Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Sexy Myspace Graphics 

Thanks to all who have made my 2011 such an interesting year, and here's to a fabulous 2012 for all of us! (and where is this guy hiding? I want to grab!)

The Valley of the Shadow of Death by Julie Bozza

Title: The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Author: Julie Bozza
Cover Artist: Nelson Mejia
Publisher: Manifold Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 218 pages

Joshua Delaney and Carmine Angelo Trezini, cop and low-level mobster, should have absolutely nothing in common; yet, accidentally brought together, they rapidly became both lovers and allies against important crime figure Matthew Picano. Of course, taking down a man like that was never going to be easy – but Josh has no idea of the scale of the sacrifice he will eventually be called upon to make.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Give it to Cryssy: she'll read anything. This is another not-HEA story.

Chicago police officer Joshua Delaney is dangerously naïve, showing no awareness of his surroundings, having no eye for the cronky, for what doesn't fit and may be dangerous. Someone less suited for police work is hard to imagine, and the wonder is not that he survives two attempts on his life in the first forty pages, it's that some earlier, more casual attempt wasn't successful.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

End of the Year Stats


It's been an interesting half a year: I started reviewing for Dark Divas, and about three months later, Jessewave gave me a shot. The requirements are different for the reviews, which is why the styles jump around a bit here, and the books we are offered differ as well, certain publishers don't request review at Wave's who do at DD. Keeps the TBR pile balanced, I suppose.

I've also started crossposting at Amazon. They don't seem to be as accepting of terminology. :S

Here's how the last six months break out.
39 reviews at Dark Divas, they had a head start.
15 reviews at Wave's
-----
54 total      A few are written but are still to post, something I have more control over at Wave's. Apologies to all who have been waiting on reviews; the Dark Diva reviews have all been delayed by the big holiday extravaganza, but should be appearing presently.

I have a couple books out, best get reading! The stats here are going to be combined.

By publisher:

Amber Quill
4
Carina

1
Cheyenne
1
Dreamspinner
12
eXcessica
1
JMS Press
2
Loose Id

2
MLR

5
Nazca Plains
1
Pink Squirrel
1
Riptide

2
Samhain

1
Self

2
Silver

3
Storm Moon
2
Torquere

12
Total E-Bound
1
Untreed Reads
1

Guess it's reasonable that the bigger pubs are better represented; I do try to catch a variety. But never again on Nazca Plains: that book was scarring, and after reading the pub site, another equally bad experience seems far too likely.

About authors:  a couple of authors that I've read more than one from: I'm allowed to have favorites.  Eden Winters, Carole Cummings, JL Merrow, Mara Ismine, Val Kovalin, and Josephine Myles all turn up more than once. I do try to sample a lot of folks.

By Genre:
Anthology
3
Contemporary
18
Cowboy

2
Fantasy

7
Historical

7
Paranormal
10
Science Fiction
2
Spiritual

1
Steampunk
3
Bizarro

1

No BDSM. My choice, no apologies.
Ratings
            1
1
 1.5
1
2
1
2.5
3
2.75
1
3
10
3.25

3.5
7
3.75
1
4
13
4.25
2
4.5
4
4.75

5
9

My gradations have gotten a little smaller since coming to Jessewave's, where reviewers use quarter stars. I really don't want to cut it any finer. I average 3.73, which isn't too surprising; I don’t ever choose to read a book I expect not to like. Some trends: I'm giving out fewer 5's, partially, because I'm getting pickier, but mostly because I’m getting a real rash of just-okay books. I try to judge each story on what it's trying to accomplish and has it done that. If it's a humor piece, did I actually laugh? If it's science fiction, did I believe in the world? It's supposed to be m/m, did I get a CWD/m? I'm always a little perplexed by having to rate a short humor piece on the same scale with a thoughtful novel.

Some of the stories haven't had happy endings, and they've been rated very high, at 4.33 average, probably because it has to be a superior story to even see the light of day without an HEA or HFN.

