Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Coil by L.A. Gilbert

The CoilThe Coil by L.A. Gilbert
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  90,080 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

Sandwich-maker Mattie Green has one goal: escape San Diego, move to New York, and attend art school. But to make this a reality, he needs to get his GED—not easy, since he can’t read or write. Until he can, he’s stuck working at the diner and selling himself on the side.

Mattie’s legitimate job isn’t without perks. Every day the quiet, sophisticated Simon Castle comes by to work on his latest book. Mattie wants more than to pour Simon’s coffee and make his lunch, but he’s sure Simon is out of his league—until suddenly he’s not.

Simon Castle’s life is complicated, built around his career and a son who requires a lot of time and attention. It’s not a life well-suited to the inclusion of even a part-time prostitute, so he resolves to keep his relationship with Mattie casual. However, the longer he knows Mattie, the deeper his feelings become. The idea of him with another man tortures Simon, but he can’t ask Mattie to be his alone and jeopardize Mattie’s hopes for New York—no matter how much he wants Mattie to stay.

 Excerpt

All right one thing niggled at me from the start…Castle? Really?  *sigh*  Anyway, Mattie is a struggling artist.  Struggling moneywise but not only, he grew up in a bad environment and dropped out of school.  Mattie is illiterate.  This is not something that most people are aware of becoming a greater problem in the US.  Mattie is improving himself.  Determined to get into art school in New York, he is taking courses and getting his GED so he can reach for his dream.  Simon Castle is a writer.  He goes into the shop where Mattie works everyday while his Autistic son is in school.  He can’t help but notice Mattie but Simon has been hurt before and doesn’t want to risk himself or his son’s fragile world.

I have a cousin that is a high functioning Autistic.  Just like Simon’s son, Jamie, my cousin has his own quirks.  Unfortunately because he was high functioning my cousin wasn’t as lucky to be diagnosised as young as Jamie.  I can see why Simon was so protective though.  It is such a helpless feeling for parents when they can only do so much for their child.  I do think that Simon took it way too far though.  He used Jamie as a crutch.  At times in the story I really didn’t like him.  Mattie always seemed way younger than he was supposed to be.  I really think that was overplayed as well.

I loved the story itself.  I thought the author did a very good job with tackling some difficult subjects.  As I have mentioned though the characters were a little off.  I have a hard time with a lot of Mattie’s behavior fitting how his life worked.  I also thought that the author flipped him around too much.  One moment he is talking with horrible grammar and the like and the next he is all mature sounding.  I didn’t care for the flip-flop.  Simon was better though I wasn’t sure I liked him.

I did like how the author used both main characters POV’s.  I think it helped add detail that would have been sorely lacking if there was only one.  There wouldn’t have been the vibrancy to the writing without both.  I didn’t much care for the Prologue though.  It really gave a spoiler effect to the whole of the story.

So how to wrap up all of this?  While I liked the story, I had a harder time with the characterizations and the use of the Prologue.  So while the story is rich and vibrant with a wonderful undercurrent with social issues, it didn’t quite hit the mark for a five rose review but not so bad for a 3.

rose-4

Advertisements

The Good Fight by Andrew Grey

The Good FightThe Good Fight by Andrew Grey
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  62,536 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Jerry Lincoln has a problem: his Sioux Falls IT consulting business has more work than one man can handle. Luckily, that means he can hire some help. Jerry just hopes his new employee, John Black Raven, ends up being more helpful than distracting—but John’s deep eyes and long hair are very distracting.

John came to town for an education and a chance at a life he couldn’t have on the reservation, but what’s important to him now is getting a job and keeping it. Six months ago, his sister died, and now her children are in foster care. Despite having the law on his side, John can’t get custody—can’t even see his niece and nephew.

As Jerry and John grow closer, John discovers he doesn’t have to struggle alone. Jerry helps him win visitation rights and provides much-needed support. Yet their victories aren’t without setbacks. Child Services is tangled up with money, politics, and red tape, and Native American children are their bread and butter. But John and Jerry are determined to fight the good fight and to win—in more ways than one.

Excerpt

Jerry is a self-employed man whose business is growing faster than he can handle.  He decides he needs help.  One of the men he hires is an American Indian, John Black Raven.  John has been struggling to get his sister’s children back from the foster care system since they were taken after his sister’s death.  Due to the way the system works John is fought at every step.  Jerry starts to fall for John right away and the two begin a relationship and struggle to get John’s nephew and niece back to him.

