When Fate Falls Short by Brooke Edwards Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Brooke Edwards - When Fate Falls Short Banner

Hi guys, we have Brooke Edwards popping in for another visit with her upcoming release When Fate Falls Short, we have a fantastic guest post, we have a really great excerpt and Brooke is hosting a comment giveaway! So peeps, check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~

Brooke Edwards - When Fate Falls Short FS s

When Fate Falls Short


Brooke Edwards

Childhood sweethearts Nathan Maxwell and Sean Adams took ten years to realize they belonged together, followed by ten years of bliss. When it is snatched away, Sean is left alone with the aftermath. Lost and grieving in a world that doesn’t make sense without Nathan by his side, he struggles to keep himself afloat… until he meets Jesse Lawrence.

The shadow of a congenital heart defect has hung over Jesse like a dark cloud all his life. Nathan’s death saves Jesse’s life—providing the heart Jesse needs to survive—and a chance encounter between their best friends plants Jesse in Sean’s orbit. But how well can a love triangle between a dead man, his grieving lover, and the one with his heart beating in his chest possibly turn out? Real feelings and pure intentions might not be enough.

Release date: 3rd August 2016
Pre-order: Dreamspinner Press

Continue reading “When Fate Falls Short by Brooke Edwards Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!”

Shooting Stars by Joe Cosentino

ShootingStar[A]LGTitle: Shooting Star
Series: All in My Heart Novella
Author: Joe Cosentino
Genre: Bittersweet Dream/ Contemporary
Length: Novella (98 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 2nd, 2015)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
Blurb: On the eve of the best night of his life, winning an Academy Award, Jonathan Bello thinks back to his one great love, David Star.
Flipping back the pages of time, Jonathan recalls his handsome, muscular, and charismatic college roommate. Since Jonathan was a freshman and David a senior in the Theatre Department, David took Jonathan under his wing and molded him, not only as an actor but as a lover.

With every wonderful new adventure, David left his joyful mark on anyone with whom they came in contact, but Jonathan soon uncovered David’s dark past, leading to a shocking event.

Undaunted, Jonathan celebrates the captivating man who will always hold a special place in his heart.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

ISBN: 978-1-63476-526-8

Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6803

Reviewer: Cat

Review: Jonathan reflects on his past that brought him to the night of his Academy award.

This story just blew me away. It is so beautifully written and though I didn’t cry it touched my heart. Once I started I didn’t want to stop. Joe has such a way with words he paints a moving picture. I could see each movement. I could envision the plays and my heart went out to David, Jonathan and Barry as well.

I had a love/ hate relationship with David, I hated Terrance, loved the other’s that David’s life touched as they hitchhiked to town and the professor gave a comedy relief to the sad nature of the story.

If you like something different from time to time, a bittersweet story, Actors, college men, and a very sweet romance.

I highly recommend this.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *

Last Dance with Mary Jane by John Goode, 2nd edition

61C8ziVivWL._SL1350_Title: Last Dance with Mary Jane (2nd Edition)

Series: N/A
Author: John Goode
Genre: Paranormal
Length: Novella (60pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (29th April 2015)
Heat: Low
Heart: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: Peter was devastated when he lost his love, Shayne, in a car crash. Though he knows nothing will bring Shayne back, Peter takes solace in listening to Shayne’s voice mail, just to hear his voice one last time. He’s not prepared when one night, Shayne answers the phone.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

ISBN: 978-1-63216-928-0

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6325

Reviewer: Pixie

Review: Peter is still in the throes of grief nearly a year after his beloved Shayne died. His regrets are hard to deal with and his only solace is listening to Shayne’s voice on his voicemail, then something happens and Peter discovers that fate may just be taking pity on him.

John Goode has produced a story that is touching, its heart-breaking and it is tragic. Peter is in therapy trying to deal with the loss of the love of his life, he knows who is to blame and he lays that blame at fates fickle feet. Peter just can’t move forward, he has regrets, things he never said and now never can, and he just can’t understand why fate would take Shayne away from him.

This is a story that will make tears slide down your cheeks, have you whimpering in denial and praying that you will always have the time to say what you need to. Peter and Shayne had already been through enough, Shayne struck down with HIV but finally pulling through to live a healthy happy life with Peter, but then he is struck down in a car accident and Peter is left alone. Peter has many regrets and can’t let Shayne go; when Shayne answers the phone one night Peter thinks that he might be able to change fate.

This is a true love story of pure love that is cut short, and of the grief and the regret that the person left behind endures. The story of how they got together was sweet and the tale of how they got their nick names was romantic… they were a couple fated to be together. I really want to say more but feel that this is a story that must be read, to fully appreciate the turmoil that Peter is going through and his reactions to what is happening around him.

All I will say is that I cried, I cried for the ‘what if’s’, I cried for his chance to put aside his regrets, for life getting in the way and I cried at knowing he had lost the love of his life.

I am going to recommend this to everyone as it is a story that we all need to read to remind us to appreciate what we have every single day. Now I am off to make sure that my family and friends know how much I love them.

An Infatuation by Joe Cosentino

Infatuation[An]LG*Warning ~ Possible Spoilers*

Title: An Infatuation
Author: Joe Cosentino
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Novella (106 pages)
ISBN: 9781632164834
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 4, 2015)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Reviewer: Zane
Blurb: With his ten-year high school reunion approaching, Harold wonders whether Mario will be as muscular, sexy, and tantalizing as he remembers. As a teenager, it was love at first sight for Harold while tutoring football star Mario, until homophobia and bullying drove Mario deep into the closet.

Now they’re both married men. Mario, a model, is miserable with his producer wife, while Harold, a teacher, is perfectly content with his businessman husband, Stuart. When the two meet again, will the old flame reignite, setting Harold’s comfortable life ablaze? How can Harold be happy with Stuart when he is still infatuated with his Adonis, his first love, Mario?

Harold faces this seemingly impossible situation with inimitable wit, tenderness, and humor as he attempts to reconcile the past and the future.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6009

Review: I enjoyed this novella, even though it seemed to put my head into a bit of a tailspin – Who doesn’t have “the one that got away”? What would we do if we had a chance to correct that? Would we risk all that is good in life? Is Harold truly satisfied? Can his previous infatuation with Mario become something real? Will he choose tried and true Stuart (who is so detailed that he has probably pencilled in his every move for the next 19 years)? All the questions! So many questions!

Can the today’s reality measure up to the memories and history of yesteryear? Is 19 years of true (although quite predictable) love strong enough to combat the yearnings of long ago? High School reunions are a chance to revisit youth, and in this case, for Harold to face down some demons, be it in the form of tormentors and bullies past, or an infatuation that once ruled his teen years.

A journey via words from past to present, this read is a walk in Harold’s shoes. Easy to empathize with, Harold was always painfully honest with his husband Stuey and with himself. This put me in the surprising position of rooting for all three men! I wanted Harold find his happiness, Mario to not be so screwed up, and, well, Stuey didn’t deserve to be kicked to the curb just for being faithful and boring, did he?.

Though Harold did find his happy ending, it was not tied up in a neat little bow, nor was it without a bittersweet moment or two. I easily recommend this story to anyone in search of a light(ish) read complete with misty eyes and some “aww” moments. Author Joe Cosentino brought just the right amount of humor, angst and honesty to make this short but sweet coming of age story a success. Four hearts for romance, sentimentality, love and for the grass sometimes being greener on your own side.

. ** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through www.mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com **

Through the Years by Brynn Stein

ThroughTheYearsLGTitle: Through the Years
Author: Brynn Stein
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Novel (177 pages)
ISBN: 978-1-63216-287-8
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 13th, 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Reviewer: Zane
Blurb: Edward and Gene were instantly drawn to each other when they met at college in Maryland. Fast friends, they developed a “closer than brothers” relationship. But then Edward began to feel more for Gene. In 1967, those kinds of feelings would not be tolerated. Not even by Edward himself.

Gene always thought he was asexual. He had never been attracted to anyone… until he met Edward. He dreamed of Edward as more than a friend throughout college, but he knew Edward would not welcome that kind of attention. So Gene wasn’t surprised when Edward reacted badly to a drunken kiss just before Edward’s graduation. He was surprised when Edward moved to Florida and had little to do with him for years afterward.

When fate finally brings them back together, Edward is married and has a little girl. Gene gladly accepts the role of “Uncle Gene,” happy to have Edward in his life in any capacity. Together, they face all the trials and tribulations life throws at them, including the death of Edward’s wife, and as each grows and matures, their life views change. The relationship they’ve secretly wanted all along is closer than ever, and if Edward can break free from his homophobic upbringing and admit his feelings for Gene, there might still be a chance for them to share their lives in the way they both desire.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5539

5 of hearts logo red on black smallReview: What, to me, is an epic love story? An epic love story spans decades, starts young and ends old. It withstands the best and worst, and everything in between. This love transforms itself and those it overtakes, can be both selfless and selfish. It is surrounded by romance and tragedy. There is history, family and friendship, betrayal and anger. It runs the gamut of every emotion and shows all sides of the story.

Epic love is about imperfect people who break but love and passion that will not. Even if they don’t live forever, their love should. Their story should elicit laughter and smiles. It should show love and tenderness. You should find yourself immersed wholly and completely. And if it can make you cry good and hard, even better.

Edward and Gene’s story is a perfect example of the above. From the first word to the last, author Brynn Stein carefully built their world, their life, their love. After a painful rift in their earlier years, Edward and Gene rekindled and strengthened their friendship, though not without pain and strife. They grew together and apart in love and in pain. There were moments of closeness, moments of distance, of happiness and misery.

Over time, they effectively built a family; kinship of blood and non-blood ties. That family built lives, withstood great pain and experienced great love. They stood strong together as a whole when parts faltered. They fought through illness, death, alcoholism, betrayal and all the things that come to pass as life runs its course. They battled homophobia, internally and via external pressures of the world. Through the Years, through their eyes we saw things change socially, legally and personally, for these two men and everyone they loved.

As they matured, so did their family. They grew up. Their little ones grew up. Life changed. Things changed. People changed. But their love did not. Appropriately titled, “Through the Years” shares its name with a famous Kenny Rogers song, which is brilliantly used as a literary soundtrack as the story begins to come to a close. There are no surprises here, no clear happy endings. Just a wonderfully written story with a positive, realistic ending that was worthy of Edward, Gene and their loving family.

Thank you, Brynn Stein, for giving me Gene, Edward and their epic love story. Thank you for making my eyes so wet I could barely see the words in front of me. Thank you for writing this beautiful and timeless tale of love. Thank you for making my night. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go listen to a certain Kenny Rogers song… again…

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through www.mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com **

Submerging Inferno by Brandon Witt

SubmergingInfernoLGTitle: Submerging Inferno

Author:  Brandon Witt

Genre:  High Fantasy

Length: Novel (344 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 19th, 2013)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 hearts

Reviewer: Cat

Blurb: A Men of Myth Story 

Brett Wright and Finn de Morisco come from vastly different worlds. Disowned by his family for being gay, Brett builds both a life on his own terms and walls around his heart. But nothing can prepare him for the evil that stalks him in the night or from discovering the dark secrets of his heritage. 

The youngest of a doting family, Finn lives a sheltered life that allows him to trust easily and makes him quick to jump to the rescue. While using his knowledge of the supernatural world to help Brett uncover the truth of his ancestry, Finn learns neither his magical life nor falling in love is as simple and risk-free as he believed. 

New knowledge comes with a price—one that may prove too high for them to pay.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4105

Review: Brett Wright is twenty-three and just realizing that things about him are odd and changing. His Grandfather has just died, he is feeling odd things in the ocean, he is setting fire to himself and not burning, he meets a hot man who turns out to be a witch, and life will never be the same. Oh I forgot to mention being chased by a vampire and finding out he is at least part Demon. Brett is an interesting man.

I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait for the next in the series. I do hope it shed light on what Brett is and maybe he can find happiness. This story probably isn’t for everyone, there are some scenes of rape and violence and its riddle with angst.

Brandon has such a way with description that pulls you right into the story. I felt like I was in the water with Brett, at the funeral, hurting, all of it. This is an incredible new world of paranormal with very interesting new types of creatures. 

I highly recommend to any one that likes a heartfelt story full of love, and angst, finding out what you are, new worlds, new and interesting creatures, heartache, loss, and some pretty hot man-sex.

The Combat Zone by Vincent Wilde


970589_10200413642078504_332815821_nTitle: The Combat Zone

Series:  N/A
Author: Vincent Wilde
Genre: Contemporary/Murder Mystery/Suspense (not romance)

Length: Novel

Publisher: Silver Publishing (June 22nd, 2013)
Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts

From the underbelly of Boston’s officially sanctioned red-light district–The Combat Zone–to a neo-Nazi compound in the secluded mountains of New Hampshire, gay cross-dressing sleuth Cody Harper hunts a murderer. Cody is a man who enjoys wielding a whip as much as slipping into a silk chemise. When unrequited love interest Stephen Cross tells Cody about the death threats he’s received, Cody resorts to all the tricks in his make-up bag, including his drag persona, Desdemona, to protect his friend. A pious presidential candidate and members of an underground group called “My America” stand in Cody’s way in this thrill ride of suspense and mystery.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title is not a romance title. It has a bittersweet ending. This title contains a scene of violent rape and a fairly brief remembered scene of animal abuse.

Product Link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/blog/2013/06/15/the-combat-zone-by-vincent-wilde/

Reviewer:   GiGi

Review: This is a dark, edgy, and often times uncomfortable murder/mystery. The author takes you on the dark and seedy side of the city known as the Combat Zone to locals. You’ll walk along side prostitutes, murderers, sociopaths, cults, cops, and political activists. See this world through the eyes of a Dom/Domme drag queen and the murderer himself. I like a good thriller, especially if I’m kept guessing whodunit, and the puzzle pieces were fed to us one at a time throughout this dark and dangerous story. If you like, dark and edgy suspense…this book is for you! There are a few hot sexual scenes, but this is not a romance, it’s a murder mystery thriller, and a good one.

Destiny on the Tracks by Drake Braxton

17892613Title: Destiny on the Tracks

Author: Drake Braxton

Genre: Contemporary/Historical (1918) Bittersweet

Length: Novella (88pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (5th June 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½ Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: While on business in a small town near Chicago, Wheeler Reynolds hears a tale about a traveling circus killed nearby in a horrific train wreck over ninety years ago. Haunted by the story, Wheeler falls asleep thinking someone is calling his name… and wakes up in 1918.

Wheeler believes it’s his mission to stop the accident from occurring until he meets Nicola Tenaglia, an aerialist for the circus. Time becomes his enemy as he quickly falls into a whirlwind affair. When they are discovered, events spin out of Wheeler’s control, and he and Nicola are separated. Then the train begins to pull away. Nicola’s time is running out….

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3876

Review: Wheeler is on a short business trip and can’t wait to head back to the city. The night before he is to return he hears about a horrific train wreck involving a traveling circus in 1918. Waking up in the middle of the night something pulls him to the track crossing and he blacks out. He wakes up in bed but everything seems to have changed. Nicola is an aerialist in the circus, but he dreams of having something more from his life than just the circus. Meeting Wheeler at a small town, Nicola discovers what has been missing from his life. Making plans to start a life together is easy, but getting away from the circus isn’t.

This is a great little story that has a surprising twist ending. Wheeler is a city boy, a financial adviser who assesses businesses before a buyout. He is checking out a B&B in a small town and will be happy to return to the city. But, he hears a train whistle in the middle of the night and is sure he hears his name on the wind. Inexplicably, he is drawn to the train tracks and he discovers his destiny. Wheeler is sure that he is meant to stop the train from disaster, but he gets caught up in his feelings for Nicola. Nicola is happy to find something special with Wheeler, but interference from another sets events in motion that there is no turning back from.

This is quite a fast paced story with the timeline jumping from the present to the past quite clearly. The relationship between Wheeler and Nicola is nearly instant for both of them, even though Nicola has never been interested in anyone before and Wheeler was always happy with brief hook-ups. The setting is really good and I liked the other circus characters. I really liked how everything came together and how the maliciousness of just one person could end up destroying so much. Wheeler’s and Nicola’s destinies are intertwined even though there was over ninety years separating them and you really won’t see the ending coming. It was a twist that surprised me and had a beautiful, but poignant feel to it.

I will recommend this to those that love time crossing lovers, fated soul mates finding each other through time, a surprising twist and a bittersweet ending that will surprise. 


Sins of Another by Jessica Skye Davies

SinsofAnotherLGTitle: Sins of Another

Author: Jessica Skye Davies

Genre: Contemporary, Bittersweet Dreams

Length: Novel (216pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (29th April 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥3 ½ – 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: One morning Padrig Kennedy comes home to find his partner, Nick Glenfielding, in bed with another man. Shocked, hurt, and vulnerable, Padrig flees and meets a stranger who seems to offer comfort—but he force-feeds Padrig a steady diet of drugs and prostitution instead. When he finally surfaces from his hell, it’s to another system shock: he’s now HIV positive. 

Nick descends into darkness as well. Devastated by losing Padrig, he finds no consolation in the legal career he doesn’t love and tries to find solace in alcohol, spending his days in an ever-deepening haze.

Padrig and Nick find each other again, but their relationship can never be the same. If they’re to stand any chance of a future together, they must do the improbable: make sense of the past and learn to cope with new burdens they’ll bear for life.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3786

Review: When Padrig returns home from holiday he never expected to find his lover, Nick, in bed with another man. Fleeing the house, he runs to the park and finds himself in a position he can’t get himself out of. Drugged and forced into prostitution, Padrig is rescued by a stranger. Coming to in a hospital bed, he believes the worst is behind him, until he is told he is HIV positive. When Padrig and Nick reconnect, they both have much to say, but their relationship can never be the same again. Rebuilding a relationship from scratch, they both have burdens to share. can they really have a relationship with the past weighing down on them?

This is a very interesting story that has a very bittersweet ending that will tug at your heart. We join Padrig as he tells his story. From the moment his life changes forever and through the intervening years where he builds a new life and rediscovers love. We are with him as he makes friends and loses them, reconnects with old friends, as he works through his shock and new circumstances and with Nick’s help puts the pieces together of what happened to both of them and why.

This is a really well written story that delves into the life of a man who had his whole life ripped away from him, and, as he picks up the pieces, discovers that it will never be the same again. There is a lot that we discover in this story about Padrig and his friends, both old and new, and how Padrig process’s what happened to him. We briefly get an idea of what happened to Nick and we see Nick and Padrig rediscovering the love they once had and rebuilding a new life together and coping with HIV and the fear they both have when the medication begins to fail.   

Although I liked this story I found that it dragged in places. I know that it was all about Padrig, but, it would have been nice to see what happened to Nick rather than him briefly explain years later what he went through. We see a lot about Padrig’s recovery and him getting back on his feet, dealing with HIV and the support that he receives from new friends. This is a sad story that has its bright moment. But, when you finish this story, you are left with a lingering sadness and tears in your eyes at the hopelessness of the situation that was caused by another’s sins.

I will recommend this story to those that love bittersweet stories, losing love, rediscovering love, tragic circumstances, a strong will to live life and an ending that will have you nearly crying. 




Erasing Shame by Yeyu

ErasingShameLGTitle: Erasing Shame

Series: N/A

Author: Yeyu

Genre: MM / Bittersweet / Tragedy

Length: Novel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 22nd, 2013)

Reviewer: Thommie

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Blurb: The son of a Han traitor who had let the Xianbei Mongols invade the borders, Jiang Shicai swears to restore his family’s honor, hoping to better the Hans’ lives through peaceful means. He believes violence is never the answer, but to gain respect, he finds himself fighting for the Xianbei.

Ten years later, an annoying but handsome playboy, Dugu Xuechi, arrives as the incompetent new military inspector of Shicai’s region. Shameless, irresponsible, and obnoxious, Xuechi tests Shicai’s patience almost every second. Despite their mutual dislike, Shicai finds himself drawn to the capricious man, especially when he sees the resemblance between Xuechi and his deceased best friend. Yet Xuechi’s self-destructive behavior and refusal to accept help require attention that distracts Shicai from his goal for peace–and it doesn’t help that Xuechi is Shicai’s strongest political opposition. Haunted by a childhood promise he never had the chance to fulfill, Shicai must choose between his feelings and his values.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3593

Review: This novel is one of the most extraordinary ones I’ve read in a long time. I’m still feeling a deep sadness and valiantly trying to compose myself, while at the same time I’m shocked with how emotionally powerful Erasing Shame is.

This is an alternative universe ancient China, a world created by the author based on the Six Dynasties. Being a created world though doesn’t mean that the culture portrayed in the book doesn’t feel realistic. I was immensely satisfied with the historical feeling of that area the story has. The explanations the author provides greatly help you not only follow the story in a better way, but even understand a bit about ancient Chinese culture.

This is the tragic story of the Rong Empire Heir and his best friend/love who is doomed to betray him. This is a tragic story of a very strong love that is doomed not to prevail.

Jiang Shicai first met the Heir Lan Yu when he was a little boy of six years old. Though it seemed extremely unlikely the two of them formed a great friendship and Shicai swears lifetime loyalty and support for the young Heir. Children’s oaths doomed to fail when at age 15 Shicai’s father betrays the Han people and the Empire by letting their enemy pass their borders resulting in the slaughter of all the Imperial Family save Yu and his mother. Five years later the last of Shicai’s hope dies, when news of Yu’s suicide reaches him. Feeling hopeless and helpless, drown in shame and despair Shicai vows that he will restore the family name and honor Yu’s death by making whatever in his power to help the Han people.

Ten years after his father’s betrayal Shicai will face new challenges in the face of a young playboy/inspector named Xuechi. His resemblance with Yu will distract Shicai, his exuberant behavior will irritate him and his rare moments of vulnerability will forever seduce him. His goal to achieve prosperity for the Han will be constantly overthrown by his object of desire; hidden truths will remain in shadows until the moment things come crashing down leaving Shicai yet again hopeless.

In a world surrounded by corruption, greed and cruelty love will bloom, yet it can only exist in a world of make belief, behind masks of happiness, because when those masks fall cunning manipulation, deep, dark hatred and twisted feeling unveil.

Our characters are doomed from the beginning to fail. Xuechi’s long life trauma and hatred will not allow him to stop, sacrificing everything and everyone on his way to revenge never allowing anyone close enough to help, never asking for help. And Shicai’s strong ideals and sense of honor blind him from his love, pride and ego getting in the way ultimately ending losing the one person that ever meant something for him.

We also witness other types of “love” in this book, coming from loyal servants, who despite or because their idolizing their masters end up never seeing what would be the one thing that would make them happy. And of course the one-sided loves of loyal subordinates and people who blindly love their superiors ending up draining them with their demands or their ignorance of who their object of worship really is.

It was painful reading about Xuechi, his many personas and facades hiding a deeply isolated person, wounded and suffering that horrible emotional pain. His end was perhaps the saddest one I’ve ever read and although Shicai truly break down with it, I couldn’t help feeling a bit anger toward him and his ideals that cost both of them so, so much. Both characters in the end suffered their own punishment for their choices however cruel it was.

Erasing Shame might be a tragedy, but it is definitely a brilliantly written book. It’s pace and suspense will always keep you on your toes and it honestly won’t let you stop until you reach the bitter end. At times you will feel like a child, you will laugh and smile, you will read about the wondrous Chinese culture of that area and the incredible diplomacy and sophistication of those people. You will feel anger and despair along with the characters and even a little sick with the cruelty and brutality of others. But in the end you will love this book.

For me this is a must-read book and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It is simply too good to miss.


Exile by Lola Lebellier

ExileLGTitle: Exile

Author: Lola Lebellier

Genre: High Fantasy, Bittersweet

Length: Novel (198pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (8th February 2013)

Heat: Low – Moderate

Heart:  ♥♥♥♥3½ – 4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Once, in the land of Nier, five elemental spirits terrorized the land. To contain them, five humans sacrificed themselves, losing their bodies and minds. It wasn’t until decades later, when a set of restraints was formed, that the vessels could live normal lives and take their rightful places as leaders of their clans.

Now Aless of Serac, Guardian of Water, has returned from exile, a punishment for embarking on a killing frenzy when his restraints broke. He soon discovers all the restraints are breaking, and if he cannot find a solution, chaos will follow. But Aless can’t solve this problem on his own.

Though Corin of Zephyr has large reserves of mana, the trait that signifies proficiency with natural magic, he shows little aptitude for casting spells or using his power. But that doesn’t bother him as much as the threat from the breaking restraints. Together, he and Aless might find a solution—but as the restraints begin to crumble, it becomes clear that their situation is more dangerous than anyone could have foreseen: Aless, Corin, and the other guardians will face abuse, attack, and even death in their quest to save their world.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3558

Review: Aless is the vessel that carries Serac, Guardian of Water. He is returning to the monastery after ten years spent in exile after his restraints broke and Serac went on a murderous rampage.  Things have changed and he discovers secrets are being kept from him, but he is easily distracted by Corin. Corin is an apprentice with a huge well of mana, but he isn’t able to access it and struggles with even the most simple of spells. When he discovers the truth about the Guardian’s restraints breaking he offers his help. It’s a race against time as the Guardian’s face going feral. But, Aless and Corin fall in love and Corin discovers the truth behind the restraints.

This is a great story with a very bittersweet ending. Aless still doesn’t know what happened ten years before when his restraints failed and Serac broke loose and took control. Returning to the monastery after his exile, he discovers things have changed and secrets are being kept from him. Corin is as drawn to Aless as Aless is to him, but his Master Selena doesn’t want him having any contact with Aless. Searching for the truth about the restraints and why they are failing, Corin discovers that some of the story is missing, and it will take the entire monastery of Guardians working together to solve the mystery before it is too late.

I loved the world building in this story. The true story of the spirits slowly being fed to us, and only one person being able to save them all. There’s a lot to learn concerning the Guardians and the spirits they house, as well as finding out the truth about the restraints and how they came about. As you progress through the story, you will have light bulb moments where you go ‘ah-ha’ as some detail suddenly smacks you in the face, and what has happened and what is to come, suddenly begins to click together. Although this story scored high in the storyline, it missed (for me) with the relationship between Aless and Corin. Don’t get me wrong there is an attraction between them, but from what I saw in the story there was still a long way to go between them before love came into the equation.

This story has many interesting characters, although some of them we get to know better than others. Each one is well written and you become vested in them discovering a solution. Sometimes you feel that petty feelings cause more problems than was needed, but it adds to the tension in the story. I wish that we could have seen more of the relationship between Aless and Corin and how it was developing between them, but others were interfering, and it made me feel as though they only had a longing to be together, rather than a developing love. There is one scene that may disturb readers and that is an m/f rape scene that we are given no warning about. Although, it fit perfectly in the storyline, it was still disturbing to have had no warning at all, not even on the publishers’ site.

I will recommend this story to those that love hidden stories, magical spirits, some incredible details, a longing for love and a very bittersweet ending.


Down Memory Lane by Heidi Champa

Title: Down Memory Lane

Author: Heidi Champa

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Short (5k)

Publisher: Amber Allure (September 23, 2012)

Heat level: Moderate

Heart rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts

Blurb: Kyle knows he shouldn’t, but once again he finds himself waiting for Quinn, the sexy man who drove out of his life years ago, but keeps turning up when Kyle least expects it. Every time Quinn’s car would come rumbling down his street and stop before his house, Kyle would eagerly jump inside the passenger seat and go anywhere Quinn wanted to go.

Yet this time, Quinn is back for good. Or so he says. Will this be the start of something special for Kyle and Quinn, or just one more passionate drive down memory lane?

Product link: http://amberquill.com/AmberAllure/DownMemoryLane.html

Reviewer: Heart

Review: Kyle has spent years waiting for Quinn, his childhood friend and more, and while he only tends to receive crumbles in the form of rare, even yearly visits with a hot encounter or two thrown into the mix, Kyle keeps on waiting and hoping, but also living a life he’s not quite satisfied with on the side.

Although very well written, this short story felt more like a chapter of a novel than a complete work. Coated with despair and bittersweet happiness, it not only left me wanting for more, but also with an unhealthy dose of melancholy. I haven’t noticed if there is a warning somewhere about this being a story without a happy ending, but even if you do find it, take it seriously otherwise you might not finish this on a positive note. The story will only leave you with some vague promise of happiness in a distant future, but even if you disregard that, there should be a cheating label glued to it for those who would rather avoid such books.

The warnings aside, I did enjoy the encounter between the two characters and how the author worked through the anticipation of each action and word. The way Kyle and Quinn missed each other was enhanced with her every sentence and almost from the very start I wished only the best for the guys. The finality of their night together hit me hard and I couldn’t help it but imagine myself in such a situation. It was difficult to relate to either of the characters because there were few reasons or explanations behind their actions, and what little was told didn’t paint them in a pretty light.

Down Memory Lane is just that, one in a row of experiences worth remembering that might or might not lead to something better eventually. If you are ready for the challenge and tired of the classic happily ever after, take a ride with Kyle and Quinn, it just might be your thing.


The Scorching Fire by Rob Welford

Title: The Scorching Fire

Author: Rob Welford

Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Bittersweet

Length: Short (29pgs)

Publisher: Silver Publishing (19th May 2012)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Harry Zade has secrets. A secret pact with an ancient trickster, forged in the heat and dust of war-torn Baghdad. A secret tragedy borne from a quest for fame. A secret love for a young man called Kamal.

Harry Zade seems to have it all: wealth, movie-star looks, and a stellar career as a society photographer. But he also has secrets….

A secret pact with an ancient trickster, forged in the heat, dust and chaos of war-torn Baghdad. A secret tragedy borne from greed, ambition and the quest for fame. A secret love for a young man called Kamal.

With a young English researcher, whose curious interest in Harry and his story goes beyond the purely academic, to tell the tale, the time has come for all of Harry Zade’s secrets to be revealed.

But, as in The Arabian Nights, take nothing for granted until the story is finally done.

Purchase Link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/products_id/858/?zenid=1e8e11060adfd97a2a50126d3e90034e

Review: Harry somehow managed to get everything he could have ever wished for, but the price was quite steep. Now, he tells his story to a professor of mythology who specializes in Arabic folklore.

Wow. How to describe this story? This story is the type of story that I’d expect to be told in a country pub; sat around the fire in the dead of winter, with the wind blowing, the rain pounding and the old gent in the corner is regaling us with myths, folklore, urban legends and village tales. Harry Zade told his tale of woe to a stranger in a little café. the stranger gives him something in return, and the next thing Harry knows his life is on the up… but there comes a point where a choice is made… fame, money, power or love… it isn’t until too late that Harry even realizes that there was a choice.

This is an enjoyable story, if you do like this sort of thing; stories told that happened to a friend of a friend, and there is always something magical or mystical about them. The interviewer in this story we don’t get much about, not even a name, which I found a bit strange at first, seeing as it’s from his POV, but you realize when you get to the end of the book, that it just adds to the mystique of the story. Harry comes across as very brash and a drunk, but as he tells his story, you begin to realize how damaged he really is, by the events that led to his fame and fortune.

So a well written bittersweet short story, that surprising enough gave me chills near the end. I will have to recommend this to those who love myths, folklore, pain and anguish, and a bittersweet ending with a slight twist.



Rainbows All Around Us by Nathan J. Morissey

Title: Rainbows All around Us

Author: Nathan J. Morissey

Genre: Contemporary, Reflection, Bittersweet

Length: Novella (66pgs)

Publisher: Self-Published (1st March 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½ – 4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Deeply closeted and lonely, Justin spirals into a depression when he has no one to turn to. When compassionate and sexy Lucas enters the picture, he changes Justin into a confident and happy young gay man. But tragedy strikes when Lucas gets involved in the gay rights movement and attracts homophobic bigots. Can Justin protect his true love? Or will they be torn apart forever?

Set amid the gay marriage movement, Rainbows All Around Us is a story about the difficulties of being both gay and masculine in the modern world, the importance of being yourself, and most importantly, the power of love to change your world.

Purchase Link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137949

Review: Justin struggles with his sexuality until he meets Lucas. But, even then he still has his fears, but with Lucas’s love he will find his way.

This is an extremely touching story from a young man’s POV, as he handles the revelations of his sexuality, his first relationship and the ups and downs that they face as they progress down the path of being a couple. Justin has accepted that he is gay to the extent that as long as it is just him that knows then he can accept it.  He also struggles with his religion and its views on homosexuality. When he meets Lucas, he fears the reaction of those around him and he begins to feel isolated and depressed. Lucas is like a shining light who shows him a way through the darkness.

This story is from Justin’s POV, so we have a lot of his thoughts and internal dialogue.  And, I will be honest; some of it threw me because of the way he sounded.  He sounded a lot older than he was. The same with Lucas, they are both around the ages of 18-20, but they sound more 40-45, they don’t sound like young men. The way that the story is written is very good.  We capture the young Justin as he falls head over heels for Lucas, Lucas and his frustration with his work and Justin’s final acceptance of being gay.

The ending is bittersweet and you may shed a few tears. Justin’s and Lucas’s relationship has some stormy moments as Lucas’s passion and Justin’s apathy clashes, some romantic moments and sweet loving. So, I will recommend this to those who want a coming of age, finding acceptance within one’s self, facing loss, facing bigotry and finding strength, while accepting your love will last forever story.


I Am Fallen by Scarlet Blackwell

Title: I Am Fallen

Author: Scarlet Blackwell

Genre: Historical (1888) Angel, Fallen Angel/Demon

Length: Novel (192pgs)

Publisher: Silver Publishing (17th March 2012)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Children’s book writer Jacob Bailey has retreated to Scotland to die in solitude, tormented by the loss of the love of his life and wishing for an end to his suffering. In the remote house on the cliff, he is visited by an angel with history and pain of his own, a being who brings far more to Jacob’s final days than he could ever hope for.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains a bittersweet ending.

Purchase Link: https://spsilverpublishing.com/product_book_info/coming-soon-c-2/products_id/762

Review: Jacob is a man who knows that the end is coming.   He knows the cancer has come back.   He doesn’t need a doctor to tell him. Now, at a remote cottage away from family and friends, he has choices to make and as the pain gets worse, he is visited by angels.

This really is a bittersweet story that tugs at your heart-strings. Jacob has had one gay experience in his life and he hasn’t really been happy since the love of his life sailed for America. Now knowing that the dreaded cancer is back he isn’t sure if the angels he sees are real or not but he believes that they are. There are three underlying stories twisted together, we have Jacob and his lost love Lucien, we have Lucifer and his lost love Raphael and we have the comfort that Jacob and Lucifer offer each other.

This story is bittersweet all the way through.  There are sparks of happiness or joy, but all the way through, we know that there will not be a happy ending.  as we read,  we can see Lucifer trying to give Jacob comfort and Jacob trying to understand what Lucifer could want with him, if not his soul. We also have Lucifer and Raphael hashing over the past and what they both felt.  Raphael knowing that spending any time with Lucifer will get him punished and Lucifer *sigh*, Lucifer feeling hurt that Raphael had denied his love.

This is a story that is not your usual Fallen Angel/Lucifer story.  There is a unique reason for Lucifer’s fall from Grace and what his duties are. And this story is all about lost love and at the end maybe new beginnings. The way this story is written is brilliant.  It is the touching, agonizing drawn out last weeks and months of a man’s life as he reflects on what he has done, but Lucifer feels a certain kinship for him and tries to ease some of his pain and to keep him on the right track.

Scarlet Blackwell has written a story that makes you live the agonizing, pain-filled moments of Jacob’s last weeks and months.  the descriptions of the agonizing hell he goes through while his Guardian Angel stands by his side watching,  makes you question why is suicide a sin , when Angel’s won’t give them respite from the pain?

This for me was a great read… a different reflection on Heaven and Hell and Heaven doesn’t come out smelling of roses. I recommend this to those who want a slightly whimsical, reflecting, regretting, and truth facing, longing and forbidden love.


Apples and Regret and Wasted Time by Cornelia Grey

Title: Apples and Regret and Wasted Time

Author: Cornelia Grey

Genre: Dark, Bittersweet

Length: Short (13pgs)

Publisher: Storm Moon Press (27th May 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: He lives in the shadows of the law. Now, wounded and stranded in the city after a job only he could do, he has no qualms about climbing through the window his old lover left open—or stealing his shampoo, at that. He has, however, not taken into account the possibility of being surprised in the shower.

Three years is a long time to go between visits, especially if you’ve left so much anger and hurt and desire unresolved. They try to negotiate a truce for one night—over Chinese takeaway leftovers and apples, and between the sheets.

Purchase Link: http://stormmoonpress.com/books/Apples-and-Regrets-and-Wasted-Time.aspx

Review: I don’t believe that I have ever been as enthralled with a book as I was with this one. I don’t even know where to begin as this is a story with no names.

It’s been three years since he last saw his old lover and now here he is sneaking through his window, to get cleaned up before leaving again. Even though his old lover doesn’t seem happy to see him they put aside their hurts as their passion is re-ignited.

Even though this is a short story do not be fooled that it will not draw you in with its intense emotional longings and the devastatingly hopeless love. These two lovers have not seen each other in three years but neither has forgotten or stopped loving the other.  They remember everything about each other and they both do things ‘just in case’.  but they both know that it is hopeless between them, that it can never be.

Incredibly written, so full of detail, so full of emotion, so poignant, this is a masterpiece just waiting to be read. I have to recommend that you don’t miss this book, it is a ‘must be read’ and enjoyed.