Author Archives: lyne23

Review: Gasp! by Z.A Maxfield gets 4.5 stars

Z.A Maxfield’s newest book Gasp! is not to be missed.  The characters are strongly written and will pull you into their story right from the beginning.  Jeff Paxton is former military, and after serving in Afghanistan the young man is suffering from not only PTSD, but survivor’s guilt as well.  Nigel Gasp is a famous/infamous rock star.  Unfortunately, Nigel is not as young as he used to be which is causing more than a few insecurities to pop up.  Jeff never expected the favor he was doing for his sister to turn into anything more, yet the author chooses just that situation to bring together two men in desperate need of love, and ends up giving the reader a story that will hold their attention until the last page.

However, while the author brings these two together, she does not make their journey an easy one.  Between the issues that Jeff carries as a result of his time in the military, and Nigel’s sudden desire to check out, the men have more than a few obstacles to overcome.  The angst in this story is, at times, a little heavy but necessary to the story line.  Readers should know though that there are some light heart moments in Gasp! as well.  Not only does Nigel’s need for cross dressing lead to more than a few laughs, but Jeff’s encounter with a bear had me laughing out loud and I almost felt sorry for the young man, especially when the sheriff showed up .

Fans of Ms. Maxfield are sure to love her newest story and if you have not yet read one of this author’s books, then Gasp! is a great place to start.

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Review: 5 stars for One Small Thing

When you read a lot, you begin to notice the little trends that occur.  At the moment one of those trends is the single gay man unexpectedly becoming a father.  Usually when this happens, it is because the guy is helping someone else become a parent and has to take responsibility after a tragedy occurred.  Other times, it is because a sibling has pasted and the main character has to now raise his niece or nephew.  One Small Thing takes a totally different path however.  In this story main character, Rue Murray, ends up having a one night stand.  When the girl ends up pregnant, with no desire to be a mother, Rue doesn’t hesitate to step up to the plate.  I liked this new turn as it gives this new trend a fresh spin.  The authors did a wonderful job showcasing the uncertainty and fear that Rue goes through during this time in his life, which allowed the story to come across realistically.

The other main character in this story is Erik Van Nuys.  Erik is a science fiction writer who suffers from a variety of phobias.  These phobias have caused a number of problems in his life.  When he’s forced to move into a new apartment, he becomes Rue’s new neighbor, which leads to more than he can handle.  I really loved Erik.  The way he works around his issues made me laugh, especially after he starts babysitting little Alice.  Another area which will keep the reader entertained is watching Erik as he shifts from straight science fiction to gay romance science fiction.

Erik and Rue are two vastly different characters. That the authors kept this in mind and allowed the men to move from total strangers to friends, and then to lovers, made their relationship more believable.   Due to their differences, however, the men have many stumbling blocks to overcome and when misunderstandings occur it looks as if those differences may just end up keeping them apart.  I liked watching as these two become, along with baby Alice, a family.  The authors brought the connection between these two across wonderfully, as well as showed the men’s growing maturity as they dealt with being parents.

Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea make a great writing duo.  Their books are always entertaining and keep the reader’s attention.  After reading one of their stories I always find myself looking for more.  If you have yet to try one of their stories I would say give One Small Thing a try, you won’t be sorry.

Review: 4 stars for Seizing It

 

Seizing It,  is a terrific story that’s centers on two interesting characters, Kit Hall and Dale Miller.  Kit is the receptionist at a veterinary clinic.  Much to his family’s dismay the young man as become withdrawn from others because of his epilepsy.  The fact that he has also been dealing with an abusive ex hasn’t helped matters much. Having known people who have suffered from epilepsy, as well as those in abusive relationships, it was easy to see the author had done her research.  This made the story more realistic and made for a better all around story.

Dale is the new vet taking over the clinic where Kit works.  The way that these two first meet is intense and makes for some oops moments later in the story.  There is a chemistry between the two men that’s hard to miss. But in order for them to have a relationship Dale has a lot of hurdles to over come where Kit is concerned.  With his history, it is easy to see why Kit behaves the way he does, and I like that Dale knows just what to do to help the young man.

