Earthly Concerns by Xavier Axelson

Title: Earthly Concerns

Author: Xavier Axelson

Genre: Paranormal

Length: Novella (178pgs. Large print)

Publisher: Seventh Window Publications (12th March 2012)

Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Between love and loss, there is obligation…

It was a peaceful night when Barrett and his daughter were driving home… then something happened. Something sinister.

Between shadow and light, there is uncertainty…

Now the only person Barrett can turn to for help is Anson, a man gifted with psychic abilities beyond reason. But Anson is also his ex-boyfriend, a man whose heart he’d already broken.

If you can see, you have to help.

As Anson delves deeper into the circumstances surrounding Barrett’s accident, he begins to realize that he’s not only in a race against time, but in a battle against his own broken heart and the terrifying understanding that whatever has taken Barrett’s child is a force of evil beyond anything either man has ever encountered.

And between decision and consequences, there are… Earthly Concerns.

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Review: Anson is awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call from his ex-lover begging for his help.  Anson doesn’t really want to, but knows that something sinister has happened and he is the only one who can get Barrett’s daughter back.

This is quite a darkish story that is well woven… but kinda odd. Anson is a psychic who is able to see and he doesn’t really know how it all works. Barrett is Anson’s ex-lover.   He couldn’t be the man who Anson needed so let him go.  Now, he needs Anson’s help to find his daughter.

I liked the dark aspects of this story.   the shadowy figure, the descriptions of moths, beetles and spiders and Anson being all angsty over Barrett. We don’t get a real feel about Barrett, except for his despair over his missing daughter and Anson.   Well, Anson comes across as a bit obsessed with Barrett. I liked the way that Anson and his psychic ability are portrayed and the descriptions are very well done to give a vague but dark feel to the story.

There is an extremely hot encounter between Anson and Barrett that is done as a memory dream and it shows an extremely passionate relationship that is filled with doubts. I must admit that I wanted to know more about the connection the two men have and how they came to have been separated, as you get the feeling that maybe Anson wasn’t as patient as he could have been with Barrett.  As Barrett, according to Anson, was struggling with his sexuality. It would have been really nice to have got something from Barrett’s POV, because all we know for sure is his despair over his daughter.

So, I will recommend this for those who love dark, mysterious, angst filled, despair lingering and pain filled stories that have hot sex and an ending that promises more for the two men.

A Hard Winter Rain by John Inman

Title:  A  Hard Winter Rain

Author: John Inman

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Length: Novel (300pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (5th March 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Sean Andros is tired—tired of hustling, tired of trying to make the rent, tired of running from his past.

But the past can chase you down in a heartbeat. Suddenly Sean’s living a nightmare again and casualties are stacking up around him. The only person he can trust is Harry, a man twice his age and the closest thing to a friend Sean has ever known. Harry Connors has loved Sean since their first night together, and now, with danger hard at their heels, Harry will do anything to protect the tough, strangely vulnerable young man who begs him for help.

Harry had better be serious about offering protection, though, because the demons threatening Sean’s life are no joke. Only a hard winter rain will wash away the evil that drove Sean Andros to the streets, and Sean and Harry are going to have to be strong if they plan on sticking around for the sun.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains scenes of rape.

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Review: Sean is in serious trouble.   His past has come back for him, but he really doesn’t have a clue who from his past it could be.   When Sean flees the scene of a murder, he runs right into Harry’s arms.  Harry convinces Sean to let him help and it is the beginning of a game of cat and mouse with an insane killer who will stop at nothing to make Sean pay.  As the two men try to think of a way to end the game, they become what Harry had always hoped for.

This is an incredible well-written story that starts out intense and doesn’t let up until the very end.  Sean is a hustler and while he dreams of having a better life, he knows that at the moment hustling pays well.  Harry owns his own hair salon and is forty-five.   He dreams of having a relationship with Sean, who is more than half his age. These two men come together when Sean needs protection and it is a fight for both of them to survive.  The pale man is out to punish Sean.   Sean caused him to commit his one sin and now he needs cleansing, he is doing God’s work, a mission that would give him absolution and nothing will stand in his way.

This book is from several POVs, from Harry and Sean’s, to the Pale man, to the lead detectives.   We get a well-rounded full view of all aspects of the story and I have to say I loved it.   We get the feelings of each person and the reasons behind why they do stuff.  So, instead of sitting there baffled by what a person has done you completely understand exactly what is going on.  You get to relate to characters that we wouldn’t normally get the chance to and it gave the author a wider scope to work with. The main story in this book is about the plan to set-up and kill Sean, the reason behind it and the murders the Pale man commits.   The story of Harry and Sean is there, but it lingers in the background, only coming forward when it needs to.  We also get to know the two main detectives very well and they add a bit of light relief at times.

The relationship between Harry and Sean really is secondary, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t important because seeing these two come together is really nice.   Yes, at first, you doubt that Sean is being serious, but then you realize that he really does genuinely care for Harry and they fit together nicely.

With this one I am going to recommend it to those who love mystery, suspense, danger, tension, conflict, protective friends, fantastic characters, a brilliant story-line and a happy ending for Sean and Harry.



Primal Desires by Lupa Garneau

Title: Primal Desires

Series: Children of Shairobi 01

Author: Lupa Garneau

Genre: Paranormal, Shifter

Length: Novella (91pgs)

Publisher: Lupa Garneau (Self Published) (1st March 2012)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Deep in the heart of Redwood National Park, enshrouded by magic, live the Rune Fang, legendary shifters on the brink of extinction.

After a century of vengeance, Nexhan, clan leader of the Rune Fangs returns home to find his people teetering on the edge of extinction. Still plagued by his past and sense of failure, he has closed himself off from even his closest friends. He is desperate to return to the shifter way of life, but doesn’t know how to cope with the death of his family and lover.

Cole is the typical outcast. Clumsy, quiet and angry. After years of disappointing his parents with his inability to master his cougar’s predatory skills, he runs from the pressure to mate a female who he can never love, but he never expected to end up living among the saber-toothed cats. Heck, he didn’t even know they still existed. Embarrassed by his lack of skills, he retreats into himself, quietly nursing his pain.

A chance meeting in the forest leads Cole to accept Nexhan’s help and companionship, but he never imagined he’d trust the male with his deepest secrets. Nexhan vows to himself it’s just sex, but the cougar intrigues him like nothing before. Can he move on and finally lay to rest his trouble past?

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Review: This is the first time that I have bought this authors work, even though she has several books under her belt, all self-published.  I am now looking forward to reading her other works. Nexhan returns to his clan after an absence of a hundred years, when he meets Cole.   He is happy to have a fling with him, but he knows that as his clan’s numbers have dropped he will have to breed soon. Cole ran from a future he didn’t want, he was sick of being treated differently and being a failure.  When he meets Nexhan, he has dreams of a new future, but he has new things to learn about himself and Nexhan’s shell to crack.

I really enjoyed this book.   Yeah, there were some incorrect words, but otherwise it was well written. I loved the shifter premise of being shifters whose form was similar to a saber-tooth tiger called the Rune Fang. There is very good background for the entire shifter world and I love the way the world building was done quite early on, although it is continually built upon through-out the book.   The way the story is woven is really well done and although you begin to wonder if Nexhan will ever pull his head out of his butt, the characters are all brilliant. Some of the descriptions are just lush.  You could picture the forest and the flowers, and the idea of them using runes painted on their bodies to hide in plain sight was brilliant.

The relationship between Cole and Nexhan is very hot.  And even though Nexhan wants more, he feels that he has to provide cubs for his clan. Cole fled his clan because he didn’t want to go through that himself, so it is a point of unhappiness for him and Nexhan, especially with the way Nexhan treats him. Cole discovers a lot about himself when he is with the Rune Fangs and it is all completely a shock to him. We get to learn snippets about the other clan members and shifters from other clans as well and I think that future stories will expand on their lives.

This is definitely a must read for those who want a new view on shifters and magic, who love hot sex, a whole new premise on the spiritual natures of the shifters, a great story-line and an eventual happy ever after.