Sunday, March 30, 2014

Review: Charming The Alpha

Charming The Alpha
Charming The Alpha by Liliana Rhodes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An exceptional beginning that puts The Crane Curse series on my Must-Read list!

Hannah Crane thought that she knew what to expect from life. Raised by her Mother and Grandmother, the magic that runs in her blood ties them together even when disagreements and misunderstandings put a strain on their overall relationship.

Then she meets werewolf Alpha Caleb Overstreet and everything changes. Inexplicably drawn to the handsome shifter she learns that there is more to her family than simple magic. They are the living embodiment of an ancient curse that was woven years ago. Caleb and Hannah must work together in order to unravel the mysteries of the past. Some secrets were never meant to be kept and others are too dangerous to ignore.

A well written and fast paced paranormal romantic short story; Charming The Alpha is the first book in Liliana Rhodes latest series. A complete story from start to finish, this book introduces readers to the Crane women and left me panting for more!

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review: Accidental Love

Accidental Love
Accidental Love by Lacey Wolfe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jane was having a really bad day. Her boss, the man she thought she loved, dumped her. Since her best friend is away Jane finds herself reluctantly confiding in Francesca, a high-maintenance woman with countless superficial relationships under her belt.

Francesca helps Jane devise a plan to deal with her heartache.
Step one: Total image makeover
Step two: Hot fake-boyfriend
Step three: Make Matt jealous

It sounded like a great plan, except for one TINY little detail. Ben, the fake-boyfriend that Francesca finds is the sexiest man Jane has ever seen. The more Jane learns about Ben the faster she forgets Matt! Ben is equally attracted to Jane, but Matt is willing to play dirty in order to get Jane back. Will their May to December romance crash and burn under the strain or will true love conquer all?

A well written and entertaining novella, Accidental Love is the story of what happens when opposites attract and love is found in unexpected places!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My thoughts on a few bad apples.

I recently read a very negative review on a book that I enjoyed immensely. It bothered me for several reasons, so much in fact, that I felt compelled to share.

I write a lot of reviews, officially as well as on my own. I think reviews are important so I carefully consider what I'm writing and the potential impact of my words. I start each book with the idea that it deserves 5 stars. It amazes me that people leave 1 or 2 star reviews. It has to be almost unreadable or blatant plagiarism to deserve that kind of harshness. 

Another pet peeve I have is when reviewers attack the author personally; that's just uncalled for. If a reviewer didn't care for a story, say why, POLITELY.  Just because I personally didn't enjoy a story doesn't mean I can't see the potential for others readers to love it. I don't take stars away just because a book wasn't my particular cup of tea unless the reason I didn't enjoy it was lack of storyline or character development. 

Finally, quoting an author's work out of context drives me crazy and completely invalidates the entire review, as far as I'm concerned. If a particular story or writing style is that flawed, there should be plenty of examples to be found in context. 

Reviews have such a huge impact. They can encourage or discourage sales. Other readers depend on them when deciding where to spend hard earned money. They impact Amazon algorithms and indicate to authors how readers are responding to a particular line of work. Writing a review is something that should be taken seriously. I feel like apologizing to every author who has had a bad review experience! 

Books are wonderful gifts; every single one is a window into another place or time. It takes courage to write stories and send them out into the world all on their own. I guess it just goes to show that you can't please some people, no matter how hard you try. A poorly written review does not reflect negatively on the author's work, only the small mind and harsh attitude of the review writer because even a negative review can be written in a positive manner.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: Love of the Wild

Love of the Wild (Lifting the Veil #4)Love of the Wild by Susan Laine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Proving that as long as you're young at heart, it's never too late to find true love!

Jim is a journalist who is losing his edge. Every day, his bones remind him that he's not as young as he used to be. No longer able to keep up with his more energetic competition, Jim decides to take a trip into the wilds of Wyoming to write an exposé on wolves. He's heard a rumor that shifters run free high in the mountains and believes that writing a lycan-interest piece on the beautiful animals is the perfect story to revive his struggling career. He never expected to spend his first day in the mountains suspended from a tree, while staring into the eyes of the most beautiful man he's ever met.

Dak isn't your average wolf shifter. He's a progenitor, older than recorded human history, and father of the original Alpha shifters. After spending years watching his mates fade from his life, Dak has isolated himself in the Wyoming mountains, content to live out the rest of his days alone. The last thing he expected was to have his next mate literally drop out of the sky. Determined to avoid Jim at all costs, he does everything he can to drive the ruggedly handsome journalist away.

Jim isn't easy to get rid of, and even harder to forget. Ever since meeting Dak, his mating pheromones have been on the rise, sending out an ambrosia-like beacon to all the progenitors, signaling his potential mate status. Even though Jim's heart is captivated by Dak, he has reluctantly accepted his rejection and is attempting to move on. Unfortunately for Jim, not all the progenitors are as honorable as Dak, and the drive to claim a new mate quickly puts Jim's life in danger, forcing him to seek help from the only man his heart desires. The man who has made it clear he wants nothing to do with Jim's affection.

LOVE OF THE WILD is a well written and engaging love story that takes the quest to find a mate off the usual path and introduces a unique twist. Dak and Jim's story is filled with well-developed characters, exquisitely described landscapes, and a unique balance of darkness and light that sets this tale apart from other paranormal romances. Containing a minimum of editorial and formatting errors, once again, Susan Laine delivers the quality reading experience, full of adventure and heart, that her fans have come to expect!

OFFICIAL REVIEW written for The Romance

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A blogger's life for me!

Today I have the day off from my "real" job and I've spent it writing a few book reviews, haunting my Facebook pages, and working on some blog formatting. I ran across this little nugget of wisdom earlier today and thought I'd share it with my friends; both those who are word wizards and the ones who are just writers at heart! 

Review: Bright City Lights

Bright City Lights (City of Lights)Bright City Lights by Declan Sands
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An irresistible story of adventure and paranormal romance!

It is forbidden for a shifter and a vampire to exchange blood. For 95% of the vampire population it leads to madness and so the Vampire Council decreed that the punishment for breaking the law is death.

Brant is a vampire in love with a shifter. Rabb's soul soothes him, but the call of his blood is stronger. In order to protect Rabb from the Council's wrath, Brant walked away from their relationship and the Vampire Council's rule five years ago. Ever since then he and has denied himself blood of any kind since. The hunger is excruciating but he considers Rabb's life to be worth the cost. Integrating himself into the human world, Brant is now the Mayor of Bright City and does his best to keep his town shifter free.

Rabb has never been one to follow rules, especially those he deems unnecessary. No shifter he knows would allow a vampire to feed on his blood without consent. As angry as the situation makes him feel, Rabb respects Brant's decision to walk away and has left him alone. Instead, he focuses on his duties as pack Alpha and works tirelessly to bring his pack out of the wilderness and into the modern era.

When murdered shifters being to turn up in Bright City, Brant and Rabb must unite both vampires and shifters, working together to find a killer that threatens them all. The close contact, after so many years apart, reignites the passion and love for each other that never died. Threats loom on all fronts and suspicion fills their ranks. Facing death has a tendency to cut through doubt and reveal that which is truly important, but the fact remains that their love is forbidden.

A well written, fast paced, and darkly entertaining tale, Bright City Lights is a delightful addition to the M/M romance genera. When steamy Alpha males, strong supporting characters, vampires, shifters and magic abound, who could ask for more?

