Ebook Review Central, Multi-publisher, August 2012

Welcome to the Ebook Review Central multi-publisher wrap-up post for the titles published in August 2012. This week’s edition covers the output from Amber Quill Press, Astraea Press, Curiosity Quills, Liquid Silver and Riptide for the month of August. Red Sage didn’t publish anything new this month.

This is also my multi-conundrum post. Out of six possible publishers, not all of whom have output in any given month, there are entirely too many months, like this one, where Riptide publishes three titles and absolutely sweeps the featured titles. No other publisher has titles that received more than four reviews, and there were way too many ones and zeroes, all over.

Why am I bringing this up right now? I’m moving to Seattle in November, and starting a full-time job in early December. Some things will have to re-arranged. I will continue Ebook Review Central, but for publishers where there are regularly no reviews, or very few reviews, to report, I’m going to have to make some decisions about priorities.

Multiple reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, even when they exist, do not count on Ebook Review Central. Why? Because many reviewers cross-post their reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When we receive review copies from publishers, the publishers generally make that request specifically.

All of this week’s featured titles were from Riptide. While I would have liked to have spread the featured titles out a bit, Riptide absolutely ran so far ahead of the pack, it wasn’t remotely possible. And good on them and their publicity department/review coordinators as well as the authors for getting their books out there.

Featured title number one is Anne Tenino’s Love, Hypothetically. I’ll say up front that the reviews weren’t universally good, but there were simply a ton of them. When this many people are talking (and writing), the book is worth looking at just to get in on the conversation! Love, Hypothetically is the sequel to Frat Boy and Toppy, and is a story of reunited lovers. Paul and Trevor were high school boyfriends who veered way off track. Trevor chose a major league baseball career instead of coming out, but threw Paul pretty much under the bus on his way. Now the big career is over and Trevor is back in town and he wants a second chance with his first love. See Under the Covers for the wow review and Avon Romance for the meh vote.

Almost all of the 16 reviews for the number two feature were raves. I’m talking about Aleksandr Voinov’s look back at two German flyers during World War II, Skybound. Even though this is a time and/or a side that many people avoid like the plague (as my fellow Book Lover Caro put it) every one who read this one fell in love with the characters and saw it as a beautiful story of love and courage, set in dark and desperate times.

Coming in at number three was the book I expected to be number one, which says something about the strength of the competition this week. Anything that could beat out the latest entry in the Cut & Run series has to have been pretty damn good. Because the number three title for this week is Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux, the 6th book in the Cut & Run series. Everyone who reviewed this one absolutely loved it, but that’s not a surprise. By six books in, everyone reviewing is deeply invested in the series. The series started as a mystery/suspense series about two FBI agents, Ty Grady and Zane Garrett, who have absolutely opposite working styles and one hell of a lot of sexual tension. During a significant part of the series, it’s a question whether they’re going to fall into bed or get each other killed, or both. The series is meant to be read in order, starting with Cut & Run, and highly recommended by pretty much everyone who has ever reviewed it.

We’ll be back! Next week! Carina Press, September 2012. The Frankenstorm will not bring me down.

Ebook Review Central, Hexapub, July 2012

This week on Ebook Review Central we have the multi-publisher wrap-up of July 2012. After this week, we’ll move on to the August titles for the publishers that ERC turns its eagle eye (or beady eye, take your pick) upon.

But until next week, it’s still mid-summer. I’m in Atlanta, Georgia, it IS still summer. We’re looking at the July 2012 titles from Amber Quill Press, Astraea Press, Curiosity Quills, Liquid Silver Books, and Riptide Publishing. Red Sage Publishing would normally be in that list, but they didn’t publish any new titles in July. That didn’t keep their titles from the previous months from garnering some new reviews, and the database has been updated to reflect those.

The surprising thing about this week’s featured titles is that Riptide did not run away with the reviews. They weren’t even in contention for running away with the featured list. Don’t get me wrong, they absolutely earned their first place spot on the list. Someone will need to pick me up off the floor the day Riptide doesn’t earn one place on the list, even with six publishers’ titles in contention. It’s just rare that they don’t look to take all three spots.

This week they weren’t even close to taking all three spots. First place however, was all theirs.

Cat Grant’s Doubtless, published by Riptide, absolutely ran away with first place. Any book that generates enough heat to get 21 people to post reviews (and remember that I’m talking about reviews outside of Goodreads and Amazon!) has got to be worth taking a look at. Doubtless is the followup to Grant’s May standout title, Priceless, another ERC feature, and follows the same characters. What Doubtless is not, as so many reviewers were careful to say, is a typical HEA. What it is, however, is a “compelling journey of self-awareness” as one reviewer so eloquently put it. Steve Campbell is professionally successful and personally miserable at the beginning of the book. It’s not until after his first encounter with Dylan Monroe, a confident and self-assured male escort, that Steve begins to realize that the reason he’s lonely is because he’s been looking in the wrong direction.

The second book in this week’s feature is also a sequel, and also from that same May list. Wilde’s Army by Krystal Wade is the second book in her Darkness Falls series from Curiosity Quills. The first book in this YA genre-bender (part paranormal romance, part urban fantasy) was Wilde’s Fire, and it was the absolute runaway of the May titles. It’s no surprise that so many of the readers who were caught up in the story of the girl who actually traveled to the magical world she dreamed of wanted to continue the adventure. And what an adventure it is! The adventure continues at an incredibly fast pace, and it’s even more difficult to figure out which are the good guys, and which are the bad guys. No one, and it seems like no one, can stand the suspense until book three comes out.

Imagine a world where your spine might be a precious commodity, but not necessarily the rest of you. Did a shiver just run up your…spine? That’s just a tiny hint of the action in Michael Shean’s Bone Wires, the third featured title this week, also from Curiosity Quills. Bone Wires is, dare I say it, a curious mix of Biopunk, Cyberpunk and dark science fiction with just that touch of urban fantasy. Or at least the part of urban fantasy that involves solving nasty crimes in an urban setting. It’s just that this particular setting is in the far future, and being a cop is a job that ranks somewhere below street-sweeping. Both involve taking out the trash in Shean’s not-so-brave new world. Shean’s description of a future America where police forces are operated not by the government, but by private corporations sounds, just a little too close to the possible.

So there you have it for this week, and for July 2012. One runaway feature for Riptide with Cat Grant’s Doubtless, and two solid hits for Curiosity Quills with Wilde’s Army and Bone Wires.

Ebook Review Central will be back next week with Carina Press’ August 2012 titles. It looks like I get to go back to baseball metaphors for a while. My hometown Cincinnati Reds clinched their division.


Ebook Review Central, Hexapub, June 2012

This is the Creepy Crawly edition of Ebook Review Central.

Why Creepy Crawly? Six publishers, six legs. Spider-post. (Yes, we saw Spider-Man last week. Not bad, not bad at all.)

But we’re talking publishers, and not necessarily superheroes, although there might be a superhero book in the bunch. You’ll have to check the database. Take a look at the Amber Quill Press, Astraea Press, Curiosity Quills, Liquid Silver Books, Red Sage Publishing, and Riptide Publishing lists for June 2012. Maybe somebody published a superhero book this month.

Even if they didn’t, you’ll have fun seeing what they did publish, and what reviewers had to say about it.

What usually strikes me about the multi-publisher issue of ERC is that there are generally a lot of titles, but not a lot of reviews. There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the “epidemic of niceness” in online reviewing. If you haven’t seen the original article, it was  posted in Slate.

Unlike the New York Times Book Review, bloggers are not paid to write reviews. So, as a group, we may only spend our time writing reviews of books we like. Also, as Barbara Hoffert pointed out in an essay at Library Journal titled F. Scott Fitzgerald, Best-Selling Ebooks, and the Problem with Online Book Talk, bloggers are “out there” in terms of protection from legal repercussions if an author doesn’t like what we say. Library Journal has over a century of history behind it. It has a business structure. Most importantly, it has lawyers to defend its employees.

So, some of that epidemic of niceness may be a case of the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. In which case, a ton of good reviews probably means that a book is at least a decent read (Think of how Rotten Tomatoes crowdsources movie ratings). But if no one is reviewing a book, it means something else. It might mean that the book hasn’t found its audience.

And it might mean that no one has anything good to say, so everyone is keeping their keyboards disengaged.

But there were books this week that generated plenty of reviews. Let’s talk about the featured titles for this week.

Clanking into third place this week is The Blacksmith’s Lover by Heather Massey. This is the second book in her Clockpunk Trilogy, after The Watchmaker’s Lady. It’s a short, intense, erotic story of Sarah, a young woman who escapes abuse at the hands of her employer to find refuge with a rather unusual blacksmith outside West Boylston, Massachusetts in 1840. Viktor doesn’t just make horseshoes. In his hidden workshop, he makes clockwork animals, steam-powered clockwork animals, and all manner of fascinating devices. Keeping the secret of his special crafting out of the wrong hands is the reason Viktor fled his native Russia. But once Sarah and Viktor start an affair, he uses his mechanical skills to defend her, even against a rival clockworker employed by her insane former employer. This steampunk story is hotter than the blacksmith’s forge!

Number two for this week wafts in on a puff of pipe smoke. Kissing Sherlock Holmes by T.D. McKinney and Terry Wylis is a new Sherlock Holmes case with one difference. Instead of Holmes being indifferent to his emotions, Holmes both gets engaged to a headstrong young woman AND embarks on a passionate affair with his friend Dr. John Watson. Oh yes, there’s a mystery to be solved, a tiny little thing about a sadistic blackmailer threatening to undermine the government. The idea that Holmes and Watson are in a relationship has been around forever. BBC’s Sherlock lampshades it at every opportunity. Most of the reviewers say that Kissing Sherlock Holmes does a reasonable job treating the relationship as a real possibility, with a couple of minor quibbles. Everyone seems to have solved the mystery too quickly. For a very funny, and snarky, opposing view of the book, read Julie’s review at Word Weary, it’s a scream.

It seems like it’s inevitable. The number one book this week is from Riptide Publishing. This week’s selection is Awakening by Cat Grant and Rachel Haimowitz, the latest entry in their Power Play series. This one is definitely not for the faint of heart. The Power Play series makes no apologies about playing with all four letters of BDSM; the two characters of this series, Jonathan and Brandon are in a consensual Dom/sub relationship, and in this second book of the series, Brandon has entered into a new phase of his relationship with Jonathan for a $3 million payout. It was the only way he could get Jonathan back. But to do it, he has to prove that he’s every bit the masochist that dominant and sadist Jonathan wants and needs. Because Brandon loves him that much. But it takes them both a lot of pain to get there. And not all of that pain, not by any stretch of the imagination, is physical.

Now it’s time for the spider to climb back to the center of her web until the next hexapost. Ebook Review Central will be back next week, when we’ll turn our gaze to the Carina Press July titles. I’ve found a Monster in My Closet, but no superheroes so far. Guess I’ll just have to keep looking.

Ebook Review Central, Amber Quill, Astraea, Curiosity Quills, Liquid Silver, Red Sage, Riptide, May 2012

This Ebook Review Central issue covers the May 2012 titles for a whole host of publishers; Amber Quill Press (all its bits), Astraea Press, Curiosity Quills, Liquid Silver Books, Red Sage Publishing and Riptide Publishing.

And another month ends. Next week, we’ll start the June coverage and begin inching up on the calendar again, but not too close.

Because of the continuing mess surrounding the “Stop the GR Bullies site” and the whole discourse about whether posting a bad review, even a snarky bad review, constitutes bullying. I’d like to point out a very professional exchange of comments between one reviewer of Rachel Van Dyken’s Upon a Midnight Dream and the author, the publisher and the publicist. The exchange occurred at Books with Benefits and concerned both the book and the cover art. While the cover art review was intentionally snarky, the book review was well-written but not a positive review of the book. However, both reviews referred to the work and not the person and the entire discussion on all sides remained totally professional and positive in tone.

(For those looking for an interesting, well-written and snarky author’s take on this mess, I recommend John Scalzi’s post, “Bad Reviews: I Can Handle Them, and So Should You“)

Back to Ebook Review Central.

The number one featured book was a complete surprise. Curiosity Quills published one title in May. And, as is usual for them, it’s a genre-bender. Part paranormal romance, part urban fantasy, and a touch of YA. And it’s book one in a series, so there will be more. I’m talking about Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade, the first book in her Darkness Falls series. The concept is a classic; a girl dreams of a magical world, then leads her sister and her best friend through a portal, and discovers that magical world is real. But it’s not a dream, it’s a nightmare after all. Reviewers were all over the map on Wilde’s Fire, every rating imaginable from 5/5 to DNF (way more reviews on the high side!). But so very many people read it and wrote about it, equally passionately. When 32 reviewers take the time to review something, not including reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, it’s absolutely worth taking a look at.

