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Archive for the ‘Sequel’ Category

choclTitle: Truffles and Leather
Author: Winnie Jerome
Length: 7,400 words (27 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m BDSM contemporary
Rating: B

Blurb:

Cody and Jaime from “Pop, Pop, Snap!” are back in this sweet sequel. There isn’t a Guinness World Record for Worst Valentine’s Day, but Cody’s sure that last year, he and his then-boyfriend Keith would have made it in spades.

He’s determined to make this year’s celebration perfect by surprising Jaime with the best homemade truffles ever. It’s a simple plan, but Murphy’s Law seems to have its own ideas…

Review:

I reviewed Pop, Pop, Snap back in Aug. 2011 (wow, so long ago). I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters, especially with Jaime being the dominant partner, but not really looking the role. This little addition doesn’t add significantly to their story, but it was a nice spicy interlude.

Valentine’s is coming, and Cody is still feeling guilty about choosing the wrong guy, even though he’s corrected that and wants to do something nice for Jaime for Valentine’s. He convinces his friend who is a chef to teach him how to make truffles. It goes pretty well, however he’s running a bit late getting home and then gets distracted by the internet and burns the chocolate. He runs out again to buy more but he can’t find the right type and buys something he hopes will work. Not so much.

When Jaime gets home, he doesn’t appreciates the thought and they use the remaining chocolate which was for dipping them for a little body painting fun, followed by some BDSM Valentine’s sex. The chemistry between the two is off the charts and they have as wide assortment of toys and leather that they use, in this case a Pyrex dildo, blindfold and cuffs. The story is told from Cody’s POV so you don’t get into Jaime’s head much, but you know he loves Cody and they are highly compatible.

If you enjoyed the first book, I think you’ll enjoy this one as well. You certainly don’t have to have read the first story. Enough background is tossed out here to make their history clear, so don’t let that stop you if the subject matter appeals.

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firefliesTitle: Catching Fireflies
Author: KC Kendricks
Length: 20,000 words (80 pdf pages)
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating:  C+

Blurb:

Sequel to the Amber Allure best-seller Between The Moon And The Deep Blue Sea

Dale Langley longs for some triple R time—rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. He accepts his cousin’s invitation to winter over on Ocracoke Island, far away from the hustle and bustle of life on the mainland. He’s always loved being a rolling stone, traveling for his job without the worry of a place to call home, but it’s time for something different. Now Dale anticipates several blissful months to learn how to be still with no demands on his time while he prepares for the next phase of his life.

Aubrey Zimmerman came to Ocracoke to attend a friend’s commitment ceremony. Never one to settle down, Aubrey’s had enough of involvements that took him from man to man without a place to call home. He needs a break—and a little solitude. Housesitting while his friend is on his honeymoon is the perfect way to clear his head and catch up on his sleep. At least it seemed that way until Dale arrived and Aubrey realized sleep is the last thing he needs.

Fate has changes in store for Dale and Aubrey, the sort neither one knew they wanted. Sometimes the more you wander the closer to home you get.

Review:

I did not realize this was a sequel but it really can be read as a standalone. The couple from the first book feature in this as Aubrey’s friends, but they how they got together doesn’t really play a big role.

Dale has been recovering after he was attacked by some thugs when stopped at a red light and nearly killed. He just can’t face going back to work as a travel writer and has been let go. However living with his mother is not working, so his cousin invites him to come and live in the old family home on Oracoke Island where they used to spend summers with his grandparents. The first day there he sees a gorgeous man, and is told they are invited to celebrate the commitment ceremony of the neighbors. Despite having been rather reclusive since the attack, Dale is happy to go along since the good-looking guy he saw is a friend of the couple. Within seconds of meeting, Dale and Aubrey are flirting up a storm and by the end of the night, despite Aubrey saying he would sleep with him, they are in Dale’s bed having some fun. However Aubrey has his own demons, only recently breaking up with is older lover and also having survived a life changing event when he was gay bashed.

This book has a very distinctive feel to the prose. I won’t say it’s purple prose because it’s not. It doesn’t lapse into ridiculous euphemisms, however it is more flower (for lack of a better term) than most of the books I read, and to be honest that I prefer. An example:

His tongue was silky warm on mine as our hands stroked skin, each careful not to race ahead of the other. I tore my lips from his and kissed my way down his neck, dipping beneath the covers to go lower. In the hot darkness, the rich scent of male musk filled my senses, making me breathe in the heady fragrance.

