A Free Dreamer Review: Strays (Urban Soul #2) by Garrett Leigh


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

After I pretty much inhaled part “Misfits”, part one of the “Urban Soul” series, I was extremely relieved to already have “Strays” waiting on my Kindle. While “Strays” is technically part two of the series, it works as a standalone. The MCs from book one to get their page-time, but they’re introduced well. However, I see absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t want to read “Misfits”!

Just like part one, “Strays” was absolutely brilliant. I loved every second of it and just couldn’t put it down. Lenny and Nero make for an incredibly hot couple and the stalker-part added an interesting twist to the story.

Nero isn’t a nice guy. He’s rude and he doesn’t make friends easily. And he’s definitely not the boyfriend-type. He’s been through quite a lot and it takes him a long time to open up to Lenny. I liked that they were both honest about the troubles Nero’s (understandable) hesitation caused and how they reacted to it. Nero is an intriguing character. While he’s definitely not the easiest person to be around, he can be genuinely kind, if he wants. I loved how he comes over as this super-macho kind of guy, but has no trouble admitting he likes boys wearing eye-liner.

Lenny is a sweet guy. He’s far easier to like than Nero but no less interesting. He’s tough in his own way and I really liked that about him.

At first glance, this couple might come off as a stereotype found in many m/m romance books: macho (sort of) closeted guy and younger, effeminate man. That usually leads to the older guy being in charge of the relationship and that’s something I can’t stand. But in this case, Nero and Lenny are very much equal. There’s nobody clearly “in charge” and I really liked that.

The stalker part was a bit predictable toward the end, tbh. Other than that, I think it was done really well.

Just like in the first book, the setting is described vividly. London and the restaurant kitchen felt very much alive to me. There was never any doubt as to where this book was set and where the characters are from. I really like books with such a strong sense of place, it gives them something unique.

Long story short, “Strays” is just as brilliant as part one of the series. It’s very different and might be more appealing, if you don’t like ménages. The sex is still smoking hot. I really hope there’ll be a third part in the series. I just love the whole universe.

The cover was done by the author herself. It’s in tune with that of part one. I love that tattoo, it’s so hot.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 249 pages

Expected publication: March 27th 2017 by Riptide Publishing

A Free Dreamer Review: Foxes by Suki Fleet


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

FoxesWhen Dashiel’s body is found dumped on an East London wasteland, his best friend Danny sets out to find the killer. But Danny finds interaction difficult and must keep his world small in order to survive. By day he lives in an abandoned swimming pool and fixes electrical devices to trade for supplies, but by night, alone, he hunts sharks—a reckless search for dangerous men who prey on the vulnerable.

A chance meeting with an American boy selling himself on the streets throws this lonely existence into disarray. Micky is troubled, fragile, and Danny feels a desperate need to protect him—from what, he doesn’t know. As Danny discovers more about Micky, he realizes that what Micky needs saving from is the one thing Danny can’t help him fight against.

To save Micky, Danny must risk expanding his world and face something that scares him more than any shark ever could: trusting he will be accepted for who he is. If a freezing winter on the streets, a sadistic doctor, and three thousand miles don’t tear them apart first, that is.

I’ve been a fan of Suki Fleet’s writing for a long time, so I just had to have this book. I had high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed.

The tone is achingly bittersweet. There’s the bitter reality of Danny’s life in an abandoned swimming pool, desperately lonely after the death of his best friend. He’s dead set on finding Dashiel’s killer and protect other boys and girls like him. So Danny follows dangerous men all over London, alone, at night, without telling anybody. He also writes descriptions of every street walker he meets during his search. One night, he meets Micky and his carefully arranged world spins into chaos.

That’s when the sweetness starts seeping in. Because the love story is absolutely beautiful. I was often torn between wanting to grin like a loon and wanting to cry my eyes out.

I loved that Suki Fleet didn’t turn this into an angst-ridden cinderfella story. There’s no easy solution at hand, no rich lover who rescues the poor rent boy. Micky and Danny both have next to nothing. Both have issues aside from being poor that can’t be solved with a sudden influx of money. Still, the beautiful love story was a great counterpoint, keeping just the right balance of sad and happy. The result was an incredibly addicting story that I just couldn’t put down. I just sort of fell into the story and it didn’t let me go till the end.

