Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review of Size Matters by Stephanie Julian

Stephanie Julian
Size Matters
Ellora’s Cave, 2010

Carrie Benton’s got the best job in the world working as a reporter for the Weekly News Journal. Chupacabra picnicking at the Jersey Shore? Check. Aliens in the White House? Absolutely. Bigfoot stalking the forests of northern Pennsylvania? Well, okay…but Bigfoot is so Left Coast.
Tim Sattazahn can’t believe his luck. The six-foot redhead who crashed into his forest during a snowstorm is gorgeous, funny and hot for him. Everything would be perfect except for the fact that she’s looking for Bigfoot.
And, unfortunately for Tim, she found him…

Genre & Keywords:
M/F, Paranormal, Shapeshifter, Big Foot

Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the author

My opinion in short:
Size Matters is a fun read, not only is it sexy as hell, it also made me laugh out loud several times. This novella has all the ingredients I love, packed in an incredibly small amount of pages. It has humor, very steamy scenes, a kick-ass heroine, an uber hot and strong male protag, sweetness, magic, a little bit of conflict, an interesting supernatural world and a happy ending. And let’s not forget the easy, compelling and fluent writing that makes you finish the book in one sitting, because you’re engrossed from the first sentence to the last. Of course, things all happen fairly fast, due to the length of the book. The hero and heroine fall in love in only a few days and the heroine accepts the magic quite quickly. But these things were rather logical and explained within the story, so they didn’t make me enjoy this story any less. Size Matters is a wonderful first installment of a series that promises to keep me enthralled.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames

What’s more to know about this book:
Carrie is by no means afraid; she’s not afraid to do some research in the middle of nowhere, she’s not afraid to take charge in a sexual encounter with a stranger, and she’s not afraid when she sees a man shift to an animal form. That’s basically who she is, a kick-ass chick. And she happens to be tall and beautiful. All characteristics Tim feels very attracted to. He’s not a small man himself, close to seven feet, and rather muscle-bound and strong, which explains the attraction Carrie feels for him. It’s rare for her to encounter a man who's taller than her. What's more, he’s very gentle and ...uhm... naked when they first meet.
The character development in this novella is nominal, the focus is more on the physical attraction between the two protags.
A few of Tim’s friends are introduced as well, Fry and Andy, a fairy and a Yeti, who probably will play a role in one of the future installments of this series, because they are both so-called Fringe.
The point of view alternates between Carrie and Tim (in third person), starting out with Carrie, who immediately captured my attention with her open, honest and humorous string of thoughts. The switching between the two POVs is done smoothly and keeps the story interesting.
Although events progress rather quickly, the plot is well-paced and has a pleasant unity of action. A few twists and turns had me raising my eyebrows in wonder, such as the fact that Tim thought it wise to undress Carrie and himself after he found her in an unconscious state. I did get that he’d stripped them both to warm her better in front of the fire, but why he’d tossed their underwear as well, puzzled me a bit. Another thing that felt a little too convenient was Carrie’s easy acceptance of the Fringe and Tim’s lack of restraint in telling her his secret. But I was willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the pace of the story.
M/F. The smexy scenes were excellent and thoroughly enjoyable, partly because they were written as if we were in one of the characters’ heads. The sexiness of the main protags didn’t hurt much either. Especially Tim’s physical characteristics are rather appealing, that is if you like your heroes big! Carrie does like her man oversized and she wholeheartedly thanks “whatever goddess handled huge guys with accessories to match”. She’s definitely one of those women who believe that size does matter. One way or the other, Carrie and Tim’s erotic encounters form an important part of the story and therefore it’s no hardship that they are well-written and scorching hot.
Writing style
The most eye-catching element of Ms Julian’s writing is her sense of humor and the ability to convey her characters’ thoughts and dialogues in a natural, authentic way, which makes you feel instantly connected to the protags. Her writing style assures you of a light, pleasant read with lots of chuckles and laughter and some very expressive and colorful scenes.

A few favorite quotes:
Sure, she’d come across one or two things she couldn’t explain.
Cold spots, disembodied voices, Lady Gaga.
Unfortunately, Bigfoot was not one of them.
(p. 4)
She wished she knew his name but didn’t want to embarrass herself or him by asking for it. Later, after she satisfied this urge to jump his bones, she’d figure it out.
Right now… not caring so much.
Especially when she wrapped one hand around his cock and realized her fingers didn’t meet.
Thank you, Goddess of…well, whatever goddess handled huge guys with accessories to match.
(p. 9)
Damn, the guy was sexy as hell. Even his feet turned her on. They were lean and long and… Oh, for chrissakes, she was lusting after his feet. (p. 25)

Stephanie Julian’s website | weblog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Buy Size Matters here
Read an excerpt here


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review of Blinded By Our Eyes by Clare London

Clare London
Blinded By Our Eyes
Carina Press, 2010

London art dealer Charles Garrett has devoted his life to appreciating and acquiring beauty, both in art and in his companions. His fashionable life is rocked to the core when he discovers the body of a young artist, Paolo Valero, in a pool of blood in his gallery. As Paolo-s mentor, Charles is haunted by the horror of his violent death. Seeking closure, he investigates Paolo-s past and soon discovers a tangled web of motives and potential suspects, some closer to home than he ever imagined. He’s drawn to Antony Walker, an aggressive, handsome sculptor with unsavory ties to Paolo. Charles is unsettled by Antony’s forceful nature but irresistibly attracted to his passion and his art. When the evidence points toward Antony-s guilt, Charles is thrown into emotional turmoil. Has he lost his heart to a killer?

Genre & Keywords:
M/M, Contemporary, Murder mystery, Art

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the publisher through Netgalley

I’ve read Blinded By Our Eyes before I went on vacation and almost forgot to write a review about it. That would be a shame because this excellent short novel deserves to get some attention. So, let me try to make some sense of the notes that I took a long while ago.

The first thing that I remember is how I enjoyed the writing style. It wasn’t the first book I’ve read by Ms London, and I had the same experience then (with the short story Upwardly Mobile). Her writing is evocative and beautiful; the cadence of the first sentences sucked me in effortlessly. This is how the book opens:

The sound of a man crying was the first shock. Deep, racking sobs echoing off the smooth walls of my showroom. The whole gallery was usually deserted and cool at this late hour, despite the urban truth that London never slept. Yet tonight something in the air resonated with tension. And huddled in the far corner was a slender, pale young man. Arms clenched around his drawn-up knees, his eyes hot and wet, staring at me through a fringe of bedraggled dark curls. He looked angry and scared, and for the first few seconds it was all directed at me.

And this first paragraph not only grabbed my attention because of the wonderful language, in addition it already foreshadows the suspense that was going to keep me invested in this story as well. Because Blinded By Our Eyes is foremost a murder mystery, and the romance takes place in the backseat, so to speak. Gallery owner Charles is trying to figure out who killed one of his most promising artists in his gallery and because the story is told in first person from his point of view solely, we don’t know who to trust or not, along with him. This adds to the suspense, especially when he meets Anthony to whom he feels attracted. Because as far as he knows Anthony could be the killer.

