Lydia Reviews: The Escort by Jeff Erno


TITLE: The Escort
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Self Published through Amazon
Pages: 279
Characters: Travis Sheppard and Darren Kinney
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

At twenty-five, Travis Sheppard knows all about taking care of himself. He’s been on his own since the age of seventeen, and he learned long ago how to use his assets and natural-born talent to get what he needs…and wants. Travis is a hustler, a male escort, and he caters to men of means who like to shower him with gifts and cash in exchange for his affection—sometimes for his mere presence.

When Travis accepts an overnight gig with a new client, he’s surprised by the fact the customer has pre-paid. When Travis arrives at the gentleman’s surprisingly modest home, he learns that his client is an accomplished, best-selling author. Darren, otherwise known as DJ Torrent, makes Travis a proposal. He wants Travis to accompany him to a gay literature conference. The catch is that for their five days together, Travis is to be more to Darren than just his escort. Darren wants Travis to pose as his husband.

Review:

The Escort is one of Mr. Erno’s latest releases. The main characters, Travis and Darren, are well written and pull you into their story from the beginning. While readers may have a hard time imagining these two together, they really do mesh well.

Travis is an escort. When he found himself on the street as a kid, it was the only job he could find. It is not a job for everyone but it is one he is good at. His latest client surprises him in many ways. Darren is a well-known author. Normally he stays home writing and socializing with fans on social media. But a convention is coming up, one he needs to attend and Darren needs someone to pose as his husband. Enter Travis.

I loved watching these two together. Travis teaches Darren how to come out of his shell, while Darren teaches Travis about love. The author does a wonderful job with these two men, bringing them and their story alive in a way that is believable.

As much as I loved the relationship between these two, the secondary characters are just as engrossing and I loved how they helped bring the story alive. I have never been to a GRL retreat and I realized that a lot of poetic license was used for this story, but I could not help wondering if some of the craziness that goes on in this book isn’t based on some actual events. Many times, I found myself laughing at what was going on. While most of the secondary characters are friendly, there is one that throws the men’s lives into turmoil. Thankfully he does not do too much damage and the way he is handled will make many readers happy I am sure.

Fans of Mr. Erno’s are sure to love The Escort. I cannot wait to see what the author will bring us next and think The Escort is a great book for anyone wanting to give this author a try.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to purchase The Escort by Jeff Erno

Gabbi Reviews: Hot Under the Collar by Summer Devon


Title: Hot Under the Collar
Author: Summer Devon
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 89
Characters: Sam Trevisani and Dan Bailey
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4

Blurb:

Attorney Sam Trevisani never thought he’d play the bad guy, but now his job to stop a dog park makes him the enemy of every dog owner in town—and whenever he meets his main opponent, Dan Bailey, the vet gives him the evil eye. Tired of playing for the wrong side, Sam has to find a solution. Maybe the tempting Dr. Bailey can help him find a solution for his restless need for change. Or maybe it’s his attraction to the vet that pushes Sam to pay a late-night visit.

Tired of town politics and manipulative games, Dan has no interest in helping the flashy lawyer. Yet Sam’s dogged interest in him proves oddly appealing. Dan reluctantly allows the attractive lawyer into his house and sparks fly. Sam doesn’t mind hookups, but Dan doesn’t do them–yet in one night, they both change their minds.

Determined to keep Dan from running away from something promising between them, Sam has to get past his attorney uncle, Dan’s pack of misfit dogs, and a powerful but unpleasant client who could end not only the dog park but any chance of romance between the lawyer and the vet.

Review:

Summer Devon is a must read author for me. I read many of her books and I’ve enjoyed each and every one of them. Who doesn’t love an enemies-to-lovers romance? Throw in adorable dogs and some heated chemistry between the two heroes and I’m in! I’m pleased to say that Hot Under the Collar is a fun and flirty romance that was a well-spent escape from the everyday ho-hum life I lead.

What I liked about this couple was the banter and the shock they share from the realization that, despite their past negative feelings for one another, that they really do like one another. Though their relationship develops quickly, it was pretty well-written and an enjoyable read.

While Sam goes through some self-discovery and much needed personal growth it was fun watching Dan be perplexed by the determination Sam had to both change and to be an important partner in Dan’s life. I have a feeling that in the future these two men will be develop a strong emotional bond and be a couple who will have an amazing relationship.

Though I really enjoyed this book, I do wish it had been longer. I thought the ending was a tad bit abrupt. But, I still liked this story even though I found myself wishing for more.

