Title: Conflict: Contact (Conflict #1)
Author: Jack Greene
Length: 13,650 words
Genre: m/m Sci Fi Erotica Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Series, Space Travel/Opera, Military, May/December, Cheating (it’s no biggie, more info in review), Married, Affair with the Boss, Genetic Modification, Other Worlds, Artificial Worlds, Battle/War, Alliances, Stranded
Rating: So So
**Some Spoilers! Sorry 😦
Conflict is a serial in three parts: In the not-so-distant future, the people of the Earth are repressed by the iron rule of the Emperor. The Space Colonies have resisted, and as a result are at war with the Emperor.
In Conflict: Contact, Lieutenant Colton Santarelli and the Colony Special Forces undertake a desperate mission to keep the Emperor from building the ultimate weapon, an army of supersoldiers. But amidst the terror of war, Colton is secretly in love with his dashing–and married–commanding officer Colonel Vance Hohler.
The first of a three part serialized novella called Conflict, Contact sets up this science fiction and space exploration erotic story about a colony Lieutenant named Colton who is in lust and moving toward love with his Colonel. Before setting out on a dangerous mission to overpower the Earth Emperor’s forces, Colton shares a mind-blowing moment with Vance, his Colonel, on the balcony during the party to celebrate their new venture. The problem is that no matter how much Vance shows interest in him as well, the fact remains that Vance is married.
Colton leaves with mixed feelings of lust, guilt and a little bit of love only to find that the Colonist’s offensive is in serious trouble. Before long, Colton finds himself all alone in a battle where most of his men have died and his ship is alone fighting the Emperor’s forces. In a bid to recover possible success in their mission, Colton heads to land and infiltrate the enemy base. What he finds there both horrifies him and confirms that the Emperor has been up to what they expected.
Shizu is a genetically modified human that was abducted as a child and has been through a horrible hell of testing and modification along with several others. Now, he thinks he’s the only one left, at least in this base and the sight of a man who takes him out of the base and tries to get him to freedom bonds them together. But Shizu still harbors feelings for the man who was with him, who tried to escape with him before they were caught and separated forever. Hiding in a cave with Colton while they await rescue with a downed ship, the two get to know one another and forge a friendship of mutual respect and goals that might just be a bridge between the Colony forces and Earth’s grassroots rebellion that could help them overthrow the planet’s tyrannical rule.
I’m always excited to get a new Jack Greene story for review, but lately his work has been turning from more erotica to romance. He still writes highly erotic stories, such as this, but there’s definitely more plot to work with and to keep me interested and I like the fusion of styles and his growth as an author. It certainly makes me look forward to the next two stories in this “serialized” story. As the first of such a series, a large part of this story serves to set up the world. We’re presented with a world split into three factions: Earth, where a tyrant has united the world under one rule; the colonies, artificial worlds in space that use artificial gravity and other futuristic technological advances to create a sort of mirror earth in a controlled atmosphere; and lastly, the grassroots resistance on Earth, living hardscrabble lives with little food or supplies and actively defying the Empire while remaining under the radar. Conflict gives us the initial outlook in this conflict while paving the way for the next couple of stories through the connection made between Colton, Shizu and Shizu’s lover.
The relationship between Colton and his Colonel, Vance, is a different matter. Vance appears quickly in the beginning and then later in the story, but is largely removed (so far) from the actual conflict. His motivations seemed hazy to me for much of the story before he seemed to do an about face and admit deep feelings of love for Colton, despite his marriage, which he claims is unhappy and more of convenience. There’s one brief bout of cheating in the beginning of the novel, but it seems that there won’t be anymore, going by what we learn later in the story. So if you find cheating a huge turnoff, you might be initially disappointed in the story. Otherwise, I found their interactions together to be really steamy and satisfying on an erotic level, but at the end of the story I remained unconvinced in any true feelings between them. Perhaps, hopefully, that will change in the next two stories. I’d rather have an all or nothing approach, all romance and development of those feelings, or pure erotica. But a mishmash of the two where I’m not shown any of that progression cheapens the story a bit for me.
I’m definitely excited to see what’s in store for these characters. Of course, even though I had problems with some of the story, for the most part I’m pretty forgiving (always, of course, lol), but especially because this is the first story in a three part arc and there’s room for the characters to grow into the feelings presented here.
Be sure to comment below to win a copy of the story!
Please leave a comment below to win an ebook copy of Conflict: Contact. The giveaway will last until Midnight CDT on Friday, August 2. 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.
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Thank you and good luck!
