Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Catch a Tiger by the Tail

Catch a Tiger by the Tail (THIRDS #6)Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS, #6
Released: February 5th 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Source: Publisher for review
Length: 216 pages
Buy: Dreamspinner Press

Calvin Summers and Ethan Hobbs have been best friends since childhood, but somewhere along the line, their friendship evolved into something more. With the Therian Youth Center bombing, Calvin realizes just how short life can be and no longer keeps his feelings for his best friend a secret. Unfortunately, change is difficult for Ethan; most days he does well to deal with his Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety. Calvin’s confession adds a new struggle for Ethan, one he fears might cost him the friendship that’s been his whole world for as long as he can remember.
As partners and Defense Agents at the THIRDS, being on Destructive Delta is tough at the best of times, but between call-outs and life-threatening situations, Calvin and Ethan not only face traversing the challenges of their job, but also working toward a future as more than friends. 

Dear THIRDS Nerds, the time has come. We now hold in our hands the long awaited, breathlessly anticipated new THIRDS book and the second one that strays away from Dex and Sloane, albeit not very far. Calvin and Hobbs’ story has been brewing for quite a while, what with their fear of change, Ethan’s selective mutism and social anxiety problems, and all the mayhem surrounding Destructive Delta on a daily basis.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: Manners & Mutiny

Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School, #4)Author:Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School, #4
Released: November 3rd 2015
Publisher: Atom
Length: 328 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia’s sweet sootie Soap nearby. She would much rather be using her skills to thwart the dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored, and now she’s not sure whom to trust. What does the brusque werewolf dewan know? On whose side is the ever-stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way, and when it comes to fruition, Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster—in decidedly dramatic fashion, of course.
What will become of our proper young heroine when she puts her years of training to the test? Find out in this highly anticipated and thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Finishing School series!

It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, albeit knowing without a doubt that this wonderful author will give us so much more to enjoy.

It was very easy to fall in love with these characters and their quirks yet again. Each of them is a small work of art, an unforgettable combination of oddities and personality traits. Sophoronia in particular is very easy to love, and so very competent to boot! I loved her in this book more than I ever loved her before. As silly as this series was most times (and really, silliness is what Carriger does best), we’ve still seen Sophoronia grow up to become a skilled, self-assured young woman. No more than a mischievous girl when we first met her, we’re leaving her as someone else entirely, a highly trained, sophisticated girl, but still with that familiar devil-may-care attitude.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Review: Anna and the Swallow Man

Anna and the Swallow ManAuthor: Gavriel Savit
ISBN: 9780399553042
Released: January 27th 2016
Publisher: Knopf BfYR
Length: 240 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
         The Book Depository

Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone. 
And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see. 
The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness. 
Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man. 

Gavriel Savit’s literary debut is one of those rare, gorgeous little gems that leave you completely in awe of the author’s talent. Savit is incredibly skillful with words, a true artist fully aware of the importance of every single sentence. Each one is a small work of art, poetic and beautiful in its simplicity.

Monday, January 25, 2016

LGBT Monday: Tackling the Tight End

Tackling The Tight End (Long Pass Chronicles, #3)Author: Tara Lain
Series: Long Pass Chronicles
Released: January 15th 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Length: 200 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Dreamspinner Press

Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end Raven Nez—and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem. Raven’s gay and he really wants to work with gay kids. Plus he figures a gay Native tight end will get flattened in the NFL. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still he’s drawn to Dennis's pain and incredible ability to survive. Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good—but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven? 

For the most part, Tara Lain writes romance after my own heart. There is something so alluring about her characters, these men that always exude incredible loneliness, but show bravery when it’s most needed. While I can do without Lain’s shifter romance (or anyone’s, really), her Long Pass Chronicles are a guilty pleasure of mine. Hot, lonely football players, closeted or not, are bound to steal my heart.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Review: The Dirt on Ninth Grave

The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson, #9)Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson, #9
Published: January 12th 2016
Publisher: Piatkus
Length: 352 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.
But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.

If there's one thing Darynda Jones knows better than pretty much everyone else, it's how to keep a series fresh and exciting through more pages than one can count. Charley Davidson never gets old (no, really, she's more or less immortal), she never gets tired (supernatural beinh, duh), and she never gets bored… or boring, for that matter. There are very few series I love more at this point and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review: Thicker Than Water

Thicker Than WaterAuthor: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Standalone
Released: December 29th 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Length: 322 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years. 
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

After her very successful Elementals series, which I loved dearly, I’ve been waiting for Brigid Kemmerer standalone project with bated breath. It promised to have everything I’ve come to love about her work: small town mystery, forbidden romance in dual point of view and plenty of excitement to go around.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Audiobook Review: Of Dreams and Rust

Of Dreams and Rust (Of Metal and Wishes, #2)Author: Sarah Fine
Narrator: Alexandra Bailey
Series: Of Metal and Wishes
Released: August 7th 2015
Publisher: Audible
Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago - but it can’t quell her fears for him.
The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known - including Bo - to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the war zone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation?

