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Review: L’Histoire de François: Vampire by Edward Kendrick

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Title: L'histoire de François: Vampire (Immortal Angst, #)
Author: Edward Kendrick
Cover Artist: Wilde City Press
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Paranormal
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating3 Stars (3 / 5)

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


Blurb:

Since his turning in 1022 young spy, François, has hated all humans. And yet, in 1347, he falls in love with one, only to be betrayed by Giles who tells his liege lord that François is a vampire. The lord blackmails François into spying for him. Years later, François gains his revenge on Giles through his son.

In 1876 New Orleans, François joins forces with Vasile, a master of the city, to take on human vampire hunters. Then Vasile’s human lover dies and Vasile turns to François for comfort. Will love ensue, or is François destined to always be alone?


Review:

This little novella combines two things I love and that’s vampires and historical reads. I was hoping for a bit more than what I got but I still enjoyed the story. There is a lot packed into this short story, maybe a little too much but the big thing missing for me was the angst. Where was all the angst? I never really felt any.

L’Histoire de Francois revolves mostly around Francois but does introduce other characters. The premise is a good one, it’s the first book in the Immortal Angst Series about a young man that’s turned and used as a spy. He meets and falls in love with a human that betrays him and his life is never the same. Francois is a tough character to like but I’m drawn to the bad and tormented men, he fits that role perfectly.

I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series and hoping there will be a bit more angst.

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

Review: All That You Can’t Leave Behind by Kirby Quinlan

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Title: All That You Can't Leave Behind
Author: Kirby Quinlan
Cover Artist: Kirby Quinlan
Publisher: KQ Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating2 Stars (2 / 5)

This book was provided by the Promoter/Marketer in exchange for a honest review.


Blurb:

Let go of the past. Live in the moment. The future will take care of itself.

Tailor Sway is a professional organizer on the brink of divorce. When he is hired to appear on a reality TV show called “Hoarded Houses”, he has three days to help a collector of Christmas decorations clean up her property before it’s condemned by local authorities.

Everything is going according to Tailor’s carefully laid plans. That is, until Brayzen Mapleridge, a mega-famous pop singer known for his wild, daredevil antics, shows up.

Forced to pay for a recent stunt which has turned into a serious legal matter, Brayzen is given the opportunity to avoid jail time by doing some hard labor in front of the cameras. But, it’s not an easy thing to do while being chased by all who trail in the wake of a major celebrity. Is Brayzen sincere about helping, or is it all just part of a well-crafted publicity campaign?

Despite some initial clashes between Tailor’s uptight determination and Brayzen’s carefree attitude, the two develop an unlikely partnership that quickly blossoms into a sizzling attraction.

But, Tailor’s unresolved conflict with his husband, Grant, an emotionally scarred veteran of the Iraq War, still looms in the background amidst a whirlwind of TV cameras, relentless paparazzi, eager fans, and scathing headlines. Despite all these complications, will it be Brayzen’s own meddling mother who puts the brakes on their steamy love affair for good?

At times sexy, laugh-out-loud funny, and tragically heartbreaking; this erotic tale of love, loss and letting go promises to give you a front-row seat on Tailor and Brayzen’s crazy, romantic rollercoaster ride. Strap yourself in!


Review:

This is another review that’s difficult to write because in order to explain why I feel the way I do about this story I have to give too much away and I won’t do that, not even by hiding it in a spoiler. So I’m left with trying to explain without giving to many specifics. I’ll give this a try and hope it makes sense.

Tailor is that guy you call if you are in need of organization, he’s even on a tv show helping people get their places and lives in order. Brazyen is a musician that got himself into some trouble with the law and part of his punishment is working with Tailor to fulfill his community service. After a less than stellar first meeting they do hit it off and I thought they were a great couple with lots of chemistry. One major road block for these guys is that Tailor is married and not willing to act on his feelings for Brazyen.

