Monthly Archives: July 2015

TWO Stars for Of Monsters and Men (A Forever Home #2) by Caitlin Ricci #MM #Shifter @Dreamspinners @CaitlinRicci

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Title: Of Monsters and Men (A Forever Home #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Caitlin Ricci (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 20, 2015 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Seth’s life looks idyllic on the surface. He has a great job at the pet rescue with a fantastic boss, who happens to be a werewolf. He is getting his degree at the local university and has a best friend who understands that the most intimate thing for Seth is a kiss. But when it comes to relationships, Seth’s perfect life is a jumbled mess. No guy stays around because eventually, they always want more than Seth, who is asexual, is able to give. Seth wants love and a relationship, but not the sex that everyone puts so much value on.

Seth tries for something more with the man he has a crush on, but when that ends Seth feels like he’s back to square one. So when his boss’s brother, Jeremy, pushes his way into Seth’s life, insisting that he won’t press for more than Seth is comfortable sharing, Seth is wary. All of Seth’s experience says it won’t last long. But Jeremy is one werewolf who is used to getting his way, and might just be patient enough to wait for Seth to see he means what he says.

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Review

ThreeStar

Asexuality isn’t something most of us read about or even think about very often, so an Ace main character was a refreshing change. I’m not sure I really liked Seth, though. He seemed incredibly self-involved. For an asexual character, he seemed obsessed with sex and quick to judge the few people who cared about him.

I loved Jeremy and the rest of the cast. Far from the monster Jeremy claimed to be, he came across as the most human of the men in the story. His strength allowed others to be themselves and I was cheering when he started to venture out of his closet.

Romance stories usually have a sexual story arc, and I found it a challenge to accept and understand the progression of Seth and Jeremy’s relationship without physical intimacy. At times the relationship seemed very clinical. Both men laid out lists of what they wanted and then they negotiated compromise. It was all very grown up, but I kept yearning for the missing passion.

Sarah

ThreeStar

I found that I really loved Jeremy even though he was the a-hole he said he was, that was what sort of made me like him. He was who he was and that’s just it.
Seth on the other hand is supposed to be the one the story is about with his asexuality and his desire to try to find a life that he was happy with while not trying to change who he was or the person he was with to get there. Seth confused me on so many levels. While I understand what asexuality is and thought the author portrayed it quite well, I felt like Seth himself had other issues he needed to deal with.
Jeremy tried to be there for him as exactly what he needed and sure he pushed a bit (like losing his jeans) but Seth never once was willing to try to work on his own insecurities to make their relationship work and that made me not like him. Not saying he had to give in, but he wasn’t even willing to relax around someone who’d given him everything he needed.
I also felt like we were missing all of the paranormal/shifter aspect of the book as there was only one time we see any of the characters as a wolf so I felt like that was a let down.
I do wholeheartedly applaud the author for taking on such a hard topic as asexuality and doing a good job of portraying what it is like to be asexual in such a sexually driven society.
Renee

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THREE 5 Stars for Beyond Duty (Beyond Duty #1) by S.J.D. Peterson #MM #Military @Dreamspinners @SJDPeterson

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Title: Beyond Duty (Beyond Duty #1)
Author Name & Publisher: S.J.D. Peterson (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 2, 2013 – 212 pgs

Synopsis

The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell didn’t come soon enough for Gunther “Gunny” Duchene and Macalister “Mac” Jones, career US Marines who met at boot camp in the 1990s. They’ve been somewhere between best friends and lovers in peacetime and wartime both, but as the clock ticks toward Mac’s and Gunny’s retirements, the guys have much more to worry about than coming out.

Whether their relationship will survive outside of the closet they’ve had to shove it into for over two decades is a big question mark. After all, Gunny questions why a hot military man like Mac–who could get any guy he wanted, including a younger, sexier one–would want him. But as Gunny and Mac navigate emotional waters as choppy as any they saw on duty, they just might learn Semper Fi applies to more than their careers.

This edition is the expanded novel of the short story Beyond Duty which has been included in this novel. However it has been edited and changed to 3rd person POV.

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Review

FiveStars

I have read several books by SJD Peterson and just like all the others I loved this one. I loved Mac and Gunny to pieces! When the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell comes right as the two men are going to retire from the Marines they decide to go out with a bang. They met in boot camp and have been best friends ever since, then became lovers. Now that they are going to retire each of them doesn’t know what the other one wants. Mac is automatically thinking happily ever after. Gunny wants that but it too afraid to bring up the subject, it makes him sick to his stomach. The relationship between these two is hot, I love them, they are so loving and compassionate and they get along so well together. I kept putting the book down because I didn’t want it to end. There was a little angst in the book but that tends to happen when people are hiding their sexuality and then have to tell everyone after hiding it for decades. When Mac starts drinking in the bar one night and lets “baby” slip when he is talking to Gunny I about died, I thought for sure the crap was gonna hit the fan! The retirement ceremony was awesome, I cried. Mac blew me away and I loved him even more if that was even possible. This was a great book and I can’t wait to read the next book!

Angie

 FiveStars
I really enjoyed this story.  Mac and Gunny were characters that you were really able to get to know.  Their background and what they were going through was chalked full of emotion and doubt, which only enhanced their story.I loved their back story and how no matter where the other person was, they knew they had someone to come home to.  I wanted to cry when Mac and Gunny were able to be who they truly wanted, but understood where they were coming from in terms of wanting to be safe before the DADT was repealed.

This was a great romance.  The connection that the characters shared – that despite being alpha males in their every day lives, they didn’t need to be all tough and macho all the time – they were able to delve deeper in their relationship.  With the family, friends and love surrounding them, they were able to be who they truly wanted.

AvidReader
FiveStars
**Audiobook Review**
I absolutely loved this story. It has two older men who’ve hidden something very large about themselves because of their careers in the military. They only have each other for support for many years and when the appeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law they find that their world is opening to so many things they didn’t anticipate.
This story could’ve easily been broken down into many short stories because there were numerous situations the men went through that could’ve been the end or a HEA, but Ms Peterson didn’t leave it there. She showed us past each point and I loved it. I loved getting to see that even though one hurdle was passed, there were more and not necessarily easier either.
Another great story by S.J.D. Peterson who is now one of my favorite MM authors for her ability to bring not only romance and sexual situations to a story but fully developed and complex characters and situations to life for the reader.
The narrator was amazing, Jonathan Young. I loved his voice and cadence. The story flowed excellently and all the feelings that the men went through were brought to life so perfectly. I will definitely be seeking out more of his work.
Renee

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5 Stars for Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4) by Ariel Tachna #MM #Romance @dreamspinners

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Title: Conquer the Flames (Lang Downs #4)
Author Name & Publisher: Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 27, 2013 – 254  pgs

Synopsis

Thorne Lachlan knows a thing or two about getting himself safely out of a blaze. For years he fought in the world’s hot spots, a Commando with the Australian Army. Now, retired, he fights flames for the Royal Fire Service. When a grassfire brings him to Lang Downs, the next sheep station in danger, Thorne meets Ian Duncan and sparks fly that neither man can put out. But both men have ghosts from the past that stand in the way of moving beyond mutual attraction.

While Thorne longs for the home he could share with Ian at Lang Downs, he fears his own instability might make him a danger to others. And Ian’s always believed that the foster care nightmare he escaped before coming to Lang Downs would make any relationship impossible. Trust doesn’t come easily to Thorne or Ian until the fire’s aftermath forces them to see past the scars keeping them both from healing.

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Review

FiveStars

This is the most exciting story in the series, with the men at Lang Downs working with the fire service to stop a bush fire from destroying Lang Downs.

The story focuses on Thorne, a volunteer firefighter just out of the army who is struggling with PTSD. It is also – finally – the story of Ian, the reclusive buckaroo still coming to terms with a brutal, abusive childhood.

For the first time, even Caine and Macklin worry that the sanctuary of Lang Downs may not be enough to help Thorne and Ian heal. Both men need professional help, but with a fire threatening the entire station, the station has to come first.

This is the darkest story in the series. There is little humour here. The community is frightened and Ian and Thorne have to deal with some pretty disturbing things before they can start a relationship. Tachna doesn’t shy away from the realities of sexual abuse or PTSD – nor does she avoid the harsh realities of life on an isolated sheep station.

I loved both the men in this story – but I also fell even more in love with the whole Lang Downs community as they faced down the fire together with gritty determination. We see familiar characters and new characters risking their lives to save a community that has become a very special safe harbour for so many people.

This is one of my favourite series. I found this book more disturbing and difficult than the others in the series, but it is also the book where all the characters fully realise just how special their Lang Downs community is – and how much they are willing to risk to save the station.

Sarah

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4 Stars for The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds: Book One) by Charlotte Ashe (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #MM #Fantasy @CobwebsandAshes

TheSidhe 1600px Cover-Front

Title: The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds #1)
Author Name: Charolotte Ashe
Publication Date & Length: July 21, 2015 – 442 pgs

Synopsis

Since his childhood, Brieden Lethiscir has admired The Sidhe, the beautiful and magical beings native to the Faerie world outside his homeland of Villalu. Though he grew up in a culture accepting of Sidhe enslavement by Villalu’s elite, Brieden finds that he can no longer tolerate the practice when he becomes a steward to Prince Dronyen, who is viciously abusive of his sidhe slave Sehrys. Captivated by the handsome and mysterious sidhe slave, Brieden vows to free and return Sehrys to his homeland.

As they escape the capital and navigate a treacherous path to the border, Breiden and Sehrys grow close. Breiden soon learns both the true power of The Sidhe, and that the world that he thought he knew is not what it once seemed. If they survive to reach the border, he will have to make a choice: the love of his life, or the fate of his world.

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ReviewFourStars

This epic human/elf love story spans a whole world in a long journey of more than 400 pages. Brieden’s world starts out small. Poor but smart, he becomes steward to the Prince. When the Prince enslaves a “Sidhe,” Brieden’s compassion stirs him to heroics. He rescues the Sidhe, Sehrys, and they begin a long journey toward the Faerie lands.
Make no mistake, gentle reader, Sehrys is extensively sexually abused. Though it happens off-screen, this novel is not coy. There’s also graphic violence. The world is an ugly place where people suffer. The deft writing carries the love story through. Brigden and Sehrys are pure storybook. This is a fairy tale.
The sex is generous and infused with alluring magic. The descriptions of elven and natural beauties are beautiful themselves. Transportation into this world happens easily. The story is lushly welcoming.
There are some minor but intriguing political machinations that will pay off in the sequels, but The Sidhe is mostly a love story that’s very worth reading.
C.E. Case

Excerpt

The sidhe was tall, supple and lithe, as all sidhe tended to be, with milk-pale skin that glowed like moonlight over lean, taut muscles. Like all the others before him, he was naked, giving potential buyers a full picture of what they were bidding on.

And he was extraordinary, head to toe.

His chin-length hair was violet-red and it gleamed in the afternoon sun. His lips were pink and delicate with a pronounced bow, his nose had a narrow, smooth slope and his eyes…

His eyes.

It wasn’t that they were the most incredible color imaginable: a storm of deep, contrasting, impossible greens unlike any Brieden had ever seen. And it wasn’t that they were large and almond- shaped beneath a fan of plum-colored lashes.

It was that they were full to the brim with life.

Never before had Brieden seen a sidhe slave with such lively and expressive eyes, even as he stood for auction. Those eyes were not dull or defeated in the slightest. Wary, yes, and utterly devoid of trust, but also blazing.

Blazing like the eyes of that sidhe Brieden had seen at the riverbank when he was twelve years old— the only freesidhe Brieden had ever had the chance to behold.

The elf stood on that platform as if he owned it. As if he were judging every human man before him, and not the other way around.

He tucked a lock of hair behind a delicately pointed elfin ear, then jutted his chin to reveal a chiseled jaw that contrasted beautifully against his tender features.

And though he knew it was insane, Brieden was quite sure that he was in love.

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3.5 Stars for Wounded Hearts by Remmy Duchene and B.L. Morticia #MM #Romance @dreamspinners

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Title: Wounded Hearts
Author Name & Publisher: Remmy Duchene and B.L. Morticia
Publication Date & Length: July 27, 2015 – 256 pgs

Synopsis

Zane Ashford’s stint in the NYPD comes to an abrupt halt when he is injured in the line of duty. After waking up partially blind in one eye, all he wants to do is crawl into a hole, but his friends and family won’t leave him alone. Reluctantly, he lets his best friend talk him into time away on a ranch in Montana. But the moment he gets there and meets Cyrus Abrams, Zane begins to contemplate murder.

Cyrus Abrams is vulgar, ornery, stuck in his ways, and not about to change for anyone, no matter how good Zane Ashford looks in those jeans. The more they lock horns, the more Cyrus begins to see Zane in a whole new light. But Cyrus has a past, one that left him in big trouble and more broken than he cares to admit—a past no one told Zane about. Cyrus fears that when Zane finds out, everything will come to a screeching halt.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

Zane (Slick) is a NYPD cop who was hurt on the job. Cyrus (Country) is an ornery old cuss who lives in Montana hidden away from everyone after living a not so innocent life in his younger years. Zane is convinced by his best friend Renford to go to Montana and stay at Cy’s ranch, who also is a friend of Renfords. Cy doesn’t want anyone on his ranch but because it was Ren asking he agrees. Zane and Cy do not get off to a good start. They are always ticking each other off and saying stuff to upset the other. This book had potential to be really great. The scenes with Zane and his niece Zelda were amazing and so sweet. Brian was a great secondary character and I hope he actually gets his own book and hooks up with Renford. But there was just something about Zane and Cy that didn’t click for me. They each wanted something different but they were sexually attacked to each other. Cy gives in and decides to give things a go but it just seemed too rushed and too forced. It was like one minute they were snapping at each other and the next professing undying love. I didn’t hate the book, it was ok, I just think a lot of the back and forth could have been cut out and more focus on building a relationship would have been better. Plus we never heard what happened with Zane helping Corey with his music, maybe there will be a book two? If so, I would read it because like I said, I loved Brian and hope he gets his happy ever after.

Angie

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5 Stars for Outlast the Night (Lang Downs #3) by Ariel Tachna #MM #Romance @dreamspinners

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Title: Outlast the Night (Lang Downs #3)
Author Name & Publisher: Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 20, 2013 – 210 pgs

Synopsis

Office manager Sam Emery is unemployed and out of luck. When his emotionally abusive wife demands a divorce, he contacts the one person he has left, his brother, Neil. He doesn’t expect Neil to reject him, but he also doesn’t expect the news of his divorce—and of his sexuality—to be met with such acceptance.

Neil takes Sam to Lang Downs, the sheep station Neil calls home. There, Sam learns that life as a gay man isn’t impossible. Caine and Macklin, the station owners, certainly seem to be making it work. When Caine offers Sam a job, it’s a dream come true.

Jeremy Taylor leaves the only home he’s ever known when his brother’s homophobia becomes more than he can bear. He goes to the one place he knows he will be accepted: Lang Downs. He clicks with Sam instantly—but the animosity between Lang Downs and Jeremy’s home station runs deep, and the jackaroos won’t accept Jeremy without a fight. Between Sam’s insecurity and Jeremy’s precarious position, their road will be a hard one—and that’s without having to wait for Sam’s divorce to be final before starting a new life together.

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Review

FiveStars

Both Sam and Jeremy arrive at Lang Downs broken and hurting – as pretty much everyone does. Slowly and carefully, they find ways to belong, first to the station and then to each other.

Coming after Chris and Jesse’s story, this is the story of two slightly older men making fresh starts. Sam is going through a painful divorce and Jeremy has been kicked off of his own family’s station by his homophobic brother. These men are jaded, cautious and guarded. Neither man is fully out and both are pretty skeptical about relationships. So this is a very different romance. A slow romance. A real romance.

I think this third book is where the series starts to become something really special. Ariel Tachna has slowly built up the Lang Downs community until the people who live on the sheep station are beloved characters. The author doesn’t leave the couples from previous books, she just incorporates new characters into the ever-expanding community.

I loved watching Caine and Macklin’s relationship develop and mature in this story – and I loved how other characters had grown. The homophobic Neil from the first story now fiercely defends Caine and Macklin’s relationship to newcomers.

This is one of my favourite series, and the books just get better as the series progresses. New readers need to start at the beginning and enjoy the stories as they become more complex and the cast of characters grows and matures.

Sarah

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5 Stars for Out of Order by Casey Lawrence #FF @dreamspinners

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Title: Out of Order
Author Name & Publisher: Casey Lawrence (Harmony Ink Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 21, 2015 – 180 pgs

Synopsis

Corinna “Corey” Nguyen’s life seems perfectly average for a closeted bisexual whiz kid with her eyes on college and a budding romance with her friend Kate. Sixteen and navigating senior year with her tight-knit group of best friends through crushes, breakups, and pregnancy scares, Corey mistakenly believes that running for valedictorian and choosing the right college are the worst of her worries. That is, until prom night, when she’s left alone and in shock, hiding inside a diner restroom, the only witness to a multiple homicide.

With graduation looming, the pressure is on for Corey to identify the killer and ensure that the crime that has changed her life forever will not go unpunished.

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Review

FiveStars

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book so fast cover to cover in my life. I couldn’t put this down. Everything, from the narrative structure to the scattered clues throughout, held my interest, page after page.

I loved the main character’s voice. I often dislike the way adolescents are written as fairly self-absorbed and unsympathetic or else completely victims of their circumstances. Corinna (and her friends as well, but it’s written first person) was neither of those. She was complex and interesting, probably one of the best young narrators I’ve read in a long time.

There isn’t much I can say about the plot that wouldn’t be spoilers. The timeline was interesting, with the whole story told in flashbacks. Each one provided one more piece to the puzzle. It was very well done, with enough clues to draw readers in but not so many as to  give everything away too soon.

This is a fantastic book, and there is no doubt I will be sharing it with my kids when they’re old enough to understand the complex themes and content.

Amy

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