychiatrist.  With his present life a nightmare, Al would like nothing better than his family back together again, happy and whole, an impossibility considering his dad is dead.  If this description starts to conjure up visions of Harry Potter, then yes, there are similarities.  But for me, I find Al Skelton far more interesting and quite a bit darker.  He is also far more sarcastic and self aware than Harry seemed to be.  But I guess that comes with being a Necromancer. albeit a budding one as well as being a bit of a smartmouth.

Dalton’s narrative is so clever, so enthralling and her main character so charismatic and appealing that the reader is pulled in instantly, immediately hooked on Dalton’s world building and Al’s life. Oh the life of a teenager at 15, it’s such a tough one.  Hormones are raging, poised between child and adult, the world can be a harsh place, especially if that teenager is just a little different from everyone else.  Dalton takes this truism and gives us a darker version.  Al doesn’t just think everyone is out to get him, they really are.  Lonely, upset and missing his father and the way his family used to be? That should sound familiar to any number of kids these days. And if the normal world is scary place for them, what would happen if you then find out that vampires, ghouls, zombies and ghosts are real and you are not quite human?

Lucky for us, we get to find out as Al goes from normal teen to powerful Necromancer and beyond.  This is how it all starts:

When the package arrived, that clear crisp morning on the twenty-third of October, I knew it would be a good day. The package was green, vibrant and shiny, tied with black string. The address label was white with black letters that spelled my name.

Alter Skelton

215 Bridge Lane

Verity, IL 34055

It was a package I’d been waiting for seven weeks and three days. Waiting ever since I mailed in the coupon out of the back of Raising the Dead along with the box tops from three boxes of Count Chocula cereal. The ad had caught my attention immediately, gleaming on the slightly thicker glossy paper of the back cover, in bright green and black and white.

Learn to control the forces of life and death! This book will change your life!

I knew in a heartbeat I would do anything to get my hands on it. So despite my normal tendency toward not eating breakfast, I ate it. I also started to act less strange around my mother to decrease suspicion. And now, on a Saturday morning, I had my book.

I took the parcel immediately to my room. My mother was out shopping, so I had a good couple hours to peruse the book before shoving it behind the vent cover where I kept my issues of Raising the Dead and the pornographic magazine Tommy had foisted on me after his mother started cleaning his room again.

And then later on, once Al is safely in his room:

I cleared the detritus off of my bed, mostly clothes, and unwrapped the parcel.

The book was heavy, and as I tore away the paper, I noticed it was not the paperback copy I’d expected from the photo in the back of the comic. The cover, by the feel, was leather, black. On the very front there was incised decoration: bright green lines indented as a border around a white skull that felt and looked like bone. Over the skull, in silver lettering, was the title.

Necromancy and You!

Underneath the skull was a secondary title. From A to Zombie

There was no author listed. On the interior page was a notation.

A Stone House publication copyright 1344. Do not redistribute. Books sold without covers are considered stripped books; the house nor the author receives payment. Please refrain from purchasing stripped books.

And on the next page.

Welcome, young master! You have chosen to take the first step in a wonderful journey! Herein are the methods, practices, and rules of the way of Necromancy! Please read the entire first chapter thoroughly before proceeding to the Practical Applications to ensure safety!

Well. Safety was important. One wouldn’t want to raise anyone on accident or anything. No need to get the neighborhood riled with corpses walking about. Or skeletons. Or both.

No, secrecy was key here.

The neighbors were too nosy as it was. Then again, so was my mother.

And from the moment Al opens the book and begins to read, his journey (and ours) has started.  There is no going back, not that he would want to of course, at least in the beginning. Al has a unique voice, it’s quirky, it self effacing and it definitely belongs to a teenager.  It has just that right amount of young perspective and cluelessness while still sounding aware and confident.  How I love this boy.  Al is also remarkably resilient and he has to be. Because before him are so many unpleasant truths about his world and horrifying events to cope with that the ability to take such things in stride is necessary for his survival.

Along his journey he also meets a cadre of remarkable personalities and creatures, some friend, some foe, and some just well….we just don’t know where they stand.  But all of them are exquisitely created.  They team with life or unlife (!) as the case may be.  Some are personalities that we have met already in Vampirism and You (Guidebook #01), including that m/m couple of foster vampire Duncan and 17 year old Louis.  They loom large in Al’s future but more than that I won’t say.  You will have to discover the details for yourself.  All the characters involved are memorable, some charming, some chilling and several downright evil.  But no matter what side they fall on, good or bad, they are all believable and realistic right down to the smallest detail.

Dalton moves her narrative along at a swift and smooth pace and you will want to scamper along with her, wanting to rush to see where the plot is taking Al and you next.  But slow down, don’t miss any of the details, even the ones that seem so insignificant.  There is so much layering here, of plot twists, relationship dynamics, family dynamics, young love (more on that later), the trials and tribulations of growing up….you name it and Missouri Dalton has incorporated it into her story.  But  Dalton does so effortlessly, her narrative never feeling jumbled up or dense.  Really, this is an outstanding book in a remarkable  series.

