Monthly Archives: February 2016

3 Star Review for Nuts About You (Nutty Romance #1) by Kate Lowell #MM #Shifter @Kate_Lowell

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Title: Nuts About You (Nutty Romance #1)
Author Name: Kate Lowell
Publication Date & Length: January 7, 2016 – 45 pgs

Synopsis

Nathan’s been crushing on one of his regular Bulk Mart customers for a while now. In squirrel form, he sits on Vince’s bird feeders, munching on seeds and enjoying the eye candy. Until the day Vince notices him raiding the feeder…

Note: This title was originally published in Storm Moon Press’s Forgotten Menagerie. Small changes in wording and sentence structure have been made, but this text does not differ in any significant manner from the original.

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Review

ThreeStar

This was a cute and short book about squirrel shifter Nathan. He works in a mart store and has been crushing on a certain customer for months. His behavior is pretty funny, but stalkerish. He travels in shifted form all the way to his secret crushes’ house and just stares at him. LOL. Seriously, he just watches the guy and eats all the bird food.
Vince, Nathan’s crush, actually likes Nathan and goes to the mart store just to see him. He complains about a fat squirrel that’s eating up his bird food, but finds out that the squirrel is actually Nathan. They’re cute together, but Vince’ reaction to finding out that Nathan is a shifter is pretty unbelievable. So, youfind out that your crush can turn into an animal, what do you do? Well, not have sex with him ASAP. Seriously, Vince and Nathan got it on within 3 minutes of Vince finding out that Nathan is a shifter. Vince didn’t even know shifters existed.
Oh well, it was a cute short story and I see there’s a book 2. Since I already have it, I’ll read it. lol
Cookie

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3 Star Review for Darkeness Threatening (Yellowstone Wolves #2) by Dirk Greyson #MM #Paranormal @dirkgreyson

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Title: Darkness Threatening (Yellowstone Wolves #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Dirk Greyson (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: February 3, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Fredrik is back from college and trying to stay out of his power-hungry brother’s way, until his brother takes a prisoner for his pleasure. Unable to tolerate his family’s cruelty, Fredrik overcomes his fear to help her escape back to her pack. There, he meets Christopher, and their instant attraction tells him Christopher is the one. However, since the threat of his brother remains, Fredrik is reluctant to pursue a relationship.

Christopher is still figuring out his place in the pack and has been living on his own to avoid making waves with his brother, Mikael. Now he’s met his soulmate, and he’ll do anything to take care of his love, including rejoining the pack.

With coaxing, Fredrik accepts his feelings, and Christopher’s pack gives him the home he’s never had. But Fredrick soon realizes he should keep running. His brother is on his tail and will stop at nothing to obtain the power he craves, especially when he realizes the source of the power could be Fredrik himself.

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Review

ThreeStar

This is a quick and easy shifter romance. Alternately exciting and romantic, it follows the conventions of shifter writing carefully without really adding anything beyond the expected.

Frederik is an interesting character. I enjoyed watching him start to understand and use his power. Christopher seemed younger than Frederik even though they are the same age. The contrast of Christopher desperately wanting power while Frederik struggles to control his was interesting.

Like all Andrew Grey stories, the writing is good and the story well-crafted without being particularly memorable. The shifter elements are quite formulaic and while I enjoyed the story, I’m struggling to recall names and details a few days later. This is a quick, entertaining story.

Sarah

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TWO 5 stars and 4 Stars for Locked Inside by Annette Mori #FF #Romance @annettemori0859

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Title: Locked Inside
Author Name & Publisher: Annette Mori (Affinity Ebooks Press NZ LTD)
Publication Date & Length: November 29, 2015 – 199 pgs

Synopsis

How much does the power of love matter to someone who has overcome obstacles greater than most people face in a lifetime?
Carly, a beautiful and vivacious young woman, sees something in the semi-comatose Belinda and they form an unusual bond.
Can Carly help Belinda break free from her emotional prison? Will Belinda’s fears allow their relationship to evolve into something deeper?
Find out in this wonderfully evocative romance that is sure to touch your heart.

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Review

FiveStars

A very empathic novel which I felt was beautifully written. The author treated this difficult subject with great sensitivity and compassion. The author has obviously researched this syndrome well.
I thought the way the author broached the subject, explained what was happening and then slowly progressed with the recovery and the story line made this an excellent novel. As Belinda recovered and her body awakened her emotions and feeling also awoke. Ms Mori wove a passionate love story with an enlightening insight into “locked in syndrome”.
I thought the characters were beautifully crafted and it was a delight to see them grow and mature emotionally and sexually. I also liked the different supporting characters who were introduced, the straight talking friends, the bigots, the weak ones and the strong ones. I particularly enjoyed the way both girls families reacted to Belinda, each very differently but each enriching the story line.
This was one of those books that you begin to read and then find it almost impossible to put down. After reading this I will certainly be looking for further books by this accomplished writer.
Chris
FiveStarsWhat an amazing, inspiring and soul-enriching book this is! I absolutely loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough. The story is of Belinda, a 16 year old girl ‘locked in’ after suffering a terrible illness. She is living in a rehab care facility and has been for six years. When Carly begins to volunteer at the facility she sees something in Belinda that draws her to the girl and she starts to visit her and read to her. Soon small signs appear showing that Belinda is beginning to wake from her condition but it is very slow and takes huge determination on her own part as well as that of her friends and family for her to make progress. Carly is gay and obviously is in love with Belinda but feels it inappropriate to say so and as Belinda becomes more and more aware she begins to feel the same.
The novel is written in the first person, from Belinda’s point of view. It is wonderfully told and draws the reader into the mind of someone who cannot communicate her thoughts at first. I really felt that I knew Belinda and the writer was so skilled at engendering empathy. Belinda and Carly remain friends but it is the development of their relationship that becomes more and more interesting. Belinda makes progress with her rehab and we see that she is more than the person in the wheelchair that others can’t see past. The people around her are well written too and are all so important to her story.
A terrific book , the most amazing story and a well deserved 5 stars.
~Kitty Kat
FourStarsI was pretty intrigued by this book. So much so that I actually inquired if it was a book that was available to us. This story delivered. I really enjoyed reading about this phenomenon and the recovery through Belinda’s viewpoint. It gave the story an immediacy and a sort of inherent empathy to be able to experience the things that Belinda did. Although I’m not really a fan of first person pov, it really worked, and actually enhanced the story for me. That being said, some things I almost wished I’d gotten to experience more of. I would have like more about why it happened in the first place, or if that wasn’t feasible, perhaps an explanation from one of the doctors about why they couldn’t find a cause. Instead there was almost a throwaway line from Belinda about how they never discovered a reason and that was it. I did like the neurological explanation of how Belinda was able to come back. The brain finds a way to create new pathways. It speaks to the miracle of the human body, and how much we don’t know even about ourselves, much less the universe. I love that Carly not only believes in Belinda, but sticks by her no matter what. I love that they become so intertwined that their families do as well. I would have liked to hear a bit more about her recovery through actual scenes though, not simply her relating what happened. The other thing I would have liked is some resolution about what she goes on to do in life. There was so much foreshadowing of this, and so many hints and casual references to it throughout Belinda’s story, but we never really found out at the end what she went on to do. I also didn’t care for the things that Belinda said and did that kept her from telling Carly how she really felt. I understand it had to be done for the story to go the way it did, but it just doesn’t seem like she’d have kept making the decision to remain silent so many, many times. The one reason that I could accept for this, that Belinda didn’t believe she was worthy of Carly because she was stuck in a wheelchair, seemed like it was diluted by Belinda believing she couldn’t ever be Carly’s type. All in all, this was a well-written book that kept me engaged and turning pages. I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes YA books.
~AmyP

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New Release: 4 Star Review for Finding His Home (Men of Falcon Pointe #2 – Standalone) by Thianna Durston #MM #BDSM @ThiannaDurston

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Title: Finding His Home (Men of Falcon Pointe #2 – Standalone)
Author Name & Publisher: Thianna Durston (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: February 26, 2016 – 205 pgs

Synopsis

Sebastien Cather moves to Falcon Pointe with a dream to live life his way. Offered a room at 959 Brenton Street, he discovers how liberating it can feel to live among accepting people, especially in a household where they practice loving physical discipline. And he quickly gains a boyfriend in Avery, a fellow student. Unfortunately Avery isn’t his first choice. His roommate David is fascinating and good-looking, and Bastien would do anything to have him–but he doesn’t think the attraction is returned.

Tensions rise as his roommates’ wedding is threatened and his present and past life clash. Outed by the national media, Bastien is sure he will never be able to return home again. Just as he’s sure he can’t handle any more stress, David let’s him know of his interest. Bastien slowly makes his way forward, trying to find firm footing in the minefield that is his life. But when his landlord makes an announcement about the future of the house, it may change all of his dreams.

