Where Willows Won't Grow by Lia Black

91SIU40v6lL._SL1500_Note: Title was free on Amazon/Goodreads at time of posting
Title: Where Willows Won’t Grow
Author: Lia Black
Genre: Science Fiction/Futuristic
Length: Novel (157pages)
Publisher: M/M Romance Group (July 12th, 2014)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts (because I can’t give any higher)
Reviewer: Kid
Blurb: Undercover agent Alex Kley is a long way from home. Six months of investigation have brought him to Willow House, a high-class brothel on Omanai Station, as beautiful on the outside, as it is corrupt on the inside. Sold into sexual slavery to infiltrate an illegal prostitution ring, Alex must find the evidence he needs to bring down the leader of a powerful criminal cartel—a man who may not even be human.

Illythe, the manager of Willow House, is a long way from freedom. The jet-skinned beauty with the face of an angel walks the halls of Willow House with serenity and authority, but underneath his cold and beautiful facade, Illythe is as much a slave as any of the young men working in the brothel.

In an undercover operation, falling in love is the worst thing an agent can do, but Illythe is a mystery that Alex can’t resist.

It doesn’t take long for Alex to realize that Illythe is not in his role by choice. Yet Illythe holds the holds the information Alex needs. The more Alex learns, the clearer it becomes that when the cartel falls, Illythe will be buried in the rubble.

In the end, Alex must make a choice: save Illythe and forfeit the mission, or leave him behind in a place where willows won’t grow.
Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Where-Willows-Wont-Grow-Black-ebook/dp/B00LR78V6U/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_3

Review: There are, in my opinion, three kinds of books. Those that you read and forget or dislike the ones that leave no real impact on you. Then there’s the comfort category, the ones you read and love, that feel like coming home. But there are a few, a very few, that are higher than that. They challenge you, evoke emotions, and leave you marked. For me, Where Willows Won’t Grow is one of the third.

This was not an easy book to read, it was not pleasant at times, and there were moments I was certain that happy would be the furthest thing from possible for the characters. I was not reading, I was experiencing. Emoting. Swept away in an unblinking, no-holds-barred exploration of darkness and, by contrast, the faintest glimmer of light.

Alex Kley is not a good man. Working undercover in the Sex Crimes division of the Office of Federation Security, he did whatever he had to do for the case. A rich kid who’d found a practical application for a penchant for partying, casual sex, and the occasional exotic drug, his years with the department had started to wear on his soul. When an extremely dangerous mission comes up, one which another officer hadn’t come back from, Alex is sent far from the reach of backup to find the elusive head of a prostitution ring.

From the first paragraph, we are thrown into the spiraling sense of hopelessness and desperation. This is not a fluffy novel, nor is it the sweet kind of BDSM where there are safe words and fantasy. It has graphic rape scenes, strong allusions to childhood abuse, and more than a little violence. But there is a deftness to the way Lia Black handles every moment. Everything has a purpose. Nothing feels gratuitous even in the midst of the horror.

When Alex first sees Illythe, he thinks of him as a dark angel. And truly, that’s what he becomes. Illythe is a captured warrior prince, broken and molded into an obedient slave by truly one of the most grotesque and horrifying villains I’ve ever read. His backstory alone had my gut clenching; it makes you love the character more the more you realize the terror of his life.

Honestly, I don’t want to tell you about the plot. I want you to unpeel it, layer by layer, as I did. This was a story that I consumed in huge gulps, completely unable to look away from the page. I will tell you that it ends, as it should have, in a way that, looking back, is the only way it could have. I shed tears at a perfect moment at the end, realizing that the author had given me, and the character, resolution I hadn’t even known I craved.

I’ve never read Lia Black before. Trust me, I will again. This is a story that, in lesser hands, would have been wretched. There is no way anyone but a master could have pulled this kind of horror and darkness and twisted terror out and yet balanced it so gracefully with hope and light.

I loved this story. The fact that it is sitting free on Amazon rather than gracing bestseller shelves astounds me. This book will be staying with me for a very long time.

Brian's Mate by Hollis Shiloh ~ Audiobook

Title:BriansMateAUDLg Brian’s Mate
Author: Hollis Shiloh
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Stone Cannon
Length: 4 hours and 32 minutes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press through Audible (05-12-14)
Heat Level: Mild
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Reviewer: Tams
Blurb: Brian is the alpha of the least impressive pack of wolves at the whole Moon Ceremony. When a human is discovered uninvited in their midst, he bonds with the man to save his life.

Luke doesn’t know about all this wolf stuff, but he’s starting to develop feelings for the gentle man who rescued him. Both Brian and Luke expect to quietly dissolve the bond later. But feelings intervene, and some bonds are not so easy to cast aside.

Building a life together as alphas will take love and hard work—especially when new wolves keep inviting themselves into their lives.

Purchase Link: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Brians-Mate-Audiobook/B00K7PMSQC/ref=a_search_c4_1_3_srTtl?qid=1409414732&sr=1-3
Review: Brian is probably the most unassuming Alpha wolf ever. He inherited his pack upon his father’s death as the eldest son, and the pack still holds to small numbers. Just Brian, his brother, sister-in-law and nephews. Brian is an artist, a sort of free-spirited loner who makes good money, but gives the majority of it to support wolves that don’t have a pack or a home. He would love to find a mate and have a family, increase his pack, but as a gay shifter, he realizes that probably isn’t in the cards for him. That is, until he meets Luke.

During the annual Moon ceremony, Luke unknowingly stumbles onto pack land and, by law, is about to be killed. To save the adorable, sad man with scared eyes, Brian claims him as his mate. What starts out as an arrangement of sorts quickly becomes something more for both the Alpha and his new human mate. Luke is scared, defiant and sexy all at the same time and Brian enjoys nearly every minute of it. But will Luke want to stay mated to him once the ceremony ends, and the threat on his life is no longer hanging over their heads?

This story was totally cheesy, slightly predictable and yet, absolutely adorable and so much fun! Brian and Luke become the Alpha’s of one of the strongest packs there is, a pack full of misfits and outcasts. They have half wolves, gay wolves, homeless wolves… any wolf that either doesn’t have a home or isn’t wanted or treated right in their current pack for any number of reasons, including being gay, is accepted and fully embraced into their pack. This unlikely coupling of Alpha wolf and human, two gay men that thought they’d never find a husband, much less a family, become the head of a large and loving pack. And in a lovely little twist, Luke the only full human member of the pack becomes the heart of them all, his spirit holds them together.

This is my first audible with Stone Cannon, and while I’ve heard better, I’ve heard worse as well. At times, it seemed like he was just reading off his grocery list, completely void of emotion. But other times he would dive right into the character and the situation at the time. I think he has promise to become a great narrator, he just needs to find his niche. Overall, though this was just a fast, fun listen that I’ll probably listen to again.

If you are a fan of lighthearted romance, shifters and cheesy love stories then grab a copy of this one. It will leave you with a smile on your face.

The Broken Road Cafe by T.A. Webb

91fgddGrr2L._SL1500_Title: The Broken Road Cafe

Series: The Broken Road Cafe 01

Author: T.A. Webb

Genre: Suspense/Mystery/Thriller

Length: Novella (124 pages)

ISBN: 97813105570507

Publisher: A Bear on Books (November 2nd, 2013)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Cat

Blurb: What happens when you get everything you’ve worked for, only to discover it’s not what you really want?

Dan O’Leary worked night and day to finish law school, join a top firm and make partner, all before the age of 35. He’s found a man who swept him off his feet. And his best friend of twenty years has his back.

Then, one awful day it all comes crashing down around his ears.

Making a fresh start, Dan meets the people of Blue Ridge, Georgia, including Chief of Police Nick Oliver, and, perhaps, finds a new home. But danger from his old life follows him and puts not only his life, but that of his new friends, at risk

Purchase Link: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thebrokenroadcafebrokenroadcafe1-1336211-148.html

Review: Dan has recently made partner in a prestigious law-firm, though the stakes were high getting there. Barley settled he finds he is being forced into taking a criminal case that isn’t his line to take one for the team. He is fed up and refuses. He goes home to find his lover of a year in bed with his best friend and his long-time partner. Broken hearted, angry he decides it’s time for a change. He heads out of Atlanta to a small town to purchase a café and begin an entire new life.

I loved this book. There are lots of action and intrigue and plot twists. I found it a perfect setup of a series. It hooked e and left me wanting… no begging for more. I will say I never quite understood why the bad guys were after Dan for not taking the case and wanting him on it, but I still loved the drama and all the other things going on made up for that tiny bit of confusion.

There is a lot of clichés, and mentions of old movies and names, that some people may not know or get, but I myself absolutely love this. I felt it added some much personality and humor to the tension of the story!

If you like, Lawyers, small town sheriffs, cafes, southern belles, angst, mystery/suspense, clichés and some really hot mansex this is definitely for you.

Going Under by Kade Boehme

81GoS1io0dL._SL1500_Title: Going Under
Series: Keep Swimming #2
Author: Kade Boehme
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Length: Novella (106 pages)
Publisher: Kade Boehme (August 28th 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate to Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Reviewer: Tams
Blurb: Ex Coast Guardian Kyle Bevins is a joker, a friend, and unlucky in love. His friends know he’s a good guy to turn to if for nothing other than a much needed laugh, but he rarely heeds his own advice. He’s content as the new co-owner of his friend’s charter fishing company in Pensacola Beach, Florida, but he’s missing the companionship of having a significant other and tired of the old hook-ups.

Eddy Jiminez is unlucky, period. He’s been dealt most every negative consequence of being gay. He’s also an ex-con, so he figured he’d play it safe, keep working hard and trying to forget that it was men he craved. But when he meets Kyle, he can’t stop going back for more, but tired of the lies and hurting, he doesn’t want to give Kyle up.
Kyle would do anything to keep Eddy from drowning again, so he decides to see him safely into the big world of being out, but a past connection may ruin everything. Will there be a second chance for both of them, or will their relationship go under?

Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Going-Under-Keep-Swimming-Book-ebook/dp/B00MRD6AAM
Review: Note, this is the second book in a series that should be read in order.

Kyle Bevins longs to have something more, someone more actually, in his lonely life. On the surface, he has it all. Openly gay and unapologetic about it, a successful business owner, gorgeous, fun loving and outgoing. But a string of bad relationships and hopeful hook-ups that turned into one night stands have left him wrung out. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to him when his latest attraction turns out to be less than prince charming. But it still stings.

Eddy Jiminez is just as shocked as the sexy blonde at the bar is when his mouth agrees to follow him home. Eddy has long since tried to bury his homosexuality behind meaningless sex with women and a flare for bullying when he was younger. His temper is almost as large as he is, and his fuse is very short. But there is something in the eyes and the smile of the stranger, he finds himself pushing up against the wall in a dark corner outside the bar.

They both have valid reasons to push each other away, but the reasons to pull close and hold on tight are more appealing. There is an odd sense of familiarity Kyle has with Eddy, an insane attraction and a need to touch him and make it all okay. Eddy is frazzled from issues in his past included violence and abuse, but he has this ability to lose himself in Kyle, and it both exhilarates and scares the living daylights out of him. Gradually they grow closer, learn to trust each other, start to share more and fall in love. In the end, it’s a secret that Kyle holds that threatens to tear them apart, not Eddy.

This is one of Boehme’s best stories yet. He always keeps his stories young and fresh, and even when the subject matter is intense, there is love and understanding underneath that give them an extra edge you can’t help but be drawn to. This story however, bobs and weaves its way through the lives of these two men, tying them together further back than they even realize. This story really took some forethought and planning to come together the way it did in the end. The immediate and intense attraction that Kyle and Eddy shared translated into some amazing sex as well, but there was sensuality and tenderness there from the start.

I definitely recommend this story, just be sure you read Keep Swimming first. I’m anxious and excited to see what book 3 in this series brings as there was a nice little set up for Phil and Kent to get their own story. Of course, the barbershop owner and his parole officer husband could get a book as well. Lots of options here!

If Two of Them Are Dead by Jana Denardo

IfTwoOfThemAreDeadLGTitle: If Two of Them Are Dead
Author: Jana Denardo
Genre: Steampunk/Suspense
Length: Novella (166 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 21st, 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Reviewer: Kid
Blurb: Called to Hyde Park, New York, ex-Air Corpsman turned detective Victor Van Voorhis comes to only three conclusions about his newest case: the gulf between his status and the wealthy Westbrook family is no trifling matter; someone brutally killed a young mother; and the victim’s brother-in-law is one of the most intriguing men Victor has ever met.

Inventor Abraham Westbrook lost his wife five years ago and is worried about the effect another death in the family will have on his children. He spends most of his time tinkering with steamships, but even his inventions can’t distract him from wishing Victor was in his life for any reason other than a murder investigation—one where Abraham himself is a suspect. He’s hidden his desires all his life, but no longer. Somehow, he’ll catch the detective’s eye.

With murder standing between them and a killer stalking the Westbrooks, Abraham, and Victor’s chance at happiness could go up in steam.
Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4990
Review: Charming.

If there were one word that fully encapsulated If Two of Them Are Dead, it would have to be charming. Which was not what I was expecting, based on the title. But this Steampunk murder mystery is less about the dark, foggy streets and more about the interaction of its enticing main characters.

Victor Van Voorhis is an ex-airman turned police detective who is sent to the posh and opulent Hyde Park to investigate a gruesome murder. From the first page, Jana Denardo does two things extraordinarily well. The first is to underscore the massive difference between the wealthy and everyone else. Victor’s continual amazement at both the luxury and the tightly closed ranks is neatly woven throughout the story. It’s not an easy thing, to give backstory and a point of view without taking on the role of a lecturer or going into dull over-explanation. Denardo handles it, for the most part, with a deft hand.

I also must point out Denardo’s ability to create two likeable, interesting characters that did not fall into the usual tropes. Neither is described as perfect, both have their own personalities and quirks, and both were easy to root for. I wanted them to be happy; I wanted them to discover one another. And the way that the author was willing to wait should be applauded. I love it when a writer has enough confidence in the chemistry of their characters and their own skill to allow a relationship to develop over several chapters. It makes that moment of connection so much better.

While Victor investigates the crime and discovers that the wealthy of Hyde Park are, by and large, truly terrible people, he also becomes much closer to Abraham. Eschewing the expected path of running his family fur and textile trade, Abraham is a quirky inventor who creates steam-powered robot butlers, metal dogs, and personal airships. His reserved outward behavior hides a certain mischievous, commanding presence that I found a great foil for Victor’s more by-the-book attitude.

Steampunk is a difficult genre. Abraham’s inventions can only be part of the atmosphere that transports a reader to a place part historical and part fanciful. In most ways, Denardo is successful. There’s a slight stiffness to the prose that, in some ways, works favorably considering the period. However, there were several times I wished someone had gone through to loosen things up. There were moments when, instead of attributing it to the formality of the time period, I simply felt as if the author was uncomfortable with the scene or the emotions.

This is especially apparent in the sex scenes. While, as a couple, Abraham and Victor are wonderful, when they get together there’s a certain standoffishness about the entire thing. I like my intimate moments to be messier, to have that immediate want and need, to feel like I’m caught up in that passion. This is purely a personal preference; there is nothing wrong with any of the scenes. But, after so long of dancing around each other, building up tension, when that first kiss does finally happen, I actually missed it and had to go back to find the exact moment. I would have liked it if the book breathed during those scenes, allowing the reader to revel in the connection along with the character rather than being rushed through. I like to linger and there were times when the story did not linger with me.
The murder mystery here is secondary to Victor and Abraham becoming first friends and then more. While it is the driving force of the plot – Abraham’s sister-in-law was found murdered in her home and he is first a suspect and then Victor’s gateway into the closed off ranks of the rich – it is not an Encyclopedia Brown-esque tale that encourages the reader to pay attention and pick up clues along the way. We see Victor working. Observe many of his interviews, but the elusive pieces he is putting together are not something we would have discovered on our own. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. While I prefer to feel a part of a mystery, there is also the very real danger of making it too obvious and spoiling the ending. In the end, I enjoyed the story, and that has to be the mark of an effective approach.

To me, the most interesting part of the story was not the murder investigation, nor the fanciful steam-powered inventions that littered the pages. I was drawn in by the way Denardo handled a love story that was considered at best unconventional, at worst illegal during the time period. These two men knew, from the very beginning, that the very best outcome would be a life lived in secret; never being able to connect with each other in public as anything more than friends.
There’s a phenomenon that I like to call ‘looking for the roommate’. I couldn’t exactly bring my girlfriend home to my parents or be open with relationships, especially not five, ten years ago. And in books or movies, we were never allowed to be open. It’s something that’s easy to forget now, in the flush of gay marriage victories and shows like Modern Family. But I grew up looking for glimpses of relationships that weren’t permitted to be displayed. We were the ‘good friend’. The ‘roommate’. Decades of commitment, of love and passion and grace, would be reduced to some generic term, swept under the rug. And the generations before mine understood that unique pain, that particular hurt, better than we ever can. The ache of having who you love made insignificant.

I’m always interested when an author chooses to acknowledge this reality. It’s a depressing fact but it was the truth for countless love stories over the ages. And it’s a truth that needs to be told sometimes. Victor and Abraham are one of those, and the fact there will never be a happy marriage or children of their own only makes the moments they do have sweeter. More poignant.

But all of that leads to my one big problem with the book: the ending. The conclusion of the mystery ends with an awesome reveal, a spine-tingling chase, and a Nikola Tesla reference. Everything you could hope for. However, since the main thrust of the story is not the murder but the growing relationship, and since the author spent so much time letting us know how difficult their future would be, I expected at least a chapter winding things down and letting us get a glimpse at what Victor and Abraham look like as a couple. I was very much looking forward to seeing if Victor grew closer to Abraham’s children or how they managed to see one another regularly. If they did. Instead, we get less than a full page of platitudes and both men assuring one another they did, indeed, want to try to stay together. And then the book was done.

I honestly thought that perhaps I was missing a chapter. It is such an abrupt and clumsy hand-wave of a sendoff from an author I’d come to think of as thoughtful and methodical that it seemed wildly out of place. I would encourage the author to spend time with the characters after the main plot is done. Allow the whole story to wind down rather than chopping it off.

In any case, despite my disappointment with the end, as a whole I highly recommend the book. If you enjoy the slow burn of a relationship, fantastical inventions, and characters that make you want to keep reading, pick up this book immediately. I, for one, am hoping for more in this world. Seeing Victor and Abraham figuring out a life together, perhaps solving mysteries like some kind of madcap Sherlock, would be absolutely charming.

Frozen Hearts by Teegan Loy (2nd Edition)

FrozenHeartsLGTitle: Frozen Hearts, 2nd edition
Author: Teegan Loy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel (200 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 22nd 2014) NOTE: 2nd edition, originally published in 2013 by Silver Publishing
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Reviewer: Tams
Blurb: The best college hockey player in the country is hanging up his skates because he’s tired of living a lie. Five years ago, Erik Fox’s father found out about his indiscretions and forced him to change schools in the middle of the night. Erik had a boyfriend, and hockey players do not date boys.

With his college career over, Erik is determined to get his life on the right track, and that means making peace with the boy he left behind and living according to his own desires. But to do it, he must resist pressure from his father and everyone who wants to define him as nothing but a hockey player.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5333
Review: Erik Fox loves two things in life, Tyce and playing hockey. Five years ago, his father forced him to give up one for the other and Erik’s life has never been the same. Now that he’s old enough to make his own decisions, Erik wants to be more than just a hockey player. He decides to turn down an offer to go pro, finish college and keep his grades, and be open about his sexuality finally. In a world dominated by narrow-minded men, Erik will face challenges he didn’t consider as friends and family turn against him in the aftermath of his decision.

Erik’s roommates and sister rally around him as judgement and hatred run rampant. Though it’s been five years since that night when Erik was forced to leave Tyce without so much as a goodbye, neither of them has really moved on. They gave their hearts away a long time ago, a stolen kiss on the ice, and they never got them back. “Always have, Always will.” They gravitate back toward each other and slide right back into a groove, as if nothing had ever changed. But just as it was five years ago, other people have other plans that don’t include Erik and Tyce having their Always and forever.

While the premise for this story was evident within the first few pages, the execution was flawless. I was pulled in from the start, with that first look into Erik’s mind in the locker room, and my attention stayed focused throughout. There is a lot going on and the subject matter is at times dark and depressing, but the love Erik and Tyce share and the bond they have with their friends adds a lightness to the story that was needed. The story is told from Erik’s POV as he finally takes control over his own life and the emotional process of being true to himself regardless of the cost.

There were a few unrealistic situations that made me scratch my head a time or two, but overall I just fell in love with these characters. They made mistakes and learned from them, they found their way back to each other and found a way to forgive and move forward. If you are a fan of any stories that have Ice, Sticks and Pucks in them like me then this is definitely a book for you. But there is so much more to Erik and Tyce and their story. True love conquers all, standing up for what’s right and being true to yourself are definite morals to this story.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *

Appearances by T.M. Smith Blog Tour, Guest Post, Review & Giveaway!

 Hiya guys, we have T.M. Smith visiting today with her brand new release Appearances! T.M.s chats with us about labors of love, she has a fantastic giveaway and then you have my review so guys enjoy and click that Rafflecopter link <3 ~Pixie~ 

T.M. Smith - Appearances Cover_FULLSIZE


(Opposites 02)


T.M. Smith

 Appearances, can be deceiving.

Raven and Tanis are trying very hard to merge their vastly different lifestyles, but Tanis issues with his own past could prove to be more than their fragile relationship can handle. Is their love for each other strong enough to weather the oncoming storm?

Aiya and Sawyer have fought hard to be together in a world where Opposite relationships are generally forbidden. Yet, they are still forced to keep their relationship a secret while they are outside the walls of House Gaeland.

Everyone assumes that the only threat lies outside their walls, the group of rebels led by Cillian. But something is happening within House Gaeland, something that hasn’t happened since GWI. And with all the attention focused on that, their guard is down. An evil that was under their nose all along strikes, and someone will make the ultimate sacrifice to save another.

Appearances is the second book in the Opposites series, the series should be read in order.

Warning, Opposites is an Adult Dystopian majorly M/M series that contains explicit sexual content and relationships between gay, straight
and lesbian couples. **


Continue reading “Appearances by T.M. Smith Blog Tour, Guest Post, Review & Giveaway!”

Authors Gone Wild Anthology Cover Reveal!!

AuthorsGoneWild Banner


Where authors come together…

Sounds exciting right? Your favorite gay artists from the screen, canvas, and page all together in one convention. We even have guys whose bodies are works of art in themselves. Our events include art shows, book signings, nude modeling classes, demonstrations and panels galore. Anything you want to know in the realm of gay sexuality, you can find it here.

As amazing as our events are, however, they don’t compare to the juicy behind-the-scenes stories, the naughty liasons that happen on the other side of closed doors. This year, we’re fortunate to have a few authors open the curtains and give us a glimpse of HomoErotiCon under the covers:

Continue reading “Authors Gone Wild Anthology Cover Reveal!!”