Tag Archives: ARC

Honey & Pepper, by A. J. Demas

25 Mar
Cover for HONEY AND PEPPER; drawing of two men, one Black, big and smiling while he stirs something in crock, the other long-haired, white and slim, sitting on a kitchen counter, as they look at each other.

I mentioned in my review of Saffron Alley that I was torn between relief that there were only five books in the author’s backlist set in this world, and despair, because there were only five books set in this world.

Shortly after I signed up for the author’s newsletter, I saw that this book was coming out soon, and I was all set to buy it. Then, somehow I lucked out to get an ARC of this, and boy, am I glad–it’s so good!

There’s graphic sex, an absolutely adorable cinnamon roll of a man who’s dominant in bed, and a villain getting what he deserves. Also, mention of a death by suicide, a whipping, and a couple of incidents of violence.

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Haven, by Rebekah Weatherspoon

24 Jan
Cover of Haven, shows a muscular white bearded man, naked from the waist up, superimposed on a misty background of forests and snowcapped mountains.

How come I didn’t know this was in first person?

Generally speaking, it’s very rare for me to enjoy first person narrative, and it’s even more rare when it’s alternating points of view. Despite all of which, Ms Weatherspoon snagged my attention from the first page and never let go.

Content note for violence (the protagonists meet when he has to shoot the people chasing her, who have just murdered her brother off the page), language and graphic descriptions of sex, including almost-but-not-quite exhibitionism in public. 1

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Vanguard, by Ann Aguirre

17 Aug

Please be advised: back in 2009, I was Ms Aguirre’s virtual assistant, for about ten months. I was also one of the first beta readers for Razorland, the manuscript that became Enclave, the first novel set in this world.

Despite how much I like Ms Aguirre’s work, I have not reviewed any of the novels in the series, or anything else by her written or published after 2008, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Given that said relationship, as well as my beta reading any of her work, ended about eight years ago, I decided I would review this novel, no matter what. Keep in mind that we are still friendly online.

I was lucky to get an ARC about three weeks ago; I really wanted to publish this review on release day, but…well, you know what happens to plans.

Caveat: there is some violence on the page, as well as violence in most of the characters’ past.

Vanguard, by Ann Aguirre

This story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is recovering from, basically, a zombie plague. (Except these are not truly zombies.)

If you have not read the Razorland books, you will definitely have questions about what happened before, especially because there are repeated references to past events, by pretty much all characters. You will also have questions because the world is presented with very little background explanation. It’s not hard to extrapolate and come up with your own conclusions as to what brought the world to this point, but if you truly want all the whys and wherefores, you will end up reading the rest of the series.

Which is pretty damned good, so it’s a win-win.

If you are a fan of the Razorland series, you should know that this is not the beginning of a second trilogy; it is not even a direct continuation of the original trilogy. You should also know that Vanguard is told in third person, from three deep points of view. This is Tegan’s story–one I had very much hoped to read since meeting her in the ruins, during the events narrated in Enclave.

Oh, alright; it’s also about Szarok and Morrow, but the best parts are about Tegan.

Here, have a blurb:
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Spectred Isle, by K. J. Charles

9 Aug

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this novel a few weeks ago, and I had hoped to post the review before its release.

Alas, work, life, RWA, and the world being on fire, mean I’m late.

Reader, beware: if you have issues with paranormal stories, with adult language, or with explicit sex between consenting adults, you may want to skip this one.

Spectred Isle, by K. J. Charles

This is the first title in the Green Men series, which is set in the same universe as The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal; it can, however, be read on its own perfectly well.

The story is set in 1923, in an England still reeling from WWI, at a time where veil between worlds has been damaged almost irreparably, and when most of those who would know what to do, are dead.

Here’s the much-better-than-usual blurb:
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