5 Stars, Bey Deckard, Holiday Romance, M/M/M and More, Reviewed by Lisa, Self-Published

Review: Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus by Bey Deckard

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Title: Careened: Winter Solstice in Madierus (Baal’s Heart 3.5)

Author: Bey Deckard

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages/Word Count: 43 Pages

At a Glance: I loved this savory and sweet little morsel.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: A Baal’s Heart short, following the events in Fated: Blood and Redemption

Plagued by terrible dreams, Jon begins to distance himself from Baltsaros and Tom. Perhaps a little holiday cheer is just the thing to help the three of them find common ground again.

Dividers

Review: Well, this is a first. I never thought I’d use the words “sweet” and “Bey Deckard” together in a review, but here I am doing that very thing. Never say never…

Careened directly follows the events in this series’ Fated: Blood and Redemption, so if you’ve not read book three yet, this short holiday novella may not pack quite the same punch for you as it would knowing the full scope of events in that novel. Of course, though I say this story has a tinge of the sweet to it, it also offers just that much of the bitter to remind you that the alternate universe Captain Baltsaros, Tom, and Jon inhabit isn’t one without its dangers and grief and pain.

Jon is in a bad way after what happened to him in Sormaheine, the dark shadows of anger and regret following him through his days and nights as he tries to drink away the memories that dog him…though he can’t escape his sub-conscious and the nightmares that manipulate his thoughts and drive his depression. This is where the bitter tempers the sweet in this story, complements the storyline without overwhelming, and, in the end, makes the turnabout that much more satisfying.

Writing a convincing threesome is exactly what Bey Deckard has done. Believing in this threesome and the dynamics of that relationship is exactly what readers of this series are able to do because this author has created three men who just work, plain and simple, in spite of the challenges thrown their way. Crafting this short story to coincide with this verse’s version of a winter holiday is the perfect scenario to offer healing to Jon and begin a mending of the relationship between him and Baltsaros. There was, without a doubt, some truly romantic gestures in Careened, and, as has been the case all along, a Baal’s Heart book wouldn’t be a Baal’s Heart book without a wildly sexy scene or two to watch these three connect and command and show readers the bond they share.

I loved this savory and sweet little morsel. What a great interlude with these characters at a wonderful time of the year.

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, M.A. Church, M/M/M and More, Narration Rating - 1 Star, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Trouble Comes in Threes by M.A. Church – Narrated by Ronald Ray Strickland

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Amazon

Title: Trouble Comes in Threes

Author:  M.A. Church

Narrator: Ronald Ray Strickland

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  8 hours and 26 minutes

At a Glance: If you’re thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb: A snowstorm in the South – on New Year’s Eve – is a perfect recipe for a catastrophe. After two soul-crushing bad breaks, Kirk’s waiting for disaster number three to strike when, naturally, two stray cats arrive on his doorstep during the storm and decide to make themselves at home. Tenderhearted Kirk lets them stay, even though there’s something decidedly odd about his overly friendly felines.

Out of the punishing weather and full of tuna, Dolf and Tal are happy to be snug in Kirk’s house. But then their human goes outside for firewood and suffers a nasty fall that leaves him unconscious. Now the two cats have no choice but to reveal themselves.

Kirk wakes up to find the two kitties are actually Dolf and Tal. They’re cat shifters – and his destined mates. Being part of a feline threesome is enough for Kirk to grapple with, but soon he learns they come from a clowder that doesn’t believe humans and shifters should mix. Kirk knew those two cats would be trouble. Little does he know the real trouble lies ahead.

Dividers

Review: I absolutely loved Trouble Comes in Threes when I read the book.  It’s sweet, funny and sexy, and I was so excited for the audiobook. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t even come close to doing this story justice.

Throughout the narration there’s no real difference in the character voicing. There were actually a couple of points where, in the middle of a sentence, it sounded as if the audio had been edited and although the same character was speaking, the voice changed, so it was hard to follow. Parts of the narration really were not enunciated very well at all, and then others parts were the exact opposite–way over-enunciated. During a lot of the narration, there were awkward pauses, as if Mr. Strickland was reading individual words instead of reading a story that flows. I did listen to the entire audiobook because I really do like the story that much, but honestly, at that point it was actually more amusing to listen to the narration than enjoy the story.

So, if you are thinking about getting Trouble Comes in Threes—and I think you should—buy the book and read it. I would bypass the audio on this one.

For a review of the e-book, see Janet’s full review HERE

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You can buy Trouble Comes in Threes here:

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4 Stars, Amber Allure, Angelia Sparrow, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, M/M/M and More, Naomi Brooks, Reviewed By Carrie, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Review: Terror of the Frozen North by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks

Title: Terror of the Frozen North

Author: Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks

Publisher: Amber Allure

Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages

At a Glance: Check your reality at the door and immerse yourself in a really good book – this one!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: War is hell, but coming home is even harder. Edward Kilsby, Lord Withycombe, flying ace and noted adventurer, has grown increasingly restless with civilian life. He seeks refuge from his depression and nightmares in adrenaline, and when that fails, in painful sex. Until his erstwhile fiancé blackmails him into making an arctic expedition.

In the frozen wastes, Edward and his secretary, Charlie, work hard, facing the rigors of the climate and the lethal war machines they are testing. But no-one is prepared for what lies under the ice.

Back in London, as Edward’s pistol looks friendlier and friendlier, Charlie must deal with kidnapping, cultists and secret societies, all the while keeping his much-loved lord sane and healthy.

Dividers

Review: Terror of the Frozen North is the second book in this series, which starts with The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Manicurists. Reading that book first is not necessary but may be preferable, as there are overlapping characters and themes from the first book.

Strange monsters, broken souls, and a poor secretary stuck in the middle of it all, this is a book of pure fantasy, a romance with a mythical bent. Set in the 1920s, Lord Withycombe has come home from the war a broken man. He is a penniless lord with a reputation as a daring and renowned hero to uphold.

Charlie is his secretary and an absolute saint. He keeps his lord going and provides for all his needs. Charlie has to accomplish this task while dealing with jealous ex-boyfriends, sadistic fiancés, and a mad scientist. At the core, this is a love story between Edward and Charlie. Lord Withycombe, or Edward, is forced to take adventures to make money to live on and support his staff. This particular adventure involves a mad scientist and the frozen wastes of the arctic, where they are charged to test war machines. But, unbeknownst to them, they are the test subjects for an even more insidious war machine that just might make them all mad – and something is alive under all that ice…..

This is a rollicking adventure and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy. The relationship between Edward and Charlie is not an easy one, rather complicated, but it works. The adventures they set out on are well written and believable in the world Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks have created.

Check your reality at the door and immerse yourself in a really good book – this one!

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5 Stars, Genre Romance, M/M/M and More, N.R. Walker, Pride Publishing, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: Three’s Company by N.R. Walker

Title: Three’s Company (2nd Edition)

Author: N.R. Walker

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Three’s Company is a successful re-release of what was already great book.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: When he started looking for someone to help heal his broken heart, Wilson Curtis never dreamed he’d find two someones. Love isn’t always conventional.

After being publicly outed leaves his restaurant business in tatters, and being dumped by his closeted boyfriend, Wilson Curtis goes to Key West alone where he meets Simon and Adam. Fascinated by this couple, he strikes up conversation and is soon invited into their bed for some holiday fun.

But once isn’t enough, and the offer is extended for the remainder of his stay. As they get to know each other, in and out of the bedroom, sparks fly and ten days is all it takes to change their lives.

When it comes time for Wil to leave, with outside tensions closing in and time running out, tempers flare and emotions fray. Beneath the misunderstandings and lack of communication is the realization these three men aren’t ready to say goodbye.

Dividers

Review: Simon and Adam like to play. Alike as night and day, personality wise, they both do have unconventional ideas about their relationship, and they occasionally like to bring a third into their tightly knit cocoon. But, you only get the invite once; they may like to play, but they are committed to one another and their relationship stays first and solid.

Simon is the serious one, the manager of a hotel in Key West. Adam is the laughing half of the relationship, but he’s the fragile one too, with an abusive past. Adam needs Simon to be the one in charge, and it is a roll Simon loves. Simon is fiercely protective of Adam. Then Wilson Curtis comes to stay at the hotel, and for the first time, a one night deal becomes two, then ten. Wil is from a small town in Alabama, and he has never been open about his sexuality for a reason. Meeting Simon and Adam is just as overwhelming for him as walking down the street holding the hand of man for the first time.

These characters are so well written, they come off the page as real men with real interactions: the way Wil must come to terms with coming out, and not just that but accepting a polyamorous relationship; the way Simon has to relinquish a little control and lean on the two strong men around him; the way Adam becomes the glue that holds all three men together. It will tug at your heart as it gets you hot and bothered because the sex scenes are VERY well written.

“I bucked at the sensation. So powerful, so perfect. Underneath me, on top of me, inside me, inside him. It was a pleasure like I’d never known. So….. complete. There was no other word for it. Complete. Always.”

Be aware this is a rework of a book that came out originally about three years ago. It’s been revised, given it a new cover, and the story has been expanded somewhat from the original. I really liked the expanded parts of the story, as we get to see into the lives of these men a little more clearly, and it makes the book into more of a romance HEA than just a ménage storyline. I would recommend getting the expanded version. This is just one of those books that once you start reading you become invested in these characters and don’t want to put it down until the very end. That N.R. Walker has gone back and given us more of these men and their lives – BONUS!

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5 Stars, Fantastic Fiction Publishing, Genre Romance, Lynn Kelling, M/M/M and More, Reviewed by Lynn

Release Day Review: Double Heat by Lynn Kelling

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Title: Double Heat (Twin Ties: Book Three)

Author: Lynn Kelling

Publisher: Fantastic Fiction Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 299 Pages

At a Glance: The climax of this story is one of the best sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat scenes that I’ve read in a long while.

Reviewed By: Lynn

Blurb: When Evan and Brennan moved in with their boyfriends, Alek and Luka, they knew things would be complicated, but as their privacy gets eroded, and people around them begin to notice the tangled nature of their relationships, coping becomes a struggle. After Brennan leaves on a brief trip home, and Evan remains behind to enjoy the full attention of both Alek and Luka, the careful balance of things gets thrown off.

Ex-boyfriends surface, haunting Evan and Brennan in similar ways as regret for poor choices threatens their happiness, and the sexual freedom displayed earlier in their lives draws predators willing to use violence, coercion, mind-games and force to take what they want. Though Luka and Alek struggle to protect those they love, it soon becomes clear that the dangers surrounding them will find ways to rush in, trying to take what belongs to them.

Dividers

Review: First off, this is a series that should be read in order. My Brother’s Lover and Dual Affairs are the first two books in the Twin Ties saga. Second, this books deals with some pretty heavy issues that may be triggers for some readers: rape, pedophilia and incest. Please take heed to the warnings.

Having read the first two books, I thought I knew where this story was headed. We’ve already met both sets of twins, and watched as all four men evolved into a relationship with one another. They went through some rough spots, figuring it out along the way, and by the end of the second book, Evan, Brennan, Alek, and Luka are moving in together. So, I’m thinking the third book is going to be an adjustment period, a “getting to know you better” phase. I mean, when you’re in a relationship that involves four people, there’s going to be some issues to tackle, right? Oh boy, was I wrong.

The author takes us on a journey into the past, and we see what really happened to Evan and Brennan before they knew the other existed. At certain times it’s not a pleasant read, but I felt it necessary information so readers fully understood the reasoning behind the characters’ actions and words. Also, I felt the characters needed to be true to themselves and to their lovers about their past; to relive it, understand it, deal with it, and start healing from it. The author does an amazing job here. She gives us cringe-worthy scenes, not for the shock value but for the healing value.

Evan, I loved him from the get go. Even though I thought him to be a little whiny and a bit over dramatic, there was a genuine sweetness about his character. I knew there was more to his story than what the author was giving us in the previous installments, and I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. We’re in Evan’s head for most of the story, with the beginning of his inner dialogue reading like a broken record of self-doubt. I wanted him to just shut up already, open up and talk it over with his lovers. It can’t be that bad, right? Well, when we get the full, heartbreaking, ugly truth about Evan’s past, I was beyond mortified. And, I finally got Evan. I understood him better. The part of his character that never quite felt right snapped into place. It all makes sense now.

Brennan is Evan’s twin brother. I thought him to be the stronger one. He exuded confidence and independence while all along he was hiding a secret too. Through Brennan’s POV, we see that going back to his hometown proved more difficult than expected because of his own abusive past. Returning home to his lovers, he really has no choice but to tell them everything.

While their situations were vastly different, the one thing that stood out was how each twin mistook abuse as acceptance, both brainwashed into thinking that any attention was better than no attention. One was alone, the other feared being alone. It’s no wonder their back stories had a similar theme. Finding true acceptance within their foursome caused them to finally begin unraveling the depth of mental, physical, and criminal warfare that had been waged upon them. I think the author does a great job delving into these difficult scenes. She was able to bridge the past and present seamlessly, bringing the abusers into the light so the brothers knew them for what they were. We see the real struggle Evan and Brennan went through during this process. The author never glossed over or pushed aside the problem, the characters weren’t miraculously cured by the next chapter. I appreciated that.

Now, I haven’t said much about the other set of twins, mainly because this wasn’t their story. They are both solid characters who are very dedicated to Evan and Brennan. Alek and Luka are there for support, helping as much as they can. It was really nice to see this other side of them, but I know they have their own story to tell. From what I know, Ms. Kelling is planning to explore their backstory in book four. I can’t wait.

The climax of this story is one of the best sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat scenes that I’ve read in a long while. It wasn’t resolved in a nice gift wrapped box. It was messy, violent, graphic and disturbing. I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way. Evan and Brennan’s stories weren’t pretty, so why should the resolution be?

All in all, this story stopped being about twincest, stopped being about anything taboo. It’s about the love these four men have for each other. It’s about healing and getting back that self-worth, to finally move on, to love and be loved back. It’s about never being alone. I can’t wait for the next book.

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3.5 Stars, Genre Romance, L.A. Witt, M/M/M and More, Reviewed by Kim, Samhain Publishing

Review: What He Left Behind by L.A. Witt

Title: What He Left Behind

Author: L.A. Witt

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 238 Pages

At a Glance: I had mixed feelings about What He Left Behind, because no matter how good the intentions, something bad always seems to rear its ugly little head.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Can you ever have a second first time?

Josh Carver thinks it’s just another lunch with his best friend, Michael—until Michael confesses he just turned down a date with his hot veterinarian crush. It seems Michael’s abusive ex left him more scarred than Josh realized.

Josh and his husband, Ian, have done their best to help Michael leave his horrific past behind, but even Josh is stunned when Ian suggests that Josh help Michael with his fear of physical intimacy. After all, it isn’t like it would be the first time—Josh and Michael were once each other’s firsts.

A hesitant first kiss, and Josh and Michael’s natural attraction eases the way. But with Michael still balking at the prospect of sex with someone new, Ian steps into the breach.

Everything is fine and dandy until emotions become so entangled, their friendship—and a marriage—could be at risk.

Warning: Contains three guys who will do anything for each other, a hot tub that’s always the right temperature, and a cat with an attitude problem.

Dividers

Review: What He Left Behind left me feeling 50/50. From the first page my interest was caught, as Michael is telling Josh about his inability to trust in an intimate relationship with anyone after his abusive ex did a number on him. Now, from what I gathered, Josh and Michael were each other’s firsts in everything, but it never really says why these two never became a couple, just that when Josh is telling his husband Ian that Michael is having problems becoming intimate with others because of Steve, Ian suggests that maybe Josh can help out with that problem.

My distrustful nature at this suggestion had me asking myself, “Now, who are you sleeping with, Ian?” Nobody is that good of a friend to suggest his husband sleep with someone without a reason. But Ian’s reasoning is that he cares about Michael as a friend, and that everything should be done to help him out. And, since Josh was once Michael’s lover, who else could be a better candidate to help Michael?

Needless to say, Josh does agree to help Michael out with his intimacy problems, at which point most of the story then becomes an erotic therapeutic journey. Since Michael is doing so well with overcoming his fears about sex, it is then suggested that it’s time to try it out with someone who Michael knows but hasn’t slept with yet.

Ian is then elected for the job.

Like I said before, I had mixed feelings about What He Left Behind, because no matter how good the intentions, something bad always seems to rear its ugly little head. Ian and Josh, not being professionals, really took a chance that they could have done more harm than good with Michael. And, it did cause some problems with their marriage along the way.

There’s a happy ending, but in real life, messing with someone like Michael, who has been traumatized, could have been a disaster, and I can’t help but feel that the ending was resolved too quickly. I think all three of them needed to visit Dr. Hamilton.

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4 Stars, Dark Hollows Press, M/M/M and More, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Victoria Sue

Review: Orion’s Circle by Victoria Sue

Title: Orion’s Circle (Sirius Wolves: Part One)

Author: Victoria Sue

Publisher: Dark Hollows Press

Pages/Word Count: 156 pages

At a Glance: A shifter story with ménage and unique mythology.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: According to legend, when humankind is at its most desperate, the goddess Sirius will send three of the most powerful werewolf shifters ever created to save mankind. However, because they are so powerful, they will need a fourth to complete them, to calm them and help them reach their full potential.

Aden, a young were, has been his pack’s omega ever since, at the age of fifteen, he didn’t shift like everyone else. Caught, reviled, and tortured because of his empathic abilities, he knew on the night he was told to run as sport for the pack hunters that it would end in his death. What he didn’t know, however, was that on the same night he’d also meet the love of his life and a pathway to answers, because Aden is far more than just a pack omega.

What begins as a hunt soon becomes a new adventure as Aden discovers that he has not only one, but three destined mates, and his role as lover is far more than trivial. The fate of all humankind rests upon it.

Dividers

Review: There is something incredibly sexy about two alpha wolves together. Maybe it’s the fight for dominance, but I enjoy seeing the interplay between them. This book, however, takes it a step further. There are three alpha wolves in a relationship when Aden, a lowly omega, joins the group and completes their—for lack of a better word—family.

Shifter group dynamics have always fascinated me as well. The various roles and jobs that the different leveled wolves are responsible for. And because I’m a sucker for the underdog, I always loved reading stories about the omega. It’s rare, though. Most books seem to focus on the alpha wolves. However, Victoria Sue incorporates the omega in her novel, and turns his role into a rather powerful one.

Aden is an omega in his pack. He is used as an outlet for the alpha’s frustration, and after being locked up, he’s let out for sport as the other wolves hunt him down. He’s rescued, however, when a mysterious stranger shows up with two wolves and rescues him from the hunt. These three strangers are the alphas Blaze, Connor, and Darric, and soon Aden discovers he has a very large role in their lives. He is the “release valve” that allows them to function. His presence calms Darric’s sensual nature and eases Connor’s strong empathy, which allows Blaze to focus on being a leader. And even though Aden is submissive and cautious, unsure of his role in the Alphas’ lives, he slowly starts to gain a little confidence. There were times I wanted to shake him for being so stubborn, and my heart broke for him, but considering his last pack, you can’t really blame him for being the way he is.

Not only is the ménage aspect fairly unique, but the author includes mythology for her world that carries throughout the book. What is Orion’s Circle? What is its purpose? All of these questions are answered throughout the novel.

While the story is great and I love the characters, I did have some issues with consistency in the book. There were some areas that I felt needed a strong editor. For example, there seems to be a case of the magical pants in one place. You know, where they’re off on one page and then being removed again on the next. It slowed me down sometimes because I had to backtrack and reread to make sure I had my information correct, and that was frustrating, but I feel the characters and story were strong enough to overlook these things.

I absolutely look forward to the next book in the series. This one leaves off on a bit of a cliffhanger, which I normally wouldn’t include, but since some readers may not like this type of thing, I will mention it. In this author’s world, omega wolves—male omegas—can get pregnant. So, mpreg awaits!

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5 Stars, Chris Owen, M/M/M and More, Reviewed by Kim, Torquere Press, Tory Temple

Review: Never too Early: Finding Their Way by Chris Owen and Tory Temple

Title: Finding Their Way

Author: Chris Owen and Tory Temple

Publisher: Torquere Press

Pages/Word Count: 153 Pages

At a Glance: Chris Owen and Tory Temple are making the relationships between these four men work.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Continuing from the first book in the series (Never Too Early: The Beginning), Chance and Tucker and Jake and Tor find themselves involved in a friendship that goes much deeper than any of them initially suspected.

Jake has been released from the hospital following his fall from the roof, and Chance and Tucker agree to stay in Arkansas for several days to help Tor with Jake’s care. Chance, however, spends much of his time trying to resist the growing attraction he has for Jake. The confusion between the love he has for Tucker and the new feelings for Jake play tricks with Chance’s mind. Is any of this a good idea, or are all of them headed for disaster?

For his part, Jake has to reconcile not only his growing feelings and physical attraction to Chance, but also the promises he and Tor made to each other. They rebuilt their own relationship in the wake of mistakes neither one of them wishes to repeat. How much communication and longing can one — or two — relationships take?

Dividers

Review: Oh, my poor Jake! He really hurt himself when he fell off the roof of his place. His head and ribs are a big hurting mess, but luckily he has not only Tor to look out for him, but Chance and Tucker as well.

Jake, as he’s recovering, realizes he’s becoming more and more attracted to Chance. Now, I know in Bareback both Jake and Tor agreed to “no more playing” around, especially after the trouble they went through during the second half of that book. But, this is different from what happened then. Both he and Tor are finding that there’s enough love to share with Chance and Tucker without risking their own relationship.

How did I feel about all this?

I loved it!

I fell in love with all four characters way back when I first read about them, especially Jake! And now I got the added bonus of finding out a bit more about his youth and time in prison.

Chris Owen and Tory Temple are making the relationships between these four men work without worrying that there could be problems ahead. They’ve stepped out of the box, broke with traditional relationships, and have made it a foursome that works for me.

Being that it’s the first time Chance and Tucker have ventured into this unknown territory, I’m curious to see how they’ll handle the shift in their relationship. But, I can tell that Jake and Chance are the mature ones who will handle anything that may lead to a problem, and there were a few moments that I held my breath while reading Finding Their Way, as everything was worked through when something did came up.

I will warn you that if you’re not into an established couple swapping with another established couple, then Finding Their Way is a book to avoid. There is a third installment in this series which I’m eager to read when it comes out. What can I say? I’m hooked on the outcome!

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