Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wild Horses by Kate Pavelle

Title: Wild Horses
Author: Kate Pavelle
Purchase at Dreamspinner
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Genre: contemporary, horses
Length: 117k words, 350 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

A Steel City Story

Homeless pickpocket Kai Alwright steals a cell phone and some cash one day only to find the owner texting him, appealing to his better qualities. The request to return the phone stings Kai’s pride; he rides his rusty bicycle all the way to the stables north of the city, where Attila Keleman, the phone’s owner, offers him a new start in the form of a job and a roof over his head. Soon Kai discovers a natural talent for work with horses, and he makes every effort to separate his new existence from his promiscuous past on the streets.

Attila is a reclusive horse trainer whose dressage trophies gather dust, and whose broken heart has been walled off. His undiagnosed Asperger’s makes life around people a challenge, but though he prefers the company of horses, Attila finds Kai’s presence tolerable—even refreshing.

When a client who rides at the stable with her daughter finds out Attila is “still gay,” she tries to run Kai off—and she doesn’t stop there. Mortified, her adult daughter runs away and falls victim to a dark figure from Kai’s past. Kai joins Attila in a rescue mission that tears the civilized masks off their hidden pasts.
In my disjointed way, I’ve come at last to the first of the Steel City stories. Broken Gait (reviewed here) is the continuation of these two characters’ story, but here’s where Kai and Attila start out. Actually where they really start out is in a story of the same name in Dreamspinner’s Animal Magnetism anthology, but since we have 117k words in the novel, there’s certainly more going on.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Coming this week

Thanks for sticking around! My heart was in Chicago where it was fangirling on everyone at GRL, I think if I'd actually been there I would have swooned. Maybe some day!

Here on the home front, we had reviews for Seducing Jordan by Andrea Dalling, a bit of erotic coming out, and Broken Gait from Kate Pavelle. Also, Officer Hotty showed up on Thursday. Plot bunny, anyone?

Broken Gait has a book 1, which is Wild Horses. Of course, because I started in the middle, I went back and read it. Which means reviewing Wild Horses, so it will be a back to back Kate Pavelle week. I'll also be looking at A.J. Truman's Out in the Open.

In some wonderful news, my old review buddy from Jessewave's will be posting a review here now and then as her busy life permits.  I'm looking forward to Feliz's opinions.

Keep reading!

Broken Gait by Kate Pavelle

Title: Broken Gait
Author: Kate Pavelle
Purchase at Dreamspinner
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Genre: contemporary
Length: 236 pages, 77k words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

Attila Keleman can find no flaw in Kai’s work at his stables. Three months later, toiling side by side, Attila is smitten. Proud of his new partner, Attila wants to introduce them as a couple at an upcoming horse show. First, however, he has to conquer his demon. Attila can’t stand crowds of people, and a horse shows means just that. Grandpa Keleman can’t help him with his crippling social anxiety from afar. Attila turns to his horse, Sen. His equine partner is trained to help him through the most difficult panic attacks. With Sen and Kai by his side, Attila knows he can risk everything and emerge out of his comfort zone.

Kai agrees to do the show only to help Attila out of his shell. Once there, the press are all over them. Kai’s personality and looks results in media buzz and modeling offers—while Attila falls apart when Sen goes lame. Unable to deal with the pressure, Attila is convinced Kai would be a fool not to flee for greener pastures. Meanwhile, Kai is hell-bent on showing Attila his weakness is also his greatest strength—even if it means resorting to deception.
This is the third of the Steel City novels. Having read them out of order, I can say confidently that doing so works, and which you’d choose depends on your mood. Broken Gait is a character driven novel of consolidation, while the first Kai and Attila story, Wild Horses, (review to follow) has more adventure to it. Jack and Wyatt from Zipper Fall have the tiniest of cameos here, and the connection is mostly in the location.

The author brings us up to speed on Kai and Attila in snips and details, enough to establish what we as readers need to know about what happened before in order to enjoy and understand this story. We find them here already a couple, but still on shaky ground with each other and with themselves. By the end of the book, they’ve found their footing.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A picture is worth...

I didn't do it, Officer! But somebody oughta. 100-1000 words on law enforcement at its nudest, please. Directions here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Seducing Jordan by Andrea Dalling

Title: Seducing Jordan
Author: Andrea Dalling
Purchase/borrow - KU at Amazon
Cover Artist: n/a
Genre: contemporary, coming of age
Length: 26k, novella
Formats: mobi

Princeton-bound Jordan Callahan is done with pining over his straight best friend Rick. He can’t wait for college so he can find a man to drive away his pointless crush. Alone on a camping trip just weeks before the semester starts, Rick confesses he’s been fantasizing about Jordan. With his secret wish within his grasp, Jordan is torn between lust and good judgment. Sex will change their relationship forever, and giving in could cost him his oldest friend.

Rick Ferguson can’t escape his obsession. To get Jordan out of his system, he plans a weekend away together without revealing that the mountain cabin has only one bed. Curiosity gives way to deeper feelings, forcing Rick to choose between his best friend and his own identity. Seducing Jordan could be the biggest mistake of his life.

Warning! This m/m gay erotic romance novella is intended for an adult audience. It contains scenes of groping, fumbling, wet kisses, angst, shirtless volleyball, sex toys, and two-man showers.