Featured book number two this week is from Riptide Publishing. All four of the titles Riptide published in May were from their Rentboys Collection, but the one that stood out for the reviewers was Priceless by Cat Grant. This blend of three tropes really pulled at reviewers heartstrings because of the power of the writing. Trope number one is the nerd romance. Professor Connor Morrison is so busy with both his physics professorship and the technical firm that he and his best friend are trying to get launched that he doesn’t have time for relationships. He’s too busy and too driven. Wes Martin is a student at Connor’s college. With no scholarship and no family behind him, Wes does whatever he has to do to graduate, even hooking through a website. But they keep running into each other, some of those meetings orchestrated by Connor’s business partner. Connor doesn’t have time for a relationship, and Wes doesn’t want Connor to find out that some of his johns rough him up. A lot.  A major wake-up call about what’s really important in life, and some serious rescuing made this book shine for a lot of readers.

The final book in this feature is Dirk’s Love by Marisa Chenery, published by Liquid Silver Books. Dirk’s Love is book six in the Roxie’s Protectors series, giving it that built-in audience that often has reviewers chomping at the bit for a book. Dirk is a werewolf, and this story is absolutely a paranormal romance, but with a cyber twist. Dirk has created an online matchmaking service for werewolves to find their soul mates. It turns out that his one employee is his soul mate. Looks like the service works. The only problem is that Ryann’s ex-husband has other ideas. And when Ryann discovers that Dirk is a werewolf, it takes her a while to decide that the wolf is not a monster after all.

That’s a wrap for this week’s Ebook Review Central. We’ll be back next week with the Carina Press June 2012 feature.

I have a question for you! Can you think of a great title for this multi-publisher group post? The title up there is a really long mouthful. Please help me out by posting your ideas in the comments.

Ebook Review Central, Amber Quill, Astraea, Liquid Silver, Red Sage, Riptide, April 2012

Welcome to the Omnibus publisher April wrap-up post for Ebook Review Central. This is always the last post covering the month (in this case, April 2012) and it’s the one covering the most publishers in one swell foop.

This time round, we have five publishers all in one go. The Amber Quill Press coverage includes whichever imprint Amber happens to publish under. Mostly it’s been Amber Allure, their M/M imprint, with the occasional title from either Amber Heat or, this month,  Dear Viking by Lori Soard, a historical/inspirational title from their non-erotic imprint, Amber Quill itself.

The other publishers in the omnibus with new titles in April are Astraea Press, Liquid Silver Books, Red Sage Publishing, and Riptide Publishing. The Curiosity Quills database was also updated this month, but they didn’t publish any new titles in April. Don’t worry, they’ve got new stuff in May. (I peeked ahead. I do that with mysteries, too.)

I’m going to do something different with this week’s featured books. There are five publishers in this week’s edition. I am going to try to spread the feature around more.

Going by sheer number of reviews alone, I could feature all three Riptide titles every time. The only time someone else would get featured would be the months Riptide only published two titles. I say this as an observer of the evidence at hand. It’s either good books, good PR, or good both.

But in order to make sure other books get some play, there have to be some other considerations. And one of the reasons I started ERC was to provide a place for librarians to find reviews of ebook-only titles. Some of the featured books need to be from publishers that libraries can get, if those books did well.

Above all the featured books and this featured article, have to be interesting to readers.

So with those things in mind, this week’s featured books are the following:

The number one book was the Riptide title I couldn’t resist, it’s the Josh of the Damned Triple Feature #1 by Andrea Speed. All of the Josh of the Damned books (Pretty Monsters, Peek-a-Boo) just sound like an old-school B grade Sunday movie matinee horror feature, as lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000, and the description of the Triple Feature short stories goes it one better. A character in one of the stories is nicknamed “Professor Bobo”, a direct nod to MST3K. One of the other short stories is “I Was Cthulhu’s Love Slave”. Really? Too funny. Josh, the damned guy, who is human, works in a convenience store. His boyfriend is a vampire. But most of the weird problems Josh has working the night shift are human. Of course they are. Well, maybe except for the lovesick yeti.

