Dead Things by Meredith Russell

Title: Dead Things

Author: Meredith Russell

Genre: Zombie, Contemporary

Length: Novel (284pgs)

Publisher: Silver Publishing (11th August 2012)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: A deadly virus creates hungry monsters. Devin Reid, a survivor, risks his life scavenging food and supplies. One day, Devin finds someone with the potential to change a dark future into one of hope and second chances, Noah Weber.

A deadly virus rages indiscriminately across the United States and then beyond. The survivors face a new terror–the undead creatures created in the wake of the infection.

Devin Reid is part of a group surviving out of a high-security penitentiary near Kansas City. Resources are limited and it’s down to a handful of people like Devin to meet the demands on food and supplies. The newly-made monsters are hungry, and the survivors risk their lives scavenging the cities and highways.

On one fateful venture, Devin finds something, someone, with the potential to change a dark future, destined for blood and heartbreak, into one of hope and second chances. He finds Noah Weber.

Purchase Link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/products_id/1179

Review: Devin is part of a small group of survivors living in a prison after a deadly virus outbreak. On a scavenging trip, Devin comes across another survivor, Noah, who has managed to survive living out in the open, which the zombie bites doesn’t infect, and who could just be humanities savior. But the journey to survival is harsh, with blood, loss of life and an egomaniac leading the way. Will there be a future for any of them?

This is a very grim and bloody zombie story, which has a glimmer of hope and maybe developing new relationships after you have lost your whole world. Devin nearly lost everything when the virus struck, but with himself and his sister safe in one of the only safe places in the country, he at least has life. But, when he comes across another survivor he is made to face the fact that although he has life…he is not living. Noah lost everything when the virus struck, he has survived by himself since those first bloody days and now he has been dragged to ‘safety’ where they inject him and want his blood. The only one he trusts is Devin, but Devin holds him away at arm’s length. Can Noah crack the shell that Devin has built around him?

I really enjoyed this story as it has a slightly darker outlook on life, after a virus outbreak that turns the population into zombies. Both the characters of Devin and Noah are really well written, with both of them reacting differently to how the disaster has affected them. Devin draws into himself and continues on, because he has people relying on him. While Noah, grips life with both hands and tries to get as much joy as possible or it could just be that he is around humans who aren’t trying to eat him.

This isn’t a huge romantic, sex-filled story, far from it. It is a story of new hope and maybe new beginnings. It is a story of starting to lay old ghosts to rest and of a glimmer of happiness in the future. This story also isn’t for the faint hearted as it has some pretty gruesome scenes with lots of blood, some with characters we are just getting to know and we don’t get a hearts and flowers happy ending. What we get is the beginning of something that could be special, and a new hope for all humanity.

So, I am going to recommend this to those who love grisly zombie stories, finding the beginning of new love amid harrowing times, of an egomaniac who just hasn’t got a clue and of hope for the future.

 

 

 

Cooper’s Promise by Timothy Jay Smith

Title:  Cooper’s Promise

Author:  Timothy Jay Smith

Publisher:  iUniverse (January 16th, 2012)

Genre:  Action/Adventure

Length:  Novel (220pages)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Heart

Blurb:  Army sharpshooter and deserter Cooper Chance is trapped. Recruited from Iraq to fight in an African country ravaged by a chronic civil war, Cooper wants nothing more than to go home. Unfortunately, the only thing waiting for him in America is jail, and Cooper is acutely claustrophobic. Whether he likes it or not, he now leads the life of a mercenary, in a gritty world filled with thugs, prostitutes and corrupt cops.

To survive his desperate circumstances, Cooper trades diamonds. One day he wanders into a diamond shop, where he meets Sadiq, a young merchant as lost in the world as he is. As they fall in love, Cooper has no idea Sadiq has ulterior motives. Meanwhile huge oil reserves are discovered nearby, and the CIA offers Cooper a way home without jail time if Cooper agrees to carry out a risky, high-stakes mission.

Cooper will do anything to get home – except sell his soul to the devil. But when a teenage prostitute he has promised to save suddenly disappears, Cooper finally relents. Unfortunately, he has no idea that unexpected consequences wait.

Product Linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Coopers-Promise-Timothy-Jay-Smith/dp/1462084087

Reviewer:  Showme

Review:  I should start off by saying this was a more somber read than my normal books of choice. That being said, I was compelled to read it and the sad truths it held. I was wary about starting it, but once I did, Mr. Smith hooked me. Cooper is a soldier trapped in Lalanga.  He’s forced to leave his post because of an affair with his CO, who is in denial of his preference for men.  The situation was life or death for Cooper. Leaving meant he was a deserter. So he’s trying to survive when he happens upon one of Lalanga’s many brothels and meets a girl name Lulay whom he has an instant need to protect. She says she seventeen, but it’s closer to fifteen.  It’s not like there aren’t hundreds like her, but this one girl gives him a purpose beyond surviving the hot hell that is Lalanga.  He’s in no position to save her so he does the best he can. Buys her time, condoms and protects her when he can. To make money he buys stolen blood diamonds from the children who work the mines. It’s dangerous to steal from the Colonel Diamond, but the living conditions are so poor they risk the danger.

Cooper sells the diamonds to diamond business man in town. One day he walks into the shop and sees a beautiful boy named, Sadiq, the owner’s son. Cooper is immediately intrigued by the boy and seeks him out whenever possible. They develop a friendship while Cooper secretly hopes for more. The duties expected of Sadiq as the only son of his family make admitting his preference for men impossible. So they steal away moments of passion where they can.

When Cooper is busted by the local dirty police chief, he’s pushed into a situation needing the help of an annoyingly ever-present CIA agent. The agent requests Cooper’s help with a major task based on his special skills. Cooper refuses until the situation with Lulay is dire. Her owner has plans to sell her to a possibly worse situation. Cooper can’t buy anymore diamonds to sell. When he goes to find her he learns she’s been sold. Frantic with worry he goes to the CIA agent to make a deal for finding Lulay. The tension builds as the books final pages play out.

I, of course, won’t give away the ending, but it’s safe to say this wasn’t an easy read. The conditions these people lived in hurt my heart. This is a tale of girls and boys being sold or tricked into prostitution, ruthless evil men doing as they please and a lovely but tragic possible romance between two men hoping for the chance to love.

 

Sacrificed by J. P. Barnaby

Title:  Sacrificed

Series:  Little Boy Lost #6

Author:  J.P. Barnaby

Genre:   Young Adult

Length:  Novel (258 page)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (July 2nd, 2012)

Heat Level:  Medium

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥5Heart

Blurb:   Reunited with his father but missing the one man he loves more than any other, Jamie Mayfield attempts to put his life back together amid rehab, seizures, and the gutting loneliness of Brian’s rejection. As he tries to cope, Jamie finds that relying on his friends isn’t nearly as difficult as he’d imagined, and soon he can once again stand on his own two feet.

While recovering from his addiction, Jamie starts a new phase of his life at college, working to become the man Brian needs him to be. Only one question remains: Can Jamie earn Brian’s forgiveness and win back his trust, or will their love be sacrificed at the altar of Jamie’s demons?

Brian and Jamie’s epic journey comes to a close in this thrilling conclusion to the Little Boy Lost series.

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3057

Reviewer:   John

Review:  Fantastic, fabulous and thrilling! Sacrificed (Little Boy Lost #6) was such an amazing ending to a very popular and heartbreaking series. If you have not read books one to five, you just have to read them since I can’t give you a detailed summary on all the pain and suffering that the two main characters endured. All you need to know for now is that the story chronicles the life of Jamie Mayfield and Brian McAllister from a small town in Alabama. Their love story blossoms from a beautiful friendship to star cross lovers status.

Sacrificed (Little Boy Lost #6) is told through Jamie’s point of view as he struggles with his seizures, rehabilitation, school and being far away from the love of his life, Brian. He goes through a lot in this novel and it’s really heartbreaking to see him sad and desperate to be the perfect son for his Dad and an exceptional lover for Brian. We barely get to see much of Brian in Sacrificed. All we get to see are his actions, but that is worth more than a thousand words. Yes, there were several times where I wanted to kill them for the way they behaved towards each other. But, I perfectly understood why they acted the way they did. I absolutely loved the ending. We got into Brian’s head for a few minutes and felt his emotions as he wed the love of his life, Jamie. It was short, sweet and straight to the point.

Overall, the Little Boy Lost Series was heartbreaking, loving, thrilling, exciting, and heart stopping. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that you will love this series as much as I did. I highly recommend these books to anyone who wants to experience the most dramatic rollercoaster ride of their life.

One Two Three, Shatter by Joey James Hook

Title:  One, Two, Three Shatter

Series:  The Xander Series 

Author: Joey James Hook

Genre: Contemporary M/F and M/M romance

Length: Novel (426 pages)

Publisher: Silver publishing  (August 4th, 2012)

Heat Level:  Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3.5Hearts

Blurb:

All it takes is one, two, three. This is the story of one man’s battle through abuse, addiction, and heartbreak toward unknown happiness. It’ll take a miracle, and he’s banking on someone to be that for him before he gives up.

Life was harsh and cruel to Kaleb Xander from very early on, and he was never given a moment’s rest to breathe and recover from the misery. Once freed from years in a cage of wrath and perverted lust, he found the real world to be a mere step up from what he was used to. Abuse was simply coming in different guises and through new avenues now.

All it should take is one person to reach out their hand and save this lost soul–but Kaleb is more complicated than that. It’ll take a miracle, and he’s banking on someone to be just that for him before he gives it all up.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains scenes of rape or near rape and severe abuse. This book contains scenes of MF and MM intimacy.

Review:  First of all, I want to say, Wow! What a cover. I keep going back and looking at it over and over. To me the more I read the more I even loved the cover. It was as if I could see into Kaleb.

This book is not for the faint at heart. I will warn you it has some very vivid and harsh scenes. That is one thing I really liked about it, the raw truthfulness. Life isn’t all roses and gushy love-at-first sight and happy-ever-after. The reality is that abuse exists, Physical, sexual and emotional. Sometimes it’s not always from others. Sometimes we abuse ourselves.

In this case, Kaleb Xander was a victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse from the time I he was four and his mother left him. What he went through was unimaginable hell.  This may be a fictional story, but sad to say there are probably more Kalebs out there than we know. This story is how he dealt with the abuse inflicted by both his father and brother. Sadly, he found release in drugs, alcohol and self-mutilation. I warned you. This is not for the faint at heart.

Kaleb goes through a lot physically and emotionally. Does he rise from the drugs and abuse? Does he find true love? Can he ever open up and trust anyone?

This is a very long story. I don’t mind long stories. I actually like them. I found it a bit skippy at times. The first half to two-thirds of the book tended to span a lot of years.  Starting when Kaleb was only four ’til the time he is almost thirty. Some chapters went from a day to a month to two years at a time. Character also appeared and disappeared. There was a lot descriptive detail that could be left out and more of some of the characters added. But all in all this was a very good poignant story. A great change of pace from the run of the mill sugary romance. I suggest you grit your teeth and give it a go.

I recommend this book to anyone that is looking for something different, not sugar-coated lovey-dovey fairytale romance.  Also, anyone that likes gritty down and dirty rugged life.

WARNING! This story does contain violence, rape and abuse. Also drugs and alcohol.

Theory of Attraction by Cleon Lee

Title: Theory of Attraction

Author: Cleon Lee

Genre: M/M Romance

Length: 118 Pages (August 11th, 2012)

Publisher:  Silver Publishing

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts

Blurb: Ethan Roberts is a TA and the resident gay Don Juan of St. Phillips University. Getting tired of one-night stands, he decides to pursue a serious relationship. However, the only guy he really wants is Aaron Marcus, a shy and nerdy Sociology TA.

His upbringing and his past relationship have made Aaron Marcus insecure and paranoid. He thinks Ethan is just another guy who wants to make fun of him with his over-the-top courtship. However, his perception of Ethan changes when Ethan takes him home and takes care of him after Aaron gets drunk in a bar.

It is up to Ethan to reassure Aaron that despite Ethan’s inexperience in relationships and Aaron’s neuroses, they can make their relationship work.

Product Linkhttp://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/products_id/1180/

Reviewer:   Madison

Review:  Theory of Attraction is a light romance based on an “opposites attract” storyline. Ethan is used to being able to turn on the charm and win over any guy he sets his sights on. At the moment, that happens to be Aaron. Aaron is a fellow grad student who is also working on a dissertation for his Ph.D., but the two men couldn’t be more different. Ethan is gorgeous, outgoing, and confident. Aaron is nerdy, introverted, and insecure. Despite the fact that Aaron is not his usual type, there’s something about Aaron and his shy, quiet demeanor that Ethan finds endearing.

Ethan’s initial attempts at wooing Aaron are rebuffed. Aaron is simply not interested. He doesn’t see any reason why Ethan would genuinely like him, so he steers clear of him. Eventually Ethan convinces Aaron to give him a chance and the two connect.

I enjoyed Cleon Lee’s writing style. The dialogue flowed nicely and her use of imagery drew me into the various settings:

Morning sun was a bitch. She rose too early and shone too brightly. Aaron’s head hurt and he felt as if something had crawled into his mouth and died there.

“Nggh…”

He heard a chuckle. He opened his eyes and looked in that direction but promptly regretted his action as sunlight stabbed his brain.

I also liked the alternating points of view, although more could have been done with that. I would have liked more character development. Perhaps in a full-length novel we would have gotten that. There are hints of Aaron’s backstory, but I never fully understood why he acted the way he did. We discover that he’s come out of a bad relationship and that he had family issues, but neither of these events were fully explained. Why was Aaron so gun-shy? It was mentioned several times that Aaron felt Ethan was making fun of him, but I never got that sense. How is giving him flowers or chocolates making fun of him? I would have liked more backstory from Ethan as well. What was it about Aaron that attracted him so much that he went for months without sex, just waiting for the chance to go on a date with Aaron? It was a little hard for me to believe. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Aaron. A lot. I just didn’t get why Ethan liked Aaron so much.

In the end, they do finally connect, and they make a sweet couple. The scene where they become intimate was refreshingly different from what I’d expected, though it could have been a little steamier for my taste.

Once I got to the end, I turned the page, expecting another chapter. It ended a bit too abruptly. Overall, I liked the characters and I liked the premise, but I wish there had been more to it. With a bit more depth of character, a bit more angst, a bit more “happy couple” in the end, this would have been a more satisfying read.

If you’re in the mood for a quick, light and fluffy romance, I think you’ll enjoy this one.