WOLF AT THE DOOR is a somewhat predictable shifter story, nicelThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
WOLF AT THE DOOR is a somewhat predictable shifter story, nicely written but holding little surprises and quite unfinished when it comes to the world building.
Darin is a nurse who likes to run when stressed out. He knows it's dangerous but he prefers running surrounded by trees and on one such occasion he trips over a handsome man. While the encounter is short, it's certainly memorable and while Darin's life suddenly turns to plain old weird, he still doesn't have it in him to be afraid.
Raylan is a werewolf always on the lookout for the Huntsmen, people dedicated to the eradication of his species, but once he meets his mate, he has trouble leaving, something he did each time before. Now he has a reason to stay and fight, because he's not willing to give up the one man who was made for him.
This is one of those stories which isn't bad, it just lacks details to tie it all together. I needed more characterization, an opportunity to get to know the characters better in a setting outside of the main pairing. Even their interactions weren't as deep as I would have liked and when the conclusion eventually came, it was both expected as well as lacking in substance.
This wasn't my favorite by this author, but as something simple and relaxing, it's not a bad choice....more
While predictability is sometimes alright and typical characterThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
While predictability is sometimes alright and typical characters can still be rather charming despite finding their way into too many books only under a different name, the book should still offer that bit that is different from all the others already out there.
In CALLED TO MATE, I got to meet two men who were brought up in different environments and influenced by different characters. Declan in an alpha and was raised to think like one, while Quinn is a submissive who has been abused all his life, secluded from the rest of the pack and constantly put down. Once rescued, Quinn ends up in Declan's new pack and becomes the alpha's mate.
This is that standard plotline a lot of the authors use and plenty of readers – me included – enjoy coming back to over and over again. But unlike some winners for me, this one didn't quite work because of the conflicting personalities of the characters. Both men changed too rapidly for my taste, their pasts fading and their sworn devotions quickly following as well. From the very start, I couldn't get used to Declan and his alpha personality. He had his good moments, but those were just outnumbered by the bad ones and all I was left with was Quinn. The submissive simply wasn't a strong character, something one would come to expect from someone with such a past, but in addition to weak development of the pack life, the final conflict was too vague to bring his character to the front.
At the end of it, this is a book I could have easily lived without. I didn't have any remarks when it comes to the writing but there is something to be said about the need of plot, and a book with a weak one will rarely keep my attention....more
RE-SUBMISSION is I think the second story set in the same worldThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
RE-SUBMISSION is I think the second story set in the same world, something I didn't know when I started reading this book. But if you are even a bit observant, you will notice that there seems to be a story missing as you're reading. That story is Sub-Mission.
This one is told from Tyler's point of view, which at the end I found really strange and was annoyed about. So I'd decided to ignore it, and rate the story as if that ending never actually happened and all that great writing from the beginning was the only impression I got from this book. That's where my four star rating comes in.
Tyler forces his way into a BDSM club by issuing a type of challenge to the club's owner Francis. He's daring himself to endure a month as a sub without really knowing the meaning of the term. Francis accepts and pairs him up with another Top in the club, Shae. Now there is more to Shae than meets the eye, and there is way more to Tyler than his supposed submission. But the real player behind the stage is Francis, Dom to the core and the man who likes to hold on to all the cards.
This is not a hard core BDSM story. The scenes are rather mild and there is more focus on vanilla sex with a bit of kink. Or at least I saw it that way. There are no boundaries about sharing, and when starting this, keep in mind, that there will be sex between the three main characters, and neither of them will show jealousy about it.
I like the writing, especially at the beginning when the author made the effort to keep things interesting and keep us in suspense on how the book would actually end. But once you realize your hopes aren't likely to come true, you will probably miss the emotional side of every man, something the ‘told' aspect of this story just doesn't cover so well.
To wrap it up, I hated the ending, didn't see the point in the chosen point of view, but really liked the world as well as the characters, despite the lack of their deeper personalities. I think this will appeal only to the selected few, but that's not a reason not to risk it....more
This short story was again one of those with great chemistry, gThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
This short story was again one of those with great chemistry, good enough to smoke up the sheets if not to light an actual flame, but its focus was more on therapy than romance and that's something a potential reader should keep in mind.
A young therapist, Ken, receives a new patient who's had two tours in Iraq, was diagnosed with PTSD and has trouble sleeping. They quickly establish a patient/therapist relationship and slowly Paul starts to open up. It results in healing, but Paul is not really the issue.
The story is told from Ken's point of view, and the man has some really unprofessional thoughts, not to mention reactions to the ridiculously handsome ex-soldier. He's trying to suppress it, but Paul isn't quite helping, and as their conversations lean more toward personal, Ken's feelings turn to impossible.
I do love some sexual tension in my books, and this one wasn't far off the mark. I would have appreciated to see a bit more of Paul as well as read about his thoughts, but even like this, I ended up reading a nice little story. Like I already mentioned, the focus was more on therapy, leaving the romance for the very last few pages. It jumped between their appointments to Ken's personal life while I really wanted to read about the couple. The ending was wrapped up quickly, not something I was overjoyed with, but which somehow still worked out.
So if you have time, feel like reading a bit about this type of a strange combination, go for it. It might be perfect for you....more
I'm quite glad authors are writing more about cross-dressing inThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
I'm quite glad authors are writing more about cross-dressing in their books lately, especially when those books are well written and kinky reviewers like me have plenty of fuel for our demanding imagination.
LACE turned out to be everything I'd expected, from an insecure student with issues to the larger subject of being accepted for who you are and not for what you wear. The author did an amazing job of incorporating all of the character's touchy spots into a bigger picture and she did it with enough sympathy it really wasn't a problem for me to enjoy this story.
Caleb is a gay man who likes to dress up. He's not one of those men who can hide his preference, like his boyfriend Levi can, so he hides his even more unordinary desires and satisfies himself by just wearing a bit of lace underneath his clothes. Caleb is a target for a local bully who doesn't really give him any breathing space and keeps harassing him, but Caleb isn't one to just walk away. He has an aggressive streak in him and reacts to provocations with violence. It's not just about words with him, he's used to being rejected, by his father, his uncle and the society in general, so letting someone in to the person behind the tough exterior is something Caleb doesn't think he can do, not even for his boyfriend Levi, who he desperately doesn't want to lose.
I loved this story, especially Caleb with both his insecurities and low self-worth as well as his aggressive side where he wasn't afraid to stand his ground and show teeth. For me he was a true star and it rubbed me the wrong way that he had to basically crawl for Levi. I know Levi wasn't a bad guy, but even at the beginning of the story I secretly hoped the bully would turn around and end up the perfect guy for Caleb instead of Levi. Yes, the guy never sat well with me, and as the story progressed I honestly liked him even less and couldn't agree with his attitude or his point of view at all.
LACE was a great book—wonderful writing with an amazing subject and this was almost perfect for me. While this author's work is mostly excellent or completely off the mark for me, I still dare to recommend you try one of her books, you might turn out to be a fan....more
Usually a fan of this author, I was surprised when this particuThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
Usually a fan of this author, I was surprised when this particular story turned out to be so unsatisfying. The very story was promising but everything else just had clouds of question marks surrounding it.
The story starts with Hadryk coming home from the war as a pup host. Which basically means he's agreed to be impregnated to save his lover Vodwynn. The main conflict of the story is Vodwynn's reaction to the pregnancy.
I did like the idea behind this five minute read, about a man returning home pregnant with a child – pup in this case – who is meant for other parents and fearing the reaction of his lover. But this was another race in question, a whole new concept about females impregnating men and children called pups and none of it was explained. Not the war or the very secret Hadryk is protecting for his lover. Even the very conclusion of the story seemed weak and left me with more questions and none of the answers.
As I expected more from this, I can't say I'm happy with what I got. Hopefully the next one will be more to the standard I'm used to when it comes to this author....more
DEMON LOVE was another short by Jack Greene, lighthearted, funnThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
DEMON LOVE was another short by Jack Greene, lighthearted, funny and incredibly sexy.
Lucas gets persuaded by his best friend to summon a demon one night, and after a lot of pestering, he finally agrees. It's a funny situation that ends up looking like everything but a serious summoning and while neither of them really expects anything to happen, a demon does appear.
Corson is Lucas' wet dream and with the messy way he was summoned, Lucas ended up being a bit more firmly bound to the demon – not that he terribly minds.
Although fairly simple and a somewhat common demon story, DEMON LOVE does possess that Greene charm that makes it special. It is instant love, a bit predictable, but also really sweet and more than one could wish for on a cloudy afternoon. Well, we could all wish for a sexy demon who could get us a million bucks with a snap of his fingers, but until that's actually possible, I recommend losing yourself in these two sexy men....more
This particular short story starts with a bang - funny, eroticThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
This particular short story starts with a bang - funny, erotic with amazing sexual tension where a sheriff/ Santa lusts after an oblivious librarian/elf. I was chuckling along, loving the stuttering lawman and impatiently waiting for that moment when everything is revealed and they get their happily ever after.
While everything pretty much does happen in that order, the second part of the story pulled out all these unrealistic and, at certain moments, even cruel situations that the magic for me just evaporated and I was left there reading a simple and predictable story.
I disliked the side characters and that was probably what colored my whole impression of the book. It was one of those situations where enemies would have been preferable to friends and family, and that's not something I like to read about.
The main characters were pretty cute, just not developed as well as they could have been, but they did make for a simple enjoyable story that will give you a bit of a Christmas boost....more
These is something mysterious when it comes to reading anthologThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
These is something mysterious when it comes to reading anthologies, because each story is a big unknown until you actually start unwrapping the present. In this one, the biggest mystery for me was that lack of vanilla the title promised and while I got a couple of interesting wrapped up gifts, the rest was in the lines of average or even a bit strange.
In Boughs of Love by Rebecca Brochu, I got to know Reese who took on raising his brother's daughter Holly after the accident that took away her parents' lives. He does everything for Holly and each joy she experiences puts a smile on his face, so it's not all that strange when he indulges her and goes to buy the biggest tree she can find. What he didn't expect was to find a hot worker (Keifer) there and for the man to refuse to leave his thoughts.
This was my favorite story of the bunch, simply because of the great tension and the wonderful descriptions of want between the characters. It's surprisingly low on sex, but the sparks between the characters make up for it and I did wish the story was longer.
Dressed for Dinner by Pelaam on the other hand was all about sex with Kevin and his Master Stefan attending a type of themed party revolving around their lifestyle. The story is really BDSM focused, but I found it to have little actual substance and had trouble connecting to the characters or enjoying their play. This one was not for me.
I loved Paul, the main character in Tied with a Bow by Nicola Cameron. His story was probably the most inspirational one of the bunch and his secret life as writer of gay ménages definitely made it more playful. I loved the humor in this one and his somewhat awkward way as he fought his attraction to his two neighbors. I loved how he put them in his story, especially since it filled the air with expectation. My remark would be the too quick switch to the ending and the very realization of his fantasies. As a big ménage fan, I do want a bit more work in such relationships.
Enough about Earl by Giselle Renarde was a bit unemotional, or I experienced it that way. Jodee and Cam are best friends, but Jodee used to have a crush on gay Cam and now she's talking constantly about her gay college friend Earl, making Cam bite his tongue almost each time she speaks.
They are attending a Christmas party where they would meet Earl and his best friend Kyle, who also has jealousy issues, and the pairings happen from there. The very couples, though obvious, didn't really work for me. I knew too little about Jodee and Kyle, and yet they took so much page space, while Earl and Cam wanted different things and seem to take the edge off or forget more than they actually wanted to have any type of a relationship.
The Christmas Cookies by Troy Storm was terribly confusing to me. It all starts with Ben, the mailroom clerk eating some spiked cookies and his bosses, the company owner Art and the office manager Marv, rescuing him from further embarrassment. The story had a good start, but the resulting ménage seemed strained and the story jumps only jumbled it further.
Each of these stories brought a little kink into Christmas cheer and while some are better than others, overall this is a well-rounded anthology and not a bad way to meet some new authors. ...more
This way too short story was more than a pleasant surprise withThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
This way too short story was more than a pleasant surprise with adorable characters, solid story and absolute cuteness just bursting at the seams.
It must have been a trick of faith that Ryan gets stuck with making a Christmas gift for the flamboyant and openly gay classmate Jamie in a school project. It's definitely not his first choice, not that Ryan has anything against Jamie. He just doesn't want to be the center of attention the same as Jamie by simple association. Still, with all the stuff Jamie puts up with at school, he does deserve something special…
And so it goes into the embarrassing, funny as well as adorable while Ryan tries to make that perfect gift at his mother's craft workshop and still stay anonymous while slowly realizing his continuing guilt for hiding his friendship with Jamie has little to do with his morals, but rather with who he is.
SOCK IT TO ME, SANTA! was one of those stories that have all the potential for making you feel good. It brings back memories of those high school crushes and awkward situations all of us had found ourselves in at one point or another, but the author pulled it off so well it is likely you will read through every single moment and desperately want more. The same as I did.
This wonderful story deserves all the attention it can get and Madison Parker is an author you have to add to your to-read list. It's mandatory....more
With Christmas around the corner, there is no better way of getThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
With Christmas around the corner, there is no better way of getting into the holiday spirit than reading playful love stories that will give you that push to actually smile even when there is nothing but pressure around you.
WHAT I SEE IN YOU is one of those stories, where Kennedy, a jeweler who hates Christmas and keeps to himself, gets a surprise of his life precisely during the most annoying holiday. Angel, a rich, handsome man set his eyes on the shy Kennedy and decided he had to win the man over, no matter to what lengths the determination took him to.
I always appreciate the differences between the characters, when they are not just a copy of each other, but rather made up of differences that are the attracting factors between them. This was one of those stories that kept on being good and surprising despite only in little ways. Kennedy turned from Grinch to a man who smiled and the author took us through that transformation so that we saw the man who hid behind the average exterior exactly as Angel discovered him, and the whole process was just wonderfully romantic.
This is definitely one of the pearls this holiday season, so don't miss out....more
What happens when the man you love tells you no instead of yesThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
What happens when the man you love tells you no instead of yes and stands behind his decision despite the law finally being on your side and giving you the possibility to tie the knot? Dumping him might be the first thought to come to mind, but in the case of this story, the man in question made his own bed when he decided it was the perfect time to visit relatives.
This is a story about Owen and Seth who have very different views on marriage but neither of those are as hard core as the attitude Seth's parents have and it all comes to clash in this holiday story.
Funny, emotional, deep and simply romantic, this story covers it all. But aside from that, it touches the hard questions and even more difficult answers as simple paths are not always so black and white. It shows the annoying side of family but it also celebrates their support and understanding.
This short tale encompasses it all and probably gives the realistic side of family holidays, because I know it's never all joy and great food at my house. There has to be at least one fight, a lot of yelling and in this particular case – a shotgun....more
I've discovered my love for hockey stories quite a while ago, bThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
I've discovered my love for hockey stories quite a while ago, but nothing tops those focused on a gay couple. I guess it just rocks my boat and the first story I've read by this author concerning the subject set up a high standard that just wasn't reached by this one.
I got a different impression about the characters and what might have been a plus in the short THERE'S COCK IN THIS STORY than in this lengthier book that I struggled with it.
Mac is having trouble with his slowly dying hockey career. He's never made it to professionals and is getting too old to stay in the sport and make a living with it. Fritzy got his big break and they are now making it work long term, facing the trials that keep on coming -- alone, and keeping their secret.
There might have been ‘cock' in the first story, but there was way more sex in this one. Too much in fact and instead of letting me get closer to the characters it created a certain distance where I just needed the story to move on. I especially felt that with Fritzy while Mac kept changing his mind and overall attitude. One minute he would be super closeted and the next he would have these bouts of need for public affection. Then he would go back to hiding.
Fritzy's reasons were somewhat understood, to me anyway, and while I do appreciate the general fear, what annoyed me was the hot and cold displays that frankly really made for inconsistent personalities. I did like the hockey theme as well as the bits and pieces of romance which seemed really sweet. But most of their relationship consisted of pieces of humorous banter and sex. Not much to pull it all together into a solid whole.
I would still recommend this to those who like to read about sports in books and those who do want to revisit Mac and Fritzy, but I did expect more from this story and will think about taking on another potential book in this series....more
HOME WORK is the third book in the Life Lessons series, revolving around a cop and a teacher who lead interesting and sometimes dangerous lives but push through it with love, affection and dedication.
In this book, they have a good family life. Parents to two children, Ben and Anna, our heroes – Tony and Mac – balance their work, finances and the somewhat harsh past of their kids. It's all finally working out and occasional troubles are a part of what they'd signed up for. Mac is working on a seemingly hopeless case which keeps on unraveling into something more, while Tony fights to be the perfect dad even when the other one is constantly working and Tony's nerves are rather thin.
The first half of the book is really family-oriented. Well, the whole book is, but the first part is slow and a set up for their mental state as well as their relationship. For me, it was a clear four star rating, but as I continued reading a few days later, the tempo picked up, and I was reminded of why exactly I do enjoy reading Kaje and the men she so lovingly creates. There is action and drama plus some of the most beautiful scenes I've read lately when it comes to couples. Also, one of the more intriguing parts of this story for me were the side characters. There was enough mystery around them for me to want to know more, read more about them – well, I want the author to give them their own book to be honest. But I've asked and it's not going to happen. Still, the second part of this book was pretty great and while the ending is HFN and the case part was left a bit in the air, I do recommend this book, especially if you are one of us who've followed the series form the start.
With HOME WORK, you should be prepared for excellent writing, a thorough story, beautiful romance and even some heart racing action that will keep your gaze glued to the pages. Not something you'll want to miss....more
KEEPING DALLAS was one of those relaxing stories where you knowThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
KEEPING DALLAS was one of those relaxing stories where you know what to expect but still want to get to know the new world and hang out with the associated characters. As such, it more than did the job.
Dallas is a submissive wolf who has found himself a perfect Dom as far as he's concerned. Unfortunately, Laurence is not a wolf and Dallas' Alpha as well as his pack do have issues with that.
Both Dallas as well as Laurence are keeping secrets from each other, despite the great chemistry they have and how much they enjoy each other. It's difficult to expose themselves when they actually care and can't be sure of the other's reaction. Of course there is also the fact that Dallas can't share his secrets with a simple but very dominant human.
As it always happens, their secrets come to light, bad guys swim out to the surface and our heroes save the day, but they do bond in the process, as it should be.
My favorite part of this story was the beginning. I loved the sparks between the main characters as well as the reluctance to expose themselves. It created that dose of mystery as well as anticipation that just makes the book so much better for me. The characters were the perfect dominant and submissive and I really expected the great story telling to continue. But the plot focused on the bad guys and suddenly everything rushed to the end. The magic was gone where it mattered the most and the book turned into a typical shifter/magic story about mates, bonding and quick disposal of the threat.
This one was better than the last few books I've read from Amber Kell, and if you are a fan, I would say go for it. It's a series that has potential. But if it's your first try, I would suggest Supernatural Mates. I loved the first book in that series....more
Two opposites falling in love is always attractive, but still,This review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
Two opposites falling in love is always attractive, but still, I haven't read something this good in a while.
Truman is a closet case, and one who takes it to the extreme. He has a scandal in his past, where his private life was exposed to the world, and everyone abandoned him, including his family. For someone as young as him, it took a while to bounce back, and while he might no longer be living in his truck and is able to function around others with little issue, what the incident left behind is the deep fear of others knowing his secrets.
It would be a little ordinary now to limit his secret just to being gay, after all his, panic is tremendous and at times it will really break your heart. His other secret really rubbed my kink and after finding that out, it wasn't really a matter of if I'm-going-to-like-the-books but just how much.
Stasi is proud, Greek and gay, living in a gay fraternity. He is easy going, positive and smitten when it comes to the pretty jock Truman. He pushes even when he thinks he shouldn't and chases after Truman even when Truman insists on running. Because the desire is there, in the way Truman responds, looks and moans, but Stasi needs to help him overcome his fear. It all takes a twist for the better, once Stasi stumbles, or stalks as it were, on Truman's secrets and the two make the best of it.
More than anything else, this book made me feel good. I love contemporary, but add a kink, a great relationship, some humor and amazing characters, and you can't avoid a winner. This was one of those books, that made me tear up on occasion, laugh out loud more than once and read it all in one go while not once wanting it to end.
It's been some time since I gave a five star rating but this book definitely deserved it. Truman and Stasi are not characters you would want to miss....more
A GAMMA'S CHOICE is one of those books that will hook you in atThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
A GAMMA'S CHOICE is one of those books that will hook you in at the beginning but as the plot thickens, the charm starts to peel off. There is humor, hot sex and plenty of originality, but an unfinished story still reads as such, despite the promise of a sequel.
Kaden is a young shifter Omega, who instead of dreaming about having sex day and night, only wants to cook. His family and the community aren't supportive, so he sets out to find his own way by joining a pack and finding a job in their kitchen as they try to prevail in the war against vampires.
Gabe as the Alpha of the said pack is a pretty good guy, but fearful despite his happiness with his mate and Beta, Russ. The mating bond is one sided, and while his Beta is his mate, Russ is still trying to find his own.
They notice Kaden right away and the twists keep on coming, because Kaden might be Russ' mate but Gabe is Kaden's. Their bond is something extremely rare, where they form a triad, pretty bittersweet in my opinion.
I did love the beginning and the triad idea was both original as well as nicely executed. Only I kept on feeling bad for the three of them. It seemed more like an evil twist of fate to pair them in such a way where their feelings would never be returned in the same way from the person they can't live without. I liked the way the author worked around it, making them seem like a perfect match and I did love their general relationship.
What didn't quite work for me was the side plot. I wouldn't have minded reading about the trio for another sixty pages, but the vampire war as well as the illogical kidnaping and all that just didn't have the same enticing touch. The ending was a typical setting for the next book in the series, and while I honestly don't mind it as such, I did need Kaden, Russ and Gabe's story to be rounded up nicely. Another thing to keep in mind is the name switching that happens more than once and it is a bit jarring.
This is one of those series I will definitely follow, partially because I do adore ménages but also because the idea does hold promise. I'm looking forward to more....more
I was absolutely thrilled when I first started reading BODY SURThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
I was absolutely thrilled when I first started reading BODY SURF. The perfect combination of sexy and adorable was exactly what I needed and the last thing I expected was to find it on a beach.
Joe is taking the summer to work for his sister's husband after leaving college and having an argument with his father about it. He needs a break and direction, but he'll take the former if he can't come to terms with the latter. What he didn't expect was Cameron, a lifeguard who was everything Joe wanted in man. While Cameron seems unattainable, Joe is willing to try and what he eventually gains was well worth the risk.
Now while the beginning was quite frankly amazing, the rest of the book was pretty much overwhelmed by conspiracies and too fast solutions. The instant love that follows needed some work to be believable, but instead the author needed to focus on the conflict that was just a tad bit over the top. Even by the end, resolution of the same didn't work for me, but it bothered me more that the story lost the adorable feel and turned more toward the ordinary.
It was still a good little story but not really one of those that will make you sit up and pay attention. What is worth mentioning is Joe's sister and I would definitely like to see more of her in maybe another, future book....more
New installment of the Holsum College series brings us plenty oThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
New installment of the Holsum College series brings us plenty of humor, cute guys and the already familiar hotness quality this author writes in spades.
Harold is an extremely shy student whose life has been severely influenced by his physical appearance. Unlike most stories where the 'strange' factor is focused on scars, weight or something equally usual, Harold's problem is in his pants, and it's anything but small. Dressing to hide his size, he's more of a ghost in the halls than someone real, that is until Owen sees him showering one night and decides to help Harold come out of his shell.
The beginning of this story had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. It was truly brilliant and made me love this story instantly. Daisy Harris did a great job in showing us just how insecure someone can be and how it can influence his life. I loved Harold and his innocent need to prove himself over and over again. He is one of those characters who deserve only the best and you want that for them from the first page.
Now Owen was not my kind of character. He was too flimsy, indecisive and nowhere near good enough for Harold. In fact, that was what I kept thinking the whole while – that Harold deserves better. I thought their story moved too quickly and there wasn't enough detail to show us why Owen was the right guy for Harold and how he helped him be okay with his size.
Nonetheless, this is a great addition to the series. It will make you laugh, squirm and blush for all the right reasons and you will come out of it satisfied. I warmly recommend it....more
GENIUS AND THE JOCK is number seven in the Men of Holsum CollegThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
GENIUS AND THE JOCK is number seven in the Men of Holsum College series and it brings us back into the world of students, love, shame and fear. It's a story about Griff and Rai, two opposites who surprisingly enough work very well together.
When they were freshmen, Griff had a huge crush on Rai, but being young, inexperienced and just plain old stupid at times, his approach was that of the kindergarten variety – I'll show him I love him by being a bully. Yeah, that didn't work out quite right, but they still managed to have an experience together that brought home to them both that they were gay.
Three years later and Griff's crush is still strong while Rai is in denial. ‘What might have been' is knocking on his door and this time he is able to see past Griff's posture and appearance and allow himself to trust and let go.
Yes, it was a beautiful story about two guys who are deeply closeted, insecure and rather inexperienced. I found their first experiences to be adorable and Rai's dominant approach so sexy. They clicked together and it was my pleasure to meet them.
The ending is a bit on the rushed side and their relationship never quite lost that childish note. The issue of their parents was huge at the beginning, almost the base of the whole conflict in the story, but the final resolution didn't match that beginning intensity and I am always a little bit disappointed when that happens. I also wanted to know what happens next with them because unlike the rest of the stories in the series, this one felt a bit unfinished.
It is nice when I'm able to just reach for a book that I know will relax me and let me rest my mind for a couple of hours. Daisy Harris does it every time and I'm looking forward to the next romance to come out of her fold. It is much appreciated....more
The world of Shangri-La holds a lot of promise with its uniqueThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
The world of Shangri-La holds a lot of promise with its unique little details about the dominants and submissives as well as the land itself that is still recovering from war.
Josiah is an enforcer and a fourth tier dominant who protects the submissive from abusive dominants. I wasn't quite sure what else fell into his job description and would have liked to know more on the subject. Anyway, one night he is given a mission of retrieving a submissive who escaped a dominant. There was no contract involved on record, but Josiah is aware he doesn't have all the information and proceeds with caution. Everything in him screams that the fourth tier submissive had a reason for running and the way he held himself on the recording that captured his escape only confirms it.
But that's not all there is to it, because Josiah feels something else for the submissive Rafe even without meeting him. There is a need to protect Rafe and an overwhelming sensation of want stirring in his insides. It's like nothing he'd ever felt before.
I was caught right away in this world of dominants and submissive, but there was just not enough information for me to get deeper into it. I liked the tension the author had created, both as a setting to the action as well as between the characters. Both of them held a certain appeal, and while that in itself was enough to keep my attention, I needed more interaction between them and more of those rare situations where I could actually experience the connection between the two.
The side characters seem to have held stories of their own, something I'm dying to know more about, but even just Rafe and Josiah have so much working for them, such an amazing setting for their stories, occupations and capabilities that I could easily read a whole other book just about them.
I'm hoping there is a sequel soon, one with more information for someone as hungry as I and be it about these two characters or someone else, I know I'll thoroughly enjoy it....more
This time round Josephine Myles gave us her flare of British inThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
This time round Josephine Myles gave us her flare of British in a combination of three. A shy glassblower Josh, Japanese descendant Rai who is pursuing his PHD in economics and Evan the plumber eventually form a colorful ménage that just works.
Josh is a shy man who has an unpleasant past when it comes to boyfriends and spends most of his time enjoying the company of his best friend Denise. She is loud but loyal and doesn't hold her tongue when it comes to her upstairs neighbors who enjoy having vocal sex on a very squeaky bed. Pretty much everything makes Josh blush, he's just adorable that way, but nothing quite does it as the sounds of the hot couple, Rai and Evan, who live below him unfortunately. While the sound is excellent in Denise's apartment, Josh can't hear a thing from his, even when he puts his ear to the floor. Life just sucks like that for him sometimes.
Anyway, there is no way Josh is making the first move, but Rai and Evan don't have such reservations, and while their starting relationship is based on friendship, what comes of it is so much more.
I enjoyed this book primarily because of the colorful characters who were all very different from each other but each one with an interesting and fun quirk/interest. Big fan of ménages or not, there is enough of an actual relationship in this book to keep things going. The author is true to her style and uses art as her book's appeal factor as well as humor to round it all up nicely.
While Denise played a big role at the beginning of the book, as Josh, Rai and Evan became closer, she just faded away. It seemed like such an unlikely thing for a strong character as her. I also didn't quite like certain parts being glossed over or skipped and just mentioned later on in the text. It's one of those things that really stand out for me, because I expect them to be explained and take a center focus sometime in the book. It just annoys me when that doesn't happen. But the main thing that made me rate this with four instead of five stars is the final result of the dance between the three. Rai and Evan were solid, from the beginning to the end, but Josh started off as a casual third, and while he did progress some from that point, I never quite felt like he had as firm a place as Rai and Evan in the relationship. He was included, don't get me wrong, but some of my impression came from actions and the other part from Josh's own words. Maybe the introduction and the progress were too long and not enough page space was dedicated to the development of their relationship as a ménage. I'm not even sure, I just know it didn't quite click for me as it should.
Long ramblings aside, this is one of those threesomes that stand out. The characters are intriguing, their actions somewhat unpredictable and the plot itself was well thought through. Even without dramas THE HOT FLOOR is strong read with an amazing cover....more
Hunter's story is finally here and let me tell you, he's someonThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
Hunter's story is finally here and let me tell you, he's someone very different from the man we've had a chance to meet in two previous books.
This time the story steps away from the confines of the campus and follows Hunter's uncle on his vice-presidential campaign. As an openly gay man in an influential family, it's Hunter's job to present the best picture of his uncle, a man who voted against gay marriage and who needs all the votes he can get. His relationship with his family is anything but casual, and the pressure of never showing vulnerability led Hunter to a mistake that attracted the negative side of the media.
As a result he is given a handler, Steve, whose job is to keep Hunter in line and make sure he avoids any type of bad publicity.
At first they can't stand each other. Steve is everything Hunter is not, both visually as well as when it comes to upbringing, and he doesn't handle Hunter's coldness all that well. But as the pressure on Hunter increases, his shields and icy exterior starts to crack, and suddenly there is no one he trusts more than Steve to be there for him.
While the setting is different, this story has the same charm as the rest of the series. The men are hot, what they get on to in bed is sexy and the story is interesting enough to keep you engaged. I actually thought this one was a bit more interesting plot-wise, simply because it's not every day that we read about the little details related to politics.
What didn't work for me was the relationship. It started off good, two opposites, a lot of baggage and mutual attraction no matter how much they denied it. What I didn't feel was the flip from mutual dislike to enough trust to begin something substantial. There was also another flip that happened later on, that really made no sense to me and while I liked this story, I didn't really connect with it.
So here you have it, book six in Men of Holsum College series. It has something new, plenty of old and if you've met Hunter in previous books, you will definitely want to see him in the new light. But mind you, don't just disregard Steve, there is a hunk hiding behind that serious exterior. You might want to meet him....more
LET IT GO took that step away from the usual style I'm used toThis review was originally written for The Romance Reviews and can also be found there.
LET IT GO took that step away from the usual style I'm used to when it comes to this author. It's still labeled by great characters and an engaging plot, but the hot chemistry I'd gotten hooked on with the first book as well as the perfect balance between the unpleasant and perfect was missing.
Creed and Eli had been at each other's throat since they were kids, competing in the same competitions and aiming for the same awards. There was a certain spark between them, that some undefined shimmer that turned to admiration, even affection into violence, and they'd kept on polishing that light for years.
One incident too far and they end up confined together on Eli's farm, and realize they have more in common than one would think, and all those presumptions they made about each other were as far from the truth as they could possibly be. But they don't only share good things, they also have an enemy in common, a man who'd done more harm to the men than one guy should ever be able to.
I liked the men; from the beginning they had a certain dose of appeal to them that I had no trouble connecting with them. I also liked the story and the slow development on the romance. They really did fit well together, both so wounded and desperate for affection – it was hard not to feel for them.
But this time, the balance in the whole book was somehow off for me. I do like to read about violence, horrible past and unadjusted men, but in this instance, the violence was too much. I could read it and really had no issues there; but be warned it is rather gruesome and explicit, not for the delicate readers. However, the amount of it in the book was overwhelming; in a sense that it overshadowed the characters and at one point I got pretty much numb to it. Piling up one tragedy after the other didn't seem to have the same effect when the connection between Creed and Eli wasn't as well developed as the violence itself.
I did finish the book, and I am glad to have met the guys, but even before reading the last few chapters I could have easily turned away and never found out what happens at the end. So while not necessarily bad – just different – LET IT GO wasn't as pleasant a read as I'd expected and before pushing anyone to read it, I would definitely warn about the heavy abuse....more