Monday, February 27, 2012

Lis’ Review: Idriel’s Sin by Jay Di Meo

Jay Di Meo
Idriel’s Sin
Amber Allure, November 27, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Idriel, a second-class angel accused of murdering his comrades-in-arms, is sent to bootcamp on Earth where angels and demons train for the heavenly battles. The last thing he expects is Eligor, a first-class demon with his own ethics and more handsome than any angel, who grudgingly takes Idriel under his protection.
While waiting for his sentence to be passed, Idriel trains with Eligor and finds himself falling hard for said demon. Despite his innocence, he begins to accept his fate, that he is on his way to becoming a demon himself, and gives in to his body's demands when it comes to Eligor.
But Idriel's days on Earth are numbered. Soon he will be sent to the Pit, according to Heaven's Law, and nothing can stop it from happening--until all Hell quite literally breaks loose, and what Idriel once considered a sin may now be his only salvation...

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Paranormal, Angels, Demons, Mystery, Betrayal, Murder, Torture, Religion

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3

Reviewed by Lis:

Books about Angels are not always a good subject for me to read. Angels are the one group of supernatural beings that just fall into their own category because of their divine background. Stories with Angels in them have to be done well and worked out well for me to really like them. Of course, that’s just me. Idriel’s Sin was a story that caught my eye and despite my misgivings about Angels, I was intrigued. While most definitely not a bad story, I believe Idriel’s Sin is a story you’ll either love or you won’t.

Idriel’s Sin is the story of Idriel, an Angel accused of killing his fellow Angels and Eligor, a supposed demon who did something right and got sent to a training camp on earth. Idriel is there as well to await his sentencing. When Idriel saves Eligor in an apparent training exercise gone wrong, Eligor takes Idriel on to help him prepare for hell. Slowly something blossoms between the two alongside assassination attempts and a religious mystery.

The environment is harsh and rivals a military bootcamp on speed. There are few nice characters and the other Angels reminded me nothing of Angels but more of petty, jealous humans. This was, for me, the biggest sell out of the story. Out of all the characters, Idriel is the most angelic. Putting himself before others and seeing the greater good, instead of his own personal gain. He stands by his beliefs, unlike most other characters. As said, the other Angels reminded me more of humans than Angels who are supposedly better than human and you’d expect them to be above some petty qualities.

There is some worldbuilding but the story relies heavily on the existing believes of heaven and hell, while at the same time twisting facts to fit the story. Like the training camp on earth. There is a mix between old and modern martial arts, without there really being an explanation.

What worked best for me was the relationship between Idriel and Eligor. Both are tormented characters and Eligor has quite the past, which holds him back from his full potential. While flawed, he is the most likable character because of his flaws. Idriel is a sweet, self-sacrificing Angel who holds true to his beliefs. He almost represents the perfect Angel. I have to say that there are some sparks flying between Idriel and Eligor and YUM YUM YUM!

This is by no means a bad story, the writing itself was well done, but it’s the subject matter that didn’t work for me. While it wasn’t for me, Idriel’s Sin might just be the story you’re looking for. Especially if you like hot Angels and Demons and a mystery.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Gay Friday & A Sign of Life

Sorry that I've been MIA for another week, haven't responded to my email nor posted anything here or on Twitter. It's because my cough got really bad and I had to call in sick this week. Yesterday I had an important day at work and I dragged myself there and it actually went pretty good, only to find myself coughing like crazy again by the end of the day. So, today I have slept too many hours once more, trying to keep the fever at bay. And this post will be short in favor of more time in bed, ugh! Hopefully I'll have lots of energy again by tomorrow so I can spend a bit longer behind the computer. We'll see. :)

Happy Gay Friday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Gay Friday & Angels, Angels, Angels

It has been quiet at the blog this week. I meant to write a Valentine post and schedule a review but I haven’t been feeling too well. A cold kept me from doing anything blogwise, because by the end of each work day I felt so tired, all I could do was eat something and hit the showers before crawling under the covers. So, my week was awfully boring and thank goodness that’s about to end since Leontine is coming to visit me this afternoon. Yay! We have lots to catch up on, it has been a while since we’ve seen each other.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading a bit this week. I had to travel by train for a new project quite some hours, so I read a few short stories and a novel I didn’t have to review (because Sharon already did): Rearranging Stars by Diane Adams. Sharon highly recommended it, so I was curious. I’m glad I read it, because it was a magical and touching story, perfect for this week. I don’t think I’ve read many angel stories before but I definitely fell in love with the angel world Diane Adams created. This tastes like more!

