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)
The intentions were good on this one but the writing was amateurish and the main character Mark was pretty much a sociopath with desperate need of ang...moreThe intentions were good on this one but the writing was amateurish and the main character Mark was pretty much a sociopath with desperate need of anger management counseling. I like the idea of hate hate turning to something else but the physical attacks bothered me. Mark accidentally injures Sandy and he makes it everyone's fault but his own. When he's not doing that he's punching or fighting with Sandy on the least provocation.
He imagines Sandy Rogers is laughing at him or talking about him behind his back or looks at him funny or is taunting him and this leads to Mark either attacking Sandy physically or barely restraining himself from doing so. The way this story is presented it's not to be taken seriously but i get uncomfortable because the excuses Mark uses for when he turns physical against Sandy are the same one used by every abusive person who've ever hit their wife or their child, i.e. 'she/he made me do it.'.
Interspersed between all that, there were entertaining moments with Sandy, Mark their friends and family. The writer keeps it clean ( I think because she notes she's not comfortable with writing sex scenes). These are also young people maybe high school age & they never quite develop to maturity even by the end. I'd say an audience on the same level would be a better fit for this story. Hopefully they won't internalize that message of it's ok to hit someone if you're trying to avoid your feelings for them because that sounds an awful lot like a bully mentality. (less)
2.75 Stars The sometimes evocative writing does not completely offset the fact that this novel is also crammed with an awfu...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
2.75 Stars The sometimes evocative writing does not completely offset the fact that this novel is also crammed with an awful lot of redundant scenes that we have to endure in order to get to the pivotal point of the story.
The basic outline is Ash used to live on the streets but was rescued by a wealthy young woman who becomes his good friend. She introduces him to a paramedic named Pete who was looking for a roommate. They agree to share an apartment and eventually become lovers. All is not right however, as Ash is mysterious and moody, has nightmares and zones out a lot. It all has to do with something that happened in his past but both Ash and the author keeps us in the dark about exactly what that is.
Pete has an idea about what’s troubling Ash but decides the best way to handle things is to not talk about it and hope it works itself out on its own. At least that’s how I interpreted his actions as every chapter seemed to end with him deciding to put things off and pretend everything is OK.
How the author chooses to tell this story is by each chapter being a little vignette showing a day in the life. It’s a technique that wears thin after a while. When you have chapter after chapter where Pete has a hard time at work, comes home wiped out, orders take out , avoid talking about what happened at work, avoid talking about what’s bothering Ash, have a little make out session and fall asleep, it begins to feel a little monotonous. And spoiler alert, this goes on for approximately seventy five percent of the story.
Sure there’s the occasional detour to show aspects of Ash’s job as a tattoo artist, Pete’s paramedic job and their interactions with friends, and Ash and Pete’s tentative courtship was in many ways cute & engaging. But then the story would repeat again and again and it began to feel like Groundhog day with different day same results. I wasn’t exactly bored but I was very impatient to get to some kind of point.
When something does finally happen we’re asked to believe a series of unlikely coincidences connecting Ash’s past with Pete’s job.
What was more jarring was that nice, always helpful Pete turns on Ash viciously after he discovers what he believes to be a major flaw in Ash. I had trouble buying into what Pete does. Would the guy who spent most of the book constantly worried and concerned about Ash’s well being suddenly turn around and not even check to make sure he was all right? Not likely. This was just a plot point used to facilitate the big misunderstanding. It all felt a bit clunky even if I was kind of relieved that there was finally some kind of action going on.
I can see why some people would love this story. Ash is one of those very appealing broken characters that you absolutely root for good things to happen. But all the things I mentioned like the repetitive scenes, taking too long for anything to happen, the unbelievable coincidences, the jumping to conclusions and acting out of character on Pete’s part marred this story for me. By the end I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the results as I was at the start. There were enough good points and promise in the writing that I’d probably check out this author’s future stories but I’d put this one down as a near miss. (less)
I was totally charmed by this story about a depressed bipolar man who finds himself attracted to a young Essex man who's opposite to him in many ways...moreI was totally charmed by this story about a depressed bipolar man who finds himself attracted to a young Essex man who's opposite to him in many ways including in language and education. It's interesting that despite all Ash's many issues his friends and to some extent even Ash looks down on Darian for the way he talks & acts. But Darian charm shines through in this story and Ash finds himself besotted despite himself.
