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Books Piper Loves: “A Sinner Born” & “Illumination”

Hey, all. 🙂 So I’m introducing a new thing on the blog today. Even before I was published, I rarely wrote reviews. Now, I don’t know how comfortable I am trying to write up critical reviews of work by my friends and peers. You’ll never find an actual review, a la Jessewave or The Novel Approach, on this blog. But I’ve never had a problem yelling it from the mountaintops when I love a particular book. I like to spread the love, and that being the case, since I’m just as much of a reader as a writer, I’ve decided to post about the books I love, old or new. This won’t necessarily be happening on a regular schedule because of course it’s all dependent on when I come across a book I’m really crazy about, but to kick it off I’ve decided to go with a doubleheader featuring two books I read and loved recently. And without any further ado…


First we have A Sinner Born, which is book three in Avril Ashton’s popular Brooklyn Sinners series, the story of Syren and Kane. Syren is a man with many, many secrets. Kane is a man still grieving the death of his partner. And when these two come together, it’s sizzling. As an added bonus, one of the heroes has a panty fetish, which is one of my kinks, so the book really worked for me! For the more sensitive readers out there, there is some difficult subject matter, like self-harm and mentions of rape and child abuse, but I thought those topics were all well-handled. So if you like federal marshals and bad boys with a lot of attitude, I definitely recommend you check this one out!


Secondly, is Rowan Speedwell’s Illumination.

Now, I make no secret of the fact that I think Rowan Speedwell is pretty much the bee’s knees. She’s an awesome person and an awesome writer, and I haven’t read a single thing by her I haven’t loved. Illumination is no exception. You can tell the subject of illuminating books is something Rowan is very familiar with. In fact, she does it herself, and her knowledge of the subject makes itself known in this book and adds such richness that it made me wish I had a halfway decent hand at drawing or painting so I could try it myself. Then there are the characters, Adam and Miles, who are both battling their own demons, but came together so beautifully. I was rooting for them both the whole time, and I loved the book so much that when I saw Rowan at GRL, I bought a copy of the paperback so she could sign it, despite already having the ebook. Rowan knows her stuff and her writing is lovely. Every time I read a book of hers, it’s like a gift. So, of course, this one is highly recommended.  ❤


And as a disclaimer, some of the books I love will doubtless be by people I know or consider friends, because my friendships with a lot of my fellow authors began when I loved one of their books and contacted them to say just how much. But there will also be books featured by authors who I’ve never really spoken to or maybe only rarely on social media sites. Suffice it to say, I’m trying to keep it unbiased, but when I love a book, I love a book, and I have no problems saying so. Friend, acquaintance, or stranger, it doesn’t matter to me who wrote it. 🙂


Halfway through our adventure

2013-06-24 11.53.22Hey, all! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. My friend Sue and I have been going almost non-stop since we left Chicago on June 23rd. :)First, we hit Rome, which was just amazing. I could have easily spent an entire month just exploring Italy, and I definitely want to go back one day. We did a few tours while we were there. One of ancient Rome, which took us to sights like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. That was a hard tour — three hours of walking under a blazing sun on one of the hottest days we’ve experienced so far — and yet, it was probably my favorite for all that. There was a moment where we were sitting across the street from the Colosseum having lunch (see pic above), which stands out as one of the coolest moments of my life so far. Then we did a tour of the Tuscan countryside and also a tour of a few crypts and old churches. It was a ton of fun and a lot of activities packed into a short amount of time. The only downside was that I got sick the day after the ancient Rome tour and still haven’t fully recovered, though I’m doing loads better. 

2013-06-30 15.07.10After Rome, we moved on to Paris, where we met my friend, Terry, and his husband, A. We hit up as much as we could — the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Saint-Chapelle, Champs-Élysées, Montmarte (that’s a pic of the real Moulin Rouge on the left) — as well as attending the gay pride parade on the 29th and having some truly decadent hot chocolate at Angelina (I thought I’d go into a diabetic coma!). By the time it was all over, we were old pros at getting around on the Metro (though, mainly we just followed behind wherever A. led like ducklings :P). Then Terry and A. accompanied us to London via the Eurostar.

Once we were in London, we found our nearest tube stop and familiarized ourselves with the area a bit. Then the next day we went to Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesdon for the Harry Potter tour, which was awesome! My favorite part was the model of Hogwarts, which you can see a bit further down.

We’ve definitely gotten to know the London underground very well, and we’ve both even gone on it by ourselves when we went to 2013-07-02 15.04.40separate activities the other day. Definitely much easier (and cheaper) than hailing cabs everywhere. So far in London, we did a “snapshot” tour, which took us to the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Covent Garden, the London Eye, and gave us a general overview of things like the Parliament and Big Ben. Then another day we did a Jack the Ripper tour with Marie Sexton and Rowan Speedwell, who are over here to attend the UK Meet. Yesterday, I met up with Melanie Tushmore, who took me on a brief tour of the markets at Camden. And today Sue and I had tea at The Tea Room on the 2nd floor of Harrods and checked out the market in Notting Hill. Tomorrow, we’re doing a tour that includes Stonehenge and Bath, which I’m really looking forward to! Josephine Myles will be meeting us in Bath since she lives nearby and giving us a tour and showing me all the spots any Jane Austen fan would appreciate. 😀 Later in the week, we’re doing a tour of Brighton with Marie and Rowan, Sue and I are getting tattoos to commemorate our trip (it was the first time overseas for both of us!), and on Wed or Thurs, I will likely be going to check out the London Dungeon before we move on to Manchester. 

My trip will be going on for an entire month, so right now I’m only halfway through. Sue only has another week, as she’s leaving for home right after the UK Meet. I still have two more countries to visit after we’re done in England. I’m looking forward to it! 🙂

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