I loved the concept of the story.  The information put out there about American Indians and the struggle they sometimes face today.  I lived near a reservation as a child and I can tell you it is so sad and depressing.  I know some of those kids thought life would give them no options.  The story itself though fell flat.  Yes, there were tough times getting the kids back but really it wasn’t very angst producing.  You knew those kids would end up where they belonged so it was hard to get into the thought of John actually losing them.

John should have been a much stronger character.  He has been fighting for months and should have already done many of the things that Jerry suggests.  It makes no sense with the character that he wouldn’t have done many of these obvious suggestions.  Jerry also I have issues with.  I thought for a man that has such ready access to a lawyer he would at least asked one for advice.  Not necessarily hired one, John’s pride and all that, but to at least mention the trouble to his own lawyer would make sense.  The characters have a split personality with conflicting aspects of their personalities.

The romantic relationship was easy.  So easy for them there was no real conflict.  I think there would have been lots more conflict between the two men.  The story loses something by making it so easy on the two men to create a relationship.

All of that said it is a nice little read when you don’t want so much drama in your read.  The book projects a “happy” atmosphere overall.  It is simple and uncomplicated to read.  I would say a comfort book but it doesn’t quite reach that level for me.  This is one of the few reads I wish for a half but half of a rose doesn’t really make sense;)

rose-3

City of Foxes by Cornelia Grey

cityoffoxes_3d_500 

The last thing Jake Sullivan wanted to do upon returning to the city was get involved in the ongoing struggle between the organized militia and the fox people. After saving a fox child from bullies, however, he finds himself in the heart of the foxes’ slums, where showing his face as a human can be just as dangerous as messing with the militia in the city proper. The proximity of Liam, a white fox with healing powers, certainly doesn’t make things any easier. The attractive fox throws his own powers into an uncontrollable overdrive, not to mention his libido.

When several of the fox people are captured by the militia, Jake’s presence is like salt on old wounds. Prejudices and politics flare, and Jake’s secrets threaten to ruin his shaky alliance. If they are to save the foxes taken by the militia for experimentation, it will take all the cunning and power the clan can muster. Unfortunately, that also means they’ll have to put their trust the one place they’d never imagined: in the hands of a human.

Expert

This is a short story that I find I like but I wish was much longer.  Jake is human and comes across some bullies that are mistreating a child who turns out to be a fox, he gets injured and meets Liam, who is  a  white fox and is acting as the leader of his group  in the absence of the chief who was taken to the “lab”. This is a story that is told from Jake’s point of view and the humor between the characters is fast pasted, and has some lines that just makes you laugh out loud. The story is fast over all, grabs at you and is almost impossible to put down, the only sad part is that it ends, but it ends and leaves you feeling like what?? I know I wanted to flip a page and find out more so I Hope another book is coming and this is the first. The author has made me a true fan with this story the writing is humorous, fast pasted and just fun

A very sweet love story that I would have to keep  in my re read bag.

rose-3

Stepping Stones By Carol Lynne

getthumb

Stepping Stones by Carol Lynne
Reviewer: Leenie
Publisher: Stiff Rain Press
Short Story: 85 pages
Purchase:  Stiff Rain Press , Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses: 4

Donovan has made a new life for himself, far away from his twin .   Declan and all of the feelings that he’s kept bottled up inside for many  years. His friend and sometimes lover Marc has helped a lot, and things are going well until Declan calls, asking for help.

Unable to deny his twin, Donovan pushes aside his feelings and mounts a rescue, taking Declan away from an abusive situation. Between Donovan and Marc, they set Declan on the road to healing, exploring their relationship to the fullest. When Declan’s past comes back to haunt them, they’ll have to pull together to keep each other safe.

Can they make a new life together and survive the hardships they face?

