Review: Off Stage: Right

Off Stage: Right
Off Stage: Right by Jaime Samms
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had initially read the reviews on this one when I got it months and months ago and only remember that it was supposed to have a ton of angst; the kind of angst where you’re exhausted when you finish reading the book, ie. Keeping Promise Rock or Red Tainted Silence. Perhaps my tolerance for angst is higher than other readers because while there is angst in this book, I didn’t really feel like there was that much. It definitely did not exhaust me and frankly I felt there could have been quite a bit more. The story is good, as Samms is a good writer. However, I never connected to the characters so I always felt removed from the angst and it never really affected me. I never felt for nor commiserated with the characters so I actually wanted more angst and for it to be real and meaningful. That said I enjoyed the book and read it in one sitting, which is saying something considering the length. However it’s not a book I would re-read. I liked it but did not love it, even if it’s a book I think I would remember (which is hard when you read a lot and have a crappy memory). Continue reading

Review: Missed Connections: I Swear to You

Missed Connections: I Swear to You
Missed Connections: I Swear to You by Sloan Parker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked this little novella and tore through it right up until the end. It ended so poorly that it affected how I viewed the story as a whole. Other than that blip, the writing is good with solid characters and some seriously hot sex scenes. I also say that as a reader who has become somewhat inured to sex scenes since they are so ubiquitous within the genre. The premise has enough innate tension to hold my interest without the addition of the crazy ex-boyfriend, which was by far the weakest aspect of the novella. Prior to that ending I was thinking this was a story I kind of loved and would rate at least 4 stars. With the sad ending that had me rolling my eyes and saying “really?!” out loud the rating dropped unfortunately. I’d still recommend this though as I think it’s a really good and engaging story, just know the ending sucks but it’s quick so try to get by it. Continue reading

Review: Blood Cross

Blood Cross
Blood Cross by Faith Hunter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is how I like my urban fantasy – heavy on the action and UF with a little light romance on the side. The main character of Jane annoyed the crap out of me for most of the book. She’s too snarky with few consequences for all her nosey, unrelenting ways and the timeline is wonky. Often Jane rushes into situations without thinking her plan through and usually makes it through unscathed. I appreciate that occasionally she gets her butt kicked, which she always deserves and then some. Thankfully the story has a lot of good urban fantasy elements – I especially like the vampire mythology – and a solid enough plot to keep me listening during the moments I wish Jane would die. She’s a better than average heroine, if pretty cookie cutter in a lot of ways. Continue reading

Review: Measure of Devotion

Measure of Devotion
Measure of Devotion by Caethes Faron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m torn on Measure of Devotion. The book had me literally glued for over half of it but once I realized what was going to happen – and why – I literally started hating it. So I kind of hate-read the final half, knowing I couldn’t stand the actions occurring. That said, it’s a pretty familiar m/m romance theme, although it’s better written with clean, engaging prose. There isn’t a happy ending for this particular book, but it’s part of a trilogy that does end happily so readers won’t be upset. It’s not often that I start out a book liking one character and disliking the other and then flipping that entirely by the end. Usually you like both characters but not here. I struggled at the halfway mark to like both and found myself liking one significantly more than I thought. Ultimately this book made me think and want to slap a few people around, but it’s that human aspect of selfishness and self centered reality that more than anything made it realistic and emotional for me. Continue reading

Review: Treasure

Treasure
Treasure by Megan Derr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up Treasure at Rainbow Con due to the cover and nothing else. I was suckered in at the table (those ladies are serious sellers) and I like high fantasy. So beyond the fact that clearly it takes place on the water somehow I knew nothing about the story. It’s a pretty decent high fantasy book with excellent world building and a good story arc that can easily be played out over the entire five book series. My problem is simply I never connected with either couple and so the end left me cold. I can appreciate it intellectually and admire the quality writing but as a romance it did nothing for me. I’d probably recommend this more to high fantasy fans who can appreciate elaborate world building and an incredibly complex plot than to romance fans per se. Continue reading

Review: Defeated by Love

Defeated by Love
Defeated by Love by Samantha Kane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s been years since I’ve read a Samantha Kane book but I vaguely remember enjoying her Brothers in Arms series. However, to be fair, I only read the first four books and remember absolutely nothing from them, except they were m/f/m threesome books. Oh and reading her books made me long for m/m only instead of the predictable female that was always interesting but pretty much the same. So I chose this Kane book because it’s advertised as m/m and I knew the writing would be good. The book is indeed well written as expected and has some interesting twists to keep the action moving. However, the focus is on the erotica between the main couple – Daniel and Harry – and a secondary couple – Christy and Simon. Because of that I didn’t really care about either couple very much but enjoyed the author’s writing and sense of humor anyway. Continue reading

Review: Going Up

Going Up
Going Up by Amy Lane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lately I haven’t been in the mood for m/m books but I chose this because it’s Amy Lane, usually a sure fire hit for me. It was a cute, sweet enough story but kind of boring. I find Lane’s greatest books come with heaping amounts of angst. When she tries to do sweet or light, it never hits the mark for me unfortunately. This is a novella so it was quick to read and innocuous but I forgot it almost while I was reading it and never really engaged in the story. The meet-cute was sweet but it lingered in nowhere for too long and then I never really bought into the chemistry between the two men. I’d probably recommend it for someone that likes very sweet renditions of fairytales. Continue reading

Review: Sweet and Sour

Sweet and Sour
Sweet and Sour by Astrid Amara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One thing I appreciate and count on with Astrid Amara is her feel good holiday stories. They aren’t necessarily memorable but I always enjoy reading them and I specifically look for this author during the holidays. I think she’s one of the better holiday-orientated authors. The settings always feel genuine and end on a positive note. Sweet and Sour is no exception. It’s cute, entertaining, and has just a little bit of sex sprinkled through the pages. I had some issues with the story and didn’t think it was perfect but it was still exactly what I wanted to read when I choose SaS. So for that I’d easily recommend it. Continue reading

Review: Turbulence

Turbulence
Turbulence by Lyn Gala
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m a huge fan of Lyn Gala’s works and she’s one of the only authors I tend to buy on trust. I know it’ll be good and I’ll enjoy it and maybe even love it. Turbulence is a good book. It’s well written, intricate, complicated, and has good world building and a solid romance. There is nothing I can overtly criticize except it just kind of dragged in the middle. The beginning sucked me in more than I expected and I was wholly invested in the characters and the world building but then, things got slow and uneven. I guess they had to considering the lull before the dramatic ending, but still. I struggled slightly there before picking up momentum knowing the ending was near. It’s a book I’d recommend to sci-fi lovers but I ultimately didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. Continue reading

Review: Like It or Not

Like It or Not
Like It or Not by S.L. Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This anthology has been around a while, but like always I’m late to the party reading it. The theme of dubious non-con is always a hot button with some readers loving it and others not so much. I think this anthology does a good job of attempting to appeal to all those readers – something for everyone – without really gelling as a single theme. I think the stories work better individually or perhaps sticking with other stories closer to their general feeling. For example some of these stories are more romantic while others are straight up BDSM erotica. Like I said, something for everyone, but it’s unlikely that all these stories will appeal to the same reader. It might suit a reader more to pick and choose which of the anthology hits a particular sweet spot. Continue reading