A BJ Review: The Mermaid Murders (The Art of Murder #1) by Josh Lanyon

Rating:  4.75 stars out of 5

The Mermaid MurdersSpecial Agent Jason West is seconded from the FBI Art Crime Team to temporarily partner with disgraced, legendary “manhunter” Sam Kennedy when it appears that Kennedy’s most famous case, the capture and conviction of a serial killer known as The Huntsman, may actually have been a disastrous failure.

For The Huntsman is still out there…and the killing has begun again.

Lanyon’s writing was a excellent as ever, dragging me into plot, relationship and setting in no time flat. The mystery in this one was outstanding, and kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. The chemistry between the two guys also grabbed me by the throat early on. The snappy pace of the mystery and the slower pace of the attraction worked perfectly together and kept me completely enthralled.

Some of the things I enjoyed about this story included the vividly drawn small town setting and its population of characters. The super creepy Rexford ghost town. The spooky mystery woven with elements of not-quite paranormal, with psychos of various types side by side with everyday normal, not evil folks who just make mistakes. The whole atmosphere of the book was so rich and palpable that it gave me that delightfully creepy, unsettled feeling that a few of my favorite movies do. And then there’s not-all-that-handsome, but big, strong, forceful, smart, legend Sam Kennedy who starts out seeming like a total asshat but slowly reveals an absolutely irresistible vulnerable side beneath the gruff exterior. Yum with a cherry on top! Jason is a perfect match for him, very distinct, struggling with his recent past, described as a “pretty boy,” but tough in his own right.

While I adored the events at the end, it had me groaning and turning the page in hopes that it wasn’t really the end. Not a fade to black, not right then! I wanted more. And no more for over a year according to the afterward notation–*heavy sigh* Darn. Josh Lanyon has a bunch of series going right now and, unlike many m/m writers who keep going when they’re on a roll, she keep starting more new one to tantalize us with rather than finishing up the existing ones.

I do love the little tie ins we find in many of them. This one is a bit related to Winter Kill, well, actually according to the afterward, book two will cover that timeframe. I am eager to read on. But hate yet another long wait ahead… hence, the lack of a perfect five stars.

Although I like the guy’s eyes, the cover isn’t a particular favorite since to me it doesn’t convey much of anything about the story.

Sales Links:  ARe | Amazon 

Book Details:

Published February 29th 2016 by Smashwords Edition

A BJ Review: Something Like a Love Song by Becca Burton

Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Something Like A Love SongOne tragic night left Landon and Dylan’s dreams of happily ever after in apparent ruin. Forced to overcome physical and emotional trauma, the young lovers turn to a network of family and friends as they attempt to rebuild their lives. Can their one constant—their love—survive the changes both undergo on the road to recovery?

Given the premise, I knew right off that this was going to be an extremely emotional story, and I wasn’t wrong. But it was also a very fast read despite being over three hundred pages. I enjoyed the author’s writing style—it’s easy to read and flowed well for me. It never once made me question what was going on or stop to think or re-read a passage.

The two main characters, Dylan and Landon, were nuanced and well-drawn, and each of the secondary characters added to the story in their own unique way. The multiple points of view was a bit strange, but in this case I think it really did add to the story to allow us to see not only how the incident and its aftermath affected many people other than just the main characters. Those small insights into what was going on with them also gave us a chance to see the main characters through outside eyes, which I found equally enlightening and enjoyable.   

It’s obvious that this author has a medical background as she took us through the process from the accident and initial trauma to recovery. Watching these guys struggle with pain, guilt, and the frustration and trials of rehabilitation was heartbreaking. It was also an uplifting testament to how love can overcome. Unlike many books that deal with hate crimes, there was basically no focus on finding the perpetrators. And after a bit of thought, I found that I actually liked that.

This story had a ton of emotion and feels, it took me from tears to laughter several times as we are shown episodes from before the incident. But it didn’t have much sex at all, and for I think it would have put it up into the five star story if I’d been able to see more of the couple’s physical relationship returning to normal. We’re only given tiny glimpses and a verbal promise, and must admit that left me wanting.

I don’t normally like when stories jump around in time, but this was an exception. The author did an excellent job of painting Landon’s old character through flashbacks and showing how his new self differed slightly even later after his recovery.  So many insights can be taken away from this book, one big one that stood out for me is how the things that happen to us can change us irrevocably, make us not into different people, as we are always one self, but into a new version of ourselves. To be happy, we must embrace, accept and love ourselves in the now and avoid the tendency to compare ourselves to either our past selves or to others. And I think that’s something we can all related to, because we all go through change in our life, sometimes it’s due to happy events, sometimes trauma, and sometimes simply aging.

Overall, this story left me feeling warm and hopeful. I highly recommend it.

I adore creative drawn covers, and this one is definitely that. It caught my attention and fits the story well.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 308 pages
Published November 19th 2015 by Interlude Press
edition languageEnglish

A BJ Review: Grateful by Kim Fielding

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Sleigh Ride Advent StoryNate Roth’s latest dumb stunt has left him with a broken arm, black eye, and stitched chin—and extra trepidation about visiting his family for Hanukkah. He fears his relatives will put him through another round of criticism for his foolish choices and his nonexistent love life. Several mishaps during his short journey to his parents’ house don’t bode well. But along the way he meets impossibly gorgeous Gio DiPietro—and maybe it’s time for Nate’s risk-taking impulses to turn out well for a change.

This is a part of the 2015 Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar. Since it’s a short story, I’m going to try to avoid going into the plot more than the blurb already does. Don’t want to spoil it! But will say that from the first line, this little story made me smile.

Nate is a thirty-year old klutz who can’t say no to a dare but has a streak of bad luck a mile wide. And he names his house plants. He is absolutely freaking adorable. Then we get meet Gio, and I’m all in, because Gio shows dogs. Just like me! Add in that he’s resourceful, sweet, and has an adorable shaggy dog… and this book had me reeled in, hook, line and sinker.

Thoroughly adored Nate’s family and oh, how it made me I wish I had one like that! The gift-giving scene was perfectly beautiful and had me teary. Now that’s a tradition I’d love to be able to try.

For such a short story, the author does an exceptional job of character building. I feel like I know these guys, or that I want to! Low on the heat meter, but plenty of lovely emotional feels to make up for it!

This isn’t the type of fantasy/fairy tale Kim Fielding stories I’m usually drawn to… it’s a light contemporary, humorous and non-angsty. And there is absolutely no edge of dark here. In fact, this little holiday gem sparkles. A highly recommended light holiday read.

Very cute and whimsical cover.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 41 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish
seriesSleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar

A BJ Review: Watch Me (Break You) (Run This Town #1) by Avril Ashton

Rating:  5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Here comes trouble…

Watch Me (Break You)

Men. Women. Drugs. Dima Zhirkov’s favorite things. Add in the element of danger and he should be right as rain. But not today. It’s not working, hasn’t for a long time. He’s grasping at the flimsiest of straws to prove he’s indeed strong enough to run his streets. Until he sets eyes on him. In the midst of a room full of strangers, Dima is drawn to a man as cold and dangerous as he’s beautiful. Captivated, Dima embarks on a ruthless campaign to get his new toy into bed.

Here comes the danger…
Xavier “X” Storm is content to pull the strings while someone else handles the day to day dealings of his gang, The Rude Boys. He’s after what Dima holds closest—the Coney Island streets. He contracts out the job of killing the Russian, except Dima isn’t that easy to kill. When he suddenly shows up in X’s path, tempting him to indulge in the dirtiest play, he finds Dima isn’t all that easy to shake, either. His cocky attitude and rough submission tempts X to go where he’d vowed to never return, and they plunge head first into an affair fueled by possessive obsession.

Run for cover.
Sex and pain Dima can handle, and X delivers the most depraved kind. Their connection is explosive, their games addictive, but Dima can end it whenever he wishes. He doesn’t see that X is breaking him down, giving Dima everything he wants and even more than he ever thought to need. By the time he realizes who X is and what he wants, Dima is raw and bullet riddled. It’s run or fight. And Dima doesn’t back down. Neither does X.

These guys are brutal, harsh and totally, spellbindingly captivating. They’re bad boys without a doubt, but their story sucked me in, grabbed me by the throat, and made me care. Both characters are interesting and well-developed. Loved the interracial aspect. Plus I adored Dima right off from nearly the first page, but when the author puts these two together it’s electric. This story is off the charts, sizzling hot. Definitely a one-handed read, but yet so much more.

It’s also a fast-paced, hold-onto-your-seat kind of story that I simply couldn’t put down. I adore enemies-to-lovers tropes, and this story puts a twist on it that I found enthralling. You see, one of the main character’s true identity is unknown to the other for some time, and hence only one knows they are enemies at the start. When the truth eventually comes out, oh man, the betrayal… just delicious.

