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Author Archives: Sadonna

Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy - Alex JeffersTitle: Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy
Author: Alex Jeffers
Publisher: Lethe Press
Length: 130k words
Genre: Gay Fiction
Heat: 2 – Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Dreams, Delusions, Coming of Age, 1990s, Italian Renaissance, Poetry, Parents, Divorce, Family Issues, Secrets & Lies, Economic Downturn
Rating: So So

Reviewed by Sadonna

BLURB

oneiromancy
noun
the interpretation of dreams in order to foretell the future.

Sleep deprivation does funny things to your head. Steeped in the romance of Renaissance Italian literature, Ben Lansing isn’t coping well with the routines of his first post-college job, his daily commute from Providence, Rhode Island, to Boston, the inevitable insomnia and lack of sleep, or the peculiarly vivid dreams when he does manage to sleep.

For Ben ”wished to be a paladin. He wished to mount Ariosto’s hippogriff and fly to the moon. He wished to sing a Baroque aria of stunning, shocking brilliance, bringing the audience to its feet roaring, ‘Bravo! Bravissimo!’ He wished to run mad for love.”

When Ben encounters a lost prince squatting in a derelict South Boston warehouse with his little sister and elder brother, exiles of an imaginary Italy, he resolves to rescue Dario and Dario’s family and himself. Stumbling from dream to real life and back again, Ben begins a fabulous quest. Amid visions of futures, pasts, strangely altered presents, he encounters mythic personages raffish bike messenger/artist Neddy, dilettante translator Kenneth, his own mother and father. He falls in and out of love. He witnesses the flight of the hippogriff and the collapses of the New England economy and his parents’ marriage. He discovers what he never knew he was looking for all along.

In Deprivation, a novel as real as a fairy tale or romantic Renaissance epic, neither Ben nor the reader can ever feel certain of being awake or dreaming, walking the streets of Boston or the mazy paths of dreamland. Can you separate wish from fulfilment? Do you want to?

REVIEW

I’m not even sure I can describe this book.  The best synopsis I can come up with is what a long strange trip it’s been.  Honestly at some points I wished I was on drugs reading this.

The story starts with a dream/hallucination/delusion – not sure how to even possibly describe it.  The reader has no idea what is going on with Ben, our main character.  It seems like he’s maybe on a bender or something and he comes across these squatters in South Boston.  Or does he??

Ben is a temporary placement agency employee who finds temp jobs for people.  It’s the early 90s and the economy is in the dumps.  Originally from California, he’s got a degree in Comparative Literature – always a marketable skill.  He has taken the job in Boston and he commutes from his college apartment in Providence that he is loathe to give up but which leaves him quite sleep deprived. (At this I had to laugh.  I’m more than twice his age and I’m before 5 every day and have a 60 mile commute by bus into Chicago every day.  I’m out of my house most days by 6 and can be home anywhere from 6 to 7:30 each night.)  He is nearly run down one winter day by Neddy, a bike messenger who then proceeds to insure that they will see each other again.

Ben’s co-worker, Jane, then wants to introduce him to another guy – one of her temp workers.  He claims that he’s not gay, but apparently he likes to dabble and he seems to like Ben.  Turns out he’s a wealthy guy who is also quite well educated and is going to be translating and book and needs to take a trip.  He might need an apartment sitting while he is gone.  Ben still does not want to give up his Providence apartment for some reason.

Finally we meet Liam, Ben’s on-again, off-again college boyfriend. He apparently has a key and lets himself in whenever he’s in town and has the urge to see Ben.  He’s Irish and a grad student.  But is he real?  We don’t really know.

Lastly among Ben’s potential paramours, he gets a letter from his old prep school Italian teacher/soccer coach and he’s coming to Boston on business as he’s left teaching and maybe they can get together. He was Ben’s favorite teacher. In addition, it seems that Ben’s mother is a novelist who is getting some notice.  In her latest book, which Ben gets a galley copy to read, she writes about a woman who is married to a doctor has a gay son who is HIV-positive and a family trip to Italy where the husband is discovered with a man.  Ben is furious with his mother and they have already had words – via a letter about this book.  He is disinclined to read it, but then his father calls. Ian, Ben’s father, admits that his mother has asked him to leave and that he is in fact gay and even though Ben already knows this in his heart, it’s another blow.   He has in the past suggested to his father that they should go their own ways, but Ian was having none of it.

Both Ben’s parents end up visiting him and there is of course quite a bit of family drama.  Ian and Sandra, Ben’s mother in a surprise move, arrive the next evening in Boston.  Ian tries to convince Ben to come back to California.  Ben confesses his strange dreams/hallucinations and chalks it up to his sleep deprivation although he asks his father’s take on it – like maybe he is crazy.  He also gets a disturbing call from Jane at the office.

After Ben’s parents leave, he has another encounter with Neddy that eventually results in him reaching out to Kenneth.  He takes Ben to get his hair cut and he meets Colin, Kenneth’s hair stylist.  Colin has his own opinion about Kenneth’s sexuality. Nothing is clear about any of these relationships but Ben is looking forward to Paul’s visit.

Throughout the novel, we also have this underlying current of Italian Renaissance literature and the imagery that entails. Ben has some vivid dreams/hallucinations of participating in this fantasy/fairy tale.

Boy where to start on this review.  This was nearly a DNF for me, but I can say I’ve only given up on one book in the past 10 years.  The beginning of this book reads like a 70s drug trip experience.  The reader doesn’t know what’s real, what’s dream, what’s delusion for Ben.  I was probably at least 30% in before I thought it might be worth finishing and even then I wasn’t sure.  I’m a fairly educated and well-traveled person.  I have a liberal arts degree and nearly a science degree as well, I’ve been to Italy, I have season tickets to the opera but this book made me feel stupid.  I just didn’t get it.  I kept thinking that I was missing something.  I still think I am.  It took me forever to read it and I had to go over a lot of it more than once because it just didn’t make sense to me.

The prose is interesting (although there are a few artifices and quirks that I didn’t like), but the story left me cold.  At the end, I really didn’t care what happened to any of these characters.  It’s not a good thing that the dream characters introduced at the beginning of the story elicited the most interest and empathy from me.  I didn’t care for Ben’s parents at all.  Everybody in this story has a LOT of issues and finally, I just didn’t care.  I’m not sure who is the target audience for this story, but I guess it wasn’t me.


Collusion - Eden WintersTitle: Collusion
Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Amber Allure
Length: 70,000 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: Series, Sequel, Pharmacy, Hospitals, Kids with Cancer, Partners, Drug shortages, Grey Markets, Profiteering, PTSD, ex-Military, Drugs, Addiction, Undercover, Cops/Crime, Mystery
Rating: Really Like It!

Reviewed by Sadonna

Note:  This is the second in a series.  As such, there are spoilers for the first story in this book.  It is not recommended that these books be read out of sequence.

BLURB

Dead men can’t love.

Former drug trafficker Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter “died” in the line of duty while working off a ten-year sentence in service to the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau, only to be reborn as Simon “Lucky” Harrison. The newbie he trained, former Marine Bo Schollenberger, is now his partner on (and maybe off) the job. It’s hard to tell when Lucky doesn’t understand relationships or have a clue what any sane human is doing in his bed. Bo’s nice to have around, sure, but there’s none of that picking-out-china-together crap for Lucky.

While fighting PTSD, memories of a horrid childhood, and a prescription drug addiction, Bo is paying for his mistakes. Using his pharmacy license for the good guys provides the sort of education he never got in school. Undercover with his hard-headed partner, Bo learns that not everything is as it seems in the world of pharmaceuticals.

When a prescription drug shortage jeopardizes the patients at Rosario Children’s Cancer Center, it not only pits Bo and Lucky against predatory opportunists, but also each other. How can they tell who the villains are? The bad guys don’t wear black hats, but they might wear white coats.

REVIEW

This is definitely a sequel that lives up to the first book.  If you haven’t read Diversion yet, go and get it right away.  These are really good books!

Lucky is “reincarnated” in this story after his untimely demise in the first story.  He and Bo, his partner, have both been on assignment separately and are finally back in town together.  Lucky is trying to figure out what the deal is between the two of them – he’s never been in a “relationship” before and he has no idea what he’s doing but he does know that his thoughts are scaring him a little bit.  Their time together at home is short-lived however and they are once again partnered on a new assignment at a children’s cancer hospital. Lucky is assigned to shipping and receiving and Bo is assigned to Procurement as an assistant buyer.  They are trying to find out what is happening with the drug shortages and where the drugs are coming from and how they are being funneled to the hospital in the “grey market”  – not quite illegal but pretty unethical with gouging of prices.  Critical drugs are in short supply and so hospitals and doctors are having to decide on less effective courses of treatment or rationing of the available drugs.

As soon as they get to the hospital, Bo is involved in some heart-wrenching meetings.  Kids are not getting the treatment they need because of the drug shortages.  Bo is killing himself trying to help and trying to locate drugs.  He’s even working to try to make the drugs since he still has his pharmacist license.  It’s a bloody mess and things are only getting worse.  Lucky tries to keep him from getting too emotionally involved which makes Bo very angry with him. Little does he know just how emotionally involved Lucky has gotten as well.

When the head buyer is fired, Bo becomes the target of disgruntled parents and the press.  Lucky calls in the cavalry and it turns out that Lucky’s distrust and his instincts are right on again.  The drug shortage has led to all sorts of characters acting in unforeseen ways that leads to catastrophic results.  As they get closer and closer to finding out who is responsible for tainted drugs being administered, Lucky once again finds himself in danger and in only true Lucky fashion.

After sources are uncovered and a number of the culprits escape the long arm of the law, Lucky can’t live with waiting around to see if they will surface.  Acting on his own he’s willing to take risks to finish his job.  I don’t want to be too spoilery but there is a lot of action in this story and a lot of different twists and turns.  Lucky does a lot of soul searching in this one and he also realizes something about his feeling and Bo 🙂

I really really liked this story!  Once again, I learned a lot reading from Eden about the grey markets and what happens when drugs are in short supply.  Fascinating and scary details are woven into this narrative that should give patients and health care professionals pause.  I had no idea this was going on!  Besides learning a lot about something I was surprised was happening, I really loved spending time with Bo and Lucky again.  I find Lucky to be a lovable curmudgeonly character and I always look forward to seeing what he’ll do next.  Predictable is NOT in his vocabulary.  I really liked seeing him crack open the clam shell of his heart in this one.  He and Bo have both been through a lot and while Bo doesn’t necessarily always agree with Lucky he does try to understand him.  Even when he’s mad at Lucky, he know that when the chips are down Lucky will be there for him.  They make a great couple and I cannot wait for the next book to see where their new adventures will take us.


safewordTitle: Safeword
Author: AJ Rose
Publisher: Voodoo Lilly Press
Length: 110,000 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary BDSM Mystery Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sexy to Story
Keywords/Tags: Series, Sequel, Cops, Psychologists, PTSD, Serial Killer, Family, Child Abduction & Abuse, Obsession, Paparazzi!, HEA
Rating: Loved It!

Reviewed by Sadonna

****Spoiler alert****

This is a sequel to Power Exchange and as such contains quite a few spoilers for that book.  It is NOT recommended to read these books out of sequence.

BLURB

Everywhere Detective Gavin DeGrassi looks he’s reminded of his attack by the Breath Play Killer. It’s in the house he lives in with his partner and Dom, Ben Haverson. It’s in the sympathetic yet pitying looks he receives from his fellow detectives when he returns to the force after a year-long hiatus. It’s in the suffocating coddling of his entire family, and the relentless reporter demanding an exclusive of his ordeal.



Most of all, it’s in his lack of submission to Ben, who isn’t convinced Gavin’s recovered enough to trust the power exchange between them.



The miraculous recovery of two teen boys from a twisted kidnapper gives him heart, and Gavin’s determined to prove he can handle anything despite increasing strain between him and Ben, painful nightmares, and panic when anyone touches him.



But his next case is too close for comfort: a friend and colleague found raped and murdered in a fate chillingly similar to what could have been his own, and this killer isn’t stopping with one cop. As the body count rises and taunting souvenirs are being hand-delivered to Gavin, he faces a frustrating lack of leads, a crushing need to prove himself, and a sinking suspicion the imprisoned kidnapper’s reach is further than originally thought. A miasma of uncertainty and fear threaten to suffocate him when he asks a question with which he’s overwhelmingly familiar: what happens when a victim is pushed too far?

REVIEW

Safeword begins about a year after the events of Power Exchange.  Gavin and Ben are still together and Gavin has just returned to work after a year’s disability leave.  He’s been through intensive therapy with Ben’s partner Laura and he and Ben are also seeing her as a couple.  Things seem to be going OK with his return to work and his partner, Myah, who is now engaged to his brother Cole.  While Gavin is still dealing with some residual anxiety, he is able to work effectively even when his first case back turns out to be the murder of a fellow police officer.  And it’s not just any officer, but a colleague of Gavin and Myah’s who broke a big case involving two abducted teens and the man who was holding them hostage – one for a number of years.  This case may or may not be related to his murder.

As Gavin and Myah are investigating the case, there doesn’t seem to be any real motive or potential suspects but Gavin can’t help feeling there is some connection between the murder and the victim’s last big case.  While there are no real leads in the case, another cop is murdered and there are some potentially disturbing similarities between the murders and some coincidences that can’t be ignored.  This of course brings more stress to Myah and particularly Gavin who is still dealing with his own recovery and anxiety.  The other annoying issue is the reappearance of Gavin’s former partner Trent, who it turns out is still with Gavin’s ex-wife.  Trent has done nothing but bad-mouth Gavin since he was run out of their precinct after being caught in bed with Victoria, Gavin’s ex.  He’s a complete pain in the ass, but it turns out that he has a really disgusting skeleton in his closet that he doesn’t want public, so he tows the line – at least being civil.  And only for a little while.

Things have not gotten back to normal between Ben and Gavin in their sex life and while they haven’t given up getting back to their Dom/Sub relationship, things are moving much more slowly than Gavin would like. However, Ben is unwilling to risk Gavin’s psyche any more than it already has been compromised.  They are continuing to work on their relationship and Gavin’s limits, but he has to push Ben to get any forward movement. This is further complicated by a third cop murder and the murderer’s fixation on Gavin. Regardless of what precautions Gavin and Ben and the force take to protect him, there continue to be breaches in Gavin’s security. Needless to say, Gavin once again being in the crosshairs of a killer takes a toll on him and Ben.

If you read my review of the previous book, Power Exchange, you know that I was somewhat disappointed in the mystery and particularly with the resolution of the case and the identification of the murderer.  No such complaints with this book.  The murder mystery is really well done with some surprising twists and turns and some good police work by Gavin and Myah along with another nail biter of a climax.  There are plenty of villains to hate in this one and some pretty good payback as well, which really did give me some perverse satisfaction unlike the end of the first book 😉

The other central story of this book is the ongoing love story of Gavin and Ben.  I though the first book was incredible in describing the progression of their relationship.  It was incredibly intimate and intense and hot and so well written.  This part of the story in this book does not have that same level of intensity, but it is still really well written and very intimate.  Ben and Gavin are still trying to find their way back to themselves and each other in the aftermath of their ordeal in Power Exchange.  They are working through all of the issues together and they are incredibly committed to making things better and getting back to where they were before.  There are some really hard moments for them in this story but the one fundamental factor that prevails over everything else is their love for each other and what they are willing to do to fight for that love.

I really loved this book – so much so that I went back and reread Power Exchange again because I couldn’t get enough of Gavin and Ben.  I don’t know if A.J. Rose is planning to write more about these two, but I’d definitely read it!


Weight of Silence (Cost of Repairs #3) - AM ArthurTitle: Weight of Silence (Cost of Repairs #3)
Author: AM Arthur
Publisher: Samhain
Length: 51k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 – Mild & Sexy
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: Series, Coming Out, YA Characters, Hurt/Comfort, Sisters, Family Drama, Abuse, Deadbeat Dad, College, HFN, Past Couples’ Cameos, Thanksgiving, Christmas
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Sadonna

BLURB

The wrong secret can poison everything–even if it’s kept with the best of intentions.

Gavin Perez knows he’s a living cliché. He works a dead-end job, shares a trailer with his waitress mom, has an abusive, absentee sperm donor, and he’s poor. So color him shocked when middle-class, white-bread Jace Ramsey agrees to hang out with him.

Granted, Gavin is trying to make up for dumping a bowl of cranberry sauce on Jace at Thanksgiving. And boy, is Gavin forgiven, over and over again…until Jace goes back to college for finals and stops returning Gavin’s calls.

Back home from the semester from hell, Jace doesn’t want to do anything but sleep through the holidays. It’s easier than coming out to his family—or facing Gavin’s hurt. But Gavin’s ready forgiveness draws them back together, and Jace won’t be able to stay in the closet much longer.

Nor will he be able to keep hiding his pain. He trusts Gavin with his body, maybe even with his heart. But can he trust that a devastating secret that’s eating him up inside won’t destroy everything—and everyone—he loves?

Product Warnings
This book contains one slightly hyperactive hero from the wrong side of town, a frustrated college student looking for a little life experience, and an unexpected romance amid dark secrets that just won’t stay buried. Also contains references to physical abuse some readers may find disturbing.

REVIEW

This is the third book in the Cost of Repairs series. While this story takes place in the same town as the first two novels, there isn’t a lot of crossover and it can be read as a standalone story. The couples from the previous two stories briefly appear in this book, but it’s not really necessary to have read them before this one.

Every year for Thanksgiving, Dixie, who owns the local diner, Dixie’s Cup, throws a large Thanksgiving potluck dinner that is attended by a lot of folks in town. All of her employees and a number of her friends as well as her nephew and his partner also are invited. This year Gavin and his mom (who works at Dixie’s) are also there along with the Ramseys. Keith Ramsey is one of the local police officers and he keeps an eye on Dixie’s and of course has been friends with her for years. Gavin and Jace have a small accident with some cranberry relish that results in them talking really for the first time. Gavin has been out since he was 14 and he’s pretty sure Jace is gay but he doesn’t seem to be out. Surprisingly though he agrees to go to a party with Gavin over the Thanksgiving weekend.

While Jace has some misgivings about the location of the party, he ends up having a decent time and then he and Gavin go out to the lake to park. He’s never really done anything with a guy before – beyond some awkward groping and kissing – and boy does he want to with Gavin. Gavin recognizes the deer in the headlights look about Jace though and he takes things slow. Jace is in his sophomore year at Temple [University] and Gavin is about 4 years older, so he lets Jace take the lead and set the pace.

Several weeks later Jace is home for Christmas break and he’s not at all acting like himself. He’s not eating, he’s moody, and he’s uncommunicative with his family and just generally stressed out. When his mom forces him to make an appearance at their annual Christmas party, he comes face to face with Gavin. He’s shocked that Gavin even speaks to him since he had ignored all communication from him since Thanksgiving break. Jace feels guilty and explains it away that he had finals and then he had to change his number because of harassing texts and calls. Gavin amazingly accepts these excuses and they start to hang out again. Jace is not happy to be home, he’s not happy at college and he’s pretty much avoiding his family. Regardless, Gavin is happy to be spending so much time with Jace. He and Jace hang out at Gavin’s trailer quite a bit since Gavin’s mom is working and Jace isn’t out to his family. Although Gavin recognizes that Jace is tense, he chalks it up to his worry about grades and his unhappiness and being forced to go to college when he doesn’t really want to be there.

As the break continues, Jace’s family and particularly his twin sister Rachel become more concerned about his behavior. He’s not eating and as a consequence has lost a noticeable amount of weight and seems to be getting weaker. When he does try to eat, he seems to get sick quite a lot. Things come to a head with his family and Gavin really helps out. There are things that no one knows that have happened at school and Jace feels guilty and betrayed and is dealing with an incredible amount of stress and self-loathing. While Jace meant well and made a decision out of the desire to protect someone he loves, he has suffered some pretty awful consequences. Without being spoilery, luckily for Jace, Gavin is a great guy and steps up when he needs to.

I am a fan of this author and really liked the previous two books in this series. For me, this story is not quite as strong as the first two in the series. I think that the ages of the guys and the things they were dealing with were not quite as compelling as the first two. This book is also not as long as the previous two installments. Or maybe it’s just that I’m old 😉 I really, really liked Gavin especially. His personality I thought really was conveyed especially well in this story. Jace grows a lot in this story and learns a great deal about himself, his family and what he wants out of life. I enjoyed seeing Rey and Samuel from the first book in a small supporting role and also Dixie and company from the diner. This is a well-written series and I would happen to revisit Stratton, PA in the future should the opportunity arise.


loversentwined_9781419941658_msrTitle: Lovers Entwined
Author: Lillian Francis
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Length: 98,968 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Paranormal Historical Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between (2 scenes between the MCs)
Keywords/Tags: WWI, Pirates, Revolutionary War, British, Paranormal Dreams, Genealogy, Bisexual, Tragedy, Separated Lovers, HEA
Rating: Pretty Good

Reviewed by Sadonna

BLURB

Ewan is one of Boston’s leading genealogy experts. When a would-be bridegroom comes looking for confirmation that there are no skeletons in his ancestral closet, Ewan considers turning the job down. Trey is a jerk of the highest order and yet Ewan experiences an infuriating attraction that’s easy to justify. Trey’s exactly his type—a carbon copy of the man Ewan’s been looking for his entire life.

Harder to explain is the sense of recognition that leaves Ewan speechless the moment Trey steps into his office. Or the stomach-churning sensation at the thought of casting the job aside.

Trey gets more appealing by the day, leaving Ewan struggling with forbidden desire for his client. Desire not helped by strange voyeuristic dreams that have started to haunt his sleep. Dreams that appear to be an echo of the past…

REVIEW

Ewan Matthews and Trey Capell are thrown together when Ewan proposes to his girlfriend of 4 years and his prospective father-in-law, a rich political candidate running for Mayor in Boston, decides that he needs to “vet” his daughter’s boyfriend’s family before they can announce the engagement.  Ewan is the genealogist that Trey is sent to and together then uncover some very interesting coincidences that turn out to be a lot more than coincidences.

In looking into Trey’s family history, it seems his great-great uncle fought in WWI in the British forces.  Great-great Uncle Tristan Capell fought in Mesopotamia and his batman was none other than one Owen Matthews.  Coincidence?  It seems that Trey is a doppelganger for Tristan with the exception of his broken nose courtesy of a wipeout from his surfing days.  While we don’t immediately know what Owen looked like, eventually of course it turns out that he is a dead ringer for Ewan.

Trey is chafing under the control of Paige, his fiancé, and also her father and so he escapes their watchful eye by going to “help” Ewan with the research under the pretext of speeding up the process so that they can announce their engagement.  While doing this research we learn quite a bit about both men and their family histories.  Ewan has grown up without a father and has only recently connected with the grandfather than he has never met.  Trey’s father died when he was young and he spent a decade having fun – surfing and hooking up with whoever struck his fancy regardless of gender.  Ewan is not impressed at all with Trey upon first meeting him even though he is physically attracted as Trey is exactly the type of man he’s been looking for all his life.

While researching Trey’s local family history, they stumble upon another coincidence in the form of a business partnership between Christian Capell and one Matthew Eugent.  Ongoing during this research, Ewan has extremely vivid dreams of these two couple – Tristan and Owen both during and after WWI and Christian and Matthew when they meet as children up through the Revolutionary War.

Trey and Ewan continue to spend time together doing the research and also outside of that excuse when Trey tires of Paige’s family control.  Ewan meets Trey’s grandfather on such an occasion and they hit it off right away.  While Trey is attracted to Ewan he doesn’t feel like he will be doing the right thing if he doesn’t marry Paige and have a family.  He is definitely conflicted about his future for a number of reasons.

As they come closer to discovering the truth about their shared ancestors and their tragic stories, Ewan is desperate to finish the job because his emotionally draining dreams and his continued close proximity to Trey – the man he can never have – are killing him.  He can’t sleep, he’s miserable and he can’t seem to focus on anything else either.  Things come to a head between Trey and Ewan and much is revealed about the past that influences the future of all of the characters in this story.  Cryptic, eh?  There are some things the reader should uncover for themselves 🙂

Hmmmmm.  Where to start on this review without being totally spoilery?  This is an unconventional romance in that until the last three of chapters, most of the romantic action on the page does not actually involve the two main characters.  Instead, we see glimpses of the lives of the ancestors of these two men as they have intertwined across the last several centuries.  While these couples were really interesting and greatly influence the arc of the story, the pacing of the book was a problem for me.  I felt like it took a really long time to get into the core of the relationship of Trey and Ewan and I was about to give up at 30%.  I just really wanted more time with those characters rather than all of the time spent in dreams witnessing the stories of the previous Capell/Matthews couples.  That being said, I did enjoy the book and would recommend it with the caveat to be prepared for a slower start.  I would give the first half of the book a Pretty Good and the second half a Really Liked It rating.

GIVEAWAY RULES

Please leave a comment below to win an ebook copy of Lovers Entwined. The giveaway will last until Midnight CDT on Tuesday, August 6. I will choose the winner using Random.org and email the winner who will then have 48 hours from the time of the drawing to reply to my email. I will then forward the winner’s information to the author so the winner can receive their book.

Please enter the email you’d wish me to contact you at in the comment form, or if you prefer, leave it in the message.

Thank you and good luck!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED


Burden72lgTitle: Burden
Author: Annmarie McKenna
Publisher: Samhain
Length: 30,500 words, 113 pages
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance Mystery
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: Cops, Injury, Assassination Attempts, Memory Loss, Recovery, Insta-love, Kittens!, HFN
Rating: So So

Reviewed by Sadonna

BLURB

There’s more than one way to guard a body.



In the year since his car flew off a cliff, Detective Brennan McGuire has struggled to relearn the simplest tasks—like speaking without a stutter—and even more with trying to fill the gaping holes in his memory.

But when his daily visit to a local coffee shop turns into a melee of flying bullets, Brennan’s instincts take control.

So much for Keegan Monroe’s first day off after a long undercover assignment. One minute he’s relaxing over coffee, the next his cheek is kissing concrete. Question is, is the gorgeous man on top of him his savior, or the one who took a potshot at his head?

As Keegan shepherds the too-quiet, too-skinny Brennan through the investigation, attraction flares into nights of white-hot passion. But with each scorching encounter, more and more of Brennan’s memories shake loose…and it becomes clear someone doesn’t want him putting those pieces together.

With Keegan’s oath to protect and serve putting him squarely in the crosshairs of a murderer, now the question is, who is protecting whom?

REVIEW

The blurb for this story pretty much tells it all and gives away the twist to the plot.  Brennan has suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of a car accident that he can’t remember.  He was a police officer before the injury, but now he can barely order a drink and pay for it at the local coffee shop.  While on his daily therapy exercise, he spies a shooter and lunges at the hot guy he thinks is about to get shot and in doing so, becomes a suspect.  Somehow the police take forever to figure out that something is wrong with him (duh).  Once they realize that he was an officer and that he is still recovering from the accident, they STILL think he might be involved.

Keegan begins to doubt that Brennan is involved and has him review mugshots in an attempt to identify the shooter.  Keegan is convinced that this somehow has to do with the case he has just completed.  As the investigation continues and he witnesses Brennan’s flashes of memory, he begins to suspect that something else is going on.  During the second day of the investigation we meet Brennan’s aunt – who is a hoot – maybe my second favorite character in this story 🙂

Brennan and Keegan are definitely attracted and even though he kind of feels like maybe he’s taking advantage, Keegan just can’t seem to keep his hands off.  Amazingly during sex, Brennan doesn’t even stutter and seems sure of himself and what he wants.  Brennan’s old instincts seem to be surfacing more and more as the case continues which is a good thing for both of them.  Keegan liked the Brennan he sees and wants to help him remember what happened and not just because he’s trying to figure out what’s going on with the assassination attempts.

I really wanted to like this book so much more!  The blurb was intriguing and I liked both MCs – especially Brennan.  The problem for me was the rushed, compressed time frame of this story – it’s literally two and a half days and the MCs are saying “I love you.”  Also, I knew from the blurb and the story pretty much what was going to be the outcome and who the bad guy was.  I hate when that happens!  This would have been a much better story if it had been about three times the word count and we got a fully fleshed out relationship built between the MCs.  Instead they spend one day together and they are “in love.”  Not saying it can’t happen, but it’s just not that satisfying.  I’ve read other books by this author and really liked them and there is nothing inherently wrong with this one.  I just needed more relationship development to feel like I got the whole story.