Friday the 13th Book Recommendations!

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It’s Friday the 13th! Which means not only is it Friday, but it’s the unluckiest day of the month. Why not turn your luck around (and get your weekend off to a great start) with some spooky Friday the 13th reads?

I asked the reviewers at JLR what their favorite creepy and eerie reads are, and here’s what some of them recommend:

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Series Spotlight on Samhain Publishing!

A special Series Spotlight this week. I’m taking a page out of Amy Jo Cousins’ book by putting a spotlight on my favorite titles from Samhain Publishing.

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Samhain Publishing just announced that they’re beginning to ramp down operations in preparation for closing their doors for good. The news is incredibly upsetting, and the entire romance community seems to be reeling as hundreds of authors, editors, and artists find themselves without a publishing home.

I want to highlight some of the incredible novels that Samhain has put out. They have a wide range of LGBT titles, and some of my favorite authors are published through them!

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Series Spotlight: A Charm of Magpies Universe, by K.J. Charles

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Historical England meets paranormal urban fantasy, where magic users and Victorian nobility cross paths to solve murders and defeat evil. Take a pint-size magician with a grudge against the titled elite, and a smuggler-turned-Lord who would rather be cursing his way through China, and you have a delectable novel with brilliant world-building and characters!

What started out as a series following the practitioner Stephen Day and the haughty Lord Crane had expanded into a growing universe, showing class struggles and history entwined with magic and mystery. And the newest book in the series is out in a few weeks!

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A Charm of Magpies Series, by K.J. Charles
First Published: September 2013
Number of Books: 6 (plus several short stories)
First Book: The Magpie Lord
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Gay M/M Romance

What you’ll find in the Charm of Magpies ‘verse:

  • magic users who do what’s right, even when it’s not proper
  • aristocracy that doesn’t give a damn about birth and breeding
  • bad guys who aren’t always bad
  • men without magic falling in love with magicians
  • lots of sex… often (but not always) on desks
  • an entire world of magicians lurking beneath the streets of London

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Series Spotlight: Channeling Morpheus, by Jordan Castillo Price

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So you like dark, gritty novels with disillusioned and world-weary characters? What about vampires? What about a combination of the two, in the form of a young man desperate for revenge, a vampire with zero fucks left to give, and copious eyeliner and cigarettes?

Sounds good, right? Then let me tell you about this series:

Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion, by Jordan Castillo Price
First Published: 2008
Number of Books: 10 (plus several in-between shorts)
First Book: Payback

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Series Spotlight: SPECTR, Series 1, by Jordan L. Hawk

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I recently re-read the first part of Jordan L. Hawk’s magnificent paranormal M/M series, SPECTR (covering Book #1.1 through #1.6). With Series Two underway, and #2.2 due out next month, I wanted to revisit this captivating series, and talk about how much I love Jordan’s brilliant and unique world of demons and vampires.

Already a fan of the series? “Dancer of Death” (#2.2) is out on February 16, and Jordan is offering a copy to one winner when it comes out! Keep reading to find out how to enter! (Open worldwide.)

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Things you can expect from a SPECTR novel:

– A federal agent with brilliant blue eyes
– A sassy, sarcastic young man who’s more than he appears
– A vampire who most certainly does not sparkle
– Menage sex with only two bodies
– Mortal nonsense

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Series Spotlight: Captive Prince, by C.S. Pacat

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I always assumed that the Captive Prince trilogy was just one of those things that everyone knew about. It’s been around for years, first as a free online serial, and then published a few years ago. The fans of the series are devout, creating art and writing long theory posts and fan fiction.

But recently I’ve realized that a lot of people aren’t aware of this incredible series. With the third and final book finally coming out in a couple of days (after literally years of waiting!), I wanted to spotlight the series and tell you more about it.

This review will only cover the first two books of the series, and will contain no spoilers. My review of Book 3, Kings Rising, will post tomorrow evening (also no spoilers).

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Series Name: The Captive Prince Trilogy
Author: C.S. Pacat
Publisher: Berkley/NAL
Genres: Gay, Bisexual, M/M, Fantasy,
Mature/Erotic Content, War Story

Books:

1: Captive Prince
2: Prince’s Gambit
3: Kings Rising (out February 2, 2016)

What It’s About:

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the truthful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Okay, wait. I don’t like this summary much.

This story is about so many things that a simple blurb doesn’t cover them all. It’s a story about politics and manipulation and cunning and trust. When Damen is betrayed and sent to the rival nation of Vere as a pleasure slave, it’s a fate worse than death; to reveal his identity would lead to torture, but being a pleasure slave– submissive and at a master’s whim– goes against everything Damen knows. But his new owner, Prince Laurent of Vere, has his own enemies to fight against, and the two men soon find themselves unwilling allies.

War is looming, intrigue and mystery hides around every corner, and Laurent and Damen find themselves battling dangerous enemies on multiple fronts.

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Why should you check it out?

C.S. Pacat writes what is without a doubt among the best prose I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. She has a way with words that provokes this deep emotional response, using language like a weapon that cuts deep in your soul. You care about the characters and their fates, and even secondary characters have a place of importance. And the story itself is gripping; adventure and action, brilliant turns and revelations that literally have you gasping out loud.

I personally dislike slave tropes, for the most part. But this is not slave fiction as you know it, and C.S. slowly builds up a relationship between Damen and Laurent that is more beautiful than any conventional romance you’ve ever read. I think many people would hesitate to call this a romance, but I don’t know of any better word to describe the relationship that forms between these two men.

Check out this interview with C.S. Pacat, which features some incredible fan art of the series!

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An excerpt from Captive Prince:

Damen opened his mouth to reply, and found his words stopped by the startling touch of Laurent’s fingers against his lips, a thumb brushing his jawline. It was the sort of absent touch that any master at the table might give to a pet. But from the shocked reaction that rolled over the courtiers at the table, it was clear that Laurent did not do this sort of thing often. Or ever.

“My pet was feeling neglected,” Laurent apologised to Torveld.

“He’s the captive Kastor sent you to train?” said Torveld, curiously. “He’s—safe?”

“He looks combative, but he’s really very docile and adoring,” said Laurent, “like a puppy.”

“A puppy,” said Torveld.

To demonstrate, Laurent picked up a confection of crushed nuts and honey and held it out to Damen as he had at the ring, between thumb and forefinger.

“Sweetmeat?” said Laurent.

In the stretched-out moment that followed, Damen thought explicitly about killing him.

Damen leaned in. It was sickly sweet. He didn’t let his lips touch Laurent’s fingers. A great many people were looking at them. Laurent washed his fingers fastidiously in the gold washing bowl when he was done, and dried them on a little square cloth of silk.

— Captive Prince (print edition, Berkley Publishing Group, 2013), page 148

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In conclusion…

This is an incredible trilogy. Everyone I know who has picked it up has ended up addicted to C.S. Pacat’s brilliant world, and fans have remained faithful even after years of waiting for the conclusion.

Also, I’ve never had a crush on a fictional character quite like the one I have on Laurent. *blushes*

Links:

Author’s Website
Official Map of the Captive Prince World

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Series Spotlight: Faith, Love & Devotion, by Tere Michaels

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I’m starting a new weekly series on JLR, to highlight my favorite series and tell you why I love them so much.  I’m starting this Spotlight off with one of very first M/M series that I ever read: Faith, Love & Devotion, by Tere Michaels!

I actually found a first print edition copy of Faith & Fidelity (Book #1) in my local used book store earlier this month… but since I already own the series, I thought it would make a great prize! So keep reading for your chance to win a paperback copy of the first book in the Faith, Love & Devotion series!

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Series Name: Faith, Love & Devotion
First Published: September 2008, Loose ID
Currently Published by Dreamspinner Press

Books:

01: Faith & Fidelity
02: Love & Loyalty
03: Duty & Devotion
04: Cherish
05: Blessed
06: Truth & Tenderness

(Note: Books 4 and 5 were published together under the title “Cherish & Blessed”)

What’s It About:

New York City Vice Detective Evan Cerelli has lost his wife, the only person he ever loved and slept with. He’s trying to get on with his life, build a life for his children. Former Homicide Detective Matt Haight is a ladies’ man, all sex/no commitment. He’s depressed, having a midlife crisis, and not sure where his life is headed.

The two find friendship in the bottom of a shared bottle. When the friendship turns to love, it shakes two straight men to the core and flips their lives inside out. Kids, families, careers that are not gay-friendly — can all the love in the world overcome the obstacles to faith and fidelity?

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Top Ten Tuesday: What I’m Thankful For

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Thanksgiving is very much an American (and Canadian!) holiday, but the entire concept of being thankful, and spending the day with family, friends, and good food, is something we can all relate to.

I’m thankful for a lot this year. Mostly, I’m thankful that I’ll be moving home, after years overseas, next month.

But keeping with the blog theme, here are a few bookish things that I’m thankful for this November (in no particular order):

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books on the Screen in 2016 (and beyond)

top-ten-tuesday-textThis weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

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Love ’em or hate ’em, but Hollywood is really loving book adaptations right now. And it’s not just the silver screen that’s getting the literary treatment; Game of Thrones is one of the most-watched shows in the world, and The Magicians and Shadowhunters are coming to cable very soon.

Here are ten book adaptations that I can’t wait to see (in no particular order):

The Magicians (TV: SyFy), based on the books by Lev Grossman

The college version of Harry Potter, only Grossman pulls no punches. This is a world of sexuality, violence, and the horrible realization that childhood dreams aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be. The show has aged the characters from undergrad to graduate school (for logistic reasons, as the books cover several years after graduating), but the characters look stunning!

The Scorpio Races (Movie), based on the book by Maggie Stiefvater

I am an unapologetic Stievater nut. So the upcoming adaptation of her YA fantasy novel is pretty high on my list of MUST SEES! There’s no official release date yet, but I’ll definitely be at the midnight showing.

Suicide Squad (Movie), based on the DC comics

I’m not a huge DC fan, but this movie looks amaaaaaazing, and I’ve heard great things about the comics that its based off of.

Deadpool (Movie), based on the Marvel comics

But I am a huge Marvel fan, so let me ramble for a second about Deadpool. It’s going to be violent. It’s going to be filthy. It’s going to make you want to touch yourself. Probably. And they’re sticking to the comics in a big way… the director just emphasized in an interview that Deadpool will be played as pansexual!

American Gods (TV: Starz), based on the book by Neil Gaiman

There’s not a lot of information available yet about this series, but we know that it’s being directed by Bryan Fuller of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies fame, and Gaiman is writing the script. They’ve spoken about being true to character descriptions, too, so I have very high hopes for this show!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Movie), based on the book by Ransom Riggs

We still have 13 months until this movie hits the big screen, but with an all-star cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Green, and more), and an amazing text to pull from, I’m really excited for what I hope will be an eerie, gorgeous movie. AND IT’S TIM BURTON DIRECTING OMG!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Movie), based on the book by J.K. Rowling

I know, you’re wondering why this wasn’t the VERY FIRST THING on my list. Two reasons: one, thinking about it too hard makes me want to cry because I WANT IT NOOOOOOOW, and two, I’m still freaking out about seeing the Cursed Child stage play in London next July.

But OH MY GOD, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. 1920s, magical creatures, and Eddie Redmayne? Oh gods yes.

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The B.F.G. (Movie), based on the book by Roald Dahl

I literally just heard about this the other day, and quietly freaked out. There’s next to no information available for it, other than a summer 2016 release date and the fact that Jemaine Clement (from Flight of the Conchords!!!) will be in it.

I’m just going to hold my breath here until next summer. (PLEASE DON’T RUIN IT. PLEASE DON’T RUIN IT!)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair (Movie), based on the book by C.S. Lewis

IS THIS A RUMOR? I have no idea. I can’t find ANYTHING about it, other than an IMDB page, but I’m including it because I really love the first three Narnia movies. I have them all on DVD, and watch them when I need a comfort film. In fact, my collection of the books is one of my most prized possessions (a hard-to-find edition given to me in bits and pieces by family members as they found books from the set in used bookstores over several years).

Shadowhunters (TV), based on the books by Cassandra Claire

While I personally am not anticipating this series, I know that a lot of people are. It starts up soon, and I’ve seen a lot of promo for it:


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What TV and movie adaptations are you looking forward to?

Top Ten Tuesday: Waiting on Book Number Two

top-ten-tuesday-textThis weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday features authors who write an amazing first book… and now we’re just waiting for Book #2 to come along!

And please drop me a comment with a link to your Debut Authors list, and let me know what authors you’re looking forward to seeing something new from!

1 through 3

Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

This is without a doubt one of my favorite novels of all time. No sign of a second novel just yet, but I keep hoping!

Renée Ahdieh, The Wrath and the Dawn

A stunning debut novel, thankfully we don’t have to wait too long for Ahdieh’s second novel! The Rose and the Dagger is due out on May 3, 2016!

Roan Parrish, In the Middle of Somewhere (My Review: ★★★½)

A new author in the M/M genre, her first novel definitely caught my attention, and she wrote a short story in the Lead Me Into Darkness anthology that just came out!

4 through 6

Noelle Stevenson, Nimona

Noelle has been writing for a few TV shows, as well as the immensely fabulous Lumberjanes comic, but I think she’s at her best when she writes and illustrates. Hopefully we’ll see another series from her solo soon!

Alex Gino, George (My Review: ★★★★★)

Alex really caught my attention with their debut novel, about a transgender middle school child. I hope they’ll write more books about LGBT+ for children soon, because it’s a niche that desperately needs to be filled!

Becky Albertalli, Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda (My Review: ★★★★★)

I haven’t seen any news about a second book from Becky, but Fox 2000 just acquired the rights to the movie! AHHHHHH!!!!!!

7 through 10

Andy Weir, The Martian

Okay, it’s been made into a hilarious and brilliant movie with Matt Damon, so…. where’s the next book from the incredibly talented Mr. Weir? Rumor has it that Zhek will be published sometime in 2016…

Lori A. Witt,The Tide of War (My Review: ★★★★

Okay, this is definitely cheating if you know the M/M genre at all… because Witt-Gallagher writes a ton of amazing books under four separate pen names. Lori A. Witt is the science fiction arm of the mastermind, but I absolutely adored her debut scifi novel, and can’t wait for more under this pen name!

Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything (My Review: ★★★★★)

This book shows what it means to truly live, as opposed to just being alive, and I loved her unique voice and quirky characters. I hope Nicola’s next novel has the same great combination of text and art!

Caitlyn McFarland, Dragonsworn (My Reviews: ★★★★★★★★)

Yes, definitely cheating now… because Caitlyn’s second novel came out in September, and the third book in her Dragonsworn trilogy releases in December. But with three book published in six months, I think she still counts as “debut”, right?