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Reviewed by Heather C

SERIES: Agamemnon Frost Trilogy
AUTHOR: Kim Knox
BOOKS: 3
PUBLISHER: Carina Press

Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death (Book One, Agamemnon Frost Trilogy)

BLURB: Liverpool, 1891

Click image to view full coverDecorated artilleryman Edgar Mason was forced to find new work when the British Empire replaced its foot soldiers with monstrous machines. Now he waits on the Liverpool elite as a personal servant. He has just one rule: he won’t work for fashion-addled dandies.

Agamemnon Frost, however, is far from the foppish man-about-town he appears to be. He’s working to protect the Earth from an alien invasion being planned by a face-changing creature known as Pandarus. And on the night he plans to confront the aliens, he enlists Mason to assist him.

For a man to love a man is a serious crime in Victorian England. But when Mason meets Frost, his heart thunders and his blood catches fire. And when Pandarus drags the two men into the torture cellars beneath his house of death to brainwash them, Mason’s new passion may be all that stands between him and insanity.

REVIEW:

Okay, this was crazy!

The cover is what first drew my interest to this story, but when I originally read the blurb for this, I was immediately turned off by the Victorian England-slash-alien invasion concept.  Then, something kept pulling me back to it over and over, and when I finally realized it would be a trilogy, I decided to give it a try.

It’s Liverpool in 1891, and Edgar Mason, a former soldier, has been hired for the night to play manservant to Agamemnon Frost, a well-dressed gentleman *cough* and guest at Sir Randolph’s dinner party.  Mason soon realizes that ALL things aren’t what they seem and the two men soon find themselves on the run…from Martians!

I’m going to separate my review into parts: first half and second half…

For the first half, the entire first half, I was so lost and confused I almost gave up.  There was a lot of “alien speak” and I couldn’t figure out what the other characters were going on and on about.  Plus, all the Greek references were lost on me.  I couldn’t visualize any of the alien contraptions, nor could I picture what the bad guys were doing to the MC.  It was like all this was written for a higher level of intelligence and my measly, human brain could not comprehend the complexity of it.  Like I said, it was a real struggle for me to continue reading.

Then, for the second half, like right AT the 50% mark, something changed, and all of a sudden, it was making sense and I was really interested in what was going to happen.  The story was still crazy, but by then, it was a fun crazy in a creative and unique way.  I now believe that the beginning was meant to be confusing and hard to follow, since we are getting the story from Mason’s third person POV, and not necessarily a poor execution from the author.

My favorite part of this story was the sexual tension between Mason and Agamemnon.  There’s lots of heat there that I really hope will finally reach a climax in the next book. (Yes, I can’t wait to read it; I must find out what happens).  I am really, really intrigued by Agamemnon and want to know more of his secrets; and I want to know what’s really going on in Mason’s head.

I’m giving this one 3 stars for the fact that it failed to hold my interest for a large part of the story.

Don’t let the historical aspects scare you if that’s not usually your thing, because the feel of the story is more science fiction, alternate universe.

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

BUY LINKS: Carina Press :: Amazon

Agamemnon Frost and the Hollow Ships (Book Two, Agamemnon Frost Trilogy)

Click image to view full coverBLURB: Edgar Mason is ready to embark upon his new life at Agamemnon Frost’s side. But all is not perfect. His Martian overlord, Pandarus, has implanted a dark voice in his mind, a voice that urges betrayal. And though Mason can keep close to Frost, there’s little room for romance under the watchful gaze of the engineers from Station X.

That changes when Mason and Frost reopen their investigation into their old enemy’s whereabouts. Posing as double agents and investigating cryptic rumors of “hollow ships,” they find him impersonating a London banker and worm their way into his confidence.

But their success brings them trouble in spades. Pandarus takes them into the belly of his ships, where he plans to transfigure them into mindless automata. And with Earth on the brink of invasion, Frost’s old flame Theodora reappearing and Pandarus’s brainwashing growing more effective, Mason and Frost will find their bond tested as never before.

REVIEW:

I’ve come to the conclusion that science fiction just might not be the genre for me.

So, Mason is still trying to adapt to his “changes” and is working as Frost’s valet, but now they are stuck at Station X and really can’t explore any of that unresolved sexual tension that’s been building up between them.  Mason is also still struggling with the whispers in his mind that keep telling him that Frost is a traitor and urging him to report that to his master.  Nestor decides that Mason and Frost need to go check out the “hollow ships” and see if they can find Pandarus.  And that’s where things begin to fall apart…

I didn’t think it was possible, but this story was even more difficult for me to follow than the first one.  I couldn’t picture ANYTHING that was happening to the characters or the setting around them.  There were chambers, and spikes and ships made out of human skin…I think.  It was all over the place!  Mason kept thinking he was dying and then he would wake up and I would be even more lost. Then, I think there may have been some kind of time travel to an earth made of living skin…or was it dead skin?  I have no idea because then it was gone…I think.

The sexual tension/romance was much more lacking here than in the first book.  Previously, Frost was all ready to fuck Mason, and then when he finally has a chance, he turns him down!  But not before giving Mason a hand job that I couldn’t even see in my head. And Mason keeps going on and on about how Frost needs to be with his former fiancée, Theodora, even though Frost has told him over and over that he wants Mason and not her.

I struggled reading this from the first page to the last, but I’m still going to read the third book to see how this mess ends.

Heather rates it – 

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

PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: Agamemnon Frost and the Crown of Towers (Book Three, Agamemnon Frost Trilogy)

Click image to view full coverBLURB: Edgar Mason is losing Agamemnon Frost despite everything they’ve been through–the passion, the torture, the heat. Frost’s fiancée, Theodora, is back, and Mason can feel his lover gravitating toward her. Every day he sees them together, it tears at his heart.

Frost feels raw himself. His brother and sister-in-law are missing, and his guilt about failing to save Theodora from Pandarus eats at him. His feelings for Mason, whom he has put through hell twice already, just twist the screws tighter.

On top of that, Pandarus and the Martians are back to make their final push to Earth, and Frost and Mason are duty bound to fight them. People are vanishing. Bodies are turning up burned beyond recognition in the slums. The bleak, human-less future Frost and Mason saw in the hollow ships has nearly come to pass.

And in order to prevent it, each man will have to make a final choice: lose his lover or doom the world.

REVIEW:

Probably my most favorite book of the series and the most coherent…for the most part.

After rescuing Theodora, Mason and Frost are now protecting her at Frost’s home, Greenbank Hall, and trying to keep the darkness in her mind from taking over. Then, Frost’s brother, Menelaus, and his wife go missing and Frost decides he must take action against Pandarus and discover what the puzzle of The Crown of Towers really is, and choosing between Mason or Theodora’s safety.

For about the first 75% of this book, I was really liking it and was able to follow what was going on.  We get to see more of Frost’s vulnerabilities when it comes to the safety of Theodora; and Mason’s jealousy of Frost’s “engagement” to her.  We also get to see a resolution to all the sexual tension between Mason and Frost…and it’s totally HOT!!

For the last 25% of the book and the big climax where earth is saved from the invading Martians, well, this is where I got confused again and I’m still not sure I understand what really happened. Somehow Mason was the brain of Pandarus’s ship and then Frost’s cravat pin somehow becomes the key to saving the world. Huh?

In the end, Mason and Frost are free from Pandarus and Theodora and can now live happily ever after.

So probably, this kind of science fiction just isn’t for me.

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

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

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

To read all her reviews, click the link: HEATHER’S REVIEWS
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Reviewed by Elizabetta

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

True Colors (Book One, True Colors series)

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

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

REVIEW:

Take one hot, passionate, mercurial artist… 

add one cool, collected, sexy entrepreneur… 

and shake vigorously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabetta’s rating: four-stars_0

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

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

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

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

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

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

REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviewed by Elizabetta

HaintedTITLE: Hainted
AUTHOR: Jordan L. Hawk
LENGTH: 249 pages/94,378 words
BLURB: The Good Guy: Haint-working runs in Dan Miller’s blood. Not everyone can help the restless dead cross over, especially when the haunting threatens the Living. But the death of his parents six years ago forced Dan to give it up in exchange for raising his brother and sister, all the while struggling to keep their rural NC farm afloat.

So when the flamboyantly goth Leif Helsvin shows up on Dan’s doorstep looking for help with an evil necromancer named Runar, Dan’s first instinct is to turn him down. With two teenagers to look after, he’s already got all the trouble he can handle. Besides, the sexy Leif is too much of a temptation, and Dan is firmly in the closet.

The Bad Boy: Pierced, tattooed Leif never has sex with the same guy twice. It keeps things simple, especially since his oath to stop Runar has him constantly drifting from one town to the next.

But this time, it looks like Leif is going to need help, in the form of the very down-to-earth Dan. Since Nice Guys are off the menu, Leif just has to keep his hands to himself for as long as it will take to stop Runar’s latest scheme. But as Leif finds himself drawn deeper into Dan’s life, he quickly realizes he’s not just in danger of breaking the rules, but breaking his heart as well.

REVIEW:

Haint: southern colloquialism for a ghost, apparition or lost soul; in folklore and popular culture, the spirit of a deceased person unable to move on to final peace, and capable of appearing in visible form or otherwise manifesting itself to the living.

Set in Appalachia country, the land of moonshine and hillbilly sensibility (ah, good memories of Lyn Gala’s “Mountain Prey”), this paranormal romance takes a more serious route and centers around haint, or ghost, hunting. Our two studly heroes are very good at what they do, called Walkers, they help the hainted to move on or destroy those spirits bent on causing harm. I’m imagining a kind of Dean and Sam of Supernatural TV and fanfic fame.

Leif, a hot, eyeliner-wearing, pierced and studded sword-wielding Nordic-looking new-guy-in-town partners with Dan, the quiet and broody country-boy farmer of the tanned and well-muscled variety for some intense ghost bashing.

What is especially great about this read are the action scenes— the hunting down of a very bad, evil, rat bastard of a necromancer and his hainted minions. Necro-guy has it in for Leif… well, he wants his lover back. But Leif says nuh-uh, homey don’t play that way anymore, and besides he has his eye on sweet Danny boy.

While Leif and Dan quietly try to figure each other out, there’s lots of sexual tension build up and even better, there is falling in like, then lust. And while there’s no insta-anything— refreshing— the denial of attraction is ever-present as both dudes think they’re not good enough for the other. But we know they’re special— the frequent threading of mythology throughout the story illustrates these present-day hunters’ own hero-making deeds.

There are great fight scenes with sword swash-buckling and wand-wielding, haint decapitations, limb whackings and lots of oozing black puddles of ghost ectoplasma-y goop. But don’t let that stop you, this is also an entertaining, well-written and nicely paced romance.

Elizabetta’s Rating:

BUY LINK: All Romance eBooks

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

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

Reviewed by 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.

REVIEW:

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

BUY LINK: LTTP 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
=====================================================

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