Thursday, 29 May 2014


DINNER AT HOME by Rick R. Reed

Pages: 214
Date: 29/05/2014
Grade: 3.5
Details: Received from Dreamspinner Press
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“It only takes a few days for Ollie D'Angelo to lose his boyfriend, his job, and his home. Instead of mourning what he doesn’t have, Ollie celebrates what he does: the freedom to pursue his real passion—cooking. He begins Dinner at Home, a home-catering business, and it takes off. 

Late one night, Ollie catches Hank Mellinger, a streetwise hood down on his luck, about to rob his car. Ollie soon discovers that appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem. Hank isn’t a criminal caught red-handed, but a hungry young man trying to make a life for himself and the four-year-old niece he’s trying desperately to take care of. 

Instead of calling the cops, Ollie offers Hank a job and a way to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Together, they discover they can really cook... and that their shared passion for food just might lead to a passion for each other.”

My thoughts:

This was a sweet love story and that was both its selling point and its weakness. For me this book was a bit too sweet, Ollie a bit too nice and trusting, Hank a bit too comfortable despite his shitty past and solutions to problems a bit too easily achieved.

This is going to sound funny from somebody who up until recently claimed not to like angst, but I really feel this book could have done with more of it. Ollie seemed to suffer very little after the boyfriend he’d bought a ring for breaks up with him. Losing his job just a day later doesn’t seem to bother him either. By the same token, while we get the details of Hank’s horrible past, I never really felt his pain or the trouble he might still be having dealing with it. And when tragedy does strike it doesn’t come as a surprise and, once again, seems to be accepted by the characters almost before the reader realises what exactly has happened. For me the shifts from pain to happiness were too abrupt. A chapter filled with inner turmoil would be followed with a chapter filled with bliss. It was too black and white, the changes in feelings too extreme. Shouldn’t doubts linger, pain ease only slowly and solutions come gradually?

I constantly found myself wanting to like the story more than I actually did. The storyline felt like something that should work perfectly for me and yet it didn’t, which made this a somewhat frustrating reading experience.

I did like the obvious love of food and its preparation in this book. Every chapter starts with a recipe and every single one of them was enticing and at least one or two may have to be tried out at some point in the future. Having said that, I almost wish I had a paper copy of this book available. On my Kindle the recipes seemed to take up a lot of – dare I say it, too much - room. I’ve got a feeling though it wouldn’t feel that way if the pages had been bigger.

Even now, after I’ve finished the book and have written most of my review I still find myself wanting to say I liked the story more than I actually did. The characters managed to charm me, the story line had an almost fairytale-like quality and it was a smooth read.  If I had to describe this book in one sentence I’d say this was a feel good book that could and should have been a feel great book.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014



Pages: 49
Date: 26/05/2014
Grade: 3.5
Details: Received from Riptide Publishing
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Jonah Gilchrist lives a double life. On the internet, he’s a fashion-blogging Tumblr celebrity. In the real world, though, being an awkward gay virgin isn’t as cute and endearing as it is online—it’s a target on his back. After years of being bullied, Jonah’s determined to start afresh at college, but it’s hard to remake yourself when you’re sharing classes with your ill-fated junior high crush.

Sebastian Rose, with his easy-going manner and great sense of humor, was one of the most popular guys in junior high. He was also one of Jonah’s only defenders. Too bad Jonah knows Sebastian’s kindness was only pity.
Bumping into each other after all these years makes it seem like the universe itself wants Jonah to have a second chance at his first love. But how can he ever hope to reinvent himself when Sebastian’s presence pulls him further into his past? Then again, maybe moving forward doesn’t have to mean leaving the best part of your past behind.”


My thoughts:

I enjoyed this short story. It wasn’t great and didn’t blow me away, but it was a nice and funny quick read; just what I needed right now.

The characters were so well established that poor Jonah made me cringe.  In fact he constantly seemed to be walking a fine line between becoming a caricature and being a real person. But then again, I think that’s exactly what he was meant to be. He’d created that online persona for himself because he could barely keep himself going in the real world. While his obsession with fashion and his social media followers made him at times infuriating it also brought quite a few funny moments.