Between the actions of Kit and Dale, as well as the many wonderful secondary characters, readers will enjoy this fast paced story that will grabs their attention from page one.  Seizing It, was my introduction to author Chris T. Kat, and this story made me a fan of the author.  I can’t wait to see what the she plans on next.

Review: 4 stars for Rougaroux Social Club: Bayou’s End

 

Lynn Lorenz authors several different series, each one polar opposite of the others.  Her series, Rougaroux Social Club, centers on a pack of werewolves located in the Louisiana bayou.  The pack dynamics are slightly different than want we usually see, which gives the series a fresh feel for those that like to eat these types of stories up.  The newest addition to this series is titled Bayou’s End, and is the story of Peter Graham and BillyTrosclair.

Those that read the first story may remember these two.  Peter is the young artist who made several unsuccessful passes at Ted, the pack alpha’s mate, before hooking up with a visiting art instructor.  Billy is one of the alpha’s deputies and is currently in charge while Ted and Scott are out of town on a much needed vacation.

After leaving his ex, Peter goes looking for Ted, hoping the private detective would be willing to help him.  What he finds in St. Jerome is more than what he ever expected.  The first meeting between Peter and Billy is intense and one of Peter’s secrets is revealed right away.  I did not see this little twist coming and liked that it made the connection between Peter and Billy that much stronger.  I was also surprised by the way Peter was treated by his ex, who I wanted to smack.  Unfortunately, Peter is one of those characters that trouble just loves to follow.  This of course makes things a little difficult for Billy who is trying to juggle his pack duties, his work duties, and now the duties of being a new mate.

Although the passion between these two burns up the pages, the author does not make everything easy for them.  There continues to be discord among pack members concerning same sex mating’s.  This leads to a few twists and turns that soon pull Peter into the cross hairs.  While the way Peter’s problems were resolved surprised me, I did like the way in which the author wrapped everything up.

Readers may want to keep in mind that this story touches briefly on the subjects of date rape and physical abuse.  While the author does not throw these subjects up constantly they are important to the background story.

Ms. Lorenz has a new addition to this series coming out soon, and I for one can’t wait.

Review – Laurel Heights by Lisa Worrall 5+ stars

Thankfully for everyone around them, Detectives Will Harrison and Scott Turner aren’t partners.  The fact that these two can’t stand each other is clear for all to see.  The men have totally different personalities, and handle cases in completely different manners.  The one thing they do have in common is hiding the fact that their gay.  When they are assigned to work undercover on a murder in a gay exclusive neighborhood, secrets become a little hard to keep.

When I asked to review Laurel Heights by Lisa Worrall, I was hoping it would be good.   I was wrong however, this book was outstanding.  The characters are well written, and the plot is full of so many twists and turns that you will find yourself reading this book in one setting just to see how it ends.

Will and Scott are exact opposites in everything from how they dress to how they run a case. More than once the men end up bumping heads and their partners have to come in and pull them apart.  The tension between these two is so strong that it is easy for the reader to see the fine line between love and hate.  The reader also knows that with as strong as that tension is, the passion will be just as intense, and they are not wrong.  Watching these men go from enemies to lovers is something else.  The chemistry between them pops off the page and I loved the fact that the author threw a little bit of humor in.  When the men are caught making love by their partners the comments Scott and Will tossed back and forth about their sex faces made me laugh.

Unlike some stories that mix romance with mystery/suspense plot lines, Laurel Heights is wonderfully balanced.  The mystery subplot in this story involves the murder of two young men, members of an exclusive gay neighborhood.  When Will and Scott go undercover, moving into one of the available homes, the remaining members of the community are automatic suspects.  At first, as the neighbors are being introduced, it is hard to imagine any of them being a killer.  When everything is said and done and the killer is finally revealed more than one reader is sure to be surprised.

When I got to the last page of Laurel Heights I was shocked and went to the author’s blog in hopes of finding out when the follow up story would come out.  Unfortunately I did not find anything, so let me take this moment to say to Ms. Worrall, “Please.  Please.  Please.  You can’t let the story end there, there has to be more.”

Review: Blue-Eyed Soul by Fae Sutherland and Chelsea James 4 Stars

Remey Dufrense followed his dreams and became a rock star.  While his tour bus was driving through a small town in Massachutes he felt a connection that made him realize that he’d found his true home.     Finally reaching a point when he can take some time off, Remey bought a home in Haven and can’t wait to move in.  As soon as he gets there he knows he’s made the right choice, only some of the local residents aren’t as excited.

This is a great story by co-authors Fae Sutherland and Chelsea James.  The characters are terrific and pull you right into their story.  Remey is a well-known rock star who is looking for a small town to settle down in, some place that reminds him of home but is more forgiving of his sexual orientation.  Aleksander is the band teacher at Haven’s local high school.  He’s also a single father who knows exactly what life with a musician is like and will do anything to protect his little girl from getting hurt. Even though the connection between Remey and Aleksander is there from the beginning the authors give them a few obstacles to overcome.  I like that the authors took into account the press hanging around, Aleksander’s daughter, and the fact that the men come from two different worlds, as they felt their way along the budding relationship.

Blue-Eyed Soul is the type of story that will earn the authors many new fans.  The characters are easy to care for; I was just as upset as Aleksander when Remey had to leave Haven for a business obligation.  The situation the men find themselves in may not be one that everyone would find themselves in but the authors do a great job making the story believable.  If you have not yet read anything by these authors this is a terrific story to start with.

Review Chase in Shadow by Amy Lane 3.5 stars

Chase is a young college student who finds himself so far in the closet that he would need a flashlight and GPS system to find his way out.  The fact that he is trying to prove himself to his homophobic, abusive father isn’t helping.  With college and living expenses becoming too much to handle, Chase is in need of another job.   When his friends jokingly tell him about a local porn site, he sees a way to not only earn some money but also get what he’s craving from other men.

The connections between Chase and the many secondary characters are evident and varied, yet the underlining guilt and emotional issues he suffers from keep the relationships from becoming stronger.  While the author keeps the truth about Chase’s mother hidden until the end, the many hints she drops lets you know to expect something beyond tragic.  When Chase reveals what happened, and why, it becomes easy to understand his many hang ups.  Expect to keep a few hankies handy as you will need them.

I had a hard time getting into Chase in Shadow, which was unusual for an Amy Lane book. If any other readers should find themselves in the same spot I just want to say, “Stick with it”, the story gets better as it goes along.  The story is full of angst from the very beginning and can in no way be considered a light hearted read.  The many secondary characters lend a lot to the story, and it’s easy to see the strong connections forming between them and Chase, even if Chase doesn’t want to acknowledge them in the beginning.  I liked that the author let Chase’s issues play out realistically, although some readers may have a bit of a problem reading the strongly written scenes.  As Chase in Shadow came to an end I was glad that I had given this story a chance and while it may be some time before I read it again, it was a story that stayed with me long after I finished it.

Review – The Gallows Tree by RJ Scott – 4 stars

The Gallows Tree is an interesting story about a young man trying to keep from losing himself.  Cody Garrett comes from a wealthy family and while that wealth caused problems for him in the past it now is keeping him from going crazy.  Trying to stay one step ahead of an abusive ex, Cody finds himself in England.  Planning to see to the restoration of family property, Garrett hopes the time away from home will give him the strength to go on with his life.  He doesn’t expect to meet someone like Sebastian, or become embroiled in a centuries old mystery.

The author evenly distributes the romance between Garrett and Sebastian, and the mystery surrounding the Mill Cottage, throughout the story.  The attraction between Garrett and Sebastian is evident from the beginning, yet anyone who has gone through an abusive relationship can understand Garrett’s desire to stay away.   I liked that the author has Garrett seem wishy washy about his feelings for Sebastian as it lends an air of authenticity to the story.

The attraction between the two men is not the only thing that draws them together.  The men share a long ago connection due to a love that existed between their ancestors.  In some ways the mystery of Mills Cottage has a Romeo and Juliet feel to it.  It is easy to feel for the long ago young couple and their unborn child. Once Garrett comes clean about the things he has been seeing and hearing, he and Sebastian join forces to settle the mystery of Mill Cottage.

The Gallows Tree is another well written story by author RJ Scott, one that is sure to keep you reading until the final page.  I could not wait to see how the author planned on clearing up all the little side stories.  I was more than surprised by how Garrett’s ex was handled, but could not have come up with a more fitting ending.  If you have not yet read anything by this author, than this is a great story to start with.

Review – Cop Out by KC Burn 4.5 stars

From the very first moment this story is full of angst.  When Detective Kurt O’Donnell and his partner Ben answer a tip from an informant things go to hell in a hand basket very fast.  When Kurt awakes in the hospital and learns of his partner’s death, the survivor’s guilt he suffers from comes across very realistically.   Unfortunately these aren’t the only hard times Kurt has to overcome.  The author went out of her way to bring out every emotion from Kurt as he learns the truth about his deceased partner, and eventually in the end, himself.

Kurt’s partner went to his grave guarding a major secret.  Kurt is surprised to learn that Ben not only had a significant other but that his S/O is a man.  Seeing the damage Ben’s death has caused, Kurt goes out of the way to try and help Davy.  You can see the connection between these two grieving men forming from the moment they meet.  While it is easy to understand Kurt’s reasons for helping Davy it isn’t hard to see that their growing relationship is a train wreck waiting to happen.  When Kurt has trouble introducing Davy to his large, Irish catholic family, the other man walks away, refusing to once again be another man’s secret.

Cop Out is not a light hearted easy read, but if you want something to sink your teeth into than this is the book for you.  KC Burn jerks every bit of emotion from the readers as they follow both Kurt and Davy through their journey of grief and renewal.  The secondary characters are just as strongly written as the main characters and lend a wonderful dimension to the story.  Cop Out more than earns its 4.5 star rating and is one story I won’t have any trouble re-reading in the future.

4.5 star Review – Marathon Cowboys by Sarah Black

I became a fan of Ms. Black’s several years ago and love her stories for many reasons.  One of those reasons is the fact that she packs so much into each story that it feels as if you are reading a novel, as oppose to a novella.  I never feel as if I am being short changed in any way as the characters are always wonderfully written, and the plots enticing, holding your attention until the very last page.  In Ms. Black’s story, Marathon Cowboys, the main characters are, each in their own way, searching for something.  For Jesse it is inspiration for his paintings, as well as a clean cut from his boyfriend who also manages his career.  He hopes returning to his grandfather’s home is just want he needs.  The fact that his grandfather lives in a small community made up of cowboys, and ranchers, doesn’t keep him from being his usual flamboyant, and sometimes combative, self.    Lorenzo has recently left the military and hopes to make a career for himself with the comic strip he started while serving his country.    With the help of a well-known cartoonist, Lorenzo knows he has a lot going for him.  When he shows up in Marathon he runs into Jesse, the rest as they say is history.  The attraction between the two men is intense and turns into more in no time.  The men are not without their issues, but Ms. Black weaves the men’s relationship and issues together perfectly, so that the whole thing comes across realistically.

In the blurb that can be found on the publisher’s website there is mention of Jesse’s betrayal of Lorenzo.  As I was reading and got to know the characters I could not think what the young painter could have done that would destroy the men’s budding relationship.  When the betrayal is revealed it is not what I was expecting and I could easily understand the way Lorenzo felt.

Marathon Cowboys does have some twists and turns that will surprise the readers. The added twists keep the readers turning the page to see how everything will play out. I hope Ms. Black has more to add to these men’s story as I would love to see them show up again.

This story received a 4.5 star rating

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