Did I mention that these are some seriously bad guys… criminals! Gangsters! They’re violent, enjoy giving/receiving pain, like kinky, raunchy, dirty sex and plenty of it. They lie and kill, they’re seriously shitty to each other, and they’re possessive as hell. Stalking, sadistic, and sometimes bat-shit crazy. But you know what, despite all that, the author made me care for them, fall in love with them, cry for them, and despite the awesome HEA endng which I adored, I’m still left desperately wanting to read more about them!

This book is an e-ticket ride… fast, wild, fun, kinky and absolutely worth the price of admission!  Hop on board. I cannot recommend this book more highly.

The cover is excellent. I like that it doesn’t include the typical men. It gives a sense of location and a just right hint of the kinky content, the color and mood is dead on, it just feels right.

Sales Links:   Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 278 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Sinner’s Haven Publishing (first published September 5th 2014)
original title(Watch Me) Break You
edition languageEnglish
seriesRun This Town #1
charactersDima Zhirkov, Xavier Storm

A BJ Review: Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities (Claimings #2) by Lyn Gala

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Assimilation, Love and Other Human Oddities coverOndry and Liam have settled into a good life, but their trading is still tied up with humans, and humans are always messy. When political changes at the human base lead Ondry to attempt a difficult trade, the pair find themselves entangled in human affairs. Liam wants to help the people he left and the worlds being torn apart. He also wants to serve Ondry with not only the pleasures of the nest but also by bringing human profits.

Ondry has no hope of understanding human psychology in general, he only knows that he will hold onto his palteia with the last breath in his body, and he’d like to keep his status and his wealth too. Unfortunately, new humans bring new conflicts and he is not sure how to protect Liam. He does know one thing that humans seem to constantly forget—that the peaceful Rownt are predators and when their families are threatened, Rownt become deadly killers. Liam is his family, and Ondry will protect him with his last breath… assuming that he can recognize the dangers in time to do so.

I adored book one of this series which means I had very high expectations. While I didn’t quite love this as much as my five starred book one*, I did thoroughly enjoy it.  This series rocks.

The world created for us by the author is simply amazing, I already thought that in book one but it gets even more complex and nuances in book two! I hardly thought that possible. The writing itself is superb. And Liam and Ondry some of the most memorable characters I’ve read recently. I adore reading of how they care for each other so very deeply despite huge differences both physically and culturally. How their love deepens and grows roots… shows so beautifully how love can overcome obstacles.

So why did I enjoyed the first in the series better than this second installment. I think it’s just personal preference because I truly dislike politics, strategy and war/mind games. So those parts read a little slow for me personally.

Don’t get me wrong though, the plot in this story is intricate and brilliantly executed. I adored the way we are shown how Liam adapts to his new homeworld and culture, and the way we see humanity in a light that at times made me favor the Rownt. The romance is there, it grows deeper and more trusting than in book one. But despite there being some D/s elements, neither kink nor sex is at the forefront in this book/series… which may explain why there is no longer a tail on the cover… perhaps the author wanted to avoid folks thinking of this as tentacle porn which it so very much is NOT. And I like the cover just as well without the tail.

I can hardly wait for the next book in this unique and highly recommended series.

Book Cover – see comments above.

Sales Links:  Loose id LLC | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

ebook, 225 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by Loose-ID
original title Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities
ISBN13 9781623005870
edition language English

A BJ Review: The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim Fielding

Rating:  5 stars out of 5     ★★★★★

The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim FieldingA sickly man seeks recovery in a seaside cottage. 
A temple slave tends a man due to be sacrificed. 
A soldier releases a genie.

In seven fantasy short stories and novellas, men find passion with other men in the most unexpected places, and even the gravest circumstances may open the door to hope and love.

This anthology includes two brand-new short stories. In “The Sacrifice,” Rylo is a temple slave tasked with comforting a man who is scheduled to be killed in the morning. In “Chasing Away Cold,” Daku builds an ice sculpture of the god Jarli in order to ensure the end of winter. The collection also includes three novellas and two additional short stories, gathered for the first time in a single volume. “Treasure” introduces Jules, a young man who travels to the quirky seaside town of Urchin Cove to regain his health—and finds an unexpected treasure washed up on the beach. Xolani, a soldier in “Three Wishes,” picks up a small glass bottle and unleashes a surprise. Another soldier, Volos in “Guarded,” will risk everything to save Prince Berhanu. In the sequel, “Mato’s Tale,” an unassuming innkeeper gets a chance for adventure. And in “The Downs,” Enitan is unjustly banished and comes to discover that the demons he must face aren’t the ones he expected.

