Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: The Red King by Rosemary O'Malley



Title: The Red King
Author: Rosemary O'Malley
Rated: 5/5 Hearts (absolute must read!)



Length: approx 326 pages 

Blurb: 


WHAT HE WANTS
The pirate captain known as Ruaidhri lives only for revenge. Tall and lean, with long fiery hair and a corsair's deadly smile, his body still bears the scars of a brutal captivity at the hands of Maarten Jan de Worrt. Once Ruaidhri was a slave, but now he is the Red King, feared and respected across the high seas. Few know his true name. And fewer still know Ruaidhri will use anyone as a pawn in quest for vengeance - even a beautiful, innocent young man.

WHAT HE NEEDS
Raised in a monastery, the Scottish orphan called Andrew is helpless when pirates slay his guardians and clap him in irons. Ruaidhri offers the virgin lad freedom, but only at a terrible price. Andrew must go to Maarten's bed, seduce and kill him. In Ruaidhri's clutches Andrew will receive the training he needs in the art of violence - and lust.


PIRATE AND VIRGIN
The Red King is more legend than mortal. He fights tirelessly and knows no fear. But Andrew's very innocence, his open and honest nature, threatens to unlock the man inside the pirate. Ruaidhri can tempt Andrew, teaching him the forbidden pleasures of a man's touch. But not without awakening a side of himself he long ago gave up for dead...

Warning: this is an erotic m/m romance intended for mature audiences. It contains explicit sexual situations, frank language, dubious consent, torture, and non-graphic descriptions of abuse of a minor.

Review: 

Let me start off by saying.. I don't like historicals almost as a rule, but that's not exactly true. I don't like badly written historicals. I do however love a well-written novel. And come on, who doesn't like pirates, especially good guy sexy red haired pirates? 

I loved this book and all the characters. This author pulled no punches what so ever. She immerses us fully into the complicated and brutal world of Ruaidhri, and she tempts his heart with the sweet, sheltered Andrew. 

Ruaidhri doesn't know much of kindness, as he was brutalized physically, mentally and sexually at his captor's hands. He cannot see past seeking his revenge on the man that took everything from him. He is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in order to achieve his victory.  When he takes Andrew captive he offers the young man an impossible choice, Andrew could achieve his freedom by offering himself to one of the most sadistic men ever and killing him. Innocent Andrew teaches the Red King of love, while he tries to teach Andrew of the joys of the flesh, and the violence the young man will need to survive.  

I picked this book up by chance. I have no idea what possessed me to purchase it, but I'm so glad that I did. After reading it, I was astounded. She took every high seas stereotype and busted it out of the water. This world was carefully crafted, passionate, brutal. Amazing.

This book is definitely not for the squeamish. As I said before, she pulls no punches and her characters SUFFER for her craft. It does contain rape, and sadism. So if you can't handle that, don't read it. But if you are looking for an amazing adventure that is scorching hot, amazingly tender, and heartbreakingly brutal, pick this up! 



You may purchase The Red King through Amazon

You may find Rosemary on 





Friday, December 21, 2012

There can be Only One.



I've read so many wonderful books this year. EVERY single one of the books on this blog are amazing. Every single one of the authors that I've read (for the most part) this year are amazing writers. I've said it several times this year, but M/M romance probably has hands down some of the best writing across all genres. I've read in the neighborhood (and probably more than) 2000 books this year. So narrowing down the ones published this year and ranking even a top 50 would probably be just about impossible, but I can easily choose my favorite novel. That ONE novel for me that shone above all the rest.

I had the great fortune to happen upon Brandon Shire on twitter. We tweeted back and forth a little, and I found him immensely interesting. I started my review blog On March 7th, 2012, and I already had a few reviews lined up to start. Brandon's book Listening to Dust came out March 10, 2012. Sometime towards the end of March, Brandon emailed me and asked me to review Dust. I had never read Brandon before, so I purchased the Value of Rain before even opening Dust. I read VoR, pretty quickly. Mr. Shire had a distinct voice that was powerful. I read Listening to Dust, and started my review immediately,while I was still trying to see through the tears I was crying. Then I stopped, walked away for a couple of days and came back to the review. To say that this book touched me would be inadequate. It changed me. It made me want to WANT better, Do better, BE better.

Listening to Dust is probably hands down one of  THE best book I've ever read. It's a total bonus that the author is an amazing fellow that I have come to respect and admire VERY much. This self-published author rocked my world. So many readers, and reviewers don't want to take a chance on reading "Indie Authors" but in my experience they are amazingly talented people, and I actually prefer reviewing self-published/small press authors to some of the others.

Thank you very much Brandon for allowing me the honor of reading and reviewing your work. :)



Smoocher's Voice #1 book of the 2012

My Review

Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: Afflicted II By Brandon Shire







Author: Brandon Shire
Rated: 4/5 Stars 



Blurb:

Hunter and Dillon have finally come to terms with the idea that they want more than just hot sex with each other.
But can they make what they found permanent?
Can Dillon let his past go? Or will it intrude upon his present?
Can Hunter open enough to build a future? Can he speak his heart?
Can either of them?


Review:

Afflicted II is set just after the end of Afflicted, and continues on with Hunter and Dillon's story. I already fell for the boys in Afflicted, and I did even more so in this sequel. Actually Hunter in love is a much more likeable character, and not such an ass, however I do recognize a lot of the "new love" mindset with both MC's. 

The story is centered on Hunter and Dillon trying to figure out and deal with their family issues, and Dillon's past in general. Dillon is admittedly in love with Hunter, but Hunter isn't sure if he's there yet. Complicating matters and bringing family problems to the forefront is the fact that Hunter's mother is dating Dillon's cousin Travis. With Travis now in the picture it pushes both men's buttons. Surprisingly, I really liked Hunter's mom in this book. I also really liked Maggie, partly because she calls Hunter on his bullshit. 

Mr Shire's talent for weaving a scene is amazing. I particularly love the way he brings us into Hunter's sightless world. Specifically, the love scene with the rain. (that is all I will say about that!)  I had some issues with what certain things in the story were meant to accomplish, however all in all this is a great read. My biggest complaint as always is that it had to end.  I don't like put spoilers in my reviews, so I will forgo pointing out a few of the reasons I loved this book. 

If you've read Afflicted and loved it, you won't be disappointed with this sequel! 


If you follow the Above link (just Click on Brandon's name) it will take you to Brandon's website, where he has links on where you can purchase Afflicted II. 


**Thank you very much to Brandon for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Knight of Wands (Precog in Peril #2) by Theo Fenraven





Title: Knight of Wands (Precog in Peril Book 2)
Author: Theo Fenraven 
Published by: Voodoo Lily Press
Rated: 4.5/5 Hearts




Blurb:
Gray Vecello and Cooper Key are back in the exciting sequel to Three of Swords. Graham’s treasure is only the tip of the iceberg as a thief helps himself to a hidden stash of cash, Jolly Roger makes another appearance, and the guys finally meet others with special abilities when an emergency meeting of the group is called.

Accompanying them on this new adventure is Gray’s cousin, Harper, who’s having problems of her own. Peace and quiet will have to wait as they take another trip downriver on their houseboat, The Constant Companion, before flying to New York City to beard a lion in his den and unexpectedly meet the SOS

Review: 

In this follow up to Three of Swords, Theo takes us back into Grey and Cooper's world. I love the development of the relationship between the two characters. They are really building a solid bond between the as the story goes on. Harper, Grey's cousin, is a fun character, and I hope to see more of her. 

I'm trying to figure out what to say without revealing the plot. (tricksy, Mr. Fenraven) Even though Grey and Cooper eliminated the first round of obstacles, there are more yet to come. Let's see there was a priceless inheritance left to Grey by his grandfather, a thief sent by a powerful man, & an ally who turns to foe. 

Mysterious enough for you? I really liked it, and I sped through the book pretty quickly.. But Cliffhanger! I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers, especially when I'm going to have to wait for the next book to come out. 

These characters are well fleshed out, and the mysteries keep you guessing. I enjoyed this book more than the last one simply because I'd already fallen in love with the characters. If you like paranormal and mystery, do yourself a favor and pick up Three of Swords and Knight of Wands. The third book in the trilogy is scheduled to release in January, so you won't have to hang onto that cliff for too long. 

You can purchase the book from:

 Amazon
Smashwords
All Romance Ebooks.

You can find out more about Theo from his 

Blog

Twitter: @fenraven

Goodreads

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Velvet by Xavier Axelson



Title: Velvet
Author: Xavier Axelson (http://www.xavieraxelson.com/)
Publisher: Seventh Window Publications
Rating: 4/5 





Blurb: 
The first novel from Xaiver Axelson is set against a backdrop of decadence, privilege, and intrigue. Virago, the royal tailor, makes a discovery that will test the bonds of brotherhood, unravel the forbidden secrets of his heart, and threaten his very existence. 

In a land where cruelty is disguised as allegiance, loyalty is masked by obligation, and the laws of sumptuary govern people, nothing is more dangerous than velvet. 

