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Review: Everyone’s a Casualty by Jaidon Wells

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Title: Everyone's a Casualty
Author: Jaidon Wells
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novelette
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

Joel is more in love with a fantasy world, and one of his own characters, than he is with his own life. He spends his days slipping between reality and the world on the other side of his bedroom door, drifting from day to day with no sense of direction.

But something is haunting the world he’s created, and when it slips out into the real world Joel must choose: surrender the world he loves, or tear it down.


Review:

This little fantasy – and I mean 39 pages little – is really out there but what a great premise! Being so out there it’s a difficult story to review, I’m sure my review will end up being just as confusing as the story.

This reminded me of Narnia, instead of a magical wardrobe there is a magical room behind one of the doors in Joel’s apartment that took Joel – the main character – into a magical world. During the day the mild mannered Joel works at a record store but in his spare time he’s a writer, the writer that has written that magical story behind that door in his apartment.

This story starts out gangbusters but as the story progresses it gets more and more confusing. Like the character in Everyone’s a Casualty I got lost between what was reality and what was fantasy. Unfortunately near the end the story goes off the rails completely and it totally lost me but I see a great deal of potential with this premise. With a bit of fleshing out, some work on the pacing and of course adding more to the story this could be a great read.

October 27th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Losing Ground by Sasha Miller

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Title: Losing Ground
Author: Sasha Miller
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

Carter Bellwood’s family has Earth-claimed the Bellwood territory for generations and they’ve always had an excess of Earth energy to back it up. Until Carter, whose energy is barely a fraction of that his mother has. But he’s the only Earth wizard in his generation and set to inherit the territory—if there’s anything left of it. The territory is being ravaged by a disease that kills all plant life it comes into contact with. They can’t cure it, can barely contain it, can only watch as their territory turns into a barren landscape. Then a new Earth wizard shows up. Tai is everything Carter is not when it comes to the strength of his magic, and more importantly he knows how to cure the disease. But he’s also terrified and clearly on the run from something, and Carter’s not sure Tai’s help is worth the risk of him trying to stake his own claim on the territory—or the risk that whatever he’s running from finds him…


Review:

I really enjoyed this fast easy little fantasy. I loved the magic and the little mystery surrounding Tai and I especially loved Carter and Tai’s relationship. Tai is hiding but from what? Carter’s family territory is under attack, everything is dying but who is responsible? The mystery in this story is a good one but my favorite thing is the relationship between Tai and Carter. Tai is sweet and somewhat naïve. He has more magical power than he knows what to do with until Carter comes along and asks for Tai’s help in repairing whatever it is that’s destroying the land. Carter is the perfect leading man for Tai, he’s patient, loving and very protective. Sasha L. Miller has written two very special characters that I would have loved to read a lot more about. The pacing was good and I liked the writing style, I can’t say anything was missing. By the end everything was answered but it ended way too fast for me, I would have loved to see a whole lot more…..maybe a sequel?

October 14th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Malrith’s Shield by Azalea Moone

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Title: Malrith's Shield (Dreamtide, #)
Author: Azalea Moone
Cover Artist: N/A
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Queer
Length: Novel
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating5 Stars (5 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

Forced into exile for being a dragon summoner, Kohaku’s problems only worsen when his dragon becomes inexplicably dormant. In attempt to find the reasons why, he runs into Sawyer, the handsome dragon hunter who freed him from persecution two years ago, and winds up awakening something very different—a love like no other he’s experienced before.

Sawyer’s never forgotten about the gorgeous red-haired summoner. He sets out to prove he’s no longer interested in slaying dragons. Instead, he wants to gain Kohaku’s trust, and his affection, while he helps search for the key in the dragon’s recovery.

However, there’s another frightful magic at play, and suddenly things are starting to fall apart around them. Can they maintain this forbidden love while facing the evils coming their way?


Review:

Malrith’s Shield is a wonderful fantasy about Kohaku, a dragon summoner that has lost his dragon and Sawyer a slayer/hunter who – after meeting Kohaku – no longer hunts dragon summoners. The two run into one another 2 years after the night Sawyer let Kohaku go free and together they search for the reason Kohaku can no longer summon his dragon.

I thought this story was really unique, something I’d never read before. I was completely taken in by these two and their exciting adventure. Kohaku is childlike at times, he’s completely lovable and I loved how totally smitten Sawyer is with him. I couldn’t help but fall in love with them. They are the perfect pairing and the chemistry between them is off the charts. There is a romance but it’s not the focal point of this story.

I thought Maltith’s Shield was a bit of a departure from a lot of fantasies. It has all the elements of your average fantasy a dragon, an adorable fairy, a witch, an evil sorcerer and of course the two perfect main characters. But there is something very different about this book that I can’t quite put my finger on. I wasn’t ready for Kohaku and Sawyer’s adventure to be over, thankfully it’s not, this is the first book in a series.

Azalea Moone has written a truly wonderful fantasy that had me hooked from page one and wouldn’t let me put it down until I’d read ‘the end’. I can’t wait I want more!

I highly recommend this story!

September 4th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Between the Lines by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Title: Between the Lines
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Reviewer: Sean
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Non-Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating3 Stars (3 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

What if you could hear the words behind the words?

Brad Weston’s life seems perfect. He’s GQ handsome, the chief of staff for a Republican California state senator, and enjoys the power and the promise of a bright future. And he’s in a comfortable relationship with his boyfriend of six years, Alex.

Sam Fuller is Brad’s young blond blue-eyed intern, fresh out of college, running from a bad breakup, and questioning his choices and his new life in politics. To make things worse, Sam also has a thing for the boss, but Brad is already taken.

While looking for a gift for his boyfriend, Brad wanders into a curiosity shop and becomes fascinated by an old wooden medallion. Brad’s not a superstitious man, but when he takes out the medallion in his office, he sees the world in a whole new light.


Review:

This was a really quick read. Less than an hour I’d presumed. The story itself wasn’t too bad. The writing style fit to my liking so I was able to enjoy the novella. For this type of story, it needed to be longer. It needed time to develop a feeling between two characters.

The part I loved about this novella was the medallion he’d found in a small shop. It gave Brad a gift that made a big life changing for Brad. So, that was the cool part about the story. The relationship developmental wasn’t there at all. That disappointed me a bit. I enjoyed the part where he did something insane at his work, so that was cool.

Overall, there weren’t enough plots to make the story completed so it felt unfinished. It wasn’t a waste of my time to read it because I still find a way to be able to enjoy the book. I’d say it was harder to me to be able to write a better review for this novella because there wasn’t much to say. I think this book needed to be expanded so badly.

August 26th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: The Homecoming by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Title: The Homecoming
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: London Burden
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Reviewer: Sean
Genre: Paranormal & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating4 Stars (4 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

When his own world is destroyed, Aldiss and his crew barely manage to escape, leaving friends and lovers behind. What was meant to be an exploratory trip back to the home world turns into a mad dash for survival.

When they awaken from stasis on Earth, which was abandoned by humanity five centuries before, they must quickly learn about their new home. While exploring the region around the ship, Aldiss meets Hari, a shape-changer, whose people harbor secrets that might cost the crew their lives.


Review:

This was the first book I’d read written by J. Scott Coatsworth and most certainly won’t be last. The author had a good creativity when it came to storytelling. This novella was a mix of sci-fi and paranormal. It was based in the future and the main character was coming back to Earth from his home out in the space, which made it sci-fi. The people on Earth were shape-changer, which made it a paranormal.

The characters were pretty developed, but it wasn’t long enough for the characters to be completely developed. That was what I was looking for in the novella. But the author was off to a great start I was able to enjoy the characters very much. I even was able to connect to some characters even though we didn’t get full background on some of them. The plot itself was perfect for its length, although, I’d preferred much longer. In this case, it worked. Describing how the shape-changer occurred was well defined, so I was completely satisfied with how the book was written.

I really loved the world the author created and wanted more out of it. If the author ever decided to write a sequel or even an expanded version, I’d pick it up in a heartbeat. The writing style was well and an easy read. I definitely can recommend you to check this one out if you want to read something by a new author. It was good balance between sci-fi and paranormal. It loses a star because I felt it can be fleshed out a bit longer, but that was just my opinion. It was also a quick read as well.

August 18th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Population by Elizabeth Stephens

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Title: Population
Author: Elizabeth Stephens
Cover Artist: Amygdala Art
Publisher: Vantage Point Books
Reviewer: Sean
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Heterosexual
Length: Novel
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating5 Stars (5 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review  


Blurb:

Lawlessness, violence and desperation are all that is left of the world following the coming of the Others. Abel exists only within the boundaries that her rules allow — rules that she created to keep her alive. But when her best friend’s daughter is taken by the Others, she can’t keep playing by the rule book. Instead, she must begin a life defining journey that will test her survival techniques and challenge her ability to find what she has always feared: hope.


