Review: And So It Begins by R.G. Green

And So It Begins by R.G. Green
Title: And So It Begins
Author: R.G. Green
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Jay
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

Prince and Trader: Book I

For hundreds of years, the kingdom of Llarien has maintained a defense against the barbarians. Now, activity at the border draws attention from Kherin Rhylle, the less-favored younger son of the king. Kherin suspects a deeper purpose behind the attacks, but his father refuses to grant permission to travel to the border, despite Kherin’s obligated tenure as a Defender. Not even unprecedented deaths or the serious injury of Kherin’s brother, the crown prince, can change the king’s mind.

Then Derek Resh, kingdom trader and Kherin’s closest friend, convinces the king to allow Kherin to travel with him, and an unexpected journey to the border proves the threat real—while an unexpected intimacy with Derek makes Kherin realize that his feelings go deeper than the friendship they have shared for most of his life. But even that turns devastating, as Derek won’t pursue anything more intimate when the king’s disapproval is certain.

Grasping at straws, Kherin is caught between a danger he doesn’t understand and the desire for a deeper relationship he can’t have. And then there’s the magic that threatens to return after being banished hundreds of years ago….

Review:

And So It Begins is an appropriate title for this book. After finishing the book you are left with just the beginning of the story. As I write this review I am trying to decide if I liked And So It Begins or not.

The story is set in the fantasy kingdom of Llarien and is centered on Kherin Rhylle and Derek Resh.  Kherin is the second prince of Llarien, who at the beginning is stuck in the castle library with a broken leg instead of defending the Llarien borders. Derek is a trader who travels throughout Llarien gathering information that he provides to the king.  Derek is valued by the king, but the relationship between the King and the second prince is strained and tension between them is intense.

Kherin’s brother Adrien is wounded in an attack and Kherin and Derek set out for the border that he was defending.  Upon their arrival they discover that his injuries are more than physical and a mystery.  We also learn that the Northerners are threat but we don’t know why.  Kherin and Derek have always been best friends and the fondness between them is revealed during their journey and their time spent in the border city of Gravlorn.  Along the way the sexual tension builds between them, but the perceived wrath of the king keeps getting in the way.

This installment of the series is focused on building the fantasy world that is the setting for the series.  You are introduced to the dynamics of the Llarien population and the mystery of the opposing Northerners. The pace of this book is slow while you are given time to learn about the characters with the plot being developed along the way.  If you are expecting closure at the end of the book you will be disappointed.  I have yet to read the second book in the series, but I expect it will pick up where this installment left off.

So did I enjoy the story?  Yes, R.G. Green put a lot of thought into the development of these characters and the world they live in.  I will say that when I turned the last page the story felt incomplete and I am hoping that the next book in the series, Find a Way, will fill in the blanks.

Guest Blog: Redefining the Wedding Night by Annabeth Leong

smp_gray_banner

The wedding night, in the U.S. and many other cultures, is a moment loaded with heavy expectations, romantic and otherwise. Like many people who grew up in the U.S., I heard a lot about “waiting until marriage” when I was younger, and the importance of preserving my virginity. Even though I rejected those socially conservative values, I know they made a mark on me. A wedding night still seems like it should include something new and different, something I’ve never done with a partner before, even if I’ve been with that person thousands of times.

This is the idea that formed the center of my story, One Flesh, a romantic lesbian erotic short about two characters working out what they want to do on their wedding night (and the night itself). These women are in many ways outside of traditional expectations, but there’s something about weddings that can make those expectations come rearing up again, even for people who think they’re far beyond them. In the midst of buying dresses, ordering cake, and wrangling with the caterer, one of the brides, Rosalie, realizes that she wants to set the wedding night apart as well. Of course, that makes her think about virginity.

I’m personally fascinated by the concept of virginity. It can be very hot to whisper to a lover, “I’ve never done this before,” and yet valuing virginity too highly can also create a lot of poisonous ideas (such as the suggestion that a person is “used up” when no longer a virgin). I’ve read some excellent books and essays on the subject (Jessica Valenti’s The Purity Myth is a particular favorite), and one thing that stands out to me is that the common idea of virginity involves an arbitrary line in the sand (for example, following that idea to its strictest logical absurdity, many sexually active lesbians would be considered virgins). I’ve found it to be a radical, empowering idea to think that one could define the concept of virginity for oneself. That’s exactly what the characters in One Flesh do.

What Leticia and Rosalie realize is that they want to share an experience that expresses their sexual commitment to each other. They want to emphasize the nature of the union they’ve chosen by getting married, and they want to break new ground together. They want to push their boundaries by doing something desired, but a little difficult. Though this initially involves a discussion of virginity (Rosalie was, in some ways, virginal when she met Leticia, while Leticia was much more experienced), it evolves into a conversation about trust, sexiness, and the wild things it’s possible to explore with a beloved partner.

Ultimately, that leads to fisting. Leticia sums up a previous attempt to try fisting this way: “It was too much. Too overwhelming. … Not physically. Not exactly. I couldn’t take that much of her. Part of it was a sort of physical fear, like that she’d get stuck inside me. Part of it was something more than that. I couldn’t stand the thought of looking down and seeing her whole arm coming from me, like I was giving birth to her or something.” Similarly, when Leticia talks about being the giver, she says, “The same reasons stopped me. I never felt ready to be that far inside someone else.”

In my experience, acts that seem negative or even repulsive with one person can become much desired with someone else. Leticia’s feelings about fisting—that it’s previously been too intimate for her—turn out to suggest that this is what she wants to do with Rosalie. So the brides agree on an intimate act that they can explore together on the first night of their marriage, and, in the process, define for themselves what it means to have a wedding night, to lose one’s virginity, and to join with another person in marriage. Obviously, this is what it means to them—different people might have decided they preferred to jettison the idea of virginity on the wedding night altogether.

I think this sort of negotiation with tradition can be difficult and sometimes painful, but I hope that One Flesh also presents a vision for how it can be significant and beautiful—and ultimately, incredibly hot.

[hr]

One Flesh by Annabeth Leong

Leticia and Rosalie are planning their wedding, wanting very much to make their special day one to remember, but Rosalie has something else weighing on her mind, one more thing she wants to make as special and as memorable as the ceremony itself—their wedding night. Rosalie wants to be with Leticia in a way that neither of them had ever been with anyone else. But finding something that would be a first time for both of them turns out to be harder than expected.

As it turns out, there is one thing Leticia has wanted to do but has never trusted anyone enough to allow herself to overcome the fear of it. And it’s something that Rosalie has never done either. The women discuss the idea of fisting as a means of connecting and forming an intimate bond with each other, one that they’ve never formed with anyone else. They’ve never loved or trusted anyone else they way the love and trust each other, and they are determined to find a way to make it work.

One Flesh – Now Available at Storm Moon Press for $1.99!

Annabeth Leong has written erotica of many flavors—dark, romantic, kinky, vanilla, straight, lesbian, bi, and menage. She has lived in six states in various parts of the United States, and traveled to most of the others. Annabeth believes passionately in freedom of speech, rights for people of all sexual orientations, and the need for compassionate religion. She loves shoes, stockings, cooking, and excellent bass lines. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and can be found on the Web @AnnabethLeong or her blog, annabethleong.blogspot.com.

Review: Parting Shot by Mary Calmes

Parting Shot by Mary Calmes
Title: Parting Shot
Author: Mary Calmes
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Lynn
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Queer
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

A Matter of Time Story

Life has never been easy for Duncan Stiel. His childhood was the stuff of nightmares, and his day job as an undercover police officer forces him to hide his true self and occasionally lands him in the hospital. So when he finally meets the perfect man, it comes as no surprise that everything falls apart around him. What Duncan doesn’t expect is that the hardest hurdle to get over before he can make a life with Aaron Sutter is the one inside himself.

Everyone thinks Aaron has it all—looks, money, fame, and success beyond measure. Everyone, that is, except Aaron. At the end of the day, the cameras stop flashing, friends go back to their own lives, company business is handled, and Aaron is always alone. The moment he meets Duncan Stiel, Aaron knows he’ll do anything to hold onto the larger-than-life detective. But when he realizes money won’t buy him the ultimate happiness, Aaron needs to find the strength to give Duncan something much more important—his heart.

Review:

Duncan Stiel is a police detective working an undercover sting when things go beyond FUBAR. Shot and left for dead, the only thing Duncan wishes he had was more time to get to know Aaron Sutter. Duncan couldn’t believe how fast he fell for the wealthy businessmen. After dinner with mutual friends, both Duncan and Aaron knew there was more to explore.

Aaron doesn’t understand why Duncan stopped calling. Things were going really well. The fight for power against his father has taken up most of his time, but he still missed Duncan.

When Duncan discovers Aaron’s brother knows more information in a murder case, Duncan knows he’s going to have to deal with Aaron again. He thought he was finally over the man, but it turns out he is a great liar, even to himself.

Aaron and Duncan go undercover to put a nasty piece of rich boy scum. Things get out of hand quickly after Duncan is beaten up. The longer it takes contact someone on the outside, the longer their lives are in danger.

This book is part of the A Matter of Time series. I have to be honest, I haven’t read any of this series, but I’m gonna have to backtrack and discover what I’ve missed!

As anyone who enjoys this genre knows, Mary Calmes is a top notch writer. The woman can seriously write stories that will melt your heart and overheat your tablet. So it pains me to say this story didn’t meet my expectations.

Usually in a Mary Calmes story, the characters are strong and consistent throughout the story. While Duncan and Aaron are great characters, I felt like they were both inconsistent in several places. It took away from the story for me.

That being said, I think the rest of the story was excellent. There is a lot of sex in this story, but I think it adds to the instant attraction these two felt for one another. I am a total Duncan fan! I loved how dedicated he was to his job. He goes on my all time favorite character list.

I give Parting Shot by Mary Calmes four stars. I think her old fans and new fans alike will enjoy this story. If you haven’t read anything by Mary Calmes, then stock up today! This author is simply one of the best authors I’ve ever read.

Review: My Only Sunshine by Rowan McAllister

My Only Sunshine by Rowan McAllister
Title: My Only Sunshine
Author: Rowan McAllister
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Lynn
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Queer
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

Tanner Wallis is nearly at the end of his rope the night Mason Seidel finds him lying next to the mangled body of a cow on the back pastures of the Seidel family’s Wyoming ranch. Recently out of the hospital after he and his boyfriend were brutally beaten, Tanner is jobless, homeless, and almost penniless. His desperate hope is that Mason will believe he’s innocent of the senseless crime and give him a place to heal, both physically and emotionally, until he can get on his feet again.

But Mason already has enough on his plate. He’s only been back on the ranch a few months, ten years after his father kicked him out for being gay, and only because his sister begged him to come help after the man’s disabling stroke. With all his responsibilities—running the struggling ranch and keeping his sister and father off his back—Mason can’t really afford the distraction Tanner represents. But he can’t just abandon the attractive young man either. There’s trouble in spades on the ranch, but if they face it together, Mason and Tanner might find a future with a little sunshine.

Review:

Tanner Willis can’t last much longer. After a recent hospital stay, Tanner finds himself stumbling down an unknown road, heading God knows where. Tanner stumbles onto the Seidel family’s Wyoming ranch just as two men slaughter a cow for amusement. He never meant to pass out near the murder animal, but his battered body just couldn’t take any more.

After three months of being back on the family ranch, Mason Seidel is finally alone. Camping out in an old bunkhouse, Mason is jarred from his contentment with the sounds of an animal in distress. Looking at tire tracks leading away from the scene, Mason almost missed the other body lying close to the slaughtered animal. Mason doesn’t stop to look the man over, for all he knows; he’s captured one of the murders.

With cracked ribs and in desperate need for food and water, Tanner finally gets the Sheriff and handsome rancher to understand he’s in no shape to harm an animal. Tanner is taken in by Ed, the ranch foreman and his wife Lucy. A hot meal and a bed to rest, leaves Tanner feeling hopeful.

Mason knows how his father would behave if he acted on his attraction to Tanner. After being kicked off the ranch when he came out, Mason has returned to help his father after a stroke left him in a wheelchair and near helpless. The nasty homophobic slurs his father spews daily leaves no doubt in Mason’s mind that if he is to have a relationship with Tanner, it is to be kept private.

Mason can’t promise Tanner much, but it is all Tanner needs at the moment. The pair finds themselves head over heels in love and no longer able to hide their affections. Things come to any ugly head when Mason’s father passes away. His once supportive sister lashes out and says some pretty nasty remarks.

When Mason’s sister tells him to read a copy of the will, it doesn’t come as a big surprise that Mason is denied anything. As long as he has Tanner, the rest is easy to face.

What I enjoyed…

I really loved Mason and Tanner’s relationship in this story. While things weren’t ideal from the get go their attraction and commitment to one another never seems to fail.

I also really enjoyed the fact that this story wasn’t tangled in a miscommunication plot. It could have easily turned out that way, but the author chose to write an entertaining plot without falling in that rut.

What I didn’t enjoy…

I only have one small complaint about this story. We learn pretty early on that Tanner left his family after an argument with his parents. I only wished more was written about this. It seemed like a pretty big event in his life more should have been explained, in my own opinion. There is the last chapter where things come together and he and his family are reunited, I was just left needing a little more.

I give My Only Sunshine by Rowan McAllister four stars. I think this book is well written and will be a hit with fans of cowboy themed books. The characters in this book are standout and so well written, they feel real. I think McAllister has a beautiful way of telling a story. I will most certainly be looking up this author’s backlist!

Review: Jasper’s Mountain by John Inman

Jasper's Mountain by John Inman
Title: Jasper’s Mountain
Author: John Inman
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Mystery
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★☆☆

Blurb:

When small-time thief Timmy Harwell recklessly “borrows” a Cadillac for a joyride, he doesn’t expect to find a cool $100,000 in the trunk. His elation turns to terror when he realizes the SUV and the dough belong to Miguel Garcia, aka El Poco, a Tijuana drug dealer with a nasty reputation. Timmy sees only one way out: leave the stolen car behind and run as fast as he can.

His getaway is cut short when a storm strands him outside Jasper Stone’s secluded mountain cabin. Jasper finds Timmy in his shed, unconscious and burning up with fever, and takes care of the younger man, nursing him back to health. The two begin to grow close, but Jasper, a writer who seeks only solitude, is everything Timmy isn’t. Straightforward, honest, and kind.

Timmy needs Jasper’s help—and wants his respect—so he hides his dishonest habits. But when El Poco comes after him, Timmy realizes he’s not the only one at risk. His actions have also put Jasper in harm’s way. Honesty now could mean Timmy loses the man he’s come to love, but not being honest could mean far worse.

Review:

After reading the blurb, I was so excited to start reading the book and boy, was I disappointed? I was. The first sixty-five percent of the book was honestly so boring. It dragged on and on. There were too many sentences that involved with either of characters thinking about sex stuff. It was getting annoyed. There were a couple of times where I just want to screwed it and put the book to my didn’t finish shelf. I chose to keep on reading and I was glad I did because the last thirty-five percent of the book was awesome.

What I like—

Everything that was going on in the last thirty-five percent was the only thing I liked about the book. It was enough to pick two stars up to three stars rather than leaving the book as a one star. The crazy lies Timmy had spoken were making me nervous as heck. I was more worry about Jasper’s safety. Especially his pets. I couldn’t believe what was going on between them and El Poco. El Poco was one strange man. I was more shocked at how the Timmy and Jasper was saved. The descriptive the author wrote was excellent. The humor was fantastic in the book. I could see the author’s strengths in this book and looked forward to try his other books.

What I didn’t like—

The first sixty-five percent of the book, unfortunately. It kept dragged on and on. The author seemed to be making Jasper a pervert as well. Naturally, when I see a man that was in a need of the medical attention, I couldn’t even possible think about anything naughty inside my head while attempting at helping an injury/sick person. It ruined the book for me. I ended up skip through every page until the day Jasper couldn’t talk or be positively happy to see Timmy that morning. Timmy took the jeep away, which was when I start to pay attention to the story.

Overall, yes, I can still recommended the book since I was one of the few that didn’t enjoy the book as much as others did. If the first sixty-five percent of the book had been cut down, the book would have been a five star easily.

Review: Stealing the Wind by Shira Anthony

Stealing the Wind by Shira Anthony
Title: Stealing the Wind
Author: Shira Anthony
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★★★

Blurb:

Mermen of Ea: Book One 

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.

Review:

I found the book to be a great read. It was something original, something I hadn’t read before. I didn’t read much of mermen stories to compare, though. I can assure you that Stealing the Wind was good.

I was with Taren from the beginning to the end. He had gone so much and he remained such a strong man. He refused let anyone pulled him down even though it almost did quite a few times. The tortures he had to deal with were a difficult scene to read. I kept hoping somehow he’d use his power or whatever to protect himself but he was entirely new to his kind. He never knew he was a merman until Ian rescued by him. Taren had a wonderful heart and he’d not give a crap about himself in order to save someone. In other word, he had the purest heart of all. Which was why I loved him in the book.

All other characters were fun to read as well. The author made the characters as real as possible and kept the story balanced with reality and fantasy. Not many authors had the skills to be able to do that in my opinion. It was a difficult task to meet. The author succeeded! Also, it even got better when the book was actually a book one to the series, which mean I will have a chance to read more of the awesome world the author had created.

What I like—

The originality, the world the author created, the balance between reality and fantasy, the obstacles Taren faced, and characters were described really well good and bad people. The sex didn’t take over the book. The plots won this time, which was perfect.

What I didn’t like—

I’ll have to be honest, the beginning of the book was about sex scenes, it made me thinking that it was what the book will be all about, but I was wrong. In the end, I didn’t have anything that I didn’t like in the book except for the fact it had ended and have to wait until book two. J

Overall, I definitely highly recommended you to check this one out for its awesome originality, balance between reality and fantasy, and world/character build.

Review: Under the Waterfall by Neil Plakcy

Under the Waterfall by Neil Plakcy
Title: Under the Waterfall
Author: Neil Plakcy
Cover Artist: Ginny Glass
Publisher: Loose Id
Reviewer: Monika
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

As soon as they’re settled in their new home on the French Riviera, bodyguards Aidan and Liam are sent to the island of Corsica to protect a mining executive and his family. Though they’re still in love, and having lots of sex, the disruption, and the discovery that the client’s son is gay and in a touchy relationship, causes both bodyguards to question their skills and their commitment to each other. Can they engineer a happy ending for Michel and his boyfriend, while protecting the family from deadly adversaries?

Review:

This is my first time reading anything from Neil Plakcy and it seems it’s become a habit of mine lately to read the last or the latest of a series first.  In this case it didn’t affect my enjoyment of this book it can be read as standalone but reading from book one on would have given me more background of the MC’s. Is this story a romance? I’d have to say no, at least it’s not between the MC’s it’s more a love story, the romance has happened already in a previous book I haven’t read yet but definitely will now! There is a small romance between a pair of secondary characters that is very sweet and heartwarming.

Liam and Aidan are truly wonderful MC’s, the love, trust and respect they have for each other comes across so well, while at the same time the mystery and suspense they are involved in makes Under the Waterfall an exciting story to read. If like me you haven’t read any of the books in this series here is a very short explanation of what goes on in them. Liam and Aidan are partners in their private lives and in their business. They are bodyguards for hire, protecting people from the danger that may have befallen them.

In Under the Waterfall, as I assume in the previous books, you get a love story full of sexy and sweet and a mystery with all its intrigue and adventure. Like the blurb says Liam and Aidan are sent to the island of Corsica to protect a mining executive and his family from an environmental group wanting to stop the reopening of the mine by any means necessary.  You will meet Michel the son of the mining executive and Cris the son of the man the family believes is behind the attacks. These two are so in love but neither family knows their son is gay so they have kept their relationship a secret. I loved these boys and my heart went out to them I wanted these two to find their HEA and while it’s not a true HEA it is only because their story has ended with this book. As far as Liam and Aiden questioning their commitment to each other, I didn’t see it that way at all. I saw two men that love each other enough that a discussion about getting aroused when they think of having sex with another man or men doesn’t tear them apart it just showed how much trust they have in each other.  Neither has strayed or acted on those feelings I thought their discussion made them that much closer.  Beautiful!

I’m looking forward to reading all the books in this series and anxiously wait for the next one. Under the Waterfall is well written with an easy flow, the perfect amount of intrigue and suspense with a very special love story.

I highly recommend Under the Waterfall.

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: Thick as Thieves by Tali Spencer

Thick as Thieves by Tali Spencer
Title: Thick as Thieves
Author: Tali Spencer
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Jay
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
Rating★★★★☆

Blurb:

After Vorgell the barbarian fucks himself with a unicorn horn, he ends up in a cell with Maddog, a pretty young thief. It’s lust at first sight for Vorgell—but honestly, he can’t help it. Unicorn horn is a potent aphrodisiac, and now he can’t stop thinking about sex. Luckily, Madd is one male witch who knows how to put Vorgell’s new magical body to good use when he tricks Vorgell into a kiss that helps them escape.

Vorgell may desire sex in general—and Madd in particular—but Madd has no intention of being screwed by a man twice his size. He has problems of his own, including an enchanted collar that causes him to desire his most hated enemy. He wants that collar off as soon as possible, but that requires stealing a basilisk egg from the castle they just escaped.

Drawn together by lust and magic, the two men join forces and soon find themselves up to their necks in witches, wizards, and trouble. Vorgell and Madd might just be perfect for each other, but first they have to survive long enough to find out.

Review:

Vorgell the barbarian fucks himself with a unicorn horn, really? This line from the story’s description had me wondering about this one.  It turns out that the horn has magical powers and now Vorgell is perpetually horny and has magical sperm. My interest was piqued so I dove in.

We are transported to a fantasy world where Vorgell the Barbarian and Maddog (Madd) the witchkin are thrown together by fate.  The story tells of their adventures as they tackle witches, wizards, and demons – Oh My! Both Vorgell and Madd are thieves and quite the unlikely pair. Vorgell is a big gorgeous oaf and Madd can be kind of abrasive, but they work well together.  They both have not had an easy time of things and the majority of the story is centered on getting a love collar off of Madd.

The plot contains some very unsavory characters that stir our emotions away from the journey that Vorgell and Madd take; first at becoming partners in crime, then friends, and finally lovers. There are numerous characters all with very different names which made it difficult for this reader to keep track of at times. The important characters were not an issue so I didn’t give it much thought.

Don’t let the books description deter you from entering this fantasy world. Vorgell is just plain adorable and his interactions with Petal (a basilisk) provide an abundance of cuteness.  Their story, while consisting of dark encounters, is just plain fun to read.

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.