Susan Reviews: Ryan by Wayne Mansfield


Title: Ryan
Author: Wayne Mansfield
Publisher: JMS Books
Pages: 25
POV: 3rd
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 3.75

Blurb:

For the past twenty years, Dane has taken care of his wealthy Aunt Beatrice. One rainy day, she’s killed in a car accident, and Dane is devastated. When he returns to the large, luxurious home they once shared, he falls into a depression.

Lonely, he places an advertisement on Craigslist, in part to find someone to keep the house clean and take care of maintenance, but also to keep him company, as he did Aunt Beatrice. The next morning, Ryan is at his door to claim the job. Soon Dane finds himself falling in love with the handsome handyman. But there’s more to both men than first meets the eye.

Secrets and shocks culminate in a decision no one should have to make. Especially without all the answers.

Review:

The blurb is quite misleading. A lot. I can’t really go into details without spoiling the surprise. But this certainly wasn’t the story I expected, about a man getting over his grief and starting to live again with a hunky handyman. That doesn’t mean, however, that this was bad.

The first chapter sets the stage with a rueful tone, a middle-aged man coping with loss in an empty mansion and sinking into apathy. It takes the place going to ruin for Dane to get a live-in housekeeper, Ryan. After that, things perk up. Literally.

The two men couldn’t be more different. Dane’s quiet and reserved, as he’s still in mourning. Ryan’s a breath of fresh air, laidback and upbeat. The characterization was done with easy, fluid dialogue that sounded realistic. The physicality of both men is shown well, the attraction and magnetic pull they feel for each other.

The plot moves with a swift pace, there’s no chance to get bored. We only get Dane’s POV, and have to interpret Ryan’s character through Dane’s view of him. The talks and behavior patterns help a lot. I got a distinct feel for both men and didn’t feel deprived of any detail.

There’s a lot of introspection and talking about serious issues but also sporadic humor and levity, not to mention sensuality. The language is efficient and to the point, and the writing style easy to follow without being flowery or over-descriptive. Mansfield can write. The relationship could have been fleshed out a bit more with longer scenes and showing the men actually getting to know each other. We learn more about Dane than Ryan who is the titular character.

Had the blurb been more true to the story, I would have given this a solid four or maybe more. The story’s quite lovely, to be honest, sweet and caring and hopeful. I recommend this to people who aren’t immediately turned off by unexpected plot twists or story surprises. In the end, this was a nice little romance with a touch of deeper questions.

Recommended!

Reviewed by: Susan

Click HERE to purchase Ryan by Wayne Mansfield

Gabbi Reviews: A Game of Hearts by Deirdre O’Dare


Title: A Game of Hearts
Author: Deirdre O’Dare
Publisher: JMS Books
Pages: 47
Characters: Tim Hardesty, DeVore Weyrick
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, May/December Romance
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

DeVore lost the love of his life ten years ago, left his seven-figure career with a huge financial firm, and became a recluse. He now indulges a hobby of photography which has become his new vocation. At one of the few social functions he attends, he meets an amazing young man. Can he find new life and new love? The game of hearts is always risky, but what if a part of your first love now lives in another body?

Tim was a preemie and always frail. Later, an organ transplant was the only thing that could save him. Now grown, he still struggles to break restrictive family ties and find a purpose. It’s a thrill to meet the charismatic DeVore, an idol whose powerful photographs move many. But is this attraction his own, or coming from the stranger’s heart now beating in his chest?

Review:

A Game of Hearts by Deirdre O’Dare is a fast-paced, well-written read that gave me a lot of enjoyment and escapism from my hectic day. I was immediately enthralled with these two heroes lives and anxious to read their story.

From the blurb and even the title I was pretty sure how things were going to be. I thought this story would be predictable and even a little trite at times, BUT was I wrong! I was very pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this book, as well as, the way the two heroes begin to develop a life together.

I loved both the heroes. Both Tim and DeVore are intriguing, multi-dimensional men. They are both likeable men with a complicated and you can even say difficult past. Both have experienced loneliness and disappointment and the unpredictable things that life can give. In many ways, both men have been walled off from others. DeVore is a loner by his own choices and Tim has been because of overprotective parents and the side-effects of being chronically ill can often give you. When they meet, there is something special that flows between them and as they continue to get to know one another, they begin to not only bring out the best in each other, they truly begin to live a full life together.

I loved this story. I loved Tim and DeVore. I loved the pacing of it and adored how these two men truly seemed to fit together. A Game of Hearts is an easy book to recommend. It is a perfect choice for those looking for a quick romantic read that will sweep you off of your feet.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase A Game of Hearts by Deidre O’Dare

Gabbi Reviews: The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee


Title: The Masterpiece
Author: Bonnie Dee
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 142
Characters: Arthur Lawton, Joe Sprat
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Historical Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Built from the bottom up: one perfect gentleman.

Man about town Arthur Lawton spends his days pursuing entertainment while shoeshine Joe Sprat labors to better his family’s lives. When an argument about nature versus nurture sparks a wager, Arthur swears to a friend he can turn this working man into a gentleman who will pass at a society function.

Joe is happy to participate in the experiment for a fee but receives more than he bargained for after moving into Lawton’s house. Arthur is determined Joe won’t merely wear a veneer of sophistication but educates him in every way. As he creates his new and improved man, Arthur grows more deeply infatuated with him, while Joe falls equally hard for his charismatic mentor.

Underneath a growing friendship, desire simmers and one day explodes. After their relationship escalates, the pair exists in a dream bubble until the threat of exposure sharply reminds them they belong in different worlds. When the ball is over, each must resume his own life, changed by their encounter but destined for different courses.

Find out if love is strong enough to bridge the gap between peer and pauper in this twist on the tale of My Fair Lady.

Review:

The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee is a brilliantly written romance set in 1909 London. Not only was I immediately swept up into the lives of these characters, the historic setting was almost as captivating.
The blurb describes the story so well, there is really no reason for me to rehash it. Instead, I thought I’d write the reasons why I loved this story and why it’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

To say that I loved this book is an understatement. Not only was it a beautifully told romance, I became addicted to these two heroes. Coming from two totally different lives and circumstances, they shouldn’t have fit together so perfectly…but they did.

There is an honest emotional connection between them. It was easy to see how much they came to like, respect and admire one another. I loved the friendship they developed and enjoyed the camaraderie and easy banter they shared together as their story progressed. When they do give into the heated attraction they have for one another, it is a natural and beautiful step in their relationship.

Actually, heated attraction is an understatement. WHEW! The sizzling chemistry they shared steamed up my computer screen! After a scene or two, I found myself needing to turn on the fan to cool off! *Fans Self*

There isn’t anything I didn’t love about this story and the two heroes. They will live with me long after I write this review and I know I will have to read this book again, just to have my Joe and Arthur fix. In my opinion, Bonnie Dee is one of the best gay historical romance authors out there, and her books are not to be missed. I’ve loved each and every one of them and I can’t wait to read more stories written by her in the future.

If you love historical romance…read this book. If you love sexy heroes that are so well-written they live off of the written page…read this book. If you are craving a fast-paced romance that will live with you long after you finish reading it…read this book.

I honestly can’t recommend it enough.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to buy The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee

Gabbi Reviews: Just His by Shawn Lane


Title: Just His
Author: Shawn Lane
Publisher: JMS Books
Pages: 49
Characters: Adrian Michels, Geoff Spencer
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4

Blurb:

After his boss at the hospital suggests he take a sabbatical for a much-needed rest, neurologist Geoff Spencer ends up at his friend’s cabin in Big Bear, California. But to Geoff’s surprise, his former lover is also there — his friend’s brother, the beautiful Adrian Michels, a brooding artist and a “commitment-phobe” who broke Geoff’s heart years earlier before leaving unexpectedly for Europe.

Now, Adrian suggests a no-strings affair while Geoff is with him in Big Bear. Although torn, Geoff eventually agrees. But what he really wants is for Adrian to be his — Just His — for eternity …

Review:

It’s easy to admit that I enjoy Shawn Lane’s stories. Her heroes are always interesting and I always find myself getting wrapped up into the story they have to tell.

As soon as I started this story, I was immediately swept up into the lives of these two men. Both Geoff and Adrian were likeable men whose paths once again meet after breaking up several years ago.

Geoff is a doctor whose personal and professional life is in an uproar because of a string of unfortunate events. When he is forced to take a sabbatical, Geoff agrees to stay at his friend’s family cabin for the duration so he can hopefully get his life back in order. When he arrives, Geoff is surprised when his first and only love, Adrian, answers the door. Geoff hasn’t seen Adrian since Adrian broke up with him years ago and isn’t sure what to do or how to react. When Adrian insists that Geoff at least stay for the night-if not longer- Geoff reluctantly agrees to do so.

At first glance the two men do not seem to fit together. Sure, there is a heated chemistry between them, but Adrian is a free-spirited artist who has had many lovers and a carefree lifestyle, whereas, Geoff is a stable man who craves a monogamous relationship instead.

