Monthly Archives: April 2016

5 stars for Fjord Blue by Nina Rossing @ninarossing #MM #YA #Romance @Dreamspinners

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Title: Fjord Blue
Author Name & Publisher: Nina Rossing (Harmony Ink Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 10, 2016 — 256 Pages

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Benjamin is shipped off to work on his grandparents’ remote farm in the fjords of Western Norway for the summer. It’s not like he didn’t deserve it. After all, he crashed his dad’s vintage Bonneville in a car-chase duel on a Miami freeway. Ben is mad at the world and not ready to reveal the reason for his bad behavior the past year, when he partied and got into fights to forget his attraction to his best friend’s hot cousin Dino.

Norway is cold and rainy, the farm is desolate and resists modernization, and the grandparents are quiet and religious. On to the scene waltzes Even, the eighteen-year-old farmhand, who counters Ben’s restlessness and complaints with friendship, fresh perspectives, and problems of his own.

With the mounting expectations of Ben taking over the farm one day, getting closer to Even becomes Ben’s only reason to stay put. As the friendship deepens, the two boys learn that secrets can turn into both beautiful and ugly truths, and that support can be found in unexpected places.

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Review

FiveStars

What a fantastic book!  I am so jealous of the young adult books that today’s teens have access to.  Gone are the preachy, condescending books of my own youth and in their place are stories by writers like Nina Rossing.  Here, her protagonist isn’t terribly likeable, the adults in his life are flawed but human and this is more a story of the challenges of growing up than morality tale of any sort.  

While it took me a good while to love Ben, I loved the story of the Cuban American/Norwegian boy from Miami who is sent to live with his traditional Norwegian grandparents after crashing his father’s classic car.  Ben’s parents and grandparents are refreshingly well developed and surprisingly unpredictable.  Even, his co-worker is a complex and confusing love interest for Ben, struggling with his own issues and just as insecure as Ben in many ways.  

Fans of John Green and David Levithan will enjoy these complex characters but this is a quieter, more thoughtful book. Neither Even or Ben is inclined towards precocious literary references or clever musings about the meaning of life.  For me, the subtlety of the relationships and the stilted conversations here are more real and Ben’s flickering self confidence resonates more deeply.  

The Norwegian setting is wonderful.  Isolated and austere, the contrast with Miami is sharp and the quiet environs and hard physical labour force Ben to grow up and confront some harsh truths.

And the romance.  Somehow, Nina Rossing has perfectly captured the magic of a first crush, a summer romance and all the heightened sensations that come with first experiences.  While the sexual content isn’t graphic, it is moving and the relationship between the two young men is just beautiful.

~Sarah

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5 stars for Creation Debt by Lore Graham @grahamlore #trans #genderqueer #scifi @lt3Press

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Title: Creation Debt
Author Name & Publisher: Lore Graham (Less Than Three)
Publication Date & Length: Aril 13, 2016 — short story

Synopsis

Radical views sometimes require committing a crime or two. In his biggest move yet to fight for android rights, Derek liberates a group of androids working off their creation debt at a hospital. One of those androids is 141, who is surprisingly reluctant to leave the facility, leaving Derek baffled.

A delay in their escape forces them to take an alternate route to Derek’s base, trapping them on a decrepit spaceship for a week, where they have only each other for company and a divide created by assumptions and wariness—but also an undeniable curiosity.

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Review

FiveStars

I had a feeling Lore Graham’s book and I would be good friends, and I was right. It’s fast-paced, well-written, and insightful. This is one of those rare treats where a story is clearly meant to be both for and about trans folk.

There’s so much in here to love: A futuristic world with fully sentient androids; a daring freedom operation as part of a takedown of a Big Corporation; a trans hero; an awesome non-binary gender character; and a completely cliched (but done in a great way) forced togetherness leading to love. How could this not be at the top of my list?

It can be a tricky thing to bring humor to a story which is ultimately about freedom–both literal and figurative. But Graham does this so well. 141, the rescued android, is delightful, a good balance for the brash (and very human) Derek.

I don’t really care all that much about sex in a story, but I did like the way these two explored the realities of their bodies and what it meant for them. I also liked that it fell somewhere between instant lust and instant love, but we weren’t treated to a fairy tale “let’s run off together” narrative.