The second feature story is Cinderella. There’s always a Cinderella. There always has been, and always will be. It’s one of those tropes that has been imprinted in our collective DNA. But the version of Cinderella in Sinders and Ash by Tara Lain is quite a bit different from the usual. Like many modern versions, it’s a bit difficult to figure out who rescues whom. Whether Ashton Armitage, the son of the fifth richest man in America rescues Mark “Sinders” Sintorella from a life working as a housekeeper in a ritzy resort–or whether Sinders rescues Ash from a life of not just hiding in the closet but also stultifying boredom. And it’s still a fairy tale, complete with a fairy godfather this time, of course. The mistaken identity part is even still there, helped by a smidgen of cross-dressing.

I picked the third book because it is from a publisher that is available to libraries and because it received a very favorable review from RT Book Reviews. (And yes, I liked it too.) The Watchmaker’s Lady by Heather Massey is the first book in her Clockpunk Trilogy. Clockpunk is steampunk with very small parts, in case you’re wondering about the term. So instead of big steam engines, think very small mechanical devices, doing very wicked things. The Watchmaker’s Lady is about a watchmaker who uses his skills to make an advanced automata, and uses his watchmaking skills to make clockwork devices for ladies’ intimate pleasures, so he can fund his experiments with his automata. Then things get very, very out of hand. So to speak. The twist at the end of the story is quite a surprise.

That’s a wrap for this week’s featured titles. We’ll be back next week with another edition of Ebook Review Central, taking a look at the Carina Press May books.

I’d love to hear from readers. Do you find Ebook Review Central useful? Interesting? Helpful?

Ebook Review Central, Amber Quill, Astraea Press, Liquid Silver Books, Riptide Publishing, March 2012

It’s time for the March four-in-one feature at Ebook Review Central. This is the point in the cycle where ERC covers Amber Quill Press, Astraea Press, Liquid Silver Books and Riptide Publishing, and usually wraps up whatever the month is that we’ve been covering.

Well, this is still the four-in-one, but it’s not wrapping the month. Next week ERC will be doing a “leap week” post and adding in some new publishers. It’s both a way of bringing some new titles into this wrap-up, and, pushing out the calendar a bit. I started ERC three weeks after the end of the covered months. Now I’ve caught up to it. I have to push back, and the best way is to add in some fresh material.

All the publishers in ERC are going to stay in.

Meanwhile, back to the March titles for our current four publishing contenders…March was not an all-Riptide month the way February was. Almost, but not quite.

In reverse order this time, just to keep you guessing until the end…

The third place finisher this month was Dark Soul Vol. 5 by Aleksandr Voinov, published, of course, by Riptide. I’ll admit I was expecting this one to make the list, the only question in my mind as I looked at the review sheets for this month was how it would stack up. The built-in audience for this final volume of Voinov’s tale of mafiosi, their enemies and their even more dangerous secret lovers had a lot of pent-up emotion just waiting for this. As one reviewer said, “just beautiful”. These are stories about dark characters who make all their choices in shades of grey, but the ending is very satisfying for those who love watching their heroes struggle with the darkness inside.

From characters who hold their secrets inside, we switch to a character who is forced by circumstance to display at least some of his difficulties where everyone can see them. Permanently Legless by J.L. Merrow (Amber Quill) easily rolled into second place in this week’s tally. Being “legless” usually means drunk, but in this case, it refers to the wounds Chris sustained fighting in Afghanistan. He’s adjusted to the loss of both legs, with his love of life and confidence intact, but when he meets Josh again, the guy he had a one-night stand with just before he left on that last tour of duty, he’s uncertain again. Josh isn’t. Readers loved this story of a wounded warrior finding his HEA with a guy who doesn’t care about his disability.

The number one book this week by an absolute landslide was Frat Boy and Toppy, written by Anne Tenino. From the reviews, it looks like everyone loved it because it made them laugh. The “frat boy” in the title is Brad, and he starts the story as a typical frat boy jock with a lot of frat boy friends. But there’s something different about Brad. In spite of appearances and outward behavior, Brad has a crush on the Teaching Assistant for his History Class. The male Teaching Assistant. Brad’s pretty sure he’s gay. The book is the story of Brad figuring out what to do about it. Especially since that TA doesn’t do relationships. Which is what Brad wants, once he starts figuring out what he wants in general. The one thing the reviews have in common is the phrase “laugh out loud”. Actually, there are two things, the other one seems to be “love Brad”. Romantic comedy fans, take note of this one.

