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King Perry by Edmond Manning

King PerryKing Perry by Edmond Manning
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  106,800 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  Rose Bouquet
 

In a trendy San Francisco art gallery, out-of-towner Vin Vanbly witnesses an act of compassion that compels him to make investment banker Perry Mangin a mysterious offer: in exchange for a weekend of complete submission, Vin will restore Perry’s “kingship” and transform him into the man he was always meant to be.

Despite intense reservations, Perry agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that will test the limits of his body, seduce his senses, and fray his every nerve, (perhaps occasionally breaking the law) while Vin guides him toward his destiny as ”the one true king.”

Even as Perry rediscovers old grief and new joys within himself, Vin and his shadowy motivations remain enigmas: who is this offbeat stranger guiding them from danger to hilarity to danger? To emerge triumphant, Perry must overcome the greatest challenge alone: embracing his devastating past. But can he succeed by Sunday’s sunrise deadline? How can he possibly evolve from an ordinary man into King Perry?

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Excerpt

This is a really hard story to review.  This isn’t a romance!  There is not a HEA ending!  It’s a very interesting and intense read that is very difficult to describe.

Perry is an investment banker who is selling his father’s paintings.  Vin is a mechanic from Minnesota.  Vin is at the gallery and runs into Perry.  There is something there that sparks Vin and he decides to “King” Perry.  The book is very twisty and turny.  Trying to figure out where it is all going is worthless and like Perry you just have to give in to the experience.

This would not normally be a book I would enjoy or even approach to read, but I had a challenge read for it and so I bought and read it.  (As a side note, I bought this in paperback at GRL and had dinner with the author.  I really wish I could have read it before then, but the author is a wonderful and sweet man.)  The writing is way more descriptive than I like.  By the end of the book I didn’t notice it as much and it just added to the writing.  I really think the author did an amazing job in drawing me into the story.  Just like Perry I wanted to hear more and more about the Kings.  I wanted to see what Vin would do next and what he had waiting for Perry.  Even more than that I wanted to know what “Kinging” meant and how this would affect Perry.

Vin is a very interesting character.  He is mysterious throughout the whole of the story which is fascinating since he is the storyteller.  The author manages to show you all the depth of the story but leave you with shadows of the unknown when it comes to Vin.  It is a very interesting and complicated paradox.  (Ah, Vin might like that word.)  I really had a hard time with Vin in the beginning of the story.  His word play and descriptions and the like were a little over the top.  Perry seems so cold and hard compared to Vin.  Vin is just out there!  He so grows on you through the story.  By the end he is a fun friend that you want to join in with the word game with.

This is a complex and compelling read.  A warning in advance, the beginning is hard to get through; I wanted to give up on the book so many times.  I was so glad I didn’t!  So don’t give up a few chapters in, just like Perry you will slowly soften to the story.  I don’t think you will regret hanging in to read it all.

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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;)

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City of Foxes by Cornelia Grey

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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.

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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.

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Shadows Return by Lynn Flewelling

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

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

Excerpt

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

 

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

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Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed

Undertow by Andrea SpeedInfected: Undertow by Andrea Speed
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  344 Pages
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

Now Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit, wait, and think.

Meanwhile, Roan’s assistant, Holden, wants to shed his old street life and his relationship with Scott, but he can’t seem to do either. Holden doesn’t want a relationship with Scott but finds himself drawn to him all the same, even if he can never fully reveal his past.

With Roan out of commission, Holden looks into the murder of an old friend. At the same time, Fiona takes on a case about underground death matches between infecteds —one with connections to the Church of the Divine Transformation.

Finally Roan wakes only to discover that his shifts have new consequences. His lion’s strength is growing, and he can’t hide from it any longer….

Excerpt

This is the seventh book in the “Infected” series.  This series was actually started as a blog story and grew and grew.  These aren’t really romances either.  The series is focused on Roan McKichan and his life.  Roan is a virus child, born with the Werecat virus.  Most virus children do not survive and NONE as long as Roan.  Roan is unique in the world, hated and feared by many.  Roan has a rocky road in life that never sees Roan get much peace.  Dylan is Roan’s husband and Roan’s happiness.  The two are very different but somehow they need each other.  But again this isn’t a romance, Roan and Dylan’s relationship aside.

Andrea Speed writes a story that is fascinating.  The characters are so different and they suck you into the story.  Roan’s troubles grip you and leave you wondering what kind of situation he will find himself in next.  You root for him and mourn for him.  In this book Roan is so troubled by how he is changing, he worries constantly if he can “control” his lion.  Roan’s life is also going through some changes.  Two of his hockey friends are leaving with his secretary and friend, Fiona, considering going with one of them.  Holden/Fox is also changing and getting more involved in Roan’s business.  Holden is also involved with Scott, another hockey player, but doesn’t want to be.

There is always a bit of mystery in the storyline.  It isn’t always hard to figure it all out but it is interesting to follow what happens.  Just like in the rest of the series there are lots of times Roan has to “lion out” to deal with runaway cats.  Roan shows how tough his is not just physically but mentally in the book.

Overall I have always loved Roan in this series.  Andrea Speed keeps bringing him to life in my mind as I read through this series.  The books in the whole of the series are character driven.  This particular book didn’t hold the power of some of the previous books in the series but it was a solid read.  I feel like there is a lot still going on with Roan and that the series is going to be one that I will continue to enjoy.  (5 roses for the series!)

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