The Year of Ice by Brian Malloy

147993Title:  The Year of Ice

Series:  None

Author:  Brian Malloy

Genre:   YA

Length:  Novel (272 Pages)

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin (October 11th, 2003)

Heat Level:  None

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb:   It is 1978 in the Twin Cities, and Kevin Doyle, a high school senior, is a marginal student in love with keggers, rock and roll, and–unbeknownst to anyone else–a boy in his class with thick eyelashes and a bad attitude. His mother Eileen died two years earlier when her car plunged into the icy waters of the Mississippi River, and since then Kevin’s relationship with his father Patrick has become increasingly distant. As lonely women vie for his father’s attention, Kevin discovers Patrick’s own closely guarded secret: he had planned to abandon his family for another woman. More disturbingly, his mother’s death may well have been a suicide, not an accident.

Complicating the family dynamic is the constant meddling of Kevin’s outspoken Aunt Nora–who will never forgive Patrick for Eileen’s death–along with Patrick’s inability to stay single for very long. His loyalties divided between his father and his aunt, between his internal reality and his public persona, Kevin is forced to accept his gay identity and reevaluate his notions of family, and love as painful truths emerge about both.

Product Link:  http://us.macmillan.com/theyearofice/BrianMalloy#buy-the-book

Reviewer:   John

Review:  I absolutely loved The Year of Ice. This novel starred Kevin, a secret closet case who was madly in love with Jon, a straight kid. I fell for Kevin instantly. He lost his mom at a very young age in a car accident and he was left under his dad protection. But as his senior year advances, Kevin becomes a young man and he begins to see his father under a new light.

Kevin, to me, was the bomb. He was the Alpha of his group and loved bossing Jon around just to have him close. In other words, he was simply trying to attract his attention. I also loved Aunt Nora. Yes, she was a little crazy, but she was real and I really liked her. I HATED Kevin’s dad. Yes, he took care of him, but as the story unfolded, we got to see the trash he truly was. Trust me, I was shocked that he was that kind of person because at first glance, he seemed so nice and the perfect dad. Maybe, he was the reason why I fell for Aunt Nora.

You have to read this novel. Kevin’s life was really interesting and entertaining. The one thing I didn’t like was that there were a few spelling errors and missing punctuations throughout the book. Maybe, that happened when they transformed the novel into an eBook format. Overall, this story is pretty awesome since it tells the story of a father and a son as they discover their paths in life.

The Art of Touch by Dominique Frost

17605560Title:  The Art of Touch

Series:  N/A

Author: Dominique Frost 

Genre:   Contemporary

Length:  Novella (79 pages)

Publisher:  Loose ID (March 12th, 2013)

Heat Level:  Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥3Hearts

Blurb:   Jared Hamilton is the director of the famous law firm, Hamilton & Hamilton. He’s a brusque, no-nonsense type that doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Thus, it is no surprise that he finds Kyle Washburn instantly and aggravatingly annoying.

Kyle is Jared’s massage therapist and is cheeky and irreverent. Jared doesn’t like cheekiness or irreverence. Unfortunately, Kyle also turns out to be absolutely brilliant at his job, which means that Jared can’t find an excuse not to return to the massage parlor when Kyle’s massages are clearly having such a beneficial effect. Jared is more relaxed and congenial than ever–well, as congenial as he can be.

It is only when another one of Kyle’s customers implies having had sex with Kyle that Jared realizes that he, too, finds Kyle sexually desirable–and that the thought of anyone else touching Kyle is unbearable. This revelation changes Jared’s perspective and his behavior, and he finds himself more and more attracted to Kyle with each therapy session. But does Kyle want him, in return, or is all that flirtation just part of the art of touch?

Product Link: http://www.loose-id.com/the-art-of-touch.html

Reviewer:   Tams

Review:  Jared Hamilton is irritable, cranky and extremely unlikeable at the start. The domineering attorney has no time for love, a life, or the massage his assistant has booked for him. He’s wound so tight she’s afraid he might snap and run off all their clients. He’s rude and standoffish to the massage therapist, Kyle from the get go.

Young twink, as Jared refers to him in his inner monologue, Kyle is outgoing and friendly. Jared immediately recognizes that he’s gay since he is as well. Jared fights his attraction to Kyle with snide remarks and accusations, which Kyle counters easily with his dry wit and sarcasm. When Kyle’s mom lands in the hospital and Jared insists on driving him to her, Kyle realizes that Jared really does care.

This book was slow to start for me. Disjointed and scrambled throughout, I didn’t really start enjoying it until Jared finally pulled his head out of his ass and showed Kyle that he truly cared for him. There was some good potential for a full-length story, and I could definitely get more involved if that were the case. Perhaps the story would be more cohesive if the author could fully explore the different aspects of the story. If you can get past that, and you are looking for a short read with some really hot M/M action then this is the book for you.

Dragon’s Eye by Stephani Hecht

10188539Title: Dragon’s Eye

Series: N/A

Author: Stephani Hecht

Genre: MM / Fantasy / Dragons & Sorcerers

Length: Novelette

Publisher: Total E-Bound (January 17th, 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: After a decade of living under the iron rule of a sorcerer, dragon shifter, Duncan Moore finally has his chance for freedom. With his former master dead, all Duncan has to do is steal the very thing that has been holding him captive all these years, his dragon’s eye. The stone holds his magic and his dragon self and without it, he can never go home again.

What should be an easy theft turns complicated when he finds that someone has beat him to the eye and he has no idea where it could be. To add to things he suddenly finds himself teamed up with the dead sorcerers’ son, Trent. For years Duncan has longed for Trent, but had never dared act on his desires. Then one night of passion between the men changes everything and Duncan realizes that he could lose something far more valuable than his dragon’s eye, he could lose Trent.

Will Duncan be able to save them both? Or will he have to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Product Link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1056

Review: The dragon element is always quite enough to draw me into reading a book. In this little story, we have dragons and sorcerers in their eternal fight for dominance.

Duncan has been captured and a slave to a powerful and cruel sorcerer; he’s been patiently waiting and silently hating the decade he’s been a prisoner to the sorcerer’s whims. Finally, his slave master dies and Duncan must take possession of his essence in order to be truly free and not fear another cruel master. Unfortunately, his Dragon’s Eye is not where it should be and in order to find it he must put faith and trust at the most unlikely person, his dead master’s son, Trent.

I liked this story, it was not bad at all, and the grounds in which the characters stood were quite solid. Their passion was lovely, even though the dominance showed came a bit at odds with how we first see Duncan at the beginning of the this tale. Honestly though I wanted, more and this story had all the premises for that. I was a bit disappointed that the dragon didn’t fight, I was a bit disappointed that there was no show of real power from the shifters and that the only shifting occurred when Duncan had to fly back home. Also if I dig deeper there were some loops and holes there when Trent had to fight his uncle, I mean if I was Adam, I wouldn’t have left the Dragon’s Eye behind since every Dragon’s Eye meant more power for the Sorcerer. And if you add in there the typos that ran throughout the text, then a bit of frustration might have hit me at one point or other, but as I said, I’m bias when it comes to dragon tales and while this was not the masterpiece or the intense read it could be I sill liked it and enjoyed the couple and their HEA.

If you’re like me, if you have a thing for lovely dragons and their quest for love, then you might enjoy this story as well. J

 

In the Dead of Night by Jamieson Wolf

17346756Title: In The Dead Of Night

Author: Jamieson Wolf

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies

Length: Novella (158pgs)

Publisher: Breathless Press (26th January 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥1 ½ – 2 Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Ikarus remembers nothing.

One moment there was darkness and the next, there was light. However, Ikarus Kane remembered nothing.

The world he knew is gone. Waking from a coma, he finds the world as he knew it greatly changed. It is now infested with the living dead. Ikarus has one choice: find shelter and hide or risk becoming one of them.

