Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tech idiot strikes again

As some of you know only too well, technology and I don't get along so well. If Pam didn't bail me out of my issues now and then, I'd be off the web completely. For those of you who wondered what the heck happened this last week and a half, I went to a wedding and had some vacation days, secure in the idea that I'd set everything up to run smoothly in my absence.

I came back to find I broke Blogger.

Well, no. Blogger broke me, while I was running back and forth and back and forth trying to figure out what happened to ALL THOSE POSTS. THEY ARE RIGHT THERE! WHY AREN'T THEY POSTED!

Ms. Webmistress takes one look and says, "They're set to draft. Reschedule, all is good." Or words to that effect. I'm pretty sure she didn't use the word dodo-egg. Did you? Even if I am? I am.

So, back to my regularly scheduled stuff. For the remainder of this week, we shall have a Thursday pic of extra yumminess to make up for missing a week, and then the long awaited review of Spokes. Awaited by me, at any rate, since I've been trying to time it for a big cycling race. How I missed a race three weeks long is a mystery, right up there with my untechiness, but the USA Pro Cycling Challenge just went through Colorado, and US rider Tejay Van Garderen of BMC Racing won. Go, Tejay!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Picture is Worth...

Lunch Atop A Skyscraper 1932
Lunch Atop A Skyscraper 1932

Here's a place you'll never find me, I kinda want to barf just looking. But will it inspire someone? If you have 100 to 1000 words for this or any other of my Thursday pics, send it along and I'll post it, and send your news along too. See How Thousand Word Thursday Works for details.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Second Helpings by Charlie Cochrane

Title: Second Helpings
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Purchase at Riptide
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Amber Shah
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 38k words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf

Stuart Collins’s life might as well have ended a year ago when his partner died in a car crash. Even Stuart’s widowed father has found new love with an old friend, Isabel Franklin, so why can’t Stuart be bothered to try?

Then he gets a phone call from Isabel’s son, Paul, who wants to check out whether or not Mr. Collins is good enough for his mother. During dinner together, though, they end up checking out each other. Trouble is, Paul’s got a boyfriend—or maybe he doesn’t, since the boyfriend’s supposedly giving Paul the push by ignoring him. Or maybe Paul just wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Honesty with each other is the only way to move forward. But maybe honesty with themselves is what they really need.


This story gives us a low key look at Stuart, who is grieving the loss of his husband, and Paul, whose long distance relationship has crumbled and how the two of them get past the pain enough to have a second chance.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Coming this week

The Breakfall blog tour will continue through August 15

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find at Amazon,  Barnes&Noble,  KOBO, and Dreamspinner Press: 

This has been a Breakfall kind of week, with an excerpt and a review for the book, as well as a review of Dead Man and the Army of Frogs by Lou ribbit Harper.

And for our regularly scheduled adventures, we'll have reviews for Charlie Cochrane's Second Helpings, and for a book inspired by the Tour de France, namely Spokes by P.D. Singer.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Breakfall by Kate Pavelle

Title: Breakfall
Author: Kate Pavelle
Purchase at Dreamspinner
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Marla Fanning
Genre: contemporary
Length: 270 pages, 84k
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

Sexual assault doesn't discriminate. Aikido instructor Sean Gallaway learns that when he falls prey to a violent stalker. Asbjorn Lund, a karate sensei on campus and a Navy vet, yearns to teach Sean how to survive. How to overcome. How to recover. Sean feels hunted and alone as the stalker escalates, testing his boundaries. With the entire dojo at his back, Sean resolves to play bait. He will catch the predator stalking him and reclaim his sense of self if it's the last thing he does. Yet Sean's hunger for justice clashes with Asbjorn's protective streak, and their budding romance might not survive their war of wills.


I admit starting this book with some trepidation, because of the sexual assault that is central to the plot of recovering trust in oneself, one's skills, and in others. I’ve read other work from this author and trusted her to carry me through difficult territory.

I am glad I read this book.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A picture is worth...

We have an aikido picture today, in honor of Kate Pavelle's book Breakfall. I was so interested in the martial arts that play such a big part of the story that I went looking. Don't forget to check the next post down for a brief excerpt from the book, and a rafflecopter link.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Breakfall by Kate Pavelle, excerpt and giveaway

Thanks for swinging by today: we're playing with Kate Pavelle, who sent us a snippet of her new novel, Breakfall. I've finished it and will be posting a review Saturday, and let me tell you, I had to keep turning the pages.

