Monday, April 29, 2013

My Dear Watson by L.A. Fields 4 Stars

My Dear WatsonMy Dear Watson by L.A. Fields
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Available at: Lethe Press and Amazon
Paperback and Ebook, 284 pages

Published April 4th 2013 by Lethe Press (first published March 26th 2013)

ISBN 1590213688 (ISBN13: 9781590213681)

Edition language English

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He is rather infectious, Sherlock Holmes. A dark and glamourous thing.


[I should disclose my familiarity with Sherlock Holmes. I am not an aficionado, not even an avid reader, but I would consider myself something of a novice with interest. I have read a few of the more well known books.]

A commendable undertaking, penetrating the classic Sherlock Holmes mysteries to prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the "true" nature of the relationship between Holmes and Dr. Watson. I will never again think of their relationship in any way other than how it was put forth here. Ms. Fields convinced me completely of the truth of the matter and I feel fulfilled for understanding that truth.

THE BLURB
One of the most famous partnerships in literature yields, over time, to a peculiar romantic triangle. Sherlock Holmes. Dr. John Watson. And the good doctor’s second wife, whom Doyle never named. In L A Fields's novel, Mrs. Watson is a clever woman who realizes, through examining all the prior cases her husband shared with the world's greatest consulting detective, that the two men shared more than adventures: they were lovers, as well. In 1919, after the pair has retired, Mrs. Watson invites Holmes to her home to meet him face to face. Thus begins a recounting of a peculiar affair between extraordinary men.

“You are such a unique person,” Holmes says poisonously. “What a shame that history will most likely never remember your name.”

The question Mrs. Watson faces: Did Holmes simply take advantage of her husband’s loyalty and love, or did the detective return those feelings? And what to do now that the pair are no longer living together at Baker Street and Watson has other claims on his affections? My Dear Watson offers readers a romance that requires as much reasoning to puzzle out as it does passion. Mrs. Watson proves a worthy opponent—in intellect, in guile, in conviction—for the great detective.

Recommended for libraries by the GLBT Roundtable of the American Library Association

THE CHARACTERS


What was it about Holmes—razor-tongued, ego-chocked, hard-hearted Holmes—that made living with him so much more worth it? What was it about the tension and drama of Baker Street that was so irresistible?


Sherlock Holmes - Hard-hearted is an apt description. We meet Holmes as a young college man, already confident, cocky and steps ahead of everyone. Can this machine ever crack?

Dr. John Watson - Charming, calm, thoughtful, brave and romantic. He sees something in Holmes that everyone else must miss.

Mrs. Watson II - Clever, insightful and patient. She is a modern woman who loves her husband despite his interests. She's admirable and pitiful, but I couldn't help stepping into her shoes.

While I find Holmes an insufferable bastard, I ache for Watson. While I sympathize with Mrs. Watson, I long for Holmes and Watson to settle. While I glimpse the famous cases, I learn about true mysteries of the heart and mind. To read this book is to journey through the familiar and, for me, other unknown cases where once dark corners are illuminated with new light.


They are embracing each other tightly, blissfully, as if they’ve been a lifetime away from one another. I don’t believe I am jealous—I’m a modern woman, and I knew of my husband’s flexible nature before I married him—but I am rather dstabilized by this scene. They just look so desperately happy to be holding one another. It’s touching, but it touches one awfully hard.


THE WRITING

Ms. Fields has clearly expended great amounts of energy and research to put together this detailed narrative. You’ll find a convincing presentation of the facts as well as interesting commentary on real historical events which affected their relationship. Her usage of poetic prose and innuendo seems very in keeping with the tone of the period. At times, the retelling became repetitive and I found myself wanting more dialog between Holmes and Watson. Alas, that may not be possible given their unique relationship. Nonetheless, something could have been gained by coming to the point more quickly. This is to say that I was convinced by the proof Ms. Fields presented early on, but felt I was slogging through the middle needlessly. The final third, however, found me hard pressed to lay the book down.

I was angry at Holmes. Crying for Watson and laughing at the lame criminal element that Holmes toyed with ruthlessly. The sexual relationship between Holmes and Watson is only alluded to, but there are delightful moments of tension and tenderness that portray a very clear picture of their intimacy. For me, someone who enjoys romance, this feels like an element missing from the classic stories has been restored.

I would highly recommend this to readers with at least a basic understanding of some of the more well known cases. Especially if you would like a deeper, more meaningful connection to Holmes and Watson.

