October 29th, 2010

andrew potter

To All a (Very Sexy) Good Night by K.A. Mitchell & Josh Lanyon

The Dickens With Love by Josh Lanyon

The Dickens With Love is a Christmas story that proves that also a library mouse can fall in love, and surprise surprise, for another mouse too! Yes, since the classical Cinderfella story, mixed with Christmas feelings, would suggest that our hero is being rescued from a cold and lonely Christmas day by a knight in shining armour, and instead, of shining, the other hero has only the horn-rimmed glasses.

James Winter is a book hunter, better he was a very good book hunter before losing his credibility when the antiquarian he was working for was found out with the hand in the jam, meaning that he was selling fake rare books. Just from that you have probably understood that James is not exactly Indiana Jones, the biggest adventures he probably had in his life was to find a rare book in the attic of some old lady, but James loves books and for him, even that was a fantastic adventure. Now he is deprived of all of that, he is forced to work in a department store selling cheap books to even cheaper buyers and he is dying inside. When an unscrupulous man asks him to deal in his name for a unpublished manuscript by Charles Dickens, even if James doesn’t like the man, the chance is too great to renounce.

The owner of the rare book, Sedgwick Crisparkle is an English professor who has some hidden reasons to auction the book far from England and in a as much as possible anonymous way. There is a bit of mystery here, probably Josh Lanyon is not able to write a novel without a bit of mystery, but actually it’s a really old fashioned and sweet mystery, very much in line with the entire story.

Anyway when James meets Sedge, the real reason behind the meeting is soon forgotten, and they are swept away in a whirlwind romance… with green and red flavoured condoms and posh hotels. It seems that Sedge is more interesting in tasting life (pun intended), in each possible way, and soon is better than later, almost essential. Sedge is like a child on a Christmas morning, eager to unwrap all the toys to then decide which toy will be the first to play with.

James is a bit disoriented, Sedge has the attitude of a stuffy English professor, and the grace of an elephant, but then suddenly he looks James with yearning eyes, demanding love… well not exactly love, he is demanding sex, but still with the eyes of a puppy, so that James is unable to resist. Problem is that Sedge is also impulsive and easy to come out with sharp words, and James is still quite sensible on some arguments. The two together seem to work only when they are not speaking and also when the alcohol helped them to loose a bit of their inhibition.

What probably I like most of both men is that they are so sweet and tender, they are not at all macho man, neither Sedge when he is trying to be gallant, he is more a kitten who is trying to growl like a lion. But then there is no need to knights in shining armours in this story, there are no real dangers and the only thing you can hurt are feelings. After all we are not speaking of deadly weapon, but of an old leather manuscript. Even the villain is not so dangerous and the worst thing that can happen is to go back home with a black eye.

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/the-dickens-with-love

Amazon Kindle: The Dickens With Love

An Improper Holiday by K.A. Mitchell

In 1814, after the Battle of Badajoz, Ian has one reason more to not consider himself a proper man, he lost a limb in battle and not he is not even up to the task he was destined to as second son of an Earl, to be an army officer. He is now living wandering from one relative to another, trying to choose the one who pities him less. He is probably searching to disappear from the world, and so he is not so happy when his brother, the Earl, asks him to be the chaperon to their sister to the annual Twelve Night fete at Carleigh Castle: the heir to the Marques, Nicholas, was not only Ian’s best friend at school, he was also his first love. Like so many lovers before them, when they were young and careless, they swore to be everything for each other for forever and ever, but then the war changed it all.

There is a right characterization in both men: Ian is the typical second son, the one to whom everyone, from his father to his tutors, always instilled the concept of honour. His family was not enough wealthy to provide for him, and so Ian had to find his way in the world alone; he was supposed to be an officer, he was supposed to be independent. Not yet out of school, and in love with another man, Ian was forced to enlist and leave everything he knew. He did that to honour what everyone expected from him, and even if he didn’t leave Nicky with a promise to come back, inside his heart he was bound to be an honoured man even with him: Nicky was his first man, and Ian was determined to maintain him the only one also. In every aspect of his life, with his family and with his lover, Ian was and still is a perfect romance hero. And as a perfect romance hero, when he comes back home with an heavy handicap, he can’t consider to “impose” himself upon his lover, that, on the other hand, being a first son and heir, has to marry and fathered one heir or two at least. Probably in Ian’s mind, if Nicky marries a woman, it’s not almost a betrayal; it’s another way to be an honoured man, something Ian can perfectly comprehend. So, in his “innocence”, Ian doesn’t consider Nicky totally lost, in a way he is still faithful to the memory of their past love.

It’s so with despair that Ian discovers that, not only Nicky was not faithful to them when Ian came back home as a less than full man, he wasn’t neither faithful to them when Ian was in battle. Nicky tells to himself that it was the need of companionship, maybe even the fear for what could happen to his lover, but in a way or another, Nicky didn’t respect the unsaid pact of being faithful to Ian. And, again, I think this is quite right with his character: Nicky is the first son, the heir; he has no need to be an honoured man; he will have everything thanks to his birth right. Oh yes, while Ian was away, he conspired with Ian’s sister, Charlotte, to have news on Ian himself, but this is the only hint I have that Nicky was as involved in their relationship as Ian was and still is. Now that Ian is back home, Nicky is bent upon the task to convince the man that they can be still together, that there are way for them to be couple, even if not in front of the society, at least in the intimacy of their bedroom. The solution is simple, and probably one that many before them took. But still, even if Nicky is now behaving as a man in love, I would not say that he is a perfect romance hero like Ian, I think he is a bit selfish and for sure a spoiled brat.

The setting is quite nice, the story turns mainly around Ian and Nicky, but there are some interesting supporting characters, and I liked very much as the author described the different connections inside both families, of Ian and Nicky; there are all the different possible relationships of the time, the widowed and ruined cousin, the married but without child sister who plays the role of mistress of the house ad interim, the old father, the distant brother… it’s like an handbook of a noble English family of the nineteen century.

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/an-improper-holiday

Amazon Kindle: An Improper Holiday

http://samhainpublishing.com/print/to-all-a-very-sexy-good-night-print (print book)

Amazon: To All a (Very Sexy) Good Night

Reading List:

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


Cover Art by Amanda Kelsey
andrew potter

Lessons in Temptation (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries 5) by Charlie Cochrane

Reading a book with Jonty and Orlando as main characters is like meeting with old friends. There is very little to discover, but those little details are delightful.

I have always found Orlando a nice man, but maybe a bit aloof; he is most likely to react hiding himself in an imaginary shell, than facing what he didn’t like; only since Jonty knows him so well, he is able to interpreter his moods and stopping possible trouble even before they happen.

Like in this story: Orland is jealous of Jonty, of his renewed friendship with a college friend, who actually is interested in something more. And truth be told, also Jonty sometime wonders what could have been, but that is the nice thing of these characters, they are real, and like real men, they are able to question even himself. Anyway this is probably the biggest proof that Orlando is developing in a better man, less “head on the clouds”: he is able to realize that his love for Jonty is the most important thing in his life, but it’s also something that can disappear if he is not careful. I also like that, even if he doesn’t exactly react with vehemence, at least he is able to externalize his feelings, and to make Jonty aware that he doesn’t like the situation. It’s an important step in their relationship, also since, maybe, it’s the first time that Orlando claims their love, till now it was always Jonty who pursued him, and it was the time that Orlando acknowledged it.

As usual there is a mystery to solve, and as usual the mystery has more the feeling of a set of cards game than a real dangerous situation; nor Orlando or Jonty are directly involved, they are doing it out of boring, and for the pleasure of solve a puzzle, they are not, and will never been “real” detective.

There is a bit more of “daring” sex scenes, meaning that, it’s more clear when Orlando and Jonty are spending time together in the same bed, but that’s all, this series is not the place to find “hot and bothered” sex, this is more the classical example of “something happened, but you are not entailed to know the details, and why you should be? You are nor Orlando or Jonty, the only two who have that right”.

