Friday, February 28, 2014

How To Sabotage Your Writing Career in Three Easy Steps, Or Ways to Avoid That

Authors melting down. I think we've all seen it. No one, not even best-selling authors are immune. (Think Anne Rice.) But unless you have a million dollar selling backlist like Ms. Rice, please do not do the following things, or you might find your fledgling writing career over before its begun.

AUTHORS AVOID DOING THIS:

1. Never, ever respond to negative reviews by READERS on Amazon, GoodReads or the like. It makes you look petty, and boy does it turn new readers off.

2. Do not under any circumstances call readers: dumb, stupid, morons, curse at them, use sexist/racist terms. Again, it makes you look unprofessional, and lets face it, your first impression to readers is important! Do not make it a negative one.

3. If for some reason, you do not follow advice one and two, then step back and apologize to anyone you may have offended. An apology goes a long way and makes you look like a grown-up. We've all lost our tempers, but how you handle that afterwards might determine who buys your book in the future.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Review: Sixth (Mad Dogs #1) by Brenda Cothern

Title: Sixth (Mad Dogs #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Length: 153 pages

Grade: C+


BLURB:

Brian Hay’s only dream in life was to be part of America’s elite, yet unacknowledged, Delta Force. After years of training to be the best the 75th Ranger Regiment had ever produced, his dream was finally coming true. But what starts out as what he thinks is a Delta hazing op soon turns into much more when Brian not only becomes a Delta Force soldier but a Mad Dog.


MY REVIEW

Shifters and the military? If you like those concepts, then Sixth by Brenda Cothern will be right up your alley. The book starts out with Brian Hay joining a Ranger division. He's their new sniper, and the other five guys have a strange initiation for the new guy!

This is the fourth book by Ms. Cothern I've read, the others were not paranormals, so I was excited to see her delve into this genre. The best part of this new series, entitled Mad Dogs, is the world building. The author was able to create an unique world that I haven't seen before in shifter books, which is an accomplishment in itself, since I've probably read over five hundred paranormal M/M books over the years.

However, as much as I loved the world building and the possibility of what comes next in this series, I did have a few niggles, which is why I did not rate it higher. First, from the beginning to nearly the end of the novel, I wasn't sure who Brian's love interest would be. There are five guys in the Ranger unit and there was no real chemistry between them and Brian until the very end when Brian mates. In a romance novel, I tend to like the main characters to have more interaction so I can fall in love with them as a couple. But, if you like a little mystery in your romance book, then you might like the approach the author took in her final surprise reveal.

Second, as some other reviewers have stated, the book ends on a cliffhanger, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. Yes, a second book is coming this summer, but I've always felt each book should be self-contained and any plot pieces not left dangling. Plus, I wanted more action between Brian and his mate before the book ended!

So, for all readers looking for a different type of shifter book, look no further than Sixth. I'm looking forward to the next installment.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review/Blog Stop/GIVEAWAY: The Pack or the Panther by Tara Lain



Title: The Pack or the Panther (Tales of the Harker Pack Series)

Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 149 pages


Amazon Buy Link, Dreamspinner Buy Link

Grade: A+

Blurb:

Cole Harker, son of an alpha werewolf, is bigger and more powerful than most wolves, tongue-tied in groups, and gay. For twenty-four years, he’s lived to please his family and pack—even letting them promise him in marriage to female werewolf Analiese to secure a pack alliance and help save them from a powerful gangster who wants their land. Then Cole meets Analiese’s half-brother, panther shifter Paris Marketo, and for the first time, Cole wants something for himself.

When Analiese runs off to marry a human, Cole finally has a chance with Paris, but the solitary cat rejects him, the pack, and everything it represents. Then Cole discovers the gangster wants Paris too and won’t rest until he has him. What started as a land dispute turns into World War Wolf! But the bigger fight is the battle between cats and dogs.

MY REVIEW:

This is the first book by Tara Lain I've read and based on this novel, it will not be my last. I've heard good things about her Balls to the Wall series and so I was excited that she was delving into the paranormal genre, and she didn't disappoint. The Pack or the Panther starts out as a typical arranged marriage plot, but it is soon apparent that Ms. Lain is going to take that trope and turn it on its head.

