This is the novella based on the pictures and story prompt I provided for the Love Knows No Boundaries event in the M/M Romance GAbsolutely loved it!!
This is the novella based on the pictures and story prompt I provided for the Love Knows No Boundaries event in the M/M Romance Group, and T.A. Webb wrote this story just perfectly!!
Davey is a Naval Lieutenant on an aircraft carrier, and he also happens to be gay and in the closet. Being a pilot has always been his most important goal in life, so he has tucked away his sexuality, keeping it secondary and secretive. Even with the repeal of DADT, he doesn't want any of his friends or co-workers to view him differently if he were to come out. Then Chuck, a new pilot, arrives on the carrier, and Davey's ability to keep his sexuality hidden becomes much more difficult.
Davey is attracted to Chuck from the second he lays eyes on him, but after spending months together on the carrier, flying together, and working together, Davey and Chuck become close friends, and Davey has learned that Chuck is as amazing inside as he is outside. Then one day, an opportunity presents itself, and the two friends might become something more.
This is a beautiful story of friends becoming lovers, and it is full of romance and an amazing HEA. Webb incorporated the picture I provided of the two pilots standing on a jet in the twilight better than I ever could have imagined. Thank you, T.A. Webb, for breathing beautiful life into this story prompt....more
Excedrin….someone please pass me the Excedrin! That is exactly what I need after finished KING MReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Excedrin….someone please pass me the Excedrin! That is exactly what I need after finished KING MAI. When I smile, laugh and/or cry too much, I get headaches. Well, I did all three of those things, especially the former and the latter, and now I need some relief. Of course, reading KING MAI was worth every ounce of that pain, so I’m not complaining.
To sum it up, KING MAI was A-FRICKING-MAZING!! I absolutely loved KING PERRY, the first book in Edmond Manning’s The Lost and Founds series, so I knew that I had wonderful things to look forward to in KING MAI, but never in a million years did I suspect that I would end up loving it as much as, if not more, than its predecessor. Oh but I did. KING MAI was all that and a bag of chips!!
Like KING PERRY, we find Vin Vanbly about to begin a kinging weekend. In this installment in the series, however, Manning has taken the reader back to 1996, and unlike KING PERRY, where he only met his Lost King right before the kinging weekend, we find that Vin and Mai have known each other for about six months via AOL and internet chatting. Mai Kearns is a twenty-something farmer in DeKalb. He is of Thai descent, was adopted as a baby, and he is gay. Due to many negative experiences, usually related to being a different race from those surrounding him in Small Town, USA, and being gay, he has felt ostracized, ridiculed, and hurt. Adding salt to the wound, Mai has never completely gotten over the sudden and hurtful loss of his first true love. Nevertheless, he loves DeKalb, and he loves being a farmer.
Unfortunately, Mai’s parents’ farm is in foreclosure. They have been struggling for awhile, but now the loss of the farm is imminent. Rather than allowing his various wounds over the years to heal, however, Mai only covered them with a band-aid, and his band-aid of choice is generally in the form of anger. When pressed with an unsavory situation, he often lashes out. This trait of his, however, does not deplete his strength of character, his compassion, nor the profound love he has within him ~ for that of his parents, their farm, or for others. It only masks it. But not to Vin. Vin has an amazing talent in reading people, and he sees that strength with certain clarity. In addition, he sees that Mai has a gift ~ a gift of curiosity. And it is this very special trait that leads him through a treasure-hunting kinging weekend full of highs, lows, and everything in between.
Once again, Manning has written a novel that I cannot praise high enough. My words cannot do it justice. To put it succinctly, KING MAI is simply amazing. Manning has weaved such an imaginative and well-written book, I recommend it to everyone. Like KING PERRY, KING MAI truly is a literary work of art. The characters Manning writes are ones I don’t want to leave after I’m done with the book. I want to read more, discover more, and find out what else might happen to them afterward. I love these characters. They make me laugh, and they make me cry. And with both, it’s a good guarantee that I am doing them while smiling. These characters are like a comfort food for me ~ they warm my soul.
Mai is a bit prickly at first. Like I said, he is quick to anger and lashes out when things are not easy or when he hears or sees something he doesn’t like. But after Vin scratches through his rough exterior, we see the compassionate, caring, and loving soul that Mai is. He’s been hurt, and as a result, he’s put up walls, and he focuses all of his energy into the one thing he loves so deeply ~ his parents’ farm. And while he lashes out at Vin several times, Vin stays the course of the weekend, and he provides Mai with what he needs to help him remember the man he is.
