Oh Carole… I just had so much fun reading that. You know, Carole has said several times that she thanks...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
Oh Carole… I just had so much fun reading that. You know, Carole has said several times that she thanks Fen for this book. Fen, for those of you who might not know, is her main character from the Wolf's-own series and his head is just a mess of angst. It's all for good reason because Fen lives in a really messed up world, but back to Carole. She has said that she needed to go somewhere happy, somewhere carefree after spending so much time (4 novels!) in his head. And I'm glad she did. This book is definitely the antithesis of those, of course with the exception of writing talent. I'm glad that I knew that about this book going in, because otherwise I might have been expecting a more serious style than her previous two series.
The book opens with one of the most hilarious chapters I've ever read. It is so easy to become endeared with Lucas, especially in the inner drunk ramblings of his mind at his first visit to a tavern. Trouble doesn't really come until he's had one too many and decides that it wouldn't be too unseemly to have a pee outside, where he promptly becomes entangled with a bush. In a cruel twist of fate, someone seems him -- pants partially open and wrestling with the arms of his coat -- a man with long silver hair and speaking a lot of nonsense. It doesn't seem too strange in his ale fuzzy brain when the man simply disappears after a whole lot of yelling words that neither understands back and forth but well, he's still stuck in the bush.
When the man starts turning up in strange places to again shout incomprehensible words at him, Lucas starts to become alarmed. Especially when the man starts stealing his books. But it isn't until his sister's suitor disappears and Lucas is begged to find him that he runs into the man again, this time speaking some words Lucas understands. What he hears alarms him, especially because it appears that the man wants something from him and in the meantime intends to kidnap his cousin the prince as a trade. Lucas is so dead for losing the prince, but he knows that he has to do something to get Laurie back.
Really, the best part of this book are the characters. There is such a wonderful cast of characters that all have their own well-rounded personalities, characteristics and motives. But they have such a great banter. In reading the prior work from Carole Cummings, I always admired her writing which is at the same time intelligent and accessible, but I also never knew that she could write in such a playful way! It is really a delight to read. And just the same as it was for her, I think this is a really good book to read when you need a break from something, or from reading a more intense book. When I first talked to her about this book she referred to it as fluff, to which I immediately replied that I thought she could probably never write fluff. But I know exactly what she means now. This is a book you should read just for the pure enjoyment of getting out of your own head and into someone else's for a while. And Lucas' head isn't a bad place to be ;)
There is quite a lot of banter between the characters, but mostly in the narration. Carole has written Lucas to have an imaginative mind that often banters with itself. That's why I think this is a good book to read when you really need a break, because while the plot in this story is interesting in and of itself, sometimes the focus wavers from it to Lucas' own thoughts, and those often take precedence over the action. Now, if you followed my advice then this is just a nice detour, but if you're really focused on the plot and pacing then you might find yourself swept away on the tide of his thoughts. Sometimes the banter -- Lucas' runaway thoughts -- seem to get in the way of the action a bit. And while I always enjoyed what he was thinking (and occasionally talking about with Alex) sometimes the timing is inopportune. Occasionally I wanted to smack him and tell him to pay attention!
Still, that is minor criticism on my part and I really, sincerely hope that Carole continues to explore this quirky side of her writing. Hopefully in the future we can get those style alternately -- a book like Fen's that rips out your heart and completely sweeps you away and then something later to cool you down and look on the sunny side of life.
**I didn't categorize this as a romance. This is really a fantasy book to me. Sure, Lucas is madly in love with Alex and vice versa, but the story isn't about their relationship. Their relationship is part of the story.(less)
I won't be the first to rave about how I love Amy Lane (and her books too), but I really, really love when she co...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I won't be the first to rave about how I love Amy Lane (and her books too), but I really, really love when she comes out with a lighter story between all those angsty ones. I'm trying to work my way back into reading all of those (the Johnnies booksscare me), but I think that the fluffy and sweet ones will always be my favorites -- at the moment that crowning achievement goes to the Knitting series books, which I gleefully reviewed last year.
This novella is a bit along those lines. While not really fluffy, they're definitely light and sweet compared to some of her other work. Carson fucked up. He hasn't had sex in months and his boss' nephew Stassy has been giving him all kinds of come-ons at the restaurant. So when Stassy follows Carson into a pantry closet in the kitchen and then promptly flees, a look of upset confusion on his face after a full body kiss from Carson, Carson feels like a douche. Obviously the kid is gay, but it seems like he isn't quite sure about it. And Carson thought he was finally going to get some action in his dry spell, even if the small and cute Stassy isn't quite his type. He might have been able to put the whole incident out of his head if Stassy hadn't run away to Florida the next day. It's been two weeks and the boss wants Carson to drive down to Florida and bring the kid back home. He doesn't have much of a choice -- the boss is worried about Stassy -- but it isn't just that the boss of his restaurant is another kind of Boss in Chicago, but that of all things, Carson feels guilty that kid ran away right after he kissed him. Doesn't seem like a coincidence.
The biggest surprise of all awaits Carson when he reaches the small beach town in Florida where Stassy is holed up. The Bates Parrot Motel turns out to be just like it sounds, which isn't much comfort. The place is so run down it looks like it's growing it's own species of serial killer. Parrots in crusty, shit-lined cages squawk over his hearing of the undead looking lady at the reception desk. Though his boss is paying for the room, not even the prospect of getting to Stassy quickly can quell his fear of staying in this place for the night. A tour of the place shows everything from mold to insects to dried jizz, or whatever that mystery stain is. The Motel 8 across the street looks much comfier.
It isn't until the next morning that Carson prepares to visit Stassy and load him up to drive back home. A breakfast at the diner across the road turns up a killer plate of fried heart attack and a heaping dose of too-cute waiter. Flip-flops, cutoffs, and a charming smile continually come back to his table to chat him up. An equal opportunity Carson wouldn't have a problem taking Dale the waiter back to his room for the afternoon, it's only the women he seems to want to settle down with, but the disarming smile and quick wit soon have Carson spilling way more info than he intended. Before he realizes it, Carson has company on his trek across the road to the Bates Parrot Motel to find their runaway. Unfortunately, what they find in the room isn't Dimpled Blondie, but dead body covered in lye.
It looks like some major trouble for Stassy. Carson knows his task has changed -- now he has to take care of the kid too, and by extension the kid's new boyfriend -- and it looks like it won't be difficult to surpass the small town police in the intelligence and sleuthing departments. Dale is along for the ride, wanting to help his friend (Stassy's new boyfriend) and using the time to get to know Carson better. It doesn't take a whole lot of time to see how good they are together. They're both men who have small town dreams and are more content to enjoy today than plan tomorrow's.
Every now and then Amy Lane pulls a page out of Mary Calmes' book and really gives the language and rhythm of her book a makeover. The beauty of this one is all in the words, thick in Carson's voice and then shared by Dale in their rapid-fire dialogue. That, and Carson's humor (though he often fails in comparison to Dale's), are what originally bring these two characters together. Yes, they're working together to solve a mystery, but it's largely on the back burner for most of the book. The time they spend together is mostly them driving around, eating and talking and getting to know each other. And I found their conversations completely charming.
Speaking of the mystery, I thought that it wasn't really the focus of the book. For the largest part of the book they aren't actively working on it. Instead, it's used as a device to bring them together and keep them together while they find out enough about each other to want to stay together. So, in some ways, the mystery failed for me. Or, perhaps I shouldn't use the word fail, since that would imply that the mystery was the focus of the book. Rather, I found the mystery a bit anticlimactic. It was really funny, in it's own way ;) but it wasn't what held my attention about this book.
Amy Lane fans will want to snatch this one up, of course, if they haven't already. It's short and funny and charming, so you can't really go wrong. Carson's voice might be somewhat difficult for some readers to get into, but that probably depends on how you usually feel about strong voices. As for me, I love them. And I continue to love Amy Lane :)(less)
I have been really excited to read this novella ever since I saw it last month at Wilde City Press. I me...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I have been really excited to read this novella ever since I saw it last month at Wilde City Press. I mean, erotica, not just a short story but an actual novella. That's great itself, because it means we're going to get at least an ongoing plot. Then… superheroes! Superhero sex!
Ewan Creed visited The Armchair Reader on Monday and had a really interesting comment about this book. He said, "that whole genre is oftentimes so homoerotic - the sexually charged cockfighting that always seems to be going on with superheroes and their enemies and the closeness superheroes often have with their sidekicks and the secret identities and bondage and domination and all the other kinky stuff is all but inherent in the genre.. That's what made me want to read the book. The cover drew me to first look at it, because it really delivered this message. Plus, knowing it was erotica helped. I knew that it was going to be somewhat absurd, having a bit of fun and poking the whole comic idea a bit. That sounded really appealing.
And I ended up really enjoying it. The sex in the story is really heavy. There's hardly a scene where they aren't having sex of some kind, though the sexless scenes are mostly early in the book. I admit that so much sex for so long was at times taxing, but I actually felt like Ewan delivered the message he talked about while making the book really funny and really sexy. So I enjoyed it quite a bit.
The story is based on the idea that the perfect superhero is totally constricted. He must be perfect and meet everyone's expectations. In a way, the public owns him. So having his own identity is hard for him. The superhero in this story is The Masked Raider, or "Raider". He gets his power through sex and in living that constricted life the only way he's found to expand his power (or "recharge his batteries" heh) is through denying himself orgasm. And because of that, he's developed an inhuman power of restraint. The public putting Raider on a pedestal for so long has him believing it himself. He is better than everyone else.
That makes the villains in this story more human and more likable. We get to know them quite well and their diabolical plans, while they might have a more selfish endgame, are all about knocking Raider off that pedestal and showing him that sex is good and that he wants it just as much as everyone else. And if they can get his sperm and make him a bottom who begs for it, then it's all the better. And to do this, Tumescent Edison has the greatest idea! He'll have his other villain friend, Snake Charmer, who is the sexiest and most charming villain ever, to seduce Raider's boyfriend to find out all about how to get to Raider.
I'm really looking forward to the sequel to this story. I liked that the story was kindof fun but still was really hot. And I'm actually really interested in seeing where the plot will go. I definitely recommend this one. If you've read and liked other longer erotica books, like The Perils of Praline by Marshall Thornton, for example, then you might like this. The subject is entirely different, but the over the top sexual humor and longer erotica format makes them similar in ways, and the best way for me to describe to you if you might like this book. I definitely did :)(less)
This story definitely isn't perfect, but the fact that it literally had me laughing, out loud, and constantly throughout definitely gave it a higher rating!
Jason has a compulsion, he can't help but enter in contests and giveaways. When he wins a day with The MeatGrinder, a popular professional wrestler, he's a bit baffled since he can't even remember entering. Then, when he realizes that the hulk of a man is actually Trent Peterson, the man he spent his whole college years crushing on from a short distance, he can't help but be excited to see him.
Trent has no idea who the man is who shows up at his door as a contest winner. He has no idea that Jason doesn't know The MeatGrinder but knows his real life identity. When Jason doesn't seem all that interested in seeing his championship belt or even understand anything about wrestling, he decides to take his chances in seducing the cute guy.
I had a bit of trouble getting into the rhythm of the story, mostly because Jason's mind is somewhat erratic. So it did take me a while to figure out their history and how exactly Jason knew who Trent was. Still, the story was so delightful to read just because it was so hilarious that I couldn't help but fall in love with it. Jason and Trent immediately have a kind of repartee, always hovering around the fact that Jason isn't really a wrestling fan even though he's trying to pretend he is. And when Trent gets in the game of teasing him back, the story really picked up.
This is definitely one that you'll want to read just for the laughs. While there is a relationship of sorts, it's more the pre-relationship and initial attraction than the thing itself, and the story ends with a HFN ending. This was the first story I picked up because I've reviewed Kyle Adams stories in the past and really liked them. But, I've read several since this one and this still remains one of my favorite just because it's fun :)(less)
I was super excited to read this spinoff of Spirit Sanguine, which I really loved, because I really felt like I l...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I was super excited to read this spinoff of Spirit Sanguine, which I really loved, because I really felt like I liked Denton a lot in that book. He's really funny and he's a natural to have his own book, with the fact that he can see ghosts and all, or at least, the remnants of death. And I really did enjoy it. I think that I ended up feeling quite different about it than Spirit Sanguine, no matter how much I enjoyed it and not relating to the fact that it is essentially different than that book. I'll get to why in a bit, but most if it has to deal with the way that the story is told.
We first met Denton Mills in Spirit Sanguine, a book that was all about a different type of vampires. In a way, I feel like the viewpoint of vampires from that book (as Lou Harper has called "the Byronic portrayal of vampires—you know, dark and brooding, woe is me…") is somewhat related to how Denton feels about them. He's another type of paranormal entity in a city filled with them (Chicago), but where he sees them as other, he's just like a regular guy with a gift, or a curse. They try to stay away from one another for the most part, probably as it is thought of in Spirit Sanguine because of the death that surrounds vampires. Our picture of him in that book is separate from and quite lonely, though with a quick wit and acerbically funny facade.
Dead Man… shows Denton's world, and while they're mostly the same the focus is different. The vampires are quite separate from his daily life (except when he thinks about Gabe and the crush he had). But he's still quite lonely. He has a hard time relating to people, especially those who don't know his secret. But when staying in his best friend Joy's apartment, he finally starts to learn about his gift and the wider world of witches and necromancy -- all because of the hot guy next door (who might also be a serial killer) and the man's cat, Murry.
This book is enjoyable for itself, even if you haven't read Spirit Sanguine. But if you have read that book, then I think you'll enjoy this one as well because in writing style they're similar in many ways. Denton is really funny and just in the first chapter or so and especially with his interactions with the cat, I was totally hooked. I think that is what made the book enjoyable for me, mostly Denton's interaction with his surroundings and with Bran. They make a really great pair, but the real joy of reading the book comes from Denton's voice. That said, I think that you really have to enjoy that for the book to be a total winner for you. Because while I enjoyed their paranormal investigative efforts together I also felt like they were quiet small mysteries that didn't go nearly as in depth as I would have wished. And that's fine, because I know that their story isn't finished and Lou has plans for more for this couple. But it does mean that I ended this book feeling less of a connection between the two than in many of Lou's other books. On the other hand, that makes me even more excited for the sequel, because I'm interested in where this couple will go. And, of course, I love Denton :)
So I wholeheartedly recommend this one, just for the joy of reading it. It's a fun book, and not long, so you can enjoy it in a day or one sitting when you need a little pick-me-up, a little humor and some really good writing. Now that I've read almost all of her backlist, I can see that Lou has written some of the best characters in the m/m romance genre. Perhaps its that I find my reading preferences and her writing style mesh really well, but I think that Denton highlights what I really love about Lou's characters, which is that they're smart, funny and perceptive. And that they always have a different and unique way of looking at the world. I can't say more than that.(less)
This has the most eclectic mix of tags I've ever given a book. Surprisingly, they all went together! And even more, it kinda represents this book, whi...moreThis has the most eclectic mix of tags I've ever given a book. Surprisingly, they all went together! And even more, it kinda represents this book, which is a bit of a hodge-podge of different quirks and ideas, even plotting and pacing which I found rather refreshing. Definitely not typical vampire fare!
I hadn't planned on giving this book a proper review, but when Sunday rolled around and I was still thinking about this book, so I decided that it really needed one. For some reason, and I sincerely hope that this is just my 2D, rather limited view of the m/m romance reading community, this book hasn't seemed to have had a real splash yet. And that's a damn shame. Here's what I said on Goodreads immediately after I finished the book Satuday:
This has the most eclectic mix of tags I've ever given a book. Surprisingly, they all went together! And even more, it kinda represents this book, which is a bit of a hodge-podge of different quirks and ideas, even plotting and pacing which I found rather refreshing. Definitely not typical vampire fare!
Now, the tags here are pretty much similar to the ones on Goodreads, but since I can more easily edit and add tags here at the blog, they of course have a bit more flair ;) I have to admit that I've fallen into a bit of a pattern in my mismanagement of my m/m reading, where many of the most exciting releases seem to slip through the net (there are many factors, though it still makes me a dolt) mostly because of reviewing duties, but Lou Harper is perhaps one on the top of the list of those stellar authors that I haven't given their due. Perhaps I should do a backlist read. Anyway, this book wasn't just well written, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read, for many reasons I'll talk about later. But that brings me to another point. Another byproduct of my reviewing duties is that I tend to analyze first rather than enjoy the book first, and having not originally slated Spirit Sanguine as a review book and (imagine this!) actually making myself sit down and read a book for pleasure instead of work on reviews I should be getting up to date, meant that this one just slipped right through and knocked me flat. I didn't really have to think about an analysis of the book, of styles and pacing and plot and characterizations, but… I just enjoyed it. It was a refreshing read, and not something I was expecting from the vampire angle.
Bloodsuckers are everywhere; you can't walk down a dark alley without a couple of them jumping out and accosting you with their dark and broody eyes. They do that a lot--mope and sulk. That's what got to me, all the melodrama. I mean, they are practically immortal, don't get sick, grow old, don't need to watch their weight or work out. What the hell do they have to bellyache about?
(That's the truth.)
And that's the point. In a sub-genre where melodrama rules and/or kinky vampire sex clubs are the forte, humor takes precedent here, brought forth by the vivacious and quirky Harvey (I love the name, and not just the Feng/Fang part, the fact that her vampire is named Harvey), who isn't really like any other of his kind. In actuality, I'd rather not go into characterization here, because I'd rather not cut him into pieces to analyze him. He's best enjoyed as it's written… plus, you'll find plenty in other reviews, I'm sure. The same goes for Gabe, who is perhaps the undervalued of the pair, though it's important that he's the lens we see the world through, and even more in which we see Harvey through. His understanding of and feelings for Harvey are how we understand him best, in reflection.
What was really refreshing about this book for me was also in a second part -- the style, which is reflected in pacing but also the plot. Both were atypical in that they don't follow the usual structure. Broken into three parts, each concentrates on a different aspect of the story while they, in succession, follow a continual arc. Some readers might find this off-putting. I'm not really sure. I quite enjoyed it. Because while the first is a typical setup to the story and introduces the relationship between Gabe and Harvey, the second and third both have a somewhat separate plot, though they're tied together. But you do get the feeling, between the transition between Parts 2 and 3, that there's a bit of a jog. And consequently, you'll find two climaxes (one at the end of each part) around the 55% mark and the end of the book.
Nikyta noticed this as well and made a remark to me about it (in our many back and forth book gabbing emails) and probably described it better than I did, asking if I had noticed authors using this style more lately, the (in her words) "multiple mini stories in one book of the same couple" style. We both automatically thought of Megan Derr, who sometimes writes in a similar though pretty different style from what I'm describing in Spirit Sanguine. Perhaps it's that Gabe and Harvey really only have two distinct adventures and Megan Derr often writes books that are split between the many adventures one couple has, a sort of extended vignette style. Nik thought that maybe it was a style that was becoming more popular. I'm not sure, but suffice to say that it is something that we've both enjoyed. And definitely something that I found made Lou Harper's book infinitely more original -- though, of course, anything with a vampire named Harvey Feng could hardly be called conventional.
I'm so excited to write a review for this one, I really really liked it. Too bad you won't be able to see it for months :( That's why I'll give you a...moreI'm so excited to write a review for this one, I really really liked it. Too bad you won't be able to see it for months :( That's why I'll give you a peek now into my feelings. I couldn't put it down and I haven't laughed so much in a long time! So look forward to it, everyone :)
I am pretty sure that though I'm familiar with Tracy Rowan, this is the first book of her's that I've read. I was intrigued by the blurb -- this seemed like it would be a light, kind of funny book, tongue-in-cheek and pretty snarky. For the most part, that is what this is. But I was surprised by two things, the m/f scenes (with a pretty big dose of girly parts, for me anyway!), and the really serious romance ambits the humorous narration. The first half of the book, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it. Frank is pretty emo, and while it isn't shown in an angst way or anything, I wanted the plot to move forward. That started to happen as I kept reading, and I found that I was really getting into the story and really liking the style of the writing.
Frank is… well he's a mess, really. He lives alone in the apartment above his landlady, an elderly and spunky woman. His life hasn't really moved forward since his high school days, and his emotions have stalled. He's still harboring the old hurts of high school, including his love of Rebecca Hansen, his very own Buffy. But Rebecca was a cheerleader, popular and had a boyfriend, a man that Frank loves to hate, even to this day for taking his girlfriend, as he sees it.
His life takes a drastic turn when he learns the truth of vampires. While coming home one night, he's accosted outside by his elderly landlady, Mrs. Carlson. She begs him for just a sip of his blood. The butcher gave away her pint of blood that day and she's unbearably hungry. The knowledge of the existence of vampires gives Frank hope that he can turn his life around. After all, everyone knows how dark and glamorous vampires are. It's the chance that Frank has been waiting for.
Mrs. Carlson obliges, but the change doesn't seem to … change him very much. He's still the same old awkward Frank. But he hasn't given up hope yet that something crazy and interesting will happen to him, and he knows immediately that he made the right choice when he runs into Will Chase, Rebecca's old boyfriend in high school and perfect in every way. He can finally get his revenge, targeting Will. He doesn't know how to handle the situation though, when Will turns out to be very different from what he expected. A strange kind of friendship forms between them when they find out how much they have in common. But vampirism did bring him something on value, a friend. A friend who can introduce him to Rebecca.
If you're thinking that this sounds totally wacky -- well, it really is. That's why I did have a bit of trouble getting into the first part of the story. Frank seemed very immature, even though I could see the charm in the story and in the writing. It's not outright funny, but I definitely had some chuckles here and there. But the characters, and their eccentricities are what are really funny here. And of course the real story is the developing relationship between Frank and Will as Will tries to set Frank up with Rebecca. To do so means that Frank has to make a lot of changes in his life, and the journey they take together to make that happen brings them even closer together.
I really quite liked the relationship between Frank and Will. While the rest of the story gave me a chuckle, the parts with these two characters together were the best part for me, and made this more than a so so book for me. There really isn't a "romance" between them until much later in the story, but I could see the development of their feelings long before that. Seeing them dance around that issues, as "straight men", made this an interesting dynamic.
I won't claim that this was a wonderful book. But I enjoyed reading it, and I really liked the main characters. Mrs. Carlson is also pretty awesome. So, if you're in the mood for light hearted and kinda funny, or are a fan of this author, this is definitely worth a read. It's cute, and at times beautiful when the two men finally get their act together.(less)
I'm always excited when Eden writes a new book, but this one was even more exciting because it's about possum shi...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I'm always excited when Eden writes a new book, but this one was even more exciting because it's about possum shifters! The seed of the story came from a very wild tale Eden wrote about on her blog, and with the encouragement of friends, turned into this story. I remember reading about the whole opossum debacle, and if I could find the post(s) on her blog, I'd share it/them, but I can't. Nevertheless, that's no reason not to read this book and thoroughly enjoy it too!
Seth was torn away from his loving aunt and best friend Dusty when he was a young boy, taken from a world of playing in the wilds of Georgia to living with his strict, narrow-minded grandmother in Chicago. He's grown into a man who is afraid to stand up for his beliefs and tends to take what life, and people, dish out to him -- leaving him as a single photographer whose on-again-off-again boyfriend seems to enjoy giving him surprises (of the off-again variety) and a host of "friends" that seem to care very little about him. Unbeknownst to him, he's the heir to a powerful family of possum shifters in Georgia, headed by his dying aunt Irene. Growing up away from the passel (group of opossums) means that he doesn't understand anything about his heritage or the dormant strain within him. It also means that he's missed out on a lifetime of loving families and his best friend.
Dusty is now Dustin Livingston, MD, the doctor of the town of Possum Kingdom and interim Jack (leader) after Irene passes away. Yet, some of the old woman's last choices were matchmaking for the nephew she always loved as a son and the young boy who grew into a man as her second in command. Brought back to Possum Kingdom to setting his aunt's estate, Seth and Dusty meet again and find that their friendship as boys might easily evolve into a relationship as men, if only Seth doesn't make all the wrong choices.
The best thing I can say about Eden Winters is that I'm never nervous, or anxious in any way to start her books because I know they'll always be well crafted. And, as a reviewer, that's nothing to scoff at. With the pesky craft details taken care of, I really enjoy her books without nitpicking plot and characterization and pace. That was really valuable here, because while I was enjoying the story I could see the small details she made in the story to make it unique and to make it shine.
Following the first thought I imagine that many readers have when they think of possum shifters, this story was actually quite funny and made me laugh several times. It has a charm that exceeds the cracks at typical possum behavior and permeates the whole story, giving it a lighthearted flare. It never emerges into fluff, however, don't mistake my meaning on that count. I noticed some deliberate choices that took this story beyond a typical shifter story and the character growth and relationship alone gives it legitimacy. There tends to be a kind of shifter ethos surrounding so many shifter stories in a certain genre that feed off one another, specifically with details. This story diverges from many of those, in creating the shifter culture here that is more real world, and pertaining to the south.
I also have to give props to the creation of a real kickass female character in Monica. I hated her in the first couple chapters, though I sorta-kinda understood her. But she grew on me throughout the story and I ended up loving her, and I knew that's the way I was supposed to feel. But more than this being a lighthearted shifter romp with funny possum behavior and a cute romance, the core of the story is about the growth of Seth. He starts the story a shade of the man he could be and the crux of the story is based on his growth.
This is another story by Eden Winters that I recommend, and Eden has offered to give a copy away to a commenter. So be sure to leave a comment to enter, and if you don't win, consider getting this book anyway. You'll enjoy it! I promise :)(less)
I have meant to read this story since its release in the summer of 2011. In fact, I had told Barry in New Orleans...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I have meant to read this story since its release in the summer of 2011. In fact, I had told Barry in New Orleans that I'd read it and review it for it and I just never got around to it. Well, it must have been the universe telling me to get on with it, because I won the book in paperback along with some other books and prizes at the Comedy Hour event at GRL. And I knew that now that I had it in paperback, I really wanted to read it as soon as possible. So as I went through my massive bag of paperbacks I brought home, I picked it out first and started to read it. I was enthralled, immediately, into the story and voice of Micah, who things just never seem to go right for.
This is a difficult story to summarize. At it's heart, it is the story of Micah Malone -- in many ways typical gay young man, but also with a (somewhat/at times) atypical storyline. Micah tends to be quite melodramatic and campy, but that's what you gotta love about him. He has a very original voice and his film and TV obsession is shown through obscure references throughout the story. The book is very voice and narrative focused, which in Micah's life is all screenplay based, so we're first introduced to him and his circle of friends with a Dramatis Personae. The story follows Micah has he trudges through life at a young age -- college, friendships, sex and relationships. The focus isn't romance, though some does come into the story in the last half, but instead Micah himself, that that is what made the novel so successful for me. Not only does the format of the writing echo his personality so perfectly (untraditional, and often like a screenplay), but it isn't tied to the typical romance "rules". It threw me a curveball or two, and I loved that.
This book made me a fan of Barry Brennessel for life, even though I've read a few of this other things. No matter if the next three things I read of his I don't like, I'll always take a chance and read something he's written, because he proved to me with Tinseltown that he is a phenomenal author. Also, quite a funny one. This book had me doubled over laughing. I'd recommend this to anyone, as long as you know not to expect romance right away.(less)
Cain is the owner of La Terraza, a 1920's apartment complex left to him by his grandmother who cared for it and i...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
Cain is the owner of La Terraza, a 1920's apartment complex left to him by his grandmother who cared for it and its tenants lovingly her whole life. He has taken over that cause, dedicating his life to the upkeep of the building and it's colorful inhabitants. But he's barely holding on. Nothing seems to be going right. It is falling apart around him and someone is trying to buy him out -- bully him out is more accurate. He can't find a bank to give him a loan to keep him afloat and he's barely holding on by his grandmother's memory and his own feeling that La Terraza has been his only real home his whole life.
Things look up for Cain when he meets Henry. They have an immediate connection that both want to see grow. Cain is worried, at first, when he finds out that Henry was headhunted by Hamilton-Bach and now holds an architect position there. They are the representation for the unnamed buyer who Cain fears wants to tear down the apartments. Trying to keep the two parts of his life separate seem to be a full time job, but as time goes on and he and Henry get closer, he can't decide which he'll choose if he's forced to make a decision -- the home that he has always loved and the people that depend on him, or the one man who has made him happier than any man has before?
There is so much here that fans of Ethan Day will be excited about -- his usual collection of funny characters and wacky RomCom scenarios, couples that remind me of guys I know in the real world, and a flair for character voice and storytelling that almost sounds as if the author is right there reading to you. But what I love about the books that Ethan has published in 2012 is that he's really progressing as an author. Of course, A Token of Time was a real progression in his craft, where he played with a lot of new themes and genres. Here, Ethan has taken what was once his usual faire, and more subtly crafted it. The evolution of the romantic comedy in his hands is exciting to me. I was so excited to see him branching out, succeeding in writing things other than what we know he does really well. I never really thought to expect a story like Love in La Terraza, which is solid Ethan Day RomCom, but has benefitted from his other new experience to be more finely crafted and honed than his previous books.
I purposefully decided to wait to write my review for a few days after reading this book, because all I wanted to do when I finished it was gush about it. It deserves more than that though, because there is real progression and craft here instead of just a book that I really loved. Sometimes I can LOOVE a book like nothing else and it still be kinda crappy (I know you've all been there). You overlook it's faults because you loved it so much it didn't seem to matter. I didn't want anyone to take my gushing of this book that way because it deserves my sober thoughts ;)
The success of this story is twofold, in my opinion. First, the structure and pace of the story work well together. It is a solid novella with just the right amount of plot for length, which makes the pace natural and easy throughout. It doesn't try to do too much, but focus on the relationship between Cain and Henry (who I adored together) and allow Cain's troubles in keeping La Terraza together unfold. Perhaps it seems so natural because these two plotlines are so well integrated. Much of the story is overtaken by the relationship, but slowly weaved into that as the two get to really know each other is the one obstacle in their path, their opinion on the buyer situation. They both follow their character in their choices which brings them at natural odds. Cain's reluctance to deal with the situation pragmatically (because either way will bring the way of life he knows to an end in some way) is expected and something I understood. Henry's selflessness (be it natural, or his own choice of relationship over career) shows the reason they seem to fit so well together. Their actions and choices form a natural division leading to realistic internal conflict.
Second, the style of the story is reminiscent of an old movie. I'm going to show my lack of knowledge here, but bear with me please. The style and cast of characters is something we all love and can relate to because it has been so successful in the past. There is Cain, the perennial bachelor in the center of couples. He's the lonely captain of a sinking ship surrounded by an eclectic cast of characters. They're drawn together by a love of the setting, and while anything would do in theory, the arrangement of them all in an apartment block or courtyard makes this even more powerful. Cain, as the captain, is the only single welcomed into the fold, but in a way all other singles in the story are suspect (at least where the "family" and the courtyard of La Terraza is concerned). Henry is given a trial period, and everyone else is suspect of the other single in the apartment complex who keeps to himself. This backdrop to the story pulled me in immediately because it is something that we can relate to in common experience through film and literature. Plus, it gives the atmosphere something special, a way for us to feel special and connected with the story, and it allows Ethan to write some truly zany characters (I'll let you discover them on your own!) but still keep some of the humor for Cain and Henry, though albeit, maybe a little toned from characters past.
In the end, I adored Cain and Henry together. What I love so much about them is that they're funny, yes. But mostly, they have fun together and so much of what we see is them building a the relationship that people have in real life. It isn't just what we see in most fiction, or the bullet points that are important in the evolution of a relationship. We also get to see the behind-the-doors camaraderie they're creating together that make them part of a pair, the shared jokes and experiences. We don't often really get to see that in fiction, or at least where it serves a more prominent role than what is typical. That made Cain and Henry really leap off the page for me.
Fans of this author will undoubtedly want to read Love in La Terraza, but I think this is a good entry place for readers not familiar with Ethan Day. It is indicative of his earlier romantic comedies, but a bit shorter and better crafted. Definitely Recommended!(less)
I absolutely adore this series and Eric is one of my favorite characters of all time. This is the sixth installme...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I absolutely adore this series and Eric is one of my favorite characters of all time. This is the sixth installment of the Masks series and everything I love about Hayden Thorne's writing is once again present here. While this book was truly the first different book of the series than all the previous ones, it also held it's own and I found that I liked it very much.
After the havoc wreaked on Vintage City by the Deathtrap Debutantes, the city is in a lull of blissed out peace, leaving time for Eric to once again become concerned by his lack of present for Peter's upcoming birthday. Even though his job at Mrs. Chang's chinese restaurant has earned him his first paycheck, finding something to gift his incredibly wonderful superhero boyfriend who is incredibly rich and already has everything is next to impossible. And when he does come up with an idea, that uses his own love of video games and Althea's interference to pump up the experience, he and the gang of heroes fall into a trap made by a past villain. Now, they'll have to find new ways of using their powers (or in Eric's case no powers) to find themselves out of an electronic maze.
The major difference with this book is that Eric and the heroes (except Magnifiman) are separated from the rest of Vintage City and the colorful characters we're used to seeing. Though they do all show up at some point in the story, this book exists in a void and against a villain that isn't directly battling them. The change in setting, tone, pace and even dynamics among the group all make for a story that will probably jar some readers. It will certainly be a book that you'll probably love or hate. Thankfully, I was hoping for a change in the series, and I got that. It wasn't in the way I expected, but I was able to roll with the punches and once I did, and decided what I hoped I'd get out of the story, I was happy and satisfied.
What I most loved about this book is that Eric finally gets his chance to become a hero. It is more than the few scenes in the past where he's felt part of the group or gotten to make some form of direct impact for the good of the whole. Here, we see the two underdogs of the main characters (Eric and the new hero Ridley) get their chance to make a real impact on the story. I appreciated this not only because it was satisfying for me as a reader who always rooted Eric on, but also because Eric has really matured over the series. After his time as a supervillain under the Noxious Nocturne in the original trilogy, Eric has been forced to become satisfied with being a bit of a hangers on, the only normal human among his friends with powers. And with that maturity, I had hoped that there would come an opportunity for him to be rewarded for that, instead of feeling like the (even subtle) angsty outcast.
That is really what this book is all about, and situated at this point in the series (roughly the middle point) it proved a turning point in the series (at least it's looking that way). The game they become trapped in makes their characters into a two dimensional representation of themselves, and as such, Eric is rendered even more impotent. The story is a vast metaphor for their lives, and by Eric heroically taking the lead and seizing the opportunity to solve the obstacles in front of him (of course, not without help), he's triumphing over his own place in the world and instead of only seeing the limitations of that world for him, he's finding his place.
This makes me so excited to see what is to come! I'm hoping to see more overarching plot. There is one, even though at this point it is rather slow moving and sparse. Even though the first three books were hard to read, I appreciated and now miss that they had that connection from book to book. The last couple of books have felt rather like episodes, and while they're very enjoyable to read, I'm less invested in them than I was previously. I'm hoping that as the series turns into the final stretch, we'll start to get that connection back and see real progression in the relationships from book to book. I suppose the relationship between Eric and Peter is rather solid at this point, all that is left to move forward is their sexual relationship and with Eric at 16, we probably won't be getting any smexxin anytime soon ;)
As always, I recommend this book and more importantly, this series to everyone. I love it and continue to look forward to each new installment!(less)
I think that should just be my review. Well, I'll say this:
I thought OMFG every time I turned a new page reading this. Like, half the time it w...moreO.M.F.G
I think that should just be my review. Well, I'll say this:
I thought OMFG every time I turned a new page reading this. Like, half the time it was serious, and the other half it was totally fucking wacky and hilarious. For the first half I was kinda taking it seriously, even the part where (view spoiler)[he sleeps with the 80 year old woman... AGAIN (hide spoiler)], but then I just kept laughing out loud over and over again as this story took turn after turn that I never ever expected. It's obviously just for fun, because even though its a sweet and serious story at it's core, the characters and their actions are just so fucking wacky.. I couldn't believe it, so I just didn't. I ran with it and laughed it up. I think this is the first book I've ever read where the characters really annoyed me half the time but I just didn't care! The ending was PRICELESS!
I love Dylan near the end where Sean has to get it up for a scene and Dylan is like FLUFFER! Fluffer here! Fluffer coming through! I'm his fluffer now everyone! practically busting up knees to get to kneel fast enough... hilarious!
The only thing I found disturbing (well EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA disturbing, lol) was the way everyone talked to Ms. Rosy like she had no life left and nothing to look forward to but them "generously" offering her their dicks.
So, I'd say read it, but don't expect a whole lot going in, just try to roll with it and have fun :D["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
A miraculous, healing story to hold close to your heart!
I've heard many, many wonderful things about this book over the last month or so. Josephine My...moreA miraculous, healing story to hold close to your heart!
I've heard many, many wonderful things about this book over the last month or so. Josephine Myles wrote a wonderful review that caught my interest after Chris directed me there, and became my personal cheerleader -- saying, "read it now! read it now!". I found myself very lucky then, to be one of the recipients of the GoodReads giveaway and received my paperback copy from Edmond in the mail last week, along with a beautiful note and a yummy, gooey, finger-licking, savorlicious nut roll, that I promply ate on the way back from the mail-box. I mean, hey, I got a free book! But I also got free candy! Well, not candy ;)
So I found myself with a beautiful copy of a book that has probably gotten more 5 star reviews than I've seen before, memory full of sweet and salty goodness, and a personal cheerleader goading me on. How could I refuse?
This is a unique book to review, and I won't re-hash the blurb for you, because there's really no point. There's so much to say about it, yet the beauty of it is in the mystery. I constantly found myself with my pen marking favorite passages to enjoy later (I love marking up books! real books! it's been so long!), but unable to share them, because like an inside joke, no one but fellow Found King and Queen readers would understand them. Point 1 for Edmond Manning -- by reading, I've become complicit in the events of the book.
Because the real story is in the mystery of figuring out the story for yourself and your own personal journey with the characters, the story is a bit hard to describe to those who haven't yet read the book. I was talking to a friend who is also reading this book right now and the only way I could find to describe the story was this: "its... light-hearted on the surface but profound underneath, but it's like a great adventure. It... reminds me, at it's heart... of Max, in Where the Wild Things Are... It's like a great children's adventure for adults." There's a sense of wonder in the adventure, which sounds a bit hokey in summary, but through the character of San Francisco in the novel is laid out in a way that entices the senses.
I do want to talk to potential readers here, because I might not have picked this story up if not for Chris, my personal cheerleader, telling me not to be afraid of the Bittersweet label on this book. The only similarity this book as to Bittersweet books is the fact that there's no HEA. I don't think that's too much of a spoiler to give away as it is pretty well known. However, while this book is wildly romantic, it is also not technically a "romance." I'd rather think of it as gay fiction. It is a beautiful story that left me with a huge smile on my face and warmth in my heart, and no matter how hokey it sounds I'll growl it out like a wild bear :)
All I can say is that I think everyone should read this book, and I'm so happy that I have my very own paperback copy to read whenever I want. I imagine that this book will stay with me for a long time, and having it there to comfort me on a bad day, or remind me of all the good and wonder in the world when I really need it.(less)
Two old men surrounded by a ragtag group of geriatrics at an assisted living home find that it isn't too late in life to find someone to spend your li...moreTwo old men surrounded by a ragtag group of geriatrics at an assisted living home find that it isn't too late in life to find someone to spend your life with.
This story warmed my heart. That's so cheesy but I literally let out an Awwwwwwww at the end of this story. I've waited a long time for someone to write an m/m love story about two much older men (we often see 40s and 50s, but not older) and this was so cute and perfect that I'll remember it for a long time to come.
I can't recommend this story enough. It's very short, but it will brighten you're day, guaranteed!(less)
There really isn't much to say other than the giant smile this book put on my face. It may not be for everyone, but...moreWhat an absolute delight of a book!
There really isn't much to say other than the giant smile this book put on my face. It may not be for everyone, but it has naughty toys and starry-eyed love stories, romantic adventures and unapologetic eccentricities!
Sarah Black's books always make me so happy and her writing is some of the most disarmingly romantic prose out there. Her books read like they took no effort to write and are so organic.. That makes no sense but it is as if they have a personality all on their own, that care fuck-all about what anybody thinks. They're just who they are.(less)
This was really cute, and quite original. I love reading books about food and this was food magic! Well, sorcery... still, original and cute and funny...moreThis was really cute, and quite original. I love reading books about food and this was food magic! Well, sorcery... still, original and cute and funny and sweet.(less)
I’ve been excited to review this story ever since I finished reading the first story in Lars and Rael’s seri...moreReview posted at Brief Encounters Reviews.
I’ve been excited to review this story ever since I finished reading the first story in Lars and Rael’s series, A Calling for Pleasure (reviewed here). And just like that first story, this sequel had me thoroughly entertained. Funny and quirky, this series just seems to be getting better.
Lars and Rael are dating now, though Rael hates that all of Lars’ time is spent working on investigating paranormal cases with his snarky partner Chelle Rochelle. Meanwhile, Lars can’t help but worry that he’s not enough to satisfy the hunger his male succubus lover requires, a feeling only further encouraged by Chelle, who seems to have a touchy history where demons are concerned. Furthermore, someone is starting fires all over town and Rael’s demon ex, Lev, is back in town and it seems he wants Rael back!
Oh, the drama!
These stories are so much fun because I love Rael so much. He constantly makes me laugh. He’s probably the most moral demon there is, yet somehow his thoughts always run to how much he’d like to do just about everyone. He’s like a, well a succubus in a man store to tell you the truth and the running commentary in his head is quite hilarious at times.
It seems to be quite the competition, however, who can make me laugh more: Rael or Chelle. Chelle and Lars are perfect partners. Lars’ optimistic view clashes constantly against Chelle’s snarky pessimism. Right from the very first page:
Lars: “Can I help it if my mom’s an immortal?” Chelle: “No, but you could work on getting a few more wrinkles to make the rest of us feel better. Take up smoking, become an alcoholic, hell, whatever works for you. Don’t just sit there looking like a poster boy for Oil of fucking Olay.”
There is less sex in this story, something I was a little sad about because of Rael’s feisty little tail. Still, this was all I expected and more after the first story and I’m very much looking forward to reading the third. B+(less)
Definitely a funny and erotic short about a college student who brings home a star hockey player, then after some hot smexxin, are attacked by a "ceph...moreDefinitely a funny and erotic short about a college student who brings home a star hockey player, then after some hot smexxin, are attacked by a "cephalopod-ish" creature coming out of the toilet.
Obviously influenced by HP Lovecraft, as the monster is referred to as "Baby Cthulhu" :) Doesn't take itself seriously. Basically a sex scene and funny after-aside, but still enjoyable.(less)