Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Brothers in Arms Series by Samantha Kane

Samantha Kane - Brothers in Arms

1. The Courage to Love - Jason, Tony, Kate

Category: Crème Brûlée - My All-Time Moan-Out-Loud Favorites. (A+)
Flame Height: 9" out of 9"
+2006 Passionate Plume Finalist+

2. Love Under Siege - Phillip, Jonathan, Maggie

Category: Crème Brûlée -
My All-Time Moan-Out-Loud Favorites. (A+)
Flame Height: 9" out of 9"

Add Samantha Kane's name to the list of Masters (Mistresses?) of Romantica. Even though I’ve already got ridiculously long TBP/TBR queues, once I read The Courage to Love, I had to immediately go back to EC and buy the rest. These stories are quivering, pant-out-loud, can’t-read-them-in-public erotic!

The basic storyline of these historicals is about a group of men who fought together in the Peninsular War. In pairs, they protected each other and saved each other many times over. They love each other but, for most of them, they never considered how much they needed to also physically love each other and could only fulfill that unspoken need by sharing one woman. Once they find a woman they can both love, it also frees them to explore their love for each other.

Samantha describes the erotic scenes (and these are truly erotic scenes, not just sex) in excruciatingly exquisite, drawn out detail. Not just a description of each physical touch/act, but what each one FELT like physically and LOOKED like from each character’s POV. And, proving her mastery at writing erotic romance, she somehow makes each scene in each book completely different! Let’s face it, there’s only so many Tab A’s and Slot B’s on human bodies, but Samantha manages to make each scene feel completely unique to each triad.

The one flaw for me was that the period appropriate speech (or at least what we in Romancelandia accept as period appropriate) was peppered with contemporary phrases that I found quite jarring. Although, by the second book I was used to them and they no longer made me pause as much.

3. Love's Strategy - Valentine, Kurt, Leah

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 7" out of 9"

Now, I held off reading the third book, Love’s Strategy, for a few days because I think I was getting dehydrated. Seriously. The first two were that absorbing. (pun intended*g*)

In this third one, Kurt and Valentine are already lovers. Yet their desire for children and a home sends them on a search for a woman who will agree to be their wife. If I had not already read the first two books in the series, I would have probably enjoyed this book more than I did. It’s a solid, albeit very short, story. On it’s own, it was damn good. Unfortunately, it just doesn‘t contain the riveting erotic scenes that the first two books did.

According to her website, Samantha is currently writing a fourth book- Ian and Derek‘s story. But, in that one, Derek is NOT happy about bringing a woman into their relationship. I hope Freddy and Brett’s story is ready to be told after that. Freddy’s a freakin’ DUKE so that should be VERY interesting and I think Brett has an intriguing story too.

Oh, and at some point I’d like to read the Rev. Stephen Matthews story. And when Kate’s niece, Very, gets older, I REALLY want to see her story since I doubt anyone is going to have to convince HER to be in a triad!
Piquant Opine: Jerr, RT, RT, TwoLips

UPDATE: Samantha is finished with the next book in the series, At Love's Command- Ian and Derek's story, and it's scheduled for a November 2007 release. I guess all shoe throwing should be aimed at Ellora's Cave for making us wait that long for it!
Next year, we'll get Freddy and Brett's story then Very, Michael and Wolf's story.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Scoring My Next Fix Just Got Easier...

This so freakin' rocks! It's like giving a crack-ho the opportunity to score their next fix through online shopping...

The big announcement over at Dear Author is that "I always like to know what is “next” and so do many other readers. But finding out what is next and what next is about is a real challenge. In fact, it seems that we spend more time looking for books than reading them.

With the help of several other bloggers, we are launching a new venture called
Romantic Advances. Who all is involved?
Kristie J
Tara Marie

The plan is for this site to be a comprehensive database of all upcoming romance books and books with cross over appeal. The site will have covers (because we love covers) and blurbs (because the covers don’t always tell the story) and hopefully, excerpts (because that is what really sells a book).The site is in beta right now so there are bugs and weird looking pages and mis marked categories and so forth. But we wanted to open our doors and let you all take a peak to let us know what you like and don’t like. I particularly like to hear about what you don’t like so we can improve.

I know the amount of time it takes me to keep my Constant Cravings and Decadent Desires lists updated for the authors I already read, and they are doing it for ALL Romance releases! They've even included ebook releases! And since new authors and authors I've never read before mostly land on my lists because I've stumbled across a mention somewhere AFTER their release or have extra time at the bookstore to browse new releases, Romantic Advances will undoubtedly build my TBP/TBR lists exponentially!

Brava, ladies! Thank you!(I think ;P)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Demon You Know by Christine Warren

Christine Warren - Novels of The Others

Ellora's Cave- The Fixed Series: set in the same world as The Others
1. Fantasy Fix - Regina and Dmitri
2. Fur Factor - Graham and Melissa
3. Faer Fetched - Danice and Mac
4. Fighting Faer - Corinne and Luc
5. Fur for All - Tess and Rafael
6. Fur Play - Honor and Logan

The Others - St. Martin's (MMP)
1. Wolf at the Door - Cassidy and Quinn
2. She's No Faery Princess - Fiona and Tobias
3. The Demon You Know - Abby and Rule

Series Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 6"-7" out of 9"

You could probably read any of these books on their own, but since so many previous characters show up from the Ellora's Cave Fixed series, I recommend you start there. Unfortunately, a quick check of Amazon and EC's ebay store revealed that the Fixed series is no longer available in print, only ebook.

This is a light, fun ENTERTAINING, series. It's populated with vampires, witches, shifters (of several varieties), fae, and demons (I think that covers them all). This series is on my auto-buy list and there's enough Romance, sex, alpha males, smartass humor, and HEAs to warm the cockles of any paranormal romance reader's... heart. *g*

Piquant Opines: Ck2S, RT, RT, RT, Jerr, Jerr,

QB's Quickies

"So, read any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

Delilah Devlin - Into the Darkness

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 6” out of 9”

I’ve read and enjoyed many of Delilah’s ebooks from Ellora’s Cave. This one was released from Avon Red. I can’t say it’s my favorite of her books, but nonetheless I give her kudos for coming up with a fresh take on the vampire mythology.
Piquant Opines: RT, TRS

Kelley Armstrong - Women of the Underworld Series

1. Bitten
2. Stolen
3. Dime Store Magic
4. Industrial Magic
5. Haunted
6. Chaotic - in “Dates from Hell” anthology
7. Broken
8. No Humans Involved

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 4” out of 9”

Bitten will probably always be my favorite in this series, but No Humans Involved has now become a close second. Jeremy is the character that has always intrigued me and it was so enjoyable seeing him get a chance to be just himself, not the Alpha. Jaime is a likeable enough character, but her ability to draw another side of Jeremy out makes me like her all the more. And the fact that they happen to be olde pharts like me is just icing on the cake!
Piquant Opines: RRT,

Carrie Vaughn - Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 3" out of 9"

Okay, okay- you were right- I LOVED it! What a refreshing change from the normal uber alpha werewolf books (not that I'd want to give them up, mind you)! I never read this before because, for some reason, I had it in my head that this was a silly chick-lit paranormal. And I can only stand a very few of those. But I could not be more wrong and YOU WERE RIGHT! (Have I said it enough yet?) I've already put the next two on my Constant Cravings list. There. Happy now? Geesh.
Piquant Opines: RT,

Friday, May 25, 2007

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News...

I received this in an email from my brother-in-law a little while ago. THIS is my LIFE!! GAK!!! Oh, my tasks may differ (I mean, where's the internet "Let me just take a minute to check this site" A.A.A.D.D.) but essentially, it's what life is like for me in a nutshell. What's really pitiful is that up until about a year ago, I was the queen of multitasking. How depressing (and slightly scary, too)! I wonder if anyone has done a study of whether menopause fucks with your brain through hot flashes burning off important brain cells. ACK!!

"Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye -- they need water. I put the Coke on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: The car isn't washed. The bills aren't paid. There is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter. The flowers don't have enough water. There is still only one check in my check book. I can't find the remote. I can't find my glasses. And I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day, and I'm totally exhausted. I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.

Do me a favor. Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember who I've sent it to.

Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Vaginas, daughter of Scrotus

With BIG Thanks to Lady Emerson, Royal Keeper of the Bigguns, here's some bawdy fun from Trojan Condoms. Warning: this isn't work or kid safe!

Be sure to watch all the episodes in The Ampitheatre. Too damn funny! My favorite line? "How was Fellatio's party?" "It sucked." LMFAO!

And pay attention to some of the background characters in the Recorded Tales.

My favorite Mythical Escapade title? "Scrotus Gazes Upon a Bathing Medusa and Turns to Stone." *snicker*

Don't forget to get your Trojan name (mine's the title of this post)!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Romance_Goddess Bertrice_Small, Pâtissier_Extraordinaire

Bertrice Small - The World of Hetar Series
1. Lara

2. A Distant Tomorrow
3. The Twilight Lord

Series Category: Crème Brûlée - My All-Time Moan-Out-Loud Favorites. (A+)
Flame height: 7" out of 9"

The World of Hetar: Book I - Lara
From RT (4.5 stars): "The queen of sensual romance creates a magical world and Lara, a heroine strong and beautiful enough to conquer all she meets. Daughter of the mercenary John Swiftsword and a fairie princess, Lara accepts her fate when her father sells her in order to obtain the funds to become a Crusader knight. Lara draws on the strength of the fairie crystal she wears around her neck. Her journey takes her from the master of pleasure palaces to the harsh and brutal world of the Forest Lords—where she is initiated into the world of sex, but not that of sensual pleasure or love. To gain that knowledge she journeys to the kingdom of the Shadow Princes and then on to the Outlands, where she begins to understand the power she holds within and the meaning of true love, accompanied by a talking staff and a sword that sings.Lara is what Small does best: grand exploits, larger-than-life characters and erotic sexual explorations (similar to her great harem scenes). Like Small's most beloved heroine, Skye O'Malley, Lara follows a path that allows her to discover her courage while uncovering the power of her sexuality, the difference between lust and love and most of all, what it means to be a woman with the power to change the world. Small wows with a brand-new example of her creativity and masterful storytelling. VERY SENSUAL

The World of Hetar - Book II - A Distant Tomorrow
From RT (4.5 stars): “For five years Lara has been the wife to Vartan, leader of the Outland clans. When he's killed in cold blood by his treacherous brother, Lara avenges his death and flees. She is captured and presented to Magnus Hauk, ruler of Terah, as a gift.Magnus is fascinated by Lara's courage, intelligence and outspokenness, which earn his admiration, while her beauty earns his love. When Lara lifts an ancient curse that has nearly destroyed the country, he shows his gratitude by agreeing to cross the great sea and return to Hetar with her.Though the war between The Outlanders and Hetar is long over, Gaius Prospero is plotting to become emperor. As Lara and Magnus walk into the city, they discover that deception, treachery and betrayal surround them. With her fairie knowledge and powers, Lara refuses to falter in her quest to prevent another war and keep Hetar safe as the prophecy foretells: "From a distant tomorrow comes Hetar's true destiny."The second volume in Small's fantasy series is imaginative and inspiring. Like Skye O'Malley, Lara is unstoppable, powerful, passionate and a woman who wins in a man's world. As Lara seeks out her destiny, we watch in awe as Small hooks us into a story of unrivaled adventure, excitement and steamy sensuality. Once again the incomparable Small works her magic. VERY SENSUAL