Ash is not always likable in this story and I wished that he was given more of a comeuppance for the way he treated Darian. My thirst for vengeance was not satisfied. But I really loved all the witty and clever scenes throughout including one where Darian and Ash play a game of Nabble which is a variation of Scrabble using made up words. This was lots of fun to read. If you have an aversion to dialect writing then you may want to avoid this. But I've been reading so many m/m books lately that have been difficult to get through that reading this smart little story was a nice breath of fresh air.
For me this is one of those books that tried too hard to be heartwarming and I found it cloyingly sentimental at times. Jess has this perfectly wonder...moreFor me this is one of those books that tried too hard to be heartwarming and I found it cloyingly sentimental at times. Jess has this perfectly wonderful dotty old grandmother and this perfectly wonderful younger brother. Jess is also perfectly wonderful himself as he tries to navigate taking care of both of them while dealing with his parent's rejection (for him being gay). In this perfect storm of wonderfulness is David, the 'straight' kindergarden teacher Jess has a crush on. It all works out of course because David it turns out has one of those nebulous sexuality where it's all about who you fall in love with and not the gender. No labels for this guy.
This is not an unpleasant story. Jess is nice and his brother Thomas is a warm character. There's nothing wrong with David either. Maybe that was my problem with this one; just too many perfect characters. I'd also frequently get jarred out of the story by little things that made me feel I was reading a story instead of being immersed in one. I needed something to balance out the sweetness.(less)
2.75 Stars My first impression of this story was one of déjà vu and I kept wondering didn’t I read this already. It turns...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
2.75 Stars My first impression of this story was one of déjà vu and I kept wondering didn’t I read this already. It turns out I was getting it mixed up with “Chase the Storm” which had almost the identical premise. They both feature a cowboy broken hearted over the loss of a long term partner. They also both have a young city boy seeking to find themselves who ends up working on the ranch. They both even have the same type of older fatherly ranch foreman who provides all the gossip about why the cowboy is so sad. I do think reading similar stories back to back probably colored my view of this story
In this case the young man JT had already completed school but decided that he didn’t really want to go into the psychology field. The problem for him was he couldn’t think of an alternative career so was wandering the country trying to find himself. When he runs into a woman and her handsome cowboy son Brett, he gladly accepts the job to work on his ranch. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Brett quite attractive.
Both Brett’s mom and his foreman friend Ray, have decided that Brett has been grieving for his lost lover a little too long and manipulate Brett & JT to come together. This seemed unnecessary and something they both could have accomplished on their own. After all Brett is 41 which is a little too old to be needing your mother’s help in getting dates. Brett’s mother’s romantic history also left a lot to be desired so I couldn’t figure out why she was the romance expert. I also found it odd that they ignored real problems like Brett’s frequent binge drinking in favor of focusing on his love life.
The first part of the book was too passive. Brett & JT spend more time talking to other people than to each other. JT learns important information about Brett’s past more from gossiping with Ray & by other means involving some privacy invasion than he does from talking to Brett. It just felt like a whole lot of telling. I also had a sense in this story of waiting for something to happen, but the little action we do get near the end was taken care of quickly. In between all that is quite a few sex scenes although this is another of those books that have the irritating idea that only anal counts as real sex.
I find most M/M romance books a little too short but in this case I think this story would have worked better as a novella. I don’t think there was enough going on to justify the length. There were moments that I liked but there were times I felt the story drag and because of that it took me quite a while to finish. Brett & JT are sweet and their gentle romance was appealing but their characterizations don’t really go much beyond the country boy, city boy cliché.
This series with its inside Hollywood focus has really grown on me. The characters don’t always do the right thing, in fact...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
This series with its inside Hollywood focus has really grown on me. The characters don’t always do the right thing, in fact you can pretty much guarantee they won’t, but their journey is always at least interesting.
