A LHNB Story 1.5 Stars A story is only as interesting as its characters and the ones in this story needed more development. It also felt a little t A LHNB Story 1.5 Stars A story is only as interesting as its characters and the ones in this story needed more development. It also felt a little too basic. ...more
there's lots of elements here for a nice suspenseful mystery. Jake Sanders watched the love of his life, Natalie, marry someone else six years ago. Shthere's lots of elements here for a nice suspenseful mystery. Jake Sanders watched the love of his life, Natalie, marry someone else six years ago. She made him promise at that time to never try to contact her or look her up in any way and he's kept up with it. He's living a decent life as a college professor in a New England town when he runs across an obit for the man who Natalie had married. Jake reconsiders his promise and tries to reestablish contact with Natalie. The only problem is that the man who's dead is married to someone else and everyone denies any knowledge of Natalie.
This is really a nice set up. It's a very comfortable story that doesn't go anywhere too unexpected. Because of that, to take this story to the next level we needed some great characterization. Jake as amateur sleuth works out well enough. I like how he's smart and how he uses his background as a bouncer. Still, I'd say he's pretty average as a main character. But Natalie, who's supposed to be the main catalyst for all his actions is just not a character that ever comes to life. We don't ever get to know anything about her beyond some vague descriptions about her as an artist. There's nothing that stands out to account for Jake's obsessive devotion. I often thought maybe he should get over it already.
I never got invested in Natalie and so was almost indifferent to her fate. With that crucial element missing this turned out to be an average thriller with some satisfactory elements. ...more
* A lHNB Story * I don't get the mole thing, but this story did follow the prompt. What sticks with me is the fact that Jackson says how much he alwa* A lHNB Story * I don't get the mole thing, but this story did follow the prompt. What sticks with me is the fact that Jackson says how much he always cared for Elliot and that his close family including his brother has known he's gay for quite some time. Yet when Jackson is with his brother he treats Elliot very coldly and I couldn't figure out why? It's not like he needed to pretend to be straight around his brother. Elliot never really gets a satisfactory reason for Jackson's behavior but forgives him nonetheless. That lasting impression ruined the story for me....more
A LHNB Story 2.5 Stars a nice werewolf shifter and his mate story. Both Tait and Pitney comes across as very young so it's almost a shame that their A LHNB Story 2.5 Stars a nice werewolf shifter and his mate story. Both Tait and Pitney comes across as very young so it's almost a shame that their first encounter turns out to mean they're mated for life. Lots of shifter stories just lacks the build up that's needed to make a story interesting and this one is no exception. I'd liked to have seen a slower development of both the romance and the shifter family plot which felt rushed. ...more
This book grabs your interest right away as it opens on a crime scene with the victim, a young man, appearing to have beenReviewed on Hearts on Fire
This book grabs your interest right away as it opens on a crime scene with the victim, a young man, appearing to have been crucified on a cross. It is a gruesome crime and it’s also obvious that the young man has endured a painful, torturous death. It’s enough to make Lieutenant Thomas Noel ponder the state of humanity.
We find out this case has special significance for Thomas as he’s a former Catholic priest and current Buddhist and there’s some obvious religious components to this crime. Despite that, the religion doesn’t overwhelm the story as we’re given just enough information on certain sects and their practices to follow the case. It’s a fairly detailed book for a novella but I found it well balanced for the most part.
This story takes place in the 90’s and there’s not an obvious reason why this is the case. But if I had to speculate I’d say because there was lots of evidence gathering done without much emphasis on DNA collection. It also takes place in a time right before the Catholic church sexual abuse scandals were back in the news and before people realized how widespread it really was. The authorities generally still had more of a hands off approach allowing the church to police itself. Also at the time period of the book, the police were doing anything to avoid another disaster like Waco. This allowed all kinds of abuses, like the ones that occur in this story, to flourish without much interference.
I liked the flow of this story and how Thomas smartly goes about trying to solve his case. He’s assigned a new young, partner, Daniel Qo to help with the case. Daniel’s character is a lot less clearly defined and it’s hard to figure out if he’s even an asset professionally. His main purpose seems to be as a potential love interest for Thomas.