And then there is Vin. Ah, Vin. Although it seems as though he does, Vin doesn’t actually work magic. Rather, he puts forth so much effort into his kinging weekends, his selflessness and his deep love for the Lost King ~ in this case, Mai ~ just exudes off the page. He doesn’t make things easy, but everything he does, he does with immense love. The story is told through Vin’s eyes and words, and so much of that is focused on Mai. Throughout the book, though, we also get introspective glimpses about himself, ones that make me sad actually. While Vin fulfills his role so beautifully in kinging Mai ~ through his selflessness, compassion, and love ~ he doesn’t seem to see himself in a positive light. Rather, he has rather grim thoughts about who he is and where he is in life. Oh Vin ~ you have very quirky ways, but you have a beautiful soul that is as brilliant as your mind. I look so forward watching your story unfold with each successive book.
Together Vin and Mai are actually magical. They don’t always agree, and even when Mai lashes out at Vin, there is love there between them. As their weekend unfolds, the reader is taken on an adventure with these lovely characters whose chemistry and personalities work so well together. Their passion is raw, but it is doused in love and served with a side of seriously sexy lust. And as they make it through the weekend, the reader is led to the same epiphanies as Mai, monumental moments that are awakening and often beautiful. So many times I wept along with Mai as he reached these moments. Be sure to have your tissues at the ready.
So now I’ve taken my Excedrin, and my headache has dissipated. It didn’t last long, but like I said, it was completely worth it. Besides, Excedrin is a great word, isn’t it? Ex-ce-drrrrinnnnnn. It just rolls off the tongue so well, and bonus! It has an “x” in it. Yeah, I need some of that. Don’t know what I mean? Read KING MAI to find out. ;)
Aaahhhh, what a beautiful, meaningful phrase after reading such an amazing booReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Remember the King.
Aaahhhh, what a beautiful, meaningful phrase after reading such an amazing book. What took me so long to pick up this fabulous novel, I have no idea. But I am ever so glad that I finally did! KING PERRY had been highly recommended to me by someone who is very stingy with her star ratings, but she gave it 5 stars, and now I know why. To put it succinctly, it was brilliant.
KING PERRY tells the tale of Vin Vanbly, who meets Perry Mangrin, and decides that Perry needs to be “Kinged.” What does that mean exactly? It means going together on an adventurous weekend, doing fun, silly, and wildly unexpected things, all to serve a purpose in self-discovery, and for Perry, forgiveness.
Perry suffered incredible loss as a young child, and through a very brief meeting, natural instinct, and the ability to read people so, so well, Vin recognized this and saw something in Perry that could use one of Vin’s King weekends. Perry, who barely knows Vin, is understandably suspect of the invitation he receives from Vin, but in the end, he decides to go along and see what it is that Vin is offering. While Vin is not into BDSM, he requests Perry to submit to all of his requests. Understandably, Perry responds to a lot of these with reluctance, but eventually he does submit, and the weekend quickly becomes one that he will never forget. There is a wild trip to Alcatraz, a humbling breakfast, adventures involving a duckling (aptly named Mr. Quackers), fun on the beach, camping, and so many other things in between.
Manning weaves an amazing and simply beautiful tale of a grand King weekend for Vin and Perry, two characters who I just adore. Vin is absolutely fabulous!! He is not an alpha male, nor is he a huge, sexy hunk. On the outside, he is an average guy. The inside, though – just WOW! Vin is one of the most beautiful characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. He is brilliantly witty, intelligent, and highly intuitive, all of which also reflects on Manning as the author. Manning doesn’t add detail to the story for the sake of filling a page, but at the same time, he writes about Vin’s quirky and humorous thought processes, things that are not often discussed in other books. These are great glimpses into Vin’s beautiful, intricately thoughtful mind, and I find him so fascinating as a result. As an aside, I also absolutely loved Vin’s OCD with words and letters. I have a few of them myself, so I could completely relate. :)
Vin’s intuition is also spot-on. He can see so much about people by reading into their responses and bodily reactions, no matter how subtle. Because of all the greatness that Vin truly is, he is so adept at deciding exactly what needs to be done to King someone, and how to make that person whole once again – how he can be Found. He also has a zest for life and living, kindness and caring. To give you an idea, here Vin asks Perry:
“…have you ever done anything so significantly outrageous, so beautiful and insane, that on days when your life feels dull, these shining moments leap out? Do you have an answer to the question ‘Did I live? Did I touch the world?’”
Vin helps Perry do this – he helps him Remember the King. In his adventures with Perry, we also get a glimpse into Vin’s background and an issue about which he prefers not to think. KING PERRY only scratched the surface of that, but I look forward to reading more about Vin in future books to come, in hopes to see a transformation from Lost to Found himself.
