The Archer’s Arrow by A.J. Marcus

ArchersArrow[The]LGTitle: The Archer’s Arrow

Series: Ren Faire Romances, #3

Author: A.J. Marcus

Genre: Contemporary/Ren Faire/Suspense

Length: Novel (210 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 29th, 2014)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating:
 ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts

Blurb: A Ren Faire Romance 

Former Olympic archer Robin Lockwood quit competing and now runs an archery booth at the Ren Faire. He enjoys his unencumbered life with few attachments but lots of casual friends. Traveling across the country from fair to fair adds spice to his life.

John Aquitaine found acting in college and started a comedy show with his good friend, Pete. They are the “Perfect Princes,” and it helps John escape real life. The gypsy lifestyle lets him keep people at arm’s length until an arrow nearly hits him and he meets the handsome Robin Lockwood.

The flame between them sparks quickly, but the relationship is slowed when John’s dark past catches up with him. John’s Uncle Fred, the source of his horrible memories, appears at one of the Perfect Princes’ performances, and it upsets John so much he needs Robin to rescue him. Their love is tested again as Uncle Fred plans to finish what he started when John was a child.


Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4635

 

Reviewer:   GiGi

Review: The second in the Ren Faire Romance series, Archer’s Arrow shines the spotlight on Robyn Lockwood, a man who knows his way around a quiver of arrows, and John Aquitane, a man running from his past, and being caught up in nightmares that still haunt him.

The story follows the two men through a day in the life of a ren fair worker. We get to explore the busy days putting on performances, selling wares and the entire ren experience to boisterous and sometimes badly behaving visitors. Readers also get the behind the scenes activities, of mealtime, fighting for shower time, enjoying meal time, bonfire time and living in a camp atmosphere. The ren faire people expand into one big family, watching out for each other. That is until one vendor voices several problems she has with Robin, from booth complains to homophobic hate spewing from her mouth. 

When a group of out of hand customers lets a stray arrow sling over the fence and into John Aquitane’s path, Robin can only be thankful it gave him an introduction to the cute redhead.

 

John is up front with Robin after he makes his intentions clear, that John is battling old scars, abuse in his past that will make him need to take their new relationship very slow. He’s in doubt that Robin will stay around long and have enough patience to wait. But Robin feels something strong and lasting for John, and any amount of waiting is worth it and the slow pace makes him enjoy all the subtleties of their growing bond. 

When someone sabotages Robyn’s bow range, the whole camp comes together to find the culprit, and just when they start to settle whodunit, the man from John’s past makes an appearance. John’s life hangs in the balance when his past abductor and rapist finds him, and Robin feels helpless to save him.

 

Will this new threat set back Robin and John’s relationship? Will they be able to catch John’s assailant and put the past behind them? Is a future between John and Robin even possible with their pasts and their gypsy lifestyles? You’ll have to grab the book and read to it find the answers to all this drama! 

 

In general, the writing was smooth, the story caught my attention, and the plot was a bit predictable a\but entertaining. The romantic scenes were pretty mild which is understandable given John is the victim of violent sexual assault. The details of each other’s sexual exploration are delicately done but come on…a ten-inch cock, really? I’m fine with 6 or seven if the guy knows how to use it and knows what to do with his mouth and hands! 

Gabriel’s Soul by Marcy Jacks

915G1WRNA9L._SL1500_Title: Gabriel’s Soul

Series: The Werewolves of Willow Lake Book 4

Author: Marcy Jacks

Length: Novel (96 Pages)

Publisher: Siren Publishing, December 28th, 2013

Heat Rating: Moderate

Heart Level: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts

Reviewer: Lisa

Blurb: Gabriel Weston’s never wanted to find a mate. He was abused by alpha’s before and wants no part of them now. Unfortunately, when he escapes from his old pack and wakes up injured, he finds that he’s mated to a very large, very powerful alpha wolf, one who has a bad reputation.

Brishen does not want to scare his small mate. The man has been through enough, but he also wants to be close to him, needing to feel the physical touch of his mate to ease his own ache, and to prove that he’s not what the rumors say he is.

After Gabriel discovers he is pregnant with Brishen’s pup, the two begin to make small steps toward trust, but one of the omegas of Gabriel’s former pack is out for revenge, and when he puts Gabriel into harm’s way, Brishen will have to rush to his mate’s side before he loses everything he holds dear.

 

Product Link:http://www.bookstrand.com/gabriels-soul

Review: Once again, Marcy has written another fantastic story. I love the way it just captures my attention and never let’s go. It has such twist and turns, with danger always there and the love of two sexy men protecting each other.

 

Gabriel is an omega Luna werewolf and has escaped his old pack trying to save the other omegas. Unfortunately, being re-captured and almost dying doesn’t help. He never wanted a mate, always afraid and wishing he was anyone else. However, he finds himself not only saved by a mate, but one who is a very powerful alpha. Brishen is one of four ancient werewolves who has an amazing power. He is strong and capable, but has such a bad reputation of being ruthless and dangerous. Gabriel slowly lets the powerful man into his life and heart, understanding him better than anyone else ever has.

 

The sex is amazingly hot, sensuous and makes you wish there was an air conditioner around to cool you off. This story makes you wish you were there watching everything that happens and has you rooting for Brishen and Gabriel the whole time. I loved this story and know that it will be cherished and read over and over.

Freedom in His Arms by Brita Addams

FreedomInHisArmsLGTitle: Freedom in His Arms

Author: Brita Addams

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: Novel (220 pages)

ISBN: 978-1-62798-473-7

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 3rd, 2014)

Heat Level: Moderate/Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2.5~3 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb:On a whim, Boston doctor Bryan Newcastle books a Caribbean cruise for gay men, hoping for two weeks of sexual exploration with someone who’ll bring out the daring soul inside him.

With a simple slide of a keycard across a table, newspaperman Phil Sanderson plunges Bryan into a world of sexual freedom where longing for more comes as naturally as breathing. As Phil takes Bryan to new heights, the cruise ends with so much unexplored.

During a visit with Phil in Des Moines, Bryan receives a call that changes everything. Together, they travel back to Boston, but Phil’s protective nature gets in the way of Bryan’s need to handle tragedy in his own way. While Bryan struggles to come to terms with all he thought real about his past, Phil must trust that Bryan is strong enough, or he might lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Portions of this novel originally published as separate stories: Free Me published by Amber Allure, June 2011; In His Arms published by Amber Allure, August 2011.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4544

Review: This is a contemporary romantic story set mostly on board of a gay cruise where our protagonists first meet. Bryan has been in a bad relationship for a long time now and his sexual life is completely unsatisfying. After breaking up with his partner and before giving total closure to their joined practice, he decides to join a gay cruise in order to relax and recharge, but mostly to explore and discover his sexuality and his kinky hidden side.

Phil on the other side is tired of the fake side of his sexual life. The subs he plays with at the club he joins are all lacking the sensuality of submission he so much craves. As a service Top, he certainly can deliver any amount of pain, but that’s not what makes his blood boil. In search for something, anything, or simply relaxation with a bit of sex on the side he joins the gay cruise as he’s been doing for years.

Our story picks up pace there, when Phil and Bryan meet and their attraction is instant. They both have what the other is searching for and they hit it off right from the start. However, in my eyes something was lacking. The connection felt weird, at the beginning, it was too business-like and as the couple goes through the motions of flirting, dancing, getting to know each other and yes finally having those intimate scenes it all felt shallow. The telling overlapped everything and the intensity that was supposed to be there was lost, the lust that should slap you in the face and take your breath away was noticeably absent.

