Series: Blue Notes, Book 3 Published by: Dreamspinner Press on December 24, 2012 Rating: 4stars (★★★★☆)
Five years ago, Aiden Lind accepted a prestigious scholarship which took him to Europe and launched his opera career. Along the way, he also became involved with Lord Cameron Sherrington, a man he might go so far as to describe as the man of his dreams. But when Aiden catches Cam being intimate with another man, he decides it’s time to move on. And he suddenly reconnects with Sam Ryan, a man with whom he shared a short-lived relationship that ended when he received his scholarship.
Sam feels bad about dropping Aiden when he did. But the truth is that he was still getting over the death of his previous partner, Nick, and Aiden was the first guy he’d been with since Nick passed. He wasn’t as ready for a new relationship as he originally thought he was. But now that they’ve reconnected, he thinks he may be. But has he really put Nick in the past? And has Aiden really moved on from Cam and how their relationship ended? Their relationship will certainly be put to the test–and they’ll just have to hope it’s a test they can pass.
I have been enjoying this series since I picked up the first book. Part of it is likely that I am a musician myself, studied music in college, and those aspects of these stores just really resonate with me. But I know it also has to do with the fact that Shira Anthony always presents a compelling story with characters that draw you in and have you engrossed from the very first chapter. I’ve got three more books to read in this series, and I am definitely looking forward to them.
Title: Safe Harbor Author: Laylah Hunter Published: December 1, 2012 Pages: 30 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Publisher Link: link Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Review: Blake left home seven years ago after the death of his father and hasn’t looked back. But when he returns home, his best friend Tom is waiting for him and quickly makes him wonder if maybe he left more behind than he was willing to admit.
This is short, sweet, and fun to read. These two are just so adorable and it’s always fun to see people get a potential second chance at something the missed out on before. Certainly worth a read.
Title: Dark Space (Dark Space, Book 1) Author: Lisa Henry Published: December 4, 2012 Pages: 216 Publisher: Loose Id Publisher Website:link Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Review:
Brady Garrett is a recruit on a space station doing his duty to defend Earth. And he’s focused on finishing out his service and getting back home to his family. But when Cameron Rushton, a pilot who was kidnapped by an alien race four years ago, mysteriously returns, Brady finds himself called to the aid of the medical team. When his revival is botched, Brady finds himself tied to Cameron to keep him going.
Space stories are often hit or miss for me, but this one really ended up on the hit side. It was very easy to get immersed into this world and the characterization of and tension between Brady and Cameron was very well done.
Content warning: sexual abuse, dubious consent, rape, stockholm syndrome (this one bothered me a bit, to be honest)
Title: Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin, Book 1) Author: Jordan L. Hawk Published: December 4, 2012 Pages: 236 Publisher: Jordan L. Hawk Publisher Website:link Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Review:
Percival Endicott Whyborne: scholar of dead languages and museum employee, somewhat repressed, and definitely a bit awkward. Griffin Flaherty: private investigator, and currently embroiled in a rather curious case. Griffin approaches Whyborne to translate the text of an old book, and Whyborne wants nothing more than to make quick work of it and be on his way. But when the two of them are caught up in forces beyond their control — both paranormal and romantic in nature — their hearts and lives may very well be in danger.
I first met these two when I read Remnant, the short crossover with K.J. Charles’ Caldwell & Feximal. So I was definitely excited to dive in and see where it all began for these guys. And I did enjoy this very much. It is, after all, a historical paranormal mystery romance, and I’m definitely a fan of that. I certainly look forward to seeing how things develop throughout the series.
Title: When One Door Opens Author: JD Ruskin Published: December 26, 2012 Pages: 210 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Publisher Website:link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Review:
Logan Sellers, freshly paroled from prison, is working to get his life back together. He’s fortunately found a part-time job that will hopefully help him make ends meet with the promise of becoming full-time in the near future. But when his boss offers him a side job running errands for his agoraphobic apartment-bound nephew, Caleb, Logan finds himself in a place he never expected. He finds himself compelled to help Caleb work on overcoming his agoraphobia and completely attracted to him, as well. But can he manage a relationship while trying to stay sober and keep his life in order? And what would his boss say if he acted on his feelings?
Logan and Caleb are utterly adorable. There are definitely a number of factors that complicate things for them here, and I felt like they were dealt with in an authentic way. Many times in romance novels, circumstances seem to magically work themselves out and that’s not the case here. There are struggles and setbacks and things to work through for everyone involved. And the result is a gripping and realistic story that hits all the right notes.
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]
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.
Title: Called to Mate Author: Lynn Tyler Publication Date: December 3, 2012
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Review: Declan is set to take over as the alpha of his pack – all he needs now is to find a mate. Fortunately for him, his parents’ houseguest, Quinn, seems like he could be just that. Quinn’s had a very rough past, however, having suffered abuse at the hands of his former alpha. But can the two of them make it work together?
This is an interest story. It’s engaging and it’s nice to see the way Declan wants to be there for Quinn. I had kind of hoped for something just a little bit more, but it does wind up being a short enjoyable read.
Title: Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture Author: Mark Duffett Publication Date: November 15, 2012
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Review: As a longtime fan with a recent interest in fan studies and acafandom, I figured this would be a good starting point in gaining an overview of the major theories, works, and scholars in the field of fan studies. I certainly was not left disappointed. While Duffett’s text didn’t really say anything that surprised me, putting it in the context of scholarship and history was very helpful. Duffett takes the time to explain the origins of fan studies and the breaks down the study of fans and fandom into a number of different areas before concluding with ideas on new frontiers for fan studies going forward. Though sometimes it seemed like he was mostly just quoting or paraphrasing Henry Jenkins (a pioneer in the field and one of the foremost current scholars in the area), Duffett contextualized Jenkins’ statements and offered some of his own perspectives into the discussion as well.
I definitely recommend this for someone wanting to get an overview of the current state of fan studies – it’s a relatively recent publication so is up-to-date. It does skew a bit more toward an academic and scholarly audience, but I think it’s still a beneficial read for any fan.