Monthly Archives: August 2013

An Angel’s Soul by S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet

An Angel's SoulAn Angel’s Soul by S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Storm Moon Press
Short Story:  12,000 Words
Purchase at Barnes and Noble and Smashwords
Roses:  1
 

This is a free read.

Cole had everything: a great education, his own company, money, and Daniel, his lover since college. But in gaining everything, he lost the one thing he’d been building that life for: Daniel. Now that Daniel has moved on, Cole is without direction or purpose. Turning to alcohol and drugs to fill the void left behind, Cole dives head first into a downward spiral, unaware that there is another who loves and cares for him.

As Cole’s guardian angel, Raziel has watched Cole since birth, and his love for his ward is deep and abiding. Witnessing Cole’s fraying life breaks Raziel’s heart, and when the thread that binds them together wavers during an overdose, Raziel breaks all the rules just to keep Cole alive. The consequences are unthinkable, but a life without Cole is a loss that Raziel simply can’t conceive. An angel’s soul was made to love, after all, and if he saves Cole, perhaps he can show Cole how the end of one great love doesn’t mean another waits patiently for him.

(Part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Love is Always Write event.)

I liked the characters and the writing style.  These two authors are wonderful writers and this one reflected that.  There is just one major problem I had with the story.  There wasn’t anything new to it.  It is just like you would expect the story to go.  No new twists or unusual events.  I was a little disappointed to see that as I was expecting some twist on an old plot idea.  It really isn’t worth going to read since you can read the blurb and pretty much know how the story is going to go.

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A Beautiful Lie by Tyler Robbins

A Beautiful LieA Beautiful Lie by Tyler Robbins
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Evernight Publishing
Novel:  59,580 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  3
 

Jesse Reagan has had more than his share of tragedy, and he may have been dealt another blow when, once again, cancer threatens the sister who raised him. Faced with the possibility of being left behind, Jesse vows to care for her young son, though he’s not convinced he can.

When Trip Cantrell returns to town, he’s blindsided the instant he’s reunited with his kid brother’s lifelong friend, Jesse. His inability to find happiness in the years he’s been gone, suddenly makes sense. Love’s been waiting at home all along.

Life begins to look promising, except for the fact that neither have come out of the closet publicly, and that’s not even their biggest problem. Someone has a secret so shocking they may never find a way past it.

Will they be accepted in their small Texas town, or will secrets, lies, and the threat of tragedy destroy everything?

Be Warned: m/m sex, frottage, rimming

Excerpt

I enjoyed the characters and the story line.  I thought the writing was good.  I did think the quickness of the relationship was a little too quick.  Though I can believe in love at first sight that isn’t really what this is and I don’t have too many issues with a relationship starting up between two men that grew up together.  I just think after so long with absolutely no communication between the two they somehow figure out that they are both gay and into each other pretty quick and “I love you’s” follow quickly.

I did enjoy the story but it was just missing something.  I am not even sure what but I didn’t connect to the characters much and I just didn’t feel that need to read what was going to happen NEXT on a great level.  Still a cute story.

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Shadows Return by Lynn Flewelling

Shadows ReturnShadows Return by Lynn Flewelling
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Random House Publishing
Novel:  522 Pages
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 
With their most treacherous mission yet behind them, heroes Seregil and Alec resume their double life as dissolute nobles and master spies. But in a world of rivals and charmers, fate has a different plan.…After their victory in Aurënen, Alec and Seregil have returned home to Rhíminee. But with most of their allies dead or exiled, it is difficult for them to settle in. Hoping for diversion, they accept an assignment that will take them back to Seregil’s homeland. En route, however, they are ambushed and separated, and both are sold into slavery. Clinging to life, Seregil is sustained only by the hope that Alec is alive.

But it is not Alec’s life his strange master wants—it is his blood. For his unique lineage is capable of producing a rare treasure, but only through a harrowing process that will test him body and soul and unwittingly entangle him and Seregil in the realm of alchemists and madmen—and an enigmatic creature that may hold their very destiny in its inhuman hands…. But will it prove to be savior or monster?

Excerpt

I’ve enjoyed all the previous books in the series.  This one wasn’t as good.  It had a feeling of a filler book.   Though the characters and writing was very good they didn’t grow much in the story.  The story itself was a little boring compared to the others.  The action and adventure of the previous books aren’t as overwhelming in this one.  This one seemed to be about advancing the overall series plot line and introducing another character.

 

I did enjoy the story and if you are into the series it is one not to miss but it doesn’t read as well as the previous books.  I will be reading the next!

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A Naughty, Naughty Mink by Lynn Stark

A Naughty, Naughty MinkA Naughty, Naughty Mink by Lynn Stark
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand, Inc
Novel:  76,893 Words
Purchase at Bookstrand
Roses:  2
 

[Ménage Amour ManLove: Erotic Alternative Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/M, public exhibition, spanking, paddling, sex toys, HEA]

Mink (Melvin) Montgomery held onto his virginity as he waited for the right man to enter his life. With major changes taking place, it didn’t seem as if he would have time to find love. When he meets the sexy veterinarian Rafe McNeil he realizes he hasn’t felt love until that moment.

Rafe McNeil isn’t looking for love when he returns to Silver. It hadn’t worked out for him before. When he meets the impish Mink he knows he is lost. The man was everything he had ever wanted.

What neither Mink nor Rafe expects is to find their third. When there is a threat to Mink, protection is provided in the form of Caleb Hunter. Caleb is uncertain about beginning a relationship. He doesn’t want to begin something which might leave him hurting. But after years of hiding who he is, he is more than ready to find love and be himself.

Note: This book contains double anal penetration.

Excerpt

This is one of those “fluff” books some talk about.  It’s a bit like candy to me.  If I want an uncomplicated and sweet read this is one like I would choose.  The story line is very quick.   The characters are fun and engaging.

I was disturbed that there are so few explanations for why there are sudden turns in the story.  It is a bit throwing to have things happen out of nowhere.  I also thought that the whole relationship was rushed.  There was no time to get to know the characters or most of their circumstances.

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Kiss of the White Wolf by Cassidy Ryan

Kiss of the White WolfKiss of the White Wolf by Cassidy Ryan
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Total-E-Bound Publishing
Novella:  55,393 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

Hal went looking for a wild weekend, and found more wild than he could ever have hoped for.

Hal’s world has been in a tailspin since he wrote a book exposing police corruption. Seeking respite and distraction, he heads off for a wild weekend in Brighton, hoping for hot guys, loud music and lots of booze. What he gets instead is a near-naked man mountain, bruised, bleeding and suffering from temporary memory loss.

Hal isn’t ready for the news that Luke is a werewolf, and even less prepared for Luke’s declaration that Hal is his life mate. But he can’t seem to walk away when Luke is obviously in trouble, and there is no denying the searing heat that is between them.

The more time they spend together the deeper their connection becomes, until Hal starts to wonder about the whole ‘mate’ thing.

However, there is a cloud of danger hanging over Luke’s head that could destroy everything they have the potential to become…the men who abducted and tortured Luke still have him in their sights.

Excerpt

I just love shifter stories.  I think it’s all that mate stuff, who wouldn’t want someone to want us that way and know that they won’t cheat!

The writing was good but the plot was a little predictable.  It was interesting that this time it was told from Hal’s perspective and Hal isn’t a little helpless male.  There was insta-love once Luke got his senses back.  The characters were well scripted but a little shallow, we really only get glimpses of what made these men.  I was a bit disappointed by not learning more about them.

The characters really made this book.  Luke was what one would expect physically from an alpha wolf but he is also an artist.  Hal is fun and inquisitive.  He is a good man that wants to do the right thing even if it can be dangerous.  Of course like many that read this book I adored Milo.  He is such a sweet little guy.  I really hope there is a follow up book for him.

These books are like candy to me.  I know they are a little too sweet for some but I just adore reading them.  If you want a feel good read with just a hint of trouble this is perfect.

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Crack the Darkest Skies Wide Open an Anthology

Crack the Darkest Skies Wide Open by VariousCrack the Darkest Skies Wide Open by Eric Arvin, Abigail Roux, S.J.D. Peterson, Jason Huffman-Black, S.A. McAuley, and T.J. Klune
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  S.A. McAuley
Novel:  84,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  4
 

Of humanity there are darker tales. Stories that take some squinting to see through. Unconventional stories. Tales that threaten to break the heart by cruel twists of fate, the dogs of war, or demons that are all too real; whether they be of unrequited love or a karmic slap in the face. Happy endings take a time in coming, and some never arrive. But through all the darkness there is light, a glimmer of hope and wonder…if one has the will to see it.

Warning, for the most part these aren’t “happy” stories.  Not all are romantic or love stories and some are just down right rough, so be forewarned.

