Muscling Through By Jl Merrow

 Title: Muscling Through

 Author: J.L. Merrow

 Genre:  Contemporary, GLBT, Comedy

 Length: Novella

 Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Heat Rating: Hot

 Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥ 5Hearts

Reviewer:  Pixie

 Blurb:  The bigger they come, the harder they fall… in love.

Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.

Larry’s intrigued to find there’s more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry’s class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair.

Is it physical? Oh, yes, it’s deliciously physical, and so much more—which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.

Contains comic misunderstandings, misuse of art materials, and unexpected poignancy.

Review:  I have got to say that I was completely charmed by Al; he is lovable, sweet and admits even to himself that he’s not exactly the brightest tool in the box. Larry is little, pretty and dead clever (Al said that and I won’t argue).   The story is written from Al’s perspective and is humorous throughout, we see these two men from completely different backgrounds come together and neither one tries to change the other, which is completely refreshing, and their lives seem to mesh together really well.

Al seems to completely miss the effect he has on Larry, while Larry is overwhelmed by what he means to Al.   These two men make you want to know them, you can imagine sitting in a pub having a pint with the pair of them and having a grand time of it.

The sex scenes weren’t very detailed but they were hot and plentiful. There doesn’t seem to be much romance but you have to remember that this is Al’s POV who is a big, beefy, working-class boy, an Ex-bouncer and manual worker who wouldn’t see romance even if it hit him with a plank of wood.

So my honest opinion is that this is a poignant romance which is really well written and I loved it.

 

 

Moonlight, Tiger and Smoke by Connie Bailey

Title: Moonlight, Tiger and Smoke

Author: Connie Bailey

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Publisher:  Dreamspinner

Heal Level:  Moderate

Rating: ♥♥♥3.5 Hearts

Reviewer:  Natasha

Blurb:  Taken from their families and raised to be assassins, Moonlight and Tiger are the perfect weapons and secret lovers. Even when they are sent into service with different clans, their love remains pure and strong until a more insidious threat divides them.

When Moonlight realizes his master is manipulating people for his own ends, the discovery threatens not only Tiger, but their entire society. Betrayed by a fellow assassin, the men are tortured and broken. If their love and their people are going to survive, one of them will have to defy everything he knows and stand up for the only thing he believes is real: Love.

Review:  I’ve read some books by the author before so I knew it was risky choosing this book. And I was right.
I will not lie. The first chapters were difficult to read. There is a lot of information to assimilate, powerful scenes that brought many emotions to the surface. But that was really what made ​​me love this book.
The story begins with the kidnapping of six children by Kagehito. Just to clarify, Kagehito is not a person (out of curiosity: this part reminded me of the movie Wanted with Angelina Jolie). These children are taken to an island and there they start a training that will destroy them and molded them to serve a purpose. I know that the summary is very vague but I do not want to spoil the book.

The story is quite interesting. The existence of different clans and their roles were well developed and I caught my attention early on. Add to that the complex characters and you have the reason I like Moonlight, Tiger, and Smoke.

As for the characters, Moonlight is my favorite. Even after all the trials and sufferings he endured, he still retained his humanity. The final placement was perfect for him. But that does not mean I do not like the Tiger or Smoke (actually Smoke won additional points for his altruism at the end).

If you like intrigue, action, paranormal elements in your story, I recommend you give Moonlight a chance.  Give  Tiger  and Smoke a chance.   I did  and I do not regret it.

Simple by SJD Peterson

Title: Simple

Author: SJD Peterson

Genre:  Contemporary

Publisher:  Silver Publishing

Heat Level:  Moderate

Rating:  ♥♥♥♥

Reviewer:  Astrid

Blurb:  The moment when the world tilts on its axis, completely changing everything. The instant when suddenly everything just falls into place. The second when a heart shatters into a million tiny pieces, only to settle back into place, complete for the first time. When an all-encompassing light surrounds a soul, touching it so deeply a permanent imprint is left behind. The first time true love is felt.

For Brycen Anderson, it didn’t happen as it does on TV or on the Hollywood screen. There was no fancy movie set or a multi-million dollar budget. No director taking control. No rehearsals, costumes or media fanfare. It was…

A passing glance…

A casual touch…

Simple.

Review:  I was prepared by a reliable source for a sweet story and that’s what I got.  But “sweet” is a bit misleading in that it’s too simplistic of a description.

Brycen is bored and stuck in a rut of the mundane. He’s a homebody who yearns for the simple things in life and someone special to share them with. John is his perfect match and they have more in common than either expects. Each has been left with deep feelings of inadequacy by previous relationships.