This rather intriguing but simple premise worked very well for me. Although despite of the presence of the murder mystery Blinded By Our Eyes is not really a plot driven but more a character driven story and everything takes place in just a few settings (mainly the art gallery and Anthony’s atelier). The backdrop of the mystery is revealed by bits and pieces of conversation and a nice cast of secondary characters keeps you guessing about the murderer until nearly the end. The only small complaint I have is that the romance between Charles and Anthony played second fiddle because I loved Charles' and Anthony's explosive chemistry. Their HEA came a bit unexpected and too quick.

But overall I loved this well-paced, character driven and beautifully written mystery, that had some hot romance added to the mix.

Favorite quote:
He stepped back but swayed toward me at the same time, as if his body were confused between what it should and what it wanted to do. His eyes kept flickering over my mouth; his tongue darted out and licked at his own, like he was still tasting me.
“I had to do that. I had to…” He grunted. “What is this? I want to touch you so fucking badly. So much. Can you believe it?”

Clare London’s website | weblog | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy Blinded By Our Eyes here
Read an excerpt here


Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday’s Hot Couple & Sexy, Smutty Scene from Fearless Desires by Stacey Espino

The next few days I’ll be spending quite some time on the road again, which means not much online-time for me… :(
But I’ve been planning ahead and scheduled a few reviews for the coming days and I’ll be popping in whenever I get the chance.

In the meantime let’s enjoy this week’s hot pic and sexy scene. The scene is from Fearless Desires by Stacey Espino that I’m reading atm. I’m about two thirds into the book, which is the first of a new series (Immortal Love) about a bunch of yummy demon brothers. So far I’m enjoying it very much. Delius, the youngest of the six brothers, and Selina are the stars of this first book.

“Selina, are you okay?”
She leaned up onto one elbow, still on her side, and reached out to latch onto the back of his neck. Her touch sent shock waves through his already aroused body. She pulled him closer, her lips parting in anticipation. His logic fizzled away, and his sense of self-preservation was stomped out as she closed the distance between them. One kiss. Her lips were satiny soft like her skin, full and delicious. Her taste was as strong and sweet as her scent within him, and he could not pull away. Delius kissed her back, their lips moving together, savoring the sensations with deep thoroughness. He had to use both arms to brace himself on the mattress on either side of her as she pulled him closer. Her little moans had his muscles tensing. She was a siren, reeling him in and blinding his logic with her heady lust. He wanted nothing more than to take her right there and then, but he had to resist. Somehow she was his undoing and he had to keep control. But every lustful kiss told him to forget everything that ever mattered to him.

Stacey Espino’s website | on Goodreads
Buy Fearless Desires here

Backblurb Fearless Desires:
Delius never asked for his fate, but in a world that placed all its faith in prophecy, he would be a fool to challenge it. He felt like a parasite, forced to live off the fear of humans.
From the first time Delius became trapped in Selina’s mind and seduced by her provocative thoughts, he was drawn to her. She was a mystery that turned into an obsession. Yet for them to have a life together, Delius would have to go against his own race that demanded he fulfill his destiny. One that did not include Selina.

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Gay Friday & Randomness

It’s one of those days on which my head feels empty (or too full) and only random thoughts are surfacing. You know that feeling? Or am I the only one who has them?

Anyway, random thoughts cause random posts, so here’s some of that randomness:

I’m currently reading Talker by Amy Lane, that I might feel a bit prejudiced about because I loved the Dedication. ;) It reminded me of myself and hubby and how we started out. It says:
ALL of my work, whether I remember the dedication or not, is somehow dedicated to my husband. “Mate” and I have been together since we were nineteen years old.
We were the ones with the restaurant jobs, taking classes, while living in the shitty apartment. We were the ones with the poor-man’s Christmas tree, and we were the ones who had to choose between heat and light. (We chose light and were grateful for the big camping sleeping bags my parents gave us for Christmas. They were later stolen, because hey—did I mention it was a shitty apartment?)
I write a lot of stories about young love and first-time lovers, and I do it with optimism that the lovers will make it, because Mate and I did. So when you get to the end, don’t worry about Brian and Talker. Have a little faith. Turns out that sometimes, faith and a sense of humor really can be all you need. (And a chance to raid your parents’ garden or eat free restaurant food. That helps too.)

Isn’t that the cutest dedication evah?

Did you hear of the 18 & Over Tag Along Friday yet? It’s an initiative from Bitten by Paranormal Romance and is for a specific group of book bloggers who primarily post adult content and book reviews. Check out the list of 18+ bloggers who joined this tag along by clicking on the button below.


Last week Eyre posted a YouTube video with a song from The Cure which reminded me of my teens, when I was one of those black eyelined fans with highly back-combed purple hair, lol! Here’s a vid of their song ‘Lovesong’ that I still love and occasionally listen to.


I’m not sure what to think about this expression of love *g*:

There’re a few upcoming novels that I’m jonesing for and of which I recently saw the covers. These are two of them (coming out in November and December):

Let’s conclude with the shallow ;) The cover hussy in me started to purr because of these two covers.

I know at least one of these cover models is Jed Hill, who’s one of the hottest cover models out there (he’s also on Jaci Burton’s upcoming novel The Perfect Play). So, shall we drool a little more over this hottie?

Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review of Corporate Seduction by Bridget Midway

Bridget Midway
Corporate Seduction, 2007

Maybelline "May" Davenport wants a few things in her life: to move up at work after she obtained her college degree, and to find a man who could sweep her off of her feet like the heroes in her erotic romance novels. She's sure she won't find that while working for a man she calls "the totem pole with style" even though she finds him attractive.
Winston Biggers thinks he wants a dominant type of woman in his life. And although she doesn't seem the type, Win can't stop thinking about May, his administrative assistant. But he can't let her go. Not just yet. So he hides her newly-acquired degree to keep her as his assistant. But there are other important aspects about his life that he's hiding. When the truth comes out, will it be too much for May to take? Or will staying with this man make her Win Bigg?

It’s the first of three Corporate novels, that each have their own H/h.

Genre & Keywords:
M/F, Contemporary, BDSM, Boss-employee & interracial relationship

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the author

I’m sorry to say but this novel was just not my cup of tea. It’s not that I don’t like a good BDSM themed novel every now and then. It’s not even that I mind if the D/s roles switch between the hero and heroine. It’s just that all of this didn’t feel genuine or authentic in this novel. I wondered constantly about the reasons why they both acted as they did. In my opinion neither Win nor May were convincing as a Dom, or as a sub for that matter. For example, the reason why May starts working at a BDSM club, supposedly because she needs the money for her grandmother, makes me think that she’s only playing a role. And the grandmother seems to be solely an easy excuse since she’s never mentioned again. On the other hand, the reason why Win starts going to the club stays in the dark too. It seems odd that he goes there to get dominated since he has a history of being a Dom. It’s just a convenient, but not very believable, way to bring him and May together outside the office.

