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Tag Archives: Azalea Moone

angelsredemptionTitle: Angel’s Redemption
Author: Azalea Moone
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 31k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Angels, Fallen Angels, Rockers/Musicians, Metal Music, Roommates, Luck, Insta-Love
Rating: Not Feelin’ It


Twenty-four-year-old Blaine Schneider is seasoned to hardship. Since the age of eight, he’s experienced nothing but a swarm of bad luck: from the funny electrical fire in shop class to failing grades and relationships gone sour. He believes he’ll never get past it; only his band, ‘Til Dark, and their dream, keeps him going through it all.

Shortly after he mysteriously inherits a beautifully carved angel statue, Blaine also finds an apartment big enough to display the lifelike sculpture, and he thinks his luck has finally taken a turn for the better. But when he discovers the spell inscribed on the statue’s base, he frees Lynsael from his stone prison, a handsome fallen angel who claims to be Blaine’s former guardian angel, and then his luck really improves.

But while Blaine is falling hard for the angel’s blue eyes and lively personality, in the shadows, dark forces are working to keep Blaine and Lynsael apart. It will take more than luck for the pair to come through unscathed—it’ll take a miracle.


I shouldn’t apologize for my feelings and I try not to usually, but I will, because I tend to do that. Sorry ahead of time to those who put a lot of love and care into the creation of this book, this isn’t really going to be a positive review 😦

I have a love/hate relationship with angel stories. I think that maybe people are turned onto angels for a few different reasons, but a lot of it has to do with the loss of innocence. There are so many directions an author can take an angelic character — an exploration of literary history and popular angelic mythos, playing on the fallen angel theme and the dichotomy of innocence and corruption, angelic and human. Many romance novels place a lot of importance on world building as a backdrop to the reason their angel falls and then some place the romance itself as the focus of their story. Many of those stories are where I find myself not as interested. I like seeing an author’s imagination in world building of angel stories. I think that what I really don’t like is that I sometimes find angels in romance stories to be somewhat… vapid? without personality? They convey all of that innocence but it seems one dimensional. It’s hard to connect with a character like that, and even though it might be a purposeful choice because angels are in fact, not human (who knew?!), that doesn’t necessarily make it a good choice for the story.

That’s where I started to encounter some problems for me with Angel’s Redemption. I like this author’s prose, no doubt about that. And that is probably why I continually come back to read her stories even though, in the past, I’ve not been very kind in my reviews. So for me, taking a gamble on this story for review was… well, a gamble, what with the angel theme and my past history with not liking some of this author’s characters so much. The premise of this story is the freedom of an angel who is bound in a statue. Blaine received the statue, which has always mystified and alternately unnerved him, from his father’s best friend, an artist who worked on the statue for a long time and for some unknown reason left it to Blaine in his will. When Blaine moves to an apartment with enough space to showcase the beautiful rendition of the male form (au naturel), he puts it in a place where he can showcase it, even adding a spotlight to show it off.

In the meantime, Blaine is trying to make his sucky life better. Ever since the age of 8 he’s been terribly unlucky. Prior to that, his life was wonderful. Now that he’s 24 and with a band he’s proud of he thinks he might be able to master his own luck and make his life happier. There’s a chance for his band to play a weekly gig at a popular club, which will give them lots of visibility and even a bit of cash. His life and luck is looking up, if they can actually get the gig. It looks promising, if only his bandmates would get their shit together.

But Blaine is still mystified by the statue of the beautiful angel. Sometimes… he swears that when he walks by the eyes follow him and occasionally he sees a feather ruffle. It can’t be true, but further investigation of the statue reveals a strange phrase in latin marked on the base. Blaine’s curiosity could be the best, or worst thing that has ever happened to him.

