Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yes It's Me

My wonderful mate Randy who is having surgery this week has let me run amok on his blog while he recovers - fingers crossed the dear man will be back up and back in action in about a weeks time... I even promised him I would behave - why the hell did I do that?

Okay I thought I would do the nice thing straight up as  I should at least attempt to be good and behave. So for my first posting I am going to review a book that I absolutely love:

The Dark Angels: With Wings by Z Allora.


Book 1
This is the first book in the The Dark Angels series and I recommend that you take the time to read these books in order as the story lines will be much more enjoyable

BLURB:
Guitarist Dare Stone and lead singer Angel Luv have led the Dark Angels to Rock `n roll sensation. As a creative team they are unstoppable. Maybe that's why Dare is having an unusual attraction to Angel. Dare is and always has been straight, but Angel's flirting is stirring thoughts that Dare can no longer contain.

A working trip alone with Angel to Bali ignites passions in Dare that he can no longer deny, and their working relationship becomes a roller coaster 'friends with benefits' package. A package with an expiration date. Trouble is, Dare's not sure he wants the relationship to end. Seems he's fallen in love, and he only has wings and a song to try and win Angel's heart for good.

My Take:

I won this book in one of Ethan Day's Gay Day's and I am so glad that I did. I was sucked in from the very beginning of the book and didn't put it down until I had finished (have you ever tried cooking dinner with a book in your hands - not easy).

I absolutely loved Dare and Angel's love story for that is what it truly is a wonderful and kind of erotic (okay, very erotic) love story. This book had me crying laughing yelling and wanting more. You should have seen me when I heard that there was another book in the series (actually better you didn't - my snoopy dancing can be kinda scary).

This is a book that is up in the top five of my constant re reads. because I love the way the characters interact with each other - how they support each other through the tough times and celebrated during the good times.

I refuse to tell you too much about the content as you really need to read this story for yourself just to find out how wonderful it really is. Though I will tell you that there are two more books in this series already available The Dark Angels: Tied Together and The Dark Angels: Finally Fallen which I know is in the wonderful hands of Z Allora's Editor at MLRPress.






REVIEW OF NOT TYPE OF GUY BY SARA YORK – WITH GUEST BLOG BY AUTHOR



smashwords.com
$3.99



BLURB
When CIA assassin Aiden Johnson is trapped between a bathroom wall and a hard man, he chooses the hard man, much to his surprise. Aiden doesn’t want to admit he’s gay, but his first stumble into man love leaves him disoriented, searching for answers and desperate to find the truth. He covers his real desires by dating an ultra-hot girl, but it’s the guy sitting a few tables away that draws his attention.
Super nice and attractive Doctor Trace Williams is so special he seems like an angel to Aiden. Their first kiss blows Aiden away. That Trace sees into his soul, even when Aiden is trying to hide everything, pisses him off. Aiden needs Trace in his life, but once Trace finds out the truth about Aiden’s job, will they have any part of their relationship left?
What would you do if your lover ripped apart the very foundation of what you believed?
___________________
REVIEW

This was the most unusual of M/M novels that I have yet read.  The men were men, not limp wristed crybabies.  This disagreed about something; they argued it out like men.  They made love like men.

The first thing Assassin Aidan had to do was stop battling with coming out and deal with it, which he did, once he met Trace on an off chance encounter bringing an injured woman to the ER where Trace worked. They connected.

They took a weekend away and met with his adventure in a number of ways, and through it all, they found that they still loved each other.

I wish more people would write their character the way Sara York does.  These guys are realistic and if I used a star grading this one would be 5 out of 5.

______________

SARA YORK’S GUEST BLOG

Hi everyone, I’m Sara York, I write male/male romance and thrillers. Randy asked me to write a bit about Not That Type of Guy and how the book came about. Last October I saw a picture of a guy that inspired me. It wasn’t so much his body, though it was hot, it was the expression and his stance. Cocky, I can take on the world but with a bit of vulnerability under the surface.

It was the first time I had ever been motivated to write an entire story just from a photograph. I’ve done shorts before but not a full story from one photo. At first, I thought Not That Type of Guy would be a short at ten to fifteen thousand words, and then I realized that Aiden, the main character, needed more. His story was too big to tell in fifteen thousand words so I expanded his tale to about fifty-five thousand.

Aiden took me by surprise. I feel in love with him, his need to seek justice. He is desperate to make the world right for others and he does what he can. You see, Aiden is an assassin and often doesn’t think he’s good enough. He feels like the guy in Raidohead’s song Creep, never good enough for the angel in his life. Aiden’s angel is Trace, one of the most pure men Aiden has ever met. Trace is special and amazing, just the type of guy everyone is proud of. But Aiden thinks he’s not really good enough for Trace, too bad he’s addicted to the guy and can’t get over him.

