Blog Archives

Alrik by Carol Lynne

AlrikAlrik by Carol Lynne
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Totally Bound Publishing
Short Story:  23,200 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

Book One in the C-7 Shifters series.

Alrik is determined to keep sex with Ben simple, but when wolves, shifters and bullets enter their world, all bets are off.

Dr Ben Cook has devoted his life to saving the Mexican Grey wolf population from extinction. A year after being shot while looking for a large pack of Mexican greys, he’s determined to try again. When Ben’s sister hires one of the C-7 shifters to protect him on his mission, he feels an immediate and undeniable attraction to the huge blond protector.

Alrik’s body yearns for his client on sight, but for a shifter who prefers sex without sentiment, Ben presents a problem. Centuries earlier, Alrik learned that love was a worthless emotion that only served to trap those stupid enough to fall.

Alrik is determined to keep sex with Ben simple, but when wolves, shifters and bullets enter their world, all bets are off.

Excerpt

Alrik is a lonely guy but doesn’t acknowledge it.  He is assigned to Ben while Ben hunts for a pack of wolves he is trying to prove exists.  Ben has been shot in this hunt previously and his sister is worried about him being injured again.

There is a lot that happens in this little story.  I liked the characters and the story line.  The writing was good.  The biggest hitch in the whole thing is Alrik himself.  I expect characters to change and grow.  I like stories with a HEA so for that to happen Alrik would HAVE to change.  The thing is…he really doesn’t.  He is against the relationship all the way until the very end when with little warning and little change in attitude he suddenly believes he has to have this relationship with Ben.  It really wasn’t in character and didn’t fit the storyline at all.  Yes, I want the HEA but it was like two ends of a story stuck together with the middle explaining it missing.  I was very disappointed by that as I did really enjoy the story.  I don’t know the cause of this and believe if the story had this “missing” section  I would have loved it.

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Strength of the Wolf by Kendall McKenna

Strength of the WolfStrength of the Wolf by Kendall McKenna
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  MLR Press, LLC
Novel:  121,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

Major Tim Madison has his hands full. A young Alpha werewolf has stormed into his personal life, while Tim struggles to keep military werewolves from safe on the front lines.

After a fiery exit from Afghanistan, Tim Madison is promoted to major. Jeremy Wagner is a civilian, just beginning his Transition to True Alpha. As a lone wolf, he has no one to teach him the vital principles of strong leadership. After a volatile chance encounter, Tim and Jeremy form an intimate bond. As Jeremy prepares to someday lead his own pack, Tim struggles with military werewolves being needlessly maimed in combat, as well as specifically targeted by hostile forces. Despite Tim and Jeremy’s feelings, werewolf and human politics or family conflict could prevent their mate-bond.

Excerpt

This was the second book in The Tameness of the Wolf series.  This book differed a great deal from the previous book.  The relationship is focused on a different set of men.  One Noah and Lucas’s commanding Officer Tim and the other a civilian, Jeremy.  The story is approached in a totally different way.

Jeremy enters the story at the very beginning of his Transition to a True Alpha wolf.  Tim was out with Noah, Lucas and some of the other military werewolves and they run into an aggressive Jeremy in the parking lot.  Luckily Noah understands what is happening and subdues Jeremy.  Jeremy is a mild mid-level wolf until his transition.  He was kicked out of his pack because the Alpha wanted to keep his position.

Tim and Jeremy are immediately attracted to each other.  The relationship builds from there.  The story is not well developed.  Jeremy always remains a shadowy figure to the reader.  We learn very little of his character.  The relationship seems to be the focus of the book but we get a lot of what is happening with Tim and his unit.  I really didn’t see much of why Jeremy and Tim are together other than sex.  Tim keeps thinking of Jeremy as a kid and a brat.  Jeremy just clings.

I liked that we got some information on Transitioning.  Other than that and an update on what is happening with Noah and Lucas with the military, I don’t see much growth.  I have a feeling that the information and status of everyone will be important in following books.  Other than that I felt that this book was weak in character and plot line.

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Tiocfaidh Ar La by Angelia Sparrow and Noami Brooks

Tiocfaidh Ar LaTiocfaidh Ar La by Angelia Sparrow and Noami Brooks
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Storm Moon Press
Short Story:  14,300 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

NOTE: This book was originally included in the Carved in Flesh anthology from Storm Moon Press.

