Friday, December 28, 2012

Wish ListWish List by J.J. Cassidy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
ebook, 61 pages
Published December 1st 2012 
Available at: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781623802165
edition language English
series Evergreen



~~~

So, I think this has been my favorite of my holiday reads this year. It was a little far fetched, but it could happen, so that was okay. It was a little too quick to develop, but I didn't mind. It was a little too sexy, but....naw, you know that's not true.

THE STORY

Berg, just out of the army, finds himself cold, wet and alone on Christmas eve. Rescued by DJ, Berg hesitantly accepts a kindness and is soon overwhelmed with company, food and heat. Lots and lots of body heat.

THE CHARACTERS


(Berg) - Kissing wasn't usually on the menu for Berg; the kind of sex he had mostly involved getting off as fast as possible and never involved horizontal surfaces, except for kneeling on the floor.

Berger Pedersen- Loved him. Those of you who know will understand if I say this character reminded me of the best parts of "Vadim Krasnorada". The gentle, insecure Vadim. Plus the physically strong Vadim. A great combination.

(DJ) - DJ fell flat on his back. Dear Santa, thank you so very fucking much. I always believed in you. Double cookies next year, I swear. Treats for the reindeer, too. I owe you big time.


DJ Delaney- He is confident, forward and so, so sexy. He's perfect in this story, it needed his tentative boldness to drive the story forward and make the pace work.

THE WRITING

I had a ridiculous shock during this book. Just after starting it I glanced to see how far along I was and my heart actually jumped to see I was 74% done. NO! There wasn't going to be enough of this story. I didn't want it to end. I really wanted to stay with these characters for much, much longer. I'd love to see more DJ and Berg in the future.

With the exception of the pushy pace, which was necessary for this short, the writing was tight. No cheesy holiday sentiment here, just straight-forward writing. Very clean. This is all about character development and the author hit the nail on the head. Well done.



I'm off to see what else J.J. Cassidy has for me to read.

~~~

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Aunt Dee Dee's Holiday CheckAunt Dee Dee's Holiday Check by Joel Skelton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Available at: Dreamspinner Press


ebook  65 pages

~ ~ ~


I waited, and hoped, and waited some more and in the end I was well rewarded and full of love. This was a very enjoyable quick read. It took a bit to "get there", but it did get there. I wouldn't mind the Valentine's sequel to this one.


"We're on vacation, right? We've got no one to answer to. We can do whatever we want, right?


Henry is sexy, forward and just hot!

Ethan was at once both amazed and proud of his ability to pleasure.


Ethan, oh Ethan is just mmmmm, yummy!

~ ~ ~

If you are looking for a quickie and feel like you deserve a treat, go for it. This is more about relationship and attraction than Christmas or messages, but no less enjoyable.



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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Flesh Cartel #3: ChoicesThe Flesh Cartel #3: Choices by Rachel Haimowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Available at: Riptide Publishing see release date below
eBook ISBN: 978-1-937551-71-1
eBook release: Jan 7 2013
eBook formats:  pdf, mobi, html, epub
Word count: 18,800
Page count: ~67
Cover by: Imaliea
~ ~ ~

First Season:
The Flesh Cartel #1: Capture
The Flesh Cartel #2: Auction

Second Season:
Begins with this book #3.

Attention Per Riptide Publishing:

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:

explicit violence
non-consent


This is a psycho-sexual thriller, not a m/m romance. Please proceed with that in mind:


One of my updates described this as a "speeding bullet" and holy hell it is. Each episode has just, flat out, been one hell of a ride. This speeding bullet will hit you hard with pain, torture, mind fucks and god, this underlying gut-twisting need for these guys to hang on. It's like you know you'd already be totally gone, but Dougie and Mat just can't lose it...not yet. Then, at the same time, losing it would be the best kindness they could get.

You WILL feel these books, these characters, this crazy intensity that doesn't slow down for one minute.

THE CHARACTERS
___
They killed me and I'm a ghost and this is limbo, and they sent me here for hurting my own brother.


