4 Stars, B. Snow, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Kim, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Short Story

Review: Emily’s Magical Bejeweled Codpiece by B. Snow

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Title: Emily’s Magical Bejeweled Codpiece

Author: B. Snow

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 48 Pages

At a Glance: I’m giving this short story a high recommendation for those who have a quirky sense of humor.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Tom, museum curator and expert in Renaissance jewelry, doesn’t think his boyfriend Peter is “The One.” Peter is perfectly happy with Tom, but Tom is obsessed with the artist Benedetto Emilio Nesci—exciting, passionate, extraordinarily talented… and dead for over 400 years.
Tasked with researching a bejeweled codpiece, Tom abandons his professional ethics—and his sanity—to try on the codpiece and is transported halfway around the world and back in time, right into Florence, Italy and Nesci’s workroom.
After his initial panic subsides, Tom seizes the opportunity to allow Nesci to seduce him, but Tom discovers not everything about the sixteenth century is as romantic as he’d imagined. Getting back to the modern world and Peter becomes Tom’s only wish, but desire and reality are two completely different things, and Tom might not get what he wants this time around.

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Review: First off, I have to say both the title and the cover of Emily’s Magical Bejeweled Codpiece caught my attention. But, to be honest, I made the mistake of reading other’s initial reviews and wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to read it. Still, I’m one who always likes to walk on the wild side and give new authors a chance.

OMG! I’m so glad I gave this book a chance. I started off grinning and then had some serious LOL moments when Tom made his trip back into time to meet his obsession, Emilio.

See, this is what I love about time travel stories that actually take the romance out of the time period and put a little something like reality into it. I actually know someone like Emilio, and damn if I didn’t have the same reaction that Tom had. I especially enjoyed how sweet it was when Tom got over his OCD with Peter.

Sorry…I’ve been known to have a quirky sense of humor, and I guess that’s why I loved Emily’s Magical Bejeweled Codpiece. There are two authors that I know of who share this sense of humor—Ethan Day and John Inman. I’m giving this short story a high recommendation for those who also enjoy that quirky humor too.

I’m so looking forward to reading more from B. Snow!

TNA_Signature_Kim

 

 

 

You can buy Emily’s Magical Bejeweled Codpiece here:

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4 Stars, All Romance Ebooks, Historical Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Vivien Dean

Review: Unison by Vivien Dean

Title: Unison

Author: Vivien Dean

Publisher: Amber Quill Press

Pages/Word Count: 60 Pages

At a Glance: Time travel and magic collide to right a wrong in history.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Freddie Valek is a dreamer. He dreams about the fantastic as a means to escape, about finding the perfect man, about anything his imagination can conjure. When he falls asleep after work one day and finds himself in pre-Civil War Louisiana, he can’t say that he’s surprised. The only part of the dream that shocks him is that it’s taken him ten years to have a dream about the history of his most prized possession—a water-logged portrait of a man named Ezekiel.

All he knows about Ezekiel is what the woman who gave it to him said. That Ezekiel was the son of a plantation owner and a slave. That nobody ever found out what happened to him. Freddie’s dream thrusts him into the parents’ lives and their demands that he’s been brought to them to find their runaway son, a mission he is more than happy to accept.

But the closer Freddie gets to finding Ezekiel, the more he’s convinced that none of this is actually a dream…

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Review: Anyone who finds themselves staring off into space and daydreaming will likely relate to Freddie. As a way of escaping the tedium of life, he often dreams of fantastic things to keep his mind occupied, and that’s just the way he likes it. How many of us can relate to that? I know I could.

In this short story, Freddie’s dreaming takes him to Louisiana, before the start of the Civil War. At least he thinks it’s a dream. But when he doesn’t wake up, he realizes he actually is there. And the man he’s fantasized about, the man from a painting he was given, is there too. And needs his help. What follows is an interesting tale of time travel and magic, where spirits are called upon and work their magic on the unsuspecting. But more than that, it’s about connections across time.

Freddie and Ezekiel are wonderful characters. I really felt for them and their situation. Freddie lives in the present, and Ezekiel is just a portrait on his wall. According to the woman who gave the portrait to him, Ezekiel was a slave, the son of a plantation owner, and one of his slaves, who disappears for the family history. Freddie is so caught up in his fantasy that he talks to the portrait hanging on his wall and dreams up new lives for Freddie. And when the two finally meet, you discover Ezekiel heard everything Freddie told him.

While some may not like that aspect, I thought it was unique. Freddie thought Ezekiel was just a figment of his imagination, a part of his usual dreams, and Ezekiel thought he was one of the spirits, or his guide. They didn’t realize the other was real until they meet.

If you’re a fan of time travel stories, I recommend this one. It’s short enough to read in one sitting, and it will leave you feeling good at the end. Though I would have liked more to discover what happens next to Ezekiel and Freddie, and how they deal with their new situations, where the author left off is a good stopping place; it felt natural rather than forced. I might want more, but I’m happy with what I got.

TNA_Signature_Jennifer







 

You can buy Unison here:

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B. Snow, Dreamspinner Press

Guest Post: Emily’s Magical Bejeweled Codpiece by B. Snow

B. Snow Banner

Thank you, TNA, for letting me guest-blog about Emily’s Magical Bejeweled Codpiece! When I asked Lisa what I should talk about, she said, “The title!”

So, yeah. :D Usually I have a terrible time coming up with titles (is there a writer who doesn’t??) but this time, the title came before the story, and I didn’t even have to think of it myself.

My critique group is more of a brainstorming group – we bounce ideas off each other and work out plot problems more than we ever seem to do actual critiquing. I dedicated the book to the two critique partners who were the ones who came up with the idea for the story, Evangeline Hunter and Tiana Johnson.

Evangeline thinks codpieces are the most hilarious things ever. We started talking about codpieces because of other historical clothing like pantaloons, which show up in my as-yet-unfinished pirate novel. (E loves saying “pantaLOOOONS!”) So we were all snickering about codpieces, and then Tiana starts telling me I should write a story about them. As I said in my dedication, the crazier a story idea is, the more T wants someone to write it. So T starts googling “codpiece” because she is the supreme enabler of insane plot bunnies.

It turns out that codpieces were only a thing for about 200 years, and their peak of popularity was in the mid 1500s, a period about which I know nothing. I love Regency romances, my first book is a Regency novella, but I knew I couldn’t write a novel set in the Renaissance. (Why not just do the research, you ask. Because I’m lazy, I answer.)

But E and T still won’t give up the idea of a story about a codpiece. And as they continue to talk about it, it becomes a BEJEWELED codpiece, and then a MAGICAL, BEJEWELED!! codpiece. Because a codpiece on its own isn’t crazy enough.

The plot grew out of that crazy title. Since I couldn’t set an entire story in the Renaissance, I decided to use time travel so a MAGICAL, BEJEWELED codpiece would make sense in a contemporary romance. Because a codpiece in 21st century America that causes the wearer to time travel to Renaissance Italy totally makes sense. ;)

Maybe the blurb will explain it better.

It came out just over a week ago, but I was out of town, AND procrastination is my “brand”, thus the promo happens late. :) Thanks again, TNA, for letting me share the craziness with your readers.

~B

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EmilysMagicalBejeweledCodpiece_postcard_front_DSPTom, museum curator and expert in Renaissance jewelry, doesn’t think his boyfriend Peter is “The One.” Peter is perfectly happy with Tom, but Tom is obsessed with the artist Benedetto Emilio Nesci—exciting, passionate, extraordinarily talented… and dead for over 400 years.

Tasked with researching a bejeweled codpiece, Tom abandons his professional ethics—and his sanity—to try on the codpiece and is transported halfway around the world and back in time, right into Florence, Italy and Nesci’s workroom.

After his initial panic subsides, Tom seizes the opportunity to allow Nesci to seduce him, but Tom discovers not everything about the sixteenth century is as romantic as he’d imagined. Getting back to the modern world and Peter becomes Tom’s only wish, but desire and reality are two completely different things, and Tom might not get what he wants this time around.

Buy Link: Dreamspinner Press

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Excerpt: “You’ve been sitting too long.” Peter grasped Tom’s shoulder with one hand to steady him and dug the thumb of his other hand into the complaining muscles. “You really need to get up for a while, move around. You’ll feel better.”

Tom groaned and rolled his head as Peter kneaded his lower back. “Mmm. Feels good.”

“It’ll feel better once you’ve worked out. And then maybe when we get back,” he murmured against Tom’s neck, “you can work on something besides that old jockstrap.”

Tom pulled away from Peter. “Are you kidding? I don’t have time for that. This is incredibly important.” He moved back to his desk and stared down at the display case, or rather, at its contents.