It was an interesting year, and I'm looking forward to 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Naughty: The Santa Problem

Title: The Santa Problem
Author: Tam Ames
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: contemporary, holiday
Length: 6800 words


Lane would do most anything to make his live-in love Gavin happy, but this is taking things too far. Just because Gavin can’t find someone to play Santa at his office building, doesn’t mean it’s Lane’s problem too. But Gavin can be very persuasive when he wants his way, and Lane may be taking on more than he can handle in order to keep his man content.


~~~~~~~~~~~

After the first coffee snort, I put down the cup, and my computer is grateful for it. First, Gavin has to wheedle Lane into agreeing to play Santa, and a less likely Saint Nick is hard to imagine. Young, buff, and regarding kids as some exotic species best kept on leashes, Lane takes a lot of convincing.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Merry Christmas Drabble from Eden Winters


Prancing before a cardboard fireplace, Leo eyed the bulging stockings, hoping they held enough tips to warrant shaking his nearly naked ass when he could be home, wrapping presents. He glanced at his routine partner, Ben, reminded of why he'd volunteered to strip tonight. He'd been screwing up his courage and, after the show, he'd tell the man how he felt. At last the song ended and the curtain fell, and he danced over to the spot he'd marked earlier, stopping and looking up. "Mistletoe," he murmured hopefully.

Ben kissed him and replied, "And my Christmas wish just came true."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you, Eden! I knew someone would know what these two were up to!

Eden does some wonderful holiday based stories, good at any time of year. The latest, A Lie I Can Live with, is now out, and on top of my TBR pile.

With a few extra pounds and a geek reputation, Otis Tucker despairs of ever finding someone to share his life with. When the GLBT dating service GetaDate.com matches him with handsome hunk Garret, he thinks it's some kind of joke. But the more he learns of Garret, the more he realizes that even gorgeous people can be taken at face value and that Mr. Perfects come in many different sizes.

Find it here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nice: The Joy of Christmas Shopping by Mara Ismine

Title: Nice: The Joy of Christmas Shopping
Author: Mara Ismine
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: contemporary, holiday
Length: 5700 words

Is visiting a sex shop with your best friend a good antidote to Christmas shopping? Or is it a good way to move the relationship to something more than just best friends? Keith and David are about to find out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Keith and David are both products of the foster care system; it's left its mark on both of them. Trust is precious and seldom bestowed, a friendship that lasts ten years is too valuable to risk screwing up with sex. Neither of them is entirely sure making the step from friends to lovers is possible, though both of them think it's desirable.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Take Me Home by Sloan Parker


Title: Take Me Home
Author: Sloan Parker
Cover Artist: Marci Gass
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 91K words


Aspiring television writer Evan Walker has been in love with his best friend since high school, but Kyle doesn’t do boyfriends. Never has. Never will. Evan knows it’s a bad idea to give in to desire when he wants more than a friend with benefits. He has a new dream job. Now all he needs is the dream partner.

Kyle Bennett is a mystery novelist with a severe case of writer’s block. He needs a change. He has three days on their cross-country train trip home for the holidays to figure out how to tell Evan he’s staying there for good. He also has to write the overdue pages for his editor. Only, he’s a little too distracted by the close quarters in their sleeper compartment—and Evan’s ass—to get much done.

The sparks that fly between them are hotter than ever. Good thing they have a real-life mystery to focus on: why people all around them, including Evan’s new boss, want to get their hands on a journal that once belonged to Kyle’s grandfather.

When a blizzard traps them in the mountains, Kyle and Evan steam up the train’s windows and must finally face their true desires.

*************
I’m not sure if this story qualifies as a big misunderstanding or not, because all the doubt and evasion is justified based on what Kyle and Evan knew of each other from their youth and the subsequent years. In this friends to lovers tale, every time they try to talk about the changes something interrupts them or they are otherwise derailed; they are talking, but damn, is it slow.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Holiday Pic is Worth...

Thanks so much to Tam Ames and Chrissy Munder for their excerpt and drabble, each explaining why our young man was dressed only in his stocking cap! Go read, they are cute!

Now here, something is hung with care; who's going to explain it?  The usual applies, send me 100-1000 words (a drabble is an art form, folks) with covers, links, and blurbs, and I will post it with the pic here. It can be this pic or an older one, just tell me which, and a picture can have more than one story.

Happy Holidays from the Bookshelf to all who stop by, and Merry Reading!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Grown Men by Damon Suede

Title: Grown Men
Author: Damon Suede
Cover Artist: Roberto Quintero
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 109 pages

Every future has dirty roots. 

Marooned in the galactic backwaters of the HardCell company, colonist Runt struggles to eke out an existence on a newly-terraformed tropical planetoid. Since his clone-wife died on entry, he’s been doing the work of two on his failing protein farm. Overworked and undersized, Runt’s dwindling hope of earning corporate citizenship has turned to fear of violent “retirement.”

When an overdue crate of provisions crashes on his beach, Runt searches frantically for a replacement wife among the tools and food. Instead he gets Ox, a mute hulk who seems more like a corporate assassin than a simple offworld farmer.

Shackwacky and near-starving, Runt has no choice but to work with his silent partner despite his mounting paranoia and the unsettling appeal of Ox’s genetically altered pheromones. Ox plays the part of the gentle giant well, but Runt’s still not convinced he hasn’t arrived with murder in mind.

Between brutal desire and the seeds of a relationship, Runt’s fears and Ox’s inhuman past collide on a fertile world where hope and love just might have room to grow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Woefully underskilled for the task he's taken on in terraforming, Runt is starving in the midst of plenty. Maybe he's streetsmart from his upbringing in spaceport alleys, but when he intercepts a big crab trying to carry off a mealpack, he eats the mealpack, not the crab. He's not TSTL, he just doesn't have the necessary skill set, and the clone wife who didn't survive the landing may or may not have been able to make up the deficiencies in wildlife recognition and machinery repair, but we'll never know. Equally mysterious is why he's out here at all, aside from the lure of riches once he's homesteaded his island. HardCell means business, we are told, but Runt isn't really a good prospect for a grubstake and doesn't have the necessary capital to buy in. If HardCell is so hardcore as to choose colonists only for their willingness to be dumped out in the back-ass of beyond, they don't need to kill off the underperformers; the world will take of that for them. Runt doesn't have the skills to teach the offspring he hopes to have to populate this new world.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Thousand Word Thursday Drabble from Chrissy Munder

Smile for the Camera

“My mum’s not going to see this, is she?” Derek shifted against the red sheets; uneasy at way the cheap polyester clung to the damp patches on his back. Sure he was sweating, but who wouldn’t?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Time Waits for No Man by Kiernan Kelly

Title: Time Waits for No Man
Author: Kiernan Kelly
Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamroz
Publisher: MRL Press
Length: 29 pages


When wishing for a way to save yourself from drowning under a deluge of personal disasters, remember that the old adage, "be careful what you wish for" applies doubly during the holidays. Robert Hanley finds this out the hard way when he books himself a time-traveling penny saver vacation that lands him knee deep in danger of losing not only his mind, but his heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poor Robert Hanley, the word "nebbish" was made for him. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong, all over him. The holidays are anything but cheery for him; he's looking at the total collapse of his love life, his job, his living situation. You just know that there's a letter from the IRS waiting in this guy's mailbox, but he doesn't go home, he goes on this crazy cut-rate vacation instead.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Thousand Word Excerpt from Tam Ames


Hee, this one's on the naughty side! Tam sent us an excerpt of her new story, The Santa Problem.

****


The door opened and I glanced up to see one of the elderly security guards staring at us. I looked down and realized how it looked, me without pants and Gavin kneeling at my feet. Granted he was scrubbing my thigh down with soap but...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Picture is Worth...


Ahem! Well, can't guarantee that this guy won't get kicked off, but while he lasts, won't someone puh-lease write him a little story? Or do you have an excerpt that fits him?

If any of the older pictures tickle the muse, just tell me which one. But 100 to 1000 words (honest, short works!) of story, and I will post it here with links, blurbs, and covers for you.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter Warmers anthology


Title: Winter Warmers
Editors: Josephine Myles and JL Merrow
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Publisher: Pink Squirrel Press
Genre: contemporary
Length: 126 pages


Baby, it's cold outside! Beat the chill with Winter Warmers—a seasonal anthology.

Mulled wine. Butterscotch kisses. Hideous sweaters. Candy at the beach, or a trip to a sex shop in Amsterdam. And the man of your dreams, wrapped around you... Winter warmers come in many shapes and sizes, from the tongue-in-cheek to the hot-as-hell. Enjoy a quintet of heart-warming tales of men loving men from Clare London, Chrissy Munder, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, and Lou Harper that are guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face.

One thing's for sure—it's going to be a red-hot Christmas!

Lucky Dip by Clare London
Andy Jackson always knew that class 2C’s help in preparing for the annual Christmas Fair would be a mixed blessing. Then he’s paired up on the Lucky Dip with Greg, the man who dumped him but now can’t keep away, the pupils are either lecturing him on his lovelife or losing bladder control, and no one’s fixed the broken handle on the storage room. It may all be one whoopee cushion too far for him.

Butterscotch Kisses by Chrissy Munder
Matthew Morrison is determined to conquer his fear of heights and achieve a winning outcome. At least, that’s what the best-selling, self-help book he’s listening to promises. Being stuck on a three-story tower in the middle of a snowstorm wasn’t part of the plan. With no St. Bernard in sight, it’s Cute Ticket Guy Adam to the rescue, and an outcome Matthew never anticipated.

Wintertide by Lou Harper
May meets December when Jem and Oscar chance on each other at the Santa Monica Pier, only weeks before Christmas. The two men are separated by age, social status, and their taste in candy, yet if they are both naughty and nice, they might just find holiday cheer together.

When in Amsterdam... by Josephine Myles
Brandon is on his first visit to new boyfriend Jos’s home country, just in time for their Sinterklaas celebrations. But an unexpected detour into a sex shop leads Brandon to new discoveries about himself, and a whole new dynamic to their relationship. The weather may be cold and damp, but Brandon and Jos soon heat things up!

A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou by JL Merrow
What’s the best gift a young man could get for Christmas? Mohawked saxophonist Liam wouldn’t have picked the hideous collection of knitwear he’s presented with by his mum and his aunties. He’d rather have the gorgeous older man he sees every day while busking at King’s Cross. But with a little Christmas magic in the air, maybe those garish garments are just the thing for attracting a silver fox…

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Right Wrong Turn by Heidi Champa

Title: The Right Wrong Turn
Author: Heidi Champa
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Quill
Genre: contemporary
Length: 158 pages


Derek Owen has made a new life for himself in Austin after leaving his hometown of Cedar Bluff years before. In his rush to start over, he left behind his first and only love, Luke McLeod. He's moved up and moved on with a job at an accounting firm and a completely inappropriate relationship with his boss, Ben Dickson.

When Derek and Ben are caught in a compromising position, Derek is sent into exile, ostensibly to do an audit of a ranch near Cedar Bluff that's keen on expansion. Going home means confronting the past, and Luke, who is still living there. Derek soon finds himself tangled up in small-town secrets and lies. And, fighting his old feelings for Luke.

Can Derek figure out the right way forward, or has his life taken one too many wrong turns?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The narrator, Derek, has left his small town roots and his small town love, Luke, far behind in his search for success in the big city. He misplaces his sense of right and wrong intermittently; it disappears when his cock goes up and manifests when he's flaccid.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Angel by Laura Lee

Angel by Laura Lee
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: GLBT Contemporary
Length: 200 pages



Summary: Itineris Press, the best in quality GLBT faith-based fiction, is proud to offer Angel by Laura Lee.

Since the loss of his lively, charming wife to cancer six years ago, minister Paul Tobit has been operating on autopilot, performing his religious duties by rote. Everything changes the day he enters the church lobby and encounters a radiant, luminous being lit from behind, breathtakingly beautiful and glowing with life. An angel. For a moment Paul is so moved by his vision that he is tempted to fall on his knees and pray.

Even after he regains his focus and realizes he simply met a flesh-and-blood young man, Paul cannot shake his sense of awe and wonder. He feels an instant and overwhelming attraction for the young man, which puzzles him even as it fills his thoughts and fires his feelings. Paul has no doubt that God has spoken to him through this vision, and Paul must determine what God is calling him to do.

Thus begins a journey that will inspire Paul’s ministry but put him at odds with his church as he is forced to examine his deeply held beliefs and assumptions about himself, his community, and the nature of love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the very beginning, Laura Lee warns you that this is not a standard romance. More literary and philosophical than most, pausing frequently to consider the ramifications of mountains as the high places of God, Angel tracks the spiritual and sexual journeys of a minister and a recovering alcoholic. No longer attached to a church, Paul Tobit gives us a glimpse of what is to come in the very prologue, where his small cabin at the base of Mount Rainier contains everything he needs, but that list does not contain Ian.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Junction X by Erastes


Title: Junction X Author: Erastes
Cover Artist: Alex Beecroft
Publisher: Cheyenne Publishing
Genre: historical
Length: 200 pages
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Set in the very English suburbia of 1962 where everyone has tidy front gardens and lace curtains, Junction X is the story of Edward Johnson, who ostensibly has the perfect life: A beautiful house, a great job, an attractive wife and two well-mannered children. The trouble is he’s been lying to himself all of his life. And first love, when it does come, hits him and hits him hard. Who is the object of his passion? The teenaged son of the new neighbours.

Edward’s world is about to go to hell.
______


Readers who require happy endings, you are excused now. The rest of you, come over here, let me tell you about something really extraordinary.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Picture is worth...


It doesn't look quite this bad outside, yet, but it's snowing! I still have hopes that some author will tell a story for our mountain men, and who can tell us more about what's going on here?

 Send a ficlet or an excerpt to go with this picture, and I'll post it with a cover, blurb, and links. If an older picture pokes your muse, great, just make sure I know which pic.