The story takes you through them learning how to work through misunderstandings, talk about their fears, establishing trust and to realize their imagined inadequacies are only in the minds of the unworthy ex’s.

I’m a lover of stories filled with angst, lust and passion – those extreme emotions you don’t run into on a daily basis. But a true love story told with real characters, with believable reactions and honest motivations – well, those are harder to come by. This story isn’t one filled with contrived drama to move the story along. It’s a love story, self doubt, insecurities and beautifully rounded out with real emotions – “Simple” as that.

Long Tall Drink by L. C. Chase

Title:  Long Tall Drink

Author:   L. C. Chase

Genre:   M/M Western, Contemporary

Publisher:  Loose Id.

Length:  Novel

Heat Level:  Explicit

Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥

Reviewer:  Astrid

Blurb:  Fourth generation rancher, Ray Ford has lived a lie for nearly forty years. Having seen what can happen to an openly gay cowboy in small town America, and not willing to risk Ford Creek’s legendary reputation, he keeps that part of himself tightly locked down. Everything changes one Sunday morning when Ray, out of character, picks up a handsome hitchhiker looking for work. Hiring the enigmatic cowboy stretches the bounds of Ray’s control and forces him to question just how much he’s willing to risk for that one true love.

Travis Morgan learned a hard lesson early in his life – love was conditional. Even though he’s a world-class horse trainer in high-demand, he lives the life of a drifter, moving from ranch to ranch like the wind. He’ll play when the opportunity arises, but he won’t invest himself emotionally. But when he takes on the job training horses at Ford Creek Ranch, the stoic rancher with the sexy five o’clock shadow just might change all that – if Travis can take the risk and stick around long enough to find out.

Review:  The title grabbed my attention, the blurb sealed the deal… cowboys. Yup, there’s always room in my reading lineup for cowboys. Yet all too often I’m disappointed and end up with an “Awe shucks, giddy up partner” story – but not today. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the brainless, boinking good time had in those stories, but there’s something to be said about a story about grownups for grownups.

L.C. Chase has crafted a tale you can sink your teeth into. The characters are not flat and one dimensional but well rounded and you’re given a decent understanding to what motivates their actions and responses.

Ray is deeply in the closet and trapped there by the fear of what will happen if found out. This fear is reinforced by having witnessed the atrocious acts of hate that befell a gay couple once discovered years ago and the knowledge that his late father was an eager participant with many others in town. So Ray has found a way to balance the demands of his life on the ranch and his needs as a gay man – but never the twain shall meet.

Trevor Morgan has a deeply painful past having been betrayed by his family once his father discovered him kissing a boy at 15, leaving him beaten and homeless. He’s managed to overcome these obstacles and garner the reputation as a renowned horse trainer and is elusive as the wind. Trevor never sets down roots and has learned to keep moving since rumors of his sexual preference continue to arise and taint his working relationships.

Can’t you just feel the angst? Two sexy alpha males fighting to stay in the closet, but the attraction is just too delicious to resist the pull. The author did a wonderful job of letting the tension build to a crescendo and didn’t rush to the cowboy lovin’. And while you’re rooting for them to get it together and make it work – you’re worried right along with the characters about what will happen when/if it all comes out. That’s just good writing.

 

Small, Full Circles by Erik Orrantia – Winner of the 2011 Lambda Literary Award

Small, Full Circles

By Erik Orrantia

“You’re doing it too hard. Try making small circles.” It was my dentist a couple weeks ago telling me how to brush my teeth properly. I’d already had the lecture many times. “You’ve got to massage the gums.” I politely nodded my comprehension as I thought, it ain’t gonna happen. I’d been brushing my teeth for nearly forty years that way—old habits die hard. This time she proceeded to pull my complimentary toothbrush from its plastic wrapper and she put a hand-held mirror in front of my face. “I’m going to show you. Watch carefully.” Okay. I did. I watched as she swirled the purple toothbrush at a careful angle against my gums. “The bristles penetrate at the base of the tooth without damaging your enamel. Your gums are receding too much.” Actually, it did feel better, and I do want to take care of my teeth. But I had heard the sermon so many times, always with a certain blasé attitude and secret resistance, and I had believed that my hand muscles, despite any conscious effort to truly change my habit, would eventually fall back into the status quo of forty years. Nevertheless, I did something unexpected…I changed.  I decided to brush my teeth in tiny circles, gently massaging the gums, and thereby preserving what’s left of them.

Who cares, right? In the end (and what I always knew anyway), was that it’s for my own benefit. BFD. I do have a point I’m going to make, besides the fact that my having healthy teeth is not just for my own good, but for the good of many other people in ways that gradually diminish in direct proportion to those people’s intimacy with me. It’s an obvious plus for my partner and our roommate, but it’s also better for all those folks who might have had to smell my bad breath, see my rotting teeth, or witness the embarrassing falling out some day of my eventual dentures. In a sense, me doing what’s best for myself, is advantageous to everyone.

This isn’t about taking care of your teeth, though I highly recommend it. There are, indeed, two points I’m trying to make. The first was most articulately summed up by my therapist, so here are your eight dollar words of wisdom (based on a simple formula—his charge per minute multiplied by the number of minutes it took him to explain it to me; don’t worry, I’m not charging): Everything you do is a microcosm of everything you do. In short, the tiniest actions you do are a reflection of who you are in the big picture. Hence, my willingness or resistance to change my style of brushing my teeth, and my ultimate success or failure at it, says a lot about me in general.

Here’s the second point: as hard as it is to change, or as hard as it seems anyway, it is ironically easy, too. I had a friend who complained to me about overeating. “I can’t stop eating,” she said. “When I have food in the house, I sit and eat it until it is gone.” I reflected for a minute and reminded her that it was her hand that pulled the cookies from the bag and lifted them to her mouth. I suggested she tell her hand not to do that anymore. I don’t mean to oversimplify, but she took my comment as, perhaps not the most profound thing she’d ever heard, but at least as something she hadn’t exactly thought of. Likewise, I now tell my hand to brush my teeth differently…and it does. Funny, as much as I had convinced myself that I couldn’t, the only reason why I had been right about it was that that was the decision I had made. I might choose another course of action.

I was asked to write something about writing. Patience…remember the microcosm thing. Authors, if not more resistant to change than the rest of humankind, are at least on par. And isn’t that resistance inside of us really because of our discomfort or fear? When I first started writing years ago, an accomplished author I met responded to my request for advice on publishing a book with a succinct pair of words: “Finish it.” Now, I tend to be the kind of guy who finishes what he starts. Strangely enough, when I got to the last couple chapters of my first (self-published) book, Blue Tiles, I froze. I set the manuscript down and absolutely stopped writing it. I didn’t really know why. I even knew how the story would end. Two full years later, I picked up a pad of paper and finished it. You don’t have to be a genius to realize I was simply afraid. What if it was crap? What if everyone hated it? What if they criticized me? I guess I just wasn’t willing to face that. It was easier to leave the book incomplete.

Now I’m a Lambda Literary Award winner for my second book, Normal Miguel (Cheyenne Publishing, 2010). Honestly, I realized there was a bit of crappiness to the first book, particularly around editing, and I took if off the market; I hope to republish a better version of it someday. The truth about writing is that it can be a scary field—an author lays it all out there. So many authors refer to their books, if not as their children, at least as important, real parts of their lives. We dedicate hundreds of hours in private to this “significant other” and then spill it out for all to see. Some books, of course, never get any attention. But with a little luck, the book lands in the eager hands of readers and, inevitably, reviewers. This is a good thing. We need reviewers. But, in desiring to deliver a decent product to their own readers, they have all intentions of being honest, sometimes brutally, and some might not feel like they’ve done a decent job if they haven’t pointed out the weaknesses of your work. Just a couple days ago, someone said of Normal Miguel, “I liked the story, but the writing was nothing special.” I think the thickness of my skin has grown a few millimeters since I started in this racket.

Normal Miguel got a lot of really good reviews, too. In fact, one of the first and most flattering was from our highly esteemed legend of gay genre, Victor Banis. He honored me in Reviews by Jessewave by raving about the book. Then, in Amazon.com, he wrote the phrase I most cherish: “A delicious broth of a book.” I’m not trying to gloat. Indeed, I only mean to bring up some wisdom that Victor has shared with me since then, and he should know after having pioneered the genre and written over 160 novels. After discussing with him some ideas about point-of-view and tense, plot building, and character development, he told me, “Just write.”

Everything comes full circle. It’s just like the tooth brushing—first, it’s for my own good, then it’s for everyone else’s. I write because I have passion for it. My writing is my artistic expression. It’s my concentrated collection of energy thrown out, gifted to the world. Some will like it and some won’t. But before anybody ever gets it, it’s got to be complete and satisfying to me. Yes, on my website, I have posted blogs about editing, finding publishers, and networking. Those things are important. I must not lose sight, however, of the primary purpose of writing—self-expression. No author will turn down fame, money, or respect, but I can assure you that when the authenticity of the art is missing, he or she won’t be getting any of those. On the contrary, when the author’s heart is genuinely in the work, it can’t help but develop and improve once the author has put aside any fear and made the simple choice to write.

