This gets off to a good start but neither the mystery nor the romance ever reach their full potential.
The story is divided into two parts and begins with Jason Wood traveling to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he gets in a car accident. His rescuer turns out to be a childhood friend, Henry McCavanaugh. They rekindle their friendship and there’s sparks leading to the start of something more between the two. In the meantime, there’s a mystery involving Jason’s inheritance, a family farm that is burned to the ground with a dead body inside of it.
Against a moody, dark, frozen, wintery backdrop everything is set up for a great mystery romance. But the focus turns away from the mystery and mainly to what’s happening between Jason and Henry. As their re kindled friendship becomes something more, Jason is thrilled as well as nervous, as his fears of getting too close to anyone resurfaces. In the back of his mind he’s also aware he has to eventually return to his real life as a baker in another town.
It’s not surprising then when it all culminates with Jason abruptly running away from Henry without a word after a night of intimacy. But that this pattern of avoidance and miscommunication continues throughout the entire story was certainly disappointing.
Part one, and the best part of this book ends with Jason getting the big reveal about the fire at the family farm and with a big misunderstanding involving Jason, his ex and Henry.
Part two then begins and it soon becomes clear that there will be no quick resolution as Jason finds every excuse he can think of to actually never communicate with Henry ever again. Instead the book first focuses on Jason dealing with the information he’s learned about the farmhouse fire and the identity of the body. This leads him to travel revisiting childhood memories and to additional travels to try to clear his head.
This also involves Jason becoming superficially and sexually involved with a couple of other men. Since these relationships were basically meaningless it felt like it was a waste of space. Space perhaps that could have been taken up actually building up the other main character Henry. The only thing we truly learn about Henry is his feelings for Jason. Other than that, he doesn’t have any real identity in this book.
When Jason finally stops traveling and tries to settle down, he again finds multiple ways and reasons not to talk to Henry. Instead the misunderstandings between the two of them just start to pile up and to get really irritating. There’s got to be better ways to create tension in a story. Because there’s no contact between the two main characters there’s also no real romance as well. That’s certainly a big flaw if you’re trying to sell this as a romance novel.
We get a lot with Jason and his growth but truly I didn’t feel like this was about two adult men trying to have a relationship but about people doing their best to avoid one. The happy ending that occurs after months and months of not speaking just felt like a cheat. There’s definite potential with the writing here but there was too many deficiencies in the romantic storyline department.(less)
Funny, exhilarating, crazy and sometimes violent read about a mechanical alien armor system who attaches to a human after a...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
Funny, exhilarating, crazy and sometimes violent read about a mechanical alien armor system who attaches to a human after accidentally (on purpose) crash landing on earth.
This was certainly something unexpected in the m/m genre. The blurb explains it that McClane is an armor system that has to attach to a host to survive. The problem he finds is that he’s not compatible with the host chosen for him. In fact, he feels nothing but contempt for him. A surprise to him as he wasn’t sure he was supposed to have feelings at all. His efforts to detach from his chosen host and also to survive leads to a crash landing on earth right near a military base.
The US military upon discovering these aliens react in a predictable manner accidentally annihilating all but one of their alien guests. This alien system manages to escape with the military in hot pursuit and decides to attach himself to the first suitable human he sees which so happens to be Riley Cooper.
Riley Cooper is a cowboy bartender on the run from his Russian mob boyfriend. But Misha Tokarev is a man in love (obsessed) with Riley and he’s not about to just let him leave. What ensues is a kind of a love triangle, although not technically a m/m/m story, between Riley, Misha and McClane all against a backdrop of being pursued by the military & Misha’s mob family who aren’t too keen on Misha’s male choice for a partner.
Add to that Misha’s strained relationship with his family which includes a mob boss dad, an ambitious sister who wants to take his place in the hierarchy and a mom who insists on planning his engagement to a woman even though he’s made it clear to his family he’s gay. It’s a perfect storm of aliens, alien hunters, mobsters and current, former and future lovers.
Despite the pile up of bodies and the questionable ethics involved, this turned out to be funny and entertaining and even quite a nice little love story, though it takes a back seat at times to most of the action. There’s lots of good side characters like some of Misha’s associates and some of the military personnel that add good color to the story. Despite or because of its eccentricities I ended up really loving this one.
I really enjoyed reading about all the characters. There were multiple points of views presented which surprisingly enhanced rather than detracted from the storyline. All the characters are flawed but really committed to what they’re doing so you end up almost admiring them even when they display questionable morality. You certainly can’t take it all too seriously. I mean your main romantic hero is a contract killer here. But this was just a whole lot of fun to read and it was great to watch Riley, McClane and Misha bond. There was a lot of good humor and it was even touching at times. This is recommended for those looking for an entertaining read and those who love a quirky story with some military, cowboy, Russian mob & sci fi action.(less)
I've been watching "Orange is the New Black" lately and their view of a minimum security women's prison and kept being amazed at the amount of freedom...moreI've been watching "Orange is the New Black" lately and their view of a minimum security women's prison and kept being amazed at the amount of freedom these ladies seemed to have. In contrast, this book is set mainly in a maximum security male prison where Kash works as a correction officer and the setting feels totally different in that the men are not free to move around alone.
