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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

REVIEW: CHEAP AS BEAST by Jon Wilson!

Like most soldiers, Declan Colette lost his fair share in the war—in his case a sailor, drowned off Iwo Jima. Since then he’s been scratching out a living as a cut-rate PI, drinking too much, and flirting with danger. Then a girl arranges to consult him, only to be murdered en route, and the cops tag Colette as their prime suspect. To save his neck he’ll need to find the real killer, a quest that pits him against a rival detective firm, a dangerously rich family, and a desperate foe whose murdering ways started back during the war.

Could this be the case he’s been waiting for? Catching the killer could make his reputation. Failing, could cost him his life.

Either way: win-win."


Cheap as Beasts by Jon Wilson is a noir, murder mystery book that is a quick, complex and entertaining read!

The novels' protag is a man named Declan Colette, who is almost hired by a rich brother and sister to prove that their step-mother killed their father...but before anything can come of that, another person in their family is murdered & Colette is hired by the brother, a man named Morgan.

The mystery of the novel is almost like a game of whodunit, which introduces the reader to a series of very interesting and sometimes, slightly suspicious characters. Even characters who are only around for a few pages make an impact and add layers to other characters and the novel's main mystery.

What I liked most about the novel was Colette himself, because the man is damaged and it is obvious in is demeanor, but its not cliche or overbearing - he isn't whinny or melodramatic, but he is believably dark, brooding and often, sharply sarcastic.

Colette is gay, but the romantic aspect of the novel is not front and center and though I would have loved more of a romance edge to the story, the fact that there isn't one, at least not exactly, is extremely powerful and dark and lends itself for their being a continuation to the story...Which I really hope there will be!

Def check it out!

- A

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

REVIEW: HOME THE HARD WAY by Z.A. Maxfield!!

"Dare Buckley has come home—or at least, he’s come back to Palladian, the small town he left as a teenager. After a major lapse in judgment forced him to resign from the Seattle PD, Palladian is the only place that’ll hire him. There’s one benefit to hitting rock bottom, though: the chance to investigate the mystery of his father’s suicide.

Dare also gets to reacquaint himself with Finn Fowler, whose childhood hero worship ended in uncomfortable silence when Dare moved away. But Finn isn’t the same little kid Dare once protected. He’s grown into an attractive, enigmatic stranger who neither wants nor needs what Dare has to offer.

In fact, Dare soon realizes that Finn’s keeping secrets—his own and the town’s. And he doesn’t seem to care that Dare needs answers. The atmosphere in Palladian, like its namesake river, appears placid, but dark currents churn underneath. When danger closes in, Dare must pit his ingenuity against his heart, and find his way home the hard way."


Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield was a wonderfully fast paced, addictive and sexy read with a very intriguing and gripping mystery at its core!

The novel kept me reading well into the dark morning hours, flicking my tablet to the next page almost compulsively. The story focuses on Finn, who is gay and out in his very, very small town of Palladian, Oregon, who has many secrets that he would never want anyone finding out about.

Enter Dare: Finn's once sorta best friend though Dare was five or so years older than Finn and they never  really "hung out", but Finn was somewhat enamored with Dare and Dare was always oddly compelled by Finn, despite one being 5 and the other 10 at the beginning of their union. For some reason, they were always connected.

Then after a series of tragedies, Dare leaves and doesn't return for 15 years.

What I liked about Finn's & Dare's relationship is that while they were companions at a young age despite the age gap, their relationship was never sexual and the issue of potential molestation was talked about, not just swept under the rug - a couple of characters talked about how they always kept an eye on them to make sure nothing bad was happening between them. They had a strange connection, but it wasn't something that ever became dirty. Dare even talks about being confused about feeling connected to someone so young & how it freaked him out & I liked that. Dare was never sexually attracted to Finn when they were young, but he felt protective of him and he also liked that the fact that Finn idolized him.