As Advertised by Jaime Samms

Title:   As Advertised

Author:   Jaime Samms

Genre:   Contemporary

Length:   Novel

Publisher:   Freya’s Bower Publishing

Heat Level:  Moderate

Rating:  ♥♥♥♥ 4 out of 5 hearts

Reviewer:  Pixie

Blurb:  Tyler’s life perked up when he met Jake. So what if long-time friend Marty can’t stand him and his landlady has no use for his new beau. Tyler’s determined not to see the dark side of his lover. It’s his own fault for believing people don’t go around keeping secrets and lying.

Tyler should know better.   He’s an ad executive.  He knows the packaging is what sells, and Jake is quite a package.   His lover is no slouch when it comes to false advertising, either, and when Tyler finds out the truth, it hurts.    Weathering Jake’s lies and secrets gets easier with the help of new friends, Libby and Steven. In fact, Tyler figures that maybe a lot of things would get easier with Steven.

Tyler should have known better.  Not even someone as seemingly perfect as Steven Jessop is completely as advertised.

This time, though, Tyler has to make a decision. After all, sometimes, even if what you see is not what you get, what Tyler’s uncovered in Steven might just be what he’s always wanted.

Review:  I liked the characters in this as they seem human.  Tyler who suffers from migraines, Steven who has OCD, Marty who has Schizophrenia, Jake who is arrogant, egotistical and self-centered and Libby who is the all round nice girl somehow compliment one another.

Tyler can’t believe it when his face is introduced to a martini, then a rock masquerading as an engagement ring, and then his ‘boyfriend’ runs off after his fiancé. Libby picks up the pieces with more martinis and a good old shoulder to cry on. Steven is interested in being more than friends but his past holds him back. Jake is determined to keep Tyler and to ruin any chance that Steven might have.

I truly liked this book as Tyler and Steven took several months to get to know each other (even though Steven  doesn’t divulge his past), they both had reservations about relationships, Steven being worried that when Tyler found out  about his past he wouldn’t want him and Tyler worrying that he will just be used again.   The interaction between the characters is wonderful.   Tyler and Marty’s friendship is just really sad as you can imagine Tyler longing for his old friend back.

I recommend this as a really good read and hope that Marty will have a story of his own.

Psychic Moon by M. D. Grimm

Title: Psychic Moon

Series: The Shifters 01

Author: M.D. Grimm

Genre:  Paranormal

Length: Novella

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Heat Level:  Moderate

Rating: 3.5 ♥♥♥

Reviewer:  Pixie

Blurb:  Humane Officer Derek Williams has been toying with the idea of asking out Brian O’Donogue since the veterinarian started working at the Pet Rescue Center two years ago. So why hasn’t he made his move? It’s complicated… but it has something to do with the fact that Derek occasionally likes to run around on four legs instead of two.

Recovering from an abusive relationship and hiding supernatural abilities of his own, Brian takes a chance and agrees to go on a date with Derek. The ensuing relationship is better than either of them could have hoped—until a rogue wolf shifter attacks Brian while he’s walking his dogs. The abrupt attack forces Derek to confront his feelings, but the danger isn’t over. The rogue shifter is out there, and he’s hunting them.

Review:  I found this book a refreshing change from other books in this Genre, Derek Williams and Brian  O’Donogue have worked side by side for two years both of them secretly wanting the other, neither has dared as they  both have secrets. Both these men love animals dearly with Derek rescuing them and feeling anger and pain at the  cruelty of humans to the defenseless animals.  Wishing that he could treat the humans who did the cruelty, the same as they treated the animals.   Brian handling them with love, care and gentle hands as he treats them.

You can see the great respect that these two men have for each other and how it has built up over time into love. These two men seem to be perfect for each other and I’d have to say that this is a genuine romance with a little  bit of danger thrown in.

If you want a shifter story where it’s not insta mates, insta love and insta sex then this is the book for  you, it has a good solid storyline throughout (although I would have liked to know why the rogue’s scent was familiar  to Derek) and the sex is hot.

I genuinely liked this book and would recommend it to all my friends.

The Tall Texan by Kelly Conrad

Title: The Tall Texan

Author: Kelly Conrad

Publisher:  Siren

Genre:  Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Western/Cowboys, MMM/F, Historical ( set in Texas, 1871)

Length:  Novel

Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand

Heat Level:  Explicit

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

Reviewer:  Pixie

Blurb #1: (Bookstrand.com) Storm Benedict was injured in a mine explosion when he was very young and wandered away from town dazed and disoriented. Ten years later, he returns a big, handsome, rough-talking, big-as-a-mountain cowboy who has inherited a ranching empire.

After learning of Storm’s inheritance, the town fathers attack the ranch and refuse to let it go until Storm gets married, so he sends for a mail-order bride.

Saul Denis is a city slicker from the east with a secret desire to become a cowboy, but he doesn’t have the money to travel west until his sister Sable receives a proposal from a big, good-looking cowboy with a sexy grin. Saul swipes the letter, making a deal with Sable to go in her place. When he meets Storm, he is overwhelmed, quickly falling in love with the big cowboy. Soon, Storm reunites with an old drifter friend, Curt Sanders, and sparks fly between all three men.

Will Storm’s passion for a drifter and a city slicker be the end of his empire, or will the three men stay together and fight for their love?

Or

Blurb #2: (Kelly Conrad.net) This long, tall, Texan is fightin’ and lovin’ his way across the pages of Kelly Conrad’s book, and into the hearts of every reader! Even though he don’t have a lot of schoolin’ he knows a liar and a cheat when he sees one. With his hands on his gun, and right on his side, he partners up with a drifter and a city slicker and puts his brand on a ranch called South Wind.

He thinks he’s got his hands full with the town fathers trying to cheat him out of his inheritance, but when he meets Sable Denis, his mail order bride, she falls in love with him, and thinks he likes men because of “something in the water.”

Read the Tall Texan, and see how Storm finally defeats the town fathers, and his hellcat of a mail order bride.

Review: If you read the blurb from Bookstrand.com then you will be disappointed with this book as it isn’t as the blurb described but if you read the blurb from Kelly Cronrad.com then you get just what is says on the tin.

If you want a decent story line then this has it.  The town fathers will do anything to keep hold of South Wind, no matter what it takes. Seeing the town fathers plotting to take Storm’s ranch makes you want to hog-tie the lot of them and let the Sheriff deal with them. The length’s that Storm will go to, to keep his ranch knows no bounds.

I liked the story line although it would have been nice if we could have known a little about what happened to Storm for the ten years that he was missing, although he doesn’t remember any of that time. It was good to know that the Sheriff was on Storm’s side and did everything in his power to help Storm, even helping to deal with his hellcat of a mail- order bride.

Sable Denis, Saul’s sister and the mail order bride, is a strong willed woman who wants her own way but with Storm she finds an even stronger willed male, who refuses to bend to her will. The sparks fly off these two characters first with lust then with dislike and it was interesting to read how these two clashed.

Saul Denis is trapped with his mother controlling the purse strings and takes the ticket to become a cowboy; he falls in love with Storm very quickly.  Curt Sanders is a drifter who knew Storm from before the accident, the two hit it off and then the clothes hit the floor.

If you want steaming hot m/f sex it’s here, there’s hot m/m and even some m/m/f (if you can discount that 2 males didn’t realize that the 3rd male left and was then replaced with a female) but sadly only one m/m/m scene.

If you want romance or to be able to follow what’s going on in the complex relationship between these 3 men then you won’t find it here.   There is little interaction in the book between Saul and Curt.  For that matter, there really isn’t that much between Saul and Storm either, but somehow they all come together in the end.

I would recommend this book if you just want hot sex as there is quite a bit of it and it is scorching in places, the main story is quite good but the relationship, romance and love is lacking.

All About Jenny by D. J. Manly

Title:  All about Jenny

Author:  D. J. Manly

Genre:  Contemporary

Publisher:    eXtasybooks

Length:  Novella

Heat Rating:  Moderate

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥

Reviewer:  Astrid

Blurb:  Mark has been raising his niece since she was a small child. Abandoning his own life in the big city, he settles in a small town and devotes himself to Jenny. When Mark’s sister dies in an accident, Mark is given full custody of his precocious twelve-year-old niece. Just when he thinks the worst is over, he finds out that his sister left instructions to contact Jenny’s father, a man she had always refused to name.

Mark is terrified that Jenny’s father will try to take Jenny away from him but Cole Waters is not anything like he expects at all.

Review:  The blurb was enough to entice my interest in this book – there was just so much potential for emotional angst. Think about it – a man raising his niece for 13 years and he’s forced to allow her biological father, a complete stranger, into the picture. An emotional rollercoaster for sure.

While most DJ Manly books I’ve read aren’t what I would consider sweet or overly romantic this one certainly falls into the “sweet and easy” category – where you aren’t bombarded with gratuitous nookie scene after scene.

