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

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Gabbi Reviews: Anyplace Else by Kim Fielding


Title: Anyplace Else
Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 33
Characters: Grant Beaudoin,
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Holiday, DSP Advent Calendar 2016
Kisses: 3

Blurb:

Grant Beaudoin should be thrilled to escape Minneapolis at Christmastime and grateful to lounge on a Hawaiian beach. Instead he is mired in self-pity and drowning in too much tequila. His twin is marrying the perfect man, while Grant is stuck in middle management with no love life in sight. A walk into the rain forest leads to a meeting with a doomed man who has a story about a holiday that predates Christmas. Grant comes to realize that difficult endings can lead to new beginnings—and perhaps a brighter future.

Review:

Anyplace Else is a quirky story by Kim Fielding. Out of all of the books in the Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar this short was the most unique and strangely interesting.

I love the author’s works. Ms. Fielding has a real knack at writing thoughtful, well-written characters. She also thinks out of the box when it comes to unique storylines and so on…but having said this, Anyplace but Here is wildly different and more than a little strange.

Grant has gone to Hawaii to be in his twin’s wedding. Grant is down in the dumps and feeling sorry for himself. When he meets several different people who talk about the mysterious god that lives on the island once a year, Grant is confused *I was too* and intrigued by what he thinks is an old wives tale.

I can’t get into this story without giving it away but believe me when I say, this story is more of a Halloween story than a Christmas one. There is a lot of mythology and urban legends to this tale…almost to the point that it left this read confused as to what was going on and what was going to happen next.

Here’s the thing…though the story was a bit odd…I found it oddly endearing. I liked to two heroes and thought this little short story would have been really great if it had been more fleshed out and a full blown story.

Anyplace Else is unique and I liked it. I wish I could have loved it. I wish it had been a stand-alone novel. Instead, I was left a little confused.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Lydia Reviews: Love is Heartless by Kim Fielding


Title: Love is Heartless
Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 254
Characters: Nevin Ng and Colin Westwood
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Series
Kisses: 4

Blurb:

Small but mighty—that could be Detective Nevin Ng’s motto. Now a dedicated member of the Portland Police Bureau, he didn’t let a tough start in life stop him from protecting those in need. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, and he doesn’t do relationships. Until he re-sponds to the severe beating of a senior citizen and meets the victim’s wealthy, bow-tied landlord.
Property manager and developer Colin Westwood grew up with all the things Nevin never had, like plenty of money and a supportive, loving family. Too supportive, perhaps, since his childhood illness has left his parents unwilling to admit he’s a strong, grown man. Colin does do relationships, but they never work out. Now he’s thinking maybe he won’t just go with the flow. Maybe it’s time to try something more exciting. But being a witness to a terri-ble crime—or two—was more than he bargained for.
Despite their differences, Colin and Nevin discover that the sparks fly when they’re togeth-er. But sparks are short-lived, dampened by the advent of brutal crimes, and Colin and Nevin have seemingly little in common. The question is whether they have the heart to build something lasting.

Review:

Love is Heartless is the second story in the Love Can’t series by author Kim Fielding. While there is some crossover between the first two books, it is not necessary to read the first book before reading this one.

The main characters in this book are a little intense. Nevin is a detective with the Portland PD. He’s a total alpha, and the fact that his looks belay that fact causes some issues for the detective. Readers will want to read the prologue as it really explains why Nevin is the way he is. But looks aside, he is good at his job and tough as nails. Nevin is called in to investigate the murder of an elderly women who supposedly had no enemies. While there he meets Colin Westwood.

Colin’s background is completely different from Nevin’s. Where Nevin did not know where his next meal was coming from or which foster family he would be with next, Colin had the life of luxury. The only problem he had was one centered on his health and that only made his family more protective of him. Now an adult, Colin has had to work hard to prove he can be on his own. While volunteering for a charity that helps elderly gay people he finds one of his people dead. It’s now that he meets Nevin. The two men are intrigue by the other yet because of personal issues ignore what they are feeling. When another of Colin’s people shows up missing Nevin is once again called in. Because of the attraction the two feel for each other, Colin and Nevin make a one night stand deal. Problem is neither man wants it to end at one night.

I really like these two together. Nevin shows Colin it’s okay to be a little tough while Colin brings out the softer side of Nevin. While Colin is a little hesitant to fight for his independence, it is Nevin that has a harder time dealing with change. The chemistry between them is intense and I loved watching them move from one night stand to lovers and friends. When the two become serious and Nevin met Colin’s family, I had to laugh at some of Nevin’s actions.

While the men’s relationship is an important part of the story, it is not the only part that will hold the reader’s attention. Someone is killing the elderly and whoever it is has a connection to Colin. I think that the readers will love the twists and turns in this story. There are a couple of OMG moments in this story that I did not see coming and one moment where I was not happy at all. While it may be easy for some to figure out who the killer is, the why is something we hear about every day on the news.

I believe this is my first book by Kim Fielding but it will not be the last. I am curious to see what the next book in this school will be about and will look for more stories by this author.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Gabbi Reviews: Love Can’t Conquer by Kim Fielding


Title: Love Can’t Conquer
Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 257
Characters: Jeremy Cox, Qayin Hill
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5+

Blurb:

Bullied as a child in small-town Kansas, Jeremy Cox ultimately escaped to Portland, Oregon. Now in his forties, he’s an urban park ranger who does his best to rescue runaways and other street people. His ex-boyfriend, Donny—lost to drinking and drugs six years earlier—appears on his doorstep and inadvertently drags Jeremy into danger. As if dealing with Donny’s issues doesn’t cause enough turmoil, Jeremy meets a fascinating but enigmatic man who carries more than his fair share of problems.

Qayin Hill has almost nothing but skeletons in his closet and demons in his head. A former addict who struggles with anxiety and depression, Qay doesn’t know which of his secrets to reveal to Jeremy—or how to react when Jeremy wants to save him from himself.

Despite the pasts that continue to haunt them, Jeremy and Qay find passion, friendship, and a tentative hope for the future. Now they need to decide whether love is truly a powerful thing or if, despite the old adage, love can’t conquer all.

Review:

Love Can’t Conquer is a beautifully written novel full of friendship, love, bitter disappointment and hope. From start to finish this gem of a story gave me everything I love when it comes to reading romance and more.

I loved the buildup between the two heroes. Both men are wonderfully flawed and truly likeable people. They are so realistically written they both would be someone that I would love to know in real life. Though good men, they are far from perfect and I highly enjoyed watching them work together through good and bad times and develop the special love they share between them.

Both men have their hangups but you’ll have to read the story to find out what they are. I will say that I thought they were truly meant to be with one another. Qay struggles through life and Jeremy is the solid foundation he learns to lean on. This book has the perfect mixture of sweet moments, angst and even sad ones, but as I continued to watch their story unfold, I was swept up into the sheer hope that despite everything, it would work out between them.

Love Can’t Conquer by Kim Fields is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you are craving a well-written and well-rounded and balanced romantic read, then this is definitely the book for you.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Website

Claw by Kim Fielding, Eli Easton and Jamie Fessenden


Title: Gothika, Volume 3: Claw
Author(s): Kim Fielding, Eli Easton and Jamie Fessenden
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 214
Characters: Multiple
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Shifters, Paranormal
Kisses: 5





Blurb:

Gothika: Volume Three

Beasts lurk in the shadows of wild and forgotten places and in the hearts and souls of men. They are the stuff of dreams and nightmares, but are they feral and savage, or just misunderstood? Creatures of myth and legend stalk these tales of dark desire and animal passions. Three men come face-to-face with such creatures and find they are much more than they seem. While there is danger, there might be unexpected benefits as well, if they can accept the impossible and dare to venture into the primordial regions where nature and the beasts still reign. Three acclaimed authors of gay romance explore the boundaries between man and beast and the place where their worlds overlap.

Review:

Claw is a three authored anthology with all stories giving a delightful spin on a well-loved shifter storyline. Each and every story was a fresh take on a this much used theme and I admit, I loved each one of them.

I can’t pick a favorite because I truly enjoyed them all. Each of these authors’ voices are unique and their characters were very intriguing. When I started the book, I had planned on reading just one story then going to bed…WRONG. I ended up reading the entire anthology from start to finish in one setting. I was totally engrossed in all of these characters and the stories they had to tell. Each story brings something special to the book, and I found that very refreshing since anthologies can be a tricky thing.

All stories were character driven with a strong plot-line. All stories kept me at the edge of my seat and every one of them left me wishing for more. If you like shifter stories, Claw is a must read!

I’m definitely going to check out the other two anthologies from these authors. There are 3 Gothika novels. Here they are in series order:

Stitch
Bones
Claw

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

BUY LINK

The Border by Kim Fielding

Title:  The Border

Author: Kim Fielding

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Sub-Genre:   Steampunk

Kisses:      3.5

Blurb:

Injured in a war that has stretched on for years, Sergeant John Peterson guards a lonely border. Aside from passing contact with railship captains, the only person he sees is the enemy: the man who guards the other side of the border. A bad fall places John’s life in the other soldier’s hands. He’s wary of his rescuer, First Lieutenant Thomas Fellowes, but over time he finds himself drawn to his new companion. Both soldiers carry the war in their souls, but they might find peace in each other.

Review:

“The Border” is a story about war veterans and the scars, both internal and external, they carry. Set in a steampunk world, it is a gentle story of acceptance and healing.

I think I liked Thomas’ persistence the best. I can’t say much for fear of spoiling the story, so I won’t.

I’d recommend this story for anyone who likes stories about veterans, learning to cope with the past war and current peace, and sweet stories. It’s a lovely short about two men trying to move on from their pasts.

Reviewed by Alison

BUY LINK:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5149

Steamed Up: a Multi-Authored Anthology


Title: Steamed Up Anthology
Author: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 348
Characters: Multi-Characters
POV: 1st, 3rd
Sub-Genre: Steampunk
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Inventors, pilots, tinkers, and soldiers; magical metals to replace an aging heart or a ruined limb; steam-powered fantasy worlds of clockwork nightingales, automatons, dirigibles, and men. The stories in this anthology visit diverse times in the history of modern man, and the men who populate these tales face war and cruelty, masters and autocrats, illness and poverty and greed. Yet the heat of romance outmatches even the steam engines, and time and again, the gears of love rule the day.

Stories included:
Five to One by Angelia Sparrow
The Clockwork Nightingale’s Song by Amy Rae Durreson
Ace of Hearts by Mary Pletsch
Caress by Eli Easton
The Galatea’s Captain by Anka Grace
Screws by R.D. Hero
The Clockwork Heart by Kim Fielding
The Golden Goose by Mark Lesney
Spindle and Bell by Augusta Li
Untouchable by Layla M. Wier
Swiftsilver by Bell Ellis

Review:

Five to One by Angelia Sparrow

Jonathan Crawford works two jobs to support his best friend, Declan Ferguson, hoping Declan’s inventions will someday make them rich. When Jonathan brings home news of a transcontinental human-powered vehicle race with a million dollar purse, dreams of wealth dance in their heads and they plan to enter a racer built by Declan. Although they’ve shared a room for years, building the racer together gives Jonathan a chance to realize he loves Declan as more than a friend, and Declan loves him back. To make the rest of their dreams come true, they only need to win the race.

This was a beautiful and sexy friends-to-lovers story about two young men, Jonny and Dee, who are poor but dream big. It’s easy to relate to their wish to better themselves and their quality of their lives. A lovely story with a positive message and a good start to the anthology, offering a warm feeling, a rush of excitement in the race, and leaving us with a smile. 5 Stars.

The Clockwork Nightingale’s Song by Amy Rae Durreson

When one of the mechanical nightingales at the Vauxhall Flying Pleasure Gardens refuses to sing, senior mechanic Shem Holloway has to call in the help of its inventor, the arrogant aristocrat, Lord Gabriel Marchmont. The nightingale is lovelorn because of its attachment to a real bird, and while the two men work together to mend the brass bird’s heart, their feelings for each other grow warm. But if they are to move beyond attraction, Shem must overcome his distrust of the upper class and decide whether to risk his own heart on Gabriel.

A working class mechanic, Shem, meets aristocratic, eccentric inventor, Marchmont. Though worlds apart, they find a balance to fix the problem of a broken nightingale on a flying island park. This was a bittersweet story that brought tears in my eyes and a goofy smile on my lips. And the added tale about the bird was absolutely adorable. Loved it. 5+ Stars.

Ace of Hearts by Mary Pletsch

All Aeroplane Mechanic First Class William Pettigrew ever wanted was to fly, but due to an old eye injury, he can only maintain the aircraft and fantasize about the pilots. When Captain James Hinson, war hero and dirigible flying ace, joins the squadron, William catches his eye. But William lacks the confidence to see James’s overtures as anything but friendly interest in his innovations. Then James is shot down over enemy territory, and for William that changes everything. The time has come for him to choose: believe in himself and fly or lose forever the man whose heart he hopes to win.

This one is a love at first sight story—with very little romance. In fact, this reads like a wartime adventure where a captured friend is being rescued from behind enemy lines. I really would have hoped for more interaction between William and James to justify the strength of William’s emotions which leads to reckless behavior. As an action story, however, this was pretty good. 4- stars.

Caress by Eli Easton

During the Crimean war, Colin Davies, a cavalry officer, loses both hands in a grenade blast. A brilliant machinist named Tinker Gray fashions Colin a new pair of hands—strong and capable, but delicate enough to caress. The two first bond over similar views on the war, but when Colin tests the hands, he realizes Tinker loves him. Too soon, Colin is sent back to the front, having been deemed able to fight because of his fine new hands. They’ve had but one kiss, yet love might see them through if they fix their hopes on being together again when the bloodshed is over.

This short story reads like a full-blown novel. The emotions are so close to the surface, the heartbreak of being separated from the love of your life, the horrors of war and weapons tech. Tinker is such a wonderful character that I can see why Colin falls for him. But Colin is being outfitted with killing mechanical hands—a man who hates and fears killing. So Tinker teaches Colin’s hands to caress to give him a reason to live. Simultaneously Tinker’s own mechanical heart learns to love. Gosh, this was such a tearjerker, a perfectly beautiful love story, fragile and tender, a light of life in the midst of the darkness of war. 5+ stars.

The Galatea’s Captain by Anka Grace

When philosopher Kamil Ramses learns the plight of the poor in Camlaan, he offers guidance to its queen. But en route to meet her, his foot becomes gangrenous and must be amputated. Talos is captain of the airship Galatea as well as a brilliant tinker, a far cry from his impoverished childhood. He is summoned to fashion Kamil’s new foot, and Kamil’s distrust is quickly overcome when he sees the fine quality of the captain’s own prosthetic arm. But Talos has only two weeks to make Kamil’s prosthesis. If that’s enough time for Talos to overcome his own prejudices against Kamil’s privileged past, romance might blossom.

A dedicated inventor, who also happens to be a former air pirate, meets an aristocrat who needs a new mechanical foot to replace the one he lost. Both men are surprised with who they meet, demonstrating the theme here: Never judge a book by its cover. Talos, the fair captain, and Kamil, the foreigner in pain, are an unlikely pairing, but they pull it off. A wonderful start for a romance in the air. 4.5 stars.

Screws by R.D. Hero

Spoiled upper-class student Julius Barnes wants to be an inventor, but his father sends him to work in a screw factory to change his perspective. Julius doesn’t exactly charm his co-workers with his condescending attitude, but he is himself charmed by Hank Hooley, a fellow worker whose experience and patience help Julius see things in a new light. But when Julius’s father gives him the go ahead to attend the inventor’s academy, Julius may have to choose between his dreams and love.

Julius frowns upon having to put his dreams on hold to work manual labor, at a screw factory no less. But the rough workman Hank catches his eye, and suddenly dreams are in for a change. This meeting of two very different men is refreshing but not necessarily an all-out romance. Julius falls harder than Hank, or at least it seems that way at first. But the promise of a future together looms ahead, and we’re left with a good outlook for things to come. 4.25 stars.

The Clockwork Heart by Kim Fielding

Dante Winter makes a living repairing broken things. Socially awkward and rejected by his father over his too-fanciful work, he’s alone in the world. Dante’s life changes when he finds a badly damaged male golem, a lifelike automaton created for service and pleasure. He does his best to fix the golem, whom he names Talon, and comes to find that the creature is very human—perhaps more human than Dante. But when Talon tempts him with something more than friendship, Dante must decide whether a clockwork heart is capable of love.

This one was an absolute tearjerker. Dante seems callous at first but, as the title suggests, even hard hearts can learn to love. Talon is a wonderful character, probably the bubbliest and chattiest artificial life form I’ve ever read about. Absolutely adored him, and hated how hard his life had been, how he’d been used as a sex slave and then dismantled and left in the trash, unable to get away or die. Horrible. The relationship between Dante and Talon was a fascinating read, a wonderful, heart-warming romance. 5 stars.

The Golden Goose by Mark Lesney

Fleeing a failed robbery, a usually-successful thief in late Victorian London saves the handsome Viscount Gordon Philip Dennis from an attack by his assistant. The thief’s motives aren’t altruistic—he wants the riches that might line his pockets if the viscount’s gold collecting machine really works. But the assistant who attacked the peer isn’t who he seems; his employers are bent on making the freethinking viscount’s invention fail. When another attack is mounted, it becomes clear the ruffians are backed by British bankers. Amidst danger and despite differences, the thief and the viscount fall in love. To survive and be together they must face the dangers and attempt a truly daring escape.

I didn’t really feel the romance here. In fact, I didn’t feel much of an attraction either. There was a lot of long inner musings for such a short story, things that could have been worked into dialogue. Nonetheless, the beginning of this story was by far the funniest in the whole anthology. Loved it! And there’s a bit more action in this story than in the others, and with a dedicated bad guy to give our mad inventor heroes trouble. 4- stars.

Spindle and Bell by Augusta Li

Spindle steals to pay his benefactor for his drug-laced “special milk.” He’s addicted and lonely—though he doesn’t realize how alone he is until he meets Bel. Bel is near death from a plague that has all of London terrified, but he dreams of having a chance to be seen as a man again, and to see again the wonders of the city he loves. And maybe, if Bel can have a night of love with Spindle, they can both find the freedom and strength they need the most.

If the other stories were tearjerkers, this is the mother of those. A beautiful, bittersweet tale about a thief boy with an opium addiction and an aristocratic inventor with a deadly illness. A sort of happy ending is in store—but only for one. An amazing story, though a bit light on the steampunk aspects. Yet I didn’t care because of the sheer devastating emotional turmoil of this love story. 5 stars.

Untouchable by Layla M. Wier

Prohibition agent Agamemnon Rawson is a loose cannon with a clockwork heart and a reputation for catching his quarry by any means. His new partner, by-the-book Agent George Aldis, is supposed to keep him out of trouble. As the two face danger together while investigating Capone’s bootleg whisky operation, Rawson begins to realize his clockwork heart is not as untouchable as he claims.

Prohibition in the Americas—but with a very different kind of technological development. Intriguing. Aldis is new to the job while Rawson, with his clockwork heart, has done the job for a long time. An action story of finding and taking down bad guys, smuggling booze in blimps, was a good one. The romance is subtle and sweet, regardless of the age difference. 4.25 stars.

Swiftsilver by Bell Ellis

Thio is the next Baron Tenet of Lessings and a self-styled genius inventor, but he sometimes invents flying machines that don’t fly. When Thio crashes his aircar into the alchemist’s shop, he meets Seamus, the alchemist’s abused apprentice. Seamus has invented swiftsilver, a marvelous substance, and while he takes care of Thio’s injuries, they begin a friendship and start inventing things together. Seamus’s master tries to end their relationship, but Thio remains undaunted. He rescues Seamus and takes him to his estate, where they experiment with swiftsilver, flying machines, and romance. Life brings a storm of responsibilities and obstacles, but love might flourish if they can remain devoted and determined no matter where the wind takes them.

The anthology ends on a positive note and with another story that reads like a bigger novel. Seamus is an alchemist-in-training for a monstrous boss when Thio, an enthusiastic inventor, literally crashlands on his doorstep. Thio is overzealous with insane ideas as he learns through mistakes and errors, usually explosive. Seamus becomes his perfect partner, stabilizing and calming, thoughtful and rational. Their romance is absolutely beautiful, first-time discoveries of sensuality and love. The message here is life-affirming and I was so pleased the two men could fly together in the end, having already helped make the world a better place. A great conclusion to the anthology. 5+ stars.

Reviewed By: Susan

BUY LINK