August 8th, 2009

andrew potter

The Art of Dying by Josh Lanyon & Jordan Castillo Price

Due to the title I was expecting for the two stories in this anthology to be linked by the art world setting, but it was interesting to read how many other points of connection there were, two of them quite obvious: both mysteries are set in a small community, an island, the type of gated community where the rich and famous go to live during summer or to retire. And both of mysteries turn around a murder without a body, the died man is disappeared, but no one knows how.

Lovers and Other Strangers by Josh Lanyon

Finn is an artist; he is born in a family of artists and everyone expect from him to be the good twin, since his brother Fitch is the bad boy. While Finn has a strong bond with Seal Island, the place were he was raised, and he wouldn't want anything else if not living there and paint, Fitch has the wandering feet, always in search of something or someone new. And then a summer, Finn fell in love with Con, a neighbor he has known for all his life, but that summer was different. The relationship started as a summer fling, but for Finn was something more. And so when he discovered Con in an passionate embrace with Fitch, Finn had not the force to face it and ran away from them and the island. Now three years later, convalescent from a very bad car accident, Finn comes back home to find the peace that Seal Island always gave him. It doesn't matter if he has to face Fitch and Con, if they are living together, they have already stolen him his happiness, they can't steal him also his home. But when he arrives to Seal Island, he finds out that Fitch is disappeared three years before, the same day Finn left the island... No one knew what happened to him and the last person that probably saw him alive was Con, the same Con that now is telling Finn that he misses him and that also for Con was love, and not only a summer fling.

The plot turns mainly around the two twins, Finn and Fitch, and their story. There is a romance, but it's only a subplot, and it remains always in second line. Con is a nice man, but I have the feeling that he is more a dream, an unattainable man for Finn, and that if he suddenly becomes true, Finn maybe would be not more so interest in him. I have the feeling that Finn is more in love of the idea to be in love than of the man. On the other hand the mystery is really good, and since the community is so small, everyone has a reason to want Fitch dead, and everyone could be the guilty man. No one has a real alibi for that day and so it's nearly impossible to find out the culprit before the end of the story. The strange thing is that the only one who seems to mourn the loss of Fitch is his twin Finn, the one who probably has more reason than one to hate him. But as it is said in the book, and how you can understand from what I said, Finn is a good and nice guy, with not real bad feeling in him. And so, since Fitch wasn't loved so much, the reader is not in an hurry to find out who killed him.

Body Art by Jordan Castillo Price

The second story is maybe a little more strange, but basically with the same turning point. Ray arrives in a gated community on an island, Red Wing Island. He will be the new driver for a old and wealthy couple, the Whites. It's not clear how it happened, I summarized that his former lover probably has some responsibility, but Ray lost his business, a tattoo parlor, and now he is full of debt. A live in work is exactly what he needs, even if the arrangement is not exactly top of the notch. The house where he goes to live is isolated, Ray has no his own car, and in the house there are an old man with Alzheimer and three women... and being Ray gay, well, it means that he will be pretty lonely. Then in the wood near the house he meets Anton, the crazy artist who lives in a nearby cottage. And when I say crazy, I don't mean that he does strange sculpture, I mean that he is really crazy. Anton is a bipolar case, he tried to kill himself in the past, and he has moody up and down. But he is also really beautiful, and gay, and maybe since he is lonely, or maybe since, in the crazy situation he is in, Anton doesn't seem so crazy after all, Ray falls soon and hard for him. In two day they are lovers, and in one day more, a dead man is found in the wood: he is Stanley, the former driver, and apparently Anton's previous friend. Again everyone in the small community have reason to hate Stanley, and everyone could be the guilty.

This time the romance is a little more center stage, on the contrary of the previous story, the murder is not so important, maybe since the murdered is not someone so much involved with the hero. Ray has no real reason to find out who killed Stanley, he is more interested in find out that it wasn't Anton who did it. The nice thing is that, in a way or the other, Anton is really a unsteady man, someone that probably will be never able to live alone on his own. If Ray decides to bring on their relationship, he will be always the rock, with time he will become the caretaker... but he sees Anton with a lover eyes, and he is willing to do so.

http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=PIC00004

http://www.aspenmountainpress.com/new-releases/the-art-of-dying/prod_249.html

Amazon: The Art of Dying: Partners in Crime #4

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Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Anne Cain
andrew potter

Excerpt Day: Spying the Alcove by Laura Tolomei

Spying the Alcove by Laura Tolomei
Release Date: August 1, 2009
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN: 978-1-55487-347-0
Publisher Link: http://www.extasybooks.net/ebjmsite/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=31&flypage=ebook_flypage&product_id=6207&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=44&vmcchk=1&Itemid=44

Amazon Kindle: Spying the Alcove

Blurb: When the words of his assistant declares sex is to be shared for it’s too precious to lock away in a drawer or save for an exclusive use alone, that it’s free, and has no limitations except the ones we ourselves choose and gender should never be an acceptable limit, the Professor has trouble accepting this simple concept despite the intriguing tale of a Roman matron’s journey into sensuality. Her erotic adventures come to life every night through a magic medallion, offering Valerio the chance to spy on her passionate matings. Will he understand her true message and find fulfilment?

