Category Archives: Bisexual

4 stars for The Haunted Pub by Melanie Tushmore @tushmore_ #Bisexual #MM #Paranormal @LT3Press

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Title: The Haunted Pub
Author Name & Publisher: Melanie Tushmore (Less Than Three)
Publication Date & Length: May 10th, 2016 – 364 Pages

Synopsis

Suffering from depression, and going through a rough time because of it, Fizz’s misery culminates in his parents throwing him out, leaving him with two bags, twenty pounds, and nowhere to go. Desperate, he calls his brother, who takes him to The Queen Anne’s Revenge, where Fizz winds up living in a room that hasn’t had a human inhabitant for more years than anyone can actually count—a room that seems to already have an occupant…

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Review

FourStars

The Haunted Pub is a charming, fun story about a mischievous ghost tormenting a motley group of earnest, gay characters who run a run-down pub in England. There’s an ensemble rather than one pairing, which was a nice surprise, narrated mostly by Ryan, an even-keeled fellow at odds with the weirdness around him.
The story aspires to scary but remains a farce. There are hi-jinks and a bit of camp, and everyone gets a happy ending. It’s even quite sexy.
The story also aspires to some depth, but doesn’t quite get there. Fizz, our introductory character, suffers from clinical depression and suicidal tendencies. His portrayal is realistic enough, but gets too pat a conclusion. There’s also a harrowing account of rape that has meaning but lacks…accountability, somehow.
That makes The Haunted Pub a somewhat guilty pleasure, but a pleasure indeed. Action, drama, scrappy humor, and British accents make a splendid escape for an afternoon’s read.
C. E. Case

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NEW RELEASE: TWO 4 Star Reviews for Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone by Rachel White #FF #Fantasy #Steampunk @LT3Press

CoverTitle: Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone
Author Name & Publisher: Rachel White (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 8, 2016 – 205 pgs

Synopsis

Enne Datchery and Muriel vas Veldina, ex-lovers and witches with a shared apprentice, are tasked by the Citadel, to repair an old grimoire together, despite the fact their relationship is tense at best.

The situation is further complicated when the book is stolen, and tracking down the thief stirs even more of Muriel’s past. It swiftly becomes clear to the two that dealing with their fractured relationship is going to be the easy part of the assignment—if they can live long enough to complete it.

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Review

FourStars

A very different take on witchcraft. This author relied on her characters to relate the story rather than concentrate solely on magical spells or potions.
It was  interesting to hear the plot from two such contrasting points of view. The tension between the two witches was almost palatable.
I enjoyed this novel because of its uniqueness but found it difficult to like one of the main characters, which is why I awarded it four stars.
Chris
FourStars

This was an interesting world, and although we don’t get the reason for why everything is the way it is, there is an underlying order and basis for the way the world works. I really enjoyed Enne and Muriel as witches, and their relationship was fascinating in the way they interacted with each other. It’s very rare to sit in on the end of a relationship, to be able to watch how miscommunication and pride get in the way of the feelings that are still there. The crisis that they have to address forces them to work together, and that closeness makes them each notice the other in different light. It makes them look past their own prejudice about what happened in the relationship and remember what drew them together in the first place. Muriel’s beliefs about balance, made more poignant by her own past wickedness, are an interesting theme within the story. I like this book because it shows that sometimes things work out, that sometimes good things don’t have to end, and yes, that sometimes love conquers all. I definitely liked this book.

AmyP

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New Release: ONE 4.5 Stars, THREE 4 Stars, ONE 5 Star and ONE 3 Star for Lover On Top (Six-Alarm Sexy #3 – Standalone) by Kristine Cayne #MM #Romance @KristineCayne

Lover on Top FinalTitle: Lover On Top (Six-Alarm Sexy #3 – Standalone)
Author Name: Kristine Cayne
Publication Date & Length: May 2, 2016 – 110,000 Words

Synopsis

A straight firefighter discovers an irresistible attraction for his best friend’s younger brother—one that could lead to complete disaster.

A perpetual bachelor, firefighter lieutenant Hollywood Wright hops from one woman’s bed to another, searching for something he never finds. Has his father’s emotional and physical abuse somehow damaged him? Or is something else going on, something that involves the intense and uncomfortable feelings aroused by his best friend’s little brother?

Sexy-as- sin paramedic Chad Caldwell has always been out and proud. Sure, some gay-bashers are harassing him, but he’s determined to be true to himself. There’s just one problem: He’s hung up on Hollywood, his older brother’s straight best friend. When Hollywood’s apartment is damaged by fire, Chad reluctantly takes him in. Will Chad’s heart survive such close proximity to a man who’s both unattainable and everything Chad wants?

To their mutual surprise, Hollywood finds Chad and his world fascinating—and much hotter than anything he’s ever experienced. But with a rabidly homophobic father, is Hollywood doomed to die in the closet? Chad won’t accept anything less than a public relationship, no matter how amazing the sex is. Can Hollywood ever accept the man he’s always kept buried deep inside?

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Review

FourandHalfStars

I know this says that it can be read standalone, but I recommend the series – you will gain so much more knowing all of the characters.  I am so happy that Chad finally got his own story.  However, I was slightly disappointed in the story too.  I guess I had built up, in my own world, how his story would pan out and this was not it.  Despite those preconceived notions, I still enjoyed it.

Chad is out, proud and not afraid to tell people how it is.  However, due to his job, he is finding that not everyone is OK with his attitude.  He has been the victim of vandalism, hatred and gay slurs.  Not only that, but he has also been the victim of some violence.  Despite that, he keeps his head held high – after all, he has a supportive family who would tear anyone who messed with him apart.  He loves his job, he loves his family and he loves Hollywood…well, all but the last are not issues.

Hollywood is another story entirely.  Not only is he known for being intolerant, he also has a huge stick up his a**.  He is crass, mean, a closeted alcoholic and his biggest issue is that he can’t seem to get Chad out of his head.  When his own stupidity lands him at Chad’s apartment as a temporary roommate, he learns more about himself and discovers that he’s not all that likeable.

With a history like Hollywood has, he has to either buck up and be true to himself or hide away and never be happy.  I found that his ups and downs were very difficult.  He swung high and low like he was taking uppers and downers – and he dragged poor Chad along for the ride.  I found the apologies to be somewhat juvenile and Hollywood’s uncertainty somewhat painful to read.  Yes, he had a difficult past – but that does not mean that he has not turned in to a stand up guy who can make his own choices.

The antagonist in this story was very predictable and even with the predictability, I still found that I liked the story.  I do wish that we had been able to see further in to their relationship, but I am crossing my fingers that more will come from Cayne.