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I would like to thank Lethe Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Guest Post by Ross McCoubrey

We all need a reminder, now and then, of how to bring it back to what is real. Thanks Ross, for letting me share this. 
 
By Ross McCoubrey

I believe in random acts of kindness.
I believe in simple, small gestures.
I believe a handshake is a contract.
I believe in good manners at the table and in general.
I believe in the power of positive thinking.
I believe a person of true faith does not require a religion.
I believe animals have souls.
I believe hugs have healing powers.
I believe silence speaks volumes.
I believe in tears of sorrow, tears of joy and that a strong person fears neither.
I believe in finding the beauty in the everyday.
I believe dandelions and daisies in a tumbler on the windowsill are the perfect floral arrangement.
I believe spring peepers offer the hope of summer.
I believe in angels, I have seen them.
I believe in ghosts, I have seen them, too.
I believe that true friendships are invisible to the lines of family.
I believe Hope is more than just another four letter word.
I believe giving is the greatest gift.
I believe in respect for other people’s opinions even though we may disagree.
I believe in getting all the information before forming an opinion.
I believe in voting.
I believe in respecting other people’s property.
I believe reading opens doors to other dimensions.
I believe in dreams.
I believe in doing the right thing the first time.
I believe a job well done is its own reward.
I believe in loyalty.
I believe in passion.
I believe in romance.
I believe in love at first sight.
I believe in patriotism – but not blindly.
I believe actions speak louder than words.
I believe in recycling.
I believe art, no matter the medium, should be respected.
I believe a great film, even if it is about a depressing subject, makes you feel better for having seen it.
I believe in equal rights, not special rights.
I believe some of my greatest acquaintances are fictional characters.
I believe in remembering the victims, not the villains.
I believe in being able to be mature while still being young at heart.
I believe in proper commemoration and respect for our military personnel, whether or not you agree with the battles fought.
I believe in taking your hat off at the table.
I believe in respect for the flag.
I believe in working late into the night to get the job done.
I believe in giving credit where credit is due.
I believe people will disappoint me.
I believe people will hurt me.
I believe people will use me.
I believe people will claim their god is better than my god.
I believe people will fight to exclude me from having the same rights and privileges they take for granted.
I believe people will overlook me.
I believe people will criticize my work.
I believe people will laugh at my dreams.
I believe people will demand more of me than I have to give.
I believe people will say one thing and do another.
I believe people will destroy art rather than take time to appreciate it.
I believe people will forego manners in preference to laziness.
I believe people will give me more work to do so they have to do less.
I believe people will cut me off in traffic, let the door shut in my face, and throw random insults at me.
I believe people will lie to my face.
I believe people will stab me in the back.
I believe people will take from me, from others, from this earth, and never give back.
I believe people will treat animals as property.
I believe people will not respect property, their own or others.
I believe people will destroy nature without a thought to the consequence.
I believe people will speak the loudest with the least to say.
I believe people will blame the victim or the weapons rather than the guilty.
I believe people will become so afraid to show emotion they stop to feel altogether.
I believe people will not vote yet complain that nothing changes.
I believe people will form their opinions based on popularity.
I believe people will scoff at the notion of there being angels and ghosts.
I believe people will take for granted the country they live in and the hard-fought battles that it took to create and maintain that country.
I believe people will try to make me give up, to make me abandon my beliefs, to tell me I am lesser, to insist I have nothing to say, that what I do doesn’t matter, that I am ugly, to tell me I am an abomination.
So…
When I have reached the summit of my despair and stare down into the valley I must make a choice: either I join the mass of people wallowing in their self-pity, their complacency, their expectancy, their self-absorbance, their defeat OR I go back to the top of my list and start again.
It is my list of what I believe that matters. It is my code, my ethos, my doctrine, my edict, my canon, my dogma – my core; that which I hold dear in my steadfast resolve to persevere against the tyranny of waste, war, want, and woe.
So…
I go back to my list and I start anew, making one addition to the top:
I believe in me.
And that is where I begin.

- Ross McCoubrey, April 25, 2013
Author of One Boy’s Shadow

One Boy's Shadow

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Flesh Cartel #6 Brotherhood 10 Flawless Stars!

The Flesh Cartel #6: BrotherhoodThe Flesh Cartel #6: Brotherhood by Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Available at: Riptide Publishing and Amazon

eBook ISBN: 978-1-937551-75-9
eBook release: Apr 1 2013
eBook formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Word count: 24,400
Page count: 93
Cover by: Imaliea

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:::10 FLAWLESS STARS:::
SEASON TWO FINALE


This has become my most anticipated read, I can not wait for each new installment.

I fear Ms. Haimowitz and Ms. Belleau could stir up a tall glass of Kool-aid and I would heartily glug it down. Truly, I have drunk their juice, smoked their brand of hallucinogen and have signed up for duty on their spaceship. I guess I’m as much their slave as Mat and Dougie are Nickolai’s. Can anyone save me?

THE BLURB

In the season finale of The Flesh Cartel: Fragmentation, Nikolai sets into motion his plan to break the bonds of brotherhood between Dougie and Mat. Time and again, Mat and Dougie have proven they’ll do anything to stay together, anything to spare the other misery or pain. To sever that thread, Nikolai plots a strategy more cruel and clever than he’s ever employed before. And to pull it all off, he enlists the help of a willing accomplice: Mat.

You see, Mat and Nikolai have come to an understanding. Or rather, Nikolai has come to understand what makes Mat tick. How to wind him up. How to make him stop. And how very much he’s willing to sacrifice for his brother’s happiness.

But Mat is still a loose cannon, and there’s no telling how Nikolai’s plan will unfold. One thing’s for certain though: Nikolai never fails, and with Mat’s cooperation or without it, Dougie will be his.

THIS EPISODE

For season two’s finale Dougie and Mat are finally reunited only to bring an absolute end to their brotherhood. The question I find myself asking is; who was it harder for, Dougie or Mat?

THE WRITING

I’ve accused these two authors of everything from; torturing me, to tainting me, to tempting me, to tantalizing me. Through their flawless writing they have truly figured out a way to get control of my mind and force me do things (like read about the deepest forms of brutality) that I would never do in real life. Oh wait, this is real life. Well, there is no way I am turning back now.


THE CHARACTERS

Mat - So strong. He is asked to do the impossible, does it, and then he’s punished for it.

Push him away. You have to push him away.


Dougie - Pliant, flexible. His ability to adjust/conform should help him. His intelligence knows better.


He could do this, he realized. He could be what Nikolai wanted. He could choose to be. Wasn’t that its own kind of power?



Nikolai - Always honest. True to his word and patient. He makes sure you understand why he has to do these things. He is the best at what he does, you see. He is also one of the most brilliantly drawn characters I have ever read. Ever!


Nikolai smiled, victory pulsating through every artery and vein. In these tiny moments, however brief, he was a god.


This is a serial release:

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

Second Season - Fragmentation
The Flesh Cartel #3: Choices
The Flesh Cartel #4: Consequences
The Flesh Cartel #5: Wins & Losses
The Flesh Cartel #6: Brotherhood – Season Finale

**Per Riptide Publishing - Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: explicit violence,non-consent

**Fair warning, this is NOT MM Romance. This is a psycho-sexual thriller which includes rape and torture. Please proceed with that in mind.

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I sincerely thank Riptide Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Close Quarter by Anna Zabo 4 of 5 Stars


Close Quarter
Close Quarter by Anna Zabo





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Very different and surprisingly clever. Remember this is fantasy, you need to be willing to just go with it in places and for being open to that you will be rewarded. There are twists and turns and unexpected developments that I questioned too early. It is all worked out brilliantly, I just had to trust the author. While I hold that it could have been tighter in the middle, it was a complete and fulfilling read. Even though it was complete I find my self really hoping for a sequel. There will be a sequel, right? Because there is so much for these characters to accomplish and they’re just great together.  

THE BLURB


On a transatlantic cruise to New York, sculptor Rhys Matherton struggles to piece his life back together after losing his mother, inheriting a fortune, and finding out his father isn't his father after all. He spills a tray of drinks on a handsome stranger, then he finds himself up against a wall getting the best hand-job he’s ever had. And for the first time in his life, he feels whole.

Rhys enjoys the company of Silas Quint, but for the eerie way no one pays attention to them even while they kiss in a crowded bar. Silas explains he's a forest fae able to glamor the room around them—and more importantly, that he's on the cruise to hunt vampires. Rhys thinks Silas is full of it, until he discovers vampires are real, and he’s part of their main course.

Silas Quint can’t be distracted by a human lover, even one as lovely as Rhys. Stuck in the middle of the ocean, he has barely enough of energy to hunt the vampires he’s been sent to destroy. Rhys is full of the one thing Silas needs needs most—the element of living plants. Only sucking energy from Rhys would make Silas as soulless as the creatures he hunts. How can he keep Rhys safe, without becoming like the very monsters he hunts?