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Excerpt Day: Maritime Men by Janey Chapel

Maritime Men by Janey Chapel
Release Date: August 6, 2009
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Link: https://dreamspinnerpress.3dcartstores.com/search.asp?keyword=ef3029&search=GO

Blurb: SEAL candidates Cooper Fitch and Eli Jones are cut off from the outside world and pushed to their physical and mental limits by the demands of the Navy's elite training program. Their reliance on each other takes an unexpected turn after Hell Week, the most grueling stretch of basic conditioning, when Cooper and Eli surrender to passion fueled by fatigue, horniness, and alcohol. Despite the danger of being discovered, their intense attraction begins to feel like a natural extension of living, working, and training side by side, and neither is willing to give it up, no matter the risk.

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Excerpt Day: Ghost Star Night by Nicole Kimberling

Ghost Star Night by Nicole Kimberling
Release Date: August 4, 2009
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60504-638-9
Publisher Link: http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/ghost-star-night

Blurb: Desire. Destruction. Destiny. Thomas Myrdin knows that intrigue is part of life at court, but that doesn’t make his king’s betrayal any easier to take. Yet heartbreak troubles him less than the apocalyptic visions that haunt him. Fiery premonitions that show the world burning in ruins—and the cause, the king’s daughter. Visions and vengeance awaken a strange new power within him, but not even he is sure if he is the kingdom’s savior, the king’s pawn. Lord Adam Wexley harbors a secret longing for the elegant Thomas, but his duty is to protect the newborn princess. When a sudden threat arises, Adam seeks to procure services of Grand Magician Zachary Drake. Even if it means sacrificing his own soul—and his body. Drake has seen the worst of kings and courtiers. Now he protects himself with powerful sorcery and the adamant refusal to affiliate with any of the Four Courts. But the grand magician isn’t without weaknesses and Adam may be the one enticement that could draw him to ruin. In a rising storm of magic with the power to strip away men’s souls, the thread of desire connecting three men could be the kingdom’s last lifeline…

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Excerpt Day: Mahu Vice by Neil S. Plakcy

Mahu Vice by Neil S. Plakcy
Release Date: 08/2009
Publisher: Alyson Books
ISBN: 9781593501112
Publisher Link: http://www.alyson.com/9781593501112.html

Amazon: Mahu Vice: A Hawaiian Mystery

Blurb: Sex and violence collide under the tropical sun. Eighteen months have passed since Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka walked away from the blaze at the climax of Mahu Fire with fire inspector Mike Riccardi. But Kimo’s high profile, and Mike’s desire to stay in the closet doomed their relationship. A year later, Kimo and Mike are forced to work together to solve an arson-homicide. When the investigation turns personal, they must put aside the emotional aftermath of their breakup and focus on an investigation into prostitution, illegal immigration, and a repeated pattern of arson that endangers lives and livelihoods across the island. Lambda Award-finalist Neil S. Plakcy is the author of four mystery novels in the Mahu series. His third book, Mahu Fire, won the 2009 Hawaii Five-O Award for Best Police Procedural. Plakcy is a journalist, book reviewer, and an assistant professor of English at Broward College in South Florida, where he lives with his partner and golden retriever.

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Excerpt Day: The First Full Moon by Christie Gordon

The First Full Moon by Christie Gordon
Release Date: August 1, 2009
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN: 978-1-55487-348-7
Publisher Link: http://www.extasybooks.net/ebjmsite/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=36&flypage=ebook_flypage&product_id=6110&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=44

Amazon Kindle: The First Full Moon

Blurb: Adam Ross doesn’t believe in demons. After a house-fire killed his family at the tender age of twelve, he’s not even sure he believes in God. But that is about to change. Under the light of the full moon, in 1930, rum-runners wash ashore dead on the Northern California coast amidst carnage, slashed and drained of blood. Rumors and local Indian lore tell of the existence of creatures out at sea, demons. Among a second rash of dead bootleggers, Adam finds Necalli, a stunning young man with strange physical anomalies and amnesia, who arouses him beyond belief. Adam becomes determined to help Necalli and solve the mystery lurking in his broken memories. Will he fall under Necalli’s spell and save himself in the process?