Review:
This was a pretty solid historical romance novel. I think it could have been a little more polished, but all in all it was an excellent concept. 

Virago, inherits the role of royal tailor  from his father, who was royal tailor to a kind king. Unfortunately for Virago, the king is killed and his son, Duir, takes the throne. Duir was like Virago's brother growing up, but they are boys no longer, and the act of making Duir's coronation garments, out of precious and rare velvet which because of the laws of sumptuary, will test every relationship around them. Duir had never treated Virago's blind brother well, something that never sat well with Virago, although the intense dislike that Duir had toward Silvain was never really explained. So Virago falls for a young musician, Seton new to court, it tears at the threads of brotherhood between Duir and himself, as well as the Lords that had grown up with them.  As Virago's eyes are opened to some of the behaviours that he had been blind to, he changes from the somewhat idealistic boy that he had been into a man that must make decisions that will effect not only himself but everyone he knows. 

Honestly I loved this story BUT it didn't feel finished, and in places it seemed a little rushed. The ending was very open ended as well. I hope to see a sequel to this because I'd like to know what happens once they reach their destination. I'd also love to see the brother's story, or at least know more of it. I loved the characters. Axelson really brought them to life. He also really painted a superb scene. You really felt the emotions and turmoil of the players. I also loved some of the secondary characters (and hated others, but I think I was supposed to) 

All in all I would recommend this book if you like historicals, and maybe even if you don't. 

If you wish to purchase Velvet, you may do so in all the usual places. 

If you wish to purchase it from the publisher, it is linked above, just click on Seventh Window Publications. It's available in mobipocket (.prc) nook/sony (epub) kindle (.mobi) and pdf 

Xavier can be found on twitter @xaviersaxel 




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: Fifteen Shades of Gay (for Pay) by T. Baggins




Title: Fifteen Shades of Gay (for Pay) 
Author: T. Baggins
Publisher: Voodoo Lily Press
Rating: 4/5 Hearts




Blurb: 

MONEY...
Andrew Reynolds is determined to stay in New York City as long as his sister Marie, a cancer patient, needs him. But despite his good looks and talent, Andrew hasn't managed to find work as an actor. With his bank account empty and his credit cards maxed, Andrew needs money fast. Gay escorts make a nice living, but there's one problem--Andrew isn't gay.

SEX...

Ever since his early teens, when Andrew's father shocked everyone by coming out, Andrew has been uncomfortable around gay men. Pretending to be gay will be the role of a lifetime. From male/male dates to erotic toys, spankings and more extreme play, Andrew must satisfy his clients without revealing his usual tastes.

... AND ROMANCE

Andrew's first date with closeted politician Cormac Donovan ends in disaster. Yet with each successive booking, the attraction between them grows. As Andrew struggles with unexpected new feelings, Cormac puts his senatorial career in danger. And what began as a way for Andrew to earn money becomes a one-way ticket to heartbreak--or lasting love.


Review: 

Where to begin? Awhile back, Theo Fenraven raved about this great new author whose blog I should check out. I did, and I discovered T. Baggins' blog. I also discovered this story, which ran as a serial on her blog. I was very excited to see what changes had been made to the story in book form. 

I was happy to discover there were few changes needed or made.

First off the characters were easy to relate to. I loved Andrew, and his sister. My own sister is currently battling breast cancer, so this really touched me. Her struggle above a very aggressive disease was very well written. I really liked Cormac. His struggle to be gay, republican, and a politician was written in such a way that you are truly sympathetic towards his plight. I really liked all of the characters, even Paresh. 

Andrew made a tough decision so that he could afford to be there for his sister. Becoming an escort helped his pocketbook, but definitely stirred issues for his already confused sexuality. Meeting Cormac, was definitely eye opening, causing him to go further with other clients then he might have been inclined to do before. I think that Cormac taught Andrew a lot about himself, but I think that Paresh also played a large role in getting Andrew where he ended up. 

There are so many different things swirling around in this story, and I loved all of them. I loved the tension and misunderstandings. They really made the book. I would love to read more with these characters. (Paresh's story??) What a fabulous debut novel. I will be looking forward to more from this author and I suggest that you do too!

If you wish to purchase Fifteen Shades of Gay (for Pay), I believe you can do that in all the usual places:

Amazon

All Romance Ebooks

Smashwords

You can find Tee on her blog (linked above) and you can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Missing by Drake Braxton



Title: Missing
Author: Drake Braxton
Rating: 5/5 Hearts 

Blurb: 

While attending a 20th high school reunion in Alabama, Blain Harrington loses the love of his life in the blink of an eye. He soon realizes that everything is not always as it seems as he sets out on a journey for answers.