  • Note:This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices, violence.

THE CHARACTERS
“You move me, Rhys, in wild and wonderful ways.
Rhys Matherton - He is not at all what I expected from the first few chapters. In fact he continues to change and develop throughout the book. The brash American with unreal world problems.  

 “Fae embody everything humans desire. Unglamoured, we’re a bit overwhelming to their senses.”

Silas Quint - Arrogant. He exudes confidence and power, but that confidence hides a deeply painful past and fear.

The delicate scent of sweet violets drifted around them
Rhys and Silas together Yes, they’re almost a totally separate character together. Gorgeous, beautiful love making so near to nature it’s pure and wondrous to experience. 

Anaxandros - Properly scary, mysterious and ancient. Too powerful, too twisted and too vicious, a great mix for a bad guy. 

THE STORY 

A contemporary fantasy with delightful surprises and intensely steamy and frequent sex scenes. It’s not often that I think there’s too much sex, but I may have in this one, even though the sex scenes were some of the best parts about this book. Hm. More on that in a bit. By way of an accident Rhys and Silas meet. Instant distaste turns to lustful tastes that help to clean up a sticky situation. Soon it becomes apparent that there is an energy flow between the two that is unexpected from Rhys’ human nature. Needing to understand more he seeks out Silas who holds all the answers. If only he would talk to Rhys instead of making out with him. These guys can not keep their hands off each other. 

THE WRITING 

Somehow this story is both quick and drawn out. I found myself breezing through some of the later sex scenes, but was also mesmerized and captivated by the unique and descriptive terms that gave flavor and body to Rhys and Silas’ encounters. The descriptive elements really set these characters apart giving me a strong connection to them. For those looking to read a different type of romantic encounter I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book. 

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I sincerely thank Loose Id for providing me with and ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Overture: Life of the Party by S.L. Armstrong 3.5 Stars

Overture: Life of the PartyOverture: Life of the Party by S.L. Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Available at: Storm Moon Press and Amazon
ebook, 38 pages

Published March 8th 2013 by Storm Moon Press

ISBN13 9781937058982

Edition Language English
Series  Immortal Symphony: Overture #2
 
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3.5 Stars

Caveat: Open relationships, orgy and underage encounters, drug use. 



 
You’re invited to a lavish orgy. 


So far this serial has had hot m/m sexiness, m/f/m ménage, and now a very exclusive orgy. Dorian doesn’t do things halfway. 

THE BLURB 
Episode 2: Life of the Party
Gabriel's first glimpse into Dorian's lifestyle was only the beginning, and now he finds himself tumbling further down the rabbit hole. Dorian's birthday party introduces Gabriel to some of Dorian's friends, all as free-spirited and debauched as Dorian himself. Through them, he learns that he isn't the first that Dorian has drawn into his web this way, not even the hundred-and-first. And yet somehow, all of Gabriel's concerns instantly seem strangely inconsequential at Dorian's slightest touch, fueling Michael's fears that there is so much more to Dorian than they could guess.
THE CHARACTERS

Gabriel Lawrence - Young, fresh, amorous. Naive???

Michael Lawrence - Gabriel’s ethereal brother…and conscience???

Dorian Gray - Still beautiful, flawed and completely debauched…and yet there’s something….???


He might have gotten jealous if Dorian hadn't straightened with an amused chuckle and pulled him closer. It drew everyone's attention to him, and being in the spotlight in front of such a gorgeous group made him want to retreat. There was nowhere to hide, however, and Dorian grinned at the group. "I would like you all to meet Gabriel. [...]
"Gabriel? Like the angel?"


THE STORY

Honestly, there isn’t much forward movement in this episode, except to open Gabriel’s eyes to everything Dorian has to offer. Gabriel arrives at Dorian’s sumptuous estate and is instantly swept into a world of opulence and excess. While Gabe just wants to enjoy the fantasy; Michael is in desperately trying to get Gabe back to reality.

Gabriel is presented at a “coming out” party of sorts. He is indeed the “Life of the Party.”

THE WRITING

The authors are still developing the plot so it isn’t clear yet what’s lying underneath the surface. I think the pacing is intentional and clever, but we’ll need to see some enlightening reveals soon.

Recommended

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I sincerely thank Storm Moon Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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