I enjoyed this take on the red riding hood fairy tale, the premise that somewhere in Elodie Rose’s heritage was the woman who spawned the myth. The bo...moreI enjoyed this take on the red riding hood fairy tale, the premise that somewhere in Elodie Rose’s heritage was the woman who spawned the myth. The book itself is a very sweet story of Elodie, a seventeen year old girl who just wants to be normal, but tragedy and a shocking truth divert the course of her life. Her father, a man who would do anything to protect her from the curse that follows their family, drills and trains her to survive in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Sawyer is a young man who has his own family secrets and when Elodie comes to work on his father’s research project in the Park, he finds there is something irresistible about her; something that draws him to her but raises his suspicions.
Both characters are solid and likeable and work really well together. You can believe their instant attraction and the struggle they have dealing with more than just the usual teenage hormones. The intensity between them was well written, powerful and tasteful, leaving me and them just on this side of wanting more.
I liked the plot, that tragedy had followed Elodie’s family for generations and it was poignant that she believed she would succumb to it too. The scenes in which she acts out her worst fears were especially emotional. I enjoyed seeing Elodie’s confidence grow as she dealt with the more mundane bullies. I also liked that she was willing to stand up for a new girl, it said a lot about her character. The choice of ‘bad guy’ was good and made a lot of sense after the reveal, and it certainly had me fooled!
The pace was good and well judged, there were no moments where nothing happened, and there was always something pertinent to the story going on.
An enjoyable and engaging read in the Young Adult genre and Kait Nolan is an author I would like see more of.(less)
Faith & Fidelity is a sweet, touching tale of two men finding unexpected love, dealing with what it means, and being able to accept it.
The two mal...moreFaith & Fidelity is a sweet, touching tale of two men finding unexpected love, dealing with what it means, and being able to accept it.
The two male lead characters are interesting and often funny individuals trying to cope with their own pain. NYPD Vice Detective Evan Cerelli is a man broken by his wife’s tragic death and trying to keep it together for the sake of his four children. Former Homicide Detective Matt Haight is a man tainted by doing the right thing as a cop, but having it thrown back at him, effectively ending his career.
I have to say this was not a title I would have sought out, but I was intrigued by a recommendation on a webcomic site I visit daily (thanks Unshelved!) and I’ve been wanting to broaden the genres I read.
The underlying message of the book is the thing that drew me in the most; that love doesn’t always lead you to an expected place, person or gender.
The two men are great – believable, lovable and I really cared about them and whether they could make it work. They have some great banter as well as affection and emotion, and I really felt for them every time they arrived at a confusing place in their relationship. Evan’s kids and their interactions with Matt were often hilarious and provided some really engaging moments. Friends, other family and partners provide the rest of the cast to make this a well rounded and heart-warming book.
The story itself is well written and the pace is a blend of fast lifestyle changes and slow periods of contemplation and understanding. The erotic scenes were extremely hot, but also tastefully written. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by Tere Michaels, including the next two books in the series. Faith & Fidelity is highly recommended!
Note: I’m not sure if this is only the case in the Kindle version but there were odd errors and words inserted in the wrong place. It is a minor thing but thought it worth mentioning.(less)
Keeping Kaitlyn is a sweet and excitingly erotic novella set across twin worlds; our own and another filled with a history of battles between Magica a...more Keeping Kaitlyn is a sweet and excitingly erotic novella set across twin worlds; our own and another filled with a history of battles between Magica and Shapeshifters. Originally one, the worlds were split apart by a mysterious force trying to prevent the destruction of humanity after the shapeshifting Lycaons rebelled against their Magica masters. I found this premise of a world that was once part of ours, but separated through magic really interesting, and I would love to see the history of that explored more in future books.
When the split occurred, most of the Lycaon went with the Magica to the new world, while a few remained behind. Lycaon souls long to be with each other, and not even the Veil is enough to stop the mating bond from calling them.
Being a novella, Anya needed to cover a lot of ground introducing the story and characters quickly. She did that with remarkable skill, so that by chapter two I already knew the main protagonist, Kaitlyn, well enough to like her and empathise with her. Kaitlyn is from our world, and unknowingly part Lycaon. I loved that her feisty manner was combined with a caring and practical nature, even when she finds herself in an overwhelming situation.
The characters of Lucas and Rafian were also well realised by Anya Bast. She presents the story from the viewpoint of all three characters and this allows the reader to get a good understanding of them in a short space of time. The two male wolf shifters know Kaitlyn as their mate, they just have to convince her of the truth. Anya gives Lucas and Rafian both funny and serious moments, but each also had a distinctly different personality which I thought was very well done. I loved their amusing reactions when Kaitlyn would do something that proved she wasn’t an incapable female. Did I mention that they were hot? They were, very!
Although presenting the story from different viewpoints helped with understanding the characters, I did find it a bit confusing a couple of times. I found myself checking back to see which of the male characters perspective was currently being presented. Other than that though, I can’t find anything in Keeping Kaitlyn that was disappointing, I just wish it could have been longer!
The believable characters and interesting setting are supported by some very erotic and explicit love scenes. Since there are so few Lycaon females, each of them always has two male mates and this allowed Anya a lot of flexibility. The resulting love scenes were excitingly hot, very well written and even took into account the practicalities of their situation. All I can say is Kaitlyn is a very lucky girl!
When it came to Kaitlyn’s choice near the end, I got quite choked up. I was totally invested in Kaitlyn’s character and Anya’s writing allowed me to experience her emotion and anguish first hand. I won’t spoil the context of that choice, and so can’t say much more.
Keeping Kaitlyn combines well realised characters with an engaging story and some super erotic sex. Highly recommended!
After loving her Faith, Love & Devotion series, I noticed Tere Michaels had released a new ebook. A bit of a sidestep from the MM romance genre, as I believe this falls into the category of Menage or MMF.
While the mere mention of the categories probably conjurs up interesting and gratuitous images, what attracts me most about Michaels’ writing is her characterisations. I love that she can create three very diverse and interesting characters, bring them to life and then set them into a story that not only makes sense but is also compelling.
While the story is obviously very adult and erotic, it’s also very well written and the love scenes well envisioned and tasteful.
Lily is a sheer force of nature. Dominant to her husband Riley, her love, compassion and awareness of her husband’s needs is amazing, as well as her understanding of his attraction to his best friend Nick. She is the one that realises the attraction is reciprocated and also the one that makes it possible. She does make mistakes which makes her all the more human but she is truly a brilliant character. I loved Riley and his sense of humour; being submissive doesn’t mean he’s a walkover and is the perfect foil between his wife and his best friend. Nick is very different, more serious and has his feelings for Riley well locked up. It was great seeing him unfold, learning to hope and trust. The three share so much and the relationship just made perfect sense to me.
It’s a very simple story but one full of emotion, passion and love.
As I’ve said before and will probably say again, I’m of the opinion that love comes in many forms and isn’t or shouldn’t be defined by social norms. I think that message is what I love most about Tere Michaels’ work.(less)
I read In Her Name: Empire in literally one sitting. I couldn’t put it down and was so engaged I didn’t even want to stop for food!
There are almost tw...more I read In Her Name: Empire in literally one sitting. I couldn’t put it down and was so engaged I didn’t even want to stop for food!
There are almost two parts to this book. First, an invasion of colonised space by an alien species, and humanity fighting back with enormous losses. This is followed by a more fantasy-like setting with a gladiatorial feel which fills the rest of the book. The two styles didn’t lessen the impact of the story at all, and if anything they made it more intriguing.
I loved how Michael Hicks showed us Reza’s life from a very young boy through to a man, and he is my favourite type of hero. He never tries to be heroic, he just does what he can to survive, but without compromising his ideals. Reza’s initial survival was enabled by ultimate sacrifice and incredible courage and from then on, I was hooked. His decisions were wonderfully reasoned and played out, and even after I’d finished the book I kept thinking about it, and what would I have done in his situation.
The Kreelan race provided a puzzle for me, and I think it’s down to Hicks’ clever writing that while you know they are the enemy, you slowly come to realise they are also a deeply connected and spiritual people, with their own strict way of life that is completely alien. Their history and their mystical way of life was brilliantly envisioned and made it really easy to empathise with them, despite their role.
It wasn’t until the end of the book I was reminded that they are in fact, the enemy. And I cried.
The plot was really well laid out, driving us through a series of events that forge Reza into a survivor, from young boy to man, with amazing strength of character and very likeable.
The character of one of the Kreelan warriors was really well conceived. Again, it’s down to excellent writing by Michael R. Hicks that I hated the character at first, but as Reza grew and his perceptions changed, so did mine and I ended up loving her (no names, to avoid spoiling it)!
The Kreelan are a warlike people who are bound together by soul and so deeply steeped in honour, tradition and ceremony that it is stagnating their culture. I thought it was interesting that on the Kreelan planet, there is no evidence of technology nor that the people could be capable of space flight, but it’s a given that they are since they are waging war on humanity. I suspect that will feature more in the next books of this trilogy.
The pace is tricky as it covers a long period of time but I thought Hicks handled the jumps forward well, and I enjoyed the book all the more because I got to see Reza at so many points in his life, and eventually learning who he is now.
The ending didn’t really come as a surprise, you knew the eventual outcome was always a possibility but that didn’t detract at all from its power. Reza’s honour, belief and loyalty made him stand out amongst heroes and it moved me to tears.
In Her Name: Empire is a book that has heart, emotion, sacrifice, and courage and I can’t recommend it highly enough!