Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Another Place in Time by Various Authors


There are 6 stories in this historical anthology and every one of them is a winner.

Office Romance by Tamara Allen
Introducing Mr. Winterbourne by Joanna Chambers
The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh by KJ Charles
Unfair in Love and War by Kaje Harper
Carousel by Jordan L. Hawk
Deliverance by Aleksandr Voinov

The stories take place in different historical eras and each one is a little gem that I can totally recommend. WW2, Regency, Victorian, The Crusades... each story features terrific characters, actual plots, sexy and romantic interludes, real emotions, laughter and tears. I mean they have everything you'd want in a historical romance no matter the era. I'm not one for short stories usually. I find many of them lacking substance. Not these!

They were all so, so good, but if you were to demand that I choose a favourite, I'd have to say The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh by KJ Charles. The heat in this story, the intensity of the two characters in their dealings with each other, the moments of humour and the moments of sadness... man... it was really really really good. :)

I should add that the only author I'd not read before was Joanna Chambers and she's now on my Get More Books By This Author list. I have her Provoked in my TBR pile.

So if you want to check out some historical m/m romance, this is a terrific place to start! It's also a must-read for those that are already loving the genre. :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Charming by Elliott James


Pax Arcana - Book 1

John Charming is no prince. Yet. He's a half-breed werewolf as well as being a trained Templar knight.

Charming is one of those Urban Fantasy paranormal, supernatural hunter type books but told from the POV of a guy, instead of the ubiquitous woman. At least what I figure is ubiquitous judging from all the paranormal cover art that I see.

I liked the premise. I liked most of the characters. I was okay with the story of the vampire hive etc... What I wasn't okay with was the clunky love story that I didn't believe for a minute or the co-plot with the 'psychic'. I also found the action sequences to be too much... too many words... too long. I don't get the same charge out of them as I do when I see them on the TV or movie screen.

I expected more out of this book and I'm really glad I managed to get it on sale. Should the next one in the series go on sale, I wouldn't be averse to picking it up, but I won't go seeking it out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dirty Deeds by Rhys Ford


Cole McGinnis Mysteries - Book 4

#4 in the Cole McGinnis series is the best one yet, in my opinion. The relationship between Cole and Jae is growing, although I will admit that I'd have liked a little more conversation between them and a little less sex. Rhys Ford writes deliciously wonderful sex scenes but too much of a good thing tends to take away some of that goodness.

In this book, we find out a lot more of what happened to Cole back when he was on the police force and his partner murdered his boyfriend and tried to murder him and then killed himself. At least I think he killed himself. I have to say, some of the story and motivations surrounding this part of Cole's tale is still rather murky to me, but I think it's supposed to be. At least I hope so! *LOL*

I would have liked to see a little more of Cole's brothers and more of Jae's family. I know the next book is to feature Ichi and Bobby, Cole's best friend, so hopefully there'll be more family type stuff.

And I've begun to cast the Cole McGinnis movie in my head when I realised that while reading, anytime I'd read about Bobby, I was seeing Christopher Meloni (Law & Order SVU, Oz etc...). I also tend to see Cole as Ian Anthony Dale (Adam from H50) even though I think that Cole isn't supposed to be quite so Asian of feature? I can't remember. *LOL*

Anyway, I totally enjoyed the read and am looking forward to the next one. :)

Rebound Remedy by Christine D'Abo


A cute generic contemporary holiday romance. I really liked one of the main characters, Owen, the bar owner but the other MC, Cole, left me cold. I didn't dislike him, I was just rather meh about him.

All in all, I didn't dislike the book, but I didn't love it either. I think it could have been a lot more with a little work.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles


Society of Gentlemen - Book 1

5 Stars, yes indeed! I loved it, pure and simple. KJ Charles is one of my favourite authors and she most certainly did not disappoint with this first entry into her new Society of Gentlemen series.

A Fashionable Indulgence tells the story of Harry Vane and Julius Norreys.

When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.
I was beginning chapter 3 and I was already in love with the whole cast of characters, each one of them unique and may I say flawed in their own special ways. Real people, I think. :)

It was as if Georgette Heyer had decided to write a romance about two men and add in a few more racy scenes than her norm. :) And then about halfway through the book, things get serious and it's no longer a story of manners and such, but almost a mystery/adventure. And add in some serious political insight too.

This is one of those books that make me wish I could write an insightful, educated, knowledgeable review but I can't. And I really regret that, because I think KJ is a supremely talented writer and would love to do her justice. But, I can just say that I adored the book, loved the story, adored the characters and I cannot WAIT for the next book in the series. :)

EDT: I forgot to mention that I'd been saving this review/rec post to add to my own because it says things I wish I could. Check it out. :)


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Still Life by Louise Penny


Chief Inspector Gamache - Book 1

I'd been wanting to try this series for a while now, but when Book #1 of 11 (latest comes out on August 25th) goes for $13.99 Cdn, it's a pricey tryout. But finally, the price dropped to $9.99 and I picked it up.

Oh, I'm so glad I did!!

Louise Penny is Canadian and the book (the whole series as a matter of fact) are set in a small (fictional) town only about an hour away from my home. The main character is Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sureté du Quebec (provincial police) and he's past 50 years old, married and a unique sort. :) I liked him a lot. I liked his inner dialogue and I liked his moments of self-deprecating humour. I know men like this - very Montreal francophone. In my movie of the book, I would cast Colm Feore in the role.

The supporting characters are great too. French, English, a mix of both - again, very Montreal and surrounding areas. And they're all flawed. Well, except Gamache's right hand man, Jean-Guy Beauvais. I didn't spot any flaws in him and maybe that's how it's supposed to be. :)

The inhabitants of the small town of Three Pines are unique and very familiar to me too. Some are likable and others, not so much. There are many stories to be told about these folks in this small town, secrets upon secrets and we've only begun to scratch the surface.

The mystery itself was good. Thinking back, there were clues I might have picked up on, but there were also misdirections, so I was never certain. And I will say that up until the last two chapters, the climax and the wrap-up, I really wasn't certain about who the murderer was.

One might think that the Gamache mysteries fall into the cozy mystery genre, but Louise Penny has a bit of a different voice from the British folk who are so good at that type of book. Like a Canadian. *LOL* I had a quibble or two at a couple of the political observations made by a couple of the characters - it's a very anglo way of looking at things - but you know, that's life in Quebec. :)

Anyway, I'm hooked and I fully intend to read the whole series. :) And I totally recommend it!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Dragon's Teeth by James A. Hetley


Stonefort - Book 2

Sometimes a book is so good that you zip along, turning page after page, quickly, afraid that you'll miss something if you don't read it RIGHT NOW! Other books are so good because it just feels so good to read them. You take them slow, savouring the flavour of the words, the turns of phrase, the distinctive voice of the author. I love both kinds of books.

Dragon's Teeth is the latter type. It has an easy cadence to it that made me want to read it slowly, the way I'd drink a tumbler of fine single malt scotch. You know, it reads like one would expect life in small town Maine to feel, if that makes any sense.

The second Stonefort book brings us back to the wonderful characters we met in Dragon's Eye. Alice and Kate. The Morgan brothers, Daniel and Ben. Young Gary and his half-sister, Caroline. And a new character as complex and out-of-the-ordinary as the others, Jane White. It's truly like rejoining old friends.
We pick up shortly after the events of Dragon's Eye and I found that I missed the two girls, Daniel's daughters, who had been sent off for a week in the wilderness with the Naskeag Indian side of the family. I liked the youthful perspective on things. But some books can only hold so many characters before the narrative becomes scattered and disjointed, so I can deal with them not being there.

While the story in Dragon's Eye had come to a close, there were still threads dangling and if not exactly dangling, they needed to be completely woven back into the fabric of Stonefort. Dragon's Teeth does this. We see how Gary and Caroline continue the family traditions whilst doing things their way at times. The new generation bringing their special talents to the game. Kate and Alice suffer more heartbreak and sadness, but they also get on with their lives. And Ben and Daniel? Well, a few surprises for them too and I have to say, I'd be really happy to read a book of their adventures. And the new kid on the block, Jane. I liked her. My God, she was odd and different and just this side of scary, but... BUT... there was something about her that made me admire her at the same time as wanting to protect her. Brave, brave girl.

I honestly loved this book. I think James Hetley is an author that should be more known than he is. His voice is different from the majority of what I call contemporary fantasy out there in all the good ways. I highly recommend him and the Stonefort series. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

No Boundaries by SE Jakes


Phoenix Inc. Series - Book 1

A quick read that delivered what I expected. A bunch of hot, manly, damaged men indulging in sexytimes in between rescuing one of their own and solving the mystery.

I hadn't realised that this book was an offshoot of one of the volumes of the author's Men of Honor series but it is. It features the threesome of Styx, Law and Paolo in high-profile secondary roles as they support their friend and co-worker in the Phoenix Inc PI agency, Marcus as he protects and falls in love with the agency's latest and pro bono client, Cole.
I thought the stalker story was rather weak but as it was basically the raison d'etre to set up the romantic story, I guess it wasn't that big of a deal. Still, I could have done with more thought given to it.

I enjoy SE's books for the delightfully sexy romps they are but her Hell or High Water series remains my favourite.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Soulless by Gail Carriger


The Parasol Protectorate - Book 1

I've had the Parasol Protectorate series of books recommended to me by more than a few people. I was worried because it's not unknown for me to go off of something just because everyone else thinks it's grand.

Not the case here!

What a FUN romp! I love the premise, I love the characters and I adore the dialogue between those characters. The romance is quite lovely - amusing and hot and fun all at once. It totally worked for me.

The one thing that didn't so much were a few dialoguish anachronisms. I don't know if English Victorians said "Great!", for instance. The American might, but it wasn't him that said it. There were another couple of turns of phrase like that which struck my wrong on my 'reading ear'.

My favourite character did not die, neither did my other favourite character and if I may, Lord Akeldama's troupe of 'drones' have totally charmed me!

I'm so glad that I splurged and bought the boxed set! I'm looking forward to my next read with my Victorian AU friends!