Gabbi Reviews: Stitch by Kim Fielding, Eli Easton, Jamie Fessenden and Sue Brown

Title: Gothika, Book 1, Stitch

Authors: Kim Fielding, Eli Easton, Jamie Fessenden and Sue Brown

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 294

Characters: Multiple Heroes

POV: Varies

Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Anthology

Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Gothika: Volume One

When a certain kind of man is needed, why not make him to order? Such things can be done, but take care: Much can go wrong—but then, sometimes it can go wonderfully right. Imagine…

In The Golem of Mala Lubovnya, a seventeenth century rabbi creates a man of clay to protect the Jews, and the golem lives a life his maker never imagined, gaining a name—Emet—and the love of a good man, Jakob Abramov. But their love may not survive when Emet must fulfill his violent purpose.

In Watchworks, Luke Prescott lives as a gentleman in a London that never was. His unique needs bring him to famed watchmaker Harland Wallace. Romance might blossom for them if Harland can come to terms with loving a man and keeping him safe.

In Made for Aaron, a young man in an asylum for being gay met the love of his life, Damon Fox. Twenty years later, Aaron thinks his life is over when Damon dies and then disappears from the hospital. Aaron is determined to find the truth, but secrets hide the unthinkable.

Reparations unfolds on the harsh planet of Kalan, where weakness cannot be tolerated. When Edward needs help, his life becomes entwined with exceptional cyborg slave, Knox. But when Knox remembers things he shouldn’t know, the two may pay a blood price for their taboo alliance.

Review:

Stitch is a Multi-Authored Anthology that left this reader yearning for more! Each and every story was intriguing and filled with plenty of romance with unique and well-written characters. I was quickly swept up into the addictive storylines these authors’ created and loved every minute I spent reading it.

One of the things that I’ve come to expect when it comes to reading Anthologies is that there are going to be some stories that I’m going to love and some that don’t resonate with me as a reader. I was floored by all of the creative storytelling abilities each of these authors have and enjoyed the stories they had to tell.

I can’t really pick a favorite story or a least favorite because I loved them all. Each and everyone brings something special to the anthology and if you like plenty of romance and even some nail-biting gothic suspense, this is definitely the book for you.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Stitch by: Sue Brown, Jamie Fessenden, Kim Fielding and Eli Easton / A DSP Anthology

StitchTitle: Stitch

Author Sue Brown, Jamie Fessenden, Kim Fielding and Eli Easton

Publisher: Dreamspinner

Pages:294

Characters: 4 Short stories

Sub-Genre sci-fi/ true love

Kisses: 4

 

 

Blurb

When a certain kind of man is needed, why not make him to order? Such things can be done, but take care: Much can go wrong—but then, sometimes it can go wonderfully right. Imagine…

In The Golem of Mala Lubovnya, a seventeenth century rabbi creates a man of clay to protect the Jews, and the golem lives a life his maker never imagined, gaining a name—Emet—and the love of a good man, Jakob Abramov. But their love may not survive when Emet must fulfill his violent purpose.

In Watchworks, Luke Prescott lives as a gentleman in a London that never was. His unique needs bring him to famed watchmaker Harland Wallace. Romance might blossom for them if Harland can come to terms with loving a man and keeping him safe.

In Made for Aaron, a young man in an asylum for being gay met the love of his life, Damon Fox. Twenty years later, Aaron thinks his life is over when Damon dies and then disappears from the hospital. Aaron is determined to find the truth, but secrets hide the unthinkable.