Read, enjoy, sign up on the Rafflecopter: you may win a copy, and if you don't, you'll still want one of your own. 

Sean and Asbjorn fight two different styles, have lived two different lives, and are brought together by some big orange gym mats. Of course, what's between them doesn't stay in the dojo. Here's a taste of them figuring each other out.


Sean didn’t know. He never tried it. Burrows-sensei disapproved of contamination by other martial arts.

“Contaminating aikido by other arts would make it too easy to resort to violence,” he said, repeating the word he heard so many times. “If you are defending yourself, and if your timing is right and you keep the principles in mind, all you have to do is trust the technique to work.”

The response to his rehearsed words was action. Strong arms on his biceps and hips against his hip.

Asbjorn pushed him roughly against the brick wall of the building next to them.

“Do something, Sean.” Asbjorn’s voice was calm.

Sean was pinned.

He curled his wrists in and attempted to raise his arms, but with his hips immobilized, it was impossible to use his whole body. He could not simply curl a man like Asbjorn. Frustrated, he stomped on Asbjorn’s foot.

Asbjorn smiled. “Sometimes, your style will be incompatible with the style of somebody else. You can also be smaller or physically weaker.”

The stubborn set of Sean’s jaw told Asbjorn he tried to resist the impending feeling of humiliation and defeat. Sean said, “You’re saying there’s nothing I can do.”

“No. I’m saying you have to learn a few dirty tricks.”

“I can’t use my hands.”

“You can use your head, though. I’m close enough for a head-butt. If you hit my nose with your forehead, I’ll let go right quick.”

Asbjorn loosened his grip on Sean’s arms and slid his large hands onto the rough surface by Sean’s head. He kept his hips pressed forward, his face buried in Sean’s hair, and seemed disinclined to move.

“Sean.” Asbjorn’s voice was but a whisper.

“What are you doing?”

There was a pause before Asbjorn broke the silence. “I’m wondering that myself.”


Fall Trilogy: Book One

Sexual assault doesn't discriminate. Aikido instructor Sean Gallaway learns that when he falls prey to a violent stalker. Asbjorn Lund, a karate sensei on campus and a Navy vet, yearns to teach Sean how to survive. How to overcome. How to recover. Sean feels hunted and alone as the stalker escalates, testing his boundaries. With the entire dojo at his back, Sean resolves to play bait. He will catch the animal stalking him and reclaim his sense of self if it's the last thing he does. Yet Sean's hunger for justice clashes with Asbjorn's protective streak, and their budding romance might not survive their war of wills.

Get your copy at your favorite online book store:


That's a sure thing!  Try your luck here:

Just about everything Kate Pavelle writes is colored by her life experiences, whether the book in your hand is romance, mystery, or adventure. Kate grew up under a totalitarian regime behind the Iron Curtain. In her life, she has been a hungry refugee and a hopeful immigrant, a crime victim and a force of lawful vengeance, a humble employee and a business owner, an unemployed free-lancer and a corporate executive, a scientist and an artist, a storyteller volunteering for her local storytelling guild, a martial artist, and a triathlete. Kate’s frequent travels imbue her stories with local color from places both exotic and mundane.

Kate Pavelle is encouraged in her writing by her husband, children and pets, and tries not to kill her extensive garden in her free time. Out of the five and a half languages she speaks, English is her favorite comfort zone.

Thank you, Kate, and visitors, you'll get my full opinion on the book a little later this week on my regular review day. Hint:  I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dead Man and the Army of Frogs by Lou Harper

Title: Dead Man and the Army of Frogs
Author: Lou Harper
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Genre: paranormal
Length: 40k est
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf

All Denton wanted was a few minions. He got frogs instead.

Web developer by day and necromancer by night, Denton Mills is used to seeing things nobody else can. When he starts hallucinating frogs, he simply assumes they have something to do with his boyfriend Bran's obsession.

Bran Maurell is a witch, who in a youthful outburst, accidentally turned his then-lover, Peter, into a croaker. Bran has been trying ever since to reverse the spell. A fresh amphibian encounter only spurs him to double his efforts.