What do you do when the world you thought you knew crumbles around you? How do you piece it back together?


Review: 

Holy Crap! What a debut novel! It knocked my socks off. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, the author threw a MAJOR curve ball. This book took me places that I really wasn't ready to go. It showed me demons that I thought I had faced and put long behind me. 

Blaine Harrington attends his high school reunion in small town Alabama, only to have his Brazilian born husband, Manny, go missing. Throughout this absolute nightmare, Blaine turns to alcohol to numb himself and deal with his loss. The grief on the pages was so very very real, as is the guilt that Blaine is dealing with for having betrayed his husband years earlier. When Manny turns up dead, your heart breaks for him. 

Mr. Braxton's characters definitely come to life, and he pulls you into the world that he's crafted for them. You have a deep amount of sympathy for Blaine, and yet you also sympathize with everything that he is putting his friends through in his grief process. His best friend Michael is his rock, unwavering in his support of Blaine, but not willing to give Blaine a free pass either. Grayson, who is battling his own demons, is Blaine's enabler as he struggles to deal with his issues. 

I want to take a time-out here to praise Drake Braxton for "getting it right" Many stories have an alcoholic character. Many have sympathetic ones. But I think, rarely does someone write it so poignantly. It's a demon that doesn't go away overnight, and it often comes back to stay a few times before its kicked for good. It lurks in the background, waiting for those weak moments to occur so it can pounce. As a recovering alcoholic myself, I both loved and cringed at its depiction. 

I also loved the evolution of the friendship between Grayson and Blaine, and the slight side-story of Michael's romance (cough cough, this would make a great story.. just saying) I would love to see more of Grayson and Blain, as well as Michael. This story was complex and so very different from what most people think of as a m/m story. 

So if you like Romantic Thrillers, you should check this book out. 

You can find it on his publishers website (linked above, just click on Seventh Window Publications) 

You can also find it on Amazon: here

If you are interested in following Drake Braxton, You can locate him on twitter @drakebraxton
or on his blog, linked above. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

GRL Albuquerque 2012

Albuquerque Scenery photo by author Michael Murphy



If you are reading this blog you probably have either heard of or attended the GRL (Gay Romantic Literature) retreat. It was very neat to meet so many wonderful people, and really the people WERE wonderful. There are always a few of course that you get a less than stellar opinion of, but for the most part that was not the case. I came home with many more books than I had intended, but having a signed book in hand is always very exciting.

Almost all of the authors were just as excited to meet each other and readers as we were to meet them. Everyone, for the most part, was incredibly sweet. I will now expose to everyone just how dorky I am.  I had some seriously major fangirl moments. Like, tongue tied, didn't know what to say, screaming inside fangirl moments. First one was Tj Klune, who is seriously one of the most adorable men I've ever met. Yeah, it took me awhile to get up the nerve to talk to him. 

Scotty Cade and Tj Klune photo by author Michael Murphy
Then there was the super amazing Christopher Koehler, who is as snarky and wonderful in person as he is in online. He actually came up to me, and relieved me of my fangirl nerves. :D

Christopher Koehler during his reading , photo by author Michael Murphy

I met so many others as well that were simply amazing, and far too many to list them all.. but people like J.p. Barnaby, Michael Murphy (a.k.a. Robbie Michaels for his y/a series), Mercy Celeste Deanna Wadsworth, Ellee Hill, Erika Pike, Embry Carlysle, NJ Nielsen, Kendall McKenna, Karenna Colcroft, Shae Conner  among many many many others. This isn't even mentioning other readers.. goodness there were sooo many people there that it was VERY overwhelming. 

And Albuquerque is BEAUTIFUL. I absolutely LOVED it. Seriously, I'm allergic to everything in my state, and it was a novel experience to be able to breathe.. Not to mention the amazing scenery. I really loved the amazing culture, art, and history of the city. I wish I would have had more time to explore. It definitely warrants a return trip someday. 

While in Old Town, my roomie, Elee Hill, stumbled upon the most amazing gallery. Once there we met the handsome Daniel Ramirez and equally gorgeous partner, Jerome. Together they own Studio 13, where Daniel creates the most amazing art, which has won many awards, including what will be " The World's Longest Native American Painting" which showcases mothers and daughters. I can't even tell you how wonderful these men were, and how cool it was to meet them. They thought the reason we were in town was equally cool, as they are a gay and native american. All in all is was an AMAZING experience. :) 

Next year its being held in Atlanta, Georgia, and I'm definitely hoping to be able to go and see old and new friends. I was surprised that my social anxiety didn't rear its ugly head too badly. No panic attacks or freak outs, which is pretty awesome. You might not know it but a year ago, I barely left my house without major major anxiety. Life gets so much better people.