Besides dealing with sometimes violent prisoners, part of Kash's job involves passing meals through the window slot in the prisoner's cell and accompanying them when they need to take showers. Kash likes the pay but is slightly burned out and bored on the job. That is he was until he gets a new very attractive work partner named Zane. When it turns out that Zane is actually bisexual and attracted to him, Kash who's gay, feels like he's hit the jackpot. Later, he finds out things are less shiny than they first appear. In the meantime, Kash also finds himself wanting to help out a new young prisoner, Cody, who's in prison for a murder he said he didn't commit.
After a slow start this story held my interest. I liked the little bits we get about the prison life (the author says he worked in a prison at one time). If you enjoy hot sex scenes then you get some between Kash and Zane. We also slowly see the volatility of their relationship and Kash's deepening friendship with Cody as he starts to investigate his case. I had an idea where it was all going but was happy to be proven right. I'd love to have seen more character development especially with Cody, but I expect we'll see more of that for all the characters in the next book. This had a nice mix of action and romance. I'm definitely looking forward to the other stories in this series.(less)
It’s been quite a few years since I’ve last visited a Renaissance Faire so I was curious about this title. Most of the eve...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
It’s been quite a few years since I’ve last visited a Renaissance Faire so I was curious about this title. Most of the events in this story do take place at the faire but the emphasis is more on the paranormal aspects of the story so the setting feels incidental. It’s mainly used as a place where magical creatures can gather annually to interact with humans. I didn’t get exactly why they needed to do this but it does allow for the two lead characters to meet.
Devin is a young man who grew up in a foster home with his foster brother Max. Max used to be Devin’s protector but circumstances have changed and now Max wants Devin dead. Because of this Devin has not been able to settle anywhere and is constantly on the run. When he fears that Max is catching up with him again, he knows he has to leave town quickly but he first needs to finance his escape. Devin’s one useful skill he has is that of a pickpocket and the faire with it’s often costumed guests presents the perfect opportunity for Devin to use those skills. But the faire and its magical cast members seems to have other plans for Devin.
The first part of the story seemed to lack some focus. There are odd conflicts like Devin playing mediator between a chainmail wearing faire goer and a girl wearing a foxhead furry costume. Then we have Devin getting lost in a mysterious part of the faire and on the way out finding and grabbing an amulet. We do get back to Max coming after Devin again which eventually leads to Devin meeting up with Ezra, the maker of the amulet.
Ezra becomes Devin’s rescuer and healer and eventually they become lovers as well. I think if you like hurt/comfort storylines you’ll enjoy their romance. The story switches from being about a chase to an almost fairytale style love story. Fate and the amulet have apparently bought Ezra and Devin together. The conflicts in the story begins to feel smaller. Ezra and his cohorts at the faire have magical abilities that will help solve the Max problem. After that the biggest thing for Devin to overcome is his skepticism about magic. Everything seems to work out a little too smoothly by the end.
It’s all very nice and pleasant even if it doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat. I liked it well enough to even consider reading a sequel if it comes out. But this is more for when you’re in the mood to just enjoy a book that’s not going to tax your brain too much
*** A LHNB Story*** 4.5 Stars This one had good pacing and a very interesting kind of badass character in Justin. I think this one taps into all tha...more*** A LHNB Story*** 4.5 Stars This one had good pacing and a very interesting kind of badass character in Justin. I think this one taps into all that bad boy fantasy who's soft for just that one special guy Shawn and it also has an appealing hurt/comfort side to it as well. It's a good one if you like assassin storylines. Very enjoyble. Now I just have to remember to check out her other books. (less)
3.5 Stars I needed some time to reflect on this one as I had to adjust to the story arc changes that occur mid story.
Right off the bat I’m hit with the kind of writing style that I sometimes find jarring; the alternating point of view between the two main characters. There’s a definite advantage to getting both sides of the story so to speak, but I prefer longer transitions between each voice. But once I adjusted to the rhythm of the story it became less bothersome.
The story does grab you. Jason Holt is tired of hiding from someone who has a personal vendetta against him and decides to take charge of his life again by hiring a private investigator named Quinn Reynolds.
What becomes immediately clear is that Quinn, while agreeing to help Jason, has his own agenda. He’s startled by Jason’s resemblance to a former lover and has some other secrets that he’s keeping that makes him particularly interested in Jason’s dilemma. But he’s also unsettled by his growing attraction to him. Both Jason & Quinn wrestle with this idea throughout the book on whether this reflects real feelings or just a desire for love.
I liked this part of the story especially as we learn more about Jason’s background. The tension is ratcheted up when one of the bad guy’s henchmen comes after Jason. He’s that perfect type of villain both colorful and sadistic enough to keep the suspense going.
Then the story takes a left turn around the halfway point. This is a possible spoiler, although I think it’s probably something the reader would like to know before getting this book.
This book turns from a tense suspense thriller to a paranormal book complete with monsters and demons and special powers..
I admit I was disappointed in this even though I like many paranormal novels. But I was attached to the original storyline involving friends turning to enemies, revenge ,retribution and second chances at love. It seemed perfectly set up for a meaningful confrontation.
But by the end it fizzled down to something more impersonal like fighting the evil monster because they’re evil and while OK, that’s a whole lot less interesting, at least to me.
But then the author throws in something like giving Jason some cool abilities and I’m back on board again.
Jason & Quinn are good together with an obvious physical attraction but I felt I missed the part where they fell in love. I think the author didn’t really show that enough. I liked the original mystery but didn’t care for the final climactic denouement. It’s a mixed bag for me with enough positives in it that I do see the potential for this to be a good paranormal series. (less)
I'm not sure what a round robin story means or if more than one person was responsible for this, but this did not work. Too many cooks (authors) spoil...moreI'm not sure what a round robin story means or if more than one person was responsible for this, but this did not work. Too many cooks (authors) spoils a story potential although I did smile at John's wistful momentary fantasy of having both brothers (twins). At least it was free. Webb's novel Second Chances on the other hand is very good so read that instead. (less)
3.5 Stars I’m not a huge fan but I’ve seen a few James Bond movies. They all have a certain look to them and are all about...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
3.5 Stars I’m not a huge fan but I’ve seen a few James Bond movies. They all have a certain look to them and are all about the special effects, the gadgets & the stunts and there’s always a bad guy, usually some kind of foreigner, and reliably we know James Bond will vanquish him in the end. It’s an exhilarating ride while it’s happening but if you quiz me a few days later I probably couldn’t recite any of the plot. That’s generally how I feel about a story like this one.
There’s an actual storyline about Russian bad guys out to kill our heroes. There’s an MI6 boss just as cranky and unlikable as you’d expect. The plot has action and humor and there’s even some hiding out in isolated Scotland, just like in that movie Skyfall. And instead of skiing on the table stunts, one of our guys actually does parkour. But ultimately it’s all a lot of gloss, a little forgettable and just window dressing for the main attraction, which is our couple Zak & Logan who at least have enough chemistry to make it interesting.
Zak is a bit of a pill at the start with his out of of control binge drinking & drug using topped off by his general smartass aggravating attitude. But for a change there’s actual growth with a character to the point where by the end, Zak is the more likable of the two men. Zak is a former Russian musician & star who through a series of unlikely coincidences have bought himself to the attention of some serious bad guys. In the meantime, MI6 is interested in getting his father to their side and arrange it so that both of them think Zak needs a bodyguard. Enter our second hero, Logan, MI6 secret agent
Stuff happens after the two meet. Our big & buff bodyguard Logan has lots of secrets. I did like some of Logan’s back story and for a change for me, actually wished to get to know more about the side characters like his twin autistic brother who seemed particularly intriguing. Other interesting characters include Logan’s other brother & his friend Hamish.
Everything was clicking in this story & I zoomed through the first half of it. But the romance started hitting snags for me when Logan started acting a little too passive aggressive about Zak, with his come here/ stay away and this was a mistake attitude. I’m not sure if this is some hold over from writing M/F romances, but the no, no, yes, yes device doesn’t translate well for two men. But when Logan realizes he’ll do anything to save and have his guy he does turn things around.
I was left with a kind of heavy feeling at the end of this, as if wow, that’s a lot of effort just to get to this point. I also thought some of the violence/deaths were a little sketchy as it crossed the line from self defense to just killing someone. That kind of ambiguity can work in a crime novel but I’m uncomfortable with it for a hero in a romance novel. Overall though, this is a solid novel and one to try if you’re looking for a spy action romance.(less)
There’s something about reading a series that’s like greeting old friends again & seeing what they’ve been up to while we’ve been out of contact....moreThere’s something about reading a series that’s like greeting old friends again & seeing what they’ve been up to while we’ve been out of contact. In Cole’s case we see that he hasn’t given up his penchant for falling for a hard luck story which inevitably leads to chaos. But first the book opens with one of those wild & crazy chases that’s becoming a trademark for the series. This one involves Cole, his trusty sidekick Bobby, wild animals, the police & a disapproving Jae. It’s enough to have you say welcome back friends, we’ve missed you.
