**spoiler alert** So... I've read it, kind of even liked it, but the one thing it didn't do for me was make me comfortable. I guess I just don't like...more**spoiler alert** So... I've read it, kind of even liked it, but the one thing it didn't do for me was make me comfortable. I guess I just don't like gender changes in m/m romance. The characters were lovely and fine, the story although expectantly predictable, was still very good, and all those cute and adorable moments will make a lot of people very happy.
I loved Cinder, and even though it was his surname I kind of pretended it was the first name because I liked it so much, and then there was the prince who was just a good person and seemed like someone whose company is easily enjoyed. Their interactions were easily the best part of the story, only there were too few of them to make a lasting impression. But again, what got to me the most was the gender change (despite it not being permanent). I love reading about cross-dressing and mpreg, but unfortunately this was still a bit too much for me. (less)
There really wasn't much to this story for a long review. A fairy tale type of romance (Cinderella) with a lot more smut than the original *smirks* bu...moreThere really wasn't much to this story for a long review. A fairy tale type of romance (Cinderella) with a lot more smut than the original *smirks* but very few explanations or character development really. The guys had potential and I liked them, but not too many of the questions were actually answered and while the very idea of a prince coming along and sweeping you off your feet is like the ideal a lot of us were influenced into believing during childhood, it still lacked strength to keep the whole thing afloat.
It is a cute little story with a carnival and pretty descriptions, but other than a fleeting feeling of romance, I didn't get much else from it. (less)
This is a quirky and fun little story about two really different men who find a way to each other and not only discover the great qualities of the oth...moreThis is a quirky and fun little story about two really different men who find a way to each other and not only discover the great qualities of the other man, but also get to know themselves better as well as change some of their beliefs.
Micah is all about raw vegan food. Rough childhood taught him to pay attention to what he puts inside himself and while he pushes it to the extreme, he’s not so much in control of the men he ends up with. His current boyfriend, with a really long and complicated name, is pretty much a first class bastard and Micah finding him in bed with another man pushes our vegan in the worst way. To top his bad luck, his customers suddenly start eating cupcakes from a new bakery and ruining all his hard work.
Feeling defeated he’s easily persuaded and goes to a wild Valentine’s party where he meets the cross-dressing Quentin, who has his fair share of secrets, but lights Micah up like nobody’s business.
I think their mutual differences, was what made this story work for me, and cross-dressing of course. But while I didn’t really connect with Micah, Quentin was something else and both his strength as well as his emotional side made me sympathize. Micah’s ex was truly an ass and to be honest, not really a convincing bad guy, but it did break the romance a bit, making it more interesting as a whole. I would have liked to read more about them, and the conflict could have been worked through a bit more to add to the tension, but overall I was satisfied. (less)
I probably liked the last story the best, and there is something in simple length of a story. Both POVs certainly helped and their interactions finall...moreI probably liked the last story the best, and there is something in simple length of a story. Both POVs certainly helped and their interactions finally looked like those I fell in love with during the first book. As for other stories, maybe the first one wasn't bad, but I didn't much care for the two in the middle. Mark seemed like such an asshole and it did make me wonder what Sandy actually saw in him. I mean he couldn't read Mark's mind, see all the reasons for his actions and just that sheer panic about everything, so what was it that he actually liked about Mark anyway? I did expect more from this, and it definitely wasn't at the same level as the first book, but it was kind of nice to revisit the couple.(less)
With this first experience when it comes to Nicole Kimberling...moreThis review was originally written for MM Good Book Reviews and can also be found there.
With this first experience when it comes to Nicole Kimberling, I was faced both with more than I expected as well as less. She spins a very good tale, focuses on the details but skims on certain parts that I would have preferred as the focal point of the story.
Hank is a Canadian writer researching supernatural creatures called yokai for his newest book. He’s traveling through the country with his translator Daisuke and discovering that the subject of his researched is not only real but embarrassingly so.
The story is told from both points of view and while Hank is direct and easy going, Daisuke is the perfect opposite in his reservation. Everything Daisuke desires when it comes to Hank isn’t coming through him directly and if that isn’t completely wrong, the fact that Hank is getting used to it just makes it worse.
This short story is full of facts about Japan. From descriptions to customs and just for that it’s certainly an experience. Personally, I didn’t really connect with the supernatural theme, and while it was rather funny at the beginning, by the end it was just too consuming and other parts of the story suffered for it.
I’m all about romance, something that was at first glance the essence of this story. While it might still be interpreted that way, once you finish the book, the actual ‘real’ romance was in fact completely pushed to the background and eventually quickly concluded. I knew more about Hank than Daisuke, but their eventual relationship lacked the romantic aspect of it as well as moments that would have made it genuine.
The Red Thread of Forever Love is something most people will most certainly like. It has a bit of everything and makes for a good light entertainment.(less)
This was another good one by Dev Betham following the life of David who hasn’t had it easy. She combined romantic with mysteries but she left her characters just as imperfect and complicated as she wanted them to be without falling into the temptation of turning it too sweet.
David lost his restaurant when his business and personal partner succumbed to his gambling addiction yet again and is forced to go back to live with his father, this time cutting all ties with his now ex-boyfriend. Going backwards is never easy and David is open for opportunities no matter where they might take him, he just has little to lose and working on a movie set in a different country is both good money as well as a possible opportunity.
What he never expected was to meet a mysterious man there, someone from his dreams who turns out to be just as elusive in real life as he was in those early hours of the morning when his dreams were cut short.
I loved the romantic side of this story and the bit of mystery to it that made the whole story more interesting. Between the characters, David was my favorite while his perfect match put me off a bit due to his overall attitude. There are religious overtones but they are nicely done and not excessive by any means, I think what I had an issue with was the way life shaped John, and his hang ups rubbed me the wrong way a bit.
Nonetheless, the happy ending and the fairytale coincidences gave this story a light flare despite some heavy subjects and it’s hard not to let the story carry you and simply enjoy.
WOLF AT THE DOOR is a somewhat predictable shifter story, nicel...moreThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
WOLF AT THE DOOR is a somewhat predictable shifter story, nicely written but holding little surprises and quite unfinished when it comes to the world building.
Darin is a nurse who likes to run when stressed out. He knows it's dangerous but he prefers running surrounded by trees and on one such occasion he trips over a handsome man. While the encounter is short, it's certainly memorable and while Darin's life suddenly turns to plain old weird, he still doesn't have it in him to be afraid.
Raylan is a werewolf always on the lookout for the Huntsmen, people dedicated to the eradication of his species, but once he meets his mate, he has trouble leaving, something he did each time before. Now he has a reason to stay and fight, because he's not willing to give up the one man who was made for him.
This is one of those stories which isn't bad, it just lacks details to tie it all together. I needed more characterization, an opportunity to get to know the characters better in a setting outside of the main pairing. Even their interactions weren't as deep as I would have liked and when the conclusion eventually came, it was both expected as well as lacking in substance.
This wasn't my favorite by this author, but as something simple and relaxing, it's not a bad choice.(less)
While predictability is sometimes alright and typical character...moreThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
While predictability is sometimes alright and typical characters can still be rather charming despite finding their way into too many books only under a different name, the book should still offer that bit that is different from all the others already out there.
In CALLED TO MATE, I got to meet two men who were brought up in different environments and influenced by different characters. Declan in an alpha and was raised to think like one, while Quinn is a submissive who has been abused all his life, secluded from the rest of the pack and constantly put down. Once rescued, Quinn ends up in Declan's new pack and becomes the alpha's mate.
This is that standard plotline a lot of the authors use and plenty of readers – me included – enjoy coming back to over and over again. But unlike some winners for me, this one didn't quite work because of the conflicting personalities of the characters. Both men changed too rapidly for my taste, their pasts fading and their sworn devotions quickly following as well. From the very start, I couldn't get used to Declan and his alpha personality. He had his good moments, but those were just outnumbered by the bad ones and all I was left with was Quinn. The submissive simply wasn't a strong character, something one would come to expect from someone with such a past, but in addition to weak development of the pack life, the final conflict was too vague to bring his character to the front.
At the end of it, this is a book I could have easily lived without. I didn't have any remarks when it comes to the writing but there is something to be said about the need of plot, and a book with a weak one will rarely keep my attention.(less)
There will be certain controversy when it comes to this book,...moreThis review was originally written for MM Good Book Reviews and can also be found there.
There will be certain controversy when it comes to this book, from the matter of personal taste to the amount of detail that just might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The author was new to me, the subject not as much as the execution itself.
The story starts with a dose of mystery where I got to meet Jack and some of his kinks as well as his professional life. He is heavy into play but his partner is an anonymous guy who seems more like a dangerous stalker, especially because I didn’t get to meet him until the very escalation of the… well let’s call it a scene spread over a longer period of time. I liked Jack, and at first I liked his choice of men as well.
Gray seemed dangerous but knowing, and just there for Jack, while Jan seemed like the perfect romantic counterpart and enough of a playful character to counteract the seriousness of the story. However, as things finally became clear and that mysterious aspect of the story was done with, Jan flipped ‘to the dark side’ and became someone totally different, while Grey turned out to be someone I couldn’t really respect.
Jack never changed for me. A man with issues and certain desires – I just liked him. But as Gray and Jan changed, my enjoyment of the story drastically dropped. I lost most of my interest when I felt the BDSM rules were broken (or just bent enough to lose meaning for me), and what should have been consensual ended up being forced.
This is a book for those with specific tastes, and it might have some serious triggers. It’s definitely not fluffy or mild when it comes to the lifestyle, but it might appeal to those who like the opposite. My issues weren’t related to BDSM part of the story (other than the thin/non-existent rules), but rather the characters and their behavior which just wasn’t likeable at all. The writing was confusing at times but overall okay and I would suggest you take a look at it if based on other reviews this seems as just your thing. (less)
Short road trip story with a lot of heart and a bit of a fair...moreThis review was originally written for MM Good Book Reviews and can also be found there.
Short road trip story with a lot of heart and a bit of a fairy tale ending is probably perfect for those of you who like it slow paced and sweet.
This is a story about Dan who decides to go on a road trip twelve years after the fun summer with his Gang of Four. They’ve lost touch and maybe it’s melancholy or just that need to know, but Dan wants to revisit the past and discover a secret that’s been bugging him for years.
Not an expert on social media, Dan meets up with a man who he’d mistaken for one of the members of the club and despite the misunderstanding, they go on the road together. Dan’s friends are far from the kids they used to be, and while their lives are surprising, in the end Dan’s discoveries about himself are the most unexpected ones.
This was an okay story, with good characters, it just wasn’t interesting enough for me. The romance was pretty much predictable and while there was that dose of curiosity to the story – mainly what Dan would find when it came to his friends – it still moved slowly and without much challenge to keep me engaged. I’ve read much better books by this author.
What is it about me and porn that I have to grab each book th...moreThis review was originally written for MM Good Book Reviews and can also be found there.
What is it about me and porn that I have to grab each book that just mentions it and add it to my read list? Maybe it’s the expectation of naked men making sacrifices for the money they eventually earn, or the conflicts that come of it when they find that perfect someone and need to explain what is it that they actually do.
In this case Spanish/John is a body double for a movie star who makes porn covers of the actual movies for the Asian and European market. He’s got a great body and enough likeness that he’s wanted and makes some good money. It doesn’t hurt that the man he’s portraying on screen is someone he admires.
Then came the party where the two actually meet, with instant attraction, just a tad slower sex and the eventual beginning of something more. What resulted is the everlasting question – to come clean or hope for the best?
The content of this story wasn’t all that explicit or for that matter deep, certainly not what I was expecting. There are some details about filming and a really fast paced development of the relationship, but the main conflict passes just as quickly and at the end there’s not much to this story. The characters weren’t explored enough to give them that necessary significance and although I saw the potential, the author went too quickly about this story to make it significantly enjoyable.
It was nice, but not enough to remember for more than a few days. (less)
This is JD Ruskin’s first book and she certainly opened with...moreThis review was originally written for MM Good Book Reviews and can also be found there.
This is JD Ruskin’s first book and she certainly opened with a bang. Characters with issues, a compelling story line and excellent writing will most certainly push When One Door Opens to the top of many reading lists.
Logan is fresh out of prison, finally sober and holding a job. It’s only part time, but hey, everyone has to start somewhere. He’s still at that phase when every superior’s question makes his breath catch and every awkward situation makes him crave a beer, but he’s taking it day by day and doing better than he had in years. Then his boss asks him to deliver groceries and check on his nephew Caleb as another part time job, and all that hard acquired control starts slipping away with a simple sight of too tight sweats.
Caleb is a whole different story, innocent, somewhat naïve, gorgeous and agoraphobic. He hasn’t left his apartment for three years and doesn’t react well to change. But there is something about the ex-con giant who makes him laugh and tries his best to make Caleb happy.
When One Door Opens was a slow paced story, gradually developing the relationship between the two main characters, letting them fight their battles with staying sober and obeying the rules for Logan and making a simple trip to the store for Caleb without having a panic attack.
Their interactions were so fun I could have read about them for hours, but it was their flaws as well as the tension between the two studs that kept my attention and eventually kept me thinking about this book long after it was read.
The main conflict was subdued as well, there but not the harsh focus as one might expect and it suited the story well, letting the reader stay intent on what was important, without broken trust but with all the explicit details the characters’ situations involved.
This is the one I will recommend, for everyone who likes imperfect characters and needs a comfortable book to relax to. It was a first, but I sincerely hope it’s not the last we’ll see of JD Ruskin. (less)
Room at the Edge is the second book in the Room at the Top se...moreThis review was originally written for MM Good Book Reviews and can also be found there.
Room at the Edge is the second book in the Room at the Top series about two submissives and a dominant working on their relationship and exploring their limits. When compared to the first book it’s missing the same tension and expectation when a lot of it was up in the air and their future was uncertain. Here the three have a more equal relationship and their needs have certainly matured.
Austin and Jay have come to depend on their Dom Liam, needing his attention as well as presence and while once their weekly meetings were more than enough, now they not only crave more, they need it.
Liam is really careful with their boundaries, doing his best to give both men what they need with simultaneously satisfying his own desires, but all three are afraid of their relationship falling apart, and while Austin and Jay are still and unbreakable unit, Liam is feeling as the third and is just as reluctant to rock the boat.
Evolving their relationship – both in the conventional sense as well as when it comes to their level of ‘play’ – was an absolute success for the authors of this wonderfully kinky story. It introduced some new aspects of BDSM as well brought other needs to the front and center, making their interactions as well as their dependence of each other nothing less of a beautiful, pain stung dance.
It flowed slowly, which in this case was a bit of a negative trait, requiring more focus as well as persistence, but still, I completely enjoyed this sequel and wouldn’t mind reading more about Austin, Jay and Liam. (less)
If a book has some type of a tricky subject it’s almost guaranteed I’ll read it as well as find something inspiring/interesting about it. A father and son falling for the same guy fits right in there with the unusual and I barely hesitated when it came to jumping into the story and seeing the world through the characters’ eyes.
Sayen is a medical student who’s been struggling to get by since the death of his mother who’d brought him to America in order to protect him from his own family and the customs still maintained in the Middle East. Help came in the form of a sugar daddy, an older man of a hidden identity who paid for Sayen’s necessities in exchange for sex as well as secrecy. But now a student of Sayen’s age is interested in him, and offering things Blake – the sugar daddy – never could. The money is still there, necessary and a big part of the relationship, but Cameron doesn’t care and Sayen tries not to.
It all comes to head when Cameron brings Sayen home to meet the family, and his straight father turns out not to be quite straight.
This book was essentially a realistic interpretation of life as well as relationships where s**t hits the fan when you least need it and no automatic happy ending is forthcoming. It had some wonderful details like religion which was a big part of Sayen’s life and a rebellious sister who I just had to love. Still it all sums to the fact that this wasn’t a book I wanted to read. The characters had their depths, the writing was excellent and the plot twisted enough to make this book stand out from just an ordinary contemporary. But when it comes down to it I wasn’t happy with any of the characters or with the resolutions. Their emotional investment was nothing but words into the wind and what author interpreted as stubbornness was pure idiotism to me. Not to say I disagreed with certain decision – or approved others – just that the paths the men have taken and the hold they had to what was the ‘right thing’ gave me a headache. So just like I’ve said at the beginning, this book was just like real life, and I read romantic fiction precisely because I don’t want to live in the real life for those few hours, but rather escape into someone’s perfect ending.
I rooted for Sayen and Blake for the most of the book because I do like May/December romances, but I doubt I would have been happy even if that pairing took the focus in this book. Both the father and the son were too insecure and self-centered to make for loveable characters and Sayen was just too lost most of the time. He followed the money even when he said those magic words and without any more substance to him I couldn’t find any will in me to romanticize him in any way. The readers should also be aware of incestuous abuse mentioned in the book, not explicit but with a somewhat romantic note to it that certainly wasn’t the high point of the book.
As my first venture into this praised author’s work I can say I didn’t receive what I’d expected and certainly have my reservations when it comes to his other work.
I'm not quite sure where to start with this book. The blurb had me really intrigued and just based on it, this...more3.5 but what the hell... here's 4 stars
I'm not quite sure where to start with this book. The blurb had me really intrigued and just based on it, this was definitely a book that could have appealed to me, and it did, to a point.
I think the hardest part of it for me was the writing. There were too many unnecessary thoughts and observations that pulled me out of the flow and just stretched the whole story out. The characters weren't bad, likable even, but I felt I only got to scratch their surface and the rest was something I just needed to accept. Rowan especially was really vague as a character, really defined by his addiction as well as his art, but there was nothing else to him, certainly not enough dept to make me care.
The plot is complex enough to make you stick out to the end but there weren't any significant side characters to develop it to the full potential.
It's a good book, characteristic for some spectacular details as well as the great title. I actually really love the title which is probably the first time one stood out enough for me to mention it.(less)
RE-SUBMISSION is I think the second story set in the same world...moreThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
RE-SUBMISSION is I think the second story set in the same world, something I didn't know when I started reading this book. But if you are even a bit observant, you will notice that there seems to be a story missing as you're reading. That story is Sub-Mission.
This one is told from Tyler's point of view, which at the end I found really strange and was annoyed about. So I'd decided to ignore it, and rate the story as if that ending never actually happened and all that great writing from the beginning was the only impression I got from this book. That's where my four star rating comes in.
Tyler forces his way into a BDSM club by issuing a type of challenge to the club's owner Francis. He's daring himself to endure a month as a sub without really knowing the meaning of the term. Francis accepts and pairs him up with another Top in the club, Shae. Now there is more to Shae than meets the eye, and there is way more to Tyler than his supposed submission. But the real player behind the stage is Francis, Dom to the core and the man who likes to hold on to all the cards.
This is not a hard core BDSM story. The scenes are rather mild and there is more focus on vanilla sex with a bit of kink. Or at least I saw it that way. There are no boundaries about sharing, and when starting this, keep in mind, that there will be sex between the three main characters, and neither of them will show jealousy about it.
I like the writing, especially at the beginning when the author made the effort to keep things interesting and keep us in suspense on how the book would actually end. But once you realize your hopes aren't likely to come true, you will probably miss the emotional side of every man, something the ‘told' aspect of this story just doesn't cover so well.
To wrap it up, I hated the ending, didn't see the point in the chosen point of view, but really liked the world as well as the characters, despite the lack of their deeper personalities. I think this will appeal only to the selected few, but that's not a reason not to risk it.(less)
This short story was again one of those with great chemistry, g...moreThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
This short story was again one of those with great chemistry, good enough to smoke up the sheets if not to light an actual flame, but its focus was more on therapy than romance and that's something a potential reader should keep in mind.
A young therapist, Ken, receives a new patient who's had two tours in Iraq, was diagnosed with PTSD and has trouble sleeping. They quickly establish a patient/therapist relationship and slowly Paul starts to open up. It results in healing, but Paul is not really the issue.
The story is told from Ken's point of view, and the man has some really unprofessional thoughts, not to mention reactions to the ridiculously handsome ex-soldier. He's trying to suppress it, but Paul isn't quite helping, and as their conversations lean more toward personal, Ken's feelings turn to impossible.
I do love some sexual tension in my books, and this one wasn't far off the mark. I would have appreciated to see a bit more of Paul as well as read about his thoughts, but even like this, I ended up reading a nice little story. Like I already mentioned, the focus was more on therapy, leaving the romance for the very last few pages. It jumped between their appointments to Ken's personal life while I really wanted to read about the couple. The ending was wrapped up quickly, not something I was overjoyed with, but which somehow still worked out.
So if you have time, feel like reading a bit about this type of a strange combination, go for it. It might be perfect for you.(less)
I'm quite glad authors are writing more about cross-dressing in...moreThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
I'm quite glad authors are writing more about cross-dressing in their books lately, especially when those books are well written and kinky reviewers like me have plenty of fuel for our demanding imagination.
LACE turned out to be everything I'd expected, from an insecure student with issues to the larger subject of being accepted for who you are and not for what you wear. The author did an amazing job of incorporating all of the character's touchy spots into a bigger picture and she did it with enough sympathy it really wasn't a problem for me to enjoy this story.
Caleb is a gay man who likes to dress up. He's not one of those men who can hide his preference, like his boyfriend Levi can, so he hides his even more unordinary desires and satisfies himself by just wearing a bit of lace underneath his clothes. Caleb is a target for a local bully who doesn't really give him any breathing space and keeps harassing him, but Caleb isn't one to just walk away. He has an aggressive streak in him and reacts to provocations with violence. It's not just about words with him, he's used to being rejected, by his father, his uncle and the society in general, so letting someone in to the person behind the tough exterior is something Caleb doesn't think he can do, not even for his boyfriend Levi, who he desperately doesn't want to lose.
I loved this story, especially Caleb with both his insecurities and low self-worth as well as his aggressive side where he wasn't afraid to stand his ground and show teeth. For me he was a true star and it rubbed me the wrong way that he had to basically crawl for Levi. I know Levi wasn't a bad guy, but even at the beginning of the story I secretly hoped the bully would turn around and end up the perfect guy for Caleb instead of Levi. Yes, the guy never sat well with me, and as the story progressed I honestly liked him even less and couldn't agree with his attitude or his point of view at all.
LACE was a great book—wonderful writing with an amazing subject and this was almost perfect for me. While this author's work is mostly excellent or completely off the mark for me, I still dare to recommend you try one of her books, you might turn out to be a fan.(less)
Usually a fan of this author, I was surprised when this particu...moreThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
Usually a fan of this author, I was surprised when this particular story turned out to be so unsatisfying. The very story was promising but everything else just had clouds of question marks surrounding it.
The story starts with Hadryk coming home from the war as a pup host. Which basically means he's agreed to be impregnated to save his lover Vodwynn. The main conflict of the story is Vodwynn's reaction to the pregnancy.
I did like the idea behind this five minute read, about a man returning home pregnant with a child – pup in this case – who is meant for other parents and fearing the reaction of his lover. But this was another race in question, a whole new concept about females impregnating men and children called pups and none of it was explained. Not the war or the very secret Hadryk is protecting for his lover. Even the very conclusion of the story seemed weak and left me with more questions and none of the answers.
As I expected more from this, I can't say I'm happy with what I got. Hopefully the next one will be more to the standard I'm used to when it comes to this author.(less)