Friday, January 31, 2014

Short Review: Reboud by Chris Scully

Reviewed by SinChan
Rebound (Heartwarming) by Chris Scully
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 67pgs
3 Pants Off

Blurb:
Christmas is a time for peace, love, and goodwill toward mankind. Not! More like cheating exes and absentee friends. For Emmett Byrd, spending the holiday season with his old college friend Terry in San Diego is supposed to be about mending his broken heart. But when Terry deserts him at the last minute, leaving Emmett alone in his condo for Christmas, it's just the icing on the cake of a crappy year full of betrayal and lost love. The only Christmas spirit this Scrooge is feeling is the alcoholic kind. Then a slightly kooky, unsophisticated farm boy named Sky knocks on the door looking for Terry, and a case of mistaken identity reawakens Emmett's hope in happily ever after. 

Short Review
Emmett and his best friend broke up with their respective boyfriends and plan to have a mutual crying fest for the Christmas holidays. When Emmett arrives at his friend's home, he ends up house sitting alone because his friend found a new boyfriend and wants to spend Christmas as a loving couple. After turning away several of his friend's ex boyfriends at his door, Emmett gets drunk and wallows in his self-pity. A surprise comes in the form of Sky, who Emmett suspect is another one of his friend's ex boyfriends.

I find it hard to believe that Emmett broke up with his boyfriend of 12 years. That's so sad and it starts off the book with a melancholy that I can't shake off. I keep thinking maybe Emmett and Sky will break up in the future too and love will not last no matter how good the beginning.

Despite the melancholy, the romance is cute and the misunderstanding is just on Emmett's side. I knew Emmett mistaken Sky for his friend's rebound way before Emmett did and got impatient. The story ends with Emmett and Sky giving each other a chance to build on their chemistry. It is very worthwhile to read about how Sky helps Emmett to overcome his grief and convinces him to give them a chance. Overall, this is a sweet, romantic story that focuses on a new beginning.

3 Pants Off

Review: Flare by Posy Roberts

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Flare (North Star #3) by Posy Roberts
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 330pgs
5 Pants Off

Blurb:
Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus are learning to live again after the death of Kevin's wife, Erin. They're doing everything they can to make a stable home for Kevin’s kids, but that stability is threatened when Kevin is served legal documents: Erin's parents want custody of Brooke and Finn. 

Meanwhile, Hugo is offered several acting jobs; to encourage him to take them, Kevin hires a nanny who is very hands-on with the kids. But Hugo feels distanced from his new family, so he makes the decision to leave his eclectic neighborhood and moves in with Kevin. He quickly finds he has a hard time fitting in with the suburbanites, and Kevin's passive-aggressive "friends" make Hugo feel anything but welcome. Yet he keeps his concerns a secret and tries to take it all in stride. 

When Brooke is bullied about having two dads, Hugo realizes his mere presence might be doing more harm than good. The stress will force him to make a choice: does he stay and fight for the family he loves, or does he walk away to let them live in peace?

Review
WOW!! I’ve been waiting for this book since I read Fusion. It was worth the wait!!

We pick up the story about three months after Erin has passed away and the family is coming back to some sort of normalcy. Then, the madness kicks up again. This time around the story really revolves mostly around Hugo and his coming to grips with being in this relationship with Kevin and his relationship with Brooke and Finn.

There is bullying galore in this story. Brooke is getting it from a girl at school and Hugo is getting it from Kevin’s friends and total strangers. The things that are said and done to these two really had my heart breaking for them and what they both had to endure. Kevin is dealing with so much as well. Erin’s parents are trying to take custody from him. He’s trying to reconnect with friends. Hugo is going through hell. Brooke getting bullied, Finn is/was having meltdowns. He’s trying to keep his family together and it’s stressful.

Again, Posy has done it to me. I cried and laughed and was sucked into this story from jump. The cast of characters was just amazing. From the MC’s to the kids, Summer and Russell, even the bullies and Erin’s parents. They all brought something to the table, good or bad and you were again on the ride of your life. Again, you felt all the heartbreak and the healing that our guys and out kiddos went through. You wanted to scream and shout to those hateful people “To Leave Them the Hell Alone!”

Everyone in the story had some growing to do. As we all do in life and it was painful and yet it was so very joyful when the growing occurred. To see them stand as a family and really put each other first. To stand up for themselves and who they loved.

I was so very happy with the ending. I don’t think that Posy could have done it any other way to satisfy her readers. They had to go through the horribleness in order for them to make it. They needed to learn to let go of the fear and insecurities that held them back and stand. Stand for themselves and their family.

The story flowed so smoothly. The writing was brilliant. There were just a couple of misspelled words that kind of threw me for a moment, but really this story was beyond even what I expected. I am so glad that I got the chance to finish the North Star Trilogy and to have lived and breathed with these guys. To see their ups and downs the conflict and resolutions that they came up with. I have loved, laughed, cried and mourned with them. I have celebrated the highs and felt the despair of the lows.

You. Must. Read. This. Book. You must read this trilogy. You will NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!! I promise. Pick up the trilogy if you haven’t already and let yourself be taken into the lives of Hugo and Kevin. You won’t be sorry.

5 Pants Off
Review: Book #2 Fusion

Short Review: The Heart of Frost by Charlie Cochet

Reviewed by Fehu
The Heart of Frost (North Pole City Tales #2) by Charlie Cochet
Dreamspinner Press
Novella: 120pgs
3.75 Pants Off

Blurb:
At the North Pole, no one is more powerful and feared than the Prince of Frost. As general of the toy soldier army, Jack Frost has been working extra hard to put away the villainous Mouse King once and for all. If that isn’t taxing enough, Jack has to deal with the scandal and gossip brought on by news of his relationship with Rudy Rein Dear, captain of the Rein Dear Squadron, which hit headlines last holiday season. Lucky for Jack, his reputation has managed to deter any foolish attempts to stir up trouble. At least until now.

