4 Stars, Amber Allure, Genre Romance, J.D. Walker, Reviewed by Lana, Short Story

Review: Romancing the Bouncer by J.D. Walker

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Romancing the Bouncer

Author: J.D. Walker

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 13k Words

At a Glance: I really enjoyed Romancing the Bouncer but would have liked it to be just a bit longer.

Reviewed By: Lana

Blurb: Bennett “Ben” Pachowski has been a bouncer at Throwbacks for years. He likes his job, though he gets tired of being thought of as more brawn than brain simply because of his size. He also prefers to be romanced before sleeping with a man.

Ben’s favorite band, Rebel’s Ultimatum, occasionally plays at the club, which gives him an eyeful of the sexy bass player, Monty Mabuse. They’ve been eyeing each other for months, though Ben is content to flirt and nothing more, since “commitment” seems a foreign concept to the selfish, arrogant and flirtatious bass player.

But Monty wants Ben to become the next notch on his bedpost, and a devious trick to get what he wants blows up in his face.

Will Ben be able to forgive Monty for his deception? Perhaps, but if Monty wants to have a relationship with Ben, he needs to make some changes, and it remains to be seen whether he can become the kind of man Ben will respect, let alone love.

Sometimes, a little romance goes a long way…

Dividers

Review: Romancing the Bouncer is a short and sweet romance that’s long on the sweet and very short on content, or rather, length. But, as they say, size doesn’t always matter; it’s how you use it. Well, the author used a small amount of space to create two characters that I really liked and felt for but wanted to see more of.

The story centers on Ben, a tough but sweet bouncer who’s looking for his forever man. Because of the way he looks and what he does for a living, people make assumptions about him, and they are always wrong. He’s a thinker and likes to read to the elderly at an assisted living home. And then, you have your typical sexy musician, Monty, who’s looking for his next hookup and sets his sites on Ben. Both are attracted to each other, and Monty gets the upper hand through some subterfuge. Ben’s not so thrilled and basically dumps Monty without even dating him. It was cute how Ben wanted something more meaningful, and Monty just wanted to get in his pants. After some time apart, and then a reconnection, Ben and Monty developed an actual relationship and it was very believable. Both characters for me felt like real people and not a caricature. Both evolved and grew, and I really enjoyed their progress.

And, I really enjoyed Romancing the Bouncer but would have liked it to be just a bit longer, something to get my teeth into. It’s sweet, sexy and just right for a very small snack.

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You can buy Romancing the Bouncer here:

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4 Stars, Abigail Roux, Audio Book, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen, Riptide Publishing

Audio Review: Cross & Crown by Abigail Roux – Narrated by Brock Thompson

Amazon

Amazon

TitleCross & Crown

Author:  Abigail Roux

Narrator: Brock Thompson

Publisher:  Riptide Publishing

Run Time:  6 hours and 50 minutes

At a Glance: I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: When Nick O’Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time. Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide.

The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity. Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

Dividers

Review: After listening to Shock & Awe, I jumped right in to Cross & Crown and was so excited to listen to it.  Maybe because I listened to them back to back, and because Shock & Awe is so focused on Nick and Kelly starting their relationship, I realized while listening to Cross & Crown that although they are together throughout the book and have some sexy times, it is definitely more mystery driven than Shock & Awe.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed and liked the mystery and treasure hunt aspect of the book, and trying to figure out if “JD” was a good guy or bad guy, but I love Nick and Kelly and wanted more of them than we got in this book.

As with Shock & Awe I think that Brock Thompson did a great job with the narration of the book. The dialog was clear, the voices were distinct, and for me, it fit with how I heard them in my head while reading the book.

So, overall, I enjoyed this narration just as much as I did listening to the first book, but the story missed the mark for me a little bit.

TNA_Signature_Karen

 

 

 

 

You can buy Cross & Crown here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, DJ Manly, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: On Bryson by DJ Manly

Amazon

Amazon

Title: On Bryson

Author: DJ Manly

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 39k Words

At a Glance: On Bryson makes for a fast paced, action packed, murders and secrets crime story.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: A few years ago, Soren became involved with the wrong man, and all he wanted to do was get away from a life connected to the mob. But now, here he is yet again, right back in that world, running a nightclub called The Sand Dune for the Gambini crime family. Never does he expect to meet the love of his life there, let alone that the man who comes into his nightclub is a cop on a rampage trying to discover who shot his cousin.

But now that Sergeant Bryson Accurso’s at The Sand Dune investigating, Soren’s been given orders to “be on him” at all times. And after one look at the sexy lawman, Soren immediately realizes his orders will be far too easy for him to follow…and he intends to follow those instructions to the letter.

Dividers

Review: Sgt. Bryson Accurso is like a dog with a bone. He just can’t leave Sidney Gambini, drug lord, alone. His cousin Rickie was shot at his place of business, owned by Gambini’s godson, and Bryson is sure Sidney Gambini’s behind a lot of the events going on. Even though the shooter has been caught, Bryson finds it all suspicious and takes time off to strike out on his own to solve the crime. Bryson is very dedicated to his Italian/Irish family. With the loss of his mother, he has close ties with his father, Aunt and Uncle, and I loved the caring and rhetoric between Bryson and his father, who thinks everything is unnatural.

Soren’s character is sort of sad in a way. He came from a strict family environment, and was kicked out by his father at a young age. Soren was swept off his feet by Marco Gambini, which became yet another downfall for Soren. Soren is hot on Bryson’s heels, at Sidney Gambini’s orders. But Soren is hiding a secret from both Gambini and Bryson.

Bryson and Soren are just the best characters, they seemed destined to be a couple, though there are some snags along the way that kept them apart. I really liked Bryson’s character. DJ Manly gave him a really fun sense of humor.

On Bryson makes for a fast paced, action packed, murders and secrets crime story, with a touch of humor. For being a short story, it had a good plot and enough going on to hold my interest.

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You can buy On Bryson here:

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4 Stars, Holiday Romance, JMS Books LLC, John Amory, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: It’s a Wonderful Afterlife by John Amory

Amazon

Amazon

Title: It’s a Wonderful Afterlife

Author: John Amory

Publisher: JMS Books LLC

Pages/Word Count: 25 Pages

At a Glance: It’s a Wonderful Afterlife is a short, sweet and to the point story with a magical twist that, brief though it is, packs an emotional punch.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Workaholic Logan rests only one day of the year: Christmas Day, and then only because when he tried to open his coffee shop on that day once and no one showed up. Ever since his parents died on Christmas Eve over ten years ago, Logan keeps busy to keep his feelings at bay and keep people at a distance, even going so far as to ignore his younger brother’s invitation to spend the holiday together.

But a car accident and a Christmas Eve encounter with a mysterious stranger named Michael, which may or may not be a dream, will change the way Logan sees his past, his present, and his future.

Dividers

Review: Logan doesn’t have a wonderful life. In fact, he doesn’t have much of a life at all. He works, he goes home, he sleeps, he wakes up, and repeats the cycle on a continual loop. He’d do it 365 days a year were it not for the fact that the one year he tried opening his café on Christmas Day, he had no customers.

Logan is alone by choice, estranged from his younger brother—avoiding him, more to the point, working his life away and existing in a state of perpetual grief. Christmas is not a great time of the year for Logan, to say the least, and when we meet him, he’s driving home from work, yet again, on a dismal Christmas Eve.

John Amory does a splendid job of painting a visual of Logan, the man who brushes up against the same people every day but never bothers to make personal connections. He’s the archetypical loaner—the man you know will one day look back on his life and see the trail of regrets he’s left behind, a man who’s in dire need of a chance to turn his life around before it’s too late. Logan is in the process of rejecting yet another invitation from his brother Dave to come spend the holiday with him and his girlfriend, Tia, when a sudden turn of events sets the course for this touching little story filled with the magic of Christmas.

In the film It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey makes a wish. He wishes he’d never been born, and when that wish is fulfilled, he gets to experience the fallout firsthand, and subsequently is able to understand how beautiful the world with him in it truly is. In this short story, Amory puts his own twist on the second chance trope by showing Logan a significant moment from his childhood through his adult eyes, a past event filled with all the pain and sadness that’s brought him to this point in his life. And eventually, with the help of something a little supernatural, Logan is gifted with the opportunity to see it is indeed a wonderful life—even if life isn’t always wonderful.

It’s a Wonderful Afterlife offers a poignant look at one man’s salvation. It’s a short, sweet and to the point story with a magical twist that, brief though it is, packs an emotional punch.

