5 Stars, Alexis Hall, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jules, Riptide Publishing

Review: For Real by Alexis Hall

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Title: For Real

Author: Alexis Hall

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 437 Pages

At a Glance: The book is on the longer side, but the pacing is perfect. It didn’t feel long or drawn out in any way. I honestly could have read another four hundred pages!

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

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Review:

But that’s sort of what love is, I guess. A perpetual state of semi-deranged partiality. – Alexis Hall

Laurie and Toby are both so very lost and broken when they meet. Six years post-breakup, Laurie is still not over the life he lost with his ex, and though he still has needs to be met, he’s become increasingly disenchanted with the BDSM scene. But, when he and Toby see each other at Pervocracy, neither can deny the instant zing that happens between them.

The BDSM relationship is very different here than in other books you may have read in the genre. Toby is far from your typical Dom, and Laurie’s submission looks different as well. Toby is completely certain of what he wants/needs, which is to put someone on his knees and make him beg – particularly, he wants those things with Laurie – however, he has NO idea how to get what he craves. I absolutely loved how the author painted the picture of this relationship. Laurie desperately wants someone to serve and take care of, as well as someone who is fearless in the bedroom, but it does take him some time to wrap his mind around the fact that it’s okay for that person to be Toby. Everything about this pairing worked for me. Toby’s unwavering belief in their connection and, eventually, love, is amazing. His naiveté is actually charming. I enjoyed his character so, so much.

Alexis Hall perfectly executes the alternating POV between the chapters. It changes each chapter, beginning with Laurie – though, there is one chapter near the very end where the author gives us both together – and I’ve never seen a better job done of giving such clear, distinct voices to the players. Granted, the age difference alone makes them completely disparate characters, but Hall gives Toby such a PERFECT nineteen-year-old voice, it makes all the difference. And, Laurie’s exasperation with his life in general, as well as his passion and reluctance to let Toby in, are written so incredibly well. I felt an instant connection to both of the guys.

Toby’s relationship with his grandfather is remarkable, and allows the reader to see where he got some of his stability and ideas of what love should be like. The way Hall trickled out the information about Toby’s mother, and kept it a bit of a mystery, was also interesting and worked very well. And, the class/economic differences between Toby and Laurie, and how that affected particularly Toby’s mindset and choices, was handled very well and was so realistic.

The book is on the longer side, but the pacing is perfect. It didn’t feel long or drawn out in any way. I honestly could have read another four hundred pages! The chemistry between Laurie and Toby is completely fabulous; they are wonderful together. I’m desperately hoping that the author is planning on giving us more of them, because they definitely have more story to tell! For Real is simply fantastic.

Oh! And, I have to mention the cover…I LOVE the depiction of one of the early scenes between Laurie and Toby, and what the cover artist has done with the colors. It’s gorgeous and represents the guys perfectly.

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5 Stars, Alexis Hall, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jules, Riptide Publishing

Release Day Review: Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall

Title: Waiting for the Flood

Author: Alexis Hall

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 106 Pages

At a Glance: Waiting for the Flood is a really lovely piece of writing.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: People come as well as go.

Twelve years ago, Edwin Tully came to Oxford and fell in love with a boy named Marius. He was brilliant. An artist. It was going to be forever.

Two years ago, it ended.

Now Edwin lives alone in the house they used to share. He tends to damaged books and faded memories, trying to build a future from the fragments of the past.

Then the weather turns, and the river spills into Edwin’s quiet world, bringing with it Adam Dacre from the Environment Agency. An unlikely knight, this stranger with roughened hands and worn wellingtons, but he offers Edwin the hope of something he thought he would never have again.

As the two men grow closer in their struggle against the rising waters, Edwin learns he can’t protect himself from everything—and sometimes he doesn’t need to try.

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Review: There is no way that my words are going to do Alexis Hall’s words justice, but I’ll give it a shot…

Waiting for the Flood is a really lovely piece of writing. I can’t speak to the author’s style in general, as this was the first work of his that I have read, but this novella was gorgeously poetic. Every word choice and sentence structure felt deliberate yet effortless, and the whole thing flowed beautifully. It took me a full chapter to get into it and truly hear the voice – but, once I got into the cadence of the story, I couldn’t put it down.

