Category Archives: authors I love

Piper’s Reading Roundup: Top 15 Reads of 2016

Hey, all! It’s been a while since I posted one of these, but since 2017 is rapidly approaching, I figured I might as well save it for a big end-of-the-year post!

Without further ado, and in no particular order, these were my top 15 favorite reads in 2016. (Note: I did cheat a little by choosing series in a couple of places, and these are books I read this year but they weren’t all necessarily released in 2016.)

Being(s) in Love Series by R. Cooper – I’ve recommended plenty of titles by R. Cooper in the past, so seeing her on this list should come as no surprise. Instead of individual titles, though, I’m just going to mention her Being(s) in Love series as a whole. I have my particular faves (Little Wolf and A Dandelion for Tulip), but really, I just love this entire series. R. Cooper has created a world I wish I could live in. I love seeing familiar faces pop up throughout the books, and I love R. Cooper’s skill at writing slow-burn and unresolved sexual tension. It’s such delicious torment waiting for the characters to finally get together. The pining, friends. The pining. I highly recommend this series for fans of urban fantasy romance. There are fairies and elves and werewolves and dragons and all sorts of wonderful creatures and characters that will steal your heart.

 

dandelion

 

Staged by Kim Fielding – I admit to some hesitancy before starting this book. I’m generally not a big fan of books containing dub- or non-con elements, and slave fic can be pretty touchy for me too. The reason I took a chance on this book was the author. If you’ve followed my book rec posts in the past, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Kim Fielding. We have author/reader trust established, which means I know that no matter what she puts her characters through, she’ll get them to a happy (or happier) place by the end. I trusted her to do that here too, and I wasn’t disappointed. Fair warning, though – this is a lot darker than Kim’s usual work, and some parts were difficult to read, at least for me.

Misfits by Garrett Leigh – A couple of months ago I was in the mood to read a good menage story and I asked for recommendations on Twitter. Misfits was mentioned by nearly everyone who answered, and though I’d shied away from reading any of the Garrett Leigh titles I own because friends kept warning me about the high angst content, after several people – including Garrett herself – told me the story wasn’t overly heavy, I decided to take a chance. I’m so, so glad I did, because it was a lovely story and an instant addition to my favorites shelf. There was a bit of angst but nothing overwhelming, and I loved watching these three men come together. Highly recommended!

 

misfits

 

Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley – Man, it took me way too long to read this book! I don’t know why I put it off for so long, even though I’d bought it when it first came out and multiple friends recommended it to me after its release. I loved pretty much every word. The angst, the yearning and attraction between Miller and Danny… I mean, it’s like my crack when it comes to books. I die for great UST (unresolved sexual tension). DIE, I SAY. And when they finally came together, it was scorching and I just wanted it to work out for them SO BAD. The ending was perfect. Highly recommended. (And damn, was I bummed when I realized McKinley didn’t have any other books for me to devour. /sadface)

Damned If You Do by Marie Sexton – This book was a pure pleasure to read. It had humor, mild angst, and SO MANY FEELS. Religion – or rather faith – played a huge role (obv, I mean, this is a book about a soul-acquiring devil falling for a Bible-quoting revivalist). I loved Sexton’s take on Hell. I laughed more than once, had a few heart squishy moments, and even got misty eyed toward the end. Whether you’ve read Sexton before or if she’d be new to you, I definitely recommend checking this out! (Also, heed the product warning from Samhain because if snakes aren’t your bag, a couple of scenes in this book might freak you out. Just a heads up.)

Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) & Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale – Full disclosure, I can’t claim to be totally unbiased here. Over the last year, Avon has become one of my best friends, and at this point I’m lucky enough to get to read her work as it’s being written (and we’re also currently writing a series together that was recently contracted by Riptide!). But I will say that my love of Avon’s work and our friendship both started sort of simultaneously. I was hooked with Breakaway and have loved everything I’ve read since. It’s been a trend so far with the Scoring Chances series that I’ve loved each book more than the last. Each book is infused with Avon’s trademark humor, skillful writing, and snappy dialogue. Watching her characters come together is always incredibly fun and gratifying — and sometimes heart-wrenching. Even if you’re not a hockey fan, I’d suggest giving this series a try. The books are about so much more than hockey, though if you’re a fan like myself, there is plenty here to keep the sports lover happy too.

