Title: Running Away From Sunshine
Author: Gwynn Marssen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 14k words, 55 pages
Genre: m/m Contemporary
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: 2013 Daily Dose – Make a Play, (A Bit) Angsty, Closeted, Doctors, Friends to Lovers, Grieving, Healing, HFN, Light & Sweet, Short Story, Sports (Hockey Players), Yearning
Rating: So So
Reviewed by Nikyta
Nobody knows why ER resident Jake Nichols left California to move to cold and dark Calgary, Canada. Nobody knows Jake hasn’t always been a silent loner. Nobody in his new home knows he is gay, and nobody needs to know, since he doesn’t plan to let anyone in… until he meets Gabriel Montgomery, the carefree hockey player with the big blue eyes who just won’t take no for an answer when it comes to opening up and accepting the possibility of love.
This is a quick story about Jake and Gabriel and the friendship they develop. Jake is an ER doctor who seems to constantly have to treat Gabriel, an injury prone college hockey player. The crush Jake has for Gabriel is something he can live with until Gabriel learns Jake isn’t a hockey fan and brings it upon himself to show Jake just what he’s missing. As friends, they have a lot in common but Jake soon realizes that his feelings for Gabriel keep growing and it isn’t until his brother gets into a car accident that Gabriel becomes aware of Jake’s crush and things start to stir up between them.
This is one of those books that had a lot of potential but is hindered by the length of the story. I was really enjoying the beginning of it. I adored the friendship that Jake and Gabriel developed and the fun they had together. They are completely different people. Gabriel is a young college student and Jake is the older (although I’m not sure by how much) man who has a handle on life. Or so he thinks. While they’re different people they’re both adrenaline junkies and their bond becomes stronger because of that. I loved that Gabriel was so carefree because he didn’t let many things get to him, which meant he was always ready with a broad smile and a funny joke. Jake is a loner but needs the motivation to heal his broken heart and Gabriel can give him that.
I believe the moral of the story is about healing. Coming to terms with things that have happened, accepting them and moving on; stop running away and start living again. It’s a sweet, inspiring message that comes across greatly in Jake. If the story had been based solely on that, I would have enjoyed this a lot more. Unfortunately, other conflicts that were put into the story were out of place and weren’t given the proper due they deserved. For example, Gabriel being a college hockey player is in the closet. However, we don’t know this until almost the end of the story because he doesn’t act like it. Unfortunately, that kind of conflict needs to be fleshed out and I felt like this was something that was mentioned and then accepted after a brief fight. In the end, it’s still not address with much substance leaving the issue in the same position it was before the argument, which made the story feel incomplete and gave it the HFN ending. As I said, I was liking the story in the beginning but as it progressed, the author tried to push in multiple conflicts that just couldn’t fit into such a short story without being properly fleshed out.
Overall, this was a nice read. The characters are adorable and I loved how casual they were with each other but as a couple, I felt like they fell short on what they could have been. Their conflicts were just too big for the length of the read. I sincerely hope the author is thinking of making this into a series because their relationship feels incomplete to me. However, for those readers looking for something short and sweet with a tiny bit of angst, you’ll enjoy this one I bet!
Posted by Nikyta in 3 So So, Authors M-O, Contemporary, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex, up to 15k Tags: 2013 Daily Dose - Make a Play, Angst-alicious, Closeted, Doctors, Dreamspinner Press, Friends to Lovers, Grief, Gwynn Marssen, Healing, HFN, Light & Sweet, Short Story, Sports, Yearning
Title: Christmas Hopes
Author: Anna Lee
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 12,000 words
Genre: m/m, Contemporary, Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Adorable, Christmas, Co-Workers, Doctors, HEA, Short Story
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Nikyta
Christmas is a time of hope and love, but with a guarded heart Ethan Reed refuses to let anyone get close. Until he meets Trevor Hayes…
Doctor Ethan Reed’s life revolves around the hospital and his patients. Nothing will deter his commitment to his job; not even his new fellow, Trevor Hayes. Ethan is instantly attracted to the handsome doctor and the desire he feels isn’t one-sided. Sparks fly, but a guarded Ethan shoves Trevor away, not realizing that what he really wants for Christmas is to be loved and regain the hope he’s lost. Can Trevor get through to him or will Ethan spend another Christmas alone?
This was a sweet story of two doctors who must work together even though a deeper connection is being formed. I enjoyed the way Ethan and Trevor started off badly. It created some tension between them because Ethan used that to his advantage to push Trevor away so he wouldn’t get hurt by another colleague.
I found this story extremely sweet. Although short, there is still enough characterization and development between their relationship to get to know Ethan and Trevor. I enjoyed seeing them as doctors and the way they handled the kids they worked with.
While I really enjoyed the story, I felt like it needed to be longer. The tension between Ethan and Trevor causes conflict that ultimately changes Ethan very quickly, which I found unexpected and slightly out of character. I would have liked to see a gradual approach to how Ethan changes. As it was, there’s gaps within the story that are glossed over that make it hard to come to terms with his sudden mood change.
In the end, I really enjoyed the book. It’s sweet and left me with a smile on my face. I would have liked to have seen more of Trevor but I still really liked the relationship they created. The ending, however, was absolutely precious, I thought.
Posted by Nikyta in 4 Pretty Good, Authors J-L, Contemporary, Heat 1 - Sweet/None, Romance, Sex Freq 1 - None, up to 15k Tags: 2012 MLR Holiday Stories, Adorable!, Anna Lee, Christmas, co-workers, Doctors, HEA, MLR Press, Short Story
Title: Dragon’s Lair (Dragon #6)
Author: JB McDonald
Length: 22k words
Genre: m/m Paranormal Fantasy
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Dragons, Fae, Healer, Royalty, Family Issues, Politics, Magic
Rating: Really Liked It
Reviewed by Sadonna
**Spoiler alert: This is book 6 in a series and as such, any information contained in this review may be considered spoilers for the previous books. It is not recommended that these books be read out of sequence as each builds on the previous events.
Being a demon is no fun at all. This doesn’t particularly come as a surprise, but his constant escort and rarely seeing his lover does. When Ashe agreed to come to Katsu’s land, he did so hoping to spend time with Katsu. Instead, he spends time locked within the palace grounds, ostracized as a monster. This will continue, he knows, until the princess Chieko is healed… or dies.
Dying looks like the greater possibility, and Katsu is already mourning his sister. Then something happens — something terrible and wonderful. The ground trembles and opens up, and Katsu nearly falls through. At Ashe’s greatest need, the dragon responds, saving Ashe’s lover. If they can make it happen again, it might just save the princess’s life — and mean Ashe and Katsu can go home.
I discovered this series back in April and quickly read the first four books in one day. They are not long books, so since I liked the first story so much, I just devoured them one after the other. Each story builds on the previous events and I really fell in love with Katsu and Ashe. While this is a romantic series, the sex is not the focus of the story and the relationship between Ashe, an elf and Katsu, a human mage/healer
In this latest installment Katsu has been sought by messengers from his family and must travel back to his homeland in order to attempt to save his sister from a plague that has struck their lands. The trip is difficult and the climate and terrain are tough on Ashe. He is also seen as a demon by Katsu’s countrymen as there are no elves native to their domain. They are however respectful and keep their distance because of Ashe’s dragon who of course must accompany them on the trip.
It has come as a surprise to Ashe that Katsu is indeed a prince of this land and his mother, the Queen has summoned him to save his sister, the princess Chieko, who is also pregnant. We discover that there are several reasons why Katsu has left his homeland and why he is not exactly welcomed back with open arms.
Katsu tries to heal Chieko but his efforts do not seem to be working and he is getting depressed and cranky. On top of that, his mother has assigned an escort, Daisuke, for Ashe who is not fluent in the local language. The twist is that Daisuke is in fact a type of courtesan that has a past with Katsu. Katsu is furious with his mother over this interference. Ashe has no interest in the escort but he is kind of pleased to know that he means so much to Katsu as evidenced by his jealousy and worry.
As the visit goes on Chieko continues to deteriorate and Katsu becomes more despondent that he cannot heal her. Ashe offers ideas about using magic to heal her as Katsu has done for Ashe in the past. Katsu is convinced that will not work because humans do not absorb magic like elves. However, a near disaster convinces him that maybe he should try another approach. His last ditch attempt using Ashe and the dragon and magic to save Chieko has some rather dire consequences, but he has nothing to lose as she is near death anyway.
This series gets better and better with each book. The evolution of the relationship between Ashe and Katsu is just a pleasure to read. The fantasy and magic elements really add to the story and I cannot wait to see what the next chapter brings.
Posted by Sadonna in 16-40k, 5 Really Like It, Authors M-O, Fantasy, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Paranormal, Romance, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: Doctors, Dragon series, Dragons, Fae/Elves, Family Issues, JB McDonald, Magic, Politics, Royalty, Series, Torquere