Have been reading much in the last few days, weeks, months… but I think I might loose the will to live if I write a multitude of squillion word reviews. (so lazy!) So, in the interest of maintaining my aliveness I’ll keep it brief!

6772564Tabloid Star by T.A. Chase was a pretty good read. I am quite sure the authors description of Josh was not meant to conjure up visions of Samuel Colt, but it did for me. heh. So, with visions of my current crush Samuel in my head I read on with much glee and sweaty palms. While some parts of the book felt less well scripted than others and there was much angst and drama, I did enjoy this for the most part. All that muscled, man chest goodness is good. Get it here.

6782412Warriors Cross by by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux was a cool read, but I did have a few issues with the depth of the world building. At times it felt kinda two dimensional, which was a little frustrating. The character development however, was nicely done and is what kept me reading despite that lack of richness in the surrounding detail. Nice tension was built and it was a very satisfying read. I think these two writers work incredibly well together, their styles mesh beautifully. Get it here at ARe.

angelface1detail1Angelface by Benoît Prévot is one of the most beautiful comics I’ve read this year. The artwork is breathtaking and the attention to historical detail is magic . Gush much? The narrative was tight, clever and I so want more. English sometimes seems like such a coarse language and I would like to see it in French if I can get hold of it. Yes, I am aware I do not speak French. It’s a weird thing I have. I also want to save all my pocket money and buy original art for my bedroom. Think I’d have to eat carrots for a year to afford that! You can pick it up here at Class Comics and if you want a closer look, then go to the mini site. No it is not work safe and yes there is cock and it’s pretty!

mr bensonMr Benson by John Preston was possibly one of the most challenging books I’ve read in a while, but the depth of feeling, trust and sense of belonging was so worth the ride. I have to agree with a comment made to me about the latter parts of the book, which did end up a little bit like something out of Five Go Mad in Dorset. However, by the time I’d actually reached this point in the book I did not really give a rats as I was up at some ungodly hour reading it. I just wanted to see what happened. I think the final chapter was what really set me on my ear. Mr Benson is not BDSM lite, it is the full banana and then some. One of my top reads of the year. If you want to see an decent, in depth review, check out this one.

deadly victor banisThe Deadly series by Victor J. Banis has kept me well entertained in the last month or so. I’ve picked up all 4 books in the series now and I just plain old like Stanley. He’s just such a jerk sometimes and I like watching the development of his character. At times the narrative stalled a little, but  not to the point where I lost my way and ferreted off onto the internet. It felt very human and the last part of the 3rd book is a bit of a tear jerker, so be warned. 🙂 Check out the series here via ARe.

Author Interview – Madeleine Urban.

cr-ljOne of my favorite books this year has been the gorgeous Caught Running by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. It is sensuous, romantic and a serious page turner. They publish with Dreamspinner Press which has some great talents like Rhianne Aile, Eric Arvin and Ariel Tachna. Madeleine kindly agreed to answer a few questions about writing and what makes a good book …

Me: Would you like to share a few things about yourselves? Favorite TV show, season, sport…

Madeleine: I’m a Gemini, and I act like it, a lot of times being of two minds about a subject. I don’t watch much TV at all. Sports is most likely on the TV as I work/play on the computer. The only show I’ve made a serious effort to watch the past few years is Top Chef, a reality TV show. I like almost every kind of music except harsh rap and old country, although I certainly favor alternative rock and new age. If I had to choose a favorite sport, it would be baseball, although American football runs a close second. I’m a sucker for an accent.

cr-webMe: How did you get into writing m/m fiction?

Madeleine: I read a lot of it and so much of it was, in my opinion, low quality that I figured I had to be able to do better. I was wrong, at first, but I’ve certainly improved over the years.

Me: One of my favorite reads this year has been Caught Running. I have re read it several times! Where did the inspiration come from for this?

Madeleine: We were trying to think of an idea. Abigail was facing the beginning of softball season, she was coaching at a nearby school. I was considering applying for a teaching job the next fall. She knew a lot about sports and had been an athlete; I knew a lot about teaching and being a geek. 🙂 It turned out to be easy once we got started.

love-aheadMe: I have enjoyed each of your books you have written together. How did you end up writing as a team and hows does it work?

Madeleine: Abigail posted on her blog one day that her muses had abandoned her. I had always admired her writing, so I threw out there that we try writing something just to see what happened. Obviously, we clicked. I think the reason it works is because although we’re very different in our styles and thoughts, our writing meshes and we both bring important qualities to the writing that alone, for me at least, are more difficult to replicate.

Me: I was really interested in what you said about reading low quality stories Madeleine. What do you both think makes a good book?

