Posts Tagged ‘contemporary’

Reviewed by Elizabetta

18585761TITLE: The Night Visitor
AUTHOR: Ewan Creed
PUBLISHER: Wilde City Press
LENGTH: 50 pages
BLURB: Everyone likes sexually exploring. Finding things that turn you on, experimenting to see what gets you off… Hot partners and scenarios that scare some people and make others slick with desire… But what happens when the fantasies you’re living out are in your dreams? And what happens when these dreams seem to transcend into the real world as well? Could these be the creation of your hot, sultry and sexy mind, or is there something more to it? The Night Visitor exposes one man’s journey to sexual fulfillment and fantasy… but is it real?

REVIEW:

Night Visitor is an interesting play on dreams versus reality. What do dreams mean, what are they trying to tell us?

Each time he sleeps Kevin finds himself back in a recurring dream, it’s not a nightmare, but is disturbing in its insistence. He returns to the same run-down part of town, same deteriorating buildings, walking down the same street; he encounters the same unknown, tattooed man. Kevin names him ‘the night visitor’ and is drawn to his bad-boy “tasty piece of very rough trade” attitude.

The story is disjointed as the dreams break up at various points, transitioning in and out in fits and starts. We’re thrown back and forth in time, between Kevin’s present reality and his past. Each time he dreams, though, the dreams become a little more elaborate, he goes a little hotter and heavier with the sexy ‘visitor’ as we are fed more information. This all works nicely to build a surreal, other-worldly atmosphere.

Kevin is a real kinkster, he likes his sex down and dirty. There is an intense, pornographic bath-house scene featuring public sex and voyeurism. “Hear you like to put on shows…”. Is it real, though? We’re left off-kilter once again as Kevin is lost in a world where reality mashes up with fantasy, manifesting when he sleeps.

The author is adept at spinning out Kevin’s backstory, the ‘why’ of his present state of mental unrest. He knows the dreams mean something, are trying to tell him something. The mystery is, what?

I liked this story, a kind of waking dream within-a-dream idea, it’s an interesting study. I thought the author built the mystery and momentum well, and everything comes full circle nicely in the end. It’s a good bit of writing and works in the short story setting. Nice job, all in all.

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

BUY LINKS: Wilde City Press

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

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

==================================
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 Carissa

Burning Ashes by H. Lewis-Foster eBookTITLE: Burning Ashes
AUTHOR: H. Lewis-Foster
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
BLURB: Intelligent and confident, Australian cricketer Nat Seddon is one of the world’s best bowlers. He’s openly gay, but keeps his private life to himself, everything under control. But on the last day of his team’s “Ashes” tour of England, he meets Scott Alverley, England’s promising new batsman. Nat tries not to be attracted to Scott, but he can’t help finding the privileged young man handsome and endearing. Nat is tempted by a little end of tour fun, but finds himself playing agony uncle to a virgin. Instead of going home to bask on a beach, he spends a wet week in the north of England with Scott. Try as he might to resist, he can’t help falling hopelessly in love.

The hectic sporting calendar is a persistent obstacle to their growing romance; Nat and Scott are rarely even on the same continent. They make the most of the time when they can be together, but the months apart take a toll on Scott, professionally and personally. The possible solutions are nearly unthinkable, but if they are willing to make sacrifices that will change their lives forever, they might hold on to the love they found in the Ashes.

REVIEW:

“Cricket is a strange and beautiful game.  A match can last for five hours or five days, and the rules are near incomprehensible to those who have never played the game.  This sport of gentlemen evokes heated passions around the world and none more so than when England play Australia.  One of the oldest and keenest rivalries in sport, when the two countries do battle, the contest is known as the Ashes.”

When Scott and Nat meet over the cricket pitch, both men are struck by an attraction that is both worrisome and unexpected.  Not that it would stop Nat from bowling out Scott, whose first time at bat for the English national team ends with crash of Nat’s ball colliding with his wicket.  Attraction turns to quite a bit more when, over a friendly drink and rather botched attempt at seduction, Scott invites Nat to spend a week with him at his family’s house near the Lake District.  But with several oceans–and a longtime sporting rivalry–between them, can the love they’ve come to share stand the test of time and trials, or will it all turn to burning ashes?

Before I read this book I knew three things about the game of cricket.  The first is that it’s called cricket. Second, that the little sticky things that the bowler is trying to hit is called a wicket. And thirdly, that it is the most incomprehensible game I have ever tried to watch.  My anglophile obsession has carried me into many a deep dark corner of English life, but not even a nice cup of tea or my love of England was able to make that game watchable.  But like the anglo-addict I am, I was drawn into reading this book by the lovely cover and the idea of a sporting Romeo/Juliet style love story.

What I found within the story, though, led me to believe that the cover was probably the best part of the whole book.

I just had a very hard time believing that these two, who have only known each other less than a week, fall hopelessly and madly in love–and stay in almost constant loving bliss for the entire book.  I am no stranger to the idea of insta-love, and while sometimes annoying in its unreality, it can be executed in such a way as to make the reader feel the heat, the connection between the two main characters.  Not here.  There was about as much chemistry between them as a cup of table salt in a jug of warm water.  Handy for clearing out slugs or soothing a cough, but not a lot to inspire the more intense of feelings.  It had the potential–in so many different scenes, in so many different ways–but like table salt, something was preventing the full-on flash, bang, pow of chemical combustion.  It wasn’t till almost two-thirds through the book that I even began to feel anything between the two, and by then, I just couldn’t bring myself to care.  Too much was skipped over in the first section of the book.  Not enough time trying to build them up as a couple, and the lack of on-the-page romantic interaction–and yes, sex is part of that–just killed any hope for a believable romance.

This was not helped by the near teenage-level of angst and emotion that these two exhibited.  I was thrown, quite a bit, by how the stoic Nat–who at the beginning would not wince, less he show weakness–spent a good portion of the book near tears.  I’m all for being in touch with your emotions, but I prefer that they are your emotions that you’re in touch with–not a hormonal teenager’s.  Almost every twist, problem, or disaster was met by almost uncontrollable emotional-overload.  And when they finally do start to act like adults, there doesn’t seem to be much of a catalyst for it.  So either they were capable of it the whole time, or they just woke up one day and decided that almost breaking down in tears at the slightest provocation was not helping anyone.

Strangely enough, I think quite a few of the problems could have been solved if the author had stuck to a shorter timeline for the plot.  With a story that covers almost six years it felt like you would barely get comfortable in a scene before you were jerked out and thrown three months in the future.  If we had been given a novel that stayed with the characters long enough, in one setting, I don’t think it would have felt like we were being shown a highlights reel–instead of the real story.  Also, the amount of time spent in info-dumping, be it back-story or important conversations, may have been needed to move along the plot by giving large bursts of information, but it was too much.  It felt like I was reading a briefing on the characters, and not learning about who they actually were.

About two-thirds of the way through, it did pick up.  I was starting to get a feel for the real people that these characters were playing for the majority of the story, but by then it was too late to save the book, for me.  I really did want to like this book, and there were moments–when catching a bit of banter between Nat and Scott, or some of the players–that I felt it was on the cusp of something, but it could never quite push itself over the line.

Carissa rates it – 2_5

BUY LINKS:  Dreamspinner Press

==================================
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 Jen B.

SERIES: Calling the Shots
AUTHOR: S. Dora
BOOKS: 3
PUBLISHER: Total E-bound

FACING THE TRUTH (Book One, Calling the Shots series)

13537724BLURB: Sometimes the question being asked, might not be the one that actually needs to be answered.

When twenty-two year old Tom asks his older, conservative lover Isaac for an afternoon of kinky sex, that experience turns out to include much more than bondage, adult toys and spanking.

Both are surprised to discover Isaac’s need to dominate his lover as much as his lover needs to be dominated by him.

Reader Advisory: This story contains a loving, committed relationship between two men with a considerable age difference; some gentle BDSM sex.

REVIEW:

This first book of the series we meet Tom and Isaac, who have been together for about two years.  Isaac is much older than Tom, though it doesn’t really ever seem that way except when Isaac is bringing it up.  Tom asks Isaac to dominate him a little bit.  Isaac is reluctant at first but gives in, wanting to do whatever he can to make Tom happy.  This was a bit awkward at first, as Isaac didn’t really seem to have much of a clue, though you could tell he was trying.

Initially, I thought this was a little on the cheesy side.  But, as the story goes on, it grew on me how these guys were just a couple wanting to test the waters of BDSM.  Neither had any prior experience, though they both trusted each other and wanted to be what the other needed.  After playing at it a little bit, they each seemed to be a bit surprised by how much they were actually turned on by the things they did.

This was a really sweet story about a nice couple that doesn’t want to be the typical dom/sub, in as much as they want to explore that on their own terms.  Quite enjoyable and recommended for those somewhat new to BDSM stories.

Jen rates it – 535px-3-5_stars-svg

BUY LINKS: Total-E-Bound :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

THE RIGHT DIRECTION (Book Two, Calling the Shots series)

15827332BLURB: New to BDSM, Dominant Isaac learns how to bring his sub Tom to new heights during a weekend of pain and pleasure.

Now he’s admitted to his lover, Tom—and more importantly, to himself— that he’s willing to explore his Dominant side, Isaac prepares for a weekend during which both he and Tom will stay in their roles as Dominant and submissive. Isaac has a great time selecting the flogger, paddle and cane he’s planning to use.

During their special weekend, Isaac and Tom not only have lots of kinky sex, they also explore D/s outside the bedroom. They are not ready, however, to share this part of their relationship with the outside world.

How will Isaac react when an innocent moment of misunderstanding confronts him with everyday reality?

Publisher’s Note: This series is about a committed and loving relationship between two men with a considerable difference in age. It contains elements of consensual BDSM.

REVIEW:

In this segment, Isaac is taking the bull by the horns and is ready to go further in his position as Tom’s Dom.  He plans a weekend of play where they will keep to the lifestyle for the whole weekend, as opposed to just during sex.  They are each becoming more comfortable in their respective roles, though they still have much to learn.

It is quite enjoyable to watch Tom and Isaac’s kinky relationship grow as they learn each other’s needs and wants.  Tom continues to struggle with topping from the bottom and asking questions instead of simply obeying, but it is fun to watch them work things out.  They do a little edge play this time around, which is fun to watch, even if Tom doesn’t seem to have the patience for it.

This was a nice continuation of the story, and I’m looking forward to the next book.

Jen rates it – 535px-3-5_stars-svg

BUY LINKS: Total-E-Bound :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: BECOMING SIR (Book Three, Calling the Shots series)

18455066BLURB: Isaac prefers to keep the D/s part of his relationship with Tom strictly private. One day, however, he reads about a non-commercial BDSM club with a playroom for hire…

Committed couple Isaac and Tom have recently discovered they want to explore BDSM, and especially D/s, as part of their committed relationship. There are still doubts and questions, but Isaac knows how to wield his favourite cane for his submissive’s painful pleasure.

S&M is also a very private thing for the otherwise out and open pair.

That is, until Isaac reads an article about a non-commercial BDSM club. He meets one of the volunteers, who shows him the playroom. He’s impressed by what he sees and decides to give his beloved sub a very special treat.

Their experiences with D/s during the months since Tom first said, “I want you to tell me what to do,” have left a deep and positive impression on both men. One day, Isaac takes a decision that he knows will influence the rest of his life with Tom.

Reader Advisory: This series is about a committed and loving relationship between two men with a considerable difference in age. It contains elements of consensual BDSM.

REVIEW:

This story continues with Isaac and Tom becoming more comfortable with their new roles.  Up until this point, they have steadfastly stuck to keeping their BDSM play a private matter.  This begins to slowly change when Isaac starts giving orders while he is still at work.  He then takes initiative to visit a private club after he receives an invitation.  Once his worries are eased by the club manager, his eyes and ideas are opened once she shows him the playroom and all the available options.

I really loved how each story advanced their comfort level with everything while they still maintained their somewhat low key approach to the lifestyle.  They don’t get into anything real heavy, as these guys take baby steps into this world, each always concerned and caring what is best for the other.  Their trip to the club was fantastic, though, unfortunately, the story ends just when things are about to get interesting.

If you have not read many BDSM stories but are even a little bit interested or curious, I’d suggest giving this sweet loving story a try.  Isaac is still always unsure that Tom will want to stay with him since he is so much older and afraid Tom will basically outgrow him, but Tom is always sure to remind him this is not the case and that he only wants to travel this road if Isaac is the one traveling with him.  It is quite an enjoyable ride, and I’m really hoping to see more of this story unfold.

Jen rates it – four-stars_0

BUY LINKS: Total-E-Bound

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Jennifer 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 Elizabetta

SERIES: True Colors
AUTHOR:
Clare London
BOOKS: 
5
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

True Colors (Book One, True Colors series)

True Colors by Clare London eBookBLURB: From the very first, Zeke Roswell and Miles Winter are like oil and water. After a tragic fire claimed his brother’s life, Zeke’s personal and professional life spiraled out of control, and now he has no choice but to sell his gallery to cover his debts. Enter successful entrepreneur Miles, who buys it and plans to make a commercial success out of Zeke’s failure.

Their initial hostility stands no chance against the strong passion that ambushes them. Zeke’s talent and lust for life intoxicate Miles, and Zeke finds Miles’s self-assurance and determination equally fascinating. But it’s not until an unsolved mystery of violence and stolen sketches threatens to sabotage any chance at happiness that Miles and Zeke realize they have a chance at all.

REVIEW:

Take one hot, passionate, mercurial artist… 

add one cool, collected, sexy entrepreneur… 

and shake vigorously.

What really hooks me in is the simmering attraction between Zeke and Miles. I get drunk on it. Good to remember; the story starts slowly and you have to be patient as the author carefully sketches out personalities and setting.

But patience pays off as the guys get a bead on each other and we get a sweet, slow-burn romance. The reader sits comfortably, we get it, as we wait for Zeke and Miles to catch on too. Some good prurient fun.

Zeke has been stuck for a year, grieving for older brother, Jacky, killed tragically in a home fire. A brother much like himself— both of them gifted artists, bright stars in that rarified world. But the remnants of a rocky sibling rivalry keeps Zeke wrapped up in guilt and remorse. Jacky has left behind a lot of hurt and misunderstanding; his cavalier treatment of those close him leave deep scars…

Because of Jacky’s death, in one year, Zeke loses everything: his ambition, his muse, and his beloved gallery where he was going to make his mark in the art world.

On the surface, Miles wears his success well. His brilliance is in the business deal and his drive to excel. He also loves art and plans to resurrect Zeke’s abandoned art gallery putting Zeke, once again, in charge. But underneath the polished and fastidious entrepreneur hides a desire to cut loose and explore another side to his sexuality. Zeke gets to him. The business arrangement forged by the two men sets the stage for a magnetic attraction— lots of heated exchanges, lingering glances and heaving chests.

Zeke and his art are wild, passionate, kinetic— he melts Miles’s cool control, teaches him to look at art in a different way. Miles color blindness also propels an awareness at the form and movement of the work. A shift in perception allows for discovery and melding of two very different personalities.

And… what IS it about flirtation and romancing at an art gallery exhibition? The cool cats gathered in their cool threads, glasses of wine in hand, slowly perusing the paintings on display, slowly perusing each other. Glances across a crowded room. The promise of some hot sexing. Does it to me every time.

There is a bit of a mystery woven in the romance, a smaller thread that answers some questions about the guys. There is a lot of sex, and it is luscious and revelatory. It is balanced with wonderful discussion of the art— Zeke’s work, his brother’s work, the gallery hangings. The author has taken care to fully render each of these aspects, so much so that by the end you really feel as if you’ve gotten to know the characters, and what motivates them.

Which brings up the secondary characters: Carter Davison, Zeke’s best friend and Jacky’s long-time, long-suffering lover, and Red De Vere, Miles’s bestie who nearly steals the show. These two guys deserve a story of their own. And there are two women, Jo and Remy, who’s inclusion is confusing and off-putting at first, but explained eventually.

I so enjoyed this sensual feast. Hot and steamy, the writer pours the sex on— these guys who can’t get enough of each other burn the pages up and I’m so looking forward to the sequels.

Elizabetta’s rating: four-stars_0

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

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: Flying Colors (Book Five, True Colors series)

*Flying Colors can be read right after book one, True Colors*

Flying Colors by Clare London eBookBLURB: Red De Vere appears to have everything—good looks, a prestigious job, attention from the paparazzi, and a choice of lovers. But one day he takes an outrageous step too far at a formal embassy dinner, and the press turns on him. Shocked, he realizes it’s time to find something better in life than partying. He envies the love that his friends Miles and Zeke have, and when he dares to consider that possibility for himself, his hopes and desires rest in his quiet, serious friend Carter Davison.

Carter loved a man who cheated on him, then died violently, and he refuses to make himself vulnerable again. He knows Red is interested; Red has been supportive and admiring since they met. And Carter’s honest enough to admit he’s attracted to Red. But Carter can also think of nothing worse than being the lover of someone in the public eye. Playboy Red must stay an attractive friend, that’s all.

While Red yearns for something real, Carter has some sweet, sexy secrets that might surprise even Red. If Carter dares emerge from his shell, and Red pursues a more rewarding path, romance could spark. Then there’s no telling what might happen.

REVIEW:

We continue a few months after the end of True Colors, and Zeke and Miles are now in a committed relationship. The focus shifts to their best friends, Carter and Red— we knew it was coming, there were indications previously that something was brewing between these two.

Jacky’s ghost continues to have a huge influence in the plot (kind of like the dead Rebecca de Winter in de Maurier’s famous work)—  while Zeke has worked, with Miles’s help, through his guilt and remorse over his brother’s death, Carter still has issues with moving on. He was Jacky’s faithful lover, but Jacky’s constant philandering and abusiveness have left Carter haunted, brooding, with trust issues and shut off to loving anyone else.

Red De Vere, vibrant, wealthy playboy— who knows his way around the club scene and society pages— still has his eye on the quiet, handsome Carter. Red doesn’t know how to take no for an answer. He is intrigued. He senses a darker, complicated man under the controlled facade and needs to convince Carter that he is much more than the shallow party-boy persona he’s quickly tiring of.

We get Miles and Zeke’s dynamic again with this new couple— repressed and controlled versus vibrant and dynamic, reluctant and complex versus patient and determined— the formula is one we’ve already seen in the first book.

This installment in the series is calmer and quieter as Red works his way slowly into Carter’s confidence. This couple has some great sexual tension but it is a very slow build up and there isn’t a lot of tension elsewhere in the story. The guys come together because of their joint work on building a new non-profit teen center in London. There is a side story involving some nicely written teen characters at the center and an act of vandalism there, and the author again uses fire as a plot catalyst. Other than this, we mostly have a carefully made character study.

I wasn’t quite as taken with the story here, but I did find Carter and Red two very interesting, well-written characters (though Red’s affected southern drawl (he is British), which he hides behind, feels odd. In fact, in the books the author uses differences in speech, from quite formal to lingo, to further delineate the opposing characters.) The issues Carter and Red need to overcome and the growth they undergo make for some sympathetic reading and I would recommend Flying Colors for that study.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read all his reviews, click the link: SID’S REVIEWS
==============================================

 

Reviewed by Carissa

five-stars120205

18068792TITLE: Junk
SERIES: The Bristol Collection, Book 1
AUTHOR: Josephine Myles
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
LENGTH: 351 pages
BLURB: Letting go is the first step to healing…or bringing it all crashing down.

When an avalanche of books cuts off access to his living room, university librarian Jasper Richardson can no longer ignore the truth. His ever-growing piles of books, magazines and newspapers can no longer be classified as a “collection”. It’s a hoard, and he needs professional help.

Professional clutter clearer and counselor Lewis Miller thinks he’s seen it all, but even he has to admit he’s shocked. Not so much by the state of Jasper’s house, but by the level of attraction he still feels for the sexy bookworm he remembers from school.

What a shame that Lewis’s ethical code forbids relationships with clients. As Jasper makes slow but steady progress, though, the magnetic pull between them is so strong even Lewis is having trouble convincing himself it’s a temporary emotional attachment arising from the therapeutic process.

Jasper longs to prove to Lewis that this is the real deal. But first he’ll have to lay bare the root of his hoarding problem…and reveal the dark secret hidden behind his walls of books.

REVIEW:

Junk: where a sexy librarian hoarder meets a shopaholic clutter-cleaner with (over)commitment issues, and falls promptly and fully head over heels. What’s not to like?  Well except the fact that our sexy hoarder, Jasper, is one false move from being buried under his hoard of books and newspapers.  Or that clutter-cleaners with therapist leanings, like our Lewis, might just let morals get in the way of his happily ever after.   It’s nothing that can’t be conquered, but can these two, and all their issues, fit into a house that’s packed to the brim with books, papers, and a secret that not even death can bury?  Only time and love can tell.

I knew from the moment that I read the blurb of Junk that I was going to like this book.  Even discounting my love for the books of Josephine Myles, this truly sounded like a unique story being told.  Yet, hoarding?–the supposed province of crazy old bats with hygiene issues and more cats than could ever be healthy–how could that possibly lend itself to a good ol’ gay romance?  Turns out it lends itself superbly.  Not just because Jasper and Lewis make my knees go weak, or that my inner anglophile has a girlish fit every time I read a book set in the UK.  No, this book actually has the audacity to have depth of character and plot.  And I love it.

I love that these character–all of them–exist in three dimensions.  It would have been enough to find two protagonist who are more than just top and bottom, domineering or shy, but we got so much more.  Jasper and Lewis were great characters to come to know, but Yusef, Carroll, Mas, and of course the clothing free, free-speaking, parents of the Miller twins were a joy to read about.  Feeling like you could actually come across these people, if you take a quick (or not so quick, for the poor residence of sunny cali, like me) jaunt up to this English town, was a wonderful feeling.  The more I found out about these characters the more I wanted to know (if not exactly see–the only people I want to hold naked conversations with are those I’ll be tying to my bed later on).  I am also hoping Myles might be feeling benevolent and will give Mas his own happy ending–because seriously, that bouncy, sassy man has some serious depths that need to be plundered…er…discovered by the right man.

Jasper is a hoarder, but not a pushover.  He has a strong will, a working love life–well, he at least is getting some, if not from the right person, or in the right way–and the determination and courage to go after what he wants.  Be it a solution to his overwhelming hoarding problem, or after the reluctant clutter-cleaner that came to save his house and ended up claiming his heart, he is willing to take the steps to get it.  Yes he has doubts–and plenty of dithering about before he forces himself to change–but he does make those changes.  He does go after his man.  Even if said man made me want to whack him with the stick even as Jasper lulled him in with his, ah, carrot.

Lewis has pesky ethical issues, and unfortunately I can’t say that they are wrong.  Not even if they almost cock-blocked the happily-ever-after.  Lewis does have commitment issues–in that he comes to them way too fast and way too hard–so it is perfectly reasonable, and probably much healthier, to insist that they know that this is what they really want.  Both of them.  Did it bug me?  Of course.  I am a hopeless romantic that would happily live in a world of love at first sight and forever.  But I am also an unrepentant realist and hate when things come too easy to my heroes.  Make them strive for it, make them work hard for it…and then let them declare their undying love as they fall into each other’s arms.

There were so many little moments in this book that made me smile.  Zombie flirting in the cafe (a proven method of convincing your desired other that you are the perfect partner is to show just how useful you would be in a zombie apocalypse).  Decorative fountains that were so much more.  A brother and sister who reminded me quite a bit of how my sister and I act whenever we are in the same room (she’s the pretty one, I’m the smart one.  And most likely the dead one if she ever reads this!).  Yet for all its face splitting smiles and lighthearted nudist oversharing, there was real depth and insight into to the problem of hoarding.

These people don’t just have a problem throwing things away.  It is much more complex than that.  They can’t let go of what they have because they either feel that no one will love it like they do or they are sure that one day they will need it, use it, or turn it into something better and new.  But after a while the sheer weight of stuff, of time, of guilt, build up around them, and make even the thought of trying to move stuff out, impossible.  It does keep piling up, too, because it is hard to pass up that one last book, that one last set of knives.  After all, what is one more in the grand scheme of things?  Then one becomes ten, becomes fifty, and then three rooms are forever closed to you because gravity won out over haphazardly placed piles of stuff.  This was Jasper’s world, and it is no wonder that even thinking about the task before him made him cringe in horror.

And Jasper’s big secret?  Well you’ll just have to find that out on your own, ‘cause I can only deal with so much heartache.  I don’t need to go and break your heart as well–I’ll let Myles and Jasper do that for me.  But I will say, that while I got hints of it along the way, it still hurt to hear.  Maybe it was the combo of wine and late-night reading, but to see what Jasper had put on him, what he had to do, and then having to live with it every day after, it about broke my heart.  I don’t know where I come down on the issue itself, but that is one hell of a burden to carry.

But don’t worry, it is not all doom and gloom!  The love here is genuinely heartwarming, and the chemistry between these two is like a bonfire on a cold night: irresistible to watch and you can’t help but get as close as you can so to feel the heat lick up your skin.  Surprisingly it is Jasper who is the driving force behind most of the action.  He seemed so broken at the beginning of the story, and even with him saying that he’d the one topping Mas, I didn’t think he really had it in him to go after Lewis like he did.  But, boy, was I wrong.  I was wrong in the garden, on the bed, and in the warehouse–several times!  And while Jasper may eventually want to be able to switch it up, it was hot and sweet and very very much a pleasure to read with him in charge.  I do take issue with the fade-to-black before Lewis got to go all toppy on Jasper wonderful behind, though–that was just mean…if completely the right choice for the story.  But still.

I loved this story, and while there were a few areas where the transitions were a little iffy and I might have been jolted out of the scene as I tried to figure what was going on, I don’t have many complaints.  This book took me, my heart, and my head, through a wringing and wonderful journey, and I have no qualms about recommending it to anyone who wants to fall in love vicariously, likes pants-melting kisses, and who is willing to see some of the crazy secrets that hide behind the towers of literary genius.  5 stars.  Go pick it up; you will not regret it–unless it is the domino that sets off your own worded avalanche.

(This book also prompted a little clean-out on my part. So yea! to more shelf space and less shoes clogging my closet.  That means I can buy more books right?)

BUY LINKS: Samhain Publishing :: Amazon :: All Romance eBooks

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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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