Posts Tagged ‘loose id publication’

Reviewed by Katinka C.

The Elegant CorpseTITLE: The Elegant Corpse
AUTHOR: A. M. Riley
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publishing
LENGTH: 158 pages
BLURB: Detective Roger Corso is open about his sexual orientation. He’s less forthcoming about his leather lifestyle. He thinks he’s doing a pretty good job of keeping it covert, but then something happen that changes his mind. Someone delivers an elegantly clothed corpse to his home. His couch to be precise. And that corpse is carrying a leather flogger. Roger’s taking that personally. Additional distraction comes in the form of the victim’s younger brother Sean. He’s annoying. Knows something about the murder he’s not telling. Wants something from Roger–and is everything Roger ever wanted. But before he can make Sean his, he’s going to have to solve the mystery of the elegant corpse.

REVIEW:

Like being buried underneath an avalanche of mediocrity, that’s basically how I felt about my latest reads. So color me very relieved when The Elegant Corpse turned out to be a breath of fresh air!

You won’t find overwrought flowery sentences and metaphors in this book. If you adore your m/m romance clichés and manipulative tropes, ones that leave you teary-eyed, you’ll be barking at the wrong tree as well. So lemme just step on my soapbox once more and shout from the top of my lungs……What a solid, smoothly- written old-school detective! A fast-paced murder mystery with a grim edge, in which dead bodies pop up everywhere, the killer’s one step ahead of the game, and the sturdy detective falls in love with a suspect…

…And I, in turn, fell in love with the detective. For some odd reason, my brain kept feeding me images of a Don Draper look-a-like, sitting behind his desk at the police station..

Anyway! Detective Roger Corso is cool as a cucumber. But even he understands that he better take it personally when someone leaves a dead body in his living room. And that’s not all. The body is in fact the wrapped, disemboweled, and ritualistically posed mummy of a beautiful gay boy, who disappeared 20 years ago. Roger, not a closet case but a private person nonetheless, immediately recognizes what the corpse holds in its hands. Those are not Egyptian artifacts, but BDSM equipment. In that instance, Roger realizes that his secret life as a Master is about to bleed into the fabrics of his life as a detective…

This book offers a bit of everything really: crime, torture, suspense, romance, humor, BDSM, poetry even…and sympathetic characters. And yet it appears as if I got to know the latter only in passing. In a way, The Elegant Corpse seems like the very first book in a shiny new series, in which everything is laid out for future reference. There are almost too many ideas stuffed into one book. I was dying to get to know the meticulous Roger and his sidekick Mary Anne better and am bummed that this apparently is a stand-alone?! Do something about that Riley!

I’d beg…?

Oh well, onwards we go. The references to the 80’s gay life, the Tom of Finland leather daddies and the AIDS epidemic added a rich and realistic touch. It’s an era Roger only remembers too well. It has shaped him. Thus he is all the more weirded out when he finds that he’s not immune to Generation Y kid Sean (can we say thirty going on thirteen? His age.. what a joke, psht!). The redhead is the brother of one of the mummified victims and too young, too vocal and too brash for Roger’s usual tastes…

Sean chewed his thumb, eyes darting around the precinct room, those bloody fingers tapping out an uneven rhythm on Roger’s desk.
“Stop that”, snapped Roger suddenly.
Sean froze. “What?”

Roger schooled himself to patience, took a deep breath in, and released it slowly. “It can’t be hygienic – or pleasant, either –to have gnawed bloody fingertips all the time.”
Sean lowered his thumb and looked at it as if seeing it for the first time. “Sorry,” he said, sounding angry. He folded his fingers around themselves in his lap and said: “I don’t suppose you have any bad habits?”

Roger raised his eyebrows, typing. He didn’t answer.

Yup, since Roger is distracted by a bouncy redhead who threatens to compromise the case – and Roger’s secret life – you’ll have plenty of time to see if you can solve the crimes before he does. Should be a piece of cake….hmm?

Two final notes. One: you don’t have to be into BDSM to enjoy this book. Not a fan of formalized BDSM myself, but other than a first scene (that I found dull, sorry), it was worked into the story unobtrusively. And two: Mary Anne. Who is definitely not a Mary Anne. What a kick-ass sidekick for Roger this woman is! For once, you won’t be stuck with a female character who is either a bitch from hell or a dowdy Mary Sue, as seems to be the standard in the m/m romances I read. If Roger’s love life doesn’t end up in shambles, I’ll settle for Mary – “I love you dearly, Roger, but I don’t want you to have kinky sex in my house, okay?” – Anne.

Katinka’s Rating:

BUY LINK: Loose Id  ::  All Romance eBooks

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: KATINKA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Shelley & Katinka

Nowhere RanchTITLE: Nowhere Ranch
AUTHOR: Heidi Cullinan
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publication
LENGTH: 240 pages/68,143 words
BLURB: Roe Davis is a man who works hard, keeps to himself, and never mixes business with pleasure — until he takes a weekend away from his new job at Nowhere Ranch and runs into the owner at the only gay bar for two hundred miles. Getting involved with the boss is a bad idea, but Travis Loving is hard to say no to, especially when it turns out their kinks line up like a pair of custom-cut rails. As Loving points out, so long as this is sex on the side, no interfering with the job, they could make it work.

The truth is, there’s good reason Roe never settles down and always spends his birthdays and holidays celebrating alone. Shut out in the cold by his family years ago, Roe survived by declaring he didn’t need a home. As his affair with Loving grows into more than just sex, Roe finds out what happens when he stays put a little bit too long: the past always catches up with you. Eventually, even a loner gets lonely, and home will grow up through whatever cracks you leave open for it — even in a place called Nowhere.

JOINT REVIEW:

Excuse us a moment while we flush the dirt from our eyeballs. Because not only are these cowboys the rough, tough and silent types, they sure know how to let their life on a ranch inspire them in the bedroom. Pony play anyone?

Let’s take the bull by the horns; some of the things these guys did for fun had us squirming and clutching the pearls at our necks with horrified fascination… And we’ve both read Bloodraven, for god’s sake!

But we’re getting ahead of things. Imagine being a young man from a religious family in cowboy country. You’re not exactly a smart puppy, but you try really hard and focus on what you know, like sheep, so you get by. Except for that fact that you’re also gay…

Meet Roe, Nowhere Ranch’s narrator. The discovery of his stack of gay porn results in a godly intervention to ‘heal’ him. Anger and displacement leads to a short prison stretch and once free, Roe makes a break from his Iowa hometown. It’s a lonely existence until he gets a job on the Nebraskan Nowhere Ranch, working for owner Travis Loving. It’s the perfect job for Roe: the boss is the quiet, private and respectable type; he lets him get on with it, no questions, and no dramas – perfect. Then Roe walks into the only gay bar for 200 miles around, and just who do you think is sitting at the bar…

“For a second we just stared at each other, and yeah, I was flipping out. I mean, the one guy at a ranch you work really hard to make sure he doesn’t find out you’re gay is the fucking boss. So I just stood there and tried not to piss myself. Then it occurred to me that there was only one reason he would be there, same as me.“

As the quote above shows, this is Roe’s story and he tells it in his own simple farm boy way without sophistication, grandeur or restraint. His voice is therefore deliciously forthright and without pretence. And, oh God, how we loved this! How refreshing! How devilishly divine it was to be in the mind-set of a real man. Kudos Ms Cullinan, you did brilliantly.

But that’s not all … y’all better cowboy up for them sex scenes! We knew it was going to be a smut fest, but we didn’t anticipate getting lost in the brutal intensity of the hottest, filthiest sex known to man. We didn’t expect our delicate sensibilities to be so thoroughly fisted trampled on. Pony play, puppy play, giant dildo’s, fisting, it’s all a go… Roe doesn’t mind. In fact, he’s quite accommodating….

“You want to tell me I’m your pony or your dog you’re fucking, I can do that. I think hotel carpets are gross, so I’d rather not do puppy play on the floor. But in bed’s okay.

This in turn brings out the best kinky in Travis. For example: he gifts his new hand an extraordinarily original birthday present. Although you could say that his present requires an acquired taste…which reminds us…, let’s talk about the not-so-vanilla sex some more!

Shell thought it wasn’t THAT rough. After all, there wasn’t any bestiality (of which there was plenty of opportunity) and she got the giggles when we got to that scene; all she envisioned was not being able to remove said appendage from said orifice. Gah! What would the doctor say at the ER? ‘Congratulations sir, you have a healthy fist?’ Intellectually speaking (ha!) the pony reins were a clever metaphor.

On the otherrrr hand….Katinka’s face wrinkled up during more than one scene, and she only managed to keep her cool and make it past those parts by whispering; ‘Omg-no- omg-no’ and keeping Shelley’s supportive Tumblr porn finds in mind. So suit yourself, hmm?

And really, Nowhere Ranch is amazingly, shockingly good… So many memorable scenes and precious moments … in tandem we sigh contentedly. It doesn’t matter that what was left of our sensibilities was thoroughly deflowered. We understood. We cared about these two. Unfortunately, we then got to the last 10% or so. The part where …

…Cullinan got hacked by Mary-fucking-Sue!

You read that right! Instead of sighing and swooning, that ending had us beating the hedges, smashing windows and destroying bus shelters in tandem. To say we were livered is an understatement! Why? Why? Why do we HAVE TO have an ending that was manipulated by Mary Sue Haley (self-serving little busy body) which spins the much appreciated characterisation of these men upside down and inside out?

Swapping Stetsons for aprons is NOT what we expected here. In our opinion all that syrupy sweetness is not in line with the relationship dynamic at all.

And their toys! That thing they did with their goddamn toys. Sacrilege! May we just pause to wipe away our tears, hang our heads and have a moment of silence for latex stowed away everywhere?

Ultimately, it’s only a testament to that beautiful combination of awe-inspiring feels and kinkiness, that we’d recommend Nowhere Ranch despite its superfluous ending. While Shelley will be rereading quite a few of those strategically highlighted scenes, Katinka secretly wonders which ‘hard limit’ will be blasted to pieces next.

Joint Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Loose Id Store :: All Romance eBooks

==================================
Shelley & Katinka are one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read their individual reviews, click the links below:
SHELLEY’S REVIEWS
KATINKA’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 Elizabetta

Patient ZTITLE: Patient Z
AUTHOR: Becky Black
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publication
LENGTH: 265 pages
BLURB: Two years ago the zombie apocalypse wiped out the world police officer Mitch Kennedy had a role in. But he’s found a way to continue doing his duty, serving as guardian of a small community of survivors, living in the safest place they can find. When the group takes in Cal Richardson Mitch can’t help but be attracted to the first available—and incidentally, gorgeous—man to cross his path in months.

Mitch and Cal can’t resist each other physically, but each man tries to hold back his emotions. Though he’s strong on the outside, Mitch is too badly hurt inside to risk more pain. Cal’s very sure he won’t stay for long. He’s been a drifter all his life and it came naturally to him to survive alone after civilization fell. He’s sure this is a temporary stopover for him. He has no intention of becoming emotionally involved with a cop who is certain to despise Cal when he learns the truth about him.

The longer Cal stays the stronger his urge to run, but the harder it becomes to give up the safety of the community and his new friends. The harder it becomes to give up Mitch.

REVIEW:

An offshore oil rig, near the southern US coast, is the setting for this zombie action thriller. This is a clever plot device, it’s what I’d do post-disaster, head for an island or some other structure that gives distance to the moldering mob. It seems that zombies suck at navigating boats and climbing ladders. But, is the rig as safe as it would seem?

For two years the world has been under a zombie takeover. The disease is spread by an infected human biting a non-infected; zombies are only interested in uninfected people, they ignore each other, and their numbers have been increasing. Mitch Kennedy, a cop back in the normal days, has learned how to evade the zombies, he has set up the oil rig as a fortress-haven for himself and a small group of very self-sufficient women and small children. They have learned to survive by carefully scrounging the countryside in well-planned excursions, for supplies, medicine and weapons. More importantly, they have a doctor on board who may have found a vaccination for the zombie pathogen, and it is paramount that her work continue.

There used to be other men on the rig, but when they started sexually harassing the women, they were booted off. In particular, Ethan, who heads up his own on-shore gang of marauding fellow meat-heads. Mitch and his “harem” have learned to live comfortably on the rig and have trained themselves to stave off vicious attacks by Ethan’s gang. Mitch is the only guy left onboard not only because he is a trusted leader but because he is gay and does not pose a sexual threat to the women. It isn’t until they rescue Cal, mysteriously adrift in a small boat found near the rig, that there is hope for Mitch finding someone he can be with. The plot gets messy because Mitch is a stand-up guy, looking for commitment where Cal is, literally, the drifter with a shady past who’s aim is to keep on the move.

The enemies in this story aren’t so much the zombies, but the fellow non-infected humans who covet what Mitch battles to keep safe— the women and rig. The author sets up the well-used premise that in a post-apocalyptic world, mankind can be its own worse enemy, so there is nothing really new here. But, the action is great; the dangerous on-land excursions and confrontations with Ethan’s gang have good suspense built in. And having to kill zombies that one may have known previously poses some ethical issues.

Along with the colorful setting there are a lot of wins here. It’s when the story focuses on Mitch and Cal, together, that it drags a bit for me. They’re nice enough guys, and their characters are well-drawn, but I just don’t find their pairing that compelling. It seems like a set up of convenience where they have to be attracted to each other by their both happening to be gay and the ‘last gay man on earth’ or close to it. So, the romance seems a bit forced to me. Still, this was a fun action/adventure zombie read and I would recommend it for those who like this genre.

Elizabetta’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Loose Id Store  ::  All Romance eBooks  ::  Book Store

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’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 Katinka C.

TributeTITLE: Tribute
AUTHOR: Lisa Henry
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publishing
LENGTH: 205 pages
BLURB: When the fearsome warlord Brasius chooses Kynon as his tribute, Kynon tells himself it’s the price of peace, and that he can endure anything. If his slavery will save his father’s kingdom, then he will be a slave and submit to every indignity the warlord and the senate of Segasa require of him. He can live with the shame; it’s the mind-blowing pleasure that frightens him.

But the warlord wants more than a tribute who will respond eagerly to whips and bondage. The warlord might just want the man underneath: the prince, the soldier and the tribute, if Kynon can figure out who that is. On an enforced journey of self-discovery, Kynon learns that being the warlord’s tribute isn’t just about submission. And, to be the tribute that Brasius wants him to be, Kynon will have to defy all the traditions of Segasa and risk the wrath of the senate that really holds his chains.

REVIEW:

I was so thrilled to read Tribute! It fits perfectly into my master plan to..*cough*..‘professionalize’ my depravity. Since dating cruel bastards with little to none redeeming qualities would kind of interfere with this wholesome, little life I lead these days, I will just have to still my cravings through my reads. And what better book to choose then Tribute to do so? It has dub/non con, a bit of torture and a whole lot of humiliation, D/s and creepy, abusive fuckers in abundance. In short: all the sweet stuff.

You can read the blurb for yourself, so I’m going to skip summarizing the plot today. Although I recommend taking the warnings into account.If only because you won’t have to end up feeling obliged to 1 star this book for it not matching your expectations of beautiful submission and star-crossed lovers love. There’s nothing beautiful or swoon-worthy about Tribute. Not in the conventional sense anyway, ha! Harsh, porn-packed pain and humiliation and master/slave dynamics is what you get instead. It was cruel. And yet… not nearly as cruel as I had anticipated. Partly because the characters remained a little distant, I was never terrified. Narrator Prince Kynon didn’t crawl underneath my skin, thus ensuring that I was merely a spectator and didn’t have to join him on his sickening roller-coaster ride. I wasn’t sorry.

And this may sound weird, but Henry has such an entertaining writing style that I wanted to grab a bowl of popcorn and happily munch my way through another rape scene instead of gag and shudder. Imagine being able to write pulpy non con: that’s kind of special, right? Can’t say that I don’t love Henry’s blend of depraved and dirty, juicy fun in Tribute!

Not that I wasn’t disappointed on occasions. Warlord Brasius’ newly acquired virginal tributes (AKA war captives) were given a magical instant lust inducing potion that turned them into fuck toys. Ugh! I’ve always been one who likes the hunt better than the catch, so I was growling in disbelief when Brasius ‘introduced’ himself to Prince Kynon and Alysia (there’s some girly-bits, yes) in such a nonchalantly brutal and fast way. It was explicit. It was nasty. It was maybe a tiny winy bit hot? And it was over in the blink of an eye. Taking virgins who are writhing in lust without their consent …well… that’s quite a way to spin things! I think I would have appreciated a dash of forced seduction, perhaps a little unreleased sexual tension and overall more mind-fuckery.
Instalust potions: where’s the fun in that? 😀

Now Brasius. He should have done it for me. Instead, I ended up being vaguely dissatisfied with how he managed his business. His business being his tributes. Despite his power, good looks and other obvious..assets, he’s the kind of master I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. The man’s a contradictory mess. Due to his role, it was expected of him to display his dominance over his captured enemies. And thus he cruelly humiliated Kynon left and right (not complaining about that, mind you! I’d say he did so rather unimaginatively, but effectively). Then he tenderly told the confused kid that he ‘wants all of him’? You don’t have to be a 19 year old Prince to slip into a nervous breakdown because of these mixed signals. Also, I had hoped that Brasius would be more demanding in an intellectual way. At some point it appeared as if he made an attempt, when he invited Kynon to play chess with him. But that scene, too, spiraled into straight-forward humiliation. But hey, at least you’ll get all the promised stuff!

If you decide to give Tribute a go, I’m curious to hear what you think about the romance aspect. I personally didn’t buy for a second that this was anything more than Stockholm Syndrome and whatever other labels apply. I got the impression that a mentally stable Kynon wouldn’t have swayed into that/those directions if he were given a choice. By now, it’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of HEA’s that seem misplaced. So I’m just going to be nice and pretend that this crazy conclusion didn’t happen to this book. Maybe I need to skip Henry’s final chapters from now on? Because, in the end, her entertaining writing style in combination with that kinky mind of hers really work for me! I’ll definitely auto-buy her work from now on.

Katinka’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Loose Id Store :: All Romance eBooks :: Book Store

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: KATINKA’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 Katinka C.

Claimings, Tails and Other Alien ArtifactsTITLE: Claimings, Tails and other Alien Artifacts
AUTHOR: Lyn Gala
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publishing
LENGTH: 104 pages
BLURB: Liam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. He won’t risk letting anyone come too close because he won’t risk letting anyone see his deeply submissive nature. For him, submission comes with pain. Life burned that lesson into his soul from a young age. This fear keeps him from noticing that the Rownt trader Ondry cares for him.

Ondry may not understand humans, but he recognizes a wounded soul, and his need to protect Liam is quickly outpacing his common sense. They may have laws, culture, and incompatible genitalia in their way, but Ondry knows that he can find a way to overcome all that if he can just overcome the ghosts of Liam’s past. Only then can he take possession of a man he has grown to love.

REVIEW:

More fascinating than I had expected! Not that I had a list of expectations, but as soon as I read that Claimings, Tails and other Alien Artifacts involved aliens with tails, my mind sort of went into a frenzy and fed me “Oh no! Not smutty tail action… and..tentacles? Oh please, not suction cups and slime!” red alerts. I shouldn’t have worried. Although there’s more than enough to enjoy if funky appendages going dark places is your kink, please don’t let that tail on the cover put you off! The aliens in this book, Rownts, don’t have the bodies of purple painted stockphoto models. More importantly, they don’t have spiky, finned tails. This is not torture porn.

Quite the opposite actually! It’s a gently flowing angst-free story, with an exotic touch to spice things up. Exotic comes in the form of an unconsciously dirty dub con talking alien, who develops an interest in a human male: Liam. As a linguist on the Rownt homeworld, Liam’s able to read and translate the expressions on the Rownt’s reptile-ish faces and is one of the few who understands the finer nuances of the alien language. This makes him an excellent trader. Unfortunately, Liam’s talent doesn’t protect him from his new asshole commanding officer, who plans on making his life hell. Something his favorite Rownt trader, Ondry, doesn’t fail to notice…

And then Liam suddenly wakes up groggy and finds himself chained to Ondry’s bed, a nest.

“I have to call base.”
“You are not theirs anymore.” (…)
“They gave me to you? For how long?” Liam asked. There had be a way to fix all this.
“You are palteia,” Ondry said that as if it explained everything. For a Rownt, it probably would.
“So you keep saying . The problem is that I don’t understand that. I’ve never seen the word. I don’t know any stories with palteia. How long am I supposed to stay here?”
“A palteia is always a palteia.” Ondry started to pale.
“Oh fuck. Forever. You plan to keep me forever.”Pressing his eyes closed, Liam let his head fall back against the wall with a thunk.

To Liam, palteia at first is just another word for screwed. For me, it was the beginning of a compelling take on D/s dynamics through the eyes of an alien race. Since the Rownt and the human race are sexually not compatible (these aliens don’t do sex for pleasure, which is pretty damn good news for Liam, but you’ll figure out the ‘why’ yourself), it’s intriguing to discover how things play out between Liam and Ondry. The cultural and social differences between their races are enormous. Even a talented linguist can’t completely bridge that gap. For instance, when Liam is manhandled and bound by his alien, the sexual subtext is completely lost on Ondry, but not on Liam… Which leads to amusing – and pretty exciting – situations.

“It’s an erection,” Liam explained once he caught his breath again. This was beyond embarrassing, and still he was hard.
“Really? This is long enough to reach the female reproductive tract?” Ondry’s eyes were wide with disbelief or maybe just curiosity.

Dissed by an alien. Gotta love that, ha!

Anyway, although I loved the focus on the racial differences and the fact that these aliens are and remain truly alien throughout the story, I wish there was a little more to the characters. Liam in particular never really came alive for me. If he had borrowed only an inch of personality from Dark Space’s Brady Garrett, I would’ve been happy! It’s possible that due to this ‘distance’ I felt, Liam’s sudden ‘feelings’ came as a bit of a surprise. This being a novella, you may be left wanting more and wondering about things that were only lightly touched on. I wouldn’t mind a sequel at some point.

But hey, time to admit that you want to find out if (and how) a human male and a reptile-ish, sexually incompatible alien with a tail can be a match made in space! Claimings, Tails and other Alien Artifacts didn’t bore me for one second. I’d definitely recommend this fascinating, kind of sweet and quirky book.

Katinka’s Rating: four-stars_0

BUY LINK: Book Store

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: KATINKA’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 Shelley

Bound and Determined TITLE: Bound and Determined
AUTHOR: Jane Davitt & Alexa Snow
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publication
LENGTH: 230 pages
BLURB: When Sterling Baker discovers the wonderful world of BDSM, he’s ready to literally throw himself at the feet of the spectacular Owen Sawyer, but Owen is unwilling to take on someone so new to the scene—or so he says. Determined to get what he wants, Sterling sets out to convince the doubting Owen that he can be the best sub in the world, the fastest learning, the most obedient.

It’s not as easy as he thinks it will be, and things get even more complicated when Sterling realizes that he’s fallen in love with Owen. With the stakes that much higher, Sterling’s more determined than ever to win Owen over. But now he’ll have to convince Owen they can have more than a teacher / student relationship, more than just good kink.

REVIEW:

This novel comes with lots of stars and the highest of recommendations; so of course I needed to see for myself. I like a BDSM book occasionally, it’s not my real life kink of course – sub-space is a myth in my opinion, (that shit just stings – and my husband, understandably won’t switch) so I enjoy reading about this lifestyle instead, it’s exciting. I love the whole D/s dynamic and can respectably appreciate the need and reasoning behind it all – I’ve read enough of these books to get it.

Sterling Baker is our inexperienced and untried young sub; so green he doesn’t even know he is a sub until his recently discovered obsession with BDSM leads him into the local club with sex buddy Alex – looking to soak up some experience from the local Doms. All too soon he is trembling, and moved to his core (and his loins) when he watches his ex-Professor perform an intense emotional scene with his sub; like the flick of a light switch, he knows the position he wants to be in – on his knees – looking up at the man with all the control – a most spectacular man!

But there’s a problem, Sterling has never submitted to anything or anyone in his life. And Professor Owen Sawyer doesn’t want or need a fledgling sub. He is easily bored and frustrated with his subs and the last thing he wants is an obnoxious brat who’d given him nothing but hell as a student. Never mind the fact that getting involved with a student could ruin his career.

But Sterling is persistent and determined, he wants Owen to each him, to master him, he NEEDS it and Owen and won’t give in …

“You don’t need someone like me when you’re this new; you just need a boyfriend with an open mind. Find one and get him to give you a spanking. You might discover you don’t even enjoy it when it’s reality and not a fantasy.”

“So you’re saying you’re out of my league?” Sterling Demanded.

“I’m not good enough?”

“You’re perfect.” Owen watched the boys eyes light up, […]

“For someone else. Not me. “

Ouch!

It’s not spoiling to say that Owen does agree to take Sterling on… eventually; but only on his terms and with conditions. One condition proves too much for an overzealous and impatient Sterling. Despite his own no-go area, he’s soon begging and pleading with Owen to change his mind. The result is not pretty. So is the relationship doomed before it even starts? And if not, will there ever be more to the relationship than purely BDSM? Because there is after all ‘nothing more intimate than watching someone else come’ … right?

The stand out element of this novel is the tangible sizzling chemistry between these two; even fully clothed the atmosphere is thick with it. It’s great stuff! Like goose bumps on top of goose bumps. I shiver recalling it …

At 30% Sterling’s excitement and anticipation is so intense it becomes contagious. I wanted – no – I needed to feel it all – with him – through him (cos I’ve already told you I’m a wimp)I craved the firsts – all of them – the first touch– the first spanking – the first bondage scene – the first plugging, the first fu … you get the picture. I was excited for Sterling, but I was all thighs clenching anticipation for me!

Now this is where I’m going to stop and say: If you are BDSM curious and need a gentle easing in? Or even if you’re into BDSM novels and fancy a light, lovable read? This book is PERFECT for you. Honestly, it is a sweet, sweet story that has captured the heart of many readers. It is sexy and heartfelt. The motivations and dynamic of Dom and sub are clearly defined without feeling like you’re reading a manual. The S&M is very tame in comparison to many other novels of its kind. If this is what you are looking for? Read no further – you just found it. Enjoy it, honestly – it’s a lovely story. Just ignore the rest of what I have to say, chances are you wouldn’t agree.

*spoilers ahead*

Now where was I? Oh yes, thigh clenching anticipation – that’s right.

The first touch – ahh … yessss

The first spanking – there may have been some quivering.

Some wax play – Hell-O! Master Owen – let the clenching games commence.

More spanking – okay, that’s cool (kind of)

Even more butt slapping – okay … I’m drumming my fingers, but please … continue.

Fast forward a few weeks – WHAT? Oh no you don’t …nah uh … I just got the Nutella out for gawds sakes.

Can you believe that? All that anticipation shrivels and dies because all the other firsts are off page! The arse play, the dildo’s … some bondage. It’s all glossed over and we miss it! Gah… I feel cheated! I live vicariously through these pages because I’m such a wuss you know and I want it ALL. In detail.

Okay fine, so Sterling gets some off page experience, this means he’s ready for bigger things right? No. You know what we get instead? More spankings, it’s just spankety-spank-spank-spank with these two. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. The authors do a great job of building the tension, but when it comes to fulfilling the promise … it falls short for me.

I prefer my BDSM novels to feel more realistic and less fantastical. For me this was too tame and … oh I’m just going to come out and say it. There wasn’t enough penetration and I was bored with everything in between – okay – there I said it.

*end of spoilers*

Owen is characterised as a fiercely respected Dom, one of the best; and I believe that he truly is a great Dom. I just wished I’d received a more aggressive demonstration of his reputation. Sterling tries really hard to be the perfect sub and once he overcomes his bratty selfish ways he has the potential to be exactly what Owen needs. I just feel he didn’t deserve it, especially after his last stunt – he didn’t deserve Owen. Sorry, but that’s just me.

Like I said; this is an easy BDSM novel and a sweet love story that I would recommend – if that’s what you’re looking for.

Shelley’s Rating: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

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

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Reviewed by Nikyta J.

(This review may contain SPOILERS)

TITLE: Save the Date
AUTHOR: Kate McMurray
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publishing
LENGTH: 126 pages
BLURB: Tristan knows he and his ex-boyfriend Stuart were not meant to be, but that doesn’t make the invitation to Stuart’s wedding any less of a punch in the face. Tris decides that the only thing for it is to find a super hot date to prove to Stuart that he’s moved on and is doing just fine, thanks.

The path to the altar is fraught with obstacles, however, and Tris has to deal with the wilds of online dating, wardrobe malfunctions, men who look like pirates, emotional baggage, grooms with cold feet, and sports team rivalries before he even gets to the wedding. But when Tris stumbles on love in the last place he expects, he’ll need to let go of the past in order to move forward.

REVIEW:

When I read the blurb for this, I was thinking it’d be along the lines of the movie The Wedding Date, which I adored and have watched a bunch of times. While it does have a similar vibe to the movie, the big difference is this takes place mostly before the wedding and follows Tristan on his journey to finding a date to his ex’s nuptials. Going on blind dates and then online dating, he discovers Darren’s secret. Darren never meant to keep the fact he was gay from Tristan but he just never found the right time to tell Tristan or their friends. When the two get together, they start a relationship a little too fast and soon Darren is agreeing to go to Stuart’s wedding with Tristan. But now the question remains, is Tristan just using Darren or does he actually have feelings for Darren?

Tristan is a passionate individual. Even after years of being broken up from Stuart, he still loves him enough to be sad over being invited to the wedding. Tristan’s a bit melodramatic and exaggerates which makes him a bit of a handful at times. To counter that, he also has a love of sports that means he doesn’t exactly fit into the stereotypical gay role. He’s a bit self-absorbed but overall he’s sweet. Darren has been Tristan’s best friend since college and been in love with Tristan for years. He’s been in the closet for a while now, making Tristan believe Darren was straight this whole time. Together they’re a cute couple. Darren is shy but obviously adores Tristan while Tristan is a little over the top but eventually comes to realize his feelings for Darren.

A source of amusement throughout the whole book was the constant wondering just why Tristan’s ex, Stuart, would invite him to the wedding. More than that, the phone calls and weird conversations they would have had me chuckling a few times. While I can’t say I exactly liked the fact it was so focused on the ex, I can say that while Tristan’s actions towards asking Darren to the wedding are questionable, Tristan’s overall feelings for Stuart are more of affection towards a friend than a soul deep love between ex-partners of ten years, even if they have been broken up for a while. I will say that I adored Tristan and Darren’s friends. Kevin, Hugh and Alex had me chuckling a few times with their competitive sports banter and their figurative nose wrinkle at thinking of Darren and Tristan together because they all think of the two as ‘brothers’. It was cute and funny and I really enjoyed those parts.

I’ve always been a sucker for friends to lovers stories so I found this book overall sweet. It’s a bit predictable but has a cute execution. At times, the story dragged because a lot of it is spent in Tristan’s head so the monologue got a little too heavy for me especially when it seemed a bit repetitive. There’s also the problem that I felt like a lot of it was told instead of shown, which hindered my ability to get to know not only Tristan better but overall Darren. I didn’t feel like Darren was fleshed out enough, I couldn’t connect with him. I found him sweet but I ultimately couldn’t feel that connection between them because Darren wasn’t developed as a character. In the beginning, it was hard for me to stick with this story, I kept putting it down because it didn’t grab my attention. Around the 40% mark, however, it started to pick up and I was enjoying it but by the end, the epilogue kind of damped my enjoyment because the whole thing is told and I was expecting a little more something between Darren and Tristan to show how their relationship was after the wedding. I didn’t really feel satisfied with the ending because it just made me feel like I was missing much more than I should have been considering the length of time that passed and that made me sad.

Overall, I enjoyed the story but it took a while for me to do that. I found Tristan very amusing and I did like the potential between Darren and Tristan but I didn’t exactly feel like it was fleshed out enough for the level of love and commitment that they were explained to have. However, I think if you’re looking for a sweet, quick and semi humorous story, you’ll enjoy this one.

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

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

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Reviewed by Katinka C.

TITLE: Dark Space
AUTHOR: Lisa Henry
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publishing
BLURB: Brady Garrett needs to go home. He’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. He’s also angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.

Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless — the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.

Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.

Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.

REVIEW:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of Brady Garrett. His ten-year mission: to serve on a deep space military station, to protect Earth from new life and new civilizations, to boldly go… Oh fuck that. Brady hates the vast, endless blackness with a passion. And he doesn’t give a shit about protecting Earth. He just wants to care for his little sister.

Alas! Ever since the Faceless, a terrifying race of aliens who have beat the human race in terms of technology and military strength, attacked Earth, boys are to serve in space for ten long years. Brady had to leave behind his ill father and young sister when he turned sixteen. The homesickness, anger and angst have been gnawing at him every day, for the past three years that he spent on space station Defender Three. Angst, because everyone has seen the video material of the handsome pilot Cameron Rushton, propaganda’s wet dream. His noble face graced posters on Earth. That is, until his space vessel was captured by the faceless and everyone on board was murdered except him.

But now Cameron is back. His pale, unconscious body was floating around in outer space, drenched in the milky fluid of a semi-organic pod. Has he been turned into a bioweapon, some terminator, is this just a cruel gift from the faceless to mock the laughably weak humans? The war hero has suddenly become the stuff of nightmares…

Oh man, Dark Space is a knock-you-down cocktail of reluctant and shy, yet passionate GFY love, against the backdrop of a vast darkness in which stars twinkle and a destructive alien race creeps closer.

This book kickstarts in such an exciting and entertaining way. Safely snuggled up in the head of the expressive Brady (a perfectly executed first-person narrative is not something I come across every day, But Henry pulls it off, and how! This is a smartass, adorable and insecure 19 years old kid!), we zoom in on the action… and on the pod. Those Faceless bastards didn’t include a manual, so Brady’s clueless superiors just cut the darn thing open. BAD IDEA. Suddenly everything is awash in a slimy liquid, people start to panic and Cameron is dying on the floor amidst it all. Brady’s desperately trying to keep Cameron alive when he discovers that his body functions as a battery. Before he has a chance to process what’s going on, a creepy telepathic connection between the two is a fact and they are, quite literally, stuck together.. Whewww..I know, right!

So I just sat back and let the sliminess and awesomeness wash over me.

Throughout the book there’s a delicious dark undercurrent of angsty anticipation. Will the Faceless come back to claim Cameron? And how will the telepathic bond between these two play out? Because Brady not only shares Cam’s dark and twisted dreams, he gets a taste of the red, hot erotic ones as well. Are the lusty ideas that start swirling around in Brady’s head merely echo’s of Cam’s own desires or are they — shocker — his own? And does it matter?

So maybe there’s a little too much repetition in how the romance between these two unfolds. And maybe the actual story is smothered in the aww-material moments these boys share. But then again, the telepathy trope made their romance both intriguing and believable. I devoured their slow burning love, couldn’t stop reading…and while doing so may have swooned once or twice.

I wish the same could be said about the ending. Oh dear, what a bummer! After a few zigging and zagging plot twists towards the end, there it was again, my enemy, my foe: a plastered on, contrived HEA. Oh nooo’s! What happened here? Why did it happen? This book pretty much started with a BANG. The part in the middle took its sweet, sweet time. And then everything was suddenly wrapped up so sloppily and rushed.

FML.

But! The biggest chunk of Dark Space was good. Really, very, recommendably good. And that cover.. Guys, you have to agree with me that there are so many terrible covers out there for the m/m genre, that praise should be given when praise is due. That IS Brady Garrett right there! And let me tell you, he’s quite something, inside and out.

Katinka’s Rating: four-stars_0

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: KATINKA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Ilhem

TITLE: Son of a Gun
AUTHOR: A. M. Riley
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publication
BLURB: Stefan Sanchez’s number one reason to flee Boerne, Texas twelve years ago, was closeted deputy Chet Blain. Since then he has lived in Los Angeles, become a successful author of children’s books and managed his sexual relationships with a certain cool cynicism.

When Stefan returns to Texas for the funeral of his best friend, Tommy, he is confronted by painful memories: His infamous father, shot as a traitor, his alcoholic mother, and Chet, who seems to want to start their old painful relationship all over again. Added to this is a missing widow, drugs in the trunk of his rental car, and a hunky Secret Service agent who seems determined to make Stefan’s business his business.

It all ends in a mad chase across the infamously haunted Devil’s backbone where ghosts from the past and personal demons in the present all conspire to give Stefan a chance to close the book on his childhood forever… or die trying.

REVIEW:

Let’s get this over with: this book is not focusing on a central love story, so according to rules that the author is not following anyway, this is not a romance. What’s in there for you, then?

Love interests and maybe more if affinity. Note the plural but don’t hiss, there is no cheating, technically.

A decent, if not spectacular mystery that triggered memories of the Famous Five and a clan offering many potential suspects and accomplices.

A closeted cop.

The fleeting, teasing  presence of a Special Agent.

The overshadowing presence of a best friend. Kudos to the author for making me like a character who was already dead when the story began! The victim is much more than a mystery plot device and this was the pinch salt that added to the story’s delicious bittersweet flavour.

Stefan, writing children books when the only kids he likes belong to the past, and preserving his bitter and precious memories of them forever. Stefan always, who is a stopped clock, who numbed his emotions when he fled to LA, who is a stubborn smartass, who fights funny and is kind of dysfunctional but still trusted when and by whom it counts the most.

A great narrative, not as much interrupted as fed by a child book manuscript that won’t let itself being written.

No traditional romance, no neatly tied up HEA either, but an open ending that makes sense.

The rush to the finish line in giant steps or easy shortcomings was a bit dissatisfying, too many things happened off scene and were told resolved but the author made up for it with an amusingly endearing ending.

I liked Son of a Gun very much and I cared. I cared that Stefan stubbornly followed the track leading to the murderer because Tommy O’Connor was a good man and someone killed him, dammit!  I cared for the childhood brotherhood, for Stefan coming home to mourn and for his late-bloomer coming of age story.  I liked Stefan’s muse playing difficult and how it came full circle.  I smiled and chuckled, too.

There will be a sequel, right?

Ilhem’s Rating: 535px-3-5_stars-svg

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

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Reviewed by Shelley

TITLE: Starfish and Coffee
AUTHOR: Kele Moon
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publication
BLURB: On the island where they first met, two lovers from opposite sides of the tracks are reunited. Now jaded and broken, Alex and Matt still can’t deny their sizzling connection or the memories of one perfect, uninhibited year together.

At twenty-two, Matt Tarrington is rich, good-looking and destined to be powerful, but behind that confident exterior lurks a man who resents the life his family thrust upon him. Desperate for an escape, Matt heads to Mirabella Island off the coast of Florida for a year of relaxation and some wild nights with vacationing party-girls.

Matt never expected to find real passion in the arms of Alex Hunter, a handsome, laid-back local.

Alex is gay, but closeted. Matt should be completely off limits, but Alex finds the deeply in denial rich boy too tempting to ignore. Especially when a bet has them working together, fighting the heat in the rundown, beachside cafe where Alex sweats for every dollar.

Their love felt inevitable until youth left them vulnerable to hatred and greed. Now after six years of hating the lies they live, Alex and Matt will have to risk it all for the second chance they both desperately need.

REVIEW:

I expected this story was going to be one of those done-to-death romances of young love lost & found with a gay-for-you, coming-out trope. I knew how it was going to go before I even started – the synopsis is quite telling. I was in the mood for a nice enjoyable story but what I never would have guessed, is how much I would ADORE it.

Matthew (Matt) Tarrington: privileged, beautiful, straight  republican, and a fearless frat boy who is the heir to a Fortune 500 company and a heart attack waiting to happen meets (officially) Alex Hunter: orphaned, beach bum, gorgeous, gay, closeted, zero college education and he works as a line cook! And on the scruffy side of Mirabella Island no less. Alex is so far removed from Matthew’s social standing he should be on another planet.

These guys should have nothing in common, apart from being young and horny. A fast friendship develops despite their differences and initial opinions of each other.  But the attraction and chemistry between them is POWERFUL and dominant. None of the dangers of being discovered can deny the desire and consequent secret love affair that ensues. I believed in every word of their dialogue, and action; I was completely side-swiped by their soul-deep romance, the build-up and execution totally flawed me.

The sex – and there is a lot of sex – is an erotic toe-curling exploration as tender as it is wild and made more life-like by moments of uncertainty which briefly dilutes the passion, but fuels and compounds the sweet realism of the moment.  Each and every time was a moment the reader gets to cherish and revel in – so beautiful, so erotic, so powerful and made to last {insert dreamy sigh here} a million years.

My response to their love exposes my jaded and cynical heart to aching emotions, which proves to me that love stories like this still have the ability to move me deeply. I LOVED it. I loved them; together and as individuals, they both shine. I wanted to stay with these guys on Mirabella Island forever. If I could just be the one to towel dry them after skinny dips and fishing trips and then pass the condoms, I’d be a happy woman.

This should have been perfect! And most of it was perfect, the setting, the romance, the characters, even the break up was perfect. Then toward the end it all just slips away down the slippery slope to fall in line with all the other mediocre rekindled love tropes; and mediocrity does no befit Alex and Matt’s story. Oh how I stomped my foot and wailed for it not to be so, shaking my fist in the face of ordinary didn’t work but I sucked it up and wouldn’t let it steal my glow.

I was willing to overlook the seriously weird, too close relationship that Alex shares with Holly (which creeped me out) and the villainess who wouldn’t have been out of place in a pantomime where I could boo and hiss every time she made an entrance. Yes, I was going to ignore all that, but the last 20% is too rushed and lacks any anticipation of the big reunion, which is hasty and most uninspiring. Ordinary. The six years of separation are too briefly glossed over with minimum build up to the present. I got my HEA (not a spoiler) but I feel cheated because the book just got shoved into the realm of chick flick – urghhhh!

Despite that, I DO recommend this book, it’s going on my favourites shelf just for being the perfect romance (till 80%) which had my tummy doing flip flops and my heart sighing. Its days later and I miss Matt and Alex already, I feel like I’m in mourning for those beautiful boys.

So move away from your pick and mix that is your to-read pile and pick this one. I promise you that it’s lovely and memorable and in a way I just don’t care about being cheated with that ending anymore. I loved it, it was almost amazing.

Shelley’s Rating: four-stars_0

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Shelley is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love
=====================================================

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