For those new to the series, Cole is a former detective turned private eye who is a half Japanese out Gay man, while Kim Jae-Min is a closeted Korean man. They met when Cole was investigating the suicide death of the son of a Korean businessman. In the current story we find Cole & Jae still together but living separately and making some progress in their relationship. .But it’s still a little tentative between them as while Jae will say saranghae( I love you in Korean) to Cole he’s holding back a little as he doesn’t say it in English. Cole is so attached, hopeful & trusting but on the edge waiting for it all to fall apart and not all that surprised when it does. As Cole begins to let go in order to get what he wants, he distracts himself by taking on a case involving fortune tellers in Koreatown in L.A.
Of course that means there’s again lots of characters with sometimes difficult to remember Asian names, but somehow this turns out to be less confusing than the second book in the series. Maybe I got used to it. There’s also a little glossary in the front of the book with Korean & Japanese terms & names. The mystery portion in the series tends to be over the top and this one is no different. There’s lots of injuries, hospital stays & dead bodies & of course the police begins to be suspicious of Cole. While the body count would be a good weekend in Chicago, it’s a little much around one lone P.I. The book did do a good job of keeping me guessing about the culprit.
This is a good addition to the series. Not only do we get to see Bobby, Mike & a little cameo by Cole’s injured assistant Claudia, but we’re also introduced to a couple of interesting new characters as both Jae & Cole’s siblings make an appearance. Ichiro, who’s Cole’s half brother from Japan, is one that I hope we’ll see again if there’s another book.
This is not as funny as the first one, probably because Scarlet is missing from the action & we had very minimal Claudia, but it’s an improvement over the second book. I think there was admirable restraint with the craziness until the ending couple of chapters where we had not just one dramatic incident but two. Although I’m guessing this has something to do with a possible sequel, I found it a little too much. But I’m hoping that if certain events keep getting bought up, like the shooting death of Gole’s former lover Rick , that it means that we’re finally going to get a resolution of that particular mystery.
If you like the first couple of books then you’re sure to love this one. Cole & Jae have such a deep emotional connection that you always root for them & we get an exploration of Asian culture & attitudes that’s not that common in other M/M books. But while I know that Asian Americans & especially Koreans have more of an issue with homosexuality than other groups, I also know that not all of them do. I think the author may be painting them all with too broad a brush as Jae gets beaten up, figuratively, a little too much in this series. I would like to see some of that tempered by showing that Koreans with more moderate attitudes do exist. Toning things down in general would take this from a good series to a great one. As it is, I still ended up loving most of it and I’m looking forward to the next one as there seems to be more that could be explored. I’d recommend this for those looking for M/M mystery books that has action, humor & romance but this is one series where’s it’s best read in order from the beginning.
4.5 StarsI 've read one of this author's books before and didn't really care for it so I've pretty much ignored this title when it has come up on my...more 4.5 StarsI 've read one of this author's books before and didn't really care for it so I've pretty much ignored this title when it has come up on my feed. That cover is also not very appealing and what does Latakia even mean (It's a port city of Syria.) But I decided to give this one a shot since it was one of the Book of the month reading. I'm very glad I did and that I gave this author a second chance because this turned out to be quite a fun book to read.
Matthew is one of those guys who's a little bit too nice. He's obviously in a bad relationship but he's the only one who doesn't know it. But he's got a couple of good friends, Bret & Jim so it's not all bad. Matt has no time to deal with bad boyfriend Brian, because he's going to Latakia in Syria to help out Doctors without Borders. Somehow when he gets there he has an unfortunate encounter with terrorists and ends up getting saved by Navy SEALS. The story details what happens after that.
What the story lacks in plausibility it makes up for in high readability. The fish out of water story where the ordinary guy learns there's more to him than he originally thought has high appeal. I also enjoyed reading about the SEALS, their boisterous interactions and teamwork and camaraderie. It gave the story a nice rah rah go Navy quality to it. While it's probably true that an outsider would not be so easily accepted into that group of people it didn't really bother me--this is why it's called fiction. In the end there's also a love story going on here that's nicely done. But smut lovers may be disappointed as this is non explicit stuff. I should also warn there's a lot of non PC language in here.
This story does have some flaws but i found it quite engrossing. The saying don't judge a book by its cover was made for stories like this one. Go read it, it's got tension, overcoming fears, revenge against exes, Love & macho dudes with sappy hearts in it. (less)
I was initially intrigued by the cover and the romantic adventure the blurb offered. I ended up enjoying the love story although the adventure was not nearly as rollicking and suspenseful as I was expecting. The novel took too many pauses to admire the European scenery for that to happen. Both protagonists meet in Venice and we learn about the city’s history, foods and delicacies, drinks, views from the streets and gondolas etc. While I love to learn about other cultures, the touring sometimes brought a halt to the action. If you have characters running for their lives it’s very distracting to read about, for example, the history of a pretty church they see in passing. Most of the time though, the author did manage to pull back when the story began to veer too close to being a travelogue and the romance portion did fit nicely within the story’s framework.
The novel starts off with Jeff setting off for a European trip that he had originally planned with his ex. He’s depressed and insecure over the whole situation so when he catches the eye of a handsome man named Cleve who proposes to show Jeff around Venice, he goes along with it despite his misgivings. It helps that the mysterious stranger hits all of Jeff’s hot buttons. When Jeff finds himself falling for Cleve and learns the truth about him, his idyllic vacation takes a dark turn.
There’s a nice contrast between normal, geeky IT guy Jeff and the charming but shadowy Cleve. The opposites attract theme works and they play off each other well. I do like the fact that Jeff never comes across as a dupe. He knows he’s being played even if he’s not sure why, but he’s willing to put up with it to spend more time with Cleve. When things finally go sour he finds himself able to let go of his set itineraries and to even put himself in possible danger to save the man he loves. Jeff is the more fully realized character in this book. It would have been nice to see more of what was going on in Cleve’s head as well although I could see how that would take away some of the little surprises in the book.
While we sometimes got too much atmospheric details about the places they visited and the foods they ate, I did like this story. I was interested to find out what was really going on with Cleve and to watch the romance play out between he and Jeff. This is an enjoyable story that I’d recommend for those who like to read about romance and travel with an added touch of mystery.
I usually skim what’s in the blurb to avoid spoilers so I was a little surprised to find out this was a mystery with a paranormal element. I think it’...moreI usually skim what’s in the blurb to avoid spoilers so I was a little surprised to find out this was a mystery with a paranormal element. I think it’s difficult to do any kind of police procedural if you’re keeping it in today’s world and your main villain is a vampire with super abilities. I do believe this book struggled a little with that. Despite that, I found this to be a good murder mystery with some sexy romance that kept me engrossed from beginning to end.
Part of the fun was reading about Alexis & Allen who have great working chemistry and believably hot chemistry when they become lovers . Alexis Kane is a by the book profiler from Canada who comes to assist forensic specialist Dr. Allen Petrie in solving murders taking place in a Florida trailer park. He’s initially skeptical about Allen’s supernatural theories and thinks of him as an attractive flake. The heat starts to rise when Alexis finds himself not only starting to believe Allen’s theories but giving in to his attraction.
I think this story is well balanced between mystery and romance although I found the romantic potential stronger. I like that this was not a sparkly vampire story and we’re back to old style menacing one. The tension was nicely built up as the reason for the murders became clearer. I wasn’t sure if it all made sense though and I still had lots of questions at the end. I imagine in the next book we’ll get more of an explanation.
Which brings me to the fact that we do end on a cliffhanger of sorts. There’s actually no clear resolution to the mystery and the status of Alexis & Allen’s relationship I’d characterize as running scared. It’s not all that surprising as Alexis has some past events that he hasn’t dealt with and he’s gun shy about relationships. Allen also has his own insecurities & has to deal with the surprises that came out from the case. They both have big issues to work out.
It’s very common in mystery series for the protagonists to have evolving relationships. If you’ve ever read Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English mysteries you’ll understand what I mean. I do prefer a mystery to be wrapped up by the end, but given the circumstance, this worked for me & just made me eager to get to the next book in the series.
3.5 starsA psychic medium while under investigation by a detective, becomes involved in a murder mystery and romantically with the detective. This is...more 3.5 starsA psychic medium while under investigation by a detective, becomes involved in a murder mystery and romantically with the detective. This is a very similar plot to a story I just re read recently, Downtime. They even take place around the same time period --the 1880's to 1890's. Because of this I couldn't help comparing the two novels and this one suffers some in the comparison.
This is still an enjoyable book in many ways. There is a mystery to solve and the inspector and the psychic make an interesting pair. But the book very quickly veers into exploring the erotic relationship between the two with each very interested in role playing submissive, dominant and even a little puppy play.
Sometimes that feels like a writer trying to throw everything at you just for the sake of variety with the assumption (often false) that just because someone is interested in one sort of sex play they're interested in doing all. It was a little distracting (to getting to the heart of their relationship).
If you're interested in a historical with a little BDSM and a little mystery and you love reading stories about psychic mediums like I do, then give this one a try. If you're interested in a tighter story and less erotica, no BDSM but with similar psychic mystery themes then give Downtime a read. I'd highly recommend that one. (less)
I have mixed feelings about this story. The main character is Lucky and he just annoyed the heck out of me. This doesn't mean he's a cardboard charact...moreI have mixed feelings about this story. The main character is Lucky and he just annoyed the heck out of me. This doesn't mean he's a cardboard character at all. It's just that even with all the nuances added to his portrayal, I still had a hard time believing that Bo would not have been tempted to strangle him at many points throughout much less go and fall in love with him. Still their romance is the best part of the story.