“The Demon of Jericho” by Eric Arvin

This wasn’t really a “romance” as such.  There is a couple in it but the relationship between the two since what I’d call a romance.  The story involves angels, a demon, a bad sheriff, a hunter, and a cursed city called Jericho.  The writing is interesting in style.  The story has an almost fairly tale flavor to it.  The story is extremely shallow though.  I think the author was going for mysterious, which just made me a little confused.  I never really got into the story itself, it never hooked me in.  I think it just wasn’t my type of writing.

Roses:  3

“A Cruel Thing” by Abigail Roux

Ah, man!  I do try and avoid unhappy stories.  I admit it…I’m a sap:(  I cried even though you know people are going to die.  This is set in WWII, on the doomed Wake Island.  It revolves around two couples and what happens there.  Abigail Roux is a wonderful author.  This is a short story but it pulls you into it quickly.  The characters grab you and make you know them.  This is one excellent read!

Roses:  5

“Wrong” b S.J.D. Peterson

Okaaay, well, I admit the writing is good but I just couldn’t get past the story itself.  The characters aren’t likable at all.  I didn’t like the feel of the story.  I couldn’t connect with any of the characters or storyline.  I was just happy to finish it.  Definitely didn’t like this one.

Roses:  1

“Anguish” by Jason Huffman-Black

This is a very short story.  The name of the character is never given.  I have to admit though the title fits it well.  I think the author did an excellent job with it.

Roses:  4

“Hotel Luz” by S.A. McAuley

This is a story about lost love.  I wasn’t sure about this one.  I don’t believe in cheating, it is one thing to have an open relationship or be in a multiple partnership but another to cheat.  I don’t find it romantic or sexy.  As the story goes along and you find out about these men it becomes fascinating.  This is very well written and pulls you in gradually.  You don’t know what to hope for with these men, should they get back together, stay with their partners or what.  I connected well with them and the story was very satisfying.

Roses:  3

“John & Jackie” by T.J. Klune

Oh, sad but not.  The descriptions and details are wonderful.  The characters are easy to care about.  This is a love story.  It grabs your heart.  It’s not something that is new or different but it is so well written you just have to read it.

Roses:  5

So the hard part how to rate this overall…

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Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

Family Man CullinanFamily Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Novel:  67,154 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Sometimes family chooses you.

How does a man get to be forty without knowing whether he’s gay? That’s a question Vince Fierro is almost afraid to answer. If he is gay, it’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, he can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing for the wrong team.

There’s only one way to settle it, once and for all—head for Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek to the sultry strains of Coltrane, Trey finds himself wanting to help Vinnie figure things out—no promises, and no sex.

It seems like a simple plan, until their “no-sex” night turns into the best date of their lives and forges a connection that complicates everything.

Warning: This book deals with alcoholism, broken promises, and overbearing little sisters.

Excerpt

This is a sweet story, not a lot of sex.  There was a huge buildup to it.  I thought the idea of this book sounded good and the writers always write good stories.  I was a bit disappointed by this one though.  The writing was excellent and the character development was good.  I had a little bit of a hard time with Vince’s change in the story.  It seemed out of nowhere and so complete as to be unreal.  A few more crises with it would have made more sense.  Also it seemed that everything seemed to magically fix itself when something happened.  In overall it just didn’t seem very realistic for a contemporary story line.

Now if it is just the story itself and you can get past the believability factor it is very enjoyable.  The characters are warm and sweet.  The relationship is tender and builds at a fairly good pace.  I did enjoy that part if I just immersed myself in the story itself.

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Melting Ice by D.J. Manly

Melting Ice ManlyMelting Ice by D.J. Manly
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Mojocastle Press
Short Story:  27,677 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Nobel
Roses:  2
 

A young cop, in the closet and isolated, is transferred to the bikers squad, where he is betrayed by a higher ranking officer. When Brian Fuller finds himself in the middle of a field surrounded by a group of notorious outlaw bikers, he is in for the fight of his life.
He wakes up battered and bruised, only to discover that he is the hostage of the gang’s leader, the infamous, brutally handsome Ice. At first, Brian doesn’t understand why he is still alive. It turns out that the man who murdered Ice’s family, is the same one who left Brian for dead… and Ice intends on trading Brian’s life to get him as soon as Brian is strong enough. In the meantime, while Ice waits for Brian to heal, a raging sexual heat between them begins to fuel.
Melting Ice is a story of great passion, sizzling sex, and above all, a love story laced with the unexpected.

Excerpt

Hmmm….Well, this is a short story that is kinda sweet.  I enjoyed the interaction of the characters.  The plot was a little common and predictable.  I usually enjoy these types of stories; this one was just off for me.  The plot was just really, really obvious.  I didn’t buy how the love story developed between the characters.  And finally the near insta-love was just a little much.  I do think if the characters were fleshed out a bit and a the two characters interaction was longer and more involved I could like this story a whole lot more even with an obvious plot.

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How to Raise an Honest Rabbit by Amy Lane

How to Raise an Honest Rabbit by LaneHow to Raise an Honest Rabbit by Amy Lane
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novella:  45,277 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  5
 
A Knitting Novella
Everything about Jeremy has always been a lie—including his last name. When one grift too many ends in tragedy, Jeremy goes straight. But life’s hard for an ex-con, and Jeremy is down to panhandling and hope when Rance Crawford offers him work at a tiny alpaca farm and fiber mill. Jeremy takes him up on the job, thinking this could be his last chance to be a good man, and meets Aiden, who is growing into a better one.As Aiden comes of age, Jeremy finds himself desperate to grow up, too, because Aiden starts looking  to him for things Jeremy doesn’t know how to give. Being honest is terrifying for a man who’s learned to rabbit at the first sign of conflict—more so when Aiden gives Jeremy a reason to stay that can’t be packed up and carried in a knapsack. When Jeremy’s past comes knocking at their door, can Jeremy trust enough in Aiden and his new home to answer bravely back?

Excerpt

This series is like candy to me.   Each book is so sweet.  I absolutely love the covers too.  (Aren’t they the cutest!)  So on to the story.  Jeremy is a man who had the unlucky break to be born to a grifter.  We are never told what happened to his mother.  Jeremy doesn’t even know his last name for sure.  After his father is killed he tries a check kiting scheme and can’t go through with it.  He is arrested for it and spends 2 years in jail.  He is determined to go straight.  Life is hard as an ex-con and he is desperate for work.  Along comes Rance Crawford who picks him up and gives him work and a place to stay.  This is where he meets the young Aiden.

This story is just a good old fashioned love story.  There isn’t a whole lot of angst.  Jeremy has a whole lot of fear of commitment and now he is committing to changing his life, staying in one place, and loving someone.  The characters really drive Amy Lane’s books.  They are vivid and full of life.  You can just picture these people so clearly.  The story lines are good as well.  The Knitting series is tamer than some of her other books when it comes to sex.  This just makes the romance all the more tender in my mind.  The story analogies using knitting are wonderful as well.  I use to knit some and it makes me want to start again.

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The Grave Watchers by Missouri Dalton

The Grave Watchers by MissouriThe Grave Watchers by Missouri Dalton
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Torquere Press
Novel:  51,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Death rides a pale horse, and she is a beauty. Since man first buried his dead, she has watched over them. With her hand she raises those select few, those disturbed and maimed, to new life. These risen souls are duty bound to protect the souls still buried and resting. The souls restless and walking.

Sebastien Crowle is such a watchman. But as a villain so profane and perverse enters the scene with a crime the likes of which Sebastien has never seen, can he stop the villain and confront the ghosts of his own past as they begin to rear their heads?

There are a lot of different but interesting characters in this story.  Of course it is all told from the perspective of Sebastien.  Sebastien is still getting over his one major relationship.  It ended when his lover tried to “kill him.”  Shortly after he is banned from England for 50 years and Sebastian with his companion, Bones, buries himself in small town life in the US.  Sebastian is finally drawn back out to do his job by a grave being disturbed in a way that is eerily similar to his own grave disturbance.

Excerpt

Really the characters are funny and interesting.  The author did a good job overall in trying to show them as just people that happen to have a very interesting job and long life.  They make the story.

The premise of the book was different.  I really enjoyed the world building and the story.   The story has huge potential for going on and creating a wonderful series.

I did have some issues.  I have to wonder a little about the main character.  As a man from England and fighting a lot of things from the modern world the language at times didn’t fit the characters.  It may have not happened really often but did throw me when it happens.  Also the editing was bad.  Not horrible but bad.  I normally don’t blame the author but in this case it was a little too obvious.  The writing at times didn’t make sense and so threw me and caused me to jump out of the story.  Not a good thing.  The story itself was a little shallow.  Information is slow to come and when it does it is a little too late to not cause confusion.

Even with all of the issues I had I did like the story.  I think it needs work but is a very good foundation for an amazing story.

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