A copy of Bright City Lights was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Review: Caught

CaughtCaught by Cassandra Carr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Take a walk on the dark side!

Three years ago Callie found her perfect subspace while under the dominance of Jack, the sexy professor she met while enrolled in his college class. She fell in love, hard and deep, but Jack didn't return her feelings and she was in danger of losing herself to the despair of unrequited commitment. Callie did the only thing she could to protect herself, she ran.

From the moment Jack saw Callie he knew she was the woman meant to be his to command. Her craving for painful pleasure, unconditional submission and sensual curves fulfilled his darkest desires. It wasn't until after she was gone that he was able to admit to himself that his feelings were deeper than desire and no submissive has satisfied him since.

Three years is a long time to be apart, but the instant chemistry they shared long ago quickly returns as they explore the powerful highs that can only be found in each other's arms. Callie has changed, Jack has changed, but the one thing that hasn't changed is their inability to communicate outside of the playroom. Callie longs for more and Jack doesn't know if he's able to give her everything she needs but is unwilling to accept a future that doesn't include his naughty submissive.

An intensely written BDSM/fetish romance that delves deeply into the dark side of the lifestyle. When two imperfect people are drawn together irresistibly sparks fly, emotions run high, and the potential rewards far outweigh the risks.

A copy of Caught was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review: Alpha's Strength

Alpha's Strength (Fallen Alpha, #1)Alpha's Strength by Rebecca Royce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

People have been doing what Cyrus told them to do since he was 12 years old. Groomed from an early age to be an Alpha, he challenged the former Alpha of Manhattan when he was 20 and has been running the city like a well oiled machine ever since. He is tough, tenacious, powerful and doesn't have time to seek a mate. Consumed by the modern world of business, fated mates and moon gods are nothing but fairy tales to Cyrus. Little does his pack know that his apartment is lonely, he doesn't sleep at night and behind his strong facade beats a heart that no one loves.

Betsy realised too late that she had been raised by monsters, her parents hid their evil from her as long as possible. The day they were captured by a group of purists was the day Betsy's torment began. Blackmailed into an engagement by her parent's kidnappers, she feels obligated to try to rescue them, even though it means subjecting herself to the attentions of a cruel and selfish man.

When Cyrus and Betsy first meet, sparks fly and their attraction is irresistible, but Cyrus is an Alpha whose pack is on the brink of war and Betsy, a latent wolf, believes herself to be a human with no means of escaping her future.

A fast paced and well written paranormal romance. Resisting the Alpha offers readers a well developed storyline and complex characters. An passionate and emotionally engaging roller coaster ride from start to finish!

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: Hunter's Moon

Hunter's Moon (Lifting the Veil, #3)Hunter's Moon by Susan Laine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sexy page-turner from start to finish, HUNTER'S MOON made me want to howl!

Kieran is a mercenary who sells his services to the highest bidder. After the Great Unveiling his team was nearly annihilated by paranormal monsters. Barely escaping with his life, he now returns the favor by capturing those same monsters. He's never given much thought to what happens to the beings he targets, but that all changes the day he takes Gabriel King captive.

Gabriel is undeniably handsome and personifies controlled power. Kieran, instantly mesmerized by his brown eyes and blond hair, suddenly finds himself breaking every known rule in the brutal world he inhabits. Helping Gabriel escape captivity is the first step, but with his former commander hot on his heels and the contract on Gabriel's life hanging over their heads, Kieran doesn't have time to contemplate the unexpected sexual chemistry that drives him to ignore his instincts.

As a beta of his pack, Gabriel has spent years utilizing self-control and calming others during times of crisis. It's been over 100 years since the last time his emotions got the better of his levelheaded nature. Upon awakening bound and blindfolded in the back of a truck, Gabriel is more than ready to wait for his captors to make the one mistake his wolf will need to overpower their plans and escape. That is, until he suddenly smells his mate, the man he has spent the last four hundred years waiting for.

In that moment, Gabriel experiences despair for the very first time. The fanatics that have caged him mistakenly believe he is an Alpha. The clock is ticking, and Gabriel must find a way to convince his human mate of their bond while at the same time running for their very lives.

HUNTER'S MOON brings back characters I first fell in love with while reading THE WOLFING WAY. The King family returns while continuing to search for their mates, support each other, and adapt to the disruptions brought about by the Great Unveiling. A fast-paced, action-packed, M/M paranormal romance that returns to the roots of the series, HUNTER'S MOON was a pleasure to read. Five stars for a well-developed story line, continuously evolving characters, and steamy romance on the run!

OFFICIAL REVIEW written for The Romance

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Wish Upon a Tiger

Wish Upon a Tiger: A BBW Weretiger Shifter RomanceWish Upon a Tiger: A BBW Weretiger Shifter Romance by A.T. Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A delightful and entertaining paranormal romance!

Jenna is alone. Half tiger and half human, her tiger father died when she was two and her human mother recently died of cancer. She meets with Dr. Tarken, a folklore professor, to try to learn more about her shifter heritage but he betrays her trust by kidnapping Jenna and using her as bait to lure male tigers closer in an attempt to locate hidden tiger treasures.

Erik has been the alpha of the Tiger Tree clan for years but is without a mate. The remote location and an old treaty keep his community safe from outsiders, but when Dr. Tarken sets his trap, freeing Jenna becomes more than the right thing to do, her scent make is persona.

Mating a half-blood who knows next to nothing about their heritage was a destiny that Erik never imagined possible, but every moment he spends with Jenna feels right. He takes her to see Elder Brahm, the clan's "shaman, counselor, oracle and all around magic man" in an effort to teach her more of her heritage. This plan backfires, however, when they learn of an ancient curse that caused the death of Jenna's father and has been passed down through her family for generations.

The warning comes too late, however, as betrayal has already sunk its claws into Erik's clan. The ensuing battle puts both Jenna and Erik's lives in danger and threatens to destroy the mating bond that binds them together.

WISH UPON A TIGER is a well written and fast paced story that is set in the beautiful Alaska wilderness. Mitchell's descriptive writing style brings the town of Tiger Tree and its inhabitants to life and entertained me from start to finish. A paranormal romance with sexy feline shifter and dark villains, WISH UPON A TIGER is magical from start to finish!

An ARC of WISH UPON A TIGER was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Red Moon Rising (Strength of the Pack #3)

Red Moon Rising (Strength of the Pack #3)Red Moon Rising by Joy Lynn Fielding
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All you really need is love...

Tristan is young, idealistic, and full of life. When being in the wrong place at the wrong time lead to abduction by a violent pack of rival wolves, he is determined to show no weakness and uphold his Alpha's honor.

Colby just wanted to find somewhere to belong and thought that's what he found by falling in love with Nico. Only later did he realize that Nico's heart is ruled by hate. Colby's love for Nico has long since died, but he is surrounded by men who live their lives without honor and knows that they will never let him leave alive. Physically abused and emotionally abandoned, he has long since given up hoping for a better life.

When Tristan is brought into the renegade wolf compound, Colby feels a spark of life for the first time in years. His conscience tells him that ignoring the young prisoner is as good as signing his death sentence, and he can't bear the thought of watching the spirit that burns in Tristan's eyes flicker and die. Colby does what he can to ease Tristan's imprisonment, but Nico is a jealous lover who quickly brings Colby to task for his perceived weakness.

