Monthly Archives: February 2014

Out of the Blue by Josh Lanyon

Out of the BlueOut of the Blue by Josh Lanyon
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Just Joshin
Short Story:  25,713 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

France, 1916. The Great War. High above the carnage in the trenches, British and German aces joust like knights of old for control of the skies. The strain and tension of living every day on the edge of death leads to dangerous choices and wild risks. When British ace Bat Bryant’s past catches up with him, he strikes out in panic and kills the man threatening him with exposure. But there’s a witness: the big, handsome American pilot Cowboy Cooper.

Cowboy, it seems, has his own ideas of rough justice.

Excerpt

I am going to start this out stating that I do not traditionally like historical because of the secrecy that must exist. There can usually not be a HEA.

The writing is wonderfully done. I do wish that there had been a bit more detail. Most of the book is fairly frank and short. Still you catch a glimpse of what these men lived through in WWI as pilots. Most didn’t live. The statistic given of 11 days being a pilots life span is one I have heard before and it is startling. You feel for them.

The characters are interesting and you care some for them but they aren’t as fully “fleshed” out as one would hope. You get nothing on Cowboy’s background and little more on Bat’s. You don’t get a good enough grip on what drives these men beyond the war. It leads to a lack of attachment to them and so makes it harder to approach Cowboy’s actions in the beginning of the story with any hope of understanding. Most readers aren’t going to like Cowboy because of his actions. To me it really didn’t feel like non-con but I know others will feel differently.

The plot was fairly simple and not involved. To be honest the blurb wraps up most of it. This isn’t a long read so there really isn’t much to tell with it. I could guess where the story was heading from the beginning so it was more about how the author choose to get there.

Overall it was a decent read but nothing really great. I enjoyed it but didn’t think it anything to wonderful.

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A Prideless Man by Amber Kell

A Prideless ManA Prideless Man by Amber Kell
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Totally Bound Publishing
Short Story:  24,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Book three in the Supernatural Mates Series

Sometimes people aren’t quite what they seem.

James Everett moved to a shifter town to escape his shifter-hating father. Little did he expect to catch the eye of the town’s sheriff. Louis Arktos can’t resist the new human.

Something about the other man calls to his bear shifter nature and makes him want to protect the human from all the dangers in the world. When James’ life is turned inside out, Lou rushes to save him from unexpected dangers and most of all from himself.

Excerpt

If you have read any of Amber Kell’s books, especially the others in the series, then you know what to expect of her writing style.  If you don’t like that kind of writing don’t read it.

This isn’t the best written, plotted, and detailed, with great characters books out there.  Amber Kell’s books are more about enjoyment.  This is light read with fun characters and a guaranteed HEA.

Lou is the Sherriff and he has been interested in James for a while now.  James believes his life is too much for anyone else to handle.  He is in constant pain that is BARELY control by his medication.  Lou won’t take no for an answer where his mate is concerned.

I enjoyed the characters and the read.  This is not a deep read nor is it the best writing.  The plot line is simple and easy to follow, predictable.  The characters are a bit shallow.  The overall read is a simple and fun read.  This is a read to have when the day has been hard and you need a pick me up that is easy.

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Bound by Honor by S.E. Jakes

Bound by HonorBound by Honor by S.E. Jakes
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing, Ltd
Novel:  58,570 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

A promise forces two men to bare themselves…completely.

Men of Honor, Book 1
One year ago on a mission gone wrong, Tanner James failed to save the life of Jesse, his Army Ranger teammate. Before dying in that South American jungle, Jesse extracted a promise that won’t let Tanner rest until it’s fulfilled—no matter what it costs him.
Damon Price loved Jesse, but problems in their relationship had come to a head right before Jesse left on his final mission. Now a reluctant Dom and a man still in mourning, he’s not happy when Tanner appears at his BDSM club. And even less happy with Jesse’s last request—that Tanner sub for him for one night.
After a rough start, Damon realizes that the tough soldier, despite his protests, aches for someone to take control. And Tanner senses a hesitance, an insecurity in Damon that makes him wonder if he’s simply a placeholder for Jesse, or if their tentative connection could grow into something more.
For Jesse’s sake, they agree to try one weekend together. Then duty calls, and a series of attacks that have been happening near the club hits too close to home, making both men wonder if giving their hearts is a maneuver fraught with too much risk…

Warning: Contains rough language, rougher sex and warriors who fall hard for each other.