Writing Aiden took me down a dark path, leading me to places mired with the worst of the muck the world has to offer. About the time that I started working on Aiden’s book I heard a talk from a guy who works for International Justice Mission. I already had a basis for Aiden and what I wanted him to do with him, but IJM inspired me to go deeper. If you’ve never heard of IJM, they are worth investigating. You see, IJM frees people from slavery. Yes, in this day and age there are still people being bought and sold, their freedoms stolen away with no hope of ever escaping. IJM takes up the fight and rescues many from evil. Their work inspired me to put Trace and Aiden in a place that they had to question everything about their relationship. Then I had to ask Trace this one question, “What would you do if your lover ripped apart the very foundation of what you believed?”

Out of that question I felt that I had enough to force Trace and Aiden to make a decision to either walk away from each other forever or accept the other person. Because that’s what love is. We want to be accepted for ourselves and who we are. We want others to love us with our flaws on display. I hope you enjoy Not That Type of Guy and find out exactly what type of guy Aiden is.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Erica Pike - Men With Emotions - A Guest Blog Commentary

   Erica Pike, author of the MLR Press release A LIFE WITHOUT YOU, which I reviewed recently with an interview with the terific lady herself; has graciously gifted with a guest blog. 
   I am still a bit under the weather and will be having an operation on my back this coming Tuesday.  Shoud anyone want to check on things NJ Nielsen will be Guest posting and keeping an eye on things next while I recover.  There won't be any reviews fromme fr a bit but I believe NJ has plans to do a few herself.  I hope to return to a normalposting schedule soon. Thanks for you following.  If you want to say Hi, you can do so here or e-mail me at Rwig43@yahoo.com

So without fiurther babbeling o n from me, heerrreee's Erica!

__________________________________


Men With Emotions






The sad truth is that a lot of people are still claiming that men are not emotional. From what I can see, it's mostly men who are claiming this and maybe some women complaining about her man. Men are strong and confident. They don't talk about how they feel and they most certainly don't cry, unless they're at a funeral. Crying and talking is for girls. Then there‘s the classical men write masculine men while women write emotional men. 



Generalizations like these not only tick me off, but maintain ridiculous stereotyping that needs to stop.



Some say that, okay, men can be emotional but don't talk about or show their feelings. I'll buy this, to a point, but I believe the behavior is more learned rather than instinctual. I've been observing how the men around me behave and express themselves. Roughly 50% are emotional (some very) and the other 50% are able to hide it. I'd say that maybe 40% express themselves verbally while the remaining 60% take it out on the gym equipment or close themselves off by staring at a computer screen for hours (you tell me if that's healthy). But if 50% of the guys I know are emotional and roughly 40% of them express themselves with words or even tears, can statements like "men don't talk about their feelings" and "men are not emotional" be true? I'd say no, when I'm seeing evidence on the contrary.



By this I'm not saying that men and women are the same. There are different hormones that make us act differently. But testosterone levels in men varies and we‘ve all been through various stuff in our lives that affects us in different ways. It‘s just plain wrong and stereotypical to say that men behave a certain way don't behave a certain way. By saying so, people are maintaining the stereotype of the "ideal man". What does that do to guys who ARE emotional and have a hard time hiding it? It makes them targets because they aren't behaving "like men". I had a guy-friend when I was a kid. He went through daily bullying for being sensitive. This went on for years and years, all because he didn't "act like a guy" and after beatings he‘d end up crying.



We can't continue to put guys in cookie-cutters while there are so many who fit outside the form. Cookie-cutters are not only limiting and unrealistic, but also helps maintain the stereotype every man is supposed to live up to. It's just not fair (and often damaging) to those who don't fit in the cookie form. 



I'm teaching my boys that it's okay to be in touch with their feelings and I encourage them to express themselves. I think it's extremely unhealthy to keep your feelings bottled up and that it can easily lead to depression later in life. They're turning 5 this year (twins) and one is very open while the other keeps everything locked up. I have to really persuade the latter to talk about how he's feeling. He acts so relieved and happy after he's talked to me and we've discussed how he‘s feeling. I'm hoping my positive encouraging will teach him that it's okay to express himself in words. I'm not turning my boys into crybabies by doing this. I think it's healthy for them to be able to identify how they're feeling. That doesn't mean they'll burst out crying whenever they're upset - it just means they're able to come to someone they trust and talk. In touch with ones feelings doesn't equal vulnerability, not that vulnerability is negative. Without vulnerable people, we wouldn‘t have so many wonderful authors, artists, poets, and painters.



Header image credit


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NJ NIELSEN - Friendships – and what they bring about.

