Tag Archives: publisher: loose id

Smoke and Mirrors by Lillian T. MacGowan

Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors by Lillian T. MacGowan

Series: Smoke and Mirrors, Book 1
Published by: Loose Id on July 22, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Dr. Naim Moreau leads a quiet unsuspecting life. So when firefighter Frank “Deck” Dekker saves his life, he is appreciative but sees Deck as just another patient. Though he can’t argue with the fact that Deck is a rather attractive patient. And when Deck makes some statements that make Naim blush, he tells himself he’s just being delusional and when he comes around he will take it all back. But Deck doesn’t exactly do that. And Naim isn’t sure he can share his deepest secrets about his past with Deck…and if he did, wouldn’t Deck just run away?

If you like books that are paced well, then this is one that certainly meets that criterion. The reveal of the important parts of the story, the tension between Naim and Deck (and between Naim and himself) ebbs and flows in a pattern that seems just right, and the resolution comes at the right point. Solid writing and character development make this a worthwhile read.

Golden Dancer by Tara Lain

Golden Dancer

Golden Dancer by Tara Lain

Series: Dangerous Dancers, Book 1
Published by: Loose Id on September 27, 2011
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Mac MacAllister is a reporter on a mission. He knows that billionaire Daniel Terrebonne is the one who stole the priceless Golden Dancer statue. It’s going to be difficult to prove, and he’ll need to focus. Which is why he doesn’t need the distraction of writing a ballet review. But since his parents are well-known dancers and he knows ballet, it’s an assignment he gets.

Mac quickly forgets the story is a distraction once he meets Trelain Medveyev in person. There’s just something about him that draws Mac in. (Though Mac’s not sure what it is; he’s straight, after all.) As the two spend more time together, Mac begins to realize that maybe there is a physical attraction between them that can be explained.

If Mac’s sexuality isn’t enough of a hurdle, another wrench is thrown into the mix. Terrebonne is also interested in Trelain, and he makes a decisive move while Mac’s head is still spinning. But Mac sees this as an opportunity; he might be able to use the connection to investigate Terrebonne more closely. Until that close investigation leads Mac to wondering if he might have feelings for his suspected thief, as well.

But Mac isn’t the only person looking for the Golden Dancer. The original owner wants it back. And he is prepared to stop at nothing to see it returned to his collection. Even if it means danger for Terrebonne and everyone close to him…

This is one I don’t think I would have come across if it hadn’t been for a reading challenge. But I’m glad I picked it up. I’m always a fan of Tara Lain’s writing. She has a way of developing characters and worlds that allows the reader to feel like they’re very much along for the ride. And this one is no exception.

There are certainly a lot of twists and turns along the way here–especially with the romantic elements. I hadn’t expected the outcomes of some of the conversations and situations that came up. But none of those unexpected events seemed out of character or out of line with the story.

I had honestly expected more tension and drama with the parents (especially Trelain’s) based on how they were described in the story. But I also know that it’s common for a child to describe their parents differently than they really are–especially if they have any reason to feel unsupported by them.

If you’re looking for a fun, interesting, and engaging read, then look no further.

Bound to Him by Ava March

Bound to Him

Book Info

Title: Bound to Him (Bound, Book 2)
Author: Ava March
Published: April 28, 2009
Pages: 100
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

Lord Vincent Prescot and Lord Oliver Marsden should be happy. Since they first connected in an intimate way six months ago, the heat hasn’t faded. And Vincent is doing rather well professionally, too. There’s one problem for Oliver, though. He doesn’t like the way Vincent ignores him in public. While he knows they can’t exactly scream their relationship from the rooftops, he doesn’t like the feeling that he’s being taken for granted. Oliver’s financial position pales in comparison to Vincent’s, and he is starting to feel more and more like he’s not just submitting to Vincent–it’s almost like Vincent sees him as inferior. And when Vincent’s father calls on him to marry a woman as part of his duty to the family, it looks like all hope of their relationship being saved. But since there was an unrequited want present between them for so long, can they really leave it all behind?

Such an interesting way to build from the first book. And I did enjoy getting to spend some time with Oliver and Vincent again–especially Oliver. The story is interesting, overall, and it certainly demonstrates many of the pressures that young men of status were under during the time period of the story.

I was slightly discomforted by some aspects of Oliver’s submissive behaviors. I felt very strongly like he was doing so because he felt he needed to do it to keep Vincent and not necessarily because he wanted to do it. The story resolves in a better place, but if this is something that might not sit well with you, just be warned before reading.

Dark Space by Lisa Henry

16174363Title: 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)

Dreaming of Dragons by T.A. Chase

6497620Title: Dreaming of Dragons (Dragons, Book 2)
Author: T.A. Chase
Published: May 26, 2009
Pages: 153
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:

This was an unexpected series for me. When I read the first book I wasn’t sure what to expect and even the beginning of it made me wonder if it was going to work. But wow – I do absolutely love this world that T.A. Chase has created and the characters in it. Such a wonderful mix of fantasy, modern day, and science fiction and it’s thrown together almost seamlessly without feeling contrived.

I do love seeing Hugh and Kael together, but I very much enjoyed learning more about George and Mordred and their past in this book. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment.

The Broken H by J.L. Langley

2033276Title: The Broken H (Ranch, Book 2)
Author: J.L. Langley
Published: September 2006
Pages: 220
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
It’s been a while since I read The Tin Star (the first book in this series) so it took me just a bit to get back into the world of this story and remember who was who. Overall, I didn’t find the story here quite as gripping as its predecessor. There are a lot of sex scenes in this one – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like they dominated the story and took some of the focus from character and relationship development. I do like this world, though, and definitely plan to continue reading to see what happens next.

Something Shattered by Bailey Bradford

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Title: Something Shattered
Author: Bailey Bradford
Published: November 30, 2010
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages: 200

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
I wanted to like this one more than I did – it’s a story that I felt could have been incredible, but it just didn’t seem to come together that way for me. The characters of Jesse and Caden are both complex and have a lot of great backstory that I felt got lost in the whole ‘insta-love’ story line that at time was almost bordering on creepy on Jesse’s part. I would have liked to see that complexity play into the relationship and relationship-building a bit more but it seemed like the author knew where she wanted this to go and it was headed there full-speed ahead (even with an ending that just seemed a bit flat to me, too).

That said, I didn’t dislike the story (despite my criticisms above) and think it would definitely be enjoyed by someone who really likes m/m romances where one partner is seen as helping the other get over past trauma (however authentic this particular telling might actually be).

A Vintage Affair by Josh Lanyon

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Title: A Vintage Affair
Author: Josh Lanyon
Published: June 22, 2010
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages: 140

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
An old Southern plantation. Wine. Murder. An attractive closeted private investigator. Family drama. Elements that make for a great read. When Austin Gillespie arrived at Ballineen, he certainly didn’t expect an eventful visit, but he definitely ends up with more than he bargained for.

Josh Lanyon is definitely an expert storyteller. He develops very strong characters and creates worlds that almost leave you wondering if there’s more than a hint of truth in the story. This one is no exception. It’s an m/m romance that doesn’t skip or avoid the complicated bits, which I definitely appreciate, but it also delivers everything a romance novel should. Highly recommended.

Title: Here Be Dragons
Author: T.A. Chase
Publication Date: September 5, 2006

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
I came into this one not really knowing what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. It’s a contemporary high fantasy m/m romance that hit almost every note I enjoy in a story. The dynamics between the characters are great, the writing is engaging, and the story flows quite well. I’m definitely planning to pick up the other books in the series when I get a chance.

Title: Bound by Deception
Author: Ava March
Publication Date: September 16, 2008

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
A decent and enjoyable read. I found it a bit challenging to really connect with the characters and it was slightly confusing when one of them was suddenly referred to by a different name at times with no real explanation. I am interested to see where things go for these guys going forward, though, and I expect things will get better after they’ve resolved everything that happens in this book.