Cole is gay and doesn't want to marry Analiese, but to protect his pack, he agrees to the marriage. The day of the wedding, she runs off, and Cole is left holding the bag. Analiese and Cole's parents decide that Analiese's brother, Paris, a lone cat shifter would be the perfect match instead. Between fighting and having scorching hot sex, Cole and Paris have their work cut out for them to make their marriage a real one. But, will outside forces tear them apart?

What I loved about The Pack or the Panther was the chemistry between Cole and Paris. Yes, Cole is your typical Alpha, but Paris is anything but your submissive mate. He's a delightful change from the weak, smaller men that are mated to a big, powerful Alphas and I liked that. It's rare that M/M shifter books surprise me anymore, but this book did.

I don't give out a lot of A+ reviews, but The Pack or the Panther deserves it. Highly recommended and looking forward to the next one in the series.





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Sunday, December 29, 2013

To review or not to review?


About six months ago, I took a mini-sabbatical from reviewing non-paranormal books on Reviews by Jessewave. I also cut down the number of reviews I did here. It's not because I wasn't reading M/M books; no, the reason was I needed a mental health break because there were some issues when I posted a negative review on Jessewave. I needed to regroup and figure out what I loved about reading and reviewing again. I think my time off has helped me. Which is why you'll be seeing more reviews on this site.

Writing is hard. Any type of writing, whether its writing a book, writing a column or reviewing romance books. Each author puts their heart and soul into their work and hopes their readers enjoys their efforts.

I'm no different. I love the written word and I like to express my love of books through reviewing. Now my tastes may not be your tastes, and your tastes may not be mine...and that's totally cool. If you read through all of my past reviews whether they be here, on Jessewave or at Dark Divas Reviews, I have a few tropes I truly enjoy: mates, bonding, knotting, police officers, Gay For You, mpreg and many, many others.

My pet peeves are just as varied. I don't care for: heavy BDSM, domestic abuse, rape, poor editing and blatant misogyny. Normally, I don't review books with rape and heavy BDSM, so that takes care of those plots I won't read, but sometimes a book doesn't resonate with me...for whatever reason and I write that in reviews.

Which comes to the point of this post. When reviewers write a less than favorable review, how should an author handle it?

Well, since I'm also an author too, I thought I'd go over how to turn a negative review into something positive.

Yeah, I know that might be difficult, after all, your published book is your baby and you're very protective, but always know that any ethical reviewer is not out to get you or your book. I've rarely seen malicious reviews on professional sites. (Now GoodReads and Amazon? It's like the Alamo there, so can't say anything about those places).

But, here's what you do when you get a 'bad' review. (According to me. *g*)


  1. That review is not a reflection of you as a person. You are not your bad review. For whatever reason, the reviewer did not like/understand your book and that's okay. Believe me, someone else will!
  2. Ignore bad reviews. DO NOT RESPOND to them on any level. (i.e. do not leave on comment on GoodReads!) Take the high ground. I'm not saying don't read them, do. But do not comment on them.
  3. Do not allow your friends, family or fans to respond to any negative reviews. It looks petty and turns off potential new readers. And reviewers on large sites do talk, so if your friends harass another reviewer, the likelihood of you getting a new review on that site again? Nil.
  4. Avoid being put on a Authors Behaving Badly shelf by acting like a professional at all times when you have your author cap on. (e.g. conventions, book signings, etc.)
  5.  Learn from the 'bad' review. If the reviewer states you need a professional editor for your next self-published title, you might want to find one. If they talk about point-of-view, characterizations, lack of positive women characters, realism in your story, etc., then take notes. These are all concrete, constructive things you can improve on. However, "you suck," is not a constructive review. Ignore that. But, "I felt the main character was weak and two-dimensional and as a reader I did not understand their motivations enough to draw me into the plot," is constructive criticism. Use that advise when you write your next book and I'm sure that reviewer will see the effort you made and respond accordingly. 
Lastly, no reviewer wants to leave a less than positive review, but if they do your reaction to it will help determine how readers, reviewers and potential new readers judge you and your future works.

Or, don't let a bad review ruin your next best seller. Work your craft and the rewards will be many!





