Join authors Gus Li and Tushmore on their virtual boozy blog crawl as they chat about new releases ‘Wine and Roses’ (Gus Li) and ‘Love on the Rocks’ (Tushmore) both available from Dreamspinner Press this August.
Both authors will answer some quick questions about their romance stories, as well as recommend wines and cocktails of the day 🙂
Please read on for excerpts from both new releases, and be sure to leave a comment on ANY of the Tipsy Blog Tour posts to automatically be entered into the grand prize draw! Your chance to win ebook copies of ‘Wine and Roses’, ‘Love on the Rocks’, plus a whole host of other goodies including signed artwork, wine stoppers, and more!
Hey guys, today you will see various posts from Authors that we hounded… er asked what they would be doing for Christmas and many of them have sent us wonderful posts with pictures so we can share their holiday’s with you.
My first author is Mary Calmes, I adore Mary’s stories like Where You Lead and with how she creates great stories I just had to find out how she celebrated Christmas.
Christmas at the Calmes house begins with tree decorating and we watch the movie Elf while we’re doing it along with eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate. Even in Hawaii we did the same thing. There are store bought ornaments and handmade ones as well. We hang the kids’ stockings and two years ago, we got a cat, so Dewey’s goes up too. The last decoration we put up is the angel and she always goes in the kitchen. We open gifts Christmas day, not Christmas Eve, and since we moved to Kentucky, we drive out to the country to spend the day on the family farm. The very best part of the holiday is being together.
My next author is Sjd Peterson, and after chasing her all over cyberspace I finally pinned her down to share her Christmas plans. Oh I nearly forgot that she once did a Christmas story, Leon it’s a cute read that’s all warm and snuggerly.
Well, I’m not big on decorating. I used to be but I’ve gotten lazy so the tree is all you get. But hey, it’s a perty… “Oh shiny” tree. (It’s so totally me)
I’ll be spending time with friends and family on Christmas and taking all the positive vibes and magic of the holiday season and sending them to Tj, Eric and their families. If anyone deserves a Christmas miracle it’s them. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Merry Christmas Hugs
And now we have R.J. Scott, who within minutes of being asked had everything back to me with a picture collage, but then she always seems prepared with her excellent Christmas stories like Texas Christmas.
When Pixie asked me to write and tell you about the Scott family Christmas I immediately went to my stock of family photos. I love Christmas, I love the friends, the food, I love writing about Christmas, watching Christmas films, giving presents… you name it and I sign up to it!
This Christmas day is at mum’s house where wine will be consumed and presents opened alongside a huge Christmas dinner. We’ll play games, Matt’s favourite is Sorry, followed closely by Uno and Sevens. We’ll build lego, and probably Mr RJ and my sister’s hubby will have a sleep – that is if Mum’s dog will let them! We always have big plans for what we call *tea* which is at around 7pm… but end up being way to full to manage even a small slice of cucumber.
We don’t really have snow at Christmas (despite what the films tell you!) but every so often we do get the white stuff. Apparently this year it will be overcast and raining… 🙁
All my presents are wrapped and ready, I just need to get Jesse’s Christmas out and available then I can relax!
Happy Christmas to everyone!
Picture 1 – Baby’s first Christmas… and yes that is me… bald as a coot and three months old, with my first two teddy bears. I think those bears are the only things holding me up, bit like after I have had a few too many wines.
Picture 2 – Baby’s first Christmas, take 2 – this time I am the one in the rather fetching blue dress, with my mum and dad, circa 1972, holding my little sister (and yes she WAS born with that much hair, unlike me). This was a very special Christmas as we were a family of four.
Picture 3 – An old Christmas Decoration – This is a decoration that we have just put on my Mum’s tree. So many memories of putting this same decoration up every year.
Picture 4 – The Scott Christmas Tree with added arty effects. We put this up at the weekend and I love turning the lights out and sitting watching TV with just the Christmas lights on. Beautiful.
Picture 5 – Don’t ask. When I was 12 I was in the wonderful Panto Cinderella at my school. Yes I played the ugly sister and it was a big (and funny) part, and yes I absolutely needed padding and so much makeup on to make me look hideous…
Picture 6 – Cinderella again. This is a set of Christmas lights that hang in my mum’s house and have done every Christmas since I was little. The set is Cinderella’s carriage interspersed with tiny lanterns. Very pretty and so old now.
Stephani Hecht, sent along her little post about her family Christmas and only technical difficulties have postponed their Christmas snapshots. I suppose to make myself feel better I should read Wayne County Holiday’s and Hot Cocoa and Candy Canes!
Family Traditions-Stephani Hecht
Our family traditions are pretty simple. We like to decorate our tree as soon as possible, usually on Thanksgiving Day. Yeah, we love the Holidays that much. The thing we look forward to the most is the day where they have the Christmas Story marathon. We usually watch it all day long. Sigh We never get tired of that movie. Even though Cody is twenty and Joie is twelve, we all still get stockings. We even make up little ones for the birds and our lizard, so nobody gets left out.
