Dark Horse by Kate Sherwood

Dan Wheeler thought he’d found lasting love and stability with his life and work partner, Justin Archer. But when Dan finds himself alone again, still working as a horse trainer for Justin’s parents, he has to find a way to accept that his perfect life is gone forever.
Then he meets billionaire Evan Kaminski, who arrives to buy a horse for his younger sister, and Evan’s lover Jeff Stevens, a horse trainer who seems to understand more than just Dan’s job. Struggling to deal with all the upheavals in his life, Dan finds himself drawn to both Evan’s mercurial passion and Jeff’s quiet wisdom. Is Dan strong enough to take a chance on new love, or would it be better—safer—for him to be alone?
Synopsis via Dreamspinner Press.

3somes, horse riding and grief created an ecletic and intriguing mix that kept me reading till the wee small hours.

There’s loads of horse stuff for pony buffs (not in a gross way!), the author is incredibly knowledgeable and the world building is vivid and realistic. It all made me feel totally nostalgic for my own horse riding days. She nailed that early morning routine in a working stable and I enjoyed the depth of knowledge and feeling she has for it.

The book is written in 3rd person present tense, so this does take a little getting used to. It almost felt like watching a movie and at times Dan’s moving on from the death of his lover is incredibly sad, but this perspective allows for great reader intimacy.

The boys are also pretty progressive and work hard at having a meaningful polyamorous relationship. There is loads of introspective soul searching and navel gazing; as one does when you’re leaping into bed with two other chaps and heading for something long term!

This is not to say I didn’t have a few problems. Getting used to the narrative style was different, but it worked. The minutiae of Dan’s life does get a little heavy at times too and I think that some of this could have been a little leaner. I wanted them all to get in the sack quicker too. Impatient pants!

However, there’s loads of sexual tension, some nice teary moments and a really well fleshed out story that will keep you with your nose firmly in the book. I was pretty excited to see that there is a 2nd book coming out and that I’ll get to see how it all turns out. This was defnitely a story that needed another book to round it out.

Great reading. Check it out here.

Shorts.

Some quick reviews, cause I’m too lazy and hot (yes the sun is actually out) to write anything longer!

Can’t Hurry Love by M. Jules Aedin was damn fun. Vincent is in trouble at the Easter Bunny Department and gets shunted off to work with a grumpy cupid as punishment. Cuteness ensues. Despite being quite short this was super entertaining and I enjoyed the authors style, quick pace and the romance was just gorgeous. I liked it much; really it gets loads of stars cause one of the main characters has bunny ears and a tail. How cute is that? Check it out at ARe.

Bee Among the Clover by Marguerite Labbe and Fae Sutherland was an interesting read. Set in England when the Romans were still hanging out in London, this was a historical romance between a captured slave and an indentured thrall. The book was rather long with much smex amongst the animal skins and the odd menage with the head honcho. This last element did not get in the way of the romance between our two star crossed lovers, but made the book more feel a little more well rounded and kinda grubby! The 1st half of the book had great pace, but I did find my feet dragging in the 2nd half. There were a great deal of misunderstandings, which is a trope that I can usually cope with in very small doses. Unfortunately, this element made the story too drawn out and I did find my attention wandering at times. It was a little disapointing after such a good 1st half. For all that it was a reasonably good read and one to check out.

Coming Home by Ava Rose Johnson is a cowboy romance and well worth a look. Cade has had the hots for Brett for ages, but it is not until he has to come home to sort the family ranch that their attraction develops into more. The world building was tight and ranchy with good pacing and I liked the boys. This was not just a straight up m/m romance, there is some ménage-à-trois action with a girl no less!  It worked though, which was good because I’ve read another book with the same kind of feel and the chick just felt like a 3rd wheel. I found this to be a pretty entertaining read and think it is definitely one to have a nosey at.

Special Delivery by Heidi Cullinan was a cool book. Sam, a young nursing student hooks up with a trucker Mitch and they road trip and find themselves. It was great. While at times I did find the narrative a little patchy and some of Sam’s internal dialog a little repetitive (I’m sooooooo slutty), this was a fantastically grubby read to just check your suspension of disbelief at the door and totally get into. What I found so entertaining was the authors give it a go voice and while there are definitely parts that had me a little WTF?? It was genuinely entertaining. Liked it. Check it out at ARe.

Shades of Grey by Brooke McKinley

Miller Sutton, a by-the-book FBI agent, is starting to see some troubling shades of gray in his black-and-white world. He comes face-to-face with his doubts in the person of Danny Butler, a mid-level drug runner Miller hopes to use to catch a much larger fish: Roberto Hinestroza, a drug lord Miller has pursued for years.

Danny has no interest in being a witness against his boss, both out of a sense of twisted loyalty and because he knows double-crossing Hinestroza is a sure death sentence. But he reluctantly agrees to cooperate, and as he suspects, it doesn’t take long for Hinestroza to figure out the betrayal…. read more via Goodreads.

To be honest, going into Shades of Gray I was not sure how one could make a criminal a sympathetic character and I wasn’t convinced I’d enjoy reading it. But I kept seeing it on ARe and I obviously have no will power when it comes to purchasing books! Twist my arm much?

Danny is the type of flawed character I could really get into. He is ballsy, strong and just deals with what life dishes out. He’s not whiney and does not lay about on his fainting couch doing the whole oh, woe thing. Yay you, Danny! He was cool. Miller however was paddling his canoe up de-nial and had that whole stoic, buttoned up thing going on. Kinda like that type of character too, as he was so in need of someone to ruffle his feathers a little.

The world building was really tight and seamless, it felt realistic and gritty without being over the top. I do have a bit of a penchant for cop and crime drama and I think the author really nailed the scene. The sex was tasteful, but not overly grubby. It fit the tone of the story though and the tension was totally hot.

Without giving too much away, the end did get a little emotional, but not nauseatingly so. I liked how it was wrapped up too and this has to be one of the better HEA I’ve read in a while. Nicely done.

Shades of Grey is definitely deserving of all those stars I keep seeing on goodreads. It was an entertaining, angst filled read with distinctive characters. Please write faster Brooke McKinley.

Check it out at ARe and Fictionwise.

Promises by Marie Sexton.

Jared Thomas has lived his whole life in the small mountain town of Coda, Colorado. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. Unfortunately, the only other gay man in town is twice his age and used to be his teacher, so Jared is resigned to spending his life alone.

Until Matt Richards walks into his life, that is. Matt has just been hired by the Coda Police Department, and he and Jared immediately become friends. Matt claims he is straight, but for Jared, having a sexy friend like Matt is way too tempting. Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s co-workers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together—if he can even convince Matt to try.

Promises is a charming story about coming out, taking risks and falling in love. Loaded with much angst and bike riding, it was a very cool read.

Jared is out in his small town, but aware well aware that he is not always accepted as a part of his community. Initially it does not color his actions, but in the latter parts of the book it does provide a bone of contention between Matt and Jared as they try and make what they have together work. Matt has never been with another man in a long term sexual relationship, so a lot of the story is about him coming to terms with himself and his feelings for Jared. (I do have a penchant for this trope I think. I liked. A lot!!) I thought the authors treatment of the growing attraction between the two men was beautifully done and the slow building of smexual tension just made me sigh.

The rest of the book was reasonably well put together. At times the world building was a little light and a couple of the plot devices felt a little jarring, but I’m not sure how else you’d tie it all together to be honest. I also enjoyed it so much I kinda ignored that stuff.

Promises was a total winner and I can’t wait to see what this author does next. Check it out at Dreamspinner Press.

Shorts.

Despite the busy time of year I’ve found a few moments of reading time. I’ve had a few surprisingly good novels and some rather angsty, which I’ve liked! Normally if there is whining or sobbing the book finds its way into my did not finish pile. I might be getting a bit soft!

Change of Heart by Mary Calmes was a great shifter romance. There was a bit of the old “gay for you* trope going on, but it was well done and nicely wrapped up with the *we’re soul mates* kinda thing. I liked that it was angsty and that there were a few misunderstandings and heart to hearts that made for a nice, sexy wee read. I have a thing for cat shifter romances too, so a bit of were pussy romance was all good! Check it out via ARe.

The Strongest Shape by Tessa Cárdenas is one of the best ménage books I’ve read in ages. No one felt like that odd one out and the boys truly worked together to make their relationship work – with much angst of course!! The secondary characters were well written and while the world building was reasonably strong, it was the interactions between the 3 that held my attention. Honesty, there is nothing better than well written ménage, where all characters feel like they’ve a part to play, as opposed to one being the odd cock out. It was plenty hot too! Wicked, cool read and the cover is gorgeous. Best viewed in a large format. Merow. Pick it up here at ARe.

Cutting Cords by Mickie B. Ashling was an ok read, in the authors last book I found the overwhelming emotional moments a little too heavy. While this was in a similar vein, it felt more balanced. Sloan and Cole are certainly characters you have to grow to like and at times I did find them hard work. But, there is something about the author’s style that keeps me coming back for another go. Check it out here at ARe.

Dark Heart by Thom Lane was an absolutely magic fantasy read. Excellent world building with a sexy, servile slave boy and hot, badass mage. I loved this book and cannot believe I’ve not picked it up before now. The cover alone is enough to send me back for a second look. hehe. I loved the world the author created, even though I periodically wanted the slaves to rise up, the whole in service thing did rather appeal to my kink. I thought the ending was well done too and not wrapped up in a bow. Has me with fingers crossed that there might be more! A very good read that is well worth picking up. You can purchase here at ARe or Fictionwise is particularly cheap at the moment.

An Improper Holiday by K.A. Mitchell was a charming historical romance read. I do think an accurate historical depicting a gay relationship is a particularly difficult thing to do and there is only a certain amount of scope. But, I think the book was well executed and a very sweet read. This author consistently delivers the goods and this gem is no exception. Totally sexy reading and the story has one particularly intriguing secondary character that totally deserves a HEA too. Get the book here from ARe.

If you’re new to ebooks, check this post out for instructions and apps 🙂 Basically, if you’ve got an ipod touch or an iphone I suggest you go large and have a go. It is totally addictive!

When Work is a Pleasure by Alix Bekins

Introverted young reporter Garrett Kowalski is unprepared for the reality of his weekend assignment at the Folsom Street Fair, where he’s assigned to interview porn stars, including Justin. Garrett has no choice but to come out of his shell when Justin and his co-worker tease him up onto the stage for a live demonstration. That might have been that—just a one-off job—but Garrett takes advantage of follow-up fact checking for his article to get to know Justin better… and it leads to an unexpected friendship and flirtation that just might grow into something more.
Synopsis from Dreamspinner Press.

The moment I read the words porn stars I could not resist picking this ebook up. Not only was I interested in how the author would handle a romance between a star and an every day average jones, but I spend an unseemly amount of time stalking following my favorite stars on twitter. This book seemed like all sorts of porn star slash goodness!!; if there is such a thing and after seeing Sam and Dean slash, I do believe anything is possible. O-o

So, the story rockets along, and I’ve been meaning to wash the windows and clean the outside of the house, but I cannot be assed as all I really want to do is read this book. It was really engaging and both characters felt well drawn and I liked the frank approach to Justin’s job. Garrett is less hung up about everything than I expected, which was a welcome suprise as the author could have been pretty predictable in that respect. Not that it’s all a bed of roses and rainbow sparkly unicorns, but there was no sobbing in hankies and other twaddle that could have been a downer.

The sex, as one would expect, is rather delicious and I liked the less than traditional approach the author took to some of the scenes. There were no set moves that one comes to expect in this kind of book. Instead there’s some smokin exhibitionism, delightful frottage and these boys blow each other in what is often a virtuoso head giving performances. Omnomnom!

If I have any whining to do it is about how abruptly the book ended. Leave me hanging much??? The story ended so quick I did feel a little bereft and the story itself did not feel done. I have my fingers and toes crossed that the author is going to write a little more about these two boys.

This was a super quick read of slashy goodness with much smex. Check it out here at Dreamspinner Press or ARe.

If you’ve time on your hands, then check out these twitter accounts. Be aware however, that any of the following links are distinctly not safe for work. (although, srsly reading my blog at work any time?????? WTH?) Reciprocity is expected and if you’ve any twitter accounts worth having a nosey at, then do share!!

Samuel Colt of course, he’s smart, funny and pats tigers in his spare time. Tony Buff – sigh. Rob Romoni, the undisputed King Of Twitter… just sayin! Scott Tanner is just incredibly beautiful. Element, who posts interesting twitpics/twitmovies O-O and is a total grub. I adore his tweets. Chris Yosef has seriously good hair and a great blog. Tony Aziz also pats tigers… and finally gpcrush, cause she’s cool beans. 🙂

Dash and Dingo by Catt Ford and Sean Kennedy

In 1934 Henry Percival-Smythe spends most of his time tucked away at Ealing College studying the almost extinct thylacine. A shy and rarely seen creature that has been hunted to the brink of extinction, the thylacine fires Henry’s imagination and he becomes obsessed with cataloging what is left of this strange and unusual animal. When he is given the chance to go into the wilds of Australia and actually see the tiger he is apprehensive and excited. But, in order to do this he has to travel with charismatic Jack “Dingo” Chambers. While on the journey Henry discovers there is more to himself than dusty, old academia and that he not only has a passion for conservation, but also his wayward and wild Australian guide.

DashandDingoLG

Henry was such a great character. He was rather uptight, sheltered and kinda geeky, and considering the time period I felt he was well drawn. His reticent nature was a great foil for Dingo’s brash temperament and this clash made for great tension. Each finding their way, learning about each other and how to deal with their feelings and as a result much late night reading for me. 🙂

The story itself was interesting and part of that was the era it is set in. I sometimes wish there were a few more books written about the 20’s and 30’s in the genre. There is huge potential for that whole forbidden love trope! That the majority of the book is also set in the Antipodes was a huge plus. I think I’ve made mutterings before, about how most published work I read is set in the northern hemisphere. This book felt very familiar and the use of language, setting and over all feel was very entertaining as a reader from this part of the world.

I did feel that Dingo’s family treated his sexuality with incredible acceptance considering the it was set in the 30’s and this required a leap of faith on the readers part. However, as it is fiction and it did not stick out unduly it was not a huge problem. The only other thing I felt could have been tighter were a few of the latter chapters, I got a little impatient with all the ferreting around in the bush. I am an impatient bint though, so that might have just been me and thinking that those boys needed a shower after all that sweaty… hiking.

After reading books from both Catt Ford and Sean Kennedy this year, I felt that both their strengths were very apparent within the book. It was erotic (ZOMG – dream sequence at Dingo’s parents house O-O. Naughty!) and was reasonably faithful to the era it was set in, the world building was vivid, with maybe just the odd bit of mysticism and angst to round it out.

A delightful read with much heart and something quite unique. Move over Indiana!

Check it out here at Dreamspinner Press and ARe.

SubSurdity: Vignettes from Jasper Lane by Eric Arvin

subIn suburbia, the residents of Jasper Lane  seem to live rather idillic lives with immaculate gardens, barbecues, chats over the fence and jogging. But, beneath the shiny neighborly halos lurk much more delicious goings on and some less than sterling behavior.

The initial chapters unfold around the image of a young man jogging down the street, with each residents experience of this leading the reader through the intricate, entwined lives of the people who live on Jasper Lane. The author has a smart, astute and engaging style. Even the obnoxious Melinda Gold and her dreadful mother had a certain charm! The sly wit and humor definitely had me sniggering and banned from reading it in bed. hehe.

The romance between Rick and James, while not the novels sole focus, was sweet. I loved Ricks kindness. He was so appealing and had me quietly cheering him on as he learned to take a few risks in life with James, who is not out to his friends and family. Even though Rick could have given it all away at times, he doesn’t and I kinda liked his courage. He’s had such an incredibly raw deal that his ability to let himself be open to that kind of pain was beautiful and subtly written.

The cast of secondary characters are myriad, but the other one who stood out was Melinda strangely enough. She’s so uptight and a total prig. The book leaves you just dying to know what will happen if she finally looses it. I feel so wrong about the glee in that statement, but it was so true. hehe.

From pool parties to porn parties, hot bodies to dead bodies and weird old ladies sneaking looks through the neighbors window; this is a wonderfully vivid, romantic and entertaining read, with much heart and a rather perceptive eye.

Get it here from Dreamspinner Press.
Check out Eric’s blog and the new book in the series Suburbilicious.

A Strong Hand by Catt Ford.

Nicholas Sayers, needing money for college, takes a job as assistant to infamous photographer Damian Wolfe. It’s just taking pictures, right? Wrong. While Nick has never questioned what kind of man he is or what he truly wants in life, working for Damian during a BDSM photo shoot opens his eyes to all sorts of sexual possibilities, and many of them include the handsome Mr. Wolfe.
From Dreamspinner Press.

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Loads of angst interspersed with much smex and a young man exploring his burgeoning submissive side, made for a rather entertaining read. Defnitely on the lighter side the of the D/s scale, although one of the scenes in the last third was a little rougher. Nothing you’ll need someone to hold your hand through though!

There was great tension between Nick and Damian, and I especially enjoyed Nick. He was super cute and kinda artsy/emo! I found his character rather appealing and easy to read. He has a bit of that sweet, slightly innocent feel, but with that nice gutsy stuff to balance it out. Spunky, but not annoyingly so.

At times the narrative became a little repetitive with several scenes in quick succession that bore close resemblance to one another. It was mainly the sex scenes and I’m not one to say no to that! But as I was reasonably engrossed in the book, it was not too much of a problem, although it would have read a little more tightly if there’d been less. There were also a couple of other odd revelations about Damian and his past that seemed a little out of place, but I chose to ignore it and carry on.

While there were a few things I had issues with, I did like the story. This is the 2nd book by Catt Ford that I’ve read and I really am enjoying her writing. Sweet, sexy stuff that is worth a look. Check out her books here at Dreamspinner Press.

AND, look at that cover. Is nice. 😀

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