Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW "Tempting Danger" by Eileen Wilks


Lily Yu is a San Diego police detective investigating a series of grisly murders that appear to be the work of a werewolf. To hunt down the killer, she must infiltrate the clans. Only one man can help her--a were named Rule Turner, a prince of the lupi, whose charismatic presence disturbs Lily. Rule has his own reasons for helping the investigation--reasons he doesn't want to share with Lily. Logic and honor demand she keep her distance, but the attraction between them is immediate and devastating-and beyond human reason. Now, in a race to fend off evil, Lily finds herself in uncharted territory, tested as never before, and at her back a man who she's not sure she can trust

This book is noteworthy on so many levels. It is layered, complex, smart and well-written.

Things I like about the Story

1. The main character is an Asian American female, detective on the San Diego Police Department.  I'm Asian American, female, from San Diego with lots of friends on the police department. I found Lily easy to relate to.

2. We get a glimpse into some of the obstacles of being a female law enforcement officer, especially being petite and Asian.  

3.  The story makes me think about places where it is difficult to imagine.  As the lupi are being revealed and equality is being debated, prejudice and discrimination rear its ugly head again.  Could there be a time and place where we may be ready and willing to mandate registration and then forceably  require "the other" (in this case to lupi) to take shots in order to prevent the Change, effectively preventing the lupi from being in their nature, who they really are?  We are not that far from history when our government engaged in eugenics and had forced sterilization programs. 

Things I like about the Storytelling Telling
1. I like how Eileen Wilks lays out Lily's thinking, how she connects the dots in a manner  much like a detective would.  I also like how she connects the analogy to gardening: 

"Planning a bed was fun.  Planting was satisfying, and watching the garden come to life filled her in a way nothing else did.  But sometimes she just needed to dig and pull, dig and pull."

2. The first interaction between Lily and Rule is sassy.  These two are unexpected.  She lives a controlled, ordered life out of the spotlight.  He is the gregarious "prince" of the Lupi.  The are brought together as the Chosen, where their bodies are farther ahead than their actual relationship.  They may sleep together, but it is undecided as to whether they like each other.

3.  There are some pretty great lines including:  
"You are as close to perfection as it's possible to get without boredom."

And my absolute favorite,  in response to Rule's breath-taking, speedy driving: 

"Lily cursed under her breath. He glanced at her, and pleasure fled. "I'll slow down. You're pale." "I turn Caucasian at ninety miles an hour and up. Pay no attention."

Why I like the Characters:

1. Ms. Wilks strikes the right note when playing off of Lily's Chinese heritage.  Her characterization is not stereotypical, is not a caricature, and is not gimmicky.  Lily's Chinese American background is relevant, but is not exploited.  I don't often find authors who have the right balance; it is difficult to do.  This one is much appreciated. 

2.  Grandmother is a Padres fan. If you grew up in San Diego, you understand the agony and ecstasy of being a loyal Padres fan. Enough said.

IN A NUTSHELL:  I love this world and its characters.  I cannot wait to read the next book.

SUSAN: BOOK REVIEW "Slam" by J.L. Merrow

Limericks, lies, and puppy-dog eyes...

Jude Biggerstaff is all the way out and loving it - mostly. The Anglo-Japanese university graduate is a carnivore working in a vegan cafe, an amateur poet with only one man in his life. His dog, Bubbles.

Then there's "Karate Crumpet", a man who regularly runs past the cafe with a martial arts class. Jude can only yearn from afar, until the object of his affection rescues him from muggers. And he learns that not only does this calm, competent hunk of muscle have a name - David - but that he s gay.

Jude should have known the universe wouldn't simply let love fall into place. First, David has only one foot out of the closet. Then there's Jude's mother, who lies about her age to the point Jude could be mistaken for jailbait.

With a maze of stories to keep straight, a potential stepfather in the picture, ex-boyfriends who keep spoiling his dates with David, and a friend with a dangerous secret, Jude is beginning to wonder if his and David's lives will ever start to rhyme.

Warnings: Contains a tangled web of little white lies, a smorgasbord of cheesy limericks, a violin called Vanessa, some boots that mean business, and the most adorable little dog ever. Poetry, it's not...

Well…here’s where I’m conflicted.

This book was all kinds of ridiculous.

But some of that ridiculous was kinda hysterical: the first karate class? Had me in stitiches…
And some of that ridiculous is just the kind I like: closeted alpha being a jerk but eventually coming around. Swoon…
Yet some of that ridiculous was so eye-rolling: do I actually LIKE Jude the MC or does he bug the CRAP out of me until I want to scream?...
However, worst of all, much of that ridiculous was just boring: I skimmed all parts not Jude & David…and Bubbles…

I think I would have enjoyed this book much more if it was shorter. I wouldn’t have the time to get even more annoyed with Jude, Keisha might not have even existed, Kevin would be a non-factor, and I could still get my kicks at cracking up over a dude named Knut. PS – it has nothing to do with Slam performances…FYI…I mean it does, but not really…

Alas, I finished having sharpened my skimming skills and having a new desire to pen and perfect my own limericks.

"There was a young gal from the city
Who liked books that were smutty and witty
She preferred man on man
Zane, Hsin, Damen, Vadim were her clan
Such escape made her horny and giddy"

*Can you BELIEVE that was my FIRST? :)

Overall...unimpressed. And this from a Merrow fan! :(

Thursday, April 25, 2013

SUSAN: AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Connect Four w/ T.A. Webb

I don’t know that I can be more excited than I am right now. To have T.A. Webb here for “Connect Four” is…well…no words… ****** (<-me, rendered speechless…)

As I posted here on my review of his book “Second Chances”, Mr. Webb’s stories have seriously impacted my life. Shortly after reading SC, I picked up his short 30-pg “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”. If you haven’t read this…do so…IMMEDIATELY. It is haunting, heartbreaking, and it reminds us that though it’s not in the news as frequently as it once was, AIDS has not gone away. We can’t forget…

So…without further ado…WELCOME TOM!

Tom: It’s great to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me. It’s an honor!


1. Is it true that you started as a reviewer and “one of us” before you began writing? And (yes, sneaking in a second part to Q1), had you always had aspirations to write?

Tom: Absolutely. Well, I actually started as a reader. Funny story…I had my Kindle and was reading something (I love fantasy, sci fi, serial killer books, stuff like that) and realized there was a search function on the e-reader. Anyway, I decided to search for “gay cowboys”. And holy cow, there were so many to choose from!

(Gay cowboys! YES!)

Tom: I hadn’t really read much gay fiction since I was a teenager. I read Patricia Nell Warren’s “The Front Runner” and Gordon Merrick’s “One for the Gods”, and it made me realize there were other gay men out there, I wasn’t alone, and they weren’t all pathetic losers.

So, I downloaded the first book and decided to give it a read. It was Chris Owen’s “Bare Back”. And I fell in love with Tor and Jake. I started looking at the reviews and trying to get some recommendations for other books that might be as good. Some were and some weren’t. And some of the reviewers were good, and some weren’t so good. I found a couple I could trust and stuck with them.

Then I started leaving reviews of my own. I figured, I know what I liked about some of the books, and my opinion as a gay man might help others know what we really thought. Because I noticed a lot of the readers were women (that puzzled me – I had a WTF moment LOL) and I am a guy, and so I did. I tried to keep my focus on the book, not the writer.

Not long after, a couple of writers contacted me! I was so flattered, beyond words. And I had a serious fanboy attack. One was Sue Brown, and she and I quickly became friends. She suggested that I start my own blog. I thought, why not?

That’s how A Bear on Books was born. November 1, 2011 I posted my first reviews there.

And, to answer the second part of your question, yes and no. I started as an English major in college, but quickly realized I didn’t want to teach. And I have an affinity for numbers, so accounting and finance became my professional choice. But I never stopped reading. It wasn’t until I started reviewing at age 50 that my love of writing came roaring back to life.

(Very, very cool. (PS – love your blog!))

2. Your books FEEL…gosh…they just FEEL. I guess it seems like you’re telling stories from personal experience. How personal ARE your stories?

Tom: “Second Chances” is very personal. I lost my mother about 13 years ago, and it was very hard. I was working with a nonprofit at the time, and they were so understanding and supportive, like you would imagine people in that field would be. My relationship was solid, but I had so much stress. I did meet a young man at the agency I was at for ten years (we were a residential treatment center for abused adolescents) who I adored. He was the basis for Robbie. He ran one day, and I only ever saw him one time after that, and I don’t know what happened to him. It broke my heart, and I wanted so badly for this young man to have a happy life, and happily ever after. So I gave him one.

“Let’s Hear it for the Boy”, very personal. Very true to life in some ways.

The other works incorporate some personal experiences and contain threads of people I know, but not as much as these two stories.

3. I have never connected with the EMOTION in books as closely as I have with yours. What do YOU look for in books you read…who/what are your favorites from your reviewer days? Do you still write reviews?

Tom: I look for something that catches my eye. Sometimes I want a good story, sometimes I want to escape. Sometimes I want to read about something real. I always look for something I can relate to. Even if it’s just erotica.

Oh gosh, Amy Lane, Mary Calmes, Andrew Grey, Laura Harner (my writing partner), Scarlett Blackwell, SJD Peterson. Damon Suede’s Hot Head. Anything Chris Owen ever wrote. I will read almost anything.

And yes, I still write reviews. Not as many as I did but I am working on a kind of re-launch of the review blog, featuring some guest reviewers, and maybe some “flash reviews” – limiting them to a hundred words.

(“flash reviews”…I like that idea!)

4. So the follow-up to City Knight, “Knightmare” just recently released and you left us with quite a cliffhanger. What happens next? (j/k…well…unless you want to give us a tiny hint?) And then a follow up to Second Chances based on Robbie’s story…did you know you’d write this or was it due to the overwhelming response to SC? What else is in the pipeline?

Tom: The third Knight book is coming. There will be six this year total in the series – I already have them named and the rough ideas for the stories. There will be another three book arc, but different than Marcus and Benjamin’s. And they will make an appearance. Plus, the four of us Pulp Friction authors are toying with the idea of a “round robin” write featuring all the characters in one story.

“Thursday’s Child” will be next – that’s Robbie’s story. I’m submitting it to Dreamspinner, and hope they want it.

I’m working on a story for the Goodreads M/M group project called “Love on a Wing and a Prayer”.
Then, I have a couple of other stories in the pipeline. One is based on two porn guys who have a flirtation. The other is a period piece set in the 40s. Also I have a sports/grief/comfort related anthology I am planning with two other writers I am VERY excited about.

And not least, “Free Falling Crimson”, the next Altered States book with Laura Harner,

(GAH!!!! So much to look forward to! I’m dying!!!!)

Ok…I’m not ashamed, nor am I apologizing, for making Connect Four into Connect Eight (I’m CURIOUS!)  Thanks for allowing me to ramble, Tom. It’s been OUTSTANDING to have you here at “Love Affair With An E-Reader”!

Tom: It’s been terrific. Thank you for having me. And thank you most of all for liking my guys, all of them. It’s humbling and an honor!

...seriously...how AWESOME is he????? SUCH a huge fan...talented writer and good, good guy!

T.A. Webb's books can be found at ARe and Amazon.

Monday, April 22, 2013

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW - "Off Limits" by Sawyer Bennett

SUMMARY from Goodreads:
“There is a vulnerability there, hovering just below the surface. And I want to pick at it until I expose it. Then I want to kiss it."

Two years ago, Emily Burnham, had an epiphany about the shallowness of her life. And she made it her mission to become a different person…a better woman. Out from under the controlling thumb of her mother, Emily is tasting the real world for the first time. And she likes it.

Nixon Caldwell has served his time in the Marine Corps, surviving two brutal tours in Afghanistan. He is back home, surrounded by what he likes best…isolation. It's certainly the best way to avoid confrontation of the consuming guilt that is weighing him down.

When an accident brings Emily and Nix together, he soon learns he is not the master of his own fate. Struggling with his own pain, Nix tries to guard himself against Emily’s charms. He wants her in his bed, but he doesn’t want her in his heart.

Having grabbed life by the horns, Emily wants it all. But is she willing to accept just the small part of himself that Nix is offering? Can she reach the part of his soul that he has deemed to be Off Limits?