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Excerpt Day: The Ancient Stone by D.J. Manly

The Ancient Stone by D.J. Manly
Release Date: August 2, 2009
Publisher: eXtasy Books
ISBN: 978-1-55487-342-5
Publisher Link: http://www.extasybooks.net/ebjmsite/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=31&flypage=ebook_flypage&product_id=6109&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=44

Amazon Kindle: The Ancient Stone

Blurb: Darien is thrilled with the house Brennus wants to buy for them, and he’s thrilled to be close to his sister again and The Grinning Moon. Brennus is even considering going back to the university to teach. He doesn’t know that someone has been watching and waiting, an unlikely villain who longs to be close to Brennus. And he will do anything, including summoning a demon who can give him an ancient stone…an ancient stone that can control the undead, that can control Brennus. When a bumbling outcast has possession of an ancient stone that can cause Brennus to almost destroy him, Darien knows he’s in trouble. With the help of Marcel, Anita, Zendle and Anna, they will have to do everything they can to liberate the world’s most powerful immortal before it’s too late. Don’t miss the latest installment in the adventures of Brennus, and his beloved witch.

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Excerpt Day: Smolder by Willa Okati

Screen Shots: Smolder by Willa Okati
Release Date: August 6, 2009
Publisher: Changeling Press
ISBN: 978-1-60521-262-3
Publisher Link: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1206

Blurb: Brandon's trying his best to play it cool. He figures if no one knows he's a total amateur, he'll go a lot further in adult entertainment than a nervous newbie. Touchy about being short and pretty, he's fierce in his independence and determined to become a hot commodity. He didn't count on two of twentysomethingtwinks.com's top studs swooping down and claiming him for their own. Gabriel and Dylan, notorious for their intense sex scenes and a passionate relationship off-screen, decide they want Brandon as their third in a permanent ménage. Now, all they have to do is convince him. And if a guy's been working in adult entertainment for any time at all, he knows more than a few mighty pleasant ways to coax a man over to the dark side -- and right into the middle.

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Excerpt Day: Lesbian Cowboys edited by Sacchi Green and Rakelle Valencia

Lesbian Cowboys, Erotic Adventures edited by Sacchi Green and Rakelle Valencia
Release Date: 08/2009
Publisher: Cleis Press
ISBN: 978-1-57344-361-6
Publisher Link: http://www.cleispress.com/book_page.php?book_id=321

Amazon: Lesbian Cowboys: Erotic Adventures

Amazon Kindle: Lesbian Cowboys: Erotic Adventures

Blurb: With stories that are edgy as shiny spurs and tender as broken-in leather, fifteen first-rate writers share their take on cowboys—the iconic fantasy, the calling, and the attitude that has nothing to do with gender. Whether in the Old West or the Australian outback, New England or the Great Plains, the lesbian cowboys in these stories work hard, ride hard, and play hard in the saddle and in bed. Contributors Radclyffe and Jove Belle depict the rough and tumble world of female rodeo riders, while Cheyenne Blue describes a charged encounter between a renegade cattle driver and national park ranger, and Delilah Devlin writes about a hired hand who may be a woman, but is more than a match for any man. Lesbian Cowboys is sexy, steamy, and crackling with erotic energy.

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Excerpt Day: Love is Scary by Cheryl Dragon

Love is Scary by Cheryl Dragon
Release Date: 08/2009
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Publisher Link: http://www.pinkpetalbooks.com/index.php?/Cheryl-Dragon/Love-is-Scary-by-Cheryl-Dragon.html

Blurb: Ryan’s brain child of an adults only haunted house with club attached is big risk…he needs Wes’s genius to make it real. But when the men meet, it goes way beyond business. Off relationships, Wes can't handle another high maintenance man half in the closet. Ryan has so much in his work life that sex only sounds good to him. When passion overflows into their common goals, love has a way of sneaking through.

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Excerpt Day: Public Exposure by EM Lynley

Public Exposure by EM Lynley
Release Date: August 1, 2009
Publisher: Cobblestone Press
ISBN: 978-1-60088-450-4
Publisher Link: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/publicexposure.htm

Blurb: Drake Talbott is a young university professor with a big secret: he's been dating a student. Hunky, handsome Kerry Monroe isn't in any of Drake's classes, but he has a public sex kink that Drake is in no particular hurry to curb. In fact Kerry's brought out a wilder side of Drake that he never knew he possessed. When an extracurricular tryst in the library stacks nearly brings their relationship to the attention of the powers that be at the university, Drake's just not sure whether his career will survive Kerry's appetites--or his own.