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Review

FourStars

I should say that I did not read book 1 but never felt lost or like I didn’t know who the main characters were or what their roles were in this book.

Bastien is trying to find a place where he can explore life without having to look over his shoulder.  He knows that his family will not accept his homosexuality – they will shun and disown him.  However, he finds hope in the friend he made a while ago, while on his mission for the church.

He seeks out Trent, a former member of his church, because he knows that Trent, like him, wanted to find a place where he could be accepted, find love and live his life, free of the confines of a pre-determined fate.

Bastien is a trusting, sweet character.  He wants so badly to be both the devoted son and his own person and because these two sides of himself conflict, he struggles.  Watching him come to terms with his struggle was a challenge and rewarding all wrapped together.  I really enjoyed watching him accept himself, learn to be OK with his family’s acceptance or denial of him and finally find someone who would love him for himself.

David is kind of a strange character.  I felt like I never really got to know much about him other than he is a kick butt and take names type of attorney who helps his fellow roommates fight the good fight.  He cares deeply and is very loyal.

Overall, this story had great parts.  I liked the roommate dynamic and even enjoyed the somewhat forced dating that Bastien put himself through.  I felt that the discipline in this book was minimal and didn’t really play that huge a part in the story.  It was just something that was in the story – not the determining factor.

I really hope that Alan gets his own story – he was a funny character.  Sweet, gossipy, and looking for his place.

AvidReader

Excerpt

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“I know you say you’re straight. Ever wondered if you weren’t?” The moment the words were out of his mouth, he wished he could bite them back. “No. That came out wrong. What I meant was—”

David lifted a hand to forestall whatever he was going to say. Which was a good thing because Bastien had no idea what was about to pour out of his mouth.

“I don’t think anyone is completely het or homosexual. Kinsey made a scale to place someone as to their sexual preference. Of course that was before more genders became acceptable. The chart’s divided into seven possibilities—everything from completely straight to completely gay. It’s my personal belief that we all slide along the scale. At different times in our lives, we may move one or two spots to the left or right. Some have been known to slide from one side to the other.” He shrugged. “In college I was a lot more experimental than I am today. I’ve been with men as well as women. For me it has more to do with the person than the sex they are.”

“What do you mean?”

“Some call it pansexual. But I don’t use the term because people tend to think of it as bisexual. And it’s not.” He paused a moment to take a drink of water. “For me… my sex drive is tied more to the person than their sex. Sure. I notice if the person is male or female or queer, but it’s the person inside who jogs my interest. Intelligence turns me on. I’ll admit I’ve dated women exclusively since I graduated law school, and I was engaged to a wonderful woman for several years. But that had more to do with the fact I did not want my sexuality to affect any job offers I might get. Being intersex and finding a partner who I find exciting both mentally and physically is a challenge. Because at some point, I have to explain that my body is a bit different.”

“You’ve been rejected.” It was as clear as day.

“Yep. Women who were horrified I had a vagina and men who were disgusted at the same thing.” David shook his head and grinned ruefully. “Strange, huh? That the side that bothers both sexes is the female part?”

“That seems kind of stupid,” Bastien said. “I mean, if you care for someone, why should that extra be a problem?” Of course until a couple nights before, he had never found himself attracted to anything having to do with the female body. Until he imagined it right next to a dick.

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5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for Outing the Quarterback (Long Pass Chronicles #1) by Tara Lain (AUDIOBOOK REVIEW) #MM #Sports @taralain

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Title: Outing the Quarterback (Long Pass Chronicles #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Tara Lain (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 19, 2014 – 216 pgs

Synopsis

Will Ashford lives in two closets. He meets his wealthy father’s goals as both the quarterback for the famous SCU football team and a business major, but secretly he attends art school and longs to live as a painter. And he’s gay. But if he can win the coveted Milton Scholarship for art, he’ll be able to break from his father at the end of his senior year.

In a painting master class, Will meets his divergent opposite, Noah Zajack. A scarred orphan who’s slept on park benches and eaten from trash cans, Noah carefully plans his life and multiple jobs so he has money and time to go to art school. Will’s problems seem like nothing compared to Noah’s. Noah wants the scholarship too and may have a way to get it since the teacher of his class has designs on him, a plan Will isn’t happy about.

When a gossipmonger with a popular YouTube channel finds evidence that Will is gay, the quarterback’s closet doors begin to crumble. Hounded by the press and harassed by other players, Will has to choose. Stay in the closet and keep his family’s wealth, or let the doors fall off and walk out with nothing. Nothing but Noah.

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Review

FiveStars

**AUDIOBOOK REVIEW**
This was an awesome book. I really had a hard time putting this one down. There was so much angst and a need to know how it worked out or if it did. I was sucked in from the very beginning with Will and Noah and their off the charts chemistry.
There was a lot of twists and unexpected surprises in this story. I was cheering for the couple and shouting when bad things came up and crying when things would turn bad or not the way that benefited the men.
It’s hard to say much without giving away the numerous surprises, but I will say this is a story I highly recommend. It really displays the challenge of being in the closet and wanting someone you shouldn’t.
The narrator of this book did a great job of bringing a little something more to the characters and the story while enhancing the emotions and feelings being dealt with.
Renee
FourStars

Despite (or maybe even because of) the adolescent melodrama, I really enjoyed this story. Yes, Will’s life is a cliche – his wealthy parents are pushy, dysfunctional and slightly evil. His perfect girlfriend is a gold-digging bitch. He is a spoiled yet miserable rich boy. But it is Noah who really caught my imagination. The struggling artist, beautiful yet scarred and fiercely independent – I loved this character.

Will’s closeted life really frustrated me. Even though he uses his girlfriend as an unconsenting beard, he vilifies her for her interest in his money. He enjoys his parents’ money and the lifestyle it affords him but he complains about being trapped by it. However, as much as I didn’t really like Will at the start, this is a new adult book that tracks his journey to a more honest and real place.

Parts of this story are a little too simple for me. Characters are either good or bad with a host of forces conveniently conspiring against Will and Noah. But I really enjoyed the unlikely romance and the way Will grows up – from a spoiled child to a good, honest man by the end of the story.

I didn’t read these books in order and this is definitely not my favourite story in the series. But it is a sweet, angsty new adult story. And it is the beginning, the first story the others link back to.

Sarah

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4 Star Review for Lollipop (Candy Man #3) by Amy Lane #MM #Romance @Amymaclane

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Title: Lollipop (Candy Man #3)
Author Name & Publisher: Amy Lane (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 25, 2016 – 250 pgs

Synopsis

Ezra Kellerman flew across country to see if he had another chance with the man he let slip through his fingers. He didn’t. Rico has moved on, but he doesn’t just leave his ex high and dry. Instead, Rico entrusts his family and friends with Ezra’s care. Ezra, confused, hurt, and lost, clings to Rico’s cousin and his boyfriend as the lifelines they are—but their friend Miguel is another story.

Miguel Rodriguez had great plans and ambition—but a hearty dose of real life crushed those flat. When Miguel finds himself partially in charge of the befuddled, dreamy, healing Ezra, he’s pretty resentful at first. But Ezra’s placid nature and sincere wonder at the simple life Miguel has taken for granted begin to soften Miguel’s hardened shell. Miguel starts to notice that Ezra isn’t just amazingly sweet—he’s achingly beautiful as well. Suddenly Miguel is fending off every single man on the planet to give Ezra room to get over Rico—while fighting a burning suspicion that the best thing to help Ezra get over his broken heart is Miguel.

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Review

FourStars

Every book in this series is a huge rainbow coloured sunrise. A little overwhelming, probably a little too sweet , but these books just make my heart feel happy.

Lollipop is no different. We finally meet Ezra, Rico’s ex from the last book. Instead of the villain I expected, Ezra is pretty damaged and desperate to prove himself independent of his father. Miguel, who has been on the periphery of this series for a while, steps in to take care of Ezra.

The romance is predictable – this series is nothing if not formulaic. Ezra is the next resident on Finn and Adam’s couch (or Rico’s couch?). He’s the newest employee at Candy Heaven and the newest member of Finn’s family softball team. Miguel’s mother envelops Ezra into her warm, happy family and Finn’s family takes Ezra in as one more stray. From Wall Street to Candy Shop Clerk, Ezra is determined to separate himself from his father.

This is sweet, feel-good romance. Another gentle reminder from Mummy Amy about the things that matter in life and the things that really don’t. As in all the Candy Man books, true love, good friends and strong families are enough for anyone to overcome life’s obstacles and become whole again.