Additionally the characters came across as mean and unsympathetic. Not only when they play the dominant part, also in the non-sexual scenes. For example, Winston apparently lusted after May for years, yet he treated her badly at work without ever showing her his feelings or personal interest. May on the other hand acts like a brat and unprofessionally, e.g. ignoring the orders of her boss when he dictates a note she should add to a bouquet of flowers, because she’s mad at him. I need to at least like the protags and preferably understand why they behave like they behave. But the main characters were a big mystery to me and I couldn’t sympathize with them at all.
Besides all that, the plot felt rather unlikely and had many holes in it, which made the protags seem inconsistent. I couldn’t shake off the image that the characters were part of a puppet theatre connected to a puppet player who moved them around too wildly. Getting through a list of erotic scenes.

I can’t make it more beautiful than it is and I’m aware that other readers might enjoy this novel, even though I couldn’t. Maybe if you read it just for the erotic scenes and not for the love story, you won’t get disappointed. It’s just that I’m always looking for a nice balance between the sexy and romantic elements, and I couldn’t find that in this novel. For me it was too focused on the sexual components. I guess it has something to do with the expectations you have, and yours might be different from mine.

Bridget Midway’s website | weblog | on Goodreads

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday’s Hot Couple & Sexy, Smutty Scene from Size Matters by Stephanie Julian

I’m still reading Jet Mykles’ Heaven Sent series. I’ve almost finished the fifth book, Genesis, which will be the last for me, because I’m skipping the sixth book, which is a ménage (m/m/f) with the band’s manager Gretchen. And I just don’t feel like reading her book. I’ve read all the extra short stories though, and I will continue later on with the spin-off series Indigo Knights.
But after finishing Genesis I’ll first read some books for review, starting with Size Matters by Stephanie Julian which came out a few weeks ago. Today’s smutty scene is from this novella.

With one hand, she traced his lips, pushing the other into his hair. The guy had lots of it. Down to his shoulders, at least.
Another point in his favor. She must‟ve thought she‟d hit the lottery last night. Wherever that had been.
And who cared about that now? Shifting around was a little difficult in the dark and she didn‟t want to hurt anything vital—namely that gorgeous erection—but with a little help from him, she wound up with her knees on either side of his thighs as he sat upright, her hands on his cheeks and her mouth descending on his.
He seemed surprised at first, his body freezing into stillness, but when she licked at his lips, he got with the program and kissed her back. And great freaking Jesus, the guy could kiss.
His tongue dove into her mouth and twined around hers while his hands grabbed onto her hips and pulled her even closer.
God, he was huge. And she didn‟t just mean his cock. Pressed against him the way she was now, she got a better sense of his size.
Her breasts were cushioned against a chest so broad and muscular, the guy had to be built like John Cena, the professional wrestler one of the girls at the Journal had a crush on.
His abs felt like a washboard, which she discovered when she pressed forward to rub her mound against his cock, looking for some relief for the tension in her body.
He broke away from her kiss, but his hips rose slightly, rubbing his cock almost where she needed it to go. Just a little to the left and he‟d rub against her clit.
“Whoa, Carrie.” His hands tightened on her hips but didn‟t push her away. “Are you sure you‟re feeling okay?”
Hmm, maybe she’d had more to drink last night than she remembered. But he was so nice to ask.

Stephanie Julian’s website | on Goodreads
Buy Size Matters here

Backblurb Size Matters:
Carrie Benton’s got the best job in the world working as a reporter for the Weekly News Journal. Chupacabra picnicking at the Jersey Shore? Check. Aliens in the White House? Absolutely. Bigfoot stalking the forests of northern Pennsylvania? Well, okay…but Bigfoot is so Left Coast.
Tim Sattazahn can’t believe his luck. The six-foot redhead who crashed into his forest during a snowstorm is gorgeous, funny and hot for him. Everything would be perfect except for the fact that she’s looking for Bigfoot.
And, unfortunately for Tim, she found him…

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review of In the Flesh by Ethan Stone

Ethan Stone
In the Flesh
Dreamspinner Press, 2010

Reno Detective Cristian Flesh lives his life by a strict set of personal rules, preferring one-time flings and anonymous encounters to committed relationships. His rules work for him... until his life is turned upside down when first, a former lover, a famous televangelist, is attacked, and then one of his one-night stands is murdered, making Cristian the prime suspect.
When handsome lawyer Colby Maddox takes his case, Cristian finds himself wanting to break all his rules about relationships. The instant attraction between them is undeniable. But before they can contemplate any kind of future together, they’ll have to clear Cristian’s name by finding the real murderer.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M, Contemporary, Suspense, Murder, Coming out

Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the publisher

Gay and out cop Cris is accused of murder. His gay and closeted lawyer Colby breaks down the wall Cris has built around himself with his endless set of rules regarding relationships. While they work on Cris’ case, trying to find the real murderer, they learn to know each other better and better. But Cris can’t yet throw away all of his rules and Colby is publicly still very much in the closet.

My opinion in short:
This was an excellent romantic suspense novel. I loved it from beginning to end and I couldn’t stop reading it, which caused me to miss some hours of sleep. Its narrator, Cristian Flesh, intrigued me immediately with his first line “I live my life by a strict set of rules”. And he continued to steal my heart during the rest of his adventures. With In the Flesh we’re treated to a suspenseful story in which he’s a murder suspect, and what’s more, to a romantic tale full of tension in which he learns to let go of his strict set of rules. Mr Stone presents us a wonderful cast of actors who all play their parts very well, without stealing the show from the love couple, Cris and Colby. This story is well-paced with a good balance between the suspense and the romance, with the emphasis on the latter. It kept me engrossed in it for the entire time I was reading the book and made me heave a contented sigh when I reached the last sentence. This author earned his place on my favorite-reads-list with this fabulous novel.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames

What’s more to know about this book:
Cris is a sympathetic and interesting hero who’s flawed but also has some admirable traits. Colby is a bit more of a mystery, especially in the beginning, but also did a good job of winning my sympathy. Although he deserved to be smacked at some point in the story.
Together these main characters are great. Despite their initial aloofness it was obvious they had wonderful chemistry. The author did an excellent job in showing this with their body language. I particularly loved the scenes in which they played a game of rough-and-tumble. Their playfulness told me so much more about their feelings than a description with words would have done.
The secondary characters were a nice addition to the cast, who brought each their own dynamics into the story. I especially liked Cris’s partner Lex and the role of the young gang member, the kid (as Cris called him).
This story is told from Cris’ point of view in first person. This makes us see him in all his nuances and layers and therefore it’s easy to understand and like him (despite of his flaws). He’s a nicely fleshed-out character while the other characters on the other hand are less round and developed. But that last part is almost inevitable with this type of POV and it didn’t bother me.
The plot is a well-paced, nice mix of romance and suspense, with the emphasis on the romantic storyline. The murder investigation is nicely done with a few well-concocted twists and turns and some interesting side-characters. It doesn’t matter that I suspected who the real-murderer was shortly after he/she was introduced in the story. This whole suspense storyline was a great catalyst for Cris’ and Colby’s romance without it being too obvious.
The romance storyline has good tension too, with a nice touch of angst before reaching the happy ending.
M/M. There’s not only smexing between the two protags in this book, but also between Cris and some other characters. This mainly takes place before Cris and Colby meet, though not solely. In his defense, Cris’ behavior is well explained and made understandable. Moreover, the really good sexy scenes are preserved for him and Colby. They have a subtle but clearly present D/s dynamic going on, without living the lifestyle or anything. It’s just that Colby is physically the stronger partner and Cris likes to submit and be taken in a rough way. This part of Cris seems to have a cause that lies in his past, which wasn’t explored to its fullest in this novel. I’m rather curious how this element of their relationship will develop in the future and it could be interesting to see more of it in a sequel.
A little niggle I had, regarding the smexing, concerns the easy dismissal of condoms in an early stage of their relationship, but at least it was addressed later on.
Writing style
In short sentences and a lucid style the author tells his story. His writing is not attracting attention to itself, has no tricks to enhance the suspense – it’s just clear, plain and pleasant, interwoven with a lot of dialogue.

Favorite quote:

He and I trashed around on the bed and ended up with him on top of me, holding me down again. We kissed hard and touched each other everywhere, but it wasn’t about sex; it was about fun.

Ethan Stone’s weblog | Facebook | Goodreads
Buy In the Flesh here


Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Gay Friday & Heaven Sent series

TGIF!! It’s not that I hate my job or anything, it’s just that it’s so time-consuming! Especially this workweek was long and eating time, because it took me away from home for a few nights.
So, this week the TGIF exclamation is heartfelt. :)

But I actually managed to read some books in the wee hours of the mornings. Among them book #2 and #3 of Jet Mykles’ Heaven Sent series.


I’ve read the first book Heaven a few months ago (see for my review here) and feasted upon the delicious rockstars - with their lush hair and sensuous bodies - of the band Heaven. Each of the four band members has his own book in this series. I haven’t finished book #3 Hell yet, but so far I’m enjoying it as much as the first two books.
The second book, Purgatory was really good and it kept me sane this week after spending my days with children and volunteers. ;) Luc and Reese, the heroes of Purgatory are as lovely and hot as the main characters from the first book, Johnnie and Tyler. Their story is entertaining, sexy and ravishing. Funny thing with all the stories in this series so far is that there’s a recurrent emphasis on the characters’ looks, especially their hair and body seize. There’s no way the author let us forget how purple, long or curly their hair is. *g*

What I love about these books is the return of the different members of the cast in each installment. It’s great to see how couples from the previous books are doing, to get glimpses of their HEA’s. And it’s also nice to learn a little bit about characters whose love stories still have to be told in later books. Because it’s an interesting group of rockstars who each have their own character traits, quirks and preferences. Their stories are not repentant so far.

I think I’m starting to appreciate the phenomenon of romance series more and more. A year ago I found the series rather annoying, and saw them mainly as a commercially smart concept. To be honest I’m still not a fan of the 10+ books long, never-ending kind of series, but the shorter ones that don’t continue forever and ever, are rather charming me now.
What are your thoughts about series as opposed to non-serial romances? What is your favorite series, if you have one?

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review of Eternal Seduction by Jennifer Turner

Jennifer Turner
Eternal Seduction
CreateSpace, 2008

First book in A Darkness Within series. Other books are not yet released.

After living on the streets of New York for over a decade, Logan admits her perceptions might be a little skewed. But twisted or not, there's a satisfying irony in watching a well dressed vampire stand in the middle of a ghetto alley, windblown trash scraping circles near his feet. What she finds even more intriguing, is waiting for him to decide if he's going to kill her. Kerestyan hasn't made up his mind. As the Lord of New York, he can't let a drug addict, whose memories are packed with knowledge of vampires, run free in his city. It's not the first time he's been in this situation with a human, it's just the first time he's come face to face with one who doesn't seem to care. And that's what makes the decision so difficult. What horrors could you witness before you went numb? How long would it take before you felt that way? What could make you care again? Logan's answers are simple: the worst humanity has to offer, almost thirty, and something she never expected.

Genre & Keywords:
M/F, Paranormal, Vampires, Magic, Addiction, New York

Why I read it:
The author sent me a copy for review

Street waif Logan meets the vampire Lord of New York, Kerestyan, while she shouldn’t have because she’s not supposed to know about vampires. He’s intrigued by her and takes her under his wings. An entirely new world unfolds for Logan as Kerestyan and his family train her to be a full-fledged member of this world. Meanwhile she and Kerestyan are smexin’ it up, first out of pure lust but later, when feelings become part of the sexy time, it gets more complicated.

My opinion in short:
I loved this book. The main characters fascinated me from the first to the last page and so did the secondary characters. The world that Ms Turner has built is compelling, intriguing, rather complex but not overwhelmingly so and it’s adding a new dimension to my (not very extended) paranormal reading experience. Kerestyan is uber sexy and as desirable as romance heroes can be. Logan is an amazing heroine and exactly how I like my heroines. My only niggle was that this book encompassed a lot of information typical for a first installment of a new series. Somewhere in the middle of the story I got a wee bit bored, not too much though, with all the world-building that was going on. Especially since this took place while Logan and Kerestyan were apart. And I started longing for the moment they would get to see each other again. Aside from that I just gulped it all down like an eager alcoholic, needing my fix of this delicious world. I know the author has more installments in this series to come, in fact she already has written a few more books but is dealing now to get them published, which is taking some time. I hardly can wait for the next book to be finally released.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames

What’s more to know about this book:
Really, there’s not a thing I didn’t like about Logan and Kerestyan and their character development. Both are pure of heart, good persons, but with flaws. And that makes them interesting, Logan perhaps a little bit more than Kerestyan. But I utterly fell for him too. He’s sexy, devoted, caring, bad-ass, in control, powerful and sweet all in one. I loved that he knew what he wanted, had no doubts about his feelings and instinctively did the right things to win Logan’s stony heart. And Logan is such an atypical heroine with a great attitude and sense of humor; I couldn’t find one thing that irritated me about her. Her banters with Kerestyan’s brother Odin were hilarious.
The point of view is alternating between Logan and Kerestyan in third person. I liked that it was not switching back and forth from paragraph to paragraph but that the POV stayed with one of them for a longer time (a whole chapter).
The opening of the book is strong, in mid-action, and we’re getting a very good idea of what kind of (unusual) heroine we’re dealing with. Additionally, we don’t have to wait long before the hero and heroine meet. From there on the plot stays suspenseful and well-paced. The world-building is done gradually with the exception of a moment in the middle of the story when a lot of information is been released on Logan (and the reader) during her training. I became a little bit impatient there because I wanted Kerestyan back in the picture with her.
The story is not really plot driven, but more character driven, which works wonderfully with such fabulous characters as this story has (including the secondary characters).
M/F. The sex scenes are very, very steamy. The chemistry between Logan and Kerestyan is sizzling and gets only better as their relationship progresses. The sexy moments develop from hot sex scenes to still scorching love scenes, eventually with a bite. And, wow, talk about turning into a beast in the bedroom!
Writing style
Ms Turner’s writing is precise, to the point, polished and has very entertaining dialogues. The humor and sharp-wittedness in this book are a delight. Here’s Logan on one of the first pages of the book:
Great. She was being stereotyped by a vampire. She made a mental note to return the favor at the first available opportunity before shooting him a sideways glare.

Favorite quote:
When Kerestyan asks Logan:

“What happened to make you see the world the way you do?”
Silence stung the air as she lowered her eyes to the floor. She stared down at the tiles for a few moments before she turned to give him her profile, a breathtaking masterpiece of haunted distance. “There’s a moment when you realize all your worst fears have come true. When the fat girl stuffing her face in the corner finally recognizes food gives her the comfort she can’t find in anyone else. When the gorgeous man with the body of a God realizes he changes women like shoes because he’s scared one won’t find enough reason to stay. When you see the world for what it really is, see it for all the horrors the news can’t or won’t report. There’s a moment when you realize and accept that you are the worthless piece of shit your father always said you were, because even a diseased crack‐head wouldn’t kill their own sister. It was a moment, Kerestyan, a defining moment…an epiphany of imperfection.”

Jennifer Turner’s website | weblog | on Twitter | on Goodreads
Buy Eternal Seduction in print or in Kindle format

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review of Gone Stumping by Braden Williams

Braden Williams
Gone Stumping
Dreamspinner Press, 2010

Self-absorbed Aidan Montgomery knows what he wants: a life of luxury and material wealth. To get it he's stumping on the campaign trail for Senator Philip Brenton and carrying on a rather perfunctory affair with him to boot. The senator is his ticket to better living, and Aidan is content not to look too closely at Brenton's back room business dealings.
When discrepancies over property lines for a new casino development in the senator’s district surface, axe man Rafe McCafferty becomes an unwilling participant in the dispute. A suspicious accident on the logging company owner’s job site draws Aidan and Rafe into murky plans that threaten not only their jobs, but Aidan's shallow lifestyle and his vision for the future. There are no clear-cut answers for either of them, that is, until they have to unite for their own survival.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M romance, Contemporary, Politics

Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the publisher

This short novella is about two guys that are unlikely to hook up but when they do, their (perspective on) life alters. With a premise like that and given the short amount of time they have for the mutual life-changing influence, a great deal of suspending of disbelieve is involved. Luckily the backblurb prepared me a bit so I could anticipate the change, at least that of self-absorbed and shallow Aidan.
As much as I like the idea of this concept it fell a bit flat for me in this book. The author couldn’t convince me completely why Aidan and Rafe are made for each other, let alone have that kind of impact on one another. At the same time the physical part of their relationship is more convincing. Their love scenes bring a nice mix of hotness and tenderness.

Aidan’s and Rafe’s romance is set in a political background story. Aidan is working on the campaign team of a Senator with whom he also shares a bed, as attracted as he is to luxury and wealth. It turns out that this Senator has some secrets, and at this point in the story Rafe gets involved, unaware how much of a threat he is to the Senator’s secrets. This political storyline felt rather predictable and at times even cliché. But it brings the two heroes together and their first ‘meeting’ was pretty amusing: Aidan observes Rafe through a pair of binoculars while the man is jerking himself off in the back of his truck. When they finally meet for real the attraction ignites.

I’m not sure what to think of the author’s writing style. The pleasure with which he apparently has written this story was palpable but his enthusiasm also made me stumble over the adjectives and adverbs, especially in the beginning. After a while I got used to it but the prolixity kept occasionally pulling me out of the story. I guess I like a more to the point kind of writing style better, but I know this is a very subjective argument and it’s probably even depending on the mood I’m in. Additionally the writing tended to be descriptive, particularly when feelings were involved, it leaned towards telling rather than showing.

Although this novella has a few characteristics that were not to my taste, I think it has to offer some good things too. It has two interesting, sexy main characters who are not typical romance heroes. Their development from who they are to who they want to be, brings a nice touch to their relationship. The sexy scenes were hot and the action scenes were compelling enough. And the ending is satisfying for those readers who want their protags to have a (potentially) happily ever after.

Even while the reading process itself didn’t progress as smoothly as I would’ve liked, I spent an enjoyable hour with this book.

Braden Williams’s website | on Goodreads
Buy Gone Stumping here

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday's Hot Couple inspired by Lorelei James’s Corralled

This week’s Hot Couple is a Hot Threesome inspired by Lorelei James’s latest novel Corralled that I read last week.
I would love to give you a smutty scene from this novel too, because it has plenty of those. But this week you’ll have to do without, because this book is one of those with DRM protection which makes it impossible to copy/paste a scene. And, yes, I admit it, I’m too lazy to type the text myself… (I rarely do that, I just pick books that allow the copying).

Instead you’ll get my thoughts on the book. :)

As you might know I’m a big fan of Lorelei James’s work. Especially her cowboys (from the Rough Riders series) can please me immensely. So, when I heard that she would start a new cowboy series I was beyond happy and added the first book – Corralled - instantly to my wish list. When it hit the shelves early August it took me some time and effort to find the book in eformat, or to be precise to find an store that would sell the ebook to someone in the Netherlands. (Because, maybe you didn’t know this but we – the Dutchies - are not popular as ebook costumers for some reason I can’t figure out). I eventually found it at And when I started reading the first page, only to get a little taste, I couldn’t stop and before I knew it I read a couple of dozen pages and was totally engrossed in the story.

