Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan

16076072Title: Dirty Laundry

Series: Tucker Springs 03 (Multi Author Series)

Author: Heidi Cullinan

Genre: Contemporary, Kink

Length: Novel Plus (265pgs)

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (28th January 2013)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: The course of true love doesn’t always run clean. But sometimes getting dirty is half the fun.

Entomology grad student Adam Ellery meets Denver Rogers, a muscle-bound hunk of sexy, when Denver effortlessly dispatches the drunken frat boys harassing Adam at the Tucker Springs Laundromat. Thanking him turns into flirting, and then, much to Adam’s delight, hot sex over the laundry table.

Though Denver’s job as a bouncer at a gay bar means he gets his pick of geek-sexy college twinks, he can’t get Adam out of his head. Adam seems to need the same rough play Denver does, and it’s damn hard to say no to such a perfect fit.

Trouble is Adam isn’t just shy: he has obsessive compulsive disorder and clinical anxiety, conditions which have ruined past relationships. And while Denver might be able to bench-press a pile of grad students, he comes from a history of abuse and is terrified of getting his GED. Neither Denver nor Adam want to face their dirty laundry, but to stay together, they’re going to have to come clean.

Purchase Link: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/dirty-laundry-tucker-springs-novel

Review: Adam is being harassed by frat boys when he does his laundry. Lucky for him, sexy cowboy, Denver, comes to his rescue and Adam ends up bent over the Laundromat table having the time of his life, after he thanks his savior. Denver can’t get Adam out of his head, even seeing all the other hot geeky twinks at work doesn’t stop him wanting Adam.  Adam seemed to want the same kind of play as Denver enjoys, but Denver has to wait for Adam to make the first move.

This is a wonderful story of working past your limitations and embracing your quirks. Adam suffers from OCD, he has a lot of quirks that go with it and he has to work hard to keep his panic attacks at bay. When Adam first meets Denver he tries to hide his problems, believing that if Denver found out about his mental health, then he would want nothing to do with him. Denver has his own problem which holds him back, he works as a bouncer because the job he really wants means going back to school and he just can’t deal with books.  dating Adam makes him want to try though and both men have to face their problems.

Denver and Adam are a couple that you wouldn’t think would work, but both their personalities are perfectly synced. they draw out the best in each other and are very encouraging when it comes to their individual problems. The one thing you could never doubt is how hot they are together, and we get the pleasure of seeing how hot they are together with their kinks, and although there are elements of BDSM, we really only see the kink side, with Adam reminiscing about the more mainstream BDSM.

I will admit that when I first started the book and for the first couple of chapters I thought it was going to be the typical BDSM Dom/sub story, but we get so much more than that, we get their everyday fears and the mental health problems they face, but we also see how their kinks work with the OCD. Adam and his OCD are written incredible well, with his fears being dealt with instead of being glossed over. Denver’s learning disability was covered and handled quite well, and his reaction to the knowledge was perfectly described. Both these characters’ worm their way into your affections because they are both so incredibly sweet with each other, they try to protect each other in their own way and they both dread the other finding out the truth about them.

I will recommend this to those who love geeks and cowboys, dealing with mental health problems head on, some hot kink and BDSM elements, gaining control of your life and finding your own flawed true love.

Semper Fae (1st Edition) by Angel Martinez

17250692Title: Semper Fae

Series: Endangered Fae 03

Author: Angel Martinez

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Length: Novel (176pgs)

Publisher: Mischief Corner (13th & 23rd January 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Zack thought he had a strange job before. Working as a Marine medic in a secret government installation was odd, but working as a human liaison to the fae and as the personal assistant to a sidhe prince is downright bizarre. Throw in the fact that he’s pretty damn sure he’s fallen in love with his boss, and things are close to unmanageable.

Of course, around the fae, a man learns never to say ‘things can’t possibly get any worse.’ Unexplained events have begun to plague the human world. Strange sightings, spontaneous explosions of magic and odd bends in reality crop up. When Finn falls terribly ill and a monstrous creature attacks Zack one night, things quickly slide into disaster. Lycanthropy, loose-cannon mages, and Lugh conspire to make a hellish mess out of things – but the real peril begins when Diego loses an important piece of his mind.

Purchase Link: This edition is no longer available. 

Review: This story is part of a series and is best read in order. Zack is the personal security guard for the fae prince, Lugh, and although he is attracted to the sidhe, he steers clear of an entanglement just like he has for his entire life. Lugh feels more for Zack than Zach realizes, but getting through to the human is impossible. when Zach is attacked by a werewolf everything changes when Lugh has to resort to desperate means to keep him safe. Over with Diego and Finn, Finn has shifter’s fever and is quite ill. Diego is juggling his responsibilities and puzzled by the strange sightings and magical outbursts, while a group of young adults try to gain his attention. As the saying goes ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ but these good intentions just might destroy them all.

I will advise readers to have read the other books in the series, as this story does mention events from the previous book Diego. I have to say that this is a wonderful addition to the Endangered Fae series, giving us a story about what happens after the veil has been opened and some of the consequences of the resurrected human magic. Zach and Lugh are the main relationship focus of this story, with them finally coming clean with each other, but it isn’t until misunderstanding are cleared up and Zach realizes that he means more to Lugh than he first thought. Diego plays a large part in this story, and even though we don’t see him for some of it, he is still in the background pulling deadly strings. We are introduced to several young characters who add to the storyline with their well-meaning, though nearly deadly, interfering.

