Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Gay Friday

So, today is a festive day! Yes, of course, it’s the day of the royal wedding, that too… but what’s way more important… it’s hubby’s birthday today! ;)
His is the last of 4 birthdays we celebrate this week, starting with that of hubs’ best friend’s last Sunday and his father’s and my stepmother’s on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s been a birthday cake galore and I’ll be glad when it’s all over again. Same goes for the royal wedding, to be honest. We’ve been hearing nothing else than Kate and William in the media these days.

In between working and eating cake this week, I’ve also found back my reading groove. Lily’s A to Z Reading Challenge is working for me, albeit in an adapted form. Yay!
I’ve read four A titles so far and I’ve moved on to the B now. I’ll post about the books that I’ve read sometime next week, when I have more time to play online again.

For now, it'll be more cake for me and another festive day tomorrow (it's Queen's Day here) before I can enjoy some quiet time again. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend too!

Happy Gay Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Swiftly Dusted: Starting Over by Ethan Stone

Author: Ethan Stone
Title: Starting Over
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release date: March 9 , 2011
Length: 34 pages

Backblurb/Goodreads link | author's website | buy link

Genre & keywords:
M/M, Romance, Contemporary, Short story, One night stand, Marriage of convenience, New beginnings

Synopsis in short:
Eddie meets Nate in a diner and they feel instantly attracted. They spend the night together but they know that's all there'll be, because Nate is married. The fantastic night and Nate's departing remark make Eddie see that he wasn't really living anymore after his ex Gill had left him. So he decides to change his life and starts living again.

POV: The story is told in first person and solely from Eddie's point of view.

H/H & characterization: It's only a short story, about 34 pdf pages, and therefore there's not much room to really get to know the protags. Because of the choice of perspective Eddie is the one we learn most about. We get his back-story about his former relationship with Gill and we follow him when he starts changing his life. He's a hard working, nice guy who has low self-esteem thanks to his pompous former lover. Due to the limited amount of pages that the two heroes actually share on page together, we don't see very much of Nate at all, and the fact that he wears a wedding ring adds to the confusion. He seems a considerate, nice and tender man though, but that's only based on how he acts in bed during the one night stand and the morning after.

Empathy level: Nate's thoughts and feelings stay unknown until the very end. That and his wedding ring make it not easy to relate with him. Eddie is easier to like and understand because we follow him from beginning to end. However the period after the one night stand, when he starts to make changes in his life, is told about in a recap style, which leaves little room to empathize with him all the time either. But when he deals with his ex Gill the way he does, I whole-heartedly cheered for him.

Heat level: There are basically only two extensive sex scenes, at the beginning and at the end of the story. In between, months pass in which Eddie and Nate hardly see each other. The hot get-togethers are detailed and written with emotion. 2 out of 3 flames

Angst level: It was clear from the beginning that there could never be more than that one night between Nate and Eddie. So, Eddie didn't hang on to his feelings for Nate too long. So, not much angst there, just a little sadness. Instead the unrequited feelings turned out to be a fresh and nice way to let Eddie find his new happiness, instead of letting him be ruled by his feelings of regret. This was a concept I rather enjoyed. 0.5 out of 3 hankies

Overall entertainment level: Given the limited on page time Nate and Eddie spend together, the one-sided point of view and the short length of this story, it's difficult to establish a satisfying insight in both characters' feelings and emotions. Therefore the love declarations felt a bit rushed. I admit that the insta-love is not often my favorite, especially not when I can feel the potential a story has in the emotional department, would it have been given more pages. This author's writing style and way of structuring a story are pleasant and skilful but in this form they lack tension and emotional depth. All in all, I enjoyed this story because of the sympathetic heroes, the fresh concept of starting over and the well-written, smexy scenes, but it didn't completely satisfy me in the relationship development and HEA department.