 Excerpt

I must admit that at the beginning of the book I did REALLY not like the story.  The way that BDSM was portrayed and the military men just wasn’t sitting well.  Most special forces men aren’t these over the top power looking guys.  (Now from the description of LC I could believe him to be one.)  Those men are in shape, have to be, but a lot of them are ordinary in order to fit in that is how they usually are.  Now there are exceptions but it seemed like LC was the only norm.

The story did get better.  Actual BDSM in the story is not really a factor.  It is more restraints than anything.  I never warmed up to Damon, Tanner gave him too many chances to stay instead of every time running.  As a military man I have a harder time believing that Damon wouldn’t have seen to at least some of his issues but that is just me.  The relationship really doesn’t develop.  It just starts and has these jerky movements and then it is full blown love…umm, yeah, no real development.  I just didn’t see this as being at all realistic.

The writing wasn’t as good as I had hoped.  It wasn’t bad it just didn’t make me believe.  There isn’t great detail and it is rather jerky in development.  The characters aren’t great.  I got LC more than the main characters.  Tanner has very little background other than he seems to be a brat of a rich kid.  Damon also has bits of information thrown out there but I ended up still feeling like I never knew them.  There was just not a connection made to these characters.

The storyline itself was interesting.  I think I could have enjoyed it more if the development was better.  I liked the premise of the story and the mystery of Damon’s background and who was after them.  I didn’t like how the author put it all together.  Still I found some enjoyment in the read so it wasn’t all bad.

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Shane and Trey by Anyta Sunday

Shane and TreyShane and Trey by Anyta Sunday
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Self
Novel:  268 Pages
Purchase at Amazon
Roses:  2
 

Shane is a little bit screwed, he’s just started college and stuck rooming with that bastard Trey. His sister’s boyfriend. His sister’s damn fine boyfriend. Uh-oh. This so wasn’t going to happen. But try as he might, there’s just a little too much to ignore between the two of them…

This was a nice read.  I think there is the need of some editing but it isn’t HORRIBLE.  Shane and his twin June are getting ready for college.  They along with June’s boyfriend Trey are all going to the same school which is close by.  Shane and Trey aren’t friendly.  Trey gave Shane a “wedgey” after a game of field hockey that Shane’s team won.  Shane avoided Trey when he could.  Unfortunately for Shane Trey ends up being his roommate at college.  Things begin happening between the two that starts to make Shane wonder if Trey likes him.  Worst of all Shane finds himself returning the feelings.

This was a mostly sweet romance.  I thought there would be more trouble with June in the whole mixture.  I don’t really feel there was cheating though it did come close a time or two.  The unfortunate thing is there were a lot of things that threw me out of the story.  I could tell the author wasn’t American and I had a really hard time figuring out where the story was set.  There were a lot of slang words used overseas but not in America yet it seemed that the author set it in America.  I’m still confused over that.

I also think the whole thing with Trey’s family was a bit overdone.  I don’t think parents would be that remote to their child over an incident like that.  I just didn’t see that.  There were also a few threads left hanging.  I don’t think it really detracted from the story but the story itself didn’t feel as complete because of that.

Overall it was a good read but just didn’t hit the mark for me.  I really wanted to like it and the overall underlying story line is good but the writing just made it too difficult to stay with the story.

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Catch a Ghost by S.E. Jakes

Catch a GhostCatch a Ghost by S.E. Jakes
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Riptide Publishing
Novel:  65,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Everyone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone. But his boss at Extreme Escapes, Ltd. has just assigned Proph a new partner and a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he has to confront both head-on.

Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full-time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still, he’s determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, on a case that resurrects his own painful past.

Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches while fighting their own dangerous attraction. When they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners must trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.

 Excerpt

This is an action book…or it is suppose to be.  I assumed that would be very true going into the story, but Prophet right off is in casts and is constantly hurt.  This was a bit irritating since you can tell he is the big action guy.  Also the basic characterizations of these two men are close to what they are in the Cut & Run series.  I didn’t like these two as much either.

Prophet is a big badass and Tom has a rep for getting his partners killed.  So why would a man that likes Prophet and wants him to run the company someday put these two together.  This is not explained in this book.  The writing was good.  I thought the author did a good job in trying to keep the two men’s past shady and mysterious.  I think maybe the execution of the plot was a bit of an issue.  Prophet is just not likable and Tom I just didn’t understand.  I didn’t get the relationship either.  I would think there would be SOMETHING, just a little something besides attraction for a relationship as intense as they seem to act like it is to develop.  I just didn’t see it.

I liked the book.  I know it seems like I didn’t.  I just didn’t connect to the characters and see the relationship.  The last part of the story actually gets pretty good.  I was just starting to get the characters a little more when BAM!  It all blows up and is over…WHAT!?!  The author picks a really difficult place for me to like to come back to the series.  I mean why would I want to if it looks like Prophet is going to hook up with another guy and one I’m not sure I like either?

I think this is a good book but could have been better.  The premise behind it is solid and interesting there just needed to be a little more between the characters to get me into and liking the story.  As it was I just couldn’t.  I will most likely read the next book because of the improvement at the end of this one with the hope that Prophet doesn’t go there!

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Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan

Disasterology 101Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  MLR Press, LLC
Novel:  114,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Kevin Morrison had it all. A house he worked hard for, a loving wife, and three beautiful children. But it wasn’t until his marriage ended that he realized what the void he’d felt almost all his life meant. Coming out as a gay man at thirty-six is not an easy feat, but he is determined to be true to his heart. Meeting a man who shares his values, and is good with his children would be a bonus, but when the guy arrives in a uniquely wrapped package, and has very specific handling instructions, Kevin needs to decide if he’s up for that kind of love.

Obsessed with order and symmetry, and a paralyzing fear of germs, Cedric Haughton-Disley has lived with isolation and loneliness as long as he can remember. Desperate to be normal, he makes some much-needed changes in his life. If he can commit to his treatment, he might very well be able to procure some quality of life… even if that’s all he can get, as finding love and having a relationship are only possible in Cedric’s wildest dreams. But when a chance encounter leaves Cedric wishing for more, he decides to take a leap of faith, and pursue the guy he wants.

Together the two men make an unlikely match. Cedric needs organization, and Kevin represents chaos. In order to stay together they both need to compromise, but will they be able to deal with Cedric’s issues and the potential disaster, or let it break them apart?

Excerpt

The storyline in this book is a bit slow.  There is a lot of going over the same ground in regards to Cedric’s OCD and germaphobia that at times got to be a bit much.  I understand the author’s usage of this in order to portray the character’s illness but it was a bit of overkill.

Now in regards to the storyline, though it moves slowly I enjoyed it.  Cedric is an adorable character that you just have so much sympathy for.  He is easily relatable for me.  Kevin is a bit different.  He takes Cedric’s condition a little too easily.  Yes, he fights it a bit at first and there is some struggle near the end but he comes out a little too “perfect” for reality.  It would have made a bit more sense if struggled to deal more with Cedric’s condition instead of sticking to the sex angle.

The writing was really good for me.  I enjoyed the descriptions given and how the author built up the story.  Warning Cedric’s character is a bit of a dichotomy.  He is rich but dresses often like a “thug”, he has trouble with kids and germs but seems to get along rather well with them, he comes off all aggressive and then all fragile, his speech has American and British slang and usage.  I think this actually makes for a more interesting character.  Kevin is a bit flatter.  I just didn’t get into his character as much.  He doesn’t draw me into his life like Cedric does.

Overall it was a fun and sweet read.  I think the ending did leave a lot to be desired.  When you combine Kevin’s character, the overkill on the illness, and the ending, I have to say I wasn’t as impressed with the read as I hoped.  Enjoyable but not a GREAT read.

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Spook Squad by Jordan Castillo Price

Spook SquadSpook Squad by Jordan Castillo Price
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  JCP Books LLC
Novel:  107,800 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Everyone enjoys peace and tranquility, and Victor Bayne is no exception. He goes to great lengths to maintain a harmonious home with his partner, Jacob. Although the cannery is huge, it’s grown difficult to avoid the elephant in the room…the elephant with the letters FPMP scrawled on its hide.

Once Jacob surrendered his PsyCop badge, he infiltrated the Federal Psychic Monitoring Program. In his typical restrained fashion, he hasn’t been sharing much about what he actually does behind its vigilantly guarded doors. And true to form, Vic hasn’t asked. In fact, he would prefer not to think about the FPMP at all, since he’s owed Director Dreyfuss an exorcism since their private flight to PsyTrain.

While Vic has successfully avoided FPMP entanglement for several months, now his debt has finally come due.

 Excerpt

I have liked the series though Vic’s attitude is starting to grate.  This is the seventh book in the series.  There was quite a wait for this one.  I’m lucky I waited until later to start the series so I didn’t have to wait so long.

I must admit to big disappointment with this book.  The plot is slow.  It takes a while to really get into the book.  Jacob isn’t in the book very much and when he is it is fairly superficial.  There is one scene near the end that Jacob is important but not much else.  There are glimpses of Crash, who the author has said will be getting his own book.  Lisa is bigger in this story but even her character is shallow.  I had a feeling that this book was more about bridging Vic’s old and new lives.

I did enjoy the mystery and story.  The ending really is much better and fun.  The writing is excellent.  I have always enjoyed the author’s use of description.  It is different from many other books I have read.  This difference makes for a much more realistic and interesting read.  The characters, for this book, aren’t as well rounded.  They appear much more shallow and unreadable.  They tend to read flat.  The relationship between Lisa and “?” moves really fast.  Vic seems to not struggle much with the relationship at all.  This doesn’t seem very realistic considering who this man is to Vic.  I seem to remember Vic trying to stay clean but he appears still very much the addict in this book.  It even drives some of his actions.

Overall, this read just isn’t up to this author’s usual standards.  It was still good just not as good as I thought it would be.  Between the lack in the characters and the slow plot development the read really dragged for me.  I really hope to see the next book be more typical of this author’s writing.

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Dex in Blue by Amy Lane

Dex in BlueDex in Blue by Amy Lane
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  120,308 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

Johnnies: Book Two

Ten years ago David Worral had plans to go to college and the potential for a beautiful future in front of him. One tragic accident later, he fled to California and reinvented himself as Dex, top porn model of Johnnies.

Dex’s life is a tangled mess now, but the guys he works with only see the man who makes them believe even porn stars can lead normal lives. When Kane, one of Dex’s coworkers, gets kicked out of his house, the least Dex can do is give him a place to stay. Kane may be a hyperactive muscle-bound psycho, but he’s also a really nice guy. What could be the harm?

Except nothing is simple—not sex, not love, and not the goofy kid with the big dick and bigger heart who moves his life into Dex’s guest room. When they start negotiating fractured pasts and broken friends, Dex wonders if Kane’s honest nature can untangle the sadness that stalled his once-promising future. With Kane by his side, Dex just might be able to reclaim the boy he once was—and if he can do that, he can give Kane the home and the family he deserves.

Excerpt

This is actually a companion book rather than a book 2.  The time line is the same for the first book Chase in Shadows and we view what events happen in that book from Dex and Kane’s point of view along with Dex and Kane’s story.

I love this author’s writing.  The characters are usually vividly portrayed with “warts and all”.  Kane/Carlos is not well educated but a very sweet character.  He loves animals and has adopted ones that aren’t usually as well loved.  Kane loves them and manages in the story to make other love those critters, or at least hate less, too.  Dex/David is a caregiver and planner.  If something needs to happen he tries to make it happen.  Dex is a much or complex character with issues that reflect that.

As far are the plot line of the story, it holds together well.  It isn’t the emotional draw and crush that Chase in Shadow was so it made for a bit of an easier read.  There was only the one hiccup for me and that was Dex and how he falls into this relationship.  Dex seems so against risking his heart again and has issue with the age difference but falls pretty fast for someone with those issues.  Kane is slower to figure things out than he is which if not for Dex’s past would make sense.  As I said small hiccup and really didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment.

The read was a solid piece of work.  You feel the characters and the angst level is just enough to keep the story from getting flat.   Overall I enjoyed the book.

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Lycan Partnership by Ariel Tachna

Lycan PartnershipLycan Partnership by Ariel Tachna
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  80,476 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

A spin-off of the Partnership in Blood series. 

By the time the alpha of the Morvan werewolf pack approaches l’Institut Marcel Chavinier for help solving his people’s fertility problems, pack numbers have dwindled and the remaining members are desperate. Though the wizards at l’Institut have no experience with werewolves, their lore, or their brand of magic, Raymond agrees to help.

At l’ANS headquarters, Raymond finds Marc Gourlin, a young wizard fascinated with werewolves. Marc agrees to visit the werewolves’ home to study their rituals for the source of the problem. But when he arrives, he finds himself distracted by Adenet Silaire, the pack shaman. The attraction between them is powerful, but though Marc suspects he might be Adenet’s mate, Adenet rebuffs him. Marc is a man, and Adenet’s sense of responsibility will not let him take a male mate when the pack so desperately needs children.

Meanwhile, Jean and Raymond discover the Aveu de Sang allows a vampire’s Avoué to calm his inner beast. For Jean and Orlando, this is wonderful news—but it only convinces Thierry how much Sebastian is missing out on because they cannot form an Aveu de Sang. Determined to give his partner everything he can, Thierry sets out to recreate the bond denied them by Sebastien’s past.

Excerpt

I enjoyed this book quite a bit.  I actually recognized Tristian when he came into the book; I read his story looooong ago.  The writing was well done.  I think this author really does do a good job with her writing.  The world is complex yet simple to understand and the descriptions are vivid enough to bring you into the story.  The characters are real enough that they are enjoyable.  They aren’t perfect but they are realistic.