In a decision brought on by desperation, Colby and Tristan escape, only to find themselves on the run. Can two broken wolves outrun the angry pack hot on their heels and bent on revenge? Will Tristan's pack be willing to offer Colby, a known enemy, sanctuary? Could the spark of attraction that Tristan and Colby feel for each other lead to a deeper bond, or are they surrounded by insurmountable obstacles?

In RED MOON RISING, readers will find a fast-paced, well-written and dynamic multi-layered story line. This paranormal adventure is the third story in Joy Lynn Fielding's Strength of the Pack series, but it can be read as a standalone novel. With vividly described settings and well developed supporting characters, this M/M romance is one that captured my heart from start to finish.

OFFICIAL REVIEW written for The Romance

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: Heartbitten

Heartbitten: A New Adult Vampire Romance NovelHeartbitten: A New Adult Vampire Romance Novel by Aubrey Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Emotionally engaging from beginning to end!

Robb was only 13 years old when he was attacked by a black ghost and turned into the monster modern men call vampire. He has adapted to the change, but never stopped searching for a cure. His heart was frozen years ago by the loss of his childhood love. Now he uses women for sexual gratification, and to obtain the blood he requires in order to survive, but refuses to allow himself to ever love again. Haunted by his past, he lives his life isolated and alone, refusing to become a blood thirsty demon like the one who forced immortality upon him. He is a rare breed; one who yearns for humanity.

Ever since her sister died of cancer Liz life has been consumed with searching for a cure. She dreams of finding a man with a kind heart and passionate soul can will understand her sorrow and support the studies that are her lifes work. Her heart quickens at the instant chemistry that sparks the moment she meets Robb, but his arrogance attitude and playboy reputation cause her to doubt her own feelings.

Each must confront their deepest fears and look beyond the superficial circumstances that are standing the the way in order to find true love. When a deranged vampire from his past arrives to collect a favour from Robb, and Liz uncovers a dangerous secret of her own, the road to finding happiness becomes even more difficult to travel.

A well written and story, Heartbitten is a captivating paranormal romance that offers adventure, drama, passion and heart. While the ending is not a cliffhanger, it will leave readers yearning for more!

A copy of Heartbitten was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

I recently read a thought provoking and heartfelt post by my good friend and author Hollis Shiloh and wanted to share it with my followers as well. Take the time to read her words, they are inspired!

Love Stories About Men: some writer advice: (A long, rambling post of what I think writers need to know!) Write the stories you need to tell. Don't listen to your critics (at l...

Review: Bearing It All

Bearing It AllBearing It All by Lynn Red
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Delightfully Entertaining!

A copy of Bearing It All was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Violet is a slightly nervous fox with a habit of falling fast and hard for bears; but each time she does it ends up breaking her heart. She has decided to protect her heart this time around and look for steamy sex instead, without emotional attachment.

Crag is a cage fighting werebear focused on avenging his brother's death at any cost. The minute he lays eyes on Violet's luscious curves his priorities shift; suddenly he longs for the adorable redheaded fox to see beyond the fighter he's always been.

The mysterious disappearances of young women, both human and shifters, has Jamesburg on edge. The traveling fighters are under surveillance and Crag's reptilian manager is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his prize fighter in the ring.

A fast paced adventure full of sexy shifters, romance and mystery, Bearing It All is the second novel in The Jamesburg Shifters series. Each story is a full length, stand alone novel that can be read in any order. Complete from start to finish with no cliffhanger endings, I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series if possible because some characters do reoccur, but it is not necessary. A well written paranormal romance that is sure to delight fans of bears, wolves, foxes, hyenas, hedgehogs and squirrels, this menagerie of shifters is pure entertainment from start to finish!

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Review: Spring Fling - 5 Sweet and Sexy Contemporary Romances

Spring Fling: 5 Sweet and Sexy Contemporary RomancesSpring Fling: 5 Sweet and Sexy Contemporary Romances by Virna DePaul
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A sexy collection of romantic short stories.

This is a set of novellas that contains stories that focus on making love possible. Each short story was well written and entertaining, with engaging characters and fun story lines. Some of the authors were new to me and others have penned some of my favorite series. Each book can be read on its own and I never felt like I was missing half of the story or left out of the loop. This spunky set is the perfect antidote to cure those winter blues!

Because I received my copy from Zoe York in exchange for an honest review I will focus the rest of my review on her story.

Ian and Carrie started their relationship with different goals, different dreams and a whole lot of sexual chemistry. A fun fling quickly turned serious when Carrie found out she was expecting and a quick rush to the alter derailed her plans to travel the English countryside. Sexual attraction quickly developed into love, but time, work and children are keeping the couple from connecting as much as they would like. A series of miscommunications have put added strain on their comfortable relationship, causing each spouse to doubt what was once an unshakable foundation.

This well written story from York's Wardham series is a brilliantly told tale that could easily be the picture of any established married couple's relationship. Working on communication and keeping the spark of romance alive is often put on the back burner. The consequences of neglecting these bonds can be devastating but love, and a whole lot of steamy sex, can conquer all!

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Review: Blind Wolf

Blind Wolf (A Werewolf BBW Shifter Romance, #1)Blind Wolf by Aubrey Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Julia has had a hard life. She lives with her grandmother but they are about to be evicted due to foreclosure. She works at the college library but has never been able to attend classes due to her unstable finances. She longs for love but is insecure about her short and curvy stature. She dreams of being swept off of her feet by a handsome prince but has never a man who could possibly be the one for her.

Damien is the blind alpha of a small pack of wolves without a home. He has given up on ever finding his destined mate and is about to settle into a mating of convenience for the good of his pack when he encounters Julia. The pull he feels towards the adorable red head is unmistakable, but it's impossible for a wolf to mate with a human.... isn't it?

A well written and romantically paced introduction to the series, Blind Wolf by Aubrey Rose is a delightful story. The dynamic leading characters have been damaged by past hurts. Their interactions with each other and the supporting characters are extremely well developed. This is a shifter series I'm excited to continue, Rose's imaginative and descriptive writing style captivated me from the start!

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Review: Forbidden Destiny

Forbidden DestinyForbidden Destiny by Lia Michaels
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A unique story with formatting flaws.

Forbidden Destiny is a short story that introduces readers to the M/M romance series Fearless Love. The main characters, Ethan and Abraham, have been dreaming of each other since childhood. As the "Chosen One" of his Native American people, Ethan is a raptor or eagle shifter who is destined to become the Great Thunderbird and restore peace and hope to all the native tribes.

Before he can begin this journey he must find his mate, Abraham. While Ethan has always been accepted and supported by his family, Abraham had a much different experience. When the two meet for the first time the attraction is instantaneous but Abraham is haunted by his past and is unable to shift into his raptor form.

Driven apart by insecurities and doubts, the two men meet again 15 years later. While their connection remains strong, both have changed significantly during the time apart. The unexpected reunion kindles hope for a second chance at love, but in order to fulfill their destiny both must let go of the pain that caused their initial separation.

I enjoyed this short introduction to the unique paranormal world that Lia Michaels creates for her readers and am curious to see where destiny will lead these two dynamic characters!

3 stars due to frequent formatting and editing errors throughout which significantly detracted from the overall reading experience.

A copy of FORBIDDEN DESTINY was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Review: The Darker Side of Trey Grey

The Darker Side of Trey GreyThe Darker Side of Trey Grey by Tara Spears
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I copy of THE DARKER SIDE OF TREY GREY was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

An overwhelming emotional experience from start to finish!