 

empty_net_final-1

 

 

Farm Fresh (Naked Organics #1) by Posy Roberts – I loved how different this book was. It portrayed a “free love” commune in Oregon, which one of the main characters joins after encountering the intriguing Hudson, a man who lives/works in the Kaleidoscope Gardens and sells their produce and various other things during the farmers’ market on Jude’s college campus every week. Hudson and Jude come from similar backgrounds, but Jude is nursing some serious hangups when it comes to sex – guilt, shame, and memories of abuse at the hands of his parents, who think sex is for one purpose only: procreation. I was fascinated by the commune and Jude’s changes as he acclimated to life there. I’ve actually discussed the idea of a commune, although not quite this type, with friends in the past, and I think I’d love to live in such an environment. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, which features Hudson and Jude once again. They’re together at the end of this book, but their relationship is really just beginning. And as you can guess by this description and the blurb, this book is about poly/open relationships. If you’re not a fan of seeing sex happen with anyone outside of the main couple, then it’s probably best to avoid.

The Dead Past by Kate Aaron – Earlier this year I asked if there was such a thing as cozy mysteries in M/M. You know the sort – bookish librarian of bakery owner from a small town suddenly stumbles over a corpse and amateur sleuthing ensues. Someone mentioned the Puddledown Mysteries and I was intrigued enough by the blurb of the first book to try the sample. And when I came to the end of the sample I immediately purchased the book and kept reading right until I finished it. The story is set in a small British town in the wake of WWII. Hugo finds an elderly widow brutally murdered in the woods, only to have Tommy, the new groundskeeper on the property, appear on the scene mere minutes later. At first Hugo is suspicious, but then he starts to develop feelings for the mysterious Tommy as they bond in the aftermath of their mutual discovery. It’s a quiet, understated story in the manner of Agatha Christie or Louise Penny with no sex and very little physical contact. If you’re a fan of cozies, you’re almost certain to enjoy it. (I also read the next two books in the series and loved them too!)

The Benched Series by Misha Horne – This contemporary series starts with Rookie Mistake, and man, is it fun! Juno and Kyle are vivid, wonderful characters – especially Juno – and if you’re a fan of spanking and D/s elements, you need to be reading these shorts. The most recent one came out in October, and I’m eagerly awaiting more!

The Galactic Alliance Series by KC Burn – When this series was first recommended to me, I’d had the first book, Spice ‘n’ Solace, on my TBR list quite some time. I finally dove in, and I’m so glad I did! These sexy stories include fabulous characters and are perfect for anyone who’s a fan of sci-fi without an over-abundance of world-building and technical jargon to weigh the story down. I even asked KC Burn if there’d be more right after I finished the third book, which should tell you something. (She said yes, BTW. :D)

Tournament of Losers by Megan Derr – Friggin’ fabulous! If you like reading stories in which the hero has to compete in a tournament for their lover’s heart and hand, well, you will not find a better one in M/M! And it was written for me, after my shameless begging for this type of story on Twitter, so, you know, that made it extra special!

 

tournament

 

Interborough (Five Boroughs #4) by Santino Hassell – I’m a big fan of this series, and this couple in particular. I’m really glad that Santino decided to revisit them and really cement their HEA. David and Raymond are by far my favorite couple in the Five Boroughs universe. Their chemistry is like whoa, and here we got to see them develop and strengthen as a couple in spite of some stressful life circumstances, which I think was necessary for the reader to believe their relationship can really withstand the test of time. They’ll be together forever. I know it! And it was good seeing glimpses of all the familiar 5B characters. That epilogue! I still haven’t recovered!

Must Like Spinach by Con Riley – I confess, it was the title of this book that first caught my attention. It was different – and I usually like different – and I’m so happy I decided to give it a go. It was my first book by Con Riley, but it certainly won’t be my last. I mean, what a gorgeous, character-driven, slow-burn romance! I loved the pacing. There was enough angst to keep it from being fluffy, and yet it was still a sweet story, and it perfectly fit my mood at the time. I know I’ll reread it again in the future, and I recommended it all over the place after I finished it.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – What can I even say about this book? It was my favorite read of the year, and I seriously doubt anything else I read in the next couple of weeks will even come close to knocking it from that pedestal. This is the sort of LGBTQ+ YA I aspire to write. I thought it was absolutely perfect, and if someday I produce a book that makes people feel the way Simon made me feel, I’ll consider my ultimate goal as an author accomplished. I loved it that much. All of the stars to this fabulous read. It’s one of the few books I own in 3 formats – audio, paperback, and ebook.

 

simon

Piper’s Reading Roundup – July & August

Hi, peeps! Since I slacked last month and didn’t post my reading roundup, this post contains my favorite reads from both July and August! So, without any further ado… 🙂

PRc6NRaY

Being(s) in Love Series by R. Cooper – I’ve recommended plenty of titles by R. Cooper in the past, so seeing her on this list should come as no surprise. Instead of individual titles, though, I’m just going to mention her Being(s) in Love series as a whole. I have my particular faves (Little Wolf  and A Dandelion for Tulip), but really, I just love this entire series. R. Cooper has created a world I wish I could live in. I love seeing familiar faces pop up throughout the books, and I love R. Cooper’s skill at writing slow-burn and unresolved sexual tension. It’s such delicious torment waiting for the characters to finally get together. The pining, friends. The pining. I highly recommend this series for fans of urban fantasy romance. There are fairies and elves and werewolves and dragons and all sorts of wonderful creatures and characters that will steal your heart.

Priddy’s Tale by Harper Fox – When have I read a story by Harper Fox that I didn’t like? The answer is never. Her writing is lovely, as always, and then we have Merou, a delightful merman! This was a beautiful story.

Best in Show by Kelly Jensen – When I bought this book, going by the adorable cover alone, I thought I was starting a cute contemporary romance. Little did I know, because I failed to read the blurb, there’d be paranormal elements – like witches and a shape-shifting cat. Lucky for me, that’s not a problem! I’m a big shifter fan, it has to be said, and at the time, this fluffy adorableness was exactly what I needed. If you’re looking for something light and funny, check this out!

Staged by Kim Fielding – I admit to some hesitancy before starting this book. I’m generally not a big fan of books containing dub- or non-con elements, and slave fic can be pretty touchy for me too. The reason I took a chance on this book was the author. If you’ve followed my book rec posts in the past, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Kim Fielding. We have author/reader trust established, which means I know that no matter what she puts her characters through, she’ll get them to a happy (or happier) place by the end. I trusted her to do that here too, and I wasn’t disappointed. Fair warning, though – this is a lot darker than Kim’s usual work, and some parts were difficult to read, at least for me.

Bitten by Mistake by Annabelle Jacobs – As mentioned earlier, I’m a shifter lover, so when I saw this pop up on my FB timeline I knew I had to try it. Loved the world-building and the unique take on shifter/werewolf lore and I’m hoping to see more books in this universe in the future.

Loud and Clear by Aidan Wayne – This title was recommended to me when I was looking for a light, low-angst read. It was very sweet and there were no explicit scenes, for the readers who prefer that. I would’ve happily read more about these two characters, but sometimes what I really crave is a short, sweet novella, and I got that with this book.

Misfits by Garrett Leigh – The other day I was in the mood to read a good menage story and I asked for recommendations on Twitter. Misfits was mentioned by nearly everyone who answered, and though I’d shied away from reading any of the Garrett Leigh titles I own because people kept telling me they were really angst heavy, after several people, including Garrett, told me the story wasn’t too heavy, I decided to take a chance. I’m so glad I did, because it was a lovely story and an instant addition to my favorites shelf. There was a bit of angst, but nothing overwhelming, and I loved watching these three men come together. Highly recommended!

misfits

The Cobbler’s Soleless Son by Meredith Katz – As I said before, I’m sometimes in the mood for a good short story or novella. This story was one I bought on a whim after seeing Megan Derr mention the title. I’d never read anything by this author, but I liked the blurb, and I’m pleased to say, I enjoyed it very much. I like stories about/featuring demons and this one had a fairy-tale vibe that appealed to me. I was quite happy and charmed by it.