We don’t leave cookies and milk out for Santa anymore, which is kind of a bummer. I miss doing that. The one silver lining in that, is that we passed down our nice plate and glass down to Jackie’s kids. So, it almost feels like the tradition has carried on.
As usual this year, I went overboard on presents. But, to me, the fun part is giving, rather than receiving. I love to see people’s faces when they open a gift that I got for them. To me that’s what the Holidays are all about—bringing joy to others.
Amber Kell, Well if I had RJ then I had to have Amber Kell as well, well they did come up with the wonderful The Case of the Sinful Santa and Amber went even further with her free Christmas short stories Christmas Tree Magic & Santa Wishes! So I had no choice to invite the Queen of Novella’s to tell us her Christmas plans.
When MM good book reviews asked me to write a post I had to take a moment and ponder if I truly wanted everyone to know how strange I truly am. Then I realized most of my fans probably already do so they probably won’t be the least bit surprised at my revelations.
I was asked what sort of Christmas traditions my family follows. Growing up we didn’t really have any. My family isn’t religious and most of the time was spent putting up the fake tree and juggling time between my mom or dad’s house. As an adult I decided to start my own traditions.
1) We always have a real tree. We go to a tree farm and find the perfect tree. Then my husband tells me it won’t fit in our house. Next, we scale down expectations and find a tree that will at least scrape the ceiling. Once tree is home we drown it in lights and ornaments until it can barely stand beneath the weight.
2) We go to Archee McPhee’s and purchase a mystery bag. This will be opened on Christmas Eve to keep the children’s little heads from exploding from Christmas expectations. It contains the normal stuff: poseable Einstein dolls, zombies and the occasional bacon flavored candy…you know the usual holiday cheer.
3) We get a Lego advent calendar so my eight-year-old Lego fanatic can put them together every day. Older son had one last year but he didn’t want one this time because they didn’t have a Santa Darth Maul. He has a chocolate one instead.
4) Hubby and I send the kids to bed early, drink eggnog and put presents under the tree while we watch our holiday movie The Ref. I always wrap and assemble everything as soon as it is purchased and stash it away. I hate wrapping anything on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is the time for coffee and movies with hubby with a side of Santa.
Along the way we do have things like the usual sugar cookie making. One year I couldn’t find my Christmas cookie cutters so I made Christmas octopuses, once baked they looked like Cthulhu. Maybe it was wrong to take them to my husband’s highly religious family but we had fun.
This year my son’s teacher sent a bag of crayons, a star mold and instructions on making custom crayons. End result. Hubby used them to make crayon zombie fingers. Just another holiday tradition at the Kell house. I hope everyone has fun this holiday season following your own traditions. Merry Christmas.
T.M. Smith, was an obvious author to invite, after all she does fulfill my pervie needs 😉 She has no Christmas stories as yet but she rocks with The Library!
Christmas in our house means a time of gathering and recognizing the traditions. There is a long list of things we do every year, and the family have come to expect it. First, we always decorate our tree on Thanksgiving day while listening to Christmas Carols. We have such an eclectic array of ornaments and each and every one holds special meaning as well. Every year each member of the family gets a new ornament and this ornament always reflects that person. Trust me, if you know us you could walk over to this tree and know who each ornament is for! For each of the kiddo’s in the family, including myself, we have a baby’s first Christmas ornament. So there are precious bobbles on this tree that are 42 years young!
Friends and family gather every year the weekend before Xmas for a party and gift exchange. And every year it seems, the group grows by one or two. Some of these people we only see this one day a year, so it is all that much more cherished. The conversations, the visiting, sharing events from the past year, eating lots of good food and drinking LOTS of good wine!
These are all things that my grown children look forward to every year. And my hope is that as they grow older and wiser, that they will continue these traditions in their own homes. Thanks for stopping by today and sharing my Christmas traditions with me! I’d love for you to leave a comment and tell me what Christmas means to you, or one of your families Holiday traditions.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY ** .
Cardeno C. Was cautious to join us, but as I said it’s a holiday so send what you can, so C.C. had celebrated Hanukkah and shared with us their holiday celebration, and I am going to tell you to have a look at In Another Life because it’s a wonderful Hanukkah story.
. Hanukkah came at a fun time this year because the 2nd night was on Thanksgiving. That made for some creative Thanksgivukkah celebrations, like a pumpkin turned into a menorah.
Like with any holiday, there’s food, of course. Potato latkes are traditional this time of year and I tried to get creative with mine. Instead of the usual grated potatoes and onions fried into patties, I used roasted potatoes and all sorts of veggies. It was pretty good, I think, though nothing beats the original. What I’m more proud of were my matzah balls. My father has always made wonderful matzah balls but he was out of town for the holiday this year so I gave it a go. I think they turned out pretty well.
But food and candles aside, Hanukkah is about spending time with family and friends. I was lucky to share candles and dinner and dreidel on the eight night with people I hold near and dear. What is dreidel? Well, it’s a fun game where you spin a top and gamble chocolate coins.
Food, games, and candles with friends and family. That was my holiday this year and it was wonderful.
And now we come to Beau Schemery & Augusta Li, I invited these authors separately but am posting them together because they are such an awesome pair, I adore both these authors books and nearly *squeed* in joy when they said yes!
My name is Beau Schemery and I’ve written the YA novel, The Seventh of London and the Verses of Vrelenden series. Xmas isn’t a real big day in our household which is to say Gus (That’s Augusta Li, fantastic and infamous M/M writer; yep, we’re roommates) and I are normally too busy to go in for all the pomp and circumstance. Our kids are older so they’re not really into the craziness anymore either. We both still work day jobs to supplement our writing so we don’t really get a Christmas break. We really just get a day off.
That said we really use the day to relax and play Xbox games that we will probably buy for each other. We do presents but nothing super elaborate (Note the extra fancy wrapping bags nicked from our place of day jobbery). We also still put up stockings for the kids with mostly Japanese candy inside. My stocking is one of my boots with my Slytherin scarf thrown over it.
Our goal this year was to not leave the house but since we don’t have cable, we’ll be seeking out a relative’s home to watch The Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Time of the Doctor. And we’ll probably sit around weeping like little kids when Matt Smith regenerates.
Oh and wine. Lots of wine. Hope your day off is as relaxing and filled with weird, authory awesomeness as ours will be!
Augusta Li was ever so kind as to create a picture of the stars of the Blessed Epoch series, Yarrow, Duncan and Sasha…. I have died and gone to heaven, aren’t the guys just so sweet! ~Pixie~
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (25th September 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4½ Hearts
Blurb: Sasha was born to, and has always defined himself by, the secret assassins’ Order of the Crimson Scythe. He chose the love of Yarrow L’Estrella and Duncan Purefroy over his duty to his clan, forfeiting his last mission and allowing Prince Garith to live. Now, the order—previously Sasha’s family—has branded him a traitor. He’s marked, and that means the brethren of the Crimson Scythe won’t stop until Sasha is dead.
Garith’s twin kingdoms balance on the brink of war and all three men have reasons to help the King, whether loyalty, duty, or the interests of their own lands. Still, Yarrow and Duncan are willing to seek out and destroy the assassins’ order to keep Sasha safe. But Sasha isn’t sure that’s what he wants. None want to admit their energy would be better spent helping Garith keep the kingdom united, or in his war against foreign invaders. All plans and assumptions shatter when it becomes clear that the real warmonger isn’t a foreigner, but someone who lives in their midst. Their world teeters on the precipice of change, and Sasha, Duncan, and Yarrow can only hope the links they’ve forged will hold if Garith’s kingdom is torn apart.
Review:This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Sasha has always completed his orders from the Order of the Crimson Scythe, but when he choose the love of Yarrow and Duncan and let Prince Garith live he was marked and is now hunted by those he called family. Yarrow and Duncan are determined to put a stop to the Crimson Scythe in any way they can to make them leave Sasha alone but the outcome is not what they expected. As Sasha, Yarrow and Duncan plan against the Crimson Scythe Garith has far more worrying concerns as the Thirteen Goddesses priestess turn against him and foreign invaders make war on his kingdom shores.
Holy crap! This series is really beginning to heat up and throw us curve balls all over the place and making us wonder what on Earth could be coming next. As I write this review, I wonder what I could tell you that wouldn’t ruin the fun of discovery and I have to admit that it is pretty little. If you have been following this epic journey with me then you will know that anything is possible in Yarrow, Duncan and Sasha’s world and if you haven’t then you really need to do yourself a favor and go get the previous books Ash and Echoes and Ice and Embers.
The blurb really does describe this book pretty well but it leaves out a lot of surprises that leave you open-mouthed, and all I can say is I wonder what Augusta Li has in stock for Duncan because Sasha’s was a doozy. While I won’t go into the precise details (read the book) or really even the vague details (read the book) 🙂 I will just cover what is in the blurb. Sasha, Duncan and Yarrow make plans to get the Crimson Scythe to back off, they have Corbin (mage assassin) assisting to locate the leaders but it is much harder to locate them than originally thought. Garith is facing heavy opposition from the priestesses and when war comes to his shore he has to make harsh decisions, he also becomes much closer with his bodyguard Sander on a journey to slay a beast in the hopes of saving his queen and child.
Hmmm what else can I tell you… well, we see Sai (Yarrow’s Emiri friend) who plays a pivotal role in this adventure, we have surprises and shocks, gauntlets being thrown down and stomped on. We see allegiances developing and friendships forged, we have love that is stronger than the will of the gods and we have a burning need for the truth that is festering. There are scenes of epic battle, epic bloodbaths, epic magic, and epic sex. But, with Yarrow, Duncan, and Sasha can you really say you are surprised?
I have to recommend this story if you love high fantasy, epic storylines, fantastic characters, love and loss, hard times and lives lost, glimpses of happiness and hope and an ending that lets you know there is still more to come.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (15th December 2013)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Blurb: Despite their disparate natures, Yarrow, Duncan, and Sasha united against overwhelming odds to save Prince Garith’s life. Now Garith is king and the three friends may be facing their undoing.