Both MCs proved to be very likeable. They’re unique and well developed. They have their quirks and troubles and simply felt very much alive. Suki Fleet created an intense connection between me and Danny and Micky. They have depth and aren’t just cardboard cut-outs. Suki Fleet’s character building is simply beyond words.

Foxes were a bit of a recurring theme throughout the story. A little detail that endeared the story even more to me.

The writing style is quietly poetic and fits the mood of the story perfectly. Suki Fleet can conjure an incredibly dense atmosphere with very few words. It’s an incredible gift. I could practically see the streets of London before me and feel the bitterly cold rains on my skin.

By now, you’re probably wondering why I only gave this story 4.5 stars. There’s an easy answer to that: I didn’t like the ending.

Now, to be fair, I’m very picky about my endings and I’m often dissatisfied. In this case, the HEA felt forced and a little rushed. It was jarring after the slow quietness of the rest. It didn’t really fit the otherwise so realistic story either. Honestly, I’d have been perfectly happy with a HFN or even a tragic ending. But I’m weird like that.

“Foxes” is a quietly poetic story, without much excitement, that is still incredibly addicting with its bittersweet love story. Suki Fleet is one of the most talented writers out there and she deserves more readers. So, go read this. And everything else she’s written. She’s amazing.

The cover by AngstyG shows two things at once. At the top, you can see the silhouettes of two men walking toward the sunset. On the bottom are two silhouetted naked figures, one leaning down to the other, as if they’re about to kiss. I love the cover, it portrays the same sense of quiet bittersweet as the story itself.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 274 pages
Published February 8th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Speakeasy by Suzey Ingold


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

speakeasy-by-suzey-ingoldIn the height of the Prohibition era, recent Yale graduate Heath Johnson falls for Art, the proprietor of a unique speakeasy tucked away beneath the streets of Manhattan where men are free to explore their sexuality. When Art’s sanctuary is raided, Heath is forced to choose between love and the structured life his parents planned for him.

I totally have a thing for the Prohibition era and the whole air of forbidden love and fun it brings, so I was thrilled to discover “Speakeasy”. I will say that while I find the era fascinating, my historical knowledge about is pretty much non-existent. If you want to know if this story sticks to historic facts, then I’m not the right person to ask.

Heath is a good boy. Quiet, obedient, good grades and never disputes his parents’ decisions. Of course they don’t know that he actually prefers men and has no intention of marrying the girl his mother picked for him. I really liked Heath from the very beginning. He really matures over the course of the book and finally starts living his own life.

Art was a true gentleman and I loved the way he wooed Heath. It was charming. He can easily relate to Heath’s need to keep quiet and please his parents, having a very similar background. There’s no unnecessary drama about money, since both MCs aren’t exactly poor. This way, there was more room for real plot.

The romance was rather slow burn and there was absolutely no explicit sex. Every time, Heath and Art were together, I truly felt their infatuation and got that silly grin of the newly in love myself. It was wonderful.

There were only two minor things I didn’t like so much. The HEA was a bit too easy for me, given the circumstances. And I’m not a huge fan of first person present tense POV. I decided to give this book 5 stars anyway, simply because it was such a very charming love story.

Overall, I really, really liked “Speakeasy” and I will definitely keep an eye out to other works Suzey Ingold.

The cover is absolutely gorgeous. It’s what made me take a closer look at the book in the first place.

Sales Links

Interlude Press


Book details:

Kindle Edition, 218 pages
Published February 18th 2016 by Interlude Press
Original TitleSpeakeasy
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Young Adult Release Day Review: Running with the Pack by A.M. Burns and Caitlin Ricci


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

running-with-the-packFinn is about to start his senior year of high school when he and his family move from Austin, Texas, to Woodland Park, Colorado. Everything is different—even the elevation—and Finn’s having a hard time getting used to his new home. Life takes a turn for the better when he meets Ivan Dubovasky at a farmers’ market. Finn finds not only a close new friend but a fulfilling volunteer position at the High Mountain Wolf and Wild Dog Center, which Ivan’s family runs. Before long Finn develops an affinity for the wolves under the center’s protection.

Things only get better for Finn when he starts a relationship with Ivan; and Ivan’s best friend, Adrian, who’s asexual, completes their small pack. But it all comes crashing down when the bully plaguing Adrian crosses the line and Adrian goes missing. Finn and Ivan are determined to bring their boyfriend home safe, but they might not be able to do it alone. Luckily there’s a special wolf ready to lend a paw.

For some reason, I fully expected this book to have werewolves. It took me a while to realize that the wolves were perfectly normal wolves and nobody was secretly a werewolf. That definitely didn’t stop me from fully enjoying “Running with the Pack”, though.

Reading this story was truly delightful. The MCs were adorable and were a perfect match. The angst level was pretty low and there wasn’t a whole lot of drama either, but I was never bored. I didn’t even realize I was essentially inhaling this book until I was almost done, just over 24 hours after I’d started it.

There are a lot of m/m books out there with a poly relationship. There also a few m/m books with an asexual character. But I’ve never seen both in one book, and neither in a YA story.

I loved how natural it was for Adrian, Finn and Ivan to become a trio. Adrian’s asexuality and the poly aspect of their relationship were portrayed in a very positive light and felt absolutely natural. There simply was no other way for either of them. They just fit. And I also loved that they started their relationship as a trio, rather than as a couple adding a third party.

It probably wouldn’t have hurt if they’d talked more about their relationship. But they are teenagers and relationship talk is hard for anybody, so it didn’t bother me too much. I did, however, feel like we were missing something from Finn’s past. The authors kept making implications about his old school and the reasons why his family decided to move so far away, but we never really got a good explanation. It just felt like there was more to the story than was being said.

Overall, “Running with the Pack” is a truly lovely YA story and definitely also suitable for younger readers. There is only one scene with sexual action and that happens completely off-page.

I would love to have a sequel where the three of them figure out how to be together in the long run. I’d especially love to find out how involved Adrian will get in the sexual part of their relationship. I don’t know if the authors are planning on writing a follow-up or leave this as a standalone, but I’m all for another visit with these three wonderful boys.

If you like YA, asexual MCs and/or poly relationships, then you should give this book a try. Chances are, you’ll be as charmed as me.

Cover: The cover by Bree Archer isn’t really to my tastes. It’s a bit cheesy, tbh.

Sales Links

Harmony Ink Press



Book details:

ebook, 180 pages
Expected publication: September 8th 2016 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634770641 (ISBN13: 9781634770644)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: The Hunger Man by Scott D. Pomfret


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The Hunger ManAt the outset of the Great Irish Potato Famine of 1845-50, a family of Irish revolutionaries attacks a British food convoy and kidnaps a young English officer named Julian Hawke. This first act of overt rebellion unleashes a series of events that both inextricably ties the O’Rahilly clan to Hawke and to the gay seanachie (storyteller) Ciaran Leath, but also seals their fates.

The only daughter, Muireann O’Rahilly, an aspiring physician, fails to resist the strong mutual attraction between her and Hawke. Hawke tries to balance his love for Muireann and his growing love for Ireland with his duty to suppress the budding rebellion. Ciaran Leath, who falls in love with both Julian Hawke as well as an angelic young tinker man, foresees both the coming famine and the disintegration of his adopted O’Rahilly clan, but finds himself unheard and powerless to protect them—or himself. Encountering spirits of the dead and other bad portents, Ciaran Leath invokes his old benefactor, the ancient Faerie Fin Bheara, but in doing so learns something devastating about himself and of what he is capable. When the O’Rahilly clan sets its sights on assassinating Queen Victoria, whom Hawke is sworn to protect, during her 1848 state visit to Cork, the stakes loom large for all involved, and the story turns inexorably toward a tragic end.

Against the backdrop of the terrible beauty and exquisite misery of southwestern Ireland during the famine years, this part-comic, part-romantic struggle against starvation, oppression, and one’s own worst impulses plots an epic arc from London and Dublin to Cork and New York City. Magic, Faeries, haunts, spirits, legends, ancient kings, monsters, and lovers richly populate this clash between the British Crown and the Irish people, and there can only be one survivor.

This is a work of literary/genre fiction.

If I had only two words to describe “The Hunger Man”, they’d probably be “difficult” and “strange”.

Difficult because of all the Gaelic words. Difficult because of the subject matter. Difficult because of the countless references to Irish mythology. Difficult because this book broke my heart. And difficult, if not impossible, to forget.

And strange mostly because of Ciarana, the seanachie. I’m still not entirely sure what to think of him. Did he really spend years living with the Fae? Or was he just insane and hallucinated it all? Or did he just pretend to be insane?

One thing’s for sure: “The Hunger Man” was incredibly intense. I was captivated. Still am, really, even a week after finishing it. In all honesty, this book left me speechless, so I’m having a very hard time coming up with the right words.

I’m not very familiar with Irish history, and while I’ve heard about the Potato Famine, I didn’t know any details. Having finished “The Hunger Man”, I feel a lot more educated on the topic. The book definitely works without background knowledge, but I think it would have been easier to understand had I been more familiar with the topic.

I really liked all the way the author made Irish mythology such an easy, natural part of the story. Once again, I now feel better educated, without getting an info dump. More than once, I ended up hitting Google to find out more.

There is a lot of Gaelic in this story. Now, I have a thing for languages, so I’m always thrilled to learn new words. There is a glossary at the end, but sometimes the Irish just got a little too much for me. I even considered getting myself a dictionary, but couldn’t find anything for a decent price. Some more translations in the book itself wouldn’t have hurt. But that was a minor annoyance overall.

This story had real depth. Every character was unique, no matter how minor they were. Muireann, Ciaran (the only one in first person) and Julian each get their own POV. Neither of them was easy to like. Ciaran was very strange and felt a little other-worldly. Muireann was incredibly pious and always tried to impress her older brother. And Julian was horribly ignorant and arrogant. Still, they did grow on me. They just felt like real people, each with their own weaknesses.

The tone is very dark and does get pretty violent at times, which was to be expected.

Overall, this book was simply brilliant. I lack the words to do it justice, so I’m going to shut up now.

If you’re interested in historical novels and aren’t necessarily looking for an easy read, then go for it. Just don’t expect a sweet love story with a historical backdrop. This is a literary novel that happens to have an MC who prefers men over women.

First I thought four stars would be an appropriate rating, because I did struggle with all the Gaelic. But that felt incredibly unfair, because I’ve read other books with lots of Japanese, which I didn’t mind because I have a friend to help me with that. Then I gave it 4.5 stars. That looked a little better. But ultimately, I think this book deserves the full 5 stars. It woke an interest for the topic in me and the MCs won’t let me go. And it’s not often that a book makes me feel so conflicted.

The cover by Natasha Snow shows a heap of stones, probably one to mark a grave. The sky looks ominous and stormy. That part looks really good. I’m not too fond of the green mist on the edges. And the publisher’s logo is extremely jarring.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details:

Published June 6th 2016 by NineStar Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Love Can’t Conquer (Love Can’t Series #1) by Kim Fielding


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

love-cant-conquerBullied as a child in small-town Kansas, Jeremy Cox ultimately escaped to Portland, Oregon. Now in his forties, he’s an urban park ranger who does his best to rescue runaways and other street people. His ex-boyfriend, Donny—lost to drinking and drugs six years earlier—appears on his doorstep and inadvertently drags Jeremy into danger. As if dealing with Donny’s issues doesn’t cause enough turmoil, Jeremy meets a fascinating but enigmatic man who carries more than his fair share of problems.

Qayin Hill has almost nothing but skeletons in his closet and demons in his head. A former addict who struggles with anxiety and depression, Qay doesn’t know which of his secrets to reveal to Jeremy—or how to react when Jeremy wants to save him from himself.

Despite the pasts that continue to haunt them, Jeremy and Qay find passion, friendship, and a tentative hope for the future. Now they need to decide whether love is truly a powerful thing or if, despite the old adage, love can’t conquer all.

There’s no doubt: “Love Can’t Conquer” was absolutely, utterly brilliant. I picked it up and couldn’t put it down, which led to a couple of nights with very little sleep.

In case the blurb isn’t obvious enough for you: This story is rather dark and quite angsty. It deals with past alcohol and drug abuse, past child abuse and a bit of mental illness (mostly anxiety, but also depression). There’s also talk about attempted suicide. If that’s not your thing, back away slowly. You won’t enjoy this book.

Qay isn’t easy to like. He’s really struggling with his life, but tries his damndest to stay clean and sober. That’s not always easy and he’s not always nice. The things he’s gone through didn’t make him a nice, mellow person. They made him distrustful and full of self-doubt. Still, he was a very interesting character and my heart really went out to him. Definitely not your typical romance hero and I liked that.

He doesn’t even look like your typical romance hero: He’s skinny, he’s got scars and he’s pale. But I believed Jeremy when he said he found Qay beautiful.

Jeremy has had a less troubled life. He did have his struggles, sure, but life dealt him a better hand than it did Qay. I loved him just as much as I did Qay. Both of them had real depth and had a unique voice that I enjoyed reading.

There was also an interesting collection of side characters, each with their own depth and a potentially interesting history. I can definitely see the potential for a sequel there.

The two of them were very different and yet it felt like they were made for each other. I immediately felt the attraction between the two of them and it was easy to believe their feelings.

I loved the way Kim Fielding handled the sex. The MCs didn’t just tumble into bed, overcome by lust, without any thought or discussion, the way it so often happens in these books. Instead, both MCs made a deliberate decision to wait and really made their first time together a special occasion. They took time to savour each other and I felt like the sex really added something to their relationship.

Aside from the romance, there was also an element of mystery regarding Jeremy’s ex. Some minor parts of that were a little bit predictable, but the overall solution was definitely not expected.

Qay and Jeremy had to really work for their HEA. There was a lot of stuff for them to overcome and they had to really fight for it. I often dislike endings, but here it seemed to fit perfectly.

The way Qay’s struggle with his addiction was portrayed was very realistic. It didn’t just all go away magically because of love. He had to work to stay clean and sober every day. Some days that was harder and some days that was easier. But the struggle never just disappeared.

The whole book had a rather bleak feel to it, with a dash of hope. Kim Fielding did an amazing job portraying both MCs’ doubts and insecurities and made it easy to get caught up in the story for hours on end, without realizing how much time had passed.

If you don’t mind dark and angsty, and want your MCs to really work for their well deserved HEA together, read this book. It’s right up there with the best books I’ve read this year.

It’s the first in a new series by Kim Fielding and I’m already looking forward to the next books.

Cover: The cover by Brooke Albrecht shows a lone figure standing in the middle of a bridge. It looks a little sad and forlorn and fits the mood of the book perfectly.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 260 pages
Published June 3rd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773217 (ISBN13: 9781634773218)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Love Can’t

1. Love Can’t Conquer

A Free Dreamer YA Review: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Boy Meets Boy This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.

Boy Meets Boy“ by David Levithan is a young adult book set in a small town in the USA.

Paul is gay, has always liked boys and has always known he prefers boys over girls. The first time he realized not every boy had the same preferences as him was in kindergarten. His kindergarten teacher wrote on his report that he was definitely and that he was also very sure of himself. Now he is in his sophomore year and falls in love with Noah, the new boy in school.

“Boy Meets Boy” features a set of very unique characters, such as Infinite Darlene, a male to female trans girl, who is prom queen and star football player at the same time.

Paul’s town is a bit of a utopia. Nobody gets hate for their sexual preferences and everybody is accepted just as they are. That definitely takes some getting used to. It was a little hard for me to get into the story at first, but eventually I ended up loving it.

Homophobia is an important topic nonetheless, since Tony’s parents, think their son will be damned and go to hell for being gay. Paul does his best to help his friend and make life easier for him. I really enjoyed that part of the story. The deep friendship between the two was obvious from the start.

The love story between Noah and Paul was slow to unfold and there were definitely some obstacles to overcome before their eventual happily ever after. Paul comes up with some very unique and creative ideas to woo his love interest and make up for his mistakes.

I loved how the author managed to make homo- and transphobia an issue and yet a non-issue at the same time. I liked Paul from the beginning, even if I didn’t always agree with his choices.

“Boy Meets Boy” is a light, fun read that left me with a smile at the end. It was very funny and there were quite a few laugh-out-loud scenes in there. I can’t wait to get my hands on more books by this author.

If you like your YA love stories to be a little strange, with some very quirky and unique characters, then go for it.  Just don’t expect a deeply serious coming-of-age story.

The tenth anniversary edition also features a special short story about Infinite Darlene. It’s set on Valentine’s Day and tells about her first date with a male cheerleader. I quite enjoyed that little story as well.

Cover: The cover is very simplistic, with the all blue background and three candy hearts with the title in them. I actually quite like it though. It’s cute and fits the story.

Sale Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published February 19th 2009 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published September 9th 2003)
Original TitleBoy Meets Boy
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingNew Jersey (United States)

Literary AwardsLambda Literary Award (2003), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2008)

A Free Dreamer Review: Labyrinthian by Sunny Moraine


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

LabyrinthianA hunter should never fall for his prey.
A hunter’s heart should never fall prey to his quarry. 

Still nursing his latest post-mission hangover, bounty hunter Theseus jumps at a high-paying, high-risk job that sounds ridiculously easy. Yet from the moment he nabs the alleged supersoldier with sedative gas, nothing is as it seems.

On the run from the facility where he was created and raised, Taur is desperate to locate his genetically engineered brothers and sisters. To rescue them—and himself—from slavery. Waking aboard Theseus’ ship, his fury is tempered by curiosity about his captor.

Despite his doubts about his prisoner, Theseus figures it’d be risky to let Taur go—until they’re thrown together by a shared betrayal. They declare a tentative truce as they flee from a shadowy and immensely powerful organization that will stop at nothing to find them.

But as they wrestle with their growing feelings for each other, Taur and Theseus face an even greater danger. A lethal threat lurking inside Taur’s own body, waiting to explode…

“Labyrinthian” is my second book by Sunny Moraine. It’s set in the same universe as “Line and Orbit”, but definitely works as a standalone. It’s not part of the “Root Code” series, since it’s set in a different part of space, with completely different MCs.

I quite enjoyed this book. It’s fast, fun, and action packed. There’s a healthy dose of violence with some gore, so beware. Personally, the gore was a little too much for me at times. I do not need to read in detail about Taur ripping out another man’s arms, thank you very much.

Still, I liked the tough personalities of both MCs. Taur definitely has a very soft core, which was a bit of a surprise. It’s not something you’d expect when first meeting him. But he has people he really, really cares about and doesn’t shy away from doing whatever necessary to save them.

Theseus was quite likeable as well. He’s still recovering from a bad break-up and now he just loves his job as a hunter and his ship.

I liked how uncertain Taur was when it came to social interactions, especially love and romance. It was really quite adoring at times. And Theseus was more than happy to teach him all about sexuality. So sex happened, but it definitely wasn’t the main focus of the book, nor was the romance. Mostly, “Labyrinthian” focused on the wild chase through the universe, to find Taur’s siblings, and to get away from the people who created him.

The world building was well done and very interesting. Phae, a minor character and also Theseus’ ex-girlfriend, added spice to the mix. She had a unique and interesting personality. It never gets boring with her around.

Overall, “Labyrinthian” was an enjoyable space opera that could have used a touch less gore. I liked it and I definitely like Sunny Moraine’s writing. Looking forward to reading more by her.

The cover by Kanaxa shows Taur and Theseus, a solar system and a dark landscape. It’s very pretty.

Sales Links:[ Samhain | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play ]

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 290 pages

Published January 20th 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

A Free Dreamer Review: Devil at the Crossroads (Deal with a Devil) by Cornelia Grey


Rating: 5 stars out of 5            ★★★★★

Devil at the CrossroadsThe devil covets more than his soul …

Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.

The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite managing to escape showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.

But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.

A blues guitarist selling his soul to the devil. Well, been there, done that, right? That’s what I thought when I first read the summary. But “Devil at the Corssroads” is a really interesting take on that trope.

The sex scenes were sizzling hot and made me drool. But even before they got at it, there was this sexual tension that made the butterflies in my belly go crazy. Cornelia Grey definitely knows how to write sensual and erotic characters. “Devil at the Crossroads” pretty much oozes sexiness and passion from the beginning right through the end.

But what made me give this novella five stars wasn’t the hottest sex I’ve read in ages. There’s more to this than simple pornography. I often find novellas lacking something. Usually I feel like it’s incomplete or the plot is not detailed enough or a million other little things that I missed. But “Devil at the Crossroads” is different.

The characters were very well developed and unique. Farfarello really isn’t what you think of when you hear the word “devil”. I loved the way Miss Grey described his looks. Definitely a unique character.

I really liked Logan as well. The shame he felt at ruining his chance at fame was very compelling. I felt really bad for him.

The balance between plot and porn was perfect. The storytelling is utterly compelling. I felt like I was right there with the characters, living their experiences through them. It all felt very realistic. Even though we only got to see short snapshots from those six years, I felt like I knew everything there was to know. And I most definitely liked the ending.

I also loved the references to other famous blues musicians. Talking about Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and the like made me really enjoy the whole setting. I’ve always had a thing for blues, and when Logan mentioned a song title, I immediately felt the urge to look it up. Thanks to this book and a dear online reading buddy, I’ve also discovered my favourite singer: some of Hozier’s songs fit the mood perfectly.

To sum it up, “Devil at the Crossroads” is an incredibly hot novella with unique characters and a very realistic setting. A must read!

The cover by Jared Rackler is absolutely gorgeous. It’s so simple and yet it fits the mood perfectly.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 75 pages
Published September 23rd 2013 by Riptide Publishing (first published September 21st 2013)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesDeal with a Devil

Note: While this is technically part one of the “Deal with a Devil” universe, each story can be read as a stand-alone.

A Free Dreamer Review: Salt and Iron by Tam MacNeil


Rating: 5 stars out of 5          ★★★★★

Salt and IronJames van Helsing is the youngest son of the famous monster-hunting family—and the family’s big disappointment. He’s falling in love with Gabe Marquez, his oldest friend and son of the family the van Helsings have worked alongside for years. Things get even harder for James when he becomes what he and everyone else despises most—a magic user.

He didn’t mean to evolve into such a despicable person, and he knows using magic is illegal, but there’s nothing James can do about it, no more than he can stop himself from loving Gabe. Just when things can’t seem to get worse, he and Gabe are called to help nab a network of magicians who are changing destiny. Not just any destiny, but the destinies of the van Helsing and Marquez families. James foresees a terrible fate, one in which monsters emerge from the cracks, along with his dark secret. And that’s when people start to die.

I absolutely loved “Salt and Iron”. I just couldn’t put it down. In fact, it was so addicting that it constantly made me late because I just couldn’t tear myself away from it.

The setting was unique. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything similar. I loved how the traditional myths about the Fae were carefully woven into the whole plot. It was utterly intriguing. The world building was very well done and it was easy to fall into the world.

James isn’t your average romance hero. He’s an alcoholic, occasionally swallows pills and is generally pretty pathetic. Still, I found myself sympathizing with him from the start. He’s a magic user in a family that hunts magic users. But he can’t help it, he can’t control his magic.

At times I could only gape in mute horror. There are so many truly ugly secrets hiding in this family. The revelations weren’t pretty and I definitely didn’t expect the consequences. They made me question every character at one point. I was never quite sure who was hiding what and why.

The love story is very low key. Both MCs aren’t in a very good place for most of the story, making the romantic feelings kind of take a backseat. The focus was more on the rest of the plot, which I really liked. There was a HEA for the relationship, so don’t worry.

Both the protagonists and the minor characters had real depth. It was easy to relate to James and Gabe. Some of the minor characters were really interesting as well and I loved the interactions between them and James and Gabe.

Long story short, this book was awesome. If you’re in the mood for great urban fantasy of the more violent sort, with a dash of romance, then go read this book. Just don’t expect an epic love story, or you’ll be disappointed.

I’d love to read more stories set in this universe and I’ll definitely a look at the author’s other works.

Cover: The cover by AngstyG is absolutely gorgeous. It shows the outlines of two men sitting at a dinner table. The background is completely black and the outlines are white. I think it depicts the general feel of the story really well.

It reminds me of a YA novel I read years ago, which is why I stopped to take a closer look at the book in the first place.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published March 7th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish