Kimberly Reviews: Next Time I Fall by Jeff Erno

Title: Next Time I Fall

Author: Jeff Erno

Publisher: Ai Press

Pages: 162

Characters: Eric, Steve, Drake, Felix

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 4 

Blurb:

Eric Daniels has a habit of falling for unattainable men. For the past two years he’s pined for a man younger than him who has no interest in a relationship and just wants to use him. When Eric suddenly finds himself alone and again jilted, he swears it will never happen again. Then he meets Steve. Steve Warren has recently started his job as associate pastor of the local Baptist church. While canvassing the neighborhood to promote the church’s vacation Bible school program, he encounters a man who sticks in his memory. Though he doesn’t catch his name, he recalls the man’s black Labrador retriever, Drake.

Steve has a dog of his own, a boxer named Felix. And when they bump into each other again, not only do the dogs hit it off, but so do the humans. A friendship begins. Steve suddenly finds himself facing the harshest reality he’s ever endured. He’s been aware of his attraction to men for a long time, but his religion teaches homosexuality is an abomination. How can he reconcile his feelings for Eric with his faith? If he comes out as gay, what will it do to his career, his family, and his church? But he can’t go on forever using his religion as a shield to hide behind. Living a lie is bearing false witness, so he must find a way to be true to his faith while following his heart. Is there any way to move forward without hurting a lot of people he loves? 

Review:

I am a fan of stories involving men falling in love, especially when they have to overcome adversity, and it’s an extra bonus if they have pets that strike up a quick friendship. And that means Next Time I Fall hit all my buttons! Erno provides us with a storyline that makes the reader consider what defines us and how to be true to oneself.

Both Eric and Steve were portrayed realistically, with all the baggage that comes along with life. While Eric’s struggles were a bit simpler, balancing the sure-thing ex-roommate with the forever-love that he has building with Steve, the preacher has a whole lot more on his plate as he comes to terms with who he is and who he loves. I appreciated how Erno approached the issues of strict religious ideals with the various interpretations different churches have with doctrine. And what surprised me a little was the way Steve’s parents reacted to his coming out, or more specifically who supported him and who took a bit longer to come around. But in the end Steve was true to himself and that’s what mattered.

The ongoing storyline with Luke was quite good and helped reflect what Steve must have been going through during that time in his life. I liked that Steve was able to guide Luke and help him find acceptance, rather than leaving him to deal with the condemnation that the original church might have brought upon him. It’s okay to be gay, and the sooner a child can find that acceptance, the better off he or she will be.

For me, the only drawback to the novel was that the POV wandered between Eric and Steve, and sometimes even jumped over to a secondary character for a brief bit. While I could follow it, and the changes did happen on section breaks, I do tend to prefer sticking with a single POV in stories. But that’s a personal preference on my part and doesn’t detract from the overall writing or plot that Erno provided us.

So, if you’re looking for some self-reflection, a bit of falling in love, and two pups who are fast friends, you should pick up a copy of Next Time I Fall. And I will await the next release by Jeff Erno. 

Reviewed By: Kimberly

Click HERE to purchase Next Time I Fall by Jeff Erno

Kimberly Reviews: Loose Ends by Jeff Erno

Title: Loose Ends

Author: Jeff Erno

Publisher: Ai Press

Pages: 183

Characters: Tucker, Ivan, Jaydin

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 4 

Blurb:

Homicide detective Tucker Brown hasn’t always made the right decisions, but one thing about his life he’ll never regret is his son Jaydin. While at the hospital for his four-year-old’s tonsillectomy, he encounters Jaydin’s nurse, Ivan Ramsey. Tucker is taken aback, however, when he discovers he’s been assigned to investigate the potential murder of Ivan’s mother.

Ivan Ramsey is a pediatric nurse, and he loves his job more than life. Raised in a devoutly religious family, he’s not yet out to a lot of people, but on the very night he chooses to come out to his mother, she dies tragically in a house fire. Devastated by the news, Ivan all but falls to pieces, and to make matters worse, a cocky, know-it-all police detective shows up asking nosy questions. The cop implies his mother’s death might not have been an accident and even infers a family member might be responsible.

Tucker and Ivan at first clash. Their strikingly different personalities are oil and water, but soon they begin to work together to determine the real cause of Ivan’s mother’s death. In the process, sparks begin to fly and a romance ignites. Ivan falls hard, not only for the sexy detective but also his adorable son. Tucker, equally smitten, has made some discoveries he can’t yet reveal to his lover. There are so many loose ends and unanswered questions for both of them, and when the truth finally comes out, it just might tear them apart. 

Review:

I have long been a fan of Jeff Erno’s works, as well as kid-fics, so Loose Ends was right up my alley. Combining a budding romance with a criminal investigation made for an exciting and satisfying journey as we saw the main characters go from bristling to kissing. And I’m left wondering where Tucker and Ivan will go next.

The characters in this novel, from the main to the secondary, were all fleshed out very well and presented as three-dimensional people with flaws and all. I like when an author achieves that in their writing, because it makes it all the more real and allows me to align with the characters better. And because the POV switches between characters, which initially I was not a fan of, we get an inside look at what they’re feeling and thinking as they navigate this wild adventure.

We saw how Ivan and Tucker’s backgrounds were different in the way they dealt with their sexuality, and also how misconceptions between the two of them might have cost them a relationship before they even got started. Ivan doesn’t like gay men who hide their sexuality and marry women as a cover, which he seems to assume Tucker did. But, as Tucker explains, he wasn’t using his best friend-turned-wife as a cover, since he hadn’t been true to himself at that point either. Tucker’s ex-wife and his son also played a nice role in welcoming this new love into their family dynamic, which I enjoyed. No need for romantic drama when there was plenty of legal drama in play.

I appreciated that Tucker had to balance his emerging relationship with Ivan against his duty as a police officer, investigating the murder of Ivan’s mom. The mystery was a bit easy to solve from the reader’s point of view, but Erno managed to show how the case evolved with all the clues being put into place. Admittedly, Tucker sometimes blurred the lines just a bit and did things that weren’t strictly unbiased because of his love for Ivan, but in the end he managed to solve the case and get the guy. I’d say that’s a win-win all around.

If you’re looking for a feel-good story with a bit of mystery, this is the book for you. 

Reviewed By: Kimberly

Click HERE to purchase Loose Ends by Jeff Erno

Lydia reviews: Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation by John H Ames

31931520Title: Surviving Elite High: The Next Generation

Publisher:  Ai-Press

Author: John H Ames

Pages: 184

Kisses: 5++

 

 

 

Blurb:

Seventeen year old, blond-hair, blue-eyed and adorable Robbie Carroll, orphaned at a young age and mysteriously never adopted, has finally found his dream family. Nick Hawking and John Ames, now married, wealthy, and powerful, make Robbie their son, defying the young man’s past- one that Robbie himself has no memory of- that has scared all other prospective parents away. Now, Robbie has great parents and a hot brother, Nicky and beautiful sister, Lily, who take him into their midst and make him part of their tight circle of friends who all go to Elite High.

 

One of those friends is Tim Mercer, a gorgeous football player at Elite High. Tim’s dark looks and simmering eyes capture Robbie’s heart at first sight. But Robbie can’t be sure that Tim feels the same way, or even if he’s gay too. Moreover, even if Tim is available, there are some people around him who don’t want Robbie to get close to him, and will go to ANY lengths to keep him away. Why? What do they want with Tim? What is the secret that Tim is harboring? And who is that strange man in Robbie’s visions, who haunts his life and his dreams? Find out here!

 

Review:

Have you ever wondered what happens to  Nick and John, or the rest of the gang we met in book one of the Surviving Elite High series?  If you have then you really need to  pick up this newest addition to the series.

The book starts out by introducing Robbie, a young boy who has spent most of his time in a group home for unwanted boys.  Theres a bit of mystery surrounding Robbie, one that causes perspective parent to run the other way.  Luckily Allison, his case worker, has finally found the perfect home for him.  Soon Robbie finds himself in a home with loving fathers, Nick and John, older sister Lily, and brother Nicky.  He’s a little nervous but his new family goes out of their way to make him feel wanted and loved.  However, while Robbie is trying to settle in he’s also having flashback’s that terrify him.

The author really pulls you back into the world he created with this new story and in no time i found myself feeling for Robbie.  I wanted to hug him when he found himself crushing on his new brother, and when he started to wonder about Tim, i found myself holding my breath wondering what was happening.

Tim is the son of Johnny Mercer, who fans will remember being Nick’s biggest football rival.  Now a days the two are friends and Johnny’s son attends Elite High with everyone else.  Like his dad was, Tim is a BMOC with the perfect girlfriend.  Only things aren’t what they seem and the relationship is slowly tearing Tim apart.  When he finally has enough and leaves his girlfriend for Robbie, things spiral completely out of control.

Tim and Robbie take their time with the new relationship they find themselves in.  See how much Tim cares for Robbie is really something and it is easy to see that this relationship has the earmarks of becoming a forever love like Nick and John’s.

I love how the author was able to bring back former characters in a way that is believable, allowing fans to catch up on all their favorites.  I also like that the author continues to show the teens in a realistic fashion, instead of them being overly perfect.  That Nicky becomes a bit of an ass during the story, and is properly punished for his actions is a refreshing change from what we normally see.

Through everything that is going on in this story, the mystery surrounding Robbie’s parents and their death gets lost in the shuffle.  I can’t what to see how this is resolved and from the glimpse we got in Surviving Elite High: Next Generation, I am a little worried as to what Robbie went through.

Those new to this series need to know that the books must be read in order. 

Reviewer: Lydia

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Forever Fearless by Jeff Erno


Title: Forever Fearless
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Ai Press
Pages: 157
Genre: Gay/ Paranormal
Kisses: 5



Blurb:

The Forever Vampire saga continues…

In the aftermath of unspeakable slaughter, Robbie and Colt have escaped to the wilds of Alaska to face their immortal future. Things aren’t so certain for their sworn enemies, Dylan and Issa, Matarian soldiers sworn to hunt them down and slaughter them.

Dylan is poised to begin his first vampire hunt and wants Issa as his partner, but Issa is far more concerned with finding his brother and tracking down the blond boy who nearly died on the battlefield. The entire cast from book one reunites in this thrilling continuation of their story, joined by a host of new faces–friends and foes–whose lives somehow weave together as they cross paths in their efforts to battle evil and attain their own happiness. Humans, Shifters, Daywalkers, and Purebloods confront each other with the guidance of three enigmatic sisters–one a Maenad, one a necromancer, and the other a human witch. Plot twists and surprises mark the paths of these diverse characters, forever fearless in their quest to cling to all they hold dear.

Review:

If you have read Forever Young and was shocked as I was by the ending, you will get your answers from this sequel.

Forever Fearless begins at the ending of the first book and yes it is a jaw dropping, page turning good book!

Mr. Erno has written this story from several POV’s and it works, because this story has so many sides to be told. The Matarian’s want revenge for the innocents killed. The Wolves want revenge for the wolf killed, and the day walkers just want to love their mates and the pure blood Raoul just wants Shadi’s brother Issa.

The plot is well thought out and the time was taken to tell where everyone stood in this spectacular story. Jeff Erno is a great story teller, and these two paranormal stories are two of his best!

I highly recommend Forever Young and Forever Fearless and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that we will be seeing more of this series.

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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Forever Young by Jeff Erno


Title: Forever Young
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: AI Press
Pages: 158
Characters: Robbie, Colt
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: M/M, Vampire, Shifter
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

In less than a summer, shy and introverted Robbie Myers goes from eighteen and never been kissed to the passionate intensity of first love that could last forever. Literally…

Eighteen-year-old Robbie Myers has difficulty talking to people. Not only is he shy, but he seems to say the wrong thing every time he opens his mouth, especially to the mysterious, handsome stranger who shows up at his supermarket job, defends him from an aggressive colleague and then asks him on a date. He can’t believe a hot, worldly badboy like seventeen-year-old Colt Abernathy is actually interested. Yet he can’t deny that the ardor burning in Colt’s dark eyes is just for him. In the space of one breath, Robbie is launched from his plan to attend community college while living at home with his mom and saving up for a car to the tender yet passionate exploration of intense first love. Little does Robbie know…

Brought across during the height of the Civil War, Colt has remained trapped in the body of a lonely seventeen year old. When he spots the slim, blond-haired, blue eyed young man, pushing a line of shopping carts across a parking lot, Colt knows instantly they’re destined for each other. There’s just one major problem: if he survives the impending battle between vampires and the Matarians – an army of brutal vampire slayers – he’s going to live forever. Robbie isn’t…

Review:

Jeff Erno has created a story that I was pulled into and immersed in from the first line. Robbie is so painfully shy that you hurt for this young man. His mother is very loving and so over- protective you can’t help to care for her but cringe at the same time.

Colt looks to be young but has a self confidence about him that speaks of maturity beyond his years. I love these two as a couple and seeing Robbie coming out of his shell with the attention Colt lavishes him with. I grew to care for Colt’s father (maker) Richard and his husband Brendan, who truly love each other.

When Brendan disappears and trouble visits Richard’s home, they have to flee, taking Robbie with them, and try to find Brendan. We meet two Matarian’s who start their own love story while being trained to kill Vampires.. I would highly recommend this story and was so thrilled to see the words To be continued…..

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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Surviving Elite High: Loving James by John H Ames


Title: Surviving Elite High: Loving James
Author: John H Ames
Publisher: Ai Press
Pages: 50
Characters: James Gordon and Jacob Ashmore
POV: 1st Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Series
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb:

Surviving a normal high school is hard enough. Surviving Elite High? Close to impossible! Not until you learn the difference between love and obsession…

Sixteen year old James Gordon has it all. He’s rich, studious, and bears quite a strong resemblance to Justin Bieber. So, what’s stopping him from being a normal kid in high school? The deadly jocks. They torment anyone who’s gay or possibly closeted; even though Nick Wild Hawk, star of the football team and the love of his life, John, came out to the whole school in previous years and made being gay at Elite High just another walk of life.

However, even though the jocks have bullied James nonstop and made his life a living hell, he can’t help but fantasize about the king of the jocks, Nathan Parker. Nathan is rugged, straight and the most popular guy in school. When fate intercepts and places James and Nathan under the same roof, James’ torture really begins. And yet, through it all, James hopes that that his steadfast love for Nathan will change the jock into a lover rather than an abuser. Unless a certain hot, loyal, guy in the background can find a way to show James he is really, truly loved, and has been for a long time. Before it’s too late…

Review:

Surviving Elite High: Loving James is the third book in author John H Ames’, Surviving Elite High series. While it is a short story, it is so packed that the reader will feel as if they have read a full story.

This new book centers on James, who readers have met in the previous books. He is a shy, geeky student who comes from a well to do family, but while everything on the outside looks great, inside he worries about what his father and best friend will think if they found out he is gay. James also worries about the bullies who are once again showing up at school.

With all the insecurity James is already feeling, it is understandable that he does not take the news of his father’s remarrying well. As I read this part of the story, I could not help but think that James’ father was to blame for some of his son’s behavior, due to the way he told James he was getting married, without giving him any real time to adjust to the news. When it is revealed who will be James’ new family, I could not help feeling bad for the young man. Right away I worried that the abuse James’ was getting at school would soon be carrying over to his home life. What follows may be rough for some readers to read.

Due to the bullying and abuse that James goes through the story has a bit of a dark feel to it and I wondered just when the feel of Surviving Elite High: Loving James would change. Readers may be surprised to see who comes to James’ rescue. When Jacob appears in the story it was easy to see that there is some kind of connection between the two young men, but with everything going on in his life, James has a hard time seeing it.

Surviving Elite High: Loving James is a fast read that will hold the reader’s attention from beginning to end. While it covers some dark topics, I found the story to be well written, and fans of the first two books will want to make sure they don’t miss this one. I hope this is a series the author plans to continue and can’t wait to see what else he has planned.

Reviewed By: Lydia

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