As if Peter's ghost coming between them weren't enough, Denton and Bran are forced to deal with several errant spirits stalking the citizens of Chicago. Between a French chef who refuses to admit he's dead, and malevolent creatures bent on causing mayhem, jealousy may be the least of Denton's problems.


Oh what fun, “Dead Man” Denton (who sees death traces and has other interactions with the deceased and/or paranormal) and his witch/herbalist boyfriend Bran are back for another round of stories. We first meet Denton as a bit player in the excellent “Sanguine” books, and he’s been given the star turn in his own series.

Denton’s sweetly exuberant and ready for adventure, which he and more pessimistic Bran find both in the course of daily life and in Bran’s line of work. Their skills complement each other as we’ve seen in “Dead Man and the Restless Spirits” and “Dead Man and the Lustful Spirit”, and here too it takes both of them to accomplish their goals. Told in the now familiar format of linked short stories with an overarching theme, this is a great continuation of this couple's story.

I started giggling when I saw the title; the frogs hop through the stories and also through Bran’s past in a tragicomic way. Meanwhile, Denton’s a little creeped out by the bulgy-eyed specters. We learn a lot more about Bran in this book, from his family life to his homeschooling with an unusual curriculum to his magical abilities and past love. He’s a prickly guy, but he has reasons, and he’s evolving into someone less dour under the sunshine of Denton’s love. It’s not an easy transformation, and certainly not a linear one. “Men,” says Joy, Denton’s BFF and business partner. “Can’t live with them, can’t bury them under the porch.”

The paranormal adventures are a mix of the humorous here, from a haunted Dutch oven to the seriousness of murder, spiced up with Joy, other characters from previous stories, and Bran’s parents. Gabe from the Sanguine stories appears again. Heh.

The series should be read in order for maximum enjoyment, although if you wandered in at this point you wouldn’t be totally lost. Still, don’t give up the pleasure of watching Denton and Bran grow into their love and their power. Much fun. 4.5 marbles

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Coming this week

Thanks for swinging by! This week we have something a little different coming up. Kate Pavelle will be hanging out for a bit, with some of her lovely work to share. Be sure to sign up once that rafflecopter widget goes live. In addition to her ebooks and a print copy of her latest, which I am currently reading, she's offering a paperback of Wild Horses, which is also in my TBR pile.  Join us for the Breakfall blog tour! Or else!
(Kate wouldn't really go Kai-ya! on you. But her pen is as mighty as her sword. Be here.)

Also this week, we have a review of Lou Harper's Dead Man and the Army of Frogs, a perfectly nommy prompt pic, and uh, there just might be a rant.

Last week, we had a review of Lloyd Meeker's excellent The Companion and Vanessa North's equally excellent if very different Double Up. I hit the jackpot for good stuff these last few weeks. And what's coming up is also great! Mmmm, bicyclists in spandex....

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Companion by Lloyd A. Meeker

Title: The Companion
Author: Lloyd A. Meeker
Purchase at Dreamspinner
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: DWS Photography
Genre: contemporary, mystery
Length: 220 pages, 70k words
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf, print

Shepherd Bucknam hasn’t had a lover in more than a decade and doesn’t need one. As a Daka, he coaches men in the sacred art and mystery of sexual ecstasy all the time, and he loves his work. It’s his calling. In fact, he’s perfectly content—except for the terrors of his recurring nightmare and the ominous blood-red birthmarks on his neck. He’s convinced that together they foretell his early and violent death.

When Shepherd’s young protégé is murdered, LAPD Detective Marco Fidanza gets the case. The two men are worlds apart: Marco has fought hard for everything he’s accomplished, in sharp contrast to the apparent ease of Shepherd’s inherited wealth—but their mutual attraction is too hot for either of them to ignore.

Shepherd swears he’ll help find his protégé’s killer, but Marco warns him to stay out of it. When an influential politician is implicated, the police investigation grinds to a halt. Shepherd hires his own investigator. Marco calls it dangerous meddling. As their volatile relationship deepens, Shepherd discovers his nightmares might not relate to the future, but to the deadly legacy of a past life—a life he may have to revisit before he can fully live and love in this one.


There’s so much packed into this novel that I wasn’t at all sure the author could tie everything together, but I shouldn’t have worried. Lloyd Meeker did a great job of solving mysteries, concluding investigations, and finding hope and a future for two men who aren’t always on the same page.