Sawyer Bennett must be a nice person. I say that because it comes out clearly in the genuine kindness of her characters.  Characters like Danny Cross (Off Sides) and Emily Burnham speak from a place deep in the heart.  I think that is why I keep getting drawn into her books.  

In this story, the sweetness of Emily is juxtaposed against the harshness of Nixon.  Dear Nixon, who is healing from a traumatic brain injury, is a loner.  In an attempt to keep his emotions under tight wraps, he isolates himself and pushes everyone else, except his immediate family, away.  Emily manages to breakthrough, not because she helps him peel his layers away, but because she saturates him with her love and caring; and this soften him to open up.  

This story has just enough spice to make the room get a little warm.  (Just like I like it.)  And it is Sawyer Bennett's straight forward writing style that continues to draw me in.  I've said in a previous review, and  it bears repeating, that Ms.  storytelling is refreshing and palate-cleansing from some of the overcomplicated "New Adult" books out there.

At its core, this is a winning story that connects the mind with the heart.

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW - "Eye of the Storm" by Monette Michaels

This is a re-read from June 2012.  The review remains the same.

Keely Walsh has three doctorates, five older brothers and has never met a situation she couldn't handle. While consulting with the NSA, she discovers sensitive government information indicating her brother, a private security operative, is in danger. Keely travels to the dangerous Triple Frontier in South America to warn him and his colleagues and finds the last thing she expects--a man who sends icy shivers down her spine even as he lights every one of her fires.

Ren Maddox, co-owner of Security Specialists International, a security firm that works for large corporations and governments, is on an intelligence-gathering mission for the US government when a petite strawberry blonde armed with a Bren Ten and an attitude ten feet tall pops out of the Argentine jungle with a warning of imminent danger. The fact she is one hundred percent correct shocks him to his socks. The fact she is Tweeter Walsh's baby sister and can fight like the fiercest Marine is beside the point. No one who looks like Keely should ever be in danger. And once he gets her out of the current situation, he’ll make it his life's work to protect the feisty, sexy, little woman from any and all danger.

One alpha male. One determined and independent female. One hot, tumultuous relationship.

This is definitely a place for these kinds of books. The kind of books where the reader is required to suspend all sorts of reality (or stretch it really far) in order to get to the story. Keely Walsh is a 21 year old, double Ph.D., working for MIT. She is the only girl in her family, with 5 older brothers, all of whom are uber alpha males (father is Colonel, brothers are Navy Seals and Marines). Growing up in this household, Keely was trained to defend herself. Furthermore if it is to be believed, she shadowed Navy Seals candidates during their BUDS training making it until the final days (and would have finished if she hadn't had to rescue one of the trainees at the end) AND has attended the Army Sniper School. Okay.

Her work with MIT includes a contract with the DOD and she discovers that her brother who works for Security Specialists International, headed by the Maddox Brothers, is walking into a ambush. She hightails it down to South America, journeys through the dense jungle with her handydandy GPS while subduing and tying up some bad guys that get in her way and makes it to the tiny town to warn her brother. Okay.

She meets her brother, Ren Maddox, and another SSI specialist and they escape relatively unscathed. Did I mention that prior to flying down to South America she was kidnapped, taken to a warehouse, assaulted, AND managed to escape by killing two of the four kidnappers?

During this whole ordeal, Ren - who is apparently never had ANY interest in having a long term relationship with ANY woman, is struck by lightening and falls head-over-heals in love with Keely after seeing her subdue a baddy at the ambush site and help in the firefight (which includes getting rid of a live grenade!) OVERKILL!

Ren is possessive, controlling, territorial, overbearing and overprotective. All the qualities you know and love about an alpha male. But there is just not enough of the loving, tender, kind side in this story to really like Ren.

This book had all sorts of silliness that should have made me put it down, but in the end I found myself chuckling. It was fun watching Keely kick all sorts of butt against all sorts of bad guys. 

Just call it a stupid guilty pleasure, but not for everyone.

SUNNY: AUTHOR INTERVIEW, CELEBRATION, and GIVEAWAY - "Medusa" Birthday Bash Tour with Sasha Summers

Love Affair With An E-Reader is pleased to welcome Sacha Summers for an interview to celebrate the Birthday Bash for Medusa: A Love Story.  Be sure to scroll down to enter the Giveaway!