Trey Grey is one of the most complicated characters I have had the privilege of reading in quite some time. He was horrifically abused as a child and continues to deal with the damaging consequences, both physical and mental, that resulted from that abuse. He has been on his own for as long as he can remember, is highly intelligent, and possesses an inner strength that keeps him going even day after day. Trey wants nothing more than to find someone who loves him that he can love in return. When he meets Justin, and experiences his first spark of something more, the unexpected emotions change Trey's world forever.

He has received counseling in the past for the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms that resulted from his years of abuse, and is now attending college. He gets through each day by dealing with his emotions to the best of his ability, but it is a fragile balance between the trauma of the past and hope for the future.

The fact that he continues to work as a prostitute and turn tricks on the street to support himself is a double edged blade. On one side, he works for himself now, no one forces him onto the streets, and there is a strange comfort to be found in the demon that he knows. A part of him still longs to walk away from the chains of the past and find his own way, but fear of the unknown is a battle that is difficult to fight when all his energy is consumed by getting through the day.

While some reviewers have criticized the characterization of the mental health issues Trey displays, I found Spears' interpretation to be believable. Trey is a young man whose mind and body have been pushed beyond the limits most humans will ever have to endure and survived. While certain aspects of the story, (for example his 9 day psychological coma) push the human body's ability to survive to the limits, readers must remember that Trey is, at his core, a young man with an innate will to live, and the extreme circumstances exemplify that aspect of his personality.

The instance of OCD is particularly high among people with above average intelligence, and most people who have OCD are fully aware of the irrationality of their compulsions. It is also frequently seen in people with PTSD. Many people with OCD function for years without medication of any kind, but may need to re-adapt to their environments or start taking medication again, if stressful events occur in their lives. While often able to anticipate this need, symptoms may overwhelm their coping strategies if ignored or triggered unexpectedly, thus resulting in a medical emergency. The symptoms can, and often do, improve for certain patients when they feel safe in their environment. For Trey, his OCD rituals are usually more representative of a coping mechanism than an anxiety based disorder unless he is experiencing a flashback. I also thought that the counselor was wonderful in the way that he interacted with Trey. Counseling is about meeting the needs of each patient individually, and not treating every one like a textbook case. Every person with mental health issues has a unique experience, root cause, and manifestation of their symptoms. Recognizing this uniqueness and responding on a patient to patient basis is the only way to develop a successful doctor / patient relationship.

I thought Trey's perception of himself was particularly well written, as most patients don't think in medical terms about their own diagnosis, and tend to explain it to other people in their own way and using their own terminology. The human mind has a fantastic ability to repress memories and only deal with what it can handle at the time.

This book will take readers on a deep and dark emotional journey, and is not for those readers looking for a lighthearted romance or feel-good story. I thought Spears did a wonderful job with this book. It is steadily paced with a complex story line that builds upon itself as the book progresses. I loved the character interaction, both between Trey and Justin, as well as the complicated array of supporting characters. The level of sexuality was perfect, considering the difficult subject matter; descriptive enough to convey the scene and emotions without being overly graphic.

I gave this book five stars because of the profoundly emotional content but will mention that there were several typos, punctuation, grammar and editing errors. While noticeable, I didn't feel they detracted significantly from the story. I read a lot of self published titles and have learned to overlook most of these type of errors and focus on essence of the story. I also thought the author's vocabulary was great. While I occasionally had to use my dictionary, it's nice to read grown-up words every once in awhile!

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: Songs By Heart

Songs By Heart (sweet gay romance novel)Songs By Heart by Hollis Shiloh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love Inspired By Song

Songs By Heart is Hollis Shiloh's first full length novel. It has everything I've come to expect from her books and more! The characters are so real that they walked right off the page and into my heart. Harry and Mike are irresistibly drawn to each other. Although they are different people, with unique personalities and separate insecurities, their caring hearts and shared love of music are the ties that bind them together. Their road to love isn't easy; past relationships, complicated family dynamics, and separate career paths threaten to drive them apart. Despite the challenges, they are committed to their love; and just as they've found the confidence to begin building their future, Harry receives a once-in-a-lifetime offer when he's accepted onto a reality TV show. Suddenly, all bets are off, and the future they envisioned together starts to take a path that neither man ever dreamed existed.

Filled with unexpected twists, emotional highs and lows, the tasteful and tenderly written love scenes that Shiloh is best known for, and some truly inspired movie quotes, Songs By Heart will carry you away. The full length of this novel compounds upon the beautiful character development found in Shiloh's previous short stories. I read it once to capture the essence of the story and then read it again just to savor the experience. It compelled me to laugh out loud, inspired a few tears, and made me want to make Mike and Harry part of my family.

It's possible that you won't love this book as much as I did, but if you are a fan of M/M romance... or romance in general... this is one story that you simply MUST read.

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Review: Magic For Lee

Magic for LeeMagic for Lee by Hollis Shiloh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Peter is quiet and gentle by nature; he tried working his magic in the corporate world, but found the heartless work drained his soul. Instead, he followed his heart and opened a small shop where he crafts simple charms and potions designed to ease the lives of the customers he also considers friends. Lee owns a small bakery nearby and is the brightest light in Peter's world. His welcoming smile and kind nature are easy to love. Unaware of his own attractiveness, Peter is quietly heartbroken when Lee asks him to make a love charm but, wishing only happiness for his friend, Peter begins to craft the delicate spell designed to help Lee show his true feelings to the lover Peter can clearly see he desires.

Meanwhile, all is not right in their quaint neighborhood. A malevolent magic begins to make its appearance, stealing the lives of their neighbors and striking terror into the hearts of Peter's customers and friends. Peter knows worrying won't solve the problem, so he does what he can by crafting protection spells for those who come to him. Not wanting to lose Lee's friendship, Peter spends what time he can with Lee, cherishing the memories he makes, and storing them away in preparation for the time when Lee's true love steals his attention away.

Set in what feel like the early 1900, motor cars are just beginning to make an appearance, Magic for Lee is a sweet and captivating story of love and friendship. With a full complement of delightful characters, you're sure to fall in love, not only with Peter and Lee, but also with Joel, Peter's nephew who is full of mischievous magic; Mrs. King, the elderly customer who could be anyone's favorite grandmother; and Mary, the spunky and street wise young lady who comes to Peter's shop for help.

The only part of this story that struck me as a bit odd was the way Peter continually referred to himself as being old. At thirty-eight, I would consider his age to be that of a mature adult rather than an old man. This may be due to the average life expectancy during the time period being much shorter than now, and if so is consistent with a period novel, or it could be a reflection of Peter’s own insecurities. Either way, it is simply my observation and doesn’t detract in any way from the story’s overall appeal.

Well written and edited, Magic for Lee is flawlessly presented to Shiloh's readers with all the qualities I've come to expect from her works. An enchanting neighborhood filled with quirky neighbors, magic and wizardry, a bit of mystery, deep emotions, and the tenderly written love scenes that subtly convey the depth of her character's desires. This book is sure to delight its readers and provide entertainment of the highest quality!

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Review: Jude's Magic

Jude's MagicJude's Magic by Hollis Shiloh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Contemporary romance, magical wizards, action, suspense, and two young men so perfect for each other that they are sure to capture your heart! Jude's simple magic has never been appreciated by his domineering father, his more magical brothers don't understand him, and so he finds himself alone and looking for work that will remove him from magic entirely. Enter Ferrous, a powerful wizard cruelly injured by the very kind of magic the sensitive Jude most fears.

