Soft Focus by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine

Soft Focus by Reno MacLeod and Jaye Valentine

Blurb:

Ethan Bouwer has always been the adventurous sort. A freelance nature photographer, he travels the globe and writes erotica on the side whenever things get a bit slow. Hunting for a topic for his next writing project, he stumbles upon a man named David Turner and the taboo world of BDSM. His curiosity piqued, Ethan discovers that David Turner and his beautiful partner Kiyoshi are coming to town for a convention.

Ethan makes arrangements for them to meet, but little does Ethan know that he is about to embark on a safari into a world more wild and untamed than anything he has ever encountered before.

an oldie but a goodie

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GS Wiley’s Sweet Tooth

GS Wiley’s Sweet Tooth

Blurb:

Middle-aged Marshall Vincent is less than thrilled when his wife tells him she wants to take a bus tour of Europe. Once on the tour, Marshall, a great candy lover, is thrilled to find what is quite possibly the best chocolate shop in the world in a quaint Swiss village.

When Marshall takes a peek into the shop’s back room, he goes from innocent tourist to accidental voyeur. What he sees reminds him of an uncomfortable incident from his past, something he’s spent the last three decades trying to forget.

 

straight guy on vacation turns gay from chocolate!

Maybe by JM Snyder

Maybe by JM Snyder

Blurb:

Josh and DeMar fell in love while working together on the set of Gimme Moor, a stage production with which they toured for six long months. But something happened between them during the tour, turning their idyllic romance into a strained relationship until Josh could no longer take it and he left.

Weeks after the show has closed, DeMar calls Josh from the airport to pick him up — he’s in town and wants to visit, despite the arguments that tore them apart. He wants a second chance, but Josh isn’t so sure DeMar’s the one to blame for their break-up.

Can they somehow find what it was they had together in the beginning before they lose it all?

 

 

Review:

Although I’m a fan of Snyder’s, not every story works and unfortunately this particular offering fell flat. The short story is told in third person point of view from Josh’s perspective but is written in present tense. This may cause some readers pause, as it’s not always a reader favorite. The writing tense is awkward and lends to a slightly jarring reading experience. Past tense would have read easier but the choice is not a reason to avoid the short. Sadly the characters and story itself fell flat, unable to evoke the emotion and sentiment it was attempting.

Josh and DeMar were a couple for a few months while touring for a Shakespeare musical production. However, the tension between the two increased as the tour went on until Josh walked out, frustrated with the arguments. Now DeMar drops in unannounced to visit Josh and has more than one interesting proposal.

Problems with this short story begin with the characters and carry through to the lack of action presented. DeMar as a character is non-existent. His motivations and thoughts are never explored and Josh is too deeply mired in self-pity to actually consider reasons for DeMar’s actions. Josh left DeMar frustrated with the growing separation and escalating arguments towards the final weeks of their musical tour. Apparently DeMar didn’t attempt to talk to Josh at the time nor ask Josh why he was leaving. Instead the two break up without any further communication. So why DeMar would simply re-appear weeks after the production ended doesn’t make much sense.

Neither does it make sense that Josh would cave and let the man back into his life and bed almost immediately. Josh spends the entire story mired in angst as he whines that he wasn’t strong enough to help DeMar with his stress. Never mind that DeMar pushed him aside with actions, words, and arguments. No, Josh must be to blame – more so than DeMar – for the demise of their relationship and thus Josh must forgive himself for them to get back together. This line of reasoning was baffling and beyond frustrating. The lack of self confidence and ego Josh suffers from to constantly blame himself for DeMar’s actions was annoying as well as the fact that the men never actually discuss the factors that led to their breaking up.

The story lingers on with Josh’s self-recriminations and DeMar’s open seduction without much point. It’s not a stretch to say the two do get back together, once Josh can move beyond his own guilt for walking out. Unfortunately nothing really has been resolved and no doubt the two will again be in the same situation but the sex apparently is rather good so perhaps that will tide them over. This frustrating story annoyed me, although perhaps it won’t annoy others quite the same degree, but the repeated whining that Josh wasn’t strong enough or good enough to help DeMar was aggravating.

This short story reads like one the author had written some time before and not reflective of some better, more recent works. While this particular story didn’t work for me, I’m a fan of the author’s so I expect perhaps another story will. Considering how prolific she is, there are bound to be hits and misses. This one is a solid miss and I’d suggest skipping it to wait for the next offering. 

Get it HERE!

 

Like Magnets, We Attract Anthology

The very awesome

sent me an ARC for review about a week ago, and not only was this a first for me (yay!) but I really enjoyed the anthology. I had no little trepidation over what would I do if I thought it sucked. I’d be honest, but I’d feel bad. Considering this is the first author ever to send me a book specifically for little me to review, I was scared I’d hate it and have to break the bad news. Thankfully, it was a pretty solid anthology with a lot of highlights. It comes out a week from now on April 13 and you can go HERE for some great excerpts. The last story especially is really great and has some of the best lines in it.