When we previously saw Jeremy and Kit they had worked through some tough issues to get to the point of what looked like the beginning of a good relationship. Kit had seemed to come to terms with his sexuality and was finally out and Jeremy had come into his own as an actor. But in this book which takes place 3 years later, we find that Kit & Jeremy are now on shaky ground. Kit is still reluctant to be truly out in public. What’s worse for him is that his acting career has also hit a few bumps. He still loves Jeremy but he starts to wonder if that’s enough.
Jeremy, on the other hand is now thriving in his role as a film star. He’s no longer the naïve newbie who needed Kit’s help in picking out what clothes to wear. Kit is very perturbed about their role reversal vacillating between feeling proud and supportive and also envious and jealous. His mood turns darker as he sinks into a more depressive state.
Instead of discussing his feelings with Jeremy, Kit withdraws into himself becoming more difficult to deal with and taking to cooking until late into the evening to avoid all discussions. Kit begins to think a career change may solve his problems but isn’t sure how Jeremy will fit into this.
Jeremy is bewildered by the changes in Kit and suspects he might be losing him. When Kit starts to pursue his new interest in cooking, Jeremy fears they’ll no longer have anything else in common and that he’ll lose him completely. Things begin to look far worse when an attractive TV chef enters the picture.
For most of the story we see Kit & Jeremy in a downward spiral. While some may find this story too downbeat, sometimes I enjoy this kind of exploration of a relationship more than the happy sappy stories. I like reading about what happens after the happily ever after. Triumphing through adversity has its own appeal and can end up being a truly uplifting story.
Jeremy & Kit receive some help from their old pals Aaron & Greg (from the prior books) in the form of some good fatherly type advice and some tough love. They remind both Jeremy & Kit that they’ve overcome a lot including difficult childhoods.
What holds your interest in the story is figuring out how Jeremy & kit will find their way back to each other. Things do look pretty bleak for a while but it all eventually works out. I did think the resolution was a little too neat and tidy involving the device of a family emergency. It seemed to rob Jeremy of the chance to hold onto his anger while letting Kit get off way too easy. It also made their getting together feel a little tenuous. Will there be more to their story or is this it?
In either case this is still an engaging story worth a read for the journey they both go through. You could probably get away with reading this as a standalone although it may be helpful to read at least Acting Out which details the beginning of Jeremy & Kit’s relationship. I’d recommend reading the entire series as well. (less)
3.5 Stars The title is very apt as we get mainly the beginning of the story. It’s not to say it’s not a good beginning but...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
3.5 Stars The title is very apt as we get mainly the beginning of the story. It’s not to say it’s not a good beginning but I like at least a little closure from the books I read, even the fantasy ones.
The story is told from the perspective of young Prince Kherin of Llarien. He’s at odds with his father the king for a variety of reasons that’s hinted at but not really disclosed to the reader. Maybe it’s because Kherin’s mother died while giving birth to him or maybe it’s because Kherin is gay or maybe Kherin just annoys him. In any case, we don’t see too much affection being shown to Kherin and instead his father tries to rule him with an iron fist. Kherin’s reaction to this is to rebel by indulging in a variety of activities unseemly for a royal including having indiscreet trysts with some of his underlings, visiting low class whorehouses, overindulging in alcohol and generally getting into all kinds of scrapes.
The one person that’s good at keeping Kherin in check is his best friend and the king’s master trader, Derek Resh. Kherin has known & admired him since he was a child and would love to be more than friends. Derek, on the other hand, is very cautious and loyal to the king and refuses to do anything that’ll make him angry , which would include getting romantically involved with his son.
This sets up the dynamics of their relationship where Kherin pushes for more romantically from Derek, while Derek pushes back because he’s trying to protect him from his father’s wrath. While Derek is a strong character, the part he plays in this romance began to feel like the virginal maiden. There are lots of repetitive scenes with Kherin aggressively pursuing Derek and Derek backing away. The fact that Kherin always had to talk Derek into the romance took something away from it.