Reparations unfolds on the harsh planet of Kalan, where weakness cannot be tolerated. When Edward needs help, his life becomes entwined with exceptional cyborg slave, Knox. But when Knox remembers things he shouldn’t know, the two may pay a blood price for their taboo alliance

 

Review:

 

Wonderful collection of short stories that reminds us true love will overcome all. Every story was completely engaging and very hard to put down. Both original and believable with the characters and story lines. Each story has a leading character that has been “made” in some way. Although the plots and the scenery changes the true and undying love is made apparent in each story. Because of that it was very hard to put this book down until I had finished it. I could not wait to see what would happen to Emit, Luke, Damon and Knox. I am sure the readers will feel the same way

 

Reviewed By: Jerry

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Frankie and Al by Sue Brown


Title: Frankie & Al
Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 158
Characters: Frankie Mason, Al Stoneham
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Dumped by his boyfriend, Frankie Mason goes out with the girls, gets totally trashed, and ends his night by falling in front of a taxi. He’s rescued by a man with beautiful green eyes who takes care of him until he’s put into an ambulance. Frankie curses himself as he realizes he doesn’t have the man’s phone number. Still in pain a few days later, he is dragged out to a club only to be saved by Green Eyes once more. This time, he isn’t letting the man go.

Unfortunately Frankie has to attend a team-building exercise, nicknamed Womb Weekend, organized by his company. Al is working so he doesn’t mind, until he discovers who the team leader is. Al has a lot of explaining to do!


Review:

Frankie is accident-prone, plus he’s been dumped by his boyfriend with a text and has had too much to drink. Naturally, at his lowest point, that’s when he meets the perfect man. And that’s just the start of the story.

Most of the story, Frankie’s physically broken, his hip making his life hard. That, plus the dick at the office and the mandatory work weekend, and he’s in living hell. The only plus side is Al, the man with the green eyes who keeps saving him time and again. Both men, as the whole story, are realistic, the kind you just wanna hug.

In fact, characterization is where the story shines. Frankie’s friends and coworkers, like Jonno and Charlotte, are fun, smart, and so entertaining you turn the pages for them as much as for the romance. Dialogue reads true, with casual shoot-the-breeze and the all-powerful emotional stuff of forever-kind-of-love. These men aren’t afraid to love rough and show their vulnerabilities when sad.

There’s a lot happening here, and yet it felt at times as though nothing is happening at all. A working weekend while wounded. That’s basically the gist of it. And yet, Ms. Brown imbues every nuance with a kind of amiable glow in praise of everyday life and finding love in the most surprising places. It’s sweet and captivating in the truest sense of literature. There are laughs, tears, growls, happy moans. All that jazz.

As is, I have nothing negative to say about this book. It’s well written, it’s realistic, engaging, sexy and sad, and riveting even if the men are just sitting on a couch in front of the TV watching Law & Order. Highly recommended.

Reviewed By: Susan

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Nothing Ever Happens by Sue Brown


Title: Nothing Ever Happens
Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 280
Characters: Andrew Matthews, Nathan Peterson
POV: 3rd person
Scene Setting:
Sub Genre: Contemporary Romance
Book Cover Rating: 4.5
Kisses: 5




Blurb:

Andrew’s life is a cliché: he’s a gay man trapped in a loveless marriage, thanks to his religious, overbearing mother. Then a new couple moves in down the street, and Andrew finds himself falling for Nathan in a big way. Nathan is straight, married, and just about to be a father, but after one fateful night out together at a club, Nathan has to face the fact that his feelings for Andrew go way beyond that of a friend and neighbor.
When Andrew’s wife asks for a divorce, both men’s lives are thrown into disarray. Arguments about their responsibilities to their wives and children, doubting themselves and each other, and some harrowing lies pull them apart… but they never leave each other’s thoughts.

Review:

When they say the path to true love never runs smoothly, Sue Brown’s Nothing Ever Happens brings this maxim to life; vivid, heart-wrenching, exciting and wonderful life. And like so much of life, falling in love—especially when you’re not ‘mainstream’—can be challenging, often excruciatingly so.
With what I’ve come to see as Sue Brown’s emotionally charged storytelling, you will be so involved in what is going on in the lives of Andrew and Nathan, their friends and families, that you will find that, like time, it speeds by.

The relationships are complicated and multi-faceted, and the characters are real enough that you can relate to them in so many ways. I laughed, I cried—oh I cried!—for so many reasons; I fumed, I celebrated and through it all I lost my heart.

While this is Andrew and Nathan’s story—and it spans a number of years—they don’t live in isolation, so it’s much more than just about the two of them. Like life, it’s not smooth, it’s not easy but it’s a journey and one that I intend to take again and again.
Once again Sue Brown has amazed me at the depths to which she takes us. I can only say that if you enjoy your romances filled with heart, life and meaning, then you’ll discover that rather than Nothing Ever Happens, so much goes on that you will be ruminating over this story for a long time to come.

Reviewer: Kathy

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>Prey Time by Sue Brown

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Prey Time
Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: BDSM
Pages: 17
POV: 3rd

4.5 KISSES

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Blurb:

Two men are checking Jeff out before he even enters the club. They’re a real pretty picture, Blue Eyes with his back pressed against Green Eyes’ chest as they watch him get a drink. He waits to see what they do. If they want him, he’ll play, but first they have to ask nicely. Jeff is the top, the one in control. Except Jeff soon finds out he isn’t. The little man with the snapping blue eyes is definitely the puppet master here.

Review:

This saucy little number here is perfect for a lunch time read. Better yet, perhaps before bed is better. Prey Time is a glimpse into a night with Jeff and two guys, Blue Eyes and Green Eyes. Jeff senses the two handsome men checking him out the second he enters the bar, they make a play for him, both on and off the dance floor. Alpha Jeff thinks he has things under control but boy oh boy does he have another think coming with the handsome men bumping and grinding him on the floor.

You’re in for a real treat with this one. One night, one scene, three men…What are you waiting for? Go get it!

Reviewer: Michele

Excerpt:

They’re watching him even before he heads into the club. Heads bowed together, large eyes fixed on him, checking out his face, his body, his crotch. From the way Green Eyes is running his hands restlessly over Blue Eyes’ body, he’s pretty sure they approve, and he stares back, frank and unashamed.

He’s built. He knows he’s huge and a lot of men get off on his size. Yeah, there are a lot of size queens out there. A lot of women, too. Jeff’s really not fussy. Tonight though, he’s looking for dick, and two cocks are even better than one. Keeping an eye on them as he checks in his jacket, he watches to see if they’ll follow him to the bar. They do, hands tucked into each other’s back pockets.

It’s raging hot in the underground room and he bypasses the beer in favor of water, not really needing the buzz of alcohol tonight. When he’s got the bottle of water, ice-cold with condensation dripping down the outside, he turns to see where his stalkers have gone. Still watching him, they’ve started dancing together, Blue Eyes with his back pressed against Green Eyes’ chest. Jeff takes a moment to appreciate what a pretty picture they make. Blue Eyes has his dark curls pressed up against the light blue shirt of the taller man, and Green Eyes, he’s something else, tall and lithe with big eyes and full pouty lips. Jeff feels his own dick twitch in appreciation.

Jeff takes a long swallow of water, tilting his head back as the cool liquid passes down his throat. Even from here he can see Green Eyes lick his lips, bending down to whisper something to his companion, who nods in agreement. He waits to see what they do. If they want him, and yeah, they want him, he’ll play, but first they have to ask nicely.

Morning Report by Sue Brown

Morning Report

Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 216
Characters: Luke Murray, Simon Bryan
POV: 3rd person
Setting: The Lost Cow Ranch, Texas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Rating: 4

4 KISSES

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Blurb:

A decade on from their first kiss, Luke Murray is more in love with Simon every day. Running the Lost Cow ranch for Luke’s parents, they keep their heads down and get along with the locals, even if Luke is known for being a hothead. Then one day they discover the local store owners refuse to serve them. They’re bewildered until Luke’s mom tells them the new pastor has targeted the couple in his sermons. Suddenly Luke and Simon find themselves alienated from people they called friends, and their ranch comes under a series of attacks. As the town’s hatred and homophobia turns on them, Luke and Simon will face a critical choice: give in to the town’s demands and disappear, or stand and fight for themselves and their love.