The World of Hetar - Book III - The Twilight Lord
From RT (4.5 stars) “Lara, the wife of Magnus Hauk, recognizes her destiny is yet to be fulfilled when she hears rumors of war between her homeland, Hetar, and the land she rules, Terah. She has no inkling she’ll be abducted by Kol, the Twilight Lord- the embodiment of all that is dark in the world. Following an ancient prophesy, Kol believes only a faerie queen, representing the light, can birth his successor.
With her memory erased, Lara become’s Kol’s consort and the mother of twin sons. But when her memory is returned, she goes back to Terah and her beloved Magnus, ready to take her place in the coming battle and do her best to avert all-out war. As others scheme to overthrow kingdoms of the world, she strives to meet destiny head on.
With imagination, originality and a passion for epic fantasy, Small returns to the world of the epic faerie queen Lara and her wild, sensual adventures. Like all epic heroines, Lara is caught in a battle between the forces of good and evil, yet we can easily relate to her and her world which, as fantastic as it is, has bits and pieces of our own. Small brilliantly balances that with titillating sexual escapades thrilling adventures, letting us savor every moment

First off, let me say that I firmly believe Bertrice Small is a goddess. There are a lot of authors on my “I’d like to meet…” list. At the top would have been Laurell Hamilton, Lora Leigh, and Bertrice Small. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Laurell a couple of times and would be happily mesmerized listening to her for hours if I could. I’ll hopefully be meeting Lora (and many others on my list) at RAW in September. I met others at RT Con 2006 and hope to meet still more at RT Con 2008. So that leaves me still hoping to meet Ms. Small some day (one does not address a goddess by her first name). I even took some of her books to RT Con 2006 to be signed even though she wasn’t scheduled to be there. Although, if I ever do meet her, I’m sure I would be a complete mute idiot and she’d have to call security to get me off the floor where I will have prostrated myself to worship at her feet.

Other than the fact that any attempt by me to summarize Ms. Small’s Hetar world would result in a babbled confusing mess, the reason I’ve included RT’s summaries of all three books instead of just the latest one is because I think there is a misconception about the series. I'm still scratching my head over the fact that even RT categorizes it as “Historical Romance” and it is NOT. This is EPIC FANTASY. Period. And, frankly, I avoid most epic fantasies because I get a bit bored with them and end up skimming over a good portion just to get to the end. (As LissaNY, who has been trying to get me to read “Druids”, knows.) And this cannot be categorized as alternate history either. There is no history from our world here. Ms. Small did not have historical restrictions when writing this, but instead allowed her muse free rein to create this lusty, sweeping saga. So for anyone that avoided the series because they don’t care for historicals, I would say that, if you liked Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series, then you will LOVE the Hetar series. I’m not really comparing the two (there is no comparison) just trying to clarify what I mean by “Epic Fantasy.” Okay, actually I guess Hetar is in it’s own category- Erotic Epic Fantasy Romance. I think Irene Maillol's Across the Sea would be the only other saga I’ve read that I’d place in that category.

Ms. Small’s writing is incomparable. There is NO ONE that can weave such a rich tapestry with words the way she can. To read a Bertrice Small book is to instantly and completely immerse yourself in the tastes, sounds, sights and lives she creates. In her previous books, she made our history come alive- I could never again see English history as dull and boring after reading Skye O’Malley and her descendants’ sagas. That same richness exists in the Hetar story, but without the constraint of historical fact, Ms. Small has created a world that is in some ways recognizable yet vastly different than our own. I understand she is working on the next chapter of Lara’s amazing saga right now. I’ll gladly delay my chance at meeting her if it means I’ll be gifted with another trip to Hetar.

Oh, and let me just say right here that I would like a Shadow Prince of my own, thank you very much.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Back to Reality

I spent most of my 30's either preggers or changing poopie diapers. Two months before I turned 30, we had twins- a daughter and son. At age 35 we had another daughter and two months after I turned 39 we had another son. At that point, I told my husband that, if he didn't make an appointment to get snipped, I'd being using the Lorena Bobbit Home Kit. He chose wisely.

Downside of spacing the kids so far apart? It feels like we're NEVER going to retire! The older two just finished their second year of college. #3 is finishing 9th grade and #4 is finishing 5th grade. We'd love to retire when #4 starts high school, but ALL the kids protest that it wouldn't be fair if he's the only one that wouldn't get to finish school with all the kids he's known since kindergarten. Ah, guilt! So, here we stay in beautiful Ohio, the land of the grey. To be fair, we'll still be retiring early, just not as early as we'd like. But dammit, the sacrifices for our kids just go on and on and on, don't they? *rolls eyes*

Upside of spacing the kids so far apart? I can count on one hand, and still have fingers left over, the number of times my DH and I got away without our demon spawn when they were younger. But now that the oldest ones are 20 years old, my husband and I can occasionally get away from the little darlings. Actually, that's thanks to Daughter #1 because Son #1 is less responsible and mature than his 11 year old little brother (shutting up about THAT). Last year, we finally went to Vegas for a few days. This past January, we spent a weekend at the Detroit casinos and I also met up with a few of the LKH board mitten peeps.

Last night, we spent a night down at Mountaineer in WV. The slots beat us out of every penny we took (as usual), but still it was just nice for my DH and I to spend quality time together (and not worry about being quiet. *waggles eyebrows*). Then today, we took our time coming home and detoured to a few antique stores along the way.

So home again.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

QB's Quickies

"So, read any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

Mark Del Franco - Unshapely Things

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 1” out of 9”

I tend to not buy books written by men. I just prefer a woman’s voice. Sexist, but there you have it. There ARE a few exceptions, like Sean Michael, though. And I do prefer a bit o’ spice in my books. But I was intrigued by the premise of this Urban Fantasy and then I started seeing a lot of buzz about it and decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. This was a fast paced, absorbing story that I couldn’t put down! Great world building, interesting characters, and I LIKE Conner Grey. No romance, no spice, but a solid start to what I assume will be a series.
Piquant Opine: RT, SFreviews

Katie MacAlister - The Last of the Red Hot Vampires

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 5” out of 9”

Katie Mac has a permanent place on my auto-buy list. This wasn’t my favorite of Katie’s books, but it was still a fun, sexy romp. I DO hope, however, that she has plans to visit the Court of Divine Blood again in future books. And it was just flat out EBIL to leave us wondering who the sovereign was!
Piquant Opine: RT, AAR

Alexandra Ivy - When Darkness Comes - Guardians of Eternity Trilogy: Book 1

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 6” out of 9”

I really liked this one! Funny, sexy, fast paced and DIFFERENT! Abby and Dante are just so damn LIKEABLE! I’m REALLY looking forward to the sequel with Viper and Shalott.
Piquant Opine: RJ, RT

Raven Hart - Savannah Vampire series
1. The Vampire’s Seduction
2. The Vampire’s Secret

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 5” out of 9”

I picked The Vampire’s Secret up at Walden’s "on spec.” And, of course, never checked to see if it was a sequel- WHEN WILL I LEARN?! I probably missed some character development, but was able to figure out the gist of the main events in The Vampire’s Seduction. I’m going to add it to my Constant Cravings list anyway.

This book is different! William is a wealthy Savannah Gentleman. But his minions aren’t the suave, seductive vamps we’re used to reading about! His newly turned mate, Eleanor, is a successful madam; Jack is a Nascar-loving, horn dog mechanic who is constantly worried whether he has his sire‘s approval; Melaphia is a human voodoo priestess with a young daughter, Renee; and Werm is… well... Werm.

The book is written in first person POV, but that POV changes, often from scene to scene. Fortunately, each POV shift is titled with a character name and Raven includes identifying dialogue that keeps the reader from getting too confused. It’s a technique that could have been a muddied mess, but Raven mostly pulls it off.

There is some heavy-duty world building and plotting in here, but Raven offsets it with unexpected (for a vamp book) colloquialisms and humor that make this an entertaining read. I dog-eared a few of my favorites:

From Jack: “…it might be good to get…[the] blood off her hands. Licking seemed out of the question.”

From Jack: “I couldn’t believe how patient William was being. On the rare instances when I sassed him as a fledgling, he opened a can of whup-ass on me until I learned my place. I knew what had caused his leniency. He’d gone all ‘love is in the air’ because of Eleanor.”

This next one is one of the greatest lines from any book EVAH
From William: “She was slick with desire. I was hard with bad intention.” LMFAO - that one gets a snort from me every time I read it.
Piquant Opine: RT, AAR

Thursday, May 17, 2007

QB's Aural Quickies

"So, HEARD any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

Judith Ivory - The Indiscretion (unabridged)
Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat
Audio Book Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts. (A,A-)
Flame Height: 4” out of 9”

Judith Ivory‘s Victorian era "lady and the cowboy" story would have been a light, enjoyable read on it’s own, but the narrator, Barbara Rosenblatt, breathed life into Liddy and Sam. She narrated the book in a non descript American accent, then gave Liddy an upper class British accent that was somehow filled with humor, vulnerability, and playfulness. And the fact that a woman was doing Sam’s voice was lost to me in seconds because his mumbly Texas drawl WAS Sam. I think I smiled through most of this audio book. What a JOY this was to listen to!

J.D. Robb - Naked in Death (unabridged)
Narrated by Susan Erickson
Audio Book Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 5” out of 9”

Since there just didn't seem to be any new downloadable audio releases that interested me, I was desperate and thought I might as well see what the prolific Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb had to offer. I figured if I liked this first book in her Eve Dallas series, I’d be guaranteed a steady supply of audio books.

Since I’m not much of a futuristic sci-fi fan, I appreciated the fact that this book was set in the near future yet still based on our current reality. The technology used seemed like a logical progression from what we use today, and humanity still had the same flaws and motivations.

While this audio book was enjoyable, and I WILL be buying more, I had a hard time following some of it. Not that it was too complicated, it’s just that I didn’t realize how much I expect books with gritty, kick-butt heroines to be written in first person POV. So I found myself listening to a character’s internal dialogue and then getting confused because I just assumed it was Eve’s voice I was hearing, only to be jarred when it turned out to be someone else like Roarke.
That’s not a problem with the writing, it’s more a problem with my perceptions combined with Susan Erickson‘s narration style.

Speaking of Roarke… *swoon*

Outside Protocol by Dawn Ryder

Dawn Ryder - Outside Protocol - Ellora's Cave

Category: Dark Chocolate - loved by some, just "meh" to me. (C-,D+)
Flame Height: 5” out of 9”

From EC "Rules surrounded her every day. It was just the way life was. Robyn didn't question it until she ran into Jace and Nash. It was hard to believe there were men who lived outside all the rules she'd been living under. One bite of forbidden fruit and she was hooked, unwilling to close her eyes to the temptation again. Not that anyone might blame her, one stunning male was enough to tempt a girl to sin…two was impossible to resist.

But it couldn't last. People just didn't fall in love in numbers of three. The sweet temptation of it haunted her though, as Jace and Nash refused to leave her. They pushed their way right into her life and took her with them when they faded back into the shadowy world they lived in. Special Forces, guns and betrayal should have turned her away but it only added more fascination to her growing addiction to remain with them. Without rules, the possibilities were endless and even love wasn't out of the question.

As long as you lived outside of protocol."

Outside Protocol was so highly recommended from several sources that I fully expected to enjoy it. Unfortunately, because of three problems, I never connected with the characters or story. I guess I can understand that a writer could be so close to her work that she can't step back and view it with an objective eye, but what surprises me is that Dawn’s beta-reader/writer’s group/editor apparently did not point these inconsistencies out to her. Bad beta, bad editor! No cookies!

But, rather than simply leave it at that, I am going to be presumptuous and critique this book in much the same way I would have done if I had been her beta reader (and, no, I’m not auditioning for the job). I have heard time and again that authors, while wishing that everyone loved their books (and I truly wish I DID love every single one of them), don’t mind a less than stellar review if the reviewer can convey WHY the book didn’t work for them.

Let me preface this by saying that I am far less tolerant of problems in non-paranormal, non-sci-fi/fantasy contemporaries than I am of any other genre. Once a story is set in the contemporary real world then I automatically expect it to follow real world rules. So, having said that, here are the three roadblocks I encountered when trying to enjoy Outside Protocol:

* After meeting Jace and Nash and leaving them at their private club, The Play Yard, Robyn says to herself, “No way. She was not going to risk her health for anything. They could have AIDS or any number of sexually transmitted diseases, or beat her up or slit her throat or…” Yet for the next two nights she has unprotected sex with both men before suddenly becoming outraged that they didn’t use condoms.

If the subject had never been brought up, I might have wondered about it, but shrugged and accepted that this was fiction afterall. I would even have accepted the lame but often used “We’ve never had unprotected sex before in our lives and would never endanger you.” Considering the circumstances under which she met them and that this was meant to be a temporary sexual relationship, I would have considered Robyn TSTL if she took their word for it, but I still would have gone with the flow. However, once you brought up STD concerns, you needed to deal with them. To be honest, that first sexual encounter in the restaurant was a bit cold and emotionless so the excuse of being carried away by passion wouldn‘t have worked for me either.

* The double penetration shower scene should have been swoon worthy, but that scene lost all credibility as soon as I read, “A single finger found her back entrance as Jace used the water to penetrate her bottom.” If you had omitted that sentence, I would have assumed she was still lubed up enough from the brief insertion of the butt plug earlier in the evening. I could even have accepted an in-the-heat-of-the-moment improvisation with (owie) shampoo or soap, but water is absolutely NOT an anal lube, particularly for an anal virgin. All I could think of during the entire encounter was OUCH!

* Even though it seemed like forcing a Bengal tiger to be a Friskies loving house cat, I could swallow that these teams of former Marine Special Ops now worked for the assessment company of their team leader and former CO, Dack. They are a high priced firm that consults for “…businesses hiring private firms to assess and critique office procedure in order to reorganize and maximize profit.“ But, what I just could not wrap my mind around was, these men are in imminent danger from many enemies, so what’s to stop these enemies from seeing that they are hired by a company of the enemy’s choosing and wipe the team out when they show up? It is, after all, a well known and high priced firm as evidenced by the fact that Robyn’s boss was thrilled to get a firm of their caliber at such a low price.

Those three points took me right out of the story, but having said all that, I liked the basic premise of the book. These two uber alpha men, who ordinarily would also be uber possessive, depend on each other for survival- “[Nash] and Jace lived together or they’d be dead together. They never slept at the same time, never fucked at the same time. One always watched the other’s back.” These facts of their lives mean that they also need to share one woman. And they had accepted that their lives would never include love because they assumed that no woman could truly love them and accept their lifestyle. So Robyn's love and the love they felt for her was an unexpected gift for them.

I also find Dack Tyden and the story behind his dishonorable discharge and betrayal by a traitor VERY intriguing. He obviously earned great loyalty and respect from his team of warriors and I would love to read his story.

Now, since I want to be completely fair to Dawn, I want to point out that other readers apparently did not agree that my issues with Outside Protocol were a roadblack to their enjoyment of the book. Several people on Lora's board raved about it; Love Romances gave it 4.5 hearts

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Public Service Announcement

I feel I must help those in need whenever possible. So to the person who is searching for "karen marie moning beefcake", allow me to point you in the right direction. That would be Nathan Kamp and you can find pics of him on this blog and can also follow the links in Karen's April Newsletter- she's got a photo gallery for him AND (are you sitting down?) an INTERVIEW with him! Me thinks I'm not the only one with a fangirl crush on him!

You know, doing good deeds for others sure gives me a warm, tingly feeling!

QB's Quickies

"So, read any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

I'm trying a new feature in my Commentaries. Whenever possible, Piquant Opines will link to other reviews and commentaries for each book/series.

Vivi Anna - Blood Secrets
Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 5” out of 9”
Vivi Anna is a huge CSI fan and, in the forward to Blood Secrets, she writes, “Wouldn’t it be cool if Gil Grissam was a vampire… possessing all [his] intelligence, determination and patience and the darkly sexy allure of a 200-year-old vampire with washboard abs?”
Although the world building in this one wasn't completely credible(a secret Otherworld mid-sized city disguised as a military base right outside of San Antonio), it was nonetheless an absorbing, entertaining read. As a fellow CSI fanatic, I’d like to see the Sci-Fi channel or Lifetime turn this into a TV series.
Piquant Opines: CK2S, RT
Cheyenne McCray - Chosen Prey

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 6” out of 9”
WOW! I usually associate Chey with erotic fantasy, but this thriller kicked some Linda Howard-esque butt! Way to go, Chey!
Piquant Opines: CK2S, RT

Shiloh Walker - The Hunters series
Ellora’s Cave (although most are now available in print. Check Shiloh's website for what forms and sources all the books are available in):
1. The Hunters: Declan & Tori
2. The Hunters: Eli & Sarel
3. The Hunters: Byron & Kit
4. The Hunters: Jonathan & Lori
5. The Hunters: Ben & Shadoe
6. The Hunters: Rafe & Sheila
7. The Hunters: I’ll Be Hunting You - Declan & Tori's sequel
Amazon (Berkley):
Hunting the Hunter - Kane & Kendall
The Blood Kiss - Hot Spell anthology with Holly, Leigh, and Brook - Roman & Julianna
Samhain and Amazon:
Legends: Hunters and Heroes - Matthew & Rachel (Hunter’s prequel part 1); Duncan & Kennedy; Malachi (Part I, prequel part 2)
Hunters: Heart and Soul - Mike and Leandra; Malachi (Part II) and Kelsey
Series Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. Most books fall in this category. (A-,B+,B)
Flame Height: 7” out of 9”
Vampires, werewolves, witches, and pant-out-loud erotic scenes. Permanently on my auto-buy list, this series really is as enjoyable as a gi-normous bag of Peanut M&Ms!
I listed the series in published order rather than chronological order because I think the prequel has more impact AFTER we’ve gotten to know the Hunters. Having said that though, I think most of the Hunter’s books could be read as a stand alone (except book 7). But, since I KNOW you won’t be able to stop at just one, you might as well read them in order.
I was thrilled that Malachi’s history was part of the prequel. His story continues in Heart and Soul. And the events surrounding Nessa- WOW! No, I won’t say what happens. If you’ve been reading the series, I want you to see it unfold as I did. And if you haven’t been reading the series (and, trust me, you should), then you won’t understand how important Nessa and Malachi are to the Hunters.
I hope Shiloh’s muse has many more Hunters’ stories to share with us. Like maybe Vax’s story? (hint hint)
Piquant Opines: RT, TwoLips, RJ
Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 7” out of 9”
This is actually a print compilation of Jory’s Carnival Tarot series from Ellora's Cave. I had already read the second one, Kiziah’s Reading, but it was definitely worth a second read. Jory Strong ALWAYS delivers good, solid stories peppered with smoking’ hot erotic scenes.
Piquant Opines: RRT, JERR

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Anchor and Storm by Kate Poole

Kate Poole - Anchor and Storm - Ellora's Cave
Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts. (A,A-)
Flame Height: 6" out of 9"
From EC: "Edgar Armstrong, Earl of Callander, had not given much thought to marrying and producing an heir…until he meets Emily Sinclair. When their easy companionship grows into love, they learn that Edgar's progressively debilitating disease could be passed on to his children. As their joy turns to despair Edgar finds a solution. If he can't get her with child he knows just the man who can. But will Emily agree to his plan?
Angus MacNeill, Lord Callander's groom, thinks Emily married Edgar for his title, his money and the security he can give her. And when Edgar approaches him with a very unusual request Angus questions his master's motives. Still, it doesn't stop him from accepting Callander's terms — it's the only way he can be with Emily, even if only until she conceives.
Deeply in love with Edgar, Emily will do anything he asks of her. But she never suspected he'd ask something like this! Despite Edgar's reassurances she worries that his plan could destroy their marriage rather than strengthen it. And when she makes her choice, Emily wonders if there's room enough for two men in her heart — and in her bed."
I wish I could remember who recommended this book to me, because I want to thank them. I bought this book because it was historical and a menage, but it turned out that this was one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever read. Even the erotic scenes transcended sex and became some of the most emotionally exquisite scenes I've seen.
Underlying all of this book was a sadness in each character. A great sense of loss. Edgar felt the betrayal of his body as it slowly gave away on him, then felt the loss of the years he longed to spend with his beloved Emily. Highlanders displaced after Culoden and the Jacobite uprising, both Angus and Emily felt the loss of their way of life, their freedom, and all that they held in their hearts. The love the three of them unexpectedly find, is their one shining prospect to gain peace for their souls.
While Anchor and Storm does not end with a traditional HEA, the bittersweet ending left me with a feeling that their three lives had followed the course that was meant to be, they were fated to be together if only for a finite amount of time, that there could have been no other ending to their story.
Thank you, Kate Poole. The chance to read a story as beautiful as Anchor and Storm is a major reason why I read Romances.
(BTW, if anyone knows the address of Kate Poole's web site/blog, please let me know because I've been unable to find it)
Update: In her response to the fangirl email I sent her, Kate says she is currently working on getting a website or blog up. She's also planning on attending next year's RT Con in Pittsburgh- I'm looking forward to meeting her.
Update: It was Jess and Natalie who pimped this book on Lora's board right after it was released. Since then, a lot of us over there either have it on our TBP/TBR lists or have read it and love it as much as I do. I think we've now even convinced at least one non-historical reader to buy it!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Passionate Plume Awards

I just realized that, after discussing the books I was judging for the Passionate Plume Awards, I never posted the results!

If you recall, I talked about the books in my posts Who Needs a Horse? and Dilemmas and Frustrations. BTW, I decided I just couldn't spend another moment of my life reading that one honkin' bad book. I ended up just giving it a 1.2. Bad judge, no cookie. Now that Vampire Cowboys story I rated so highly? Yee-Haw! It made it to the first round (Paranormal/TT). Unfortunately, it didn't make it to the finals. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to name it yet, but really, it wouldn't be hard to figure it out

Anyway, here's the results...

The 2006 Passionate Plume First Round Results
Denise A. Agnew Treacherous Wishes
Denise A. Agnew Dangerous Intentions
Shelley Bradley Strip Search
MacKenzie McKade A Tall Dark Cowboy
Saskia Walker Double Dare

Futuristic / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Vivi Anna Inferno
Melany Logen Torc’s Salvation
Cat Marsters Almost Human
Lara Santiago The Lawman’s Wife
Jory Strong Fallon Mates: Roping Savannah

Sylvia Day ASK FOR IT
Samantha Kane The Courage To Love
Jade Lee Burning Tigress
Sharon Page Sin
Jessica Trapp Master of Desire

Nikki Alton Rodeo Man
Summer Devon Invisible Touch
Loribelle Hunt Defending Serenity
Anna Leigh Keaton Five Alarm Neightbor
Anna Leigh Keaton and Madison Layle Return To Me

Paranormal / TT
Laura Baumbach Entralled
Ann Jacobs d’Argent Honor 2: Eternally
Mechele Armstrong Blood Lines: Conduit
Cheyenne McCray Seduced By Magic
MacKenzie McKade Fallon’s Revenge

Robin L. Rotham - BIG Trouble
Julie MenschWellons - Liar, Liar
Anne Rigoulot - When Petals Fall
Jennifer Brassel - Secret Reflection
Julie Hurwitz The Amazing Sex Race

Evie Byrne Dante’s - Inferno
Lori Schaefer - The Voyage
Sandy Storm - Fossa’s Dare
Elaine M. Powell - A Lord’s Obligations
Seeley deBorn - Where The Wolf Lies

Paranormal/Time Travel
Holly Youngquist - Crime of Passion
Evie Byrne - Burn For You
Stephanie Mowery - Spell Bound
Susan Meier - Not That Innocent
Nancy Liedel - To Find A Queen

Shelli Stevens - The Captured Rose
Sher LeScott - Something More Than Sex
Adele Dubois - Dream Traveler
Lee Swift - Eternally Three: Touching Perfection

I just wish Passionate Ink had provided links or at least publisher names for each of these. Tracking them down could be a real pain-in-the-ass! And I absolutely would like to sample some of these.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Knight Errant

Since Angela Knight wasn't updating her blog much, I got out of the habit of checking it. Well, I popped over there yesterday and... well... just go. Now. And read as many posts as you have time for. That woman's honesty and insight are amazing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


HAH! You ho's thought that title said MENAGE didn't you! Admit it!
♥ Deciphering the code... the Perv Code, that is.
I was just thinking (a rarity, I assure you)- where did the Perv Code for books start and how come we all instinctively understand it.
What I mean is, I can see how m/m or f/f is easily understandable. After all, we've been checking off those "Sex: M_ F_" boxes all our lives, but how come we immediately know what the difference is between m/f/m and m/m/f, or between f/m/f and f/f/m.
Don't ya wonder how this standard came to be? And does it actually have a name (besides the Perv Code that I just tagged it with)?
♥ A few of the Google hits for this blog:
Charles Dera- I don't think there's been one day that at least one person hasn't searched for him- some days there are dozens of hits! So here's the two posts that he's featured in- Charles in Charge and Got Any? Of course you could just click on the Eye Candy label on the far right and enjoy all the rest of the scenery while you hunt for your Marine.
Cubie- Yeah, yeah, it's got a few serious definitions. But my favorite comes from the Urban Dictionary: "Cubie, n. a short fat cock, not unlike a chode. however a cubie is the exact same width as length. a cubie is often little more than a knob-end." Who knew?
www black dabel fuck- yes, the Dabel brothers are black, and I'm sensing some hostility here, but, um, what's with the www? Did you think there was really a site at that address-
Laurell Hamilton The Harlequin ARC spoilers (or some variation of that)- I've lost count of how many nearly daily search hits I've received for that. While I'm thrilled so many people can't wait for it's release, wouldn't it make more sense to head over to her board? In addition to my teasers that I copied over from this blog, a few of the ARC readers have spoiler threads where they share every minute detail of the book.
The same goes for the spoiler searches for Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, etc., just head over to LKH's board and someone is bound to have a spoiler thread going on over there. In fact, several of the authors post there regularly! Don't get me wrong, you're welcome to come visit me here whenever you want, but if you're looking for deets, the LKH board is where you want to be. My getting that ARC for The Harlequin was a one shot deal because of getting my name used in the book and, as ARCworthy as I think I am, it'll probably never happen again.
Ardeur Pastry- *scratches head* Succubus tarts? Fur Pie? Cream Sticks? What?
Samantha Kane The Courage to Love- Damn! Do I have good instincts or what?! I saw this the other day over on EC and thought I'd give it a try- historical and menage! The Google search just showed me that this book has generated buzz all over the place.
Harrison Confections- this has become daily hits lately too. The Confection hit makes sense, but since I've only blogged one Kim Harrison book, I'm not sure why my blog is so high up on Google's search hit list. Sorry about that, Harrison Confections.
♥ I am soooo far behind writing Commentaries for my Recently Savored books! ACK!!! I think the problem is that I'm just not glib enough to fire these off and then hit "Publish" in a few minutes. I agonize over every little detail and one paragraph can take forever for me to rewrite and tweak. WH-A-A-A-T???!!!! Stop snickerin' at me! You writers are just cruel to make fun of the creatively challenged, dammit!
And my Constant Cravings and Decadent Desires lists are completely out of control. The print books get first purchase priority because, if I don't buy them as soon as they're released, then I'll have to keep track of them until they build up enough for a free shipping order at Amazon.
I did get an Elloras Cave order purchased though. And when I'm done with those ebooks, I'll hit another Confectionary. (See, Annie and Anne, I didn't forget you!)
Somehow, I don't think I can convince my husband that we should retire years earlier than planned just so I can catch up on my reading and commentaries. *sigh*
♥ Speaking of my EC order, after I placed the books from my Decadent Desires list into my cart, I looked around to see if anything else caught my eye. I picked up the Samantha Kane mentioned above. I just didn't have time, however, to look at all the books/authors I was unfamiliar with, read their blurbs then find a review on them. But then I thought- wouldn't it be super useful to pull up the C2Ks reviews just for EC, or for whichever ePublisher I was building an order at? Then I could just zip through the list pulling out the ones that sound the best. I emailed C2Ks' Jennifer (who totally rocks by the way as a reviewer and as a person) and she passed the request on to the powers that be over there. If any of you also think that would make ebook shopping easier, drop them an email, okay?
Since it never hurts to get more opinions, do any of you know of any other (mostly) ebook review sites that are INDEPENDENT (not affiliated with authors/publishers) like C2Ks is?
After I thought about it, I realized I should also be labelling my Commentaries by ePublisher or Audio Download source, too. That way I can easily look back and see what authors to check for new releases when I'm placing an eOrder. So note that, like I did with Pâtissiers for authors, I'm prefixing all the ePub and Audio source labels with the same word, Confectionaries, to keep them all together in the list on the far right.
♥ Hey Rhian, here's me...

And here's the ones LissaNY did of LKH's Merry gentry characters...
Rhys... Doyle... Merry... Frost... Galen

Hmmm... now that I'm looking at me as a Peanut M&M, and since my main Commentary Category is a Peanut M&M, maybe I should place a smaller version of my M&M in my commentaries. Not ALL of them, just the QB's Quickies. What do you think?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Fins to the Left, Fins to the Right...

...and RT's the only game in town.

♥ Wow! Romantic Times is taking a beating lately. I'm not going to regurgitate every detail, because many other people with far better communication skills have done so already.

• At the recent RT Con in Houston, Hyatt management removed an author's promo materials claiming it offended their customers. That fact remains undisputed by all involved. Personally, I don't think it was the picture (cause I KNOW there had to have been more explicit straight posters there), I think it was the name of the epublisher printed on the poster. Apparently some men believe they will be compelled to bend and spread if their eyes fall upon the words "Man Love". Seems to me, if it wasn't homophobia, then ALL the posters and promos should have been removed so as not to offend or corrupt anyone- child or adult. Anyway, here's what happened from the POV of the author, Laura Baumbach. For the other side of events, read through the comments on Laura's post and you will see Jo Carol's (from RT) response.

• The next chain of events apparently started when Karen Scott posted this review on her blog. Yes, it was a harsh review, but I've seen many reviews on other books just as harsh on other sites. Somehow the comments, and subsequent blog entries, morphed into a bitch session about Elloras Cave and then the big bomb dropped- a memo (apparently) from Kathyrn Falk (RT's big kahuna) appeared in the comments. Karen also broke it out into it's own blog entry. At the time, there was room for doubt whether the letter was legit, but then Sarah at Smart Bitches related her phone conversation with Ms. Falk in this post, and it appears the letter either came directly from Ms. Falk or was sent with her knowledge.

• All of this actually seems a bit sad to me. First of all, as I've said before, Rt and EC joined forces and changed the face of the entire publishing industry. Do I believe EVERY derogatory thing said about them? No, but I believe enough of it that now, instead of seeing them as innovators leading a charge, I'm wondering if they've now become power drunk bullies who believe they should be worshipped like deities. I still admire them for what they've accomplished in the past though, let me be clear on that.

And Kathryn Falk's memo REALLY saddens me. Actually, her rambling, illogical and often incoherent statements alarm me, too. I fervently hope that her family seeks medical advice for her. I'm NOT being a smart ass. The memo and her conversation with Sarah do not sound like the accomplished woman I've always thought Ms. Falk to be. Something may be medically wrong.

• My point in weighing in on all this is that, I'm guessing that many authors are right now wondering if RT Con is really worth all the hassle and expense. From the point of view of a reader, I hope you will come up with a resounding "Yes!" Let me relate a couple of things from the 2006 Rt Con in Daytona:

I had read the first couple of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series and just didn't care for them, they moved too slow for me. I also read the first couple of Maryjanice Davidson's Betsy Taylor series and found them too shallow for me. At the con, I saw the fans enthusiasm for these series and I heard the author's real life voices and personalities. I heard Sookie's Southern drawl come through Charlaine and I heard Betsy's smart ass humor bubble out of Maryjanice. So I gave the two series another try- this time as audio books- and now I can't wait for each new release.

Robin Schone was set to chair the Erotica panels at that Con but couldn't make it and asked her protege, Renee Bernard, to take her place. Well Renee has such an engaging personality that I, and several others that I personally know of, realized that we couldn't wait to hear her "voice" in her first book when it was released. I made a point of telling her that at Saturday's Signapalooza, too. So I kept her in mind and, when A Lady's Pleasure was released, I bought it, read it, enjoyed it, and recommended it.

So consider that my experience was probably not unique. How many other authors were noticed by how many other readers because of their mutual attendance at the RT Con? And how many other people did each of those attendees recommend those authors to, who then recommended them to others, and so on and so on? I would guess that it is also an event that benefits authors through networking with other authors and publishers.

Now, as for the events of this year's Con, let me just say that I now have Laura Baumbach's blog, Karen Scott's blog, and bookmarked. If any of them were at the 2006 Con, I don't remember. But I'll remember them now. And I'll bet I'm not the only one.

So I hope that next year in Pittsburgh, I'll be seeing a lot of you authors. Over the past few months, I've gotten to know many of your voices through your blogs and I've received quite an eye opening education about writing and the publishing industry from you. Frankly, it still fascinates me, and I'd like to hear more from many of you. Of course, y'all are NOT helping my Constant Cravings, Decadent Desires, and Soon to be Savored lists get any shorter, now are you?!

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Universal Language of Lust

Today's post also comes courtesy of Lora's board. Annmarie came through for all us M/M/F menage-ho's. BIG TIME. This is an actual music video by Daniel Zueras, who wants to change his good-boy image. He succeeded. BIG TIME.

The song "No Quiero Enamorarme - I Don't Want to Fall in Love" is sung in Spanish so I don't really know what it's about, but trust me that the visuals say more than the lyrics ever could! (pssst... Hey Annie? You've got connections, what's he saying?)

WARNING: This video is NOT work or kid safe!

buzzzzzzzzzzz. BIG TIME.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Author Jules Jones

Over on Lora's board today, Jade asked if anyone had read any of Jules Jones books. Well, by the time I finished typing my response, I realized that I had a pretty good start on a Cubie's Commentary! It's odd that I never thought to post here about her before since I know I've previously posted recommendations about her on Mrs. Giggles and Smart Bitches.

I've read a few of Jules Jones books from Loose-Id and thoroughly enjoyed them. On their own, I'd probably categorize the stories as M&Ms or Peanut M&Ms, but because her muse magically breathes warmth and humor and quirks and LIFE into her memorable characters, I've placed the Jules Jones books I've read so far into my Lava Cake category. (see sidebar for what these Flavours of Love categories mean)

I adored her Syndicate series (with Alex Woolgrave). I seldom care for futuristic sci-fi, but this spaceship is loaded with colorful, eccentric characters and the sex scenes are playful yet smokin'. You won't soon forget these quirky people!

Her Spindrift series is beautifully written. Again, you'll enjoy getting to know her characters. It's about a writer living in a fishing village who is allowed in on the villagers' closely guarded secret- silkies- and falls in love with one of them.

Her story in the anthology A Kiss at Midnight, First Footer, is about First Contact with an alien race. But, again, it serves to showcase Jules' ability to create memorable, UNIQUE characters.

Jules Jones is one helluva writer. I think her preference for writing M/M is the only reason she's not more well known. But she does it so well, I'm glad she hasn't allowed her wallet to direct her muse. So the next time you're over on Loose-Id, be sure to check her out. Her first two books in The Syndicate have also been combined into print.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

From My List...

Since I've been so damn busy working lately, I thought I'd take the time to post a few more of my sweeties from my "I'd Do Him" list. The toughest part is stopping at only a few pics. Maybe I'll do a few each day that I'm busy.

Fabio Mariotti...

Nathan Kamp...