My first book by Emory Vargas and definitely not my last. I picked up the story after seeing a post on a blog. I don't get to read much these days andMy first book by Emory Vargas and definitely not my last. I picked up the story after seeing a post on a blog. I don't get to read much these days and rarely read historicals, but since I was on vacation and it caught my eye, I figured I'd give it a chance. Boy was I pleasantly surprised!
First off, the writing was excellent. Clean, easy to read, well-edited. Nothing to detract from the story. And while I suppose the hurt/comfort and whore with a heart of gold (and a painful backstory) aren't new territory, I found the story endearing and sweet. Emmett won my heart out of the gate, with his no-nonsense manner and straightforward acceptance of his attraction to Jesse. Jesse was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time.
The plot is well-done, with a little excitement sprinkled in that had me on the edge of my seat. But more than anything, the two MCs pulled me in an didn't let my heart go.
Perfectly wonderful read, and a book I'll be reading again!...more
Book 2 in my Blood Series from Dreamspinner Press. Whereas Book 1, Blood and Rain, ends with something of a cliffhanger, Book 2 ends with a happily-foBook 2 in my Blood Series from Dreamspinner Press. Whereas Book 1, Blood and Rain, ends with something of a cliffhanger, Book 2 ends with a happily-for-now for the main pairing of Adrien and Nicolas. Book 3, "Blood and Eternity", will be released in early 2016.
This book picks up where the first book left off in the lead up to Nicolas's wedding to Rosina Rousseau. But all is not as it seems, and a 200 year old secret is revealed that throws the wedding into chaos and will forever change Adrien's life.
Book 1: Blood and Rain Book 2: Blood and Ghosts Book 3: Blood and Eternity
Books in the Blood Series are sequels, and should be read in order....more
4.5 stars, rounding up because, DAMN, that was such a cool concept! I won't go into the plot here, since so many other reviewers already have, but suf4.5 stars, rounding up because, DAMN, that was such a cool concept! I won't go into the plot here, since so many other reviewers already have, but suffice it to say it's original and a blend of sci fi/fantasy set in the present day.
It took me a while to wrap my brain around the universe (and I agree, the glossary would have been more helpful up front since it hid while I read on Kindle and I discovered it at the end). Even after I finished, I had several unanswered questions that felt like threads of the story had been dropped. Not the most important threads, but enough that I went back and re-read to try to figure it out and still didn't learn the answers. The ending was both wonderful (from an emotional standpoint) and a little too pat (from a plot perspective).
Even more than understanding the universe, it took me a while to follow the language and rhythm of the writing. It's unusual, with sentences that drop parts of speech, body parts acting of their own accord, that sort of thing. This is the first Jack Pyke book I've read, so I'm not sure that's her usual writing style. It wasn't a turnoff, but it did take some adjusting to.
The characters and the underlying mystery were all very well done. I felt for these people, cared for them, screamed at them, and ended up loving them.
This is a rough read, with non-con/rape, horrible crimes committed against children on the page, and lots of rage. I highly recommend it, but it's not for the squeamish. It's beautiful and brutal, all at the same time....more
I love Kay Berrisford's prose--it makes me feel as though I'm back in the days of Robin Hood, wandering about the Greenwood, and there are fair folk hI love Kay Berrisford's prose--it makes me feel as though I'm back in the days of Robin Hood, wandering about the Greenwood, and there are fair folk hiding in the bushes, waiting to pop out at me. "Lord of the Forest" is the second book I've read in this series, and I enjoyed getting lost in Ms. Berrisford's universe for a few hours.
Political intrigue of the human and fae variety combine with the classic Robin Hood myth in this lovely book. The one thing I'd loved to have seen (felt?) more of is the connection between the two MCs. The romance in these stories comes less from the men themselves and more from the setting and the writing. It's very enjoyable, but bumping that up a notch would have made this a 5-star read for me.