Dougie - A PhD grad student isolated with only his devastating guilt for company, he is being prepared to meet a psychological master.
___
...and it didn't escape him how fucked-up his worldview had become when the thought of being claimed by his new owner was something to look the fuck forward to.


Mat - The Fighter. His endurance is his worst enemy; then he meets Nickolai, who plans to teach Mat to endure...everything.
___
Nikolai preferred transformation and ascension to brute terms like "breaking,"


Nickolai A fucking, twisted fuck. Who's character is this? Rachel, Heidi? Damn, I know I hate this guy, without question...but....
___

THE STORY

Out of the fire, into the frying pan. Yeah, that about sums this one up.

THE WRITING

Again, if a story with this level of intensity wasn't written perfectly, it would be a glaring problem. In my opinion, this is written perfectly. In fact, beyond perfect. The hidden, twisted mental turns just kept screwing me to my chair. I want/need to look away but I can't begin to put this series down. Bring me more.

The title, Choices, seemed innocent enough, heh. The next is Consequences Holy hell!


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

~ ~ ~


A very sincere thank you to Netgalley and Riptide Publishing for providing me with a early release version of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

~ ~ ~

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mending Noel by Charlie Cochet
4 of 5 Stars 

ebook, 
64 pages 
Published December 1st 2012 by Dreamspinner Press 
ISBN13 9781623802035 
Series Evergreen
Available at: Dreamspinner Press

 

Clipart



Sparkly Sweet Sexiness!
Dripping Droplets of Delightful Dudes!
Crackling Cinnamon Kisses, Kris Kringle!!!!!!



Holy Holly, I had to take a BIG Jumpin' Jack Frost Leap of Faith on this one. Within two pages I was thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?"  

Thank Tinsel I read on; what a Pretty Present this turned out to be. So, Heighten your Holiday and don't be afraid to climb up on Santa's lap to read this Twink'ling Tale of Christmas Cheer. Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!! 


Rudolph Recommends - Highly 





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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

One Boy's ShadowOne Boy's Shadow by Ross A. McCoubrey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



ebook
Published May 24th 2012 by iUniverse.com (first published May 23rd 2012)
Edition Language English
Available at: Amazon.com
YA - Young Adult



Sweet twink Hardy Boys anyone?

~~~~~~

So, I gave a teaser that I had found the Hardy Boys of M/M romance. Let’s see if my analogy holds water:

Young, adorable, sweet-natured, and well-mannered boys?
- Check
Involved in a mystery?
- Check
Budding romance and innocent, eh hm, exploration?
- Check

Okay, so maybe the original Hardy Boys weren’t big on romance but this is a new era and the timing is ripe. Caleb and Shane could definitely show Frank and Joe a thing or two.


”I’ll cover your mouth with one hand to muffle any noise you make, I promise.”
     I couldn’t help it. I laughed. Shane was giggling too as he said, “Guess that’s not very romantic, huh?”
     "Not really. It’s oddly kinda hot, but, no, not very romantic.”
“Fair enough.” Shane flopped over on his back, still snickering.

Whoa now, this is YA. Some may say this is a too good, too innocent, goodie two-shoes read. Maybe, but every now and then I need to climb out from under that dark, cynical shadow (that I enjoy so much) and take a fresh breath of air…….and shed a few tears.

**This may become my number one recommendation for entry-level M/M romance.

Hand this to your bigoted “friends”, share it with your curious kids and read it for yourself to restore something lost. A simple, warm-natured read of love, finding yourself and the strength that comes from both.

THE STORY

At 15, Caleb moves into a new home with a past, which soon becomes;


…the life-changing event people talk about that helps define who you are.

The connection he feels with his new home is tempered with the connection he finds with his new friend Shane. Together, with help from Caleb’s older brother Blake, they work to unravel the mysterious disappearance of another boy some sixty years ago.

THE CHARACTERS

Caleb Lincoln Mackenzie – Honest, but not exemplary. Curious but hesitant. Caleb is a normal, blushing, likeable boy who’s unshakeable values move the story forward.


”I got my first kiss.”

Blake Mackenzie – Best big brother, period.


”Tolerant?” Blake repeated, confused. “I don’t tolerate my brother and my friends. I love and accept them for who they are.”

Shane – Serious, gentle and a survivor.


”I can’t forget it happened, Caleb.”

Toby – Beautiful and illusive. Toby needs to tell his story.


”You guys think maybe Toby didn’t get lost? I mean, maybe there was an accident. Why else would the gunshot be so important?”

THE WRITING

You’ll find this an easy-going, relaxing read which has a steady forward pace. The mystery kept me intrigued and ultimately surprised me. I really thought I had it figured out, but I was so wrong. Well done.

The youthful, coming-of-age romance is handled very well. There’s a little steam which is very tastefully presented.

If I have any concerns, it’s with the ease of acceptance Caleb found. However, I think the author is sending the message, “It get’s better” and indeed society isn’t what it once was. Opinions are changing and it’s nice to see that represented once in a while. Caleb does have to overcome prejudice but it’s not the knock-out, drag-out typically found in this sort of story. Kind of refreshing really.

