2011 Top Reads.

Books and reading have been a godsend this year, and while I’ve probably read less GLBT romance this year, I’ve picked up a few more urban fantasy and paranormal novels.

I did get a LOT of books I just couldn’t finish, and it wasn’t just bad editing. It just seemed as though these books needed more polishing and depth. Nothing worse than a book you cannot get into, rubbish storytelling and a novel that feels underdone.

But, there were loads that were just brilliant and below are my top reads for the year.

Marine Biology by Gail Carriger was a cute, short read about a werewolf and merman. Her Parasol Protectorate series is amazing and her first foray into gay, paranormal writing makes me hope she writes more in this genre. Get it at Smashwords for .99c.

Harper Fox has been a little hit and miss for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Salisbury Key. It was just a little different and the writing was pretty gripping. $6.50 at Samhain.

Room at the Top by Jane Davitt and Alexa Snow was a smutty piece of goodness that I thoroughly enjoyed at the end of winter. Plenty of sexy, spanky threesome goodness and I am a huge fan of work that these two produce. $7.99 at Loose Id.

I liked Basic Training by Marquesate quite a lot. There were parts I felt that needed to be a little tighter and near the end there was a couple of cheesy bits. But, it was cool, sexy and I love the almost military procedural tone of the text. Very entertaining. $7.99 from MLR Press.

I always enjoy James Buchanan’s writing, and it was brilliant to read another Deputy Joe novel this year. Spin Out was great. Sexy, hot and emotional reading. $8.99 from MLR Press.

Hot Head by Damon Suede was super entertaining and while I thought it needed some tightening up editing wise, it was a cool read that I’ve re read twice now. Maybe it was the fireman sex? heh. $5.59 at Dreamspinner Press.

The Locker Room by Amy Lane had some uber angst going on, more than I usually enjoy! But I have a total jones for sport romance and this was a delight to read. $6.99 at Dreamspinner Press.

Bad Company by KA Mitchell, was kinda gay for you and kinda not. Hard to explain… I love this authors writing. Solid story telling that’s emotional and packs a punch. I have all her books in paper back, one of the few! She is made of awesome. $4.50 at Samhain.

My absolute favorite book from this year and 5 plus star read has to be Bad Boyfriend by KA Mitchell. I just finished this fab book and it was just magic. Not only was the storytelling brilliant, but it’s probably one of the hottest books that I’ve read in an age. Eli’s mouth alone is a reason for reading this! Highly recommended! $3.15 at Samhain.

Feel free to mention your top reads in the comments section!

Eli and his mouth???? Nom.

Personal Demoms by James Buchanan

Hunting a notorious hit man, FBI Agent Chase Nozick and LAPD Det. Enrique Rios Ocha delve into the inner worlds of Santeria, Voodoo and Palo Mayumbe. A missing informant, her murdered brother and a ghost from Chase’s past send them on a hunt through mystics and psychic surgeons to find their witness before it’s too late. Can he rely on leads from a child possessed by Orishas? Do cards hold stronger clues than blood? Chase must conquer his own personal demons to bring the killer of his partner to justice and find the strength to take a chance on Enrique.
From MLR Press

James Buchanan’s vivid picture of LA has heat and dust seeping through the pages. The knowledge of police procedure and law is incredibly apparent and gives Personal Demons a rich and complex setting. Paranormal elements and voodoo, Santeria and Palo Mayumbe provided an added hook and made for kinda spooky reading.

Aside from solid world building what made this such a great read were the characters. Enrique was just so beautiful, inside and out. Charming, clever and his core of strength became more apparent the more I read. But, I was totally wrapped up in Chase’s journey and growth as he navigated his way through the thorny issues of being out as a gay man in his workplace and falling in love with his partner. His struggle with alcohol and maintaining an intimate relationship made for gripping reading.

Sex between the two protagonists was incredibly hot and luscious. James Buchanan writes sex that is realistic, erotic and definitely not cookie cutter romance novel fare.  It is something I particularly like about James’ style of writing and keeps me coming back for more.

This was such a beautiful read, definitely harder on the emotions than perhaps Inland Empire or Cheating Chance, but a great book to get totally wrapped up in and enjoy. Check it out here at ARe and Fictionwise.

Weekend stuff, DIK and nude.

This week over at the DIK Blog there has been a vertible feast of authors; all doing wonderful interviews, sharing stuff including their top ten lists and blokes in leather chaps. This has been courtesy of Lisabea and the DIK!