Of Dreams and Rust is the second part of Sarah Fine marvelous fantasy duology. Fine is an author of considerable experience and strength, who’s proven herself more than capable of executing even the most elaborate plots while paying much attention to the psychological development of her characters. With a PhD in psychology and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brown University, Fine puts her extensive knowledge to good use. Her characters are works of art in their own right, with layer upon layer of true personalities and consistencies in their behaviors.

Monday, December 21, 2015

LGBT Monday: Status Update

Status Update (#gaymers, #1)Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: #gaymers, #1
Released: December 7th 2015
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 189 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He's a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister's wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he's left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.
That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah's hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.
Something doesn't add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he's ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it's even begun?

This time of the year just wouldn’t be the same without the smell of Christmas cookies and several good, heart-warming holiday romances. I’ll admit that I’m a Christmas romance addict, having always preferred low-angst stories that allow me to bask in their happy ending. The hunt for really good ones usually starts around this time and stretches long into January.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: Magic Stars

Magic Stars (Kate Daniels, #8.5, Grey Wolf, #1)Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels, #8,5
Released: December 8th 2015
Publisher: NYLA
Length: 64 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an original novella, set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring fan-favorites, Derek, and Curran and Kate’s very independent ward, Julie. 
Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack, and is truly a lone wolf. With no family he answers to no one; but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So, when several of those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta. 
Never one to be left on the sidelines, equally determined—some might say stubborn—Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit; and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

It’s not Christmas just yet, I know, but doesn’t it feel like it every time Ilona and Gordon publish something new? Yes, yes it does. Magic Stars came somewhat unexpectedly, having been kept secret until about a month ago, and the second we learned the protagonist, we were collectively consumed by an overwhelming feeling of pure joy. After all, Derek Gaunt deserves no less, and neither does our Julie.

Monday, December 14, 2015

LGBT Monday: Sleeping 'til Sunrise by Mary Calmes

Sleeping ’til Sunrise (Mangrove Stories, #5)Author: Mary Calmes
Series: Mangrove Stories, #5
Released: December 16th 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 72 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon
         Dreamspinner Press

Everyone in Mangrove, Florida, knows Fire Chief Essien Dodd is a saint. He took care of his ex-wife until she died, is raising his teenage daughter alone, and is the kind of man who pulls kittens from trees. All in all, the man’s a catch. But Roark Hammond has sworn off getting involved with a man who’s been hurt before because he can’t guarantee he won’t hurt his prospective love again. If only he could get Essien out of his mind long enough to focus on anyone, or anything, else.
Strong emotions are in play. Essien is lonely but determined to focus on Ivy; Ivy wants her father to have a new life so much that, to his horror, she’s trying to find him a man; and Roark is so scared of the present and past, he won’t allow himself to commit. To have any chance of sleeping ’til sunrise and greeting each new day together, Essien and Roark will have to rethink how they’re living their lives and focus on what’s most important.

No matter how many versions of the same story Mary Calmes writes, no matter how many times she gives different names to almost the same characters, no matter how often she re-uses the same plot, I will always buy her books the second they come out. Whatever the woman did to make us all addicted to her stories worked like a charm. I need her books like I need air to breathe and chocolate and coffee to be a functional human being.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Review: Secret Sisters

Secret SistersAuthor: Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Standalone
Released: December 8th 2015
Publisher: Piatkus
Length: 352 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother's hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn't be bothering them anymore...ever. Still their lives would never be the same.
Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother's mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel-a place she never wanted to see again-a dying man's last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.
Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain's new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts...and wants.
Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes a profoundly intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack's brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth....

When it comes to writing romantic suspence, Jayne Anne Krentz (who also writes as Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick) is clearly one of the best. You can’t possibly go wrong with one of her books – they are all exciting, romantic and excellently paced. She does, after all, fall into the same category as Nora Roberts, queen of the genre; and let me tell you, as much as I worship Nora, Jayne Anne Krentz has just as much to offer.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Reckless Hope

Reckless Hope (Letting Go, #2)Author: J. Leigh Bailey
Series: Letting Go, #2
Released: August 24th 2015
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 193 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

What's life without a little risk?
Or a lot of risk, if you're Sebastian Carlisle. He'll never live up to the legacy of his dead brother, so why try? Being the wild child in a family of stuck-up rich snobs suits him just fine.
Until he meets Micah Burke, and everything changes.
Micah's got too much going on for a relationship. Even if he could trust Sebastian, a distraction—a sexy, reckless distraction with a death wish—would only derail his carefully scheduled life. If it were just Micah, maybe that would be fine, but his mother and sister depend on him, and he can't let them down. Or at least that's what he tells himself.
A hot moment leads to a hot night leads to a connection neither of them are ready for. And when a crisis hits Micah's family hard, Sebastian will have to shed his bad-boy image and decide whether he can be the man Micah needs—and Micah needs to decide whether he'll let him.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping track obsessively like me, Carina Press has been publishing some of the best LGBT romances for a while now. They have amazing editors and seeing their name on the cover is a guarantee of my enjoyment. Letting Go series by J. Leigh Bailey is no different.

I’ve read Reckless Hope twice since I received the advanced copy three months ago, and as much as I enjoyed it the first time, I loved it even more the second time around. Knowing how it all ends allowed me to truly savor the emotions, to experience everything alongside Sebastian and Micah and to appreciate the smallest details that made the story richer and that much more beautiful.