~~~
Admittedly, I am slightly swayed in this review by a new Twitter friendship with the delightful Ross McCoubrey. His lovely nature is well represented in his writing and may have helped to push this 4.8 star review to 5.0.



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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Afflicted IIAfflicted II by Brandon Shire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Recommended
 E-book and Paperback, 214 pages
Available at: Amazon.com and others via BrandonShire.com
Expected publication: December 6th 2012 by TPG Books
ISBN13 9781480289857
Edition Language English
Series

10% of sales proceeds go to LGBT Youth organizations supported by Brandon Shire.


”Two men,” Hunter said, “pulling each other in to the center of a circle.”

The abrupt ending of Afflicted (I) left me breathless; I needed more, immediately. Luckily, the wait was worth it. This contemporary romance stands out primarily due to the unique character that is Hunter Stephens. However, it’s the sex, and the sex, and the hot, hot, hot sex that cements this story. The non-visual descriptions allow the reader a special experience that is like nothing else. Through Hunter and Dillon’s sexual explorations they learn everything about one another. They see what is beautiful and what is broken. From outside influences and internal struggles there is much to overcome before they can make a solid commitment.

I suggest really trying to read this book while considering how you would describe things if you couldn’t see. Had never seen. Your words would undoubtedly be different. I found that Hunter’s descriptions of physical attributes, whether Dillon’s or nature's, were often connected to emotions. The descriptions of emotions that Dillon’s body felt like to Hunter is fascinating and makes for a rare reading experience. It is Masculine and Raw and very Real.

THE STORY Sort of...

>Sex in the cabin was about confessions and demons.
>Sex against the wall, well that was just about lust and power.
>Sex in the kitchen was about discovering something new. And spicy!
>Sex, public sex, was about so many things, but mostly about Brandon giving us a gift. Holy hell, what a gift. Thank you Mr. Shire!!!!

Honestly there is a lot more to the story than sex, and it's all poignant, pertinent and captivating.

THE WRITING


It’s not space I want…” Hunter said as he reached up and captured the side of Dillon’s face in his palm.He ran his thumb across Dillon’s chin, feeling the small stubble. “…It’s breadth,…

Mr. Shire’s writing in Afflicted II is straight-forward without as much lyrical prose found in Afflicted. I found his composition tight and the story arc was perfection . There is a new-found ease that works well for this story.

THE CHARACTERS

Hunter Stephens- Arrogant, defensive, fiercely independent and gorgeous. He’s blind, but that’s everyone else’s problem. He might even throw a tantrum or two to prove it. Oh, my little ninja.


Because I’m impulsive, and immature, and…in love with you..

Dillon Chambers- A broken survivor; Dillon will steal your heart. Sweet, tender, gentle. OH WAIT, he can also dominate the hell out of Hunter. Really.

Others- Every secondary character is well-developed and intriguing on their own:

Travis – Worth fixing? I don’t know.
Lydia – Let’s get her a real man.
Margie – We could all use a Margie in our lives. Let’s get her laid.
Connie – There isn’t enough Connie in this story, but she’s perfect.
Roland – Hmm, a fighter, a savior, a pimp. Hmm.

~~~~~~~

His cries became a weight; a mass that was more than either of them could tolerate.


His touch was like liquid sugar; sweet, and hot, and running so slowly over Hunter’s skin that it felt like he was on fire everytime Dillon caressed him with his lips.

~~~~~~~


**My sincerest thanks to Brandon Shire for providing me with an eARC of this wonderful story in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

A Solid Core of AlphaA Solid Core of Alpha by Amy Lane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ebook, 320 pages
Published August 8th 2011 by (first published August 7th 2011)  
  Available at Dreamspinnerpress.com
ISBN 9781613721
Edition Language English
This book was released in 2011 and has been reviewed and rated heavily. It was, in part, due to the high rating that I decided to give it a try. Also, I love sci-fi and when it has a M/M romance element, then all the better. It's going to be very hard to put into words how much I enjoyed every moment of this read. Suffice it to say that I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading much more from Amy Lane.

THE STORY

…and C.J. was plunged into a hell so exquisite there wasn’t a name for it.


I think I would call this a Lost and Found story. In fact, it is the ultimate lost story. Being alone on a space shuttle for 10 years, without human contact, of any kind, would cause anyone to lose it. The world Anderson builds to counteract his loneliness is fascinating and as I read I thought that would be the main focus of the story. It isn't until Anderson's shuttle reaches an outpost that the "real" story unfolds and makes this book so much more than I expected.

THE WRITING


Above them, the night was darkest purple, and the stars were so clear and white they could draw blood.
The writing style is very straight-forward. No fancy tricks, very little poetic prose and it still kept me glued to the page. Amy Lane's style seems clean, understandable and enjoyable. I wouldn't call her writing simplistic as it was her carefully crafted underlying anticipation that had me applying the brakes while I was plowing on full-speed ahead.

THE CHARACTERS

No one else got to gawk at the boy who had talked to dolls for over eight years.


Anderson Rawn - Surprisingly multi-faceted, Anderson grows, suffers, flirts, loves and hates. He's endearingly innocent and admirably strong. It’s easy to imagine yourself in Anderson’s place. It’s hard to think about how you would fare.

C.J.’s sigh came from his toes.


Cyril John Poulson (C.J.) – Playful, intelligent, caring and sexy. CJ is too smart for his own good, when he meets Anderson he knows he’s in trouble, he knows whichever way he moves forward could be the biggest mistake of his life.

”Anderson…” It was a plea, but not even C.J. knew whether it was a plea to stop or to keep going…”



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Thursday, November 8, 2012

One True Thing (One Thing, #2)One True Thing by Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ebook, 260 pages
Published October 26th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781623800475
Edition Language English
Available at Dreamspinner Press
Setting West Hollywood, California (United States)


This sequel to One Small Thing is sweet, enjoyable and well written. Arguably, a good portion of this story leans towards an unbelievable instant attraction, but there is more here to be discovered. A reality-check is dropped in the middle of the plot that snapped me out of fairyland and delivered a more satisfying romance.


THE CHARACTERS


I was gone. So gone. It didn’t matter how soon it was, or how long we’d known each other. I recognized the feeling that washed over me just then, that pure, fierce ache.

Dusty - Light-hearted, good-natured, warm and loving despite having endured hardships, is what draws me to like him. He's uplifting, delightful and adorable. He deserves love and I can't help but want him to have someone that will cherish him, and all of his desirable qualities.


It was one of those moments, those rare, perfect moments, that are built for a kiss. That is, if you’re not a total chickenshit.

Asher – Artistic, handsome, gentle and honest, he seems to be the perfect boyfriend. But, his career could pose a real problem. I enjoyed Asher’s POV’s. His internal dialog is charming.


”No one likes a cock tease. You know why you’re here.”

Archer - The ultimate party-boy, player and user. He’s smooth and arrogant. It’s easy to “boo” Archer.


THE STORY

Dusty is beginning his new life, happily, in W. Hollywood. He's settled into a new job, comfortable with his living arrangements with his best friends, Rue and Erik. He's a romantic-realist that luckily, for us, recognizes a nearly electrical charge at the touch of a stranger. When he finds his "savior" again, he doesn't really get the tingle again, but he's willing to give this new relationship a chance. Unknowingly he has found the identical twin brother and learns how different two brothers can be.

In a funny twist this book went from almost fantasy-like romance, nearly too-good-to-be-true to real-life drama. I couldn't have been more surprised to go from giddily flying high to finding myself brought back down to earth by a shot of reality. The grounding experience really brought it all together, for me. It allowed the relationship to have much deeper meaning and generated a feeling of strength that was necessary for believability.


THE WRITING

The strength of Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea's writing is in it's concise and well paced story-telling. They are terrific at delivering emotion and charm while simultaneously moving the story forward.

Very enjoyable. Recommended.


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Thursday, October 11, 2012

The View From A Rusty Train CarThe View From A Rusty Train Car by DeeJay Arens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 322 pages
Published August 20th 2012 by Writers AMuse Me Publishing
ISBN 1927044340 (ISBN13: 9781927044346)
Edition Language English
Available at Amazon




A coming of age and coming out story spanning decades, continents and emotions. Highly recommended for readers looking for a reality check. The sweet moments are contrasted well with overwhelming tragedy in very real moments that really hit home.


THE CHARACTERS


As the blade sliced into his skin he screamed. “God, forgive me!”
Jared - Shy, honest, innocent. He narrates part of the story. I love his outlook and his growth and I feel his pain. His strength is apparent in the way he is able to carry on.

”I wish I could be who you want me to be.”
Luke - From fresh and cheeky to confused and remorseful he really got under my skin.

”…I’m not saying ‘no’. I’m saying ‘not yet’.
Derrick - A dream man. Or is he? Wow, I've never been so unsure of a character before. I thought I loved him, then I absolutely hated him. Then.....


THE STORY

There are two timelines going on in this book. One is current, the other relives the past.


”L Loves J – Forever”

Eleven year old Jared is new in town. Luckily, Luke is bold enough to make fast friends. Growing up, they very innocently learn about life, friends, family and love and they overcome youthful challenges together. As the two boys discover their world, and each other, they are inseparable, until they are, indeed, separated. Luke is sent away to "camp" to be straightened out, while leaving Jared behind completely unaware. This is just the beginning to an uplifting yet tragic story.

”It’s just that simple. I love you!”

Be prepared to care about these boys, to get angry at the world and find hope in an unabashed message.


THE WRITING

I was impressed with the way the author was able to age the voice of the characters as they matured and the story became more complex. I felt like I was really watching two young boys grow into men and that gave me a connection I didn’t expect.

Some editing issues caused me moments of pause, for instance, some italics were omitted in thought dialog. Overall, I found the writing to move forward quickly.

____

I ran the gamut of emotions. Everything from adoring sighs to heart-wrenching sobs. I was left with a feeling of completeness but also resolve in my conviction that love is love and there is progress to be made.

Unfortunately real life interfered with my review of this book. I read it and then wasn't able to get to the review for a few weeks. So, I reread the book to make a fresh attempt. I'm so glad that I did. This book really benefits from a bit of a reread. It begins at the end, which is another beginning.

--My thanks to DeeJay Arens for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Flesh Cartel #1: CaptureThe Flesh Cartel #1: Capture by Heidi Belleau
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ebook, 75 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN13 9781937551681
Edition Language English


Attention:
Per Riptide Publishing:
Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:
  • explicit violence
  • forced incest
  • non-consent

Trauma. Shock. It's too big, too fresh to be real yet.


Brutal, graphic, terrorizing and raw. Not a romance and not for the faint of heart.

This book was a sprint, with hurdles. Flying right out of the blocks there was no slowing down until crossing the finish line when I was gasping for breath and shaking.

THE CHARACTERS:

I found the two main characters to be vivid, real and so likeable that they are quite the antithesis to the crude nature of the story. Fascinating.

Mat - The fighter. The underdog just trying to survive so that his brother can live.