Friday, December 20, 2013

Top Five Paranormal M/M Books of 2013

To celebrate the holiday season, I am posting my top five paranormal picks for 2013 - in no particular order. These books were, in my opinion, some of the most amazing novels I read in the paranormal category. Three of the top five I reviewed on this site.


All of the top five books will be raffled off to one lucky winner!

Many thanks to the authors who donated a free copy. Please use the Rafflecopter option for a chance to win these books.


Lasha’s Top Five Paranormal M/M Books for 2013:  


Honorable Mention: Just Lion Around (Wolves of Stone Ridge #19) by Charlie Richards


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review: Pretty Poison by Kari Gregg

Title: Pretty Poison
Publisher: Self-Published
Length: 160 pages

Grade: A


BLURB:

Deadly poison…or exquisite cure?

Noah fell from an eighth story balcony as a toddler, cracking open his skull and shattering his body. The accident would’ve killed a human, but even shifter blood can’t heal some damage. After the pack recommended a mercy killing, Noah’s family ran. But there’s no outrunning the mating pact formed before Noah’s birth.

Wade, the new alpha, chooses an adult Noah to fulfill the pact. Wade believes the previous alpha was a fool to reject Noah as a weak and inferior wolf, but Noah’s family was wrong to hide him and starve his wolf, too. Human doctors with human medicines are poison to shifter physiology. Now that Noah is fully grown, halting his shift to retain the pins, plates, and bars holding him together hurts rather than helps him, and for Wade, more than Noah’s recovery is at stake.

Noah’s family sacrificed everything to keep him alive. Noah will do whatever it takes to save them—including mate with the alpha who is determined to correct past mistakes and defeat old prejudices contaminating the shifter community.

Too bad some still believe Noah is the true poison…and should be culled from the pack for good.


MY REVIEW

There are two things I can expect from a Kari Gregg novel: hot sex and various characters who have ulterior motives. That is exactly what you get in Pretty Poison, Gregg’s newest shifter book. The reader is introduced to Noah, a disabled shifter who lives with his family on the outskirts of a pack. Enter Wade, the pack’s Alpha who comes to Noah’s family and demands they honor a contract of marriage made years before. Since Noah’s sister ran off and married a human, Wade picks from the remaining brothers for his “bride.” And to everyone’s surprise he chooses Noah as his mate. Noah’s not happy but goes along with the proposal because if he refuses Wade could have his entire family killed. What ensues is a turbulent and rather sweet love story as Noah and Wade learn to love each other and made changes to their pack.

Since I read about 90% paranormal books these days, it takes a really good shifter book to make me sit up and take notice. What I loved about Pretty Poison was that we finally get a disabled shifter character, whose serious injuries do not automatically heal. Noah walks with crutches and his disability has made him a liability to his old pack, they even suggested a “mercy” killing, which is why the family removed themselves from that pack. Any type of disabilities are rare in M/M books, more especially more rare in paranormal books. I thought the author handled Noah’s limitations and his eventual semi-recovery in a very unique manner.

The second best thing about Pretty Poison is the scorching hot sex scenes. K.A. Mitchell, look out for Ms. Gregg! Wow. Wade and Noah burn up the sheets and cement their bond their many, many sexy scenes. Those readers looking for a “is-it-hot-in-here?” novel will not be disappointed.

The third item I enjoyed were the secondary characters. We have strong female characters, a great beta character and the dynamic of the pack is explored very well in my opinion. My only complaint and why I did not give this 5 stars was I felt there should have been one more extra scene between Noah and Wade — like a date — that didn’t involve sex. There were some very sweet moments between the two men, but I felt more would have rounded out the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it all the paranormal fans out there. It has something different that I think most M/M readers would like.

Originally posted at Reviews by Jessewave


Tara Lain Cover Reveal






The Pack or the Panther
(Tales of the Harker Pack Series)
By
Tara Lain


Blurb:

Cole Harker, son of an alpha werewolf, is bigger and more powerful than most wolves, tongue-tied in groups, and gay. For twenty-four years, he’s lived to please his family and pack—even letting them promise him in marriage to female werewolf Analiese to secure a pack alliance and help save them from a powerful gangster who wants their land. Then Cole meets Analiese’s half-brother, panther shifter Paris Marketo, and for the first time, Cole wants something for himself.