Saturday – Interview from intrepid reporters Teddypig and LisaBea with reclusive and mysterious author Josh Lanyon.
Monday – the delightful author Ally Blue! Radiohead, mens and Lovecraft.
Tuesday – fab artist and author of my favorite boy band novels, Jet Mykles.
Wednesday – Laura Baumbach, author and cool kid who runs the amazing MLR Press.
Thursday –
James Buchanan, Harley rider, goth, author and Colton fan. ;p
Friday – J.L. Langley who writes the most smokin books. She is also an aspiring photographer (see chaps above) and Condom Animal Artist. She did a signing at A Different Light earlier this week. Lucky, lucky! Certain relatives who did not have time to stop there on their recent trip are still off the Christmas card list!

Also, a new t-shirt. It is pink and cool. You can get your own here at Threadless. Exterface has a new set of pictures called the Cosmo Show. Hot. But not for those who cannot cope with jockstraps. Here is a link to the best bits of No Heroics – new ITV show, laugh your ass off funny.

Finally, at Ismale’s blog, nude. He is wicked cool. Find the translate button, top right, and read! And, are you nude?

Weekend smexin in the rain.

I have descended into utter slothfulness and still have jammies on. In fact I may leave them on all day.

I came across a really interesting article about stereotyping at The Macaronis, by author Charlie Cochrane who writes for Linden Bay Romance. I especially liked the John Barrowman quote. An article here about John and I so think he is hot. The Macaronis blog is engaging, thought provoking and well worth a nosey. 

See Ming Lee - Flickr
See Ming Lee - Flickr

Kissing in public is still a problem for some it would seem?? Check it out here at Gay Times UK, and they have the noicest wallpaper

I loved the latest Englor Affair excerpt. Freaking hot and JL Langley is such a tease leaving us at the words …sit up… so damm hot! Leave me hanging, much! Merow. 

Funny for the day?? Imagining how James Buchanan explained the ring in the roof? heh.

I cannot wait for the new Hellboy movie to come out. You can check out the coolest trailers here. Seems Chuck and Hellboy also have a thing for lunch boxes… just like certain other devotees??? 

Cheating Chance by James Buchanan.

Nick O’Malley is an agent for the Nevada Gaming Commission. He’s also a Goth with a hearse he’s restoring, and an ex lover he’s only just getting over. Brandon Carr is a cop with the Riverside PD. Lucky for him, he’s in Vice where his tattoos and biker boy looks serve him well.

The two meet at a Goth convention in San Diego and the sparks fly immediately. So much so that a weekend fling turns into more and Brandon spends his four day weekend visiting Nick. 

Things aren’t all sparks and roses though: the two do live a nine hour drive apart, and Brandon’s not out. Add to that a murder right in front of them, a company trying to cheat the system and the Mexican Mafia, and Brandon and Nick’s relationship will need to overcome a whole slew of obstacles in order to work.

Despite everything, can Brandon and Nick make a go of it? Taken a chance on these two and find out.

Having just finished, and throughly enjoyed, The Good Thief I really wanted to read something else by this author. I was intrigued by what he had said about one of his heroes at Nose in a Book on Man Love Monday. He felt that Brandon was a bad boy hero and as I had a penchant for boys of the bad variety I had to grab it.

Brandon is a gay cop and closeted. He works in a place where people rely on each other, often in life and death situations. To come out as a gay man is not on his to do list. He just does not feel there would be the same level of respect and support or “brotherhood” if he did and that he would be treated differently. This is a huge source of conflict for our two heroes with no easy answer in sight. He has a bike, drool, tats and is such a bad ass. 

Nick is gorgeous. Long black hair and occasionally prone to long frock coats and sinfully tight pants. Meroow! After breaking up with his shite of an ex he has a hot encounter with Brandon while at a conference. Nick is comfortable with his sexuality and out but his ex has left him with a few issues with his self esteem. He is so strong in other ways but when it comes to Brandon he is more vulnerable because of the strong attraction and feelings he has for him. They continue their relationship long distance with Brandon’s visits meeting with varying success and a murder. Dealing with Brandon being in the closest is especially hard for James who just wants to be with him. Their careers are a big part of the story and the tightness of detail of gaming and law is good without always being too overpowering. 