I hate to sit and list the problems I had with this book. I mean, for the most part I still enjoyed reading it and I definitely didn’t hate it. But, I also found some things here that have bothered me with past Azalea Moone books and stories. One of those things, and the one of the biggest problems that I had here was the world building. It’s almost non-existent. I read through this whole book having no clue what was going on. It wasn’t because the characters were purposefully keeping secrets — they were — but, we’re often given references of things that have happened in the past. This is great because it helps us put the pieces of the story together ourselves, but there has to be a framework in which to fill in those gaps — a world. I read the blurb again when I finished the book and it had more detail than was in the actual book. Also, throughout the book, Lynsael continually asks Blaine to help him find out what happened with the statue. Both of them don’t understand how he broke out, how he was bound, or what the sculptor (Blaine’s father’s friend) really knew about any of this, including Lyn. Blaine offers to help, about a million times but something always seems to come up to distract him. This is just one of my pet peeves. It didn’t seem like a very good reason to stall them, to put off talking about their situation and finding out what is going on. It seemed more like an easy way to stall them until the ending of the story. It was just… frustrating to read, honestly. I would have liked to see them talk, not only to figure out why everything was happening as it was, but also to get to know one another — their history, their lives, their feelings — and by extension for me to get to know the characters.

I ended the book feeling like I didn’t really understand the story, only the few events that happened but no background at all to fill in the details and gaps. I also felt like I didn’t really know the characters well. I understood Blaine a bit better than Lyn, but not well. So I didn’t connect with them and I didn’t really see a connection between them. In another story by this author that I read and reviewed (“On Clouds of Obsession” in the Fraternal Devotion anthology, reviewed here), I felt like I didn’t really like one of of the main characters. And I felt that way about Blaine somewhat too. While he wasn’t the kind of asshole like in “On Clouds of Obsession”, he still pissed me off most of the book with his words toward Lyn and his refusal to help him and his general attitude of pissy and then, suddenly, he loves him. I didn’t get it, really.

I think that pretty much says everything. I didn’t really like the book and I feel like it needed more work to fill out the story. That and I just couldn’t connect with both of the characters. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this one.

Thank you for having me here today! In Angel’s Redemption, published by Storm Moon Press, we explore the concept of angels, both good and bad, those from Heaven and Hell. Lynsael, ex-guardian angel of Blaine Schneider and several other mortals, is now a fallen angel, exiled from his position in the “Palace” as a guardian, and destined to serve an eternity in Hell for crimes he’d committed.

But, before all of that happens, I can imagine Lynsael (aka Lyn) in the Palace as a beautifully pale angel with a gorgeous set of white wings, light blond hair, and his usual spry personality. Actually, I can imagine all of Heaven’s angels this way, whether they are guardians or archangels.

In the story, we read about guardian angels like Lyn. They watch over earth, to guide their “wards” through life, but they cannot interfere in their lives. But, in fact, there are archangels as well. Those who serve the Lord, their aim is to protect everyone in Heaven. They could wear godly armor made of gold and carry bows and arrows that shoot beams of heavenly light. We don’t read about them in the story, but they are there.

All angels are pure and virtuous, untouched by sin and mortal desire. Well, that goes for the majority of them.

But what about those angels who fall from grace? Those that are inspired by acts that could be seen as sinful. The fallen angels. In Angel’s Redemption, Lyn appears before Blaine, his ward, as a fallen angel; one with long, black hair, deathly pale skin, and crumpled black wings. The reason for this is because the minute Lyn had committed his wicked act, he had lost his righteousness, therefore taking the appearance of a fallen angel. This didn’t necessarily affect his vivaciousness, as he’s still silly and full of amusement.

So what makes an angel a fallen angel? Is it just those who attempt immoral deeds, or something else?

It’s my belief that angels can fall due to a number of reasons, particularly from carrying out or intent to carry out any of the seven cardinal sins. You know those: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Lyn had been convicted of two of those: wrath and lust. He desired his ward Blaine and interfered in his life. Then, he committed a crime seen under His eyes to be immoral. Therefore, he was supposed to be sent to Hell for punishment. See how I said “supposed to be?” Yeah, he didn’t go where he was supposed to. Instead, he ran to earth and hid. After his bonds are broken, he finds Blaine. But being in the company of a human, he loses his angelic nature, his wings, and turns human.

Fallen angels, aka Hell’s angels, are those that are sent to serve the devil. The way I envision them are the same as the fallen angels above: black wings, black hair, and a deathly appearance. Raziel, a Hell’s angel, is sent to earth after learning Lynsael had been released from his bonds. Remember Lyn has a date with the devil and is supposed to be in Hell. To blend with the human population, Raz had disguised himself as a normal rocker dude with tattoos and piercings in order to capture Lyn. But when revealed, he appears as a dark angel with extraordinary abilities such as increased speed.

So what other kinds of angel’s would be in Hell? This is just me brainstorming, since we don’t read about any other Hell’s angels, but I wonder if there are different kinds for every level. Are there special angels who serve the devil, or are those just demons? Do they have different abilities, and where do they come from? Maybe there are angels who work with demons. Okay, I’ll stop now, but you never know. Writing about angels from both Heaven and Hell opens up a whole different aspect. Since I am world-building my own story, I don’t necessarily have to stick to what has been told in religious tales over the centuries. Yet, I like to stick with what is common. Light is good; dark is bad. Heavenly angels have flowing, white wings. And Hell’s angels have torn, black wings. It’s all just a lot of fun!

I hope you enjoy my new story, Angel’s Redemption, which is now available for just $3.99 over at Storm Moon Press. Thanks for having me at The Armchair Reader today, Cole!

AngelsRedemption_500Twenty-four-year-old Blaine Schneider is seasoned to hardship. Since the age of eight, he’s experienced nothing but a swarm of bad luck: from the funny electrical fire in shop class to failing grades and relationships gone sour. He believes he’ll never get past it; only his band, ‘Til Dark, and their dream, keeps him going through it all.

Shortly after he mysteriously inherits a beautifully carved angel statue, Blaine also finds an apartment big enough to display the lifelike sculpture, and he thinks his luck has finally taken a turn for the better. But when he discovers the spell inscribed on the statue’s base, he frees Lynsael from his stone prison, a handsome fallen angel who claims to be Blaine’s former guardian angel, and then his luck really improves.

But while Blaine is falling hard for the angel’s blue eyes and lively personality, in the shadows, dark forces are working to keep Blaine and Lynsael apart. It will take more than luck for the pair to come through unscathed—it’ll take a miracle.

Title: Devil’s Night
Editors: SL Armstrong & Kristen Pavka
Authors: SL Armstrong, K Piet, Alina Ray, Azalea Moone & Tali Spencer
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 42,500 words
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Keywords/Tags: Anthology, Short Stories, Demons
Rating: Pretty Good


The infernal host is on the prowl. They want your soul, and they’re not afraid to bargain for it. They’ll promise you everything you could ever desire, but the price tag may be steeper than you can handle. Whether tempting and seducing mortals, defiling angels, or reveling among themselves, the fiendish creatures in these four haunting tales know that while good is okay, evil is just more fun.

Thaddeus sold his soul to save his family long ago, but the deal he struck with the demon Belial has him spending eternity managing Le Carnaval du Diable, filled to the brim with other’s damned into servitude. Belial wants more than Thaddeus’ soul, though, and his constant advances only add to Thaddeus’ stress as he faces a threat to The Devil’s Midway.

Craig Peters finds himself Hell Bound and destined for an eternity of torture at the hands of the demon Karawan, despite having no memory of the sin that condemned him to this existence. Over time, though, those memories return, along with an unnatural attraction to Karawan, which leads them both down a path neither of them could have possibly imagined.

When the Hounds Come Out to Play, Ryu and Keir are released from their chains to hunt the wayward damned and drag them down to Hell. A breath of freedom is an opportunity for fun, however, and Ryu isn’t about to waste it, even if it means getting caught in a case of mistaken identity with a handsome stranger.

Finally, Beltran is a man of heritage and honor, and when his cousin is brutalized, he has few qualms about consulting a local Inca shaman on her behalf. Little does he know the price of the charm he seeks will make him The Seventh Sacrifice in the amir demon Kitara’s ancient quest for revenge.


I’ve gotten a bit behind on my reviews lately (partly due to GRL) and several of the ones that have backed up have been anthologies. I have to tell you that reviewing an anthology, for me, is quite daunting. I just can’t seem to do a review without reviewing each story — even if I don’t set out to. But the great thing is that the anthologies released by Storm Moon Press recently seem tailor-made for me. And when you add in one of my favorite sub-genres of paranormal, demons (and sundry), I knew that I had to accept this one for review no matter how far behind I was. Surprise, surprise — I pulled it out first, completely neglecting the others.

I want to apologize to all those authors because I just couldn’t resist. And while none of these stories were my favorites (none were my least favorites either) I’ve found in SMP’s past anthologies, the diversity between them was really wonderful. These four stories work really well together simply because they’re all incredibly original in different ways. Don’t expect your typical demon/angel trope here. They do however take the atmosphere of this time of the year into the tone of each story without it becoming … Halloween-y.

They each have something to praise about them, so in the end my review format for anthologies works for this one.

Read on!

The Devil’s Midway by SL Armstrong & K Piet (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Historical Paranormal
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Demons, Carnival, Battle of Wills, HFN

Though he should be an old man by now, Thaddeus finds himself managing the traveling Le Carnaval du Diable, the demon Belial’s pet project. But, though he generally can keep the carnival and all it’s traveling act and crew under wraps, he’s frustrated that the badass demon still has his sights set on him. Owing to the catalyst that brought him to sell his soul to the Devil and how that intersects with his faith, Thaddeus has always remained autonomous. Though the big man below owns his soul and therefore his long, unending future, he doesn’t own his mind or actions, which makes him the only one who can deny Belial. But the chase seems to turn the demon on and he uses every advantage he has to break Thaddeus down and get him into his bed, some of which are devious enough to be worthy of the demon he is.

The place this story succeeds the most is in the sexual tension created between Thaddeus and Belial. They’re both incredibly stubborn, and Belial has enough arrogance for both of them, that their sexual come and go turn into a game of wills. Thaddeus is afraid that if he did give into his carnal desires and sleep with the demon he would lose his independent thought he cherishes. It is all he has left that hasn’t been laid claim to and he doesn’t want to chance it. Belial, though, is very difficult to say no to, especially as he continues to find ways to try to torment Thaddeus into submission. While there were some other small bits of plot that help to expand the world, this is the essence of the story.

The problem then for me, was that I didn’t really understand the ending. I have no doubt with these two authors that the choices they made were deliberate, but they either didn’t work for me or I didn’t understand the story as I thought while I was reading. It was certainly enjoyable, and I really liked the world (I’d love to see more!), but the ending didn’t seem to add anything in particular to the story other than follow through on what is probably Thaddeus’ true characterization. So, I ended up feeling like this story wasn’t much more than a snippet of a larger world. No real romance, per se — or at least the story didn’t progress enough for me to consider it a romance. And, like I said, that’s probably what the authors were going for, but this time it didn’t work as well for me.

All of what I expect from these authors is in this story, the quality of writing is undiminished. I simply had a bit of a snag with the direction of the end of the story and my hope that there would have been more before it ended. A good, strong start to the anthology!

Hell Bound by Alina Ray (So So)
Genre: m/m Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Demons, Hell, a bit of BDSM, Kink, Amnesia, Insta-Love (or, too quick for me), HEA

Craig wakes to find himself in darkness — a shifting void that slowly reveals a dreamland resembling Hell. He learns quickly, though, that he is indeed dead and has traveled to the underworld for punishment and redemption for his actions in life. Too bad Craig can’t remember anything about his life except random details like pop trivia. He’s ushered through punishments and recollections by the demon Karawan, a sexy young red-skinned hunk that gives Craig “Ideas”, even during his rather harsh punishments that are intended to cause pain. A human who derives pleasure from pain is something that Karawan has never heard of before, but something that he admits intrigues him, along with the human himself. When Craig starts to regain his memories, they’re both in a for a surprise. Is Craig in the right place? or, did he do something terrible in life that he hasn’t remembered yet? Either way, they both find themselves finding pleasure in a place where happiness is supposed to be impossible to feel…

I am of two minds about this story. I originally gave this story a Not Feelin’ It rating simply because it ended on a low note for me, after starting quite strong. But after a little reflection, there is actually a smart and original hook to this story. The first half of the story, where Craig arrives in Hell and Karawan introduces him to the various tortures meant as punishment, is quite strong. There’s an atmospheric quality to the writing that portrays Hell as a void which is incredibly eerie. The addition of Craig’s amnesia means that his point of view is rather distorted. Karawan is shown to have a more trustworthy point of view, and interestingly enough, a rather naive and sheltered one. I could never quite tell if it is his lack of experience, his own personal quality, or a representation of the whole race of demons, but Karawan isn’t the cruel master one expects by allowing us to see his reasoning behind torturing humans.

The problem I had was the very quick transition from “getting to know each other” to the ending and a quick change in tone (from suspenseful and mysterious to almost sappy). There is a very quick series of events that revs up the pace and it really didn’t work for me. It left me feeling like the two wouldn’t have as strong of feelings as they did at the end because we don’t get to see the point where they actually get to know one another, just hear about a bit of it. It goes hand in hand with the ending, and I could see that the author had an endgame in plan from the very beginning. I had actually wondered if that was the way the author was going to go right at the beginning, and for the most part I was right. It’s an interesting little trick of reasoning which made the story stand out a bit more for me, hence the raised rating. Unfortunately, the execution left some things to be desired and because of that, this was probably my least favorite story of the anthology.

When the Hounds Come Out to Play by Azalea Moone (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Paranormal
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Hell Hounds, Hell, First Times, Shifters, Halloween

I also had a difficult time with this story, but only for a bit. The beginning is almost funny, and certainly cute as we’re introduced to the Hounds of Hell, dog shifters coming to the surface for Halloween night to reclaim lost souls. I liked Ryu immediately, who is like a fish out of water but attracted to the sunlight that burns him. He reminded me a bit about Ariel, from The Little Mermaid, who is obsessed with humanity but gets burned by them in her naivete. The story later got difficult for me and left me with a bit of an uneasy feeling. Trying to understand and feel empathy for Grant is a tall order, and I had to reconcile my own feelings with Ryu’s, all while watching him become a little bit more jaded as the story progressed. I think, though, that this story might have left the most impression on me, even though it wasn’t my “favorite”.

I was initially a bit confused about the direction the story took, when we learn who Grant and Jalen really are, and upset that the story wasn’t a romance, but it made sense after a while. Ultimately, I’m glad that the story didn’t turn romantic, because that would have confused me even more. Of course, part of my uneasiness also comes from knowing so little about Ryu, but then I think that was deliberate. And it makes sense why the author would choose to keep so much detail from the reader, unless she wanted to sacrifice the mood of the story, which is built on the suspense and threat of danger from several different directions. This story had the most Halloween atmosphere for me, and that’s not because the holiday makes an appearance in this story but because to Ryu, who doesn’t really understand humanity before his night away from the graveyard, Halloween only makes everything more confusing, and therefore it is disorienting to him and the reader.

I definitely liked this story and I loved that it was something different. I’d love to hear what other readers think about this one!

The Seventh Sacrifice by Tali Spencer (Really Like It)
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: South America, Bolivia, Gods, Dub Con, Snakes, Magic/Sorcery, Revenge, HEA

Finally, I think this story was my favorite of the anthology. I was waiting for that sizzling chemistry and for a story to take it a little further than some of the previous ones in the anthology. Beltrane, a Spanish descendant of conquistadores, is visiting his cousin in Bolivia, a female TV journalist who was recently horribly abused by her boyfriend. Beltrane follows his friend’s directions to visit a sorcerer in the ancient city to buy a charm or talisman to get revenge on the man who betrayed his cousin, the woman who is like a sister to him. Only, the sorcerer isn’t what Beltrane expected at all. Not only is he surprised that some of this seems to be real, but the man himself intrigues him — not to mention Kitara is one of the most beautiful men he’s ever seen.

Kitara is much more than a sorcerer. Descended from the ancients and shackled to the area around the church for centuries only makes the past betrayal and anger at what the Conquistadores did to the Incan culture. It turns out that he needs Beltane as much as the man needs him, or even more. Strangely enough, the man who he was immediately attracted to when he walked in his store is Spanish, and could be the key to unlocking the imprisonment placed on his people all those years ago. Only, he’ll have to sacrifice him first!

I really liked the dark edge to this story. I think, in the end, I consider this a romance. I’m glad that Kitara doesn’t act human. If he did, this would easily be a romance, but I’d rather him be as he is in this story — larger than life, still retaining his god-like abilities and way of thinking. In many ways, Beltrane is a pawn to Kitara, but by the end of the story I wasn’t so sure of that, even though it seems that way, outwardly. But the dark edge to their relationship and sex in the form of betrayal and sacrifice and slavery.

If I had to choose one story from this anthology to expand into something larger, or a sequel, it would be this story. Not only did I like it enough to want to read more, but there’s the growth of the relationship between Beltrane and Kitara, as well as the plethora of detail and possibility about the world.

Recommended 🙂

Title: Fraternal Devotion
Author: DK Jernigan, Alisha Steele, Leigh Wilder, Azalea Moone, SL Armstrong, K Piet
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 65k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary & Paranormal Romance
Keywords/Tags: Twincest/Brothercest, Anthology, Short Stories
Rating: Pretty Good


When you pit knowledge against emotions, there’s the no-man’s land in between those two opposing forces where taboos lie. Incest is one of the untouchables, a taboo that even in alternative cultures is often still looked on negatively. But how can something that feels so right be wrong? In Fraternal Devotion, the focus is on brotherly love — in every sense of the word. These are tales of love, lust, devotion, and passion as real as any other romance. Why should the fact that the two men are brothers take away from that? This collection may challenge your assumptions and beliefs, but may also melt your heart. Not to mention steam up your glasses.

Keith is a Humanist Corpsman, sworn to protect society from the mutated ranks of the Infected. When his own team betrays him, however, it’s his long lost brother, Riley, who takes him in and makes him choose between War and Peace and Brotherhood. After nineteen months apart, Brandon Patrell, of Analgesia, is convinced it will take more than a home renovation to keep his playboy brother, Ethan, from running away again. But as Ethan resumes his old mind-games, Brandon is determined to tease back for once, even if it means risking everything in a game of all or nothing. A dozen years after discovering his father’s suicide, Cale returns home and finds his older brother Derrick showing the same signs of melancholy. But as much as he wants to help his brother, he fears being sucked back into that world of Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools.

Jeremy has been On Clouds of Obsession since long ago glimpsing his brother, Matt, naked in the locker room. Years later, with Matt due to be married in a week, Jeremy takes a chance after Matt’s bachelor’s party that could jeopardize their relationship, not to mention the impending wedding. Songwriter Andrew lives life On the Edge, using drugs to quiet his uncertainties about his ongoing relationship with his twin, Ben. Disheartened by Andrew’s empty promises, Ben begins to pull away, forcing Andrew to choose between letting go and finally finding the strength to stop running.


I’ve been looking forward to this anthology for a while now, since I’m a fan of Brothercest and Twincest. These stories definitely live up to the kink, most a contemporary and realistic look at love between brothers. Individually, the stories ranged from good to better, and while none of them completely captivated me, the anthology as a whole is definitely a success. With the different variety, there’s enough here to represent both those readers looking for the kink of brother love and the realistic look at the consequences. None of them directly deal with the family, which surprised me, but then most of them also had to deal with the inherent internal struggle of guilt and shame against social norms and the possibility of forever living a fringe lifestyle.

War and Peace and Brotherhood by DK Jernigan (Pretty Good)
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex Ratio
Keywords/Tags: Paranormal, HEA, Brothercest, Genetic Mutation, Shifters, Superpowers, Enemies to Lovers

Keith is a part of the Corps, a network of vigilantes whose mission is to protect humanity from the Transformed, those who have changed due to a sexually transmitted genetic modification resulting in different powers and changes — shifters, levitation, and other transmutations. But Keith is growing nervous. He became a leader in the Corps after the brother he fell in love with, Riley, disappeared 3 years ago. But the Corps has fundamental problems of it’s own, stemming from a hatred of all the Transformed and therefore a mass paranoia within the ranks that anyone different is a danger. Now, as the two brothers are set to reunite on opposite sides of the conflict, Keith is unsure of who is in the right anymore.

