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★★★★½ Sweetwater by Lisa Henry ★★★★½

 

22611970

Sweetwater

by

Lisa Henry

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

 The blurb

 

Wyoming Territory, 1870.

Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.

Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.

When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.

Our thoughts

 

Elijah is a lonely and isolated young man in Sweetwater, Wyoming, 1870. Scarlet Fever left him an orphan and partially deaf. People in town believe being deaf means being slow and so they treat him as such. Elijah would rather talk to people as little as possible than to be made fun of for his speech. He also feels like he’s a poor substitute for the family his adopted father lost before taking him in. This all leaves Elijah feeling like he doesn’t belong, like he’ll always be apart.

What Elijah desperately wants is for someone to see him. So when Harlan Crane sees what desires Elijah really has, Elijah is drawn to him again and again. Elijah craves the pain that inexplicably gives him pleasure that Harlan provides even if it leaves him full of self loathing.

But there’s another man who also sees Elijah. Grady is a cattle rustler who has dreams of owning his own ranch. He is instantly attracted to Elijah but takes it slow with him for fear of scaring him away. Grady wants to show Elijah that Grady can give him everything he needs. I loved that Grady was gentle and loving but still understood that Elijah craved pain and dominance. He was able to give Elijah what he craved and give him a satisfaction and pleasure that Elijah never found with Harlan.

I truly loved this book. This book is about Elijah’s journey to accept himself and his desires. There is so much emotion in this book. It’s sad and hopeful and just so damn good. Highly recommended.

**A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

 

Otila x

 

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Double Up by Vanessa North

Double Up

Double Up

by Vanessa North

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Release: 25th August 2014

The blurb

Knowing he’s loved can make any man fly.

Fifteen years ago, Ben Warren was a wakeboarding champion: king of big air, ballsy tricks, and boned grabs. Until a career-ending injury left him broken in ways he still has no hope of fixing. Now he takes his thrills where he can get them, and tries not to let life hurt too much.

Then Davis Fox arrives in Ben’s sporting goods store with a plan to get in touch with his estranged brother by competing in the annual wakeboarding double-up contest. The catch? He’s never ridden before. It’s crazy, but Ben’s a sucker for the guy’s sob story—and for his dimples, too—so he agrees to coach Davis.

Davis is everything Ben isn’t: successful, confident, and in love with life. And he wants Ben to love life—and him—too. But before Ben can embrace a future with Davis, he needs to remember how to hope.

Our thoughts

Double Up is is a sweet, fast paced novella that is told in first person, present tense from Ben’s POV. The present tense narrative was my biggest problem with this story. When done well, present tense can really bring you into the action and eventually you forget about it and just immerse yourself in the story. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case here. The writing felt clipped and it was constantly taking me out of the story, which sucked because it is a good story.

Ben is a retired wake-boarding champion whose career was cut short fifteen years ago when he injured his back during a competition. Now he runs a wakeboard shop and sometimes gives lessons. Ben is 40 years old, has pretty low self esteem, has some issues in his life he has to deal with and doesn’t do relationships.

When Davis walks into the shop, Ben is immediately attracted to the younger man but feels that Davis is out of his league.  Davis is a successful architect who’s looking for wake boarding lessons in order to connect with his younger brother. Ben agrees to the lessons which lead to flirting, dating and really hot sex. This is one place that the present tense worked. It really immersed you in the *ahem* action.

I really liked Ben. I liked his vulnerability and his willingness to open up to Davis and trust him. Davis, on the other hand, came off as a jerk. The reason for the fight screamed of emotional manipulation to me. Ben won’t do what Davis wants so he walks away. It wasn’t a simple thing for Ben, there were certain risks and circumstances that affected Ben’s decision but Davis wasn’t even willing to discuss them.

The ending might have been a little too quickly and perfectly wrapped up, especially since Davis seemed to come around out of nowhere. Still, the story was sweet and the sex hot, so I did enjoy it. If you can get past the present tense narrative, it’s a good way to spend a couple hours.

3 Stars

Otila

 

To find out more about Vanessa North and her books, visit her website.

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Pre-release Review: Second Helpings by Charlie Cochrane

Old kitchen table rural cottage morning

Second Helpings

by Charlie Cochrane

The Blurb…

Stuart Collins’s life might as well have ended a year ago when his partner died in a car crash. Even Stuart’s widowed father has found new love with an old friend, Isabel Franklin, so why can’t Stuart be bothered to try?

Then he gets a phone call from Isabel’s son, Paul, who wants to check out whether or not Mr. Collins is good enough for his mother. During dinner together, though, they end up checking out each other. Trouble is, Paul’s got a boyfriend—or maybe he doesn’t, since the boyfriend’s supposedly giving Paul the push by ignoring him. Or maybe Paul just wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Honesty with each other is the only way to move forward. But maybe honesty with themselves is what they really need.

So what did I think?

It was a true pleasure to read this, though that wasn’t my impression reading the first few lines in the book. It starts out trying a little too hard with too much flowery language that feels inauthentic. This soon changes though and what follows is wonderful.

You really feel like you know Stuart and Paul. There is a nice slow build up that really lets you get to know the characters, who they are and what their motivations are. when you do get to the sex scenes, it’s so much more than just sex at that point. It’s meaningful, sweet and real.

My only complaint and why I gave it 4.5 stars, not 5, was because the story could have used a little more intimacy between the two characters and a bit more detail in the scenes that are there. There is a depth and honesty to this story that sucks you in, making you want more. I know that I definitely want more. More of Stuart and Paul and more of this author.

I recommend this book to anyone wanting something on the sweet side.

4.5 stars!

Jessica

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To find out more about Charlie Cochrane visit the website.

Buy Links

This book is available for pre-order and will be released on 21st July 2014.

Riptide

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★★★★ Let It Ride by L.C. Chase ★★★★

Upcoming release – Book two in the Pickup Men series – to be released 26th May!

  • Pickup Men (book #1) – click here for review
  • Let It Ride (book #2) – in this review

Let It Ride

Let It Ride

by

L.C. Chase

The blurb…

Pickup man Bridge Sullivan is the kind of cowboy everyone wants—as a brother, a friend, a lover. People think he’s straight, but Bridge isn’t one for labels, and when a sexy male paramedic jumpstarts his heart, he charges in with all guns blazing.

New York City transplant Eric Palmer grew up in foster care. While he always had a roof over his head, he never felt love or a sense of belonging . . . until he joined the California rodeo circuit as a paramedic and found a band of brothers who took him in as one of their own. Now, one in particular is making Eric’s pulse race.

When things heat up between Bridge and Eric, Bridge has to prove to Eric he’s not just experimenting with the rougher sex, while Eric must overcome his fears of being unwanted and cast aside. He knows that trusting Bridge may be the key to his happy ever after, but getting in the saddle is much, much easier than learning to let it ride.

So what did I think?

I really liked book one of the Pickup Men series (which is a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Gay Romance) so knew I would enjoy this one and wasn’t disappointed. As with the first book, there is lots of emotion set against a back drop of the rodeo. The characters from book one are here to some degree – Marty, Tripp, Kent – but I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to read book one (although it would be a shame to miss it!)

I thought this would be more Bridge’s story as he deals with his attraction to Eric and finally wakes up to the fact that he may be bi or gay, something his one-time experiment with a guy in college didn’t clue him up on. But he accepts his attraction to Eric easily, having the courage to approach the man and push for a relationship. Surprisingly there’s not a lot of issue with anyone else’s reaction to his new path in life either, somewhere I thought the story would go.

The emotion surrounds Eric, with his low sense of self worth based on his childhood – abandonment by his own parents and subsequent foster homes – and experience with relationships. No one has truly loved him and stuck by him.

“A cold sliver of panic tickled across his chest. Disposable people didn’t get to keep lives like this.”

Eric believes there’s something wrong with him and that Bridge will eventually see this. He looks for excuses and struggles to accept the truth of Bridge’s feelings.

This is a story of sexual exploration (there’s no hesitation from either man when it comes to the joys of sex!) with lots of soul searching thrown in. This cowboy isn’t afraid of emotional conversations and going after his man. Of course, there’s the big dramatic moment of the men coming together for their happy ending – I’m such a sucker for these types of resolutions! 🙂

This is a single sitting read – sweet and sexy with nice characters. 4 stars because it was a very enjoyable way to spend my evening.

Happy reading,

Nic x

 To find out more about L.C. Chase and her books visit her website

Buy Let It Ride from Riptide Publishing

A copy of this book was received from the publisher via Netgalley in return for my honest review.

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It’s Complicated by L.A. Witt

It's Complicated (Tucker Springs, #7)It’s Complicated by L.A. Witt

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb..

After their umpteenth breakup, Brad Sweeney and Jeff Hayden are living apart and starting over from scratch. The morning after a promising first date, they’re more optimistic than ever that they can make it work this time . . . until Jeff’s ex-wife and business partner calls to announce she’s pregnant with Jeff’s baby. Brad’s already competing with a demanding business for Jeff’s time. Now there’s a baby on the way, and worse, he’s afraid Jeff is still carrying a torch for the woman who’s carrying his child.

Jeff is desperately trying to keep his life together, but before he can even get his head around the news that he’s going to be a father, his ex announces that she wants to leave Tucker Springs. Now he either has to take over her role at the shop while ferrying the baby back and forth from Denver, or move the business—and himself—with her.

Brad and Jeff knew reconciliation wouldn’t be easy, but they’re rapidly running out of room for compromise. And sooner or later, something has to give.

So what did I think?

It wasn’t lying when this book was titled It’s Complicated! This is the story of trying to repair a relationship while dealing with a whole mess of issues.

I haven’t read many m/m romances which are focused on an established couple sorting through relationship issues – their ups and downs, arguments, hot make-up sex, stress and worry – so it was nice to read something a bit different for a change.

I’ve always enjoyed this series so was looking forward to getting a glimpse of some characters from the past books – although to be truthful, I wasn’t really taken with them and struggled a little bit to see the relevance to the story. The group played a role in enabling Brad to do something that Jeff wasn’t happy with, causing yet another argument, but what I really wanted was for some more interaction and support.

Brad and Jeff have been together for years but their relationship has been tested by their continual arguments. When the story starts, they are living apart but making an effort to get back together by slowly dating again and trying to sort out the reasons for their issues. But just as they start down this path, new obstacles are thrown in their way. The ramifications of one night Jeff spent with his ex-wife come back to haunt him – the resulting pregnancy has him facing some big decisions about his business, the baby, where he’s going to live and the role Brad will play in this life.

Overall it was an enjoyable story with lots of emotional discussions between the two men, interspersed with some sizzling sex and I appreciated the way Christine was portrayed. She had the potential to be one of those characters you just wanted to hate but she wasn’t.

A copy of this book was received from the publisher via Netgalley in return for my honest review.

To find out more about L.A. Witt and her books visit her website.

Buy It’s Complicated from Amazon.

Check out some reviews for other books in the series…

After the Fall

Never A Hero

Covet Thy Neighbor

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Rear Entrance Video series by Heidi Belleau

The Rear Entrance Video series:

  • Apple Polisher (book #1)
  • Wallflower (book #2)
  • Straight Shooter (book #3)

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Apple Polisher (Rear Entrance Video)Apple Polisher by Heidi Belleau

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

This straight-A student has a dirty little secret.

Christian Blake dreams of being a kindergarten teacher, but making the grade means maintaining a squeaky clean image: no drinking, no drugs, no swearing, no sex. And definitely no falling for his new roommate—tattooed bad-boy Max, who may or may not be a drug dealer.

Most of all, it means no working at a porn store. But Christian’s aunt has cancer, and her beloved Rear Entrance Video will go bankrupt if Christian doesn’t take over managerial duties. Soon enough, Christian finds himself juggling sticky twenty-five cent peepshow booths, a blackmailing employee, and a demanding professor who likes to make an example of him.

And then there’s Max, who doesn’t know anything about the store, but hates Christian’s preppy sweater vests and the closet Christian forces him into when they’re together. Max just wants Christian to be himself—even though Max is keeping secrets of his own. Christian struggles to find the impossible balance between his real life and the ideal one he thinks a teacher needs to live . . . all while trying to keep his aunt’s dream alive without losing his own.

So what did I think?

This was a definite case of the story growing on me. It took a little while to get into but once I was settled into Christian’s story, it was thoroughly enjoyable.

So uptight and eager to make life decisions that showed he was a good person, Christian lived in fear and ended up slow to make the decisions to stand up and support his sick aunt. And he nearly let Max escape, which wouldn’t have been a good thing! They were definitely hot together! (oh my, that scene on the shop floor!)

I think this book had one of the best coming out scenes I’ve read in a while, capturing Christian perfectly.

Here goes nothing.
“And as to what I’m ‘into’…I’m into you.”
Wow, hey. That had been pretty smooth. Could have even made it all the way to romantic, if he’d left it at that and just kissed the damn guy, but of course he didn’t.
“I mean, I’m into lots of guys. Well, not lots of guys, but a few. A normal amount.. Well, a normal amount for a…a guy like me. Well, a guy like me who doesn’t do the club thing. A guy like – I’m gay. Not just when I’m drunk. All the time. Gay. But I do-“
Max kissed him.

There’s a strong support cast in the story – Christian’s Aunt Beverly and her friend, the shop girls (bitches!), Christian and Max’s flatmates and some assorted random customers. Christian had his secrets, Max had secrets and there’s a perfect set up for the subsequent books which I am looking forward to reading.

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Wallflower (Rear Entrance Video)Wallflower by Heidi Belleau

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

This gamer geek has a lacy little secret.

Art student and MMORPG addict Robert Ng has always been a loner, but he’s recently made it his goal to make more (IRL) friends. Which is how he winds up working nights at Rear Entrance Video, shilling sketchy porn and blowup dolls as a favor to his roommate. The longer he works there, though, the more he realizes he’ll never be truly happy until he becomes the person he is online: his female persona, Bobby.

Bobby is cuter and funnier than Rob is, and a thousand times more popular with boys. Becoming Bobby IRL presents its own set of challenges, though . . . especially when you’re sitting on the fence between two genders, only one of which has caught the attention of your seriously cute customer/classmate.

Dylan Ford is a six-foot Inuit comic book artist who always says what’s on his mind, and screw anyone who doesn’t like it. As rough as he appears, though, Dylan has a soft spot for Rob. But will out-and-proud Dylan still want Rob if he’s not all man?

So what did I think?

I’m going to be honest (not that I’m not usually!)…..I wouldn’t have chosen to read this book based on the blurb alone. I’m not overly attracted to stories of geeky gamers and Rob’s ‘lacy little secret’ made me nervous. This book ended up on my Kindle purely because I had read book one in the series, Apple Polisher, and have an almost obsessive compulsion to complete reading any series I start. In this case, I am really thankful for this because I enjoyed the book.

Heidi Belleau provided a fascinating insight into a character with major internal conflict exacerbated by a low sense of self-worth.

“Whatever little fantasies Rob had about alternate realities, in this world, men were men and women were women, whether you were born that way or you had a sex-change or whatever, that part didn’t matter. What mattered was that you couldn’t be both.”

“And besides, Rob wasn’t a girl. Wasn’t born one, not physically and not even on the inside. He just liked….playing one. Dressing up as one.”

The strength of the story lay in how Rob dealt with this own feelings, how he grew as a person, from the shy and introverted young man with low esteem, to the much stronger man, able to acknowledge his true self. The support and understanding provided by his boyfriend Dylan was wonderful and I enjoyed this character’s own conflict with the situation. How does a gay man who is attracted to men start a relationship with a gay man who likes to dress as a woman?

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

Straight Shooter (Rear Entrance Video, #3)Straight Shooter by Heidi Belleau

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

This macho jock has a crooked little secret.

College hockey player Austin Puett is in trouble. Unless he starts treating his flamboyantly gay roommate with respect, he’ll lose his room and his job at Rear Entrance Video. But Austin’s got a not-so-straight secret of his own: nothing turns him on more than insults implying he’s gay—even though he’s definitely not!—and all his old coping methods have stopped working.

Pure desperation drives him to rent a Mischievous Pictures porn flick about straight men tricked into servicing Puck, a male dominant. Instead of letting off steam, though, it just leaves him craving more, more, more, and suddenly, Austin finds himself at Mischievous Pictures Studios for an audition. After all, you can be Gay For Pay and still be straight . . . right?

But meeting Liam Williams, the real person behind Puck, confuses Austin even more. Liam really seems to like him as a person, and Austin likes him back. And while Gay For Pay’s okay, what does it make Austin if he still wants Liam when the cameras aren’t rolling?

So what did I think?

Well, that was unexpected. Although maybe I should have expected it given the previous two books and their unique characters and situations.

First off, I loved the cover. Hockey – yes! I’m an Australian and know next to nothing abuot the game but there is something so hot and sexy about those men on the ice! Porn star – who doesn’t like a story about a porn star?

From the title and blurb, I was expected a nice story about Austin struggling with his attraction to a man. But this isn’t the story I got. This is a story about Austin’s bone deep desire to be dominated by Liam/Puck, his total submission. He is all about the kink and Austin’s kink is humiliation.

“This time, when Austin moaned, there was nothing miserable about it. Fag. He loved and hated that word. Hated being insulted, hated being thought of as less of a man. Hated his uncontrollable reaction, that sharp feeling of arousal he felt every time he heard it used against him.
Loved that for the first time in his life, he didn’t have to hide how much it affected him. The way it made him hot and hard and needy, even as he despised himself. Despised being like this.”

This was a very satisfying end to the series.

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

 

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To find out more about Heidi Belleau and her books visit her website.

Buy the books from Amazon.

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Pre-release review: If It Drives by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt

The Market Garden series:

  • Quid Pro Quo – book #1
  • Take It Off – book #2
  • If It Flies – book #3
  • If It Fornicates – book #4
  • Capture & Surrender– book #5
  • Payoff – book # 6 – click here for review
  • If It Drives – book #7 – available for pre-order –  due for release 31st March 2014

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If It Drives (Market Garden, #7)If It Drives

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

If it flies, drives, or fornicates, it’s cheaper to rent it.

After driving James Harcourt, his wealthy banker boss, around for a year and a half, Cal isn’t surprised by much anymore. Not even James’s regular trips to Market Garden, London’s most elite gay brothel.

But when James leaves the Garden alone one night and turns to Cal instead, Cal’s floored. After crushing on his boss for ages, it’s his wet dream come true . . . until the awkward morning after. Cal still has a job to do, but he wants to offer more. Yet James doesn’t take him up on it; he keeps Cal at arm’s length and continues his chauffeured jaunts to Market Garden.

As Cal learns what James needs from the rentboys, he tries to fill that need himself. But there’s more to James’s penchant for rentboys than Cal realizes, and it may be one role that Cal can’t fill without overstepping his duty.

So what did I think?

I was privileged to receive an advance copy of this book for review and wow! I think this is my favourite of the series and I highly recommend you pre-order right now so you can get your hands on the book when it’s released in March!

Callum has been driving his boss, James, to the Market Garden and watched as James has brought home a number of the Market Garden rentboys. Cal has been watching James, seeing him in the lead up to his Market Garden visits and watching his reaction afterwards. Cal is pretty in tune with James’ emotional state and wants to take care of him. Sure, he lusts after James but there is something deeper, something that becomes more evident after a smoking hot one-night stand.

I loved to watch James and Cal together and the dominant/submissive coupling of a wealthy business man and his driver employee was intriguing. There is a real emotional side to the story as both men need to deal with the nature of their relationship outside the bedroom.

Unlike some of the other stories in the series, this one is full length and I loved it from beginning to end. I loved the characters, I loved the little glimpse of Nick and Spencer and that scene over the billiard table – hot!!!

This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for my honest review.

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To find out more about L.A. Witt and her books visit her website.

To find out more about Aleksandr Voinov and his books visit his website.

Buy/Preorder If It Drives from Riptide Publishing

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★★★★ Pre-release review: Payoff by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov

The Market Garden series:

  • Quid Pro Quobook #1
  • Take It Offbook #2
  • If It Fliesbook #3
  • If It Fornicatesbook #4
  • Capture & Surrenderbook #5
  • Payoff book # 6 – in this review – available for pre-order – release date 3rd Feb 2014
  • If It Drivesbook #7 – available for pre-order –  due for release 31st March 2014

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Payoff (Market Garden, #6)Payoff by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Tristan and Jared have got it made. When they aren’t raking in the cash together at Market Garden, they’re burning up their own sheets and getting closer by the day. But something isn’t right. Tristan’s on edge, and Jared doesn’t understand why.

Before they can hash things out, their services are requested by none other than Rolex. And Rolex doesn’t just want to be a bystander this time. He wants Jared while Tristan watches, and he’s more than willing to pay for it.

But Tristan’s reached a breaking point, and even that huge wad of cash might not be enough to keep tonight’s arrangement from crashing and burning.

So what did I think?

This review will have spoilers if you haven’t read the series yet! But if you haven’t read the series yet, get to it!

Market Garden is a club in London with an exclusive clientele with very hot and sexy rent boys to service their every need. The series has focused on different couples – some short stories that are hot and sexy, some longer stories, some focused on new characters and some giving us more of the characters we love.

Tristan and Jared are the original rentboys. In the first book, Quid Pro Quo, Jared has a crush on Tristan. Rolex (their client) requests to see them together making Jared’s dreams come true – heaps of sexual tension and passion! In the second book, Take It Off, it’s Tristan who can’t stop thinking of Jared. It’s hot and sexy with Jared in control and ends with Tristan and Jared acknowledging their interest in each other outside of Market Garden.

Books 3 (If It Flies) and 4 (If It Fornicates) focus on Nick and Spencer’s story while book 5 (Capture & Surrender) is about Frank and Stefan.

Payoff, the sixth book in the series, takes us back to Tristan and Jared. With a similar feel to the first books, it’s hot and sexy and short but manages to pack in a lot in those pages. Rolex returns but this time his request is something that Tristan finds really difficult to handle. Rolex wants Tristan to watch while he plays with Jared.

Filled with tension – an interesting combination of emotional and sexual tension – things finally come to a climax for these boys as they come to terms with how to balance working together and being together.

Hot and satisfying!

This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for my honest review.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about L.A. Witt and her books visit her website.

To find out more about Aleksandr Voinov and his books visit his website.

Buy/Preorder Payoff from Riptide Publishing

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Inch by Inch by Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley

Another tantalising and way too short installment in the The Professor’s Rule series:

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Inch by Inch (The Professor's Rule, #3)Inch by Inch by Heidi Belleau & Amelia C. Gormley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

After two long, kink-free years apart, James Sheridan has reunited with his Professor: the sexy, dominant Evander Carson. But this time, things will be different. James is older, more sure of himself, and confident that he can draw the line between Carson’s demands and his own principles.

One of those lines is gorgeous menswear salesman Satish Malhotra. After their steamy dressing room encounter, James feels an unexpected connection to Satish, and he wants to explore it further. But Carson’s involvement—in James’s life, and in James and Satish’s budding relationship—complicates things.

Carson’s penchant for using other men in their sex games has always troubled James, and he’s adamant that Satish not be just another notch in their whipping post. But when Satish learns what prompted James to pursue him in the first place, will James’s new ability to draw the line even matter?

So what did I think?

I love this series and have been totally drawn into James and Carson’s story, eagerly anticipating each installment – and installment really is what each book is. They are short little snippets that only provide a glimpse into a small aspect of James and Carson and their relationship.

This is the third book in the series. The first book, Giving An Inch,  is one very hot and very sexy change room scene, with the story taking place well after James and Carson have broken up. The second book, An Inch At A Time,  is spread over a couple of months and is the story of how Carson and James met. This third book picks up immediately after the end of book one.

In this book, James begins to see Carson again but he also starts a relationship with Satish. It is fascinating to hear James describe to Satish what it is he gets out of his relationship with Carson and why he pulled away. It is interesting to see Satish’s response to James’ confessions. It is intriguing to get hints of Carson’s feelings for James. “How could you assume I meant to demean them, when I offered them my greatest treasure?”

The major downfall of this book was the length and the unresolved nature of the story. As with the previous books, it ends with so many questions! There’s a sense that the book is too short so a feeling of not being fully satisfied. But if you read all the stories together – loving it. It’s a bit like only being given access to one part of the banquet at a time, leaving me craving more!

A copy of this book was received from the publisher via Netgalley in return for my honest review.

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To find out more about Heidi Belleau and her books visit her website.

To find out more about Amelia C. Gormley and her books visit her website.

Buy An Inch at a Time directly from Riptide.

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Pre-release Review: Mindscape by Tal Valante

MindscapeMindscape by Tal Valante

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

The truth will set you free.

Mark Sayre joins the Interstellar Navy for the money—his only goal is to keep his little brother out of the colony mines that sent their father to an early grave. With concepts like duty and honor floating high over his head, he hardly expects to fall for the serious, idealistic Shane Cawley. Not to mention that Shane is his commanding officer . . . and his Resonance partner, a one-in-ten-thousand mental connection so profound that they can travel in each other’s mindscapes.

Shane Cawley is carrying on the family tradition by serving in the Interstellar Navy. He hardly expects to fall for the quirky, happy-go-lucky Mark Sayre. But as the Resonance between them grows, neither can deny what he feels for the other.

When war breaks out, Mark and Shane find their military training and their Resonance link tested to the edge of sanity. Shane is haunted by memories and flashbacks, and Mark becomes trapped in his own mindscape. But with help from an unlikely ally, they may be able to salvage their futures and the love they share.

So what did I think?

This story was quite different to the types of stories that I am used to reading. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi so was intrigued by the blurb for this book.

I quite liked the building of the world – little glimpses of the future of planet earth and the intergalactic struggles for resources. The concept of two minds meeting in resonance was also fascinating. Finding the one person in ten thousand who was your soul mate to the extent of sharing thoughts and emotions was fascinating. Therefore the idea of ‘losing’ this person as they became trapped in their own mind interesting and I could understand Shane’s heartbreak.

This is the story of Shane visiting his resonance partner, Mark, in hospital. Mark is almost comatose, unable to speak, communicate or even acknowledge Shane. Shane tries everything in his power, over a long period of time, to break down Mark’s mental barriers to free him from his own mind. He is assisted by Alex, a nurse who adds a slight complexity to the story.

Through flashbacks, we learn of how Mark and Shane met and the war that resulted in Mark’s current situation. I did have a concern with regards to the flashbacks. The book moves back and forth between present day and the past with little warning which was slightly distracting. There was usually a double line space between the switch but I think the ease of reading may have benefited from a more definite change (such as a symbol between the paragraphs). However I was reading an ARC so maybe the formatting will be slightly different on the final book.

This was quite a unique story. I found it not so much a romance, rather a bit of a mystery story waiting to see if Shane could ‘rescue’ Mark. I would have liked to see more of Mark and Shane’s initial romance and falling in love, a deeper look at the characters, although the depth of the love was evident in Shane never giving up on his lover.

I think I will investigate some more work by this author and perhaps venture some more into the m/m romance sci-fi genre.

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

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This book is due for publication on 23rd December 2013. To pre-order from Riptide click here.

To find out more about Tal Valante and her books visit her website.