While also a wonderful tale of second chances, letting go, and new love, Waiting for the Flood is mainly about Edwin’s resurrection, so to speak. Deeply hurt when his previous partner left him, Edwin has spent the last two years simply existing. He has basically cut off communications with his friends from when he and Marius were a couple; and spends all of his time restoring old books, correspondence, and ephemera, which is his hobby as well as his job. He seems resigned to being alone – in fact, doesn’t feel he’s worthy of anyone’s attention – so when a sweet, attractive, civil engineer falls into his life, Edwin almost sabotages things before they have a chance to take off.

Adam is such a kind, gentle, wonderful man. Edwin feels that he’s too good to be true. Adam listens, really listens, to Edwin, appearing to hang on his every word. This is a huge thing to Edwin, a life-long stutterer who has spent his entire life feeling as though people were so hung up on his trying to get his words out that they didn’t ever truly hear what he was actually saying. The exchanges between these two characters are smart, witty, and heart-warming. I giggled and swooned several times throughout the awkward courtship.

It was beautiful to watch Edwin come around and open himself up to the possibility of love. It was beautiful when he decided to trust Adam with his heart (and Adam is so worthy of that trust). It was beautiful to see the rebirth of Edwin, with the patient guidance of Adam, through the backdrop of the flood.

The story can be enjoyed on many levels. It is deeply philosophical at times, but can also be enjoyed as a lighter, romantic read. Try this one out, the next time you’re looking for a lazy Sunday read, perhaps. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

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5 Stars, Alexis Hall, Reviewed by Rena, Riptide Publishing, Steampunk

Review: Liberty & Other Stories by Alexis Hall

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Title: Liberty & Other Stories

Author: Alexis Hall

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 308 Pages

At a Glance: A pastiche that’s done not just amazingly well but with unexpected touches of hilarity in deeply serious moments.

Reviewed By: Rena

Blurb: For the delight and edification of discerning readers, we present diverse stories concerning the lives, histories, and adventures of the crew of the aethership Shadowless.

Lament! as an upstanding clergyman falls into the villainous clutches of a notorious criminal mastermind.

Question your sanity! as a dissolute governess confronts blasphemies from beyond creation.

Wonder! at the journey of the dashing skycaptain Byron Kae across sapphire oceans, through smog-choked streets, and to the depths of the sky itself.

Gasp! at an entirely true and accurately rendered tale of pirates, cavalrymen, aethermancers, scientists, and a power to unmake the world.

Plus, hitherto unseen extracts from the meticulous and illuminating journals of Mrs. Miranda Lovelace, rogue scientist and first of the aethermancers.

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Review: As a big fan of Alexis Hall’s Prosperity, I was thrilled to learn about the upcoming stand-alone titles that serve as prequels and sequels to the novel (upcoming back then, anyway, when I first read Prosperity; I’ve been, alas, rather late to the party since). Liberty and Other Stories is a collection of novelettes and novellas focusing on Picaddilly, Byron Kae, Jane Grey, Milord, and Ruben Crowe – recounting, through wonderfully diverse narrative approaches, their stories leading up to the events in Prosperity as well as those following.

The collection begins with “Shackles”, which is a prequel that goes over Milord and Ruben Crowe’s relationship before they cross paths again in Prosperity. Now, I was really looking forward to this installment as I was hoping to warm up to Ruben Crowe after his rather dull presence in the novel. With only him and Milord taking center stage in this novelette, we get to enjoy the sizzling chemistry these two men have as they desperately and doggedly resist their attraction to each other. Unfortunately, I finished the story still not a fan of Ruben Crowe.

Firstly, of the four titles in this collection, “Shackles” seems to be the weakest. Against the zany steampunk adventures of everyone else in this collection, this story comes across as too standard and by-the-numbers in terms of the exploration of the two heroes, and I’m afraid it was rather easy for me to forget the plot once I started reading “Squamous With a Chance of Rain”, the second novelette in the anthology. And secondly, Ruben is – Ruben. Yes, he’s a preacher (or former preacher) who finds himself torn against his beliefs and his nature, but I still find his characterization rather more like wallpaper against which Milord distinguishes himself. Had the story been told from Milord’s POV, maybe my perceptions of Ruben would be altered in some way or another since Milord’s colorful personality and quirks would influence my views. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t, and I was glad to move on from it.