    Hello folks, today I am posting a guest blog by N.J. Nielsen to entertain and inform everyone.  She will be discussing her new series, SPAM, INC.  When she told me what the title of the series was I thought it had something to do with junk e-mail!  Hey!  I’ve been sick and on cold meds! LOL

    I am doing my best to catch up with my reading and review writing but it is going slowly as I am still feeling a bit rough.  I hope to post the next review by the end of the week, Monday at the latest.

   So, without further delay, I present the word stylings of N.J. Nielsen, author of ANGELS ON TOP and its sequel HUNTING FOR CLAY, both available from MLR Press in e-book.
__________

Friendships – and what they bring about.

Okay, my main man Randy has let me run wild so I am going to talk a lot about me… why you say? Because I am awesome (Maybe I will mention my girl Embry as well – for a chick that started out as my stalker she totally ROCKS!!!)

Why am I going to talk about me and my bestie? – because once by accident we came up with an Idea that grew from this word – 2KY. It was an innocent mispronunciation of Y2K I tells you, (honest it really was).

There we were laughing our arses off because of one little typo on IM… and an idea sprang forth. Though I must admit that we have had a few series name changes as in the beginning they all sucked… the final version (unless of course we change it again) is called S.P.A.M. Inc. (Suspicious Paranormal Activity Monitoring Incorporated).

This started out as twelve stories and has since grown into twenty five – every time we think that is it and let’s get down and seriously start writing something pops up (get your mind out of the gutter – or at least share) and sets us off on another line of thought, which leads to more stories.

We are going to get most of the stories written before we submit so they can come out one after the other without delay. I hate having to wait forever for the next one in a series of books. Hopefully everyone will enjoy them as much as we are having writing them.

What is it all about? Well, let me just say that going by the title you know it is going to be paranormal in nature. There will be Demon’s – Faeries – Shifters of every kind – Witches – androids & humans. (I think that is all). They all co-exist and the good part is not everyone is nice… there are some real pricks among the inhabitants of our world – mind you I think I kinda like them the best they are the most fun to write. Mind you I like writing the idiotic and clumsy characters as well – they just crack me up and have me laughing the whole time I write them. Mind you, when Embry and I toss ideas backwards and forwards we can come up with some weird shit – I’m just saying is all. (She is the crazy one, not me – shh don’t tell her I said that or she will kick my arse.)

Once you get a chance to wander through our world to meet and fall in-love with our characters you will be craving more. I am and I am the one well half of the duo writing this series. My hubs tells me that Embry and I share the one brain. Thinking about it now – I am starting to believe him. I can’t believe the amount of times when we search out pictures how often we pick the exact same person for the same character (seriously freaks me out some times). My favourite character is Roxy from book one Roxy’s Heart ~ Harlin’s Hands. He is sweet and kind of neurotic. Not sure who Embry likes the most – mind you we haven’t even started on some of the books so their characters could be even better.

What’s the best part on doing this series? For me it is creating the world and the characteristics of everyone who reside there. I have gotten (Mostly) Embry into the idea of creating profiles for everyone so that when we crossover characters we are both working from the same information. It makes things a hell of a lot easier. No sense in me saying Halo Strath has red eyes and Embry saying they are blue. So the more we know in the beginning the easier it will be for us and whoever our editor turns out to be.

What’s the pain in the arse thing about writing together? The most obvious is that Embry and I live on different continents and spell different. So I keep forgetting that I am supposed to write American – that is gonna be a nightmare for our intended editor. (Whoever you are, we love you already).

Other than that it is all looking hunky dory. We have some awesome pictures for inspiration that we find all over the place. Most people will think that they are of the erotic NSFW kind of pictures but honestly they are mostly very – well, I suppose you would say normal kind of pictures, and the guys are wearing clothes even. Sometimes more is actually better – me I concentrate on their faces. They have to have the right look for me to contemplate using them. And surprisingly I don’t go for all pretty boys – because let’s face it not everyone in the world is beautiful. It would be boring as f*#!% if we all looked the same.

From an idea that started out as a stupid typo – albeit funny typo, Embry and I have the beginnings of a really good series. We are researching publishing companies and making sure that we don’t forget anything important like putting the damn MS in the correct format for whichever company we choose to submit to. (Okay, it could happen to anyone and I have been so careful ever since – I will not make that mistake again).

I am just lucky that Embry and I have similar writing styles and we flow together so well. What she lacks in I help her with and she does the same for me – I am also her beta reader for her personal projects and I am loving what she is working on. We will be looking for a beta reader for S.P.A.M. Inc. in the near future – someone who will catch up the spelling differences and language differences – I never realised how hard it would be writing in the American style. I find that I have to really think about what I am trying to say. I much prefer writing Aussie style (even if I do have to explain our slang a lot).

On that note I will bid you all farewell. Thanks for having me here Randy and letting me ramble on.