Join Kim Fielding on journeys through imagined worlds where magic is commonplace and romance lies just around the next bend. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers.

The Sacrifice – 5 stars

New for this anthology, and oh boy, does it ever kick this anthology off right! This is a lovely dark little gem of just the sort that originally brought this author to my attention. Rylo is a temple slave sold by his own parents. He’s chosen to give comfort to a soldier who’s scheduled to be sacrificed the following morning. The story grabbed me from the first paragraph and reeled me in. I loved it for several reasons. First off, I’m a sucker for long-haired, broken, or scarred guys and it delivered gave me that! Not only that, but in such a short number of pages, the author made me care deeply for both of these guys. I adored the dynamic between these two, the switch up between them given their sizes and role in the story. A most excellent short story that despite a very satisfying ending, still left me wanting more of these two. I will cross my fingers.

Treasure – 4.5 stars

This was previously released and written for the DRitC event in 2013. It’d been on my TBR list for a while, but I’d not gotten to it until now. I’m glad I finally did. Sickly, book-loving Julian comes to the small town of Urchin Cover for a holiday, sent by his family who hopes the sea air will improve his health. He finds that, but also so much more when a storm washes handsome Kit Archer up on his private beach. This one is like a romantic swashbuckling fairy tale adventure! There’s dragons, pirates, imps, sprites, and magic. There’s hurt/comfort, sweet that will make your teeth ache, hot sexy bits, suspense and action. It has al that and more. It didn’t drag me in quite as fast as the previous story, and there is a much slower build between the two MC, which some may actually prefer. Overall, a heartwarming story that left me feeling good.

Three Wishes – 5 stars

After soldier Xolani accidently kicks an old bottle on patrol, picks it up and rubs it to remove the dirt, a genie emerges with three wishes to grant. But wishes granted do come with a price. I won’t reveal much more about this story, as you really should experience it for yourself. It’s quite short, but it’s perfect, too. Touching and sweet and full of hope… an exquisite little story.

Guarded – 5 stars

This was previously released and written for the DRitC event in 2014. I’d already read it when it came out, but re-read to refresh my memory since it’s been over a year. Originally rated it as 4.5 stars but I enjoyed it even more the second time around so I’m bumping that up. This is another dark one, and those are my favorite kind it seems. Prince Berhanu shuns guard Volos because of his Kozari blood, but its Volos who comes for him when he captured by the enemy. This story has some brutal parts, and those who have rape triggers should beware. A story with so many of the elements I love: long-hair, hurt/comfort, UST, hot sex, sweet bits, a harsh past, and much more. The prince’s ordeal was hard to read but this story show love’s healing power.

Mato’s Tale – 3.5 stars

This is the sequel to Guarded in which we get to see more of Mato, the lonely but brave innkeeper that assisted Vollos and Berhanu. This was released as a freebie some time ago but I hadn’t yet got around to reading it. While I didn’t really connect very much to the couple in this, I was glad to see Mato and his mother both find their someone special and for Mato get his adventure. Also pleased to find out that Volos and Berhanu were to wed. All around a bunch of lovely HEAs.

The Downs – 4 stars

A dark fairy tale set in a fascinating dystopian world where those convicted of a crime are taken from the city, across the Reach and pitched over a cliff into the Downs where they are told they are being given to the demons for their pleasure.

Entian, a criminal who has been wrongly judged wakes to find himself in the tender care of a scarred giant named Rig. Both of the main characters were intriguing, and their backstories are very developed for a story of this length.This story had many elements I enjoy: dark, dystopian, hurt/comfort, scarred/broken characters, and a sweet love story. This one isn’t only a romance, but a fable-like tale of betrayal, second chances, and vengeance. Little truths sneak out from its pages.

Chasing Away Cold – 5 stars

New in this anthology. Daku creates an ice sculpture of the god Jarli which his tribe will sacrifice in order to ensure the end of winter. Oh my, what a perfect little parable. Had the tears falling down my cheeks as I read. Am I an emotional sap? Maybe, when reading Kim Fielding. Sigh. What’s the magic more powerful than Gods… love, courage… and what this says to me, hope. This is a perfect little gem of a story, and just the right ending for this anthology.

If I figure out the exact stars for this anthology based on the numbers, it comes to something around 4.57. But I’m giving it a big, firm five stars, because very rarely have I ever enjoyed an anthology so completely. Each story is a gem for different reasons, but together they are an impeccable whole.

COVER: I really admire drawn covers done specifically for a story, and this cover captures the feeling of the first story, The Sacrifice, perfectly. Love the dark in the background to the portrayal of Rylo with his attire and tattoo, and long hair, which always, always grabs my attention. But also that outstretched hand that invites the sacrifice in for his last night of pleasure but at the same time invites us readers in to join them. Worked for me!

Sales Links:  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 404 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2015
edition languageEnglish404 pages

Published November 27th 2015 by Kim Fielding

A BJ Review: Dark Space (Dark Space #1) by Lisa Henry

Rating:  5 stars out of 5   ★★★★★

Dark Space coverBrady Garrett needs to go home. He’s a conscripted recruit on Defender Three, one of a network of stations designed to protect the Earth from alien attack. He’s also angry, homesick, and afraid. If he doesn’t get home he’ll lose his family, but there’s no way back except in a body bag.

Cameron Rushton needs a heartbeat. Four years ago Cam was taken by the Faceless—the alien race that almost destroyed Earth. Now he’s back, and when the doctors make a mess of getting him out of stasis, Brady becomes his temporary human pacemaker. Except they’re sharing more than a heartbeat: they’re sharing thoughts, memories, and some very vivid dreams.

Not that Brady’s got time to worry about his growing attraction to another guy, especially the one guy in the universe who can read his mind. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just biochemistry and electrical impulses. It doesn’t change the truth: Brady’s alone in the universe.

Now the Faceless are coming and there’s nothing anyone can do. You can’t stop your nightmares. Cam says everyone will live, but Cam’s probably a traitor and a liar like the military thinks. But that’s okay. Guys like Brady don’t expect happy endings.

Lovely sci-fi story. Intriguing premise, wonderful writing that dragged me right into the action and didn’t let me go. Awesome world-building. But overall it was the characters that blew me away. Such nuance! The telepathy between the two main characters was handled beautifully. Cam’s face and reputation had drilled into Brady’s mind. But everyone had given him up for dead. Now he’s not only back among the living, but connected to Brady. In his head. Heart beats synced. But really… imagine having to share your head with a sexy, poster boy soldier emerging from a traumatic experience that you yourself could never have endured.

For me, this story showed so clearly how two people often react so completely differently to the same experience. How they handle it and deal with it in ways that the other may even find hard to understand. While one person may come through an event mostly unscathed and may even look back and see the positives that came from it, another may come away severely damaged.  Cam came through the traumatic events with Kai-Ren and the faceless, but Brady clearly would not have been able to do the same.

Despite the dark elements of this story (prior non-con for both main characters, scary, no terrifying, aliens, and even the death of secondary character) and the dismal dystopian world in which it’s set, the relationship that develops between these two MCs is amazingly sweet and their sex nurturing as well as sizzling hot. The angst was handled perfectly.

For those who don’t believe in gay-for-you, give this one a try. It might change your mind. That element was excellently handled. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Brady didn’t have any lengthy self-hating, but analyzed and accepted what he was feeling. Heck, every element was excellently handled. This was a stunning story—I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Well, yes, I could. I want more! And luckily, the author seems to have heard our cry as book two, Darker Space, is out now. Look for my review here soon.

The cover set’s the theme perfectly as m/m sci-fi… the darker, muted colors work perfect for the novel’s tone. The model is exactly how I had pictured the main character Brady.

Sales Links:   Loose id LLC | ARe | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Loose Id, LLC
original titleDark Space
seriesDark Space #1

Dark Space
Darker Space (Dark Space)

A BJ Review: Leythe Blade by Jaye McKenna

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

LBlade_600x900Sasha is a healer forced to take on the role of a warrior when his clan is attacked. Trapped in his caravan, the only weapon he can lay hands on is Ryka, the legendary sword that has been in his family for generations. To Sasha’s horror, the blade takes control of his body and turns him into a ruthless killer. Worse, Ryka sets in motion an irreversible process that will bind them together for life—if Sasha can survive the bonding.

Jace is a mercenary soldier, charged with protecting his commander’s brother, Eredwyn, on a journey through the Middle Kingdoms. When Eredwyn’s sometimes-prophetic visions lead them to the dying Sasha, Eredwyn insists that they must save him.

As Sasha struggles to come to terms with Ryka and his need to avenge his clan, Jace finds himself torn between his orders to protect Eredwyn and his growing feelings for Sasha. Can Jace walk the fine line between duty and desire, or will Sasha’s plans for vengeance lead all three men to their deaths?

If you’ve read other books by this author, you will know already how intricate and richly nuanced her world-building is… I’m continually fascinated by how she ties so much together not only over the different planets in this universe but over thousands of years of time as well. Epic is the word that comes to mind.

This standalone story is set in the same universe as the author’s other series ,Guardians of the Leythe, The Wytch Kings of Skanda, and Guardians of the Pattern. It takes place on the earth-like world of Aion during the time period after the first two series but before the last.

Leythe and Mythe are used interchangeably depending on time period and culture. Both refer to the energy field that permeates the universe and from which power can be drawn by those with the ability to touch it (referred to as mythe weavers, leythari, or psions relatively).

Both Jace and Sasha can call upon this power field but in very different ways. Sasha can use its power to heal, but after an absolutely awful event leaves him no choice, he forms a bond with a blade, Ryka, with whom he can communicate through the leythe. Since healers are protected like the women of the clan, Sasha has never been allowed to use a weapon. His gift, his very nature, is to heal those in pain not cause it, to preserve life, not take it. He’s appalled at the realization that, using Ryka, he caused injury to others. Sasha struggles valiantly against the bond, against allowing something into his mind that threatens to change his very nature.

At the beginning of the book, Jace’s duty and main focus is protecting his charge, Eredwyn, but as he helps his mentor save Sasha, he finds himself drawn to and feeling a kinship to Sasha. Because Jace has also struggled with accepting his own ability to use the mythe after having inadvertently used it to kill, something that he had no idea he could do. As both men struggle with guilt and accepting/controlling a power within that can do harm to others, the bond between them grows. Together they help each other heal and learn to forgive and accept themselves.

But there isn’t just the one relationship in this book. For Sasha, once bonded to Ryka, must come to terms with that relationship as well. I thoroughly enjoyed how the relationship between Sasha and Ryka developed and grew from utter resistance to reluctant acceptance and finally trust. Ryka, though a sword, is very much a fascinating character on her own. There was another leythe blade, Blackfang, in an earlier book Human Frailties, Human Strengths. The concept intrigues me and while I admit to harboring resentment to Blackfang for an incident in which I wanted to kick him, I want to know more. The leythe blades are fascinating, and I’d very much enjoy a story in which we get to explore exactly how they all came into existence.

The cover is a graphic design by Chinchbug that captures this story wonderfully. It took me a while to look beyond the long-haired, violet-eyed hotness holding the sword, but once I noticed the androgynous face in of the blade and the fractals in the background representing the leythe… wow. Yep, it’s perfect.

Sales Links:  All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

ebook, 238 pages
Published October 23rd 2015 by Mythe Weaver Press (first published October 1st 2015)

A BJ Review: Just a Bit Wrong (Straight Boys #4) by Alessandra Hazard

Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Just A Bit Wrong CoverZach Hardaway is one of the best physiotherapists in Europe. Tristan DuVal is a young soccer star with a groin injury and adopted brother to Gabriel from book three of the series.

Zach and Tristan despise each other from the moment they meet. As far as Zach is concerned, Tristan is a rich, spoiled brat who is too used to getting his own way. As far as Tristan is concerned, Zach is a bossy, presumptuous jerk.

Tristan hates Zach. He does. The problem is, he also wants to shove Zach against the nearest wall and climb him like a tree.

Zach is in an open relationship with a woman, but they are engaged to be married and plan to become monogamous once they tie the knot. He’s straight. Except that he can’t seem to keep his mind or hands off his infuriating new patient.

This well-written series hasn’t disappointed me yet! This is actually book five, if you count Straight Boy (book 0.5) and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. The series deals with straight guys who discover and come to terms with their sexuality a bit later, usually with some bits of trauma along the way.

Like Gabriel in the past book, Tristan Duval’s one messed up guy. I must admit that I abhorred him in book three. While Gabriel was a bit co-dependent and obsessive/possessive of Jared, Tristan is the opposite. He never has relationships, just sex. And it’s all tied up with defense mechanisms he created to deal with rejection and loss in his early childhood. He is a brat, but despite that it didn’t take too long for the author to dispel my former dislike once she let’s us inside the façade he’s created, and I was soon rooting for Tristan to find happiness.