AvidReader

ThreeStar

I think this is this author’s first attempt at MM. She brought together a hot firefighter named Hollywood and a younger paramedic named Chad. Hollywood is Chad’s older brother’s best friend and Chad has a crush on him. Too bad Hollywood is straight.
Of course like most MM books, the “straight” guy isn’t always so straight. I liked these two characters well enough to finish the book. With that said, I won’t be rereading cause it just wasn’t that exciting for me. It deals with some past abuse about Hollywood and poor Chad gets a hot and cold answer from him, which got annoying.
I also wish the cover was better.
Cookie
FourStars
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and this book was really good. I understand that this author primarily writes M/F books but I loved her M/M romance and she should consider writing more M/M romance. This book had real depth and I loved Chad and Hollywood. The secondary characters were great also, even though I’ve never read any of the other books in this series. I really loved Chad’s family and was glad they supported Hollywood. This was an excellent book on self-discovery and most of all love.
Lynn
FourStars

When I requested this book, I didn’t think much beyond the “Sexy” in the title and the firefighters in the picture. I was hoping for sexy firefighters and I wasn’t expecting much more.  So I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and the depth of character development.  
Hollywood and Chad are very sexy, but they are also complicated and their romance is well developed.   Hollywood’s gay-for-you story is almost believable (and I usually take some convincing).  I enjoyed the other characters in this story enough to look for other books in the series.  Chad’s family is fantastic and I can’t wait to read each of his siblings’ stories.  
While the storyline with Hollywood’s father was more than a little exaggerated and one of our leading men does end up in hospital (my least favourite and most overused m/m plot device), there is heart as well as heat here and I really enjoyed the story.  

Sarah

FourStars

Although I haven’t read books 1 & 2, it seems each book can be read as a stand-alone. There were parts that would be better understood if the books are read in order. That being said, I thought this book was wonderful. At times. You will get your HEA. Always a plus in my book. I just didn’t care for who the bad guy was and how that played out. The topic of counseling should have been pursued. I received a free copy of this book from Inked Rainbow Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

I love Chad! He is the all-around fun loving guy you want to be friends with. He’s confident, strong-minded, sweet and funny. He has been out and proud since his early teens. He has also had a crush a Hollywood “Nate” since around that time as well. Because of Chad’s sexuality he becomes the focus of someone’s hate crimes in town. And when things get really bad, he reaches out to Hollywood for help.

I like Hollywood. But he is the type of person I would approach with kid gloves. I feel for Hollywood. What he needs is a great counselor. He should have sought out someone in his early twenties for all the abuse he suffered by his Father while he was growing up. In doing that he could have discovered his true self earlier in life and he wouldn’t have turned to alcohol to hide his feelings. Much the same way his Father did.

After a fire in his kitchen, the water damage is too extensive for Hollywood to stay. At the urging of his friend and partner, Chad offers his spare room to Hollywood. Soon after he moves in, Hollywood is unsure how to deal with the sudden feelings he has for Chad. When his Father gives him a “friendly” reminder of events that happened when he was a child, he begins to recall all his repressed memories of his childhood best friend.

I know at times it seems like the story may drag a bit, but, I think it was important for Hollywood to go through all the emotions he did, the way he did. That’s what we as humans do. Some more than others. We process differently. I found it hard to believe the Fire Chief was able to get away with all the crap he did. But, I’m also from small town America where that kind of crap wasn’t unheard of. It just sickens me. That’s why I left.

Kris

FiveStars

Wow….talk about HOT!!! Who does not love a fire fighter and fire fighter EMT. I have to say that I just loved this book.

Chad is the persona of a sexy fire fighter EMT. He is sexy, confident, and he is out and proud gay. I believe that it takes a truly remarkable individual to be out and proud in what some would consider “a mans job”. I think that he is even more remarkable after all the crap that he has had to put up with when it comes to harassment by an anonymous homophobic ignorant individual/individuals. He is trying to let all of the harassment role off his shoulders and stand by his convictions with the help of fellow work mates and family/friends. It takes a remarkable person to insure the things that he indures on a constant basis and still have a love for life.

Hollywood has not had an easy life with who he has a father. He was abusive mentally, emotionally, and physically. He is also homophobic. So it is no wonder it took Hollywood so long to except his feelings for another man. He wants to be with Chad but he lets fear guard his heart and he pushes and pulls so much I don’t know whether Hollywood even knows if he is coming or going. The question is can he decide how he truly feels and stand by it before it is too late and he loses Chad?

This book is a perfect example of how hard it is for some people to be truly free to feel the things that they feel. It is not always an easy journey to get to where we would like to be but if we are strong like these characters are then we may find our happily ever after.

Tosha

Excerpt

Hands gripping his head, Hollywood paced back and forth between Chad and the neighboring building, like a caged lion. “I’m confused. It’s your fault. You and your tight ass.

Your tattoos. And don’t get me started on your little twink boyfriend.”

“My boyfriend?” There was no way Chad could follow Hollywood’s leaps of logic.

“Fucking cowboy told me about it. You slept with Blondie. It was that same night with Candy, wasn’t it?”

Chad clenched his jaw. “Sandy.”

“Who the fuck cares?” Hollywood shouted.

“Why are you so upset?” Chad asked. “You’re straight.”

“I don’t know what the fuck I am. You’ve got me watching gay porn. Fantasizing about—”

Hollywood gritted his teeth together and rubbed his face with both hands. The sound of his stubble scraping against his palms had Chad’s heartrate shooting up. Even when he was a mess, Hollywood was hot.

“What do you fantasize about?” Chad couldn’t help asking any more than he could help the rasp in his voice.

Hollywood stopped his pacing, hesitated, then advanced on Chad. Each step slow and deliberate. Chad sucked a breath into suddenly deflated lungs. Oh God. He was so fucking turned on. And what kind of slut did that make him? He didn’t know if Hollywood was going to kiss him or beat the shit out of him. All he knew was that he needed to find out.

With rough movements, Hollywood gripped the sides of Chad’s head. “I can’t think of anything except kissing you. Your lips, are they soft or hard? How would your stubble feel against my skin? What do you taste like? It’s driving me crazy.” He stared into Chad’s eyes.

“You are driving me crazy.”

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Filed under 3 Star, 4 Star, 4.5 Stars, 5 Star, AvidReader, Bisexual, Cookie, Kris, Lynn, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah, Tosha

New Release: 4.5 Star Review for In The Present Tense by Carrie Pack #Bisexual #ScienceFiction @carriepack

 In the Present Tense 1600px (Smashwords, Amazon)Title: In The Present Tense
Author Name & Publisher: Carrie Pack (Interlude Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 19, 2016 – 336 pgs

Synopsis

Miles Lawson goes to sleep dreaming of a future with his boyfriend Adam, but wakes to find he is married to Ana, an acquaintance from high school. When he learns he has been time traveling, Miles is consumed with finding a cure for his rare condition—and finding his first love. But will he be able to convince Adam he is telling the truth before it’s too late?

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Review

FourandHalfStars

In the Present Tense is an exciting time travel adventure and great romance. This is my first book by Carrie Pack, but I plan to read more!
The three main characters in this story are well developed with rich histories that span many years. It really helps bring them to life. The time travel aspect is crazy and topsy-turvy, as anyone should expect if they’re fans of time travel books. I can see how some readers might find this kind of thing confusing, but I love it. The pacing is perfect, and the story is very engaging.
There are a few questions left unanswered, and that’s my only complaint about this book. I am really hoping there will be a sequel to tie up the loose ends, but I haven’t seen one mentioned anywhere. This is a romantic story but is not sexually explicit. I don’t recommend it to someone looking for a highly erotic romance.
I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a strong time-travel sci-fi story with romantic drama.
Amanda

Excerpt

Miles sat there and tried to make out shapes and colors in the dark room as he searched his brain for a memory of anything.

Nothing looked familiar. His desk, his drum set, the sheets—all gone. Not one thing looked the way it had when he’d fallen asleep, and Ana certainly hadn’t been in his bed.

He tried to replay the previous day’s events, but everything seemed fuzzy, like a fogged bathroom mirror that he couldn’t wipe clean.

Why was everything so fuzzy?

Last night… What happened last night?

Adam had come over and they were watching TV together, and Adam had given him a small stuffed giraffe because Miles was scared about having surgery. He reached for his left arm, expecting to find the cast that had been there for the last two months, but it wasn’t there. His heart began to beat so loudly he glanced over at Ana to make sure she was still asleep.

Unable to determine what had happened to his cast, Miles resumed his tally of the previous evening’s chain of events. At around ten-thirty, his mom said Adam had to leave because they had to get up early to go to the hospital. He had taken his pain meds and gone to sleep with the phantom of Adam’s goodnight kiss on his cheek. He’d been happy.

He’d gotten a text from Ana earlier in the evening, but she was only wishing him luck with the surgery. She hadn’t come over. In fact, as far as Miles knew, Ana had been several hours away in her dorm room.

So how had she gotten into his bedroom? And who had changed his sheets?

He threw off the covers and stood up, noticing he was only wearing a tight-fitting pair of boxer briefs instead of his usual basketball shorts.

He looked around the room for anything familiar, but it was still dark out, and all he could see were shadows and vague shapes. On the dresser opposite the bed, he found a few framed photos.

Squinting to see without turning on a light, Miles studied the images carefully.

As his eyes focused, he recognized a couple of the photos. One was from last year’s prom: Adam wearing that ridiculous corsage Miles had bought him, Ana being dipped by her date, David, as all four of them smiled widely in front of a cheesy faux tropical scene. One of the frames held a collage of photos of his and Ana’s friends. He recognized Adam, Lucky, Antonio, Dahlia and Brienne. But the last one, the largest of all the photos, was of him and Ana—her in a flowing white dress and him in a black suit, both wearing broad smiles and flanked by Miles’s parents and a woman Miles had only seen once: Julia Espinosa, Ana’s mother.

A loud clatter echoed through the bedroom as the frame hit the edge of the dresser and fell to the hardwood floor. This wasn’t his room, and he didn’t remember that photo being taken.

“Go back to sleep,” Ana mumbled, her voice muffled by the pillow.

“Ana,” he whispered, risking her full anger, but unable to stop himself, “we’re married.”

“Thanks for the update. Now go back to sleep before I divorce your dumb ass.”

He dropped to the floor on his knees, barely even noticing the sharp pain of bare skin hitting the hard surface.

Married. To Ana?

What the hell had happened?

AuthorInterview

  • Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?

I have a really great office where I could write, but to be honest, I often end up writing on my couch. I try to get in a few words whenever I can and I keep my laptop next to me. I usually have a cat or two trying to get my attention or lounging across my keyboard. That makes for some interesting typos.

 

  • Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?

I relate to Ana in In the Present Tense because she’s protective of her family but also pretty independent. She tries her best in every area of her life, to the point of being a bit of a perfectionist, but, because she’s human, falls short sometimes. I also understand her need to help her husband get better when his mental illness worsens. I would do anything for my loved ones. And that’s Ana at her core.

 

  • If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?

Well, because I’m not yet a full-time author, I get to follow my other passion, which is teaching. I’m a part-time instructor at a local liberal arts college, where I teach media and advertising courses. It’s fun to see students harness their own creativity and grow as adults. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, but I still hate grading.

 

  • Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?

That it’s okay to be a pantser instead of a plotter. I think George R. R. Martin said something once in an interview about how some writers are gardeners; they plant their seeds and let the story grow, while others are architects and plan everything down to the last doorknob. I think it’s a better description than the pantser vs. plotter thing because as Martin says, gardeners still know if they planted flowers or cabbage. They still have an idea of what is going to grow, even if they don’t know the exact shape the plant will take. I may fly by the seat of my pants, but I’ve flown before.

 

  • Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?

Of course. I think that’s natural for all writers. But in this particular case, that’s what sequels are for. I can’t tell you what I wish I could change because I’m going to use it when I revisit these characters in the future.

 

  • How do you come up with new ideas for your story?

I wish I knew because then I could bottle it and keep it around for when my idea well is dry. Usually, though, I get ideas from my own life and my personal interests. My first novel, Designs On You, was about my former career in graphic design. In the Present Tense was inspired by my love of time travel stories and the stigma of mental illness. And my next book is inspired by early ’90s feminism.

 

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m already deep into my next novel, a YA story that takes place during the early ’90s feminist movement known as Riot Grrrl. I love the music from that era, and because I sort of missed the boat on the full impact of Riot Grrrl —I was just a couple years too young to have been a Riot Grrrl—I wanted to write a love story about that time.

 

  • Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?

I live in Florida, which I often call America’s Wang because it’s such a ridiculous place and also disgustingly hot and humid. It’s also home so it definitely influences what I write. In fact, In the Present Tense takes place in Central Florida.

 

  • What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?

I am a huge fan of high fantasy. I admire the world building that goes into the genre and the commitment to inventing worlds that are completely different from our own. I write things that I know and sprinkle fiction on it. I know the world I’m writing in because I live in it, even if I’m adding fantastical elements. It’s a lot like making a cake from a box mix. It’s still baking, but the ingredients are already blended together and ready to go. You just have to add to it. But high fantasy requires a deft hand and the right ingredients or you don’t have cake at all. Of course, that’s fine too because you might be making brownies.

 

  • Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?

Pizza. Iced coffee. Red lipstick. Lifetime movies. Can’t say no to any of those.

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TWO 5 Star and TWO 4.5 Star Reviews for Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) by Avon Gale #MM #Romance @avongalewrites

CoverTitle: Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Avon Gale (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 29, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His new roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences.Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. While trying to financially help Ethan, Riley must hide his family’s wealth so as not to hurt Ethan’s immense pride. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.

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Review

FiveStars

Another winner all around…the hockey, the players, the team, the romance, the sex, the couples, the secondary characters (new, past & current), pizza & coconut water, and of course, Riley and Ethan. This is a long list, but that is because the whole story is a winner.
These two are a perfect pair on and off the ice. On the ice, Ethan is the team enforcer and protector, and everyone knows you do NOT mess with another team’s goalie, especially Riley, his goalie. Off the ice, these two are opposites. Riley drinks coconut water, Ethan drinks Pepsi. Riley comes from a loveless, cold family where Ethan comes from the best family anyone could want or have. Ethan is a tattooed muscle fighter and Riley is quite bendy (which leads Ethan’s imagination wild). They both though find are easy to love, enjoy kissing, eating pizza and play video games.
This was a low angst read that never made you want to set this down. Ethan’s family gets the Best Supporting Characters Award as his mom and sisters are just what everyone needs in their life. I cried happy tears seeing that they brought Riley in as member of one of their own, from hugs to cheer signs. Avon Gale writes with such enthusiasm for hockey, always an outstanding cast of characters, a journey of self discovery while developing a loving relationship and of course, very HOT smexy times. So I am greedy, I cannot pick one or the other as a favorite so I will just take both Ethan and Riley and the hockey!!
Keri

FiveStarsI love a book when two men that are supposedly straight realize that they are attracted to each other and that it is ok. U add in the fact the book is also about hockey and u have yourself a hit,

We met Riley in book 1 and and he had told Lane durning one of the conversations that he did not consider himself not gay but he did not consider himself straight either, it was more of a I don’t know what I am. Well in book 2 Riley finally figured that out when him and a fellow teammate Ethan started being roommates and Ethan figured out that not only did he not have a problem with gay people but he may also be gay too. Or at least gay for Riley.

I loved these two characters so much. They truly complimented one another even though they both come from completely different backgrounds.

Riley comes from a family that is extremely wealthy and his family are not close to one another at all.

Ethan comes from a family that is not rich with money but rich in other ways such as him being extremely close to his mom and sisters.

The other has always wanted what the other has. Ethan wants more money cause he wants to support his family and not rely on anyone else and Riley would give up all his money to have the kind of family that Ethan has.

This is such a wonderful read. It is about two guys who learn from the other. Riley is insecure about not having family and about others knowing he has money and thinking that the things he accomplishes is not on his merit but the money. Ethan does not want to ever be beholden to anyone else and take a chance of owing someone for it. They teach each other to let go of those insecurities and to grab on to what matters, each other.

Avon Gale does such an amazing job with her books and getting the points across. Avon has a gift to not only bring love to her characters but excitement to each book also. This book was such a great read and cannot wait to read book 3.

~Tosha
FourandHalfStars
This book was another great book by an author that has just moved to my automatic buy list. The characters, Ethan and Riley, have such complexity and emotion. I also love that this book is based on my favorite sport, hockey. This was a light read about two bisexual men who come together via their love for hockey. Avon Gale is an excellent writer that always seems to inject life into the story. I loved Ethan’s family but immediately fell in love with Ethan, who we hardly got to know in book 1, Breakaway. I loved Riley in Breakaway and was so glad that he got his own story. This book was quite clearly about hockey and the friendship and love of two good men. I would definitely recommend this book even if you don’t love hockey.
Lynn
FourandHalfStars

4.5 Stars

I really enjoyed the fact that these were two men who were straight before they met each other, even if they had thought about other men in a way that could possibly make them not so straight. It was encouraging to see them both simply accept the attraction for what it was instead of fighting it tooth and nail.

The story that goes with the romance is awesome too. I love the way the hockey is interwoven into the story and adds to it instead of distracting from the two men’s relationship. The way they both are there to support each other in every way the other needs is great.

I just really enjoyed this story even if at time I felt like we were left a little behind with the time passage not always being so clear.

Renee

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THREE 5 stars and ONE 4.5 star for Torn: A Bi-Erotic Novella by E. B. Barrett @storiesbyEB #bisexual #erotic #BDSM

25547906

Title: Torn: A Bi-Erotic Novella
Author Name & Publisher: E. B. Barrett
Publication Date & Length: May 13, 2015 — 113 Pages

Synopsis

Fresh from college graduation and his girlfriend’s decision to leave him, James Stevenson spends a summer in Amsterdam coping with unrequited love and the challenge of his identity. Trapped within family and social expectations, he finds himself still in love with Amee and unable to express his desire for the brilliant, compassionate Professor Joshua Thomas. As James works through his past and present, we follow him on an emotional and sexual journey of self-acceptance.

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Review

FiveStars

Torn is such an appropriate name for this book. When I first started reading it I kept wondering what is the deal. Is he gay, bi-curious, straight, what? Then as I read a couple of the chapters it became clear to me, James was asking himself the same questions. He was questioning his attraction to his girlfriend at the time Amee and the fact that he was open to trying the new ideas that she wanted to try. I think that Amee played a huge role in James life and him figuring out what his true self was. Amee questioned what she liked as far as sexually and brought James along for the ride. Of course Amee being more open minded with herself then James was with himself…. She found her way quicker then he did. Along with doing that she realized that James was not only attracted to her but to also me and she did not have a problem with that. She encouraged James to find himself as far as sexually where men was concerned and figured out he would not do that if they stayed together. So she ended the relationship but not their friendship or her support. And she made it known that the door would always be open for him.

James had a harder time excepting himself then Amee did but he knew with it a doubt that he loved Amee but that he was in love with Joshua his former professor.

Joshua was another strong role in this book. He is gay but he too excepted that James was Bi and that yes they may be in a relationship with one another but that Amee gave James something that he could not and he was excepting and encouraging of it.

This book was written beautifully and took you through the confusion of trying figure out where one could be happy with who they are without feeling guilty for it. It is an amazing story. I can honestly imagine someone going through something like this in real life and worrying about being happy with who they are and excepted for who they are instead of what they want. E.B. Barrett did an amazing job on this book. Loved it from start to finish.

~Tosha

FiveStars

Elegant, flawless writing, exquisitely crafted characters and a completely filthy imagination make for an unforgettable story.  In fact, this might just be the most powerful erotic story I can remember reading.

On one level, this is a new adult story of self-discovery.  At college, James’ girlfriend pushes him beyond his comfort zone as she drags him along on her quest to find her kink.  After college, James pursues a crush on a former professor as he explores his own kinks in Amsterdam.

The struggle of a mathematical genius to find his place in the world is also the struggle of the bisexual young adult to discover his sexual identity while forming the relationships that will shape his life.   

I think my reaction to this story was so powerful because the author made me care fiercely for James, for Amee in all her guises, and for our good professor.  This is sexier because of the humanity the writer brings to her characters.  

I love the lack of judgement, the strong relationships that exist beyond the boundaries of heteronormative structures and I love the range of imaginative sexual encounters in this story.  I recommend this for readers who enjoy erotica but find themselves unmoved by formulaic BDSM stories full of recycled characters and scenarios.  This is different and I absolutely loved it.  

~Sarah

FiveStars

This book in my opinion is awesome! The author really hit on what I think a lot of our younger generation questions about themselves. I think it’s only natural to question which sex you’re attracted to. I also think it’s only natural to experiment when you’re young.

James and Amee do that. Amee really pushes James to go outside his box. As the 2 lovers experiment, Amee discovers she is a Dominatrix and James hasn’t lost the love he felt for his professor, Joseph.

The 2 part ways so Amee can pursue her dominant side and James can try to find what/who makes him happy. We are taken on a journey between his past and present self as James discovers who he is and how to accept himself for loving the people he loves.

The story is well written and keeps the reader engaged to the end. I had some serious Aha moments myself while reading this story. I love when I can read a book and it makes me question myself or something I believe about myself. That’s great.

~Kris

FourandHalfStars

This was written more like a nonfiction memoir than a fictional story to me, but that’s what made it so excellent to me. It was raw and real and sexy and honest.
James is trying to figure out who he is and what to do about the feelings he has. I have to say that I loved the erotic encounters that he has while he is also growing and learning what he wants and needs. There is a dual love story we see, but I have to say I preferred the one with Joshua over Amee. I felt like we missed out on some of the love that was there between James and Amee because she was so focused on finding herself. However, I did feel that there was something special between them, but the emotional connection and feelings really shown through for James and Joshua.
This was an excellent story about a man discovering himself and acknowledging that he was bisexual, not gay and hiding, not straight hetero, but somewhere between and being okay with that.
Renee

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New Release: 5 stars, 3.5 stars, and 3 stars for Feather Fall (Spell Slave #2) by Evelyn Elliott #MM #Fantasy

FeatherFallFSTitle: Feather Fall (Spell Slave #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Evelyn Elliott (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 22, 2016 – 260 pgs

Synopsis

Hero and criminal. Brute force and subtle charm. Jonathan White and Crow Belcane are polar opposites, but if they want to rescue the man they both love, they’ll have to work together.

After visiting his former lover, Crow knows only one thing: he loves Regis and he will do anything to reclaim him. But before his very eyes, Regis is abducted. Kidnapped by high-end slavers. Only Regis’s infuriating partner, Jonathan—a dangerous vigilante—is willing to help.

To infiltrate the slave ring, Jonathan and Crow disguise themselves as master and pet. As a slave, Crow is pushed to his limit. He’s chained, branded, whipped, and forced to obey Jonathan’s every order. But the longer he spends at Jonathan’s feet, the more natural his disguise begins to feel—and the more he likes it. As much as he hates Jonathan, they make a good team.

Both of them are devoted to Regis. Despite the overwhelming attraction between them, Jonathan is unwilling to betray his partner, and Crow is unwilling to come between them. But once the three of them are together again, all bets are off.

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Review

FiveStars

This is the type of book that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole book. I could not stop reading it once I started. It was adventurous, it was maddening, it was truly amazing.

At first I really though that Crow was going to be a selfish jerk. I thought he was going to do what he had to do to split up Regis and Jonathan. I thought he was manipulating and heartless. But I was completely wrong about him. He turned out to be very honorable and a true friend. He was willing to break his own heart and give his life for the two men that he loved. He was also going to keep it to himself that he loved them both because he did not want to cause them any problems. I believe that Crow thinks that he does not deserve to be loved because his “mother” created him from a crow so therefore in his eyes he is a monster without a heart.

Jonathan is the one that I really liked in this story. No matter how hard it seemed he tried he fell in love with Crow even though he loved Regis. He felt guilty about it but he accepted that he loved Crow even though he was not he did not plan to act on it and hurt Regis. He tried to be noble. He tried to avoid those feelings but I believe that they are much stronger then lust as far as what he feels for Crow.

Regis in a way kind of upset me because he acts like the time between the three of them is only temporary even though he has both of these men falling over themselves to try to make him happy and let’s not forget to rescue him. He is in my opinion kind of selfish because he never admits that he loves Crow and makes everything out to be nothing more then wanting them to ok sleep together and get it out of their system. He even tells Crow as much and I think that even though nothing was ever said it was hurtful to Crow because he was basically nothing more then a hole to feel to make Regis’s lust go away. As I said was not to impressed with him as far as relationship went where Crow is concerned. As a whole I think he is a good person but he is definitely flawed.

I really hope there is another bookin this series because I feel there is so much more to this story. And I cannot wait to see where everything goes between the three of them and I want to see if Regis can change my mind about him.

~Tosha

ThreeStar

Ok, so, I love reading menages…but this one wasn’t really a MMM. The synopsis hinted that it was, but really, the three MCs doesn’t get together til the very end. AND, they’re not even together as a true menage. It’s  more like 2 guys (the couple) plus 1 guy.
Regis is a powerful magic user who gets kidnapped. How he gets kidnapped when he’s supposed to be powerful is a wonder to me. Anyway, Regis is in a relationship with Jonathan, and used to be in a relationship with Crow. Crow and Jon teams up to find Regis and during their little search, they realize that they’re also attracted to each other. I liked the sexual tension between them. I was rooting for it. but somewhere along the way, the story got sorta confusing to me. They did a lot of things that they could have easily avoided. I think they suck as an investigative team. lol.
I can only give this 3 stars. I loved the fantasy world buildup, and I liked Jon and Crow…if they’re a single couple. I didn’t connect well with Regis. This wasn’t a MMM I was looking forward to. I guess book 3 will have more of the three of them together. Maybe I’ll read it just for Crow.
~Cookie
ThreeandHalfStars

NOTE: Despite it being marketed as a MMM, I would argue this is M/M with potential for MMM that doesn’t happen in this story.

Hmmm, where to start?  First off, I have not read the previous story.  I kind of felt that you needed to read the first story in order to truly understand where the characters were coming from and what was going on at the very beginning of book two.  So, I would conclude that I was lost at the beginning of book two.

This just was OK for me.  The build up was intense and there were a lot of emotions throughout the story, however, I had a difficult time connecting with the characters.

Jonathan is somewhat conflicted throughout this story.  He loves Regis, and despite his kicking and screaming (inside), he falls for Crow as well.  He seems to be somewhat broody and was definitely not warm and fuzzy.  However, he is admirable and noble, tries very hard to stick to his own moral code and allows the guilt to eat at him throughout the story.

Then you have Crow.  At the beginning, it seemed that Crow was going to be the lose canon on this book.  However, he was just as noble and honorable as Jonathan.  He demonstrated what true love could be – a loss for him and a gain for someone else.  He was willing to sacrifice his happiness, morals and life for those he loved.  All throughout this story, you catch hints of what Crow had with Regis, but the story is somewhat muddled by what he is now feeling for Jonathan.  Crow struggles with how he can love more than one man.

Finally, you have Regis.  For being powerful, we never truly grasp an understanding as to how the slavers are able to capture and keep Regis.  I felt his part in the story was minimal at best, despite the other two characters pining after him.  I didn’t really understand why – he seemed the most selfish and petty of the three characters.  He also seemed to be the most demanding of the characters.  Even though he has a history with Crow, Regis seems to throw those feelings, that relationship away – he’s more invested in Jonathan right now…that’s the key though, he’s invested right now.  In the brief glimpse we see of Regis, it seems to me his character would be the most fickle when it comes to keeping a partner – he doesn’t really feel invested in his relationship with Jonathan.

So, while this book had great potential, I just didn’t really get in to it in the end.  The sexual tension between Jonathan and Crow is high, but nothing ever really comes of it – a small scene that was anticlimatic for me.  Oh well, can’t love them all.

~AvidReader

Excerpt

Crow followed Jonathan to the lodging house. Jonathan looked like he was going to explode with rage the entire walk home. Crow prayed they didn’t come across anyone looking for a fight.

When they strode in, the woman at the counter scowled. “Your boy’s only been gone two days,” she said to Jonathan. “Already bringing whores home?”

Jonathan waved her away. “He’s a friend, Marta.”

“Friend,” she muttered. “Yeah, all right.” She sniffed. “Long as you send him on his way when you’re done with him. Don’t want him harassing my patrons.” She bustled down the hall.

Crow stared after her in shock.

“She thought you were a prostitute,” Jonathan said helpfully. He opened the door, then locked it behind Crow. Immediately, he went to the back door and swept it open. He went into the garden and hugged Chartreuse around her neck. His grip was white, and his entire body was rigid. “Fucking slavers,” he muttered. “Fucking disgusting.”

Crow leaned against the doorway, arms folded. “Why did the innkeeper think I was a prostitute? Do you often pick up whores?”

Jonathan rolled his eyes at the joke. But he relaxed a little, and he went back inside with Crow. He shut the door. His fingers rested on the knob. “So,” he said.

“So,” Crow said.

Jonathan looked away, hands clenched. “I need a favor.”

“A favor?”

“Will you teach me how to—” Jonathan grimaced. “How to be charming.”

“What?”

“Charming,” Jonathan said, like his teeth were being pulled. “It’s just this—this thing you do. I mean, let’s be honest with each other for a moment. You’re a terrible person, and yet every single person that meets you instantly likes you. How do you do that? Show me. I need to improve my acting skills.”

Crow didn’t want to teach Jonathan anything. But they were in this mess together, and if Jonathan slipped up and ruined his disguise, then they would both be in terrible danger. Crow saw on the bed. “Fine. Come here.”

Jonathan circled the bed like a wary animal. He sat far away from Crow.

“First lesson,” Crow said. “Body language.”

“What? Why does that matter?”

“You need to relax. If you look nervous, everyone else will become nervous, too.”

“I don’t feel relaxed,” Jonathan groaned.

“You don’t have to feel relaxed. You have to look relaxed.” Crow leaned against the headboard and splayed his legs. “See? Like this.”

“I can’t fake it the way you can.” Jonathan popped his fingers, then cracked his neck. He stretched his legs out, then touched his toes. Finally, he rolled his shoulders and let out a breath.

He did seem a little less tense now.

“Good,” Crow said. “Now. Lesson two. Just be nice. Observe people. Give them compliments. Listen to what they say. It’s easy.”

“Really?”

“Of course. I mean, that’s how I seduced you the night I met you.”

And the room became weirdly silent.

The night they’d met. Right. The night Crow had waltzed in, spent a few minutes talking to Jonathan, and then stripped his pants off. Crow winced. It was probably a raw wound for Jonathan, considering the fact Crow had—at the time—been part of a plot to kill him. He shifted to the middle of the bed. He crossed his legs. “Look at me.”

“What?”

“I want to teach you about sexual tension. It’s important. We need to investigate the House of Red Silk, but if we stall too long, Madam Karis might realize we’re up to no good. You must keep her attention. If she becomes impatient, pretend to be interested in a slave.”

“Interested? How do I do that?”

“Like this.” Crow leaned in. He lowered his eyelashes and tilted his head a little. His gaze slowly went from Jonathan’s hands, to his chest, then—ever so slowly—he met Jonathan’s eyes and held them. The air between them felt thin as paper, as though if he moved one inch closer, the barrier between them would tear.

Jonathan jerked back.

His face was unreadable, but his eyes were wide, pupils blown. Crow put his hand on Jonathan’s arm, and Jonathan jerked. “Tension is a sense of anticipation,” Crow said. “Stretch out that moment. Make it clear you want him.”

Jonathan skirted away to the edge of the bed. “Oh, come on,” Crow said. “If you can’t do it with me, how are you going to do it with a stranger?”

“I keep thinking about that time you threatened to skin me,” Jonathan snapped.

“That happened once.”

The light outside had faded. Twilight lit the garden. Crow felt exhausted from his façade.

He got up to draw the curtains.

“No, wait,” Jonathan said. “I….”

Crow glanced back.

Jonathan had a painfully awkward look on his face. He blew out his breath. “Sorry. You’re right.” He got up. He rubbed his face. When his hand moved away, his expression was cool again. He scanned Crow’s face, then—hesitantly—touched Crow’s jaw, then his collarbone.

He crowded Crow against the wall. Their chests didn’t touch, not quite.

Heat flickered through Crow’s body, and he was aware, powerfully aware, of how long it had been since he’d trusted someone to touch him. He shuddered.

Then Jonathan pulled away. “Like that?”

“Yeah,” Crow said. “Like that.”

Jonathan shut up and went to bed. He lay fully clothed on the mattress, alone by himself.

Crow swept up a pile of blankets and dumped them on the floor by the wall. He burrowed into his little nest and closed his eyes. He didn’t sleep. Where was Regis? Locked in a cage somewhere? Sold?

AuthorInterview

  • Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?

Outside, beneath a tree. I love sitting the shade while I write.

  • Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?

I’ve always related the most to Regis, because Regis is an enormous dick and so I am.

  • If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?

To be honest, I can’t imagine that at all. I can remember writing as far back as I remember, and it’s been such a huge influence on my personality that I would be a totally different person without it.

  • Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?

Ira Glass said it best in his famous quote. “For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. […] A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. […] It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

  • Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?

No, I don’t think so. I suppose that makes me unusual, but I’ve moved on to other things.

  • How do you come up with new ideas for your story?

Other books and stories, definitely. I’ll see something I like and latch onto it.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

The next book in the series! J But right now, mostly vodka.

  • Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?

Ha. I live in the Midwest, the land of farmers and silence. So I suppose I invent fantasy worlds to entertain myself, definitely.

  • What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?

Gosh, so many. I’d have to say science fiction. I’ve never read it, but I love it.

  • Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?

No. I skimp, I save money, I pinch pennies—and then the moment I walk into a bookstore, of course, it’s time to spend, baby, spend.

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THREE 5 Star and 3.5 Star Reviews for Sunset Park (Five Boroughs #2) by Santino Hassell #MM #Romance @SantinoHassell @Dreamspinners

1.5

Title: Sunset Park (Five Boroughs #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Santino Hassell (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: December 11, 2015 – 230 pgs

Synopsis

Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

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Review

FiveStars

Sunset park is a book that made me laugh, made me mad, made me sad, and made me want to smack some sense in to the main characters.

Ray is 25 years old and in some ways he still acts like he is 16. He has a “I don’t give a flip about anyone thinks about me” but I believe nothing can be farther from the truth. My opinion of Ray is he is insecure about himself. He believes that everyone looks at him and sees that he has not accomplished as much as the next person so he is down on himself and believes that he can not compete with others in this aspect. He is Bicurious and he is fallen head o we heals for his new roommate David.

David is completely different from Ray. He grew up in a home where his parents accepted him for who he is rather then who he sleeps with. Ray is out and proud and doesn’t hide it from anyone.

I am not going to lie and say that there was not times through out this book that I did not want to wring David’s neck because for all the steps forward that Ray took I felt as if Ray was trying to have his cake and eat it too. The reason I say this is because David cannot cut lose his ex and it seems as if he stringing both Ray and his ex along. He won’t let Caleb go because he represents the perfect boyfriend on paper whereas Ray was hot, funny, carefree, and all around a good time.

I found myself rooting for Ray to come out ahead and prove his worth not only to himself but everyone else also because from what I gathered there was a lot more to Ray then what everyone could see. Beneath it all he was loving, caring, and smart. He would also do anything for David and I thought David was just to blind to see that.

This was a great book and now I am ready for book three so I can see what is going to happen in it.

Great job Santino on another Home run with this book
Tosha
ThreeandHalfStars

David and Raymond… when you look up the definition of drama – their story appears.They have a sweet story, but there is so much drama that I found it hard to enjoy the actual story behind the drama.  You have ex-lovers who are still in their lives, miscommunications galore, hidden feelings, scared of commitment issues…

It’s all a lot to take in when the real story would have been so much nicer had there not been so much drama behind it.

The secondary characters just added to the drama, so they were not great for me either.  And, while you do get a HEA, it is a very long and winding road to arrive there.

Overall, this was just an OK story for me because there was so much other stuff going on.

AvidReader
FiveStars

Again, Santino Hassell has delivered a compelling story with flawed men that truly learn who they are with continued growth throughout the story. His writing easily flows between all the different emotional and physical elements that are wrapped in this story.

 

Raymond, how can you not love Raymond. He may seem to be quite brass, lazy, spoiled when you first meet him, but I have always known deep down there is heart and love. I love how he is so non-chalant about his bi-curious sexuality and that he just goes with the flow and does not panic. He is solid in himself, except for maybe his employment, but his heart is probably one of the biggest yet. I found him all around a loveable tattooed, broody, cursing, laid-back man and definitely one hell of a dirty talker.

 

David had his ups and downs in my head. I completely understood his fear of not wanting to hurt anyone, including his ex, yet trying to find his own happiness. He tried to be sly in offering himself as Raymond’s test subject. But that first kiss, my oh freaking my, David was done for by Raymond. And the Grindr scene, goes from funny to smoking hot and both are lost to each other.

 

These two are polar-opposites that at first glance, you may wonder how they met. But, their flirty banter, natural cuddles, touches and smirks were so sweet, you were rooting for them from the end of the Michael and Zio’s story.

 

Mr. Hassell again wrote with true grit and this raw yet emotional story will fill your heart.

~Keri

FiveStars

Heartwarming happy-ever-afters are great if you’re looking for a light and fun read. But Santino Hassell is the one to look to if you’re in the mood for something intelligent and gritty as well as romantic and hot as hell. This book is no exception.

The Five Boroughs series is made up of interconnected stand-alone books. But I feel you’ll get more out of them by reading them as a series. In this case, it’s great to know the supporting characters so well from Sutphin Boulevard. It adds extra richness to this story that I feel wouldn’t be there if it was just read as a stand-alone.

Raymond and David are wonderful, complex characters, flawed and relatable. This story addresses difficult contemporary issues very well through their personal growth. Their relationship is tumultuous and angsty, but also sweet and sexy. And Santino writes some of the best sex scenes I’ve ever read.

I highly recommend this book (and the series) to anyone interested in a down to earth contemporary romance that’s a bit rough around the edges.

~Amanda

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New Release: 3.5 and 3 stars for Trainwreck (Trainwreck #1) by Michele Micheal Rakes (AUTHOR INTERVIEW) #Bisexual #BDSM #Mystery @MicheleRakes

TrainwreckCoverFinalSmall

Title: Trainwreck (Trainwreck #1)
Author Name: Michele Micheal Rakes
Publication Date & Length: January 25, 2016 – 374 pgs

Synopsis

Detective Sergeant Vincent Sweetwater hates dead bodies. That’s why he’s an undercover narc and not a homicide dick. So why is he standing on a sandy beach in California staring at a lifeless body—oh yeah, the suicide attempt. Lieutenant Hanson is making a statement. Something about life worth living. Shows what he knows.

As Vince examines the tortured body, he feels an empathy and déjà vu for the victim, her wounds are similar to scars he has only a vague memory receiving. An intense desire to find her killer fills his queasy belly as a dark game of cat and mouse begins.

The young woman’s death forces Vince back into a secret life dominated by sex, perversion, and sadomasochism. Estranged from his wife he still loves and longing for the man who possessed him once, Vince buries his torment deep inside meaningless sex.

*Warning: This book contains adult content and situations. NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was a difficult story for me.  I found myself having to go back and try to find pieces of the story that I had seemingly missed, but never was quite able to put together.  There are several moving parts in this story and they don’t always talk with each other.
You have Vince who is struggling to come back to a life after the loss of his child and his emotional loss of his wife.  Despite his life as an undercover, he’s been thrust in to the spot light and realizes that his life in undercover is over.  With a murder case plopped in to his lap, it brings back flashes of a past life – a life that he has tried and failed to forget.  Hints of past tortures, glimpses of a life that once was out of his control – whereas the chaos that has become his life is all his own doing.
I had a difficult time with, what I think was supposed to be his conscience speaking with him – or him own inner monologue – it was strange and you never really get a good grasp on whether or not he takes his own advice.
Then you have his wife, who despite being in a marriage with someone who hates her, keeps on trucking.  Not really sure why she does, other than out of obligation from their shared past.  I don’t really get a good idea of her motivations in this story – it seems that she loves Vince, but she also loves Nick – both seem brotherly.  When Vince and Mica come together, it’s hateful and spiteful – I didn’t really feel that they had much chemistry in the story at all.
Nick is both his brother and his cop partner.  He is trying to help Vince figure out his life and solve this murder.  I enjoyed his character and how he was able to help smooth ruffled feathers throughout the story.
Then you have the mystery killer – someone from the past who is toying with Vince in a way that keeps Vince off balance and struggling.  Rakes did a good job at keeping the reader on their toes when it came to the killer, but I wish that more had been revealed in terms of the who, because you’re just left with this image of a deranged man who is charismatic enough to control the women in his life, but who is secretly, potentially gay and hates himself for it.
While this is a very incomplete story, I did like that I was unable to guess what would happen next.  However, I am unsure if that was because of the lack of cohesion throughout or because Rakes has written a story that will eventually come together in the next books.
~AvidReader
ThreeStarThis is a dark, complicated police procedural.  While the story is set in sunny California, Vincent Sweetwater is more damaged than even the darkest Scandi Noir characters.  His story is far from heroic.  He’s an awful husband and a self-destructive addict.  So I’m not entirely sure why I fell hard for the man.
It took me a long while to get into the story.  At first, the plot seemed to jump erratically and I struggled to  work out timelines and relationships.  Vince also talks to himself incessantly through the book and I found the conversations he has with himself distracting.  And once I’d finally untangled Vince’s narrative, the writer started to switch between Vince’s perspective and the perspective of the murderer he was hunting.  Since some characters overlapped between the two narratives, I had to work hard to keep everything straight.
I’m reviewing this for Inked Rainbow which is a little puzzling because there isn’t much of any LGBTQI content in this first story.  Vince’s relationship is with his wife, his former foster sister.  Mica’s character isn’t fully developed here.  We see her as a successful LAPD lieutenant who exists in a miserable marriage where she is subjected to regular abuse.  I really struggled to warm to her.  VInce’s only other relationship is with his former foster brother, now his married, heterosexual partner.  I can only assume that these relationships develop over the course of the series.
This is not a romance.  Vince and Mica’s relationship is hellish.  Vince’s hook-ups are brutal.   This is a cat and mouse detective story where VInce tries to reign in his self-destruction for long enough to catch the killer before the killer catches him.
Once the chase starts properly, I enjoyed the story more.  At the start, Vince is a grieving addict full of self-pity.  While he doesn’t really resolve any of his problems, he becomes more functional and more interesting when he starts properly working as a detective.
So – try to imagine the darker, uglier side of Harry Hole or Wallander’s existence because even the Scandinavians haven’t crafted an anti-hero this dark.  This is a long book and just as I was starting to get into it, it ended on a cliff-hanger, leaving me waiting rather impatiently for book 2.~Sarah

Excerpt

Vincent Sweetwater twisted the Harley’s throttle. The power in the motor thrummed between his legs. The bike seemed heavy, angry; like she wanted to fall flat on her face. Like she yearned to drag him across the gritty asphalt. Vince needed to feel the pavement shred his clothing and bite into his skin. Punishment for being a man who thrived on suffering.

Why can’t I control myself, damn it?

-You’re supposed to be one of the good guys.

Fuck off.

-Stop drinking, Sweetwater.

Vince envisioned choking the life out of his conscience. The damn thing made it difficult to be an asshole, yet somehow he didn’t let it stop him. Nothing stopped him from being a dick to his wife. Vince squeezed the throttle. The speed would numb his mind.

The machine growled beneath him, giving her two fucking cents, and he ignored the wanton slut. Vince was too malicious to give her what she craved. If he did, there would be no turning back.

Still, the iron bitch demanded more power. Urged by a quiet whisper from somewhere in the darkness of his mind, Vince let off the throttle long enough to grasp the clutch and toe it into sixth.

 

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TWO 3.5 star reviews for We Go Forward by Alison Evans @_budgie #asexual #ace #bisexual #contemporary @LT3Press

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Title: We Go Forward
Author Name & Publisher: Alison Evans (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 23, 2016 — short story

Synopsis

Christie travels to run, to forget. She has no place to call home, but desperately wishes she did.

Roslyn has never been overseas and fears getting stuck in one place. If she’s never left Melbourne, how does she know that’s home?

A crossing of paths in Berlin, wine, and wifi leads to the two traveling together, and as they travel the two find some things they were looking for, and maybe something they weren’t…

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

In this lovely story we follow two Australian young ladies in their trek across parts of Europe. We see them meet and develop a lovely, close friendship throughout the time that they are travelling.

 

I enjoyed the descriptions and the informational passages about some of the places that they went; I feel like I took a mini-trip with them, and learned something too!

 

I enjoyed Christie; it was nice to go on her journey with her as she comes to terms with the skeletons in her closet and decides to return to Australia. I loved that we saw Christie explain that she was asexual to Roslyn and Roslyn knew what that meant and there wasn’t any fallout from it. It was a beautiful friendship and lovely to see Roslyn knew when Christie needed to be alone and when not to press her to explain more; that is rare to find. One of my favorite parts was toward the end with Anna; that was beautiful.

 

I was a bit shocked by how many fellow Australians they ran into in their travels; however, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. There were a few places where the wording seemed awkward; however, I understood the gist of the passages enough to understand what was happening. Also, when I read the description of the book I sort of expected more to develop between the two. I felt a little misled; however, I’m still glad I read the book.

 

All-in-all, it was a lovely good that showcased a beautiful friendship between two complicated ladies. I would love to see how Christie takes to being in Melbourne and how Jalen reacts to all of it.

~Tori

ThreeandHalfStars

I’m kind of neutral about this story. The writing itself was good. The book was interesting enough for me not to get bogged down in it. But it seemed a bit long for the point I got out of it. First, I’ll say that this is probably only the third asexual story I’ve read, and the first where there was a combination of asexual and aromantic. So the basic connection in this book is more friendship than anything else, and that brings up some interesting questions to consider. Are books about friendship successful? Is there a big enough market for them? What else would be important to a novel about friendship to make it successful? I’m pretty sure I don’t have any answers to these questions. I’m not even sure these are questions that need to be asked. However, most novels about friendship don’t necessarily make a point of stating that one of the main characters is aro ace (short for aromantic asexual). That seems to be important to the author, but I’m not quite sure why unless it’s about exposure for a sexuality that is most likely underrepresented and misunderstood.

The story itself is ok. Two Australians meet by chance in Berlin, and become friends. They decide to travel together for a while. Christie has been running from her life and who she is for quite some time when she meets Roslyn, who’s traveling because she’s afraid that if she didn’t go then that she would always be stuck in one place. The two find acceptance in each other and a connection that makes them the best of friends. We start out the story with Roslyn, and I thought the story was going to be about her facing her fears. But the book ends with Christie finally finding something or someone she can call home. The journey in between was sometimes humorous, sometimes comfortable, and sometimes a bit tedious. I’m not sure that as short as the story is that it should have taken so long. Although I do like the slow progression of their friendship, the trip itself seemed to drag on a bit.

In the end, I don’t think the book was for me, but I don’t regret spending the time to read it. I liked hearing about Christie’s sexuality and understanding a bit more about what kinds of issues she faced. Roslyn’s sexuality was mentioned but didn’t seem to be a focal point of the story, other than to explain her open-minded acceptance of Christie. The book made me think, which is a good thing, but in the end I kept thinking something was missing.

~AmyP

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Amy P, Asexual, Bisexual, New Release, Review, Tori, Uncategorized