I quite like the closing chapter, with Jonty and Orlando sending separately postcards to their friends and relatives at home, both of them with their version of the true; it helps to strengthen my first impression, that this is becoming a “familiar” series, each instalment in the series is a step more in the friendship of the reader with the Cambridge Fellows.

http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/lessons-in-temptation

Amazon: Lessons in Temptation (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 5)

Amazon Kindle: Lessons in Temptation (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 5)

Series: A Cambridge Fellows Mystery
1) Lessons in Love: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/417687.html
2) Lessons in Desire: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/506663.html
3) Lessons in Discovery: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/641112.html
4) Lessons in Power: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/857346.html
5) Lessons in Temptation

Reading List:

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

The Inside Reader: Terrance Dean

Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends - Silas Weir Mitchell
I read Terrance Dean's story inside the tribute to E. Lynn Harris, and as the other two stories in it I liked them a lot. So I was more than glad to propose Terrance to do an Inside Reader list for my LiveJournal, and this was before knowing that Terrance is not out with a new non-fiction work, Straight from your Gay Best Friend, that is now in my reading list and that it seems a book up to my alley. So please welcome Terrance and his list.

Terrance Dean's Insider Reader List

Mama Black Widow by Iceberg Slim
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Holloway House (November 1, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0870679317
ISBN-13: 978-0870679315
Amazon: Mama Black Widow

"One of the most exciting literary revival series since the rediscovery of Jim Thompson's novels" (Playboy), Old School Books "is subtly transforming the landscape of post-war black fiction" (Bomb). "Mama Black Widow" is the nickname of Otis Tilson, a comely and tragic black queen adrift with his brothers and sisters in the dark ghetto world of pimpdom and violent crime. His story is told in the gut-level language of the homosexual underworld--an unforgettable testament of life lived on the margins of a racist and predatory urban hell.

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About Terrance Dean: "I am the founder/creator of Men’s Empowerment, Inc. and co-creator of The Gathering of Men with Adeyemi Bandele. Adeyemi is the husband and spiritual partner of acclaimed teacher and best-selling author Iyanla Vanzant. Men’s Empowerment is an organization that is dedicated to the transformation of men of color in their communities for their own self-empowerment. Some of the featured guest speakers have included, Emil Wilbekin, Editor-in-Chief, Giant Magazine; Kevin Powell, Author and Activist; Stacy Spikes, CEO Urbanworld Film Group; Gordon Chambers, Grammy Award Song Writer; Omar Tyree, Author; and Kevin Liles, Chairman of Warner Music Group.

I am a 2005 John Seigenthaler Journalism Fellow from Vanderbilt University.

I am a contributing writer to the anthologies, “Souls of My Brothers” and “Always Too Soon.”

I have also appeared across the country on popular syndicated radio shows and has made television appearances on NBC 10 Philadelphia, WB 11 New York, and FOX 2 in Detroit."

Dean has written for VIBE, ESSENCE, The New York Sun, The Tennessean, Fatherhood Today, The Michigan Chronicle’s Front Page, Flirtingtime.com and Blackmeninamerica.com.

Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute To E. Lynn Harris by Stanley Bennett Clay, Terrance Dean, James Earl Hardy
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (June 1, 2010)
Publisher Link: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/finditem.cfm?itemid=16878
ISBN-10: 0758255756
ISBN-13: 978-0758255754
Amazon: Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute To E. Lynn Harris

Bestselling author and literary icon E. Lynn Harris captivated millions of readers with his powerful, groundbreaking stories of black men searching for love in a taboo world. Now three outstanding writers and friends honor the late author with this trio of original novellas in the genre E. Lynn helped create—each accompanied by a special personal tribute remembering the important role he played in their lives. Evoking the hope, romance, and complexity of this gifted writer, this unique collection will serve as a living legacy for fans old and new.

Straight from Your Gay Best Friend: The Straight-Up Truth About Relationships, Work, and Having a Fabulous Life by Terrance Dean
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Agate Bolden (October 1, 2010)
Publisher Link: http://www.agatepublishing.com/book/?GCOI=93284100502410
ISBN-10: 1932841563
ISBN-13: 978-1932841565
Amazon: Straight from Your Gay Best Friend: The Straight-Up Truth About Relationships, Work, and Having a Fabulous Life

In today’s society, every woman needs a gay best friend—someone who gives it to her straight about life, clothes, sex, and relationships. For example, on the hit TV show, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” the breakout star, NeNe, has introduced the world to her gay best friend, Dwight Eubanks. On “Sex In The City,” Carrie Bradshaw often turned to her gay best friend, Stanford, and “Will and Grace” was all about the relationship between a woman and her gay best friend. The gay best friend—smart, sympathetic, and straight-talking—is the new must-have; no woman wants to be without one.

Enter Terrance Dean, who offers direct and to-the-point insights on some of life’s most challenging issues—family, friends, career, love, sex, and intimate relationships of all kinds—mixed with a little sass, wit, humor, forwardness, and spirituality, as only a gay man can do. He speaks candidly to women about healing their souls of past hurts in order to tap into their fabulousness.

This book will help women discover the strength they need for a life of loving relationships and abundant success. And it’s all done from a place of love, coming from their gay best friend.
andrew potter

Event: Yaoi Con 2010

Date: Saturday, October 30
Time: from 3 to 5 pm
Place: Yaoi-Con 2010, Regency Ballroom C
will be taking place at the
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport Hotel

Lynn Flewelling Focus Panel from 3 pm to 4 pm: Author Lynn Flewelling discusses her latest release, Glimpses, a collection of short stories from her Nightrunner series.

From Yaoi Fantasy to Published Novel from 4 pm to 5 pm with Lynn Flewelling, Ginn Hale, Marie Sexton, Astrid Amara: Acclaimed fantasy authors Lynn Flewelling, Ginn Hale, & Astrid Amara share their experience on pathways to publication.

Glimpses: A Collection of Nightrunner Short Stories by Lynn Flewelling
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (September 19, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1453624910
ISBN-13: 978-1453624913
Amazon: Glimpses: A Collection of Nightrunner Short Stories

Lynn Flewelling's Glimpses explores "lost" moments from her popular Nightrunner Series, events alluded to or passed over - Alec's parents and childhood, Seregil's early liaisons in Skala, Seregil and Alec's first night as lovers, how Seregil and Micum Cavish met. Each story offers a new perspective on events readers have speculated about for years. For new readers, it offers an introduction to the characters Romantic Times calls "two of the most memorable heroes in fantasy." Professional and amateur art provided by Flewelling's fans accompany Glimpses' stories, as she honors the dedication and devotion her fans have given her over the years. "Glimpses is full of treasures like Lynn Flewelling's deceptively easy and addictive storytelling, her vivid and engaging characters, and the amazing and heartfelt illustrations. This book is a must have for fans of Lynn's Nightrunner books, and if you haven't started the series yet, then Glimpses will leave you eager to discover more about Seregil and Alec, their adventures and the unique and fantastical world that the pair inhabit." -Suzanne McLeod, Spellcrackers.com series "It's hard to imagine a lovelier gift to fans than this exquisite collection of gorgeously illustrated short stories. Flewelling indulges her loyal readers with these graceful glimpses 'between the lines' of the long-running and immensely popular Nightrunner series." -Josh Lanyon, Adrien English Mysteries and the Holmes & Moriarity Mysteries "An unmissable short story collection from Flewelling. Set in the Nightrunner universe Glimpses captures Flewelling's characters at formative moments in their various timelines. Some of the stories fill in details that I've been waiting on for years..." -T.A. Moore, The Even Series "Glimpses is a terrific collection, lovingly illustrated, a gift to all of us who love the Nightrunners. This rocks." -Patricia Briggs, Mercy Thompson Series

Lord of the White Hell (The Cadeleonian Series, Book 2) by Ginn Hale
perback: 346 pages
Publisher: Blind Eye Books; first edition (September 15, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0978986172
ISBN-13: 978-0978986179
Amazon: Lord of the White Hell (The Cadeleonian Series, Book 2)

Kiram fought his family and Cadeleonian bigots to remain in the Sagrada Academy to prove himself as a mechanist and to dispel the deadly shadow curse that threatens to destroy his upperclassman, Javier Tornesal. But when his efforts provoke retaliation, Kiram's family and home are endangered. Both Kiram and Javier risk everything in a desperate gambit to combat the curse. But they never imagined their battle with come so soon, or that it would be lead by the one person they trust most of all.

Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton
Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 6, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1615815503
ISBN-13: 978-1615815500
Amazon: Strawberries for Dessert

When Jonathan Kechter agrees to a blind date with Cole Fenton, he expects nothing more than dinner and a one-night stand... but he gets more than he bargained for in Cole. Cole is arrogant, flamboyant, and definitely not Jon's type. Still, when Cole suggests an arrangement of getting together for casual sex whenever they're both in town, Jon readily agrees. Their arrangement may be casual, but Jonathan soon learns that when it comes to Cole Fenton, nothing is easy. Between Cole's fear of intimacy and his wandering lifestyle, Jonathan wonders if their relationship may be doomed from the start-but the more Cole pushes him away, the more determined Jon is to make it work.

The Archer's Heart by Astrid Amara
Perfect Paperback: 656 pages
Publisher: Blind Eye Books; First edition (August 1, 2008)
ISBN-10: 097898613X
ISBN-13: 978-0978986131
Amazon: The Archer's Heart

In the ancient kingdom of Marhavad, noblemen dominate the lower castes, wielding mystic weapons, known as shartas, against any who oppose them. For generations the rule of Marhavad's kings has been absolute. But now the line of succession is divided, and whispers of revolution are heard in even the royal palace. Keshan Adaru, an outspoken man of unearthly charms, welcomes these changes. All his life he has foreseen an uprising that will shatter the castes and end the tyranny of the old laws. His visions have driven him but now, at the brink of their fulfillment, he finds himself obsessed with Prince Jandu Paran-- a man whose entire family must be destroyed if the kingdom is to be freed. Tarek Amia would gladly see Jandu Paran brought low. Born the son of a charioteer, Tarek has no love for the Paran princes who have slighted and insulted him all his life. Only Keshan's philosophies have elevated him from the brutal ranks of common soldiers. Tarek owes Keshan his devotion, but he is a pragmatic man and when he discovers Keshan's reckless affair he realizes that Keshan may have to be sacrificed for the sake of his own revolution. Young Prince Jandu Paran has never concerned himself with court intrigue. His life has been dedicated to the lordly art of archery and mastering the immense powers of the shartas. Handsome and arrogant, he is sure that no man can surpass him and yet Keshan Adaru's mere touch brings Jandu to his knees. But his desire for Keshan is more than forbidden; it threatens to destroy Jandu's pride, position and family. In the midst of this turmoil, an unspeakable event forces Jandu to redefine the meaning of honor and loyalty. And now, as armies arise to war, each man must decide where his allegiance lies and what he will sacrifice in his heart and on the battlefield.
andrew potter

Reckless Heart by Amanda Young

Like all the other books in the series, Reckless Heart plays a bit with the twink theme, i.e. a slightly older man who fall in love with a barely legal boy.

Milo is Dante’s little brother, one of the above older men, and when it’s time for his brother to fall in love for a man, Dante readily forget that he himself is involved with a 19 years old boy, when he is well over 30. Actually Cam, the man Milo falls in love with, is “only” 26 years old, so the age gap is not much, more than the difference in age is the difference in lifestyle that makes their relationship starting in a rocky way.

Milo meets Cam in the restaurant he is working part-time; even if his brother Dante has now a comfortable life, and wealthy friends like Cody and Beau, Milo is more or less a runaway kid: he was kicked out of home when he came out, and now he has nowhere to go if not his brother. He will start college in the winter but meanwhile he is really wondering what to do with his life, a life that he is not considering so much, the refusal of his parents weights on his shoulder.

Cam on the other hand comes from money, but this doesn’t mean he had a better relationship with his parents; his beloved mother took his life when Cam, probably her only reason to live, was in college and his father doesn’t accept him being gay. While Milo turns his parents refusal in the possible refusal of any other person he will care for, Cam learned from his parents’s experience that love is not a long term affair. Both men have no reason to believe that their casual affair will last, and so they embark on it with no strings attached.

But Milo is very young, and at his first important experience, and of course even if his mind tells him to not being involved, his heart has other plan. I think he cajoled a bit Cam in this relationship, true Cam cares for Milo, but if he didn’t play his cards on the right way, I had the feeling that for Cam the experience would have been only a nice memory. On the other hand Cam is not an uncaring person, and when he realizes the feeling of Milo run deeply, he cannot treat him like yet another twink.

The story is nice, a good addition to the series, and it was also nice to have the final wrap up, with all the couples from the previous books play happy family together.

http://www.loose-id.com/Reckless-Heart.aspx

Amazon Kindle: Reckless Heart

Series:
1-2) Reckless Seduction & Reckless Behavior: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/596170.html
3) Reckless Passion: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/915600.html
4) Reckless Heart

Reading List:

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


Cover Art by Anne Cain