While I think I still prefer Amy Lane’s darker, more angsty stories, I have quickly become addicted to her sunshine and rainbows writing. I love this series!

Sarah

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4 Star, 3.5 Star and 3 Star Reviews for Hoofbeats by A.J. Marcus and Nicole Godfrey #MM #Shifter @aj_marcus

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Title: Hoofbeats
Author Name & Publisher: A.J. Marcus & Nicole Godfrey (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: February 12, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

After a run of bad luck, gifted horse trainer Cole Frasier thinks he’s lost his touch. When he’s offered three times his normal rate to gentle a stallion, he needs the money badly enough he jumps at the opportunity, even if his boss is of questionable morality.

Once he meets Midnight Blood, he knows there’s something special about the horse, but he doesn’t know how special until he begins sharing dreams with the magnificent steed.

Derek Dancing Hawk is a horse shifter trapped in his horse form due to guilt over losing the wild herd he was guarding. When he meets Cole, as Midnight Blood, he wants to find a way to be human again. During a fight between Cole and the ranch foreman, he manages to shift and save Cole, but his transformation from horse to human is captured on camera. This not only gives Cole’s boss blackmail material, but also creates the need to warn the horse shifter council of the threat to their anonymity. The existence of shifters is a closely guarded secret, one they will go to great lengths to keep.

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Review

FourStars
A romance between a trainer and his horse. I’ve never read a book like this.  Quite a unique concept and story.

This was a good and different story. It kept you on the edge of your seat because you never knew what was going to happen around the next corner.

I’m glad that the romance part of the story happened early on and, of course, lasted throughout the book. I’ve read many a story where the romance happened half way or even three quarters through the book. So I appreciate this.

The only part I didn’t like, which is just a few and their minor, is I didn’t like the concept of them being prisoners for so long. Also, I wish they would have gotten freed a little sooner than at the end.

The story is about how does Cole and Derek get freed from Mr. Lopez’s clutches. I’m glad that the story answers that question in a good and thorough way. We are also introduced to The Circle which is hinted at within the story. We also get a hint at who is Mrs. Lopez, really. The author, though, lets you draw your own conclusions.

I do recommend this story. Especially if you are a horse lover you will absolutely love it. I’m not really a horse lover, but I’m a shifter story lover. The story, as I mentioned in the beginning, is unique and different in its own way. I love that and I loved the mystery and how the author ties everything together and brings about a nice happy ending with good conclusions.

Ariel

ThreeandHalfStars

Cole is a rough, sweet, gifted horse whisperer.  I really enjoyed his character.  He was sweet, but tough, kind but harsh when he needed to be.  I do wish that we knew more about his past – other than a terrible event, we don’t really know much about him.  I do like how he was so protective of Derek – curious about him in a way that nobody else was.

The antagonist in this book was great.  You knew that hating him was OK.  Lopez made for a great bad guy – you knew he was crooked, mean, crazy and he was easy to hate.  Then you had Joe.  He was just mean.  I enjoyed hating him too.

Then you have Derek and his whole shifter identity.  I liked that he was 2 different characters – they were distinct and yet, the same.  His view of the world, of Cole was beautiful.  I also really enjoyed his grandma.  And, while I was impressed with his ability to “show”, I liked him as Derek more.  The man was compassionate, soulful and loving.

Unfortunately, for me, this book was kind of truncated.  I didn’t really like the flow – it was somewhat strange.  Despite the loving the characters, the story itself was somewhat lacking.  However, if you like a quick shifter read without a lot of development and some strange character interjection, then this would be an easy read.

AvidReader

ThreeStar

I really enjoyed the premise behind this new shifter story. Like many good shifter stories, the authors draw on Native American legends for inspirations and here the attention to detail is brilliant.

Cole and Derek are an interesting pairing. I loved the idea of the horse whisperer and the horse shifter together. With Derek stuck in horse form for the first part of the book, I found the dream and fantasies a little bit uncomfortable but the men together are very sweet.

But while I loved the ideas, I struggled with the execution of this story. Without spoiling the story, I found the villain too obvious, the conflict artificially constructed and I felt there was far too much OTT drama for me to fully believe in the story.

But the authors end this with the possibility and potential for more stories to follow. With such good world-building, I look forward to sequels with more nuanced plots and more subtle character development in the future.

Sarah

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Filed under 3 Star, 3.5 Stars, 4 Star, Ariel, AvidReader, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah