This is more of a high fantasy novel with a romance subplot. Really epic, and very imaginative take on the "the-underdog-as-the-chosen-one" trope. TheThis is more of a high fantasy novel with a romance subplot. Really epic, and very imaginative take on the "the-underdog-as-the-chosen-one" trope. The ending was a bit tacky though. ...more
This was a somewhat mixed bag for me; I didn't really like any of the stories, and some even less than that.
Take You Farther by Santino Hassell I likeThis was a somewhat mixed bag for me; I didn't really like any of the stories, and some even less than that.
Take You Farther by Santino Hassell I liked the somewhat snarky narrative voice and the dark desperation in this story. 3 stars
Memory Hill by J.C. Lillis My favorite of the bunch. Funny, quirky and poignant. 3.5 stars
Grave Circumstances by J.R. Gray Somewhat strange yet enjoyable slice-of-life piece with a touch of BDSM. 3 stars
Boyfriends in the Boneyard by Kris Ripper This was just... meh. 2 stars
Mayfair by Roan Parrish This read like an emo teenager's creative writing homework. Couldn't wrap my head around it; the writing was almost poetic at times, convoluted and pseudo-literary highbrow at others. Not my cup of tea at all, which was a disappointment since I bought the whole anthology just for this. 1 star. ...more
Those Salisbury books would make pretty goot movies, I think. Mystery, drama, romance with some action and deadly peril thown in, all wrapped up in aThose Salisbury books would make pretty goot movies, I think. Mystery, drama, romance with some action and deadly peril thown in, all wrapped up in a sweet happy end, they're near perfect summer reads. TBH, I liked this second instalment even better than the first book, . Greg was a great character, the restless wanderer finding a home. And yes, he did have a bit of Indiana Jones about him. How is it that cat burglars/ art thieves always make such compelling heroes? At least to me they do, and I loved Greg to pieces. Jon, the other main character, paled in comparison though he, too, had his endearing traits. A master craftsman who's heading his own business yet so insecure about his own worth - what's not to love about a vulnerable gentle giant like him? No wonder Greg fell for him on the spot, although the other way round took a while (and the abovementioned deadly peril) to finally sink in. Their back and forth was a bit tedious, but kept the dreaded insta-love at bay, so it was all good.
In short, this book was a joy to read, very entertaining. I can recommend it, both as a standalone and as part of the series. ...more
This was what I'd call a by the book romance - a sweet yet not saccharine enemies-to-lovers tale with strokes of fate to overcome, a properly psychopaThis was what I'd call a by the book romance - a sweet yet not saccharine enemies-to-lovers tale with strokes of fate to overcome, a properly psychopathic villain that you'll end up more pitying than loathing and a colorful cast of adorable characters, mainly a special needs woman-child who almost stole the show from the main characters. There's some growing up happening, a number of rough edges get smoothed out, and the romance fairy every so often waves her magic wand to create a happy coincidence or several.
All in all, a very enjoyable, fulfilling book that went straight to my comfort-reads shelf. Warmly recommended. ...more
After reading I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel - and I wasn't disappointed, this was just as good as the first book. It's very much CooAfter reading I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel - and I wasn't disappointed, this was just as good as the first book. It's very much Cooper's story though; Eli is absent for about half of it, if still always present in Cooper's mind. A beautiful love story under DADT, and also an ode to the brotherhood of warriors that makes Eli and Cooper's crew what they are. ...more
I loved the casual, easing-into-it aspect of Cooper and Eli's relationship, it made them all the more real. Their friendship evolving into love over tI loved the casual, easing-into-it aspect of Cooper and Eli's relationship, it made them all the more real. Their friendship evolving into love over time felt just natural, and I found it easy to comprehend that it took them a while to realize what happened between them. Too bad the story ended so abruptly, but lucky for me, the sequel is already available. I'm eager to learn what happens next. ...more
This was just so... I'm pretty much at a loss for words. The term "crushing guilt" materialized in a story so touching my heart hurt just reading abouThis was just so... I'm pretty much at a loss for words. The term "crushing guilt" materialized in a story so touching my heart hurt just reading about Tate's struggles. What should have been - and was at times - blackest darkness and despair turned into the one tiny sliver of hope that made all the difference. This is in no way a "love solves all problems" kind of story, and yet the message I took away from this book was "love conquers all". Not necessarily romantic love, let alone sex, but the kind of love that encompasses your fellow man, the world and its beauty, and last but not least, yourself.
The writing was a big part of what made this book the haunting, beautiful reading experience it was for me. Only one new-to-me author struck me this deep on my first encounter with their work, and I'll certainly keep my eyes open for anything J.E. Birk is going to publish in the future. ...more
Nothing much happened during about the first half of the book except what the blurb says - the good people of Smalltown, Georgia thwarting Camden's trNothing much happened during about the first half of the book except what the blurb says - the good people of Smalltown, Georgia thwarting Camden's trickster plans left and right with their neighborly ways. In fact, Camden started out quite the asshole, and I didn't like him much for quite a while, although he managed to change my outlook on him over the course of the story. Unlike Jackson, who started out the epitome of kindhearted, boy-next-door smalltown cop and only later on gained some rough edges that made him a bit more interesting.
The story picks up speed somewhere shortly after the halfway point though, and then proceeds to present some breathtaking action scenes and also a number of awwwww.... moments. The writing really helped getting me through the slow beginning; I loved the slightly ironic tone of a narrative that didn't take itself overly seriously.
Readers who don't mind easing into a story for quite a while should end up enjoying this book as much as I did. Recommended. ...more
It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely couple than Raphael and Alden. They’re polar opposites in so many regards:Reviewed for www.prismbookalliance.com
It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely couple than Raphael and Alden. They’re polar opposites in so many regards: eye for an eye versus thou shalt not kill, one at the very outskirts of society and one right in the middle of it, one open and welcoming and one tight like a clam. At first glance, their differences seem insurmontable, making their brief, if intense, fling during Raphael’s vacation in New Orleans, Alden’s hometown, a “ships passing in the night” episode, nothing more.
Until fate throws them together once more.
This was a well-written novella with a tightly paced plot, gripping mystery elements and a touch of romance. The New Orleans setting, even though mostly outlined with a few strokes of the brush, came alive on the pages with a great sense of place. It worked really well for me both as a hitman action thriller and also as a character development tale; I really liked watching Raphael and Alden grow as individual characters and as a couple.
What I found missing a little was the chemistry between the main characters though. A big portion of the book dealt with Raphael and Alden forming a relationship and working to make things work out between them, which was fine and had me rooting for both of them to find their middle ground. However, compared to this, the way their original encounter during Raphael’s vacation was written kept me, the reader, at arm’s length in a way. This might have been intentional, but the second part of the book was rather more intense than the first.
So, all in all, I can recommend this book as a well-written, character driven story with surprisingly little angst and a nice touch of romance....more
This book grabbed me right from the start and didn't let me go. I mean, come on, look at the blurb alone. Cultured,artsy black sabre tooth panther shiThis book grabbed me right from the start and didn't let me go. I mean, come on, look at the blurb alone. Cultured,artsy black sabre tooth panther shifter living on a houseboat on the Seine meets hunky former rent-boy turned undercover cop posing as a street hustler while hunting a creepy, bloodsuckin' serial killer in Paris?
Add to that the cover, and I was so in. Right in the middle, at that. Paris is one of my favorite places on earth, and this book transported me right there, drew me into the tastes, smells and sounds of this gorgeous city, her romance, wackiness and diversity, her indifference and greatness, her dirty corners and her heartbreaking beauty.
Then the characters, it was a joy to meet them. Connor (unlikeliest name ever, btw) with his native American roots, his protective, fierce warrior spirit and almost too much heartfor his own good, and Michel with his vanity, quick temper, naivete and low self-esteem whose equally fierce resilience carried him through his sordid past and challenging present. A less than perfect match and yet the perfect couple, I loved them both. The rest of the cast, if a bit sketchier, were just as unique. My only little niggle with this book, if I had one at all, was the villain (view spoiler)[ who was too easy to spot because they were the only really unlikable character in the whole book (hide spoiler)]
To make everything perfect, I got a well-paced, gripping plot that was romantic. laced with humor and yet just scary enough to add a bit of a bite to the mystery.
This is a winding-it-up Sidewinder story. Quite satisfying in a way, seeing Nick and Kelly win closure, and thus I'd call this book a welcome completiThis is a winding-it-up Sidewinder story. Quite satisfying in a way, seeing Nick and Kelly win closure, and thus I'd call this book a welcome completion for all Sidewinder fans. On the other hand, taken isolated from the whole C&R/ Nick&Kels-Sidewinder-yahoo, this book was a bit...meh. Lots of sheet acrobatics, lots of garbled emotions that seemed rather immature at times, lots of brother-oh-brother romantics, but that's it. ...more
This second book of a series draws heavily on events of the first one, , so I wouldn’t recommend reading it asReviewed for www.prismbookalliance.com
This second book of a series draws heavily on events of the first one, , so I wouldn’t recommend reading it as a standalone. Also, I thought it started out really slow, as the main characters are busy rebuilding their lives both as individuals and as a couple. Without a preformed connection to Hunter and Alex/ Shawn, readers might get lost or lose interest.
That said, after the first quarter or so, once they went on their Caribbean vacation, my enjoyment of the story grew almost exponentially along with the plot picking up speed. Literally, as there’s a hurricane heading their way, and then a dead body appears and suddenly there are secrets to solve and questions to ask and too many people acting a bit too weird. I thought the mystery part really well done, kind of like an oldschool whodunit under palm trees. Well, and with some really bad guys on the loose.
Interwoven with this is Hunter’s and Alex’s romance, which I found just as enjoyable. Both Alex and Hunter were well-drawn characters, and I liked them both, respectively and together. Refreshing how much common sense they had; these were men who really talked to each other, and even more important, who listened. It made then feel real to me. Same with the supportive cast, especially Max and Orfeo; they each have their story and their personality.
Which brings me to the writing. Again, once the slow beginning was over, the writing took full effect with the descriptions of the tropical island as well as with the action scenes (including between-the-sheets action).
All in all, this was an enjoyable, entertaining read, a well written romantic suspense with likable protagonists, lots of action and an ongoing loving relationship. Recommended as part of the series.
This series just keeps getting better. The third book was my favorite so far; full of magic, intrigue, humor and a dash of mystery. Plus, one of the hThis series just keeps getting better. The third book was my favorite so far; full of magic, intrigue, humor and a dash of mystery. Plus, one of the heroes wasn't picture perfect beautiful for a change. ...more