The first sentence made me curious enough:
“Screwing two guys doesn’t make you a slut.”
It made me wonder about Lainie, who gets introduced in the opening of the book while she’s talking with her friend Tanna about her sex life. Sort of by accident she’s ended up being involved with two cowboys, Hank and Kyle, neither of them knowing about the other man. It’s just casual sex, so, no big deal.
Right. Until they find out about each other. They turn out to be good friends and instead of breaking up with her, they want to continue their relationship, as a threesome. I was a bit amazed about this turn of events because I think I would’ve found it more likely if the guys had started to compete with each other for Lainie’s attention, demanding she’d choose between them, or just had given up on her. Anyway, they don’t and Lainie agrees to join in the threesome, after which the three of them hit the road to travel the rodeo circuit. By the way, Ms James does a marvelous job picturing all the ins and outs of the rodeo life. And one of the appealing parts of this book is the fact that Hank and Kyle are fighting and riding bulls. It’s making them sexy as hell. That, and the yellow, green, purple and blue condoms they are wearing of course. ;)

Back to their relationship. This threeway arrangement makes for some very hot and raunchy scenes, although at times they felt a bit too pornographic for my taste. I know, I know that’s odd coming from me… but what I mean is that these scenes sometimes seem to be solely focused on the physical aspects of it all, where I like to see some mental and emotional processes at work during these scenes. Because pure pron can be boring. But right when that threatened to happen, the events took another turn and I was again invested in Lainie’s, Hank’s and Kyle’s feelings and choices.

I won’t spoil if or how this threesome will work for these heroes and heroine but I can assure you that this story ends with a definite HEA with an outcome that was not a surprise for me at all. It just took some time and a detour for the protags to come to that point, meanwhile entertaining us with their sexcapades and rodeo experiences.
All in all, I again enjoyed Ms James’s writing and her humor a lot and Corralled is a great first in a new series, that promises plenty of hotness and sexy rodeo cowboys.

4 out of 5 stars

Lorelei James’s website | on Goodreads
Buy Corralled here in ebook or here in print

Backblurb Corralled (Blacktop Cowboys, #1):
Sports therapist Lainie Capshaw has been rehabilitating injured cowboys long enough to know that a charming western drawl combined with a fine physical form doesn't mean you fall for the man.
So no one is more surprised than Lainie when she finds herself involved with not one, but two different men: Hank Lawson, a bullfighter, and Kyle Gilchrist, a bull rider. Lainie feels guilty about her two-timing, but it doesn't keep her from doubling her fun-that is until Hank catches her with Kyle.
She's shocked that Hank isn't mad. But she's more shocked to learn Hank and Kyle are hometown buddies. But when the men offer to share her-in every way-she knows that she's going to have to choose the one man who can give her the ride of her life...

Have a good Monday!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Gay Friday!!

It’s Friday afternoon, this week’s work is done! Thank goodness! I’ve been on the road (well, rail tracks to be exact) for the past three days, running from one meeting to the next. This morning I did some very much needed grocery shopping and now I’m sitting back, unwinding with a cup of tea and a chocolate bar while browsing through my cookies *deep sigh of contentment*.
Plus I have the house to myself for the next couple of days, because hubby is going to Belgium with his brother. They’re going on a ‘hunt’ for old WWI memorabilia, visiting flea-markets, and in the meantime having some buddy & beer time, coz my brother in law recently broke up with his girlfriend and is having a hard time.
So, this means I can do whatever I want this weekend! If I wasn’t so tired atm I would do a happy dance. ;)

Here’s what I’m going to do with all this me-time:

• Finishing my reviews of:


Gone Stumping by Braden Williams (m/m)
Eternal Seduction by Jennifer Turner (m/f)

• Bloghopping of course

• Playing with the blog layout program Artisteer (that Leontine made me buy ;)). I was recently browsing the internet with Safari (I usually do that with IE) and discovered that my blog was only partly visible (because of the Flash thingies in the side bars). I decided that it’s time for a big make-over! So if my blog is looking weird in the near future, just know that it’s probably because it’s under construction! :)

• Finish reading my current read:

In the Flesh by Ethan Stone (m/m)

• (if there’s time left) Writing a (mini) review of the book I just read:

Corralled by Lorelei James (m/f)

• Oh, and sleep and probably read some more…

What are your weekend plans?

Happy weekend!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday’s Hot Couple & Sexy, Smutty Scene from Shrouded Angel by Shayla Kersten

Last weekend I bought a lot of, mostly m/m, ebooks because I needed to feel good after suffering from post-vacation-stress. ;) *it’s always good to have a 'valid' excuse in case hubby asks why so many* Another reason for the binge was that there were quite some cool releases I was looking forward to. One of them was the newest book in Shayla Kersten’s Angel Moon trilogy: Shrouded Angel. She's one of my favorite M/M authors and this is the second book in the series... I haven’t read the first book yet because I rather save them until the release of the last book is near… I’m not saying that I’m gonna make it that long but it’s definitely easier to be patient at this point than when I’m in the middle of the series. Anyhow, still, I always have to buy the other books of a series on (or close to) release date. Silly, huh?

This week’s sexy scene is from the second book, Shrouded Angel, but pictures the heroes from the first book who are apparently back in book #2 although it has new main characters. BTW They all have tricky names (Teo and Sorin – book #1, Hadreal and Patrea – book #2) but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to read their stories. :) In the next scene Teo and Sorin are having a quickie early on in the book. Enjoy!

Sorin almost knocked the chair over in his haste to follow. “Need to be quick. Might not have too much time. Salva doesn’t stay asleep long.”
Large hands cupped Teo’s shoulders. Sorin’s chest warmed Teo’s back. When his hips nudged forward, his groin pressed into Teo’s body. The growing ridge of Sorin’s cock against him lightened Teo’s mood even more. “Yeah.”
“Love you.” Sorin’s breath teased the back of Teo’s ear. He pushed Teo through the door to the private bathing area. A quick slap of the controls locked the door. “Best against interruptions.”
“Yeah. Good thinking.” Heat washed through Teo. Desire drove blood to his cock, filling and lengthening. Twisting under Sorin’s hands, Teo faced his tall lover. “We could wait on that shower.”
A grin twisted Sorin’s mouth. “Anything you say.” He shuffled forward, pushing Teo back against a full-length mirror. An unusual vanity on a smuggler, but it could prove interesting. Sorin ran his hands down Teo’s sides. A glint of evil amusement shone in Sorin’s eyes. His normal smile turned into a toothy grin. “Turn around.”
Teo whirled around, facing his reflection in the mirror. Sorin’s intense gaze focused on Teo’s body. Watching his lover sent Teo’s desire rampaging through his body. Very interesting.
Sorin’s palms cupped the backs of Teo’s hands. Strong fingers twined through his. Clasped fast, Sorin ran their hands up the cold metal wall on either side of the mirror, rising until their arms were above Teo’s head.
“We need to add a few improvements to our new place. A couple of hooks right here would be perfect.” Sorin flexed his wrists, tapping Teo’s knuckles against the wall. “A little rope…a quick twist…” He dipped his head until his face nuzzled Teo’s ear. “Holding you in place while I do what I want…” His tongue flickered against Teo’s earlobe.
A shudder of desire and need flashed through Teo. “Yeah. Sounds good.” He pushed his hips back, pressing the ridge of Sorin’s cock against his ass.
“Horny, eh?” Sorin pulled back, leaving Teo rubbing against air. “Have an idea…”
Hands tightened around Teo’s wrist, hampering his attempt to follow Sorin’s body. “Anything. Need you.”
“Sweet.” Sorin’s large hand tugged Teo’s head around until his mouth met Teo’s in a bruising kiss.

Shayla Kersten’s weblog | on Goodreads
Buy Shrouded Angel here

Backblurb Shrouded Angel:
Terra offers sanctuary to both Angellum and Virkola. Unknown to the humans, a truce exists there. To Terrans, the two species exist as myths. One is a frail, winged creature from religious texts. The other, a demon of the night, living off blood. Both are far from the truth…
Because of the Angellum, Patrea, a Virkolan, has spent his life afraid of loss. When darkness descends on his ship in the form of a strange angel, Patrea feels he can’t stay on the Avere. But departing would mean leaving behind the only light in his life—his bunkmate Hadreal. He needs to find the courage to tell Hadreal how he feels.
Hadreal has always felt more than friendship for his younger bunkmate, but bitter past experience keeps him from acting on his feelings. When a new danger brings them closer, he decides it might be time to live again. But now his chance at happiness may end before he’s able to sample it.
Sometimes it takes a brush with death to make life worth living.

Are you like me, putting off reading series until the last book is (nearly) out, but buying the separate books on or shortly after release date? Or can’t you wait reading? Or can you control yourself buying?

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Review of three debut m/m romances ~ by Caroline Stephens, Harper Fox and Wren Boudreau

Dance of Death by Caroline Stephens
Dreamspinner Press, August 2010

When FBI Agent Cole Stanton is assigned to a murder investigation, he’s shocked to discover he has a personal connection to it. Someone stabbed Russian ballerina Irina Markhov with an ornate dagger, and the prime suspect is Alexei Valchikovsky, principal dancer with the ballet… and Cole’s ex-lover.
It was Alexei’s mentor, Anton Stolin, who broke them up, and the man has secrets—secrets Cole suspects are connected to Irina’s murder. Cole’s gut instinct tells him Alexei’s murky past is intruding on the present, but neither expects the link between then and now to threaten their very lives.

*I received a review copy from the publisher*

This debut novella has an intriguing premise: former lovers meet again because of a murder investigation which one of them has to resolve and the other one is a suspect in. I admit I have a soft spot for m/m stories with a so called alpha hero hooking up with his opposite, the stereotypical non-alpha. In this case: the FBI agent and the ballet dancer. I especially like it when the stereotypes are not too obvious. Dance of Death does meet my requirements graciously. Both Cole and Alexei are well chosen and likeable main characters. Their interactions and smexy scenes were enjoyable and entertaining.

It’s where the secondary characters get involved that I lost some of my interest. Most importantly I had to suspend my disbelief in such a degree that it was hard for me to keep enjoying the story as much as I wanted to. The plot of the murder mystery got interwoven with the romance in such a unbelievable and somehow predictable way that I started to query Cole’s and Alexei’s previous break-up and the rekindling of their romance altogether. It was just too much.

Aside from the overdramatized plot Ms Stephens’ writing style was quite pleasant and her sexy scenes were absolutely hot, although the extended pages of foreplay perhaps would’ve been better suited for a full length novel than for this much shorter novella. In view of her passion for plotting and for writing sizzling love scenes I think Ms Stephens might excel in writing a novel more than in writing a novella. If she’s given the chance, I’d certainly want to read that future novel.
Although this wasn’t exactly a perfect debut as far as I’m concerned, it still was a nice, quick and hot read I spent some enjoyable hours with.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Author’s weblog
Buy Dance of Death here

Life After Joe by Harper Fox
Carina Press, May 2010

It's not the breaking up that kills you, it's the aftermath.
Ever since his longtime lover decided he'd seen the "heterosexual light," Matt's life has been in a nosedive. Six months of too many missed shifts at the hospital, too much booze, too many men. Matt knows he's on the verge of losing everything, but he's finding it hard to care.
Then Matt meets Aaron. He's gorgeous, intelligent and apparently not interested in being picked up. Still, even after seeing Matt at his worst, he doesn't turn away. Aaron's kindness and respect have Matt almost believing he's worth it-and that there could be life after Joe. But his newfound happiness is threatened when Matt begins to suspect Aaron is hiding something, or someone...

*I received a review copy from the publisher through Netgalley*

Matthew is having a hard time after his lifelong boyfriend Joe left him six months ago for a woman (hence the title). The beginning of the book shows his raw feelings and his out of control behavior involving drugs and alcohol abuse, which is a pretty intense start of the story enhanced by Harper Fox’s intensive writing style. Then Matt meets Aaron and things start to shift for the better for him.
I instantly loved this couple’s chemistry; they felt just right for each other. But Aaron has a secret of his own… Although I figured out what sort of secret it had to be before it was revealed, I still think this addition gave their story this little extra that I like in my romances. It made that not only Matt, who’s telling the story in first person point of view, but Aaron as well got more character depth.

For me the author’s writing style is one of the strong characteristics of this romance. Ms Harper is not afraid of using uncommon words and letting the reader think for himself. I’ve experienced the lack of explanation as refreshing. In that sense her writing was quite literary, especially for a debut.
Another characteristic that I enjoyed was the pace, which was high. For example after the ex-boyfriend Joe made his physical appearance I felt as if I suddenly was in the middle of a highly dramatic filmset-like action scene, altogether with an explosive outcome. Even while Joe’s role was just a small one its impact was big; it brought a whole new dynamic to Matt and Aaron’s relationship.

The high paced plot and the intense emotional parts of this story kept me reading and made me forget my surroundings. The love scenes played a part in that. They were hot enough and far from predictable but perhaps could’ve been more detailed (for my taste). Many times they were just mentioned, instead of shown, and I happen to be a big fan of the showing. In detail. Although I’m willing to admit that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the ‘mentioning instead of showing’ kept the pace high as well.
All in all, this debut novel had me glued to my seat for a few hours in a row. Its compelling and moving love story is making me look forward to Ms Harper’s second book, Driftwood, that I immediately purchased when it came out a few weeks ago.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Author’s website
Buy Life After Joe here


Ice Cream on the Side by Wren Boudreau
Loose Id, December 2009

Dylan Forest is really pretty happy. He's a successful architect, lives in a great little town, and has good friends. More than ten years ago, Dylan's first boyfriend betrayed him. Since then he’s learned to appreciate men briefly and intensely, with no lingering complications. But Dylan finds himself wanting something more with Michael Gilmore, the new art teacher in town.
Michael moved to Raven Pass to get away after a bad break-up. He just wants to teach and he's got an exhibit of his own work coming up. He doesn't expect to find himself attracted to anyone just yet. He has to give up his fear so he can explore a possible relationship with Dylan.
The guys manage to get past their insecurities and into bed, where they find out just how compatible they are. Before their romance gains momentum; however, life gets complicated. An old dead body and a new murder are both connected to Dylan’s love life, and if the guys can't stop it Michael will be next.

