Such a wonderful story for my prompt earlier this year, I've been looking forward to it! I just read it, so I'll have my review up on 8/17 at The Armc...moreSuch a wonderful story for my prompt earlier this year, I've been looking forward to it! I just read it, so I'll have my review up on 8/17 at The Armchair Reader.(less)
Review for The Melody combined with my review of Ghost in the Closet (Immortal Symphony: Overture #3) at The Armchair Reader.
This excerpt about the Th...moreReview for The Melody combined with my review of Ghost in the Closet (Immortal Symphony: Overture #3) at The Armchair Reader.
This excerpt about the The Melody taken from that review:
Readers who buy the Season Pass (all six Overture season episodes in one) will get an overall discount but also some freebies. The first of those freebies came out with this story in the form of a short story. “The Melody” goes far back in time to an innocent and young Dorian. We get to meet Basil, an artist that young Dorian loves with all the infatuation of a boy and who is also a character importantly referenced to in the first story. While the scene between the two isn’t completely instrumental to the main story (you don’t have to read it), I did really enjoy being able to get to see him and see who he really was to Dorian at that age. Plus, seeing Dorian as positive, hopeful and undamaged gives me a lot of hope that we’ll soon get to see a real change in Dorian in the main story as well.(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)
Shadows in the Night is the first book I've read by MA Church. I was really in the mood for a shifter st...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
Shadows in the Night is the first book I've read by MA Church. I was really in the mood for a shifter story when this book came up in the review rotation just prior to release, so I decided to take a chance. After all, I've been interested in several other books by this author, but I've never tried any of them. I got what I wanted, this is a shifter story. And while it would maybe be insulting to call it a simple shifter story, by which I mean maybe a classic shifter romance with mating bonds and all, that's really what this is. And because of that, it was a satisfying read.
Chip grew up in a loveless home. His spoiled and cold mother and a workaholic absentee father made his relationship with his Granny grow and grow with age. Granny lived in a small town in Mississippi and every summer Chip escaped there to run in the grass, swim in the ponds and fish and play with his "horsie", a very large black animal that he used to ride like a horse. He remembers those days with fondness when he loses his job and his Granny dies. It's a low period for him, but it's important to return to her home and the small town to pay respect to her and to remember such a wonderful, independent and loving woman, the only real mother Chip ever had.
His grandmother's last words to him -- "Trust him. He's the one." -- baffle him, but Chip puts them out of his mind as he goes through her arrangements and her will. She left everything to him, which was surprisingly a large amount of money and her home and land. He no longer has to worry about finding a new job, which is freeing. Chip can spend the time he needs to go through her things and then live as he's always wanted to, there in her house in the country. He soon meets the colorful characters of the town, her wizened lawyer, the creepy realtor, and his neighbor Jason, with beautiful Native features and long black hair. Jason seemed to know his Granny rather well and rather quickly Chip grows to know him well also. The two form a quick bond that seems perfectly right. It's only when he's nearly attacked by a tawny brown cougar and rescued by a black cougar -- one that by all means shouldn't exist -- that things change drastically.
As I said before, in many ways this is a typical shifter story. We have a shifter and his secrets from the man he's recognized as his mate, and the man himself who knows nothing of the paranormal world. There's a mating bond and a threat coming from one of the men's past that acts as a catalyst to move the plot and relationship forward. It makes an enjoyable read, but not a wholly original one. But, that's okay. It's all about what you like to read that will make this book good for you or not. I know that shifter stories such as this one do really well, because there are so many fans of shifters out there. There are also some of you that don't like to read these stories that much. I fall somewhere in between. Every now and then I will always want a shifter story to fall back on and read. It's comforting and why I'm a big proponent of not hating on the "fluff". Sometimes that's what you want to read, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, most people (or those that don't read romance) would call all romance fluff as a blanket term (so let's not nitpick people).
Anyway, sorry for going tangential on you. While I maybe wouldn't define this completely as reading candy (in the fluff sense), it is mostly a lighthearted read. I found the shifter culture in this book to be rather interesting, in that there didn't seem to be highly defined pack structure. The community of shifters are all related by Native American culture and Jason, when he finally must tell Chip everything, talks a bit about the creation of the shapeshifter. I liked this part of the book the best, and I found the author's genesis of the shifter and their human's relation to the animal totem to be pretty interesting. There is mention of a little detail about a representation of their totem that I really wanted to know more about that isn't much explained, but hopefully that will come up in the next book. This story focuses mainly on Chip and Jason and their world in this book is incredibly insular. There are a few moments where other characters are present, but this book is highly focused on their relationship and their internal conflict, with the external conflict I mentioned before acting as a catalyst to their relationship's progression. I'll be really interested in reading the next book because I'd like to see if there is more of their native cultural history.
This is a fairly quick read and definitely a book that you should know if you'd like from reading the blurb and from reading this review. If you're a fan of shifter stories then this is definitely something you'll want to pick up. It's not trying to push any boundaries or re-define the shifter romance novel, but that probably opens it up to a wider audience as well. Sometimes what you want to read is something that you know will give you pleasure and which you won't have to stress over while reading. It makes for a pleasant experience and this was a book that I enjoyed. Plus, you'll love Jason in bed. HOT!(less)
These two authors have been one of my favorite writing teams for a while now, and I knew that I wanted...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
These two authors have been one of my favorite writing teams for a while now, and I knew that I wanted to review this book before I'd even heard of it or read the blurb. So when I finally did read the blurb I was even more exited, especially for such a long book. And finishing it took me a couple of days, mostly just because I wanted to enjoy it, so I spent my time reading it totally for pleasure and enjoying every twist and turn.
Evan St. John and Will Trask have a tumultuous past. Roommates their Freshman year of college at Columbia, they soon grow to be friends. Evan is openly gay and an art photography student, always carrying around his camera, while Will is a manly jock through and through. For reasons that Evan never understands, Will sticks by him and the bullying he was experiencing dwindles when people start to realize that Will will aways have his back. As they grow closer Evan starts to understand Will better, including Will's White Knight Complex, his need to protect and care for those he loves, to an almost fanatical, save-the-day to-the-rescue level.
Their dynamic changes when Evan's sister is dying of cancer and their relationship grows during the emotional period -- Evan is distraught and barely keeping himself afloat while trying to understand and come to terms with her turn for the worse. And Will picks up the slack, in more ways than expected. But the grief sends Evan running to Paris and three years go by, where Evan becomes a famous fashion photographer taken on by The House of Nadasdy, run by famous and infamous Elizabeth Nadasdy, and Will becomes an agent with the FBI.
We're first introduced to Evan in Like the Night as he escapes Paris during the day to fly to New York City and seek help from Will. He's a newly made vampire under the gruesome and tyrannical rule of Elizabeth Nadasdy, a modern day remnant of her famous human days as Elizabeth of Bathory. Above all (except herself), she loves beauty and hoards a collection of "children" all turned by her for their extraordinary beauty, which she believes deserves to be preserved for eternity. Evan was a prize for her, and his rejection of her extraordinary "gift" is tantamount to the ultimate betrayal, something she relishes punishing him for. But Elizabeth doesn't expect the trouble it will take to find and deal with Evan. With him, someone whose beauty hides his intelligence and cunning, are a group of allies who seek one common goal: the eradication of Elizabeth Nadasdy. And of course Evan has Will, his White Knight, ready to stand in front of any threat to his best friend.
I really just loved this book. I took a while to read it because it is long, but it is also totally packed with plot and, just about everything under the sun, making the book seem even longer than it is. There's an economy to the writing which gives you SO much story for just the first book of a series that it gave me the time and the opportunity to really sink into the story. What came through in this story most strongly for me was the pervasive mood of fear and impending doom. This is all because of the fact that Elizabeth is built up to such supervillain status that she's made to be almost omniscient, with unlimited power. Add to this a connection between vampires and their sire, or maker, and the fact that Elizabeth could peek in on Evan at any moment and even make him do things or spy on his relationship with Will, or their planned resistance of her make the story suffused with tension.
I found the villainous characters in this novel to be quite interesting. We have Elizabeth who is the typical diabolical character. She relishes in the pain of others and not only causes death and despair because it gets her something (money, fame, power, etc.) but also because she enjoys the suffering of others. She firmly believes that she's more worthy than anyone else to have the status that she does because of her beauty and the vision she has for the future. But, sometimes diabolical is boring. No matter how outrageously cruel Elizabeth can be, she's still a character that doesn't take too much effort to understand. My favorite villainous character is her daughter Anna, who I suspect will become a crucial and central character to the future books. Anna is raised in the shadow of her diabolical mother. She's always second best, but raised to revel in the same cruelties as her mother. She's made a vampire both because of her beauty which is similar to her mother's, but also as a gift from her. But hundreds of years of oppression make Anna rather different from her mother. Though I suspect that they both have similar depth of cruel possibility inherently in them, Anna's choices are governed by her hate of her mother and her acceptance that her only meaning to her mother is what she can do for her. That makes her cruel, but much more interesting than her mother. And of course, it's going to be great when the two really turn on one another ;)
Anyway, I'm super excited for the second book. I hope it isn't too far away. But honestly, I can't really be sad because this is the first book in a while (that is the first book of a series) that actually gives us enough story to satisfy us for the first installment. 123k words is pretty long, yes, but it allows the book to give full and adequate world-building while also giving us a real story that will be carried on in the second part. We have a full and self-standing plot with only a few loose ends to pick up in the next book. If this is the case for the next books as well, then I can only imagine where this story will go before it ends!
Amazing job girls! Kyle Adams was awesome enough to post my prompt because I had already posted another one, lol. And I'm really charmed with how it t...moreAmazing job girls! Kyle Adams was awesome enough to post my prompt because I had already posted another one, lol. And I'm really charmed with how it turned out. The most important thing was that they play with it and have fun with the outrageous animal shifters, and the story was really funny and cute :)
And... weirdly enough! The authors gave a character my real last name!(less)
Ever since finishing the finale of Poppy's Triad series with Soul Magic (reviewed here), I've been really excited about this new release. At the time, I almost begged Poppy to tell me that she was going to write a spin-off about the kids in that series (Garon & Riley), only to have my poor heart crushed ;) There is still a spin-off coming, also about cat shifters, but in the meantime this story isn't associated with that series yet still, in some areas, I found reminiscent, like the pack politics.
Dayton grew up with Hart's family, or pride. They welcomed him in as a kid with a mom who wasn't around much and took care of him, making him one of their own. He exists in a strange kind of half adoption. While he's part of the family and they consider him, a human, part of the pride, he still can't really understand what it's like to have a cat as a part of himself. Then there's Hart, the son of the Alpha who was born as a cross-bred liger and subsequently more powerful than his father. His banishment ensured his father's reign.
But even though Dayton doesn't think Hart ever liked him much, Hart has a good reason why he's willing to take the banishment. He's known since they were teenagers and his first heat came over him that Dayton was his mate, but as an outcast among his own family, he couldn't offer him much. In the years that Hart has been gone, forbidden any contact with the rest of his family, he's made a career and a name for himself, all in the hopes of going back to claim his mate with a life to offer him. Somehow though, Hart can't work up the nerve, knowing that accepting their mating may mean leaving his adoptive family behind. Having to face Dayton not choosing him is too hard, so they remain parted until Hart's meddlesome sister Tawny, Dayton's best friend, sets them on the same course. The ramifications, however, are more than any of them expected.
This was really a cute story and I think that it stands well on it's own. I'll say straight up, I was a little confused at first whether this was the spinoff that Poppy talked about, just because it has to do with cat shifters, but it's not at all. Still, with the recent release and a similar type of story, I wouldn't be surprised if people make comparisons. It's probably bad to do that, in fact, because the Triad series had a real forward momentum that involved an overarching series plot. This story is different because it does stand alone. And while it certainly leaves things open for a sequel, it isn't obviously just part one of a longer story. That means that the focus of this story is really the relationship, something quite different from the Triad series. And considering the characters and the setup of the plot, this story didn't need a convoluted journey, no matter how much longer I wished it could have been so that I got to know the characters better and all that. It worked well as it is and I'm really just being greedy.
The story works in the Alpha Man trope with a larger stronger man and a smaller, more emotional and fragile man. But it also doesn't play to stereotype, but allows the characters to become themselves as the story progresses and buck a few of those conventions. I think that the story could have benefitted from a little more concrete knowledge of the pack politics as well as some better knowledge of the secondary characters in the pack. Otherwise, the story mostly focuses on Hart and Dayton and uses the pack as a catalyst for the changes in their relationship.
I'm excited whenever I get a story to read from Poppy and this was no different. In particular, the two of these guys together are super steamy. Even though we don't get more than one intimate scene with them, it packed a punch! Recommended, especially for fans of the author and fans of shifter stories.(less)
I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this story, especially when after I reviewed the first book in this series, Miami Moon, Geoff told me that the second story in the series was quite different. Well, in the sense of hot hot hot sex, it wasn't at all! But, I found this story to be much more mysterious and with tinges of horror, where the first story seemed more exciting than suspenseful. This story was actually better, in my opinion, though I think they can definitely be read as standalone stories and if I'm not mistaken, don't have a whole lot to do with one another besides theme and style of writing.
In Cairo Curse we're taken to a more exotic locale, where our two main characters are excited about the somewhat dangerous possibilities of the city. Nash is an ex- rent boy turned model who is in love with co-model Ryan. The two are often photographed together because of their chemistry and beauty as a pair. But Nash is in love with Ryan, and Ryan just seems to be a playboy -- hot, single and ready to fuck the next guy -- and the life of the party. Nash, on the other hand, is somewhat of a shy guy. His singular beauty makes him stand out, but away from the camera Nash always seems to be in Ryan's shadow, allowing himself to follow Ryan just for the chance to be near him.
After their shoot in Cairo, where Ryan seems to be much more sexually forward with Nash than usual, he decides that tonight might be the night. Ryan drags Nash to a club and convinces him to have fun with an exotic Egyptian beauty who has caught their eye. It's a chance to be with the man he's wanted for so long. And… the other guy is pretty hot. Nash decides to go for it.
But when the unknown man takes them through a dark labyrinth of the city, where their journey seems to take them back through time in the amazing secret history of the city, Nash starts to have doubts. Ryan keeps him going, blinded by the thought of what will happen when they reach their destination, they have no idea that they're being led into a trap.
I actually specifically marked Horror in the genre and tagged this book with Suspense, because I found the story to be really done well in this regard. I wouldn't say specifically that this was scary, so those of you who don't like Horror at all can be comforted. But, the intention of the story is what I would call Horror, the darker side of vampires as prey instead of emo teenagers ;) In some ways this story reminded me of many of Rick Reed's paranormal horror stories. They have ambiguous endings that lend to the suspense in the story. I quite like this style of story and I always really like when we see vampires and such as ruthless hunters because the vampire genre is lately so tipped in the other direction towards tame creatures. Seeing a more historical understanding of a demonic creature of the night is satisfying to me. And Ramseth was definitely a horrific creature of the night.
In that regard, I really loved the sex in this story! Storm Moon Press recently published an anthology of horror sex, called Queer Fear, about the heightening of sex through fear, and this story would have gone perfectly in that collection, where many of the stories focus on the paranormal. I mention this because the suspense in the story starts right from the beginning. The strange and beautiful Egyptian man hovers over them throughout the story as the sexual tension builds between them. Fear and Heat go hand in hand and it works really, really well to heighten the sexual satisfaction from the story. I mean… if you're into that kind of thing ;)
So I'm quite satisfied from this sequel to Miami Moon, which I also really enjoyed. I just didn't quite expect the difference in the stories and I didn't expect that there seemed to be little cohesion between the stories. That was the only thing that I wasn't quite sure of. I don't know the direction this series is going in; or, even if there is a next book or if it's coming soon. Both stories Recommended.(less)
You know, unfortunately this story started off on a bad foot for me. One of my pet peeves is when the blurb...moreReview posted at Brief Encounters Reviews.
You know, unfortunately this story started off on a bad foot for me. One of my pet peeves is when the blurb gives more information about the story than the story itself. I finished the story feeling like I'd just been caught in a small worldwide, with the pace moving incredibly fast with little to no transition between scenes and knowing hardly anything about the characters but a few superficial facts. Then I read the blurb again, and much more of the story fell into place for me. But, that's not a good thing. The story should be able to stand by itself.
The basis of the story is a love triangle between Jet, a shadow chaser (a supernatural being whose power comes from the darkness), his best friend and jilted lover Roderick (who is a vampire), and the human who rescues and nurses Jet back to health after Roderick and his whole team turn against him and try to kill him. Holton (the human) is perhaps the most perplexing because we know very little about him, only that he's nursing a broken heart. Really, that's pretty much the whole story -- what, with proper explanation, character building and deeper plotting -- would have been a novella or a novel condensed into 20 pages by rushing the scenes (at breakneck speed), jumping large pieces of plot and not really exploring the characters at all but for a few sentences about them.
I'm afraid that I just can't recommend this story at all. I've never read anything by this author before, but I hope that their other stories slow down a little and allow the story time to unfold. To be completely frank, this story seemed much like a storyboard. The five or six major scenes of a larger story written down and then bunched together. I was so confused while I was reading it with the story jumping around all over the place and not giving us many clues about what was going on. And while, at the end, I finally understood what happened in the story, it missed so much that should have been there: getting to know the characters, understanding their motivations.
So, no I'll have to say that you should skip this one. I'll definitely give the author another go though, and hopefully I'll have a better experience with their other stories.(less)
In this Paranormal Days story, we get to know Jayden's brother, Jordan. In Beach Remedy we really don't...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
In this Paranormal Days story, we get to know Jayden's brother, Jordan. In Beach Remedy we really don't get to see much of Jordan, only enough to see that he's a more reserved and responsible version of Jayden with long, beautiful dreadlocks. And, while they're both hedge witches, Jordan is the only one that really practices. He's a stereotype in most ways (think beach bum), even down to the herbal blends he loves to smoke. One of the biggest differences are their sexuality -- while both brothers are gay and Jayden tends to be a somewhat promiscuous wildcat, Jordan prefers a more sedate and mature man, and hasn't been out on a date in forever.
Being a hedge witch is Jordan's dream. He makes defensive amulets and protection charms agains vampires and werewolves. He makes his own small spells that he sells to his neighbors, including his herbal cigarettes (though some of them are private and definitely not-legal). It's what he loves to do, even if most people see him and immediately take him for a lazy bum and he'll never make enough money. Both he and Jayden have taken care of each other from a young age, but Jordan is fed up of always living hand to mouth when they deserve so much more.
The remedy seems to be against a lot of what he stands for, but it might not be that bad either. A large magic firm is looking to take on hedge witches to travel around the country and work. It pays a lot of money and Jordan knows that he's good enough to get one of the coveted spots. But working up the corporate ladder means saying goodbye to his dreadlocks, his pride, and most unfortunately, his time. The only thing that saves him from a complete breakdown of spirit is the distinguished older man he meets while on the road...
In structure and plot, this story differs a bit from Beach Remedy. Where that story is all about falling in love and having fun on the beach, Herbal Remedy is really about trying to make it through the pitfalls of a relationship with an older man while trying to work a particularly demanding job. Jordan is a genuinely good soul. In many ways he's uncomplicated and fiercely loyal, and that can come across as naivety. In a way it is. Falling in love for Jordan is freeing and beautiful with no reservations, which makes dealing with the experience of a man so much older than him a difficulty that he didn't expect to face and doesn't know how to reconcile. I liked Jordan quite a bit. I'm not sure how much I liked Shayne, and I can't decide if it's his actions or the fact that I felt like I didn't really get to know him or much about him or see them a lot together. Or both. Probably a little of both.
However, for a short story, I think that we get a pretty good picture of the world and a lot of story for only 13,000 words. As I said in my review today of Beach Remedy, these stories should definitely be read as a pair. I only say that because I enjoyed both of them. They definitely don't need to be read together, and you could pick either one to read as a standalone story and be satisfied. Recommended.(less)
Though there's no need to read these stories in any certain order (the other being Megan Derr's Herbal R...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
Though there's no need to read these stories in any certain order (the other being Megan Derr's Herbal Remedy), they are connected. The common denominator are two of the main characters. In this story, it is Jayden, who is the brother of the narrator of Megan Derr's story. I happened to read Megan's story first, so I found that I knew quite a bit about Jayden before I got to read his story. In Megan's story we see quite a bit of Jayden and his importance in Jordan's life, so I had a pretty good handle on his character. Though… it's interesting, and this one aspect played out well in the order I read the stories. From Jordan, I got one characterization of Jayden and though it was admittedly multifaceted because he's an important character to him, actually getting to know Jayden firsthand from this story completed his character in the same way you'd get to know someone through their sibling only to see later that you only understood them through the lens of sibling affection and at the same time, frustration :)
Lee probably felt similarly towards Jordan, when he meets him in this story just because he's heard about him through Jayden. The two meet at a sunny beach hotel. Lee had planned his vacation to the beach for some well-earned rest. It might seem strange for a vampire to vacation at the beach, but all Lee wants is some relaxation and a new guy to share his hotel room with each night. So his fixation on one man alone surprises him.
Jayden works at the hotel desk and checks in Lee when he arrives. The two share a flirtation that baffles Lee a bit. Jayden seems to be reacting strangely to his vampire-seduction mojo, but if Jayden is immune then maybe he's really interested in him. He still has a job to do though. He wouldn't have met Jayden at all if his cousin wasn't laid up with a broken ankle. Astor is researching the local lighthouse (which is rumored to be haunted) for his next book on hauntings. If he hadn't agreed to do the research for him since he was laid up, then Lee wouldn't be staying in such a swanky beach-front hotel, and therefore wouldn't have had the chance to meet the lovely Jayden.
The best part about this story is that Sasha Miller has thrown away all the unofficial vampire rules and created an interesting, rather mundane vampire. For someone like myself who prefers the Wild Bill sort of vamp (though Wild Bill could never be called mundane!), I really enjoyed getting to know Lee. He's got a bit of a shaky moral compass, though he's a genuinely good guy. And I liked the couple that Jayden and Lee make.
Second, this is really a nice beach read. Not that it's about a beach (duh), but because it's really about a vacation fling, and those are always fun to read about. The warm weather and long evenings, the lack of stress, and… the beach. It's about appreciating the day and not worrying about tomorrow. That made this story fun to read. Jayden and Lee enjoy each other, have lots of sex and because they aren't worried about the future, they allow themselves to be playful. One of my favorite scenes is when they go to do Astor's research at the lighthouse and make fun of all the ghost stuff. It's light and sweet.
The story does evolve, towards the end, as they start having real feelings and thinking about what happens next. I appreciated having a solid Happy for Now ending with a real plan going forward for their relationship rather than an unreal HEA.
This is definitely best read as part of a pair, but mostly because the stories are both good and go well together than needing to be read together. You could enjoy either of them separately if you wished.(less)
Fugue in Gold and Fire - Avery Vanderlyle 3.75 stars Teller of Tales - DK Jernigan 3 stars Weird Magics - EE Ottoman 4 stars Chanson Commencante de Guerr...moreFugue in Gold and Fire - Avery Vanderlyle 3.75 stars Teller of Tales - DK Jernigan 3 stars Weird Magics - EE Ottoman 4 stars Chanson Commencante de Guerre - Lor Rose 2.5 stars Two in the Bush - ER Karr 3.5 stars Finding the Rain - Tam Ames 4 stars Lukos Heat - Megan Derr 3.5 stars(less)
This third part of the Immortal Symphony serial is definitely the part of the story that I was waiting f...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
This third part of the Immortal Symphony serial is definitely the part of the story that I was waiting for. The dynamic between Gabriel, Michael and Dorian changes quite drastically after the second story, where Gabriel partook in the casual drug use and orgiastic (very public) pleasures in celebration of Dorian's birthday. But what is a common evening of debauchery for Dorian is quite honestly uncomfortably hedonistic to Gabriel. Always the good boy in comparison to his twin brother Michael's more outlandish actions, this story shows more than ever before how the addition of Dorian to the brothers' lives has had an affect on them. Gabriel, who has always had trouble letting loose and giving up control to participate in the kinds of things like Dorian's sex party, finds that he quite likes forcing himself to explore new opportunities and experience life in a more hedonistic way. Michael's whole existence, however, is a testament to the partying lifestyle of excess drugs and sex, one which ultimately cost him his life. Seeing his brothers actions hits Michael the hardest. This drives a firm wedge between Michael and Dorian, and when Gabriel doesn't seem as upset at Dorian and Michael feels he should, Michael decides to take over his brothers body and show Dorian his displeasure. The resulting confrontation between the two pushes open the door to Dorian's secrets, until they start spilling out into the light.
While I liked this story even more than the first two -- specifically because we're starting to get some real answers -- I'm still very of two minds about this series and the characters. First, I really adore the writing of Dorian's character, but I don't actually like Dorian at all. I say that I really adore the writing of him because I've suspected all along that my emotions are purposefully being manipulated as far as how I feel about him. He's really not likable at all except in that pre-karma way, the "he's going to get what's coming to him" way, whether that be literal or the satisfaction of watching him start to have real feelings for someone. That's why I can't say I categorically hate Dorian, though he does make me uncomfortable. He's a much more complicated character than that. In fact, he's the character that really parallels the overall unfolding plot, because the reveal of his secrets drives the plot forward (which we see in this story as flashbacks). These two authors are really using this unusual medium to explore non-traditional romance characters. Dorian is such a big character that his presence often takes over parts of the story, and ultimately, I feel like he'll be the deciding factor as to where the story will go as it navigates the boundary between erotica and romance.
The second part of how I feel about this serial is that as far as the overall plot and the emotional growth of the characters, this serial is still in it's infancy, so those things like how I don't' like Dorian very much have very little impact about how I feel about the story overall. I suppose, I should just say that while I'm reviewing and having to give each little story in this serial a rating, I'm really reserving judgement for myself.
Readers who buy the Season Pass (all six Overture season episodes in one) will get an overall discount but also some freebies. The first of those freebies came out with this story in the form of a short story. "The Melody" goes far back in time to an innocent and young Dorian. We get to meet Basil, an artist that young Dorian loves with all the infatuation of a boy and who is also a character importantly referenced to in the first story. While the scene between the two isn't completely instrumental to the main story (you don't have to read it), I did really enjoy being able to get to see him and see who he really was to Dorian at that age. Plus, seeing Dorian as positive, hopeful and undamaged gives me a lot of hope that we'll soon get to see a real change in Dorian in the main story as well.
The fourth story in the Immortal Symphony serial is out now!(less)
Owing to staying sick for about a month between March and April, it's taken me quite a while to get back into the...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
Owing to staying sick for about a month between March and April, it's taken me quite a while to get back into the swing of reviews and get caught up on some of them, especially the two serials from Storm Moon Press, which before getting sick I was thoroughly enjoying. I suppose it isn't so bad being able to read more than one of them in a row, especially with the Cari Z's Cambion serial.
We ended the second story in the Cambion serial ("Black Magic Woman") with the pair gearing up to flee Las Vegas. The City of Sin turned out to have more of a bite than these two were expecting and gave both of them a reminder that though they have some pretty powerful weapons on their sides, they aren't infallible. In the process of seeking a witch to divine the location of their quarry, Porter Grey, Devon lost his sense of touch for three days. What seemed like one of the better sense to gamble (rather than say, his sight) turns out to be almost impossible to deal with and Devon is relegated to letting Rio take care of him.
The pair flee Vegas to find Porter Grey, who according to the information of the witch Lynlis is in Seattle. But Devon is not up for any kind of mission, so they instead decide to stop in Oregon to visit Devon's dads. Ren and Emile are an enigma with many of their own secrets to keep. They're foster parents to cambions, teaching them to control their powers. But going home only highlights the growing feelings between Rio and Devon and puts Rio and his secrets in even more of a precarious position.
I think that what I liked so much about this third installment into the Cambion world is that it takes what we saw in the second and continues to develop it. Of course, some pretty big secrets come out, including the one Rio's been trying to hide, but while it was nice to find out what he really is, I liked seeing the developing intimacy between him and Devon even more. Devon's vulnerability stemming from losing his sense of touch brings that connection to the forefront; for the first time, Devon has to overlook his pride and accept help and seeing Devon in such a state shows Rio just how much he cares for the cambion.
Cari mentioned after my review of the second story that soon after this third one we'd get back to more of the action. It makes sense if you're considering it by the story. Now that they've gone home and their relationship is on much firmer ground than the casual sexual and professional relationship they had in the first story, it makes sense that the last half of this season will return the focus to their hunt of the demon summoner, Porter Grey.
I'm looking forward to story #4 (not long of a wait!) and in particular hopefully finding out more about Ren and Emile or seeing if they play any further part in the story. I also can't wait to see when Devon finds out what Ren is and by proxy what his dads are :)
If you haven't started this serial then this is a good time to get in on the action, with half of it now over (at least, these first 6 installments). If you buy the season as a bundle you get some free goodies along with it, the first of which was just sent out -- free story "The South Beach Job", which takes us back several years to Rio and Devon's earlier professional relationship when their sexual one is just starting. It's a good story that shows them before they change by their association with the other. Plus, it's always fun watching Devon in slut mode ;)(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)
I really wanted to read this several years ago, when I first started reading Geoff's books and then discovered th...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I really wanted to read this several years ago, when I first started reading Geoff's books and then discovered the few written by his pseudonym AJ Ryan, but sadly it was out of distribution. So when Wilde City sent around their press release about the books they were publishing in their first few weeks of opening, I was excited to see this as an offering and immediately snatched it up :)
As a short story and basically part one of a larger work, I have a hard time rating this on it's own, as well as reviewing it. I did, however, really enjoy reading it, even though it was just a taste of the world and just the start of what seems to be a much larger story. And it tells the part of Jason's story that is almost a prologue to the rest of it, the end of his human life and the moment of his change into a vampire.
Jason Cain is a somewhat broken man. Raised by an extremely successful surgeon father in Chicago to be his protege, he flees to Miami with nothing but the clothes on his back and a small pack, taking rides with other travelers and making his way south. He's hoping to leave his old, fractured self behind and embrace the future, a new future of only his making. He has some very real ghosts to shed -- his father and the extreme pressure to succeed he embodies as well as his vapid, gold digging girlfriend. But Jason cannot flee from all of those ghosts. There are some that stay with him. A dark alley. And the even that happened there that shattered his hopes and confidence and the plans he had for his life. Going to Miami means embracing new experiences, something that leads him directly to the door of Vampire Xavier, and his lair.
I enjoyed the story, but really the most that can be said is that while it was a titillating read overall, it mostly made me curious about the next story to come and where the story is headed. As I said earlier, this is somewhat of a prologue to what I assume will be the main story, the setup that leads to his new life, and I'm mostly interested in what is to come. Will his goodness and desire to help people really transfer with him into his new life? And what impact or influence will Xander have in that new life?
So, by all means, I recommend this story. But, if you're not a fan of waiting for the next installment and only getting a small bit of the story, I'd recommend you wait for Miami Moon #2.(less)