The rest of the anthology – “Squamous With a Chance of Rain”, Cloudy Climes and Starless Skies, and Liberty – more than make up for “Shackles”. And that’s because we’re once again blessed to see all kinds of adventures unfold through the eyes of the more electric members of the Prosperity cast. I also would like to emphasize the fact that in these three stories, Alexis Hall goes all out and approaches them through a variety of narrative styles and devices: the epistolary novel, the dialogue, journal entries, and even court records. Each is a pastiche that’s done not just amazingly well but with unexpected touches of hilarity in deeply serious moments, particularly in the last two books.

Jane Grey’s story is told in epistolary fiction style – a style I’ve always loved, having been introduced to it in my college English Lit classes. It’s a narrative approach that can provide the reader with a fantastic view of the letter writer’s personality, especially when the same character writes to different people (in this case, Jane writes exclusively to her friend). Tone changes, language shifts, details are either held back or expanded on, depending on the recipient and the writer’s relationship with him/her. And in Jane’s case, we get to enjoy a pretty hysterical account of her “origin story”, as it were, and how she got her bizarre abilities and her drug addiction. It’s also a pastiche on a number of levels, which was fun to pick at as I read through it. Jane Grey, i.e., Jane Eyre (gothic governess story by Charlotte Brontë) and Agnes Grey (Victorian governess story about the horribleness of teaching someone’s brats by Anne Brontë) – as I read both books before, I couldn’t help but pounce on those. Add to that a generous dose of The Sound of Music, and you’ve got Jane’s pre-Prosperity life in all its gothic, close-harmony singing and laudanum-spiced glory.

Cloudy Climes and Starless Skies is an account of Byron Kae’s history – really the saddest and most bittersweet installment in this collection. It’s told from Byron’s POV as a dialogue with Dil, and that dialogue takes place some time after the events in Prosperity. Dil here is now a young man, not a scrappy boy – wiser than ever, more adventurous than ever, and certainly proving himself Byron’s perfect partner in more ways than one. Throughout the story, Dil interrupts the narrative with questions, observations, and other things in typical Dil style – generously peppered with expletives, coarseness, and keen insight spelled out with the kind of openness and earnestness that’d make you laugh and break your heart at the same time. And it’s through Dil’s (most welcome) interruptions that Byron’s story doesn’t get weighed down too much with sadness. The closing paragraphs prior to the epilogue, especially, would’ve brought me to tears had I not been laughing at something Dil was saying leading up to that part. On the whole, this novella was perhaps the most beautifully written of the stories in the collection.

Liberty goes beyond the private worlds of the characters we love and raises issues regarding power and its abuse. It’s also the most complex of the stories in the anthology, told in a series of a few random journal entries and letters, but mostly court documents. Other characters are introduced, their purposes mostly nefarious save for one man who risks execution as a traitor to England by listening to his conscience at the very last minute. It’s a fun adventure in which different characters tell their stories (to the court, of course), their voices so wonderfully distinct from each other that you end up not wanting to have the chaotic incident in Liberty recounted in any other way. Expletives are, of course, redacted, to hysterical effect. And, as icing on the cake, we’re given pretty serious warnings or instructions from transcribers regarding recordings on wax cylinders and what one can hear when said cylinders are played back or played backwards.

This anthology really serves its purpose in further fleshing out the world created in Prosperity. My indifference toward “Shackles” didn’t really hurt my enjoyment of the rest of the stories, and I highly recommend the entire series to anyone who loves both steampunk and some really colorful pastiche.






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4 Stars, Alexis Hall, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, Reviewed by Jennifer, Riptide Publishing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall

Title: Sand and Ruin and Gold

Author: Alexis Hall

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 48 Pages

At a Glance: An interesting twist on mermaids in a dystopian-esque setting.

Blurb: Once upon a time . . . that’s how the old stories always begin.

Once upon a time there was a king of a fallen kingdom. He was just and he was beloved. Or so the numbers said. One day, he gathered together the greatest, wisest minds in all the land—not sorcerers, but scientists—and he bade them fashion him a son. A prince. A perfect prince to embody his father’s legacy.

The scientists each brought the prince a gift: beauty, strength, ambition, intellect, pride. But they must have forgotten something because when he saw the mermaids dance at the Cirque de la Mer, he ran away to join them.

For a year, he trained them, performed with them, thought he was happy. For a year he thought he was free. But then Nerites came: A merman who refused to be tamed. A captive from another kingdom. A beast in a glass cage.

The old stories always end with happy ever after. But this isn’t one of the old stories. This is a story of princes and monsters.

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Review: Most readers will probably be able to read this short story in an hour or two, but even though it’s so short, I thought it was a good read with a fresh approach to the legend of mermaids.

Set in what appears to be a dystopian world, the story is told in the first person narrative, but the narrator never gives his name. In fact, none of the human characters are named. There are, if I remember correctly, eight named characters in the entire book, and they are all mer creatures. There isn’t even any dialogue. The entire story is written as a reflection by the narrator on his experiences with Cirque de la Mer and the mer creatures.

I must admit the cover drew me in. It’s stunning. And when you read the book, it’s clear that the artist paid attention to the author’s description of the merman Nerites because all of the details appear to be there. It’s beautiful.

There are many different takes on the mermaid mythos, and this one adds a new twist to it. At least new to me. In what I’ve read, mer creatures are beautiful, intelligent creatures capable of human speech and complex, human-like relationships. Not so in this story. Sure, they’re beautiful, mystical creatures that draw crowds, but they’re monsters. Beasts. They have a matriarchal society, but they behave as other wild animals do. They are violent. Vicious. They do not speak. They are caged animals in a Sea-World like environment where they perform for the crowds on a daily basis.

While this might sound like it wouldn’t belong in the M/M genre, the author has twisted the story. Somehow the narrator and Nerites form a bond and while it may not be love, they certainly lust after one another. The narrator may not understand what is happening, but as a reader, you see that the caged animals may not be complete animals at all. Just different from humans.

As I read this, I couldn’t help but think about the whales and dolphins that are kept in aquariums around the world. They are intelligent in their own way, even if we cannot understand them. Is it right to keep them caged like the mermaids and mermen in this story? Perhaps not.

It’s amazing how such a short fantasy story about a prince who neglected his duty and ran off to work with mermaids got me thinking so much in such a short span of time.

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Welcome back, everyone, and many thanks to you for your warm wishes for a happy holiday and new year. Your continued support means the world to us, and we’re looking forward to a fun and busy 2015!

We’ve got some great guests lined up for you in the coming week, so here’s a look at what’s in store:

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Monday – Kicking off our week, we welcome BJ Sheppard on his Always Have, Always Will blog tour

And we’ll also be helping to welcome the new kid on the publishing block, CoolDudes Books

Tuesday M.A. Church drops by today on her The Harvest: Journey’s End blog tour

We also have the Brit Boys tour stopping by today

WednesdayRhys Ford’s Down and Dirty blog tour makes a stop at TNA today, with the next chapter in the progressive story she wrote just for the tour

ThursdayAlexis Hall’s Liberty and Other Stories spotlight tour stops by today

FridayWhitley Gray drops in on her Artistic Endeavor blog tour

We also welcome Cardeno C. on the Blue Mountain tour

Saturday – And to close out the week, we’ll have Christopher Koehler with us on his Poz blog tour

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And that does it for now. Until next time, happy reading!

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Giveaways, The Year In Reviews

Simply the Best 2014: The Finale – The Year In Reviews and a Giveaway

2014

We have reached the end of our journey, folks, the final choices for our Top Reads of 2014. In case you’ve missed the others, check out Sammy’s and Tina’s selections HERE; Jackie’s, Lana’s, and Jules’ HERE; Lynn’s and Chris’s HERE; and Kim’s and Kathie’s HERE.