There are some things that should be noted. Necromancy and You as well as the Guidebook series are categorized as a YA book, a category I do agree with one limitation.  I don’t feel it is appropriate for anyone under the age of 15 (Al’s age).  While a kiss between the hero and heroine is the sexiest this gets, there are mild suggestive comments for the sexual activities of a few other couples.  Nothing explicit, nothing even major, but its there.  My limitations pertaining to age is more along the lines of the traumatic events that occur.  Al is hurt numerous times and while we are spared the details, it happens and younger children might be upset. People die and there are other potentially violent  scenes.  They are necessary for the book and work beautifully within the narrative.  Most of the violence is “off stage” as it were, but the emotional impact is huge.  These events are as beautifully constructed as the rest of the story so yes, you will feel them just as Al does.  This is an emotionally moving, heartfelt and heartrending story.  It has the power to bring tears to your eyes even as they are rolling down our hero’s face.

In addition to giving us an intrepid young man, Dalton gives us an equally resourceful heroine. This is a minor romance happening within the storyline.  Al is straight and there is a slight romance starting here.  One that I suspect will grow over the course of the series, along with that of our m/m couple Louis and Duncan.  Again, like every other teenage, young love finds a way, no matter your sexual preference.  But this series is geared towards suspense and mystery of the supernatural kind.  The romances that occur are secondary to the main focus of the series,  a battle brewing against good and evil, that eternal conflict with surprising elements to each side.  I wanted to order print copies immediately and go running along crowded sidewalks, passing them out and yelling at them to  “read this book”!!!!!  Teenagers, young adults, old adults, and everyone in between needs to read this book, invest themselves in the series.

As you may have guessed, I enthusiastically recommend this book and this series.  I will leave you with a few thoughts from Al himself:

I just couldn’t take normal life seriously.

“Mr. Skelton, are you paying attention?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good, then you can complete the problem on the board.”

Do. Not. Kill.

That should not be anyone’s daily mantra.

While it may not be ours, I love that it is Al’s.  Run, fly, do whatever you have to do, but get this book!

Here is the Guidebook stories in the order they were written:

Vampirism and You (Guidebook #01)

Necromancy and You (Guidebook #02)

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Published July 3rd 2013 by Prizm Books
ISBN1610404939 (ISBN13: 9781610404938)
edition languageEnglish
series Guidebook 

Review: Vampirism and You (Guidebooks #01) by Missouri Dalton

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Vampirism and You coverLouis Von Graves has had an unusual childhood.  His family name is Krekowski but his parents named him Louis Von Graves. It’s almost as though they knew what would happen to him.  You see, Louis’ family are indentured servants to vampires, specifically, The Countess and have been for more generations than can be remembered.  When he was younger, Louis’ name was picked out of a hat filled with the names of children from all the servants.  Why? So that the chosen one would be turned on his 17th birthday and become a vampire, a child of the Countess. It doesn’t matter what the child wants, its wham, bite, death, and you’re a vampire.

So here he is, 17 and a new vampire.  He has been taken away from his family and friends in England and given over to a foster sire who will teach him how to be a vampire and all the rules and regulations that go along with it.  But no one told him he would have to go to America, and no one told him he would have to go to school.  With a bunch of american high school kids no less.  So what is a sullen, pouting, teenager to do when his world has been turned upside down, he has powers he doesn’t know what to do with and a overwhelming desire to drink his classmates blood?  Why be given a guidebook of course.

But the book, Vampirism and You (A Beginner’s Guide to the Change) that his foster-vampire sire Duncan gives him can’t prepare him for everything.  A new vampire appears at the house he shares with Duncan and while Eli appears to be friendly, Duncan hates him and tells Louis to stay away from Eli at all costs. And while Louis wants to eat the girls around him, he doesn’t want to date them.  Does that make him a gay vampire?  Louis isn’t sure what the answer is but increasingly all the questions about his sexuality seem to have Duncan as their focus.

But soon Louis learns that life is not all vampire fun and games.  There is great intrigue,  and evil court politics to contend with. Plus Louis is having nightmares that keep getting more vivid all the time and the answers seem to lie in his past.  Louis must contend with unexpected evil, horny cheerleaders, and the possibility he just might be gay all at the same time.  Hopefully the guidebook can help him, now only if he could remember to read his homework!

I have found a new addiction and it’s not one book or even two.  It’s a new series from Missouri Dalton and Torquere Press’s YA Press, Prizm Books.  The Guidebooks series revolves around a group of supernatural guidebooks, each a part of a series for a group of supernatural practitioners and/or supernatural beings.  Whether it be necromancers or vampires or something more, each book is delivered or given to a teenager as they come of age (whether it is being turned or coming into their powers).  The first book in the series, Vampirism and You (A Beginner’s Guide to the Change) is given to one Louis Van Graves shortly after he is turned on his 17th birthday.