Btw I hadn’t noticed before but apparently the Embrace The Rainbow site, a safe place for the GLBTQ community, is now online. A tweet from author @AnneBrooke directed me to the link. You can find the Embrace The Rainbow site here.

Happy Gay Friday everyone!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Winner Immortal Valentine!

We have a winner for the giveaway of Ellis Carrington’s Immortal Valentine, which will be released today at Amber Allure! Happy release day, Ellis!

The winner is

Angel flower

Congratulations angel flower! I’ll email you to confirm your email address. Once I receive your response I’ll forward your information (including preferred format) to the author.

Thanks for donating an ecopy for this giveaway, Ellis! Thanks for playing, everyone!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Gay Friday & I Love Ghosts (among other things)

As you might know we're a country of ice skaters. Whenever lakes, ponds and canals are freezing up, the Dutch get feverish. We want to go sharpen the blades of our skates and put them on for a nice ride on those frozen waters.
The past couple of weeks the ice fever kept getting worse thanks to the continuing talk and serious possibility of the "Elfstedentocht", which is Dutch for "Eleven cities tour" and is a race for people on ice skates. The race takes place on canals in Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. The route of the race goes through eleven towns and is nearly 200 kilometers long. It can only be held in winters when it is very cold indeed. And since it's been 15 years that the last Elfstedentocht has been possible (and the one before that was 25 years ago) this tour is a rare thing, but it's a really big event. Nationwide people talk about it and want to witness it. It's madness really.
Well, this week brought us some bad news: the Elfstedentocht organizers officially announced on Wednesday that it wasn't going to happen. The ice was not safe enough. I can't tell you how enormously disappointed a lot of people were.


On a happier note, today's the book birthday of this book:

I rarely read non fiction but I'll make an exception for this book. I have such fond memories of that place which we visited when we were in New Orleans for GayRomLit last October. And I know I'm not the only one. :)


At the moment I'm reading (almost finished) such a funny and wonderful book. Somehow I'm a sucker for romances with ghosts in it, and I especially love the ones where one of the heroes is a ghost and part of the falling in love thing. So this book, The Ghost On My Couch by LA Gilbert, is right up my alley. Plus, it's making me laugh out loud all the time, it's so funny and adorable. I've not finished it yet, so I don't know how it's going to work out with the whole 'I'm a ghost, I'm dead thing', so I truly hope there's a HEA that's as satisfying as the rest of this book. But I tell you the ugly yet adorable cat alone makes this story worth reading. I hope to finish it tonight.


And here's a reminder that there's still time to win an ecopy of Ellis Carrington's upcoming Valentine's story Immortal Valentine! Just leave a comment on this post before I announce the winner on Sunday for a chance to win. Good luck!

Happy Gay Friday everyone!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

An M/F Review: The First Noel by Cara North

Cara North
The First Noel
Amber Allure, December 4, 2011

Links: Author’s Goodreads page | Twitter | Buy book here

What better gift than Love for Christmas? Can any Marine expect to be so lucky? All Noel wants for Christmas is one hot Marine—Corporal Dickenson—and she plans to get him! With her brother in the service, Noel knows the "code" all too well—that when it comes to Marines, family members of fellow servicemen are usually off limits—but that doesn’t seem to mean anything to her as she pursues her interest with determination and passion. A chance meeting, a heroic event, and a night of sizzling passion all lead to a lifetime of holiday memories to come...

