Review: Kick Start (Dangerous Ground, Book 5) by Josh Lanyon

kick startReviewed by Sharon S.

Will is finally braced to bring Taylor home to meet the folks. Unfortunately, not every member of the Brandt clan loves Taylor the way Will does. Then again, not everyone loves the Brandts. In fact, someone has a score to settle — and too bad for any former DS agents who get in the way when the bullets start to fly.

Let me just say Josh Lanyon writes great thrillers that combine fast action, emotionally engaging characters and passionate romances. I adore his Adrien English mystery series, but I haven’t had the chance to read his Dangerous Ground series about two Diplomatic Security Agents who seem to find trouble where ever they go. Their friendship is strong, but one of them, Taylor McAllister, is secretly in love with the other. Unrequited love anyone? Yes, please!

Kick Start is book #5 in the series so if you like to read in order to avoid spoiling you don’t want to start here like I did. This is definitely a transition book. The first four books close out the main story arc and a new one is beginning for the two guys. And it starts with meeting the parents!

(If you don’t want relationship spoilers for the series now is the time to stop reading and pick up book #1 Dangerous Ground…shoo!)

Will and Taylor’s new business adventure isn’t going well and the guys are still adjusting to living together when Will needs to go home and see his brother. It is time for Will to come out to his family and introduce them to the man he is going to spend the rest of his life with. Who takes the news well and who doesn’t? Not going to tell, you have to read to find out. And it wouldn’t be an action story without bad guys trying to hurt the people Will and Taylor love. There are touching moments between all the characters and lots of humor with Cousin Denis.

This is a novella, but it read way too fast for me. It was over before I knew it! I did have a hard time picturing the guys and keeping their names straight at first because I wasn’t familiar with them, and it is written with the assumption you’ve read the first 4. But I soon picked it up and was able to picture them in my head. I loved the characters Will and Taylor and can’t wait to start this one at the beginning of the series.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Kick Start (Dangerous Ground 5)

Review: Snowball in Hell by Josh Lanyon

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

Snowball in Hell was previously published in I’ll Be Dead For Christmas, Partners in Crime #2.

Consistent. That’s the word I would choose to describe Josh Lanyon’s stories, as in consistently great <G>. He knows how to tell a story and tell it well. His characters are emotionally satisfying.

This story is set in the 1940’s and the world views on gay men were quite different than they are now. I think Josh showed this well. It must have been lonely and scary to be a gay man at this time. Nathan Doyle’s situation broke my heart. Not only is he plagued by nightmares from the war, all he wants is to love and be loved, but he has given up on that dream. Until, Matthew Spain comes into his life. Spain recently lost his wife to cancer.

I am surprised at how easily Spain is able to accept his feelings for Doyle. It was a little to quick for me. There wasn’t much lead up to them expressing their feeling to each other. This story focuses more on the relationship, not the sexual parts. There is also a great murder mystery in there too <G>. That is the beauty of Josh Lanyon’s stories. They are all that and the bag of chips.

Rating: ★★★★☆ (would have been 5, but the relationship happened too fast for me.)

Buy: Snowball in Hell

Review: His For The Holidays by Josh Lanyon

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

This is an anthology of 4 m/m stories by some of the best in the genre. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the stories. I am not one for short stories, because they seem rushed, but all the authors were able to pull me into their characters quickly and completely. If I had to pick a favorite it would be Mistletoe at Midnight followed *very closely by Icecapade. All the stories were HEAs and had me smiling, wickedly sometimes ;)

Mistletoe at Midnight (LB Gregg)– This is a story of reconnecting with that first love of your life. Caleb and Owen stole my heart in this unbelievably sweet and funny story told expertly in present day and flashbacks. I was farting rainbows and unicorns by the end of it <G>.

Owen thinking about Caleb:

…I’d noticed him. Everyone noticed him. Hell, the sunlight noticed him.