Sebastian on the other hand was almost too good to be true. His infinite patience and willingness to accept Jonah’s awkward and at times rude behaviour stretched my imagination to its limits. Having said that, it did make him adorably cute and I couldn’t help feeling that everybody should be lucky enough to have a Sebastian in their lives.

Thankfully the author gave both characters enough ‘real’ moments to make the story work. Sebastian may be intrinsically good and patient; he does have his limits and insecurities. Jonah on the other hand may pretend to be a prima donna while really being social inept, he becomes very recognisable the instant he lets go of his invented persona and just enjoys the moment he’s in while allowing his feelings to rule him.

This is a short and enjoyable story in which opposites attract and two apparently completely unsuited characters connect and take their first steps on what may well be the road to a beautiful relationship. It would have been nice if the story had been longer. I imagine Sebastian’s influence would work wonders for Jonah and that is a journey I would have loved to be part of. Unfortunately that was not what this story was about. Should the author ever feel the urge to write the story of Sebastian and Jonah’s developing relationship I will be among the first to read it though. 

Monday, 26 May 2014


THE SAINT by Tiffany Reisz
Pages: 416
Date: 26/05/2014
Grade: 5+
Details: No. 1 Original Sinners The White Years
           Received from Mills & Boon
           Through NetGalley
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“In the beginning, there was him.

Gutsy, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn't want to break. She's sick of her mother's zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she'll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of beautiful, magnetic Father Søren Stearns and his lust-worthy Italian motorcycle is an epiphany. Suddenly, daily Mass seems like a reward, and her punishment is the ache she feels when they're apart. He is intelligent and insightful and he seems to know her intimately at her very core. Eleanor is consumed—and even she knows that can't be right.

But when one desperate mistake nearly costs Eleanor everything, it is Søren who steps in to save her. She vows to repay him with complete obedience…and a whole world opens before her as he reveals to her his deepest secrets.

Danger can be managed—pain, welcomed. Everything is about to begin.”


My thoughts:

“This story starts with a stick in the ground and ends with an orgy.”

I don’t know why it still surprises me. I mean, you’d think I know better after having read the first four 'Original Sinners' books. But no, Tiffany Reisz still managed to shock me within minutes after starting this book. In fact, shock may be the wrong word. It was as if she’d robbed the ground from beneath my feet. And then continued to shock me and break my heart and shock me some more. The word ‘bitch’ may or may not have been uttered a few times while reading this book...and I loved every single second of it.

I’m not going to say anything about the story in ‘The Saint’ everything you want to know is in the blurb, anything more would rob you of the cruel twists, shocking surprises and wonderful revelations only Tiffany Reisz can deliver with such eloquence.

Watching Eleanor grow up and observe her interaction with Søren was fascinating and captivating. Circumstances forced me to read this book in one day, but truth be told I don’t think I would have been able to put it down if I’d had all the time in the world. And that in itself is amazing. If you’ve read the first four ‘Original Sinners’ books chunks of Eleanor’s story will be familiar. And yet I might as well have been reading them for the first time.

This book took my heart and broke it only to put it back together again. It made me laugh out loud, hold my breath, frown, curse, smile before leaving me with tears in my eyes. I may have said this in every single review I’ve ever written for Tiffany Reisz’s books, but I’m not ashamed of repeating it again: I’m in awe of this author. I admire her way with words, her smart and natural sounding dialogue. I’m amazed at how real her world and characters have become for me. And I stare in wonder at the sex scenes.  I can’t put my finger on how she does it, but Tiffany Reisz can make a scene really hot and give you all the visuals without becoming graphic. She makes situations that should make me uncomfortable almost enticing. It is a skill that amazes me.

I was hooked as soon as I was one chapter into ‘The Siren’. This is one addiction I’m hoping to never kick.

“Our choices mean nothing until we’re given more than one of them.”

Goodreads Link:


Barnes & Noble:

Author Bio& Contact Links:

Tiffany Reisz lives with her boyfriend (a reformed book reviewer) and two cats (one good, one evil). She graduated with a B.A. in English from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and is making both her parents and her professors proud by writing BDSM erotica under her real name. She has five piercings, one tattoo, and has been arrested twice.
When not under arrest, Tiffany enjoys Latin Dance, Latin Men, and Latin Verbs. She dropped out of a conservative southern seminary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a smut peddler. Johnny Depp’s aunt was her fourth grade teacher. Her first full-length novel THE SIREN was inspired by a desire to tie up actor Jason Isaacs (on paper). She hopes someday life will imitate art (in bed).
If she couldn’t write, she would die.

Twitter: @TiffanyReisz

Giveaway Link:

Sunday, 25 May 2014


WOLF BOUND by Theo Fenraven

Pages: 154

Date: 25/05/2014
Grade: 5
Details: ARC received from the author
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“A year after suffering a disastrous end to his relationship with his partner, teacher Jon Anderson trades his apartment in the city for a lake house in the country. Told there is an author living nearby, Jon, who dreams of being a writer, goes in search of him and finds the attractive older man in a small, rustic cabin on a tiny island on a neighboring lake. Harrison Kalmes shows Jon around, but makes it clear he’d rather be left alone. Jon respects that wish until the night he and his friend, Suzie, drink a little too much scotch and impulsively decide to visit the island.

What happens then is the start of an incredible journey that will eventually take Jon all the way to mysterious and seductive Transylvania in Romania, where he searches for the answers that will save someone’s life while setting him on the road to rediscovering his own.

Beware the woods. Transylvania isn’t only about vampires.”


My thoughts:

There’s so much I would love to say about this story, so many details I would like to describe and then rave about. I’ll restrain myself though. This story should not be spoiled for any reader. Every person picking up this book should have the same opportunity I had; to fall into Wolf Bound and discover all the delights it holds without (any) expectations beyond those the blurb provides.

Paranormal is a mostly unexplored genre for me. I may have read books and stories featuring werewolves or other shifters but they are few and far between. So I may be wrong when I say Wolf Bound didn’t read like a typical paranormal/shifter story. This, for me, was more a story about how characters deal with an unexpected, and on many levels, horrific change in their lives.

I liked this different approach. I was fascinated by the rawness of the emotions the  characters go through because I could relate to those feelings even if I’ve never found myself in a similar situation and never will.

Theo Fenraven is a magician with words. He paints the clearest pictures with only a few, carefully chosen and evocative words. Characters, their surroundings and the turmoil they go through are tangible without long descriptions or repetition. The reader is in Wolf Bound’s world with Jon and Harrison to such an extent that the smallest gesture or half a word is enough to feel what they are experiencing.

While this story, by its very nature, is a fantasy I was impressed by how realistic it felt while I was reading it. There was no need to suspend disbelief. The characters reactions to the situations they are facing may not always be beautiful or charming but they are exactly what I imagine they might be should I find myself up against what they have to deal with.

Regular readers of M/M romances may be surprised at how little ‘graphic’ sex they encounter in these pages. And, if I’m perfectly honest, I have to admit that I was surprised that I didn’t miss it; I enjoy a hot scene or two as much as the next person. I didn’t need them in this book though. The glimpses we got combined with the overall interaction between the characters gave me enough detail to imagine exactly what these two men would be like together without the author having to spell it out for me.

Once again Theo Fenraven has managed to take me by surprise and impress me. He is a masterful storyteller with an imaginative and versatile mind. I count myself lucky that I haven’t read all his previous books yet. I’m sure there are a few more ‘Fenraven’ gems patiently waiting for my attention.

Buy links:

Related links:

Saturday, 24 May 2014

WOLF BOUND by Theo Fenraven: a preview

Coming tomorrow: May 25. 2014


By Theo Fenraven

I’m very excited to welcome Theo Fenraven and his new book to my blog.

Wolf Bound will be released tomorrow and available from Amazon and ARe.

My review will be up sometime tomorrow for those who are interested. And, if this post has made you curious and you happen to be a member of the M/M Romance group on Goodreads, why not head over to the poll there and give Theo your vote for Author of the Month for June.

