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Posts Tagged ‘Torquere Press’

lightsout185Title: The Haunted Halloween of Barnaby Sloan
Author: Jenna Jones
Length: 7,600 words (28 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal
Rating: C+

Blurb: 

It’s Halloween, and Barnaby and his friends plan to do their usual Halloween ghost walk at a local park that is rumored to be haunted. Barnaby worries his new boyfriend Liam will find their plans ridiculous, and he doesn’t even believe in ghosts, but he invites Liam to join them on the ghost walk anyway.

While their friends scare each other at the park, Barnaby confides in Liam about why he doesn’t believe in an afterlife. Then Barnaby hears a familiar voice whispering his name — and of course, he must investigate…

Review:

This is a sequel to The Wishing Book of Barnaby Sloan which was reviewed on the site last October, but which I confess I have not read. It’s not essential you read it, but it would probably be worthwhile. This story takes place only a short time after the last book. Barnaby has been seeing his older boyfriend Liam for a bit, although they’ve not really been dating, more falling into bed. This Halloween, Barnaby worked at a wedding that Liam attended and despite their relationship, Barnaby is not really sure they are “dating”. He can’t figure out why a great guy like Liam would be into him.

Liam asked him out after the wedding, but Barnaby declined as he had plans to go ghost hunting with his friends, and he’s sure a guy like Liam wouldn’t want to do that. His friends give him a bit of a hassle, and when Liam shows up unexpectedly, they push Barnaby to invite him, and to Barnaby’s surprise he’s more than happy to go along.

The event takes place in a local park, supposedly built on a grave-yard. After wandering around in the dark and taking some time to share some personal info, Barnaby hears something odd nearby and of course, like a victim in a horror movie, sneaks off on his own to check it out, getting attacked by some thugs while doing so.

There’s not much to the story. A hint of the paranormal, but I think for fans of the first book they’ll enjoy seeing the couple move forward and share some more intimate details about themselves. It’s more about Barnaby and his desire to believe in the paranormal for personal reasons, rather than a romantic story. If you enjoyed the first story, you will enjoy this one as well.

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Title: Phantom Touch
Author: Delilah Storm
Length: 7,300 words (25 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m/m (?) erotica contemporary paranormal
Rating: C+

Blurb:

Coerced by his friends, Chris enters the old Weyburn mansion on Halloween night.  The most haunted housed in Ashville, Weyburn mansion is supposed to be possessed by the spirits of Mrs. Weyburn and her many lovers. From the moment Chris enters, he’s plagued by touches which quickly turn into caresses and then more. How can Chris possibly escape all the pleasure those touches bring, and does he really want to?

Review:

This is weak on the romance side, but if you are interested in some hot paranormal erotica, this might be the choice for you. Chris is bullied by his friends into participating in a haunted house challenge. He’s terrified of all things horror-related, but after one bad experience, he tends to go along with things rather than risk the ridicule. He has to enter the house, go to the attic, ring a bell and come down. He finally makes it out of the basement, only to have his flashlight go out, and before long, he’s being molested by ghostly touches, however, that’s not such a bad thing.

The next period of time is the ghostly encounter with one (or more since there are more hands than two, or maybe that’s a ghost trick), and Chris is getting it from all sides and angles, and before long has even run out of spunk. Once it’s over, he finds the door and gets out, only to be criticized by his friends for making them wait.

Chris accuses their gay jock friend of being behind it. He denies it, however promises to give a better blow job, having learned from the best. He smirks at the house and given his comment about last year’s experience there, I’m presuming he had a run-in with the ghost as well.

To be honest, I didn’t much like Chris’s friends or the love interest. The friends, especially his friend Karen who was a real bully, were not very supportive.  Not liking scary movies or horror myself, I could relate to Chris, and was angry on his behalf for the pressure his friends exerted. I also thought Heath, the love interest was very smug and arrogant. Besides being a hot jock, he didn’t come across as very appealing.

I thought the author did a great job with Chris’s fear and anxiety during the story, and even his confusion over what was happening, but his inability to stop it during the sex. Or perhaps his desire NOT to stop it. I just found the characters surrounding that even rather obnoxious and off-putting. But that is my interpretation and others may not find them so. But if you enjoy some paranormal sex, you will probably enjoy this short spooky story.

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SurpriseTitle: Surprise! Surprise!
Author: Star Noble
Length: 10,800 words (40 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m/m contemporary
Rating: C

Blurb:

Jason and Anthony are in a rut, and Jason can admit their love life has been less than stellar lately. But Anthony’s birthday is coming up, so Jason plans the perfect party to spice up the night and their relationship — complete with a super hot dancer.

But by the end of the night, Anthony receives more than a few surprises. He and Jason meet Ruben, a sexy sports student, and the three of them instantly hit it off. Will Ruben come between the two lovers, or will he give their relationship the boost it so desperately needs?

Review:

I liked the concept behind this story, a couple who are finding real life getting in the way of their relationship, but I wasn’t sure that t whole insertion of a third really worked. It felt out of place. Anthony finally forces Jason to realize that his two jobs are wearing him out and despite saying he’s doing it so they can have a better life, and a bigger house, they never seem to spend much time together, having fun or having sex. Jason decides to turn over a new leaf and decides to top it off with the best birthday ever.

After a lovely day out at the zoo, he manages to surprise Anthony with a surprise birthday party at their house with their friends. After a fun evening of food and dancing, the final surprise arrives… a giant cake. Of course a dancer pops out of the cake and … OMG, it’s a girl. After everyone sits there stunned, she finally stops and it seems her boss got the orders wrong and she was sent to the wrong party. Eventually everyone leaves and they offer to drive her home. There they meet her brother who asks them to come in and have coffee. After she goes to bed, it doesn’t take long for the guys to give things a whirl with Ruben, although Jason is still feeling insecure and wondering if Anthony will be looking for a replacement.

The part that didn’t work so well, is it just seemed out of character. I didn’t get the impression this was something these guys did regularly. They didn’t discuss it, it just happened. With a stranger in an apartment with his sister right there, including a rocking chair in the living room, Then it wasn’t really clear that there was a future, although the last line says “Rúben was a nice guy, and nobody knew what the future might have in store for them.” Not that they knew him, they spent a couple of hours and then some sex with him.

I thought the early part of the story was done well, the insecurity of both men, drifting apart, but I found the threesome just seemed kind of off to me. But others may not find it that way, and it could just be my inability to connect well with the characters actions.

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lightsout185Title: The Caldwell Ghost
Author: KJ Charles
Length: 4,500 words (17 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal historical
Rating: B

Blurb:

When Robert Caldwell inherits a haunted house, he calls on ghost-hunter Simon Feximal to rid him of the supernatural menace. But the ghost is stronger than either man realizes — strong, angry, and desperate for release. Trapped in a haunted house with a dangerously attractive ghost-hunter and a sexually frustrated spirit, can Robert survive the night intact…and will he want to?

Review:

This book has a bit of a Sherlock Holmes feel to it, in the time period and the language, but not directly. It’s written as a letter Robert intends to reveal to his editor upon his death. Apparently for some time Richard has been chronicling the exploits of famed ghost hunter Feximal, (reminded me of the Sherlock/Watson relationship) and he was never willing to reveal how they met, and this is that story.

In order to disprove the house he recently inherited is haunted, Robert moves in. He’s willing to ignore the screams and moans, but the walls bleeding blood is a bit too far. He gets trapped in the room with Fleximal as the exorcism of sorts is about to begin, and it seems the ghost was a bit of lecherous man who slept with all the boys and was murdered in bed during the act. The ghost has some “unfinished business” before he’s willing to leave.

There’s a rather light feel to the story despite a rather intense scene when Fleximal faces the ghost. There is also some interesting facets of Fleximal’s work that would have been interesting to see explored further. I also liked Robert a great deal. He is quite logical, with a calm head on his shoulders and it comes through in some of his comments.

I paid no mind to the screams in the night, which could easily have been foxes or cats (never mind that they sprang from the empty air of my bedroom). I scarcely objected to the muffled moans, which could have come from a neighbour’s pleasures (if the house had not stood alone, with no neighbour for a mile to either side).

But I did feel it was a bit much when the walls began to bleed.

It all came across as a bit of an inconvenience, rather than something terribly frightening. If you’re in the mood for a bit of a ghost story with a lighter edge it’s a good choice. I quite enjoyed the short time it too me to read.

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lightsout185Title: Grave Appeal
Author: Kassandra Lea
Length: 3,600 words, 13 pages
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary paranormal romance
Rating: D

Blurb:
All Aidan Harker wanted on his Halloween was to spend time with his best friend watching horror movies and to stuff himself silly on little chocolates. Instead Aidan gets a visit from a coworker that makes his evening sweeter than any number of bite size candy bars ever possibly could.

Review:
Aidan usually spends his Halloween night with his best friend watching horror movies. This year his friend has been called away on a family emergency and so Aidan is all alone, until a late night knock at the door.

The first 5 pages of this story set the scene of lonely Aidan feeling sad because his Halloween tradition with his friend isn’t happening this year. I felt rather sorry for Aidan and curious about the knock at the door. The man standing there is a doctor from the hospital where Aidan works (I think as a nurse, but that wasn’t made very clear), so far so good in the attraction Aidan feels. Then suddenly things take an abrupt left turn and I was left struggling to catch up. A whole heap of ideas are thrown into the story. Dante is a gargoyle, Aidan can see ghosts. They fly off through the air. There’s mention of someone called Brim who I think is an ex-boyfriend of Aidan’s, but again that’s not really explained. I was left baffled as to what was happening and why. I even thought that the story may be a sequel because so much of the characterisation seemed to assume some sort of prior knowledge that I didn’t have. However, a quick look showed me that there were no other stories by this author at TQ. Lines such as “It wasn’t the first time that Dante had used his magic to transport them, though usually it was to take them out of harm’s way” were also baffling. I thought they were a doctor and nurse, when had Dante needed to rescue them?

I finished the story utterly confused as to what had happened and why. The romance left me flat because I wasn’t sure where Brim-the-sort-of-ex came into the equation, plus there seems to be no point to the story when Aidan doesn’t even get his man at the end. Overall, the best thing about the story was the opening promise and the fact it was very short at less than 4,000 words so I’m afraid I can’t recommend this jumble of a story even to those who like a good Halloween tale.

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New Sip coverTitle: Get Him to the Geek
Author: DC Juris
Length: 7,100 words (26 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Rating: C

Blurb:

Two years is a long time to swear off love, but John Daily is doing just fine. Sure, he’s lonely, but he’s not risking his heart again. Not after what he went through, watching the man of his dreams wither away and die. His best friend, Sylvia, has other plans. She’s set him up with someone who will be perfect for him. Now, if she can just get him to the geek…

Review:

A couple of things rubbed me the wrong way about this story, but I know they are mostly my own issues with the interfering female best friend. John has been resisting his best friend’s efforts to set him up on dates. He’s just not ready to start dating again after his boyfriend died. However after she bullies him, and throws in some tears, he agrees to the blind date she set up with someone who will be “perfect” for him.

When he sees the guy, he agrees, the guy looks perfect. But when talking, he gets the impression that the guys is holding back and pretending to be something he’s not. He’s also an adorable clutz. He agrees to let John come back to his house and then freaks out and won’t let him in, finally admitting he’s a total nerd and has a house full of Trek memorabilia and other TV stuff. Which of course, John loves too.

Again, some may find the friend’s concern heart-warming and caring, I found it really pushy. And then to pull out the “you aren’t the only one to have lost him” card and start crying, came across as guilt-trippy to me. Others likely won’t find it so. I also didn’t understand why the friend told the date to not talk about his sci-fi interests and act “suave”. If she knew John so well, she should have known that he would be attracted to a guy with similar interests. It just didn’t make sense.

On the other hand, both guys are a bit on the chubby side, Neither one with rock hard abs and model good looks, so it’s nice to see a romance with “normal” looking people who aren’t physically perfect. There are lots of references to current and older popular TV shows like Walking Dead and True Blood which I really didn’t get since I don’t watch those shows. I’m afraid the Star Trek ones were the only ones I caught, but fans of the other shows will probably know exactly what items and plot points were being discussed.

So while the best friend set-up didn’t work for me, I know there are others who won’t mind it and will probably enjoy most of the pop culture references that went a bit over my head. Not a poorly written story at all, I just didn’t connect with the characters in this one.

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New Sip coverTitle: Absolutely Magic
Author: Julia Talbot
Length: 3,200 words (14 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal
Rating: B+

Blurb:

Damon McTavish is a demon hunter. He’s pretty damn good at the job, too. There’s just one thing his boss wishes he wouldn’t do — sleep with the pretty ones before he sends them back to Hell.

Alisdair is an old demon who wants his humanity back and sleeping with Damon is how he plans to do it. First he has to convince Damon to participate in a little sex magic, though, so it’s a good thing just a touch between the two is electrifying.
Can demon and demon hunter make a little magic and come out unsinged?

Originally published in the Demon anthology.

Review:

This is a cute lighthearted look at the demon hunter/demon match up. Damon is always in trouble with his boss for sleeping with the demons before he sends them back to hell. But hey, the job doesn’t pay well, so why not have some fun. One night as he’s getting ready to send a particularly nasty demon back, another demon arrives and dispatches the creature and soon convinces Damon to have sex with him so that he can try a spell to turn human again.

Despite being a determined top, Damon is soon ready to give it up and the two are almost drunk on the effect they have of touching each other. When the moment comes… well, it doesn’t go quite as Alisdair had hoped.

I do enjoy stories that don’t take the demon mythology too seriously. The spell book burns the hands of humans, so Damon wears oven mitts while he uses it. And oh, tails, yeah, demon tails are good. 🙂

It’s just a short light little story, but when you want to end up smiling when you are done, it’s a perfect choice for a quick pick-you-up between more serious stories or before bed.

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