Final judgment:
Hardworking, lovable hero finds his life back after a hot one night stand with an equally hardworking and lovable cutie, who could've used a bit more on-screen time to make the HEA more convincing. Theirs is an enjoyable, sexy, but also a bit rushed story about finding yourself back.
3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & A New Challenge, Book notes, Fan Letter Blog Crawl and more

I’ve got a few things to share this week, so to give this post the suggestion of some sort of structure I’m going to use numbers. We’ll see where we end. I hope you stay with me. ;) Here we go:

First, have you heard of the incredible anti-gay actions of Facebook? FB proved their intolerance by deleting complete accounts of people who had pictures of same sex kisses on their pages. I first heard about this from m/m author RJ Scott on twitter who told me she didn't even get a warning. Her account got deleted just like that. Since then, I've heard about more accounts from m/m authors that got banned. RJ Scott is trying to rebuild her account with the use of tumblr, her yummie account can be found at

Hey, and I'm on tumblr too since a few days. :) I'm just starting to figure things out about reblogging, liking and posting things... But if you want you can find me at

Me joining tumblr is another result of the review block that I wrote about in my last post. About that, I'm following the advice a few of you gave me, or at least I'm trying to. It's true that I need to remember why I started blogging about books in the first place, one and a half year ago. Simple as it sounds, it was just the joy that writing/talking about books gives me. Nothing else.
I think that taking a short break every now and then, as someone dear suggested, isn't a bad idea for me at all. Preferably, I take those mini-breaks in the future when I have written a few reviews in advance so nobody will notice. ;) But since that's not the case now, my little blog will just have to do without them for a short period. Instead I'll be posting about books in a different way. Perhaps I'll try Chris' reviewette form. :)

To keep myself from fidgeting about what books to pick up next, I've made an A to Z list of book titles from my TBR that I'm going to read in alphabetical order. Lily came up with the idea of an A to Z challenge over a month ago and others, like Tam and Jenre, are doing it too. I thought I might give it a try as well to get me out of the reading slump I'm in. Every letter on my list has at least 2 titles to go with it, but sometimes even up to 6. I don't know if I'm going to read just one title of each letter or more than one before I skip to the next letter. I'll just see how it goes. And in the meantime I'll keep reading my requested review copies too, in-between the A-Z books, and write those reviews eventually as well. So, wish me luck with finding back my reading mojo. :)

One of the books I'm definitely going to read for the letter B is Blood and Roses by Aislinn Kerry.
Jenre read it for her challenge and Tam pointed it out to me on twitter because it's set in Amsterdam. It's so rare that an m/m romance takes place in my own country that I did a little happy dance about this find! Thanks girls! :)

Another book that's on the list but had escaped my attention somehow is Make Me by Jessica Lee. It's released in March and is the short sequel to Bloodlines that I read and reviewed here a little while ago. I'm really curious about the continuing story of Mason and Evin, because I enjoyed their story very much.

Kassa’s planning another Fan Letter Blog Crawl which involves bloggers writing fan letters to their favorite authors. It was a great success last year and if you want to join this year go over to her place to tell her.

Here in the Netherlands we’re having a long Easter weekend, from Friday until Monday, and we’re having beautiful, sunny and warm weather! :) Hubs and I are going to enjoy hanging around the house, sitting in the garden, trying to memorize it all, because it might be our last spring/summer in this house. Because… we put it up for sale today! We don’t necessarily want to move but if we can sell it we’re going to move to The Big City, if not we’re happy to stay here. So, we’ll see what happens…

Happy Gay Friday (or should I say Easter Egg Hunt) everyone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm blocking...

I'm having a bit of a review block... what I've written doesn't seem to be post-worthy yet. I think I'm becoming too self-conscious about reviewing with all the opinions flying around about how authors and reviewers should behave regarding reviews, about the 'professionalism' of bloggers, and about the rating of books.
I can't remember that things were so heated when I first started blogging (17 months ago) but maybe I just wasn't aware of it while it was anyway. For now, I think I better leave the blog posts about these or related topics alone. And I'm going to focus again on the joy of reading and talking and writing about books.

