Monday Book Talk

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If you’ve followed me for awhile you probably know one important thing about me: that I don’t like series. I don’t like series that follow the same couple over several books, because that usually means that the author fucks with the characters’ HEA to make sure there’s drama enough to write a sequel. Or it takes the characters several books to get their shit together and reach their HEA, and I’m much too impatient for those kind of stories.

So I tend to steer clear of books like that. Which is why you probably will be shocked to learn that today, I plan on talking about sequels. As in: I’ve read two series that have been about the same couple, and I absolutely adored them.

So today, I thought I’d tell you about these, and also acknowledge that there are exceptions to every rule, even my I-don’t-like-series rule. 🙂


A couple months back, I reviewed a book that I absolutely adored, Leather and Tea by K.L. Noone. (Link to my rave-y review here). It’s a wonderful story about an established couple and a little glimpse into their lives that I loved the crap out of. So when I learned that Ms. Noone was releasing a sequel, I scurried over to JMS Books and pre-ordered it, ignoring my rule about not reading sequels. Because the two MCs, Ben and Simon, are so fabulous I absolutely had to read more about them. Because, somehow, I trusted K.L. Noone to not fuck up their HEA.

And my trust was not misplaced. In the sequel, A Leather and Tea Morning, we are treated to the deepening of Ben and Simon’s relationship. Something happens outside of their relationship that make them look at what they have together, and value it even more. At the end of A Leather and Tea Morning, I’m even more convinced that Ben and Simon will live happily ever after forever and ever, because they just love each other so darned much. So much it touches my heart and makes me cry happy tears. So much that I hope Ms. Noone will write a third book about them that I can break my rule for.


The second book I’m going to rave about is The Best-Laid Plans by Addison Albright, the sequel to The Contingency Plan. The first book is a very short story about two princes unexpectedly getting married, and it leaves the reader with the promise of a HEA instead of a solid “we love each other forever.” I don’t have a problem with that, but I also didn’t have a problem when Addison told me she was writing a sequel, because I really liked Prince Marcelo in the story.

And boy, she didn’t let me down with her sequel. Just like with A Leather and Tea Morning, the drama in The Best-Laid Plans is something outside of Efren and Marcelo’s relationship, something that strengthens their bond and pushes them closer together. The drama tests Prince Marcelo’s limits in a very interesting way: he lived a very sheltered life until he married Efren, and he’s a soft man without any hard edges. But he’s also smart and determined and resourceful, so when he’s flung into a dangerous situation, he doesn’t wilt like a hothouse flower under harsh weather conditions. Instead, he’s more like a wild flower that fights its way through asphalt. You look at it and wonder How can something so weak-looking and pretty survive under those harsh conditions? But it should teach us to not judge a book by its cover.

Because while Prince Marcelo might look like a worthless, mollycoddled softy, he rises to the occasion. He gathers all his courage, uses all his wit, and comes out victorious. He’s scared, but the thought of making Efren proud of him, the thought of being someone worthy of standing next to his prince, a formidable and experienced warrior, gives Marcelo the strength he needs.

And all that makes Marcelo a brilliant character. Yes, Efren is a really good character, too, but he’s got nothing on Marcelo. I’ve read most of Addison Albright’s books, you know by now that we’re friends and that I love her work. But Prince Marcelo sailed past all her other characters and firmly placed himself as number one. From now on he’s my favorite of all Addison’s characters. And that is something I would have missed if she hadn’t written this sequel and if I’d not read it.


I guess the gist of this, is that I’m fine with reading sequels as long as the drama isn’t within the relationship and threatens the characters’ HEA. And what I’m saying is that I’d love to read the third part of Ben and Simon’s story, and I definitely want to see Prince Marcelo continue to grow as a person and see how his and Efren’s relationship develops.

What I’m saying is, sequels aren’t always bad. 😀


leatherRetired secret agent Ben Smith has never been happier: married to his romance-novelist husband, settled into their life together, learning to bake scones because Simon likes them. But all Ben’s training and skills can’t deflect the car accident, or the injuries. Simon’s not badly hurt, but Ben can’t stop thinking about it. He promised to keep Simon safe, in bed and out of it. But what if he can’t?

It’s been three weeks. Simon’s been going crazy. He’s completely fine now, but his husband keeps treating him like glass, fragile and breakable. Simon isn’t breakable, though, and misses Ben’s hands, the touch of leather, cuffs and caresses and the thrill of submission.

He’s just going to have to prove to his husband he’s safe and alive and ready for anything. And he’s a romance writer, after all, so he’s going to make this a perfect scene, and a morning to remember.

Buy link (JMS Books)

 

plansA death that wasn’t what it seemed … A kidnapping that isn’t what it seems … Time is running out.

The morning after his wedding night, Prince Marcelo thought he’d be embarking on a journey to his own personal fairytale happily ever after with his husband Efren, the crown prince of Zioneven. But when news arrives indicating his sister’s death wasn’t as accidental as previously thought, that journey becomes fraught with danger.

Enmeshed in political intrigue, death, and a kidnapping that might not be what it seems, will Efren untangle the web of misleading clues in time to save the naïve young man he’s already come to admire? Or will Marcelo dig deep to discover a previously untapped inner strength and determination to facilitate his own survival?

Buy link (JMS Books)

 

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Cover reveal: Team Luker

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What if this is the last time we lie like this?

Uncertainty is keeping Ellery Luker awake at night and robbing him of his appetite. It’s been five days since the love of his life and partner of twenty-five years, Jools, went to the doctor. Five days since the biopsy. Five days of going crazy with worry and what ifs?

What if Jools suffers from the same disease that stole Ellery’s mother when he was just eleven?

What if all Ellery’s worst fears come true?

What if…?

M/M Contemporary / approximately 5500 words

Release day: August 3

Nell’s Top Five

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Nell’s Top Five

…Downsides About Reading A “Real” Book

and by “real” book, I mean a print book. 

I borrowed Becoming by Michelle Obama from a friend of mine. She recommended it warmly and I’ve been wanting to read it anyway, so I accepted. I have only just started the book, but so far I love it.

However. A few problems have popped up as I read this ancient, old-school format. So here’s a list of my top 5 problems I have when reading a print book 😀

  1. I can’t change the font size. The letters are teeny-tiny and I’m getting old – I need large print, baby.
  2. When I bring it to the bathroom (yes, I read in the bathroom!) I can’t see if my daughter is texting me! What if she needs me for something urgent??
  3. No matter how long I press and hold a word, I don’t get an explanation to what it means. Does that mean I have to get one of those…what are they called? Dictionaries? What is this, the stone ages?
  4. I can’t read it in bed when my husband mutters Turn off the light, I can’t sleep. Note to self: invest in a good flashlight so you can read under the covers like in the good old days!
  5. No indication at the bottom of the page on how many pages are left in this chapter. Or how many percent of the book I’ve read. So I have to figure it out by myself, by turning the pages to see how long this chapter is. Or take out the abacus to see how many pages I have left to read in the book. I repeat my question from point three, is this the stone ages?

(I don’t have to charge it, though, which I have to admit is a plus!)

I think I’ll pop over to Amazon and buy it in e-book instead. 😁

What do you prefer? Print books, audio books, or e-books? And do you have any points of your own to add to my list? 🙂

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Friday review x2

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Today, you get two shorter reviews instead of one. I pre-ordered The Naked Remedy by Vivien Dean from JMS Books and read it immediately on release day. I loved it so much that I went on the hunt for more books by the same author, and found Wild Fragile Vines that I also loved. So here are my short opinions on why you should buy these wonderful books 🙂


The naked remedyFrom the moment he finds The Naked Remedy, Noah Booker is enthralled. Not only because the blog owner is gorgeous or that the nude photos are hot, but because Fisher uses his platform to face his fears about a crippling accident, as well as the aftermath of putting his life back together.

Noah isn’t brave. He copes with his shyness by staying in his comfort zone. At twenty-six, he still hasn’t come out or left his conservative hometown. Finding the blog offers a beacon, but when he summons the nerve to comment, he never expects Fisher to respond.

The two men strike a friendship. Sparks fly, but dating isn’t easy. Noah lives in California, and Fisher’s in Florida. But making it work takes more than coordinating schedules. It means taking risks. For Fisher, though, Noah will try. Because if he’s learned anything, it’s that change only happens one step at a time.


This book is everything I love: angst free, feelgood, romantic and sweet. It brings a smile to my face and fills my stomach with the warm fuzzies. I also have a soft spot for books where the characters meet online, like they do here.

It all starts by Noah finding Fisher’s blog, and with Noah making a comment about being brave. When Noah does something that he himself considers brave and comments on the blog about it, he gets backlash from other readers of the blog. But Fisher doesn’t allow hate on his blog, and he reaches out to Noah to assure him that he sees the bravery, that bravery looks different for everyone.

And I think that message is important, for all of us. For some, bravery is taking pictures of their naked body to show the aftermath of an accident, like Fisher. For others, bravery is dyeing their hair, like Noah. But whether the courage is big and bold or small and quiet, it’s equally brave. Neither is more important than the other.

And that message is what I’m taking with me into the world.

Buy link (JMS Books)

wild fragile vinesWhen his boss’s twenty-year-old son announced he wanted to be more than friends, Tim Kammerling told him no. He wasn’t ready to have a relationship with someone more than ten years younger than him.

Devin, however, knew he couldn’t stick around Napa and honor the status quo. Instead, he left town, and he and Tim became long-distance friends.

Now, through the letters he’s kept over the years, clippings he’s collected, and the memories he’ll never shake, Tim stands on the threshold of a new beginning.

Yes, a lot can happen in eighteen years. Letters are sent. Calls get made. And lives are changed…


This is a short story told with letters, phone calls, flashbacks, and snippets from current day. It’s a story of holding on to hope even when there seems to be none, how feelings can grow even over distance in time and location. Of how two people who weren’t in the same place in their lives at first, can end up there eventually.

