Posts Tagged ‘angst’

Reviewed by Elizabetta

6720000TITLE: Entanglements
AUTHOR: Fae Sutherland & Marguerite Labbe
PUBLISHER: Amber Allure
LENGTH: 113 pages
BLURB: Friends. Lovers. Realists. Up-and-coming rocker Ben Copeland and struggling actor John Calder have an unspoken understanding. Mutual pleasure, no strings attached, no demands made, not to mention chemistry so scorching it needs a warning label. For more than a year they’ve sexed their way from one coast to the other, and Ben’s beginning to think he might just have found the key to a perfect “relationship.”

Except now John’s gone and fallen in love. Ben’s career is finally skyrocketing and the last thing he wants or needs is the complication of too many dangerous emotions. John’s not one to take no for an answer, though, and when the “Scottish Don Juan” puts his mind to something, even a man like Ben had better look out…

REVIEW:

This certainly starts off with a bang. In fact, about ninety-percent of this book is about banging, ahem.

Ben and John are aspiring artists, a rock musician and actor, respectively. Both of them talented, gorgeous, desirable, randy dudes who have a hankering for each other. They are long-term fuck buddies, no strings attached– but long enough to have gotten to the point where they really don’t want to play around with others anymore, no one else will do. But they can’t tell each other that. Yet. And this entanglement is the crux of this novella.

Luckily, the sex scenes are hot enough (I’m fondly recalling a couple exhibitionist/voyeur scenes… these guys really don’t care when, where, or how) but the story only works because we also see the simmering yearning under all the steamy hook-ups and bravado posturing against “commitment”.

If these two weren’t connecting on some deeper level, what would be the point?

I like the guys, too… or mostly. Ben is pushy, arrogant, mouthy (“Damn it… you’re slipping… why’re my pants still on?”); the complete front man package. He’s used to being adored and he likes to top from the bottom, is quite verbal about it, and has the motor mouth to prove it. John, working stage actor with the looks to match his sexy Scots burr, is a god in bed; the topper, he knows just what spurs his rocker on (“… your mouth is like a riding crop…” — insert sexy Scots accent here, please).

But, John wants more from Ben, the flighty wild-child. Is he gonna get it?

The authors write two distinct characters and it’s a nice little story, but I find Ben’s reluctance hard to understand, I don’t know him well enough to know where it comes from. It seems like a manufacturing to stir up some plot tension… when, really, the guys’ careers should be enough to contribute to that…  And at the end of the story Ben physically lashes out in anger at an innocent by-stander… this does nothing to win me over to him; it sets me to wonder if it’s only good looks and talent that John needs from his lover.

The ending shapes up to be a HFN for me as I’m not sure how the two will resolve some deep-seeded issues which their nomadic, frenetic careers can only make more difficult. If I only take this as a rocker fairy tale then it all works out well enough.

Elizabetta rates it – 535px-3-5_stars-svg

BUY LINKS: Amber Allure :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

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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 Nikyta & Sid

18471824TITLE: My Only Sunshine
AUTHOR: Rowan McAllister
PUBLISHER:
Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 
226 pages
BLURB:  Tanner Wallis is nearly at the end of his rope the night Mason Seidel finds him lying next to the mangled body of a cow on the back pastures of the Seidel family’s Wyoming ranch. Recently out of the hospital after he and his boyfriend were brutally beaten, Tanner is jobless, homeless, and almost penniless. His desperate hope is that Mason will believe he’s innocent of the senseless crime and give him a place to heal, both physically and emotionally, until he can get on his feet again.

But Mason already has enough on his plate. He’s only been back on the ranch a few months, ten years after his father kicked him out for being gay, and only because his sister begged him to come help after the man’s disabling stroke. With all his responsibilities—running the struggling ranch and keeping his sister and father off his back—Mason can’t really afford the distraction Tanner represents. But he can’t just abandon the attractive young man either. There’s trouble in spades on the ranch, but if they face it together, Mason and Tanner might find a future with a little sunshine.

NIKYTA’S REVIEW

I have a weakness for cowboy stories. Throw in the fact that one of the characters is not only injured physically but is damaged emotionally and you have a story I just had to read.

This is about Tanner Wallis, who life has not been kind to the last few weeks. Forced to endure one hellish situation after another, he unintentionally wanders onto Mason’s property. Seeing that Tanner is not in the best of shape, Mason allows him to heal and rest on the ranch until he’s healthy again. Unfortunately, Mason might be out but he has his own set of problems with his homophobic and disabled father and having Tanner on the ranch can cause way more issues than he wants. However, the feelings between the two develop quickly and intense, leaving both of them unwilling to leave the other no matter what. But what will happen when Mason’s daddy finds out about Tanner? Will Tanner and Mason be able to get through the inevitable trouble that’s bound to happen?

I must say, I simply adored Tanner. He’s so fragile but he’s also very strong. His worst enemy is himself and it was sad to see him have second thoughts about Mason. He doesn’t believe he’s worthy enough to have someone love him for who he is instead of what his face looks like. Very heartbreaking. I also loved Mason because of what he has to put up with. I loved that he was so willing to take care of a father who hated him but at the same time I wanted to shake Mason and tell him to stick up for himself when it came to his family! I found it frustrating that he would bite his lip and just let things get worse instead of getting the courage to tell things the way they really happened, especially when it came to his sister.

The plot of the story mostly revolves around the developing relationship between Tanner and Mason with a side mystery. IMO, the mystery was too weak. It really only showed up or was mentioned when it would add more conflict to the story. However, the relationship between Tanner and Mason was very strong. I liked the almost physical pull the two had for each other. It was cute, sweet but sometimes intense. One thing I probably adored the MOST was the fact that these loved to hug each other simply to be held. I couldn’t get enough of that and really loved that there was nothing sexual attached to the hugs. They were for comfort, love and to give each other strength. It might have been the highlight of the story for me.

I enjoyed the story but I had a few issues with it. My main issue was that for a while in the middle, it started to drag. It was nice seeing Tanner and Mason get to know each other but at the same time, nothing else happened so it didn’t hold my interest for long when I tried to read. On top of that, I had an issue with the foreshadowing at the end of some of the chapters, which felt awkward and unnecessary. The ending was too nicely tied up for my liking so by the end, it left me with a lot of questions. My biggest one being how Mason and Tanner could afford to do most of the things they ended up changing.

Overall, this was a sweet story. I enjoyed it for the most part but I did have my issues. It’s main draw for me was the numerous hugs, as I said. It’s just not something you see in abundance in m/m when there’s not a sexual undertone to it and the hugs between Tanner and Mason were just sweet and adorable, filled with love. So CUTE! It definitely ends on a happy note and I was glad that these two found the happiness they both deserve.

Nikyta rates it: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

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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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SID’S REVIEW

Nikyta and I have quite a similar taste so when she suggested that we should buddy read on this one, I went to check out the blurb and said an immediate yes! The premise was so promising that I couldn’t say no and that’s how we ended up reading this together.

Believe me when I say – I never had an urge to read a book with hotshot Cowboys – sure, I lust for those hotties like any other gay men out there but this book was one of those exceptions where nothing else mattered but my reader’s soul inside me that craved to have a peek into this book and oh what a journey it was!

The beginning hooked me in an instant and I was more than excited to see how fate brings the two main characters together – like no one could imagine, yet it was believable enough to amaze me. The writing was outstanding and every character stood out in their roles – Tanner’s innocence and his pain or Mason’s desperation for a life in which he mattered made me connect with them. You just have to read this story just so you could live the moments they share as their relationship grows. How beautiful each of those stolen moments are, when they sneak kisses or – yes, those cute hugs Nikyta mentioned of course. It didn’t even bother me that the development was kind of slow because I know it was how it was supposed to be.

Secondary characters did well just by supporting these two (or even standing as a barrier to their relationship) – Ed and Lucy’s love for the boys or Brian’s protective demeanor over his friend Tanner when someone speaks ill of him or even Robert Seidel’s hatred to that extent where I hated him from the bottom of my heart.

However, that doesn’t mean I approve of how the author decided to just “get rid of him” so that the boys could finally live together. It was disappointing, considering how high I had my expectations built for this book and they just came crashing down bit by bit in the second half of the book. For the most part after the main characters make love to each other, there is nothing exciting happening at all. Words just seem to run for pages after pages describing how and what they did each day. Much of unneeded information is given to the reader – if this had been edited well, a shorter version (still a novel, though) with some best scenes would have been a final product. A couple of grammatical errors made the perfectionist in me cringe but one could overlook it easily, I guess.

Nikyta said it well – the mystery lacked its essence in this story and the climax was just not good enough. The ending of it all seemed rushed. The reader gets a bigger picture of it all at the end to show their happily ever after, however the little details – which actually made me fall in love with the story right in the beginning – remained missing right till end.

However, I would still recommend this book because Mason and Tanner do have a special story of their love to tell. It was a change for me – refreshing (even with the angst and all) and I found to be taken by Rowan McAllister’s talents.

For this romantic, cowboy tale, I give a rating of 3.25 stars.

Sid rates it: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

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

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Sid Love is the owner of The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all his reviews, click the link: SID’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Nikyta

five-stars120205

Hanging by the MomentTITLE: Hanging by the Moment
AUTHOR: H. B. Pattskyn
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 350 pages
BLURB: Pasha Batalov has lived his whole life doing what a good son is expected to do. He dropped out of school to help run the failing family restaurant, and ever since he’s put up with his difficult business partner, who also happens to be his father. And, of course, he keeps his sexual orientation a secret from his conservative Russian family. After being closeted costs him his first serious relationship, Pasha resigns himself to one-night stands and loneliness.

But after a chance encounter with lost delivery truck driver, Daniel Englewood, Pasha starts to question all of his assumptions about life. Daniel is sweet, funny, smart, drop-dead gorgeous—and for the last six years, he’s been living with HIV. Pasha worries that he won’t be strong enough to help Daniel if HIV turns to AIDS, but he can’t walk away from their deepening attraction. He also doesn’t know if he can be strong enough to face the hardest task that a relationship with Daniel demands: coming out to his family and friends, and risking losing everything else he holds dear.

REVIEW:

I first got acquainted with H.B. Pattskyn’s books when I read Heart’s Home in early 2012. I loved that book and thought the writing was phenomenal. When I noticed Hanging by the Moment, I knew immediately I wanted to read it not just because I enjoy Ms. Pattskyn’s writing but also because the blurb intrigued me.

I’m ecstatic to say that I loved this book just as much as I loved Heart’s Home. The writing was just as great, so much so that I was enamored with the story and once I started, I didn’t want to put it down. I couldn’t wait to see what Pasha and Daniel go through, how certain situations played out and whether or not Pasha will have the life he always wanted.

To be frank, this is a story about life being too short to fight or to worry or to even get hung up on the little things. It’s about living in the moment and taking chances you wouldn’t normally take because anything can happen tomorrow but today is what counts. It deals with a lot of issues such as coming out, HIV, gay-bashing, homophobia and ultimately sticking up for yourself and living the life you want to live but also about accepting who you are. It was a beautiful story that had me sad and crying one moment then happy the next.

Pasha is an unconventional character. He has a lonely life filled mostly with working in his family’s restaurant every day and fighting with his father constantly. He stresses over his weight and the fact that he’s in the closet and doesn’t think he’ll ever be happy. It’s sad but I connected with Pasha and I enjoyed the fact that he had issues with his weight. He would start a diet then something would happen so he’d eat a carton of ice cream to drown his sorrows. When he meets Daniel, there’s an instant attraction but Pasha doesn’t think Daniel would ever look at him twice… until Daniel comes back to his restaurant to see him.. except Pasha freaks out and pushes Daniel away and then regrets it later. Poor Pasha! He just has no self-esteem 😦

What I really loved, though, was the fact Daniel didn’t give up. Daniel might be this incredibly attractive Native American but he sees Pasha for more than just his waist size and thinks Pasha is gorgeous inside AND out. I loved that while Pasha wanted to lose weight, Daniel made every effort to let Pasha know that his weight didn’t matter to him even to the point of pushing Pasha into ordering what he really wanted and not some bird ford. It was sweet and made me fall in love with Daniel. More than anything, I liked the balance between Daniel and Pasha. We get Pasha’s troubles and we get Daniel’s troubles in their own time. I loved experiencing the emotions between Pasha and Daniel over Daniel’s HIV; from being freaked out to wary to scared to accepting but also the fact that Pasha eventually realizes that no matter why Daniel is with him, Daniel’s feelings and emotions are genuine and not a result of some bad luck (you’ll understand this when you read the book). It wasn’t just hard on Pasha because he didn’t want to lose someone he was growing to love but also on Daniel who had a constant fear that he would get Pasha sick or Pasha would see him in a different way and then leave Daniel. It’s heart-breaking if you really let yourself get into the story but it unfolded in a way that was enjoyable without being too overwhelming or too dense. It was just right, IMO, but mostly the fact that even when one of them freaked out, they eventually talked about it and got through their issues together.

My only issue with the story is that I felt the beginning was a bit rough. Pasha is very self-degrading. He doesn’t think highly of himself because of the situation he’s in and the way he’s been acting since he broke up with his ex, who he was still yearning for. When he meets Daniel, he can’t understand why Daniel likes him because Pasha thinks he’s unattractive since he no longer has a size 32 waist. In the beginning, it’s rough because it’s almost as if Pasha hates himself or at least his life. So, for me, it was brutal to see him debase himself in some ways (although it’s not extreme just sad) and some readers might have a hard time getting through this. However, as the story progressed, I couldn’t help but love Pasha. He doesn’t want much in his life except to be loved and respected by his father AND to have a man that loves him. Thankfully, he gets that in Daniel!

I will warn some readers that Pasha and Daniel move a little fast when it comes to love but, to me, it fit the story well. I enjoyed the intensity between them and I felt the love that they developed. I liked that they took things slow when it came to sex because of Daniel’s HIV but I also liked that their feelings for each other are shown and we get to experience every step of it. They call, they text, they go on dates, they even have some fights and we get to see it. It helped me connect with the characters, to get to know them in a way that had me very invested in the story.

With that said, this was an amazing novel that I loved reading. It’s sweet, intense and at times sad. I cried, I laughed and I fell in love with the characters and their journey. I even adored the secondary characters that weren’t so nice. I love Ms. Pattskyn’s writing and I really hope we’ll one day get more of either Pasha and Daniel (especially to meet Daniel’s family) or at least see the journey of another couple (*cough* Brett and Mark *cough*). For those readers looking for something that handles a range of issues that has a little angst but a happy ending, try this one because it was definitely something I enjoyed every step of the way!

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press  ::  All Romance eBooks

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Nikyta J. 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 Elizabetta

Off Stage: RightTITLE: Off Stage: Right
AUTHOR: Jaime Samms
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH:  350 pages/111,159 words
BLURB: Damian Learner and his grunge band, Firefly, are on a meteoric rise to success. If they get the right break, fame awaits. Seeking more professional management, Damian independently strikes a bargain with the best agent in the business, Stanley Krane. Unable to afford the penalty for breaking old contracts, Damian agrees when Stan’s best friend, country and Western megastar Vance Ashcroft, offers to buy him out of his old contract.

Overwhelmed by a crippling loan, secretive guilt, Stanley’s expectations, and a volatile relationship with Lenny, Firefly’s lead guitarist, Damian disintegrates. Bad habits of too much sex, booze, and drugs create a rift in the band. Finally Vance, with his understanding of Dominant/submissive behavior, sees that submissives Damian and Lenny are falling into chaos, clinging to each other to try to avoid the inevitable crash.

When the pressure to perform becomes too much and the unthinkable happens, Damian and Lenny have to decide: accept that they need something they can’t get from each other, or burn out and take Firefly with them. Vance is ready to claim Lenny, but even Stan’s hesitant agreement to give Damian the direction he needs might not be enough for Damian—or the band—if he loses Lenny.

REVIEW:

This is not your regular take on celebrity musicians and the craziness of sex, drugs and rock ’n roll that can surround them. This takes a good, deeper look at that world and combines a D/s dynamic— or the concept of that lifestyle as an alternative— to give a really great rocker romance.

Based around two couples and their relationship to the up-and-coming grunge band, Firefly, we get a story of discovering limits in a hedonist, anything goes rock star life. While the band is the vehicle, the story starts with the relationship between music promoter/manger Stan Krane and his friend with benefits, Vance Ashcroft, who also happens to be one of his clients— a very successful country music singer. They are also both Doms (so right away you see the problem). In addition, Vance is in the closet to protect his career, Stan is out, and they seem to enjoy an open relationship. Complicated couple number one. The other couple, Lenny and Damian, are lead musicians in Firefly and have been besties since third grade. They’ve been there for each other through some very hard times, they live together and spend a lot of time fighting together. There is a sexual tension between them that they can’t figure out, and that frustration is becoming increasingly violent. So, each of these couples wants something from their partner that they aren’t able to give and the crux of the story is their finding out what to do about it.

Because this is fiction, the solution is brought about by keeping things in the family. Stan’s taking on Firefly as a client means he gets an up close and personal look into Lenny and Damian’s dysfunction and sees that their destructive relationship will also soon be the end of a very talented band. It doesn’t hurt that Stan has a thing for lead singer, Damian, and that Vance has his eye on guitarist, Lenny.

I really liked the set up of the story, the first third or so is especially good. The middle gets bogged down in some pretty heavy angst and high drama with a bit of man-handling as all hell breaks loose. While this got a little over the top (and wordy), it did allow us to get to know each character and where they were coming from and why they acted out in the ways they did. Especially Lenny and Damian, who are such complex mixtures of bad-ass and vulnerability that they suck you in, make you want to smack them and still hope they’ll find their way somehow, impossible as that may seem. The last part of the story focuses on Stan and Damian and while that was fun I kept wondering about Vance and Lenny and how they were handling things.

I also appreciated that while this was about D/s relationships— a big element— the story wasn’t overrun with sex and tie-em-up/tie-em-down scenes. What sex there was added to the plot instead of detracting from it. This was more about four people discovering what they need from each other and how to get it. I really, really liked that. I liked that the lifestyle is presented as a compassionate, nurturing bonding based on cognitive discovery as well as sexual need. Throw in some talented, broody rockers and you have something really sweet.

The ending, while it resolves the major issues does feel more like an HFN and I’m truly hoping for a sequel to see what develops between Stan, Vance, Damian and Lenny as well as the rest of the band members who have their own interesting stories to tell.

Elizabetta’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press :: All Romance eBooks

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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
=====================================================

Reviewed by Heather C.

TITLE: Question Mark (Book #2)
SERIES: Liaisons
AUTHOR: S.E. Culpepper
LENGTH: 356 Pages
BLURB: Coming back from being well and truly dumped is a struggle for the average guy. For Mark Newland, it’s much, much worse. With a long string of broken relationships behind him, Mark is confronted with a choice: grow up and fix the man he’s become, or continue on his lonely and bitter path. With reinvention in mind, Mark heads for a vacation in Bora Bora, hoping it will bring him closer to what he wants. He simply never figured it would be in the form of Hollywood’s most eligible gay bachelor, Zane Whitlow.

If Zane is suspicious of romance, he blames it entirely on his career. Never totally sure that men he’s been with wanted him over a taste of his fame, he errs on the side of caution when it comes to love. Until he meets Mark Newland, that is. Only hours into his vacation and for reasons he can’t understand himself, Zane abandons his usual safe approach in favor of pursuit. But Zane’s not the only one who thinks Mark might be the perfect guy…

With attraction, fear, and insecurity warring within Mark, will he have the strength to believe he deserves lasting love, or will his old ways come back to haunt him?

REVIEW:

We all met, and probably hated, Mark in Private Eye. But honestly, I really felt bad for him because Rafe really did him wrong. In Question Mark, Mark finally finds “the one” and gets his happy-ever-after.

Mark has decided to reinvent himself after he finally accepts that Rafe has moved on with Jeremy. And what better way to do that than by taking a well-deserved tropical vacation? On the shuttle to the island, Mark meets Zane Whitlow, action movie star extraordinaire who is out and proud, but also shy and unsure of himself when it comes to hitting on men. With encouragement from his friends, Zane immediately tries to pursue this connection he feels with Mark. Zane quickly realizes that Mark is also being pursued by the deeply closeted Christian. And Mark is just amazed that he’s getting all this attention from two hot men, but his real attraction is to Zane. Christian is hot, but Zane is the one he really wants. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not. I always believed that Zane was the man for Mark, and that Christian would be the one getting in the way.

I was hesitant to read this one because I had heard several mixed opinions, but I actually loved it almost as much as I loved Private Eye. I really loved the characters, both Zane and Mark…and even Christian, although I still wanted to slap him most of the time. Zane was always straight up and honest with Mark and was never one to play games. And Mark…well he was still too hung up on some of his old issues to fully trust in a future with Zane, which is certainly understandable after the shit Rafe put him through. Unlike the first book, there was no mystery here. It’s all about Zane and Mark trying to start a relationship while being a long distance apart, battling the media, and Christian’s interference.

Eh, this was mostly predictable, but I still loved it…maybe it’s the author’s writing or just the realistic characters she creates. Probably both. Mark had such a great family, and I loved reading the slow blossoming romance between him and Zane. I was expecting them to immediately jump into bed together, but nope, this was slow burn for a loooooong time! Which is always my preference. Yes, Mark does screw up and betray Zane. And yes, the kiss was forced upon him by Christian, but Mark should have never put himself into that position in the first place. Luckily, Zane forgives him…and I believe that Mark was deserving of his forgiveness. And I believe in their happy-ever-after.

This book cannot be read as a stand alone. You really need to read Private Eye to fully understand what Mark has been through and the progress he has made. I’m happy that Rafe and Mark do come to some sort of accord at the end.

Now I’m dying to read Christian’s book next!!

I highly recommend this series!

Heather’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Book Store

==================================
Heather C. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

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

Check out all our recommended books in Sid Love’s eBook Store:
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(Support this site and buy the books from my A-store)

Reviewed by Heather C.

five-stars120205

TITLE: Love, Like Water
AUTHOR: Rowan Speedwell
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 284 pages
BLURB: Three years undercover with one of the worst gangs in the country left FBI agent Joshua Chastain shattered. Battling nightmares and addiction, he leaves the concrete jungle for New Mexico horse country, hoping to start over on his uncle’s ranch.

Foreman Eli Kelly spends his life rehabilitating abused animals, and Joshua is just another lost soul. But as Joshua slowly begins to put his life back together, Eli realizes that Joshua is a lot more than his newest project.

Joshua’s plan seems to work—maybe a fresh start was just what he needed. Then, just when he has finally found a sense of peace, crime and hatred nearly destroy all his hard work, forcing him to reevaluate what he wants out his relationship with Eli and his own life.

REVIEW:

I’ve been waiting so long for another Rowan Speedwell book that I snatched this one up for review without even reading the blurb! I may have been more hesitant at choosing this if I had snuck a peak first since I’m not usually a huge fan of cowboy stories….normally.

Beautiful! I know I probably sound a little lame, but that’s the only word I can articulate right now. The beauty of this story has left me speechless! So, please bear with me while I blather on…

Joshua Chastain has come to his Uncle Tucker’s horse ranch to get a new start in life following a horrific undercover assignment that has left him broken and drug addicted. There, he meets Elian Kelly, the ranch foreman with a specialty in helping abused and traumatized horses. Eli immediately takes a liking to Josh and is determined to help him mend just like any other horse on the ranch. Oh, but what is to be done about that slow boiling attraction between them?

I loved everything about this story. I said it earlier, and I will say it again…it was beautiful. Rowan, as always, did an amazing job of giving us a broken, traumatized hero, barely living, who is then brought back to life through love and the power of a relationship with another man. And Eli was the perfect man for the job. Their HEA didn’t come easy, and it got really, really angsty there for a bit. There were a few scenes near the end that had my chest tight and made me want to scream! I felt for both of these characters sooooo much…they were so real to me.

Other things I loved:

The Pace: This was not a fast paced story. No, it was a slow, meandering journey, and I couldn’t tear myself away. So, it actually ended up being a very fast read for me.

The Sexual Tension: I was especially hooked in by all the sexual tension. So no, the romance was definitely not rushed. Plus, it was resolved by some very hot, passionate sex…outdoor sex…near public sex… Josh and Eli were HOT!

The Uncle: Uncle Tucker was awesome!! One of the funniest old cowboys…ever!

The Imagery: Lots of beautiful New Mexican landscape…

The Horses: I know absolutely nothing about horses, but all the horse talk didn’t bother me, and I actually found it interesting. Not sure of the accuracy but it all sounded good to me.

The Epilogue: I will just say that this had one of the best epilogues in all my romance reading history. Now I want a follow-up!

I easily give this 5 Stars. Recommended.


PRE-ORDER LINK:
Dreamspinner Press

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

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

Check out all our recommended books in Sid Love’s eBook Store:
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(Support this site and buy the books from my A-store)

Reviewed by Heather C.

TITLE: Denying Yourself
AUTHOR: Silvia Violet
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 205 pages
BLURB: Matt and Shane both have secrets. Matt never believed he was anything but straight, yet he’s increasingly attracted to his best friend. Shane is comfortable with being gay, but when he discovers he’s part werewolf, he hides that part of himself, fearing Matt’s reaction. Suffocated by his uptight parents and conservative hometown, Shane begs Matt to run away with him.

But starting over doesn’t help. Matt still denies his desires, and Shane abuses alcohol to dampen his wolfish urges. When Matt breaks down and kisses Shane, the pent-up passion proves too much for Shane’s self-control, and his wolf gets free. Horrified, Shane flees—into deeper trouble. Before they can hope to accept each other, Shane and Matt must accept themselves.

REVIEW:

It hasn’t been easy for Shane being the openly gay, new kid in a conservative, southern high school. The bullies and the jocks have been pushing him around and roughing him up…that is until one of the jocks, Matt, stands up for him and quickly becomes his best friend. Soon, Shane begins to notice that he is changing: becoming stronger and out of control, struggling with his desires for his “not gay” best friend. He chooses alcohol to suppress his urges and keep himself deep in denial about what is happening to him. Then one night after graduation, during a heated argument with his parents, Shane suddenly shifts into his werewolf form. Rejected and feeling alone, he convinces Matt to run away with him, but is still too afraid to admit to Matt what he really is. The two friends quickly find jobs and a cheap apartment, and everything seems to be going great. Then, an unexpected kiss from Matt pushes Shane into a dark, downward spiral of more alcohol and self abuse. Before Matt and Shane can ever be together, they both need to accept themselves for what they are.

I will be the first one to admit that I’m not a big fan of shifter books; I think shifters are one of those story-lines that have been well overdone in this genre. Over and over. But this was different from any other shifter book I’ve ever read. First of all, I know I’ve never read about an alcoholic werewolf! But, I am a softie for gay-for-you and friends-to-lovers, so the blurb and the sexy cover tempted me enough to ignore my hesitancies and give this one a try. And I’m so glad I did! Once I started reading it, I could not tear myself away from it until I was finished. I actually stayed up ’til almost 4 am on a work night! I really, really enjoyed it.

This was honestly and truly an angst fest. Shane just broke my heart. His love for Matt was so strong, and every time he was faced with rejection, my heart hurt for him. Yes, I hated what he was doing to himself, but I understood why he was doing it…trying to cope with the duel stigmas of being gay and a shifter, lusting after and loving his best friend, while attempting to deny his animal within. Some people may consider him selfish and immature, but I saw him is young and broken. He needed Matt, but he needed himself more. I don’t want to spoiler anyone as to where this story goes, but it is not an easy journey to the HEA.

The story was told in first person from Shane’s POV, so I never really got to see what Matt was feeling. I know he was struggling with admitting to himself that he was gay and in love with his best friend, but how did he come to accept it? I don’t know why, but there is a part of me that just wants to be able to see Shane through Matt’s eyes…just once.

On the smexy level, this one rated pretty high for me. While it’s not full of page after page of sex, there was some really nice sexual tension followed by some satisfyingly hot and sexy scenes. There was no cheating, but I must warn that there was somewhat of an orgy!! Shifters need a lot of physical contact and are typically sexually open, so I was perfectly okay with it…I even found it very hot!

I think the only thing lacking from this story was some of the paranormal world building. I know that the humans know about shifters, but how did that come to be? Where did shifters come from? And how is Shane a half-shifter? I learned a bit about pack dynamics and shifter urges, but I still have a lot of questions. So, I think a sequel would be nice. A sequel about Carl would be even better. I know I didn’t mention Carl previously in my review, but I refuse to spoiler. 😉

In the end, Shane and Matt do find their happy ever after. It was a tough trip, but very worth the travels.

I recommend this to anyone who is interested in a shifter story with a twist and a bit of angst.

Heather’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press :: Book Store

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

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

TITLE: Pickup Men
AUTHOR: L. C. Chase
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 166 pages
BLURB: It takes a pissed-off Brahma bull named Shockwave to show rodeo pickup man Marty Fairgrave the cold hard truth about champion bull rider Tripp Colby: Tripp will never leave the safety of his closet or acknowledge Marty in public. Sometimes loving someone just isn’t enough, and after a year of hiding what they are, Marty finally sees the light—and it’s no longer shining on Tripp.

Tripp Colby would do anything for Marty. Well . . . almost. He’s never loved anyone before, and isn’t quite sure how to handle it now. But he knows Marty is his everything, and in order to win him back, Tripp will have to overcome his darkest fears and step into the light.

But no matter Tripp’s intentions, the cost might be too high and the effort too late for these two cowboys to ride off into the sunset.

REVIEW:

The opening action scene in this rodeo romance is so well done. It’s almost like being inside the corral, you can almost feel the heat and dust, smell the horses, hear the churning hooves of the bull trying to toss a man off its back. Expert competition bull rider, Tripp, completes his dangerous, timed turn on the back of a very angry, 2000 pound brahma and is narrowly saved from death or certain maiming by pickup rider, Marty Fairgrave.

The rodeo pickup man is responsible for clearing the bull away once the trick rider has dismounted, and Marty is very good at what he does. He is also very much in love with Tripp and puts himself in harms way to protect him. What happens after this is just too bad. Too bad that an in-the-closet bull rider can’t publicly admit his feelings for out-and-proud pickup man. Not even after he’s just saved his butt and lies seriously injured in the dust. Can’t even lend a hand, can’t even say thank you.

The author has her work cut out for her making Tripp Colby so hard to like right from the get-go. He just doesn’t do right by Marty, their relationship is made up of late-night bootie calls. Tripp is so deep in the closet, tightly-wound by his inner turmoil. He grew up abused by a ruthless, homophobic father who threatened him constantly with conversion therapy camps. Making matters worse is the homophobia rife in Tripp’s rodeo world, adding difficulty to an already dangerous job. Tripp feels he has no choice but to stay in the closet— he is a three-time world bull-riding champ and has sponsors to worry about.

Marty is the opposite— easy to like— but he comes from a different world. He’s comfortable in his skin thanks to self-confidence and a loving and supportive family. He’s the lowly (but critically necessary) pickup rider, so he doesn’t carry the burden that Tripp does in his work. He is good at what he does, he’s a “roughstock whisperer”. He has also lost his heart to Tripp but he’s finally reached the end, tired of the hiding and fronting, he can no longer “live in Tripp’s closet” and can’t figure out how to “whisper” Tripp to living a truthful life.

If I have any issue with the story it’s that Tripp is so hard to cozy up to— despite his background, he comes off as cowardly. Still, this is a heart-warming read about a man overcoming ingrained mental abuse with the help of abiding love. The fact that Marty remains so true to him is endearing. Readers who like a rodeo theme with some good action, a fair amount of angst and cowboy lovin’ will enjoy “Pickup Men”.

Elizabetta’s Rating: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

PRE-ORDER LINK: Riptide Store

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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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