When someone sabotages Rudy’s plane during a test run a few weeks before Christmas, Jack is determined to find the culprit by any means necessary. The closer he gets to finding answers, the more difficulty he has not falling back to his icy ways. Has the Mouse King stepped up his game in order to throw Jack off his, or is someone a little closer to home behind the attempt on Rudy’s life? Either way, Jack has every intention of delivering a Christmas they won’t soon forget, even if it means losing the newfound warmth in his heart.

Short Review
Sweet Christmas story with somewhat unusual characters! Rudy is Jack Frost's lover and has been for quite a while. At the end of the last book they came out as a couple and not all in North Pole were happy about that development.

I very much loved the cover and the story sounded very intriguing and to some degree it was. I liked the supporting characters and Rudy and Jack. It's just that I like to be shown how things, relationships happened and here it was a bit fast forward in a flashback. The story had a lot of potential, but I just wasn't fully drawn into the plot or cared enough for the characters to want to see them again.

So while this was a nice, sugary Christmas story it lacked a certain something for me at least, it didn't make me care for the characters, since the characters were just not fleshed out enough, they felt a bit like some plastic action figures. There was a good screenfront, Jack tries to find out who had it in for his lover, but looses himself in the cold and his own revenge plans. Love conquers all and so Rudy manages to bring his lover back and warm his heart. Very cute, if you want something romantic, without a lot of drama or angst The Heart of Frost is a good choice.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Short Review: Snow Globe by L.E. Franks

Reviewed by SinChan
Snow Globe (Heartwarming) by L.E Franks
Dreamspinner Press
Short story: 44pgs
5 Pants Off

Blurb:
Kris Hamilton escaped the rat race in LA to live his dream of owning an art studio and making snow globes in a Christmas-themed town in northern Minnesota. But life in a tiny town isn't as peaceful as advertised, and being treated like an outsider is making Kris’s Tourette's flare up. When he inadvertently offends Tyr Tollefson—a beautiful blond giant of a man—Kris is ready to chuck it all. But he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Tyr's cousin Bun, who shows them the magic of Christmas and gives them both a lesson in love and acceptance.


Short Review
The story is told with fragmented scenes in different POVs in chronological order. Usually, telling a story this way is too choppy and confusing but it works well for this short story. The boring parts are cut out and the story feels complete.

Kris moves into a small town and opens a shop where he makes and sells snow globes. He develops a crush on Tyr but due to a misunderstanding about his Tourette's, he thinks he'll never get a chance with Tyr.

I really love Kris' unique character and job of making snow globes. He's a cheery person and very upbeat about life. He moved from California to a small town that is stereotypical and close minded. He's made friends with Bun and has a crush on Tyr. His snow globe business brings more customers into other shops in his area as well. He is very much a part of and a member of the town. He has Tourette's but he's coping with it. All in all, he's a really strong character and his progress with Tyr as a couple is very enjoyable to read.

5 Pants Off

Review: Transparency by Ethan Stone & Sara York

Transparency by Ethan Stone & Sara York
Self-Published
Short Story: 49pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Blurb:
Charlie is the quintessential bear. Big, muscular and hairy. But that isn’t the type of men he’s attracted to. He is drawn to men like Taylor—short, smooth, and sexy. Taylor is Charlie’s idea of the perfect twink. But there’s something about Taylor Charlie doesn’t know. Taylor is unsure about a lot of things, but when he sees Charlie, he instantly knows he wants him. The only issue standing in his way is how Taylor views his own masculinity. He’s afraid that Charlie will leave once he knows the secret Taylor wants to keep hidden. Can he be transparent with Charlie and allow him to look behind the image he's so carefully constructed?



Review
Taylor is Female to Male transgender and he is just looking for love and a guy to spend his nights with. Bad experiences have led to him to give up hope on finding a man that will understand he doesn't have a dick but that doesn’t mean he isn't all male. He hits up glory holes giving blow jobs to get himself off and live in his fantasies of being in love. When he hits up his usual spot for a little blow action and spots the man of his dreams. Taylor knows that he'll never land a guy his Bear, so he knows to be content with his fantasies and glory hole fun.

Charlie is looking for a sexy twink and he happened to just walk through the door. Charlie would love to get to know his sexy little twink, but before he can even come down from his orgasm boy is out the door so fast. Charlie is alright with waiting cus he knows he'll see the beautiful boy again and catch him before he can run.

While this story is very short it really manages to hit on some heavy content and manages to come out being very feel good and leaving me the reader happy. Enough reality in the story to make you want the characters HEA, and while I like reality a little scene at the end there felt fake to me. I understand what the authors were trying to do, a way to prove Charlie's investment in this new relationship with a trans individual I felt like he did enough by just accepting Taylor. So Charlie's little douchebag friend there felt a bit contrived.

Overall, I really liked the story and it does have a positive vibe that I wish existed in RL. I am always happy to read about Trans* characters and Transparency invokes a nice reaction for my feels. A cute read!!

3.5 Pants Off
DarienMoya

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Reawakening by Amy Rae Durreson

Reviewed by Fehu
Reawakening by Amy Rae Durreson
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 260pgs
5 Pants Off

Blurb:
For a thousand years, since their defeat of the Shadow at Eyr, the dragons have slept under the mountains. Now their king, Tarnamell, has woken. Driven mad by loneliness, he hurls himself south until he finds and tries to claim the Alagard Desert. Unfortunately, the desert already has a guardian spirit, and he doesn't want to share. Amused by the cocky little desert spirit, Tarn retreats, planning to return in human form.

When his caravan enters the desert, however, Alagard is missing. Rumors fly of a dark power, and soon Tarn’s caravan encounters the living dead and an amnesiac mage called Gard.

Forced to take refuge in the Court of the Shells, a legendary fortress in the heart of the desert, Tarn, Gard, and their allies decide to seek out the Shadow before it destroys the desert. But to confront the Shadow, Tarn needs to gather his strength. A dragon's power depends on the love and loyalty of his human hoard, but Tarn's original hoard has been dead for centuries. Before he can face his most ancient enemy, he must win the trust of new followers and the heart of a cynical desert spirit.

Review
Fantastic world building and interesting characters that will draw you into their story! I loved the story, yes but there are a lot of fantasy books that focus too much on world building and too long, and I loved that that was not the case here. Even the few flashbacks were well built into the plot and didn't distract from the actual story.

In the beginning we a have a lone dragon who wakes up after a long, centuries long sleep, a form of recovery after the last great battle for the world against demon lords and Shadows. One could empathize with him from the first moment, he is alone in a new strange world and realises that his hoard, all people he loved, his lover, have died. All of his brothers still sleep, but he is the king of all dragons, the first and his sleep was somehow interrupted.

The atmosphere of the book was a bit melancholy and when Tarnamell reaches the desert the feeling changes. A desert should be a lonely, desolate place, but Tarn sees it as something warm and full of love. Alagard, the spirit of the after him named desert, is less happy about a dragon in his place. When Tarn couldn't convince Alagard to join his horde, he leaves the desert and moves to human cities. Tarn isn't happy about what he sees, the world has changed a lot, but the world has not been kind to the weak, no benign lord protects them and there is no clan to look after them. In a city he meets a female warrior of on the Myrtilis orden and he is hired to protect a caravan on their way through Alagard. The desert they find is lost in pain, their spirit god captured by and old enemy of Tarn's - Shadow, who has awakened and now tries to pull the world into death and chaos once more. Now Tarn has to fight again and this time without the love of his hoard, his lover, his brothers and sisters or his old allies.

It's a well written story and I liked that the author understood how to draw in the reader. A lot was shown and the relationship between Alagard and Tarn progressed slowly and in a believable pace. The story moved swiftly, not too slow and not too fast, which made it easy to follow and there was no time to get bored or get lost in description. Also the characters are quiet and interesting cast a dragon lord, a desert spirit, female warriors and two merchant /spies with an interesting past. Tarn is very powerful, but he is portrayed quite vulnerable and a bit lost in a new time, you can’t help, but to fall in love with him and the story.

A good story leaves you wanting more and I would love to read new adventures of Tarn or the historian who writes at the end. Rafe is also an interesting character or the other dragons that might wake up. But you do not need to fear it is a finished story and it is satisfying happy end.
For fans of David Edding, at least the story reminded me a bit of the worlds and adventures he created, just with a male romance twist.

Highly recommended for fantasy lovers!

5 Pants Off



Review: Personal Changes by K.C Wells

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Personal Changes (Personal #2) by K.C Wells
Island Tales Press
Novel: 164pgs
4 Pants Off

Blurb:
Rick Wentworth has had enough of one night stands and quickies in clubs. It takes a night of uncharacteristic hedonism to make Rick admit what he really wants - someone to love him. But for that to happen, he needs to make some changes. Rick can do that. After all, what’s the alternative? And when he meets a guy who ticks all his boxes, he can’t believe his luck. His boss Blake Davis, and Blake’s fiancĂ© Will Parkinson, however, aren’t convinced. They want to know more about Mr. Perfect, and their instincts are keener than Rick’s. Both men want to protect him. As it turns out, they needn’t have worried. Rick has a guardian angel…

When Angelo Tarallo sees Rick for the first time, it’s a match made in Heaven, as far as he’s concerned. And when he rescues Rick from danger, it gives him the opportunity to get to know the man who has captivated him. Before long, it’s plain to both men that this could lead somewhere. But when Angelo’s traditional Sicilian family finally discover what he’s been hiding from them for so long, an ultimatum spells heartache for the lovers – and worse.

Review
We met Rick Wentworth in Making It Personal and this is his book. Poor Rick had the hots for Blake and never got his man. He wants a relationship, something real for himself and yet, he’s doing his thing. He’s single and while not quite loving it, he’s making do.

One night he meets these guys at a bar and has a night of wonderfully wild sex as part of a threesome. But in the morning, he feels so empty, just blah and empty regarding what his sex life has become. He wants something more and he’s going to change his ways!! He goes out and to just dance and enjoy the music. He meets this guy, Julian who makes a great first impression and off they go. There is something that isn’t quite right about Julian, but Rick tries to make a go of it. Until Julian does something so horrible, that there is no going back.

Enter Angelo Tarallo. What Rick doesn’t know is that Angelo is watching him. He keeps an eye out for Rick and when Julian loses his cool and acts so damn wrong, Angelo comes to the rescue. Angelo takes his time in wooing Rick. Getting to know him and not rushing into sex, this makes him even more wonderful in Rick’s eyes. Rick was at the point in his life where he wanted more and was working on it. Angelo had seen something that he wanted and kept at it until he got it. They are so good together and for each other. They complimented each other perfectly.

Of course, Angelo’s family helped put the pressure on Angelo regarding his sexual preference. And that caused some angst. However, it was something that Angelo needed to deal with. It had to happen for him to realize what was/is important in his life and to make the choice that was right for him.

Overall, I will say that I actually liked this story. I liked how they got to know each other and didn’t jump right into bed with each other. They moved fast, but didn’t necessarily rush into bed. They each had to work through their own issues and make it back to one another.

I loved seeing Blake and Will. I loved how they took care of Rick and showed their love and support. It’s always nice to have friends like that. Who support you and yet, they’ll give you the kick in the pants when needed. Recommend for a nice, lazy day read.

4 Pants Off
Review: Book #1 Making it Personal

Review: Grumple Monkey and the Department Store Elf

Reviewed by SinChan
Grumble Monkey & the Department Store Elf by B.G Thomas
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 95pgs
4 Pants Off

Blurb:
Kit Jefferies, a part-time department store Christmas elf, is an artist who loves life and his family. Unfortunately, his car dies at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere as he is heading home for Christmas. Enter Nick St. George. 

Nick is a very unhappy man—he's achieved his professional goals only to find the rest of his life bleak and empty. Deciding there was only one way to make everything right, he is on his way to San Francisco on a dark mission, and even the horrible sleet storm that blocked his path won't deter him. That's when he found Kit. 

At first, Nick is pretty sure rescuing Kit was a big mistake. Kit's personality is just too, well, effervescent. But as the miles go by, Kit begins to bring light to his dark heart. It might even be bright enough to illuminate a Christmas miracle.

Short Review
Grumpy Nick wants to be in San Francisco on Christmas Day but he's stuck in a snow storm from hell. He meets cheerful Kit who wants to go home for Christmas and Nick gives him a ride despite the fact that he can't stand Kit's cheery attitude.

The MCs are two extremes on opposite poles of personality. When the POV switches and both MCs get a turn to speak, their different life outlooks are really apparent. Kit is definitely more vibrant, full of life and possibilities, while Nick is the pessimist.

I don't like Nick's character. He's too grumpy for me. The reason why he's rushing to go to San Francisco for Christmas Day is a surprise at the end because I didn't get the depressing vibe from Nick at all. I'm glad that Nick finds Kit and rediscovers doing what he love and surrounding himself with love and Kit's art works.

Overall, this is a really fun, entertaining read that's uplifting and perfect for the holiday season.

4 Pants Off

Guest Post: Werewolf Evolution by Julie Lynn Hayes



“Goodness, what big eyes you have!” Little Red Riding Hood exclaimed.

 “The better to see you with, my dear,” said her grandmother.

Except we know it’s not really her grandmother, don’t we? It’s the Big Bad Wolf in disguise.

Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood was my first introduction to the wolf as more than an animal. This wolf walks and talks, he has very human emotions and he’ssneaky and crafty. Is he really a wolf, or is he more... perhaps the forerunner of the loup-garou? More commonly known as the werewolf, or wolf man?

Outside of fairy tales, I think my first encounter with wolf men came with the Lon Chaney, Jr. film. His werewolf was a scary dude, and very hairy. Not to mention he was a total beast. And I mean that literally. As a werewolf, no remnant of Larry Talbot’s humanity was evident once he changed. He acted on pure animal instinct, and people were scared spitless at the sight of him.

Wolf Man
There have been a number of films in this genre, with pretty much the same horrifying scenario of the man forced to turn into a hideous beast at the tug of the full moon, usually the result of a curse of some sort. Or the bite of another werewolf. There was nothing romantic about these creatures.

And then along came An American Werewolf in London, which took werewolves in a new direction, and revitalized the genre and breathed new life in it (with more than a touch of humor), leading to such films as Van Helsing and Underworld, among others.

Meanwhile, in the world of fiction, the werewolf underwent a more startling transformation. Romance writers created tortured souls that were also incredibly sexy, and gave a whole new meaning to the word. The first sexy werewolf I can remember was actually on TV. Quentin Collins, in the old soap opera Dark Shadows, was sexy David Selby. He’s the first werewolf I remember thinking was hot. Okay, there was Oliver Reed too, in Curse of the Werewolf, but he was also scary lol.

Quentin Collins
Werewolves are now a staple of paranormal romance writers, rivaling the vampire in popularity. At any given time, usually one of these creatures dominates the field as far as who’s the top of the polls. But werewolves have actually devolved into two camps – the werewolf and the shapeshifter – and these are not the same thing, not at all.

What’s the difference, you ask? The werewolf is a slave to the pull of the Full Moon. Come rain or shine, hell or high water, no matter where he is or what he’s doing, when it’s time, he’s going to change, and there’s not a damn thing he can do about it. But the shapeshifter controls his change, and he’s generally in command of his faculties when he does, so he has the advantage of the hapless werewolf.

What brought about this sudden surge in shapeshifters? I think it was laziness, personally, because some writers didn’t want to deal with having their heroes wait until the Full Moon – they wanted guys that could change at a moment’s notice. And they didn’t want to be confined to once a month. Technically speaking, shapeshifters are not werewolves by their very nature. Doesn’t make them wrong, just different.

Not only that, but suddenly there are shapeshifting men for every species of animal you can imagine, and maybe a few you never expected to see in a book (or outside of one lol) I remember reading something about treeshifters! Not your every day variety of shapeshifter, you have to admit.

Werewolf or shapeshifter – both are fun to read about and to write about. I think they’re here to stay. I know I enjoy writing about them.


Buy Link: When Will I See You Again

Blurb:
Raoul Marchand is the crown prince of Charisma, the infamous night club in Crescent Bay, renowned for its supernatural clientele. He has the pick of any and all men, but he cares for none. He uses them and throws them away again, and has done so for some twenty years, in the aftermath of a tragedy that robbed him of what he loved most in the world.

Alexx Jameson is an idealistic young would-be reporter with the Crescent Bay Chronicle. Presented with an opportunity to write a story on the Marchands, he eagerly grasps the chance to be a real reporter. His friend, Chronicle receptionist Miller Fenwick, suggests they go to Charisma to do a little research. Alexx isn’t sure that’s such a great idea. After all, he’s still under age, being only twenty. No problem, Miller can fix that! Added bonus, there’s a full moon tonight.


Excerpt

When Alexx first encounters Raoul, it isn’t exactly in the way he dreamed of, and he’s sure he made a terrible first impression. But Fate throws them together under unforeseen circumstances, and the attraction between them can’t be denied. Can Raoul let go of the past long enough to find his future with Alexx, or is he doomed to repeat past mistakes?

Alexx drew in his breath in dismay. This wasn’t going well. Even so, he could not stop staring at Raoul. His eyes met the other man’s. Raoul’s were very golden; he wasn’t aware such colors even existed in the spectrum of the human eye. But then again, he didn’t have any friends that were werewolves either. He wondered if this was a sign that perhaps this man was about to change, right here and now?

The thought was both exhilarating and frightening.

Alexx’s vision telescoped until he wasn’t aware of anything but this gorgeous man in front of him. Blood pounded in his ears and his mouth felt suddenly dry. Having lost all sense of the others in the room, he was surprised when he felt his chair yanked out from under him. Before he could fall, a hand grabbed the scruff of his neck, propelling him to his feet. He glanced at his companion; Miller was being subjected to the same surly treatment.

