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Check out these Cardeno C novellas

 

Sometimes a novella hits the spot just perfectly and these novellas from Cardeno C are no exception.

This morning I woke up and I wasn’t quite ready to face the day. I grabbed my coffee and crawled back into bed with All of Me. It was a wonderful way to delay my day. The story was fabulous – sweet and sexy, hot Alphas, hurt/comfort – it ticked all the right boxes. In fact, I don’t read a lot of shifter romances but when I do, I find novella length perfect.

Check out the selection below. There’s All of Me, the paranormal I read, plus two contempories,

A Shot at Forgiveness (Contemporary gay romance)

Sometimes to find love, you must first learn forgiveness.

ashotatforgiveness-500A dozen years, two thousand miles, and a law degree after high school, Rafi Steiner continues to harbor resentment toward Isaac Jones, his childhood bully turned NBA star. When Isaac appears at Rafi’s favorite restaurant acting like a long-lost friend, Rafi bluntly dismisses him.

But Isaac is tenacious and he has his heart set on the grown-up version of the boy he always wanted and never forgot. The way Isaac sees it, he and Rafi are perfect for each other, if only he could sink the most important shot of his life: his one shot at forgiveness.

 

 

 

Book Page: http://www.cardenoc.com/ashotatforgiveness.php#.VX2fvk3bKM8

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

All Romance

All of Me (Paranormal/shifter gay romance)

To bond with his destined mate, an Alpha wolf must look past what he sees and trust what he feels.

allofme-500Bonded by their parents before they were conceived, wolf shifters Abel and Kai adored each other since they were children. As teens, the two future Alphas took the next step in their bonding process and vowed to remain true to one another until Kai came of age. But when tragedy struck, Abel felt betrayed and ran from Kai instead of completing their mating.

Abel never stops yearning for the man who was supposed to lead by his side and after years without contact, Kai returns, broken and on death’s door. If Abel wants to fulfill their destiny and merge their packs, he’ll need to look past what he saw and trust his heart.

 

 

Book Page: http://www.cardenoc.com/allofme.php#.VX2fPk3bKM8

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

All Romance

Places in Time (Contemporary gay romance)

A relationship-challenged actor unexpectedly finds love in the arms of his childhood best friend.

placesintime-500“Sexiest Man Alive” and Golden Globe winning actor Ethan Baker lights up the screen but fizzles in his personal life. When his latest girlfriend breaks up with him, Ethan turns to his one “forever” person – Jude Harrison. But as Ethan makes the familiar drive to his best friend’s house, an unexpected detour and a bewildering passenger take him through places in time he’d long forgotten. Suddenly Ethan sees Jude’s actions over the years from a different perspective, but it’s his own reaction that’s the biggest surprise.

Book Page: http://www.cardenoc.com/placesintime.php#.VX2gJk3bKM8

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

All Romance

About the Author

Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Heartwarming Stories. Strong Relationships. Forever Love.

AUTHOR LINKS

email: cardenoc@gmail.com

Website: www.cardenoc.com

Blog: (Shared Blog) http://caferisque.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @CardenoC

FB Profile: http://www.facebook.com/CardenoC

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CardenoC/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+CardenocAuthor/posts

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cardenoC/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcd9agMh5c_HQEPP9_CEhSA

 

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REVIEW: Johnnie by Cardeno C.

Jonnie_cover1800x2700

Blurb

A Premier lion shifter, Hugh Landry dedicates his life to leading the Berk pride with strength and confidence. Hundreds of people depend on Hugh for safety, success, and happiness. And at over a century old, with more power than can be contained in one body, Hugh relies on a Siphon lion shifter to carry his excess force.

When the Siphon endangers himself and therefore the pride, Hugh must pay attention to the man who has been his silent shadow for a decade. What he learns surprises him, but what he feels astounds him even more.

Two lions, each born to serve, rely on one another to survive. After years by each other’s side, they’ll finally realize the depth of their potential, the joy in their passion, and a connection their kind has never known.

What did I think?

If you are looking for a different shifter story, C. Cardeno wrote one for you. This is a lion shifter story about a black alpha lion and his Siphon. The alpha premier is named Hugh, who is well above average human size and weight… doesn’t that sound so sexy to you? It does to me!

“The Siphon” is a new concept so it took a while for me to get into it, but who cares because this “Siphon” is nothing less than adorable and lovable. He was more than a living, breathing receptor of the Premiere’s overflowing power, but not in the eyes of the pack including their alpha. He was seen but not noticed so the story starts dramatically, which instantly drew me into it. It is rare that a writer bases a story of a character with issues such as the Siphon. The way Cardeno wrote about the Siphon’s feelings and his actions was harrowing and compelling. You need to read these parts to understand what I mean so I shall say nothing more to make sure you get the most out of the story because Siphon and his behavior play a crucial part in the story.

His despair broke my heart, but it also pushed his Premier to notice him for the first time… wow! This part was also written beautifully and with total empathy. I can visualize Hugh the Premier struggling to understand why Siphon was the way he was but I respected Hugh for trying to understand what was hurting the younger man.

Reading how they start re-establishing their relationship was nothing less than endearing because they were both learning something new about each other and about themselves. I found this part in the story also very engaging and captivating.

Hugh is the ultimate alpha male who cares, protects and is totally into his pack. I liked how Cardeno wrote parts from Hugh’s perspective because I had a glimpse into how his mind worked and his own personal struggles. For me, he was like any other alpha male in a great story, so what made this story different and captivating was the Siphon. I felt tearful when I read the part where Siphon was given his first proper name and he was named Johnnie.  Johnnie makes this story memorable for me. He is probably one of the most unforgettable fictional heroes for me so I just loved him.

The story has a great plot because it is very different and flows all the way through. I adored reading how the tender love grew between Hugh and Johnnie. I thought the sensuality between these two was sizzling, smoking hot. I mean, how wouldn’t anyone not like the thought of a very sensuous but innocent virgin male with an alpha male who has a high sex drive and massive pleasure giving spikes on his man-bits. I think part of the dialogue in the story was a little repetitive and not as unique as the plot was but it did not diminish the pleasure of reading this story which started with sadness and despair and ended beautifully.

4 stars

Reviewed by Lily

About the Author

Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

Visit the website

Buy Links

Click here for buy links

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Audiobook: Blue Mountain by Cardeno C

Blue Mountain Audio Banner copy
Blue Mountain: Pack Collection, Book 1

by Cardeno C

Narrated by Sean Crisden

Length: 3 hours and 38 mins

AUDIBLE | GOODREADS

 

WLK synopsis

Exiled by his pack as a teen, Omega wolf Simon Moorehead learns to bury his gentle nature in the interest of survival. When a hulking, rough-faced Alpha catches Simon on pack territory, he tries to escape what he’s sure will be imminent death. But instead of killing him, the Alpha takes Simon home.

A man of action, Mitch Grant uproots his life to support his brother in leading the Blue Mountain pack. Mitch lives on the periphery, quietly protecting everyone, but always alone. A mate is a dream come true for Mitch, and he won’t let little things like Simon’s rejections, attacks, and insults get in their way. With patience, seduction, and genuine care, Mitch will ride out the storm while Simon slays his own ghosts and Mitch’s loneliness.

©2014 Cardeno C. (P)2014 Cardeno C.

 

WLK Author BioCardeno C - LogoCardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

Website | Facebook! | Twitter

Cafe Risqué ~ Shared Blog

Pintrest | Google+ | Youtube

 

WLK Giveaway

Enter to win an Audio Copy (from Audible) of Blue Mountain!

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What did I think?

I had the pleasure of being introduced to the first story in the Pack collection via audio book. Blue Mountain is the first book in the series and is a short and sweet introduction to the Blue Mountain pack.

The story: this a sweet shifter story. It’s not particularly action-packed, more a slow exploration of characters and emotions. It introduces the Blue Mountain pack and it’s Alpha, Frederick and his family, including his brother Mitch who is also an Alpha. But the story mainly focuses on Mitch and his finding his mate, Simon. I enjoyed the contrast in characters – huge, strong, and protective Alpha, Mitch, and Simon, an Omega who is strong in his own way. The characters displayed characteristics that contrasted with their set roles in the pack and it was interesting seeing Simon learn to trust and the relationship develop. There were moments of humour which I also enjoyed.

The audiobook: the audio version is just over 3 hours long, so perfect for a quick ‘read’ (sometimes I find the ten to twelve hour novels are too long). The narrator, Sean Crisdon, did a wonderful job of performing. His narration was spot on in terms of capturing the voices of the various characters and bringing the characters to life. He had to manage the deep and strong tones of the Alphas, the sweeter voice of the Omega, and the voices of women and children. I found this was done well and found his deep voice particularly appealing. My favourite scene was the argument between Mitch and Frederick where Mitch stood up for Simon and told Frederick to back off – well done.

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McFarlands Farm by Cardeno C in AUDIOBOOK

McFarlands Farm Audio - banner

McFarland's Farm

McFarland’s Farm: Hope, Book 1

Written by: Cardeno C.

Narrated by: Paul Morey

Length: 2 hrs and 34 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date:11-11-14

Publisher: The Romance Authors, LLC

AUDIBLE | GOODREADS

 

WLK synopsis

Wealthy, attractive Lucas Reika treats life like a party, moving from bar to bar and man to man. Thumbing his nose at his restaurateur father’s demand that he earn his keep, Lucas instead seduces a valued employee in the kitchen of their flagship restaurant, earning himself an ultimatum: lose access to his father’s money or stay in the middle of nowhere with a man he has secretly lusted over from afar.

Quiet, hard-working Jared McFarland loves his farm on the outskirts of Hope, Arizona, but he aches to have someone to come home to at the end of the day. Jared agrees to take in his longtime crush as a favor. But when Lucas invades his heart in addition to his space, Jared has to decide how much of himself he’s willing to risk and figure out if he can offer Lucas enough to keep him after his father’s punishment is over.

WLK excerpt

 

 

 

So what did I think?

I really enjoyed this audio book. It was the perfect length to really enjoy via audio. I do find some books become way to long when narrated but perhaps this is just a personal thing.

I enjoyed the character development that occurred, particularly given the story’s length. I didn’t like the spoiled and bratty Lucas at the beginning but by the end, was cheering the change in him (and forgiving that it happened quite quickly :).  I have a soft-spot for good guys like Jared so definitely wanted him to have a happy ending and for Lucas to be worthy of him and this was achieved.

The narration was excellent. The characters were well-voiced and the pacing was good. Paul Morey was very easy to listen to. This is the perfect length story, just over 2 and a half hours, to listen to in one bite, so I recommend it for when you need to go on  a short trip. Enjoy!

WLK Author BioCardeno C - LogoCardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”

Website | Facebook! | Twitter

Cafe Risqué ~ Shared Blog

Pintrest | Google+ | Youtube

 

WLK Giveaway

Enter to win an Audio Copy (from Audible) of McFarland’s Farm!

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presented by:

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McFarland’s Farm by Cardeno C

Here’s a little sneak peak at McFarland’s Farm, the first book in the new Hope series, by Cardeno C.

The book releases on 10th September but is available for preorder now.

McFarland's Farm

Here’s the book trailer

And here are some little teasers!

McFarland's Farm Teaser - 2 McFarland's Farm teaser - 3 McFarland's Farm Teaser

 

Buy Links

Amazon Logo

About the Author

Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Heartwarming Stories. Strong Relationships. Forever Love.

Website: www.cardenoc.com

Blog: (Shared Blog) http://caferisque.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @CardenoC

FB Profile: http://www.facebook.com/CardenoC

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Carde…

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcd9…

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ca…more

 

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★★★★ Pre-release review: In Your Eyes by Cardeno C ★★★★

In Your Eyes

The blurb…

Raised to become Alpha of the Yafenack pack, Samuel Goodwin dedicates his life to studying shifter laws, strengthening his body, and learning from his father. Taking control comes easily to Samuel, but relating to people, including those he’s supposed to lead, is a constant challenge.

When Samuel meets Korban Keller, the son of a neighboring pack’s Alpha, he reacts with emotion instead of intellect for the first time in his life. Resenting the other shifter for putting him off-balance, Samuel first tries to intimidate Korban and then tries to avoid him. What he can’t do is forget Korban’s warm eyes, easy smile, and happy personality.

When a battle between their fathers results in tragedy, Samuel and Korban are thrown together. With his world crashing down around him, Samuel must save his pack and show them he can lead. But first, Korban needs to save Samuel by inspiring him to feel. Two very different men with a tumultuous history must overcome challenges from all sides and see past the rules they’ve been taught to realize they are destined to fit together.(

So what did I think?

Are you excited?

‘Cause I’m excited.

New Cardeno C., people! I love the Mates series and would possibly consider sacrificing a finger just to read more of them. So it’s a forgone conclusion I would enjoy this book.

One of the many things that make this particular Cardeno book enjoyable is main character Samuel Goodwin. Samuel is the son of his pack’s alpha and takes his role of presumptive alpha extremely seriously. He’s in love with facts and knows exactly how an alpha should act at all times. But empathetic he is not. Yes, he understands how he should behave, that part of being a good alpha is sympathy and compassion – unfortunately anything involving an emotion is lost on him. He doesn’t understand other people’s feelings and doesn’t recognize his own. Samuel doesn’t even know how to hug people; where does he put his hands? How long does a hug have to last? 2 seconds? 3? Some readers may find him a bit robotic, but to me his lack of emotional intelligence makes him vulnerable and even more loveable for it. He’s like a shifter Mr. Darcy. A shifter Mr. Darcy who hates Korban Keller.

The first thing I hated about him was his smile. Nobody smiles that much genuinely. It’s fake.

Samuel and Korban first meet when they’re eight and eleven respectively. Like Samuel, Korban is the presumptive alpha of his pack but in every other way he’s Samuel’s opposite. He’s friendly, smiles and laughs easily and is completely uninterested in the rules and regulations of shifter lore. But he’s extremely interested in Samuel. Samuel, aka Mr. No Emotions, finds such interest highly suspicious. Samuel may have trouble keeping his eyes off Korban, but he mistakes this for distrust. Korban confuses him and rather than deal with it, he assumes his discomfort stems from hatred, which is much more understandable than anything else he may imagine.

And therein lies the problem; it never occurs to Samuel that he may be feeling a more pleasant emotion. Samuel knows only facts and it’s a fact that males only mate with females. It’s simple shifter lore: men are more in touch with their shifter side and so must “tie” (sexy times) with a female shifter, who are more connected to their human side. It’s how shifters retain both their humanity and their shifterity (that’s right, I just made that up). He’s never seen any proof that two males may tie together and therefore the possibility doesn’t exist for him. Which makes it even sweeter when, after a series of dramatic events, Samuel finally realizes that what he’s feeling is love. That Korban is in fact his mate.

The feelings were already there—locked away, hidden, but there….[Korban’s] kiss led them out from the darkness where they were buried and showed them the light of day….For the first time in my life, I was where I was meant to be, who I was meant to be. I was whole.

If that doesn’t make you go aww… as you melt into a puddle of syrup I don’t know what will.

What I like most about this whole series is the way Cardeno deals with the ever popular shifter mates theme. As I stated above according to the shifter lore found in this series there is only one correct combination that makes up a mating; males and females. But Cardeno shows that not only can two men love each other, two men, even two species within the series, can complete each other. Wake Me Up Inside features a shifter and a human, Until Forever Comes features a shifter and a vampire and in this book we have two alpha shifters. Cardeno uses the Mates series to show that there’s more than one way to be “correct.” As Zev from the first books says (he makes a brief appearance):

Tying isn’t about males and females. It’s about connecting with someone who can better you, someone who can give you what you’re lacking, someone who can fulfill you and make you whole….We tie with our mates on all levels—physical and emotional—so we can become the best versions of ourselves. That’s what makes us complete, and then we’re stable enough to bind both our forms—wolf and human.

We may not live in the Mates world, but this is still a lesson the world needs to learn and a lesson we should take to heart in our own lives.

The only problem I have with this book is that I want more Samuel and Korban together. They have a few interactions early in the book, but they only start really communicating about halfway through. It’s even further on that we finally get to the smex. Once they do it’s wonderful but I need MORE time with my boys. Especially Korban. He’s a great character, absolutely loveable, but I never get to know him as well as Samuel.

Other than that tiny complaint, this book was the fluffy, romantic & sexy good time you can expect from a Cardeno C. book. Now I can’t wait for the next one. This time I may be willing to give up 2 fingers for it.

4 stars

Reviewed by Rosa

The Book Trailer

About the Author and the series

  • Wake Me Up Inside (book #1)
  • Until Forever Comes (book #2)
  • In Your Eyes (book #3) – in this review

To find out more about Cardeno C visit the website.

Buy Links

Available for pre-order now. To be released on 14th July 2014.

Dreamspinner Press

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☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ More Than Everything by Cardeno C.

The Family Series:

  • Something in the Way He Needs (book #1)
  • Strong Enough (book #2)
  • More Than Everything (book #3) – in this review

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

More Than Everything (Family, #3)More Than Everything by Cardeno C.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

As a teenager, Charlie “Chase” Rhodes meets Scott Boone and falls head over heels in love with the popular, athletic boy next door. Charlie thinks he’s living the dream when Scott says he feels the same way. But his dreams are dashed when Scott moves unexpectedly and doesn’t return.

Years later, Chase meets brash and confident Adan Navarro, who claims all he wants is a round between the sheets. When they’re still together after eight months, Chase is convinced Adan returns his love. But then the time comes to be open about their relationship, and Adan walks away instead.

Time heals all wounds, but when Charlie runs into Scott and Adan and realizes the only two men he’s ever loved are now in love with each other, his heart breaks all over again. Scott and Adan tell Charlie they want him back, but Charlie doesn’t know if he can trust two people who have hurt him so deeply. And even if he can, why would Scott and Adan want Charlie when they already have everything with each other?

So what did I think?

“Do you get how amazing that is? I mean, what are the odds? So it’s unusual and a little complicated.”

More Than Everything was such a refreshing take on the menage theme, both due to the structure of the book but also because of the interesting situation our main characters found themselves in.

It was a unique way of weaving the story with the chapter introductions and the telling had quite a personal feel with the author talking directly to the reader “So, WHAT do you think of Adan so far? Yeah, at that point in our relationship, I wasn’t so sure either….”

What I liked about the book was the contrast between the characters. I like that Charlie/Chase could fall in love with two very different man – Scott who is so sweet and then the gruffer Adan. There was a lovely contrast between first love and the love that comes with experience. Oh, and more Charlie, getting his heart broken twice!

It was also interesting to see the alternating POVs and gain insight into Scott and Adan motivations, how they viewed Charlie/Chase and how they ultimately felt about each other. There was a definite sense that Charlie was the missing piece to make them complete.

Lots of humour, even in the happy ending…….
“You’re both tops?” Charlie said.
We both nodded hesitantly.
“Luckiest. Guy. Ever.”

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Cardeno C. visit the website.

Buy More Than Everything from Amazon.

Buy More Than Everything from Dreamspinner Press.

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Short stories from the DSP 2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play (PART 1)

The Daily Dose from Dreamspinner Press is a collection of themed short stories  released every day in June. The 2013 theme is sport.

Nothing fires the blood like a little friendly competition. Anything from a meeting of the minds to full-body contact, these men are making a play. There are no losers in the game of love.

The stories in this review include:

  • Bane of Boston by J.P. Barnaby
  • Snookered by S. Blaize
  • Matching Vectors by Lee Comyn
  • Bully for You by Catt Ford
  • Luck of the Dice by Pinkie Rae Parker
  • A Shot At Forgiveness by Cardeno C

Bane of Boston (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Bane of Boston by J.P. Barnaby

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

The day Jonathan “Jack” Young caught that foul ball was the worst day of his life. Instead of seeing his beloved Red Sox hold the lead, he watched in horror as his mistake cost them the first real shot they’d had at the World Series for nearly one hundred years. Jack left Boston in disgrace and moved to Chicago to start over. Instead, he finds Ryan Levine, who shatters the illusion that he could ever escape being the “Bane of Boston.” With decisions about careers and relationships in the balance, one misstep could mean ruin for them both.

So what did I think?

This was a nice quick read, not particularly realistic to me, but that’s ok, I am looking for a little escapism when reading these anyway!

The two main characters meet and have a “one-afternoon-stand” (sort of like a one-night-stand). There is attraction between the characters with Jack/Jonathon being particularly interested in Ryan given he had been alone for so long and was longing for some human touch.

Jonathan had caught a ball at a baseball match 3 years previously which resulted in his team losing the chance at the World Series and this had haunted him ever since. I do not know a thing about baseball but found the idea of fans holding a 3 year grudge plus his brother rejecting him, plus the extent of the reaction (leading to losing jobs, having to move, changing names etc) a little hard to accept. Obviously I don’t understand sports fanatics! Nevertheless I had heaps of sympathy for Jonathan/Jack.

Ryan has an ulterior motive for getting to know Jonathan. It seemed rather unrealistic that after one afternoon, he would have such feelings for Jack that he would sacrifice his big chance for career success. Particularly as the relationship hadn’t even started and was going nowhere after Jack walked out. I took it on face value that Ryan must have been a man with strong emotions and also strong morals and values.

A nice story with a happy-for-now ending and a bright future ahead for both Jack and Ryan!

3 Stars

To find out more about JP Barnaby and her books, visit her website.

Snookered (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Snookered by S. Blaise

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

When Paul Burnwix invites British tourist Neil Davis to play a game of pool, Paul doesn’t suspect there’s more to Neil’s bad playing until Neil turns the tables. Intrigued by Neil’s wit and unexpected skill, Paul issues a new challenge, and Neil suggests the stakes: his hotel room key—and all that it implies—or Paul’s public humiliation. What Neil doesn’t realize is that Paul is a pool shark at heart, and if Neil doesn’t spot the trap in their ultimate game, he’ll find himself snookered.

So what did I think?

This short story only reached the ‘ok’ mark for me. It wasn’t that it was a bad story, in fact the plot had a lot going for it.

I liked that the two men, Neil and Paul, both had their secrets and managed to surprise each other and there was some fun banter. However I never really warmed to either character but maybe this was somewhat due to the length of the story.

I found the story a bit hard to buy when Neil, supposed three times world Champion Snooker Champion had trouble playing pool. I would have expected someone with this level of skill would be able to play pool really well regardless of the table size and felt quality. I’d like to think that someone like Eddie Charlton would have managed a pool table!

I did like that the two men – one American and one English – used “ass” and “arse” in their conversation – great attention to detail!

I think a little less talk about the actual game play with it’s innuedos, and more time of the men actually together, would have made the book more interesting for me.

2 Stars

For more information about S. Blaise and her books, visit the blog.

Matching Vectors (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Matching Vectors by Lee Comyn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Fin and his racing team came to the asteroid belt to maintain their reputation as the best of the best. Fin’s race starts out easy: his biggest rival is flying like an idiot, and Fin is confidently moving toward the win. The only interesting bit is a newbie named Sean who plays with his life by cutting too close to every asteroid—and against all logic, he’s pulling it off. Then Fin takes a chance, making a decision that will change his racing and flirting forever. Can Fin come to terms with his choice and match his vector to Sean’s, or will pride rule out racing toward a future together?

So what did I think?

A pleasant surprise! This would not usually be the type of book or story I would select to read. I guess this is one of the advantages of purchasing a collection such as the Daily Dose – an opportunity to try something new.

At first I thought I would not really enjoy this sci-fi story but it soon engaged me. I liked the characters and there was just enough detail provided to bring the scene to life and give a sense of realism. The last race was very descriptive and luckily the author pulled back just before it could have become boring.

The ending was slightly predictable and I would have enjoyed to see more time with the main characters together but still enjoyable read.

3 Stars

Bully for You (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Bully for You by Catt Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

What could be hunkier than a cowboy? Not much, according to Martin Du Bois. He convinces two friends that a visit to the rodeo is every gay man’s wet dream, and so the three of them gaily (and I do mean gaily) set off to watch cowboy asses in action.

A visit to a bar after the event gets Martin closer to the action than he ever thought possible, and he meets Jesse Cumberland, the man who caught his eye in the ring and made his rhinestones sparkle. Instant attraction leads to a one-night stand that gets under Martin’s insouciant skin and causes him to rethink his determination not to get involved emotionally. When Jesse invites Martin to his ranch, the visit is almost derailed by Martin’s realization that they lead very different lives. As a flaming city queer, he sees no way to fit with the solid, athletic Jesse. It’s up to Jesse to see if he can change Martin’s mind.

So what did I think?

A feel-good story where opposites attract.

Jesse rides bulls for a living, Martin is in finance. Jesse is a country boy with a ranch, Martin is a city boy. Jesse is athletic, Martin is flamboyant…..

The story starts with Marti dragging his friends to the rodeo and then to a bar afterwards. “You are not – not- planning to try to seduce a straight, redneck, hillbilly cowboy, are you? Because if you’d told me this was going to be a suicide mission I wouldn’t have signed up for it.”

There are lots of cute one-liners as the boys head to the rodeo “Really, sweetie. Look but don’t touch is the safest policy at sporting events.” It’s very amusing as the boys are distracted by looking at the bull riders and clowns and have no idea what is going on. “They have to get off sometime, I imagine. And there was some sort of alarm so maybe he was supposed to. Look, he’s up!”

But as fate would have it, things are looking up for Martin and he meets Jesse. They instantly hit it off. It is a lovely story as Martin comes to terms with the fact that it is possible to fall in love in one night. Used to walking away before he gets hurt, he finally accepts that opposites can attract. And for Jesse, he loves Martin, “It’s like waking up to sunshine every damn day.”

4 Stars

Luck of the Dice (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Luck of the Dice by Pinkie Rae Parker

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Blurb...

Gavin Gage has never been much for sports, but he does love fantasy-based role-playing games. Though his social life is quite active, Gavin feels like he’s botched his roll in the love department. Then he receives a mysterious invitation to an exclusive gaming tournament at a comic book convention, and Gavin meets a mysterious suitor. Between one roll and the next, Gavin realizes that when it comes to love, everything is just a game of chance.

So what did I think?

Not for me I’m afraid so only rating it ok. It’s not badly written, I just don’t get into the whole world of role play gamers. I almost didn’t continue after the first 10% which was part of the fantasy game with medieval characters traipsing through the forest.

The story relates a few sections of the fantasy game being played but most focues on geeky Gavin who is heading off to a gaming convention.

What was really missing for me was the romance. The story ends with someone letting Gavin know that they are interested in him but I am not sure that those feelings were returned by Gavin and there was really not much time spent with the characters at all.

2 Stars

A Shot at Forgiveness (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)A Shot at Forgiveness by Cardeno C.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

A dozen years, two thousand miles, and a law degree after high school, Rafi Steiner continues to harbor resentment toward Isaac Jones, his childhood bully turned NBA star. When Isaac appears at Rafi’s favorite restaurant acting like a long-lost friend, Rafi bluntly dismisses him.

But Isaac is tenacious and has his heart set on the grown-up version of the boy he always wanted and never forgot. The way Isaac sees it, he and Rafi are perfect for each other, if only he could sink the most important shot of his life: his one shot at forgiveness.

So what did I think?

I really enjoyed this story. Sure, I had to park my concerns that Isaac was a total stalker and wasn’t exactly sure what Rafi saw in him, but that was relatively easy to do.

I prefer to think that Isaac, instead of being creepy, was just madly in love which accounted for his stalkerish behaviour. I chose to believe that he was truly repentant for his school boy bullying and accepted the fact that his actions were driven by his fears about his own feelings.

The physical side of the guys relationship was obviously strong and passionate (and the scenes well-written) but the story ends with emotional declarations. I would have liked to understand more about Rafi’s attraction to Isaac, apart from the obvious physical one.

Well written with lots of humour, I particularly enjoyed the telling in first person from Rafi’s POV – his thoughts were hilarious!

4 Stars

Buy a book from the series from Amazon. (Select the 2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play link)

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