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Piper’s Reading Roundup – March, April, & May

Hey, y’all! Whoops, it has been a while since I did one of these. Frankly, I had a long reading drought for a while there and couldn’t seem to settle on anything, so I haven’t read a ton of books in the last few months, but I did have some faves among the books I did read. Check them out below. 😀

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Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) by Avon Gale – See my review, which details why I love and recommend this book, but if you’re familiar with Gale and this series in particular, you know you can expect hockey, humor, well-developed characters, and lots of heart.

Full Strength (Point Shot #3) by V.L. Locey – I’m a big fan of this series and its main character, Victor Kalinski. He’s loud (and foul)-mouthed, he’s offensive, he’s arrogant, but behind the brash exterior is a loyal man who cares deeply about the few people he lets close to his heart. I loved watching him evolve as a character while staying true to himself. He didn’t make a complete 180. He’s still Victor… but a better version of himself. 🙂

The Benched Series by Misha Horne – This series starts with Rookie Mistake, and man, is it fun! Juno and Kyle are great characters, and and if you’re a fan of spanking and D/s elements, you need to be reading these shorts. I plowed through all 5 available stories in a couple of days, and I’m eagerly awaiting more!

The Harvest Young: Bound by Fate (The Next Generation #1) by MA Church – I love Church’s The Harvest series, and I think I’ve recommended it in previous posts. This is a spin-off series about the “young” of the couples we met in The Harvest (yep, there is mpreg in that series) now that they’ve officially grown up. I can’t wait for more stories!

Shutdown Pair by V.L. Locey – Yep, Locey is getting a second shout-out in this post. She wrote a story about amateur pick-up league hockey players, and while the game certainly plays a role, as with all her work, it’s her characters that really make the story. I loved Heath and Wyatt and would’ve happily read more about them.

The Galactic Alliance Series by KC Burn – The other day I posted asking for recs on Twitter and Megan Derr mentioned this series. I’d had the first book, Spice ‘n’ Solace, on my TBR list for a long time and I’d purchased it a while back, so I finally dove in. I’m glad I did! These were some sexy stories with fabulous characters that 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 went to ask KC Burn if there’d be more right after I finished the third book, which should tell you something. (She said yes, BTW. :D)

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And that’s it for now! I seem to be on a reading binge at the moment, though, so hopefully I’ll have more titles to recommend next time.

Happy reading, folks! 

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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.

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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.

 

Piper’s Reading Roundup: April

Hey, hey! April was a rather slow reading month for me, given the tight deadline we were working under, but I still managed to squeeze in some good reads. Here are my faves. ♥

The Bohemian and the Banker by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon – I do so love this author matchup, as I said last month, and this one was fun. We had an opposites attract story featuring a serious banker named Nigel and a bohemian drag cabaret performer named Jay (as you can tell by the title). It’s set in the early 1900s in Paris during a World Fair, which really appealed to me, as I’ve often wished those were still happening on the scale they used to be. Definitely recommended.

Axel’s Pup (Werewolves & Dragons, #1) by Kim Dare – It’s no secret I’m a Kim Dare fan. I’ve read the vast majority of her work and count some of her books as my favorites in the genre. I really enjoyed this one. Loved the world-building and the unique take on shifters and it included all of the things I love from Kim Dare — solid writing, lighter BDSM, and a strong dom who’s besotted with his sub. Bonus was the whole motorcycle club element. Really looking forward to more in this universe.

Healing Hunter’s Heart by Charlie Cochet – Woot! I’d been waiting for this story for years, people. I loved the first book in the series, which is a freebie Charlie wrote for one of the Don’t Read in the Closet events a couple of years back. This one didn’t disappoint. I really liked Hunter and Ari and seeing all the guys again. It had humor and heat and great world-building. Bring on Mischa and Kristoff, I say! 😀

The Harvest: Taken & Journey’s End by MA Church – These books need to be read together for the full story of Keyno and Dale. They were a lot of fun. Aliens that are like warrior kitties, people! Plus, it had an arranged/forced mating, which I’d been craving (note: these aren’t non-con when it comes to the sex, though, even if Dale was forced into a relationship he didn’t initially want). If you’re a fan of alien/human stories and tails playing a kinky role during sex scenes, check these out! I’ve read some of the side stories Church has on her website, but I really hope there’ll be more to come in this universe!

Piper’s Reading Roundup: March

Hi, folks! It’s that time again. I’m a little behind schedule, but here are the books I read and loved in March! 😀 

The Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon – This book is a few years old, and I don’t know know why it took me so long to read it, being that I’m a huge historical fan, but I’m so glad I finally decided to dive in. Bonnie and Summer are one of my favorite author collaborations. Not only do I love their combined style, I always love their plotlines and characters. This book was no exception. The whole rich guy falls in love with a prostitute trope is one of my faves (Hello, Pretty Woman!), and this book didn’t disappoint. Recommended for any Regency fans out there.

Grown-Up by Kim Fielding – I am an unabashed Kim Fielding fangirl, and I buy her books blurb unseen. This was a cute, opposites attract contemporary romance. Short and sweet and perfect for when you need something light to pick you up. I highly enjoyed it!