The blurb:

A year after suffering a disastrous end to his relationship with his partner, teacher Jon Anderson trades his apartment in the city for a lake house in the country. Told there is an author living nearby, Jon, who dreams of being a writer, goes in search of him and finds the attractive older man in a small, rustic cabin on a tiny island on a neighboring lake. Harrison Kalmes shows Jon around, but makes it clear he’d rather be left alone. Jon respects that wish until the night he and his friend, Suzie, drink a little too much scotch and impulsively decide to visit the island.

What happens then is the start of an incredible journey that will eventually take Jon all the way to mysterious and seductive Transylvania in Romania, where he searches for the answers that will save someone’s life while setting him on the road to rediscovering his own.

Beware the woods. Transylvania isn’t only about vampires.

About the author:

Theo Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is hot and sunny much of the year. 

You can read more about Fen at his blog,, or say hi to him on twitter, @fenraven.

Friday, 23 May 2014


BONES by Garrett Leigh

Pages: 124

Date: 23/05/2014
Grade: 4+
Details: No. 2 Blue Boy
            Received from Loose ID
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Cam is a veteran porn star at Blue Boy Studios. Known as Mr. Nice Guy, he’s the top every newbie bottom wants to be paired with.

But in recent months his beloved hardcore scenes have dried up. Instead, he finds himself stuck with a string of monotonous foreplay scenes. He takes his frustration to his boss, and warped kind of lover, Jon Kellar, but Jon won’t bend. Cam is a commodity and will do as he’s told…in every way.

Cam’s frustration builds, but a chance meeting with a hot BMXer distracts him. Sasha Tate is gorgeous, warm and wonderful; everything Cam has ever wanted. They bond over shared interests and a sizzling mutual attraction. Cam is exhilarated and thrilled, until his chosen profession gets in the way.

Sasha pulls back, and before Cam can fix it, life comes at him from all fronts. A crisis threatens much more than his relationship with Sasha, and as his world implodes he begins to realize that life will never be the same again.”


My thoughts:

Cam is frustrated. His career as a porn star used to bring him satisfaction both physically and emotionally. These days though he just feels empty. Reduced to doing tame and unimaginative scenes with new recruits, Cam can’t find the pleasure and satisfaction anymore. His boss, Jon Kellar, may provide him with an unexpected and not altogether comfortable form of release during their occasional sexual encounters, but there is no warmth, intimacy or connection to be found there. In fact, Jon comes with a dangerous and untrustworthy vibe.

“Porn used to be fun, a way of exploring his sexual identity and having a good time, but these days it seemed like a vise around his soul.”

Cam’s frustration grows until he meets Sasha Tate and his BMX. Sasha is everything Cam has been yearning for, even if he wasn’t aware of it. And handsome, sexy, charming and fun Sasha seems to be as attracted to Cam. They appear to be on a slow but steady path towards something more than friendship when Cam’s chosen profession throws a spanner in the works and Sasha disappears.

When Cam’s world is further rocked by an unimaginable health shock he is close to hitting rock bottom. With everything he thought he was at stake he needs all the friendship, love and understanding he can get his hands on if he’s to deal with all the shit life is throwing at him.

This is the second book I’ve read by Garrett Leigh and let me tell you, this author does not believe in giving her characters an easy time. Cam had my heart broken on several occasions. The reader is almost eased into his pain. What at first appears to be ‘only’ sexual frustration in the form of lots of release without intimacy, slowly turns into an awful lot more. Cam’s loneliness, even while surrounded by people was difficult to read.

“He craved companionship and warmth but somehow, even though his night was sure to end connected to the body of another, he’d never felt more alone.”

Garrett Leigh seems to know what she’s writing about when it comes to suffering, medical battles and somehow surviving both. For the second time she managed to strike a chord with me, evoke feelings I’ve been lucky enough to be able to leave behind me for a while now. The way she describes the pain and fear connected with a potentially fatal illness is almost too accurate for this reader. I had to walk away from this book once or twice. Not because the story didn’t grip me – it did. I had to create some distance was because the story hit too close to home.

I loved the way Cam evolved as a character in this story. While it would have been easy to brush him off as almost shallow when the story starts, there is no way you could think of him in those terms when the story ends. His journey from a distinct but unidentifiable sense of dissatisfaction to realising what it was he’d been looking for all along was spellbinding.

“Cam wanted to weep as he realized this was what he’d been missing...searching for all along – the undeniable sensation of shaking in a man’s arms, of being held like he was that man’s whole world.”

As I said above, this is the second book in a series. I didn’t read the first book, although I now think I may have to in the not too distant future. While I never felt I missed out on vital information and think this book can easily be read and enjoyed on its own, I do believe I might have gotten more out of this book if I’d read ‘Bullet’ first.

If I have one ‘complaint’ about this book it is that it wasn’t longer. Not that the story felt rushed or unfinished but I would have loved to spend some more time with Cam and Sasha.

My final quote is only here because it holds so much meaning and I think it’s a message people should take to hard before they’ve reached that crucial and terrifying point.

“...but for me, confronting my mortality taught me to look beyond the obvious.”

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


MARKED BY GRIEF by Caitlin Ricci

Pages: 116

Date: 20/05/2014
Grade: 4
Details: Received from Dreamspinner Press
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Six months ago, Kit lost his brother to a drunk driver. Now, feeling alone and like everyone has left him behind, he struggles to even get out of bed. He's barely eating, his parents are strangers and worst of all the man that he loves, his brother's best friend, hasn't spoken to him since the funeral.

Jason always thought that he'd have time to tell Kit how he felt someday, when the younger man might be ready to handle Jason's sexual dominance. Bear's death changed all of that. He was giving Kit time to heal but couldn't have imagined how wrong he was.

When a broken Kit comes back into Jason's life, will love be enough to heal them both?”


My thoughts:

It has been six months since Kit’s beloved older brother Bear died in a horrific accident. Six months during which Kit has closed himself off from the world, living in his bedroom and more often than not forgetting to eat.

When Kit hears that the man who killed his brother while drunk driving has committed suicide rather than face his twenty-five year jail sentence he is consumed by anger. Unable to speak to his parents who have turned into strangers, Kit leaves his house for the first time to go and talk to his brother’s best friend Jason. The man Kit has been in love with for years. The man he hasn’t spoken to since Bear’s funeral.

Jason has had feelings for his best friend’s younger brother for a long time. When Bear died he thought it would be better to leave Kit alone and allow him to deal with his grief for a while. When Kit walks into his tattoo shop, Jason knows he’s made a mistake. He should never have stayed away from Kit. And while he may never be able to share his deepest desires with Kit, he is determined to be there for the younger man now.

When Jason discovers Kit wants him as much as he wants Kit, the game changes again. But Jason likes his sex with a good doze of kink, and Kit is inexperienced and insecure. Will one night be enough to show these two men that their needs aren’t as far apart as they think and that the love they feel for each other might be enough to make both of them whole again?

This was a rather sad story. Kit’s pain and anger at his brother’s death and his parents withdrawal from him is so raw it jumps off the page. It is impossible to not have your heart break for him and want to kick his parents for completely ignoring the one child they still have. In fact, Kit captivated me from the moment the story started. His pain, his courage and his resilience took my breath away.

Because most of the book is told from Kit’s point of view I didn’t get as good a picture of Jason and wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him while reading and once the story ended. There were moments I adored him because he seemed to know exactly what Kit needed. And there were other moments when I would have lovingly hit him for not thinking about what he was doing or saying.

The BDSM scene between Jason and Kit isn’t very heavy, but then you wouldn’t expect it to be since it was their first night together and Kit was new to both the idea and the reality of it. Their night together was rather hot though and the balance between dominance and tenderness was beautiful.

This book was well written with captivating dialogue and a wonderful, hope filled ending . It was also an easy read despite the heavy subject and the at times heartbreaking scenes. Marked by Grief is the sort of book you want to read in one sitting and since it’s only just over 100 pages long that is easy to do.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


NO DISTANCE LEFT TO RUN by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov

Pages: 227
Date: 20/05/2014
Grade: 4.5i
Details: No. 4 The Distance Between Us
            Received from Samhain Publishing
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“The night before Chris and his best friend Joshua were sent thousands of miles apart on their respective Mormon missions, they finally gave in to their mutual desire. Left trying to make sense of what happened, Chris’s already shaky faith crumbled altogether a year later when Joshua suddenly died.