Rena and I are the last to go, and I paired the two of us together because we each, by coincidence, themed our lists just a bit. Rena’s choices are not only all selected from the Historical sub-genre, but they are also unique to the genre, each in their own ways. For my selections this year, you’ll find some among them (and yes, I listed two series because I’m a big cheater) are self-published, one falls under the Historical sub-genre, two of them are Alt U/Alt History, and one of them is a chronologized serial set in the 1980s world of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. And one features a group of some of the most charming and twisted killers I’ve ever read.

As we’ve reached the end of the line and are now looking forward to discovering some of the best books of 2015, The Novel Approach is offering you the chance to win a $25 Gift Card to Amazon or All Romance eBooks, winner’s choice! Just click the Rafflecopter image to enter before Midnight Pacific time on Saturday, January 3, 2015.

Good luck!

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And now, here are Rena’s and my selections for the best of the best this year had to offer.

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Rena:

21529170Flight of Magpies by KJ Charles:Flight of Magpies is another brilliant addition to KJ Charles’ magnificent A Charm of Magpies series. Reading the book was one of those instances where I was so deeply immersed in Lucien and Stephen’s world that I actually got upset when I realized how far I’d gone and how little I had left to read. It’s an experience that’s not new to me; it began with The Magpie Lord, and it had yet to show signs of fading or slowing down. That said, I don’t want it to happen, considering how much I adore this series.”

 

23202149Bloodline by Jordan L. Hawk: “Fans of Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series are in for a pretty dark treat with Bloodline – with a generous dose of tragedy, at that, but in ways that are a lot more complicated than simply death. As an installment of the series, Bloodline is perhaps the darkest and grimmest so far, but it does end in bittersweet hope that marks a new era, so to speak, for the characters involved.

The stakes in this book are significantly higher because everything becomes personal for Whyborne. We get to see his family’s history, which is intricate and bizarre and is steeped in magic.”

22544017Prosperity by Alexis Hall: “The first thing you’ll notice when you crack open Alexis Hall’s Prosperity is that the book’s written in some pretty heavy vernacular. Piccadilly, an orphan and a guttersnipe, narrates the story with so much sass and attitude to spare that his language, if at first a little challenging to get into if you’re not expecting it, almost serves like an emphatic exclamation point to his hilarious commentary. As he’s grown up in the streets of London, he’s illiterate and is sadly hardened for a boy his age (eighteen, he reckons, but isn’t sure), and his interactions with so many different characters – mostly adults who’re educated in varying degrees – are a never-ending source of delight. He’s alternately exasperated, mystified, resentful, contemptuous, and childish in his dealings with his fellow adventurers. And from a hardened urchin who thinks lowly of himself, Dil gradually develops into a cautiously hopeful young man who starts to believe that, hey, he’s got some worth, after all.”

bsb-juniorwillisJunior Willis by Richard Natale: “Richard Natale’s Junior Willis is a beautifully subdued account of a man’s sexual maturation during some of the most tumultuous decades in the 20th century. The novella begins in the 1950s, when Tom Larson’s first tour of duty in the Korean War places him in the path of Colonel Philip Dore, a married and closeted gay man who awakens Tom’s true nature. From here on, the story follows Tom through the years as he not only falls in love, but also gets himself hurt again and again, the miserable laws of the times compounding the pain by forcing him to suppress his needs and lose himself in work, if not seek comfort and questionable companionship in brief and unsatisfying liaisons.”

22224746Mending Him by Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee: “There’s no emotional wallowing in this book, which can be the downfall of historical gay romances, given the outlaw nature of same-sex relationships. Part of the book’s strength lies in the authors’ masterful use of restraint in laying out the complications and the triumphs not only of the lovers, but also of the Chester family, whose loving relationship with the two men shapes painful choices they all make along the way. The resolution to the problem of gay lovers in the 19th century is also plausible; modern readers might grieve over the lack of an out and proud relationship, but in their practical and emotionally rewarding way, Robbie and Charles prove to us that men in their position can carve out a happy life together, regardless of society and, especially, family. There’s defiance tempered by prudence and vice-versa, and one can’t ask for anything more.”

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Lisa:

17453304Chance Assassin: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder by Nicole Castle: “I’m in awe of this author’s ability to write a story starring not one but two characters who should be unappealing in every way. Nicole Castle has made Frank and Vincent loveable to a degree that has left me obsessing over this book. It’s a hallmark of truly brilliant storytelling I haven’t experienced since reading Maria McCann’s As Meat Loves Salt and I fell for the insane Jacob Cullen. This author’s writing style is fresh, her characters funny and vibrant, her version of romance refreshing, and this book is one disturbing, endearing, horrifying, and sexy surprise after another.”

WicklowsOdysseyWicklow’s Odyssey by R. Cooper: “The timing of this book couldn’t be more perfect, and you don’t have to be a Civil War history major to appreciate the events that build up to one of the more tension filled and action packed climaxes I’ve ever read in a book. You need only know the motives for the war, who fought it, and its outcome to understand how beautifully R. Cooper has twisted it to suit this clockwork, steam driven adventure, where a great iron beast is the Trojan horse that, if not lamed, could bring victory to the South. Every single anachronism purposefully woven into this novel does nothing but add to the sense of intrigue, every single character introduced along the way not only adds to the adventure but also exposes more about Wicklow Doyle, revelations that are sometimes frustrating, sometimes heart-tugging as he tries to understand what he’s feeling, but each and every one is a new layer peeled away from this complex man’s prickly exterior.”

BSB-TurnbullHouseTurnbull House by Jess Faraday: “With its (The Affair of the Porcelain Dog) brilliant and stunning sequel, Turnbull House, the continuing story if former rentboy, Ira Adler, and his ex-lover Cain Goddard (the infamous Duke of Dorset) Jess Faraday has done nothing more than secured her place on my must-read-authors list, and did it in little more than the opening paragraphs of this book.

With characters who are layered with charm and complexity, settings that play out visually like a full color series of daguerreotypes on the mind, a mystery that reveals how far apart Ira and Goddard have grown since Ira walked out two years before, and a fluid prose that draws the reader into the lives of the characters and the time of the story, Turnbull House is as flawless a historical novel as I’ve ever read.”

Daron_Omnibus_Cover_500px1-231x300Daron’s Guitar Chronicles (Volumes One thru Five) by Cecilia Tan: “As addictive as any books I’ve ever read, as heart-rending as any series I’ve ever loved, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is, if not perfect, the quintessential compilation of music, drugs, sex, love, lust, and pain. My one fear as I got farther along in Daron’s saga was that the author would fail in her effort to keep this storyline fresh and vibrant and emotionally encompassing through its hundreds of chapters. I’m happy to report she damn well did. Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is a brilliant feat in fiction, far too luminous for this simple 5 star rating.”

2146294723251880Baal’s Heart (Caged and Sacrificed) by Bey Deckard: “Bey Deckard has written a book that’s a study in contradiction and a sublime characterization of three men who will eventually become one, introducing two characters in the dominant Baltsaros and the submissive Tom, two men who should be difficult, if not impossible, to love, but then makes it entirely impossible not to love them. When Jon comes between them, through no fault of his own, and then falls in love with both his captain and with Tom, becoming the foundation upon which both men will anchor themselves, Jon risks not only losing his heart but his sense of self, in the process, and it’s an evolution that’s a glory to witness.”

“As impressed as I was by Bey Deckard’s debut, Sacrificed has exceeded any and all expectations I might have had for the follow up to Caged. It’s a grand adventure the author is taking us on, a journey of heart, soul, and imagination that promises, at the end, even more to discover as this extraordinary series continues.”

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Alexis Hall, Riptide Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: There Will Be Phlogiston by Alexis Hall

Phlogiston_TourBannerHello, and welcome to the mini blog tour for There Will Be Phlogiston (released: 8th December), a free novella set in the Prosperityverse. Many thanks to Lisa at The Novel Approach for hosting me today!

To celebrate the release of Phlogiston, I’m also doing a little giveaway of any book from my backlist, which you can enter by entering the Rafflecopter below: Continue reading

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Alexis Hall, Riptide Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Prosperity Blog Tour With Alexis Hall

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Cowboys and Dandies and Wizards, Oh My

Lisa asked me to talk a bit today about the inspirations for Prosperity, particularly in the light of the blurb, which is quite self-consciously pulpy.

Prosperity actually has quite a long history of how it got where it is, and so it has quite a lot of random influences feeding into it. I originally wrote it in response to an open call for frontier stories. I really want to something about the wild west, or at least that felt like the wild west, but I’m kind of squicked out by the, y’know, the genocide that was going on at the time. More broadly, the problem with frontier stories is that virtually every “frontier” explorers have ever encountered has been someone else’s home. You had all these Victorians running off excitedly to darkest Africa and talking about all the things they’d found that nobody had ever seen before. Things that by and large were built by people whose descendants still lived in the area. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Alexis Hall, Historical Romance, Reviewed by Rena, Riptide Publishing, Steampunk

Review: Prosperity by Alexis Hall

Title: Prosperity

Author: Alexis Hall

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 190 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: A breathtaking tale of passion and adventure in the untamed skies!

Prosperity, 1863: a lawless skytown where varlets, chancers, and ne’er-do-wells risk everything to chase a fortune in the clouds, and where a Gaslight guttersnipe named Piccadilly is about to cheat the wrong man. This mistake will endanger his life . . . and his heart. Continue reading

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Alexis Hall, Riptide Publishing

“Glitterland” Is The Story Of A Man Fighting His Way Out Of The Dark And Into The Light

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.” ― Anaïs Nin



This is a story about Ash. He’s bi polar and suffers from panic attacks and depression. He’s a famous author who is about to find out that despite all his faults, he is worthy of someone’s love.

I’ve never been around anyone who suffers from panic attacks or depression. As the story is told through Ash’s POV, it was interesting to read about the challenges he faces day in and day out. At times it was sad and tough to read about what it takes for him to even go outside, the feeling of dread, of hopelessness and most of all his fear of having another breakdown in public. I believe the author gives the reader a very realistic look of someone with this type of disorder.

Ash was a very hard character to like, but I felt myself being drawn to him. He’s dark and angry, putting himself down and being negative about everything in his life. Throughout the story, he’s always going on about how he’ll never be good at having a relationship. He feels he’ll just let everyone down. How he’ll just make a mess of everything, so why bother. Even with all the negativity he was spewing about, I wanted him to find a special someone to help him come out of his darkness. No one could have predicted, least of all Ash, that that someone would be a flashy model named Darien with a fake tan, wearing sparkly clothes and nail polish. Darien is truly a memorable character.

When we first meet Darien, Ash is thinking he’s just a one night stand like all the others he’s brought home. Darien doesn’t seem too bright and is certainly not the type Ash usually goes for. Darien is so sweet and loving. I liked him right away. He has a carefree way of looking at life, always positive. I didn’t always love how Ash treated Darien, but the prickly behavior followed Ash’s established character. When Ash acts out, Darien just barrels through, refusing to be pushed away out of fear. His tenacity and simple honesty ends up paying off as he becomes a calming presence in Ash’s world. The change is Ash is subtle at first, but as the story progressed I suddenly realized I was starting to like Ash. I loved these two together. As it turns out, Darien is exactly who Ash needed and wanted, he just hadn’t known it yet.

The turning point in this story occurs when Ash feels cornered while talking to old school mates at a wedding. He says some really hurtful things about Darien. Of course, Darien overhears the conversation and is devastated. This is the first sign that Darien may not always be around and it shakes Ash to the core. Picking up the pieces, he starts seeing all the ways that Darien had touched his life and is embarrassed with himself that he didn’t try harder to reciprocate. I loved how the author kept the realism of Ash’s bi-polar and anxiety disorders and yet showed growth within his character. Even though it is a major challenge, he goes through a lot of effort to find and share the real him with Darien.

I didn’t like how the author wrote out Darien’s accent word for word. It was a major distraction for me in the beginning. I even put it down a few times and came back to it later. After reading for awhile, I had gotten so engrossed in the story that I just overlooked it. I’m glad I decided to finish this book; otherwise, I would have missed out on a great story.

Reviewed by: Lynn

You can buy Glitterland here:

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