Posts Tagged ‘less than three press’

Reviewed by Jen B.

18334840TITLE: Promise of Forever
SERIES: Proud to be a Vampire
AUTHOR: May Ridge
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 17,000 words
BLURB: Eduard is living a boring, routine life and sees no way out of it. Everything changes the night he finds Theo, a newly turned vampire who has no clue what being a vampire entails. Eduard takes Theo in and helps track down his missing boyfriend—only to be confronted with a past he would have preferred stay buried.


This short story is part of the Proud to be a Vampire bundle.  It starts with Eduard finding newly turned Theo, who was abandoned by his Maker and is in need of guidance.  Eduard decides to help Theo, seeing it as an opportunity to bring some spark back into his boring life.  He decides to help Theo find his missing Maker.  They become close during their search, but before they get too involved, they find Neil, who also happens to be Neils, Eduard’s fledgling and previous lover.

Neils thought he found someone to spend forever with but apparently panicked and ran after he turned Theo.  Ironically, he did the same cut and run act on Eduard for being afraid of the very same thing.  Realizing now that forever is what he really wants with Eduard, and that he still loves Theo as well, he and Theo essentially decide to make Eduard their third.

While this is technically a threesome, they don’t actually do anything more than kiss.  I really wish there was more to this story, as it felt as though a lot was left out and I wasn’t ready for things to end when they did.  It moves along and covers ground nicely for a short story, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a more detailed drawn out version of this, or a continuation of how things are working out.

Jen rates it – four-stars_0

BUY LINKS: Less Than Three Press

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

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

Reviewed by Elizabetta

18329498TITLE: Bloody Kiss
SERIES: Proud to be a Vampire
AUTHOR: Mell Eight
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 50 pages
BLURB: Lis had been enjoying his school trip to Egypt until a statue came to life and drank his blood. Back home in Boston, nothing feels or tastes or smells quite the same, he’s plagued by strange dreams, and has a craving that nothing seems to satisfy—until the statue shows up again.


College student, Lis, is on a study-abroad tour to Egypt’s Valley of the Dead. An ordinary visit turns into a paranormal adventure when, like Alice through the rabbit hole, he falls into an underground tomb and has a close encounter with an over-sized stone statue buried there. A very sexy statue. Lis’s actions, a bloody kiss, unravel a spell cast on the statue many years ago, and trigger a series of events when Lis returns to his home in Boston.

This had a great start, the exotic setting, the whole statue and hex thing. When we return to the States, some strange stuff happens to Lis: he has a sudden yen for raw red meat (yet, enjoys a well-cooked stew), he feels generally out of sorts, and vampires start appearing out of nowhere. Lis is also plagued by a series of weird, intermittent waking dreams which are used to deliver the backstory. It’s an interesting plot device if a bit awkward, but the dreams converge nicely to present day action.

There’s other information that I guess was included for color but just seemed distracting: lots of mention of the Red Sox, scenes in the bar where Lis works but nothing much happens, a best friend and his grandma who Lis have known for years and who suddenly come out as witches with special powers. The powers don’t serve the plot much other than the use of some camo-glitter, and the grandma mostly exists to explain a lot of what is happening to Lis.

I dunno, this seemed like a hodgepodge, and it felt undercooked, like a sketch of an interesting idea. It’s so short that there’s a lot of stating of facts and not enough space to get to know or care about Lis, his friends, or his romantic interest in any great depth. Three stars for the effort, but it’s really around 2.5 ’cause it never really takes off for me.

Oh, and I did not like the cover.

I did really like another work by the author, Road to Revenge, a modern-day thriller, so maybe I just prefer the contemporary stuff.

Bloody Kiss is published by Less Than Three Press as part of their “Proud to be a Vampire” series with various authors contributing.

Elizabetta rates it – 3-stars-out-of-5-300x70

BUY LINKS: Less Than Three Press

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 Nina

16010093TITLE: Signal to Noise
AUTHOR: Talya Andor
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 194 pages, 65,000 words approx.
BLURB: It’s been three years since the Incursion; three long years since Bastian and his twin brother Theo became the sole survivors on the planet Noise. Their distress calls have gone unanswered, and they are running out of supplies. They have no one but each other. And when the long-awaited rescue finally arrives, it brings with it complications that make being alone and forgotten look easy.


The premise of this book is nothing short of amazing. Twincest? Not-too-hardcore sci-fi? A tiny bit of horror? Sign me up. I’m happy to say the execution mostly lived up to the novel’s promise.

This can’t be a long review, because the book is short and the story is full of small and big twists. All I’m going to do is talk about some of the things I liked and about a few I didn’t.

To start with, I loved the characters. They are all easy to distinguish and have a very characteristic personality. From the twins to Captain Bane, from Lucky to Ventura (oh, Ventura), Striker, Millena; despite the shortness of this book, I grew to love them all – and mourn some of them, as was expected, because you can’t put a dozen people in the middle of what is virtually an alien minefield waiting to mass-explode and have them all get out of it unscathed, can you?

They’re well-rounded and ambiguous, and they had me second guessing myself and them and biting my nails, fearing their actions almost as much as I did the Armors’; their personalities are basically one large swathe of grey, with little almost-white corners of compassion in the hearts of the most ruthless of them and tiny black holes of prejudice where compassion is supposed to reign. Their dynamics are rich and varied, also due to the fact that they’re essentially cooped up together in a relatively small space for days on end, creating friction and tensions.

The twins’ character development, weirdly, is the most lacking. Both Theo and Bastian have clearly defined and extremely likeable personalities, but the reader ends up spending more time with the “rescue” (yes, I am so teasing you) team than with the people who are supposed to be the main characters. Their romance is already in full swing and most definitely not unstable when the story begins, so it is far from being the focus of this novel.

On to the sci-fi part of the equation. People, the Armors? I won’t say they scared RL-me, but book-me was quaking in her boots, particularly since I might have a tiny smidge of entomophobia. These creatures have all the repulsiveness and numerousness of insects, but they’re also big and possessed of actual decent-sized brains. Think it can’t possibly get any more horrific? That’s what I thought too, at the beginning. But they can, and they will.

It’s all good, really, not counting some minor niggles. Except for the sex scenes.

I never thought I’d do this, but I skimmed. Why were they so cringe-worthy? Was it the purple prose? (Possibly.) Was it the vein-clogging sweetness? (Just as probable.) Was it the incongruousness of frantic, hormonal teenage loving in the middle of a Planet Federation-proportioned alien invasion? (Very likely.) Whichever of these it was, I just. Couldn’t. Do it.

Apart from that, the romance itself is not fleshed out – it just is, was for years, and will be for years to come. There’s no question as to why, or how (though both are quite obvious, considering how Theo and Bastian spent their early adolescence). The twins’ protectiveness of each other is heartwarming, particularly since it’s easy to see how young they are, yet how battle-hardened, but short scenes showcasing exactly that are pretty much all there is to their love story.

One last complaint I have is that there were scenes, feelings, situations that would have made for a much more satisfying experience had they been explored more in depth – and there was plenty of space to do that, given the length of this book.

Summing up, this is not a romance. It’s a short sci-fi story with a colourful cast, nerve-wrecking tension and horrific baddies, with a minor subplot involving a gay couple. Don’t go into this expecting a grand love story, because you won’t get that. What you can expect is entertainment and tension – which I enjoyed immensely, which in turn is why this 3.5 star rating will be rounded up to 4 on GR. And I’m not usually that generous.

Nina rates it – 535px-3-5_stars-svg

BUY LINKS: Less Than Three Press :: Amazon

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

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

Reviewed by Taylor

18311546TITLE: Reprisal
SERIES: Proud to be a Vampire
AUTHOR: Alessandra Ebulu
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 22,000 words
BLURB: Aden is trying to solve the mystery of a drug that rots human innards. Alec is struggling to capture the person responsible for a rash of vampire murders. The only way to solve their separate cases is to team up, but with drugs, vampires, and murder involved even that may not be enough.


So this is a very short story about a witch Aden whose brother was recently murdered, and he’s working as a reporter to solve his brother’s murder, along with other crimes.  He’s paired with a vampire Alec, who has been assigned to solve who has been killing vampires.

I don’t even know where to begin.  This just needed work all-around.

First, why are the two main characters’ names nearly identical?  Same amount of letters, start with ‘A’, and can easily be switched out in a reader’s brain.  Confusing and should have been changed in editing.

Second, why did the characters continuously ask questions in their internal thoughts?  “What kind of vampire is Alec?”  “Who were they dealing with?” “What the hell was the killer searching for?” It was repetitious and lent a juvenile quality to the writing.

Third, that villain and mystery was ludicrous.  Seriously.  Also, all the details were super vague until the reader got a flood of info-dump.  It was always the vampire was guarding “something”, or this must mean “something.”  Or even silly lines like, “Utmost respect for the killer code.

Fourth, insta-love on steroids.  Was there even a romance? Was there even character or relationship development? They had met and hung out two times on work-related matters with little to no flirting, and certainly no chemistry, when Aden is talking to his friend about Alec, “I don’t think he wants it, and I can’t force him to accept what he doesn’t want.”  Um…what???

So…this needed work for me.  It’s short, though, and I’m sure lots of people will find it easy and fun to read.

Taylor rates it –

BUY LINKS: Less Than Three Press

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

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

Make Like a Vampire or Flee

The Memory of Blood and LotusesPart of my love for vampires stems from a rampant love of all things spooky. Oddly enough, I was actually pretty easily scared as a child. My sister Sam loved the Alien movies when we were kids. I, being the brave older sister that I was, usually preferred to vacate the living room at light speed. Don’t get me started on being stuck at a sleep over where they marathoned the Freddie Krueger movies. My mother was also fond of reading us Stephen King as bedtime stories. It was learn to love it or hide under the blankets the rest of my life.

So I went all in. My birthday is also in October. On the 13th. Let me tell you the hell I catch when that falls on a Friday. It once was on a blood moon, on a Friday. Somebody laughed and said, “You’re going to die.”  (He later apologized, acknowledging that sounded funnier in his head)

I used to throw costume parties. These days I mostly make everyone watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. My fear of all things scary eventually became a love of all things scary (and an adoration of cheesy, silly, not so scary things). And vampires will always be one of my absolute favorite things (followed by demons. Followed by hunters. Somebody write me vampire/demon/hunter funtimes).

Drinker Class XAnd I do like all permutations, from more ‘traditional’ Bram Stoker types, to psychic types, violent evil monsters, emo long-haired pretties. The best part of the LT3 collection is that the stories are all over the map. We’ve got a couple of vampire in clubs, vampires as part of society, vampires as monsters, and vampires in space. There’s even an ancient Egyptian vampire in there, how awesome is that? There was supposed to be a high fantasy type vampire story in there, but some loser went over the word limit (that she set, it’s a sad day when a publisher cannot follower her own rules, I’m telling you) so it did not make the cut. :3 But hey, there are plenty of other shinies to go around!

Now, I’m afraid, you’ve come nearly to the end of my brief burst of nonsense and must get back to school/work, or find some other way to avoid them (I strongly suggest buying some vampire books).

The giveaway for this post is the following:  one lucky winner will get Bundle One free. Just leave a comment with a way to contact you, and tell me your favorite type of candy (in the spirit of Halloween. There are piles of it in all the stores and it’s driving me up the effing wall). Winner will be drawn Monday, October 7th. 

Deadly is the FemaleThe second half of our shiny Proud to be a Vampire collection:

Deadly is the Female – Where a boarding school for women is more than it seems, and the town is about to get a lesson on revenge.

Reborn – One vampire ignorant and afraid, the other dangerously unstable, but loyal to each other—until they are found by other vampires.

The High Lord–Hunter meets monster … except neither can tell which of them is the hunter, and which the monster

For the Sake of the Kingdom – A fantastic retelling of Snow White.

Drinker Class X – Where vampires are handled with pills, hot doctors, and lots of paperwork.

Rangers over Regulus – Space station + wild west + vampires = awesome.

The Memory of Blood and Lotuses – Ancient Egypt, rife with sand, pharaohs, priests, and vampires.

You can check out the entire collection (and buy in bundles for 15% off) at the LT3 site (and individually at all the usual suspects).

I hope everyone has a good rest of the week, and a wonderful weekend!


Reviewed by Taylor

18346689TITLE: The List
AUTHOR: Sandra Bard
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 33,000 words
BLURB: Gavin Summers’ quiet, academic life is shattered when he is attacked by a mugger and rescued by Dillon, a member of the Night Watch. Soon Gavin finds himself embroiled in anti-vampire propaganda, vampire politics, and the dangers of associating with vampires in a city where vampires are being killed daily, forcing him to make a choice: remain neutral or stand with the vampires.


Gavin is a post-graduate student walking alone one night two blocks from his house when a would-be mugger confronts him.  Dillon, a member of the vampire Night Watch rescues him, and the story unfolds with politics, a war on vampires, and many other dangers.

I was kind of surprised by this book.  The subject matter is pretty dark moving from staking and burning helpful vampires, kidnapping, and a mini-war between some anti-vampire humans and members of the Night Watch.  However, the relationship aspect of the book was very light in tone.  I could almost imagine this as a romantic comedy titled: “I’m Dating a Vampire” or something.  They go to the movies, Dillon walks Gavin home and carries his books, they cook dinner and relax on the couch, and the intimate scenes are sweet.  The difference between the plot and the relationship didn’t really bother me because I prefer one tone over the other, but it became difficult for me to completely submerge myself in the book.  I kept wishing that the author had stuck with one vibe and ran with it, rather than keep giving me whiplash with how I was supposed to feel.

I did think the biting scene was hot, though, and I kept thinking: Ohhhhh, MORE of this!! I wanted this dirty, raw, and violent, but the book never really veered in that direction.

Also, the plot and the components of the plot have something going for it, but the novella didn’t have room to grow, so that all of the different parts could develop.  I loved that there was anti-vampire propaganda, and that there were two different groups supporting or against vampires.  I thought the little facts Gavin discovered about vampires felt familiar enough to seem vampire-ish, but unique enough to make it the author’s own. But it all felt too crammed in, and the suspects and villain were painfully obvious, and the climax felt like a letdown.

Really cute, with a lot of potential, but really needed developing.

Taylor rates it – 2_5

BUY LINKS: Less Than Three Press

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

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

All Whiny Vampires Will Be Asked to Leave


ConvergenceHello to everyone! ^_^ My name is Megan, I am Head Minion at Less Than Three Press and I am here today to show off our shiny collection of vampire stories :3

Paranormal is very much a love/hate thing right now. Many of us are loving it (I am an ardent fan of Teen Wolf, the new Sleepy Hollow, and one of these days I need to catch up on Supernatural. My list of books is ridiculous), and others really really wish the rest of us would go away and take our werewolves and vampires and other creatures with us. I apologize profusely to that latter group, cause this post and tomorrow’s is aalllllll vampires.

Which I love. Even sparkles cannot ruin my love of vampires. I’ve read all the old books, I even made it through all the Anne Rice books (Armand was my favorite). I played the shit out of that one Castlevania game. I adore Vampire Hunter D. This list could go on forever. If I didn’t think my editor would smother me with a pillow I would write them even more than I already do. There is rarely a vampire that I completely hate.

Danse MacabreThat being said, I hate whiny vampires (How did I make it through Anne Rice, you ask? It was high school. Guess what made me really start hating whiny vampires). These days, if a book is about how much a vampire hates being a vampire, he’s a poor tortured soul(less) with a Tough Life, I quit.