The concept of GRL is unique in that everyone is so open and welcoming that it's a lot like coming home. Meeting online friends was just superb, because even though some people didn't look how maybe they did in my minds eye, their inner selves were just fabulous. I feel like I've made some life-long friendships, and I will always always be grateful for that.

Here is to GRL Atlanta 2013!!

A very HEARTFELT thank you goes, out to Michael Murphy, who let me steal... um share his photos. 





Sunday, October 14, 2012

October Randomness.

So, if you are one of the um.. 5 people subscribed to this blog, you may be wondering if I dropped off the face of the earth. The answer to this is NO. I realize that I posted a lot of reviews in September, and none so far in October. Don't worry I have a couple in the works. 

What has been taking most of my time and energy is the fact that I am a single mom, (yeah yeah cry me a river, I'm sure you are thinking) and I have 5 kids, aged 10 and under. Okay so two of the kids are my sisters, but I'm raising them. Not to mention that Day after Tomorrow, I leave to go to Albequerque for the GRL Retreat (Gay Romantic Literature), so don't be surprised to see some photos of some of my favorite authors make a few appearances.. and maybe I can pin one or two of them down for an interview. 

October is an exciting month. I have 2 reviews coming, One is a Non-fiction book, by Zane Michaels about the rise and fall of his gay porn career. I have a lot of love for Zane, so despite it not being what I usually review, I'll be making an exception.. The second review is of a book called Missing by Drake Braxton. Those reviews will likely be posted after I return from Albuquerque. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Power Exchange by AJ Rose




TITLE: Power Exchange
AUTHOR: AJ Rose
PUBLISHER: Voodoo Lily Press
RATED: 5/5 Hearts



blurb:
From the moment Detective Gavin DeGrassi steps into the world of BDSM to solve the brutal slaying of Dom George Kaiser, his course is not his own. Mesmerized by the context in which the victim lived and the images of the lifestyle seared into his soul, Gavin must find a way to navigate these unknown waters. With his personal life in upheaval due to marital trouble, and his professional life uncertain with the assignment of a new partner, Gavin needs all the help he can get understanding the case.
Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and a well known Dom. With Ben’s help as a consultant and attention to Gavin’s own murky truths, Gavin delves deeper than he ever thought he would into the world of restraints and paddles. Forced to scrutinize his true nature and his innermost desires, Gavin has a choice: keep the fear of submitting at bay, or dive in and solve the case with the knowledge he gains. When another victim is discovered, Gavin’s choice is made for him, and he’s pulled headlong into the deepest, most emotional journey of his life.
Unfortunately for him and Ben, a killer has noticed, has taken stock, and has set his sights on the D/s pair. Can Gavin outwit him, or will his first exchange of power be his last?


Apparently it is small press/ self publish month here at Smoocher's Voice, AND men's month. Not that I'm complaining. This is the 4th great book I've had the opportunity to review this month. As most of the reviews on this blog are, this came as an author request. I'd never read Mr. Rose's work before, but the cover certainly had me intrigued.

I loved the character Gavin, from the beginning of the book, and loved the way that the relationship builds between him and Ben. I liked that it was obvious that a lot of research went into this book. It was knowledgeable about the BDSM lifestyle. It made it very easy to understand why some people are drawn to it, and why Gavin in particular was.

I was impressed with this novel. BDSM books are a guilty pleasure. I love to read them even when they are somewhat awful. This was a meaty story that was much more than an excuse to write kinky sex. These characters have thoughts and feelings, fears and aspirations. They also have a great capacity to love.

The case of this brutal slaying opened an entirely different world for Gavin, and Ben was there to help him navigate the unfamiliar waters. What starts off as a professional consultation eventually develops into much more. I can't express how much I enjoyed being able to go along for the journey with Gavin and Ben. This type of book isn't for everyone, but I do feel that its a good "starter" book for someone that might perhaps be interested in this genre, but are looking for an actual story and not just sex scene after sex scene.

I really have no complaints about this novel. I also really loved a few other things about the book, but it would totally spoil the end if I told. I look forward to reading future works by Mr. Rose, and seeing more work published by Voodoo Lily Press.

If you want to pick up the novel:


Buy: Power Exchange at Swashwords for $4.99. Available in multiple formats.
Buy: Power Exchange at Amazon for $4.99. Kindle format.
Buy: Power Exchange at All Romance Ebooks for $4.99!



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: One Boy's Shadow by Ross A. McCoubrey



TITLE: One Boy's Shadow

AUTHOR: Ross A. McCoubrey

PUBLISHER: iUniverse 

Rated: 5/5 Hearts







BLURB: 
Fifteen-year-old Caleb Mackenzie doesn’t put up a fight when his father announces the family is moving to Stapeton, Nova Scotia. In fact, Caleb looks forward to a fresh start in the scenic little area. Their new home, Wakefield House, sports large rooms, a big barn where Caleb can work on cars, and acres of forested land for privacy. But it also has a troubling past. In 1943, a boy who lived in the home vanished.

Caleb hears the stories about what may have occurred so many years ago, but he passes them off as folklore until one day he’s alone in the woods and hears the faintest whisper. Did someone in the distance just call his name? And what about his discovery in the hayloft? Could there be something to those old stories after all?

The initial need to dismiss everything as coincidence becomes a soul-searching journey into the past where Caleb is determined to uncover the truth about what really happened to the missing boy. And in the process, he learns even more about himself and what’s really important.


Set in Nova Scotia, Ross McCoubrey, penned a young adult coming of age tale all wrapped up in a mystery that is decades old. When Caleb's parents decided to purchase Wakefield House, he quickly made friends with Shane, a boy his age that tells him of the home's mysterious past. Shane tells the story of a young man who disappears into the woods, never to be found again. 

Caleb and Shane were fast friends, that grow into more. As they discover their awakening feelings for each other, and they deal with what that means, with their friends, family and each other, they are also searching to find the answers to what happened to young Tobey Everett. 

Throughout the story you really come to know Shane, Caleb, and Tobey. You get to know some of the fears and issues that coming out as a young gay person an be. The fears that the people that love and are for you would turn their backs over something you cannot control. It was a beautifully crafted story, about what's important, about falling in love and about holding on to  the important things. You also find out what hate can do, and how vicious it can be. 

I really can't tell you how much I loved this story. It goes to show that you don't need explicit sex scenes to make a novel (not that I am opposed to those because I like them.. a lot) This is a story I'd recommend to anyone. I'd encourage any teen to read it.


You may purchase the book at:

Amazon 
or at
iUniverse


You can find Ross on Facebook and Twitter




Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Three of Swords by Theo Fenraven









TITLE: Three of Swords
AUTHOR: Theo Fenraven
PUBLISHER: Voodoo Lily Press
RATED: 4.5/5 Hearts

Blurb: 

An old houseboat, a hot young guy, a couple of murders, and more mysterious keys than you can shake a stick at: this is what awaits Gray Vecello after his grandfather, Graham, is killed picking up high blood pressure pills.

A letter Graham left behind sends Gray and his unexpected ally, Cooper Key, on a journey downriver in an attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding an unknown treasure. On the way, they encounter both friends and enemies, one of whom will target Gray and Cooper for death. One thing working in Gray’s favor: he has the sight, just as Graham had, but will it be enough to save them both?


First book of the Precog in Peril series. 



REVIEW:

I really enjoyed this book, which kind of surprised me because I tend to be extremely critical of paranormal/magic type books. The reason for this is that I cut my teeth on Anne Rice, Stephen King, Stan Lee, Chris Claremont, George Lucas, Warren Ellis among many many others. Suffice to say I'm picky. Theo Fenraven is a new author to me, and this is the first time I've read any of his work. When he asked me to review, I didn't bother reading the blurb or the excerpt that he sent me. I prefer to jump right in and form my own opinion without any outside influence. To be honest I don't like the blurb, and it is likely that had I read it, it would have lowered my expectations. In other words.. the blurb is NOT the book. 

I love how Gray gets over misconceptions about his grandfather as the story progresses. I love that the character took a chance and stepped out of the box, although I do believe that perhaps the characters believed a little to easily, but then there was a lot flying at them. My favorite was the poise of the character, Cooper. For his young age, he seemed more world wise than Gray. I also liked the fact that the author brought a little bit of awareness to adult illiteracy. 

I have no major complaints about this book. Minor things that are personal preference, but really in no way reflects upon the author. I'm not a huge fan of first person, but it was really well written. This was a unique story, in that I've never read a similar scenario. I really liked that. I also really like the unique setting of the houseboat. It was a great little mystery. :

All in all, I liked the little world that Theo Fenraven created, and I look forward to the second book Knight of Wands which will be coming this holiday season. 

You can purchase Three of Swords at:

or

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: Afflicted by Brandon Shire




Title: Afflicted

Author: Brandon Shire
Website: http://www.brandonshire.com
Release date: September 15, 2012  Well, lucky people, Brandon decided to release early, so here is the Amazon link: Purchase Afflicted

Rated: 5/5 hearts  




Blurb:

A high priced male escort and a blind gay man meet by chance. What ensues is a hot, steamy romance by two men looking for something more than a one night stand. But can they reach beyond their own insecurities to grasp what they really desire?


Set in modern day Atlanta, Brandon Shire takes us on a journey of discovery. Hunter is a blind gay man, and he hooks up with high priced escort Dillon in a chance meeting. Never expecting to see Dillon again, Hunter is definitely thinking about him. Out of the blue Dillon shows back up at Hunter's to give him a refund, and it was the start of something wonderful. There is a subplot concerning Hunter's mother, which definitely throws some twists in there.  I love this author's ability to make you connect with the characters and feel what they are feeling. sorrow, loneliness. I loved how he described everything from Hunter's point of view. Being non-sighted, it is a completely different take on how he perceives the world. One of the things I love most about Shire's characters is that they are horribly flawed. These are not nice perfect men just looking for a chance at love. These men have had difficulties, and personality issues, trust issues. They are imperfect heroes all the way through. They don't know how wonderful they are, and they certainly have a hard time believing anyone else finds them wonderful.


I am a huge fan of Mr. Shire's work. (if you've read my review of Listening to Dust, you know that.. if you haven't.. go read it now) When he said he was penning a HEA story, I was worried. I told him I was worried. I shouldn't have been worried. Yes, this is a step out of the box compared to his other work, but its a great book, and definitely worth the read. (Plus the sex scenes are HOT!) I connected with all the characters, I loved his descriptions of places and people... I only have one complaint...  Cliffhanger... if there were not a sequel coming then I definitely would have taken some points off. I am very much looking forward to Afflicted 2.


Now to pick up Afflicted, you'll have to wait until September 15th. In the mean time, go read the excerpt here


P.S. When you purchase Mr. Shire's books, 10% goes to help LGBT Youth Charities. Great books AND you are helping a great cause! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review: Brothers in Arms by Kendall McKenna *Updated*

*** Notes: this has been updated to reflect the NEW cover by Jared Rackler (who is awesome). It also reflects all new purchase links. 


Updated cover by Jared Rackler:


Old Cover:






Title: Brothers in Arms
Author: Kendall McKenna
Publisher: Silver Publishing 2012 (then Re-released by MLR Press 2013) 

Rating: 
5/5 Hearts. MUST READ!!






Blurb:

Jonah Carver is a Marine and combat veteran. He and his former Captain, Kellan Reynolds, once shared a scorching night, but then lost touch; something Jonah has long regretted. 

When an investigation into government corruption, and the murder of U.S. troops, ends in the killing of a V.I.P. on Jonah's watch, the FBI arrives. With them is Kellan Reynolds. Together once more, Jonah begins to believe in second chances and sparks fly

Nothing is that easy, though, as the suspects will stop at nothing to bring the investigation to an end. Jonah must keep everyone in his charge alive while helping the FBI and Kellan find the proof they need.

When Kellan is kidnapped, Jonah has to find and rescue him. If he doesn't, not only will the investigation unravel, but he'll lose Kellan for a second time--for good.


Review:

Nothing gets me like a well-written military story. My family has served in this country's military since the Revolutionary War, so the military has been a very large part of my existence. We are an all branch family with members serving proudly in all of them except for the coast guard. Poorly researched military stories are a pet peeve of mine, and when I pick up an military book, as much as I want to love it, I always seem to poke holes in it.

That being said. I loved this book. As far as I could tell, the Marine's and particularly RECON is not my area of expertise, this book was extremely well researched. I loved the strong characters. How both of the main characters are strong, and capable, each comfortable in their own strengths. I loved the interaction between all the marines, and their FBI counterparts. Its a great Marine story, and a great love story.

Jonah is a bit of a legend. He's the type of marine that young ones look up to and aspire to be. The kind that they tell stories about. Kellan was formerly Jonah's commander, and now working outside the military, as a consultant. They have a bit of the star-crossed lovers feel to them.. the timing is just never quite right. When circumstances bring them together is seems as though they might finally get that second chance, until Kellan is kidnapped. Jonah must race against the odds get Kellan back and keep the FBI's investigation on track. There is something inherently sexy about Marines, add in RECON to that and whew! Its enough to make anyone hot. Since this is set pre-repeal of DADT, their love is kept in the dark.

