Monthly Archives: December 2015

One Perfect Wish by L.M. Brown

One Perfect Wish

Book Info

Title: One Perfect Wish
Author: L.M. Brown
Published: January 2, 2015
Pages: 61
Publisher: Totally Bound
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Scott Baxter isn’t sure what to think when he wakes up in Cameron Kirk’s bed and is referred to has his husband. Scott’s never met Cameron before, and he would certainly remember getting married. He soon learns he’s been put there by a djinn; he’s been sent to give Cameron a perfect day with his husband, the love of his life. Scott finds this hard to believe. How can he be the love of someone’s life if the two of them have never met? As the day goes on, though, Scott starts to see how the two of them just might be made for each other. And when the day ends, he sets out on a personal mission to track down Cameron. There’s just one problem: it’s too late for anything to happen between them beyond the one short day that they shared.

The idea of being forced into spending a day with someone is not very appealing and definitely sounds a bit nonconsensual. But even though Scott can’t leave, there’s nothing that really feels like he’s forced into anything specific. And the overall concept here is an intriguing one, based on the idea that there is a perfect someone out there for everyone, sometimes you just haven’t met them yet. And even if you haven’t met them before it’s too late, maybe there’s still a chance?

A Pirate’s Life for Me: Captain and First Mate by Tricia Owens

A Pirate's Life for Me

Book Info

Title: A Pirate’s Life for Me: Captain and First Mate (A Pirate’s Life, Book 1)
Author: Tricia Owens
Published: January 14, 2012
Pages: 178
Publisher: Tricia Owens
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

On the heels of breaking up with his girlfriend, Lucas accepts a job in a titillating pirate show on a resort island in the Caribbean. He feels like this will be the kind of change he needs and it will give him a fresh start. There’s one catch: Lucas didn’t realize there were two shows on the island, one gay and one straight. It turns out he’s been cast in the gay show. Not wanting to turn around, he tells himself he can pretend–he was hired to act after all. But when his fellow cast members find out the truth, he realizes it might be harder to pretend than he expected. And once he gets his first glimpse of the show, he finds himself wondering just how much pretending he’ll really need to do…

This was…interesting. And I say that in a good way. It was definitely different from many of the m/m books I’ve read recently. The concept is original, and I feel like this book serves as a good start to what appears to be a trilogy of books with a number of tie-in stories written by the author. There are a few moments where I had to suspend my disbelief, but I was certainly willing to do so in order to go along for the journey. I am indeed looking forward to picking up the next installment.

Token of Hope by Azalea Moone

Token of Hope

Book Info

Title: Token of Hope
Author: Azalea Moone
Published: June 30, 2015
Pages: 76
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Jac and Azai are princes of neighboring countries. They secretly meet throughout their youth for annual “battles” though they daren’t call each other a friend. Jac knows that when he becomes king, he will lead his kingdom to glory. Part of that will mean conquering Azai’s land. When that day comes, Jac takes Azai prisoner and is set to have Azai executed. But something doesn’t seem right, and he doesn’t quite understand what’s stopping him from going through with it. He should be happy about his victory, but there’s something pulling at him in some unexpected ways. But when the two are forced to unite against a common enemy, they both might have to face the feelings they both harbor…

This is short, cute, and entertaining. It doesn’t feel rushed, but there is no sense of wasted time either. If you’re looking for a unique romantic fantasy story, this will likely tickle your fancy.

Find Me by Laura van den Berg

Find Me

Book Info

Title: Find Me
Author: Laura van den Berg
Published: February 17, 2015
Pages: 280
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

A strange sickness is sweeping the country that causes people to lose their memory. The cause is unknown and any sort of cure or preventative measure is even further out of reach. But some people, like Joy, are immune. Not having much else in her life, Joy agrees to take residence in a Kansas hospital for the immune, where it’s clear some sort of study is happening. There are treatments, rules, and a number of mysterious things going on inside the hospital walls. Some patients become restless and start talking about escaping–could Joy do that? If she left, where would she go? There’s her birth mother, whom she’s always wanted to meet. Perhaps she could track her down and find the one person who can and should love her no matter what. But no journey is easy–and even less so when the country is being ravaged by an epidemic.

Gritty. Entertaining. Thought-provoking. These are all words I would certainly use to describe this book. There are some great philosophical questions raised here though a very well-written and developed story. What makes us who we are? What defines humanity? What is ethical when it comes to medical treatment, and when is it appropriate to set those ethics aside for what is perceived to be the best interest of the patient or the broader population? Do all social experiments wind up going terribly wrong? Even with these questions on the forefront, there’s nothing preachy–the author doesn’t dictate the answers, rather she gives us scenarios to consider as we, the readers, make up our own minds.

Ashes of the Tyrant by Erin M. Evans

Ashes of the Tyrant

Book Info

Title: Ashes of the Tyrant (Brimstone Angels, Book 5)
Author: Erin M. Evans
Published: December 29, 2015
Pages: 432
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

It seems like Farideh and her sister, Havilar, are constantly thrown more than their fair share of challenges. They’ve escaped demons, imprisonment, a mad wizard, the wrath of deities–the list goes on and on. But just as they thought they might get some calm, their adopted father, Mehen, has been called back by the clan from which he was exiled years ago. While some expect it’s just a formality to inform Mehen of the death of his father, he knows they wouldn’t go through the trouble to call him back without also wanting something more. And when several young dragonborn are found dead shortly after the group arrives, they are quickly enlisted to help find the person–or thing–responsible.

I’ve been enjoying this series by Erin M. Evans quite a bit since it launched out of The Sundering. There’s something about Farideh as a character that just draws me in, and the crowd that surrounds her are certainly very interesting, as well. In this installment, we get a bit more detail of Mehen’s history, which I found to be enlightening, though there’s not quite as much action here as there has been in previous books. Even though there wasn’t as much in the way of direct conflict for Farideh this time around, the forces that are moving against her are still lingering in the shadows, and I expect that will all be coming to a head soon, as well. Definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks

Darkness Brutal

Book Info

Title: Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle, Book 1)
Author: Rachel A. Marks
Published: July 1, 2015
Pages: 425
Publisher: Skyscape
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood was far from what anyone would call typical. And when a demon killed his mother and marked his sister, Ava, with Darkness before his own eyes, it hit new extremes. Now he must protect his sister from the demons, who return every three years to try to finish what they started. But Aidan isn’t completely helpless in this endeavor. He has powers of his own, which allow him to see demons and try to fight them off before they can get to him. But lately he’s experiencing changes to those powers, and it’s clear things will only get more dangerous for him as a result. Aidan connects with Sid, the leader of a local paranormal investigation group, who has gathered a group of young people who also have powers, though each a bit different from Aidan’s. Aidan is hopeful that Sid can help him to understand his powers and keep his sister safe, but first Aidan needs to figure out if he can trust Sid. And trust is something that doesn’t come easy for Aidan at all. But should he have reason to trust Sid in the first place? And what about the others living in the house? With the demons coming for Ava again soon, Aidan doesn’t have much time to figure everything out.

I found myself pleasantly surprised by this book. When I read the blurb, I was intrigued enough to pick it up, but I didn’t expect to be drawn into this world as quickly as I was. The urban fantasy world (this is set in Los Angeles) that the author has created is very rich and dynamic, and the characters are well-developed, complex, and interesting. The plot has some unexpected twists, but it flows extremely well without a single scene appearing out of place. The way the author reveals the history is also quite fascinating, as it ties together comments that come up early in the book and follow the characters throughout.

This is the start of a series, and it’s definitely a solid one. I have to say I am personally looking forward to picking up the next installment when it releases in February.

The East Wind and the Rootless Cypress by Elyse Night

The East Wind and the Rootless Cypress

Book Info

Title: The East Wind and the Rootless Cypress
Author: Elyse Night
Published: June 21, 2015
Pages: 23
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Hyacinthe (Cin) is a Sprit Walker, one who communicates with the departed and helps bring them over to the other side. He has escaped the massacre of his people by a group of Necromancers, those who try to control and use the spirits of those who have passed. Still on the run, Cin makes for a safe haven, a place where he won’t be followed. But along the way, he crosses paths with Maelgwyn, the leader of a group of eagle shifters, who is leading his own battle and has no love for Spirit Walkers. But perhaps their meeting wasn’t entirely by chance…

This is on the short side, and there’s quite a bit here, but it’s fun, original, and engaging. The romance isn’t heavily threaded throughout, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to be. Sometimes shared experiences and curiosity are enough to make a spark of attraction build to a light glow. I certainly would love to see more of this world and these characters. And when I can say that–while still feeling like I got a complete story–that’s always a good thing in my book.

Twofer by Daisy Harris

Twofer

Book Info

Title: Twofer
Author: Daisy Harris
Published: December 22, 2015
Pages: 176
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

For Frankie, coming to college has been great! He seems to have no problem finding guys to hook up with, and he’s certainly not about to stop. His roommate, Jeremy, isn’t quite having the same experience, however. It’s not that he couldn’t–Jeremy is a very attractive young man. But he’s inexperienced and isn’t able to approach the game with the same ease as Frankie. So Frankie makes it his personal mission to help Jeremy get laid, even offering to show him a thing or two in the process. Jeremy seems most comfortable with Frankie, but they’re certainly not going to go there because it’s a bit difficult for two bottoms to make it work, isn’t it? So they set out to find a third, someone who can satisfy them both, offering up a “twofer” for a “lucky” top. But feelings and sex aren’t always in tune with each other, and once they get tangled up, it can be very difficult to unravel them…

I have to admit that I always enjoy the stories Daisy Harris writes that are set in college. There’s a quality she brings to her writing of the setting that lets you know the story is a bit fantastical but not really over the top (no pun intended). Frankie and Jeremy’s story is one that probably does play out in some similar ways every once in a while in reality, and I found myself shaking my head at them more than once or twice.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Blood of Olympus

Book Info

Title: The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus, Book 5)
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: October 7, 2014
Pages: 516
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Through all their trials so far, the demigods are finding that defeating Gaea is certainly going to be more difficult than they ever imagined. The Feast of Spes is rapidly approaching, and the window if time they have to stop her is closing. At the same time, their fellow demigods of Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter are on the bring of an all-out battle, something it seems they will have no way of stopping from where they stand. They’ve retrieved the Athena Parthenos, which could serve as a vital weapon in stopping Gaea, but it is also the one thing that could stop the war brewing at home. The team knows they need to split up–a couple of people heading back to Long Island with the statue while the rest continue on to Athens to put an end to Gaea’s attempt to fully awaken  and to once again save the gods and the world…

I don’t toss around the phrase “epic conclusion” very lightly, but that’s certainly what we have here. This is an action-packed final chapter in a story that’s been brewing from all the way back in The Lightning Thief. What I also really liked about this installment is that the rest of the demigods (even some who aren’t on the crew) get their moments to shine. We don’t get pages and pages on them, but readers get enough to understand them better, to cheer for them, and to become even further immersed in this incredible world that Rick Riordan has created.

I’ve always enjoyed these books as someone who loves mythology (have since as far as I can remember) and fantasy, while also enjoying a good YA book now and then. While this chapter has come to a close, I’m glad that Riordan is continuing with new series and keeping the spirit of urban-fantasy-inspired-by-mythology alive.

Rock, Paper, Scissors by Shannon M. Kirkland

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Book Info

Title: Rock, Paper, Scissors
Author: Shannon M. Kirkland
Published: June 14, 2015
Pages: 54
Publisher: Goodreads M/M Romance Group
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

How can you not want to pick up a book prompted by the following:

Dear Author,
My mother left when I was a few days old, it was only daddy and me for years. Then he met and fell in love with Jim*. It wasn’t easy; there weren’t many families like ours back then. All of the hardships were worth it though, because today is the day I’m officiating the marriage of the two men I called my dads.

Rock, Paper, Scissors examines the journey of a single father who expects finding love will be  a challenge and the building of a family with someone he falls for and his somewhat precocious but very accepting son. It’s not easy for them, of course. There are external and familial pressures that strain the bonds of their little family. But there’s something about love that finds a way, even when we don’t expect to make it through.

This is a shorter read, but it’s engaging and enjoyable.