Speaking of which, I sure hope there’s more to this story. It’s perfectly fine with me not to answer all the questions at the end; I can use my own imagination, and that’s just as fun. But I’d really like to know if they ever take out Isaac Ltd.!

This is the right story for someone who enjoys a blend of action, romance, cool science fiction/futuristic society, and a bit of philosophy. Don’t let the gender-neutral pronouns scare you off this one–it’s always good to learn new things.

Amy

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4 stars for The Space Between by Michelle L. Teichman @MLTeichman #YA #FF #Romance #lesfic

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Title: The Space Between
Author Name & Publisher: Michelle L. Teichman (Ylva)
Publication Date & Length: March 2, 2016 — 298 Pages

Synopsis

Everything’s great for Harper Isabelle, the most popular girl in grade nine. That is, until she meets Sarah Jamieson. Sarah is a reclusive artist, a loner who wears black makeup and doesn’t have any friends, but for some reason, Harper can’t stop thinking about her.
Sarah isn’t used to people looking her way, especially popular girls like Harper Isabelle. Scared, religious, and unsure of herself, when Sarah begins to realize that her feelings for Harper might go beyond friendship, she is afraid to take the plunge and tell Harper how she feels.
Emotions build between these young women until they both reach their breaking points, and they need to make a choice about coming to terms with who they really are, and what they can and cannot live without.

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Review

FourStars

We meet Harper and Sarah in this sweet story. Harper is one of the most popular girls in school and Sarah is her exact opposite. The two meet and neither can deny the connection that they feel; however, high school is a cruel place and neither of their parents would welcome the news that their daughter had a girlfriend.

 

This story is a lovely coming of age story about figuring out who you are and having the courage to go after what you want. I loved getting to know Harper and Sarah and watch their story unfold. I had hoped from the beginning that everything would turn out alright for them.

 

I saw a bit of myself in Sarah; questioning your feelings and assuming that something must be wrong with you because of your feelings, the hesitance to be who you are because of your family’s religious beliefs, and giving up someone that could have made you the happiest person because of the fear and confusion you feel.

 

I would have liked to know a little more about how Sarah’s family had reacted. Especially given that the last chapter is after high school. Even a sentence or two about it would have worked.

 

All-in-all it was a well written and engaging young adult romance that I most certainly recommend. Well done!

~Tori

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NEW RELEASE! 5 stars for The Cattery by K. A. Merikan @KA_Merikan #MM #Fetish #Poly

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Title: The Cattery
Author Name & Publisher: K. A. Merikan (Acerbi & Villani ltd)
Publication Date & Length: April 8, 2016 – 186 Pages

Synopsis

— Role-playing a cat for six months? You said you’re paying how much? —

Goran’s mouth has no filter, and it’s losing him job after job. Desperate and a week away from being homeless, he finds an offer online that sounds too good to be true. Spending six months in a mansion by the beach in return for a hundred thousand dollars as long as he sticks to the house rules.

This might be the one job where his unruly mouth doesn’t get in the way. After all, saying the wrong thing is impossible… when you’re role-playing a cat.

Meeting all the other guys at the cattery seems to be the icing on the cake, but the inconvenient truth he dishes out turns out to be too much. Goran makes everyone his enemy, but worst of all, Ollie, the prettiest cat of the bunch, the one who’s been in the cattery the longest, and the one who makes Goran’s heart skip a beat.

Ollie’s big blue eyes hold secrets Goran is intent on cracking, but to do so, he will need to learn to bite his tongue and listen. Too bad the pretty blond ice prince is set on getting Goran kicked out of the cattery for good.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: debt, enemies to lovers, cat-play, Miami, immigrant, billionaire, love triangle, social anxiety, rent boy, backstabbing

Genre: M/M contemporary romance, sugar kink

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Review

FiveStars

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this book. From the description I was skeptical about reading it because it almost sounds like it is a little to far fetched on the kinky side but once I started reading it, I could not put the book down. Yes it was a kinky fetish that Luis has with having guys act as a cat for him but am also it is more than that for Luis.

I believe that Luis is truly a lonely man that is looking for something that he has yet to find in just one individual. I believe that with him having people act as a cat he is able to interact with them without all the drama that can go into actual relationship and I believe that is what he is looking for. Luis in my opinion is actually a really sweet man and he cares for the people that are in his cattery. And if I had to guess I think that he did start to fall a little for Goran.