Inconsolable, ostracized by his family and the only community he’d ever known, Chris found his way on his own. Now he’s going to school and loves his job as a bartender at Wilde’s. Years after Joshua’s death, he’s finally moving on.

Then a familiar face rocks his world. Joshua isn’t dead. He’s back in Seattle to make peace with his dying father, with a new name, a new accent…and old feelings for Chris that are alive and well.

Forgiveness doesn’t come easy for anyone, but just as Chris is accepting that the man he loves isn’t going to run away this time, their families threaten to pull them apart all over again…”


My thoughts:

This is the fourth book in the ‘Distance Between Us’ series but can easily be read as a stand-alone.

It has been five years since Chris and his best friend Joshua gave in to their feelings for each other and spent one passionate but clumsy night together. The following the day both of them left on for their separate two year long Mormon missions. Chris has had doubt s about his faith and the Mormon community he is a part of for some time but both his world and his faith are shattered when he finds out Joshua has gone missing and is assumed dead. Cutting his mission short, Chris returns to Seattle where he turns his back on his faith and finds himself excluded from the community he grew up in as well as his family.

When Chris discovers that Joshua isn’t dead and is on his way home to reconcile with his family and dying father his emotions are torn between relief and anger.

The man who returns to Seattle may look like an older version of Joshua but after five years in the French Foreign Legion he’s acquired an accent as well as a new name - Julian - and no intention of returning to the Joshua he used to be. What’s more, the attraction between the two men is as strong as it ever was. Despite his lingering anger and the fear that Julian may just leave again, Chris offers him a place to stay and it isn’t long before that place turns out to be in Chris’ bed.

The Church and Julian’s family aren’t prepared to just allow the lost son to be who he needs to be though, forcing Julian to make an impossible choice between the man he loves and his family. All Chris can do is stand on the sidelines, ready to catch Julian should he fall.

“Not simple by any means - there was nothing left between us that could be considered simple – but easier.”

No review of mine could summarize this story better than the quote above does. This book is an emotional rollercoaster. The love and passion between the two men is so intense and beautiful it will take your breath away while the pressures put on them by their families and community are both realistic and heartbreaking. The angst in this book isn’t the result of doubts about the two men’s commitment to or feelings for each other, although Chris suffers some of those. The tension is the result of outside forces doing their damnest to keep the two men apart. Nobody should ever be forced to choose between their family and the person they love, and yet that is exactly the choice Julian is left with.

While the story is told from Chris’ point of few I did get a good impression of Julian’s difficult journey too and he all but broke my heart. Because Chris has gone through a similar process years before he knows exactly what Julian is dealing with although that doesn’t alleviate his helplessness. He can’t force Julian to choose between him and his family and is all too aware he may lose Julian, despite the man’s obvious feelings for him. Lesser authors might have jumped on the opportunity to force that rift between the two men; Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt are good enough to know the story didn’t need the extra tension. The story as it is provided almost more angst than I could deal with as it was and I’m so grateful they didn’t go for overkill.

For someone who has huge issues with organised religion at the best of times this was the perfect read. Not only because the two main characters take their stance against the indoctrination they’re facing but also because it showed the other side as well. The side where the love within a family can’t be broken, not even by the power and rules of a self-important head of the congregation. I liked that it didn’t make the dilemma black against white. Yes, Chris is shunned by the people he grew up with and knows that he’ll never be able to be part of that community again. But even five years later it still hurts him, because it does. Even when a clean break is the only option it doesn’t mean it is an easy one and I applaud the authors for including that hardship in this story.

And, before I forget, allow me to add that the relationship between Chris and Julian is HOT. Both men have used the five years apart to become experienced and inventive lovers. When they get together passion rules and naughty fantasies spice up their bed, bringing this reader some wonderful moments in the process.

As I’ve come to expect from this partnership this was a very well written and captivating love story filled with tension, tender moments and passionate love. This book was a pure joy to read while giving me plenty to think about at the same time. I may be repeating myself but I don’t care; Voinov and Witt are now high on my list of must-read authors and I can’t thank them enough for being as prolific as they are.