Besides all the romantic tension there’s increasing menace around the kingdom including signs of war. Kherin finds himself in the thick of it after he discovers that his brother Adrien has been struck with a mysterious illness from one of their enemies. Kherin for the first time finds himself having to live up to his responsibilities as prince. He & Derek investigate and find out there’s more going on and that some of it may even involve magic which has not been seen in the kingdom during their lifetime.
The tension regarding Adrian is really well done even if I did find Kherin slow to put things together. Derek as master trader and spy is the one with more awareness but the reader is kept mostly in the dark about his thoughts. We’re again given hints about it all and by the end we at least have an idea of the players involved. But we really don’t know much of anything else.
Kherin is only slightly less clueless than he was at the beginning. The romance reaches some kind of resolution but right at a point where they’ll be a separation between the two. It’s very inconclusive and it feels like a story that’s been split in two at the halfway point.
I enjoyed the world building and the plot set up is good. I just don’t think where it ends was satisfying enough for me. I have to have a complete story because who knows when or if I’ll get to the next book in the series. This does feel a little like I read half a book so I hesitate to recommend it if only because I haven’t read the second book as yet so I have no idea if the plot falls off or improves. I’d say check it out if you enjoy a good fantasy book but keep the second book close at hand. (less)
2.5 Stars On the one hand this is a somewhat entertaining little melodrama, at least for the first seventy five percent of t...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
2.5 Stars On the one hand this is a somewhat entertaining little melodrama, at least for the first seventy five percent of this story. But on the other, I found most of it totally ludicrous. We start with the unbelievable premise that a young flaming gay college student named Aidan has gotten the attention of not just one straight jock but two of them, both on the rowing team and that they end up fighting over him.
One of the straight jocks is Sammy, who is presented as an African American heartthrob who has the girls falling over themselves to get to him. He has a revolving door of sex with women to the point that Aidan often has to find other sleeping accommodations. The other man is Steven, an equally muscle bound blue eyed blonde who was dating Aidan’s good friend Sarah.
Triangles require some balancing act to avoid having the main character come across as a douche. Well mission not accomplished as I sometimes found it hard to love Aidan or the other guys. I was also totally perplexed that Aidan eventually picked the cardboard cutout character over the more fully developed one.
But first Aidan gets a chance to try them both out. Steven is the first to fall for Aidan’s charms. When their courtship gets going, the second guy Sammy starts feeling jealous and possessive, even though he has a girlfriend Carolyn. By the way, Carolyn with her crazy, psychotic rages, is one of the more annoying female characters to be found in a gay storyline.
When we’re not dealing with Aidan’s triangle, the book takes a turn to homophobia and gay bashing on campus. This college is so populated with evil assholes, including the Dean and food throwing sorority girls, that you start to wonder if this isn’t some campus from hell.
I just couldn’t get into the clichéd characters and some of the dialogue was laughable. Be prepared for the over use of the word baby (147 times) and just a lot of over talking about the relationship. You also have things like a random straight jock who demands to know from Aidan why he’s choosing one guy over the other. Or you have Carolyn engaging in a repetitive screaming match over Aidan stealing her roommate’s boyfriend. There was just too many busy bodies getting involved in the intimate details of Aidan’s sex life.
Carolyn at one point accuses Aidan of being a predatory gay, and as nutty as she is, she actually has a point. Aidan does seem to turn all the straight boys gay and the women in these guys lives are treated as after thoughts. I think if you’re already hesitant about gay for you storylines then this story certainly wouldn’t convince you of its merits.