Uncle Mark is a nice guy, who you can’t help but like. Biological Dad Cole is understanding, patient and an all around good guy. We hear Cole tell Mark about his troubled past but he’s all straightened out now. And Jenny, she’s a smart and loving girl who just lost her Mother, a woman she barely knew.  Cole’s Dad had the potential to be a great antagonist, but was diffused fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the author didn’t take the opportunity to exploit the dramatic possibilities I had hoped for and expected.  I am a great lover of the Happily Ever After, but there has to be a point where you REALLY worry that it won’t work out. I didn’t really get that from this book.

 

 

The Thirteen Child by

Title: The Thirteenth Child

Author: J.L. O’Faolain

Publishers: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, M/M

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Heat rating:  Moderate

Length: Novel

Reviewer:  Pixie

 

Blurb: Immortal sidhe Tuulois MacColewyn is living rough. After nearly two centuries of life as one of Faerie Queen Titania’s prized wolves and a handful of years as a Roaring Twenties mob boss’s favorite enforcer, he’s now exiled to New York, making rent doing dirty jobs for other fey outcasts. He used to consult on the occult for Detective James Corhagen at the NYPD, but since their highly combustible friendship burned itself out a year ago, Cole hasn’t heard from him.

 

All that changes when Corhagen summons Cole right out of his shower and into the middle of a crime scene.  The NYPD is facing a rash of messy black-magic murders, complete with exploding hearts and very little forensic evidence, not to mention the sinister disappearance of several half-fey children. However hard he tries to deny it—and his inconvenient attraction to the sidhe—Corhagen needs Cole’s help. A persistent police inspector rounds out the team, but when their investigation comes too close to the truth, suddenly it’s their lives on the line. With a powerful killer on the loose, Cole, James, and Inspector Vallimun must race against time to stop the monster out to claim the thirteenth child.

Review: What can I say about this book except LOVED IT.?  Cute Pixies, misunderstood Goblins, a Little Red Riding Hood with a basket full of weapons and a Troll with a cold and those are kinda like the Good guys? The opening scene shows you that this is not your usual paranormal fantasy where humans are sacred and the supernaturals have to take what they dish out. This book has its dark part’s, it’s ‘Oh riggghhhttt’ parts and is humorous most of the way through.

Tuulois ‘Cole’ MacColewyn survives by doing jobs for other supernaturals; he tries to protect those that are like family to him.  James Corhagen is a detective just doing his job and living so far back in the closet that Narnia should ask him to become a citizen.  Inspector Joss Vallimun seems to be a stick in the mud and you don’t really get to know much about him really, but everything may not be as so straight forward as it seems with him.

This book is not a happy ever after. Cole and James don’t go skipping off into the sunset holding hands and James doesn’t realize suddenly that the closet is cold and lonely.  We do find out, however, that there may be another love interest for Cole.

 

The story is brilliant and slightly twisted it has you trying to figure out what happens next and you’d be wrong.   There aren’t many sex scenes but the story more than makes up for it and we actually get to know the characters pretty well.  When I finished the book I moaned ‘noooo you can’t just stop there’.   So I truly believe this author is pure evil incarnate because I want to read the second book NOW and it’s not published yet.

 

I really can see this author being a huge hit because the way he has written this you know there will be a series (I’ve heard 13 books) and hopefully a prequel where Cole and James meet. (J.L. O’Faolain if you read this hint hint).

So, I recommend that you all run out and buy this book, if you haven’t already, ‘cuz really, what’s wrong with you all… it’s brilliant.  If you want insta love, tons of sex and romance poring off the pages then this isn’t for you.  If you want a real story line, in-depth characters and the promise of more to come then what are you waiting for, go get it.

 

 

Bear, Otter and the Kid by Tj Klune

TitleBear, Otter and the Kid

AuthorTj Klune

Genre:  Contemporary

Length:  Novel

Heat rating: Moderate sexual content, lots and lots of cussing.

Rating:   ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Reviewer:  Portia

Similar StoriesAll about Jenny by D. J. Manly, A Taste of Love by Andrew Gray, Soldier by Akm Miles

Description:  Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expects. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world… something or someone.

Review:  There is no way that this is a debut novel.  Somewhere there must be books under another pen name that I have yet to discover.  This book is absolutely perfect. And if you knew me, you’d know that is not the opinion that should be coming out of me.

