Friday the 13th Book Recommendations!

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It’s Friday the 13th! Which means not only is it Friday, but it’s the unluckiest day of the month. Why not turn your luck around (and get your weekend off to a great start) with some spooky Friday the 13th reads?

I asked the reviewers at JLR what their favorite creepy and eerie reads are, and here’s what some of them recommend:

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Series Spotlight on Samhain Publishing!

A special Series Spotlight this week. I’m taking a page out of Amy Jo Cousins’ book by putting a spotlight on my favorite titles from Samhain Publishing.

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Samhain Publishing just announced that they’re beginning to ramp down operations in preparation for closing their doors for good. The news is incredibly upsetting, and the entire romance community seems to be reeling as hundreds of authors, editors, and artists find themselves without a publishing home.

I want to highlight some of the incredible novels that Samhain has put out. They have a wide range of LGBT titles, and some of my favorite authors are published through them!

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Series Spotlight: A Charm of Magpies Universe, by K.J. Charles

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Historical England meets paranormal urban fantasy, where magic users and Victorian nobility cross paths to solve murders and defeat evil. Take a pint-size magician with a grudge against the titled elite, and a smuggler-turned-Lord who would rather be cursing his way through China, and you have a delectable novel with brilliant world-building and characters!

What started out as a series following the practitioner Stephen Day and the haughty Lord Crane had expanded into a growing universe, showing class struggles and history entwined with magic and mystery. And the newest book in the series is out in a few weeks!

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A Charm of Magpies Series, by K.J. Charles
First Published: September 2013
Number of Books: 6 (plus several short stories)
First Book: The Magpie Lord
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Gay M/M Romance

What you’ll find in the Charm of Magpies ‘verse:

  • magic users who do what’s right, even when it’s not proper
  • aristocracy that doesn’t give a damn about birth and breeding
  • bad guys who aren’t always bad
  • men without magic falling in love with magicians
  • lots of sex… often (but not always) on desks
  • an entire world of magicians lurking beneath the streets of London

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Series Spotlight: Channeling Morpheus, by Jordan Castillo Price

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So you like dark, gritty novels with disillusioned and world-weary characters? What about vampires? What about a combination of the two, in the form of a young man desperate for revenge, a vampire with zero fucks left to give, and copious eyeliner and cigarettes?

Sounds good, right? Then let me tell you about this series:

Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion, by Jordan Castillo Price
First Published: 2008
Number of Books: 10 (plus several in-between shorts)
First Book: Payback

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Series Spotlight: SPECTR, Series 1, by Jordan L. Hawk

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I recently re-read the first part of Jordan L. Hawk’s magnificent paranormal M/M series, SPECTR (covering Book #1.1 through #1.6). With Series Two underway, and #2.2 due out next month, I wanted to revisit this captivating series, and talk about how much I love Jordan’s brilliant and unique world of demons and vampires.

Already a fan of the series? “Dancer of Death” (#2.2) is out on February 16, and Jordan is offering a copy to one winner when it comes out! Keep reading to find out how to enter! (Open worldwide.)

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Things you can expect from a SPECTR novel:

– A federal agent with brilliant blue eyes
– A sassy, sarcastic young man who’s more than he appears
– A vampire who most certainly does not sparkle
– Menage sex with only two bodies
– Mortal nonsense

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Series Spotlight: Captive Prince, by C.S. Pacat

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I always assumed that the Captive Prince trilogy was just one of those things that everyone knew about. It’s been around for years, first as a free online serial, and then published a few years ago. The fans of the series are devout, creating art and writing long theory posts and fan fiction.

But recently I’ve realized that a lot of people aren’t aware of this incredible series. With the third and final book finally coming out in a couple of days (after literally years of waiting!), I wanted to spotlight the series and tell you more about it.

This review will only cover the first two books of the series, and will contain no spoilers. My review of Book 3, Kings Rising, will post tomorrow evening (also no spoilers).

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Series Name: The Captive Prince Trilogy
Author: C.S. Pacat
Publisher: Berkley/NAL
Genres: Gay, Bisexual, M/M, Fantasy,
Mature/Erotic Content, War Story

Books:

1: Captive Prince
2: Prince’s Gambit
3: Kings Rising (out February 2, 2016)

What It’s About:

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the truthful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Okay, wait. I don’t like this summary much.

This story is about so many things that a simple blurb doesn’t cover them all. It’s a story about politics and manipulation and cunning and trust. When Damen is betrayed and sent to the rival nation of Vere as a pleasure slave, it’s a fate worse than death; to reveal his identity would lead to torture, but being a pleasure slave– submissive and at a master’s whim– goes against everything Damen knows. But his new owner, Prince Laurent of Vere, has his own enemies to fight against, and the two men soon find themselves unwilling allies.

War is looming, intrigue and mystery hides around every corner, and Laurent and Damen find themselves battling dangerous enemies on multiple fronts.

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Why should you check it out?

C.S. Pacat writes what is without a doubt among the best prose I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. She has a way with words that provokes this deep emotional response, using language like a weapon that cuts deep in your soul. You care about the characters and their fates, and even secondary characters have a place of importance. And the story itself is gripping; adventure and action, brilliant turns and revelations that literally have you gasping out loud.

I personally dislike slave tropes, for the most part. But this is not slave fiction as you know it, and C.S. slowly builds up a relationship between Damen and Laurent that is more beautiful than any conventional romance you’ve ever read. I think many people would hesitate to call this a romance, but I don’t know of any better word to describe the relationship that forms between these two men.

Check out this interview with C.S. Pacat, which features some incredible fan art of the series!

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An excerpt from Captive Prince:

Damen opened his mouth to reply, and found his words stopped by the startling touch of Laurent’s fingers against his lips, a thumb brushing his jawline. It was the sort of absent touch that any master at the table might give to a pet. But from the shocked reaction that rolled over the courtiers at the table, it was clear that Laurent did not do this sort of thing often. Or ever.

“My pet was feeling neglected,” Laurent apologised to Torveld.

“He’s the captive Kastor sent you to train?” said Torveld, curiously. “He’s—safe?”

“He looks combative, but he’s really very docile and adoring,” said Laurent, “like a puppy.”

“A puppy,” said Torveld.

To demonstrate, Laurent picked up a confection of crushed nuts and honey and held it out to Damen as he had at the ring, between thumb and forefinger.

“Sweetmeat?” said Laurent.

In the stretched-out moment that followed, Damen thought explicitly about killing him.

Damen leaned in. It was sickly sweet. He didn’t let his lips touch Laurent’s fingers. A great many people were looking at them. Laurent washed his fingers fastidiously in the gold washing bowl when he was done, and dried them on a little square cloth of silk.

— Captive Prince (print edition, Berkley Publishing Group, 2013), page 148

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In conclusion…

This is an incredible trilogy. Everyone I know who has picked it up has ended up addicted to C.S. Pacat’s brilliant world, and fans have remained faithful even after years of waiting for the conclusion.

Also, I’ve never had a crush on a fictional character quite like the one I have on Laurent. *blushes*

Links:

Author’s Website
Official Map of the Captive Prince World

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Series Spotlight: Faith, Love & Devotion, by Tere Michaels

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I’m starting a new weekly series on JLR, to highlight my favorite series and tell you why I love them so much.  I’m starting this Spotlight off with one of very first M/M series that I ever read: Faith, Love & Devotion, by Tere Michaels!

I actually found a first print edition copy of Faith & Fidelity (Book #1) in my local used book store earlier this month… but since I already own the series, I thought it would make a great prize! So keep reading for your chance to win a paperback copy of the first book in the Faith, Love & Devotion series!

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Series Name: Faith, Love & Devotion
First Published: September 2008, Loose ID
Currently Published by Dreamspinner Press

Books:

01: Faith & Fidelity
02: Love & Loyalty
03: Duty & Devotion
04: Cherish
05: Blessed
06: Truth & Tenderness

(Note: Books 4 and 5 were published together under the title “Cherish & Blessed”)

What’s It About:

New York City Vice Detective Evan Cerelli has lost his wife, the only person he ever loved and slept with. He’s trying to get on with his life, build a life for his children. Former Homicide Detective Matt Haight is a ladies’ man, all sex/no commitment. He’s depressed, having a midlife crisis, and not sure where his life is headed.

The two find friendship in the bottom of a shared bottle. When the friendship turns to love, it shakes two straight men to the core and flips their lives inside out. Kids, families, careers that are not gay-friendly — can all the love in the world overcome the obstacles to faith and fidelity?

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