Janna's Reviews > Oleander House

Oleander House by Ally Blue
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's review
Jun 15, 10

bookshelves: z2010-100plus-reading-challenge, z2010-m-m-romance-challenge, m-m, paranormal
Read in April, 2010

This review was originally published at my blog

Genre & Keywords:
M/M, paranormal, Gay For You, ghost hunting, supernatural dimensions, violence

Why I read it:
Chris @ Stumbling on Chaos recommended this series to me

Sam joins the team of Bay City Paranormal Investigations, which is led by Bo. There’s an attraction between the two men but Bo is married with children. The team investigates a haunted house. While they discover dangerous supernatural dimensions Sam and Bo struggle with their mutual attraction and feelings.

My opinion in short:
This book had me on the edge of my seat during the complete second half. It has thriller elements as well as a blooming sweet gay for you romance. It’s well written, has likeable main and secondary characters and is a promising start of a series. I liked the angle of investigating the supernatural, instead of (one of) the characters being a vampire, shifter, demon, angel or any other paranormal being. I highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

What’s more to know about this book:
Sam is a likeable protagonist: open, vulnerable, honest, sexy, caring and forgiving. His frustration and anger are tangible and understandable. Bo is the main cause of his frustration and anger because he refuses to admit his gay feelings. I would’ve loved to smack Bo with something on the head to beat some sense into him (and this urge only grew stronger in the next books of the series). The rest of the team members are nice supporting actors who are interesting enough without them stealing Sam and Bo’s show.
The story is told in third person from Sam’s point of view, which works perfectly for this first book, with him being the newby in the investigation team. The reader has to guess along with him, not only about the investigation but also about the other team members, their relationships and feelings (especially Bo’s).
The plot is the strongest feature of this book, it’s well developed, fast paced and full of suspense that keeps you at the edge of your seat, especially during the second half of the book, when the supernatural danger is manifesting itself more and more. The build-up is dosed perfectly.
M/M. There are not that many smexy scenes (when you don’t count the hot dreams Sam has) but the few sexual encounters between Sam and Bo are pretty scorching and well written. They are cleverly related to the paranormal story line as well. In this book the sex scenes add something meaningful to not only the developing romance between Sam and Bo, but also to Sam’s unfolding paranormal abilities, due to his vulnerability in those scenes (cryptic, huh?).
Writing style
Pleasant, doesn’t draw too much attention to itself, which is good because it never pulls you out of the story. The dialogues are nice and numerous. The descriptions of the surroundings and situations are vigorous and easy to picture. I enjoyed Ms. Blue’s writing.

Favorite scene/quote:
The scene where the other team members find out Sam is gay and the way they (especially Andre and David) handle it:

““Yeah,” Sam answered. “Sorry I didn’t tell you before. It just didn’t seem important.”
“It’s not.” Andre clapped him on the back. “Whatever floats your boat, man.”
“Just don’t stare at my ass.” David grinned over his shoulder. “I get as much of that as I can stand from Andre.”
“You wish,” Andre said, and swatted David’s rear.
David yelped and danced out of reach when Andre lifted his arm for another swing. “See?” he exclaimed. “The guy’s totally gay for me. He can’t get enough of my manly sexiness.”
David wiggled his butt invitingly. Andre calmly flipped him off while Cecile giggled. Sam laughed, feeling the last of his unease drain away. In his experience, anyone who could joke so casually about it had no problem with it. He was profoundly grateful no one had mentioned his confession to Bo the evening before. He wasn’t ready for that conversation just yet.”

Ally Blue’s website | blog | on Twitter | on Goodreads
Buy Oleander House here

The books in this series:
# 1: Oleander House (Sam and Bo, 4 stars)
# 2: What Hides Inside (Sam and Bo, 4 stars)
# 3: Twilight (Sam and Bo, 3.5 stars)
# 4: Closer (Sam and Bo, 4 stars)
# 5: An Inner Darkness (Sam and Bo, 4.5 stars)
# 6: Where The Heart Is (series-related: Dean Delapore's story, 4 stars)
# 7: Love, Like Ghosts (series-related: Adrian Broussard's story, not read yet)

This is the first review I tried the format on that I came up with a little while ago . I would like to know what does and doesn't work for you about this review format.
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