Friday, 3 July 2015

Fiction Friday

Hurrah, another Fiction Friday post. That's three in a row.

I could well call this post Fiction Friday - The English Edition, because there is in influx of British authors here with a lone Australian thrown in.

Let's get the Aussie out of the way first.

Red Dirt Heart (Red Dirt #1) by N.R. Walker - Why, oh why did it take me so long to read this book? And even then it took the rest of the series being on sale to force my hand. I should have known from the blurb alone that I would love this book, and I did. What can I say, apparently I have a weakness for cowboys, even (especially) Australian ones. Five stars!

Now we've dealt with the Aussie (and I hope those words will come as easily when the The Ashes start next week) let's see what delights the Brits had to offer me. Full disclosure, these authors are some of my favourites, their inclusion here shouldn't surprise anybody.

Flashbulb (Flight HA1710 #3) by Clare London - Since a plane crash dominates the entire series this story is more angsty than anything else on the list. Clare throws two very different characters into a situation that drastically changes their lives, saddles them with survivors guilt and psychosomatic illness, and then provides them with an unexpected and surprising lifeline--the fifteen minute quickie that should have meant nothing. I honestly think this is the best thing of Clare London's that I have read. Five stars.

Nothing Special by Jay Northcote - One of those books that you know you are going to reach for when you need a pick me up. Sweet and sexy, with a gorgeous character in Sol.

The Summer House (English Hearts #1) by R.J. Scott - I nearly talked myself into not reading this one. I have other books of RJ's that I still need to read and I have my own village series all mapped out (okay, that's pushing it, vaguely sketched on paper, more solidly mapped in my head). Generally I don't like to read something that is similar to a manuscript that I'm even loosely working on. But the lure was too strong and I succumbed to the cover as much as anything. Connor really pissed me off early in the book but he has his reasons, and both the reader and Ash have to wait patiently for those reasons to be revealed. Ash was a delight and I hope we see more of both of them in the next book.

Nothing Ventured by Jay Northcote - So far this collection of books has been made up of cute, fluffy, low angst reads and I expected more of the same from this one. Was I wrong. This tale of training and no strings sex has more bite than the others. The guys are just having fun but the opportunity for disaster is there, a huge iceberg of emotions waiting to scupper everything, and when it hit there were tears. Mine, although some from the characters as well, I expect. I've really enjoyed this series, and in my opinion they just kept getting better. This one was my favourite. Five + stars.

So many good reads. Now I just need to read the remain Red Dirt books. Luckily, I have them all.


Friday, 26 June 2015

Fiction Friday

Last week I promised to reveal my five star reads/audios for the last three weeks.

Here we go then.

The Rebuilding Year (The Rebuilding Year #1) by Kaje Harper

Losing nearly everything leaves room for the one thing they can’t live without.

A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple. 

Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.

John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters. 

It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke. 

I honestly have no idea why it took me so long to pick up this book. I've owned it forever. It was so good. Double GFY (although I'd prefer a #loveislove tag). Slow burn attraction. No ridiculous or outrageous declarations of love. When the L word came up it felt completely natural and not forced for affect. And the children, oh the children. I generally hate books with kids in them. Precocious bundles of sassy sweetness unlike any child I would want to meet IRL and with the speech pattern and vocabulary of an adult. Not these kids. They were real kids, talked like real kids, and acted like them too. And I loved them more because of it.
The suspicious deaths and subsequent investigation wasn't overdone but there was just a hint of a threat in the background that had me on low level concern all through the book. And when that threat came to fruition it came from a completely different angle than I had expected.

Loved it.

Snowball in Hell - Josh Lanyon (audio)
Narrated by: Alexander Masters

Los Angeles, 1943

Reporter Nathan Doyle had his reasons to want Phil Arlen dead, but when he sees the man's body pulled from the La Brea tar pit, he knows he'll be the prime suspect. He also knows that his life won't stand up to intense police scrutiny, so he sets out to crack the case himself.

Lieutenant Matthew Spain's official inquiries soon lead him to believe that Nathan knows more than he's saying. But that's not the only reason Matt takes notice of the handsome journalist. Matt's been drawn to men before, but he must hide his true feelings--or risk his entire career.

As Nathan digs deeper, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay one step ahead of Matt Spain--and to deny his intense attraction to him. Nathan's secrets may not include murder, but has his hunt put him right in the path of the real killer?

This book was the first Josh Lanyon I ever read. In fact it was the first gay romance I ever read. I love this book. My heart ached for Nathan in a way that I don't think it has for any other character. Right up to the final page. But there is hope there too.

I have to admit that listening to the sample on audible I wasn't sure about the narrator but I bought the audio anyway. Two chapters in and I still wasn't certain. I voiced my opinion on Facebook and Josh himself reassured me that Alexander was perfect for the reading. Reassured, I relaxed and let myself get lost in the story (a dangerous thing to do when you're driving).

Josh was right. Alexander Master's read the story perfectly. His gruff vocal was ideal for the gritty noir feel of the story. Voices were distinctly different and fitted the characters. My favourite book lost none of its impact or heartbreaking quality in the reading.


Do you like audio books? Has the audio version ever ruined a book for you?  Or made it better?

Friday, 19 June 2015

Fiction Friday

Amazingly since my last Fiction Friday post I have read 47 books. Yes, that's right 47.