The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles – This was another title that got recommended to me when I was searching for good menage stories. I’d had it for years but never read it for some reason. Well, now I regret having waited so long! I loved the characters and the way their relationship developed. The story was smutty and fun and I found Josh to be very sweet. I also loved the secondary characters.

Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale – Full disclosure, I can’t claim to be totally unbiased here. Over the last year, Avon and I have become very good friends, and at this point I’m lucky enough to get to read her work as it’s being written (and we’re also currently writing together). But I will say that my love of Avon’s work and our friendship both started sort of simultaneously. I was hooked with Breakaway and have loved everything I’ve read since. It’s been a trend so far with the Scoring Chances series that I’ve loved each book more than the last, and this is no exception. Isaac and Laurent’s story is the darkest book in the series, but still infused with Avon’s trademark humor and snappy dialogue. Watching these two guys come together was really beautiful. Laurent needed someone like Isaac who was willing to look beyond Laurent’s cold, surly exterior to find the vulnerable person underneath… because that person is definitely worth knowing and desperately in need of the love that only someone like Isaac could give him. Recommended, of course! And even if you’re not a hockey fan, I’d suggest giving this series a try. The books are about so much more than hockey, though if you’re a fan, like myself, there is plenty here to keep the sports lover satisfied too.

Authors I’m Thankful For: Jordan Castillo Price

While the various authors I’ve pimped over the last few weeks make up only a mere fraction of all my favorites, you know I couldn’t end the month without sharing some JCP love!

PsyCop is one of my favorite book series ever, and Vic is one of my favorite heroes. PsyCop starts with Among the Living, which I could only describe as “perfect” the first time I read it. I’ve subsequently read it another 3 or 4 times. But as much as I adore the PsyCop series, I’d also like to pimp some of Jordan Castillo Price’s lesser known work.

First, there’s Meatworks, which I had the pleasure of beta reading. I knew then that it was one of her best books. It’s different from everything else out there, and it’s not your traditional romance. As I said in my review, JCP defies formulas and breaks molds when it comes to her writing. That’s something I greatly admire.

Then there’s The Starving Years, which I lost my mind over when I read it. It’s set in a dystopian, alternate universe and I’d consider it a thriller with romantic undertones as opposed to a romance. It was well-written, riveting, and left me with a hardcore book hangover. And what makes this book even cooler was that it started as a serial with a “choose your own adventure” type of concept. That’s right, readers had input into this story after every chapter, and it takes mad skill to to pull together a story of this caliber under that kind of pressure.

And of course I can’t leave out The Persistence of Memory, the first book in JCP’s Mnevermind series, set in alternate-reality Madison, Wisconsin. It reminded me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of my favorite movies, and the story itself was totally fascinating and once again, unlike anything else I’ve seen in m/m. That’s the great thing about JCP’s stories – while they’re always written with her signature talent and style, you’re always guaranteed a unique, incomparable experience.

And lastly, I must give a little shout out to her stories in the Petit Morts collection. I LOVE a well-written short story. Sometimes I just don’t have the time or energy to invest into something longer. I want short, sweet, and quick. With JCP, you’re also going to get a fantastically written story – and having done numerous shorts myself, I know how difficult it can be to try to craft something of this length. One of my particular favorites from this collection was Wishink Well. But Moolah and Moonshine, Spanish Fly Guy, Pretty Ugly, and Hue, Tint, and Shade all deserve to be mentioned! (Note: IMO, these are best read in order.)

Happy reading, everyone! If you’ve never read JCP before and want to try out some new-to-you authors in 2016, I can give her nothing less than my highest recommendation. ♥

 

 

 

Authors I’m Thankful For: Kim Dare

Ah, Kim Dare. ♥ She’s been one of my long-time faves since I discovered m/m existed as a genre outside of fanfic. I’ve read nearly everything she’s released, but I definitely have some favorites!