Thomas has had a long term lover in the past that has since died. We don’t learn the circumstances regarding his death but that it’s been a very long time since Thomas has connected emotionally with another person. So what he first feels for Daniel is the pure joy of being able to finally feel something for someone else. He and Danny do become involved sexually but things are left in the air on their relationship status by end. As this appears to be the start of a series we’ll probably see more development in the next book.
I love reading mysteries, thrillers and horror stories but I’m still very sensitive on these kinds of torture killing stories. I think it was handled very well and the investigation was believable. Thomas made some impulsive and in retrospect unwise decisions but it really was in keeping with his character as he was used to going it alone. I think he actually learns a few lessons by the end of this story.
There were a few questionable points in the story. One that stood out was Thomas makes a point of saying that crucifixion is not a sure fire way to kill someone. Other than the obvious symbolism, we never really get why the killer used such an inefficient method with the open possibility of the victim still being alive to testify against him. It was just one of a few things I had to overlook in order to enjoy the story.
I found this a nice action packed mystery with the potential to be a good series. There was enough left up in the air to be explored in future books including Thomas’s relationship with his mentally ill abusive mother. If there’s another book I hope that Daniel’s character also get more fleshed out both professionally and personally. This was an enjoyable book to read and I would certainly pick up the next book in the series. I’d recommend this for M/M mystery lovers. ...more
A Love Has No Boundaries Story Jonah is vain, snarky and very insecure and doesn't make the greatest first impression. But he grows on you in this sh A Love Has No Boundaries Story Jonah is vain, snarky and very insecure and doesn't make the greatest first impression. But he grows on you in this short story and he and Sebastian are just sweet together. The best part is Sebastian is playing Jonah's crush and he's not stereotypically hunky and is instead more of a regular guy. A nice change of pace....more
I read this one without first reading the prompt so it took me a while to figure out this was about a particular kink. I thought this was a great addiI read this one without first reading the prompt so it took me a while to figure out this was about a particular kink. I thought this was a great addition to the Love Has No Boundaries stories. You can tell this one is done by a more experienced writer as this held my interest throughout. It's a lovely sexy story that doesn't feel too long or too short but just right. And now that I've got a look at the photo i'd say this story more than fulfilled the prompt. ...more
Maybe because I've read other stories with a similar set up that I thought were well done (admittedly they were longer stories), I was expecting sometMaybe because I've read other stories with a similar set up that I thought were well done (admittedly they were longer stories), I was expecting something more than this. I thought this story was fine but fell flat because:
--Too much being told what happened instead of showing what happened. --Everything too unresolved as instead of Shane telling his ex Mark that they're definitely over, he says he needs time to think. The man dumped him at his own wedding, so I'm not sure what Shane needed to think about. --Bringing up something only to drop it. Like Nick saying he knew Mark was hiding something but he wasn't sure what. We never find out what Mark is hiding....more
I’d read this author’s other book about bull riding called Bullheaded and found that an interesting look at a sport I wasReviewed on Hearts on Fire
I’d read this author’s other book about bull riding called Bullheaded and found that an interesting look at a sport I was clueless about so I was curious to read another story in this universe. This one takes a more light hearted approach.
Martin, or as he’s called Marti, is a flaming in your face kind of guy and his friends are less blatant versions of him. They decide to attend a rodeo to check out the bull rider’s hot assets and get an eyeful. They also get a little lesson on the sport from a female fan. She lets Marti know about the bar that the cowboys hang out in after the rodeo and Marti decides to check it out. It’s there he meets Jesse, one of the rodeo stars.
It took me a while to warm up to Marti. He seemed to go out of his way to court trouble whether it’s loudly discussing certain male attributes at the rodeo or going into a cowboy bar wearing mascara & swarovski rhinestones. I was somewhere between thinking he was brave to just foolhardy. But as we learn more about him he becomes less of a caricature.
Marti doesn’t get into too much trouble either, as there always seems to be someone who is amused or charmed by him. And when things hit the fan at that cowboy bar, he’s rescued by two hunky gay men. He’s one lucky guy as one of them happens to be the bull rider Jesse that he had found attractive earlier..
Marti and Jesse have an instant attraction but Marti is scared when he starts having real feelings for him. He’s worried that they don’t have much in common as he’s a city boy and Jesse is a country boy. And I have to agree as I have my doubts either one of them would really give up their current lifestyles. But I’m willing to be convinced if the writer wants to do a follow up as this ends in an appropriate HFN. This is a light romp and a sweet cowboy romance with some funny one liners. This is for those who enjoy opposite attract stories, cowboy tales or love flamboyant characters.
This did have some good moments but I found the writing style sometimes distracting.
The main character Sam Masterson is a former Marine who became disabled when he was in Afghanistan. He’s had some problems adjusting to civilian life but due to a family crisis that forced him to become a guardian to his nephew, he’s finally finding his footing. When he hears of a development project for his neighborhood that could end up pricing out some long time residents he angrily goes to complain and protest about it. He runs into the architect behind the plans, Trevor, a man he instantly nicknames Tall.
Tall immediately zooms in on Sam finding him hot, and the feeling is mutual. Tall doesn’t care that Sam is in a wheelchair and is attracted to his dominant side. And while the idea of Sam being the Dom in their D/s style relationship is against expectations, I didn’t think the two men had a lot of chemistry as everything between them just happened too instantly & too easily. Even though they’re supposedly on different sides in the housing story, it never felt like they were really in conflict and without that the story was a little duller. I also never felt I knew much about Tall.
Sam on the other hand is a romance writer whose latest book features a perfect Navy Seal character named Rock. In the beginning portion of the book, Sam views every situation through the eyes of his fictional character. There were times in the story where Sam is having a conversation and at the same time is daydreaming he’s Rock & imagining a different conversation. There were also imaginary sexual situations involving this character. I didn’t find perfect Rock very interesting & this little writing quirk got old very quickly.
We also got to see excerpts from Sam’s past novel, a slave fiction love story. Sam reads portions of it out loud and imagines it as well. The book lost me in those moments.
There were also several competing stories including one about Sam’s aunt being attacked and left in a coma. Every so often Sam or some of the other characters would talk about finding the attacker, but then it was set aside usually for some D/s play between the two. It’s hard to sustain interest with plots that kept getting put on the backburner. By the time we learn the identity of the attacker it was very anticlimactic.
I’d say this story falls somewhere in the middle for me on the enthusiasm scale. I always like seeing strong, positive portrayals of people with disabilities & Sam has that and more. But the other plots & the romance were a lot weaker. The story within a story device also didn’t work for me here. But if you’re particularly fond of D/s stories or even curious about reading about a disabled guy who finds his inner Dom and regains his confidence, then this might be in your wheelhouse....more
3.5 Stars Very nicely done. This is just a snapshot of what happens in this long term loving D/S relationship whe ** A Love Has No Boundaries Story**
3.5 Stars Very nicely done. This is just a snapshot of what happens in this long term loving D/S relationship when the Dom is unexpectedly hit with some bad news. It's suddenly up to Keenan to take over and remind Hutch what their relationship is all about. It ends up in the air but hopeful that anything's possible if they're together. ...more
**A Love Has No Boundaries Story** Just a sweet story of budding love between a cute interracial couple. But I found it a little wordy which bogged d **A Love Has No Boundaries Story** Just a sweet story of budding love between a cute interracial couple. But I found it a little wordy which bogged down the story. if it's going to be a short story you needed more action. It's also one of those GFY where the guy claims to not be gay but just attracted to that one guy. You always imagine that this is someone in some deep denial which is pretty shaky grounds to start a relationship. ...more
3. 5 Stars I liked this story of Denton and Bran and their adventures in ghostbusting. Denton made a couple of brief appeReviewed on Hearts on Fire
3. 5 Stars I liked this story of Denton and Bran and their adventures in ghostbusting. Denton made a couple of brief appearances in Lou Harper’s other novel, Spirit Sanguine, where he assisted ex vampire hunter Gabe and unsuccessfully tried to make a play for him as well. In this spin off, (not sequel so it’s not necessary to have read the prior book), Denton gets the starring role as the very thin rather geeky web designer who’s also able to see dead people. At the start of this, he’s not quite in control of his abilities but manages fairly well through a strategy of avoidance and humor.
He’s recently moved into a new apartment and is intrigued by his mysterious neighbor Bran, who’s very attractive even while appearing to be morose and non-communicative. Through the helpful intervention of Bran’s cat, Denton gets to know Bran better and finds that he’s really just very introverted and shy and behind all that is nice & passionate person who’s exactly what Denton wants. He also learns Bran is a witch who reluctantly takes on the aforementioned ghostbuster jobs. The bulk of the story is Bran & Denton partnering up on these jobs.
They work together on a few haunting cases and embark on a gentle kind of romance. This entire story has a laid-back feel to it. Even the three cases that Denton & Bran solve in between getting to know each other barely cause a ripple and the book keeps its playful attitude throughout. The romance proceeds at a smooth pace with the one glitch being a secret Bran is keeping. Bran has a special characteristic that has made him self conscious all his life. And you’ll just have to read the book to find out what it is. For me it lowered the erotic quality somewhat, maybe because I just had trouble picturing the logistics of it all, but it does make for a couple of innovative scenes.
This is not a deep and dark story filled with tortured characters. With Denton as narrator, the book strikes an almost comedic tone. Sometimes I wanted more as Denton is not very introspective and it felt like we get only a very surface portrait of him. Still, there’s something endearing about Denton & Brad as a couple. They understand and don’t judge each other as they both share odd ball quirks. Their interactions & all the other colorful characters make this a fun book to read. I’d recommend to those looking to read an amusing paranormal romance novella....more
2.5 Stars Cute story from the dog's POV that somewhat worked. I just wished we had the human side as well. Maybe a mix of the two would have worked b 2.5 Stars Cute story from the dog's POV that somewhat worked. I just wished we had the human side as well. Maybe a mix of the two would have worked better for me. ...more
**A Love Has No Boundaries Story**This one seems to fit the prompt perfectly but it did make me wonder if you have to teach someone to be a top are th**A Love Has No Boundaries Story**This one seems to fit the prompt perfectly but it did make me wonder if you have to teach someone to be a top are they really a top.
What this had going for it was anyone can relate to having a co worker trying to take credit for your ideas & being overlooked by the boss so it was nice to see Craig fast tracking on his career and putting the losers in his rear view window. The romance happened kind of quick and Jesse certainly got a sweet deal out of it getting a handsome & rich boyfriend with a cool apartment so he can kick back living rent free while completing his studies. Too cynical? Ok, it was truuue love all the way and if there was more pages in this story I'm sure I'd be convinced of that. ...more
There's something almost familiar to me about this story maybe because of the time period of the late 1800's. It had some elements in it that remindedThere's something almost familiar to me about this story maybe because of the time period of the late 1800's. It had some elements in it that reminded me of Tamara Allen's The Only Gold and Downtime and also a little of the Charlie Cochrane book Lessons in Love. But while this story has the time period and a mystery in common, it differs in that this is also a paranormal novel.
Percival Whyborn is a scholar and a philologist whose claim to fame is an ability to speak dead languages, 13 of them, and to read even more. As might be expected this has not exactly made him a social superstar. In fact he has only one person he counts as a friendly work acquaintance, the feisty archaeologist Dr. Christine Puntnam. She's a great character that adds a lot of spark to this story.
But Whyborn finds himself forced out of his comfort zone shell when the charismatic former Pinkerton detective Griffin Flaherty asks him to assist him in decoding a document. As they get deeper into this mystery they find out there's evil supernatural elements at play and they turn to each other more as the dangers increase.
The socially awkward intellectual Whyborn and the handsome, strong Griffin make a good team as they play to each of their strengths. Griffin also has more depth to him as we get to know more about him and he & Whyborn make a very sweet couple.
What's enjoyable about this story is to see the nerdy Whyborn saving the day in a couple of places and finding his confidence. The flirtation between he & Griffin is enjoyable and unlike those Tamara Allen books mentioned, this one is more sexually explicit, although depicted in a more discreet way than a modern day novel.
I liked that the story tries to stay historically accurate even with the paranormal elements. The mystery is interesting and has a nice suspenseful pace and keeps you wanting to know more. I was invested in the plot and found this intriguing enough to want to read the next installment in the series. Whyborn and Griffin are very likable and this is just a nice mix of different genres. I knew about this story only because it popped up on my Goodreads feed and am glad I didn't miss out on reading this. It was lots of fun to read and I'd recommend that if it sounds interesting to give it a try.
I was expecting preachy but instead this was entertaining and funny. Our narrator is Steven Worth who's been happily living with Adam More ( it's AdamI was expecting preachy but instead this was entertaining and funny. Our narrator is Steven Worth who's been happily living with Adam More ( it's Adam & Steve!) and their two 'kids' (actually kitties) for 6-7 years. Steven seems to have some kind of non or low paying job, that he barely does, writing for a free circulation called the Gay New York Times. Adam is a wedding planner who also seems to have an endless supply of engaged & soon to be married cousins who need his services.
After attending a gay wedding between one of their friends and someone pointing out that legally this couple is not really married Adam starts to get depressed about his job. He has some kind of epiphany and decides that he'll no longer plan or attend weddings until marriage equality happens and Steve whips up some media attention by writing about it in his column. Their stance is immediately put to the test when Adam's sister Amanda becomes engaged to Steven's brother Peter and they not only expect Adam to plan their wedding but they expect both of them to attend.
There's lots of laughs and a nice & big cast of characters. Adam & Steve make a believable couple. Steven's Romanian American mother is quite something and you can tell where he gets his little drama queen quirks from. There's a nice contrast set up between Steven's background and the more WASPy wealthy background of Adam. Either way, I will say that money doesn't appear to be an issue in their household and designer products are name dropped like crazy here. (I'm going to try not to judge. )
Steven tells this story as if he's writing for his column and it's told in kind of a rambling way with him taking every opportunity to reminisce about different things, like how he & Adam first met, (very sweet), what happened with his dad & his mom (crazy funny), how he came out to his brother (awww) and the many old movies he used to watch. Anyway, I don't want to give too much away except to say this story takes place in a time, I believe about 2007, before New York approved gay marriage.
I read it in one sitting. Hilarious and warmhearted and would make a terrific movie. Read if you want to be entertained and also if you're interested in the topic of marriage equality as this may give you a little insight on the subject.
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. ...more
The start of Love has no Boundaries and this one is very cute about husky shifters.
The humor, well a little much for me but humor is subjective. We'rThe start of Love has no Boundaries and this one is very cute about husky shifters.
The humor, well a little much for me but humor is subjective. We're told Trip is an alpha but mostly he acts like an overgrown puppy. And he's a got little one of his own, Robbie, who runs circles around him. It made me want to say shape up, you're his dad not his buddy. The whole lot of them were so undisciplined I'd probably have sent them all to obedience school.
There's quite a lot of characters for a short story so it's hard to keep track of them. But Tristan's mate is an enforcer named Boone, but mixing together is forbidden so they keep it secret.
World building was decent enough although some holes need to be filled. Obviously this one is a set up for a future series and possibly Hunter & Ari's story. Nice one if you're looking for a light shifter story.
funny short about a man walking into the comic strip world that was made by his father. I couldn't see where this could possibly go & probably ne funny short about a man walking into the comic strip world that was made by his father. I couldn't see where this could possibly go & probably neither did the author of this because our MC, Brandon, just plucked the cute cartoon guy out to settle things and we never figured out if his dad was really a furry. Cute story that maybe ran out of steam. ...more
A LHNB Story 4.5 Stars I had set this one aside because it was longer than the others. This was a thoroughly enjoyable free novel. I really loved t A LHNB Story 4.5 Stars I had set this one aside because it was longer than the others. This was a thoroughly enjoyable free novel. I really loved the prompt and Kaje Harper more than fulfilled the promise of it with this very imaginative fantasy. This is a really good first effort at the fantasy genre and maybe she should consider doing some more of this type. Despite some of the slower moments this book was fascinating throughout.
I liked the characters of Lyon & Tobin and the slow build up that was necessary for the two of them. I love all the bits about the sorcery and the spells and the old ghost. A good story with interesting characters and generously offered for free. Don't miss reading this one.
Reviewed on Hearts on Fire The blurb for this one caught my interest because it was about a man providing tours of the South side of Chicago crime neigReviewed on Hearts on Fire The blurb for this one caught my interest because it was about a man providing tours of the South side of Chicago crime neighborhoods looking for shootings, stabbings & beatings to entertain folks on vacation. I wondered is this a satire on the sad state & decline of humanity or is this some dark comedy?
Turns out neither as Andy just needed a job and there’s good money in tips to be had from conducting tours of the shady side of Chicago. But It also turns out despite the title, this story really isn’t about that at all, but about Andrew’s foray into pastoral Iowa spending time with his niece and nephew and subsequently enjoying carnal knowledge of his former brother in law Harden.
How this all comes to pass is Andy is asked to testify as an eyewitness to a crime that occurred during one of his tours. Things start to get uncomfortable for Andy as a result and he has to leave town in a hurry until things cool down. The book leaves city life and the pace slows down as Andrew heads out to visit the family he hasn’t seen in years; his ex brother in law Harden who lives on a farm with his two children, Mason & Olivia. And just like that we’re in the land of silos, tractors & barns with corn to exploit, handsome farmers to attract and angry housekeepers to pacify.
Even with the drastic scenery change, I kept waiting for this to turn back into a crime drama, but it never did although we do get drama of a different kind. Andrew finds himself enjoying being with the children & around Harden more than he expected and is surprised by his growing attraction towards him.
I was iffy about the two of them at first, but I like the slow development of their relationship from friends to something more. Harden is a single dad who doesn’t always enjoy his kids & who’s working in a job he doesn’t really love. But the moment Andy arrives, Harden begins to feel lighter and happier and starts looking forward to coming home. Despite the not inconsequential fact of Hayden being straight, I thought Hayden & Andy fit well together and I bought into them as a couple and how they gelled together as a family.
The writer paints a very vivid & enjoyable portrait of small town Iowa. There’s lots of little details about day to day life of Harden & the children that normally would annoy or bore me but somehow didn’t.
Even things that normally would put me off didn’t. Andrew is in a relationship with Ken at the start, albeit a very shaky one, with a closeted Ken who repeatedly says he doesn’t want to get serious. But when Andrew and Hayden get together, technically Andrew hasn’t broken up with Ken. Since I found Ken to be a disagreeable bully it didn’t bother me as it probably should.
In fact, I went with the flow on most things in this book even accepting Hayden heretofore undisclosed attraction to men almost as easily as he did. It’s just one of those books that I found very relaxing. I liked the slow pace and how everything is resolved. It’s not a book filled with a lot of fireworks but I was left with a very agreeable feeling by the end.
The book starts in the middle as Josh & Morgan meet after a 10 year separation. They were part of a threesome when one of them, Paul, died. AfterThe book starts in the middle as Josh & Morgan meet after a 10 year separation. They were part of a threesome when one of them, Paul, died. After that, Morgan never bothered to return until he gets some painting in the mail.
I don't really get this story. When they separate, they're just finishing school and still with the parents so they're all very young. I don't know how they could have built up such a tremendous love of their lives bond out of that especially as they grow up & develop their life and careers in such a separate place. In truth they really are like strangers. Then they never reconnect and when they finally do years later, they have sex and Morgan decides that's it, and will move & quit his job as a teacher. It all seems a little juvenile to me and like the story is missing lots of pieces. I didn't really care for this.
When all is said and done this is a coming out story, but reading it feels like a whole lot more. There’s like a slow sensuReviewed on Hearts on Fire
When all is said and done this is a coming out story, but reading it feels like a whole lot more. There’s like a slow sensual seductive dance between the physically fragile but emotionally strong Jorge and the big & seemingly bolder but more prone to playing it safe, Honor that’s compelling to read about and you’re seduced under their spell. They meet during childhood where each of their personalities instantly shines through. From the beginning we see how protective Jorge is of Honor and how in return, Honor adores him. That’s why it’s a shock when Honor makes the announcement that even though they’re lovers that he doesn’t consider himself gay and will marry a young woman named Rebecca.
We fast forward to 10 years later where Honor is a successful businessman still living in his closeted marriage and now has a son. He meets up with Jorge again during an event involving his son. Their meeting brings to the forefront all that Honor has tried to hide about himself and his previously ordered life turns to chaos as he tries to find a way to either have Jorge in his life or let him go forever and to do so without hurting everyone he loves in the process.
This book will be uncomfortable for some as it touches on one of those hot buttons topics in romance novels with its themes about truth & faithfulness. Even though there’s really no physical cheating, there’s betrayal on all sides. There are no real villains but no one has clean hands in the story. It’s a little messy like in real life. We also get the point of views of Jorge & Honor and even Rebecca gets to have her say as she’s a part of this story.
But this is one story , even with some of it being quite frustrating, that I was totally enthralled with from beginning to end. It’s heartbreaking at times. This is not an extremely long novel but it has the emotions of a much larger story. The ending is more HFN and it’s a touch sad but lovely and ultimately triumphant. I love when an author commits themselves to the romance of a story as in this one, as this is unabashedly sentimental in its words, language and actions . I’d recommend to all but especially to those looking for a good love story and who don’t mind when things get complicated. ...more
3.5 Stars This is a nice & gentle romance about a young woman named Callie who has left her small town life in OregonReviewed on Hearts on Fire
3.5 Stars This is a nice & gentle romance about a young woman named Callie who has left her small town life in Oregon to pursue life as a free spirit. When she finds out her mother has fallen and broken her hips, Callie returns to her old hometown that’s filled with memories of her family, including a brother who died several years ago in a car accident and his best friend Danny, a boy that she had once had strong feelings for when she was a teenager.
Callie finds herself still attracted to Danny when she sees him again but fears that she may be just like her father, a man who abandoned his family when she was a child. This story recounts her journey to figuring out who she really is and discovering if she has what it takes to stick out a relationship.
I thought the writing was good and liked the way we get to see both Callie & Danny’s point of view. At first I thought the book had some small town bias, with both Danny & Callie’s mom judging her for leaving town & looking for a more adventurous big city life. Danny especially seemed to be good at the guilt trip. But eventually I saw that their point of view wasn’t so static as they both came around to say how proud they were of all her accomplishments.
There’s a soothing quality to this romance and story. There’s a conflict without much angst and there was a nice resolution. A part of me wished for a little more excitement or anything, even more sexiness (sex?) to throw off the predictability. We never did get to see examples of Callie’s risk taking that’s so talked about in the book. Getting one small tattoo is just not enough to spell bold. But not every book has to be a thrill ride and if you’re in the mood for a nice even keeled romance story to read on some cozy afternoon then this one may just be the ticket....more
4.5 Stars Before I ramble on over the next few paragraphs about why this isn’t a perfect book, I should start off by sayingReviewed on Hearts on Fire
4.5 Stars Before I ramble on over the next few paragraphs about why this isn’t a perfect book, I should start off by saying that that didn’t stop me from falling a little in love with this story.
It’s one of those books loaded with sharp dialogue and witty repartee that got me from the start. Ryuu Tanaka is a professor at the University of Oregon. He spots a young man with long hair while jogging and is immediately captivated. When he finally gets through to him he finds out that he’s charming & funny and yes, might have some mental issues.
What this author does well through the dialogue is for us to get to know Daniel at the same time as Ryuu. And we can see why he’s so attracted. Daniel is very smart and observant & just odd in a fascinating kind of way. At one point in the story Ryuu has a big smile as he watches Daniel & I found myself mirroring that smile. It’s so infectious that you know it’s inevitable that Ryan falls hopelessly in love with him & conversely, that Daniel sees Ryan as the anchor he’s always needed. .
You can see the problems ahead as well as Ryuu gets himself involved deeper and comes to a realization about the reality of Daniel’s illness in this passage: “Ryuu’s heart was breaking as he realized, for the first time, what crazy really was. It wasn’t cute. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t something to joke about. It was scary as hell, and he was losing Daniel to it.” And the tone of the book turns and becomes darker as Ryuu starts to see the demons inside of Daniel.
It’s an interesting story although not everything worked for me. Ryuu is half Japanese which comes into play in a couple of ways. There’s a running gag about penis size and how that’s affected by being Japanese. It’s more of a joke but I still cringed a little on that bit of racial stereotyping.
There’s also some jokes made about being a seme and a uke which is apparently some anime & Yaoi term for top/dom and bottom/sub. Ryuu kept insisting that Daniel would have to be the uke (the bottom) because of his smaller size which is again some more stereotyping. What saves this is that Daniel and Ryuu don’t actually have that type of relationship and Ryuu is really just joking around about this and doing a little macho posturing.
Lastly the book’s plots all eventually converge at the same time and the book changes from its prior leisurely pace to having everything resolved at breakneck speed. It felt like we were cheated on some of the storyline and we needed more elaboration of it. And while there’s this wonderful kind of ending, this is one book crying out for an epilogue.
On the positive side, I do think this book offers something fresh & a little different. It was one of the better debut novels I’ve read this year and one of my favorites as well. Obviously some kinks in the storyline needs to be worked out but this is a writer showing a lot of promise. I think this story will appeal to those who like hurt comfort stories with struggling characters and are looking to see what it’s like to fall in love with crazy. ...more