November 2014 Summary of Reviews

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November 2014 Book Review Summary

*Key:
STRW S series
C contemporary
F-fantasy
SF-science fiction
PN-paranormal
SP-supernatural
H-historical
HR-horror
N-Nonfiction
YA-young adult

Rating Scale: 1 to 5, 5 stars is outstanding
5 Star Rating:

Cold Day in Hell (In from the Cold #5) by Lee Brazil STRWCS PF2014
Final Blow (Whispering Winds #5) (Pulp Friction 2014 #19) by Havan Fellows
Manipulation by Eden Winters
Radiant Burn (Fighting Fire #5) (Pulp Friction 2014 #17) by Laura Harner,
Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall STRWF
Starstruck by L.A. Witt STRWCS, A Barb Review
Terra Firma (Earthquake #5) by T.A. Webb STRWCS PF2014
The Devil Lancer by Astrid Amara STRWH, SN
The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye STRWSC
Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt, STRWC
Third Eye by Rick R. Reed STRWSF A Barb Review

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane (4.25) STRWCS MelanieM
The Circus of the Damned (Deal with the Devil story) by Cornelia Grey (4.25) STRWSN
The Eskimo Slugger by Brad Boney (4) STRW, Sammy Review
Carnival-Decatur by Zoe Lynne (4) STRWYA, Aurora Review
Chestnuts Roasting Anthology (Mischief Corner Anthologies (4.75) STRWHS
Ciro (Shivers ) by Remmy Duchene (4) STRWF PaulB Review
Key of Behliseth by Lou Hoffmann (4) STRWF An Aurora YA Review
Heart by Garrett Leigh (4) STRWCS, A Mika Review
Heat (Salisbury Stories #1) by RJ Scott and Chris Quinton (4.5) STRWCS MelanieM
Off Course by Bailey Bradford (4) STRWSNS MelanieM
Precious Metals by L.A. Witt (4.5) STRWSN, F MelanieM
Saving Crofton Hall (Stately Passions #1) by Rebecca Cohen (4.5) STRWCS MelanieM
Semper Fi by Keira Andrews (4.75) MelanieM
Sleigh Ride (Minnesota Christmas #2) by Heidi Cullinan (4.75) STRWCS MelanieM
Unjustified Claims (Hidden Wolves #3) by Kaje Harper, (4.75) STRWSNS PaulB
Wholehearted by Cate Ashwood Audio Book, Wholehearted by Cate Ashwood – Audiobook narrated by John Orr (4.5) STRWCS A Barb Review
3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Billionaire with Benefits by Anne Tenino (3.25 stars) STRWCS MelanieM
Forgiving Thayne (True Mates #2) by J.R. Loveless (3.5) STRWSNS, MelanieM
Galactic Treasure (Earth Con #2) by Theodora Marie Adams (3) PaulB Review
Say Something by BA Tortuga (3 stars) STRWC MelanieM
Who Knows the Storm (The Vigilante #1) by Tere Michaels (3.25) STRWCUF

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

Damaged Package by S.A. McAuley (2.75) STRWC A Mika Review

November 2014 Best of the Month Lists

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November 2014 Best Books and Covers

Best Books of November:

So many outstanding novels this month, it was a reader’s cornucopia of  goodness.  The Pulp Friction 2014 is represented by their penultimate stories.  Must have, must reads include Starstruck (a favorite book and series of Barb the Zany Old Lady), Manipulation by Eden Winters (Bo and Lucky are back), a historical romance by Keira Andrews sure to bring out the tissues, and one of the best short stories that should top everyones list, Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall.  Check them out below and the Best Covers of the Month as well.

