Wednesday, December 31, 2014

FREE Book - Dark Fantasy The Executioner's Cane

Happy New Year to you all! As a New Year gift, dark fantasy The Executioner's Cane (Gathandria #3) is FREE at Amazon until tomorrow!

The Executioner's Cane is the final book in the Gathandrian Trilogy fantasy series. The first two books are The Gifting and Hallsfoot's Battle

Simon Hartstongue, accompanied by the mind-cane and the snow-raven, must travel back to the land he came from to offer support to the people he once tried to kill. From Gathandria, Annyeke Hallsfoot endeavours to help him but her attentions are focused on rebuilding the city after the wars. 

Alone and faced with the anger of his people and hindered by the fragility of Ralph Tregannon's leadership, Simon has to find a way to bring healing to a dying country and to renew his relationship with Ralph. But the odds and time itself are stacked against him.


This series was nothing as I expected. I was drawn deeper with each chapter til I couldn't wait to pick up the book at every spare moment. It was beautifully written and I hope there will be more. Thank you Ms Brooke. (A 5-star review at Amazon)

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Monday, December 29, 2014

Past Secrets by Cathy Kelly: no real secrets at all ...

Behind the shining windows and rose-decked gardens of Summer Street, single mother Faye hides a secret from her teenage daughter Amber. Whilst thirty-three year old Maggie hides one from herself. When fiery Amber decides to throw away her future for love, and Maggie finds herself back home looking after her sick mother, secrets begin to bubble over. The only person on Summer Street who appears to know all the answers is Chrissie Devlin. Wise and kind, she can see into other people's hearts to solve their problems. Except that this time she has secrets of her own to face …

This all started out very well indeed and I was instantly hooked on Chrissie and her gift of sight, uptight Faye and betrayed Maggie. At the beginning of this book, I loved them all and couldn't get enough of them, to be honest. Heck I even liked teenage daughter Amber and that, for me, is a very hard sell.

So, a strange kind of kudos to the author then for somehow taking that very strong beginning and tearing the whole thing into tiny pieces. It all starts to go wrong about halfway through when we start finding out those deep dark secrets - and they turn out to be either (a) super-cliched or (b) no kind of decent secret at all.

I mean Faye's secret is a naughty night out with her callow would-be rocker boyfriend when she gets pregnant with Amber, and then flings herself into a self-imposed Pit of Shame, which means she can never talk about the whole thing and believes she's some kind of slapper. Really???! To me, as an Essex Gal, that just seems like a decent night out, after which we all have a laugh with our girlfriends and move on. I couldn't honestly believe Faye would change her whole personality and style so she makes herself unattractive to men for the next eighteen years, and even makes up a marriage and dead husband to put Amber off the scent. It's totally ridiculous.

Not, however, as ridiculous as Maggie, with whom I lost sympathy when she bounces back from her doomed love affair and meets another more suitable man within about a minute or so. Honestly??? That whole scenario was just laughable, again, and so slushy it made my teeth itch. I also thought her way of getting over being a victim of bullying at school was simply unbelievable, on all counts.

Nor indeed as ridiculous as the whole Amber plot: Amber ditches taking her exams and her plans to be an artist, and runs off to America with her would-be rocker boyfriend - yes, this is exactly the same type of man as her mother had all the trauma about, so doesn't Ms Kelly know any other kind of Bad Boy? Do they all have to be would-be rockers? How I long for some sweet young heroine to run off with a man who wants to be an accountant and plays cricket for his local village team, but alas I fear I might be waiting a while …. Anyway, Amber soon realises her man is hopeless and leaves him - but not before some passing stranger in the States has offered her a fortune as he loves her artwork (on the strength of one scribbled picture at a party!) and longs above all things to sponsor her talent. Major Unreality Alert!! Is the author playing a trick on us? This one made me laugh out loud this time, and groan too. And yes, in the end, Amber comes home and it's all marvellous and perfect, etc etc. Yawn …

All this ridiculous plotting would have been just about acceptable, almost, but what really made me angry as a reader was the way Chrissie is held up as a shining example of goodness and yet finally tells her poor husband James about her long-ago infidelity in the most cruel and heartless way I can ever imagine anyone giving that kind of news to their spouse. It's not Chrissie's infidelity I had a real problem with (though it is of course hugely cliched again …) but how cold and downright nasty her way of confessing it actually is. I found that scene very shocking, and I really wanted to give her a huge slap and tell her to grow up. I was glad when James walked out - he could definitely get someone a whole lot nicer. However, of course, eventually he comes back and says it doesn't really matter. Um, again, no. That's not how betrayal works in real life - the way back is never this easy.

The only characters who kept my sympathy throughout and who were really worth any attention were the lovely Shona (a friend of Maggie's) and her husband Paul - now they were a class act, very witty and wonderful together, and I wish the book had been about them.

However, all in all, I was relieved to get to the end of all this nonsense. Overall, it's a mismanaged and mis-written book, in which a strong start is sadly and comprehensibly ruined.

Verdict: 2 stars. Disappointing and frustrating.

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
Help fight cancer - donate now!

FREE Book - The Gangster's Wife!

Quirky crime novel The Gangster's Wife is now FREE at Choosy Bookworm for the first 25 people who request it - so hurry along to avoid disappointment!

When 53-year-old Elise Walker returns home after a day at the office to find her husband Gerald dead of a heart attack, she doesn’t expect a visit from the police with revelations about Gerald’s secret life. 

Soon, however, her own life takes a distinctive turn for the surreal, with missing loot, online crime and curious neighbours the least of her problems. Not to mention trying to deal with never-ending funeral arrangements and stay on top of her job. 

Thank goodness then for the support of her ever-reliable boss, Hugh. But will even he turn against her when she decides to contact Gerald’s former gang members to find out more? And what is the real significance of the note Gerald left her? Most important of all, if Elise ever finds the money, will she be able to keep it? 

Happy reading, and don't forget it's FREE, but only if you hurry!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
Help beat cancer - donate now!

Happy New Year - gay fiction sale!

Until 3 January, my gay fiction at Amber Allure Press is HALF-PRICE - happy shopping and happy new year!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
Help conquer cancer - donate now!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dryathlon 2015: Helping beat cancer

In January, I'm going to be launching into distinctly unknown waters and giving up the drink for the whole of the month (imagine!) in order to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

It's going to be tough as I'm rather partial to the odd tipple here and there - as those of you who know me will agree! - but it will be worth it in the end in order to help beat cancer.

You can find my Dryathlon 2015 page here, and all donations, however small, are very welcome. Wish me luck, and thank you!

Anne Brooke Dryathlon 2015

Saturday, December 27, 2014

FREE book for Christmas: Tales from the Typeface!

Until tomorrow, Tales from the Typeface - a Secretary's Life and How to Survive It is FREE at Amazon!

Office life: love it or hate it, but you can't get away from it. Want to laugh at the lighter side of your secretarial career? Then this is the book for you! Discover the essential art of looking busy, how to love your photocopier and carve a path through the stationery jungle. Learn to deal with terrifying tasks, tricky travel arrangements and the horrors of networking. And do it all with a smile on your face and success on your CV. Happy typing! 

A reader review: "hysterically funny and very true of all offices everywhere!" 

Happy reading! And please do leave a review if you enjoy the read - thank you.

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Monday, December 22, 2014

HALF-PRICE Christmas romance!

Put the love back into YOUR Christmas with gay romance A Seasonal Reunion! Plus it's HALF-PRICE from now until 27 December so don't miss out!

Danny Brigson makes a serious mistake when he sleeps with Marty, an old boyfriend, at an ill-advised Christmas reunion. He tries to cover it up, but Marty tells all, and the love of Danny's life, Jake, throws him out.

Over the next year, with the help of his boss at work, Danny tries to sort out his life. He is at last determined to stop relying on drugs and drink to get him through. However, can he even dare to hope that one day Jake might give him the chance to put things right?

"If you have the ability to enjoy a story where one person has done the wrong thing but sets about bettering themselves. And if you can understand why someone might just love a person enough to give them a second chance, then this is a nice Christmas short about the power of love and forgiveness. I think it's a great little Christmas read." (From a review at On Top Down Under Reviews)
“This is my top pick of the week. A fantastic story with such sympathetic, flawed characters. I was engrossed right through this short story. Grade: Excellent.” [From a review at the Well Read Bookblog]
"This was done well, and showed a way to redemption that wasn't overly easy on either of them and actually showed the damage caused. I also liked that Danny's boss, Robert, was an upstanding man with faith in Danny." [From a 4-star review at Hearts on Fire Reviews]

Find out more at Amber Quill Press!

Happy reading, and Happy Christmas!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Apple Picker's Daughter - 'a perfect tale for anyone who ever felt different'

Novel of childhood The Apple Picker's Daughter has received its first review - a 5-star one at Amazon UK, entitled 'A perfect tale for anyone who ever felt different.' So I'm very thrilled about that!

"Such a beautiful, gentle book, telling the story of Clare's life from birth to adolescence. A delightful and intriguing tale of a child who feels herself 'different', who neither fits in nor understands the people around her ... I loved it and read it in one sitting."

You can read the rest of this review here and find out more about the book here.

And as a reminder for you, here's the blurb:

Born in the 1960s on a UK apple farm, Clare Rivers is a girl out of time, living in a family and a world that makes little sense to her. Determined to carve out her place somehow, and with her deep love of her father to see her through, Clare begins a unique journey to discover the reasons for her own existence. If she can. However, accompanied by the oddities of family, school and the strange lyrical life of the apples, can Clare really find a place within herself to call home? 

This novel will appeal to lovers of rural life, recent history and a child's quirky but clear-sighted view of the adult world.

Happy reading! - and don't forget that everything that happens in this novel is actually true, as it's really the story of my own childhood in a fictionalised form. Now, there's a confession, eh …!

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Quirky crime and open air sex: a review extravaganza!

Much to my astonishment, I've had some nice reviews for a couple of books this week, which is really lovely. First off, quirky crime novel, The Gangster's Wife, has had four 5-star reviews on Amazon US, a smattering of which I include below:

"The Gangster's Wife, by Anne Brooke, was not only an excellent read, but a bit on the realistic side as well. I found this book to be so relatable because it does happen in the real world … I loved the character developments in this story, and the character of Elise is exciting as well. I was engrossed in this one from start to finish, and would definitely recommend it."

"The story has a unique twist as it unfolds completely through Elise's mind, eyes and heart. Her quest to find out the truth about her husband's secrets and missing money makes for light-hearted humor in the midst of sadness. Overall an excellent novel that keeps the reader entertained."

"I loved this book! It was thrilling and kept me wanting to find out more along with the main character … Well written for anyone to enjoy!"

"I absolutely loved this book because it was engrossing, fast and very realistic … It is the kind of book that you can put down and think to yourself: 'Ok, who do I know that is leading a double life?'"

If this has whetted your appetite, you can find The Gangster's Wife at Amazon!

Not to be outdone, FREE gay erotic story The Rain Maker has just today received a 4-star review at MM Good Book Reviews:

"Interesting yet very sexy short story. Having sex in the rain out in the open where anyone can see adds to the spice of the story. Great read." [From a 4-star review at MM Good Book Reviews]

You can find out more about The Rain Maker here, and don't forget: it's FREE!

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Friday, December 19, 2014

FREE book: fantasy novel Hallsfoot's Battle

For today and tomorrow ONLY, fantasy novel Hallsfoot's Battle is FREE at Amazon - so pick up your copy while the offer lasts!

This book is the second in the Gathandrian Fantasy series and is the sequel to The Gifting

The battle for survival has merely begun and the Mind Executioner's defeat is only temporary. Annyeke Hallsfoot, Acting Elder of Gathandria, must join forces with Simon the Scribe in a tenuous alliance to fight for their survival. However, Simon is distracted by his own personal demons, giving Annyeke no choice but to plot a desperate strategy to defeat the enemy. 

When the Mind Executioner kidnaps Simon and raises an army from the dead, all hope appears to be lost. Both Annyeke and Simon, with the help of the mysterious mind-cane and the magical snow-raven, are determined to stay alive and, if possible, to win.


"a great trilogy that I couldn't put down. The characters were frustrating sometimes but only because the story was able to connect with me on a personal level." (A 5-star review at Amazon US)

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gay Menage Half-Price Sale: The Delaneys series!

Until 19 December, ALL my best-selling gay menage Delaneys series is HALF-PRICE direct from Amber Quill Press!

The Delaneys and Me

When Liam makes a scene in the middle of a restaurant after his boyfriend, Brandon, dumps him, he knows Brandon’s cousins, the Delaney twins, will be after him. The Delaneys head up the local gangster scene and are not to be messed with. Liam knows their retribution is imminent, especially since, in the heat of the moment, he threatened to take what he knows (and, really, he doesn’t know much) to the police.
It’s a recipe for disaster.
But when the Delaneys confront Liam, they give him a choice between being shot or having sex with both of them, and Liam senses that his evening might turn out to be rather more interesting than originally expected…

Entertaining the Delaneys

Since his initial encounter with the Delaney twins, Liam’s thoughts have turned back to them time and time again, and he can’t help hoping for another meeting. His chance happens one night when Mark Delaney rings and tells him to get into the car waiting outside. Liam does so at once, eager to see the twins again.
Once at the Delaney estate, Liam is at first overawed by the grandeur and style of his surroundings, the lush gardens replete with nude statues and the opulence of the residence itself, but seeing Mark, together with Johnny, focuses his mind on the entertainment to come. And it looks as if entertainment is certainly what’s in store. A business associate of the Delaneys, Mr. Buchanan, has agreed a deal with the twins, and part of that deal is Liam himself!
How will the evening end, and will Liam be able to handle the salacious challenges thrown at him this time?

Buy the book for half-price here!

The Art of the Delaneys

Liam is determined to prove to the Delaney twins that he’s more than just a good bed-partner for them. His chance to show them what he’s worth comes unexpectedly soon when his boss at the art gallery, Melissa, is asked by the Delaneys to take part in an art scam, and Liam agrees to help her.
When the Delaneys turn up with their henchmen on the night of the scam, Melissa and Liam are startled to discover that it will involve a painting by one of their best artists. Can Liam make sure the gallery doesn't get too seriously involved and keep the Delaneys satisfied, in the only way he knows how, at the same time?

Get the book for half-price!

Dating the Delaneys

Liam and the sexy Delaney twins embark on their dating experiment with gusto. Their first encounter at the local cinema proves explosive, but Liam still wants more from them than just hot sex. Luckily so, it appears, do the Delaneys.
With this in mind, the twins whisk him away one weekend for a late-summer picnic in the countryside. Once there, Liam is delighted to see the lengths the Delaneys have gone to in order to provide a romantic dating experience. As their date comes to a climax, however, the twins have a startling proposal.
Is Liam really ready for what they have in mind?

Buy the book for half-price!

The Delaneys at Home

Liam is ready for a whole new life with the dangerous Delaney twins, and dives into it with great enthusiasm. But when the men reveal their little secret to Liam, that they know he's not been entirely honest with them about his previous art career, the scene is set for a rather different experience of punishment. Can Liam rise to the occasion this time around?
More than that, Liam's boss at the gallery appears to be in cahoots with the Delaneys about the talents Liam's convinced he simply doesn't have. Will he find the twins' commitment to his profession rather more than even he can handle?

Get the book for half-price here!

The Delaneys, My Parents and Me

The final book in the popular series...
When the Delaneys accompany Liam for dinner at his parents' home, Liam thinks his biggest problem is how to stop them discussing his abandoned art career. It's not long, however, before he's caught between his mother's recent knowledge of his sexual shenanigans, his father's artistic pride and the constant romantic demands of his beloved twins.
Will his attempts to juggle family and love only add fuel to the flames? And does Liam have any chance of surviving the evening unscathed at all?

Buy the final book for half-price!

Don't forget the sale only lasts until 19 December, so don't miss out. Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gay erotic review: The Beginning of Knowledge

There's a 4.5 star review of gay erotic story The Beginning of Knowledge over at TWLib Reviews today:

"I haven’t read an Anne Brooke story in quite a while. As mentioned, I love the author’s skill in creating character driven stories. I was captivated (with trepidation) by the emotional range of the characters without the story turning to melodrama ... The Beginning of Knowledge is not a romantic interlude with wine and roses but a walk on the dark side…"

You can go and read the rest of the review here.

And here's the blurb to whet your appetite further:
When University administrator Alan Castleton meets temporary worker and talented pianist Luke Milton, he doesn't expect to become obsessed with the handsome young blond. But soon he is heavily involved in a passionate and angry affair, and exploring the dark shadows of his own personality in a way he's never encountered before.
The more Alan tries to break free from his obsession, the deeper it entangles him. The dangerous split between his reason and his sexual desires threatens his peace of mind and, when the crisis point comes, he must decide once and for all the kind of life he should lead.

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Monday, December 15, 2014

FREE book: quirky crime novel The Gangster's Wife

Following on from yesterday's 5 star review (hurrah!), I'm happy to say that quirky crime novel The Gangster's Wife is FREE at Amazon for today only!

When 53-year-old Elise Walker returns home after a day at the office to find her husband Gerald dead of a heart attack, she doesn't expect a visit from the police with revelations about Gerald's secret life.

Soon, however, her own life takes a distinctive turn for the surreal, with missing loot, online crime and curious neighbours the least of her problems. Not to mention trying to deal with never-ending funeral arrangements and stay on top of her job.

Thank goodness then for the support of her ever-reliable boss, Hugh. But will even he turn against her when she decides to contact Gerald's former gang members to find out more? And what is the real significance of the note Gerald left her? Most important of all, if Elise ever finds the money, will she be able to keep it?


