Review: Fool For Love by Cassandra Gold

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Fool For LoveCollege professor Vincent Norton is feeling every bit of his forty-five years of age.  Three years ago his partner of 20 years died in a car accident. Estranged from his family, now just his dad, Vince has used all his energy and time at his profession, teaching college kids and not much else,  Even his apartment of three years still looks empty of personality or his past.  His life is in on hold until he meets one of his neighbors from the apartment next door. One of a group of four college students, Vince finds the young man attractive and that is something he hasn’t felt for 3 years.

Rob Bridges is 21 and getting ready to graduate at a nearby college.  He has been secretly crushing on the older man in the apartment across from his.  That man is tall, gorgeous with just a little silver starting to show at the temple and Rob wants to date him.  But he doesn’t even know anything about him other than he is a professor at Washington University, let alone that he is gay?  What is a man to do?

An accident in the hallway brings the two men together and a date soon follows.  And while Rob is sure Vince is the one he wants, Vince is having second and even third thoughts.  The age gap between them is huge and surely Rob will tire of an older man, won’t he? Opposition to their dating mounts from all sides.  Will Rob succeed in making Vince  believe in their love or will Vince’s own doubts and outside influences push him away permanently?

In Fool For Love Cassandra Gold has written a very sweet love story.  Her May – December romance between Vince Norton and Rob Bridges has many lovely qualities, including two believable characters who talk and act their age.  Vince Norton is every bit the still grieving, stuck in stasis middle aged professor.  He cares about his students and mourns the loss of the man he thought he would spend the rest of his life with.  In an authentic touch, Gold has his apartment reflect this inability to move forward.  It’s not decorated, bare walls and barren of spirit, it states that it is more of a staging area than a home.  And I absolutely believed in Vince and his current situation.  Her characterization is of a man who finally realizes he might be ready to move on but how and with whom?

Then into the picture comes Rob Bridges, another likable persona.  He is intelligent, compassionate, and kind. He is also quite handsome.  And Rob likes older men and has been secretly crushing on Vince next door.  All well and good.  Rob has three roommates who are also his friends.  I liked their easy acceptance of his sexuality as well as the layers to their characterizations.  If one acts like a jerk, he is also capable of an apology that makes sense.  Again, I like the secondary characters involved in Vince and Rob’s story.  They are all quite human, funny and flawed. And their presence goes a long way in making this story more viable and lovely to read.

Another moving element is the scenes with Vince’s Dad.  I think Gold handled this aspect of taking care of older parents realistically and quite movingly. And unfortunately, I think it helped highlight what might be the one obstacle that will keep readers from connecting to this book and Vince and Rob’s relationship.  And that would be the huge gap in their ages.

We aren’t talking 5, 10 or even 15 years here.  No, the gap is that of 25 years and for many people that will be an insurmountable obstacle.  And I think I count myself among them.   Cassandra Gold did such a good job with her characters that Rob feels way too young for Vince.  And yes Vince is far too old for a young man of 21.  As the author has Vince point out, they are at two very different stages in their lives and that gets brushed over a little too quickly.   When Rob breaks down in tears because Vince had to cancel out on an important date,  while we might have had some empathy for him, it also highlighted just how young Gold had made him emotionally.  Vince gets mistaken for Rob’s father while out on dates (again I can see that). And as Vince cared for his dying father and thought about himself and Rob in the same position, I found myself agreeing with him that it was entirely plausible.  It’s not something you want to bring up in a love affair but 25 years is 25 years and Vince is turning 47 as the book ends.

And finally, because yes, my mind goes there.  There is the physical differences in physiology between a 21 year old man and a 46* year old man.   At 21 years old, the sexual drive can match up with the body’s ability.  Unfortunately, not so with middle-age.  And that wasn’t touched on at all.  Perhaps because it’s not a very sexy thing to think about. Athough I have read some books where the authors treated aspect realistically and still made the relationship sexy.  Certainly though it is a fact of life, not exactly dealt with here.   But that’s what I kept thinking about.    So yes, I just couldn’t make myself believe in this romantic relationship.   To be honest, I don’t think I would by it as a M/F romance either.  The difference is just too great.

There are a couple of odd phrasing here and some confusion about ages, all that is minor issues in an otherwise sweet narrative.  So again, how you feel about the age gap between these two realistically portrayed men will define how you feel towards Fool For Love.  It has many lovely elements but in the end I just couldn’t connect to the love affair.  You make up your own mind.

Cover art by Valerie Tibbs is far preferable to the original.  At least it shows two men of difference ages.  But the blue tone makes it all a little hard to see.

*It states that Vince is 45 at the beginning of the book, then 46 and at the epilogue which occurs one year later, Vince is turning 47.

Book Details:

Note:This book is a re-edited, revised version of one previously released by another publisher.
Published August 20th 2013 by Loose Id, LLC (first published April 9th 2009)
original title:  Fool For Love
ASINB00EOA5Q8I
edition language English
characters Vince Norton
setting United States

Review: Wireless by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Wireless coverIn the future, skin to skin contact is forbidden.  People wear full body suits and gloves to insure that no bodily contact will be made with another human being.  Everything has been sanitized and all unions between man and woman are for procreation only with the matches made by the Government.   Human sexual release is prescribed medically and people are given appointments bi monthly at Sim Centers where  electrodes are attached at erogenous zones for use in virtual reality sex scenes.  Everyone is microchipped and everything they do is monitored, all by order of the Government.

Keith Borden is a sim tech and has been for years.  And in all that time Keith has never questioned the Government’s actions or his profession.  Keith has just accepted his isolation and his part in supporting its continuation as being for the good of all.  Then Aiden Maxwell becomes his patient and Keith’s world starts to change.  Aiden is gorgeous and flirtatious. And Aiden requests that his sim partner look exactly like Keith.  All too soon Keith’s own sims is not enough to satisfy him.

Keith has known about the perverted and depraved people who break the law and have skin to skin contact but never thought he would be one of them.   Aiden breaks down his barriers and takes Keith to a wireless lounge where people gather naked to have contact with each other and unprotected sex. Keith is hooked.

Keith’s world is shattered from the moment he experiences the sensual pleasures of skin to skin contact and sex with another human being, especially if that person is Aiden.  But the government is cracking down on the wireless lounges and breaking the law means much more than just jail time.  Keith can lose everything, including his life.  What will Keith risk not only to keep having human contact but to have Aiden in his life?

There is much to love about  Wireless by L.A Witt starting with the plot of the book.  Just imagining a world where human contact is outlawed is chilling.  No loving touches, no sympathetic embraces or hugs when you need them the most.   No more gentle kisses on the cheek or lips, all those gestures that connect us to others and telegraph so much emotion without saying a word.  All gone by government order.  I think most people are not even aware of how much touch is used daily to convey thoughts, needs, and direction.  So using the loss of that sense and personal isolation as a focus is a great idea. And L.A.. Witt does a terrific job in conveying the ramifications of such a policy on society in her story.

Character Keith Borden is our “everyman” at the beginning of Wireless.  He is unquestioning and complacent about his lifestyle and government proscribed sexless sex life.  When he and the other sim techs gather to discuss current happenings, all (well mostly all) look askance at those who would risk everything for sex in the wireless lounges.  They even agree when one tech says that those caught in raids should “have their balls cut off” calling them degenerates.  Then Witt brings in Aiden Maxwell to upset Keith’s bland life.  Here is a look at their encounter:

There were thirty million people in San Angeles, fully half of them in the quadrant where I lived. I’d seen so many of these suits on so many bodies, they were as novel as pollution and pavement.

But the way Aiden’s suit fit him did things to me I couldn’t explain. It was like the damn thing was made to accentuate his narrow hips or the fact that he had shoulders that wouldn’t quit.

Walking down the hall from the waiting area to Sim Room 8, it was all I could do not to sneak a few glances. It should have been a crime for a man to look this good. Especially since it practically was a crime for me to have the fantasies I’d had about him in and out of that suit. Living out those fantasies? A felony. Not worth entertaining even within the confines of my mind, but sometimes I just couldn’t help myself.

The skintight suit wasn’t the worst part. He was here for a sim session, which meant— just as it did for the hundreds of people who came through this simhouse without making me bat an eye— the suit was coming off. So were the boots, the gloves— everything. Every layer peeled away, revealing the exquisitely defined arms and shoulders that a decade of heavy construction work had chiseled to perfection.

It was all coming off, and since he always asked for me, I was the one who got to put the electrodes on him. On his neck. The insides of his elbows. His flat, flawless abs. Not to mention the equipment that went over his penis and testicles to provide the stimulation that would ultimately bring him to orgasm.

Good thing no one on staff had ever noticed— or questioned— that I always booked my own sim sessions for immediately after Aiden’s.

Forbidden thoughts have already entered Keith’s  mind and Aiden is going to stir them up even more.  I liked both their characters.  Of the two Keith is the most accessible simple because the story is told from his pov.  Aiden is more of a question mark simply because we don’t know anything about him. Aiden is the siren calling Keith to him and the pleasures he offers are dangerous indeed.

The sensuality and desperate nature of the wireless lounges comes across vividly due to Witt’s descriptions.  You can almost feel Keith being overwhelmed by the intoxication of it all, so much skin, the smell, the sounds, truly sensory overload.

 A crystalline bead of sweat slid from his temple and into the side of my hand, the coolness of the liquid contrasting sharply with the heat of his flesh. My mouth watered, and I wanted to know what his tasted like. I wanted to know what his skin tasted like. No, that would be going too far. If I kissed him, then we’d…

My gaze drifted to the others in the room. To the people undulating together, bodies pressed so close it was impossible to tell where some ended and others began. People danced. Kissed. Touched. Fucked. All out in the open, all with a kind of feverish abandon I couldn’t even begin to comprehend. One kiss, I was certain, and I’d understand that abandon. I’d embrace it and lose myself in it just like everyone else here.

It’s all there for us to see and understand, the need that deprivation has caused and how quickly Keith finds he needs the contact in order to live.  L.A. Witt makes Keith and Aiden intimate companions with the reader along for the ride and we love it.

So why not give Wireless a higher rating? That would be due to the confused, incomplete world building.  The beginning of Wireless opens with the words “Several decades from now…” but later on in the story it talks about it being 200 years in the future. There are more inconsistencies further along as to the timeline.  Why the world would have fallen into such a state in a few decades is never related. Plus this time frame is not feasible for the type of government and mechanical structures to have been created.   The reader is given a sentence or two about over population and disease but nothing about governments falling or the rise of new ruling institutions, all of which take time.  And this lack of back history or solid reasonable foundation makes the story almost exist inside a bubble.  It just floats along without being anchored to a world we can make sense of.   As the story itself states, that isolation is not only burdensome but unhealthy for the plot.

I am not a fan of this ending either.  Too much is left unsaid or unexplained, definitely an incomplete HFN.  I don’t mind HFN endings but this one left me with far too many questions about their future than could be answered by the story. Sigh.

I liked enough about Wireless to recommend it with reservations and definitely recommend other books by L.A. Witt, a very talented author.

Cover artist Valerie Tibbs does a great job with this dramatic cover.

Book Details:

ebook, 172 pages
Published July 30th 2013 by Loose Id LLC
ISBN13 9781623001605

Review: Demolished by Astrid Amara

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

DemolishedWhen Calvin Quarry meets up with his anonymous hookup, he is startled and upset to find out that the man is none other than Felix Bracks.  Felix Bracks was responsible for the death of Calvin’s closest friend in high school and several of their classmates.  Calvin flees from the encounter, horrified.  But Felix pursues him, calling and texting Calvin over the next week or so.  Felix wants Calvin to hear his side of the story.  While it’s not something Calvin wants to hear, eventually he gives in and listens to a version of the story that differs greatly from the one he knew.

Felix Bracks has spent years as a social outcast because of that accident in high school.  Physically and emotionally scarred, he thought he had recovered.  But feeling the distain and hate from Calvin after all these years, hurts him.  He is attracted to Calvin and wants the man to like him.  But Felix only tells Calvin part of the truth, keeping the full story to himself.

When Calvin’s cousin Robbie gets involved in something sinister, something that is derailing his life, Calvin decides to investigate.  After all Calvin is an journalism major, this is something he knows how to do.  But as Robbie falls deeper and deeper into trouble, Calvin’s investigation starts to lead him not only to Robbie’s problem but Felix’s past as well.  As the past starts to intrude on Calvin and Felix’s relationship, will they be able to trust each other or will the revelations from the past demolish the love they have found with each other?

Astrid Amara is an automatic go to author for me.  I love her stories, especially her holidays with The Bellskis which rank among my favorite.  So when I heard she had a new story coming out, I was thrilled.  Demolished has all the elements I have come to expect from this author.  Great characters and an mystery that involves the reader emotionally as well as mentally.

Amara starts us off with Calvin agreeing to meet his online hookup, Bikenut, in person for some hot, and decidedly casual sex.

After four weeks of online flirtations and cybersex, Calvin Quarry finally got up the nerve to meet Bikenut in person.

Meet wasn’t the correct term. Screw worked better. Bikenut agreed to host. Cal would knock on the man’s apartment door five times, walk in, and he would be grabbed and taken aggressively and quickly. Then he’d depart.

It was the kind of online hookup Cal always dreamed of engaging in but never had the nerve to. But after weeks of conversations online with the guy with the username Bikenut, a series of photographs showing the man’s impressive endowments, and the guy’s general sense of good humor and intelligence, Cal gave in to his fantasies and arranged the meeting.

But from the moment, Calvin and his online buddy meet face to face, everything starts to go wrong.  Because Bikenut turns out to be Felix Brachs, the boy Calvin and his community love to hate.  Felix was involved in a car accident turned fatal for several high school students, including Calvin’s best friend and secret crush.  For that alone Calvin has hated Felix all these years.  Amara does a wonderful job in making Calvin and then Felix, open and appealing young men.  We understand the emotions each person is feeling and can relate to each of them, easily seeing that horrendous event from both sides of the story.  As created by Amara, these are earnest young men with their futures ahead of them.  But both Calvin and Felix have a joined past that they need to put behind them before they can go forward.  The author’s characterizations give Calvin and Felix each a layer of vulnerability that goes hand in hand with their youthfulness.  Each has experienced past angst and trauma, from the devastation of the accident to their coming out as gay youths.  And in every scene, Astrid Amara makes us feel their pain and confusion with a vividness that is heartbreaking.

Robbie is another wonderfully engaging character.  Younger than Calvin and Felix, Robbie is in trouble.  His grades have fallen, he is sullen and keeping secrets.  All the hallmarks of drug and alcohol abuse.  Robbie’s situation becomes increasingly grave over the course of the story and the reader’s anxiety over Robbie’s future deepens as clues from the past intertwine with revelations about Robbie’s current predicament.  For me, this is where Amara really shined.  Amara’s portrait of Robbie, a youth in trouble,  is  both realistic and grim and handled with sensitivity.  The author ticks off the boxes of the parental check sheet of things to look out for to see if a child is in trouble.  But she incorporates that knowledge seamlessly into Robbie’s personality and behavioral changes noticed by Calvin and Robbie’s parents.   We watch it happening, we see the missteps by Calvin that we know can be laid at his youthfulness and inexperience, and the dread just seeps into the reader, spreading over the story as we wait to see how it will all play out.

I have a few quibbles with Demolished.  The first of which I am not sure really mattered in the end.   Perhaps I have watched far too many police procedurals on cable, but I could see some of the plot twists and turns coming, including the biggest of them all.   That said, the journey to  that point was so suspenseful and thrilling it didn’t matter so much that I knew where we were headed to begin with.  The other quibble was the almost instantaneous love that sprang between a young man with hatred in his heart and the object of his distain.  I wondered if Calvin could really push all those carefully hoarded feelings away and fall in love almost immediately with Felix.  Maybe or then again, maybe not.  That was a harder bump in the road to get over.   But once I accepted their relationship, the story moved forward quickly, attaching my feelings in the process.

If you are new to Astrid Amara, there are so many books out there for you to start with.  Whether it is the science fiction of Hell Cop,  the contemporary holiday romance of The Carol of the Bellskis, or the mystery romance of Demolished, you can’t go wrong.   Start here and work your way through her backlist.  Astrid Amara lives in Bellingham, Washington, the wildly quirky town that is home to another one of my favorite authors, Nicole Kimberling.  I have never been to Bellingham but feel a road trip coming on.  What a place it must be to have such wonderful authors residing there and writing such amazing stories.  No matter, Astrid Amara is a terrific author. Begin your journey with her here.

Cover artist, Valerie Tibbs, has created a terrific cover for Demolished, the red is the perfect color in tone and emotion for the story within.

Book Details:

ebook, 165 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by Loose-ID
ISBN13 9781623004156
edition language English

Review: Faire Fugitive by Madeleine Ribbon

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Faire FugitiveSmall time thief Devlin is on the run. Mac, his friend and former protector is trying to kill him and Devlin can never stay any place for long.  When Mac catches up to Devlin again, Devlin flees to a local Renaissance Faire hoping to pick enough pockets to get the money he needs to move on.  But the faire and the people inside are not quite as they seem.  As Devlin winds his way through the crowd relieving them of their money, he notices a man with piercing green eyes watching him.  Disconcerted, Devlin runs deep into the Faire town, a place full of shops and pubs.  One shop calls to him. EZRA’S AMULETS, and he  enters.  Once inside, one particular amulet calls to him, and unable to stop, Devlin steals the amulet from the shop and puts it on.

From that moment on Devlin’s life starts to change.  For the magic inside the amulet is real and pulls Devlin back to the Faire even as he runs off  back to the city.   Injured, Devlin returns, and waiting him is the man Devlin saw watching him – Ezra.  But Mac is close behind Devlin, gun at hand.  Devlin will die unless a miracle happens.   Will Devlin trust in Ezra and the Faire’s magic to keep him alive or will Mac win out in the end?

Faire Fugitive is my first  book by Madeleine Ribbon but it definitely won’t be my last.  I found this story to be charming, engrossing, absolutely winning in almost every way.  Madeleine Ribbon has created a wonderful universe in her Faire and its varied denizens.  From a fox furry to a fortune teller with more than fortunes up his sleeve, the author has created a modern Brigadoon in the guise of a Renaissance Faire.   Her descriptions of the Faire should be familiar to any person who has visited their local festival but then she takes it several marvelous steps further into a magical realm with a sentience of its own.

Ribbon’s characters too are charming and endearing each in its own way.  Devlin’s life has been a hard one of foster families and then life on the street at the tender age of 11. His only friend has turned against him in a cruel twist of fate and now he is permanently on the run, fleeing for his life and out of funds.  His desperation is keenly felt and the reader not only fears for him but feels for his circumstances too.  Ezra, the amulet maker, is a little more of an enigma.  I wish the author had given us more of his history.  As it is, he doesn’t come against quite as realistic as Devlin does.  None of the others do, except Gail, the fox furry, an adorable character.  But perhaps that is the author’s intent because most of the other people involved are wedded to the magic that is the Faire and are no longer of the outside world.

Madeleine Ribbon’s narrative flows smoothly, bogging down only slightly when it spends too much time with Devlin prior to the Faire.  Once within the gates, however, it picks up speed, gathering momentum as the plot proceeds to the end.  And that is where all my quibbles arrive.  Madeleine Ribbon sets us up for a denouement that never happens.  We keep waiting for the “aha” moment and by a strange and deflating plot twist, takes that satisfaction away from the reader, giving us a poor substitution in its place.   She also ends her story just where we would love to see an Epilogue appear. I hope that the abrupt ending foretells another story in the same universe.  I would be first in line to pick it up.

Even with my quibbles, I recommend Faire Fugitive and look forward to much more from Madeleine Ribbon.

Cover art by Fiona Jayde.  I thought this was a gorgeous cover, perfect in tone and coloring for the story within.  One of my favorites of the month.

Book Details:

ebook, 201 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by Loose Id
ISBN139781623003890
url http://www.loose-id.com/faire-fugitive.html

Review: Changing Planes by Karenna Colcroft

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Rating 2  stars out of 5

Changing PlanesOliver Sheehan is on his way from Boston to California to marry his long time fiance.  Theirs has been a bicoastal relationship but neither is getting any younger and both feel its time to marry and settle in one place.  Oliver is giving up everything to relocate, his beloved Boston, his friends and his job because of his fiance’s desire to remain in California with her family. Oliver is feeling  more than a little resentful and not as sure of this marriage as he ought to be.  Then he meets Colin Traynor, the flight attendant in his section and the sparks fly.

When Oliver tells his fiance of his doubts, Sophia responds with hers, plus the fact that she has fallen in love with her female coworker, all two days before the wedding. Oliver is angry, relieved and ready to return to Boston, but not without hooking up with Colin first.  A date leads to the men texting and then meeting in Boston.  But is Oliver really ready for a new committed relationship?  Colin doesn’t think so.  It’s up to Oliver to convince the man he wants that he is ready to commit to Colin for the rest of their lives.  Now is only Colin will believe him.

Sigh.  It’s a bad sign when I tell a reader that if they want to read a book, just read the blurb instead and leave it at that.  Such a disappointing story at just about every level.  Giving it a 2 star rating was actually kind and a stretch.  First you have the characters which are oddly unformed and weirdly dislikable.  Oliver is already dithering about the relationship on the plane, saying he loves Sophia in one breath and making declaimer statements about her and their relationship in the next.  Here he is on the plane:

They hadn’t agreed on much of it. She wanted a big wedding with all her family and friends. He had no family— at least none who spoke to him— and none of his so-called friends were willing to travel, so he wanted a small ceremony with only Sophia’s parents and siblings in attendance. She wanted a church wedding. He hadn’t set foot in a church since his parents’ church turned its collective back on him right after his parents threw him out.

Sophia had won all the arguments, including the one about which of them should have to relocate. Her entire family lived in either Sacramento or the Bay Area, and she refused to leave them. As far as she was concerned, the fact that Oliver had no relationship with his family meant he had no reason to stay in Boston. When he’d protested that his job was there, she’d reminded him there were more software technician opportunities in California than in Massachusetts. He’d finally caved, partly because he’d seen no way to win the argument, and partly because love meant giving things up for the other person’s benefit. And he loved Sophia. At least he thought he did.

He just wished he could be sure.

And it goes downhill from there.  Oliver starts flirting with Colin on the plane, not telling him that he’s getting married, then goes to meet his fiance, Sophia, another oddly flat character whose personality never arises above one dimension.  Interestingly enough, both of these characters are supposed to be bisexual, but neither shows any real feeling towards each other or the other gender.  They “say” the sex was hot and the author gives us an extended m/f sex scene to prove it.  However, it falls as flat and unsexy, and quite frankly unbelievable as is their statements.  I am not sure the author really understands what bisexuality means, because it comes across more like the mistaken “one step to gayness” that haunts so many other characterizations of this ilk instead of true bisexuality.  And between these wobbly characters and their treatment of the situation they are in, the reader finds themselves separated from any emotional connection to these people other than a mild disgust and disbelief.

After deciding to call things off two days before the wedding, this is how Sophia decides to tell Oliver she is in love with a women (and tell her conservative family and friends as well):

“What about the reception?” That was one of the most expensive parts of the wedding, judging by the bills and receipts Sophia had shown him. He’d cringed when he’d seen those, but she hadn’t seemed to think they were at all out of line.

“We could still do it.” Her face lit up. “We can have a cancellation party. Or better.” She hesitated again but didn’t appear as nervous. “A coming-out party.”

Oliver’s heart stopped for a second. She knew he didn’t want anyone to know about his encounters with guys in the past. How could she even suggest such a thing?

And her next words were:

“I didn’t mean you.”

That was a bigger bomb than her previous statement. Now Oliver didn’t try to come up with a response. He understood exactly what she meant, and it was too much of a mind-screw for him to think coherently.

“Say something,” she pleaded. “I didn’t mean to hide it from you. I should have told you when you told me about your past. I didn’t want to admit it to you. I didn’t want to admit it to anyone, but I should have. I haven’t been fair to either of us.”

By now, these characterizations are changing by the minute, think of a new personality trait and they assume it.  What they both come off as is closeted individuals, not realistic bisexuals.  In addition, both Sophia and Oliver are over 30 but it surely doesn’t show in their actions, all of which are colored by a layer of immaturity.   They both decide to invite Colin (after a chance meeting and phone call) and Sophia’s coworker to the reception/coming out party which leads to a disastrous scene with Colin jumping up and lecturing the families on tolerance.  Really?  A stranger jumps up and yells at the families who have been broadsided at a party to celebrate a wedding?   Just one mess after another.  I kept wondering what the author thinks a reader is going to do with all this?  Because the characters I felt compassion for were the friends and families, not any of the MCs blithely running roughshod over feelings and honest expectations.  *shakes head*

Colin is just as unformed and unappealing at Oliver.  Out and proud, he goes along with Oliver to the party knowing what’s coming.  Jumps into a relationship with him, while saying he won’t jump into a relationship with him, etc.  No, Colin is not believable either.  Here he is after Sophia has made her grand announcement to all:

This time, there were fewer insults, but the ones that occurred were still directed at Oliver, as he’d suspected. Somehow it was his fault his fiancée had become interested in a woman. “Excuse me.” Colin’s voice rose above the clamor, and everyone shut up and stared at him. He stood, and Oliver wished he could slide under the table. He had no idea what Colin was doing, and Colin had no idea what he was getting into by standing up to Sophia’s family. “I don’t know any of you, and you don’t know me, and it’s probably a good thing. You can’t turn someone gay. Or bisexual, depending on what Sophia considers herself. Those of you who are sitting here ranting about Oliver have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Oliver cringed. Sophia’s family didn’t take well to “outsiders” as it was, and Colin had probably just made enemies out of all of them. Even Sophia looked appalled.

The insults were along the lines of Oliver being a jerk.  Hmmmm.  Now play that scene over in your head (and that’s pretty much how it plays out in the story).   What would your reaction be?  I suspect that your sympathies will lie everywhere but with Sophia and Oliver as do mine.  Why does the author not see this?  This odd outlook permeates the story, furthering the disconnect with the reader from the plot, the characters, heck all of it.

Towards the end of the book, after a month of texting, Oliver decides he is in love and wants Colin to move in.  Keep in mind they really only had a day together in California, a month of texting, then a day in Boston.

Colin hadn’t said he would give up everything. They hadn’t even said they were going to move in together. His mind was jumping all around the conversation and not waiting for anything definite to be determined.

“You know, we keep saying we aren’t sure about this, but we’re talking as if we are.” Colin took a drink of coffee. “Let’s just say it, okay? We’re good together. I’ve felt it for a while now, and being here with you has proved it. Seeing you last thing last night and first thing this morning seemed more right than anything else in my life lately. We can change our minds if things do fall apart this week, but I want to be with you, Oliver.”

The elderly couple at the next table shot them sharp glances. Oliver glared at them until they went back to their eggs and bacon. This was Massachusetts. Same-sex marriage was legal, same-sex couples existed, and he didn’t care about the opinions of some random old folks he would never see again.

By this time, I am surprised I made it almost through all 196 pages, only to find Oliver still dithering around along with Colin.  I will let you all extrapolate the rest of the story from the bits I gave you and the blurb from the publisher.  The story does mercifully end and we get to leave these characters on the  pages of this book, soon to slip forever out of mind.

I have read at least two other stories by Karenna Colcroft, including Sensei.  That book had some promising ideas as well as intriguing characters in it whereas Changing Planes has neither.  If you wish to read a Karenna Colcroft story I would suggest you pick up that one and leave this where it belongs….on the shelf gathering dust bunnies.

Cover art by Mina Carter.  That cover is just adorable.  So unfortunate that the story inside doesn’t live up to it.

Book Details:

ebook, 196 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Loose Id
ISBN139781623003142
edition languageEn

Review: The Heir Apparent by Tere Michaels

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

The Heir Apparent coverArchie Bank, body guard and driver for Henry Walker, scion of the powerful and wealthy Walker family, is also Henry’s childhood friend and secret lover.  Archie has used his job to help pay for his education and help support his mother and is now poised to graduate college.  But graduation means a change in jobs, leaving Henry Walker behind.  Henry doesn’t want to lose Archie but doesn’t know how to come out to his family or make a stand for their relationship.  All Henry sees is Archie slipping away from him forever.

Then a kidnapping goes horribly wrong, ending with Henry in the hospital and Archie under suspicion.  Together Archie and Henry must unite in order to uncover the mastermind behind the kidnapping before more lives, including their own, are threatened.

I love Tere Michaels.  Her Faith, Love & Devotion series is among my top all time favorite contemporary m/m fiction.  In The Heir Apparent, I see all the components that make her writing so enthralling and addictive, along with some minor issues that bring it down a notch or two.  First, the plot. It is full of suspense, well balanced with romance and hot, sexy scenes.  There are several layers to the mysteries here, not just the person behind the kidnapping.  I really enjoyed that aspect of the story, even though I identified correctly early on exactly who the person was behind the plot.  While some may find it frustrating that the characters did not recognize where the threat was coming from, I thought Michaels handled the reasons behind that gullibility with rationality and sensibility.

The two main characters are well defined with Archie  probably being my favorite, a kind of Upstairs Downstairs sort of thing.  Archie’s mother was a servant as well and they were part of the Walker home for a long time, albeit in their strictly defined roles. I do wish Michaels had given us more of a past recollection of Archie and Henry’s childhood together.  It would have helped give a firmer foundation to their current relationship than the one we are given.  Henry’s father at one point  talks about the boys misadventures as children, with Archie in the role of the child who always lead his precious son into scrapes.  But other than a tidbit here and there, nothing really substantial is relayed to the reader about their back history.  Henry takes a little bit longer to come to grips with.  He will not acknowledge his romantic relationship with Archie nor tell his father he is gay.  To be sure, Michaels has made Mr. Walker a powerfully intimidating personality, however Henry shows little spine with regard to him or his father’s close associate (almost an uncle figure here).  With Henry’s insecurity and passiveness, it takes some time before the reader connects with him, and that hurts the story in the beginning.

The Heir Apparent really picks up and delivers powerful, emotional scenes once the kidnapping begins.  This is when the story and all the characterizations gel for the reader.  From that moment on, Henry’s father becomes a person who  we identify with and connect with emotionally at the most basic of levels, that of a father who loves his son and fears for him.  Powerful stuff indeed.  Even shadowy characters, like Henry’s stepmother, come forward with a greater presence and impact once this traumatic event takes place.  Tere Michaels builds the story, layer upon layer, until all the pieces fall into place at the end, and the criminal is identified and caught.

Do the men get their HEA?  The plot points in that direction but, in my last quibble, the resolution to their relationship issues, doesn’t seem entirely satisfactory.  It ends with some things a little unclear and some readers will find that frustrating.  I know I did.

But with all my quibbles aside, do I recommend this story?  Yes, absolutely.  A Tere Michaels book is always something to be grabbed up, you never know what marvelous things to expect inside.  And some of the issues I had with the story, others might find not objectionable at all.  To tell the truth I did go back and forth between a 3.75 and a 4 star rating but the quibbles won out in the end.  Pick up a copy and  make up your own mind.  I would love to hear what you think.

Cover art by Dar Albert is got two gorgeous torsos to look at but what it has to do with the story is anyones guess.  Call this a miss.

Book Details:

ebook, 166 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Loose Id
original title
The Heir Apparent
ISBN13
9781623002589
edition language
English

Review: Son of a Gun by A.M. Riley

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Son of a GunStefan Sanchez’s has returned home to Boerne, Texas after twelve years in Los Angeles as a successful childrens book author.  He has come home for the funeral of his best friend, Tommy O’Connor, scion of one of Texas’ wealthiest and influential families.  He left over a decade ago under the stigma of his deceased father, a corrupt agent and fleeing his secret relationship with closeted deputy Chet Blain.

Now that he is back, all those secrets and more rise up, threatening to pull Stefan down with them.  His alcoholic mother wants to see him, Tommy’s death is suspicious, Tommy’s wife is missing and then someone leaves drugs in Stefan’s rental car, framing him and bringing him to the notice of the FBI.  Chet Blain wants to restart their old affair while the sexy Secret Service agent hovering around him seems interested in Stefan in more ways than just business. The O’Connor family is full of hidden agendas that Stefan must unravel for his safety and sanity.  Everything, including Stefan’s life, hinges on him piecing together clues from his childhood, and coming to terms with a past that has haunted him through the years.

I really liked Son of a Gun enough to give it 4 stars even while feeling ambivalent about aspects of the story. I found the character of Stefan Sanchez to be especially intriguing, in particular his profession as an author of a highly successful childrens series, The Adventures of the Backtree Boys.  Think an updated version of the Hardy Boys based upon Stefan’s childhood up to his father’s treason and death.  Interspliced with Stefan’s thoughts on his current status and events are parts of episodes he is mentally writing to go along with what is actually happening.  It works something like this:

In San Antonio, Stefan emerged from the airport hangar, crisp air-conditioning giving way immediately to deep, humid Texas heat. His sparse luggage and light clothing all seemed to gain twenty pounds of wet, his hair sticking to his nape, and he remembered one of the dozens of reasons he’d had to leave Texas. (then Stefan starts thinking Backtree Boys dialog)

“The weather is reason enough.”

                   “Nope. Reason number one: snakes.”

                   “When was the last time you saw a snake, Tommy?”

                   “It’s the fact that they could show up ANYWHERE. Did you see that blurb in the paper about the assemblyman who              found one in his mailbox?”

                    “I think someone put that there.”

                   “And your point is?”

Dialog from the Backtree Boys is used effectively to accentuate Stefan’s thoughts as well as introduce a snapshot of his childhood growing up.  In fact, much of Stefan’s personality traits came be traced back to the fact that Stefan is still tethered to his past, unable to move forward because he ran rather than bringing any type of closure to the problems he left behind.  He is a complicated character and Riley brings him to life vividly and compassionately.  And the use of the idealized Backtree Boys adventures against the twisted, complex true life events happening to Stefan further serves to demonstrate just how wide the divide is between the two.  A wonderful technique that Riley uses very effectively in the narrative, especially as the Backtree Boys start to get more realistic in Stefan’s head as the events around him turn convoluted and more dangerous.

Riley has laid out a plot with multiple complications and layers to it.  We have a difficult homecoming to a small, bigoted Texas town by a man whose reputation has been soiled by his parents (mother is an alcoholic, dad a traitor).  Stefan is out about his homosexuality, not something the town finds acceptable either.  The funeral brings out the worst in the family, there are many mysteries that start to pop up and the author has Stefan following clues and codes from his childhood, just like in his Adventures of the Backtree Boys but on a much more complicated level and with more profound consequences than being grounded for a week. There are many twists and turns to the plot that serve to frustrate Stefan and the reader along the way, although I have to say I saw the identity of the villain almost from the start.  That fact didn’t stop me from enjoying the  trail to the finish for Stefan, it just upped the anticipation and anxiety for Stefan’s safety.

I enjoyed the character of the Secret Service agent, Evans, who hounds Stefan every step of the way, including a very hot and sexy rough tumble into bed.  His pursuit of Stefan (in more ways than one) was the highlight of the book for me.  I enjoyed the tension between them, just delicious. There are also many secondary characters to draw in the readers interest, from Colin the stoner brother with a skateboard empire to Patrick O’Connor, the patriarch of the family with political aspirations.  But my biggest issue with this story hinges solely upon one character and his interaction with Stefan and that would be the character of Chet Blain, the closeted deputy.

Chet Blain almost ruined the book for me.  I will admit that part of my reaction to him is that he is well constructed and believable in his actions as a closeted man in a small town in the South who wants to have it all his way.  There really is nothing likable about this character, from start to finish and I am not sure the author wants us to feel that way. My ambivalence starts with the fact that Stefan has been holding a misguided love for this man all these years and gives in to a sexual act almost immediately upon seeing him again.  True Stefan sees the trap in heading back into the closet with Chet, the only way they can be together.  And we want to see Stefan hold out against his ex but Chet’s character is all pervasive in scene after scene, until the mere mention of his name on the page had me wanting to flip past just to get rid of him.  I think we are supposed to feel some compassion towards Chet but Chet’s actions in the last couple of chapters as well as Stefan’s reactions almost found me tossing the book down in disgust.  At that point I had a major headache and was ready to bill Riley for a bottle of Excedrin.

I was happy I hung in there because the resolution to all the tangled events in the plot and the ending are worth it.  It was so very satisfying to see how it all plays out (with one teensy bit with Chet, really I just wanted to smack him).  The ending gives Stefan a strong promise of a HFN or even a HEA.  It’s funny and it’s absolutely realistic.  I loved it, and this is from someone who loves her HEAs!

There was a previous version of Son of a Gun published by MLR Press that was shorter in length with a different ending. This version, which is the only one I read, is supposedly longer and was rewritten and reedited for Loose id LLC.  I cannot speak for the earlier version but I can recommend this one.  I enjoyed it even through the moments of frustration, and loved the ending.  If you buy this book, make sure you have the right edition.

Cover art by April Martinez works well for the story within and the characters involved.

Book Details:

ebook, Second Edition
Published May 21st 2013 by Loose ID (first published April 9th 2010)

Review: Birds of a Feather (Bellingham Mysteries #5) by Nicole Kimberling

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Birds of a FeatherNow that the State of Washington has legalized gay marriage, Bellingham Hamster reporter Nick Fontaine and abstract painter Nick Olson are getting married.  They have planned a simple ceremony but nothing simple is ever possible with Peter in the picture.  Their parents are coming and Peter is sure NIck’s folks are going to hate him.  Peter’s mother is arriving early full of wedding ideas and an ex of Nick’s has arrived as well.

But Peter still has a job to do and his boss at the paper expects an article soon. So when a bald eagle has been found shot to death near the Castle, their home in Bellingham, Peter knows he has the subject for his next story.  But the investigation is proving harder than he thought and then Nick’s father decides to accompany him as his sleuthing assistant, could things get any weirder for Nick and Peter?  Of course, they could……

Birds of a Feather is the fifth in the  Bellingham Mysteries series and my favorite book so far.  I adore everything about this series, from the wonderful main characters, the quirky town of Bellingham, to the mysteries they get involved in, it all works and works serendipitously. Over the course of the series, we have met and fallen in love with so many of the secondary characters as well, Evangeline (Peter’s BFF), her stoner boyfriend, Detective Patton (Peter’s favorite lesbian police officer) and so many more.  They are all present and accounted for in Birds of a Feather, just as they should be in a book focused on Peter and Nick’s marriage.

All of Kimberling’s characters come across as not only completely human but whose personalities lend themselves to living in a town where everyone is involved in everyone’s business (personal and otherwise), where green rules, quirky is the name of the game, and tolerance and individuality go skipping hand in hand across the town center.  Of course, Nicole Kimberling lives in Bellingham, Washington so her knowledge of the town is authentic and affectionate. This is how Nicole Kimberling describes Bellingham in her Author Spotlight for Scattered Thoughts:

Because I live here, I’m constantly discovering new facets of the city
and new slices of society–more than I think I’ll ever be able to fit
into the stories. There are the illegal mountain bike trail builders,
the rustic folk musicians, the unschoolers, the gamers. And then there
are the institutions, like the bible software company that basically
owns two whole city blocks downtown, the Humane Society, the Alternate
Humane Society, the Alternate Alternate Humane Society… The town is
rich with unexplored weirdness.”

That oddness permeates the Bellingham Mysteries like the terroir does in wine.  And added to each mystery is usually a fount of information about a subject pertinent to the mystery itself.  Sometimes it is beekeeping or perhaps candlemaking or even chicken farming as it is here but I always learn something new and delightful with each story.   The element of charm combined with a certain weirdness lays a foundation for a book and series that pulls you in immediately and refuses to turn you loose at the end.

Placed within this framework is the relationship of Peter and Nick.  It began slowly in Primal Red with Nick as a suspect, and builds to the relationship they have in Birds of a Feather where they are finally ready and able to get married.  Both men have had trust issues, commitment issues, and communication issues, all of which we see them work through, book by book.  And because we have been there from the beginning, this book becomes even more satisfying, emotionally and romantically.  We’ve been waiting for this too!  But Peter remains Peter, and his inner monologue is never far away.  Here is an example:

 The smell probably— calming pheromones or something.

He should look that up when he finally got to work, he thought.

Maybe write an article about the comforting smell of a strong man. Maybe he could write a little historical romance on the side…

Even before Young Peter knew he was shaking, Lord Nicolas had draped his splendid silken frockcoat over the scholar’s slim shoulders. “That arrow came too close for comfort,” he whispered.

With Peter, fantasy is always just a thought away, and his humorous flights of fancy will have you giggling in no time.  So will Nick’s father, Eric who comes up with the outstanding “Jealous Vengeful Canadians” theory for the Bald Eagle killing.  I won’t go into specifics but they are worth the price of the book right there.  Yes, there is more than one mystery here but the real gems of the Bellingham Mysteries are the town, Peter and Nick and everyone around them.

Consider this book highly recommended, consider the series highly recommended too.  But don’t start here! For those of you new to the series, go back to Primal Red, the first in the series.  See how Nick and Peter met and get a feel for one of the most charming and weird towns around.  You are going to love it and them.

Cover art by April Martinez is consistent with all the other covers of the series.  I do wish the models were more in keeping with the characters inside the book.  Otherwise it is too dark to really see what else is incorporated in the design.

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 2013 by Loose Id
ISBN139781623001841
edition languageEnglish
original titleBirds of a Feather
urlhttp://www.loose-id.com/bellingham-mysteries-5-birds-of-a-feather.html
seriesBellingham Mysteries

Here are the Bellingham Mysteries books in the order they were written and should be read to under the characters and the development of their relationship:

Primal Red (Bellingham Mysteries, #1)

Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Bellingham Mysteries, #2)

Black Cat Ink (Bellingham Mysteries, #3)

One Man’s Treasure (Bellingham Mysteries, #4)

Birds of a Feather (Bellingham Mysteries, #5)

Review: Mighty Casey by Willa Okati

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Mighty Casey coverCasey Sprague has a job he adores as a wedding planner and a wonderful committed relationship with a man he loves deeply, Nate Rule. Casey knows the man he loves is a man of many passions, and while Casey may take the top spot in Nate’s life, baseball comes in a very close second.  Casey has never shared Nate’s love of baseball, primarily due to his name and a certain much quoted poem about the Mudville Nine.  Casey has long come to terms with the irony that while Casey may plan others weddings, he will not be planning his own.  Nate has a thing about getting married and Casey has come to accept that won’t be in their future, after all relationships are all about compromise and Nate has accepted Casey’s feelings towards baseball.  Or so Casey thought.

When Casey loses a strip poker bet to Nate, his forfeit is to spend the day watching Nate’s team play a day of tournament games, all in the name of charity.  But Nate has an ulterior motive for getting Casey to the game and as the day wears on and the games continue, surprises await both Nate and Casey, ones that will have lasting impact on them and their relationship.

This is the reason why I love Willa Okati.  She has the ability to write long, angst filled stories of complicated men and their journey to love, slightly dark and full of heartbreak.  And then Okati can write a story like Mighty Casey. I loved Mighty Casey.  I finished it (it’s not long) and turned around and read it again. Why?  Because it’s joyous, it’s fun, and it’s so full of life and the best things about being in a loving committed relationship, that’s why. When I picked it up, I thought cute premise and couldn’t wait to see what Willa Okati did with it.  But oh, what a mighty swing and home run the author accomplished here (yes, expect baseball metaphors to follow).

First off the bat is Okati’s characters.  I loved each and every one, not just the main characters of Casey and Nate, but the rest of the team like Mimi (a star in her own right) and Kenneth, and the various players from the other teams. Casey and Nate’s each are such realistic characters.  They talk and feel like a couple who has been together for years and find themselves even more deeply in love after having made the necessary adjustments and compromises a long term relationship requires.  You can feel the mutual respect and love that flows between them.  Not once was there a missed ball by the author in terms of their personalities and the depth of their commitment.  Obviously, Okati knows a thing or two about relationships and that knowledge underlies every scene and dialog between them.  Just a perfect pitch every time.  And the rest of the team? As I already mentioned, you couldn’t ask for a better line up, especially Mimi.  Oh, she made a place in my heart right from the start.  Sparkly, outsized personality, she is everywhere in the story, running in the outfield, making all the necessary plays that Nate asks from her (and not all of them include the game).  Trust me, this is an all star line up.

Second at bat is the plot.  At first glance, just a normal romcom situation (think minor league) but Okati takes it and elevates it into the owner’s box seats and beyond.  She gives us one day in the life of Casey and Nate, but a very important one.  She starts it off as the alarm goes off and carries us through to the end of the day and the last of the charity tournaments games.  I won’t give away any spoilers but as Casey sits and watches Nate’s team progress through day, winning game after game, we see, through his interaction with Nate, Nate’s team, and the other players from competing teams, just how well these two are matched. We see the joy and contentment they find with each other, the sizzle and desire that bubbles just under the surface, and the manner in which they can still surprise each other after all the years together.  You will find yourself laughing out loud, pleased as can be, as the day and the tournament unfolds before you.  And to fully bring you to the edge of your seat in anticipation, Okati makes sure you (and Casey) know that Nate has something special planned for the end of the day.  I thought I had it figured out, but the author gave me another little surprise here too that I loved.  Great job, great game plan, perfect follow through, and another runner is on the base.

Third at bat? The heat between Casey and Nate.  They love each other and are so familiar with each other’s bodies and sexual desires.  In one funny and hot scene after another, Casey and Nate have little sexy interludes between games that speak of their love, their desire and their knowledge of each other.  It is a great way to demonstrate the authenticity of their relationship and heat up the story at the same time.  Now all these  bases are loaded.

And here comes the home run to bring everyone over home plate and win the game.  That would be the Epilogue.  It’s the final resolution and it finishes off the story with all the glee, all the triumph, and gratification that comes from seeing a perfect game and acknowledging just how special they are.  That is Mighty Casey all together.  A perfect game of a novella.  I cannot recommend this story enough.  Grab it up, along with some Caramel Poppernutter Crunch, and settle in for a pleasure filled day of baseball and love.

Cover Artist: Mina Carter.  It’s a fun cover but the models are far too young for the men in the story. Surely there are older models out there that could fit the bill and make the cover more in tune with the story.  Plus where is the Poppernutter Crunch? Sigh.

Book Details:

Novella, ebook

Published May 28th 2013 by Loose-ID
ISBN139781623003180
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.willaokati.com/

Review: His Heart To Reap by Erin Lane

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Rating: 3 stars

His Heart To Reap coverAiden M. Scott, 26 years old, 3 years dead and stuck in limbo.  What is a bored departed supposed to do with limitless time on his hands?  Why become a reaper of course.  And for three years, that is the job Aiden has done, he is a reaper, more of a social worker really, for the newly departed. Aiden and the other reapers meet the newly dead as they arrive in Limbo, and then help them to ascend by assisting them in discovering what is holding them back in limbo.  Some of the dead move on immediately and for others, it can take years of “celestial therapy” before they move on and Aiden is so tired of it all.  He can’t figure out why he has never ascended and he is getting a little depressed.

Then Brandon shows up in Limbo,  Aiden’s best friend and secret crush.  Aiden  asks Miles, the head reaper, to be Brandon’s caseworker.  He  wants to be the one to help Brandon move on. More accurately Aiden wants time to spend with Brandon before he moves on, and taking a personal interest in your “client” is frowned upon in the reaper business.  So Aiden tries to hide his attraction to Brandon, even from Brandon himself. But when Brandon confesses he is gay to Aiden, Aiden realizes that he has a confession of his own to make before its too late.  Between Limbo and Heaven, is there room for love?

After reading this story, all I could think was that perhaps InstaLove In Limbo would have been a more accurate title.  It’s not that this is a poorly written story because it isn’t.  It’s just that there is nothing particularly memorable about it either.  Every person has there on take on what happens after death.  There are funny takes as well as epic ones.  This one runs more along the lines of Dilbert in Limbo.  I will let Brandon tell you about it as he questions Aiden on the afterlife:

“So you work until the day you die. Then you work some more? Doesn’t sound too peaceful to me.”

“No, but sitting back and waiting for something to happen isn’t fun either. We use work, even without pay, to escape the mundane. It helps, but only a little.”

“What do we do now?”

Well, at that point I wanted to put the book down.  You mean there are cubicles in limbo?  Sounds more like a level of hell to me.  If this had been a comedic take on the afterlife, then this would have been an amusing twist but it’s all very serious. Also the world building should continue to give a complete feel to the afterlife you have constructed.  The afterlife is dull, its colors dampened, Fine.  But there are stores that remain open so the reapers can get coffee, etc.  Who runs those if everyone either moves on or is a reaper?  Don’t know.  What about the reaper organization?  Not real sure about that either, which is surprising considering how big a role that plays in the story.

The same issues that I have with the author’s world building continues into her characterization.  Not much difference between Aiden and Brandon.  Could very well be the same person.  Closeted, bland, then instalove.  The only character I was interested in was Mrs. Emily Davidson, a long term resident of limbo in need of assistance in ascending.  She was more complex than either of the two main characters and therefore, far more interesting.  Once of the things that kept her from moving on was her anger at her husband for not waiting for her to arrive so they could go on together, understandable and human.  But at the end, the author seems to have forgotten that part of Emily’s story and brings in a totally new reason for her to ascend (one not even suggested at), and it just doesn’t make any sense.

Nor does the ending.  I won’t go into it but it seems almost a refutation of the story’s premise, almost as though the author couldn’t figure out which way she wanted to go with the plot’s focal point.   In the end I did waver between a 2.75 stars and a 3.  It was Mrs. Davidson that gave this story a 3 star rating but I don’t think that is enough to recommend it to a reader.  If a friends to lovers in limbo story is your thing, then you might want to pick this one up, otherwise I would give it a miss.  There are many wonderful books out there to read.  I would find those instead.

Cover Artist: Kalen O’Donnell delivers a nondescript cover that has nothing to do with the story within.

Book Details:

ebook, 108 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Loose Id LLC
ISBN13
9781623003074
edition language
English
url http://www.loose-id.com/his-heart-to-reap.html