Dougie - Sweet, breakable and intelligent. His gentle nature is heartbreaking. He loves his brother more than himself and is smart enough to know that's a terrible weakness.

THE WRITING:

I found the writing flawless. I think it would have been easy to spin me right out of the story if the writing hadn't been spot on. With the seriousness of the subject, I was so focused that I would have noticed a lack of perfection.

THE STORY:

Brutal erotica focusing on the raw world of skin trade. We start with the abduction of the two brothers which barely gives us a hint of what is to come. Scary, graphic and even gruesome. None-the-less captivating and gripping. The story, in fact, is all the more consuming for it's intensity. Honestly, I don't think this story could, or should be told with less violence and in your face realism.

Mat and Dougie are the only reason I was able to catch my breath. I found myself grasping on to their humanity and begging that they will be able to hang on to it. Which is precisely why I have to read on. Even knowing the story will hurt me, I have to know more.


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Monday, September 17, 2012

My rating: 4 of 5 stars




Ebook, 175 pages
Published September 17th 2012 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN13 9781937551667
Edition Language English



A very fine stand-alone as well as a must-read for established Special Forces fans. I would also nominate this as an excellent first male/male romance book.

Aleksandr Voinov's voice takes on a fresher, lighter tone yet remains sophisticated in this highly enjoyable romance. I've been anxiously awaiting this new look at the next generation of his Special Forces characters. While it's possible that this book was written purely to indulge his fan's wanton pleading, I honestly believe this project was something the author enjoyed pursuing.

For the past eight months I have been rereading, buddy reading, quoting and praising the epic Special Forces. It's kind of like that first rock album you really connected with and had to share it with everyone willing to listen, in an effort to keep it alive and valid. So, when I heard that Aleks would continue the story, I was thrilled. When I heard the story would be contemporary and revolve around Nikolai, Vadim's son, I was intrigued. When I found that it would be a "sweet romance", I was apprehensive. How could the tragic, physically invasive SF be turned into anything sweet? Duh, I've said this before; I trust Aleks writing and I trust his vision. What he created here was a new day, a new path, while simultaneously easing my soul and giving much needed comfort. Well done.


THE CHARACTERS

There's much better than me out there for you.

Nikolai Krasnorada - Strong, gorgeous, open-minded and introverted. Nikolai is a surprising character to develop from the madness that is Special Forces. He feels normal, average and yet leads a lifestyle many would envy. An explorer by nature or just seeking something he's never known, he works hard to keep a birds-eye-view of his family's, uh, unique quirks.

"The harmless one"

Henri LeBeau - Smooth, rich, flirtatious and the enemy. Wow, what's not to like there?

Vadim sat...back to the wall, seemingly playing with his smartphone -- or really plotting who to kill first...with nothing more than a coctail umbrella.

Vadim Krasnorada - I had instant concern for Vadim in this story. The god-like strength is subdued, vulnerable and he fears losing someone he loves deeply. His brilliance, cunning and protective nature are completely intact. I love him more than ever.

Anya - So like her mother. Competitive, manipulative, a bitch.

I have to say that it was quite interesting to watch Voinov work with the more "normal" characters of Nikolai and Henri. As a fan, I've seen him develop and present some fascinating, unique and complex characters, so seeing his ability with regular guys was enlightening.

THE STORY

It turns out, for me, this was the perfect contrast to Special Forces. A modern story reflecting a more progressive, yet far from perfect world. Opening within the exciting and fast-paced corporate world, Nikolai and Henri are in high-level discussions relating to corporate mergers and takeovers. The two men are both successful in business but have each forestalled their personal lives. The tentative attraction is acknowledged, but Nikolai is not one to be pinned down. His family has not given him much reason to seek anything long term.

There are glimpses of the parents and family who have worked to achieve certain levels so that their children can have a different type of life. For all that parents strive to make their children's lives easier, smoother, those children must still attain their own sense of self via pitfalls and success.

A strong and necessary undercurrent in the book revolves around Nikolai and Vadim's incomplete relationship. I found myself crying for Vadim. I think you will too.