As the story continues we quickly see why the two men broke up. Through this, we realize that the two men did fit together, despite living very different lives. I ended up really rallying behind Geoff and Adrian’s budding relationship with the hope that somehow they find a way to work through their differences and be together.

This is a short novel and I truly wish it had been longer. Though I was thrilled to see Geoff and Adrian together, I found myself wondering what kind of problems and road blocks these two men would have in the future. Adrian admits several time both to Geoff and to himself that he has a hard time thinking he can be with just one man, but he agrees to be monogamous because he loves Geoff and wants to be with him. It would have been interesting to see how and if they are truly able to work through this and if a free-spirit like Adrian can really commit to one place and one man.

Despite this, I really, really liked this book. It’s a great edition to the ‘His’ series and like the other books, can be read as a stand-alone book in the series. I enjoyed the story the two men had to tell and loved the happy ending. If you are looking for a quick and sexy read with intriguing characters that live and breathe off of the written page, then Just His is definitely the book for you!

Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to buy Just His by Shawn Lane

Anne Reviews: Detour by Sid Love


TITLE: Detour
Author: Sid Love
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Pages: 264
Characters: Austin Reyes/Dylan Carver
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: contemporary
Kisses: 3.5

Blurb:

Austin Reyes works as a bartender to support his ailing mother in a small town called Eaton. But his life takes a horrible turn when his boss’ son, Caleb, arrives in town and forces himself upon Austin. There is no end to Caleb’s lustful intentions. Austin leaves Eaton and flees to Denver to start a new life when his mother commits suicide after succumbing to depression. There, he meets Dylan Carver.

Dylan is out and proud. He’s also a well-known actor in the porn industry. When haters damage his car, Austin, now homeless and destitute, is injured and Dylan helps him. In the immediate aftermath, Dylan develops more than a passing interest for Austin, and, though they part ways, chance meetings never stop.

Austin lets Dylan in on the secret about his past, but soon realizes that the man who looked so happy on the outside, has his own baggage. Unbeknownst to them, someone is plotting to get Austin killed.

Even while surrounded by danger, Austin and Dylan’s relationship takes a detour that was always meant to be. Will this detour be Dylan’s undoing? Will Austin finally come to terms with his mother’s suicide and follow his own truth? Or will their lives implode?

Trigger Warning: Content includes a rape scene.

Review:

I enjoy reading books with flawed heroes and the characters in Detour make plenty of mistakes. I found the writing style very easy to read, and the story flowed well. The settings and characters were easy to visualize, and I really liked the secondary characters especially Amy and Liana. I enjoyed the fact that they had their own HEA to pursue. The bad guy was really horrible—but then he’s meant to be. Detour brings to home the importance of family and their influence in a person’s life, which I think is one of its strengths.

I did find the plot a little predictable in places although that didn’t stop me from continuing to read to find out what happened next. I also had some reservations about the decisions some of the characters made considering what they’d just been through, and found myself thinking “seriously, why would you do this?” in places, but I figure people make mistakes and that is part of what makes these characters come across as human. Although I felt the story was more of a HFN with a hint of HEA in the future, as the characters still have a way to go on their journey to work through their experiences, I felt satisfied with that, and it worked well for the story.

I’d recommend Detour to readers who enjoy contemporary romance with flawed characters, well developed secondary characters, and a strong sense of family.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase Detour by Sid Love

Lydia Reviews: A Matter of Duty by LC Long


TITLE: A Matter of Duty
Author: J.C. Long
Publisher: Nine Star Press
Pages: 240
Characters: Noah Potter and Wei Tseng
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Mystery, Series
Kisses: 4

Blurb:

Noah Potter has come to Hong Kong to find his missing sister, Lianne, who disappeared after leaving him a voice mail pleading for his help. Unfortunately, the Hong Kong police are unwilling to help him, so Noah has to find her himself.
Noah’s search for his sister brings him across Wei Tseng, leader of the Dragons, a group of dedicated men and women willing to do whatever it takes to keep their district safe from the violence and triads that plague the rest of the city’s underworld. Wei is a man of violence but also one of incredible compassion, and his history is one that resonates with Noah, igniting a passion neither man expects.
Together they search for Lianne, a search that will lead right into a conflict with the Dragons’ greatest rivals in the city.

Review:

A Matter of Duty, the first book in the Hong Kong Nights series, is my first book by author J.C. Long, but it will not be my last. The author pulled me into the story from the very first page and my attention stayed on the book till the very end.