The storyline is fairly simple and really the only thing that I can gripe much about is how the story is split up with all the different couples and not concentrated on the main story line.  Still if you have enjoyed the original series that this is “spun” off of then this is a good update on what is happening with them and how they are doing in their lives.

The story is fairly simple for the main thread.  Adenet is the shaman of the wolf pack that comes to Raymond for help.  Raymond sends Marc to help with the pack’s fertility problem since Marc knows the most about werewolf lore that Raymond can find quickly.  Adenet thinks he must participate in the ritual and help the pack by providing pups.  It is obvious to the reader what the problem is but that does little to detract from the story other than a mild frustration.  I must admit to not really liking Adenet.  Even at the end I find myself still upset with the guy.  He is just so dumb about the whole thing.  I don’t understand why he is like that when even his own Alpha is pushing him towards Marc.  Marc I felt was a little too “easy”.  I thought he would have fought more when Adenet was such an idiot.  I think that detracted a little for me.  Most people would have been more upset than Marc and not apologized for running away.  *sigh*  I just want those in the story happy at the end but they have to REALLY realize what they have and pay for mistakes so they get how precious it is.

Overall I must say this is a very good book and well worth a readers time, even if, like me, you haven’t finished the original series that this came from.

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Thick as Thieves by Tali Spencer

Thick as ThievesThick as Thieves by Tali Spencer
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  62,645 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

After Vorgell the barbarian fucks himself with a unicorn horn, he ends up in a cell with Maddog, a pretty young thief. It’s lust at first sight for Vorgell—but honestly, he can’t help it. Unicorn horn is a potent aphrodisiac, and now he can’t stop thinking about sex. Luckily, Madd is one male witch who knows how to put Vorgell’s new magical body to good use when he tricks Vorgell into a kiss that helps them escape.

Vorgell may desire sex in general—and Madd in particular—but Madd has no intention of being screwed by a man twice his size. He has problems of his own, including an enchanted collar that causes him to desire his most hated enemy. He wants that collar off as soon as possible, but that requires stealing a basilisk egg from the castle they just escaped.

Drawn together by lust and magic, the two men join forces and soon find themselves up to their necks in witches, wizards, and trouble. Vorgell and Madd might just be perfect for each other, but first they have to survive long enough to find out.

Excerpt

So this story had so much potential for either a comedy of a read and a serious fantasy read.  The author seems to have tried to balance the two.  Vorgell is a barbarian who is mostly brawn.  He is smart though it is mostly in battle stratagem and when he doesn’t want a fight he wants sex.  When he kills a unicorn and eats magically berries he ends up screwing himself with a unicorn horn!!!  This results in the horn dissolving completely into him and filling him with magic.  He is capture by the baron of the land and thrown into a cell with Madd who is the baron’s love slave.  Madd is not pleased, of course Madd is not usually a happy camper.  Madd uses Vorgell’s blood to aid both of them in escaping.  The two then form a partnership that sees the two very different men into lots of interesting predicaments.

The writing is good.  The author does a good job in world building.  The characters are a fun and varied cast.  The descriptions are vivid and easily draw a reader into the world.  I think the biggest thing with this book is the fact that the book could have gone one of two ways but did neither.  As funny as the blurb sounded I was expecting a humorous read maybe with a more porn than plot storyline.  The book wasn’t that though.  There is a solid storyline to the book.  It is a very enjoyable one as well.  There was underneath all the silliness a solid story.  I enjoyed the humor of the read but I think if the author had gone the other way that this would have been a WONDERFUL read and may have earned a top rating.  As it is written there is a little too much derailing of the story to make this a top read.  It is still a very enjoyable read though.  I would even recommend it.

I loved Vorgell’s simpleness.  To him everything was easily boiled down, protect what is yours.  He was all for fighting and sex.  When he falls for Madd everything for him is complete.  He has someone who understands him and gives him what he needs and so Madd becomes his center.  Madd isn’t as simple.  Madd is a bit of a harder sell.  I wish he would have thawed a little more.  I like to really see affection in my couples but there is a little crack in Madd and for his character that is near enough to Vorgell’s devotion.  The two men complement each other well.  There isn’t much that they actually don’t manage well when together.  The author did a good job in making me want Vorgell to get Madd in the end.

The ending is a bit incomplete and leaves room to have a sequel or leave the story as it stands.  It is a nice read.  I think if you are looking for a good read that isn’t very serious or angsty this is a good choice.

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