The Way You Say by Dar Mavison

TheWayYouSayLgTitle:  The Way You Say

Author:  Dar Mavison

Genre:  Contemporary

Length:  Novel (230 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (January 10, 2011)

Heat Level:  Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts

Blurb:  Australian adventurer Adam Yager arrives in Athens for a conference and meets a colleague from the past: Dmitri Pryce, a brilliant archaeologist, a charming individual, and a beautiful man. Adam has never found a man beautiful before, not like this, and between remembrances of the dig in Tanzania four years ago and talk of more recent work, Adam does his best to keep his arousal hidden… until he blurts out his admiration for the way Dmitri says the word “ass.” And once Adam’s said it out loud, it’s too late to take it back.

Dmitri remembers lusting after Adam four years ago with painful clarity, but he made himself get over his crush and accept Adam’s friendship at face value. Now, as a documentary of the dig they both worked on is about to be released to the public, Adam clearly wants more, but Dmitri believes their opportunity to have passed. Except Adam is unwilling to miss this once in a lifetime chance to really get to know Dmitri and explore the passion they both feel.

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Reviewer:  Adrienne

Review:  I loved this book. Mavison has the perfect level of plot- and character-building to make Adam and Dmitri’s story both believable and captivating. Both men are actually interesting, their motivations are clear, their actions make sense, and they’re just fun to read about. Even the flashbacks to when they had worked together before were well-placed and made sense.

Given his personality, the early internal struggle Adam faces, being bewildered by his attraction to another man, is very well done, as is his reaction to that attraction. Dmitri is also a bit hesitant, because he is also convinced Adam is straight. His assertions that he wants to be close to Adam, like a brother, are cute, but a little bit over-played. The little surprise of bedroom roles, once they began acting on their mutual attraction, is fun and their reactions add a bit of depth to both men.

The second half of the book does have is a bit more emphasis on the actual sex, but I think that makes sense in the situation, and with their assertions that this relationship is merely burning off a mutual lust by the time their conference is over. Despite its relative prominence, the sex is balanced with Adam and Dmitri getting reacquainted, learning who they are now, and self-reflection.

I like that The Way You Say is not a total HEA, with everything wrapped up neatly and prettily, mainly because it adds to the over all feeling that these are real people, with real lives. It doesn’t hurt that it gives the option for Mavison to bring these characters back a bit later in their lives…


The only thing I’m a bit bummed about is this is Mavison’s most recent book, and the only book that is not part of an anthology. I want more.

At His Throat, A Promise by Lilith Grey

Title: At His Throat, A Promise

Series:  N/A

Author: Lilith Grey

Genre: BDSM

Length: Full Novel

Publisher: Amber Allure (December 4th, 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Blurb: In the slave city of Spire, Ellis has been discarded. His former master, a man who was supposed to teach him and take care of him, passed away, leaving Ellis alone and in danger of being taken to the Facility. Ellis is desperate to avoid that fate. He seeks a master to take him on, guiding him into adulthood as well as a profession. Ellis has had desire stolen from him—he’s been trained to blush, to submit, to give in. He doesn’t know how to cope with William, a man who wants the real Ellis.

William is a Master, a man born in a neighbor city that does not deal in slavery. He has had bad experiences with slaves in the past, but all that changes when he rescues Harte, a young slave whose abusive master had all but destroyed him. Together, they are content in their mutual roles, not looking for anything more. But when Ellis catches the eye of Harte, and by extension, William, their relationship changes in ways for which they are unprepared.

Harte is a born submissive, a young man who lives for his role. He’s bratty but genuine. William, his master, is his entire life. Harte never expected to have room in his heart for another, but Ellis is beautiful and different and fills a place in his life that he hadn’t known was empty.

If only Ellis could learn to ask for what he desired, what he needed, then maybe William and Harte could help him. But Ellis is trapped inside himself, insecure and afraid. To stay with William, he only has to ask…but that’s the one thing Ellis cannot do…

Advisory: This book contains some non-consensual sex, hardcore bondage and punishment, torture and abuse. May not be suitable for the more sensitive reader. (via Goodreads)

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Reviewer: Adrienne

Review: A few words of warning ~ This book takes place in a world where intelligent children are forced into slavery from age 16 to 20, to learn their master’s trade, but are also used sexually by their masters. Many parts are hard to read, as there is non-con/dub-con, sometimes involving underage children.

That said, At His Throat, a Promise is extremely well-written. The characters all have complete, yet not overwhelming, backstories that lend credence to their actions. Their life stories are doled out at appropriate times during the book, neatly avoiding the information dump so many authors use. The build of both characters and plot is almost flawless.

I did have a few issues with William, who is the ‘nice’ master of the book, but… if he’s so nice, why is he still making his slaves have sex with him? Why does he punish his slaves? And most importantly, why does he have slaves at all? But that was me reading as though At His Throat, A Promise takes place in a world with our morals, and once I put myself into their mindset, these actions make sense.

Ellis is a bit of a snitching brat, but he has his reasons, and his actions are understandable when read contextually. Similarly, Harte has his moments of being irritating, but when you learn of his life before he met Ellis his personality makes complete sense.

There are some spelling/grammatical errors, usually a source of abject vexation, but I was so caught up in the well-planned plot that these mistakes hardly registered.

My suggestion? Suspend your reality, hide your moral compass, and read on. This book is worth it.

Raine Fall by DC Juris

Title: Raine Fall

Series: Sequel to ‘Where He Belongs’

Author: DC Juris

Genre: BDSM/Contemporary

Length: Short Story (39 pages)

Publisher: Torquere Press (August 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts

Blurb: Vance, Andrew, and Raine are back! We met this sexy trio in “Where He Belongs,” but now we get to find out how it all started. Raine’s world is turned upside down when his sister, Lilly, dies unexpectedly. She’s left him the Dew Drop Inn, and everything seems very cut and dry – he’ll sell the place and return to his calm, uncomplicated life. But his former lover, Vance, and Vance’s saucy sub, Andrew, have other ideas, and when Vance makes a counter offer, Raine is left wondering what the right thing to do really is. Is everything he’s worked for worth it without love? Can two powerful Doms even coexist under the same roof? (via Torquere)

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Reviewer: Adrienne

Review: Raine Fall is a short follow-up to Where He Belongs, the novella that first introduced Andrew, Raine, and Vance, that focuses on Raine following his sister’s death. This offers an introspective look into Raine’s life since leaving Andrew and Vance, and a glimpse into his personal relationships. Though short, Raine Fall allows readers a unique chance to see inside a character’s thoughts about himself, his family, friends, and lovers. Although that can be interesting, Raine isn’t totally likeable, and there seems to be distance between his character and the reader that is difficult to bridge, leaving a slight disconnect between these three men and the reader.

A Ring and a Promise by Devon Rhodes

Title: A Ring and a Promise

Author: Devon Rhodes

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novella

Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (February 13th, 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb: Careers in military service are never easy on relationships—even less so when both lovers are in different branches…and both are men.

Naval Academy graduation now under their belts, Cary Barrientos knows the reality of the upcoming separation from his roommate of the past four years. Owen is more to him than just his best friend—he is the one person Cary can see spending his life with.

Owen Marsh knew that when he became Cary’s lover, the day would come when he would have to walk away. Now that day has come, and he’s having a hard time convincing himself that it’s just sex between them. Even with DADT repealed, there is no way a Marine and a Navy flier can be together. He’s just being realistic not expecting more.

When Cary switches their Academy rings, hoping Owen won’t notice, he makes a vow—he will do whatever he has to do, including believing enough for the both of them, to make their unlikely relationship stand the test of time. But when his Marine is called up for duty overseas, can a piece of jewelry and a promise be enough to get them through?

Reader Advisory: This story has been previously released as part of the His Hero anthology by Total-E-Bound

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Reviewer: Adrienne

Review: This quick read begins when Owen and Cary graduate from the Naval Academy, with Cary entering the Navy as a pilot, and Owen becoming a Marine. The young men had been roommates and friends throughout their Academy years, only becoming lovers in their last year of school. While Cary hopes to continue their relationship, Owen is more self-contained and Cary all but loses hope for their future together. A Ring and A Promise follows Cary and Owen for several years, and offers small glimpses into their lives, both together and individually. A sweet, heartfelt read that neatly avoids being overly sappy despite occasionally high emotional content.







A Guitarist in the Fae Queen's Court by Amber Kell

Title: A Guitarist in the Fae Queen’s Court

Series: Fae Intervention #01

Author: Amber Kell

Genre: Paranormal

Publisher: Silver Publishing (August 11th, 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts

Blurb: When Jimmy Bo Jackson auditions for a gig little does he know it will plunge him into faery court intrigue or that his lover has been keeping secrets from him.

Prince Rain has avoided the stifling environment of the fae court for years, but when his beloved guitarist goes missing he’ll give up anything to save the man he loves. (via

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Reviewer: Adrienne

Review: A Guitarist for the Fae Queen’s Court is the first book in Kell’s new series, Fae Intervention. This is a fairly typical Kell book, in that it is a relatively quick and easy read. Rain is somewhat hard to completely like, as he inadvertently set JB up for abduction to the Fae Court. Meanwhile, JB has no clue his lover is a Fae Prince, or that the Fae even exist. I think I would be a little more than mildly annoyed, but JB seems to brush this huge omission off pretty speedily. While part of me was impressed by his rapid forgiveness, a larger part assumed this flub was glossed over to get the book finished and published more quickly. Cynical? Perhaps. But serial romances sometimes seem rather hastily manufactured. In any case, there is an element of mystery to the story that adds a bit of depth, and while Rain and JB aren’t the most complete of characters, A Guitarist is a fun and easy first book in what is sure to be a popular series.





Sin and Seduction by Allison Cassatta

Title: Sin & Seduction

Series: N/A

Author: Allison Cassatta

Genre: Contemporary/BDSM

Length: Novel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 10th, 2012)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts

Blurb: Dorian Grant is king of the New Orleans underworld, but he isn’t mafia and doesn’t appreciate the assumption. He’s simply a crude businessman anyone in his right mind would think twice about screwing over. Life in the Big Easy is all about sin, and violent, short-tempered Dorian has committed them all.

But not all New Orleans sins leave a bad taste in the mouth, as Dorian discovers the night a man stage-named Sweet Heat dances into his life at a club called Sin and Seduction. Dorian was expecting a hot lay. He damn sure wasn’t looking for a relationship, and certainly not with someone like Jansen, who turns Dorian’s grimly organized world upside down.

Now Dorian finds himself pressuring Jansen to quit his job because he can’t stand the thought of other men touching what’s his. Of course, Jansen wants a little quid pro quo—after all, Dorian’s job is dangerous. Jansen just doesn’t realize how dangerous until it’s too late. (via Goodreads)

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Reviewer: Adrienne

Review: Sin & Seduction was a bit hard to read in parts, as there is a fair amount of violence and a fairly graphic scene featuring somewhat dubious consent. Dorian is not a likeable character at all, and Jansen alternates between seeming like an abuse victim and appearing to be a gold-digger. Though there are explanations for their behaviors, it doesn’t really make either any more palatable. In fact, their personalities are so extreme; it is difficult to relate to either character. The repetitive on-off nature of their relationship and the severity of Dorian’s mood-swings are such that between the two, it is hard to keep up with the story.

In between the ups-and-downs of Dorian and Jansen’s affair is the threat of violence from Dorian’s peers, and Dorian’s efforts to maintain his position in the underworld while keeping the brutality from touching Jansen. Despite his attempts, the bloodshed enters their lives, and the effect that has on their already strained relationship becomes as much a focus as their personalities.

If one can get past the violence, and doesn’t hold out for the characters to have startling, life-changing revelations, this is an interesting read.






The Haunted Glade by Hayden Thorne

Title: The Haunted Glade

Series: N/A

Author: Hayden Thorne

Genre: Fantasy; Gay Fiction; Historical; Paranormal; Young Adult

Length: 19 pages/5,128 words/ Short Story

Publisher:  Queerteen Press, JMS Books (January 15th 2012)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥3Hearts

Blurb: from Queerteens Press (JMS Books LLC) – Legend talks about a haunted glade somewhere deep in a nearby wood. While most residents of a tiny village regard those fireside stories as nothing more than cautionary tales meant to keep children in line, curious adolescents attempt to solve the puzzle of the haunted glade. Rumors of a strange twilight melody that seems to come from somewhere in the wood only feed youthful recklessness, and no one but the village potter knows the truth behind this mysterious music. He alone in his generation has heard the haunted glade’s call, and he knows that someone among those young adventurers is now being summoned, as well. The task of finding that special boy and grooming him for his destiny falls on Irwin’s shoulders.

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Reviewer: Adrienne

Review: A sweet, young adult story of growth, and learning to acceptance and understanding oneself, written with vivid imagery. Seventeen year old Yves Milford seems the only person in the village who can hear the music coming from the nearby haunted glade, where fanciful legends and warning stories have been passed down for generations to keep villagers out.  When Yves’ peers begin pairing off into couples, thirty-six year old village potter, Irwin Blythe, confides in the young man that he also can hear the songs from the glen. This music is only heard by certain people and Irwin tells Yves that since he can hear it, he will soon discover what it means to be accepted by others like him. After Yves turns eighteen and learns what is in the glen, he realizes this acceptance and understands that he one day will be called upon to help those from his village who have similar yearnings.

A very enjoyable read…



On the Dotted Line by Alexa Snow

Title: On the Dotted Line

Series: None

Author: Alexa Snow

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 161 pages/50,200 words/Novel

Publisher: Torquere Press (March 27, 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Blurb: From Torquere Press: When college drop-out Paul LeBlanc first meets pediatrician Dr. Cameron Fraser at the emergency room, he isn’t hoping for anything more than good news about his best friends’ James and Alison’s baby. He’s more involved in baby Gabby’s life than the average guy his age might be, but there’s a good reason for that — she’s his biological daughter, a gift given to his friends when it turned out James wasn’t able to father a child.

Cameron asks Paul to go for drinks, but Paul doesn’t want to hope for more than a few dates and maybe some hot sex. As it turns out, Cameron isn’t into casual sex, but Cameron also knows right away that what he wants with Paul is anything but casual.

Paul’s life is complicated. He has a mountain of debt that no one knows about and just paying the bills is a struggle. He’s sick of rummaging in the couch for change to do a load of laundry and worrying about when his junky car will break down next. Still, he suspects that the added complication of a boyfriend might be worth it if that boyfriend is Cameron

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Reviewer: Adrienne

Review: On the Dotted Line centers almost entirely on Paul LeBlanc, a young man who has some obvious inferiority complexes, mainly centered on his financial issues which he is determined to hide from his closest friends. Cameron Fraser is a doctor with whom Paul becomes involved, though he maintains a bit of reserve around Cameron. Because of this emotional distance, the reader doesn’t learn much about Cameron, other than he seems like a generally decent, caring person.

On the Dotted Line could have turned into an angst-ridden book about the poor, down-trodden boy who, through no fault of his own, is nearly impoverished but is saved by his very own doctor in a shining stethoscope. Thankfully, the poor-me clichés are kept to a minimum, and when shown are understandable, making both Paul relatable rather than annoying. I will comment that some mentions of James were intriguing, and I worried this would end up a very different kind of review, but that storyline was well-played and resolved potential issues. My only criticism is that I would have liked to know a bit more about Cameron, and maybe see a bit more development in their relationship, which seemed to move rather quickly.

Ms. Snow’s most recent book is neither boring nor overly dramatic, but instead a fairly quick and enjoyable read, and both Paul and Cameron are rather enjoyable characters.


Nature of the Beast – Outside the City, Book 1 by Amylea Lyn

Title: Outside the City 01 – Nature of the Beast

Author: Amylea Lyn

Genre: Fantasy/Alternate World/Paranormal

Length: Novel

Publisher: Silver Publishing

Heat Level: Moderate

Rating:  ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Adrienne

 Blurb:  The City is a cold, sterile place. What lies Outside it?

Raine O’Kelly has a gift. The very power of nature is his to command. When his gift lands him in trouble with the government, Raine find himself thrown into The Prison; one of the most feared punishment for those citizens who wont conform to The City’s ideals.

Abused, scared, and slowly dying of deprivation from the one thing his body truly needs, an accident lands him in the infirmary, which leads him to be given to The Prison’s most feared inmate… The Beast.

When The Beast defends him from the guards, Raine finds himself inexplicably drawn to the misunderstood man. A man with unique abilities of his own, the Beast’s animalistic desires forms a connection between them that cannot be denied. When he learns The Beast comes from Outside the City, is Raine willing to take the chance on escape with the mysterious man?

Escape wont be easy, and there are dangers waiting for them on The Outside, ready to strike at the fragile relationship between the two men. When The Beast’s past come’s to light, will Raine be able to put aside his own fears in order to fight for the life the two of them could have together? Or will he fold under the pressure?

Will he get his happily ever after?

Or will he become just another victim of the Nature of the Beast.

Review:  Amylea Lyn’s first installment in her new Outside the City series, Nature of the Beast, is set in a world where the City is completely under the control of the government that insists nothing exists beyond the City- a claim they can make since the City is covered by a dome, separating it from the Outside.  The government controls and monitors everything, including the ban on plant life within the City.

Raine is an outcast in the City, he has different coloring than most of the citizens, is gay, and has an unheard of ability to communicate with plants.  Feeling his differences keenly, his sense of isolation and loneliness is deep.

Ash was betrayed by somebody he should have been able to trust, and shoved away in the City prison.  Unable to remember much about his past, and stuck in a dank prison cell for years, he has become The Beast- a man-like creature with animalistic characteristics.

The two meet after Raine is imprisoned for his illegal horde of plants, and is thrown to The Beast.  Under unusual and difficult circumstances, Raine and Ash have to work together to escape their captors, seek a new home, find acceptance, and outwit the traitor from Ash’s past.

Told mainly from Raine’s perspective, Ms. Lyn has created a comprehensive world with events that are plausible within that context.  The ups-and-downs that Raine and Ash experience, the secondary characters, and complexities of the City’s society complete this rather interesting story.  While there are unanswered questions (When and why did the City separate from the Outside?  Why and how is Raine so connected to plants?  Whatever happened with the peripheral characters?) I’m rather certain these will be addressed in future books.  Explaining everything in the first book wouldn’t make too much sense, now would it?