Distraught over Yarrow’s departure to find the cure to his magical affliction, Duncan struggles with his new role as Bairn of Windwake, a realm left bankrupt by his predecessor. Many of Duncan’s vassals conspire against him, and Sasha’s unorthodox solutions to Duncan’s problem have earned them the contempt of Garith’s nobles.
When word reaches Duncan and Sasha that Yarrow is in danger, they want nothing more than to rush to his aid. But Duncan’s absence could tip Windwake into the hands of his enemies. In addition, a near-mythic order of assassins wants Sasha dead. Without Yarrow, Duncan and Sasha can’t take the fight to the assassins. They are stuck, entangled in a political world they don’t understand. But finding Yarrow may cause more problems, and with his court divided, King Garith must strike a balance between supporting his friends and assuaging the nobles who want Duncan punished—and Sasha executed.
Review: This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Duncan and Sasha are trying to settle into life at Windwake, but it is a struggle for both of them when many of Duncan’s vassals are against them. Sasha’s assassin ways are frowned upon and Duncan’s refusal to reward the conspiring vassals cause unrest, Duncan and Sasha cross swords when Sasha seeks to protect Duncan. Yarrow has left the men he loves behind to seek a way to final part with the creature within him, but it is far harder than he ever imagined to even finding any clues, but his one slim hope is an old map and journal and with his friend, Sai, by his side he sets off. When Duncan and Sasha learn of Yarrow’s perilous journey, they race to be by his side, but what faces them all when they return home could end up destroying what the ancient being couldn’t.
Whoo *wipes sweat off brow* what can you say about a book that can weave a tale exceptionally well, while leading you in different directions and dangerous adventures… brilliant!! We re-join Duncan, Sasha and Yarrow as they love, argue and despair of the circumstances as they all try to do what is best for them and their country. Each and every character is exactly as we remember them, Duncan is still devoted to what is right, Sasha still loves being an assassin and Yarrow is still a confusing jumble, as they progress in this story each man has his fears about the other two really accepting them and those fears are hard to put away when the politics of the country is determined to interfere.
The adventures that they face are astounding, the danger inherent and their love tested. I would love to say that we get all the answers that we want, but Augusta Li leaves us with more questions, and I can’t wait for the answers. We finally discover who the creature was in its previous life, we discover the truth of the Thirteen Goddesses and Yarrow faces up to his past, but it doesn’t end there as bargains are struck and new discoveries are made. I love this epic adventure and its incredible descriptions, I hate the circumstances that our men fall into, but adore the devotion they show to each other and I really can’t wait to see what happens next to our trio of characters.
I have to recommend this story to those who love high fantasy, bloody battles, escaping port, strange lands, incredible turns, dangerous sea journeys, binding love and an ending that makes you secretly grin in delight.
Blurb: Patrick Harford sees hope as magical and beautiful, too delicate to hold—and everything in his life has proved him right. An unhealthy home leaves him hiding in the shadows as he tries to come to terms with his sexuality.
Patrick finds solace among the performers at the Allegaheny Mountains Renaissance Faire, where he discovers a love of performing and costumes. As he starts to come out of his shell, he meets Yu Elion, an apprentice blacksmith. Yu gives Patrick a glimpse of fairy-tale love.
But just when hope starts to blossom, it withers. Cynical after a past filled with failed relationships, Yu keeps Patrick at a distance. Working two jobs has disastrous consequences. And an obsessed fan takes things a step too far. After seeing all he’s built start to crumble, Patrick doesn’t know if he has what it takes to try again on his own, and Yu might not have the strength to be the one Patrick needs.
Review: Patrick sees hope as something that is beautiful and magical, something he hasn’t had much of in his life but it is something that seems to be just around the corner. Patrick works at the Allegaheny Mountains Renaissance Faire a place where he feels at home; as he starts to discover himself, he meets Yu and begins to have more hope for the future. Yu has never been able to hold on to a relationship when he meets Patrick he has doubts but quickly falls for the younger man, but his insecurities about relationships begin to drive them apart. Patrick realizes quickly that although he has hope he still has to try hard to make it work, as he deals with his sexuality, his place in the world, his father, and a stalker Patrick finds the strength to move forward with his life, but Yu doesn’t know if he has the strength to join him.
This is a wonderful coming out, finding yourself story of a young man who finally begins to embrace his life. Patrick is nineteen he still lives with his father and is quite with no real friends, one day when he is alone at the Renaissance Faire he does something, which he has longed to do and it marks a new direction in his life especially when he is caught. Making new friends has him embracing a new life and has him finally admitting his sexuality, it also has him being more outgoing, and he finally gets a date. Yu is happy working with metal and forging weapons, he keeps himself walled off from people but Patrick manages to creep into his heart, but Yu has always been let down in his relationships and finds it hard to hope that Patrick will really stick around.
