5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, Joe Cosentino, Reviewed By JJ

Review: A Home for the Holidays by Joe Cosentino

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Amazon

Title: A Home for the Holidays

Author: Joe Cosentino

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 60 Pages

At a Glance: I recommend A Home for the Holidays to anyone who loves travel adventures, Christmas themes, and m/m romance.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Bobby McGrath’s Christmas trip to the beautiful Italian island of Capri to meet his eccentric extended family offers stunning views—none more stunning than his third cousin, Paolo Mascobello, a real stocking stuffer. As the two young men embark on a relationship, Bobby, a driven law student, learns to relax and bask under the old Italian moon, and Paolo realizes there’s more to life than a frolic on the beach. For the two to find everlasting amore, Paulo must overcome his fear of commitment and learn to follow his dreams, and Bobby must get his wish for happily ever after.

Christmas Dividers

Review: This was such a sweet romance. The book begins when Bobby goes to visit his family in Italy for Christmas. He ends up spending a lot of time with his cousin, Paolo, who happens to be gay. While he picks his cousin’s mind about Italy, Bobby realizes that he is falling for him. Though the idea weirds him out at first, it doesn’t bother him too much since they are so far removed. They come together for a brief time, but the road ahead of them is not as clear as Bobby had hoped. When Bobby’s vacation comes to an end, he’s faced with the painful prospect of saying goodbye.

Home for the Holidays is an emotional and sweet holiday book. I loved how the author takes us to Italy, and I felt like I was actually there in Capri. The vivid descriptions ignited my wanderlust, making me want to travel to Italy. As for the characters, they are both very likeable. Paolo is a muscular, attractive young Italian man. He’s confident sexually, but when it comes to relationships, he doesn’t imagine he can have that. He’s grown up in a place where it’s okay to express his sexuality behind closed doors, but he doesn’t expect to have more. However, Bobby knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to reach for the stars when it comes to love.

Since the first book I read from Joe Cosentino ended in a tragedy, I was surprised and overjoyed with the ending of this book. I recommend A Home for the Holidays to anyone who loves travel adventures, Christmas themes, and m/m romance.

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3 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ, Tempeste O'Riley

Audio Review: Caged Sanctuary by Tempeste O’Riley – Narrated by Paul Morey

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Amazon

Title: Caged Sanctuary

Author: Tempeste O’Riley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Paul Morey

Run Time: 6 hours and 26 Minutes

At a Glance: Story: This book started out pleasant and enjoyable, but I lost interest after the first date, though I think Paul Morey did an excellent job with this reading.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Kaden Thorn, a dental surgeon who lives a quiet life, has no hope of finding the love he craves. A vicious gay bashing cost him the use of his legs and confined him to a wheelchair. He has given up hope of finding a Dom or even a nonkink partner to love him. When his best friend practically forces him to attend a dinner party, the last thing he expects is a strong Dom who can see beyond his wheels.

Deacon James is an architect and a demanding Dom, but he has spent the past couple of years without a sub or partner. When an employee invites him to a dinner party to meet his girlfriend, Deacon smells a setup but agrees anyway. He prides himself on being an excellent judge of character, and when he meets the younger dentist, he sees past the chair and finds a sweet submissive man who more than piques his interest.

Kade’s fears and demons continue to haunt him, challenging Deacon to use everything he’s learned as a Dom to earn Kade’s trust and submission. Deacon’s determined, though, willing to battle all of it to have Kade by his side and at his feet.

Dividers

Review: Caged Sanctuary begins at a dinner party, where Kaden, a wheelchair-bound dental surgeon, meets his future Dom, Deacon, who is an architect. The two men are attracted to each other right away, and end up setting up a date for a BDSM scene. After entering into a D/s relationship, things get more serious between them. Since Deacon is very sensitive to Kaden’s insecurity over his mobility issues and does his best to make him feel comfortable, Kaden eventually learns to trust more and gains more self-confidence. Their relationship eventually progresses into something more than a Dom/sub relationship.

