Second book in the OUTSIDE THE CITY series brings an already faThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
Second book in the OUTSIDE THE CITY series brings an already familiar Lyn's style, with her interesting take on shifters and colorful imaginary of a dystopian society. While the world was better worked through in the first book, seeing the Katria's side of the story was interesting enough to keep me reading.
Owen was taken from the city when the characters in the first book escaped the prison, only his leaving was far from planned and resulted in him leaving his brothers and grandfather to the mercy of the city's officials.
His life with Katria is new and exciting and the possibilities of having a relationship with the Co-Alpha Maltok is pretty much everything he could wish for. But Owen is desperate to save his brothers, and he knows he can't let Maltok get close until he has his family back.
I must admit the reasons behind Owen keeping his situation secret from Maltok baffled me. They seemed perfect for each other, but neither character was developed enough for their love story to really shine. One moment they were at odds with each other, in the next they were mates forever willing to die for one another. The jumps in general were too wide with little explanation in between which left the book lacking in substance, something that made the first story stick out in a good way.
As previously mentioned, the world descriptions were a lot weaker when compared to the first book and while I didn't mind the focus being away from the city, I did expect to learn much more about Katria. My favorite part of the book was the return to the city where the author's imagination really got to shine and where I had my glimpse of the style that had intrigued me so much in Nature of the Beast.
The final conflict left a lot of possibilities for future books but wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped. I did love the kids though and that alone should be worth reading the story. I am interested enough in Katria to read the next installment, but I hope we get more of the excellent imagination I had come to know this author for and that her shifters make us believe that what mates have is the real deal....more
ABSOLUTELY ERIC really wasn't what I was expecting while I jumpThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
ABSOLUTELY ERIC really wasn't what I was expecting while I jumped around excitedly expecting this book to come out. This second book in a series offered a very different view of the characters that we got from A Life Without You.
We all loved Eric, or okay, if you're anything like me you loved the little queen and his big mouth. The guy in this story was quite different from the man I was expecting to get when I first started reading. Eric likes to sleep around, and he does. From fuck buddies to casual sex, he doesn't seem too picky and when he refuses Alex, a good guy who has a tendency of dropping things when around Eric, he ends up with the ultimate bad guy, who we don't quite experience to his full ugly potential until the second part of the book.
For me, this book lacked consistency. I felt the guys changed too often and too drastically to be very realistic. I liked Eric's open attitude toward sex but not what seemed almost naivety when it came to anything substantial as well as his disregard for actual meaningful sex.
The first sex scene involving the two characters from the first book was really out of character, but unfortunately it did somewhat set the tone for the rest of the book, one that I had trouble shaking off.
While surprised by the nature of Eric's bad boyfriend, I did enjoy the development of that aspect of the story and all misunderstandings aside, this was a really good book. The rating might be somewhere in between three and four stars, but if you like outspoken, flamboyant characters and a lovely romantic story I do recommend this. Just be aware that Eric does love to have sex and no matter how confident he might seem, there is a very vulnerable side to him....more
DUSTED is an interesting mix of paranormal and fantasy with migThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
DUSTED is an interesting mix of paranormal and fantasy with mighty alpha-type shifters and gorgeous fairies. Addition of little knickknacks when it came to magic added to the already interesting plot and made me pay attention.
Matt Blood is a bounty-hunter shifter from another planet who accidentally got left behind and spends his time chasing low-lives. On one such occasion, his mark got blasted out of a window and Matt headed straight for the perpetrator. Little did he know the person to blame was a fairy and one who not only heats up with his magic but his looks as well.
Rum and Blood quickly get together and set on solving a crime that is threatening to expose the whole paranormal and extraterrestrial community to the human public.
This was one of those stories that for me got worse after the sex started. I loved the guys and their mysterious/dangerous personas as well as the way they sort of fell for each other. The POV switches as well as the female detective Petra appealed to me and I had no issues reading about her side of the story either.
But after the sex, things started moving too quickly for me and the plot unraveled with surprising ease. Yes, I needed a bit more there. Also with the risk of sounding somewhat forward, the sex just didn't do anything for me, with the exception of the first scene which was nice. Considering that, there was too much sexing going on when there should have been more romance instead.
It is a nice little story with hot men and lots of sex, something one might enjoy on a work-free day, just as I did....more
I must admit that at first glance this story sounded very aThis review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews and can also be found there.
I must admit that at first glance this story sounded very appealing to me. Vacation love, different setting and snowboarding? Well, yeah, bring it on. However, as I started reading, it didn’t take me long to change my mind.
Lasse and Marko meet at a ski resort, where Marko came with his brother and friend, their respected girlfriends and Kira who you can say had a ‘hard on’ for Marko despite her being a woman. Lasse is there with his friends who are all gay and have some suppressed feelings of their own.
At first Lasse is attracted to Marko’s brother who thinks he’s irresistible and doesn’t always take no for an answer. Only after Marko rescues him from the said brother does their passions ignite and they start on a journey to their happily ever after.
The first thing I didn’t like about this story was the overall writing. It wasn’t necessarily bad, it just felt awkward to me and while I can appreciate it to an extent considering neither of the characters was a native English speaker, it still pulled me out of the story more than once and I just couldn’t get used to it. The first part was better, while everything was still developing between the guys and there was a certain dose of anticipation to it, but as soon as Lasse and Marko got together for the first time, all these situations I didn’t care for started happening. The sex was pretty reckless and didn’t suit either of their personalities and in addition it rushed the whole story. There are several jumps from the ski resort to visiting each other and so on, that interrupt the story and leave all the interesting information leading to that happily ever after unsaid.
There was this whole ‘gay’ issue that didn’t sit well with me, both concerning Marko as well as his brother, and the resolution left a lot unsaid, especially when it comes to the brother Armas. There probably will be a second story, maybe even a third, if the hinted love stories were anything to go by, but unless they have more focus on single issues without just mentioning bits of everything, I don’t think I’ll go there....more
I was somewhat skeptical when I first started this book since IThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
I was somewhat skeptical when I first started this book since I can't really say I have a thing for fish, even if they are of the human/shifter variety. However, Daisy Harris did manage to break me of my prejudice after just a few paragraphs and I found her Merman to be cute and funny.
Jamie is a guy who works in a bar by the lake and has a tendency of collecting strays. This particular day he was all set on enjoying a sunny afternoon with his boat in the middle of water while the weekend rush was over and the coast was clear. The last thing he expected was a half-dead looking guy in a fish costume to plop into his boat and ask for sex.
Yeah, I pretty much laughed the whole first half of the book. Some expressions and jokes were a bit over-used but I still thought them funny and kept on reading. The introduction of Sally, Martin's designated mate in their world, gave me a fright for a moment where I thought all three of them might end up together – I was so not okay with that. Fortunately Martin and Jamie do make a couple by the end and without any extra people in the mix.
The second part of the book really wasn't as good as the first and it all seemed a bit rushed. In addition, there was none of the extra sweetness and sexual tension that I'd found to be very appealing in Daisy Harris's College Boys. This was a typical paranormal kind-of-romance where it was obvious from the start who would end up together and without all the necessary connections a couple should have once we remove the paranormal element. They were just designated to end up together and all the effort to make them actually fit together was skipped.
However, I do find Daisy Harris to be funny in her tales and her guys promising. I'll probably be reading the second book in the series as well....more
Right away, at the very prologue, I was riveted to my seatThis review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews and can also be found there.
Right away, at the very prologue, I was riveted to my seat with eyes firmly focused on the screen and the freaking hot scene happening at the back of a taxi. Addy experienced a life changing moment as he watched one man debauch the other in the most sexiest of ways. The gorgeous stranger even while dressed captivated Addy, and became the driving force behind his future fantasies. A stranger who licked the other while seductively winking at a fifteen-year old in the next car. Oh yeah, it was very hot. I can totally see how a teenager remembered it even years later.
Six years after the event, Addy sees the man himself again, and refuses to let the opportunity slip by him. His flirting is direct and pushy, his smile promising and the overall attitude demanding. He knows he must have Zak for real this time, even if it's just a one night stand.
But Addy's heart doesn't quite agree, and despite Zak being a guarded asshole come morning he is still Addy's wet dream and an aspiring future. They dance around each other, with Addy wanting more than Zak can give and Zak going against himself to avoid the future he's pretty sure he doesn't want.
This was a solid four for me for good two thirds of the book. I loved Addy's sharp tongue and his witty retorts when he was with Zak, but I also adored his gentle and sensitive side, where his brave front crumpled and he showed he pretty much just wanted love. Since the book is from his point of view we don't really get to know Zak to the same extent, but I still liked him. His shields were interesting even when crumbling around him and his fake, carefree attitude endearing.
So like I said, four stars for a good part of the book. But then the ending came, and their dance got rushed and sex became the focus of the story. When I wanted to know more about the couple and how they functioned together, they pretty much got reduced to primal urges, exactly the thing Addy fought against from the beginning. Now maybe his conflicts were resolved and he felt free to indulge in his fantasies, but I needed more substance between them and sex distanced me from their original, explosive connection. The ending while probably fitting, came at a wrong place for me and I can't help it but feel their tale is far from being over.
The writing was almost poetic and suited me very much making the overall rating just half a star below four, after all, the book is just too good to get three stars. Susan Laine is a new author for me, but if this experience is anything to go by, it won't stay that way. ...more
I've just finished reading this book and I'm at a loss as hThis review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews and can also be found there.
I've just finished reading this book and I'm at a loss as how to rate it. There were some aspects of it that I really liked and then there were others that I really could have lived without.
John is a detective who hits a wolf with his car while rushing to the rescue of his lover who has a history of suicide threats. But during the accident something inexplicable happens, the wolf turns into a man underneath John's car and John doesn't know anymore what is reality and what a car crash consequence.
Then Bast, another detective comes to work in John precinct and John knows he was the wolf underneath his car, but still isn't insane enough to share the information with anyone. Dancing around one another, fighting criminals and resisting the mutual attraction maybe wouldn't even be so bad if John wasn't convinced Bast is behind every single one of their cases.
I'm pretty much convinced that this will be a 'love it or hate it' book even to those people who actually manage to understand all of it. I loved the guys, their banter and personalities, I was also pretty crazy about the idea of the story, but everything else was just too jumbled up for me. The plot jumped too widely and too fast, while a couple of places seemed as if they were missing a chapter in between. I was confused for the most part, trying to catch all the story strings, but the whole time I seemed to have been three steps behind.
The twists were amazing and nicely done, but the complicated plot and disjointed writing just about killed the romance and smothered the wonderful personalities the guys had. Bast seemed to be blowing hot and cold which I found annoying and I was hurt for John way too much. After the long 'introduction' into the story, I expected the couple to be explosive and otherworldly, but that didn't happen either.
I can't help it but think this could have been a great story. With a bit more focus and a 'cleaner' plot John and Bast would have ended up as one of those couples - you know, the ones we just can't stop talking about and that seem to end on top of every list. I still like Jez Morrow's penchant for original and the capability to take shifters to another level. We'll definitely be meeting again. ...more
This was not my first book by Mrs. Snow and while good, itThis review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews and can also be found there.
This was not my first book by Mrs. Snow and while good, it couldn't measure up with some of the others I have read. The writing was decent and the possibilities endless. From the overall setting and the likeability of characters I had expected much more.
Paul is a man in debt who's had financial trouble since his parents had died in an accident. His two best friends, James and Alison, are oblivious to the fact and don't seem to notice that Paul is starving half the time and has only two paper thin towels in his apartment. In fact, they are such close friends that when they couldn't have children on their own, Paul made a donation and is a biological father of their daughter. On one such occasion, when Alison takes her daughter to the emergency room, Paul meets the doctor on call, Cameron.
The romance is fast and solid and their relationship, while thin on 'showing' the strings that hold them together, is still pretty strong when it comes to the romance part. As characters both Paul and Cameron suited me, but their connection was missing a sort of spark and I couldn't get invested into the story as much as I needed to make it great. Paul's situation was heartbreaking at some points and really, for me, it was the best part of the book. I liked reading about his struggles and expected more focus on it once Cameron came into the picture. One could say that I had a set course of action in my head and once those twists and turns were neglected, my opinion of the book went from great to average.
Paul's friends were a strange bunch to say the least. Alison was a somewhat overreacting woman and James was just weird. But I can't help it but be slightly bitter about the way they barely even noticed Paul. On the surface they were so worried and caring, but they also missed so many things and particular situations got on my nerves. How can you not notice that your best friend has nothing to wear and that the best meal of the week is the one he gets when he babysits their daughter. Yeah, I didn't think much of them and even by the end the stars of the book for me were Paul and Cameron.
With a bit more focus on the couple and a stronger impact of Paul's situation this book could have been a lot better but it's still not one people should just dismiss....more
What to say except that this was close to perfection. Daisy HarThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
What to say except that this was close to perfection. Daisy Harris knows her way around a romance, and creating sexual tension for her seems as easy as breathing.
Chris is a college student who has just lost his mother and in his need to have some time alone, to grieve in peace, he leaves his roommates and moves to the other side of campus into a single room. What he didn't know when he first accepted the room was that it was separated from the one next door by a wall as thick as cardboard.
Peter's had a thing for Chris from the beginning of the year when they shared a tent on a camping trip and Chris got a bit too close during the night. But Chris is straight, always has been and had made it pretty clear to Peter. So when they start jerking off together, spurred on by the easily heard sounds from one another through the thin wall, things turn to awkward filled with possibilities.
This book was exactly what I was looking for. From the easy writing style to the perfect dose of romance. Chris seemed somewhat naïve but genuinely a good person and it's pretty much impossible not to like him. Peter was just the right guy to get Chris into the ‘gay waters'. He was patient and controlled enough not to make stupid mistakes.
I really loved this couple and am on a look out for more Daisy Harris books, she can charm me with her vision of a perfect couple anytime....more
This was one of those times when I picked out a book solely baThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
This was one of those times when I picked out a book solely based on its blurb. A hot threesome that needs a bit of work to function and I'm as happy as I can be.
The beginning of the book was promising to that extent. Trey found himself as an extra in a threesome once his boyfriend found a guy who meant more than a trick. Reacting on impulse as well as hurt feelings, he accepts a promotion and moves across the country. At first he is lonely, but next to his good looking, although somewhat reserved, neighbor and all the sex buddies he accumulated along the way, eventually he starts thinking his life is pretty great.
At the beginning of this story, while I was still enthusiastic and expectant, I was positive I would give this book four stars. I liked the main character, the sex was hot and the story kept on promising so much. At that time I was still sure Trey would end up with the married guy, Mike, since he had sex with him for the bigger part of the book. I was also thinking the other member of the future threesome would be Bobby, the neighbor and writer. While half of my predictions did come true, that only happened in the last thirty pages of a book with three hundred plus pages.
What disappointed me the most was the 'happy for now' ending and the fact that there is almost no romance to the story, just sex, sometimes even group sex. While I have been known to give a high rating just based on the way the characters heat up their sheets, in this instance that wasn't enough and the sex scenes, while steamy were riddled with exaggerating sex talk (I don't mean dirty because I love dirty chatter during sex) and technical words that had more of a place at a doctor's office than in a bed.
When it comes to the writing I found that it suited me for the most part. Like I already said, I liked the book or the idea of it at least, but it certainly would have worked better with fewer descriptions and without whole inserted pages of the book one of the MC had wrote. The beginning was a bit confusing since it started in the present, then flipped to the past then sort of melded into present again without a chapter title or anything similar, but more tiring were the descriptions of every single room, object and act. The book could have gone without half of it at least. Maybe someone will find it interesting that there's essentially another book inside this one, the one the secreted romance novelist wrote, but I pretty much hate that stuff, and there were pages and pages of it in this story.
I do feel somewhat bad for giving this book two stars, probably because I see all that it could have been and I did read the whole thing without actually forcing myself too badly. But at the end of it, my overall opinion is that it failed to deliver what the blurb had promised and had I not read it for the purpose of a review, I probably would have been rather angry, both for wasting so much of my time as well as the feeling of dissatisfaction that will now force me to pick up another, more invested romance....more
Flipped is a short story about two tops best friends who suThis review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews and can also be found there.
Flipped is a short story about two tops best friends who suddenly realize there is more between them than their friendship.
Mario and Carter bought a house to flip, but while a part of the book, their occupation isn’t all that relevant. To me the most interesting aspect of this story was the relationship between the guys. Their friendship seemed really solid, and their jokes funny enough to have me chuckling. But once they reached the sex part of their new relationship all sorts of sparks and fireworks lighted up.
I read about Carter’s insecurities and his lack of trust, but most importantly, I read how a friend and his unconditional love can make even deep scars turn into simple memories.
This is a sexy little book about two big guys who certainly don’t make it seem easy, but they do make it more than worth the effort. Recommended....more
This book is pretty much as the title tells it – two separate sThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
This book is pretty much as the title tells it – two separate stories about couples of a different species. The author managed to explore some colorful characters in a witty way and bring the reader into her world of imaginative alien sex.
The first story is about Krux, a red-skinned Brachoimale with four hands. He's cocky, confident and knows exactly what he wants. His eyes are set on Katra, a Duosien who can't achieve an orgasm unless in the hands of an expert lover who is not only capable when it comes to durability, but also needs skill to hit her two T-spots.
I thought their story was funny and interesting with a lot of bits and pieces that gave the characters certain depth. They were not just described drones without any personality but rather feisty and very sexual. I can say their romance hit the spot with me.
The second story is about Whitt who really likes Spri. Right from the start I could tell this was a different type of story when compared to the first one, but I hoped for the same intriguing alien aspects and a deep romance. Unfortunately I pretty much hated it. Whitt was so pushy and reminded me of someone who only ever had rushed teenage sex. He even used the phrase ‘Let me put the head in. Just the head.'
No, I really couldn't like him and his insistence and overall behavior when it came to Spri – a Litting woman who doesn't believe in casual sex but rather bonds for life, was degrading to a point and I honestly have no idea what she even saw in him.
I wish I had read the first book in the series because I find the whole concept of alien sex interesting and full of possibilities. With this story I saw two sides of an author, one style that I really liked and the other that wasn't to my taste at all. But I'm sticking to thinking her idea is amazing and her series is likely to be a big success....more
What happens when a bully grows up and all that seemed to mThis review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews and can also be found there.
What happens when a bully grows up and all that seemed to matter suddenly doesn’t anymore? Or when a gay man finally sees the real side of his childhood tormentor, the one he’d secretly imagined while being bullied and insulted.
This is a story about appearances, where the deepest hurts hid beneath layers of self-made shields, about a boy who just wanted to be accepted and went about it in the wrong way.
Tally had a difficult life with parents who always thought more about their self-image than about their child. He found the comfort he needed among other bullies and kept on pretending, while all he needed was a bit of love.
One of the people he tormented was Lex. So now, after years away, Tally takes his walk of shame, returning to a town where everyone hates him and most with good reason. He’s broke, jobless and staying with his grandmother while going round town looking for work. But despite him being different from the kid who townsfolk remember, no one is willing to give him a chance except Lex.
I loved a lot of things about this book. From the initial bit of mystery where Tally didn’t know who Lex actually was to the sexual tension between the men. I loved their dance at the beginning where they were so obviously right for each other but not quite at a place where they were willing to admit their feelings and wants, even to themselves. I also liked the deeper undertones where Tally had a hard life and where small town mentality pretty much ruined his life. I liked how he hid who he really was while all he really wanted was to be accepted and loved, by his parents as well as his friends.
Like I said, there are so many things to like about this book. But two hundred pages of it? – Too much even for me. The whole story moved kind of slow, and almost each conflict came from a misunderstanding or insecurity. I actually thought the conflict ideas were pretty good, but I needed the author to grip them and work them out, with ferocity and persistence, to make me feel the characters emotions and to kick me from the nice little place the story had lulled me into.
After some time the push and pull between the guys became tiring and I had to make myself finish reading. I still loved them, as well as the side characters, but their relationship, by the end, looked more like something they would have had in high school and not as grown men. Too many insecurities and not enough talk, so much so that I wanted to sit them down, slap them and make them discuss their ‘feelings’.
Despite all that, it’s not a bad story and I’m sure more than few people will love the exact things I had issues with. With O’Shea’s writing it’s not that difficult to get into the story and come out quite satisfied. ...more
NOBODY'S HERO is the third book in the Superpowered Love series and probably the one that brings most of the author's talent to the surface. The writing is more balanced when compared to the previous book and holds more of the contemporary elements than supernatural.
Jamie Monday is a party boy, rich with a great job and considered the elite among others with his abilities. The perfect marrying type and that is exactly what's expected of him by his mother. But the thing is, Jamie is gay and the last thing he wants is to marry a woman he hasn't seen in ten years. Despite his denial, he's leading a double life; one that he only shows to his friends, where he's outgoing, happy and openly gay, and the other where he hides his true self, is really insecure when it comes to his life choices and keeps quiet on the farce that is his supposed engagement to the woman he only knew as a child.
His eyes start to open up once he meets Kellan, who is shy with a sharp tongue and incredibly hot. They hit it off right away and with each passing day Jamie sees what he's been missing. But his hidden life is still very much existent and Kellan isn't someone who is willing to wait forever or simply let lies go.
I did like the guys from the previous book more, mostly because it was funnier and bad boys are way cooler. Still, this book was more detailed and the relationship between the men more explored. I appreciated the contemporary aspects of it and thought that was really well done. Unlike the previous book, this one was much better in the second part with quicker developments and intense encounters. The first half did drag a bit but it really paid off to be persistent. What I liked about this story is that there was barely any actual sex (meaning penetration). It suited the flow without making me feel overwhelmed with repetitive scenes from beginning to the end. Plus it added to the romantic side and made the connection between the guys more special.
Katey Hawthorne is slowly but steadily becoming a well-known name in m/m romance. I appreciate the way she incorporates good music into her books and gives us a taste of men with wicked personalities. While this book might be somewhere between three and four stars and there was no actual ‘bad boy' in it, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for the next installment. ...more
If it's got shifters in it, I'll most likely read it. Yes,This review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews and can also be found there.
If it's got shifters in it, I'll most likely read it. Yes, I'm easily hooked, just like that. This little story seemed interesting primarily because the shifter was a cat. An orange cat at that and I'm pretty sure I would be a cat lady given a chance. So this story seemed perfect for me, and now, after I've finished it, I still think the same.
Dale is a food critic who has a bit of an ego and is too picky to actually give his hand a break and take a chance on a person. That all changes once a seemingly stray cat starts slipping by him and spending the night in his home. Yeah, Dale is sort of afraid of cats and honestly that was too funny for words.
Indulging in drink each night sets him up for a pretty vivid sexual dream starring his new neighbor and when the same thing happens again, it's pretty clear that either Dale has gone insane or that there's something fishy with the ginger haired neighbor and the cat with matching fur.
Funny, sexy and interesting. Perfect description for this book. I liked the guys despite the story being so short and the laughable situations Dale got himself in brightened up my morning. The only shortbacks were the length because I would have loved to read more about the men, and the abrupt ending. Well it wasn't really abrupt, more in the lines of ending just when things got interesting. But I have found that to be J.M. Snyder's style in general, so I pretty much knew what I was getting myself into. Length wise, I would have like a bit more developed characters and more in the situation resolution when everything came up to the surface.
Other than that I really enjoyed the story and really want to read something else about cats right now. I blame it on excellent writing and the adorable cover....more
Even if you are not a fan of quirky characters who look like thThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
Even if you are not a fan of quirky characters who look like they've walked down from a manga cover and good-hearted men with health issues, you are still likely to appreciate this tale of men overcoming their issues and believing in love.
Ben has been on dialysis for a while and hates everything about it. The way he looks, how quickly he tires and has pretty much quit on ever having a life again. In addition he feels really guilty for the events that led to his state and while he is willing to admit he's had fun up to the point where the world crashed around him, he still wishes for more.
Ollie is a skateboarder who happens to deliver Ben's porn packages. He has an easy smile and is an overall bundle of energy. Quite younger than Ben, Ollie has plans for his life and Ben has trouble accepting he's pretty much the star of those plans. After all, why would his walking fantasy possibly want with an over-thirty sick guy with a mullet?
My favorite part of this story was the beginning, where Ben showed just how vulnerable he was and how the little details about his condition defined his whole life. I loved the details and the author really did a great job showing exactly how difficult it was waiting for a transplant and knowing that the chances were slim of ever getting one.
Ollie was one of those guys we all love to read about in m/m. Can I say tattoo again? Oh yeah. I loved how his shorts showed above the edge of his pants, how intrigued he was by Ben's scars and I could almost picture his art (yes, I am one of those who appreciate cyborgs with visible erections).
I thought the men were a good fit and the quick development of their relationship was almost natural. I would have wanted more of their interactions where their personalities really showed and the ending did seem like it came too fast. Maybe it was just me, but I felt the story had more to give and some parts could have been a bit more dynamic. But despite all that, I had fun reading about Ben and Ollie and their occasional bursts of British charm.
Since this is the fourth book I've reviewed by this author all I have left to say is that you can't really go wrong with her stories. There is always enough laughter and romance even for the demanding individuals. The lady sure knows how to write....more
You've guessed it – mention dancers and I'm picking up the bookThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
You've guessed it – mention dancers and I'm picking up the book. While this book wasn't quite what the title promised, the aspect of Mark's social awkwardness and his slow venture into something more was so much like dance itself that I didn't really mind missing those expected sexy body twists.
Mark is an online math teacher, a man whose best friend is his dog and who can't quite manage social interactions with strangers. His shyness and the fact that he turns into a stuttering idiot when in the company of anyone outside his comfort zone is something he's receiving professional help for. But it isn't something that actually stops his panic attacks or helps him have any other type of sex other than the dark-alley-corner kind.
With his brother leaving for war and no one else around to take care of his pregnant wife, Mark agrees to help and finds himself in a dance class, staring at the perfect ass of the dance instructor Seth. While good looking, Mark can't spit out coherent words in the company of someone he finds attractive to save his life and it doesn't take him nearly as long as I thought it would to find himself in an awkward situation without an obvious way out.
I like to read about shy characters as well as disabled ones and Mark definitely falls into that category because his inability to interact with people is both crippling as well as defeating. While a very nice and kind man, the isolation has turned Mark into a very insecure man who has accepted a lonely life without any hopes of ever getting things that he wants and needs.
That was what I liked the most about this book, the way Mark found his way out of the cocoon of isolation and took the step forward toward something he so deeply wanted. Since the book is from Mark's point of view I never got to know Seth well, but he was interesting and kind enough to fit well with Mark.
The troubles I had while reading weren't many, but I figure I should mention them. It takes quite a while for the story to reach some type of a point, and once it does, the ending seemed pretty much around the corner. While I do like long beginnings with much detail, I expect the rest of the story to follow the same tone and live up to the buildup. I can't say I found that in this book, and ultimately it somewhat spoiled the experience for me.
Another thing that bothered me was the author's decision to make Mark's issues a matter of his sexual orientation. I could understand that his inability to talk to others and to fear crowds was a condition he couldn't help, in fact I really liked that part, but the insistence of everyone around him that his issues were a matter of keeping quiet about his nature stung even me. I thought him grown up enough to be able to tell the difference and quite honestly saw everyone around him who pushed him as bullies. In that regard, the author lost me a bit, because I liked the original Mark, where his problems were almost palpable and where he was much more real that the individual he eventually became.
So while not quite what I was expecting, the issues this book dealt with were more than a pleasant surprise and something I thoroughly enjoyed. The characters were firmly set in their paths, giving the reader enough spark to stay interested and the plot serious enough to set this book apart from a sea of others. There is something special about it that will intrigue people for sure and I for one can't wait for this author's next book....more
This was such a summer read and with the weather getting waThis review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews and can also be found there.
This was such a summer read and with the weather getting warmer over here it somehow fit the bill. It’s a romantic story about Greg and Justin, who meet at a party and spend a week together.
Justin came from New York for a spring-break and to check out a graduate program on Hawaii. Greg is a workaholic who’s past the partying stage and really just wants some ‘hot’ company. The two of them click right away and from there it’s like a dream come true.
Once Upon a Spring Break doesn’t have any type of conflict and while relaxing it didn’t especially catch my attention. Everything seemed just too easy and predictable while the connection between the characters ended up being shown mostly through their physical interaction. Yeah, I mean sex.
What had me stumbling the most and pushing me away from the actual story was the writing style. I’m fresh from extensive edits of my own book and I kept seeing all the things this book could have done without. Every action, no matter how inconsequential, was mentioned and described; the way they cut the bread, turned the knob or how many times they moved in bed. It brought nothing to the story and dulled the special moments between the guys. A lot of the situations seemed to be leading somewhere when they happened, but once they were over, I was left wondering why they had been mention at all.
I still think this is a pretty cute and romantic story, for those who just need something easy. But those of you who need their books a bit tighter and the plot richer might end up disappointed. ...more
This is my second story by Erica Pike, but if I hadn’t readThis review was originally written for Hearts on Fire Reviews and can also be found there.
This is my second story by Erica Pike, but if I hadn’t read the first one I probably never would have dared to read A Life Without You, not to mention the cover that really just puts me off.
Jesse and Adam are roommates at college and while Adam is gay, Jesse has a fiancé back home and is adamantly refusing to give up his dream of marriage and kids despite taking it up the ass daily. I did put it a bit crudely, but honestly that is exactly what happens and I did resent Jesse for most of this book. Anyway, at one point the fiancé gets suspicious and visits, causing more trouble than she’s worth really and turns the whole relationship between Jesse and Adam upside down.
It is strange, but that was my favorite part of this book. The emotional side was almost overwhelming and the reason why I initially liked this author’s writing drifted up to the surface. Heartbreak is very real and very difficult to get through and I liked the way this book shined for it. Some people might say it was too emotional, or the guys were too weepy, but for me it felt real and that is why I rated this with four stars.
To be honest, the first half of the book was good, but not all that great. The buildup seemed too long to me and I just didn’t like Jesse at all. He is a cheater and he really does not pick sides, so I should warn all those interested that there is male/female sex in this book, although not detailed or shown, it does happen ‘off screen’. Anyway, I can handle cheating as my track record in reading cheating books clearly shows, but I just couldn’t sympathize with Jesse’s situation. He was not honest and was rather selfish on more than one occasion and if by chance the author had put another more active character in this book I would have easily cheered that guy and Adam on.
Adam on the other hand was a bit pushy, but the guy was in love so I did forgive him. He seemed much more sincere although not always like someone who actually has some self-respect. Still, I liked him and the way the whole fiancé situation affected him, returned this book to the right track for me. My favorite character was a side one, as it often happens it seems. Eric is Adam’s best friend, flashy, mouthy and pushy, he was just a perfect person to lift this story up a bit. I love how he was caring and a great friend while not holding any words back.
In the end, I did really like this book, but it wasn’t as impressive as another short one I’ve read by Erica Pike. It is also not something I can just go ahead and recommend simply because it is a book that pushes a lot of buttons and does drag out a bit at times. Still, I did notice it was a part of a series and I will definitely be on a look out for the next one....more
HOT HANDS is my first story by Erica Pike but it certainly wonThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
HOT HANDS is my first story by Erica Pike but it certainly won't be the last. It's only a few pages long, but she still managed to strung me out emotionally, make me grin with satisfaction and forced me to scroll down frantically when I reached that last page.
Casper has been having a problem only he's not quite sure if it's even a problem. Someone has been groping him, in lines, before class. What started as casual touches turned into full out ass grips and, while curious, Casper wants more. But the identity of his groper remains a secret and Casper is willing to indulge as long as he can get those hot hands on him.
This story deals with a serious issue of high school bullying and forgiveness. While mostly light, hot and entertaining, Casper has been through his share of trouble and the author makes you feel it.
I honestly liked all aspects of this story, from the characters to light touches and emotional dialogues. I was happy, sad and satisfied while reading this short story and I don't think any others I've read quite live up to that ‘short and sweet' line. I love it when I'm pleasantly surprised....more