Opening Line: “Nathaniel, this is Constantine.” Lady Rathbone nodded to him and then to the small blond boy standing next to a pair of adults whom Nat...moreOpening Line: “Nathaniel, this is Constantine.” Lady Rathbone nodded to him and then to the small blond boy standing next to a pair of adults whom Nathaniel assumed were his parents.”
This was only 50 pages long but they were a really, really good 50 pages. Well written suspenseful, heartbreaking, surprising, uplifting and just beautiful, I’ll definitely be searching out more from this author. Also complete in terms of story and character development, I became fully emerged in this novella which transported me back to another time when social standing, duty to country and family obligations were of the upmost importance. Being gay or even not marrying wasn’t an option.
We meet two young boys and watch as over a period of years they become best friends, then lovers, always separated by their preordained futures and country of birth. A surprising suspense factor came into play for me because I was always aware that WW1 was looming ahead, so as beautiful as it was watching Nathaniel and Konstantin fall in love it was also bittersweet because there couldn’t possibly be any future (even a clandestine one) between an heir to the British throne and his Russian counterpart.
Six year old Nathaniel and Konstantin meet each other for the first time in 1890’s England. I got the feeling that both boys were lonely, growing up in such wealth and standing and with so much expected of them when all they really wanted was to be children. Subsequently their connection is immediate, based on finding a kindred spirit.
Through Nathaniel’s eyes and over yearly summer visits and letters we see their friendship blossom into more, so that by the time they attend college together each is aware that those early kisses, fumblings and releases has developed into a serious love affair (although neither has a name for what they’re feeling or doing they just know that they long to be together) Eventually their carefree college days end, with family obligation and duty separating the men once more. They are now expected to marry and for me these were some of the most heartbreaking scenes. The anguish they each go through standing at the other’s wedding, imagining that the vows are for one another instead of their intended brides is heartbreaking.
“When it got to the part where Konstantin was saying his vows, Nathaniel concentrated on every word. It might sound foolish but he wanted to remember exactly what the words sounded like in Konstantin’s voice.”
With the progression of the 1st world war communication between our lovers cease, leaving Nathaniel trapped in England and assuming the worst. When he learns that the Russian royal family has been overthrown he’s devastated withdrawing from society and life in general, expecting to live out his days in seclusion. The ending is kind of abrupt but I have to say it was also perfect, leaving me with a big silly smile on my face. Cheers.
"Do svidanyia Nate.” “Do svidanyia Kosya. Until we meet again.” Konstantin bit his lip and then turned away and walked onto the ship without looking back.”
Opening Line: “Duncan could not wait to get the fuck out of this sand pit.”
Now this is how to start a romantic suspense series. Get the entire back st...moreOpening Line: “Duncan could not wait to get the fuck out of this sand pit.”
Now this is how to start a romantic suspense series. Get the entire back story and set up out of the way without the distraction of a romance, -which is especially relevant here because JM Madden has taken the time to give us some real heroes. I loved how this 40 page prequel gave us all three soldiers stories from the very beginning, starting in the frontlines of Iraq and then through their injuries and subsequent treatment at a VA hospital. These aren’t your standard romance heroes battle scars either, these are real injuries and they haven’t been glossed over for which I want to thank Madden.
Our men have missing limbs, disfiguring burns and are wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. These are gut-wrenching, life altering wounds. We also get all the horror of war, the pain, the anger, the humiliation, the flashbacks and the grief over their lost bodies. Who they once were and the bewilderment about what their futures can hold for them now. Yup, these are heroes that needed their stories told first without the distraction of a romance.
My only real criticism here would be that at times I got the men confused, whose head we were in as they were often referred to by either their rank or a first or last name which was confusing.
In this well written prequel to (The Lost And Found Series) we meet three wounded warriors as they recover in hospital. Marine 1st Sargent Duncan Wilde- badly burned and learning to walk again and oh his girlfriend is expecting another man’s baby, doh!, Sergeant Chad Lowell who lost a leg and doesn’t relish returning to his hometown and its ongoing sympathy party, and Gunnery Sergeant John Palmer who is confined to a wheelchair, full of F-bombs and angry at the world.
Emotionally and physically torn apart we witness as a friendship is forged on adversity. But as their bodies heal and a new reality is faced they wonder what will they do now? How can they still give back to society? Surely there must be a way to still utilize their military talents despite their setbacks and limitations. And it’s here that “Lost And Found Investigative Services” is forged.
Can’t wait to start Embattled Hearts, just wish I had a Kindle so I could continue with John’s F’n story right now LOL 362jb45(less)
Based on several rave reviews I was intrigued by the very idea of this story. Two strangers meet on a train and a seduction of words takes place. I lo...moreBased on several rave reviews I was intrigued by the very idea of this story. Two strangers meet on a train and a seduction of words takes place. I love the romance of trains, the whole idea of this is sexy to me, I love the idea of meeting someone and living for the moment, where the past and the future don’t matter. I guess that’s what I expected to get from this story –and maybe a bit of s-e-x. But that’s not what this is about, this is about words, and seduction and mystery and it didn’t entirely work for me.
I will say that the writing is wonderful -lots of quote-worthy passages and in all honesty if I’d had more experience with short stories I probably would have enjoyed this more, as it was though I just came away frustrated –what, that’s it!?
In writing this review though I’m realizing that if I’m left wanting more and have nagging questions about the story –who is this woman? Why is she riding around endlessly on trains with a cup and saucer (actually I love that sound too) seducing random men to the point where they want her but not acting on it then moving on. This sounds lonely to me not sexy. I suppose for her it’s all in the hunt, not in the act. If I'm left with all these questions though, left wanting more, than this story was probably better then I first realized.
So yes, a beautiful piece of writing, maybe not for everyone but worth the time it will take to read and reach your own conclusion. Cheers.
Thanks James **A copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
An observation The heroine is like a spider spinning a web enticing her man in but once she gets him, once he’s under her spell she realizes she’s not hungry and releases him leaving him with the memory and the mystery.(less)
I absolutely adored Chase in Shadow, so how happy was I that Amy Lanes latest book brought us back into that same wo...moreOpening Line: “It was okay right?”
I absolutely adored Chase in Shadow, so how happy was I that Amy Lanes latest book brought us back into that same world. Yup, we re-enter “Johnnies” gay-for-pay porn with David ”Dex” Worral, who makes this book a true companion piece by going through parts of Chase’s heartbreaking story all over again from his own POV. Thankfully Dex’s story isn’t as emotionally exhausting or angst filled as Chase’s, I mean it has its moments (this is Amy Lane after all) but I didn’t feel like I’d been hit by a truck and needed therapy after this one -and I mean that in the most fan-girly way:) I also knew the large cast of characters going in so I didn’t have to struggle sorting out their dual names again. And Dex, well I kinda loved him plus there’s his boyfriend Kane and he’s such a laid-back, unassuming sweetie that you can’t help but smile at his view of the world. There are also some really funny bits…
“Could you come and help me edit this last frickin’ video. You’ve fucked girl’s right? You know what a pussy is supposed to look like? Dex winced “Yeah sort of.” “Excellent. I need someone who can tell me if this shit looks hot or just weird.”
David Worral’s life has just been shattered; his best friend, love of his life and first and only male lover has just been taken from him in a tragic accident, destroying his once limitless future and compelling David to flee Montana and its memories. Reinventing himself in California starts out innocently enough, when his parents can no longer afford his college education, and on the suggestion of a girlfriend he arrives at Johnnies, a gay-for-pay porn company. David wasn’t gay but his alter ego “Dex” sure as hell was and Dex was going to make him very wealthy.
8 years later and David/Dex is essentially running Johnnies, spending as much time behind the camera now as in front of it. He’s the go-to guy, the fix it guy, the guy with the plan especially when the owner has a nose full of blow. Dex has finally admitted to himself that he’s gay after having his heart broken by another Johnnies model and is lonely. He needs a friend, someone else in his beautiful empty house and that’s how he finds Kane.
Carlos “Kane” is young, hung, gorgeous, living in the moment and needing a place to crash. He also likes sex, I mean that’s how he ended up doing porn (might as well get paid for it right) who cares if it’s with a man if it feels good. Kane is also a nice guy to a fault, paying for his nieces hospital bills with what his sister dubs his “dirty” porn money and even giving her his apartment so she can avoid an abusive boyfriend. (I really wanted to slap the sister)
“Dex laughed a little. “Aren’t you supposed to be straight? He asked, but his body relaxed into Kane’s, and that made Kane happy. “I am straight”, Kane mumbled. “Except when I’m fucking guys, “I’m plenty straight. Now shut up and sleep. And don’t feel bad. That was amazing.”
So Kane and Dex are playing house, sleeping in the same bed while Kane’s pets take the spare bedroom. I mean they’ve done it at work so they might as well take comfort in each other here too. What starts out as friends with benefits quickly changes into something else though and it’s interesting how Lane manages to make the sex scenes in front of the camera so different from the ones behind closed doors. She also creates a real sense of family within the Johnnies staff and all the obstacles that life throws at them. The HEA here is awesome although if I’m honest a little far-fetched. I mean as nice as it was and as much as I wanted “that” to happen there’s just no way the powers that be would let it. 333jb4
“God made me gay. Dex made me realize it wasn’t a bad thing” *sigh*
As much as I love Amy Lane I have to admit this one was a struggle for me to get through. Don’t get me wrong the writing is still fantastic and there...moreAs much as I love Amy Lane I have to admit this one was a struggle for me to get through. Don’t get me wrong the writing is still fantastic and there are passages that literally take your breath away but the story is so painful, so angry, so freaking desperate and depressing that it almost became more then I could take. I wasn’t even convinced of the love story taking place here, it just seemed a little frantic, a little violent, a little for the moment.
You’d think with a title like “Mourning Heaven” I would have been prepared though, especially after already having my heart shredded (in a good way) by several of Lane’s other books. I was expecting angst and pain here but I was also expecting awesomeness or at least something redeeming or hopeful to cling to throughout this sad story. But with every page angst-riddled and every character broken, tormented and grief stricken this was ultimately just exhausting.
“Oh shit he was disintegrating, dissolving, coming apart again and Peter needed to be there for once, someone needed to be there to catch Bodi as he fell. Peter was up and wrapping his arms around Bodi before one more painful word happened and Bodi was crying like he hadn’t cried when (spoiler) and Peter was crying with him because this was Michael Bodi was crying about and Michael had hurt and Michael had broken and he hadn’t let them fix him and now he would never be fixed and they’d always be a little bit broken in their souls where he’d left a Michael shaped hole.”
Peter moved to the small prejudiced town of Daisy at the age of 12. He’d moved around a lot in his short life and while his mother loved him she was just never able to provide for him eventually depositing him with his Aunt Aileen and her son Michael. It wasn’t all bad though because there was Michael. For Peter his cousin is the sun and the moon, he is everything good and strong and protective and right in the world. Just to hear him breathing through the thin bedroom walls at night makes him feel like everything is going to be okay. And then there’s Michael’s friend Bodi, the boy that Peter loves from the moment he sets eyes on him. Of course it’s not easy being gay in a town like Daisy the church is …well very vocal in its views on that sort of evil behavior and everyone in this backwards town goes to church so it’s not a place you want to be out.
“He’d told his mother that he thought boys were more beautiful than girls, and she’d told him that he would have to be either brave or quiet about that, especially in Daisy.”
The meat of this story however takes place years later; Peter is now 23 and the only one still living in Daisy. Michael his hero, his everything who he hasn’t seen in 6 years is finally coming home and Peter now has the task of finding Bodi and bringing him back too because Michael is coming home in a casket. Slowly we the readers learn what happened 6 years ago that splintered the trio, sending Bodi off in the middle of the night into parts unknown and Michael to the nearest recruiting office where he enlisted in the service.
Together Bodi and Peter have to get through their grief and pay homage to Michael, restoring his motorcycle and giving him a proper send-off while trying to get through the hate, ignorance and prejudice that this town tends to feed on. Bodi is so broken that it will be a miracle if he survives even with Peter’s love and Peter; well he has to learn that even heroes aren’t perfect. 327jb35
Opening Line: “The screams made me turn around to look uphill.
”We first met Jake and Kurt in the fantastic 5 star Fire on the Mountain where they work...moreOpening Line: “The screams made me turn around to look uphill.
”We first met Jake and Kurt in the fantastic 5 star Fire on the Mountain where they worked as fire rangers for the summer season. Two men alone in the mountains cut off from civilization, completely reliant on each other and well, you can guess the rest. Of course both assume the other is straight at first and dance around the obvious signs they're each putting out until a life or death situation forces the truth to the surface. They want each other.
Snow On The Mountain picks up a few months later; Jake and Kurt are now working at the exclusive Wapiti ski resort and still very much in the honeymoon phase of their relationship. While everything is perfect behind the closed doors of their staff housing, navigating their relationship in public is proving to be a little more difficult.
Jake as a novice skier has been assigned to run the bunny lift, a job that suits him just fine. He’s making friends, improving his skills on the hill and was recently adopted by the boss’s five year old twins, who he seems to be babysitting down the green runs on a daily basis.
Kurt’s transition was more interesting to me as he struggles initially to find work, giving in to the fact that he might just be shovelling snow all winter when a plum job instructing at a private ski school lands in his lap. In FOTM Kurt was the popular, self-confident, hero kinda guy. I mean he was good at everything he did and Jake worshipped him for it, so it was interesting here to see the roles reversed with Kurt struggling to find his footing while Jake adapted to their new life and friends so easily.
Thankfully in this book we get inside both of our heroes heads as Singer has provided us with an alternating POV albeit it goes from 1st to 3rd person but I still appreciated getting Kurt’s view.
So yeah the conflict; well Kurt’s job doesn’t turn out to be quite what it seems on paper and after he books his first client he finally figures out what all the sneers and sideways glances, have been about. It seems is new instructor job is just a front for an escort business. Of course all that pales when it comes to being held at gunpoint, crazed Bulgarians and surviving avalanches.
Ultimately though I have to say this book was a real struggle for me to get through. Which was disappointing because I’d loved the first book in the series so much and had been looking forward to Jake and Kurt’ s continuing story. I also spent 10 years living in Whistler so I was excited about the ski resort aspect, especially knowing how good PD Singer is at creating her locations. She doesn’t disappoint here, the ski conditions and terminology are perfect, and I felt like I was there at the resort, whooshing down the slopes with fresh powder in my face but sadly everything else just fell flat to me. The romance was meh and the bad guy was kinda over the top and hilarious without meaning to be. 339jb2
SIDECAR was one of those books that I couldn`t stop reading yet wanted to put away and slowly savour because I just d...moreOpening Line: “The Kid was cold.”
SIDECAR was one of those books that I couldn`t stop reading yet wanted to put away and slowly savour because I just didn`t want it to end. I absolutely loved Casey and Joe and I`m fast approaching phonebook status with author Amy Lane, you know if she wrote a phone book I`d read it cover to cover, probably cry at the end then write a gushy fangirl review all about it. Everything she writes just grabs me by the guts, sometimes destroys me, always makes me sigh and smile and generally leaves me a hot tear streaked mess. Sidecar was no exception.
This is amazing and rare story; encompassing twenty-five years of love and well, life. And because of the length of time we get to spend with our characters this also becomes more than just a story, this is a lifetime, this is every little heartache and hope and triumph. This is epic. Thanks for the ride Amy!
Ponytailed, Harley riding, bear of a man Joe Daniels is on his way home from his job as a pediatric nurse when he comes across a visibly distraught teenager on the side of the road. Joe has picked up his share of runaways over the years in this remote area, feeding them and giving them a safe place for a few days until they head out into the world again. He’s assuming this 16 year old will be the same but Casey is about to change everything.
At first Casey is wary of accepting the big hippie bikers offer, knowing some of the shit he`s had to do over the past few months just to get a meal. But he`s also reached the end of his endurance; he’s exhausted, dirty, hungry, lice riddled and reeling from the recent abuse of a trucker. He can either go back to the bridge he almost jumped off or he can go with Joe.
Casey’s story is not a revelation, on the run because his parents couldn’t accept him being gay; now all he needs is a break, just a place to make a start for himself. He`s found it with Joe and so much more. Joe doesn`t want anything from him (definitely not sex even though Casey offers) he just wants Casey to have a chance to grow up without judgement and become a good man. So Casey doesn`t leave, with Joe as his legal guardian he goes back to school, gets a job, helps remodel the house, they get a dog, he dates a few boys and life goes by.
At 27 Joe is pretty settled in his life, he works at the hospital, he likes his seclusion, he loves having Casey around and he dates a few girls and a few boys. Their relationship works, for several years it works but Casey is growing up and he`s never hidden the fact that he wants Joe. So far Joe’s been able to play it off, telling him he`s just a kid and doesn’t know what he wants and that’s where the conflict comes in because suddenly Casey isn`t a kid, suddenly, overnight (well 6 years) Casey is a man and Joe can no longer deny what s been growing between them. How it hurts now to see him with his silly boyfriends.
Gawd the moment Joe realizes that he`s in love with Casey, that he wants him is so perfect and so beautiful and so well written it makes you want to cry. I`ll be honest though I had my doubts as to whether Lane could pull off this transformation taking them from a pseudo father son relationship to lovers but I needn’t have worried and YES, Finally, the payoff for their first time together is so worth the long wait.
”I want you. I want to hold you. I’m suddenly, terrifyingly, overwhelmingly possessed with the idea of what your mouth would taste like under mine, and I don’t know how to say it or even think it.”
And still their story goes on. Joe wants a child, same sex adoption wasn`t really a thing in the nineties so that’s a problem, Joe also wants Casey to travel, to see the world and experience everything before he settles down. Casey just wants Joe and time marches on, in the blink of an eye 25 years has passed and that is life. Cheers.
I want to mention that Amy has also included a song title for each chapter, relevant to when it takes place and what our characters are going through. And because this starts in 1986 –the year I graduated (!) I had an absolute blast with this playlist, bringing back lots of memories for me, when I had super big hair and Corey Hart was the bomb. 319jb5+
Opening Line: “Fires would be part of my summer-I’d know that even before ever getting up to the mountains.”
This was a fantastic little find (thanks D...moreOpening Line: “Fires would be part of my summer-I’d know that even before ever getting up to the mountains.”
This was a fantastic little find (thanks D) containing not only a very satisfying friends to lovers romance but complete escapism due to J.D Singer’s vivid descriptions of the Colorado park setting and obvious research she’s put into forest firefighting. Her descriptions are so accurate that at times I was shaking my head, is this author a fire ranger in her spare time? We also get some absolutely breathtaking action scenes so that by the end I could smell the smoke and wanted to wash the ash from my clothes. Oh yeah and then there’s the man love…
After a disastrous weekend college road trip sends our narrator Jake back into the closet, all he can think about is getting the hell away from everyone and everything until he can sort out his sexuality. A six month stint as a forest ranger in the mountains of Colorado sounds just about perfect; beautiful scenery, loads of exercise, lakes full of trout and a quiet, judgement free life in an isolated cabin away from it all. Sure he’ll have to contend with directing the odd tourist or scout group back to town, maybe even risk his life with a potential forest fire but hello adventure.
Arriving in the tiny town of Meeker Colorado Jake (for whatever reason) expects to be partnered up with a “crusty old mountain man” for his first fire season instead he gets “the” Kurt Carlson; experienced, popular, self-confident (because he’s good at everything) and gorgeous. Kurt is everything Jake wishes he could be and he’s immediately drawn to him in a hero worship sort of way. This is one friendship he can’t risk ruining though so for now he’ll just keep his emerging feelings and dirty thoughts to himself. We the readers on the other hand get pagefulls of lusty angst and masturbation (not that I’m complaining)
The two become fast friends, filling their time (and a good early portion of the story) with the day to day routines of forest ranging and dealing with potential fire hazards. Because Kurt already has a couple years under his belt he takes on the role of mentor, teaching this rookie all he’ll need to know about fighting fires and living in the bush. This is when Fire On The Mountain takes on a Brokeback Mountain sort of quality; it’s just two men cut off from civilization, living in their own little world, completely reliant on each other. Of course both assume the other is straight, dancing around the obvious signs they’re each putting out until a life or death situation forces the truth to the surface. They want each other.
Their first time together is…. oh yeah, finally! And then *big sigh* as a subsequent forced separation tugs at your heart. Jake unable to sleep unless he gets into Kurt’s sleeping bag; remembering the missed opportunities, overanalyzing the relationship. His anticipation and even fear of seeing that person again was so relatable. Will he still feel the same? Or was it a onetime thing? “I wanted to believe that night was more than the product of fear and impending death. I didn’t want to be the last novelty before oblivion”.
This was a well written, engrossing story and I can’t wait to see where this series goes from here. I should mention that Singer has also included the short story INTO THE MOUNTAINS, which takes place two years prior and is told from Kurt’s POV. It’s an excellent addition to the story as a whole, tying the two together and giving us a look into Kurt’s somewhat obscure character (due to the Jake’s 1st person POV) It was nice to finally get a look into his head and learn why he had some of the fears he did, It also arcs us back to how he first became a Ranger. If you’re at all scared of heights though, look out, this is one exhilarating story. Damn is P.D Singer a rock climber too? Cheers. 311jb4.