First, there’s Duck!, which tops my list. It’s a retelling of the Ugly Duckling fairytale… but with BDSM and some wicked shifter lore. And sweet, sweet Ori. I love him and Raynard. And I love the next book in the series, Magpie, also and I eagerly look forward to more in this world.

Then there is her Pack Discipline series, which starts with The Mark of an Alpha. That book and The Duty of a Beta are my faves of the series, but I also loved it as a whole. Good stuff, but definitely best read in order.

Axel’s Pup is her most recent all-new release. A motorcycle club and shifters? When I saw the blurb, I said, “Yes, ma’am, sign me up!” It didn’t disappoint.

And there’s Temporary Mark, which I have a major soft spot for. I’ve read that gem about 4-5 times now. (If you’ve read her Bi Now, Gay Later, you’ll recognize cameos by Jerry and Denton. Mr. Nolan, one of the MCs of Temporary Mark, first appeared in that story.) Mr. Nolan lost his long-time submissive a couple of years ago and hasn’t been able to find someone who can fill that void, while Mark can’t seem to find a good Dom who wants to keep him. I loved watching these two guys come together and wouldn’t mind seeing a little follow-up someday.

If you like lighter BDSM, you’d probably enjoy Kim Dare. She writes everything from contemporary to paranormal and has a huge backlist. The Thrown to the Lions series was fun, as was Sun, Sea and Submission, and the Perfect Timing books, and… well, you get the idea. 😉

Check her out!

 

Authors I’m Thankful For: Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon

Hey, all. So, life sort of hit me in the metaphorical nuts last week and I didn’t get a chance to write up my gratitude posts. Maybe I’ll double up on some, or possibly I’ll just call last week a wash, but I’m hoping I can finish out the month without any other blips. Cross your fingers for me. 😛

Today I’m grateful for Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon. If you’re a historical romance fan and you haven’t read this duo, well, you should rectify that posthaste! I like them both together and separately, and they don’t just write historical romances, for those who prefer contemporary. Individually, they also write other genres, but it’s their historicals I love most.

Some of my favorites by these fabulous ladies are: The Gentleman and the Rogue, Mending Him, The Gentleman’s Madness, The Bohemian and the Banker (set during the 1901 Paris Expo, which I hadn’t seen in M/M before this book), and Seducing Stephen. They have a couple of newer titles out too, including a cute Christmas short called Simon and the Christmas Spirit, but you seriously can’t go wrong with whatever book you choose by these two. Give them a shot, if you haven’t already! And if you’ve never attempted to read a historical before, I’d further recommend their books as a starting point because they’re not overly bogged down by factual details. In my opinion, there’s just enough to show they’ve done their research and know their setting without making you feel like you cracked open a history book.

Happy reading, friends!

 

Authors I’m Thankful For: Andrea Speed

Anyone who follows me on social media, or heck, even this blog, won’t be surprised to see this author’s name as part of my gratitude event this month.

I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by Andrea Speed. Her Josh of the Damned shorts are hilarious and different from anything else in the genre. DMZ was 29 pages of awesome. But it’s her Infected series that well and truly captured my heart from the first page.

Roan… what can I say about Roan McKichan? He’s an amazing character. He’s snarky as hell, which I appreciate. He loves obscure bands. He loves to read. He’s brave, and he’s a bad-ass. When he loves, he loves whole-heartedly, and he’s incredibly loyal to those who’ve earned his trust, and he inspires the same kind of loyalty in return. Hell, I even have a tattoo for Roan – and he’s the only individual character I have ink for so far! (The Leo symbol, as seen below.) My other book related tattoo is a nod to a couple of different characters from the Harry Potter series.

roantattoo

Beyond Andrea’s writing, which is masterful, in my opinion – a mix of humor and snark and grittiness – it’s the characters that really make this series. I may be a Roan fangirl, but I also have a lot of love for Dylan and Paris and Holden and Scott (and the other hockey players).

I’ve reread all the books in this series. I’ll reread them again. While at its heart, this is an urban fantasy mystery series, don’t let that fool you into thinking you won’t sometimes get gut-punched straight in the feels. Book two sort of ruined my life for a while, I’m not even going to lie.