Welcome, Sacha!

SS: Thank you so much for having me! I cannot believe it’s been a year since my first book was released! But it has! And what a year it’s been! Yes, I’m an author, but I’m also a fanatical reader. a true book-a-holic. My Kindle is near and dear to my heart - so you could say I have a pretty solid love affaire with my e-reader. In addition to my book addiction, I’m a mom to four amazing kids, wife to my high-school sweetie for 20 years, and firm believer in the power of positive thinking.

What inspired your love of reading and writing?

SS: I’ve always loved stories - I grew up playing dolls in the aisles of a community theater, watching plays, reading books, playing pretend. I read anything I could get my hands on from a young age, regardless of the genre. I think writing was a natural evolution-for me.

I love the idea of putting a new twist to familiar story, what drew you to the story of Medusa?

SS: It’s a bit cliche sounding - I’ll admit. I had a dream about a man running across a field, staring at the clouds overhead. A woman was falling, from a swirling, fire-spewing, angry black sky. It was so vivid, so gut-wrenching, that I woke up knowing I had to finish their story. I knew it was Medusa and her lover and what was happening just like I knew what led up to it... and I had to put it on paper. I was totally obsessed while i was writing it.

Where is your favorite place to write? What are some of your favorite “must haves” when you are writing? Do you have any favorite snacks or drinks?

SS: I’m a mobile writer - but I love to find a secluded place where I can blast my music and get lost in the story. I don’t eat or drink while I write - I’m in the zone. :)

What is your favorite quote from your favorite book? Or What is the first line of the book you are currently reading?

SS: Pretty much any line from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Right now I’m reading Belle Andre - very sexy!

Who is your favorite historical figure?  The most reviled?

SS: Ooh, this is too tough! I love history - period. You can find gripping heroes and villains throughout history. I think Napoleon is rich with potential for either - LOL

When is your favorite era in history?

SS: Right now, I’m very happy in Ancient Greece. Oh, and I’m really enjoying learning about 17th century Russian - secret project that’s not so secret, eh?

What makes a great villain?

SS:I like villains that offer a hint of humanity - that hope of redemption that compels the reader to hope even when they know there is none.

Who are your favorite contemporary romance authors? 

SS:Liliana Hart, Marcia King-Gamble, Diane Kelly, Gina L. Maxwell, Laura Kaye, Stephanie Draven... to name a few... Honestly, there are so many great authors out there.

Do any of your children like to write?  How do you encourage them?

SS: YES - all 4 of them do. I don’t force them to talk to me about their work, but I’m all ears if they want to talk to me about it. They are awesome - letting me bounce ideas off of them!! My boys will walk through my fights, so I get the physical stuff right. I’m working on starting a young authors group at my daughters high school, to help the next crop of authors get a fundamental understanding of plot, GMC, and character development. I’m really excited about it!

Thank you for joining us and giving us a chance to get to know you. 

Sasha is part gypsy. Born June 9, 1974, stories have always played an important role in her life. Her passions have always been storytelling, Hollywood, history, and travel. It’s no surprise that her books include a little of each. Her first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.

Author Links: 

Book Blurb:

It's said love can change a person. Medusa wasn't always a monster...

Medusa is ruled by duty, to her Titan father and the Goddess Athena. She's no room for the tenderness her warrior guard, Ariston, stirs. When Olympus frees her from service, her heart leads her into the arms of the guard she loves... and curses her as the creature with serpent locks.

Ariston goes to war with a full heart... and dreadful foreboding. He learns too late of the danger Medusa faces, alone, and a Persian blade sends him into the Underworld. But death, curses, nor the wrath of the Gods will keep him from returning to her.

Poseidon will use Greece's war to get what he wants: Medusa. He does not care that she belongs to another. He does not care that she will be damned. He is a God, an Olympian, and she will be his.

Book Trailer Goodreads

Purchase at:


·         Autographed copy of “Medusa, A Love Story (Loves of Olympus Series, Bk #1)”

·         Autographed copy of “For the Love of Hades (Loves of Olympus Series, Bk #2)”
·         Thea (owl) Necklace
·         “Medusa” car charm
·         Series Swag
a Rafflecopter giveaway