Their instant attractions quickly develops into the deep and tender love young Jude needs. His trusting innocence, caring heart and tender magic is exactly what strong and confident Ferrous needs as well. But nothing in life is ever easy, and just as these two begin to heal each other's wounds, tragedy strikes. Will their differences keep them apart in the end?

Five stars for five reasons:

1. As usual, Hollis Shiloh delivers a sweet and tender love story appropriate for any reader who looks for depth of story and character development. Free of erotica, this book has the potential to appeal to readers of many genres. If this is your first foray into M/M romance you couldn't have picked a better place to start!

2. Well written and edited, Jude's Magic is professionally presented to the reading audience making it just as good, if not better, than any quality book purchased in paperback form.

3. Jude's tender heart and Ferrous' strength make each man attractive in his own right. Together they are magic on paper. Both victims of the world's cruelty before meeting, and so joyful in their discovery of love, this book's raw emotions brought me to tears more than once.

4. Although Jude's Magic contains a full cast of well developed supporting characters, Ferrous' cousin, Alphonse (the type of dark horse character everyone loves to hate) is especially well written, and adds to the story exponentially.

5. A short story that is complete from start to finish, not a series, with an ending that will not leave you hanging... only wishing for more. My favorite of Shiloh's book so far, when I reached the end I immediately flipped to the beginning and read it again!

A copy of Jude's Magic was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: The Auspicious Troubles of Chance

The Auspicious Troubles of Chance (The Auspicious Troubles of Love, #1)The Auspicious Troubles of Chance by Charlie Cochet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*A free copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.*

This is not the first book I have read by this author and, as I have greatly enjoyed her other books, I had high expectations when beginning her latest offering. The Auspicious Troubles of Chance lived up to my expectations and then some!

The cast of characters that are written in this title reached out and captured my heart. The honest emotion expressed by each person, their imperfections, insecurities, hopes, frustrations and dreams, are written in such a way that the words can't help but engage the reader's interest and imagination. It is these pure emotions that fully envelope the reader in Chance's world.

This book is written as a narrative from the main character, Chance's, point of view. As I am an educated reader, reading the first few chapters gave me the feeling that I may be in for a bit of a struggle. Because Chance begins his story with a tone of arrogance, displays a tendency towards showmanship, and has an over all devil-may-care attitude forward his audience, I initially felt that this wasn't going to be a story I was going to enjoy. As I continued reading, began to know and understand Chance, and learned the reasons behind his attitude, my initial impression changed. So just keep this in mind when you start reading and don't give up on the story!

Although this is technically a period book that is set in the early 1900's, the characters themselves could be plucked out of the story and placed in any time period. I liked that the historical setting didn't overtake the storyline or make it feel dated.

The M/M romance is tastefully written, emotionally raw, steamy enough to satisfy, yet not over the top. It flows as a natural complement to the story line and doesn't contain any of the forced emotions that I've sometimes felt when reading in this genera.

Well written and with a professionally edited feel, the quality of this title surpasses earlier offerings by Cochet and makes reading this book a delight.

This book offers a complete complement of supporting characters as well. The way they build off of each other, the humor that made me laugh out loud, and the poignant moments that nearly brought me to tears, are the deciding factors in my 5 star rating. This story just couldn't get any better... and the ending is one you'll just have to read twice!

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Review: The One for Me

The One for MeThe One for Me by Hollis Shiloh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed "The One for Me." It's a short story about two teens who are introduced when Ran is placed in Luke's home by the foster care system. Their initial friendship is built on shared interests. Ran has experienced abuse and rejection in the past for being gay, so he decides not to disclose his sexual orientation to the Turner family, in hopes of finding a new start. Luke has never given much thought to his own sexual desires and is surprised and confused by his building attraction to Ran. As their friendship deepens it begins to open Luke's eyes to the possibilities of being gay, but the unexpected revelation of Ran's orientation put a strain on his relationship with the rest of the Turner family. Although this book does an excellent job addressing the racial stereotypes and misconceptions the two face, it isn't a book about race. Rather, it's a story about coming of age, sexual discovery, the challenges of love, and finding a way to build new love into a lasting relationship. Sexy without being graphic, the intimate relationship that develops between these two young men as they graduate high-school, enter college, find employment and grow into adulthood is perfectly woven into this heartfelt story.

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Review: First Moon

First MoonFirst Moon by Michelle Fox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of First Moon was provide by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tao is tall and handsome with hair as black as midnight and striking blue eyes. He's a strong and honorable man in addition to being a werewolf like no other. Wolfborn and unable to shift into human form until after puberty; he and his brothers were never fully accepted by their pack. The fact that they each have a unique magical talent makes them a rare breed in the already secretive werewolf world.

Audrey is a curvaceous blond dynamite with a spunky personality, soft heart and the unique ability to bond with wounded animals that has lead her to work as a park ranger in Michigan.

The attraction that sparks between these two is instantaneous, but Tao is in Michigan to track his brother, Nick, who has lost control of his wolf's talents and is now hunting humans. Finding his mate isn't something he has time for right now, no matter how wonderful his wolf thinks the blond beauty smells.

Well written, with a fast paced story line that's action packed. This paranormal romantic drama is so hot that the pages on my Kindle practically sparked. Michelle Fox's sexy characters are well developed, emotionally engaging, and not afraid to express their vulnerabilities. This five star romance is guaranteed to dominate the charts!

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Review: Rarely Pure and Never SImple

Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Variant Configurations  #1)Rarely Pure and Never Simple by Angel Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of Rarely Pure and Never Simple was provided by the author, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review.

Fast forward to a time on Earth when viruses have wiped out most of the population. Genetic engineering has cured most of the world's major illnesses, but with unintended consequences. Variants are a small portion of the population who are born genetically enhanced. Sometimes this is a good thing as they can be gifted with strength, the ability to manipulate the elements, see into the future.... think X-Men meets magic. What the government doesn't want advertised is that some variants are plagued with terrible side effects, are barely able to function in society, and that a portion of variants are born with mutations so extreme that they are unable to survive.

The Guild, an organization tasked with blending variants into society, is as politically influenced as any large organization, and not all variants trust their motives.

Enter Blaze and Damian, two variants who find themselves reluctantly drawn into service by the Guild. When variant children begin to mysteriously disappear these two are assigned the dual mission of locating the missing children as well as discovering who is taking them... and why.

Damaged by their own traumatic experiences, untrusting of the Guild that is now employing them, and reluctant to trust themselves, let alone each other, the mission becomes more complex by the moment. The nearly irresistible attraction growing between Blaze and Damian is not making working together any easier.

Angel Martinez expertly weaves a depth of emotion into her damaged characters that effortlessly draws readers into her world. Well written and edited, this book is a pleasure to read. With futuristic settings, complex and engaging characters, descriptive landscapes and enough action and adventure to satisfy any reader looking for more than a contemporary romance, Rarely Pure and Never Simple is sure to appeal to a broad reading audience. There is truly something for everyone in this book. This steamy romance is sure to light a fire in your imagination, making this a story readers are reluctant to put down!

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Review: You Were Always The One

You Were Always the OneYou Were Always the One by Hollis Shiloh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Life isn't easy. It's a lesson that Max first learned when his mother died and his life changed forever. After her death, his dad withdrew into himself; barely noticing that Max was still around.