I loved this story and the assortment of characters that we find, not only at the Renaissance Faire but on the Drag circuit as well. The way that they all are families and the family that love and support Patrick as he comes out of his shell and finds himself, they are not judgmental and accept all aspects about him. Patrick’s home life is dull and dismal, his father is a drunk, and his mother has moved on with a new family, we get everything about Patrick and you root for him as he forges forward to make a life for himself. Yu is harder to get to know as he is very closed off about his past and you only get bits and pieces about his life, but at one stage, you want to slap some sense into him as he holds back with Patrick.
The entire settings for this book are descriptive and pull you into the world of the Renaissance Faire and the Drag Queen world, making it come alive and imagine you are there. The relationship between Patrick and Yu is awkward at first but moves forward quite well, the sexual side of their relationship takes much longer but fit in with how both men were. Their relationship isn’t smooth flowing though and they have obstacles to overcome. The stalker angle is done well and doesn’t overpower the rest of the story, it comes to the forefront when needed but doesn’t dominate, and although there is just a touch of danger, it is wrapped up nicely.
I recommend this to those that love coming out stories, finding yourself, discovering love for the first time, Drag Queens, Renaissance Faire, forging new families and a wonderful sweet happy ending.
Blurb: In order to survive high school, Cole, Cam, and Bobby came together as friends and lovers to form a coven to practice magic. Then after graduation, Cam and Bobby escaped the small, backward town where they grew up and went on to success, leaving Cole behind.
Ten years later, a series of tragedies brings Cam and Bobby back to Cole, and leads them to a powerful man named Darius Thorn, who wants to hone—and control—their magical skills. But after being apart so long, the trust and devotion they once felt isn’t as strong as it used to be, and they’ll need to reforge their bond and combine their energies to survive.
1st Edition published by Tease Publishing, March 2009
Review: Cole, Cam and Bobby have been best friends for year. Growing up together, they formed their own coven and practiced magic. When they graduated Cam and Bobby left to follow their dreams, leaving Cole behind. Ten years later Cam and Bobby return to their hometown with both their dreams in tatters, returning to Cole. Now they are all in trouble. Getting involved with powerful magic user, Darius has left them with little options left. they have to reforge their bond that has weaken with time if they are to get out of the clutches of Darius.
This is a fantastic magic story that delves into the darker side of magic as three friends battle to get out of the clutches of the charismatic and dangerous magic user. Cole, Cam and Bobby forged bonds when they were young, now years later they have to reforge that bond. But, one of them feels guilt, guilt that the reason they are all together again is their fault. Their relationship is unsteady as doubts linger. But, the only way to truly be rid of Darius, a man who wishes to control them, is to reconnect to what they had in childhood.
This story has some wonderful sexual sensuality, a longing for what once was and a love deep enough to bring a man back from the edge of madness. There’s a fine line between good and bad, and once the reins of control has been lost, madness is sure to follow. And that’s what happens to one of these characters as he seeks to protect those he loves. Darius wants complete control and he uses his powers to try to force Cam, Cole and Bobby into agreeing, once they realize what he really wants from them. Cam, Bobby and Cole go through some dark moments trying to break away from Darius. there’s some not quite welcome sexual scenes, and incredible three-way sex and double penetration, and we see one of them getting deeper and deeper into darkness and madness. This story is really well written, giving us vivid descriptions and has a slick sensuality to its characters, the storyline is great without any quick fix to their solution.
I will recommend this story to those who love sex magic, hot sex, a great storyline, brilliant characters and a very happy ending.
Blurb: Former archivist Reg Whitney, expert thief Querry Knotte, and the clockwork boy known as Frolic are fugitives from Halcyon living on a small island. While Reg is content to lead a safe and settled life, there is trouble in paradise: Querry is bored, and Frolic can’t help but ponder his own existence.
When Querry and Frolic get caught breaking into Baron Starling’s villa, all three men are bamboozled into accompanying the baron on a quest for arcane knowledge. But their jungle destination holds more danger than anyone on the expedition expects.
Reg knows their crew is made up of criminals—the kind who can’t be trusted—which puts a strain on the trio. He’s certain the baron and the mercenary Jean-Andre are hiding something that puts them all in danger. Querry and the baron grow close, leaving Reg and Frolic feeling alienated. Frolic’s friendship with a fey servant just strains the trio’s dynamic further. Even if Reg, Querry, and Frolic survive the quest, their relationship will never be the same.
Review: This story is part of a series and I recommend they are read in order. Reg, Querry and Frolic are settled in a port town in Thalacea, but Querry still needs the excitement of using his skills. Unfortunately, his confidence in his skills leads himself and Frolic into a trap. Reg, Querry and Frolic end up on a journey with Baron Starling which has a mysterious destination and a dangerous path, never knowing just who to trust and the strain it puts on their relationship.
Querry, Querry, Querry *shakes head* oh what a life you lead, your arrogance really dropped you in it this time. Reg is happy with his life after having to flee Halcyon with Querry and Frolic, but he finds that Querry needs the excitement of using his skills and Frolic wants to join in the fun. Now Querry and Frolic are trapped in a magical contract after being caught, and Reg swears to join them on their quest, it is a journey that will test their faith and love and push them to the end of their endurance.