Noah comes from a rich but dysfunctional family. The only one he is close to is his sister, even though they are two different people. When his sister goes missing while traveling around Hong Kong, Noah takes off to make sure that everything is being done to find her. Noah is out of his comfort zone from the beginning. Nothing is like he expected and he fears he will never find his sister alive.

Wei is leader of the Dragons, one of the many gangs that run Hong Kong’s underworld. Wei, and the other Dragons, are different from the other gangs. True they are violent but that violence has a purpose. When girls in his district go missing, only to be found dead later, Wei and the Dragons are determined to find out who is behind it.

It is during this time that the two men are thrown together. Readers will see the attraction that exists between the men from the beginning. Although the circumstances are far from normal, I liked watching them come together and grow as a couple. I also liked the way Noah stands by Wei even though he skirts the law and occasionally crosses the line.

The mystery aspect of this story is also very well written and one that will keep the reader turning the pages to see what is going to happen next. There is so many twists and turns and I do not want to give anything away, but I will say that there were many parts that I did not see coming. While parts of the mystery are cleared up, and Noah and Wei have their HEA, not everything is resolved.

I cannot wait to see what happens in the next story, and as there are several members in the Dragons, I hope this series has many more books to go.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to purchase A Matter of Duty

Anne Reviews: The Eye and the Arm by Andrew Q. Gordon


TITLE: The Eye and the Arm (Champion of the Gods, Book 2)
Author: Andrew Q. Gordon
Publisher: DSP Publications
Pages: 296
Characters: Farrell/Miceral
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Fantasy
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Champion of the Gods, Book 2

After defeating Meglar at Belsport, Farrell returns to Haven to recover from his injuries, but Khron, the god of war, has other ideas. He gives Farrell a new mission: free the survivors of the ancient dwarf realm of Trellham from their three-thousand-year banishment. To fulfill Khron’s near impossible task, Farrell will need the help of his distance ancestor, the legendary wizard Kel. But Kel has been dead for a thousand years.

Farrell finds information hinting that Kel is alive, so he moves his search to Dumbarten, Kel’s birthplace. To reach Dumbarten unannounced, Farrell and Miceral disguise themselves as mercenaries on board a merchant vessel. Their journey is disrupted when pirates attack their ship. While attempting to subdue the attack, Farrell is struck down by one of Meglar’s minions.

Unconscious and trapped in his own mind, Farrell’s only chance for survival rests with Miceral and the peregrine king Rothdin entering his thoughts and helping him sort fact from illusion. To reach Farrell, they will need to rely on an untested spell from one of Kel’s spellbooks. If they succeed, Miceral can guide Farrell home safely. If not, Farrell will destroy not only himself, but Miceral, Rothdin, and everyone around him.

Review:

I really enjoyed the first book in this series The Last Grand Master, and my initial reaction to finishing The Eye and The Arm was ‘wow.’ I think Andrew Q. Gordon has surpassed himself with this instalment of Farrell’s journey. I was on the edge of my seat—and stayed up far too late reading—when I got to the part where Miceral has to enter Farrell’s thoughts to save him, and everyone around him.

This series reminds of why I enjoy well written fantasy. The world building is great—there is a real sense of a world with a rich history, and the descriptions make it very easy to visualise the settings. I loved the glimpse into another interesting culture with The Eye and Arm, as Farrell experiences a new place and culture very different to his own. I love the cultures represented by the various characters in this series, and how their different approaches to life because of their different beliefs. As with most cultures, there is also a good sized amount of politics going on, some in the background, some less than subtle. There is also a fair amount of history which is very important to the story but, it is seeded through the narrative so it remains pertinent and interesting.

The emotional scenes are realistic and gripping—I could feel Miceral’s concern, and fear, for Farrell. I love these guys together, the banter is great, their relationship feels very real, and equal, and while Farrell takes magic for granted and uses it for even little things, Miceral’s reaction to it is very different. He’s learning to accept it more readily because of Farrell but I doubt he’ll ever be truly comfortable with it.

It’s not just Miceral and Farrell who are fully formed characters. The supporting cast are very three dimensional and have also grown since The Last Grand Master. Although Farrell and Miceral are the main characters their romance and story is weaved seamlessly through the plot rather than being the plot. Everyone in the story has their own motivations, gods are real, and there are a few curveballs.

I’d highly recommend The Eye And The Arm to readers who enjoy high fantasy with rich characters and world building, and lots of action and drama

Reviewed By: Anne

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