"The Gangster's Wife, by Anne Brooke, was not only an excellent read, but a bit on the realistic side as well. I found this book to be so relatable because it does happen in the real world. Many wives go through their marriages being so completely unsure of what their spouse is up to, until someone comes knocking on their door … I loved the character developments in this story, and the character of Elise is exciting as well. I was engrossed in this one from start to finish, and would definitely recommend it." (From a 5-star review at Amazon US)

So hurry along and download your copy today! I'd also be very grateful for reviews - thank you.

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Sunday, December 14, 2014

5-star review for The Gangster's Wife

Much to my astonishment and relief, quirky crime novel The Gangster's Wife has just received its first Amazon review and it's a 5-star one, well gosh!

"The Gangster's Wife, by Anne Brooke, was not only an excellent read, but a bit on the realistic side as well. I found this book to be so relatable because it does happen in the real world. Many wives go through their marriages being so completely unsure of what their spouse is up to, until someone comes knocking on their door … I loved the character developments in this story, and the character of Elise is exciting as well. I was engrossed in this one from start to finish, and would definitely recommend it."

I do feel quite choked up about this, as this novel is my first real indie book and so far there's been a terrible silence about it - which these days is actually something I'm getting used to, hey ho, but it's still not particularly pleasant. But today, this review has put a smile on my face and made being a writer feel just a tiny teeny bit less hopeless for once, so thank you.

You can read the rest of the review here. And if you're so inclined, you can even explore the book a little further at Amazon here. Thank you!

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Saturday, December 13, 2014

FREE Awesome Indies fantasy: The Gifting

I'm happy to announce that Awesome Indies fantasy The Gifting is FREE at Amazon for today and tomorrow!

Simon Hartstongue is a mind-reader, and branded a coward and a murderer. When his overlord and lover Ralph Tregannon turns against him, he is forced to embark on a treacherous journey to the distant and magical land of Gathandria in order to save his country and his own soul. During a series of terrifying trials, Simon must encounter the trickery of the deadly Mind Executioner and the secret dealings of those he ought to trust. 

The Gifting is an Awesome Indies novel, and is showcased at the Awesome Indies website. 


"The Gifting is a unique fantasy where mental and physical worlds merge in a flight of unrestrained imagination. Unlike much fantasy I've read lately, this book soars with hope. It's a story of redemption gained through a mystical journey through earth, air, fire and water that tests the deepest recesses of a man's soul." (Awesome Indies Reviews) 

"The Gifting is merely the introduction to the Gathandrian Trilogy; it's a big world, filled with intrigues and magic, loss and redemption. It's a fantastical place where almost anything is possible, where a coward can become a hero, where the promise for more excitement and enchantment are guaranteed, and I look forward to seeing where Anne Brooke will take us next, as well as discovering what Simon's future holds." (Top2Bottom Reviews)

Happy reading!

Not only that but my latest gay fantasy The Taming of The Hawk yesterday received a 4-star review at Boy Meets Boy Reviews:

"Nice pace that is action-packed with an ongoing war, rebel forces, and a failing absolute power structure. When the lines are unclear there is plenty of room for questionable ethical and moral opportunities and it is no different in the city of Tetran … Overall, the uncertainty of no man's land during war is well portrayed with a budding romance on the side." (From a 4-star review at Boy Meets Boy Reviews)

Thank you, Vivian, for that review - much appreciated!

And as a reminder to you and to whet your appetite for more (I hope!), here's the blurb for The Taming of The Hawk:

When escaped prisoner Redallek Castonar goes on the run in the war-torn city of Tetranal, he finds himself in the pleasure-house of Councillor Jarrod Tetran. Unaware that Redallek has made a blood-promise with the rebel factions to kill him, Jarrod is instantly attracted to the man. Although Redallek is determined to complete his mission as soon as possible in order to gain his freedom, he quickly finds his new master to be full of surprises and not the man he expected.
Meanwhile, Jarrod is secretly planning to take the ruling Council captive, and to begin a negotiated peace with the rebel army. Even though such an act goes against all his family stands for, he is willing to risk everything to save the country he loves from destruction.
Both Redallek and Jarrod are determined to fight for freedom and peace, but in two very different ways. Will their differences drive them apart, or can they find a way to work together for the good of all? And, even if they do, will the passion springing up between them lead to victory or defeat?

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Friday, December 12, 2014

HALF-PRICE Sale: Gay Time-Travel Romance!

For TODAY only, gay time-travel romance Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle, is HALF PRICE direct from Amber Quill Press!
Whilst finishing up a good day’s work in the Earth Interplanetary Administration Office, Karlan Staithley is disturbed by the appearance of a strange alien called Tuluscan Six. Tuluscan tells him that in one year’s time, Earth will make contact with his people, the Lamarians, and unwittingly destroy them due to an anomaly in the planetary time lines. 
He himself has come back to warn Karlan, partly to save his people and partly as in the real time line Karlan and Tuluscan will become lovers. The two men join forces to try to save their futures, but can they in fact change time? And, if they do, how can their mutual passion ever survive? 

"Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle by Anne Brooke is a short story with a light comic touch that may appeal to many readers, even those who tend to avoid science-fiction. The fast pace, comical details, and the single viewpoint from an appealing hero make for an immediately engaging reading experience." [From a review at ARe Cafe Reviews]
“This short story is equal parts romantic comedy, with its snappy dialog, and space opera ... The fast pace, clear vivid writing, and light comic touch keep the reader engaged.” [From a review at Jessewave Reviews]
“A fast pace, appealing hero, and a light, comic touch make the story a fun read ... Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle may engage your imagination and your sense of humor even if you think you don't like science-fiction.” [From a review at Obsidian Reviews]

So hurry along and pick up YOUR half-price copy today!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Julia by Otto de Kat: a missed opportunity for greatness

As a young man working in Lubeck in 1938, with Germany already in thrall to the Nazis, Chris Dudok is irresistibly drawn to Julia, a light-footed, bold and libertine engineer who has emphatically rejected Hitler’s new order. But that same year his courage is tested to its limits: he is forced to leave both Germany and the woman he loves, even though he suspects that he is making the greatest mistake of his life. It is only many years later, a long time after the war, that Julia’s true story comes to light.

The first chapter of this novella was utterly brilliant – I loved the chauffeur, Van Dijk, and his discovery of and reaction to his dead boss. I thought he was a wonderful character and was instantly gripped by his voice and story.

It’s a shame then that from the second chapter onwards and for almost the rest of the book, we are given instead the story of Chris, the dead boss, and the events both in the war and leading up to his death. I’m sorry to say that Chris was a very irritating character and one of the most indecisive and weak literary men I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting. This may be in part due to the fact that a large portion of his story is told to us rather than being shown to us, so I felt very disengaged indeed from what is happening to him. How I longed to return to that first chapter.

I also didn’t believe in Chris’s deep and abiding love for Julia, the woman he loses in the war. Indeed, Julia, like Chris, also tells us a great deal of things and becomes very quickly wearisome as a character. Really, the two of them deserved each other, but were of little interest to me as a reader. That said, the prose is very nice, but this factor is nowhere near enough to make a book sing. And Chris takes far too long in getting (at last!) to the moment of death, alas …

So it was with great relief that the final chapter brings us back to that wonderful chauffeur once more, and the ending is very powerful indeed. Van Dijk very much deserves his own book and is wasted in this one.

3 stars: a missed opportunity for a great character who is forced to remain on the sidelines

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Book sale! The Singing Road and Other Stories

Until 14 December, literary short story collection The Singing Road and Other Stories is only 99 cents at Amazon US, so pick up a bargain today! You can also find it at Amazon UK at a seriously discounted price!

A woman listens to the song of the road and wonders if she has the strength to stay with her husband, this time. A journalist visits the opera and discovers a bitter history of failure alongside the music. An angry young boy finds the beach is not always a place of healing, and two lovers face their last day together with something like courage. 

In this collection of twelve thought-provoking stories, a variety of very different characters confront the brokenness and despair of their lives, and begin a tentative journey towards the possibility of hope. Can they ever find their way back to the people they used to be? 

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Tales from the Typeface: a Secretary's Life and How to Survive It
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Friday, December 05, 2014

FREE Comic Romance: Rosie by Name

Comic romance Rosie by Name is FREE at Amazon today and tomorrow only - so hurry along to make your weekend naughty but nice!

Rosie (AKA Alison) works at a high-class escort agency as a receptionist. When her boss asks her to be the special birthday present for his favourite nephew, she can't help but agree. The boss is the boss after all. 

However an evening of surprises, unexpected parents and even the odd spider awaits her. By the end of the night, will she have fulfilled her mission or is her potential pay-rise nothing but a distant dream?


"Rosie by Name is a light, easy read, and with plenty of Anne Brooke's original metaphors and similes to keep you entertained until the twist in the tale." (From a  5-star review at Amazon)

"Rosie By Name is funny and tongue-in-cheek. Just what I needed. It made me smile and I laughed at the ending." (From a 4-star review at Amazon)

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Monday, December 01, 2014

Happily Ever After by Harriet Evans: Decent Plot with a Too Dim Heroine

This is a story of a girl who doesn’t believe in happy endings. Or happy families. It’s the story of Eleanor Bee, a shy book-loving girl who vows to turn herself into someone bright, shiny and confident, someone sophisticated. Someone who knows how life works. But life has a funny way of catching us unawares. Turns out that Elle doesn’t know everything about love. Or life. Or how to keep the ones we love safe …

I started off actually liking this well enough, as the set-up was very powerful. I particularly enjoyed Elle’s difficult relationship with her brother – that scene at the start when they’re children is simply brilliant. Sadly, we don’t stay in this childhood moment as we’re quickly tumbled into Elle as a young woman trying to make her way in the publishing world.

Entirely due to the great start, I was prepared to give Elle the benefit of the doubt and kept my determination going for a good 100 pages or so. Gradually it dawned on me that, no matter how much I tried to deny it as a reader, Elle is simply a doormat, and a dull one to boot. Sorry, but she just is. Yes, I know she’s a borderline alcoholic with an alcoholic mother, and surely medically depressed, but every time there’s a crisis she simply just keels over and agrees with whoever the strongest person in any particular scene is. I have to say it’s never her. If you want interesting depressive and/or alcoholic women in your fiction, you’re better off with Marian Keyes. However, there was one moment when I got rather excited because Elle was about to launch into a very justified row with her bitchy boss, but the moment said boss challenges her, Ellie gives in and just agrees. Sigh …

There’s also an allegedly torrid affair between her and another boss, Rory, whom she’s obsessive about but really I just didn’t believe anyone would be interested enough in her to bother. That goes for the on-off relationship with an ex-colleague too – and the moment when she realises (no serious spoilers here) that he’s fathered a child by someone else has to be one of the great clichés of romantic fiction – so clichéd that I couldn’t help but laugh uproariously. Sorry …

Then the storyline jumps again and we’re a few years on and she’s living and working in New York. Sadly she’s not any more interesting than she was in the UK and for the rest of the book, I did even more sighing. The relationships she has with the two possible men she’s supposed to be with are worryingly unrealistic, and indeed neither man is very nice or even interesting. As a result, the ending is nonsensical. Or would have been if I’d cared enough about what happens to her. If the novel had lost 150 pages or so, it might have been better as Elle wouldn’t have been so intensely boring and irritating. That said, the book covers she’s responsible for in her publishing job sound nice – maybe these pictures should have been included in the novel as they would certainly have been more riveting than our heroine. Oh well.

Verdict: 2 stars. Decent enough plot, but a too dim and unlikeable heroine

Cyber Monday gay fiction sale at Riptide Books!

For today only, there's a 30% discount on my gay fiction at Riptide Books!

Where You Hurt The Most

Adrian is more than happy as high-class escort for a number of regular clients. When his boss and dear friend asks him to entertain his nephew, Adrian readily agrees, but meeting Dan challenges him in ways he'd never imagined.
Dan is scarred inside and out from an accident that destroyed a promising future. Despite Adrian’s loveless lifestyle and Dan’s withdrawal and anger, the two men forge a deep—if unnerving—connection. Soon they find themselves questioning the choices they’ve made and the futures they’ve mapped out for themselves.
Yet even bright young men like Adrian and Dan fear the unknown and take comfort in the familiar. Neither may be strong enough to step away from the life they know and toward the one they dare not hope for. But while it’s true that love can’t heal all wounds, it is the surest balm for where you hurt the most.
"Where You Hurt The Most isn't a literal retelling of the French fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, but whether Anne Brooke intended it or not, the connection is there in this story of patience and acceptance and understanding and compassion that completely alters the lives of these two men. This is a story of seeing and sensing the pain and the promise that lies beneath the surface of the fragile and imperfect skin, of going beyond the physical and delving into places where the strength of the man, the truth of him, resides, until, finally, he is changed for the better. This is a short but truly gorgeous story, rich with the hope found in something new." [From a 5-star review at The Novel Approach]
"Where You Hurt The Most demonstrates perfectly the harmony that emotional impact and intimate detail can have in well-done erotica. Brooke's story is only about fifty pages long, yet she manages to pack a larger punch in few words than many authors I've read of late who have failed to make me resonate with their characters after reading an entire series' worth of interactions … This is the type of writing I love, simple and sparse yet used to tenderly convey a connection of spirit that defies logic or explanation." [From a 5-star review at A Book and a Short Latte Reviews]

The Heart's Greater Silence

Mark isn’t sure he believes in love, especially when he finds himself torn between two very different men: his reliable boyfriend, Craig, and his illicit lover and priest, Richard.
Mark knows what he should do, but he can’t bring himself to give Richard up. The sex with Richard is unlike anything he’s ever known with Craig, and he hungers for it as much as—if not more than—the truer intimacy he finds in his boyfriend’s arms.
When Craig discovers his betrayal, Mark is forced to look at his life more closely, but the path to self-knowledge is never an easy one. Richard seeks the way back to God, but Mark finds no solace there. Can he ever discover the truth of his own soul, or is he too afraid of what he will—or won’t—find inside his heart?

"Anne Brooke has written a somber and beautiful story of a man who had everything and lost it all because he coveted two very different men. It is dark and solemn and resonates with a sense of conflict and despair that wove the ideal atmosphere. It was moving and played beautifully against the knowledge that sometimes free will and human nature simply don't leave room for happy endings." (From a 5-star review at The Novel Approach)
"I always talk about short stories being worthy of novel praise and this story is one of them. Anne Brooke is an excellent writer with a gift of portraying emotions on the page. Sometimes we don't always get what we want and we leave behind the things that we need. … This story with just a few pages was able to share that with me the reader, and if that isn't excellent writing I don't know what is!" (From a 4.5 star review at Pants Off Reviews)

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK

Cyber Monday sale at Untreed Reads!

For today only, you can get 40% off all my fiction at Untreed Reads!

This includes:

Thorn in the Flesh

Kate Harris, a lecturer in her late thirties, is attacked in her home and left for dead. This terrible assault and the anonymous hate letters she starts to receive bring to light the past she’d prefer to leave behind, a past which includes the son she bore in her teenage years and whom she chose to give away. 

What happens to Kate also affects the people she counts as friends and colleagues now. She has been in love with her best friend, Nicky, for a long time but Nicky is happily married with two young children and Kate is determined never to upset the lives of those she cares for. 

However, when she makes the momentous decision to contact the father of her long-forgotten son, and then to trace her son as well, Kate inadvertently sets in motion a series of frightening events she seems to have no control over. Can she protect herself and those she loves from the menacing enemy who stalks them all? 

The Girl in the Painting and Other Stories

A brand-new collection...and three new stories!

For years, Anne Brooke has wowed reading audiences with her ability to write exceptional tales in multiple genres. From science fiction to romance, horror to tales based on stories from the Bible, Anne has consistently produced some of the most intriguing and gripping works available.

For the first time, Anne's stories from Untreed Reads are collected in one volume. 

Butterfly Girl and Truth or Dare

Two great erotic short stories in one volume!

"Butterfly Girl": Abi's marriage is happy enough, but she's bored. When she meets Tina online, they quickly become friends. Soon their virtual friendship becomes the mainstay of Abi's life, and when Tina propositions her, Abi's initial surprise gives way to an unexpected and overwhelming desire.

"Truth or Dare": Kate and Suzie have always been best friends, for as long as they can remember. However, one night at the pub away from their menfolk leads them both to startling revelations as they resurrect their old childhood game of Truth or Dare.

Not only that, but all my Lori Olding children's fiction has a 40% discount as well:

The Origami Nun

Seven-year-old Ruth can't speak, but that doesn't mean she can't think. She knows her birthday is going to be good as her beloved great-aunt has exciting plans for her. What she doesn't expect is a magical paper nun, an encounter with a bully who may not be what she seems, or a school day to remember. Because, before her special day is over, Ruth is in for some very big surprises.

A short chapter book recommended for ages 6-9.

Queen of the Fluffy Pens

Queen of the Fluffy Pens, Queenie, is keen to move her beloved brood across their owner's kitchen to be nearer the window. Life will be wonderful there as they'll have lots of space and sunshine to enjoy. First, however, Queenie has to learn how to fly. Once she's mastered that skill, she and her two friends, Betsy and Tanya, set out on their epic journey. On the way, they encounter a very strange fly indeed, a friendly bee and a frightening hornet. They also learn something very important about the value of friendship. Can they survive their great adventure, and will their new home be all they've hoped for?

Recommended for ages 6-9.

So whatever you choose, have a great Cyber Monday and happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Lori Olding Children's Fiction