Thursday, December 22, 2011

Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville


This book would have rated 5 stars from me but for one thing. The dialogue of one of the two main characters. 

The author writes D's dialogue as him having an accent... what one might consider an unschooled accent. Coulda... have ta... would a... cain't... It was extremely distracting and actually made things more difficult to read. I had to go back and read lines two, sometimes three times. In my opinion, the author had absolutely no need to lay it on so thick. Pick one or two words to establish that the character has a distinctive way of speaking and go with that. Were this a simple secondary or background character, it wouldn't be a problem, but not for one of the main guys!

That being said, the book was a great read. I loved both characters and how the author fleshed them out. I really appreciated that Jack couldn't just pooh-pooh away D's past, and I really enjoyed the fact that it took almost forever for D to open up to Jack. The story itself was good, the plot worked for me, a little far-fetched at times, but hey, I read Tom Clancy too. :) I could have done without that last case of D's, but I guess if the author is setting us up for a sequel, there needed to be a hook. It was kind of gruesome though. The romance was good and the sex scenes were steamingly hot. 

Will I read more of Jane Seville's work? You betcha! Will I recommend Zero at the Bone? You betcha! Like I said, almost a 5 star read!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Not Shakespeare by Amy Lane


Amy Lane has yet to let me down! 

I totally enjoyed this story, totally enjoyed the two MCs, totally enjoyed the few secondary characters we got to know - the only thing WRONG with it was that it was too short. I wanted more of James and Raphael... okay... Jimmy and Rafi. :) I want to know how they settle into their relationship, how they reconcile their differences and make it all work in the day-to-day. And Marlowe... damn, who wouldn't want more Marlowe??? :) I feel like we've only seen the first leg of this couple's journey and I hunger for more. 

Indeed, this was a delightful read!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dance With Me by Heidi Cullinan


Oh man, this was wonderful!! I had to read this because it spoke of ballroom dancing and, well, ballroom dancing and Dancing With The Stars is one of my most favorite things ever. So I gave it to me as a birthday present. :)

I love Laurie. To bits. What a gem of a flawed genius of a man. I love Ed only a little bit, a wee bit less. Yes, I do play favorites. *LOL* I thought their love story was full and real and true and it didn't happen overnight, they grew into it. Grew into their need for each other - and it's a perfect, healthy, lovely need. Body and mind and soul. The intimate scenes are deadly hot and steamy and even just a kiss holds the ability to sweep the reader away. And the secondary characters are fully fleshed out real people. The parents, the friends, the students and business partners. Even those who just stepped on the stage felt true to me. (I would love to know more of Duon's story. *g*)

Heidi Cullinan is a lovely writer. She drew me in, made me love and care for her chararcters - all of them, made me see the locations and feel the atmospheres. I was there. If I only have one complaint it's this - I have the epub format of the book and the one problem is that the spacing between the changes of scene within the chapters are not obvious. Where I would expect what I would call a double line skip, there is none and I found myself pulled out of the rhythm of the story at the confusing POV transition. But you know, that's a pretty small problem to have. :)

A definite recommend and a definite reread!!!

The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters by Amy Lane


Knitting Series - Book 1

THIS has to be one of the most adorably fun stories I have ever read! And I want to know more about all of them! Rance, Ben, Ariadne, Aiden and Jeremy - EVERYONE! Absolutely delightful!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Clear Water by Amy Lane


Another winner from Amy Lane! I loved, loved, LOVED it!!

The characters were terrific! I fell in love with Whiskey (and isn't that a TERRIFIC name) myself and OMG, I just wanted to hug Patrick all the time! *LOL* Even Fly Bait and Shawn were amazing. Yes, Shawn. He redeemed himself in my eyes. To be quite honest, I fully suspected how he'd feel about his son from the very beginning and I think that had a lot to do with Patrick being such a sympathetic character. And I believed how Whiskey could fall in love with Patrick and vice versa and I think they may be one of my favorite couples of all time. 

And the sex, the loving and wonderful sex! Nothing hotter than that, if you ask me! And the FROGS!!! LORD, I LOVED THE FROGS!!! I really enjoyed the look into the way someone with Patrick's challenges actually sees and experiences things. He was very real to me and maybe that's because I see wee bits of family members in his make-up. Both he and Whiskey really have beautiful souls. :) 

And I must say here that this is a constant in all of Amy's tales that I have had the pleasure of reading to date. Her characters have flaws and are definitely not perfect, but they have the most beautiful souls. This is absolutely a book I would recommend to anyone! Especially someone who wants to dip their toes into m/m romance maybe. :) Clear Water is definite re-read material. :)

(Wouldn't it be nice if there was a Further Adventures of Whiskey and Patrick?)

Thor Vol. 1 by Michael J. Strazynski and Olivier Coipel


I'm a DC fan of long, long standing. From back in the day of the 12¢ comic. I have never read Marvel comics for a few reasons, some of them very silly, but my guy at the comics store recommended this series to me after we did some talking about the movie. 

Now see... this has meat in it, the way the movie doesn't. There's actually motive developing and a reason for Thor to be doing the things he's doing. The art is pretty - alive and moving and I like the look of the book very much. I have no idea, really, of the history of all these Asgardians, but it didn't really impact my enjoyment of the book that much. Good thing I picked up Vol. 2 today. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


Outlander Series - Book 1

I've tried to read this multiple times. The last time I didn't make it past page 489. It's not happening. I don't like either of the main characters and I'm just bored.

A Matter of Time Vol. 1 - by Mary Calmes


A Matter of Time - Books 1 & 2

Oh man, I was SO primed to love this book (these books?). It got some great reviews from authors and readers whose opinions I totally respect and I had read great word of mouth in the m/m romance group, but, in the end, I was disappointed. (And I find myself wondering if we're just so glad to have readable m/m romance books readily available these days that we tend to go easy on them?)

So, why did it disappoint me? 

Well, first off, Volume 2 seemed to me to be an emotional rehash of Volume 1. Jory is going along happily in his life, there is some upheaval but he keeps his positive outlook, he meets up with Sam, there is hot sex, good things happen in Jory's life aside from Sam, they seem to affirm their relationship, there is a crisis, they split up. And there are horrible cliffhangers that leave you with absolutely NO closure at all if you've come to love Jory, the MC. 

And Jory is lovable! Totally! Maybe a little too much so at times? I found his chemistry much better with the secondary characters of both books - the friends, family and co-workers - than with either Sam (the romantic interest) or Dane (the um... other big interest?). I did quite enjoy his quirkiness, however... I found myself thinking, about halfway through Volume 2, that Jory must be a bit of an idiot for the things he does - and especially when he meets up with Dom at the apartment - but then I remembered WAY BACK to the beginning of Volume 1 where Jory describes his 'tuning out' of conversations. I think that should have been made more clear throughout both books. 

After two books of this series, I still don't know WHY Jory loves Sam so much. Or why Sam loves Jory so much. They can't keep their hands off each other, that's obvious, but, there has to be more than that for a romance to work for the reader, I think. Where does Sam's possessiveness come from? Why is he SO different when he's with Jory from when he's without - so much so that his family is all so very cool with discovering that he's gay after all these years? To be honest, I wasn't very fond of him with Jory either. Hopefully he'll become more simpatico for me in the next volume - of two books.

And then there's Dane Harcourt. What the hell is the deal with this dude? I don't understand his obsession with Jory. And it does come across as very much of an obsession to me. For the longest time, I thought it was going to be revealed that Dane was actually in love with Jory and was waiting for the boy to grow up, to experience life and then they could meet on a level playing field, I guess. This relationship, which is very important in the books, puzzles the hell out of me. I don't get it.

And dear Lord, if someone puts their hand on the back of Jory's neck again, I might just scream! Every scene, it seemed, with some sort of intimacy between Jory and a male character had the male character putting his hand on the back of Jory's neck. It got very old after a while. (Oh, and Sam's mom? Totally Richard Castle's mom and I LOVED HER!)

It sounds like I didn't like the book, but I honestly did! It was a good read and the sex scenes were very, very hot. And there was a plot and subplots - they just were mostly a little iffy in my opinion. So now I've got to go and buy A Matter of Time Vol 2 (Books 3 and 4) so I can find out how else this relationship is going to screw itself, maybe figure out what the hell is up with Dane and if Jory's going to make it to 25. And sadly, it's more that I have to get it because I'm annoyed at the way this book left me and hope there's some redemption to come than because I want more of the story and characters because I loved them.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lies and Consequences by Kaje Harper


This was a fun, sexy, adventure-filled read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. What a treat for a free download!!! You can be sure that Kaje Harper is now on my list of authors to definitely buy. 

The two male leads were lovely, flawed, sexy, adorable and infuriatingly dense at times. I loved them both. :) 

The adventures were a bit all over the map and rather improbable, but hell, they were there to serve the growing relationship between Chris and Ian and they served their purpose well. I really enjoyed the glimpses we got of their families and friends and kinda wished for more... especially with Chris' sister. 

All in all, Lies and Consequences was a really good read and I would not hesitate to recommend it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hot Head by Damon Suede


A lovely book! Thanks to everyone in the M/M Romance group who recommended it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Home Ground by Ann Somerville


Darshian Tales - Book 4

I totally enjoyed this 4th volume of Darshian Tales. 

I love how Ann's characters take their time falling in love and how each love is different - so often in series works, we see the same relationship played out over and over again with only the names changing. Not with Ann's works. 

Home Ground was a little ... I guess more quiet than the other books, but that, I believe, is because Wepizi is a calmer, more even-tempered character than any of the others that Ann has written about. 

Now, Prince Juimei is anything but even-tempered, but by the end of the book, he's well on his way to a peaceful life, albeit a very interesting one! 

And the other story, Bearing Fruit, well, I loved it. I cried. And it was so wonderful to see so much of my favorite Kei and his mate Arman and see them so happy. 

I must add that Ann's world-building skills are impressive! The world of Periter and it's lands, Darshian, Andon, Kuprij are distinct and well-defined, their cultures full and well-rounded. A wonderful read!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Living Promises by Amy Lane


Promises - Book 3

I absolutely loved this book. Again! I've loved all Amy's Promise books. 

I will admit to spilling more then a few tears over this one, but it was worth it. And I honestly think that Jeff and Collin are my favorites. :) 

As always, Amy has left me wanting more, more about ALL her lovely characters. A lovely, wonderful read!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Making Promises by Amy Lane


Promises - Book 2

This is the second of the "Promises" books - "Keeping Promise Rock" being the first. As soon as I finished the first one, I had downloaded "Making Promises" to my e-reader. I enjoyed "Rock" so much, I was pretty sure "Making" wouldn't let me down. 

And it sure didn't! If anything, I liked it more!

Okay, so I have a bit of a soft spot for a Russian Dancer with attitude, that may have had a little to do with it, but Mikhail and Shane's story is so much more than just Mikhail. It's about learning to trust, it's about believing in someone, it's about letting go when you're hurting the most in order to get something much better back. Again, Amy Lane writes the most deliciously flawed characters. That, I think, is what makes her books stand out for me. And her dialogue! She writes lovely dialogue; real men speaking, you know? 

As I did with the first book, I laughed, I swore, I cried; and when it was over, I was left with a wistful smile on my face wishing I were part of that lovely family at The Pulpit ranch, just outside Levee Oaks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane


Promises - Book 1

This was more than a love story. It was a story about love, yes; but it was also about family, friends and at the risk of sounding cliché, the ties that bind. 

The story takes us through the story of two young boys growing up in a very small town in Northern California and shows us that sometimes love and passion just isn't enough. Carrick and Deacon are wonderfully drawn characters imbued with great attributes but also some near-fatal flaws - in other words, they are real, genuine folks. 

It's their story, yes, but the supporting characters are so damned real as well and it's heart-warming to read of the forming of an honest-to-God family, brought together by emotion, heart-ache, caring and yes, need. I was brought to tears more than once, I have to admit. 

And it's a romance, yes, there's sex scenes and yes, they're hotter than hot (the one in the barn was especially steamy), but what made them so much better was the way the author was able to infuse every action and reaction with an emotional meaning. And not necessarily a grand, sweeping, romantic meaning either! Carrick and Deacon are allowed to be silly and laugh together even when they're hot, horny and needy. They are real. 

I loved this book to itty-bitty bits and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kei's Gift by Ann Somerville


Darshian Tales - Book 1

Damn, I enjoyed this one! :) 

It started off a little slow as we got to know the characters, Kei and Arman as well as their friends and family who will play a big part in the coming story, but that was okay because this is really the story of how two young men grow into mature men. 

I only had two little problems with the story. The first was that I wanted to know more about Arman's father and brother. And the second was that I kept reading Arman as older than he was. I believe his stated age was around 24 or 25, but he read to me like a man closer to 30. Of course that might be due to the life he lead up to the point where the story begins. 

Now some might find that Kei, the gentle healer and Arman, the honourable young general, were a bit too good to be true, but you know, this is a romance and the characters NEED to be a little bigger and better than life. Both men DO have their faults and Ms Somerville explores them in depth. And the romance takes time to develop. This is sort of momentous for me, because most of the m/m romance novels I have read seem to be fast and quick and done with in little more than 100 pages. This book is a hefty, juicy read. No novelette here, my friends. And I love that about it. 

And the sex scenes... the intimate scenes... OMG, they were lovely! Y'all know that this is a major part of the reason we read romance/erotic romance novels, and in my opinion, Ms. Somerville does a TERRIFIC job. Arman's fixation with Kei's hair, for instance; even when it wasn't supposed to be hot, it was. :) And as always, my mind tends to cast actors in the major roles, so all the while I was reading, I was seeing Chris Hemsworth (who will be starring as Thor in the new movie) as Arman and Jesse Williams (Dr. Jackson Avery from Grey's Anatomy) as Kei. 

In conclusion, I really loved this book and would recommend it highly to anyone who's looking for a juicy, m/m romance - the fantasy angle of it, while important, doesn't overpower the lovely character studies or the love story. I will definitely be reading more of Ann Somerville's work, I can tell you that!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


All Souls Trilogy - Book 1

I bought this on a guts feeling. I kept seeing the book whenever I walked into our local Chapters store and it always caught my eye - then, when perusing the offerings of Kobo e-books, again, it kept catching my eye. I'm not big on the current trend of paranormal novels and romances, but this one's cover illustration didn't have the ubiquitous woman in leathers and all the shadowy stuff going on behind her, so finally I caved and bought the ebook.

Oddly, it was almost like reading two different books. The first half felt like a mystery that was taking its own sweet time about getting formed, and I have to admit that it took me a long while to warm up to the heroine, Diana. I'm still not entirely sold on her. One reviewer that I saw likened her to a Mary Sue and it's possible that this is one reason why. Honestly, she's my least favorite character in the book.

The other characters, however... :) 

The hero is scrumptious and the secondary characters are intriguing and fun and quirky and there had better be more of them to come.

The second half of the book reads like a romance, and that's okay. I like romances. And Matthew, the hero, is one sexy vampire, let me tell you. I think I would have liked a little more conflict between him and Diana vis-a-vis his vampiric past. Yeah, yeah, love and all that, but, I still wanted it to be a little more difficult for her. Now, I have to admit that this book hits a lot of my reading kinks. I love the cast of diverse characters that reluctantly come together in pursuit of a common goal, despite mutual distrust etc... I love the historical aspects of the book, all the incidents from Matthew's past delighted me no end. I also have a thing for secret councils and the like. And I loved the idea that so many incredible people from the past were what the author terms "creatures", ie: witches, vampires and daemons. (I'm loving the daemons, BTW.) 

You know what the second half of the book feels like to me? A good Nora Roberts. And I'm very fond of Nora Roberts. :) 

I had no idea when I bought the book that it was the first of a trilogy - I actually discovered that only yesterday! No wonder certain things are taking so long to resolve. In the end, would I recommend "A Discovery of Witches"? Yes, it's a good read and I ended up really enjoying it. (Maybe having no expectations when I started helped with that?) And will I purchase the second book in the trilogy? You betcha! My only hope is that I come to like Diana a little more.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bittersweet by Madeleine Urban


Short and sweet. :) Those are the first words that came to mind when I sat down to pen my thoughts. Apparently this was Madeleine's first book published by Dreamspinner and I can see the difference between it and her later works. 

Bittersweet is an out and out romance with maybe an overtone of paranormal. The problem I had with it was that I wanted more. The main characters, Harrison and Piers, were nicely fleshed out and nicely unique in the world of m/m romance. (I was especially pleased that Harrison had a 'lightly furred' chest. I know, shallow, but it tickled - oh, bad pun - me.) 

There was a great plot here but I wished it had been filled out more. I wanted more interaction between Harrison and his son, I wanted more of the battle between Harrison and his soon-to-be ex-wife. I wanted to know more about Piers and the relationship he had with his best friend, Gerard. Okay, I just wanted MORE. 

The love scenes were hot - there was one kiss especially that was really, really well done - and despite the straying into purple prose' territory once in a while, I quite enjoyed them. All in all, a nice read for a quiet evening, but again, I think I'd have enjoyed it more if there had been more. That being said, Madeleine Urban remains as one of my most very favorite m/m authors.

Caught Running by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux


Loved, loved, LOVED it!

Monday, March 28, 2011