Posts Tagged ‘separated for a bit’

Reviewed by Nikyta

The Choosing by Annabelle Jacobs eBookTITLE: The Choosing
AUTHOR: Annabelle Jacobs
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 210 pages
BLURB: Jerath is facing the biggest problem of his life. When boys in his shapeshifter village Eladir get their fangs, they must endure a coming-of-age rite called the Choosing, so they can take on their animal form. The rite is performed on the full moon, but the trouble is the Choosing involves having sex with a girl, and Jerath’s only interested in boys. Even if he manages to somehow get through the rite, he doesn’t know if he’ll ever find a mate in his village, where opposite-sex couples are the norm.

Even worse, he may miss the rite altogether after raiders attack his home and take several young men prisoner. Jerath will need the help of warriors if he’s to free the captive shapeshifters, so with his best friend, Serim, he flees south to find aid. Along the way, they meet Meren, a handsome warrior whose attraction to Jerath is instant and very much returned. But with the next full moon approaching and available time for the prisoners to undergo the Choosing running out, Jerath’s love life is far from his only worry.

REVIEW:

I’m going to shamelessly say that covers are the first thing that draw me in so when I saw this one, I was intrigued. Then I found out that it was not only fantasy but had shifters and I just knew that I had to read it… and I’m very glad I did.

Jerath is eagerly awaiting going through The Choosing, where he can finally find out the nature of his animal. Unfortunately, he can’t do that until his fangs come in, which don’t seem to be in any hurry to grow. One day Jerath and his friend Serim are catching fish as part of their chores only to realize on the way back to their village that raiders have taken over the village and captured some of their people to sell as slaves. Scared for their lives and their captured loved ones, they try to seek help with a southern village, Chastil. The journey to Chastil is long and tiring but comes with a few unexpected surprises. Jerath thought he’d never find a mate but when he meets Meren, one of the warriors from Chastil, that just might change his whole future. The real question, however, is whether Meren and his people can help Jerath free his fellow shifters and whether they’ll both survive it to be able to see where their connection leaves them?

I must say, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this story as much as I did. I found Jerath amusing. He’s fierce and possessive but sweet and innocent. It was endearing to see him flustered one moment but then aggressive the next. Meren was the opposite in that he was bold and confident but then easily melted whenever Jerath decided to take the reins. I adored these two and the connection that they make. It’s sweet but intense, loving and hot. I wished there had been more of them because while I feel like I know them, I don’t feel like I know them as well as I could.

The characters are definitely a great addition to this book, however, I think the main appeal was the world the author created. It’s complex but easy to understand. I loved that shifters were freely known about and even that there were whole communities dedicated to them. I liked that the women were born knowing their shifter animal while the men had to wait until they completed The Choosing to know theirs. It added mystery and conflict to the story and made it interesting seeing how the rituals were done. I also liked the fact that it wasn’t just ‘expected’ that they were going to eventually shift but there was always that fear for Jerath that it might not happen.

I had a few niggles with this story. Mostly, I felt like sometimes Serim (Jerath’s female friend) outshined not only Jerath and Meren but the relationship they were building. At times, I felt like the bond between Serim and Jerath was stronger than the one between Meren and Jerath. (This is actually even more prominent when you look at the cover and see the black panther (Serim’s shifter form), which leaves me wondering why is there a black panther on the cover? I would think there would be a jaguar instead.) Personally, that lessened my enjoyment at times because I wanted to see more of the bond between Jerath and Meren not be reminded of the connection between Serim and Jerath. Beyond that, there are a few inconsistencies but I would have loved to see more of Meren’s culture since it seems so different, yet similar, to Jerath’s culture.

Readers should be warned, however, that there is m/f sex in this story. While necessary to the development of the story arc and of Jerath, I know some readers would appreciate being told of this. I’m not all that fond of girly bits in my stories and while I didn’t exactly like this part, I did think it needed to happen so I was fine with it overall.

All in all, even with my issues, I absolutely adored this one. It’s refreshing in a way, unique in others in how different it is from other shifter stories. Add to that, the world is quite fascinating and engaging and the bond that Jerath and Meren ultimately develop was nice to see. I’m hoping Ms. Jacobs decides to write more stories in this world because I’d love to explore it further, especially if that means seeing more of Meren’s culture and rituals.

Definitely recommended for those looking for a different kind of shifter story with an interesting journey and a good HEA.

Nikyta rates it – star_review

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: NIKYTA’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Nikyta

five-stars120205

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

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

REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press  ::  All Romance eBooks

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

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

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

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

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

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.

(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

BUY LINK: Loose Id Store :: Book Store

==================================
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)