Okay, to be fair and honest I did DNF a couple of those, although I think it was only three, and most of what I read during the last week of May were quite short. I realised that my Kindle was full of freebie fillers with such titillating titles as Pounding the Tentacled CEO Alpha Billionaire (spanking edition)*  So I decided to waste a week at the end of May only reading free reads. These are generally quite easy to spot from both the title (see above) and the fact that I have rarely heard of the authors. The three DNFs were in this particular week's worth of reading, and for the most part the rest of the stories were smut fest, purple prose, fantasy fulfilling PWPs. However, amongst the instantly forgettable and interchangeable stories I found a couple of gems.

A Haunted Hotel by 

Out of the Rain by Hollis Shiloh - Possibly the sweetest rent boy story I've ever read. No sex.

Flight Risk by L.A. Witt  - No surprise that this one made it onto the list. I love L A Witt's military stories. No sex. Hah! Who am I kidding! Smoking hot.


Of my June reads I've had a bevy of enjoyable stories.

Emerging Magic (Sentinels #2) by Angela Benedetti - Second book in the series. Follows on almost immediately after A Hidden Magic and shows Rory and Paul coping with magic, their new connection, and their fledgling relationship. 

A Ghost of a Chance by Josh Lanyon - More ghost story than romance but, that said, as usual with Josh's work the romance felt solid and believable. Also listened to the audiobook. Another excellent narration and well read. The book loses nothing in its transfer to audio.

Chasing the Rebel by Tyler Flynn - A first read for me from this author. Historical romp. A little too much push and pull combined with internal angsting but the action surrounding the introspection was enjoyable and fun.

Top Me Maybe? by Jay Northcote - Sexy read with plenty of feelings.

Cronin's Key (Cronin's Key #1) by N.R. Walker - Vampires and fated mates. Not normally my thing to be fair. But combining some different vampire traits with a sexy, bewildered, and slightly pissed off cop this book put a smile on my face.

Caught! (The Shamwell Tales #1) by J.L. Merrow - It's no secret that I'm a Jamie Merrow fan girl. Very British. Low angst read with engaging leads and interesting secondary characters. 

Ports of Call by Sean Kennedy - Established couple getting over a traumatic incident. A short and sweet read with just enough tugging on your heartstrings to take this up a notch. I had trouble with head hopping in this one but no other reviews have mentioned it so I wonder if it was just me.

Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote - Jay certainly knows how to write sex with feelings. 

I also had a five star read and a five star audio but since this post is already far too long I'll save them both for next week.

Are any of these books on your favourite shelves? 


*I apologise if I have inadvertently used someone's actual book title, it was not my intention. Of course by tomorrow this exact book may be available for free in the Kindle store.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Wittering on and on and on

Pop on over to the UK Meet Blog and find out my answers to these questions.

UK Meet Button If you wrote an autobiography, what would its title be and why?

What has your writing journey been like from the start until now?


What do you hope to get from UK Meet that’s different from other conferences?


What do you have to be thankfully to KJ Charles and Charlie Cochrane for? (Okay, this wasn't an official question but the answer is in there anyway.)


Is it September yet?


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Branding

Earlier this week I mentioned that several things had been taking up my time and unfortunately neither of them were actually writing but they were writing adjacent.

At last year's UK Meet much comment was made about having a brand that readers could associate with you as an author. It's probably the piece of social media/promo based advice that I took from the Meet that I have given the most thought to since that trip to Bristol. And it's true that everybody can probably recognise KJ's magpie or Sue Brown's heart on rain streaked glass or R J Scott's joined hearts.

I particularly like Jay Northcote's rainbow burst which reminds me of a Catherine Wheel (or what you imagine the firework should be, rather than a spurt of flame that does half a rotation and then gets stuck on the fence panel where it burns a charred reminder into the wood).

Anyhow, I toyed with some design ideas, contemplated trying to create something for myself, got some great advice from Garrett Leigh, checked out some design software, decided I don't have time to write let alone learn to use new software, and then went back to Garrett cap in hand.

And this is the result. My new logo. *drum roll please*


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Over the next few days this logo will be replacing my current icons on all social media.

I love the simplicity and the colours.

What do you think?



Monday, 15 June 2015

Just a quick note

to apologise for not being around for a couple of weeks. I've fallen down a black hole but hopefully a couple of posts in the next few weeks will explain my absence.

Also, I have several recommended reads (and audios) for you which I'll try to post on Friday as normal.

In the meantime I will leave you with another graphic which can attest to more wasted time on picmonkey.


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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A review for Theory Unproven

A 4.25 star review at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.

With a zoologist, Eric Phillips, as one half of the main couple, I loved the realistic way his life and work with the elephants was portrayed.  Dirty, all consuming, and soul satisfying…the readers understands through the many passages what it must be like to have that deep connection with another species. 

All good characters, all people the reader will want to spend time with.

Tyaan is a character that will draw conflicted feelings among the readers.  I thought his was a character grounded in the reality of the changing times in South Africa...Got it, you understand him even if you don’t like his actions, it makes him human.

While I was reading it, I was hooked on the elephants, Eric and Tyaan’s attraction for each other and strained journey towards a relationship.  

This is a long book yet most of the time I spent reading it flew by.  And I could easily book a flight back to this universe.  

...this story is so lush, so vibrant in feeling and scope that I am still so very much in love with Theory Unproven weeks later.

I recommend this story for all who love romance, foreign lands and a landscape of adventure where the search for love can be rough, affectionate, and hard won.  


Read the review in full here.


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