Tuesday, 16 January 2018

2017 in books

In terms of books, 2017 was a "love it or hate it" kinda year, with very few in-betweeners. I'm not complaining, though, because the ones I loved, I loved with passion well beyond what's considered healthy. Or sane.
I live by the mantra that we should focus on the things we love instead of clogging our brains with negative feelings, so in this post I'm going to talk about some of the books I absolutely adored in 2017. I've divided them in four sections for easier reading: fiction, manga, audio books and non-fiction. Check them out!

πŸ“š Fiction

πŸ“— Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman

I have to start with this book because it's been sitting at the back of my bookshelf long enough! I've had it for years, I even remember buying it from a vintage bookshop in London, but for some reason I never got to reading it, always getting distracted by newer, shinier things. This year, when I heard the movie will be coming out in the UK in November, I dug my vintage paperback from the back of the bookcase and started to read. 
I was blown away by Aciman's prose. I loved every second of that book! Even if it broke my heart a little. 
(The book is also mentioned in the audio book section because when I found out Armie Hammer was narrating the audio edition I had to get it!)

πŸ“— The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Guys, this book!!!! It's so so good! One of the best written novels I've read in a while! It's funny, it's witty, it's emotional, it's action-packed.... It's everything a brilliant novel should be! If you haven't read it do yourself a favour and run to the nearest bookshop! You can thank me later.


πŸ“— The Community series by Santino Hassell

The Community is a paranormal series about a bunch of psychics who are forced to rediscover and reevaluate everything they knew about themselves and their lives. It's Santino, so you know it's well-written and well thought out through and through. Each book focuses on a different couple but there's a storyline that runs throughout so you'll have to read them in order. I thoroughly enjoyed the series!
(I'm also looking forward to the audios because Greg Tremblay, one of my all time favourite narrators, is doing them!)


πŸ“— The Dark Artifices series by Cassandra Clare

There's two books currently out of the trilogy, Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows, with the third book scheduled for release towards the end of 2018.
I have to say, I'm a huge fan Of Clare's and I've read all her books, but this series is probably my favourite! I loved Lady Midnight, and I adored Lord of Shadows! I'm stupidly excited for the last book in the series, especially considering how LoS ended! If you're into fantasy/paranormal YA you can't go wrong with this series, or any of Cassandra Clare's books for that matter.


πŸ“— Bonfires by Amy Lane

I put off reading this book for ages and I don't even know why. I love Amy Lane, the books I've read by her always make my heart ache, sometimes with fuzzy feels, but most of the time with not so fuzzy feels. (No, I'll never get over Beneath the Stain, don't talk to me about it.)


πŸ“— The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish

I don't often read holiday romance mainly because I'm not a huge fan of Christmas, and also because they tend to be a bit samey-ish after a while. But when I found out Roan Parrish has a holiday book out I jumped on it straight away! And, of course as always with Roan's writing, I was blown away! The Remaking of Corbin wale is a gentle, sensual book that grabs you by the heart and doesn't let go till the last page. Loved everything about it and can see myself rereading it every Christmas.


πŸ“š Manga

2017 was definitely the year of the manga and anime for me. I rediscovered my love for the genre and devoured everything I could get my hands on. So here are my top picks of 2017:

πŸ“™ Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

With the release of season 2 in 2017, the AoT fandom was jolted back to life! I've seen the first season ages ago when it was released (in 2013 I think) but I'd honestly lost hope of any more of the manga being animated. When season 2 was released I had to rewatch season 1 and fall in love with the characters all over again.
After that, I had to continue reading the manga and find out what was going on. It's an ongoing, torturous process, but AoT is hands down one of the best manga series out there.

πŸ“™ Black Butler by Yana Toboso

I got that manga on a whim, and to be honest it took me a while to get into it. But when I did I became completely obsessed! It's a fantastic series, undoubtedly very eccentric and, at times, mind-boggling, but brilliant nonetheless. 

πŸ“™ Noragami by Adachitoka

My Gosh, I'm so in love with Yato I can die! Amazing manga series, the art is incredible but so is the story. Loved everything about it! 


πŸ“š Audio Books


πŸ“˜ Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman

I have to start with Call Me by Your name again because Armie Hammer's narration is incredible! His voice compliments Aciman's words like seas salt in caramel. The only way this book could have gotten any better is with a brilliant audio narration and that's exactly what happened!

πŸ“˜ The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater has been a favourite author of mine for years. Her books are always entertaining, but with a touch of something else. She manages to find a twist in every story without being obvious about it.
I've wanted to read The Raven Cycle for ages, but when I started book one, The Raven Boys a few years ago when it came out, I couldn't get into it. So I put it aside and nearly forgot about it. But then the series because super popular and audio books were produced, and I had to have them. 
The narration, by the awesome Will Patton, is spot on! He manages to inject just enough drama and intensity to suit the story without making it melodramatic. And his Ronan voice is just dreamy!

