Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders by Cornelia Grey

21449331Title: Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders
Series: Weight of a Gun
Author: Cornelia Grey
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: Novella (65 Pages)
Publisher: Storm Moon Press (March 13th, 2014)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 ½ Hearts
Blurb: Benjamin Pepperwhistle has one overriding desire: to handle the glorious machinery that is a gun. So when he decides to run away to join the circus, its only natural that he should seek out the legendary pistoleer, Cole Beauchamp, and beg to be his assistant. Life in the circus has definite ups and downs, but as Benjamin settles in to his role, he finds that some perks are even better than he’d anticipated.

ISBN: 978-1-62757-095-4

Product Link:

Reviewer: Zack

Review: Benjamin Pepperwhistle chases his dreams of working with world-famous pistoleer Cole Beauchamp and runs away to join him in the circus in this sharp, visceral novella. The smart writing harkens back to a time when the circus was the greatest show on earth, when feats of prowess and skill marveled crowds across the land.

Benjamin stars as the leading man in search of a home, a place, a tribe with those who are his people. He’s timid and shy, unsure of what he’ll find as he discovers more about himself than he ever thought he would. Cole Beauchamp stands his opposite: confident, strong, intelligent and brooding. Will the pair bond over the smoke and thunder call of the pistols?

Let me preface this by saying: I don’t like guns. I’m not wholly against them, I just don’t like them and they make me nervous. But boy howdy did this novella make me see guns in a different light. The entire story serves as a build of the tension felt by Benjamin – it’s sexual and electric as he handles the guns — cleaning them, loading them, shooting until every last bullet has been spent.

The story featured hardly any explicitly sexual scenes, yet every page I turned was filled with a thrumming tension built and then released and then built higher. I need a cold shower just thinking about it.

The writing is incredibly tight and strong, with even side characters feeling fleshed out and real. Grey draws on each of your senses as she leads you down a rabbit hole to a world that’s just this side of fantasy, a world you’ve always wondered about but never really seen. The circus as it was in its heyday has fascinated many authors and readers alike, and this novella makes a strong addition to the genre.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good writing and sweltering sexual tension – though you may not want to read it at work! It may make it quite difficult to concentrate.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through *

The Sea Calls My Name by Hollis Shiloh

SeaCallsMyName[The]LGTitle: The Sea Calls My Name
Author: Hollis Shiloh
Series: N/A
Genre: Urban Fantasy/New Adult
Length: Novella (70 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (April 22, 2015)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.75 Hearts

Blurb: He lost his magic. How?

Returning to the bookstore by the sea, Daniel worries about how to tell his father that the money he saved to send his gifted son to magic school was a waste.

Daniel buries his secret under the pretense of coming home for a vacation. Then he meets Leaf Springfield, a beautiful young man who’s been systematically beaten down by his uncle.

Irresistibly drawn to one another, they learn they share more than a love for raw fish and the ocean—both have lost a mother, and their ties to the ocean may be more fantastic than they can imagine.

Passion explodes between the two. It terrifies Daniel how quickly his feelings for Leaf grow. There may be more here than meets the eye—about both of them.

ISBN: 978-1-63216-991-4

Product Link:

Reviewer: Zack

Review: The Sea Calls My Name has sweet characters experiencing the heady throws of first love. This fantasy romance reads more like a collection of anecdotes written as part of the narrator Daniel’s memoirs – there was a lack of any real central conflict tying the beginning to the end. Without giving anything away, everything that came up seemed to be solved just a few pages later, and it was that more than anything that made this almost seem like a collection of memories rather than one cohesive story.

This was a cute novella with likeable, realistic characters that were well fleshed out. The stories follow the problems of new love in a fantasy setting, and while at first glance Daniel and Leaf’s immediate commitment seems strange, it does get explained later on in the novella. The writing is strong, albeit a bit too tame at times, and you get a fairly good sense of the world these characters live in.

That said, while the writing is strong, it isn’t quite solid. There’s a bit too much exposition – again making it feel as though you’re reading a memoir – and in some areas the story was a bit clunky. I would have liked to know more about the setting – such as what year the story takes place. At times it seems like the characters are conversing in terms from the Victorian age or even prior to that, while the next minute they are driving a car. I would have liked to know where the town was as well. The author created an interesting, vibrant world and I wanted to delve into it more and learn more about how it works.

I’d recommend this tender romantic fantasy for any who want a quick, light spring read.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through *