Thursday, May 24, 2018

Every picture tells a story...



Who are these two and what's the story here?

100-1000 words, and I tell everyone about one of your books to boot. Directions here.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Face the Music by K.M. Neuhold

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FACE THE MUSIC
K.M. NEUHOLD
M/M ROMANCE
RELEASE DATE: 05.20.18
FTM cover

Lincoln

I thought there was only one thing I needed to make me happy. I was so sure becoming a rock star would heal the dark corners inside me. But every time I walk onto the stage, with a roaring crowd screaming my name, all I can think about is the boy I left behind. All I want to do is rewind and make a different choice.

Jace
I thought I hated Lincoln when he ghosted me ten years ago and destroyed my heart. I thought I hated him when he wrote a chart-topping hit about our idyllic young love. But I’ve never hated him as much as I do right now, standing in front of me like he has every right to be in my world again. He’s not the rock god I thought he was...he’s still that same lost boy I used to love. Can I ever trust him with my heart again?

***
Face the Music is the first book in the Replay series. Each book in the series will focus on a different band member getting a second chance at love. Each book can be read as a stand-alone. This book contains descriptions of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and sexy times.

FtM teaser 7

Excerpt:

The icy wind bites at my skin, but another swig of whiskey helps to chase the chill away. The air smells like snow. I do a mental calculation and realize it’s only two weeks until Christmas.

When I was a kid, I loved Christmas. This time of year felt so magical and joyful. The smell of cookies baking in the oven, the twinkling lights of the tree, making a wish list of presents you hope Santa will bring.

Another gulp from the bottle clenched in my numb fist. It stopped burning on the way down about a half hour ago, right around the time the far-off city lights started to blur.

There’s no magic now. My kitchen is empty of anyone baking any sort of treats. I can’t remember the last time I bothered to get a tree. They’re not much fun to decorate all on your own. Plus, what’s the point if no one else will be there to enjoy it with you? As for a wish list...there’s only one thing I’d put on that list and it’s something—someone—I had and tossed away too many years ago.

My legs are unsteady under me as I walk to the edge of my balcony to look down at the street below.

Certainly the fall would kill me. But who would care?

I can see the headline now…Rock star Jumps to Death from New York City Apartment.

But would they really care?

My bandmates might’ve cared a few years ago, before everything started falling apart, before we were at each other’s throats constantly.

If only I’d known the name of our band—Downward Spiral— would be so apt when we chose it. Maybe it was a bad omen, or a jinx. Maybe we were just cocky little pricks who were on top of the world and didn’t think anything could ever knock us off.

I wobble as I lean farther over the railing, testing the sturdiness.

I won’t really jump. That’s what I tell myself. That’s what I always tell myself when I get into these dark moods.

I try to lift the bottle to my lips again, but it slips through my fingers. I watch as it plummets downward and then shatters on the sidewalk below.

I teeter again against the railing before taking a step back and reaching into my pocket for a cigarette. I don’t even normally smoke, just when I’m drunk and sad.

I can only imagine what Jace would say if he could see me now.

KM Neuhold Logo
I'm an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.
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Cryselle's Review

If you love angst, you’ve come to the right place. Lincoln and Jace have ten years of hurting and broken trust to work through. Thanks to a chance meeting, they have the opportunity to ask questions and address pain that’s festered since the day Lincoln disappeared ten years ago.

The story follows two timelines, the here and now, which is downright painful in places, and the unfolding of their youthful relationship. We get to watch them fall in love, learn about themselves, each other, and help one another. Lincoln’s dreadful parents have a lot to answer for: Jace is his stability in their early days. The current storyline makes a harsh contrast, where Linc is the living embodiment of his band’s name: Downward Spiral.

Pay attention to the warnings in the blurb: Linc ends up in some real bad headspaces, and it’s a lot to ask of Jace that he be so responsible for someone else’s wellbeing when he hadn’t the slightest clue of what’s going on. If you want 100% light and fluffy, this is the wrong book. Linc’s very real problems aren’t unrelenting though, the sweetness of the past alternates with the difficulties of the present, keeping the seriousness from being overwhelming.

This is mostly Linc’s journey, he’s more complicated than Jace, whose big question is Why? There is no external plot to speak of here, it’s all the two main characters sorting out their messes, with some cameos from other members of the band, plus a manager who can wrangle unstable musicians and produce miracles from his back pocket. We’re promised more stories for them, which should be angsty too, these guys have issues.

Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster for this second chance Rockstar romance.



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Every picture tells a story...


Is he running to something, or away? Who? Why? Where?

 100-1000 words, and I tell everyone about one of your books to boot. Directions here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Small rant


I read a fair number of ARC copies. Some are from big publishers that I don't talk about here, some from authors and small publishers who put different amounts of effort into the ARC.

With some books I wonder if I've been handed a formatted first draft. Usually I can determine where in the publishing cycle the book is, and if I know it's going to get more love later, I don't mind the rough edges. Other times, the book is just perfect and ready to sell.

And then I get what I think is the final product with a disclaimer that all is not quite finished. Complete with missing punctuation and weird formatting, but it says ARC, so I'm not suppose to take official notice of that. Then I feel like I've been played for a fool,  because I don't talk about the mess and the mess gets offered for sale, and then my standards look low. They're not.

Cryssy Crankypants  here has dropped entire publishers for making me look at such messes and tricking me into pretending they aren't messes. I have turned down review requests from indies because I've looked at the files before deciding. I've also fallen down the rabbit hole of having to read the whole book RIGHT NOW because it's pretty to look at and the story is just that good, and then I've told the author, um, sure, I'll review. It would be nice if that one happened more often.

Yes, an ARC means I get to read a book that I don't have to pay for. But I really do, because not only does that book get hours of my attention, it need some thought and effort for writing a review. That makes a free book more expensive than if I paid top dollar for it.

Remember how you get one chance to make a first impression? That's what an ARC does. The big pub ARCs I get are ready to go except for the pretty cover. Because they understand that first impression thing. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A picture is worth a thousand words....


Remember Thousand Word Thursday? I give you a pic and whoever feels the urge can send me a ficlet or an except to post. 100-1000 words, and I tell everyone about one of your books to boot. Directions here.

Do these guys have a story?

Monday, May 7, 2018

Aunt Belle's Time Travel and Collectibles by Marshall Thorton

Title: Aunt Belle’s Time Travel and Collectibles
Author: Marshall Thornton
Genre: humor, time travel
Cover artist: Marshall Thornton
Length: 126 pages

Where would you go if you could travel to any part of your past? That’s the question Terrance faces on his 45th birthday—and right away, he knows. He wants to go back to 1992 and not meet Mr. Wrong. But what begins as a journey to change the past becomes a trip to find the future. From the writer of Femme comes a story of best friends, time travel and falling in love.

**

This is a sweet and humorous tale of second chances. Because of the rules governing time travel here, Terrence has a chance to go back in time and do things differently. Except—somehow it doesn’t work out the way he expected.

Because how can things stay changed if not everyone remembers they got changed to start with? And why is Sean mad at him this time?

The baked in rules generate a comedy of errors tinged with sadness: Terrence has a lot of chances to explore exactly how things got fouled up to start with, and it’s only when everyone’s playing in the same timeline can things work out. Smiles for happy ending!

One thing I really enjoyed was that the characters aren’t young and trying everything for the first time (at least part of the time.) Terrence has some miles and mistakes on him, and strives to be a better man. His mistakes mostly come from well-meaning gone awry, and you have to love him for trying again and again until he gets it right.




Saturday, May 5, 2018

Balls by Chris Edwards

Title: Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some
Author: Chris Edwards
Cover artist: Deutsch
Genre: nonfiction, memoir
Length: 265 pages

Changing your gender from female to male takes balls. And if you’re going to do it in front of five hundred coworkers at the largest ad agency in Boston, you’d better have a pretty big set!

At a time when the term transgender didn’t exist, and with support from family, friends, and a great therapist, Chris Edwards endured 28 surgeries to become the person he always knew he was meant to be. He used the principles of marketing along with his ever-present sense of humor to rebrand himself and orchestrate what was quite possibly the most widely accepted and embraced gender transition of its kind. He’s a pioneer who changed the perception of an entire community, and his memoir, BALLS, will touch readers’ hearts and change quite a few minds.

Edwards is funny, brazen, and endearing, and BALLS is a hilarious and inspiring story about family, friends, and the courage to be your true self. It boldly and fearlessly goes where other trans memoirs don’t. If you’ve ever felt uncomfortable in your own skin–for whatever reason–you will be inspired and empowered by this book.

A portion of the proceeds of BALLS will be donated to Camp Aranu’tiq (camparanutiq.org), a nonprofit program serving transgender youth and their families.

**
I don’t usually review nonfiction, but this memoir touched me deeply. There is a T in LGBT, and I don’t always read it. I’m glad I did though.

Chris Edwards has a fabulous writing voice, and a light touch with what had to have been anything but funny at the time. From describing himself as a boy while still in preschool, to enduring all the medical procedures to make his exterior match, this is a detailed look at a transition.

Chris had a kind and supportive family and friends for the most part, and for that, I am extremely glad. None of this journey could be easy, but he’s very clear how supported he was. Every *trans person deserves this, and maybe a few people will read this book and be there better for their person in transition. This is how love does, world.

The story never flinches away from the medical parts, even some of the gruesome misadventures. Try not to be eating during some of it, even though it’s described humorously. Chris spent decades in marketing, and knows how to sell even the difficult aspects as “just what you need to do to be you.”

This is a journey of an amazing person. I think it should be required reading for family of transgender people, because the memoir is extremely relatable and may be helpful for when the person in transition doesn’t have the words. 5 marbles


Thursday, May 3, 2018

A picture is worth a thousand words...

Remember Thousand Word Thursday? I give you a pic and whoever feels the urge can send me a ficlet or an except to post. 100-1000 words, and I tell everyone about one of your books to boot. Directions here.

And in the meantime, let's look at guys washing horses. Who are they?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Lawrence Brown Affair by Cat Sebastian

Title: The Lawrence Browne Affair
Author: Cat Sebastian
Cover artist: N/A
Buy at Amazon
Genre: Historical
Length: 335 pages

An earl hiding from his future . . .

Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.

A swindler haunted by his past . . .

Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives?

Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember.

***

Oh, two such opposite men attracting! And both, in their way, fish out of water. And it works, it absolutely works.

Lawrence, who is most frequently addressed as Radnor (I have to believe this is correct), suffers from a terrible family history: he wasn’t the son raised to be an earl, most of his immediate family were either crazy or just horrible people, and he suffers from what seems to be debilitating anxiety. Mental health knowledge of the time being of the “chain them to the wall and squirt cold water at them” level, Lawrence treats himself as best he can by minimizing contact with the outside world. He’s enjoying the relative quiet of very few servants left, and if the family seat is crumbling around him, the quiet is worth it. He's constantly afraid that he'll tip over the edge and be lost to sanity forever. If ever someone needed a Xanax, it's Lawrence.

He’s a brilliant man though, and kind in a rough way, to the point where he does have friends who care enough about him to keep the grasping relatives away. Being known as completely mad and in control of great wealth brings the vultures, and the trick is to get Lawrence to agree to things that are in his best interest.

A completely honest secretary would be a good start. Which isn’t Georgie. He’s a con man on the run, and the great house of Penkellis with its mad scientist in residence looks like a great way to evade the crime boss he’s running from. Full of goodies, that house is, all ready for him to pad his pockets with, and he didn’t count on growing fond of the lord of the manor.

A conscience is a terrible thing to have in this case, and watching Georgie twist in the wind while debating what to do to save his own skin and still not damage the man who’s captured his heart is sweet reading. Some of his decisions look quite weird – did he really think [that] was going to work? But his heart is in the right place, meaning lost to Lawrence, and he does want to do the right thing, if he could figure out what it is in this dangerous muddle.

These two pick at each other, prod at each other, and gradually fall in love. Neither one has had an outside voice of reason in far too long, and Georgie is able to wield some influence over Lawrence in the matter of a small son, an accidental house party where we get to meet more characters that will star in future books (loved them too!) and finally in becoming a little more involved in the world. Both men see the themselves and each other in the lenses of their own experiences, and readers get to watch them unfold to new ways of thinking, and to puzzle out mysteries large and small. (Okay, I was cheering "Work it, Lawrence!" in one place.)

The history feels really right, and the author doesn’t wish away the realities of the time. People did get hung for sodomy, and that is treated as a real danger, not mentioned and ignored. Even with the restrictions of the times (Regency, Napoleon gets mentioned) they manage to turn the conventions in their favor by the end, and a few of the unconventional things as well.

I enjoyed this book so much that when I went to write a review, I ended up rereading the entire story again. 5 marbles.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Puritan Pirate by Jules Radcliffe

Title: The Puritan Pirate
Author: Jules Radcliffe
Cover artist: Valerie Tibbs
Genre: Historical, pirate
Length: 239 pages
Buy at Amazon, through May 7, 2018, and hopefully again in the future


The Caribbean, 1664

An uptight naval lieutenant. A free-living buccaneer. Enemies from the first.

It all changes the night Quinn reluctantly rescues Lieutenant Peregrine from the consequences of his folly. Their tentative truce leads to a wild tryst and the thrilling discovery that their unconventional desires are perfectly matched.

Perry is the most delightfully submissive lover Quinn has ever had, and he wants Perry by his side for good. But such an affair would not only end Perry’s career, he may never be able to return to England and his family. Fearful of discovering Perry’s desire for respectability is stronger than his love, Quinn leaves him behind in Port Royal.

But in his darkest hour, Quinn discovers that Perry will risk his life for them to be together.

*****

Part of a series regarding a swashbuckling crew of openly gay buccaneers, The Puritan Pirate is my favorite so far. Set during the heyday of raiding the Spanish Main, and while England and Spain were duking it out for naval supremacy in the Caribbean, this story has a lot going on.

Poor Perry! It isn’t enough to be assigned to a pirate ship as punishment by his horrible captain, he has to be hugely attracted to one of the pirates. This was another case of me getting some surprise BDSM, because duh, bought the book because PIRATES and didn’t read the blurb at all. Going to admit to some skimming on these parts, because it’s not my jam, but that Perry wanted to submit made a lot of sense given the rest of his characterization, and he and Quinn were really good together.

I was reading for the adventures, and I wasn’t disappointed. One thing led to another, and then to terrible danger and life or death stakes. I think this was based on a real incident or a couple of incidents mashed together, and it was written to be spine tingling and dancing on the edge of disaster.

There was also a spectacular Fuck you to someone who really needed to be told off. Loved it.

A lot was made of Perry’s religious attitudes, very straightlaced and proper, and how much that was at odds with his sexual self. It made for a very conflicted character. But not a character who would have and use a rosary, that’s Popish. It was a jarring note, in an otherwise wonderful story.

Note, because of Loose Id’s closing soon, this book will only be available until May 7, until the author makes other arrangements for the whole series. I sincerely hope Jules has plans to keep this book and its companions in print, it’s a good read.
4.5 marbles