Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Body Magic by Poppy Dennison

Reviewed by Fehu
Body Magic (Triad #2) by Poppy Dennison
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 206pgs
4 Pants Off

Blurb:
A pack is only as strong as its weakest member. Rocky Harris knows how the system works. He’s been on the bottom rung his whole life. But when his alpha consigns him to the High Moon Pack to help them improve security, he finds his beliefs not just challenged but outright assaulted.

Cade Montgomery’s confidence took a hit when the pack’s cubs were kidnapped on his watch. He’s prepared to do anything to protect his family, even if it means working with Rocky. Maybe Cade doesn’t trust Rocky, but with the turmoil surrounding pack Alpha Gray’s unpopular decision to break tradition and mate with a mage named Simon, Cade knows more threats are coming.

Then someone declares war on shifters and puts the entire pack in danger. Cade and Rocky will need each other’s strengths to survive the impending battle—and the power of their growing attraction.


Review:
For anyone who read the first book and liked it, this book is a must buy. I would have given it a higher rating if I didn't feel that it left me with more question than answers.

Body Magic is the second part in a trilogy and picks up were Mind Magic ended. Simon has mated with Gray and now lives with Gray's pack. Their mating is not considered natural, not because they are both men, but because Simon is a wizard and has another kind of magic, than shifters, who have body magic. In the rules of this world, the different kinds of magic are forbidden to mix. Simon broke the rule to save the wolf shifter cubs in the first book and Gray took it further when he mated Simon and mixed the two types of magic. Now both Simon and Gray have to face the shifter council, who will then decide what is to be done about them.

In the second book, the reader can see Simon interact with Gray’s friends and his sons, with whom he developed a very strong bond. In addition, there is Cormac, Simon's grandfather some times removed, who is a vampire and I hope the third book will feature him, because he is very lonely but a very interesting character. Simon will soon turn 25 an age of maturity for wizards and Cormac is helping him to progress in his magical studies. Simon's training gains on importance in the face of the threat the shifters are facing and the demon attack is still a mystery as to how and why it was possible for a demon to kidnap the cubs.

There are two relationships that featured in this book, the one of Gray and Simon, settling as a family and Rocky and one of Gray's best friends Cade slowly working out their issues. I loved to read about the family interaction, especially when the new addition to the family arrived in the form of an adorable mountain lion shifter cub, who has immediately attached himself to Simon.

However, not all things are what they seem to be, there are pack member who are not happy with the mating, a new threat appears and there is Rocky's alpha that plans to further the discord and to take over Gray's pack. Something strange is going on, shifters have gone missing a complete pack drained and then on the night of Simon's and Gray celebration there is an attack, and the attacker leaves them all puzzled, something like him should not exist!

This book has more action in it, also I loved see Simon and Gray work out their relationship, Simon still has doubts, which I thought was understandable and of course there is the crackling sexual tension between Rocky and Cade, which added a certain something to the story. Lovely written, good dialogs and interesting plot but I hate where the book left me, and I want to read Cormac's story!

For those who do not like open endings, you should buy the series but wait to read it when the third book is out and hopefully will nicely wrap it all up.

4 Pants Off

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Of Suits and Swords by Andra Sashner

Reviewed by Fehu
Of Suits and Swords (London arc) by Andra Sashner
Less Than Three Press
Novella: 70pgs
3 Pants Off

Blurb:
In the high stakes world of business, every meeting is a war, every conversation a battle, every word a two-edged sword. Alexis Grayson has been fighting these battles all his life, honed for them since childhood by his ruthless father. His only reprieve comes from his occasional visits to exclusive Host Clubs, stolen hours of company and conversation free of any edge.

Then, on a whim he visits a new club, Trademark's, and there meets the mysterious, enthralling Gage. Soon, Alexis finds himself locked in a battle for which he was never prepared, fighting for something he never expected to have.


Review:
The book started really promising a witty exchange between a host and a client. Alexis and Gage seemed to have quite the chemistry between them and actually, the whole intrigue in the business world was interesting. Supporting characters, that is Basil and Ian sounded good too, so I was looking forward to how this story would unfold further.

Alexis is the son of a very influential businessman and works for his father’s cooperation. His relationship with his father is rather tense and I did not understand why his father is behaving the way he is, why would someone spy on his son? Secondly, there is Alexis's mistrust of most people, whom he suspects to be spies for his father or other businesses, so he is quite paranoid about new acquaintances. To the point that he only meets hosts, which makes for interesting relationships and left me wondering if he had any normal relationships. Also I'm wondering why he works for his father or why he grew up to be that distrustful and dysfunctional.

Alexis's behaviour, his suspicious nature and inability to interact in a normal, human way did start to annoy me by the second half of the book. Gage turned out not to be who he said he was, but he honestly liked Alexis, and Alexis could not process this emotion.

I'm all for slow development in a relationship but here things were going hot/cold and it was frustrating. Alexis wanted Gage but did not trust him, was not comfortable with emotions and uncontrolled situations, and that was just frustrating to watch and I honestly could not understand him. Which also meant that I could not connect to him and that made for a very difficult read.

The first part really had potential but the second half of the book failed to deliver on this promise. What looked like reserve and some business related suspicion was taken to it's high in the second half of the story.

3 Pants Off

Guest Post & Giveaway: An Interview with Dusty by Piper Vaughn

It's always awesome to have Piper stop by the blog. This time she has a lovely interview with Dusty from OST (One Small Thing) world. Dusty now has his own book and is spilling all his secrets. Check it out!

Hey, all!

Piper here. :) One True Thing comes out in two days, and MJ and I are very excited! It feels like it’s been a long time since this book was accepted and One Small Thing came out in May. In reality, it’s been under six months, but you know how it is when you’re impatient for something. :)

Due to us both having deadlines in the last couple of months, we didn’t really set up a blog tour for OTT. I did schedule a couple of blog spots, though, and for this one I thought it’d be fun to do a character interview for Dusty. I posted online to ask readers what they would ask Dusty if they could, and these are the questions I got. Hope you enjoy his answers! <3

From cturtlechick:

Okay, when we saw you last, Dusty, you were moving across the country to pursue your dream. How's that going?
Great! I love California so far and the house Rue, Erik, and I found is awesome. I rent a chair at a salon just ten minutes away and so far I like all of my coworkers and the smoothie shop and café down the street. It’s a great neighborhood.

Have you worked on anyone famous yet?
Nope. Well, I suspect I’ve worked on a porn star or two, but I don’t know how famous they are. I’d say my salon caters to the upper middle class. The salon where Rue works is trendier and more exclusive. He’s more likely to run into celebrities than I am.

I know Alice certainly uprooted Rue, and completely enchanted Erik. How has she impacted your life?
Oh, God, Alice has changed all our lives—and for the better. She brought Erik into our circle, which is just awesome. I never thought I’d see Rue settled down, but it’s great, you know, and it only happened because of Alice and Erik. I mean, you can’t be a club boy forever, right? Maybe it wasn’t what he would have planned, but I think she made him even more determined to chase after his dream. As for me, I think having Alice around is good practice. I really do want kids someday. I always have. Alice showed me what an incredible experience raising a child can be. Hard, yeah, but so worth it.

From Seymour James:

How do you feel about living in Oz because I would love to adopt you?
*laughs* Five years ago, I might have taken you up on that, but I’ve always thought it would be cool to visit Australia. Maybe when I do, I can stay with you. :)

From Henrietta Clarke:

What's the most important thing you look for in a guy?
Honestly? Kindness. Some of my exes have done a number on me. My last one especially. Sure, looks matter. You want to be attracted to your partner, of course. But in the long run, would I prefer a nice average guy to a hot jerk? Hell yeah. Really, I think someone like Erik would be awesome. He’s cute and nice and so unaware of just how special he is. I really… well, I’ll just stop there because he is very much taken. I’m sure you get my drift, though. Nice guys don’t always finish last. Not in my opinion anyway.

Favorite possession and why?
It would probably be a tie. I have a lime green Coach tote that I scrimped for months to buy. Usually my clothes are dark, but I love bright accessories and I knew I wanted one in that color the moment I saw it. Aside from that, I have a pink and black plaid fleece blanket. I love that because it’s soft and warm and being wrapped up in it just comforts me. I sleep with it every night.

What song do you listen to when you’re down?
“Happy Together” by the Turtles. It’s kind of bittersweet because it reminds me of my sister growing up. She used to sing it all the time. It always makes me smile.

From Terry Milien:

Does your name have anything to do with your housework abilities? :3
*laughs* Did Rue put you up to asking that? Dusty is short for Dustin, but Rue calls me Dustpan all the time, even though he knows it annoys me. That’s okay, though. I get him back by calling him Underoo. But to answer the question, no. I’m kind of a neat freak. (Not as bad as Erik, though.)

From Kelly Birch:

What would you like your man to surprise you with?
I’m a simple guy. I wouldn’t need anything major or expensive. I’d be happy with a home-cooked meal. No one has ever cooked for me aside from Rue, and that doesn’t count. Besides, I’m usually the one doing the cooking.

What’s your favorite book/film?
I don’t read much, but my favorite movie is Serenity. Erik introduced Rue and I to a bunch of shows we’d never seen before. Firefly was my favorite, by far. I love Mal, and I thought Serenity was awesome. :) Before Serenity, I would have said The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s still one of my all-time faves.

From Sue N.:

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Johnny Depp. Talk about a man who has grown sexier with age. It’s a shallow answer, I know, but he’s beautiful. I don’t know that I’d even be able to talk to him, though. I might get too shy.

Do you have a childhood idol?
I guess I might say Rue. I’ve looked up to him since we met. When I was at my lowest point, I completely fell apart. He picked me up and kept me going, and he’s been there ever since. I’d like to think I’ve helped him too over the years, but I really don’t know where I’d be now if he hadn’t been there when the people I trusted most abandoned me.

From JP Barnaby:

What's your favorite thing to put in your mouth?
*blushing* Oh, my God. Um… peaches? (Okay, I know that answer kind of sucks, but it’s true. It’s my favorite fruit. *laughs*)

~*~

And that’s it! Hope you guys liked learning a bit more about Dusty! One True Thing comes out on October 26th in both ebook and paperback formats.

You can find MJ and me at:
http://pipervaughn.com 
http://mjoshea.com 
http://mjandpiper.blogspot.com


One True Thing
Blurb: Dustin Davis spent years wishing for a prince but kissing frog after slimy frog. When he sees Archer Kyriakides for the first time, Dusty thinks his luck has finally changed. Archer could be it. The One. But their hot and cold romance leaves Dusty confused: why does it feel right one moment and wrong the next? It doesn’t make sense—until the day Dusty meets Archer’s identical twin, Asher, and realizes he’s been seeing them both.

Asher Kyriakides dreams of being a fashion photographer, but he’s stuck with a job he hates and an irresponsible playboy brother whose habits drive him absolutely insane, especially when he finds out Archer is dating the cute little blond Asher can’t seem to forget. Torn between loyalty and desire, Asher does nothing but try to warn Dusty away.

But when Archer finally goes too far, Dusty turns to Asher for comfort, and Asher knows he can’t refuse. It isn’t long before they realize they’re falling fast, but more than one thing stands in their way, not the least of which is Archer, who isn’t quite ready to stop being a thorn in his brother’s side.



Contest
  • Leave a comment with email
  • Must be 18yrs or older
  • Winner has 48hrs to reply to my email
  • Contest runs until October 30th 11:59pm EST
~ The drawing is for a paperback copy, so expect some wait time. TY~

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Post: Hellhounds on Devil's Night by Azalea Moone


There are a lot of spooky creatures that take the spotlight on Halloween. Werewolves and vampires have always been in the limelight, even before a certain popular story. Ghosts and spirits come in next, followed by demons. Even zombies have gotten a big boost. What about the others? It seems that a lot of mythological beings are just begging for more attention.


So, when I read the call on Storm Moon Press' site for their Devil's Night anthology, I was interested but wasn't sure what I was going to write about. I've been dinking around with vampire fic for ever, and I'm getting bored of it. Werewolves don't really do anything for me. Neither do zombies. I wanted something hot, something different, that would bring me back to my thriller writing days as a teen.

It's awesome when inspiration comes from out of the blue and smacks you head on. Just as I was picking my brain, my partner was watching Lost Tapes on Animal Planet. Have you seen that show? They cover a lot of myths, uncover truths, have top 10 scary moments, and it's all perfect for a good scare. Strangely, my partner had left his computer with a page about hellhounds up. Bingo!

With dirty, rough black hair, glowing red eyes, and a trail of brimstone and fire in their wake, it'd be quite hard to mistake them for your typical "man's best friend". Hellhounds, aka devil dogs, have their own myths and legends that have been told for centuries. A common legend is that if you come across one and look into its eyes, or if you see the same one three times, you will die. Also, they guard the gates to Hell—which I thought would most likely be in a graveyard—or hunt lost souls and assist in their return to the underworld.

This is a great time to introduce our main character in "When Hounds Come Out to Play": Ryu. He's super hot! But not in that "oh lala" sexy guy sort of hot, since he's a devil dog. After centuries of watching humans come and go from his graveyard and, in more modern times, party and get a little wild, he's got a thing for wanting to be a human at least for one night. Every year on Halloween night, good hounds are sent to the human world to search for lost souls. Thus, Ryu gets the chance he'd been dreaming of, but he's paired with another hound, Keir.

Now that he's got his chance, Ryu has to find a way to sneak off from his duties to go have fun. Even though Keir is against it, Ryu ends up running off into the city and shifts into human form. Problem is, now he's a tall, naked, dark-skinned human. He's gotta find some clothes to fit in, right?

After finding something that works to cover those private places, he runs into Grant. Dressed as a vampire, Ryu's excited to see that there's another creature on the prowl. And a sexy one at that? Ryu's in for a wild and crazy night, full of fun, sexy times, and suspense that he was definitely not prepared for.


Excerpt:

Less than a block away, Ryu spotted people dressed in varieties of costumes, moving in and out of a building. Music got louder the closer he approached, rattling the windows of the stores next door. "Hey." Tires screeched next to him. "Where have you been? I've been looking everywhere for you."

"Huh?" Ryu stopped to see a man with a fabric cape around his neck and long fangs stretching below his bottom lip hop out of the car. He'd never seen the guy before; of course, everyone was new to him. But with the fangs, he looked like he was from the underworld. Finally, another demon on the prowl.

The man threw his arm around Ryu's neck, pulling him closer. "Baby, whatcha doing out here in that?"

Ryu reveled in the musky cologne of the human's scent. There was no way he could be a human with fangs like that, though. "Uh..."

The man took the fangs out of his mouth. Of course, another Halloween dress up. "Is that your costume? You said it would be shocking," the man laughed.

"I'm lost..." the sound of his own human voice, low and scratchy, shocked Ryu.

"Well, yeah, I suppose you would be. You were supposed to wait for me to pick you up." He pulled Ryu towards the parked car. "Anyway, I have the perfect skirt for that top."

"Wait. Wh-who are you?" Ryu asked.

"What's your deal? I'm Grant." The man set his hands on his hips; the cape stretched apart to show his tanned skin, sculpted abs, and a tuft of brown hair that traveled from his waistband to his chest. Ryu had to stop himself from leaning in and tracing the line with his fingers.





Azalea Moone first published with Storm Moon Press as part of their bro-cest anthology, Fraternal Devotion. Her short story, "When the Hounds Come Out to Play" is now available in the Devil's Night anthology! She can be found on her blog or on Twitter @AzMoone.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: An Interview with Frolic by Augusta Li


Frolic, our clockwork boy from Boots for the Gentleman and now the sequel, A Grimoire for the Baron, is here for an interview today. We hope you’ll enjoy getting to know him a little better! Also, please leave a comment to win a copy of either ebook!


So Frolic, tell us a little bit about yourself. That’s an interesting hair color. Where are you from?
Frolic: Well, I guess I’m from Halcyon. That’s where I was made, as far as I know. My silver hair is unusual, isn’t it? Sometimes Reg wants me to cover it up so I don’t attract too much attention. And sometimes it makes people think I’m a faerie, even though I’m not.


Do you have any special talents or skills?
Frolic: I’m pretty fair with clockwork and machinery. I guess I can understand how it works since I’m a clockwork myself. I really like making clockwork animals, especially cats. They’re my favorite. I’m stronger and much more durable than a human. It takes a lot more to hurt me. And…um. Well. I’m not sure if I should say this.


What?
Frolic: Well, Querry taught me everything he knows about, um, infiltration. I’ve become a pretty fair thief.

How did you meet Querry?
Frolic: Querry found me in a hidden room in the basement of the doll maker who made me. I waited there for a long, long time, and I was lonely, so I was so happy when Querry agreed to take me with him. He protected me from the beginning, since I didn’t know much about the world. We’ve had so much fun since then. We’ve had bad times too, but we got through them together. I really like making love with Querry and Reg. Oh, I shouldn’t have said that, should I? I’m still learning how much to say and how much to keep to myself. I’m sorry.

And Reg?
Frolic: Reg has been Querry’s best friend since they were children. He helped us when we were in trouble, when the Grand Chancellor wanted to find me and use me as a weapon. Now I’m happy to say he’s my best friend too, along with Querry. Reg is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. I know he’ll always take care of me.

That’s an interesting necklace. Why a metal feather?
Frolic: This is all that’s left of the clockwork angels I was designed to oversee. They were destroyed, and now I’m the last of my kind. I… I don’t really want to talk about this anymore.



How did the tragic events in Halcyon affect your relationship?
Frolic: Well, it was hard and we all lost many things we cared about. We can never go back to Halcyon. I think Reggie misses it most. But we still have each other, and I know we can face anything as long as we stay together.


Your name is very whimsical, who named you and why did they pick it?
Frolic: I chose it myself! My creator never got to naming me, as far as I know. I liked the sound of that word right away and felt like it fit me.


So you have a connection to the fey. Has that been difficult?
Frolic: It’s been very confusing since Querry’s gentleman used his magic to repair my heart. I’ve always been a combination of magic and clockwork, but now I understand how magic works, and I can understand the fey language. I see and hear strange things, like the voices of the rain and the wind. I don’t really know what to make of it all. I wish I had someone to talk to about this, someone who knew about magic.

What’s the faerie gentleman like?
Frolic: I’m afraid of him. Querry isn’t, but then Querry isn’t afraid of anything. I think Reggie hates him. He’s very beautiful, though.

What’s next for you and your companions? What do we have to look forward to?
Frolic: We’ll be setting off for uncharted lands with Baron Starling soon. I’m not sure if I like Baron Starling yet. He keeps a lot of secrets. Reg is afraid it will be very dangerous, but Querry is as confident as ever. I don’t know. I worry about Reg and Querry getting hurt. I’m looking forward to something to take my mind off wondering why I was created, and I’m looking forward to talking to the baron’s faerie steward, Tom Teezle. Maybe he can help me make some sense of all the new things I see and hear. I just want the people I love to make it home safely.


You can read all about Frolic, Reg, and Querry’s next adventure in A Grimoire for the Baron, available here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3283

The trio’s first adventure, Boots for the Gentleman, is available here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2483


Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from the book. Enjoy!



Former archivist Reg Whitney, expert thief Querry Knotte, and the clockwork boy known as Frolic are fugitives from Halcyon living on a small island. While Reg is content to lead a safe and settled life, there is trouble in paradise: Querry is bored, and Frolic can’t help but ponder his own existence.

When Querry and Frolic get caught breaking into Baron Starling’s villa, all three men are bamboozled into accompanying the baron on a quest for arcane knowledge. But their jungle destination holds more danger than anyone on the expedition expects.

 Reg knows their crew is made up of criminals—the kind who can’t be trusted—which puts a strain on the trio. He’s certain the baron and the mercenary Jean-Andre are hiding something that puts them all in danger. Querry and the baron grow close, leaving Reg and Frolic feeling alienated. Frolic’s friendship with a fey servant just strains the trio’s dynamic further. Even if Reg, Querry, and Frolic survive the quest, their relationship will never be the same.


Excerpt:

QUERRILOUS KNOTTE had never been anything but a thief. He’d been a thief since he’d come to understand certain objects could be traded for food, for clothing, for weapons to defend himself, or for a night of safety behind a sturdy door. Early on, Querry had realized no one in the world would give him the things he needed to survive. If he wanted to live, he had to take them, and so he had. Over time, he’d become quite good at it and had grown to like it. It felt good to show the privileged minority their wealth and station didn’t keep them as secure as they deluded themselves into thinking.

Querry smirked as he leaned against the wall of The Mermaid’s Tail, the local tavern. He watched Frolic pack his steamer trunk with the clockwork toys that hadn’t sold throughout the day. Querry pushed off the wall and strode across the street to help his friend with his burden. Frolic’s pale face lit up when he turned his golden eyes on Querry.

“Need a hand?” Querry asked.

Frolic shook his head. “I can manage. I’m stronger than I look,” Frolic responded with a wink. Although Frolic looked like a young man in his late teens, he was actually a highly sophisticated clockwork himself. Querry had seen him best men twice his size with ease.

“Is it time?” Frolic asked with obvious glee.

Querry lifted his hand to shield his eyes as he looked out over the ocean. The sun was just beginning to set, and the throngs of dockworkers, sailors, and fishermen started home for the
night alongside the more well-to-do of the village, who’d been shopping at the markets and fishmongers or just enjoying the beach. Querry smiled and nodded. “It certainly is.” Crowds made a wonderful place to do some light thievery, with all those bodies jostling about, tired from the day’s labor, thinking about dinner, distracted.

Frolic skipped into position a few feet ahead of Querry, making a colossal show of pretending his trunk was just a little too heavy for him. He tripped, knocking a gentleman into Querry, who caught the man, then expertly slipped his hand into the man’s coat, relieving him of his coin purse.

“Pardon me, sir,” Frolic simpered, fixing the man with a puppy dog expression. The whole scene appeared genuinely accidental. The slightly rumpled gentleman only huffed as he hurried away.

Frolic and Querry exchanged glances as they moved on to their next mark. Querry smiled. He loved that Frolic shared his taste for adventure and danger. Lately it seemed that Frolic liked it even more than before his accident. Perhaps the faerie magic used to repair him had made him reckless and wilder than before. Perhaps his brush with his mortality had made him eager to squeeze every drop of experience and excitement out of life. Either way, he clearly enjoyed the game as much as Querry. They played out the Bump and Snatch on a well-dressed lady, who was obviously from out of town. Querry knew they couldn’t go overboard. They only did this once or twice a month, just to keep their skills sharp. Any more than that, and people might start to get suspicious. But it was just too much fun, and after the trouble they’d managed to survive in Halcyon, Querry felt like there wasn’t anything they couldn’t accomplish together.

Frolic bumped, Querry snatched, and the target was none the wiser. The crowd gradually thinned, and Querry sighed. “Looks like we’re done here,” Querry lamented.

Frolic nodded and fell into step next to him. As they walked, Querry noticed a perfect mark. The man emerged from a brothel with a vacant smirk, still holding his billfold. Querry elbowed Frolic, and they shared a silent communication. Frolic smiled and meandered over toward the target. The smaller man slipped, tossing his trunk into the air. It landed just in front of the big man and burst open, spilling its contents. “Oh no!” Frolic exclaimed in his best helpless youth voice. Unaccustomed to deception, Frolic almost always went too far, but it usually worked for him.

“Here now, don’t worry, little fella,” the larger gentleman said as he absently stuffed his billfold into his back pocket. “Let me help you.”

Querry sidled up behind the man, plucked the billfold from his pocket, and emptied it. He replaced it just as Frolic secured his trunk.

“Oy,” the man exclaimed, spinning on Querry. “What’re you doing there?”

“Sorry, sir. Just thought I could help you and the young fellow,” Querry crooned, hoping he could diffuse the man’s sudden suspicion. Frolic moved off as they’d always practiced, but his gaze locked with Querry’s. Then Querry noticed the man reaching into his back pocket, and he knew the situation was about to explode. He gave Frolic the signal to run, and Frolic obeyed, hefting the trunk onto his back as he went. Querry dashed off in the opposite direction, the angry man in hot pursuit.

“Come back here, you filthy cutpurse!”

Querry easily outdistanced the larger, slower man, ducking into an alley so he could slow down, so he appeared less conspicuous. He pulled a hat from his pocket and plopped it over his distinctive black curls. He slipped off his red vest and turned it inside out, making it a black vest. The tiny flat he and Frolic shared with Reg was just ahead now. He skipped happily across the street, and a hurtling form crashed into him. Querry almost fell, but managed to stay on his feet. When he looked up, his eyes grew wide with surprise. The big, bald man from the brothel stood in front of him, heaving great gulps of the fishy air.

“Sorry, mate. Chasin’ a thief,” he gasped. “Red vest. Seen him?” Querry only nodded and pointed up the street. “Thanks, mate,” the man said, giving Querry a friendly clap on the shoulder before running off. Querry laughed heartily as he ascended the stairs to their flat.

He was a thief, had always been a thief, and a bloody brilliant one, at that. Now Querry’s beloved partner wanted him to be something else. He could see it on Reg’s face the moment he
closed the door. Querry was still laughing, but when he saw the looks on Reg’s and Frolic’s faces, he stopped abruptly.

“You seem pretty pleased with yourself,” Reg fumed.

“Is it wrong for me to be proud of my talents?” Querry stamped his foot and raked his black curls out of his eyes, pushing the hat off and letting it fall to the floor. He paced the length of their tiny, seaside hovel in a Thalacean port, resisting his desire to kick the rickety table or the iron frame of the bed. He spun on the ball of his foot and crossed the little room again. It smelled of the flowers Reg had bought fresh earlier in the day but underneath lurked the scent of rancid fish and sea water polluted by steamships. “I’m good at what I do, and I’m not ashamed. Are you ashamed of me, Reg?”

Reg collapsed on the edge of their wrought iron bed, all the tensions dropping from his slight form and his anger deflating in a drawn-out sigh. He leaned his elbows on his knees, and his gaze dropped to the chipped, blue tile floor. At Reg’s despair, more disturbing than his passionate arguments, Querry swallowed his annoyance and affront and took a step toward him. Reg looked up and pushed his long fringe out of his hazel eyes. The half a year they’d spent under the strong sun of the Thalacean beach had lightened Reg’s hair to the color of sunlit wheat and brought a healthy, bronze tint to his face. With his darker coloring, Querry easily passed for a native. No amount of heat or sun could alter Frolic’s complexion, and he remained a flawless ivory, kissed with traces of pastel rose. His large golden eyes widened with concern as he watched Querry and Reg, and he rested his delicate hand on the hilt of his enchanted sword.

“I’m not ashamed, Querry, I’m worried,” Reg said in a voice left scratchy by his previous tirade. “The three of us are wanted criminals. We barely managed to escape Halcyon with our lives. I just don’t think it’s prudent to tempt fate. What if you get caught?”

“I won’t,” Querry said, crossing his arms over his chest and lifting his chin. He couldn’t quite suppress the smug smile pulling at the corners of his lips. “Never do.”

“You are not invulnerable!” Reg’s voice raised as a scrap of his former anger returned.

“I never said I was invulnerable. Only that I’m good.”

“Damn it!” Reg stood and smacked the white, plaster wall. Frolic flinched, and Querry recoiled. Reg never lost his temper. He won his debates through reason, calm, and cool, and Querry usually relented just because what Reg said made sense. But Querry had been reluctantly treading the cautious path for months now, and he itched for the night air on a rooftop, the way his senses fine-tuned to everything as he worked. He needed to feel that thrill, to remind himself how much more talented he was than the privileged he robbed. He couldn’t help longing for excitement and the challenge his illicit activities provided him. Though he’d never tell Reg, the chance of getting caught made it all the more delicious.

“I’m going crazy here,” he said as gently as he could, hoping to make his partner understand. “I have to stretch my legs, test my tools.”

It didn’t work. Reg stood a few inches from Querry’s chest, his fists balled beside his hips and his full lips trembling. “Try thinking about someone other than yourself for a change! What do you think would happen to me and Frolic if you got caught? What if Frolic is with you? Do you think it’ll take long before they realize he isn’t human? What do you suppose they’ll do to him?”

“I taught Frolic! He knows what to do. Besides, I’m not forcing him to come with me. I’ve kept Frolic safe since I found him!”

“Stop it.” Frolic interrupted them and positioned his small body between them, looking from Querry’s face to Reg’s. “Don’t talk about me like I’m not in the room. Please, just stop fighting.”

His obvious distress neutralized Querry’s anger, and Reg’s tight expression softened with sympathy. Both of them went to Frolic’s side and took up one of his hands. They apologized in unison, but Frolic still looked miserable. Reg stroked Frolic’s smooth cheek with the back of his hand, and Frolic’s white eyelashes fluttered with momentary contentment. Querry took his hand and led him to the large table that occupied over half of their living space. The three of them sat down, and Querry poured some strong, local wine for Reg and himself, wishing Frolic could partake of the simple comfort a potent drink offered. With Frolic, everything was much more complex.

“Let’s try to talk like people who love each other.” Sometimes, naïve little Frolic astounded Querry with his insight. Querry and Reg both nodded and looked at the rough, wooden surface of the table, ashamed at their behavior.

Querry reached across the table to take each of their hands in one of his. He closed his eyes for a moment, breathing deeply to calm himself and just savoring the connection they shared. “I’m sorry,” he said softly, squeezing their fingers and delighting in the warmth and slight dampness of their skin. Here by the southern sea, even Frolic seemed to don a perpetual sheen of moisture, though Querry knew he couldn’t sweat. Even so, his white, ringlet curls wound tighter and springier than ever, curlicuing out from his face in every direction. Querry found the disorder enchanting. Frolic always looked as if he’d just tumbled out of bed after a bout of lovemaking.

“I’m not sorry.”

Reg’s statement surprised Querry. “What?”

“I think you’re being foolish, Querry, and I can’t begin to imagine why you want to take this risk. We aren’t desperate for money.”

Querry glanced around their single-room dwelling, with the bed in the corner, the table at the center, some cracked crockery on a shelf on the wall, and a small, iron stove barely large enough to heat a kettle. When they tried to cook on it, suffocating smoke filled the space. Other than that, little filled the room beyond the bits of scrap Frolic used to make clockwork toys to sell to tourists or entrepreneurial sailors. A half-completed cat, with a jointed neck, hips, spine, and legs that would move as if alive when complete, waited on the board resting across two stone blocks that Frolic used as a workbench. Its green eyes, indistinguishable from life, would move and roll about when Frolic wound the toy. Bits of other, more fantastical creatures lay strewn across the floor nearby. Unlike other toymakers, Frolic made no effort to hide the elaborate, clockwork joints of his creations. Instead, he integrated them into his designs, making the functional aspects part of the aesthetic appeal. He flaunted his mechanical artistry rather than hiding it, to devastating effect. In Halcyon, such amazing items, far superior to anything else available, would have sold in fine boutiques for high prices. Here, Frolic barely managed to trade his wondrous creations for enough coin to buy a meal.

Being poor didn’t bother Querry. He’d always been poor, had never had more to his name than a simple room such as this. The idea of submitting to another’s authority grated on him, though. He didn’t mind having little in the way of material possessions, so long as he could say no one owned him. After being an indentured laborer as a child, being beholden to no one was very important to Querry.

As if he read Querry’s mind, Reg said, “You could find legitimate work, you know.”

Querry bristled and sat up straighter in his wooden chair. “You really want me to spend my days gutting fish or hauling crates? Why should I?”

Reg rubbed his forehead. “It’s an honest living, and it’s good enough for most people. It wouldn’t put us in danger.”

Reg didn’t understand. Querry had no intention of spending his life shoveling shit for a domineering employer. He possessed talents that said he didn’t need to. Querry had never been indebted to anyone, and he wasn’t about to change that. He didn’t need wealth, but he needed his freedom more than his next breath. After their childhood of virtual slavery in Halcyon’s factories, why couldn’t Reg appreciate that?

“Why do you have to make it sound as if I’m choosing between my love for you and Frolic and giving up my ideals?” Querry asked.

“Because, in a way, you are,” Reg answered, his gaze steady. “Which one will you sacrifice, Querry?”


Contest

  • Leave a Comment along with email
  • Must be 18yrs or older
  • Winner has 48hrs to reply to my email or another winner gets chosen
  • Contest runs until October 24th 11:59pm EST

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Three of Swords by Theo Fenraven

Three Of Swords (Precog in Peril #1) by Theo Fenraven
Voodoo Lily Press
Novella: 37,000wds
4 Pants Off

Blurb:
An old houseboat, a hot young guy, a couple of murders, and more mysterious keys than you can shake a stick at: this is what awaits Gray Vecello after his grandfather, Graham, is killed picking up high blood pressure pills.

A letter Graham left behind sends Gray and his unexpected ally, Cooper Key, on a journey downriver in an attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding an unknown treasure. On the way, they encounter both friends and enemies, one of whom will target Gray and Cooper for death. One thing working in Gray’s favor: he has the sight, just as Graham had, but will it be enough to save them both?



Review:
This was a big surprise for me cus I really liked the heck out of it. It was cute, sexy, and a great way to begin a series. A series, I expect to be awesome because I really enjoyed the characters and the set-up have me anticipating awesomeness.

Gray is attending his grandfather's funeral a man he hardly knew. So it comes as a surprise when he is mentioned in the will, because Gray is also carrying around some serious guilt. He saw his grandfather death before it actually happened, but to say he did see it would lead to admitting he can see the future. That's a can of worms he would rather not open. When the will reads that he was left a houseboat, Gray is both excited and apprehensive, though it could be the start of change. A change he most desperately needs.

The houseboat does come with a tenant, the very young and attractive Cooper. Gray is instantly attracted to young man who provides the insight to a side of his grandfather he was unaware of while slowly working his way into his heart. Suddenly Gray is finding out about his grandfather's secret life and it all has to do with the gift inside of him. It's untapped and he must figure out how to control it with clues left by his grandad and of course with the help of Cooper.

There is a lot to like about this book, but with every new series, sometimes the first book just never feels like enough. I really enjoyed the pacing, the getting into the meat of it all, but by the end certain things felt rushed, and I was a bit disappointed. I believe it needed a bit more pages; there is so much going on and with not enough pages to tackle it.

I liked Gray; he is a bit stubborn and was really intent on fighting the inevitable, which left him vulnerable. I like Cooper, there is a lot of growing left for him to do and I am looking forward to it. Together, they create a nice balance and have a solid relationship from the get go. There is a nice little surprise that tie them together, but it will remain a surprise *evil laugh*.

Overall, I enjoyed the hell out of it and I’m anticipating the next book in the series. I am excited to see what other adventures Coop and Gray get up to.

4 Pants Off

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review: Domestic Relations by K-Lee Klein

Reviewed by Fehu
Domestic Relations by K-Lee Klein
Less Than Three Press
Novella: 137pgs
3.25 Pants Off

Blurb:
Life has thrown a lot at Riley, most of it bad. But Riley is nothing if not stubborn, and though it left scars, he's managed to overcome the worst parts of his life. Not all of his problems are gone, but life is certainly better than it's ever been. Most of his strength and happiness is due to his boyfriend Josh, the best thing that life has given him, and Riley will do anything to keep him at his side.

But when past and present collide, and the problems become too much for Riley to contain or control, Josh is the very thing he stands most to lose




Review:
It all begins with a court scene and there’s not a lot of stories featuring two gay lawyers, so I was looking forward to this one! The characters were interesting and the story flow was good, but it's a tad much sugar for me, with just a bit of angst. I was prepared to like this story; I liked the blurb and the setting, two lovers having problems with their relationship because one is keeping secrets sounded promising, at least to me.

Riley, does not like his boss, he is harassed in his job and the stress is killing him, or at least harming his health. His lover Josh is very caring and of course, he is worried about Riley, especially because of Riley's strange behaviour as of late, which Josh attributes to his job.

There is a big build up about Riley's secret, which I do not understand, it's nothing that should be kept away from a lover especially, since it has the potential to harm said lover. For all the secrecy and the build up, the whole issue was solved easily and with a minimum of drama, which I found disappointing and a let down. Also, I did not understand Riley’s reasons for the secrecy.

On the plus side, the relationship was very sweet, as were their interactions with each other, there was some chemistry and well the ending did fit in with the sweet theme. Another good point was that Riley did manage to stand up to his boss.

Oh but I did say a bit to saccharine for my taste, right? There is such a thing as too much of a good thing: Riley has a trust fund, his father goes to jail (still don’t really understand that one and why it would be so easy at the end). His boss is exposed for his misdeeds and they open their own law-firm, which is doing well, a marriage proposal and even the one gay client they had, who was fired works for them. I missed some sort of reality.

It’s a nice story to read, mostly sweet without a lot of angst but with a bit of drama in the middle, good writing but the story does miss the bang I was expecting.


Review: Caleo by james crawford

Caleo (Leech Book #1) by james crawford
Self-Published
Novel
3.25 Pants Off

Blurb:
Caleo Anima is the social outcast of Butler High. His pale skin and white hair have caused him nothing but trouble since birth. Now at age 17 a mysterious stranger shows up telling him that not only is Caleo part of a magical race called Leeches, but his life is in danger because of a civil war that's been going on for decades...all in an effort to gain control over him.







Review:
First, I am going to say that this book is longer than it needed to be which took away from my enjoyment. It's interesting enough, and the fact that I finished it is a good thing. There was just too much happening back to back and it was hard to follow all the crazy. It needed to be a bit more tight and cleaner.

Caleo Anima is an outcast and is desperately trying to find away to fit in. With his very white as snow skin and the bluest of eyes, he stands out and doesn't fit the norm. He is bullied relentlessly for how he looks and for being gay. The only friends he really has are Jack and Jillian who are more like siblings to him. The one thing I really enjoyed about Caleo is that he's very relatable. Being a teen can be tough and I think the author did a fantastic job of getting that across. He doesn't do self pity, but like any regular person, he has his moments of doubt and being scared, especially finding out all these new things about himself. He is a strong young character.

There is a lot that happens after Caleo finds out he is more than human, and is meant to rules those that are Leeches. Leeches are males who harness incredible power that varies by person, and can become more powerful if they take other Leeches energy. So there’s killing and crazy going on. Caleo doesn't quite know the full extent of his power, but he knows he is powerful. Now it’s a race against time to stay alive and keep his family safe. However, with enemies making themselves known every step of the way, the task is becoming difficult and dangerous.

There is non-stop action in this book, and it annoyed me most of the time. There is never a calm after the storm, just more crazy happening and people dying. I felt like the characters needed a reprieve, and all the moments of face off with the bad guys really just took away from the enjoyment of the story. Also added to length, which was unnecessarily long. There some scenes that really didn’t add anything to story it just showed Caleo in hero status. He had proven himself capable so mostly each action scene felt unnecessary.

There is no romance but you can feel some bromance between Caleo and his best-friend Jack. A friend I find skeevy, because he never stood up for Caleo in school but all of a sudden, he's Mr Protector. I am just not 100% on board with him. I am excited to see where the series will be going, and I hope the next story is a lot cleaner in the writing and plot.

Overall, I liked it but it became hard to read it by the end. I am interested to see where this Leech thing goes. I also want to see whom Caleo falls in love with, and how he will grow to do some ass kicking.

SideNote: I really love the cover, though the hand doesn't really match the boy it's still very pretty.


Review: The Gravedigger's Brawl by Abigail Roux

Reviewed by Fehu
The Gravediggers Brawl by Abigail Roux
Riptide Publishing
Novel: 250pgs
5 Pants Off

Blurb:
Dr. Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix.

Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a Gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.

But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s, and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship—it might also end their lives.


Review:
Just the right book to get into the mood for Halloween!  So let me ask you something...Are you afraid of ghosts? No, well Wyatt wasn't either, at least at the beginning...

Dr Wyatt Case works as curator of a history museum in Richmond and the most exiting things that happen to him, are his run ins with the board trustees. He loves his job, but recently the trustees have made it their goal to haunt him in his workplace so he is glad to escape when his best friend Nick, suggest visiting a new place: Gravedigger's Tavern.

At the tavern, Wyatt meets a very charming bartender, Ash and they couldn't be any more different, but here at least opposites attract. After Wyatt’s less than stellar behaviour in the aftermath of their encounter, he searches for an excuse to visit Ash. Gravediggers history is the excuse and its there where Wyatt finds inspiration for a new exhibition, to attract a younger crowed. What is more interesting than ghosts and haunted sites, right?

Meanwhile strange things happen at the Gravedigger’s Tavern, odd noises, music playing on its own, reflections of a man in the mirror and electricity acting up, but then again it’s an old building, with a lot of history, or that’s what they tell themselves. Especially Ash seems to be attracting the strange happenings and soon it follows him outside the bar.

At the same time, Wyatt is researching the taverns history and finds out about mysterious murders happening there and a lot of skeletons, which were literary buried in walls. It’s up to Wyatt, Noah and the Gravedigger’s crew to find some answers and get some help, and think fast, if they want to save Ash, because it turns out that even if you don’t believe in ghosts, they do believe in you!

The ghost story is spooky and while Wyatt’s and Ash’s relationship didn’t pull me in that much, the story did. I loved the descriptive writing and could see the places in my mind; the sense of place was really well done. The supporting characters were interesting and I think I would have loved to read more about Noah and Caleb’s relationship. Also, the history parts appealed to me.

This story has the right Halloween atmosphere, suspense, romance and horror and while the first copy I had went missing, at least my ereader proved itself immune to the books curse. Gravediggers Brawl kept me turning pages up to the very end.

5 Pants Off

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: This Book is Haunted! Part 2 by Abigail Roux



Welcome to The Gravedigger’s Brawl virtual book tour! Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of the most haunted book I’ve ever worked on. Over the course of the next few days I’ll be giving away prizes to help you get through the reading experiences, namely bundles of sage to cleanse your electronics after you download a cursed book! In addition, every stop along this tour is a chance to win $10 in store credit to Riptide Publishing as part of their first anniversary celebration! To enter to win one of the prizes, just leave a comment here and make sure you include your e-mail address! Many thanks to Pants Off Reviews for helping me keep this spooky Riptide Publishing virtual book tour going!

Warning: This Book is Haunted! Part 2 by Abigail Roux

On the first stop in this tour, I spoke a little about the beginnings of The Gravedigger’s Brawl and what inspired me to write it. If I had known what sort of curse would follow this novel, I’m not sure I would ever have finished it, let alone submit it to be published.

I know that must be odd to hear from an author. This is what I do, it’s how I make my living and buy my daughter stuff she doesn’t really need. Why wouldn’t I try to have a novel done and published and inflict misery on my readers with the curse that follows it?

Frankly put, this book scares me. And I’m not talking about the plot.

The story sat for a few years while I got myself off the ground. It’s different, and it’s not what my usual readers expect from me. I love this book, I really do. I love the characters, I love the mood, I love the fact that while writing it I scared myself and had to sleep with the lights on, I love the songs on the playlist that accompany it. I love everything about it, and so when I had some time to work on it, I jumped on the chance to rewrite it for public consumption.

It took me a while to realize that the book was cursed. And even then, I sort of assumed it was just me. Looking back, I should never have pulled the old files out of cryogenic suspension, and I should have stopped after the first computer died.

The first time I pulled up the file to work on it, it was simply to read the story and become familiar with it again. Halfway through, my laptop began to malfunction. It was an old laptop, and I’d had issues with it before this. But the screen would waver, and then it began to beep at me. A warning beep. A beep of doom.

Two days later, the screen went dark and the laptop took everything with it when it died. I mourned it as you should any loyal companion, and then skipped my way to the store to buy a shiny new one. Along the way I also had the old one fixed, just in case I ever needed a backup. For the new one I got top of the line, the best laptop I could find, and when I got home the first thing I did was load my saved files onto it.

The files were gone. Nothing was left from the old laptop, which was still off at the Geek Squad having its hard drive erased. All the changes I’d made to the ghost story were lost forever. I had a minor meltdown that involved lots of Doritos and watching the movie Clue fifteen times in a row. I’m sure anyone who’s ever lost everything knows what I’m talking about.

When I finally recovered what I could, I put the ghost story back into cold storage and worked on something else. Life was good. A year passed. And then October came around again and that same feeling came over me. I needed to work on that ghost story because I love October, I love Halloween, and I love this story.

I pulled it up. I read over it. And the next day my laptop was nothing more than a very large, very expensive paperweight.

It gave me no warning, no sign that it was about to die. It just took its hard drive and went home.
I’m hard on laptops. I go through about one a year. So while I was upset by its untimely demise, I moved on. I bought a new one and began trying to rebuild the very small amount of information I’d lost in the crash and I spent the evening working on the ghost story on the new computer.

A day later, my brand new laptop was so infested with viruses that I had to return it to the store and get a new one.

All this laptop cruelty, it could all be a coincidence, right? I mean, three laptops in the course of twelve months isn’t so strange for a writer who spends all day every day abusing them. That’s what I told myself.

In an act of desperation I pulled out the old laptop, the backup one I’d had fixed for emergencies such as this. When I booted it up for the first time in over a year, it took its sweet time coming around. And when I went to transfer the ghost story form Dropbox, I discovered that there was one file still on the laptop. A single file left even after the memory had been erased and the hard drive redone.

It was titled ‘Gravedigger’s Brawl’, and that was when I started to freak out just a little.


You can haunt me at several places on the web, including Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and my website. I hope to see you around.



The Gravedigger’s Brawl

Dr. Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix.
Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a Gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.
But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s, and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship—it might also end their lives.


You can read the first two chapters and order The Gravedigger’s Brawl HERE.



  • Leave a comment with email
  • Must be 18yrs or older
  • Contest runs until October 21st 11:59pm EST

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What's Happening This Week!

I hope you all had a fab week. Yah, last week was supposed to be last with the reviews but I got a bit behind. So expect two reviews from me this week, I don't want to leave behind any loose ends. Expect things to be slow and spontaneous  I will post reviews from the other girls but I believe this will be the last WHTS until December.

There is some good posts coming this week with an awesome giveaway so don't miss out. I just cannot wait to kick it and just chill, gonna be super awesome. I watched Prometheus last night and well... my final conclusion is this "sometimes you should just leave shit alone". Yes, its so exciting to find stuff out but finding things out can lead to dying and other stuff' Just saying.


What's causing a pants losing this week....


Tuesday

  • Guest Post & Giveaway with Abigail Roux: Gravediggers Brawl 


Wednesday
  • Review: Caleo by james crawford (It's just so long)
  • Review: Domestic Relations by K-Lee Klein (Reviewed by Fehu)


Thursday
  • Review: Three Swords by Theo Fenraven


Friday
  • Guest Post/Excerpt with Augusta Li











~Enjoy Your Week Everyone~

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Review: Fields of Gold by Dev Bentham

Fields of Gold (Tarnished Souls #2) by Dev Bentham
Loose-Id
Novella: 119pgs
3.75 Pants Off (Almost A 4)

Blurb:
Life is full of compromises. That's what Avi Rosen tells himself. He's a yeshiva boy turned historian, working on his dissertation and stretching his meager stipend by moonlighting as a closeted politician's houseboy. Their relationship used to feel like a real affair. Lately it seems more like a job.

It isn't until he meets someone decent that he realizes how corrupt his life has become. Pete is a tall blond farmer who charms Avi with his dazzling smile and his straightforward life. But even if he can believe this refreshingly honest man doesn't have his own political agenda, will Avi find the strength to emerge from the dark life he's chosen and find a future in the sun



Review:
Avi Rosen is a struggling student, both financially and emotionally. He has been working on his dissertation for years and sees no end in sight. When he gets hit by a van and is thrown off his bicycle, he is rescued by Pete a good-looking farmer with a beautiful smile. There is only one problem; Avi has a complicated relationship with a closeted politician. Though lately it’s more business deal than a relationship. He is a glorified kept boy who doesn't have to worry about where to live.

So meeting Pete has Avi questioning many things. Like wanting a real relationship, going outside with your lover, and just being together. Instead of just this dirty little secret, but as Avi would say, "It’s complicated". Doesn’t mean he can’t get to know Pete and experience what he has to offer. Even though he might end up breaking the man’s heart, and his own.

I like this story but then there are things that make me like it less. I find the author always manages to push already skeevy situations and make them a bit more dirty. Avi is character that has to grow on you, he is not easily likable and it's hard to feel sympathetic towards him. Eventually I did warn up to him, because he's a little jaded and a whole lot of naive.

I think this should have been a bit longer, I am dissatisfied with the ending. Without spoiling, there was this big thing about organic for farmers that affected Pete and then it was glossed over by the end. I felt like yeh, he has Avi now but what about his business. It was an important point of the plot that later felt insignificant. I am just really curious about how it would have affected him.

Overall, I liked the story but I didn't love it. I enjoyed it a lot more than the first book. Pete and Avi are cute but they needed a bit more to solidify their relationship. I feel like Pete is a getting a bad deal, cus Avi was so skeevy for a bit. In the long Dev does write a nice story that always brings out strong emotions in me.

Review: Book #1 Learning From Isaac

Friday, October 12, 2012

And The Winners Are....




Carey (FanGirlMom)

~Carey is the winner of the $10 Riptide credit. ~




Michelle 

~Michelle won the awesome giveaway by Piper Vaughn and Xara Xanakas.~



*Thanks to those who stopped by and commented and Congrats to the winners. Enjoy!*

Review: Bound: Forget Me Knot by H.B Pattskyn

Bound: Forget Me Knot by H.B Pattskyn
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 260pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Blurb:
Jason Kennly needs to get a closer look when he spots a gray leather collar from across the dealers’ room at a science fiction convention, even if there’s no way he can afford it on his college student budget. After all, looking is free. But then he spots something he wants even more than the collar: leather booth owner Henry Durand, who insists Jason try it on. When Henry asks Jason to be his model at a bondage demo, Jason agrees despite his lack of experience as a sub and ends up spending a no-strings-attached weekend exploring his kinky side with a virtual stranger.

Then the con is over, Jason and Henry go their separate ways, and it’s back to real life. Coming to terms with his identity as a submissive and masochist isn’t easy for Jason. Suddenly he has to face fear, doubt, and a best friend who’ll do anything to get him away from “that creep” and back together with the ex-boyfriend who ignored him. All Jason wants is to be with Henry, but what if that means becoming his slave?


Review:
BDSM is one of my favourite tropes to read. Something about giving up control and getting your ass paddled really appeals to me. So when I saw this book I just knew I had to read it, and with that fabulous cover to go with it, I was on it like white on rice. I was expecting to like it a bit more, but it turned out to be a decent read.

Jason is working at a convention when his eyes are caught on a beautiful leather collar. Wanting to wear a collar is something he keeps to himself, so he's just going to have to eye shop because the collar is way over what he can afford. When the owner approaches him, Jason is mesmerized by Henry and deeply attracted to his leather clad body. Suddenly Jason is having a weekend out of his fantasies; He's finally able to explore his very submissive side.

The story then delves into Jason life, his struggles with money, the death of his mom, and living with a dad who cares nothing for him. The past has shaped Jason into who he is now, he is insecure, doubtful, and has no confidence in himself. So with Henry it comes as a surprise that he wants him when all he does is screw up. Henry brings out something that was dormant, and it both frightens and thrills him. Is he broken in wanting to tied up, spanked, and possibly owned?

Jason does not become a perfect submissive; it pretty much takes the entire story for him to become somewhat comfortable. This really sheds light on Henry the experienced Dom. He is presented as knowing but not larger than life. He makes mistakes and ultimately learns as he's teaching Jason. I really enjoyed him as a character but I wished there was more about him other than being apart of the scene. In addition, he's a tad bit pushy and needed to tone it down a bit.

I felt like too much time was spent on the pain part when it really should have dealt with Jason submissive side. Jason really isn't masochist but he does have a very strong submissive side and it’s all overshadowed by pain. That’s where my rating fell, every scene dealt with pain and Jason was being pushed to his capacity.

I enjoyed the progression of Jason and Henry's relationship so when an obstacle hit I believed they could survive it together. The supporting characters and Jason's life make this book more than one big sex scene with some dialogue. I enjoyed it, but it was not the awesome I was expecting. It's a decent BDSM novel with the strongest part being the romance.

3.5 Pants Off

Review: Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane

Reviewed by Buggy
Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 200pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Blurb:
Heroes fall.

Peter first came to the tiny backwater of Daisy, California, as a child, and he was sure of one thing: his cousin Michael would take care of him. When Michael started a friendship with the fragile, haunted Bodi Kovacs, Peter's consolation in losing any claim to Bodi was that Michael would care for him too. But tragedy struck, and Michael ripped himself out of their world and threw away the people who loved him most.

Six years later, Michael is coming home in a box. All it took to destroy a hero was a town full of bigotry and hatred. Reclaiming him will take strength of heart that neither Peter nor Bodi had six years ago. Since Michael left, Bodi has been lost and alone. Peter can try to make Bodi his and take the role Michael should have had, but first he and Bodi have to confront the past. They will need to face Michael, the good and the bad, the beauty and the sadness, and see his memory truly for what it was and not what it could have been. It's a simple act that may destroy them both: sifting through the flaming ruins of heaven is a sure way to annihilate a bleeding mortal heart.


Review:
Opening Line:” Daisy, California Population 2,726

As much as I love Amy Lane I have to admit this one was a struggle for me to get through. Don’t get me wrong the writing is still fantastic and there are passages that literally take your breath away but the story is also so painful, so angry, so freaking desperate and depressing that it just became more then I could take. I wasn’t even convinced of the love story taking place here, it seemed a little frantic, a little violent, a little for the moment.

You’d think with a title like “Mourning Heaven” I would have been prepared though, especially after already having my heart shredded (in a good way) by several of Lane’s other books. I was expecting angst and pain here but I was also expecting awesomeness or at least something redeeming or hopeful to cling to throughout this sad story. But with every page angst-riddled and every character broken, tormented and grief stricken this was ultimately just exhausting.

“Oh shit he was disintegrating, dissolving, coming apart again and Peter needed to be there for once, someone needed to be there to catch Bodi as he fell. Peter was up and wrapping his arms around Bodi before one more painful word happened and Bodi was crying like he hadn’t cried when --- (spoiler) and Peter was crying with him because this was Michael Bodi was crying about and Michael had hurt and Michael had broken and he hadn’t let them fix him and now he would never be fixed and they’d always be a little bit broken in their souls where he’d left a Michael shaped hole.”

Peter moved to the small prejudiced town of Daisy at the age of 12. He’d moved around a lot in his short life and while his mother loved him she was just never able to provide for him eventually depositing him with his Aunt Aileen and her son Michael. It wasn’t all bad though because there was Michael. For Peter his cousin is the sun and the moon, he is everything good and strong and protective and right in the world. Just to hear him breathing through the thin bedroom walls at night makes him feel like everything is going to be okay. And then there’s Michael’s friend Bodi, the boy that Peter loves from the moment he sets eyes on him. Of course it’s not easy being gay in a town like Daisy the church is …well very vocal in its views on that sort of evil behavior and everyone in this backwards town goes to church so it’s not a place you want to be out.

“He’d told his mother that he thought boys were more beautiful than girls, and she’d told him that he would have to be either brave or quiet about that, especially in Daisy.”

The meat of this story however takes place years later; Peter is now 23 and the only one still living in Daisy. Michael his hero, his everything who he hasn’t seen in 6 years is finally coming home and Peter now has the task of finding Bodi and bringing him back too because Michael is coming home in a casket. Slowly we the readers learn what happened 6 years ago that splintered the trio, sending Bodi off in the middle of the night into parts unknown and Michael to the nearest recruiting office where he enlisted in the service.

Together Bodi and Peter have to get through their grief and pay homage to Michael, restoring his motorcycle and giving him a proper send-off while trying to get through the hate, ignorance and prejudice that this town tends to feed on. Bodi is so broken that it will be a miracle if he survives even with Peter’s love and Peter; well he has to learn that even heroes aren’t perfect.

3.5 Pants Off

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Aaron by J.P Barnaby

Reviewed by Hannah
Aaron by J.P Barnaby
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 238pgs
5 Pants Off

Blurb:
I can’t describe what it’s like to want to scream every minute of every day.

Two years after a terrifying night of pain destroyed his normal teenage existence, Aaron Downing still clings to the hope that one day, he will be a fully functional human being. But his life remains a constant string of nightmares, flashbacks, and fear. When, in his very first semester of college, he’s assigned Spencer Thomas as a partner for his programming project, Aaron decides that maybe “normal” is overrated. If he could just learn to control his fear, that could be enough for him to find his footing again.

With his parents’ talk of institutionalizing him—of sacrificing him for the sake of his brothers’ stability—Aaron becomes desperate to find a way to cope with his psychological damage or even fake normalcy. Can his new shrink control his own demons long enough to treat Aaron, or will he only deepen the damage?

Desperate to understand his attraction for Spencer, Aaron holds on to his sanity with both hands as it threatens to spin out of control.


Review:
This book is simply stunning.

This is a story that is inarguably filled with pain and hurting that is beyond most peoples imagination, and I think we can all thank God for that, but this book evolves into something so much more than pain and trauma, it becomes one of beauty, peace and compassion.

The character of Aaron has been developed beautifully by J.P Barnaby. The story is gently unfolded before you as you piece together the events that have lead to this traumatised and broken young man struggling to just exist in a life that no longer feels like his. The harrowing and horrific pain that was inflicted upon him and his friend Juliette are delivered slowly to the reader, in the form of Aaron’s flashbacks, and gradually your tears will flow as you realise just what this young man is living with.

The fact that Barnaby doesn’t delve straight into Aaron’s attack is nothing short of a blessing on the reader. It’s not that his pain isn’t made clear from page one, but you are not crushed with the weight of his memories in an instant, you piece together the puzzle in parts, as Aaron faces each battle the day brings, allowing the reader time to come to terms with the traumas inflicted on him, creating even greater depth to his character.

The same can be said for Spencer. A character with his own daemons to battle, his own insecurities of the world to overcome, but who provides so much lightness in this book through the weight he helps lift off Aaron. Spencer’s deafness is written beautifully and you are given a clear picture of what his life is like in a world of no sound, and the struggles he must face. Inside his head, you learn of the normalcy that Spencer’s yearns for, for someone in the world to just see him and not his disability.

It is here, these wants, from both boys, that the most beautiful book I have ever read really blossoms. These boys both crave, but don’t know how to achieve, the same thing, a place in a world where they can be comfortable and where they can find acceptance, and they find just that in each other. Spencer’s reaction to his first meeting with Aaron is enough to show you the ability he could have to comfort Aaron, as he doesn't walk away full of judgments and ridicule at Aaron's obvious pain, he is full of nothing but concern and aching to help and understand the boy he scared the living daylights out of.

This book left me breathless. I went into it prepared for the heartache, the torture this story would inflict on my soul as I struggled to find a way to comfort Aaron from the safety and warmth of my living room, but I found I didn't need to comfort him, Spencer was there, by his side, and as you read on, you realize that Aaron not only has hope in the form of his best friend, but so do you as you start to breathe again, knowing Aaron has found someone who can bring him back to life.

Every character in this book is so lovingly and beautifully constructed that even though the pain is screaming at you from every angle, the pain of that horrific night, the pain of a family barely functioning, in both of the boy’s households, I hope you find, as I did, that the love screams at you even louder. You are given the time to understand each characters own struggles to overcome the earth shattering events in their lives. The bond shown between Aaron and his brothers, even under such strain is enough to warm your heart, even before you can see any light in Aaron’s life. The pain of a mother who can’t touch or comfort her son is overpowering, but incredibly moving for the reader, as you grasp how much lies ahead for this family to struggle through.

Spencer’s father in this book, along with his son, offers the chance of a future. Although Spencer struggles with his own issues and worries in regards to his fathers drinking, he still sees the ability to help Aaron in letting his father reach out to him, and as this new character relationship blossoms, between Aaron and Dr Thomas, it allows for Spencer and Aaron’s relationship to move forward.

The beauty in their friendship is enough to make your heart ache. As they communicate through IMing and email, you can see the walls break down on both sides and the light the shines through both of them. Each giggle or laugh that erupts from Aaron will make you want to weep with joy, and the reader will realize  probably long before he does, that he is still alive, and he is still capable of seeing and finding love in the world.

I wish I could find the words to adequately describe how much this book will warm your soul. It will be some of the worst pain you could ever read about, but it will also be one of the greatest example of love, understanding and acceptance that will leave you blissfully peaceful with the hope that beyond the pages of this book, Aaron’s world will once again be one filled with nothing but enough safety, comfort and love that he will always find the strength to fight the storms.

The pain in this book defiantly has the ability to haunt you, but I found, by the end, the examples of love and tenderness are enough to heal you, and leave you with a warm smile on your face (and possibly tears in your eyes).

5 Pants Off