Review: In Distress (Superpowered Love #6) by Katey Hawthorne

Standard

Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

KH_indistress_coverlg_1Hopeless romantic and total geek Eddie Kim continues to dream that his knight in shining armor will show up one day to carry him away for a beautiful future together.  But until that happens, Eddie hangs out with his best friends Kavita and Stacy playing D & D, moons over GoT’s Jon Snow and dreams of new scribblings for Morning Gloria’s sandwich board, the beanery where he is a barista.  Life is pretty good for an adorable 23 year old, just not perfect.  Then Eddie’s apartment catches fire and everything changes.

When Eddie’s kitchen catches fire, the smoke and fumes threaten to overwhelm Eddie.  But Eddie is saved when strong cold arms lift him up and out of danger and a freezing cold puts the fire out.  His rescuer?  A gorgeous unknown red head who asks that Eddie not reveal his rescuer’s presence.  One kiss later, then Eddie’s knight in shining frost disappears, leaving a stunned and coughing Eddie behind.

What’s a smitten boy to do when his longed for knight saves him only to disappear?  Why look for him of course.  Eddie’s friends look to craiglist to relocate his hero but the publicity is just the thing his hero was trying to avoid.

Callum, a mysterious red-head with freezing superpowers, couldn’t help saving Eddie but now he has put not only Eddie but himself in danger.  Callum Race has come to Columbus to try and clear his family name, and now the dangerous superpowered organization he needs to thwart know he’s come home again. But the attraction he feels towards Eddie is anything but cold.  And the more they see of each other, the stronger the connection gets.

Soon its a race against time for Callum and Eddie.  Callum determined to clear his brother’s name and Eddie equally determined to help Callum fight.  As the danger increases who is the knight and who is the “damsel in distress” is anyone’s guess.

I am going to admit right up front that I am a big time fan of Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love series.  So hearing about the release of In Distress brought a sense of anticipation and joy that soon I would be plunged back into a world of elemental beings and their search for  some Superpowered Love.  Hawthorne’s In Distress, part of Loose Id’s Missed Connections collection does not disappoint on any level, starting with her wonderful and totally adorable characters.

Now Eddie Kim would totally own that “adorable” appellation, particularly if it didn’t come with a gender attached to it.  Eddie sees gender somewhat differently than others do, less rigidly defined and certainly more open to interpretation.  At the moment, he identifies as male but that might change at any moment. Eddie wants others to respect that about him, knowing that his gender fluid appearance is one that can confuse those that aren’t familiar with him.  I liked this aspect of Eddie’s character, it gave Eddie a deeper dimension, that combined with the other elements of his persona, made Eddie a wonderful unique individual.  He’s highly intelligent and super romantic.  At 23, Eddie still dreams of “The One”, a Knight that will save him, albeit not from dragons but from a loveless existence.  And then Eddie gets what he has been dreaming for and ,of course, it’s far more than he ever expected.

Eddie, his friends Kavita and Stacy, as well as Callum, are all such terrific characters.  Just when you might be feeling a little, oh I don’t know, perhaps, dubious at Eddie’s exuberance and “tilting at windmills” sort of behavior, then you have Kavita and Stacy there as your standin’s, saying exactly what you would say to Eddie, to bring him back down to reality.  Only to realize a few paragraphs later that Eddie’s new reality is kind of out of this world, or too much of this world.  Katey Hawthorne moves us back and forth in an emotional whirlwind with Eddie as the story is told from his very exuberant and delightful point of view.

And then there’s Callum Race, currently on the outs from all the Superpowered groups, unable to come home because of his brother’s actions and death.  I have always found the Superpowered subculture that Katey Hawthorne has created for this series fascinating, especially it’s divisive cultural quandary of whether or not to stay hidden from the human populace.  Which side of the question you come down on essentially makes you either a upstanding member of the Superpowered community or an outcast and potential rebel.  This theme flows through all the stories and is an important one of In Distress as well.

There are plenty of action packed scenes as well as ones of intimacy and introspection to balance out each other.  I did wish that Callum and Eddie had more time together before things got totally out of control.  And for those of you who are new to the Superpowered Love series, some of the backhistory might feel a bit lacking.  But how can you resist passages or characters like this?

“You’re okay. Just come with me,” said the voice attached to the hands.

My feet slipped on inexplicable ice. The strong, gloved hands steadied me, and the voice said, “Shit, sorry.” Then my feet were wet, but it wasn’t so slippery, and I could walk.

And some guy in a black hoodie and leather gloves led me out of my smoke-filled apartment in the middle of the night. As we turned in to the hallway, flame flared up at the end. He held out a gloved hand. By the firelight, I saw frost spread in a flash over the wall and floor, snuffing out the flames.

I shivered again and decided I was still dreaming. And if I took this guy’s hood off, it was clearly going to be Jon Snow. Maybe I should jump on his back?

He tugged me out onto the rattly wrought-iron porch and started down the equally rattly stairs. He was tall, taller than me— which isn’t saying much, but still— with broad shoulders and slim hips. It was a perfect swimmer’s build, but he moved like he didn’t realize it, with an almost adolescent awkwardness. “Don’t you have a fire alarm?”

“It needs a battery,” I said, dazed. There was a small streetlight in the parking lot below, and the moon was out, and all I could smell was melting plastic. Now my brain was finally waking up. Oh God, this is real. My apartment was on fire— is on fire— was on fire, and this guy put it out with… What the hell did he just do? Who the hell is he? Oh my God, this is not Jon Snow!

“Well, consider getting one.” The voice was mild and somehow equally awkward but far from adolescent. “I’ll call you an ambulance. I have to get out of—”

But I wasn’t having that crap, by then. Adrenaline had belatedly kicked in, and I grabbed for his arm and spun him.

He was pale, possibly with a sprinkling of freckles, but I couldn’t see his hair under the hood. I could see his lips, palest pink and plump, especially the bottom one, which looked like someone had bitten it hard and the swelling had never gone down. Nice bone structure too— nothing supermodel or delicate, but hard, straight lines and angles. For some reason it made me think: Football hooligan? He was pretty, but the kind of pretty that’d still be scary in a fight.

And he’d probably just saved my life. I had a million questions (chiefly: Why the hell were you in my apartment— when it was on fire?), but my heart was racing with the sudden acknowledgement of my own ridiculous mortality. I had somehow forgotten the words thank you. So I grabbed the front of his hoodie, went up on my toes, and kissed him.

Because that’s what the damsel in distress does when he gets rescued from the tower, right?

 

And right there I was in love.  In love with the lonely and brave Callum and his quest for justice and in love with that delectably over the top voice and personality that could only belong to Eddie Kim.  Knight found his mate.  But who really rescued who is something you will have to find out for yourself.

Of course, Katey Hawthorne throws in mentions of Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, Game of Thrones, Spider Man and so many other present day references that help clue us into who Eddie and his friends are, a cultural shortcut that let’s us secure these characters as real people almost instantly in our minds.  If you need more information about these characters, visit Katey Hawthorne’s In Distress page at her website.  It has character stats and back history on the Superpowered Love series.

A special bonus resides at the end of the story.  An In Distress playlist for your enjoyment that will also add to a better understanding of these characters and background.  Just one more reason to get this story.  Not that you need one.  In Distress and all the Superpowered Love stories are must reads for me.  The Superpowered Love stories are fun, sexy romps. A fascinating as watching lighting in a storm or as mesmerizing as lightning bugs in a bottle. And all are full of memorable characters so sexy and full of life that you won’t want to see them leave, including Eddie and Callum from In Distress.

Don’t pass this up.

And watch out for the sandwich board sayings….they are quite wonderful too.  See?  Win, win and win.

Cover art by P.L. Nunn who has created the wonderful covers for all the stories in this series.  It works,  and its adorable.

Book Details:

Part of Loose Id’s Missed Connections Collection.
ebook
Published March 25th 2014 by Loose Id LLC
ISBN139781623006112
edition languageEnglish
url for all Things Katey Hawthorne http://www.kateyhawthorne.com
series Superpowered Love
settingColumbus, Ohio (United State

Books in the Superpowered Love series in the order they were written and should be read:

Equilibrium (Superpowered Love, #1)
Jealousy: A Love Story (Superpowered Love, #1.1)
Best Gift Ever (Superpowered Love, #1.2)
Riot Boy (Superpowered Love, #2)
Willoughby Spit (Superpowered Love, #2.1)
Nobody’s Hero (Superpowered Love, #3)
Losing Better (Superpowered Love, #4)
Re-Entry Burn (Superpowered Love, #5)
In Distress (Superpowered Love, #6)

Spring has Sprung…finally, Winner Announcements and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Contests, and Author Guest Blogs

Standard

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍

Well, I am almost afraid to say it….maybe Spring has finally arrived here in the DC Metro area. Shhhhhh! Not too loud.  I hate to be superstitious but  lately it seems like the sleet, or snow is just hovering at the edges threatening to make a reappearance and coat everything in white instead of cherry blossoms.  So I am going to tiptoe around the fact that I got out in the yard for the first time to start my garden cleanup and to check out if any brave little sprouts had made it above ground.  The irises have poked out, so have the autumn sedum…plucky souls that they are.  The maple trees are in flower and the squirrels are taking full advantage by littering the yard with all the flowers and twigs they have snipped off to get at the maple sap.  Oh that maple sap….the first run is so sweet, like a cold drink of water with a hint of sugar……that if boiled down becomes that golden wonder maple syrup.maple trees tapped

At this time of year (ok earlier in March but not this year), I used to give maple sugaring demonstrations to the public.  I would be boiling gallons of sap that I started to collect in January and stored until March from trees along the stream banks where the old mature red and sugar maples stood.  I would let the kids watch me tap a tree and, if lucky, watch the maple syrup evaporatorsap start to run out the hole immediately to their awe and wonder.  Then over to the evaporator and the wood fire that constantly burned cooking away the water and reducing the sap to syrup.  It’s quite a laborous process which is one of the reasons that the price for maple syrup runs so high.  I would tap red and silver maples native to Maryland, sugar maples that had been planted for their color and even boxelders that make a strong hearty syrup, each species of tree giving the syrup its own unique taste.  I would even order some Alaska Birch syrup to give everyone a taste of that regionally strong and robust syrup, my that’s an  acquired taste.

In New England they don’t start this process until April because of their winters and this year Maryland is right along with them due to our unusually harsh and lingering  winter.  How I loved introducing people who have grown up on Log Cabin or Mrs. Butterworth’s to the real thing!  That never gets old.  I love the natural history and the cultural history to making maple syrup.  It keeps me in touch with the past, it makes me appreciate the changing of the seasons and the bounty of nature.  And what it can do to a stack of blueberry pancakes is out of thismaply syrup world….

So yeah….Spring is here.  The maple trees in flower and the squirrels gnawing the heck out of them for the sweet sap tells me so.  And now I feel the need to go make some flapjacks.  With butter.  And real maple syrup of course!

Winner Announcements! The winner of Katey Hawthorne’s Book Contest is Alishead1.  Congratulations to Alishead1.
Leah Karge is the winner of the When All the World Sleeps blog tour. Congratulations to Leah too! Thanks to everyone who left comments.  Your participation is always appreciated. The winners have been notified.

Oh, and happy 5th Anniversay to Less Than Three Press, congratulations to you too.