This book started out pleasant and enjoyable, but I lost interest after the first date, and realized the story was not for me. I think one of the issues was that the relationship moved a little too quickly. I also thought it was a bit odd that Kaden asks Deacon if he is a Dom on the first day they meet. This struck me as unbelievable, considering they were introduced by friends who had nothing to do with the lifestyle, and neither man was wearing anything to indicate they were into BDSM. Then, after their first date, they were practically a done deal. I thought Kaden was sweet, but his lack of self-confidence made it difficult for me to imagine him as a full grown adult. In addition to not liking the characters and pacing, I was hoping there would be some kind of conflict in the book. However, after they meet, they fall in love, move in together, and soon have their happily-ever-after. Despite these issues, the sex scenes were hot, and I enjoyed the sweet moments when they were cuddling.

Narration: I think Paul Morey did an excellent job with this reading. Most of the time when I listen to an audiobook, the narration pulls me out of the book multiple times throughout. However, I was able to listen to Morey without thinking of the narration even once. Each voice was distinct and seemed to match the personality of the characters.

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5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Horror, Paranormal, Reviewed By JJ, Santino Hassell

Release Day Review: Stygian by Santino Hassell

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Title: Stygian

Author: Santino Hassell

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 217 Pages

At a Glance: I loved this book. I recommend Stygian to anyone who loves horror, paranormal, and dark m/m romance.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.

Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music, but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.

Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroways’ secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.

Dividers

Review: After the death of his brother, Jeremy suffers from bouts of madness. He is still trying to get back on his feet when he joins the band called Stygian. He is also motivated to join due to his crush on the guitar player, Kennedy. The book begins when the band decides to rent a house for the summer in order to write new music. However, everything goes wrong from the beginning. No one in the band is on the same wavelength, and they are always fighting with one another. To make matters worse, there is something very creepy about the house and its owners, Hunter and his sister. Even though things don’t feel right, Jeremy ends up becoming closer to Hunter and distancing himself from the band. Fearing the resurgence of his psychosis, Jeremy keeps his suspicions about the house and its owners to himself until it is almost too late.

In addition to being a great book, this genre was a new experience for me. Though there are paranormal and romantic elements, Stygian feels more like horror than anything. I loved how the story kept me on my toes due to not knowing what scary thing would happen next. However, I especially loved the psychological element and the mind games they get sucked into. Due to Jeremy’s past, he was more inclined to doubt his sanity rather than believe the messed up things happening around him.

Another aspect of this book that was impressive was the complicated relationship dynamics between the band members. Jeremy is somewhat lost, but he’s in a band with guys who are also quite lost and damaged. Through their adventure in the house, Jeremy learns painful things about his band mates that help him put his own suffering into perspective. It takes the band almost falling apart before they have the strength to come together and look out for one another. In addition to being suspenseful, this book was also quite sexy.

I loved this book. I recommend Stygian to anyone who loves horror, paranormal, and dark m/m romance.

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4 Stars, Genre Romance, Posy Roberts, Reviewed By JJ

Review: Bent Arrow by Posy Roberts

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Title: Bent Arrow

Author: Posy Roberts

Publisher: Labyrinth Bound Press

Pages/Word Count: 82 Pages

At a Glance: I enjoyed this book, and I especially liked the setting.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Sometimes curves in the road take you right where you belong.

Luther Almond’s life working the Bakken oil field is perfect—short-lived jobs, temporary housing, and easy hookups. That’s one reason he won’t move home when he inherits the lake house. When Erik Heat bends over to fix Luther’s pipes, his tattoos hint he might be up for more than working on the drain. The last thing Luther expects is to want more from this guy than one night.

Every time they’re together, Luther is more grounded and Erik more confident. When the lake house demands attention, Luther asks for Erik’s help. There he imagines a more permanent life, one where he stops running. But he wants Erik by his side. Can he find the courage—and the words—to ask?

Dividers

Review: Luther is a small town guy, and as a result of being afraid of coming out to his parents, he moves out and starts working on the oil fields. At the man camps, Luther discovers another environment where he doesn’t feel comfortable being open about his sexuality. Though he has sexual encounters, he doesn’t have feelings for another guy until he meets Erik, a hockey player who also works on the oil fields. Erik has experienced a hate crime against him, so they both know they have to hide their relationship. They treat what they have as casual, so when Luther start’s having feelings for Erik, he doesn’t know how to express what he feels.

