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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Menagerie


Menagerie by Lara Santiago
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy
Length: Full
Other: M/F, Multiple Partners
Rating: 5 Cherries
Review by Viscaria

What’s a girl to do with five hot guys who need her for their sexual survival? Create a weekly schedule.

Accidentally transported to an alien spaceship, Valerie Thornhill inadvertently volunteers to be a virtual sex slave for five men.

A shortage of females and her blatant curiosity aboard the alien vessel conspire and set fate in motion. The fact that the five are sexy and attractive is helpful when she learns the term of service is three years.

Forbidden to show favoritism within her unusual household for the duration of the long trip, Valerie still can’t help falling in love with the most intriguing of her male harem. The fact that she is apprehensive about his demeanor and overall size only heightens her desire for him.

When the aliens discover Valerie’s indiscretion, the ultimate price for her desire may jeopardize the return trip to Earth for all of them.


Oh My Goodness! I LOVED this book! I’ve come to expect quite a bit from Siren Publishing and their authors since we started reviewing their books… and I have to say that Lara Santiago doesn’t disappoint. I was sucked in from the beginning and was loathe to put this book down… even to feed myself!

When we first meet Valerie she is lamenting the fact that her life is lacking… in her eyes anyway, and apparently in her mother’s as well. We’ve all been in Valerie’s shoes as she tries to lose those few extra pounds she thinks are holding her back, and her wry grumbling as she trudges up the hill in her gray sweatsuit endeared her further to me. When she witnesses a shooting and then finds herself in the middle of a strange, alien environment, her humor regarding her situation was how I’d think many of us would react… either that or screaming hysterics. Personally, I prefer to think I’d handle it with the aplomb and humor that Valerie displayed. All in all, she was a fun character who handled a difficult situation rather well.

Now, there are five men that each captures a piece of Valerie’s heart: Hauser is the front man and the first of the five she meets: confident and charismatic he made me smile with a simple wink and a kind word. Johnny is the rather flamboyant one in the group: creative and artistic his silly side had me laughing on more than one occasion. Frasier is the most serious of the group: quiet, analytical and downright sweet he has a special place in Valerie’s accountant heart, and was just so endearing to me. Mark is the easiest one to be around: laidback he usually goes with the flow and I could just see him being my best friend if I'd let him. Dominick is the most intense of the group: dark, dangerous and powerful he made me hot and uneasy all at the same time.

Each man is handsome and sexy in his own way, but only one calls to Valerie’s heart more than the others, and only one really had me going as well. I can’t tell you which one, if you haven’t already guessed, as it was a surprise to me and that surprise is half the fun of this story.

I loved the cast of characters, especially the secondary characters! Meeting so many new people, including a group of aliens with rather unoriginal names, which was quite a bit of their charm let me tell you, was quite a bit of fun. I have to say that I adored Daisy and am hoping to see her full story soon… or next… please! I would love to see more of this incredible world and the people who inhabit it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end, and was intrigued by how Lara Santiago brought aobut the happy ending that made me smile, and will no doubt do the same for you. Menagerie is a gripping, unique offering of the Sci-fi/Fantasy variety that will leave you hoping for more from this amazing voice in erotic romance.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

When Adam Met Jack


When Adam Met Jack by G.A. Hauser
Publisher: Linden Bay Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Other: M/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Viscaria

Attorney Jack Larsen may not have everything he wants, but between his successful career and best friend Mark Richfield, he's content. But when Mark comes out of the closet only to declare his love for ex-LAPD officer Steve Miller, Jack is devastated. Months later and still wounded, he's not looking to be swept off his feet, but it's hard to say no to handsome Hollywood hotshot Adam Lewis.

Adam Lewis has made a name for himself representing some of today's brightest stars. But when his business partner is accused of unethical behavior, he finds himself in need of legal advice. When Adam walks into the law office of Jack Larsen, it's strictly business until he sets eyes on the powerful and sexy hero that's about to rescue his reputation.

