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

Click HERE to enter the DSP Homepage

Craving a good book? Check out the latest New Releases from JMS Books!


TITLE: Crazy Love
AUTHOR: Mel Bossa
ISBN: 9781634863926
GENRE: Gay Interracial Romance
LENGTH: 73,959 words
PRICE: $5.99

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Billy spends his evenings dreaming of love and excitement. His roommate Francis wonders why Billy would waste his time fantasizing about a straight mechanic he works with who won’t even look his way.

But Xavier isn’t straight, he’s bisexual. And he’s been stealing looks at Billy without getting caught. Billy’s blue eyes make him feel proud, something he hasn’t felt ever since his father left him to fend for himself. Part Mohawk, Xavier deals with racism both at work and at home, and is planning to hit the road and never return.

From their first kiss, the attraction between Billy and Xavier is undeniable, setting off a chain of events. Soon they’re running off together, determine to start a new life in Mexico. But the open road, like their crazy love, is new, exciting, and at times … dangerous.

TITLE: Ferreting Out the Truth
AUTHOR: L.J. Hamlin
ISBN: 9781634863940
GENRE: Gay Paranormal Mystery Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 11,395 words
PRICE: $1.99

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What happens when a closeted animal activist and were-shifter hires a “problem fixer” to save his friends from being wrongly convicted of murder?

Ryan Hunter soon finds out when he slinks off to meet a mysterious stranger named Ian West, another were-shifter who possesses not only a dangerous reputation, but also the prestige for successfully performing unusual tasks, regardless of any legal restrictions he might face.

But to Ryan’s pleasant surprise, he finds Ian not quite as menacing as he was led to believe, and also extremely attractive. Sparks immediately fly between them, and Ryan can only hope that once the urgent mission to save his friends is complete, he and Ian might be able to get to know one another better, despite their enormous differences. Not only is Ryan hiding his true sexual orientation from those who know him best, but he has the ability to shift into a raven, whereas Ian, openly gay, has the unique ability to shift into a ferret. Can the men cope with the hurdles awaiting them in their secret undertaking, as well as those they must face in their personal lives?

TITLE: Hole in One
AUTHOR: Carolina Valdez
ISBN: 9781634864060
GENRE: Bisexual / Gay Erotic Romance (Multiple Partners)
LENGTH: 20,230 words
PRICE: $3.99
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By day they had been fierce rivals in a collegiate golf competition, but at night, their passion sizzled under the sheets.

After Team USA won, Rio “River” Vargas returned to his native Spain and Greg Thorenson headed back to his home in the United States. But when Rio didn’t respond to a letter he sent, Greg wasn’t sure if Rio’s silence was because Greg had beaten him for the win or because their affair had been only a four-night fling.

Now professionals at the height of their game, they meet again as competitors in a major tournament in the California desert, where the prize of thousands of dollars is at stake. It’s been six silent years since those wild, hot nights as young men. Maybe for Rio that earlier passion had been an experiment, an aberration of who he really is and of whatever Greg may have meant to him. But to Greg, that earlier passion had been something deeper … he had fallen in love.

TITLE: Sin to Get Saved
AUTHOR: Michael P. Thomas
ISBN: 9781634863933
GENRE: Gay Fantasy Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 18,763 words
PRICE: $2.99

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Hubert knows he brings shame on himself and on the Lord by being a queer — his grandad and the pastor of his evangelical church tell him as much all the time. So when he dies in a freak accident, he’s as delighted as he is surprised to waltz right through the Pearly Gates, no questions asked. He even gets a beautiful angel named Bartholomew as his very own guide to the Afterlife.

But when the angel makes brazen overtures, Hubert realizes his soul may have taken a wrong turn. Hubert beseeches Bartholomew to keep his hands to himself and help him find his rightful place in the Heaven he’s always heard about. As they set out to explore his options, Bartholomew hopes Hubert will learn a thing or two along the way about the deeply personal definitions of Paradise.

TITLE: Yesterday’s Letters
AUTHOR: Kassandra Lea
ISBN: 9781634863711
GENRE: Gay Romance
LENGTH: 12,163 words
PRICE: $2.99

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Matthew Dalton hasn’t been back home in longer than he cares to admit, but a letter brings him news and soon he’s stepping back in time. Going home, to a place he doesn’t visit nearly often enough.

Daniel Ellis, on the other hand, has never left. He’s always stuck around, waiting for the man who stole his heart to return. When tragedy brings Matthew home, Daniel sees this as his opportunity.

The only problem? Daniel can’t bring himself to voice the feelings he’s kept buried deep inside all these years. So he gives Matthew all the letters he’s written over the years and never mailed. Will a box of love notes be enough to make Matthew stay?

Come join our family :)

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We are looking for some special people to join our review team. We have plenty of books to review and are looking for new reviewers to join our little family. If you are interested please contact me at top2bottomreviews@gmail.com

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Sophie Reviews: A Taste of Honey by Ari McKay


Title: A Taste of Honey
Author: Ari McKay
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 88
Characters: Boone Phillips, Rob Coombs
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 2

Blurb:

2nd Edition

Boone Phillips needs a girlfriend—now! If he shows up to the family reunion alone, his mother will throw every woman in sight at him. But the only “woman” Boone trusts enough to ask is Honey, the drag queen alter ego of his best friend, Rob. It’s a crazy idea, but Boone is desperate.

Boone wins Rob over to the idea after first going on a “date” with him as Honey, but everything feels different once the plan is set in motion. Between nosy relatives, illegal moonshine, and the sight of Rob in white lace panties, Boone starts to wonder if he’s as straight as he thought. When an earth-shattering kiss sends Rob running, however, Boone learns some surprising things about both his family and himself. Now he needs to convince Rob to give him another chance, or his first taste of Honey might also be his last.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2016.

Review:

The catchy blurb caught my eye. I’m a sucker for best-friends-to-lovers romance so reading A Touch of Honey was kind of a no-brainer for me. If you are in the mood for an uncomplicated, light read with good-natured heroes, then this book might be for you.

I liked Rob and Boone’s friendship. I even enjoyed the easy banter they shared between them. I guess my problem with their relationship is the almost non-issue of Rob being ‘straight’ and suddenly over the course of a few days, can’t resist Boone and wants to be with him. HUH?
Sorry, I just didn’t buy it.

Yes, it’s true that Rob does a little soul searching and discovers he isn’t as straight as he thought…or is it that he just wants Boone because Honey is so irresistible? By the end of the book, I didn’t know. I think the story could have used more depth. I would have really liked for Rob and Boone to truly explore their feelings. Instead, I thought the storyline itself was rushed and because of it, I felt a little cheated by the quickness of it all.

As a southerner I had to roll my eyes at the ‘typical’ southern mother and family. Ugh. It would have been nice for the author to have stepped out of the usual stereotype and write something a little more unique and not so cookie-cutter.

All in all the book is a decent read. If you want a quick and easy read this one is for you.

Reviewed By: Sophie

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press homepage

Anne Reviews: The Last Grand Master by Andrew Q. Gordon


TITLE: The Last Grand Master
Author: Andrew Q. Gordon
Publisher: DSP Publications
Pages: 370
Characters: Farrell/Miceral
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Fantasy
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Champion of the Gods, Book 1

In a war that shook the earth, the six gods of Nendor defeated their brother Neldin, god of evil. For three thousand years, Nendor and the Seven Kingdoms have known peace and prosperity and Neldin’s evil was nearly forgotten.

But then Meglar, wizard king of Zargon, unleashes the dark magic of the underworld and creates an army of creatures to carry out his master’s will. One by one, the sovereign realms fall as a new war between the gods threatens to engulf Nendor.

Leading the opposition to Meglar is Grand Master Farrell. Young and untried, Farrell carries a secret that could hold the key to defeating Meglar—or it could destroy the world.

Farrell is joined by Nerti, queen of the unicorns and Miceral, an immortal muchari warrior the Six have chosen as Farrell’s mate. As Farrell and his new allies make plans to counter Neldin’s evil, Meglar forces their hand when he invades a neighboring kingdom. Rushing to help their ally, Farrell and Miceral find themselves in the middle of the battle. Cut off from help, Farrell attempts an untried spell that will either turn the tide or cost he and Miceral their lives.

1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, February 2013.
2nd Edition published by DSP Publications, February 2015.

Review:

The Last Grand Master by Andrew Q. Gordon reminds me of why I love reading fantasy series. This book, which is book 1 in the Champion of the Gods series takes the time to set up a realistic world populated by intriguing characters, but doesn’t slow the story down in doing so. It’s not just the two leads—Farrell and Miceral—who are three dimensional but the supporting characters who are interesting in their own right. I loved the unicorns, and their society and relationships with other characters. Very imaginative.

I really liked the fact that there were strong female characters and that not all relationships ended well. People also die, which makes sense, given their enemy and the stakes for which they’re fighting. Having all the characters survive wouldn’t be realistic.

I also liked the contrast between Farrell and Miceral. Farrell is a wizard and for him magic is something he does without thinking about it. Miceral isn’t as comfortable with the idea of using magic for everything, and their differing reactions and perspectives complement each other. They both have something to teach the other. Farrell is much younger than Miceral who comes from a long-lived race, and while he is very confident with using magic, it was fun watching him fumble with the relationship stuff. However, there are consequences for using magic in this world, which limits Farrell, which I very much appreciated. He doesn’t walk away unscathed, and takes time to heal and recover his energy.

There is also a strong theme of family within the story. Farrell has lost his at an early age, but there’s a nice twist to that part of his past, and as his and Miceral’s relationship grows, so does his relationship with others. There’s a lovely subtle scene with a member of Miceral’s family later in the story which I really enjoyed.

I got sucked into the story very quickly, and became invested in the characters within a few pages. I’m glad their story isn’t over yet, because it means I have more to look to.

I’d highly recommend this story to readers who enjoy three dimensional characters, a good fantasy plot, and great world building.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase The Last Grand Master by Andrew Q. Gordon