**spoiler alert** When I got this book I wasn’t aware of the fact that this is actually the sequel to “Boys of summer”, which I had not read. So it wa**spoiler alert** When I got this book I wasn’t aware of the fact that this is actually the sequel to “Boys of summer”, which I had not read. So it was kind of hard for me to get into the story. I didn’t know the protagonists, had no idea how they got together and any of the circumstances. I was thrown into their lives and had to wrap my head around the whole situation at first. What made it even more difficult was that it was written in first person and present tense, something that I don’t appreciate that much. However, once I got past the first chapter, I kind of got into the story. There is actually not much of a plot to speak of. Max takes Hunter home to his homophobe family, they spend a few days there, they leave, they marry, end. There is some tension, but certainly not nearly as much as there could have been. The bit of tension there is comes from Max’ family, mainly his father and his twin sister, but more about that in a minute. The two main characters are so much in love with each other, it is almost sickeningly sweet. We don’t know a lot about Max’ feelings, since the whole story is told from Hunter’s point of view, but we can safely assume that he reciprocates Hunter’s feelings completely. They both think the other is perfect, gorgeous, beautiful, smart and whatever else you can think of. End of story. Arguments, or rather discussions, that stem from either difference in opinion or little insecurities are resolved in a flash with no bad feelings to speak of. Now the family. Max’ father is a homophobe and so, it seems, is his twin sister. Both characters’ change of heart came way too quickly for me and without any obvious reason. His sister, out of some warped thought that it is her fault that her brother “became” gay, hurts Max over and over. But, after one talk with Hunter over a cigarette, she changes from being totally hostile to volunteering to be the wedding planner! The father needs a bit more time and takes an odd route. He turns from being prejudiced but at least somewhat civil to openly hostile to the extent that he refuses to let Hunter enter his home again to regretful and accepting. The only reason for this seems to be some serious soul searching. I found that rather hard to believe. Other than that I quite enjoyed reading this. Even though it was extremely sweet and un-exciting, it was entertaining and a nice change from all that angst and overwhelming obstacles. Actually the whole story made me curious as to how Max and Hunter met in the first place, so I might go back in time and read the prequel....more
**spoiler alert** The blurb sounded nice enough and you don’t see too many incubi in books, even though you would think for erotica they would be the**spoiler alert** The blurb sounded nice enough and you don’t see too many incubi in books, even though you would think for erotica they would be the perfect protagonist.
However, the story did not live up to the blurb. No, that’s not true, the blurb doesn’t say anything that is not in the book, however, it leaves out a few things that made reading this book quite unsatisfying.
Let’s start at the beginning. Poor Tristan, half incubus, half human, is left in the care of a promising warden, assigned to him by Blanco. The warden turns out to be a sadistic jerk who uses and abuses Tristan continuously. Eventually Blanco comes to his aid (more about this later) and Tristan manages to get away from the “sheltered” life that he has known so far. He wants to live a normal life.
What bothered me? (By the way, for better understanding I am saying “incubus/incubi, when in the book the term for the half incubus/half human beings is “cambion”).
* Cory, a talented, yet unsuccessful photographer, catches Blanco red-handed while killing someone, but in order to be left alive himself he agrees to find Tristan for Blanco. What follows now is so strange and appalling that I really needed to wrap my head around it in order to talk about it in a way that makes sense. * Cory takes Tristan, who is homeless and totally screwed up, in and takes nude pictures of him. The nature of the pictures gets more explicit in the course of the book, mainly at the request of Blanco. Why Blanco requests nude pictures doesn’t interest Cory in the least. * Cory, I can only repeat it, an unsuccessful photographer, who explicitly says to Tristan that he does not have many models which is why he is so grateful for Tristan posing for him, has a large collection of nude or pornographic photos of various men. Where do all those men come from? Who are they? * Cory keeps a laptop Blanco has given him on at all times so that Blanco can watch what is going on in his apartment, this includes sex scenes. Naturally Tristan knows nothing about this. * Cory masturbates in front of his laptop for Blanco for a few hundred dollars. He reckons, since Blanco has already seen him sleep with Tristan, what the heck? * Blanco, who is supposed to protect the incubi, in fact he has sworn an oath to do so, let’s Tristan be abused for years and does not step in, because he was distracted by the suicide of his own protegé. He admits that he failed Tristan, but makes up for it later by killing the abusive warden. What about the oath that he broke? Shouldn’t there be repercussions? * The wardens, who are supposed to protect the incubi from society and their inner demon, don’t think anything of exploiting the incubi’s sex driven nature by pimping them, renting them out as escorts, dancers in clubs or porn stars. * Cory’s career is furthered by Blanco who organizes a show for him. As it turns out his work, mostly his pornographic work I might add, is being shown in the “ghetto” for the incubi. Almost all the guests at the show use his photographs for sexual stimulation there and then. Is this the sort of career an aspiring photographer who wants to get his name out is aiming to have? Shooting porn pictures for the sexually overactive? * Cory eventually decides to become a warden in order to help Tristan. He reaches that goal by being touched sexually by Blanco (who very much desires Cory) and in return by touching Blanco. How that would empower him to deal with an incubus and his demon is beyond me.
All in all, apart from Tristan, who was a character who was constantly pushed around by people who “wanted the best for him”, I thoroughly disliked the main characters. Cory sold himself out for his career. Blanco failed at his job, failed Tristan in a big way and has no valid excuse whatsoever. The way the wardens dealt with the incubi and their demons made no sense to me. The overall feel of the story was disturbing. I can’t recommend it in good conscience....more
The story starts medias in res with Rory following Scott around to make sure he was safe. Scott’s background is completely in the dark. We only know hThe story starts medias in res with Rory following Scott around to make sure he was safe. Scott’s background is completely in the dark. We only know he hides from the other minders out there and that Trey, another wolf, has sent out Rory on his mission. When I got this I wasn’t aware that this is obviously a book in a series. It seems there are more books about the minders out there and it would have been nice if I had known a little bit about the background. I could still follow the story easily, but the reasons why Scott hid and why the other minders wanted him to join them, what was the deal with Scott’s connection to Trey etc. were all left unexplained. I liked the storyline, the characters and the chemistry between Scott and Rory. Just, “Wolf Town” seemed to be starting in the middle of a bigger story and it also ended there. We have a HFN, but we don’t really know what the future will bring. It was entertaining, but nothing I would probably read again....more
**spoiler alert** When I picked up this book I had no idea what to expect. I have never read anything by Josh Lanyon before and didn’t know anything a**spoiler alert** When I picked up this book I had no idea what to expect. I have never read anything by Josh Lanyon before and didn’t know anything about his style. The blurb indicates that this is a fantasy adventure, a quest for an old relic with some romance thrown in. And for once the blurb does neither exaggerate nor gets your hopes up only to find that the story does not deliver.
It took me quite a while to find my way into the story. I am not an enthusiastic fantasy reader and usually I need a lot of explaining about what’s the world like, who is in it, what is the history etc. Here I got thrown into the story without much information at all. I read names of cities, gods, peoples and had no clue. I was constantly asking myself what or who is that? Some place names sounded vaguely Indian, others, mostly the characters’ names, were more or less English, so I was confused. However, after a while I decided to not worry about the previous history and goings on anymore and just read and enjoy what I got. Once I got over the point of constantly wondering I very much enjoyed the adventure. I liked the two protagonists and wanted to know what would happen next so badly that I could hardly put my e-reader down. I found the description of places, be it an old monastery or some dark cave, very vivid and could picture everything perfectly.
After a while I started to wonder again. Being unfamiliar with the author I was asking myself where the m/m romance factor would come into play. Admittedly, there was an attraction between the gay Aleister and the supposedly straight Valentine, but nothing ever came off it, at first. And even when it did, the romance was limited to being rather tame, with love scenes mostly behind closed doors. Possibly this is Josh Lanyon’s style and I am not saying it didn’t fit the story – it did. Just be prepared, there are not a lot of juicy details like in so many other books.
So, again, after I was reconciled with the fact that this was not as graphic a read as I am used to, I was totally fine with it. It is a great adventure story, the quest for the artifact is pretty exciting and varied. Valentine Strange is quite hard-boiled and down to Earth, which leads to a few fun thoughts. An example… At one point Valentine starts to suspect that the interest of some effeminate writer at a party in military strategy and on how to take the city might have been more than just theoretical.
"Strange had laid out several schemes. And the writer had taken careful notes. He hoped the young man wasn’t a mutineer. He’d been rather looking forward to reading that book."
Also I liked the no-nonsense attitude of Strange and his military partner Akanhe. During the second expedition they are in the company of a temple witch called Master Scrivener, who is pretty useless, to replace Aleister. They are attacked by some mutineers and engage in a gunfight. Strange orders Scrivener to somehow get rid of the sorceress who accompanies the mutineers.
"This however seemed to be beyond Master Scrivener’s ken. In fact, his efforts over the next hour fell so short that the young sorceress was emboldened – or exasperated – into showing herself and challenging Scrivener to a duel of magic – whereupon Akanhe shot her dead."
I liked that. No mumbo-jumbo where bullets will do.
The adventure came to a good and reasonable conclusion and the romance took a satisfying ending. So, if you like fantasy, good story-telling, well developed characters and don’t insist on tons of graphic sex scenes, this is perfect for you....more
I’m all for the tortured hero and all and, God, nobody can be disappointed in that respect. Poor Kaden has suffered a lot during his childhood and itI’m all for the tortured hero and all and, God, nobody can be disappointed in that respect. Poor Kaden has suffered a lot during his childhood and it didn’t even stop once he got to Logan’s ranch. This was a bit much, really. Can’t you give the poor man a break? I found the fact that there was another one of those perverts right there on the ranch somewhat disturbing. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire.
There were a few more things that bothered me about the characters or the plot.
Gay for you I’m not particularly keen on “gay for you” stories. That point didn’t come across very believable for me at all. Logan never felt anything for a man before and then along comes Kaden. From then on, Logan acted as if it was the most natural thing in the world to fall in love with a “boy” (more to that in bit). He was surprised about himself, admittedly, but took it in stride. How come there was no concern whatsoever about what other people might think when he is all of a sudden in a gay relationship. We’re talking about a ranch owner in a small town in Montana here. And what about the woman he has been going out with? As much as it is desirable that she understands the sudden switch to men and the resulting dumping of hers (that happened tacitly), is it realistic?
Contradictive behaviour & jealousy In the hospital first Kaden finds Becca’s father reacting cold towards her. Given the situation that father must be a right ass. Later on however, he acted like you would expect him to react, so what was the cold, detached father thing about?
Logan’s jealousy didn’t sit well with me at all. Somehow that went against his character the rest of the time. When he gets into the hospital room and finds another man touching “his” Kaden he is angry about this. Why? It’s a physical therapist, for crying out loud. The same later again when they are in the recording studio. He wants to lock Kaden away from the world so nobody can steal him away from him? If I was Kaden I’d run as fast as I could.
Christine Feehan for the m/m crowd One thing that sort of spoiled the story for me completely was the way Logan addressed or thought of Kaden as his “little one” or “the kid”. If you read hetero romance and love Christine Feehan and you feel like trying out m/m, go and read this book! I wish they wouldn’t have called him a “teen” constantly. OK, he IS a teen technically, but did that have to be mentioned all the time? He is 19 at the start of the book (Logan is 9 years older), and even almost 2 years later he still is “the little one”. Sorry, but he is not.
I love books with a large age gap and I have read books with minors and the young age of characters never bothers me, but this constant focus on Kaden being a boy and Logan being the oh so big, strong adult really rubbed me up the wrong way.
All those things are depending on the individual reader (as almost everything is), so if you like a very tortured and sensitive hero, characters very devoted to each other and a slowly building relationship this might be for you....more
**spoiler alert** This was especially interesting to me because it is a steampunk story. So far I have never read anything steampunk, but was very cur**spoiler alert** This was especially interesting to me because it is a steampunk story. So far I have never read anything steampunk, but was very curious about it. I totally liked that aspect and will definitely have to check out that genre in general. I loved the atmosphere and could picture Terra Noir very well from the description.
However, “The Outlaw” is a story that is too short for its plot and setting. I got a vague idea about the political situation with some sort of aristocracy in the East trying to keep the West down and so called outlanders in the West who try to foment a rebellion. I would have loved to know more about this but with a page count of 70 this was not possible.
Kell and Damian were both good characters with Kell being more or less the generic innocent outlaw and Damian being the man whose world is crumbling around him. And he takes this shattering of all his beliefs, well, not really in stride, but he comes around to the opposite point of view very quickly. I would have preferred to see this as a slower process.
Like I asked already in a recent review how come that it seems authors are delivering stories that have the potential for complex plot development in the form of a not even 100 pages long novella? The plot is wasted that way, because now it is too late to re-develop it and make it bigger, it’s already out there. There were so many possibilities in “The Outlaw”, slavery in the outlander society, the rebellion, corruption among the nobility in the East, Damian’s crushed world view, Kell going from wanted outlaw to rebellion leader, the story behind the oasis…, I could go on and on.
I loved “The Outlaw” and its atmosphere and just hope that Ms. Leigh is coming up with a (preferably longer) sequel because for me this story is far from over....more
I am a sucker for Lord and Squire stories, so when I saw The Lion of Kent by Aleksandr Voinov available on Netgalley I picked it up right away.
Of theI am a sucker for Lord and Squire stories, so when I saw The Lion of Kent by Aleksandr Voinov available on Netgalley I picked it up right away.
Of the three stories I read so far by Aleksandr I liked this one best. I liked the historical setting, not to mention the two protagonists. William, a wild boy who wants to earn his spurs, and Robert, who recognizes himself as a young man in William. I found William as someone always reacting before thinking unless he forces himself to calm down and count to three very realistic. Robert as the older was the more reasonable and composed one, but still passionate and loving. The two men were absolutely great together.
The plot was solid and believable with some good side characters. Even though Stephen was a real jerk I liked him, well, as much as you can like a drunken priest who is droning on even though the only creature who listens is his dog.
The story was great from start to finish, there are not even minor things I’d like to have seen done differently. Only I would have liked it to be longer than it was. However, it seems this was not all. I read on Aleksandr’s website that two more novellas about William are planned which reconciles me a bit.
If you like a medieval setting, this is a must read....more
In my usual fashion I had no clue that this was the fourth book in a series called “Promises” by Marie Sexton and only found out about that afterwardsIn my usual fashion I had no clue that this was the fourth book in a series called “Promises” by Marie Sexton and only found out about that afterwards. However, even though characters of the previous books were mentioned, it was no problem to read it as a stand alone.
The book starts with a short paragraph that takes us 18 months after the beginning of the actual story, so we already know what is going to happen then. Until that came to pass it was exciting to see how those two guys met, got involved with each other and developed feelings that they both first denied and later on just couldn’t ignore anymore. Even though they had sex right from the start we never witness any of this and I was beginning to wonder whether this was one of those stories where all the sex is taking place behind closed doors. In the second half of the book this changed and there is a good reason for it. Marie Sexton did this just right, as she did everything else in this story. It was fantastic.
The way Jonathan changed from some career driven moron (sorry) who really had no clue about Cole’s personality (how he could not anticipate Cole’s reaction to the recipe box for example is beyond me) to someone who knows what he wants and still can’t bring himself to swallow his pride to someone who finally sees what is important is totally realistic. I suffered with Jonathan and Cole all the way and just couldn’t stop reading.
About the title of this book: When I first read the title I dismissed this as another fluffy story, cute and sweet. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There is nothing fluffy and sweet about this. Unfortunately I’m afraid that maybe some readers will give this gem a miss simply because of the misleading name, which would be a real pity.
“Strawberries for Dessert” will join “Take my Picture” by Giselle Ellis (another story by the way that I don’t hear enough about in the blogging world, possibly because it was published first in an anthology, even though it was released separately some time ago) as one of my top favourite m/m books so far. Both are intense, complicated and feature men who are, for one reason or other, unable to acknowledge what is right in front of them.
From reading the blurb I already figured that I will have to supsend disbelief to a certain extent here. Why assassins who come too late to kill theirFrom reading the blurb I already figured that I will have to supsend disbelief to a certain extent here. Why assassins who come too late to kill their victim should change their mind and all of a sudden want to save him I didn’t understand. Also I was slightly annoyed at the way John and Chris were lying to Andrei in the beginning. They told him a half-baked story and Andrei accepted it almost without batting an eyelid. I would imagine someone without any knowledge about himself would – even though he might want to grasp at straws – be a bit suspicious when he was told he was sexually involved with two men carrying guns 24/7. So, yes, the plot was somewhat unrealistic, but once I accepted that, it flowed. John, Chris and Andrei were three hot guys. I didn’t care too much for Chris, the manslut, but John and especially Andrei were extremely likeable. The way those two found a way to merge their budding relationship with John’s and Chris’ sort of “teammates with benefits” affair and turn it into a working menage was nicely done. Aleksandr Voinov said on Goodreads about “Clean Slate” that he cheated a bit and took away the memory and issues from one of the guys to make this easier and he was right. With Andrei’s memory intact the three men certainly would have never hit it off. The story ended perfectly, with a redeemed Chris and everybody happy. This was highly entertaining and made me want to read more of those authors....more
I hate anonymous sex scenes. Whenever I come across one I get bored and skip it. Anonymous sex just does not do it for me. This is what I thought anywI hate anonymous sex scenes. Whenever I come across one I get bored and skip it. Anonymous sex just does not do it for me. This is what I thought anyway. After reading the first few pages of Touch of a Wolf I have to re-consider my last statements though. I was impressed. That scene with two strangers in some dark alley in Philadelphia was more intimate and intense than a lot of “conventional” ones and drew me right into the story.
And then I just couldn’t stop reading. I totally loved Touch of a Wolf. Matt and John (even though he is mostly referred to as Channing) were great characters. The plot just flowed, turning slightly improbable towards the end in my eyes, but that didn’t matter in the least.
The wolf angle was done slightly differently than usual. Not only was it not an issue between the two men, the wolf existence was introduced somehow like in passing as if it was no big deal. There were problems being a wolf, especially being one that’s been around for a while, but nothing a smart computer savvy man couldn’t fix. Which brings me to the only question about this story. How did Matt turn from a researcher who hated tampering with files into such an accomplished forger? Looking at his considerate counterfeiting skills you would think he’s never done anything else. But I didn’t want to let this trifle spoil the overall enjoyment and accepted it in stride. Touch of a Wolf is a love-at-first-sight story, road movie and wolf-man wrapped up in one great package.
One drawback was the editing, however. I noticed punctuation marks at the wrong place, sentences that should have been negative were positive etc. The book deserves better than that.
Even so. This was a great read. Jez Morrow has some more were stories out, I MUST go and check them out. Highly recommended....more
When I read the blurb of “Spoils of War” I immediately decided to read it. I like Greek mythology. All the political agendas as well as the quibbles aWhen I read the blurb of “Spoils of War” I immediately decided to read it. I like Greek mythology. All the political agendas as well as the quibbles among the gods always fascinated me. The fact that one of the main characters is Achilles was a slight drawback for me, however. If I had to choose between him and Hector I’d always go for the latter. I found Achilles’ extremely vindictive and petty behaviour after he killed Hector very disconcerting, but I admit that he was grief-stricken about Patroklos’ death, which brings me back to “Spoils of War”.
The short story starts right after Achilles’ death when his soul is being claimed by two gods, Ares and Hermes. This is an interesting twist, since Ares usually never meddles with the dead. However, he is so interested in seeing Achilles being around longer that he makes an exception for him. Achilles is very tempted to take up Ares’ offer, since it would give him all the means for total revenge on the Trojans. But there is Hermes waiting and he has something to offer which might be even more rewarding.
I have never heard of or read anything by Aleksandr Voinov before but “Spoils of War” made me want to check out his other stories. The way the characters and their motivations are depicted is credible and Achilles change of tune was believable as well. As for the gods, the fact that the one opposes the other and Hermes does things just to spite Ares is typical divine behaviour (at least among the ancient gods) and fun to read. The one sex scene (you can’t call it love scene, not by any stretch of the imagination) is pretty hot and, um, powerful.
If you like Greek mythology this story is a must read. However, if you have no clue about the Trojan War and the involvement of the gods in it, you might want to read up about it first. A little prior knowledge will enhance the reading experience immensely....more
**spoiler alert** I liked "Between Us", so when its sequel "Between us two" came out there was no question about reading it right away.
Jason and Matt**spoiler alert** I liked "Between Us", so when its sequel "Between us two" came out there was no question about reading it right away.
Jason and Matt were a nice couple, in the first story and they were just as nice here. However, two of my least favourite components were way too prominent in this story for me to really love it. When it comes to children and pets my eyes glaze over and I lose interest pretty quickly.
In the blurb it is mentioned that Matt is in trouble as suspect for a child kidnapping. The kidnapping issue was resolved rather quickly and to everybody’s satisfaction. As far as I was concerned the child related plot could have ended here. Well, it didn’t. Jason had two dogs (I knew that from the previous story) and those two played quite a big part in the story. Really cute, no doubt, but I just am not interested in that sort of thing. The guys were nice, loveable, hot and all, so if you don’t mind pets and kids, this will be for you. It’s a good entertaining story. Just a little too sweet for my taste. ...more