Genre & Keywords:
M/F Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Military, Christmas, Short story

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3

Reviewed by SharonS.:

I picked this story because it is set in Jacksonville, NC where I grew up, and Noel is a student at UNC-W where I did the first two years of my undergraduate schooling. I didn’t realize it was an m/f story. I read lots of m/f, but I don’t like the erotic ones. I just don’t find certain slang words for girl naughty bits very sexy . But I don’t let that affect my rating because this was written for people who do.

This is a 20 page short story about a young woman named Noel, a graduate student at UNC-W in Wilmington, NC. Her brother, Steve, is in the Marine Corps and stationed in Jacksonville, NC, an hour north of her. She is on winter break from school and helping her brother and his wife with their new baby. Noel accompanies her brother to a Marine Corps dinner where she meets Corporal Bruce Dickenson. Steve tells her to avoid this marine because he will be deploying in a few weeks. She tried to do the right thing, but Bruce ends up rescuing her from some drunks in the parking lot and they can’t deny the instant physical attraction. They meet to go bowling and end up in his barracks for an erotic one night romp.

This story starts out well. I like the writing, it is efficient and clean which is needed in a short story. You even get a feel for some of the secondary characters like her brother and sister-in-law. Then the story kind of broke down for me. When Noel and Bruce are in his room they have a conversation during fore-play and sex was odd. They talk about not being one night stand type people, about being clean and using protection, then deciding in the middle of sex not to use protection. Bruce had been with the same girl since high school and caught her cheating on him two weeks ago and here he is asking her to say she loves him during sex even if she doesn’t mean it. Really? That would be kind of creepy to me. The story ends there except for a short epilogue that picks up three years later and that lets us know what happens.

This is a HEA story about two people who act on lust at first sight and despite the odds make it work out. Even though I had my problems with the conversation during sex, it is a well written feel good story for if you are looking for a quick fix.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Giveaway & Guest post: Ellis Carrington’s Romancing the Monster

I’m happy and honored to have the wonderful Ellis Carrington at my blog today. She’s the author of Amor Prohibido and a couple of short stories. Coming February 12 her newest novella, Immortal Valentine, will be released. And to celebrate this happy event Ellis will be giving away an ecopy of this story at the end of this post. But first she’ll tell us about her fascination with vampires and how they also need romance. Take it away, Ellis!

Romance and Monsters
by Ellis Carrington

I remember being utterly fascinated one night at a high school sleepover when amidst Cheetos and hair braiding somebody pulled out a copy of The Lost Boys. The (at the time) modern portrayal of vampires was intriguing and cool, and a little bit campy…but what really got me was the part where Michael and Star made love. Two vampires making love. Wow. It was totally hot, too.

Unlike the other monsters in their gang they hadn’t embraced what they were. They were supposed to kill each other but because of their desire for each other and the fact that they hadn’t yet shed all of their pesky humanity, they couldn’t bring themselves to. It was an eye-opening first for me, this realization that monsters could be sensual and have emotion.

I liked it.

Vampires don’t have to be pasty, undead, creeps who lurch around and sleep in coffins anymore. They can be a warm-blooded supernatural species. They can be just as alive as us humans and experience a host of complex of emotions, including guilt and love. The fact that they need to drink someone else’s blood to survive, in my view, makes for an interesting plot point: it creates a literal connection with their lover.

It’s more than falling in love, it’s bonding on a very basic, very primal, very physical level.

In my upcoming novella, Immortal Valentine, Angelo is a vampire who feeds once a year: on Valentine’s Day. He’s the last remaining of his kind. His race died out suddenly, and he suffers a weird kind of survivor’s guilt because of that. He can’t feed from another vampire to sustain himself, so he has to live off of humans, and he doesn’t like it.

So he lives a lonely existence, and when he must come out to feed, he makes it as special as he can. He makes it romantic. He finds himself a valentine. For one night, he and some lonely human have a romantic evening, and after they’ve done the Horizontal Mambo and Angelo’s had his fill of the blood he needs to survive, he blurs that human’s memories so he’ll be none the wiser.