Review:

I knew I liked cowboys, but who knew accounts and figures and morning ranch reports could be so damn sexy?

Sue Brown is a new-to-me author, and I must say, based on this book, she’s a writer whose work I’d like to become more familiar with in the future. Morning Report tells a meaningful and touching story that serves to illuminate the extensive consequences of intolerance and injustice in a small Texas town. It is a book that broaches the delicate topic of the righteous manipulation by the small minded, who preach hellfire, brimstone, and eternal damnation, preying on faith and manipulating the scriptures to serve their own prejudices.

Luke Murray and Simon Bryan were roommates in college who went on to fall deeply in love. Ten years later, the two men are still partners in every meaningful way: Luke manages his father’s ranch, the Lost Cow; Simon acts as the ranch’s foreman. With the support of their families and a few close friends, Luke and Simon live openly as a couple, although certainly not to the unanimous support of their community. They’ve face discrimination on a near daily basis, but by and large, the men have co-existed peacefully with their neighbors, until the day a new preacher and his wife took over the pulpit at the local church and brought with them a new message to their congregation, one that suddenly turns friends into strangers and neighbors into criminals.

Luke and Simon’s own faith and commitment to each other are tested and strained after a series of hate crimes are perpetrated against them, or rather, against their ranch, which is not only their sole source of income, but is also the place where they’ve always felt safe. The men are shunned by all but a few who are brave enough to stand beside them and to stand up for them at risk to themselves and to their own businesses. It is that unconditional support that helps the men to overcome the hatred that fuels the ruthless behavior aimed at them. It is the crimes aimed at them that have far reaching effects upon those who have offered their unconditional support.

Luke and Simon’s relationship is one that is punctuated (exclamation point!) by an intense physical connection. Yes, their deep emotional bond is underscored by loads and loads of sex: indoors, outdoors, anywhere the two are able to find a moment alone to express themselves physically, which might not appeal to some readers, and I confess is something that would typically throw me off a story; however, their physicality does serve to emphasize the intense and abiding attraction the two men share. This is not a long-term relationship that has grown stale over time. Rather, it’s a relationship that has continued to grow over the years, and is a bond that serves them well, helping the men to find the strength to fight, even when they consider it may be easier to simply give up and run away. The author has ensured that the physical intimacy and attraction shared by these men is balanced by the development of their characters, both individually and as a couple. These are not one dimensional figures who lack intelligence and substance, which went a long way in helping me to accept that they behaved like bunny rabbits on a hot date a large portion of the time.

In closing, I have to say I give Sue Brown huge credit for avoiding the temptation to tidy Morning Report into a nice, neat little ending; my support originating in the fact that in life, prejudice, intolerance, and hatred are perpetual and inexplicable crimes that aren’t handily resolved by the long arm of the law. The point of the wrongs committed against Luke and Simon may not have lain in who committed them; rather, the point lay in why the crimes were committed to begin with. Bigotry existed in their small town prior to the offenses carried out against them, and sadly, will continue to exist as long as fear and hatred are preached from the altar and remain cloaked in piety. Ignorance and cowardice will, unfortunately, always exist when sustained by man’s interpretation of the scriptures. Punishing the one or two perpetrators involved in those hate crimes wouldn’t have erased the hatred; the judicial system doesn’t cure discrimination. Human faults won’t be eradicated by acts of poetic justice, but the potential for change has the hope of existing when the hearts and minds of a few are transformed. “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

At least that’s the way I see it.

Reviewed By: Lisa

>Interview with Sue Brown

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Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Sue. We are very excited and can’t wait to learn more about you. Can you tell us a little bit about your background? I’m a mum, a university student, with a background in a little bit of everything, from cleaning to pensions. As someone said to me, I’ve never quite found my niche.

What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?  At the start of 2010 I had no intention of sending anything in for publication. In May I wrote a short story, The Sacrifice, on the spur of the moment and submitted it. It was accepted for the Mine anthology published by Dreamspinner. Since then, everything I have submitted has been also been accepted. I know how lucky I’ve been.

When did you start writing m/m erotica What about this genre interested you the most? Four years ago I was sleeping through my Sunday evening TV viewing, when I woke up to see two men kissing on the screen in Torchwood, the Dr Who spin-off. It was such a tender kiss. It was like a sudden epiphany. I knew I could write that. A few days later I was on Livejournal and writing fanfiction. I hadn’t written before and I haven’t stopped writing since.

Do you write full time? I write to earn money while I complete my degree. I tried having a job as well. It was too much.

Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you? It picked me – definitely. It was literally like a light switching on in my head. Maybe it was finding the genre that helped.

On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time? Aside from procrastinating? I write normally when I get up and fit it around the kids until 9am. Then at odd points in the days and last thing at night.


When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance? I always write freely. I’ve tried plotting but my characters are stubborn and refuse to cooperate. They keep adding scenes I don’t expect.

What kind of research do you do before and during a new book? Most of the research I do as I go. A lot of it has been the minutiae between life in Britain and life in America. I have a lot of on-line friends for day-to-day information and can get involved in long discussions for something that will only be two lines in a book. However, for Morning Report I spent a lot of time investigating how to kill my cows. I know more about salt poisoning that I ever want to know.

How much of yourself and the people you know manifest into your characters? How do you approach development of your characters? Where do you draw the line? I try not to put too much of me in my books but obviously my prejudices do seep in. My characters develop as they go along. I have to remember to keep them on track otherwise they take over. I’m not a gay man, I don’t think like one, so the trick is not to have me in there. There are certain things I won’t write like high school stories. It’s too many years ago for me to be able to successfully write teenage kids in love.

How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? How long is a piece of string? People read it from the start. I need to know I’m on the right track. A story can take me 2 months, it can take a year, but people are always reading it.

If you weren’t sitting there right this very moment answering our book of questions, what would you be doing? Sleeping. I’m off to bed in a moment.

Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along? I revise as I go along. I get it betaed by two or three people so I’m always revising the chapters.

When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel, or experience? Identification with what I’m trying to say. I don’t write fairy tales. Life tends to intrude. I hope people can relate to what I’ve written and get comfort from knowing someone understands.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh? Odd. My sense of humour is odd but very British. I laugh at anything and everything. From The Two Ronnies (a seventies British comedy duo) to Bill Bryson.

What are you working on now? I’ve got a Color Box for Torquere, the third part of a trilogy with RJ Scott and Chris Quinton, and two novels, A New Beginning and The Pale Kerchief.

What kind of books do you like to read? I normally read crime and fantasy. At the moment though, it’s mainly textbooks and erotica. I don’t have time for much else.

What is your favorite TV show? Now? I don’t really have one. I watch Criminal Minds, Castle, Leverage and of course, Supernatural. Of all-time? A British sci-fi show called Blake’s 7 from the seventies.

What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Just thought we’d throw that in for fun… Oooh difficult. Pizza Express because they do Fiorentina pizzas.

Without getting up, can you tell us what’s under your bed? (yep, another sneaky question.) My collection of erotic books! They have to live somewhere.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be? I’m already a student and a mum. That’s enough at the moment.

When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them? It’s amazing when the artist, in my case the fabulous Reese Dante, can take the fragments I give her and create something that really represents my story. I’ve been lucky to have always managed to get what I wanted. My next story,Nothing Ever Happens, is so complex we are going for extremely simple.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing? I love walking my dog over the common. Cuddling up on the sofa with my kids, before they start arguing, and eating… I love eating good food with my friends. And eating chocolate.

Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found at university listening to lecturers discuss long-dead theologians. In her head, however, she’s plotting how to get her cowboys into bed together; she just hopes the lecturer doesn’t ask her any questions.



Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.