Summary: Jenny is an assassin gone bad, or at least, an assassin on the lam from a job gone bad. All she really wants is to live in peace. When a resistance hacker crashes on her tiny planet, that quiet life ends in a fiery blaze. Now she has the most deadly assassin, Tina on her trail, possibly the only other person equal to her skill in dealing death, and a man she desperately needs to protect.
Summary: Gary is lonely, and looking for some lasting love with a dependable guy. He finds something very different in his encounter with martin and Jim, but he can't really find a reason to complain.
Summary: Young history scholar Christopher, granted rare permission to study the library of ancient and remote Bran Castle, wastes no time traveling to the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. Expecting to meet an elderly, reclusive nobleman, Christopher is surprised to be greeted by a handsome, virile man who clearly welcomes his presence and puts the library at his disposal.
Summary: Rick Had his whole life ahead of him, everything going to plan or so he thought. One visit from the devil himself put his life in a tail spin. Lucifer gives the new meaning to the words, “the Devil Made Me Do It.”
Summary: Brett has made his plans, medical school in another state with anticipation of finding his first male lover. Plans changed when he met Tommy, a man with a life so very different from Brett’s but still worth exploring their attraction.
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Summary: All his life, Roy has had things easy; born to money and privilege, he's a grown man before he realizes how his father's money has bought his privilege off the backs and tragedies of too many people. Now he's on his own, and making his way in the world might be a lot harder than he thought.
Summary: Allie has worked hard to earn her way back from her late father's debts. It's won her a ranch, a horse, and a livelihood she's very proud of, but it's cost her her love life.
Carolyn has worked hard to earn a life of leisure and luxury. She's won her rich husband, the lifestyle she's always wanted, and her mother's approval, but now she isn't sure she's willing to pay the price.
Warnings: explicit f/f sex
My review: I wanted to like this story. I felt for Allie, her struggles to overcome her difficult situation, and wanted to see her succeed in love too. I even had a soft spot for fem Carolyn, but in the end, I couldn't quite like her enough.
This story suffers from contrivances of plot that just didn't work for me. The way the women are brought together was too unrealistic for me to let go of my disbelief, and as a result, I couldn't fall into the story like I like to do. In the end, the end which wasn't, in fact, I left the story unfulfilled.
What did work for me was the sex. It was well written and full of longing and desperate need to reach something more than the next orgasm. It saved the rest of the story for me, because in those scenes, the characters really shone, in all their needful glory. I just wish there was more. I felt like I'd been left behind and the story went elsewhere. There is no satisfactory resolution to the question posed: will they find love? The author just stopped. There is so much tension left in the relationship, we will never know if the women end up together. For me, that is unacceptable. I feel there really needs to be that last, connecting scene. I feel as though I just read half of a story.
My recommendation: If you want an example of well-written f/f sex, you might like this story. For me, it wasn't quite enough.
Sadly, I can only give it Two Divas.
Rated two Delightful Divas by Jaime.
After his father's death, Miles returns to the farm he ran from ten years ago. When his past returns to haunt him, he has to decide if the memories will fence him in, or if he's ready to free himself from remembered pain and return home.
This is part of the Inherently Sexual series.
This was a sweet short story, great for a quick read. Jamie pulls you in wondering about Miles the main character. Why did he runaway? Why is he back? Questions like these fill your mind, but are answered as you read, giving you an in-depth look at his character. It’s well written and leaves you feeling satisfied at the end.
Rated four Delightful Divas by Jade!
Summary: Now that the alliance is fact, the paired wizards and vampires must figure out what it means to them and why the partnerships seem to be taking over their lives. Even while they struggle to find answers, they still have a war to fight.
As some partnerships solidify into firm, heady relationships, and some fray and begin to disintegrate, the Mallice wizards feel the war might be turning in their favour. Will making the alliance public bring the rewards for the vampires they hope, or tip their hands to their enemies? (Ha! I don't know, because that's book three.....!)
My review: I have to admit, when this book came across the reviewer's desk, I snapped it up. I read the first one, and despite some of the issues I had with POV and the lack of the development of the main war plot, I was looking forward to reading the second book. Now, I have to wait until May for the third...
First, to get it out of the way, the same issues I had with POV switches in the first book exist here. I get a better feel, in this book, why the author chose the path she did in this regard. There are soooo many characters. It would be impossible to fully explore the nature of the bonds between vampire and wizard without taking a look at the bonds from multiple points of view. Omniscient point of view is very, very hard to write and get right. I found fewer places in this book where I was switched from one character to the next at dizzying pace, but there were some places I had to stop and go back, or where I blinked and thought "how did he know that? Oh. We've switched people here." Having said that, I have to also say it didn't make me put the book down.
As in the first book, the plot here is very much character and relationship driven. There is the underlying war, yes, but it serves as backdrop for the relationships that have developed through the blood bonds between wizards and vampires. I was fascinated by the well thought out magical system in this world, and by the very different social structure of a world that knows vampires and wizards and lycans exist among mortal men. This idea is not one I'm used to in contemporary paranormal, where magical creatures have to hide from everyday people, and I have to say, she's made it work very well.
I also have to say, the relationships are what keep me wanting more. Tachna has created strong characters with strong motivations for loving or resisting love, and I couldn't stop until I found out how each pair resolved their conflicts and settled into their partnerships, or didn't. Of course, this is where I mention the red hot love scenes, both M/M and het, and mention how they are the perfect blend of good, heady sex and budding feelings, both gentle and desperate, but always honest.
My recommendation: Read it. I want the third book out sooner than May, but I'm kind of a glutton that way.
Rated four Delightful Divas by Jaime!
Butch saw something in the moonlight he wasn't ready for. He ran. Mitch has to find him now, and bring him back. Hopefully, they'll be able to sort out the train wreck their lives have become, but a literal train wreck could ruin everything.
What? M/M romance without sex? Yes, it does happen. Jones is a newcomer on the M/M scene, and I believe there's potential for some good reading time with this author.
Jones has set up a wonderful pack of disasters for her heroes to overcome, and given them nothing but their own feelings and their own halting communication skills to work with. I enjoyed this little story with its heartfelt plea for forgiveness and understanding. I liked the peripheral characters, too. Even though they had bit parts, they stood out in nicely rounded relief. The ability Jones has to draw a quick, clear sketches of her secondary characters remains one of her greatest strengths.
If I have one complaint about this book, it's that it could be so much longer. There is a tendency for new authors to outline a story and call it done. This is one of those times when all the delicious details are hinted at but never quite developed. There is so much rich story here, it's a shame she didn't run with it and give us more. I shall await the next story and hope I get to see her men, whoever they are, get together, and see all the talent of the author that hasn't quite been tapped yet. I can see it glimmering in there, and I can't wait for more.
My recommendation: If you're looking for a sweet, comforting read, try it out. If I seem to be leaning more toward an author review than a book review here, it's because I've seen some snippets, and I know there's more and even better to come from this quarter, and I'm very excited about it.
Rated three and a half Delightful Divas by Jaime!