When Analiese runs off to marry a human, Cole finally has a chance with Paris, but the solitary cat rejects him, the pack, and everything it represents. Then Cole discovers the gangster wants Paris too and won’t rest until he has him. What started as a land dispute turns into World War Wolf! But the bigger fight is the battle between cats and dogs.





Release Date: 
January 8, 2013


Available for pre-order now at:




EXCERPT

Cole took hold of a branch a few feet from Paris. “Do you think the alliance will stand?” He shrugged. “Hard to say. I know everyone hopes so, so I hope so too.” Cole pulled his eyebrows together. “But you don’t really care.”

Paris looked up sharply. “Yes, I care. I care about my parents. They’ve been good to me and I owe them a lot. I’m a freak by wolf standards, and my father has never abjured me. I honestly believe he kept me separate for my well-being more than his own. He acknowledges me as his son even though I remind him of his greatest sorrow.”

“Your panther mother.” He nodded. “And Trixie isn’t a brave female. My existence is difficult for her, but she’s been nothing but good to me. She had to stand against the combined disapproval of a lot of other females for me. They didn’t know what I was, but they knew I was Merced’s first wife’s son. They weren’t kind. She was. I value her and want the best.”

 Cole nodded. If there was one thing he understood, it was loyalty.

“And then there’s you.”

Cole glanced up. Look at that mischievous face. He’d switched from deeply serious to court jester in one second flat. “What about me?” He grinned.

The cat danced around his tree, unfastening buttons on his shirt with intricate skill. “You want the alliance and I want you. Isn’t that an Aristotelian principle? If A equals B and B equals C, then Paris wants Cole to have his alliance so Paris can have Cole’s big yummy cock in his ass. An ass, I might add, that’s been throbbing like a voodoo drum since I first looked in your silver eyes, wolfman.” He whipped off the shirt, leaving his upper body bare.

Wow. Even knowing what was coming, that sight was hard to believe. The cat’s skin glowed in the moonlight like so much alabaster formed into a work of art. If you liked bulky, you wouldn’t like Paris. But if the look of a black leopard stealing along a branch stilled your heart, this sight would do it for you down to the ground. Not really slim. More like lean, with muscles just where they should be, but as if they were made of silk rather than stone. Fluid.

Paris reached and grabbed a branch, then pulled himself up one-armed until he leaned over the wood on his belly. Flip. He circled and came up to sitting, his upper body glowing and long legs dangling. He spread his arms out for a second as if balancing on a tightrope. Then he reached in and started to unfasten his belt. Slowly, he slipped it from his trousers, then swung it over his head until it caught on an upper branch.

 He pulled himself to standing and used one hand to slowly lower his fly. White showed in the gap. Oh my. Not white underwear.  White skin. Cole shuddered. He wasn’t used to this kind of sexy. Hell, who was? This cat was one of a kind. 



About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!



You can find Tara at

               




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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Feature Author Spotlight: Eleanor Bruce

Welcome to the Feature Author Spotlight on Lasha's Paranormal M/M Reviews.

In this piece, we are going to highlight one author and their new book. (If you'd like to be featured, please email me privately).

Eleanor Bruce has only been writing professionally for about year. Some of her books include: Doctor, Doctor, The Law of the Jungle, and The Moon's Dirty Light (the last two books are nominated for the GoodReads M/M Romance Member's Choice Awards in Best Free Short and Best Law Enforcement categories).

Her latest release is Beneath the 13th Moon (Werewolves of Baltimore #2).  

To celebrate her new novel, she is offering up a copy of the book. Please leave your name and email in a comment, if you'd like to be entered into the contest.  It ends 12/15 midnight EST.

And to wet your appetite, here's the blurb for Beneath the 13th Moon:

    Is Liam Van Zandt living in The Twilight Zone? It sure looks that way. The victims in the murders he’s investigating seem to have been crushed by a cursed statue.

    In the middle of his investigation Liam is fighting his attraction to the mysterious Dr. Bartek Szala, a police consultant and amateur folklorist. With everything coming to a head and his Captain breathing down his neck, Liam has been denying his attraction to Bartek. But when they are thrust into a supernatural world of witches, vampires and werewolves they have to join forces or they won’t survive.

    Will Liam and Bartek come out alive or will they succumb to the danger that surrounds the Legend of Black Aggie?