Category Archives: Five Roses

A hard earned rating from Lor means. Totally. Blown. Away. If you don’t read it… Well shame on you!

Captive Prince: Volume One by C.S. Pacat

Captive PrinceCaptive Prince: Volume One by C.S. Pacat
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Self
Novel:  343 Pages
Purchase at Amazon
Roses:  5
 

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .

This is the first in a trilogy.  I believe the writer did a wonderful job of setting up the plot lines and relationships in the story.  This is a complex bit of work.  I will also admit I really didn’t like the first half or so.  Laurent was just unlikeable and yet the story seems to be set up to push him and Damen together.  O_o  Yeah….I couldn’t see that.  I’m starting to glimpse that there is more going on with Laurent than appears.  I really don’t believe that Laurent is that cold and cruel.  I will have to read the next book to find out if I’m right about that.  Damen seems convinced by everyone’s surface appearance yet that is what got him in trouble before!

The characters are well crafted.  I could see the slow development of Laurent as a person in the story.  Damen, as the story’s point of view, was a bit easier.  He did fill out more and grow as the story continues.  I am beginning to glimpse how these two men could fit together.  This shows a true talent for storytelling in the author.

So as our story goes along we get filled in on some of the two countries and their histories.  I have to admit I would have preferred to learn more of the conflict between the two countries.  I get that they warred over disputed land but never why it was in dispute.  I understand hating someone for killing a beloved figure but it seems the hatred is more and that there is something within the battle that we aren’t hearing about.  I am hoping some of this will be reveled in the second book.

The book can be really detailed with parts of the story and not so much in others.  Most of the sex/rape scenes are skimmed over which is good.  I must admit the author did a good job in detailing this world and its people, bringing this world to life.

Overall it was a bit of a heavy book.  I will say in parts I was just glad to get through.  Yet I did enjoy the book and believe that these parts I had trouble with also set up for everything else in the story to come.  The book is the foundation for the rest of the series.  I just think some readers will be turned off by the detail and length in which not much seems to happen.  It can get a bit dry but if the reader pushes through I believe they will enjoy the last half of the book more.  The action starts to pick up and we start seeing little cracks in how the world is perceived by Damen.  How, Damen, may be wrong about a lot of what he believes.  Excellent writing and overall solid read.

rose-5

Ash and Echoes: Book One of the Blessed Epoch by Augusta Li

Ash and EchoesAsh and Echoes: Book One of the Blessed Epoch by Augusta Li
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  125,026 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  5
 

For the past few years Yarroway L’Estrella has lived in exile, gathering arcane power, but that power came at a price. Now it’s time for him to do his duty: his uncle, the king, needs him to escort Prince Garith to his wedding, a union that will create an alliance between the two strongest countries in the known world. But Yarrow isn’t the prince’s only guard. A whole company of knights is assigned to the duty, and Yarrow’s not sure he trusts their leader.

Knight Duncan Purefroy isn’t sure he trusts Yarrow either, but after a bizarre occurrence during their travels, they have no choice but to work together—especially since the incident also reveals a disturbing secret, one that might threaten the entire kingdom. But will it ultimately work in their favor?

When a third member joins the precarious alliance, it seems to cement the bonds between all three men. But the arrangement isn’t perfect: Yarrow knows the power inside him and fears getting too close. The mysterious newcomer was raised to believe love and trust are weaknesses. And Duncan struggles to accept them as they are. Saving their home will take everything they have—including the fragile relationship they’ve built.

Excerpt

This was an entertaining fantasy.  I did think at first the characters are a bit flat but as I continued the read I could see where the author was heading with these men.  When you meet each character they are as one would expect the character to be…Yarrow is selfish and cold.  He is purely driven by his own wants and desires.  Duncan is the faithful knight.  He believes in his cause and in making a better world.  Duncan’s first duty is to his mission.  He can care for nothing more than his duty!  Sasha is the assassin.  He is cold, without remorse and lives entirely in the moment, feelings are only a weakness.  As the story progresses you see the changes that occur in each of these characters.

I have seen some bad reviews in reviews of this book in regards to the plot.  The plot is twisty but fairly typical for this kind of fantasy read but that is not where the author is taking this series.  It isn’t as much about the kingdom and what occurs within it.  It is all about these three men and how they grow, each changing the others and becoming more in the so doing.

The one thing I didn’t really expect in the story is the creature that lives in Yarrow.  I’m just not sure about him.  You believe throughout the story he is evil…even at the ending I would say he is evil, but there is something more there.  It will be interesting to see where the author takes this character in the rest of the series.

There were only two other items I noticed.  The “head hopping” and sex scenes.  The head hopping of the point of view added a lot to the story but I do think it could have been at times a bit clearer as to who’s perspective the story was being told from.  The sex scenes were a bit long.  I do not know why they didn’t really have my attention.  They were a bit too formulaic for me as they went.  I think the fact that I got the same feeling from the characters in the first sex scene to the last means something there didn’t go right.

Overall I think the author has done a wonderful job with this book.  It is interesting and different.  There is a similar plot to it but with the underlying story that changes it.  It is a book that stays with you.  I look forward to the next book in the series.

rose-5

Ghoul’s Gym by T.J. Klune and Eric Arvin

Ghoul's GymGhoul’s Gym by T.J. Klune and Eric Arvin
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Wilde City Press
Novella:  100 Pages
Purchase at Amazon
Roses:  5
 

You’ll never want to exercise again as Eric Arvin and TJ Klune turn a gym full of hunks into a smorgasbord of terror in GHOUL’S GYM.

This is the individual release of Ghoul’s Gym which was originally published as part of the Zombie Boyz anthology.

Excerpt

Wow!  This wasn’t at all what I was expecting.  I think the authors did a fabulous job weaving together their two “voices” into this book.  The story doesn’t come off as having two authors but as having one.

The story is disturbingly bloody and vicious with humor too.  Under it all is a love story that makes you cry.  The whole of the story the authors keep you guessing at who is going to survive and what is going to happen next.

The characters are a bit strange.  Uly is a personal trainer who is a bit clueless about how much the love of his life is suffering with his body image.  Jake is teased by Uly’s boss and others at the gym because he isn’t all buffed up.  Uly doesn’t seem to get how much it is bothering Jake.  Jake really lets these bullies get to him.  He is bringing all of this into the relationship and making everything worse.  Talking to Uly doesn’t seem to make any impact on the situation either so Jake is internalizing it all.

The authors’ version of how zombies come to be is very interesting and creative.  I will admit that the read starts out sounding really bizarre and not at all like it will be enjoyable but by the end it captures you and makes you really care about the characters and their situation.

rose-5

Sole Support by Kaje Harper

Sole SupportSole Support by Kaje Harper
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Novel:  118,082 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  5
 

He can find a use for his lover’s hands…except when he needs help the most.

Kellen is short on cash—at least until his first novel starts to sell—but he has plenty of friends. None of them, unfortunately, share his love of books. For that he turns to IM chats with Mike from his online book group.

Though he manages to coax the shy, socially inept pathologist into a real-time meeting, Kellen has no intention of letting his new friend become more than a casual lover. Shaky finances and ailing mother aside, self-sufficiency is Kellen’s prime directive.

Mike considers himself a nerd of the highest order—short, bespectacled, prone to blurting out the wrong thing at the worst possible time. Meeting Kellen face to face is the biggest risk of his life, and he wonders if they’ll get more body parts together than just their faces.

First meeting leads to first date—first everything for Mike—and soon Kellen’s faced with breaking his just-friends-with-benefits rule. Yet as his elderly mother wanders deeper into senility, Kellen wonders if it’s better to lean on Mike rather than fall.

Warning: Contains an emotional love story between a too-proud-for-his-own-good writer with an allergy to the L-word, and a painfully shy scientist who takes his sisters’ nagging to “get out there” literally. Oh, and an adorable stray cat.

 Excerpt

This is a very different story for me.  Kellen is an only child, whose father died when he was a child.  This had a huge effect of the young Kellen.  Now he has commitment issues.  If he never depends on anyone he can never be left alone.  Mike is a “geek” and a virgin at 37.  Mike has a hard time being social and so has no real social life except online which is where he meets Kellen.  So the two meet and just like one would guess the polar opposites attract.  Kellen though never talks about his private life and when his mother declines believes it is time to cut Mike loose.  When Mike learns the truth of why he was dumped he goes after Kellen to get him back but Kellen still won’t commit.

These are two very interesting characters.   I will admit I had some troubles through the whole book liking Kellen.  He is extremely self-centered, even when he dumps Mike there is a self-centeredness to it.  I never could really get past all his me, me, me.  Mike is so sweet and geeky.  I LOVE the character.  He is a little too good but I can put that niggle aside compared to Kellen.

The writing in this book was excellent.  There was a slow buildup so it takes a while to get into the story and characters.  The situation with Kellen’s mother was very well written.  You can really tell that the author has had experience with this issue.  It was a very moving portrayal of how taking care so some of the issues our elderly have takes a toll on their children, especially an only child with limited resources.  I really think the drama of this was better written than the romance itself.

The writer’s characterizations were enough to make the characters seem very real.  I didn’t like Kellen but I could still feel for him and get a real sense of him as a character.  Mike as well.  He and Kellen’s characters both grew and changed during the story.  They didn’t stretch the imagination to believe they were “real”.

Overall I enjoyed the story, even with contemporary not being my favorite genre.  I thought that the story with its slow buildup and realistic characters was a solid read and believable.  The author’s writing is enough to make me believe I would enjoy their other books.

rose-5

Nephilim Prophecy by Adrienne Wilder

Nephilim ProphecyNephilim Prophecy by Adrienne Wilder
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Loose Id LLC
Novel:  88,963 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  5
 

Genre: LGBT, Fantasy & Paranormal
Series: The God Code

Indigo Black is Palet: a human cursed with the ability to see the Demonic, trained to hunt and kill them. Since the peace Covenant was implemented by the Church, Palet have not been allowed to seek out the Demonic. And the one time Indigo challenged the Covenant nearly cost him the life of his lover and guardian angel, Ariel. Indigo was forced to watch Ariel suffer. They broke his wings and cast him out of Heaven, and the burden of that guilt has cost Indigo everything.

But now the rules are changing. The Demonic have broken the Covenant by creating a creature that should not exist: a Nephilim with a human soul who can withstand being possessed by the most dangerous members of the Demonic Parliament.

With the rise in power of the Demonic, Indigo must face the darkest battles of his life: one which will decide the fate of mankind, and another which will decide the fate of his heart.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices, violence (including non-consensual sex).

Excerpt

There are essentially 3 main characters, Indigo, Ariel, and Neko.  Indigo is a human but he is an “enhanced” human that fights demons.  He is also the central character in this story.  Ariel is an angel, Indigo’s guardian angel.  The two men are bonded and in love.  Ariel was punished for interfering with free will.  Ariel saved Indigo but it cost him.  Since Ariel’s punishment Indigo has been unable to forgive himself or Ariel.

Serenity, the side of the angels and humans, and Chaos, the demons, has a convent that ended the fighting between the two sides.  Indigo has never been for it or believed that the demons haven’t been breaking it.  He just hasn’t had proof.  Neko, is an erotic dancer and ward of a man named Eami.  Neko is in love with another dancer named Jake.  The two haven’t been able to be together though since Eami has demanded that Neko remain a virgin.  On Neko’s 21st birthday though, Eami has promised that Neko can be with Jake but only if their first time is a performance.  They agree.  They have no idea that Eami isn’t what he seems and neither is Neko.  The three men’s lives are about to collide.

I really was unsure of this book.  It looked a bit complex and at times it is.  The writing was excellent.  The descriptions used were detailed without being overwhelming.  I thought the world building was very interesting considering the immense complexity of the world being created.  The characters were each unique.  They grab your attention and hold it.  They aren’t pure characters.  They show their individual good and bad sides.  In overall I would say the overall feel to the story is more on the dark side than light and good.

The story line is interesting and complex.  I wouldn’t say overtly complex but it keeps you guessing as to what is happening and definitely what will happen next.  I enjoyed the whole of the story but was a bit disappointed with the end.  I’ve become too complacent with simple HEA endings.  This isn’t necessarily one of those.  I won’t say it is an unhappy ending but it wasn’t all smiles and rainbows either.  I am thrilled there will be more books for this world.  There is no doubt I want to see what will happen to these men.

rose-5

Deadly Shades of Gold by L.E. Harner and T.A. Webb

Deadly Shades of GoldDeadly Shades of Gold by L.E. Harner and T.A. Webb
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Hot Corner Press
Novella:  40,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  5
 

“Wolf or vamp? Decide. It has to be now.”

Those were the last words Sam Garrett ever heard—as a human. Now on the para side of normal, the NOPD slammed the proverbial door on his career.

Travis Boudreaux knows exactly how his former partner feels—but when some doors close, the golden window of opportunity opens. Crimes against supernaturals require a new and different approach, and once the Feds show up, the Odd Squad isn’t the only law enforcement game in town.

After a revenge-seeking vampire creates deadly havoc, the new agent-in-charge is on a recruiting mission—and he’s more than ready to fight fire with fire. What do you get when you mix old friends, new enemies, and a license to kill?

Pure dynamite.

Warning: This is an erotic urban fantasy. In this series the vampires don’t sparkle, werewolves kill, and the men sometimes have sex. With each other.

Excerpt

This is the second book in the series.  Sam has been changed into a werewolf after an attack by a vampire that almost killed him.  Travis is involved in this book but it is geared towards Sam.  The writing is awesome.  There is plenty of action.  There are mob bosses and turf wars.  The characters are all male and there is plenty of sex going around.

I enjoyed this book.  It was full of twists and turns and ends with the promise of more but not a cliffhanger.  Sam and Travis have something going on that still is waiting to be uncovered.  I love that the whole of the book isn’t black and white.  The authors give you the real world that is full of good and bad in most people.  They don’t shy away from the brutality of werewolves and vampires or from bad things happening to good people.

The relationships in the book are very complex and sometimes simple.  They really lend to the depth of the story.  I will enjoy seeing where it is all headed.

rose-5

Laying Ghosts by James Buchanan

Laying GhostsLaying Ghosts by James Buchanan
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  MLR Press, LLC
Novel:  123,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  5
 

Some families are haunted by tragedy. Some people are haunted by their pasts. Some men are haunted by who they are. Joe Peterson is haunted by all three. His parents’ return from their mission, combined with a family reunion, forces Joe’s kin to deal with his new life: out of the Mormon Church, out of the closet, and living with his lover Kabe. When a decades-old murder of a child lands on Joe’s desk, digging into it dredges up long buried truths and festering secrets about folks Joe thought he knew — including Kabe. Joe and Kabe must lay the ghosts of the past and bring closure to a family scarred by loss to move forward in their life together.

Excerpt

This is a continuation of the series Deputy Joe.  Kabe and Joe are settling in to their relationship and still working out the little kinks.  Joe has been assigned desk duty while his knee is still not up to regular patrol.  He is also trying to work with the new lieutenant that has replaced him.  Joe has been assigned to input all the old case files into the database while on desk duty.  While he is doing this he runs across a file for his deceased sister who he was always told drowned and finds that isn’t the whole story.  Joe is faced with this, telling his parents he is gay and living with another man, and lastly bad news about his mother.  On top of this he must face the “kinky” sex he and Kabe have and if it is too much for him.

I have enjoyed this series and how Joe, a devote Mormon, deals with finding the man for him and his excommunication from his church.  Joe dealing with the drama of telling his parents adds another intriguing level to the story.

Joe’s personality is still the same.  He still has to be pretty much forced out of the closet each time.  He would put that kind of news off forever if he could.  He loves his family so much and it really hits home that he may be spurned by his parents because of his sexuality.

Kabe is forever pushing against Joe’s boundaries.  It is the reverse of what you usually see in stories of a Ds relationship.  It is usually the Dom that pushes the Sub.  Joe though fears his own needs and Kabe’s lack of boundaries.  Kabe and he must reconcile that in their relationship to move forward.

I love the interaction between Joe and Kabe.  The two men play well off each other.  They are so opposite and yet to see them work together is the perfection of how two opposites can form a very loving relationship.

The writing in this story is superb.  I think the author has done a very good job of showing so many dynamics in this complicated relationship and Joe’s other relationships.  I enjoyed getting to see more of Joe’s family.  They are a very complex group that show how one family can raise up very individual people.  I think the only issue I had with the writing was the language used.  At times the use of the incorrect language and words by the characters got a little heavy for me.  Even in the narrative it was used and it became, at times, a little hard to follow and repetitious.

This is a very solid read that I would recommend to almost anyone.  I have to give some leeway to those that don’t care for the “rough” sex, though I didn’t think it was too heavy others may disagree.  If you don’t mind a LITTLE kink in your sex I would recommend reading the whole of the series, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

rose-5

After Midnight by Santino Hassell

After MidnightAfter Midnight by Santino Hassell
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Self
Novel:  85,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  5
 

Gordon Frost is a survivor. He survived a war that ravaged the nation, and he made it through the orphanages and crime-ridden slums that followed. With few prospects for the future, Gordon carved out a niche for himself in the expanding drug trade of Lexington, PA. It’s not pretty, but it’s his, and it beats what he was doing before. But a classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time results in a brush with death, going by the name of Adam. Afterward, the life that seemed good enough before, isn’t quite the same.

Adam Blake is an assassin on the brink of being terminated by the very organization that controls him. He completed his mission, but not without being seen. With his secrets in danger of being exposed by Gordon, Adam knows he should kill the smart-mouthed redhead, but finds himself intrigued by the troublesome civilian instead.

When Gordon’s knack for finding trouble combines with the dangerous consequences of Adam’s indecision, their worlds intertwine in an explosive way.

Excerpt

This is a standalone book that is a spinoff of “In the Company of Shadows”.  Gordon is a drug dealer.  He has been mostly alone all his life.  Orphaned and a sole survivor of a bombed elementary school during the war, he made his own way.  He has one friend, Carla, who is fierce in her protection of him.  Gordon and Carla are family to each other.  Adam is an assassin whose mission has gone wrong.  Looking to hide out until things cool off, he runs into Gordon.  Unfortunately for Gordon Adam can’t leave a witness, The Agency does not allow that.  Adam though goes against policy and lets Gordon live but keeps a close eye on him.  The two are forced into close proximity again when Adam’s next mission is to infiltrate Gordon’s drug group.  The two men are like magnets.  On the one hand they really repulse each other, but when close the sparks just fly and they can’t stay away from each other.

The author has created a wonderful book.  The writing is excellent.  The descriptions of the world and people are vivid and telling.  The characters are gritty and dark.  They aren’t “nice” guys but have some softness in them that sneaks out every once in a while.  The characters are perfectly flawed people.  I love that the use of the secondary characters wasn’t shadowy.  The author gives you authentic characters that have depth to them.  You don’t get to know how they really think or react all the time but they are solid and make you notice them.

This is a dark and gritty book.  As such it isn’t always pretty what occurs.  There are times you get angry with the characters and/or situations, there is violence, and there is unpredictability.  That is what makes this an excellent read.  The ending is very much in line with the book.  I have hopes there will be a follow up book since I would love to see more of these characters but if the author leaves it as it is it is still a compelling story.

rose-5

To Adam With Love by Adrienne Wilder

To Adam With LoveTo Adam With Love by Adrienne Wilder
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  230 Pages
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

A Gray Zone Novel

 

Adam’s mother brought him as a child to the Gray Zone, the no man’s land between the crumbling city and the Dens where the Kin—the dragons—and Lesser-Breds—their mixed-blood offspring—live. He was different, not completely Human, and she knew fear and prejudice would drive people to do horrible things… like a father trying to kill his son. Five years later, Adam’s father is behind bars and Adam has come home to the Zone, the last place anyone would expect innocence, loyalty, and devotion, to complete his becoming Lesser-Bred and find his best friend and only love, Ean.

But Ean has a life of his own. He’s always wanted to belong to Batu, the Male Kin who has watched over him since childhood, but now Ean’s caught in a deadly trap of biology and vengeance: he isn’t enough to feed his beloved Adam during the dangerous transformation, and Kin won’t allow an emotional bond in their midst. Years ago Ean lost Adam after failing to keep him safe. Now that Adam is back, will a simple feeling give Ean the strength to defy everything he’s ever known and keep them together?

Excerpt

This is a very difficult read because of the world building.  Now the world building was very good.  I really liked the world the author created.  The trouble came with all the terminology that is used.  You do get a glossary at the beginning of the book which helps, but the world is so centered on some of these words and terminology that it is confusing at first.

This is a bit of a different relationship.  The two main characters are involved since childhood.  Ean claimed Adam right away.  Ean seemed to have no doubts and neither did Adam though he didn’t seem to have the possession that Ean did.  That is strange since Adam is part Kin/dragon and Ean is human.  It feels like a reversal of roles but it made the story that much more intriguing.  The characters are so interesting because of their “different” life from that that most people live.  I felt for Adam.  His father was out to kill him because of what he is and he has a very different future than most humans have that he must face.  He will have to face something that is so very horrifying for any human to face and Adam was raised human.  Ean wishes so much he was Kin and doesn’t fear those things that Adam does but has no notion how to be the human he is.  The author made these two very real to me.  The side characters weren’t as clear.  I did wish we had at least had more on Batu.

The story itself was very well written.  The world building was amazing.  The flashbacks and changing point of view are done very well and lead the reader through the story in a logical way.  There is rich detail and descriptions.  Now the problems that I encountered were starting the story.  I was dumped into a world that had words with special meanings that took time to learn and they were all in italics which to me emphasizes the words which draw away from the story itself.  The other trouble was the ending.  It’s a little vague and not in keeping with the rest of the story.  Knowing that the next book is just a “Gray Zone” story and NOT a continuation of this one is a big disappointment.  The book just feels incomplete.

Overall this is a wonderful story with rich detail and interesting characters, lacking some in conclusion of the story.  I enjoyed the book and will read more from this author since this world intrigues me.

rose-4

Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane

Chase in ShadowChase in Shadow by Amy Lane
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  103,210 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  5
 

Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.

Nobody knows the real Chase.

Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover’s goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he’d rather die than open it, and the lies he’s used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster.

Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay—where the number of lovers doesn’t matter as long as the come-shot’s good—but if he wants the healing that Tommy’s love has to offer, he’ll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who’s spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart’s darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.

Excerpt

I was very unsure starting this book.  Chase has had a very difficult childhood and it has caused him issues in how he interacts with the world.  He wants “perfect” (though I will admit I really didn’t see that it was “perfection” he was striving for).  Chase starts making gay porn to supposedly make money for school and his life with his girlfriend but it is really about letting himself have the freedom to be with men.  While there he meets Tommy.  Tommy is everything he wants but thinks he can’t have.  Tommy and Chase fall for each other.  Chase allows himself to be talked into an affair with Tommy, but Chase is being torn apart and is unable to handle the fallout.

Normally the one thing that will REALLY turn me off a story is cheating.  If you are like that DON’T read this.  Yes, Chase cheats on his fiancé and though Tommy knows I still feel he is cheating on Tommy.  I don’t like that.  I have never understood it and do not find it something that I can read objectively.  (This is not the same as an open relationship, triad, or a poly relationship.  These kinds of relationships all have an understanding between all parties and hurt no one.  EVERYONE was hurt here.)

That all said I enjoyed the writing.  The author is a wonderful writer and creates worlds that are so real!  The characters are so personable and fun but still real.  I have always loved the characters in the books I have read by this author.  I really think she has a gift for writing.  Even with the cheating I enjoyed the story.  Chase’s struggle within himself and wanting what he thought he couldn’t have and shouldn’t want.  The guilt and the buildup effect it had on Chase.

There was a touch on Tommy and his problems.  Since the story is from Chase we don’t get a lot of that side of the story.  Tommy isn’t perfect and had a good home but he still had his issues.  Mental problems can affect any and all.  Chase’s depression was well described.  I can relate to that.  I think everyone suffers at some point a degree of depression but the level that Chase reached and how he felt when he starts with the razor is a perfect look at how someone can be so far gone to it that nothing matters.  It’s all far away.  I think that was well done by the author.

Now I have looked at other reviews by some.  They address the fact that Chase is a self centered, child.  That he isn’t the only one to have a bad childhood and they didn’t do like Chase.  I don’t agree with it all.  I think people are individual and can’t always be grouped like that.  What can destroy one person’s mind may be more easily dealt with by another.  I think as a child Chase’s mind dealt with his life in a way that made sense to it.  To me this story is one example of how a mind can trick itself.

I didn’t like the cheating but it was central to the story.  It was part of Chase’s denial.  I did feel that Chase was being childish and should have woke up to what he needed to do long before he did.  I didn’t like that aspect of the story.  I don’t know if it was the cheating or something else but I had a hard time becoming invested in the actual story.  I would have normally bawled like a baby during a story like this but I just couldn’t invest into the story itself like that.  I still believe this story is wonderful.  I think the author has amazing writing skills.  I think my issues with the story are my own and not a reflection on the quality of the book.

rose-5