He’s Just Knot That Into You by Nico Jaye – Werewolves, knots, and Nico’s trademark smuff? How can you go wrong? Cute and funny with an interesting take on shifter lore. And I do so love that title.

The Slave by Kate Aaron – I’m not typically a fan of slave fic and most times I tend to avoid it, but a friend asked me to read this to tell them what I thought, and I ended up getting sucked into the story of Tam, Kai, and their master. I really enjoyed this book. But fair warning: it ends on a cliffhanger, so it’s a good thing all the books are available! I’m looking forward to completing the trilogy.

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I also ended up reading a good amount of fanfic last month. All of it was Sterek (natch). These were my faves, for anyone looking for recs.

For those who don’t know, Lisa Henry writes Sterek fanfic under the name of DiscontentedWinter. I loved all of these fics by her.

I know Where Babies Come From, Derek (Awesome)

Balloon Animals Are Awesome

Stiles Stilinski is a lying liar who lies

Bite Marks and Bendy Straws

Eyebrows and the Scientific Method (Hilarious!)

I also read A (Sort of) Fairytale by briecheesie. Stiles gets turned into a fox by a witch and there are tons of gratuitous Princess Bride references, which we all know I can appreciate. 😉

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What was the best thing you’ve read lately? Inquiring minds want to know! 

Piper’s Reading Roundup: February

Hey, all! My reading picked up a bit in February. Right now I’m sitting at 26 books for the year (and 18 of those were last month). These were my favorite reads from February. Sharing the love.

In no particular order…

How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton – This was a sweet, funny, adorable read and absolutely perfect for my down mood lately. I really enjoyed it and recommend it, if you’re a fan of cute and fluff, which I most assuredly am. And I’m very happy to know there’ll be a story for Roman later this year!

Bayou des Enfants (Rougaroux Social Club, #4) by Lynn Lorenz – I’m a big fan of this series but hadn’t gotten around to reading this offering until last month. Scott and Ted are probably my favorite couple in this series, so I was really glad to revisit them and to see their family completed — even if it wasn’t exactly when or how they planned. Recommended for fans of the series. I don’t think it would stand well on its own, though, so if you haven’t read any of the previous books, I’d recommend starting at the beginning.

Here Without You by Mia Kerick – This was the followup to Kerick’s YA novel, Us Three. The boys are older and two of them are trying to navigate their first year of college while the other stays behind in their hometown to protect his sister from their guardian, their abusive uncle. Things get pretty angsty toward the end there, but I was thrilled to see these guys a bit older and to see how their relationship had progressed. If you enjoyed the first book, I definitely recommend reading this one too.

Infected: Paris by Andrea Speed – I reviewed this book last week, so it probably surprises no one to see it on this list. If you want my in-depth thoughts, you can find them here.

Checking Out Love by R. Cooper – This was probably my favorite read of the month. Everything about it just worked so well for me. It was short, funny, charming, and features a nerdy librarian and an equally nerdy college student with no brain-to-mouth filter. For me, it was perfect. I gushed about it all over my social media accounts the day I read it. Awesome stuff.

Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala – This was a lot of fun. Ondry, the alien in this story, is just fantastic in the way he wants to protect and tries to understand Liam, despite the differences in their cultures. I really enjoyed the story.

Taxes and TARDIS by N.R. Walker – I’m not sure why it took me so long to read this story. It matches up a blue-collar guy with a geeky accountant, and really, anyone who knows me is aware that this type of story is right up my alley. This was really cute, and I know I’ll likely read it again.

And for a non-M/M story that still fits under the GLBTQ umbrella…

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff –  You would think that this book wouldn’t work for me. It’s a love story, but it’s told in 2nd person POV and you never know the gender of either the protagonist or the love interest. And yet… it was really beautiful.

I think the issue of Kid’s homelessness was glossed over a bit in terms of how difficult that reality would be, but I still appreciated that the author was trying to bring attention to the disproportionate amount of LGBTQ homeless youth out there. It’s said by Kid’s father that Kid “can’t decide to be straight or gay or a boy or a girl,” so I definitely do count Kid as falling under the LGBTQ acronym, even if we never know if Kid’s relationship with Scout is same-sex or otherwise. Some readers complained that not knowing removed their ability to connect with the characters, but that didn’t bother me at all. Maybe because I can relate to gender identity issues and not knowing or not wanting to claim any specific label.

A gorgeous book, and a love song to Brooklyn too.

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So, what did you read last month? Any standouts? I’m always looking for recs, so feel free to comment!

Piper Reviews “Infected: Paris” by Andrea Speed

infected parisIt’s no secret I’m a hardcore fan of the “Infected” series by Andrea Speed. I don’t have a tattoo representing Roan on my wrist for nothing. Without a doubt it’s one of my favorite series out there, and I’m very much in love with all its characters and the world in which they live.

Infected: Paris is a prequel to the series, but it released today, months after the final “Infected” book came out. If you’ve read this series, you might have gone into this book with a mix of dread and anticipation, as I did. I’ll try to avoid spoilers for both it and the series as a whole, but be warned, some milder stuff might slip through.

In this book we get to meet Paris Lehane and see how he met Roan McKichan, who is the main character throughout the series. While working a stalker case with too many suspects and not enough clues, private investigator Roan runs into a homeless man named Paris. Roan’s sense of smell is heightened even by shifter standards, and he can immediately tell that Paris is a fellow “infected.” Unlike Roan, a virus child who was born with the disease, Paris got it from another shifter. Like STDs, the infection can be passed through bodily fluids. There are various shifter strains, but they’re all “big cats.” Tigers, lions, panthers, etc. The deadliest strain by far is the tiger strain. Infected tigers rarely survive for long, if they even last beyond the first shift. In this world, being a shifter is ugly and painful and it’ll eventually kill you. These are not the romanticized shifters some of us have come to expect in paranormal romances. In this universe, there’s nothing glamorous or exciting about it, and infecteds are often treated as pariahs.

Roan can tell Paris is a tiger strain immediately, and by the looks of Paris, Roan knows he probably doesn’t have much time left to live. He gets Paris to a clinic for infecteds to help deal with his shift, so that hopefully Paris survives to see another month. He visits Paris several times while Paris is there, in addition to talking on the phone, and while Paris is fighting the toll his disease has taken on his body, Roan is still investigating his frustrating and seemingly unsolvable stalker case.

Roan and Paris are drawn to each other pretty much from the start. Despite the scraggly facial hair and grime covering him thanks to his life on the streets, Roan sees some of Paris’s physical appeal. More than that, Paris has an undeniable charisma that Roan can’t seem to resist. So, in spite of knowing it’s unwise to get involved with an infected tiger strain, given their high mortality rate, Roan can’t help himself. He and Paris want each other too much—and we as readers know they’re meant to be.

Overall, I loved the story, and I’m immensely grateful to Andrea Speed for giving us more Paris because my love for Paris is renowned. And of course, I’ll never complain about more Roan.

I can admit to a bit of disappointment, though. I was thinking that this book would be mainly in Paris’s point of view; instead, it was mainly Roan’s. And while I understand the inclusion of the stalker case/mystery because it ultimately led to Paris and Roan’s first meeting—and because there’s a mystery in every book—I would’ve liked less focus on the stalker case and more on their developing relationship. I wanted more scenes with them together and maybe a bit more about Paris’s past, especially what he’d gone through since becoming homeless. But that’s just me, and I can admit I’m greedy. 😉

“Infected: Paris” is a great introduction to Paris and Roan’s relationship and to them as a couple—and the series as a whole for people who haven’t read it. I highly recommend it for fans of the series, and if you haven’t dipped a toe into the “Infected” world yet, this would definitely be the ideal place to start. I can’t wait for more in this universe. There’ll be a spin off for Holden, a character introduced in later “Infected” books, which I am really looking forward to.

In the meantime, I’ll probably be rereading all of the Infected books again. I love spending time in this world. Humor, pain, mystery, suspense, action, love, loss, smart-asses, hockey players—this series has all that and then some. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

 

*Disclaimer: Thanks to Andrea Speed for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.  

Books Piper Loves: “Bone Rider” by J. Fally

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This book, you guys. THIS BOOK. I’ve had a book hangover all week because this book was so good I’ve been having a hard time moving on to something new. This is what I said on FB shortly after finishing it:

I loved this book. Looooooved. Loved it like I instantly searched for J. Fally’s social media links right after finishing it, and finding none, I sat here and emailed her a fan letter.

SO. GOOD. I can’t. It was amazing. McClane is my boo, and I adored Riley and Misha.

Some people might not like all the POV switching, but for me, the book couldn’t have been told any other way. It had the perfect blend of humor and action that I adore in action-adventure films. Throw in a bit of sci-fi and some romance and I was a GONER.

Onto the favorite shelf it goes. I’m buying it in paperback too, just so I can snuggle it.

If you’re a fan of action-adventure flicks like “Die Hard,” I seriously recommend this book.

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Blurb:

Riley Cooper is on the run. Misha Tokarev, the love of his life, turned out to be an assassin for the Russian mob, and when it comes to character flaws, Riley draws the line at premeditated murder. Alien armor system McClane is also on the run, for reasons that include accidentally crashing a space ship into Earth and evading U.S. military custody. A failed prototype, McClane was scheduled for destruction. Sabotaging the ship put an end to that, but McClane is dubbed a bone rider for good reason—he can’t live without a host body. That’s why he first stows away in Riley’s truck and then in Riley himself. Their reluctant partnership soon evolves into something much more powerful—and personal—than either of them could have imagined.

Together, they embark on a road trip from hell, made all the more exciting by the government troops and mob enforcers hot on their trail. Misha is determined to win Riley back and willing to do whatever it takes to keep him safe. When hitman and alien join forces, they discover their impressive combined potential for death and destruction. It will take everything Riley has to steer them through the mess they create.

Buy it here.

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Disclaimer: I’d never had any contact with J. Fally before reading this book. Any books I post on this blog as recommendations are strictly based on my personal enjoyment of said books and not any affiliation I may or may not have with the authors.

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