All in all the entire attachment that this couple experiences didn’t reach me and the characters themselves failed to make an impression. I didn’t even liked Bryan, he felt too much like taking advantage of an over-giving Phil without giving anything back. As for the BDSM side of the story, I kept expecting fireworks in a clear night-sky, but that never happened. Statements such as:
“Beyond this threshold, you’re mine. You simply have to say no if I do something, you don’t like. Otherwise, I’ll interpret your silence as permission. Understood?”
Were followed by disappointment and all the things I expected from a kinky relationship were not met, they were rather bland and flat and lacking connection.

Overall, it was not a bad read, but it was a drag and I had to bring myself to forcefully finish it in the end. The ending itself was weird as hell. Somehow, the closure was unsatisfying, and that money felt bloody to me, the callousness they talked about investment just turned my stomach upside down considering the circumstances.

Spencer by J.P. Barnaby

18664803Title: Spencer

Series: A Survivor Story, #3

Author:  J.P. Barnaby

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (216 pages)

ISBN: 978-1-62798-702-8

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 21st, 2014)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: It’s been nearly five years since Aaron woke up in the hospital so broken, he couldn’t stand the sight of his own face. The flashbacks no longer dominate his life, but he’s still unable to find intimacy with his lover, Spencer Thomas. With time, patience, and the support of his family, his therapist, and his loving partner, Aaron has figured out how to live again. The problem is, Spencer hasn’t. His life has been on hold as he waits for the day he and Aaron can have a normal relationship. Hoping to move things forward for them both, he takes a job as a programmer in downtown Chicago, leaving Aaron alone.

Reeling in the wake of Spencer’s absence, Aaron receives another shock when his attackers are caught.

Now, he must testify and verbalize his worst nightmare. Publicly reliving his trauma without Spencer at his side destroys his precarious control. But he finds someone who can understand and empathize in Jordan, who watched his brother cut down in a school shooting. With Spencer gone and the DA knocking at his door, Aaron seeks solace in Jordan, and Spencer will have to risk everything to hold on to Aaron’s love.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4773

Review: the sequel to Aaron’s story comes with Spencer, it continues with a heart-breaking story three years after Aaron, and Spencer became an official couple. While the first book introduced us to the characters and their circumstances, the second picks up and takes us through the difficult journey both Spencer and Aaron have to take in order to continue to live their lives, not merely as shells bound to their suffering, but as people in control of their lives and demons past, present , and future. Not an easy task, but the author delivers a hell of a story, one that will shatter your illusions, break your heart and reform it as the story evolves.

I can’t say how much I liked this book even as it hurt reading it every step of the way. These characters are magnificent and I’m not referring only to our protagonists, but the entire cast. Each and every one of them is a character with a life-like and realistic portrayal rarely witnessed in books these days. They have a personality that sucks you right in the story, gripping you and keeping you bound until it ends with no means to escape.

If you thought that Aaron would magically overcome his fears and live a wonderful life from that moment on with Spencer, well you were dead wrong. Life is not that easy and this story manages to capture the very essence of what struggling through nightmares is really about. In addition the tiredness that comes through struggling each and every day overcomes our protagonists, new characters are introduced who become causes for turbulence and jealousy, old characters get older and their new problems add onto the already existing pile, and all this is cause for a hell of an emotional punch throughout the story.

The maturity that comes with time is also amazing to witness. There were times that I came to hate Spencer and even get impatient with Aaron, but no matter what, the way that the story was told made it nearly impossible to judge any one character and point fingers. You just couldn’t figure out how you or anyone in a similar situation would react and thus the story reached the goal of making you think and re-evaluate your beliefs and ideals.

As for the erotic part that was quite lacking in the prequel, I loved how the author approached and finally made it all happen. Honestly I didn’t think she could thus I was really surprised with the end of this fabulous book. The satisfaction I got from this entire read is beyond words and I really don’t know if I want another sequel with these boys, because I feel as if this story is now finally told with the best closure ever.

Overall, this was yet another brilliant title delivered by J.P. Barnaby. Strongly recommended for an intense, emotional ride with a heavy dose of a realistically painted love story.