Review:

Population was an amazing read! So many things had happen from the beginning to the very cliff-hanging ending. I loved it. Of course I was being a baby brat when I reached to the end of the book. I wasn’t a huge fan of cliff-hanging type of book, but hey, the sequel will be out in April 2016. I guess I will have to be very patient and wait for it to be released. I really want to know what happened to all characters! Abel was a strong woman in the novel. She was a true survivor. She had gone through hell since the world went insane.

The novel was original as well. Sure, there were plenty of stories that had a similar concept of how the world went apocalyptical. But the creatures the author created was more than original. The life style people had to survive was not what I had seen in a book or a film in the past so this novel scored an A plus when it came to originality.

There were plenty of actions that kept me on a tip of the cliff. I just had to keep on reading and reading until I reached the end. Of course I was being a baby brat when I read the last page. I so didn’t see it coming, but it made me even more excite to read when the second book come out. I probably will end up re-reading it before starting second book.

I really dig Kane out of all characters. Kane was different from his own people and he was just awesome. I couldn’t explain why because I would spoil the novel for you. You just had to grab a copy and read Population. It was that good! It had horror, action/adventure, romance, and a mix of sci-fi and fantasy thrown in for a good measure. This was a type of book I’d easily pick up and fell in love with the world the author created easily. I can’t wait to find out more about Abel and Kane in second novel!

I highly recommended if you enjoy a novel with a strong heroine. It had plenty of action and a good touch of romance so it would be a good fit for any readers. Don’t wait too long to check this one out!

August 6th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: A Place to Call Their Own by Dean Pace-Frech

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Title: A Place to Call Their Own
Author: Dean Pace-Frech
Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs
Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Historical
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating4 Stars (4 / 5)

This book was purchased by the reviewer


Blurb:

Frank Greerson and Gregory Young have been discharged from the Army and are headed to their childhood homes. They both defied their parents in 1861 when they joined the Army. After battling southern rebels and preserving the Union of the United States of America, the two men set out to battle the Kansas Prairie and build a life together. Once they find their claim, they encounter common obstacles to life on the Kansas Prairie in 1866: Native Americans, tornadoes, wild animals, and weather.

When a prairie fire destroys their crops and takes their neighbor’s lives, Frank and Gregory are instructed to find their young son’s aunt. Faced with leaving a destroyed claim, the railroad coming through their land, and dwindling funds, Frank and Gregory must decide whether to leave the place they have worked hard to make their own or fulfill their friends’ dying wishes.


Review:

I’m a nut for historical novels. It’s not often I run across one that takes place after the civil war in the old west with Indians and land claims. A time when families packed up and moved west to work the land hoping to lay claim to it and make a life. A Place to Call Their Own is that type of historical.

It’s an easy, almost angst-less read, more gay fiction than romance but there is a beautiful love story about two men who meet and fall in love while in the Army. Frank and Gregory make plans to head west when they’re discharged to find place they can call their own and live together without trouble. The journey takes them to Kansas where they find land they can homestead but it’s not easy. Through bad weather, a man that wants to ruin what Frank and Gregory have, a fire that wipes out all their hard work and the lives of some special neighbors these amazing men find a way to keep going when most would give up.

Frankie and Gregory are wonderful characters and I fell in love with them immediately. Their story is sweet and at times an emotional one. The unexpected addition to their family and the happily for now ending has me excited to see where they end up next.

I recommend A Place to Call Their Own

July 28th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Guitars and Cages by Layla Dorine

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Title: Guitars and Cages
Author: Layla Dorine
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publisher
Reviewer: Sean
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Non-Romance
Pairing: Bisexual & Questioning
Length: Long Novel
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating5 Stars (5 / 5)

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

Asher Logan is a bartender and a pretty wicked guitar player, when he isn’t wrecking his hands fighting in a cage. With a past he keeps hoping to outrun, Asher’s been on a downward spiral for longer than he can remember. When his sister-in-law leaves Rory, his eight-year-old nephew, in his care, Asher is forced into two things he’s never been good at: sobriety and responsibility. As he struggles to care for Rory, his own life begins to unravel.

When Asher’s brother, Alex, turns up, presenting as a girl and announcing her new name is Alexia, it further complicates matters, as does the arrival of his new neighbor, Conner. Both, in their own way, compel Asher to look at his own closely-guarded views on sexuality.

When the siblings’ older brother, Cole, reacts violently to Alexia, Asher is placed squarely in the middle of a family conflict which compels him to confront who he pretends to be versus who he really is.

Asher must choose who to trust and who to finally walk away from.


Review:

This is going to be hard to review because I loved the book so much! It was truly an emotional read. I nearly cried while I was reading the novel at work. It really focused on Asher Logan’s personal growth. This book was about 140k words or 475 pages and not even once I felt it was too long. It was just perfect. A perfect way to feel emotionally connected to Asher’s hard life. The opening hooked me in just like that. “Sixty-Three Seconds” was what the opening was all about. There were many things that could have happen in just 64 seconds. That was a minute and three seconds.

HOW LONG does it take to unravel a life? A second? An hour? A minute? A year? In my case it took sixty-three seconds. That’s .0175 percent of an hour, or 63,000 milliseconds, or the time it takes to chug a beer and light a cigarette. Hell, there’s a ton of things I can do in sixty-three seconds; I should know, I’ve kept track of them all. In sixty-three seconds I can open a car door with a coat hanger or make a peanut-butter sandwich. Sixty-three seconds is 11.22 percent of The Doors’ classic The End. It’s the time it used to take to walk from the door of my apartment to the door of my favorite whore. Sixty-three seconds is also how long it took my eldest brother to die after we were left no choice but to pull the plug on him.

That was the very first paragraph of the long novel and I knew I couldn’t stop. I was in for a long crazy roller coaster ride. The first paragraph didn’t lie about that. It really took me into Asher’s mind and see what he’d seen. It took me less than twenty-four hours in total to finish the novel. Nearly causing me to not do my work and read book instead. But thankfully, there wasn’t anything to do at work when I was reading so it was an opportunity for me to not waste, but keep on seeing what Asher had seen.

When his brother showed up looking smoking hot that made Asher thinking, “Man, I’d hit that,” but it turned out to be his brother that had underwent a change from male to female. Those scenes were just one of many scenes that caused a big change in Asher’s life. He spent his entire life running away when things had gotten too hard for him to deal. Especially when his sister-in-law dumped her son to Asher’s doorstep and expected him to watch his nephew. I adored Rory more than anything. He was an amazing boy for an 8-years old. Full of curiosity and in some way, he reminded me of myself since I grew up being smart-mouth.

When Asher heard a mewing down in the alley and the things he done for the injured cat made me love Asher much more. He had the most gently heart that no one got to see except the readers and me. We knew Asher was capable of being an awesome man. But as I finished the novel, I understood why Asher took so long to realize he was a good guy. You will have to read the book to see what had woken him and made him change for a better person.

Morgan was my love and hate relationship character. It was more love than hate, though. It was the reaction he had when he found out more secrets that got me so upset, but I understood why he reacted that way. Cole, I had a hard time liking him. He was really a jerk. As you can see in the blurb—When the siblings’ older brother, Cole, reacts violently to Alexia, Asher is placed squarely in the middle of a family conflict which compels him to confront who he pretends to be versus who he really is. It made Asher much more confused about himself and how he could choose to be sided with, although he didn’t want to. Man, you just have to read the book to see how much Asher had suffered.

I have say enough about the book and beg you to check this book out. It was so good. I haven’t read anything as emotional as this book in a while. It was a book I’d considered a treasure. It won’t be easy to not feel anything when you read the book as well. Your emotion may be all over the place. But I am satisfied with the ending.

July 16th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: The Breaking of Bonds by Alina Popescu

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Title: The Breaking of Bonds (Bad Blood Trilogy, )
Author: Alina Popescu
Cover Artist: M.P. Revita
Publisher: Self-Published
Reviewer: Sean
Genre: Paranormal
Type: Romance
Pairing: Heterosexual & Lesbian
Length: Novel
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating5 Stars (5 / 5)

This book was purchased by the reviewer 


Blurb:

A human sacrifice throws vampires of two worlds, trueborn and baseborn, into an escalating conflict. One side pushes for revenge, the other for freedom. The trueborns stubbornly hunt for Anthony and Louis, pushed by Hesrah’s desire to avenge her human best friend, Alexa. The baseborns are divided between rallying with those challenging the rule of Ankhsis and obeying the trueborns.

What emerges from the portal between Earth and Ankhsis in the middle of the turmoil rocking both worlds is more dead than alive. Neither human, nor baseborn, and certainly not trueborn. This new being will either damn them all or be their race’s most powerful weapon. Will they trust it not to destroy them, or will Ankhsis decide putting it down is the only solution?

In the end, who is guilty? Who will pay? Will anyone survive its wrath?


Review:

The Breaking of Bonds had gotten better after the first book! I truly loved how original the novel was. After reading the blurb, I realized writing a review of this novel would be much challenging since I couldn’t exactly name a couple people that was in the novel. However, the trueborns’ home was amazingly awesome. There was something that flew fifty feet away from the portal and it was still alive. Just barely. The shocking thing was… This fallen body on the ground were neither a human, a baseborn, or a trueborn. It was a new being that no one ever met. This person was the most powerful being at the moment.

I was able to get to know Hesrah more in this novel and kept loving her character. She wanted to avenge Alexa by chasing down Anthony and Louis for betraying her. I was also introduced to Hesrah’s brother, Seth. He was one confused pal! He couldn’t make up his mind about how he truly felt for a certain person. It was frustrating (in a good way, mind you) to see how stubborn Seth was. In some way, he was a whining, spoiled brat.

As the novel ended, it ended on a softer cliffhanger so I wasn’t complaining. Although, I really hope the third book is nearly finished! I have a good feeling I know who gave the orders to Anthony, but I can’t say it here. 😀

I highly recommended! Vampire fan or not, still awesome!

June 26th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: The Ravens Crossing Book Two by Three Authors

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Title: The Raven Crossing Book Two (The Raven Crossing, )
Author: Amanda Corlies, Andi Lea, and West Thornhill
Cover Artist: Andi Lea
Publisher: Self-Published
Reviewer: Sean
Genre: Young Adult
Type: Romance
Pairing: Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, & Heterosexual
Length: Long Novel
Heat Rating2 Stars
Book Rating3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review


Blurb:

This is the second book in The Ravens Crossing series.
Previous book: The Raven Crossing: Book One
Next book: The Raven Crossing: Book Two

The Ravens Crossing is a serialized LGBTQ and straight ally young adult series. It is a paranormal/science fiction/fantasy adventure. TRC is written by three authors sharing a world. Books One, Two, and Three follow the adventures of thirteen high school friends. This volume contains Season Two stories in the order they were originally published at the companion website www.theravenscrossing.org.

***

Welcome back to Wildwood, where keeping secrets has become a way of life. Because being a Gaea is nothing if not complicated. But, when thirteen high school seniors come into their full powers as Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Time Gaeas, they begin to uncover a depth of deception surrounding them that may tear some of them apart. The secrets revealed will shake them to their very foundations, and just when these friends need to trust each other the most, they will end up keeping secrets from each other.

With Gaea abilities that range from astral projection to firestarting to time travel and a whole lot in between, the Thirteen must learn to protect themselves. They should be focused on college acceptance letters, but planning for their future involves Armors teaching them martial arts and swordplay. Instead of learning from a history text, they are learning the intricacies of time travel from a legendary eccentric named Amyntas. With each discovery, from Gaea genetics to ancient prophecies, to what it means to become bonded as a Tempus and Solus, the stakes get higher. Because Frederick Demetrius, Donna Holden, and a mysterious man named Jiro seem fixated on Wildwood. They want something from the Thirteen, and they don’t mind taking out anyone who stands in their way.


Review:

It took me over a year to finish the book. All in all, it’s a good book, but it was too long for my taste. There are a lot of scenes that can be easily cut off from the book and shorten it a bit. For example, one scene was repeated a few times from different POV and I got tired of reading the similar scene. I loved the characters the authors created for this world. They have gone through tough times, especially for their ages. As soon as the book ended, it left me with nothing to be honest. I thought they’d encountered something crazy with Frederick, Donna, and Jiro, but I guess I’ll need to check the third book out when I can. It’s longer than book three, so I’ll still get it and read as often as I can until I finish the book. I know it wasn’t the best review I’ve yet to write. The book basically left me exhausted and speechless. If you have plenty of time, the series is worth a checking out. The abilities the characters had were brilliant and I loved the type of powers the authors created for them.

June 17th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments