Friday, 28 July 2017

Fiction Friday

Back to the regular title since it's actually Friday.

Puss in Prada by Maria Jacquelyn. – (Short read – Less than an hour.) A-freaking-dorable. The narrator is in the body of a cat for 95% of the story having been cursed by a witch. This is a tale of second chances, learning to give rather than take, and, as befitting any fairy tale, True Love. It’s also funny, cute and adorable and yet still had me on the verge of tears as Alex realised all that he had lost. His ‘voice’ as Alex the cat was priceless.

Rain Shadow by LA Witt. – Back to Bluewater Bay. This is book 10 in the series. This started off so well for me, both MCs over 40, an alpha security guard, a silver fox, lots of hot sex, and a pair of clueless MCs that don’t realise they are in a relationship despite their insistence they are just fuckbuddies. And then we met Jeremy’s kids. I disliked them both, but I hated the daughter. I actually thought she was 13/14 from the immature way she was acting not 18. In the end, Jeremy’s so called family almost ruined this story for me. If Jeremy wasn’t suffering so much from not talking to them I’d say f**k’em. They don’t deserve him.

City Boy: Hot Off the Ice #1 by AE Wasp – Closeted 30something hockey player who doesn’t realise he is gay, blows a tyre out in the back of beyond and is rescued by a knight in shining leather on the back of a motorbike. Actually, he blows more than a tyre ;) This was really good. Bryce is a great character who embraces his new newfound revelation that he is gay with gusto. I liked both characters, and all their friends and family. The sex scenes are hot, especially if you’re partial to a gay virgin. Considering the premise, I didn’t think there was a great deal of angst or conflict. This was a sweet, sexy read and I’m already looking forward to book #2.

True Colors by Anyta Sunday – This seemed familiar when I started but when I checked I realised that I’d read the first book True Luck back when it was called Bottle Boys, and the two stories overlap. This is friends to enemies to lovers and a beautiful story of second chances. It broke my heart in places. 5 stars.

I’ll Still Be There by Keelan Ellis – New to me author. And a book I don’t even remember buying. This is a tale of two love affairs from two different periods, tied together by a house. This was a clever story, tying the two threads together in a most satisfying way. Something in the writing style distanced me from the emotions of the lovers. This book should have made me cry, but it didn’t. If it had I’d have given this 5 stars for sure. I've just bought the sequel.

Knit Tight (Portland Heat) by [Albert, Annabeth]Delivered Fast by Annabeth Albert – Book 3 in the Portland Heat series. And my favourite of the series so far. This got 5 stars from me. I love a grumpy MC and Chris is old (35!, okay he’s a mere pup) and cranky. And I knew from the blurb this had the possibility to make me cry and it did, ugly, blurry-kindle, tight-cheeked tears. I couldn’t let go of these guys, so I followed it up with Cranky Christmas (Portland heat 3.5) and their sequel, where we catch up with the guys 2 years later. Short and sweet, if slightly predictable.
When I went to do the link for this Amazon said it was 91p! That's nothing for such a brilliant story. I don't know if it's the regular price so grab it, grab it now!

Knit Tight by Annabeth Albert - Book 4 in the Portland Heat series. This series started off quite sweet and angst-free, what happened? This one had me in tears twice. Brady and Ev were an adorable couple, even when they weren't (a couple). The children were believable and realistic.
This might be my favourite one yet.

The 91p price tag appears to be across the board for the first 4 books of this series. No reason not to grab all four then.
And there is a 10K mini sequel to this story, Quick Knit, which might be even more adorable than the original story, because we finally get Ev's POV. *hugs him so tight*

And that pretty much has caught me up since I've taken a break to do some beta work and then fell back into the fanfic rabbit hole for a while.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Reading Round-up

Regular service is resumed after the comic edition on Monday.

There's several freebies in this list...

Afternoon Americano (Coffee Boys Book 3) by [Brant, Becca]
A pretty typical gay romance cover
Afternoon Americano by Becca Brant (Coffee Boys #3) – The only one of these books that is a recent release. And more than 99p. However it is available to read on KU. Sweet romance, low angst, and an easy read. With the added enjoyment of one of the MCs being a gay romance author. My first read by this author. I will probably pick up the rest of the series.

Half Past Forever by A Morell. - A free DRitC story. A stripper and a half-incubus walk into a bar… Actually, a far sweeter and more romantic story than I was expecting from the prompt.

The Backpack by Sue Brown – Only 99p! Don’t read the blurb! I mean it. This book benefits from not being aware of what is going on and the blurb really does give too much away. An unusual dual tense choice which may put some readers off. I found the story both hopeful and melancholy. It made me cry.

Something a bit different.
I really like this cover.
Atle’s saga by Kit Edwards. - A free DRitC story.Viking era historical. Excellent. I was enthralled. Yes, I know Vikings didn’t talk like that but when the story is that good I really can’t bring myself to care.

Knowing Patrick (Maewyn’s Prophecy) by Emily Veinglory. - Free short read from Loose ID. Interesting. I can’t say much more without giving away the suspense. It leads into a series but I’ve not read anymore of the stories. 

Ask, Answer, Look, Kiss by Livia Frost. Another free DRitC story. Fiends to lovers. Miscommunication. Sweet story with low angst.

So that's a couple of recs there that you can grab with very little outlay. How do you feel about free reads? Are you willing to take a chance on a new to me author if you don't have any outlay?

Monday, 24 July 2017

Reading Round-up

Because I can't keep calling it Fiction Friday when it's not (Friday).

I know not many of you follow this for recs on graphic novels but I feel remiss when I leave them out since they do make up a large proportion of my reading. Since I'm still catching up from my FF hiatus I thought I'd give this one up solely to my comic reads in that period.

Flintlock by Steve Tanner – An indie comic. I picked this up at Comic Con. I always enjoy this way of buying graphic novels because you often get to speak to the creators. Black and white line drawings make up the majority of the panels here. It’s a collection of three short stories, almost an introduction to three of the six characters the author intends to focus on. All the stories take place in the same timeline, although there is no guarantee that they will ever meet (or so the author tells me) and feature diverse main characters. My favourite of the three was the final one, with two urchin pickpockets recounting the tale of the newest addition to the Bow Street Runners—a metal man called the Clockwork Cavalier.

18710780Widdershins Vol 1: Sleight of Hand by Kate Ashwin. - Another Indie comic that I picked up at Comic Con. Magic. Victorian. Crime fighting. Well-drawn and an interesting story.

The Backstagers issue 1. - Firstly, I was disappointed because I thought I was getting the whole volume but it turned out to only be the first issue. However, it was an interesting introduction to the world behind the stage. Jordy, the new boy at school, needs to find an after-school club and he joins the backstagers, the prop boys that support the theatre club. Jordy might have found somewhere to belong, some friends and maybe someone who can be something more. Wacky and well-drawn. Kudos for a comic with LGBTQ characters.

Fantastic Four, Vol 3: Doomed – I know this has been quite widely slated but I enjoyed most of it. There were three (yes three) Johnny Storms in this volume. Seriously people, three. What’s not to like.

Dash – Issues 1-4. - Independent comic. 1940’s hardboiled PI meets Indy meets The Mummy with an LGBT lead character. Be still my beating heart. The artwork is kind of basic but it suits the story. I loved this, devoured all 4 issues. My only complaint is the story arc isn’t finished. Things are left very up in the air. With the last issue having been published in 2015 I was prepared to put this down to one of those things. (Books/comics don’t get finished for whatever reason, any fanfiction reader will tell you that. Hell, as a fan fiction writer I’m guilty of that myself.) I was all ready to fix everything with a bit of fanfiction. But I decided to do a bit of Google Fu and I found that the project is back on track after a two-year hiatus and there should be two new issues in the autumn. Hoorah. Highly recommended. 

13227852Justice League of America #1 Origins (New 52) - Geoff Johns (writer) and Jim Lee (artist). I like this writer/artist pairing.  This, as the title implies, shows the formation of the JLA at the start of the New 52. The panels are bright and colourful, and all the characters look great. The origin team are Green Lantern (Hal), Flash (Barry), Batman., Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg (Cyborg is the only one whose Origin story we get and it’s pretty much the same as the one I’ve recently read in the Rebirth issue of the same name). Hal is a bit of a dick (think Johnny Storm at his most obnoxious) but this makes for some very funny scenes between him and Batman. And OMG Superbat <3 Batman strips off his cowl and as Bruce Wayne goes to rescue Superman!  I read this as a copy from the library but I’m already planning to buy a copy of my own.

Justice League of America #2 The Villain's Journey (New 52) – An excellent continuation of the previous volume.

And Justice League of America #3 The Throne of Atlantis (New 52) – A change of artist for this volume but not too great a change in style. There was a weak story to start with Cheetah as the villainess but thankfully Arthur (Aquaman) is the focus of the rest of this volume. Oh and we get to see Clark rip open his shirt to reveal Supe’s costume underneath.

I've got the next volume of this already lined up and hopefully by then volume 5 will have turned up in the library.

I've been a Marvel gal for a long time but I'm really enjoying my new foray into DC.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Fiction Friday

All For Show: A Fake Boyfriend Gay Romance by [Kane, Rachel]
Back to showing my favourite covers of the books
recommended here. It's probably the dog.
I would have picked KJ's but 

the cover model reminds me of Jason Orange.
Yes, it's really Friday this time. And this post is a catch-all of different authors.

Babyvamp by Lyssa Dering – Okay, now as a rule I don’t do vampires but I did two in the space of a week and enjoyed them both. I thought the world building was excellent with the vampire police and registration etc. Certain parts squicked me out (the bloodily fluids and use of the word ‘child’ for a lover) but the story was entertaining and the characters were fun. I’d happily read more in this world, especially about the human, Taylor.

Fake it ‘til you feel it by Ashley Oaks – This is just the cutest fake boyfriend trope story I’ve read in a long time. (There’s a short sequel, Valentine, Interupted, catching up with the lads on their first Valentine’s day, which while cute had one event that made me ragey. I'll link you to my GRs review because I can't put things under a spoiler tag here.)

Make Me a Match Vol 2 – Dreamspinner anthology. Overall a mixed bag with a couple of right clunkers in there, but I’m listing it here for ‘Fragments of a Fiery Sun’ by M Jules Aedin. A glorious historical about wharf rats and an Irish lad fresh off the boat. I could have happily read a novel about these guys. Well-crafted and a joy to read.   

All For Show by Rachel Kane – Would have benefited from less introspection and more dialogue tags, but I adored Owen and the author had a deft hand with a lot of Owen’s amusing one liners. Not quite the romantic comedy I was expecting. With issues of poor self-esteem, depression, and manipulative relationships this story had more substance than the light and fluffy tale I thought I was getting. 

And my highly recommended, 'must read' book for this post...

An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities) by [Charles, KJ]
Sod it. I love the background of this cover.
Even if the cover model looks like he's going to
burst into a verse of 'Pray'.

An Unnatural Vice by KJ Charles. (Sins of the Cities # 2)
 This overlaps with An Unseen Attraction and continues the overarching story line.
 This book was damn near perfect for me.
I adored the awkwardness of the first book and how sweet Clem and Rowley were together.
This one has a completely different vibe. Enemies to lovers and flawed heroes. Perfect. 
Now I can’t wait for Mark’s story.
5 stars. 

Enjoy. They'll be at least another 3 FF posts next week, but one will be graphic novels only.

And I'll leave you with two questions to consider.

I've blogged about vampire stories two days on the trot now. How often do you read outside your comfort zone?

And how likely are you to give up on an anthology if the the first few stories aren't very good?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

My poor neglected blog (aka Fiction Friday - the Clare London edition)

It's been a month since I last posted here. And nearly two since I've done a Fiction Friday post. That’s what happens when you try to write and publish a book in two months. (Just Hanging Out, for any of you that might have missed it.)

Hasn't stopped me reading though and I've decided to share my highlights over several posts until we are all caught up. So Fiction Friday will be cropping up on other days, don't let that confuse you. I take no responsibility for confusion over the day of the week from reading my posts.

While compiling these posts I noticed one author got a lot of my attention in these last few weeks so I have decided to dedicate this post just to her. Welcome to

Fiction Friday (on a Thursday) - The Clare London Edition

Normally I pick my favourite cover to illustrate
these posts. Not this time. Publishers take note,
this is not an enticing cover. The cover models
bear no relation to any of the characters &
it gives no indication of the content of the story.
Out of Time – A short read (less than an hour). An interesting take on vampires (although that word is never used), the effect of immortality, and of being turned against your will. Well written and slightly melancholy as the two MCs meet periodically over time and their attraction turns to affection. Lovely.

No Angel – Okay. Let’s get my grumps out of the way first. I hate this cover. It has no bearing on the story and the models don’t seem to resemble any of the characters. But this cover is for the out of print edition so anyone buying in the future won’t need to put up with it. Second grump: It’s out of print. Boo *thumbs down* (as opposed to Boo!) Because yes, this story is about ghosts, or one in particular; Bryn, a ghost who pinches Felix’s bum on the bus. Be prepared to dislike Bryn at first, he’s a dick, but he’s dead and he’s not had any (dick, that is) for a while. And he’s not the love interest. The love interest is Mickey who is adorable.  This is a really fun read, with lots of Clare London’s trademark humour.
Rest assured this is being repackaged (with additional content - yay!) and will be available again soon. So add it to your GR shelf for a future purchase. You won't be disappointed.

Looking for a quick read. Try...

Chat Line  - Short read. Less than 30 mins. Jerry needs a hand cleaning up his flat. He phones Helping Hands, surprised to find them open on New Year’s Eve. But the service Sean is offering isn’t quite what Jerry was expecting. Sweet, sexy, and funny.

And my highly recommended, must read choice...

Romancing the Ugly Duckling - Clare's latest release and part of the Dreamspun Desire range from Dreamspinner. Gorgeous re-telling of The Ugly Duckling. It had the perfect balance of gentle comedy and romance. Some nice fish out of water moments with Perry. But it’s Greg, all gruff and self-deprecating (and the perfect book boyfriend for me) who steals the show. I got to the end and I wasn’t ready to let this story go. Brilliant. 5 stars.
And I don't have to let them go because I have just purchased this book in audio. I'll let you know how that goes in a future post.

I could recommend Clare London's books until the cows come home but these are the books of hers that I've read in the last six weeks. Enjoy.