Category Archives: Novella

Review: The Ranch Foreman by Rob Colton

The Ranch Foreman by Rob Colton
Title: The Ranch Foreman
Author: Rob Colton
Cover Artist: Leah Kaye Suttle
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Lynn
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Queer
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★☆☆

Blurb:

When Madison “Matty” Ward finds himself out of work and without a place to live, his cousin comes through with a job on the Gates cattle ranch. Despite not knowing anything about herding cattle or taking care of horses, Matty does his best to impress the older hunky foreman, Baxter Hollingsworth. Baxter is drawn to the new young hand, but he’s deeply closeted, and after an openly gay veterinarian shows he’s interested in Matty, Baxter’s repressed feelings lead to an explosive encounter. Baxter then withdraws—leaving Matty feeling angry and used—until an accident forces him to confront his fears.

Review:

After Madison Ward could no longer take care of his ailing Aunt Martha, his cousin Brian Ward not only found him a job, but a place to live on the Gates ranch as well.

Never having done ranch work before, Matty starts out as the low man, as a stable boy. Being out of the closet isn’t always possible in ranching. When an unwanted pass by a fellow coworker leads to more, the only man Matty has eyes for steps in.

Baxter Hollingsworth is not use to showing anyone but his stallion his emotions. Allowing the man that has captured his attention to escape due to his fears of being out, leads him to be drastic changes.

What I enjoyed…

I loved watching Matt find his place on the ranch. A city slicker in tennis shoes learns not only how to wear cowboy boots, but how to fill them as well.

What I didn’t enjoy…

I really think this book could have used a few chapters from Baxter’s point of view. I would have loved to hear what was going through his mind when Matt Ward walked into his life. Most of the time Baxter comes off as a jerk. Having his POV could have added to his character.

Overall, I give The Ranch Foreman by Rob Colton three stars. I think the story will be devoured by cowboy fans. I just felt the story was too one sided. The plot felt rushed to me. This took away from getting to really know the other characters in the story as well as we got to know Matt.

Review: Life in the Land by Rebecca Cohen

Life in the Land by Rebecca Cohen
Title: Life in the Land
Author: Rebecca Cohen
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

The magic of the Sawyer family’s extremely green thumbs comes straight from the land. But Bobby Sawyer’s expected superpowers don’t become a reality until he kisses his best friend, Mike Flint. That kiss moves the earth—literally.

When he moves to the city, leaving Mike behind, Bobby keeps his green thumb nimble by working in a garden center and uses his superpowers to help fight crime. He’s on a mission when a bomb explodes, leaving him seriously injured, forcing him to return to the family farm—the source of his strength—to recuperate.

While attempting to recover, Bobby realizes Mike is still the love of his life. But Mike is leery: Bobby left him once before. What if all Bobby needs is one more magical kiss?

Review:

I found the book to be a cute romance story and happened to be a bit too short for my taste. Between first part and second part, it skipped way too much. Nearly lose my interest in the book hence the losing star. The first part hooked me so well until I start the second part and got so confused when the author skipped a couple years later without any explanation but it soon finally explained later into the story. I thought the author would have make the story stronger if the author added a part between first and second to let the transition goes smoothly.

What I like…

Original idea for how character gets its magic. I like the idea of how Bobby brings the life from a seed when he attempts to be a hero of the town. It nearly costs his life and it brings him back to Mike and makes me fall in love with the book again. The relationship between Bobby and Mike are realistic in the book. They’re making for each other very well.

What I don’t like…

The fact that author skipped so much in between the part one and part two. I don’t feel any pain for Mike when Bobby chooses to leave him to live in the city. I don’t see any pain in the book until Bobby returns to his hometown and sees Mike again. That was the only thing I don’t like about the book and it being too short, too.

Overall, it is a good magic book I think everyone should check it out. If the author writes more similar book to this, I’d pick it up without a hesitance.

Review: The Price by Dominique Frost

The Price by Dominique Frost
Title: The Price
Author: Dominique Frost
Cover Artist: Kalen O’Donnell
Publisher: Loose Id
Reviewer: Monika
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

Cale is a serving-boy at a high-class brothel in the city of Havisham. He isn’t one of the courtesans, largely because he’s too clumsy to manage seducing anyone, but he does his best as a servant, keeping the wine-glasses filled and the guests happy.

Everything changes when the warlord Darren Kaine visits the establishment. Darren is the new ruler of Havisham and is a brusque, commanding man. Fresh from a war that’s lasted over six months, Darren is in no mood for frippery, and chooses Cale to accompany him for the night, rather than any of the courtesans on display.

Indeed, Darren so prefers Cale’s straightforwardness and simplicity that he decides to make Cale his concubine, and to have Cale visit him at the palace, every night. Stunned by this new turn of events, Cale is further confused by his body’s reactions to Darren. Darren is darkly handsome, sexually demanding and absolutely committed to giving his partner pleasure – a fact that has Cale looking forward to his time with Darren, perhaps more than he ought to.

Darren, too, is in danger of forgetting that Cale is just a tool he uses to slake his lust. For a new ruler, every action comes with a price. Will this one be too steep to pay?

Review:

I really love this author I haven’t read a book by Dominique Frost that I didn’t like. My only negative is that they are too short. I find myself loving the characters, their story and getting really involved only to turn the page and see “The End” way too fast.

The Price is funny, sweet and quirky. It’s part historical and part fantasy a perfect pairing. Another perfect pairing is Darren and Cale they are such great MC’s and their relationship is…..different but a good different. Darren is a warlord that goes to a high-class brothel for release after battle. He likes the ‘no involvement’ type of relationship he gets there after having been betrayed by someone he had fallen for. This is just so much easier. Cale is a serving boy in the brothel that Darren frequents but Darren mistakes him for one of the courtesans after Cale literally falls into his lap. He sees something different and interesting about Cale, he’s not all primped up like the others and he sometimes forgets his place and speaks his mind.

Cale made me laugh, his snarky attitude was hilarious and the dark and brooding Darren was just too scrumptious not to fall in love with. The minor mystery/suspense part of the story was good but like all short stories there just wasn’t enough. The flow is smooth and it’s well written and there is a wonderful HEA.

Looking for a short, sweet read?  This is a good one. I’m looking forward to reading anything new from Dominique Frost. I highly recommend her books.

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: The Mirror by Bell Ellis

The Mirror by Bell Ellis
Title: The Mirror
Author: Bell Ellis
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Paranormal
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

When Vic Ledore buys an antique mirror only to find it’s haunted, his initial fear turns to intrigue when he realizes he and the ghost wear the same face. The mirror is possessed by Philippe Montmarche, a vagrant who lived in early-1800s New Orleans and committed suicide after his lover went to war and died. Philippe is helplessly trapped until he can find his true love again. He also believes Vic is his reincarnation, but Vic isn’t so sure.

Soon after, Vic meets Jules Cassell, a gorgeous, witty, interesting man who relieves Vic’s ennui and quickly finds his way to Vic’s heart. But Philippe has captivated Vic as well, and when Philippe’s search to find his lover mysteriously involves Jules, Vic can’t help but be drawn into the tragic love story as he hopes to discover his own.

Review:

The minute Vic Ledore bought an antique mirror, his life changed completely. It got me hooked to the story immediately. It was an interesting take on ghost and how the mirror told a story about Philippe Montmarche’s past. I enjoyed learning who Philippe was before he died. I honestly thought the book should be a bit longer. I wasn’t able to connected to secondary characters that much. I wanted to learn more about Jules Cassell. I only got to grab a glimpse of Jules and I adored him already.

What I like–

I loved the history behind the mirror and what the mirror looked like. The book told a great reincarnation story and easily caught me off guard at the ending when the final truth revealed. Jules was a great character, although, it’d be nice to have more of him in the book.

What I didn’t like–

The length of the book. The ending seemed to end abruptly. I had to re-read a couple times to make sure I didn’t miss anything and finally understood what was happening.

Overall–

It was a good quick read I think a lot of readers will enjoy The Mirror. It was a good take on reincarnation story.

Review: Haunted by Brynn Stein

Haunted by Brynn Stein
Title: Haunted
Author: Brynn Stein
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Mystery
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

When Lenard Blake is forced to leave his wife, he divorces not just her but her influential family, who makes it impossible for him to keep his job as a Denver police officer, never mind to find another one anywhere in Colorado. But a rural police force in Virginia has an opening, and the move could be just the change he needs, so Lenard buys a house based on an Internet ad. But when he arrives, he finds that the house looks nothing like the ad… and it’s haunted as well.

Lenard doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but he decides to research his supposed ghost anyway. Soon he learns that fifteen years ago, Jason Miller was murdered in the house, and his entire family died under suspicious circumstances. As he makes friends with his ghostly companion, they join forces to try to solve the old murders. Along the way, they find there are some things that conquer even death.

Review:

It was good but a bit too predictable. The book opened with a mystery plot I hoped I’d struggle to figure out who it was but, unfortunately, I figured it out the first twenty-five percent of the book. Given that the book was pretty short, that sort of disappointed me. I like a book that made me second-guessing myself and this book didn’t meet that expectation. Other than predictable answer, the novella was really good. The author wrote an original ghost love story. It was interesting how the ghost and Lenard made love.

What I like—

The relationship development between Jason the ghost and Lenard. The friendship Lenard had with his cop partner. Naturally, if anyone told me that they had been talking with the ghost I’d probably think they were insane, but the author chose words carefully to make the minor characters realistic with their reaction to Lenard chatting with the ghost. I also enjoyed seeing how the murder cases happened.

What I didn’t like—

Not even once the author addressed to the fact that Lenard had been married to a woman and had he been bisexual the entire time or he was in closet? It kind of bothered me a bit. I wasn’t sure if the character was actually a bisexual person. If it was, it’d sound better that way otherwise it wouldn’t make any sense of why he suddenly attracted to Jason. Not even a hint with the awkward when they first touch each other physically. It was a minor thing, but yeah, it bothered me throughout the book. Additionally, I already mentioned it:  the mystery’s answer was too predictable. I wished the author wouldn’t include the obvious answer to the mystery at the very beginning of the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed the originality of the ghost love story and I think a lot of people would enjoy this book as much as I did. So, yes, it deserved four stars and a recommendation.

Review: Summer School by Tam Ames

Summer School by Tam Ames
Title: Summer School
Author: Tam Ames
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Jay
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★☆☆

Blurb:

Jeremy Decker’s recent split with his long-distance boyfriend has left him lonely with a mountain of debt. His only practical source of extra cash is to teach summer school, even if it means teaching history—not easy for an English teacher. To support him, the school hires Lucas Van Sloan, a much-younger college history student.

Lucas, with his swimmer’s physique and optimism, not to mention his determination to get what he wants, both attracts and annoys Jeremy… and what Lucas wants is Jeremy. The heat flares between them, but when Jeremy’s ex, a high-powered attorney with plenty of experience turning things his way, shows he wants Jeremy too, it threatens to snuff out the flame of passion and new love.

Review:

Jeremy is a 30 year old High School English teacher.  He has recently ended an 8 year relationship with an older man that he caught cheating on him.  Lucas is a 21 year old college student working as Jeremy’s teaching assistant for the summer. Jeremy has an attitude problem and clearly doesn’t want to be teaching History during summer school, but the debt he has accrued trying to save his long distance relationship with David has necessitated the need.

The attraction between Jeremy and Lucas is immediate and they are cute with their attempts to keep their attraction hidden.  Jeremy is hung up on their age difference and the fact that he is Lucas’ supervisor.  Lucas, well he really doesn’t have any hang ups about Jeremy, he just doesn’t want to scare Jeremy away.  Poor Jeremy never stood a chance against Lucas’ controlling nature.  Once Jeremy is pushed into rooming with Lucas the two have the opportunity to see each other and the possibilities in front of them.

The story was written alternating Jeremy and Lucas’ POV.  I usually don’t have a problem keeping track of whose POV we are engaged with.  However, I kept finding myself looking back to see who was speaking.  There was little plot and the story was heavily lined with sex scenes from cuddling, to full on adventures, to mild bondage.

Overall Summer School was an enjoyable story. Jeremy and Lucas have great chemistry and even though Jeremy was a bit brazen at first he became my favorite of the two. In the end you see these guys grow and are left with a couple that truly loves each other.

Review: Kid Gloves by Anna Martin

Kid Gloves by Anna Martin
Title: Kid Gloves
Author: Anna Martin
Cover Artist: Melissa Gay
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Historical
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★☆☆

Blurb:

Alone in his East London shop, a man known only as Dalton makes living prosthetics: bionic, mechanical limbs, from leather, metal, and magic. It’s to this little corner of the capital that Finn Croucher, an elite army marksman, travels after an accident leads to his hand being amputated.

While Dalton fashions Finn’s new hand and teaches him how to use it, he reveals some secrets long hidden, and he and Finn become lovers. But Finn must return to duty, and a string of letters becomes his only connection to the love he left in London.

Review:

Before I started reading the book, I was really excited because of the gorgeous book cover and it was a steampunk novella. What was not to be excited about? So, as I dug in, it had a good opening until the author started head hopping between two characters’ POV without break scenes. It confused me a bit so I had to re-read to figure out who was thinking. It continued that pretty often throughout the story.

What I like—

The opening, obviously. It hooked me in. Seeing what Finn came to see Dalton for. Getting new hand that was a mechanical type where it reacted to Finn’s nerve system. The author described the setting extremely well and what the characters looked like. I did get plenty of details about whom they were. That was the most important part of the story that I enjoyed.

What I didn’t like—

The ridiculously head hopping was starting to get annoyed. I felt that there weren’t enough details of how Finn handled with his new hand. He was back to the “war” and not even once the author described the frustration Finn dealt with his new hand. Did it accidentally crush his equipment? Did it protect him in the war? The questions kept on because I wholeheartedly expected the story to be focus on how the new hand changed Finn’s life. I got it that it had brought him to Dalton onto their new chapter of their life. That was a great part of the story but I wanted more stories that centered on his new hand.

Overall—

It was a good read. Could’ve done better but good. I still do recommend readers to check this one out. The romance between Finn and Dalton was great. It wasn’t a difficult to read especially when it was set in historical setting in London. I enjoyed it and that mattered the most. I strongly believed this book deserved three stars.

Review: A Betting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

A Betting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Title: A Betting Man
Author: Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Cover Artist: Wilde City Press
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Reviewer: Lynn
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Queer
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

How bad could one harmless bet be? Kent Samson is about to find out. Raised in Alabama, Kent has hidden his past and now loves his life as a big time ad exec for a prestigious advertising company in New York. But when he makes a bet with his best friend, Blaine, Kent is thrown for a loop—for Kent has to make the next person to walk through the door fall in love with him.

Terry Barron is hiding out in New York. Raised in England in a wealthy family, Terry escapes to New York to avoid arranged marriages and the lifestyle he’s grown to hate. When he delivers a package to an advertising firm, he meets the unbelievably sexy Kent Samson. Suddenly, secrets and lies complicate everything and both men find themselves in uncharted waters. How will Terry feel when Kent is revealed as a betting man?

Review:

Kent Samson is a well known womanizer. When he takes a bet by his best friend Blaine, he knows he is in over his head, but can’t resist. Kent is challenged to get the next person to walk into his office to fall in love with him. His reward? The YouTube video of his past failed bet removed and never heard of again. What could it hurt?

Terry Barron fled to the states in hopes of escaping his well known English family. Terry enjoys his current job as a bike messenger. He knows the big wigs he brings packages to look down on him. Hell, he couldn’t blame them, with his blue streaked-long hair and thin coat. The day Terry walks into Kent Samson’s office is the day his life changed forever.

What I enjoyed…

I loved the whole theme of the story. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, anticipating when the bet would blow up in Kent’s face.

I also loved seeing Kent’s life back home in Alabama. I think this was a brilliant was to introduce the real Kent, as well as introduce his amazing parents.

What I didn’t enjoy…

I didn’t really care for Blaine. I feel like his character should have been in the story more. Kent tells us this was the only person who knew who he really was, but we don’t see enough of him to really get that feel.

Overall, I give A Betting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion 4 stars. I think Sandrine Gasq-Dion is a talented author, who can’t be missed. I’ve already added more of this author’s work to my wish list! With the holiday season fast approaching, this is the perfect book to sneak away with and enjoy this feel good, comfy read…you won’t be disappointed.

Review: The More Things Change by K.C. Beaumont

The More Things Change by KC Beaumont
Title: The More Things Change
Author: K.C. Beaumont
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Sliver Publishing
Reviewer: Jay
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

Exhausted from juggling school, a crappy job, and his nephew’s school functions, Bryan Mullally unwittingly lets his best friend, Aaron, know he’s been in love with him for years. To his surprise, Bryan hasn’t been the only one keeping secrets.

Surgical Tech student, Bryan Mullally, has been pining for his best friend, Staff Sergeant Aaron Briggs since they met in middle school. When Bryan’s exhaustion from juggling school, work, and helping support his sister and nephew catches up with him, his secret slips out, and he wholeheartedly expects the ultimate rejection. As it turns out, Bryan hasn’t been the only one keeping secrets.

Despite the new–and very physical–phase of their relationship, Bryan realizes their lives haven’t changed all that much. When Bryan recognizes that Aaron still looks at him the same way he always did, even when he says, “I love you,” he finally understands the old adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Review:

The More Things Change is a story of family, friendship, and commitment.

Bryan Mullally is training to be a Surgical Technician. Adam Briggs is a Staff Sergeant.  These two met in 7th grade Earth Science class it was love at first sight, a secret that each of them held. Several years later with these guys “all grown up” and commitment exhausting both men, a moment of letting down of the guard, their secret is reveled. There is a brief moment of panic providing the briefest amount of angst to get your heart pumping. The outcome of the slip-up is quickly resolved and the result…

I cannot leave out Chloe, Adam’s sister who has had a run of bad luck and Wyatt, Chloe’s son and nephew to Bryan (and Adam although not biologically).  Wyatt is an adorable child and Chloe is my kind of sharp witted gal. Both Byran and Adam are committed to getting Chloe and Wyatt through their struggles.

Perceived roles don’t always hold true in this story.  This was a wake-up to me showing me that even I can fall trap to stereotypes. One of my favorite lines in the story is when Devon, a student with Bryan, calls Adam “Buzz-Cut Von DreamBoat”.

This was an easy read with an adorable couple, cool supporting characters, and a happily ever after. Bryan and Adam have a playful easy comradery that was a joy to follow. Often times calling each other “saps”. My only disappointment was how quickly the story wrapped up.  I would recommend this book to anyone especially if you just need a good pick me up and enjoy characters that just mesh together.