But then Angelo meets Caleb. On what should be a Valentine’s Day like any other, plans go awry when Caleb falls ill. Angelo can’t drink Caleb’s blood. That guilt thing, again. And then next thing he knows, he finds himself caring for Caleb a little more than he should… He puts his own health at risk as a result.

Like Michael and Star from The Lost Boys, Angelo in Immortal Valentine is a creature who in a way doesn’t want to be what he is. All living things have a basic drive to endure, but feelings make us do funny things. Deep down he craves connection, and his inability to drain Caleb’s blood and walk away nearly costs him everything.

Or gains him things he needs and didn’t know he was looking for.

Because in my little fantasy land, sometimes even monsters need more than just survival...sometimes they also need romance. Even vampires deserve a happily ever after. Right?



Ellis has generously offered an ebook copy of Immortal Valentine to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.

This giveaway is open internationally, I will announce the winner on Sunday, February 12, so be sure to leave your comment before that and don’t forget to check back then or leave a way for me to contact you in your comment or profile.

Good luck to you all!


Backblurb Immortal Valentine (releases 2/12 from Amber Allure):
After a heart-pounding brush with danger on Valentine’s Day, Caleb runs into a handsome stranger and decides to roll the dice on a one-night stand. But things don’t work out the way anyone intended when Caleb gets sick unexpectedly. He wakes up alone the next day, extremely confused and utterly embarrassed.
Angelo is an insomniac vampire who leads a solitary existence. He comes out of hiding once a year—on Valentine’s Day—to soothe one lonely human soul while drinking the blood he needs to survive. But when Caleb falls ill he winds up connecting with a human as he never has before, and putting his own life at risk when he does.

Find out more at, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Gay Friday & Some Randomness

Friday can never come too soon! I’m always glad when another week has dragged itself along and turns into a Friday again. :) This week’s Happy Gay Friday post is going to be a mildly chaotic one I’m afraid, or at the very best very random.

First, I don’t know WTH is up with my previous post. Its RSS feed doesn’t seem to work (it’s not visible in Google Reader or blog rolls) and the comments don’t show up while they do appear in my email inbox. Weird! It might have something to do with the table thing I used…

For you who know Lis, my friend and one of the reviewers here, you’ll be happy to know that she’s safe. I’m not sure if you knew, but she left the Netherlands last December to seek adventure down under. She’s hopping from one farm to the next place to earn her living and at the moment she’s in Queensland where the rivers are flooding. It’s really bad, as you can see in these pictures.
Lis’s village is evacuated and she’s been helping evacuating animals and people. Isn’t she a heroine? :) My romantic senses are going overdrive ever since I knew she’s been helping out on this farm where she lives with a recently divorced man and his kids. And now that they’ve been evacuated they're all staying in a small mobile home together. How intimate! ;)
But seriously, let’s pray the flood situation won’t get worse.

I’m a bit dazed about the fact that I’ve only read one book this past week. Not even a few short stories or novellas sneaked in, nope, just the one book. That’s pretty unusual for me.
But I must add that it was a truly good one, so that makes up for the minimum reading time that I was granted. It was the third book in the Cut & Run series by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux: Fish & Chips.
Sharon and I are going to review it together very soonish. Be aware of lots of gushing from us because we both love, love, love Ty & Zane, we can’t help it. :)

Next week we have a guest author making her first appearance at Rarely Dusty Books. It’s the lovely Ellis Carrington who will be here talking about Romancing the Monster. I had the pleasure of meeting her in New Orleans last October and I’m honored that she agreed to come over to RDB for some fun. She’ll be giving away a copy of her soon to be released novella Immortal Valentine so be sure to check back in on Monday for a chance to win the book.

In the meantime you can have some fun with the soap… ehh… Gaytime Drama she and fellow authors like Damon Suede and Poppy Dennison are writing for the M/M Romance group at Goodreads here. (you must be a member of the group I think).

This week it finally got a bit colder in our little country. It’s freezing for a couple of days now and today we also got some decent snow. It’s still beautifully virginal although it’s not really much yet, as you can see in this picture taken from my warm and snow-free kitchen. :)

You all know the blog Coffee and Porn in the Morning, right? It’s run by Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan and these ladies had a Birthday Bash last month with free stories which I happened to stumble upon. I happily spread the joy of free pretties (even if I’m always too late for the party ;)) so here are the links to the ones I’ve found:
Dirty Laundry, by Heidi Cullinan | Seven Years, by Lynn Flewelling | Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac, by Marie Sexton | How much for the whole night? by RJ Scott | Pole Star, by Josephine Myles | A New Reality, by Andrea Speed | The Beginning of the End, by Ethan Stone | The Drifter’s Song, by Z.A. Maxfield | Not a Whore, by Jaime Samms | 9:05, by KC Burn | Interlude, by SA Meade | Tomfoolery, by Lou Harper | When the Sea and the Sky Turn to Blood, by Amy Lane | Method Acting, by Clare London | Too High a Price, by JP Barnaby.

So, this should be enough randomness for one day I think. :)

Happy Gay Friday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February m/m releases I look forward to

A new month ahead of us and again so many releases I look forward to.
This is just a selection:

Release Date: February 1

The first time Max laid eyes on Robert Armitage, he knew exactly what he wanted to happen. But Max was just a night porter and Robert a guest at the hotel before his wedding, and Max knew even as they...more
Release Date: February 1

Can Brett really succeed in matching kinky up strangers perfectly, two Valentines Days in a row? He’s going to have a damn good try.
Twelve months ago, Brett had a great time setting up hi...
Release Date: February 4

The Downe's Valentine's Day Masquerade Ball has been an annual event for over a hundred years and where, four years ago, Gabe met Mike.
It's been over six months since Mike's death and Mike...
Release Date: February 4

<b>A CinderFella Story</b>

It’s all fun and games until somebody loses a shoe…
Eldon Cinder would give anything to see Prince Xavier one last time, but only women are invited to the ro...
Release Date: February 5

In the Dark Ages, Morton was taken from his lover, the warrior, Graham, and changed by the evil immortal, Seymour. When Graham is gravely wounded in battle, Morton changes his lover and the two immort...more
Release Date: February 5

Two men. One roof. Who knew togetherness could be so dangerously tempting?
Korbin is looking for a renter to help make ends meet. Not quite ready to make the offered room a squatter's parad...
Release Date: February 6

Mark isn’t sure he believes in love, especially when he’s torn between two very different men: his reliable boyfriend, Craig, and his illicit lover and priest, Richard.
Mark knows what he s...
Release Date: February 12

After a heart-pounding brush with danger on Valentine’s Day, Caleb runs into a handsome stranger and decides to roll the dice on a one-night stand. But things don’t work out the way anyone intended wh...more
Release Date: February 13

<i>Careers in military service are never easy on relationships—even less so when both lovers are in different branches...and both are men.</i>

Naval Academy graduation now under their belts, Cary ...
Release Date: February 14

Painfully introverted and rendered nearly mute by a heavy stammer, Lord George Albert Westin rarely ventures any farther than the club or his beloved gardens. When he hears rumors of an exotic new orc...more
Release Date: February 14

Release Date: February 18

One dead girl, one scared witness, and two men trained as Navy SEALS. Whether searching for justice or revenge, the final showdown between them is the same—explosive.
Dale M...
Release Date: February 20

A vacation is exactly what these men need to find love in their lives. It may be about looking for a little fun, gaining a fresh perspective after a breakup, or building up the nerve to take the plung...more
Release Date: February 21

<i>The hookup from hell…or the ride of his life?</i>

Leon’s drifter lifestyle gives him the freedom to attend as many music festivals as his heart desires. Even the ones that leave him covered in ...
Release Date: February 24

Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.
Nobody knows the real Chase.
Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell ...
Release Date: February 27

In feudal Japan, Kaede Hajime lives as a vagabond ronin, a samurai without a lord. As he spends the night at a village's inn, the innkeeper begs him to help stop a mischevious kitsune, a fox spirit, p...more