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Currently Browsing: LGBTQ
Sep
23

Review: Never Gonna Say Goodbye by Jessica E. Subject

Review: Never Gonna Say Goodbye by Jessica E. Subject Never Gonna Say Goodbye Author: Jessica E. Subject Reviewer: Twimom Rating: C, 2.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Never Gonna Say Goodbye is the third and final novella in a short sci-fi romance trilogy from Jessica E. Subject. The series follows the lives of individuals who work for a powerful company known as Planet Corp. We learned in the first two tales that Planet Corp is all-controlling, its leaders are malevolent, and several individuals have attempted to escape life with Planet Corp by joining The Underground. The third installment begins just after the “forbidden” weddings among those in The Underground, occurring at the conclusion of the second story. Our main hero, Will, is the leader of the resistance and his love is Tim. They are fighting for the freedom for all and for the right to love one another openly. The story moves extremely quickly, and if you haven’t read the first two books in the series, you will probably have little interest in what is going on during Never Gonna Say Goodbye. All of the world building and most of the character development occurs during the first two stories. The story feels more like the final few chapters and epilogue from another book, rather than a stand alone story. There is relatively no time spent learning about Will and Tim; therefore, I felt little emotional attachment to the primary couple. From near the beginning, Tim makes some pretty huge decisions that have MAJOR impacts on The Underground, Planet Core, and several characters, to include ones I have come to know and like from the previous novellas. In addition, there was a huge accident in the book which kept the primary pair apart, so we didn’t get much face time with Will and Tim as a couple. Instead of becoming emotionally invested, I felt like I was an outsider getting details about the going-ons. While I wasn’t a fan of how Will and Tim’s romance was written, the overall story arc had several engrossing and gripping moments. We learn the “final fate” of each of the characters from earlier books, which, for better or worse, is a good thing. Ms. Subject does a nice job of wrapping up the entire plot in a satisfactory manner. In the end, I feel that Never Gonna Say Goodbye is not bad, but not great. This final story in the trio of novellas was by far the simplest. Although there was loss, the...
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Sep
20

Review: Sharp Bite of Pleasure by KT Grant

Review: Sharp Bite of Pleasure by KT Grant Sharp Bite of Pleasure Author: KT Grant Reviewer: Twimom Rating: C, 2.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Eight years ago, Alexa (a 130 year old vampire princess) and Penny (werewolf shifter) shared a forbidden romance, which ended abruptly when Alexa left to marry the West Coast vampire king. After he was killed in an uprising, she found and killed those responsible and then ruled with a fair hand. Alexa has now returned home to attend her father’s funeral. She knows someone close to him has murdered him, and she wants vengeance. Now that Alexa has returned, she is determined to claim Penny as her own. But Penny wants nothing to do with Alexa, who was her first and true love until she broke her heart. Penny has moved on, dating Lissa for the past 4 years, but Alexa’s return has brought back so many memories and feelings, leaving Penny confused and a bit panicked. Sharp Bite of Pleasure features the romance of star-crossed lovers, which is always a enjoyable trope. The relationship is part of a larger tale that addresses bigotry, species rivalry and family feuding. The world building and the “non-romance” parts of the story were exciting. Ms. Grant weaves an engrossing mystery over who killed the Vampire king, coupled with Alexa’s struggles to weed out traitors within the king’s own council. In addition, Alexa longs to create a lasting peace treaty between the vampires and wolves, which puts her in the crosshairs of many on both sides. Alexa’s mother, Madalyn, and half-brother, Bradley, add depth to the storylines. Madalyn is a lonely widow who seems to favor her stepson over her own daughter. The tension between Madalyn and Alexa keeps an edge to the tale. Bradley is Alexa’s primary suspect in her father’s murder, and we are privy to most of his activities, some of which supports Alexa’s claims, while at times refutes her notion. As for the love story… here I am not so impressed. I really didn’t care for Alexa; having little sympathy or empathy for her as she lamented her loss of Penny and desire to reclaim their bond. Alexa is demanding and not necessarily nice to Penny. Penny had moved on, yet Alexa was overly pushy to the point of near rape. In the beginning, she never listened to anything Penny wanted or didn’t want. She craved the conflict and enjoyed the knowledge that she would be able to force Penny to submit....
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Sep
6

Review: Bound by Lies by Lynn Kelling

Review: Bound by Lies by Lynn Kelling Bound By Lies Author: Lynn Kelling  Reviewer: B. Rating: A, 4.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Having escaped the stigma of a destroyed family and the cruel whispers of his classmates four years ago, Brayden Clare never considered returning to his hometown again. But, after experiencing the desolation of abandonment personally, he’s not about to do the same to his remaining relatives when they call on him for help. Life at the beach and a lack of conviction about his own sexuality hasn’t exactly prepared him to be a successful caretaker, however, yet he’s determined to do what’s right, regardless of the cost, even if it means losing his freedom to the voices of the past. Golden boy Jenner Parrish, owner of the local bar, has always had it easy, or so everyone else in his small town thinks. Determined to stay out of the crosshairs of the bullies in his high school, he spent his time then as part of their group, often horrified by their exploits, yet never taking a stand against them. While he’s come to terms with his needs as a Dominant privately, his dread of rejection and worry over the opinions of others keep him from living the life he so desperately wants, leaving him isolated and withdrawn. But, when his fantasy-come-to-life walks through his door in need of a job, Jenner begins to question everything about the life he’s built for himself, and realizes that, sometimes, taking risks is the only option. I’ve been very happy to see an increase in the number of novels about “alternative lifestyles” I’ve had the opportunity to read recently, especially when those stories determinedly address some of the misconceptions and myths surrounding their subjects. Bound by Lies, I was delighted to find, does exactly that. Brayden is plagued by insecurities about his desire to submit, believing his need to be dominated to be a validation for all the horrible things that happened during his high school years. Jenner is likewise hiding who he really is, fearing the rejection of both family and friends should they discover who he really is: a closeted gay man who is most at peace when spending time as a Dom. While the majority of Bound by Lies revolves around the sexual relationship of the two main characters, it is through these scenes that we see what drives both men in its most distilled form. By finally addressing their mutual needs, they are...
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Aug
22

Review: Glitterland by Alexis Hall

Review: Glitterland by Alexis Hall Glitterland Author: Alexis Hall  Reviewer: B. Rating: A, 4.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Trapped between the madness that is perpetually roiling beneath the surface of his skin, and the guilt he feels over the burden he’s become to those who still attempt to care about him, Ash Winters can’t exactly be described as “healthy,” or “well.” But, when a spray-tanned, metallic-swathed vision on the dance floor shows him the first real spark of life he’s felt in entirely too long, Ash can’t help himself—he has to have him. At least for an hour or two. When that small taste turns into a craving for more, however, Ash will have to rethink a lot of things, and learn how to fight for what he really wants. Ash should be almost wholly unlikeable, yet I like him a great deal all the same. It is with that ever-increasing fondness, though, that I wanted to kick him—repeatedly—as he scrambled his way through the story, launching reflexive cruelties at various undeserving targets, most especially Darian, and simply getting it wrong. Ash doesn’t believe he’s worthy of anyone’s high regard, and so is left to his preferred state of isolation over and over again as even those few who might still love him are forced to retreat to a safe distance while he tries not to fall to pieces. Ash is so dismayed when his usual tactics and expectations are utterly obliterated by Darian that he lashes out in fits of self-sabotaging elitism, only to find himself even more desperate for the warmth the other man gives him. Ash’s illness, described as “type 1 bipolar with clinical anxiety disorder,” is not presented as a reason to pity him (since he is far too unpleasant for that), but as a reason to cheer him on as he attempts to truly live. Darian is, by contrast, entirely lovable and truly does shine like the glitter Ash compares him to. He is gaudy and seems deceptively simple at times, yet he’s light and unflinchingly honest. He approaches every situation with a kind of wonder and acceptance that Ash mistakes for naivety, which Darian most certainly is not. Darian is largely content with his portion of the world, and all the things in it, including Ash. He doesn’t play the games that govern Ash’s life, and seems to want everyone to do what makes them happy to the best of their abilities. And nothing more. He doesn’t...
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Aug
6

Review: Never Gonna Desert You by Jessica E. Subject

Review: Never Gonna Desert You by Jessica E. Subject Never Gonna Desert You Author: Jessica E. Subject Reviewer: Twimom227 Rating: B, 3.5 Stars What I’m Talking About: Brooke returns home after a long day at work, expecting her boyfriend to propose. Instead, she discovers that what he meant by taking “the next step” was a ménage with a female coworker. After kicking them both out, Melina returns to explain that she only agreed to the ménage because she is attracted to Brook. Soon the pair are become friends and much more. Brook’s father is a bigwig at Planet Core, the corporation that controls the city and everyone in it. When he threatens Melina with the secret knowledge of her illegal relationship with Brook, he forces her on mission after mission and uses her to do his dirty work. Unfortunately, that includes sleeping with coworkers to get them removed from research teams. The first part of the novella is actually a prequel of sorts to the first book in the series, Never Gonna Give You Up. In the first book, we find Melina, a mission commander of an off-world exploration, already three years into her work that took her away from Brook. Soon the novella fast-forwards three years and takes place immediately after the conclusion of the first story. Although the dialogue reads pretty simply, the premise behind the story is exciting. Corporate coverup and domination. This story reads MUCH better than the first in the series, and one could enjoy it as a stand alone. However, I am glad that Never Gonna Desert You tied the two stories together, bringing back Calla and Erik from the first book and explaining the “behind the scenes.” The focus of the story is the romance between Brook and Melina, which was shared successfully. The pair had to overcome many obstacles, including Brook’s diabolical father. Since this was a novella, the author didn’t have a lot of room to delve deeply into their issues, but she handled the adversity directly and didn’t leave any matters off to the side. Brook and Melina confronted their demons, and this helped create more enjoyable characters. The coverups and conspiracies hinted around in the first book were brought forward directly in Never Gonna Desert You. We learn more about the Underground and its mission. We find out what Planet Core is really up to. This aspect of the story and series is interesting and definitely NOT over. Planet Core – or at least its leaders –...
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Jul
16

Review: A Marine Affair by Heather Long

Review: A Marine Affair by Heather Long A Marine Affair Author: Heather Long  Release Date: June 3, 2013 Publisher: Decadent Publishing Always a Marine #13, Novella ISBN: #978-1613335444 Genre: Military Romance, M/M Format(s): e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Commander Rick McConnell and Colonel Elijah Masters have been secret lovers for years. They nurtured their very private relationship with planned vacations and leaves, always meeting somewhere different—always escaping off the grid. It worked for them—career officers with a desire to serve their country and a passion for each other. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell provides them with the tremendous opportunity to come out to their friends and loved ones—Rick wants to seize the day, but Eli isn’t so certain. His hesitation leads to a fight, an ultimatum, and a breakup. Rather than confront their issues, Eli takes a foreign assignment. A year’s separation changes both of them. The last person Eli expects to see when he steps off the plane is Rick, but the physician wants another chance with the only man he’s ever loved and he has a plan.  Will bitterness, recriminations, and loss keep them apart or can these two officers rediscover the faith and loyalty that bound them for so long? What B is talking about: As dedicated Marines who’ve never hesitated to put their duty to their country above all else, Commander Rick McConnell and Colonel Eli Masters accepted the need to keep their love a secret for years. But, when DADT was finally repealed, and it was safe for them to live openly, Rick wanted to tell the world. Unfortunately, Eli wasn’t ready to come out, despite the changing times, and in a moment of need and doubt their relationship ended. But, one year apart isn’t enough to undo ten years of loving each other, and now that Eli is home again, Rick isn’t willing to let him go without a fight. I have a fondness for military fiction as well as m/m romance, so A Marine Affair was enjoyable on both fronts. Eli and Rick are interesting, strong characters, and Ms. Long imbues them with an unexpected amount of depth, given the short length of the story. Both are Marines, one serving stateside as a surgeon, one taking dangerous assignments overseas. But, they each respect the path the other has chosen, nurturing their relationship as best they can over the course of a decade during secret rendezvous and stolen moments while on leave. The root of the...
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Jun
2

Review: Josh of the Damned Vol. 1 & 2 by Andrea Speed

Review: Josh of the Damned Vol. 1 & 2 by Andrea Speed Josh of the Damned Author: Andrea Speed  Release Date: Volume 1, Josh of the Damned – April 16, 2012 Volume 2, The Final Checkout – April 29, 2013 Publisher: Riptide Publishing Josh of the Damned Volumes 1&2 ISBN: #978-1937551353  and #978-1626490062 Genre: GLBT, Comedy, Horror, Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Format(s): e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the books: Volume 1 – Josh of the Damned What most people call a hellish shift, Josh Caplan calls a normal evening. After all, he works nights at a convenience store beside the mouth of hell, selling snacks to zombies and lizard men.  Some monsters are odder—and more dangerous—than most. Like the rampaging, oversized mustache who skips the Pringles and eats the customers instead. Or Cthulhu’s half-brother Stan, who doesn’t know how to take no for an answer . . . or where to put all those tentacles.  But killer facial hair and inept hentai beasts pale in comparison to the monster even other monsters fear. When hell’s big boss demands a sit-down with Josh, she reveals a destiny bigger than he’d ever imagined—or wanted. You’d think preventing the apocalypse would net Josh more than minimum wage and a hot vampire boyfriend, but it turns out saving the world can be a pretty thankless job.  Volume 2 – The Final Checkout Josh Caplan thought he’d solved his home office problem and stopped the Quik-Mart Corporation from expanding into hell, but it turns out a guardian’s work is never done. Medusa has plans for him, and she’s not the only one.  What’s a poor night clerk to do when he’s besieged on all sides by deluded vampire slayers, angry zombies, crazy gods, and the most terrifying enemy of all: a dickish CEO?  To survive this, Josh will have to do more than just rely on his necromancer boss, his hot vampire boyfriend, and his yeti stalker. This time, he’ll have to find his own inner hero to save the day.  What B is talking about: Volume 1 of the Josh of the Damned series includes the shorts “Pretty Monsters,” “Peek-A-Boo,” and a third, which is further broken down into three parts titled “Night of the Mustache,” “I was Cthulhu’s Love Slave,” and “Interview with the Empire.” As far as openings go, this just might just be one of my favorites yet: “The first time the hell vortex opened in the Quick-Mart parking lot, Josh very seriously considered quitting his job. But all that came out of it...
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May
27

Review: Portrait of a Crossroads by Kelly Rand

Review: Portrait of a Crossroads by Kelly Rand Portrait of a Crossroads Author: Kelly Rand  Release Date: May 18, 2013 Publisher: Riptide Publishing ISBN: #978-1626490116 Genre: GLBT – lesbian Format(s): e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the book: Since finding her father’s body at the bottom of the basement stairs, Annette’s been drifting through her days, watching cars pass down the rural Ontario crossroads beside her house. Her brothers have no great ambitions, but Annette remembers a time when she did. She just can’t remember what they are.  Then she meets her neighbour, Sadie, a tattooed, world-weary, newly single portrait artist. Something about Sadie awakens something in Annette—the essence she captures in her subjects, perhaps, or the way the old familiar crossroads seem so fresh and promising from the view out Sadie’s window.  Annette begins to help Sadie, cleaning brushes and filing invoices between long lazy afternoons of conversations and shared silences. Soon, though, Annette wants more from her enigmatic neighbor, and their slowly heating friendship melts into passionate nights. Somewhere along the way, Annette discovers that her lover has illuminated for her, as with the people Sadie paints, not just her essence, but her own endless worlds of possibilities.  What B is talking about: Since discovering her father after his suicide, Annette keeps mostly to herself, gauging the momentum of the world outside her house by sound. Trucks, cars, and airplanes provide the only movement along the crossroad where she lives, their sounds having grown so commonplace that she doesn’t even have to look to know what they are as they pass by. She should be moving on to the next phase of her life, like so many of her recent classmates, but even the glossy college brochures don’t tempt her. But, when the artist who lives next door offers Annette a glimpse into her own life, Annette feels like she’s finally waking up from a very long, tedious dream.  There is quite a lot to like about this short story, and I wasn’t sure what to start with. Ms. Rand has an excellent ability to create vivid settings, her descriptions relating not just color, but texture and history as well. In fact, these scenes have the potential to overshadow the characters themselves, but fortunately don’t. By contrast, there’s a thoughtful economy in the portrayal of most of Annette’s life until she meets Sadie and walks through her door into a different world.  Although Annette’s circumstances in Portrait of a Crossroads could be viewed as tragic, they...
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May
19

Review: Country Mouse / City Mouse (2 books) by Amy Lane & Aleksandr Voinov

Review: Country Mouse / City Mouse (2 books) by Amy Lane & Aleksandr Voinov Country Mouse/City Mouse Author: Amy Lane & Aleksandr Voinov   Publisher: Riptide Publishing Country Mouse Books 1 & 2 Genre: GLBT – M/M Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the books: Country Mouse, April 23, 2012 ISBN: #978-1937551346 Owen may be a bit of a country mouse, but he’s loving his vacation in London. After a long day playing tourist, he’s on the hunt for some cheap beer and a good burger. Instead he finds a man hunting him, an arrogant prick with only one thing on the brain: the kind of meat that doesn’t come on a bun. Eighty-hour weeks at a trading desk don’t leave Malcolm Kavanagh much time for meaningful relationships. Besides, in his world, everything’s a competition—even sex. When his newest one-night-sub fails to show, Malcolm sets his sights on the pretty young Yank on the bar stool beside him. Owen’s all for an adventure with a native, but he’s not the pushover Malcolm thinks he is, and Malcolm’s not as shallow as he tries to be. They both soon learn that nothing’s too intimate to share with a stranger, and the strangest things happen when two people share the most important pieces of their hearts.  City Mouse, March 18, 2013 ISBN: #978-1626490055 A magical weekend, a breathless declaration, a happy ever after… Right? Wrong. When Malcolm Kavanagh took his first step toward emotional maturity by declaring his love to Owen Watson, that was just the first chapter in their story.  Anyone who’s ever been in love knows that happy endings take a lot more work than that. One problem: Malcolm has never been in love. He doesn’t know the rules of a relationship and isn’t confident enough to trust that his is real. He learns the ropes by sharing his life and his flat with Owen, but relationship boot camp proves a challenge. Everything is a struggle, from accepting Owen’s low-status job to putting his boyfriend above his personal trainer.  Luckily, Owen knows a little more about relationships, and labors patiently to survive the first six weeks of their life together. From the art galleries of Cambridge to the tawdry majesty of the Dominion theatre, Owen adapts to England while Malcolm adapts to the whole human race. Maybe, if Owen is patient enough and Malcolm learns to give, the two of them can make it past Relationship Armageddon to a real happy ending.  What B is talking about: As a fan of M/M...
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Apr
24

Review: Flawless by Cat Grant

Review: Flawless by Cat Grant Flawless Author: Cat Grant  Release Date: April 22, 2013 Publisher: Riptide Publishing Irresistible Attraction #4 ISBN: # 978-1626490123 Genre: LGBTQ, M/M, Contemporary Romance Format(s): e-book Book Source: NetGalley About the book: Steve Campbell used to be a player, until a mid-life crisis opened his eyes to his long-repressed love for Connor, his soon-to-be-married best friend and business partner. Coming out at thirty-eight means learning how to date all over again, and this time, Steve’s not willing to settle for empty one-night stands. He wants the real thing. Gil Alvarez has never had it easy, struggling through childhood and rejected by his family for a body that didn’t match who he was inside. A skilled driver and mechanic, he’s working hard to make his auto shop a success. The last thing he needs is a rich white guy in a candy-apple-red Ferrari tempting him, but Steve’s ready smile and easygoing manner prove irresistible. One brief, intimate encounter leaves them both hungry for more. Gil’s not ashamed of who he is, but he’s terrified that Steve will reject him—or worse—when he discovers what Gil can’t find the courage to tell him.  What B is talking about: Having lived a seemingly sheltered existence until coming out at the age of thirty-eight, Steve Campbell has a lot to learn about his new life as a bisexual. Tired of one-night stands and the disappointment of looking for more in all the wrong places, what he wants most is to find someone special he can commit to. But, just when he’s almost ready to give up, he gets a helping hand from an attractive stranger, and realizes he has a chance at a love he never anticipated, and one that may never come along again.  Passionate, talented, and determined, Gil Alvarez works hard to keep his auto repair shop afloat and his dreams alive. After the assistance he offers the poor, hapless car owner he met at the beach comes back to bite him, he’s determined not to let the man get under his skin. He’s got enough problems already, thanks. But, even though he knows it’s going to end in disaster, he can’t stay away from Steve, realizing too late that the secret he’s kept hidden could cost him the only real happiness he’s ever had.  While Flawless works well as a standalone, I do wish I’d been able to read the other stories in the series in order to better understand Steve’s origins...
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