While I am making breakfast, here is the schedule for the week ahead:

  •  Monday, April 7:    The Calm Before by Neena Jayden
  • Tuesday, April 8:     The Forester II: Lost and Found by Blaine D. Arden
  • Wed, April 9:             Author Spotlight: Blaine D. Arden (and Book Giveaway)
  • Thurday, April 10:    In Distress by Katey Hawthorne
  • Friday, April 11:        Controlled Burn by Laura Harner
  •  ***************        Cold Comfort by Lee Brazil
  • Saturday, April 12:    Every Time I Think of You by Jim Provenzano

Author and Book Spotlight: Katey Hawthorne on Superpowers and In Distress, a story from the Missed Connections collection (Giveaway Alert!)

Standard

spotlight on books

********************************************************

Author Spotlight: Katey Hawthorne

KH_indistress_coverlg_1

Katey Hawthorne is here today at ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords and she has brought a copy of her book In Distress to giveaway to celebrate the release of her latest Superpowered Love story.

Contest: To enter to win a  ebook copy of In Distress, leave a comment along with an email address where you can be reached. Contest ends 4/1.

Welcome, Katey!

**************************************************************************

Katey Hawthorne:

So one day, I was scrolling through my tumblr dash and saw a post full of funny sandwich board signs. You know the kind, like outside bars and coffee shops with witty little drawings and sayings on them. And I thought, “Oh man, I love those; I should totally use them in a book sometime.” As you do.

Around the same time, I heard about the Missed Connections collection–based on the Craigslist section of the same name–that Loose Id was planning. The official copy reads like this:

You know that great-looking guy you saw on the outbound train as yours was inbound? The one you can’t stop fantasizing about but haven’t seen since?

Place an ad. Sometimes fate gives you another chance.

As usual, my brain went to superpowers. What kind of ad would someone place in that section for someone with superpowers? Maybe they’re looking for the hot (or in this case, cold) guy who came to their rescue and then disappeared.

Which translated into the first scene of In Distress, as it turns out, my little offering to the Missed Connections collection.

What does it have to do with funny sandwich boards? Eddie, the hero, works in a coffee shop just below his apartment–and it’s a point of pride with him to make sure there’s something clever on the sign each and every morning. Okay, sometimes it’s less clever, more silly. Or more ‘looking for a hot red-headed superhero but trying to be subtle about it’. But he tries, the poor dear.

Funny when different forces align to bring a story to light. Even funnier that in an entire series about people with superpowers, Eddie’s my first would-be damsel in distress. But then, nothing’s what it seems there, either…

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍

KH_indistress_coverlg_1BLURB: Hopeless romantic Eddie Kim acts out his favorite ‘rescued by the white knight’ fantasies through weekly D&D campaigns, but had almost given up hope of ever getting a real one. Then Callum, a mysterious red-head with freezing superpowers and a memorable kiss, saves him from a house but disappears without a trace. Taking pity on him, Eddie’s friends look to craiglist to relocate his hero.

Unfortunately, the publicity brings down the kind of attention Callum Race been trying to avoid; he’s in town to try and clear his family name, and now the dangerous superpowered organization he needs to thwart know he’s come home again. Still, he can’t help following up with Eddie.

The heat between Callum and Eddie flares instantly, and Eddie insists on helping to undo the damage his romantic notions have done. The problem: that will mean becoming embroiled in a nefarious plot, not to mention a superpowered world Eddie didn’t even know existed a week ago. The ‘bad guys’ will try to trick and use him, and in the meantime he has to convince Cal to trust him enough to be the white knight for once–and for real–instead of the perpetual damsel in distress.

Buy Link:  Loose id LLC

 

Book Details:
Author:Katey Hawthorne
Length:Novel, Loose id, LLC
ISBN:978-1-62300-611-2
Series:Superpowered Love
Cover Artist:P. L. Nunn
Prev Book:Superpowered Love 5: Re-Entry Burn

You can follow Katey at:–

Katey Hawthorne~Superpowered Love
Website
Twitter
Goodreads Author Page
Email kate@kateyhawthorne.com

 

September 2013 Summary of Reviews

Standard

September and Fall

September 2013 Book Review Summary

What a wonderful month it was for books and reviews!  Most of the books I read fell into the 5 and 4 star category, a few into the  3 star and none below that.  Series predominated the ratings this time.  Most notably the series offerings from the Pulp Friction authors. There 3d-person-sit-pile-books-reading-book-26141531were new books in well established series such as Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love series as well as followup stories and new series  from such talented authors such as Kendall McKenna (The Tameness of the Wolf series) and Aleksandr Voinov (Memory of Scorpions series).

Other new series includes Poppy Dennison’s Pack Partners , Cat Grant’s Bannon’s Gym) and Harper Kingsley’s Heroes and Villains series too.  My cup (and yours) runneth over with series, all promising more great stories featuring characters we have come to love. And believe it or not, October is starting the same way!  What a fall!

So grab a pen or notebook and jot down those books and authors you may have missed the first time around.  I have linked my review to each one listed.  Happy Reading!

5 Star Rating:

Crucify (Triple Threat #4) by L.E. Harner
Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by L.E. Harner
Re-entry Burn (Superpowered Love #5) by Katey Hawthorne (supernatural)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2) by L.E. Harner (contemporary)
Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1) by Aleksandr Voinov (fantasy)
Strength of the Wolf (The Tameness of the Wolf #2) by Kendall McKenna

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Accidental Alpha (Pack Partners #1) by Poppy Dennison (4.5 stars)(supernatural)
Black Dog (Bannon’s Gym #1) by Cat Grant (4.5 stars)(contemporary)
Blessed Curses by Madeleine Ribbon (4 stars) (fantasy)
City Knight (City Knight #1) by T.A. Webb (4 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Heroes and Villains (Heroes and Villains #1) by Harper Kingsley (4 stars)(supernatural)
Sonata by A.F. Henley (4.5 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Summer Lovin’ Anthology (4.75 stars out of 5) (contemporary)
The Crimson Outlaw by Alex Beecroft (4 stars)(historical)
Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1) by L.E. Harner (4.5 stars)(contemporary)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Coliseum Square by Lynn Lorenz (3.75 stars)(historical)
Roughstock: Blind Ride, Season One by BA Tortuga (3 stars) (contemporary)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating: none

1 to 1.75 Star Rating: none

Review: Re-Entry Burn (Superpowered Love #5) by Katey Hawthorne

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Re-entry Burn coverMalory Clermont , a heat superpowered ex-felon, has just finished his time in jail and is now out on parole.  Three years ago, Malory, his Dad and their cousin Brady  (Riot Boy) planned and tried to pull off a bank robbery using their superpowers. But unknown to Mal and his criminal dad, Brady was working with the cops and betrayed them.  It got nasty, people got hurt and Mal and his dad got jail time.  Mal’s lawyer pleaded his case,citing extenuating circumstances, saying Mal’s dad and uncle had brought him up to be a criminal which was child abuse, .  Which is why Mal is out after 2 and half years in the superpowered lockup and trying to re-enter society.  His parole officer has three immediate goals for Mal.  Find a place to live, find a place to work and attend his fellow parolees group therapy session.  High goals when no one wants a ex con as a renter or employee.

Theo McCracken, a cold-superpowered ex-offender, is out on parole too.  His crime?  He murdered his abusive stepfather and would gladly do it again.  Now free after 5 years in jail, he is trying to adjust to freedom outside and not doing particularly well at it.   Theo feels pressured by outside forces and his twisted maternal ties.  Emotionally and mentally Theo is more fragile than he looks.  Theo is just that bit of out of control that is dangerous for someone recently out of jail and emotionally wanting.  Then he sees Mal.

Mal and Theo met in their weekly court mandated group therapy sessions and click.  Or at least Theo does.  Mal just hides in his chair, keeping the lowest profile possible, a mass of confused hurt and passivity.  Theo notices Mal immediately and starts his pursuit which scares Mal just enough to come out of his shell.   Theo’s cold high energy rushes up against Mal’s hot docility in a clash of opposites that reenergizes them both.  And despite abandonment issues, paranoia, traumatic family ties and events, somehow Mal and Theo start to hope that a future for them both is possible if they can just get past the re-entry burn.

Re-Entry Burn is the fifth story in the Superpowered Love series and a clear equal to Riot Boy (Superpowered Love #2), the story that made me fall deeply in love with these superpowered characters and twisted family histories.  The story is told from the haunted, pain-filled voice of Malory Claremont, who we first met in Riot Boy (Superpowered Love #2).  In that story he was a seething vessel of angst, rage and love and it was aimed directly at his cousin Brady who wanted to escape the criminal life that Brady’s family had forced on him.  It is because of Katey Hawthorne’s marvelous gift of characterization that readers saw something more in Malory, something so sad and compelling that it just cried out for his story to be told.   And now we get it and what an emotionally fraught journey it turns out to be with mental quicksand and societal traps everywhere. And in this author’s hands, its a outstanding piece of addictive storytelling

A raw, hip, and often dryly humorous dialog one of the hallmark elements of Katey Hawthorne’s stories.  And it’s an element I can’t get enough of.  When the  word “fuck” flows out of one of her character’s mouth (in this case Mal Claremont) it might be as an adjective, a noun, a verb, an adverb and most certainly an interjection. Basically Hawthorne has made it work as every part of sentence and the end result is a unique, sometimes plaintive, sometimes angry introspective voice that propels you magnetically along the narrative.  Don’t fight it, just go with the flow, following the raw musical tones of a damaged man trying to find his way out of his past and into the present.  This is how the story starts:

You Are Here

I’m not saying I’m getting this all down perfect, but it’s pretty goddamn close. It’s hard not to go back and pretend I felt and did things different than I did, but if keeping that fucking journal taught me one thing, it was that changing the words after the fact changes the point. I didn’t want to do it, but I can’t remember the last time I wanted to do anything like I was told.

I’ll try and not get ahead of myself, but this shit is new to me. Not like anyone’s reading it anyhow. Whatever, fuck it.

The story unfolds as a journal that Mal (and all the other ex offenders) must keep as a part of their group therapy and parole.  Mal writes down his thoughts and the events as they happen, using the journal to work through his mixed up feelings of anger and  abandonment towards Brady and his life.  The author lets the readers into Mal’s thought processes and the emotional and mental work that it takes for Mal to see through to the reality of the reasons behind his words and actions.  It’s tough going for Mal and we aren’t always sure that he will reach the designation we hope for him. Mal and life has placed a lot of obstacles in his way, and he must understand and remove them before he can arrive at his personal truth.  What an amazing character and story!  And his slow, pain racked path is as fascinating and authentic as Mal is.

A little bit of background.  Mal, Theo, Brady and even his parole officer are all superpowered beings called Awakened.  They are elementals with powers linked accordingly whether it is heat, cold, water, or electrical.  So already this is a group of beings on the outside of a society (Sleepers, that’s us) that is ignorant of their presence.  Imagine having such power than not being able to use it.  I think we could all imagine the frustration and the rage that would build up, so a respectable portion of the Awakened are criminals.  Others have chosen to be the group that polices their own (with special prisons to hold them), and some have turned vigilante using their powers to help others.  Hawthorne takes us into the middle of their rage, their divisive gatherings and makes us understand exactly what these beings are feelings and how conflicted their lives are.

Mal is not only having to readjust to freedom, he is also having to readjust to hiding once more who and what he is.  Inside the special prison, Mal could be the heat elemental he was.  No more hiding his powers and that was freeing in itself, a dichotomy.  Now physically free, Mal looks to the outside as being imprisoned once more inside a persona not truly him.  It’s a powerful image and not one conducive to staying outside the penal system.  Theo’s background and personality also raises impediments to a successful future outside the prison system.  His journey forward and emotional healing has  as many potholes in it as Mal’s does.

There are so many heartbreaking elements to Re-entry Burn.   Not just the realistic treatment Mal receives from his new co workers and neighbors which  runs the gamut from wary friendliness to outright hostility and fear.  No Mal is also adjusting to being in an environment where he can safely be a sexual being again as prison was not the place to explain his bisexuality.  Mal’s interest in sex is dead in the water until Theo comes and sparks it back to life. And that has consequences too for them both.  Nothing here is simple, everything has a reactive aspect that potentially could land either man back in prison in an instant. The author maintains a beautiful balance of tension between the readers and their concern for the characters and the needs of her narrative.  If the men often goes to their knees, pounded down by their needs and the pressure, well, the reader is right there with them on the cement floor, feeling their pain and intoxication with each other and their powers.

How I love these people and their stories.  I find them downright irresistible in voice and personality.  Listen to Mal working through “shit” in his journal:

I pulled out my journal on one of my fifteen-minute breaks and wrote:

I am a thief. I am a liar. I am a man. I am crooked. I am uneven. I am angry. I am lost. I am alone. I am alive. I am a queer. I am a supervillain. I am a risk. I am a joke. I am funny, funny Malory, oh so fucking funny.

People throw words at me, and I wait to see how they stick, which parts of me meld into them, which parts of me curl up in a ball and wither. Some of the words are partly right.

Some of them are right sometimes. Most of them mean nothing at all, just weird sounds and shapes when I roll them around in my head. Some of them kill parts of me or put them to sleep so I forget they ever existed until something kicks them awake again.

But the one thing I’ve always been and will always be, the only thing I’m sure of: I am fire. Pyrolysis, a thermochemical reaction, a separating of elements. As long as I have that, I think I can hold them all off. Maybe not indefinitely, but for a while.

But why do I even want to? So I can find more words to apply, this time words I like, I want, I wish? How the fuck would that be any better?

What’s the fucking point?

So puzzled, still so full of pain.  But he’s doing the work, he’s getting there and you are straining to help him every step of the way.  You will feel that way about Theo too.

If this is your first Superpowered Love story, then go back to the beginning or at least start with Riot Boy.  That will give you enough back history and insight into the characters to go forward with Re-entry Burn.  It won’t take much before you will find yourself just as addicted as I am to this universe and these characters.  Katey Hawthorne is a go to author for me and this is a perfect example why.   Go, pick it up and start on the path to a love affair with the Awakened!  You are going to love them.  And just because I can, here is one more hook to reel you in. Malory is speaking with his parole officer:

 Maybe society would start pretending I was human again. I admit, part of me was thinking, fuck that noise, and always will. But it’s as good as it gets. Less trouble too.

“Do you feel like it’s helpful with your reentry, I mean?”

I pictured myself racing through the atmosphere like the Apollo 13 capsule, trailing pieces of myself and fire.

P.L. Nunn’s cover is gorgeous as always.

Books in the Superpowered Love series in the order they were written and should be read:

Equilibrium (Superpowered Love, #1)
Jealousy: A Love Story (Superpowered Love, #1.1)
Best Gift Ever (Superpowered Love, #1.2)
Riot Boy (Superpowered Love, #2)
Willoughby Spit (Superpowered Love, #2.1)
Nobody’s Hero (Superpowered Love, #3)
Losing Better (Superpowered Love, #4)
Re-Entry Burn (Superpowered Love, #5)
Book Details:

ebook
Published August 26th 2013 by Loose Id
ISBN13 9781623005009
setting Arlington, VA

When a Name Hurts And the Week Ahead in Reviews

Standard

Sport teams with Indian namesIts football season!  And like the changing color of the leaves its time for a certain topic to pop up again for discussion in the Washington DC Metro area.  Should the Redskins change their name? For years the answer was a resounding no from all Redskin fans and non fans alike.  But now the tide is changing….finally.  And more and more people as well as institutions are calling on the Washington Redskin organization and Dan Snyder to change the name of the team.

Sports Illustrated’s ‘MMQB’ site apparently won’t use the Redskins name any more.  Nor will  Slate Magazine (owned by The Washington Post Company), the online publication  USA Today’s Christine BrennanGrantland. They join the Piscataway and Oneida Nations, Mike Wise of The Washington Post, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, 12 members of Congress andKKK cartoon about the Redskins name a growing number of the nation’s population who find using a racial slur as a team name not only hurtful but repulsive.

Those old and racially insensitive rejoinders that hold that it’s an honor for Native Americans to be used as a title for a sports team and that “its not meant to be a slur” are not listening to the very people the name is denigrating.  They are not listening to the fans who agree or the many who have written and implored Dan Snyder to do the right thing and change the name.  No, it appears the all mighty buck is in charge as well as Dan Snyder.

The NFL and Dan Snyder say it would cost the team (meaning both of them) millions, maybe tens of millions in revenue to change the name.  Loss of copyright, loss of the proceeds in sales of Redskin memorabilia, and anything else they can imprint the name and logo on.  Plus in their eyes, other teams have names that are similar and they haven’t changed them.  What? Are they 5 years old?  Thats normally the age that uses that sort of excuse. I know they are talking about the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, the Golden State Warriors and many, many more.  And guess what, those teams need to change their names too.

screaming football fanPicture for a minute all those mascots dressed as Native Americans, those cartoon logos that scream of another era, and the painted, feathered, tomahawk chopping fans that attend each game and appear on so many sports screens, sports extras shows and vids.  I am even talking about our beloved elderly Chief Zee, who first attended his first Washington game in 1978 and has been a semi official mascot ever since.   Now lets switch over and try to see it from the point of view of a Native American.  You  know, those indigenous peoples whose land we took, tribes we slaughtered, language and cultures we suppressed and who are still trying in every court in the nation to regain not only their heritage but the respect and recognition that should have always been theirs.  Pretty ugly, isn’t it.  Downright shameful, no matter how you look at it.

Hard to believe we are still arguing about this.  How do you justify the pain and hurt that is caused when a slur is treated as something acceptable?  InIndian Disrespected the past, it was the N word.  Now everyone knows that it is never acceptable to use or suffer the consequences (loss of sponsors, jobs, income, see Paula Dean and others).   The F word is rapidly going the same way, a fact that is long overdue as is LGBTQ rights.  The R word is just as offensive, although some people are still hiding in the past.  Just on the fact alone that Native Americans find this term, this word, not only racially offensive but disparaging and derogatory should make it (and other similar names) disappear from sports teams everywhere.  And although its origin and usage is in dispute*, the fact that most people now perceive it to be a racial slur should make its usage taboo.

What is it going to take for these owners and teams to make a change?  A Supreme Court decision?  Considering the amount of lawsuits in play that could happen.  But I would like to think it will be because the people spoke with their wallets.  So, NFL, MLB, NHL, the Redskins and Dan Snyder, you are standing your ground and won’t switch?  OK, then we won’t pay to go to your games.  We won’t pay to watch your games on Pay For View.  We won’t buy tickets, or team memorabilia.   Those expensive team logo clothes? Nuh uh. Those beer mugs and team flags for the cars?  Pass on them too.

This isn’t about RGIII.  I really hope his knee is fine and his career is long.  It’s not about Mike Shanahan and his team.  They are OK too.  Even that troll (in my opinion) of an owner, no it is about him, no question.  It’s about doing the right thing, no matter the cost.  So that’s why I will be waiting until the The Washington Whitiesname is changed to support a Washington team.  It could be the Washington Lobbyists or the Washington Scribes.  The Washington Lawmakers or the Washington Federals.  I kind of like that last one, it has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?  Certainly the Washington Capitals and the Washington Nationals didn’t seem to have a problem finding an appropriate name.  And if you want to look to a role model, look no further than to the departed and deeply missed Abe Pollin who decided he couldn’t live with owning a team named the Bullets with kids and adults dying every year by the gun.  So he renamed them the Wizards and went forward without missing a step, now that’s a responsible owner.

So I am sticking to the Washington Caps, and the Nats and maybe even the Ravens.  Who knows?  The only thing for certain, is that I won’t be rooting for a certain Washington football team.  No more red and gold for me.  They probably don’t care.  I am only a small voice but the number is growing.  Oh, to hear a multitude sing……

*Language Log: The Origin of RedskinAre You Ready For Some Controversy? The History Of ‘Redskin …

Team Caps with offensive names

Now for the  week ahead in reviews:

Monday, Sept 16:     Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by L.E. Harner

Tuesday, Sept. 17:    The Crimson Outlaw by Alex Beecroft

Wed., Sept. 18:          Superpowered Love: Reentry Burn by Katey Hawthorne

Thurs., Sept. 19:         Black Dog by Cat Grant

Friday, Sept. 20:         Crucify by L.E. Harner

Sat., Sept. 21:              Accidental Alpha by Poppy Dennison

Review: Losing Better (Superpowered Love #4) by Katey Hawthorne

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars

Losing Better coverFBI  Special Agent Gabriel Genêt is back in Hooperstown, North Carolina, a place he couldn’t wait to escape in his youth.   Agent Genet has been charged with a very special mission, one he is uniquely suited for as one of the superpowered beings.  Gabriel Genet is back in his hometown to collect evidence that will lead to the arrest of Andrew Wynne, a vigilante superpowered being operating in Hooperstown. Gabriel knows the real reason he was chosen for this job is the special connection he had in the past with Andrew Wynne.

Ten years ago when both men were boys their parents were having an affair with each other and Gabriel’s Dad had dragged him down to the lake for a summer for an extended visit with Andrew’s mother.  Gabriel and Andrew spent their time avoiding their parents, ragging on each other and ultimately hooking up as well.  So when Andrew’s name comes up as a suspect in several FBI cases, Gabe is expected to use their past and any means possible to get the evidence the FBI needs to lock up Andrew for his crimes.

At first, Gabriel doesn’t expect any problems.  Get close, get the evidence and get out. But once back in Hooperstown, old memories start bubbling to the surface when Gabe reconnects with Andrew and their sexual attraction flares as hot as it did in the past.  And the longer the case takes, the deeper the affection and attraction between the two men grows until  Gabriel starts to doubt not only his ability to complete the job but his entire future as a FBI agent.  Who will win and who will lose or is it just possible for two superpowered men at opposite ends to find middle ground before its too late for both of them.

Losing Better is the fourth book in the Superpowered Love series and I think it is the best yet.   I love Riot Boy and wondered how Katey Hawthorne was ever going to be able to supplant that book in my heart and then she writes Losing Better, one white hot tale of love and lust between two emotionally messed up and diametrically opposed men. I also think that the characters the author created for Losing Better are the most complex, difficult, and yet thoroughly human (albeit with super powers) people we have seen from her.

I fiind Gabriel Genet to be a masterpiece actually.  When we first  meet Gabe, he comes across as a supremely confident individual, almost rigid in his  black/white view of the world, one in which he is always the winner.  Sarcastic, superior and goal oriented, that’s Gabe.  And as it is told from Gabe’s pov, even in his thoughts on everything from the town to Andrew, he telegraphs to the reader as something of a consummate jerk.  I kept trying to find something to like about Gabe at the beginning and failing miserably.  It didn’t help that Gabe’s quarry is Andrew Wynne, a gorgeous “sheep dog” of a young man, with his puppy eyes and ferocious need to please and be loved. In Andrew Wynne Hawthorne has given us such an endearing, accessible person that we emotionally leap to his defense from the start.  Even as the reader listens to Gabe plotting against  Andrew, we are outraged on Andrew’s behalf and Gabriel’s cruelty towards Andrew almost derails any attempt at affinity we start to muster. Opposite forces are at work at all facets of this story and nothing is as it seems on the surface. But when the cracks in Gabe’s emotional veneer start to appear, then our view of him starts to morph as well.  And soon it is hard to remember our antipathy towards the hard, focused man we first meet because everything has changed.

I love the structure and narrative of this story.  We dislike the protagonist who is telling the story and root for the appealing, vulnerable man of his past who only has the best interests of the town at heart, or so it appears.  Katey Hawthorne gives us two men whose past and family interactions have served to mold them into two diametrically opposed forces each confident that their path is the only correct path.  Even their super powers are uniquely qualified to short each other out.  Gabe controls electricity so of course it flows that Andrew’s gift is that of water and the currents between the two are supercharged on every level.

And then the true complexities starts to reveal themselves as the story and Gabe’s investigation progresses.  Each man carries within him the same pain filled dysfunction that stems from the same family dynamics but the truth behind what that past has done to them as they grew into men escapes in spurts throughout the narrative until it explodes into view at the end.  The author gives us a surface that she slowly distorts and cracks until the real story she wants to tell is exposed before us as are the real Gabe and Andrew.

Of course, Hawthorne throws in some wonderful side characters, including that of Kieran, a friend whose sexual good nature includes a whopping helping of both men whenever he is in town.  Trust me, even if a menage is not your thing, it is hard to not love Kiernan.  He really is a friend to both men and while he may play with them sexually, it really doesn’t factor into their relationship except at the beginning when Gabe uses him as an emotional buffer between himself and Andrew.  It’s realistic, understandable, and very hot!  Luckily, Kieran is getting his own story so we will be seeing him again.

But the heart of this story is the relationship between Gabriel and Andrew and how families and our past can define what we become as adults.  The end is electric, rewarding, complex, and of course, perfect.  Just like the men themselves.  And Losing Better gets better with the second reading as the some of the subtleties the author puts into play becomes more transparent the second time around.  I cannot recommend this book or series enough.  You don’t have to read them in the order they were written as they can act as stand alone novels but I enjoy the compiled history I get reading them as a series.

Here they are in the order they were written:

Equilibrium (Superpowered Love, #1)

Jealousy: A Love Story (Superpowered Love, #1.1)

Best Gift Ever (Superpowered Love, #1.2)

Riot Boy (Superpowered Love, #2)

Nobody’s Hero (Superpowered Love, #3)

Losing Better (Superpowered Love, #4)

Cover Artist: P. L. Nunn.  Another wonderful cover by P.L. Nunn for the series.

Available at Loose id, Amazon, and All Romance.

Dreaming of Spring while Singing the Flues Blues and the Week Ahead in Reviews

Standard

Maryland seems to have dodged another major “storm of the century” that is still leaving its impact on New England and the NE corridor from Philly to Maine is coated with the white stuff.  While those unfortunate fellows are digging out from under several feet of snow, we had to deal with wind and rain and little else.

Unless you count the flu.   Yes, that’s right, the flu. Or maybe you have the norovirus, that’s going around too.  Either way, like myself, you are probably feeling less than stellar.  I did gather all the right stuff around me as the symptoms hit. Hot tea? Check.  Loads of tissue? Check.  Blankets to huddle under?  Check. Every over the counter cold drug you could buy? Check. Reading material and knitting projects? Check.  So what is missing?  My ability to focus and stay awake.  I have no energy.  Sigh.  So while I have a schedule for this week, it might be touch and go to stay by it.  Let’s see what happens in between doctors appointments, shall we?

Here are the reviews planned:

Monday, Feb. 11:              Lessons in Seduction by Charlie Cochrane

Tuesday, Feb. 12:             Feeling His Steel by Brynn Paulin

Wed,, Feb. 13:                   Brothers in Arms by Kendall McKenna

Thurs., Feb. 14:                 Superpowered Love: Losing Better by Katey Hawthorne

Friday, Feb. 15:                 The God Hunters by Mark Reed

Saturday, Feb. 16:             Reader Questions.  If you could talk to an author, what would you ask them?

Meanwhile here is a vid making the rounds that cheered me up.  Love the reaction of the older sister.  These kids rock.

Favorite Series Covers and Cover Artists!

Standard

Book covers have always fascinated me.  Some repel me, others draw me in immediately.  Think “ooh, shiny, pretty…” lol.  Others intrigue me by their content or graphic design, while others leave me “meh” or confused. When I think of series covers that are successful, all they have some of the same elements incorporated into their design.  The first being I can tell the books belong together at a glance, they have a cohesive design element consistent in every cover.  The fonts stay the same.  Each cover contains the same overall design with small changes that  don’t affect the overall picture they present to the reader.

So we are looking for consistency, cohesiveness, clarity and recognition.  Designs that convey a sense of connectedness between the books. Look over my choices and see if you agree with me. Many of my favorites series also have some of my favorite series covers. Yes, I have let quite a lot out but I need something for the next cover post, don’t I? Lets get started.

1. Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban, now being written by Abigail Roux,cover design by Mara McKinnon:Simple and elegant.  The central object, which is prominent in each storyline, is changed out with each book.  I can tell a Cut &Run book in a heartbeat.

2. Lost Gods series by Megan Derr, design by London Burden. Each cover is a map of the kingdom the story is set in.  The color is important as it is a prime element for each kingdom and its culture.  Blue for the kingdom of Kundou, a land to whom the sea is all important.  It’s people have hair in all shades of blue and green, the color of water.  The orange/red cover of Burning Bright is self explanatory and so on. Subtle, expressive, simple on the surface yet contains hidden meanings just like the books.

3. Sanctuary Series by RJ Scott, artist/cover design by Reese Dante.  Each cover depicts the two men who will be the novel’s romantic couple, usually one is a Sanctuary op.  The design stays the same with the men being switched out.  The models are  consistent with the descriptions of the men inside.  Reese Dante  does the fantastic design.

4. Dance With The Devil series by Megan Derr, design by London Burden.  Effective use of a simple graphic design where the object floating in the center of a black cover is switched out for each new book. Again the main element is important  to the storyline. Effective, elegant, and easy to recognize that the books belong together without having to resort to the publishers note.

4. Cambridge Fellows series by Charlie Cochrane, cover design by Scott Carpenter: All the covers have a lovely vintage feel to them, sepia toned with elements such as furniture, buildings and mens clothing from 1900’s included on the design. Unfortunately, the last cover from Samheim had a more modern looking model which threw off the design. The newest title in the series has a completely different look as it was published at the different company. Can you pick it out?

3.  Superpowered Love by Katey Hawthorne, artist P.L. Nunn:  Just wonderful art by PL Nunn, the covers really set the stage for the stories within.  I just love these.  Again while the content changes, the style is the same and makes the books easy to identify.

4. Infected series by Andrea Speed, art by Anne Cain, cover design by Mara McKinnon: These covers blow me away.  Intense, dramatic, with that hint of menace.  Outstanding.  They are offered to download at Andrea Speed’s website.  I grabbed them, you will want to as well. Andrea Speed’s website http://www.andreaspeed.com.

5. Cattle Valley Series by Carol Lynne, art by Anne Cain.  It doesn’t matter if it is Book 2, Book 12 or Book 23, you can tell it is a Cattle Valley book immediately due to the great design and artwork by the wonderful Anne Cain.  This series is branded, folks! Total E Bound does more of a series branding than any other publisher or so it seems to me.

6. Sci-Regency Series by JL Langley, cover by Anne Cain.  Sigh!  I love Anne Cain and her artwork.  Especially her cover for My Fair Captain.  That one is so drool worthy that I have to bring out the towels. Yeah, I know TMI!  But just look at that chest!  And the same goes for the other two books in the series, the last of which, My Regelence Rake, is to be released in October 2012.

7.  Leopard’s Spots series by Bailey Bradford, artwork by Posh Gosh. What a lush, rich group of covers,  They are like a feast for the eyes, I just don’t know where to look next.  The design pulls your eye around the cover, so nothing is missed.  Just superb.

So that’s my short  list. What is yours? Yes, I see the same artists over and over on covers I like.  Anne Cain, PL Nunn, Reese Dante, Posh Gosh and London Burden.  Lately I have also noticed Alessia Brio too.  I know I have missed so many great artists, help me fill in the blanks.  And don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered in the contest.

Review of Nobody’s Hero by Katey Hawthorne

Standard

Rating: 4.8 stars

Jamie Monday is living two lives. In one life, he is normal and outwardly gay, he’s the life of the gay party scene, the office extrovert, everyone’s favorite homo.  Then there’s his other life, the hidden one as a member of the Awakened, people who can control the elements. As an Awakened, Jamie is deep in the closet. He hides his sexual identity from his mother and the Awakened community who expect him to marry and procreate.  Additionally, Jamie hides the fact that he is an Awakened from those in his “normal” life. Jamie has been good at keeping his identities compartmentalized but the increasing pressure by his mother to marry and the hot new IT guy at work has upset his equilibrium.

Kellan Shea is brainy, adorkable, and a Sleeper, the name given to Humans with no supernatural abilities.  From the beginning Jamie feels drawn to him.  It doesn’t matter that Kellan is socially awkward, defensive, and downright prickly,  Jamie realizes that Kelly is who he wants.  Kellan has a pure core within a sizzling exterior and Jamie finds himself falling in love.  But Kellan hates lies and Jamie’s life is one of deceit.  Can Jamie find the courage to be himself  or will he lose the only man he has ever loved?

This is the third book in the Superpowered Love series and just a great read.  I have come to expect wonderful and quirky characters from Katey Hawthorne and Nobody’s Fool is chock full of them, starting with Jamie Monday.  Jamie seems superficial to begin with but a shallow gorgeous surface hides a deeply conflicted man.  Jamie wants to please his mother, his only family.  The Awakened community they live in is close-knit, rigid, and almost incestuous in their intermarrying.  They all have high expectations of their progeny. Jamie acknowledges all of that while still trying to have a “normal” life.  It’s not so much that he wants to lie as he doesn’t want to disappoint anyone.  Each time my frustrations build with his character’s seeming inability to deal truthfully with those around him, Jamie’s inner dialog makes his position seem all too human and understandable.

And then there’s Kellan Shea.  I adored Kelly right from his mumbled fingernail chewing introduction to Jamie and friends at the office.  He is such a contradiction.  Kellan is Catholic and not just in name only.  He believes in his religion and is unafraid to say so.  He has a potty mouth, hot temper, and a vulnerable soul.  He is so very interesting in his outlook on life and sex that I feel as though I haven’t come across a someone like him before. These two characters ease into their relationship with all the grace of two porcupines waltzing.

The beauty of this story is that we all can relate to Jamie and the way he has complicated his life.  Who hasn’t wanted to please their parents to the point of suppressing their own wants and needs?  Who hasn’t told a lie or smudged the truth so someone isn’t hurt?  Life is full of complications, ones we create and those created for us.  For Jamie, it is not only his sexuality but his supernatural powers that he is hiding.   There is not one part of his life that is clear and open.  And not even Jamie realizes the full impact that has had on him until the end.  All the conflict, all the hurt that emerges are realistically and vividly portrayed.  I ached for those characters as I watched them fumble and sometimes fail as they reached for each other.

And did I mention the hot sex?  I should have because this story is full of it.  It’s that wonderful falling in love/lust/love sex where you  can’t get enough of each other.  And it’s also diversion sex, makeup sex and everything in between.  It’s sloppy, and all encompassing.  There’s also great music, wonderful locations and a great Irish family I couldn’t get enough of. I was so sorry to get to the end of Nobody’s Fool and it’s endearing cast of characters.  I hope you will feel the same.

Cover:  Cover art by P.L. Nunn.  A great cover that beautifully captures the characters.

Available from Loose Id.