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Masters & Boyd by S.J.D. Peterson

Masters & BoydMasters & Boyd by S.J.D. Peterson
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novella:  26,648 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Carrick Masters and Edward Boyd have already found true love—it’s the happy ever after that’s eluding them. Between Carrick’s job as an orthopedic surgeon and Ed’s career as a defense attorney, they have hardly any time to spend together, and what time they do have seems to be poisoned by resentment. Carrick and Ed know they need to refocus to make their marriage work, but they seriously need more than a spicy once-a-week date night to get them back on track.

Excerpt

This was a story originally done from a photo and a prompt in the Goodreads M/M Romance group.  The author has done a wonderful job within a short story format.  This is about and established couple and how their very happy marriage crumbles under real world pressures.  When the two men hit a point of their marriage almost breaking under the strain, they resolve to fix it.  The story itself chronicles their relationship for about 2 years.

Carrick is a surgeon and his husband, Ed, a lawyer.  They are both very successful but busy.  They notice that their relationship is becoming all work with the occasional night of sex.  They are losing touch with each other and the small things that mean so much to the relationship.  They finally take time to fix their marriage.  In the course of doing so they stumble across the fact that Ed likes to be spanked and Carrick likes to be in control during sex.  They start to explore this difference in their love life and find it something they both enjoy.

I thought the writer did a good job with the plot.  The whole of the story was pretty much a flash back which contains flash backs.  That sounds confusing but the writer manages to make it very smooth and with no confusion as to what is happening.  The believability of a relationship “hitting the rocks” like this makes the story interesting.  How do they change where they are headed?  And how did this vanilla couple put these kinks into their love life?

The characters are simple but easy to sympathize with.  They are made believable by how they are letting just the little stuff intrude and tear them apart.  I will say that I really didn’t connect with them though.  I think it is a bit of the nature of a short that it is very difficult to create a character that connects to the readers.  In this case I just didn’t have enough emotion devoted to the story to connect with the characters.

This is a sweet little story and good read.  I would recommend it to anyone.

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Lorcan’s Desire by S.J.D. Peterson

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

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

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

Excerpt

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

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

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Crack the Darkest Skies Wide Open an Anthology

Crack the Darkest Skies Wide Open by VariousCrack the Darkest Skies Wide Open by Eric Arvin, Abigail Roux, S.J.D. Peterson, Jason Huffman-Black, S.A. McAuley, and T.J. Klune
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  S.A. McAuley
Novel:  84,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  4
 

Of humanity there are darker tales. Stories that take some squinting to see through. Unconventional stories. Tales that threaten to break the heart by cruel twists of fate, the dogs of war, or demons that are all too real; whether they be of unrequited love or a karmic slap in the face. Happy endings take a time in coming, and some never arrive. But through all the darkness there is light, a glimmer of hope and wonder…if one has the will to see it.

Warning, for the most part these aren’t “happy” stories.  Not all are romantic or love stories and some are just down right rough, so be forewarned.

“The Demon of Jericho” by Eric Arvin

This wasn’t really a “romance” as such.  There is a couple in it but the relationship between the two since what I’d call a romance.  The story involves angels, a demon, a bad sheriff, a hunter, and a cursed city called Jericho.  The writing is interesting in style.  The story has an almost fairly tale flavor to it.  The story is extremely shallow though.  I think the author was going for mysterious, which just made me a little confused.  I never really got into the story itself, it never hooked me in.  I think it just wasn’t my type of writing.

Roses:  3

“A Cruel Thing” by Abigail Roux

Ah, man!  I do try and avoid unhappy stories.  I admit it…I’m a sap:(  I cried even though you know people are going to die.  This is set in WWII, on the doomed Wake Island.  It revolves around two couples and what happens there.  Abigail Roux is a wonderful author.  This is a short story but it pulls you into it quickly.  The characters grab you and make you know them.  This is one excellent read!

Roses:  5

“Wrong” b S.J.D. Peterson

Okaaay, well, I admit the writing is good but I just couldn’t get past the story itself.  The characters aren’t likable at all.  I didn’t like the feel of the story.  I couldn’t connect with any of the characters or storyline.  I was just happy to finish it.  Definitely didn’t like this one.

Roses:  1

“Anguish” by Jason Huffman-Black

This is a very short story.  The name of the character is never given.  I have to admit though the title fits it well.  I think the author did an excellent job with it.

Roses:  4

“Hotel Luz” by S.A. McAuley

This is a story about lost love.  I wasn’t sure about this one.  I don’t believe in cheating, it is one thing to have an open relationship or be in a multiple partnership but another to cheat.  I don’t find it romantic or sexy.  As the story goes along and you find out about these men it becomes fascinating.  This is very well written and pulls you in gradually.  You don’t know what to hope for with these men, should they get back together, stay with their partners or what.  I connected well with them and the story was very satisfying.

Roses:  3

“John & Jackie” by T.J. Klune

Oh, sad but not.  The descriptions and details are wonderful.  The characters are easy to care about.  This is a love story.  It grabs your heart.  It’s not something that is new or different but it is so well written you just have to read it.

Roses:  5

So the hard part how to rate this overall…

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Pup by S.J.D. Peterson

Pup by S.J.D. PetersonPup by S.J.D. Peterson
Reviewer: Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  61,898 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Micah “Pup” Slayde knows he wants Tackett Austin the moment he lays eyes on him in the Guards of Folsom. Micah wants to have purpose, to be taken care of, and to take care of his Dom—wants to trust him completely, live for him, belong to him. To become his everything. Micah is sure Tackett is the one. The problem is, in order to be the perfect sub, he needs to stay focused, and that’s not easy for Micah, who suffers from what he refers to as a “broken brain.” Focus and adult attention deficit disorder rarely coexist.

Ever since Ty Callahan and Blake Henderson’s collaring ceremony, Tackett’s been thinking too much about his own loneliness. Even though Ty introduces Micah and urges Tackett to give him a try, Tackett isn’t so easily convinced. He’s spent his life pursuing a successful business career, and the subs he dominates almost never enjoy the kiss of his leather twice. Twenty years Micah’s senior, Tackett has no interest in taking on and taming such a young and naughty sub—but it’s difficult to resist such an adorable pup when he begs.

Excerpt

Warning this is a BDSM book so if you don’t like that kind of book don’t bother reading.  Warning number two has to do with mental health issues, if you struggle with mental health this may not be a book for you.

I struggled a lot with the rating for this.  The writing was good and the characters were engaging.  I enjoy reading BDSM so that never bothered me.  As I read this book though something did bother me.  I’ve never usually been squeamish even with harder core BDSM writing even straight out non-consent but this one bothered me and I could not put my finger on why.  Finally after seeking out others who had read the book I figured it out.  I really had a hard time with the control of Micah’s condition.  There were never any questions asked about health care and mental care when it was introduced into the discussion between Dom and Sub.  (These are two major questions to be asked in these relationships.)  I really didn’t like how Tackett controlled Micah when it came to this issue.  It was very disturbing to me.  If this had been a non-con it would have been different but it wasn’t.

Separating all of that out of the context of the review, the story was good.  I really wanted to see these two make it.  Part of making a good story to me is how much the author manages to engage the reader into the story.  Are you having some sort of emotional reaction to the story?  Is the reader invested?  To me if you make me care about the characters and what happens half the battle to making the book good is won.  The author did manage to do that with me.  I cared about the characters.  Is Tackett going to cave and finally keep a Sub?  Will Micah be able to control his “broken brain”?  Will Tackett be the one to help Micah with that?

I do wish I could have had more of a positive look at the story.  I would have been more positive if there had been a different look at how a mental illness or condition can work in a BDSM relationship.  Still if you aren’t bothered by this aspect of the book it is an entertaining story.

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Plan B by S.J.D. Peterson

Plan B by S.J.D. PetersonPlan B by S.J.D. Peterson
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  67,377 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  5
 

Danny Marshal has always lived his life out loud, but his androgynous appearance is only a small part of who he is. One night at a frat party, Danny meets Lance Lenard, football jock and apparent straight guy. Lance is shocked when he’s immediately attracted to Danny’s feminine side. Danny is happy to be the subject of Lance’s first man-on-man experiment—until Lance begins to struggle with the fact that despite his appearance, Danny is indeed a man.

Lance’s whole life has been focused on his goal of playing in the NFL, and he knows those dreams will be smashed if anyone finds out about his little secret. Although Lance has come to hunger for Danny’s touch, he’s not willing to give Danny what he’s grown to crave: a boyfriend who’s proud to love him for every flamboyant and snarky cell in his body.

Life sends Danny and Lance in different directions, each of them focused on his respective Plan A. But the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Excerpt

Danny is a very flamboyant gay man.  He is in college and studying theater.  He believes in living life “out loud”.  He dresses how he feels, wears makeup, is constantly styling his hair, and sleeps with many men.  The point of view of the book is all told through him.  One night at a party he doesn’t want to be at he meets Lance.  Lance is a football player whose only goal is to make it to the NFL.  Danny doesn’t like Lance at first but when Lance goes out of his way to met up with Danny later and try to get to know him, Danny becomes intrigued.  Lance is in the closet.  He knows that football is not something he can have if he comes out as being gay.  He has never been tempted to get involved with a guy until Danny.

Plan B was quite the read.  When I started the book I honestly didn’t really care for it.  I didn’t hate it but it was “Blah” for me.  Slowly I was pulled into the book wondering what was going to happen to these men.  Could these two make a relationship like this one last?  Danny just seemed too full of life to settle for a relationship where he couldn’t be himself with the one he loved and Lance would accept nothing but making it in football.  They broke my heart:(

The characters were so vivid and fully developed.  The writing was outstanding.  I can honestly say I was totally convinced by the end of the book that the ride was totally worth losing sleep over reading, which I did indeed do:)

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