1) Solid characterization. The characters need to be alive, so that you can “see” them, “hear” their voices in your head, “feel” what they are feeling.
2) Strong writing, technically – meaning spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, word choice, editing, etc.
3) Twists and hooks. Something, anything, it could be simple, to get your attention and keep it – even when the story is done.
4) Depth of description. I’m all about description. To me, the setting is a character in itself, and if I have a clear image of it in my head, it makes everything else come alive, too.

ffh-booksinprintMe: When you’re writing, what are you hoping to accomplish? Personal satisfaction, happy readers, originality? I know you’ve said on your blog about how most things have been done before, so how do you make things fresh and unique?

Madeleine: Most of all, I want readers to be entertained. That includes me. If I can go back and reread something I’ve written and get sucked into it, I think it’s pretty damn good writing. That’s what I want to achieve.

I mentioned depth of description above. I think that’s something I do really well. If the reader feels like she is sucked “into” the story, it’s because she can see, hear, smell, and feel the world around her, and she wants to be a part of it. That’s something I spend a lot of time on. I also try to make sure my characters are well-developed, including back story, emotional troubles, likes and dislikes, etc. – even if the reader never reads about them. But I think that depth still shines through. That makes a difference – it’s in the details.

Me: I read your bio on authors den and saw you’re an Eddings fan. What do you enjoy reading in sci fi, fantasy, romance and do you have a few favourite m/m books?

dbd-md-rgbMadeleine: My bookshelves are filled, but there are some authors I’ll pick up everything they write: David Weber – his Honor Harrington series is a wonderful ride with a strong female lead; Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series (Hey, vampires, werewolves, magic, and sex in about any combination possible. How can you pass that up?); Janet Evanovich’s By the Numbers series has a great romantic thread in it; Anne McCaffrey’s books. As for m/m, I must admit, embarrassingly, that I’ve read very little published material besides Dreamspinner’s books. (I’ve read millions of words of m/m fan fic, though.) Of those, I would say my favorites are “Take My Picture” by Giselle Ellis (in “Size Still Matters”), the Partnership in Blood series by Ariel Tachna, and “To Love a Cowboy” by Rhianne Aile.

Me: What have you got coming out soon we can look forward to?

Madeleine: Nothing really set in stone, but I’ll tell you Abigail and I have a really good start on a couple different novels. (YAY!!)

sm-mrr-rgbMe: Finally, what do you listen to when you’re writing?

Madeleine: I almost always create playlists for my iPod that evoke the feel/location/emotion of the story I’m working on. Music is a huge part of writing for me, and it can really keep me going.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions, you really are a sweetie!

Madeleine has a great blog that you can check out and her books can be found at Dreamspinner Press.

Caught Running by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban.

Ten years after graduation, Jake “the jock” Campbell and Brandon “the nerd” Bartlett are teaching at their old high school and still living in separate worlds. When Brandon is thrown into a coaching job on Jake’s baseball team, they find themselves learning more about each other than they’d ever expected. High school is all about image – even for the teachers. Brandon and Jake have to get past their preconceived notions to find the friendship needed to work together. And somewhere along the way, they discover that perceptions can always change for the better.

I am a sucker for men who wear tight pants and sport stories and this book had them in spades. I had been trolling through Isan’s library, a reader or great discernment, and saw it was given a 5 star rating.

When I initially started reading Caught Running I had a few problems with shifting point of view and had to keep going back and re reading to see who’s head I was in. Anywho, after a chapter or so this gorgeous book smoothes out and slowly builds the tension between theses two men. One thing that I love in any book is an authors ability to provide anticipation. I read here, that Josh Lanyon has a less is more theory when doing sex scenes and in this book it works. An accidental touch, gaze under lashes, that feeling in their stomach, and heart in throat stuff that makes you stay up reading way past your sleep time. This was so hot that by the time the characters did get round to the smexy stuff I was on the edge of my seat and it was nearly 2 in the morning.

Jake is very much an alpha male kind of guy. He was a sports star in his day but due to injury is now teaching at his old school. While he is gay he does not advertise and this moves the plot in part. Brandon is softer but I did not feel he fit in a classic beta role. He is intelligent, reserved and occasionally unsure of himself. Both seem lonely and they fit together so well, and the emotional journey is rich.

Their world building was good and they had secondary characters that you cared about, especially Troy. I hope he gets a book! Please??!! One thing I’m a little unsure of were the female characters and their interactions with the main characters, one was a little two dimensional, manipulative semi bad guy character. The other seemed nice but a bit of a wet blanket. It made me think more than anything and did not detract from the book.

This is such a fab book and well worth a read. I really hope that Roux and Urban write together again, as they totally rock and their secondary characters could definitely have a story….like, ummm, Troy????!!!

You can get this rich, smexy goodness here and here. PS Did you know how hard it is to find some hottie pics in baseball pants? AND sometimes it is not a wise or noice idea to take off the moderate safe search on google image, eak!

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