Because the review block also causes a bit of a reading slump. Since I've read more than a handful of books that I still have to review, I'm dreading to pick up another review copy.
I don't want to make my to-review list any longer, before I've written a few first. However, it's hard to read any other books as well. It's not only the guilty feeling (oww, poor review copies... *g*) but it's also not being able to decide what I should read next... *sigh*

So, instead of reading I spent my evening being creative with Photoshop to make me a new header. :) Playing with Photoshop always lifts my mood and now I'm curious what you think of the new header.
Can it stay? Or should I put the old header back? That one looked a lot darker:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & The Sweet Spot and My weekend buys

Is it me or are things slowing down a bit in blog land? It’s probably me… because I get so much done these days, with the nicer weather and the longer days. Usually I feel like I’m always running behind with everything: work, chores, the finances, writing reviews & blog posts, and especially with bloghopping. But I’ve lost that feeling of being behind - thank goodness -, whenever I think it’s about time I go read some blogs there hardly are any new posts. Did you notice it too?

So, with all the spare time left, I’ve spent the past couple of weeks more time on Twitter than my usual once a month frequency, lol. And I signed up for a new Yahoo group which sounds like fun. It’s founded by m/m authors S.J. Frost, Johnny Miles and Sloan Parker and it’s for readers and writers of m/m romances. The group is called The Sweet Spot and is open to join now. The official launch party will be April 16th when they'll host a chat and give away books from the three authors. The live chat will be held from 6-9 pm EST on April 16, but you are welcome to come by any time during the day to enter for the giveaway. Here’s the link for the group, in case you like to join too. :)

Spending more time on Twitter usually means spending more time drooling over NSFW pictures, which is not a bad thing of course (Eyre and Marie Sexton are posting and retweeting the hottest pics via their (tumblr) blogs and I can never resist to click on their tweets).
Hanging around on Twitter also means buying more books, which is also not a bad thing but not a good thing either with a TBR shelf like mine. ;) One of the pretties I saw a tweet about yesterday was a LoosId release that immediately grabbed my attention: No Apologies by Tibby Armstrong. When I looked it up on Goodreads I saw that quite some people had already read the ARC and were enthusiastically praising the book. So, I can’t resist it! *sigh*

Another tweet today reminded me of the release of the new Stephani Hecht book: Snapshots and Bylines. Her books are auto-buys for me but still... Twitter is like a virus, I’m telling you, it’s infecting me with buy-disease every damn time.

What will be your weekend buys? Or can you control yourself better than me?

Happy Gay Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Swiftly Dusted: Review of Trusted Bond by Mary Calmes

Author:Mary Calmes
Title: Trusted Bond
Series: Book #2 in Change of Heart series
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date: December 10, 2010
Length: 282 pages

Backblurb/Goodreads link | author's website | buy link

Genre & keywords:
M/M, Romance, Paranormal, Cat shifters, Tribe hierarchy, Abduction, Torture, Violence, Tests & challenges, Family, Egypt

Synopsis in short:
Jin and Logan’s story continues in this sequel to Change of Heart, therefore it’s highly recommended to read the first book in this series before reading this second book.
Jin is trying to adapt to being the mate of the tribe leader and to accept that Logan’s love is authentic even though he was straight before they met and fell in love. Then, Jin is abducted and a string of events happen. Danger and life-threatening violence have to be survived first before Logan and Jin can be together again.

Setting: The main part of the story takes place in Sobek/Egypt and surrounding places. Sobek is the capital city of the werepanthers and it’s where the most important tribe in the hierarchy of werepanther tribes resides.

POV: The whole story is told in first person from Jin’s point of view.

H/H & characterization: Jin and Logan are mates and more so, Logan is the leader of a tribe (semel) and Jin is a so-called reah, which means a true mate of a semel. Reahs are very rare and it’s even rarer for a semel to find his reah. This makes them rather unique in itself, but furthermore, Jin is the only male reah anyone has ever heard of. Logan is pretty comfortable with all this, because for him the fact that he has found his reah is far more important than the fact that his reah is a man.
Both heroes’ characterization is pretty much determined by their roles as semel and reah and their uniqueness. They suffer a bit from being stereotypical powerful, unique and perfect. They are so evidently the good guys, the strongest ones and the survivors that it borders on becoming boring. But their adventures are so engaging and well-written that they’re saved from that fate.

Empathy level: It was easy to empathize with Jin since we were more or less in his head from beginning to end. Because of this one-sided perspective, we had to stay with Jin all the time, even when the heroes were separated from each other for quite a long time. Especially during this separation I would’ve liked to see more of Logan, since that must’ve been a terrible period for him too. Only I couldn’t ‘feel’ it because of the lack of his point of view at that moment. It could’ve also taken off some of the intensity from the feelings caused by Jin’s suffering.

