Posts Tagged ‘deception betrayal lies omissions’

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

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

Reviewed by Nikyta J.

The Prince He LovedTITLE: The Prince He Loved
AUTHOR: Michael Barnette
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 258 pages/ 87,576 words
BLURB: Prince Raphael d’Alleven flees for his life after his family is murdered and the government of Alleven is taken over. Exhausted and unable to find a way off world, Raphael literally runs into his best hope for salvation: a genetically engineered soldier named Hadrian Ice. Ice hadn’t planned on taking service with anyone, but understanding the predicament Raphael finds himself in, Ice is unable to turn him away.

With bounty hunters on their trail and Vicount Alfonso Macchoine, scion of the House responsible for the coup, joining the hunt, it will take all of their combined skills to restore the government of Alleven to its rightful ruler, Raphael’s missing twin sister, Raphaella. As long as they don’t get killed first.

REVIEW:

When his family is massacred, Prince Raphael d’Alleven barely escapes with his life. Forced on the run, he’s exhausted, hungry and in pure terror while trying to get himself off world to get help from the Coalition of Worlds but with dozens of mercenaries looking for him, it’s almost impossible. Lucky for him, he runs into Hadrian Ice, the Augustus Regnant to the Hell’s Gate Clan Hellstorm, a world that creates genetically enhanced soldiers. With Hadrian’s help, Raphael can finally get off world and do something about the Pretenders taking over his rightful position. With so many roadblocks in their way and so many people looking to kill them, will Raphael be able to reclaim his throne or will everything he’s going through be for nothing?

First I want to say that I really loved this story. I was simply captivated by the world that the author created. It’s complex but at the same time simple and, for me, easy to follow. I liked that there were so many different worlds out there with different levels of advancement and especially that we got to see them. The scenarios that Hadrian and Raphael got themselves into, kept my attention throughout the whole book and I loved the fact that we got to see it all. I also liked the fact that we got to see most of the fights they were forced into.

As to the characters, Raphael is definitely a mystery. At first, I thought he was this weak, spoiled prince who didn’t know how to do anything besides run. Over the course of the book, you slowly start to see his true self, what he’s been trained to do, how strong he is both inside and out and ultimately how much he develops character-wise while still maintaining his good heart. It was definitely something I enjoyed to see unfold over the whole story. I liked seeing how much Raphael affected Ice but also seeing how Ice handled things. I found the fact that he was this super soldier simply fascinating; he’s complex but has a sense of honor that I really liked knowing about. More than that, I loved seeing the development between Raphael and Ice and how they got themselves out of some situations that I thought for sure was the end for them. It was sometimes funny, sometimes sad but always held my attention.

My only issue with the story was that there was a bit too much sex for my liking but I still have a few unanswered questions such as what exactly do the marks on Ice’s face mean? But more than that, I wish we had learned more about Ice’s culture and his people. There are some references to it and we do get to see more of his people but Raphael’s culture definitely outshined Ice’s so I was constantly left curious about Hell’s Gate. Did Ice still have parents? How does being the Augustus work? It would be awesome to get deeper into the Hells Gate world so I’m hoping there might be a sequel one day that would let us experience more of this world especially since I think it would be great to see Ice and Raphael after everything has settled down, where they decide to live and to explore more of Raphael’s abilities.

All in all, this was a great book. I adored the world but I also loved the characters. It had a good amount of suspense, action, romance and the world to make this an interesting one and combined with the well-written story it turned out to be a very well done book. I hope there’s more to come of characters in this world because I’d love to explore it more in the future!

Nikyta’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Store :: All Romance eBooks

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

Check out all our recommended books in Sid Love’s eBook Store:
Recommended Books

(Support this site and buy the books from my A-store)

Reviewed by Nikyta J.

Blessed CursesTITLE: Blessed Curses
AUTHOR: Madeline Ribbon
LENGTH: 168 pages
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
BLURB: Though he’s a sorcerer with a talent for creating blessings, David can do very little with any other magic. He works the night shift for his cousin’s magical supply shop because he’s cursed—his brother did it when they were kids—and now people can’t stand to be near David since he inspires irrational fear. Many experts have tried to remove it, but the curse has proven completely binding. Then David meets Vaughn at his brother’s wedding.

Vaughn works for the magical enforcers, picking apart complex curses and making sure sorcerers stay within the law. He has the ability to dampen magical effects around him and loves solving supposedly irreversible curses like David’s. He quickly develops a more personal interest in David. Despite the distance David attempts to keep between them, he finally realizes when Vaughn is injured on the job that he doesn’t want to stay away anymore. But what about the curse?

REVIEW:

This was a cute story about David who was cursed as a boy by his jealous brother to inspire irrational fear in anyone or anything that gets close to him. He’s lived twenty years with this curse in which only his brother could withstand his company for more than a few minutes. At his brother’s wedding, he meets Vaughn, the bride’s best friend, who works as an enforcer at Arcana, which is like the police for all types of magical crimes and such. Vaughn loves puzzles so he loves breaking curses. When he meets David with the intention of helping to break his curse, it’s lust at first sight instead. David’s lived years feeling lonely so he has a hard time thinking Vaughn wants him for more than just as a chance to cure the ‘Impossible Kid’ as Arcana has nicknamed David. To be with David, Vaughn has to prove his love but in the process will he be able to cure David?

I’ve got to say, I absolutely adored David. The life he’s lived is so sad and lonely, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. To live decades with a curse that not only affects others but you as well must be brutal and because of that he’s a bit jaded and confused when Vaughn shows interest in him. At the same time, he’s this cute little nerd that has so many layers to him. It’s hard for me to describe Vaughn. I couldn’t clearly visualize the way he looks but he has a strong personality that seems genuine. I loved the way he handled David and how he tries to woe him. I loved the endearment he calls David, it’s so cute.

The story deals with mainly Vaughn and David tentatively starting a relationship and how they manage to get around David’s curse. Vaughn was born with a suppression power that enables him to suppress anything that seems harmful to Vaughn. There’s also a few side conflicts such as how Vaughn tries to break David’s curse but also deals with someone breaking into magical practitioner shops to steal a powerful herb so there’s a bit of a mystery regarding that. All together it is a little overwhelming and sometimes things go slightly too fast but it’s still a fun read and I loved the way the author handled the conflict revolving around curing David’s curse. I think it fit the story very well.

While I enjoyed the book very much, I missed the fact that more time wasn’t spent on Vaughn physically looking for answers to the curse. I wish the story was just a tad bit longer because I would have loved to see Vaughn and David out as a couple and not just secluded in their homes. To experience them in a more public setting would have legitimized the feelings between the two for me.

All in all, this was a light, fun read that had me laughing at times and feeling bad for the characters at others. I loved the world the author created because she has a smooth writing style that made it fascinating but not too confusing. I hope there’s more to come of either Vaughn and David or other characters within this world because it would be amazing to explore it further. Definitely recommended.

Nikyta’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press

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

Check out all our recommended books in Sid Love’s eBook Store:
Recommended Books

(Support this site and buy the books from my A-store)

Reviewed by Nikyta J.

Shadows in the Night (Leap of Faith, #1)TITLE: Shadows in the Night (Book #1)
SERIES: Leap of Faith
AUTHOR: M. A. Church
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
BLURB: When Chip Riley’s beloved granny passes away, she leaves him all her money, her land, and a house that needs some tender love and care. She never mentioned the legacy comes with a Native American shifter who intends to claim Chip as his mate.

Jason Sky has lived since buffalo roamed the land. When his totem spirit, a black cougar, saves a little girl, he doesn’t realize that generations later, her grandson will become his mate, leaving him to take on a modern man with modern ideas. But that’s the least of his problems.

Garon, another shifter with a long-held hatred for Jason, plots to kidnap Chip and lure Jason to his death. Soon Chip finds himself in an untenable position between a rock and a hard place. A leap of faith may be the only way to save himself and the man he’s learned to love.

REVIEW:

Chip’s life isn’t going as planned. He’s just lost his job and now he’s lost his granny, the only person in the world who’s ever cared for him. Returning to the town she lived in, he finds out he was left with her house and a sizable fortune. Now living in the small town he spent his childhood summers in, he’s meeting all types of new people that make him nervous, including Jason Sky, who makes Chip feel like a bumbling idiot. As they get to know each other, Chip starts to realize there are things out there he doesn’t know or understand like the fact Jason’s a rare black cougar and that he’s Jason’s mate. Chip doesn’t have any time to process what he’s learned before an old enemy of Jason’s plots to use Chip as bait to finally kill Jason. Jason’s finally in a position to claim his mate but will he lose Chip before he can actually complete the mating ritual?

When I started this book, I felt bad for Chip because he’s just lost his job and he’s feeling lonely. When he goes back to his granny’s town, he starts to blossom more because of the country air and doing what he loves most – fixing things. I have a sort of fascination with red heads so Chip appealed to me from the beginning with his flaming hair as a child that turned slightly darker as he aged. I liked the fact that when he finally figures out what Jason is, he’s so freaked out he thinks he’s going crazy. In the beginning, I found Jason sort of annoying. He’s very prejudice against whites and even goes into a few rants about how white folks ruined his people and such. Considering that Chip is white, I had a hard time accepting the fact that he seems to hate white people but yet he’s so eager to mate with Chip. After a while, he mellows out and I liked that he was so sweet towards Chip. He wants Chip happy because a happy Chip is a happy almost mate and a happy almost mate becomes HIS mate. I just found it adorable how much he wanted to dominate but please Chip.

What I liked most about this book was Jason’s inner cougar. He’s an old wise spirit that is sometimes indignant and grumpy. I found Jason and the cougar’s conversation highly amusing because they’re almost like brothers bickering. I also loved Chip’s granny. I loved that even after she passed, she still had a hand in how Chip handled certain situations. More than anything, I found the ending quite sweet and cute. I adored the last scenes and their playing. If anything, I wished there had been more of it. I also liked the world that was created and how Jason’s animal side was his totem spirit. The mates in this series are handled in a slightly different way than in other shifter books. I found how the mates were handled (I refuse to say) gave it a fresh concept that I enjoyed a lot and hope that we get to explore more of in future books.

One of the things that I had an issue with was the way all the characters who had POVs talked to themselves out loud. Generally, I don’t have a problem with this, and in fact, I didn’t mind it in the beginning but as the story progressed and not one, not two but three characters all had this trait, it was hard to differentiate between them. The first half of the book I felt like the characterization was good but the second half they weren’t distinct enough and started to blend together in personalities, especially Jason and Chip who started acting very similar, which I thought was off character for both of them. More than that, I felt like the story overall was predictable. The human identities of the shifters are a mystery to the reader until half way through but I knew right away which was the good one, the bad one, and who were going to play a part in saving Chip when he eventually would get kidnapped and/or injured (which I also predicted correctly). In the end, I was a bit disappointed with the resolution of the conflict; so much build up to kidnapping Chip and then Garon was handled in just a few paragraphs making the resolution feel flat.

Overall, it’s not a bad story. Enjoyable if you are looking for something easy to read that will give you some entertaining moments. The characters are at least funny sometimes and the overall premise had a lot of potential. I’ll be looking forward to reading the next in the series because I have a feeling it’ll be about Chip and Jason’s friends, Simon and Hawk, who I found interesting even though they didn’t have much of a role in this story.

Nikyta’s Rating: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press

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

Check out all our recommended books in Sid Love’s eBook Store:
Recommended Books

(Support this site and buy the books from my A-store)

Reviewed by Nikyta J.

five-stars120205

TITLE: Thick as Thieves
AUTHOR: Tali Spencer
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 200 pages
BLURB: After Vorgell the barbarian fucks himself with a unicorn horn, he ends up in a cell with Maddog, a pretty young thief. It’s lust at first sight for Vorgell—but honestly, he can’t help it. Unicorn horn is a potent aphrodisiac, and now he can’t stop thinking about sex. Luckily, Madd is one male witch who knows how to put Vorgell’s new magical body to good use when he tricks Vorgell into a kiss that helps them escape.

Vorgell may desire sex in general—and Madd in particular—but Madd has no intention of being screwed by a man twice his size. He has problems of his own, including an enchanted collar that causes him to desire his most hated enemy. He wants that collar off as soon as possible, but that requires stealing a basilisk egg from the castle they just escaped.

Drawn together by lust and magic, the two men join forces and soon find themselves up to their necks in witches, wizards, and trouble. Vorgell and Madd might just be perfect for each other, but first they have to survive long enough to find out.

REVIEW:

When I read the blurb for this book, I knew right away it had the potential to be a wild ride. Any author that has the balls to have such an attention grabber for the start of a blurb was something that I wanted to read and I’m happy to say this book lived up to my expectations and more.

The story revolves around Vorgell, a brute of a man who unwittingly kills a unicorn, eats some berries and then becomes so horny he fucks himself with the unicorn’s horn. Now cursed with the unicorn’s magic, he’ll live the rest of his life unable to control his lust. Being jailed for his crime, he’s thrown into a cell with Maddog, a witchkin who’s forced to wear a love collar that binds him to the Baron. When they meet, Vorgell feels so much lust for Madd he’s willing to force himself on Madd but instead Vorgell settles for a kiss, turned bite, that Madd uses to tap into Vorgell’s new magic, allowing them to escape.

When their emotions settle down, they reluctantly decide to work together. Vorgell will help Madd break the collar while Madd will sate Vorgell’s constant lust. Unfortunately, to get rid of the collar, they’ll have to break back into the very place they just escaped from, steal an unhatched basilisk egg and do it all without getting caught. Madd attracts trouble, though, and things aren’t that easy. Now, they’re not just saving Madd from the Baron but trying to stop the wizards from increasing their powers through the Baron’s wife. With so many roadblocks, will they ever be able to succeed and gain their freedom?

I loved these characters. They were quite surprising from how they develop over the course of the book. Vorgell more than anyone because of his sexual appetites. Vorgell starts off as this mindless gigantic brute who will take what he wants and not care who he hurts in the process. He’s aggressive, forceful and quick to battle. He hates witches with a passion and vows to slaughter any he comes into contact with until he meets Madd. Madd is just the opposite, he’s small, determined and stubborn with no problems taking advantage of Vorgell’s magic. With his life, he needs to be in control. He’s a thief and has no loyalties to anyone, in fact, he pretty much hates everyone and couldn’t care less to help them.

As they work together, though, they form a bond that neither of them are willing to let go of. Now, Madd and Vorgell will do anything to stick together even if it means getting killed in the process. They develop a weird sense of honor but definitely form a bone-deep bond that allows them to trust and have faith in one another. It’s sweet, in a way, to see Madd go from something resembling a hissing cat to one who would do anything to keep Vorgell from getting used… at least from anyone besides himself. Vorgell is the same in that he won’t let anything happen to Madd. While they don’t necessarily love each other, there’s affection there and growing adoration that definitely could develop into love if their story were to continue further.

The world is quite amazing. I loved that it was so deep into the magical community centered on wizards and witches and the differences between the two while mixed in with an almost historical setting. The witches are women who believe that men are just tools to give them more magic and to create life while wizards are men who gorge themselves on all things related to necromancy, killing witches to strengthen themselves. Madd falls somewhere in the middle. He’s a witchkin which means he doesn’t practice necromancy but can’t necessarily create his own magic without refueling from an outside source, which generally means consuming living things. It’s a crazy world where magic is essentially part of everything. The journey Madd and Vorgell go on takes the reader deeper and deeper into the layers of witches and witchkin. It was fascinating for me because it provided enough information to stay interesting but not so much that it’s overdone and becomes too heavy in world building. It was a nice balance between adventure, affection and the overall world.

The only fault I found with the story was that some aspects of it are unresolved. Not majorly so but it’s left with a possibility of more to come for these two and I, for one, would be extremely happy if there were a sequel!

The book flows well from the start with an engaging first chapter that had me wanting to read more. The writing is smooth and has action interspersed throughout the whole story. When things would start to slow down, Madd and Vorgell would find themselves in another situation that required them to fight for their lives or go through dangerous territory. It’s filled with twists and turns but even while Vorgell and Madd develop, they never shed the criminal actions that got them caught in the first place. It was refreshing that they weren’t born again innocents but instead kept their gruff and dangerous exteriors. They’re completely hot together and I loved the ‘mastering’ (if you can even call it that) that takes place between the two. They’re very, very surprising characters and while I was afraid of the direction the story would take a few times, overall, I loved the way it was executed.

For someone looking for a true romance, you won’t find that with this story. This is pure fantasy with more of lust than love in the developing of feelings and companionship but you won’t find undying love in this book. It’s rich in a unique world, a fascinating journey and an interesting cast of characters and creatures. It was a fun, adventurous read that got intense at times but I’m so glad I read it because I loved it. I do sincerely hope there’s more to come of these two because I’d love to see what mischief Vorgell, Madd and Petal get into next. And if you want to know who Petal is… well, you’ll just have to read it and find out yourself!

PRE-ORDER LINK: Dreamspinner Press

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

Check out all our recommended books in Sid Love’s eBook Store:
Recommended Books

(Support this site and buy the books from my A-store)