Tag Archives: published: 2012-01

The Hanged Man’s Ghost by Missouri Dalton

The Hanged Man's Ghost

The Hanged Man’s Ghost by Missouri Dalton

Series: The Night Wars, Book 1
Published by:
 Torquere Press on January 31, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Detective Fynn Adder of the Chicago Police Department is about to embark on a case that will not only make or break his career but also change his life forever. Still reeling somewhat from the loss of his fiance, Robert, a few years ago, he’s drinking more than he knows he should and is engaging in meaningless sexual encounters. So when a series of murders occurs that seem to pulling in closer to Fynn, and then when he starts getting clues from the ghosts of these murder victims, it’s only a matter of time before everything could go completely off the rails. But as Fynn and his partner Jack start to dig deeper into the case, they learn there is a lot more to the crime spree that than meets the eye. And they uncover an Adder family secret along the way.

There are moments when I was reading this one that I honestly wasn’t quite sure where it was going. But it found its way back every time, and every time an additional layer of complexity was added to the story. This is an entertaining read, with a great paranormal element threaded throughout. The relationship development aspect seemed a bit glossed over, but it felt like such a minor point in the story (with an inevitable outcome) that I didn’t see it as impacting my enjoyment of the story.

Better by Jaime Samms


Better by Jaime Samms

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on January 26, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Jesse Turbul has tried hard to put the traumatic events of his last relationship behind him. The experience left him unable to trust–not just someone else but even himself–and as much as he wants to move on, it seems like the reminders just keep coming back to haunt him. When he meets Aadon in the library, he finds himself wanting to get past his issues more than ever, but he learns that you can’t rush things that shouldn’t be rushed. What Jesse doesn’t know is that Aadon is dealing with some issues of his own. His brother, Ricky, experienced some trauma of his own in his youth, and after turning to drugs to cope, is in a facility–and Aadon is the only member of his family who is willing to support and stand by him. It is a lot for one person to take on, and while it might make him uniquely suited to understand where Jesse is coming from, it might also mean that Aadon is much closer to his own breaking point than anyone realizes. Can the two find the right balance between love, support, and space to deal?

There is a lot of backstory here that reveals itself as the book goes on and brings out the characters’ pasts (especially Jesse’s) in layers. This works to help readers understand the complexity of the issues at play without throwing everyone our way all at once. There are some details that are never revealed, but this is balanced with enough information to get the picture and a recognition that those details aren’t necessary to engage with the plot and the characters and understand what they are going through. I found this to be an enjoyable and interesting read, and although it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, there is a bit of an uplifting feel to it overall.

An Unsettled Range by Andrew Grey

An Unsettled Range

An Unsettled Range by Andrew Grey

Series: Stories from the Range, Book 3
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on January 8, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Liam Southard may be at the end of the line. He ran away from his abusive father for the promise of a job. But when he got there, he was sent away. And he hasn’t been able to find work since. Hungry, thirsty, exhausted, and overheated, he passes out on the side of the road. But he’s fortunate when two men find him and bring him home to get cleaned up and back on his feet. He’s even more fortunate when he learns they’re willing to give him a job on their ranch.

Troy Gardner needs some time alone. So he’s gone to his uncle’s cabin to live with his thoughts for a while. When he’s startled by a young man wandering onto the property, he turns a gun on him and tells him to leave. And within moments he regrets his action. Because not only has the man done nothing wrong, he is one of the most beautiful men Troy has ever seen. And so he sets out to apologize and make things right with Liam.

But even though there’s a mutual attraction between Troy and Liam, both men have baggage from their pasts that might threaten the chances of a lasting and meaningful relationship.

If you know the formula that Andrew Grey’s stories tend to follow, you’ll see it in this one. As is typical, both men come to the relationship with an issue that needs to be sorted. And they work together to eventually try to solve it. In this one, though, the supporting cast (all the guys from the previous books in the series) provide a different sort of backdrop for the story. And it has that much more of a hook as a result.

Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander

Shattered Glass

Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander

Series: Shattered Glass, Book 1
Published by: Dani Alexander on January 31, 2012
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Detective Austin Glass doesn’t really take life seriously. He’s never really had to. He has a rather large trust fund for financial security. He’s a successful detective with his sights set on the FBI. And he has a beautiful fiancée. Things are sailing smoothly down Austin’s chosen track.

But when Austin is waiting in a diner for an informant who never shows up, things change. That change comes in the form of a busboy in bunny slippers who steals and holds Austin’s attention. He takes over Austin’s thoughts, intriguing and confusing him in ways he never thought possible. But the innocent looking busboy comes with a whole lot of baggage–probably just about as much as Austin carries around on his own.

In no short time at all, Austin finds his whole world changing. The challenge Peter provides for him is more than just a physical one. It’s mental, it’s emotional, and it might be exactly what he needs. Even if there are moments when his “better judgment” might want to tell him otherwise…

Not all relationships start out like fairy tales tell us they do. Sometimes they build from a whim we don’t understand. Sometimes we want to simultaneously chase after and run from the person who stands before us. And sometimes it’s the challenge of breaking down walls that draws us to someone in the first place.

Austin and Peter are a great example of all those things. Fighting for the person you’re attracted to while fighting against that attraction sounds like it shouldn’t be possible. Those things should be mutually exclusive, right? Not at all. And the tension and banter that results is entertaining and heartening to read. Sometimes you just have to be willing to get over yourself long enough to realize someone might want you for exactly who you are…

This is my first book from this author, and I’m so glad I discovered it. And the ending–well, I know I can’t wait to pick up book two!

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: ★★★


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.

Title: Delsyn’s Blues
Author: Lou Sylvre
Publication Date: January 2, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
I can say with certainty that I preferred the first book to this one. This is partly because I feel like this one was a bit less engaging but it also was just a totally rip-your-heart-out-at-every-turn book. Luki and Sonny – they’re exhausting to say the least. But it’s easy to get caught up in their world and I definitely look forward to the rest of this series.

Title: Another Dumb Jock
Author: Jeff Erno
Publication Date: January 16, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
An interesting continuation of Jeff Erno’s Dumb Jock focuses on Jeff & Brett’s son, Adam. Adam gets into some trouble at school and is struggling in a few of his classes, so Jeff gets their son a tutor, Trevor. Trevor is confidently out, something Adam may have a problem with since he’s made it a point of letting people know that just because his dads are gay, it doesn’t mean he is, too. But spending time with Trevor rouses some curiosities for Adam that he might finally feel compelled to act on.

I honestly think I liked this one better than the first. I admit it was a bit awkward at first when I realized it was focusing on the son of the main couple from the previous book, but looking past that, it is actually a pretty great story of teenage love and what it means to care about someone. The detractor here is the way it all wrapped up – way too conveniently, to be honest – but otherwise it’s a good read that, again, avoids some of the big cliches of a high school m/m geek-jock romance.

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: Built 4 It
Author: Daisy Harris
Publication Date: January 4, 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Ben Spiegel has struggled with his job as a lab assistant at Built4, a company that reanimates corpses (known as ‘steins’) to be used in medical research. As the steins begin to demonstrate more human-like qualities, his guilt over his work grows. At the same time, the alpha stein, Kee, has captured his attention and it seems Ben may have captured Kee’s as well. As Ben’s ethics are pushed to their limits, he finds that he may not exactly have to follow all the rules – and Kee just might have a chance to regain some of his humanity.

I particularly enjoyed this book. It’s M/M erotica (there are a few explicit scenes), but the author has done a great job of balancing the graphic sex with the development of the characters and relationships. It is the third book in the series, but don’t let that be off-putting. I’ve not read the previous two (YET! I plan to, now…) but the world is presented in a way that knowledge of previous events isn’t needed to jump in and know what’s going on. A great choice for those interested in M/M with a bit of a paranormal and almost dystopian twist, first times, and unlikely lovers.

(eGalley provided by Ellora’s Cave via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)