A BJ Review: Crisped + Sere (Immemorial Year #2) by T.J. Klune


Rating:    4 stars out of 5

Crisped + SereTwenty-one days.

In a world ravaged by fire and descending into madness, Cavalo has been given an ultimatum by the dark man known as Patrick: return Lucas to him and the cannibalistic Dead Rabbits, or the town of Cottonwood and its inhabitants will be destroyed.

But Lucas has a secret embedded into his skin that promises to forever alter the shape of things to come—a secret that Cavalo must decide if it’s worth dying over, even as he wrestles with his own growing attraction to the muted psychopath.

Twenty-one days.

Cavalo has twenty-one days to prepare for war. Twenty-one days to hold what is left of his shredded sanity together. Twenty-one days to convince the people of Cottonwood to rise up and fight back. Twenty-one days to unravel the meaning behind the marks that cover Lucas.

A meaning that leads to a single word and a place of unimaginable power: Dworshak.

Like the first book, this one is dark and creepy. The excellent world-building continues, and the character development of all the people we met in book one was excellent. Also, this read smoother to me than the first, whether because I had a background now and wasn’t confused as I had been often in the first, I’m not sure. I don’t think there was as much of the hopping around like in the first book, there was some, but it flowed better.

This time we get more of a relationship between all of the characters. It’s not just about Cavalo and Lucas, but about all the people that formed his strange family. As before, Bad Dog was a huge favorite for me during the whole of this story.  I was glad to get more info on Lucas and came to feel the connection between all four of them (including the robot SIRS) as a family that worked. Cavalo thinks of himself as a monster, a bad guy, and yet in this we see him risk everything to help others, including those outside of his little family. While I didn’t feel invested in them as a couple in book one, by the end of this book, I most definitely did. And loved the end. Reminded me a bit of Star Trek, and I am a trekkie since a teen.

The way it was written without us really knowing if Cavalo actually heard Bad Dog and Lucas in his head, or if it was part of his mental issues, worked for me. As a movie, this would definitely be horror… maybe something like The Stand, only even more gory. There are definitely plenty of visual images to fill that screen with action, special effects, and blood. I’d like to see it.

The pace in this one felt right most of the time, but I think it could have been tightened up and the story shortened and still read just as well. There was an event about midway that made me say… UGH, not again. However, later on I came to accept it and even like that it had happened because of what else came after.  It really came to bug me how they kept speaking of killing Lucas, not just once but so many times.

BTW, when reading the first book, I didn’t actually realize where the titles originated. This time I did. It’s from the poem Ulalume by Edgar Allan Poe. I feel like I should have gotten that, but I’m not much of a poetry reader.

While not everything was bright or wrapped up, this ended much more hopefully than book one and does not have a cliffie. I’d still like more in this world though to see if they rebuild and how.

The cover is creepy as hell, and the feel of it fits the book.

Sales Links

DSP Publications

DSP Logo


Book Details:

ebook, 340 pages
Expected publication: August 23rd 2016 by DSP Publications
Original TitleCrisped + Sere
ISBN 1634770684 (ISBN13: 9781634770682)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: Immemorial Year

A BJ Review: Junk Mage by Elliot Cooper


Rating:    4 stars out of 5

Junk MageWhen technomancer Quillian Defote crash-lands on remote planet Marutuk, he has limited time to repair his ship and get off world. If he fails, he’ll forfeit his position as professor of mechanical transmutation at the prestigious Ivy Arcanarium and ruin his employment prospects in yet another sector.

Hunter, a cyborg guarding a junkyard that holds what Quill needs, is charmed by the wayward mage and wants to help him. But Hunter is bound by honor to dutifully guard his mistress and her possessions, no matter how cruelly she treats him.

Together Quill and Hunter stand a chance of starting a new life together if carnivorous wildlife, a violent necromancer, and stubborn pride don’t keep them apart.

For the first bit, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this story. It took me a while to get into it and begin to care about the characters and fully understand all that was going on. However, that changed for me at the thirty percent or so mark.

Really excellent world-building especially for such a short novella. It’s actually science fiction, but for some reason it almost reads like outer space steampunk sorta. This world is intricate and has a TON of potential, and I wish this story had been longer in order to explore more and really do it justice.

However, even in this short length, we get lots of interesting creatures, magic, computer tech, cyborgs, just all sorts of fun stuff. There was a ton of potential, but I couldn’t quite give it five stars because I felt it ended too soon and could have been filled out a lot more. There are so many ideas, so much going on in this, it could easily have been twice as long I think. As it was, it felt rather rushed due to the length. I found myself longing for more sensuousness, more feels, more UST maybe. But that is just me, a personal taste thing maybe.

Quill is a great character. I enjoyed the type of mage he is… junk mage is a great title. I enjoyed Quill’s rather laid-back attitude. He is nothing like your typical hero. In fact, it seems he’s been rather a screw up in the past due to his attitude. I like how he cared about everyone else even when he was in danger of losing his job and maybe even his life on that strange planet. Despite his predicament, he cared about the dangerous little narl… and the dangerous cyborg with the gun… and even the evil mage who tried to kill them.

Hunter the cyborg was also a great character, and I wanted to know more about him than we were given. Adored how touched he was by the gift of the ereader, his love for books resonated with me. And then when he immediately found the m/m erotica, that was great!

Although there could easily have been a lot of angst in this, there was very little. This didn’t come across as a sweet, flowery romance, neither was it a smoking hot erotic read–there was actually no sex. It was more an imaginative, action-packed story of two men with good hearts finding each other… and then your imagination has to take it from there. Unless there ends up being sequel.  Which would be good, because I could totally see this taking off as a series. Plenty of potential.

And I must mention the hideous narls (bone sucking creatures!). Junior was great. I rather wondered what was going on with him though, like why was he different that the others? Why did he need Quill’s help at one point from a gang of other narls and then turn and face a gang of them to save another smaller narl later on? What had changed? Regardless, the narls were cool. And the thing with the eyes and the goggles, oh my. Loved that.

The cover is nice but I think it may be part of why this read as steampunk to me even though it’s sci-fi. The cover rather screams steampunk for me.

Sales Links

      NineStar Press  

Book Details: 

ebook, 49 pages
Published July 4th 2016 by NineStar Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

A BJ Review: Solid Education by Bianca Sommerland


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Solid EducationGage Tackett comes off as a bad boy—detached and maybe a little dangerous. Definitely not Vet Sciences Professor Derek Paulson’s type. Which he tells himself, repeatedly, every time the other man attends his class. Until the day he looks over to see Gage’s seat is empty.

When Gage arrives at Derek’s veterinary clinic with a frostbitten stray dog, the lines of their teacher/student relationship are blurred. Derek realizes his most difficult student has a few things to teach him. Things he’s more than willing to learn.

This was a new to me author, and one who I noticed writes mostly in the M/F romance genre. However, the cover drew me in on first glance–I’m a sucker for both dogs and blonds. For the most part, I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. But there were several times when I found myself confused, when the guy’s conversation just really lost me.

I am a totally dogaholic, so I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the story about the dog(s). Derek being a vet, Gage a vet student and former military dog handler still grieving the loss of his service dog, Gunner. Then the rescue of the stray, and the way Matty brought the two men together and even changed the path of their future. All of that was sweet and completely awesome. I loved how Derek used Matty to get Gage into his bed (not for sex, mind you, but for snuggling and cuddling). So sweet.

However, when it came to the guys themselves separate from dogs, well, I admit that it took quite a while for me to connect with either man. I feel that I would have enjoyed this much more if both Derek and Gage were more fleshed out more in ways outside their connection to dogs.

Derek came across as haughty and aloof at first, and while we get to see later that it’s due to his having been hurt before—well, there wasn’t enough backstory of that to make me feel enough for him to truly understand why/how a man of his looks and station in life would so readily pull away from wanting a real relationship and begin to act as he was. I mean, hell, we all get hurt. That’s life.

Gage’s loss of Gunner, his military dog was poignant—the visit he makes to the military dog memorial had me close to tears. But there was little background on Gage himself, really. And while it was mentioned that Gunner had helped Gage with the nightmares (obviously due to PTSD), the details on what incident or incidents started them were missing.

The build up of sexual tension and chemistry developing between the two worked well, but I felt let down when the actual sexy bits arrive. For me, they felt rushed, almost skimmed over, which kept them from being as hot as I’d hoped for.

Overall, this is a sweet story that any dog lover should enjoy. Aptly showing how the love a dog can enhance and change our lives.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 142 pages
Published September 14th 2015
Edition LanguageEnglish

A BJ Review: Bright Star by Talia R. Blackwood


Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Bright Star“I am his guardian angel. I don’t know who he is. I know every line of his face—the curve of his lips is carved in my soul—but I don’t know his name. I always called him just Prince.”

Tasked to watch over a young man in suspended animation, Phae, a clone, spends his life alone on an empty spaceship, focused only on the protection of his ward. Prince isn’t scheduled to wake for another twenty years, but an attack on the ship starts the automatic awakening procedure. Prince relieves Phae’s loneliness and teaches him the meaning of love. However, the mission becomes more complicated than either man was led to believe—and far more dangerous. Their destination is a world held hostage, where clones are disposable and Phae is scheduled for “recycling” when his duty is done.

I love sci-fi, and this one had an excellent premise and the potential to be a five star read for me. Very intriguing concept with some interesting and unique elements.

I enjoyed and was hooked into both of the characters. Prince/Kian’s backstory made me fully invested in him but I wish it had been more complete. I found some elements and motivations left a bit vague, but it was intriguing nonetheless. I felt Phae’s loneliness/emptiness very poignantly, to have been left alone at just nine and also, poor Blasius to have lived nearly all his years alone. At least he did have Phae for his last nine. I adored Phae’s innocence, gentleness and single-minded dedication to his duty and his Prince very sweet. But the way he thought of himself as a “just a stupid clone” or “poor stupid clone” over and over got to me. I couldn’t fathom why he thought of himself that way since he’d been born on the Ship rather than on Earth around humans who would have treated him in a manner to have caused him to think of himself that way. And he’d been raised by another clone. Had Blasius whom he thought of as a father and cared for taught him that? It wouldn’t seem likely based on other things he’d shared about Blasius’s words to him.

The story is written in present tense (not my favorite) and is in dual first person POVs, which threw me a bit as I’m used to dual POVs being in third person. And it has insta-love, which works for me in some cases and not in others. In this case, I could understand their attraction and attachment based on who they were, their past, and their circumstances… but I’d have loved it if a bit more foundation to the relationship based on more than sex and gratitude to have been laid before jumping into the years of waiting that came later on both of their sides. I mean, they were together a few short hours, then apart for many years, then together again just for a brief few minutes, then apart again for many years. It seems so very little to base all those years of dedicated love on.

The way they progressed to sex so very quickly, right after Prince had just struggled to waken from a ninety plus year cyrosleep, and while in such dire circumstance of having been hiding from aliens, and considering Prince indicated he’d not cared for clones before, been afraid of them even. A slower development of the relationship, of trust and understanding and the physical as well, would have given more depth to the story for me.

Despite all this, I still did very much enjoy this story. I feel it could have been longer, even twice as long (I love long, well-developed sci-fi stories!) as there was so much more of this world and these two amazing guys that I would have loved to have explored.

Overall, a very moving and touching story that had me close to tears at parts. Even though it covers a timespan of many years, the pacing is quick and satisfying. If you enjoy sci-fi and insta-love, then I can highly recommend this story.

Cover art by Anne Cain

Sales Link:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 172 pages
Published October 8th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1632162784 (ISBN13: 9781632162786)

A BJ Review: Just a Bit Confusing (Straight Guys #5) by Alessandra Hazard


Rating:  3.75 stars out of 5

Just a Bit ConfusingBest friends, inseparable since childhood, one in love with the other, the other straight and in love with a woman.

Stories like this don’t have a happy ending; James Grayson knows it. He puts on a smile, he laughs, he jokes, and he pretends he’s fine when Ryan kisses his girlfriend in front of him—until he can’t.

Except nothing is easy and letting go turns out to be much harder than one might think. Some bonds are too strong to be broken, even for a straight man. And sometimes love and desire can have different faces and layers.

A story of two men trying to function without each other and failing.

I’m not a huge contemporary reader, but this has been one of my fav contemporary series ever since the first book came out. I’ve devoured and enjoyed each and every one, some a bit more than others, but none that I’d hesitate for a second to highly recommend. When I began reading this story, I thought for about the first 25% or so that I may have ran into the first book I couldn’t so heartily recommend.

Why didn’t the beginning grab me, I keep asking myself. There seemed to be a lot more ‘telling’ in this than in prior books for one thing. Also there are some strange POV such as a section from a waitress who we never see again in the story. I realize it was to give an outside overview of the characters, but perhaps that could have been done using a character integral to the series like Luke or Zach maybe? Just a thought. A few of the scene jumps at the beginning confused me, and while I adored Tristan and Zach later in this book, when initially introduced, they didn’t seem like the guys I remembered much.

Once the story took off for me, it was as hot as I’ve come to expect from this author. Lots of UST. Revisiting with Zach and Tristan was fun, and I enjoyed how their relationship had progressed and how Tristan grew in this one. The exploration of the relationships between Tristan, James, and Arthur definitely lived up to my hopes for the story. And while I liked both of the main characters, I did tend to think Ryan was just too stupid for words at times. The way he could not let go thinking of James as a baby brother, despite that he was a friend who was just a month younger than him, seemed strange to me and got to be annoying. Which didn’t mean that I wasn’t chomping at the bit for him to finally wise up as, yeah, those two together had chemistry for sure.

By the end, I was completely and totally hooked back on this series. The set up for the next book, Luke’s story, is killer! I can hardly wait to read that one.

This cover is a bit hard to read (image-wise) at a smaller size and thus is not an immediate grabber. But sort of like the story, it grew on me.

Sales Links:   Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Published December 16th 2015 by Alessandra Hazard
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Straight Guys with links to BJ’s reviews:

A BJ Review: Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Rattlesnake coverA drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. One cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker who ends up dying before he can get him to his destination. When a letter the dead drifter wrote to the son he hadn’t seen in years turns up in his car, Jimmy decides to continue the journey to Rattlesnake and deliver the letter in person.

The small town of Rattlesnake is nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras, and it’s centerpiece is the historic Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little, the drifter’s son himself. Jimmy feels an immediate attraction to Shane, and when his car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

There Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace, but tells himself it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.

As always with Kim Fielding, this book was well-written and the characters well-drawn. However, this story was quite slow to engage me and even after it did, the pace was often slow for me. Perhaps this was due to Jimmy’s lengthy stories or the longish descriptions of the town and its history, not sure. But I can say that the characters and engaging storyline were more than enough to keep me reading despite it. However, if you are looking for action or a fast-paced storyline, then this may not be the book for you.

I felt for Jimmy the drifter with no confidence in himself, a man who’d been told from an early age he wouldn’t amount to anything and had taken that to heart. I understand it intimately because I lived it. The black sheep with strange inclinations born into a broken, poor family, check. Being told you’ll never amount to anything (in my case the mantra was, you have brains but no common sense). Yes! And the need to get away? Hell, yes! In Jimmy’s case as a drifter, in mine moving to the other side of the country. So hell yes, I get Jimmy.

But yet, I don’t. Because he’s given up. On love, on finding or making a home. On himself. Forty-three and he never attempted to better himself, to prove them wrong? He let his naysayers and abusers dictate his life for so long? He never stood up and decided he wanted something, and he was going to damn well strive to get it?

To be honest, I wanted to strangle him each time he was going to bail and walk away. He’d start to pack, but it rained or whatever. Would he have really or was he fooling himself and making excuses? Probably the latter. Either way bothers me no end. He’d allowed them to take his spirit, to strip him of his self-worth and confidence so completely that he didn’t even try in all those years? That is just incredibly sad. I have the self-confidence of a gnat, its hard and scary to try and possibly fail. It’s hard to trust. Maybe impossible. But giving up? Never. And when he finally did change his life, it was because he’d found someone else. It didn’t come from within him.

Shane was a whole different thing. Adored him from the start. There was a man who life had kicked, but he got back up like the energizer bunny. His stunning bravery, loyalty, understanding, and trust just floored me. The constant cheerfulness despite the chronic pain was just a little bit over the top, but I still adored him. And the amazing family behind him as a foundation, all wonderfully drawn secondary characters.

The romance between the two men was touching, heated and memorable, and this story packed some serious feels. Very enjoyable. But the slow pace and my annoyance towards Jimmy kept it from being five stars. I enjoy flawed characters–very much so. But I still want them to find strength in themselves. Because, hell, if I’d waited for someone (or a whole town in this case) to rescue me and offer me a home, to give me someone to believe in, I’d still be wallowing in my own mire.

The cover by L. C. Chase depicting a drifter and his duffle waiting for a ride on the side of the road is fitting for the story. However, the man walking towards him on the freeway threw me off as he met Shane in a saloon and never traveled with him nor was picked up by him or anything.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original title Rattlesnake
ISBN 1634764773 (ISBN13: 9781634764773)
edition language English

A BJ Review: Love Starved by Kate Fierro


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Love Starved coverAt twenty-seven, Micah Geller has more money than he needs, a job he loves, a debut book coming out and a brilliant career in information security before him. What he doesn’t have is a partner to share it with—a fact that he’s never allowed to bother him much. Until Daphne, a close friend, gives him the card of a high-class escort she highly recommends. Micah has no intention of contacting the man, but a moment of drunken weakness unleashes the longing romantic in him and Micah wakes to find that he’s made a ‘date’ with the man… a date for which he’s paid over a thousand dollars in advance and tasked Angel to: “Show me what it’s like to feel loved.”

A well-written story with intriguing main characters. It’s written entirely from Micah’s point of view, and I’m coming to find more and more that single POV isn’t my favorite. So often it leaves me wanting to be more in touch with the other character. Being on the outside and seeing only through Micah’s eyes, we get a very one-sided view of Angel for quite a long while. There are hints that things are going on beyond what we see, which was fine at first but I did began to get frustrated when Micah either didn’t pick up on things or got sidetracked from them so easily.

Micah is successful and a bit of a nerd/geek. Due to being hurt by his first and only boyfriend Brian, he’s leery of relationships. Brian, his ex, is portrayed in such a negative manner that it rather left me wondering what Micah had ever seen in him that had caused him to be so very much in love that his breakup with him would cause him such pain and disillusionment. I’d have loved to see more nuance to Brian in his memories, the good along with the bad.

Angel is bi-sexual and a larger percentage of his clients are female than are male. After the initial fantasy date, due to being seen by someone close to him, Micah chooses to rehire Angel to be his pretend boyfriend a few times rather than admitting to having hired an escort.

The relationship between these two is slow to build, often one step forward and two steps back, and I enjoyed that. Micah continued servicing his clients for some time after they met, and Micah didn’t once attempt to sway him away from doing so. Also while Micah easily could have taken advantage of fulfilling his sexual fantasies with Angel, for the most part he didn’t, even after he paid him for a sexual date. He’s a very sweet guy, and I loved that about him. Loved the slow burn of their romance.

Even after we get to the point of seeing a bit more about what is going on with Angel, things still moved slowly. A few things bugged me about Angel/Aiden’s motivations for doing the things he did, they were a bit over the top of the whore with the heart of gold theme for me. The info given on his background didn’t make me buy into him having enough motivation to prompt him into doing what he did for the reason he did. And Micah’s family were all way too sweet and accepting of a situation that might well have caused at least a smidge of concern. A minor annoyance I found jumping out at me quite early was how often both of the characters winked, it started to feel contrived after a while.

Overall though, I very much enjoyed reading this exploration of two men slowly learning to trust in each other after both have had trust issues in the past. There were many poignant and sweet moments that kept me fully enthralled. The sexual tension was high, and the romance was at times deeply touching.

The cover sparkled. It stood out from the others and called to me with its art and the bright, warm sparkly colors.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:  

ebook, 304 pages
Published April 21st 2014 by Interlude Press
edition languageEnglish
settingMinneapolis, Minnesota (United State

A BJ Review: Speechless (Speechless #1) by Kim Fielding


Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Speechless coverOne-eyed Travis Miller is a machinist living what he terms a “fairly sucky” life in Portland. His only real companion is a rescue a cat named Elwood. After he spots a handsome man playing the guitar on his porch along his walking route home, that starts to become a highlight of his day. Travis gathers the courage to speak to the man and discovers that the former novelist Drew Clifton suffers from aphasia after having been in a car accident. Drew can understand what people say, but cannot speak or write.

These two lonely men form a friendship that deepens into romance, but soon realize it might not be communication that’s their biggest challenge. Travis is inexperienced at relationships and struggles with a precarious financial situation.

Speechless (Speechless #1) by Kim Fielding was an easy, quick read. It’s a sweet love story without being syrupy or full of drama. I love broken/wounded characters and watching them overcome their hardships. Both of these men are wounded, Travis having lost his eye and Drew his speech. Yet both are strong characters and the angst level is fairly low–neither of these men whined over their situations. Not to themselves or each other. I enjoyed that. Both men came across as everyday guys, not super handsome, buff, rich or super tough.

This is told only from Travis POV, which made Drew have to get himself across to not only Travis but also us readers through only his actions. Not an easy thing for the author to achieve, I’m thinking. But yet, she did it wonderfully. Drew comes across as a very expressive, endearing, strong and determined man. Still, I admit that I’d have loved to have gotten a bit into Drew’s head, because how awful for him as a writer to lose his ability to use words! He made light of it to Travis, but I can imagine that was not the case. At least he could still read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing story and these imperfect, yet perfect for each other men. In life, people who can talk just fine often have such a hard time communicating. Sometimes it seems people don’t make a very strong effort to do so if it’s too difficult. I love this quote “I hardly ever had any problem understanding him. You just have to pay attention.” Exactly. But unfortunately, even to those of us who speak, many don’t pay attention, don’t really listen or watch to see what’s behind the words. Travis paid attention, and I loved him for that.

Another quote from this that I adored, mainly because it made ME feel good was this one, “…even if you never write anything again, you’ve already done way more than most people.” Again… damn, I love Travis.

My quibble is that the ending felt rushed. However, I noticed that there is a sequel to be had, so will have to check that out and might end up having to up my stars on this down the road.

The cover by Anne Cain is a little plain as far as color but it gets the point of the story across well.

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

Book Details:  

ebook, 62 pages
Published July 18th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 2012)
ISBN 1613727178 (ISBN13: 9781613727171)
edition language English

A BJ Review: Cop Out (Toronto Tales #1) by K.C. Burn


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Cop Out CoverWhen Detective Kurt O’Donnell’s partner is killed in the line of duty, he discovers that his rather quiet partner was keeping lots of secrets, including that he was married… to another man. Kurt struggles to come to terms with the realization that his partner didn’t trust him enough to tell him the truth, but he decides to do the right thing. When the his partner’s widower, Davy, has no one to turn to except a pregnant sister who has problems of her own, Kurt steps in to help the mourning man get back on his feet. Before long, Davy becomes a friend, one he’s beginning to find himself increasingly attracted to.

To be with Davy, Kurt must face the prospect of coming out, but his job and his relationship with his Catholic family are on the line. Can he risk destroying his life for the uncertain possibility of a relationship with a newly widowed man? As Kurt begins to reevaluate his sexuality, something happens that confuses him even further and sends him into a downward spiral.

I found this to be a well-written and very realistic feeling story. I always enjoy this author’s stories. Just wanted to make that clear up front! Because I really enjoyed everything about this story except that I hated one of the main characters. Davy.

Davy’s deceased lover, Ben was a totally closeted and controlling asshat from what little we get to know about him. Since he died at the start and Davy himself didn’t share too much about him, we only get small small bits and nothing of what made him what he was. Taking that into account, while I didn’t like Davy much even at the beginning, I was trying to understand him and make the effort to like him. That ended, abruptly and finally. And Davy did ZERO to win me back over to his camp before the close of the story. So back to that in a minute.

On the other hand, I adored Kurt. He was just so very sweet to Davy, helping him from the start when he was alone and needy and totally checked out. Even though Kurt himself is just recovering from his own injuries. He’s so patient and kind and generous. After they are friends for a while, Kurt starts to have stronger feelings but is confused as he’s never had them before. When he faces them is able to accept them when he sees Davy kiss another guy, he reacts and then tries to talk to Davy about feelings he doesn’t really fully understand BUT rather than talk it out, Davy’s reaction just flat out made me see red. I absolutely wanted to kick the man in the nuts, throw him under a bus, etc. Only one other book has given me have such a strong hate reaction towards a character. Davy’s actions were wrong on so many levels. But I can’t really list them without describing the scene, which would be a spoiler. That said, if you want to read my full rant in all its furious glory with spoilers, see my review on Goodreads.) But here I will just say that Davy never redeem himself to my mind. Not even freaking close.

Davy’s relationship with Ben turned him pretty much into a hermit due to Ben’s attempts to conceal that the was gay. Davy could have left Ben, he wasn’t a prisoner, yet he didn’t. He stayed with him and he obviously loved him. He was totally broken up with grief when Ben died. It seems as if it was a very unhealthy relationship, but I don’t feel it excuses Davy’s actions. I just don’t.

Davy assumed that Kurt was just another Ben. Assumed things about Kurt. Didn’t bother to let Kurt talk or to talk to Kurt. Didn’t even have the courtesy to treat him like a friend, let alone someone he had feelings for. I hate when characters make assumptions instead of talking, but then to ignore him and hurt him for so long when one simple communication might have meant so much.

Months later when something else happens, Davy finally deigns to come when he’s called and gives lame excuses for his prior behavior. It’s not okay for Davy to have taken his suppressed or repressed feelings about Ben out on Kurt, who had been nothing but a good friend. Yeah, I hate Davy.

Kurt so deserved someone better. No idea what he saw in Davy anyway as he came across to me as kind of a snarky smartass once Kurt helped him get over his depression

I considered briefly that maybe if Davy had been a POV character that I might have gotten a better insight into his motivations and had a different feeling towards him, but based on his lame explanations & assumptions, I tend to think not.

I still give it 4 stars, because I so totally loved Kurt and his family and his story, and I do enjoy this author’s writing style.

I found the cover by artist Reese Dante appealing and representative of the story.

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

Book Details:

ebook, First Edition, 173 pages
Also available in audiobook and paperback
Published November 2011 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish
seriesToronto Tales #1

A BJ Review: Mountain Prey by Lyn Gala


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Mountain Prey coverStewart “Stunt” Folger is a forestry technician that loves his native home in the Appalachian Mountains, where people take care of their family and follow the Bible. But that hasn’t tamed his own wild side–Stunt has a preference for danger in and out of bed. And he finds both in Alex Soto, an ex-con out to avenge his brother’s death. When Stunt lands in the middle of Alex’s plans, he takes him hostage. Unfortunately, Alex’s plans never took into account having to deal with the twisted logic that passes for reasonable among the hill folk.

I enjoyed the heck out of this book! It’s well-written with a vividly drawn setting, quirky and completely delightful secondary characters, fun banter between two richly nuanced main characters, and there’s even a shotgun M/M wedding! Woot!

The developing connection between the main characters was well-handled, and I was totally onboard and feeling the emotion between these guys. There was a light BDSM element to the relationship, which I enjoyed.

Unfortunately, the actual sex scenes didn’t come across quite as well for me. The first one was fine, not earthshaking, but very acceptable. However, subsequent ones were a bit on the dull side for me. In fact, I skimmed a little (not something I often do on the sexy bits!). That’s sad since I enjoyed so many other things about this book that it could have been an easy five.

Just adored the mountain logic, and the way the author made it clear that how people talk doesn’t always reflect on their brain power. And the delightful lack of the usual preponderance of stereotypically narrow-minded and judgmental rural people had me cheering. Then there’s Southern hill folk’s commitment to family which came through loud and clear. And YES, I’m proudly Southern born and raised, although transplanted elsewhere a long time ago. Overall, this was an outstanding read which I’d recommend to anyone.

The cover by AngstyG is appealing and eye-catching, but I’d have enjoyed seeing a bit more of the feel of story in it.

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

Book Details:  

ebook, 210 pages, also available in paperback
Published June 19th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 18th 2013)
ISBN 1623805848 (ISBN13: 9781623805845)
edition language English
setting Tennessee (United States)