Winter Warmers is an anthology of 5 short stories about the holiday season with an obvious British flair. This collection is exactly what I wanted to get me in the mood for the upcoming Holidays and it’s short, sweet, and to the point. Each story is obviously different with their own tone and mood. I like the variety offered and each author is clearly talented. The stories are also short and often sweet, just a glimpse into the lives of these men and that’s enough for me. I never got bored with any particular story but neither did I want them to continue. I’m good with the stories offered and happy enough to move on. For only a few bucks this is one of the better holiday collections and worth the money. Continue reading
Khyber Run is a very interesting war novel and definitely kept my attention from beginning to end but it’s very oddly published with Loose Id. The story is absolutely not a romance, there is no discernable evidence of romance anywhere, and there are a few explicit sex scenes based on situations rather than emotion. Instead, this is a very absorbing read about the war in Afghanistan and the personal affect on one family and in particular one person. His quest to avenge his brother is the main theme and if anything this is merely a fictional story about war. Maybe if you squint it could be called gay fiction due to the few quickie rough sex scenes but that’s still a stretch in my opinion. If you’re looking for a very intricately detailed war story from a personal level, this may work for you. Continue reading
I love vampire stories, they’re a first and lasting love in fiction and Other Side of Night fits in well with the genre. There is nothing especially new or fresh about the plot and concept, in fact it’s very familiar on just about all levels. The story takes all the existing vampire trends and clichés and puts them together in a decent, entertaining story that holds your attention. It’s not groundbreaking or different but it’s interesting and well written. Vampire fans especially will appreciate a nicely crafted entry in a genre stuffed with fluff. Continue reading
Rifter #5, The Holy Road, is a vicious and dark installment of the epic fantasy. It also holds a touch of romance and hope between Jahn and Ravishan. It’s perhaps the darkest of the novellas so far and I’ll admit I was pretty disturbed by the end of it. There is a lot of death, destruction, and mayhem offered in graphic and vivid detail. While that’s not my favorite part of fantasy, the problem here is that the story ends on a bloody note without further action to help alleviate the depressing tone. So I ended the story feeling more morose than the well written story deserves. Continue reading
Draconian Measures is the third book in the Gaven series (I assume the last too) but is actually a prequel to the other two books. It can be read easily as a stand alone or in any combination with the two Gavin books. It tells the story of Vlar’s parents –really Vlar’s father and his partner- and their oft mentioned difficult courtship. It’s a cute book with a lot of humor but ultimately the book feels too introspective and repetitive to totally satisfy. It’s a nice easy read though and a welcome change from the usual dark overtones this author usually offers. Continue reading
Between Saints and Sinners shines in many ways; the skillful handling of abuse and PTSD, the inclusion of a very sticky subject in religion and theology, difficult and absentee families, and a complicated relationship. This book could have gone horribly wrong but Sexton is a great writer and kept the subjects complicated yet not overwhelming. None of the characters are perfect or evil but show various shades of grey. They have intolerance yet also an ability to learn and change. Although not wholly successful for me, I think the story is an excellent example of complex issues and characters that never verge into extremes yet remain fascinating. Continue reading
I’m Saying Yes is definitely a take on Brokeback Mountain but with a happy ending instead of death and tears. The premise is based on the scene between Ennis and Jack after Ennis’ divorce and Jack wants the two to finally be together. If Ennis had said yes instead of no, then I’m Saying Yes is what could have happened in a utopian world. The writing is very good with an engaging appeal that keeps you interested. Unfortunately though the challenges the characters face are very weak and the story is always giving easy solutions and neatly wrapped up circumstances. The novel lacks the intensity of the original couple and book but it’s a nice pleasant read for those that always wanted the happy ending from BBM. Continue reading
The more I read Merrow’s work the more I quite like her voice. Her latest, Camwolf, is an entertaining and enjoyable werewolf romance. The story takes a chance with a prominent female narrator but for the most part this works very well. The typical werewolf fight for dominance and animalistic behavior is handled well, contrasted beautifully against a mild mannered college of intelligent but reserved occupants. Some of this shift feels jarring and never quite hits an easy pace but the writing and deft characterization help overcome any qualms. I think most readers will find the story engaging and enjoyable to read.
Blame it on the Raging Hormones is a fun to read, engaging coming of age tale. The format is epistolary and blogs are used entirely. This can be both good and bad for a novel as the narrator is inherently biased and the story is always told to you versus shown. There are a couple of technical mistakes such as tense changing and the language used is conversational with numerous emotes rather than a more polished, sophisticated style. However for those that enjoy reading blogs and like a casual style may find this particular story endearing.
I have mixed feelings about Locker Room. The premise honestly works for me as I adore angst driven men –it’s a weakness of mine- but the ending really disappoints me. I know not all readers will feel the same but I personally feel cheated. The book also tends to exaggerate and the emotions are wild and outrageous, always the depths of despair and the height of happiness. That doesn’t bother me as I like Lane’s writing and the story works regardless but not all readers may appreciate the exaggeration. I also don’t think this the best Lane’s done and the writing especially misses some of the polish and effortlessness of earlier titles. It’s worth reading though if you’re a fan or like angsty men as it certainly delivers on that score. Continue reading