The sex is incredibly hot and is a strength of Buchanan’s books. I have not read such good back of the car smexin in…well, ever. The scene was hot, and urgent and there was need that kind of leapt off the page. This is not to say that it was at all emotionless or porny it was about trust and attraction and just so srsly hawt! I also enjoyed the use of other errr…customs??!! which I’ve not really come across before, being so sheltered and all! heh. But it really was good …and it was hot…and James gives such good read! 

Get this goodness here.

Finding that perfect book.

A blog entry over at Nose in a book by lisabea about grading books has got me thinking. How do I choose an ebook? What makes me pick one book over another and does the cover, excerpt or blurb play a role in my choice? Made me think about the process I go through, especially when it comes to trying new authors.

So back to where I started… (imagine flashback scene music)

I read my first book with gay characters years ago in the early 90’s. It is a dark, gothic horror called Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. It’s beautiful, and in the midst of my then huge Anne Rice glom a welcome change. I went on to read her short story book Swamp Foetus and another one edited by her called Love in Vein. By far my favorite book by her is Drawing Blood. When I read her comments on this book about it being a very “druggy book” and how the “bong was never far from her desk” I cracked up. heh. It is lush, scary, angsty, dark and sexy and even though she has moved away from writing the smex in her books, she is an excellent read and incredibly talented. (OK, so I like sex in my books!!!) She is also responsible for us drinking a lot of Chartreuse during this time! I can still feel the burn… The two leads in this book, Trevor and Zachary, are among some of my favorite characters. Check out this link to the last chapter of the book here, er…not particularly wk sf.

I spent a lot of time re watching Maurice written by E.M. Forster and directed by James Ivory. I had this great anthology called His edited by Robert Drake and Terry Wolverton. It was lovely and sexy but had some really depressing elements and I really like my m/m with plenty of candy coated goodness. There is quite enough crap to have to deal with in life without having to pour over it in a book. My GLTB collection was quite wee.

I have pretty much stuck to het romance since then as there was just no m/m romance to be found where I live. Honestly, our book shops blow much. I also think that there is a bit of a difference in what I consider m/m romance and gay fiction which I often got out of the local library. Josh Lanyon discusses the differences here, which is very interesting. Although, I am not sure I totally agree with the sex for sex sakes comment. In a recent Emma Holly book, All u can eat, there is a scene, with the heroine and the hunk of spunk kitchen aproned bloke, that is incredibly hot and so not about romance. To me it was more about fulfilling a need. I guess you could call it promiscuous but I did not connect with the character any less because of this. The aproned kitchen guy was not the hero and I did not consider the encounter at all romantic, it was more about people connecting physically. But, I like this more human touch to a book it made it more real and I was really ok with it. Might be an interesting discussion to have! 

With the advent of the internets at our house and online shopping I discovered ebooks and online bookstores that order lovely smexy goodness in from overseas. The credit card has not been the same since. I first read Crash Course by Juliet Hastings which had a menage scene. I then read Emma Holly’s book Menage which had a m/m partnership in it and from there started trawling Amazon for similar reads. I saw  Hard Candy advertised somewhere and managed to get it in pb form. It was bloody marvelous and I got a serious jones for Morgan Hawke’s books from this first short story of hers. She is a good writer and I just adore her Interstellar Service & Discipline series, which you can check out here. They are totally hot and it all kind of opened up from there. I got into buying some loose id books, and found JL Langley, which was one of the first strictly m/m romances I read in ebook form and she is absolutely one of my favorites. 

I found some sites that had reviews and now I always check them out before I buy anything as I have brought a few lemons. I am such a tightwad and books are incredibly expensive to get in. If it costs 10 in the US you need to add on another 3$ for exchange rate then then postage which is exorbitant. So, I usually check out librarything.com. I have a few libraries on my favorites page that I have found to have similar tastes to mine own and they often have new authors I have not tried. Also, ebooks are generally cheaper! I regularly read The Naughty Bits, not only to find good books but because teddypig cracks me up with that occasional acerbic wit. I am so missing the pig at the moment! Lisabea at Nose in a book is a daily stop. She not only has reviews but new authors on there I may not have read before, like James Buchanan, my current squee. There are a couple of other sites I have found that have similar tastes to moi and also have graded books how I would have, so I often trawl through them. When I read an review online, I look less at a review grade and more at what the reviewer has said about the book and the feel I get from their words. You can tell if its hit a nerve by the tone of the review and any gushing or tellingly absent gushing.

I am not at all that keen on readying excerpts unless I have actually read an authors work already. I am more inclined to pick a book up due to a review, book cover (shallow I know) or the synopsis will appeal to me. They only time I really get into reading an excerpt is usually for a favorite authors new book. My latest fav is The Englor Affair excerpt by J.L. Langley. I find reading an except cold without having read other work a bit meh. I have no knowledge of the authors voice and no feeling of connection, god that sounds overwrought and emotional!! but it is true. When I like an author I am just that much more inclined to pick up another one of their books if I’ve enjoyed the 1st one.

I feel kinda lucky to have discovered some wonderful authors in the past year or so that feed my reading addiction so well. J.L. Langley, Josh Lanyon, Jet Mykles, Morgan Hawke, Emma Holly, James Buchanan and a whole load more.  I am so impatient though, they can never write fast enough, so am always on the look out for the next glom!

DIK is over.

Am missing my daily race home to check out who picked who in teh DIK and if I managed to get my bloke. I did do quite well however…



Clay, from Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. One seriously uber, alpha werewolf!




Nathaniel from the Anita Blake Vampire series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Everyone needs entertainment right???



Barinthus, from the Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton. Who else wouldn’t want a bloke with all that blue hair????



 Beautiful Lucas from Purgatory by the delightful Jet Mykles.




 The mysterious and elusive Jericho Barrons from the excellent Fever series bu Karen Marie Moning.



My favorite manga couple from Haru wo Daiteita. Maybe I could just take them both??? Katou and Iwaki.



And finally, and lusciously, Taylor MacAllister from Dangerous Ground by Josh Lanyon. Still having hot pool flash backs!

So, missing the DIK, but reading loads. Finished James Buchanan’s  The Good Thief the other day. Picked it up after seeing him post about hero types at lisabea’s on Man Love Monday. Excellent reading! Will post a review over the weekend hopefully! I also flew through Soul Mates by Jourdan Lane after seeing  review at Jen’s site. As I am such a reading machine at the moment, I also did Tory Temple’s Heat, more hottie fire blokes. Did read a few others but cannot think of titles off the top of my head. Love to know what everyone else is reading at the moment??? For me, Walking Wounded by Lee Rowan.

Seeing and reading.

I finally picked up my new glasses last night and I can actually see again. I am such a slack ass and had not been to sort it for 4 years. Terrible I know! I think I made my younger brother just a little nervous a few weeks ago driving home from a show in the rain, hunched over the dash and squinting into the night. His knuckels were just a tad white, heh. My beloved likes my new glasses and reckons they’re a bit like David Tennant’s glasses on  Dr Who. I think this is a compliment?? He does so lurve the Dr. Sexy geek chic!  

This week I have picked up a few anthologies. Scared Stiff with Laura Baumbach, William Maltese, Josh Lanyon and Sarah Black. I have not read the Maltese as yet but I really liked the other three. I thought Rhys and Sam from Josh Lanyon’s book were a delight and I have a real soft spot for Sam. Sarah Black’s story was lovely. A story about another chance at love and historical ghosty badness. Laura Baumbach does a hot tale in Soul Desire. Despite not having read one of the stories as yet (or I would never get any sleep) this was a fab read and well worth picking up.

The 2nd one I picked up was Arresting Developments by Josh Lanyon, James Buchanan and L. Picaro. Josh has Tim and Luke looking into an freaky old memory from when Tim was younger. Luke is a cop and his spidey senses start tingling at Tim’s spooky story retold during a dinner party.  It is so worth reading for Tim coping (or not coping) with camping and thinking he is lost, heh. I identified lets just say. In  James Buchanan’s tale Rick has just left his prick of an ex and is working the border in New Mexico. Augi, is the brother of his best friend from High School and is participating in some rather questionable activities when they run into each other. I loved the attraction Rick felt for Augi and there was this hint of forbidden as he was his best buds younger brother. Super hawt tension! I am looking forward to reading some more of this authors work. The last story I was not as keen on. I understand the constraints of a short story but for me it lacked tension, which is a must for me as a reader. I reckon Marc would have been interesting if he had held out or been more standoffish and hesitant. I dunno, it was just one that did not speak to me personally as a reader.

All in all a good week so far for reading…and seeing! If you have not already, you should check out the totally cool post Lisabea and  James Buchanan did on hero types. It is an excellent piece. Not sure which one is my fav, although I do love the accidental beta hero and the redemptive is so cool. I lurve the character of Zsadist!!!! Maybe the broken hero, I do so pine for some Jake goodness or is that badness?? Happy reading.