Monday, August 24, 2015

LGBT Monday: Dreamspinner Novellas Edition


Piece of Cake (A Matter of Time, #8)
Title: Piece of Cake
Author: Mary Calmes
Series: Matter of Time, #8
Released: August 11th 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 70 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Dreamspinner press

After years of domestic partnership, Jory Harcourt and Sam Kage are finally going to make it official in their home state of Illinois. It’s been a long and rocky road, and nothing—not disasters at work, not the weather, not a possible stalker, not even getting beat up and having to attend the ceremony looking like he just got mugged—will make Jory wait one more day to make an honest man of the love of his life.
Should be a piece of cake, right?

When you've loved a series as much as I have and for as long as I've loved A Matter of Time, getting a novella that celebrates everything that was special about it is a treat like no other. We’ve followed Sam and Jory to hell and back, seen them make awful decisions and come together in their explosive way, witnessed them settling down and weathering one storm after another, laughed through Jory’s antics and loved them both unconditionally for many, many years. In Piece of Cake, the two can finally get married in their own state after years of domestic partnership, but Jory wouldn’t be Jory if murder and mayhem didn’t follow him closely.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: Lonely Hearts


Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons, #3)Author: Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons, #3
Released: August 11th 2015
Publisher: Samhain
Length: 355 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.
Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.

Warning: Contains sex in a Tesla, sex in a cupboard, sex under a piano, kinky role play, and a cappella RuPaul songs. Just a couple of boys groping, battling, then finally loving their way to becoming men. 

Heidi Cullinan’s Love Lessons series is the only new adult contemporary series I’ve ever liked. That may be a bold and unusual starting sentence, but it’s sincere. I’m not much of a NA reader and I never was, but if there’s an author out there who has the power to turn me into an avid fan, it’s the amazing Ms. Cullinan.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Forbidden Blog Tour: Q&A with Cathy Clamp

These days, good urban fantasy is hard to find, but luckily for us, there are still many well-established authors willing to use their considerable experience to give us exactly what we want to read. Cathy Clamp might be better known for all the books she co-authored with C. T. Adams, but hers is a name you'll be hearing often for years to come. Cathy's new book, Forbidden, starts a new, spin-off series in her well-known Sazi universe. It was released by Tor on August 18th 2015.

USA Today bestselling author Cathy Clamp reboots the Sazi universe in Forbidden, a tightly-paced, high-tension urban fantasy thriller.

Ten years have passed since the war that destroyed the Sazi Council and inflicted a horrible "cure" on thousands of Sazi, robbing them of their ability to shapeshift.
Luna Lake, isolated in Washington State, started as a refugee camp for Sazi orphans. Now it's a small town and those refugees are young adults, chafing at the limits set by their still-fearful guardians. 
There's reason to fear: Sazi children are being kidnapped. Claire, a red wolf shifter, is sent to investigate. Held prisoner by the Snakes during childhood, Claire is distrusted by those who call Luna Lake home.
Before the war, Alek was part of a wolf pack in Chicago. In Luna Lake he was adopted by a parliament of Owls, defying Sazi tradition. The kidnappings are a painful reminder that his little sister disappeared a decade ago.
When Claire and Alek meet, sparks fly—but the desperate race to find the missing children forces them to set aside their mutual attraction and focus on the future of their people.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Uninvited Blog Tour Review + Giveaway


Welcome to my tour stop for The Uninvited by the wonderful Cat Winters. As a huge fan of Cat's work, I am beyond honored to be a part of this tour. I read Uninvited in one sitting, glued to my Kindle, completely in awe of Cat's writing and her marvelous imagination. She always finds new ways to make my heart skip a few beats. But here are a few things about the book:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Interview with Charlie Cochet, Author of the THIRDS + Giveaway


I am finally back from my vacation (best vacation ever, Sarajevo I miss you so!), and just in time to share with you my Q&A with the marvelous Charlie Cochet, author of the THIRDS, North Pole City Tales, A Little Bite of Love series and the newly released novella, Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts. 

TNL: Hi Charlie! Thank you so much for agreeing to answer my many, many questions. I’m having a major fangirl moment right now, I just hope I’ll manage to be coherent as opposed to just rambling excitedly and wasting this opportunity to pick your brain. 

CC: Aw, thank you so much for having me! It’s such a treat to be here. Ask away!