I really wanted to like this story but unfortunately it just didn’t work for me. Tailor and Brayzen are great main characters and some of the secondary characters are interesting even the story premise is a good one but and there is a very big but….so much went wrong. I did like this story until the 25% mark then one paragraph made the whole story fall apart for me. “How many years has it been now? It’s been a while. Poor Brayzen. I mean it’s no wonder he flaked out these past few years. Sneaking that pet monkey he had on the plane to Germany, exposing himself, getting in trouble with the law.” First of all, is this story really about Justin Bieber and the name has just been changed? Because not that long ago it was in the news about Justin Bieber trying to get his monkey on a plane in Germany, along with all is other troubles that sound very similar to Brayzen, it didn’t help that Brayzen is also a musician. That paragraph took it one step to far for me, add in the fact the writing doesn’t flow and at times sounds stilted. There were places the story read like bullet points rather than a smooth flowing sentences. One other major problem I had with this story was Tailor’s husband. That man was one big hot mess and what the author does with him annoyed me to no end!

I really do think there could be something here and with a lot of reworking it could potentially be a good story but as it stands it just it just didn’t work for me.

December 1st, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Foolish Encounters: A Rainbow Gold Anthology

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Title: Foolish Encounters: A Rainbow Gold Anthology
Author: Tali Spencer, Tinnean, Elin Gregory, JC Wallace, Amy Lane, Angel Martinez, and Freddy Mackay
Cover Artist: Wilde City Press
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Long Novel
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

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


Blurb:

An accident, a chance encounter, a thought blurted out, a boat blown off course, a change in direction that suddenly runs into the line of fire – the smallest misstep can change everything. These foolish encounters are the moments around which lives pivot and sometimes spin out of control. Join us for tales of imprudent choices and bad decisions that can lead just as easily to hilarity as they can to tragedy.


Review:

Like most anthologies some of these stories worked and a few didn’t. Overall it is a good bunch of short stories, something fun to pick up when you’re just looking for something quick to read that’s out of the norm.

A Message from the Home Office by Angel Martinez

I really liked this one. It’s a sci-fi alien shifter story that made me chuckle. Sissal, a cobra shifter and Rcrred (Richard) a dik dik shifter are great characters and I absolutely loved the two of them together. I enjoyed this story the most it was cute, sweet and funny and I would really have loved for there to be more.

Shredding the Heart by JC Wallace

This is one of the two stories in the anthology that is a contemporary romance. Nicholas is a skateboarder and Quinn is a Financial Adviser two completely opposite men that find themselves attracted to each other. I loved their romance, it was one of those sweet slow burn things unfortunately the ending was just a bit too sappy for me. It was cute though.

The Lunar Imperative by Elin Gregory

This story took me back into the sci-fi world but I couldn’t get into this one at all. For most of the story I was confused and by the time I kind of figured out what was going on and who was who the story was over. I think there was too much of everything in too small a space.

Blue and Green Persuasion by Tinnean

Another story in the sci-fi world and for the most part I loved this one! With Blue and Green Persuasion I got a good amount of history that helped me understand why the characters were in the situation they were in. It’s very different from any sci-fi story I have ever read and I laughed a lot but I was disappointed when it ended and a bit disappointed with how it ends. It didn’t feel quite complete, I’m hoping to see this one in a longer version at some point.

Well Hello, Eight Eyes by Tali Spencer

Spider shifters? Ewwww….but who knew they could be so cute? Well one of them anyway. Main character Tanner goes out on his boat and gets caught in a storm and thrown overboard. He thinks it’s the end but he wakes up on an Island he’s never heard of with people who won’t tell him much of anything. I liked this story! It’s cute, sweet and fun, I’d love for more of this one.

The Fenestra Penetration by Amy Lane

By Amy Lane….need I say more? This is the other contemporary romance in the anthology and I loved this one. The characters are great, the story is steamy and it’s just that tiny bit quirky but that made it all the more fun to read. There is a satisfying happy for now ending but I’d love for these guys to get there happily ever after.

The Nut Job by Freddy Mackay

This story takes place in the same world as Angel Martinez’s story A Message from the Home Office. While I liked that story a lot this one lost me. I couldn’t connect to the main characters or their plight. Maybe it was just too out there for me or maybe because I’d read so many other shorts in between I got confused. I wonder if I would have liked this one more if I had of read it immediately after reading A Message from the Home Office. The story idea sounds great it just didn’t work for me.

October 30th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Greenleaf’s Blessing by M. King

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Title: Greenleaf's Blessing
Author: M. King
Cover Artist: Wilde City Press
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novelette
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

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


Blurb:

In a world where the old ways walk uneasily alongside the new, orphan Rhynn is apprenticed to old Master Wemmick, his village’s Herb Mage. He is tasked with learning the potent craft that blends herb lore and magic, but which also marks him as a pariah. After an unexpected encounter drives away the one person Rhynn considered a friend, he flees into the ancient heart of the forest… only to meet the wood’s guardian spirit, who awakens the dormant power within him.


Review:

Greenleaf’s Blessing is a very short fantasy that read more like a sample than an actual novelette. There just wasn’t enough for me to get attached to any of the characters or get immersed in the plot but I did see potential in this story. The little I learned of Rhynn and Vareth I liked but I needed a lot more. The dream like sequence where Rhynn is in the forest was erotic and sweet but I’m not really sure where that came from or where it was supposed to go. There was something missing and it left me a bit confused. I liked the writing style and I really liked how different this short is from anything I’ve read. There were just a few too many holes for me to feel anything more than like but I would love to see this story expanded on, I’m intrigued.

October 5th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Last Communion by Ingela Bohm

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Title: Last Communion
Author: Ingela Bohm
Cover Artist: Ingela Bohm
Publisher: Self-Published
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi
Type: Non-Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

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


Blurb:

A worldwide disease has all but wiped out humankind. Only a few people survive, the doctor’s son among them. But there’s something wrong with him: he no longer wants to eat. Is he finally dying too?

The answer is as unexpected as it is horrible: one night, he discovers a new hunger – a mindless craving for blood. Horrified at himself, he flees into the night, but when he tries to find sanctuary, he ends up almost getting killed. As he starts to realize that even a predator can become prey, he runs into Garangjas – another man who drinks blood. Irresistibly drawn, he follows Garangjas to his flock of ‘Confirmands,’ a weird group of people who might just be his ticket to survival.

There’s just one problem: how can the Confirmands stay alive if the rest of humanity dies out?


Review:

I’m at a loss as to what to say about this story. I’m a huge fan of this author and the books I’ve read by her so far. I’m also a huge fan of scifi and books that contain vampires so this should have been a match made in heaven seeing as it contained everything I love, but I struggled with it. The story is hard to follow and most of the time I felt like I was in the dark as to what was going on. I just didn’t get it. Even some of the word choices threw me. For example, I’ve read other vampire stories that use the word wine for blood but for some reason I couldn’t wrap my head around it here it just felt off.

The premise is a really good one, but that feeling of being left in the dark throughout the whole story as to what caused the ‘Condition’ that’s been effecting people and not being able to connect to any of the characters left me with a story I really struggled to read. There were times I almost gave up but I loved the other books I’ve read by this author and I know she can write some really awesome stories so I continued. I kept hoping at some point it was all going to come together and I’d get my “aha!” moment but it wasn’t until the very end that I got it and by that time it was too late.

Also there isn’t a romance although I kept waiting for there to be one between the main characters. Maybe the author never meant for there to be a romance but the story does lead you to believe one is in the works it just never materializes. I don’t need all my stories to have a romance but I’m left wondering if this story had one would it have saved the read for me?

October 1st, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Pura Vida by Sara Alva (Audiobook Version)

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Title: Pura Vida
Author: Sara Alva
Narrator: Joseph Northton
Cover Artist: Madison Parker
Publisher: Self-Published
Reviewer: Jay
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella (2 hours and 23 minutes)
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

This book was provided by the Promoter/Marketer in exchange for a honest review.


Blurb:

Simon has found himself in an open relationship for the summer – though not by choice. Instead of wallowing, he’s decided to make the most of a family vacation to Costa Rica by hooking up with the first hot guy available. The trouble is, he has no clue how to go about doing that.

Luckily, he runs into someone with a little more experience. But when the moments of lust turn into something more, Simon isn’t so sure he’ll be able to return to his old relationship. And there’s no way to hold onto this new one, either, as thousands of miles will separate them in only a few short weeks. Either way, he’ll have to learn to let go.


Review:

Pura Vida is a sweet short vacation fling that turns in to more than each guy expects.  It is a relatively uncomplicated young adult story that changes the lives of these two men over time. And there are sea turtles!

While vacationing in Costa Rica with his family Simon hooks up with a local, Juan.  Simon has been forced into an open relationship by his boyfriend Leo who is ready to move on but Simon is having trouble letting go figuring that he won’t find anything better than Leo. Simon decides that he needs a summer fling to stop his obsession with Leo.

Simon meets Juan on the beach one night when he witnesses the hatching of sea turtles.  Little does Simon know that this simple act will change his direction in life forever and lead to him changing his course study upon returning to school. Juan is dedicated to preserving the sea turtle wildlife. He is skeptical of the American tourist at first, he has been here before.  However, Simon and Juan settle into more than a one night fling and enjoy each other’s company just “passing the time”.

Sara Alva has written a beautiful short young adult love story where two unlikely individuals come together and fit perfectly.  The difference between Simon and Juan are expertly intertwined allowing the story to flow freely and with easy. The story provides love, heartbreak, and ultimately romance with an epilogue that gives a realistic and satisfying closure to the story.

This review is based on the audio book version:

Narrator: Joseph Northton

Length: 2 hrs and 23 mins

Narration: Joseph Northton does a decent job with the narration and I enjoyed listening to his voice tell Simon and Juan’s story.  I did feel that emotion was lacking at times but overall a very pleasant experience.

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

Review: Blood and Dirt by Lloyd A. Meeker

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Title: Blood and Dirt (A Russ Morgan Mystery, #)
Author: Lloyd A. Meeker
Cover Artist: Wilde City Press
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating4 Stars (4 / 5)

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


Blurb:

Family squabbles can be murder. Psychic PI Russ Morgan investigates a vandalized marijuana grow in Mesa County Colorado, landing in the middle of a ferocious family feud that’s escalating in a hurry. Five siblings fight over the family ranch as it staggers on the brink of bankruptcy, marijuana its only salvation. Not everyone agrees, but only one of them is willing to kill to make a point. Russ also has a personal puzzle to solve as he questions his deepening relationship with Colin Stewart, a man half his age. His rational mind says being with Colin is the fast track to heartbreak, but it feels grounding, sane, and good. Now, that’s really dangerous…


Review:

My first thought after reading this story was “Why the hell didn’t I read book one first?” I really should have, not that it’s imperative that you do but it would have given me some history of the characters that I would have liked. Blood and Dirt is an enjoyable read. It’s a little bit paranormal with a psychic PI who reads aura’s and taps into people’s emotions. It has a little romance that isn’t the driving force of the story but very sweet none the less. I would have loved to have read a lot more about Russ and Colin and I think I’ll be grabbing book one to see what I missed. The mystery is predictable but I was intrigued enough to keep reading to find out “who done it” for sure – in case I was wrong – also it’s written in a way that didn’t make me feel like I’d read this one before. The writing is smooth and the pacing is excellent. Even though the ending isn’t technically a cliff hanger if I want to know more about Russ and Colin’s relationship picking up book 3 when it’s available will be a must. I highly recommend this story to readers that love a mystery with a bit of romance woven in.

September 25th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Captured at the Castle by Alexandra Ainsworth

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Title: Captured at the Castle (Scandal in Sussex, #)
Author: Alexandra Ainsworth
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Self-Published
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Historical
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

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


Blurb:

Geoffrey Hammerstead always dreamed of protecting others. Geoffrey is delighted when he moves to Ashbury Castle to take on the duties of magistrate. But when his uncle, Sir Ambrose, goes missing and is accused of running a long smuggling network, Geoffrey finds himself under suspicion.

Former thief Etienne Rivaud is furious after being wrongfully thrown into prison. But Etienne is more furious when the new magistrate is assigned to protect him.

Geoffrey and Etienne are both confident they abhor each other, but somehow they cannot stop thinking about each other. Can they ever attempt to forge a future together in a world where sodomy is illegal, and Geoffrey’s job requires him to enforce that?


Review:

I loved Duke in Denial– the first book of the Scandal in Sussex series – and couldn’t wait to read more from this author and this world. While I ended up loving the main characters in this book some of the story just didn’t do it for me. The mystery wasn’t very exciting and I actually had trouble following what was going on to the point of almost losing interest in story all together. The pacing was good but it didn’t flow, as a matter of fact it took me a while to get into this story and the only thing that kept me reading was that I fell so in love with Etienne I just had to know what was in store for him and if he would get his HEA with dear sweet Geoffrey.

The main characters are wonderful and their romance is beyond sweet. There is no insta-love or intsa-lust but there is an instant attraction and that part of the story made for a pleasant read. It’s been a few hours since I finished reading this book and I’m still not sure what to think of the mystery except that I’m really disappointed, I was hoping for so much more. This in no way will stop me from picking up another book by Alexandra Ainsworth. I think she’s a wonderful writer, unfortunately I just couldn’t connect to everything in this particular story.

September 24th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments

Review: Disappear With Me by Dean Pace-Frech

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Title: Disappear With Me
Author: Dean Pace-Frech
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Historical
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novel
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

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


Blurb:

Love is greater than hope or faith, but can Reverend Leander Norris convince a jury that the love he shares with another man is natural?

In 1910, the United Kingdom was in turmoil. King Edward died after only nine years on the throne. The social class system that upheld British society for centuries was being chipped away by social, political, and economic unrest across the Commonwealth. Amidst this backdrop, Reverend Leander Norris is accused of sodomy. After discovering his own self-worth and unconditional love, Leander finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right and pleads not guilty to the charges. Throughout the trial, Leander’s past is revealed, including the temptations that bring the accusations against him. By the end of the trail, Leander is once again reunited with a romantic interest from the past by the end of the trial; it may be too late to rekindle any love that might remain, given the circumstances of the era and Reverend Leander’s likely sentence.


Review:

Another great historical written by an author that knows his history. I love a good historical, I especially love the ones that teach me things I may not have known and this story did that. Along with the history lesson is a really moving story of love, loss and extreme hardship.

This story isn’t a cookie cutter romance by any means. It put my emotions through the wringer and spit them out the other side. It was worth every tear, every bit of anger and all the heartache I felt, because in between all of that were some really beautiful times that made me smile and fall in love with the men in this story.

The bittersweet ending – which I’m not usually a fan of – is totally appropriate for this story and the era it takes place in. I say bittersweet ending but really the story itself is bittersweet, so not for the faint of heart or anyone looking for a sweet romance with an HEA.

The way the story is told takes a bit of getting used to. The back and forth between time periods can be confusing at first but once you’re into the story – which won’t take you long – it’s the perfect way to tell it. I’m really hoping there will be a sequel, the romantic in me wants her HEA!

I highly recommend this book to those that love historical stories and are looking for something different.

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

Review: Lord Loxley’s Lover: M/M Regency Romance by Katherine Marlowe

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Title: Lord Loxley's Lover: M/M Regency Romance
Author: Katherine Marlowe
Cover Artist: Rachel Schoenbouer of Dreamslate Pub
Publisher: Honeywine Publishing
Reviewer: Monika
Genre: Historical
Type: Romance
Pairing: Gay
Length: Novella
Heat Rating3 Stars
Book Rating3 Stars (3 / 5)

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


Blurb:

Lord Loxley is bewildered when his noble-born friend and former lover, Miles Rochester arrives on his doorstep and applies for a position as his valet. His friend has suffered a complete loss of status and finances, and has become bitter at the world, but Lord Loxley is determined to find a way to soothe his friend’s pain and restore their friendship and love.


Review:

Lord Loxely’s Lover is a fast, easy, angst free read. The main characters are likable and there is some chemistry but, there were some issues that stopped me from loving this one.

There are a few things that aren’t explained well enough for my liking and unfortunately if I say what they are here I’d have to hide them as a spoiler and I so rarely do that. I can say things happened way too easily and the ending is all tied up much too fast. I’m left feeling like things are missing and not things that a sequel can clear up but things that are important to know in order for me to get attached to the story and its characters. There are some light-hearted moments that made me chuckle near the end of the story involving one very sweet little girl, I wish there had been more moments like those throughout the book.

While the plot could use some work I did see a lot of promise and in no way am I saying pass this story by I just needed a bit more. I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to pick another read from this author.

September 9th, 2015|Categories: Review|0 Comments