Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#BookReview: All in with the Duke by Ava March #Regency #mmromance

All in with the Duke by Ava March
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

London, 1822

Max Arrington, the Duke of Pelham, vows to never again let a handsome face blind him to a man's true intentions. But ten months of celibacy and lonely nights drive him to a decadent brothel, where a beautiful young man arouses his illicit passions as never before.

Tristan Walsh has grown tired of being used for men's pleasure. But his latest client is different: commanding yet generous, Max makes him feel cared for as well as wanted. Yet Tristan knows he'll never have the choice to leave the brothel and submit only to Max.

So when Max invites him to be his guest at his country estate, Tristan eagerly agrees to his terms—days to do as he pleases while Max tends to the dukedom, and nights spent together in wicked play. But when the "business arrangement" begins to deepen into something more, Tristan must face the fact that he has no true place in Max's life—or in Max's guarded heart…

My Review:
I've discovered that reading a book by Ava March is synonymous with utterly emotional, passionate and sexy as all hell. All in with the Duke is no exception. I fell completely in love with the characters on their journey from lust to love. Ms. March's writing style is beyond excellent and makes this a complete pleasure to read.

Max Arrington, the Duke of Pelham has been hurt by an ex-lover and has vowed to never let such a thing happen again. But, he's lonely and wants the comfort of another man to warm his bed, so he takes the advice of a close friend and visits a brothel where he is introduced to Tristan Walsh.

Tristan has accumulated gambling debts and the madam of the brothel has agreed to settle his debts if in returns he continues to work for her. He doesn't enjoy this life-style, just deals with it to get by. It's better than living on the streets. But, the night he meets his new client, Max, he never imagined this incredibly giving lover could change his life for the better.

After a disagreeable incident at the brothel, Max whisks Tristan away to his country estate where he installs him in a position as his "mistress" more or less. He makes it plain to Tristan that he's not looking for love or any tender sentiments. Their relationship is to be mutually beneficial as long as they keep that relationship strictly to pleasuring each other in the bedroom.

However, as time passes Tristan's feelings toward Max grow into something more. Something he didn't expect when he agreed to this arrangement. He discovers that he's fallen in love with Max. In doing so, he's broken the contract between them. Max doesn't want love between them, but Tristan doesn't think he can continue living without it. So, Tristan has to make a decision that may end their relationship forever, unless the stubborn or rather "determined" Max can change Tristan's mind.

The tender moments between these two men were a complete pleasure to read. Each scene was written with emotion and passion, compelling me to keep turning the pages to find out if Max and Tristan would get to that forever that they both desired. I especially like that these books are set during the Regency era, which is probably one of my favorite time periods. If you're interested in m/m historical erotic romance then Ava March is for you!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How Writing Changed the Way I Read #IWSG #writinglife

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day.
The Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

IWSG Asks: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader? 

There was a time in my life when I could read a 300 page book in a day. I'd absorb every word, engrossed in the tale the author wove in my head, morphing myself into the main character to experience all the wonderful and often life-threatening adventures and if it was a romance, falling head over heels in love with the hero.

Then I started to study the craft of writing. I began to learn how those authors wove those fantastical tales.

I learned how a writer writes.

Instead of reading to lose myself into a book, I began studying the placement of those words, learning how the author created a world where the reader could find those adventures. I learned why they chose to reveal certain characteristics and events at the times they did. How they created the descriptions for the settings and the people in their stories. I discovered how plots work and all the intricacies involved with back story, foreshadowing, hero's journeys and 3-act structures.

Essentially, I'll never read books in the same way ever again.

Now, when I read a book its with a critical editor-like eye. Every story I read has become a textbook for the craft of novel writing. I learn what the author does that makes the story work, but what's worse is that I see the mistakes the author makes, too!

I've begun to anticipate certain actions and plot-points to the point where I can predict what will
happen next (which ruins a mystery, believe you me!). Sometimes I catch grammar mistakes that make it past all those people in the process of creating a book and I cross my fingers with hope that I don't have any of those in my books. Sometimes the author's words don't grip me with that magical wonderment that I had before and no matter how I try, I can't lose myself into the story. I see too much that pulls me out of it. I uncover character faults, badly written dialogue, and head-hopping POV.

Who knew head-hopping point-of-view could be so distracting?! It never bothered me before and now I can't stand it!

Now, that I've learned and practiced how to read a novel from a writer's perspective, its extremely difficult to turn off that mini-editor in my head. I'd love to slap a hand over her mouth to shut her up so that I can finally enjoy losing myself into a novel again, even a badly written one. The pleasure that reading brings is one of the reasons I started off on this path in the first place. However, I'm still learning with every book I read. Whether its written by a bestselling author or someone who is newly published, I'm still learning about the writing craft. And I sincerely hope that reading those books helps my own writing abilities grow.

It's difficult being a writer! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I have list of my favorite authors, the ones that I'm able to lose myself in their stories that keep my internal editor on a leash, and I've put them on my automatic to-buy list. To my extreme sorrow, I hesitate to read new-to-me authors these days. But, that doesn't mean I give up on them. It's one of the reasons that I think book reviews are so important. Those reviews give readers a chance to find out if that author and story is a right fit for them. I read a lot of book blogs and review sites. I chat with people on Facebook and Twitter to discover new authors. And I absolutely love Goodreads! So many great groups on there all dedicated to books. Also, I love reading anthologies. Often, I'll buy an anthology for one of my favorite authors, but those short stories give me a taste of a new-to-me author's writing style. I recently got hooked on a couple of new favorite authors by reading Holly and Hopeful Hearts by Bluestocking Belles this winter.  

As a thank you to those fantastic authors, for their talent and hard-work, I started writing reviews. I also want to help fellow readers find those valuable reading gems that are able to magically sweep them off their feet and into another world. I hope to help readers find great books to read, and I hope to help authors find those very special readers. Really, book reviewing feels just like an extension of my old day job as a bookseller. Instead of speaking to a reader face-to-face to tell them what kinds of books are sitting on our bookstore shelves, its the review that helps lead them to virtual bookshelves. And if I can help readers find a way to escape into another world for a short time, with either my own books or another author's books, then I feel very good indeed.

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Happy Reading!