Category - Recent Reads

2014 and tackling the terrifying TBR list

CharlieRoseLike most readers, I have a TBR list, one that seems to have a life of its own. The books multiply like bunnies. For every one I read, three more take its place. (I blame Dreamspinner Press and their ridiculously amazing sales!) I have eBooks from 2010 and 2011 which I don't know that I'll get around to as 2012 and 2013 have produced twice as many eBooks that need reading. Sadly, 2013 was not a good year of reading for me. I read quite a bit, but mostly books on writing or for research.

This year, I've decided to try and tackle my ever growing TBR list. Over the weekend, I spent a few hours sorting through my eBook folders. There are A LOT of them. Here's how I organize them, in case anyone fancies doing something similar. I have an 'eBooks' folder in my SkyDrive, and inside that folder, every author who I have at least 3 or more books for gets their own folder. All other eBooks go into a folder labelled 'Authors'. Then I have a 'Favorite Authors' folder, a '2012', and '2013' folder, plus a 'TBR' folder. Inside my 'TBR' folder is a 'Priority' folder. As I read books in my 'TBR', they get moved to their respective folders. It's the only way I can keep track of things. Any non-LGBTQ fiction goes into a separate folder labeled accordingly: Research, Crime Fiction, M/F Romance etc.

I hope to read a lot more fiction than I did last year, and catch up on some books I meant to read ages ago. I'm off to a pretty good start. Here's what I read this week. All of which I highly recommend!

Piper Vaughn's - Love Rising Shira Anthony's - Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea #1) KJ Charles's - The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1) KJ Charles's - Interlude with Tattoos (A Charm of Magpies #1.5)

I'll probably be adding more of my thoughts on books I enjoyed. I guess you could call them reviews, but I don't consider myself a reviewer. Despite being a writer, reviews are freakin' hard, and there's a lot more to them than just saying I liked or didn't like something, because I'd consider that more an opinion. My reviews are really more along the lines of fangirl ramblings.

I also don't give M/M Romance books star ratings. It's one of those topics that can be debated until everyone's blue in the face, but personally, I think folks should do whatever feels comfortable for them, and in my case, I don't feel comfortable rating my fellow authors, so I don't. I'm not saying authors should or shouldn't rate/review other authors, I'm just saying I won't. Now if I like, or love a book, I'm not shy about shouting it from the mountain top. When I read, I read for the sheer enjoyment of it. I read for me.

It's funny, how despite now being an author, I pretty much still approach books the same way I have all my life. I don't pick up a book, start reading, and suddenly become its editor. I'm there to enjoy it. I have enough editing to worry about in my own stories without worrying about what was missed in someone else's. I may notice things I hadn't noticed before, or have names for all the structural elements that compose a story, but when I pick up a book, the author stays behind, and the reader takes over. I want to be swept away by the story, the characters, the world, and the emotions. If the story succeeds in that respect, I'd call it a winner. As long as it piques my interest, I'll read any genre. I do however, need coherency. If I'm reading a book, and something in the writing jars me out of the story every other paragraph, I'm not likely to continue. It's been a long time since I've come across a book that's done that.

Right now I'm reading Jordan L Hawk's - Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin #3), which I LOVED the first two by the way, and I have a couple of eBooks lined up after that. I'm aiming for at least three eBooks a week, depending on schedules and length of books. There's also a few new releases coming out this month which I'm looking forward to: Hayley B. James's - Polyester Prince (ABQ Heat #2), and KJ Charles's - A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies #2)

What are you reading at the moment?


This week's Recommended Reads.

CharlieRoseOver the weekend I managed to get in a couple of reads. I'd been eager to read Stormhaven for a while now, but hadn't had the time. I just couldn't wait anymore, and was up until about 4 am one evening. I love that series soooo much!  Excuse me while I....

right-in-the-feels

Stormhaven (Whyborn & Griffin #3) by Jordan L. Hawk Fish & Ghosts (Hellsinger #1) by Rhys Ford

(click on the titles for my thoughts on each one) Both are fave authors of mine, and I had such a great time reading these. The Whyborne & Griffin series just keeps getting better and better. I'm always so excited when the next book comes out. The Hellsinger series had a great start, and I'm looking forward to the next book!

I've been on somewhat of a paranormal kick recently, loving every moment of it, but then after reading these authors: Jordan L. Hawk, Rhys Ford, Shira Anthony, Piper Vaughn, KJ Charles, can you blame me?

Coming next: After Christmas Eve by Michael Rupured, and Polyester Prince by Hayley B. James.


Book of the Week: Tequila Mockingbird

CCochetBooks While I was at RainbowCon, I attended the series writing panel where I amazingly won two ebooks from the fabulous Rhys Ford. As you imagine, I have been fangirling since. One of the books I received was an ARC of Tequila Mockingbird.

Now, I have to say that I LOVE the Sinners Series. From the moment I met the Morgan clan in Sinner's Gin, I was a goner. How can you not love each and every one of them? Each Sinners book seems to get even better than the last and Tequila Mockingbird doesn't disappoint. The story was sexy, sweet, funny, and heartwarming. I love that we get to revisit previous couples from the series and enjoyed watching their lives intertwine.

Forest's character was strong yet vulnerable. He has a troubled past he's trying to put behind him, but certain circumstances keep getting in the way. It's heartbreaking, especially one particular source of Forest's pain. Luckily, there's Lieutenant Conner Morgan to catch Forest and lend him his strength, not to mention other members of the Morgan clan. Forest is a great addition to the Sinners family and he deserved so much love.

Getting to know Conner Morgan was engrossing. As the oldest Morgan and a SWAT Lieutenant, you expect him to be this serious, no-nonsense kind of guy, but Conner has a sweet, softer side, one that comes out especially around Forest. Conner had his own struggles, despite being brought up in a loving and accepting family. I loved how once he made up his mind, he used that Conner courage to follow through.

If you haven't read the Sinners series I highly recommended. And now, I just have one question for Ms. Ford: When can we expect Quinn and Rafe's book?

Tequila MockingbirdLG Tequila Mockingbird by Rhys Ford Book Three of the Sinners Series Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense Pages: 250 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press ISBN: 978-1-63216-014-0 Blurb

Lieutenant Connor Morgan of SFPD’s SWAT division wasn’t looking for love. Especially not in a man. His life plan didn’t include one Forest Ackerman, a brown-eyed, blond drummer who’s as sexy as he is trouble. His family depends on him to be like his father, a solid pillar of strength who’ll one day lead the Morgan clan.

No, Connor has everything worked out—a career in law enforcement, a nice house, and a family. Instead, he finds a murdered man while on a drug raid and loses his heart comforting the man’s adopted son. It wasn’t like he’d never thought about men — it’s just loving one doesn’t fit into his plans.

Forest Ackerman certainly doesn’t need to be lusting after a straight cop, even if Connor Morgan is everywhere he looks, especially after Frank’s death. He’s just talked himself out of lusting for the brawny cop when his coffee shop becomes a war zone and Connor Morgan steps in to save him. Whoever killed his father seems intent on Forest joining him in the afterlife. As the killer moves closer to achieving his goal, Forest tangles with Connor Morgan and is left wondering what he’ll lose first—his life or his heart.

PREORDER from Dreamspinner Press

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Recent Reads - The Matter of Time series by Mary Calmes

RecentReads

Some time ago, I sadly fell very behind on my reading, but a conversation with the lovely Poppy Dennison reminded me of how important it is for an author to read. There really was no excuse for me not to be getting any reading done, and "haven't had time" was just not good enough. I schedule most everything in my planner, from edits, to pet grooming appointments, to blot tours and everything in between, so why not schedule reading time? Over the last few weeks, I've gotten back into the swing of things and realize how much I missed it. I'd been meaning to read the Matter of Times series by Mary Calmes for a long time, and by book 2 I was kicking myself that I hadn't.

Halfway through book one, I knew I'd be reading the rest of the series. The more I read, the more I wanted. First let me say that the way I approach reading a book hasn't changed since I was a kid. I read because I love stories. Love getting lost in the world and the characters. I'm not looking for the next award winning book, I'm not looking out for plot holes or grammar errors--unless they're so great that I can't even read the thing. I'm not looking for how it could have been improved or how I would have done it different because when I pick up a book, I'm reading for the pure enjoyment of it. Lucky for me, I can still separate myself from the technical side of things. It's not my job to edit. I'm not saying this because any of the books I'll be chatting about have issues, but to let you know that it's not what I'm looking at when I read, and that's just me. Everyone approaches reading differently. The romance genre is one of my favorite genres, and Gay Romance is especially a love of mine. So for me, it's all about love.

However books that really make me feel something, whose characters stick with me long after I've finished reading, who comfort me when I need to escape, those make it to my favorites list, and they're the ones I revisit time and time again. Like a favorite movie. Matter of Time is one of those series. I just adored it. I'd read Mary before and love every story, but I had some catching up to do. I read all eight books straight through, thrilled they were all there waiting for me to gobble up like a little greedy bunny. And boy did these books make me feel. I'm not a huge fan of  a lot of angst, so I tend not to look for books that try to crush my soul with pain. Real life can be tough enough, so I need my happily ever after, or at least know what I'm getting into. That's just me. With this series, I laughed, cried, and oh my God, I wanted to punch Sam in his dangly bits. Seriously, the man drove me nuts. One minute I wanted to cuddle him, the next I wanted to strangle him. I stayed up way past my bedtime reading these. But who needs sleep, right?

There were moments when I could feel Jory's pain deep in my chest because I'd been there. The heartache was excruciating. Yes, Jory is a trouble magnet, but that just made the whole thing more fun, and his character fascinating. I had moments where I gasped, burst out laughing, and on more than one occasion woke up poor Olly. I loved watching Jory and Sam grow, not just as a couple but individuals. The supporting characters were fantastic. On the surface it may seem like many of the characters are perfect, but beneath it all they're far from it. Each has their own flaws, their own heartaches, and secrets. Then in Parting Shot we got Duncan Stiel. I LOVE that man. I loved seeing things from Aaron's point of view, how different Duncan was to Jory. This was just such a good read. Duncan and Aaron are just smoking hot together.

Overall, this series had everything I wanted and loved. <3 Happy reading!


Vol. 1 (Books 1 and 2)

Jory Keyes leads a normal life as an architect’s assistant until he is witness to a brutal murder. Though initially saved by police Detective Sam Kage, Jory refuses protective custody—he has a life he loves that he won’t give up no matter who is after him. But Jory’s life is in real jeopardy, especially after he agrees to testify about what he saw.

While dealing with attempts on his life, well-meaning friends who want to see him happy, an overly protective boss, and a slowly unfolding mystery that is much more sinister than he could ever imagine, the young gay man finds himself getting involved with Sam, the conflicted and closeted detective. And though Jory may survive the danger, he may not survive a broken heart.

Dreamspinner Press
Vol. 2 (Books 3 and 4)

Three years ago, Jory Harcourt changed his name and shut the door on a past full of pain, only to emerge stronger on the other side. He has a new career, a great working partner, and a satisfying life—except for the hole in his chest left behind when police Detective Sam Kage walked out with his heart.

Now Sam's back and he knows what he wants... and what he wants is Jory. Jory, who doesn't know if he can survive another break up or losing Sam to his dangerous job, resists returning to the arms of the only man he has ever truly loved. But when a serial killer with a score to settle targets Jory, he will have to decide if love is worth the danger as he tries to solve the case and keep Sam safe.

Dreamspinner Press


Sequel to A Matter of Time Vol. 1 and 2 (Book 5)

Jory Harcourt doesn't have to go looking for trouble. Wherever he goes, it seems to find him—particularly when his partner, Sam Kage, is working undercover on a federal task force.

After the recession forces him to close his business, Jory goes to work as a matchmaker and event planner. From there, it's only a matter of time before his big mouth and up-front attitude make him the rope in a tug-of-war between a trust fund baby and a drug-smuggling criminal. Then, as if that situation weren't delicate enough, Jory's undercover lover shows up working for the smuggler.

Between the men who want him and the men who just want him dead, Chicago is getting a little crowded for Jory, so on the advice of his brother, his boyfriend, and the FBI task force, he heads for Hawaii... where a serious accident threatens his quality of life. Can Sam and Jory keep the faith and prove that their relationship really is bulletproof?

Dreamspinner Press


Just Jory - A Sam & Jory Ficlet (Book 5.5)


Sequel to Bulletproof (Book 6)

Jory Harcourt is finally living the dream. Being married to US Marshal Sam Kage has changed him—it’s settled the tumult of their past and changed Jory from a guy who bails at the first sign of trouble to a man who stays and weathers the storm. He and Sam have two kids, a house in the burbs, and a badass minivan. Jory’s days of being an epicenter for disaster are over. Domestic life is good.

Which means it's exactly the right time for a shakeup on the home front. Sam’s ex turns up in an unexpected place. A hit man climbs up their balcony at a family reunion. And maybe both of those things have something to do with a witness who disappeared a year ago. Marital bliss just got a kick in the pants, but Jory won’t let anyone take his family away from him. Before he knew what it felt like to have a home, he would have run. Not anymore. He knows he and Sam need to handle things together, because that’s the only way they’re going to make it.

Dreamspinner Press
Ears, Eggs, and Bunnies - A Sam and Jory Easter Ficlet (Book 6.5)
A Matter of Time Story (Books 7)

Life has never been easy for Duncan Stiel. His childhood was the stuff of nightmares, and his day job as an undercover police officer forces him to hide his true self and occasionally lands him in the hospital. So when he finally meets the perfect man, it comes as no surprise that everything falls apart around him. What Duncan doesn’t expect is that the hardest hurdle to get over before he can make a life with Aaron Sutter is the one inside himself.

Everyone thinks Aaron has it all—looks, money, fame, and success beyond measure. Everyone, that is, except Aaron. At the end of the day, the cameras stop flashing, friends go back to their own lives, company business is handled, and Aaron is always alone. The moment he meets Duncan Stiel, Aaron knows he’ll do anything to hold onto the larger-than-life detective. But when he realizes money won’t buy him the ultimate happiness, Aaron needs to find the strength to give Duncan something much more important—his heart.

Dreamspinner Press
A Matter of Time Story (Book 8)

After years of domestic partnership, Jory Harcourt and Sam Kage are finally going to make it official in their home state of Illinois. It’s been a long and rocky road, and nothing—not disasters at work, not the weather, not a possible stalker, not even getting beat up and having to attend the ceremony looking like he just got mugged—will make Jory wait one more day to make an honest man of the love of his life.

Should be a piece of cake, right?

Dreamspinner Press

Recent Reads - Dogwood Days by Poppy Dennison

RecentReads

First, let me just say how much I love this cover. The colors, the look, and especially the cover model. He's just an absolute perfect fit for Jefferson Lee. Now I'm a sucker for small town romances, not to mention stories with tasty food. The moment I finished reading I was in dire need of some homemade peach cobbler. I very quickly fell in love with Holly Creek and its inhabitants. Everyone had their own distinct voice and personality. I could see this playing out like a movie in my head. There's so much life in this little town. The residents are just a hoot, and Sheriff Zane, oh, *fans self* he's a tall drink of yum.  He's also strong, sweet, dependable, and an all around genuinely good guy. Jefferson Lee made me laugh. His banter with his uncle and his childhood friend Clover was so much fun. This a sweet, feelgood read with wonderful characters that I can't wait to see more of.

<3 Happy reading!


Dogwood Days by Poppy Dennison eBook

Small town heroes and big town hearts.

Jefferson Lee Davis is happy with his life in the city until his favorite uncle has a bad fall and he rushes to Holly Creek to make sure Uncle Sherman is okay. Jefferson Lee knows how to navigate small Southern town’s politics and the residents greet him with open arms. Everyone but the town’s sheriff, Zane Yarbrough, that is.

Dogwood Days, the town’s biggest festival is looming, so Jefferson has to step up and take over his uncle’s job as the town blogger, even if that puts him right in the sheriff’s path. Quirky neighbors, meddling family, and a sassy best friend all come together to make Jefferson Lee’s life in Holly Creek a full-time adventure. When he loses his job back in the city, Jefferson Lee has to start a new job search that will take him away from the town he’s learning to think of as home. Will this big city boy find sweet romance in the arms of a small town sheriff or will the allure of the city call him back?

 

Dreamspinner Press  

Recent Reads - Marshals by Mary Calmes

RecentReads

Yes, I went on a Mary Calmes binge. Yes, I enjoyed every minute of it. After reading and loving the Matter of Time series, I went straight into the Marshals series. I really hope there are going to be more books in this series because they're just so good. I haven't read enough gay romance with Marshals so that was a delightful bonus. Ian Doyle made me swoon. The perfect combination of strong, and vulnerable. The sexual tension is amazing, but it was Ian's little gestures, the small intimate moments he initiated that had me giddy as a school girl. Moments like when he'd step up to Miro and put his head on Miro's shoulder. When he'd get in Miro's personal space, the questions he'd ask while poor Miro was oblivious.

There was action, suspense, romance, laugh out loud moments, and seriously hot sexy times. There were plenty of great characters in this book, those I loved and those I loved to hate. Miro was such a sweetheart. I felt for him, trying to keep his hotheaded partner out of trouble, but mostly the way he was crazy about Ian. I loved their partnership and their friendship almost as much as their romance. I couldn't get enough of these two.

<3 Happy reading!


All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes eBookMarshals: Book One

Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they've gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more.

As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn't working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn't work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn't being tied down at all.

Dreamspinner Press
Fit to Be Tied by Mary Calmes eBook Marshals: Book Two

Deputy US Marshals Miro Jones and Ian Doyle are now partners on and off the job: Miro’s calm professionalism provides an ideal balance to Ian’s passion and quick temper. In a job where one misstep can be the difference between life and death, trust means everything. But every relationship has growing pains, and sometimes Miro stews about where he stands with his fiery lover. Could the heartstrings that so recently tied them together be in danger of unraveling?

Those new bonds are constantly challenged by family intrusions, well-intentioned friends, their personal insecurities, and their dangerous careers—including a trial by fire when an old case of Miro’s comes back to haunt them. It might just be enough to make Ian rethink his decision to let himself be tied down, and Miro can only hope the links they’ve forged will be strong enough to hold.

Dreamspinner Press

 

Recent Reads - Sloe Ride by Rhys Ford

RecentReads

Another auto-buy author for me is Rhys Ford. My absolute favorite series is the Cole McGinnis series, but really I love all of Rhys Ford's books. The Sinner's series is right up there with the rest of my faves so I finally caught up with Sloe Ride, the fourth Sinners book. It was so great to revisit Miki, the band, Kane, and the rest of the Morgans. Like coming home. I felt for Rafe. He'd made a lot of mistakes in his past, but he desperately wanted a second chance, even if at times he felt he didn't deserve it. Quinn, I just loved him. I wanted to curl around him and protect him from the world, even if he could do a perfectly good job of protecting himself.

I loved reading Quinn's point of view, what it was like to be a Morgan without a badge. I understood his frustrations with his family, especially his brothers. The scene in the bathroom with Miki and Quinn, ugh, it shattered my heart. And I loved how Rafe saw Quinn, really saw him the way no one else in Quinn's life ever had. They way he describes Quinn, his beauty, his way of looking at the world was beautiful. Overall, an incredibly enjoyable addition to the Sinners series.

<3 Happy reading!


Sloe Ride by Rhys Ford eBookSequel to Tequila Mockingbird Sinners Series: Book Four

It isn’t easy being a Morgan. Especially when dead bodies start piling up and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Quinn Morgan never quite fit into the family mold. He dreamed of a life with books instead of badges and knowledge instead of law—and a life with Rafe Andrade, his older brothers’ bad boy friend and the man who broke his very young heart.

Rafe Andrade returned home to lick his wounds following his ejection from the band he helped form. A recovering drug addict, Rafe spends his time wallowing in guilt, until he finds himself faced with his original addiction, Quinn Morgan—the reason he fled the city in the first place.

When Rafe hears the Sinners are looking for a bassist, it’s a chance to redeem himself, but as a crazed murderer draws closer to Quinn, Rafe’s willing to sacrifice everything—including himself—to keep his quixotic Morgan safe and sound.

Dreamspinner Press  

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