Saturday, June 28, 2014

Love You Forever by Amelia Bishop

Title: Love You Forever
Author: Amelia Bishop
Purchase at Amazon
Cover Art: Dan Skinner
Genre: Contemporary, paranormal
Length: 68500 words
Formats: mobi, print

They grew up together, and fell in love along the way. But the night Cole & Rick came out to their parents their lives changed in ways they never expected. Before their romance could stand on its own, they were cursed by the gods to remain together, or die.

What happens when kissing your boyfriend becomes a life or death situation? When you have to stay together no matter how your feelings change?

Cole promised he’d love Rick forever. He had no idea how difficult that would prove to be.

****

Examining what happens when a young relationship goes from being the best and happiest choice in the world to being a condition of staying alive occupies this book. Cursed on the night of their coming out, Rick and Cole have two traumas to recover from, plus all the practical matters that go into maintaining the conditions a playful or spiteful character out of mythology can think up.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A picture is worth...


It's Renfaire season again! Or a thousand years ago. Who are these knights to each other? Tell us more in 100 to 1000 words (drabbles are fine, really) and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Won't Back Down (Anthology)

Title: Won’t Back Down
Editor: Samantha Derr
Authors:Andrea Speed, Caitlin Ricci, Mell Eight, Archer Kaye Leah, Kish Swanson, Mina MacLEod, Diana Sheridan, Annabelle Kitch, S.S. Skye, Freddie Milano, August Aimes
Purchase at Less Than Three Publishing
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Aisha Akiju
Genre: Anthology (contains fantasy, science fiction, contemporary)
Length: 189k words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf,

Blurb: MMA. Jousting Knights. Dueling swordsman. Gladiators. They do it for the money, for the love, and the necessity. They aren't afraid of bruises, blood, and broken bones. Less Than Three Press presents a collection of stories about people who won't back down even when the whole world seems stacked against them.

****

Due to the huge number of stories in this volume and my woeful tendency to say something about each one, the individual story blurbs will get pushed down into the review section. There is something for everyone here.

Only a few of the pieces have on-screen sex, which is an interesting choice for the anthology and generally a good choice for the stories. None of them lose anything for not having the explicit, and a few are weakened by having it there. A few need every touch and thrust the author gave them.

Word counts where offered are my best estimates based on the number of Kindle locations, which very roughly give you 22-23 words per location.

*

Heart's Tournament by Mell Eight—Torn apart by the guilds vying for control of the city, twin brothers Keel and Saar must learn to fight, and win, if they hope to reunite—but winning might be exactly what tears them apart forever. Note: This story contains twincest.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Coming this week

Yeah, I've been dazed and confused, but I know this week what I have coming up.

Last week we had A wonderful piece of flash fiction from Clare London, a review of a very good YA fantasy from James Erich, more bare skin than I usually risk on our Thousand Word Thursday picture, and a demonstration of what happens when Cryssy Crankypants gets loose.

For this week, expect a review of the Won't Back Down anthology from Less Than Three Press, another yummy prompt pic, and a review of Love You Forever from Amelia Bishop.

I do feel another rant coming on, but no promises. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Of objectivity and snark

Some days I really hate that living up to the person I want to be requires me to try to be fair and even handed with reviewing. It would be a lot less work to splat my first reactions on the page. Being aware also that this is a small genre, and everyone knows everyone, or knows someone who knows, and stuff gets around, including the news that there were tears, I don't publish reviews like this one.

It's not my style. I think I'm smart, I have been called a bitch, but I try to keep the bitchy out of the review.  On the other hand, Smart Bitches have about forty billion gazillion more readers than I do. These things are probably related.

Notice I didn't say I don't write snarky reviews. I don't post them.  Or try not to, someone may point out where I'm wrong. But not posting them is different from not writing one.

Reading a review that discusses unicorn sparkle peen with Justin Bieber flakes, or whatever brain buster she actually wrote in that linked review (I can't bear to look again) made me recall a review I wrote to get the snark out of my system. Binky is the bad example character Nicole Kimberling wrote her very funny "how not to do it" articles about for Jessewave  and Novel Approach. He's pretty awful in those posts.

With my best attempt to redact all identifying information about the book, here's what Cryssy Crankypants snark really does look like.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A picture is worth...

Is he losing by accident or on purpose? Tell us more in 100 to 1000 words (drabbles are fine, really) and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dreams (Dreams of Fire and Gods) by James Erich

Title: Dreams (Dreams of Fire and Gods #1)
Author: James Erich
Purchase at Harmony Ink/Dreamspinner
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Genre: fantasy, YA
Length: 79,700 words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

A thousand years ago, two factions of gods, the Stronni and the Taaweh, nearly destroyed the Kingdom of Dasak by warring for the land and the frightened humans who lived there. Then suddenly the Taaweh vanished and the Stronni declared victory.

Now, as tensions escalate between the emperor and his regent, Vek Worlen, the vek's son, apprentice mage Sael dönz Menaük, finds himself allied with a homeless vagabond named Koreh. Together they flee the capital city and make their way across a hostile wilderness to the vek's keep, mere steps ahead of the emperor’s assassins.

But Koreh has dreams—dreams of the ancient Taaweh—and he knows the looming war between the emperor and the vek will be nothing compared to the war that is about to begin. The Taaweh are returning, and the war between the gods may destroy the kingdom once and for all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is a complex world with complex problems, and our two heroes are squack on the opposite sides. While it isn’t obvious at first how they can overcome the barriers even a little, Sael and Koreh do find a way to come together, at least partially, by the end of the story. This is a trilogy, and so nothing is completely resolved. And that’s way more than okay. More story for Cryssy!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Thousand Word Story from Clare London


TOUCH ME by Clare London
© Clare London 2014

(NSFW but oh so good -- Cryselle)


“Touch me,” I whisper.

The undergrowth rustles and creaks around me: the air is thick and moist. It’s warm in the clinging, humid way that I’ve learned to expect in these caves. I try to raise my arm but it’s pinned at my side.

The trap was sprung well.

“Touch me! It’s what you want, isn’t it?” I raise my voice, though the fingers at my throat are strong, pressing hard on my throat, thickening my breath.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A picture is worth...


How beautiful is the music they're making together? Tell us more in 100 to 1000 words (drabbles are fine, really) and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In His Command by Rie Warren

Title: In His Command
Author: Rie Warren
Published by Grand Central/Hachette
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Claire Brown
Genre: dystopian
Length: 97k words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

In the dystopian future, two men discover attraction isn't just dangerous, it's deadly.

Two generations ago, the world was annihilated by a series of catastrophic environmental events. The remaining survivors were driven closer and closer to big city centers-damaged but not destroyed-divvied into sixteen identical international territories ruled by the Company.

Oppressive to the core, the Company has one rule in order to recoup the world's devastated population: homosexuality and deviant sexual behaviors are hanging offenses. First time offenders are last-time offenders.

It is the year 2070. Commander Caspar Cannon has a stellar military reputation-and a life-threatening secret. When a revolution rips through the territories, Cannon is ordered to escort Company Executive Nathaniel Rice to a secure location. Leaving the besieged city behind, their journey becomes a minefield of sabotage, betrayal, secrets . . . and intense desire for one another.

Cannon's militant self-repression takes a direct hit, his suspicions warring with passion for a man who can never be his, not while the Company remains in power. True to his mission, he delivers Nathaniel to the safe bunker where a fate he never expected awaits him.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I seem to be reading this series out of order: this is the first, and I started with In His Sights (review here)  which I enjoyed enough to come back for a second helping.

Here we have a couple of alpha males, on opposing sides of a very wide gap. Nathaniel is a Company man with a more convoluted path than his military lover and escort Caspar can imagine. In this world, the population has been depleted by war and by plague, creating a very stratified society where the major goal is to repopulate the world. If you can stomach the nonsensical worldbuilding of Divergent, you can probably buy into the Company, their complete intolerance for homosexuality, for people who don’t toe their lines, and the carnage that follows on from it. For a society that wishes to expand their numbers, they do kill off more than they breed.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Current Goodreads Giveaways

backstroke Cigars in the Parlor
Civil War era novel
cigars
mermen Caged
20627118 backroadtowonderland
10894894 looking after joey
20775899 Some of these books end very soon, so if you’re interested, click now.

The dark, unmarked cover contains the first three books in The Back Road to Wonderland series: Paradox, Seduction of a King and Madness of a Bleeding Heart.

To the authors who do giveaways: to maximize your chances of getting found, use lots and lots of tags. I found these using gay, gay romance, mm romance, mm, glbt, glbt romance, and I didn't find one book that had more than 2 of those tags. I'm betting I missed a couple goodies because I couldn't find them. Tags are my friends.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A picture is worth



Baseball season's already open. Tell us more in 100 to 1000 words (drabbles are fine, really) and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Picks & Pucks by Teegan Loy

Title: Picks & Pucks
Author: Teegan Loy
Purchase at Dreamspinner
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Christie Caughie
Genre: contemporary, sports
Length: 254 pages
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

Rising men’s figure skating star, Justin Corrin, is coming home to train for the upcoming season and face his demons. The last thing Justin needs is to fall in love with a hockey player. Instead of getting rid of his demons, Justin is collecting more. He tries desperately to control his growing feelings for CJ Daly, but finds being with CJ keeps his nightmares away.

Justin isn’t the only one with problems, and hidden fears and secrets threaten to separate the two. With the pressure mounting, CJ starts to pull away, and Justin doesn’t know why. His skating suffers, and he decides to stop wasting his time on love and focus on winning the nationals.

If Justin can destroy his demons, he might have a chance for happiness on and off the ice. But if the demons win, Justin’s life could be ruined.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What I had here was a story that I wanted very much to enjoy, with a quirk that came a hair’s breadth from causing a DNF in chapter 2.

If I *never* see the word “demon” again, that will be just fine. This book has a lifetime’s supply.

Yes, Justin has some. So do the other characters. Yes, they need to be vanquished. Doing so with subtlety makes for a good story. These demons are personified, given actions and implied dialogue. As seen from the first person POV of Justin, the whiz-bang skater of all styles and sports, they are a huge distancing effect from the emotions of the story. Yes Justin feels their effects, but they’re outside of him. The effect might have been intended to make his feelings concrete, instead, they become a barrier between him and his ownership of his feelings and reactions.