This story is rather imaginative in combining several different themes and genres — superheroes, the paranormal, and the science fiction elements of enhanced evolution. The setting is fairly dark, with much of the story told by Keith, who is having a crisis of conscience about his role in the conflict and whether his actions might have actually harmed innocents. The brothercest romance is given much of the story as the two come together fairly soon in the short story and proceed to work out their differences. It all happens a little quickly for my taste, however. And while I didn’t feel as if anything important to the plot was missing, it did feel rather rushed for such a complex world. The ending conflict moved especially fast. That left me with the feeling of wanting more, both because I did like the story and also because of the imagination of the story combined with the feeling of not getting as much as I could have, made me feel as if the second half of the story was unfinished. I would have especially liked to see Keith and Riley with more personal time together to get to know one another as new, grown adults with now very different lives from their youth together, and to learn more about Riley’s side of the conflict and the Underground Railroad organization that the Transformed use.

Analgesia by Alisha Steele (Pretty Good)
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Contemporary, Brothercest, Musician

Brandon has been in love with his older brother for years. Now he’s almost 20 and is coming home after two years in the UK touring with his band. He’s still the infuriating older brother that seems to rub his feelings in his face with constant flirting that goes over the line — way over the line. And his nose is still crooked from where Ethan punched him before he ran away. Does Ethan have feelings for him as well? Is that why he ran away, or was it to get away from his younger brother’s misguided love until Brandon could get over him?

This story is the quintessential brothercest story because it puts the relationship, and a lot of the complications that come with it, front and center. There is a lot of history between them, and now that they’re thrown back into a house together while they try to fix it up for sale because of their parent’s divorce, it all seems to come back to the forefront of their lives. Brandon has never really gotten over his brother, he’s never taken another lover or tried to get over his brother. Ethan has done the opposite. He ran away and slept through as many men and women that he could.

This story is very heavy on sex, but the writing is simply fantastic and times. It showcases the taboo aspect because even while intimate it is still very obvious that they are brothers. They fight and argue constantly, with a little bit of brother fighting and a little bit that seems like two school yard kids with crushes on each other. They’re affections are almost a competition, first to show each other that they don’t care about each other while taunting the other (with some very public sex displays with other people), and later to show that they do care for each other.

It may be that there simply wasn’t time and really confronting the issue of incest head on would have opened a whole extra part to the story, but there is never really a confrontation where they have to “come out” as lovers. It still leaves this story with enough angst of it’s own because of their own impossible feelings. I was actually hoping that that wouldn’t happen, simply because I didn’t want the story to become that much more complicated (I shy away from too much angst!), but I can’t call it entirely realistic without them even thinking about their future and that issue not being confronted.

This story is a bit longer and is quite central to Brandon and Ethan with only a little interference from the outside world. I never could quite get a feel for the mother, who at times seemed to be a very loving mother and at times rather partial to Ethan, and at other times quite aloof. But because she is a very little part of the story, that didn’t bother me so much as made me curious. This story is still quite well written, even with my few critiques, and this is an author that I’ll be watching out for in the future.

Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools by Leigh Wilder (So So)
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex Ratio
Keywords/Tags: Contemporary, Brothercest, Mental Health Issues, Suicide

It is Spring Break and Cale is back home for a week from his Master’s Program 400 miles away. Returning home is a reminder of everything he fled when he was old enough to go away to college, including his older brother Derrick, who does little but lie around the pool. The family legacy of depression and mental health issues has hit Derrick hard lately — well, harder than usual — and his day to day life is only a little more active than catatonic. But is Cale any better? Or are they really just the same, always running from their problems, just in different ways? Cale is forced to confront their issues when Derrick finally starts talking.

This is another story that confronts the issues of incest in a contemporary setting, though here the relationship between Cale and Derrick is shown as a remedy to already present and long insidious issues. Their father was a soap opera writer, and rather famous in his field. Though he dealt with the same issues of severe depression and finally succumbed to suicide by drowning in their family pool after his screenplay manuscript went nowhere. The mental health issues that they both have (though Derrick’s are most obvious) stem from the fear they have of their father’s downward spiral and the distance in the family. They’re rather fond of avoiding issues, including their mother, and the family almost seems like strangers.

Some of this story comes across as melodrama, though it has it’s place as a character flaw and shows through the writing. Still, some of the story I found rather poignant. There are several mentions from both brothers about their relationship as they grew up, and they’re shown to be two sides of the same coin that have only recently fallen out of their well played characters when Cale ran away to college and left Derrick to stumble about on his own. And Derrick certainly can’t take care of himself, he just isn’t equipped and has never learned how. Plus, the depression is severe enough to take away all hope that he could ever be better on his own. But their memories of acting out their father’s soap opera screenplays nightly, highlight the comparison to the roles that they play and have played throughout childhood. And while I imagine that some readers might find it hard to understand the characters and want to scream at them to get over themselves, I can understand that they’re simply playing the roles created for them from their early days — they seem like they’ve ever only had each other to rely on. The setting in the story almost seems like a ghost house — with most of the action taking place in the pool house where they’ve made a home away from the impersonality of the empty and depressing family home.

I can’t say that I have much hope for the brothers in this story, but I can certainly understand them and what the author was creating here. All of the loneliness and melodrama around them only serves to show that they both need each other to survive, even if Cale is trying to make living on his own look easy — and failing.

On Clouds of Obsession by Azalea Moone (Not Feeling It)
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Contemporary, Brothercest, GFY/OFY

Jeremy has been in love with his older brother since the day in high school he happened to catch the sight of his naked brother in the locker room. Before then, and after, Matt made sure he was never naked in front of his brother, especially after their father caught Jeremy trying to spy on Matt changing through the keyhole in his bedroom door. Now, Matt, the brother who used to beat Jeremy up as a child, is getting married to a woman he just met. Not only is Jeremy angry, but well, he’s jealous. He tries to talk Matt out of the wedding, but then something fateful happens on the night of Matt’s bachelor party.

I’m still not really sure what it is about this story that doesn’t work for me. A large part of it is in the characterizations of both Jeremy and Matt. I have a hard time seeing any kind of lasting feelings in Jeremy’s affection for the brother who treats him pretty cruelly. And Matt seems to change pretty quickly from that mean older brother into a caring one. For some reason, I couldn’t see the change. Some of their behavior is in their own perception of the other and that certainly accounts for some of Matt’s behavior because it is seen through Jeremy’s eyes. But there was still a disconnect for me that I can’t quite define. It isn’t a terribly written story, I don’t want to lead to that impression. I just couldn’t get on board their relationship when I didn’t feel the connection.

On the Edge by SL Armstrong & K Piet (Me Like)
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Contemporary, Twincest, Drug Use, Musician

Andrew and Ben are twins and have been in love and having sex for 11 years, since they were 14 and starting sneaking around. But Ben has dealt with the fact that he’s in love with his twin and Andrew hasn’t. After years of falling into temptation then pushing his brother away, Andrew resorts to a coping mechanism of heavy drug use to lull himself into distraction from the guilt and shame he feels. Andrew was always the fuckup brother of the pair, but now he’s really showing it. Ben is the one that has a job and pays for their rent and food, even Andrew’s drugs, while Andrew plays songwriter during the daytime, but lately creating very little. But Ben doesn’t know if he can take any more of Andrew pushing him away in the sober light of day, and Andrew doesn’t know if he can get over his issues, even though he knows he can’t live without his brother.

This story is another that takes a more realistic look at the issues between brothers, specifically twins, who love each other. It was a more difficult read for me than the other stories, because they’re both caught in a cycle of destructive love that showcases just how close they are to each other and how impossible it is to sever that bond, now even more complicated because of their romantic relationship. The POV is Andrew’s, and I think that we need it to be otherwise Ben’s heartbreak would be too difficult and Andrew would come off in an even more terrible light without his inner turmoil laid bare for us to see that he really does care. Though it delves into the angst, it wasn’t too much for me. I thought that this part of the story, most of it, was written incredibly well.

Because of the realistic light their relationship is shown in, I had a hard time accepting a happy ending. While I would personally give this a HFN ending, I think it is leaning towards an HEA. The authors did exactly what they needed to do to give them every chance at happiness, including the difficult catalyst to get Andrew’s ass in gear, but I still have a hard time picturing their future and that left the happy promises at the end to fall just a little flat for me. At least Andrew and Ben don’t deny that they won’t have difficult times ahead.