Mason is his next door neighbor and very best friend. Jamie, Mason's younger brother, has wormed his way into Max's heart as well. Jamie's constant chatter, epic imagination, and the look of hero worship in his eyes boosts Max's confidence and helps to draw him out of his shell. It's almost enough to help Max forget that life isn't supposed to be easy.

After giving it a lot of thought, Max decides to come out to his best friend, the one person he thought he could trust; but Mason reacts badly, deserting him and forbidding any further contact with Jamie either.

Despite his struggles with dyslexia, Max works hard at to graduate from college and becomes a police officer. His life is okay, and he's learned to accept himself. Most people never realize he's gay, since Max doesn't fit most of the stereotypes, and Max doesn't advertise the fact. Maybe he's a little lonely, and occasionally he dreams of meeting a man who will accept him, but over all, Max has learned that if he doesn't expect too much from life he's less likely to be disappointed.

One day, when Max least expects it, everything he's come to expect from life changes again, because Jamie Wyzacki is back, and in a big way. The little boy from Max's memories is sitting in a jail cell, arrested on charges of prostitution, and demanding to see Max for the first time in years. Max can't ignore him, he won't go away, his energy is irresistible.... and suddenly Max is remembering all the warm and wonderful emotions Jamie brought into his life all those years ago.

His heart recognizes Jamie and yearns for more, but his head learned it's lessons the hard way, and isn't about to let Max get let down or hurt once more. When Mason shows up at his front door, angry and accusing, Max is prepared to be rejected, but the unexpected loss of Jamie's company is more painful that Max ever dreamed it would be.

Will he be able to overcome the lesson's his mind has learned? Can he let his heart lead the way? Will Jamie ever be able to forgive him? Is it possible that, for once in his life, thing's are going to go Max's way? Because no matter how hard everything else in his life may be, for Max, loving Jamie has always been easy.

Superbly written, this wonderful tale of second chances is sure to tug at your heartstrings. Max and Jamie couldn't be more opposite, but together are a match made in heaven. Hollis Shiloh presents readers with another exceptionally well told romance. The innocently tender emotions, ongoing character development, and engaging supporting cast thread this story together in such a way that it's sure to become a genera classic you'll want to read again and again!

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Review: Colton and Ry

Colton and RyColton and Ry by Hollis Shiloh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How could you possibly ask for more than to have your best friend be the person you work with every day, turn to when times get tough, depend on the be there without being asked, and be the person who seems to know you better than you know yourself? When that friend is also incredibly sexy and does things to your body that make your head spin? It's not difficult to understand that, after five years, the once clearly defined lines between lust and love can start to get a little blurry.

Their sex life is comfortably free of complications; they are there to meet each other's needs when both are single. Their friendship has always been strong. When Colton leaves his current relationship after receiving an unexpected ultimatum, Ry is there to help him pick up the pieces, and when Colton's ex has second thoughts about the break-up, he suddenly finds himself questioning what it is that he really want's from life. The realization that his feelings for Ry may run deeper than he ever dreamed is unexpected.

How difficult could it be to find out if the man who has always been there for Colton in the past would want to be with him forever?

Find out the answer in this fiery romance that starts out with two men who are "just friends" and transforms their solid relationship into one that's so hot it burns.

Another wonderfully written short story from the expert pen of Hollis Shiloh. It's sure to appeal to readers of the M/M romance genera who crave a little heat along with the sweet!

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Review: Brian's Mate

Brian's MateBrian's Mate by Hollis Shiloh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of Brian's Mate was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

They met under stressful circumstances... Luke's life was in danger due to a misunderstanding. Brian declared him his mate in order to save his life; it was only supposed to be temporary, but Brian's wolf doesn't want to let Luke go.

Luke spent the last few years of his life barely scraping by. He's at the end of his rope, shocked to discover that werew......wolf shifters..... exist outside of the horror movies he grew up watching. Emotionally damaged and financially insecure, Luke tries to resist the gentle man who just saved his life, but he's ever so tired of being alone.

Brian's mate is a story about love in its purest form. The kind of love that heals those who are broken hearted, warms the soul that has been trampled down by life, and gives those who the world has given up on a second chance when no one else would.

An uplifting and inspiring story from the expert pen of Hollis Shiloh, this book is guaranteed to be one of those rare stories that you just can't help but read again and again. Well written, full of tenderness and courage, Brian's Mate contains all the sweet romance I've come to expect from one of my favorite authors!

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Review: Six

SixSix by Tara Spears
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Six by Tara Spears is a story that is sure to touch your heart.

Angelo finds himself a single parent, adrift in his life and lonely without the companionship of a partner. He dreams of finding more than a one night stand, but after being abruptly abandoned by his partner in what should have been the most important moment of their lives, he now doubts that he will ever be able to open himself up to the possibility of emotionally connecting with another man. In fact, he suspects that his libido may have left the day he brought his infant daughter home.

When Angelo meets Marcus, also a single parent, he is afraid of acknowledging the growing attraction between them. But Marcus has plenty of emotional baggage of his own, and as the extent of the turmoil Marcus is dealing with in his personal life comes to light, Angelo is surprised to find himself opening up his own heart in response.

Just as their romance appears to be heading towards a happy ending Angelo has a health scare that brings him to his knees emotionally, and leaves him further doubting if Marcus could ever truly love him.

Filled with love, laughter, heartache and passion. Six follows these two men on the most unexpected journey of their lives and left me feeling that I had peeked through a window into the real lives of two very special men.

Readers should be aware that this book contains steamy sex scenes, references of emotional abuse, episodes depicting child abuse and/or endangerment, and moments where the main characters reveal their deepest doubts and emotional flaws. A M/M romance that showcases life at it's highest highs and lowest lows, Six is at times heart wrenching, and shouldn't be read by those under the age of 18 or anyone that isn't willing to be emotionally pulled apart and put back together again in a whole new way.

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Review: Angelic Surrender

Angelic Surrender (Kavanaugh Foundation, #2)Angelic Surrender by Crista McHugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderfully entertaining paranormal love story. Well written with steamy sex scenes that enhances the great chemistry between the lead characters, action, adventure, laughter and romance!

This is the second book in the Kavanaugh Foundation series, but can be read as a stand alone story. Even though the ending is complete and won't leave readers hanging, you'll still want to download book three as fast as you can. It's just that good!

Anjali is a spunky and outspoken demon hunter who marches to the beat of her own drummer and isn't about to submit to any man, no matter how amazingly handsome he is or how mysteriously he appeared in her life!

Will is a fallen angel who has given up on ever finding happiness, but he is so blown away by Anjali that he suspects that she just may be his own little piece of heaven on earth.... now all he has to do is convince her!

Angelic Surrender is one of those rare stories with an entertainment factor so out of this world that it's simply a delight to read!

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Review: The Backup Boyfriend

The Backup Boyfriend (The Boyfriend Chronicles, #1)The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An amazing love story, this is a genuine romance with an added dose of heart. The Backup Boyfriend is exceptional in every way! Jaymes' characters are heart wrenching; written with the perfect balance of strength and vulnerability. The journey these two men take on their way to finding love is a story that touched my heart in a way few stories ever have. Damaged by life, yet still willing to take a chance on love, the characters absolutely come alive. Exceptionally well written and edited with perfection, the cast of supporting characters add dimension and the narrative descriptions are pure genius. This is one book you will want to make part of your permanent collection!

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Review: A Lush Betrayal

A Lush Betrayal (Lush, #1)A Lush Betrayal by Selena Laurence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of A Lush Betrayal was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Betrayal. It's the most heart wrenching word in the English language. The consequences of living with betrayal are physical, mental and emotional. Like acid eats through stone, the guilt of living with his betrayal is slowly destroying Joss Jamison's life. Just when he begins to think that despair is going to overtake his life Joss meets Melanie DiLorenzo, and it's like the sun has broken through the clouds after a rainy day. Never before has Joss felt such a deep emotional connection to a woman, and by some miracle, Melanie seems to be falling just as deeply in love with Joss as he is with her. But heaven can not be fully captured on earth, and the fear of his sins being discovered continue to cast a shadow, no matter how deeply Joss tries to bury the memory, some things can never be forgotten.

A Lush Betrayal is the story of Joss Jamison, lead singer of Lush, the hottest rock and roll band to hit the music scene since Pearl Jam changed the face of rock and roll to become the most popular American band of the '90s.

Supremely well written and expertly edited, the cast of characters includes fellow band members Mike, Colin and Walsh. The four men have been together since forming the band in high school. More like brothers than friends, their complex relationships with each other add a deeper layer of emotional turmoil to a story that is already guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Tammy DiLorenzo, older sister to Mel and Walsh's high school sweetheart, is the glue that hold the four band members together while on tour.

Dave Keller, the manager that has been with them since the Lush's early days, is helpless to do anything other than watch the band and it's members slowly begin to fall apart. As Joss's betrayal, which is not as secret as he originally believed, begins to eat away at them all.

A Lush Betrayal is more than the story of a rock and roll band and their turbulent rise to fame. It's more than the story of a perfect love growing between two flawed beings. What this story is about is human nature. It draws readers down to the deepest depths of despair, allows us to ride along on the tail of a shooting star, and showcases the strength of will and spirit of hope that enables even the most damaged of souls to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of life's greatest failures.

This is a must-read work of pure heart that dares to go beyond boy-meets-girl and tackle life is really about. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.

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Review: Fall Into The Sun

Fall Into the SunFall Into the Sun by Val Kovalin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of Fall Into The Sun was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Because I cried like a baby when I watched Brokeback Mountain, it shouldn't have surprised me when I cried my way through Fall Into the Sun too.

This is a love story about two men who fell in love in their teens but let immaturity, family pressures, and their own insecurities drive them apart. A bit of a mini-miracle in time gives them a second chance to be together, but family is still an issue and the insecurities that kept them from achieving their happy ever after before are still lingering. Time and life lessons, as well as the heartbreak of being apart for so many years, have given them both a measure of hard earned maturity that was lacking years ago. The question becomes, will it be enough to give them the courage to reach out and grab this second chance before it's to late?

Fall Into the Sun is an amazingly well written M/M romance. The way that Kovalin weaves this story between the past and the present is a pure work of art. With a roller coaster of laughter, heartache, tears, frustration, joy, jealousy, lust and love, the depth of emotion in this story is one that only a lifetime of shared history between two people can provide. This is a must-read for anyone who is looking for a story that offers not only romance, but also a story about the strength of the human spirit, life and a love that is destined to be.

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Review: Reach For The Moon

Reach For the Moon (Alejo and Bobby, #2)Reach For the Moon by Val Kovalin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of Reach For the Moon was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

For some reason this book was hard for me to read. Maybe because I had already fallen in love with Alejo and Bobby's first story when I read Fall Into The Sun.

It also could have been because I didn't really care for Alejo's character in this alternate timeline. He seemed more selfish and insecure than in the first book, although he eventually braved his insecurities to work towards a future with Bobby.

The story is full length, well written, contains high drama, including physical violence and recreational drug use, as well as descriptive sexual encounters. It was a pretty even split for me; with the positive elements balancing the bad. Be warned that some of the more violent portions may be disturbing to some readers. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under 18.

It's main characters are teenagers who are coming of age during this story and struggling to find a place for their relationship in the hostile environment of the early 1980's. In that respect, I have to believe that the story is quite accurate in it's portrayal of what would have been typical challenges that gay young men growing up in a predominantly Hispanic culture, full of family oriented alpha-type males, and devout Catholic roots. The author must be given full credit for authenticity.

This is not an easy story to read, but it IS one that will have an emotional impact on it's reader. At times quite dark, it still manages to portray a sense of hopefulness for the future. Well worth the effort to read, but not everyone's cup of tea.

You may also be interested in reading my review of This is Yours. The short story included at the end of this book. I gave it 5 stars!

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Review: Skylark - A Love Story

Skylark - A Love StorySkylark - A Love Story by D.C. Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of Skylark - A Love Story was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

When Mal meets Michael it's instantly apparent that the two men are just about as opposite as two gay men could possibly be. Yet, despite of those differences, or maybe because of them, a friendship begins to develop. Mal has experienced the world's darker side and lives each day feeling empty inside. Michael is a perpetual optimist. Even though he has also experienced hurt in the past, his eyes shine with innocence and his Christian values give him strength to be himself in a world is quick to judge.

While there are strong Christian themes threaded into the story line, this book is a true love story. The Christian elements are Michael's personal beliefs. Quite simply stated, they make Michael who he is, and the story would not be the same if told without that element. The religious sections are not written in an offensive or argumentative manner and are smoothly built into the story in a way that shows Michael's heart.

The way that these characters grow together; truly bringing out the best in each other, is quite heartwarming. Potential readers should be aware that the sexual encounters between Michael and Mal are described in detail, but are not written to be erotic. Rather, they exemplify the tender love and understanding that is growing between the two.

I found the simple theme of lasting love and happily-ever-after ending to be refreshing. In that way, it reminded me of the old romances novels I used to read that were written by authors like Grace Livingston Hill.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Four stars given due to editing errors that include punctuation, grammar, and broken sentence structure in addition to bulky formatting. A professional editor would make a world of difference to the overall reading experience.

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Review: From The Embers

From The Embers (The Ancient Order, #1)From The Embers by Spring Horton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A copy of From The Embers was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Mathias and Dorian are immortal. They don't know how or why they were gifted with that status, but for both men it often feels like a curse. Their lives have been plagued by tragedy, loss, darkness and despair. Happiness has proven to be illusive, and as their lives intersect over the course of 300 years, each man struggles to find his purpose. Living in a world that, after reaching technological heights, has been forced back into the dark ages after experiencing what the remaining citizens of Earth call the End of Days.

The story itself is intriguing, with glimpses of each man's life at various moments in time. Unfortunately, I found Horton's narrative style to be difficult to follow at best. The timeline does not flow chronologically, but instead bounces randomly from year to year and character to character. In spite of my underlying frustration, the story line's lack of predictability did spark my curiosity and eventually drew me back even though I seriously contemplated just giving up.

The supporting cast of characters is engaging, and they are frequently forced to contend with ethical and moral issues that add intellectual depth to the story. I also found the complexity of the main character's sexual relationships intriguing. The ending is left open to interpretation and is either a cliffhanger meant to build anticipation for a sequel or deliberately vague, which would tend to fit with this author's writing style. I also noticed occasional editorial and grammar errors that were distracting at times but did not detract from the overall story.

I'm glad I read From The Embers, because it is a unique story in many ways, but the experience was frustrating, and I was not inspired to seek out other titles by this author in the future based on this book.

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Review: Angel's Honor

Angel's Honor (Angel Shifters #1)Angel's Honor by Erin M. Leaf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Exceptionally well written and edited!