TNL: It’s been just over a year since Hell & High Water was first released. You’ve published four more THIRDS books since then and there’ve been other books in between, so it’s safe to say it’s been a pretty intense year. Did you learn any new things about yourself during that time? How much did your life actually change?

CC: Everything’s changed, in a good way. Hell & High Water officially kicked off my full-time writing career, and it’s been non-stop since. At the time, I had an idea what it might be like as far as the workload, yet at the same time had no clue. I was already aware of certain aspects of writing full-time, but until the THIRDS series started releasing and I was faced with a full schedule of writing, editing, promoting, marketing, conferences, workshops, and everything else under the sun, I had no idea how intense it would actually be. 
I’ve learned how incredibly important it is to multi-task. I’ve always been good at it, but this required a whole other level of multi-tasking. I also learned that anything and everything that can pop up while you’re trying to make a deadline will. Like any writer going full-time for the first time, I was pretty terrified (still am!), it’s only been a year, so there’s no telling what happens next, but I hope to give it my all.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Q&A with Indra Vaughn, Author of Fragmented


Hello, nocturnal readers!

I am currently enjoying my vacation in Sarajevo, but my long-awaited Q&A with Indra Vaughn was worth coming back for. Indra's Shadow Mountain novels, which I reviewed just recently here, are unique and unforgettable and undoubtedly among the very best M/M fiction has to offer.

Title: Fated
Series: Shadow Mountain, #1
Released: December 31st 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 284 pages

Two towns flank the looming Shadow Mountain. A dark myth of the Predator drifts through the dense trees, a tale Police Lieutenant Hart never paid much attention to. When one unresolved death follows another—some people dying without discernible cause while others are clearly, and often brutally, murdered—he can't ignore it any longer. Truth may lie in myth, but this one is spread to deceive everyone. The Predator exists, but he's not entirely human. Hart will have to find the connection between the mysterious figure and victims with only one thing in common: a faint tattoo on the backs of their necks, a mark left when someone healed their incurable diseases.
Isaac Lasko has been in love with Hart since he moved in across the street seven years ago. He’s been helping Hart renovate his home, and their friendship grows more intense with the years, but Isaac can't help wishing for a deeper bond. When he finally breaks through the lieutenant's armor, the mystery surrounding the Predator threatens them both. Help will come, but at a price.


Dear Indra, thank you so much for agreeing to chat with us. Your Shadow Mountain series remains one of my biggest, most pleasant surprises this year. I love every minute I’ve spent with Hart and Isaac so far and I look forward to anything that may be coming in the future. What were your hopes and expectations when you first started writing the series and how did they change over time?

Thank you for having me. It’s an honor to be interviewed by you so I’m very happy to be here, and so pleased to hear you liked the series.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Review: You're the Reason


You Are the Reason (The Tav #2)Author: Renae Kaye
Series: The Tav, #2
Released: August 7th 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 226 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
         Dreamspinner Press


Davo’s a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he’s gay, but doesn’t want to be one of those gays, who are femme and girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme—including relationships that last beyond fifteen minutes.
Then Davo’s friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub in fright. That’s where he meets Lee, who is cute from her cherry-red hair, to her pretty little dress and pointy red shoes. Davo is charmed—but how is that possible? He’s gay. Isn’t he? Then Lee tells him he’s actually a guy—he just likes to wear women’s dresses occasionally. Thoroughly confused about an attraction that’s out of character for him, Davo begins the long journey to where he can accept himself without caring what everyone else thinks.

Wow. Just wow. This may very well be my favorite book by Renae Kaye, and we’re talking about the person who wrote Loving Jay, Shearing Gun, and Blinding Light, the first book in this series. All of these books are my favorites so to have her actually exceed my very high expectations is an unusual thing indeed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review: Magic Shifts


Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8)Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels, #8
Released: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Ace
Length: 400 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
 


In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…
After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.
So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.
An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…
After the pivotal 7th installment, I spent about 0.236 seconds worrying about this book and wondering whether the series would successfully find a new direction. It didn’t take me long to remember who I was dealing with – Ilona and Gordon have never failed me before, and they keep proving themselves over and over again. No downturns for Kate, and certainly none for this fabulous husband-and-wife writing team.