I highly recommend all of Andrea Speed’s stuff, but especially the Infected series, which ranks as one of my favorites not only in the m/m genre, but in every genre. Everyone should experience the glory that is Roan.

 

Authors I’m Thankful For: Megan Derr

Happy December, y’all! 😀

Today I’m celebrating Megan Derr! If you’re into m/m fantasy, you’ve doubtless heard of this author. And if you haven’t, well, you definitely need to check her out!

I regularly reread Megan’s stories because they make me happy, and I always love her characters. I have a special place in my heart for her Jewel Bonds series, which begins with An Admirer. I’ve reread them all more than once. Of Last Resort is also amazing, as are her The Lost Gods and Dance with the Devil series, and then there’s Tournament of Losers, which I was fortunate enough to read early. (And it was written for me, which makes my heart get all squishy!)

I’ve also worked with Megan as part of Less Than Three Press, one of my publishers, and she (and the others) have always been so awesome and helpful. They agreed to take on the Project Fierce Chicago anthology when I approached them about doing something to support the charity. Not only were they willing to organize it, but they’ve also donated all proceeds, including what they would have earned as the publisher (minus fees charged to them by vendors), to Project Fierce, for which I will always be grateful.

Much love to Megan, who’s not only an extremely talented author but an awesome and generous person as well. ♥

Authors I’m Thankful For: Kim Fielding

Hey, all! Happy Thanksgiving to my readers who are in the U.S. 😀 Today I’m making the entire meal at home for the first time. It’ll just be me, my husband, our son, and my father-in-law for dinner, and then later in the day, I’ll be stopping by to see my parents who are mid-move and couldn’t host at their place like they normally would have. Since they’re going to a friend’s place for the day, I decided to do something small here. Hopefully all the food comes out okay. 😛 Wherever you are, and whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or not, I hope your day is filled with good food and great company. ♥

Earlier this week I started up “Authors I’m Thankful For.” I was only going to do one a week between now and the end of the month, but I decided I wanted to showcase as many authors as possible, so I’m going with Tuesdays and Thursdays instead.

Up today is Kim Fielding. If you follow me on any social media, you’ve probably seen me gushing about Kim. I don’t keep the fact that I’m a fangirl a secret. Kim writes beautifully, and I never have any complaints about her craft, but I think what strikes me most about Kim’s writing is her characters. They just come alive for me–I cry with and for them, I cheer for them, I hope, suffer, and rejoice with them. To me, they feel real.

Kim has written three of my favorite books in the m/m genre: Brute, Speechless, and Rattlesnake.

These are all incredibly different books, but they share the common thread of overcoming odds, whether external or internal, and forming relationships that better both partners. Her heroes aren’t perfect. They might not be the best looking guys. But if you’re like me, they’ll tug your heartstrings, and you’ll want to reread their stories again and again.

If you haven’t tried Kim yet, you really should. I couldn’t recommend her more highly.

Authors I’m Thankful For: Avril Ashton

So, on a more positive note than my last blog post, every Tuesday and Thursday between now and the end of the month, I plan to post about an author I’m grateful for. This is just me spreading the love, since I’m as much a reader as I am a writer. And of course, after December 1st, I’ll also be posting the books I loved most in November, and as I did last year, I’ll be listing my favorite new (or new-to-me) holiday reads in another post as I dive into the seasonal offerings this year, so be on the lookout for those!

First up is Avril Ashton. Avril writes both het and gay romance. She has a gritty style, she writes smoking hot sex scenes, and her bad boys are unlike any others. These aren’t guys who are just tragically misunderstood. No. They will shoot you, kill you, pistol-whip you, and all around f*ck your shit up if push comes to shove. And I love them!

I particularly recommend her Run This Town series, but I’m also a huge fan of the Brooklyn Sinners series (Syren, anyone?). Characters intermingle between these two series, and you’ll have a richer appreciation if you read them all, but the Run This Town Series can certainly be read on its own also.

Start with (Watch Me) Break You and join the rest of us who are hooked on Avril’s boys! (Though I have to confess, (Watch Me) Unmask You is probably my fave of the series so far. ;D)

wmby

 

%d bloggers like this: