Contemporary Romance review: Scorpio Hates Virgo (Signs of Love #2) by Anyta Sunday

Scorpio Hates Virgo

Published by: Anyta Sunday

Format: ePub

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Order at: Publisher | Amazon 

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: A cute love affair of boys who have resisted each other for as long as they’ve known each other. Ah…if they could only have been smarter than…oh, wait…I was clueless, too. Read More

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YA Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Title: The Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Published by: Harper Teen

Format: Softcover

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Order at: Amazon | B&N

Reviewed by: Alex

What to Expect: This novel is more cerebral than the Adam Silvera’s other work, deftly weaving a speculative universe within the confines of present day New York. It’s here, in this space, that two teenagers find each other and, in turn, find themselves. They Both Die At The End is a stellar piece of writing filled with love and friendship, joy and grief, courage and redemption, and more twists than you can throw a stick at. Whatever that means. Either way, it’s a candidate for best book of the year from me. I strongly encourage you to read it STAT.

Check out Alex interviewing Adam Silvera about They Both Die at the End and enter to win a paperback ARC!

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Glamour Thieves Release Guest Post: One-Handed Writing by Don Allmon

 


The idea for my debut novel started that time when I tripped over my dog’s leash and fell and broke the scaphoid bone in my right hand which made it hard to write and hard to do other things arguably more important than writing so I sat around daydreaming about sex a lot and made up this story about an orc trucker who picks up an elf hitchhiker while driving through post-apocalyptic America and they had a lot of really rough sex like you’d imagine an orc trucker would have.

What? Tell me you don’t tell yourself comfort-stories at night when you’re lying in bed and can’t sleep.

And this other time I was whining about being out of ideas, and a friend of mine asked me what I wanted to read but couldn’t because no one was writing it. (That’s good advice there, btw.)

I said, “I want to read ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ except Marion is a guy named Michael and everything else is the same.”

I thought about it some more and said, “And I want to read ‘Supernatural’ except that part at the end of each episode where they sit on the car and drink beer and get weepy? Instead of that, they get drunk and fuck. On the car. Every episode. Oh and they ain’t brothers because that would be weird, but everything else is the same.”

“So write that,” she said.

“No, that would be silly.”

So nighttimes I told myself the trucker/hitchhiker story because I’m an insomniac and I had to wear that cast for six weeks and that made it worse. I’d embellish it up each time to keep it fresh, adding bits here and there, and I started wondering what that elf was doing hitchhiking in the middle of a desert. I decided he was on the run from the mob because he was a grifter and he’d conned the wrong guy. No, “mob” was too Don Corleone and kids these days don’t even know. So ninjas. Ninjas chased him out of town, but he didn’t have a car, so: hitchhiking.

Daytimes I wondered if not-Sam and not-Dean weren’t going to be brothers, then what were they? Old friends with benefits. And if they weren’t brothers who’s the dead mom? Some manic pixie dream girl who brings them both together then dies (except she can’t be manic or pixie or a dream). And they can’t be monster hunters because that’s everyone these days. And they can’t be private investigators because that’s everyone else. So what are they? Dean was always forging the worst IDs, so….

Failed grifters. Thieves.

Like that elf on the run looking for an orc with a car.

Didn’t take long for that orc trucker to become a retired car thief, that truck to become a Corvette, and that manic pixie dream girl to become the leader of their gang (still dead though). And yeah it was silly but no more silly than Nazis trying to recover the Ark of the Covenant or two monster hunters with an adorable angelic sidekick. And my hand was freaking broken so I couldn’t write anything “serious” anyway, so if I wasted six weeks on this, that was okay. (Yes, there are lessons there.)

So I pecked it out one-handed (left-handed), and six weeks later my hand wasn’t broken anymore, and that story didn’t feel quite so silly anymore. It felt kind of real. Three months later it felt like THE GLAMOUR THIEVES.

And if you choose to read it one-handed, I hope it’s for a good reason and not because you tripped over your dog.


Meet Don Allmon:

In his night job, Don Allmon writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. In his day job, he’s an IT drone. He holds an MA in English literature from the University of Kansas where he wrote his thesis on medieval werewolf stories. He’s a fan of role-playing and board games. He has lived all over from New York to San Francisco, but currently lives on the prairies of Kansas. His debut novel, THE GLAMOUR THIEVES is the first in a cyberpunk/fantasy/romance trilogy. It is currently available for pre-purchase through your favorite e-tailers and releases on August 28.


About Glamour Thieves:

JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.  

Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.

Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker. 

Order the book now: Publisher | Amazon


 

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Paranormal Romance review: Warlock in Training by T J Nichols

Warlock in Training by T J Nichols

Published by: DSP Publications

Format: epub

Genre: urban fantasy/paranormal romance

Order at: Publisher  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo

Reviewed by: Edwin

What to Expect: A well-realised urban fantasy world with undercurrents of queer romance and environmental allegory. Also features warlock/demon boning and flashes of humor. Read More

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Romantic Suspense Review: Guarding Mr. Fine by HelenKay Dimon

guarding

Guarding Mr. Fine by HelenKay Dimon (Tough Love #3)

Published by: Loveswept

Format: e-ARC

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: Car chases, explosions, an exciting mystery, and men who would rather cut off a limb than have a feeling.

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Historical Romance Review: The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

lawrenceThe Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

Published by:  Avon Impulse

Format: ARC

Genre: Historical Romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: A gold star Regency romance with Beauty and the Beast vibes, where a beautiful con man meets a scientist earl with an anxiety disorder. Guaranteed to give you happy, feet-kicking good book feelings.
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Two Holiday Romances: Glass Tidings by AJ Cousins and Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert

 

glasstidings_500x750

Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins

Published by: Riptide Publishing

Format: mobi

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: An unusual hero, Christmas tropes turned upside down, and a truly unique small-town holiday romance.

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New Binge Worthy Book: Sara recs Spindrift by Amy Rae Durreson

spindriftTitle and Author: Spindrift by Amy Rae Durreson

Published by: Dreamspinner Press

Format: epub, paperback

Genre: mm romance, paranormal

Order at: Amazon

Reviewed by: Sara Beth

What to Expect: An old fashioned, beautifully written, skillfully rendered ghost story. This tale is perfect for a chilly autumn night, tucked in under the covers, with every single light on. If you enjoy paranormal romance, with a dash of mystery, this is the Halloween read for you.


 

Plot: When lonely artist Siôn Ruston retreats to the seaside village of Rosewick Bay, Yorkshire, to recover from a suicide attempt, he doesn’t expect to encounter any ghosts, let alone the one who appears in his bedroom every morning at dawn. He also doesn’t expect to meet his ghost’s gorgeous, flirty descendant working at the local museum… and the village pub, and as a lifeboat volunteer. But Mattie’s great-great-grandfather isn’t the only specter in Rosewick Bay, and as Siôn and Mattie investigate an ill-fated love affair from a bygone era, they begin a romance of their own, one that will hopefully escape the tragedy Mattie’s ancestor suffered.

But the ghosts aren’t the only ones with secrets, and the things Siôn and Mattie are keeping from each other threaten to tear them apart. And all the while, the dead are biding their time, because the curse of Rosewick Bay has never been broken. If the ghosts are seen on the streets, local tradition foretells a man will drown before the summer’s end.

Review:

Secrets. This book is all about them. They weave in and out of the story, much like the ghosts that populate Rosewick Bay. Durreson does a flawless job of creating a suitably haunting an atmosphere for this tale of loss, hope, and redemption. The town is by turns quietly unsettling and incredibly peaceful, reflecting where each character is at in the story itself as it moves forward.  

Sion and Mattie, both individually and as a couple, are very relatable. An easy match to get behind. Their relationship runs parallel to that of the ghosts that haunt them, Matthew and Joshua . The ghosts themselves are as enthralling as the main characters, and I found myself grieving for them, even as my heart unfolded with hope for Sion and Mattie.

On the surface, Mattie is the sun to Sion’s darkness, but it becomes evident that things aren’t always as they seem – not for these two, not for the town, and not for the ghosts that haunt them all. Everybody has things they hide, even from themselves, and that’s what this story is really about: confronting the most painful parts of our past in order to reclaim the future that we are sometimes determined to cheat ourselves out of, before it’s too late.

What you might not like: I really feel there is a place in this genre for quietly passionate relationships, the sexy parts of which are left to the reader’s imagination.

However, I know some romance readers are very attached to steam on page. If that is the case, this is not the book for you. While Mattie and Sion are tender and gentle and flirtatious and obviously falling in love, the more physical parts are not described or included in the text.

What you will love: Simply put, Durreson is an amazing author. I enjoy her style and technique, and haven’t been disappointed yet by any of her books, though this one is standout for me. The truly haunting ghost story, and the feelings it draws from you, aren’t easily forgettable. I know I still find myself shaking off a tiny shiver when I stop and think about the atmosphere Durreson has created, and the flawed, lovable characters she has populated it with. And that cover….GEEZ!!!!


 

Red Magic ShoesSara Beth loves to read, write about what she reads, and really, really loves to talk about what she’s reading. So, she looks forward to many hours of conversation with you all surrounding books, books, and more books. Connect via: Twitter: @sarathebeth

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Countdown to Halloween: 13 Songs & Films that Get Me Stoked for Halloween by J.C. Lillis

countdown-with-bob

So I said I would do this list and then I realized I don’t read scary books, listen to scary songs, or watch scary movies as a general rule. I love Halloween but I mainly associate it with frantic yet meticulous construction of whatever costume the kid’s dreamed up, followed by a week of sneaking PB cups and fun-size Mounds from her candy stash. But writers are known for their Olympic-level talent for fudging it, so here goes.

Songs:

“Spooky” / Classics IV. I actually hate this song but I have a Pavlovian reaction to it: I hear the first chords and instantly think Halloween. I don’t know if it deserves its status as a Halloween classic, since the girl in the song is not particularly spooky, just sort of a flake. It kills me that the guy spends the whole song yammering about how she winks at other dudes and plays games with his heart, and yet he’s planning a Halloween proposal, like that’ll solve all their problems. Honestly I just ride out the song to hear the little “whooo!” ghostie sounds in the verses.

“Monster” / Lady Gaga. When the Fame Monster EP came out, everyone was creaming themselves over “Bad Romance” and “Dance in the Dark” and this song never got its due, despite being danceable and hilarious and awesome. If I had a Halloween party, which I won’t because that would involve cleaning and decorating, this would be #1 on my playlist.

“Time of the Season” / The Zombies. This is not technically a Halloween song but for some reason I always associate it with summer’s slow slide into fall. Plus one time my mom told me she used to think the lyrics were “it’s the time of the season for zombieeeeees,” like the Zombies were pulling a Wang Chung and name-dropping themselves in the song, so every time I hear that line I picture zombies doing jazz hands.

“Burn-Up” / Siouxsie & the Banshees. The entire Peepshow album is supremely freaky and makes an excellent Halloween soundtrack. I picked this one because it’s like a haunted hayride in song form.

“Monster Mash” / Bobby Pickett. This used to be a “dragged to the seventh-grade Halloween dance against your will” song, and then I used it in “Memory Hill” for the Lead Me into Darkness antho, and now it’s a “jaded ghost mourning unrequited love” song. It’s much nicer now.

“Red Right Hand” / Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Like, I should’ve just said “Nick Cave” in general, because Nick Cave could turn “Walking on Sunshine” into a murder ballad, but this song is pretty much the pinnacle of Nick Cave creepiness. It’s about this evil rich power-mad dude who gains followers by preying on fear and making false promises but actually thinks of people as “microscopic cogs in his catastrophic plan,” not that someone like that could actually rise to power today.

 

 

Movies:

What We Do in the Shadows. Definitely in the top three funniest vampire mockumentaries set in New Zealand.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula. After you watch WWDitS, you might as well watch this one, because the number of laughs per minute is roughly the same. (More in scenes where Gary Oldman turns into a hundred rats or Keanu Reeves has to act British.)

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. When I was a little Catholic schoolgirl I used to want to spend Halloween with Linus in his most-sincere pumpkin patch, waiting for the elusive deity to show his giant orange face. I hope Linus is now a comfortable Great Pumpkin agnostic who counsels other young believers through crises of faith.

The Addams Family. This is the film that launched my epic, invincible crush on Anjelica Huston. We rewatched it recently and it still holds up pretty well. I think we base like 60% of our parenting choices on “what would Gomez and Mortitica do?”

The Others. This is the only scary movie I ever bought on DVD. I like how old-fashioned it is, how it relies on psychology and the power of suggestion instead of gore and special effects. It’s so well made I don’t even mind the “they’ve been dead all alonnnnnng!” ending. (No spoiler warning for movies more than 15 years old.)

Return of the Living Dead. I can take or leave most things zombie, but how can you not love a film with 1) character names like Scuz, Trash, and Spider, 2) dialogue that contains multiple references to “rabid weasels,” and 3) a scene where the zombies eat the paramedics and then radio to “send more paramedics”? (I just found out there’s this band from Leeds called Send More Paramedics, which is the best thing I’ve heard in at least two days.)

Shaun of the Dead. The other exception to my anti-zombie rule. That scene where they’re arguing over which records to throw at the zombies—I can see someone being exactly that nerdy, and that someone is me.


J.C. Lillis is the author of contemporary YA novels HOW TO REPAIR A MECHANICAL HEART, WE WON’T FEEL A THING, and the upcoming A&B, plus various other stories about fandom, friendship, love, and art. She lives in Baltimore with her patient family, a possibly haunted dollhouse, and a cat who intends to eat her someday.

More about J.C. and her AWESOME books:

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart: amzn.to/1rM486A

We Won’t Feel a Thing: http://amzn.to/1mndD6m

A&B: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32296251-a-b?from_search=true

website: jclillis.com

twitter: twitter.com/jclillis

instagram: instagram.com/jclillis

facebook: facebook.com/jclillisbooks

pinterest: pinterest.com/jclillis


 

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Contemporary Romance Review: Interborough by Santino Hassell

interInterborough by Santino Hassell

Published by: Riptide Publishing

Format: .mobi ARC

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Reviewed by: Erin

What to Expect: A beautifully written, nuanced story of a relationship falling apart.

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