Excerpt

To be honest this is one of my favorite Carol Lynne books, I know that it topic may not be in everyone’s comfort zone as it involves have twincest as well as aménage relationship in it but Ms Lynne handles it in a truly touching way.  The story is about Donovan and his twin Declan, who have been separated but some miscommunications and unfortunate circumstances for a number of years. When tragedy strikes Delcan turns to his twin for help.  Donovan and Marc come to his rescue. The book also deals with domestic violence and abuse, but also surviving it and coming out of it a stronger person. The relationship between the characters can all stand alone as well as together which makes it such a good read. I truly find this worth the read. Ms Lynne wrote a beautiful book
**This is a revised and updated version of a previously released title
rose-4

Inherit the Sky by Ariel Tachna

Inherit the SkyInherit the Sky by Ariel Tachna
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  67,042 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Caine Neiheisel is stuck in a dead-end job at the end of a dead-end relationship when the chance of a lifetime falls in his lap. His mother inherits her uncle’s sheep station in New South Wales, Australia, and Caine sees it as the opportunity to start over, out on the range where his stutter won’t hold him back and his willingness to work will surely make up for his lack of knowledge.

Unfortunately, Macklin Armstrong, the foreman of Lang Downs who should be Caine’s biggest ally, alternates between being cool and downright dismissive, and the other hands are more amused by Caine’s American accent than they are moved by his plight… until they find out he’s gay and their amusement turns to scorn. It will take all of Caine’s determination—and an act of cruel sabotage by a hostile neighbor—to bring the men of Lang Downs together and give Caine and Macklin a chance at love.

Excerpt

This was an interesting read.  The writing was well researched and I could imagine the language and most of the setting for the story.  I think, as far as I know, the author gave a good impression of Australia and the Outback.  I, of course, haven’t been there so can’t say it is or isn’t accurate.  The language and the experiences were well portrayed.  As far as the relationship in the story, it seemed well played out.  I can’t imagine for a “cowboy” anywhere it would be easy to come out and at times downright dangerous.  I did enjoy the way that was portrayed and how Caine’s life was changed so drastically.

There really wasn’t anything outstanding or different though about the story.  I didn’t really feel I was reading anything I couldn’t have got from many other authors out there.  I enjoyed it but it wasn’t great.

rose-3

Lorcan’s Desire by S.J.D. Peterson

Lorcan's DesireLorcan’s Desire by S.J.D. Peterson
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  63,789 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Despite the loving support of his family, Lorcan James wants to try life on his own, so at twenty-one, he finds himself walking halfway across the country in search of adventure. What he finds is desperation, desperation that leads him straight to Whispering Pines Ranch and right into the path of its strong, arrogant, gorgeous owner, who awakens something in Lorcan he didn’t even know existed.

Quinn Taylor is up to his neck in grief and frustration dealing with a neighboring rancher who wants nothing more than to see him go belly-up. He doesn’t need more complications, but from the moment he lays eyes on Lorcan, his world turns upside down. Despite finding in Quinn what his heart craves, Lorcan refuses to be Quinn’s dirty little secret—and Quinn isn’t the only one vying for Lorcan’s attention. Ranch hand Jess will happily declare his love for Lorcan to the world, something Quinn won’t offer—something Lorcan needs above all else.

Excerpt

Quinn  is a jerk.  I never really connected with him.  I just have a horrible impression of him as a selfish idiot.  It was always me, me, me.  I just can’t make myself like him and am glad that Lorcan found Jess.  I did think Jess deserves better though.

This book had wonderful writing, plot development and characters, but I never really got into the story.  Something was missing.  I just felt detached from the whole of it.  I enjoyed the descriptions and the story line.  I think the second is worth reading even if I wasn’t onboard with this one.  I’m hoping the second book will help with my disconnect.

rose-3

Persistence of Memory by J.M. Snyder

Persistence of MemoryPersistence of Memory by J.M. Snyder
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  JMS Books
Short Story:  23, 084 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  3
 

Five years ago Joah was culled — kidnapped by the government to be trained as a soldier. In the process, they erased his memory, destroying his past, his dreams, everything but his name. Armed with that alone, Joah escapes from the facility in search of someone to help him recall the man he used to be.

That person is Tobin, Joah’s husband, who never gave up hope of finding him again. He refuses to believe that the strength of his love alone won’t be enough to bring back Joah’s memories of their shared lives, and he’s determined to bring back the man beneath the soldier, the man he knows has to love him.

But an alarm in the chip blocking Joah’s memories was triggered at his escape, and if it isn’t removed soon, it will shriek his life away. Removing it won’t bring back his past, and may destroy the present that Tobin has tried so hard to build between them. How can the love they once shared possibly survive?

NOTE: This e-book was a finalist for the 2008 EPPIE Award in the GLBT Category.

Excerpt

This was a well written short. The characters are emotionally catching. The descriptions are vivid and colorful. I wish there was more depth to the story but given the plot line I can see why it wasn’t. I think the idea of the story was interesting and well thought out but obvious. I enjoyed but didn’t love.

rose-3

Catch My Breath by M.J. O’Shea

Catch My BreathCatch My Breath by M.J. O’Shea
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  107,677 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Danny Bright was born to entertain. He just needs his big break. So when he hears that Blue Horizon Records is holding auditions looking for the next big thing, Danny jumps at the chance. It doesn’t turn out exactly as he imagined, though. Instead of getting solo contracts, Danny and four other guys are put into a boy band.

Innocent, idealistic Elliot Price thinks he’s headed for college. An impulsive decision to sing in the local talent search changes all that. A bigwig producer happens to see him, hands him a business card, and turns Elliot’s life upside down.

Elliot and Danny are close from the beginning. They love all the guys, but it’s different with each other. Soon their friendship turns into feelings more intense than either of them can ignore. The other three boys only want Danny a nd Elliot to be happy, but when their management team and record label discover two of their biggest tween heartthrobs are in a relationship, they’re less than pleased. Danny and Elliot find themselves in the middle of a circle of lies and cover-ups, all with one bottom line—money. They have to stay strong and stick together if they don’t want to lose themselves… and each other.

Excerpt

(I have read that this appears to some as Fan-Fic.  I admit to having no knowledge of this group that they talk about in current pop music.  I do not follow any of that sort of thing, to me this is just a regular book but thought I would give fair warning to others.)

The writing is excellent with the characters being fun and likable.  The story drags a bit in places.  I think there were a bit too many lovely-dovey scenes.   I loved all the characters and their interactions throughout the book.  (I wanted to see Sasha get what he deserved too!)  I would LOVE to see a follow up book.  There seems to be so much left up in the air.  I think they need to be tied up a little to make me comfortable with the ending.

rose-3

One Two Three, Shatter by Joey James Hook

One Two Three, ShatterOne Two Three, Shatter by Joey James Hook
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Silver Publishing
Novel:  155,517 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  5
 

Life was harsh and cruel to Kaleb Xander from very early on, and he was never given a moment’s rest to breathe and recover from the misery. Once freed from years in a cage of wrath and perverted lust, he found the real world to be a mere step up from what he was used to. Abuse was simply coming in different guises and through new avenues now.

All it should take is one person to reach out their hand and save this lost soul–but Kaleb is more complicated than that. It’ll take a miracle, and he’s banking on someone to be just that for him before he gives it all up.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains scenes of rape or near rape and severe abuse. This book contains scenes of MF and MM intimacy.

 Excerpt

Whew!  What a book.  Kaleb is a broken man.  Abused horribly he runs away as a teen never finishing school.  This book is all about recovering from something so horrific most of us don’t want to even acknowledge that it exists.

Kaleb’s life is actually told more through his few relationships.  He struggles to create any relationships that last and even then they are very tumultuous.  Kaleb doesn’t know how to let anyone into his life.  Sid, his first true friend, Anna, a long time girlfriend and mother of his daughter, Stevie, his twin, and Trent, his boyfriend.  Kaleb is so broken he turns to drugs, heroin to escape what is in his head.  It is hard to blame the man when he has known so much pain.  He can’t even love his daughter believing that his genes being passed on is a horror.

The writing by the author is just amazing.  You can just feel Kaleb’s pain and sadness.  The characters are so real.  There is little “prettying” them up.  It’s a raw story.  There are times you hate Kaleb and wonder why he has to go the hard route and others you hurt for him.  I loved the story.  I’m not sure I would call this a romance as such though there is that in the story.

Kaleb talks a lot of his uncles saving him but I have a hard time with that.  I wondered why they couldn’t do more but they were criminals so a mistrust of police and a credibility issue would have been there.  Also the whole of the account of his mother, that portion of the story isn’t very credible.  Now I won’t say it couldn’t happen that way, I’m not that familiar with the system but I really doubt that his mother couldn’t have got him, that she was jailed for attempted kidnapping.  That with the information you get at the end of the story makes me doubt it.

This small niggle isn’t enough to put me off the story because it to me is fairly insignificant.  So rating this was different for me because of the fact to me it wasn’t a romance and that is what I read.  This was such a story though I have to give it a high rating because of how it drew me in and produced so much raw emotions with me without making it unrealistic.

rose-5