Emily’s Magical Bejeweled Codpiece was truly the most magical piece of jewelry Tom had ever seen. The red silk it rested on had faded over the centuries, but the gems, set in heavy gold, still blazed. Diamonds glittered like ice next to emeralds. Topazes and peridots shone like cats’ eyes, while amethysts and aquamarines added a cool, contrasting gleam. And in the center of all the other jewels, slim lines of rubies formed a subtle yet elegant N over the curved center of the codpiece.

The glittering mass threatened to hypnotize Tom. He needed to get the piece into the vault at the museum. In fact, he should have taken it in immediately upon seeing it, but as soon as he’d opened the package, he’d been mesmerized.

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Author BioAbout the Author: B. Snow found her way into the magical world of gay romance by way of fanfic and slash, and original characters began banging on her brain several years ago. If she can conquer her chronic procrastinitus, she may get that banging written down someday.

Originally from the West Coast, B. Snow and her husband now live in the Atlanta area, sharing a house with a cat who has them very well trained.

You can find more information at her woefully neglected blog and at her Facebook page. You can e-mail her if you don’t mind waiting a few days for a response. See above: procrastinitus.

Blog | Facebook | E-mail

 

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4.5 Stars, Amber Allure, Angel Martinez, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: The Pill Bugs of Time by Angel Martinez

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Title: The Pill Bugs of Time

Author: Angel Martinez

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 62 Pages

At a Glance: The Pill Bugs of Time is a funny little gem!

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Vikash Soren, the perfect police officer except for his odd paranormal ability, never seems to lose his temper. Always serene and competent, he’s taken on the role of mediator in a squad room full of misfits. But on the inside, he’s a mess. Unable to tell his police partner that he loves him, Vikash struggles silently, terrified of losing Kyle Monroe as a lover, partner, and friend.

But life in Philadelphia’s 77th Precinct doesn’t leave much room for internal reflection. A confrontation with a stick-throwing tumbleweed in Fairmount Park leads to bizarre consequences involving pill bugs, statues, and… time travel?

If Vikash manages to survive the week and stay in one point in time, he might be able to address normal things like relationship problems. He just needs Kyle to have a little more patience. Maybe a few centuries worth…

Dividers

Review: First off, this is a sequel but can honestly be read as a standalone. Secondly, it is funny, clever, crazy and just the best kind of weird paranormal one has come to expect from this marvelous author, Angel Martinez. The Pill Bugs Of Time carries us back to the 77th Precinct, where life is far from normal and the inhabitants all have a touch of paranormal gifting that cannot always be controlled.

On a routine call (well, routine if you are from this Philadelphia squad), Vikash picks up a bug that has the ability to send him to an alternate reality and put him into a coma-like state. Still struggling with being romantically involved with his partner Kyle, Kash wakes up to realize he was just privy to a future where Kyle is no longer, and this adds to his already heavy laden guilt about being so deeply in the closet he cannot find the door.

As the two of them pursued the source of these weird time travel bugs, Kash and Kyle would face a tougher problem—whether they can realistically stay together when Kash cannot acknowledge in public that they are a couple. Lots of things hang in the balance as these two fight this new paranormal baddie, not the least of which is the potential ending of a relationship that barely had a chance to begin.

There were times in this sweet little story that I laughed till my sides hurt. Such a clever premise combined with fast paced action, unbelievably delightful characters, and a fascinating plot line. The cast of characters was just so eclectic and surreal that they absolutely worked, somehow making them a realistic team of cops in a wacky setting. With Kyle and Kash as the leaders of a hodgepodge of crazy fellow investigators, hilarity ensued as this group somehow managed to work together despite their individual paranormal gifts, which often got them all into trouble.

However, all was not fun and games in this novella. My heart just broke for poor Kash as he struggled to find some way to break through his own fears. He was hyperaware that Kyle deserved so much more than a boyfriend who lived with the irrational worry that he would be outed to colleagues and family. He grappled with the sure thought that Kyle was eventually going to wake up to the fact that Kash himself was sabotaging their floundering relationship. By refusing to even allow Kyle to talk about the fact that they practically lived together, much less physically display any type of affection in public, Kash drove Kyle further and further away, and essentially killed any hope of them remaining lovers. Right up to the end of this clever and witty story, we were uncertain if the two main characters would be together at the end.

The Pill Bugs Of Time by Angel Martinez was just a delightful story of love and friendship. Underlying all the fun was the profound message that we can lose that which we love in a heartbeat, and that reality should remind us to keep what we hold dear close and never take it for granted.

TNA_Signature_Sammy







 

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3 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Michelle Rae, Reviewed by Kim, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Time for Destiny by Michelle Rae

Title: Time for Destiny

Author: Michelle Rae

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 196 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: When Daniel Wilson, oldest of five children in a troubled family, joined the military, he expected to see combat in Iraq. But it comes as quite a shock when a Rupee minted a century and a half ago transports him to that dangerous time in war-torn colonial India. After he meets and falls in love with Vir during his visit to 1857, he faces the greatest challenge of his life. He knows he may ultimately lose Vir because he belongs in a different time. Still, he wants desperately to keep his love alive despite threats of violence from both wars. Continue reading

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Ethan Day, GayRomLit, Wilde City Press

GRL Countdown Celebration and Giveaway: Welcome Ethan Day

2014GRL_BlogTour_sq200x200Are you ready for an exclusive excerpt from Ethan Day’s forthcoming Sci-fi/Time Travel Romance novel Meteor Springs from Wilde City Press? Good, because we have one for you right here at The Novel Approach today, and in honor of his visit with us, Ethan’s offering one lucky reader the chance to win an e-copy of any title from His Backlist (excl. Meteor Springs), winner’s choice.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Carina Press, Libby Drew

Libby Drew’s “Paradox Lost” Is An Action Packed Sci-Fi Thriller


“It doesn’t have to conform to whatever is usual. It doesn’t have to be kismet at once, or rhapsody by the third date. It just has to be. In time. In place. In spirit. It just has to be.” ― David Levithan


Title: Paradox Lost

Author: Libby Drew

Publisher: Carina Press

Pages/Word Count: 228 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Time travel tour guide Reegan McNamara’s job—taking eager tourists whenever they want to go—is usually a breeze. A trip back to 2020 to watch a world-changing speech seems no different, until a woman runs away from his tour group before the jump home. Now her tycoon husband is demanding her safe return—or Reegan will lose more than just his job.
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S.A. McAuley, Totally Bound

“Someday It Will Be” – For What It’s Worth, It Was Worth All The While



“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time…” – Green Day “Good Riddance”


There is a cosmic order to the universe – time is linear, the past is unalterable, death cannot stop true love… at least that’s how all the best fairy tales go. And there’s one more inarguable rule to the order of things in life: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – for good there is bad, for joy there is sorrow, for gain there is loss, for fear there is faith, for life there is death.
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Dreamspinner Press, Theo Fenraven

Be Prepared To Take A Mysterious Trip Down “Blue River”



“Time is the longest distance between two places.” ― Tennessee Williams



Blurb: Photography genius Ethan Mars is out and living the fast life in Los Angeles until a mysterious mist in Topanga Canyon sends him back in time. There he meets Quinn Parker, a farmer who has hidden his homosexuality from everyone, even Margaret, his fiancée. Falling in love is the last thing Ethan expects, and the last thing Quinn can allow—in 1863, being gay can get him killed. When Ethan is unexpectedly offered a way home, he faces an impossible decision: go back… or stay?
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Dreamspinner Press, Eden Winters

This Is A “Duet” That Will Tug At Your Heartstrings



“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” ― Victor Hugo



Let me begin with the fact that I’m not really a big fan of historicals, but have enjoyed other works by Eden Winters, so with trepidation, decided to give Duet a try. I figured I’d know within a few chapters if it would be a hit or miss. Then again, Eden Winters is an excellent writer.

Here I go… I was pleasantly surprised that I had trouble putting it down when I started. I found myself staying up past my bed time, reading more with my first morning cup of coffee, reading even more during my breaks at work, and rushing home to finally finish reading this captivating story.

Malcolm was a little slow to warm up to, but found out that first impressions were misleading. I felt somewhat sad for him that he was trapped in an age of persecution. Aah, but with his daring move to Scotland, Malcolm turned out to be not only sweet, smart and funny, but very temperamental when crossed.

As for Aillil Calliaghan, his character was true Scottish male. Very proud and true to his heritage despite English occupation. What made this tale lively, was reading how his assumptions of this particular Englishman lead to some embarrassing and comical situations for himself. Aillil Callaghan didn’t stand a chance against this particular little Sassenach teacher.

Basically, this is a two parter story: the first half leads to a tragic end (bring out the tissues), while the second half magically rounds it off nicely with a HEA for both MC’s.

I haven’t read the original, so I have no idea how it differs from this revised edition, but all in all, Duet deserves a 4.5 rating. The only reason it’s not a 5 star—some parts felt just a tad rushed during the second half.

Reviewed by: Kim

You can buy Duet here:

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