Category Archives: 3.5 Stars

Review: Pitch by Will Parkinson

Pitch by Will Parkinson
Title: Pitch
Author: Will Parkinson
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Reviewer: Jay
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Young Adult
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

The day Jackson Kern walks into Taylor Andrews’s classroom is a momentous day in Taylor’s life. He’s had crushes before, sure, but as time goes on, this is starting to look a whole lot more serious. Still, Jackson doesn’t return Taylor’s feelings.

Taylor has his own admirers, though. Kevin Richards is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants right now is Taylor, so when Taylor rejects him, Kevin retaliates. At first Taylor’s entourage rallies around him, but then Kevin takes his deception one step further and Taylor sees his support dwindle, teaching him the valuable lesson about who he can truly consider a friend.

Review:

Will Parkinson has created an enjoyable young adult/coming of age story centered on the lives of five high school students: Taylor, Benny, Jackson, Addy, and Becca.

  • Taylor is the primary character of this story.  He is a talented artist who falls in and out of crushes quite frequently.
  • Benny has been Taylor’s intelligent, witty, and level headed “straight” best friend since kindergarten.
  • Jackson is the new kid and an athlete that excels playing baseball.  His life has been lonely due to the constant moving around caused by his father’s job.
  • Addy is the adopted child whose biological parents abused him physically and mentally.
  • Becca is the self-centered, attention grabbing, high school cheerleader who wants to be with those that improve her popularity.

 

Between these five they run the gamut of issues and live experiences including bullying, obsession, fitting in, the new kid, crushing, pressure for good grades, gay bashing, outing, homophobia, and abuse. The lives of these five intertwine through a multitude of happy and sad events dealing with what life dished out.

Keeping the age of these kids in mind and remembering that they are high school age makes their actions understandable and believable.  There is the typical teenage reaction to life along with some profound wisdom and adult reactions. The story tugs your heart in all directions. The drama is over the top at times and the issues dive pretty deep. Simply though, it all works together and weaves a sweet story with enjoyable characters and a dash of angst.

Review: Bite Me Tender by Kate Lowell

Bite Me Tender by Kate Lowell
Title: Bite Me Tender
Author: Kate Lowell
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Publisher: Loose Id
Reviewer: Lynn
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Paranormal
Type: Romance
Pairing: Queer
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

Levi is a werewolf. His boyfriend, and the love of his life, is a witch. After living together for three years, they decided to commit to each other and change Glyn into a werewolf. Levi hoped the pack would accept Glyn more readily as a wolf. Glyn hoped it would eliminate his erratic magic and erase the OCD it caused. One year later, they’re still trying…

Levi can’t understand why his bite won’t change Glyn and he’s running out of time to figure it out. His pack is being threatened by a larger one, he’s facing dissension in the ranks of his own ruling council and Glyn’s grandmother is poking her witchy nose into their relationship.

Under threat of a violent takeover, the council pushes another potential wolf at Levi, infuriating Glyn and adding weight to Levi’s own doubts. Council machinations divide the two lovers, leaving both men questioning their lives, their love, and what they’re willing to endure for each other.

Full moon is a time of power and change. It could be a disaster, or it could be the key to happily ever after. If they’re strong enough to take a loss and make it a win.

Review:

Just one more time. The only problem is time is running out.

Levi and his boyfriend Glyn have been together for four years. For the past year, Levi has tried unsuccessfully to change his witch lover. Both the wolf and the human parts of Levi have a hard time looking at the marks left behind from trying. It has never taken Levi this long to change someone.

With his pack breathing down his neck about their numbers and the threat of violence looming, Levi feels the demands their situation escalating. He won’t cheat on the love of his life, but he can’t turn is back on his pack either.

Glyn’s witch half won’t let him share Levi with another man. He just can’t. Sparks fly when he stumbles onto Levi, lip to lip with a sexy human. After packing his bags and running off with his grandmother, Glyn is surprised when Levi finally shows up. Is it too little, too late?

What I enjoyed…

I really liked the paranormal world created by Kate Lowell. The witch/werewolf combo made a great pairing and allowed the reader an insight to both species. It would be great to see this story turn into a series.

I loved Glyn’s grandmother. She was so well written, she stole every scene she as in.

What I didn’t enjoy…

Contradictions. I felt like at times, both main characters contradicted themselves on their core values. What seemed to be rock solid beliefs like not sharing a partner turned into, “well he was hot,” situations. For me, it took away from the strength of their relationship.

My main issue with this story was the timing. I felt like there were several situations where the plot was rushed. If the story was slowed down a bit, then the storyline about Glyn’s grandfather could have been better developed. I figured out the mystery half way through the book.

I give Bite Me Tender by Kate Lowell 3 and ½ stars. I think the world and the characters will have paranormal fans excited. I would love to see where Levi’s pack goes from here.

Review: Behind Every Cloud by Penny Brandon

Behind Every Cloud by Penny Brandon
Title: Behind Every Cloud
Author: Penny Brandon
Cover Artist: Ginny Glass
Publisher: Loose Id
Reviewer: Monika
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

Forced to live behind a lie because of a promise he made to his sister, Kurt’s been celibate for twelve years. It’s not so much the sex he misses, but the chance at a family like the one his parents brought him up to expect. Then he meets Sasha, and it becomes all about the sex. Though he tries hard to resist, Sasha’s just too damn gorgeous, and Sasha wants him. So why not just give in?

Throwing himself with abandon into the Sydney gay scene, millionaire Sasha Harrison becomes playboy celebrity known to everyone as “Silver.” It was fun at first, but after five years of being the media’s meal ticket he now just wants to be left alone. Hounded by reporters, he hides out with Kurt, the one guy who has no idea who he is, or was. But that’s the problem. Kurt doesn’t realize Sasha’s not used to being turned down, and Sasha’s not used to being with nice guys.

Review:

When I started reading Beyond Every Cloud I fell in love with Kurt, Sasha and their story. I got a really good vibe from these two and the more I read the more in love I got but about three quarters of the way in sadly things began to unravel.

The characters are great, their chemistry was evident and there were a lot of awwe moments for me along with moments of feeling sad for both of them. I loved that they didn’t fall into bed immediately and the way Sasha helps Kurt out of the closet he so firmly put himself in but not by talking about it he does it by just being Sasha which shows Kurt what’s been missing in his life.

Along with the love story, Beyond Every Cloud has a small mystery and this is what causes things to fall apart for me. It started out well enough, I couldn’t wait to find out what was up with Sasha and I kept waiting for the big reveal. We’re told by Sasha that he’s done some really horrible things but none of that was explained adequately and the explanation that was given had me scratching my head, if that was all there was it just didn’t seem bad enough for the way he acted. I feel like a huge piece of this story was missing.

I loved that these two got their HEA and I loved them together I just wish there had of been more to the rest of the story. Even with the small issues I had this is still a great love story a bit stereo typical but because I adored Sasha I overlooked that. With a few small changes Beyond Every Cloud would have been a 5 star read.

Review: Shadows in the Night by M.A. Church

Shadows In the Night by M.A. Church
Title: Shadows in the Night
Author: M.A. Church
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Lynn
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Paranormal
Type: Romance
Pairing: Queer
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

When Chip Riley’s beloved granny passes away, she leaves him all her money, her land, and a house that needs some tender love and care. She never mentioned the legacy comes with a Native American shifter who intends to claim Chip as his mate.

Jason Sky has lived since buffalo roamed the land. When his totem spirit, a black cougar, saves a little girl, he doesn’t realize that generations later, her grandson will become his mate, leaving him to take on a modern man with modern ideas. But that’s the least of his problems.

Garon, another shifter with a long-held hatred for Jason, plots to kidnap Chip and lure Jason to his death. Soon Chip finds himself in an untenable position between a rock and a hard place. A leap of faith may be the only way to save himself and the man he’s learned to love.

Review:

Chip Riley has never had an easy life. His mom and dad could care less about him, he lost his job, and now his beloved grandmother has passed away.

Jason Sky has watched and waited patiently for his mate. He has known Chip was his, since Chip was a little boy. No longer able to sit on the sidelines of Chip’s life, Jason introduces himself and rewarded with a date.

When Garon, Jason’s rival enters the picture, no one is safe. His plans of revenge leave Chip taking a leap he never thought he could take.

What I enjoyed…

I loved Chip. His reactions to finding out the man he was falling for changed into a large cougar, had me laughing out loud. Sometimes in a paranormal story, the human reaction is often so bland. It was nice to really have a character flip out.

Jason’s cougar was another favorite of mine. I loved how he felt like a whole different character inside Jason. When he was hilarious when he flipped out about Chip’s cougar. I also loved how he never let his human off the hook, even when it came to the small things.

What I didn’t enjoy…

My main problem with this story was the flow. The stop and go, change of POV’s left me confused at times. I found myself going back several times to make sure I hadn’t missed something.

I also wanted to know more about the world in which these characters lived. We got like a glimpse, but the story was so focused on the couple, that it felt one sided. If you want readers to want more of the world you created, you have to show them more than a peek.

Overall, I enjoyed Shadow in the Night by M.A. Church. I give this story 3 ½ stars. I think paranormal fans will enjoy Jason and Chip. I’m looking forward to see where this series will go.

Review: That Kind of Special by Abby Wood

That Kind of Special by Abby Wood
Title: That Kind of Special
Author: Abby Wood
Cover Artist: Scott Carpenter
Publisher: Loose Id
Reviewer: Lynn
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Heterosexual
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

Katina Lindtson is a twenty five year old interior designer who must break up with her latest boyfriend. She tried, really tried, to make the relationship work this time. With a pitiful track record in the man department, she’s saved from more drama in her life by a sexy, older man. Bossy and controlling, Trent is everything that appeals to her. But the last thing she needs is a whacked out relationship like the one her parents have. If only she had enough strength to walk away.

Successful and rich, Trent Bauer, owner of Bauer Enterprise, the top security firm on the west coast recognizes a woman who needs help, and Katina needs saving. He never expected to react to the young woman so possessively. But until Katina realizes the one thing she’s been denying herself has been in front of her the whole time, she’ll never allow herself to give him complete trust and control in their relationship. And nothing else will do for him.

Review:

Katina Lindtson is a young interior designer trying to make a name for herself. We first meet Katina as she’s breaking up with her current boyfriend, Colby. Colby is not taking the breakup easily, as he starts to man handle Katina in his apartment lobby. Trent Bauer steps in when Katina seems to be in danger.

Trent is the owner of a successful security firm who takes safety seriously. After his sister’s attack, keeping women safe is a top priority. Katina is use to be independent, so Trent’s demands seem over the top and controlling.

The one thing Katina and Trent do agree upon, are the sparking between the pair. Katina has a lot of walls up when it comes to allowing a man to care for her. However, the way Trent makes her feel is nothing close to what she has ever felt before.

What I enjoyed…

I really liked how open and honest Trent was with Katina. He knew what he wanted might scare her away, but he let her know that he wanted her, but also wanted her safe.

I also really enjoyed the age difference and how that comes full circle for Katina. There is just something sexy about an older man.

What I didn’t enjoy…

My only problem with this story was the level of suspense issues. The plot was easy to figure out and took a lot of enjoyment away from the story. I think if the suspense scenes were stronger, the story would have held my interest more.

I give That Kind of Special by Abby Wood, 3 ½ stars. I think this story is a good, quick read. Ms. Wood’s characters are well written and strong. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys an older, take charge male lead.

Review: The God Hunters by Mark Reed

The God Hunters by Mark Reed
Title: The God Hunters
Author: Mark Reed
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

The God Hunters: Book One

David Ruger has always been curious. That’s how he landed his charming on-again, off-again boyfriend, Wyler, and how they started in St. Louis and ended up in the Expanse, an alien universe where humans take on supernatural abilities and demons munch on Chinese takeout.

Thirty thousand years earlier, the Expanse was devastated by a gruesome war. The old gods and a group of shifters known as The God Hunters fought and failed to restore order. Little does David know that they’ve been waiting for the perfect time to try again—and they’ve set their eyes on him as the one with the power to restore the Expanse to its former splendor.

Strolling along cobblestone streets in a technologically advanced city floating above the clouds is fascinating, and David and his companions venture ever deeper, where strange beings welcome David as an old friend. But what should have been a brief exploration becomes a race against time to save David’s life.

Review:

I found the book to be an amazing read even though I didn’t give it a much higher rank. I was glad I got a chance to read because I absolutely loved the world the author had created. The only issue I actually had a hard time to ignore was how the author handled David as a character. He acted like 14-16 years old. If it were a young adult novel, then it’d definitely be a five stars book. David acted so childish in the novel.

Doug, on other hand, was one of my favorite characters. It was the same with his brothers, Bryan and James. Although, I’d rather learn more about James since he had different powers from the brothers. James was more secretive than Doug and Bryan, which was why I wanted to learn more about him than other characters. Bryan was a hilarious horny brat and I loved reading about him.

Yes, the book was a long read but I felt it worth my time. The creativity was there and the author described the settings really good. I didn’t feel like I was totally lost with the book. All others characters except David was described extremely well. I was wondering if the author wrote the book in third person POV would make the novel better?

The battles and actions scenes were awesome as if I was watching the novel came alive on television. Describing the settings had to be the author’s strongest skills when it came to story telling. I’m looking forward to read the second book. Highly recommended to sci-fi and or fantasy since it had pretty much for both. If you can ignore the immaturity of the main character, David then you will love this one.

Review: Freedom by Jay Kirkpatrick

Freedom by Jay Kirkpatrick
Title: Freedom
Author: Jay Kirkpatrick
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Sci-Fi
Type: Non-Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating:
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

In a future Earth, Patrick Harvey, newly promoted Class One Empath, dreams of the independence his position brings and the apartment he’s saving for. His first solo assignment is treating John Doe 439, a man found outside the city, battered, traumatized, and apparently mute.

Despite a strong taboo against Empaths forging romantic relationships, Patrick realizes he feels a strong attraction to his patient. Soon he learns the man is a high-level Psychic Talent named Jac. Then Jac reveals that there are abusive people hunting him for his gifts, and Patrick’s uncomplicated world explodes.

Jac needs to meet up with his companions and flee the city before anyone else can find him—but it may be too late. Word of Jac’s talents has leaked to Central Government in Chicago. If Jac wants to retain his freedom, he needs to run—now. And if Patrick wants to explore a relationship his society tells him he can’t have, he’ll have to exchange the safe fetters of his job for the uncertainty of liberty.

Review:

The book cover really suited the story the author wrote. The first part was amazing and I found myself unable to stop reading. It was set in new Vegas since it was in the future. I wished the author did more on the world building in this type of the book. I wanted to be able to picture the world inside my head as if I was there, but I didn’t get enough description I looked for.

When Paddy got his first assignment/John Doe, things had suddenly got me really curious who this John Doe and what kind power did he have. When I learned Jac’s power, I instantly loved that kind. The author did a great job with the character development, which was one of the most important in the book for me to be able to enjoy. It eventually almost made the book to be one of my favorite read.

What failed me: the ridiculous POV changes. One time it was in first person POV then third POV the next. Even with the same character. It had gotten annoying for me. Other thing: I didn’t understand why the author thought it was necessary to create a third part in the book when first two parts were in about equally length. The third part was ridiculously short! It kinda ruined the book for me. It’d made sense if all parts were as close the length of pages or word count as it possible could.

The ending didn’t leave me completely satisfied because I felt that there should be more stories between Jac and Paddy. All in all, I did really enjoy the book especially the first part.

Review: Gilded Lily by Pauline Allan

Gilded Lily by Pauline Allan
Title: Gilded Lily
Author: Pauline Allan
Cover Artist: Mina Carter
Publisher: Loose Id
Reviewer: Lynn
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Ménage
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

Adam’s ferocious sexual appetite for submission has left him frustrated and alone. He turns to the photo in his wallet. The woman’s full lips smile with laughter. The yellow sundress hugs her soft curves. The beautiful muse. His elusive flower.

Lily has a dark secret. A submissive without a Dominant, her life had derailed with grief, solitude, and rejection. Until a mysterious stranger’s erotic education led to unfathomable pleasure.

Tony knew Lily’s training would be his last attempt to escape the void in his life. An experienced Dom with the very nature of his control shaken, he has to run. There’s one last responsibility to take care of before he can leave. Lily, his once timid sub, is testing her boundaries and craves more. A love he can never give.

Tragedy leads Adam to Lily’s plantation in Louisiana. While packing his brother’s belongings, Tony offers the one precious thing Adam could never deny. The submission of his elusive flower. The clock is ticking. Tony wants freedom. Adam demands total submission. Lily must choose. Does she cling to the safety of Tony’s commands or risk the rejection of Adam’s love?

Either way, a submissive’s trust is a fragile thing. Once broken…it’s lost forever.

Review:

There was so much going on in this book, it makes it hard to write a good review.

Waiting in line to pay her respects, Lily’s body can’t help but react to the gorgeous man standing by the casket. After her formal fiancé left her broken and unsure of herself, Lily is ashamed of her reaction and longs for her Dom, Tony.

Adam takes one look at Lily and knows without a doubt, this is the woman his brother described. His lily flower. When Lily offers his the house, his brother rented from her for the summer, he can’t pass up the opportunity to see more of Lily and enjoy for time alone.

Adam has been rejected by several women who found his sexual needs disgusting. When he learns of Lily’s needs, his desire for her rises. Adam learns of Tony’s role in Lily’s life and wants to be the man feeding his desires.

Lily invites Adam to her annual masquerade ball. Only certain guests are invited, they all have high sexual appetites. Adam can’t contain himself when he sees his Lily working another man. Lily finally feels safe enough to allow Adam into her world.

Gilded Lily by Pauline Allan, grabbed my attention from the first word. I was so excited to see a new take on the BDSM community and lifestyle. I loved the connection between Tony and Lily.

The sex scenes were so well written, I had to put the book down and fan myself. Super sexy! I can’t wait to read more of these types of books from Ms. Allan!

I give Gilded Lily, three and a half stars. As much as I loved the book in the beginning, there was a missing piece for me towards the end. Tony’s time was limited with his work, girlfriend, and Dom duties. I felt like Lily was just sort of handed off between Adam and Tony. I think there should have been a scene between Tony and Lily alone, not a BDSM scene, but a thank you for putting me back together again discussion. I felt like Lily needed more closure than the scene that was offered.

I think Gilded Lily would be a great introduction for those who want to try a BDSM type story. Allan shows why each scene is needed when Tony is with Lily. She also shows a beautiful Dom/sub connection.

 

Review: Brad’s Bachelor Party by River Jaymes

Brad's Bachelor Party by River Jaymes
Title: Brad’s Bachelor Party
Author: River Jaymes
Cover Artist: Kalen O’Donnell
Publisher: Loose Id
Reviewer: Lynn
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Queer
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

In college, geeky med student Cole Winston fell for his best friend, Brad Kelly. The bold, brash charmer was everything Cole wasn’t: confident, popular, and straight. Unfortunately Cole’s secret blew up in his face, and he walked away.

Years later, when Brad needs help, he calls Cole. Now a respected trauma surgeon, Cole has learned not to risk his heart and is ready to be Brad’s friend again. Things go well until Brad asks Cole to be his best man.

With both his parents dead, Brad never would have survived college or his brother’s rounds of drug rehab without Cole. The five-year gap in their friendship was painful.

Now Brad’s got his best friend back, a kick-ass job, and is engaged to the CEO’s daughter. Life is great…until a hot encounter at his bachelor party leaves both men reeling. The sexual tension between the two is off the charts. Brad has commitments he needs to keep, but how can he go through with the wedding when he can’t stop thinking about Cole?

And how can Cole stand beside his friend and watch him get married, especially now that he realizes he still loves Brad?

Review:

Brad Kelly and Cole Winston were college roommates and best friends. Cole fell in love with his straight roommate, kissed him, and hoped Brad felt the same way. Only Brad didn’t react the way Cole wanted, at all.

Cole hadn’t talked to Brad since the day of the dreaded kiss. However, when he receives a panicked call from across the country, he doesn’t stop him from jumping on a plane to be by his best friend’s side.

Years have come and gone and now Cole is standing by Brad, as his best man. The irony isn’t lost on him. Cole still has strong feelings for Brad, so when Brad can’t bring himself to say he loves his future bride, Cole digs until he learns the truth.

I give Brad’s Bachelor Party, by River Jaymes, three and half stars. This story is well written and the passion between the two main characters is spectacular. I loved how Jaymes allowed the reader to see Cole and Brad’s past. I think that made the story better-rounded. My only complaint, I wish there was a scene with Brad’s fiancé.  Otherwise, Brad’s Bachelor Party is a fun, sexy read.

Review: Confessions of a Gay Rugby Player by Patrick Darcy

Confessions of a Gay Rugby Player by Patrick Darcy
Title: Confessions of a Gay Rugby Player
Author: Patrick Darcy
Cover Artist: Wilde City Press
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Reviewer: Monika
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Non-Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novelette
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★½

Blurb:

Star Irish rugby player, Conor Murphy, lives and breathes rugby. He spends his weekends playing rugby, drinking beer, and singing songs with his teammates. There is only one thing he loves more than rugby, and that is hot rugby players. But after the final whistle sounds, the real competition begins: the hunt for the hottest men.

Conor’s muscular body and roguish good looks ensure he can have his pick of the sexiest players. But what happens when this alpha male meets his match on and off the field?  Who will come out on top when he meets the horniest rugby players from the USA? Can two alpha males have the night of their lives?

Review:

A short sexy romp and I do mean short and sexy, this is pure erotica.

The blurb pretty much says it all except it doesn’t tell you what a rude, arrogant, unlikeable ass Irish Rugby Player Conor is. It took me a bit to get passed that and warm up to him. I didn’t fall in love with him or any of the characters in this story but I did like them (even Conor after a while), they were honest and straight forward ‘this is what I want’ kind of guys that play as hard on the field as off.

Conor pursues Tonio,  a member of the apposing team he’s taken a liking to. All he wants is to hook up for a night of good fun, which he does and they do! Strangely I found myself really liking Tonio and I can’t figure out why. I didn’t get to know him at all, Tonio and Conor barely have a conversation but that didn’t stop me from being drawn to him, I’m hoping he’ll be back in future books of this series. Both men being equals is a departure from what I find in most gay stories and I really liked that.

There really isn’t much I can say about this story. I thought it was a well written, in your face erotica, with two macho alpha males out for a night of fun. It had me laughing out loud at times and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

If you want a straight up raunchy pure erotica with plenty of sex this will be for you but if you’re looking to read a quick flowery, romantic short then I suggest you pass this one up.