He finds shelter in an abandoned bed and breakfast. But there is someone there already. Mikhail Jones is a man who has survived more than just the zombie apocalypse. There is something about him that sets Ikarus’ body on fire and, despite knowing him only moments, he wants Mikhail desperately.

Ikarus is more powerful than he knows, however. Ikarus and Mikhail become entangled in a fight for survival where only they can save the world; only they don’t know it yet. They are part of an ancient prophecy that has been set in motion.

When they find a woman named Ruthe in one of the bedrooms upstairs, with no memory of how she got there, things are only beginning to get interesting.

In a desperate race to find answers, Ikarus and Mikhail cling to the only thing that feels right: each other.

They will need the love that blooms between them if they are all to survive the night…

Purchase Link: http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=17&products_id=418

Review: Ikarus is hiding from the living dead, he finds an abandoned B&B and seeks shelter and runs into Mikhail who is also hiding out. Their reaction to each other is explosive but they have bigger problems to face than their attraction to each other, like the woman (Ruthe) who mysteriously appeared in an upstairs bedroom, like the zombie hordes gathering outside the B&B and the fact that Ikarus can’t remember anything before three months ago. As Ikarus, Mikhail and Ruthe run for their lives they pick up two more survivors Rapphael Higgins and a young girl, Sati. All of them are connected but none of them knows how, and when they are betrayed they discover someone has been pulling their strings and needs them for their own purposes, the five of them have to work together to stop their destruction and to stop a madman from completely destroying the world.

This is one of those stories that begins with great potential but then gets too complicated and fanciful. The story starts with a series of news items explaining that there was a chemical spill and the results of it, we then meet Ikarus as he hides from the Zombies. The story progresses quite quickly and sometimes, it feels too quick, we are left with little information and mysterious characters who confuse us and leave us clueless. Other things come into play and you shake your head as the story becomes even more confusing. The one thing that results from reading this story is that you understand that a lunatic listened to some voices in his head and created a chemical that resulted in the world inhabitants becoming Zombies, the rest just leaves you banging your head.

I love a good post-apocalypse Zombie outbreak as much as the next person, but this one fell short by trying too hard. The storyline became too complicated with the five survivors being the impossible, and the maniac apparently ‘making’ them what they are. I couldn’t wrap my head around the coincidences as they suddenly all appeared in just the right place at the right time, half of them not remembering anything from before they were found. The only ones who remembered anything was Mikhail and Higgins, but we still didn’t get that much background from them. What really annoyed me was how the women seemed to know things no one else did and they also refused to share most of what they knew. It was like the blind leading the blind while being mysterious about it.

The relationship between Mikhail and Ikarus was impossible to believe, the instant attraction you can understand but saying the ‘L’ word after just a few hours was just wrong, them taking Higgins to bed after just meeting him was over the top, especially seeing as Mikhail and Ikarus hadn’t even had sex yet. Some things I did like though, like the descriptions of the Zombies and their movements, how the fresher they are the faster they move, so yeah I really liked the Zombies and how the world was infected, it just got complicated when it went off into fantasyland.    

I would only recommend this to those who love fanciful zombie stories, absurd happenings, mmm, and an ending that leaves you wondering. 

The Bitter Rednesses of Love by Dominique Frost

18085969Title: The Bitter Rednesses of Love

Author: Dominique Frost

Genre: Regency, Steampunk

Length: Novella (84pgs)

Publisher: Loose Id (18th June 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3 Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Anthony Clark, degenerate genius and impoverished nobleman, finds himself wedded to the painfully proper young aristocrat, Stephen Ayers. They’ve been pledged since before Stephen’s birth.

Will their marriage prove intolerable to them both, or will they find a happy equilibrium, instead? As Anthony teaches Stephen the pleasures of the body, will Stephen be able to teach Anthony the pleasures of the heart?

