Before Sundown was a curious mix of the enjoyable and the absurd. The book had a lot of issues, but they didn’t prevenA Joyfully Jay review.
Before Sundown was a curious mix of the enjoyable and the absurd. The book had a lot of issues, but they didn’t prevent it from being inviting and even charming at times. The plot is straightforward and pretty predictable, but it’s written with enough character to help it stand out a bit. Though it’s set in 1892, the novel does have something of a timeless quality to it and, save for a few historical tidbits, it could really be set in modern day. While I normally don’t like that in a piece that calls itself a historical, it worked for Before Sundown.
Eli Watkins is a fairly likable character and it’s easy to enjoy his irascible humor and obvious affection for Sam. He reads as an all or nothing sort of man and having given his heart to Sam, he’s willing to risk everything to keep him safe. Both Eli and Sam are a little flat as characters. They are not without dimension, but they don’t have enough fleshing out to be truly strong. Normally I try to champion victims of abuse, but Sam struck me as excessively spineless. I never understood why he doesn’t just leave and start a new life elsewhere. He’s of age and intelligent enough to make his own way in the world so the fact that he allowed himself to be his father’s perpetual whipping boy just didn’t make sense. Am I being too hard on Sam? Probably, and I’m willing to concede that, but his character was difficult to connect with on several levels.
The plot, set in the 1980s, is utterly implausible, ridiculous, and awfully predictable. And yet… this is one of my favoA Joyfully Jay review.
The plot, set in the 1980s, is utterly implausible, ridiculous, and awfully predictable. And yet… this is one of my favorite M/M pairings and stories. Why? Because of Valenti and O’Brian. Though told in third person from Valenti’s point of view alone, the two men are shown as wonderfully enjoyable characters with realistic speech and thought patterns. The development of their personalities and relationship is the key component here. The profound emotions lying just underneath the surface and the sheer torment of their affair, well, it pulls at my heart string every time.
The writing is detailed and vivid, super-sexy and strong. The driving force of the tale is the OFY and friends-to-lovers romance between two straight guys. Valenti is more analytical, always assessing the situation and the consequences of his actions. In comparison, O’Brian is less intellectual, more impulsive, and street-wise. They complement each other well, and their dialogue never fails to tickle my fancy and funny bone. The sexual tension is palpable and the genuine emotions these men have for one another is simply put suh-weet!
Like Gyrfalcon, this is not a traditional M/M romance. This is a sci fi epic drama with main characters who happen to beA Joyfully Jay review.
Like Gyrfalcon, this is not a traditional M/M romance. This is a sci fi epic drama with main characters who happen to be gay. In fact, the romance plays such a small part here, overall, that I hesitate even calling this a romance. So, if you’re expecting all hearts and flowers, not to mention repeated acts of hot sex, you won’t find much of that here. Be forewarned.
The beginning of the story focuses a lot on the military side, the complicated relationship between the Fleet and the Shield. When Bennet gets trapped on Telnos, a group of survivors with him, this turns into a survival drama until an escape plot is hatched. A couple of strong side characters come in, like an orphaned boy Bennet needs to keep safe. There are, however, a lot of intermediary scenes where other side characters, who are not on Telnos, handle Bennet’s assumed demise in different ways. I don’t think these scenes were all strictly speaking necessary, as they slowed the plot.
Preconceptions about stories set within a harem should definitely be cast aside as you read this. Though there’s polyaA Joyfully Jay review.
Preconceptions about stories set within a harem should definitely be cast aside as you read this. Though there’s polyamory, this isn’t a simple excuse for glorifying orgies. The harem is portrayed as a sacred and honorable tradition, with a proud history as a shining example of civilization, now corrupted by a cruel, ruthless king. That aspect in itself shows that the harems aren’t all about sex. In fact, with great kings the harems thrived. Demir is proud to uphold the tradition and mentor and take care of the concubines, be they male or female.
Demir is the central character, with the others playing important parts in his life and how it evolves from a beautiful figurehead to a man able to love and be loved, and by more than one man. Ihsan already has a flock of male concubines, but seeing Demir again, having grown into a fine man, sets his desires aflame. The palace intrigue is an obstacle as much as the harem master’s role of being unobtainable, a man destined to be adored but only from afar. Plus, one of the courtiers, Bulut, is a total creep, advocating the abolishing of the harem tradition–mostly to get his hands on Demir without contention. Another devious plot twist that adds layers of dimension to this intricate fantasy story.
Down is not a romance. This is pure science fiction survival horror where the protagonists just happen to be gay. AllA Joyfully Jay review.
Down is not a romance. This is pure science fiction survival horror where the protagonists just happen to be gay. All but one of the sex scenes happen off-page. And that single sex scene is twisted and weird, pretty much dubious consent, showcasing how far off the deep end they’ve all gone. So if you’re looking for sex or sensuality, erotic or romance, look elsewhere.
The main characters are Mo Rees, a miner, and Armin Savage-Hall, a scientist. Their personalities are quite different but their bond grows as the situation takes a turn for the worst. Their relationship baffled me. Like I said, this is not a romance. The initial connection between the two men, before everything spirals out of control, is figuring out they’re both gay, ready, and willing. The problem with casual sex being the spark between two protagonists is showing the subsequent relationship over the ten days the plot covers as deep and profound. Mo and Armin become a grounding force and comfort to one another as their insta-love deepens. Their strong sensual connection becomes a beacon of light and hope in an otherwise dark and deadly tale. But would they have had such a strong bond if their situation wasn’t so dire? I find it hard to believe. To me, their connection deepened too fast and felt unrealistic—if that can even be said with a futuristic horror story.
This story appears to spell the end of the Alchemists and Elementals trilogy, a superb fantasy series I can’t recommenA Joyfully Jay review.
This story appears to spell the end of the Alchemists and Elementals trilogy, a superb fantasy series I can’t recommend enough. Sweet’s writing is immersive and beautiful, her characters warm and relatable, her descriptions precise, and her imagery vivid. She seems to possess an instinctive understanding of how to breathe life into a fantasy world.
Kiss of Death is mostly about Hazrael’s healing, how he faces the fact he’s been a servant of evil for nearly twenty years and has lost everything he loved. Theodyne, the former thief and earth element alchemist, becomes Hazrael’s healer and confidant. But Hazrael finds it hard to get close to Oberon again, and their relationship is strained to say the least. Each line and moment between them is infused with unspoken emotions and longing, and described hauntingly and lovingly. Most of the book is focused on Hazrael’s slow recovery at the Gold School and the war preparations of the alchemists. But tiny little plot twists happen all the time, you just have to be careful to spot them.
From the blurb I expected this to be a funny little tale of misunderstandings, quirky authors, and love between two wA Joyfully Jay review.
From the blurb I expected this to be a funny little tale of misunderstandings, quirky authors, and love between two writers who do what they do out of love for their craft. Though the first chapter was humorous and lively, the rest of the book doesn’t live up to expectations.
I felt like I was reading two stories that clashed in a big way. One of them was a cute story about two authors and the multitude misunderstandings between them; the other was a boring tale of a writer, his pregnant sister, their mother on the war path, and a job from hell. Based on the blurb I expected the first; instead I got the second three-quarters of the time, and it was hopelessly boring. I kept trying to see how these two aspects of the story would mesh and blend seamlessly into a whole, but it never happened.
This book is filled with redundant scenes, like the illegal bottling scene that slowed the pace and put me in the mood to skip. I think most readers realize that authors aren’t all success stories and that evil day jobs come with the territory. Do we need entire chapters devoted to their utter boredom? No. The side plot of the pregnant teenage sister and their arguing mother was pointless and utterly irrelevant, unless the aim was to show how real life and real problems can affect an author’s motivation and level of enthusiasm. In any case, in these scenes Jasper is a passive onlooker as the two women in his life fight endlessly. I couldn’t read a single line more and jumped over each scene they were in because they were dull and repetitive, and Jasper did nothing in any of them but run away.
First and foremost, this is less a gay romance or even a ménage a trois than this is an epic science fiction story. InA Joyfully Jay review.
First and foremost, this is less a gay romance or even a ménage a trois than this is an epic science fiction story. In fact, if I were to classify this into one genre, I’d choose sci fi epic where the main characters just happen to be gay. Also of important note is that this ends in a cliffhanger, as this is only the first in a series. So if you’re patient, by all means read this now; if you want to engage in the full series, you might have to wait a while. Even relationship-wise this is more a HFN than a HEA, as Bennet and Flynn come together at a time and place that is not conducive to their romance. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a romance, but rather a casual fling that could become more but stronger forces pull the two men apart before they can figure stuff out.
This tale has more good than bad, but it does have both. Let’s get the negative out of the way first. A lot is left to the imagination, such as why humans fled from Earth to Albion or how faster-than light space travel works. The first is not a big problem, though I did want to know way more than was given. The second is a sci fi staple and therefore should have definitely warranted an explanation or two, even if for a line or a paragraph. That omission, though there are spaceships, made this feel less sci fi than it was. Some world-building details just shouldn’t be overlooked. There are also some odd dialogue choices, like “he said” and “said he” spoken in one paragraph after another. One seems old-fashioned, the other modern. One way should have been chosen beforehand and then the writing should have stuck with it. But that’s a subjective peeve. Plus, as I mentioned before, there’s the cliffhanger ending, which some might find a turn-off.
The events in this book take place three years after the first book in the Alchemists and Elementals series, Eye of TrutA Joyfully Jay review.
The events in this book take place three years after the first book in the Alchemists and Elementals series, Eye of Truth. As with that story, a book/tablet is a focal point of interest for both the good parties and the bad. In my opinion, that connecting thread was what brought the two books together. The Eye of Truth was to be used to destroy the alchemists; the Elementica can destroy the elementals. I wonder in which direction the third upcoming book in the series will take. I have to say that while I appreciated the first book, this one is better. The story is more concise, the pace tighter, and there are extremely few extraneous passages or chapters. Not a single word or line is redundant or unnecessary, and there was no need to skip anything. This intriguing story simply grabs you from the first line onward. The tension in the plot comes from a variety of sources: Estobán’s prophetic nightmares, the political scheming in the palatial areas, Jolen and Estobán’s potent attraction, the little boy Wendro who has some unusual abilities, the bursts of action and speed that drive the story forward in leaps and bounds as the heroes are thrust, swords and magic in hand, into the foreground in the war for control. In essence, if you are seeking an extraordinarily well-crafted fantasy suspense story, look no further. This is it.
This book is definitely intense. This is hardcore BDSM, with voyeurism, public exhibitions, and forced seduction, thaA Joyfully Jay review.
This book is definitely intense. This is hardcore BDSM, with voyeurism, public exhibitions, and forced seduction, that takes pain and pleasure beyond the confines of typical romances. The final scene on the warship alone may make the hardiest reader cringe with the violence and suffering, abuse and torture.
But… that is not all this story is about. It is not about chastity or breaking vows or submission. At its heart, this is about love. Not the sex side of love. But sacrificing love, selfless love, something pure and intangible beyond bodies coming together, skin touching skin, heated breaths and quickened heartbeats. Haven’s chastity is met with one temptation after another by Wren who loves his master so much that it consumes him.
For a period piece, I had my expectations about this, that either it would feel realistic or not. I’d say this tale hA Joyfully Jay review.
For a period piece, I had my expectations about this, that either it would feel realistic or not. I’d say this tale has a bit of both, the enlightenment of contemporary stories of love and a rich touch of historical realism. I appreciated both perspectives as they seem to blend in well together, almost seamlessly.
Though a good portion of this book is devoted to sensuality, the characters felt fully developed. As the title suggests, both men have distinctly differing personalities. Nigel has lived his whole life without acknowledging who he is. He’s shy and timid, but also able to throw himself headlong into new experiences. Jay has never been willing to acquiesce to the demands of others on how he should be. He’s independent and at peace with himself, but he doesn’t realize something’s missing in his life until he begins to, well, miss Nigel.
In many ways, this is the kind of story filled with themes of forbidden love and enemies-to-lovers that’s all predictA Joyfully Jay review.
In many ways, this is the kind of story filled with themes of forbidden love and enemies-to-lovers that’s all predictable. But… the way this tale is written, it’s just charming and drags you right into the thick of things, not letting go until the last line. I loved it.
In the beginning, the characters are total opposites in personalities, and their arguing banter is one of the best aspects of the book. The sparkling wit and snappy retorts make each verbal fencing match a delight to read. Daniel insults Michael as best he can, and Michael happily smiles with a smart remark back. Delicious dialogue indeed.
What I found quite refreshing also was that despite the historical period, the two men decide to forge ahead with their relationship, regardless of being maliciously gossiped about. They refuse to let others make their decisions for them, to allow haters to change what good they have. Historical romances often show this aspect which, while realistic, is often handled in a melodramatic fashion. Here, the matter is skimmed, working in the background to show the social forces these men heroicly fight against.
The characterization in this story is accomplished with subtle physical cues. Henry is shy, blushing, and has no guile,A Joyfully Jay review.
The characterization in this story is accomplished with subtle physical cues. Henry is shy, blushing, and has no guile, as his expressions always reveal the truth. Richard is a rake, plain and simple, self-confident, naughty, and reckless to the point of careless. Henry has no expectations of love, and neither does Richard, but their views on life and their motivations are totally different. Henry is innocent but given up hope of finding true love with a man because of his obligations; Richard has had so much sex that he’s cynical and doesn’t see intimacy of any kind as a prelude to emotions, let alone love.
Their relationship starts innocently and is highly sensual, but because of their individual social standing and roles to perform, their connections turns sour and bitter soon, both trying to bury the secret and expecting the other to lie, deceive, plot and manipulate. Brokenhearted, both men act horribly, even cruelly toward one another, as people do when they’re suspicious and unable to be true to themselves.
This story is pure poetry, every word a gem. Incredibly beautiful storytelling in every sense.
Anthony has spent his whole life, when he’s not working on some ingenious device, in bed with men and women of all sorts. Stephen, on the other hand, is a virgin who has waited faithfully until his wedding night to learn the ways of love. Unfortunately, Anthony knows all about sex, but nothing about love. Poor teacher, poor student. These two men shouldn’t fit together at all, and the rest of high society is in total agreement. Yet they sort of, kind of do, beating all the odds.
Two big hurdles come their way in the form of plot twists, one of them totally out of the blue and terribly heart-breaking. A kiss out of wedlock and a fatal injury. Which is worse, do you think? The story moves at a perfect balance between slow and fast paced, never leaving you wanting.
This story is written in the third person, but we’re only given Anthony’s point of view. Nonetheless, I still felt like I got to know Stephen, as Frost is an exceedingly talented writer. These men live and breathe off the page, showing every inner truth with hints of body language, absence of words, and whispers of emotions, and finally the sudden epiphany Anthony gets that turns his whole world upside down.
I loved this story. The bitterness of heartache is present at every step forward until I felt like my heart would burst. But the hope of love, such a small light under the dark shadow of war, is brought before us with beautiful writing and wonderfully relatable characters. I highly recommend this.
This tale surprised me, leading me down the garden path into fascinating unknowns. This is no simple sex romp betweenA Joyfully Jay review.
This tale surprised me, leading me down the garden path into fascinating unknowns. This is no simple sex romp between a nobleman and a pirate, but a mesmerizing steampunk pirate story that challenges the way you view humanity, sexuality, and the world at large.
Alex has an inner duality, shy and silent, and yet willful and opinionated. His father put him through hell when he learned of Alex’s homosexuality. Because of it, he is innocent about a lot of things. But with Beche at his side, challenging him at every step, Alex learns to be brave and to take his first steps into the real world as the man he was always meant to be.
Beche is simpler in many ways, yet way more complex. A former slave who fought for his freedom from brutal hardships, he’s learned to get respect by being a feared pirate. Alex shows him a different course without meaning to. Beche believes that Alex has a woman’s soul in a man’s body, subsequently explaining and justifying his own growing feelings for Alex.
Most of this book is dialogue and long conversations about humanity, sexual identity, ethics, honor, etc. This becomes almost a social study of this fictional, historical steampunk world. This is also a sweet romance, rather than erotica. There are only a few sex scenes, with no anal sex or penetration. I was expecting more sensuality and sex. But mostly the plot is fraught with action and adventure when Beche is apprehended and the plans the others devise to get him free.
Unfortunately, despite the inticing blurb, this had virtually nothing but problems for me. First, the story ends in aA Joyfully Jay review.
Unfortunately, despite the inticing blurb, this had virtually nothing but problems for me. First, the story ends in a cliffhanger—with no second book in sight. Nowhere was this mentioned, so there was no resolution of any kind. Second, every sex scene ends abruptly with someone knocking on the door or witnessing their acts, so there’s never a truly satisfactory sensual scene. Third, though this is an historical and I assume the author intended this to be realistic, there’s such a thing as going overboard on the violence, loss of limbs, racism, etc., especially in what is supposed to be a romance. It’s hard to fall for the sensual scenes when it’s preceded by such distasteful torture. Fourth, I couldn’t connect with the main characters, as they both said and did things that awakened little sympathy in me. One good, honest discussion and neither of them would have been in this mess. Fifth, there’s quite a bit of hypocrisy here. Logan has no problem killing Indians and by the end of the book, he was ready to slaughter them all in revenge. At the same time, he berates the Mormons who seek shelter at his fort for doing something unethical, even as they are desperate and dying of starvation. To me it read like hypocrisy, allowing the slaughter of Native Americans and then being oddly progressive of a woman being used as barter. It felt to me like the author was trying to show that Logan, despite being intent on killing Indians, was a better man than the rest, giving him a hero’s halo, which I don’t think he deserved. One little speech judging people who were at their wits end compared to a lifetime spent killing? It didn’t work at all.
If it wasn’t for the writing, which was moderately good with its descriptions and giving the world a touch of realism (though that too was shattered by a weird tornado event), I would have given this two stars. This is simply speaking not worth your time or money in my opinion. At least wait until there’s more to this possible series, as the cliffhanger will undoubtedly bug you as it did me.
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of O’Quinn’s writing. She has a way of painting a picture with poetic descriptions thatA Joyfully Jay review.
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of O’Quinn’s writing. She has a way of painting a picture with poetic descriptions that seem like she never uses the same word twice. I can’t help but be in awe of her talent. Her style of writing has a thick sensuous tension running throughout. Even if there’s no sex in a scene, the allusion is ever-present. In part, this is due to Michael and Simon, the heroes of these tales.
O’Quinn’s characterization is deep. Her men have a way of saying a lot by saying little, as the scene between Michael and Sam in the past, during a stakeout, attests. Michael and Simon have distinctly differing personalities. Where Michael is jovial and robust, a rogue in the truest sense, Simon clings to a polite facade, reserved and private. Yet both men are smart and strong, and their connection spans beyond the physical. But that sensual sphere they inhabit is so palpable and visceral it makes my heart beat faster until I’m almost out of breath. Simon holds much of himself secret while Michael wears his heart on his sleeve. Each time the two men come together, so much is left unsaid and undone that it tears my heart out of my chest.
A new case is brought to private investigators Simon Hart and Michael McCree. A bunch of valuable paintings, plus anA Joyfully Jay review.
A new case is brought to private investigators Simon Hart and Michael McCree. A bunch of valuable paintings, plus an exceedingly valuable piece of artwork, have been stolen. What at first seems like a simple case of tracking down the culprits to their lair and recovering the items, soon the case evolves into a hunt for a city-wide criminal ring. To make matters worse, a mysterious man named Moshe sticks his nose into the case and in Michael and Simon’s personal relationship. Ditching him isn’t easy and he’s driving a wedge between them.
Simon is starting to accept his nature as a gay man, an omi-palone, and his relationship with Michael has taken a huge leap forward. Their multitude of sensual and sexual encounters form their most honest and basic method of communication, where neither can hide who they truly are at heart. Simon is still uptight and reserved, but he’s learning to relax and even take the initiative during sex. Michael is infinitely patient, accepting what Simon offers, never demanding more than the other man is comfortable giving. He’s such a dream man, patient and loving, honorable and roguish too.
The first book in the series was a whodunit murder mystery. This one, however, has less mystery and more action, danger,A Joyfully Jay review.
The first book in the series was a whodunit murder mystery. This one, however, has less mystery and more action, danger, and interpersonal altercations. As their relationship has taken a turn toward deeper intimacy, Simon is hot and cold, either jumping on Michael’s bones or morosely turning down his affections. His mood swings, though, never repel Michael, who has sworn to be Simon’s all, from a protector to friend and beloved. Both men are strong, smart, and super-sexy, so they are in many ways a match made in heaven.
Chanda, their foe, is a tough adversary, a cunning man with an inner drive to match his evil genius. The threat he poses arises from violent death and from torture and rape, as his deep-seated perverse nature is slowly revealed to the reader. The best part of this aspect of the story, however, is the way Chanda is humanized and given a personality of his own, something to explain his motivations and justify his actions. In fact, his role in the events of the first book are shown in a completely different light. In essence, he becomes a worthy adversary to match wits against our heroic duo.
This absolutely captivating story, with steampunk elements without being steampunk but gaslight, takes place in a fictioA Joyfully Jay review.
This absolutely captivating story, with steampunk elements without being steampunk but gaslight, takes place in a fictional 1920s town in Ireland with a culture, language, and traditions of its own. Each finely crafted and rich detail of this world-building artwork lures you in until you feel as though you’re actually there, in Dun Linden. This is a case of complete immersion into a skillfully created world. From little guttersnipes to snobbish uppity-muppities, every character encountered and every street walked on, they all breathe life into this alternate fantasy world of gaslight and murder mysteries.
The best part of this story is the friendship and camaraderie between Michael and Simon. No two men could be more different, yet they share common traits that begin to form the basis of their relationship. Michael appears as a charming, laidback rogue with a heart of gold, but he keeps many secrets buried beneath this happy-go-lucky facade. Simon, on the other hand, seems sullen, quiet, and reserved, but when his temper flares, all bets are off. And inside, his heart is capable of great gentleness and kindness.
The erotic tension between these two runs along the length of the story, so potent it practically leaps off the pages. Michael is a fountain of sexual experiences; Simon is a virgin who desired a straight man and is now lost as to what to do next. As the two begin their sensual tango, Michael is ready, willing, and able to give Simon everything, from pleasure and comfort, to brilliant insight and strength in every sense of the word. In his confusion, uncertainty and regret, Simon takes what Michael gives, always with remorse after, slowly starting to see a world of delight ahead of him as his heart thaws and his body sparks to life. To top this off, their mutual respect and admiration also grows, giving them something to fight for.
This is not by any means light reading. Heavy issues are dealt with in these pages, such as a cop who has seen far, fA Joyfully Jay review.
This is not by any means light reading. Heavy issues are dealt with in these pages, such as a cop who has seen far, far too much and all but loses his mind over the horrors he’s seen. To Michael, every person in the streets appears as either a victim or a villain. Finn is bookshop owner who made mistakes in his reckless youth, which earned him a criminal record and a terrible need to bury the past for good. Not being able to cope with one’s life and desperately searching for a change and a means out of the rut and out of the path of dangers are the main themes here, and they make the story heavy and hard to deal with.
Though skillfully written, the pace is awfully slow and the book is filled with descriptions of every little detail of the world, its inhabitants, surroundings, possessions, moods, the lot. It can get a little daunting. I think the author was trying to create a certain mood, a weight and lassitude, and in that she has succeeded. A great deal of the inner workings of people is given, and that gives us valuable insight into our (anti)heroes.
As for the side characters, there’s a clear separation between the good—the Li family, Sarah, Jenny—and the bad—Briggs, Benny, and Lisa—so it’s only the heroes who have depth enough to justify their characters’ personality shifts. Lady Harcombe in particular is a nasty piece of work. I detested her with every fiber of my being. It’s people like her who deserve to be imprisoned. She’s supposed to be the chief magistrate of the district, and she behaves like a lowly thug and a mob queen? No. Just no.
I have mixed feelings about this tale. We’re given a map of the area, and nothing more. No time is wasted explainingA Joyfully Jay review.
I have mixed feelings about this tale. We’re given a map of the area, and nothing more. No time is wasted explaining how this alternate world works, as the tale dives straight into the action. Little tidbits are given along the way, giving you chance to form a bigger picture without a huge info-dump at the beginning. The worldbuilding is done meticulously, with obvious traces of deep period research having gone into making this world believable, in which it totally succeeds, probably the best I’ve seen in a long while. There’s an appendix at the end, dishing out deliciously fine details about this nuanced world. The language is complex, the phrasing vivid and striking, and the multitude of characters are each more interesting than the next.
But considering how intricate the characters, their names and background, and the fabulously constructed worldbuilding, there are two things that are all wrong here: Heathric and Adal. Namely, their romance. This story is about 140 pages of actual text, but the main couple meet at about page 95. Everything in this Suevia—Wodenburg situation is so well created that the immediate insta-sex and insta-love felt rushed and unrealistic. I was so disappointed. What this story needed was about a hundred pages more to give the romance depth and chance for the characters to blossom into their true selves and for their relationship to get forged into something lasting.
I loved this book. There was nothing I didn’t like about it. Everything rang true. Each bit of dialogue, each action takA Joyfully Jay review.
I loved this book. There was nothing I didn’t like about it. Everything rang true. Each bit of dialogue, each action taken, every sliver of personality revealed, each hot and heavy moment brought to life.
Ginsberg was a gem. His upbeat, super-bright personality was a hoot, and I couldn’t wait to see how he reacted to Derrick’s grumbling, morose ways. Ginsberg is transgender, female-to-male. He’s gone through the whole process, giving him a firm chest and a dick. I waited to see how this topic would be addressed in the story, as in the thoughts of the characters, the dialogue spoken, and the sex. All of it was realistic and sweet and hot, and I just loved it. Fell head over heels.
I’m finding it hard to review this book. Overall there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. Yet I could never gA Joyfully Jay review.
I’m finding it hard to review this book. Overall there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. Yet I could never get into the story, feel for the men, or care what became of them.
The first reason is the characters themselves. Bradley is indeed a selfish brat and, though he claims to be the better man, Jace isn’t any better. Throughout the story Jace referred to himself as mature, as opposed to Bradley, but he often wasn’t. Despite the age difference (about 10 years), they are awfully alike. Neither man can hold onto an adult conversation, their tempers flare over the smallest thing, and the insane attraction between them is just that, insane, with no foundation or point to it. I couldn’t understand where this insta-lust came from. It made no sense.
The only time either man was tolerable, well mostly Jace, was when he was with Sam, his adopted teenage son. Bradley, on the other hand…. I didn’t like him one bit. He was everything a thirty-year old man shouldn’t be. He had tantrums, he said and did whatever he wanted without a single thought to the feelings of others, and he was completely self-obsessed. Every time he didn’t get what he wanted, he pouted. Yeah, he pouted! Like a kid.
After reading the blurb, I immediately wanted to read this. I expected that because the author professed to knowing tA Joyfully Jay review.
After reading the blurb, I immediately wanted to read this. I expected that because the author professed to knowing the clichés of paranormal romance she would deliver a funny tale with plenty of surprises. But… and isn’t there always a but? But… this story does point out a bunch of these clichés, yes, but it sure doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, just added a couple of new spinners on for show.
In short, the plot points out all the typical stuff through Killian who hates them—and yet they’re all present in this story: One hero who has a foot in both the human and the wolf world and a strong reason to hate the wolf bit; another hero who has a prior straight engagement and a whole pack to run; an insane female lead who is, of course, attached to one of the heroes; a pushy family who don’t give a toss about their son; plotting and scheming to overthrow Brett; a horrible caricature of a woman who in the end sees the light and is unbelievably redeemed; and last but not least, a challenge fight to the death in wolf form. Did I miss anything? Hmm.
To get this out of the way first, I’m not usually a fan of romance stories where the perspectives of people other thaA Joyfully Jay review.
To get this out of the way first, I’m not usually a fan of romance stories where the perspectives of people other than the main couple (or ménage or what-have-you) are given. I especially cringe when stories begin and last that way for several chapters. I keep expecting that POV person to be part of the relationship. That said, however, in mystery books that approach can make sense, and even be necessary for plot development. And that’s the case here. It helps the reader to have an idea of the mindsets of the victims and/or suspects. Besides, this book starts off with a bang, so this alternate POV beginning works well, setting the scene and giving the reader an insight into the victims/suspects, one that the investigators don’t yet have. This puts the reader ahead of the Beau and Cruz, which is a nice place to be.
The characterization is done both well and not well. With that I mean that both Beau and Cruz are very confident, strong-willed, smart, and sexy men. Beau’s been burned by love, and he’s become a grouchy cynic who sees nothing good in anything around him. Cruz is more relaxed, suave, and classy, and he’s well aware of his charm. But… the two men are also disturbingly similar once you get past the superficial differences. They behave the same, and even speak with the same phrases and use the same curse words. Perhaps the author intended this to show how well they fit together, I don’t know, but it was a bit distracting at times. Not all the time, though.
Woodson’s engaging writing style ratchets up a notch, bringing forth fast-paced action and first relationships turmoilA Joyfully Jay review.
Woodson’s engaging writing style ratchets up a notch, bringing forth fast-paced action and first relationships turmoils. The passion Mac and Ian feel for each other has to contend with the fact they don’t know each other all that well yet. Male pride especially fuels their first rows, but also leads them into trouble. I liked this aspect of their relationship, since no affair is simply lying blissfully on a bed of roses. This vulnerability added a sense of realism to the tale.
Plotlines that drive the main couple apart for a lengthy period rarely work in either novellas or the romance genre. Here we have a romance novella, so the choice to separate Mac and Ian for nearly half the book for a variety reasons proved problematic. The relief for the two men to rediscover one another smooths away the rough edges born of rows and unresolved matters, which is a flimsy way to deal with conflicts. I’m hoping in the next installment Mac and Ian deal with their issues like normal people, by talking about their problems.
This story starts out with a bang! I was immediately drawn in, the immersion total and complete. The world-building iA Joyfully Jay review.
This story starts out with a bang! I was immediately drawn in, the immersion total and complete. The world-building is done subtlely, with scarce few details dropped here and there. It’s as though we are Cenric, an ignorant scribe from a tiny village, who learns about a huge world beyond the boundaries of safety. That was a good call by Miller as it inspired wanting to learn more and to keep reading. Slowly we discover the rest of the world, how dwarf clans are at war, or how elves lurk in the shadows wanting to claim magic from the kingdom, and so on. There’s also political intrigue, as nations collide in games of subterfuge, played by spies and hunters.
Part 1 is told from Cenric’s point of view, part 2 from Rylan’s. That wasn’t necessarily the best way to approach, since at times I felt a certain scene would have made more sense or opened up better had the other person been the POV character. In the palace especially I longed to hear what Cenric thought about it all.
As soon as I read the blurb I wanted to read this book. But… if a story’s goal is to evoke feelings, then this one hiA Joyfully Jay review.
As soon as I read the blurb I wanted to read this book. But… if a story’s goal is to evoke feelings, then this one hits the mark—in a negative way. Frustration had me all but pulling hairs out of my head as Greg kept making the same mistakes again and again. He was used as a doormat—plus a wallet, housekeeper, and occasional fuck-buddy. His waffling, told in first person from his point of view alone, made me repeatedly grit my teeth.
Sure, everybody’s been in his situation, caught in the limbo between an ex and a potential future partner, having feelings for both of them and not knowing which way to go. Did realizing that make me sympathetic to Greg’s emotional plight? Only at times, unfortunately. Greg just can’t seem to make a decision, and when he does, he doubts it, and then changes his mind. When this happens more than three times, the plot loses forward momentum. There’s a lot of repetition and rehashing things that have already been covered. At times I felt like I was reading the same scene, over and over, until I simply started skipping a line here, another there, and didn’t miss a thing.
In fact, this relatively short novella gives far too much room to Tim, the cheating boyfriend, and his dumber than a boot boy toy, Charlie. I assume they were used to show how indecisive Greg could be, his low self-esteem evident to anyone for miles around. But honestly, considering the length of the story, this could and should have been reduced.
Both points of view—Sloane’s and Hank’s—are given to us in first person. Unless the voices are unique and differ subsA Joyfully Jay review.
Both points of view—Sloane’s and Hank’s—are given to us in first person. Unless the voices are unique and differ substantially, that format rarely works. But here, getting to know the thought processes and hidden feelings of both men was rather well done. While Sloane is more confident and curious, Hank has a hard time accepting his attraction. His coming out takes a long time, not because of other people, but because of himself. He can’t seem to face that part of his nature, so he hides in the closet, mostly from himself. The characterization never feels forced or unnatural, and you always hear the voices of Sloane and Hank, not the author writing them.
The reason for that is Easton’s easy, fluid writing. The personalities of the characters come through in small details, as Sloane and Hank learn about each other, and as the reader learns about both of them. Easton masters effective and persuasive writing, her style natural and smooth. Dialogue is realistic, the story doesn’t linger inside people’s heads for too long, and the narrative grabs you until you find yourself turning pages, unwilling to stop until the very last line.