So this week’s features can be summed up as light-hearted (Frat Boy and Toppy), heart-warming (Permanently Legless), and soul-searing (Dark Soul Vol. 5), but not all in the same book!

It’s also notable that, looking back, the last time the featured books in this four-in-one post were not all male/male romances was the December 2011 feature. Will this trend continue? We’ll see in the coming months!

That’s it for this issue. Come back next week to see which publishers will be added to Ebook Review Central in “Leap Week”.

Ebook Review Central, Amber Quill, Astraea Press, Liquid Silver Books, Riptide Publishing, February 2012

March went out like a lamb in this part of the country. February is going out here at Ebook Review Central. This is the four-in-one post, featuring titles from all of the Amber Quill houses, Astraea Press, Liquid Silver Books and last but definitely not least this month, Riptide Publishing for the month of February 2012.

Before we get to the featured books, let’s talk about the publishers for just a second, because we have more than one. This issue is always different, because the featured titles can move around from publisher to publisher, depending on who has the “hottest” titles in any given month.

But there are definitely some trends.

Astraea Press hired a review coordinator a few months ago. Opal Campbell is doing a bang-up job. Every Astraea Press title gets reviewed.

Amber Quill is…not doing as well. Or they are and they aren’t. Amber Quill is an umbrella name for three houses, Amber Quill for more general fiction, Amber Heat for erotic m/f fiction, and Amber Allure for m/m fiction. The titles they publish from Amber Allure always get reviewed. The Amber Quill and Amber Heat, not so much. This month, the Amber Heat titles, not at all. Whoever or however they do it on the Amber Allure side of the house, please replicate it on the Amber Heat side! It’s not good to see this many books from one publisher with no reviews.

But Riptide Publishing seems to be doing everything right. I have yet to see one of their titles not get reviewed. In at least four places and usually more! Also, from the perspective of the person researching Ebook Review Central every week, Riptide’s website is an absolute gem. Not just because they have a complete entry for every book with all the data readily available in one place, but also because they track the reviews! (I always find a few more, but it is so helpful to have a starting point.)

Riptide published three titles in February 2012. Those three titles each received at least twice as many reviews as the next nearest competitor. Not only did they get the most reviews, they were all pretty darn good ones, too.

Featured title number one for this all-Riptide issue is Dark Soul Vol. 4 by Aleksandr Voinov. This is a collection of three shorter works, Dark Rival I, Dark Rival II and Dark Temptation. These stories involve Silvio, Stefano, the Russian mafia, and whether a man involved in a crime family can afford to be himself without hurting the ones he loves the most. This series has been described as obsessive, dangerous, compelling and delicious. Repeatedly. Notice that this is volume 4 and plan your reading binge accordingly.

The second entry on the Riptide hit parade is The Heart’s Greater Silence by Anne Brooke. This is not a story with an HEA, or even a Happy for Now. Mark loves Craig, but he’s having sexual affair with Richard. Richard is a minister, and is married to his vocation, but he’s having his sexual needs attended to by Mark. When Craig is confronted by Mark’s betrayal, Mark’s world falls apart. This is a moving story about someone who throws away his chance at a happy ending.

But the third featured title in this all-Riptide ERC does end this issue on a much lighter note. Few Are Chosen by Storm Grant is an Urban Fantasy, but this story is one that every single reviewer said they laughed through. Any story about virgin teenage demon hunters who squabble over tighty-whities not being proper super-hero undies and which of them is more the “Chosen One” than the other has a leg up on funny. The reviewers say that the story pokes some gentle fun at Buffy, but with one of the boys wearing a black leather duster, it sounds like my favorite Chicago wizard, Harry Dresden, has some fun thrown his way as well. Harry’s a big wizard, he can take it. (Few Are Chosen sounds like one I’d like to read!)

I never know which titles will be featured until I finish searching for all the reviews. To have all the featured titles in this issue be from the same publisher was a surprise until the very end.

Next week the cycle comes back around to Carina Press’ March titles. Time marches on!

Ebook Review Central, Amber Quill, Astraea Press, Liquid Silver Books, Riptide Publishing, January 2012

And another month ends here at Ebook Review Central. As I searched for reviews for the January titles from Amber Quill, Astraea Press, Liquid Silver Books, and Riptide Publishing, I had a few moments where I feared that January was going to be going out with more of a whimper than a bang.

No wait, it’s March that does the in like a lion, out like a lamb thing.

The issue is that I have good news, and I very nearly had bad news.

The good news was that this list came closer than ever to 100% of the titles getting reviewed. Only two books out of all the lists were missed, and they were from different publishers. This is excellent and is a testament to the hard work that the review coordinators are doing.

On my now infamous other hand, until nearly the end of my search, I was afraid that the reviewers were still sleeping off their holiday excesses well into January. Almost every title received a review, but, and you knew that but was coming, almost every title received just that, a, meaning one, review. Occasionally two.

That doesn’t give me enough to pick a feature on.

Just as I was reaching the end of the lists, the featured books practically jumped out at me.    These three titles not only had more than just one or two reviews, they each had several very enthusiastic reviews!

The other interesting thing about this set of featured titles is that they are all male/male romances. Because this group of publishers has titles all over the romance spectrum, I never know what types of romance will capture reviewers’ attention in any month. This month, it was all m/m romance.

The first two featured titles are both from Amber Quill’s Amber Allure imprint, and from their Hot College Daze series.

The title that generated the most reviewing heat is Tailor Made by Josephine Myles. This is a story about how a good man can make a bad boy change for the better, and not just when it comes to love and sex and sleeping around. College is about growing up, and the two young men in this story start out as complete opposites, but by the end, grow towards each other, in spite of their differences. One reviewer summed it up by saying “this story just left me smiling when I finished it”.

Number two on the hit parade is Lou Harper’s Academic Pursuits. Academic Pursuits is slightly different. It’s told from the first-person perspective, and reads like someone’s diary, or as if someone is telling you a dirty story from their college days. And it’s pretty naughty story about a very charming guy who likes to chase, and seduce, supposedly straight guys. Life is working really well for him in college until someone new starts chasing him. Reviewers mostly found this book amusing, but opinions divided depending on whether or not the reviewer liked the main character.

Riptide Publishing, with only two books in January, still managed to get one into the featured books this month. Rhi Etzweiler’s Blacker than Black ghosted into the number three slot with this paranormal tale of vampires who feed off the life energy of other beings. Black and Jhez are Nightwalkers; they turn tricks in order to bring fresh victims for the vamps, and in return, they get to live. Until one vamp wants them to spy on his own kind. Then the vamps start dying, and all hell breaks loose. Well, looser than it already was.  Energy vampires in an urban fantasy setting. No wonder the reviewers thought this was cool. It just plain sounds cool.

That’s a wrap on another edition of Ebook Review Central. We’ll be back next week with the first February ERC. We’ll see what Carina Press published in February 2012, and what the reviewers had to say about it.

Ebook Review Central for Amber Quill, Astraea Press, Liquid Silver Books and Riptide Publishing for November 2011

It’s going to feel like we’re using the WABAC (pronounced, of course “Wayback”)   Machine here at Ebook Review Central for another few weeks while we wrap up 2011. It’s still early days yet for 2012, at least as far as giving readers a chance to review the books that just came out in the last 8 days! December wasn’t all that long ago when it comes to reading and reviewing the stuff we all just read.

So this week it is time for the multi-publisher issue. Amber Quill, Astraea Press, Liquid Silver and Riptide Publishing titles for November 2011 are included in this last of November issue.

Last month, I wrote that there were difficulties with covering Astraea Press. Specifically that several of Astraea Press’ October titles were not reviewed anywhere.  This is not to say that Astraea Press titles do not get reviewed. But in specific, The Ghost of Herbert Grezley, Lucifer House, Scent of a Witch, For Pete’s Sake, and The Hidden Door were not reviewed on either Goodreads, Amazon or Barnes and Noble, nor anywhere else I could find. Nor have they been as of this month.

Instead, there are three more titles that have no reviews, Over Coffee, To Christmas with Love and Sanders Cross. Those of you who took the time to write in to ask that Astraea Press continue to be covered, I appreciate your interest. Support Astraea Press just a little more by finding copies of these books and reviewing them.

On a much brighter note, one of the three featured books for this month is also an Astraea Press title. A Dog Gone Christmas by Lindsay Downs definitely tugged at more than a few people’s heartstrings over the holiday season. This Christmas tale combines the story of a mother collie rescuing her puppies from a man who wants to sell them for nefarious purposes and a group of human friends who bring their own collies to help seven children deal with the grief of losing a parent in uniform. Talk about a three-hankie special! But with happy endings all around, it sounds like a perfect story for Christmas.

