Review: Dark Around the Edges: Heaven’s On Fire

Dark Around the Edges: Heaven's On Fire
Dark Around the Edges: Heaven’s On Fire by Cari Z.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Episode 1 of Cari Z’s new serial Cambion is an explosive start. Heavens on Fire is a quick introduction to a new world and set of characters. It’s short, filled with bite, and intriguing. It definitely left me wanting to read what happens next so this is a great first foray. Continue reading

Review: Overture: Life of the Party

Overture: Life of the Party
Overture: Life of the Party by S.L. Armstrong
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Episode 2, Life of the Party, of the Immortal Symphony serial is intense and slightly uncomfortable. I had a hard time enjoying the story, since it’s mostly one extended orgy scene, as it just felt wrong for the main character Gabriel. I didn’t feel like he had any comprehension what he was doing and furthermore, he kind of came off pretty innocent, naïve, and frankly stupid. I didn’t particularly like his character or his choices and thus I didn’t like this episode. It’s likely to be a highly personal choice I realize and I’m curious enough about the story to continue on even if I’m left feeling unsettled after this offering. Continue reading

Review: Overture: A Meeting of Fate

Overture: A Meeting of Fate
Overture: A Meeting of Fate by S.L. Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overture is episode 1 of the new serial Immortal Symphony by K Piet and SL Armstrong. The story is a twist on the classic Dorian Gray tale and definitely explores the sexual side. Dorian never ages, but instead the portrait of him ages. Over the centuries Dorian has indulged in base pleasures to banish the tedium of his life. Using the sexual power he has over others is the best drug he’s ever experienced. Dorian’s interest is piqued by an American named Gabriel and two chance meetings lead to a possible future. Continue reading

Review: Fraternal Devotion

Fraternal Devotion
Fraternal Devotion by K. Piet
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I’m behind the curve with this anthology. It’s been out a while and well reviewed by several great reviewers but I’ll be honest I didn’t really know anything about that when I read this anthology. I happen to like the incest kick and wanted to read SMP’s take on a complicated issue. Stories in this niche tend to be angst ridden or sex filled, both of which I like, but I was hoping for something more well rounded and nuanced from Fraternal Devotion. Thankfully almost all the stories delivered this and offered a range of interpretations. Not all stories resonated with me as a reader but all are well-written and interesting takes on this particular kink. As an anthology I think the collection works very well and is worth buying. I especially like that this collection offers 5 well thought out stories than 20 extremely short ones. One final point I wanted to add is that the collection as a whole is edited beautifully with a wonderful flow of topics and interpretations. It works well reading them all in one sitting. Continue reading

Review: After the First Taste of Love

After the First Taste of Love
After the First Taste of Love by Talon Rihai
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It’s rare that a SMP book fails to deliver for me but sadly I struggled with this one. It’s only a novella but I kept wishing it’d end sooner so I’d be done. It’s not a bad concept but the execution leaves something to be desired. The story attempts to add complexity and depth in numerous ways but I’m not convinced any of them actually worked. Instead of a story about long time friendship turning into true love, this reads more like an examination of cultural and societal issues. The main couple do not feel like a committed, ever lasting couple so much as friends that have sex because they both have too many issues to be with other people. Ultimately this novella failed to entice me to want to read it and I think failed to convey the many messages it attempted. Continue reading

Review: Under the Bridge

Under the Bridge
Under the Bridge by Geoffrey Knight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this one due to the author, who I knew wrote funny and very entertaining stories. Under the Bridge is definitely not what I was expecting as it’s a tense, gripping, and possibly surprising story. It’s not romance nor is there a happy ending. It’s more of a brief glimpse into a tense situation. The writing is incredible though and I’d consider this one an easy recommendation for fans of interesting literature. It goes beyond the typical m/m genre in the best ways. Continue reading

Review: Lily of the Wastelands

Lily of the Wastelands
Lily of the Wastelands by Gabriel Belthir
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Lily of the Wastelands has the kind of meaty world building I’ve been craving. The story is very short so the plot and characterizations suffer somewhat for the intricate world building and solid happy ending. There’s simply not enough time and space for an in depth exploration of all the issues brought up but as is, the story is a nice foray into the genre with some creativity. The romance is well crafted and fits with both the shortened space and overall atmosphere. I think the story would have really benefited with a longer length and the ability to flesh out the intriguing concepts and issues brought up but I can’t complain about a tight, well crafted short story either. Continue reading

Review: The Saturnalia Effect

The Saturnalia Effect
The Saturnalia Effect by Heidi Belleau
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Storm Moon Press continues to publish thought provoking, edgy, and very compelling stories. The Saturnalia Effect is no different and offers an absorbing and clever novella. It’s the perfect length to tease the reader but could easily have been longer and more involved. The short scene at the end attests to how much more the story still has to say. Nonetheless, TSE is a great quick tale that excites, engages, and leaves you wondering. My only criticisms are that the characters could have been explored more and the ending, which is both genius and a cop out. Continue reading

Review: The Forester

The Forester
The Forester by Blaine D. Arden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Forester is an impressive mix of fantasy and murder/mystery. The writing is superior and the romance is a nice touch without being too easy and ignoring the many potential problems. I personally liked the mystery component of the story more than the romance as ménages are a tough sell that I don’t always appreciate. Overall I quite like this novella and recommend it even if the threesome didn’t quite win me over as a reader. Continue reading

Review: Other Side of Night: Bastian & Riley

Other Side of Night: Bastian & Riley
Other Side of Night: Bastian & Riley by S.L. Armstrong
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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