Ethan has been banished by his father, sent to run one of his father’s newest hotels, because he had an affair with one of his father’s managers. Marcus lost everything and everybody in Hurricane Katrina and has vowed to never care for anyone else again, because he cannot bear the pain of losing those he loves. When Ethan hires Marcus to build onto his home, he knows that he must have the sexy Marcus. Can Ethan convince him to tear down the walls surrounding his heart?
After the Storm is a quick, hot, and touching story. Marcus is filled with pain and bitterness and Ethan is determined to break through the barriers around his heart, so that they can have a future together. The plot of this story is good and the passion is searing. I did not feel that the writing flowed very well and it seemed a bit rushed. Overall, this is a good story if you are looking for a quick heat-up, laced with tender emotions.
Rated 3 ½ Delightful Divas by Melissa!
Josh Braslet was a regular at the Corral Bar, but he wasn’t out to rope and tame a peroxide filly. He was after a stallion in denim, Jake Talbot. Both Josh and Jake know what they want, but will family – and fate – get in the way of their happily ever after?
After reading this short I’m left with the feeling it was hurried, and I missed something. There’s great chemistry between Jake and Josh, but I kept feeling like I was being hurried along. The sex scene are wonderfully written and very steamy. Although I would have like to gotten to know Jake and Josh a little more and possibly seen this a little longer. Over all it was a good story, just very fast paced.
Rated 4 1/2 Delightful Divas by Jade!
Fate made Brock Martindale the wonder boy of the modeling world. Bad choices left him unemployed and penniless with nowhere to go. Then fate strikes again, sending him Carey Lindenbay, an amateur photographer. They become friends, supporting one another through both secrets and shame, and together they discover an opportunity for success and a surprising attraction. Joyful and fulfilled, Brock is thankful for his second chance, and after a startling discovery, he realizes he wants to give Carey a second chance at happiness as well.
Summary: Brock rocketed from obscure nobody to super model practically overnight, but it was a decaying orbit of fame, money and sex, and his re-entry was beyond crash and burn. Now, he has no one, nothing, and must rely on the kindness of strangers. This comes in the form of Casey, a man with his own secrets and a deep pain that might never heal.
Now Brock needs a purpose to prove to himself he's more than a burnt out has-been, and Casey needs someone to care about again. All they find is each other.
My review: The characters in this book are such lovely people, it's impossible not to care about them. Sure, Brock screwed up, but the young and foolish screw up all the time. Now he just needs a chance to turn things around. Carey is a mystery right up to the end, but he's strong and caring, and obviously in pain, and you just want him to find happiness again.
Which brings up my main issue. I will buy that very strong friendships will form under the circumstances these men find themselves in. Convincing me of the love they seem to fall into is another matter. I like to really feel what the characters feel, and for me, that just didn't happen in this book.
The author spent so much time telling me how it can happen, how it makes sense, how I should just believe in love, he neglected to show me two people falling for each other. I won't deny it can and does happen all the time. I just didn't feel it here.
While the author's voice kept pulling me too far out of the story to really enjoy it on a visceral level, he did connect with my sense of love for love's sake. The story is an uplifting one, full of the idea that there is always a second chance if we're willing to look, and to take a chance on something new.
Rated 3 Delightful Divas by Jaime!
My recommendation: Don't expect to be immersed in character emotions, but read it because everyone needs a remember of what really matters.
The British do not cry over spilled milk. The British are firm in their resolve. Jonathan Daily is British and he's left his teaching position for a year so that he can find his resolve in Asia.
When he stumbles into a temple in the middle of the winter festival, no one expected Jonathan to summon the spirit of winter incarnate as a beautiful man....
This is part of the Inherently Sexual series.
Jonathan Daily is a teacher who has quit the stuffy but orderly confines of Oxford, accepting a position somewhere in Asia. Teaching English at the Temple of the Blue Lotus, he is on sensory overload with the many mysteries of the Far East constantly surprising him. He also finds a stranger...a man who may or may not be the key to his romantic future.
The world is no longer as we know it. The Sept virus has decimated the world’s population and despite vaccines, Armageddon has arrived. What is left has come under strict and unforgiving Fundamentalist Christian rule. Few “post fundies” are acceptable citizens.
Newly arrived Harvey Milk Walton finds himself the subject of scrutiny because of his name: The real Harvey Milk (the assassinated gay San Francisco activist) falls into the “unacceptable” category and so does Walton who battles through beatings and deprivation to find his way to the ghetto known as Angel Land. They say the real Harvey Milk, will, like a Messiah, rise and lead his people to victory.
Nothing is as it seems along the way and Walton, who says he doesn’t believe in love, finds something like it in Chip, a young man who reawakens the lost desires life in a harsh realm is bound to destroy.
Can they and their small band of freedom runners survive the tragic, violent confines of Angel Land?
This is an astonishing, sweeping, giant whale of a tale, yet a deeply intimate work. Written with such ferocity and grief at what we are becoming, how we as a society are allowing religion and advertising to control us, you keep reading even when your brain starts shrieking, Oh I need to find a bunker. And some Coke cans. Now.
Our own giddy downfall is catalogued in such glorious detail you can smell the degradation, the collapse of all that is decent and the unbending evil-posing-as-good totalitarian rule. Running alongside Walton, you can see the street sellers peddling pre-fundie booty. You feel the beating Walton takes as your own eyes open to the realization that freedom is a thing of the past.
Then there are the snatches of human kindness, the moments of how we were...people, places, songs, all come back like a manic hand tuning the dial of a massive universal radio.
Wow. As I started reading this, I was reminded of Huxley’s Brave New World. There’s tinges of that. There’s Blade Runner and without giving away too much, shades of Planet of the Apes, but this is a wholly original, engulfing novel that was torn from the writer’s soul.
A pioneer of the Gay Rights movement, Victor J. Banis has poured his pain into this, and that’s not say there aren’t dizzying moments of joy, humor and humanity. There’s even love and sex. Angel Land will leave you wanting to be kinder to your neighbor…and being a whole lot less trusting of anyone who is interested in selling you a single, solitary thing. I hope there’s shadows to the author’s pain after excising this, but not enough that a sequel isn’t an option. This is a beautiful, haunting examination of two Harveys. And it is the work of a master artist.
Summary: Four rednecks and a funeral…
What should a white Irish Catholic boy wear to his black, gay lover's family funeral?
A gun, if he's smart.
Good old boys and the dog from hell await Zachary O'Boyle when he arrives in 1977 Salem, Texas, hoping to show his support after his boyfriend James's aunt dies. By the time he gets there, James is already missing, and the only locals willing to help find him are no match for Ole "King" Cole's plan to keep James in the closet where all family skeletons belong.
Practical Purposes is a bitingly funny look at the personal truths behind prejudice, homophobia and other precious family memories.
James always knew his father didn't approve of him. He just never anticipated how far the old man would go to show that disapproval. Now he's in trouble, and Zachary might be the only one who can help him. Only the minute Zachary arrives in James' hometown, he knows he'll stand out, a walking target for so many reasons.
He'll have a gauntlet of Baptist ministers, grieving relatives and vindictive schoolboys between him and his lover. Not to mention Bucky the pit bull. James Aunt Odessa picked one hell of a time to drop the porch roof on herself. Now hers might not be the only funeral to attend in Salem, Texas.