It’s a series of snapshots into a friendship and a budding relationship over eighteen years. It starts out with a very melancholy tone, and for the first half of the book I had a lump in my throat and worried if this story really would have a HEA. I shouldn’t have worried, though, and the HEA was worth waiting for and felt real. Even though it’s such a short story, we get enough glimpses into the Tim and Devin’s lives that I’m satisfied at the end. Their story couldn’t have developed in any other way. The HEA was right for them, even if they had to wait for it.

I also want to say that I adore the title. Wild Fragile Vines is the perfect name for this lovely story.

Buy link (Amazon)

Smashwords sale

smashwords summer winter sale 2019

It’s time for the annual Smashwords summer/winter sale. Most of my books are 50% off except for the ones co-authored with Kris T. Bethke (they are 25% off) and All I See.

Click this link to get to my Smashwords author page to do some shopping. 

Or go to the Smashwords JMS Books profile page to check out some of my fellow authors’ books to see some discounted goodies!

My midsummer

My midsummer didn’t turn out the way I planned. My husband got sick so we couldn’t go to the party I wrote about in my Happy Midsummer post. Instead, we stayed at my mother-in-law’s house, hung out with them, and my brother-in-law and his family, and had traditional Swedish midsummer foods as my poor husband mostly slept.

Anyway: I thought you might like to see some actual pictures from my Midsummer, not only the funny video clip from my midsummer post 🙂

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Yours truly with the maypole. Since I couldn’t dance around it as tradition dictates, I danced with a mini maypole on my MIL’s lawn. The weather was great, which is unusual for Midsummer in Sweden. It always rains!

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The most Midsummery of all Midsummer foods: different kinds of pickled herring. Personally, I’m not a fan (yuck!), so I eat the other stuff.

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Here’s some of the other foods. From left: filled egg halves. Next to it is sour creme, the herring, and tomatoes. Then baked salmon fillets (I adored those!). To the right is gravlax, tzatziki and more tomatoes. This was only part of what we ate, and later, we threw som meat on the grill, too, and at the end of the day we were stuffed to the gills.

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But this is the most important thing (for grownups at least): the snaps! Snaps is spiced alcohol that goes with the food. We drink them in tiny glasses and often sing accompanying songs. This is my favorite snaps: dill flavored. It goes with anything fish if you ask anyone else, but according to me it goes with everything!

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After dinner, as we sat talking and enjoying each other’s company, enough raindrops fell to form a partial rainbow. Me and my parents-in-law stayed up late as the Midsummer night never grew entirely dark (this picture is taken at 9PM) and even though I missed the party I’d been looking forward to, I had a lovely time!

Release Blitz: The Yakuza Path by Amy Tasukada

 

 
Blood Stained Tea
 

A bloody past haunts him. A devastating present calls him back…

Nao hides from his violent past in the Japanese mob by opening a teahouse in Japan’s cultural center, Kyoto. His past comes flooding back when he discovers a gravely injured man with a tattooed chest, a bloody knife, and a Korean business card.

Saehyun would’ve died if not for Nao’s help. He knows nothing of his savior’s connection with the local mafia, but Saehyun has his own secrets. He commands the Korean mafia, the mortal enemy of Nao’s former syndicate.

As Nao and Saehyun grow closer, so does the strength of the Korean mob. A shocking murder pulls Nao back into a past he’d all but abandoned. War is looming, and Nao must choose between protecting Saehyun or avenging the honor of his old mafia family.

 
Better Than Suicide


A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new Godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, the Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

 
One Thousand Cranes

When a body goes missing, a young Yakuza’s life hangs in the balance…

Aki Hisona’s latest promotion is a cause for celebration. But because his new job is working as the personal secretary for the Yakuza’s Kyoto-based godfather, it’s also a cause for dangerous envy. He takes an invitation from a friend for congratulatory drinks, but Aki never thought the night would end with a deadly knife fight…

Aki is tasked with disposing of his friend’s corpse, but there’s one problem: the body is missing. As body parts surface around town, it’s only a matter of time before the police piece together the clues. But keeping one step ahead of the cops may not matter if Aki can’t solve the mystery before his cold, unforgiving godfather boss does…

 

The Deafening Silence

An unproven alliance. A broken promise. A mafia boss must shed blood to secure peace…

Nao Murata is on the verge of brokering peace between his syndicate and the rival Mafufgumi mob. To seal the deal, he’ll need to pick up Russian prostitutes to appease his newest ally. When the exchange goes sour, both sides draw blades and Nao has no choice but to care for a blood-soaked enemy. If the man doesn’t make it through the night, Nao and his crew will pay with their lives.

Outnumbered and stranded in enemy territory, Nao is forced to fight his way out before the Mafufgumi Godfather takes the deal off the table. As his wounded enemy’s heartbeat slows, Nao must act fast or condemn his syndicate to a brutal turf war.


Amy Tasukada lives in a catless home in North Texas. (She enjoys cats but can’t quite make that kind of commitment yet.) As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. When she’s not chasing after stray cats, she can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.

 

 
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1 oz of Cream Oolong tea (Nao’s favorite tea!)
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