"When Adam Met Jack" is an amazing new novel by Amazon best selling gay fiction author G.A. Hauser featuring characters from "Love you Loveday", "For Love and Money" and "Capital Games". It's got the glamour of the entertainment industry, the drama of the courtroom, and the amazing passion that you've come to expect from every G.A. Hauser book.

I have recently become a huge fan of G.A. Hauser. So, when this book came up for review I was ecstatic and snatched it up. I’ve come to expect certain things from this author; the most important thing I expect is an emotional and touching love story. Let me just say… "When Adam Met Jack" does not disappoint.

I first met Jack in Capital Games and just adored him. His playful attitude toward Mark in Capital Games just had me falling in love with him and bummed out that Mark wasn’t falling for him as well. I could understand the thought that Jack was a friend that he didn’t see himself getting sexual with. When we are reintroduced to Jack in this book, he is still dealing with the seeming betrayal of his best friend. For so many years he loved Mark and thought that if Mark ever did swing his way he would be the first man Mark would come to. When that didn’t happen and Mark in fact fell for someone else, Jack felt as if his whole world had fallen down around him and the betrayal of his best friend almost broke him. I loved Jack even more as he tried to work through his anger and jealousy. We get a much darker, crankier version of Jack in this novel, which just makes him so much more realistic.

He meets Adam and his first impression is that Adam is a slimeball simply by the people he keeps company with, or works. The opposite is true, in fact, Adam is a caring if driven young man who is desperately trying to make things right, and protect himself in the process. Something about the man draws Jack, maybe his charming good looks and his innate goodness, but Jack is drawn and decides to take Adam’s case against a true slimeball… Adam’s business partner. Adam is a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. At the same time he won’t compromise his beliefs and thoughts simply because they’re not considered the norm. Just adored Adam too.

This tale takes us along for the journey as two men fall in love in less than ideal circumstances. The emotions that each man is working his way through whether for each other or for their lives and how they haven’t been going the way they thought they would. The love scenes between these two men were incredibly intimate and at times I felt I was an intruder in very intimate moments that were only for the two of them. When Adam slowly moves beyond Jack’s guard and isn’t taken in by Mark’s good looks. Only having eyes for Jack he completely endears himself to me as well as Jack. And as Jack slowly lets Adam into his life, I loved to see him struggle with his lingering feelings for Mark. When all is figured out, and Jack is able to truly BE with Adam, it was a beautiful thing, and a reason why this author is snatching up as many G.A. Hauser books as she can (whether to review or buy outright) just to get immersed in the world of love she is able to create.

This really was a very sweet, hot book that was well worth the reading. I have no other choice than to recommend this book to those who are fans of beautiful loves stories between two men. I LOVED it, and I sure hope that you as the reader would as well.

Superstar


Superstar by Roxanne Springer
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press Torrid
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Review by Sunflower

A world of athletic showmanship and ruthless ambition…

Nikki is barely acquainted with the flamboyant allure of professional wrestling, but when she meets superstar Eric Conrad she gets a quick education in the realities of a sport that is part theatrics and part grim competition.

Though he never expected to fall in love, Eric goes down hard for a divorced nurse with a wary heart and a vindictive ex. After he persuades her to go on tour with him, things escalate as an old rivalry turns into a media event and he has to literally fight for the woman of his dreams…

Superstar, is really an astounding romance story, which tells about the love story between Eric Conrad, a champion wrestler, and Nikki Curtis a newly divorced and beautiful nurse whose marriage has been destroyed by a cheating husband.

Most of all, this story offers a surprising overview of the misjudged universe of American wrestling.

Congratulations go to Roxanne Springer and her incredible talent for showing and sharing her understanding of the extraordinary wrestling universe. I really had the feeling of being part of this wrestling team and found myself supporting Eric and his friends as well.

Like many European people, I had a really narrow minded and particularly superficial view of this world. Wrestlers appeared to me as gifted comedians acting like brutes or Neanderthal-like men most of the time. This was perfectly demonstrated by Kevin Locke, an aggressive wrestler whose only joy seemed to be antagonizing Eric Conrad and threatening Nikki. Yet these serious wrestlers are athletes who master all sorts of complex and frightening wrestling moves.

In reading Superstar, I was showed such an amazing world, I almost wished I lived in the US so I could get a job in one of the existing wrestling leagues. I have strange ideas sometimes....

As for the romantic aspect of this story, I felt a bit disappointed because it seemed Eric and Nikki got along together a little too quickly. Unless this is the way it sometimes happens in real life? Maybe? No matter, I'd be the first to admit I was thrilled about their first encounter because I too would fall for Eric's charm -- so full of his gentlemanly and protective manners. I know, I can be really full of contradictions ...

When you are a romantic at heart, Eric and Nikki's love story proves to be totally satisfying which helped me accept the trouble I had with Nikki's portrayal as being helpless and a victim. Mostly because after what she went through with her previous husband (a man who first cheated on her and expected her to be at his disposal) and her profession as a nurse, I would have thought she would have been more courageous. Then again, I think maybe this was what attracted Eric and gave him the opportunity to show his honesty, loyalty, generosity and passion. Eric revealed himself to be the perfect 'knight in a toga' *grin* when it came to his lover, family and friends.

This story also makes me wonder about many things regarding Nikki. What would have happened if she had played Kevin's game and had not acted so helplessly? The more she resisted, the reaction from Kevin was ... oh wait, that's another story ....you'll have to read this book to see what I mean.

Discovering this world made me realize that wrestlers are people like everyone else, with great hearts, even if most of the time they were doing their best to appear dangerous. In Superstar, I found when most of them were off-camera, they acted like big teddybears ;-)). Maybe this is the reason why I lately couldn't help to look for broadcasts of wrestling shows. Could you just imagine the pleasure in watching all these muscular athletes ? *grin*

Another thing that has me wondering after reading this story is whether or not Ms. Spinger is intending to write a book about Kevin Locke. His dark personality suggests he might have his own tale to tell. I wonder if ...

Ok, ok, I'll stop fantasizing on wrestlers and would recommend, if like me you're fond of wonderful men built like warriors and cannot resist a nice love story, reading this wonderful book without delay.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Curse of Albrecht Manor


The Curse of Albrecht Manor by Christopher C. Newman
Publisher: Dark Roast Press
Genre: Contemporary, Horror, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full
Other: M/F, BDSM, Multiple Partners
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Xeranth

The women of the Albrecht family are cursed! For nearly three hundred years the hex uttered by a witch being burnt at the stake has stalked them down the centuries. Priests, herbal women, and even Inquisitors have been brought in to stop it from driving the Albrecht daughters to sexual-induced madness on their twentieth birthday. Nothing has worked; not even an uprooting from their native Germany to America has stopped it. Soon it just became an unfortunate fact of life if you are a female Albrecht.

It is present-day and Baron Markus Albrecht nervously awaits his daughter Elsa’s twentieth birthday. For a year he has searched for someone willing and able to halt the hex from driving his daughter as insanely mad as his sister, Franziska. Four days before her birthday he finds Noah Ravenswood, a practicing wizard and learned occultist. Noah, armed with hereditary mystical training by his mother, and Doctor Sarah Bookings his associate, he travels to southern Ohio to do battle with the Albrecht Curse.

But who or what is Noah really fighting? Is it truly a hex or perhaps a power-play by one of the Albrecht sons? Could it be the angry and distrustful Maximilan Albrecht, the eldest son and inheritor of the vast Albrecht Estates? Could it be the playboy Hans Albrecht, trying to dethrone his older brother and wrest control for himself? Can Noah and Sarah unravel the mystery before they become embroiled in the family politics, carnal activities, and deadly games at Albrecht Manor?

The Curse of Albrecht Manor is a very similar to my favorite wizard, Harry Dresden. The major difference is Noah is not a martyr to deny himself the love of a woman. From the sounds of it, he started off the same way but I feel lucky that Mr. Newman decided to condense all the internal conflict so I could get to the story.

The presentation is what Wile E. Coyote would label ‘Romanticus Interuptus’. I was treated to the forward momentum of the relationship when, just like in real life -- work, duty and responsibilities thrust themselves into the poignant moment.

What this story did was take me on a journey between Noah and Desiree’s romance; hence my reference to the Dresden files. If suspense, mystery, a dash of horror and a very human character facing paranormal threats is your thing, you are in for a treat.

The book starts off by giving me a very clear picture of why Noah’s job is so difficult and why he has many concerns about admitting love. I’d be too in his line of work. I got to meet Sarah, his partner who, for a time, I wasn’t clear on her relationship with Noah. Mr. Newman addressed that very well.

The mystery is the breaking of an ancient hex. And what a nasty hex it is. I have to give credit to the author for what I consider to be very unique and ingenious villains. Yep, there is more than one. The surprises abound in this story and at no time could I have guessed just how diabolical things would get.

I have to tell you -- due to the erotic nature of this story, certain scenes may make a stunning impact on your senses and you might find your jaw dropping to the floor as mine did—more than once.

Another aspect of this story I appreciated was Noah’s worry about Desiree throughout the mystery. This story was written in a way which I found to be real. I mean, it made sense in that I could see myself doing the same things. Yet, Noah is so focused and dedicated he remains true to his profession even with the very real threat it could pose to Desiree. Again, echoes of my other favorite wizard.

Much to my shock, Noah has to face his worst nightmare. I didn’t expect Mr. Newman to address that and again, he wove a surprising twist which I found very satisfying. Despite all of it, the Happily Ever After ended up being a twist in and of itself and I really enjoyed how it played out. There wasn’t a lot of flowery talk; it was pure emotion and raw feelings exposed for me to see. It confirmed for me the existence of a very solid HEA.

All in all, The Curse of Albrecht Manor took me on a roller coaster ride into a dark tunnel and came out into the light of love. I think I just found a new wizard to watch in Noah Ravenswood. What does the ingenious Mr. Newman have next in store for Mr. Ravenswood? I liked this book enough to want to know.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Burnin' For You


Burnin' For You by Jamie Lynn Miller
Publisher: Dark Roast Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 Cherries
Review by Daisy

Lucas Taylor is a hard-working New York City fireman at Station 127, dedicated to his job, even though it has brought him heartrending tragedy - the loss of his lover, Ryan, in an explosion a year ago.

Evan Singer is the new guy in town, a paramedic transferred into Station 127 from San Antonio, and he sets his eyes on Lucas from the get-go.

Neither knowing who the other is, their first meeting is explosive, a night of passion and desire that awakens something inside Lucas he never thought he'd feel again.

But when Lucas discovers that Evan is a paramedic, it all comes crashing down. For despite the feelings he has for Evan, Lucas has vowed to never again get involved with someone on the job, after losing Ryan to it.

Can Evan convince Lucas to open up his heart and take a chance on love again, despite who Evan is?

I love firefighter stories, so I had high hopes for Burnin’ For You. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint. Ms. Miller writes both the technical stuff the characters have to do as part of their jobs and the heartwrenching emotions they feel as the relationship between Lucas and Evan develops equally well. If the balance between those two story elements was weighted on one side or the other, the story as a whole would have been greatly diminished.

At the beginning of the story, Lucas is dealing with the anniversary of his lover’s death. In his emotionally ragged state, he meets Evan and decides to spend the night with him, thinking that it might ease his loneliness. At least for a little while. They form a bond – a little nugget of something more than just the physical. But Lucas’ fears are a huge obstacle to a relationship. This plot line has been used a lot in traditional romance in the past, but Miller freshens it up by exploring it with a homosexual pair.

Lucas and Evan’s co-workers are all really understanding – they give the couple both emotional and physical space – I think it might have been more realistic, though, had at least one person had not been comfortable with the idea of the two of them together. Gay couples have to deal with that all the time. I feel that there may have been a missed opportunity for more conflict there. Especially since, at times, it seems as though some of the existing conflict could have been resolved with a simple heart-to-heart conversation.

Miller hits a home run with the tension and action at the end, though. It’s difficult to describe without spoilers, but the emotional and technical balance as well as the quick pace keeps you flipping the pages until the resolution.

I would recommend Burnin’ for You to fans of firefighter romance, GLBT fiction, and erotic romantic suspense.