“You waste my time for this?” Raoul’s upper lip curled back in a snarl. Alexx found himself wildly attracted to him. “I have somewhere I need to be. Paolo, please show these gentlemen out.” Sarcastic much? He turned and reached for the door, but it opened before he touched it.

A shaggy blond with hazel eyes and a cheerful countenance stuck his head inside. “Hey Paolo—” He interrupted himself at the sight of the occupants of the room.

Alexx heard Miller’s sigh of relief, even as he too recognized the newcomer. He’d seen him around the Chronicle often enough, although he’d never really spoken to him. Foster Levine, son of the Chronicle’s owner—heir apparent and future newspaper magnate.

Alexx’s relief quickly changed to anxiety. What if Foster knew how old he really was? He couldn’t be sure one way or the other, but for the sake of argument, he had to assume he did. Would he out him to Raoul Marchand and his burly minion? Had they simply jumped from the frying pan to be scorched by the fire?


Author Bio:
Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. She enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, knitting and needlepoint and loves to cook. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all. Her published works can be found at Amber Quill Press, Dreamspinner Press, MuseitUp Publishing, Torquere Press, and eXtasy Books. She is also an editor at MuseitUp.

My links: 
Blog http://julielynnhayes.blogspot.com

Twitter @Shelley_runyon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julie.l.hayes.7?ref=tn_tnmn

My Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3442231.Julie_Lynn_Hayes

Email: tothewolf.max@gmail.com

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cover Reveal: Holding on to Hope by Sid Love

TITLE: Holding on to Hope
 
AUTHOR: Sid Love
 
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
 
LENGTH: 68 Pages
 
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond


Blurb:
Bradley Parker has waited twenty years for Mr. Right, and on Valentine’s Day, he finally finds him. It’s love at first sight, and Brad even loses his virginity to the man of his dreams. But when he wakes up the next morning unable to remember anything—even what the man looked like—his best friend, Leslie, is convinced he imagined the whole thing. Brad knows he didn’t make up the best night of his life, but he has no idea of the danger he’s putting himself in as he struggles to recall the details of his perfect man. His search may lead him to parts of New York City he never dreamed existed and a war being waged in the shadows.

PRE ORDER LINK: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4724

RELEASE DATE: 14th February, 2014

 
AUTHOR BIO -
Sid Love grew up in one of busiest cities in the world, Mumbai, listening to the excerpts of Indian epics from his father every night. While it served as an inspiration back in time, he has always had an ambitious mind. In 2007, when he had just turned sixteen, he decided that he would make his lifelong dream come true—to become a well-known, respected author some day.

Ask him and he would refuse to accept that he is obsessed with books. Or movies. Or TV shows. Addicted may even be the right word. He is a die-hard fan of Jane Austen's romance novels and loves to reread them time and again.

You can find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sid.love.16?ref=tn_tnmn or tweet him anytime: https://twitter.com/FatefulMercy, or simply e-mail him at sidlovethewriter@live.in.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Review: Wrapped in Leather by M.A Church

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Wrapped in Leather by M.A Church
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 210pgs
4 Pants Off

Blurb:
To celebrate his decision to take the next step with his boyfriend Ian, Toshi Baylor plans a romantic evening at their favorite steak house. Toshi starts the special weekend with a bang by surprising Ian at home with lunch. There’s a bang all right, but it’s between Ian and another guy. 

Jase Taylor’s auto repair shop and the BDSM club, Wrapped Up, keep him busy while he waits for Mr. Right, instead of Mr. Right Now. He’s a Dom, but playing with the club’s submissives isn’t providing the usual stress release. After a day from hell, he deserves a good meal at his favorite steak house. 

Toshi and Jase find a mix-up with their reservations: a table for Baylor, not Taylor. When Toshi invites Jase to dine with him, they discover a mutual affection for leather and a shared belief that trust must be earned. 

Before they can explore their common interests, Toshi suffers a series of attacks by vandals. Jase’s protective instincts kick in, but both wonder if it can lead to anything permanent.

Review
Toshi is a high school teacher that has been in a relationship for about 6 months and he goes to visit his boyfriend at his apartment one afternoon and finds him in bed with another guy. Toshi is upset and very understandably so. Before he leaves, he puts the shrimp from a meal that he brought over to share, all over his ex’s place. Smelly and creative, I like it.

Jase owns his own auto repair shop. He’s this great guy who wants a real relationship. But not just any relationship, he’s a Dom and he wants a submissive partner, someone who will give Jase his submission to him and allow him to be the Dom that he longs to be. Toshi and Jase meet at a steakhouse one night and they share a table together. They end up having a great conversation and being very attracted to each other. They end up getting together and begin a relationship.

I have to say that I liked that the relationship grew. It wasn’t insta-love, but they got to know each other. They got to see what a new relationship between them looks like. It was the discovery of each person as an individual and also as part of a couple. There was a bit of a mystery in the story. Someone was messing with Toshi and I have to admit, I thought I knew who it was at first and then, I figured out who the person was. I liked that I was wrong. I liked being surprised.

I really liked how this took place over several months and not just over the course of a few weeks. They had time to really get to know each other and have a chance to fall in love. I liked that it happened slowly but surely.

Overall, I have to say that I really liked this book. I loved the pacing and the way that the story flowed together. I never felt jarred out of the story, which happens a lot of the time. A wonderful read and just spicy enough to keep you wanting more.

4 Pants Off

Review: Where You Lead by Mary Calmes

Reviewed by Fehu
Where You Lead by Mary Calmes
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 68pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Blurb:
ATF agent Peter Lomax isn’t a hearts and flowers kind of guy, but he can be possessive, and it caused problems until Carver Fleming. Carver may be part of the art world, but he gets Peter, loves belonging to the man, and Peter treasures the way Carver understands them together.

Carver loves Peter, but he's fully aware that six months doth not a commitment make. Carver wants to make the relationship last forever, but he’ll have to leave their life in Chicago to take care of the family he loves. He wants to do it with Peter by his side, but going from the city of Chicago to tiny Colt, Kentucky is a big change.

Carver has only one Christmas wish: Please, oh please, let Peter fall enough in love with Carver's family to follow Carver home.

Review
It's certainly not a book that will leave you uninvolved. I've read some, was mad, put it down, wanted to know how Peter will react, started reading again, was annoyed and stared at the book in disbelief.

Let's say it is an emotional read as in I was quite invested into the story. I didn't believe the story, but I was pretty involved in the plot, but it was over too fast so I was left a bit dissatisfied. Also there were quite a few problems and I felt they were solved without a lot of effort. The time frame was just unbelievable. Pete and Carver knew each other for 6 months. Feel with me and say it out loud s i x months. So of course Pete would agree to leave his friends and his home and his work to move into a small town, where e v e r y o n e is ok with a gay couple. You can understand my suspended disbelief. All of this would probably bother me less in a paranormal setting, but here there is no explanation of a soul bound or life mates!

I expected sweet, and some parts were, the dialog between Peter and his partner on the force was pretty good and I laughed, when they talked about the art. The beginning pretty much seduced me into the story, some dialogs did not flow and the relationship and story progressed too fast, at least for me.

At the end I was torn as how to rate this story, since I liked the first part very much, but the second part felt rushed and a bit disjointed.

3 Pants Off

Review: Kai for Christmas by E.T Malinowski

Reviewed by SinChan
Kai for Christmas by E.T Malinowski
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 56pgs
3 Pants Off

Blurb:
Kai O’Donnell hates Christmas. It’s not the blaring commercialism or the too-perky people. Being an interior designer, Kai can handle most people. But during Christmas, he has to deal with a man who gets under his skin like no other: Cade. Handsome—hand-me-a-towel-because-I’m-drooling-sexy—sarcastic Cade.

Cade Randall has been in love with Kai O’Donnell since setting eyes on the auburn-haired Native American. Falling back on his teenage habits, Cade picks on Kai every time they’re together. He wants Kai under his Christmas tree in nothing but a big red bow, his to keep forever, but Cade’s shenanigans may ruin something beautiful in the making.

Short Review
Kai hates going home for Christmas because Cade will be there for the holidays. Cade teases Kai every time they meet and they would end up bickering over the tiniest things. It doesn't help that Cade likes Kai and loves to tease his crush. Cade is afraid to confess his love because Kai may be not be gay. Will this year's Christmas bring a miracle?

Kai is a Native American interior designer and Cade is a bartender at a night club. They live in different states and only meet at Kai's family for Christmas. I want to know how they will make their relationship work in the long term, but the story is only focusing on how they stop fighting and become a couple.

Kai has insecurities about his adopted family. When pressure and sexual tension from Cade increased, Kai runs away and ends up hurting his family and Cade. Not a lot is known about Cade. His situation with a homophobic family is mentioned but his hobbies, skills, and personality is not as clear as Kai's.

This is a predictable, short Christmas read that I wish is longer and more fleshed out. The story line is simple without any tension. This is the perfect story if you like the hurt and comfort trope.

3 Pants Off

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: The Enlightenment of Daniel by Eli Easton

Reviewed by Fehu
The Enlightenment of Daniel (Sex in Seattle #2) by Eli Easton
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 212pgs
4.25 Pants Off

Blurb:
Business tycoon Daniel Derenzo lives for his work until his dying father reminds him life is short. When Daniel starts to reevaluate his world he experiences a startling revelation—he’s attracted to his business partner and best friend, Nick, even though Daniel always believed himself to be straight. In typical type-A fashion, Daniel dissects his newfound desires with the help of the experts at the Expanded Horizons sex clinic. He goes after Nick with the fierce determination that’s won him many a business deal.

Nick Ross was in love with Daniel years ago, when they were roommates in college. But Daniel was straight and Nick patched his broken heart by marrying Marcia. Two kids and fourteen years later, they go through the motions of their marriage like ships passing in the night. But Nick’s kids mean the world to him, and he’s afraid he’ll never get joint custody if they divorced. If he can trust his heart to an awakening Daniel, they all might find their way to a happily ever after.

Review
Just as good as the first book and it made me laugh, just like the first one! Eli Easton was a great discovery and I was looking forward to this new book of hers and I was not disappointed! She warned beforehand about cheating and well I don't mind that at least it depends how it was done. If the guy wanted a divorce and the wife actually blackmailed him with his children to staying with her, let's say I think he might have a reason to be unhappy and he tried to do it the right way!

Nick is bi, he told that to his wife and she agreed that it was ok and that she didn't have a problem with that. Years later she is no longer having sex with him for years now. After not respecting his privacy she discovered that he looked at well male pictures as well, she threatened that he would lose custody for his children.

Daniel thought he was straight, but he discovered he was wrong after his father was diagnosed his cancer and forced him to rethink his life. Surprisingly he discovered his interest in his long-time friend and business partner Nick.

I liked some parts of this and didn't like some characters as much as I wanted to. Let me say first that there is quite a bit of drama, a bit of a soap opera kind of drama, but it is very well worth it. It's a book I've read in one go and had to let rest to be able to write an honest review. So what worked? The writing style, it was nice paced and well written, some really good dialogs and some pretty funny lines. Daniel's discovery of his sexuality and his reaction, well some of them were pretty funny or at least his attitude was. I liked Daniel and he was portrayed as a bit of a selfish prick, but he made up for it! Like in the previous works, the humor was there and there and while there were some serious topics mentioned, the story never felt truly heavy or truly sad, I liked that very much!


What I had my problems with:
I had my problems with Nick and his wife. Nick is one of the main characters, but he just always seemed to go along and be frankly a bit of a wimp. He cannot stand up to his wife, his mother in law or his best friend. So he couldn't stand up for himself, but he didn't even have the guts to stand up for his kids! His daughter was pretty unhappy about her clothes and the pressure her mother put on her, I'm amazed she didn't have an eating disorder by that point! Nick didn't notice and when Daniel found out the problem, what did Nick do? He gave in to his wife demands! Seriously I spent quite a lot of time annoyed at him, I wouldn't have minded if Daniel had found another guy. Not like Nick did anything to particularly charm Daniel, he again went with what Daniel wanted. Most of the book I was thinking Nick should just grow a pair.

Nick's wife war firstly portrayed a bit like the villain and I thought at the end she made a bit too drastic a change to be believable. At least I found it hard to believe that she would change her opinion and all her attitude so fast. But I liked that there was at least an attempt made to not portray all the women as the evil witches, I hate when that happens.

All in all this turned out to be a pretty good read and we meet the characters from the previous book! Tony's services are engaged and his partner helps Daniel as well. I liked that while this one could be read as a standalone, the previous book and some of the characters and settings were part of this one again. I can honestly say that it is a book that won’t leave you emotionally uninvolved, since it is quite a turbulent read, but it is worth all the drama!

Review: Book #1 The Trouble with Tony

Review: Top Bidder by Sean Michael

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Top Bidder (Hammer #20) by Sean Michael
Torquere Press
Short Story: 49pgs
3 Pants Off

Blurb:
Kurt joined the staff as a waiter at the Hammer Club because he wanted a Master of his own. He’s shy, though, and just one boy among the many looking for that special someone to dominate them. In fact, he’s working the night of the Hammer’s Annual Christmas Auction when Master Marcus asks him to fill in for a sub stuck in traffic.

Master August noticed Kurt when he first started working at the Hammer, but hadn’t approached the boy, wondering if they were compatible. When he sees Kurt on the auction block, he figures it’s the perfect time to test out their chemistry without putting any pressure on either of them.

Will Kurt and August find what they’re looking for in each other? Find out in the Christmas Hammer tale.

Review
This sweet, tender BDSM story was a quick, easy read. It was fun and easy story regarding this cute young man, Kurt. He’s just absolutely sweet as pie. He is so shy and innocent and yet he really wants to experience all that he sees at the club. But he wants it to special. Not some backroom hook-up.

Enter Master August; he’s had his eye on Kurt since he first started. He bids on and wins Kurt for the evening. He is so sure that Kurt is all that he wants and when they get together, it’s all that he dreamt of and more for both of them.

If you’ve read any of Sean’s Hammer stories, you’ll recognize a couple of previous characters that have brief cameos in this story. However, you don’t have to have read the prior books. As a standalone short story, it’s good. It was very much an insta-connection story. Not so much insta-love as it is so very short.

Overall, this is a good short story. The characters are developed enough that you get a brief insight into who they are. It flowed rather smoothly for such a short story. It was a sexy without being smutty and that made for a sweet little holiday story. Enjoy!!

3 Pants Off

Review: Kid Gloves by Anna Martin

Reviewed by Fehu
Kid Gloves by Anna Martin
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 96pgs
3 Pants Off

Blurb:
Alone in his East London shop, a man known only as Dalton makes living prosthetics: bionic, mechanical limbs, from leather, metal, and magic. It's to this little corner of the capital that Finn Croucher, an elite army marksman, travels after an accident leads to his hand being amputated.

While Dalton fashions Finn’s new hand and teaches him how to use it, he reveals some secrets long hidden, and he and Finn become lovers. But Finn must return to duty, and a string of letters becomes his only connection to the love he left in London.


Short Review
Dalton is quite an interesting character and he has whored himself for his knowledge. He slept with most of the people from whom he learned and now finality is at a stage, where he has perfected a craft and no longer needs to rely on others. Finn come from a Roma family and is an archer in the army, who has lost his hand. He wants a new hand and Dalton was recommended to him, but he finds himself surprised how he finds Dalton attractive.

The romance does progress pretty quick, considering this is a historical story and Finn is a virgin. For my taste they fell into bed a bit too quick, I like a slow burn romance. Here I find it a bit hard to believe, because of the social stigma in a historical setting that such a relation caries. The letters they exchanged were quite sweet and I liked the idea. A lot of their relationship happened in the letters and it's not what we are used in our modern interaction, but it was the thing to do in earlier times, so I loved that the story captured that!

Not a lot happens in that story, no great adventures and not a lot of drama, mostly this is a nice love story, with nice characters. The excitement and tension is something I missed here, but if you want a love story than you will be happy with this one, especially if you wish to take a break from tearjerker stories and melodramas.

3 Pants Off

Review: Home for the Hollandaise by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga

Reviewed by SinChan
Home for the Hollandaise by Julia Talbot & BA Tortuga
Torquere Press
Short Story: 49pgs
3 Pants Off

Blurb:
Jack hates going back to the East Texas town where he was raised. Even as a successful chef in Austin, he feels like that awkward gay kid all over again. But his dad is sick, and wants Jack’s famous hollandaise sauce for holiday breakfasts. When Jack finds out his old flame Kent is in town for Christmas, too, he thinks things can’t get much worse. Can Kent convince him Christmas miracles can happen?


Short Review
Jack sounds really bitter about life and his holiday situation. His dad is losing his memory and he's stuck in his old hometown that he hates for the holiday to cook for his parents. He just wants to get everything over with and go back to his life and restaurant in Austin, Texas. Coincidentally, he meets Kent, his ex from college in the same town. Both of them are stuck with the parental units and trying to reconnect.

Jack sounds like a bitter man in the beginning but gradually, throughout the book, I realize that his attitude is because of his family situation and being back in the town he hates. He actually has a sense of humor and is serious about getting back together with Kent. His breakup with Kent is well explained through the story and their romance is believable.

Overall, this is a wonderful short story for the holidays, with interesting characters and lots of yummy details on food.

3 Pants Off

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: Dirty Deeds by SE Jakes

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Dirty Deeds (Dirty Deeds #1) by SE Jakes
Riptide Publishing
Short Story: 94pgs
5 Pants Off

Blurb:
Two seasoned operatives finally meet their match: each other.

Cillian works for the mysterious Special Branch 20: an organization that runs black ops commissioned by the British government. His specialty is deep undercover assignments with virtually no support. He’s been alone for so long that he no longer knows anything else.

Mal’s also used to being alone. Wanted in several states and even more countries, he’s not allowed in the vicinity of any of his former Navy SEAL teammates. And his current assignment is to track Cillian in order to discover the spook’s endgame. Except he’s no longer sure which one of them is getting played.

Cillian isn’t about to let the mission that’s consumed him for the past several years crumble because an outsider is poking around where he doesn’t belong. But Mal forces his way through Cillian’s defenses—and into his heart—exposing a devastating betrayal that could destroy them both.

Review
OH MY LANTA!! This book was AMAZING!!! I had my mouth open the entire time I read this short story. S E Jakes Nailed it!!

Here you have Mal and Cillian and boy, does this book grab you and never lets go!! Mal is this wonderfully brutal man that you met a couple of times as a secondary character in the Hell or High Water Series. He doesn’t speak as his throat was cut and it ruined his vocal cords. He’s a wanted man and can’t even be around his SEAL teammates without breaking the law. He’s hunting Cillian and that’s where ALL the fun begins.

Cillian is Prophet’s neighbor and a Spy for the British Government. He’s this very dark and mysterious man who keeps his thoughts and deeds close to his chest. He’s been working on finding an elusive ex-teammate of Mal and Prophet. He’s working hard and is getting closer to his target when he meets this man in a bar and his world gets turned upside down.

These two men meet and sparks are flying off the page!! From that moment on, they get to know each other via IMing. They flirt and even have meaningful conversations. They find that they have more in common than they thought, which surprises them both. They slowly but steadily fall for each other and neither of them really knows what to do with that knowledge.

There is plenty of action and violence in this story, as with any S E Jakes story. S E really spins a great story regarding her military/covert ops men. You fall for each and every one of them as you get more into their heads. These men show that even though they do these dangerous careers, they have issues that also need to be overcome. There is some good angst in this story with the secret that shows up. It will leave you breathless!!

Overall, I will say this book was AMAZING!! I didn’t want to put it down and I Definitely didn’t want it to end. The way it ended was like…WHAT?!?!

When is the next book coming and it had better be SOON!! HINT, HINT!! This is one book that you will want to read. This story is part of the EE, Ltd (Extreme Escapes, Ltd) universe. I would say that you should read the EE, Ltd books so that you get a feel for what’s going on in this story.

5 Pants Off

Review: One Night Ever After by Tere Michaels

Reviewed by Fehu
One Night Ever After by Tere Michaels, Elle Brownlee, Elizah J Davis
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 254pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Blurb:
Just a Drive by Tere Michaels

After weeks of flirting, “One Night” Wyatt Walsh spends a fabulous night with his shy coworker, Benji Trammell. As Wyatt tries to sneak out the next morning, he receives a call from his frantic, very pregnant best friend Raven—she needs him immediately. With no other way to get from New York City to the Pennsylvania town where Raven and her husband live, Wyatt accepts Benji’s offer to drive him there. Wary and unsure of each other, they start the trip at odds, but as time goes on, the barriers that usually keep people at a distance fail. And what started out as “just a drive” becomes a step toward romance.

Just a Stranger by Elle Brownlee

The excitement of meeting a stranger in a club can’t be beat. Loud bass sets the rhythm to Michael Wiercinski’s primal urges as he flirts with Andrew, a cute guy offering the promise of a hot night with no strings, no complications. Still, when their night is done, Michael admits there was something about Andrew that left him wanting more. Months go by with no sign of Andrew until Michael moves back home to help after his father’s heart attack. Once there, Michael is completely amazed to find Andrew Lucas living in his hometown. Despite surprising “complications” in Andrew’s life, Michael vows to take advantage of this second chance to make Andrew more than just a stranger.

Just a Weekend by Elizah J. Davis

James is a homebody in a predictable, if not altogether comfortable, rut. He’d rather stay in with a book than brave the Seattle bar scene. One night, after allowing his friend Kara to coax him out for drinks, he meets Devin—charming, gorgeous, and way out of his league. With a little bit of help from Kara, James leaves with Devin to indulge in a night together, which is as much time as he’s bound to get with a guy as hot as Devin. He doesn't expect the easy rapport that quickly develops between them, and when the weather conspires to keep them together, James wonders if this could be more than just a weekend fling.

Review
A surprising anthology, I expected to like the first story but ended up liking the last story a lot more. The first story is about Wyatt, who is a love them and leave them kind of guy and who is called to the aid of his best friend, his pregnant best friend, just after his one night stand with his co-worker Benji. Benji is shy and has some secrets of his own; surprisingly he is very helpful and offers to drive Wyatt, even after he was pretty mean to him in the morning after. Like I said Benji turns out to be a very helpful guy, a bit too helpful to be believable and there was a lull in story, considering that it is a short story, I would have liked a bit more action. Since Wyatt was mostly a jerk and Benji nearly a saint, I found it hard to relate to them. So I wasn't as emotionally involved in this story as I had expected. What worked was the writing and the dialogs. It's a well written story, well edited, but I personally wish it had some more spice.

In Just a Stranger we meet Michael and Andrew; one is a cop and the other a landscape architect. After a great night Andrew leaves without a word and Michael is surprised, when he meets the guy again in his own hometown, after moving there to help his parents. Andrew has a reason for not wanting further attachment; he has to take care of his sisters children.  The children were quite sweet and Michael was surprisingly hung up on a guy he just met on one evening. I really liked Michael’s family and that they did come around and rallied to help his get his man. All in all this was a rather sweet story, I might have wished they took longer to fall for each other, but other than that it's a nice read if one needs a HEA and a pick me up story.

Just a Weekend features James and Devin. David was a bit of out of luck later and had to move home on a trip with a friend he meets James, who takes him home. A snow storm makes them stay together for the weekend, but their time is interrupted by James's sister in law, who needs him for babysitting.

I liked James and Devin, they were both sweet and James was a bit of a homebody, who is always there for his family and a very nice guy. Devin is a bit of an opposite at least he likes to go out more and is more social. So they are a great fit and it was cute to see them play with the kids and make pillow castles in the living room. I was invested in the characters and there was enough personal drama to keep me reading. The story is well written and there was happening enough things that I was entertained and wanted to see them both get their happy end.

3.5 Pants Off