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Excerpt Days

andrew potter

Around the World: Mission Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a strange seatown village; it's almost divided in two, the Mission and the Town. The Mission overlook the town and the sea from a slightly high hill and inside it the atmosphere is peaceful and serene, almost poor; even the graveyard is old and abandoned. But as soon as you exit the little compoud of the old Mission, barely a cloister with a church and a graveyard, the color and sun and wealthiness of modern California punch you full front. Even the new lodgings for the monks are new and tiled in color. And just in front of the Mission there is a neighborhood of expensive mansion and a deep green park where people jogging, take the sun (quite naked) and do a full of other things.

 
by Elisa, Mission Santa Barbara, California, 2008



But, truth be told, it was a nice experience. Santa Barbara was a little town full of life, obviously upper class, but nevertheless nice. I think it should be nice to live there.

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The Angel Singers by Dorien Grey

Well, well, well, never say never. These days you can hardly surprise me, I read too much and too various to find something really original, and then I have my preconceptions that often prevent me to read a book or the other, even if maybe I like that author and I know that I will like even that book.

The Dick Hardesty Mystery series was something like that. I fought hard to not read it, not since I didn't like the previous book by Dorien Grey, quite the contrary, I like it, but since, let tell the truth, a series that is at its twelfth book? One, I'm not so fond of mysteries to be so crazy to start something that I already know it has 12 book of backlog, and two, I already was imagining this private investigator who was the classical example of lonely wolf, maybe even gay, but with no possible real good love story around, since it was impossible that the same hero was with the same person for all those books... and now probably the mystery lovers are ready to crucify me, since I know that there are out there famous "mystery" couple who lasted way more than 12 books. But I'm loosing the track of what I was saying.

I though, why not?, let's start from the last book, and if I like it, there is always time to go back to the previous ones. Since a mystery opens and closes with every book, I will have hardly trouble to get the feeling of the story even if I read only this one. And now I'm regretting my choice! Oh no, don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't like Dick Hardesty, it's since I like him so much! Dick is in a long term relationship with Jonathan, a cute guy who is an angel, and they even have a little five years old child, Joshua, an orphan they took to live with them. And I'm eating my nails since I want to know when Dick met Jonathan, when they decided to live together, when Joshua entered their life... and I know, OMG, I know, that I will not have these answers by reading only the previous book, I probably will have to go back for many many books to have them... I'm starting to to have very bad feelings towards Dorien Grey to be so cruel, you can't possible write of so good characters and dosing their story in more books, it's like giving small doses to someone to get them addicted, very bad behaviour.

Anyway, after my vent towards the author, what can I say more on the book? Obviously I can't say more on the mystery, other than it was, on the contrary of other similar stories, more a search for "who didn't do it", the victim, Grant, was quite the less nice guy on the planet, and more or less, everyone who knows him wanted him dead. The mystery unravels in the very closet circle around Dick and his partner Jonathan, the killed guy was in the same choir of Jonathan, and him or / and Dick know all the people involved. At least, the author chose to be original, and Jonathan is never on the suspects list, I really don't like when the private investigator has to dig on his partner's life behind his back. But this is the only thing I will say, since the author never once implied it, and so it's no a big secret to unveal.

The story is told in first point of view by Dick, so it's him the main focus, but I found that both him than Jonathan are balanced. Being Jonathan not new to the past readers of the series, we have not much added info on him, and I had the impression of a good guy, a good substitute father for Joshua, and a man that can hardly have a bad bone on him, he is always ready to find the good side in people. On the other hand, Dick maybe is less naive, but all in all neither him is so hard and aloof; he ponders his judgment, but all in all, he has not the usual disillusioned attitude that seems so common for P.I.s. Actually Jonathan and Dick are an ordinary couple, with a good circle of friends and with a little nice family; they help each other in managing all of it with an easiness that comes from practice, but they are not leading towards habit. They still have a good relationship and even a healthy sexual life, even if, unluckily for us, Dorien Grey didn't spend so much time to make us share in their joy, but there are hints here and there that "dad and dad" still have their moment, and thanks to the practice mentioned above, they manage even now that Joshua is with them.

So yes, Dick Hardesty and his partner Jonathan are a nice surprise, I'm happy to have finally met them, and it was good to read their story; it was refreshing for once to have an hero of a mystery series who has an ordinary life, a family, a comfortable home. I'm true, I was more interested to read of this, even of the little trouble they had in raising a little child, rather than to find who killed Grant, maybe since Grant was not a nice guy, and so I was not compelled to find out. Despite the matter, the story of Dick and Jonathan is light, sometime even funny (search for the scene when five years old Joshua comes home to announce that he has a girlfriend...), but the mystery in the background is not: the author manages to bring on both plots in parallel, each one with its own specific mood, and only in the last chapter, better in the last sentence, the two path cross. And it's again a proof that Dick ponders, and seldom lets his gut having the better on his mind (see how he reacts when the mystery is arriving to the end), and instead Jonathan lets always his heart leading him.

Amazon: The Angel Singers: A Dick Hardesty Mystery

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle