Sunday, April 27, 2014

First date food: A Dangerous Man

Rustic Chicken Marsala Bake. Here's the link to this fantastic recipe: It's the perfect food for Jack and Michael's first date in crime thriller A Dangerous Man, especially when Jack's cooking! 

Jack's house was big, of course, and in a close where all the houses were different. Outside, in the streetlight I could see elegant white statues of two sphinxes, reminding me of something I’d watched on TV about Egypt years ago. It smelt of money. But right then, for once, I wasn’t interested in the location or what it might look like if I drew it.

Inside, everything was clean and so luxurious I thought I must be dreaming. In the hallway, I stared at the mirror framed with carved wood that glittered gold in the light. In the reflection, I saw him come close, lean down and kiss the back of my neck, our two heads blended together, one dark, one fair. Seeing us like that made me think of monsters or magic, and I almost laughed. Without asking, he took off my jacket, half-caressing my shoulders as he did so and making me shiver with excitement. This was going to be one hell of a one-night stand. Or first date. Which was it? God, please God, let it be the second choice. I’d do it with him now, no need to give me dinner. He only had to ask.

“Is this too quick for you?” he asked.

I shook my head, but my stomach rumbled, giving me away. He laughed and stepped back.

“All right, that’s settled. Food first. I promised you food, didn’t I? Is pasta all right? It’s what I had planned, and there’ll be plenty for two.”

“Okay.” The wait would only make things better. I followed him into the large, oak-lined expanse of kitchen, running my fingers over the smooth work surfaces and wondering if I would ever afford such luxury. Maybe, one day, when I had a gallery of my own, somewhere I could place my artwork and watch people admire and buy it. One day soon. While I dreamed, Jack cooked real spaghetti, not the dried stuff, and added chopped chicken, herbs and sauces, the heavy smell of it filling the air. I watched him, drinking in the way he looked, the way he moved, and the fair down on his arms that glowed golden like the mirror frame.

At last he smiled. “Michael, if you continue eating me up with your eyes, there’ll be nothing left of me at all.”

I looked away at once.

“That’s a shame,” he said. “I was enjoying your attention. But here, have some bread while you’re waiting. The pasta will be ready soon.”

It was. I began to eat what he’d placed in front of me. It was delicious, and I knew fresh pasta would now always be my favorite. Whatever happened. He, on the other hand, didn’t even pick up his cutlery.

“Aren’t you hungry?” I asked him, between mouthfuls.

“Yes,” he said. “But not for food...”

Find out more at A Dangerous Man

Friday, April 25, 2014

FREE Fiction: fantasy novel Hallsfoot's Battle

Fantasy novel Hallsfoot's Battle is FREE today and tomorrow only at Amazon Kindle! 

Here's the Amazon UK link.

Here's the Amazon US link.

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.

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gay thriller A Dangerous Man - it's all about the mystery ...

There's an interesting 5-star review of gay thriller A Dangerous Man at Goodreads today (many thanks indeed, Karel). Here's the link:

I particularly loved the review introduction:

"I had a lot to say, but suffice to say that after finishing it the book left me utterly speechless. Not something that happens everyday. I feel like now I need 200 shallow romance novels to lighten up my... Year.

Edit: The below thoughts (more feelings than review) are ones I wrote halfway into the book, right before the climax of it. It still holds true, even if I have a million more feelings to add to it now that I could never write out in a coherent form ..."

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha: unhappy families writ large

This is definitely a book where unhappy families are the name of the game. We begin with the murder of our heroine Irene's son and things are really pretty dang grim from there on in. The writing is both gripping and powerful, but there are quite a few occasions where it strays rather too much into the melodramatic. The middle of the book is also too long, and we did by then need to get to the point of the story.

The great mystery is what really happened when Shep (the son) died, and the events that led up to this and immediately away from it. I have to say that I guessed what was going on by Page 10, but it didn't take away my enjoyment - as Irene didn't have a clue and it's always good to have a clueless heroine, when the reader knows so much more.

That said, I thought the reasons behind the murder were appallingly old-fashioned - did people really think in that way in mid-90s rural America??!? Then again, at last, we in rural UK have something to be proud of, as surely we got over all that kind of nonsense in the 1970s. Hey ho.

The ending is spot-on, however, and I loved the way the family came to some kind of resolution with their past, and with some kind of hope for the future too. It left me with a good feeling, which is always to be desired in any book.

Verdict: 3.5 stars. Gripping but a little melodramatic

Half-price and FREE books - today only!

To celebrate Earth Day, for today only ALL my books at All Romance Ebooks are half-price and some are FREE! Click the link for more details! -

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pink Champagne Cake for a Pink Champagne girl

A recipe for Pink Champagne cake. Ideal for Angie & Philippe in Pink Champagne and Apple Juice!