The Anya twist is reminiscent and surprising. Voinov's genius was showing when he developed this plot line. I have to wonder how long he was sitting on that idea.


THE WRITING


The chemistry and the banter.

This is why I think Voinov found enjoyment in these characters. It was clear in the writing style that he liked both Nikolai and Henri and I found it delightful that he could interest me in such normal, warm and "real" guys.

The story was quick, lively and well written. Again, I would say this would also be an excellent introduction into male/male romance. The pace, tone and visuals are easy to sink into.

...you never know what kind of memory will keep you going when you need it.

~~~~

The longer I digest this book the more satisfaction I'm taking from it. If this is Aleks' attempt to appease his fans, fine. I say more power to his fans for causing this revisit.

There are several plot lines that would be very interesting to pursue. In a very vain attempt to color Aleks' mind, I would love to see more of these characters.



Thursday, September 13, 2012



A Change of Pace A Change of Pace by Tielle St. Clare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle Edition
Published May 10th 2011
ASIN B0050COC8E
 
Available at Amazon.com





I found this book through a recommendation (thanks Elizabetta) after reading a couple very heady stories and needing something lighter. It delivered on the lighter bit but was maybe just a bit too light.

This read a little like porn. There was something going on but it just never really "got" there. Well the sex "got" there but the plot didn't. I'm sitting here still expecting a sequel.

THE CHARACTERS:


...sexy little professor...


Aiden, the Professor, is likeable and has a few layers. Unfortunately, we don't really get to see what is hinted at in his demeanor. We get glimpses of his intelligence, his warmth and his prickly-ness but none of it really goes anywhere



The man was irritating, annoying and sexy as hell, not to mention completely off limits.


Knox is sexy but his constant verbiage of, "your little ass" or "your little body" started to bug me. It felt a "little" demeaning. I did like his go for it attitude though.


THE STORY:

Knox and Aiden (The Professor)have been lusting after each other for some time. When the opportunity arises to explore their physical attraction, they don't hold back, even though Aiden is only interested in something long term. This could have bothered me more, but I really felt that it was just two men, throwing caution to the wind and giving into their needs. There wasn't much analyzing or introspection going on.


THE WRITING:

A quick paced story that got right to the heart of the action, i.e. sex. There were several POV shifts in mid-stream and lazy sentence structure but the descriptive action kept the story together.


~~~~

In the end I would recommend this to someone looking for a quick romp. The end left much to be desired, like a firmer conclusion, but it did end happily which is what I asked for.


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Monday, September 10, 2012

Listening to Dust by Brandon Shire



My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Paperback, 142 pages
Published March 10th 2012 by TPG Books
ISBN 1470181290 (ISBN13: 9781470181291)
Edition language English
Available for purchase at: Amazon


There aren't enough stars for a book like this.

This isn't my typical style of review because I just can't. I can't really read my kindle highlights to share those thoughts. My eyes are too full. I'll explain below, why I've just had to take a different approach here.

70%, 70% is where I cracked. Broken. Crushed and flayed wide open. Until the end and well beyond.

I could easily let go and curse out Brandon Shire. I could easily hate an author that can cause me so much pain. I suppose I'm a masochist though, and actually love that he can reach me like that.

When endless media incursion causes me to tune out and block out the noise, to become numb and uncaring, it's good to find that I can still be moved. To find that my humanity and passion are still alive. Brandon Shire has a way of awakening every sense, with imagery and emotion, vivid and tangible. In this book, you will be there, with the characters, smelling, feeling, wanting. Wanting so badly.

I'm not writing any sort of synopsis because I believe this book should be discovered entirely for yourself. I can't imagine two people finding the same things here. So I can't tell you what it's about, for you. To be sure, there are overarching themes, but the subtle layers of understanding will develop differently for everyone. This is a simple story with incredibly complex problems. Problems that are so big it's easier to look away. But don't look away. Read this book. Tell friends about it. Until our humanity is flawless read this book and books that keep reaching us.

I have to say one last thing. It will only mean something to a few GR friends but it matters. Plus, I need to release a little pent up frustration and between this read and some comments made in an unrelated GR thread, I have to let it go. *I only read male/male romance for the sex. (That is hostile sarcasm, by the way, and should not be construed as truth, by anyone).

Edit:  I just found Brandon's Pinterest page dedicated to Listening to Dust.  It's a photo journey for the book.  Brilliant. You can see it here:  Listening to Dust Pinterest Page


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


 My rating: 5 of 5 stars





Ebook
Expected publication: September 15th 2012 by TPG Books
ISBN13 9781476353616
Edition Language English
 
 
 
 
 

Afflicted by love’s madness all are blind. – Sextus Propertius

--I’m a lousy human. I didn’t want to read about a blind guy and a gay prostitute, but when Brandon Shire approached me and asked me to review his new book I was flattered. As a new blogger I thought, wow, someone discovered me. So, I looked into some of his other books (I glanced at his ratings on GR) and decided, “Okay, I can give this a shot.”. Since this was my first read and review of a Brandon Shire book I honestly went into it expecting very little. I didn't really care for the cover and also, no one had recommended him to me before, so what could I be missing, really?

THE WRITING

The question hung like flypaper swirling in the air, all the dead carcasses a tribute to that particular twist in life called consequences, which in this case remained unspoken.

I was blown away immediately. The writing style had a heavily descriptive tone and I was instantly walking alongside the characters, feeling the setting. There were moments where I really had to dig for understanding, because I was both; learning the author’s elocution, and because he made me reach to grasp a weighty concept.

I was just beginning to realize that this somewhat demanding writing style would require more concentration and effort than I usually give a “typical” romantic read, when the dialog began. I was delighted to find an easily readable, relatable tone that wasn’t pretentious. The characters were as comfortable to listen to as the descriptive narrative was beautiful. A very enjoyable combination.

THE CHARACTERS

Maybe he had been using the stink of independence to cover up his loneliness.

Hunter Stephens – Strong, sexy and fiercely masculine, Hunter is not what I expected in a blind main character. Independent despite his blindness, or more accurately, because of it. He is confident, coherent and extremely cognitive. Yet, he is wary. He doesn’t want empathy. He wants to be treated as a man. He wants to be “taken” as a man.

…and wondered what it would be like to wake up next to someone like him and not feel like an accessory, not feel…disposable.

Dillion – He is beautiful, surprising and secretive. Overcoming the worst in human nature, he remains hopeful and wanting. Despite his successes he finds himself in an endless loop. He wants to leave the circumference and grab at something in the middle.


THE STORY

Look at my gay blind friend, aren’t I so socially forward?

A man who has always been treated as delicate, fragile and vulnerable needs to know he’s just a man. Another man gives him his strength; unabashedly powerful sex is an intro to a deeper connection.

As I said earlier, I wasn't really into the premise, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This isn't at all about a weak, afflicted blind guy. It's about two strong men, two fighters trying to find out if they can let go. Two men taking a difficult step forward to learn whether or not they can be what each other needs.

I was simultaneously thrown into the subcultures of gay prostitution and blindness. Somehow, Shire found a way to beautify and romance me, despite myself. I was overwhelmed with butterflies. I cried. I laughed and I learned, about me.


THE SEX

…he wrapped himself around Hunter like a soft vice of hard passion.


Raw, descriptive, erotic as hell. The sex struck me as "a man's POV", which was fine with me. It was all the more gritty and in-your-face (often literally). Some of the terminology did make me a bit uncomfortable but it fits the story. Maybe I just need to get out more.

What would his feet be like trapped in boots all day? Hunter wondered. Not rank, no; a slight vinegar smell, like chips, only with a more sensual under-tongue taste.

~~~

Possibly the most surprising aspect of the book, for me, was how even at the very end, the last two pages, I was experiencing a racing heartbeat and tummy flips. That NEVER happens for me. I was ready to scream at the lack of conclusion but now realize the story continues. The story stops in a good place but, I, for one, can not wait to read more about Hunter and Dillion and more, much more, from Brandon Shire.

~~~

My thanks to Brandon Shire for providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.


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