Category Archives: 3.5 Stars

3.5 Stars for Safeword by Samantha Cayto #MM #Romance @PridePublishing @Samanthacayto

CoverTitle: Safeword
Author Name & Publisher: Samantha Cayto (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date: August 23, 2016

Synopsis

A dangerous game turns into unexpected pleasure…

Carter’s dream of running from his abusive family into the arms of the perfect Dom has been shattered. Virtually enslaved by a vicious arms dealer, he has to submit to any man his master gives him to.

Undercover agent Damien Crow is close to putting away the arms dealer he’s been hunting for years. All he has to do to gain the man’s trust is ‘play’ with the pretty boy with the frightened eyes and alluring corset piercing down his back. Being straight and not a practicing Dom, he has doubts he can pull off the effort. One look at his playmate changes his mind. The stakes are high, and he must put on a good show.

At first, Carter assumes Damien is just another brutal Dom to survive. But the big, brooding man reignites his passion and gives him something Carter hasn’t had in years—a safeword. It might be his last chance to enjoy being a sub and he embraces the role no matter what the consequences.

Publisher’s Note: This book has previously been released as part of the His Rules anthology with Pride Publishing.

Add to GoodReads

Review

 ThreeandHalfStarsHmmm, where to start with this… I would say that it was well written, but so short that it made it difficult to really develop anything.  This seemed almost like a teaser to a larger story.

I think that Damien was successful as a Dom, but his reluctance was somewhat strange.  If he had been undercover as long as it seemed, he would have had to play this persona more than just the once, I would think.  However, it seemed that this was his first time – they talked about his crash course and implement schooling…

Then you have Carter – he just seemed meek.  There really wasn’t much to his character other than his complete submission because he knows what’s in store for him.

Overall, while this was short and just a taste of what I believe this author is capable of, I think that if you’re not used to BDSM writing, this would not be the book to start with.  There are too many holes and it doesn’t offer much other than the one scene.

AvidReader

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3.5 Stars, AvidReader, M/M, New Release, Review

3.5 Stars and 3 Stars for Canyon Creek Love Story by C.A. Blocke #MM #Bisexual

CoverTitle: Canyon Creek Love Story
Author Name & Publisher: C.A. Blocke (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 22, 2016 – 107 pgs

Synopsis

Fifteen years ago Robert left Canyon Creek behind, and has made a life as a junior detective in Brooklyn. When he returns home to attend his mother’s funeral, however, circumstances make it difficult to leave again.

Stuck in the place he once tried to leave behind, helping his pregnant little sister, Robert meets Charlie, the sheriff’s son now turned sheriff. He’s kind and sweet, but also divorced with a young daughter to raise. But the more time passes, the more Robert wonders where he’s really meant to be, and if that place just might be the home he once left behind.

Add to GoodReads

Review

ThreeandHalfStars This was my first book by this author and I really wanted to love it but sadly this book was only okay and I would really call it a love story. A part of it was but a lot of the story focused on Robert and his sister Maggie. There, to me, a lot of mistrust in this book. I also did not connect with Charlie or Robert and that makes it hard for me to give this book anything more than a 3.5 star review. I really have to have the connection with the MC’s to really enjoy a book. The author writing was good which made it a really easy read. I just think that there should be more character development to be able to bring up the star rating.
Lynn
ThreeStar

When Robert returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral, he is a bit of a mess.  His professional life in the big city is tanking and he left too much baggage behind in his hometown.  
This is a slow, gentle story.  The pace drags at times but Robert’s developing character is

I enjoyed watching Robert begin to repair the relationship with his sister and reassess his feelings about both his career and his small town.  
I still can’t completely decide how I feel about the romance aspect of this story.  While Charlie is a great character and a great father, the closeted nature of the sheriff’s life makes it difficult for me to believe in the possibility of a true HEA.  Robert’s prejudice against bisexual people also makes it difficult for me to imagine him committing a lifetime to a bisexual man.   There are times in this book that I really don’t like Robert and I don’t trust Charlie.  Unreliable characters work in literary fiction, but the don’t  necessarily make for a convincing romance.  
Charlie’s daughter is cute, and Robert’s pregnant sister is sweet, but if, like me,  you read m/m to avoid conformative heteronormative family structures you might find this all a bit sickly sweet in parts.  At the same time, readers who enjoy sweet white picket fence stories with cute kids don’t usually want their leading men to enjoy sex with other partners during a story.  So I’m not entirely sure who the target audience for this story is.  
I enjoyed parts of this story, but I wasn’t completely sold on the central romance or the two leading men.

Sarah

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3 Star, 3.5 Stars, Lynn, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah

4 Star and THREE 3.5 Star Reviews for Roadside Rescue by Caitlin Ricci #FF #Erotic

CoverTitle: Roadside Rescue
Author Name & Publisher: Caitlin Ricci (NineStar Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 27, 2016 – 35 pgs

Synopsis

After her girlfriend leaves her for an ex, Kelly takes off with her mustang, Shoni, and as many of her things as she can pack into her truck. The flip of a coin has her going west along I-70 from her home in Missouri, sending her toward Colorado. While driving through Dove Creek, she gets a flat tire on her trailer. She has a spare, but in his panic, Shoni manages to jerk the trailer enough to damage the wheel.

Her salvation comes in the form of sexy mechanic, Brigid, who owns a shop nearby. With a few days to wait for the wheel, the two get to know each other. A bit of fun isn’t all Brigid wants from her, but Kelly isn’t ready to jump into anything new so soon after her break up, and when Brigid offers her a job, Kelly doesn’t want to tie her life to someone so completely again.

Kelly is in need of some stability, and that’s exactly what Brigid is offering her. If she’s willing to take a chance on letting another woman into her life again, Brigid might be just who she needs.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FourStars

Kelly leaves town and a cheating girlfriend and heads off with her horse towed behind her truck with no plan as to where she will end up.   When she blows a tire outside a small town and has to get the local mechanic’s help things suddenly start looking up.  This is a lovely, sexy and romantic story of love coming out of nowhere and changing lives forever.  Things happen very quickly but it all feels just right and I thoroughly enjoyed this short read.  It had likeable characters in Kelly and Brigid, was well written had certainly had the feel good factor.
Kitty Kat
ThreeandHalfStars
This was an enjoyable little short, but it suffers a little from the length of the story and the small amount of time that elapsed within the story. I liked the instant chemistry between Kelly and Brigid, and the way they were drawn to each other. But it felt like everything moved way too fast. It hasn’t even been a full day and Kelly has decided to park herself in Dove Creek to explore things with Brigid. I know that Kelly really doesn’t have any plans, nowhere to go, nobody to go see, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for her to consider staying for a while, but this seemed way too fast for such a decision. Pretty much what I want is more story for both of these women to get to that point. Also, Kelly keeps saying that she doesn’t want to move this fast, and rely so much on her relationship with Brigid, but she goes ahead and does it anyway, which seems to perpetuate her past mistakes. This reads as more romance, with the attendant emphasis on feelings and hope for the future, than it does erotica, which is more what I would expect for such a short look into their meeting and interaction. It isn’t a bad story, but I would consider both of these women kind of flighty, impetuous, and a bit unrealistic. That said, there were things to like as well. I liked Shoni, and enjoyed hearing a bit about mustangs. I would’ve liked to understand more how Kelly acquired him and why. And like I said before, I do like the interaction between Kelly and Brigid.
Amy P.
ThreeandHalfStars
This was a nice short that started at a good pace, but then moved faster than expected. I hadn’t realized it was a shorter story until I was at the end. It was disappointing to have to say goodbye to Kelly and Brigid so soon; however, they were lovely to get to meet.I do still feel that the pacing of everything was a bit fast: who breaks down and then just decides on a whim to stay there and find a job in a small, out of the way town.

At any rate, the author still created interesting characters that made me want to see more of them. For those that don’t want all the drama of a longer story, this is for you.

Tori
ThreeandHalfStars
I was so excited to get to read this book and I was left a bit disappointed. I loved Brigid and I loved the premise/plot of the piece. However, I thought the movement was too fast in some places and too slow in others.

I felt the sex scene was thrown in because “it’s romance so a sex scene is required” when it truly wasn’t. It’s not that the scene was bad; it just didn’t fit with the pacing of the rest of the piece and I felt Kelly needed to be a bit more in tune with Brigid’s reactions to flirting etc to make it more realistic.

If the sex scene had been eliminated or even moved to the ending of the piece, then I believe this piece would have flowed very nicely. The writing technique was fantastic and I hardly got stuck while reading.

AJ

BuyTheBook
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3.5 Stars, 4 Star, AJ, Amy P, F/F, Kitty Kat, New Release, Review

TWO 4 Star and ONE 3.5 Star Review for Staying the Distance by Franci McMahon #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: Staying the Distance
Author Name & Publisher: Franci McMahon (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: May 17, 2016 – 200 pgs

Synopsis

Rachel Duncan, a Montana rancher, has led a self-sufficient life and kept her complications of the heart to a minimum. She is as tough as her horses and believes nothing can stop her from winning the one-hundred-mile in one day horse race, the Tevis Cup. She has a horse who can do the job, the Arabian mare, Kestrel. The element of the team she isn’t so sure of is her new veterinarian, Dr. Margaret Carson. Margaret proves herself to the reluctant Rachel, broadening her vistas to discover a tender side, one capable of loving and being loved.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FourStars

This was an enjoyable read. The two main characters were both likable. An original setting for a gentle love story.
I liked the way Rachel slowly found herself and who she was through experiencing and learning from those around her and the trials and tribulations she had to face while competing in the long distance race.
I also learned a some interesting facts about horse breeds and some fascinating information on Indian culture.
I did feel that the story line did at times fluctuate between being a love story and at times a history lesson and an equine handbook. On some occasions I also felt there was lack of dialogue between the two women and that some of the lesser characters, like the reporter could have added more to excitement and dynamics to the plot. Personally I would have enjoyed hearing more about the women’s growing relationship what was happening between them.
But it was a good read and Ms McMahon is obviously a proficient writer.
Chris
ThreeandHalfStars
Rachel and Margaret were interesting ladies to get to know. The story pulled me in immediately and I was intrigued by Rachel. I enjoyed watching the budding romance. And I especially like the addition of Kate; she was a great supporting character.

However I lost interest in the larger story in the middle of all of the details. It was great to have the landscape and the locations described in such great detail. I loved that the author was so knowledgeable about horses; as someone that knows a great deal about horses, I hate when an author doesn’t do their homework. McMahon’s descriptions and knowledge of horses is to be commended. My issue was the large and flowery descriptions that weren’t needed in many areas of the book. It caused a lag in the flow of the book and pulled my attention from the overall story because I expected something more from the more flowery parts of the book.

All-in-all I enjoyed the book and loved meeting all the ladies that helped Rachel through the Trevis Cup.

Tori
FourStars

I wasn’t sure I liked this book at first. Things seemed to move fairly easily for the two mains, Rachel and Margaret. They’re drawn to each other from the start, even though Margaret is trying to protect her heart, and Rachel doesn’t even realize she’s gay.  Despite both of these things, the two move inexorably closer to each other. After an initial struggle, Rachel seems to accept her own homosexuality and attraction to Margaret. Margaret doesn’t even struggle; she seems to feel that Rachel is special and any relationship with her would be deep and inevitable. They get together so early in the story that I was left wondering what could possibly happen next. Then the big event, the Tevis Cup, begins. Here is where the story seems to come alive, not just because of the obstacles and dangers in the competition itself, but also because we finally see just what it is that Rachel really has to accept in order to become a partner to Margaret. It has to do with her father and what his words created in Rachel. Margaret sees it before Rachel does, on one of the holds during the race. And Rachel’s struggle to not only see what Margaret does, but also overcome it, is what this story is really about. The physical struggle of the race is a subplot, but it cements everybody’s feelings about each other and what they’re doing, and at the end is a small group of powerful women who have bonded together. I absolutely love the last half of the book. Definitely a good read.

AmyP

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3.5 Stars, 4 Star, Amy P, Chris, F/F, New Release, Review, Tori

3.5 Stars for Last Mechanic Standing (Wrench Wars #1) by L. A. Witt #MM #Romance @Dreamspinners

30367124

Title: Last Mechanic Standing (Wrench Wars #1)
Author Name & Publisher: L. A. Witt (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 6, 2016 – 80 Pages

Synopsis

Everyone at Jim Irving’s garage is gung ho about Wrench Wars, a new reality show featuring mechanics. Everyone, that is, except talented mechanic Chandler Scott, the sole employee who has refused to sign the contract. The rest of the mechanics are pressuring him too, because without Chandler—and his volatile interactions with his boss—no one’s getting on the show.

Chandler’s one ally is Jim’s son, Mark, who’s being forced to work for his dad until he pays down his student loans or finds a better job—and who’s been Chandler’s secret lover for a while.

Then a playful tryst in the garage blows up in their faces, giving the network ammo to blackmail Chandler by threatening to out Mark to his father. Now Chandler is backed into a corner, and Mark needs to decide how far he’s willing to go to protect the man who’s been sharing his bed… and may have stolen his heart.

Add to GoodReads

Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was a very quick read.  I didn’t really enjoy it due to its predictability.  Before you arrived at the conflict, you knew what was coming.

While this story was a good story, it lacked depth and complexity.  You knew right away that the owner of the garage was mean and a bigot, you knew that Chandler and Mark would live together.

I think that this would have been a much stronger story had you begun with the end of this one and continued on in their lives – what happens next?

The characters could develop more in their new lives and you would have seen more of what is happening now.

AvidReader

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3.5 Stars, AvidReader, M/M, New Release, Review, Uncategorized

TWO 3.5 Stars for I Like It Hard by Francis James Franklin #Bisexual #Aro @LT3Press

CoverTitle: I Like It Hard
Author Name & Publisher: Francis James Franklin (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 8, 2016 – 52 pgs

Synopsis

After her brother Dan loses in the final of the XXX-rated Reality TV show I Like It Hard, Helen Arnold finds new purpose in life: enter the show herself—and win.

But no amount of training, or advice from Dan and his lovers, can fully prepare her for naked interviews, two weeks in a porn-studio villa, and weeks of nerve-wracking live sex show—all while dealing with the capricious nature of the judges, who wield absolute power over the show and its contestants.

Being both bisexual and aromantic, Helen is used to dealing with people who don’t like or approve of her—and she’s never been the type to back down when life gets hard.

Add to GoodReads

Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was an interesting concept, not only the show format, but the personality of our protagonist, Helen. It’s made very clear how different she is, not only because she’s bisexual, but also because she’s aromantic. Both are things that are very difficult for “normal” people to understand, and because most people don’t, or won’t, even try, Helen becomes very lonely. I think she enters the “I Like It Hard” contest as a way to validate herself. She’s totally focused on winning the contest, not so much on what happens after. I think her speech at the end is what gives her the validation she was looking for. The problem I had was that all the detail about the show and the sex she had to have was in the first part of the story, the part about her two week training period before she even got to the live show portion of the contest. After we move to the show, it seems like everything is rushed, as far as the narration goes. We don’t really get much of an idea about the live shows Helen does, or the training that goes into them. Also the final, where we find out who wins feels almost anti-climactic. I would have liked a more developed ending. Overall, the story was interesting, and I liked Franklin’s style of writing.

Amy P.

ThreeandHalfStars

I have to say that there were some really good parts to this story and some that left me wanting. The fact that the main character is aromatic is fun and different from so many books. However, I felt like the show aspects were rushed and not fully developed.
We get brief glimpses into relationships that are developing with the main character, but never get enough to really connect. The show is rushed and all the different situations that Helen is put into are brief except for one or two of them. I think if we would’ve gotten a more in depth description of the live shows and the voting process it would’ve really made the story feel more complete.
The training Helen does before the show also seemed like an after thought. It was all briefly mentioned except the one scene where she does elaborate on what the training was like when there was two cameras on her while she was doing a scene. I think if the reader had been given more on this it would’ve helped them connect more with just how much she’d done to prepare for her time on the show.
I will say that the idea behind it was interesting and I think it could be developed into a series with different contestants and more development on the judges and the show and all that happens with the winners after the show. At a minimum, it was a interesting, quick little read though.
I enjoyed it but felt like I never fully connected to anyone in the story so that really took away from it in my mind.
Renee

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3.5 Stars, Amy P, Bisexual, New Release, Renee, Review

5 Star and 3.5 Star Reviews for Animal Passions (Lionhearts #6) by Elizabeth Coldwell #MM #Shapeshifter @PridePublishing

CoverTitle: Animal Passions (Lionhearts #6)
Author Name & Publisher: Elizabeth Coldwell (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: July 5, 2016 – 152 pgs

Synopsis

He’s destined to meet his mate on a killer vacation.

Horror author Mason Wells is having a midlife crisis. He’s burned out as a writer and he keeps falling for guys who are way too young for him. So when his agent, Nora, arranges a birthday getaway for him and a few close friends in the Spanish Sierra Nevada, it seems like just the break he needs – until Nora is found drowned in the hotel swimming pool. It seems like someone has a hit list of victims, and Mason’s on it. Can the hotel’s gorgeous owner, Xavi, step in and keep Mason safe?

Lion shifter Xavi Bianco loves the peace and solitude of his boutique hotel in the mountains. It’s a shame the place still holds the memory of his ex, Ramón. When the group of brash Americans arrive for a vacation, he doesn’t expect to find himself falling for one of them. But everything tells him Mason Wells is his destined mate, bizarre as it may be, and when Mason’s friends fall victim to a series of horrific attacks, Xavi knows he must do everything to protect Mason, even if it means risking his own life…

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and peril.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

This was a really good read. It had a shifter, it had murder, and it had passion.

Mason is a shifter mystery writer. So when he comes face to face to a real shifter and finds out that they are mates he is not to thrown for a loop.

What does throw everyone is the mysterious murders and attempted murders that keep happening around them.

The real mystery of this book is who is behind the murders?

I enjoyed reading this book and reading about Mason and Xavi coming together and finding each other. I also enjoyed reading about the murders and waiting impatiently to find out who was behind it and who was next on the list. I also enjoyed the intrigue of not knowing till Elizabeth Coldwell decided to let it be known who was behind everything and the reason behind it.

This was a good story with an amazing love story. Cannot wait till the next book comes out.

Tosha

ThreeandHalfStars

This is the first book of this series that I have had the pleasure of reading.  While I can’t say that I am hooked on the series, this story was complete and I never felt lost as to who characters were or how they were connected.

The mystery aspect of this story was, for me, very predictable. I was able to guess the perpetrator right away, which took some of the luster away from the story for me.

I thought that the secondary characters were less than stellar – the only one that I liked was Nora.  I thought that the other characters were a little flat and did not add anything to the story.

Then you have the main two characters, Xavi and Mason.  While I liked their dialogue, I didn’t really feel a great connection between them.  It was kind of forced and did not have a very smooth flow.

Overall, this was an OK story with an OK mystery attached.  The romance aspect was not fantastic, but more of a YA romance.

AvidReader

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3.5 Stars, 5 Star, AvidReader, M/M, New Release, Review, Tosha