Title: Coral Were His Bones (Tempest, #1)
Author: Barbara Geiger
Cover Artist: Syneca Featherstone
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Book Rating: (3.25 / 5)
Title: Coral Were His Bones (Tempest, #1)
Author: Chris T. Kat
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Detective Jeff Woods and his partner have a new case. Someone has been making threatening phone calls to the mayor’s daughter, vowing to kill her disabled child. Though there have been accidents at the girl’s school—enough to take the threats seriously—the facts are few, and leads are sparse.
Needing a breather from the burden of the case, Jeff heads to a bar, where he meets Alex Fisher. Alex isn’t his type, but he’s young and cocky and perfect for a one-night stand. Or two. Soon Jeff starts thinking about how difficult and lonely it is being a cop, and that maybe Alex could fill a void in his life. But Alex has his own obligations: a disabled brother who is the target of threatening letters.
Jeff isn’t sure he’s ready to play house or overcome his prejudices, but he begins to think Alex might be worth it. Caught between his growing affection and his inner demons, Jeff struggles to focus on the case and protect Alex and his brother as the danger builds.
This was one of those stories that could have been great for me. I can’t find fault with the writing style it was easy to read and follow, a few times the flow was off but nothing major, it’s the story itself I had some issues with.
We first meet Det. Jeff Woods and his partner Det. Parker Trenkins at a murder scene of a disabled man and right off the bat their conversation made me cringe and I took an immediate dislike to both of them. Neither of these guys had an ounce of decency or respect for the victim. It made me feel like because he was disabled he deserved what happened that made me nervous about where this story was going. Sadly I know after having worked with the mentally challenged and disabled that people are like this in real life and maybe it was just bringing back sad memories but it made it harder to get too involved.
Jeff is a closeted gay cop who wants to stay that way and he normally ventures to clubs far from home for hookups but the night of the murder he finds himself restless and heads to a local club where he meets Alex. Alex is so not his type but after some persuasion from Alex they head to the motel for a one night stand. They both agree no strings attached but things don’t work out that way, neither can forget the other and Jeff just can’t believe how Alex is actually a perfect fit for him. When Jeff and Alex were together I saw a different side to Jeff and Alex is so sweet, he’s snarky and so sure of himself it’s hard not to love him but can Jeff be redeemed? I was sure that would be something this story would try to do so I needed to read on.
Jeff and Parker find out they must investigate the deaths and threatening letters parents with disable children are getting and it seems they are all from the same school. This is when Jeff finds out Alex is the legal guardian of his younger brother Sean who has Cerebral Palsy and in returns that jerk Jeff we met at the beginning.
The story continues on in that same mode throughout most of it. I saw good qualities in Jeff but I never was really comfortable with him. Watching Jeff and Alex alone you see a different side of him and you see the love they have for each other but to me his attitude about the disabled never really went away. He softened somewhat because he loved Alex so much but when the story ended I still had problems with him.
A big part of this story is the mystery but I found myself focused more on the dynamics of the characters maybe partly because with the who done it I had already suspected early on who it was. I come away from this book really needing more it ended to abruptly and all we got was a glimpse of someone who appears to have changed but living through a crisis can do that, for me it will take more than his being a hero to change my mind about him.
I’d like to know what happened after their crisis. I know it’s a first in a series so I’m hoping to get some answers in the next book and I will be reading it. Attachment Strings is far from being a book I would say you should pass on by and most people may not find issue with it, it was just the wrong subject for me personally. As for Det Parker Trenkins, I see a story there another person that needs redeeming.
Author: Blaine D. Arden, Angelia Sparrow, Naomi Brooks, M.A. Church, Logan Zachary, Kaje Harper, and T.C. Mill
Cover Artist: Nathie Block
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon | ARe
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Contemporary
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨♨
People often say that the true perfection in the human form is in its imperfections. Scars are visceral reminders of a person’s past, a sign of an event that can never fade. Whether it was gained in combat, a traumatic experience, or part of a ritual with a lover, scars are the ultimate labels. They leave a permanent mark on the body and spirit that, one way or another, change a person forever.
Veld is an Elf who has known for years that his mute friend Oren is spoken for; the design of scars spanning Oren’s torso reminds him with every look. When Oren’s vowed, Haram, is killed, Veld must not only help to prove his own innocence, but also tread carefully as he discovers Oren’s Right and Haram’s last request. Next, Tiocfaidh Ár Lá—”our day will come”—was the cry in Joe Colson’s heart, even as he fled his beloved Ireland to hide from his sins in the States. He’d assumed his chances for love were long past when a much younger man rekindles something in him he’d thought long dead.
A near-fatal car accident leaves superstar model Ashley’s face permanently scarred and his career into a tailspin. Only his lover, Will, can pull him out of his depression, provided his affection hasn’t turned to Faded Love. Young Timothy has come to Larry for Scar Therapy. But Tim is seeking healing of a different kind, and Larry finds that he has his own wounds that need tending. Garvin’s scars are a Gift of the Goddess, seared into his skin as a beacon to find his kidnapped love, Nyle. Rescuing him, though, may entail a deeper wound than even the Goddess would bestow. Finally, when Kanovan returns from his off-world tour, his lover Mirin finds a lover’s mark he hadn’t expected. Mirin must re-evaluate how much Kanovan means to him, and what he must do to make Kanovan always Sojourn Home to him.
This was a tricky anthology to rate, every story had its good and bad and the bad was enough I couldn’t ignore them but that’s a personal thing. There were a few stories that started out great then fizzled as they neared the end which saddened me they really were good stories. I think there is enough variation of story types that everyone will find one or two or three that are special to them.
Oren’s Right by Blaine D. Arden
This story is set in the magical world of fairies and elves it’s a great little fantasy that tells of friendship and love. Veld is an elf that is in love with his mute friend Oren but Oren is avowed to Hasam. Veld knows he can never have the type of relationship with Oren as he would like but he can be the friend that Oren deserves after his Hasam is killed. When Veld is arrested for the attempted murder of the Healer Rames the story turns into a mini who done it.
Oren and Veld were such endearing characters the bond of friendship between them was strong and I could tell that Oren loved Veld the same way that Veld loved Oren. I thought this story was well written and it drew me in from the start. It was a short magical story that I wish was longer, the world Blaine Arden created was intriguing and I was very sorry to see it end. This one was special.
Tiocfaidh Ár Lá by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks
Joe runs to the States from his home in Ireland after he gets caught up in some trouble there. He wants to escape his past with a new home and name. His life has been a tragic and lonely one until he meets young Ryan.
This is a sweet and at the same time heartbreaking story. I did enjoy reading it but I did think it moved along a bit too quickly there was too much story put into such a small space. I loved Joe and Ryan, at first they seemed an unlikely paring but they soon won me over. Theirs is a May December romance with Joe being almost twice Ryan’s age. Ryan is an amazing young man. He was able to see past Joe’s visible scars from his violent past and love the man for who he is. This story has a very sweet HEA but fell a bit short with me.
Faded Love by M.A. Church
Ashley’s a young man that is on top of the world both professional and personally. He’s a big time model who wants for nothing including men. Will is a bit older and hasn’t had his big break yet but he loves Ashley with every fibre of his being. When an accident turns Ashley’s life upside he needs to learn to start again his old life is gone or so he thinks. He depends on Will to see him through the after math of the accident.
This was a sweet story at times a bit too sweet. The characters were likeable and it’s definitely a story of love conquers all but something was missing. I felt the love between these men and was happy they were able to work through their problems to reach their HEA but it all seemed a bit too easy. Cute story though and it will resonate with a lot of readers I just wish there had been more meat to the story.
Scar Therapy by Logan Zachary
Larry is a Scar Therapist his new patient Tim is just recuperating from a violent attack, he’s nervous and understandably skittish. Larry is really good at what he does which is lessen the pain and appearance of scars and Tim has a lot.
This story hit me in all the wrong places. I have a lot of trouble with enjoying a story where there is a Doctor/Patient type relationship. I know these stories are just fantasy and a lot of people enjoy them but for me it’s something that crosses a line and has always made me uncomfortable. Larry is a Scar Therapist so not a Doctor but someone who should have the same ethics that doctors are supposed to have. Right from their first appointment Larry was ogling Tim and that set me on edge. It’s a bit difficult for me to review this short when I have those kinds of feelings. I did try to look past that and underneath there is a good story. I liked both characters, Larry less so, I felt so bad for Jim I just wanted to hold him in the worst way when he finally tells Larry how he really got those awful scars. This story also contains that witchy bitchy mother we see so often in stories and sometimes I admit to them being necessary but in this one I don’t quite understand why she’s in it. She has one scene where she does her bitch act (she did it really well) and that was pretty much it. She does pop up again but she’s just so unnecessary to this story she could have been removed completely and it wouldn’t have altered the story at all. Tim was such a broken young man and the type of character that I’m drawn to if only Larry hadn’t of been his therapist and their meetings hadn’t of taken place in Larry’s office complete with a hospital gown. In my opinion this story isn’t a romance either it’s just two guys lusting after each other and with Tim being such a damaged young man it made me squirm a bit. In short change the therapist/patient relationship, give Larry a different profession. Underneath I could see he was a generous and caring person which was something Tim desperately needed. With that changed this would have been an entirely different story one that I’m sure I would love.
Gift of the Goddess by Kaje Harper
Nyles is a blacksmith and Garvin is a young boy of 16 that is on a trek with his father and brother. The wheel on their wagon breaks and they go to Nyles to have it repaired. Garvin’s father is a tyrant he treats Garvin like a slave and has no use for him. When Nyles witness Garvin being beaten by his father he steps in and asks if he could have Garvin as his apprentice and a deal is made. Move ahead 10 years and we see these two as a couple. Nyles is kidnapped and Garvis pleads to a Goddess he doesn’t really believe in to help him find Nyles. That Goddess’s gift is scars that appear on him in the form of a map he must follow to find his one true love.
The story started out really strong, I loved Garvin and Nyles and the gift the Goddess gives intrigued me. The adventure and rescue Garvin undertakes was hard to read at times (yes tears were shed) but very well done. I loved how even though Garvin was a small slight young man he wasn’t portrayed that way at all. He had strength and heart galore and in some things he was much stronger than Nyles. His character was a definite departure from the stereo typical one that appears in a lot of M/M stories. It’s an interesting story and an enjoyable read with a few twists until the end, it fell short like something was left out and that left me a little disappointed.
Sojourn Home by T.C. Mill
Mirin and Kanovan are married and both are musicians but Kanovan spends a lot of time off world separated from his spouse. On his arrival home after one of his trips Mirin finds a lovers mark on Kanovan, it’s time to re-evaluate their relationship.
A bit of a scifi or maybe futuristic is a better word which is something I love to read but I really struggled with this story. The beginning was extremely hard for me to get into I found it confusing and hard to understand for a good part of it I had no idea what was really going on. That made it difficult to connect with the characters and their story. By the time I got to the end it did all made sense but by that time it was too late for me to feel involved in any way with the MC’s or the story. Knowing what I know now if I were to re-read this story I’m sure my thoughts would differ somewhat but for me stories need to reel me in at the beginning, there are some days I just want to read to escape and if the story makes me think too hard or confuses me you’ve lost me unfortunately.
Author: Rick R. Reed
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Allure
Buy Links: Publisher | Amazon
Heat Rating: ♨♨♨
Shakespeare said it best: “The course of true love never did run smooth.” In these emotional, touching, sometimes funny, and always tender stories from Rick R. Reed, meet characters who seek only one thing: to love and be loved. Achieving that goal often proves difficult, but never impossible.
Nothing worth having ever came easy.
Previously available only in electronic format, these stories of Gay Romance have now been combined for a paperback edition! Included are the tales…
I Heart Boston Terriers
“I Heart Boston Terriers” is all about embracing love, whether it’s for someone who walks on four legs, or someone who walks on two. The Boston terrier Mavis’ journey back to wholeness and finding her forever home runs parallel to the story of two men discovering one another at just that perfect moment—a moment that defies logic, propriety, and sometimes, common sense.
Beau And The Beast
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nowhere is this adage more true than in this hauntingly romantic, contemporary M/M take on the classic “Beauty and the Beast.”
Out On The Net
Ray Tolliver has cold feet and they don’t get much colder than realizing, twenty minutes before he’s about to marry a woman, that he’s gay. Get a front row seat to Ray’s dramatic, heartrending, and often hilarious journey toward self-acceptance and love.
Kyle and Jonathan were perfect for each other, the two halves that, once together, made a whole. And then one snowy night just before Parents’ Weekend on the campus of Hamilton University, Kyle drops a bomb: he’s breaking up with Jonathan. Follow the couple through the stormy (in more ways than one) winter night that ensues and discover if love can triumph over differences.
I’m going to review each story so you can get an idea how I rate the book as a whole. Then I’ll end the review with how I feel and think of the book as a whole.
I Heart Boston Terrier – 3 stars
I loved from the beginning until the near end. The ending actually left me very disappointed. The characters were very likable…well…except for the shocking change attitude from Aaron’s sister. The way the author described Mavis (the Boston terrier) was truly fantastic and it easily made me want to adopt Mavis just like that. To be honest, I didn’t think I Heart Boston Terrier actually belonged in this collection because it didn’t really contain any romance between Christian and Aaron.
I thought the change in Becca (Aaron’s sister) probably have ruined the lovely story. I did understand the intending to put a conflict in the story to make it exciting but in a book that short, I thought it’d be best if it was taken out. Also, when I noticed this book was part of Gay Romance collection, I easily assumed the story would be mostly about between Aaron and his potential lover. But it wasn’t, it was more focusing on ensuring Mavis would be in a safe place.
Beside the drama between Becca and Mavis, the story as a whole didn’t feel like it was a complete one. The ending was too abruptly. Where was the scene where we got to see how Mavis reacted to being around several dogs at Christian’s home? There were thousands questions unanswered when I reached the ending.
I could still recommend this book if someone wanted a quick read, but don’t have a high expectation of romance between Aaron and his potential lover.
Beau and the Beast – 4 stars
After dealing with a disappointment from the first story, Beau and the Beast made everything much better for me. I enjoyed the book very much. It was an interesting interpretation of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. The way Beau was assaulted was shocking and sad. I couldn’t imagine how his life had been since he had been a homeless artist. When he woke up, he was in an unfamiliar place that wasn’t a hospital. That was when the classic Fairy Tales came in. I knew I’d enjoy the story.
The way Beau and the Beast met for the first time when the Beast revealed his true look on his face. Beau reacted well and it made the romance connection real. Sure, it was an insta-love, but in this story, it worked. I thought it was done well. Toward the near-end wasn’t that bad. I knew something what the Beast would have act would happen so it didn’t surprise me. The ending ended with a Happy For Now. This story definitely belonged to the gay romance collection.
It didn’t earned five stars because this was a story that had so much to tell/show. It read as a satisfying read. But nevertheless, a great interpretation of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.
Out on the Net – 3 stars
After Ray got cold feet at his wedding, he ran away only to save the more pain on Alice. For that, I was glad he chose to not lead a false life he planned to build with Alice. It would hurt her much more in the ending. Seeing how he described in each blog entry, I knew it’d be a comedy romance type. I ended up chuckled at some of the entries. The way Ray described what had been happening to him was that good. I could picture them in my head as if I was looking at the photo or watching a short video clip.
My only downside with this story was how the author chose to end the story with. Did the relationship between Ray and his lover went well? I mean, it was Ray first time to be in an actual gay relationship and yet we didn’t get to see what happened? That disappointed me greatly.
Still a recommendation read because it was a cute funny story about Ray. The author wrote it really well. It just lacked the good ending. It had a Happy For Now ending.
Class Distinctions – 3 stars
Kyle dropped a terrible bomb on Jonathan just when Jonathan was preparing for a long hot night with Kyle. It was tragedy and sad to read what Jonathan was feeling and thinking. It was the same with Kyle. I did understand why Kyle freaked out and dumped Jonathan. I didn’t have any problem for the story to be all about getting them back together. It didn’t leave me satisfied when I finished the story. It all happened in one night, which was a bit odd. I thought it deserved to be a bit longer, so I could see how they actually confronted the issues to make the relationship between them much stronger. It wasn’t the best of four stories in this collection.
Overall – 3.25 stars
I honestly don’t think the author should continue writing shorts. All four stories lack the ending. Nevertheless, I did enjoy reading them all. It was a good read. The author did fantastic job at pulling me into the story and kept me in there. The ending was the only thing that frequently pulled me out. All of the four stories ended with your own imaginary of how they would have been when the story had ended. Like in I Heart Boston Terrier it ended with a HUGE potentially story that would turn it an awesome novel-length. There were so many things that needed to wrap up to make the story complete. In Beau and the Beast the ending was not too bad since it was a fairy tale, I knew they would have their happy ever after, but as a greedy reader, I wanted more. Out on the Net ended badly. It was his first relationship with a man and I didn’t get a glimpse of how it went? I mean…I loved every entries Ray (technically the author) wrote. It was funny, sad, sweet, and awesome entries. It was a fun way to learn who Ray was. Class Distinctions this one was the most disappointing story and definitely wasn’t the author’s best work. That kind story development couldn’t be short. It needed time for the readers to gain the attraction to the characters. This one didn’t give me a chance. It took me a while to figure out why Kyle dumped Jonathan and to find out at near-end finally made me understand and sadly, it ended already.
I’d definitely recommended you to pick this book out instead of buying each story. Not the author’s best work but I still enjoyed all of them.