Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Author Discovery: BJ on Author Lia Black

Standard

authdiscorange copy

BJ on Author Lia Black

With the plethora of competent m/m authors around these days, we fans have a daunting variety to choose from. I’ve sampled and enjoyed a book or two from hundreds of authors, but there’s only a handful whose books I just can’t seem to get enough of. Their books call my name the second they’re released. Lia Black is one of those authors.

She’s published five m/m novels to date, and I’ve devoured every single one with relish. All were five star reads with one exception that I rated 4.25, not because of the writing… oh, wait a minute, maybe it was the writing. Because what else was it but her brilliant writing that got me so thoroughly invested in (or should I say in love with?) the two main characters that I just couldn’t stand it when they were separated for a portion of the book? The frustration of that separation made me want to scream. And that right there is a key to why she’s one of my favorite authors.

Lia Black’s storylines suck me in; her characters fascinate me; and her writing always works its way deep down into the recesses of my neglected, dusty, middle-of-nowhere heart and plucks at my emotions. Hard.

Lia’s writing is a bit hard to pigeonhole. Her goodread’s author page states that her work is fantasy, sci-fi, LGBT romance. But that doesn’t quite tell the whole story. You see, Ms. Black does tend to live up to her name. There are dark parts in each and every story I’ve read by this author. Sometimes very dark indeed. So, if you want light and fluffy with a cherry on top, you should probably look elsewhere. But if you’re okay with a story that can make you gasp, that can smash your heart into the gutter and step on it, then ever so tenderly and exquisitely rip it to shreds before putting it back together—read on. You won’t be disappointed.

This author’s characters are sometimes broken yet not angsty, glamorous yet sad, weird yet beautiful, extreme and even gross yet still awesome and cool in their own right. Some of them even have long hair (well, what can I say, long-haired men are a thing for me so I had to mention that!)

And her writing makes me feel… a lot. Sometimes that means quivering in disgust and wanting to roll into a ball like a pill bug and hide but being too entranced to put the book down and do it. Sometimes it means aww moments when my heart wants to melt in my chest cuz I’ve just fallen in love with a character she breathed such life into that I have a clear picture of them in my head, not of a generic sexy man that could fit for a character in any number of stories I’ve read, but someone I feel like I could pick out in a crowd… one I could pick up my paint brush and paint a portrait of except I usually don’t, because I wouldn’t do him justice since I paint dogs and not people.

Lia Black’s stories leave emotional paper cuts on my heart. They’re by turns exhausting, frustrating, horrifying, amazing, fascinating, and touching. But always riveting, and always, in the end, healing. Deliciously dark stories that somehow light me up inside.

I think this excerpt from my review of Fidelity sums it up well: “Not for the faint-hearted, one particular scene at the beginning took my breath away with its grisly, shocking cruelty. But amidst the bloody battle scenes, there is humor, small joys, and sweet tenderness. Amidst the dismantling, I was put back together. The ride to get there was gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and painful to read. I absolutely loved it.”

So if you’re looking for something different, something to expand your boundaries or to touch on places that maybe you haven’t explored, something to make you feel and not always in a fluffy, sweet way—look no further. Read Lia Black. And if you need help picking which of her books to start with, check out the links to my full reviews below.

Oh, I have one other thing to say about her writing, and I really hope she’s reading this. I desperately need to read more.

About The Author

Lia Black tends to do everything the hard way; beginning with being born backwards into the world and now Lia Black Iconraising a teenage daughter by herself in conservative Upstate NY. Her career choices are no less extreme, including occupations of fine artist, computer geek, firefighter, and mortician’s assistant— just to name a few.

A fellow Author describes Black’s mind as “a glorious kaleidoscope of f*ckeduppery”; she loves the challenge of writing about people who probably have no business being together on the same planet, and who occasionally deal with questionable sanity/morality. It’s fun to glue broken things together and try to make something interesting and new.
–She especially loves broken boys who have lots of fascinating pieces.

Her characters often suffer through the worlds she creates for them, which leaves them a little cranky and sometimes less lovable than others in a romance genre. Yet Black swears that someday, “there will be comedy.”

Follow Lia Black at:  Goodreads | Website | Twitter |

BJ’s Reviews of Lia Black’s Novels

Spiretown coverFidelity coverA King's Ransome coverWhere The Willows Won't Grow cover

Goodreads Link                          BJ Review Link

A King’s Ransom                              BJ’s Review

Spiretown                                           BJ’s Review

Fidelity                                               Link to BJ’s Review

Where Willows Won’t Grow          Link to BJ’s Review here

A BJ Review: Fidelity by Lia Black

Standard

Rating:  5 stars out of 5

How far can a man go in the name of faith?

Fidelity cover

While most of his order choose a female, Father Gareth De’Aubyn chose the handsome Fidelity as his guardian and fell in love with his angel during his prayers. When he leaves the Crusaders to minister to the very people his armies once threatened, his beloved angel falls from the Heavens in his search for him. Soon Gareth finds himself at death’s door and calls to the Creator for aide in protecting his flock. But its Fydelis, no longer an angel but now the demonic aspect of regret and toy of the Sunderer, who comes to his rescue. In exchange for help, Gareth must promise his soul to the Sunderer, god of the underworld. Bargain made, its Fydelis who must lead his love, the man he thought had abandoned him, on his task of collecting twenty strong and stubborn souls. Their journey together tests everything they thought they knew about faith, love, and fidelity.

Well-written with excellent pacing, this story had me enthralled from the gripping first scene onward. Being that I was quite swamped in real life when I read this, I didn’t breeze through it as I most assuredly would have if I’d had time. On retrospect, I actually don’t regret that. It allowed me to savor the story, and cuddle these lovely broken guys in my mind over a matter of days rather than hours. And this is a story well-worth savoring, let me tell you!

If you enjoy dark stories about broken boys, like I do, my advice is… read this book right now. There isn’t just one but two deliciously damaged men here, broken at the start and falling to pieces all along the journey’s way. Two men both in love, both thinking they’d been abandoned by the other, now united on the lurid task set before them, one knowing who the other is, one in the dark.

Usually early on in a good story, I’m locked into one of the characters so much that my heart bleeds and breaks for him, this is that times two. I’d be hard pressed to say which of these guys touched me more. Gareth who wants so much to help others and do what he thinks is right that he even scourges his back to keep himself from having impure urges; or Fydelis who has suffered so much at the hands of the gruesome Sunderer.

Dark and not for the faint-hearted, one particular scene at the beginning took my breath away with its grisly, shocking cruelty. But amidst the bloody battle scenes, there is humor, small joys, and sweet tenderness. Amidst the dismantling, we are put back together. The ride to get there is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and painful to read at parts. And I bloody well loved it. All of it.

From the first book I read by this author, I was hooked. She’s now firmly one of my two favorite m/m authors. I’d be hard pressed to choose between Black and Lanyon. But Lia Black somehow (by magic?) looks into my head and heart and gives me what I love, pushes my buttons, presses my boundaries, and does it every single time.

The cover is a stunner, just gorgeous. From the seal of the order, the stern and righteous Gareth in his armor with sword, Fydelis as a young long haired human and the wings in the background… its just absolutely perfect. Bravo!

Sales Link:  Amazon  Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 213 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by VineDark/ BlackHouse Press
ASINB00W4BS5R8
edition languageEnglish

A BJ Review: Where Willows Won’t Grow by Lia Black

Standard

Rating:   5 stars out of 5

Where The Willows Won't Grow coverAfter months of investigation aimed at bringing down a powerful cartel ends with undercover agent Alex Kley up on the auction block, he finds himself sold into sexual slavery at Willow House, an elite brothel on Omanai Station catering to humans and aliens alike. It doesn’t take long for Alex to realize that Illythe, the beautiful alien manager of Willow House, is actually little more than a slave himself. As Alex gets closer to Illythe in order to get the information he needs, he’s unable to keep himself from falling for the dark-skinned alien. Soon Alex may have to choose between his mission and his love for a man deeply involved in the hateful organization that Alex has worked so hard to take down.

Where Willows Won’t Grow is a freebie written for the 2014 M/M Romance Group’s DRitC event. Don’t make the mistake of letting this excellent read slip through the cracks because of a misguided thought that freebies are of lesser quality than books we pay for. Because I’m here to tell you, this story is an amazing read from start to finish and far more enjoyable than a large percentage of books I’ve spent good money on.

Set on a sensuously dark space station full of intrigue, sex and aliens, this story hooked me in from page one. The main characters are complex, well-drawn, damaged guys—one a human and one an alien. It’s hard to express how much I adore Illythe. I found him to be a uniquely memorable character that stayed with me long after I finished reading the story. And on the other side of the coin we have the ultra creepy Scion who made my skin crawl. Want a bad guy you love to hate? Yeah, well, I absolutely detested this dude about two minutes after he came on page. Ok, maybe less.

Reading Willows was by turns dark, exhausting, frustrating, horrifying, amazing, fascinating, and touching. It took me through the wringer with these characters, but kept me rapt the whole darn time. I simply couldn’t put it down.
I read it twice, a few months apart, because one reading wasn’t enough–the characters called me back. So if you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for? Didn’t I mention that it’s free?

Cover Artist: Author
There was a cover change from my first reading to now but since both represent the author’s interpretation of Illythe, my favorite character from the book, I enjoy them both.  Both covers can be seen here.

Free Book:  Find It Here at Goodreads M/M Romance Group

Where Willow's Wont Grow cover 1
Book Details:

ebook, 132 pages
Published July 9th 2014 by M/M Romance Group @ Goodreads
original titleWhere Willows Won’t Grow
edition languageEnglish
seriesLove’s Landscapes
charactersAlex Key, Illythe settingOmanai Station

 

A BJ Review: A King’s Ransom by Lia Black

Standard

Rating:   4.25 stars out of 5

A King's Ransome cover

Kaidos Vailinn is a Wander-born thief trying hard to overcome an unfortunate past when he’s approached by a gentleman offering him a large sum of money to recover a kidnapped prostitute for return to the King of a distant kingdom. Kaidos is surprised when he undertakes the mission and discovers upon trying to bed Veyl that not only is the prostitute in question the highest paid companion in the brothel, but also very much male.

Thus begins a journey of epic fantasy proportions. A King’s Ransom is a longish book separated into two parts. Part One was awesome—I adored it. Veyl and Kaidos are sexy, quirky well-developed characters that captivated me and had me thoroughly invested almost immediately. I was absolutely riveted watching them fall in love on their journey across the kingdom to an unknown end. As their pasts are revealed in all its delicious angst, they had me enthralled. Then about midway through came part two and everything changed.

At that point, the book shifted from a tightly focused love story to a sprawling Lord of the Rings style epic set within a complex world of elves, werecreatures, mages and demons in a kingdom of political intrigue. The storyline complexity bumped up to encompassed three m/m love stories, and to facilitate that there are several new POV characters introduced. None of them were bad, in fact, all were interesting and well-drawn. But I’d become so completely invested in Veyl and Kaidos, that this shift threw me.

The entire book is well-written with compelling characters, wonderful storytelling and world-building. Part two just wasn’t the story that I personally craved after having become engrossed in part one. Having the main couple separated for nearly the whole second part of the book had me itching to hurrying through all the other fun stuff going on in order to get back to the relationship of Veyl and Kaidos again. In the end, the brief time on-page after they were reunited left me wanting just a bit more.

Veyl and Kaidos are an awesome couple. I enjoyed them so much that my only niggle with this book centers around my annoyance at having them share the spotlight with any other couples no matter how interesting and fun they were.

Cover Artist: Cinchbug. I appreciated the cover more after reading the story than before.

Sales Links:  Smashwords        All Romance (ARe)     Amazon  Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 432 pages
Published February 1st 2014 by Smashwords
original titleA King’s Ransom
ISBN139781311782328
edition languageEnglish

A BJ Review: Spiretown by Lia Black

Standard

Rating:   5 stars out of 5

Spiretown coverIn this urban fantasy novel, the human population has been split into two factions after the Mage wars, plainbloods born with no magical abilities and mages born ‘tainted’ with magic. Mages are considered dangerous and separated from the rest of humanity into compounds like Spiretown, a ghetto city within a city that serves as a prison. Templar Commander Collin Anderfels has a duty to contain the mages and protect plainbloods. When a group of power-crazy mages target Logan Gray, the powerful self-proclaimed leader of Spiretown, Collin finds himself forced to protect a man that embodies everything Collin loathes.

Spiretown features exceptional world-building, lots of plot twists, and a story that runs the gamut from fun, witty dialogue to delicious angst, from hot and sexy moments to intense action, and from sweet emotion to gory horror.

The characters are well-drawn, complex guys with imperfections and hurtful pasts (oh, how I love the broken boys). Logan and Collin represent the two sides of this separated world. Each have reasons to hate the other, but when fate brings them together, can they come to trust each other in order to survive? Logan, the emotionally damaged, tattooed and pierced mage initially uses his androgyny and flamboyance to taunt and flirt with Collin. Collin is strongly anti-Mage due to both personal events from his past and his sworn duty as a Templar. Both characters must change in order to stay alive. As a side note, I enjoyed how Collin’s repressed dominant tendencies were just waiting to come out when Logan opened that door. Very tasty.

There’s also a strong and relatable female character in Collin’s mother, Penny. I mention this mainly as its not often in M/M that I encounter female characters that aren’t props, stereotypes or bad exs, but rather a real character that participates in moving the story forward in a positive way.

I consider Spiretown a picture perfect M/M urban fantasy of forbidden love between two guys from opposite sides of the track in more ways that one. Put this one on your must read list right now. It’s awesome.

Cover Artist: Author
Love this cover. Eerie city spires darkly silhouetted against the blaze of setting sun. What could be creepier than facing encroaching darkness alone in such a scary, godforsaken place?

Sales Link:    Amazon US       Amazon UK         Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published August 28th 2014 by Lia Black/ VineDark
(first published December 2nd 2012)
ISBN139781310068072
edition languageEnglish