Monthly Archives: November 2014

Not His Kiss to Take by Finn Marlowe

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Title: Not His Kiss to Take
Author: Finn Marlowe
Published: December 15, 2012
Publisher: Finn Marlowe

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
When former physician Evan Harrison just happens to be in the bar where a young man, Jamie, is severely beaten by bashers who think he is gay, Evan decides to take him home and nurse him back to health. He tries to assure himself that he just wants to help him, but he can’t deny his attraction to Jamie, even though Jamie is straight. But can he keep that attraction in check? And what if maybe, just maybe, Jamie isn’t as completely straight as he thinks?

I found this story to be well-written. The characters are defined and dynamic and Finn Marlow makes it easy to become immersed in their world. I did find parts of the story to be very uncomfortable, personally, and that’s why I can’t give this story more than three stars. It seems to glorify behaviors that I can’t quite reconcile, but I have to give the writing the credit it deserves.

Content warning: [violence, dubious consent/manipulation, medical play, kidnapping, abuse of power]

Blessed Isle by Alex Beecroft

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Title: Blessed Isle
Author: Alex Beecroft
Published: December 29, 2012
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 103

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
I found this surprisingly refreshing and enjoyable. The author has chosen to tell the story in a unique way: first-person journal entries alternating between the two main characters. Both characters have a distinct voice – something I picked up on right away – and it makes it very easy to connect with them, get a feeling for their personalities, and understand the world in which they’re living. If you’re looking for something steamy and explicit, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for a nice historical adventure romance on the high seas, this should be right up your alley.

Windwalker by Natasha Mostert

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Title: Windwalker
Author: Natasha Mostert
Published: April 1, 2005
Publisher: Portable Magic, Ltd
Pages: 366

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
Another great paranormal romance from Natasha Mostert. As with the other books of hers I’ve read, this one really gets you into the world of the characters and certainly makes you think. This one was a bit different as the paranormal aspects weren’t quite as overt, but they were definitely central to the story.

I did find these characters a bit harder to connect with than in some of Mostert’s other books, but there was definitely a different tone to this one that I think made it work. Since the main characters themselves struggle with finding a true connection with other people, it almost adds a layer to the narrative that it is easier to connect to the secondary characters and their stories than Justine and Adam.

Definitely an enjoyable read and I find it worthy of recommendation.

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

The River Leith by Leta Blake

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Title: The River Leith
Author: Leta Blake
Published: May 15, 2014
Publisher: Leta Blake
Pages: 173

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Review:
This is the second novel I’ve read by Leta Blake and I remain incredibly impressed with her ability to build a world around a character and just completely pull a reader into it. The relationships she writes are complicated and dynamic without ever seeming forced or overly constructed. And it’s definitely not difficult to get caught up in her books and refuse to put them down.

In The River Leith, we find a former amateur boxer, Leith, who wakes up in the hospital after a brief coma resulting from an illegal blow during a championship match. The injury is no longer life threatening, but there is a little complication – he can’t remember anything from the past three years. The only person still in his life that he remembers is his brother, Arthur. But when Zach, whom his brother tells him was his best friend, shows up in his hospital room, he finds himself more confused than he’s been since he first woke up.

I’ll admit, I read this one in one sitting. It’s not long, but there’s a lot here and it truly is an incredible story. The timing and pacing is done just right and the juxtaposition of a narration focused on Leith with Zach’s vlog entries really helps the reader to understand the perspectives of both of the main characters without awkward shifts in the narration or anything like that. I highly recommend this one. 🙂

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

Snowcroft Lost by Christi Snow

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Title: Snowcroft Lost (Snowcroft Men, Book 1)
Author: Christi Snow
Published: March 19, 2014
Publisher: Christi Snow
Pages: 295

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Review:
Is it too inarticulate to review this book by simply saying “Dang”? Because that was definitely the word that was on my mind when I finished the last page. I’ve read over a hundred books already this year and this one is definitely high up on the list of the best ones I’ve read. Not meaning to make an over pun on the title, but the world that Christi Snow has created here makes it very easy to get lost in Snowcroft. The characters are dynamic and very well-written – and I found myself both cheering and aching for Jamie and Trevor so many times throughout the book. Even though I had my suspicions about who was behind the crimes that Trevor was investigating before his amnesia set in, I can honestly say I had not pinned down all of the ways things unfolded. For me, that’s a hallmark of a great mystery and so rarely do I read something where I don’t have it all figure out before the ‘big reveal’.

Highly, highly recommend this one. And I’m certainly looking forward to further installments in this series – both because I want to read more from this author and also because I can’t wait to go back to Snowcroft and spend time with the men who live there…

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

Checking Him Out by Debbie McGowan

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Title: Checking Him Out
Author: Debbie McGowan
Published: June 14, 2014
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Pages: 183

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
This one was a bit of a surprise. From the beginning I never would have expected the full journey that’s in store for the reader here. It’s more than just Solomon and Adam coming together and Solomon coming to terms with the prospect of their relationship – it’s the both of them overcoming everything that’s held them back so they can figure out if it’s possible for them to move forward together.

That said, I do feel like the story is drawn out just a little, but it’s still a good one and very enjoyable.

Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell

5989460Title: Collision Course (Florida Books, Book 2)
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Published: December 1, 2008
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 266

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
Collision Course is the sequel to Diving in Deep, but you don’t really have to read it to get into this book. This installment follows social worker Joey, who was briefly shown as being with Noah for a while in the first book, who crosses paths with paramedic Aaron (who has reason to distrust social workers based on his own family’s past experiences) and finds a spark that he has a hard time denying. But can they form a relationship when what they do and what they want isn’t even close to being in sync?

This was about as good as the first book and if you’ve read the first, there’s a good continuity here not only in terms of writing style but also in the writing style itself. There was a point near the end where I felt it dragged slightly (I believe I had a similar complaint with Diving in Deep), but overall it’s an enjoyable read.

The Cranberry Hush by Ben Monopoli

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Title: The Cranberry Hush
Author: Ben Monopoli
Published: March 6, 2011
Publisher: Ben Monopoli
Pages: 262

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
On a random snow day, Vince’s college roommate, Griff, to whom he hasn’t spoken in years, shows up on his doorstep looking for a place to crash. Vince’s quiet life is quickly turned upside down as Griff takes him on a mini-adventure and he is forced to confront the circumstances that led to him walking out of Griff’s life all those years ago.

If I had to describe this in a word? Wonderful. It’s one of those stories that gets you yelling at the characters in your head: “Wise up already!” And though it’s not really a mystery, it was a couple unexpected twists that just seem to take everything to the right place for everyone involved. Definitely high up on my list of m/m romance recommendations.

Doctor Who: The Blood Cell by James Goss

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Title: Doctor Who: The Blood Cell
Author: James Goss
Published: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: 256

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

The Governor, warden of an ultra secure prison on a remote galaxy, is used to dealing with some of the worst criminals. And he’s certainly seen them all. When a prisoner 428 arrives–insisting on being called The Doctor and immediately taking to regular escape attempts–he knows this one is different. But as his arrival also seems to bring a sudden increase in system failures and other mishaps, the Governor soon realizes he’s dealing with something far beyond one prisoner and the young woman who keeps showing up hoping to get a visit with him.

Though I am a long-time Whovian, this was my first foray into Doctor Who novels and probably the first novel spin-off/tie-in that I’ve ever read for a media franchise. And I count myself pleasantly surprised. James Goss has certainly captured the elements of a Doctor Who adventure here in these pages and the story itself is engaging. The characters at the prison are unique and well-developed (and some are even endearing).

As a book released early in the Twelfth Doctor’s run, it was certainly interesting to get another glimpse at him to add to what I’ve seen on screen. That said, I struggled a bit with his character and felt that of all the characters, he lacked depth. Since this was a Doctor Who story, it’s a little disappointed to feel that way about the starring character, even though the rest of the story was enjoyable. Which is precisely why I’m giving this three stars instead of four.

The Servant Prince by Hurri Cosmo

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Title: The Servant Prince (Ice Dragon Tales, Book 1)
Author: Hurri Cosmo
Published: February 15, 2014
Publisher: Silver Publishing

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
After reading this, I cannot wait to pick up the second installment when it releases in September.

Joron is a prince of Blade Run, but being the second (and a bastard) son, he is not the first in line for the throne. When his older brother, Diagus, returns as their father is dying, Joron has no idea what lies ahead for him. When he learns that his father intends to leave him as the owner of the Ice Dragon Pass – much to the dismay of Diagus – Joron knows he will not be safe after his father’s death. And when Diagus negotiates a deal with King Aric of a neighboring kingdom promising the hand of their already engaged sister, Joron decides to use his rights to the pass to set things right only to find that Aric wants something else Joron can offer…

Mistaken identity, murderous plots, attempted rape, arranged marriages, secret missions, incestuous advances – there is much packed into the pages of this one. It’s easy to get caught up in this world and, like me, to be left with nothing more than a desire to know what happens next when it ends.

Content warning: [attempted incest, attempted rape, dubious consent]