Eeee! I just got a stellar review from Fern over at Whipped Cream Reviews.
5 stars, baby! Okay, 5 cherries, but hey. Either way, it's sweet!
"My Gigolo: The Care and Feeding of a Male Prostitute is a story that delivers on the heat, the laughs, and the heart (with a title such as this, you have to know there is a notable amount of humor in the work). It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed reading a book this much, and I can honestly say that when I finished I found myself reading over portions that made me giggle, squirm, and fawn over the pages like a lovelorn teenager."
Does it get any better than that? Entertainment is my goal!
Thanks so much for reading, guys, and thanks even more for enjoying. Seriously, if I can crack you up even once, I feel I've done my duty for the day. Whee!
And what better way to celebrate a good review than to give one back? It's the law of the universe, man.
So, my friends, here is to my beloved sister's newest release, The Bloodgate Guardian, available from Carina Press.
If you clicked the link, you'll have the summary, but here's my take on it.
Dr. Jaid Merritt has spent her life chasing her father's approval, but there's one thing she absolutely will not do, even for him: go on a dig. Dubbed "the Un-Indiana Jones" by her students and recently betrayed by the one man she's allowed close enough to possibly hurt her, Jaid would rather spend the rest of her life with her head in a codex than in the jungle.
Of course, that's exactly where she has to go when her father falls through one of the Bloodgates she accidentally helped open.
Enter Ruin, an ancient Maya warrior-priest who guards the Bloodgates as a punishment for long-buried crimes against the gods and the natural order. He holds himself more responsible than his vanished people ever could, but he has a whole new set of unfortunate decisions to make when Jaid stumbles into his world and turns it upside down. With a portal to Xibalba (Hell, for us yokels) open and demons running amok, he'll have to choose between what his head knows and what his heart feels.
Okay, that's about as non-spoilery as I can get. Honestly, I could talk about this book all year. Sure, it's a romance, and the romance is taut and heart-rending and as steamy as the jungles it inhabits, but the setting!
Joely steeps the story in a culture that has long fascinated treasure hunters and archaeologists alike. It truly feels like the Maya world is just out of reach, just beyond some thin membrane of time that could be pierced with the slightest touch, spilling all of that history and ceremony and architecture and...and culture right into our own world.
The descriptions and details are like a thick, frothy mocha capucchino made with heavy whipping cream and Spanish monk chocolate and the deepest, darkest roasted coffee beans in the world. It's an embarrassment of riches, though there's nothing embarrassing about my drinking deep of it.
Jaid is so very human. She's not a kick-ass, gun-toting, grenade-tossing sheila with tight leather pants and a black corset. She's a rather bookish, sometimes timid everywoman who looks deep inside herself to determine what's more important to her -- her father's life or her own bleak, tragic past.
And Ruin... ah, Ruin. What can I say about him? He is tortured, not only by his seemingly eternal punishment but by his own sense of failure. To have used his gifts against his own beliefs... and to still not have what he risked everything for? To live with that guilt and self-loathing for so many centuries? To have died so many times without ever being able to rest?
Joely always puts her characters -- and her readers! -- through an emotional wringer, but these two take the bitter cake and frost it over with remorse icing. They're both so scarred emotionally before they ever meet that it seems impossible for them to ever come to any kind of safe harbor. And yet, that very struggle makes their story so much more poignant.
This book isn't a page-turner. It's a page-devourer. The demons and their hell are chilling. The sense of danger surrounding the hero and heroine is suffocating. And yet, in all of that darkness, there is a light. And that light is always Joely's gift to her readers. It shines in all weather, and it cannot be quenched, though her characters sometimes lose sight of it.
So thank you, beloved sister, for yet another glimpse of that light. I've read this book through its several iterations, and every time, I was unable to put it down. Even if I just wanted to check a certain phrasing that stuck with me or to read a single paragraph that I remembered being particularly chilling or uplifting, I found myself sucked back in.
I'm so proud of the finished product. I'm so proud of you. This book is a triumph on so many levels, and I hope everyone who reads it enjoys it even half as much as I have.
Now...go buy it! I'm seriously!