Cheers
NJ

Sunday, February 19, 2012

WOMEN READING M/M BOOKS...JUST A FEW THOUGHTS

Well, being a gay guy, I find myself in a minority reading M/M books which is kind of strange.  It seems to me that mostly women write them and mostly women read them.
At first this disturbed me when I was reading the sex scene to realize a woman wrote what I was..well, getting excited over.  After a while I started to just accept it.
Now many of these authors are my friends and I talk to a lot of them daily so it just isn't an issue anymore. So women like to read the stuff. Fine, that just makes more people open minded to the gay community.  Maybe that means they will be accepting if their own children/grandchildren turn out gay.
The more acceptance there is, the less bullying, the less teen suicide suicide.

Randy
Rwig43

Friday, February 17, 2012

I'LL BE BACK NEXT WEEK!

I wanted to post today to let everyone know that it will be a few days before I put up any more reviews as I am down with a serious head/chest cold that feels like the start of bronchitis.
   When I return next week I will have reviews for Sloan Parker’s TAKE ME HOME, a Valentine's Day anthology of love from LM Brown and others, Carol Lynne’s SEASONS series, and the new Sara York novel due March 1st, NOT THAT KIND OF GUY. Plus other great books!



Randy

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

REVIEW – VIDEO STORE VALENTINE – GEOFFREY KNIGHT



TitleVideo Store Valentine
Valentine 2012 Release #15
AuthorGeoffrey Knight
ISBN#978-1-60820-613-1 (ebook) $1.99
Release DateFebruary 2012
Cover ArtistDeana C. Jamroz
Page Count:26pages, 6000 words
Available At:MlrBooks (ebook)
 

Amazon.com (ebook)

BLURB
Cal Nichols' idea of the perfect Valentine's Day is to spend it alone until he finds himself in the middle of an armed robbery and locked inside his local video store with hunky store clerk Taylor. Now being in the wrong place at the wrong time has never been so right!
REVIEW
You ever have one of those days where you wish you had stayed in bed, then, suddenly something really miraculous happens to save the day? No? Well, me neither. But that is what happens to Cal Nichols in this incredibly funny, wildly romantic story by Geoffrey
This is another Valentine’s Day release from MLR Press and it is a breath of fresh air to the imagination.  Geoffrey gives us two guys faced with a frightening situation, an armed robber in the video store Cal frequents, and a hot guy working the night shift who loves old movies (he’s playing ALL ABOUT EVE when Cal walks in!).  There are plenty of great movie references for the cinema geek in all of us.
   Geoffrey Knight handles the romance with a sweet touch and does not resort to a quickie sex scene, but a chaste kiss and a promise of future romantic moments between Cal and his new found love.  Yeah for style and grace, this would have made a great `50’s romantic comedy if Cary Grant was gay and Doris Day was a dude!


Monday, February 13, 2012

LOVE LED THEM – HELEN BEATTIE – REVIEW



Love Led Them

Valentine 2012 Release #10

Author: Helen Beattie

ISBN# 978-1-60820-607-0 (ebook) $2.99

Release Date: February 2012

Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamroz

Page Count: 44pages, 11,000 words

Available At:
MlrBooks (ebook)
Amazon.com (ebook)

-----------
BLURB

When Marcus Sanders asks a statue of Cupid to help him fall in love with the man of his dreams... he never expected to fall in love with the man IN his dreams! Is Marcus destined to only ever find happiness while he's sleeping? Or will Cupid's plan truly lead Marcus to love?

__________

REVIEW


REVIEW

    Well, I must say I love screwball comedy and LOVE LED THEM by Helen Beattie falls right into that category.  It is also erotic as all heck!  For a novella of such shortness there is a lot of really hot sex and great humor in this story and I highly recommend it for a few hours of light, fun reading.  I’ll ward you though, don’t read it at the office, one minute you’ll be laughing your ass off and the next you’ll be running for the men’s room with a quickie solo session in mind! 

    For my female readers, you’ll find it equally funny and equally hot, you’ll just be able to hide the hot part easier than the guys will!
____________

POSSIBILITIES – KAJE HARPER – REVIEW



Title: Possibilities
Valentine 2012 Release #11
 Author: Kaje Harper
ISBN# 978-1-60820-608-7 (ebook) $2.99
Release Date: February 2012
Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamroz
Page Count: 45pages, 12,000 words
Available At:
MlrBooks (ebook)
 Amazon.com (ebook)

*****

*****

BLURB

After the five years he spent with his last lover, Cade has come to regard Valentine's Day as irrelevant - just another day when romantic chumps spend money they can't spare to keep the chocolate and greeting card companies happy. But his lover, Lorin, has been dead for eight months. After struggling to get past his grief, and cope with his HIV positive status, Cade is beginning to think about getting on with his life. Joel, a young co-worker, is not the person Cade would have chosen to share his battered and tainted renaissance. But Joel may be just the man to unfreeze the romantic in Cade's soul.

