Fate's Second Chance by A. J. Jarrett

Title:  Fate’s Second Chance

Author:  AJ Jarrett

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: Novella

Publisher: Silver Publishing (Scheduled release date November 3, 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

BlurbMarie thought dying was the worst thing to happen to her, until informed she’s always been a man’s soul trapped in a woman’s body. As Marc, he’s got one shot to set things right–by finding love with his best friend and soul mate–with only a month to do it. 

Marie Carter has never felt comfortable in her own body, and it took dying to find out why. Ross, her unlikely guardian angel, informs her that mistakes were made and he needs her help to save her fate, Ross’s wings, and her best friend’s heart.

Six months after Marie’s death, Marc arrives with one month to heal Sabrina’s—his sister’s—suffering, and win his soulmate, Shawn. If he fails, Sabrina will never know peace, Ross will be kicked out of heaven, and the love of his life will die from a broken heart. Will that be enough time to heal the wounds a lifetime in the wrong body has caused?

Pre-Order Product Linkhttps://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/coming-soon-c-2/fate-s-second-chance-ebook-p-653

Reviewer:  Portia

Review:  This is my favorite novella of the week…okay, so it’s my first novella of the week, but seriously…this was a very entertaining little book.

This story begins with Marie Carter dying.  That’s right, dying.  Now excuse my ignorance, but when is a main character’s death, in the opening pages ever a good thing.  Well, come to find out, dying was the best thing that could possibly happen to Marie.

Now, I wouldn’t be much of a reviewer, if I told you all that Fate has in store for Marie and the man she’s loved since Kindergarten…you’ll just have to trust me on this one.  I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say Marie has always had the soul of a gay man. 😉 This story is sometimes funny, sometimes angsty…but, always well-written.  Even the secondary characters are well worth getting to know; everyone should have a sexy guardian angel like Ross and a got-your-back big sister like Selena.  As for Shawn, poor disbelieving Shawn – he might not be the brightest crayon in the box, but even he can’t fight destiny.

If you are looking for a sweet, paranormal romance with just a touch of sensuous heat, I highly recommend Fate’s Second Chance.

Long Way Home by Carolyn Gray

Title: Long Way Home

Author: Carolyn Gray

Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Mystery

Length: Novel (202pgs)

Publisher: Loose Id (18th October 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Musician Lee Nelson is determinedly single. His bandmates don’t even know he is gay. He’s managed to keep that important fact about himself, as well as any details of his painful past, out of conversation. But the past starts to catch up with him when the band travels to Dallas, Texas, and an anonymous gift of ballet tickets leads him to ballet dancer Gevan Sinclair—his first love’s brother.

Gev is a professional ballet dancer, but just as the past has its grip on Lee Nelson, so too does Gev struggle—namely, with the disappearance of his brother, Stefan. Gev had always had a crush on Lee Nelson, but crushes are for kids and he’d forgotten all about Lee until the day he looked up after a performance and saw him in the balcony, hungrily watching his every move.

Gev and Lee are drawn together when Gev’s roommate is killed, and they must face their fears and escape the stranglehold of the past to solve the mystery that keeps them apart…and make a long journey home.

Purchase Link: http://www.loose-id.com/Long-Way-Home.aspx

Long Way Home is the sequel to A Red-Tainted Silence

Review: I’d recommend reading A Red-Tainted Silence first, as there are references to the story in this book. Lee is haunted by an event in his past; he gets invited to a ballet and along with Nick.  Mutt sees the performance where he spots a specter from his past.   Gev is also haunted by the past and isn’t sure how to react when he spots Lee.  They are thrust together as things start to happen that are connected to Gev’s brother, Stefan’s, disappearance.

I have to admit that I really looked forward to this story as I had adored A Red-Tainted Silence.   I wasn’t disappointed. In Long Way Home, we have a fantastic story of Lee and Gev being thrust together after nearly seventeen years and being dragged back into the mystery of Gev’s older brother and Lee’s best-friend Stefan’s disappearance when he was thirteen years old. This story-line is brilliant, the plot is fantastic and the characters are wonderful.

This story has a lot of emotion, there is guilt, anger, betrayal, happiness, depression, angst, fear, joy and hope everything comes across clearly.   You get invested in the story and you don’t want it to end.   All the characters in this story are all great.   Even Gev’s mother you warm to in the end. This doesn’t have the same tear your heart out emotion that A Red-Tainted Silence had but it is still pretty effective. The mystery keeps you on your toes as you try to piece together what happened and you certainly don’t see the twist coming.

This is a wonderfully woven story that has got it all: mystery, suspense, danger, explosions, love, hot sex and a plot that keeps you wondering. I highly recommend this one to everyone who loves any of the above and hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

 

The Hunter Within by Viki Lyn

Title: The Hunter Within

Series: White Tiger Shape Shifter 02

Author: Viki Lyn

Genre: Paranormal, Shape-shifter, WWII Historical (1951-1952 ish)

Length: Novel (169pgs)

Publisher: Loose Id (25th October 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Jack is shocked to learn his wife is engaged to another man. She believes Jack died during the war, and has no idea he was altered into a soldier of super human powers. Now he’s a Sentinel agent fighting supernatural beings. He remains dead in her eyes. But now he wonders if he should tell Alice the truth. All he wants is to have his old life back and to be normal again. Alice can save him from his crazy life and his sexual need for men; especially his burning passion for a shape shifter who claims his body and now wants his heart.

Shape shifter Antoine Fortescue travels to New York City to find out why Jack went AWOL. What he discovers disturbs him. Jack has traveled to California to spy on his wife’s fiancé. Was Jack going to confront Alice with the truth that he is alive? Or the real truth – that he is gay? Antoine will stop at nothing to capture Jack’s heart.

Purchase Link: http://www.loose-id.com/The-Hunter-Within.aspx

Review: I’d recommend reading The Tiger Within first as you won’t know what this one is about fully if you don’t. Well, it has been two years since The Tiger Within and I’d often wondered what happened to Jack and Antoine.  In the previous book,  Jack had never fully accepted his sexuality so I was glad that we could see what had become of them, but two years, yeah a little bit of a wait.

In this story, it’s a few months after the end of the last one and Antoine has had to return to France for a while.  Jack receives news that his wife (who thinks he’s dead) is engaged and he goes off with the excuse that he is just checking the man out. When Antoine returns Jack has been AWOL for two weeks and finally learns what caused the man to disappear.

I really felt for Antoine… poor man.   He loves Jack whole-heartedly while Jack is determined to try to deny his sexuality; stubbornly thinking that Alice (his wife) could fix him again and he would stop having cravings for men. Jack leaves Antoine dangling from a string, wondering if he will lose Jack to Alice, and honestly it’s heart-breaking to watch Antoine hurting because the man he loves just won’t accept what he feels and would prefer to try to recreate the past.

Now, even though there is danger and an old enemy to face, most of this story is focused on Jack, Antoine, Alice and Randolph (the new fiancé). Jack works his way through his feelings for Alice and Antoine and it isn’t until it is nearly too late that he realizes just who he loves. Oh, before I forget, there is a scene where Jack and Antoine have sex where Antoine is partially shifted so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I recommend this to those who love shifters, super-enhanced soldiers, danger, some hot sex, emotional conflict and a kinda happy ending.

 

 

What We Deserve by Kerry Freeman

Title: What We Deserve

Author: Kerry Freeman

Genre: Contemporary, M/M/M

Length: Novella (138pgs)

Publisher: Loose Id (25th October 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Years after Sean’s heart was broken by his first love Jamie, he is ready to try his hand at love again with Tyler, his handsome, perfect-geek-for-him boyfriend. But when Jamie returns home after twelve years in the Army, Sean finds himself unable to choose between his passion for Tyler and his still smoldering desire for Jamie.

But if Jamie and Tyler get along, maybe he won’t have to choose after all.

Purchase Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12607308-what-we-deserve

Review: Sean is happy in his relationship and life but still harbors resentment towards his first love.  Tyler loves Sean but feels insecure when Jamie returns after an absence of twelve years.  Jamie has returned home and hopes that he still has a chance with Sean; because even though he left, he has always loved Sean.

I thought this was a well written ménage that worked very well between the three men.  Sean isn’t happy when Jamie comes back into his life as he still has bitterness from how Jamie loved and left him.   He soon realizes that he still has feelings for Jamie. We then see that there is an attraction between all three men that soon progresses into something more.

I thought that the way that the relationship progressed was done really well.   They didn’t rush into it and they got to know each other and held off on having sex.   That doesn’t mean to say that there weren’t some really hot scenes between them because there were…really, really hot.   I thought that all the parents’ reactions were brilliant.  Not all the reactions were happy ones but nothing is ever perfect in real life and Sean was really shocked by the one person that he thought would always have his back.

These characters are all great and I think you will love them.  The story-line is great and the plot really good.  All the sex scenes are brilliantly written and the tension as they explain their relationship to their parents is realistic. The only problem I had was the unresolved conflict with… (Nope won’t tell you).  But I have heard a rumor that there may be a sequel in the future …so you never know.

So, if you love hot men, hot sex, ménage, lost loves and a really well written story then this is the one for you.

 

 

 

Paws On Me by Silvia Violet

Title: Paws on Me

Series: Protect and Serve

Author: Silvia Violet

Genre: Shape-shifters, Vampire, Paranormal

Length: Novella (71pgs)

Publisher: Changeling Press (27th /28th October 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Lieutenant Seth Morrison loves being a cop, but with budget cuts and crime both on the rise, he’s stopped making time for anything but his job.

On the outside, Brandon Lord is an easy-going, flirtatious club owner. On the inside he’s a man trying to overcome a difficult past.

When a murder investigation brings the two men together, passion roars to life. They’re both willing to break the rules to be together. Because as mismatched as they might seem, each man is exactly what the other needs.

Purchase Link: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?upt=book&ubid=1705

Review: Seth loves being a cop and really can’t see the point of anything else taking up his time until he meets bear shifter Brandon.  Brandon has his eye on Seth and won’t give up until the man is in his bed.

Brandon is flirty, out-going and determined.  Seth is gruff, grouchy and a work-a-holic, but when these two men get together they seem to balance each other out. Seth ends up at Brandon’s club when he is called there about a crime.  A crime that Brandon realizes is about a young shifter he helped escape. Brandon takes drastic action when he realizes the young man could be in danger and Seth is really, really not happy about that.

I liked these two men and it wasn’t easy going for them, what with Brandon hiding stuff from Seth and Seth determined to carry out his job. The sex between them was incredible hot and I loved Brandon’s kind heart and even though he acts very flirty inside he is more of a homebody. Seth is rubbish at relationships, but for Brandon he is willing to give it his best shot.

