Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Manipulation by Eden Winters

Title: Manipulation (Diversion #4)
Author: Eden Winters
Purchase at Rocky Ridge Books
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Genre: contemporary, action adventure
Length: 71k
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print (coming) ebooks preorder until Nov 1, 2014

Lucky Lucklighter has a new life. His old life wants him back.

He traded trafficking for taking down criminals with the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, and a drug-lord lover for a man on the right side of the law. Bo Schollenberger found the way past the thorny defenses of Lucky’s heart, and made Mr. I-Get-Along-Fine-Alone think about his and his closets, stevia in the sugar bowl, and a picket fence—with a good lock on the gate.

Now Bo is missing, and a voice long silenced asks, “Did you miss me?” Lucky must deal with a devil from his past to get Bo back.

And if Bo isn’t willing to come? A drug ring needs its back broken before flooding the US with a designer high, seductive and undetectable. But there’s a fine line between good and evil, and a truckload of temptation urging Lucky to cross.
Oh yay! Bo and Lucky are back for more stomach-churning, heart pounding adventures. This fourth installment in the Diversion series lets Bo shine as an undercover narcotics operative when a figure out of Lucky’s past and current nightmares turns out to be behind the influx of drugs in their case from the third book (Corruption).

Bo’s cover hasn’t been breached when he’s taken to Mexico at the orders of the drug lord with big plans. But he’s there with no backup, no communications, nothing that an undercover operation should have, until Lucky charges down south. Lucky’s no longer willing to do things by the book, since Walter Smith, head honcho of the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, has compromised his integrity in Lucky’s eyes. Nothing is exactly as it seems, and the world tilts farther sideways when Nestor Sauceda, a cartel leader and former associate of Lucky’s late lover, Victor Mangiardi, takes an interest in the new designer drug and the remains of Victor’s empire. (How Lucky goes from boy toy to a drug lord to narcotics agent is backstory presented in Book 1, Diversion.)

Deep undercover work is hard on Bo’s psyche—he still slides from one persona to the other, being Cyrus Cooper when he needs to be a tough leader of tough men, and wobbling through Bo Schollenberger when questions of right and wrong arise. Here, little is simple, and loyalties mean something different than they did back in the States. Add to that Bo’s forced dependence on a terrifying new drug, and it could all fall apart in a heartbeat.

The prose is strong and gritty, told from Lucky’s POV. He has to watch Bo’s disintegration, maintain his own ever more fragile hold on his new life, while still sinking just far enough into new criminality to convince the cartels that he’s going to help peddle their designer poison. He’s among those who “knew him when” and it would be so easy to slip into the role he’d been prepared for all those years ago.

The entire series is good reading, with action, law enforcement, a reluctant romance between two guys who love each other desperately and are terrified of needing each other, and thrilling twists through the drug trade going in unexpected directions. With this fourth book, the author seems to have found an even higher gear, with death breathing down Bo and Lucky’s necks at all times, and their reliance on each other both the stuff of strength and the stuff of heartbreak.

I can depend on the Diversion series for a pulse-pounding adventure with a heaping side of romance. Manipulation is the best yet. I'm greedy for the next book already. 5 marbles

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cutting Out by Meredith Shayne

Title: Cutting Out
Author: Meredith Shayne
Purchase at Bottom Drawer Publications
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Mumson Designs
Genre: contemporary
Length: 222 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf

A twenty-year veteran of the shearing shed, Aussie Shane Cooper loves his job, and the home he’s made for himself in New Zealand. If he’s a little lonely, he’s got good mates to keep his spirits up. When a hot, cocky young shearer named Lachlan Moore catches his eye at a competition, he’s content to look but not touch, knowing the young man is out of his league.

Lachie wouldn’t mind a piece of Shane, but the gorgeous gun shearer from Australia is soon forgotten when the Christchurch earthquake hits, and tragedy strikes Lachie’s family. Lachie deals with it the best he can, cutting himself off from all he knows. A year later and he’s back in the shearing shed, out of practice and lacking confidence. That Shane’s there to watch him flounder doesn’t help his nerves.

As Lachlan struggles to re-acclimatise, Shane can’t resist giving him a hand to get back on his feet. As they move from friends to something more, Shane finds himself wanting to know everything he can about Lachie. But Lachie’s got secrets he desperately wants to keep, and when things come to a head, those secrets might just mean the end of them before they’ve truly begun.
New Zealand’s half a world away, known to most of us as spectacular scenery with hobbits and a vague idea of Maoris and sheep. Meredith Shayne’s added detail and dimension and given life to those ideas.

There’s a very, very slow burn between Lachie, a rising star in the shearing world, and Shane, the acknowledged master. It’s not just competition, these men keep an entire industry moving, they’re an essential link between wooly animals and winter coats. It’s a world Lachie loves, and hates leaving.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Coming this week

This last week was a little different. The usual, reviews and and a hot prompt pic, but I also got interviewed at Jamie Lake's blog, which is a first.

Some good reading: Olivia Helling's Damon Snow and the Nocturnal Lessons gave us a Regency era m/m... I hesitate to call it a romance, but there were guys and there was sex and there was love. And Must Loath Norcross from Summer Devon unraveled a plot and got the two hotties together, always good.

Coming up: YAY! One of my favorite authors has a new one out! Eden Winters' fourth in the Diversion series is out now! Manipulation has Bo and Lucky in more danger than ever before. And Meredith Shayne's Cutting Out gives us a look at love in the shearing sheds. Two very different reads, but both good.

Also, I'm revving up for the Blogoversary, finding out which of our favorite authors and reviewers have something to say about our favorite genre. There will be wise words, there will be funny words, there will be my words which I don't promise fall into either of the other categories. ;) There will be giveaways and goodies. If you sign up to follow the blog, either via email or with Google Friend Connect (scroll down, it's on the right) you'll see all the posts for sure. Spread the word.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Must Loathe Norcross by Summer Devon

Title: Must Loathe Norcross
Author: Summer Devon
Purchase at Samhain
Purchase at Amazon
                 Preorder until November 25, 2014
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Genre: Contemorary
Length: approx  180 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf

When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as traveling light.
Born wealthy and ambitious, Grady once worked hard and played hard—so hard, it brought him to the brink of ruin. Now, after a five-year retreat into the contemplative life, he’s dipping a toe back into the real world.

Assigned to write a series of articles about a Connecticut valley’s small towns, Grady checks into a local hotel. And meets a bellhop who seems determined to show him around…and maybe indulge in a more intimate tour later on.

When Josh’s boss half-jokingly suggests he get on a first-name basis with the writer who could make or break their town’s reputation, Josh jumps at the chance. He dreams of seeing the world, but the man he thought might be his ticket out turns out to be less influential—and more attractive—than he expected.

Together they uncover a strange plot to detour Norcross’s tourist dollars, a plot that leaves Grady bruised and angry. Now they’ll have to decide how far they’ll go to save the town…and how far they’ll fall for each other.

Warning: Steaming-hot room service, delivered by a cute bellboy in uniform. Stolen towels will not be tolerated, but stolen hearts? Help yourself!
It should have been simple: Grady was supposed to come into the old mill town that would rather remake itself than fade away, write up the few attractions, and amble on to the next would-be vacation spot. Josh should have been content with an evening or two with a cute stranger, and leave him happy enough to write something positive. But neither man is exactly who he appears to be, and their secrets end up dovetailing in the oddest way.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Turnabout is fair play, right?

I've been interviewed at Jamie Lake's blog. So have a bunch of other m/m bloggers. I need to make friends with some of these folks.

Blog hop review: Damon Snow and the Nocturnal Lessons

Title: Damon Snow and the Nocturnal Lessons
Author: Olivia Helling
Purchase at Amazon

Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre: Regency, paranormal
Length: 25k words, ~100 pages
Formats: mobi

Damon Snow thinks he has the world figured out. As an incubus and male prostitute, it’s a cruel, dark, lonely place where men only want one thing. But when his long-time patron Byrne discovers he’s dying, Byrne offers to leave his entire fortune to him. There’s just one catch. Damon has to write about the reason why another patron procures his services. Caught up in his patron’s impossible love life, Damon suddenly isn’t so sure he knows the answer.

This is pretty far removed from the world of Jane Austen: life in the less attractive parts of Regency London is a struggle to survive with any of the finer feelings intact. Damon has additional strikes against him, being of uncertain and illegitimate parentage, and with a ravening something inside that demands to be fed with lust.

Damon has no illusions about humanity, being able to feel what’s moving inside the minds of his patrons disabused him of believing in kindness and love, to the point of not recognizing it when this rare bird descends. The strange request his patron makes forces him to look outside himself for answers. It’s a strange mirror as well.

This isn’t a romance in the classical sense, though there is an arc with a happy ending. Damon’s the observer who thinks he has nothing to learn. His encounters are the joyless interactions of molly and cull. Something changes for him by the end of the book, but not enough for him to become anyone’s true partner. Further stories are hinted at, and Damon needs the lessons there.

This is Regency from the underclass, no one’s sending calling cards or being seen by the ton. I’m not a scholar of the period by any means, but what I do recognize seems in period, and characters stay consistent with the times. Frequent mention is made of Damon’s incubus but it seems almost extraneous to the story. His fellow mollies have just as much reason to drink themselves into oblivion—they don’t need to sense deeper to know how they’re being abused. However, I’m prepared to believe it will make more difference as the series progresses.

This novella made an interesting opener: the promised legacy hasn’t been signed over yet, and Damon has more to learn about his humanity. I’ll be alert for the next installment. 4 marbles

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Coming this week

Thanks for hanging with us this week! While my Thursday hottie didn't appear on time (mea culpa, I hit the wrong button) he is here, and so were reviews for A.J. Truman's Out in the Open and Wild Horses from Kate Pavelle.

For this week, Olivia Helling's blog tour for Damon Snow and the Nocturnal Lessons will take us back to Regency era molly houses. Look for 1809 vintage rent boys on Tuesday when her blog tour stops here.  We'll also see Must Loathe Norcross from Summer Devon.

I've been posting book reviews for almost 4 years, and that requires some celebration. Some of my favorite authors will be posting as guests, and we'll be doing some giveaways. Blogoversary week is coming, so stick with us. Bring your friends!