Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pink Champagne and Apple Juice: the show starts here!...

Roll up! Roll up! The Pink Champagne and Apple Juice show starts here! Click the link for romance, drama and sheer excitement! There are some dang good cocktails too!...

Pink Champagne and Apple Juice: the cocktail of choice!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold: beautiful but oh so grim

I have to say this is a gorgeously written book, but I didn't warm to any of the characters or indeed the plot. The beginning scenes with Helen's mother after death are really very nasty and I found myself skipping over them in order to get back to some kind of normality. If normality can be found here … I also skipped over some of the rather more difficult scenes later on, though I did get the gist of it all.

When it comes down to it, Helen's family situation is pretty awful and perhaps on occasions rather unbelievable. To the point that, here and there, I found myself almost sympathising with the quite dreadful mother, or at least feeling as if she might have a point. I did like Helen's father, though, and I wished we'd had more of him. All in all, Helen does have a better relationship with the men in her life. The relationship with her ex-husband is also very tenderly depicted, and I liked Jake. I could see why he'd left though, oh yes.

Overall, the first half of the book is perhaps a tad too slow, but it gets more into gear when the police come on the scene, and Helen has to make more and more interesting decisions. Sadly, however, the ending isn't as good as it should have been as the last paragraph is, frankly, ridiculous, and should have been dropped very early on in the editing process. It would have been a far stronger book if it had stopped at that glorious penultimate paragraph.

So, the story is grim and so are the characters. But, still, it's beautifully written.

Verdict: Beautiful but grim. 3 Stars.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Romantic comedy: Pink Champagne and Apple Juice out today!

Romantic comedy Pink Champagne and Apple Juice is now available at a 1st week 35% discount at Amber Quill Press!

Here's the blurb:
Angie Howard has one ambition - to escape from her home in the idyllic Essex countryside and set up her own cafe in London. Once there, she seeks out her long-lost Uncle John, whose lifestyle is not at all what she expected.
Before she can achieve her goal, she has to juggle the needs of a sexy French waiter, a grouchy German chef and her exuberant, transvestite uncle. What's more, if she manages to keep the lid on all that, what will she do about the other hidden secrets of her family?

And here's one review:

"As I started reading this with my good ol’ cuppa joe on a lovely Saturday morning, Pink Champagne and Apple Juice was probably the first ebook that had me chuckling every two minutes. Anne Brooke must be a comedian at heart because right from the start you have the main girl, Angie Howard, running from her own mother to get on the train to find her Uncle John. Trouble and mishaps followed her nonstop. Angie’s character is so easy to like and anyone can relate to her because all she wants is to have her freedom and live life to the fullest. She really does when she finally arrives at her Uncle John’s home, which is rather a racy nightclub with cross dressers and gay people relaxing and being themselves ... Pink Champagne and Apple Juice was a great, laid back story with many twists to keep you laughing. The fast paced flow of the wacky story was undeniably fun. I say that if on a rainy day or just when you need to laugh in a ‘The Birdcage’ feel, this book is for you ... Rated 5 Delightful Divas & Recommended Read." (From a 5 Diva review at Dark Diva Reviews)

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Friday, April 04, 2014

A Seasonal Reunion: gay romance cover art

Here's the cover art for upcoming gay romance, A Seasonal Reunion. I have to say I love it!

Danny Brigson makes a serious mistake when he sleeps with Marty, an old boyfriend at an ill-advised reunion. He tries to cover it up, but Marty tells all, and the love of Danny's life, Jake, throws him out.
Over the next year, Danny tries to sort his life out, determined to stop relying on drugs and drink to get him through. Can he even dare to hope that one day Jake might give him the chance to put things right?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly: gripping and humane legal thriller

It's been a while since I've picked up a Michael Connelly book, but I've no idea why that should be - as he's one of the best living thriller writers we have. It was a pleasure to get reacquainted with him here. The Brass Verdict appears to be a follow-up to The Lincoln Lawyer but that doesn't matter as it didn't spoil my enjoyment one iota.

Mickey Haller is a wonderful character - a lawyer with an addictive past who's clean now and wants to get his career back on track, but is initially startled by the way this takes place at the beginning of the novel. I was gripped by the descriptions of how Mickey makes a go of things again, and he's ably supported by one of his exes and her new boyfriend, both of whom work for him. They're a great little team and I was rooting all the way through for them to succeed.

I also enjoyed Mickey's relationship with his most recent ex-wife (not the one who works for him!) and daughter, and will look forward to reading more about the three of them.

As always with Connelly, the courtroom scenes are excellent, and the twists and turns of both the crime and the case as it plays out are very exciting indeed. Those surprises just keep on coming and I will certainly not leave it so long again before my next Connelly fix.

Verdict: Gripping and humane. 5 stars.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Unexpected bestseller - Hallsfoot's Battle

Fantasy novel Hallsfoot's Battle is now a bestseller at Omnilit Books - here's the link:

And here's the blurb:

This book is the second in the Gathandrian Fantasy series and is the sequel to The Gifting.

The battle for survival has merely begun and the Mind Executioner's defeat is only temporary. Annyeke Hallsfoot, Acting Elder of Gathandria, must join forces with Simon the Scribe in a tenuous alliance to fight for their survival. However, Simon is distracted by his own personal demons, giving Annyeke no choice but to plot a desperate strategy to defeat the enemy.

When the Mind Executioner kidnaps Simon and raises an army from the dead, all hope appears to be lost. Both Annyeke and Simon, with the help of the mysterious mind-cane and the magical snow-raven, are determined to stay alive and, if possible, to win.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Black Out by Lisa Unger: muddled thriller

I started this book with high expectations but slowly I'm afraid I became increasingly disengaged from the story and indeed the heroine. There's something immensely irritating about Annie Powers and I never felt I was allowed to get beneath the surface of her character. I think it's something to do with the fact that there's a lot of telling and not very much showing the reader what's going on in this book. Not only that, but so many different things are going on in so many different timeframes and to so many different people (who might or might not be real) that after a while I started skipping, especially towards the end.

There is a grain or two of a really great story here, however. It's just a shame that it's overwritten, lots of information keeps being repeated in different forms, and it goes on far too long. A good hundred pages could have been lost with no real dent in the plot.

That said, I did actually think the ending is one of the most powerful things about it. I've seen comments from readers who are very annoyed about the ending - and I can very well understand why. However, for me, the ending did at last give a real and solid glimpse into the heart of Annie Powers, and so felt in that sense very satisfying indeed. Just a shame the rest of the novel couldn't have been the same.

Verdict: Muddled. 3 stars