Monthly Archives: May 2014

Title: Downtime
Author: Tamara Allen
Publication Date: January 2007

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
FBI Agent Morgan Nash couldn’t have expected the adventure he’d experience while on assignment in London. Right in the middle of confronting his target, he is pulled back in time to 19th century London by three friends who had no idea that reciting a bit of Latin from an old spellbook could actually work. Out of his element, Nash finds he has to make do in the past when the book goes missing and he doesn’t know how he’ll get home. But maybe one of his new friends will help his new surroundings feel like home while one of London’s most notorious serial killers awaits his capture.

Historical fiction? M/M romance? A bit of mystery and suspense? Three things I very much enjoy and this book delivers. Tamara Allen creates a rich setting in the 19th century London she creates, with dynamic and believable characters dealing with the constraints of the society around them. The book took just a bit go get me into it, but then from there it was difficult to put down. A solid 4 stars!

Title: Entangled
Author: Lex Valentine
Publication Date: January 1, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
There was something about this that made it difficult for me to connect to the characters and really get into the story. I think part of it was that there was just so much going on between the four characters and cross-relationships and secret sexualities and unspoken lust and it was all very complicated for a story of this length (though I recognize that probably is the inspiration for the title).

But I do see how some people could find this to be a sweet and fulfilling m/m romance so if you’re a sucker for the friends-to-lovers trope, this one might be an enjoyable read for you.

Title: Whitetail Rock
Author: Anne Tenino
Publication Date: July 30, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Nik never expects too much excitement when he goes back to visit his parents in the small town where he grew up. He never really fit in there and it never seemed like there was much to offer. But this particular summer, he’s surprised to find Trooper Jurgen Dammerung, a well-built state trooper who quickly takes an interest in Nik and isn’t willing to just let that all drop when Nik returns to school in the fall. But is Nik ready for what Jurgen wants from him? Can Nik get past the history he associates with his hometown and let Jurgen past that wall? And can they manage to keep something going if they’re hours apart?

Generally, I liked this one. The characters are dynamic – even the side characters – and I found myself curious about what was going to happen to them. I feel like Jurgen comes on a bit too strongly at first – it almost made me a bit uncomfortable – but I liked him a lot more as the book went on.

Title: Dirty Cop
Author: Kyle Adams
Publication Date: May 29, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
A brief but sexy little m/m romp. After Conrad drives away from a cop who has pulled him over for speeding, he’s a bit surprised to find him at his front door a short while later. And what happens after is even more surprising…

And I very much recommend this one! It’s got some good twists, is endearing, and provides characters that just draw you in. Planning to pick up some of Kyle Adams’ other books as a result of this one!

Title: One Man Guy
Author: Michael Barakiva
Publication Date: May 27, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★  
I’m not really sure where to begin with this book except to say: I loved it. Over the course of a single summer, Alek Khederian has his eyes opened and starts to find himself, in part thanks to Ethan, a slightly older boy whose reputation precedes him.

The writing is incredible. The story flows quite well and I found this to be a rather easy read. And it’s a coming-of-age tale that I think many people can relate to, everyone in their own way.

I really don’t know what more I can say without gushing on details and spoiling the story. But if you’re someone who enjoys young adult, romance, m/m, or just good books in general, I suggest picking this one up. It’s hard to believe this is Michael Barakiva’s first book – I certainly look forward to more!

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Title: Not My Wolf
Author: Eden Cole
Publication Date: February 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Corey, the Alpha of a fenrir pack in Colorado, has started having dreams about his mate. He knows how important meeting his mate will be not only to him but to his entire pack – it should provide a great boost to his leadership. And when he describes the woman from his dream to his Beta, he’s intrigued to learn that his Beta’s current boyfriend has a sister that just might fit the bill. But when Corey meets them on a double-date, will he be prepared for the identity of his mate to be revealed? And what will he do if his mate doesn’t measure up to his expectations?

This is a charming and sweet short, with just enough conflict and twisting to keep things interesting without trying to pack too much into the space of a smaller number of pages. I’m definitely glad to see this is part of a series, because I’m curious about what’s next for the fenrir pack and its leaders.

Content warning: [Dubious consent]

Title: Diving in Deep
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Publication Date: March 18, 2008

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Cameron Lewis is in Florida for what should be a routine water safety training course – until his childhood best friend’s younger brother, Noah Winthrop, walks in to the room. Cameron has known Noah had a crush on him since he was a teenager and even spent some time with him at his brother’s wedding – but they haven’t seen or spoken to each other since. Cameron is faced with confronting potential feelings for Noah he didn’t know he had, is reputation as a professional trainer who would never be improper with a trainee, and the fact that Noah’s feelings don’t appear to have dwindled at all in the time they spent apart.

I actually liked the story overall – the characters are easy to get attached to and there are some great moments. But I felt like the overall story dragged and aspects of the central relationship were sort of just glossed over (there are references to domination and submission that just sort of come out of nowhere a few times but there’s never really an explanation of the discussion or resolution). That said, I recommend this for anyone looking for a good, sweet m/m romance.

Title: The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t
Author: Robert Sutton
Publication Date: January 1, 2007

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
I’m not entirely sure at what point this text ended up on my ‘to-read’ shelf – I think it was at a point when I was near my limit of dealing with some particularly nasty jerks in an organization where I volunteer. But when I came up I decided to give it a read anyway since it looked relatively short and figured one could always use some advice on dealing with assholes in any context.

Overall, I don’t know that I learned anything new from this book. In the end, it basically says that assholes will be assholes and it’s more about finding a way to just ignore/get through it than trying to confront them directly (because, let’s face it, assholes don’t take it kindly when you point out that’s what they are). There is some advice in it for managers about trying to implement a ‘no asshole rule’ in the workplace, but it still falls just a bit short of some good strong steps to take in these sorts of situations. But for the time invested to read it, it was probably worth it, if for no reason other than to confirm what I already know/believe and helping to remind me that none of us is alone in dealing with people who act like that…

Title: The Liars’ Gospel
Author: Naomi Alderman
Publication Date: August 30, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
This is a book that I would not have been likely to pick up if it hadn’t been offered to me by the publisher to read. And it’s honestly not surprising to me that the reviews on this book are pretty much at either end of the spectrum. Some people have a very hard time thinking objectively when they feel something touches close to their belief system, especially if it asks them to consider a different possibility or perspective.

The Liar’s Gospel is a work of historical fiction that looks at Jerusalem during the time of Roman occupation through the eyes of four people: Miryam (Mary), Iehuda (Judas), Caiaphas, and Bar-Avo (Barabbas). While, obviously, one common thread between these is the life of Yehoshuah (Jesus), I personally saw this as a text that looks much more at everyone else. It attempts to understand the political climate that existed at the time and how others may have viewed (or been forced to view) the situation and their options. It reflects the struggles of a people against an oppressive imperial regime and also points out just how often the story that ends up being told or remembered often leaves out both the struggles and accomplishments of those who aren’t central to the prevailing thread. As Alderman’s own epilogue states “Storytellers know that every story is at least partly a lie. Every story could be told in four different ways, or forty or four thousand. Every emphasis or omission is a kind of lie, shaping a moment to make a point. […] Do not imagine that a storyteller is unaware of the effect of every word she chooses. Do not suppose for a moment tat an impartial observer exists.” And this text illustrates that assertion splendidly.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)