After enduring a brutal assault, IRA explosive expert Seosamh O’Brien, fled his war-torn homeland for America. Now Joe Colson, he wears his scarred face like armor and keeps out the whole world, protecting the meager little life he’s carved out for himself as an illegal immigrant in the Boston slums. But a night programmer with a face like an an angel and an elfin grin full of mischief gets past the armor and scars, and into the softer places of Joe’s heart, before he quite realizes what is happening.

Excerpt

This is a hard book to review.  I admit to knowing nothing about the IRA and the rest that the main character was involved with/in so I don’t know the kind of research done on that subject so I can only come at this as a pure fictional work.

Joe is a man nearing 50.  He is badly scarred and believes with his past he will have no chance at ever having a relationship.  Along comes Ryan who seems to see past the scars and age to the man beneath.

This was a very shallow read.  We learn some about Joe and really nothing on Ryan.  It makes it hard to understand Ryan and his devotion to Joe.  Joe is ran down.  He just coasts day to day.  He really has no goals other than to get through each day.  Ryan is the one to bring him out of that.  Ryan gives back a little happiness to Joe.  Joe is a pessimist though and with good reason.  He has seen and done some bad things.  Life is not all sunlight and roses and especially not for him.

I thought the writing was well done.  It wasn’t overtly flowery and it was just dark enough to set the tone for the whole of the story.  We really get so very little of Ryan he really isn’t all that impressive to the reader.  Joe is the main character and we catch glimpses of his background and what he was and is now.  I think it would have helped to understand a little more of his time in Ireland.  The writings lack of character information or really emotional involvement made it difficult to connect to the characters and story.  I never really got into the story and so it didn’t really stick with me like good writing can do.  I think the idea was sound but the characterizations were lacking.

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The Obscurati by Wynn Wagner

The ObscuratiThe Obscurati by Wynn Wagner
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  66,760 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

Vamp Camp Book Two

A hundred years after his turning, Mårten Larsson and his lover Oberon have taken the compassion and caring they found in Vamp Camp and created an empire that brings balance to vampire society around the world. Once two giddy young vamps, now they’re the most formidable vampire hit squad in history: The Obscurati. As the “Unseen Death,” the duo enforces vampire law. When a vampire breaks the rules anywhere in the world, or when the local vampire leaders can’t control a situation, that’s when The Obscurati show up. Mårten and Oberon turbo-charge the action with the latest in anti-vamp firepower and more, all the while pushing their steamy relationship to the next level.

Excerpt

This is the second book in the Vamp Camp series.  Marten and Oberon continue their life together.  They are moving up in the vampire world.  They are asked and agree to join a special team of vampires that take out the “problem” vamps in the world.  The group is super secret; no one is to even know the name of the group, so Marten calls it the Obscurati, “The Hidden Ones.”

This seems to really have little to no plot.  It seems like a bunch of scenes from Marten’s life.  It just seems like…almost a journal with a few flashbacks.  I think the writing is good but I don’t see a storyline or plot to it.  Descriptions are very detailed.  I love hearing how Marten describes his surroundings and life.

Now I didn’t really love this book.  The language got a little repetitious and childish, considering the “age” of the storyteller.  I thought there would be more progression in the people than there was.  I really didn’t see much growth.  There was SOME but not like one would expect.

This book had the humor of the previous, which is just so fun.  The no plot really doesn’t allow any connect to the story because it just doesn’t seem to really go anywhere.  I really can’t figure out the connection for Marten to Oberon.  I know the relationship is open but Oberon doesn’t seem to spend much time actually WITH Marten.  He is having sex, tinkering in his lab, or they are off on a mission.  Considering they only have daylight hours, there just doesn’t seem like much time for that intimate connection.  But they do understand each other really well and care a great deal for each other.  I can see that they are there for each other in the bad.

Really the lack of plot along with some of the silly phrasing of words made this not all that an enjoyable read for me.  I was willing with the last to believe that it was a background and set up book so the lack of plot wasn’t as big an issue, but this just continues that trait and is making the series boring.  I am willing to read another book in the series in the hopes that the next will give me more.

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Ty Hard by L.E. Harner

Ty HardTy Hard by L.E. Harner
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Hot Corner Press
Novella:  30,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  2
 

Tyler has used Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a shield against the truth since he was seventeen. Cut loose from his Navy career and mourning his mentor’s death, Ty must come to terms with his desire for another man, even while he fights to keep his PTSD from pulling him under. Rancher Cass Cartwright’s relationships never last more than a few hours, and that’s just the way he likes it. Now he’s done the one thing he swore never to do: fallen in love. Can Cass convince Ty to let go of his past or will sabotage at the ranch kill their love before it has a chance to grow?

Excerpt

Ty has just been medically discharged from the military.  He has no family or friends to go to except for his friend, Gibby, whom he served under for a time.  Gibby is like a father to him and has invited him to come out to the ranch he works on to get his head together.  Unfortunately just as he arrives he finds his old friend has died.  Cass is the owner of The Willow Springs ranch.  He gives the bad news to Ty.  The next day Cass convinces Ty to stay on a while just like Gibby would have wanted.  Cass wants more than that from Ty though.

The writing was good and flowed well.  I enjoyed the overall story line.  I have to say that I was a bit disappointed by the shallowness of the story though.  There was some background to Ty though it was spotty at best and Cass’s was little better.  The romance was fast.  There was little time between them meeting and them falling in love.  With both men swearing they wouldn’t get involved with anyone, they sure didn’t fight it much.  Ty being a military man I have a hard time believing he would be thrilled with all the “baby”s that were said by Cass.  I also think with Ty having gone so long NOT being involved and even having his first kiss and first sexual experience being so traumatic would cave under so fast even if he was in love.  I just didn’t connect with these characters.  The story had so much to make it a very enjoyable read but was rushed and lightened too much.  I am going to be generous on the rating though because there was something enough to it that I am considering reading the second book.

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Racing the Moon by B.A. Tortuga

Racing the MoonRacing the Moon by B.A. Tortuga
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Torquere Press
Novel:  47,458 Words
Purchase at Amazon
Roses:  2
 

Sonny has a shipment to deliver. Moonshine, the old fashioned way. Too bad some jerk blew up his road in the Carolina mountains, keeping him stuck, high and unfortunately dry.

MJ is on a mission, ridding the world of another environmental threat, shutting down a logging organization. Running into Sonny in the foggy woods throws a wrench in his plans. But it’s when Sonny kidnaps him for an impromptu vacation that things go completely awry. Do these two have enough in common to prove they can give the moon a run for its money?

Excerpt

MJ is an environmental terrorist, kinda.  He is more of demo man that is paid to blow up things that are messing with the environment.  Sonny is a country man who is also a moonshine runner.  The two meet up and it is a huge fight.  Sonny is determined to keep ahold of him in case he runs to tattle his location before Sonny can get his moonshine shipment out.  MJ just wants to go to the beach.

MJ is a dangerous man with very set likes.  He likes the beach, his comforts, and money.  Sonny is more laid back.  Sonny is easy going and humorous.  Both men like their cars.  Sonny and MJ fight and hurt each other but it seems for these two it’s all part of the attraction.  When they have to run to avoid the men looking for MJ, Sonny dopes up MJ and take him to the beach.  Sonny REALLY likes MJ.  When MJ is called back in for a job and it goes belly up it is up to Sonny to save him.

The writing was a little choppy.  This is the author’s style but some of the word choices just aren’t that great.  The plot was fun and adventure filled.  As far as the characters go, I have a hard time believing these two would fall for each other that quickly and after insisting neither of them would bottom and never have they cave to each other awful fast!  I do like the characters and the slight grittiness of the story.  My trouble came with it being a bit of a wish-washy attempt at it.  It seemed like the author wanted the best of both worlds, a cutesy romance and a grittier novel.  Neither of which could be accomplished.  Still it was entertaining and fun to read.

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Yes, Sir by Ellis Carrington

Interestingly lit male body against a blue wallYes, Sir by Ellis Carrington
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Self
Short Story:  10,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Smashwords
Roses:  2
 

A New Orleans vacation takes an interesting turn when Grayson Harper lets a friend drag him along to see a voodoo priestess for a love spell. Suddenly he’s having very vivid dreams about a mystery man that seem all too real, and doing things in them he never thought possible. But what will become of the man of his dreams once he leaves the magic of the French quarter?

