Goodness gracious – this is exactly what I needed! My God but I just loved this book fThis book review can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Goodness gracious – this is exactly what I needed! My God but I just loved this book from the very start to the very end. The Auspicious Troubles of Chance is a tale told from the point of view of the main character, Chauncey (or Chance as he later becomes nicknamed), directly to the reader. It seems a little odd at first, but I think that it works for the story, and as you get to know Chance himself, it seems quite fitting. It is a tale of love, loss, heartbreak, finding oneself, and hope.
The story takes place in the 1920s and 1930s. When the book begins, we are thrown into a situation that is a bit elusive to the reader, but it doesn’t take long to pick it up, and then Chance takes the reader back about a decade to tell us how it all got started. Chance is an 8 year old orphan who was wandering the streets of NYC in the 1920s, only to be found and “adopted” by an actress on Broadway. He makes a life working on set, and has finally found a family who loves and teaches him all about living and life. All too soon, though, that family is taken away from him, and he is back on the streets with a hole in his heart and a huge chip on his shoulder. Somehow he miraculously survives the next decade after abusing vice after vice, and then he enlists in the French Foreign Legion which takes him to a desert in the middle of Africa. It is here where Chance gets a second chance at love and family, only if he doesn’t piss it away.
Oh, how I just loved Chance. He is quite the conundrum – he is beautiful and flawless on the outside, but underneath that perfect exterior, he is all kinds of fucked up. He overcame so many odds very young in life, but when he is dealt with a blow of utter loss, he doesn’t know how to handle it and scorns the world and everyone in it, himself included. He knows he could be such a better person, but it’s so tough to fight the demons inside. There is that one small sliver of hope, though, that still pervades his being and has him soul searching and reaching out to be a better man. It is that ounce of hope that leads him to Jacky Valentine, the Commandant Chance seeks out for help. Jacky has a knack for seeing the good in people, and he instantly sees it in Chance – he knows that Chance can better a better soldier and a better man, and he puts his full faith in him in a way that no one has ever done before. Their attraction to each other is nearly instantaneous, but it takes time for Chance to accept that a man like Jacky could ever want to be with him, even after they start being together. But that faith of Jacky’s is unwavering, and it helps to rebuild and repair the man within Chance, and as that happens, a beautiful, passionate, and touching love is created between these men.
There is so much about this book that I just loved. As I just described, of course, the relationship between Chance is Jacky is one. I loved Jacky’s unconditional faith and trust in Chance, and I loved that Chance really did work hard to be a better man, a man deserving of another’s love and faith, and a man that he himself would grow to love as well. Chance’s sarcastic and comedic outlook on life is another. He is headstrong and damn stubborn in his ways, but his edginess, his wit, and comebacks had me laughing quite a bit. He really just struck a chord with me, and I just love him to pieces.
Beyond the main relationship, I absolutely loved Jacky and his band of misfits, or brats, as Chance called it. Jacky took in under his wing those boys who have had a life of hell, but he has hope and faith in them and teaches them that they are not alone, that they are worthy and deserving of happiness. It takes a lot of time for Chance to smooth out that chip on his shoulder, but as he does, he sees that he is not alone, and that he really could have friends and family once again. These boys all have unique backgrounds, and I look forward to getting to know them better, hopefully all in their own books (I do know that Johnnie has his own book next, and I was thrilled when I discovered that, but I hope that Bobby and Alexander get a book as well).
The Auspicious Troubles of Chance was a quick and easy read, and it is one that I highly recommend. The love, hope, rebuilding, and comedy were all aspects that I needed at the moment, and this book was a balm to my soul. Cochet is a talented writer, and while this is my first book from her, it certainly will not be my last.
Lastly, this beautiful, and often comedic, story is filled with amazing quotes. Here are just a few that I adored:
He had this unbelievable way of making me feel frightfully hopeful, like everything that had happened to me had never actually happened, like I was clean and pure and worthy of him.
I felt Jacky’s muscles tighten, heard his muffled growl against my hair as he pumped into me one final time before he filled me up inside, every inch of my tight space coated with his beautiful essence. I hoped that maybe it might find its way into my soul and leave a little of its brightness behind.
It made me wonder if Jacky was setting up some kind of fairy infantry. If he was, that made me part of his little pansy parade, and I didn’t think I liked it.
I would remember this night for the rest of my life. Not just because we spent it making love and having hot, passionate sex but because we laughed together, teased each other, held each other, talked about nonsense. Because that night, I promised him I would always be his. I didn’t say it in so many words. In fact, I didn’t say it with any words at all, but he knew. Boy, did he know....more
Hal Porter is a 37-year old man trying to find himself and has moved from the mid-west out to CaReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Hal Porter is a 37-year old man trying to find himself and has moved from the mid-west out to California in order to do that. He knows that he is gay, but he hasn’t come out to anyone, especially his very religious mother who keeps asking when he will find a girl to settle down with. While working at his construction site, he suddenly sees a building in a normally empty lot, where one was never before standing. Is he hallucinating? Been working too hard? He is drawn to the place by what appears to be a prince in a window, and a beautiful woman trying to coax him there, but then she and the building are gone. Before long, he realizes that he is not hallucinating, but rather that the building is there, and he decides to take a leap of faith and venture in. What he encounters is more than he ever would have imagined or dreamed.
Once Hal is inside the building – the Oasis – Hero grasps a hold of the reader and doesn’t let go. Hal finds himself in a fantastical world of beings – the laumu – who are shape shifters and live in an alternate world where humans are detested and certainly not welcome. He is drawn immediately to the bartender, Morgan, who also happens to be a prisoner and sex slave of the laumu inhabiting the Oasis. The laumu decide it’s time for Hal to play their game, using Morgan as they deem he should be used and humiliated. The legend has been told that a hero can come and save Morgan from his prison, and while Hal questions that he is that hero, he is so drawn to Morgan that he is certainly willing to try.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a fantasy, but I enjoy them very much, and Hero was no exception. Cullinan spins a very creative and imaginative tale that pulled me in from the start. I love the unexpected and reading about fantasy elements that are new to me, and the concepts within Hero were just that. Morgan’s history, his origin, the kitsune culture, and who he was was so very interesting. As a reader, you wonder, “how does this work?” but Cullinan writes and weaves a tale so well, that it does.
Of course, Cullinan pens a wonderful love story as well. There is something that clicks between Hal and Morgan from the get-go, and Hal knows that after having met Morgan, he cannot return to his daily life of construction work in the real (read: human) world any longer. Something would always be missing. While I am not usually a fan of insta-love, and I do think that those feelings of love may have come a bit too soon for Hal and Morgan, Cullinan makes it work for these guys and for the story as a whole. They needed that deep connection in order for the story to move forward, and it did. The steamy scenes between these guys were really sexy as well, those in private and the not so private. They definitely had great chemistry together.
Moreover, I know that going into a book by Cullinan, there will be so much more to the story than what is shown on the surface. She always has a deeper meaning, and to me, Hero is that book that makes you question your inner strength, to know that there is more to you than meets the eye. Hal is dubious that he is a hero at all, and Morgan certainly believes that he himself is not one, either. But they both discover something about themselves that defy everyone’s expectations, including their own. Heroes truly do come in all shapes and sizes.
All in all, I enjoyed Hero, but I do wish some things had been flushed out a little bit more: how the enemy discovered that Hal had the sight to see the Oasis; the humming Hal experienced when in the Oasis; how Hal was able to do the things he was even though he was a mere human; more explanation for why Hal and Morgan’s enemy couldn’t be fully defeated but others of his kind could (because I believe that his finally punishment was much too lenient for all the bad he did). I also would have liked to learn more about the kitsune culture. Of course, realizing that adding all that information in could have easily turned this book into a series, I do believe that what was fit into a one book was still great and definitely an enjoyable escape.
If you’ve been following my reviews for this series, Mystwalker, you know that I enjoy it quiteReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
If you’ve been following my reviews for this series, Mystwalker, you know that I enjoy it quite a bit. Paranormal and urban fantasy are definitely among my favorite genres, and Leigh Evans has created a fantastical world with a pretty kick-ass heroine coming into her own, a sexy alpha, and an excellent supporting cast.
All that said, I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into The Problem with Promises. I don’t know if I was just not in the right frame of mind, but I found myself struggling to get through the first third of the book. Some of it was also that I had forgotten details from the previous books, since I read each one almost a year apart, and I had a difficult time trying to remember those minor details and characters that would have been helpful in keeping me interested in the start of the book.
Evans begins The Problem with Promises right where The Thing About Weres left off. Hedi has sent her brother back to Merenwyn, and now she has to figure out how to save him, get rid of the Black Mage, and protect the Earth realm from any bad Fae ju ju that might leak from Merenwyn. But before Hedi and her One True Thing can make solid plans about how to do that, they are once again thrown into Were politics and find themselves on the run, on the hunt, hunted, and trying to survive.
Once the book hit almost halfway and lingering questions were getting answered, I found myself hooked. I wanted to find out what was going to happen next, and how were Hedi, Trowbridge, and their loved ones going to make it to see one more day. I felt like Evans has finally hit her stride. I have always said, even from book #1, that Evans writes very well. She is imaginative, I like her style and her prose, and I love the world she’s created. Hedi is not “super heroine” from the start, and while that is endearing to me – I love to see character growth and imperfections – she also was repetitive (and a tad annoying) in her “whoa is me” ways. At least she had been in books #1 and 2. But in Promises, she finally took the bull by the horns, stopped questioning herself as much as she had done previously, and did what she needed to do to protect herself and those who have become her “hers.”
I enjoyed watching Hedi’s growth and transformation take place page by page. She truly is coming into her own. I love that we still see her conflicting selves – her fae and her inner-bitch – but that she is finally starting to accept who she truly is and allowing both sides to shine when they need to. I do wish we had more page time with her and Trowbridge together, however. I really like them as a couple, but feel like their lack of page time makes it hard for the reader to connect to them and their relationship like readers generally do with the main characters in a book. I hope that the next and final book will make up for some of that loss. There are still a lot of loose ends to resolve in the 4th and final book, but I do look forward to reading it and hopefully see it all pulled together.
A-FRICKIN-MAZING!!! Heidi Cullinan seriously can do no wrong in my eyes. Just like the rest of her books, and this series in particular, she has writtA-FRICKIN-MAZING!!! Heidi Cullinan seriously can do no wrong in my eyes. Just like the rest of her books, and this series in particular, she has written a fabulous story that I could read over and over and over again. Well, that, and the fact that it has one of my most beloved characters ever - RANDY!! - definitely helps, too. ;)
This is a novella that Heidi wrote as a freebie for her fans - THANK YOU! - and it takes place between Special Delivery and Double Blind. Specifically, this is the story of Sam and Mitch's wedding...sealing their soulful love for each other in matrimony...with the help of their best friend and lover, Randy.
This novella has it all. For fans of this series, it has all the uber-hawt kinky fuckery that we have all come to know and love, but as Heidi always does, it goes so much deeper than that and touches the heart and the soul. Mitch and Sam share a love for each other that is undeniable, and they found in each other the HEA that neither ever expected to find. But they have a unique relationship - one that not everyone might understand. They have an open relationship. While I can see that being poly is not for everyone, their relationship is so very special in that there is never any jealousy, and the madly deep love that they have for one another never wavers. It is steadfast and impermeable. It makes sense, and it works for them...perfectly.
Moreover, their polyamorous relationship often includes their very special and very best friend, Randy. **le sigh** For anyone who knows me, or has read my reviews of books in this series, you know that I seriously love Randy with every ounce of my being. He's brusque, a self-described asshole (and endorsed as such by Mitch), but God, I love this man. Because beyond that, he is one of the most profound, loyal, and loving characters I have ever read. He is so intuitive, and he makes sure to be there for Mitch and Sam the instant they need him. When the wedding planning begins to become more work than fun for Sam and Mitch, he steps right in, takes the reins, and does what he does best - fixes everything. Because he is just that awesome.
There is just so much about this novella that I absolutely love: 1) Of course, the characters - revisiting them is like coming home; 2) Randy; 3) The incredibly hot sex that got my girly bits working overtime; 4) Randy; 5) The fabulous writing, story-telling, and prose; 6) Randy and his conversation and revelations with Emma - OMG!!!; 7) Having an in-depth look into Mitch's point-of-view - an incredible experience for the reader to get to know this amazing man even better than before; 8) Randy; and 9) The beautiful love, the feels, and the emotion that this book invokes. For the last one, I'll just leave it at this: Wedding Vows and Wedding Night. Seriously, talk about beautiful, soulful, heartwarming, endearing, tear-inducing moments.
So, as you might guess, I cannot recommend this novella - and the series - enough. If you're unsure about the poly and the kink, leave your apprehension at the door and step into a series that describes a beautiful home different than you might ever know, but one you'll never regret visiting.
Holiday Roommates was a quick, easy, and very sweet holiday story that is a great read anytime oReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Holiday Roommates was a quick, easy, and very sweet holiday story that is a great read anytime of the year.
Nate Brandywine is an unemployed Broadway actor who is barely making his rent. Sean Callahan is the owner of a not-so-lucrative production company who is also having a hard time financially. To avoid eviction for at least one more month, Nate takes a job as Jack Frost in a holiday show set in a new department store in the Big Apple. Sean is in charge of the production of said holiday show. While the money he earns for this show will help with some of his problems, it is not enough to cover the loan he owes his father at the end of the month. Once Nate and Sean become friends, they realize that they could both benefit financially by becoming roommates, so that’s exactly what they do.
Michaels has written an uber-sweet story about two absolutely wonderful characters that I can’t get enough of. Nate has a beautiful old soul, and a quick and witty sense of humor to add to it. Sean is more serious, and at first, a bit uptight. Nate comes to realize, though, that is because he is under so much pressure for the production to turn out perfectly. Once Nate sees past that, he finds that Sean is also sweet and adorable, just in his own special way. So when you put them together, it’s enough to make the reader just fall in love with them – I definitely did.
Since Sean is technically Nate’s boss, they try to remain only friends, but the serious chemistry between them – along with Nate’s flirty behavior – prevents that from happening. Before they know it, their hormones are flying, and they are completely amped up for each other. When they finally give in, watch the hell out!! Talk about deliciously hot and sexy-ass combustion! Phew!
Although they haven’t known each other long, Nate and Sean spend a lot of time together and find that not only do they have great sexual chemistry, but that they get along in so many other aspects as well. And while there is a moment when things could be problematic, it’s so refreshing to see that these guys are mature enough to communicate and work on a solution together.
The only issue I had with Holiday Roommates is that the editing needed a little more refinement. There were a few places where I got tripped up on incorrect names or small continuity errors, so it kind of stopped my reading flow. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful story based on fabulous characters and a sweet romance that I would definitely recommend. I hope that Michaels will revisit these guys with another story, too, because I know I would read it in a heartbeat....more
Yay!! Iron & Velvet is the first book in what promises to be an excellent urban f4.5 Stars! Review can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Yay!! Iron & Velvet is the first book in what promises to be an excellent urban fantasy series – I can’t wait to read more!
Kate Kane is a paranormal investigator, but her work of late has been slow…or rather nonexistent. That is, until she is summoned by a Vampire Prince to investigate a death in the Prince’s territory. You come to find out that this Prince – the Prince of Cups – is actually a she, as the title is a formal title and not gender-specific. Being that Kate is a lesbian and completely attracted to the Prince – Julian Saint-Germain – she takes the job. Of course, since she currently has no work, getting paid is quite the incentive as well.
After some quick investigating, Kate determines that the murder victim outside of Julian’s club is a werewolf. This could prove bad and lead to tensions between the vampires and werewolves and other paranormal beings as well if things are not resolved quickly. Not too long after there is another another attack specifically on Julian. Are these attacks related or separate? Kate works hard to discover the truth.
Hall has created an excellent beginning to this urban fantasy series – one of my favorite genres. I had never read lesbian romance before so I was a bit hesitant, but I shouldn’t have been. There were some romantic parts, but it was done well, like that with other genres, and I found I didn’t mind the extra girly bits even though I primarily read m/m or heterosexual. First of all, Kate Kane is awesome! She has a fabulous dry humor, and she had me laughing out loud quite a bit. Add to that that she is not a damsel in distress by any stretch of the imagination, nor is she so over-the-top with powers and strength that she is ridiculously unrealistic. She’s somewhere right in the middle, and damn near perfect for a main character female lead. She makes mistakes, but she owns up to them, and she has strength in battle at appropriate times but not so perfect that she doesn’t get harmed. She really is a perfect mix for a female heroine in my opinion.
Add to that, Hall has written a slew of fabulous supporting characters that I enjoyed reading about immensely. While Kate tries to deny herself feelings for Julian, she finally gives in, and these two women together are a joy to read. They have great banter and even better chemistry. Throughout the book, the reader is introduced to a handful of other characters who make repeat appearances, and they are really enjoyable to read as well. Some are annoying but add depth to the story, and others are just ones I really, really like and hope to see more of in future books.
Hall entices the reader as well with some questions and mysteries surrounding Kate that I look forward to learning. Her mother is a powerful Faery, and while we get information about her and Kate’s lineage, I look forward to learning more about their history and their relationship. And then there’s the issue of her previous partner in the business who is now dead. Kate blames herself for his death, but we don’t know the details of it yet.
The only quibble I had with Iron & Velvet is that it seemed that just about every female character in the book was a lesbian, and just about all of them are or have been infatuated with or attracted to Kate. To me that just doesn’t seem very realistic, in either sense. Also, there were a few editing mistakes – missing words or the wrong word usage – but those were not enough to distract me from the enjoyment of the book.
Overall, I definitely recommend Iron & Velvet if you enjoy a great paranormal series full of wit and humor, a little bit of spice, and great action. Hall writes very well, and I was able to imagine the scenery and action taking place with his descriptions and prose. I leave you with a great quote that shows Kate’s humor and is a great descriptor for the book as a whole:
“Overall chance of getting murdered: low. Overall chance of miserable, soul-destroying break-up: moderate. Overall chance of lots of red hot monkey sex: high to extreme. Overall chance of boredom: zero. I was liking these odds.”
Oh, what an amazing book Let it Snow is, and it is THE perfect read for a cold, snowy night whilReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Oh, what an amazing book Let it Snow is, and it is THE perfect read for a cold, snowy night while curled up by the fire. Clear your calendar, and make sure you have no place to go so you can do just that.
Frankie Blackburn is trying to drive away from a blizzard in Minnesota when his GPS gets him lost, so that instead of heading home to Minneapolis, he finds himself in the northern small town Logan, Minnesota. An accident on the highway has him seeking shelter to prevent himself from freezing to death in the blizzard. Luckily, he finds an empty cabin and hunkers down for the night. He comes to realize, though, that the cabin is home to three bears. No, not those kind of bears…but the other kind – big, burly, hairy gay men who also happen to be lumberjacks. They are the antithesis to everything that Frankie is – a hairstylist who is a sassy and chic twink.
Due to the expected snowfall from the blizzard, the bears – Paul, Arthur, and Marcus – take Frankie in to keep him safe for the duration of the storm. Paul and Arthur are happy to do so; Marcus, on the other hand, is gruff and grouchy, and Frankie believes that Marcus is exactly the type of person that he’s always feared. Frankie’s outward appearance and the way he carries himself makes it very clear that he is gay, and he avoids all possibilities of running into large, masculine men for fear of being bullied and beaten. At first, Frankie thinks that Marcus might be this type of person. He is shocked to find out Marcus is actually gay as well. And in fact, each of them is exactly the type of person that they are normally attracted to. Still, though, Marcus’ grouchiness towards Frankie continues unexplained, until Frankie takes the bull by the horns and confronts Marcus and his sullen behavior. What happens next is enough to melt away the blizzard drifts building outside the cabin (and the nearby barn).
Wow – just wow! That is a perfect way to sum up Let it Snow. Cullinan has penned a fabulous winter story with amazing characters – both the main characters as well as the peripheral ones. One of the things that I loved most about Let it Snow was how there was a build up for Frankie and Marcus’ relationship. The sexual tension between them escalates at a great pace – not too fast, not too slow, but juuuuust right – and then it becomes so thick, it is nearly tangible. It is great to see how Frankie finally pushes aside his fear of being hated and rejected and stands up for himself and confronts his fear – and Marcus – head on. Besides the fact that Frankie is completely endearing from the first paragraph in the book, seeing him take this huge step for himself makes him even more lovable. Marcus, on the other hand, is a complete grouch – almost to the point where you just want to slap him. Almost. Because even through his gruff and grouchy display, it is clearly evident that he is a very caring person who experiences a lot of feeling even when he doesn’t necessarily want to. He just tries to hide that part of himself. Fortunately, he’s not too good at doing so.
Once these men get together, watch out! Their sexy time is incredibly passionate and hot – more than enough to keep them warm on those cold winter nights. So much so, I’m surprised they didn’t burn down the cabin. More than that, though, their time together is affectionate, sweet, and caring – there is so much more to them than just lust and physical attraction.
During the time that Frankie is snowbound in Logan, he and Marcus develop a very sweet relationship. Even though they are opposites in just about every sense of the word, they work together perfectly. Marcus truly loves taking care of Frankie, and Frankie takes some big steps out of his shell of fear with the support that Marcus provides him. Individually, they both still have to work through their inner demons, though. For Marcus, he fears being badly hurt like he was in his previous relationship. For Frankie, his lack of confidence and fears of rejection and being bullied are often crippling for him. Luckily, they are able to establish a strong foundation for a relationship even in the short time that they have together.
In addition to Frankie and Marcus, Cullinan writes fabulous supporting characters as well. Paul and Arthur have their problems, but they are good men who help Frankie and Marcus when there is a need. They are incredibly supportive, thoughtful, and kind, but they tell it like it is when needed as well. And Marcus’ mom is just a dear. Battling Alzheimer’s, Marcus makes sure to visit her every day, and Frankie is happy to help provide her with the one thing that she constantly worries about – doing her hair and helping her look nice.
I cannot recommend this book enough, I am a total sucker for all the elements that Cullinan has in Let it Snow – obstacles to overcome, personal and relationship growth, serious chemistry, hot and passionate sex, and when it all boils down to it, a completely sweet, and heart melting story. Let it Snow is truly a comfort read, and I know I’ll be cuddling up with it again very soon.
What a poignant and profound tagline. Trip Spector is an introverted comic book artist who lives his life without risk. Although not fulfilled or entirely happy, he does work for his boss, Cliff – a friend of sorts, someone Trip is hopelessly attracted to although he seems to be straight – as Cliff deems it should be done, while Trip puts any of his hopes and aspirations as an artist on the back burner.
While joining his dearest friends, Jillian and Rina, on a zombie run in New York City, Trip runs into one of the most beautiful zombies Trip has ever seen, Silas Goolsby. Silas is an FX makeup artist, sometimes barely making ends meet, but mostly doing what he loves for a living.
Sparks fly the instant Trip and Silas meet. Neither is used to the feelings each has, and they find themselves in unknown territory. Neither man dates. They each go after what it is they need at the time, but everything is short-lived. Until they meet, that is.
While Trip and Silas are different in so many ways, they also have commonality that bring them together beautifully. Trip walks the straight and narrow, is socially awkward, afraid of risk, and mostly secludes himself from life. Silas, on the other hand, goes after what he wants, jumping into life with both feet and without looking back. It is those differences in each man that make them so compatible for each other. At the same time, they have quite a bit in common as well. They are both artists, in fields that are some-what related, and they are both nerds in their own right, with similar interests in superheroes, comics, and movies that help to bring them together.
Then there is the sexual chemistry between Mr. Spector and Mr. Goolsby, which is off-the-charts scorching! While built like an incredible alpha male, Silas is actually a hard core bottom, which totally jives with Trip’s love of topping and sexual domination. It’s ironic how Trip comes off as meek in daily living, but close the doors and give him a bottom who likes to be bossed around, and Trip’s strong side comes out and loves to play. And Suede can write some seriously uber-hot sex scenes that burn the page and melt my Kindle! His prose in describing the love scenes is as raw as it is beautiful.
Suede has penned a beautiful, heartbreaking, and very poignant story in BAD IDEA. I loved watching the relationship between Trip and Silas grow over time. It wasn’t insta-love, and it took some hard work for the men to get to a point where they found themselves in a full-on relationship. Silas was one of the most giving characters I’ve had the pleasure to read – sexy, witty, funny, and selfless. And there were times that I wanted to slap Trip silly because he didn’t know how to deal with all that he was being given. As such, they had issues with communication, but they were able to overcome a lot of that with some time and experience. They find themselves at a crossroads, though, when Silas takes a large risk for Trip, and Trip is torn on whether to make the jump or not. Is it is a mistake worth making? I won’t divulge…you’ll have to read it and find out.
Overall, I just loved BAD IDEA. Suede’s writing and prose speak to me. The imagery and detail he provides are so unique and vivid. His characters are not perfect, but are wonderful, and he has penned an excellent supporting cast as well. There is love, and there are hurdles to overcome. Love is not easy, but it is worth the effort it takes to get there. The only drawback I found in BAD IDEA was that there were some scenes where I stumbled upon inconsistencies mostly in set up and action. There were a couple of times where the characters were situated one way (e.g., sitting), but then they moved and were where I thought they were to begin with (e.g., sitting again). I was pulled out of the story for a moment trying to find where there was a change (e.g., stood up), but couldn’t.
Without getting too personal, BAD IDEA was poignant on so many levels. It was a story of two amazing men trying to find their way as a couple. And it was also a cathartic and profound step for Suede as an author. He has told the tale repeatedly of how difficult writing HARD HEAD has been for him, the sequel to HOT HEAD, his best-selling book straight out of the gate as a m/m romance author, so BAD IDEA was his answer to overcoming that difficulty and letting his creativity flow. In the book, he writes in cameos of people within the m/m romance community who helped him even without knowing it. Francesca and I are both very lucky UTC ladies to have been given such cameos. Of course, I squeed every time I read our names in the book, but there is so much more to it than that. Like Silas gave Trip the inspiration to create a comic of his own – Scratch – Suede has told the story of how he was given inspiration by his close friends and family to write BAD IDEA. I, for one, am so glad that he did.
Lastly, I leave you with some of my very favorite quotes from BAD IDEA. I had tons, but these are just a few I wanted to share:
Always bet on the nerd.
“You make everyone brave. You don’t even know, but you do.”
“Not porno. It’s graphic and there’s sex, but it’s not just pee-pees and woo-woos. Or wee-wees and poo-poos.”
“If you love life, life will love you back.”
“I hate to say it, but I’m simply not gonna take no for an answer. It’s a trick I learned from an Alabama boy I fell in love with so hard…”
This is the novella based on the pictures and story prompt I provided for the Love Knows No Boundaries event in the M/M Romance GAbsolutely loved it!!
This is the novella based on the pictures and story prompt I provided for the Love Knows No Boundaries event in the M/M Romance Group, and T.A. Webb wrote this story just perfectly!!
Davey is a Naval Lieutenant on an aircraft carrier, and he also happens to be gay and in the closet. Being a pilot has always been his most important goal in life, so he has tucked away his sexuality, keeping it secondary and secretive. Even with the repeal of DADT, he doesn't want any of his friends or co-workers to view him differently if he were to come out. Then Chuck, a new pilot, arrives on the carrier, and Davey's ability to keep his sexuality hidden becomes much more difficult.
Davey is attracted to Chuck from the second he lays eyes on him, but after spending months together on the carrier, flying together, and working together, Davey and Chuck become close friends, and Davey has learned that Chuck is as amazing inside as he is outside. Then one day, an opportunity presents itself, and the two friends might become something more.
This is a beautiful story of friends becoming lovers, and it is full of romance and an amazing HEA. Webb incorporated the picture I provided of the two pilots standing on a jet in the twilight better than I ever could have imagined. Thank you, T.A. Webb, for breathing beautiful life into this story prompt....more
Excedrin….someone please pass me the Excedrin! That is exactly what I need after finished KING MReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Excedrin….someone please pass me the Excedrin! That is exactly what I need after finished KING MAI. When I smile, laugh and/or cry too much, I get headaches. Well, I did all three of those things, especially the former and the latter, and now I need some relief. Of course, reading KING MAI was worth every ounce of that pain, so I’m not complaining.
To sum it up, KING MAI was A-FRICKING-MAZING!! I absolutely loved KING PERRY, the first book in Edmond Manning’s The Lost and Founds series, so I knew that I had wonderful things to look forward to in KING MAI, but never in a million years did I suspect that I would end up loving it as much as, if not more, than its predecessor. Oh but I did. KING MAI was all that and a bag of chips!!
Like KING PERRY, we find Vin Vanbly about to begin a kinging weekend. In this installment in the series, however, Manning has taken the reader back to 1996, and unlike KING PERRY, where he only met his Lost King right before the kinging weekend, we find that Vin and Mai have known each other for about six months via AOL and internet chatting. Mai Kearns is a twenty-something farmer in DeKalb. He is of Thai descent, was adopted as a baby, and he is gay. Due to many negative experiences, usually related to being a different race from those surrounding him in Small Town, USA, and being gay, he has felt ostracized, ridiculed, and hurt. Adding salt to the wound, Mai has never completely gotten over the sudden and hurtful loss of his first true love. Nevertheless, he loves DeKalb, and he loves being a farmer.
Unfortunately, Mai’s parents’ farm is in foreclosure. They have been struggling for awhile, but now the loss of the farm is imminent. Rather than allowing his various wounds over the years to heal, however, Mai only covered them with a band-aid, and his band-aid of choice is generally in the form of anger. When pressed with an unsavory situation, he often lashes out. This trait of his, however, does not deplete his strength of character, his compassion, nor the profound love he has within him ~ for that of his parents, their farm, or for others. It only masks it. But not to Vin. Vin has an amazing talent in reading people, and he sees that strength with certain clarity. In addition, he sees that Mai has a gift ~ a gift of curiosity. And it is this very special trait that leads him through a treasure-hunting kinging weekend full of highs, lows, and everything in between.
Once again, Manning has written a novel that I cannot praise high enough. My words cannot do it justice. To put it succinctly, KING MAI is simply amazing. Manning has weaved such an imaginative and well-written book, I recommend it to everyone. Like KING PERRY, KING MAI truly is a literary work of art. The characters Manning writes are ones I don’t want to leave after I’m done with the book. I want to read more, discover more, and find out what else might happen to them afterward. I love these characters. They make me laugh, and they make me cry. And with both, it’s a good guarantee that I am doing them while smiling. These characters are like a comfort food for me ~ they warm my soul.
Mai is a bit prickly at first. Like I said, he is quick to anger and lashes out when things are not easy or when he hears or sees something he doesn’t like. But after Vin scratches through his rough exterior, we see the compassionate, caring, and loving soul that Mai is. He’s been hurt, and as a result, he’s put up walls, and he focuses all of his energy into the one thing he loves so deeply ~ his parents’ farm. And while he lashes out at Vin several times, Vin stays the course of the weekend, and he provides Mai with what he needs to help him remember the man he is.
And then there is Vin. Ah, Vin. Although it seems as though he does, Vin doesn’t actually work magic. Rather, he puts forth so much effort into his kinging weekends, his selflessness and his deep love for the Lost King ~ in this case, Mai ~ just exudes off the page. He doesn’t make things easy, but everything he does, he does with immense love. The story is told through Vin’s eyes and words, and so much of that is focused on Mai. Throughout the book, though, we also get introspective glimpses about himself, ones that make me sad actually. While Vin fulfills his role so beautifully in kinging Mai ~ through his selflessness, compassion, and love ~ he doesn’t seem to see himself in a positive light. Rather, he has rather grim thoughts about who he is and where he is in life. Oh Vin ~ you have very quirky ways, but you have a beautiful soul that is as brilliant as your mind. I look so forward watching your story unfold with each successive book.
Together Vin and Mai are actually magical. They don’t always agree, and even when Mai lashes out at Vin, there is love there between them. As their weekend unfolds, the reader is taken on an adventure with these lovely characters whose chemistry and personalities work so well together. Their passion is raw, but it is doused in love and served with a side of seriously sexy lust. And as they make it through the weekend, the reader is led to the same epiphanies as Mai, monumental moments that are awakening and often beautiful. So many times I wept along with Mai as he reached these moments. Be sure to have your tissues at the ready.
So now I’ve taken my Excedrin, and my headache has dissipated. It didn’t last long, but like I said, it was completely worth it. Besides, Excedrin is a great word, isn’t it? Ex-ce-drrrrinnnnnn. It just rolls off the tongue so well, and bonus! It has an “x” in it. Yeah, I need some of that. Don’t know what I mean? Read KING MAI to find out. ;)
Aaahhhh, what a beautiful, meaningful phrase after reading such an amazing booReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Remember the King.
Aaahhhh, what a beautiful, meaningful phrase after reading such an amazing book. What took me so long to pick up this fabulous novel, I have no idea. But I am ever so glad that I finally did! KING PERRY had been highly recommended to me by someone who is very stingy with her star ratings, but she gave it 5 stars, and now I know why. To put it succinctly, it was brilliant.
KING PERRY tells the tale of Vin Vanbly, who meets Perry Mangrin, and decides that Perry needs to be “Kinged.” What does that mean exactly? It means going together on an adventurous weekend, doing fun, silly, and wildly unexpected things, all to serve a purpose in self-discovery, and for Perry, forgiveness.
Perry suffered incredible loss as a young child, and through a very brief meeting, natural instinct, and the ability to read people so, so well, Vin recognized this and saw something in Perry that could use one of Vin’s King weekends. Perry, who barely knows Vin, is understandably suspect of the invitation he receives from Vin, but in the end, he decides to go along and see what it is that Vin is offering. While Vin is not into BDSM, he requests Perry to submit to all of his requests. Understandably, Perry responds to a lot of these with reluctance, but eventually he does submit, and the weekend quickly becomes one that he will never forget. There is a wild trip to Alcatraz, a humbling breakfast, adventures involving a duckling (aptly named Mr. Quackers), fun on the beach, camping, and so many other things in between.
Manning weaves an amazing and simply beautiful tale of a grand King weekend for Vin and Perry, two characters who I just adore. Vin is absolutely fabulous!! He is not an alpha male, nor is he a huge, sexy hunk. On the outside, he is an average guy. The inside, though – just WOW! Vin is one of the most beautiful characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. He is brilliantly witty, intelligent, and highly intuitive, all of which also reflects on Manning as the author. Manning doesn’t add detail to the story for the sake of filling a page, but at the same time, he writes about Vin’s quirky and humorous thought processes, things that are not often discussed in other books. These are great glimpses into Vin’s beautiful, intricately thoughtful mind, and I find him so fascinating as a result. As an aside, I also absolutely loved Vin’s OCD with words and letters. I have a few of them myself, so I could completely relate. :)
Vin’s intuition is also spot-on. He can see so much about people by reading into their responses and bodily reactions, no matter how subtle. Because of all the greatness that Vin truly is, he is so adept at deciding exactly what needs to be done to King someone, and how to make that person whole once again – how he can be Found. He also has a zest for life and living, kindness and caring. To give you an idea, here Vin asks Perry:
“…have you ever done anything so significantly outrageous, so beautiful and insane, that on days when your life feels dull, these shining moments leap out? Do you have an answer to the question ‘Did I live? Did I touch the world?’”
Vin helps Perry do this – he helps him Remember the King. In his adventures with Perry, we also get a glimpse into Vin’s background and an issue about which he prefers not to think. KING PERRY only scratched the surface of that, but I look forward to reading more about Vin in future books to come, in hopes to see a transformation from Lost to Found himself.
Perry is a wonderful character as well. He is understandably hesitant when he decides to accompany Vin on this King weekend, and while there are some men who would never go along with the things that Vin makes him do, he decides to do so. He has his guard up, but underlying that is a vulnerability and a hurt so deep that as a reader, I just wanted to grab, hug, and squeeze him without letting go. Nonetheless, he is full of compassion and kindness, traits that draw Vin right to him. While not the focus of the book, Perry and Vin also share some great sexual chemistry and could seriously light some pages on fire with it. Throughout so much of their intimate time together, Vin tells Perry tales of all various Kings, how some were Lost, how some were Found. While a bit strange to discuss such things during such a time, it works and adds to the story as a whole. Perry and Vin are also very sweet and adorable together with their interactions and playful bantering.
If asked, I could not do justice to describe the type of book that KING PERRY actually is. It’s not a romance in the traditional sense of the term. There is romance, and there is love, but this is not a story about an HEA for these men. That is not to say that there isn’t an HEA, because I really do believe there is. Trust me – I cried big, full happy tears. But it isn’t an HEA in the traditional sense. KING PERRY incorporates the elements of adventure, humor, romance, and love, but what it really is a fictional novel that is a literary work of art. Manning writes a most beautiful story, and I cannot recommend King Perry highly enough....more
Holy Mary, Mother of God!! In what has been an amazing series of books the likes of which I haveReview can also be read at Under the Covers Book Blog.
Holy Mary, Mother of God!! In what has been an amazing series of books the likes of which I have not read anywhere else, Trials & Errors was hands-down the best thus far!
For the first time in awhile, we see Mat pull himself up by his bootstraps and reveal his fortitude in doing what he needs to do to survive and to protect both Dougie and Roger. His attitude is back, and it’s wonderful to see. Of course, part of me cringes when he behaves this way because Lord only knows how Nikolai will respond, but at the same time, I am cheering him on for not succumbing to a fate worse than death.
My sweet, poor Dougie, however, has seemingly transformed into exactly what Nikolai wants. He has become his slave, and although he has been a “good” boy, Dougie still endures things that no man should even think are possible. But he does, and he does it with a grace and self sacrifice which makes Nikolai more than proud, and as a result, Dougie is happy. Happy, people!! Slay me, now! The saddest part is that not only is Dougie happy, but throughout this book, the reader can truly see just how mentally fucked up Dougie is – that Nikolai succeeded in his work, the rat bastard that he is.
Of course, too much of a good thing never can last, and it doesn’t. And as I have said in prior reviews, when you think that Haimowitz and Belleau could not come up with something worse than anything they’ve written before, they do. And like Nikolai tells Mat when Mat makes some demands of his own, be careful what you wish for. And he should have been. Mat got what he wanted, but never in a way he could have imagined.
Without giving anything away, I will just say that as I read Trials & Errors, my heart was racing a mile-a-minute, and it took every ounce of wherewithal for me not to flip ahead to see what might happen. This installment of The Flesh Cartel will leave you on the edge of your seat, and dare I say it, it gives you hope.
Just when I think that I can’t be shocked anymore than I already have in reading The Flesh CartReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog.
Just when I think that I can’t be shocked anymore than I already have in reading The Flesh Cartel, Haimowitz and Belleau prove me completely wrong! They have penned another excellent episode in Loyalties, one that leaves me wanting more…and then hating myself for doing so. Because, really, how much of a sadist must I be to keep wanting to read this torturous, albeit amazing, series?
Loyalties picks up immediately where Homecoming had stopped with its huge cliffhanger. Of course, I just knew that the big shocker wouldn’t actually take place, but nonetheless, I devoured this episode to make sure. The scary part of it all, though, is that I was almost sad that it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want anything to happen to my beloved Mat or Dougie, other than to escape and get sweet, sweet revenge. But seeing how that seems nearly impossible at this point, I was almost happy for Mat taking charge in ending the torture he’s lived and endured since his capture. While Mat wasn’t actually physically tortured in this episode, he is still being mentally tortured, both by Nikolai and Roger, as well as by himself. It is heartbreaking to see how his strength continues to be whittled down episode by episode.
And then Dougie, oh my sweet Dougie…I am as tortured and fucked up by Nikolai’s actions as Dougie is. One moment he is being treated decently, and I want to jump for joy, and then the next, he’s being treated worse than awful (and accepting it!), and I want to gouge out Nikolai’s eyes…with a spoon! But Haimowitz and Belleau continue to evolve the characters and their depth, and the plot keeps moving right on along at a good pace. Transformations continue on all levels – for those of the characters and for me as the reader. Dare I say that some of the sex scenes are even titillating to me?? Does that make me an awful human being? Just when I begin to wonder, though, Nikolai shows his true colors, devoid of humanity and decency, and I can rest assured that I’m not too fucked up. Yet.
With a wedge successfully driven between Mat and Dougie, Nikolai is now completely taking advantage of it and creating a pet out of Dougie just as he always planned. And poor Mat is barely holding on…to life or hope.
In HOMECOMING, the mind fuck of all mind fuck continues, but it is with this episode that the mind fuck is more for the reader than for Mat or Dougie. For as much as I hate, loathe, and abhor Nikolai, there’s always been a part of me that cheers inside when he shows tenderness to Dougie. Well, with this episode, Nikolai “spoils” Dougie with a taste of life outside of his windowless, basement “room,” and gives him things that he loved from his past. And as been happening with each show and display of tenderness, Dougie thinks that maybe he CAN be the type of person Nikolai wants him to be. He thinks that maybe Nikolai really does care for him. That he really does LOVE him. And maybe, just maybe with time, he can learn to love Nikolai back. And as the reader, how do I find myself? Almost rooting for this to happen! I mean, WTF??? Curse you Haimowitz and Belleau – what are you doing to me???
This “relationship,” if you will, is really developed in HOMECOMING, and we see very little of Mat. What we do see, though, is just heart-wrenching. In the last episode, he did what he promised Nikolai he would do, and he didn’t interfere with Dougie’s abhorrent treatment. He didn’t come to Dougie’s rescue. It was probably harder than anything he’s ever done before, but Mat knew that if he didn’t do as Nikolai told him, Dougie would suffer the consequences worse than those that were being delivered. So Mat stood back and stayed seemingly aloof as best he could. While he succeeded in fulfilling Nikolai’s wishes, what Mat did was something that he can’t forgive himself for. So in this episode, we find Mat in probably the darkest place he’s ever been, and really, after all the torture he’s received, that’s saying something.
So, once again, the crack duo writing team of Haimowitz and Belleau had me reading non-stop and hanging onto every last word written on the page, waiting with bated for the next episode. I think I’m ready…yeah, I’m ready. Bring it!!
HORN GATE is the first book in an urban fantasy series that is well thought out and beautifullyReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
HORN GATE is the first book in an urban fantasy series that is well thought out and beautifully written, and it is a great and intriguing start to a series that I cannot wait to read about some more!
Isaac is just your average Joe…a young gay man who’s a little overweight, with a few skin issues to boot. He decides that for his birthday, however, he is going to step outside of the box and do something a bit daring…he is going to go to an off-the-map sex club and become a voyeur for a few hours. What he finds instead is something that will seemingly change his life forever.
After entering Gehenna, Isaac goes to explore the sex lounge, and is lured by a calling to a small room where he finds a preternaturally beautiful being which he believes to be an angel. This angel of his is Scratch.
The day after Isaac’s visit to Gehenna, Isaac is set to do research on an old tome that brings forth memories from the night before, causing him to go seek out Scratch once again. When he finds him, Isaac discovers that Scratch is not an angel at all, but rather a demon or a spirit of sorts – an Incubus. Unlike the mythology usually associated with Incubi, in which they generally feed off of lust and sex, Scratch feeds on other things – pain, fear, and woe. And so their story begins.
I really enjoyed this series opener. Suede has created a complex world that is very intriguing, and he has written two characters who I really enjoyed reading about – an average guy and a demon. The idea of Scratch as an Incubus who feeds on things other than lust and sex is a creative and new concept, and I look forward to this being explored further. I am a complete sucker for demons, too, so that drew me in immediately as well.
Even with the veritable shortness of this novella, I got pulled into Isaac and Scratch’s story and who they are as characters both individually and together. Isaac is drawn to Scratch as equally as Scratch is protective of Isaac, and there is a compelling lure between them. There is a strong sexual attraction between the two of them, too, and although the pages are charged with that, there is no sex in this book. I, for one, think that it was perfect without it. The story wouldn’t be what it was if there was. This was a story of setting up an urban fantasy world, meeting the main characters, and laying a foundation on which to build. Sex would have done the book a disservice, and that is something that we can just look forward to in the future. To tide us romance readers over, though, there are some very sexy kisses and tenderness shared between Scratch and Isaac.
The primary thing that I just loved about HORN GATE was the prose and writing. Suede writes so beautifully. He weaves an intricate tale with imagery and detail that allows me to see exactly what is being described on the page so perfectly in my mind. And the way in which those details are written is just so lovely. The metaphors and analogies Suede uses describe the scene so well, so vividly. I believe that HORN GATE is a testament to Suede’s diversity as an author – he can create a multi-dimensional fantasy world on which to build and explore as well as he can write an amazing contemporary romance.
One of the other things that I loved about HORN GATE was also the one downside I had with it: the world building. The mythos that Suede created for his HORN GATE world was so intricate, detailed, and intriguing. There is a lot of Hebrew culture and learning involved, as well theology and demonology. The amount of knowledge and research that Suede put forth in the book was just incredible. At the same time, that amount of information provided to explain a very in-depth and potentially complicated mythos for the world building was extremely large, and I would have liked to have seen it flushed out further in a longer story. Of course, the consolation to this is knowing that this is a series that will continue to follow Isaac and Scratch, and from that, I am sure we will learn more in the books to come.
Another element in this book that intrigued me was how Scratch’s feeding also caused a transformation in Isaac. Whether that transformation is a result of the feeding or caused by it, I am not sure, but I found it so interesting. Scratch got drunk on Isaac’s misery – a trait which Scratch states makes Isaac mortal – but at the same time, Isaac then transformed into a beautiful being. He lost the fallibility in his physical traits and became as preternaturally attractive to others as Scratch is to him. This is an element that I hope will be flushed out and explained further as the series continues.
All in all, HORN GATE was an excellent series opener, and I look very forward to learning more about Isaac and Scratch and their journey into the Horn Gate.
Cowboys & Vampires is like no other book I have ever read. It is an old time Western – the first I’ve ever read – but it incorporates so many elements of books I do love to read: paranormal/fantasy, suspense, male/male romance, and a new but solid love.
Josh Stanton lives in Belkin’s Pass, an old western town, where his adoptive mother, Agnes, took him in and cared for him since he was a small child. But strange things have been happening to him recently, and he can’t explain what it is or why. After finding Agnes’ dead body, Josh realizes he’ll be implicated in her death, so he decides to flee the town. As the Sheriff’s Deputy, his best friend, Dex Wells, needs to decide what to do: should he go after Josh and take him into custody, or should he let his friendship prevail and help Josh get away safely?
Meanwhile, other mysterious occurrences are taking place in town. Prostitutes at the local saloon are behaving oddly and the only one to see that something is very wrong is one of their own, Glory. She quickly discovers that an evil vampire, Balthazar, is the cause of everything taking place at the brothel and that he is turning the others into vampires as well. Very soon, all of the strange occurrences begin to intersect and so begins the fight for justice, life, and love.
Edwards gets the reader wrapped into this story right out of the gate: Josh arrives at his house to find Agnes’ dead body and the action quickly ensues. From that point on I was hooked, and it was difficult to put the book down. Edwards writes extremely well - his descriptions and details were enticing to me as a reader, and I loved all of the suspense and paranormal elements he kept introducing into Cowboys & Vampires. More so, Edwards wove the tale in such a way to keep the explanation of it all mysterious and taunting – but in a very good way. Without any answers neatly provided up front, I continued to ask myself questions throughout the book. For instance, Balthazar - where did he come from, and why is he drawn to Josh? He is definitely not the type of vampire we have come to know and love in our books these days; he is pure evil. Some of these are answered for the reader by the end of this book; however, since this is a series there are some that linger, which I am absolutely fine with so long as they are answered eventually.
Edwards also writes characters that grew on me quickly - both the good and the bad. Balthazar is an awesomely evil bad guy, and he had me biting my nails in just about every scene in which he appeared; I never knew what might happen. On the other hand, Josh, Dex, and Glory had me rooting for them from the beginning. I was drawn to their uniqueness but also their will to live and to fight evil head on.
And, of course the relationship between Josh and Dex is one of my favorites – friends turned to lovers. In the midst of everything taking place, these best friends decide to take a chance on a love to which neither was willing to previously admit because being gay back then was never accepted. But when the odds aren’t looking great, and there isn’t much else for which to fight, throwing caution to the wind and letting love prevail seems like a wonderful idea. And it is. The relationship between Josh and Dex is so sweet and beautiful, and their time together is full of tenderness and heartwarming love.
While Cowboys & Vampires provides the reader with a plethora of characters, paranormal elements, and events, the primary intersecting plot never faltered. It was all woven together in a very enticing and engaging manner. True to the style of the book, Edwards also left the reader with one hell of a cliffhanger. It’s definitely one to bring me back for more, not only because of the cliffhanger but because of all the reasons leading up to it – an excellent story, a creative world, great characters, suspense, and a beautiful love story that has me wanting more. Cowboys & Vampires is my first book from Hank Edwards, but it surely will not be my last!