In the end, lots of these little things, including Aidan choosing the wrong guy, just started to dim the entertainment value of this story. The characters never felt real to me and there was just one too many vile, homophobic incidents. The sometimes porny sex scenes with lots of dialogue didn’t help. I was initially amused by this story but I struggled to finish it by the end. I’d say look elsewhere for your love triangle fix.(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)
* 1.5 Stars** The main problem with this one is the way it's written. There's lots of head hopping from paragraph to paragraph and it's written withou...more* 1.5 Stars** The main problem with this one is the way it's written. There's lots of head hopping from paragraph to paragraph and it's written without much emotion or passion. I need more from a story than just narrating this happened and this happened and this happened and now they live happily ever after. Both Trent and Chris were involved with other people and in open relationships (one with a married man) for most of the short. When they do finally get together it's in a sex scene described in such a mechanical way I'm not sure why even bother writing it. Then we're just told the outcome where Trent and Chris get together and apparently go from monogamish to monogamy. This is a nice outline of a story. Now it just needs to be filled in with details to give it personality and heart. (less)
I wanted to like this book more but I just kept getting lost in all the confusing plot. There was painting clouds, breakfast bar, black & gay bash...moreI wanted to like this book more but I just kept getting lost in all the confusing plot. There was painting clouds, breakfast bar, black & gay bashing, baby kittens, canned peaches and a whole lot of mess. I couldn't even figure out Manny's part time job which involved being some kind of fluffer for women in a sex club so that they can get hot & bothered enough to choose the guy who's bidding for her. Or maybe it's to get the guy hot enough to want to the girl. I wasn't sure of any of it. I don't know how this connected with Manny being a dancer or being an artistic painter of clouds either. What we do know is Manny wants to take his relationship with Joseph out of the friend zone and Joseph is balking as he's deeply closeted.
This was actually not a bad plot idea and had good potential. But the other subplots just kept taking over. For example, at one point I think Joe discovered Manny worked in the sex trade but I couldn't be sure since they never discuss it and instead we're treated to a rambling conversation between Teague, Willa, Cameron and later a bunch of waitresses and Cynda the peach seller.
I read in the Afterwards that the main characters were first introduced in several other books written by the author. That probably explains the confusion and why this wasn't as fun a book to read as it should have been. This was like a continuation of a series that I never read. (less)
3.25 StarsI had an idea this book was headed to a different place when it started off with two strangers trying to fulfill...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
3.25 StarsI had an idea this book was headed to a different place when it started off with two strangers trying to fulfill some kinky sexual fantasy. But by the end of the first chapter we learn that our main characters Calvin and Felix are not really strangers after all and the tone of the story changes to something a whole lot mellower. There’s not much time wasted dealing with the misunderstanding between Calvin and Kevin as they clear that up in a hurry. Instead the focus is on the romance and on Calvin dealing with problems with his nephew.
Calvin’s 16 year old nephew Robbie is obviously in some kind of trouble but is hesitant about telling Calvin what’s going on. Calvin feels a kinship to Robbie who is also the only other gay person in the family, so Calvin lets Robbie stay with him while he figures things out. But Calvin is a student journalist and he can’t let things go so he continues his own investigation into what’s going on with Robbie.
In the meantime, what Calvin thought was going to be a casual encounter between he & Felix has started to turn into something deeper. But Felix is also keeping a couple of things from him. The situation with Robbie and the one with Felix all come to a head and Calvin has to make a decision to solve it all.
I liked the story and the way the plot goes but I felt a lot of frustration with Calvin because he never seemed to figure out the obvious. His nephew is driving around and meeting with an older man in private places but Calvin’s mind doesn’t leap to the logical conclusion that something personal is going on between the two of them. I also thought it ridiculous that Calvin didn’t include Robbie’s family or the authorities immediately considering the seriousness of the situation.
Calvin is just a little too dense. Having him do his own private investigation just seemed like an obvious way to prolong the plot. We also never get to see a true reaction from Robbie’s mother when she finds out what’s been happening to her child and by true I mean believable in any way. She was calm and detached in a way no mother who loves her son would ever be.
In summary, this started off strong and settled down into a slower more sedate mystery plot mixed in with some hot sexy scenes and a quick romance. All of that is good but offset by the fact I had a hard time believing the actions & reactions of Calvin & others in the story. For me the mystery wasn’t tight enough & the romance wasn’t enough to overcome that.
This doesn't break any new ground but this is a very nice feel good story about a soon to be law school graduate, Matt discovering his attraction for...moreThis doesn't break any new ground but this is a very nice feel good story about a soon to be law school graduate, Matt discovering his attraction for a man he meets in a bar, Aaron. You're led to believe at first it's a gay for you except Matt later admits he's felt attraction to men before. Matt does have a girlfriend in the beginning of the story and for a short period of time he's still with her while he's pursuing Aaron. But before he becomes more involved with Aaron Matt does break things off with the girl. This one had a minimal of angst and surprise but the characters are very sweet and their romance is built up slow enough to be enjoyable. (less)
2.5 Stars There's a cheating warning in this story so that part was not unexpected. I just found the set up hard to believe. Mateo has recently lost s...more2.5 Stars There's a cheating warning in this story so that part was not unexpected. I just found the set up hard to believe. Mateo has recently lost some weight and is getting back into the dating scene with the encouragement of his very pushy female friend ( a standard in an M/M book now). He goes out on several dates with Javier but feels absolutely zero attraction. There's no sexual chemistry and when he kisses him he again feels nothing. Yet he continues to date him. This is very illogical and doesn't fit the behavior pattern of men and dates. Without chemistry men bail a lot quicker than women and they certainly wouldn't be going on date #7 or whatever number this gets to. Because of this, the triangle set up between Mateo, Javier and Matteo's roommate Gabriel made little sense. If you're going to write a good triangle story your hero needs to have some kind of conflicted feelings of attraction for the two men. Now there could have been another conflict in the story since Javier and Matteo are cousins, but since we never get Matteo's point of view that issue wasn't explored.
My main issue with this though was the actual writing. The word that comes to mind is awkward especially in the writing for the sex scenes. I'm not going to get into it too much though as this is a free story for the LHNB program which showcases both amateur and professional writers. This had some good ideas that just needed some more work.
ASHER the sex robot was so cute in this story he stole the show. The problem is there was quite a lot of build up to Wyatt finally warming up to ASHER...moreASHER the sex robot was so cute in this story he stole the show. The problem is there was quite a lot of build up to Wyatt finally warming up to ASHER but when it happens the story just ends. It totally missed the good parts I was waiting for. It's like it fell off a cliff. I'd probably read a follow up to this one but as it is this felt incomplete. (less)
I quite enjoyed this somewhat dark short story about a prisoner and his mysterious guard. I liked that it turned into a kind of hurt comfort story ins...moreI quite enjoyed this somewhat dark short story about a prisoner and his mysterious guard. I liked that it turned into a kind of hurt comfort story instead of just torture. I didn't mind the happy ending, even though I didn't think we needed a full summary of what happened in the future. I did see that when some reviewer complained that they wanted some miserable unhappy ending the author chimed in to write that the happy ending may be an illusion and a product of propaganda. Well I say BOOOO to that as now it kind of taints the story to imagine that the ending wasn't really true and they actually didn't live very happily together. For every person desiring unhappy endings & misery they're many more wanting the opposite. Instead of trying to appease the misery seekers, this author would have been better off sticking to whats written on the page. if you write a happy ending, don't write somewhere else that the ending isn't really the true one. That's just annoying. (less)
2.5 Stars I liked the prompt about a couple who's been together a while trying to regain the spark they lost but I felt this story was slightly super...more 2.5 Stars I liked the prompt about a couple who's been together a while trying to regain the spark they lost but I felt this story was slightly superficial. It's mainly all about one of the guys planning a sexy weekend which I just couldn't see actually solving anything. I'd have preferred if the story focused less on the sexy time & instead on having the couple actually try to recreate or remember what made them fall in love in the first place and actually dig into what went wrong that dimmed all that. (less)
1.5 Stars This probably fulfilled the prompt but it wasn't appealing as a story. Frank & Jasper are pimps over some female prostitutes in London...more 1.5 Stars This probably fulfilled the prompt but it wasn't appealing as a story. Frank & Jasper are pimps over some female prostitutes in London in the 1800's. Jasper has a lust for nice things & has a bit more of a high class accent. Frank has been diddling with his female star hooker and it's implied he runs things and is not afraid to rough people up. It wasn't clear who he's roughing up, his prostitutes or their clients. Either way, guys who're doing their social climbing on the backs of women are not my idea of romantic heroes. The two get together after an attempted robbery and a couple of killings (over wanting a new pair of shoes which makes them seem like modern day gangbangers). Which apparently gets them so high they discover their lust for one another.
I'm guessing this is trying for a dark story or maybe black humor or people looking for smut in unusual places like next to dead bodies. I prefer to have the backstory and a reason for the action. There was absolutely no reason given to care about these guys one way or the other and so I didn't. ( Also I can go either way on dialect writing. IN this case I didn't enjoy the cockney accent at all. )(less)
It's a vampire story which is never my favorite but this one wasn't too bad. One vampire acts out of control for a while out of grief and guilt. We la...moreIt's a vampire story which is never my favorite but this one wasn't too bad. One vampire acts out of control for a while out of grief and guilt. We later find out it's also because of his hidden feelings he has for the other vampire. I felt the miscommunication was a little forced but the romantic elements were nice.(less)
I didn't enjoy this one too much. The setting was just too ridiculous as this story takes place in a town full of idiots. The over the top homophobia...moreI didn't enjoy this one too much. The setting was just too ridiculous as this story takes place in a town full of idiots. The over the top homophobia was just ridiculous. Zach returns to a town after 20 years and people are still holding a grudge against him for being gay? One guy overcharges Zach for groceries because he's gay which seems like an incredibly stupid thing to do unless you're looking to get sued. Zach's best friends wife says hateful things to Zach & Zach is supposed to feel bad that he was impolite in her house. I didn't get any of the characters including Zach who's been away for 20 years and thinks that he & Mason can just take up where they left off. None of this was believable. In addition there was way too much talk about hunting & killing different animals. Not for me. (less)
1.5 Stars For a first time writer it was a decent effort. But this one started off with one of those awful one dimensional evil female characters whi...more1.5 Stars For a first time writer it was a decent effort. But this one started off with one of those awful one dimensional evil female characters which set the tone for this short story. I also didn't find any of the other characters believable in any way. Added to this is that I found the story a little too sweet and that there was way too much telling. I do appreciate the effort involved with writing this free LHNB story, but this was just not my kind of story. (less)
I usually skip historical M/M romances due to me never believing in the happy ending. But one of the great thing about the Love Has No Boundaries seri...moreI usually skip historical M/M romances due to me never believing in the happy ending. But one of the great thing about the Love Has No Boundaries series is you get to try out some stories with no risk as it's free of charge. I'm very happy I read this one as I loved the story about the two knights setting off together to attempt a daring rescue against an evil Lord. I think this was an excellent adventure not to mention good romance as well. I even believed in the clever way Christian & William managed to achieve their HEA. Maybe I'll start looking out more for books like these in the future. (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 It's a very short but quite nice little story about a ranch hand, Jake, who's been given half of a ranch (by the former owner) that he...more A LHNB Story It's a very short but quite nice little story about a ranch hand, Jake, who's been given half of a ranch (by the former owner) that he has to share with the owner's son Daniel. Even though Daniel resents him, Jake secretly longs for one thing, a chance to dance with Daniel at least one time. Opportunity arises in the aftermath of a Twister. Other than one WTF moment (Jake is filled with lust for Daniel even while a tornado is right above their heads) this was a cute cowboy story. (less)
2.5 stars This was very disappointing because it took until the end of the book before it became any kind of romance. The supposed main couple Josh...more 2.5 stars This was very disappointing because it took until the end of the book before it became any kind of romance. The supposed main couple Josh & Stu do not even have a meaningful conversation until 88% on my Kindle. That's way, way too late if you're writing a romance story.
Other problems: The story is from Josh's point of view so we get his story only. He meets up with Sid maybe 4 times over the course of about 10 years, at weddings, funerals & vacations. Each time they say stupid things to one another, get into fights and then separate. Throughout that time Josh figures he's gay, acquires various lovers, becomes a college Rugby player, becomes a pro player, gets invited into threesomes, argues with parents, visits sister & her hubby, retires from sport etc.
This story of Josh & Stu is not a romance for 90% of this story.There was no unresolved sexual tension. There was no love/hate relationship. They just didn't like each other when they met up on social occasions.
Stu also had no redeeming qualities that I saw. He was a judgmental Mr. Priss Pot throughout. Just unlikable enough that no sane man would be carrying a torch for him. Not believable at all.
