Tremontaine: binge-worthy and full of chocolate!

Book cover

Book cover

Truth be told, I thought perhaps there was something wrong with author Caroline Fréchette. They kept enthusiastically going on and on and on about some book called Tremontaine, insisting that we all read it.

Finally, not wanted to incur Caro’s eyebrows of wrath, I bought the eBook version.

And now, after reading it, I can say with all sincerity, HOLY CRAP, THIS BOOK IS FREAKING AMAZING! In fact, it’s not really a book but a written series with each chapter as an episode. I began reading Season One, which consisted of thirteen episodes, and totally binged. There are several authors in this series, too, but magically, all the episodes read as if they were done by one person.

The story follows the machinations of Diane, Duchess of Tremontaine, a beautiful, sly creature who is the current mastermind behind her husband’s fortunes. At least, she wants to be. But a secret deal gone awry—and a sunken ship carrying chocolate—might bankrupt the Tremontaine estate and lead them to social ruin. Oh yeah, and the duke has no knowledge of this. Diane must try to escape this potential disaster on her own.

Then we have the exotic soldier-warrior Ixkaab, or Kaab, exiled from her own country and a “princess” of the first family of chocolate traders. She’s come to redeem herself in this new strange land where people have skin the colour of ant eggs. Kaab is fearlessly skilled as a fighter with a dagger, yet, a ginger woman from the wrong side of the city is her greatest weakness. When a murder occurs in Riverside, and the victim is the protector of this ginger vision, Kaab goes on a quest to find the killer.

But we mustn’t forget little Micah, who is a girl dressed as a boy—which only tends to fool men and not women. Micah is a mathematical and physics wizard who finds herself living among the male scholars of the University, including Rafe, a reluctant son of a merchant, who sees “him” as the ticket to forging a new scientific truth and creating a new way to improve the chocolate trade.

It took me a while to get used to the place names and become accustom to the world that seemed so much like our own during the 17th century. However, I stuck with the story and it turned out to be so delicious, I drank it down it like spicy hot chocolate. (Funny how I always like romantic adventure stories that run along a plumb line of food. Huh.)

I loved the way Micah was represented. She reminded me of someone on the autism spectrum, and I felt her character was written so well. Micah can get overstimulated by her hypersensitivity to stimuli and she can be hyperfocused on a task, but the people around her don’t judge her. She has her coping techniques and when her friends see her in distress, they help her, using her preferred methods to calm down. The writers also made her charming, compassionate, and intelligent. I personally loved how literally she took things. It was endearing. I also was happy that nobody treated her with disdain, like she was odd. Frankly, she was no “odder” than the other characters, who all had their quirks.

I must also say that I really liked how the sex scenes were crafted in Tremontaine. They were sensual and moreso by what they hinted at, instead of graphically spelled out. This just happens to be my favourite style of the sexah in novels. Sexual orientation went beyond the cisgender-heteronormative, too, and it was great to see classic romantic themes through queer characters. I WANT TO SAY MORE BUT SPOILERS. OH, MY FREAKING WORD, PEOPLE!

So, I gave this series a 5-star rating. When something makes me want to scream, “YOU GOTTA, I MEAN, SO GOTTA READ THIS!” then it’s top marks from this Irish-Canadian princess.

I cannot wait to read Season 2. I am totally addicted.

If you’ve read it and loved Tremontaine, let me know, so we can squee together!

/cg

CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Networka blog that solely features writers who manage disabilities and/or chronic illness.

 

 

 

In Memoriam: A lifetime or two within a short story

Some people can write a tome and not really tell a decent story, but then authors like ’Nathan Bourgoine can create an entire lifetime—or two—in a short work of fiction that cuts right to the soul.

In Memoriam book coverIn Memoriam follows the story of James, an editor who has just been given a diagnosis that will debilitate and soon eradicate his brain function. He knows his remaining existence can be measured in days or weeks, maybe months, and he races against time to find the one person he regretted letting go of, and who he never stopped loving.

As serious as this theme is, I actually laughed in parts. James has a good sense of humour. Then my heart ached as he tried to remember his early days with Andy, and how his mind would rewrite history, even as James tried to recall the facts by reading his own journals. By the end of the story, I was gutted, but in that way that also leaves you uplifted.

Then I just wanted to cling to the people I love for dear life.

This piece is so masterfully crafted, I don’t think the words have been invented to describe how brilliant it is. I highly encourage you to grab it, and support this fantastic author.

In Memoriam was the first work I read from ’Nathan Burgoine, but it won’t be my last. That’s for sure!

/cg

CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Networka blog that solely features writers who manage disabilities and/or chronic illness. She might make pasta for lunch.

 

Making a Living: More Potent than a Toxic Beetle

making-a-living-355x545

Making a Living, by Caroline Fréchette

How am I supposed to resist reading a book that begins with, “When Nathan came to, the dead girl was crying. He was relatively sure she wasn’t supposed to do that.”?

Let me explain the title of this review. Last Thursday while I was taking a walk and about to take a sip of juice, a small beetle flew into my mouth. (Tasted terrible and I got puffy. The little begger is fine. I spit him out.) After a doc confirmed I was only suffering from an inflammatory response to the beetle’s coating, I went home. So, here I was exhausted, swollen, and lying in bed. I picked up Making a Living. Not even suffering from beetle toxin could make me put this book down. I even managed to stay awake through Benadryl!

Omigosh, what a great read this was. I gobbled it up like a burrito.

The first page made me feel like I’d just walked into a room wanting to say, “Oh, um, I think I’m interrupting something.” Because we’re put right into the middle of an uh-oh situation. We meet Nathan, the mistrusting soul who is completely unaware that anything good has ever existed in the world, and Annie, the undead ghoul scientist who still has a brilliantly functioning brain. They live in the time decades after a meteorite hit, which killed many people and turned them into zombies—mostly brain-dead zombies. But Annie is different. She not only has a brain, but a heart. Even though she drains some lifeforce out of Nathan so her body can remain intact, she does so remorsefully. Her goal is not to kill the living, but to make herself alive again.

And Nathan? Dude got some crazy powers. He can talk to electronics. Electricity also revives him, when it would normally kill us. This guy actually can stick his fingers in the sockets. I love how his computer is sentient, and his friend. Oliver also gets ticked off when Nathan forgets to plug him in. Quite a rational pet peeve, really.

The story is about how Nathan and Annie work together towards her goal. But stuff happens. Yeah, stuff. That’s what I have to write so I don’t give anything away.

All I want to say is read it! READ IT! REEEEEEEEEAD IT! The characters and world-building just sucked me right in. So many times I said, “Okay, one more chapter and then I’m going to sleep.” Nope. Usually ended up being three more chapters. Or four. Or five.

Making a Living has a perfect pace, without any lulls. I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed it.

Word of warning, though. You might get food cravings. I know I did.

Burritos for all!

/cg

CGAuthorCait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network,  a blog featuring writers with disabilities and/or chronic illness. She also likes cupcakes.

Losing Faith and Loving Emma: sharing in two siblings’ grief

I met Alexis James on Twitter and when I discovered she was such a  lovely person, I wanted to support her by purchasing her books. Well, I started backward and bought Loving Emma before Losing Faith, but she said it was okay, because each book stands on its own. (Each one really does, too!)

Both of these stories revolve around the death of a much beloved friend and girlfriend, named Faith. What I loved about the books was how I got to see the different perspectives of grief from the two survivors: Grace, the best friend in Losing Faith, and Liam, the boyfriend, in Loving Emma. Grace and Liam are very close siblings who adored Faith in their own profound way. Watching them navigate and stumble through their mourning gave me all the feels. They have their unique differences, but I also saw their similarities in their coping mechanisms. How difficult it must be for them to lose someone so young when they are so young themselves.

aj-booksI wanted to hug them, kick them in the butt, yell at them, bake them cupcakes, and comfort them . . . all at once. There is no smooth way to travel through grief. And for each character, someone new enters their lives. Steamy stuff happens, quite piping-hot steamy, but it doesn’t erase the sadness. How Grace and Liam handle their pain journey had me turning pages until my eyes went blurry.

I’m looking forward to reading more by this author! I might just be staring at the cover of the third book for days, but I’ll eventually get around to reading it. I think. 😉

You can learn more about Alexis James on her Website, and her books are on Amazon.

/cg

 


CGAuthor

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, published by Renaissance PressAvailable now

 

 

Human, A Shadows Empires Book: left me enthralled

I have to say something right off the bat: author S.M. Carrière made a liar out of me. Yup, she totally did. And that’s because I told people I’m not a vampirey book type of person. Then I read her work, Human, A Shadow Empires Book. Now I’m a big liar, liar pants on fire.

This is the story of Aleksandar Zograf, who becomes prince of House Svetoslav, a clan of vampires, or Opyri. In our modern day he’s a savvy businessman, philanthropist, with an old-world charm that is crazy sexy. Honestly, I found myself wanting him to bite me more than once. He catches the watchful eye of suspicious detective Brody, who knows what Aleksandar is, and the heart of beautiful and strong Officer Alicia Wilde (who I hate because I want to be her and how dare she steal that Opyri hunk of man away from me?).  After Aleksandar inherits the failing businesses and ruined properties of the now decimated Üstrel House, and restores them, people suddenly go missing. These missing people are known as the innocents; they are human and are not involved in the rumblings between the Opyri clans. Someone is trying to get to Aleksandar through the humans he is closest to, including Alicia.

S.M. Carrière made a liar out of me. And that’s because I told people I’m not a vampirey book type of person. Then I read her book, Human, A Shadow Empires Book. Now I’m a big liar, liar pants on fire.

And now for the screaming: OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK IS SO FREAKING FANTASTIC, I WANT TO DIE!

Ahem. Okay, I’m good now. It’s superbly written, had me ignoring my husband for the better part of Canada Day, and totally converted me to the whole vampire-story genre. When something is done well, it just sings. And S.M. Carrière just took me by the hand and enthralled me with this deliciously spun tale of intrigue, romance, and vampirey dishiness.

I am a fan.

Just to note, I met the author at Comicon in May, and she is so warm and friendly. She signed her book for me and gave me such encouragement when I hadn’t known I was to be published. Thanks so much for being you, awesome author lady. Please don’t stop writing. Like, ever. Get bitten so you can write forever!

(You can purchase this book in paperback or ebook. See the author’s Website for details.)

/cg

 


CGAuthor

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, published by Renaissance Press. Available in the fall of 2016.