This is a short free story.  Grayson is a workaholic.  He hasn’t taken a vacation in six years because of his need to make sure his company is growing and succeeding.  While on vacation with his oldest friends he sees a voodoo priestess and begins dreaming of a man.  This man gives him everything he didn’t think he wanted in his sex life but it is only a dream.

Grayson is disowned by his family after coming out to them.  It is implied that that is why he is so focused and determined with his company.  He is a bit of a control freak and has promised his friends to try and relax for this vacation.  Grayson dreams after seeing a voodoo priestess of a man that takes control that ties him up and gives him pain something Grayson would have never believed would turn him on so much.  Grayson finds himself obsessed with his dream man.

This story is good but a little light.  I think this is due to the length.  There is only so much that can be fit into a story this long.  I felt like the beginning just drops you into the middle of this man’s life and gives the bare bones to catch you up.  As far as Grayson’s dream man we know little about him either.  I would have hard time believing this story if the two characters started acting like they were in love but that isn’t how the story ends.  Really this story didn’t end in a way that was unexpected or different.  I actually enjoyed the story but in a way I already knew most of what was coming the only real thing that was different to this story than others I have read in the same vein was the BDSM.

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Butt Pirates in Space by Kiernan Kelly, Kage Alan, Angelia Sparrow, T.C. Blue, and Shae Connor

Butt Pirates in SpaceButt Pirates in Space by Kiernan Kelly, Kage Alan, Angelia Sparrow, T.C. Blue, and Shae Connor
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  MLR Press, LLC
Novel:  88,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

Strap yourself in and strap something on as you’re transported across galaxies and lifetimes by Kiernan Kelly, Kage Alan, Angelia Sparrow, T.C. Blue and Shae Connor. Whether it’s an interspecies pregnancy between two hormonal males, a swashbuckling group of pirates, or free gifts that talk, you’ll soon learn why in space, no one can hear you cream. Open wide for BUTT PIRATES IN SPPAAACCCEEE!

What to Expect When Your Boyfriend is Expecting
What fun is a cross-species pregnancy without an old-fashioned kidnapping to shake things up?

Spacehunters
The Future of Perfect Love Is A Bitchfest!

B’Utopia
There are times when even a space pirate needs to do the right thing. This isn’t one of them.

Free Gift with Purchase
Sometimes the free gifts are the ones that keep on giving…whether you want them to or not.

Pride of the Rangers
Disgraced Lieutenant Commander Cliff Cody of the Space Exploration Rangers escapes from prison and turns pirate.

Excerpt

“What to Expect When Your Boyfriend is Expecting” by Shae Connor

This was a cute, little story.  Yes, it is shallow but it is fun.  We learn really little about the main character, Zeke.  We know for some reason he came to a different planet in the second landing of humans and met his boyfriend there.  They had a quick relationship and moved in together.  Zeke had no idea that his boyfriend could get pregnant and of course he does.  Now the two are the first cross-species pregnant couple.  They get word that privateers are after his boyfriend and baby.  Poor Zeke ends up in their clutches though.

I really liked the background of the story.  All the little details that make up this world are interesting.  Zeke is a smart man and knows he and his boyfriend are in love and never wavers in his faith in his boyfriend.  I would have loved to have seen more of the background and surrounding story of these two.  I think it would have made an excellent novella with a little more detail.  As is it is just a cute short.

Roses: 3

“Spacehunters: Master Elite and the Maternal Order of Loganites Beyond Uranus” by Kage Alan

This was a lighthearted story that was more about humor than story.  It was hilarious!  Some of the “cult” names…lol.  Jayden and Chace are boarding a station illegally to get a scroll.  It is never said what is on the scroll.  It really doesn’t seem to matter in the scheme of things.  Jayden and Chace snark back and forth the whole story long.  At times it is not always easy to follow them but that is the fun of the story.  As I said this is more about humor than anything so the plot and all else is pretty thin, but it is an enjoyable read as it is.  The only trouble that I had is that I got so tired of all the names…it got a little ridiculous.

Roses:  2

“B’utopia” by Kiernan Kelly

Hmmm, this one just didn’t catch me.  I thought that Rictor was interesting but personality challenged and Jerrick was just…Blah.  The whole premise of the story sounds good but the actual story just was too over the top for me.

Roses: 2

“Free Gift with Purchase” by T.C. Blue

This was a very interesting story.  It is a well thought out one.  I loved the characters.  The story could have had a little more detail too it.  It was tough to be in a short that had so much thrown at you so quickly with little time to truly absorb it.  It could get a little confusing.  I enjoyed the characters.  Mama was a very interesting addition and Miss Jocelyn Uranus, lol!!!  Ah, it was a very enjoyable read.

Roses: 4

“Pride of the Rangers” by Angelia Sparrow

This book was definitely not for me.  I didn’t like the characters.  The premise itself was good but it had little feeling in it.  There was lots of sex but it was stilted and lacked any emotional connection for me as a reader.  It also made no sense to me how Cade, Jake, and Frank ended up together.  There really wasn’t a connection there.  I didn’t feel or see it.  I had no sense of Jake and Frank as characters.  One minute Cade hates everyone the next in love…yeah, no.

Roses:  1

Overall the book is trying to be funny and lighthearted but really just ended up being too over the top to really enjoy.  I know this was supposed to be funny but mostly I was glad to finish the book.

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Forgotten Lullabies by Kallysen

Forgotten LullabiesForgotten Lullabies by Kallysen
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Online
Short Story:  17,560 Words
Available at Online Site
Roses:  2
 

In the novels Fangs & Lullabies and Demons & Lullabies, I have attempted to give readers a peek into the very unusual family formed by Jacob and his fathers, Andrew and Nicholas, both of whom are vampires. These two stories offer snapshots of Jacob’s and his fathers’ lives from his birth to adulthood.

This sample ebook is constructed the same way, although with fewer and shorter snapshots. Some of them were written as answers to prompts from readers and first posted as flash fiction on my site; some were written specifically for this ebook.

Whether you are just discovering the members of this little family or have followed their adventures before, I hope you will enjoy these glimpses into their lives.

(This is a free on-line fiction series.)  This particular book will only interest those that have read the series.  The book consists of a snapshot of the lives of Andrew, Nicolas, and Jacob occurring from Jacob’s birth until he is 17.  Each year is given a little peek into their lives.  The POV changes so it could be any of the main characters.  Some are long and some are short.  By the nature of the book the passages are very disjointed from each other.  There is no plot or frame work involved in the story.  This isn’t a “story” in and of itself that is why it will only appeal to those that have read the first two books.  For me, I enjoyed these extra little glimpses into their lives.  I thought the individual sections were well written and interesting.  I wouldn’t say this is a top read for me, since it has been some time since I read the series and it is not a story so it’s just not as good, but it is interesting and fun to read.

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Davi’s Salvation by Stormy Glenn

Davi's SalvationDavi’s Salvation by Stormy Glenn
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand, Inc.
Novella:  44,033 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

On the worst day of Salvador Cavalcante’s life, he meets a man destined to be his mate, something sacred where he comes from. Little does he know that mating Davi will make him an alpha stronger than most—and more dangerous.

Davi Braizer is an omega. In his world, that means he is to stay hidden from sight, not allowed to speak to anyone, and at the alpha’s beck and call every day of his life. It’s a miserable existence until his alpha is defeated by a man who just might not be completely human.

When Salvador’s past comes back to haunt him, hiding his true nature is no longer possible. If he wants to keep his mate safe, he’ll need every ounce of power to defeat the man bent on destroying him. And that means becoming the monster everyone fears.

Excerpt

I really did like this story, just saying, me personally I like it.  Salvador awakes in a strange place after spelunking.  He doesn’t remember much but figures he is hurt pretty bad.  When he wakes he finds himself sleeping with a man he doesn’t know.  He is told by another he was in a fight with an Alpha wolf shifter and since he killed said Alpha he inherited his powers and is now Alpha.  The man he is sleeping with is Davi and Salvador has claimed him while out of his mind with the shift.

I did like the overall story but there are lots of holes that some readers will not like.  Salvador at first acts like he knows nothing about the paranormal world, later he knows a lot.  Davi has been taught to be a certain way all his life and after Salvador changes that Davi has no problem adjusting and even being physical with others.  This I just don’t buy.  The fight scene was anticlimactic and a little over done.  I didn’t see a lot of depth to the characters either.  There are a lot of sex scenes.  A LOT.  Also a some people might not be happy with the claiming since it seemed more rape than consensual.

As I said I enjoyed the story.  It was sweet and cute, a real “comfort” read but as far as being a solid BOOK, I have to say it really fell short on the plot and development.

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