πŸ“˜ Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I read the book ages ago but now with the movie coming out I wanted to reread because I remember I liked it a lot. I decided to get the audio because I've heard good things and I'm so glad I did! The narration by Michael Crouch is perfection and made me love the book even more! 

πŸ“˜ When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

Mr Greg Tremblay (who I met at Euro Con in Berlin this year and who is an amazing human being) did a fantastic job with this very difficult book. The book is dark and grim and very, very sad, but the narration made it bearable. I honestly don't think I'd have been able to keep on reading if it wasn't for his brilliant performance.
Don't get me wrong, the book is brilliant and I loved it, but I didn't enjoy it, if that makes any sense. I highly recommend it, but be warned that the story goes to some pretty dark corners of the human mind.

πŸ“˜ Catch my Breath by M.J O'Shea

Catch My Breath is the exact opposite of When All the World Sleeps above. It's fluffy and cute and teeth-rotting sweet, but I loved every second of it. Tyler Stevens' fantastic narration has a lot to do with that positive experience. I definitely recommend the audio over the ebook/paperback, trust me on this!


πŸ“š Non-fiction


πŸ“’ Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli

What a gorgeous book! The cover, the illustrations, the thought process that had gone behind the scenes... All of it is gorgeously done, making the book a must read for anyone, not just rebel girls. 


πŸ“’ Literary London by Eloise Millar and Sam Jordison

I've lived in London for over 15 years and I still can't say I've seen everything this beautiful city has to offer. This book focuses on the literary sights in London, meaning the places where famous authors liked to hang out, lived or frequented. I've already bookmarked half the book, waiting for the weather to get a bit warmer so I can explore them without freezing. (I'm a summer person, don't judge me.) It's written with humour and holds many interesting facts about the sights and the authors themselves. Definitely recommend for any literary fan living in London or visiting for a few days.


πŸ“’ Being a Writer by Travis Elborough and Helen Gordon

This is an inspiring collection of essays from some of the most famous writers in the world about their struggles with their craft, their joys, as well as musings on how they even became to identify as writers. It's fascinating, really, to read that someone who has achieved world-wide fame and whose writing I admire has struggled with similar self-doubts and insecurities as I have, but has managed to overcome them and keep writing. Definitely recommend for anyone who aspires to be a writer.



Monday, 27 November 2017

New Translations + news

Hi guys!

This year I've been mainly focusing on translations instead of developing new projects - I needed a break from writing. Last year was very stressful for me and by the end I was getting anxious just looking at my laptop. So I gave myself a bit of a break, but I never stopped working. Currently I have a few projects on the go, and quite a few translations were released very recently, including the Italian translation for Piece by Piece, and most recently Dreaming of Snow, which concludes the West End series. So the entire series is now out in Italian, check it out on Amazon (available on KU as well).


          

   

If Christmas romance is your jam, I've got Kiss and Ride coming out in Italian very soon! Just in time for the Holidays ;)



Also, my German publisher tells me the German edition of Cookies did very well, especially for a new author in that market, and they signed a few of my other books as well. The German translation of Snowed In was released this weekend by Cursed Verlag, check it out on Amazon and Cursed Verlag website. 

                   



I hope 2018 will be a bit more productive for me and I'll be able to release the projects I'm currently working on. I'll be able to say more a bit later on. For now, here's a little excerpt from my current WIP:

The music cut through my insides like a hot knife in butter, melting the edges and seamlessly sinking into me, leaving me open and raw. Every thump of the bass punched me in the gut; every high electronic screech shocked my nerve endings making my limbs twitch. Nobody noticed my movements were a bit unnatural, or if they did they didn't care. I danced and shook and shuddered on the crowded dance floor, time slowing down to an agonising crawl. The colourful beams of light passed over sweaty faces slowly, carefully, as if they were flashlights carried by rescuers, lingering on people’s features, trying to locate someone in need.
The thing was, everyone was in need here. In need of a release, of a good time, of a quick, uncomplicated fuck in the back. Everyone was chasing a high, one way or another. In my case, I wanted to forget; to silence the constant flow of thoughts and images chasing one another in my mind, fighting for dominance every damn second.
You killed him. You fucking killed him.
I was shouting at my mother as my father’s casket was lowered into the hole in the ground. Everyone was staring at us. Renee was holding me back. I couldn't see, my eyes were blind from rage and pain and tears.
I blinked.
It took a fraction of a second but felt like I closed my eyes for hours. When my heavy lids finally lifted I saw time had resumed its usual speed. A wall of noise hit me making me stagger backwards. I didn't go too far, half a step at the most, bumping into bodies moving to the fast rhythm. They jostled me back and forth for a while until I found my footing again.
I smiled. Raised my arms over my head and let the music take me again.
It felt good.
It always felt good.
I needed this, today more than ever.
You killed him.
You fucking killed him.
Stop!
“Finn,” Someone shouted in my ear, too loud even for the club. “Finn!”
Instinctively, I put my arms around the body currently invading my personal space. I let the familiarity of it, the closeness, the scent, wrap around me like a soft blanket on a cold day, and shivered.

