quick reviews

Quick Reviews: September 2019

 

Clueless Cabot by André D. Michaels

Facts: M/M contemporary romance, best friends to lovers, clumsy confusion!

In brief: Cabot and Lloyd love each other as best friends, or is it more… or less… or… two confused men trying to take care of each other like they always have (or maybe differently).

Verdict: I enjoyed this, it was fun.

 

 


Tad by M.D. Neu

Facts: Supernatural, queer tale about life.

In brief: Simple moments, roads not taken can change the future… for everyone.

Verdict: This was a bit too simplistic for me but it’s well written.

 

 


American Love Story by Adrianna Herrera:

Facts: M/M romance, contemporary, HEA/HFN, political, deals with racism

In brief: A lot of push and pull between two men… both political in their own right, but are they on different sides?  Their attraction keeps bringing them together while the challenges in the world around them seem to push them apart.

Verdict: This wasn’t my favorite. I found it difficult to like one of the main characters, but it’s very well written.

 

 


Iron and Velvet by Alexis Hall

Facts: Kick-ass lesbian lead, spooky supernatural characters, hot sex and full of action!

In brief: Kick-ass lesbian lead, spooky supernatural characters, hot sex and full of action!

Verdict: This was funny, and packed full of drama and action. I can’t wait to see what Hall does with this series. There’s so much potential already created!

 

 


The Lion and The Crow by Eli Easton

Facts: M/M period romance/intrigue, chivalry

In brief: An intense ride through the Medieval World as the unwanted and underestimated son of a King combines forces with an honourable knight trying to save his sister.

Verdict:   An intense ride through the Medieval World as the unwanted and underestimated son of a King combines forces with an honorable knight trying to save his sister. Love blossoms between two men in a time and place where it’s definitely not okay. This story is well-written and hs great characterization.

 

 


Time Turns by C.B. Lewis: A rogueish Scottish coder ends up with more than he bargains for when he takes a job at the Temporal Research Institute… including an attraction to the boss.

There are a couple of things that stand out… in that they don’t stand out. SPOILER COMING (in a way) Let’s see, about 1/3 of the way into the story, Lysander discloses that he is a Trans man. I say … it’s a spoiler in a way… because it’s just NOT that big a deal. I freaking loved that! Trans is just something that is part of who Lysander is… and Danny doesn’t really react to it at all. It’s just… something that is. THANK YOU, C.B. Lewis! Hopefully, we won’t all have to wait until 2065 to get that kind of inclusion.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it as many times as I’m able to… Queer isn’t the point of this novel… it’s just something that some of the characters happen to be.

 

 


Lucky Break (Clean Slate Ranch #4) by A.M. Arthur : I had mixed feelings about this book. I really liked the main character, Shawn. He was a lovely guy who had been through a hell of a lot. One of the biggest challenges I had with the story was that nearly everyone was gay! I refer to these kinds of books as “Gay Disneyland’. When most of the ranch hands turned out to be gay and all partnered in healthy relationships … I began to find it difficult to suspend my disblief.

I also had trouble with the fact that every character in the novel was open, caring and very emotionally expressive whenever they spoke to each other. It just didn’t come across as ‘real’ to me. Now, that being said, I know this is a romance so the point is for people to be partnered up.

I just like a little bit of realism in the stories so I’m probably not the right audience.

The book is well-written and the author fully committed to the characterizations!

 

 


Pride Must be a place by Kevin Craig: This was a great book! one of the things I love most when reading is when a character gets under my skin. I’m not even always sure why it’s happening, but I love when authors write a character that sticks with me. Ezra is a gay teenager in a pretty typical high school.

His best friend, Alex suffers a lot at the hands of local bullies. Ezra is finding his way… how do you act when you’re “gay”? What is it okay to do? To be? There’s some violence in this book but Kevin Craig handles it well… I’m hopeful that one day there will be some kind of sequel to this book!

I would recommend this to any teens and adults who read YA/ NewAdult books.

 

 


Wolf Lost by Sam Burns: This book was interesting and well-written. Sawyer is on the run at the start of this story. He’s fled his original pack because of a violent takeover that resulted in his father’s death. Mark, the dark and aggressive new Alpha wants to claim Sawyer and keep him “in line.” Sawyer may be an omega but he wasn’t raised to believe that made him “less than” every other werewolf. He runs without much hope of finding a place where he can finally be safe.

Fortunately… he runs into Dez and his pack full of … alphas. Yup.

 

 

 


No Good Men by Thea Mcalistair: I enjoyed the way the characters in this book are all connected to one another. McAlistair has plotted out an intricate novel with enough detail for the reader to figure out “who done it” without giving anything away. Being gay in the 1930s isn’t easy. Alex lives a life in which he spends a lot of time not acknowledging who he is.

There are some wonderful characters in this book. There is a little girl named, Pearl in Alex’s life. She appears often when her boxer father is drunk and abusive … something that pulls up memories from Alex’s own past. One of the locals is Martin… a feisty and sharp doctor who was forced out of the medical field for reasons he keeps to himself. Vern is a quick-talking ruthless reporter (with a heart) who wants to get the story at almost any cost.

This lovely roster of well-developed characters weave in and out of each other’s lives as the mystery in this story is slowly unraveled. I loved the detail in this novel… it really gives the reader a feel of living in the 30s.

 

 


Puzzle Me This by Eli Easton: This book was a lot of fun. It’s a novella, so it’s a quick read. But Easton packs a lot into this story.

Luke is a game designer who works from home. He hikes with his dog most mornings and returns home one day to find a newspaper with a crossword puzzle in it… with a hidden personalized message. I loved this premise! I thought the idea of someone creating a special message hidden in a puzzle was lovely and romantic.

Alex, the man behind the crossword puzzle is a great character. He’s strong, independent and hilarious. He was born with Spina bifida and is in a wheelchair. I liked Alex. He doesn’t dwell on the fact that his life is “different” from some people’s. He’s great at expressing what he needs/wants and I really felt the emotion when he found out that Luke reciprocated his interest.

 

 


Through The Inferno by Jessi Noelle: Wow! There’s sure a lot going on in this book and I’m pleased to say that Jessi Noelle handles it all well.

Let’s see… very early on in the novel, Firefighter Jason Merone is injured badly while at a fire. He’s trying to save a child with one of his colleagues when his hose drops pressure and he makes a mistake that has terrible results. Jason loses his friend and is badly burned.

This is an unusual “romance” in that there’s a lot of trauma and heaviness in it. But the relationship between Jason and Zoe is wonderful. Yes, they have things to overcome, yes, there are moments when it feels like they won’t make it… but isn’t that life?

Thanks, Jessi! This book is a 4 from me – with a warning that the content may be very difficult for some people to read. Oh! and I read somewhere that Jessi was once a firefighter which explains how detailed and authentic the firefighting scenes were.

 

 


Out of the Ashes by M.J. James: This story begins with Alex discovering that his bookstore has been destroyed by a fire. I really felt for Alex as he was dealing with the loss of his dream. He was fighting where he came from… a wealthy family and had put his best effort into creating an independent life for himself. In one evening… that life is gone.

Still recovering from the loss of his fiance who cheated on him, Alex suddenly finds himself as the main suspect in the fire that destroyed his bookstore. The good thing is that this brings Matt into Alex’s life. This was the part at which things got a little rocky for me. The moment that Alex and Matt saw each other they were both completely obsessed with one another. It only took a couple of days for them to get together and, it seemed, about a week for them to be declaring their feelings. If insta-love is your thing, then this will probably work really well for you!

 

 


The Terror by Dan Simmons, narrated by John lee: There is a wonderful cast of characters in this novel and the marvelous, John Lee is the perfect narrator. His skill with accents is remarkable and I completely forgot while I was listening that I was hearing one voice.  I wasn’t hearing one voice, I was hearing the voice of all the characters. John Lee is perhaps, the best narrator I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. I would be happy to listen to anything that he read aloud.

This story is a fictional story stemming from the lost ships, the Erebus and the Terror. It’s more than just the ice and devastatingly cold temperatures that attempts to kill the men in this story. They are being stalked by a horrifying creature. Its strength and size are beyond anything natural and it haunts them, stalks them and follows them. Simmons is a master of writing tension and suspense… and the “attacks” of the monster in this book are terrifying.

If you love audiobooks… I can pretty much guarantee you’ll love this one. It’s worth it for John Lee’s talent alone.

 

 


Hot Potato by Allison Temple: It’s a flaming sweet potato in a microwave that introduces accountant, Avery to firefighter, Linc and it’s attraction that forges their friendship. The problem is that Avery is out, he’s pretty much always been out. Linc is a firefighter with a homophobic father. He hadn’t figure out how to be himself in a world where people like his brutal father exist.

This is a fun read. It’s called a slow burn, but I wouldn’t put it in that category myself. Sure, it takes a while for Avery and Linc to get together but the chemistry is there from the beginning. Of course, there are a few mistakes and misunderstandings along the way that make for an interesting story and may even make your eyes get a little teary. This is a quick, entertaining read with some brief forays into complex family dynamics.

 

 


Dancing With the Lion: Rise by Jeanne Reames: This was a great continuation of the Dancing With the Lion series. This book brings the author back to the world of Alexandros as he is coming into his own as a leader, a man, and a partner. It’s so difficult to read a book like this and then come up with a succinct summary. Reames is a great writer, using detail when it’s appropriate and simply letting her main characters speak through their actions.

This book is just as much about family and friendship as it is about the general military history of Alexander the Great. There are a lot of differences between Alexandros and his best friend and sometime lover Hephaistion. The most pointed difference in my mind is the way they were raised. Hephaistion’s father was loving, familiar, stern when he had to be… and offered his son advice when he thought it warranted. As the son of a king, Alexandros had a distant relationship with his father. The King has politics and ruling forefront in his mind and his familial bond with Alexandros is fragile. Like Reames, I have no doubt that Philippos loved his son, he just seemed incapable of parenting a son rather than raising an heir. I’m simplifying this greatly in light of the wonderful way that Reames has written the complicated bonds between fathers and sons in this book.

 

 


Flash Rip by Keira Andrews: This is a m/m romance with a Canadian trainee Lifeguard named Cody who is living in Australia. When he begins his training he meets a closeted ex-football player named Liam. They get together but both of them struggle with the fact that Liam is hiding his sexuality from everyone… his colleagues, family and friends.

The dialogue is lacking at times, the characters very focussed on certain things, but all in all it was an okay read.

 

 


The Good Green Earth (Colors of Love #3) by V.C. Locey: Nathan is dealing with a drinking problem that has resulted in him being sentenced to work at a Community garden. He’s a hockey player who has no trouble saying what he thinks and isn’t ready to admit that he may have a problem. Bran is the man who runs the garden and he’s dealing with his own issues. He lost his husband and isn’t sure that he will ever be interested in someone else. These two men get to know each other while working together. Not an intricate plot…but enjoyable.

Works as a stand-alone!

 

 


Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote: Luke is a Londoner with mental health issues and a worrying reliance on liquor. Stephen is an accountant who is recovering from Guillain-Barré syndrome and his physical limitations. A mutual friend brings Luke and Stephen together when he realizes they are both in need of a bit of respite and may be able to help each other out.

This book is as much about growth and change, as it is about nature and getting away from the city to live a simpler life. And… there are cats!

 

 


 

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