*****

REVIEW

    I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to avoid reading books and stories with any mention of HIV or AIDS.  I read them for years then burned out.  When I saw this one among MLR’s Valentine’s Day releases I was a bit reluctant but started it anyway.  It was a tad slow but Kaje Harper tends to develop her characters and plot carefully and you have to have patience with her work which is why I enjoyed her first novel LIFE LESSONS, so much.  That was the other reason I was willing to tackle this novella, I love KH’s work, I know there will be solid storytelling and believable characters.

   POSIBILITIES lived up to its title.  Cade, for all his resistance to Joel’s charms really did want to love and once he saw that he wasn’t going to be “tainting” his new friend, he relaxed and began to enjoy the new relationship.  I don’t know about his former partner though, Lorin didn’t strike me as too great a guy, we only saw his through Cade’s eyes and frankly, I didn’t like him.  Cade and Joel however make a great match and the book is a terrific addition to Kaje’s cannon of stories as well as MLR’s list of Valentine’s Day releases.
*****
 



KISSING JOAN COLLINS – LEX VALENTINE – REVIEW


Title: Kissing Joan Collins
Valentine 2012 Release #7
 Author: Lex Valentine
ISBN# 978-1-60820-604-9 (ebook) $4.99
Release Date: February 2012
Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamroz
Page Count: 66pages, 21,000 words
Available At: MlrBooks (ebook)
Amazon.com (ebook)
*****
BLURB
Gay suspense author Logan Moore fell in love with the most perfect gay man ever during his freshman year in college. But his roommate and best friend Chase Courtland never showed an interest in him. Twelve years and a handful of failed relationships later, Logan acknowledges that he still loves Chase. When Chase puts on a designer dress, four-inch heels and a wig and transforms himself into Joan Collins for a Valentine's Day masquerade party, Logan's libido rockets out of control. One look at Chase's perfect ass in the skin tight dress and Logan is ready to drag him off to bed. But can two best friends bridge the gap of a dozen years of denial and build a life together after one amazing night of revelations, confessions and love?
*****
REVIEW

    When the love of his life decides it’s time to play the ultimate card to win his man Chase Courtland goes out and buys a little red dress and high heels to go with a black wig for a costume party on Valentine Day.  He’ll either win the love of old college flame Logan Moore, who has been secretly pining away for him for the last twelve years or he’ll give up for good.
   Well, happily, he doesn’t have to give up because Logan falls head over his own heels for Chase in the Joan Collins get up when he steps out of the guest bath room of his apartment and they admit to each other the love they have kept hidden for fear of rejection.
    KISSING JOAN COLLINS by Lex Valentine is a funny, romantic and downright sexy short novel in MLR’s series of Valentine Novellas and short stories. This book is perfect for lovers looking for a nice romantic read for Valentine’s Day or single like myself looking for a little hopeful story of romance.
*****

Saturday, February 11, 2012

HUNTING FOR CLAY - N.J. NIELSEN - REVIEW & INTERVIEW


TitleHunting for Clay
Valentine 2012 Release #5
AuthorN.J. Nielsen
ISBN#978-1-60820-602-5 (ebook) $4.99
Release DateFebruary 2012
Cover ArtistDeana C. Jamroz
Page Count:80 pages, 24,000+ words
Available At:MlrBooks (ebook)



*****
BLURB

Two years have passed since Hunter and Clay met on that fateful morning in Tello’s Diner. Getting passed the fact that Clay was stalking Marlowe was the easy part. Clay Montgomery’s life changed for the better the day he found the man who was meant to be the other half of him. Hunter understood him well, and knew how to give him exactly what he needs to be happy. Hunter Weldon knows what he wants, and just how to get it. For two years he has loved the man in his rams and now it is time to up the ante.

*****

REVIEW

   I don’t usually read the second book in a series without having read the first but this was a special case and I am glad I broke my own rule.  HUNTING FOR CLAY was a fun ride for a shorter book, about 61 pages on my Nook.  HFC is another Valentine’s Day release from MLR Press.  As this is the second one I have read I haven’t been disappointed yet. 

Clay and Hunter have been a couple for a little over 2 years now since meeting in NJ Nielsen ANGELS ON TOP which was part of an MLR Christmas anthology, and is book one of her Toowoomba Boys series.  The series I set to go through at least book seven at this point as NJ talks about in the interview which follows my review.

If the continuing books in this series keep up the quality of storytelling, romance, humor and fun sexiness as HUNTING FOR CLAY, N.J. Nielsen will be a favorite author for a long time to come.