What a spectacular idea for a series!  And with Missouri Dalton, an author I have come to throughly enjoy, as it’s creator, the series has really taken flight into the realm of classic storytelling.  Louis Van Graves is that typical teenager at  17 years of age who has been made to do something he never wanted to do.  Of course, we aren’t talking woodshop here. Louis has been made into a vampire through no true choice of his own.  Not only was his name picked out of a hat but he also was promised something huge by the Countess if he agreed to be turned.   In exchange for his mortal life, the Countess agrees to let his sister live a normal life and his family leave her employ to become “normal” once more after centuries as indentured servants.  But that meant that Louis had to become the sacrificial lamb for his sister and family, something none of them even tried to stop.  So Louis’ feelings here are more than the normal sullen, pouting teenager.  In Dalton’s hands, we have a young intelligent man, separated forever from his family, forced by love to become something he never wanted and removed to the American Midwest, a foreign place in everyway, including culture no matter that we both speak “English”.  Louis is profoundly hurt, not that he would ever let on and he is trying to figure out what it all means. Just as any teenager is trying to do but in extreme circumstances. The character of Louis manages to come across as not only a believable teenager going through the appropriate stages of emotional growth but also as a realistic young vampire trying to figure out his newly dead and supposedly long lasting status.  Such a dichotomy, to walk the halls of high school, navigating the social cliques of that age but having to walk hallways full of newly categorized food.

Louis has to contend with not only relocation and new status as a vampire but a foster sire as well.  Duncan (another marvelous character) has taken control of Louis as the Countess is not “terribly maternally”.   This is Louis’ first introduction to Duncan his foster sire.  Louis has been shipped off in a coffin, wearing clothes more suitable to a 18th pirate than a teenage boy:

Then again — the hearse went over a particularly large pothole, knocking my head into the lid of the coffin. It didn’t budge so much as a centimeter, seeing how I was locked in. Apparently her ladyship thought I might try to make a run for it. How right she was. The hearse quite suddenly rumbled to a stop. I heard the doors open and close. And then my coffin was being lifted and carried. An odd sensation I’ll admit.

There was the sound of doors — sliding doors, sucking sounding, like at the market. Footsteps echoed outside the coffin, not wood floors, tile probably.

They didn’t take me to a morgue did they?

Another ten minutes of jostling and my coffin was set down — not far down, probably on a raised surface. There was a jingle of keys and click of one turning in a lock before the lid was pushed open. I rolled over and sat up, and was met with the speculative look of a man much better dressed than myself. His dark hair was slicked back neatly, and his striped blue button-down shirt was tucked into pressed black slacks.

“Hello, Captain,” he said, blue eyes hiding laughter rather unsuccessfully.

“Bite me.”

“I may take you up on that.” Without a word, he slid his arms under my legs and armpits and lifted me out of the coffin, setting me down on my feet.

“Bloody hell!” I glared, “I didn’t ask for help.”

“Uh huh.” He picked up a clipboard from a table next to my coffin, which itself was on a metal table in the gray-tiled room with gray walls and flickering overhead 6 lights. There were three other tables, two of which held open coffins.

“I see you’ve come to us from Countess Von Graves.”

“Yes.” So the Von Graves name came from her ladyship — it’s still ridiculous.

“She’s marked you as a flight risk — well, first things first, a change of clothes.” He jerked his thumb at the door. “Follow me.” Not having any other choice, I followed. The next room was carpeted, narrow, and long. A table ran along the length of the left side of the room, mirrors covered the right-hand wall — not that I could see myself in them anymore — and there was a door at the very end. The table had a myriad of things. Boxes filled with odds and ends, files, clothes, and a couple of coolers. He grabbed jeans and a plain black T-shirt from the table and tossed them to me. Of course it was black. Never mind that I looked much better in other colors. “Put these on.” He turned around, I suppose to give me privacy, and I stripped down as quickly as I could and redressed in the fresh clothes. Much better.

“All done.”

He turned to me and grinned. “Good.” Walking farther into the room, he dug through the clutter on the table to retrieve a small metal vial and a bracelet that had an obvious setting for the tiny vial at the front. He stepped back to me. “Now, the Countess marked your file, but I prefer to just ask. Are you a flight risk?”

“No,” I snapped.

“So yes then.” He nodded. “You get a tracking device.” He held up the vial and bracelet. The bracelet he snapped around my wrist before I could blink. Then, he bit down on his lip, drawing blood, and dripped one drop into the vial, closed it, and slid it onto the bracelet with a click.

And with that, Louis’ education begins.

I love how beautifully  Dalton incorporates the typical teenage feelings and moods into a 17 year old newly formed vampire with it’s own newly acquired needs.  Louis has not just regular teenage hormones to contend with but the hyped up sexuality of a vampire.  Quite overwhelming to someone who has never dated.  Louis must traverse not only the pitfalls and crevasses of an american high school but those of vampire society, each with its own dangers.

Missouri Dalton never loses track of the age of her main character or of her core audience no matter how dire the circumstances of Louis’ life or unlife becomes. Louis’ has a singular voice, so typically teenage but full of personality.  He is alternately sarcastic and hopeful, wry and hurt, little sparks of youthful arrogance appearing when you least expect to do along with equal amounts of hidden humility.  So engaging, that you become involved in Louis’ plight immediately as the true precarious nature of his status becomes known.  And that leads us into the darker sections of this novel.

Yes, there are plenty of funny situations here but there are also just as many dire ones as well as the book continues, these are vampires after all.  There are references to some horrific events, none of which are described or actually referred to in terms that I think might be warranted.   There is a “blood rape” where one is bitten against their wishes.  That is described but not in overly vivid terms.  Dalton doesn’t need them in order for us to see and feel the horror of the event.  And there is more, also either in the past or not described.  But they do occur.

This is also a book about a teenager finding out not only he is gay and coming to terms with his sexuality.  But it’s also about being a sexual person.  OK, think of teenagers and their hormones and then multiply that.  And Louis’ has to come to grips with all of that and more.  It’s funny, it’s painful and at one point horrific.  And at alls times, it also feels very real.  There are no explicit sexual scenes here, just the wants and emotions associated with sexuality.  Louis’ emotions are those we can easily understand with dealing with growing up and becoming a sexual being.  It’s confusing, confounding, and can overwhelm our senses. Plus with Louis there is something more going on.  The vampires or at least a contingent of them are dark, evil beings and have been so for centuries.  And they want Louis.  Not a good thing, trust me.

Missouri Dalton has also populated this book and her series with one memorable being after  another, each a fully fleshed out (for the most part) character with real feelings and emotions backing up their actions.  Her settings too ring with authenticity from high school plays and social dynamics to the Courts of Vampire Society that feel as real as the high school gymnasium.  Not a hint of a jumbled narrative to be seen here.

My only issue is a slight one and that would be the ending.  A few loose ends still frayed and lagging in the wind.  They are tied up neatly in the beginning of Necromancy and You (Guidebooks #02) but still those bits here keep this from a perfect 5 star rating.  This is a YA story but definitely geared towards the older crowd.  I am thinking 15 to Adult, nothing younger.  There are some very dark issues here that have to be addressed, not just youthful hormones. I can’t say anything further because I won’t spoil this book.  But if you have a sensitive child, read the story for yourself first before giving it to them.  Always a good idea at any rate.

I have to admit I read Necromancy and You first, and then came back to pick this one up.  How do they fare?  Well, I found this story to be a little darker but both are just outstanding and I will be recommending this series as one of the Best of 2013.  Whether you are 15 or 50, this story and this series is for you.  Memorable characters, thrilling narrative, great dialog…really  it has it all.  Start at the beginning  and work your way through.  What a marvelous journey it is going to be.

Book/Series Covers by LC Chase.  Each cover is the cover of the Guidebook given to the teenager in the story.  This a great idea and the covers work perfectly in every way.

Book Details:

ebook, 199 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Prizm Books
ISBN1610404297 (ISBN13: 9781610404297)
edition language English

Review: Love On The East End by Lily Sawyer

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Love on the East End  coverWhen restauranteur Gabriel Meyer needs several cases of wine for an event, William Thomas, owner of Rolling Hills Winery comes to his rescue with the necessary vintage and the offer of a date.  One magical date later leads to others with Gabriel and William find themselves falling hard for the other. One night, on their way home, the two men come across a young man desperate to end his life. Ben Stewart has been bullied over his sexuality until one incident at school pushed him over the edge.  William and Gabriel vow to help Ben and stop the bullying. But as Gabriel and William discover love on the east end of Long Island, a larger threat looms.  Hatred and bigotry personified visits the island and targets Ben.  Can the men rescue Ben and find the love they have always wanted with each other?

Love on The East End is an interesting romance with a lot of heart  but not the same amount of depth.  Lily Sawyer has created some lovely men for her story.  Both Gabriel Meyer and William Thomas have followed their dreams and chosen careers to Long Island where one has established a restaurant and the other a winery.  Both are well educated gay men, content in their lives and missing only love and romance.  They meet in a realistic fashion and fall in love.  It’s all very sweet, containing little drama or suspense.  We know how this is going to end from the moment they meet.  They go on walks and romantic getaways but it’s all sort of bland.  There is nothing about the descriptions or dialog to bring us intimately into their lives or spice up things and unfortunately, this includes the sex scenes.  True, Gabriel has an ex-wife, but she’s lovely and a friend to them both, which I have to admit is refreshing.  I liked her.

The only aspect of this story that brings an element of angst is the story of Ben Stewart, a young gay teenager being bullied to the point of suicide.  This was my favorite section of this book.  Ben is heartbreaking and realistically characterized.  I wish Sawyer would have concentrated more on Ben and the men’s relationship to him as friends and mentors.  It is also where I found my most frustrations.  The bullies hurting Ben are at school but Sawyer brings in an outside threat that takes away focus from the school and Ben’s problems there. Had the focus remained on Ben and the high school situation, so often in the news these days, then this story would have come across as more timely and relevant.  As it is, the attack that did occur struck me as less than realistic, considering the time and venue.  Still, Ben, Gabriel, William and Ben’s mother’s handling of the situation is well done and satisfying to the reader.

Love On the East End is a short story at 96 pages and a sweet one.  It is a quick read and a lovely way to spend the time.  I think you all would enjoy it

The cover for this book is gorgeous.  Absolutely one of my favorites but my copy of the book did not include the name of the cover artist who definitely deserves recognition for this lovely cover.

Book Details:

96 pages

ASIN
B0052UQ20K

Review: Parting Shot (A Matter of Time #7) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Parting Shot coverDet. Duncan Stiel, closeted homicide detective, had a childhood so bad that he never talks about it.  All the events in his past has lead to Duncan growing up as an adult who keeps his personal life and his emotions hidden, including his sexual orientation. Duncan’s reserve and determination to remain closeted has already cost him the only real relationship he has had to date (see Acrobat).  So when Duncan meets and hooks up with Aaron Sutter, billionaire and equally closeted gay man, Duncan thinks that finally he has met a man on the same page emotionally as he is.  No longer will he have to worry that Aaron will want  him to meet family or friends, or even come out of the closet where Duncan is most comfortable, all the things that caused his last relationship to break up.  Duncan is a man consumed by his job, including the need to occasionally go undercover.  The last thing Duncan ever expected was to  find love with Aaron Sutter.

Aaron Sutter has finally realized that Jory will never be his and that it is time to move on.  Duncan Stiel is as far from the type of guys that Aaron normally finds attractive,  Instead of a slender blond twink, the detective is tall, muscular, and an alpha in every way.  And in no time at all, Aaron is smitten, lusting after the detective in a manner so unlike himself that Aaron is astounded at his own behavior. When Duncan is hurt, Aaron has an epiphany that shakes him to the core, making Aaron question the decisions he made in the past.

But Aaron is also involved in a mean, and desperate fight with his father over control of Sutter Enterprises. Staying in the closet and away from Duncan might be the only way he can stay in control.  Duncan too is involved in a criminal case so dangerous that it threatens not only his fragile new relationship with Aaron but their lives as well.  As the obstacles mount up against them,  the men must fight not only against outside influences but their own inner demons as well if they are to find their way to love and a future together.

I love Mary Calmes.  She is a wonderful storyteller who has created a pantheon of characters both memorable and addicting that they have cried out to be included in one book after another.  Parting Shot is not only an addition to A Matter of Time series but incorporates characters from other favorite novels of mine as well, including Mine and Acrobat.   The inclusion of these characters is important in a number of ways in describing why Mary Calmes is so good as what she does.  Both men, Nate and Terrence Moss (also known as Conrad Harris) make only a brief appearance here, but just the mention of their names brings up a well of memories and emotions created by their stories (Acrobat and Mine respectively).  They make an impact despite the brevity of their scenes in Parting Shot because of Mary Calmes’ incredible gift of creating characters we commit to memory and bury deep within our hearts.   Just look at Duncan Stiel and Aaron Sutter.

Both men started out as satellite characters in other stories.  Aaron Sutter was once the boyfriend of Jory Keyes before Sam Kage arrives into the picture.  Aaron continues to flow through their story, a man determined to regain Jory’s affections and then finally as a true friend to be counted on. Hard to make an arrogant billionaire with a predilection for sharing his lovers with other men likable but Calmes made him a complex and ultimately appealing character.  No matter his actions, there was just something about Aaron as created by Calmes that spoke to the reader and garnered their affections.  Aaron just demanded that he have his own story and now he has gotten it, to my absolute delight.

Duncan Stiel was a little harder sell.  He was a complete jerk when he appeared in Acrobat, although handsome, and competent, a complete alpha male.  Parting Shot helps explain Duncan’s behavior by presenting us with his past.  Once we see his traumatic childhood revealed, then those personality traits that made him so unappealing becomes understandable.  Duncan Stiel of Parting Shot is someone the reader connects with on every level.  I just love him.

These two men have arrived independently at the same stage in their lives where they want a real relationship.  Both have Jory and Sam as an example of what they are missing in their lives and what they can attain if only they take a chance and change.  The men meet and fall instantly in lust.  That’s extremely realistic knowing what we do about these men.  But what follows is also just as authentic given their personality traits and their pasts.  They just mesh with each other in almost every way.  I have seen this happen in real life.  When the timing is right, things (and people) just fall into place.  Not the case of “instant love” that appears so often in other stories but a connection based in reality and the personalities of the men involved.  I believed totally in their relationship and feelings towards each other.  It just felt right.

Aaron and Duncan are also an extremely sexy couple.  They are equals in and out of the bed.  I loved that about them as well.  Their sex scenes together are hot, sensual, realistic, and sometimes quite funny.  Aaron is really out of his element here and Mary Calmes incorporates that aspect into their relationship in some wonderfully funny scenes and dialog.  They cracked me up, just amazing.

Duncan is involved in a case with some very dangerous criminals, pulling him undercover yet again several times in the book (including a undercover gig that brings in Marshall Sam Kage). This storyline flows along side one in which Aaron is dealing with his father who is determined to overthrow his son as the head of Sutter Enterprises so the father can resume his control over the company.  The corporate fight Aaron is engaged in is just as critical as the criminal investigation Duncan is engaged in.  Each power struggle and criminal case has ramifications for both men.  It will cause them to examine their closeted lives and determine the paths their lives will take in the future.  Powerful stuff indeed.   And Mary Calmes makes it just as exciting and suspenseful as it sounds.

This is a completely absorbing novel.  Once you pick it up, be prepared to remain situated until you have finished the book.  It pulls you into the lives of Duncan and Aaron and all those around them.  If you are new to the series, it helps to read the preceding books to fully understand the nature of these men and the relationships they had in the past.  Grab up Mine and Acrobat while you are at it.  Have a very merry Mary Calmes sort of weekend!  I highly recommend them all, including Parting Shot.

Cover art by Reese Dante.  I love Dante’s cover but it really doesn’t pertain to this story.  It could be the cover for any number of books and that’s too bad because this story had so many elements that could have been used to make it relevant to the story within.  Consider this cover a misstep.

Here are the books  of A Matter of Time in the order they were written and should be read:

A Matter of Time (#1)

A Matter of Time (#2)

A Matter of Time (#3)

A Matter of Time (#4)

Bulletproof (A Matter of Time #5)

Just Jory (A Matter of Time #5.5)

But For You (A Matter of Time #6)

Parting Shot (A Matter of Time, #7)

A Matter of Time, Vol. 1 (A Matter of Time, #1-2) reworked and reedited

A Matter of Time, Vol. 2 (A Matter of Time, #3-4)reworked and reedited

Book Details:

ebook, 264 pages
Published July 19th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1623808758 (ISBN13: 9781623808754)
series A Matter of Time

Review: Attachment Strings (Jeff Woods Mystery #1) by Chris T. Kat

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Attachment Strings coverA mother (the Mayor’s daughter) receives a letter threatening to kill her disabled child if she hasn’t left town with the child by a specified date.  While her husband doesn’t take the note seriously, the mother does and reports it to her father. With the Mayor’s family involved, the police assign Detective Jeff Woods and his partner, Detective Parker Trenkins to the case and their initial findings are unsettling.  It’s not only the Mayor’s daughter whose disabled child is threatened but others as well.  At the center of the investigation is St. Christopherus School, a private school for disabled children. where a number of accidents involving their children has occurred.

Gay and in the closet, Jeff Woods seeks out one night stands at local gay bars to ease his sexual frustration and stress over the case.  At the bar, is a young man, Alex Fisher, who is determined to pick up the attractive detective, no matter how many snubs he receives from Jeff.  He succeeds after convincing Jeff he wants a casual hookup only. But their one night stand turns into something neither man was looking for, with a casual sexual encounter turning serious towards the end.

Both men flee back to their private lives in response to their feelings.  Jeff to his job and investigation and Alex to his life centered on his disabled brother and the multiple jobs he needs to support them.   As Jeff’s investigation spreads out to other students in the school, he encounters Alex and his brother.  Their attraction and connection snaps to life when they meet again. It also brings up a prejudice against the disabled that Jeff didn’t know he had.  Detective Jeff  Woods and his partner must fight their own prejudices and their past to find a hidden killer targeting disabled  children before Alex and his brother become the killer’s next victims.

It took me a while to like the main characters and storyline of Attachment Strings.  At the beginning, this is a pretty gritty and brutal story. Jeff Woods and his partner, Parker Trenkins, are not easily likable men. Trenkins, who becomes important later on, is a loudmouth, a seeming bigot, definitely not someone you would want as a partner.  What a surprise he turns out to be.  But it is Jeff Woods character that must overcome several large obstacles before the reader’s affections are engaged.  Woods is all about control.  He doesn’t appear to have any prejudices,  he is gay and in the closet, although not very deeply.  Chris T. Kat gives us a complicated man in Jeff Woods because she makes him stubborn, somewhat arrogant, and finally so prejudiced against a section of society especially vulnerable and fragile that his bigoted attitude is just so ugly that it threatens to derail her story.  That is one mess of a main character and a huge portion of readers might not make it through the first ten chapters to get to the best portion of this story and the redemption of Jeff Woods.

Yes, I said ten chapters.  That is almost one third of the book but it is necessary to outline and set the foundation for this story that I found kind of brave.  One remarkable aspect of Attachment Strings is that disabled children are not those portrayed as glowing totally unrealistic little kids, who always smile like cherubs, are easy to care for and put up little to no fuss.  No, Chris T. Kat gives us realistic portraits of children who drool, flail, gibber and hoot.  Kids that others, including some adults, look askance at even as the kids are strapped into chairs,  with helmeted heads and uncontrollable limbs.  The children that no one really wants to look at but would never admit to that fact.  This is our and Jeff’s first introduction to Sean, Alex’s brother:

A shrill, piercing whistle startled both Parker and me. Alex appeared to be the only one unperturbed. He smiled at the child in his arms and asked, “You wanna stand and say hello?”

Another piercing whistle answered. This time Parker and I merely winced. We exchanged a worried glance when Alex shifted the weight of his bundle until the child stood on his feet.

“Should he, uh, even try to stand?” Parker asked cautiously.

“I’m holding him and he loves to stand and walk.” Alex wound his arms around the child’s torso and together, they maneuvered him around until he faced us.

The boy’s movements were spastic and I hastily took a step backward, barely evading getting hit by his flailing limbs. The boy was as blond as Alex, but he bore not even a trace of Alex’s beauty. The skin on his face was stretched taut and saliva trickled from the corner of his mouth in a steady stream. The bandana he wore functioned probably as some kind of bib; it just looked more stylish. I wrinkled my nose. The sight of this kid was not pretty. Most definitely not.

And the descriptions of life with Sean get more graphic as Alex feeds Sean while answering Jeff’s questions.  Jeff’s reaction to Sean surprises both himself and his partner.  It’s ugly and perhaps even pretty common.  This is also where the story really grabs onto the reader’s attention and heart.  We watch not only as Jeff comes to grips with his feelings and prejudices but also watch the love and care that Alex feels for and gives to his brother.  In fact, this story is full of parents, and teachers who are fervent in their love and support of these special children.  We are pulled into that love and intimacy along with Jeff. And that makes the killer all the more heinous.

Jeff’s partner, Parker Trenkins, is another quirky character.  It is hinted that he is in a D/s relationship towards the end, and his character undergoes several transformations in this story, all terrific and believable.  I loved him, he is a surprise in every way.  I can see that more of his character will be revealed as the series continues and I can’t wait to see the true Parker that emerges.

Along side the relationship drama playing out, we have a murderer on the loose and a case with very few clues as to who the killer is.  The threatening notes are scary and nauseating in content, with a brutal view towards these children as burdens on their parents and society.  This is an absorbing case and my only quibble with it is that I wish it had played out a little more in depth towards the end.  As it is, it is still a chiller of a mystery. And the closer the killer gets to Alex and Sean, the faster your heart will beat that Jeff and his partner will get there to save them in time.

I think my only quibbles here with this story and the author is that I wish she had truncated the section of the story where Jeff’s initial feelings of disgust are displayed from ten chapters into perhaps even five.  By shortening this portion of the story, she would have been able to engage the reader sooner and been able to concentrate on the investigation in greater detail.  As it stands, I am sure that a fair number of readers won’t make through to the heart of the story, and that would be a shame indeed. For this is where it starts to turn:

THE fork crashed down hard on the plate. So hard in fact that a delicate fracture line became visible. Alex’s furious face softened as he turned around to his brother. The boy mewled pitifully and tears rolled down his cheeks. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, baby. I didn’t mean… they don’t… oh please, hush now. No one is disgusted by you.” Sean started to cry in earnest. Parker and I exchanged an embarrassed and very helpless look. We watched uneasily as Alex heaved Sean out of his wheelchair and placed him on his lap. He rocked back and forth lightly, all the while murmuring soft, soothing words into Sean’s ear.

It took Sean a long time to calm down. Alex asked me to hand him a paper towel and used it to clean up Sean’s face. My gut knotted in sympathy when Sean’s face emerged from his hiding place against Alex’s chest. It was blotchy and his eyes were red-rimmed and swollen. Suddenly, he simply looked like a lost and hurt little boy. There was no place for any kind of disgust in my heart, only guilt and shame.

Trust me, this is a story you will want to read.  Hang in there and be rewarded with an unusual detective and his partner who we will be seeing more of.  Attachment Strings is the first in the Jeff Woods Mystery series and I can’t wait for another installment.

Cover art by Catt Ford is terrific and pertinent to the story.  Great job.

Book Details:

ebook, 244 pages
Published June 17th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1623808634 (ISBN13: 9781623808631)
edition language English
characters Jeff Wood

Review: Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma #3) by Anne Tenino

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Sweet Young ThangCollin Montes was instrumental in getting his fraternity, Theta Alpha Gamma, to change their  bylaws and accept gay and bisexual college men into TAG.  Several of the brothers were already out about their sexuality, most notably Brad, so this just instilled in their bylaws the acceptance acknowledged in their close knit fraternity.  But there is even another reason this change means so much to Collin and that is the fact that Collin is also gay.  Collin has kept that fact  hidden from most of his fraternity and his family.  And that includes his Uncle Monty who raised him after his father died when Collin was 5.  Uncle Monty is also the president of the TAG Alumni Association and an influential and powerful man in his own right. Uncle Monty is also a homophobe.  The TAG Alumni Association contributes a heavy sum to the running of TAG and neither Uncle Monty or the rest of the board are happy with the inclusion of Gays and Bisexuals in the fraternity.

When first a water heater is rigged to launch through the ceiling, setting off a fire at the TAG house which injures one of the brothers, and then a bomb is found,  Collin is sure that these are repercussions due to the changes in bylaws at TAG.  One of the paramedics/firemen to arrive at the house  the day of the fire is college and TAG Alumn  Eric “Dix” Dixon.  Eric sees Collin helping out his injured frat brother and the attraction between the men is instantaneous.

Older by ten years and with touches of grey in his hair, Eric is openly gay at work.  Eric has always dreamed of someone to make a home and family with but that person hasn’t appeared until now.  Collin, with his sexy eyes and gorgeous body, just may be the one Eric has been waiting for.  But there are many obstacles between their happiness and future together, from Collin’s closeted status and homophobic uncle to the person responsible for the arson and bombing of the TAG House.  As Eric and Collin fall in love, the threat to Collin and the fraternity grows greater.  Can Eric protect the man he has come to love or will homophobic hatred ruin their chance for a future together?

This is the third book in the Theta Alpha Gamma series by Anne Tenino and I loved it.  It has all the distinctive features of the others in the series.  It’s funny, it has terrific characters, and of course, it’s over the top sexy!  But this story has something more. It has a mystery as well.  Who is behind the arson and bombs at the fraternity?  A mystery is a terrific new aspect to this already wonderful series.  But let’s take a closer look at this series most common features.

Each book has focused on a member of the Theta Alpha Gamma or TAG fraternity at Calapooya University in Oregon.  First it was Brad, then Paul, and now it’s Collin’s turn.  Each young man is not only a member of TAG but gay as well, although each has arrived at that self knowledge in differing ways.  The wonderful thing about this series is that the characters and couple you have fallen in love with in the previous books are back, included in this story.  That holds especially true for Brad and Sebastian from Frat B0y and Toppy (Theta Alpha Gamma #1).  They are still working on their relationship and Collin plays an important part in helping them work through a few issues of their own.  But the story here belongs to Collin and Eric, as well as the rest of the fraternity brothers.

This is the first time we have really seen the men of TAG interact with each other on a deeper scale.  Tenino brings us into the frat house dynamics and the close knit brotherhood of the Theta Alpha Gamma fraternity. Once more we get to watch Tank, Ricky, Toby, Kyle, Jules and the rest support each other, no matter the problem.  I have to admit the frat house scenes that involved all the frat brothers had me giggling uncontrollably.  Whether they were being roused to action by the threat to their kegerator or watching Project Runway, these are the scenes that really brought their fraternity to goofy life.  It’s hysterically funny and yet heartwarming at the same time.  Is it a realistic depiction of life at a fraternity?  Don’t know and quite frankly don’t care. In Tenino’s more than capable hands, these quirky, crazy group of guys are alive and kicking and making us  laugh over and over again.  I just loved them.

Collin and Eric are so interesting in their own right.  Collin’s father died when he was young and although his mother is alive, his Uncle had a large part in raising him.  Collin is an intelligent young man who knows he is gay but fears losing the love of his Uncle by telling him who Collin really is.  Uncle Monty is homophobic and controlling, and that has defined Collin’s upbringing until now.  It is a joy watching Collin change as the events unfold and his relationship with Eric grows more substantial.  Eric is also an interesting character with a sexy, hidden side to him.  Trust me when I say that a photography session is one of the sexy highlights of this story.  I enjoyed their relationship and the journey towards love for them both.  I liked that Anne Tenino took into consideration their age difference when writing the relationship. Neither man is at quite the same stage as the other which is an honest aspect to this story.  I appreciated it much more than if we had gotten a case of “instant love”.

I did have a few quibbles with the story.  The person behind the attacks on the frat house is easily spotted although the motive remains hidden until the end.  I really didn’t have a problem with that aspect of the mystery because it plays out so nicely in the story.  There is an event at the end I wasn’t expecting and that was a nice touch too.  I did wish that Collin’s relationship with his Uncle had a better resolution (and his Uncle’s Alumni Association’s aspect too).  Both his Uncle and the Alumi Association had figured greatly in the story, and that was not really dealt with at the end.

A new young gay character was introduced here. Tank’s younger brother has transfered into the college and been accepted into TAG. I see his story coming next.  I can’t wait.  I love these guys and their crazy mixed up fraternity.  They have heart to go along with their beer parties.  They are funny, engaging, and I always enjoy my time with them.  I highly recommend this book and this series.  Grab them all up, starting with the first one if you are new to the series and this marvelous band of brothers.

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and their relationships:

Frat Boy and Toppy (Theta Alpha Gamma, #1)

Love, Hypothetically (Theta Alpha Gamma, #2)

Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma, #3)

Book Details:

ebook
Published July 22nd 2013 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626490321
edition languageEnglish

Crazy Week Ahead, Ghoulish Cocktail Recipes, and This Week’s Reviews

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Sooooooo, sitting here wondering why I do things that make myself crazy.  I’m really not a masochistic sort, occasionally absent minded but truly, people,  usually I am a better planner than this.  So this week, the alarm people are coming to fix the alarm system that wants to beep, squeak, squeal, or otherwise make high pitched noises at all hours of the day, none of them actually caused by any realtime event. And all are picked up by Captain (African Grey Parrot) who finds these noises irresistible enough to mimic.  So even after they are banished , thanks to Captain’s skill at mimicry, they will always be with us. Cue the Excedrin.

Also this week?  A friend is coming to stay for the week.  I haven’t seen her in a while and I am looking forward to getting caught up on her life (outside of the computer chats) face to face.  So what else is also going on?  My wonderful book group is coming over on Sunday for lunch and togetherness, my niece and her boyfriend just flew in from CA for her birthday and my mother is making noises about a “birthday celebration” for my niece over at the Farm this weekend too.  What aligned among the stars and planets that said all this had to happen this week and weekend?  Hey! *waves hands frantically over head* Can we not do this?  Please?  This is making me crazy.  I  like to do things slowly, think the forward momentum of a sloth.  I enjoy getting ready for events and people the same way.  This is not making me happy.  Sigh.

So I plan on lots of writing today so I don’t have to do that as well.  Here is my schedule for the week if I am not carted off to Bedlam.

Monday, June 22:                    Sweet Young Thang by Anne Tenino

Tuesday, June 23:                    Parting Shot by Mary Calmes

Wednesday, June 24:              Welcome, Brother by Erica Pike

Thursday, June 25:                 Attachment Strings by Chris T. Kat

Friday, June 26:                       Vampirism and You (Guidebook #01) by Missouri Dalton

Saturday, June 27:                   Necromancy and You (Guidebook #02) by Missouri Dalton

Cocktail Recipes: In honor of Missouri Dalton’s new series which I absolutely adore, here are a couple of scary Cocktails to cool you off:

The Necromancer’s Martini:

Vampire Martini

1 part vodka
1 part strawberry liqueur
1 part lime juice
1 part cranberry juice

Pour all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass to serve.

Vampire Cocktail

Bloody Vampire Cocktail

1 part rum
1 part cherry kool aid

Pour both of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a highball glass to serve.