My only complaint was more more more! The story captured my interest and the characters captured my heart!

What a great breakout novel by Kendall McKenna. I really look forward to seeing her future work. I can't say that I would mind hearing more from these Marine's either.

So if you love a good military story, with great action in and out of bed. Head over to Amazon, here, and pick up this book. Re-released on Amazon Here.
Kobo
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Barnes and Noble

You can also find it on Silver Publishing's website here.

You can also purchase it direct from MLR Press here



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: First Impressions by Christopher Koehler


5/5 Hearts! MUST READ!!

Title: First Impressions
Author: Christopher Koehler


Blurb:

The first time Henry Hughes and Cameron Jameson meet, it’s an unmitigated disaster. Cameron reminds Henry of all he left behind when he stopped making adult films, and he cruelly rejects Cameron. When Cameron discovers Henry’s porno-thespian past, he assumes he’s dodged a bullet.

But circumstances continue to throw the two together. Though the physical attraction between them grows, they cling to first impressions, even as a slow dance reveals just how good they could be.

Henry finally realizes how wrong he was, but Cameron can’t cope with “sleeping with the enemy.” It will take a confrontation for Cameron to realize just how wrong he’s been, but unfortunately, he may have lost his chance.

Review:


Mr. Koehler brings a contemporary (and gay of course) spin on Pride and Prejudice.  I loved that the book was set in Sacramento, rather then a bigger city, and loved that he threw in a little bit of history here and there. He brought out a wild and zany cast of characters that never failed to entertain.

The main characters Cameron and Henry were perfect for each other and perfectly hard headed all the way through. At times you just wanted to knock their heads together in order to get them to see reason. Seriously though I cannot say enough about Koehler's skill at character building. He brought out all the stereotypes, that may have seemed over-the-top and crazy in another novel, and he not only made it work, he made you love the hell out of it. This book had it all, the promiscuous gay friends, the stable (but at times strange) couple, the overbearing mother, the snotty kid, the social cllimber, and Oh My God the Drag Queens. I love the stage names in the book.

This is definitely worth a read, and a re-read or two. So this definitely gets a 5/5 hearts from me, here at Smoocher's Voice.  Definitely looking forward to more novels by Christopher Koehler.. (cough cough, a sequel would be nice.. just sayin)

If you wish to pick up this great read, you may pick up the Kindle edition at Amazon, here. OR
You can pick up either the paperback or ebook at Dreamspinner, here.


If you wish to check out Christopher Koehler's website, you find it at:

http://christopherkoehler.net

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: Hunting for Clay by N.J. Nielsen



3.5/5 Hearts




Book: Hunting For Clay (Toowoomba Boys 2)
Author: NJ Nielsen
Published by MLR Press


blurb:

Two years have passed since Clay and Hunter met on that fateful morning in Tello's Diner. Getting passed the fact Clay was stalking Marlowe was the easy part. Clay Montgomery's life has changed for the better the day he found the man who was meant to be the other half of him. Hunter understood him well, and knew how to give him exactly what he needs to be happy. Hunter Weldon knows what he wants, and just how to get it. For two years he has loved the man in his arms and now it was time to up the ante.


Review:

I can say, I didn't LOVE this one the way that I loved Angels on Top. Mostly it was so busy. There was A LOT going on in this little book. However, I get that life is sometimes like that.. Overwhelming and too busy for our own good.

Set two years after introducing us to Angelo and Marlowe in Angels On Top, Hunting for Clay, is obviously following Hunter and Clay. More or less, trying to make up for the estrangement between Clay and his family, Hunter is on a mission to surprise Clay with an amazing Birthday/Valentine's Day, where he plans to propose. The trick is keeping Clay from finding out, which also means keeping his cousin Marlowe from finding out. Hunter ends up enlisting just about everyone else to be a part of the process though, even down to his new bosses.

However in the midst of all this there are a million little subplots running around... Problems between Clay and his parents, and Clay's brother Jayden and his boyfriend, Marlowe and Angelo are having their own issues, topped with Angelo's brother Dimmy coming to live with them, Then there is the interplay between Hunter and his bosses. Its kind of overhwhelming to try to keep track of everything.

I did like the story. I just didn't LOVE the story. That being said, NJ Nielsen is a very talented author and I very much am looking forward to the continuation of this series and other works. I would love to revisit some of these characters in a not so busy setting.

If you would like to pick up a slightly busy but great read  you can do so at Amazon: here.

You can learn more about NJ and her writings on her blog, http://normanielsen.blogspot.com/