As far as Raphael was concerned, the fact that his life is currently a mess was all his brother's fault. It wasn't enough that they were born into an ancient race, with tattoo like markings that transform into wings. Suriel had to go and become the first sorcerer born to The People in eons. Raphael was convinced all that power was making Suriel a little bit crazy. Why else would he insist that he, the boringly average younger brother, move to Castle Archangel, while he himself was hidden away in some cave? Raphael had no desire to go anywhere near the home of their leader, Samael, the dark angel who seemed to find wicked delight in making The People suffer.

Unfortunately for Raphael, he loves his brother like crazy, so it didn't take much effort to convince him to do what he'd been told. He just wished that Surial had given him a bit of a heads up about everything that happened after he arrived...because that morning he'd woken up with the white wings of an Omega. That shouldn't have been a problem, except only women are Omegas, and while Raphael may be gay, he most definitely isn't ready to become some alpha angel's wife!

Erin M. Leaf offers readers a fast paced M/M paranormal romance that is full of adventure, drama, romance and sexy surprises. Building a unique world where humanity merges with the heavenly, her characters are witty, well developed, and emotionally engaging. Known for her edgy and erotic stories, ANGEL'S HONOR is guaranteed to make your heart pound!

OFFICIAL REVIEW written for The Romance

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Review: A Wizard's Shelter

A Wizard's ShelterA Wizard's Shelter by Hollis Shiloh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of A Wizard's Shelter was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

A truly enchanting tale!

The story of Elliot and Rue is a delightful paranormal romance that takes place in a fairytale-esque world that captures reader's imaginations with carriages that are powered magically, storms that speak to wizards, and handsome young men who turn into selkies.

Elliot and Rue have both been hurt by the magic in their lives but are instantly drawn to each other in spite of past pain. Every yin needs a yang, and Elliot's out of control magic is soothed by Rue's innate gentleness. They develop a deep bond of friendship from the start, but when the element of is introduced to their love it strains the comfortable and easy tone of their interactions. Determined to avoid the complications of romance and return their relationship to it's initial roots, each young man, for his own reasons, is afraid of the consequences taking those first uncertain steps towards a deeper love might have.

A WIZARD'S SHELTER is a beautifully written tale that is presented in Hollis Shiloh's classically tender style. Vulnerable characters embark on a journey of discovery together, where they learn that even the people closest to you are not always as they appear and are then challenged to decide what it is in life that matters most.

The seaside setting is as dynamic as the cast of characters who are, in turn, woven seamlessly together in a style that paints readers a word picture that is as vivid as a rainbow after a storm. This is a sweetly romantic novella length story that will delight both long time readers and those who are experiencing Shiloh's magic for the first time.

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Review: The Wolfing Way

The Wolfing Way (Lifting the Veil, #1)The Wolfing Way by Susan Laine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No one really wants the NFL come knocking on their door. It's a bit like winning the lottery, except you didn't buy a ticket, can't return the prize, and, for better or worse, life as you know it is guaranteed to change.

The world that Susan Laine introduces readers to is struggling to adapt to the unexpected revelation that the paranormal characters previously believed to only exist in fairytales are actually living next door.

Kris is 100% human, is about to graduate from college, has plans for life that are his to control. Until the day that the National Fellowship of Lycanthropes representative came knocking with the news that he had a life mate. From that moment onward, every plan that Kris had made began to unravel.

Rafe is a werewolf who has spent the last 200 years searching, dreaming, hoping, that he would find the man that destiny had chosen to be his perfect mate. He's ready for love and anxious to start living the rest of his very long life with Kris at his side.

Unfortunately, Kris doesn't see this mating as the gift that Rafe does, and becoming a werewolf love slave has never been part of his life plan.

Fast paced, well written, and full of adventure, romance, humor and drama, the characters in THE WOLFING WAY are expertly developed. My heart ached for Rafe and Kris as they worked to process the emotions their unexpected mating brought forward. The honesty in their dialogue made me laugh out loud, and the drama elicited an occasional gasp!

Their rough and tumble journey towards love is sure to delight. With just enough sex appeal to make the story pop, this M/M romance is guaranteed to enthrall any reader of paranormal romance who looks for a little spice, but nothing so erotic that it overwhelms the storyline.

My review was first posted for
No one really wants the NFL come knocking on their door. It's a bit like winning the lottery, except you didn't buy a ticket, can't return the prize, and, for better or worse, life as you know it is guaranteed to change.

The world that Susan Laine introduces readers to is struggling to adapt to the unexpected revelation that the paranormal characters previously believed to only exist in fairytales are actually living next door.

Kris is 100% human, is about to graduate from college, has plans for life that are his to control. Until the day that the National Fellowship of Lycanthropes representative came knocking with the news that he had a life mate. From that moment onward, every plan that Kris had made began to unravel.

Rafe is a werewolf who has spent the last 200 years searching, dreaming, hoping, that he would find the man that destiny had chosen to be his perfect mate. He's ready for love and anxious to start living the rest of his very long life with Kris at his side.

Unfortunately, Kris doesn't see this mating as the gift that Rafe does, and becoming a werewolf love slave has never been part of his life plan.

Fast paced, well written, and full of adventure, romance, humor and drama, the characters in THE WOLFING WAY are expertly developed. My heart ached for Rafe and Kris as they worked to process the emotions their unexpected mating brought forward. The honesty in their dialogue made me laugh out loud, and the drama elicited an occasional gasp!

Their rough and tumble journey towards love is sure to delight. With just enough sex appeal to make the story pop, this M/M romance is guaranteed to enthrall any reader of paranormal romance who looks for a little spice, but nothing so erotic that it overwhelms the storyline.

OFFICIAL REVIEW written for The Romance

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Review: Angel's Blade

Angel's Blade (Angel Shifters #3)Angel's Blade by Erin M. Leaf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When two lonely hearts collide, sparks fly!

Zeke has spent the last decade alone. Ever since his parents faded into the mist, he has been wandering the world searching for purpose. He sees himself as a failure--a weapons master who can only craft blades that shatter. His heart's desire is for a family connection, so when he hears that his cousin, Gabriel, is the new Alpha, he decides to travel to Castle Archangel and beg for sanctuary.

Nathaniel doesn't feel like he's ever fit in. His father is the angelic clan leader but his mother was human, making him an angel/human hybrid. He has never manifested angelic talents and is looked down upon by his clan. The fact that he's gay makes this bad situation worse. Time has gifted him with patience and self-confidence, but the constant rejection still hurts.

When Zeke and Nathaniel meet for the first time, sparks fly and the instant attraction stuns both men. As surprised as they are to have found the mate neither man ever expected to have, it's nothing compared to what happens next. Be prepared for a shock of epic proportions!

The third in Erin M. Leaf's Angel Shifter series, ANGEL'S BLADE is a fast paced romance with steamy love scenes and high drama. The characters are well developed, emotionally intense, and sure to please fans of M/M romance & paranormal genres alike.

Overall, I found this book to be highly entertaining. It is not necessary to read the series in order but characters from the previous books are mentioned, which is fun to see. This is a series I will be sure to follow in the future!

Four stars due to minor editorial errors including punctuation, spacing and an occasionally misused word. Those errors, on their own, do not significantly detract from the overall reading experience. Unfortunately, I also found the storytelling to be a bit choppy at times due to sudden changes from one character's perspective to another.

OFFICIAL REVIEW written for The Romance

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