If you are looking for a smoothly written and sexy romance then Hot Under the Collar is definitely a great choice if you are looking for a hot and sizzling summer read. I can’t wait to read more by this author and will definitely be looking forward to more from her in the future.

Recommended.

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE To purchase Hot Under the Collar by Summer Devon

Anne Reviews: After the Snow by Lane Swift


Title: After The Snow
Author: Lane Swift
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 150
Characters: Dale Hepburn/Nick Harris
POV: 1st
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Series
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

To be that perfect someone doesn’t mean you have to be perfect…
Christmas is over, but Dale Hepburn is determined to show his new British love, Nick Harris, how much fun a Michigan winter can be, starting with outdoor ice skating lessons. His life would be perfect—if he wasn’t secretly trying to dig himself out of an avalanche of debt that he doesn’t want Nick to know about. After all, Nick believes Dale is reliable, sensible, and solvent.

But while Dale works extra hours, and saves every spare cent, and hopes Nick never finds out about his past financial mistakes, unforeseen expenses keep piling on like Michigan’s unrelenting snow. And to make matters worse, there’s that little white lie Dale told Nick about having another teaching job lined up after the end of his current contract…

An emotionally tense romance with a satisfying HFN

Review:

This is my first Lane Swift story, but it definitely won’t be my last. After The Snow is the second in this contemporary series, and although I haven’t read More Than Christmas which introduces Dale and Nick, I was able to follow and enjoy this story without any problem.

Dale and Nick come from very different backgrounds, and although we see Nick through Dale’s somewhat rose tinted glasses it’s still a realistic relationship. I loved the fact that Nick is British and the contrast between Dale’s speech and Nick’s ‘Brit speak.’ There was also a fleeting reference to one of my favourite animes, which I must admit made me squee.

I liked the way in which the story showed how one small omission of truth can grow into an impossible situation and the dangers in trying to pretend to something you’re not. Dale’s money issues were realistically written, and showed clearly how a few wrong choices made by a man trying to do the right thing can build into a major problem. Dale and Nick are both very likeable characters and their relationship is sweet, although both are far from perfect. Their argument is well written, and I liked the way their problems are not easily fixed and they take things slow while they work things through. The author makes them work for their happy ending and I thought that made it a lot more satisfying.

I also enjoyed reading about the supporting cast. They were three dimensional, and not without their own faults and problems. The descriptions of the settings made the story very visual and easy to imagine.

I’d recommend After The Snow to readers who enjoy a contemporary romance in which the characters come from different backgrounds, and a story which keeps you reading as the author makes her characters work for their happy ending.

Reviewed By: Anne

BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/After-Snow-Michigan-Seasons-Book-ebook/dp/B06XRFG14L/

Gabbi Reviews: Married for a Month by Cate Ashwood


Title: Married for a Month
Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 171
Characters: Chase Bradley, Alec Montero
POV: Alternating 1st person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Best friends since high school, Chase Bradley and Alec Montero are opposites in almost every way. The one thing they can agree on, though, is that marriage is for suckers.

Everything is going their way until a drunken bet leads Alec and Chase to the altar. Their temporary “I Do’s” aren’t as amusing in the sober light of day when they find themselves thrown into married life and everything that goes with it.

The question they have to ask themselves now is, can their friendship survive being married for a month?

Review:

Married for a Month is a sexy romance filled with plenty of warm and fuzzy moments that will lighten your heart and bring a smile to your face. Cate Ashwood’s latest is a must read for anyone who craves a well-written friends-to-lovers romance.

The blurb does a good job describing the story, so I won’t rehash it. Who doesn’t enjoy a fun and romping romance between two best friends? The great thing about this story is that Ms. Ashwood wrote a true kinship between these two men, and I honestly enjoyed the banter and genuine feelings of friendship and affection they shared between them.

Watching Chase and Alec’s relationship develop into something more was a delightful way to spend my afternoon. As a reader, I appreciated the their relationship evolved…believe me, though they are best friends and know just about everything about one another, it’s not a smooth transition, but once they allow themselves to truly admit the feelings they have for one another…buckle up because it is a delicious romp of a ride!

Even BETTER was the sexual chemistry between these two men. Once they finally fall into a physical relationship, they entered into a realm of sexual desire and satisfaction that left this reader turning on the air conditioner in the middle of winter. Whew! I swear my computer screen steamed up from their steaming, sizzling need for one another and I LOVED it!

Married for a Month is a simply delightful read and a perfect way to escape the ho-hums of everyday life. I loved this book and can’t wait to read more books by Ms. Ashwood in the future.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Married for a Month

Anne Reviews: The Necromancer’s Dilemma by SJ Himes


TITLE: The Necromancer’s Dilemma
Author: SJ Himes
Publisher: SJ Himes
Pages: 200
Characters: Angel/Simeon, Daniel, Isaac
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Urban Fantasy
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

The Beacon Hill Sorcerer Book 2
Even love can die without trust.

Angel’s brother, Isaac, has returned home, and the pair begin to make slow and awkward attempts back to each other. Learning how to be a brother to a grown man instead of a parental figure has Angel adjusting his behaviors and habits, and Isaac still remains a mystery. Was it merely entering adulthood that turned Isaac away from an overprotective Angel, or does Isaac carry a secret that will keep them from finally being a real family?
Daniel Macavoy, Angel’s new apprentice, is torn between his bond with Angel and the grasping machinations of his father. Dealing with a traumatized apprentice with dangerous holes in his magical education, saving Daniel may be harder than Angel first thought—especially since the biggest problem is not revenge, but guilt.

The one shining beacon in his life is Simeon, Elder vampire of Boston’s only Bloodclan. Four hundred years old and sexy as sin, Simeon is warrior and sage, patient and cunning. The strength Angel draws from Simeon’s devotion and the newborn mate-bond between them is steadfast and true…and the fount of death magic that animates the undead lord places Angel in the midst of a power struggle for control over himself, his lover, and his family.

Through it all, Angel is beleaguered by the unwanted attention of a troll-hybrid, the adventures of a dragon in the city, and a serial killer has decided to hunt the back alleys and midnight streets of Boston.

Review:

An enormous thank you to Embrace the Rainbow Book Promotions for my review copy of this book. I love it when the sequel to a book I love turns up as review copy. Although I read these back to back, I’m playing catch up writing reviews, hence reading these last year yet only reviewing them now.

Book two of this series by SJ Himes continues the story of Angel and Simeon and the two younger men they’re now responsible for—Isaac and Daniel. As well as building on the relationship between Angel and Simeon, there’s also more screen time from Isaac and Daniel. I enjoyed the different perspectives in this story, and the expansion of their world as backgrounds were explored, and some of the history hinted at in the first book was revealed in more detail.

I loved the bond between Angel and Simeon in particular, and the way it affected both men as they learned to adjust to the presence of each other in their lives. As with the first book I was on the edge of my seat and needing to keep reading to find out what happens next. The action is exciting and I was caught up in the story from the beginning. The reveal of the bad guy is very well done, and Eroch is just wonderful throughout.

There’s a bonus short at the end of the book too—very enjoyable.

I’d recommend The Necromancer’s Dilemma to readers who enjoy urban fantasy series with detailed world building, layered characters who grow as the story progresses, hot vampires, and lots of action.

Reviewed By: Anne

BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Necromancers-Dilemma-Beacon-Hill-Sorcerer-ebook/dp/B01HVJZEM6/

Anne Reviews: The Necromancer’s Dance by SJ Himes


TITLE: The Necromancer’s Dance
Author: SJ Himes
Publisher: SJ Himes
Pages: 193
Characters: Angel/Simeon
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Urban Fantasy
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

The Beacon Hill Sorcerer – Book 1

In a world where magic is real and evil walks amongst humanity, a young sorcerer is beset upon by enemies, both old and new. Angelus Salvatore is the only necromancer in all of Boston, and his name is whispered warily by the undead and fellow sorcerers alike. He and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of an attack by an army of the undead, in which Angel used a spell so powerful it forever marked his place in history. Now, years later, Angel struggles to balance his career as a teacher of the higher magical arts, his role as big brother, and a tenuous relationship with an Elder vampire from the local clan. When his brother’s boyfriend is used as a pawn in a mysterious plot to draw Angel out, Angel is once again pulled back into the old hostilities that fueled the Blood Wars and led to his family’s death.

Leaning on others for help is something Angel cannot do, and while he searches for clues into who may be targeting him and his brother, Angel finds his heart steadily growing occupied with Simeon, Elder and vampire. Dealing with death magic and vampires on a daily basis may leave Angel jaded when it comes to life and staying that way, but the more time he spends fending off the ancient vampire’s attention and affections, the more he realizes he wants to give in.

Can Angel find out who wants him dead, and keep his heart safe in the process? How can he fall for a vampire, when his whole family was torn apart by an army of the undead?

Death stalks the streets of Boston’s historic Beacon Hill….and there is no one more suited to battle against death than a necromancer.

MATURE CONTENT Contains graphic violence, male/male sexual contact, a cranky necromancer, a sexy Irish vampire, and a pesky demon.

Review:

I read a lot of books in e-book format, mainly because of availability and price, but I prefer to have hardcopies of my favourites. This book by SJ Himes, and its sequel, are ones I want to purchase in hardcopy, and on my list of favourite books I’ve read in 2016. I’m now hanging out for book 3 of the series.

I’ve always enjoyed a good urban fantasy story, and bonus points for vampires. The Necromancer’s Dance hooked me in immediately. Angel is an interesting character, a necromancer who lost most of his family in a war between them and vampires. He doesn’t make connections easily, and he also makes mistakes. These traits made him very appealing as a character—I prefer reading about flawed men and women as those who are “practically perfect in every way” tend to become boring very quickly. The other MC in this book is Simeon, an old Celtic vampire. Celtic and vampire. That got my attention very quickly, as did his personality quirks. He is another man who keeps to himself, and is very patient waiting for what or rather who he wants. The supporting characters are also interesting, and I’m hoping to learn more about them in future books. I especially loved Eroch, especially in his later form.

The world building in this book is very detailed, which along with its characters, was something that very much appealed to me. I felt as though I’d walked into a world with history. It’s our world, and yet it’s not as the public are aware of the presence of supernats, and have been for a while. I enjoyed the care the author took with this world’s magic systems, and how the various supernats’ powers etc worked.

The plot sets up the world and its characters very well, but although it can be read alone, it definitely sets up for further stories. I was on the edge of my seat reading, and sat up far too late needing to know what happens next.

Although there are a few repeated bits of information which I thought weren’t needed, and some typos, it definitely didn’t distract from the story or my enjoyment of it.

More please.

I’d recommend The Necromancer’s Dance to readers who enjoy urban fantasy with interesting characters, romance which doesn’t slow down the pace, and detailed world building.

Reviewed By: Anne

BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Necromancers-Dance-Beacon-Hill-Sorcerer-ebook/dp/B01C8VW8GC/

Susan Reviews: The Mistletoe Effect by Cate Ashwood


Title: The Mistletoe Effect
Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 79
POV: 3rd
Genres: Contemporary, Holiday Romance, Gay
Kisses: 5

Blurb:

Although Christmas is his favorite time of year, all is not merry and bright for Danny Ellis. After being laid off and facing eviction, he’s eager to make a fresh start. When a friend mentions an opportunity in Sin City, he packs up and heads west. Unfortunately, plans run awry when his truck breaks down a little more than halfway there and he’s stranded in the cold with no money, nowhere to stay, and no way to get to Vegas.

‘Tis the season, but not for Merrick Holland, who loves being a part of the community in the small town of Rowley Bridge. Christmas has been a little tainted since his father died three years ago, and when people start to deck the halls, he withdraws. When Merrick finds a man asleep inside his bakery one morning, rather than call the police, Merrick makes him a cup of coffee, and after hearing his story offers him a job and a place to stay.

The two men strike up an unlikely friendship, but with Christmas only three weeks away, could a little holiday magic bring them together?

Review:

Despite the novella length, you get a complete story with fully fleshed out characters, a decent and evocative plot, and some wonderful banter and snappy dialogue, not to mention awesomely hot sex.

Merrick and Danny are just super-adorable, together and apart. You want a happy ending for them more than anything. Though this isn’t a long tale, you get a sense of both men, their past and present, what kind of men they are. The town of Rowley Bridge is featured so well too that it almost feels like the town is the third main character, a charming and quaint little place, perfect for settling down, and not just for the holidays.

The plot is pretty much described in the blurb. A happy holiday story with very little angst and a lot of positive feels. Danny being out on his luck and Merrick having lost that Christmas feeling, you know they will find it all through friendship and love. That, I suppose, is the magical power of the mistletoe, daring to take a chance on love.

The writing is fluent and the pace moves along nicely. For a self-published work, this has virtually no editing snafus, a missing word here, a wrong name there. Nothing that took me out of the story. Ashwood is a talented author, no question of that.

So if you’re in the mood for a well-written, engaging love story set around the holidays, this is most definitely for you.

Highly recommended.

Reviewed By: Susan

Click Here to purchase The Mistletoe Effect