Our second featured book this month comes from Riptide Publishing. A Chip in His Shoulder by L.A. Witt is the story of a contract killer who is both a vampire and a cyborg. This M/M science fiction romance takes place in a near-future dystopia between two ex-lovers who are opposites in every way, human vs. vamp, human vs. cyborg, gutter rat vs. wealthy corporate scion, and yet, both the world-building and the romance worked for the reviewers. Sounds like another great story from Witt, whose Amber Quill title Ex Equals was featured in September.

The third featured title for this month is also a science fiction romance, this time from Liquid Silver Books. Nico Rosso’s The Limit of Desire is the third book in Rosso’s series The Limit War. The reviewers loved this story of a female soldier who is both a real woman and a true soldier. And when she falls behind enemy lines, the man who risks his life on a suicide mission is the only one who could possibly be right for her. Because he accepts her exactly as she is, including the fact that she is his superior officer and they never had much of a chance at a long-term relationship. Until now. The reviewers say this is “real and sweet and sexy”.

That’s a wrap for this week. See you next week with the Carina Press December 2011 books.

Ebook Review Central for Amber Quill, Astraea, Liquid Silver and Riptide for October 2011

This multi-publisher issue needs a shorter title!  This issue covers Amber Quill, Astraea Publishing, Liquid Silver Books and Riptide Publishing for October 2011. That’s a lot to swallow in a single post, but we’ll get to that later. Also, this is the last issue that covers October, next week cycles back to Carina Press, but we’ll move along to November books.

Riptide Publishing made a huge, huge splash in October. Their multi-blog launch parties created major buzz for this new ebook-only publishing house devoted to M/M romance. In spite of their launch date being the very end of the month, their books generated tremendous interest. Every title received multiple reviews. Almost all were positive, but not 100%. And that’s not the point. Readers will always have different opinions about what they read. The point is that people cared enough about this new venture to post all those opinions. Keeping the conversation going can only be good for the company. Because of all the buzz and all the reviews their new titles generated, Riptide books nabbed two of the three featured slots this month.

On the other hand, there were a significant number of Astraea Press books that were not reviewed anywhere that I could find, not even on Goodreads or Amazon. (The Amazon links are to the book in that case) One of the purposes of Ebook Review Central is to provide a guide to where reviews of ebooks can be found. If there are no reviews to find, that purpose is just not served. Unless readers of this post indicate strong interest in seeing me continue to cover it, this will be the last time that Astraea Press is covered by Ebook Review Central.

As promised two of this week’s featured titles are from Riptide Publishing’s debut list.

Grown Men by Damon Suede is book one in Suede’s HardCell series. This is science fiction romance, with emphasis very much on the science fiction side of the equation according to most of the reviewers. In fact, the two men don’t seem to reach the romance part of the book until very near to the end of the story. On the other hand, every reviewer was very positive that any reader who likes a lot of science fiction in their SFR is going to love this book, and that the world-building is particularly good. There is also a free short story, titled Seedy Business, available from the author. I love the tagline for this series, “Every future has dirty roots”. Sounds like good, gritty science fiction to me.

Cat Grant’s Once a Marine received the highest and the lowest reviews, but everyone had a very strong opinion. The two heroes of this romance are a former marine with PTSD and a writer of male/male romance who is making ends meet by waiting tables. The writer is also a military brat who happens to have a thing for men in uniform, even men formerly in uniform. Most of the reviewers thought that the story of these two working through their issues and towards each other made for a powerful romance.  Try it for yourself and see.

The final featured title is another trip to hell. We went there last week and we’re back. The third book in Eve Langlais’ Princess of Hell trilogy is Hell’s Revenge. Published by Liquid Silver Books, this book, following Lucifer’s Daughter and Snowballs in Hell, sounds like a really fun, and funny book! Muriel is the Princess of Hell. She’s Lucifer’s daughter, and she’s actually a good girl. So good, that she makes Lucifer a laughingstock in Hell because she’s not bad enough. Take this concept to it’s nth degree, and you’ve got a series. I think I’m in! This sounds like it might be a good one for fans of MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead series.

Tune in next week for the Carina Press November titles!