This is what provoked the series being presented to you today and tomorrow, dear readers. My partners at LT3 allowed me to put forth a submission call that led to our Proud to be a Vampire collection. You will get vampires who are violent and gleeful, chill and just wanting some quiet, old vamps, new and still getting used to it vamps, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, and even historical. But none of them are whiny about being card-carrying blood drinkers.

Death and the LadyIt’s a pretty awesome set, I must admit. Over the span of five weeks we will have eighteen stories for you—fifteen short stories and three novels. Fifteen are m/m, and three are f/f, because sexy lady vampires deserve love too (one of the earliest vampire novels ever was about a lesbian vampire, in fact).

And what fun is a post like this without a Giveaway? Because LT3 works in threes, on Monday, October 7th I will draw three winners, and each one will get to choose one Proud to be a Vampire ebook. Just leave a comment telling me one of your favorite vampires and a way to reach you ^__^

The first set of shinies in this collection include:

The ListDanse Macabre – If you like your vampires dark, violent, and mobster-like, look no further.

To Serve the Count – A touch of old school for those who can’t resist a classic take.

The List – A modern-day type world where vampires fight for their rights as citizens.

Thicker than Water – A story set far in the future, where the world we know is long gone, and vampires are a very real evil.

Convergence – A tale of treasure hunting and the dangers that come with it.

Reprisal – Dead humans, dead vampires, drugs, and two reluctant cops forced to cooperate.

Bloody Kiss – School trips are not supposed to include statues that come to life and bite people.

Promise of Forever – A clueless vampire, a missing ex-boyfriend, and a guy who just wanted to be left alone.

Marked – Drugs, generally speaking, are bad. They’re even worse when something goes wrong and vampires are involved.

Death and the Lady – A club owner just wants to auction off humans in peace, but old friends aren’t quite ready to leave her alone.

The Taste of Her – The end of World War II, a woman in mourning becomes less than human in exchange for information about her dead lover

You can check out the entire collection (and buy in bundles for 15% off) at the LT3 site (and individually at all the usual suspects).

Tomorrow I will return to babble at everyone again :3 Many thanks for dropping by, and to Sid Love for having me.  ^__^


Yay! Thank you for having me on your blog! I’m here to talk about Alpha Trine a little bit and to giveaway a paperback (autographed if you want) copy of Alpha Trine.

The journey for Alpha Trine started almost a year ago from a story promptfor a science fiction group that evolved into a four book (at least for now) series called The Valespian Pact. Alpha Trine is the first book and introduces Zeus the abandoned human raised by the Mar’Sani, a lizard-like race, and Dargon with his symbiote, Alpha.

Now KimE’s prompt insisted there be male pregnancy without the use of technology and one of the main characters must be alien thus leading to the creation of Alpha the symbiote. I had already wrote a story about male pregnancy that is featured in my Sumeria’s Sons series so I wanted this to be a little different.

Zeus is human but not wholly so, which is revealed throughout the story. Dargon is a marsupial lion who has a humanoid form that he takes when he’s not on his homeworld. For his cat I took inspiration from Australia’s extinct marsupial lion, the Thylakos. Then there is Alpha, Dargon’s symbiote. There is nothing humanoid about Alpha. He sits on Dargon’s upper body like a pectoral torque. He’s so dark green that he’s almost back with pink veins. He has absolutely no skeletal structure but don’t discount him. He’s as fierce as and more dangerous than Dargon and Zeus combined.

What did you say? Which one of them becomes pregnant? Well, if you haven’t read the story, I’m not going to give it away but I would say that you’ll be very surprised. Hopefully, pleasantly so.

Thank you for stopping by. Make sure you leave a comment for a chance to win that paperback copy. I’ll leave you with an excerpt of Alpha Trine. Enjoy!

Alpha TrineBlurb:

The sole survivor on a science vessel adrift in deep space, Zeus was adopted by the Emperor and Empress of the Mar’Sani, though he is both human and blind, and seen by most as unfit to join the royal family. Though they were able to repair his vision, Zeus does not trust his eyes and the nobles of his parents’ court refuse to ever trust a frail human.

Dargon Kal-Turak, along with his symbiote and lover Alpha, command one of the most dangerous ships in the stars. Narrowly escaping a trap, they dock in a space port to make repairs, but find that the Psionics hunting them are closing in fast. In desperation they kidnap the port Master Mechanic, unaware that the man they’ve brought on board is more than he seems, and will bring far more upheaval to their ship, their lives, and the stars than any of them could have imagined.


Canry was lost—no—taken.

Empress Ashari ignored her attendants. She knew they would report back to her mate, Emperor Valdor Vondorian, and she cared not. She was hollow inside, the pain turning to a numbness that ate at her core until there was nothing left for her to feel. She refused to pretend everything was normal because it was not. Nothing would ever be normal again because he was gone—stolen. Her youngest son, Canry, had disappeared in the Waters of Poseidon only two short months ago, and yet it seemed like yesterday.

Ashari slipped a hand under the cream-colored pillow and pulled out Canry’s little nightshirt. She had made the weave herself from the finest spyder silk. Ashari handled the material carefully. Her claws were ragged from nervous chewing, and she did not wish for the fine thread to catch on them. Her eyes burned as she tenderly fingered the colorful clothing. Her heart might have been hollow but her tears were rivers that fed the sea.

She wondered what she could have done differently. All Mar’Sani younglings were introduced to the Waters of Poseidon when they turned six lunar months. She and Valdor had been delighted Canry had quickly taken to the waters, more so than the twins or his sister, Shaneva. The youngling had been swimming, diving perfectly at her side and then slithering through the water, his black scales glistening in the sunshine.

She noticed the tips of the barbs that ran along his spine and down his tail were beginning to turn red, a sign of his royal blood. Canry splashed Ashari with his tail and dived into the water—never to surface again. Within moments everyone began searching for the royal youngling. Those who lived in the waters combed the depths and found nothing. Canry was simply gone—disappeared—no trace or body had been found. He had vanished.

Never in Mar’Sani history had a youngling or adult been lostin the Waters of Poseidon. For days Ashari refused to leave the shoreline of the great sea in hopes her son would find his way back home. She spent hours diving and swimming until she was overcome by exhaustion and the attendants pulled her ashore.

Finally, she accepted the fact that Canry would not becoming home. She took to her sick bed and there she stayed.

Every day she ate a little less. Her mate, Valdor, tried his best to console her, but there was little he could do. Poseidon had, for some unknown reason, taken her son, and in a few short years, he would claim their daughter as well.

Their now youngest child, Shaneva, had been showing signs of The Longing prior to Canry’s birth. One in every two thousand younglings born would return to the Waters of Poseidon. These children would eventually choose to reside in the waters overliving on land. The reasons for The Longing were unknown, but neither were the children discouraged from the choice. Asnatural as The Longing was to the Mar’Sani people, Ashari could not help but wonder what she had done that Poseidon would lay claim to two of her four children.

A large Mar’Sani male filled the doorway. His black scales gleamed like polished rock. Dark yellow eyes narrowed at the sight of Ashari lying on the platform, his barbed tail swishingside to side. Resplendent in the imperial red and gold robes, the Emperor strode into the room. Ashari knew that look of determination on his handsome face and was unfazed. She tucked the outfit back under her pillow as Valdor sat on the edge of the low bed.

“Your attendants claim you are not hungry this morning.”

Valdor’s voice was deep, resonating throughout the room.

Ashari refrained from replying for there was nothing to say.

“They also relay you are too tired to rise.” Again, she respondedwith silence.

Without another world, Valdor unlaced his boots and set them aside before climbing onto the platform. He gently nudgedher to rise up, and he slid under Ashari before pulling her downto his chest. He released a great sigh and stroked the smoothridge of her forehead until her curiosity slowly surfaced.

“What are you doing?” Ashari softly inquired.

“He … Canry was my son too. I miss his laugh. I misswatching him sleep. I miss … Being the emperor requires that I put my personal sorrows aside to care for others, but I cannot keep doing so if I lose my mate as well. I, too, hurt and grieve. I am exhausted and food holds no appeal. So I will lie with my beloved for a time and keep her company in her sorrow.”

Ashari buried her face in the crook of Valdor’s neck, the scales pliant against her cheek. He needed her, Ashari reminded herself, and Valdor never gave up.


Lexi has always been an avid reader and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her 80 pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.




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CONTEST WILL END ON 8th October, 2013 @ 11:59 PM Central Time!!

Reviewed by Shelley

ÎnfloriTITLE: Înflori
AUTHOR: A. F. Henley
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 48000 words
BLURB: Dustin gave up on being worthy of anyone’s affections a long time ago, drowning his problems in substance abuse and meaningless encounters. He has learned it’s better to avoid love altogether than risk the inevitable moment when it all comes crashing down.

Nicolæ has neither eyesight nor excess, but he does have a wealth of family and intuition. He is nothing that Dustin would have anticipated in a potential lover, but the more Dustin discovers, the more he finds himself willing to accept the risk – even if his conscience and the people in his life keep warning him away.


There’s something magical about Înflori … and his name is Nicolæ.

Out of the rain and gloom of a grey day comes a tinkling of bells, followed by the bewitching presence of a blind gypsy stranger offering an unexpected act of kindness. It’s just a cup of tea but it’s the man offering it and what he says, that leaves an inerasable impression on Dustin.

“Try to keep in mind that the sun still shine behind the clouds”(…)

“Simple, something you might say to a child, that the sun still existed behind the cloud cover, but the meaning kept hitting Dustin at the most random moments.” …

Dustin is our morose narrator; he’s tired, he’s damaged, and just … empty. All of his relationships seem to start and finish in a bathroom stall, no kissing, and no names or perhaps he’s too far gone to recall them. Yes, he’s one of those … but hang on, because there is a good reason for it all and when Dustin decides to seek out the enigmatic gypsy, his life begins to take on a new meaning. He just has to believe in the possibilities and trust … but it scares him to death, and it’s going to take a big hunk of something special to get there.

“He kept asking himself: are you there, sun? Behind the clouds in my eyes?”

Big in stature, bold in looks, his unpretentious life is as simple as sand. Nicolæ really couldn’t be more opposite than Dustin, and yet could he be Dustin’s hunk of special?

Nicolæ’s presence exudes an aura of all-knowing prophetic mysticism. He may not have his sight but there’s no one who sees better; his spooky intuition makes him a Prince of perception and just like Dustin, I was captivated by him. Nicolæ is just so freaking special it’s so hard not to fall for him!

“How do you know I’m watching you when you can’t even see me?” Nicolæ stifled a smirk, voice serious, expression not. “How does the deer know when to lift her head? How does the seed know when to sprout? Or the sun to shine?” “Pure fucking magic?” “Exactly.” Nicolæ chuckled.

For some reason Nicolæ finds Dustin captivating too. I mean, he can’t appreciate his good looks and won’t fall for Dustin’s well established throwaway game of seduction, and yet he sees a good man within. A man worth teaching and ultimately worth loving … maybe.

“You draw me, Dustin. But I have yet to understand if you draw me because you are beacon or because you are flame. And I have no desire in getting burned.” … “Can you control it?” Nicolæ’s hand felt heavy on his chest. “If it’s already started to burn?” … “Maybe not alone,” Nicolæ answered.

Înflori charmed me, Nicolæ enchanted me and Dustin grew on me. I need to congratulate A.F Henry for delivering a unique healing hearts story which allowed me to peek into the lives of the Roma gypsy’s. Their culture and superstitions have always aroused my fascination and perhaps this is what fuels my wonderment at meeting Nicolæ.

I could mention a few personal issues and plot weaknesses but the good outweighs the bad and I don’t want to steer you away from something special just because of some niggles. I recommend that you read this, it’s lovely. And please let me know if Nicolæ bewitches you too.

Shelley’s Rating: four-stars_0

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Reviewed by Elizabetta

DandyTITLE: Dandy
AUTHOR: Jaidon Wells
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
BLURB: Andrew is a little overwhelmed, between grad school, his bookstore job, crazy friends, and a roommate slowly turning criminal. The very last thing he needs is more stress, but it’s what he gets anyway, in the form of Cassidy, the frustrating, intriguing, and supposed-to-be-dead brother of his law-breaking roommate.

Throw in a flamboyant campus hero, a series of kitchen fires, a slanderous romance manuscript, stoner music shops, an arguably-mad scientist, a terrible indie band, and a blue period, and Andrew realizes that being overwhelmed is easy. It’s the rapidly spinning out of control that’s a bit difficult to handle.


This was quite the different read and hard to categorize. As the blurb states, there is a little bit of everything thrown in, but it’s based around the zippy character sketches the author sets up. It reminds me of a “Friends” episode in that there are a lot of attractive people talking, hanging out at coffee shops and bars and such, but nothing much really happens. At least not for a long time. This is not so much a romance as it is about quirky characters acting… quirky. So the charm is dependent on those characters pulling off a likable wackiness, and the nothing much else that isn’t happening needs to be entertaining at the very least. Luckily, the author does deliver some laugh out loud moments.

In the “straight”-man role is Andrew (Ross?), a gay uni graduate student (of British extraction) studying somewhere in the US. So, Andrew is set-up as a bit of an awkward foil for his friend’s looniness (yeah, Ross). For someone who doesn’t make friends easily, as stated by said friends, he has a lot of people swirling about him, greatly concerned and interested in his romantic life. Or, the absence of one. At the top of the list are girl friends, Channary and Tansy.

(A tangent… Suffice it to say, it seems that in slash romance, the girl friend of the gay guy is a hugely difficult character to write… So often they are just plain hard to like or annoying, and they usually serve as nothing more than to make a romantic partnership happen. I go back and forth with Andrew’s female BFF’s. I think they mean well but after a while, I just wish they’d go away.)

The claim by Channary (or was it Tansy?) is that Andrew is too surly to find a boyfriend. They have a point, but maybe it’s because he spends an inordinate amount of time never getting his work done because he’s running after his friends, cleaning up their messes, and indulging their demands. It’s no wonder a boy hasn’t a moment for himself; he is long-suffering (I counted 45 sighs). But, I heartily swear that when Cassidy (a graduate student in music; these names are Confusing), in all his snarky, stalking/wooing, self-assuredness, sets his eyes firmly on Andrew… I just want them together, and all the crazy friends to take a back seat. Just when you think it’s going to happen, something interferes.

I have other issues: the main characters have got to be around their mid-twenties (they’re grad students), they certainly speak as if they are, but they act and interact like teen-agers. Secondly, the story starts off as one thing… a festival of witty repartee and awkward flirtation between Andrew and Cassidy that morphs into a paranormal pseudo-crime story. At one point in the story, Andrew is assaulted and a mysterious masked, winged, in flight, “Dandy Boy” superhero comes to his rescue.

At the start, I had high hopes for Andrew and Cassidy, it was fun to watch their verbal sparring and posturing. But it went on forever and got diluted with too much other stuff. Also confusing— while there are adult themes that include depiction of alcohol and drug abuse, there is no on-page sex. I enjoyed the beginning of the story, but the UST vibe became compromised by the PNR twist, and it fell apart for me. This is apparently a debut book and I greatly appreciate the author’s effort here and do think he shows promise. If you’re looking for paranormal zaniness with a touch of romance and can ignore all the rest, this may just be for you.

Elizabetta’s Rating: 3-stars-out-of-5-300x70


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

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