★★★★★ The Beginning of Knowledge by Anne Brooke

The Beginning of KnowledgeThe Beginning of Knowledge by Anne Brooke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb...

When University administrator Alan Castleton meets temporary worker and talented pianist Luke Milton, he doesn’t expect to become obsessed with the handsome young blond. But soon he is heavily involved in a passionate and angry affair, and exploring the dark shadows of his own personality in a way he’s never encountered before.

The more Alan tries to break free from his obsession, the deeper it entangles him. The dangerous split between his reason and his sexual desires threatens his peace of mind and, when the crisis point comes, he must decide once and for all the kind of life he should lead.

So what did I think?

This is dark erotica, a short and intense journey into one man’s self discovery, discovery of something dark and dangerous.

“I didn’t like the way his words made me feel – powerful and sick at the same time, as if I were standing on the edge of a cliff top I couldn’t really see and any second I could step off and not know if I’d fall or if I’d fly.”

I read this story with a strange fascination. The story was compelling, even if slightly uncomfortable. I couldn’t look away. And when the ending arrived I was left wondering what had actually just occurred. And I wanted more.

This is a story of loss of control, of violence, pain and humiliation. You have been warned…..

5 Stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

For more information on Anne Brooke and her books, visit her website.

Buy The Beginning of Knowledge from Amazon.

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First Impressions by Christopher Koehler

First ImpressionsFirst Impressions by Christopher Koehler

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The 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.

So what did I think?

This book was unusual for me as my opinion kept changing. One minute I was loving it, the next I wasn’t so sure. In summary, I did enjoy the story and it’s laugh-out-loud moments but a little more loving would have raised it just a notch.

The strengths of the book were the wonderful range of characters – most hugely over the top, especially Cameron’s mother – and the humour throughout the story. This is one of those books with some great one-liners. I also adored Cameron’s ‘stories’ about his family.

This is the story of two men who are looking for something more in their lives. Henry is an ex-porn star whose reputation seems to follow him everywhere. He is sick of being known for his huge ‘endowment’ and wants to find a special person to love him for himself. He is a successful business man and philanthropist.

Cameron has tried to be independent and make a life away from his crazy family. He didn’t want to dependent on their money or connections but at twenty-nine, finds himself in a position where he is wondering where his life is going.

An unfortunate first meeting, where Henry insults Cameron based on a misunderstanding of what he thinks of Cameron, results in Cameron disliking Henry. But fate (and their friends) has a way of bring them together. As they keep running into each other, they are attracted and eventually realise they have both may have made a mistake in their first impression of each other.

Throw in some fabulous and strange friends, wacky drag-queen uncles, Cameron’s outrageous mother (“Her son wasn’t the marrying type”) and a bratty teenager and there is lots of fun.

So where did it not come together for me? I think it was the romance angle. I wanted to see Henry and Cameron spend more time together and it just didn’t happen. Because they weren’t together, I also failed to see how their love developed. I guess I just wanted more love.

I definitely think some points are deserved for including character names such as porn star “Hugh Jerection” (corny as that may be) and a kid calling his uncle’s gay friend’s “Uncle Dickrider” and “Uncle Fudgepacker” and them just putting up with it!

3.5 stars

4 Stars

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Sophomore: Undeclared (Ivory Towers #2) by Daisy Harris

The Ivory Towers Series

Sometimes a college fling is just a fling, but sometimes that spark burns forever.
Angel Cruz arrives at Pacific Rim University hard and cold, cut off from his feelings. Meeting Shane Roberts his freshman year changes all that. Free to explore his passions, Angel revels in his relationship with the older and wiser graduate student. But fear, family, and the call of adult life outside Pacific Rim’s walls threaten to destroy the fragile world Angel and Shane are building together.
Shane was raised to believe career should come first, and Angel was taught gay men couldn’t forge families. But in Pacific Rim’s IVORY TOWERS, they’ll build a love strong enough to survive growing up.

  • Freshman: Uncut (book #1)
  • Sophomore: Undeclared (book #2)  – in this review
  • Junior: Unscripted (book #3) – release due 30th August 2013

Sophomore: UndeclaredSophomore: Undeclared by Daisy Harris

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb:

Graduation looms for Angel’s lover Shane. Neither guy wants to break up, but in a world of temptation, Shane will have to fight to make first love last.

Shane is graduating soon, and when he leaves, he’s going to tear out Angel’s heart. It’s been more than a year since Shane laid Angel over a desk and changed his life, but with the end of the school year approaching, Angel sweats over what will happen when Shane leaves. Shane says he loves Angel…but only when they’re naked and panting…

Preoccupied with finding a job, Shane doesn’t know what’s got Angel so stressed, but when he gets an opportunity to go to New York to make one of his movies, Shane realises just how badly his leaving will hurt his boyfriend. He wants to stay together—Angel is the best damn thing in his life. Shane knows all about temptation, though, and about how even the best relationships fall apart.

Time and distance, temptations and fears…Love may not be enough to keep Angel and Shane together. But first love is stronger than either of them realises. Will it be strong enough to turn the jaded Shane into a believer, and to keep them together despite the odds?

So what did I think?

The action takes place one year after the first book Freshman: Uncut and continues the story of Angel and Shane. The focus of this installment (it definitely doesn’t feel like a book on it’s own) is the unease setting in as the time nears for Shane to graduate.

Angel is still terribly insecure in their relationship, to the point of not even wanting to talk about what the following year will bring. Angel is worried about their relationship but Shane is only focused on getting a job, wherever that may be. But things come to a head when Shane has an opportunity to make a film in New York.

Shane travels to New York for a long weekend and they both get a taste of what separation may potentially mean. Obviously Angel was going to be heartbroken but it was wonderful to see Shane actually realising what the separation would mean to him personally.“The only time things made sense was when he was with Angel. Kissing, f**king, hell, even cutting Angel’s hair. He was struggling every second they weren’t together.”

This is short (~64 pages) and ends abruptly. Strangely the last 9% of the book is a excerpt of Freshmen: Uncut which I would have assumed most people would have already read given this was book two in a continuing story of the one couple. Anyway, it’s not a cliffhanger as such, the story just ends but so many questions are left unanswered. I will definitely be pouncing on the third book Junior: Unscripted as soon as it is released in August.

3.5 stars

4 Stars

To find out more about Daisy Harris and her books, visit her website.

Buy Freshman: Uncut at Amazon. At the time of writing this review it is only $0.99 on Amazon so really good value.

Sophomore: Undeclared will be available 19th July 2013 or is available now direct from the publisher.

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