One of the things I've always loved about the Dick Francis novels is that along with the clever con, we as readers are usually treated to an in-depthOne of the things I've always loved about the Dick Francis novels is that along with the clever con, we as readers are usually treated to an in-depth look at some industry that I'm unfamiliar with. That is exactly the thing I've come to expect from an E.M. Lynley novel, only with far hotter sex scenes than D.F. ever managed!
In this story, we get to see the ins and outs of the wine-making industry: the hard work, the perilous dependence on weather and good luck, the delectable end product. The author does such a great job of depicting the Napa valley wine industry that I could practically taste the end result! Not to mention the tasty recipes as a bonus!
Austin and Simon make a wonderful pair, and Simon's position as a broker, with his job putting him in conflict with Austin's interests, makes for the right amount of external conflict to keep this story simmering along nicely. You want things to work out between them so much, but you can't see that happening without one of them making huge sacrifices. Fortunately, the author is cleverer than I am!
This story is part of the Delectable series, but can be read as a standalone. I know I'm going to be checking out the rest of the series now!...more
I have to preface this with saying that for many years, I was a die-hard fan of horse-racing and the Triple Crown in particular(and I still follow itI have to preface this with saying that for many years, I was a die-hard fan of horse-racing and the Triple Crown in particular(and I still follow it to a certain extent) so this story appealed to me from the get-go! The story opens with a bang,and we're immediately plunged into the often-corrupt world of horse-racing.
I enjoyed the rather sweet romance between Val and Wyatt, though I'll be the first to admit, I don't always understand the dynamics of dominant/submissive relationships. It worked for me, though. I found Wyatt's explanation of why Val had repeatedly had relationships that had gotten too rough in the past interesting and plausible.
The ruthlessness of the bad guys continued to escalate throughout the story, and I was holding my breath when Val ended up inadvertently tumbling to their plans--which lead to a confrontation worthy of a Dick Francis novel!
I was especially tickled at the name of the Derby hopeful--cute! I like my romance with action and adventure, so this made for a good evening's read. Am looking forward to the next in the series....more
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It takes a talented writer to make your main character someone who, while not dumb, is definitely slow to get certainI thoroughly enjoyed this story. It takes a talented writer to make your main character someone who, while not dumb, is definitely slow to get certain jokes or make connections--and tell the story from this character's POV while allowing the reader to see what the MC is missing. Rusty is engaging and hard-working, and half-kills himself to live up to his parents' unreal expectations for him. It's like putting a draft horse in the Kentucky Derby and expecting him to win, when what the horse is really cut out for is hauling heavy loads--and then penalizing the horse for not being a Derby contender.
Oliver *is* that Derby contender, but without the funds to enter the race, and yet he never at any point makes Rusty feel bad about not having the quick wit or the kinds of brains that excel at learning--nor does he give up on Rusty when everything falls apart. The contrast between Rusty's family and Oliver's is painfully real, and yet this story leaves you cheering for the choices Rusty makes. Excellent comfort read!...more
I was looking for a light comfort read--and I love Christmas stories--so when someone suggested this story to me, I was happy to give it a try. I apprI was looking for a light comfort read--and I love Christmas stories--so when someone suggested this story to me, I was happy to give it a try. I appreciated as well, it wasn't a full length novel--it perfectly suited my needs at the time. It was just what the doctor ordered. I know some people found Nick unlikeable at first, but I saw him as someone bitterly unhappy with his life, despite having all the material things anyone could want. I found the character of Kit a bit more problematic--like Nick, I'm sometimes uncomfortable around flamboyant personalities--part of my upbringing to please my own parents, no doubt. ;-)
I very much enjoyed, however, the 'thawing out' of Nick under Kit's influence, even if I mourned a little with him over his failed relationship with Spence. The ending took my breath away, so I won't spoil anyone here. If you're looking for a nice comfort read, this one fits the bill!...more
I've been waiting for this book to be released so I could come here and tell everyone what a marvelous story it is! This is the part where I tell youI've been waiting for this book to be released so I could come here and tell everyone what a marvelous story it is! This is the part where I tell you that Anna is in my critique group, and I've been privileged to watch this tale unfold from the beginning, however, this isn't a case of 'omg, I have to say something nice about a friend's book!'. No, this a situation where you read something that is so good, it makes you weep with despair because you know you'll never write anything a tenth as fantastic!
Steampunk, political intrigue, coffee houses, lovers separated by duty, Egyptology--and best of all, Rafe Lancaster, a rakish pilot trying to make his way in the world when he receives a medical discharge from the military--and the only life that gave him the freedom to live on his own terms. Accepting aid from his family would make him beholden to them--and in a time where oligarchies and powerful Guild Houses rule, it's the equivalent of being part of a mob family to a certain extent--something Rafe wants no part of. He may not have a choice, however...
The world-building is phenomenal, the story is gripping, but it is the characters that will make you fall in love. Don't take my word for it--read it for yourself! Trust me, everyone will be talking about their new favorite book boyfriend--Rafe!
This is a difficult book to classify. It's NOT M/M romance, but there is a love story between two male protagonists. It's so much more than that, howeThis is a difficult book to classify. It's NOT M/M romance, but there is a love story between two male protagonists. It's so much more than that, however. It's a sweeping space opera, that will take place over a six book series. It's hard core military sci-fi in the tradition of David Weber's Honor Harrington series. The world-building, especially when it comes to the organization known as Shield, is phenomenal. The characters stay with you long after you finish reading. This is the kind of story you re-read over and over again.
Most of all, I think twenty years from now, people will point to this story as being a game-changing story for mainstream gay literature. They'll say, "You know, that was the first story I ever read where the main characters just happened to be gay, but the whole story wasn't about that."
Anna Butler is in my critique group, and I've had the privilege of reading the next two books in the series already. You won't be disappointed. :-)...more
Oh, this was a nice comforting read! I have a thing for Beauty and the Beast type stories, and this one delivered on all counts. As someone growing upOh, this was a nice comforting read! I have a thing for Beauty and the Beast type stories, and this one delivered on all counts. As someone growing up hearing a lot of negative things about my appearance from peers and family alike, I can tell you that when you internalize something like this, you become your own worst critic, ready to run yourself down before anyone else can. So I could sympathize with Red and his reluctance to believe that Terry could want him for who he really is.
Likewise, I liked the message behind Terry's ambition to chase after a nearly impossible dream: "It doesn't matter if you win as long as you're doing something you love." Too often, the goal is placed on winning, as though there aren't many more of us looking up to the podium rather than standing on it.
I am a sucker for holiday stories. I also love arch rivals-turned-to-lovers as a trope, but a former jewel thief and the FBI agent who had pursued himI am a sucker for holiday stories. I also love arch rivals-turned-to-lovers as a trope, but a former jewel thief and the FBI agent who had pursued him? Sign me up! Toss in a horse breeding operation, a baby llama in jeopardy, and a cast of kooky neighbors, and you had me hooked.
Place the whole thing in the hands of the master, Josh Lanyon, and you have a fun little holiday story that transcends the genre and makes it hard for anyone else to keep to this standard.
Without spoilers here, as someone who suffers from the same problem that ended Noel's career, I could sympathize with the realism with which it was depicted. It was the give and take between the characters that delighted me, though. If you're looking for a short, fun holiday read--look no further!...more
I don't want to spoil this utterly delightful story for you, but suffice to say when it came to the climatic fight scene there was cheering and fist-pI don't want to spoil this utterly delightful story for you, but suffice to say when it came to the climatic fight scene there was cheering and fist-pumping at my house! A clever, fun take on the genre, and exactly what I needed to read this afternoon....more