Goran is this outspoken person who says what is ever on his mind. He has that problem where his mouth speaks before his brain can catch up with what he is going to say. So he is constantly getting into trouble. I think that intentionally when he joined the cattery it was about mainly the money and a chance at some fun but when he met Ollie it became so much more.

Ollie is the one it took a while for me to get an accurate read on. I believe that Ollie has become complacent with being in the cattery for two years and he has made himself believe he was in love with Luis. I think he realizes something is missing and that answer lies within him leaving the cattery but he is scared. He is scared of the unknown and he is scared to trust.

All in all this book in my opinion is more of a love story then it is a kink/fetish story. I truly enjoyed reading it and cannot wait for another one in the series to come out.

~Tosha

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3 stars for Fitting In by Sandra Bard #MM #Romance @LT3Press

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Title: Fitting In
Author Name & Publisher: Sandra Bard (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 6, 2016 — Short Story

Synopsis

Declan Reid is thirty-seven, well established in his job and next in line for a promotion. Then he’s transferred to Singapore after unwittingly sleep with a client, leaving him hurt and humiliated. Determined to prove to head office they made a mistake, he vows to keep his head down and work hard.

He hadn’t counted on Alvin, however: content with his job mopping floors, happy to remain in Singapore, and significantly younger than Declan. He’s the very last person Declan should be noticing, especially if he wants to get back on track with his ambitions, but the more he’s around Alvin the less appealing those ambitions begin to seem.

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Review

ThreeStar

Fitting In is about Declan Reid who slept with a client and ended up being sent to another country to work. The client, Chad, wasn’t even a client yet before they started their affair, but Declan ended finding out that Chad was married. The poor guy was a mess until he met Alvin, who is years younger than him. 21 to his 37.
They had a rocky start, but to give Declan credit, he was the one who started approaching Alvin, who was snarky at the time. They got closer when Alvin started helping him with his Yoga classes. In the end, being with Alvin taught Declan that it’s not all about social status and the heart wants what the heart wants. Declan taught Alvin that he was more than just a janitor at the gym, that he wasn’t invisible.
I gave this 3 stars because I didn’t connect well with Alvin’s character, which made a short story drag to me. Still, I liked the message that the story was sending out.
~Cookie

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4 stars for The Light of the World by Ellen Simpson @anamatics #FF #Romance #Mystery

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Title: The Light of the World
Author Name & Publisher: Ellen Simpson (Ylva)
Publication Date & Length: December 2, 2015 — 259 Pages

Synopsis

At the back of her grandmother’s closet lies a mystery.

After her grandmother’s death, Eva finds a series of diaries detailing the life of a girl caught up in the magic of the Roaring Twenties. She cannot reconcile the young girl in these diaries with the miserable old woman she loved so fiercely. What happened to change her grandmother so drastically?

Eva starts to investigate the puzzle her grandmother left behind. With the help of a local historian and his enigmatic assistant Olivia, they find a forgotten labyrinth under the city streets. But they are not the only ones down there. Someone else is searching for the light of the world.

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Review

FourStars

When clearing her grandmother Mary’s house after her funeral, Eve comes across some journals that make her see Mary in a new light.  Her grandmother had not been a happy woman and seemed to be carrying a sadness within her.  As a sufferer of depression, Eve had assumed that her grandmother was also depressed.  The journals show Eve that her grandmother had been a happy, interesting young woman with a secret.
I really enjoyed this book and it became more and more interesting as the story unfolded.  We find that Mary had a special friend, Wren, who was the guardian of ‘the light of the world’, but what did that mean?  The relationship between the two young women was romantic but at that time, 1925, such things were not spoken about , never mind accepted. The mystery behind ‘the light of the world’ unfolded in present time as Eve and her new friend Liv, along with the rather creepy Theo and his son Al, scoured the diary for clues and researched the suffragettes in New York in the 1920s.
I thought the tension was pitched just right, never knowing who to trust or what it all meant for Eve.  Her relationship with Liv was slow and tentative and I can see why it was paced that way.  Liv had secrets of her own that made it necessary.  She was a fascinating character, with a lot of strength when needed but she struggled with so many things she couldn’t share.  The historical aspect and the research undertaken was a big plus for me.  I thought the past was brought to life beautifully and I wanted to know so much more about Mary and Wren.  Linking it back to the present worked so well.  It was spine-chilling at times and I loved that. I felt Eve grew as a person through the book.  She had issues with depression and I felt this held her back from living and relationships.  She had no confidence in her ability to cope and it took great strength to fight the battle against the blackness.  She found something to lift her out of it in trying to figure out her grandmother’s story.  Liv was obviously part of that but Eve needed to see that she was capable of being more.  I found it a fulfilling read, with many facets.  Not just mystery, but love, hope and completion for Eve.
Kitty Kat

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3 stars for In Light of Last: Parts 1 & 2 by Jacob Schultz #MM #SciFi

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Title: In Light of the Last: Part 1 & 2
Author Name & Publisher: Jacob Schultz
Publication Date & Length: Part 1: January 17, 2016 (41 pages) Part 2: January 19, 2016 (42 pages)

Synopsis

Part One

In the future, the world is mostly united under one government, having been nearly consumed by conflict that threatened the existence of all humanity. This new united world will seem largely familiar except for the fact that organized religion has been rendered illegal. When an elite squad of assassins is tasked with taking out the last vestiges of organized religion on the planet, they are thrown into a plot too obscure to possibly envision from the beginning. Welcome to One World.

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Part Two

In the future, the world is mostly united under one government, having been nearly consumed by conflict that threatened the existence of all humanity. This new united world will seem largely familiar except for the fact that organized religion has been rendered illegal. When an elite squad of assassins is tasked with taking out the last vestiges of organized religion on the planet, they are thrown into a plot too obscure to possibly envision from the beginning. Welcome to One World.

This installment picks up where the first one left off. Next up, the shocking conclusion!

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Review

ThreeStar

In Light of the Last, by Jacob Schultz, is a bizarre, serialized science fiction novel. It has several characters coping with different storylines, which all begin to intersect in Part 2, and switches between personal logs/first person and more cinematic third person scenes. Which was strange at first, but kind of cool once I got used to it.
The style is anime/foreign, which should appeal to any yaoi fans out there. The dialogue is at times purposely stilted, and at other times familiar. It’s set on Earth, but far enough into the future to be beyond post-apoctalyptic, though the lore surrounding “Earth that was” remains compelling.
I liked it. It’s like a diatribe on gender, sexuality, and identity got mixed together with a science fiction novel, like stew, not like soup, so big chunks of each remain. I think other people will like it too. Jacob Schultz is a talented writer. He has a gift for bringing distinct characters to life.
This would work better as a novel, because then it would all be in one piece as set-up and story and resolution, and then I would know what happened. Parts 1 and 2 are only a beginning. Give me more!
– C. E. Case

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5 stars for The Wolf Inside (The Wild Hunt #1) by Tyler W. D. Stewart #FF #Fantasy @SupposedCrimes

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Title: The Wolf Inside (The Wild Hunt #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Tyler W. D. Stewart (Supposed Crimes)
Publication Date & Length: April 1, 2016 — 377 Pages

Synopsis

For years, Celeste and her father have taken shelter high in the treacherous mountains. They’ve been struggling to survive alone since their family succumbed to the same sickness that conquered the world. But Celeste is hungry and restless, eager for a return to civilization. She dreams of what is left. With dwindling supplies and an aging cow, she remains uncertain of their survival through the upcoming winter. Especially as the wolves creep closer – they’re starving, too.
Relying on an old map from her estranged uncle, she begins her journey through the ashes of society. But monsters form in the shadows, stalking her every step, indistinguishable from the maddened survivors she encounters through abandoned cities and highways. She quickly realizes the world is perilous for a girl alone.
Friend and foe become creatures that hunt her through the night. Blood and violence are ingrained in her soul, blemishing her innocence. As every death stains her hands, her humanity slips away, replaced by the wolf inside.

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Review

FiveStars

A totally mesmerizing and intriguing book. Very unique and distinct. At times very dark, dismal and daunting but certainly never dreary.
The author uses very powerful imagery to great affect. As a reader you become totally involved if never quite sure about the tenuous plot and where it is leading.
The electrifying storyline has a female leading character, one who slowly evolves into a compelling and dynamic hero before our eyes.
As an avid reader who prefers the written word I have to say this breath taking novel had me longing to see it in film form I was so awe struck by the mental images this accomplished author conjured up.
If you are looking for an exciting novel, that is both thought provoking and provocative then this novel will not disappoint.
~Chris

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4 Star Review for An Unconventional Courtship (Unconventional #1) by Scotty Cade #MM #Romance

CoverTitle: An Unconventional Courtship (Unconventional #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Scotty Cade (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: October 12, 2012 – 230 pgs

Synopsis

Tristan Moreau loves his job as chief administrative officer and personal assistant to Webber Kincaid, President, Chairman, and CEO of Kincaid International. It would be the perfect job… if only he hadn’t fallen in love with his boss as well as the work. After two years, he’s still doing everything in his power to keep his feelings hidden—mostly because he wants to protect the reputation of his famous boss but also because he wants to keep his job.

Webber Kincaid has stayed in the closet, using his best friend and confidante as his beard. Everything in his life was working out just fine until he met Tristan Moreau. Within months, Tristan stole his heart and became his lifeline. But Webber knows the rules of the workplace better than anyone, so he’s kept his distance.

But two years is too long to wonder “what if?”—especially when business takes them to a private Caribbean island. When Tristan and Webber succumb to the tropical heat, their professionalism starts to backslide. It’s a seemingly impossible relationship, making a go at it under the paparazzi’s microscope. It may be the best—or the worst—business decision they ever made.

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Review

FourStars

This is a book I would say is about two people whom each love each other but they do it from afar. I enjoyed this book and I would say the reason that I gave it a four is because there was some parts that could have been elaborated more and unanswered questions about Deanna.

As far as the book as a whole I did truly enjoy it. I loved how Tristan and Webber both had feelings for one another but neither wanted to risk their working relationship. Or in Tristan’s case he thought that Webber and Deanna was a couple and that Webber was straight.

I did feel the overwhelming emotions that both Tristan and Webber felt when they first kissed and there was misunderstandings between the two of them. Both of their views on the situation was understandable and it made it very easy for both of them to come to their own conclusions on the subject even though they was both wrong.

The part of the book that I would have liked to see elaborated more on was the situation with Nathan. There is definitely a lot of optional of the whole Nathan situation.

The unanswered questions I had revolved around Deanna and how big of a roll Webber and Tristan were planning on playing in the babies life and hers since she said Webber would be the babies father even though biologically.

But regardless of those couple of things overall I thought this was a very good read and had my attention from beginning to end. Good job on a heart warming book Scotty Cade.

Tosha

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4 stars for Peace (Four Horseman #5) by T. A. Chase #MM #Paranormal @PridePublishing

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Title: Peace (The Four Horsemen #5)
Author Name & Publisher: T. A. Chase (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: February 9th, 2016 — 138 Pages

Synopsis

When falling in love means risking everything, an angel must decide if losing his heart is worth it.

Lam is an Agnus Dei—or a messenger angel—who deals with mortals and the Four Horsemen. He’s helped them to find love and become mortal again, but he can’t seem to figure out his own relationship. Of course, it would be so much easier if he hadn’t fallen for Lucifer Daystar, the most infamous angel out there.

Lucifer Daystar has loved Lam since the moment he saw him. They’ve hidden their relationship since Lam isn’t supposed to fraternize with Day. He wishes things could be different, but he won’t risk Lam getting into trouble for being with him. Then one day Lam disappears and Day must search the world to find him.

By the time Day rescues him, will Lam have decided that loving a fallen angel isn’t worth the pain?

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Review

FourStars

This book was another good addition to this series!

So I have read every book in this series and have wanted to know more about Peace since we first get to see him in book 1 Pestilence.

Well you definitely find out more about him in this book along with his lover Lucifer. I will admit that there were a few parts that really dragged for me and I found myself losing interest for a little bit. But about half way through it picked up and I could not put this book down.

I loved these two men together and I really liked the way this author wrote these characters. You will get some angst with this book but you will also learn so much more about Peace and his love for Lucifer which I honestly loved!

All together I really liked this book! I would recommend this series!

~Kara

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