Why?  Well, first of all, I hate books written in first person.  No particular reason, just my preference.  But, this book made me feel like Bear and I were sitting on his back porch and he was telling me his story.  Even the flash back scenes, another literary devise I hate, were done in such a way, that I wasn’t confused or irritated by the interruption.

Bear is so sweet.  You can almost taste his fear when he is thrust into this very adult role…the day before his 18th birthday.  His girlfriend and his best friend are there to lend support, but he instinctively turns to Otter.  Otter who has always been there; a steady presence in the midst of Bear’s chaotic childhood.  Otter that is willing to give up a dream job in California to stay and help Bear raise the Kid.

Jury is still out on whether Otter is a saint or a fool.  Part of me wishes that he’d responded differently to Bear’s initial advances…but, that would have made for a very short book.  Part of me was glad that Otter had a chance to grow up professionally and personally, so he’d be ready to be a real partner to Bear when the time was right.

But, the real star of this book is Tyson… the Kid.  The words that come out of this child’s mouth will have you rolling on the floor laughing and blushing.  It’s almost a shame the Kid is straight as an arrow.  Unless he does an extreme transformation during puberty, there is no way we’re getting a sequel out of him.

This story really is about how these three souls come together to form a family.  And there are plenty of obstacles.  The biggest being Bear, who spends way too much time waiting for the next shoe to drop.

I only have one question for Tj Klune…how did that woman know about San Diego?

I would love to see this book made into a Lifetime movie.  It definitely reads like a movie.  Kudos to Tj Klune on a fabulous debut novel.

 

The Consort by Misty Malone

Title:  The Consort

Author:  Misty Malone

Genre:  Historical/Erotic Romance

Length:  Novel

Heat Level:  Explicit male/male sexual content, voyeurism, masturbation, mild bondage

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Reviewer:  Portia

Description:  An ultimatum from his dying father forces Prince Accolon to give up his plans to enter the church to fulfill the marriage contract left behind by his slain brother. If he refuses, his father will strike at him and deny his entry to the church, but if he accepts, he loses his freedom forever.

Across the land, Rhys faces a similar problem. Discovered in an indecent position with a stable boy by his furious father, Rhys makes a fool’s bargain. He has one month to steal the crown of Wales, or die. He disguises himself as a manservant and sets about learning what he can of the royal family.

Everything goes according to plan–until Rhys meets Accolon. All Rhys wanted was to save his skin and steal the crown. He never planned on losing his heart. But with Hunters on his tail and a rival out for blood, Rhys cannot allow himself to fall for a firm body and kind smile, no matter how much he wants to.  Nor can Accolon understand the strange primal urges this Briton awakens in him, no matter how hard he fights against them.

A triangle of historic proportions where love, lust, politics, and murder sleep in the same bed. Blood will be spilt, lands will be lost, and no one’s heart will be safe if The Consort has his way.

Review:  This was definitely my surprise read of the week.  Before I start a book, I know I’m going to review, I usually check out the reviews on Goodreads and/or Amazon.  There were no reviews for The Consort on either site.  That surprised me.  I would have expected a book released last December to have at least one review…even if it was awful.  But, there was nothing.

I started this book expecting the worse.  What I found instead, was a very well written historical love story that drew me in from page one.  My first impression of Rhys was that he was an arrogant toad with more bravado than good sense.  It didn’t take long to figure out that he was doing what he had to do to survive an extremely dysfunctional family.  And Accolon isn’t much better.  He’s pulled out of his sacred space kicking and screaming.

Accolon has been taught to suppress his sexuality.  It broke my heart to watch him struggle with embracing the fact that he was a sexual being; worthy and deserving of love and passion.  Rhys however was an excellent teacher.  On the other hand, Rhys has learned that sex is just another weapon, a tool to be used for his pleasure and advancement.  Kissing Accolon shakes him on a soul level as he learns there can be more to sex then just sweat and release.  The sex between these two is beyond hot.  There is lots of it, but it is sprinkled into the plot in all the right places.

What I liked most about these characters is that they were realistic.  Neither man suddenly became a hero.  Rhys doesn’t suddenly become a saint and Accolon doesn’t suddenly become a man worthy to be king.  I loved the intrigue that was woven throughout the entire story.  There were plenty of plot twists and turns to keep me up well past my bedtime.  I really enjoy knowing the identity of the bad guy (or girl), and anticipating how they are going to get busted in the end.

I don’t know why The Consort hasn’t gotten the attention that it deserves.  Ms. Malone is definitely fresh voice within the historical genre and I will definitely look out for her next offering.  I highly recommend this book.

My Forever Love

~ My Forever Love ~

I love the sparkle in your eyes that forever shine upon me!