Purchase Link: http://www.loose-id.com/bitter-rednesses-of-love.html

Review: Anthony loves his life just the way it is; drinking, whoring and his inventions. But, the time has come for him to finally marry his betrothed, a man who is rich, handsome, and a prude. Stephen has known all his life who he is to marry and can only hope that his husband will give up his whoring ways, but knows there is little chance. When Anthony finally realizes just who he truly wants, will he be able to crack the shell his husband has erected around his heart to prevent further hurt?

This is a great little novella of a regency timeline that incorporates just a touch of Steampunk and gay marriage. Anthony is in his thirties and has enjoyed his life of freedom to the fullest. Marriage isn’t something he wants, but his betrothed is of age and the time has come to settle down. Although, he has plans that don’t quite involve giving up all his vices. Stephen is twenty-one and has saved himself for his husband. He is resigned to the fact that he will not be able to change his husband, but after a great start to his marriage, hope begins to grow until it is shattered by one careless act.

I found this story to be quite sweet with the way that Anthony suddenly realizes that his husband has crawled under his skin and wormed his way into his heart. I liked the way that Stephen was willing to give Anthony a chance until he betrayed his trust and I really liked how Stephen doesn’t back down on his stance or just forgive Anthony. Anthony really gets a shock when Stephen turns his back on him and he begins to realize what a mistake he made. He does try his best to prove he has changed, but the damage has already been done. it takes a terrible accident to bring them together again.

The Steampunk aspect is very loose, based on steam engines and developing machinery used in battle, it is an occupation that keeps Anthony busy. Anthony isn’t a very likeable man at first, but he does grow on you and you like Stephen straight away for his sweet innocence.

I recommend this if you like Steampunk tinged regency, an innocent falling in love and being hurt, a rake who falls in love despite his plans and a very happy ending.

 

And So It Begins by R.G. Green

AndSoItBeginsLGTitle: And So It Begins

Series: Prince and Trader 01

Author: R.G. Green

Genre: High Fantasy

Length: Novel (240pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (24th June 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: For hundreds of years, the kingdom of Llarien has maintained a defense against the barbarians. Now, activity at the border draws attention from Kherin Rhylle, the less-favored younger son of the king. Kherin suspects a deeper purpose behind the attacks, but his father refuses to grant permission to travel to the border, despite Kherin’s obligated tenure as a Defender. Not even unprecedented deaths or the serious injury of Kherin’s brother, the crown prince, can change the king’s mind.

Then Derek Resh, kingdom trader and Kherin’s closest friend, convinces the king to allow Kherin to travel with him, and an unexpected journey to the border proves the threat real—while an unexpected intimacy with Derek makes Kherin realize that his feelings go deeper than the friendship they have shared for most of his life. But even that turns devastating, as Derek won’t pursue anything more intimate when the king’s disapproval is certain.

Grasping at straws, Kherin is caught between a danger he doesn’t understand and the desire for a deeper relationship he can’t have. And then there’s the magic that threatens to return after being banished hundreds of years ago….

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3974

Review: Kherin is the second son of the King of Llarien. His relationship with his father is tenuous and filled with anger. Kherin was injured just before he was to take his tenure as a Defender of the kingdom and now he is nearly recovered. He is itching to head out, but when Kherin’s older brother, Adrien, is injured by Northerners during his tenure as a Defender Kherin’s father refuses to let him go. Derek is a kingdom trader and Kherin’s closest friend. He knows that Kherin will fall into a cycle of self-destruction because of resentment and angel. He convinces the king to allow Kherin to travel with him. On the journey, Kherin realizes that his feelings for Derek go much deeper than friendship, but Derek refuses to act on his own feelings for Kherin knowing the disapproval both will face from the king. Arriving at the border, they discover Adrien’s injuries are puzzling and the threat from the Northerners is very real and they both decide to act.

This is a great beginning to what looks like a very involved high-fantasy story. There is a lot of world building and background information being built into this story. We get an incredible feeling for what Kherin’s life is like including his non-relationship with his father, although we are left wondering just why they seem to hate each other so much. Kherin’s relationship with his brother is incredibly strong and his fear for his brother is clear to see. Kherin’s relationship with Derek is one that will cause them both great difficulties in the future, even though being together is what they want; thwarting a king is never easy.

The emerging story involving the Northerners and the Akhael keeps you on your toes as the information we receive is given to us in trickles and we begin to see the danger that Llarien is heading towards because of the ignorance of its people. Although this story is mainly from Kherin’s perspective, we do also get brief views from others who will be playing important parts in future books; a scholar with an expertise in Akhael history and a stable-hand who is bitter and resentful of his treatment by the royals. Derek’s and Kherin’s relationship is nicely done throughout the story and there are one or two intense scenes between them with some incredible hot sex. But, just remember this is a relationship that will be far from easy, especially if the king finds out.   

This isn’t a story that you will be able to read and say ‘that was wrapped up nicely’ because this is only just the beginning of this story. We have a long way to go until we are truly satisfied with everything that is going on in Llarien. We still have a lot to learn about what is really going on with the Northerners, the Akhael and between the king and his youngest son. And then we have Adrien’s mysterious injury and I have to admit that I really want to know what is really going on in Llarien.

I recommend this if you want a high-fantasy story that is only just beginning, great characters, great world building, some hot sex, a difficult relationship, and lots more of this story to come. 

Micah’s Refuge by Lynn Tyler

micahsrefugeTitle:  Micah’s Refuge

Series:  Pack Mates, Book 2

Author:  Lynn Tyler

Genre:   Paranormal

Length:  Novella (70 pages)

Publisher:  Liquid Silver Books (June 24th, 2013)

Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb:   Faced with the choice of hunting down and killing his human lover or being banished from his pack, werewolf Micah is forced to leave everything and everyone he loves. He finds a new pack in Northern Ontario that is willing to give him refuge. Determined to start over, Micah hopes to find a mate he can settle down with in Smooth Rock Falls.

Forensic chemist, Shea, rarely gets any down time, and that’s fine with him. As much as he loves his pack, he’s a bit of a loner with no wish for a mate. After all, his slight obsessive-compulsive tendencies and a fear of having anyone count on him do not make him mate material. But when a new wolf joins the pack, Shea experiences emotions he’s never dealt with before, turning his whole tidy world upside down.

Micah is well aware Shea isn’t looking for a mate and doesn’t know if he should pursue the genius or if he should look for a mate elsewhere. But when tragedy strikes and passion ignites, can Shea just let Micah walk away?

One man in need of sanctuary, another in need of emotional security … together they will find the refuge they have both been seeking. Lynn Tyler steams up the pages with passion and desire in the newest addition to her Pack Mates series, Micah’s Refuge.

Product Link:  http://www.lsbooks.com/pre-order-coming-soon-romance-books-c322.php

Reviewer:   Tams

Review:  Short, Sexy, and Steamy… my three favorite colors! Micah is new to the Smooth Rock Falls pack, having been forced out of his former pack because he refused to kill the human he’d slept with. When he learns that, his new Alpha is not only gay, but also mated to a man as well. He’s certain he’s made the right choice for his new pack.

Shea is drawn to Micah pretty much immediately, and the feeling is mutual. A loner at heart, he fights the pull to Micah. His emotions, his head, and his wolf are at war amongst themselves. His heart wants to love, but fears getting hurt. He’s never felt this way and it scares him. But, his wolf is ready to claim his mate. Micah tries hard to get Shea to agree to be his mate. But, Shea continues to back pedal, eventually pushing Micah towards another wolf that is all too willing to snag the big, sexy wolf. Shea finally admits he’s fallen in love with the other shifter when Micah lands in the hospital after an accident. But is it too late to claim him?

Full of passion, intensity and some steamy guy on guy action, Refuge will leave you wanting more from this elusive pack of shifters. I can’t wait to see what Tyler has up her sleeve next for this pack. If you are a fan of strong alpha males, sexy shifters, hot and sweaty man sexiness and a HEA, this is a must read for you.