Nine Lights Over Edinburgh (Harper Fox)- This was a much darker story than the rest in the book. More of an old fashion guys police story with real bad guys. Detective Inspector James McBrides’ life is falling down around him, but Tobias Leitner, an Israeli Special Force officer, comes to his rescue. The Scottish jargon was a little hard to get use to, but the suspense and action kept me reading.

When James thought Toby had left:

No. If Toby had gone, so be it. He had crossed McBrides’s life like a meteor – that unexpected, that bright. If he had chosen to vanish just as abruptly…

I Heard Him Exclaim (ZA Maxfield) – Steve needs to spend this Christmas alone, away from his extremely large extended family. Chandler just became the guardian for his brother and sister-in-laws’ 5 year old daughter, after they died in a recent car crash, and he is at the breaking point. This story is what Christmas is all about, family, love, and taking care of others. The author never gives us the age of Steve, but I get the feeling he is close to 40 and Chandler is 27. The age difference came up a lot on Steve’s part and that was a little weird.

Steve telling Chandler why he wants to help a stranger:

“It just goes to show, if you need a little Christmas, it always pays to find someone who needs it more.”

Icecapes (Josh Lanyon) – Josh Lanyon is one of my favorite authors. The man can flat out write a story. This is about Noel, a retired jewel thief, and the cop, Robert, that tried to send him to jail. 10 years ago Noel seduced Robert to get out of going to jail, but neither man could forget the other. I love the way Josh writes strong silent type men and then matches them up with flirty sweet ones. You just sigh all the way through <G>.

Noel reflecting on missing Robert:

He didn’t need Robert’s power under him and harnessed, he wanted it inside, filling him, warming him, ending the winter that had haunted him for so long. Maybe for a decade.

Rating: ★★★★★

Review: His for the Holidays

Engaging the Senses

by Sharon S., guest blogger

What is the difference between a good book and a great one? There are as many answers as there are readers probably, but for me it has to do with my senses. You know, smell, sight, taste, touch and sound. I have a definite preference in books. I like paranormal romances and dark urban fantasies best. I prefer series because I can watch the characters and their relationships grow and change over time. I also have a preference for arrogant alpha-males that make no excuses and kick-ass snarky females that teach said alphas a thing or two.

I’ve read lots, but which ones stick with me? The ones that make me feel.

“Feel what?” You ask…anything, everything, all things. A book that can make me cry, laugh, swoon, scream and so angry I want to throw the book across the room (would never do this because a kindle ain’t cheap).

All books let you see what is going on in the story, but some authors not only make you see, their words can make you smell the forest, the ocean, the blood or his scent as he walks past. They can make you taste that pizza, the potion or his lips. They can make you hear the monster creeping outside the door, the dying screams or his whisper next to your ear (file that one under touch too ). Then there is touch, the feel of the water, the fangs and fur of the were, or his hands…well, you know.

These are authors that have mastered the metaphor. Being able to experience with all my senses is what helps me connect to the characters and immerse my self in the story. I can put myself in their shoes so to speak and that brings my experience to a whole new level.

Here are some authors that have delighted my senses recently: Kim Harrison, Josh Lanyon, Amanda Stevens, Tere Michaels, Ilona Andrews (metaphor magician in my opinion), Karen Marie Moning, Karen Chance, Suzanne Collins, Jeaniene Frost, J.R. Ward…

How about you? What makes book good vs great for you? What authors make you feel?

3rd Edition of Romancing the Novel Carnival

booklove

Welcome to the third edition of romancing the novel. Lots and lots of great links to read and maybe even reread if you’re so inclined. I hope you find many new articles to peruse and enjoy!

Book Reviews

On Genre and Sub-Genre

Author Interviews

Between the Sheets

Misc.

RWA

Writing Tips

That concludes this edition. Thank you everyone who submitted posts to this edition! You can submit your blog articles to the next edition of romancing the novel by using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Photo Credits: @sahxic < twitter

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