Eighteen years old and full of questions, Rick sets up a situation where he can get his openly gay best friend into bed. He’s manipulative, and owns up to it, which doesn’t keep him from doing it again and again, and Jordan lets him get away with it about half the time. Calling BS on your best friend takes some guts, especially when he’s teasing you with what you want most.

Rick genuinely is questioning his orientation, but dragging Jordan into his dithering was pretty self-centered, and he flipflops a lot on what he’s willing to do. Kind of understandable, kind of irritating, and probably why nobody should have to date eighteen year olds except other eighteen year olds. Some of it is sweet, some of it is hot, and some of it made me reach for the cluebat. Flirting with the waiter deserved a quick rap in the teeth. Holding back on reciprocating after being the one to set everything up—grrr... Jordan and the readers definitely get whipsawed.

The guys at least are talking, although a fair amount of what they’re saying sounds like wisdom from a much older person, not young men at an age when they know it all and think more frequently with their little heads than their big ones. It wasn’t always the thought that made me think parental POV, more the phrasing and word choice.

Still Rick and Jordan do cover some important emotional ground, a couple years’ worth in a weekend, and some fumbly sexual ground. Jordan does find his spine when Rick tries to have things both ways, which was a big advance for him and a much deserved reality check for Rick. The story ends on a beginning, a romantic place to leave them. 3.5 marbles

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Coming this week

Oh, we had a lovely week here at the blog! This was our first full week at the new URL, which is www.crysellesbookshelf.com. All previous links should continue to work, this is more a redirect than a transfer. Or so my techies tell me. Andy is my hero, because I could never have figured out the transfer on my own. I cry when reading things like svc.ww.oikjnmo. Put that where? Wahh!

I had some lovely reading this week. Cornelia Grey's The Circus of the Damned was steampunky/fantasy/magical/demony fun. I guess you'd call that genre-bending. Also, I finally got Keira Andrews' Amish gay romance, A Forbidden Rumspringa, up. I delayed to let Reading Reality post it first. I cross post there now and again, and this one was of interest to the readers there. 

Coming up, we have Seducing Jordan from Andrea Dalling, a new to me author, and a new one from Kate Pavelle: Broken Gait. This is a sequel to Wild Horses, which many of you have read and enjoyed. Of course we'll have Thursday's prompt pic, and if  *A*Certain*Author* ever gets her butt in gear, we'll have that prompt ficlet.

Who else wants to play? Any of the prompts are fair game.

Also, the four-year anniversary of when I decided to review systematically is coming up in a few short weeks. We ought to have a party! What kind of cool stuff should we have? Let's see if I can get some of our regulars to help me plan.  I can't exactly do cupcakes.... or can I? ;)

Keep reading!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews

Title: A Forbidden Rumspringa
Author: Keira Andrews
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Dar Albert
Genre: Amish, contemporary
Length: 76,000 words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything?

In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name.

Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community.

Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all?

Note: Contains explicit sexual situations and graphic language. This is not an inspirational/Christian romance.

If you think you're seeing double, it's because a slightly different version of this review was posted at Reading Reality.

When two young men fall for each other in an atmosphere as circumscribed as the Amish town of Zebulon, there’s only a few branches on the decision tree if there’s going to be an HEA. So everything rides on the style and the details.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Circus of the Damned by Cornelia Grey

Title: Circus of the Damned
Author: Cornelia Grey
Purchase at Riptide

Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Genre: steampunk, fantasy
Length: 91500 words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

Magician Gilbert Blake has spent his entire life conning drunkards in the seediest pubs in the darkest towns, careful to hide the true depths of his power. But when he spends a little too much time in Shadowsea and the infamous slumlord Count Reuben gets wind of his abilities, hiding within the Circus of the Damned may be Gilbert’s only chance at survival.

But there’s more to the Circus than meets the eye. Every time a performer dies, a new one must take his place, or the entire circus suffers the consequences. And while the handsome ringmaster Jesse isn’t one to coerce unwilling performers into giving up their souls to the devil, a recent death in their ranks makes Gilbert exactly what they need.

Yet the longer Gilbert stays with the Circus, the more danger he seems to bring them. Being with Jesse is more than Gilbert could have hoped for, but as Count Reuben’s men continue to search for Gilbert and the Circus loses another performer, they all face running out of time long before the Devil claims his due


Last time we saw Farfarello, he had his hands full with a dissipated blues guitarist. He’s back, again not as the POV character, but as a mover and shaker offscreen. You don’t need to read Devil at the Crossroads to understand this book, but your enjoyment at Gilbert’s consternation will be that much greater.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Coming this week

Well, last week was certainly interesting! We had the latest installment in the Delectable series from EM Lynley, Spaghetti Western, which was a great read, and Duende from E.E. Ottoman. Eden Winters came by to show us the 21st century version of opera singers, who all looked good enough to take home, so we could see where she got some of her inspiration for Sebastian in A Matter of When.

Coming up this week, we have reviews of Circus of the Damned from Cornelia Grey (more Farfarello!) and Keira Andrews’ A Forbidden Rumspringa. This last got caught in a scheduling warp—every now and then Marlene from Reading Reality gets to post one of my reviews before I do.

Of course there will be a Thursday picture prompt. Hot guys this time, I promise. Last week’s picture was hot cat shifters—someone ought to write them a little fic.

I am told by reliable sources that this is Queer Romance Month. I'm all for that: it's Queer Romance Life around here after all.

For various blog posts on all sorts of topics, check the Queer Romance Month site.