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You can buy It’s a Wonderful Afterlife here:

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4 Stars, B.G. Thomas, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Kim

Review: The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever by B.G. Thomas

Amazon

Amazon

Title: The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: B.G. Thomas

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 76 Pages

At a Glance: I think The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever is a cute and sexy holiday read.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Before he discovered the Heartland Bear Clan, Ron Corbin figured no one could ever love a “fatass” like him. But the big group of big men accepts him, and likes him just the way he is. Having finally found a place he belongs, he works hard to get elected president of the club—and wins. He’s the happiest he’s ever been.

But Paddy Brennan, a sexy bear cub who blew into town and became Mr. Popular overnight, is elected vice-president. Ron doesn’t think Paddy has earned the honor, and now he’ll have to work shoulder to shoulder (and belly to belly) with the guy for a year.

Ron will do what’s best for the club even if that means setting his personal feeling—that Paddy is a jerk—aside. But then as the two men get to know each other, Ron reluctantly finds he not only likes the guy, but is growing more and more attracted to him.

Deep down, Ron still worries he isn’t good enough, but maybe Paddy can show him there’s a beary happy ending waiting for them after all.

Christmas Dividers

Review: I don’t care what a person looks like, it’s what inside that shows who you are, and it takes Ron a while to see that he is one sexy man. Oh la la! I really liked Ron. Even with all of his insecurities about his weight, he comes off as someone I’d like to know in real life. I liked how, when he joined Heartland Bear Clan, he grew to be more comfortable with himself. And it was just too bad that Ron let a comment made by Paddy bring back all those insecurities his parents instilled in him as he was growing up. I really dislike people who fat shame! And I more than empathize with Ron about being picked on for being overweight.

As for Paddy, he’s a really nice guy, so when you hear the comment that he made when he first met Ron…well, it’s just hard to believe that he would say something that vindictive. Despite everything, though, Ron is willing to put his negative feelings and conflicting attraction towards Paddy aside as they work together to make the very best holiday party ever for the Heartland Bear Clan.

There is one thing I really enjoy about B.G. Thomas’s writing, and what makes him an auto-buy author for me, and it’s that I know I’m always going to finish his stories with an “aaaaaah” feeling.

I think The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever is a cute and sexy holiday read.

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You can buy The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever here:

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4 Stars, Holiday Romance, Jay Northcote, Reviewed by Jules, Self-Published

Review: What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote

Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: What Happens at Christmas

Author: Jay Northcote

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 113 Pages

At a Glance: Jay Northcote has another holiday winner here.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: When two friends pose as boyfriends, could what happens at Christmas turn into something more?

Justin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.

Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.

In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?

Christmas Dividers

Review: So many delightful little bits in this story! It was easy to fall in love with Justin and Sean. As soon as I read the blurb for What Happens at Christmas I immediately snapped it up. Anyone who knows me, or follows my reviews at all, knows that friends-to-lovers stories are totally my thing. I love the level of comfort the characters have with each other, the level of trust, and that there is so much shared history. Maybe it’s because my husband and I have been together since we were nineteen – friends since we were fifteen – maybe I’m just a product of the formula…but, I know it works.

Justin and Sean were both extremely likeable, and the story was funny, charming, and sweet. It’s not a new idea – pretending to be dating, to piss off an ex at the office party – but it was well-done here. I also really liked that they were both in love with each other rather than it being a GFY situation, for example. To me that made it much more enjoyable; what they each thought was unrequited love was really just bad timing and poor communication.

Jay Northcote has such a light, easygoing style, and the guys are very sexy and fun together. That’s not to say that the book is without substance. Sean has a strained relationship with his father, and they are somewhat estranged. He is pretty troubled over that situation, and what he is going to do with himself now that he’s come back to England. Justin and Sean both have reservations about pursuing a relationship. They are extremely afraid of ruining their friendship, and unwilling to risk it, so they spend some time unhappily plodding along. In some books this can become a big stumbling block for me. You know those books? The “Just talk already!!!!” books? I didn’t feel that here, though. In this book it was more, “Awwww…these poor guys.” Their trepidation is more endearing than annoying.

Northcote has another holiday winner here. The guys had GREAT chemistry. The office party scene was tons of fun to read – it was VERY satisfying to watch the sleazy ex squirm – I imagine it also had to be fun to write! Super low angst, this one is perfect for when you need that feel-good read. I thoroughly enjoyed this easy-breezy Christmas novella.

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You can buy What Happens at Christmas here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Amazon AU

Amazon DE

Amazon DE

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4 Stars, Comedy, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Lex Chase, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Loving and Loathing Vegas by Lex Chase

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Loving And Loathing Vegas (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: Lex Chase

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 62 Pages

At a Glance: This little snippet is sure to delight and amuse you this holiday season.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Jackson has loved Vegas since God created Man—literally. As a demonic incubi hailing from the Seventh Circle of Hell, Jackson and Vegas have never been anything more than roommates. Now living among humans, they run Eaven, a TripAdvisor-recommended detour-worthy diner famous for its devilishly decadent pies. Business is dead on the holidays, and Jackson will gleefully stab himself with a spatula if he has to clean spotless pots and pans one more time.

For fun—or torture—Vegas makes him a bet that should Jackson win, they take a much-needed vacation. Should he lose, he’s doomed to clean out grease traps for all eternity. When the challenge is to fall in love with other people by Christmas, it proves Vegas isn’t the least bit interested. But when they find an abandoned baby in the trash, she could be the Christmas miracle to warm Jackson’s cynical heart.

Dividers

Review:   Author Lex Chase offers up a devilishly sweet story for the Sleigh Ride 2015 Dreamspinner Advent Calendar. Even demons, in this case incubi who feed off sex, deserve a holiday, and are determined to have it when they make a bet with each other to see who can fall in love by Christmas. The only hitch is Jackson is already in love—with his long time roommate and fellow demon, Vegas. The two have settled down and run a diner that is best known for its devilishly decadent pies, but Jackson is tired of cleaning the diner’s grease traps, and more than fed up with trying to hide his feelings for Vegas. To top off the whole crazy wager, a baby is left on their doorstep, and it is up to Jackson to make sure she is taken care of, especially since she can’t seem to stand the sight of poor Vegas.

Only Lex Chase could create such a crazy-hot and adorable Christmas story with a decidedly unique twist. The relationship and interchanges between Jackson and Vegas were sharp and humorous while also bordering on the frustrating—-all they had to do was admit how they felt, and yet the constant dance around those emotions made for a fun romp of a story. With more than a fair share of snark and sarcasm, the story flew along, fraught with sexual tension that you could cut with a knife. The resolution of that tension made for a very hot sex scene that left me breathless!

Loving and Loathing Vegas is an unusual and clever contribution to this year’s Advent calendar. While it would have been great to know a bit more about the baby’s origins and the backstory of the two incubi themselves, this little snippet is sure to delight and amuse you this holiday season.

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You can buy Loving And Loathing Vegas here:

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4 Stars, Clare London, Holiday Romance, Jocular Press, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: Nice and Snow by Clare London

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Nice and Snow (With a Kick: Book Six)

Author: Clare London

Publisher: Jocular Press

Pages/Word Count: 43 Pages

At a Glance: Nuri and Eddy are still just that lovable.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Nuri’s expecting a quiet Christmas, driving his cab, doing some studying, enjoying good food and drink – and devoting some serious loving to boyfriend Eduardo. Occasionally he misses his homeland of Turkey, but he’s content to share the London celebrations with Eddy.

But what with Eddy’s distress over his new role at the local comedy club, interference in their love life from Nuri’s irrepressible brothers, a disturbing number of costumed Santas on the street, the dangerous slush on the roads, and then the portly, bearded man dressed in red, in need of an urgent cab ride…

It doesn’t look like things will be that quiet after all!

Dividers

Review: Nuri and Eduardo first met in With a Kick, a book that oozed an excess of charm and wit, and now Clare London has brought them back in the excessively adorable and heartwarming Christmas short Nice and Snow, reminding me why I’d warmed up to this couple so well in the first place. Some of it, no doubt, has to do with Nuri’s family—in this case, his brothers—but there’s also no arguing that a lot of it has to do with this author’s sense of humor and, of course, then it doesn’t hurt that Nuri and Eddy are still just that lovable.

Eddy feels the same way about all the pseudo-Santas larking about the city as most people feel about clowns. But this time of the year, they’re near impossible to avoid—seems Eddy couldn’t swing a reindeer by the tale without hitting one of those jolly faux elves. As for our dear Nuri, this holiday season has brought on a bout of nostalgia for his childhood in Turkey, and the memories the two men share with each other are what make this story just that little bit extra special. That, and the fact they pick up a rather unusual fare in Nuri’s cab. Their passenger is an interesting man, to say the very least. But then, what would the holidays be without a touch of magic to make the season bright?

And what would a holiday romance be without a completely heartwarming ending? London deftly delivers that too, for this charming couple who maybe, in theory, shouldn’t work because they’re both so different, but do because they’re both so warm and wonderful.

If you haven’t read With a Kick, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading Nice and Snow as a standalone, but I can most definitely recommend getting to know Nuri and Eddy, so now’s as good a time as any to catch up on their story while you’re cuddled under a blanket on a chilly winter weekend.

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You can buy Nice and Snow here:

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4 Stars, Erotica, Genre Romance, Kink/Taboo, Liberty Lace, Reviewed by Lynn, Wilde City Press

Review: Islands in the Stream by Liberty Lace

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Islands in the Stream

Author: Liberty Lace

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Pages/Word Count: 85 Pages

At a Glance: If I were to recommend a book to those thinking about getting their feet wet with father/son love, I would definitely choose this one.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: At only twenty-one years of age, Daniel Hastings is a young man headed for the top of his game. As Assistant Chief Acquisitions Assessor for a major property development firm, it’s Daniel’s job to assess the viability and investment potential of land opportunities, usually bringing in millions of dollars in profits for his firm. The key to his career is to convince the previous owners of the land to part with their precious properties, and Daniel has found that everything is for sale… at the right price.

That is until he arrives on Saint Etienne, a tiny Caribbean island that a major resort chain intends to develop into a billionaire’s playground. It’s up to Daniel to assess the situation and convince the villagers to sign over their island home… and if they refuse, Daniel and his colleague are under strict instructions to find any legal loophole they can to snatch the untouched piece of paradise out from under its owners.

But there’s one inhabitant on this island Daniel wasn’t expecting to find—his estranged father, Nick… a man who walked out of his son’s life just when the two of them where beginning to understand one another.

Will Daniel give his father a second chance? Will he discover there’s more to life than profits and acquisitions? Or will his career take priority over the life Daniel was destined to live?

Dividers

Review: Okay, we all know by now I like reading out of the norm stories. Those “taboo” reads where brothers fall in love, uncles/nephews, what have you, I’ll eat them up. This is my first father/son-to-lovers story, and I have to admit I wasn’t too sure. I worried it might take me out of my comfort zone—like, all the way out. But I’ve read this author before and love their writing style. I figured if I’m venturing into unknown territory, I had better stick with an author I’m familiar with. I think I made the right decision.

First off let me say, I loved the storyline. Daniel, a young professional, secures land titles for companies looking to build resorts on exotic beaches. I found it very interesting to read because it’s a subject I don’t know too much about, so there’s that. I also loved the people of this little island. They are colorful, eclectic and fun. The author really makes you feel like you’re right there with them, with detailed description of the beaches, homes, bugs and yes, even the humidity in the air. Really felt as though I was there.

So we have Daniel on this island, trying to make a deal and make his employers happy. The last person he ever expected to see was his estranged father, Nick, a father who left him and his mother five years prior and never came back. With all the anger Daniel had pent up inside, it’s no wonder their first meeting wasn’t a good one.

Being that it’s a short story, the author doesn’t go into minute details, but we get enough backstory to know what happened, why Nick left and how Daniel dealt with it all. To me, a story like this needs to have the believable factor. If you’re going to write in this sub-genre, I feel you have to state your case and make it stick. If not, I fear the story will come across as creepy and tasteless instead of creative. I feel this author nailed it.

As incest is the ultimate taboo in romance, the relationship needed to be handed well, and it definitely was. The mutual attraction between father and son was thought out very carefully by the author. The coupling was presented in such way that when all was said and done, we just have two men finding each other again, falling in love, and wanting to be together. The ick factor I worried about in the beginning never came, so kudos to the author for that. I don’t know if there are plans to revisit these characters because the story ended as a HEA, but I for one would love to see how they’re doing on their island of love.

I know this isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if I were to recommend a book to those thinking about getting their feet wet with father/son love, I would definitely choose this one to start with.

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You can buy Islands in the Stream here:

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Wilde City Press

Wilde City Press

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4 Stars, Loose Id, Madeleine Ribbon, Reviewed by Kim, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Faire Diviner by Madeleine Ribbon

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Faire Diviner

Author: Madeleine Ribbon

Publisher: Loose Id

Pages/Word Count: 234 Pages

At a GlanceI must say that I’m quite taken with the author’s storytelling.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Rosewood, the magical Renaissance Faire’s psychic and one of the business partners, has been single for over ten years—ever since he accidentally revealed his psychic abilities to the love of his life and lost him. He has devoted himself to the Faire and the magic within ever since. The last thing he expects when hiring a new business manager is for Oscar—the “one who got away”—to walk back into his life as the most qualified applicant.

While Rosewood tries to deal with Oscar as his new business partner, his abilities start going haywire. He senses danger coming, and it’s somehow tied to Oscar’s dark past. They will have to work together to recover Rosewood’s abilities, help Oscar heal, and save the Faire itself.

And if they can do that, then maybe, possibly, the “one who got away” will become his greatest catch.

Dividers

Review: Faire Diviner is the second book I’ve read by Madeleine Ribbon, Death by Dragon being the first, and I must say that I’m quite taken with the author’s storytelling.

Basically, Faire Diviner starts out with Rosewood using his psychic abilities to look for a potential replacement to fill his Uncle Jorvik’s job as head Manager of the Faire. He’s shocked to discover that the interviewee with the most potential is his first love, Oscar Moreno—The One the Faire wants for the job.

Now, after reading both sides of the story about how these two didn’t stay together when they were younger, I wouldn’t exactly call this a story about “the one who got away” as much as it’s that they both bolted from each other and went their separate ways. And, it would seem they were both at fault for what happened. Youth and inexperience strikes again!

I liked Anthony Rosewood. His character came off as somewhat lonely because of his isolated life from others outside the Faire, and his sensitivity caused by feeling others’ emotions. There’s an innocence about him that is quite charming in itself. As a teen, his mother hurt him deeply when, after his father died, she wanted to commit him to a mental institution because of his abilities. Running away before she could carry out that deed, he ended up at the Faire and under the protection of his Uncle Jorvik.

Vin is someone who Rosewood considers a friend-with-benefits, someone he turns to when he needs a cuddle, which I thought was kind of cute. Oscar is also someone I liked as a character, but he did come with a bunch of his own emotional baggage. He’d just escaped from an abusive long-term relationship. But there was one episode that I thought him quite the AH after he and Rosewood hooked-up. Again, I have to give him a little leeway since both men seem to have a communication problem with each other.

Now that I’ve read Faire Diviner, I went out and purchased the two books that preceded this one. I’m sure I’ll get more perspective on how the Faire operates, but Faire Diviner can be read as a standalone. It just made me want to read more about this alternate universe, and I’m looking forward to reading future stories by Madeleine Ribbon. I think I’ve found a new author to enjoy!

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You can buy Faire Diviner here:

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4 Stars, Comedy, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Sammy, Rob Rosen, Short Story

Review: Best Laid Trap by Rob Rosen

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Title: Best Laid Trap (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: Rob Rosen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 24 Pages

At a Glance: Fans of Rob Rosen will immediately latch on to his wickedly humorous writing style and slightly crazed characters.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Roy has a crush on Steve, so when a work-related ski weekend is offered, Roy jumps at the chance to finally lay a trap for his hunky coworker. An abandoned cabin nearby is perfect for his scheme, and Roy stocks it with champagne, rubbers, and lube. But fate intervenes, and it’s not Steve, but Ranger Josh, who ends up trapped in the cabin with Roy during an avalanche. Roy’s plan might be ruined, but there’s still a chance for a very happy New Year indeed.

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Review: It’s holiday time and Rob Rosen offers up Best Laid Trap, another offering form the Dreamspinner Advent Calendar: Sleigh Ride. I must admit I am a huge fan of Rosen’s acerbic wit and snarky repartee, and this little short starts out in typical Rosen style, replete with a near stream of consciousness from the narrator and star of the story, Roy.

The plot is a simple one: Roy has been crushing on a coworker and accidentally finds an abandoned cabin right off the bunny trail at the ski resort they are both staying. With seduction on his mind, Roy sets the trap for his amour and sits back to wait. Little did he know that Mother Nature, a randy forest ranger, and some karma would change his whole night–and perhaps his future as well.

Be forewarned, this short story is about as insta-lust as you can get, but with lots of humor and a fairly hot, lengthy sex scene to boot. This is a mere snippet, so if you are looking for a great deal of character development, or much past a short rendezvous with a hint of a happy-ever-after, then this might not be the selection for you. However, fans of Rob Rosen will immediately latch on to his wickedly humorous writing style and slightly crazed characters.

Roy is sweet and funny as he lays out his night of seduction for a coworker. When he finds that he is going to be left high and dry, he barely has time to be disappointed before the ranger of his dreams appears and he grabs opportunity with both hands! Barely a short story, Rosen still manages to pack this gem with soppy moments filled with inner dialogue from Roy’s head that will have you laughing. All in all, this was a fun romp that will leave you wanting just a little more!

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You can buy Best Laid Trap here:

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4 Stars, Ariel Tachna, Dreamspinner Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Angel

Review: The Partnership in Blood Bundle by Ariel Tachna

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Title: Partnership in Blood Bundle: Volume One

Author: Ariel Tachna

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count:  1285 Pages

At a GlanceA massive and interesting take on wizards and vampires.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Book One: Alliance in Blood. Can a desperate wizard and a bitter, disillusioned vampire find a way to build the partnership that could save their world? In a world rocked by magical war, vampires are seen by many as less than human, as the stereotypical creatures of the night who prey on others. But as the war intensifies, the wizards and the vampires forge an alliance based on blood and magic, hoping to turn the tide of the war against the dark wizards. As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.

Book Two: Covenant In Blood. The wizards and the vampires have forged an alliance based on blood and magic, hoping to turn the tide of the war against the dark wizards. A few wizard-vampire bonds are as successful as Alain Magnier’s and Orlando St. Clair’s, but some are much less so, leading to arguments, resentment, and outright fights between the allies despite their mutual goals. Following his best friend Alain’s example, Thierry Dumont determinedly forms a partnership with vampire Sebastien Noyer, despite the wizard’s discomfort with being so close to a vampire a man so soon after his wife’s death. But they find that desperation may be the key to forming a covenant that works: Thierry and Sebastien are almost immediately devoted to one another’s safety. With new strength behind it, the Alliance’s leaders move to announce its existence to the whole world, hoping to rally support against the dark wizards who threaten to destroy life as they know it. Struggling to find its way in the expanding war, the Alliance discovers that despite its advantages, the partnerships are affecting the balance of magical power in the world, which may be an even bigger threat than the war itself.

Book Three: Conflict in Blood. As the Alliance wizard-vampire partnerships grow stronger, the dark wizards feel the effects and become increasingly desperate to find enough information to counter them, unaware of the growing strain of the blood-magic bonds on the wizards and vampires alike.

The conflict is spreading. The strife of uncomfortable relationships, both personal and professional, is threatening to tear up the Alliance from the inside, despite the efforts of Alain Magnier and Orlando St. Clair, Thierry Dumont and Sebastien Noyer, and even Raymond Payet and Jean Bellaiche, leader of the Paris vampires, who is fighting to establish a stable covenant with his own partner so he might lead by example.

As the war rages on and heartbreaking casualties mount on both sides, the dark wizards keep searching for clues to understand and counter the strength of the Alliance, while the blood-bound Alliance partners hunt through ancient prejudices and forgotten lore to find an edge that can turn the tide of the war once and for all.

Book Four: Reparation in Blood. The war is at a fever pitch with both sides stretched to the limit, when the dark wizards score a shocking victory and capture Orlando St. Clair. Haggard with worry and grief at the separation from his lover, Alain fears that even if they find Orlando, the vampire’s heart and mind may be far too broken to save.

Knowing the Alliance teeters on the brink, Christophe Lombard, the oldest, most powerful vampire in Paris leaves his self-imposed seclusion to join the fight. Alain’s lost friend Eric Simonet, who betrayed him to join the dark wizards, is faced with a choice between revenge and redemption. And Jean, enraged by Orlando’s capture, faces the most agonizing decision in his unlife as the final battle looms: Will their actions lead to the shattering of the Alliance or the salvation of the world?

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Review: Partnership in Blood is an omnibus edition of four novels: Alliance in Blood, Covenant in Blood, Conflict in Blood and Reparation in Blood. In it, Ariel Tachna has created a massive world involving magic and the paranormal. The books are each rich in detail, and the world building is vastly impressive. There is also a fair bit of angst involved, and tolerance, acceptance, prejudices, sexual consent, and romance are themes throughout the series as well.

I enjoyed this take on the paranormal, and I like Tachna’s writing; however, there were so many characters introduced that I nearly got lost trying to keep all the relationships straight. Then I had a difficult time trying to remember the details of the war going on, too. I think if the author would have focused on one or two pairing per book, I wouldn’t have been so confused much of the time.

There are many pairings in this verse, not just the M/M, but also M/F and F/F couples. Each story adds more and more characters as the war progresses—this is one long story broken into very large and long chapters. If you enjoy detailed stories with a huge number of central characters, and you don’t mind f/f and m/f storylines and a good cry, you’ll find this series highly satisfying.

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You can buy Partnership in Blood here:

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4 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, M.A. Ray, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: The High King’s Will by M.A. Ray

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Amazon

Title: The High King’s Will (Steel for the Prince: Book One)

Author: M.A. Ray

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 185 Pages

At a Glance: The High King’s Will takes off on an exciting and action packed adventure.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: “The High King’s will crushes all before it. …Fare well, Eagle Eye Wormsbane. If you can.”

Eagle Eye’s world is full of magic. Fairies love him, and his only real friend is the resident unicorn, but since he killed the Worm of Shirith, nothing feels the same. When he collides with beautiful, broken Brother Fox a second time, he knows there’s no going back.

“I’m not in love with him. He needs help, that’s all.”

There’s no shortage of monsters in Fox’s life. The Worm was nothing compared to his own father, High King Beagar. When Eagle suggests an escape, Fox seizes the idea–and he wants Eagle with him.

“Damn propriety! I don’t want a servant! I want you to be my friend!”

The High King’s designs send Eagle and Fox across the sea to Rodansk, a land of summer sunshine at midnight and endless winter dark. Between the two, low-caste Eagle presents the bigger threat to Beagar’s power, and he didn’t even know it. Now that his Prince is giving him so much to lose, he won’t go down without a fight.

“Don’t be afraid. …I’m with you.”

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Review: Filled with magic, betrayal, danger, and mayhem—not to mention a couple of engaging heroes—M.A. Ray’s The High King’s Will sweeps readers along on an exciting high fantasy adventure. Digging into this story, I have to confess I wasn’t sure whether I was reading a fable or folk lore or a fairy tale. It turns out the answer is yes, I was reading a little bit of all those things, and I found this book to be a delightful tale with a New Adult feel.

Eagle Eye has just been named Wormsbane. He’s slain a dragon and saved the life of Brother Fox, the Crown Prince, but feels unworthy of the title that’s been bestowed upon him by the High King Beagar, certain that it wasn’t skill but luck that was with him that day. When the author introduces us to Eagle and Fox (whose names are what kept me wondering at the start of the book if I was reading a fable or maybe the re-imagining of a Native American folk tale), we don’t learn as much about the slaying as we do about the High King—namely that he’s never going to be up for father of the year. He’s abusive in some brutal and heinous ways, and as the story evolves, we see exactly why Fox is so eager to set off with Eagle to see the world when he has the opportunity.

What I didn’t understand for a good ways into this tale is exactly what sort of creatures Eagle and Fox are. I only knew for sure they weren’t at all human—it’s actually a bit difficult to get a good mental picture of what they do look like, at least for me—but the author does make sure we get a clear picture of this fairy tale world inhabited by trolls, dragons, fairies, elves, as well as humans, not to mention the magic and courage our heroes possess. The world-building along with my compassion for Fox and respect for Eagle made for some good binge reading.

As it turns out, the High King allowing Fox to set off on his adventure, accompanied by Eagle as his guard, wasn’t a rare kindness displayed by a father toward his son. There were much more sinister motives involved, and as the boys discover their journey is going to turn into a fight for survival, this story draws you in to all the danger they face, in the classic hero’s journey fashion. The action scenes are well written and fraught with tension, making for a brisk paced read.

Our young lovers have only just begun, and there are more than a few obstacles they’ll have to overcome, not the least of which is that Fox’s life is the stuff of nightmares and there are many things he’s done and had done to him he can’t put behind him. As the book draws to a close, we’re also left on the cusp of change for Eagle… Yes, the story ends in a cliffhanger, so what that change is remains to be seen. I’m looking so forward to book two to find out, and can only hope these boys will find a talisman of good fortune or that fate will throw some luck their way. Something tells me they’re going to need it.

I’m always excited to be introduced to new authors, and if the entire series lives up to the promise of The High King’s Will, M.A. Ray is one I’ll be paying close attention to.

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You can buy The High King’s Will here:

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4 Stars, Christina Lee, Genre Romance, Giveaways, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review and Giveaway: The Deepest Blue Blog Tour with Christina Lee

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Amazon

Title: The Deepest Blue (Roadmap to Your Heart: Book Two)

Author: Christina Lee

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 228 Pages

At a Glance: There’s just enough angst to go with the sweet to make The Deepest Blue a pleasant way to spend a few hours reading.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Rugged and conventional Callum Montgomery enjoys running Shady Pines hunting preserve, except for the secret that’s eating him alive. When his sister brings a date for a family wedding, he can’t stand the arrogant city slicker with the stick up his perfectly fine ass. He doesn’t understand his draw to Dean, who pushes his buttons at every turn, but he’d never dream of betraying his sibling over some lust fueled fantasy.

Handsome and conscientious Dean Abbott is a research assistant in his university’s biology lab. When his roommate, Cassie, begs him to be her pretend date in front of her meddling family, he begrudgingly agrees to help. He doesn’t anticipate being enchanted by the countryside, the colorful cast of characters, or her sexy and brooding straight brother.

When contempt turns to passion and leads to stolen moments in a sugar cane field, Callum can’t help longing for the kind of connection he believes he can never have. But not even the world’s most heart-melting kiss can bridge the vast philosophical differences between the men.

Dean’s return to his urban lifestyle leaves him restless, his mind continually wandering to the charming setting that spoke to something missing deep inside him. Because you can take the city boy out of the country but you can’t make him forget the intriguing man he left behind.

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Review: After running across Christina Lee’s The Darkest Flame on my Amazon recs, and One-Clicking it, I knew I wasn’t really taking much of a risk in accepting The Deepest Blue for review. I liked the author’s voice in The Darkest Flame—though I must admit I’d expected it to be a bit grittier since the story is set in and around an MC—but her characters Smoke and Vaughn were easy enough to root for through the drama and on to their happy ending. Now, having finished this second book in the series, I have to say if I had to pick a favorite of the two, it’d be no contest. The Deepest Blue wins.

At its heart, this book is a City Mouse/Country Mouse story, and has everything you might look for in an angsty genre romance: one man out and proud, the other deeply in the closet; two men on the opposite ends of the spectrum, socially. This is a true opposites attract story in almost every way. Dean Abbott is the college student, environmentalist, vegetarian city boy to Callum Montgomery’s small town rural guy. Callum helps run his family’s hunting preserve; he’s the brains behind the business, so before you go and think he’s a backwater hick, he’s most definitely not. He and Dean are an intellectual match, no question, and once Callum stops being so abrasive and decides Dean isn’t a half bad guy, we see how each of these men begin to open up to each other, and how they really do complement one another. They may have diametrically opposed views on what Callum’s family does for a living, but all that does is serve to ignite the spark Christina Lee lights between them.

The primary issue when these two meet and those sparks fly, however, is that Callum believes Dean is straight. And, why wouldn’t he? Dean is attending a family wedding at Shady Pine’s as his best friend and roommate Cassie’s date/maybe boyfriend. Cassie…who just so happens to be Callum’s sister.

The complication is all neatly served, and then the fun is in getting to watch the story unfold—through the friction, the secret Dean and Cassie are keeping, and most especially through the sexual tension that’s always thisclose to the surface between Dean and Callum. The story is told in alternating points of view, so we get both sides to their story, which I thought worked well given their situation. We don’t stand by and watch Callum struggle with his attraction to his sister’s “boyfriend,” we get a firsthand account of the fear he feels of someone in his family discovering his deepest, darkest secret. And the why of it is plain as well. We also get to experience Dean’s conflict—his wanting to be truthful with Callum because the attraction between them definitely goes both ways. I ended up really liking both of these guys, individually and as a couple.

As secondary characters go, Callum’s family was pretty great. I especially loved his younger brother Billie and would gladly read a novel with a grown up version of him in it somewhere down the line. He’s sweet and innocent and struggles with some physical limitations, and he stole every scene he was in. He’s the kind of kid you just want to hug the stuffing out of. What becomes evident quickly, something we see through Dean’s point-of-view, is that Callum underestimates just how wonderful his family truly is.

Overall, as contemporary genre romance goes, The Deepest Blue ticks all the relevant boxes in the category. Its characters are engaging, and there’s just enough angst to go with the sweet to make it a pleasant way to spend a few hours reading.

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(photo credit: Elaine M. Johnson)

(photo credit: Elaine M. Johnson)

Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I’ve been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn’t until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.

I’m addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M romance.  I also own a hand-stamped jewelry business, which requires me to stamp letters and/or words onto pieces of silver. They go hand-in-hand perfectly.

Visit my WEBSITE. Or my FACEBOOK author page. You can also find me on TWITTER.

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Kenzie Cade, Paranormal Romance, Piper Vaughn, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Prickly by Nature By Piper Vaughn and Kenzie Cade

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Amazon

TitlePrickly By Nature (Portland Pack Chronicles: Book Two)

Author:  Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Page/Word Count:  260 Pages

At a Glance:  I really enjoyed this follow up to Prickly Business, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  In the four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started investigating the disappearance of a young female werewolf from the Portland Pack, he’s discovered his life’s passion. Now he’s apprenticing under established PI Corbin Reid. Avery hopes his training with Reid will help him finally bring Lacey home, but detective work isn’t without its perils, and the potential dangers strain his relationship with his new mate, Dylan.

Dylan Green would be perfectly content with his mating and his motorcycle shop if it wasn’t for his constant worry about Avery’s safety and the fact that Avery’s never home. Proud as he might be of Avery’s determination to prove his worth and fulfill his promise to Lacey’s father, Dylan can’t stand the thought of Avery being hurt. Yet what right does he have to demand Avery give up his job when it’s clear Avery’s found his true purpose? Still, Dylan wishes he could, and the appearance of a new police detective who sets his sights on Avery only adds to the tension.

Something has to give, but stubbornness runs in both their veins, and it might take a catastrophe for them to find a compromise they can live with.

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Review: Dylan and Avery are a little more settled in Prickly By Nature, book two in the Portland Pack Chronicles, but there are definite differences that jump out between the two of them, especially when it comes to their mating and how they view things based on their animals. Dylan, being a wolf, is pack oriented, where family and pack are important; and then there’s Avery, who is more of a loner and doesn’t notice the distance he is putting between him and his mate.  Avery has an almost obsession with finding Lacey, and inadvertently fails to make time to spend with Dylan.  As dominant, growly and protective as Dylan is throughout this book, we also see a slightly sweet and vulnerable side to him as he struggles with worrying over and missing Avery.  In Prickly Business, it took me a while to warm up to Avery, and I found that in the follow up I had the same issue—it was frustrating to see his lack of awareness to what he was doing; although I get it, and once it was pointed out to him, he was more aware.

The mystery of what happened to Lacey, and the other side stories, at times was a little overwhelming to me. The story was good but I wanted more of the romance between the guys. In the end, though, I was happy with where things were left with Avery and Dylan and their relationship. I really enjoyed this follow up to Prickly Business, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here. I’m looking forward to what comes next.

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, E.T. Malinowski, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer

Review: Hearth and Home by E.T. Malinowski

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Amazon

TitleHearth and Home (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author: E.T. Malinowski

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 56 Pages

At a Glance: Short but sweet story with an accident prone elf.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Thistle is a sweet elf with a kind heart. He tries his best to help all the other elves in Santa’s workshop. Unfortunately, Thistle tends to leave disaster in his wake despite his good intentions. He dreams of finding an elf who will love him in spite of his clumsiness, an elf he can make a home for. But what elf wants to live in constant peril? Thistle figures he should just stick with his anonymous treat baskets, especially where Bayberry, Santa’s production manager, is concerned.

Bayberry is a bit of a serious elf. A little distant from most of the North Pole crew, Bayberry is lonely. When another Thistle Incident occurs, pushing the production department behind schedule only a few weeks before Christmas, Bayberry gets a “suggestion” from The Big Guy to ask Thistle for help. What could an accident-prone elf do to assist him? But to Bayberry’s surprise, he might gain more than help with his monthly reports.

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Review: Hearth and Home is a story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Advent Calendar, and I loved it. Set in the North Pole at Santa’s workshop, it follows the accident prone elf Thistle, who wants nothing more than to help the others. The problem is he just gets in the way, and his magic is centered on the home. So while he’s great at baking and making a house a home, he’s not so good at making glass ornaments or toys. Thistle has a thing for Bayberry, the production manager, and when he accidentally breaks the glass ornaments, he’s drawn in to help Bayberry set it right by taking over the reports. And since it’s at Santa’s insistence, he can’t say no.

Bayberry has a crush on Thistle. While the other elves dislike how he gets in the way, Bayberry finds it endearing. So when he’s forced to work with Thistle, he takes it as an opportunity to get to know him. And when the two finally connect, sparks fly. Thistle meets the one who makes his magic worth it, and he finally feels useful to someone.

I enjoyed the story very much. It put me in a Christmas mood, and I liked seeing a clumsy elf falling in love. It was really cute and endearing. The only trouble? It made me crave cookies. Thistle always seemed to bake them!

If you’re looking for a short, heartwarming story, I highly recommend checking this story out. Well worth it!

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4 Stars, DSP Publications, Lissa Kasey, Paranormal, Reviewed by Sammy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Evolution: Genesis by Lissa Kasey

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Amazon

Title: Evolution: Genesis (Evolution: Book Two)

Author: Lissa Kasey

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Genesis is an interesting, if somewhat tangled, read for paranormal fans.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Evolution made music history when one bandmate turned vampire and another joined the vampire hate movement Preservation Group. Gene is trying to cling to the music as his relationship with Kerstrande begins to spiral into the darkness of hidden demons. Jaded by his years as a vampire flunkie, Kerstrande uses his newly won power over New York City to destroy his enemies and protect Gene. But a demon called a Fallen begins to take control of KC, slowly devouring his soul and through him the entire city. Battling against the evil that wants to destroy him, Kerstrande fights to hold onto Gene’s brightness.

A power unlike any other grows within Gene and shines like a beacon to the demons surrounding him. Realizing that only he can save his lover, Gene is willing to do anything to shake the darkness loose. Even if it means reshaping the future, the band, and his own existence.

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Review: I was thrilled to see a sequel to the riveting novel Evolution by author Lissa Kasey. With book two, Genesis, two of the most exciting characters in the paranormal genre are back, center stage, and sparks fly once more—and by sparks I mean an all consuming fire, which is exactly what Gene is currently dealing with at the story’s beginning. I cannot state more clearly than this that you must read this series in order to appreciate all the nuances and relationships that are further developed in book two. If you have not, then please stop reading this review and go read Evolution, for I will be remarking upon some of the themes and incidences from the first book to set the stage for book two.

At the opening of Genesis, Gene is still grappling with the fact that he is a human hybrid in the form of a phoenix. Those who know their mythology will remember that the phoenix never really dies but instead is reborn from flames—dying when engulfed from inner fire—and that is exactly what Gene had discovered he could do when he took down Hane—the maker of Kerestrande (KC), Gene’s vampire, again/off again lover—in the first novel. But remember vampires cannot be fully destroyed by flames—instead, they must incinerate by being exposed to sunlight, which burns them to ash never to rise again. This is exactly what KC does to Hane, and when he does so, the dark shadow—the fallen that clung to Hane—consumes KC and begins to slowly take him over.

Meanwhile, every bad guy and paranormal on the earth seems to be after Gene as a means to get to KC. Consequently, Gene undergoes several horrific deaths only to be reborn again each time. However, Gene is weakening, and coming back to human form takes longer and longer each time. Instead, he is trapped in darkness where he can clearly see what is eating at KC, and all the undead that cling to his lover as well. In the end, it will be up to Gene to save his vampire lover from certain death, as the Fallen within KC pushes its way into his soul and consumes that which is KC at his very core, taking him over completely.

Okay. That was a major oversimplification of a very intricate plot that I must admit I lost my way in at certain points in this novel. Not only were there additional characters to learn about, there were also so many creatures after Gene that it was hard at times to keep up with who was after whom, and why. Still, the bones of this story were really solid and KC and Gene, when they were together, were pure gold in terms of an “it’s complicated” relationship. Every time KC pushed Gene away, Gene’s pain and dejection was so poignant to read—really just heartbreaking. And this author was so smart in that she alternated the point of view almost chapter to chapter so we were privy as to why KC was sending Gene away. Plus, we saw just how it guts the vampire when he does so.

Alongside these two was a cast of secondary characters that were convincingly real, and each became an integral part of Gene’s life—some with deadly and evil intent. Without them, Gene would have never been able to survive all that he does at the hands of evil forces determined to use Gene as bait to draw out KC and the shadowy evil that holds him captive.

So why wasn’t this a five star read? Well, when it came down to it, this story got very involved with the mystical side of both vampires and Gene himself—this phoenix hybrid. In doing so, I honestly was often confused as to where this whole plot was moving and just exactly why Gene kept getting…well, brutally beaten and killed, only to rise again. I felt that the plot was sometimes unanchored and drifted too far into mystical realms that were not always fully realized or fleshed out in the story. That made for some real frustration when I just wanted this story to “get on with it” and come to some conclusion I could understand.

As a result of all this action without a solid plot theme to plant itself on, the ending seemed way too easy and a bit rushed. The final outcome was nice, but after all the angst and miscommunication between KC and Gene, a sweet happy-ever-after seemed just a bit contrived. Still, this is an author whom I really admire and whose writing is often involved and well executed, therefore I would encourage fans of the first in this series to see how things play out between Gene and KC. Genesis is an interesting, if somewhat tangled, read for paranormal fans.

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You can buy Evolution: Genesis here:

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4 Stars, Fairy Tale/Mythology/Folk Lore, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Self-Published

Review: Boys Who Go Bump in the Night by Josephine Myles and JL Merrow

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Boys Who Go Bump in the Night (Mad About the Brit Boys: Book Two)

Author: Josephine Myles and JL Merrow

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 84 Pages

At a Glance: Short stories and the supernatural and this pair of authors combine to make for some really good reading.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: When boy meets (supernatural) boy

Buckle up as two queens of British gay romance take you on a whistlestop tour of all things paranormal. Vampires, genies, ghosts, magicians and shifters all get their chance for a bit of boy on boy action, in five erotic stories that span the range from the humorous to the sublime.

Will you seek to make your fortune with magic and ritual, or pin your hopes on a genie’s power to grant wishes? Discover a shifty young man on a Scottish shoreline, meet a hapless garlic farmer who’s been turned into one of the undead–and if you dare to venture into the cellar, gird your loins for a horny ghost!

These stories have all been previously published, but are now available exclusively in this anthology.

Dividers

Review: Some authors you read no matter what: don’t care about the blurb, don’t care about the sub-genre, you just read them. Josephine Myles and JL Merrow happen to be two such authors for me. Combine this with my love of short stories, and Boys Who Go Bump in the Night was pretty much a guaranteed win.

Several of the stories in this anthology are short enough I might even call them flash fiction, but the common theme (besides the fact they’re all previously published) is that they share a paranormal/fantasy element, and some of them are just purely erotic and don’t play at being otherwise. JL Merrow starts the collection with Leeches and Layabouts, and the first thing that stands out is that the story is told with the author’s trademark sense of humor and gift for taking a fairly mundane human woe and turning it into a clever boy-meets-vampire story. A vampire who grows garlic? Yep. A human who loves living off of government assistance just a little too well. Yep. It’s the perfect marriage of need and want when Art interviews for a job with Crispin, who loves his garlic but can no longer eat it because, well…vampire. But ingenuity abounds, and Crispin gets both his man and his garlic fix.

A horny incubus in Something Queer, blood magic and stone circles in Sacrifice add to the mix of supernatural offered in this anthology, leading to the final two tales. JL Merrow’s Et in Orcadia is my absolute favorite of the five in the collection. It’s a story that blends the tragedy of lost love, the romanticism of man’s call to the sea, and a mysterious stranger who knows that call better than any human. But he also knows the allure of the land and the desire to comfort a man in his grief. A grief they both share. I loved the emotional intimacy of Runi and David’s story, brief though it was. It did a fantastic job of plucking at my sentimental heartstrings.

Finally, bookending the lighthearted beginning of Boys Who Go Bump in the Night is Josephine Myles’ One Last Wish, a fun and sweet little story about a poor genie who’s just tired of being imprisoned in his lamp for the past two hundred years. Scott is the lucky human to rub Xavier’s lamp just the right way—three wishes are his—but Scott ends up surprising Xavier with the way he chooses to use them. And then, well, they end up rubbing each other just the right way.

If you love one of these authors, or both of them, and love a good short story, I don’t think you can go wrong with this collection.

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You can buy Boys Who Go Bump in the Night here:

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Jess Roth, Reviewed by Angel

Review: Menorahs and Mistletoe by Jess Roth

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Menorahs and Mistletoe (Sleigh Ride: Advent Calendar 2015)

Author:  Jess Roth

PublisherDreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 61 Pages

At a GlanceAn excellent mix of romance, sweetness and a bit of sexiness for a wonderful holiday short story.

Reviewed By: Angel

Blurb: Hanukkah will be interesting. Single dad Martin’s daughter is determined to get him a new “friend.” But is he ready? If nothing else, Hanukkah this year will be interesting. Single dad Martin’s six-year-old daughter, Sara, is determined to get him a new “friend.” Martin isn’t even sure he wants to step back into the pool, much less go out with the mall elf they met while shopping for gifts. But he’s starting to get to know the cute receptionist at work, Tim, and thinking maybe the whole dating thing isn’t such a terrible idea. Too bad things are never that simple.

Dividers

Review:  Jess Roth is a new-to-me author, and I really enjoyed my first go round.

Martin was a bit absentminded and sweet, and little Sara was just darling. I adored Tim from the first meeting, and loved that Martin’s religious beliefs didn’t faze him one bit. Martin and Tim were sweetly awkward with one another. The mis-communication in the story between the two men had me frustrated, and I wanted to shake each of them so they would hurry to straighten themselves out. I was thrilled when they finally managed to work their issues out, and though the ending was wonderful, I wanted more from this author and tale.

I loved that this story didn’t revolve around the Christian celebration of the holiday, and while the celebration of Hanukkah explanations were short, I like the bit of culture we received in the story.

An excellent mix of romance, sweetness and a bit of sexiness for a wonderful holiday short story.

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You can buy Menorahs and Mistletoe here:

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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Grace R. Duncan, Reviewed by Sammy

Review: Beautiful Boy by Grace R. Duncan

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Amazon

Title: Beautiful Boy

Author: Grace R. Duncan

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 280 Pages

At a Glance: All in all, Beautiful Boy is a good BDSM story with some wonderfully intimate moments that carried the novel.

Reviewed By: Sammy

Blurb: Malcolm Tate hung up his flogger when his submissive sought out another Dom and landed in the hands of a serial killer. Convinced his lack of dominance sent his sub away, Mal has spent two years blaming himself for what happened. But when his best friend finally convinces him to go back to the local dungeon, Mal’s grateful. Especially when he wins beautiful, submissive, firmly closeted Kyle Bingham in a charity slave auction.

College grad Kyle hasn’t earned enough to move out of the loft his conservative, homophobic parents bought, much less to buy any of the other things still in their name. When he’s won at auction by the hot, amazing Mal, he’s shocked that anyone would want him. No one else seemed to—not his parents, his former Doms, or any of his disastrous dates.

But Mal does want him and Kyle lets his guard down, only to be outed to his parents. With his world crashing down, he must find a way to trust Mal—and their developing relationship—or risk losing everything.

Dividers

Review: Two men who feel they have little left to give find one another in Grace R. Duncan’s novel Beautiful Boy. One is a submissive who has been misused by other Doms who failed to see the worth of the man who had the strength to offer his submission to them. As a result, Kyle is certain he has nothing to offer a Dom. Not only does he feel his outward appearance is lacking, he is sure his inward need to serve is somehow inadequate and simply not good enough. The other man is a Dom who blames himself for the reckless behavior of his former submissive whose life ended at the hands of a serial killer. Mal cannot bring himself to even consider taking on another submissive and has not dabbled in the lifestyle for some time.

A charity auction brings the two men together, and when they engage in a scene, there is an instant attraction that is hard for them to resist. Before long, they become deeply involved and despite Kyle’s persistent worry that he will never be good enough for Mal, the two men find themselves on the cusp of committing to a D/s relationship. However, Kyle comes from a wealthy family desperate to maintain appearances. In their lives, there is no room for a less than perfect son—certainly not a gay one. Now Kyle worries just how long Mal will be content to hide in the closet Kyle currently inhabits.

Beautiful Boy has some incredibly rich moments of loving care between its two main characters. Mal and Kyle are so well suited to each other, and the way in which Grace R. Duncan writes the numerous scenes these two engage in is both realistic and breathtaking. The aftercare—the compassion and protection that Mal extends to his submissive after pain play is rife with incredible tenderness. It is so sweet that you cannot help but fall in love a little with these two. The BDSM elements are definitely hardcore at times and yet always carefully controlled by Mal and, as such, they ring with an air of authenticity.

While the story did have an overload of sex, it was well thought out and fit within the plot such as it was. I felt that more interaction between Kyle and his parents would have lent some credence to their role in his life and, in turn, would have allowed for his need to remain closeted to be a bit more realistic. Because we spent time in this novel with Mal’s friends and his family, he became a fully fleshed out character with what felt like genuine needs and concerns. Kyle was much more one-dimensional and, as a result, not nearly as interesting to read about as his Dominant, Mal. Consequently, the big showdown between Kyle and his parents was more of a passing moment and hardly seemed worthy of the buildup it received in the story.

All in all, Beautiful Boy is a good BDSM story with some wonderfully intimate moments that carried the novel.

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You can buy Beautiful Boy here:

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4 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kim, Tara Lain

Review: Sinders and Ash by Tara Lain

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Amazon

Title: Sinders and Ash (A Pennymaker Tale)

Author: Tara Lain

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 145 Pages

At a Glance: I’ll have no problem reading more of this series since this book kept my interest throughout.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Housekeeper Mark Sintorella (Sinders) works diligently at a resort hotel while designing clothes anonymously, hoping to get into fashion school. Then his carefully planned life is upended with the arrival of Ashton Armitage, son of the fifth richest man in America—and the most beautiful guy Mark has ever seen. Ash must find a wife or he’ll lose his grandfather’s inheritance, and he settles on Bitsy Fanderel. But secretly Ash is gay, and the guy who cleans the fireplaces sets his heart ablaze.

Further stirring the pot is the little elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, who has Mark wearing his own designs and masquerading as a girl to impress the fashion investors in the hotel. When the clock strikes twelve, two beautiful princesses line up for the wedding—but one isn’t a woman. Will the slipper fit? Only Mr. Pennymaker knows for sure.

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press, LLC, 2012.

Dividers

Review: When Mark’s mother died, his family kicked him out because he’s gay. Living on the streets, he eventually gets a job working in housekeeping at a luxury hotel. The hotel staff have nicknamed him Sinders because he works so hard at his job to save enough money to attend fashion designer school. When a guest of the hotel notices one of the shirts Mark has designed, that guest, Mr. Pennymaker, insists Mark wear more of his designs in front of his fashion investor friends. The biggest problem is that the only other thing Mark has made from his designs is a dress.

Ashford Armitage, known to most as a rich playboy, arrives at the hotel in order to find a wife before he turns twenty-five. Otherwise, according to his grandfather’s will, he stands to lose an inheritance worth millions of dollars. Unbeknownst to most, however, including his parents, Ashford is gay. So Ash kind of figures that Bitsy is the one for him, and when he proposes a business arrangement between the two of them, well, Bitsy balks because she’s not sure that she wants to give up her life for a life of luxury, and Bitsy has her own little secret. But the amount of the money involved is tempting…

Mark and Ash finally meet when Ash saves Mark from a sexual assault by one of the hotel workers, and Mark is so overcome by Ash’s good looks that he kisses him then runs away. I found that I really enjoyed Sinders and Ash, it followed an old fairytale favorite of mine, Cinderella, so I expected after I read the blurb that Ash would be chasing Mark when Mark was dress-up as a women. Not so! But it did put a smile on my face when Ash couldn’t figure out why he was attracted to Mr. Pennymaker’s neice.

Sinders and Ash is different, and it really had me laughing out loud at some of the antics and what male parts could be made to do (sorry, you just have to know how my weird imagination works, and I’m not surprised that these brief bits caught my attention). Some of Sinders and Ash is gooey fluffy, some of it kind of had a point, and I’ll have no problem reading more of this series since this book kept my interest throughout.

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You can buy Sinders and Ash here:

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Reviewed by Taz, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Vivien Dean

Review: Savage Estate by Vivien Dean

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Savage Estate

Author: Vivien Dean

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count:  272 Pages

At a Glance: I would recommend this book without reservation. It kept me on my toes, and I stayed up later than I probably should have to find out how the book ended.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: For his twenty-fifth birthday, Alec Savage gets the gift of a lifetime—the chance to meet his father for the very first time. What he finds upon his arrival in Washington, DC, however, is a smashed window, an empty house, and a scrawled note with only his name and a phone number on it. Panicked, he dials the number and talks to an uncle he never knew he had, one who insists Alec is in danger if he stays in the house. That’s when everything starts to get really weird.

Within minutes, he’s teleported all the way to nowhere Montana, in the company of the most gorgeous guy he’s ever seen, hearing about how he’s the latest mage in the Savage line. Alec doesn’t want to believe Rowan Bouchard, but it’s hard to argue with the reality of his new snowbound location or the confirmation from the uncle who greets him. He even thinks staying on the estate while they hunt for his father won’t be so bad if he has Rowan as eye candy.

Except Rowan is more than that. He’s a shifter, the most beautiful black panther Alec could imagine. And according to his Uncle Martin, he’s now Alec’s familiar, too…

Dividers

Review: Savage Estate has so many of the things I love: familiars, mages, magic, action. One character discovering he likes guys. All-in-all, a very satisfying read. For the most part, this story follows timid Alec, someone who’s kind of lost until he meets Rowan, right at a crucial turning point in his life. He’s about to come into his powers and, therefore, come under direct threat by those who would rid the world of mages. Rowan, a stoic and dutiful man, arrives on scene to save belligerent Alex, and the story rolls on from there.

Alec and Rowan start a little like oil and water, but feelings quickly develop. While Rowan is supposedly “straight,” or at least had been up until he met Rowan, the instant bonding of mage and familiar unlocked something in him that he’d not known existed. Once the plotline began to unfold, the story took wings. Dirty politics, not knowing who to trust, estranged father reconnected with abandoned son.

While the book was an enjoyable read, and I became more and more engrossed in the story as it unfolded, there were still certain aspects of the storyline which seemed a bit too convenient for my tastes. Primarily it seemed a bit of a cop-out to have Rowan become gay once he connected with Alec. People don’t become gay, they either are or aren’t…or they’re bisexual or asexual, or some other combination of the many identifications out there. I would have preferred that Rowan had discovered his true nature as a gay man, even if his attraction was only, and would always be, for one man. Also, I wish a bigger deal had been made of Alec coming into his powers. The fact he was about to receive his powers at the onset of the book created the conflict necessary for the plot to move forward, and we do get a taste of his powers, but in the end, his magic isn’t what brings us to the climax and ending.

With all that said, I would recommend this book without reservation. It kept me on my toes, and I stayed up later than I probably should have to find out how the book ended.

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You can buy Savage Estate here:

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4 Stars, Mythology, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Jennifer, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, T.A. Chase

Review: Pestilence by T.A. Chase

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Amazon

TitlePestilence (The Four Horsemen: Book One)

Author: T.A. Chase

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 170 Pages

At a Glance: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in a romance novel? Yes, please!

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: For Pestilence, the White Horseman, love becomes the most powerful cure.

Having lost his wife and child during the Black Death, Pestilence accepts the fate destiny has given him as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. For centuries, Pestilence did his job, spreading plagues and disease around the world. He does it to keep the balance between good and evil, yet he hates every minute of it. He longs to be left alone, but suddenly fate seems to have a different plan for him.

When Bart Winston stumbles into an Amazon clearing, he’s terribly ill and sure he’s going to die. A tall white-haired man with unusual black eyes catches him in his arms and Bart’s life takes a turn into the unbelievable. Blaming the whole situation on his illness might have worked, but as he gets better and learns about the strange man who heals him, Bart must accept there are more things in the world than he ever guessed.

Pestilence and Bart heal each other, and begin to wonder if there can be a future for the White Horseman and the mortal he’s fallen in love with.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released under the same title. It has been re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

Dividers

Review: It’s not often you find new books about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but every time I find one, I have to snatch it up. I’m not sure why exactly, but the mythology/legend/whatever you want to call it about the Horsemen has always fascinated me. Maybe it’s my love of post-apocalyptic fiction or dystopian societies that draws me to them, but I know when they show up, the end is near and everything is about to go from bad to worse, and I’m thrown into the societies either collapsing from their presence or struggling to overcome them. A few years ago I read a fantastic YA series that reimagined the Four Horsemen by drawing teenagers suffering from different problems into the roles. I adored it. I never thought I would find m/m fiction with the Horsemen. But here we are!

This first book is about Pestilence. In life he was an Italian doctor during the bubonic plague. After losing his wife and son, he commits suicide and is thrust into the role of Pestilence. He exists to bring plagues to mankind in order to maintain the balance between heaven and hell. But after several hundred years of doing this, while Pest is settled in his role, he’s far from happy. How could he be with what he does? Spreading plagues is the exact opposite of what he did when he was alive. When Bart literally stumbles into him in his home in the Amazon, Pest is drawn to the man suffering from an unknown disease. While he first attributes the attraction to the potential for finally helping a human, the attraction changes into desire, and soon he is lusting after his ward. And the feeling is mutual. Despite his illness, Bart is drawn to the white-haired, black-eyed man named Pestilence.

What follows is a story of love and redemption. Pestilence needs to find a way to forgive himself before he can let himself love—and be loved.

As the first book in the series, it clearly follows the first of the four horsemen who ride. Now, in religious mythology the first horseman on a white horse is more frequently known as Conquest, but there have been some changes, and he is more often known in pop culture as Pestilence. War and Famine do not make an appearance at all, but Death does, because Death rides with them all as the “de facto leader” of the Horsemen as Pest calls him. Also involved is Lam, one of the lambs of God. He’s the messenger for Death, and is more or less unwillingly dragged into helping Bart.

Each character is well developed and I loved reading about them. They each display distinct personalities. Though he isn’t in the book too long, I loved Lam and his desire to both help and please as well as fight against Death’s request. Pest does his job well, but when he’s not needed, he retreats to the Amazon, obsessed with finding cures for diseases in the undiscovered flora of the jungle. Even if he can’t cure people, he still needs to maintain his role as a doctor. And poor Bart, dumped in the jungle—literally—by an ex who used him for his research and then left him to die from an unknown disease; he unwittingly bumps into the one person who literally causes disease in anyone he touches with his hands, and has to rely on him for help. Of course, he doesn’t know Pest’s true nature, and it takes a long time for Pest to reveal it as it goes against the rules of the Horsemen. Then, when this unknown disease starts to spread, it’s up to Pest and Bart to stop it before it reaches epidemic levels that will upset the balance of the world, and the rider of the white horse must use his abilities for good rather than ill.

If you’re like me and you find reimagining mythology great reading, I highly recommend this book. I’m thrilled that I’ll also be reading and reviewing the next three books in the series. So watch out for them!

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4 Stars, DSP Publications, Jamie Fessenden, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Taz

Review: By That Sin Fell the Angels by Jamie Fessenden

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Title: By That Sin Fell the Angels

Author: Jamie Fessenden

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count:  191 Pages

At a Glance: This is the second book I’ve read by Jamie Fessenden, and while the topics are tough and some of the events made me squirm, I applaud this author’s courage and talent.

Reviewed By: Taz

Blurb: It begins with a 3:00 a.m. telephone call. On one end is Terry Bachelder, a closeted teacher. On the other, the suicidal teenage son of the local preacher. When Terry fails to prevent disaster, grief rips the small town of Crystal Falls apart.

At the epicenter of the tragedy, seventeen-year-old Jonah Riverside tries to make sense of it all. Finding Daniel’s body leaves him struggling to balance his sexual identity with his faith, while his church, led by the Reverend Isaac Thompson, mounts a crusade to destroy Terry, whom Isaac believes corrupted his son and caused the boy to take his own life.

Having quietly crushed on his teacher for years, Jonah is determined to clear Terry’s name. That quest leads him to Eric Jacobs, Daniel’s true secret lover, and to get involved in Eric’s plan to shake up their small-minded town. Meanwhile, Rev. Thompson struggles to make peace between his religious convictions and the revelation of his son’s homosexuality. If he can’t, he leaves the door open to eternal damnation—and for a second tragedy to follow.

Dividers

Review: I read Violated by Jamie Fessenden and was so impressed by his courage and style that I had to pick up this book as well. I wasn’t disappointed.

In By That Sin Fell the Angels, we face the tragic issue of teen suicide and homophobia in a small town. The book opens with an ominous phone call from a teen who needs someone to talk to before he kills himself. One of the main protagonists, Terry, who received the call, is helpless to do anything to prevent the horrific event.

As the story unfolds, we meet Jonah, the other main protagonist in the story. He is a high school student who is closeted and gay. We see him interacting with the one open gay student, as well as his crew of homophobic friends. Slowly, as the story develops, we see how he comes to terms with his own failings and, ultimately, acceptance of who he truly is.

Add to this a zealous preacher (the father of the child who committed suicide), a flamboyantly gay peer at Jonah’s school, a ridiculously supportive boyfriend to Terry, Jonah’s mother, who is dating a man half her age, and a general town aura of intolerance. The mixture is a recipe for nail biting intensity.

My only complaint about this book was that it went a bit over the top. I only say this from my deep familiarity with school systems and school boards. The manner in which the school board and the principal handled the events was extreme and wouldn’t happen in real life. The feelings might be there of intolerance and hatred, but the words and actions wouldn’t have unfolded the way they did. That said, it made for good drama and added to the depth of the emotions in the story.

What I loved about the book was how the author wove together a rich web of experience, shifting point of view frequently so that we could get inside the heads of a full range of characters. By doing so, we were able to truly look at this town and the topic of homosexuality, and see a highly religious small town through the eyes of an outsider with omniscient knowledge of everyone’s thoughts and feelings. Had the story only been told from one point of view (and I have no idea whose point of view Mr. Fessenden would have chosen), the story would’ve suffered for it.

As I said, this is the second book I’ve read by Jamie Fessenden, and while the topics are tough and some of the events made me squirm, I applaud this author’s courage and talent. I certainly intend to continue reading his work (starting with a backlog of his sizable completed manuscripts).

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You can buy By That Sin Fell the Angels here:

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