When Dare returns to Palladian, a crime happens and as he tries to figure out what really happens, he Finn do grow closer and their relationship does become sexual, in a very, VERY, interesting way.

Finn, out the outside is man taking care of dying aunt and he seems very composed and vanilla, but he really isn't and Dare is a man who has lost his job is on the outside is very straight and stern, but he too, really isn't.

They both want each other and push each other away, making for a very interesting read with very interesting and complex characters who are both messed up and don't know how not to be.

Trust me: this book you want to read!

It was so, so good!

-A

Monday, July 7, 2014

REVIEW: Backstrokes by Dylan Madrid!!

"After almost being expelled from a prestigious Chicago music conservatory for a prank gone wrong, twenty-two-year-old pianist Crawford Paul returns home to Northern California for what he predicts will be another boring summer. Concerned his scholarship is now at risk, Crawford accepts the only job he can find: accompanying a glamorous seven-year-old named Isabella to a community swimming pool for lessons. There, Crawford is befriended by a nanny named Nina, an aspiring fashion designer who finds it difficult to hide her disdain for children.

When Crawford meets Armando Leon, a lifeguard and Isabella's swimming instructor, he accepts Armando's offer to help him overcome his fear of water by way of private swimming lessons. As friendship turns into a summer affair, their lust for one another turns to love. When Crawford receives a chance of a lifetime audition, he is torn between returning to Chicago or staying in California to start a new life with Armando. As the end of the summer inches closer, Crawford and Armando fear they will be separated forever."


Backstrokes by Dylan Madrid was a nice short novel about a man named Crawford who is trying to find out who he is, who he wants to be and what he wants to do with his life.

The writing was pretty simple, but still very nice with lovely prose. It was descriptive and very atmospheric, if not a bit too slow at times because of the 'mood' of the setting.

Crawford was a solemn character who begins to find out more about himself when he meets Armando and the two, fairly quickly, fall in love. They fall in love after one date and a couple of mention moments of meeting up -  I did not believe it, but I accepted it.

The book focuses more on music, so the title is a bit odd, but that's okay.

Overall, Backstrokes was a good, quick, & simple read !

-A

REVIEW: Hot on His Trail by Zavo!!

"Jake Slater is a handsome Texas Ranger who’s fallen in love with the outlaw he’s sworn to bring to justice. Ben Masters is the equally handsome, red-haired outlaw wanted for killing a Texas Ranger in Abilene. Ben is on the run from Jake, determined to reach Silverton and find his ex-lover, the only man who can prove his innocence. But Sheriff Rawlins’ attraction to Ben sets off a chain of events that could end in Jake and Ben’s undoing."

Hot on His Trail by Zavo is a western that is not really a western, though some of the characters speak as if it was so...

The two main characters fall in love and I did not buy into it..

The writing is not bad, its not, Zavo is a good writer, but this story, in my opinion is not entirely well written. The characters actions are somewhat unbelievable  and all of the twists and turns the story takes are not that believable either.

There was a lot of sex, which was *mostly* hot, but it did become too overbearing.

At the end of the day, this book was not meant for.

-A

REVIEW: Well-Endowed - The Making of Gay Porn Star by Donald Webb!!

"When high school football jock Matt and his best friend, Demsey, begin having sexual relations, Matt thinks of himself as just another horny teenager, but when Demsey’s dad seduces him, he realizes he has the face, body, and endowment that can drive men crazy. During his first year of college, he tries to maintain a straight fa├žade, but he is unable to sublimate his constant craving for gay sex, eventually succumbing to his roommate’s advances. After a tryst on the beach with a soccer player, the thought of becoming a porn star begins to crystallize, but it is only after he wins the Mr. Eight Plus competition that he immerses himself in the porn industry. After a successful career in the porn milieu, he accidentally runs into Demsey, and the love they’d shared as teenagers is reignited."

Well-Endowed by Donald Webb is an erotic novel about a hot guy named Matt who has big dick and is completely attractive to everyone and really, really, like REALLY into/amazing as sex!