Due to their combined hectic, traveling lifestyles, Zach and his longtime friend/lover Donna have been in an open relationship, but having decided it’s time to start a family they’ve made plans to tie the know and the wedding invitations have been sent. He gives in his desire for Tristan just to get it out of his system before the wedding… except that once he starts, he cannot stop coming back for more.

This installment of the series adds in a bit of BDSM twist with some spanking action. Tristan and Gabe together are hot! Yes, folks… like the rest of the series, this book is sexy (hate me/take me) and angsty. Tristan and Zach both fought their feelings and budding relationship tooth and nail, which resulted in some funny and sweet moments.

Enjoyable ending in which Tristan began to open up but has not truly yet changed. I would love to have seen a bit more development between him and Gabe’s relationship, but perhaps in the next book. The seeds that were planted for book five have me chomping at the bit and hoping to see Tristan and Gabe both continue in their growth and maturing. There certainly seems to be the set up for it, and I hope we will get to find out very soon.

Cover was changed from the time I purchased it. Originally a white background showing a guy with bright aqua eyes, now a darker cover in which the eyes color doesn’t show. I preferred the first actually.

Sales Links:   Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 203 pages
Published September 15th 2015 (first published September 14th 2015)

A BJ Review: Winter (The Haunted Heart #1) by Josh Lanyon

Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Winter the Haunted Heart coverStill grieving the sudden death of his lover, antiques dealer Flynn Ambrose moves to his uncle’s old, ramshackle house on Pitch Pine Lane to catalog and sell the large inventory of arcane and oddball items that once filled his late uncle’s mysterious museum.

Flynn suffered a serious breakdown and attempted to kill himself after his lover’s unexpected death, and he’s still very depressed despite the counseling and help from his parents. He needs space and makes a deal with his parents (which I won’t share details of as too much of a spoiler) that allows him to travels to the rather secluded property to perform the inventory. Unexpectedly, he finds himself seeing a ghost in an old mirror. The only one Flynn has to turn to is Kirk, the thirteen year older, slightly grouchy but handsome playwright renting the downstairs of his house. When Kirk is also witness to the apparition, he can’t write Flynn’s problem off as easily as he had wanted to. When the ghost seems able to exit the mirror, the guys find themselves trying figure out what to do about the mirror before the ghost does them in. But getting rid of the thing isn’t as easy as it seems.

This book is bit of a step back to the scary stories of old… and it is scary folks. But then, I knew Lanyon could do horror after reading In a Dark Woods came out of nowhere and scared the heck out of me. This one is not of the gory variety where stuff is thrown in just for the ick factor either. This is tried and true, get inside your head and freak you out kind of scary. It will make you want to read with the lights on, it will make you think, and it might also make you cry.

This story has several elements I loved. First, as you’d expect from Lanyon, there’s a well-done and very interesting mystery that takes us on a compelling journey into the prejudices of the past. But it’s also the tender and heartbreaking story of a young man trying to deal with suddenly losing the man he grew up with and had thought he’d spend his entire life with to such a incredibly freak accident at entirely too young an age. Flynn’s situation is so heartrending. He’s in no way over what happened, and yet we see glimpses of his underlying strength in the way he handles the events and the manor. Then there’s Kirk, a Ranger in Afghanistan who appears to be suffering from PTSD, although we didn’t get much depth to his backstory just yet. I am so eager to learn more about both these men and follow along their journey, hopefully to each other.

Winter is an excellent mystery with wonderful character building and just a touch of heat, but if you want insta-love and lots of hot sex, this one doesn’t quite fill that bill. What we have here is more of a romance in bloom, and I found that both refreshing and perfect for book one of a series. Wait, maybe it is insta-love in a way, because it certainly did make me fall in love with both Kirk and Flynn.

I enjoyed the way the mystery plays out ties and the tantalizing little clue tidbit at the end rounds it out perfectly. Overall this is an excellent ghost story to read this October.

Cover art. Just look at that lovely, eerie, moody cover! It’s beautiful. Highly recommended read.

Sales Links:   All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

ebook, 147 pages
Published August 26th 2013 by Josh Lanyon (first published January 1st 2013)
ISBN13 9781937909482
edition language English