There is a lot going on in this story and it all overlaps, Finn is struck down with shifter fever, an illness not seen in hundreds of years, Zach is attacked by a creature that was thought to be extinct and Lugh has to protect him, Diego and Zach try to find a cure for Lycanthropy and then Diego is kidnapped and an evil is unwittingly unleashed. Lugh and Zach with the help of their other friends try to hunt the evil down, but Lugh is then captured, and the real fun begins. So there is a lot going on with the storyline and much of it is connected, so there are no loose ends or confusing plot, the characters are all well written and their parts fit well.

So in all honesty this is a fantasy that draws you in with its imagination and then keeps you reading by the ever-evolving storyline, with the angst and want of romance, with the misunderstandings of men and the good intentions of young adults. I found this story to be really well written, and for the most part, found that the actions taken when compassion is removed and obligation enforced, to be something that could happen. I thoroughly enjoyed going along on this adventure with Lugh, Zach, Diego and Finn and I am looking forward to, hopefully, a new book in the series.

I will recommend this story to those who love fantasy, fae, paranormal, a great storyline, a hard-fought romance, some hot sex, explosions, kidnappings, rescues, facing the consequences and a great ending.

 

 

Icelands by Anna Marie May

Icelands-400x600 Title: Icelands

Series: Watchtower 04

Author: Anna Marie May

Genre: Fantasy

Length: Short (68pgs)

Publisher: Anna Marie May (Self-published) (18th January 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½ – 4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Welcome to a hell of a different kind: Icelands. The future hangs in the balance; one sacrifice is required to save them all. The question though is: will saving the future be worth the cost of losing someone you love?

Aidan races against time to find the last Watchtower to complete the circle, only to figure out that it doesn’t end there. In order to fire up the walls of protection, one sacrifice needs to be made to safe them all. But is losing someone you love really worth the outcome? One love is needed to safe them all and doom one of them to a life of misery, struggling to find new meaning in life. Does the end really justify the means, even in a matter of the heart?

From the elegant towers of Dinas to the unyielding Cursed Lands into a hell of different kind where everything is white and cold to touch—the race is on. The only question remaining is: Will they succeed? Or will they vanish into an icy hell never to be seen or heard from again?

Purchase Link: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-icelands-1041399-143.html

Review: This story is part of a series and must be read in order. Aidan has no clue where he might find the last Watchtower. So he sets off with Belze (his familiar) to find clues and to find someone who can help him with his powers. On his journey, Aidan is attacked by an unknown foe and it leads him to the fourth Watchtower. Now, Aidan has to admit the truth to his friends, one of them has to sacrifice their life in order for the Watchtowers to work, leaving behind the one that they love. Is the sacrifice too much to ask for? And, how much more do the Watchtowers require before their world is safe?

Icelands is an exciting addition to the Watchtower series. Aidan is still frustrated about his lack of control of his powers, he decides that he has to find a sorcerer to help him and sets off on a journey with Bleze (who complains every step of the way). On his journey he is attacked and we finally discover who has been trying to kill King James. Discovering the fourth tower by accident nearly kills Aidan. Having to explain the truth of the focal point to his friends devastates them all. But, the journey to the Icelands could just destroy them all.

I really enjoyed this story and the seamless way it continued from Out of the Werewolf (Closet. in this addition, we discover just who has been trying to kill James, we find that the friends might not have circumvented the Golden Legend and that sacrifice is hard to face. Aidan, James, Raphael, Vivian and Bleze have to travel across the lands into burning hell that brings a foe that they dread and to the coldest Icelands where they lose one of their own.

I must admit that I wish that there was someone who could help Aidan with his magic, as he seems to fumble around trying to save the world while he really hasn’t got a clue what he is doing. James, Raphael and Vivian are more in the background in this story.  I would have liked to get their thoughts and feelings about what was happening and what they faced. I hope that we will discover more in Raphael’s story Siren Song.

I will recommend this to those that love fantasy, surprise danger, magic, discovering deceit, fantastic landscapes, having love, losing love and an ending that is tainted with sadness.

 

One Man’s Treasure by Kris Jansen

kjansen_lb_treasure Title: One Man’s Treasure

Author: Kris Jansen

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: Short (50pgs)

Publisher: White Orchid Press (18th January 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Kane is known for his prowess on the battlefield. Unfortunately, that reputation has triggered the council of his native planet to ask him to breed. Kane is determined to only mate for love so he concocts a plan to fake a joining to another male before jumping planet and leaving everything behind. He never counted on meeting a thief who would turn his plan into something more than a means to escape.

Jewl was just looking to make some cash. He never expected to come face to face with the warrior he was stealing from. Threatened with death if he doesn’t cooperate, Jewl agrees to be Kane’s pretend bond mate. But it will take more than just good acting for them to dupe the Warlord council.

As they spend more time together, it’s harder to remain indifferent. Will the possibility of love be enough to hold the two together?

Purchase Link: http://www.whiteorchidpress.com/downloads/jansen-one-mans-treasure/

Review: Kane has a plan all set out to get his native council off his back, he has no plans of ever siring children and he certainly doesn’t want a female, so he plans to fake a bonding to another male. But, his plans are thrown into awry when a thief sets down on a satellite he is on. Jewl just has a job to do, copy the hard drives on a satellite and he will get paid.  But, his plans fall apart when he is caught by the Warlord Kane. Kane offers him a choice … play a part in his plans or die, Jewl plays along.  But, neither Kane nor Jewl realized just how deep they would have to go or how deep their feelings would go.

