Monthly Archives: February 2009

Collision Course by K. A. Mitchell

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The Good Thief by James Buchanan

I thought I had read this book already but discovered I had in fact confused it with another book. So once again I’m reading off the backlist.

Blurb:


Working construction provides Caesar with a great way to cover up his real job; stealing whatever he can get his hands on. Which is why the guy he has a fling with could be really bad for business. Nate is a cop, and Caesar worries that he might be tempting fate if he sees Nate again, even if he wants to.

When Caesar discovers something far worse than some petty thievery on one of his jobs, though, he knows he has to report it to Nate, and the two of them try to find a way to keep Caesar safe until he can testify, even as the sparks fly between them. Can Nate protect Caesar and teach him that there are ways to be a good guy as well as a thief?

I seem to have rambled.


StarCrossed 2 1/2: Sangria and Seraphim by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine

StarCrossed 2 1/2: Sangria and Seraphim by Jaye Valentine and Reno MacLeod

Blurb:

Identical twin demons Jace and Konnor Barton run Tailz, a supernatural-friendly bar in Salem, Massachusetts. It’s the sort of place where things are never dull, but on the weekend of a full moon things can get even more interesting. When Jace encounters an angel in distress, he can hardly resist the urge to offer his own special brand of help.

Ariel is an angel with an itch to experience the darker side of earthly life, and he’s heard through the grapevine that Jace is the demon for the job. Much to Ariel’s surprise, he finds out he’ll be getting both brothers coming to his aid for the price of one.

We should take him home with us..


I have an opinion therefore I matter?

 A few days ago an author mentioned two comments that struck my interest. Leaving said author anonymous unless he wishes to be named his comments were something along the lines of…


I have a blog! Give me a free copy of your book, I R reviewer. Um, no.

There will soon be more erotic reviewers than writers. 

 

Both comments paraphrased of course, but the general idea is there. Now, interestingly it had never occurred to me that someone with a random blog, such as mine lets say, would have the audacity to ask for a free book giving the dubious offering of a review for however many people visit that site. Now, all publicity being good publicity in the realm of writing and authorship so even if the review is bad, the name and book are still getting Google hits; but wow, am I missing out on some hidden world of random reviewers? People not only do this, authors and publishers actually send them free books? 

Seriously?

Which, of course that dove tails into the second comment regarding the plethora of erotica romance reviewers of late. Once again, I seem to be living under a rock because for the most part, I could never find more than one or two reviews for any particular m/m book I choose at the moment. A lot of it was that I happen to read a number of author backlists and reviews tend to concentrate on the newest and shiniest of releases. But even then, there were several I simply couldn’t find reviews on – at all, anywhere. 

So thus began my search of trying to make a list of all the many review sites for romance, and since that list was omfg big, I’m going to narrow that down to particularly, m/m romance or erotica reviews. Why you ask? Because I’m curious and thus spent HOURS upon HOURS culminating in days, looking for this and the only way to make such a trivial, meaningless waste of time appropriate is to pretend it brings someone else a measure of entertainment, or saves them the time. 

So let’s start with the big names that everyone goes to more for the social aspect and drama than reviews. These all have a focus on het romance over m/m and tend to have entertaining, but snarky reviews. Overall, I don’t really visit them for informative, insightful m/m book reviews.

Smart Bitches

Dear Author

Teddy Pig

Karen Knows Best

Mrs. Giggles


Desert Island Keepers 
*Now I put this in its own category because it’s all about romance with a considerable hefty portion devoted to m/m erotica and romance but its focus is heavily on author interviews and likes of contributors. If you look back for the past two months, there is not a single book review beyond an “I loved this book” very short gush which is entertaining but not an informative book review site. The individual contributors’ blogs lean towards het romance and again, I’m focusing on m/m. 

So what about actual book review sites? Well, there are tons! Shall we? 

Joyfully Reviewed

Fallen Angel Reviews

Manic Readers Reviews

Rainbow Reviews

Dark Angel Reviews

Literary Nymph Reviews

Two Lips Reviews

Dark Diva Reviews

Just Erotic Romance Reviews

Uniquely Pleasurable Reviews

 

Now all of these review tons of different m/m books, yet, here is where I’m going to get into trouble but I’m going to say it, there are less than a dozen reviewers between those massive review sites that offer thoughtful, provocative, informative reviews. Ok, don’t kill me now because that’s not to say the quality is bad, per se. But the majority of reviews from the above review sites are incredibly short, mostly a paragraph, commenting more on the basic feeling the books left the reviewer with than an actual review of the book. 

Now before I’m flayed, I seriously challenge anyone to find more than 1 or 2 reviewers PER SITE that actually write complete reviews. Now that’s not to say reviews have to be so long you fall asleep during the middle of it or even that they have to be longer than a paragraph, but the review has to say something (IMO) more than you loved it or you hated it. 

One of the reasons I wanted to work for Rainbow Reviews was the quality of their reviews. Sure they have their share of short and emotion reviewers, but they have several reviewers who write about a book with intelligence and insight (shout out to Emily, Carole, Marame and of course JM Snyder). Those are the type of reviews I personally consult when considering a book. 

So with that problem established, I also tend to look at blog reviews so let’s go there for insightful and informative reviews:

 

The Good


Reviews by Jessewave

Elisa Rolle

Emerald Jaguar Thoughts

What am I reading?

Enigmatically Emily


The OK 
*either due to short/emotional reviews or very occasional reviews but good sites

Kris ‘n Good Books

Rain on Roof

Nose in a Book

The Ginger Kid’s Den of Iniquity


So while several of the above sites all have reviewed the biggest new releases getting word of mouth, I again ask you.. what about the others? What about Rick Reed, who I have found all of maybe one informative review (thank you Wave)? And so on for other authors. 

I don’t pretend I’m important nor do I pretend reviewing for my blog, Rainbow Reviews and Manic Readers makes me some sort of legitimate reviewer, nor does it any of the others listed either unfortunately. However, I’m still glad for those sites that continue to pump out their reviews into the nether.  Maybe they know the secret to free books, but I shall pay my own way and call myself a fan of literature. 

As for more reviewers than writers? Well, I think that is an easy argument – just as there are authors who publish less than award winning material, there are similar reviewers but I don’t think we’re in danger of being overrun just yet. 

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St. Nacho’s by Z.A. Maxfield

   So while there are a thousand and eight (guesstimate) reviews about this book and every single one raves about how great it is; I thought I’d add my own in a mistaken view of my own non-importance. After all, why –else- have a blog? Anyway, I figured I’d love this book because really, it’s bound to live up to the hype. Gratefully it did and I’ll post my full review under the cut. So just to make it eye candy, I’m posting the cover here.. it’s so pretty. I’m not gay, but can I marry Anne Cain? Or maybe just offer random favors. *licks the cover*

 

 

Blurb:

Cooper has spent the last three years running from a painful past. He’s currently moving from town to town, working in restaurant kitchens, and playing his violin for tips. As soon as he starts to feel comfortable anywhere—with anyone—he moves on. He’s aware that music may be the only human language he still knows. Ironically, the one man he’s wanted to communicate with in all that time is deaf.

Shawn is part of a deaf theater group at the nearby college. Shawn wants Cooper as soon as they meet and he begins a determined flirtation. Cooper is comfortable with down and dirty sex, just not people. As far as Shawn is concerned, dirty sex is win-win, but he wants Cooper to let him into the rest of his life as well.

Cooper needs time to heal and put his past away for good. Shawn needs to help Cooper forgive himself and accept that he can be loved. Both men find out that when it comes to the kind of healing love can bring, the sleepy beachside town of Santo Ignacio, “St. Nacho’s” as the locals call it, may just be the very best place to start.

(again because it’s prettyyyyy.. )

 

Review:

Cooper is the proverbial man with a past. Technically a drifter for the past three years, the man has been running from life and himself for a lot longer, likely since he started drinking at the tender, impressionable age of fourteen. When he finally wanders into Santo Ignacio and to Nacho’s bar, he’s been on the go for so long, he barely knows how to stay still anymore. However, the bar owner extends Cooper a kindness and allows him to stay in a small studio above the bar in exchange for help around the kitchen. Additionally Cooper is encouraged to play his violin for the patrons most nights for tips. It’s a good situation if only Cooper can hang around long enough to take advantage of it.

Looking to take advantage of Cooper, however, is Shawn, a deaf college student and working at the bar as busboy to make money in between classes. When he meets Cooper, the attraction is instant as is Shawn’s determination to act upon their shared chemistry. Shawn is a delightful contradiction, described by Cooper as angelic looking but in personality, anything but an angel. Shawn throws the stereotype of a nice, disabled boy completely out as he demonstrates he can be just as naughty as Cooper. Although at peace with his lack of hearing, Shawn doesn’t let that hold him back from anything, least of all Cooper.

Cooper is carrying a lot of emotional and physical scars. His past is hinted at early on with a lengthy list of sins he’s participated in, showing the depth of Cooper’s loneliness and misguided choices seeming to have no end. Aside from his deep love of music and his violin, Cooper has no real attachment to anything or anyone, nor is he capable of forming those attachments. He is truly baffled by Shawn’s pursuit and is caught between craving the safety of Shawn’s affection and fearing the ultimate end. Shawn, for his part, is not unaware of the emotional problems and fears Cooper has, yet remains undaunted by them. One of Shawn’s great lines, of which there were many, was his acknowledgment that being with Cooper would never be easy.

“You’re an asshole.” He let out a deep breath. “And you’re going to be a lot of work, aren’t you?”


Yet knowing that, Shawn takes care of Cooper and is determined to love and be loved by him. He refuses to let Cooper go, even when Cooper pulls what has to be regarded as one of the dumbest moves he’s made in a sea of mistakes and runs from Shawn and the bar back to his hometown in a misguided and consuming sense of guilt and responsibility. Cooper’s motives for doing this were difficult to understand and sympathize with until near the end, when Cooper thinks:

I wanted to stay. I wanted to be there and let him lean on me. I wanted to give him my strength, such as it was, and my last drop of blood if that’s what it took.

Although misguided, Cooper’s motives are pure and deeply entrenched in a mixture of love, guilt, need, memories and a feeling of not deserving any better than living a life in regret and remorse. His emotional and physical journey from this point to a belief in his love and life with Shawn are what make the book truly wonderful. From the incredibly well drawn characters to the vivid settings and supporting cast adding a depth and flavor to the story, it definitely lives up to the hype it’s been getting as one of the best stories this year.

As entirely told from Cooper’s point of view, some have mentioned that Shawn’s motives and past remain a mystery and this is certainly true. Very little is revealed about his past or present for that matter, however, to me, this simply sets up the possibility of a sequel for these characters. Shawn’s presence is so vivid and strong that his lack of past wasn’t bothersome and his young age, only twenty-two to Cooper’s twenty-eight, was largely forgettable in light of his maturity and sophistication. Which is not to say he didn’t come out with one of the best lines ever, while having sex with Cooper and convincing the determined submissive Cooper to top him.

“Move,” he said, taking a deep breath. He grinned suddenly and said in that awkward voice of his, “Drive it like you stole it, Cooper.”

Without a doubt, this is a keeper book and guaranteed to delight and enthrall its readers. The author creates a fantastic story of these two men who are nothing like what they seem, yet together are exactly what they need. The sex scenes are steamy but more so, there is very little sex for the sake of sex; often scenes are cut shorter than you see in typical erotica or romance to give weight and focus on the characters and their relationship. The bad title and nod to the history of nachos aside, get this book. Go go – get it HERE

 

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Through The Closet Door by Rick R. Reed

Through The Closet Door by Rick R. Reed


Blurb:

Gregory has all the pieces in place: youth, good looks, a beautiful wife, a job he loves as an elementary school teacher, a quiet house on the beach…

So why is Gregory so miserable? Why is he unable to control his lingering gaze on his neighbor, Jake, the handsome truck driver who lives just down the way from him? Why does Gregory spend his private time keeping a secret journal that details fantasies and memories of him locked in embraces with other men?

It’s summer, and the peaceful lake belies the turmoil in Gregory’s heart. His wife wants to start a family, while Gregory wants to start something with Jake, but doesn’t dare.

Rick R. Reed’s heartbreaking new story brings to painful life the consequences of coming out of the closet when you’re married and no one in the world but you knows the secrets you harbor. Gregory’s mask is slipping, pulled down by the allure of a handsome neighbor and the demands of a desire that gets only louder the more he tries to quiet it.

Climbing out of the closet is never easy…but it’s even more difficult when doing so might shatter the lives of those around you… 


Morning will be more than just a new day..


In Their Own Skins: Shifting Sands by Kiernan Kelly

In Their Own Skins: Shifting Sands by Kiernan Kelly

Blurb:

Shapeshifter Dakota thinks he’s the only one of his kind in the whole world. Then he meets Jax and the sparks ~ and fur ~ flies. Convinced now that there must be more like them, Dakota and Jax seek out other shapeshifters and bring them all to the Shifting Sands ranch, where they can be free to be themselves. Where the restraints of cities and people can’t hold them back.

But what if not all shifters are content to just subsist side by side with humans? What if there are predators out there from time long past who consider themselves to be the top of the food chain? There may be forces at work looking to take the Shifting Sands ranch out of the picture. Can Dakota and Jax save themselves and the world from the predators? Or have they bitten off more than they can chew?

Shifting Sands includes two bonus stories in the same universe, The Sound of Home, and Mother Blue’s Bar and Grill. Get all three of these great stories in one volume!

Crazy, insane, but imaginative at least..


Persistence of Memory by JM Snyder

Persistence of Memory by JM Snyder

Blurb: Five years ago Joah was culled — kidnapped by the government to be trained as a soldier. In the process, they erased his memory, destroying his past, his dreams, everything but his name. Armed with that alone, Joah escapes from the facility in search of someone to help him recall the man he used to be.

That person is Tobin, Joah’s husband, who never gave up hope of finding him again. He refuses to believe that the strength of his love alone won’t be enough to bring back Joah’s memories of their shared lives, and he’s determined to bring back the man beneath the soldier, the man he knows has to love him.

But an alarm in the chip blocking Joah’s memories was triggered at his escape, and if it isn’t removed soon, it will shriek his life away. Removing it won’t bring back his past, and may destroy the present that Tobin has tried so hard to build between them. How can the love they once shared possibly survive?

Review..


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