Monday, August 3, 2015

LGBT Monday: Against the Grain


Against the Grain (THIRDS #5)Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS, #5
Released: August 3rd 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 220 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
         Dreamspinner Press


As the fiercest Defense Agent at the THIRDS, Destructive Delta’s Ash Keeler is foul-mouthed and foul-tempered. But his hard-lined approach always yields results, evident by his recent infiltration of the Coalition. Thanks to Ash’s skills and the help of his team, they finally put an end to the murdering extremist group for good, though not before Ash takes a bullet to save teammate Cael Maddock. As a result, Ash’s secrets start to surface, and he can no longer ignore what’s in his heart.
Cael Maddock is no stranger to heartache. As a Recon Agent for Destructive Delta, he has successfully maneuvered through the urban jungle that is New York City, picking up his own scars along the way. Yet nothing he’s ever faced has been more of a challenge than the heart of Ash Keeler, his supposedly straight teammate. Being in love isn’t the only danger he and Ash face as wounds reopen and new secrets emerge, forcing them to question old loyalties. 

Dear world, please stop spinning for a while. You see, the new THIRDS book is out and people have far more interesting things to do than participate in normal, everyday activities. We’ll rejoin you shortly. Thank you. Sincerely, THIRDS Nerds.

It’s been just over a year since the first THIRDS book was released, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t crazy about Sloane, Dex, Cael, Ash and the rest of Destructive Delta. The world Cochet created for us is one of the rare few that envelops completely in just a few pages, making us feel like we’ve just returned home from a very long trip.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: A Murder of Mages


A Murder of Mages (The Maradaine Constabulary, #1)Author: Marshall R. Maresca
Maradaine Constabulary, #1
Released: July 7th 2015
Publisher: DAW
Length: 352 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

A Murder of Mages marks the debut of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s novels of The Maradaine Constabulary, his second series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. A Murder of Mages introduces us to this spellbinding port city as seen through the eyes of the people who strive to maintain law and order, the hardworking men and women of the Maradaine Constabulary.
Satrine Rainey—former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty—has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family.
Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage—almost a crime in itself. Nicknamed “the jinx” because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them.
Their first case together—the ritual murder of a Circled mage— sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets. 

A Murder of Mages is an excellent new fantasy novel with a distinct urban fantasy feel, a rich and imaginative police procedural that tries to do so much and for the most part succeeds. It is a very dark novel set in Maradaine, a poverty-ridden city in which violence happens at every corner. We follow Satrine Rainey as she struggles to find her footing after an accident which leaves her husband unable to provide for their family.

Monday, July 27, 2015

LGBT Monday: Fated & Fragmented


Fated (Shadow Mountain #1)Author: Indra Vaughn
Series: Shadow Mountain, #1
Published: December 21st 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 284 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Dreamspinner Press

Two towns flank the looming Shadow Mountain. A dark myth of the Predator drifts through the dense trees, a tale Police Lieutenant Hart never paid much attention to. When one unresolved death follows another—some people dying without discernible cause while others are clearly, and often brutally, murdered—he can't ignore it any longer. Truth may lie in myth, but this one is spread to deceive everyone. The Predator exists, but he's not entirely human. Hart will have to find the connection between the mysterious figure and victims with only one thing in common: a faint tattoo on the backs of their necks, a mark left when someone healed their incurable diseases.
Isaac Lasko has been in love with Hart since he moved in across the street seven years ago. He’s been helping Hart renovate his home, and their friendship grows more intense with the years, but Isaac can't help wishing for a deeper bond. When he finally breaks through the lieutenant's armor, the mystery surrounding the Predator threatens them both. Help will come, but at a price.


Fated by Indra Vaughn came my way completely accidentally, recommended by author John Inman in the comments of a Facebook poll no more than a few weeks ago. To this day I haven’t figured out how it went unnoticed by me until that moment. What’s more, it seems to be somewhat overlooked by its intended audience, which is a crime, to be honest. The characters Vaughn has created deserve to be celebrated and talked about, they should inspire people to start discussions and street teams, and yet, they haven’t just yet. Why? Mostly because their beauty is quiet and unassuming, complex and deeply felt. They’re not instantly likeable or wildly entertaining, they just are… human, vulnerable and often wrong, just like everybody else.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Damage Done


Damage DoneAuthor: Amanda Panitch
Series: Standalone
Released: July 21st 2015
Publisher: Random House
Length: 304 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.
Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.
After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.
Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.
One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . .

Damage Done is one of those books that push us far outside our comfort zones, making us feel confused, scared and completely disgusted. It was a considerable feat for Amanda Panitch and a huge risk to take for a debut novel, but being courageous enough to stretch the boundaries or even erase them altogether can certainly pay off, and it did.