This is an excellent new adventure for our favorite Steampunk characters; Querry, Reg and Frolic are still in love but Querry is restless (his arrogance knows no bounds), Reg is content (a slight stick in the mud) and Frolic is more confused than ever (poor innocent Frolic). If you haven’t read Boots for the Gentleman then I recommend you do, so you can get the full grasp of just what Frolic is and so you will understand the references of what happened to him. In this story we have a fantastic adventure fraught with danger and conflict; we also see Jean-Andre and his sneaky ways again and meet a host of new and interesting characters.
I have to admit to loving this new adventure, the myriad of descriptions which take you into the jungles alongside them, the incredible descriptions of the mechanical wonders and an emotional rollercoaster as we live their fears, worries and dreams is just wonderful. This book is filled with wonders that pull you along, it makes you frustrated at the characters as you recognize their flaws which they are blind to, and it makes you wish you were on the journey with them as they face uncertainty and the unknown, with creatures that will make your skin crawl and allies that are also foes.
I am recommending this to those who love Steampunk and Fantasy; a trio of wonderful, flawed, perfect men; some incredibly hot sex, confusion, danger, and an ending that has you needing more.
Blurb: Young Arjin is caught in the web of an ancient truce. Barely into his adulthood, he is given as tribute to the mysterious Najadira, part of a race of nigh-immortal horned warriors known as the Ansari. But Arjin is no innocent. Since his childhood, he has been trained for this day, groomed by the temple priests for a singular purpose: not to please the Ansari, but to murder him and free his people from the terms of their agreement.
Najadira, though, is old and jaded, and unsurprised by Arjin’s true nature. Still, he chooses to keep Arjin near to him, finding that the young man’s zeal quickens his old blood like few before him ever did. He allows Arjin access into his world, a world of beauty and wonder that had before now been denied. And as Arjin learns more about Najadira, he begins to question his teachings about the Ansari. Ultimately, he must choose between taking a life in the service of his beliefs or abandoning his duty and thereby condemning his soul to the decadence and sin surrounding him.
Review: Arjin is being given as a tribute to one of the Ansari, Najadira, as part of a treaty signed hundreds of years before. Arjin has had all the training that the Clergy of the Faithful thought he’d need… to put an end to the Treaty once and for all, and to destroy the creature of decadence and sin. Najadira knows full well what the Faithful’s plans are, but Arjin intrigues him like none before him has. Najadira begins to wear Arjin down and begins to make him question his faith and all he has been taught. But, can Arjin put aside the years of conditioning and teachings to let Najadira live.
This is a great short story of the views of decadence and sin, right and wrong, questioned beliefs and giving into what you truly desire. Arjin has been brought up to have only one focus; to kill the Ansari who lives in decadence and vice. He has been trained from an early age to be a tool of the Faithful. But, when he is finally within his goal, the Ansari is not what he has been led to believe. Najadira has seen the many tricks that the Faithful have tried and he knows that the beautiful young man sent to him now is another one. But, this man is different; he thinks for himself and questions, but breaking through the conditioning of the Faithful is difficult to do.
I loved this book for its fantasy aspects that allows for people to question what they have been taught without being dragged into the real world conflicts. the way that Arjin had questioned the Faithful even before he arrived at Najadira’s and how Najadira could show just by being himself that not everything that Arjin had been taught was quite true. That looking in a mirror or listening to music isn’t a vice. The way that Arjin likes what happens with Najadira, but feels shame because of the teachings; I also liked how it showed that even the self-righteous would ignore their own teachings to get what they want.
Arjin is an interesting character, trying to be obedient, but struggling with the strictures placed on him, having his own longings, but feeling shame for having them… the dubious consent is more consent than dubious because Najadira truly does give Arjin what he really wants, but because of the shame and his teachings Arjin can’t ask for it and doesn’t want to admit that he wants it. Najadira is a great character, as he is just normal, enjoying what life offers but also still mourning the loss of his people. Arjin offers him a distraction that excites him. Yes, Najadira is very longed lived and has horns and a bit of magic, but really you can’t hold that against him.
I recommend this to those who love fantasy, questioning beliefs, finding your own discovery of the truth, some hot sex, great characters and a new beginning for Najadira and Anjin.
Blurb:Brothers Kei-Go and Ju-Go barely escaped the destruction of their homeland by a savage race of invaders, only to find themselves stranded on an isolated island. Kei wants to stay safe, but Ju craves vengeance. Who will win the argument?
Brothers Kei-Go and Ju-Go barely escaped the destruction of their homeland by a savage race of invaders, only to find themselves stranded on an isolated island. For Kei, the island is a paradise, safe from the horrors of slavery and war. But Ju craves only vengeance and the liberation of their people.
Kei and Ju gradually formulate a plan to free their kinsmen, and while implementing it, they’ll make unlikely allies and cross lines they never thought they would, all for the good of their people.
Will they sacrifice their ideals in the name of vengeance? Are they willing to give up their forbidden love, and any chance of happiness, for the greater good?
CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains incest and scenes of rape or near rape.
Review: Kei and Ju have been stranded on an Island since they escaped from the invaders of their homeland. Kei is happy on the Island, but Ju is burning with revenge for their people. When they have visitors and they learn of the true plight of their people, Kei has no choice but to lose his paradise and his lover to rescue his people. Ju just wants his vengeance and will accept the limited help of his enemy to do it and he will put aside his love to get freedom for his people.
Augusta Li has produced a story that makes you keep reading as you follow the progress of two brothers who lead their people to freedom. Kei and Ju fought against the invaders as their land was destroyed. They were captured and finally escaped, living on a paradise. Island Kei is happy, but Ju can’t stop thinking about his homeland and what happened. And now, finally an opportunity arises that means they can help their people from the enforced slavery and rules of the invaders. But, just what lengths will they have to go to, to liberate their people and is it a price they can pay?
This story is all from Kei’s POV and it is he, who suffers the most for his brother’s need for vengeance. Kei and Ju might be brothers but they are lovers of the heart. They belong together, but their people puts taboos on relationships like theirs. Kei is happy with how things are and would be happier if Ju would bond with him, but Ju holds back. Ju is burning up with his need for revenge and pushes his brother more than he realizes. They have a true love, but it is far from easy for them. I must admit that although I loved the way this was written I would have loved it even more if we could have had a peek into Ju’s head to see how he really felt and thought about things.
This is not an easy review to write because there is more at work than a simple storyline than the liberation of the Elim. It is also about the sacrifices two brothers have to make in the process and not just their own relationship, but with what Kei has to do with forbidden magic. even knowing that if any of his kinsmen ever found out he would be banished even if it was for the good of his race. The only thing that keeps poor Kei going is the belief in his brother’s love and the hope for the future. Now this is a warning, Kei does have a couple of different partners in this, with his brother’s blessing, of course, but all the encounters are beautifully done. There is danger, violence, betrayal, forbidden love, secret allies and unexpected friends that make this book what it is.
I have to recommend this to those who love fantasy, an uprising of a downtrodden race, two determined brothers who want to love each other and an ending that is explosive, violent and gives the Elim a bargaining chance.
Blurb: For the past few years Yarroway L’Estrella has lived in exile, gathering arcane power, but that power came at a price. Now it’s time for him to do his duty: his uncle, the king, needs him to escort Prince Garith to his wedding, a union that will create an alliance between the two strongest countries in the known world. But Yarrow isn’t the prince’s only guard. A whole company of knights is assigned to the duty and Yarrow’s not sure he trusts their leader.
Knight Duncan Purefroy isn’t sure he trusts Yarrow either, but after a bizarre occurrence during their travels, they have no choice but to work together—especially since the incident also reveals a disturbing secret, one that might threaten the entire kingdom. But will it ultimately work in their favor?
When a third member joins the precarious alliance, it seems to cement the bonds between all three men. But the arrangement isn’t perfect: Yarrow knows the power inside him and fears getting too close. The mysterious newcomer was raised to believe love and trust are weaknesses. And Duncan struggles to accept them as they are. Saving their home will take everything they have—including the fragile relationship they’ve built.
Review: Yarrow is called upon to escort his cousin to his wedding. It is something that he would rather not do, but for his aunt he will. It is a journey that brings him into contact with Duncan, a Knight who thinks little of him and Sasha, an assassin who could end up betraying them. It is a journey that brings danger, betrayal, political intrigue and exposes secrets and all three men have to band together to survive and expose the truth.
This is an absolute must read if you love high fantasy. Whoop, so happy! *little dance*. Yarrow is a magic user, the most powerful magic user of the time. But, Yarrow has a secret that makes him dangerous and he can’t trust anyone. So, he travels by himself keeping a distance from those around him… until he meets Duncan and then Sasha. But how can he tell them his secret without losing them both? Duncan is a Knight, he will do his duty and make sure his charges reach their destination, but Yarrow calls to something inside him and then Sasha does as well. But, he hates Sasha for how he conducts his life and now Duncan is confused about his forbidden feelings. Sasha can’t love, it was trained out of him at a young age, but Yarrow causes him to begin to question what he has learnt and Duncan drives him crazy and it ends up making Sasha make a choice that shouldn’t be a choice. After all, he is a cold-blooded assassin.
So, this is high fantasy at its highest and it is beautifully done. The world building is great, the backgrounds of the characters are well done and give us enough information to relate to them and the storyline and plot is wonderful. Although Yarrow is a powerful magic user, none of his magical scenes are overdone and there are even times when you think, he could have used more. But, as you learn, there is a high price he has to pay if he uses the most powerful magic. So, you can understand why he tries to limit what he does. The main storyline is quite simple get the prince to his wedding. But, it is quickly quite apparent that there are plans afoot to derail the wedding and then the betrayals begin and the three men have to band together to ensure the prince lives and to save the kingdom.
There is a lot going on in this book with some interesting twists and turns. There are secrets that come out, political intrigue, betrayal, murders, traps, pursuits, battles, confrontations, lies and love. The relationship between Yarrow, Sasha and Duncan is complex and far from easy. There is plenty of hot sex, but these three men each have their own problems that they have to work through before they can fully accept the others. and Yarrow’s problem is a doozy. You do not want to miss the fighting scenes or the battle scenes because they are brilliant, all the attention to detail was great and I loved it (have I mentioned I’m a bit Blood Thirsty). I loved each of the MCs as they were all completely different, with completely different values and attitudes towards things, so much potential conflict between them.
This is not the book to read if you want a nice light romance. The romance is hard going, but well-earned. The storyline is intertwined with danger and betrayal from all directions, the characters all have problems but aren’t too angsty and the action is great. The ending is one that leaves you wishing that the next book was already published so you can continue the journey.
So, I recommend this to anyone who loves high fantasy, difficult romances, hot sex, difficult journeys, betrayal, secrets, lies, action, battles, some bloody gore and three very intriguing heroes… oh, and an ending that will make you grit your teeth and scream silently for the next book.
Blurb:Sebastian has always wanted to escape the hardship of peasant life. A mysterious aristocrat, Herr Schadenfreud, comes to claim him on his eighteenth birthday, leaving Sebastian frightened and confused. Is his new life a dream come true or punishment for his wicked desires?
All Sebastian Blume has ever wanted is to escape the hardship of peasant life. When a mysterious man, Herr Schadenfreud, comes to claim him on his eighteenth birthday, the young man is frightened and confused. While the exotic and beautiful aristocrat is kind and indulgent toward Sebastian, he also subjects him to long periods of loneliness and isolation while he’s away. Sebastian doesn’t know whether his new life is a dream come true or punishment for his wicked desires.
Review: What can I say about this one? How about brilliant! Sebastian is struggling to farm the land and provide for his mother, brothers and sisters when a strange man comes to the farm; his life is about to change. Shade (Herr Schadenfreud) has come to collect what he is owed by the villagers after they came begging for his help many years before.
I really liked this fairy-tale type story and thought it was well written with a good plot and story-line. Sebastian is scared as his life has changed more than he dreamed. He comes to love Shade, he also resents him. Although he has luxury and comfort he hasn’t any freedom or company except when Shade visits him in the tower where he is kept effectively like a prisoner. Shade just doesn’t have a clue really on what to do for the human and I believe that he thinks that he is doing everything he can to make Sebastian happy. But he won’t let him out of the tower as he fears Sebastian running off as he knows that Sebastian wasn’t really willing at first.
I loved the Rapunzel twist and really liked it when they sorted out their problems. although it did take a push from an unlikely source for them to be truthful to each other. The sex between them is gentle and erotic although Sebastian wants it a bit different. Shade we don’t really get to see as much as we would like, but the times we do see him he makes it plain how he feels for Sebastian. I think that for the length of the story this was really well done and conveyed the feelings of loneliness and loss that Sebastian feels and his desperation by gripping onto the first thing that comes along that offers him a chance to get out of the tower.
So I would recommend this to those who love erotic sex, fantasy and medieval, a bit of magic and a happy ever after. And really it’s fantasy/medieval so what are you waiting for and I said it was good.
Blurb: Hired by a mysterious faerie gentleman to steal seemingly worthless artifacts, Querrilous Knotte is seen as a traitor by the humans of Halcyon. But as long as he’s getting paid, Querry doesn’t mind. When his client makes a cryptic comment about a certain house, Querry contacts his old flame Reg—a former street rat who now works in the Royal Archives—to learn if the property contains anything of value.
Though Reg has no answers for him, Querry learns there is indeed something precious in the house, something Reg is convinced will bring nothing but trouble. The armed guards that attack the thief prove Reg’s prediction true, and he can’t leave Querry to face it all alone. Not when Reg’s feelings for the man may not be as extinct as he’d thought.
The trouble is, Querry’s heart doesn’t just belong to Reg anymore, and surprisingly, Reg’s heart no longer belongs only to Querry. In the end, it may not even matter, because if Querry, Reg, and their hearts’ desire can’t stop Lord Thimbleroy from draining Halcyon’s magic, they won’t live long enough to regret their unresolved romance.
Review: I love these types of books because the imagination and descriptions that go into making this come to life is brilliant. Querrilous Knotte survives by doing odd jobs for other people…oh alright he’s a thief for hire but he does have a kind heart… well kinda. He finds trouble in a derelict house and needs Reg’s help. Reginald Whitney is an ex-street rat who was adopted by a wealthy couple; he is facing up to the duty that they wish of him.
This is a brilliant story that gives you everything you could wish for, Magic, Faeries, an evil Noble, and A Wizard, street rats, a street war, a flying carriage and so much more. There is love, longing and jealousy. This is defiantly a worthwhile read, the story line is strong, the characters are great and the loving is hot.
I have to say I never knew they called this sort of story Steampunk even though I have read quite a few of them. So what would I recommend? Well, if you liked The Night Angel Trilogy or stories similar, then this will be right up your alley. Big thumbs up from me.