“Don’t,” he said when I placed my lips on the pulse point of his neck. Strong hands gripped my shoulders, but didn't push me away. I straightened and met Aiden’s eyes.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Book of the week: Mature Content by Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson


BOOK DESCRIPTION:

My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don't believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can't handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.

But we still hate each other. I think.



BUY LINKS:




MY THOUGHTS:

Happy release day Megan and Santino! I was lucky enough to get an ARC of the book and read it early. I devoured it in one sitting, ignoring everyone and everything around me - it was that good!
Let me start by saying that you don't have to read the previous books in the series to get this one. It's the story of Beau and Zane who first meet in the previous book of the series, Hard Wired, but their first meeting is written in this book through their POV, so you're not missing out on anything. There are some great cameos by the characters of the previous books - and by all means, it's a great series so go ahead and buy them all - but don't let that stop you from reading this one.
Mature Content is the sweetest book in the series. I was grinning like an idiot through most of it. It's sweet and romantic and funny and hot enough to set your kindle on fire. There's a little angst as well, but just enough to tug at your heartstrings without making you suffer too much.
I loved both characters so much! I think they're perfect for each other! For some reason I connected with them more than any other characters in the series, and their HEA made me very emotional.
I don't really want to give away too much about the plot. The book should be experienced without too many spoilers, so I'll stop gushing about it now and give you a delicious excerpt!

EXCERPT:

“Look, if I go clean up are you going to run out the door?”
“Would it bother you if I did?”
Beau frowned. “If I say yes, is it guaranteed you’ll do it just to bother me?” My mouth twitched. He rocked against me. “I’m serious.”
“Fine.” I sighed exaggeratedly, like he was really hassling me. “I’ll stay for a few.”
“Good.” Beau stood up, and I was suddenly eye level with his taut, sculpted stomach. “There’s another bathroom in my bedroom. And…you can grab some shorts from the chest if you don’t want to sit around naked.”
I almost asked him what the hell we were going to be sitting around doing, but kept my mouth shut. He went to the bathroom between the living room and kitchen, and I explored the rest of his apartment while slathered in jizz. It was almost as nice as mine, but nowhere near as artsy. My grandmother had helped me furnish it after shopping at thrift stores and refinishing furniture, but Beau’s apartment was kind of like a showroom. Eerily perfect.
Either way, his bathroom was on point with the lighting and shower, so I jumped in quickly after tying my hair in a knot. I rinsed off, wrapped myself in a super-plush towel, and then snagged a pair of cut off shorts and a T-shirt that had his fucking face on it, which was too funny to not wear.
I waltzed out in my new outfit and found him on the phone with…a menu in his hand. Freezing, I fucked up my entrance and gaped when he waved it in my face.
“Do you like Mediterranean food?”
“Uh. What?”
Beau looked at me like I was an idiot. “Zane. Tell me what you want to eat.”
“Oh. Um. I don’t know. I don’t not like any foods.”
He rolled his eyes and rattled off enough food to feed an entire family. When it was done, and he told them to charge his account, he pointed at the shirt I’d procured.
“Just so you know, I didn’t have that made.”
“Uh-huh. But before I mock you relentlessly, why are you ordering food? Like, just because you’re trying to make up for being a dick doesn’t mean—”
Beau grabbed the front of the shirt and a ripping sound filled the room. He didn’t even pause. Just jerked me against him and kissed me so hard I lost my train of thought. Fuck, I lost my sense of self. Fell headfirst into the intensity of his kiss and then wrapped my arms around his neck because… I really could not get enough.
His soft lips were perfect, his tongue lashing at mine with such finesse my dick started to swell again. Especially when he tangled his hand in my hair and tugged just hard enough to make my knees weaken.
“Fuck me before the food gets here,” I blurted.
Beau pressed our foreheads together, panting against my face. “We just washed up. And I want to talk to you.”
“We can talk later.” Fuck, was I whining? I was whining. “Please, Beau?”
He squeezed his eyes shut, muttered a very clear fuck it, and then backed me into his bedroom. We were on his bed, clothes discarded, so fast my head was spinning with delight. How Beau Starr was the best kisser I’d ever been with was a mystery, but, damn, the guy’s tongue was magic.



ABOUT THE AUTHORS:



Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

www.santinohassell.com
Santino@santinohassell.com
https://twitter.com/SantinoHassell
https://www.facebook.com/santinohassellbooks
https://www.goodreads.com/santino_hassell
amazon.com/author/santinohassell



Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she's been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn't writing, she's either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or... thinking about writing.
For more, visit meganerickson.org

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