1-tie) Tamara Allen - The Only Gold
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 21, 2011)
Amazon: The Only Gold
I loved this book, couldn't put it down and stayed up way too late several nights running to finish it. --Anne
Ms Allen writes some of THE best historical romance stories ever; she does it very well. She can drop a reader into the era and locale within a handful of paragraphs and never look back. In ‘Gold’, her plot thickened and developed, foreshadowing events with just enough mystic to not give it all away. This was a most excellent story and one I will read again and enjoy with as much verve. --Merith
Jonah Woolner's life is as prudently regulated as the bank where he works. It's a satisfying life until he's passed over for promotion in favor of newcomer Reid Hylliard. Brash and enterprising, Reid beguiles everyone except Jonah, who's convinced Reid's progressive ideas will be the bank's ruin. When Jonah begins to discover there's more to Reid than meets the eye, he risks succumbing to Reid's charms-but unlocking the vault to all of Reid's secrets could lead him down a dangerous path. Losing his promotion-and perhaps his heart-is the least of Jonah's difficulties. When the vengeful son of a Union army vet descends upon the bank to steal a government deposit of half a million dollars during the deadliest blizzard to ever sweep New York, Jonah and Reid are trapped, at odds and fighting for their lives.
Andrew Wolter - Much of Madness, More of Sin
Paperback: 164 pages
Publisher: Shadow City Press (March 7, 2011)
Amazon: Much of Madness, More of Sin
A winner all the way around. –Carey
BEYOND THE DEPTHS OF MADNESS... During an annual festival celebrating an ancient god...In a county jail where escape is unlikely...Along downtown avenues where population provides safety...In a nightclub so boisterous, it's difficult to hear the person standing next to you...In a bath house in Phoenix, or amidst the towering trees of wilderness. Here madness touches the souls of those lost and lonely, those who seek out the pleasures of the body while flesh is bared, blood is spilt, and the most enigmatic chaos reveals itself. These are the landscapes in the world of horror writer Andrew Wolter. INTO THE CORE OF THE FORBIDDEN... Now, in this boundary-breaking collection of eleven original tales, Andrew Wolter delivers his unique style of interlacing pop-culture, eroticism, the insidious, and a chaos that creeps around every corner of our daily lives.
2-tie) Dusk Peterson - The Eternal Dungeon
Publisher: Love in Dark Settings Press (October 18, 2010)
Amazon: The Eternal Dungeon
Normally I don't feel much need to express my thoughts on the books I read beyond the score, but in the case of The Eternal Dungeon, I feel I should. It seemed on the surface, given its title and length, that it must surely be an extensive love letter to sexual horror, and reading through the table of contents seemed only to support this. You can imagine my astonishment to discover that it is in fact a deeply moving philosophical work, which yes, has both sex and torture in it, but surprisingly little of either despite the fact that it all takes place in a dungeon. The characterization is very good and even bold, and the world building, while narrow, is solid and hints at a vast and real world that exist beyond the confines of the story. The overarching plot development is excellent, and is an extensive metaphor for the major themes of the book. The writing is eminently readable, and the author's decision to intersperse in-story historical analysis alongside the events taking place works beautifully.
In the Queendom of Yclau lies an underground royal prison that embraces the worst of the past and the best of the future. The Eternal Dungeon is old-fashioned in its equipment and ahead of its time in its treatment of prisoners, seeking to put their best welfare above all else. Torture is part of the process of assisting the prisoners. The High Seeker, Layle Smith, embodies this contradictory institution: a man of deadly impulses, the head torturer binds himself strictly by the dungeon's code of conduct. His efforts to maintain this delicate balance are altered, though, by the introduction into his life of Elsdon Taylor, a vulnerable prisoner who is coming to terms with his own darkness. This 440,000-word omnibus contains four novels and a novella in The Eternal Dungeon, a historical fantasy series set in a land where the psychologists wield whips.
Karis Walsh – Harmony
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (August 16, 2011)
Loved the storyline. I could not put this book down! --Mitzie
Sometimes conformity and control are only shields, and all it takes is the right woman to shatter the illusions forever. Andrea Taylor craves peace in her life, no matter what the personal sacrifice. She arranges her career as a violist, her relationships with family and friends, and even her love life so she can avoid strife at all costs. Everything is going according to plan until she meets Brooke Stanton the night before Brooke’s wedding rehearsal and her ordered existence falls apart. When Brooke hires a string quartet to play at her rehearsal dinner, she doesn’t expect to meet a woman who threatens the security of her already predetermined future. Suddenly she has doubts about the conventional path she has chosen and desires she can no longer ignore. In an eclectic neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, these two women face a life-altering decision—will they fight the attraction that threatens their carefully structured lives or take a chance on finding the harmony only love creates?
Anel Viz - P'tit Cadeau
Paperback: 486 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (February 20, 2011)
Amazon: P'tit Cadeau
Generally, I loved the story and thought the writing style to be good. The main character development for Ben was pitch perfect - I understood his complexity but I had a difficult time believing Jean-Yves authenticity. –Janet
[P’TIT CADEAU (euphemism) – the “small gift” French hustlers ask for to let you know they expect to be paid] Ben, an American art professor on a painting sabbatical in the south of France, rents a room in an isolated village to avoid the tourist crush. There he meets his landlady's brother, the sensitive and childlike loner Jean-Yves, whom the locals consider simple minded because he is "different". Ben makes him his principal model and undertakes to build his self-confidence and prepare him to fend for himself. Jean-Yves’ has never had a friend before. As they grow closer, Ben comes to realize the extent of the young man’s emotional needs, and his total dependence and unbridled devotion frighten him. Has he taken on more responsibility than he can handle? Should he allow himself to fall in love with Jean-Yves when he knows their relationship must end when his sabbatical is over?
3-tie) Meghan O'Brien – Wild
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (June 14, 2011)
This book was a great read, and I'd happily read another by this author. Suspense and romance mixed together well, with the romance being a deliciously complicated snarl of trust, desire, and longing both for a partner and for acceptance of self. --Heidi
This was an interesting book; it slowly drew me into the story. I liked the fact that two strong women had vulnerable sides. I liked the way the story line played out it wasn’t obviously in your face and it kept you wanting to read more... So for me this was a great book. --Norma
The only thing that frightens shapeshifter Selene Rhodes more than the full moon is the idea of falling in love. Selene Rhodes has lived her whole life with a terrible secret: not only can she take the form of any animal at will, but once a month the full moon transforms her into a fierce wolf-creature without a human conscience. Managing her condition means living by a strict routine, and more importantly, abstaining from intimate relationships with human beings. Selene is convinced that love and friendship can only bring her pain. Forensic pathologist Eve Thomas is well-acquainted with the pain of romantic love. Swearing off relationships after having her heart broken by a cheating ex, Eve throws herself into her work: catching murderers. When Selene comes to her aid after an attack by a masked man in Golden Gate Park, Eve is shocked by how powerfully she is drawn to her mysterious savior. Shaken by her own feelings for Eve, Selene is even more terrified to realize she isn’t even close to being the scariest monster stalking San Francisco. There is someone out in the city who is killing for pleasure, and his next target is the one woman he thinks might be able to stop him: Eve.
Lisa Girolami - Jane Doe
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (April 19, 2011)
Amazon: Jane Doe
I very much enjoyed reading this book. Lisa Girolami is rapidly becoming one of my favorite writers. –Mitzie
Sometimes a brief getaway where no one knows your name can change your life. Emily Carver is an inhibited, small town woman who, against warnings from her family, takes her first trip to Las Vegas. On her first night there, she is mugged and saved from worse trauma by Royal Wooten, an independent, assertive woman, and a virtual opposite of Emily. With no money or identification and unwilling to go home and face her “I-told-you-so” family, Emily decides to stay in Las Vegas and rebuild her stolen finances. But what she actually rebuilds is her entire life. She even gambles on a chance for true love and discovers that sometimes in order to find yourself, you have to start from scratch.