Archive for the ‘4.5 Star Reviews’ Category

Reviewed by Nikyta

The Choosing by Annabelle Jacobs eBookTITLE: The Choosing
AUTHOR: Annabelle Jacobs
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 210 pages
BLURB: Jerath is facing the biggest problem of his life. When boys in his shapeshifter village Eladir get their fangs, they must endure a coming-of-age rite called the Choosing, so they can take on their animal form. The rite is performed on the full moon, but the trouble is the Choosing involves having sex with a girl, and Jerath’s only interested in boys. Even if he manages to somehow get through the rite, he doesn’t know if he’ll ever find a mate in his village, where opposite-sex couples are the norm.

Even worse, he may miss the rite altogether after raiders attack his home and take several young men prisoner. Jerath will need the help of warriors if he’s to free the captive shapeshifters, so with his best friend, Serim, he flees south to find aid. Along the way, they meet Meren, a handsome warrior whose attraction to Jerath is instant and very much returned. But with the next full moon approaching and available time for the prisoners to undergo the Choosing running out, Jerath’s love life is far from his only worry.

REVIEW:

I’m going to shamelessly say that covers are the first thing that draw me in so when I saw this one, I was intrigued. Then I found out that it was not only fantasy but had shifters and I just knew that I had to read it… and I’m very glad I did.

Jerath is eagerly awaiting going through The Choosing, where he can finally find out the nature of his animal. Unfortunately, he can’t do that until his fangs come in, which don’t seem to be in any hurry to grow. One day Jerath and his friend Serim are catching fish as part of their chores only to realize on the way back to their village that raiders have taken over the village and captured some of their people to sell as slaves. Scared for their lives and their captured loved ones, they try to seek help with a southern village, Chastil. The journey to Chastil is long and tiring but comes with a few unexpected surprises. Jerath thought he’d never find a mate but when he meets Meren, one of the warriors from Chastil, that just might change his whole future. The real question, however, is whether Meren and his people can help Jerath free his fellow shifters and whether they’ll both survive it to be able to see where their connection leaves them?

I must say, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this story as much as I did. I found Jerath amusing. He’s fierce and possessive but sweet and innocent. It was endearing to see him flustered one moment but then aggressive the next. Meren was the opposite in that he was bold and confident but then easily melted whenever Jerath decided to take the reins. I adored these two and the connection that they make. It’s sweet but intense, loving and hot. I wished there had been more of them because while I feel like I know them, I don’t feel like I know them as well as I could.

The characters are definitely a great addition to this book, however, I think the main appeal was the world the author created. It’s complex but easy to understand. I loved that shifters were freely known about and even that there were whole communities dedicated to them. I liked that the women were born knowing their shifter animal while the men had to wait until they completed The Choosing to know theirs. It added mystery and conflict to the story and made it interesting seeing how the rituals were done. I also liked the fact that it wasn’t just ‘expected’ that they were going to eventually shift but there was always that fear for Jerath that it might not happen.

I had a few niggles with this story. Mostly, I felt like sometimes Serim (Jerath’s female friend) outshined not only Jerath and Meren but the relationship they were building. At times, I felt like the bond between Serim and Jerath was stronger than the one between Meren and Jerath. (This is actually even more prominent when you look at the cover and see the black panther (Serim’s shifter form), which leaves me wondering why is there a black panther on the cover? I would think there would be a jaguar instead.) Personally, that lessened my enjoyment at times because I wanted to see more of the bond between Jerath and Meren not be reminded of the connection between Serim and Jerath. Beyond that, there are a few inconsistencies but I would have loved to see more of Meren’s culture since it seems so different, yet similar, to Jerath’s culture.

Readers should be warned, however, that there is m/f sex in this story. While necessary to the development of the story arc and of Jerath, I know some readers would appreciate being told of this. I’m not all that fond of girly bits in my stories and while I didn’t exactly like this part, I did think it needed to happen so I was fine with it overall.

All in all, even with my issues, I absolutely adored this one. It’s refreshing in a way, unique in others in how different it is from other shifter stories. Add to that, the world is quite fascinating and engaging and the bond that Jerath and Meren ultimately develop was nice to see. I’m hoping Ms. Jacobs decides to write more stories in this world because I’d love to explore it further, especially if that means seeing more of Meren’s culture and rituals.

Definitely recommended for those looking for a different kind of shifter story with an interesting journey and a good HEA.

Nikyta rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press

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Nikyta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: NIKYTA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Carissa

Serenading Stanley by John Inman eBookTITLE: Serenading Stanley
AUTHOR: John Inman
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 234 pages
BLURB: Welcome to the Belladonna Arms, a rundown little apartment building perched atop a hill in downtown San Diego, home to the city’s lost and lovelorn. Shy archaeology student Stanley Sternbaum has just moved in and fills his time quietly observing his eccentric neighbors, avoiding his hellion mother, and trying his best to go unnoticed… which proves to be a problem when it comes to fellow tenant Roger Jane. Smitten, the hunky nurse with beautiful green eyes does everything in his power to woo Stanley, but Stanley has always lived a quiet life, too withdrawn from the world to take a chance on love. Especially with someone as beautiful as Roger Jane.

While Roger tries to batter down Stanley’s defenses, Stanley turns to his new neighbors to learn about love: Ramon, who’s not afraid to give his heart to the wrong man; Sylvia, the trans who just wants to be a woman, and the secret admirer who loves her just the way she is; Arthur, the aging drag queen who loves them all, expecting nothing in return—and Roger, who has been hurt once before but is still willing to risk his heart on Stanley, if Stanley will only look past his own insecurities and let him in.

REVIEW:

“Stuck in the dead grass by the front steps leading up to the entrance of the apartment building was another sign.  This one was handwritten on a slab of cardboard and stapled to the wooden stake pounded into the ground.  The lettering on this sign was rendered in pink Magic Marker.  It read ‘VACANCY.’  And under that, this time scrawled in magenta Magic Marker and sprinkled liberally with glitter, were the words ‘TO APPLY PLEASE BE CUTE.’”

Stanley knows two things for certain: he would do almost anything to avoid moving back in with his mother, and he is abominable at interacting with anyone not long, long dead.  Also, he might just be a little in love with Roger Jane.  OK, that’s three things, but to be fair, he really didn’t want to be in love with Roger.  Not really.  Even if only the thought of those godlike lips made him tremble.  And alright, he also knows that Arthur needs some serious make-up tips–and that he most definitely shouldn’t get them from Ramon.  And that Sylvia is one hell of a woman–despite having more parts than she ever desired.  He also knows that living on floor six of the Belladonna Oven, er, Arms, was likely kill him–or at least Arthur–eventually.  So, it turns out Stanley actually knows quite a bit.

He certainly knows enough to know that Roger will never look at him twice.  What with Roger being a god, in all his beautiful nursing glory, and poor ol’ Stanley entirely mortal, and entirely aware of it.  Except Roger did look–a lot more than twice–and now Stanley doesn’t know what to think.

I am a big fan of John Inman, so I may’ve been counting down the days till I could get my hands on Serenading Stanley.  And I may also have spent four hours curled up on my bed giggling like a stoner with a pet watermelon to play with (um…just read the book, you’ll totally understand) when I finally got it.  There may also have been kissing involved (hey! I’m not that kind of girl…it was a quick, discreet peck on the screen) when Stanley manned up and got all declare-y.  This may have all happened…but the brownies seemed to have clouded my memories a bit…so I’ll guess we’ll never know for sure.

What I do know is that once again Inman gave us a book chalked full with pithy humor and a whole host of characters to fall in love with.  This book is no two-man show.  Yes, we are given god-like Roger, who will use every tool in his arsenal to woo the recalcitrant Stanley.  And poor, earthly Stanley, who’ll use every trick in his, to avoid a broken heart.  But it is the cross-dressing building manager, the lovely Sylvia–who would do anything to make her body fit her soul–and even the kleptomaniac, the beautician, and the masseur, that make the story whole.  Without them Stanley would never have his Roger, and without them we would never have such a fun and truly heartwarming tale of friendship, love, and beauty disasters.

If you are looking for an angst-filled book, than I’d advise you to look elsewhere.  Yes, we have Stanley issues, what with the whole insecurity thing, but it is nothing to bog the story down.  This is a fun, light read, that will have you awwing and giggling away long into the night.  Roger’s insistence, and Stanley’s reluctance, play nicely off each other.  And boy, when Roger wants to make a point, he does it beautifully–and with tongue.  He will also not let his Little Mouse scurry away simply because he fears the big What If.  Plus, when a man comes bearing a watermelon–and something a lot more fun–how can you turn him away?  I loved these two together, and I loved watching Roger serenade his way into Stanley’s heart (in a totally non-musical way–because apparently that would be disastrous).

Between the entrancing tenants of the Belladonna Arms, and the hard-won love affair of Stanley and Roger, I was completely won over by this book.  And Sylvia nearly broke my poor heart.  That girl deserves everything that she got–and so much more.  To be trapped inside a body that never matches you, is a terrible thing.  To have yourself denied because of money, even worse.  I loved that Inman was able to bring Sylvia–and all the rest of the tenants–to life is such a wonderful, and highly amusing, way.  I would have liked a little more tension, near the end, but I think I’ll take the sight of Pete on his knees, any day.

Don’t know what else to say, but that I loved it and I’m glad I trusted Inman with my oh-so-fragile bookish heart.  I totally and completely recommend you read this book when you’ve hit angst overload and need to remember how to smile.  Or if you want to find out just how sweet a twizzler can be.

Carissa rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press

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Carissa is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: CARISSA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Elizabetta

Bump in the Night, edited by Rachel HaimowitzTITLE: Bump in the Night
AUTHORS: Heidi Belleau, Ally Blue, Kari Gregg, Peter Hansen, Laylah Hunter, Brien Michaels & Sam Schooler
EDITOR: Rachel Haimowitz
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 210 pages
BLURB: Turn off the lights . . . and turn on your darkest fantasies.

Demon pacts. Ghostly possessions. Monsters lurking in the depths. The things that go bump in the night frighten us, but they also intrigue us. Fascinate us. Even turn us on.

Join us as fan favorites Ally Blue and Kari Gregg bring over-amorous aquatic beasts to life with their mythic twists on the Siren and the monster in the lake. Erotic horror pros Heidi Belleau, Sam Schooler, and Brien Michaels show us just how sexy scary can be with a pair of demon deals destined to curl your toes and set your heart thrashing. And literary masters Laylah Hunter and Peter Hansen weave haunting worlds where ghosts and dead lovers can touch our hearts (and other, naughtier places too . . .) and teach us lessons from beyond the grave.

By turns exciting, evocative, and exquisitely explicit, the stories in Bump in the Night are sure to scratch your sexy paranormal itch. Explore your wildest fantasies with us in this collection of dark erotic tales.

REVIEW:

This is one of the strongest and most provocative anthologies I’ve read in the slash genre. Each story is unique in its own special horror and all are well crafted. Warning: this is more horror than erotica. And while there’s little to no romance, there’s plenty of sexual intoxication. There are a lot of disturbing elements. If rape or dubious consent is a trigger, proceed with caution.

The endings are more ‘happy-for-now’ or even ‘this is as good as it’s gonna get’. But isn’t that what life in the ‘Twilight Zone’ is about? I have to admit that I gobbled these up, thrilled by the story-telling.

There is a common thread through the stories summed up by a line lifted from one of them, “I hadn’t stopped to consider the cost.” Just in time for Halloween, this is highly recommended for those who want a darker, no-holds-barred read. Please heed the tags.

Overall anthology rating – star_review

Resurrection Man by Laylah Hunter
Tags: historical, paranormal, gore

An interesting turn on the Frankenstein story, this is a perfect example of the adage, “be careful what you wish for”…  A young man desperately in love, practices the dark art of necromancy and sells his soul to bring a beloved lover back from the dead.

“The flesh is scarcely the trouble… the installation of a soul in flesh is the domain of God.”

This feels like a chapter out of a larger piece (which means I want more) but works fine as is. Chillingly horrific and melancholy.

Rated: four-stars_0

Mating Season by Kari Gregg
Tags: paranormal, monsters, tentacle-sex, slave/captive, non/dubious-consensual/rape, cock/ball torture, gore, bondage, medical kink

Oh*my*freaking*lord

This is over-the-top wickedness with a cherry on the top, and the bit of devious plotting keeps it from being purely torture porn. The author throws everything but the kitchen sink into this feast of tentacle sex depravity…

A lusty monster with very active suction-cupped appendages…

“… the suckers on the underside of the tentacles nuzzled and guzzled down my cock like dozens of tiny mouths slurping… siphoning… tenderly squeezing…”

Deception, bondage, non-con/dub-con/rape, mpreg, stuffing, fisting… torture…you name it.

Did I like it?

Yes… yes, I did.

It starts off innocently enough. Danny is on a back-to-nature camping trip in a bucolic setting… cue birds, bees, butterflies…

Then begins a descent into nightmare-hell as he is tricked and forced into an evil experiment and… let’s just say he finds a special connection with a large, slimy, tentacled lake monster. It’s not pretty. I can’t say more. Read it.

This comes so close to my (so-far) favorite tent-sex read, Charlotte Mistry’s Gay Tentacles from Outer Space! (discerning tent-sex readers will already know this one). But Kari Gregg (I Omega, Spoils of War) offers up her very own special brand of delicious torture in the tent sex genre.

It’s just all kinds of… no… and, yesssss… Read it, but heed the tags.

Rated: star_review

Flesh and Song by Ally Blue
Tags: contemporary, paranormal, gods/demons, sailing, tropical island

Noah Rose is a restless man. He has everything he could want, a thriving surf holiday business in Costa Rica, a beautiful sailboat, and an eight month vacation cruising around the Caribbean. He’s been searching for a mythic island, “La Terre de la Belle Mort” (Land of the Beautiful Death), but what exactly is he searching for? He has been desired by many men “who wanted to own him but couldn’t” yet he is alone, adrift on the sea, searching, until…

”… here he was, facing the island the old men swore would give you your heart’s most secret desire. For a price.”

A naked man shows up on the island’s pristine beach and Noah is called to him. The lure of the siren song, here with a twist, changes Noah’s life as, once more, someone wants to own and bind him. Has he found his “heart’s most secret desire”?

“Then the stranger spoke again, the words like bells and nightingales… making his heart race… intoxicating song words Noah didn’t understand but already needed the way he needed air and water.”

The story is well made, but in the end it felt like an interesting interlude. Noah is in a dangerous situation, we see it even when he doesn’t, but we don’t know or learn enough about him to really care. Points for the descriptive writing and Noah’s fall into a kind of madness— that was fun.

Rated: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

Out From Under by Brien Michaels
Tags: contemporary, paranormal, demons/monsters, slave/captive, bondage, vine sex, non/dubious-consensual/rape, three-way, stuffing & sounding, torture, gore-fest

Brant has been enslaved and imprisoned in an old, decaying mansion cellar by an evil demon that can take different physical forms. It can even manifest itself by turning the cellar into a lush, verdant forest, sprouting foliage and sex-crazed vines. And it is hungry, it needs a certain type of nourishment. One guess what that is…

“… leaves sprouted beneath my feet, moist and lush… the first string of cum jettisoned from the tip of my cock, and the leaves glowed where it landed.”

The author outdoes himself, this is such a randy gore-fest of demon badness. And Brant is no innocent. He’s a pain-loving nympho, hooked on vine sex, reduced to procuring men for the monster, keeping its secrets; he’s sold himself for it and is lost to the pleasure.

“… the demon’s curse amplified every feeling, made me need that caress so badly I ached.”

And yet, there are lines like, “This nymphomania was really a burden sometimes. It made life so much harder…” and… “(the demon’s) head walked toward me (saying): “Things may not have worked out quite the way I’d planned.” The cheeky humor is welcome and balances the nightmare nicely.

The author switches back and forth in describing the demon’s sexual appendages… are they vines or tentacles? Confusing and irritating. Discriminating tent sex readers will want an important detail like this kept clear and consistent!! *nods* For this reader ‘vine’ works just as well as ‘tentacle’.  I have to add that the demon’s ghastly, human form with its tattoos that could ‘peel away on command’ into 3-D vines— so cool. I also liked the ending, how things resolved for Brant, though there is a lot of gore to wade through to get there. Be warned!

Rated: four-stars_0

Sleeping With Ghosts by Peter Hansen
Tags: paranormal, alternate universe, ghosts, violence

An odd, grim alternative universe, this, and slow-going at first as the reader is dropped coldly into it with little preparation.  Brother Yordan Korvechi is a Bookman, he works for the Church of She Who Turns the Page and their job is to protect against the soulless who roam this world (it seems there are a limited number of souls to go around). “Turning the page” being a euphemism for death, and Yordan wielding the power of the Grim Reaper.

What happens when an aged person needs a little nudge, a little help with separation from life and soul? Who you gonna call?

Yordan is dispatched to such a task, equipped for action… “He had a knife up each sleeve and a slim pistol in his coat lining, a garrote in his breast pocket just aching to be unwound.”  His task is critical, as somewhere, an unborn baby is waiting for the recycled soul, must have it.

But when Yordan discovers that he has been used in a political rivalry, he begins to have second thoughts about his work. Things have become more complicated when he is touched by the soul of the not-so-aged man he has just dispatched, and he is forever changed.

This was well written and atmospheric with a brooding sense of tension, dis-ease and suspicion, but it didn’t feel especially horrific or erotic. It left me almost as cold as poor Yordan’s interaction with the soulless ghost… I couldn’t help but feel that a little more info and character development would have greatly helped. (I recall that I’ve read another short by this author (Changing the Guard) which left me feeling much the same.)

Rated: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

Blasphemer, Sinner, Saint by Heidi Belleau & Sam Schooler
Tags: paranormal, demons, rape, ‘shock-value’

Holy cannoli, this is all kinds of messed up. Disturbing and mesmerizing.

Things start off relatively quietly. There’s David who has to sell himself on the streets to get by, and is dying from syphilis, and Tobias, his self-righteous, sanctimonious ex-lover who runs a boy’s orphanage, steeping himself in ‘good works’.

Told from Tobias’ POV, we see that they were childhood lovers, but Tobias was unable to accept his ‘unnatural’ feelings for David. So he abandons him, and buries himself in religious conviction that it’s for the best. David, meanwhile still loves Tobias, and comes asking him for help.

Part-way in I felt that this was looking to be the most romantic of all the offerings in this antho. Yeah, Tobias is a prick, but he eventually enters into a deal with a strange man he meets in a church, whereby he can give David his life back, give him a chance at redemption. It seems that Tobias still cares for his old lover and does want to help him. But are his intentions completely unselfish and in good faith?

This also has an underlying message of the need for compassion— that sometimes there is no choice— that we must accept who we are, and that love is love. Too bad Tobias learns this too late because the bargain he makes for David’s soul turns out to have a horrific and shocking payment. He has literally sold his soul to the devil for it.

Most of the important action happens in a church and there is an act that is so shocking that it stopped me cold… it will offend some, I suspect. But this is some special mindfuckery— that the horror here, lies in messing with our perceptions and boundaries. There is a twist in the act that makes it work in the end, though. In the end, everyone gets what they deserve. But at what cost?

Rated: four-stars_0

Elizabetta’s Overall Rating – star_review

BUY LINKS: Riptide Publishing

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Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Jen B.

(The series is rated 4.5 STARS – Individual ratings of the books can be found below along with the review.)

SERIES: Broken: Season One
AUTHOR: Kol Anderson
BOOKS: 2
PUBLISHER: Self-published

SERIES BLURB: What doesn’t kill you can still leave you broken.

Aaron Taylor is a rent-boy. The Dream everyone wants to come true. Vincent Greene is the client from hell. The man who wants to make sure that dream ends up BROKEN.

Just when Aaron thinks his life is beginning to make sense, his handler sends him to a new client. Vincent Greene looks like he might just be Aaron’s best client yet, but what Aaron doesn’t know, is that under Vincent’s alluring facade, lurks a heart capable of extreme cruelty.

The Prisoner (Book One, Broken: Season One)

18053428REVIEW:                 

It doesn’t take long for this story to get going. Once Aaron meets Vincent, things happen quickly and not for the better, that’s for sure. This was a super quick read for me, and even though I don’t think it needed to be much more drawn out than it was, there were parts I wish weren’t quite so glossed over.

There are a number of things going on here. Sebastian falls for Aaron the rentboy, but doesn’t want to give up his boyfriend, Eric, who is also cheating with rentboys. Aaron doesn’t want to give up his rentboy ways, for a number of reasons, and then goes to meet his next client, Vincent. Vincent abducts Aaron and attempts to break and turn him into a willing slave for a rich client. Poor Aaron endures an endless amount of pain, not to mention forced drug addiction.

Vincent eventually thinks he has some feelings for Aaron, but will it ever be enough to save him? Not sure. Thankfully, Sebastian has not given up on Aaron and is now convinced something happened and is attempting to find him. So, there are a few different scenarios at play here. Unfortunately, we are left hanging, and I really did not want this story to end where it did. I really hope we don’t have to wait too terribly long to find out what happens with everyone.

Jen rates it – four-stars_0

BUY LINKS: Amazon

 

Hell and Beyond (Book Two, Broken: Season One)

five-stars120205

18109544REVIEW: 

Wow.  I was on the edge of my seat on this segment. Could poor Aaron handle much more? It seems that he can.  I felt like I wanted to be right there holding his hand, encouraging him to hang on the entire time.  He is so screwed, mentally, physically and every other way possible.

Vincent is one effed up character.  He is the captor/director of all things good and evil to Aaron.  Yet, he has screwed up feeling of his own where Aaron are concerned.  Unfortunately, he is sort of stuck in that it’s either him or Aaron, so of course, he chooses Aaron.

And then there is Carl, supposedly worse than Vincent, if that can be believed.  He is the one putting the pressure on Vincent after all.  But then, wait, what? whoa!  What kind of ending is that?  Grrrr.  Must read the next installment asap!

I will be honest, as I always try to be, and say that I could really care less about what Sebastian and Eric were going through or dealing with.  Those who find these kinds of stories engaging and somewhat addicting, should definitely put this on their list.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

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Jen B. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: JENNIFER B’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Taylor

SERIES: Duncan Andrews Thriller
AUTHOR:
Stephen Osborne
BOOKS: 
3
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

Pale as a Ghost (Book One, Duncan Andrews Thriller)

10789098BLURB: Private detective Duncan Andrews’s best friend Gina is a witch. His dog is a zombie. And his dead boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. So it’s hardly any wonder that he uses his connection to the supernatural to help him solve cases. Good thing, too, because Duncan has his hands full. Janice Sanderson, the richest woman in Indianapolis, wants him to find her stripper daughter, Brenda, and another client is having some trouble with a specter haunting her family home. On top of that, Duncan has decided to add dating into the mix, though after Robbie’s death, he’s not sure he’s ready.

When Duncan meets Nick while tracking down a lead on Brenda’s boyfriend, he shelves his doubts and agrees to a date. Robbie doesn’t make it easy on him, showing up to spoil his chances, but that is the least of Duncan’s worries—because one of his clients’ husbands is missing and there’s a serial killer on the loose—one Duncan fears isn’t human.

REVIEW:

Private Detective Duncan Andrews has a complicated life.  He has a ghost for a boyfriend, a witch best friend, a lovable and hungry zombie dog, and he solves unusual crimes on top of that. In this first installment, Duncan has been hired for two separate cases, a blue female ghost haunting a family and finding a missing, rebellious girl.  Along the way, he meets Nick, a man that just may convince Duncan to move on from his dead boyfriend and start dating someone human.

OH…OH…OH…how I heart this special, lovely book.  It caught me by surprise, as I had never even heard of this author before, and didn’t have any expectations.  But it’s everything I could ask for in a story.  It made me LAUGH and laugh and laugh some more until I cried.  It even caused me to laugh unexpectedly, which are always my most attractive and “barkish” laughs.  Morton’s salt and a ghost defending his man.   That’s all I can say.  But it’s more than just incredible wit.  Duncan is smart, patient, devoted, self-deprecating, sarcastic, and relatable.  His boyfriend, Robbie, is someone I just want to hug and protect, and he’s so abashedly adorable that I loved him the way Duncan loved him.  And the moments where they slowed down their banter and really talked and revealed their sadness at their situation broke my heart.  They can’t be intimate because the effort it takes for Robbie to become more human-like weakens him too much.  There are a few times where he musters the strength to hold hands with his love or to kiss him, and I felt so much compassion for them both.

But there is more to this book than even Robbie and Duncan. There is Gina, Duncan’s kickass best friend and witch, who is understanding, funny, and I loved all her powers and observations.  The zombie dog, Daisy, is hysterical as she chases squirrels to eat.  Even the lesser secondary characters held my interest.  From Kevin, the teenager who loved the Jonas Brothers, to Brenda, Derek, Caleb and more.  Both of the cases Duncan worked on were vastly different, but they were quick.  The pace was perfect, and I never felt any of it dragged.  Just the RIGHT mix of action, humor, love, gore, and world-building.

I have only two tiny niggles. Nick, the secondary lust interest, whom I found pretty bland.  I’m glad he came across that way, though, because not once did I feel any heat between him and Duncan, and it’s like observing a couple that has been slogged in mud versus a shiny diamond with the pairing of Robbie and Duncan.  Those two fit and are meant to be together (I hope, I hope…please…please), and Nick was just there. The other thing was the author has a tendency to use the phrase “made a face” too much rather than switch it up, but like I said, tiny niggles.

Highly recommend for a fast-paced, amusing mystery.

Taylor rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

Animal Instinct (Book Two, Duncan Andrews Thriller)

13648038BLURB: Sequel to Pale as a Ghost Duncan Andrews Thriller Private detective Duncan Andrews has the home-team advantage when it comes to solving paranormal crimes: His best friend, Gina, is a centuries-old witch. His dog is a zombie. And his boyfriend, Robbie, is a ghost. Duncan certainly has his work cut out for him with this case. Someone’s been using the skull of a powerful wizard to control animals, and whoever it is, they’re not out to set up a petting zoo. For Gina, the case hits close to home-she knows just how dangerous it is, since the wizard was her father. Just when he thinks they’re close to breaking the case, tragedy strikes, leaving Gina in a coma. Then, after years as a ghost, Robbie finally decides to move on, leaving Duncan to protect young Ashton Marsh, the victim of several strange animal attacks. Suddenly Duncan is working without his supernatural safety net. Without his friends, can Duncan defeat the power of Eleazar’s skull and keep Ashton alive? Or will the struggle for his life end in broken bodies as well as broken hearts?

REVIEW:

In the sequel to Pale as a Ghost, we are back with Private Detective Duncan Andrews and his cast of unusual companions, from his zombie dog, his ghost boyfriend, and his witch best friend.  Duncan isn’t just your usual detective, though, because he’s always out solving the random Twilight wannabe vampire running amuck or in this instance, a stolen skull from a powerful wizard being used to harm and even kill others.  This case strikes personal for Duncan and his best friend Gina, as it is her father Eleazar’s stolen skull.

Soon Gina is put into a coma, and he has another case that brings him clues as to who stole the skull.  Weird trick of the skull?  Its power uses animals to harm.

Amidst that you have Duncan and Robbie questioning their reality of a relationship and whether either can make it on their own.  And Nick is still tagging along.

I loved this book just as much as the last one, but it was different in its own way.  The reader still has Duncan’s priceless one-liners, his awkwardness, his love for his boyfriend, and everything else that makes this wonderful man up.  Robbie….SIGH…my fictional hubby, Robbie.  Damn, I love that man.  That dead man still wearing his high school letterman jacket that wants to have sex with his very alive boyfriend.  Trust me it’s not as creepy as it sounds.  And gahhhhh, he is so freakin cute and hilarious.  When Duncan was getting hit on??? Robbie’s reactions were classic.  Even in the dream sequence where he’s wandering around observing and asking questions.  He’s just so caring, sexy, pouty, and wise in his own way.  These two FIT.  I can’t see them apart ever…ever, ever, ever.  Mr. Osborne, do NOT break my heart.  That scene in the car where Duncan and Robbie are discussing whether Robbie should move on to the afterlife?  How awesome and neat (not really).  You knew I wanted to sob like a 5 year old.

Then there is Nick, who I’m coming around to (again not really).  Don’t get me wrong, he’s fine and nice and dependable, but he’s not Robbie.  He is a good friend, though.  And Duncan needs a great friend that has no association with the paranormal world.  Gina, when she was there in this book, is just as lovable as always.  And Daisy, that sweet murderess dog.  Yeah, me likey her.

I thought the case in this book was more interesting than the ones in the last book, and I also thought the instances where the skull worked its magic were creepy.  That makes me happy.  M/m books need more great suspense or mystery novels.  I’ll never look at squirrels the same way.  Or that damn grinning cat.

Oh and Eleazar?? You, my kind floating head sir, are so, so, SO badass for the gift you gave the reader and, most importantly, Duncan at the end.

Highly recommend for fictional hubby love and a good mystery and suspense.

Taylor rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

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Taylor is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: TAYLOR’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Jen B.

Trusting Thomas by K.C. Wells eBookTITLE: Trusting Thomas
SERIES: Collars and Cuffs #2
AUTHOR: K.C. Wells
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 282 Pages
BLURB: Christmas is a time for goodwill to all, but Collars and Cuffs co-owner Thomas Williams receives an unexpected gift that chills him to the bone. A Dom from another Manchester club asks Thomas for his help rescuing an abused submissive, Peter Nicholson. Thomas takes in the young man as a favor to a friend, offering space and time to heal, but he makes it clear he’s never had a sub and doesn’t want one.

Peter finds Thomas’s home calm and peaceful, but his past has left him unwilling to trust another Dom. When Thomas doesn’t behave as Peter expects, Peter’s nightmares begin to fade, and he decides he’d like to learn more about D/s life. A well-known trainer of submissives, Thomas begins to teach Peter, but as the new submissive opens up to him, Thomas finds he cares more for Peter than he should. Just as he decides it’s time to find a permanent Dom for Peter, they discover Peter’s tormentor is still very much a threat. With their lives in danger, Thomas can’t deny his feelings for Peter any longer. The question now becomes, can Peter make it out of the lions’ den alive, so that Thomas can tell his boy that he loves him?

REVIEW:

This story centers around Peter, a 26 year old who has been in an extremely abusive, slavish at times, BDSM relationship with dom Curtis.  Another dom, Steven, notices and questions Curtis’ treatment of Peter while attending a party and eventually finds a way to remove Peter from the situation.  He turns to his friend Thomas, part owner of Collars & Cuffs, whom we met in book 1.

Thomas is a bit older at 56, but he has a stellar reputation as a trainer of doms and subs and agrees to take on training Peter.  I don’t think Thomas quite realized what he was getting into with Peter or the extent of the damage that was done to him previously.  But he steps up to the plate and finds alternative ways to help Peter work through his issues.  Mostly he provides some structure as Peter gains confidence and becomes more comfortable with BDSM.  Turns out that he had the complete opposite understanding of what it was all about, and Thomas begins his training by showing him how things should be.

Peter is a total sweetheart.  I wanted to peek in his diary myself just to see what he had gone through in one lump, as opposed to the crumbs we are fed.  Curtis was a horrific dom and just not a good person.  Peter slowly gets stronger with the help of Thomas, and it is a joy to watch.

Honestly, I felt like there was actually even less BDSM action in this story than in the first.  I didn’t actually find that a problem though, as it fit perfectly with this story.  Again, this story centers around Peter’s recovery and issues with the actual BDSM taking a back seat.  Thomas must find ways to show Peter the lifestyle that don’t involve pain or humiliation, so he turns to toys and other less-invasive methods, and when some of Peter’s issues prevent him from being comfortable outside of the house, Thomas works around that by not taking him to the Club.

These guys both seemed right for each other.  One of their biggest obstacles after Peter’s issues was the age gap.  Thirty years is a big gap, and the issue comes up more than once.  It never really felt like that much while I was reading, so I never had an issue with it myself.  For now, these guys make a nice couple where they both need each other for different things.  They still have a lot to work through, but they are certainly on the right path.  There is very little sex here, but I didn’t miss it.  I truly just wanted to see Peter get his life back on track and get past his time with Curtis.  Speaking of Curtis, things seemed to wrap up a bit quickly where he was concerned.

It was really nice seeing Leo and Alex again, as happy as they were when we left them in the first book.  We meet a few new characters, and I was left wondering and looking forward to who would be next.

Jen rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

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Jen B. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: JENNIFER B’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Carissa

18308701TITLE: Good Boy
SERIES: Theta Alpha Gamma #4
AUTHOR: Anne Tenino
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 77 pages
BLURB: Brad “Frat Boy” Feller and Sebastian “Toppy” DeWitt have been together for nine months, and their relationship is as hot as ever. The only cloud Brad sees on their horizon is Sebastian’s stress over his thesis. And their uncertain future together after graduation. And how Sebastian sometimes takes Brad for granted. And Sebastian’s unwillingness to introduce Brad to his father.

Other than that, everything’s awesome.

All of Sebastian’s energy is currently devoted to his thesis, and getting into a top-notch PhD program. Fortunately, his boyfriend takes care of all the domestic stuff and Sebastian’s needs. Any minor strain between them will disappear and they’ll return to the status quo after Sebastian graduates. As long as nothing upsets their delicate balance in the meantime.

Then a friend Brad once had a small fling with is forced to take refuge with them, and Frat Boy and Toppy’s delicate balance topples like an elephant on a waterski. Now Sebastian has to face some truths about how he’s been treating Brad, what he wants for their future, and what he has to do to get it.

REVIEW:

Once again we dip back into the world of Theta Alpha Gamma with this fourth installment in the series.  Bradley and Sebastian, of Frat Boy and Toppy fame, have been living in loving bliss since Bradley came out and Sebastian declared his love.  Well, maybe not bliss.  But they do love each other, and while living together has certainly created friction–and not all of it good–no one is looking for an escape hatch just yet.  Except Bradley has had a nagging feeling that something is missing: a missed connection between what was unsaid and what needs to be said between the two.  And after months of trying to ignore the problem, of hoping that the house of cards they have built is held together with duct-tape and not just sex-hoarse prayers, the arrival of Collin at their door pushes Sebastian up to his breaking point and Brad past his.  Now it is up to them both to lay their souls bare, ‘cause life will be looking far from happy if neither of them can find the words to bind them ever-after.

Picking up Good Boy was like a quick, but heart pounding, visit back into the world of my favorite frat-boys.  And sadly, while this story lacked the majority of the Theta Alpha Gamma House, there was plenty of Sebastian and Brad to get my fill of.  And what wonderful flavors they came in, too.  From hot and spicy bedroom play, to sweet and sultry blindfolded promises, there was a little something for everyone.  Even if that something was the sour taste, much like an over-lemoned lemonade, of long held (not-so) secret grudges.  The abundance of flavors should have clashed something horrible, but instead they all fit together to make a truly interesting and exciting story.

After the end of Frat Boy and Toppy I couldn’t shake the feeling that we hadn’t seen the last of Brad and Sebastian, and while we got glimpses of them in Love, Hypothetically and Sweet Young Thing–which, incidentally, happens chronologically alongside Good Boy–it just didn’t feel like enough.  Something was missing from their story–and as we come to find out in Good Boy, something was missing from their lives as well.  Well, not missing…it’s more like it was floating out there in the ether where both of them could feel, but neither wished to acknowledge.  But Brad comes to realize that even if Sebastian doesn’t want to acknowledge it, Brad needs to hear it.  And that, my friends, is when things get interesting.

And hot.

Frat Boy and Toppy had chemistry…but Sebastian and his boy have a nuclear-meltdown level of heat.  I am a fan of BDSM in my stories, loving the play and dynamics that come into effect when Doms and subs unite.  And while we got hints of this in FB&T, it wasn’t something that was overly talked about, or hashed out–which leads, in part, to the conflict in Good Boy.  In this story, it has to be talked about, or else the relationship could very well crumble beneath their feet.  But when the talking is done, and the clothes come off, these two burn up the pages.

Part of what makes this relationship so incendiary is that you get the sense that you are reading about two people who are a Dom and sub.  Not two people playing at the roles.  It is who they are, and when they finally openly acknowledge that part of their relationship, it is freeing and consuming at the same time.  Bradley’s inner conflict and resolve within himself about his sub tendencies was so well written that I had no problem believing that when he was at Sebastian’s feet, it was the only place he ever wanted to be.  And Sebastian grows so much in this story (he starts off as a complete ass, so up really was the only way to go), and learns just what he needs from Bradley–and what he needs to give to his boy, in order for him to be happy with himself.

I do think that in order to fully enjoy this story that you need to have read FB&T (the others in the series are optional to understanding the plot, though well worth the read on their own merits).  Will the story be understandable without having read FB&T? Probably.  But I very much doubt it will be as fun or filling.  There is just so much of the meat of the relationship–and the issues that pepper it–in FB&T, that to skip it would be like gorging on a steak without even pausing to taste the smoky, barbecued flavor on your tongue.  Sure you will get the occasional sweet lick of perfectly cooked meat over your taste buds, but flashes of flavor is nothing compared to the feel of sweet juicy meat running along your lips, over your tongue and bursting fully into all of your mouth.

While I would have quite happily read another hundred pages about these two, and how they are now going to live in this relationship that they have worked out, I don’t feel like we got short changed by the length of the story.  I think the story needed to give some closure to their relationship, and allow us to see the beginnings of their happily-ever-after.  And after it did that, I liked that it ended (even if I did want to set up camp in their bedroom and then sit and drool over the pair for a bit longer).  This story served as a bookend to Sebastian and Bradley’s story.  At least for us.  For now.

As for what is next, I can only hope that Tenino has her sights set on Toby.  My only request is that we get more of those lovely, if somewhat beer-logged, frat-boys from Theta Alpha Gamma.  I just love them–and if you don’t know why, I suggest you take a gander at Sweet Young Thing.

I recommend you read this book if you want to know just what happened to our Toppy and his Good Boy, or if you just feel the need to nuke your e-reader with highly restrained passion.  And if you feel the need to go back and reread the whole series again after you have hit that final page…well you won’t be the only one.

Carissa rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Riptide Publishing

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Carissa is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: CARISSA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Danielle

Tag Team (Guards of Folsom, #2)TITLE: Tag Team ( Guards of Folsom #2)
AUTHOR: SJD Peterson
LENGTH: 220 pages
PUBLISHER: DreamSpinner Press
BLURB: Following the death of their sub, the former owners of the Guards of Folsom, Robert “Bobby” Alcott and Rig Beckworth, were left to pick up the pieces as best they could. After seven years, these two Doms are ready to move on and find the boy who will complete them. Their painful past comes crashing back when they meet Mason Howard, a submissive who just weeks ago lost his Doms in a car accident.

Reeling from overwhelming grief that’s complicated by a severe social anxiety disorder, Mason can barely leave his home. When Rig and Bobby find him, he’s hit rock bottom, believing life is no longer worth living. Bobby and Rig set out to prove the younger man wrong. Fate has brought the three men together, but they’ll have to face fear and loss head on before they can all truly live again.

REVIEW:

I would be a liar if I denied I am a big fan of miss Peterson. It’s not a secret, so because of that I was really anxious for this new release. I have to say I was a bit leary of it. I mean a threesome, older guys …mm not really my thing.

But I loved Bobby and Rig from Pup and I was also hoping to get a bit more of the characters we grew to love in Pup (Tackert and Micah and also Ty and Blake)

In this second part of the series we meet Mason a sub who has lost his two Dom’s and is totally lost and despairing having to live the rest of his life alone. When Bobby runs into this vulnerable person he cannot shake the feeling of needing to help him. Getting Rig into the picture. they both start to feel that there is more. Could this be the guy who can be their missing part after losing their own sub years before?

After finding Mason at the bottom of his life, they set out to slowly but steadily make him whole again. They help Mason with his anxiety disorder and try to give him a purpose for living again.

Miss Peterson worked very carefully and slowly in this story, setting a calm pace to make sure all the characters knew what they were doing and took the time to find out what they wanted. We see Mason struggling with his own feelings towards his deceased lovers and his growing feelings for Bobby and Rig. We also get see of Bobby and Rig falling slowly but very deeply for this younger man.

Mason gets help in his healing process from Max and boy what’s not to love about that guy! He is definitely worth mentioning separately because he plays a significant role in the healing of Mason. And well I admit I so hope his story is next!

Finding some critic points wasn’t easy but I have to say , the pace is really slow and while it is perfectly written and very comfortable I, in a way, missed the faster pace I am used to seeing in Miss Peterson’s stories. Also this story is definitely a lot less smutty, if I am allowed to use that word. The chemistry is definitely there but I think it could have been worked out a bit more on that department.

Near the end for me is the highlight of the story! I loved seeing Ty coming into the situation and connecting with Mason and I loved the meeting up of Dom’s and Sub’s and I wanted so badly to read more of that. It was a fantastic part for me. It makes you really want to read more about them all.

It was great seeing Micah’s sparkling personality with Tackert’s fierceness, the silent connection and strenght between Ty and Blake that for me is always present ,and Max bringing Aiden…ooh please tell me there is more coming from there 🙂

To sum it up, it’s a greatly written story, easy and comfortable to read and it highlights the amazing gift of the writing of Miss Peterson.

One can only hope for more soon…

4.5 stars

Danielle’s Rating:

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press

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Danielle is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: DANIELLE’S REVIEWS

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Reviewed by Jen B.

TITLE: The Price
AUTHOR: Dominique Frost
PUBLISHER: Loose ID
LENGTH: 74 Pages
BLURB: Cale is a serving-boy at a high-class brothel in the city of Havisham. He isn’t one of the courtesans, largely because he’s too clumsy to manage seducing anyone, but he does his best as a servant, keeping the wine-glasses filled and the guests happy.

Everything changes when the warlord Darren Kaine visits the establishment. Darren is the new ruler of Havisham and is a brusque, commanding man. Fresh from a war that’s lasted over six months, Darren is in no mood for frippery, and chooses Cale to accompany him for the night, rather than any of the courtesans on display.

Indeed, Darren so prefers Cale’s straightforwardness and simplicity that he decides to make Cale his concubine, and to have Cale visit him at the palace, every night. Stunned by this new turn of events, Cale is further confused by his body’s reactions to Darren. Darren is darkly handsome, sexually demanding and absolutely committed to giving his partner pleasure – a fact that has Cale looking forward to his time with Darren, perhaps more than he ought to.

Darren, too, is in danger of forgetting that Cale is just a tool he uses to slake his lust. For a new ruler, every action comes with a price. Will this one be too steep to pay?

REVIEW:

This was a really sweet story.  New ruler of the City, Darren, picks serving boy, Cale, after finding the fancier options just not doing anything for him.  He was looking for something a little more genuine that he didn’t have to worry about courting and being all proper with.  He is a bit rough around the edges, as compared to the other nobles.

Cale is such a sweet thing, somewhat naïve in the ways of sex, having not actually been a courtesan.  He has a quick wit that I found as enjoyable as Darren did.  These two make a great pair and seem perfect for each other.

When Cale thwarts attempts on Darren’s life, things begin to change for them.  Darren begins to see there is much more to Cale than he originally thought.  Unfortunately, he has to struggle with keeping his kingdom happy, and due to a prior betrayal that cost him most of his family and the City, he is afraid to consider any deeper feelings for Cale.  The old saying came to mind “if you love something, set it free.”

I just adored Cale and the way he interacted with Darren.  This short story pulled me in quickly and moved along at a nice pace to the end.  All around, this was just a really enjoyable little fantasy.

Jen rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Loose-Id :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

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Jen B. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: JENNIFER B’S REVIEWS
=====================================================

Reviewed by Jen B.

Painting Fire on the AirTITLE: Painting Fire On the Air
SERIES: Survivor Stories
AUTHOR: J.P. Barnaby
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner
LENGTH: 200 Pages
BLURB: A Survivor Story

From her perch on a shelf above my bed, the doll accuses me with lifeless eyes of failing Juliette in the most heinous way imaginable, forcing me to crave the bite of his whip and the steel in his voice to drown out the ache in my chest.

For his entire life, Benjamin Martin’s parents drilled into his head that he must watch out for his little sister, but one horrific night, he failed. Now, the bite of a whip, cuffs digging into his wrists, his arms and legs stretched beyond endurance, these things give him what he needs to forget his sister’s violent death, at least for a while.

When Ben’s latest Dom casts him aside like a broken toy, he manipulates his best friend, Jude Archer, into picking up the pieces. Jude has been in love with Ben for years, but his fantasies about his friend never included whipping him. He doesn’t understand why Ben needs BDSM and he worries about Ben’s addiction. Most of all, he fears losing his humanity because he’s already lost himself in Ben. When he’s forced to trade the marks upon his soul for the pain that ravages Ben, Jude learns the real definition of submission.

REVIEW:

Ben is suffering from heavy guilt and the loss of his younger sister for which he feels responsible.  He has tried different ways to cope with his suffering, but has found the best thing to keep the bad feelings and dreams at bay are somewhat hardcore BDSM session.

Ben lives with his friend, Jude.  Despite one night of crazy sex, the two have remained best friends, neither wanting to give up or lose the friendship by taking things further.  Things have been working fairly well until, due to certain circumstances, Ben’s Dom, Kage, breaks their contract, leaving Ben floundering.

The real struggle here is between Ben and Jude, who decide to take things further but find out that there are other factors involved that could prevent them from making thing work.  Jude has wanted and been in love with Ben for a while, and now he finally has him.  Unfortunately, Ben’s issues are still front and center, with Jude trying hard to understand and contemplate his own capabilities of being able to provide what Ben needs.

First, it was extremely refreshing to see a different aspect to BDSM than I have ever seen before.  The scenes were, by far, my favorite part of this story, and I really wish they were longer or that there were more of them.  They feel so real and paint such a vivid picture that I almost feel as if I’m in the room watching from the sidelines (or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part).

I wasn’t too sure how I felt about Jude trying to be a Dom for Ben’s sake, as he was pretty uncomfortable with the end results the majority of the time, even if he got off on actually doing it.  But, in the end, he finds ways to give Ben what he needs in ways that he is able to cope with himself.  At the same time, I could genuinely feel his confidence growing as time went on.

I initially liked Kage a lot, but that quickly changed with his actions right up to the end.  Giovanni (or Gio), however, the Dom he recommended Jude contact for assistance and guidance, his hot stuff.  I would love to see a story about him and/or Sal, Inferno’s owner.  They both seem to be the real deal.

You can easily tell the research and/or experience has been done when reading Barnaby’s stories, and it’s a joy to feel that way when reading them.  I couldn’t get my greedy hands on this story fast enough, and I’ll feel the same when the next book comes out.

Jen rates it – 

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press

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Jen B. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: JENNIFER B’S REVIEWS
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