*Kris of Kris'n'GoodBooks recommended this book to me*

First let me say that I truly regret that I left this debut for so long on my ereader without reading it. But at the same time I’m happy to have read it now, in my vacation, because it added to my vacay contentment. But don’t be fooled by the title (or cover). It’s not a light, fluffy vacation read, although the ‘ice cream’ probably triggered me to pick it up while I was on the beach. ;)
This book actually has more layers than I expected. It’s an excellent romance with a touch of mystery and suspense added. And the role that art played in this story was beautiful; it wasn’t just a prop but more meaningful than that.

Dylan and Michael are well-portrayed, wonderful main characters and they make for great, droolworthy book boyfriend material (as far as I’m concerned). I loved the tender and hot moments between them. Especially the kissing scenes were fabulous, but also the hint (nothing more) of kink/submission made me alternately melt and combust.
The suspense and mystery are nicely interwoven with the romance between these lovely guys. The identity of the murderer came as a surprise to me. The mystery part of this story was actually done very well and added to the relationship development, which was a nice bonus.

I was kinda sad when the story ended – when the mystery was resolved – because I would’ve loved to spend some more time with these two hotties, to taste a bit more of their sexy chemistry and to wallow in their happily ever after for a little while longer. That's just greedy me speaking, I admit it, because it's not that Ms Boudreau didn't offer enough of the sexy, happy times and hotness. The contrary. It's her skill to write good scenes that makes me want more.
As far as I know there isn’t a second book from this author out yet, but I sure hope there will be one soon.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Author’s weblog
Buy Ice Cream on the Side here


Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Gay Friday

TGIF! Cookie time! Ah heck, I feel like two pics today, so here's another one:

I’m not in a chatty mood today, thanks to a headache, a tired body and an annoyingly long to-do-list. Long live the after-vacation-dip, lol! Seriously, I’m suffering from a bad case of vacation withdrawal. *poor me* But thank goodness the weekend is near. I look very much forward to reading/reviewing, bloghopping and buying books! There’s a few m/m books I spotted in Lily’s Wednesday post that I want to have and read. First of all Val's book Trinity Trespass. You might know her as a blogger and reviewer of m/m books and this is her debut. I'm very curious about it.
I'm wondering why buying books always makes me feel better while I'm feeling sorry for myself. It's not that I don't have enough books on the digital tbr shelves that can make me feel good, lol!

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review of Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton

Marie Sexton
Strawberries for Dessert
Dreamspinner Press, 2010

This is #4 of Marie Sexton's Coda Books, but can be read as a standalone because it has 'new' main characters. There’s a tiny reference to the characters from the previous books but they don’t play an active role in this fourth book.

When Jonathan Kechter agrees to a blind date with Cole Fenton, he expects nothing more than dinner and a one-night stand... but he gets more than he bargained for in Cole. Cole is arrogant, flamboyant, and definitely not Jon’s type. Still, when Cole suggests an arrangement of getting together for casual sex whenever they're both in town, Jon readily agrees.
Their arrangement may be casual, but Jonathan soon learns that when it comes to Cole Fenton, nothing is easy. Between Cole’s fear of intimacy and his wandering lifestyle, Jonathan wonders if their relationship may be doomed from the start—but the more Cole pushes him away, the more determined Jon is to make it work.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M romance, Contemporary

Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the publisher

My opinion in short:
This was my first acquaintance with Marie Sexton’s work and I loved it. It’s going to be one of those books that nestle themselves on the books-with-unforgettable-characters shelf. What appeared to be an okay read at the beginning of the book, turned out to blow me away in the end. The unusual relationship building between Cole and Jonathan was intriguing. And the author succeeded in making me adore a hero type that is usually not my favorite type: the flamboyant, femininely build gay hero. Cole just seems too much, but I was on the same path as Jonathan, gradually falling more and more for his complex personality. The increasing intimacy and tension between them kept me reading and reading. This book literally cost me a night’s sleep because I couldn’t put it down. I guess it won’t be a surprise that I highly recommend it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames

What’s more to know about this book:
Cole and Jonathan appear to be a mismatch at first. Jonathan even admits as much as that Cole isn’t his type at all. He himself is a tall, broad shouldered, strong looking guy and he prefers his lovers to be as well. Cole is thin, small build and swaying instead of walking. The way he speaks screams gay. He loves to call everyone honey, sugar, sweetie, doll or darling.
But there’s so much more to these guys than a look at first sight reveals. They keep seeing each other, initially in a casual way, and layer by layer their personalities are peeled down to the core. The character development was excellently done and Ms Sexton succeeded in creating two unforgettable heroes for me.
The story is told in first person from Jonathan’s point of view. This was interesting and worked well for me. Together with Jonathan we experienced the shift in their relation from casual to more intimate to love, and learned to appreciate and understand Cole more and more.
The plot is well developed and steadily paced. The emotional tension is gradually introduced and never gets too overwhelming; it just kept my eyes glued to the pages. It didn’t matter that it was getting later and later, my brain just didn’t seem to remember it needed sleep, it was too involved in Jon’s and Cole’s feelings. At the end the author elongates our anticipation of the HEA a little bit more; to the point I wanted to scream in frustration. In a good way.
At first I thought this was a book in which all the sexy things would happen behind closed doors, because in the beginning all we got was a sort of a recap from Jonathan of what took place in the bedroom. But to my pleasant surprise the sex scenes became more elaborate and explicit with the increase of their intimacy. The result is mind-blowing, not to say scorching hot. And in a subtle way the love scenes start to reflect the development of this couple's relationship, which leads to incredible dynamics.
Writing style
Ms Sexton's writing has a way of evoking emotions and feelings. When I’m absolutely honest I didn’t even take much notice of her writing style because of that. So I actually don’t know how she does it. I think it must be her authentic dialogues (there are quite a few in this book) and the natural way of putting the thoughts of her main character into words.

Favorite quote:
“No dessert, I’m afraid,” Cole said. “I cook, but I don’t bake.”
“Is there a difference?”
“Honey, they’re like night and day. Cooking is an art—you can substitute, improvise, experiment. But baking is a science. Everything has to be exactly right or it all falls apart. So many rules. It’s terribly boring.” I was thinking how that statement illustrated a great deal about Cole’s character when he turned to me. “You should try it, sweetie,” he said, with a hint of venom in his voice.

After finishing Strawberries for Dessert I read the first Coda book, Promises, which I bought ages ago but was still unread on my ereader. And this book had the same sleep-depriving effect on me, the emotional tension was marvelous again and I ended up loving Promises as much as Strawberries for Dessert.

Marie Sexton’s website | on Goodreads
Buy Strawberries for Dessert here

Books in this series:
#1 Promises (Jared & Matt)
#2 A to Z (Zach & Angelo)
#3 The Letter Z (Zach & Angelo)
#4 Strawberries for Dessert (Cole & Jonathan)
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