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Cry Wolf by Jay Ellison

Cry WolfCry Wolf by Jay Ellison
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Courtesan Press
Novella:  51,738 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  Dead Rose
 

Call of the Wild…

Kevin Sullivan has never minded being a werewolf. He has a great job, a little sister who adores him, and plenty of good friends. But an erotic encounter with Roman Le Feuvre, the sexy, mysterious Alpha of the Bloodmoon Pack, leaves Kevin feeling lost, lonely and desperate for companionship for the first time in his life. Roman is shrewd as both master of Wall Street and king of the New York werewolves, but he harbors a dark secret that’s about to turn Kevin’s world upside down. Kevin wants nothing more than to find his place in Roman’s pack–and in his heart!–but dark forces may leave him crying wolf.

Excerpt

I bought this book on a whim.  I loved the different view of werewolves.  Unfortunately this book gives very little plot to go with it.  The story contains LOTS of sex.  This isn’t always a bad thing but in this case there was no connection to be felt between partners.  Yes, there is a “love” angle to the story but I really didn’t understand why they were in love.  They didn’t talk much or hang out very long.  It seemed like since they were both Pedigrees that they would get together with an open relationship.

I want to say that the writer really did make the characters interesting.  I believe if there had been more development to the story and a little less of the sex that the book would have been better.  I had no issues with the open nature of relationships portrayed by the author.  The issue is connection.  I felt nothing for the characters.  I actually felt more for Hannah, who is a side character.  I really felt that the author was more about the sex than the story line so it suffered.

So, I didn’t care for this book.  I may keep an eye out for the author since he seems to have some wicked story ideas and hope that his writing improves.

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Four Under the Mistletoe by Charlie Richards

Four Under the MistletoeFour Under the Mistletoe by Charlie Richards
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  eXtasy Books
Short Story:  39,359 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  3
 

Rance Diallo, alpha of the Catskill Mountain cougar pride, knew the moment he heard Terence and Samson speak telepathically that he needed them for his betas. So sticking his neck out for them and asking charges of kidnapping against them be dropped by Ben Maxwell, the alpha of the nearby wolf pack, didn’t seem like too big of a risk. It took Rance a while to realize the two men were also his mates and manage to convince Terence and Samson of that fact.

Rance successfully bonds with his new betas not a moment too soon, because the visions of his alpha-mate come fast and furious. But Paul is a human, and not just any human, he’s the brother of the woman that Terence and Samson inadvertently helped kidnap a couple months ago. Convincing his newly bonded betas that the man who makes up the fourth to their pride’s inner circle is so close may be the easy part, because they’ll also need to persuade Ben to let the three cougars onto the wolf’s territory to meet and court the human. And if they somehow manage that, they’ll need to convince Paul, a widower with a three-year-old son, that there really are paranormal creatures in the world and that he’s the mate of three male cougar shifters. But even if the human accepts them, will Rance’s cougar pride?

Excerpt

This is a follow up to Blue Moon Mating.  This book is focused on the cougar pride which resides next to the wolf pack.  Rance is the alpha of the pride and must convince Samson and Terence, a mated couple to mate with him as well.  He knows that they are two of his three mates.  Unfortunately the couple doesn’t know about the dynamics of the inner circle of a pride.  Once the three do get together Rance receives a vision of their last mate.  Now they have to convince a human Paul to mate with the three of them.

This was a cute, short story.  The characters aren’t real deep nor is the situation extremely angsty, there just isn’t the length in the story to get all of that in along with the coming together of the four men.  I felt that the writing was good.  The flow of the story made sense and the situations themselves, given the paranormal aspect, appeared natural.  I would have rated this book higher if the book had been longer in order to incorporate all that the story had.  It would have been a much stronger story if there was more conflict.  As it stands the story is fun but light.

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Dark Menagerie by Katya Harris, Lor Rose, Caitlin Ricci, and Arielle Pierce

perf6.000x9.000.inddDark Menagerie by Katya Harris, Lor Rose, Caitlin Ricci, and Arielle Pierce
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Storm Moon Press
Short Story:  49,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

A shifter leads two lives: one as a human, and one as an animal. Sometimes these lives are intertwined, and sometimes they are not, but always the shifter has to find a way to reconcile one with the other. Dark Menagerie follows characters as they explore the darker side of what it means to have one foot in the animal world and one foot in the human world. Some struggle to keep the animal starkly separate from their lives as a human being, but for others, their shifting leads them to a darker corner of the mind where human and animal are nearly indistinguishable.

First, in Dominant, Kade has left everything he valued in his life behind; his family, his fiancée, his entire future. He tries to make peace with what he has become by running away to a small town, but fails. Then, a monster in a suit walks into his life, a monster just like him. Then, the four in The Four of Us devised a game: pick two humans, lure them in, and hunt them down. The game, the shared thrill of the hunt, was what brought them together, but also what threatens to tear them apart.

Justin, of Horsefeathers, had one job—to get a new Mustang for his boss’ ranch. But at the holding pens, he can’t look away from a stunning stallion. He isn’t at all what the boss wants, but Justin can’t say no. He soon learns that he’s brought back much more than simply a beautiful horse, and that there are some legends that he wished weren’t based in truth. Finally, Breathe concerns a young dolphin shapeshifter who has to deal with his own hateful feelings about himself, a deadly dull partner, and the presence of a new shifter in town. And a hurricane bearing down on their home in Key West, of course.

Excerpt

“Dominant” by Katya Harris

This was a short but interesting little story.  To me it felt more like a teaser.  There is definite room there for a longer more in depth version that I would like more.  Considering its length it was very good.  I really loved the writing and the characters.  I wish there had been a lot more to it.  It felt incomplete the way it ended.  I would actually love to have more of this story.

Roses:  4

“The Four of Us” by Lor Rose

This is a creepy read, interesting, but creepy.  Podagros and Deinos are legends along with their companions, Lampon and Xanthos.  They are all monsters who hunt and eat humans, especially the heart which they need every other month to live.  They can each nothing but human flesh.  The two are sent out to seduce their next two prey.  Unexpectedly they find emotion and feeling/touch again.  Now what to do.

This was very well written.  I actually felt for the characters and considering what and who they were that says something.  No the characters aren’t deep but they still allow the reader to bond with the story.  I can say I really enjoyed this creepy read.

Roses:  5

“Horsefeathers” by Caitlin Ricci

Nohatu is a Native American that is also a shapeshifter/skinwalker.  He was turned long ago and had remained a horse for a long time, enjoying the openness of the prairie to the closeness of a city.  Unfortunately for Nohatu the BLM has gathered up mustangs in an effort to save them from overpopulation.  Nohatu and many of those horses are up for adoption.  Justin adopts Nohatu, as a mustang, for his boss even knowing his boss won’t be happy.  Nohatu returns to human shape demanding to go back and senses something within Justin.

Justin is an interesting character.  Nohatu is very mysterious though we get a good glimpse of the man when he tells Justin his story.  Again this felt very incomplete, like an excerpt for a longer book.  I enjoyed the small glimpse I got and hope the author plans on more for these characters.

Roses:  4

“Breathe” by Arielle Pierce

Nathan is a spotted dolphin shifter.  He lives on an island in the keys where there are a lot of other shifters.  Nathan has traded most of his life as a skinwalker to live with a man that abuses him so he can be an artist full time.  He is on a self destructive path that includes very rough, rape like sex with others.  This is when he meets Jacob’s.  Jacob and he are instantly attracted to each other but Jacob refuses to take what he wants from Jacob.

Jacob is a sweet man and poor Nathan is terribly messed up.  I feel the same thing with this that I felt with most of the stories in this book, that it is just part of a story.  A teaser to more weather with this particular story or with other characters within the story.   This was a sweet story that is very simple.  I liked it but it was missing something.  I just didn’t connect like I thought I would with it.  Still it is a cute story.

Roses:  3

Overall these stories mostly felt like a smaller part of bigger stories.  I liked them and most of them I would love to see more.  It is a bit frustrating for a reader to read this though not knowing if/when we might get more.  That is why overall the stories as an anthology will get a lesser rating than the individual stories call for.  If you don’t mind feeling this frustration this is a wonderful read!

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The Cross of Sins by Geoffrey Knight

z-the cross of sinsThe Cross of Sins by Geoffrey Knight
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Storm Moon Press
Novel:  73,000 Words
Purchase at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  4
 

Somewhere in the world is a statue so sinful that a secret sect of the Church wants it destroyed at any cost. Somewhere in the Turkish desert, in the streets of London, and in the depths of Venice, are the clues to find it. And, somewhere in the hearts of five sexy, daring, thrill-seeking gay men, is the courage and die-hard determination to unravel one of the greatest mysteries of all time.

Meet Luca da Roma, an Italian model and expert in art, both ancient and modern; Dr. Eden Santiago, Brazilian biologist, physician and genetic engineer; Shane Houston, a Texas cowboy and an expert in cartography; Will Hunter, a San Diego college student and football star, majoring in ancient history; and Jake Stone, an adventurer-for-hire from New York and the newest member of Professor Fathom’s team of hot gay adventure seekers.

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I will admit to this right off the bat.  I’m a romance reader.  I rarely read anything else.  This is not a romance. Don’t go in thinking it is! This is an action packed adventure. The book takes you around the world. There is much murder and mayhem and betrayal. The cumulative showdown does not end the story. This is the first book in a series. The characters are vivid and compelling and the scenes are very descriptive.  I do find this author’s style different than my usually romances as well in that there is a lot of information that is put forth at the beginning of the book in order to build the “world” that this series will take place in.  Also there are a lot of characters and relationships to wade through.  These men do spice up the story;)  The action never seems to end even when you think it is over.

The book begins with us meeting Jake Stone, who is a little like Indiana Jones.  He “treasure hunts” and is a very intelligent man.  He meets with a rich Frenchman named Pierre Perron who knows where a treasure is located.  What follows is what make Jake like Indy;) Next is Eden Santiago, who briefly introduces himself and tells Jake about “the Professor”.  Will Hunter is our next introduction.  Will comes into the book…IN THE SHOWER!!!  Yup, would have been more fun if he hadn’t just been in a fight but that is Will.  It does get more…interesting;)  He is directly involved with “the Professor” and is a rich boy to boot.  Luca da Roma is in Italy.  We meet up with him getting information from an old…friend.  Luca is a foundling and grew up in a convent of all places.  Shane Houston is of course from Texas.  He comes from an old ranching family that had a tragic turn of events.  Finally we meet the mysterious Professor, who is blind.  He is the man that organizes this diverse group of men.

The Professor sets them out on a quest to find The Naked Christ/The Cross of Sins which has been hidden for hundreds of years.  There is an opposing group that wants to destroy this piece of art.  As you can expect this leads to many conflicts and craziness.

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