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.