I love the way you tilt your head and look at me with parted lips!

I love the way you touch me, for your touch awakens all my senses!

I love the way you hold me, for in your embrace I am lifted up!

I love the way you kiss me, for your kisses reveal your inner sweetness!

I love everything about you, for in and through you I have found my forever love!©

Author: C. Wayne Brown

Rarer Than Rubies by E.M. Lynley

Author: E.M. Lynley
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Action/Adventure
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Novel
Available Formats: Paperback, digital
Reviewer: Beatrice
Rating: 4 hearts
Blurb:

When Trent Copeland runs into Reed Acton at a Bangkok airport, he thinks the handsome American is too good to be true. Why would someone like Reed be interested in a quiet, introverted gay-romance writer? After all, even an obvious tourist like Trent can see that there is more to Reed’s constant unexplained appearances in his path than meets the eye.
Reed Acton has one mission and one mission only – he needs to get the map that was accidentally slipped into Trent’s bag and keep the mobsters who want the priceless artifact from taking deadly revenge. Trent Copeland is a delicious and damned near irresistible diversion, but Reed can’t afford distractions right now, especially if he wants to keep Trent safe.
From Bangkok’s seediest back alleys to the sacred north, the two men will fight to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and learn that the only treasure worth finding is… each other.
Review:

I had my eyes set on this book even before I found out that I was to review this. I was born in Southeast Asia (not Thailand, though) and I am always on the lookout for books that are set in the area. Living in the United States now, I find myself missing the unique culture that only countries in Southeast Asia provide.
E.M. Lynley’s Rarer than Rubies made me remember the richness of living in that area of the world. The aspect of setting is arguably the most powerful weapon of this book, and the author definitely used her adventures in Thailand to her advantage. It is obvious that the author did her research and remembered her travels well; the setting is rich and detailed and the little nuances of the Thais are captured in minutia. There is the great heat and humidity present in the tropics and there is the crazy traffic of a wildly unorganized population, but there is also great food as well as wonderfully hospitable locals. The author doesn’t sugarcoat the culture – she provides both bad and good aspects of it, and that’s what I truly like about the setting. E.M. Lynley doesn’t set out to show that Thailand is better than the United States; she shows that it’s merely different, a place where people might want to think of when they seek for something outside the familiar. In a way, the reader is Trent Copeland, someone who put into a completely foreign situation, where the reader doesn’t truly know what to expect.
Speaking of Trent, I would also like to point out that I really liked the characters. Trent was quite clumsy without being completely helpless – as one character says towards the end of the book, Trent is quick to think on his feet. He may not have the best foresight, but he is able to act appropriately in the present. He isn’t a damsel-in-distress given a male body, which seems to be a prevalent case in a few M/M books. And to be honest, Reed fascinated me. Reed is a big mystery that the reader uncovers as he/she goes through the book; although many hints are given when we are in Reed’s POV and even though a lot is said during the big reveal scene, there are a few events that just totally threw me off the wall – just because you are given an explanation doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. It’s safe to say that for Reed.
This book isn’t so much a mystery/suspense book as it is an adventure. We are given quite a few action scenes, but there is an overall feel of adventure to it – to put it simply, it screams Indiana Jones to me rather than James Bond. However, this isn’t really a big disappointment on my part because it was still a fast-paced read. While the action scenes weren’t overly exciting, they weren’t dragging either. My heart still thudded and I still felt nervous for our main characters, and that’s always a plus because you know it’s a good book when you actually care for the well-being of the characters.
I do have a couple of niggles though, but they weren’t big enough that they took away from my enjoyment of the book. First of all, there were a couple of awkward sentences here and there. For example, Trent at one point says, “I am, too, gay!” There’s weird structure to this sentence, and I think there were a couple more that were also a bit stilted and awkward, but there aren’t a lot of it so it isn’t really a prominent mistake. Others might not even notice it; in some ways it’s just me being really particular. There were also a few typos here and there as well as the occasional misplaced comma, but seriously, these things are so minor that they don’t really disrupt the reading experience.
Overall, though, I definitely enjoyed this book. This isn’t just a romantic book – it’s also one that teaches a lot about another culture in a way that doesn’t feel forced. I loved the setting, the characters intrigued me, and there were enough questions left unanswered and these were so tastefully done that the questions actually kept me wanting more instead of frustrating me. Instead of being disappointed by the lack of explanations for a couple of things, I find myself yearning for a sequel. And I do believe there will be more adventures for Reed and Trent! I’ll definitely be watching out for them.

Honest Reviews for Readers and Writers

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