**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this story, and I really liked the author's writing style. It's somewhat... poetical? Not sure if that's the right word, b**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this story, and I really liked the author's writing style. It's somewhat... poetical? Not sure if that's the right word, but that's the best way I can describe it. :)
It's a good start to what will be a longer story, but I do wish the author had slowed the pace down a little bit, and taken the time to flesh it out some more. There's also some very fast insta-love going on, which I'm normally not a big fan of. Although, that tends to go hand-in-hand with shifter stories, so not really a big deal for me in this case. And some of the dialogue towards the end was a bit too sappy/sweet for my tastes, but again, not so bad that it ruined my enjoyment.
However, I did have some serious issues with a couple of things: the moving in together and the sex scene. Unless I missed something, these two characters have only known each other for a few days? And yet Trent invites Bennett (who is essentially a stranger - these two know practically nothing about each other) to move in with him? That's... not very bright. But to do something like that when you have small children in the home? Wow... that's just 10 kinds of stupid, irresponsible, and downright scary. Same thing with the sex scene. It's pretty safe to assume that shifters can't catch or transmit STDs, but at this point in the story, Trent does NOT know that Bennett is a shifter, and yet he doesn't even blink at having unprotected sex with him? Ack! WTF?!
I really wish the author had handled those two aspects of the story differently, because it makes it really hard to like characters who make such horribly bad/dangerous decisions like that... :(
But despite that, there was more to this story that I DID love, so those two issues didn't completely ruin it for me. And I was getting really anxious towards the end, wondering how the hell all of this was going to be wrapped up in just a few more pages. Then we get a scene where the shit is about to hit the fan, and suddenly... cut to black.
What?! Noooo! Holy mother of cliffhangers! No he did not! Well, yes, yes he did. LOL! :P So yeah, be warned. This is not a full/stand-alone story, and the cliffhanger is a real nail-biter.
So, overall... a pretty solid read, especially for a debut story! I'm really looking forward to reading the continuation. Hope it'll be out soon! :) ...more
**spoiler alert** EDIT: Rating revised to 3-stars, as I've had confirmation from the author that this is NOT a stand-alone. It's just the first part o**spoiler alert** EDIT: Rating revised to 3-stars, as I've had confirmation from the author that this is NOT a stand-alone. It's just the first part of a MUCH larger story! :)
This story just didn’t work for me, on many levels…
I couldn’t help feeling that the author wanted to write a contemporary/real-world “college boys in love” story rather than a paranormal, and tacked in a few, brief paranormal scenes just to satisfy the prompt request. And the story really suffered because of it. Everything to do with the paranormal aspect of this story felt like a lazy afterthought, with a lot of things that didn’t make sense, or were left unexplained. For example, I’m still not even sure what Barbie actually is. Is he supposed to be some kind of fire genie? Why is he so abnormally clueless about anything to do with homosexuality? He’s been alive, and observing the human race, for thousands of years, so that makes absolutely no sense at all… Why has he been reborn as a (mostly) human? Who are these people he works for? And why does he work as an assassin for them?
Which brings me to one of my biggest gripes with this story, which is… no one ever finds out what he is. In fact, no one even suspects that he’s not human (or more than just human). Not Steven, not Crissy, no one… WTF?! With a story like this, one of the best parts is the “big reveal”, and the anticipation leading up to it. That wonderful moment when the “secret” the MC is hiding is finally exposed (usually accidentally, which is the best kind!) and you hold your breath with a mixture of fear/excitement, wondering how the love interest is going to react. Well, yeah… that doesn’t happen here. Steven never accidentally catches Barbie shedding his clothes, turning into “whatever he is”, and zipping away through the sky. Barbie never loses control over his powers while he’s drunk, in Steven’s presence. Then I thought for sure it was going to happen during the suicide bomber scene… that Steven would maybe turn on the news and see Barbie caught on film at the scene. But nope. Didn’t happen.
Honestly, the anticipation and waiting for the “big reveal” is pretty much the only thing that carried me through to the end of this story. But as the page numbers kept climbing and the end of the story drew closer and closer, I kept thinking “how the hell is all of this going to be resolved/revealed/explained/etc.” in such a short time? Then I realized it wasn’t, and yup, a few pages later… THE END.
My other primary gripe with this was the characters, and the relationship (or rather, lack thereof) between Barbie and Steven. I really wasn’t feeling any chemistry between these two, and their lack of interaction for a good chunk of the story just made that even worse. There seemed to be more Crissy/Barbie and Crissy/Steven interaction than there was Barbie/Steven. I really felt like the author had more love for the character of Crissy than he/she did for the two MCs. Don’t get me wrong… strong supporting characters are a very, very good thing. But they shouldn’t outshine the MC love interests.
Much more time needed to be devoted to Barbie and Steven, IMO. And precious word count was wasted on excessively long (and boring) descriptions of things like cooking and house painting. There were also other random, pointless scenes that should have been cut or done differently so that they furthered the plot and/or the character relationship. Like the attack on Crissy. What was that all about? I thought for sure it had something to do with Barbie (enemies that had found him and were targeting the people close to him, for example). But no. I guess it was just a contrived way to add another “paranormal” scene to the story, and have Barbie get hurt so that his real gender could be exposed to Steven.
That’s another thing I had issues with… the way the gender confusion was handled. I’ve seen a very small handful of men in drag (with the whole shebang: clothes, makeup, fake boobs, etc., etc.) who could totally pass for women and fool even the most observant person. But usually there are at least some telltale signs that the brain picks up on, even for the “prettiest” of men. If Barbie had been in full drag (or using magic to make himself look like a woman) I could have bought the fact that Steven never once, even for the slightest moment, suspected that he might not be a woman. But as it was, nope. I just couldn’t swallow that. And then it’s just explained away with Steven being told Barbie’s a man, and then, yep… suddenly he realizes his friend is actually a man, and how could he have ever thought otherwise? Ummm, really? *raises an eyebrow*
And then there’s Steven’s PTSD. That was barely explored, which was a crying shame, because there was so much potential there for some good hurt/comfort scenes and character conflict (considering Barbie’s fire powers). But again, nope. In fact, Barbie never even finds out about what happened to Steven, not really… except for that brief scene where he wakes up from a nightmare in Barbie’s arms. Same thing with the scars. Barbie briefly touches them during their first sexual encounter (with them both in a drunken stupor) and then they’re never mentioned again.
The brief scene with Barbie’s foster parents was also completely random and unnecessary. It felt like the author just threw that in there because he/she felt like there needed to be a “coming-out-to-the-parents feel-good-acceptance” scene. Same with the scarred character that’s paired up with Steven (who just happens to have been through something similar) for the writing assignment. Again, I thought it must have something to do with Barbie (an enemy trying to get close to his friends), but nope. Just a random character (who’s never seen again) so we could get a brief scene with Steven openly declaring that he has no problem with someone who’s gay.
And finally, towards the end, Steven’s self-acceptance (and speech to Barbie) that he was (might be?) gay and wanted to explore things further just felt very… off, and unnatural/unrealistic.
I really hate giving a 1-star rating to any story, especially a free one. I know some people bump their rating up to “show appreciation” for a free read, but I just can’t agree with that. Essentially, it’s a lie, and you’re doing a disservice not only to other (potential) readers, but most importantly, to the author. If they don’t know what’s wrong (or that something IS wrong), or what readers have issues with, how will they ever improve? And I do believe that this author has the potential to put out a very good story. The actual writing was good/solid, IMO. Just, a lot more work/thought needs to be put towards plot, worldbuilding (for the paranormal aspects), and character/relationship development. All things that can be achieved with the help of a few good beta readers and/or a writing group.
If the author is reading this, please don’t be discouraged! I know it may seem a bit… blunt/harsh, but the only reason I took the time to try and explain my issues in-depth and honestly is because I hope they might actually be helpful. If I thought it was a load of rubbish, with no potential at all, I’d just rate, tag, and move on. ;)
Note: If there’s ever a direct sequel/continuation of this story, I’ll revise my rating, since a lot of the issues I had with this could be addressed in a follow-up story (essentially, this being the first part of a larger story with a cliffhanger ending). But if this is meant to be a stand-alone, then my 1-star rating stands....more
This is definitely my favourite Brad Vance story so far! Hot-hot-hot! :)
Did you watch the Vikings (2013) TV Series and imagine the storyline followingThis is definitely my favourite Brad Vance story so far! Hot-hot-hot! :)
Did you watch the Vikings (2013) TV Series and imagine the storyline following a...slightly different script, from the point where Ragnar attacks the monastery and takes Athelstan as his slave? If so, you're going to love this! :P
For me, the emotional aspect of this story made the sex so much hotter than if it had been just plain erotica. Colum may be Viggo's slave, but there's a measure of kindness and caring there, and some very sexy possessiveness, that takes the sting out of Viggo's sometimes rough and callous treatment of Colum. There's also a mutual respect between the two of them, stemming from the surprising revelation that there's more to each of them than what the other expected.
I did feel a bit sorry for poor Niall (Colum's friend, who is also taken prisoner), although...I guess it wasn't too bad since he did seem to enjoy being used and abused. But I do hope Book 2 will find him with someone a bit kinder and more...appreciative of what he has to offer. Heh. :P...more
The art style of this graphic novel was very different from what I'm used to (I mainly read Japanese manga), but I thought it was quite unique, and liThe art style of this graphic novel was very different from what I'm used to (I mainly read Japanese manga), but I thought it was quite unique, and liked it very much. And at many points during the story I found myself stopping at certain scenes/panels for a while, just to take in all the wonderful details.
The story also sucked me in right from the start. I can't resist a good interspecies romance (especially one with werewolves), and the cliffhanger ending made me want to jump right into the next volume. I can't wait to see what happens next with Oisin and Byron! :)
Unfortunately, it looks like the print version is no longer available, but you can get this in digital format. And it's free! I don't know if that's permanent or just temporary, so if you're interested in giving this one a try, hurry up and go snag your free copy now! :)
For anyone interested in this for the tentacle-smex, it does have some, although the scene is quite brief. But I've been told all subsequent volumes in the series also contain tentacle scenes, so I'm looking forward to that as well! (Yes, it's one of my favourite kinks. :P). Volume #2 in particular, with its synopsis and cover (of the print version), seems to promise much more tentacle goodness than what's found in this volume. Here's hoping! *crosses fingers*
**spoiler alert** I really enjoyed this one. For as short as it is, there's actually the beginnings of a plot there, which will hopefully be continued**spoiler alert** I really enjoyed this one. For as short as it is, there's actually the beginnings of a plot there, which will hopefully be continued with a sequel.
The sex was also really hot, which surprised me. Normally I wouldn't find a giant, monstrous spider/squid-like creature to be erotic. But it was! I actually liked the alien quite a lot...he was sentient and intriguing, and even though the sex was forced, he was gentle (as much as it could be with a small, virgin human) and compassionate. And Harrison's mixed feelings about all of it felt real and believable.
I did feel sorry for poor Harrison at the very end, being abducted like that (when he had family he didn't want to be separated from), but I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next!
If you like tentacle monster erotica, I'd definitely recommend this one. :)...more
LOVED this! I couldn't put it down...devoured the whole thing in one sitting. Wonderful characters, plot and world building. And not a single dull momLOVED this! I couldn't put it down...devoured the whole thing in one sitting. Wonderful characters, plot and world building. And not a single dull moment. It also has one of the most interesting and unusual menage relationships I've read.
This is probably one of the most interesting, unique and imaginative stories I've read in a long time.
So, why the low rating?
As a short story, it compThis is probably one of the most interesting, unique and imaginative stories I've read in a long time.
So, why the low rating?
As a short story, it completely failed, IMO. We get a brief glimpse of a truly fascinating world, with very interesting characters, but it was way too short, with too many questions left unanswered, and things left unexplained. And then it just...stops. It wasn't a self-contained short story at all...more like the first chapter of a larger story, with a weak, rushed "ending" tacked on.
Such a shame, because there was SO MUCH potential here. I hope one day the author will consider expanding this into a proper novella or novel. I would definitely PAY for that. :)...more
Like the first book, this one was packed with lots of kinky, sadistic content. But unfortunately, the hotness factor (of the previous book) was sadlyLike the first book, this one was packed with lots of kinky, sadistic content. But unfortunately, the hotness factor (of the previous book) was sadly lacking in this one. And the cliffhanger ending was extremely frustrating.
I'll probably buy the next one when it's published, but if it doesn't recapture the hot/erotic feel that the first book evoked, then I think I'm gonna call it quits with this series....more
This review is for the first two installments: Capture and Auction.
I’m still a bit undecided as to how I feel about this “book” so far. On the one hanThis review is for the first two installments: Capture and Auction.
I’m still a bit undecided as to how I feel about this “book” so far. On the one hand, it was a definite page-turner. It instantly grabbed my attention, had me riveted until the end (of the 2nd part), and left me eager to find out what happens next (even though I‘m pretty sure I‘m not going to like it). However, the reason it kept me so riveted is also the reason why I feel very “iffy” about it. It’s kind of like a train-wreck, where something is just so awful that you can’t seem to tear your eyes away. And I don’t mean the technical aspects of the writing (which is very well done), but rather, the content and emotions it provokes.
For me, these types of stories fall into two categories. There’s the brutal, sadistic, non-con type that is highly erotic, darkly thrilling, and makes you feel just a little bit twisted and perverted for liking it and/or finding it arousing. And then there’s the brutal, sadistic, non-con type that is just really horrifying and sad, has your stomach all tied up in knots, and makes you dread what terrible things will happen next. For me, these first two installments fell into the latter category. Not that that’s a bad thing, or something that makes it wrong/flawed (the story is what the authors‘ intend it to be)…just that it’s not the type I personally prefer and really enjoy.
But personal preferences aside, I did have one major issue with it, which knocked it down from a 4-star rating to a 3. I can definitely see the “capture team” (can‘t remember the exact term that was used…) being kind of rogue and uncontrolled, so the brutality in the beginning was quite believable. However, once the brothers were delivered to the processing facility, it was like a free-for-all rape-fest that just didn’t make any sense at all. This woman’s operation and “merchandise” is supposed to be top-notch, yet the people under her employ (the guards and such) are free to rape, beat, torture, and mentally terrorize slaves that are potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each? Not believable at all, and I just couldn’t swallow that. It felt like a very contrived way to jam in as much shocking content as possible. Again, not necessarily a bad thing (the actual content), but it cheapened the story quite a bit (in my opinion) with the way it was done.
But despite my gripes with it, I will be buying part 3 when it’s available. I think one more installment will give me a better idea of if I want to continue with it or not. And I do think it’s worth checking out, if you enjoy this type of story. Just be sure to heed the warnings (and read the excerpt) before you purchase. It’s not the most brutal, taboo story I’ve read, but it’s definitely up there....more
Essentially, this was a pretty decent story that I normally would have given a 3 star rating to...if it hadn't been such a train wreck of errors. ForEssentially, this was a pretty decent story that I normally would have given a 3 star rating to...if it hadn't been such a train wreck of errors. For such a short word count, there was an absolutely ridiculous amount of them, at least 2 or 3 (sometimes more towards the latter half of the story) on every page. Wrong words, wrong tenses, missing words, and jumbled sentences. I was yanked out of the story more times than I can count because of this, and by the time I was finished, I was extremely pissed that I had shelled out $2.99 for what has to be an unedited first draft.
This book obviously did not have an editor, or even a beta tester. Hell, the errors were so glaring and so prolific that the author alone should have caught most of them by doing a quick re-read himself/herself.
This was my first book by this author and will most likely be my last. I definitely won't buy any others immediately after publication, but instead, wait a while and carefully check reviews to make sure this kind of sloppy work isn't a common occurrence.
EDIT: I've been thinking about this some more and I'm wondering if some kind of mistake was made, where a draft copy was sent by accident instead of the finished manuscript, and no one caught it before it was published? (Note: I purchased my copy through allromancebooks.com)...more
Great world-building so far (hope we get to learn more about it in the rest of the series), great plot, wonderfLoved this one! I couldn't put it down!
Great world-building so far (hope we get to learn more about it in the rest of the series), great plot, wonderful characters (I really loved Gaige and Keiran!), and not a single dull moment. It was a real page-turner.
There seem to be an awful lot of horridly written books in the M/M Romantica genre, and when I hit an unlucky streak of them, I tend to get very discouraged. Not to mention pretty damn grumpy about the wasted money. But it's books like this that renew my faith in the genre (and the authors) and keep me going.
I highly recommend this one, and I can't wait to read the next in the series!...more
It's really rare for me to give a full 5 stars to short stories/novelettes, because no matter how good they might be, thI enjoyed this story so much!
It's really rare for me to give a full 5 stars to short stories/novelettes, because no matter how good they might be, they usually tend to feel somewhat lacking due to the length. But, although this one did leave me desperately wanting more, overall it still felt very complete and satisfying.
Very well written, great plot and great characters! A definite page-turner, and highly recommended!
A note to the authors: Can we get a sequel? Pretty please! :D...more
Not a whole lot to say about this one, unfortunately.
It had a lot of potential and I quite liked the two main characters, but it seemed very rushed inNot a whole lot to say about this one, unfortunately.
It had a lot of potential and I quite liked the two main characters, but it seemed very rushed in parts and then all of a sudden it just sort of ended abruptly. To me, it felt like this was just the first part of a much larger story that was never finished/written.
It does say "Pack Valley #1", so if there's going to be a second book in the series, and it continues on where this one left off, I would probably revise my rating to 3 stars instead of just 2....more
**spoiler alert** There were a few things that really irked me about this story, the worst being the sharing and het sex. And I really did not like Ch**spoiler alert** There were a few things that really irked me about this story, the worst being the sharing and het sex. And I really did not like Charlotte. She irritated the hell out of me. I kept wanting to grab her, yank her away from Lythas and Coren, and tell her, "Stop trying to insinuate yourself into their relationship. Leave them alone!" She was like the fantasy version of a 'fag hag'. And then, when she latched herself onto Tsabrak, I was literally grinding my teeth. I think I would have enjoyed this story a hell of a lot more if she hadn't been in it, and I really hope she's not in any of the other stories in the series.
Also, my enjoyment of Lythas and Coren's relationship diminished quite a bit after the scene in which Coren goes completely off his rocker and acts like a horrible prick. I was really shocked by his reaction. It also seemed a bit uncharacteristic for him, and quite excessive. I wish the author had worked that a bit differently, and done something else to instigate the separation, because I just could not like Coren very much after that. And I found myself hoping that Lythas would stay with Tsabrak instead of taking Coren back.
There were also a couple of things that seemed a bit random because they were never explored or mentioned again. Like, the reaction Lythas had to Coren's punishment was fascinating and really hot, yet it was never mentioned again. And the whole deal with how Lythas felt about his slave collar (he even kept the pieces after it was taken off) but again, nothing about that was ever mentioned again.
I also wish there had been a better explanation about the whole m-preg thing. For instance, conception and delivery both occur via the rectum, so, ummm...how exactly does that work? What about gestation? Where/how does that happen? What about going to the bathroom? I really think we needed more information to make it all seem more real and believable. I haven't read very many m-preg stories, but the best one I've come across so far was "Balancing Karma" by I.D. Locke. The m-preg was so well done in that one, so well-thought out and totally believable, whereas this one seemed quite lacking and confusing in comparison. Although, maybe there will be more details about it in the other stories?
And then there was the sad ending. Oh boy, do I hate sad endings! But thankfully, I didn't bawl my eyes out (like I normally would with that type of ending) because of how my feelings had changed about Coren. I feel a bit awful saying this, but I actually felt...not much at all with his passing, and very excited at the idea of Tsabrak coming back for Lythas now that Coren is out of the picture. Terrible, I know, but... *shrug*
I had a tough time deciding between 2 and 3 stars for the rating, but finally decided to go with 3 since I really loved Lythas, and the prospect of a Lythas/Tsabrak relationship really makes me want to continue with the series. I also thought the Lashrans were a fascinating species and I'm looking forward to learning more about them and their culture. The world building was also quite good, and I have a real soft spot for pirates and the whole 'sailing the high seas' theme. :P
Overall, a fairly decent read (despite my gripes) that has the potential to improve quite a bit (I'm hoping!) as the series continues. This is a free read, so if you like fantasy and m-preg, you should definitely give it a try. :) ...more