Title: Nine Lights over Edinburgh Series: His for the Holidays Author: Harper Fox Genre: Contemporary/Holiday Length: Novel (123 pages) Publisher: Carina Press (December 6th, 2010) Heat Level: Low Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts Blurb: Detective Inspector James McBride is riding high on the belief that he’s about to bust a human-trafficking ring. But just five days before Christmas, his unorthodox methods catch up with him and his world comes crashing down.
McBride tries to concentrate on his new day job as security for the visiting Israeli ambassador. He even starts to feel a renewed sense of self-worth when the leader of the Israeli team, the aristocratic Tobias Leitner, takes a bullet for him in the line of duty. But he can’t forget the trafficking case, especially when his investigations result in the kidnapping of his own daughter! McBride has no one to turn to for help—no one, except Toby.
Can these two very different men work together to bring about a holiday miracle—and heal one another’s heart in the process?
Review: This is one intense read! And the start of the first chapter had me amused because it sounded like one of the 1940’s PI type introduction. And the fact that he’s “McBride” is just so… so tough and Scottish (got to love a braw laddie, especially in his kilt!). It may be marketed as a Christmas story, but this is not the happy lighthearted read that many of us would expect. This is more cop-show suspense. Nonetheless, do not let that get in your way of enjoying the book.
James McBride is an Edinburgh DI – he’s forty, divorced, lonely, workaholic… paints a pretty sad picture, really. He’s also confused about his sexuality, and so he should be after the prologue. I’m going to go as far as saying he is a knight in tarnished armour and the object of his affections is more a prince charming than a damsel in distress.
Tobias Leitner isn’t one to shirk his responsibilities, even with a surly DI accompanying him. We barely just meet Toby before he puts himself in the line fire to protect James. There is certainly a spark between the men immediately.
The story is complex, probably too complex for its length, so unfortunately there isn’t quite as much development shown in terms of James and Tobias, or the emotion between the characters. There is just so much going on in the latter half that I had to pause a few times to keep track. Likewise, the plot outlined in the blurb in regards to the kidnapping of James’ daughter, Gracie, didn’t seem quite so important, because it happened in the last half of the book and didn’t really take up too many words.
Probably doesn’t help that James and Tobias don’t actually meet until almost halfway through. Because of this, the story isn’t as romantic as one would expect, but again, that’s okay! Thankfully, this one has a happily ever after, which eases the darkness and the intensity that I had just experienced reading the story.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *
Things haven’t been going well for Cam McMorrow since he moved to Inverbechie. His business is failing, his cottage is falling apart, and following his very public argument with café owner Rob Armstrong, he’s become a social outcast.
Cam needs to get away from his troubles and when his sister buys him a ticket to the biggest Hogmanay party in Glasgow. He can’t leave Inverbechie quick enough. But when events conspire to strand him in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm, not only is he liable to miss the party, he’ll also have to ask his nemesis, Rob, for help.
Zane’s Review: Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Written by Joanna Chambers, “Rest and Be Thankful” introduces Rob and Cam, two lonely men, an argument/slight misunderstanding with overreactions on both parts, a friendship (possibly more) cut short by said misunderstanding… the approaching New Year… a broken down vehicle… and the chance to kindle what burned out before it really started.
A short read, this could have been rushed or lacking in substance, but it wasn’t. Well written with plenty of character back-story and detail, this story certainly fulfilled its premise. Who doesn’t want a second chance at a rich and full life? At love? I was rooting for these two from the get-go.
I really liked Cam and Rob – both individually and as a couple. Bring on the hot, broody men who find first friendship, then sexiness, happiness and a future in each other, and just in time to ring in the New Year.
Short and sweet with a bit of sexy, just the way I like my holiday stories, this one is a keeper.
Out by Harper Fox Can a stranger unlock the courage and passion in a young man’s captive heart?
It’s Christmas at Edinburgh’s magnificent Barlinney Hotel, and chief housekeeper Cosmo Grant is in charge of the festivities. He’s already got his hands full when handsome Ren Vaudrey checks in.
It soon turns out that Ren is an undercover cop. Cosmo wants to help him, but unless he can do it within the Barlinney’s walls, Cosmo is stuck. A victim of crippling agoraphobia, he’s been a prisoner in this gilded cage for over a year. Cosmo gathers all his courage to do the right thing by Ren and Sam—and as a glittering Christmas Eve descends on the city, finds himself confronting his very darkest fears.
Cat’s Review: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts (more if I can steal a few)
Cosmo loves his job working at a plush high-end hotel. He has worked up to management but his supervisor George brace is a real meany. All of the staff fear Brace. Brace is taking advantage of Cosmo but when he wants Cosmo to be an extra service to some of the guests, he tries to put his foot down.
A new guest arrives and Cosmo finds himself very attracted but when Brace send him to Ren’s room Cosmo tells Ren he won’t be one of the conveniences of the hotel. Ren lets him know right away that he wasn’t expecting that, he needed information. This is where even more twists start unraveling.
Wow this story is awesome. It was like reading a full novella in a short story. It is perfectly executed. The characters are all interesting the storyline is intriguing the romance is hot, everything is amazing.
If you like romance with a bit of mystery and intrigue, fancy hotels, cops, lots of twists and turns, sweet romance, and a good holiday story I highly, highly recommend this one!
Waiting for Winter by LB Gregg Some mistakes are worth repeating.
Luke always thought he and Winter were the perfect couple—until the day Winter announced he was taking a new job and they were uprooting and headed for Germany. No discussion. No debate. For the first time in his life, Winter miscalculated. Badly. Now Luke is trying his best to move on with his life, but Winter is back in town and he’s set on digging their relationship out of the deep freeze.
Tams’ Review: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Six months ago Luke’s boyfriend, Winter, walked out on him, their life and their home for a job in Germany. Now he’s back and he has one goal in mind, to reclaim what is his. Luke gives being angry and complacent a valiant effort, but Winter knows how to make him squirm, and it doesn’t take long until they are in very familiar territory, the bedroom. The sex is mind-blowing and reminds Luke of when they first met. He’s not going to wait around to be hurt again though, and this time he walks out on Win.
When Christmas rolls around Winter is back and once again trying to prove to Luke that he loves him and that they belong together. Luke is convinced that what happened over the summer was a mistake, the question is, was it one worth repeating?
A fast, fun read about the importance of communication and compromise. Luke and Winter have lost a year they could have spent together all because Luke wanted Winter to ask. But the blame doesn’t lie solely on Win’s shoulders, since Luke was too stubborn to be honest with him about how he felt. Now it’s Christmas, it’s snowing, they are trapped in a beautiful cabin with a glistening tree and two hearts that belong together.
Definitely worth the read and appropriate for the season!
Baby, It’s Cold by Josh Lanyon Or maybe it’s the flu. Breaking up is hard to do — especially around the holidays.
Talk about Kitchen Nightmares! TV Chef Rocky and Foodie blogger Jesse have been pals forever, so it should have been the most natural thing in the world to move their relationship to the next level. Instead, it turned out to be a disaster. But Christmas is the season of love, and someone’s cooking up a sweet surprise…
Leigh’s Review: Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts
Rocky and Jess had three months together and two months broken up. They have been friends for years prior to that. So they decided to give it a go as boyfriends. Only their own insecurities got in the way and destroyed what they were trying to have. Jesse in a last-ditch effort decides to put together a surprise dinner for Rocky. Only things to not go the way he plans. Both MCs know they made mistakes and the reason they didn’t work. It takes them finally opening up to each other to see what they should have from the start.
This was a well-written piece. However, I was not really drawn into the story. There was just something missing, maybe an emotional pull that I didn’t feel.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *
Title: Last Line Series: N/A Author: Harper Fox Genre: BDSM/ Fantasy Length: Novel (201 pages) Publisher: FoxTales (July 18, 2014) Heat Level: Moderate Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: John Griffin and Michael South – agents in the renegade counter-terrorism agency Last Line, and closer than brothers. It’s a fast-lane life of danger and excitement. John loves every minute of it, but he’s facing one big problem now: his feelings for Mike have flared up from friendship into a passion he can no longer hide. And Mike, although the bravest and best of partners, doesn’t feel the same.
Their one sexual encounter leaves them baffled and alienated from one another. Mike is a haunted man, shaken by flashbacks to his past life as an MI5 agent and a mission in Russia that went terribly wrong. He’s been left with a need for violence between the sheets, and John isn’t prepared to hurt him.
Not everyone has Mike’s best interests at heart. Their ruthless boss hires a ghost from Mike’s past to help track down a Russian war criminal who’s planted a nuclear device in the heart of London. Anzhel Mattvei knows all of Mike’s dark secrets, and soon regains his former sexual thraldom over him, leaving Mike locked in battle for his will and his soul.
Anzhel has turned Mike into a human detonation device. Only John’s love can pull him back from the brink – and save millions of lives in the fallout zone.
Review: In Last Line, we meet John Griffin and Michael South who are both agents in a black ops type counter terrorism unit. They are incredibly close and live a very dangerous life. John Griffin is gay and has definitely fallen in love with his partner but unfortunately, Michael doesn’t feel the same way. They still manage to be an incredibly efficient team and work extremely well together.
Someone from Michael’s past comes back to haunt him and all of a sudden he is reliving his life as an undercover agent in Russia. Unfortunately, that undercover assignment involved torture and mind control, which leaves Michael struggling to separate past from present.
Last Line was a hard book for me to read, mainly because I hated knowing that Michael had lived through such torture in his past. The mere fact that he cannot find sexual pleasure without pain really bothers me, as he seems like a gentle soul underneath all that brawn and bluster. There are elements of fantasy in this book that were not really explained and I found myself wanting to know more.
Extraordinary healing ability and a psychic bond between Michael and John made me wonder what sort of world these men really live in.
This is an intense story that really makes you think. You have characters with depth and a meaningful history together. You have a mystery when people from Michael’s past come back with threats of dirty bombs and their ability to control Michael’s behavior with very little effort on their part. You have an innocent in the form of John’s younger brother who I really need to learn more about in a future book!
Overall, Last Line is an amazingly complex story with well-developed characters. I hope that there is a sequel that explains a few of the book’s mysteries and gives us a closer look at Michael and John’s developing relationship.
Blurb: Laurie and Sasha have built a bright new world together. Sasha is working for the Immigration Guidance Council, and Laurie is landing theatre roles he could once only have dreamed of. Best of all, they’ve spent the past two years enjoying the love they snatched from the jaws of Sasha’s violent, dangerous past.
But Laurie has a history too. He’s on edge, his talents increasing beyond his ability to deal with them. And although his father is dead, Laurie can’t deny the turbulent genetic heritage the old man has bestowed on him. Only Sasha’s love is keeping him anchored and sane – and Sasha is vulnerable, shaken by bad dreams about his life on the streets.
Then Laurie learns that Sasha’s Romanian gang-lord father is on the loose in London, and his deepest fears boil to the surface. The last time Stefan’s shadow fell, Sasha made a run for it, and Laurie can’t bear the thought of losing him again. When Laurie lands a part in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, he abandons England for a dream of safety in the States, persuading the astonished Sasha to come with him.
But the dream becomes a waking nightmare for both of them beneath an alien Californian sun. Laurie must meet his demons head-on, and Sasha must confront the inner barricades that have kept him from treating Laurie as a comrade as well as a lover and a friend. The frosts of a midwinter London brought them together – will this blazing summer crack them apart, or forge enduring love from first romance?
Review: I had not read the first book, which even as the author does her best to fill in the back-story. I feel I need to do. However…this book I could not put down! I lost a ton of sleep last night, just to let you know! My first impression, is that this story was about watching a train wreck…the tracks were set, both engines were full steam full of mistakes, each picking up speed for a collision you know would happen but could do nothing to stop.
Sasha and Laurie hold so much passion. Both characters had me in their corner. I was in turns angry at and cheering for both love interests. Harper’s characters are truly human with beautiful flaws and painful strength. Every mistake they made to protect each other along the way was clear, I imagined myself making those same mistakes, and was more sympathetic to each character for it.
This book stabbed me in the heart, but mended the wound beautifully. There will be scars, but they just stand to represent strength. I loved this book for the passion, for the characters and for the adventure. Lots of surprises lay in wait around every corner, and all this is sprinkled with very hot and sometimes painful sexual encounters. Not only does the reader traverse the globe, but cultures, and relationships as well. There’s murder, covert operations, deceit, betrayal and forgiveness.
I also cant’ possibly end this review without commenting on the tongue in cheek resemblance of Blood Moon to another movie franchise we all love to hate. Readers, you’ll know what I mean when you crack this baby open, all I can say is I’m looking forward to attending live theater in the near future. High five, Harper Fox! Keep up the great work!
Title: Wolf Hall Series: N/A Author: Harper Fox Genre: Contemporary/Shifter Length: Novella (19K words) Publisher: FoxTales (October 30th, 2014) Heat Level: Moderate Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts Blurb: Once upon a time, a family lived up on the wild northern moors. They were clever and attractive, close-knit and polite. And everyone left them strictly alone…
Halloween is a wild, weird night in the lonely moorland towns of the north. It’s dark and cold, and cracks can open up in the fabric of the safest world.
Davey Bell has been trying to live safely. He’s struggled through a rough adolescence and has a decent job, a home of his own. He agrees to a meeting with his ex, even though Burdo got him into so much trouble in the past.
But Burdo has plans, armed robbery amongst them. When Davey recoils from his efforts at blackmail, Burdo swears he’ll track him down. There’s something inhuman about Burdo’s rage, and Davey panics and runs from him. The town is small, the darkness beyond it absolute. Davey has lived there all his life, but he takes a wrong turn on the moorland road and is suddenly lost.
It’s the first night of winter, and set to freeze hard. Not much chance of survival for a man without shelter, a man on the run from his past… Then Davey stumbles into the forest, and his fears of Burdo and the cold dissolve to nothing at the sound of deep, bestial growls.
The moon is full. Ancient moorland legends are coming to life in its silvery radiance. Out of the woodland steps a strange young man, and the snarling beasts fall back. He’s offering sanctuary, but at what price? He’s the most beautiful creature Davey has ever seen. If Davey follows him in fascination through the gateway of Wolf Hall, what secrets will unfold before the dawn? ISBN: 9781910224120 Product Link: http://www.harperfox.net/books/wolf-hall/ Reviewer: Gigi Review: A bad past, and a bad ex-boyfriend are haunting Davey nowadays. Fox starts us in s seedy diner in Davey’s ex-mining hometown to have a meet up with his ex-boyfriend Burdo who only seems to dredge up bad memories and bad feelings for him.
Davey has spent years trying to get a new start, an education, a job, a way to get out of his small town and away from his past. He feels pride and guilt in turn until he sees Burdo, who only makes him feel guilt, and resentment.
Burdo has not tried to better himself, only taking a downhill turn to a life of crime and drug abuse, and now he wants to abuse his past relationship and friendship with Davey. Burdo tries to use Davey’s guilty conscience to make him assist in robbing a local store by gunpoint so he can pay his debts, and get his hands on more drugs.
When Davey stands up for himself, stops Burdos’ plans and attempts to seek help, he finds himself running for his life, directed by a witch to choose Wolf Hall as shelter, and running right into a mysterious man’s paws…ahem…arms.
This is where Davey’s life truly becomes strange and twisted, as he finds himself instantly attracted to this man, feels safety in his arms, and a need to confide everything with him, and reverse that role of secret sharing to cast light on the secrets of Wolf Hall…
A fun twist on coming of age for a shifter, and becoming part of the clan, for Davey who has been outcast most his life. Will he find shelter, and commitment, and a new start in this most strange of places?
A fun read, wish it were a novel instead to the details and plot could be longer and more layered…basically great enough to want more!
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *
Blurb: A cop and a recovering addict – no chance for romance there.
Yet Vince, a street-hardened narcotics officer, is having to reassess his life. Six months ago, he hit rock-bottom. A bullet brought him down, and his beloved partner Jack betrayed him. Badly disabled and in constant pain, Vince is flying a desk these days, and it doesn’t suit him at all. His world is looking grim when he meets Rowan Clyde, sole surviving witness to a vicious drugs-related killing.
Rowan doesn’t want to talk. He’s vulnerable, trying to hold his own life together in the wake of a crippling addiction. Vince should have no time for him, and Rowan certainly shouldn’t trust a cop with an agenda to get him onto the witness stand at any cost.
Yet despite their differences, there’s an instant pull of attraction between these two damaged men. Their new bond is put to the ultimate test on the tough streets of Newcastle during a dark northern winter, as each turns out to hold the keys to the other’s survival – and to his destruction.
Simply put, I loved this story. Cop Vince narrates the story with a cool, blunt efficiency and a twist of color that makes him a unique character. He’s tough, he’s hardened, yet, after getting shot in a failed drugs bust, he shows us he’s vulnerable too – and somehow, seeing him cope and overcome his pain made him an even tougher character, in my opinion.
Artist and recovering addict Rowan Clyde is deep in the shitter – though this only comes out gradually as the story rises to the climax – yet he manages to be such a beacon of light in this story, and I found his attraction to Vince compelling and, like his works of art, beautiful and erotic.
I love the flawed characters and the mystery elements of this story, and, gah, I was so swept up in the characters that I barely put the book down—and when I did, I did so with reluctance.
Do I really have to wait months for the next Harper Fox release? I’m going to be quite impatient about it, in fact, like Rowan, I seem to have become deeply addicted and I don’t think it’s something I’ll recover from.
I recommend this story to those who like a gritty, well-written story with a crime-suspense flavor to it.
Hurry on up with the writing, Mrs. Fox, I need my next story fix.
Blurb: It’s not the breaking up that kills you, it’s the aftermath.
Ever since his longtime lover decided he’d seen the “heterosexual light,” Matt’s life has been in a nosedive. Six months of too many missed shifts at the hospital, too much booze, too many men. Matt knows he’s on the verge of losing everything, but he’s finding it hard to care.
Then Matt meets Aaron. He’s gorgeous, intelligent and apparently not interested in being picked up. Still, even after seeing Matt at his worst, he doesn’t turn away. Aaron’s kindness and respect have Matt almost believing he’s worth it-and that there could be life after Joe. But his newfound happiness is threatened when Matt begins to suspect Aaron is hiding something or someone…
Review: In the head of a wonderfully flawed character, brimming with hurt at the loss of both his childhood friend and lover, we explore the range of emotions involved in grief and moving on.
While Matt isn’t the type of personality I particularly like, I found him interesting, and I could empathize with him. Why? Because this story was more than a romance, more than the sum of Matt’s personality, it was a reflection of the downs of life—particularly that of loss.
As I read this, I was upset and angry for Matt—for being left, abandoned, lied to–yet despite every turn for the worst in this novella, I was constantly hopeful. Hopeful that things would pick up. Hopeful they’d get better for Matt. Hopeful that he’d be able to trust and love again.
Passionate. That’s a word I’d use to describe this story. Not just the story itself, but the writing. I feel as if this story really meant something to the author. William Faulkner said, “If you are going to write, write about human nature. It’s the only thing that doesn’t date.” Certainly, Ms Fox does this—you can feel that in every story she writes—and I believe that this story won’t date for precisely this reason. How can it when the soul of Life After Joe is seeped in such rich emotion?
Blurb: Mitch is on a last-ditch drive to save his career with the Scottish Institute of Archaeology after his ex-lover Lewis stole his research into the legendary Pictish saints. Mystical pre-Celtic statues are hidden somewhere on mist-wreathed Dove Island. Now Mitch is tearing out to the coast in the hope of reaching the saints before his treacherous ex can stake a claim. At his side is his devoted assistant, Owen.
Owen adores Mitch, but he’s the quiet, loyal type. Despite himself, Mitch is still dazzled by memories of flamboyant Lewis — and in danger of destroying his newfound happiness with Owen. As the race for the saints intensifies, Mitch is losing perspective. Will he learn how to appreciate the love of a good man before he plunges himself and Owen too far into the deadly mysteries of Dove Island?
Review: This short novella had me almost to the point of squealing. Yeah, it wasn’t pretty to listen to, but jeez was I deliciously giddy on the inside. I just couldn’t help it; I was so freaking excited to read another Harper Fox story.
And I was NOT disappointed. There are hit-and-miss authors out there, but I’m getting solid ‘Wows’ with each story of hers I try.
Okay, so for this review, I want to state that, despite giddy squealing, I was a little anxious as to how this story would play out as the two main characters (and love interests) are already together at the start of the story. I wondered then how Mrs. Harper would keep the tension and suspense.
She was clever. (Of course—I’ve come to expect nothing less). While Mitch and Owen are together physically at the start of the book, Mitch is far and away from being emotionally attached as he is still hung up on his ex, who betrayed him, not only by leaving him, but stealing his research as well.
Very quickly, the author shows us the obstacles between Mitch and Owen and their HEA, with Owen quickly drawing away from Mitch. This gives the story a separation-reunion theme that resonates deep. I longed for Mitch to recognize the intimacy he had with Owen, to see what a beautiful person he was. That longing drove the tension and suspense, and it was wonderful.
This story had something else going for it that I really liked—a touch of the mystical. That might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I found just a hint of the paranormal/magical in this story to give it a little something special, an extra dimension to the story, if you will. And to me it made the climax just right, tying in the relationship developments and the setting, where Mitch is trying to prove his archeological theory and find the ‘saints’ before his ex does.