Posted by Cole in 3 So So, Authors G-I, Erotica, Giveaways, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Romance, SciFi, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex, up to 15k Tags: Affair with the Boss, Alliances, Artificial Worlds, Battles/War, Cheating, Conflict series, Futuristic, Genetic Modification, Jack Greene, Married, May/December, Military, Otherworlds, Phaze, Series, Short Story, Space Travel, Stranded
Title: Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen #1)
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Self Published (Coffee Squirrel Press)
Length: 92,479 words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Series, Urban Fantasy, Fae/Elves, Futuristic, Post-Apoc, California, Graphic Violence (and other…things), Blood & Gore, Dragons, Past Abuse, Action/Adventure, Unusual Creatures, Magic, Tattoos
Rating: Really Liked It
Ever since he’d been part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figured he’d used up any good karma he had when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in. Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races were left with a messy, monster-ridden world and Stalkers were often the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy and dark moved into the neighbourhood.
There certainly were no shortage of monsters or people stupidly willing to become lunch for one.
It was a hard life but one Kai liked. And he was good at it. Killing monsters was easy. Especially since he was one himself.
After an accident retired Dempsey out, Kai set up permanent shop in San Diego, contracting out to the local SoCalGov depot. It was a decent life, filled with bounty, a few friends and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him he wasn’t really human.
That was until a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego and Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It was supposed to a simple run; head up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary with the new Court then back to San Diego. Easy, quick and best of all, profitable. But Ryder’s “simple” run leads to massive trouble and Kai ends up being caught in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.
No one ever got rich by being a Stalker. But then hardly any of them got old either. The way things were looking, it didn’t look like Kai was going to be the exception.
Pretty much all of you who read my reviews know that for the most part I’m rather reluctant to read anything angsty or intense. My tastes change and fluctuate of course, but for the last year to year and a half I’ve mostly left those alone. So somehow, I suppose because at the time I didn’t really know Rhys Ford’s writing all that well, I got into her writing even though she really flirts with the edge for me at times, no matter how much I end up liking the books. It takes me a bit of mental cheerleading to work myself into the frame of mind to start her books, and really it’s mostly the anticipation; fearing that the book will get too intense for me is more than half the battle, because I usually don’t mind as much once I start reading. But now that I know I’ll read anything by this author, it still means that I’m nervous starting her books. I was actually most excited about this one, mostly because I was really interested to see how she’d deal with urban fantasy when most of her writing that I’m familiar with are contemporary mysteries. And once I started, I was immediately sucked into it. Even though it was in many parts intense — it was just a different kind of intensity than I expected.
Kai Gracen is an anomaly among the lower denizens of San Diego. Taken in by Dempsey when only a feral elfin boy, the grizzled and uncouth hunter raised Kai in his shadow, among the human hunters of the black dogs, the spawn of the unsidhe that threaten the human population and whose hides earn money from the government. After a war between humans and the elfin races (both sidhe and unsidhe), the land is split between areas for each race to inhabit, with land specifically designated for the elfin to set up their courts. It also left the world full of monsters and beasties like the black dogs, making travel between those areas often difficult and dangerous.
As a hunter, Kai is skilled and extremely knowledgable about the area, which is why he’s called into the local government depot (where he gets paid for his kills) to take a non-negotiable contract to ferry a new elfin lord up the coast during dragon mating season. The run through Pendle is dangerous even without the complications that the sidhe lord brings, the first being their passenger on return. Ryder, the sidhe lord, is new to San Diego, setting up a new court (the Dawn Court). He needs to retrieve a pregnant human from the sidhe city in Los Angeles and needs Kai to take him, serving as guide and bodyguard.
This book drew me immediately in. It feels… literally jam-packed with action and plot. It’s almost as if there’s no stopping. And after reading the book and then seeing that it’s only just shy of 100k words. Honestly, I felt as if I’d read twice that. There’s so much to this story, starting with the world and the characters. This book does well as the first of a new series to set up the world, but so much of it is in great detail. It is rather smartly done, too. We don’t need a history lesson, because while we don’t really know how the war between the humans and elfin came about or how it played out, it’s fairly self-explanatory by how the world is set up. Both races have their positive and negative qualities, and Kai is uniquely placed to give us perspective on both of them, while having his own unique one about where the two races collide. Over the course of the book we learn quite a bit about his history, which is fairly graphic in detail but shows the evil and the good in the world. And also, there is so much world, plot, characterization that this story really can’t have it all. The romance is really non-existent in this book, except in the sense as a prelude to future stories and in the building of the relationship between Kai and Ryder. But I appreciated that there wasn’t a rush and that Rhys Ford didn’t (perhaps) bow to pressure to include it too early.
I’ve gone the route of deciding to urge you to read this yourself rather than really dig in and explore the book in my review. I would actually love to do that, but there’s honestly just way too much to talk about. And I was really surprised by how well balanced all of that was. I felt like Rhys showed quite a bit of restraint in parts of the book, which makes me eager to see what she’ll write for the sequel… there’s just so much more story left to tell.
I will say that if you might be squeamish about blood and gore this might be a difficult read for you. I was expecting more emotionally intense writing than what I got, but I didn’t expect so many physically intense scenes. There’s one scene that made even me sick to my stomach (which… I don’t know that that has ever happened to me actually), where… Well, all I’ll say is that Kai gets something really nasty in his mouth. And the blood and gore was a few times almost comical, like a Tarantino movie. I really enjoyed that part of it, though some people really might not.
But, in all, this was a really fantastic read. While I applaud the author’s decision to take the romance slow (which is really needed because of Kai’s emotional growth throughout the book), I would have liked maybe a bit more connection between him and Ryder before the ending of the book. It got there, sortof, before the end, but for a book that for most of reading it I wasn’t sure if it even was going to develop into a romance, I wanted a bit more assurance of the direction their relationship was moving in before we left them for a year or however long it takes before the sequel is ready to read.
Beautifully and smartly written. And, I think, one of the best books so far this year. Definitely recommended!
Posted by Cole in 5 Really Like It, 76-100k, Authors D-F, Fantasy, Futuristic, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Romance, Sex Freq 1 - None Tags: Action/Adventure, Blood & Gore, California, Dragons, Fae/Elves, Futuristic, Graphic Violence, Kai Gracen, Magic, Past Abuse, Post Apocalyptic, Rhys Ford, Self Published, Series, Tattoos, Unusual Creatures, Urban Fantasy
Title: Private Dicks: Undercovers
Editors: Samantha M Derr
Authors: Siobhan Crosslin, K-Lee Klein, Holly Rinna-White, Alison Bailey, Megan Derr, EE Ottoman, Isabella Carter & Sasha L Miller
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 135k words
Genre: m/m + m/m/m Mystery Romance
Keywords/Tags: Anthology, Short Stories, Private Investigators, Undercover
Rating: Pretty Good
Temper by Siobhan Crosslin—Reese hates deception, but that’s all his life has been since he was sent to investigate a wolf pack on clashing sets of orders. Keeping his lies separated is all that’s keeping him alive, and it’s a job that grows harder by the day—especially with the unexpected complications of the alpha he’s investigating.
The PI and the Rockstar by K-lee Klein—Mason is a detective. He’s not flashy or hip and he doesn’t have an office conducive to entertaining wealthy clients. But when made-of-money Durango and his gum-snapping daughter hire him to do surveillance on a popular rockstar named Jade Jonathan Lee, Mason’s business world collides with his personal life, and the result is a mystery that must be solved.
Glamour by Holly Rinna-White—When his little brother is kidnapped, Jason hires Eric, PI and long-time crush, to find him, terrified of what will happen if people learn his brother is unregistered psychic. But when Jason is kidnapped as well, he learns he and his brother are not the only ones keeping secrets.
The Virginia Gentleman by Alison Bailey—When the Virginia Gentleman rides into town, it’s a sure bet that trouble ain’t far behind. He’s quick on the draw, feared by all, and one sad little group of train robbers is about to find out why it’s never wise to bet on trouble.
The Royal Inquisitor by Megan Derr—Esmour is one the best Inquisitors in the kingdom, but the penance bracelets on his wrists serve as constant reminder that once he was not a master of deception, but a victim. To solve his latest case, he must work alongside the liar who changed his life, and the love he learned too late was never real.
Regarding the Detective’s Companion by E.E. Ottoman—Jamie is desperate: he has no money, rent is coming due, and if he doesn’t do something soon he’ll be forced back into a life of charity and pity. So when he is brought a case, Jamie takes it—even if it will mean lying to his client, manipulating the suspect and propelling himself into the middle of a plot involving murder and political intrigue.
The Demon Bride by Isabella Carter—One dead body left at the door is more than enough, but after three are left on the stoop of his father’s agency and no one else is willing to investigate, Quinton decides he’ll just have to solve the mystery himself.
Too Dangerous by Sasha L. Miller—Shi is good at what he does, no matter what his stupid ex thought. Danger comes with the territory, especially when that territory includes a special license to do select work for the government. But when the government needs him to fix something that defeated even their most elite, Shi learns that some situations are too much even for him.
I’ve been sitting on this anthology for a while, but if there’s anything that I know about anthologies from Less Than Three Press, it’s that they’re usually some of my favorites, it not my overall favorites from a specific publisher. So I was excited to read it and I found several stories within that I really liked.
Once again, as with the LT3 anthology I reviewed earlier this week (Something Happened on the Way to Heaven — reviewed here), I was delighted with the diversity in the stories presented. Each story deals with a Private Investigator and a mystery, but the stories cross all genres, from Paranormal to Steampunk to Science Fiction, Contemporary and Western. I really enjoyed the steampunk story, “Regarding the Detective’s Companion” by EE Ottoman. Even though it isn’t the best story in the anthology, I really liked the characters, the mystery and the world. Having a steampunk world was also nice because there are so few m/m steampunk stories. The first story is one of my favorites. With a very distinctive style, Siobhan Crosslin takes us into an extreme werewolf society with some really fine writing.
So, look below and I’ll give you a bit about each story. The reviews will be shorter than usual, because this was a longer anthology, but the tags and info about each story will give you quite a bit about what each one has to offer 🙂
Temper by Siobhan Crosslin (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Paranormal Mystery Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Shifters (Wolves & Dragons), Mate Bonding, Enforcer/Thug, Violence, Undercover
Siobhan Crosslin takes us into a highly segregated world of the different paranormal races. Werewolves form highly structured packs, and Reese has been sent by his alpha to investigate an alpha of a different pack. He infiltrates them easily. Reese was raised and groomed into a killing machine and his loyalties are clouded by his feelings for each alpha — his fear of the old one and his shifting loyalty to the new one, the one he’s lying to, and the one he’s falling in love with.
This one ended up being on the high end of Pretty Good for me, almost Really Liked It. In fact, for most of the story I really, really liked it. Most of all, I loved the writing style. The story thrusts you into the lies and deception from a point of view that is compromised, confused and unable to accurately bring the reader up to speed about what is actually going on and who is who. I admired that and fell into the story, excited by the challenging point of view. It soon grew to be tedious, however, and I ended the story upset that I never really learned much about the world or the people. I had hoped that the writing I loved so much was just being choosy about how to impart information to the reader, but what was held back never came to light.
I’ve since read the sequel to this story (Weld), or rather another story by this author, not a direct serial but also in this world. I ended up liking that one even less, because it carried on with this same writing style, but at an even higher degree, which made for an unpleasant read, unfortunately.
The PI and the Rockstar by K-Lee Klein (So So)
Genre: m/m Contemporary Mystery Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Rockers, Private Investigators, Piercings!, Sexy to the 999s, Closeted
Mason is a private investigator with a rather famous boyfriend. Though that’s all on the hush hush. Of course, that secret means that when a teenage client and her father come into his office asking him to find a musician that got the girl pregnant and then ditched her, he can’t tell them that the man they’re trying to frame is, in fact his boyfriend, the lead singer of a popular rock group. So what is the girl really up to? And how will the added level of duplicity affect Mason’s relationship with Jade?
This was an okay story for me. I was a bit sad that there weren’t any surprises for me — as soon as the girl came in with her father and explained “what happened” with the rockstar, I had a feeling I knew what was going to happen. Sadly, I was right. Add to that the fact that I never really felt like I got to know the characters well, made this story just a So So read for me.
Glamour by Holly Rinna-White (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Science Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Brothers, Undercover, Private Investigator, Psychic, Aliens, Kidnapping
Most of my enjoyment of this story came from the world, which I found rather interesting. Jason and his brother are both unregistered psychics, in a world where those with abilities have to come forward to be assessed by the government. While Jason has mild precognition, his little brother is a different case, with a powerful precognitive sight that puts them all in danger. When Jason’s little brother is psychic, he must go to the man he’s had a crush on for months. Eric is a private investigator with secrets of his own, the least of which is that he’s as interested in Jason as Jason is in him. Searching for the men who kidnapped Jason’s brother, and then trying to rescue Jason himself when the fool rushes in to save his brother, brings both of them closer together.
The Virginia Gentleman by Alison Bailey (So So)
Genre: m/m Western Historical Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Undercover, Cowboys, Thieves, Kidnapping, Private Investigator
I admit, I had a little trouble with this one. I read half of it, finished the anthology then came back and re-read this story. I enjoy westerns, but most westerns in m/m romance are simply contemporary cowboy stories, and this story harkens to a much more authentic historical Old West. The story moved a little too slow for me, but that is all personal preference — the pace suits the plot and sub-genre.
While a man is searching for a boy that was taken years ago as a child, the Virginia Gentleman is looking for some helping hands for a train robbery. Finding the boy and his ogre of a keeper, as well as a man looking to score money to settle with his fiancee, the Virginia Gentlemen leads them across the west to a planned heist of a princess’ carriage. Along the way the VG gets to know the young boy, now a young man but shy and quiet and scared, all while holding some rather big secrets of his own.
The Royal Inquisitor by Megan Derr (Pretty Good)
Genre: m/m Alternate World Historical Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few & Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Royalty, Thieves, Second Chances, Undercover, The Big Mis
I really, really enjoyed this story. You all know how much I love Megan Derr’s writing, and I really got into this story. Sadly, I felt like the tension was created by a misunderstanding, and while it isn’t classic Big Mis type situation, having to do with some duplicity from other nefarious characters, it was still a little disappointing to me that the hurt Esmour feels in this story is because of pride and miscommunication. Still, that was only a shadow on the ending for me, and for the most part I really liked this one.
Esmour wears bracelets that show his penance toward the crown. Unknowingly involved in a sting operation in the past, he came down on the wrong side of the axe when all was said and done, only spared from the noose by his connection and faux-relationship with the undercover prince. Now, the prince has need of him to solve a mystery slave trade in a city in the kingdom, and Esmour, despite his bracelets, is still the best investigator working for the crown. The case will force the two back together into a situation that for all the hurt it may cause might ultimately lead to a reconciliation that Esmour could never have envisioned.
Regarding the Detective’s Companion by EE Ottoman (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Historical, Steampunk Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Disability, Injured Character, Nerds/Geeks, Politics, Science, Awesome Female Characters, Present Tense
**Spoiler Alert! The review of this story in the anthology has some spoilers**
Jamie was rescued from certain death by a priest. With no working legs, he hobbles on crutches, but manages to get around a steampunk Victorian England trying to solve enough cases to make a name for himself as a private investigator. If he does, he might finally be able to make rent, but as it is he’s facing another week of near starvation and one step closer to being back on the streets… or worse, falling up on the Father’s mercy. In his desperation, Jamie takes a case from a man who he’s certain is aiming to frame an innocent man for murder. So what if he didn’t explicitly agree to finding the man guilty? If he investigates, he can find the real murderer and bring real justice. The case could make his career. Plus, they’re paying him up front.
I really liked this story, mostly because of the characters. Jamie is great, but the really great characters are the friends he makes during his time undercover, as well as the sweet romance that develops with his employer and the man he’s meant to frame. I think what I really liked was that this story diverted from the norm. What I expect when I read a story with the lie/undercover plot device is that the deception will go on until the characters are in love and then the secret coming out destroys the trust and is the climax of the story. Instead, when the truth of Jamie’s deception is revealed, the characters band together, almost making their relationship stronger with the real truth. It brings down the barriers that previously existed as boss/assistant and teacher/student and put the characters on an equal footing. Plus, that allows the two to continue the investigation, but now together. And I really liked that, because the best parts of this story are the interactions between these two characters. It’s sweet, awkward, funny, and totally nerdy. And I loved it 🙂
The Demon Bride by Isabella Carter (Not Feelin’ It)
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few & Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Serial Killer, Demons
For some reason, I really just could not get into this story. I think it was the fact that both the romance and the mystery felt a bit incomplete to me. And even more, I didn’t really understand any of the characters, and to a smaller extent, what was really going on in the end. This could obviously be in my own mis-reading of the story, but I still never really latched on to this story like the others, no matter how little I understood about the end. Plus, I didn’t ever feel like this was really an m/m/m story.
Quinton has now found several bodies lying at the door of his father’s detective agency. No matter how many times he brings the subject of what to do about it up to his father, his father refuses to give him any information about it, despite the fact that Quinton feels he deserves to know, not only because he’s now older and wants to investigate the mystery himself, but also because he’s found the bodies, and he knew them. But when the third body is left of the stoop and Quinton finds a letter addressed to him, he decides he must investigate.
Too Dangerous by Sasha L Miller (Really Liked It)
Genre: m/m Science Fiction Romance
Heat: 1 – Sweet/None
Sex Frequency: 1 – None
Keywords/Tags: Action/Adventure, Second Chances, Military, Futuristic, Secrets & Lies, Kidnapping/Hostage
Ending this anthology with a Science Fiction story was a nice change of pace from the previous ones. And I really like Sasha MIller’s work, so this story, which was more of an action/adventure story was very nice to end the book with.
Shi is a successful private investigator, but he’s thinking about letting his military consultant status (at the highest clearance) lapse. Working a case for the military was how he met his ex-boyfriend in the first place and Shi is still trying to get over their breakup several months previously. So when he arrives at his office to find an unmarked hovercraft, he knows that the military has come to call once again. He fully expects to turn the offer down. After all, he made sure that provision was put into his contract. But when he finds out that he’s the only man for the job — to infiltrate the operate of a space crime syndicate to rescue the remaining member of the special ops team being held captive on the man’s ship — he knows he has to consider. Especially when he finds out that the man held captive is… his ex-boyfriend. No matter the hard feelings, he can’t leave him there. So despite the fact that he’s in way over his head, he’ll do what he has to to get the man out of there, and hopefully get some answers in the process.
Posted by Cole in 126k+, 2 Not Feelin' It, 3 So So, 4 Pretty Good, 5 Really Like It, Alternate World, Authors A-C, Authors D-F, Authors J-L, Authors M-O, Authors P-R, Contemporary, Fantasy, Heat 1 - Sweet/None, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Heat 4 - Spicy & Smutty, Historical, m/m/m Polyamorous, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, SciFi, Sex Freq 1 - None, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex, Steampunk, Western Tags: Action/Adventure, Aliens, Alison Bailey, Anthology, Awesome Female Characters, Brothers, Closeted, Cowboys, Demons, Dragon Shifters, EE Ottoman, Enforcer, Futuristic, Holly Rinna-White, Injured Character, Isabella Carter, K-Lee Klein, Kidnapping/Abduction, Less Than Three Press, Mate Bonding, Megan Derr, Military, Musicians, Nerds/Geeks, Physical Disabilities/Trauma, Piercings, Politics, Present Tense, Private Investigators, Psychic, Royalty, Samantha Derr, Sasha L Miller, Science, Second Chances, Secrets & Lies, Serial Killer, Sexy to the 999's, Short Story, Siobhan Crosslin, The Big Mis, Thieves, Undercover, Violence, Wolf Shifters
Title: Sex And The Single Zombie (Tales of the Arisen, #1)
Author: Cassandra Gold
Publisher: Amber Allure
Length: 13,000 words
Genre: m/m, Paranormal, Romance, Comedy
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Adorable, HFN, Pets, Zombies, Futuristic, Short Story
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Nikyta
Caring, professional SWGZ seeks open-minded SGM for dating and possible LTR…
Since his death two years ago, zombie Peter Reese’s love life has been nonexistent. His attempts to meet a regular “live” guy through a blind dating website—without revealing an important detail about himself—have all blown up in his face. Now, his current blind date with “Shane1990” seems destined to end the same way, until the handsome guy inexplicably decides to give Peter another chance.
Can Peter prove that nice zombies don’t always finish last?
Peter’s been lonely enough to give online dating a change since his reanimation two years prior. After two disastrous dates, he meets Shane 1990 who’s shocked Peter’s a zombie. Feeling the rejection, Peter gives Shane an out. Instead of leaving, Shane stays and gives their date a try. As it happens, Shane and Peter hit it off. They have a lot in common. What follows, is numerous long phone conversations and eventually a second date. On that date, Peter meets Shane’s friends who are mostly nice, except for one nasty friend. Even though Peter’s a zombie, Shane has some real feelings for Peter and there’s strong attraction between them. When they go home together, they realize just how intense their attraction is and Shane gets a bit more personal with Peter’s zombie side than might be comfortable.
This is probably one of the sweetest zombie books you’ll ever read. Peter is so self-conscious now that he’s a zombie because he has to do all sorts of weird things like eat raw meat, constantly eat candy to boast his energy and ends up walking slower than everyone else. When he meets Shane, he’s excited but afraid of what will happen. It’s hard for him to believe that a hot guy like Shane would want a zombie. It’s cute but sad, in a way.
There’s some funny lines within this book that had me cracking a few smiles. Peter’s personality is enough to make anyone smile but his desire to make things as good as possible on his dates with Shane is just so cute. Then when he sees Shane actually liking him and then experiences the pleasure Shane can give him, he starts to panic a little at never wanting Shane to see what he must do being a zombie.
I don’t want to spoiler it too much but while Peter doesn’t eat people, he does eat raw meat and Shane walks in on him ‘enjoying’ a meal. It’s a nice story but it’s not very deep. We get the very basic details of Peter and even less of Shane. For instance, we don’t actually know how Peter died. Although, the concept about how Peter came back as a zombie was very interesting and gave a variation of the end of the world theory.
All in all, this was a very nice read. Perfect for someone looking for a quick and easy read that’ll put a smile on your face. It’s not very long and doesn’t lead one to believe there will be an HEA but at least there was a sweet HFN.
Posted by Nikyta in 4 Pretty Good, Authors G-I, Comedy/Comedians, Heat 2 - Romantic & Tame, Paranormal, Romance, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex, up to 15k Tags: Adorable!, Amber Allure, Cassandra Gold, Futuristic, HFN, Pets, Short Story, Tales of the Arisen, Zombies!
Title: My Regelence Rake (Sci-Regency #3)
Author: JL Langley
Length: 93,564 words
Genre: m/m Science Fiction Historical Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Series, Futuristic, Regency, Royalty, Military, Horses, Family
Rating: Pretty Good
Before you find your prince, you have to kiss your share of rakes.
Sci-Regency, Book 3
With his days occupied with duties as Captain of the Guard, and nights consumed with upholding his reputation as a rake, Lord Sebastian Hastings’s schedule is filled. There’s no extra time to be anyone’s bodyguard, but the royal family’s safety is a task he sees to personally.
Prince Colton Townsend has loved Sebastian for as long as he can remember, but he’s done pining for a man who has vowed never to remarry. So he consoles himself with the second love of his life—horses. Stable building and horse racing consume his every thought, at least until he’s stuck with Sebastian dogging his every step.
While looking over the prospects at an auction, Colton is trying to ignore his sexy, pesky bodyguard when he feels compelled to take on a bully to protect an abused horse. Sebastian is dragged into the fray, and their good deed sparks a string of nasty rumors.
There’s only one way to quell the political storm: marry. But instead of solving everything, Colton realizes his new husband is a bundle of secrets, none of which he’ll give up easily. Unless Colton makes one, last-ditch effort that could break his heart for good.
Warning: Contains an obnoxious filly, a love-struck prince, a meddling king, a matchmaking duke, vicious rumors and hunky ex Special Forces soldiers.
Has it really been FOUR YEARS since the second book in this series came out? It seems so. I read this series back when I first started reading m/m in early 2010 and it has remained at the top of a very competitive list of all time favorite series. I’ve been so excited to read it that I spent all day yesterday reading as soon as I got the book, eager to read more about the royal family, the amazingly awesome world and to find out more about the overarching plot that was left up in the air at the end of the last book. The problem with waiting so long for a book is that it’s almost impossible to live up to the overlong expectations. While it mostly did, I still found some problems with it that didn’t work for me and left me unsatisfied, especially since I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait to get more of the story. Part of that is that I have much higher standards now than I did when I read the first two books — if I read them now they might not be five star reads, I’m honestly not sure. Overall, though, I liked it and it was wonderful to go back to this world and visit these characters who I really love.
Colton, the fourth child of the King and King-Regent of Regelence has watched two of his brothers make love matches. He could only dream that the man he has fallen in love with as he’s grown up could ever feel the same for him and that they could have a similar life together. The problem is that the man Colton loves, Sebastian (known as Wentworth for the name of his previous husband) is a rake and has quite the reputation of bedding easy men. That reputation, combined with his seeming disregard for Colton’s rather obvious feelings, convinces Colton to take charge of his life, especially after witnessing Wentworth in a compromising position with another man at a ball. He decides to give up his pitiful unrequited romance and devote himself to a new career — the breeding of racehorses.
The change in Colton’s behavior puzzles Sebastian. As the Captain of the Guard, he knows the royal family well and the new Colton along with his now direct and driven behavior (not in his direction, as he is used to) worries him. Trying to guard Colton is more difficult now that he has changed and he sees him differently than before. Colton, like his brothers, has a problem with getting into trouble, and Sebastian is the type of trouble that a prince should be kept away from.
Through their dance of attraction, his own heavily guarded secrets threaten to come to light, along side a possible danger to Colton. Combined with the escalating tension among the political alliances of the government and the danger to his own family, the situation is set to explode in one way or another.
Maybe I don’t remember the first two books well enough (it has been a long time since I read them), but my biggest problem with this book was there was just so much going on. So much of the story is devoted to the relationship between Colton and Sebastian that there is very little time for the overall plot arc to move forward. This saddened me because there are continuing references to things about to happen that seemed to get pushed off to the next book. I felt like… I had to wait so long to read more of this series and then I only got teasers. How much longer will I have to wait for a progression in the series? That’s not to say that the story itself wasn’t good. It works really well as a standalone book, I just wanted more of the overall plot.
The best part of reading this book, for me, was simply returning to this world. I absolutely adore the characters — all the brothers and the consorts a few of them have (esp. Nate, from the first book, I LOVE Nate). Then there is Trouble and Rexley, the brothers’ father and sire who are one of my favorite couples of the series even though they haven’t gotten their own book (I would love to read it though!). They really have a lot of fun, which I like. You can tell that they’re really a family who loves each other. The world itself is fun to read about and would never get old for me.
I thought the relationship between Colton and Sebastian worked really well. They deal with a lot of the issues you’d encounter in a contemporary story and the story is really focused on their relationship, with only little pieces of narration throughout the story from other POVs. There is a steadily building tension throughout the story. Their relationship is founded on secrets and lies, something that we know but Colton doesn’t. The pressure builds and builds over the story, teasing up and up with all the other serious things going on. Sadly, in the end, it just didn’t seem like a big deal to me. The ending fizzled. It really couldn’t deliver unless Sebastian was hiding something utterly horrible because there is so much emphasis put on his secret and his past. That rather anticlimactic revelation along with the absence of more information about their trouble with the I.N. made me a little upset with the ending. Perhaps I wouldn’t be as disappointed if I knew I might find out in a few months, or even within a year, but I’m afraid it will be at least another one or two years, maybe even more. I can’t fault this author for her writing pace, but it does make it difficult to become invested in a series that is rarely updated. For me to be satisfied to wait, I wanted to be given a little more.
I know that nearly everyone who reads m/m will be reading this book and there will be nearly as many opinions, but I have to say that even though 80% of the book (roughly) was really satisfying to read, the last 20% let me down because my expectations had grown so high, because of both the wait and the lead up during the story. The story was really enjoyable to read either way. I hope that your opinion differs, I truly do, but I’d say everyone should read it anyway, and I know that almost all of you will be, very soon. 🙂
Posted by Cole in 4 Pretty Good, 76-100k, Authors J-L, Futuristic, Heat 3 - Sexy & Mild, Historical, Romance, SciFi, Sex Freq 2 - Few and Far Between Tags: Family, Futuristic, Horses, JL Langley, Military, Regency, Royalty, Samhain Publishing, Sci/Regency, Series
Title: The Machinist
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 8,600 words, 22 pages
Genre: m/m Paranormal
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Sex to Story Ratio
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, Gun Kink, Futuristic, Captives/Slaves, Military
Rating: Me Like
In a nightmare world where the things in the dark are large and hungry and humanity has been driven back to the tribal and savage, a man like Avery Belfour is an asset. Avery is a machinist, one of the few left with the knowledge to keep mechanical devices—in particular, guns—in working order. But being in such high demand comes with a price: Avery is kept as a prisoner under lock and key.
When a rival colony raids the compound Avery is kept in and breaks him out, Avery has a brief hope that his incarceration is over. But it turns out that his saviors have just as much need for his services and are just as unlikely to give him the chance to say no. He is dragged away to meet the dark and deadly Harrow, the leader of this new colony. Harrow is a hard man, made so by his circumstances, but Avery wants his freedom, and is willing to do anything to secure it.
Damn that was hot! I try not to say I want to read more of something (More! More! More!) because this genre has so much volume of work that it’s a ADHD playground, but damn I would really have loved to read more of this. I was terribly sad that it was over so quickly. And it made me wonder why the gun play was so hot. I hate guns. But this was one of those stark disconnects between fiction and real life and it totally worked for me.
Avery wakes up in his cell, weak and chained, to the sound of gunfire. As a machinist, a master of weaponry in a world where his knowledge is highly prized, he understands immediately that the pitch, duration, and rapidity means a host of men and their guns steadily coming his way. He’s hoping this is his chance of freedom after being kidnapped during his travels and kept in the dungeon of this colony’s fortress, but when the ice cold leader of the insurgency comes to his cell, his hopes are diminished. However, Avery is intelligent — wily with an offset sense of humor — and will try to do anything to stop being transferred from one prison to another.
The beauty of this story is Avery’s snarky sense of humor amidst such a dark and desolate world, where it seems everyone and everything is a predator in the midst of war, natural and man-made alike. Perhaps because of his innate understanding of guns and therefore intelligence that is so highly prized, he flouts authority easily. And whether it is ultimately to get a rise out of his captors (and satiate his lust for guns against his skin) or an earnest desire for freedom, he’s a man living in the present of his circumstances. Told completely from Avery’s point of view, we understand very little about the world he inhabits or the cause of conflict he’s in the middle of, save that he’s away from his homeland on a foolish desire for travel in a dangerous place.
This story probably won’t be for some, not only because of the gun kink, but because the story does seem a prelude to showcasing the kink itself — little background about the world and characters, only the briefest hint of body language to pinpoint the difference between the facade of play and the realistic circumstances Avery is in. I can appreciate that, though, and at face value all of those things serve to isolate the reader Avery’s limited world that is fairly powerless. And while the gun kink was completely, irresistibly sexy to me in this story, that limitation also piques my interest in what might really be going on, thus setting me up to always want more.
Though I’ve heard great things about this author in the past, this is the first thing I’ve read of her work, and from now on I’ll be closely watching for new releases!
Posted by Cole in 5 Really Like It, Alternate World, Authors G-I, BDSM / Kink, Heat 5 - Off the Charts!, Paranormal, Sex Freq 3 - Average Story to Sex, up to 15k Tags: Captive/Slave, Futuristic, Gryvon, Gun Play, Military, Short Story, Storm Moon Press