*****

INTERVIEW

HUNTING FOR CLAY had some light S&M elements, was that intentional?

normanielsen@ymail.com: I needed it to stand away from Angels on Top

rwig43: What inspired you to make not one, but two sets of brothers gay?

normanielsen@ymail.com: To be honest I think that I have a thing for brothers in stories (not in the incest way) but I like them having someone who knows them deeply and can understand what they are going through.

rwig43: Clay stalked Marlowe in ANGELS ON TOP but ended up with Hunter?

rwig43: Or was that even before the first story?

normanielsen@ymail.com: yes at first Hunter thought Clay was a figment of Marlowe's imagination

rwig43: I thought that was funny.

normanielsen@ymail.com: but when Hunter finally sees Clay he turns to Mar and basically says "are you crazy he is a hottie" and the rest is history

rwig43: So is Agels supposed to be Marlowe & Angelo's story and Hunting Hunter & Clay's?

normanielsen@ymail.com: yes the Angels on Top is Marlowe and Angelo's story it is sweet.

# 3 is Damon, #4 is Dimmy, #5 is Authur, # 6 is Jayden, # 7 is Angelo and Marlowe.

Rwig43: I saw Dimmy and Jayden getting together…

normanielsen@ymail.com: Yes, Dimmy is twink like Jayden not so much he is tall way taller than Clay

normanielsen@ymail.com: I haven't decided about Jayden yet... he could be a dark horse

normanielsen@ymail.com: Damon's book starts off with a kidnapping.

rwig43: That's interesting.

normanielsen@ymail.com: Damon is kidnapped.

rwig43: How long before Damon's book can be expected to see release?

normanielsen@ymail.com: I haven't got a clue; I will write it and then send it in and hope for the best.

normanielsen@ymail.com:  I want Dancing with Demons to not be in an anthology.

rwig43: longer book, maybe?

normanielsen@ymail.com: Yes it will be longer

normanielsen@ymail.com: I am thinking at least 70k.

rwig43: So, if there was one thing you would like to say about your work, what would it be?

normanielsen@ymail.com: My work is a reflection of me - family that have read my work all knew exactly the parts I have taken from my real life.

rwig43: Thanks for your trust with letting me do the review & interview.

*****

With Love and Goodies on Valentines! from Tara Lain

With Love and Goodies on Valentines! from Tara Lain

I purchased FIRE BALLS the day it was released and have it on my Nook to read. I will also be reviewing it on my blog, RANDY BOOK BAG REVIEWS. It looks like a great book, and I hope to win the contest!

Randy Wiggins
rwig43@yahoo.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A LIFE WITHOUT YOU - ERICA PIKE - REVIEW & INTERVIEW


A Life Without You
Boston Boys Series #1
Author: Erica Pike
MLR BOOKS
Link to purchase:
ISBN # 978-1-60820-525-7 (print) $12.99
            978-1-60820-526-4 (ebook) $6.99
Release Date: January 2012
Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamroz
Page Info: 236 pages, 73,000 words
*****
BLURB:

Jesse's like a bar of soap: the tighter Adam holds on, the faster Jesse slips away. Or that's how it feels to Adam. It doesn't help that Jesse has a girlfriend back home and claims to be straight, but there's no way with all the sparks and physical intimacy flying between the two roommates.
When Adam believes he has reached his ultimate happiness, the bedroom walls come crashing down with a visit from Jesse's girlfriend.
Now Jesse has to decide if he can come to terms with his sexuality, while Adam has to learn to accept that Jesse might never be able to crawl out of the closet.
 *****
REVIEW
   When Jesse and Adam meet at the beginning of the semester there is an attraction on Adam’s part but Jesse seems distant until one drunken encounter leaves him questioning everything he ever believed about himself.  He always knew there were feelings hidden within himself about other guys but he had never dealt with them until he met Adam who is open about his sexuality and his longing for Jesse.
   Jesse continues to see his fiancĂ© from back home while carrying on a sexual relationship with Adam, emotionally draining both of them.  It isn’t until Jesse discovers that the woman he thought he loved has cheated, leaving him with the possibility that he has a sexuality transmitted disease.
   Eric, Adam’s best friend, fiercely protects him against further emotional injury after Adam has a break down that leaves him inconsolable for a month. 
    Will Adam forgive Jesse?
     For lovers of emotion driven romances this book will be a feast.  There is a lot of angst and turmoil between the main characters as well as several of the supporting cast.  Each player in this drama has an agenda and works to meet that goal.  There is a great deal of cheating, heartbreak, and forgiveness, along with love, friendship and acceptance all rolled in to make a complete story that no reader will regret investing their time in reading.  There is some sex but it is in limited but appropriate proportion to the story.
    MLR has developed a reputation for releasing some of the best romance and suspense novels for men who love men and A LIFE WITHOUT YOU is a terrific addition to the ever growing line up.  This is just book one in the Boston Boys series, so watch out for the continuation as Erica brings us the stories of Eric, Jazz, Cal-Al, and who knows who else she may add to this unique group of college guys.  I know I’ll be there and ready.*****
INTERVIEW:
Rwig43:
Where did you get the idea for ALWY?
Erica Pike: I got the idea for A LIFE WITHOUT YOU (ALWY) about a year ago after I read my very first gay romance: SPICE AND SOLACE by KC Burn. Up until then I'd been reading a lot of yaoi manga, so I was already sucked into the man-to-man love. I'd written stories in a different genre - with nothing published - and decided, after reading KC's book, that this was something I wanted to try out.
Adam in ALWY is basically my fantasy guy. You know, the tall hot and handsome who always plays the male role in your day dreams. I think ALWY may be a bit yaoi-inspired because Jesse's kind of like a naive uke (bottom). Most yaoi I've read is college-manga, so I sort of automatically chose that scene. Unrequited love is also something that is very common in manga and what better hell than being in love with your supposedly straight roommate?
I'd like to add that although this book may be manga-inspired, the other books I've written aren't. This was my first gay romance where I was still finding myself and my voice.
Rwig43: Why did you decide to write M/M romance? You certainly have a good idea of what foes on between two guys between the sheets.
Erica Pike: Okay, the answer to the first question and second question are kind of mixed in my first answer.
Rwig43: This is the first in a trilogy? Or will the series be longer?
Erica Pike: I haven't decided yet. The plan was to write Adam, Eric, and Jazz...but I'm tempted to write about Cal-Al and Terry as well. Then there's how Rick and Benji met. While I'm at it, I'm currently working on Boston Boys 1.5 - a novella about the time Adam and Jesse go to Jesse's birth-town to tell Jesse's mom he's gay...and I have Christmas stories planned out for three of the couples. Looks like it's rolling into something bigger than just a trilogy, hehe.
Rwig43: You will be doing stand-alone novels between the Boston books, right?
Yes. I'm currently working on a paranormal viking novel that takes place in 934. As an Icelander I've learned a lot about this era in school and from the viking sagas and other books. I don't need to research vikings or Iceland/Norway so much, but I'm trying to figure out sleeping arrangements in Ireland at that time (if work-hands slept in the same houses as the farmers (like they did in Iceland) etc.). You'd be surprised how hard it is to find info on that!
Rwig43: Going back to ALWY, Eric is a little spit fire.  What can we expect to see when you get to his book?
Erica Pike: The same and so much more, hehe. He's a blast to write. I giggled the whole five weeks it took to write his story, and then I giggled more during the edits. The words he uses to describe himself are "short and snazzy - hot, and happy"...but in ABSOLUTELY ERIC he discovers that he's not really all that happy. He tired of being a boy toy and wants to discover the kind of love Adam and Jesse have - only a lot less mushy, and without the emoness and drama.
The problem with Eric is that once he bites onto something, he's very eager to go. He makes the rushed mistake of pushing away the right guy (Alex) by going for a hot Latino. When he realizes he may have made a mistake, Alex is no longer available.
Rwig43: What plans do you have for Jazz, or have you thought that far ahead?
Erica Pike: Hottie Jazz is still a bit of a mystery to me. He's an artist who plays a guitar. He's very relaxed, carefree and affectionate. I planned to set him up with Eric's cousin...but now I'm thinking he should maybe join a band. He'd make a cool rocker, right? But still, there are so many rocker stories out there and I'd have to do something completely different to make it stand out.
Rwig43: Thanks for working with me on this interview, I think it will turn out great with the review.
Erica Pike: Thank you, Randy This was fun.



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

REVIEW: WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US - MARTIN WILSON


ISBN: 0385735073 (ISBN13: 978038573507
Hardcover, 293 PGS
 Published August 12th 2008 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
BLURB:
JAMES AND ALEX have barely anything in common anymore—least of all their experiences in high school, where James is a popular senior and Alex is suddenly an outcast. But at home, there is Henry, the precocious 10-year-old across the street, who eagerly befriends them both. And when Alex takes up running, there is James’s friend Nathen, who unites the brothers in moving and unexpected ways
*****
REVIEW:
    I found this to be an acceptable book, well written and developed but a bit dry.  The characters were okay and the plot seemed like it might go somewhere but it never really did, at least to me.  Being a YA novel there was very little physical contact between the main character, Alex and his never really determined to be boyfriend Nathen.   The older brother, James seemed to drift between not much liking his brother and wanting to be there for him while still keeping him at a safe distance. 
   The switching back and forth between the brothers viewpoints was distracting and pulled me out of the story just as I was getting interested in what was going on each time I had reconnected with one of them.
   For a first novel it was a great effort.  I look forward to future books from this author.





Monday, February 6, 2012

REVIEW: BETTER by JAMIE SAMMS w/t INTERVIEW



Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-61372-343-2

Pages:  240

Cover Artist:  Anne Cain
COVER BLURB:

After filing charges that put his abusive ex-Dom behind bars, Jesse Turbul relocates halfway across the country, hoping to escape his past—but, of course, it's never that easy. When Jesse meets third-year law student Aadon at the library where he works, their mutual attraction is instant and obvious.

Despite the sparks, they just can't seem to make it work. Aadon is mired in guilt over his inability to help his older brother, damaged by events far too similar to Jesse’s past. Jesse is stuck in his own desperate wish to forget the painful shadow that continues to threaten him and any hope of a happy future. The only way to move forward is for Jesse to acknowledge he’s broken and for Aadon to accept he can’t make him better.
*****
REVIEW:


In reading the above description, one would get a rather dark impression of a novel that is really very inspiring in its own way.  There are periods of high angst and upset, emotion notched up to the highest peak and sadness flowing like blood from an opened vein.

   If you put the blurb aside and read the book as I did you will have a very special reading experience.  I admit that I am not a follower of the whole Dom/Sub scene so that aspect left me a little in the dark to begin with.  I actually purchased the book due to the cover art and the first impression I got from speaking to the author online.

  Jesse, one of the lead characters, is a damaged soul trying to rebuild himself after being damaged both physically and emotionally by an abusive lover.  As anyone knows physical wounds heal but emotional wounds linger long after the bruises fade and the broken bones mend.  It is these emotional wounds that drive Jesse to first avoid Aadon, then slowly begin to accept him with tentative trust which gets strained from time to time as they get to know each other, and develop their relationship.

   Aadon, the second lead has his own baggage with an older brother with the mind of a child who has been hospitalized due to the damage he did to himself with drugs to make him forget his own sexual assault as a child.  Aadon is outwardly very confident and ready to face anything but inside his emotions run rampant and cause him as much doubt as Jesse’s do.  He knows he is falling for the younger man but his fear of causing Jesse pain or distress keeps him distant for far too long.

   With a cast of supporting characters, BETTER fills the bill for a fulfilling, deeply moving reading experience that no one should miss.  There is limited sexual activity but where the scenes are placed is fitting and suits the story well.  This is a story of love and heeling rather than groping, sexual lust, which is fine.  Not all M/M books have to be about getting to the bed, couch, floor or wherever with the next hot guy.
*****

A FEW WORDS WITH THE AUTHOR

rwig43: I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed BETTER.

Jaime Samms: I'm so glad you enjoyed it!  I'm always so stoked here when people enjoy my stories.

rwig43: How did you get the idea for this novel?

Jaime Samms: Um....funny, that. The idea really has nothing to do with how the novel ended up

rwig43: Really?  It seems like it was very thought out and planned from my reading of it.

Jaime Samms: I had gone through a spat of writing about painters and artists, and I wanted to write something different. So I decided to try writing about a geek. I picked a guy who worked in a library.

I'm a very organic writer. I pretty much start with a tiny seed of an idea, a blank page and start writing to see where I end up.

rwig43: I related to the characters’ so well.  I hate to admit this was the first of you novels I hve read, it certainly won't be the last.

Jaime Samms: Well thank you!  Nothing wrong with that. There a so many writers out there. It's impossible to keep up with everyone

rwig43: That is very true.

rwig43: How many books have you written and when was the first published, what was the title?

Jaime Samms: U gee....last time I counted I had twenty five releases. Might be a few more than that now. Not all novels, though. Lots of short stories

Jaime Samms: The first was a short story called The Runaway released November 2008 from Freya's Bower.

rwig43: That is a lot of output!

Jaime Samms: Like I said lots of under 20k stories, and I had a lot already written waiting for publishers. I've slowed down considerably now that I no longer have that backlog.

Jaime Samms: That one is considerably less angsty, in my opinion.

rwig43: I don't much mind angst if it has a true purpose.

rwig43: I found myself really liking Ricky and wanting to see more of him.  I want a sequel!

Jaime Samms: Me either, I guess, since I've been accused of writing a lot of it

rwig43: I had actually heard that.

Jaime Samms: People keep saying that. He would be really hard to write

rwig43: The thing that drew me to the book in the first place was the cover, then the blurb.

Jaime Samms: It is an awesome Anne Cain cover. I have coveted a cover from her for years, and I think she did a wonderful job capturing the essence of the story and characters.

rwig43: I'm not familiar with the Dom/sub culture other than mentions in certain books.  What attracted you to this subject for BETTER?

Jaime Samms: I write a lot of it, actually. BETTER was started a long time ago and was one of the first D/s books I wrote, but a lot of my stuff has that theme.

rwig43: Are there any final remarks you would like to make for the posting?

Jaime Samms: I relate much more the sub side of things, so I guess that's where my interest stems from.
rwig43: Thanks so much for your time!