There's a plot about pharmacies and drug smuggling that seems to be well researched. I just didn't find it particularly compelling. I just kept waiting for something to happen. In the beginning there was some action with Lucky but then it just seemed like scene after scene of waiting in cars, trucks, making out and singing songs.
It felt like the plot was designed so that there was enough time for Bo and Lucky to get together and get to know each other. This dragged out the main storyline to the point where i didn't particularly care what happened to the good or bad guys.
This is a case where the romance is interesting enough, even with a character I didn't particularly love but there was not enough action to grab onto. (less)
Believe all the hype. This book had me engrossed from start to finish. It probably helps that I'm quite partial to suspense romance novels with parano...moreBelieve all the hype. This book had me engrossed from start to finish. It probably helps that I'm quite partial to suspense romance novels with paranormal twists involving psychic mediums. It also helped that this book had a more professional feel (from writing to editing) than I get from a lot of m/m books. Carina Press are not as proliferate as some others but they seem to do quality work.
The romance does take more of a backseat to the mystery but what's there is quite nice. Kiernan is a particularly winning character and the way the romance progresses just has a very natural feel to it. I really liked this one and recommend especially for m/m mystery romance lovers.
(I have read the other book by this author, Grand Jeté. It's a nice enough story but not on this level. The author shows real growth since that one which is always nice to see.)(less)
3.5 starsI just got a little reminder that I hadn't rated this book as yet. There were parts I enjoyed like the exploration of the relationship betwe...more 3.5 starsI just got a little reminder that I hadn't rated this book as yet. There were parts I enjoyed like the exploration of the relationship between Jae and Cole. The two characters this time, are a l lot stronger than the storyline.
In comparison to Dirty Kiss, this one was not as tight nor as funny. The use of Korean names and different variations (using first or last or title for the same person) made it very hard to follow at times. There were lots of twists and turns but the shooting scenes got to be ridiculous and way OTT and the mystery didn't always hold my interest.
I didn't find this as good as the original but I'll be curious to see if the author can get back that magic from the first book so I'll be checking out the third book in the series when it comes out. Afterall, I still enjoy reading about Jae & Cole as a couple.
Good solid romance story between Detective Matthew Elliot and boxing coach Kira. The mystery was a little underdeveloped and stayed in the background...moreGood solid romance story between Detective Matthew Elliot and boxing coach Kira. The mystery was a little underdeveloped and stayed in the background until the end. I liked it but it didn't blow me away. (less)
Theo is a werewolf and Max sees dead people. They both know what it's like to be weird and different, but while Max has channeled that by becoming out...moreTheo is a werewolf and Max sees dead people. They both know what it's like to be weird and different, but while Max has channeled that by becoming outwardly cool and confident, Theo is shy, geeky and insecure. Nevertheless the two find that they share a passionate attraction towards one another.
In the meantime, there's a secondary story of menacing spirits involving members of Max & Theo's families and we get a mix of interesting characters involved.
I like the mix of the story and the romance although I had a difficult time warming up to Max. He seemed a bit too controlling in his efforts to makeover Theo which in real life would be a red flag. But in the fantasy of the book it all somehow works out and we're given some explanation behind Max's attitude and behavior. As usual it's not enough for me as sex often takes the place of conversations in these kinds of books.
I should add the sex is of the dominant submissive variety with a little puppy style play in one instance. It's not my favorite but it's done well enough. It's only a little uncomfortable because sometimes it seems Theo is into it but when it's over he becomes ambivalent making it seem Max is taking advantage of him in some way. The feeling you get is that they have a difficult relationship with lots of issues to work through which they appear to do by end.
This was nice change of pace from your typical shifter m/m book. The relationship storyline is much stronger than the mystery which can be summed up with maniacal spirits attack. Nevertheless, I recommend this one. (less)
2.5 starsThis was an OK love/sex road trip story with some interesting banter between the two guys but otherwise too predictable with too many plot ho...more2.5 starsThis was an OK love/sex road trip story with some interesting banter between the two guys but otherwise too predictable with too many plot holes and loose ends. The ending was disappointing with no sense of wrapping up or real explanation given for the mystery or for Lucas at times odd behavior. (view spoiler)[ 1. The use of craig's list was odd considering who Lucas was. 2. Lucas mysterious,suspicious act and strange jokes which didn't feel organic to the story and just put in there to mislead the reader and Evan. 3. The gap in time at the end using an extremely flimsy excuse. I'd have rather had a thorough explanation than simply ending a story with sex. 4. There was a whole story complete with nightmares about Evan and needing forgiveness from his brother Leo. When Leo finally enters the picture, there's no conversation between the two shown. Instead we're given a scene three months later where Leo is at his art opening and no explanation on how they got to that point. Very unsatisfying (hide spoiler)] There was potential for a better story here but it didn't quite deliver. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
That's my rating for now. The story and the characters were all over the map. I loved some parts, didn't like some, was indifferent to others and conf...moreThat's my rating for now. The story and the characters were all over the map. I loved some parts, didn't like some, was indifferent to others and confused by some. The characters felt like characters to me at times, not real people. The main narrator was very immature and at times self centered. Peter was interesting but then the author would throw in stupid things like he's straight but just has sex with other men. So basically gay for pay but yet supposedly love interest/in love with Austin? I didn't actually feel the love between the two but just a kind of an obsession. The action/ mystery plot was way too convoluted and confusing for me. Anyways, I say my rating for now because I read this when I was not in a happy/good place so maybe I missed what makes this a spectacular story for others. I may read again in the future. (less)
Considering what's been happening lately with the books that I've read (not good) at least I was able to finish this one. Still this was a book constr...moreConsidering what's been happening lately with the books that I've read (not good) at least I was able to finish this one. Still this was a book construction mess. The idea is clever--to have characters who don't realize that they all share a connection in this story.
The story really starts off well with a body, a serial killer on the loose & Sam, the FBi leader trying to solve the mystery. At the same time he runs into a man he has an interest in on his way to the airport, at the same time he has a troubled sister & nephew to take care of, at the same time this new love interest has coming out issues of his own, at the same time there's an ex wife, an artist & about six other characters all of whose stories we get significant details on & all of whom gets there very own point of view.
There's so many stories going on, in order to get to the romance between Sam & Mac, we take a complete break from solving the crime. Now SAm & Mac share this love/hate push/pull romance thing. They're totally unrealistic super alpha males but they're fun to read about & I was quite entertained by them. But but but--still all the stories were like balls thrown in the air without any of them landing. NONE of them get resolved including the serial killer murder.
I can forgive none of the couples coming to any kind of resolution but there's nothing more annoying than reading a book with a fairly simple mystery plot & having to read another book (yet to be printed) just to get that resolved. What a cheat & a cop out. I DON'T recommend this book, at least until the sequel is printed, for the lack of resolution & the sloppy point of view changes & for having too many stories in one book. Concentrate on the main couple & let the other couples get their own book. Anyways, the three stars are for Mac & Sam. (less)
3.5 StarsThis is a rather complicated story with lots of drama that was originally written in serial form. We start off with Cody Taylor, a young man...more 3.5 StarsThis is a rather complicated story with lots of drama that was originally written in serial form. We start off with Cody Taylor, a young man living in New York. He learns that his grandfather, who he hasn't seen since he was 10 years old because his parents moved away, has recently died and left half of his ranch in New Mexico to him. The other half is left to a widow, Jase Mcbride and his son. Jase wife was murdered 5 years earlier and the killer has never been found.
Even though both of Cody's parents are white, he looks like a full bloodied Native American. His twin brother, however, is white in appearance. Cody has always assumed that he has inherited his looks from his Grandmother who was also Native American. When Cody & Jase first meet, Jase is instantly hostile. Cody at first speculates it's because of prejudice, especially as he sees that Jase also treats his son, Davy, coldly and his son is Native American in appearance.
Despite the initial hostility, Cody & Jase are attracted to one another. The story revolves around Cody & Jase and their feelings for one another. There's also a lot of danger around them that involve both Cody & Jase' past, Jase' son Davy and the mystery of what happened Jase' wife. There are mystical forces at work in the novel as well, as some Native American spirits seem to be offering some protection for the three of them.
Reading this as a serial, you'd probably have a different feel for this story. Reading as a non stop story, some of the drama & Native American mysticism can feel a little heavy handed, especially as we get to late in the story where we're dealing with Cody's nemesis. I still found much to commend in the story. Obviously some research was done on the area and the beliefs and there is even some additional photos included in the story. The story held my interest even when the drama got to be over the top. I'd recommend the story but maybe not read it in one sitting. (less)
3.5 Stars This was a nice story of an FBI agent, Simon who needs to work with jewelry thief, Jeremy Archer, in order to recover a stolen item. It also...more3.5 Stars This was a nice story of an FBI agent, Simon who needs to work with jewelry thief, Jeremy Archer, in order to recover a stolen item. It also felt very familiar and a little derivative, maybe because I've seen a lot of old shows & movies like It Takes a Thief and Remington Steele and others.
The banter between Simon and his team and Simon & Jeremy are good. Action more than character development is emphasized.
This story feels more like Slash fiction than an m/m romance novel. Simon & Jeremy are original characters, but they come across as straight rather than gay. Simon & Jeremy have chemistry like in those old buddy cop movies. They're like the buddy cops in Lethal Weapon, Starsky & Hutch, Hawaii Five O etc.