Well, this can be described no other way than Revenge of the Nerds meets Deliverance. And I mean that in the most complimentary way. What do a skinny Irish homosexual, a girl plumber, a geek and a mouse of a housewife have in common? In this book; a chance to finally save the strong, handsome doctor from certain mutilation and death. Talk about your reversal of fortunes. There is something to be said for the complete irreverence that can only stem from a certain amount of personal observation. One has to wonder how an author can get away with the brutal fun she pokes at her villains. She lives in Texas, though, so maybe she knows...?
In any case, her blatant mocking is offset by some very astute observations. Some made me chuckle: "Tallulah wasn’t entirely sure what feminism was, but if it meant she could be a plumber and have girlfriends, she was all for it.". Some made my skin crawl: "If God Almighty was going to burn queers in Hell and he was the Father of all, it shouldn’t matter too much what happened to them here on earth. Mr. Cole gave a tight little smile and felt justified.".
This story about prejudice and spite might not be full of angst and dramatic moments, but the black humor worked for me. Bucky and his ear fetish will bring a smile to my face for a very long time.
I have to point out the story does skim just on the edge of romance. It qualifies in that someone theoretically needed saving, and his love rose to the occasion and tried to be that hero, but it has so much else going for it that I kind of dismissed that detail. It certainly isn't what a reader might be used to in the genre, but then, I think the genre needs a bit of expansion anyway. Very simply, this story is about the triumph of what's right over what isn't, but here, it's the delivery that matters, and the delivery rocks.
My recommendation: Looking for a little something different for your m/m palette? This is it. Grab a beer and a porch swing and enjoy. It's worth it.
Rated 4 Delightful Divas by Jamie!
Summary: Mortal enemies, immortal souls and an impossible love.
Werewolf Kieran McManus is living the high life until his playboy ways get him captured by Sir Edward Lawrence, the most sadistic and cruel of all vampires. Kieran is tortured to the brink of death and insanity, saved only by his ability to leave his body.
Unable to break him, Sir Edward calls in another weapon. The new male vamp is as beautiful as he is cold. With his dubious gifts, he could break the captive with ease if he chose. When he doesn't, Kieran and his unlikely savior must battle their own worlds and themselves to survive.
Warning, hot man love, dubious consent, and violence.
My Review: Kieran MacManus is a Scottish werewolf, known to his people as Silverscream. One night an impulsive decision leads him into a bar frequented by vampires, the natural enemies of his kind. He soon finds himself the prisoner of the sadistic Sir Edward Lawrence, who delights in torturing Kieran in an attempt to find the location of his lupine family. Kieran, though, is what his people call a hunter or a wanderer. He has the ability to separate his consciousness from his physical body, and so can withstand everything Sir Edward throws at him. In an effort to break Kieran’s spirit Sir Edward summons another vampire: a surreally beautiful man with the unique ability to read the thoughts of others.
The striking vampire, who Kieran thinks of as “Diamond” because of his icy and perfect beauty, puts on the pretense of raping and torturing the werewolf in the physical world, while in an astral realm of his construction, he seduces Kieran in one of the most magical and intimate scenes I’ve ever read. Afterwards, Kieran wakes up near the border to his familial lands, rescued by Diamond. His time with the vampires has left him tormented, but nothing causes as much turmoil as his feelings for Diamond, the only man he’s ever had feelings toward. After two years of conflict, Kieran can no longer deny his longing and seeks out Diamond, only to find that the vampire paid a heavy price for setting him free.
You may think that the werewolf/vampire feud is an overused concept, but this book will change your mind. Each of the main characters has abilities that make them special among their respective species. They are anything but stereotypical. Diamond is an especially intriguing character: deadly and detached but with a hidden patience and sensitivity. His past and motives remain just veiled enough to be fascinating. The relationship between the two men is complex, strained at times, due to the its dubious beginning and to Kieran’s persistent denial of his sexual desires. Much of the novella is told in first person in the form of Kieran’s diary, and it really lets the reader see into his soul. Kieran’s memoir shifts seamlessly from profanity-laced wisecracking to poetic wisdom. It’s fascinating to watch him journey from guilt and denial toward acceptance of his yearning, and finally happiness and completion. Throughout the story, the imagery is startling and lush, but in a way that isn’t overdone or dragging the pace of the action. Some of the lines were so breathtaking that I reread them several times just for their beauty.
This book is a treasure, a gem worthy of its title. Even if you don’t read vampire or werewolf fiction, and even if you don’t normally read homoerotic romance, I would recommend Diamond Wolf. The characters are so well drawn that their genders, and even their supernatural natures, pale alongside their strength in their struggles, their pain and their triumphs, and their commitment to each other in the face of great danger. I remained enthralled from the first word to the last. The author has great skill at evoking powerful emotion. This is a story that I won’t soon forget.
Rated 5 Delightful Divas by Augusta Li!
From loveyoudivine Alterotica's His and His Kisses Anthology - MEN
Kevin enjoys gardening on the balcony of his high-rise. When he notices a chiseled Adonis staring out the window of the penthouse across the street, the sunlight cascading down the man’s naked torso, he’s mesmerized. What begins as innocent glances soon spirals into an obsession that changes his life forever.
Kevin has an obsession; one that involves the muscular Adonis in the penthouse adjacent to his high-rise condominium. He’s told no one, not even Alice, his best friend at the office of his fascination. He purchases binoculars, adds a camera with zoom lens and spirals into the depths of voyeurism before devising a plan to finally meet the man of his dreams. An evening of easy conversation and lustful glances ends far too soon, but not before Tony plants the most amazing kiss ever on Kevin’s lips, leaving him yearning for more.
When Tony shows up at Kevin’s apartment the next night all bloody and bruised, Kevin offers him instant refuge…and his bed. But not all is what it seems. Police burst into Kevin’s home, searching for the killer of a man in the penthouse across the street—Tony’s so-called partner.
Will Kevin’s pleas of innocence save him from this horrible turn of events?
Kevin Mitchell has a neat, orderly existence with his high rise condo, his balcony garden and his investment clients. An accountant with a deadline looming, he finds himself increasingly drawn to the man living in the building opposite him. Knowing nothing about him, Kevin enjoys staring at him but fascination with the handsome stranger quickly turns to obsession, distracting him from his real world. Buying cameras and binoculars, spying becomes his full time occupation. Finally meeting the man, whose name is Tony, Kevin becomes embroiled in a white-hot love affair with him…but is there more to Tony than meets the…er, eye?
Jon Michaelsen does an excellent job of building up the tension of lonely Kevin’s increasing obsession with the hot and sexy Tony. At every turning page, the reader worries that the scrutinized stranger will catch him, at the same time feeling it’s all a bit…creepy. The theme of one neighbor spying on another and becoming obsessed is well traversed fiction – but the gorgeous, evocative prose Michaelsen uses to describe Kevin’s reawakened senses, not to mention the scorching sex scenes and the surprising plot twists make this compelling, refreshing reading.
Rated Five Delightful Divas by AJ Llewellyn: A Recommended Read
The business world is a shark tank, and Eric Courtland quickly learns it's eat or be eaten. Desperate for revenge against a father who never loved him and drove his mother to an early grave, Eric forges a partnership with ruthless titan of industry, Branford Crane.
Following the death of his mother, Eric Courtland seizes control of his father’s company and sets out to destroy the man who has mistreated and belittled him all of his life. To this end, he partners with Branford Crane, an older business leader who knows the workings of the cutthroat corporate world Eric finds himself immersed in. Eric is determined to do whatever he must to succeed (something his father constantly reminds him that he’s incapable of), including ending his relationship with Nick, the love of his life, and subjecting himself to Bran’s cruel and unyielding will in the office and beyond.
While Strictly Business is intended as a prequel for Ms. Grant’s novel The Arrangement, it certainly shines on its own. I was astounded by how well the complexity of human experience and human relationships was explored in such a short work. One clearly sees how the characters’ past experiences shape their present motives and desires, how they have become who they are after various incidents and forces have shaped them. The relationship between Eric and Bran is multifaceted and unsettling at times. Bran is a sadistic dominant who genuinely relishes inflicting physical and emotional pain. While Eric craves such treatment initially, he gradually begins to realize a lifetime of disapproval and criticism has left him feeling unworthy of the kind of supportive love he receives from Nick. The scenes between Eric and Bran are brutal at times, but serve to illustrate where Eric’s damaged psyche and self-destructive tendencies have led him. Please be warned, this novella does not depict a loving BDSM partnership. Eric seeks out Bran’s abuse the way an addict seeks drugs, knowing full well that he’s harming himself but unable to stop.
Strictly Business masterfully paints the picture of a desperate and damaged man, who is both a victim of his past and the engineer of his future. Eric is caught in the struggle between lusting after a man as domineering and cruel as his father and the desire to become his father. He holds both awe and disgust for men like Bran, who reach their goals at any cost. He is torn between longing for real love and intimacy with Nick and the “love” he thinks he deserves. It’s fascinating to watch these factors war within him as he fights to break free and choose the life he truly wants. This book is tragic, disturbing, beautiful, and affirming. It is not to be missed.
Rated Five Delightful Divas by Gus.
Matthew Tucker is a successful actor on a hit television show, his career on the rise. Life is good. What more could he want?
Daniel Westman, that’s what – his co-star and close friend for the last two years.
Matthew desires more than friendship with Daniel, though, his attraction for the other man growing day by day. So much so that Matthew gives up the safety and security of his current long-term relationship for the slimmest chance of a relationship with Daniel, feeling there’s something between them, just under the surface. And he was gambling his happiness on it.
But months go by, with Matthew suddenly afraid to go forward, to make the first move, to tell Daniel he was falling in love with him. Because if he was wrong, and Daniel was just being his natural charming self and Matthew was looking too deeply into it…he’d lose his best friend.
So instead Matthew longs for his friend in silence, until an accident on set may leave Daniel permanently blinded. With his friend hurt, scared and confused, his life possibly forever altered, Matthew never wavers from Daniel’s side, no matter how difficult it gets.
His dedication brings them closer than ever before , but is it possible to find happiness, and love, in the wake of a tragedy? Or has Matthew’s hesitation cost him that chance and he’ll lose Daniel to the darkness instead.
Matthew Tucker, an actor in a popular television series, has been secretly in love with co-star, Daniel Westman, for quite some time. While the two men have become close friends, Matthew, unsure if his feelings will be reciprocated, has been afraid to express his desires to Daniel.
One night while filming, an accident results in an explosion and a serious injury to Daniel. His eyes are burned and must be bandaged. Over the next several days, Matthew diligently and selflessly cares for his friend, staying in Daniel’s home to assist in his recovery. When the bandages are removed, though, Daniel’s sight has not been restored as predicted. Once again Matthew agrees to tend to Daniel. He attempts to help his friend work through his feelings of helplessness and isolation, even though Daniel often rejects Matthew’s efforts at communicating. Gradually, though, Matthew’s friendship and support influence Daniel, and the affection between the two of them slowly develops into something much more.
Darkness Falls is a poignant and touching story about the power of love and friendship. Matthew and Daniel are believable and endearing characters in both their strength and their frailty. Their strategies for coping with the tragedy that has befallen them are very different; Matthew is open and emotional while Daniel is stoic. The sex scenes between them are some of the best I’ve ever read, both on a physical and an emotional level. Having read a vast number of M/M romances, I was impressed by the author’s ability to capture and depict rapture and intimacy so beautifully. She skims over some events that I’d have preferred to see fleshed out, though. Several weeks of Daniel and Matthew’s lives while Daniel acclimates to his blindness are summarized rather than shown. Darkness Falls is quite good as a novella length work, but I believe it would have the potential to be brilliant as a full-length novel. I hope Ms. Miller will revisit the lives of Daniel and Matthew, as I’d be eager to see how their relationship will progress.
Sequel to The Gold Warrior No longer a revered Gold Warrior, Maen is a disgraced soldier, held in suspicion despite his role in winning the Queenship of Aza City for his Mistress, Seleste. Returned alive from his captivity by the rebel Exiles, his reward was to be cast out from his position, his brave loyalty dismissed. He remains an unwilling thrall to the new Queen while his heart mourns the memory of Dax, the young Bronzeman he helped escape from a sentence of death. When Maen is put under the guard of the arrogant Gold Warrior Zander and given the thankless task of preparing a Royal History, they both join up with the lively scribe Kiel. The youngster's bold curiosity initiates a chain of events that will change their world and that of the City forever. Maen's own discoveries will cast a new and shocking light on the Royal history and stir revolution in both citizens and rebels. And he will finally return to the Exile camp to face the one thing that can make him choose desire over duty.
Summary: This novel takes up where Gold Warrior left off, following Mean through his daily life in thrall to the new Queen Seleste. She has saved his life but found she cannot have his heart. He still belongs to Dax even though he believes his beloved Bronzeman has been killed in a raid against the City.
In an effort to bring some meaning to the empty disaster that has become his life, Maen accepts Seleste's commission to oversee the writing of her history. He is put under the guard of her best Gold Warrior, Zander and discovers an intellectual equal in the young, enthusiastic scribe, Kiel to whom the task of writing the history falls.
Kiel opens up a whole new world to the two men but it is up to them to unite and save that world, and each other, or to accept Seleste's ultimate rule over their lives, and deaths, forever.
My review: Every once in a while a book comes along that I almost can't bear to keep reading, but that won't let me put it down. To me, that's the sign of a really good book. One in which the tension is so high I'm too nervous to keep reading but too engrossed to stop. Twisted Brand is one of those books. If it has a flaw, I suppose it can be argued that the pace is just short of breakneck. The actual action is encompassed mostly in scorching sex scenes, but this book isn't about rock 'em sock 'em battles (though there are a few of those). It is an emotional journey for Maen to become fully the man he was meant to be, and that journey isn't an easy one.
I guess that's what I like about it so much. The characters are very easy to like despite their flaws. London has managed to create a world peopled with characters whose struggles are easy to sympathise with. Even the antagonists are understandable, if not always likeable.
Some things that bothered me in the first book; the lack of tangible world building, and the numerous open-ended storylines, have been alleviated here. A great deal of thought went into the history behind the society, and that has paid off in this volume. This book has drawn all the plot lines to a satisfactory conclusion while still leaving room for the reader to imagine a future substantially different from the present she left us in. This story is over, but there are so clearly many stories that are just beginning. This author has grown over just two volumes and my only question now is will there be a third? I can see the possibility.
My recommendation: This isn't a stand alone book, but both Gold Warrior and Twisted Brand are well worth the cover price. I give both together a recommended read.
Five delightful divas
Asher is furious when Derek suggests they need to spice up their love life. He thinks he ought to be plenty enough for his hunky lover as is. But when Derek brings hot bartender Dean home with him after work, Asher starts to have second thoughts. Maybe adding a little extra to their bedroom antics wouldn't be so bad, especially as amazing as Derek and Dean are together. Will Asher give in and give Derek something new and different?
A tawdry tale that will surely scintillate any reader. Through Asher’s eyes, Ms. Nichols has captured every sensation Asher, Derek and Dean experience. A hot short read.
4 Delightful Divas
An admirer of fine art but without artistic ability himself, Patryk Andrews works by day in a high finance position that his well-to-do father had more than a little hand in getting him. Gay and liberal, Patryk knows he's a big disappointment to his parents, but thrives in a job that leaves him more spiritually and emotionally empty than his last abusive and dysfunctional relationship.
A gifted painter from an affectionate, supportive clan of parents and three younger brothers whom he predictably ruled, Keir Monroe is an artist who has lost his way after the death of his lover three years previous. A chance encounter with Patryk sparks Keir's creative spirit, however, and more than a little lust.
But what starts off as a whirlwind physical obsession soon turns into more than either Keir or Patryk ever bargained for when both are faced with demons from their pasts...
Ingénue’s Choice is the second book in Gracie C. McKeever’s series, Zara’s Bois. Zara Benjamin was a young woman who died tragically in an accident at the nightclub bearing her name. She is now both a spirit and a sort of guardian angel in training. Her mission in this story is to unite two men whose love lives have both been touched by tragedy: artist Keir Monroe and Patryck Andrews.
While this book is the second in the series, new readers will find the storyline and characters completely accessible. I read this book before reading the first installment of Zara’s Bois, and was not confused at all. Ms. McKeever succinctly sums up the events of the previous novel, and, while Zara plays an important role in the plot, the story really belongs to Patryck and Keir. These two characters have both suffered loses of one kind or another, and experience an instant mutual attraction. While they would make an ideal romantic match, the weight of their pasts prevents them from seeing so, and thus they need a little push from the angel looking out for them.
All of the characters in Ingenue’s Choice are likable and realistically depicted. Keir and Patryck really come alive, due to the author’s skill at creating believable dialogue and interaction between them. The romantic tension between the two men is instantaneous, and builds to steaming and yet tender interactions. I rooted for them from the beginning. I also especially like the author’s warm and casual narrative style. The prose has a smooth and conversational feeling to it. It’s interesting to see, from Zara’s perspective, traits in these men that each overlooks in himself. They have the potential to enrich each other’s lives and just need a bit of help to let go of their baggage and move forward. In spite of the many paranormal elements in the book, the contemporary setting and the people inhabiting it are so well written that the reader won’t doubt anything that occurs. The appearance of the ghosts and angels is so seamless that the reader is never distracted from the main storyline: the romance between Keir and Patryck.
On a final note, I appreciate that Ms. McKeever has chosen to depict a Supreme Being who encourages true love, regardless of the genders of those experiencing it. Amen to that! 4 Divas
Trevor meanwhile, wakens disoriented and amnesiac…except that Trevor's soul has departed and the unwilling spirit of Zara Benjamin has entered his body. Just as she struggles with being a he - and a black he at that - she/he finds herself falling in love with club bouncer Ramsay Logan, the man who saved his life.
Can Trevor and Ramsey find happiness together or do heavenly forces have a different fate in mind for Zara and for Trevor whose overdose was no accident but an attempted homicide by a maniac waiting for his next chance to finish what he started?
In this third installment of the dead Zara's earthly adventures created by divine intervention (or interference, depending on your point of view), she is transported back to earth to save the soul of OD'd retching, vomiting twink Trevor.
This visual, intriguing start to McKeever's tale sets the pace for an unusual and convincing story of reincarnation and scorching M/M sex. Bouncer's Folly has deceptive layers woven through it. There's the karmic connection of twins, a nasty dom, issues of gender identity, drugs, self-loathing pretty boys and a gritty, believable New York club and drug scene, not to mention some very bossy angels.
Bouncers Folly is written in a very visual, readable, yet highly literary style. Gracie C. Mckeever blends her hot man on man action with a spiritual tale of love's redemption. Having not read the first two books, it never felt like this was a problem. The author infuses enough information about Zara to make this story flow naturally as a stand-alone title, yet made this reviewer want to run out and buy the first two books in the series. A skillful, masterful tale told by an author with genuine talent and a compelling taste for the macabre.
War has broken out between the wizard factions, and the Milice de Sorcellerie must find help somewhere, and soon, or those wizards who practice dark magic will win the war. Then it won't only be wizards and other magical folk dying, but normals, too. It falls to Alain to make an alliance with the only group the Milice can see might be strong enough to make a difference; the vampires. Alain is eager to see an end to the war that has claimed the lives of too many of his friends, his ex-wife and even his son. So when he agrees to be the wizards' contact with the vampire, he is determined to do whatever is necessary to make the alliance happen. What he isn't prepared for is how very attractive his counterpart turns out to be. Far from being frightened or disgusted by the vampire's nature, Alain finds himself more than a little attracted to the man. Orlando, young and inexperienced, for a vampire, is frightened by his own attraction to Alain. Both men have suffered too many losses, too much pain to take a chance, but they find they can't help themselves. But their partnership is the linchpin of the alliance. One small misunderstanding between two men from very different worlds could spell the end of the alliance, the end of the world they know, and there's a very good chance neither one of them will survive another broken heart.
Warnings: explicit m/m sex, magical violence, mention of abuse
My review: Be warned: this is only book one in a four book series and you probably won't be satisfied with just one instalment. The author paints a vivid picture of Paris in the fall and draws her characters in all their three dimensional agony, hope and fear to wonderful effect. I fell in love just about as quickly as they did. The sex scenes manage to strike that all important balance between tenderness sand heat that I love, and the other relationships, the friendships, the mentors, and the less warm and fuzzy relationships all ring true.
Some people will scoff at the speed with which the main characters fall for each other, especially given their pasts, but I think it was well thought out. It illustrates perfectly what makes these vampires and wizards different from the hundreds of others you read about in the past. Ariel has taken some of the best bits of vampire lore, mixed them with some original ideas and come up with an interesting and plausible variation. It makes all that follows believable.
However, just once, I'd like to pick up a book, get to the end, and actually be at the end. In all fairness, I knew this book was part one of a series, but that didn't prepare me for the abrupt ending. There's a trick to writing a series, and for the most part, it doesn't include leaving the reader hanging. Yes, you have to leave a few plot lines frayed. You have to leave some questions unanswered so your reader will feel compelled to pick up the next book because they are curious, not because they feel forced to so they can read the rest of the story. Frankly, dropping the story in the middle so you can sell another book makes me feel a little bit manipulated.
I'll tell you why; I would have read the next book anyway. I love these characters. I want them to win the war, I want them to win each other, and I want to follow the other characters into their relationships. As this book was more about Alain and Orlando than it was about the war, I wasn't too concerned with the lack of action. I was disappointed that the entire story line lead up to the ultimate consummation of their bond, then that consummation never happened. I suppose we have that to look forward to along with the war, the cementing of the other half dozen wizard/vampire pairs, and the mystery of why two of the strongest vampires really don't get along. For me, that's at least one too many loose ends.
My recommendation: If you're going to read this one, and I really suggest if you like vampires, M/M romance and/or angst, you do, make sure you have all the books on hand. At least then you can pretend it didn't drop you like hot potato in the middle of the tale. As annoyed as I was to find I didn't get to read the whole story in one go, I liked it. I'll get the other books.
Four delightful divas
It’s Christmas 2007 and Robert saves a suicidal young woman, Jess, from throwing herself into storm-swollen Lake Michigan. He persuades her to come and stay with him and his lover Evan, but things are already strained between the two men as it is. Robert suspects Evan is cheating on him, except that Evan is really hooked on crystal meth. Almost immediately Jess finds herself drawn to Robert and the photo she sees of his former lover Keith, the man Robert describes as his soul mate. Keith died of AIDS exactly twenty four years ago and Jess has a startling physical reaction to his photo: she faints.
Jess starts tuning into Robert more and more, making statements about Keith and their lives together that she couldn’t possibly know. Evan is very threatened by the unusually close relationship his lover is developing with Jess, who is a lesbian.
How can a gay man and a lesbian be falling for each other? The underlying supernatural link forming between them in undeniable…could she possibly be a reincarnation of Keith? Does Robert secretly like women? Is Jess after Evan’s lover? Evan’s addled mind produces the idea he has only one way to solve all his problems: murdering the man he loves.
Rick. R. Reed treads his own familiar path of addiction, death, murder and as always love. If it’s twisted, it’s right up Mr. Reed’s street, but in Orientation his provocative, wondrous gifts all meet at the corner in a dazzling, original way. He has a rare gift for letting us into each character’s thoughts without ever ‘head hopping.’ Before you know it, you’re in on Evan’s sickest, most terrifying schemes and you’re trapped like a fly in bitter honey just turning those pages.
There have been very few wonderful novels written about reincarnation, but this book is one of them. Mr. Reed addresses the painful, timely issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, loneliness and the prejudices even gay people have toward one another. And he still manages to turn out another high-octane, throat grabber. You might think you can read a few pages before turning out the light, but oh no. Mr. Reed sneaks into your brain and rattles it senseless until you get to the last page. His dark thoughts illuminate every last line in the story leaving you sweaty, breathless and utterly, utterly haunted.
Rated Five Delightful Divas by AJ Llewellyn and a Diva Recommended Book.
Maen is a Gold Warrior, a defender of Aza City, a world controlled by the Queen and her womankind where the best of men are maintained for the military and the women's pleasure. A favorite of his imperious Mistress and a leader among his men, Maen is too cautious to seek casual sexual satisfaction and so stays alone, taking his comfort in ensuring a stable and controlled world. That world is thrown into disarray by Dax, a bold and challenging new Bronze soldier who excites Maen with his fierce hero worship and leads them to a forbidden affair. They find themselves thrown together in a dangerous and hostile environment without the support of the City and far away from their loyalties, and Maen finds himself risking everything for Dax – his position; his loyalties; and eventually, his life.
Summary: Maen has always prided himself on being the perfect soldier, the perfect Gold Warrior, the perfect man. He has dedicated his life to his city and his Mistress and never dreams of any other life.
Then along comes Dax, a Remainder boy who manages, through sheer determination, to be Chosen into one of the finest Households in the City. All he's ever wanted was a place to belong, a place to feel he isn't second best.
Dax has awakened something in Maen the Gold Warrior has ruthlessly suppressed his entire life. He has kept it so well hidden, the last to recognize it for what it is is Maen himself. When a tragic attack from the Exiles on the city takes the lives of some of his men and leaves Maen and Dax prisoners outside the City and everything they've known, they have to rely on one another to find a way home. The trouble is, some doors, once open, can neverbe closed, and there's truth in the saying, you can never go back.
My review: I have to admit to a certain bias here. I've read and liked Clare's short stories before now, so I was glad of the opportunity to spend a little more time with her characters and exploring her world. I wasn't disappointed. Clare has a knack for creating characters who, while flawed, are still very likeable, rounded, easy to root for heroes. (Even the ones you don't like, but that, literally, is another story).
Let's talk about unreliable narrators for a minute. When I began this book, I was a good way in and I kept thinking, this just isn't like her. Everything is happening off set, just outside the frame. It was frustrating to the point of distraction. Maen was walking through this story of his life and we were being told about what happened to him through third parties. Constantly. It seemed like such an odd mistake for Clare to make, and such an obvious one for her editor not to pick up on.
Then came the tipping point in the story. The tragic turn of events that took Maen away from his 'comfortable' life in the City, taking his Devotions like every good soldier does, and bingo. Suddenly we begin to see the world, and Maen, through his own, slowly clearing eyes. Here is an example of taking a seemingly inviolate rule and flagrantly breaking it. Because Maen as a character can't see his life or himself clearly because of the drugs he's being fed, neither can we. Once the veil is lifted, Maen becomes the character everyone around him wants him to be, or, in some cases, is afraid he might become. It's beautifully done. In retrospective.
I suspect the difficulty I had at the beginning of the book has to do less with the technique used to illustrate Maen's character growth than it does with another technical stumble; Clare's finely crafted characters seem to be floating in space a bit.
While I love and empathize with the characters, and am eager to read book two to find out what happens to them, I have no real feel for the City, for their planet, for the world they live in. There are frustratingly spare glimpses of what appears to be a rich, compelling, completely alien society, unlike anything I've come across before. This book could easily have expanded another 50% by developing that society, the planet, the City, the entire backdrop, and not lost one bit of its impact. There is so much to explore and so little time taken to do so. Given the complexity of the society in which these men live, Clare has quite obviously put a lot of thought into how it all works, but in my opinion, left out a little bit too much. I didn't feel comfortable with the lack of a sense of place, time and history.
Be that as it may, once I realized what was going on with the narration at the beginning, I found things picked up considerably, and I had a hard time putting the book down. I have to say, for those of you who might be surprised, the first intimate scene in the book is het. And wonderfully done. All the sex scenes are. There is no ambiguity here. Maen is not conflicted in his desires as far as his physical release is concerned. (His heart is a different matter, but isn't that the whole point?) It's nice to see a bisexual character just be what he is without it being an issue. All in all, I was pretty sure taking time to dip into this author's world would be time well spent, and I was right.
My recommendation: I bought the book for my shelf. Read it. Read book two. (I'm confident enough to say this without having read it yet myself - it isn't even out yet!) and just for fun, read the other story I mentioned earlier and the second part
Four and a half delightful divas
Love triangles. Alien monsters. Planetary war. Just another day in space.
Sebastien ven Hester, decorated war hero and captain of the sentient cargo ship Naurus, can face any danger—except his own feelings. Jason North, his pilot, finds out the hard way that Seb’s not ready for a relationship after his recent divorce. And Jatila Kan, their engineer, discovers her feelings for North aren’t returned—because her lover’s pining after another man.
Not the best situation for a crew starting a three-week run across the galaxy.
But there are bigger terrors in space than their messy love triangle. A ruthless, horrifying enemy stands ready to test them to their physical and emotional limits.
Failure means certain death not only to themselves and their passengers, but to the entire planetary alliance.
Warning: This title contains explicit sex, a messy love triangle, sniping, bad language and ravening space monsters.
Interstitial takes the reader to a lot of places. At first your entangled in a love triangle: a heartbroken spouse who has gone through a not-so-ugly divorce, a bitter, rejected lover, and a young man trying to juggle the emotions of an ex-lover while being in love himself. As soon as you’ve settled down and begin to get comfortable with the situation the author switches gears, keeping it interesting. Once the Karhal came into the picture I sped through the reading of this book like white-lightning. It’s like one of the good science fiction movies you come across from time to time, where you never know what’s around the corner. The snippy scenes at the beginning of the book and the unrequited romance was a little frustrating at first, but the author pulled it together in the end. Interstitial certainly packs a punch. Hey, I’m still seeing stars.
Four Delightful Divas
Warnings: Contains graphic m/m sexual contact between consenting adults, language, and violence.
History repeats itself in the small Mississippi River town of
Bauman Creek when two star-crossed lovers met their end during one of the
darkest times in the history of the United States. Over a century later,
six academics arrive at the site of their demise, Evans House, a haunted
place, to oversee an inheritance passed to the State of Illinois by the
last of the Evans family. Three of those people, Tristan Pryce, Catherine
Mullin, and Jake Bauman will come face to face with the secrets of this
place in a way they never imagined. Secrets can never be buried deep
enough though and amidst its dark halls, the shadows seem to whisper.
Marcus Havers, a seasoned homicide investigator with the Illinois State
Police, finds himself also drawn into the shadows. Called in to
investigate the violence unleashed within its walls, he discovers that
science cannot always explain everything and gradually, these strangers
are pulled deeper into a nightmare, one that some may not escape.
Amidst the darkness, the attraction between Tristan and Jake grows, one
that may save or destroy both of them. Together they must face the
darkness, survive a nightmare unleashed, and discover what lies hidden in
the shadows if they are to survive.
They know you are here and they will not rest. Not until they receive what
they desire. Be afraid of the shadows…
Shadows Beneath is a very engaging novel. The main characters, Tristan and Jake, are beautifully realized: unique, appealing, and flawed enough to be relatable. Their relationship develops in a realistically paced way that gives the reader time to get to know and like them. Tristan, while physically attracted to Jake, finds Jake a bit too eccentric to trust at first. Jake’s religious beliefs and troubled past cause Tristan to proceed slowly. When the characters can no longer fight their desires, though, the love scenes between them are quite well done, a perfect blending of erotic detail and very believable love and commitment.
Likewise, the author has taken the time to imbue the secondary characters with as much detail and life as the primary couple. The people inhabiting Evans House all have very distinct and authentic motivations and personalities. Many of the characters have endearing quirks. There are a fair amount of people who come and go throughout the course of the novel, and I honestly found even the most insignificant of them to be very nicely fleshed out.
The plot of the book, while containing some recycled material, is fast paced and full of enough new twists to keep it unpredictable and compelling. In some ways Shadows Beneath is a classic ghost story, but it also contains some very original and surprising elements. The action begins early on and builds to a crescendo as the novel races toward the end. It is a credit to the skill of the author that, with so many plot twists and so much happening, often all at once, the story is never confusing. My only real criticism of this book is that some of the coincidences that drive the plot felt a little too unlikely. I was not, however, distracted enough by these few stretches that my enjoyment of the story was diminished. The conclusion of Shadows Beneath was very satisfying in that all of the victories experienced by the characters are tainted by tragedy. One is left with a sense of how precious friendship, family, life and love are, and how quickly they can be lost.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dark paranormal romance, and especially to those readers who enjoy Gothic romance like the old Dark Shadows television show. The author has a very poetic style. Some of the imagery in the book is absolutely breathtaking. And of course, the hot m/m sex scenes are a definite bonus! I hope I have not seen the last of Tristan and Jake, and I’ll be looking forward to Jesse Fox’s next offering.
4.5 Delightful Divas
Lucas Taylor is a hard-working New York City fireman at Station 127, dedicated to his job, even though it has brought him heartrending tragedy - the loss of his lover, Ryan, in an explosion a year ago.
Evan Singer is the new guy in town, a paramedic transferred into Station 127 from San Antonio, and he sets his eyes on Lucas from the get-go.
Neither knowing who the other is, their first meeting is explosive, a night of passion and desire that awakens something inside Lucas he never thought he’d feel again.
But when Lucas discovers that Evan is a paramedic, it all comes crashing down. For despite the feelings he has for Evan, Lucas has vowed to never again get involved with someone on the job, after losing Ryan to it.
Can Evan convince Lucas to open up his heart and take a chance on love again, despite who Evan is?
Evan agrees to take things slow since it's obvious that Lucas is recovering from the loss of his lover.
Whether they like to get into trouble or ride to the rescue, the boys of Another Fine Mess will leave you wanting more. Featuring authors Lee Benoit, Cassidy Ryan and Laney Cairo, these stories will make you wonder how the guys will ever get out of the messes they make, and thrill you when they do!
List of Stories:
Dragonwalker by Lee Benoit
Blood Rubies by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks
Hunter’s Kiss by Margaret Leigh
Finding Trouble by Misa Izanaki
Magenta by Camilla Bruce
Unfinished Business by Laney Cairo
The Alpha Bet by Cassidy Ryan
Unravel by Mychael Black
A Jolly Good Idea by Syd McGinley
Bruised Knuckles and Bars by Julia Talbot
Reviewer: Sage Whistler
Overall rating: Recommended Read( 5 Delightful Divas)
By Lee Benoit
Dragon and dog are two words I never would have associated with each other, but the author manages to pull it off smoothly. Dragonwalker is a prime example of imagination at its best. Though brief, I enjoyed the main characters. Endi was a likeable, well rounded person, and it was joy to see the world through his eyes. The Chief’s strong/wise character was a good match to the innocents Endi harbored, which bordered on being painfully naïve. This short read is definitely a gem.
4 Delightful Divas
By Angela Sparrow and Naomi Brooks
I love to see authors spread out and integrate all manner of cultures in their writing. The main character of Blood rubies is a Moroccan, young man named Samir. I found his character to be sweet and charming, and his limited use of the English language endearing. The story was a delightful surprise, and the ending was very satisfying.
5 Delightful Divas
By Margaret Leigh
Wow! This story starts off with a bang, and doesn’t let up until the end. The story was fast paced, and packed with action. You really get a sense of the emotions of the characters. It’s dark and gripping, and all I kept thinking was that the character’s motivations could have been summed up in one word, desperation.
5 Delightful Divas
By Misa Izanaki
Dante’s personality proved to be as adorable as his looks in this enjoyable, short read. Horns, cat tails, and vampires! What’s not to like? The premise is slightly recycled, but the twist in the middle was a nice touch. I think readers will appreciate this as a light read, but those as spoiled as I am by vivid description might be a tad disappointed with the love scenes featured therein. However, it did not detract from the story, and was not necessarily needed.
4.5 Delightful Divas
Magenta: The Romance of the Scarlet and the Red
By Camilla Bruce
Another Fine Mess, indeed! Ms. Bruce has a knack for words and poetry fine writing. The descriptions were stellar, the interactions between Red and Scarlet sizzling, and the plot was fun. This was definitely my favorite story, and I look forward to more works from this talented author.
5 Delightful Divas
Undercover Business: An Undercover Blues Story
By Lane Cairo
It took me a few minutes of reading Undercover Business to realize I knew the characters. I had purchased and read Undercover Blues some time ago, and I was happy to have this brief interlude into the lives of Jason and Ryan again. This installment created a somber mood, which was missing in the other stories. There was also a hard edged, gritty undertone to this story that made it seem more like nonfiction. All around it was an engrossing read.
4.5 Delightful Divas
The Alpha Bet
By Cassidy Ryan
This anthology is so diverse, and here we have the budding relationship of a Sub and Dom. Though Grey and West have been together for a few years, this is the first time they explore their true nature with each other. The story was very engaging, and although it was one of the shortest, the author did an excellent job portraying just how much the main characters care for each other. This story is just how I like my beef, well done.
4.5 Delightful Divas
By Mychael Black
Unravel was hot enough to put my monitor in meltdown. The action between Dan and Philip kick off from the first page and then snowballs from there. The title really suits the story because Dan surely knows how to unravel his Philip. Here we get to see what happens when work interferes with relationships, and the way these guys solve it…well, it works for me.
5 Delightful Divas
A Jolly Good Idea
By Syd McGinley
Here we are introduced to a baron and his submissive partner, Ryan. The story is told through Ryan’s eyes and the reader follows him and his love on their vacation to London where they meet the baron’s (Hugh) family. The writer portrays Ryan’s feelings so well that the reader shares in them: his awkwardness when meeting his lover’s family, his frustration with his limited intimacy concerning Hugh, and his dejection when he feels like an outcast in Hugh’s family. One thing I thought was missing was a spark between the two characters. Although I adored Ryan, I couldn’t help but find the baron a tad bit selfish and arrogant. In most instances the affection came off as one-sided. Nevertheless, I read the story straight through, and was probably just as relieved about how the story ended as Ryan was.
4 Delightful Divas
Bruised Knuckles and Bars
By Julia Talbot
There is something to be said for good humor. And this short read is chock full of it. This story managed to pull a left turn every time I thought we were going right. I thought at first that Eli would pick Ross and Jed up from the jail, but I was wrong. Then I thought surely the second phone call would do the trick. Wrong again. It never even entered my mind that they would get out themselves. I was right about one thing though; even cowboys getting up there in their years still know how to keep things interesting. Ms. Talbot’s knack for weaving genuine and loveable characters with vibrant personalities clearly shines through in this terrific tale.
5 Delightful Divas
4 Delightful Divas
Mercykill is about a Japanese heavy metal band (aka visual kei in Japan) whose members wind up in a situation they never would have considered possible. Without giving any spoilers for book two, which isn't out yet, I can say this about the first book, Shattered Melody Mercykill is on their way to fame as the newest visual kei band to hit the big time in Japan. But from the heights of fame to the depths of crushing sorrow takes but an instant. Can the band recover from senseless tragedy and salvage their lives from the ashes of despair?
Mercykill: Shattered Melody was a roller coaster ride of intense emotions. Mr. Barnette manages to weave a story that is both an edge of your seat thriller and a sensual masterpiece. This story packs a punch; evoking sympathy, anger, and joy in every page. You know a story has engulfed your entire psyche when you're talking to the characters. I fell in love with Takeshi, Akira, and Juro and I hope to read more about these characters in the future. I am definitely a fan of Mercykill.
Five Delightful Divas
Nikolai by Angelia Sparrow
James Ligatos is a man with an unusual hobby. He turns promising young criminals into world leaders. His latest project is Nicholas Boyd, formerly Nikolai of the Revenant street gang. But the little killer-turned-file-clerk is much more than Ligatos and his staff bargained for. As Kentucky attempts to secede from the Confederated States of America and rejoin the United States, Nick's skills and the group's training are put to the ultimate test, and the price of failure is death.
Nicolai's career as a prominent gang leader ends with his nineteenth birthday and his business life begins. When the Revenants approach him for one last job, he takes it even though getting caught will mean prison, probably for life. After all, just being himself could get him jailed in this frightening future reality. Unfortunately, Nick does get caught, and if he thought his life as a gang member was an exciting bit of living on the edge, he's in for a shock. His new benefactor has much higher expectations of him. The question is, can Nick curb his tongue long enough to figure out what his new Boss really wants with him?
Okay, folks. If you thought it was impossible to include every possible permutation of bedroom antics in one book, Angelia Sparrow is about to prove you wrong. And if you thought you'd never be able to root for a thief and a murderer, think again. Nicolai might not be an angel, but it's tough not to like him anyway. Just about everyone who meets him certainly manages to get along with him; or, at least, get it on with him. No matter what your taste, this book has it all; male on male, het, masters, slaves, lovers, the whole nine yards. And a plot, to boot. You know when there's theft, sex and murder in the first chapter you're in for a ride, and Miss Sparrow certainly doesn't disappoint on that front.
If I have one complaint, it is that the background politics are underdeveloped, but who wants to read about politics when there's so much bed hopping going on? Though this book does sport a plot into which all that sex fits, it serves mostly as backdrop for what's really going on. And what's really going on is the creation of a power dynamic at least as complex as the politics the characters have to deal with, only this play is a heck of a lot hotter.
I give this book four delightful divas for the sheer audacity of the author in throwing all that variety in there without throwing me out of the story. Good work.
On the Island of O'ahu, vacationing Toshi meets the Speedo-clad Kristopher, a stunning Hawaiian medical student who sometimes needs "to be a little less" than his serious life affords him to be. As the two embark upon a game throughout the streets of Waikiki, Toshi learns that sometimes he needs to be "something more" than he has let himself be.
Mahape a ale Wala 'au was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Some parts of the story read like fine poetry, and I was so enthralled by this gem of a story that I didn't realize I was on the last page until I read the last sentence. The author did an exceptional job with making me feel, as a reader, as if I were there with Toshi; viewing the landscape, and socializing with the people. The emotional depth and the sensual aspect of Mahape a ale Wala 'au was so well blended that it fairly steamed my computer in more ways then one. I definitely recommend this story, and I look forward to reading more works from Mr. Bens. Five Delightful Divas