See the recipe here: 

Discover more about that sexy French waiter here! -

Anne Brooke Books
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pink Champagne and Apple Juice: the show starts here!...

Roll up! Roll up! The Pink Champagne and Apple Juice show starts here! Click the link for romance, drama and sheer excitement! There are some dang good cocktails too!...

Pink Champagne and Apple Juice: the cocktail of choice!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold: beautiful but oh so grim

I have to say this is a gorgeously written book, but I didn't warm to any of the characters or indeed the plot. The beginning scenes with Helen's mother after death are really very nasty and I found myself skipping over them in order to get back to some kind of normality. If normality can be found here … I also skipped over some of the rather more difficult scenes later on, though I did get the gist of it all.

When it comes down to it, Helen's family situation is pretty awful and perhaps on occasions rather unbelievable. To the point that, here and there, I found myself almost sympathising with the quite dreadful mother, or at least feeling as if she might have a point. I did like Helen's father, though, and I wished we'd had more of him. All in all, Helen does have a better relationship with the men in her life. The relationship with her ex-husband is also very tenderly depicted, and I liked Jake. I could see why he'd left though, oh yes.

Overall, the first half of the book is perhaps a tad too slow, but it gets more into gear when the police come on the scene, and Helen has to make more and more interesting decisions. Sadly, however, the ending isn't as good as it should have been as the last paragraph is, frankly, ridiculous, and should have been dropped very early on in the editing process. It would have been a far stronger book if it had stopped at that glorious penultimate paragraph.

So, the story is grim and so are the characters. But, still, it's beautifully written.

Verdict: Beautiful but grim. 3 Stars.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Romantic comedy: Pink Champagne and Apple Juice out today!

Romantic comedy Pink Champagne and Apple Juice is now available at a 1st week 35% discount at Amber Quill Press!

Here's the blurb:
Angie Howard has one ambition - to escape from her home in the idyllic Essex countryside and set up her own cafe in London. Once there, she seeks out her long-lost Uncle John, whose lifestyle is not at all what she expected.
Before she can achieve her goal, she has to juggle the needs of a sexy French waiter, a grouchy German chef and her exuberant, transvestite uncle. What's more, if she manages to keep the lid on all that, what will she do about the other hidden secrets of her family?

And here's one review:

"As I started reading this with my good ol’ cuppa joe on a lovely Saturday morning, Pink Champagne and Apple Juice was probably the first ebook that had me chuckling every two minutes. Anne Brooke must be a comedian at heart because right from the start you have the main girl, Angie Howard, running from her own mother to get on the train to find her Uncle John. Trouble and mishaps followed her nonstop. Angie’s character is so easy to like and anyone can relate to her because all she wants is to have her freedom and live life to the fullest. She really does when she finally arrives at her Uncle John’s home, which is rather a racy nightclub with cross dressers and gay people relaxing and being themselves ... Pink Champagne and Apple Juice was a great, laid back story with many twists to keep you laughing. The fast paced flow of the wacky story was undeniably fun. I say that if on a rainy day or just when you need to laugh in a ‘The Birdcage’ feel, this book is for you ... Rated 5 Delightful Divas & Recommended Read." (From a 5 Diva review at Dark Diva Reviews)

Happy reading!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Friday, April 04, 2014

A Seasonal Reunion: gay romance cover art

Here's the cover art for upcoming gay romance, A Seasonal Reunion. I have to say I love it!

Danny Brigson makes a serious mistake when he sleeps with Marty, an old boyfriend at an ill-advised 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, Danny tries to sort his life out, determined to stop relying on drugs and drink to get him through. Can he even dare to hope that one day Jake might give him the chance to put things right?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly: gripping and humane legal thriller

It's been a while since I've picked up a Michael Connelly book, but I've no idea why that should be - as he's one of the best living thriller writers we have. It was a pleasure to get reacquainted with him here. The Brass Verdict appears to be a follow-up to The Lincoln Lawyer but that doesn't matter as it didn't spoil my enjoyment one iota.

Mickey Haller is a wonderful character - a lawyer with an addictive past who's clean now and wants to get his career back on track, but is initially startled by the way this takes place at the beginning of the novel. I was gripped by the descriptions of how Mickey makes a go of things again, and he's ably supported by one of his exes and her new boyfriend, both of whom work for him. They're a great little team and I was rooting all the way through for them to succeed.

I also enjoyed Mickey's relationship with his most recent ex-wife (not the one who works for him!) and daughter, and will look forward to reading more about the three of them.

As always with Connelly, the courtroom scenes are excellent, and the twists and turns of both the crime and the case as it plays out are very exciting indeed. Those surprises just keep on coming and I will certainly not leave it so long again before my next Connelly fix.

Verdict: Gripping and humane. 5 stars.