The rating this gets is that it did follow the prompt and had good enough writing even if it wasn't a story I particularly wanted to read.(less)
I liked this story of the sickly young man who's ordered to go to live by the sea for his health. It's lots of fun and very sweet and who doesn't love...moreI liked this story of the sickly young man who's ordered to go to live by the sea for his health. It's lots of fun and very sweet and who doesn't love a sexy pirate. But I personally thought the world building was barely there. I didn't even realize this was some kind of fantasy until Julian mentioned that his transportation was being driven by dragons. Then there's some hints here & there of supernatural themes that come out more after Kit enters the story. I couldn't figure out where this magical place and what it was about. But If I just focus on the couple though, the story is quite sweet and it's a worthwhile addition to the LHNB series. (less)
a LHNB StoryI liked the writing but I kept waiting for Teag and Cory to get together and finally have that conversation about how each other was feel...more a LHNB StoryI liked the writing but I kept waiting for Teag and Cory to get together and finally have that conversation about how each other was feeling. They finally do get together but instead of having a conversation they have sex & the story ends on that note. It's a short story so I know there's only space for so much but the two guys were competitive against each other & resented each other for most of the book & become slightly friendlier later on but we never got to see them as romantically interested in one another. It's a nice sports story that needed a bit more development.(less)
Are you a music nerd with a particular fondness for popular musicians from the late seventies and early eighties? If you are...moreReviewed on Hearts on Fire
Are you a music nerd with a particular fondness for popular musicians from the late seventies and early eighties? If you are, then this book will be particularly appealing because while we get not one but two love stories, in between all that is lots & lots of talk about music & songs & anthems & more. It’s that earnest, philosophical talk similar to the ones you may have had when you were young, idealistic & for some, stoned. Coincidentally, the bong does make an appearance or two in this story.
This is a dialog heavy book. Sometimes it was too much talking and I longed for a pause button because I want to know what a character thinks not just what he says and does. As the book progressed though, I did get a sense of the feelings of all involved.
At the start of the book we’re in present day Austin and Topher is an aspiring musician who works as a mechanic. Stanton Porter is a New York music critic in town for the SXSW Music festival. He meets Topher when he needs to get his car repaired fast. They strike up a friendship when Topher offers to drive him to the festival and Stanton offers to get him in to see The Boss, Mr. Springsteen in concert.
Despite the fact that there’s a large age difference between the two men and the fact that Topher is straight, he impulsively kisses Stanton at the concert. This sends both men into a tailspin. Topher becomes confused & Stanton starts reminiscing about a past love that he has never gotten over. Be prepared as this book goes back & forth per chapter between present day Austin and the early 80’s focusing on the time Stanton was in Fire Island with his best friend while falling in love for the first time.
The crosscutting between place & time sometimes worked, especially as it captures that feeling of gay men in the 80’s, both the happiness & good times in Fire Island & the sadness when AIDS overshadows it all. At other times it felt like each story was cut off just when it was getting interesting. Just when I would want to follow Topher, his band & his relationship with Stanton, it would switch to Stanton & Chris & their bittersweet romance. It was hard to stay fully invested in either story because of this.
Other characters, including Travis & Ben from “The Nothingness of Ben” make an appearance here. The odd coincidences that occur in the story includes them as well as Topher’s bandmates.
This story wraps itself around a mystical, fated explanation for all the events that happen or has happened in the past for Stanton, Topher & their friends. Even if you don’t buy into it, it’s still an interesting premise. But when it got tied up rather neatly at the end, I did wonder if maybe the author was just uncomfortable with the age gap between his 50 year old protagonist & his 20 something year old boyfriend & this was a way to justify their relationship.
In any case, I thought this was an interesting mixture of gay nostalgia fiction & fated meant to be romance. Not everything works. It’s too talky at times & if you’re unfamiliar with the musicians you could get lost. Also involving the entire cast of characters into the mystical stuff felt like overkill. But I did enjoy the distinctive style & its fresh take on M/M romance. Ultimately, it’s a very engaging story that I’d recommend. (less)
*** 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)