This was not a book for me. I have read a couple of "erotica" on friends suggestion, but those books has dynamic characters with interesting personalities - Well-Endowed really didn't. It was just about sex. A lot of extreme fantasy-fulfilling sex. Not much plot.

The title has "porn" in the title so I guess that's my fault for expecting something more...

Matt has sex with his friends' Dempsey's dad  & I was expecting something less inappropriate, but no, it was pretty extreme and graphic and completely unrealistic...most  of the sex.

Here's the thing: this book is not bad and I KNOW that there are a lot of people who would LOVE this book, but I didn't. Its that simple.

You like lots of sex with hot guys and jocks and dads and pornstars??

This is for you!

-A

REVIEW: Caught in the Crossfire by Juliann Rich!!

"Two boys at Bible camp; one forbidden love.

That is the dilemma sixteen-year-old Jonathan Cooper faces when he goes away to Spirit Lake Bible Camp, an oasis for teen believers situated along Minnesota's rugged north shore. He is expecting a summer of mosquito bites, bonfires with S'mores, and photography classes with Simon, his favorite counselor, who always helps Jonathan see his life in perfect focus.

What he isn't expecting is Ian McGuire, a new camper who openly argues against phrases like pray the gay away. Ian is certain of many things, including what could happen between them if only Jonathan could surrender to his feelings. Jonathan, however, tosses in a storm of indecision between his belief in God and his inability to stay away from Ian. When a real storm hits and Ian is lost in it, Jonathan is forced to make a public decision that changes his life."


Caught in the Crossfire by Juliann Rich is a cute story about a boy named Jonathan who struggles with his love for is fellow camper Ian and his Christian faith. The book is very short and moves along quickly, sometimes too quickly, but Rich is entirely capable of creating characters with personalities that are 3 dimensional and thankfully real.

I thought that the romance between Jonathan and Ian was sweet, albeit quick and I really appreciated Jonathan's turmoil over being a Christian, while having not only romantic feelings for another boy, but sexual ones as well. Rich doesn't just label him Christian and be done with it, the character is completely Christian and prays and has faith and is in love with his religion and is very hot and cold with Ian because of itwhich causes quite a bit of conflict.

Ian was also interesting and has a complex background which bonds the two boys.

The writing is great and Rich does provide some great details, but at times, because the book is under 200 pages, the story felt rushed and jumpy, but it didn't deter me from enjoying it.

It is a great summer read!

- A

REVIEW: Tristant and Elijah by Jennifer Lavoie!!

"Tristant Whitfield has had a secret crush on straight Elijah Cambridge since the start of high school. He’s okay keeping his distance, but when Elijah starts visiting him at work and bringing his favorite coffee, Tristant begins to wonder if there’s something more there.

Then Elijah uncovers a scandalous old letter from Tristant’s great uncle tucked away in a book, and the two boys begin a journey through journals and letters to discover the real Uncle Glenn and the secrets he hid from his family. And Tristant realizes that Elijah has been hiding something as well.

A secret that just might change everything."


Tristant and Elijah by Jennifer Lavoie was a pretty great read! It was sweet and most definitely a unique high school "gay" story, because while it did deal with coming out, it didn't go through the usual tropes, such as people finding out and drama ensuing or one of the guys being a jock who is terrified of coming out and has girlfriend to cover up the fact he is gay - being honest, I don't mind those tropes if written well, but it was seriously awesome to read a book about gay high school students where that was essentially a nonissue.

There is a slight mystery in this book concerning a journal that I felt was pretty clear from the moment of introduction simply because this novel is "gay fiction", but the end result of the mystery was amazing - it truly could serve as its own story...

Tristant was a great protag and Elijah was a great love interest - and all of the side characters were funny and had their own distinct personalities which I always find refreshing.

The writing was clear and fluid and moved the story along at an even pace.

I really recommend this one!

-A