Heat level: Although a large part of the book has to do without, there’s still plenty of smexy scenes left and they are hotter than hot. This probably has a lot to do with Jin and Logan being ultra masculine and having a fixed role of top and bottom. And they are also rather verbal and say the hottest things to each other during these scenes. Their special connection always shines through as well. 2.5 out of 3 flames

Angst level: The heart gripping moments in this book are more often caused by external elements than by relational or inner struggles. I would’ve liked to see more focus on an emotional conflict between Jin and Logan which was nearly absent now or too easily resolved at best. Still, there were some good angsty moments in the shape of truly bad guys causing hurt and raising obstacles. 1 out of 3 hankies

Overall entertainment level: The unparalleled world building is complex but not in an overwhelming way, so it’s easy to enjoy its richness. New information is added when the story asks for it and not sooner. All the (new) rules that come with the tribe hierarchy and all the challenges and tests are somewhat unsettling at times because as a reader you’re not informed in advance about the rules. Aside from that, the author has a compelling writing style and knows how to build an enticing plot. She throws her readers into a rapture with her engaging narrative and loveable characters. It's hard to take your eyes off the pages.

Final judgment:
Almost too perfect, hotter-than-hot werepanther heroes survive the worst of challenges in an unparalleled, hierarchic world with unsettling rules, to find happiness and ‘normalcy’ in each other’s arms/paws again.
4.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Swiftly Dusted: Review of One Real Thing by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox

Author: Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
Title: One Real Thing
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Carina Press
Release date: January 3, 2011
Length: 65200 words

Backblurb/Goodreads link | Anah Crow's website | Dianne Fox's website | buy link

Genre & keywords:
M/M, Romance, Contemporary, Friends to Lovers, Gay For You-ish, Infidelity, Addiction, Hitting rock bottom, D/s-ish elements

Synopsis in short:
Nick and Holly have been friends forever but live in different parts of the country and have lost sight from each other. Until Holly makes the tabloids thanks to some celebrity, and it becomes apparent that his bad habits are making him hit rock bottom hard. Nick comes to his rescue, once more, and takes him with him to New York. Slowly it becomes clear that their feelings for each other go beyond friendship. But Nick is married.

Setting: A great part of the story takes place in New York, in the apartment Nick has rented for Holly. After Holly's recovery he moves to a different city and travels a lot for his new job, but even then the New York apartment is still an important part of the setting.

POV: The point of view, in third person, alternates between Nick and Holly, per chapter.

H/H & characterization: Talk about heroes with flaws: these guys have tons of them. Especially Holly is rather self-destructive and his attitude at the beginning of the story is difficult to like. Nick’s most important flaw is his infidelity towards his wife and towards his own feelings. However their characterization is done wonderfully: We get a detailed and thorough view on these heroes and we are made a close witness to their emotions, thoughts and feelings. This makes them well-rounded characters who become more and more irresistible and loveable. I loved the stilled moments between them where it seemed no outside world existed and where they grew closer and closer to each other. Nick’s lies to his wife didn’t bother me very much thanks to the way his behavior was explained via his perspective. Maybe his wife was a bit too conveniently cold-hearted, but what mattered to me were Nick’s feelings toward her and his marriage. Those were shown clearly and gave an insight in his choices.

Empathy level: Thanks to the alternating perspectives and the very close look we get, it’s really easy to empathize with both Holly and Nick. We’re there every step it takes them to come to the realization they’re meant for each other. This is something that takes Nick more time than Holly, because he’s the one with another (female!) partner. I had a little more difficulty with understanding the whole D/s thing that starts to develop between them once they become a couple. From Holly’s point of view it’s explained a little bit better than it’s from Nick’s, but this aspect of their relationship left me in riddles altogether.

Heat level: It takes Nick and Holly two thirds of the pages to share a first kiss. By then, months have passed since the beginning of the book. The first two thirds of the book consist of a long slow build-up with a lot of tension and then the hot stuff takes place - finally, but well-timed. The smexy scenes were well-written, with emotional depth, and were definitely hot, but all the foot kissing was I bit too much for me. Also, I was a little confused to learn during a bed scene that Nick apparently had gay sex before (years ago in college). Until then I was under the impression that this was a ‘gay for you’ themed story. This made me instantly wonder why Nick and Holly hadn’t hooked up earlier on in their friendship. I think it was unnecessary to mention this, because it didn’t add anything to the story, except confusion. 2 out of 3 flames

Angst level: This is an intense story. First we get a lot of heaviness when the focus is on Holly’s addiction problems and later we get more when Nick experiences his own break-down. But this book also has some lighter moments and once Holly is recovered he’s a delightful character. Especially when he’s together with Danner, his new boss and friend, with whom he has a lot in common, like their sense of humor. Those scenes are joyful. But these are definitely outnumbered by the more heart-squeezing, emotional moments. 2 out of 3 hankies

Overall entertainment level: The writing style of this author duo has a way of drawing you in their story real deep and very fast. I started reading the book in the late evening and I couldn’t put it down until early in the morning. And I happily gave up those few hours of sleep. It’s a character-driven story, just how I like them. Nick and Holly kept me engrossed from beginning to end, even when they made me lightly frown a few times during the last part of the book. I regretted finishing their story because I didn’t want to leave them yet. So yeah, this was definitely a highly entertaining and enjoyable read for me.

Final judgment:
Best friends have to hit rock bottom before finding happiness together in an emotional, enthralling story that could’ve done with less foot kissing.
4.75 out of 5 stars

Holly cupped Nick’s face with slick hands as he met Nick partway. There was nothing tentative or teasing about the way Holly kissed. It was sweet and tender and open with the gentle brush of Holly’s tongue over Nick’s lips.
It wasn’t anything Nick had expected—it was better. He met Holly’s tongue with his own, tasting him. Holly was every bit as delicious as Nick had ever imagined him to be and more. He teased at Holly’s tongue and then slowly pulled back to press light kisses to Holly’s lips.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Today's free ebook: Cut & Run by Urban & Roux

To celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd AllRomance ebooks is showcasing some great series books by offering the first in 21 series for free.

Each day from April 1 - April 21, there will be a new free eBook. And today's series pick is the Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban from Dreamspinner Press.

This is really a fabulous action packed m/m series that I highly recommend. You'll love these alpha heroes! So go grab your free copy of Cut & Run today, if you don't already have one. Here's the link and some information:

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.

Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He's cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he's paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it's hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliché: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer.

Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again – this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer's knife.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & A Free Story, Werewolves, A Song and Dropbox

I wonder what these cookies are up to and where else that lipstick will end up, don’t you? ;)

Today I’ve finally signed up for Dropbox, and thanks to a referral from Chris she and I got some extra free space besides the 2 GB you already get for free. Dropbox is basically a place to store your digital files safely on a secure server, which makes it possible to access your files from every computer or device you possess, even when it’s not your own (which can come in handy on vacation as well). I was getting tired from emailing my files back and forth between my iPad, PC, laptop and phone, so I think this is a good solution for me. There are apps for the devices too and I’ve tried it all out this afternoon and it’s working. Yay!
It’s especially handy to assemble all my cookies in one place, and it also works well for my music - no matter what happens, I can always access my favorite songs, like this classic one for example:

On a more bookish note: at the moment I’m trying to catch up with JL Langley’s With or Without series. I’ve read With Love a little while ago. According to Goodreads this is the first book in the series, but it’s not really connected to the other books. I’ve also read the second book, Without Reservation and now I’m in the middle of the third book, With Caution. Recently the fourth book was released, With Abandon, which will be one of my next reads. All these books are werewolf shifter stories with a very strong element of mating, aka instant love. And I’m loving it so far! Wow, these guys are unbelievably sexy! And additionally the books have a good plot aside from the romance arc.

A different type of sexy: Sloan Parker has a new short story available on her website: The Break In! And the best thing about it is that it’s for free! Just go here to download it (in several formats). I’ve read it during my lunch break yesterday and it completely lifted my mood. It’s a hot, surprising and touching story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Have a Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Swiftly Dusted: Review of precious_boy by K.Z. Snow

Author:K.Z. Snow
Title: precious_boy
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date: January 5, 2011
Length: 142 pages

Backblurb/Goodreads link | author's website | buy link

Genre & keywords:
M/M, Romance, Contemporary, age gap, prostitution, twink/young hero

Synopsis in short:
When Jon ‘accidentally’ watches an amateur porn video, and sees the lithe, blond young man who's doing naughty things with a bearish, older man, he's seduced...and feels like a pervert afterward… because Ethan, the youth in the video, seems a little too young, despite the fact he runs his own escort service. Worse yet, Jon gets the nagging feeling he's seen him before. When they meet in a Chicago hotel room, Jon’s past, present, and possibly his future begin to converge in alarming and confusing ways.

Setting: The protags ‘meet’ via internet and when they first meet in person it’s an escort type of date. This ‘porn and prostitution’ setting is what piqued my interest and made me want to read this story, but I guess it won’t be to everyone’s liking. Anyhow, it was an intriguing and well-executed theme which bypassed becoming stereotypical in my opinion.

POV: This story is told from Jon’s point of view, in first person. I did miss Ethan’s thoughts, for I had hoped to get a (better) explanation of how he ended up in the world of prostitution. But beyond that, I loved Jon’s narrator’s voice. It’s laid-back with sharp twitches of humor: “All the starch seeped out of my sense of decency. Suddenly I was nothing more than a twenty-eight-year-old man with a boner, and not even a call from the pope would’ve made me soft.”

H/H & characterization: Jon is a 28-year-old book reviewer with a pretty solid and settled life. Ethan is a 17-year-old twink, turning 18. His choice to work in the adult industry is the focus of this story, like how the heroes deal with Ethan’s choice is the focus of their relationship. But there’s more to these characters. Jon also has to come to terms with one of his former lovers and his own lacking interest in commitment. I appreciated that the choice of POV made Jon a three-dimensional character with his own inner conflicts. He could’ve easily become a stereotypical hero as the older and more mature ‘rescuer’. I missed a bit of that depth in Ethan’s characterization, but he stayed miles away from being a cardboard character, thanks to the excellent descriptions of his personality and behavior through Jon’s eyes. His characterization is also backed up by the presence of his family background, which gives him more layers and shows some of his development.

Empathy level: Due to the limited point of view it was much easier to empathize with Jon than it was with Ethan. Still, Ethan’s situation is a fairly easy one to imagine yourself in, although it stays a bit obscure how he got in that situation to begin with. At one point in the story I had some difficulty to understand Jon’s motives for doing what he did at that time, because it felt as if he was unfaithful somehow. But I can also see how this fits his character, his doubts and insecurities. And how nicely this and the following events show his growth, something Ethan helps him to achieve.

Heat level: The plot has plenty of sex and hot moments in it, but the first real sex scene between the protags takes place when we’re already three quarters into the book. Then we’re treated to a lyrically beautiful love scene which is tender and very sexy. Jon and Ethan’s chemistry is good, even without them having a lot of explicit sex scenes. 2 out of 3 flames

Angst level: This couple’s road to happiness is one with many bumps and holes in it, with quite some leaving and coming back. A very important issue, about how to live your life, is topic of discussion between the heroes. Yet, this wasn’t all too dramatic or heart squeezing. It was dealt with in a thorough and clever way without it becoming a tear jerker. I did sniff a bit at the end though. 0.5 out of 3 hankies

Overall entertainment level: I did not only enjoy Jon and Ethan’s slow but steady growing trust and developing relationship, which was all very well-paced. But I also found the secondary characters, like Jon’s mother and his best friend Vic, highly entertaining. Additionally, Jon’s retrospective view on his past, caused by his former lover Donald, in order to learn something about himself, was interesting. As a whole the plot is cleverly constructed. And the final revelation about Ethan’s screen name - ‘precious_boy’ - made it all come to a full circle in a moving and glorious way.

Final judgment:
Unlikely couple plays a game of push and pull which is well-written and cleverly constructed, and brings a highly satisfying and sweet happy ending.
4.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Swiftly Dusted: Mini-review of Breaking Logan's Laws by Cameron Dane

Author:Cameron Dane
Title: Breaking Logan's Laws
Series: Quinn Security, book #4 - but it can easily be read as a standalone
Publisher: Loose Id
Date: February 22, 2011
Length: Novel plus: 247 pdf pages

Backblurb/Goodreads link | author's website | buy link

Genre & keywords:
M/M, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense, Investigation, Abuse, Violence

Synopsis in short:
Nate recently joined Quinn Security and for his first case he’s partnered with Logan, the man he met three years ago. Since then his crush has only grown. Logan has his own secret desires, but he also has rules when it comes to relationships. However, sweet Nate threatens to break down all his defenses.

Setting: Logan and Nate’s story is set in the world of Quinn Security and the characters of the previous books in the series are making small appearances. Both Logan and Nate are investigators at Quinn Security and their first joint case is to find a missing young socialite. This brings some suspense and mystery to the plot, which is not too complicated but nicely done.

POV: Third person narration, from both heroes' perspectives. That’s how I like it best with most stories. It gives equal insight in both characters’ thoughts and feelings, but with well timed switches to the other perspective, so that we as a reader don’t know everything at all times (because that would be boring).

H/H & characterization: Logan is the tall, dark and brooding type and Nate is the sweet, cute and happy one compared with Logan. Yet, Nate also has some darkness from his past to deal with. However, Logan is the one who has to come to terms with his cheating former lover, the reason why he has all those laws. Both Nate and Logan are very likeable and sexy characters, with more layers than one. Their pairing is one of opposites attract, but they match, not only in bed and in daily life but also as investigating partners.
I also enjoyed the presence of their friends, old and new ones. The interaction with this supporting cast showed a lot about our main heroes and made them three-dimensional as well.

Empathy level: These heroes moved me. Their conflict (mainly Logan’s set of laws) wasn’t too big but it was executed well, probably because the author succeeded in making me feel invested in them by the time things started to blow up.

Heat level: This couple certainly does steam up the pages, mainly in the second half of the book. There’s first quite some build-up with excellent sexual tension and once they finally give in to their attraction there’s no stopping them! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining per se, but these hot scenes were a bit out of proportion with the rest of the plot at that time. They could’ve been shorter and much better dosed. Still, 3 out of 3 flames

Angst level: Both heroes tugged at my heart strings in the same measure and I think I’ve probably used 1 or 2 out of 3 hankies

Overall entertainment level: Both the love story and the ongoing investigation held my undivided attention until the last page. Although the pacing felt a bit off once the hot smexing took place, this story kept being entertaining on more than one level. For me, the outcome of both the suspense plot and the romantic arc were satisfying. The extended cast with ‘real’ characters was a nice bonus. And thinking about Nate (and Logan) still makes me smile even now, almost a month after I read their story.

Final judgment:
Sexy & sweet hero thaws sexy & brooding hero. They make the pages sizzle while working on an interesting investigation.
4.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Gay Friday & Some Fun

Spring is in the air! Tomorrow it's going to be 24° C and sunny in our little country. Yay! And the best part is that I'm going to spend it with a very dear friend. We can sit in my little garden and chat books all day while nipping our summer cocktails and enjoying the sun warming our skin. Heaven!
Funny thing with spring is that it has this amazing effect on my state of mind. Suddenly I feel happy about anything even about working out (normally not my favorite anything), it feels like nothing is too much for me, I'm in the mood for everything anyone suggests and it seems like I get twice as much done in a day than usual. Especially this year it felt like the winter was more depressing than ever, I'm not sure why.
But I'm just really glad spring is in the air and in my head. :)

Btw I stole today’s cookie from the awesome ‘Coffee and Porn in the Morning’ blog, run by authors Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton, because I just love the print on the fabric of those shorts! Yesterday they had this super fun list of items on their blog saying: You know you’re a female fan of m/m if…
It’s hilarious too see how many of these items apply to you. I was shocked by the number of descriptions that fitted me, lol.

And did you see this week's free ebook at MLR Press? It's Rick Reed's Mute Witness. You can find it here, at the top of the page.
Hope you all have a Happy Friday!
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