Thursday, July 31, 2014

A picture is worth...

What kind of connection could they have? Tell us in 100 to 1000 words (drabbles are fine, really) and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Double Up by Vanessa North

Title: Double Up
Author: Vanessa North
Purchase at Riptide (Preorder until August 25)

Cover Artist: LC Chase
Genre: contemporary
Length: 37k words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf

Knowing he’s loved can make any man fly.

Fifteen years ago, Ben Warren was a wakeboarding champion: king of big air, ballsy tricks, and boned grabs. Until a career-ending injury left him broken in ways he still has no hope of fixing. Now he takes his thrills where he can get them, and tries not to let life hurt too much.

Then Davis Fox arrives in Ben’s sporting goods store with a plan to get in touch with his estranged brother by competing in the annual wakeboarding double-up contest. The catch? He’s never ridden before. It’s crazy, but Ben’s a sucker for the guy’s sob story—and for his dimples, too—so he agrees to coach Davis.

Davis is everything Ben isn’t: successful, confident, and in love with life. And he wants Ben to love life—and him—too. But before Ben can embrace a future with Davis, he needs to remember how to hope.


This story really blew me away. First person, present tense isn’t my first choice, but is perfect to tell the story of retired wake-boarder Ben Warren’s story of finding himself and love with architect Davis Fox.

Davis has a younger half brother whom he’s not allowed to see, a wakeboarding phenom who’s also the son of a local conservative politician, Rodney Romeo, and he’s desperate to find a way to connect with Ridley. Learning a dangerous sport well enough to compete alongside an expert in a short time seems perfectly reasonable to a man who doesn’t have a lot of other options. Ben can help him learn what he needs to know, and they are immediately attracted.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Coming this week

Thanks for swinging by this week. We had reviews of Ged Ruggles' Pine Valley, a novel of humor and social commentary,  and Eden Winters' novelette length Highway Man. Twice as long as before, and seriously good. We also had a prompt pic of a Jason Stackhouse look-alike being disciplined by a puppy, so anyone who has a story to explain that, do pass it along. 100 to 1000 words please.

Coming, we have a novella length story from Vanessa North, called Double Up, and Lloyd Meeker's new novel, The Companion. I want to stroke that cover. We also have a prompt pic to make you ponder, and hopefully to inspire.

For those of you who are concerned that a couple of novels on the carousel are being overlooked, don't worry. Kate Pavelle will be along on a particular date for her blog tour, so I'll tell you about that book when she can join us. Lou Harper's latest Dead Man book will have buy links active soon, so I'll hit the "publish" button once I've edited them in. Great follow-up to the other two probably isn't much of a spoiler. ;)

Keep reading!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Highway Man by Eden Winters

Title: Highway Man
Author: Eden Winters
Purchase at Rocky Ridge Books
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: PD Singer
Genre: contemporary
Length: 15k
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf

Killian Desmond’s dreams died in a flash of pain and the scream of twisted metal. He lost it all the night a tour bus sailed off a mountainside, sending his band—with his brother—to their deaths.

Killian is dead too, if the papers are to be believed, and living a half-life of odd jobs, rodeo rides and pick up gigs. The road that once meant freedom is now Killy’s exile. No strings, no ties, no names for the one-night stands.

Answering a tribute band’s ad thrusts him face to face with his past, and into the arms of the one man who just might understand.


I read this in its first incarnation and loved it then, but in its new form we get about twice as much story and I think I love it about twice as much now. I would not have reviewed again except the new version is double the original word count and with a different thrust. And hotter than the first time around too.

The original was gritty and raw story of a man who’d been eaten by fame and all the shit that comes with it, until tragedy let him step away and into the shadows. We get all that and more here—the man Killy beds but refuses to call by name has a much greater part. In a handful of words Tex shows his soul and his past. Three sentences become enough to show why he’s the perfect man for Killy, who never wanted to let anyone close again.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A picture is worth...

Much too cute. Tell us more in 100 to 1000 words (drabbles are fine, really) and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pine Valley by Ged Ruggles

Title: Pine Valley
Author: Ged Ruggles
Purchase at Amazon
Cover Artist: unknown
Genre: romantic comedy, social commentary
Length: 58k words, approx 151 pages
Formats: mobi

Most men of ambition would kill for the chance to play a bracing game at Pine Valley, the most celebrated, and exclusive, golf course in the world. And in the summer of his 30th birthday, Jeff Carpenter gets his chance.

Trouble is, Jeff isn't exactly a man of ambition, having put his literary dreams on hold 10 years ago for a soulless back office job. Nor did he ever master the art of the swing farther than once making par on the giant dinosaur hole at his local childhood mini golf.

But a chance encounter with the son of Pine Valley's most senior councilman at a Philadelphia gay bar sparks a clandestine romance that plunges Jeff into a web of intrigue that threatens Pine Valley's very existence.


This first novel from Ged Ruggles offers a smorgasbord of social commentary to go with a low key romance, a look at all the social changes that threaten the status quo of "cis WASPy male rules". While it’s uneven, there are chuckles, and some flashes of brilliance. Expect irreverence and over the top situations, and don’t ask too much of the romantic arc.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Reviews and quotes and coming this week

It has come to my attention that my reviews have been quoted here and there. That's fine as long as it's accurate, so no fair using a dozen ellipses to piece together a sentence. Keep in mind that Fair Use involves brief quotes and proper attribution, otherwise, quote what you need.

In the last week, we had a review of an ancient Greek-set story, Alexios' Fate by Kayla Jameth, a luscious couple for a Thousand Word Thursday prompt pic, and a thousand word excerpt  from Eden Winters' novel Diversion. Good stuff, read the rest.

Coming this week, we have a review for Highway Man by Eden Winters, another nommy prompt pic, and a review for Double Up from Vanessa North. We may have another surprise review--stay tuned.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Thousand Word Excerpt from Eden Winters

From Diversion, by Eden Winters

The locker rooms were fairly clean, it being early in the day, and Bo and Lucky shed street clothes in favor of shorts and T-shirts in a communal dressing room. Lucky peered at Bo’s ass while humming Black Eyed Peas’ My Hump, and making up his own words: My big old juicy rump…I turn around and things fall down…
Bo gave him the evil eye, nose scrunched as though he’d whiffed something nasty. Being in a gym locker room made funky smells a distinct possibility. “What?” Lucky donned his best innocent expression.
Bo grumbled and stalked away, finding his way to ring two alone.
Lucky’s second thoughts began when he found his opponent flexing, stretching, and bouncing in place through a series of warm-ups. Oh shit. Ex-Marine. Might have a clue. Lots of muscles. Longer reach. Still no match for mean and quick. Maybe. Lucky threaded his fingers together and lifted his hands way up and behind his head, loosening up. He might have to absorb a bit of punishment.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A picture is worth

 Aw. Tell us about this kiss in 100 to 1000 words (drabbles are fine, really) and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Alexios' Fate by Kayla Jameth

Title: Alexios’ Fate
Author: Kayla Jameth
Purchase at Breathless Press
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Mina Carter
Genre: historical
Length: 55k
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf

Seduced by a king, pursued by the god Apollo, and wooed by his slave, can Alexios escape his fate and find love?

Mature King Lykos has a sexy confidence that turns Alexios' head. Seduced by Lykos, Prince Alexios discovers a world of men he's never known before.

Meanwhile his slave Galen has gotten tired of waiting in the wings. He sets out to woo Alexios and win his heart.

Even Apollo can't leave Alexios alone. The young prince finds himself pursued by a god and in danger of a perilous love.

How will Alexios follow his heart when he unwittingly wins the favor of a god? Can Alexios escape the fate of Apollo's past lovers and have the man he wants?


I’m not sure this story should be regarded as a romance, because there are a number of elements that argue for a very gay historical. Alexios, our lead character, is on the cusp of manhood and his father the king has a number of decisions to make regarding his future.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dead Man and the Lustful Spirit

Title: Dead Man and the Lustful Spirit
Author: Lou Harper
Purchase at Amazon  (free)
Purchase at All Romance eBooks (Free)
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre: paranormal, short story
Length: 8000 words (approx 30 pages)
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf

Denton is a necromancer and his boyfriend Bran is a witch. It's not as exciting as it sounds. They don't even get to dress the part, unless it's New Year's Eve and they've been invited to a costume party. Denton is happy to let his hair down, but coaxing the reclusive Bran out of his shell is hard enough without a demonic spirit crashing the party.

Convincing the spirit to return whence it came from will call on Denton's special skills, but not in necromancy.


Now that we have Denton, who sees death traces and has some necromantic abilities which he’s exploring and polishing with Bran’s help, and Bran, the antisocial witch and herbalist, as an established couple, Lou Harper sent them to a New Year’s Eve party. What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A picture is worth...

Grudge match? Making a point? Competition? Tell us more in 100 to 1000 words (drabbles are fine, really) and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dead Man and the Restless Spirits by Lou Harper

Title: Dead Man and the Restless Spirits
Authors: Lou Harper
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre: paranormal
Length: 166 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

Denton Mills has a secret: he can see dead people. Or rather, how they died. It's quite a drag in a city like Chicago, teeming with the echoes of the no-longer living. Rather than whine about it, Denton has learned to live with his troublesome talent. His adaptability comes in handy when he meets his enigmatic new neighbor.

Bran Maurell catches Denton's eye right away, but unfortunately Mr. Tall, Dark, and Mysterious is as standoffish as he is alluring. However, after an unexpected introduction from Bran's cat brings the two men together, Denton discovers they have a mutual interest in the spirit world. Herbalist by day, Bran moonlights as a witch, performing house cleansings for a fee.

From Bran, Denton learns that his knack for interacting with the dead qualifies him as a necromancer. It makes good business sense for them to team up and rid Chicago of its pesky spirits one grateful client at a time. Amongst ghostly adventures the attraction between the men is impossible to ignore. They seem like perfect partners—unless Bran's not-so-little secret comes between them.

Warning: men loving men, ghosts with attitudes, and a portly feline with hidden talents.


Denton, our POV character here, first appeared in Spirit Sanguine, another of Lou Harper’s books that I enjoyed. Now he and his odd ability to see the death traces have their own set of stories.

The author’s favored format of interlinked shorter pieces in one volume is here, though I recommend they be read in order. We get to follow Denton and his new herb-growing, spirit-banishing neighbor on a series of adventures.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Coming this week

Hope everyone had a happy 4th of July, lying in the sun with your kindles reading hot man romance... Oh well, guess you know what I did!

This week is gonna be another Lou Harper week, because when I get to reading this author, I'll take a whole series at a time.  Look for reviews on all of her Dean Man stories. Of course, we'll have a hawt prompt pic, so anyone who feels the urge to write to a prompt, or who has an excerpt that might fit, let me know, we'll have an extra treat.

Happy reading!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Next by Rafe Haze

Title: The Next
Authors: Rafe Haze
Purchase at Wilde City Press
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist:  not stated
Genre:  thriller 
Length:  83k
Formats:  epub, mobi, pdf,  print

He never thought he’d become one of the agoraphobic sludges of New York City—trapped with one view of a courtyard and a head full of wrenching memories. Dumped, disconnected, and depressed, he surrenders to spying on the neighbors as his only entertainment.
Until one day, without warning, the lascivious and suspicious behavior of the closeted lawyer in the huge apartment across the courtyard leads him to a spine-tingling conclusion… his neighbor is a murderer.

Perhaps collaborating with the beautiful and fierce Detective Marzoli to catch the killer can finally breathe life back into a man suffocated by the stranglehold of a tragic past. Unless the killer across the way decides to make him… The Next.


The cover is a pretty good metaphor for this book—whatever that man makes you think, turn it 90 degrees.

Our nameless protagonist lives in a downward spiral of despair—he’s given up on the world. His songwriting mocks him, his girlfriend gives up on him, his agent’s all but forgotten him, and his bank account has that hollow sound of terminal emptiness.  The opening is so bleak that I seriously questioned being able to stay with the protag for the rest. DNF at the 10% mark was a real possibility, staved off by the prospect of elderly Field and Streams at the dentist's office. We’re not even given a name as a point of connection.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pissed off Crys

I host a lot of pictures at Photobucket, but that's probably a big mistake. However, after several hundred posts, it's kind of a large error to fix systematically.

The problem is that the wowsers who patrol Photobucket while clutching their pearls with one hand and poking the delete button with the other have paid a visit to my account. I know they do this: I interviewed for the position because when my health deteriorated there wasn't a lot else I could do, but this sucked too bad to do even then. 

So, book covers I can't even identify are missing. Book covers. Bare man chests, how awful. Two men embracing, the horror. I am so mad I can't see straight. I linked those pictures to reviews, and now my reviews are broken. So, visitors, if you stumble on something that needs fixing, put a comment on that post and I can find it through the dashboard. I found a few already but I know there are more.

Thanks, and let the bare chests roll.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A picture is worth...

Is he rising? Is he falling? Tell us more in 100 to 1000 words (drabbles are fine, really) and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Prisoner 374215 by Angel Martinez

Title: Prisoner 374215
Author: Angel Martinez
Buy at Mischief Corner Books

Purchase at All Romance eBooks (Free, go for it!)
Cover Art: Freddy MacKay
Genre: Short story, science fiction
Length: 10500 words
Formats: mobi, epub, pdf

While the cell is sparse and cold, at least this one has a bed. The figure resting there is too thin; too still, the prominent bones the result of long starvation, the stillness the product of too much anguish and abuse. He watches, though. An anxious, intelligent mind still occupies this frail and failing body, one that watches and wonders about the new guard occupying his cell each night.


This fine story is my gateway to the writing of Angel Martinez, and I guess I just must be the last one to know. Turns out the story placed second in shorts at the Rainbow Reviews in 2013, and it deserves the award.

The story starts grim, and the abuse theme warning is certainly appropriate. This is science fiction with a gay character, not a romance. As science fiction, it stands up to the best I’ve read recently for atmosphere and for worldbuilding. The nameless prisoner dares not hope for more than that this day not contain too much pain.

There’s plenty going on just outside his view though, and his guard brings in bits and snippets, so that we know there are greater events unfolding. What the prisoner must do is crucial to those events. It’s very well done, and ends in something good, both for the universe and for the prisoner.

There are more stories set in the Esto universe, which I am now inspired to read. 5 marbles