I know some people love prose which evokes scents and emotions, but for me I find it distracting because I find myself wondering if someone would really think like that?

I did like Dale’s cousin a great deal. He’s straight but has no issues with flirting or just having fun with gay men. I did find the fact that he had won the lottery and thus was able to refinish the house and not work a bit convenient, but I liked his character. I didn’t get to know Aubrey very well, but Dale’s memories of family and childhood were nicely done and evocative of childhood lost. I think readers who enjoy a very prose rich story will enjoy this, but it may not work as well for those of us who enjoy a bit more straightforward method of storytelling.

Sequel to the Amber Allure best-seller Between The Moon And The Deep Blue Sea

Dale Langley longs for some triple R time—rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. He accepts his cousin’s invitation to winter over on Ocracoke Island, far away from the hustle and bustle of life on the mainland. He’s always loved being a rolling stone, traveling for his job without the worry of a place to call home, but it’s time for something different. Now Dale anticipates several blissful months to learn how to be still with no demands on his time while he prepares for the next phase of his life.

Aubrey Zimmerman came to Ocracoke to attend a friend’s commitment ceremony. Never one to settle down, Aubrey’s had enough of involvements that took him from man to man without a place to call home. He needs a break—and a little solitude. Housesitting while his friend is on his honeymoon is the perfect way to clear his head and catch up on his sleep. At least it seemed that way until Dale arrived and Aubrey realized sleep is the last thing he needs.

Fate has changes in store for Dale and Aubrey, the sort neither one knew they wanted. Sometimes the more you wander the closer to home you get.

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Title: Taking Inventory, A Hammer Story
Author: Sean Michael
Length: 3,500 words (16 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m BDSM contemporary
Rating: C

Blurb:

Marcus is getting ready for a leather convention and Jim is helping his Master take inventory. There’s nothing better than the smell of leather and his Master nearby, and Jim is happy as a clam. Happy enough that even Marcus pushing can only bring joy.

Markus and Jim first appear in the Hammer novel Bent.

Review:

My rating on this is not based on the quality or characterisation, it fits perfectly well within the series and specifically for Marcus and Jim, however the story is essentially one sex scene between the men with little context and no real progression of the relationship.

Jim is helping Marcus do inventory before a large leather show. It doesn’t take them long until some teasing from Marcus leads to some hot sex in the store room, using some scraps of leather and other toys on hand. The banter between the two is fairly typical of them, Jim being shy and a little unsure and Marcus pushing. Although it’s never said, I think Jim has Aspergers, since most of the time he really doesn’t get the nuances of Marcus’ teasing. While the reader can see that Marcus is just fooling around, Jim isn’t sure if he’s upset with him for some reason.

Fans of Marcus and Jim will enjoy this little peek at their HEA life now. However for people who aren’t familiar with their relationship, the rather romantic and sappy (in a good way) that they treat each other now, is not how they originally started out, when Jim fought his submissive side in a big way. There’s not much to say, it’s pure Marcus and Jim having sex. Don’t expect to learn much more about their lives outside of that short period of the story.

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Title: You Think You Know Someone…
Author: Glyn Soitiño
Length: 10,900 words (39 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal
Rating:  B

Blurb:

It’s Halloween, and incubus Rafael is looking forward to a fun night out with his lover, demon-hunter Dominic. But Halloween can be a busy time of year for demon-hunters, and Rafael is not surprised when Dominic has to go to work instead.

Dominic and Rafael have been together for a long time, and Dominic thinks he knows just about everything there is to know about his sweet little twink of an incubus. But Dominic’s mission this evening does not go at all according to plan, and tonight he’s about to find out that sometimes, though you may think you know someone, you really don’t know them at all.

Review:

This is a follow-up to Hungry, which again… is not mentioned anywhere in the blurb. I was reading and thinking “this sounds familiar”. Luckily I found I had reviewed Hungry so it all made more sense. It could be read as a stand-alone, but I would say read book 1 first to get the full impact.

Life is still good for Dominic and Rafael. Rafael is as twinky as ever, and catering to Dominic’s every whim taking care of him. He’s hopeful that this Halloween, Dominic will get some time off and they can go out and have fun. However when Dominic’s informant tells him two low-level demons are planning a human sacrifice, party plans are off. Dominic recruits a couple of new employees to be his back-up and they start their plan.

Only like all good plans, this one goes to hell in a hand basket (nearly literally) when the whole thing seems to have been a set-up to get to Dominic. Rafael’s dad is determined to introduce him to the whole family, and at the same time get to Rafael by killing Dominic. However Rafael’s not just the cute innocent harmless twink his file says he is, and he barrels in to the rescue, leaving Dominic wondering if he even knows the guy he’s been with for 20 years.

I adore Rafael. He’s the ultimate incubus twink, who just happens to feed off human semen. It is mentioned that when Dominic’s away, he has to find other donors, which Dominic doesn’t like, but the demon can’t starve to death. I thought Rafael was very logical as well when he explains why he kept his secrets and I liked that Dominic was also sensible, and not a “play it by the book” or “get bent out shape because Rafael didn’t tell him” kind of guy. Sure, he was a bit hurt, but once it made sense, he was okay. I like when characters are sensible sometimes. 🙂

I do enjoy this author’s voice a great deal. Her characters are often fun and light without being too flighty, and they just appeal to me a great deal. This is no exception and as I said, while you can read it as a stand-alone (enough of Dominic and Rafael’s past is explained to make it clear), it’s more fun if you read Hungry first to really get a feel for their relationship. And you may never look at bacon drippings the same way again.  😀

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Title: Valentine Wish
Author: Eden Winters
Length: 36 pdf pages.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m romance
Rating: B-

Blurb:

Isaac Lewis left the gangs behind to remake himself. He’s a street fighter turned gym rat, a thug turned honest man—only his loneliness hasn’t changed.

Success as a restaurateur hasn’t erased Thierry Guillaume’s insecurities. Well-padded in a world where looks matter, he’s been grasping at crumbs of affection. Can Isaac convince him he deserves the whole cake?

Review:

When I requested this for review I hadn’t realised it was a sequel to a novel, The Wish, nor that it was a re-release of a title originally published with Torquere in 2010. However, since I enjoy Winter’s writing I set about reading The Wish so that I could do the sequel justice. I have to admit, I sometimes wonder at the wisdom in rereleasing older titles, as it’s clear Winter’s writing has improved significantly since she wrote the novel. I’m not about to launch into a review of the novel, but I just wanted to make the point that you don’t really need to read it first. Isaac and Thierry are very much minor characters who only make the occasional appearance in the original. While your experience of reading Valentine Wish might be enhanced if you know who Alex and Paul are, I don’t think you’ll suffer unduly if you don’t.

This short is entirely from Isaac’s point of view, as he celebrates his Valentine’s Day birthday. More accustomed to visiting Berkley’s as the chauffeur for his rich employers, Isaac  has gotten to know the owner and head chef over time. For a long time Thierry was unavailable but now he’s single again, and Isaac is determined to have his birthday wish.

I loved the fact that Winters has made a big bear of a man the object of Isaac’s affection. As Isaac himself points out to Thierry, he likes to snuggle and that just wouldn’t be possible with another gym rat. Isaac genuinely lusts after Thierry’s ample, hairy body and doesn’t care about his age. This was a refreshing change in a genre which usually only eroticises the lean, muscular and young.

Another part of the story that worked particularly well for me was the scene where Isaac sees off Thierry’s no-good ex, Victor. Isaac calls on his street fighter past to deal with the sleazy thug, rescuing Thierry from the man’s clutches. As Isaac observes, the Frenchman is a lover, not a fighter, and can only cower in fear while Victor threatens him. While this didn’t make him particularly heroic, it added a note of realism and Thierry certainly stirred up protective feelings in me, just as he did in Isaac.

What didn’t work so well for me, though, was the slow start. The first five pages were a mix of exposition to tell us Isaac’s past and present, and description of the restaurant. These pages really dragged for me, and even when Isaac begins interacting with the other guests, we still don’t see anything of Thierry for a few more pages. They don’t spend a great deal of page time together at all, with very little conversation, so although I got a sense that perhaps they could work well as a couple, I didn’t really see the connection. The sex between them was both hot and affectionate, however, so lovers of erotic romance should enjoy that part.

I was also puzzled by a minor detail, but enough for it to drag me out of the story. We are told by Isaac that Thierry has only just become single, otherwise he’d have made a move earlier. However, later Paul says that Thierry has been single for six months. I wondered if this was an error that should have been caught in edits, because six months is a pretty long time by most people’s standards.

In short, then, this is a pretty well-written story with two appealingly different protagonists, and although it was slow to start, I enjoyed it by the end. The very last paragraph in particular was genius, and left me with a grin on my face.

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Title: Lessons Learned (Hitman’s Creed #2)
Author: Edward Kendrick
Length: 12,753 words (65 pdf pages)
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: C+

Blurb:

When a friend of Joey’s disappears, ex-hitman, Glenn, and Joey, his young cop lover, fear the kidnapper may be a hitman sent to kill Glenn. Now they must find their missing friend and stop the killer before he gets to Glenn.

When his former boyfriend disappears, young small-town cop Joey and his ex-hitman lover Glenn set to work to discover what happened to him. In the process they decide Nate has been abducted by a hitman who may be looking for Glenn. Now they must find Nate and stop the hitman before he can succeed in killing Glenn. In the process they must learn to trust in each other’s abilities if Glenn, and their love for each other, is to survive.

Review:

You don’t have to have read the prequel to this story Hitman’s Creed but it helps you to understand the dynamic of the two main characters if you do. Things are going well for former hitman (now working freelance for the government) Glenn and Joey who is now a police officer in his small town. However their romantic interlude is interrupted with news that Joey’s ex, and now friend of the couple, Nate has disappeared. Thanks to Glenn’s expertise, they determine that it looks like Nate may have interrupted an assassin in action. They then begin the hunt. Once he’s found, Glenn decides that he is the target of the assassin and sets out to lure him in.

A big part of the first story was Glenn’s insistence that Joey was two young as he’s 13 years younger than Glenn, and that continues here, although Joey’s mother sets him straight about trying to over-protect Joey. There’s a lot of discussion about Glenn’s past and whether what he did was morally wrong and did that make him a bad person. My biggest issue was if this first guy found Glenn, someone hired him, which means there will be more coming won’t there? Mind you, it ends that night so they don’t really have time to think about it, but I’m thinking it wouldn’t be the end.

I was curious about Nate and I felt a bit bad in the first book when he ended up being tossed aside for Glenn, but I was glad to see he had found a new guy Rory and I would be interested in their story. I always tend to get curious about secondary characters. The emphasis on this story is solving Nate’s disappearance and then determining how to trick the assassin into coming after Glenn so they have the upper hand. If you like that kind of thing, or you liked the couple in the first book it will be a nice follow-up to see them coping with life together. All in all I thought it was a good follow-up to the first story.

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Title: A Sky Full of Wings (Notice #3)
Author: M. Raiya
Length: 15,100 words (55 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal
Rating: B

Blurb:

You’re invited to a dragon’s wedding!
That’s right! Varian and Josh from the Notice series are getting married! There will be swooning (not by whom you’d expect) and wings (not on whom you’d expect) and champagne, roses and rainbows. Warning: there will also be mysterious prophecies, swords, and uninvited guests from the distant past. And the grooms will get a wedding gift beyond their wildest dreams.

Find Varian and Josh in Notice, and in Nice: The Dragon and the Mistletoe.

Review:

I have been enjoying this series since I read the first story Notice which you pretty much need to read to understand this one. It could be read as a stand-alone but you’d likely have a few questions and not find it very rewarding, so I recommend you pick up Notice first.

Dragon Varian and his boyfriend Josh are about to get married. Varian is nervous, but when he accidentally peeks in Josh’s head as he waits at the altar and sees what Josh is wearing, he starts to freak. It was quite funny, as for many years Varian lived completely in the closet, about both his sexuality and his dragon nature. Finally in Notice, when he nearly lost Josh, he fully came out, well, not about the dragon thing to everyone.

Also, the night before the wedding Varian had a meeting with an old dying woman who tells him the “Old Ones” are watching him and Josh and his brother Hamilton. All Varian wants is that they don’t crash the wedding as many human guests are there as well. However during the reception they are called to the hillside and some dragon information is revealed.

I just loved Josh. He’s completely flamboyant and in one of the other books he even kind of hinted that he likes cross-dressing but wasn’t sure he wanted to do it all the time and Varian was completely supportive of him. But Varian still doesn’t understand why beautiful talented outgoing Josh would want him when he could have anyone. It’s rather sweet. There is a bit of sweet to these two and perhaps a bit of coincidental happiness for them at the end, but there is definitely more story to tell now that the Old One and his companion have contacted them.

The wedding was fun and you get to see many characters from the first stories so that was nice and as I said, Varian’s unease with being the center of attention and being so “out” was rather amusing, but he did it because he loved Josh, and that was what Josh wanted. They are quite a romantic couple and if you are in the mood for some dragons, I think it’s a fun series with quite complex world building that continues to grow as the series goes on. I look forward to more.

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