Perry is a wonderful character as well. He is understandably hesitant when he decides to accompany Vin on this King weekend, and while there are some men who would never go along with the things that Vin makes him do, he decides to do so. He has his guard up, but underlying that is a vulnerability and a hurt so deep that as a reader, I just wanted to grab, hug, and squeeze him without letting go. Nonetheless, he is full of compassion and kindness, traits that draw Vin right to him. While not the focus of the book, Perry and Vin also share some great sexual chemistry and could seriously light some pages on fire with it. Throughout so much of their intimate time together, Vin tells Perry tales of all various Kings, how some were Lost, how some were Found. While a bit strange to discuss such things during such a time, it works and adds to the story as a whole. Perry and Vin are also very sweet and adorable together with their interactions and playful bantering.
If asked, I could not do justice to describe the type of book that KING PERRY actually is. It’s not a romance in the traditional sense of the term. There is romance, and there is love, but this is not a story about an HEA for these men. That is not to say that there isn’t an HEA, because I really do believe there is. Trust me – I cried big, full happy tears. But it isn’t an HEA in the traditional sense. KING PERRY incorporates the elements of adventure, humor, romance, and love, but what it really is a fictional novel that is a literary work of art. Manning writes a most beautiful story, and I cannot recommend King Perry highly enough....more
Holy Mary, Mother of God!! In what has been an amazing series of books the likes of which I haveReview can also be read at Under the Covers Book Blog.
Holy Mary, Mother of God!! In what has been an amazing series of books the likes of which I have not read anywhere else, Trials & Errors was hands-down the best thus far!
For the first time in awhile, we see Mat pull himself up by his bootstraps and reveal his fortitude in doing what he needs to do to survive and to protect both Dougie and Roger. His attitude is back, and it’s wonderful to see. Of course, part of me cringes when he behaves this way because Lord only knows how Nikolai will respond, but at the same time, I am cheering him on for not succumbing to a fate worse than death.
My sweet, poor Dougie, however, has seemingly transformed into exactly what Nikolai wants. He has become his slave, and although he has been a “good” boy, Dougie still endures things that no man should even think are possible. But he does, and he does it with a grace and self sacrifice which makes Nikolai more than proud, and as a result, Dougie is happy. Happy, people!! Slay me, now! The saddest part is that not only is Dougie happy, but throughout this book, the reader can truly see just how mentally fucked up Dougie is – that Nikolai succeeded in his work, the rat bastard that he is.
Of course, too much of a good thing never can last, and it doesn’t. And as I have said in prior reviews, when you think that Haimowitz and Belleau could not come up with something worse than anything they’ve written before, they do. And like Nikolai tells Mat when Mat makes some demands of his own, be careful what you wish for. And he should have been. Mat got what he wanted, but never in a way he could have imagined.
Without giving anything away, I will just say that as I read Trials & Errors, my heart was racing a mile-a-minute, and it took every ounce of wherewithal for me not to flip ahead to see what might happen. This installment of The Flesh Cartel will leave you on the edge of your seat, and dare I say it, it gives you hope.
Just when I think that I can’t be shocked anymore than I already have in reading The Flesh CartReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog.
Just when I think that I can’t be shocked anymore than I already have in reading The Flesh Cartel, Haimowitz and Belleau prove me completely wrong! They have penned another excellent episode in Loyalties, one that leaves me wanting more…and then hating myself for doing so. Because, really, how much of a sadist must I be to keep wanting to read this torturous, albeit amazing, series?
Loyalties picks up immediately where Homecoming had stopped with its huge cliffhanger. Of course, I just knew that the big shocker wouldn’t actually take place, but nonetheless, I devoured this episode to make sure. The scary part of it all, though, is that I was almost sad that it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want anything to happen to my beloved Mat or Dougie, other than to escape and get sweet, sweet revenge. But seeing how that seems nearly impossible at this point, I was almost happy for Mat taking charge in ending the torture he’s lived and endured since his capture. While Mat wasn’t actually physically tortured in this episode, he is still being mentally tortured, both by Nikolai and Roger, as well as by himself. It is heartbreaking to see how his strength continues to be whittled down episode by episode.
And then Dougie, oh my sweet Dougie…I am as tortured and fucked up by Nikolai’s actions as Dougie is. One moment he is being treated decently, and I want to jump for joy, and then the next, he’s being treated worse than awful (and accepting it!), and I want to gouge out Nikolai’s eyes…with a spoon! But Haimowitz and Belleau continue to evolve the characters and their depth, and the plot keeps moving right on along at a good pace. Transformations continue on all levels – for those of the characters and for me as the reader. Dare I say that some of the sex scenes are even titillating to me?? Does that make me an awful human being? Just when I begin to wonder, though, Nikolai shows his true colors, devoid of humanity and decency, and I can rest assured that I’m not too fucked up. Yet.
With a wedge successfully driven between Mat and Dougie, Nikolai is now completely taking advantage of it and creating a pet out of Dougie just as he always planned. And poor Mat is barely holding on…to life or hope.
In HOMECOMING, the mind fuck of all mind fuck continues, but it is with this episode that the mind fuck is more for the reader than for Mat or Dougie. For as much as I hate, loathe, and abhor Nikolai, there’s always been a part of me that cheers inside when he shows tenderness to Dougie. Well, with this episode, Nikolai “spoils” Dougie with a taste of life outside of his windowless, basement “room,” and gives him things that he loved from his past. And as been happening with each show and display of tenderness, Dougie thinks that maybe he CAN be the type of person Nikolai wants him to be. He thinks that maybe Nikolai really does care for him. That he really does LOVE him. And maybe, just maybe with time, he can learn to love Nikolai back. And as the reader, how do I find myself? Almost rooting for this to happen! I mean, WTF??? Curse you Haimowitz and Belleau – what are you doing to me???
This “relationship,” if you will, is really developed in HOMECOMING, and we see very little of Mat. What we do see, though, is just heart-wrenching. In the last episode, he did what he promised Nikolai he would do, and he didn’t interfere with Dougie’s abhorrent treatment. He didn’t come to Dougie’s rescue. It was probably harder than anything he’s ever done before, but Mat knew that if he didn’t do as Nikolai told him, Dougie would suffer the consequences worse than those that were being delivered. So Mat stood back and stayed seemingly aloof as best he could. While he succeeded in fulfilling Nikolai’s wishes, what Mat did was something that he can’t forgive himself for. So in this episode, we find Mat in probably the darkest place he’s ever been, and really, after all the torture he’s received, that’s saying something.
So, once again, the crack duo writing team of Haimowitz and Belleau had me reading non-stop and hanging onto every last word written on the page, waiting with bated for the next episode. I think I’m ready…yeah, I’m ready. Bring it!!
HORN GATE is the first book in an urban fantasy series that is well thought out and beautifullyReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
HORN GATE is the first book in an urban fantasy series that is well thought out and beautifully written, and it is a great and intriguing start to a series that I cannot wait to read about some more!
Isaac is just your average Joe…a young gay man who’s a little overweight, with a few skin issues to boot. He decides that for his birthday, however, he is going to step outside of the box and do something a bit daring…he is going to go to an off-the-map sex club and become a voyeur for a few hours. What he finds instead is something that will seemingly change his life forever.
After entering Gehenna, Isaac goes to explore the sex lounge, and is lured by a calling to a small room where he finds a preternaturally beautiful being which he believes to be an angel. This angel of his is Scratch.
The day after Isaac’s visit to Gehenna, Isaac is set to do research on an old tome that brings forth memories from the night before, causing him to go seek out Scratch once again. When he finds him, Isaac discovers that Scratch is not an angel at all, but rather a demon or a spirit of sorts – an Incubus. Unlike the mythology usually associated with Incubi, in which they generally feed off of lust and sex, Scratch feeds on other things – pain, fear, and woe. And so their story begins.
I really enjoyed this series opener. Suede has created a complex world that is very intriguing, and he has written two characters who I really enjoyed reading about – an average guy and a demon. The idea of Scratch as an Incubus who feeds on things other than lust and sex is a creative and new concept, and I look forward to this being explored further. I am a complete sucker for demons, too, so that drew me in immediately as well.
Even with the veritable shortness of this novella, I got pulled into Isaac and Scratch’s story and who they are as characters both individually and together. Isaac is drawn to Scratch as equally as Scratch is protective of Isaac, and there is a compelling lure between them. There is a strong sexual attraction between the two of them, too, and although the pages are charged with that, there is no sex in this book. I, for one, think that it was perfect without it. The story wouldn’t be what it was if there was. This was a story of setting up an urban fantasy world, meeting the main characters, and laying a foundation on which to build. Sex would have done the book a disservice, and that is something that we can just look forward to in the future. To tide us romance readers over, though, there are some very sexy kisses and tenderness shared between Scratch and Isaac.
The primary thing that I just loved about HORN GATE was the prose and writing. Suede writes so beautifully. He weaves an intricate tale with imagery and detail that allows me to see exactly what is being described on the page so perfectly in my mind. And the way in which those details are written is just so lovely. The metaphors and analogies Suede uses describe the scene so well, so vividly. I believe that HORN GATE is a testament to Suede’s diversity as an author – he can create a multi-dimensional fantasy world on which to build and explore as well as he can write an amazing contemporary romance.
One of the other things that I loved about HORN GATE was also the one downside I had with it: the world building. The mythos that Suede created for his HORN GATE world was so intricate, detailed, and intriguing. There is a lot of Hebrew culture and learning involved, as well theology and demonology. The amount of knowledge and research that Suede put forth in the book was just incredible. At the same time, that amount of information provided to explain a very in-depth and potentially complicated mythos for the world building was extremely large, and I would have liked to have seen it flushed out further in a longer story. Of course, the consolation to this is knowing that this is a series that will continue to follow Isaac and Scratch, and from that, I am sure we will learn more in the books to come.
Another element in this book that intrigued me was how Scratch’s feeding also caused a transformation in Isaac. Whether that transformation is a result of the feeding or caused by it, I am not sure, but I found it so interesting. Scratch got drunk on Isaac’s misery – a trait which Scratch states makes Isaac mortal – but at the same time, Isaac then transformed into a beautiful being. He lost the fallibility in his physical traits and became as preternaturally attractive to others as Scratch is to him. This is an element that I hope will be flushed out and explained further as the series continues.
All in all, HORN GATE was an excellent series opener, and I look very forward to learning more about Isaac and Scratch and their journey into the Horn Gate.
Cowboys & Vampires is like no other book I have ever read. It is an old time Western – the first I’ve ever read – but it incorporates so many elements of books I do love to read: paranormal/fantasy, suspense, male/male romance, and a new but solid love.
Josh Stanton lives in Belkin’s Pass, an old western town, where his adoptive mother, Agnes, took him in and cared for him since he was a small child. But strange things have been happening to him recently, and he can’t explain what it is or why. After finding Agnes’ dead body, Josh realizes he’ll be implicated in her death, so he decides to flee the town. As the Sheriff’s Deputy, his best friend, Dex Wells, needs to decide what to do: should he go after Josh and take him into custody, or should he let his friendship prevail and help Josh get away safely?
Meanwhile, other mysterious occurrences are taking place in town. Prostitutes at the local saloon are behaving oddly and the only one to see that something is very wrong is one of their own, Glory. She quickly discovers that an evil vampire, Balthazar, is the cause of everything taking place at the brothel and that he is turning the others into vampires as well. Very soon, all of the strange occurrences begin to intersect and so begins the fight for justice, life, and love.
Edwards gets the reader wrapped into this story right out of the gate: Josh arrives at his house to find Agnes’ dead body and the action quickly ensues. From that point on I was hooked, and it was difficult to put the book down. Edwards writes extremely well - his descriptions and details were enticing to me as a reader, and I loved all of the suspense and paranormal elements he kept introducing into Cowboys & Vampires. More so, Edwards wove the tale in such a way to keep the explanation of it all mysterious and taunting – but in a very good way. Without any answers neatly provided up front, I continued to ask myself questions throughout the book. For instance, Balthazar - where did he come from, and why is he drawn to Josh? He is definitely not the type of vampire we have come to know and love in our books these days; he is pure evil. Some of these are answered for the reader by the end of this book; however, since this is a series there are some that linger, which I am absolutely fine with so long as they are answered eventually.
Edwards also writes characters that grew on me quickly - both the good and the bad. Balthazar is an awesomely evil bad guy, and he had me biting my nails in just about every scene in which he appeared; I never knew what might happen. On the other hand, Josh, Dex, and Glory had me rooting for them from the beginning. I was drawn to their uniqueness but also their will to live and to fight evil head on.
And, of course the relationship between Josh and Dex is one of my favorites – friends turned to lovers. In the midst of everything taking place, these best friends decide to take a chance on a love to which neither was willing to previously admit because being gay back then was never accepted. But when the odds aren’t looking great, and there isn’t much else for which to fight, throwing caution to the wind and letting love prevail seems like a wonderful idea. And it is. The relationship between Josh and Dex is so sweet and beautiful, and their time together is full of tenderness and heartwarming love.
While Cowboys & Vampires provides the reader with a plethora of characters, paranormal elements, and events, the primary intersecting plot never faltered. It was all woven together in a very enticing and engaging manner. True to the style of the book, Edwards also left the reader with one hell of a cliffhanger. It’s definitely one to bring me back for more, not only because of the cliffhanger but because of all the reasons leading up to it – an excellent story, a creative world, great characters, suspense, and a beautiful love story that has me wanting more. Cowboys & Vampires is my first book from Hank Edwards, but it surely will not be my last!