Highly recommend for lovers of Robin Hood type fantasy....more
Such a sweet book. I'll admit up front I'm not a big holiday story reader, but the themes in this book are universal regardless of the holiday tie-in.Such a sweet book. I'll admit up front I'm not a big holiday story reader, but the themes in this book are universal regardless of the holiday tie-in. And while the themes (death, xenophobia) are deep and dark in places, the book is by no means a downer - it's a lovingly crafted and easy read that will leave you smiling (and maybe sniffling a little!). The cover really resonated with me, and it's a lovely depiction of the story....more
The final installment in the Mermen of Ea Series, "Running with the Wind" completes the saga of Ian and Taren and the ongoing civil war between the meThe final installment in the Mermen of Ea Series, "Running with the Wind" completes the saga of Ian and Taren and the ongoing civil war between the merfolk factions. With Ian at his side, Taren becomes the leader he was always meant to be.
The road to peace is not an easy one for the Ea, and the future isn't always apparent. Taren knows the goddess will guide him, but there are no guarantees he or Ian will survive the difficult task she has given them.
Will there be more books in the Ea universe? Probably, since there's a story yet to be told involving two secondary characters. A story for another time.......more
The first installment in my 3-book "Blood" series from Dreamspinner Press. And, never fear, there is a HEA at the end of the series. Well, three HEAsThe first installment in my 3-book "Blood" series from Dreamspinner Press. And, never fear, there is a HEA at the end of the series. Well, three HEAs to be precise, since there are three MM pairings in the series.
Adrien Gilbert is a vampire hunter who received the gift of immortality from an ancient vampire (born a vampire, not created), Nicolas Lambert. Adrien unwittingly becomes caught up in a struggle for the heart and soul of the powerful Council of Hunters.
Naive and bookish, Adrien has despised vampires since witnessing his mother's murder by a vampire years before. Adrien's world turns upside-down when his older brother, Francois, is murdered. The Council activates Adrien's commission and sends him off in pursuit of the vampire believed to have killed Francois.
But things aren't at all what they seem, and Adrien realizes that the true danger to humanity comes not from vampires, but from the hunters themselves. When vampire Nicolas offers to help Adrien find Francois's murderer, Adrien finds himself falling for the gentle vampire and an entire universe of possibilities begins to unfold before him.
Adrien's journey of the heart will take him to the past and back to a future he doesn't recognize. The stories are part historical, part contemporary paranormal, adventure/romance.
1) Blood and Rain 2) Blood and Ghosts(anticipated publication spring, 2015) 3) Blood and Eternity
Books in the series should be read in order....more
I really enjoyed this book. Nonstop gritty action, and the sex matched the dark universe. There's a definite noncon/dubcon vibe, since Rhys, the 19 yeI really enjoyed this book. Nonstop gritty action, and the sex matched the dark universe. There's a definite noncon/dubcon vibe, since Rhys, the 19 year old who is saved by a group of soldiers, is essentially forced into having sex with multiple partners in the hopes of saving himself from the virus that's turned much of humanity into zombies.
The post-apocalyptic universe is well-done, but what sold me were the characters. Darius was especially well-written and believable, and Rhys was just vulnerable enough, but with a distinct edge. I didn't always love the two MCs, but I fell in love with them through the story as their rough edges softened.
The only negative that kept me from shouting "yeah!" after I finished was that the ending felt abrupt. Rough, like the rest of the story, but after so much struggle, I wanted to understand what the future held for these two men. (view spoiler)[I had mixed feelings in particular about how everyone so easily accepted that Rhys was somehow immune to all three strains in play. And if he truly was, wouldn't someone at least have questioned whether he might be the salvation of humanity? I kept wondering if I'd missed something in the explanation of the strains and should have known this wasn't possible. (hide spoiler)]
I highly recommend this well-written, dark story to those who love their characters raw and powerful and like a bit of power play/kink in their sex.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I've always wanted to write Lord Cameron (Cam) Sherrington's story, if only to show that sometimes people are screwed up for a good reason. At the endI've always wanted to write Lord Cameron (Cam) Sherrington's story, if only to show that sometimes people are screwed up for a good reason. At the end of "Aria," Cam (who breaks opera singer Aiden Lind's heart), redeems himself a little. But not so much that I fell in love with him, as I usually do with my characters. Still, I knew Cam was the way he was for a reason, and I knew I wanted to share his story with Blue Notes readers....
Cam begins "Dissonance" with his usual smart-ass, I-don't-give-a-shit attitude. At least on the outside. Underneath, we already see the cracks forming in his life of luxury. Getting inside Cam's head was both a revelation and a painful experience for me, because I began to see the heart of gold underneath all the BS. And I had to draw out the demons of Cam's childhood--demons even he didn't want to remember.
Cam's story is based on real-life stories of survivors of abuse. And although my personal experience with child abuse is not as extreme as Cam's, I know too many adults who survived what Cam survived and far worse. Sometimes it's easy to forget that we are who were are in part because of where we've been. For Cam, his betrayal as a child lays the foundation for the flighty playboy he becomes. That betrayal runs so deep, even Cam can't fathom it.
I also knew that for Cam to grow, he needed to lose everything that keeps him going. He needed to walk through the fire. How he makes it through, if he makes it through, depends upon his own strength of character in the end. He won't do it alone, either. In Galen Rusk, he finds a dogged ally who has been through his own, different traumatic experience. With Galen's support, Cam has a chance to change his life.
I hope you'll come to love Cam as much as I did through this story. He has a great deal to offer. He'll pay for his actions, but by doing so, he'll become a man worthy of real and lasting love. -Shira...more
3.5 stars, rounded up. Interesting first book in a series. Alternate universe society where poor children are sold into slavery. Bran, a young slave,3.5 stars, rounded up. Interesting first book in a series. Alternate universe society where poor children are sold into slavery. Bran, a young slave, is sent to the "slave breakers" because he keeps trying to run away. Without going into and spoiling the plot, this is really a coming of age story where with the help of a caring master, Bran learns about himself and how to survive as a slave.
The writing is solid, and the book kept me interested and caring about the characters throughout. The characters were well drawn, and I enjoyed seeing Bran's growth throughout the story.
The only reason I didn't give this a flat-out 4 stars was that it was missing world-building I thought would have helped to round out the characters. There were vacuums mentioned at one point, but then a character uses a chamber pot in his room, and I was left scratching my head. Very little about the city (?) town (?) the characters lived in, about how the characters lived other than the general references to marketplaces and the slave trade (and even this wasn't 100% clear to me). The world seemed two-dimensional. I had to refer back to our own Earth and assume that was the setting.
That said, I'll be looking for the sequel and hoping for more context there.
2nd edition of the first book in the Blue Notes Series of standalone, interrelated music-themed romances from Dreamspinner Press. Re-edited. Contains2nd edition of the first book in the Blue Notes Series of standalone, interrelated music-themed romances from Dreamspinner Press. Re-edited. Contains new scenes and updated text.
Loosely based on my own experiences as a professional musician. Don't know anything about classical music? You don't need to read the series!
Books in the Blue Notes Series can be read in any order, but this is the chronological order of the series, in case you prefer to read them that way:
1) Encore 2) Prelude 3) Blue Notes 4) Aria 5) The Melody Thief 6) Symphony in Blue (Holiday novella and sequel to Blue Notes, Melody Thief, Aria, and Prelude)
Here are the books in order of publication:
1) Blue Notes 2) The Melody Thief 3) Aria 4) Prelude 5) Encore 6) Symphony in Blue...more
Definition of "Into the Wind": heading into the direction the wind is blowing. As any sailor knows, you can't sail directlySequel to Stealing the Wind
Definition of "Into the Wind": heading into the direction the wind is blowing. As any sailor knows, you can't sail directly into the wind. But the way things are going for Taren, it seems as though everywhere he turns, he's headed directly into the wind.
The second Mermen of Ea book is, as the first, focused on Taren, who has many questions about his past and his future. At Ian's side, for a short time, Taren is both happy and content. But dreams of his past life continue to haunt him, as do the memories of his time spent in the Ea prison. He has many questions, but he finds himself afraid to ask them and afraid of learning the truth of his past. Taren dreams of his life as Treande and of the rune stone, and he knows his future is bound up in both. But is he Treande, or is he his own person? The one thing Taren knows for sure is that he couldn't survive a future without Ian in it.
When the leader of the mainland Ea faction asks Ian and Taren to sail to the Gateway Islands to locate the reclusive pirate, Odhran, both men jump at the chance to put to sea. But along the way, the Phantom is attacked by human ships and Taren is separated from Ian and his crew. Taren awakens on one of the Gateway islands and meets Brynn, a beautiful young boy who claims to know Odhran. But Brynn has his secrets, just as Taren does. And when Taren finally meets Odhran, those secrets could prove fatal.
There are lots of surprises and a few new characters I think you'll enjoy in this second installment in the series. Want to read an excerpt from "Into the Wind?" You can find it here: http://www.shiraanthony.com/books/int...
Loved this book - definitely my favorite so far in the series! I've been fortunate enough to beta read the last few series books, and it's been a pleaLoved this book - definitely my favorite so far in the series! I've been fortunate enough to beta read the last few series books, and it's been a pleasure. I love how the relationship between Trent and Reed has grown, and in particular how Trent has come into his own and become more of an equal to Reed, rather than the slightly off-beat sidekick (although I enjoyed that as well).
This particular book has a bit more of Reed in it, and I enjoyed getting to know him better. The love scenes are hot, as always. I loved the exciting ending. I also enjoyed the secondary characters (one in particular who I hope we'll see more of at some point - spinoff perhaps????).
As always, the locale is a character in itself in this series, and EM shows her familiarity with the culture in a way that adds, but never feels as though you're reading a guidebook.
Dark erotica at its best and wonderful writing from one of my favorite MM writers.
Beltran has no way of knowing what price he'll pay when his cousinDark erotica at its best and wonderful writing from one of my favorite MM writers.
Beltran has no way of knowing what price he'll pay when his cousin asks him to seek out a shaman to help with revenge for a brutal attack. Not quite a HEA, but there is closure and a future at the end of this story. As always, the descriptions of place are amazingly rich. The sex is hotter than Hades. Short, but hardly sweet, and I admit that dubcon is one of my guilty pleasures, so this one definitely pushed my buttons in a good way!...more
This novella is a coda of sorts to the first four Blue Notes Series books. It's a bit lighter on the angst than the novels, and focuses on where the cThis novella is a coda of sorts to the first four Blue Notes Series books. It's a bit lighter on the angst than the novels, and focuses on where the couples are now. Did Cary and Antonio ever have that second child? Do Aiden and Sam finally get married? Does Jason ever decide to try playing in public again? What are David and Alex up to?
Other, secondary characters from the series make an appearance in this story, including David's sister, Rachel Somers, Cary and Antonio's son, Massimo, as well as Massimo's mothers.
I had a lot of fun reconnecting with the Blue Notes boys, and I hope you will too! -Shira...more
Of all the Blue Notes Series books so far, this one "got" to me the most. It made me cry (I never cry!). Maybe it's that I lived through the 1970s andOf all the Blue Notes Series books so far, this one "got" to me the most. It made me cry (I never cry!). Maybe it's that I lived through the 1970s and 1980s and I saw what men like Roger and John went through. Maybe it's that I SO wanted their lives to be easier and happier. Yes, they finally get that happiness, but not before they've had to deal with so much heartache.
It was difficult remembering what things used to be like and working through what the characters would have done back then. SO much has changed for gay men, even if there's still a long way to go in fighting for gay rights. Roger is a product of the society he grew up in, and of the pain and stigma attached to being homosexual in the 1970s. His choices are often difficult for us to understand unless we put him into that time period. I knew men like Roger who struggled with their sexuality. Those men laid the foundation for the marriages and long-term relationships in today's society.
Being gay in 2013 still isn't "easy" by any stretch of the imagination, but in the 1970s and 1980s it was so much worse. One of my friends described John and Roger as modern day star-crossed lovers. They are. You know they're meant for each other, but life and society always seem to get in the way. Do they get their own personal "encore?" You bet. But it's a long and difficult road.
Especially fun for me in writing in this book was revisiting several of the other Blue Notes characters, including a very young Alex Bishop and Cary Redding. There's a scene in Prelude where Roger Nelson gives a teenaged Alex a new violin. You'll revisit that scene again in this book, but from a different perspective. That scene is a turning point for Roger and John, even more than it was a turning point in Alex's life. And then there's David Somers and the real story behind how he ended up at the Chicago Symphony.
As with all the Blue Notes books, the novel is a standalone, and books in the series can be read in any order. Secondary characters in one book get their stories (and HEAs) in other books. Here's the chronological order for the series so far:
What's next for Blue Notes? A holiday novella coming out in December 2013, "Symphony in Blue (Blue Notes 4.5)," which is a direct sequel to the first 4 books. The next novel in the series will be "Dissonance," due out in 2014. It's Cameron's story (from "Aria")....more
4.5 stars, rounded up. I loved the storyline in this book and the new possibilities it opens up. My only (very small) complaint was that I'd have love4.5 stars, rounded up. I loved the storyline in this book and the new possibilities it opens up. My only (very small) complaint was that I'd have loved to have gotten a bit more depth from the characters (Vic especially). Some of the earlier books did a bit more and I think there were some missed opportunities to explore Vic's quirky personality and Vic and Jacob's relationship with the newly developed psy connection from the last book. But as always, the writing was clean, sharp and snarky - all things I look forward to in this series....more
Lush, full of wonderful descriptions, and sexy as all get-out, you can feel, smell, and taste the worlds Tali Spencer creates. Thick as Thieves is noLush, full of wonderful descriptions, and sexy as all get-out, you can feel, smell, and taste the worlds Tali Spencer creates. Thick as Thieves is no exception. I was fortunate enough to beta read this amazing book, and I fell in love with this seemingly mismatched pair of men.
There's Vorgell, built like an ox and admittedly not the sharpest knife in the drawer (I mean, really, fucking yourself with a Unicorn horn???). But I loved Vorgell's kind heart and good intentions. Then there's Madd, the young witch who stirs more than just Vorgell's magically oversexed body. Madd is a wonderfully flawed man who shoulders a great deal of pain and has learned not to trust anyone as a result. Together, these two are as perfect for each other as they are different. It just takes a little while for them to realize that they need each other.
I highly recommend this wonderful book. It's at once sweet, funny, and poignant. Oh, and beautifully written, of course!...more
Book 4 in the Blue Notes Series is bit of a prequel to the other books, although it's meant to be read as a standalone novel. For those of you who'd lBook 4 in the Blue Notes Series is bit of a prequel to the other books, although it's meant to be read as a standalone novel. For those of you who'd like to read the series in chronological order, it goes like this:
1) Prelude 2) Blue Notes 3) Aria 4) The Melody Thief
"Prelude" is the story of conductor/composer David Somers, who appears in all of the first three Blue Notes books. In those stories, David is friend and mentor to the young musicians who appear as main characters (Cary Redding and Aiden Lind, in particular). But David wasn't always as outgoing and willing to befriend other musicians.
"Prelude" is David's story of finding himself and finding happiness in music. I hope you enjoy it!...more