Cold Day in Hell (In from the Cold #5) by Lee Brazil A MelanieM Review
Final Blow (Whispering Winds #5) (Pulp Friction 2014 #19) by Havan Fellows
Manipulation by Eden Winters
Radiant Burn (Fighting Fire #5) (Pulp Friction 2014 #17) by Laura Harner,
Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall
Semper Fi by Keira Andrews (4.75)
Starstruck by L.A. Witt (5 stars) A Barb Zany Old Lady Review
Terra Firma (Earthquake #5) by T.A. Webb
Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt
The Devil Lancer by Astrid Amara (5 stars) A MelanieM Review
The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye
Third Eye by Rick R. Reed
Under the Stars by Geoff Laughton  An Aurora YA Review

 

falls leaves 2Best Covers of November 2014

Key to Behliseth, artist Catt Ford
The Shearing Gun, artist Paul Richmond
Then The Stars Fall, artist Anne Cain

Third Eye, artist Aaron Anderson
Precious Metals, artist April Lee
Sand and Ruin and Gold, Artist Simone
Semper Fi, artist Dar Albert
Sleigh Ride, artist L.C. Chase
Circus of the Damned, artist Kanaxa

 

Third Eye cover

Sand and Gold and Ruin

Then the Stars Fall cover

The Shearing Gun cover

Precious Metals

 

 

 

 

 

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Sleigh Ride cover

Key of Behliseth

A MelanieM Review: Fever Pitch (Love Lessons #2) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sometimes you have to play love by ear.

Fever Pitch coverAaron Seavers is in a world of pain and he doesn’t know what to do about it.  His strict controlling father wants him to pick out a suitable college and do it  now.  But Aaron doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life even if his father had decided for him.  His divorced mother won’t support him against his father so Aaron knows he’s on his own and that’s a very lonely place.  But no one would guess all that lurks just underneath the exterior of a boy considered one of the popular crowd and its just the tip of the secrets Aaron is hiding.

Giles Mulder can’t wait to get the hell out of Oak Grove, Minnesota.  Giles has been through the horrors that middle and high school hold for someone who is different, gay and very different.  Bullied, beaten, hospitalized, its all been a large part of Giles’ life, made bearable by the love and support of his parents and family.  Now the chance to escape and reboot his life at college looms large.  Giles is headed off to St. Timothy’s College where he intends to play his violin, and be everything he wasn’t in high school.  Then he meets a drunken Aaron Seavers hiding in a closet at the party and it changes everything.

Aaron is in the closet in almost every way until Giles helps him out and home during a drunken binge at a party.  When Giles mentions the college he is going to in the fall, something clicks with Aaron, unbeknownst to Giles and his plans.  When Aaron appears on campus,, Giles is afraid that his high school experience is about to repeat itself.  For Aaron, Giles rejection is just one more thing to overcome.  Neither young man is prepared to the adjustments and changes that college has in store for them both.  Giles and Aaron soon realize that sometimes you have to play love by ear in order to find that which you have always wanted.

The title Fever Pitch comes from a quote in the story, advice actually, that if you want something so badly don’t go after it in a fever pitch but slow down, make sure its real, and not just the perception of something you think you want to have.  Excellent advice for the title characters here and life in general.  Fever Pitch, the second in the Love Lessions series, by Heidi Cullinan, presents two young men on the cusp of adulthood.  From starkly different background and families, they represent the best and the worst examples of teenagers dealing with their sexuality and thoughts of the future.  Aaron’s childhood is one of stultifying control and restrictions.  Even Aaron’s parents divorce, didn’t free him from his  father’s oeverbearing, restrictive rules and regulations, especially as his mother lacks the ability to support and parent her son.  Every aspect of Aaron’s life has been directed by his father and until his meeting with Giles, that wasn’t about to change.  Outwardly, Aaron has everything, including being part of the “in” crowd at school, a faction of which has been tormenting Giles.  Inside?  Aaron is a mess. Giles, on the other hand, has the love and support of a family who adores him and that includes his homosexuality which they accept.  But where Giles has it easy at home, school has been one nightmare after another, so much so that he has  ended up in the emergency room at numerous occasions.  Two young men, at odds with their surroundings, uncertain about their futures waiting ahead of them.

Heidi Cullinan is one of those writers who is able to take a teenage character and present them in a realistic and complex fashion.  Both Giles and Aaron feel absolutely believable, up to and including their histories and back stories.  The launching pad of this story is that odd time of panic and anticipation that happens at the end of the high school year, just before you leave for college.  Too many paths branching out before you, so many unanswered questions tossing about in your head as you step forward towards your first experience of independence.  Cullinan remembers this well and her ability to bring such a time of uncertainty and flux to life makes this story and these characters so moving and memorable.

There are so many wounded young men walking through these pages.  And while the damage done to them all carries the same hefty emotional weight, each received their wounds in different manners. Aaron and Giles are so different yet the empathy and pain you feel for them both is balanced and heartfelt.  Aaron especially with his moments of darkness and depression feels scarily authentic.  Giles’s attitude and assumptions also feels right for someone of his age and experience.  Sometimes you forget how hard it is to be 18 and this story is a perfect reminder of how tumultuous it can be and how out to sea they can feel.

One of the important aspects of this story and one that is beautifully portrayed is St. Timothy’s music department, along with the acapella songs that choral groups (that Glee and Perfect Pitch brought to everyone’s attention) sing as well as the school competitions and inequalities present among boy and girl groups. The interdepartmental politics and competition among students is laid out in a way that feels as real as every other element here.  That includes the songs and arrangements mentioned throughout the novel.

There is angst, oh my so much angst, that your heart will bleed a little along with the characters.  Through devastating events and stunning reversals of situations and beliefs, this is a story that creeps into your heart and mind to stay.  Characters from the first story, Kelly and Walter, have huge roles to play here as do the characters of Baz and Elijah (yes, that’s Bad in Baltimore’s Elijah).  But through all the issues, and swirl of emotions and adjustments, it still comes down to the love and romance of Aaron and Giles as they take their first steps towards adulthood and the life they want for themselves and each other.

Fever Pitch words fine as a stand alone or as part of a series.  I missed out on Love Lessons and Frozen Heart and will now rectify that omission.  Like me you don’t have to wait for those stories to pick this one up now.  Its a must read as far as I am concerned.  Heartwarming, deeply moving, and an ending you won’t believe.  Get started today!

Cover artist: I couldn’t find it but as lively and fun as that cover it, it didn’t reflect the story inside.

Sales Links:  Samhain Publishing      All Romance (ARe)     amazon      Fever Pitch

Book Details:

ebook, 270 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.heidicullinan.com/Fever-pitch
seriesLove Lessons #2

Love Lessions Series:

Love Lessons (Love Lessons, #1)
Frozen Heart (Love Lessons, #1.5)
Fever Pitch (Love Lessons, #2)

A Sammy Review: Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

There’s usually less mud in a rom com.

NothingVenturedOne night and too much tequila lands Aiden in a peculiar situation. He’s promised his best friend that he’ll run a twelve-mile long course, aptly named Mad Mucker.

But it’s not enough that he’s going to run it, but he also has to train. The course is strenuous, but then again, trudging through mud and ice water sounds like it’d be a bit rough going for anyone less than fit.

Aiden finds a bit of… extra inspiration in the form of his friend’s cousin, Matt. At first they clash, an awkward not-so-keen kind of personality mesh, but as they begin to train together and open up, they find they have more in common than either bargained for.

The real question is, though, how long can no strings attached exist without said strings? After all, this is a messy race.

 

Two people who had feelings for each other, but both fighting against them for different reasons.

This story had one of my favorite themes, and one that’s hard to find done right. One night stand/fuck buddies/no strings attached to more. And this, it was done right. There was no illusion to feelings at any point in the beginning of the relationship. It was a true emotional evolution for them, and for that I was super excited.

I also thought that the idea of the story was pretty fun and different. I have a friend who does a lot of physical training, and we’ve talked about him doing Tough Mudder, so I was familiar with this type of race and how intense it actually is. The cover, created by Anna Sikorska fits the story well, as much of Matt and Aiden’s time is spent training, particularly running, and the atmosphere of the cover fits the book.

Furthermore, it’s easy for books to fall into a repetitive rhythm of doing what’s already been done, but Nothing Ventured takes on a new idea, one that I’ve personally never read before in M/M books, so I appreciated that, and the training was an interesting gateway here into their relationship.

One particular aspect I enjoyed for the majority of the book was the subtle growth into something more for Matt and Aiden. Unfortunately, the end lost that when it rushed to make a resolution and suddenly everything was magically okay. It was a big change and I didn’t think it was given the attention it needed, and with it didn’t do the rest of the story justice.

I would certainly like to see more of them, as I still think they have a lot of room to grow as a couple. Overall, this was book was a quick, easy read that just could’ve done for a little more TLC.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press eBook     All Romance (ARe)    amazon     Nothing Ventured

Book Details:

ISBN-13 978-1-63216-423-0
Dreamspinner Press, Pages 142
Cover Artist Anna Sikorska
Categories  Novellas Contemporary Jay Northcote

Its Time for AF Henley’s The Chase and The Catch Blog Tour‏ (contest)

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AF Henley_TCTC Blog Tour Image

AF Henley is here with The Chase and The Catch!  Check out the blurb and red hot excerpt below!  And don’t forget to enter the contest.  Welcome, AF Henley!

The Chase and The Catch by AF Henley

Blurb

AF Henley_The Chase and The Catch CoverAfter one of his fans committed suicide, John lost everything: lover, confidence, drive. When he is given a chance to get back on his feet, he is happy to take it—even if it’s just writing an actor’s biography. It might not be romance, or even fiction, but it’s something, and there are worse people to work for than the charming, successful Parker Chase.

That doesn’t mean working for Parker is easy, however. A staunch supporter of living for the moment, Parker goes against everything John believes in. He feels out of place in every moment of Parker’s Hollywood life, stuck in a game of wits that at times seems almost contrived…

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍

So, we’ve finally come to our last stop on the tour, and I have to begin this post by offering my appreciation to those who have followed along from the very first blog, a warm welcome to those stepping in for the first time, and a heartfelt and sincere thank you to Melanie and the crew for welcoming me to the site. Don’t forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post as these will be the final hours to get your shot at the prize!

*~*~*AF Henley_Avatar cropped

Copyright © 2014 by A.F. Henley
Published by Less Than Three Press
51,000 words
Gay Contemporary Romance

Purchasing Links:  Less Than Three     Amazon

Please note: Novel contains some explicit content.

Now for the giveaway!

On behalf of the tour, I’d like to invite you to join my giveaway by taking part in the Rafflecopter below. The prize consists of a Swarovski crystal spider clip, a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market, and a signed, print copy of The Chase and The Catch (when available). Click through for terms and conditions, further details, and your chance to win!

** Please note that this giveaway is being offered tour-wide and there will be one awarded winner for the entire event.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Again, my thanks to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today. It’s a pleasure and an honour to be a guest on your site. 😀

~*~*~

AF Henley ❤

Author Bio: Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.

A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly working with LT3 since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.

Excerpt is definitely NSFW,   Now… let’s end this tour with some fireworks, shall we?

(Please note: excerpt contains some sexual content.Must be 18 yrs of age to continue)

The Chase and The Catch by AF Henley

Excerpt

Parker’s smile faded, and Parker swallowed hard enough that John could watch the process travel through Parker’s throat. He envied Parker the ability. His own throat was dry, tight, and all but useless as Parker peeled wet nylon off wet skin with the concentration of a surgeon.

Okay, John told himself. Yes, he’d been telling Parker to back the hell off. Yes, he’d been insistent that he wasn’t into sex for sex’s sake. No, it probably wasn’t going to be emotionally fulfilling, or help him find the next step on the journey towards romantic involvement. But if the way that Parker was looking at his cock was any indication, it was going to be damn good. Maybe that was okay. Maybe it didn’t have to be anything more than that. Maybe Parker was right.

He reached for Parker’s face, touched Parker’s mouth, and teased Parker’s lower lip with a touch that would be way too light to do anything but tickle.

“Like that?” Parker asked, and John could only assume Parker was asking if John liked his mouth. Which would be a ridiculous question. Who wouldn’t? Perfect fucking shape and design. Perfectly fucking supple and smooth. John nodded, doing his best not to appear as slow and captivated as he felt.

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