Monthly Archives: June 2016

Audiobook: 4 Star Review for Cursed (Cursed #1) by Rhianne Aile #MM #Paranormal @dreamspinners

CoverTitle: Cursed (Cursed #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Rhianne Aile (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 15, 2007 – 232 pgs

Synopsis

Upon their grandmother’s death, Tristan Northland and his twin, Will, come into possession of her Book of Shadows and the knowledge that their family is responsible for a centuries old curse. Determined to right the ancient wrong, Tristan sets off across the ocean to reverse the dark magic that affects the Sterling family to this day. Benjamin Sterling might not be happy with his life, but it is predictable – at least until Tristan Northland shows up in his office, unannounced and with nowhere to stay. He has plenty of reason to distrust witches and Northlands, but instead of caution, he experiences two unexpected emotions: hope and love. Read a full chapter excerpt at www.dreamspinnerpress.com.

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Review

FourStars

This review is for the audiobook version, narrated by John Lamberti. The reading is ok, but I feel it could have been better. At times it was a bit choppy/disjointed, maybe because of issues with the audio editing. There are also rapid perspective changes in this book, and I feel that the narrator could have used better pacing to reflect that and avoid confusion. Also if he’d used different voices for the characters it would have made dialog more easy to follow. I would have given the text version of this book 4.5 stars instead of 4.

Cursed is a magical and sexy romance. The characters have good depth and personality. The story caught my interest from the start and is engaging throughout. The story is unique and interesting, and the pacing is great. The smut-to-plot ratio is a little heavier on the smut side than what I would prefer for this story. But that said, the sex scenes are well written and hot.

Even though this is the first of a series, it is also great as a stand-alone book.
I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a highly erotic paranormal romance.
Amanda

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4 Star Review for Mia Kerick’s Greatest Hits by Mia Kerick #MM #Romance @MiaKerick @dreamspinners

CoverTitle: Mia Kerick’s Greatest Hits
Author Name & Publisher: Mia Kerick (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 6, 2016 – 643 pgs

Synopsis

Enjoy these best-selling romantic novels from Mia Kerick! Beggars and Choosers Brett wants to lend Cory hand. But when their relationship evolves into something Brett isn’t ready to need, he reacts… and the consequences may destroy their fledgling future. With scars like theirs, forgiveness is never easy. A Package Deal Savannah has an agenda: She is looking for a love match for her roommate, Tristan. When she meets Robby, she puts her plan in action. Out of Hiding Philippe’s relationship with Dario leads him to a surprising discovery of his submissive sexual tendencies and a greater sense of self-awareness. But tragedy threatens to destroy the connections Philippe has made and forces him to retreat into the shadows of his past. Random Acts From a random act of kindness, romance begins to grow, filling all the dark corners of Bradley’s empty life-until a random act of violence threatens to take it all away. Bradley must step up and be the man Caleb believes him to be. Caleb rescued him from a life without hope. Can Bradley rescue him in return?

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Review

FourStars

Mia Kerick is a great author and I’m not quite sure how I managed to miss all four of these books first time round. As usual with an anthology, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others but I raced through the anthology and thoroughly engaged with each book in the collection. This is definitely a good value collection.

Beggars and Choosers (4 stars)
I loved this one. The slow build relationship between two teenagers struggling to overcome horrific backgrounds was really moving. I loved the way Brett established himself as Cory’s protector and I enjoyed the inner strength of both men.

My only reservation was the age gap between the two boys, especially early on when Cory is quite young. And just when I was starting to get over the age difference, Brett steps in as Cory’s father substitute at a school event – which brought the ick factor right back.

This is a heavy story. Child abuse, neglect, alcoholism and sexual violence are all dealt with carefully and sensitively, but readers need to be in the right headspace to get through some parts of this book.

A Package Deal (3 stars)
This was a little bit of a “what the hell?” read. The tiny anthology blurb didn’t lend me any clues and it took me most of the story to understand the dynamics of the central relationship (sorta m/m/f but not really the f…).

I did enjoy the relationship between Tristan, Robby and Savannah once I figured it out. I enjoyed the contrast between Robby’s background and the experiences of Tristan and Savannah.

What I really didn’t enjoy was the OTT storyline about Robby’s partner Mike and Robby’s father. The extreme homophobia felt more like a plot device than anything heartfelt and it detracted from the central storyline.

Once again, this book covers heavy topics like child abuse and homelessness so readers need to be in the right headspace for it.

Out of Hiding (4.5 stars)
I loved the dance in this book! Kerrick’s descriptions had me enthralled and I loved following Sophie’s dance journey.

Phillipe and Dario’s relationship is a satisfying slow burn and the men are fantastic together. I loved all of the supporting characters in this book and I enjoyed watching the different characters come together in interesting ways.

Phil’s age was a stumbling block for me. Early descriptions had me envisioning a man in his late twenties or thirties – but the seasoned trawlerman taking care of a 17 year old for the summer is only 20? Likewise, Dario’s reputation and experience lent me to envision a man who had retired from dance, not a young person working towards a career.

Nitpicking aside, I really loved this. The dancing is fascinating, the romance is sweet, and tentative and the whole story is charming.

Random Acts (3 stars)
Bradley and Caleb’s story is not my favourite in this collection. For me, Bradley’s insecurities seemed exaggerated and Caleb seemed unnecessarily snooty at times. Add in my least favourite trope in m/m fiction (the hospital emergency that sorts out a relationship) and I struggled to warm to this story.

And then the mystery – if this was a film, it would transition from a Julia Roberts romcom to a Glenn Close bunny boiler within the space of a few pages. The thriller part of this story just didn’t work for me and I didn’t feel it fit within the overall romance.

So – this wasn’t my favourite story in the collection. There were some sweet moments (and the best fictional first date I’ve read in quite some time) but I never fully engaged with the story.

Sarah

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5 Star Review for According to the Order of Nature (We Too Are Cosmos Made): Art and Text for Gay Spiritual Sensuality by Stephen Mead #MM #Poetry

CoverTitle: According to the Order of Nature (We Too Are Cosmos Made): Art and Text for Gay Spiritual Sensuality
Author Name & Publisher: Stephen Mead
Publication Date & Length: January 24, 2016 – 158pgs

Synopsis

“According to the Order of Nature (We Too Are Cosmos Made”) is a mixed media series of paintings and montages begun in late 2009 and completed by New Years 2014. The title refers to all of the laws which weigh against LGBT individuals globally, only this project reverses the persecution, exploring LGBT sensuality for its spiritual roots and profound bonding, more so when people risk their lives in order to have and to hold love. While specific pieces present graphic erotic gay sexuality, by incorporating organic matter such as moss, hair, leaves, spices, rose petals etc., they go beyond the realm of titillation for the viewer to celebrate (or be challenged by) the validation of earth-centered sensuality. Juxtaposed with the larger mixed media series are small 8″ x 10″ images depicting outlines of the naked male form in traditional yoga poses. These independent paintings are then merged with various star, earth, and weather pattern imagery to create the sense that, looking at the night sky, a person may connect the dots, draw pictures in the clouds, and find not just Orion or The Big Dipper, but an innate sensual energy directly connected to the heavens. I envision the combination of all these images, as being exhibited on one wall, the text which eventually evolved from them forming underneath letter by letter: forest green on rose marble.

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Review

FiveStars

This is a beautiful mixed media book of art and poetry celebrating the male form and the spirituality of male/male intimacy. The images are lush and beautiful–erotic, sensual, and deeply spiritual. The poetry reads as a love story of energy flowing from human to the divine, human to human, and the divine to human.

There are bits and pieces from a multitude of spiritual and religious practices, and I was pleased to recognize a number of sources. I loved the way holiness and sensuality are not separate entities here but intertwined.

This is one worth reading more than once because each time is likely to have a different effect or spark some new thought. Although I can’t directly relate or speak to it because I’m not a man, I think it’s worth reading for anyone who has struggled with identity and spirituality and the ways we’re often instructed to separate the two.

~AmyM

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5 Star Review for Jordan & Rhys (Frankie’s Series) by Sue Brown #MM #BDSM

CoverTitle: Jordan & Rhys (Frankie’s Series)
Author Name & Publisher: Sue Brown (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 25, 2015 – 128 pgs

Synopsis
Eight months after the assault in which his sub and lover was killed, Jordan Nicholls isn’t making much progress in his recovery. Marchant and Ed, Jordan’s friends from the BDSM club, stage an intervention.

They employ a carer to look after Jordan. Rhys may be a sub, but he’s forceful, making Jordan eat and exercise rather than live on coffee and cigarettes. Despite Jordan’s protests, Rhys slowly forces him back to life.

But Rhys wants to be Jordan’s sub, and despite being protective of Rhys, Jordan’s not sure he can ever return to the BDSM lifestyle. In order for their relationship to continue, they’ll need to find a compromise that meets both their needs.

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Review

FiveStars

If you have read previous books in this series you know who Jordan is and how fun loving and always moving he is. Jordan and his sub Mike were attacked one night, Mike didn’t make it. Jordan is barely surviving, he is the shell of the man he used to be. Jordan’s friends can’t stand to see him like this anymore so Marchant hires Rhys to take care of him, bring him back to life. Jordan hates the idea but gives in because his friends make him. Rhys is actually really good for him and even Jordan can tell an improvement after a while. Rhys knew Mike and now he wants to know Jordan and help him. It was a long process but Rhys brings Jordan back to life and in the process falls in love with him and wants to be Jordan’s sub. Jordan isn’t ready for that and is letting Rhys go, until tragedy strikes once again. This was was a beautiful love story and  I hope there is more to the series so we can see these guys again.

Angie

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ONE 5 Star, THREE 4 Star and TWO 3 Star Reviews for Surfacing by Daniel Stephens #MM #Romance

CoverTitle: Surfacing
Author Name & Publisher: Daniel Stephens (Wild Rose Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 27, 2016 – 226 pgs

Synopsis

Used to luxurious, high-profile city life, Chris’s world is shattered when tragedy takes his husband and young son. Seeking a life free from pain, Chris returns to his grandfather’s cabin on the shores of Wolf Thorn Lake, Maine.

When Chris meets Jake, the earthy young man who resides across the lake, Chris faces his most challenging decision yet. Does he continue his life alone, or does he risk his heart and the potential of love he sees illuminated in Jake’s warm eyes?

A young man running from pain, a rural free spirit with the ability to heal, and a wolf who haunts the shore-line of Wolf Thorn Lake illustrate the endurance of the human heart, the capacity to learn how to love again, and the heart’s ability to restore even the most wounded of men.

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Review

FiveStars

This is a book about coming home again. A book about finding your way into the light after being in the dark for too long. It’s a book about letting go of the past and looking to the future. It is a book about letting go of fear and learning to love again.
It is an amazing book and has so much depth too it.

Jake has been to H€LL and back. He lost his husband and son at the same time to a drunk driver. When he lost them he quit living. He just remained in the time and space but he did not really participate in life any longer. Jake decides to go back home to his grandfathers cabin and try to get on with his life. He never expects to meet Chris. He never expects that the past will follow him and that in order to move in with his life he has to walk out of the darkness and I to the light again.

Chris sees that Jake is struggling and that he is not over the grief of losing his husband and son and he also sees that Jake is drowning in it. Chris tries to be there for Jake but Jake pushed him away each time he lets him get close. It is a constant tug of rope where Jake is concerned.

This was a very emotional read. I enjoyed it so much. Watching these two characters come together even though it was not easy was truly amazing.

Tosha

FourStars

This is my first book by this author and it was very different them what I’m used to. I really didn’t understand the wolf thing but overall it was a really a great story. This book starts a year and a half after Chris lost his husband and his son in a tragic car accident. This was a story about hope and strength and finding new love. As I read I found myself feeling the loss that Chris was feeling. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see what Chris was going through. I really love an author that can put show much feeling into written word. It really makes for a really good book. This was also a story about hope and finding new love. I had an immediate connection with Chris and immediately fell in love with Jake. I highly recommend this story.

Lynn

FourStars

This was an emotional and healing read about Chris, who lost his husband and son in one accident. It has been 18 months and Chris cannot live anymore in the penthouse they built as a home. He has decided to move back to Wolf Thorn Lake, Maine, and start fresh in his Grandfather’s cabin that was left to him.
Jake, is a laid-back, easy-going, sexy man who lives for the now. He went through his own personal demons and has moved on with the help of his extended family at Wolf Thorn Lake.
When these two meet, it is electric right from the start. But Chris has a hard time letting go of the pain from the loss. Jake is there to help him almost every step of the way, although Chris needs to ultimately do it on his own.
Once Chris accepts the white wolf side of him and learns that his prior love will always be with him but his heart has so much more love to give, he finds Jake and never lets go.
This is about second chances at love, learning how to grieve, find and accept your inner-self, and live in the now for the future rather than the past. My heart shattered and mended back together with the love of the community.
Keri
FourStars

This is a story of grief and new hope. Chris’ grief is wrenching and overwhelming at the start of the story and there are times where honesty of his grief makes this a difficult book to read.

The grief in this book is tempered by a hope of new beginnings and the beauty of the New England setting.

I really loved the lyrical quality of the writing in this story. Some passages are really beautiful to read and some of the descriptions are incredibly moving. But while the prose was moving, there were times I found that I lost the story to the description.

I remain ambivalent about the Native American mysticism in this story but I did love the quirky characters in Chris’ new rural community and I enjoyed the contrast of New England with his New York life.

The central romance didn’t always work for me. Jake felt saint-like at times, putting up with Chris’ self-pity and inner turmoil, but again, grief is ugly and the author works hard to make Chris’ journey honest, even if that doesn’t quite make the leading man heroic or even likeable.

This is a difficult book. Honest grief is difficult to read and I’m sure it is difficult to write. However, there are some beautiful moments that make this story worth reading.

Sarah

ThreeStar

The blurb for this book made me want to read the book right off the bat. The first few chapters were good, I really got into the book and then it took a strange turn. The whole wolf legend threw me off and the way the author tried to write as if they were writing poetry or something. I can’t put my finger on it but it just took a nose dive for me. I wanted more Chris and Jake and less of all the other stuff. I found myself skimming the book at times because some of it was just going on and on about mother nature, the wolf lore, etc.

Angie

 ThreeStar

I’m really not sure What to think of This book. The writing style kind of thew me off. It wasn’t bad, just unexpected. The story is about A Man who lot two of the most important ppl in his life. Almost 2 years later, he moves Back Into his grandfather’s cabin, hoping for A new beginning. Chris meets Jake and realizes That he Isn’t over his past and Is drowning. He needs To Surface from the pain to fully love again.
 
Jake was sweet and supportive. I liked him. The white wolf added the supernatural feel to the story. This isn’t a terrible book, But i just didn’t click with Chris and felt detached to The Chemistry between him and Jake. We’re told That they’re sooo attracted to Each other but i wasn’t feeling it. The ending Was ok but don’t expect this book to have constant naughty Scenes. It doesn’t and that Was fine with This Type of Story.
Cookie

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5 Star and 3 Star Review for Triad Blood by Nathan Burgoine #MM #Paranormal @NathanBurgoine

CoverTitle: Triad Blood
Author Name & Publisher: Nathan Burgoine (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: May 1, 2016 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

The law of three is unbroken: three vampires form a coterie, three demons make a pack, and three wizards are a coven. That is how it has always been, and how it was always to be.

But Luc, Anders, and Curtis—vampire, demon, and wizard—have cheated tradition. Their bond is not coterie, pack, or coven, but something else. Thrust into the supernatural politics ruling Ottawa from behind the shadows, they face Renard, a powerful vampire who harbors deadly secrets of his own and wishes to end their threat. The enemy they know conjures fire and death at every turn. The enemies they don’t know are worse.

Blood, soul, and magic gave them freedom. Now they need to survive it.

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Review

FiveStars

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book. I was expecting it to be one thing and it turned out to be another. But regardless of what I thought it would be about, the book itself turned out to be so much better.

Curtis in my opinion is the one that holds the triad together. He is the one that caused their bond and I think it is him that keeps them all together. He is the glue to their triad and I believe that he is in love with both Ander’s and Luc. Even though he has not and will most likely never tell them. I also believe that Curtis is so strong. I believe that most others would have given in under the pressure of rules, but not Curtis. He takes being able to do magic in stride and takes every opportunity he can to learn as much as he possibly can but at the same time he believes that magic should be used only for good.

Luc is the level headed one of the bunch in my opinion. He is the one that talks since into the othe two in the triad and keeps them out of trouble. Luc acts as though he is completely unaffected by the other two but again I believe he is in love with both men but will never admit or tell them. Luc is the vampire in their group but he respects Curtis and Curtis’s want to only do good so Luc does not do any unnecessary killing.

Ander’s is the Demon in their group but I think that Ander is more about having a good time then using his powers for evil. He too is in love with both the men in his group but he would definitely never admit it because he lives sex to much with whoever he can get it from to risk losing that. But Ander would do whatever it took to keep these two men safe and protected.

The three of these men have unusual relationship but it works for them.

This was an extremely great read and I truly enjoyed it. I hope others do too.

Tosha

ThreeStar

It was tricky rating this so I stuck with 3 stars cause while I liked the characters, I wish there was…more.
We have a great trio. Vampire Luc, Lust Demon Anders and Curtis, the witch. Luc was cool and a bit reserved, but hanging out with the other two is certainly making him be more open. Anders is that sarcastic guy that you end up adoring. Curtis was cute and literally the glue that held all three of them together.
When I started reading, I was a bit thrown off cause they were already a Triad. So I browsed and found out there’s a short story with them called Three. I read it then came to this one. I really liked the trio. Sadly, they weren’t really a threesome. Yeah, they formed a Triad so they’d have a coven for protection, but it wasn’t a true menage. I was so looking forward to that and was bummed when I didn’t get it. If there’s another book coming, I really want these three to be involved romantically and not just “friends with benefits”. I felt sort of detached to the story because of that.
Cookie

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5 Star Review for Anthony & Leo (Frankie’s Series) by Sue Brown #MM #BDSM

CoverTitle: Anthony & Leo (Frankie’s Series)
Author Name & Publisher: Sue Brown (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 25, 2015 – 112 pgs

Synopsis
Watching Marchant train his new sub leaves Tony unhappy at not having found a Dom of his own. Running Marchant’s BDSM club, Tony sees who the Doms prefer and it isn’t him—too big, too old, and too hairy. When his friend Jordan suggests he look outside the club, Tony’s mind turns to Leo, a man he met in a traffic jam. Tony manages to arrange a date and happily learns Leo is funny, very toppy, and not averse to Tony’s lifestyle. As a bonus, Leo sells sex toys.

When tragedy strikes the club, Tony fears he can’t help the mourning club members, but Leo offers his unwavering support. After such a tough start, Tony believes Leo is the Dom he’s been looking for… until he catches him kissing another man.

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Review

FiveStars

This is my favorite book in the series so far. Tony is depressed and lonely, he wants a Dom but no one seems to want him, he is too big, too old and too hairy, more bear like that sub. When a chance meeting on the freeway happens Tony finds Leo attractive but thinks he is straight and has a family. When Jordan and Marchant push Tony to call Leo and go on a date he is hesitant. Leo isn’t a Dom but he is a top and he thinks he can handle Tony and boy does he! This book has more sex than the previous books in the series and it is hot. These two guys are so good and perfect for each other, but Tony isn’t so sure. These two have things to work out and with everyone in their corner they can’t help but make it work.

Angie

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