Tag Archives: published: 2010-12

All She Wrote by Josh Lanyon

All She Wrote

All She Wrote by Josh Lanyon

Series: Holmes & Moriarty, Book 2
Published by: Samhain Publishing on December 28, 2010
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Christopher “Kit” Holmes cannot turn down a request to help out his former mentor, Anna Hitchcock. And he certainly wishes he could. But she’s called to ask him to step in and host a writing retreat at her home and he must heed the call. And to do so he must cancel yet another weekend with J.X. Moriarty, his new boyfriend, putting strain on an already tenuous relationship.

But Kit finds his problems are worse than he imagined after he arrives at Anna’s home. The fall that led to her injury and inability to host the event herself–well, it may not have been an accident. Anna suspects someone purposely injured her. And as Kit learns more about the various attendees at the writing retreat, he quickly learns that pretty much everyone around him has some level of motive for being the culprit. And Kit once again becomes an amateur sleuth, trying to find answers and unwittingly putting himself in danger. But will he be able to find out the truth before anyone else is hurt? And will he be able to make up with J.X. when all is said and done?

If you’ve read the first book in this series, you can expect a similar feel and approach in this second installment. Kit wanders unknowingly into a case and falls deep into his quest to solve it. Unexpected twists and turns fall onto his path along the way. And the danger becomes very real to him on more than one occasion. What’s different here is that the ending doesn’t wrap up quite as nicely as the first book. And probably not quite as nicely as most readers would like to see. But just as life is complex and doesn’t always go the way we’d expect or like, I appreciate this approach on some level myself.

Guardian by Carole Cummings

Guardian

Guardian by Carole Cummings

Series: Aisling, Book 1
Published by: Prizm Books on December 15, 2010
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Strange crimes aren’t new to Constable Dallin Brayden. But as he sits across from Wilfred Calder and hears the story of the incident he was involved in, something doesn’t add up. And Wil’s reaction to Dallin leaves him even more surprised.

The truth of the matter is that there’s an entire history that Dallin doesn’t know. At the same time, the truth that Wil has been given isn’t exactly accurate. What is certain, though, is that Wil is on the run. And Dallin is more connected to him than he could ever have imagined.

I enjoyed the world that Carole Cummings created here. There’s a rich history, and the unexpected connections between Wil and Dallin makes for an interesting set up. And it gives us, as readers, some great insight into Dallin’s character.

What I would have liked to see, though, is a bit more of the relationship development between these two. I’m guessing this is a set up for more in later books in the series, but there’s just not that much to find in this first book.

But if you’re looking for an interesting and engaging fantasy story with intrigue and rich world building, you’ll find it here.

The Christmas Wager by Jamie Fessenden

The Christmas Wager

The Christmas Wager by Jamie Fessenden

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on December 22, 2010
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

When Lord Thomas Barrington left his family home six years ago, he expected he might never return. His father, the duke, made it very clear that if Thomas was unwilling to follow his duty to the family, he was unwelcome in their home. Of course, duty to his family being marriage to a woman he didn’t love meant that Thomas could never oblige.

But Thomas has lost a bet to his best friend, Andrew Nash. And it’s a bet that Thomas can’t pay. Andrew is willing to accept something else in return: a Christmas at Barrington Hall. A Barrington Hall Christmas has always been a spectacular affair. So Thomas can understand why Andrew wants to witness it. But he’s still very unhappy about the prospect of once again coming face-to-face with his father.

The big surprise when they arrive, however, is not the duke’s attitude. It’s that Christmas is no longer celebrated at Barrington Hall. And Thomas could let that go, except that he’s disappointed that his niece, Susan, doesn’t get to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year. So he sets out on a mission to bring Christmas back to his family home.

Brewing alongside all of this, though, is Andrew’s unspoken attraction to Thomas. And then there’s the feelings Thomas has when he looks at Andrew that he can’t explain. Exploring and giving in to those feelings isn’t part of Thomas’s plan. And then there’s the fact that doing so would be a crime. But can someone deny their passion even if they strive to bury it in the deepest recesses of their being?

What a fun historical! Yes, there is the m/m romance element, but this is about so much more than that. It’s about family, expectations, grief and loss, discovering yourself, forgiveness…the list goes on and on.  The fact that Thomas is already on uneasy footing with his father is also an interesting element. (So often, it’s the whole dating a man thing that leads to estrangement in a historical novel.) That really brings the family issues to the forefront of this story. And they are handled wonderfully.

Solid recommendation from me!

Love Means… No Fear by Andrew Grey

9709849Title: Love Means… No Fear (Farm, Book 4)
Author: Andrew Grey
Published: December 27, 2010
Pages: 210
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:

After being the victim of an attack that leaves him in pain and with mobility issues, Raine goes to the ranch owned by his friends Geoff and Eli to complete his recovery. While Raine is there, Eli’s brother Jonah shows up to spend some time during his Rumspringa. Despite Raine’s first impression of Jonah, he can’t help finding himself drawn to him. But can Raine, an out gay man from the city, truly win over Jonah, a sheltered young man from an Amish community who is still learning about the outside world? And even if he can, is it worth it when Jonah is likely to just go back to his community at the end of the year and Raine is headed back to Chicago?

While I felt like the last two installments in this series had some rather stark similarities, this one seems a bit fresher. Granted, there is the theme returning from the first book as one of the main characters is coming from an Amish community and is faced with learning about the outside world and himself, as well as decisions about where he wants to end up in the end. But the characters here are very different, as are their circumstances. I also feel like this installment included a bit more bedroom scenes that previous books – the plot to sex ratio is heavier to the latter when compared to the early parts of the series.

Overall, Andrew Grey continues to add to the world he’s created, slowly introducing more wonderful characters into the mix.

Title: Icecapade
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publication Date: November 16, 2010

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
A short story about thief-turned-novelist Noel Snow who once seduced FBI agent Robert Cuffe before disappearing with the spoils of one of his heists. Snow has gone on to model one of the characters in his book series after Cuffe and, though it’s been years since they’ve seen each other, he still finds himself fascinated with the lawman. So it’s with a bit of a thrill (both excitement and fear) for Snow when Cuffe shows up at his home just before Christmas. Cuffe makes it clear he’s there as part of an investigation and is convinced Snow is guilty – but can Snow prove he wasn’t involved in this recent string of crimes? Can he find a way to get Cuffe to forgive him for what happened years ago (and since)?

A shorter story, but very well-written, which is something I’ve come to expect from Josh Lanyon. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Cuffe and Snow and their exchanges throughout the book make both the tension and the way they both feel about the past really come to life on the page. I definitely give this one a recommendation.