Syrah by Nessa L. Warin

SyrahLGTitle: Syrah

Series: N/A

Author: Nessa L. Warin

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: Novel (200 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 7th, 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥2 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: All Shawn Neale is looking for when he stumbles into All Corked Up on Christmas Eve is some wine recommendations. What he finds is an instant attraction to Royce Wilkinson, the shop’s owner. After a few weeks of flirting during shopping and some semi-dates at Royce’s wine tastings, they decide on a real date. It goes well, but life isn’t that simple.

Shawn wants to buy Delicto, the local pub he manages. He’s been planning his life around this for years, but when the owner, who believes being gay is an illness, discovers Shawn went out with Royce, he gives Shawn an ultimatum: stop dating guys or he won’t get to buy Delicto. It’s a heartbreaking quandary: Can Royce and Shawn be happy with a secret relationship until Shawn buys Delicto or is Shawn going to have to choose between his dream job and his dream guy?

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Review: As I start reading this book, I feel warm and all excited. It has a very nice beginning what with Shawn showing up at Royce’s shop and wanting rec for wine, as he’s clueless; all this on Christmas Eve and chemistry flaring up with flirtation hit the heat in a heartbeat…

All lead to a very good read until Henry (Shawn’s boss) came in view and we got to see the MC’s real character. I did NOT like Shawn at all. As in “what the hell just happened?” and “how did this read got screwed up like this?”

Shawn has been working for years in a restaurant. He has been saving to buy that restaurant from his boss when he retires. His boss knows Shawn is gay and believes he’s sick, thus while he doesn’t fire him insists that Shawn should not “flaunt” his sickness and if he does so, he will not sell the place to him… And of course buying the place has been Shawn’s dream so he lets a homophobic prick interfere with his personal life. Ok, I get it, having a prick for a boss is not easy, but Shawn – his behavior and personality – was so weird that I couldn’t like him at all. All good impression I had from the beginning of the book was immediately lost and never recovered.

As for Royce, he is yet another flat character that had no appeal to me whatsoever. He seemed a bit charming as the story started and I was eager to get to know him, but he failed to exhibit anything from that point on. Al least for me.

And the rest of the crew – yeah I mean Anastasia and Clint – good God, what on earth were they and where did they come from? I can’t even begin to imagine the horror of having such friends. Perhaps it’s because my own experiences are void of such meddling and awfully prying people, but I despised them both with a passion. Honey, I love you and care for you, but for the love of everything sacred know your boundaries. I kept shuddering and cringing in horror every time those characters were mentioned.

Romance-wise this fell flat for me. Nothing, zero, zip! It was one of the most awkward things I’ve read on the romantic and erotic part. When the guys finally – finally – came together I was left feeling nothing. They simply didn’t take me with them. Perhaps it was because their first interaction happened in an alley, perhaps it was because it followed the scene when Shawn “stood up” to his boss and I kept thinking “is that how people stand up for themselves?” and constantly going back to that scene, recalling it even as I was reading the pair’s rutting. Bottom end they didn’t inspire any hot thoughts or emotions for me.

As a conclusion, while this book was not bad, it definitely didn’t do it for me.

Storm Season by Nessa L. Warin

StormSeasonLGTitle: Storm Season

Author: Nessa L. Warin

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal

Length: Novel Plus (256pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (25th February 2013)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating:  ♥♥2Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: In Brightam’s Ford, a storm is coming. Ranch owner Jasper Borland and the rest of the townspeople have been rushing to prepare for the months of destructive weather the wet season brings, but with their limited technology, survival can be a struggle in itself. When Jasper finds a lost, injured young man on his property, he has no choice but to take him in. At least he’s quiet.

Unable to speak, the young man communicates by projecting his thoughts—a process that hurts anyone he isn’t touching. Since most people fear him, that means everyone but Jasper. Soon Jasper learns his guest is a telepath, a northerner named Tobias Thatcher, who is searching for his kidnapped sister, Samantha. Hesitant to leave and wary to stay, Tobias must find his sister before the men who took her follow through on their plans.

When the men come for Tobias, he can remain at Jasper’s no longer. But Jasper can’t let him go out alone. As the storms begin, he and Tobias set out on a dangerous journey to save Samantha and uncover the truth.

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Review: Jasper is getting his little ranch secured for Storm Season when he comes across a bedraggled young man huddled against the side of his barn, and although he is puzzled by why he could hear the man’s voice in his head when they touched, he couldn’t leave him out in the unforgiving storm. Tobias has been traveling for many months, his sister, Samantha, was kidnapped and he is on the path of those that took her. Stumbling across Jasper is a blessing. Jasper shelters him from the storm and when he discovers the mission Tobias is on, offers to help him. But, not everyone likes telepaths and they also have the problem of the men who want Tobias, as well.  Can they reach Samantha and save her from being sacrificed or will Tobias join her in the sacrificial circle?

This is a slow methodical story set on a continent that is plagued each year by fierce violent storms, and the forests are inhabited by spirits. Jasper has lived in Brightam’s Ford for several years. His house is fortified for the storms that will batter it, so when he discovers a young man trying to find shelter, he takes him in and offers him aid. Living inland is easier during the Storm Season, but it is still a fight for survival.  No one willingly travels during Storm Season unless they have a death wish. But, in order to aid Tobias, Jasper is about to brave the elements to rescue a woman for the young man he is attracted to. Tobias has a desperate need to find his sister, but, he knows he will be feared by many for being a telepath. Finding Jasper to aid him is a miracle and he tries his best to control his abilities. Setting out for Shaleton at the beginning of Storm Season may be stupid, but he needs to save his sister.

I will be honest and say that although I was intrigued by the blurb, this story just wasn’t for me. I found it to be very slow going, tedious in places and I disliked Tobias’ manipulative and stupid behavior. Jasper is a great guy though and although it took him some time, I liked when he stood up to Tobias and put him in his place; telling the telepath that using his abilities against people was wrong. Tobias only ever thinks about himself and his sister never minding the fact that someone is putting their life on the line to help him. Tobias kept putting them in danger by his rash actions which had me gritting my teeth in anger, and I wanted Jasper to just dump him at the side of the road.

I must admit that the thought of constant violent storms, forest spirits, a telepathic community and an Order bent on sacrifice interested me and kept me reading, but in the end it just wasn’t worth the 256 pages that I read. A lot of the time was spent on the road avoiding the mysterious men that were chasing Tobias.  Lots of running from the storms and finding shelter and Tobias going on about finding his sister and demanding that they had to set out NOW. We don’t get to know why the Order want Tobias until near the end, and although we get a little excitement it is cut short when Jasper falls unconscious. The love that develops between them is sweet and described beautifully.

I will recommend this to those who like slight paranormal, rescues, running from storms, sweet loving and a very happy ending.