Tag Archives: publisher: mlr press

Foxe Tail by Haley Walsh

Foxe Tail

Foxe Tail by Haley Walsh

Series: Skyler Foxe Mysteries, Book 1
Published by: MLR Press on September 30, 2010
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Skyler Foxe is glad to have scored a job teaching English at his old high school. He enjoys teaching, loves literature, and cares for his students. But he feels he needs to keep the fact that he’s gay under wraps. There could be backlash in his conservative community, and it’s really not the school’s business at all, is it? But Skyler’s world turns upside down when he discovers a dead body in an alley behind a night club when he’s out on what should be a typical Friday night. And the victim has an unexpected connection to Skyler’s school. What follows is a series of events that leave him questioning what exactly is going on at James Polk High. Could a student be involved? Or is it the domineering football coach? Or what about the mysterious new biology teacher and assistant football coach who makes Skyler melt just by walking into the room? Despite warnings from his detective friend, Sidney, Skyler is determined to do what he can to solve the case and find out who’s responsible–even if he puts himself in danger in the process.

This is definitely an entertaining read. There are some interesting twists and turns for sure. And it’s not something that’s going to take you deep into any sort of philosophical or emotional issue. If you like a mystery with some light humor and a cast of interesting side characters, this will be a book for you.

My only real complaint is the ending. This is part of a series, so I know the story continues, but it was building up–in my opinion–to a reveal on another important incident that happened but then ends before giving it to readers. I’m guessing it’s the subject of the next book, and I’ll be picking that up to read it. I just felt a bit let down because it wasn’t addressed though it felt like it should be…

Hard Fall by James Buchanan

Hard Fall

Hard Fall by James Buchanan

Series: Deputy Joe, Book 1
Published by: MLR Press on February 13, 2009
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Joe Peterson is a dedicated and respected sheriff’s deputy. He’s active in the Mormon church. He’s also gay and in the closet. But he figures it’s a secret he can keep. It’s never gotten in the way of his work or his life. But when Kabe Varghese shows up in the area, Joe’s not quite sure what to do. Kabe pushes every one of Joe’s buttons. And Kabe is also an ex-con, recently released on parole. When a mysterious death occurs on the ranch where Kabe is staying, Joe asks him to help investigate. He needs someone who can climb with him without risking a fall. But it may just be the one at risk of falling is Joe. And if he falls for Kabe, can he live with the consequences?

I’ve heard people say that coming out stories have lost their relevance. They reason that society is accepting now. They argue that people need not fear being out. And I can agree with wanting the world of “the closet” to be in the past. But the truth is that it’s not. For many people, and for many reasons, it’s still not safe to live out loud. Some communities just aren’t there yet. And many professions remain conservative. For Joe, as a Mormon and law enforcement officer, his sexuality isn’t going to go over with everyone. And even when one wants to live openly, you have to consider those outside influences.

Of course, there are characters in this book that I dislike. But I understand why they’re there. And even though this book is from a few years ago, I think the story’s still rather relevant. I plan to pick up the next book in the series when I get a chance.

Hard Fall at the MLR Press website

 

Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire

Love is a Stranger

Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire

Series: More Heat than the Sun, Book 1
Published by: MLR Press on May 16, 2014
Rating: 4 stars (★★★☆☆)

Ex-SAS soldier Ben Rider never expected that when he joined a secret intelligence department that he would fall in love with his boss. After all, Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen is married to a beautiful woman, but he’s so intriguing that Ben doesn’t really stand a chance. He might feel bad about carrying on an affair with a married man, but he’s never felt anything as intensely as what he feels for Nik. But the life of a shadow operative is a dangerous one, and things can change so quickly one doesn’t know where to turn. And when such a turn happens that might allow Ben and Nik more time together, Ben is cautiously optimistic. He really shouldn’t dismiss the cautious part of that optimism, though, because he beings to realize more and more that he really doesn’t know much about Nik at all. Well, except that he knows Nik is his soulmate. But is that enough to look past any dark secrets that might be lingering in Nik’s past?

I had a hard time putting this one down. There’s such a great combination of relationship development between these two and suspenseful plot elements, that when I wasn’t caught up in Ben and Nik, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what would happen next. There’s some complex history that lingers underneath the surface for both of these guys, and neither of them is really willing to confront it. And even when Ben does start to learn the truth, I felt like his reaction was very authentic and made a lot of sense for him as a character.

The only thing that really bugged me about this one–and it’s what brought this very quickly down from four stars to three stars–is the ending. There is a great deal of build toward the ending–chapters, even–and then it cuts off RIGHT before what should be the climax of that aspect of the plot. I know this is part of a series, but it was such an abrupt ending that it was jarring; it didn’t really feel like a cliffhanger, either. It would have been smoother to cut it off a bit sooner and leave some lead in to start the next book.

Love is a Stranger at the MLR Press website

Learning Curve by Kaje Harper

18335673Title: Learning Curve (Life Lessons, Book 4)
Author: Kaje Harper
Published: September 6, 2013
Pages: 370
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:

The finale of the Life Lessons series follows Tony and Mac as they work to settle into their family life while Mac works to overcome the injuries he suffered at the end of <i>Home Work</i>. Mac is called in to consult on a case that involves one of Tony’s students and the two once again find themselves forced to try to balance all of their responsibilities and their relationship. Mac’s career, Tony’s peace of mind, and their life together are all on the line here and they’ll do whatever it takes to make it through.

This was a nice end to the series. I actually liked the balance between the case and the relationship story more here than in the previous three books. In the past ones, I felt like the cases were somewhat convenient to making the rest of the plot go the way it needed to, but here it seems like more of an overlay. They fit together perfectly. It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t curious to know what happens to Mac and Tony after this book ends, but Kaje Harper has given them a fitting end here in a way that gives readers closure.

Home Work by Kaje Harper

15706627Title: Home Work (Life Lessons, Book 3)
Author: Kaje Harper
Published: October 5, 2012
Pages: 356
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:
It’s interesting to see the ways in which Mac and Tony (and their relationship) have developed over the course of this series. There has been a number of changes and the way they’ve grown separately and together is definitely endearing. Following along as they work through the challenges of coming together as a family and raising two children on top of the stresses of their respective jobs – well, it’s refreshing to me in its own way.

I did feel like the case/mystery in this one dragged a bit slowly at the beginning and then rushed to a finish – especially more so than in the previous two books. But I still enjoyed it overall and it did keep me guessing through much of the book as well.

Open Endings by Megan Linden

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Title: Open Endings
Author: Megan Linden
Published: July 3, 2014
Pages: 54
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher Website: link

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:

(eBook copy provided by the author via the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s ‘Don’t Buy My Love’ program in exchange for an honest review.)

This was definitely a sweet and enjoyable read which left me wanting to read more about these two.

Matt Holston will be graduating from college soon and has decided to consider the Marines, following in the footsteps of both his father and stepfather. But when Cole Perry, the Marine he encounters when he goes into the recruiting office, tells him he should completely rethink that choice, he finds himself more intrigued by the man than by the possibility of a military career. And by unraveling the mystery that is Cole, Matt just might begin to figure out who he wants to become, as well.

It’s easy to be taken with these two guys. They both possess endearing qualities and I found myself wanting to reach into the pages and give them both a hug.  Because this isn’t a lengthy book, the relationships develop quickly, but none of them seem forced; it has a very natural pace. While this wasn’t set up as a series, I could see myself reading one if the author felt inspired to write it.

Title: Breaking Cover
Author: Kaje Harper
Publication Date: July 22, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
It’s great to see what is happening next for Tony and Mac. I really found myself starting to like them in the first book in this series. Of course, I’m not at all surprised to see them wrapped right up in trouble again, though.

The tone of this book, the characters and their interactions, and the word in which they live had a seamless consistency with the first book – something I haven’t always seen in series. Even though it’s been a while since I read the first book, I was able to jump back in and re-immerse myself rather easily.

My only complaints would be that this one probably goes on a bit longer than necessary and that too many things happened that just seemed overly convenient for the story. This happened a bit in the first book, but they were close enough to feeling natural that it didn’t throw me too much. I started to feel otherwise here, and am hoping I’m on the wrong path and it’s not where the rest of the series is headed.

Title: Mexican Heat
Author: Laura Baumbach & Josh Lanyon
Publication Date: October 26, 2008

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
Gabriel Sandalini is an undercover police officer who has worked hard to infiltrate the Botelli crime family and he knows he’s got to be close to being able to bring them down. After a chance encounter in a club and the realization he might be falling for another drug lord’s right hand, Miguel Ortega, he knows he needs to focus on the task at hand. But when Ortega seems to be falling for him, too, neither of them have any idea how it might all play out.

I hadn’t expected to enjoy this one as much as I did. It started off a bit fast, but it really got into a good groove. I did pick up on a couple of twists before they happened, but I got the sense that was intentional on the part of the authors. I’m excited to pick up the next book to see what happens next…

Title: Life Lessons
Author: Kaje Harper
Publication Date: May 1, 2011

Rating: ★ ★ ★  ☆
Review: 
The last thing teacher Tony Hart expected was to get pulled into the investigation of a fellow teacher’s murder. But when a teacher’s body falls on him when he opens the elevator, that’s exactly what happens. Enter Jared MacLean, a heavily closeted homicide detective assigned to the case. He knows he shouldn’t get involved with witnesses, but there’s something about Tony he just can’t seem to shake.

This one wasn’t bad – and I absolutely appreciated the little things the author put in that show she definitely knows the setting of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The characters were likable, if a bit frustrating at times (especially Mac). But the story seemed to go on a bit longer than it needed – and the way it played out started to border on a bit unrealistic for me. That said, those notions can easily be set aside to have a rather enjoyable read.