I enjoyed this book, and I especially liked the setting. Since I had the distinct feeling of being on the oil fields, I’m sure the author did a lot of research in order to capture this life style. Both Luther and Erik are very appealing characters. However, since they are both closeted and both trying to play the tough guy role, true intimacy evades them. Luther cannot see love when it is staring him in the face.

I thought this book was sexy, and though I wasn’t very emotionally invested in the couple, I really liked the ending. I recommend Bent Arrow to anyone who enjoys M/M romance with coming out themes.

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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Catt Ford, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed By JJ

Review: The Cage by Catt Ford

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Title: The Cage

Author: Catt Ford

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

At a Glance: I recommend this book to anyone who loves M/M Romance, BDSM, and drag.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Welcome to The Cage, where you can share the ups and downs of a group of friends as they enjoy a rollicking adventure of sex and love in “the life.”

Being a Dom has always come naturally to Lazar Thornton, owner and operator of The Cage, a thriving adult toy store and meeting place for Lazar’s closest friends, Bran, Max, Otto, and the always flamboyant and fierce Miss Dré. But even the best of friends have different tastes in scenes—and in life.

Good-humored and laid back, but much in demand as both teacher and Dom, Lazar has always run from love. Until Ben Owen, relative newbie to the BDSM world, arrives wide-eyed and eager to learn, and Lazar wants to teach this sub everything he knows. But despite the openness needed for a Dom/sub relationship to thrive, neither discusses emotions. Feeling the sting of unrequited love, Ben isn’t as sure of his place in Lazar’s life as he wants to be. Lazar will need to read his sub’s heart as well as his mind if he truly wants to keep Ben in his life.

Dividers

Review: This book really put a smile on my face. The story starts out with a highly erotic encounter between Lazar, the owner of an adult store called The Cage, and the young and seemingly shy Ben. After the public display between Lazar and Ben, their transgendered friend, Miss Dre, dresses Ben like a woman and they all go out to a drag show. Following this outing, the story jumps from one couple to the next among Ben and Lazar’s friends. Eventually Ben realizes that all his friends are finding love, and though Ben has feelings for Lazar, he doesn’t know where he stands with him. Ben admits to himself that their sex is amazing, but he worries that sex is all Lazar wants him for.

I have to say that I was hooked from the very beginning of this book. Though the characters had just been introduced, they quickly grew on me and the sexual encounter in the opening scene will forever be engrained in my mind. I also loved Miss Dre, especially since she is such a positive and sexy transgender character. Although The Cage starts off strong, things became a little confusing toward the middle when the viewpoint strayed away from the main characters and jumps from one couple to the next, showing how each of their friends find love. These sex scenes were hard for me to get into, but I really liked seeing how Miss Dre gets together with her lover. A transgender relationship was a refreshing change from what I’m used to reading.

Though the story veers away from the Ben and Lazar, it eventually comes back them, and I was pleased with the happy ending. I recommend this book to anyone who loves M/M Romance, BDSM, and drag.

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3.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed By JJ, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Shira Anthony

Review: Stealing the Wind by Shira Anthony – Narrated by Michael Stellman

Title: Stealing the Wind (Mermen of Ea Trilogy: Book One)

Author: Shira Anthony

Narrator: Michael Stellman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 31 Minutes

At a Glance: Shira Anthony has a way of making a world come alive, which made me feel like I was on the ship and under the sea with the characters.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Taren Laxley has never known anything but life as a slave. When a lusty pirate kidnaps him and holds him prisoner on his ship, Taren embraces the chance to realize his dream of a seagoing life. Not only does the pirate captain offer him freedom in exchange for three years of labor and sexual servitude, but the pleasures Taren finds when he joins the captain and first mate in bed far surpass his greatest fantasies.

Then, during a storm, Taren dives overboard to save another sailor and is lost at sea. He’s rescued by Ian Dunaidh, the enigmatic and seemingly ageless captain of a rival ship, the Phantom, and Taren feels an overwhelming attraction to Ian that Ian appears to share. Soon Taren learns a secret that will change his life forever: Ian and his people are Ea, shape-shifting merfolk… and Taren is one of them too. Bound to each other by a fierce passion neither can explain or deny, Taren and Ian are soon embroiled in a war and forced to fight for a future—not only for themselves but for all their kind.

Dividers

Review: Stealing the Wind is the first Mermen book I’ve ever read. I wasn’t sure at first how mermen could be sexy, but the author makes them very appealing. The story starts out when Taren, an indentured slave, is captured by a pirate. The pirate agrees to let him have his freedom in exchange for sexual servitude. Since Taren is attracted to the pirate, he agrees. However, before he can earn his freedom, he is in an accident, which results in him being rescued by a man named Ian. Taren is drawn to Ian, and when he learns that Ian is of the Ea people and shifts into a merman, his world is transformed.

I was initially drawn to Taren, but his time on the ship with the pirates was narrated so much that I lost a certain degree of interest. However, when Taren was rescued by Ian, things became interesting. Though Taren’s heart was at first split between Ian and the pirates, Ian is extremely drawn to Taren. I could really feel Ian’s pain over his love for him, which made their unions very erotic. The only part I didn’t really like about the book was the ending, since it kind of left me hanging. Also, I didn’t really connect with the twist, but despite disliking the end, I was entertained by the book as a whole. Shira Anthony has a way of making a world come alive, which made me feel like I was on the ship and under the sea with the characters.

Narration: Michael Stellman’s narration was perfect. I especially loved the voice he used for Taren, which was extremely erotic at times. Stellman used different voices for each character and was very expressive.

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: Damian’s Discipline by K.C. Wells – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Audio Gem

Title: Damian’s Discipline (Collars and Cuffs: Book Five)

Author: K.C. Wells

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 14 Minutes

At a Glance: I recommend Damian’s Discipline to fans of M/M Romance who appreciate the D/S lifestyle.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: The man who pimped Jeff may be in prison, but Jeff is still living the nightmare, selling himself to men and relying on pills to manage. Then he meets Scott, a young American man who could easily have been where Jeff is now. Scott’s friends extend a helping hand to Jeff, and he grabs it.

Leo and Thomas bring Jeff to stay with Dom Damian Barnett until they can find him someplace more long-term. Still grieving from losing his sub to cancer two years before, Damian agrees to help. But when he glimpses the extent of the damage, Damian wants to do more than offer his guestroom. Jeff is not a submissive, but Damian can see he desperately needs structure in his life. It’s up to Damian to find an answer.

He never expects that what he discovers will change both their lives. 

Dividers

Review: Jeff is another boy who was abused and pimped out by Curtis Rogers. After Curtis’s arrest, Jeff ended up on the streets as a rent boy. When Leo and Thomas learn about Jeff, they get him to stay with Damian, a Dom who loves to nurture. Though Jeff isn’t particularly submissive and has a deep seeded mistrust for Doms, Damian is able to get Jeff to accept his protection. Damian also gives him the opportunity to make something more of himself. Despite Damian’s influence, Jeff struggles with an addiction to pills which he uses in order to cope with what happened to him. Their time together is not easy, but they end up developing an attraction for one another.

I really loved this book. Jeff has some serious trust issues, but he lets Damian take care of him and even gives up some control. Though the book is mostly outside the realm of BDSM when it comes to sex, it still was an amazing read. I liked that Damian was willing to give up his D/s lifestyle in order to be with Jeff, and it was especially nice that he wasn’t forced to do so. The ending of Damian’s Discipline was a pleasant surprise, with some guest appearances from other books coming together in an emotional finality of sorts.

I recommend Damian’s Discipline to fans of M/M Romance who appreciate the D/S lifestyle.

Narration: The audio performance of this book was excellent. I almost forgot that this was an audiobook since I wasn’t pulled away from the story even once.

As a side note, this book can be read as a standalone, but due to the multiple tie-ins from previous book in the series, I recommend reading books 1-4 prior to reading this one. Additionally, book 6 starts at the exact point where this one leaves off.

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, K.C. Burn, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: A Dance with Domination by K.C. Wells – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Audio Gem

Title: A Dance with Domination (Collars and Cuffs: Book Four)

Author: K.C. Wells

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Run Time: 7 Hours and 12 Minutes

At a Glance: I really enjoyed the audio performance on this book. Nick J. Russo is very talented when it comes to making a separate voice for each character.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Recently returned to the UK after living in the States since he was eleven, Andrew Barrett is determined to keep busy and make a new life for himself. He works full time as a copywriter and strips at a club on Canal Street on weekends. But it still leaves him too much time to think. Then he finds the BDSM club, Collars & Cuffs, where at twenty-nine, he is their youngest Dom. Young doesn’t mean inexperienced, however. All this activity keeps him focused with no time to dwell on the past. But the past has a way of intruding on the present.

It’s been four long years since Gareth Michaels last set foot inside Collars & Cuffs. But when he finally summons his courage and steps back into his former world, he finds the man who drove him away is still a member, and what’s more, he wants Gareth back. Two men in pain need the freedom they find in each other, but it takes another man’s horrific plans to make them see it.

Dividers

Review: A Dance with Domination is definitely one of my favorites in the Collars and Cuffs series. Andrew works as a stripper, but he’s also a Dom and he ends up joining the Collars & Cuffs BDSM club. Since he suffers from losing someone he loved, he distances himself, avoiding intimate contact with subs in order to guard against the possibility of becoming attached. Andrew befriends a fellow stripper, Gareth, and later discovers that Gareth is a former sub at Collars & Cuffs. When Andrew realizes Gareth wants him, they hit it off, but their union is short lived. Jealousy and misunderstandings tear them apart, but when others get involved, they are able to sit down and resolve their differences. In addition to coming together as a couple, they’re able to share scenes at the club.

Andrew’s character was the thing I loved the most about this book. Andrew was introduced to the BDSM world at a young age, so though he is young, he has a lot of experience. Unlike the older alpha type Doms at Collars and Cuffs, Andrew is coveted for his beauty, grace, and skill as a Dom. I loved seeing Andrew in his role as a stripper. It was so exciting to see a tough Dom doing a lap dance for alpha type customers. The role reversal was quite sexy. At one point Andrew has to be saved from a drunk man who holds him down and attempts to assault him.

Though I don’t think this book was as emotional as some of the previous books in this series, it was certainly hot, and I loved the happy ending. I recommend A Dance with Domination to anyone who loves erotic romance, BDSM, and kink.

Narration: I really enjoyed the audio performance on this book. Nick J. Russo is very talented when it comes to making a separate voice for each character. The only thing that threw me off was that I didn’t like the breathy voice the reader gives Leo. It wasn’t how I imagined Leo to sound. However, since Leo only played a small roll in this book, it didn’t make much difference.

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2.5 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ, Sue Brown

Audio Review: Ed & Marchant by Sue Brown – Narrated by Max Lehnen

Title: Ed & Marchant (A Novella in Frankie’s Series)

Author: Sue Brown

Narrator:: Max Lehnen

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 3 Hours and 59 Minutes

At a Glance: I really enjoyed the audio portion of Ed & Marchant, but I found it impossible to like the book when the main character, Ed, was so disagreeable.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Ed Winters despises his job and hates everyone he works with—especially out and proud, happily in love Frankie Mason. He spends his days wishing he could dance, rather than work.

Late to go shopping one day, Ed ends up soaked in Marchant Belarus’s spilled Coke. Ed’s humiliation increases when Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a sub, albeit a very closeted one. Marchant’s attempts to draw Ed out of his shell release years of pent-up anger and hurt over the abuse Ed’s mother and grandmother heaped on him.

Marchant is patient, but nothing he does seems to help until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.

Dividers

Review: Ed, a disgruntled and homophobic supervisor, has a chance encounter with Marchant, a dominant younger man who fascinates him. Marchant acts on their immediate attraction and tells Ed that he knows he is a gay submissive. Ed is appalled by Marchant’s accusation and continues to deny that he’s gay. Since Ed’s mother tried to beat the gay out of him as a child, Ed is very negative about his desires, and believes he’s a horrible deviant. Marchant eventually convinces Ed that this is not the case, and gets him to loosen up. Ed even goes as far as apologizing to a gay employee who he wronged in the past. When Ed and Marchant come together, Ed decides to quit his job and focus instead on dancing. After six months pass, Ed is ready to submit to Marchant and take on a submissive role in their relationship.

I really wanted to like this book, but I found it impossible to like it when the main character, Ed, was so disagreeable. Ed is a self-proclaimed homophobe who hates everyone and everything. Though I liked Marchant, I didn’t really understand why he would ever look twice at Ed. I also found it unrealistic that Marchant had one encounter with Ed and knew right away that Ed was a gay submissive. The next roadblock to my enjoyment of this book was that neither character seemed sexy in any way. Ed was a grouchy older man, and Marchant was a younger gentleman-type. Though the book had some sex scenes sprinkled in, I’m not sure whether the couple ever gets to the point of sleeping together. Although my interest in the characters was negligible, I was able to follow the story, and I never once felt that I had to stop reading. At one point, I actually started to like Ed, but then the book ended shortly afterward.

Narration: I really enjoyed the audio portion of this book. I think the reader did an excellent job, and I never once was taken away from the story due to the narration. As an additional note, this book was narrated in British English.

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3.5 Stars, DSP Publications, Reviewed By JJ, Sam C. Leonhard, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Forbidden Monastery by Sam C. Leonhard

Title: Forbidden Monastery (Rage: Book One)

Author: Sam C. Leonhard

Publisher: DSP Publications

Pages/Word Count: 310 Pages

At a Glance: I was drawn to the darkness of this story, but was also delighted by the sweet humor.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Rage is a seasoned assassin, and he lives by his own rules. One of them forbids him to kill children, and at sixteen, his new target is definitely too young to die. Instead of breaking her neck, he kidnaps Lucinda of Babylon—and soon finds out the girl has the knack to annoy the hell out of him.

As if taking care of a stubborn girl isn’t enough of a burden, Lucinda’s best friend Keiran joins their escape. And falls in love with Rage. And totally ignores the fact that the man in black, who cannot and will not use magic even to save his own life, does not love him back.

Staying one step ahead of a madman who is desperate to end their lives, Rage and his unwilling companions travel to the Forbidden Monastery, a place where horrible magical experiments once took place. There are ghosts screaming for their blood and dangerous, wild magic is always ready to strike. At the end of the day, two people are dead, and Rage realizes with bitter clarity that his heart can break just as easily as it did when he was young.

Dividers

Review: Erotic, dark, but cute M/M Fantasy, this story starts when Rage, an assassin with an appetite for male prostitutes, gets a job proposal that he cannot accept. Rage has no problem killing for a living, but he draws the line when it comes to rape. His refusal to rape the sixteen-year-old magical noblewoman, Lucinda, makes him a target for those who sought to hire him. After an attempt on his life, Rage saves the girl and her kitten, and they set off on an adventure as they flee their attackers. Along the way, they run into Lucinda’s mute friend, Keiran. Although Rage is afraid to fall in love due to a painful experience in his past, he and Keiran come together and a romance forms between them.

I was drawn to the darkness of this story, but was also delighted by the sweet humor when the dangerous assassin becomes the protector of a sassy teen girl, a kitten, and a sexy mute boy. Time and again Rage finds himself in the position where he is saving innocence instead of bringing death. I loved the erotic romance in this book, which dipped briefly into ménage, as well as some taboo situations.

Although the danger they faced, as well as the erotic side story, kept me interested, I wasn’t fond of how the book ended. I had trouble connecting with and understanding the magic in the final chapters, and the ending was quite sad. However, after reading the blurb for the next book in this series, I was able to walk away from the book with a smile, and I look forward to reading book two.

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3 Stars, DSP Publications, Literary Fiction, Reviewed By JJ, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Yeyu

Review: The Relics of Gods by Yeyu

Title: The Relics of Gods

Author: Yeyu

Length: 350 Pages

Publisher: DSP Publications

At a GlanceOverall, reading this book was a pleasant experience.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: What is worse: Being so broke you can barely afford food, getting hired for dangerous missions way out of your league, suffocating under mountains of unanswered questions—or wanting to sexually dominate someone who can kill you without lifting a finger?

Lu Delong is a mercenary who evaluates antiques most of the time and deals with the paranormal on rare occasions—even though it’s supposed to be the other way around. When he joins a dangerous quest for an ancient artifact, he meets and becomes strongly attracted to a mysterious and powerful immortal named Cangji. Despite his friends’ warnings and Cangji’s icy, unsociable demeanor, Delong is unable to resist befriending him. However, Cangji is deeply involved in a matter beyond mortals, and Delong is drawn into a chaotic struggle by both visible and invisible forces.

Always the pacifist who wanted to live a simple human life, Delong never imagined he’d end up involved in a conflict that will affect everything from the lowest insects on earth to the highest gods in heaven.

Dividers

Review: Lu Delong, an ordinary man with some magical training, joins a mission in search for special artifacts.  Though Delong doesn’t know the reason for the mission and why the artifacts are so important, he goes along and does his best to assist. At the beginning of the quest, Delong meets a man who appears to be a god named Cangji. Delong is immediately taken by the beautiful but reclusive man. Though Cangji will not speak a word to him at first, the two grow closer with each passing battle with ghosts, creatures, and gods. Cangji saves Delong on numerous occasions, which leads Delong to believe that Cangji might have feelings for him. Meanwhile, parts of the mystery surrounding the relics are uncovered, but the mission continues. Toward the end of the book Delong realizes that despite Cangji appearing untouchable, he may just have a chance with him.

The Relics of Gods is filled with adventure but revolves around a love interest. If it were not for the sex scene, which involves dubious consent, I imagine this book would be great for the Young Adult crowd. Though I found the dense world building and myth explanations difficult to follow, Cangji’s character was very sexy and appealing. I really liked the idea of a dominant man sexually pursuing a dangerous immortal who is quiet, threatening, and the least likely being to submit sexually. I enjoyed the interactions between Delong and Cangji, but I would have preferred more communication between them. Following the dubious consent scene, I was left wondering where the couple stood. Then, when the book ended, I was a bit surprised.  I felt like there was so much left unresolved in their relationship, and I really wanted to know how things worked out between them.

Overall, reading this book was a pleasant experience.

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You can buy The Relics of the Gods here:

OmniLit/ARe

OmniLit/ARe

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4 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Parker Williams, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: Someone to Keep Me by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Title: Someone to Keep Me (Collars and Cuffs: Book Three)

Authors: K.C. Wells and Parker Williams

Narrator:: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 44 Minutes

At a Glance: This story drew me in because of the travel and adventure aspect of it, and I really enjoyed the audio portion of this book.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Eighteen-year-old Scott Keating knows a whole world exists beyond his parents’ strict control, but until he gains access to the World Wide Web, he really has no idea what’s out there. In a chat room, Scott meets “JeffUK.” Jeff loves and understands him, and when he offers to bring Scott to the UK, Scott seizes his chance to escape his humdrum life and see the world. But when his plane touches down and Jeff isn’t there, panic sets in.

Collars & Cuffs favorite barman and Dom-in-training, Ben Winters, drops his sister off at the airport and finds a lost, anxious Scott. Hearing Scott’s story sets off alarm bells, along with his protective instincts. Taking pity on the naïve boy, Ben offers him a place to crash and invites him to Collars & Cuffs, hoping his bosses will know how to help. Scott dreams of belonging to someone, heart and soul. Ben longs for a sub of his own. And neither man sees what’s right under his nose.

Dividers

Review: Someone to Keep Me is a sweet, romantic, and sexy love story between a young guy and an older man in a BDSM relationship. The story starts out with a high school graduate, Scott, who meets a guy online who lives in England. When the guy buys him a plane ticket, Scott decides to get on the plane and see what happens. However, Scott arrives to find no one waiting for him. He is alone in a foreign country, with no money, phone, or credit cards. He thinks he’s in trouble but receives an offer of assistance from older man named Ben, who works at the Collars and Cuffs BDSM club. Scott does not want to return to his homophobic parents in the States, so the guys at the BDSM club want to help him out. Despite Ben’s financial restraints, he agrees to let Scott stay in his home. Scott decides he wants to be trained as a submissive, and when Ben becomes his trainer, their relationship develops into something more.

This story drew me in because of the travel and adventure aspect of it. There is something very exciting about getting on an airplane and seeing where it takes you. In Scott’s case, he put himself in a dangerous situation and was lucky that someone kind like Ben found him. Compared to book two in this series, this book went into the BDSM and sexual aspect a lot sooner. Scott is a virgin but is curious, eager to learn, and anxious to have his first sexual experience. Although this book is primarily a romance, the scene where Scott loses his virginity made the book well worth reading. I had trouble connecting with the romance due to Ben’s preoccupation with money and how this affects his relationship with Scott. Scott’s desire for Ben is very passionate and moving, but Ben’s practicality made me feel like the romance was one sided. Overall, the book was enjoyable and very sexy.

Audio Review: I really enjoyed the audio portion of this book. Each character had a different voice, which made scenes with multiple characters easier to follow. The accents used were believable and did not distract from the reading in any way.

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You can buy Someone to Keep Me here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, K.C. Wells, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Reviewed By JJ

Audio Review: Trusting Thomas by K.C. Wells – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Title: Trusting Thomas

Author: K.C. Wells

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 9 Hours and 58 Minutes

At a Glance: I was initially irritated by the dialect switching, especially when British words were read in an American accent, but by the end, Trusting Thomas was very moving and made me cry.

Reviewed By: Johanis

Blurb: Christmas is a time for goodwill to all, but Collars and Cuffs co-owner Thomas Williams receives an unexpected gift that chills him to the bone. A Dom from another Manchester club asks Thomas for his help rescuing an abused submissive, Peter Nicholson. Thomas takes in the young man as a favor to a friend, offering space and time to heal, but he makes it clear he’s never had a sub and doesn’t want one.

Peter finds Thomas’s home calm and peaceful, but his past has left him unwilling to trust another Dom. When Thomas doesn’t behave as Peter expects, Peter’s nightmares begin to fade, and he decides he’d like to learn more about D/s life. A well-known trainer of submissives, Thomas begins to teach Peter, but as the new submissive opens up to him, Thomas finds he cares more for Peter than he should. Just as he decides it’s time to find a permanent Dom for Peter, they discover Peter’s tormentor is still very much a threat. With their lives in danger, Thomas can’t deny his feelings for Peter any longer. The question now becomes, can Peter make it out of the lions’ den alive, so that Thomas can tell his boy that he loves him?

Dividers

Review: Trusting Thomas is a sweet romance between a younger guy and an older gentleman, set in England. Although the backdrop for the story is a BDSM club, there is not much in the way of BDSM in the book. The story focuses more on healing from abuse and finding love when love seems impossible.

Peter, a twenty-six year old submissive with an abusive Dom, is rescued from his abusive master and taken to Thomas, who is the owner of a BDSM club. Thomas agrees to look after the boy and later, agrees to train him as a submissive. Since Peter has been abused so badly, his training begins with menial tasks and progresses slowly in order to give him time to heal from the psychological trauma inflicted on him by his previous master. Though Thomas is just his trainer, both grow to have feelings for one another. Due to the thirty year gap in their ages, Thomas denies his feelings for the boy, and by the time he realizes he’s in love, Peter’s past comes back to haunt them.

Although this book was not what I expected, I strongly recommend it to those who love sweet romances with a happily ever after and a little bit of kink sprinkled in. There was not a lot of sex, but some pretty hot scenes with sex toys and romantic love making. I was at first uncomfortable with sex between such a young guy and an older man, but this was because Peter was so broken and submissive due to being the victim of violent rape and abuse, that it made him seemed much younger than he was. However, by the end of the story, I really thought Peter needed a loving, caring father-figure like Thomas who would never dare hurt him. The romance element builds slowly and starts to appear half way through the book, but by the end, it was very moving and made me cry.

Audio Review: The reader for this audiobook, Nick J. Russo, is very talented; however, he read the book using American English for the narration and British English for dialogue. I was initially irritated by the dialect switching, especially when British words were read in an American accent. I would have preferred to listen to the entire book in a British accent since the book was written in British English. After completing thirty percent of the book, though, I was able to listen without being drawn away from the story by the dialect switching.

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You can buy Trusting Thomas here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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