This is a cute science fiction short of unexpected love. I really do like stories where someone is caught doing wrong and is forced to comply and make amends, and I love it when they end up falling in love with the person they are making amends to. Jewl really doesn’t have much of a choice when he is caught by Kane.  he agrees to pretend to be Kane’s joined mate, but when the time comes he realizes he really does want to be Kane’s true mate. Kane has choices to make and he doesn’t want to force a bond on Jewl, because no matter what Jewl says, he is influenced by the Nano’s.

I did enjoy this story and it was well written, and although they are only together for a short while and it is explained why they fall in love with each other, it still didn’t feel quite right. Jewl is under the influence of Nano’s (explained well in the book) and because of the short time-frame he doesn’t get to know Kane Nano free and yes I would love to believe that it wouldn’t matter, but it still left me with doubt about Jewl’s true feelings. With Kane you don’t get that doubt, so you are confident of his feelings for Jewl.

This story moves along quickly and it is smooth, there are some good details and you get some good background on both MC’s, we don’t see much in the way of relationship building, but we do get some really hot sex when they declare their love for each other.

This is a great story for those who want a short science fiction fix, hot sex, quick love and a happy ending.

 

Insert Here by Connie Bailey

InsertHereLGTitle:  Insert Here
Author:  Connie Bailey
Genre:  Contemporary
Length:  Novella (79 pages)
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (December 26, 2012)
Heat level:  Explicit
Heart rating:  ♥♥♥3Hearts
Blurb:  John Garros, known to his fans as Spanish Joe for his dark good looks, makes his living as an actor in porn films. As a perfect body double for Hollywood superstar Jason Forrester, he acts in XXX-rated scenes that are inserted into Forrester’s blockbuster movies. He makes good money from the profits of the modified films and spends most of it on parties and vacations, never feeling a twinge of guilt. At least not until he bumps into Jason at a party.

The two men have an instant physical attraction, and Jason surprises Spanish by calling him afterward. Spanish is even more surprised when the one-night stand turns into a budding relationship. Things are going great for him until Jason’s management stumbles over the thriving traffic in “enhanced” Jason Forrester movies. When Jason tells Spanish how much the deceptive DVDs hurt him, Spanish knows he has a big decision to make: keep his mouth shut and hope Jason never sees the footage, or confess and risk losing everything.
Product link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3472

Reviewer:  Heart
Review:  What is it about me and porn that I have to grab each book that just mentions it and add it to my read list? Maybe it’s the expectation of naked men making sacrifices for the money they eventually earn, or the resulting conflicts when they find that perfect someone and need to explain what is it that they actually do.

In this case, Spanish/John is a body double for a movie star who makes pornographic covers of movies for the Asian and European market. He has a great body, and resembles the actor he imitates enough that he is in demand, making good money. It doesn’t hurt that the man he portrays on-screen is someone he admires.

Then comes the party where the two men meet, with an instant mutual attraction, resulting in sex and the eventual beginning of something more. What ensues is the everlasting question – to come clean or hope for the best?
The content of this story isn’t all that explicit, or for that matter deep, and certainly was not what I was expecting. There are some details about filming, and very rapidly developing relationship, but the main conflict passes just as quickly, and at the end there’s not much to this story. The characters aren’t explored enough to give them the necessary complexity. Although I saw the potential, the plot went too fast to make it significantly enjoyable.

Summer Escape by Jayson James

Summer Escape - Cover FinalTitle:  Summer Escape

Author:  Jayson James

Genre:  M/M Romance

Length:  Short Story (36 pages)

Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Heat Level:  Low

Heart Rating:  ♥♥2Hearts

Blurb:  Summer Escape is a short story about two friends, Jake and Kedrin. Jake would like to be more, but doesn’t want to ruin their friendship. Kedrin would like more, but is afraid of rejection. Kedrin has joined Jake and his family on a camping trip and they’ve decided to set their own rules. Now they just need to be able to communicate their feelings with each other.

Product Link:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009FD79LQ/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

Reviewer:  Leary

Review:  This writing style was not for me. From a writer’s perspective, this story was difficult to read. I think it would make a great first draft, but it needs work as a manuscript. The storyline was undeveloped and the author would perhaps benefit from a beta-reader’s input.

As a reader, I think the feelings and emotions of young love would definitely appeal to young men coming of age. Having the courage to make their own rules and follow what felt right for them is a pretty impressive role model for young people. In that aspect, well done!

William by Anyta Sunday

13568245Title:  William

Series:  Enemies to Lovers #03

Author: Anyta Sunday

Genre:  M/M Romance

Length:  Novel (223 Pages)

Publisher:  Self-Published  (May 26, 2012)

Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb:  William needs to learn to think before he speaks. He accidentally outed his last boyfriend to his bigoted family. Looking to make a new start, he escapes to the most distant place he can think of: New Zealand. There he boards with a substitute mom and her too-hot-to-be-real son, Heath, but Heath and his homophobic friend Rory want William to leave before things “crash and burn,” whatever that means.

Unfortunately, traveling to the end of the world isn’t far enough for William to lose his runaway mouth.
But is it far enough to lose his loneliness?

Product Linkhttp://www.amazon.com/William-Enemies-to-Lovers-ebook/dp/B0086POVJM/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1357862972&sr=1-3&keywords=anyta+sunday

Reviewer:   Leary

Review:  This story delves into the heartache and heartbreak of losing a younger family member, and lies people tell themselves in order to keep going. It illustrates the tangled webs we weave, and how the reactions of one person can bring our card houses tumbling down. I was sucked in from the beginning, and stayed up all night to read it. William became my hero. An enjoyable read with a believable cast, it is full of hilarious one-liners that had me rolling my eyes. Definitely worth your time.

Analyzing Emory by Lily Grace

AnalyzingEmoryLGTitle:  Analyzing Emory

Author:  Lily Grace

Genre: Contemporary

Length:  Novel (236 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (January 4, 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥4.25Hearts

Blurb:  When a family friend offers him the job of resident psychologist at Chicago’s GLBT Center, Kyle Michelson jumps at the chance to reinvigorate his career, move on from his recent breakup, and get his life back on track. Kyle hopes returning to the familiar territory of his hometown will do him good, but meeting Emory Brenner at a club changes everything.

Anything but familiar, Emory leaves Kyle breathless from the start. There’s just one problem: Kyle wants more than a one-night stand, Emory doesn’t do relationships, and neither man can resist the other. Luckily for Emory, he never has to see Kyle again. Or so Emory thinks until he runs into him while volunteering at the GLBT Center.

Kyle makes Emory want things he never thought he could have and chips away at secrets Emory has kept locked away for years. On the surface, Emory’s recovered from his past: he has a job at a record store and a roof over his head. But putting his trust in another person, having a relationship, means opening himself to more pain—and that is a risk he can’t take

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3487

Reviewer:  Showme

Review:  I really enjoyed this book. It is a sweet and sexy read, with a perfect amount of angst. This is basically a story about Emory discovering he deserves to be loved, and letting his past go. I was sucked in on the first page, and I didn’t want to put the book down.

Kyle moves back to Chicago after an amicable break up with his partner of four years. He decides to go out to his old bar to grab a drink, and is caught staring at a beautiful, younger man on the dance floor. He’s not the only one drawn to the man, so he’s shocked to see the man sauntering up to Kyle. The two have an instant attraction, and an easy playful banter. Kyle isn’t really one to go home with strangers anymore, but he can’t resist what Emory has to offer, even if he feels one night with this intriguing man won’t be enough.

Emory only does one-night stands. That’s the easiest way to get off without the complications. He likes sex but doesn’t do the morning-after thing. The other guys never seem to mind, not that he sticks around to find out. His mind-blowing night with the sexy doctor leaves him so sated and tired, he doesn’t manage to sneak out before his hook-up is already awake and cooking him breakfast. Kyle seems nice, and the sex was great, but he can’t risk Kyle getting to know the real him or the secrets from his past, even if he’d like to spend more time with him.  He says goodbye to the doctor, but knows he’ll have fond memories of their one night together. That will have to be enough, because Kyle is too good for someone like Emory.

What Emory and Kyle don’t expect is to end up working together. Emory volunteers at the center where Kyle’s new job happens to be. Both men have been thinking of the each other but, for Emory, it’s a reason to panic and get away. For Kyle, this is just the kick he needs to pursue the man he wants.

I love Emory and Kyle. They have that flirty banter I love to read.  Kyle is so sweet and always wants to help people, even if he doesn’t always go about it the right way. He’s never really met anyone like Emory, and he just can’t seem to let him go. There’s a wonderful speech in the book that explains what he finds in Emory that’s so beautiful. I read it three times, even highlighted it to come back to later.

Emory is such a brilliantly complex character; he’s been hurt and abandoned, done things he’s soul deep ashamed off. He honestly doesn’t think he’s worth human affection beyond sex, and it comes across so clearly in the story. There are layers to Emory, and it was a joy to peel through them with Kyle. Emory is difficult and frustrating, but kind and broken, so his character brought all kinds of emotions out of me during the read. He’s a wonderful character that I won’t ever forget.

I highly recommend this book if you like to read about a man getting everything he never thought he deserved but absolutely does.

By the Creek by Geoff Laughton

17200729Title: By the Creek

Series: N/A

Author: Geoff Laughton

Genre: MM / Contemporary / Young Adult

Length: Novel

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Reviewer: Thommie

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb: Soon-to-be high school junior David Harper hates his family’s move to the country. There’s nothing to do, and he misses his friends in the city. But he doesn’t have a choice. His mother’s job is in Mason County now, so David and his mom are too, and he has to make the best of it.

At first, the only redeeming feature of David’s new home is the swimming hole across the field from his house. Then David meets Benjamin Killinger, and suddenly life stops being so dull.

Benjamin is Amish, and cooling off in the swimming hole is one of the few liberties he and his brothers enjoy. A friendship with an English boy is not—but that doesn’t stop him and David from getting to know each other, as long as it’s on the neutral ground by the creek. After David risks his life to save Benjamin’s father, the boys’ friendship is tolerated, then accepted. But before long, Benjamin’s feelings for David grow beyond the platonic. Benjamin’s family and the rest of the community will never allow a love like that, and a secret this big can’t stay secret forever….

Product Link: http://harmonyinkpress.com/new-release-by-the-creek-by-geoff-laughton/

Review: Well, the moment I started reading this story I knew what I was facing. This is a very sweet, romantic and sad story. I’ll not go into details about the story itself as the blurbs says more than enough, but I’ll say a bit at the fact that there should be more books like this one.

This is a teen romance and of course the drama of the teenagers is there full front. I loved though that it wasn’t tiresome on that aspect. The feelings it evoke were genuine enough and it reached the point where it caused moisture in my eyes. And that is not easy to accomplish.

I think what caused me so much sadness was the fact that Benjamin, on the contrary of David, had no real options in front of him. The despair he felt, the despair children in his place out there feel every day, is what got to me the most.

Yes, this book has a HEA thankfully. And through many difficulties and lot of inner strength our two boys and especially Benjamin manage to get their lives in a line, and I managed to get my wits about me. The book was very well written, and while it certainly was no light-read, or the entertaining kind, I am more than happy to have read it. I’m also more than happy to recommend it to all of you who love a good romantic, young adult story.

 

My Room is a Jock? Well, Crap! by Wade Kelly

16225637Title:  My Roomate’s a Jock? Well, Crap!

Author:  Wade Kelly

Genre:  M/M Contemporary

Length:  Novel (262 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (December 31, 2012)

Heat Level:  Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts

Blurb:  It’s easy to become cynical when life never goes your way.

Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he’s gay. As he sees it, he’s bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother?

By the time Cole enters college, he’s become an anal-retentive loner—but it’s not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a jock!

During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole’s glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole’s reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3482

Reviewer:  Showme

Review:  I really wanted to love this book. Humor, and a jock/geek love story sounds exactly like my kind of book.  Sadly, I didn’t love it.

Cole is a geeky college student who doesn’t make friends easily. The one that he does have has graduated and moved away, leaving him without a best friend and roommate. Cole is a little eccentric and OCD, so sharing his living space with just anyone isn’t going to work. He doesn’t really have the option of waiting for a good match because he has one of the coveted apartments on campus. His only request to Sam, the man in charge of housing, is no jocks. But that’s exactly what he gets. Cole, understandably has a bad history with jocks after being outed and beaten up by one in high school. It only makes it worse that he’s ridiculously attracted to his new roomie Ellis, when he should hate him on the spot.

Ellis makes the choice to live on campus after commuting from his parent’s home the last two years. He could live in the dorms, but he needs the quiet to stay focused on his studies to keep his soccer scholarship. He’s a likable guy, but his new roommate seems a little crazy. Cole’s always freaking out at him for spilling milk, or not using a coaster, even though he cleans up after himself. A phone call from Cole’s old roommate helps Ellis understand Cole is a little better, and the two become friends. It’s a total surprise when Ellis kisses Cole one day. It’s confusing to both guys, but after that it’s almost impossible to ignore the chemistry between the two. The guys carry on being touchy-feely friends, and nothing much happens, but that amps up the sexual tension between Cole and Ellis.

Cole’s character was kind of all over the place. He’s socially awkward, but blurts out things he really shouldn’t. He’s negative, nerdy, but sassy at the same time. I just can’t get a good grasp on his character, as there are contradicting characteristics throughout the book. I do enjoy his potty mouth and made up words like “debaucherous”. He is alternately funny, then dramatic and silly.

I like Ellis, for the most part. He is confused with his feelings, but chose to ignore his issues more often than not, and ignoring things doesn’t help. This plays a huge part in silly misunderstandings throughout the book. He is also very mushy. Some people may enjoy it, but from complete denial to mush is just too large of a leap for me make in this situation.

Overall the characters, main and sub, are fairly immature and over the top. Doing things like sticking out their tongues and giggling, or calling their mother “mommy”, and letting her take away their cell phone for days… The guys are twenty plus years old! It is kind of ridiculous. Maybe I just prefer to think people of that age are a little more grown up?

Another big gripe is the random POVs. I actually enjoy a story written from the perspectives of both of the two main characters, and don’t mind another one thrown in, if it serves some purpose. I was so confused when a new, random, person would take over the storytelling, I had to go back and reread to know what was happening.

Overall, I had high hopes for this book that for me didn’t deliver.

Strength of the Pack by Kendall McKenna

TheStrengthofthePackMcKenna6-651x1024Title: Strength of the Pack

Series: The Tameness of the Wolf #1

Author: Kendall McKenna

Genre: MM / Military / Were Shifters

Length: Novel

Publisher: MLR Press (January 18, 2013)

Reviewer: Thommie

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4.5Hearts

Blurb: A Marine werewolf and his commander bring legends to life while surviving combat deployment in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Lucas Young doesn’t know much about shifters. When Sergeant Noah Hammond is assigned to Lucas’ platoon, the Marine Corps’ True Alpha werewolf challenges the Lieutenant’s authority and his self-control. As Lucas learns to dominate and command Noah, he struggles against a strong attraction and deepening emotional bond. During their combat deployment to Afghanistan, Lucas and Noah begin mirroring legendary partnerships. Their bond and their power grow as they survive dangerous combat and ambushes. When one of them is wounded in battle, they both must embrace the strength of their bond before they lose each other forever.

Product Link:  http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=KMSTPACK

Review: Oh my, what a book! What a ride this one was. I’m pleasantly surprised by the shifter-aspect of this novel, extremely thrilled with the military one and overjoyed with their mix.

In this novel, Ms. McKenna introduces us to a world where Shifters have co-existed with humans for years. Legends of their excellent combat skills are mostly forgotten though, because the most rare of the Werewolf-Humans relationship, that of a Dominant-True Alpha, has not happened in hundreds of years. The secret is that in relationship like that, the True Alpha Werewolf must willingly submit to his Dominant and the results of such mating are magnificent to witness.

This entire new perspective, at least for me, was thrilling to read. Up until now, shifters in books were fighting to maintain their identity secret, while in this book its common knowledge. Werewolves are maybe a little frightening, but are mostly seen from their human peers with admiration and respect for their strength. In the Armed Forces, they are considered of great value, especially their True Alpha, since he has the power to control them all.

Lt. Lucas Young though, has no experience with werewolves; his knowledge is less than basic. He is surprised when the first wolf joins his platoon and somehow exited to meet the wolf’s Pack Leader, to ask questions and to establish routine. The last thing he expected was to have the entire Marine Corps’ True Alpha assigned to his platoon. After all, he had not received the proper training on how to work with such a powerful shifter.

To make things worse the moment Lucas lays eyes on Sergeant Hammond, strong feelings assail him, attraction being one of them. How is he supposed to work with such an incredible shifter, who resembles a Nordic God, having him push at all his buttons, constantly challenging him and be insanely attracted to him? Through his inexperience and absolute lack of guidance from his Captain, Lucas misunderstands the relationship he’s developing with Noah, and when the later submits to him, Lucas believes that it’s just a werewolf ritual concerning the Pack and buries his own “selfish” feelings for Noah. In Lucas mind, he will not take advantage as a commanding officer but will do his outmost to help the Alpha deal with his Werewolf needs.

The entire book is a beautiful introduction to combat fights, war and one of the rarest relationships ever encountered. The bond that is inevitably blooming between Lucas and Noah is constantly questioned and taken apart by Lucas’ human beliefs. While he tries to give Noah everything he needs to keep control of the Pack and be more than efficient in their war, he holds back his own feelings. Their fame grows to legendary proportions due to their amazing connection, so does their frustration because this connection does not escalates beyond their duty.

In the end it takes a severe wound to make them both see things a bit more clearly. The magnitude of how much this affects both of them is not lost on Lucas, but he is still confused from the battle tales Noah has told him. He still doesn’t believe that Noah wants him as a lover, trapped in his false knowledge of the Dominant/True Alpha relationship…

I loved this book! I loved it so much I’m re-reading it. It was so much more than the stereotypical Were-books you usually encounter and adding to the pleasure there were Marines. Incredible! So very interesting, such enticing characters, such an appealing plot. You start reading it and your heart-beat starts picking up, higher and higher while the story goes, until it reaches the high peak where I frankly exclaimed out loud “It was about damn time already”. The slow building and boiling on low temperature had me frustrated at some point, yeah. J The end was a bit calmer than the rest of this novel though. It was a bit disappointing, or it was just my insatiable side manifesting, but I wanted one more glorious battle for our human/wolf pair. It felt as if it was an introduction to what is to come on the next book of the series, and yeah I would love to read Tim’s story. All in all, this book was a must read and then re-read for me.

Wholeheartedly recommended.

 

Brute by Kim Fielding

16153646Title:  Brute

Author:  Kim Fielding

Genre:  Fantasy

Length:  Novel (270 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (December 3, 2012)

Heat Level:  Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Blurb:  Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.

Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.

As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.

Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3443

Reviewer:  Showme

Review: I don’t know if I can write a review to do Brute justice, but I will try. This is one of those special books you would see the cover on your shelf, pick it up to read a few pages, end up finishing the entire thing in one sitting, and fall in love with it.  Brute is a beautiful compelling story about a damaged hero, and his road to happiness. It’s told though Brute’s POV, and I think that’s what makes it so amazing. Reading this fabulously created fantasy world through his eyes was unique, and gave it a voice that could only be brought to us by the wonderful, gentle giant that is Brute. He’s not a big, stupid oaf like so many people seem to think, but he does have a different way of looking at things.

Brute hasn’t had a great life. He was orphaned under a dark cloud of shame, and dumped on an abusive uncle’s doorstep.  Most people would look at this and think ‘how horrible’, but Brute accepts this is all he’s worth, and that some people have less than him. He lives a very simple life once he’s grown and on his own. The only thing that he has going for him is his strength and size, that gets him a laboring job, which sets up his monotonous life of working, eating, and sleeping.  He knows he’s freakishly huge and ugly, and that he also prefers men. The only physical contact he knows is from saving up all year to pay a male prostitute double the usual fee for sex. Then everything changes for him, the day he saves the prince after a terrible fall. Brute loses his hand in the rescue, and a man who’s only worth is his physical strength needs his hand. Instead of a reward, the prince offers to find a job if Brute comes to the palace once he’s healed. Brute has no other options, and is quite excited about a chance at a different life, so he sets off to find out what life has in store for him now.

Once at the palace, he learns his job is to watch a single prisoner in a secluded tower. Brute is paid better than ever for his duty, fed the most wonderful food he’s ever tasted, bought a wardrobe, and his room next to the prisoner is much nicer than the one he used to rent. But he doesn’t understand why all that is provided to watch one man? He is instructed to report anything the man says at night, right away, to the guard on duty. Seems easy enough to Brute, but he soon learns why so many men have quit after a short time on the job. The truth terrifies Brute, but it’s important, and he likes having a purpose.  Brute’s tender heart can’t stand the way the man is treated, so he feeds him some of his good food, bathes him, gives him blankets, and talks to him. He shows the man a kindness that has been so long missing. To the prisoner, Brute is his savior, and the two fall in love despite their bleak chance at a happy ending. It’s enough to be touched and treated like someone truly cares, for Brute, but at the same time, he can’t stand to see the man he loves spend the rest of his life in that cell.  Will he give up his new life and friends and face possible death to set the man he loves free? Or will he just be happy for what he has, like always?

There are so many wonderful things about this book; I can’t possibly put them all in this review. The love story was slow but beautiful. The world building was wonderful. Everyday things seen through Brute’s eyes seemed so much more interesting, and I enjoyed every minute of this book.  Immediately after finishing this book I marked three more of Kim Fielding’s book to read. If I love them half as much as I love this book, I’ll be thrilled. I highly recommend this book. One of my favorite reads of 2012.

The Haunting of Timber Manor by F. E. Feeley Jr.

HauntingofTimberManor[The]LGTitle: The Haunting Of Timber Manor

Author: F.E. Feeley

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Spirits

Length: Novel (214pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (7th January 2013)

Heat: Low – Moderate

Heart: ♥♥♥♥3 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: While recovering from the recent loss of his parents, Daniel Donnelly receives a phone call from his estranged aunt, who turns over control of the family fortune and estate, Timber Manor. Though his father seemed guarded about the past, Daniel’s need for family and curiosity compel him to visit.

Located in a secluded area of the Northwest, Timber Manor has grown silent over the years. Her halls sit empty and a thin layer of dust adorns the sheet-covered furniture. When Daniel arrives to begin repairs, strange things happen. Nightmares haunt his dreams. Memories not his own disturb his waking hours. Alive with the tragedies of the past, Timber Manor threatens to tear Daniel apart.

Sheriff Hale Davis grew up working on the manor grounds. Seeing Daniel struggle, he vows protect the young man who captured his heart, and help him solve the mystery behind the haunting and confront the past—not only to save Daniel’s life, but to save his family, whose very souls hang in the balance.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3509

Review: Daniel reconnects with a long-lost aunt after the loss of his parents. After, arriving at the family estate, he begins to discover that there some things just not talked about. Timber Manor has something in its halls that hates all Donnellys and with Daniel’s arrival it is getting stronger. Hale knows all about the rumors of Timber Manor. He has, in fact, seen some strange things around the manor, and when he meets Daniel he is interested in keeping him safe. Together, Hale and Daniel have to face a ghost from the past.  Not only to keep Daniel safe, but to lay Daniel’s family to rest.

This is a very slow building story with a slow building relationship. Daniel has always been confused by his father’s reaction to his family. When he finally meets his aunt Carol, he is hoping to get answers, but he gets overwhelmed by everything that he has to learn. When he discovers the truth, he doesn’t know what to do. But, with the support of Hale, he just might be able to find the solution. Hale and Daniel have a slow developing relationship, which fits in nicely with the storyline. Hale becomes a rock for Daniel to hold on to as he learns the truth about his family.

This story is from a couple of different characters point of view, Daniel, Hale, Aunt Carol, spiritual Francine and It.  It switches view clearly, so there is no mistaking whose view it is and we do get insight where normally we would have had questions. There is background building for the story as we go along, with hints being dropped as to what happened and the reasoning behind the haunting. There are flashbacks to the past to explain situations and there are also some dream-like sequences, as well.

Daniel’s and Hale’s relationship is sweet as they get to know each other and fall in love. But, they have to go through hell to stay together. There’s violence and danger, with unexplained deaths and unexpected allies and a heavy air in the very depths of Timber Manor. This is a new author and I am happy to say that although the story was slow in places, it doesn’t let you down on the creepy factor or the spiritual aspects.  Even when that spirit is pure evil. Hale and Daniel are beautiful together and it is slow and passionate between them, they make a wonderful couple.

I will recommend this to those who like evil hauntings, mystical influence, a sweet slow building love, an explosive confrontation and a very happy ending.

 

Xylophone by K. Z. Snow

Title:  Xylophon16141334e

Author:  K. Z. Snow

Genre:  Contemporary

Length:  Novel (162 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (December 12, 2012)

Heat Level:  Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥3 ½ Hearts

Blurb:  Daren Boothe’s most significant secret centres on an unlikely object: a xylophone. That secret led him to develop his professional alter-ego, a sensual, androgynous dancer. When Dare begins his second (and considerably more wholesome) job playing clarinet in a polka band, he meets a young man who takes his grandmother out dancing. But Dare knows the man has his own secret.

Jonah Day immediately recognizes the clarinettist. Three years earlier they crossed paths in a therapist’s office, but they both abandoned that route to mental health. Neither was ready then to open up about the psychological traumas that haunted them.

In an attempt to heal their wounds, Dare and Jonah turn to each other. Understanding and empathy come instantly, accompanied by ambivalence about their growing attraction. But the repercussions of victimization are many. Soon, the very experiences Dare and Jonah share threaten to drive them apart.

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3445

Reviewer:   Colt

Review:  Xylophone is a book about trust, acceptance, and learning to move on. Snow thrusts us into the life of Dare, a professional exotic dancer, and Jonah, a man who at first looks unremarkable. These two men, so different from each other, share the loss of their childhood at the hands of two paedophiles, and another brief encounter in a therapist’s office three years before. Finally ready to share the events that changed their lives forever, Dare and Jonah begin meeting, each taking comfort in the fact that someone else understands exactly how they feel.

On a personal level, this story isn’t amazing or even great enough to make one’s heart stop. It is, however, real. The characters are real, from the way they think and behave, to their interactions. I refer not just the main characters, but the secondary characters as well. The author leads us through Dare and Jonah’s conversations, the moments when they finally tell everything they felt, thought, and went through as kids, and the relief they feel as they realize the person standing in front of them knows just what they mean. We listen as they share the beginning of what became a living nightmare, and their own analysis of it now that they are older and wiser. We see the way their families, the people who are supposed to love and protect them even from themselves, react in the most different (and, unfortunately, human) ways, from rejection and disbelief, to acceptance and helplessness.

Every character is flawed, not at all perfect. Dare realises locking away his memories is not actually helping him, and that not only is he ready to start sharing them, but he is also prepared to stop letting them dictate his life. Jonah spent a few years in a blur, trying so hard to forget he ends up losing what little he had of himself, until he finally admits to needing some help and rehabilitation. After the two lift the weights from their shoulders, they understand that just talking to someone like them isn’t enough. They know and finally accept they need professional help.

In terms of writing, Snow does an amazing job with colours, from the make-up the dancers use, to the landscape. However, since music is very important to this story, I wish there were a lot more sound descriptions.

Overall, this is a good book, hard and soft, painful and liberating. It is concise and well written. However, it isn’t mind-blowing. But in a world where life isn’t fair and the opportunity for self-discovery isn’t always available, isn’t it good to just read about a couple who made it without Hollywood-esque moments? Isn’t it more realistic and, therefore, inspiring?

Going Under by Tonya Ramagos

tr-thoss-goingunder (2)Title: Going Under

Series: The Heroes of Silver Springs #9

Author: Tonya Ramagos

Genre: MMM, Erotic Romance, Action, Contemporary

Length: Novel

Publisher: Siren Publishing

Reviewer: Thommie

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts

Blurb: For a man who vowed never to fall in love, how can it be possible FBI agent Cameron Stone managed to fall twice? Hot on the trail of a missing fellow agent, Cameron finds himself in Silver Springs, hometown of DEA agent Adrien Bingham and firefighter Thaddeus Carter, and the last place Cameron needs to be. When emotions run wild and attraction explodes, can the self-proclaimed playboy hold on to his resistance?

Adrien never intended to fall for Cameron. Too bad his heart won’t listen. Then Thaddeus walks into his life, and his heart ends up in a train wreck of confusion.

Thaddeus knows Adrien’s heart already belongs to someone, but that doesn’t stop his pursuit. When he meets Cameron, he realizes the man is the one standing in his way. But when his own attraction to Cameron detonates, he’s left in a hell of a mess.

Product Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/going-under

Review: This was quite a story I might admit. I know it was a ménage and I expected the steam and fire to burn. Well, I got all that alright, it was hot as Hell and it didn’t disappoint one bit. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the author went for an actual plot, a storyline for each of her characters, and then some. The guys here were not just pretty faces with killer bodies; they actually had some personality and a life on their own, beside their incredibly complicated non-relationship (at least at first). Admittedly, their personalities were too much alike, there was a fine line separating them, but it worked well within the series title “The Heroes of Silver Springs”.

Cameron, sexy devil that he was, had a weird baggage left due to his parents being too much in love with each other. That made him not want to ever fall into that trap, so he’s avoided it at all costs. Of course, life being the bitch that it is, he finally falls, not for one but two, at the same time… The frustration on who to choose, being unable to make that choice and even more unable to step back leads to interesting events.

Adrien, whom we first see in the story, is equally sexy and equally dedicated to serving the law and saving people. Perhaps that’s what drew him to Cameron in first place. However, even though he knows Cam is dangerous to him and not into relationships, he still can’t let it go. And to top it all, there is Thaddeus, a temptation if there ever was one, fireman and deeply in love with Adrien. Being in the middle of this roller-coaster of emotions Adrien needs to make a choice. And right when he thinks he has things under control they change yet again…

Thaddeus, he’s the sweetest of them all, and apparently the one with the hidden talents. You’ll have to read it to understand what I mean 😉 Thad loves Adrien, period. He loves him for many things, but most of all his honesty. Honesty that has Adrien admitting that he can’t be with Thad, even as he feels way too much for him, because he feels the same about another man. A man that Thad gets to meet and Mother of all Monsters, he falls for too.

When I say there is frustration on hands for the better part of this book keep in mind that it’s the understatement of the year. The relationship part is wonderfully developed in my opinion, considering their jobs schedule and the unplanned events that took place. Their intimate moments, although they are few, are charged with electricity and clearly painted the imagery in my head. Loved it. The humorous streaks were livid and I found myself laughing, a lot.

The action plot though I felt it has some holes. Some things were just not credible enough and left questions unanswered. It didn’t do much to kill the story though, and if you don’t pay a freakish attention to it, you might not even notice. But, I could definitely do without the extremely developed aspect of Terry’s love life; especially when it came right in the middle of a very interesting scene between the guys, and boy did that happen often. Now I didn’t mind the m/f scenes in the story, not at all, it simply threw me when it cut through and had me waiting for some paragraphs to see what is going to happen with the men. It even tempted me to skip through it and go on. In the end, Terry’s part felt like a story within a story and ruined the mood a bit when trying to follow the main storyline.

But, if you don’t mind the above and if you’re willing to turn a blind eye, I strongly suggest you read this book. It was fun, it was fast, it was hot and it was approachable feeling-wise. You’ll love the story and the guys and you might even get a laugh or two with some funny incidents taking place.