I recommend this to those who love shifters, really hot sex, danger and a happy ever after.

 

 

 

The Lamb Who Cried Wolf by Scarlet Hyacinth

Title: The Lamb Who Cried Wolf

Series: Mate or Meal 01

Author: Scarlet Hyacinth

Genre: Paranormal, Shifter, Inter-shifter Mating

Length: Novella (124pgs)

Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand (24th October 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Lunch or lover? That is the question that appears in werewolf Brody’s mind when he meets lamb shifter Carson. The answer is easy. Simply looking into Carson’s innocent blue eyes tells him that the lamb is his mate. If he’s going to eat Carson up, they’ll both enjoy it.

Carson has been isolated by his flock due to his inability to grow into a strong ram. When he is unexpectedly attacked by his half-brother, he does not expect being rescued by a wolf—let alone falling in love with him.

But in spite of Brody and Carson’s feelings, there are other forces at work and people who don’t agree with Brody’s new plans and diet. If Brody can’t find a way to save their bond, Carson might become lunch, after all.

Purchase Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/the-lamb-who-cried-wolf

Review: I found this book intriguing and look forward toward the rest of the series. Brody is a wolf shifter and is out scouting when he comes across a bunch of Rams scaring a Lamb.  He confronts the Rams and they run off he then turns to the Lamb and discovers his mate. Carson was just trying to go home when he is accosted by his older half-brother and some of his friends, it’s really not going well when a Wolf chases his attackers off, and he’s then taken by the Wolf.

Okay, I enjoyed this book but I must say that I felt quite queasy at one point until I got into the right mind-set, (really? queasy? You ask.) Yes. because these shifters are more in tune with their animals even in human form and entrenched in tradition that you have a human wolf standing there saying “Perhaps you’re right. I’m sure the pack would love a lamb dinner tomorrow.” While he’s looking a human lamb over? Really? all I could think was ‘cannibal’. So, in the right frame of mind this is more about animal instinct and tradition; although, because of the mating scent and bond, Brody doesn’t feel the urge to eat Carson or to give up his mate just because he’s a Lamb.

Now the story-line for this one is really good because at the end of the day they really haven’t got a choice, they either do what Brody’s dad wants or Carson dies, yeah so you can see their problem. So in this story you have love, danger, angst, heartbreak, anger and resentment with very little hope to hold on to. They endure as much as they can before Brody finally snaps, they are then given a challenge if Carson survives then they can live as mates but oh boy what a challenge.

So, if you want a shifter story with a slightly different flavor; with all the things you usually love then why haven’t you already bought this, go on it is a great read and this book is going into my ‘to be read again’ file.

 

 

Ravyn's Heart by Jana Downs

*A digital copy of this title was submitted to MM Good Book Reviews by the author for review*

Title: Ravyn’s Heart

Series: Ravyn Warrior’s 02

Author: Jana Downs

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Alternative World, Demons, Vampire

Length: Novel (176pgs)

Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand (27th October 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Allasandro, also known as Ally-cat, is a demon warrior with a sense of humor. He’s a legend among his Ravyn warrior brothers and the Demon Prince they guard for his expert pursuit of both male and female admirers. An admitted commitment-phobe, the last thing he wants in life is a “forever” kind of relationship.

The vampire Damian has long since given up on finding true love. Then he meets the cocky Ravyn warrior who ignites his passions like nothing else. He shouldn’t want Allasandro, but he can’t seem to help himself. After living the past decade alone, he’s ready for forever, and the only one who will satisfy him is the one man he shouldn’t desire.

Ally has agreed to look for a boy toy for the vampire on behalf of Damian’s son, Dageus. But the powerful, brooding man that he’s agreed to set up is everything he’s ever wanted in a mate. Damian is breaking his limits faster than he can erect them, and duty and propriety are interfering ever more heavily in their affair. Can Ally commit to the relationship, or is their taboo romance just too much for the warrior to handle?

Siren Allure: Erotic Fantasy Romance, M/M, demons, public exhibition, bondage, sex toys

Purchase Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/ravyns-heart

Review: Allasandro is doing a favor for his fellow Ravyn Dageus (Kal) when he meets a man who pushes all his buttons.  Unfortunately, he also happens to be Dageus’s vampire dad. Damian becomes intrigued by the Ravyn Allasandro and it isn’t long before the sparks and clothes are flying, it’s just a shame that Dageus is against it happening.

This is a great story-line where Ally-Cat finally finds someone who he wants to spend more than just a night with. Ally has been attracted to men in the past but never acted on it; he loves to be the centre of attention and has an out-going personality. Damian is controlling and seems dour, he no longer sings, always having his head buried in spread-sheets, he put his love life on hold when he adopted Dageus and now Dageus wants to find him a boyfriend. What we get from the first with these two men (Damian & Ally) is passionate, intense and kinky, they hit it off great but then a couple of spanners are thrown in.

I must admit I thought that after everything that had happened that Damian’s reaction was quite rational while being un-rational.  Ally’s reaction was to be expected as he didn’t want to hurt his best friend or team and then he felt betrayed.   Dageus can be a right spoiled brat including throwing royal temper tantrums that really made me wonder if he was really a Ravyn or a Diva in disguise. A well written plot that has left a little something for us to dwell on which hopefully we find out more about in the next installment of Ravyn’s Warriors.

So,  if you want conflict, emotional conflict, hot sex, slightly kinky hot sex, tantrums, hints of secrets and a bit of danger thrown in, then I really don’t know what you are waiting for; because this has it all so, go read it and enjoy.

Nexus by Mary Calmes

Title: Nexus

Series: Warder 05

Author: Mary Calmes

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Length: Novel (164pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (25th October 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Marcus Roth is a top criminal lawyer by day and demon-slaying warder by night, but he is simply one of five warders—not really important to anyone but Joseph Locke, his hearth. Or so Marcus mistakenly believes.

On a trip to Lexington, Kentucky, to celebrate Joe’s grandfather’s birthday, that belief changes as Marcus unwittingly uncovers a paranormal dilemma and ends up revealing his identity as a warder to Joe’s family. Faced with a traitor, demons, and the return of an old enemy, Marcus must put his own needs aside to save his friends—though in so doing he may lose the man he loves forever. Even living through the ordeal might not be enough if Marcus can’t forgive himself and learn that his hearth and the rest of his clutch can’t do without him.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2567

Review: Well, boys and girls, we come to the end of a much-loved series and I for one am sad to see it end. Marcus is happy in his work, relationship and as a warder but when the worst happens he pushes away those that mean the most to him.   Joe loves his man more than anything in the world and when the worst happens he is furious when Marcus pulls away from him.

In this installment we meet Warders from another clutch who when confronted with Jael’s Warders realize that something is missing from their clutch. Marcus finally gets what he means to his clutch and Sentinel.  Joe shows him that nothing will keep them apart and we find out lots of little tid-bits about the Warders as a whole.

Well, as always with Ms. Calmes, we are left with that warm fuzzy feeling that always afflicts us by the end of one of her stories (I’m beginning to think witchcraft ‘cause really every book).  We also receive in true Ms. Calmes fashion the love, the danger, the conflict, the angst, the self-doubt and (after lots of smashed crockery) the forgiveness. It’s difficult to give reasons for why I liked this one without giving something away and I do really try not to do that but I will try.  the emotional trauma that hits Marcus is his own self-doubt and that is anyone’s own worst enemy but when you are a Warder and you feel like you put someone or something else in front of your Hearth then the guilt is crippling.

This is a well written story with a great round-up of characters that ties up loose ends from previous books. I recommend this to those who read this review (yes You) and don’t forget your cup of tea or your choccies (American translation – hot chocolate.)

 

Stone by Stone by Stevie Woods

Title:  Stone by Stone

Author:  Stevie Woods

Genre:  Historical Romance

Length: Novel

Publisher:  Amber Allure (August 22, 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb:  Can two men build a relationship when one must tear down each stone that the other has worked so hard to build?

In the year 1535, after a misspent youth, Brother Mark is a hardworking Benedictine monk toiling as a stone mason at Tavistock Abbey. There, he finds himself irrevocably drawn to one of the men sent by King Henry to audit the monasteries prior to closure.

Andrew Cheyne is fascinated by the handsome young man and breaks down the monk’s boundaries with an ease that neither expected. When Andrew returns four years later to finally close the Abbey, each man must also come to terms with their past to attempt to plan a future they can share.

But fate plays a cruel trick on them. Or, as Mark wonders, is it God teaching him a lesson?

Attempting to forget Mark, Andrew commences a brand new life, but fate has more lessons in store for him yet…

Product Link:   http://amberquill.com/AmberAllure/StoneByStone.html

Reviewer:  Portia

Review:  This is exactly how I like my historical fiction served.  History and romance are woven together so tightly that you don’t realize just how much research and effort went into its creation.  In this case, the era of religious reformation in Europe and all the political ramifications that came along with it, is brought to life without feeling like you’ve fallen into a history textbook.

This story is as much tragedy as romance.  What else would you expect when the main characters are firmly on two opposing sides of such a heated issue?  Mark and Andrew recognize their mutual attraction, but both feel obligations; Mark to the Church, Andrew to the Crown.

Woods did a nice job of breaking this story into three parts; each part another opportunity for the lovers to meet only to be separated again by circumstances.  I don’t know if Woods being British gave this story a more authentic flavor, but I know it didn’t hurt.  I only hope the author revisits this time period in future books.  I find I have a real appreciation for sexy monks, political intrigue and clandestine meetings.  If that sounds like your cup of tea…I highly recommend this book

Coyote's Creed by Vaughn R. Demont

*****Favorite Cover Art of the Week*****

Title: Coyote’s Creed

Series: Broken Mirror 01

Author: Vaughn R. Demont

Genre: Paranormal, Shape-shifter, Alternative World, Urban Fantasy

Length: Novel (218pgs)

Publisher: Samhain Publishing (11th October 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: If con games were taught in high school, Spencer Crain would be on the honor roll. As it is, he’ll be riding the edge of failure to graduation next month. Then Spence gets the news that his long-gone father is not only dead, but was a Coyote, one of three clans of tricksters in the City.

With a near-catatonic mother on his hands, Spence couldn’t care less about the Coyotes’ on-going feud with the Phouka and the Kitsune—until it lands on his doorstep. Suddenly he’s thrown headfirst into a dangerous world he knows next-to-nothing about. His only guide is Rourke, dashing King of the Phouka, plus a growing pack of half-siblings, a god, and Fate herself.

As Spence embarks on a journey to learn the Coyote’s creed, the truth about his heritage, and how to handle his growing attraction to Rourke, he wonders when his life turned from TV sitcom to real-life danger zone. And what price must he pay to survive the next roll of the dice…

Warning: Contains PG-13 rated violence, R-rated language and X-rated hotel scenes. Meta-humor, pop-culture humor, utter disregard for the 4th wall abound.

Purchase Link: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/coyotes-creed-p-6485.html

Review: Well hmmm what to say, what to say… I loved it, thought it was brilliant, so go out and get it… what? You want me to tell you why, geeze there’s no pleasing some people. Okay here goes… Spencer is an eighteen year old who is failing his classes, he gets the news that not only is his deadbeat dad dead, but he is half coyote as well and that’s when everything changes for him. Rourke is like an uncle to Spencer keeping an eye on him when he was growing up and being there for him if he needed it, when suddenly things change between them when they both least expect it.

This is a well thought out story-line and plot that, to be honest, if someone asked me to describe it I’d make a hash out of it and mess it all up. So I will just say this: there are twists inside twists and plots inside plots, there’s back-stabbing, intrigue, puzzles, tricks and pranks some for the long game but some for the quick pay off. We have the Fates and a God, an ex-Sorcerer, the Phouka, Kitsune and Coyote, a troll and… well I think the only thing that I didn’t read something about was Vampires but I might have missed it (don’t think I did but you never know).

The way this story is told is great, there is always something going on and sometimes you think you are being led astray but it always comes back around and makes perfect sense (sort of like a light bulb moment), it is brilliantly written and I am amazed that there was so much going on that Vaughn R. Demont didn’t lose his way or forget to tie something off. Brilliant.

The relationship between Spencer and Rourke is kinda like May to December in looks anyway as Rourke is described as looking in his fifties but is soooo much older than that… I wonder if that is his real appearance though because he’s the King of the Phouka and it says they are basically immortal.  Hmmm, I wonder…, so anyway getting back on track, Spencer doesn’t love Rourke but wants to still be with him. I think that’s for the future books, yeah!!

So if you like any of the above and some really, really hot sex then you need to read this book. I highly recommend this book but as I have said in previous reviews this is my favorite type of genre.

 

 

Shadow Behind the Rainbow by Otis Randolf

Title: Shadow Behind the Rainbow

Series: Shadows and Rainbows 01

Author: Otis Randolf

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense

Length: Novel (197pgs)

Publisher: Omniversal Publishing (20th September 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: On a quest for self-acceptance, one man will journey over the rainbow to discover a toxic mix of obsession and murder. Denard Lewis clings to alcohol and his professional reputation as a shrewd PR sports agent in an effort to ignore the truth about his sexuality. Denard’s plight, however, is magnified when he becomes entangled in a dysfunctional triangle with his high-profile basketball client who is determined to have him, and another man suspected in a double homicide. Finding inner peace may be a matter of life and death.

Warning: Some readers may be offended by some context of this book e.g. Church involved child abuse, multiple sex partners, dubious consent, drug use and violence in a sexual setting.  

Review: Okay, wow, I am at a loss for words to describe this book… okay, let me try. This book isn’t just about Denard, although he is the primary figure in this book.  This book also touches on the lives of the men around Denard and their reactions to him; love, hate and obsession. There are some m/f scenes throughout the book with secondary characters involved.

At first, I couldn’t get a handle on the story-line or the plot but the more I read the more I began to figure it out.  It doesn’t stay focused on Denard; it skips to other people who play a part in Denard’s life whether directly or indirectly.   And at first that isn’t obvious, so you sit there thinking ‘what the hell’.  but it becomes apparent after a while. We have some flashbacks that give more depth and information to the story and clears up a bit of the confusion that you feel.

You get pulled into this book as you want to find out more about what you have learnt and then more mysteries appear and more questions. You feel a lot of different emotions for all these characters and they range from love to hate to loathing to indifference to wanting to murder a couple of them and these emotions go up and down all throughout the book. This is not a light read or an easy read but it’s a brilliant read because while you have the mystery and suspense and murder, you have Denard who is struggling with alcohol and his sexuality while being pulled by his emotions in different directions to different men.

My recommendation is this… this is a must read book but don’t expect an easy read of it or a happy ending and Otis Randolf, I hope the next book is out soon because really, I need to know what happens.

 

 

Crossbones: A Dreamspinner Anthology

Title: Cross Bones / Anthology

Author: Various

Genre: Pirate, Historical, Contemporary, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Inter-species, Interracial, Steampunk

Length: Several Short Stories (352pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (15th August 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts (Overall)

Reviewer: Pixie

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=50&products_id=2475

Blurb: Ahoy, me proud beauty, shiver me timbers! I ask ye to sail me jollyboat on the high seas, lubber, but will ye dare to accept? On offer be a pirate’s life full of danger and risk, and not just to yer neck, but to yer very virgin heart! There’s many a bodice to be ripped–or perhaps I should say many a codpiece to be snapped–and should ye be graced enough to cross bones with a corsair, don’t be an addlepate! Heave ho, lad, handsomely, and show him how ye bury yer treasure!

Pirates didn’t only sail the high seas in historical times. Modern-day renegades and futuristic rebels are just as ripe for adventure and plunder. No matter the time, place, or circumstances, bad boys steal affection as often as they salvage treasure, and in these stories of romance, a rogue’s black heart always conceals a center of gold.

Rebecca Cohen – Captain Merric    Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4,     Genre: Historical, Pirate    Length: Short (33pgs)

Review: Daniel is a captain in the Royal Navy when his crew forms a mutiny against him and finds himself adrift in a small boat and then picked up by pirates. James is the pirate Captain Merric. His crew fish out a Navy captain from the sea who turns out to be a childhood sweetheart.

This is a cute read where two childhood sweethearts are reunited after 16 years apart; only for one to be a Navy captain and the other a pirate captain.  Daniel tries to fight his renewed feelings for James knowing he has to return to England and James decides that Daniel is his and will do anything to have him. An enjoyable short story.

Ellen Holiday – Touched by the West Wind   Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3,     Genre: Historical, Pirate      Length: Short (16pgs)

Review: Tom and Bren are part of a pirate crew.  These two young men have been best friends for years when they realize that the way they feel has changed.

This is a sweet romance of two young men who discover their feelings have changed and what they feel for their friend is love.  It is a sweet exploration of their feelings as they embark on an innocent physical exploration of each other. A sweet romantic story.

K.R. Foster – The Golden Galleon   Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4,    Genre: Contemporary       Length: Short (12pgs)

Review: Flynn and Jason own the Golden Galleon restaurant together, as well as being life partners. Flynn is having a nice relaxing day off reading his favorite author’s latest novel when he gets a phone call from a desperate Jason begging him to come in on his day off.

Flynn is unhappy to arrive at the restaurant only to find that Jason lied to him, Jason asks him to go to the office where he makes it up to him in a hot and horny manner. A sweet, hot and sexy short.

Emily Moreton – My Hand in Yours   Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½,    Genre: Fantasy, Pirate    Length: Short (10pgs)

Review: Jack is a peace keeper for a coastal town.   Robert is a pirate. They come together for primal needs and continue to do so for over five years whenever Robert is in town.

For over five years Robert comes to Jack whenever he is in town, when he is offered work on the Nether Shore, he asks Jack to make a huge decision. This is a nice sweet short.

Jana Denardo – Ghost of Jupiter    Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5,     Genre: Science Fiction, Inter-species      Length: Short (35pgs)

Review: Telek is a Chimera (genetically engineered species) having been sold to the highest bidder he is now being transported. Al is a privateer who has raided a space craft, what he finds on board is more than he could have ever expected.

Telek has been bred to fight and kill. Chimera’s are feared as many have no control over themselves; a few can control themselves. Telek is one of the few.  He begins to trust the privateer captain and wants more from him. Al trusts Telek not to hurt or kill him but he doesn’t want Telek thinking that he has to offer himself up to stay safe. Between them is a want to protect the other and a relationship based on trust. A great read I would love to see more from this writer.

E.S. Douglas – Officer and a Gentleman Pirate   Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4,     Genre: Historical, Pirate     Length: Short (16pgs)

Review: Geoffrey is a lieutenant in a British Colony; Captain Jones is a pirate he captured after bumping into him outside a tavern.

Jones uses his wiles to try to seduce the lieutenant so he can escape. Geoffrey tries to deny himself but fails; leading to the pirate escaping, but with instructions on how to contact him again. What will happen to these two men when they meet up again? A charming story which shows opposites attract.

K.J. Johnson – Objectivity     Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3,     Genre: Modern Pirate, Interracial     Length: Short (27pgs)

Review: Matthew is a photo-journalist on assignment to get the dirt on African pirates.  Achmed is the pirate leader who is trying to show Matthew why they have resorted to piracy.

Matthew battles his attraction to the pirate leader who has made it clear that he could kill him at any time.  He also struggles to understand why these men have resorted to piracy. Meanwhile, Achmed is trying to make the photo-journalist understand why they rob the rich. When Matthew is injured on Achmed’s boat by an American soldier they both give in to the attraction. A nice story that could be built on for a future novella.

Cornelia Grey – Worth the Price     Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5,     Genre: Historical, Pirate     Length: Short (31pgs)

Review: Edward is a lieutenant in the Royal Navy who has been captured by pirate Captain James O’Shea.  When the pirate captain visits him he attacks him with a passion which surprises even him.

Edward ends up risking his life to save James.  James ends up giving himself up to save his crew but what will Edward do when his Commodore tries to go back on his word and just how far will Edward go to rescue his pirate. A great short with some intense passion and it was really well written.

Juan Kenobi – Peter and the Lost Boys    Heart Rating: ♥1,     Genre:  ????     Length: Short (15pgs)

Review: Peter is approached in a bar by Kap. Kap takes him to his home to discuss a job and Peter meets the lost boys.

Well there is no sex, no kissing, no nothing; just some sexual innuendo and a job offer. This short story felt more like a small clip from a much longer book.

M.J. O’Shea – Irish Red     Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4,     Genre: Historical 1713     Length: Short (11pgs)

Review: Chris is a tavern owner and Brian is the pirate captain, Irish Red.  they have to keep their love a secret and Brian has promised that this will be his last trip.

Chris is waiting for Brian to return.  He’s been waiting months and months when he hears the rumor that Irish Red has been killed. He struggles to go on with his life after that; until one night when an intruder enters the tavern. A wonderful short story that has a lot of emotion.

Piper Vaughn – Black John     Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4,    Genre: Historical 1715     Length: Short (15pgs)

Review: Juan thought the love of his life had died 5 years before. That is until he is washed up on the beach.  He thinks this is his second chance, but Jacob has other ideas.

Jacob can’t believe that there are men living and loving openly together on this Island and even though he has found Juan again the fear is too deep.  He will be leaving on the next cargo ship. It isn’t until Juan suffers a life threatening injury that Jacob realizes just what he could have lost.

Cooper West – Rough Trade     Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5,     Genre: Science Fiction, Pirates     Length: Short (29pgs)

Review: Audacity is kinda like the captain of the Helos A.I. Battleship Carthage which turned to piracy before Audacity joined her. He’s trying to bail out one of his crew when he bumps into a desperate doctor who needs to get off the space port fast. Sag is a doctor and is pretty shocked that the space craft he is on is a pirate ship but he’s so glad to be off the space port.

This is a great read, I loved the story-line and plot and thought Audacity and Sag were great together.

B. Snow – From a Simmer to a Burn      Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥3,     Genre: Historical, Interracial     Length: Short (31pgs)

Review: Sule was a slave who escaped his Dutch owners.  He has an anger that is so great that it burns constantly no matter how many fights he’s in and he hates all things Dutch. Olaf is Norwegian but can only communicate with the other crew in Dutch.  Sule hates him for reminding him of the Dutch.

This is a good story about overcoming your anger to accept something that much better; if only you can accept what is offered and stop fighting the present and to start forgetting the past.

Riley Shane – On the Wings of Lir     Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5,     Genre: Steam punk, Pirate     Length: Short (17pgs)

Review: Hugh is determined to capture the pirate Patrick Kelly.  Kelly is raiding air-ships that are carrying children that are heading for the whore houses. When Hugh finds this out he has a choice to make.

This is a great story that I would really love to see made into a much, much longer story. Hugh is shocked when he finds out the truth behind the raids and he also finds Kelly to be extremely attractive.  Kelly thinks Hugh looks like an angel and goes about persuading Hugh to look deeper.

Maggie Lee – The Winds of Change      Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5,     Genre: Historical 1717, Pirates     Length: Short (33pgs)

Review: Cook and Seb have been friends for a year; Cook is firm in his belief that Seb will remain faithful even when Cook sleeps around.  That conviction is shaken when they find berth on Edward Teach’s ships.

I found this to be a great story, where one man finally realizes that he can’t have his cake and eat it, too.

Overall Review: I have to say that I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, as always with an anthology you have your gems and then you have the plastic beads. I have to say that the gems are definitely worth reading in this anthology. There is some hot sex in some of the stories but in quite a few there are other sex acts and sometimes it’s just thoughts of sex. A lot of the pairings are good and quite a few of the stories are well written. So I would recommend this if you love pirates…or not.

Reluctant Partnership by Ariel Tachna

Title: Reluctant Partnership

Series: Partnership in Blood Spin Off 02

Author: Ariel Tachna

Genre: Paranormal, Alternative World

Length: Novel (280pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (3rd October 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Thanks to the efforts of Raymond Payet and l’ANS, vampires now have the same legal rights as mortals, and research at l’Institut Marcel Chavinier is focusing on the mysterious partnership bonds between wizards and vampires. But the battle for public opinion rages on. When Detective Adèle Rougier encounters Pascale Auboussu, a shy young woman turned into a vampire against her will, Raymond and Denis Langlois, chef de la Cour nearest the crime, fear a public relations nightmare.

The vampire responsible for Pascale’s turning must be brought to justice, but Denis is distracted by an unlikely potential partner—Canadian researcher Martin Delacroix, who is spending a year’s sabbatical at l’Institut—and Denis’s lingering feelings for his deceased lover prompt him to reject the bond. There’s no denying the attraction between them, though, and the allure of companionship is nearly as strong as Denis’s grief.

Growing familiarity and yearning for a true mate may induce Adèle and Denis to soften their stances against new partnerships, but Adèle will have to accept a deeper intimacy with Pascale when she has never considered a relationship with a woman, and it will take a near-deadly attack to make Denis admit his most hidden desires. Now he has to hope Martin will be willing to stay.

Product Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2528&osCsid=ff0a2v6kmk7tb6hv1987ilpi93

Review: Okay, I had some qualms about reading this one, why? You ask, well I loved the Partnership In Blood series and it ended, we had the epilogue and everything, I mean I mourned Alain and Orlando, all the other wizards were old, the vampires were gearing up for when they lost their own wizards and lovers and then suddenly we have the spin-offs, where they are all young again and it completely ruined it for me.  If it hadn’t had an epilogue and I hadn’t mourned then it wouldn’t have been a problem but it did and I had. I really couldn’t enjoy the book that much but I will still give you an honest review.

The story was well written and it had all the detail that we expect from Ariel Tachna, we had the emotional conflict, the physical conflict and the mental conflict. Denis doesn’t want a partnership; he lost the love of his life thirty years before and he just isn’t ready for any sort of long-term relationship. Martin is only in France for a year and although he is fascinated by the partnerships when he does embark on one he wants a vampire from where he lives in Canada. Adèle doesn’t want another partnership EVER after what she went through with Jude, but by accident she finds out that she is compatible to a newly turned vampire; now if she can just resist the pull. Pascale is turned against her will, she has to get used to her new life as well as deal with the discovery of being an eligible partner for a wizard and try to find a compromise within that partnership.

This storyline is really strong, the plot is good and the sex is hot. Now there is f/f and there are a few m/m scenes as well between the wizards and vampires that we have come to know and love. We discover a surprise about Denis’s old lover and we find out why Denis is so strong for such a young vampire. The way that the main characters all had to weigh up the pros and cons, their own wants and needs and the effect that it would have on their partnership partner was really good.  They didn’t rush into anything and they tried to find common ground before they entered the partnerships.

I recommend this to paranormal lovers, those who like conflict, hot sex and a great story-line.

 

 

Aaron's Awakening by Lavinia Lewis

Title: Aaron’s Awakening

Series: Shifters’ Haven 04

Author: Lavinia Lewis

Genre: Shifter, Inter-species mating

Length: Novel (110pgs)

Publisher: Total E-Bound (17th October 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Werewolf Aaron Drake is delighted to learn he is finally moving to Texas with his father and father’s mate. Aaron is even more excited to meet his mate – Panther shifter Cary – on the very first day in his new home. But Aaron’s happiness is short lived when, upon their first meeting, Cary runs away from him, distraught.

When Panther shifter Cary Lewis discovers Aaron Drake is his mate, he is absolutely terrified. Mate. The word fills him with dread. Cary Spent two years being abused by his mate Gill and the last six months trying to get over his death. The last thing he needs or wants is another mate, especially one who appears to be as aggressive and dominant as Gill had been. But the mating bond is hard to resist and so is Aaron Drake. Just when Cary begins to come to terms with their union a representative from the supernatural council shows up, and Cary learns that cross species mating is strictly forbidden.

Forced to hide their relationship from the council or face dire consequences their bond is further tested when they discover gay shifters in the area are being targeted and killed by a group of local thugs. Are there too many problems for two such young men to overcome or is their blossoming relationship worth taking a chance on?

Product Linkhttp://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1394

Review: Aaron is excited to be moving to the ranch and hopefully becoming his own man.  That is if his dad can stop treating him like a child. Then he meets his mate, Cary, and it doesn’t faze him in the least that he’s a were-panther. But what does concern him is discovering that Cary had another mate and how that mate treated him. Cary is at a loss, how can he have another mate and why does the new mate have to be an Alpha, just when he thinks that he might be able to handle things he finds out his mating is forbidden and he is attacked by homophobic humans.

I thought this story-line had a lot going for it and was written quite well. Cary is still recovering mentally from his last mate and feels guilty that he isn’t more affected by the other mate’s death.  he can’t believe how naive he was when he works out that he was lied to. Aaron tries his best to give Cary the time that he needs and to do his best for him. They are both thrown when they discover what could happen to them if they mate and with the help of Kelan, Stefan and Gregory, the panther from the supernatural council, they try to discover a way to mate.

I enjoyed this story as there was a lot of conflicting emotions for Cary and Aaron, they had a lot thrown at them in a short space of time that they had to work through, and I thought Aaron made a fantastic rescuer for Cary when he was in trouble and a great mate with his understanding and support. I also thought that Cary was extremely brave to be able to accept that Aaron would not hurt him on purpose and was willing to give him the opportunity to prove himself; when it would have been so easy for him to deny his cat and to hide behind old hurts.

I will recommend this to those who love shifter stories, conflict, hot sex, inter-species mating and a good story-line.

 

Fall by Carol Lynne

Title: Fall

Series: Seasons of Love 03

Author: Carol Lynne

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novella (91pgs)

Publisher: Total E-Bound (26th September 2011)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: For over ten years, Sidney Wilks and Grady Nash have devoted their lives to each other. With their relationship solid and thriving, they each turn their attention to their careers.

Nash loves his job as a day trader but hates what it’s doing to his body. The hours of sitting in front of a computer combined with his love of beer begin to take a toll on his aging body. Worried that he’ll lose Sidney to the hot muscled construction worker his partner works closely with, Nash decides to get his body back into shape, no matter the cost to his overall health.

After the death of his father, Sidney is so busy dealing with the years of hurt and betrayal at the hands of Jackson Wilks that he doesn’t notice the warning signs of Nash’s dangerous new lifestyle. When Nash’s sex drive falters, Sidney turns the rebuffs inward instead of looking at the bigger picture.

It will take the counsel of a close friend to open Sidney’s eyes to what is really going on, but will it be too late?

Purchase Link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1368

Review: This book is part of a series and should be read in order. Nash is starting to worry about his body image and thinking Sidney will no longer find him attractive. Meanwhile Sidney is trying to cope with how his father’s death has left him feeling and trying to reassure Nash that he loves him no matter what shape he is in.

This book and entire series is a wonderful example of a true relationship, showing us the ups and downs, the happiness and worries and the secrets that we will keep from each other to save our partners from worrying over the years. This book covers two years from Nov 96 – Nov 98 and shows how Sidney’s and Nash’s relationship is progressing, it shows us the love they both still have for each other, that the sex is still hot and that they have their ups and downs as well, a perfect story for a rainy day.

This story is well written and progresses well, the characters are great and their relationship is realistic. Even if you haven’t read the other books in the series you won’t feel lost reading this, because even though it does mention things that have happened in the other books you don’t feel like you have missed anything.

I will recommend this to those who want to read about… long established loving relationships, hot sex, suspicions and doubts and the everyday realities of relationships.