 


Review:

This is a ten-story anthology all catering to the delicious theme of opposites attract. Ranging from fantasy to contemporary, each story glimpses into fascinating characters and the opposite worlds that collide when two hot men can’t stay away from each other. Whether it’s a happy ever after ending, an isolated interlude, or lovers denied, this collection offers something for every reader. The lineup of strong writing, tight storylines and smoking hot characters (sometimes literally) combine to create a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining selection of stories.

Most anthologies offer a range of stories with an equally diverse level of writing. Pleasantly surprising, almost all of the offerings in “Like Magnets, We Attract” ranged from solid and fun to highly entertaining and wonderful. Included in this are a variety of steaming, explicit sex scenes from sweet and charming, to tender and all the way to rough and raunchy. Although these are sure to titillate, they all read much better than simply erotica for the sake of porn, with the exception of one scene. For the breadth of stories and number of offerings, one miss scene is nothing that will detract or even stay as memorable.

Among the stories, it was difficult to choose a favorite as several stood out for many reasons. Although I was going to summarize the entire anthology, more than half of the stories were notable for one reason or another and truly deserve special mention. The level of creativity, innovation and pure enjoyment made this anthology one that was easy and fun to read. One story stood out among the rest and was the worth reading the entire anthology for, although several characters made me glad I had the opportunity to read their stories. Even as this is an erotica anthology, there is a high level of romance with happy ever after endings that are sure to please followers of the genre.

Makau/Makai, by Shea Meier
This is a rather cute story with a logical scientist that finds a sexy local while roaming the beach at high tide. Between the scientist’s fear of water and the local’s belief in volcano gods, these two have to work to find common ground but their acceptance of each other as they are with a little Hawaiian flavor adds to a fun and lovely story.

King Kong vs. The Skinny Pirate, by Addison Albright
This has a laugh out loud hilarious introduction with great characters of a fussy corporate lawyer and a bear-like mechanic. The opening scene at the bar sets the fun and light tone that is carried through effortlessly. Their story was delightful and highly entertaining with a heavily romantic ending that is sure to please new and die hard fans alike.

Fairy Tail, by Rob Rosen
Aptly named as a fairy and an imprisoned prince step out of time to enjoy a heated and inventive erotic interlude. These opposites spice up the story from the start and add in a devilish happy ending. Amusing, entertaining and sizzling with heat, be sure to read with a fan nearby.

Lucky, by A. Steele
I hate to play favorites in a solid group of stories but this offering about a janitor and a senator’s son gripped me from the start and had me re-reading the story more than once. Fun, flirty and scorching hot, Carl and Josh spark with instant great chemistry and witty dialogue. Add in a bit of family pressure with electrifying sex and this is a sure win addition. The characters will no doubt appeal with a satisfying ending.

Forever, by William Holden
The lone vampire with his human lover turns the tone to dramatic, intense and dark with underlying rage and star-crossed lovers. This may not be a typical story but the elements of romance, erotica, and death combine to create a gripping and haunting tale. This definitely appeals to anyone wanting more edge to their sex scenes.

Common Ground, by Cassidy Ryan & Tyler McKenzie
This delightful and light offering turns the tables on typical stereotypes with a popular computer geek and a shy jock. It takes the duo months to work up the nerve to finally speak about their ongoing connection but they come together with sexy sparks. Great characters and entertaining dialogue carry this tale, even if it ends slightly sweet for those romantic lovers.

The Taming of the Bull, by Taylor Lochland
A solidly written story about a skeptic and an astrologer that find something in common in bed despite widely different views out of it. The bashful and stubborn skeptic is adorable as is the charming confidence of his opposite. Together they might edge on too lovely but the blindfold keeps their encounter fresh and hot.

The Hideaway, by David Wesley
For a new bar owner stuck in his hometown after a turn of events, Zach certainly finds something worth holding onto with alcohol inspector. Initiating Jake into the joys of sex between men begins a raunchy and vivid encounter sure to surprise and boggle the mind at times. Although the sex scene was corny and porno like, the writing before and after was engaging.

Against the Current, by Heidi Champa
This animated hook up between a surfing expert and an off balance klutz is delightful and fun from start to finish. This memorable vacation encounter is sure to stay in the minds of both men and readers for a while, highlighting the solid writing and enticing sex scenes. Without the need for a romantic ending, this story typifies the hopeful dreams of horny vacationers. If only we were all so lucky when washed up on the beach.

Fire and Water, by V. Greene
Taking scorching hot to a new level, these two opposites define the word with smoking sex (literally) and fascinating characters. The fantasy is easy to slip into with an aptly named story and great characters. Be sure to have something cool nearby as the author kicks up the heat level considerably with a fabulous sex scene in this short story. Who knew dragons were so delicious?

Get it HERE!

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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..

Review: Only Words

Only WordsOnly Words by Acer Adamson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short story is really just a few scenes put together that gives a glimpse into the relationship between two complete opposites. The context to their relationship and background on both the men is missing which makes this both a fun short story and an incomplete look. Due to the feeling of being dropped into the middle of the book, it is almost as if this is more of a day in the life of Max than a fully realized story, but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the characters and their interaction. Even within a few short pages the characters come alive with energy and vitality with a concise prose without embellishment or errors.

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