There are a couple of scenes that show that there's a physical attraction between the two guys. It just feels like when they're not in those scenes these are just straight guys having a bromance. Maybe it changes as you read the other stories in the series. It doesn't make it bad, but just less of a m/m romance than expected. (less)
Re-Read April 2013 A little action & a hot romance between a lieutenant and a doctor, both of them psi, still held my interest upon a second readi...moreRe-Read April 2013 A little action & a hot romance between a lieutenant and a doctor, both of them psi, still held my interest upon a second reading. It does have a HFN ending which reminded me I never did read the three additional shorts starring these two. Will have to add.
First Read October 2011This was originally released as 3 separate stories. I probably wouldn't have liked it as much. I enjoyed it as one story. This deals with psychics, one a surgeon & the other a navy fighter pilot, who get involved with government intelligence. It has a GFY storyline as well. I'd love to read more stories with Cameron & Mason although it looks like A.R. Moler mostly writes MF fiction. (less)
2.5 Stars First of all, this is not a love story or even a romance story. It's not some kind of triangle either & I think the blurb is pretty much...more2.5 Stars First of all, this is not a love story or even a romance story. It's not some kind of triangle either & I think the blurb is pretty much misleading. This is a story that whether you like it or not very much depends on your feelings about the narrator, Vinnie Bernardi. In my case, he irritated the heck out of me. Frankly, if this wasn't a challenge book I'd have happily not bothered finishing this one.
I didn't find Vinnie's stalkerish tendencies endearing. He's one of those characters who is supposed to be a manipulative sub, a poor little rich boy type, a guy who likes to push people's buttons & has a tendency to do & say stupid things. He wore thin fast. Vinnie has set his sights on his former teacher, Charleston, whose graying hair & body was mentioned so many times, it made me wonder how old is he supposed to be? Whatever--I think he's way too old for the immature teenage acting Vinnie ( 2 years out of school). Writers love these age difference stories but when it gets to this type it's feels more like father & son than 2 lovers & it's very unsexy.
There's a plotty element that happens that takes up the majority of the story. It wasn't too bad & the main reason why this is not a one star book for me. However, it does depend on Vinnie doing idiotic things & Charleston being a badass who's better than everyone else, no matter their training. There's lots of eye roll worthy scenes here.
I do keep in mind that everything is seen through the eyes of Vinnie, who tends to see the world in terms of doms & subs & has a big case of hero worship going on for Charleston. Vinnie also does say & think a couple of things that made me laugh. It's not enough to make up for the whole persona, but he did have his moments.
The ending passage deals with the original issue of Vinnie seeking out his perfect dom to cure him of all that ails him or whatever. There's one scene at the end & then everything is all tidily swept up with a nice little conversation in which Vinnie is more the observer than the participant. (view spoiler)[ Vinnie zones out while Rj & Charleston decide his living arrangements & life like it's some kind of custody agreement between divorced parents. Except the decision is all about who gets to whip & punish Vinnie & who gets to witness it. (hide spoiler)]
In summary, writing was fine, but this story really wasn't for me.
I liked this Blaine & Ben story even though it does have some issues. Firstly, why do writers insist on using names with the same letter, which on...moreI liked this Blaine & Ben story even though it does have some issues. Firstly, why do writers insist on using names with the same letter, which only adds to some confusion because this is one of those books that has the floating POV. One minute we're in Ben's head and maybe in the next sentence or paragraph it's Blaine & it goes back & forth. Sometimes we're even seeing things from the side characters POV.
The writing itself does have a certain snap to it & a snarky sarcastic way about it, especially when we're in Ben's POV, that I appreciate. Blaine & Ben are good together. The two side characters Todd & Emily are used nicely in the book, especially when all 4 characters are working together as a team in the office. The plot keeps the story going although it's probably high on the unbelievability scale. Despite that, the story & the romance was quite entertaining. (less)
Just a few random thoughts: Good suspense. I found myself skipping ahead in a few places to make sure everything would turn out OK.
This had a little B...moreJust a few random thoughts: Good suspense. I found myself skipping ahead in a few places to make sure everything would turn out OK.
This had a little B Horror movie quality due to the villain and in that someone has to be a little TSTL to make it work. It's known gay men are being attacked in hang out spots in the gayborhood. So what do people do but hang out at night with no caution whatsoever. Once the MC finds out the timeframe it's happening, what does he do but go out during this exact timeframe.
This is not like a lot of m/m & shifter books, where everything is meant to be & fated & both main characters are positive about them being together. Thad and the reader, have doubts about this relationship working out with Sam. Maybe this is why I wasn't too upset with the up in the air ending for the romance.
In a way, the third party in this story, Jared, seemed to be the most interesting.
Several things aren't really explained. A walk in character plays a pivotal role then is never seen again. The romance is unresolved. Thad doesn't seem to be in a hurry towards employment. There's a police situation left hanging. Although I was fine with the way it ends, there's enough left for a sequel.