27 May 2011

Smokin' hot Highlander alert!

I don't know what it is with Highlanders this week but I'm confronted with them a lot. On twitter, girlfriends reading about hawt highlanders and today I found a promo mailing from Anita Clenney in my mailbox. From the moment I read up on this series it held my intrigue and yeah, the covers speak to me as well. Hot bod, tribal tattoo, some sword power and tartan colors - me is on cover cloud nine :) BTW, this is the cover I'm talking about:

Embrace The Highland Warrior -- Coming Nov 2011 from Sourcebooks Casablanca.

When the powerful demon that left Shay for dead discovers her empty grave, he comes seeking retribution, believing she possesses an ancient book he has sought for centuries. Knowing she can’t fight the demon alone, Shay returns to her clan and the Scottish Warrior who betrayed her…the only man she’s ever loved, where she discovers that betrayal isn’t always what it seems. Sometimes it’s far worse.

Are there any highlanders captivating your attention at the moment? I likes to know *smile*

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26 May 2011

Review: Marie Sexton - Promises

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Book #1 in Coda series
Paperback ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-61581-378-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61581-379-7
Pages: 228
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Categories: Novels, Contemporary, Marie Sexton, Promises by Marie Sexton
Book Type: eBook
File Formats Available: .epub, .lit, .prc, .prc, html, pdf
Book reviewed from personal library

Cover Summary:
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.

My review

The story told in a nutshell:

When Jared and Matt meet a friendship forms but it slowly turns in to something more. Only with changing feelings complications are never far away. Each has to face fears and choices in order to make it work.

My first impression after a chapter:
Niiiiiice! Both Matt and Jared are so likable and Marie Sexton's writing is easy-to-read.

The man who is Matt Richards:
Matt added some fantastic emotional struggles to the story that pulled at my heartstrings. Marie Sexton beautifully portrayed his progress of coming out of the closet. The ups and downs deliver some heartbreaking scenes and it gave Promises a poignant layer I so enjoy in a love story. Matt might be skittish about his feelings but once he makes his choice he goes for it one hundred percent.

The man who is Jared Thomas:
It is from his point of view this story is told and at first sight he seems like an easy-going gay man with an average life. Jared is in a comfort zone when I met him in the first chapter but then bit by bit he's thrown out of it and it shows hidden emotions. The romantic feeling he develops for Matt reveal cracks in his otherwise so normal life. It stirs buried ambitions and it asks more of Matt than he’s perhaps willing to give.

The romance blossoming:
This is probably where Promises shines the most. The romance development was slowly build-up and took me into the life of two guys who were reluctant to let me go. It was progress of a growing friendship turning in to something romantic that was done in such a poignant way I could only flip the pages in hunger to see where they would end up.

The emotional journey:
Every aspect was done with balance; the relationship, de emotions, the eroticism, which made the flow of the story so easy to absorb. I was so "into" the story upon where each shift of emotional change from the characters got to me. The fact that Matt is still in the closet and is a cop adds struggles and complicated emotions to a budding relationship. It is the way Matt and Jared worked through them that made me root for them. They made mistakes, but they learned and this duo claimed the spotlight from start to finish.

The sizzling sexiness:
This is a story with a slow-burn chemistry but when it ignites it sets the body ablaze with desire. Jared has to take careful steps with Matt but when Matt finally feels a bit more comfortable in their passion there is also hunger. The passionate scenes are stripped from any sort of kink yet it is the culmination of Matt and Jared’s attraction that made it hot.

My synonyms for :
Friendship – tender romance - camaraderie - angst - family difficulties - coming out and courage.

My overall reaction:
I just love the way Marie Sexton captivated the friendship turns to lovers trope, so full of camaraderie but also angst and then the romance budding between the main couple was so incredibly well done. Marie Sexton gave a moving story that unequivocally touched my heart to a point where I not could be bothered with anything more than reading Promises! That, in my opinion, is the effect of an incredible story and storyteller. I'm definitely wanting more of what this author has got to offer.

4 stars

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23 May 2011

Review: D.J. Manly - Last Call

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Last Call
By: D. J. Manly
Other books by D. J. Manly
Categories: Erotic Romance, Alternative (M/M or F/F), Erotica Fiction, Western/Cowboys
Word Count: 42,750
Heat Level: SEXTREME
Published By: eXtasy Books
Reviewed my own copy

Cover Summary:
Patrick’s best friend, Josh, offered to take Patrick home to spend the summer. With a job in a restaurant and free room and board with Josh’s father on the ranch, it seemed like a pleasant alternative to the city.

Patrick had been warned that there probably wouldn’t be a lot of hot young men around for the picking, but Josh never prepared him for Dakota.

Dakota was all Patrick could have wanted in a man and more. A big strong, cowboy with a smooth charm that would have melted butter, the heat between them was electric, and when the big Wyoming sky grew dark there would be no use denying the secret desires Patrick harboured for his best friend’s father.

But is passion enough when Dakota’s dark past is still very much a source of bitterness for Josh, and a young man’s best friend, falls hopelessly in love with his father?

My Review:

The story told in a nutshell:
Josh and Patrick go to Josh's hometown, Mills, to work, save their money and have some fun in their summer vacation. They're staying at Josh's home where an underlying current of past problems rear its ugly head again. On top of that Patrick starts to have feelings for Dakota, Josh's father.

My first impression after a chapter:
The story starts nicely with some banter between Patrick and Josh. Nothing that instantly grabs my attention though.

The man who is Dakota:
The rugged hot older cowboy Dakota Bailey has a past that still affects his present. He comes across as a signature man from the land and I liked his quiet, gruff demeanor. I wouldn't have objected to much more of him in this story, he was by far the most intriguing character to be found in the pages!

The younger man who is Patrick:
The exuberant sexed-up but serious Patrick has his world turn a hundred and eighty degrees when he meets and falls for Dakota. He was a nice character but he remained very two-dimensional for me. Even with a lot of attention for his character he still remained very bland. The only moment I felt him come alive was when he fought with Dakota's accuser.

The cast of family and friends:
The best friend Josh was a wonderful secondary character who added some much needed temperament to the story. He is one to banter with Patrick, he is showing his hurt in how the accusations affected him too and has a summer fling. Along with his aunt Kate they gave Last Call a small town vibe that added to the feel of the setting.

The emotional journey:
With the topic of false accusations of sexual harassment there were definitely a variety of emotions involved. Dakota, who got accused, lost all that mattered to him and Josh lost a good portion of his childhood. I didn't get in to the mind of the parties involved at that devastating time. While they did talk about it and some emotions were conveyed via the characters, I missed an intrinsic storytelling. Something that would connect me to the characters on an essential level where they would move me. I had a feeling all was told via dialogue and it created a distance in how I absorbed the story.

The sizzling sexiness:
The magnetism between Dakota and Patrick was evident from the beginning and enticing both characters in the best of ways. Yet when the moment arrived where thoughts turned in to actions I got the notion the passion between Patrick and Dakota was forcibly spiced up with some kinky attributes. Instead of having it flow naturally and just let the body chemistry do its job the author threw in a bit of bondage, nipple clamps and such but it didn't add anything to the momentum.

The romance blossoming:
This is what didn't work for me. The body language was sizzling but it went from there to instant love and the author couldn't make it believable for me. The obstacles between the men wasn't worked out or worked through very well. All it did was create some tense moments and discussions that led them in circles. There was no deepening of their feelings, just more body language between the sheets and this put me off at some point.

My synonyms for Last Call:
Easy read - interesting trope and likeable characters.

My overall reaction:
Last Call would've been a nice read weren't it for the fact it couldn't deliver completely on the romance. It remained too much on the surface of things for me to get involved or care much about the cast of characters. So in the end I remained with a sexy tale that once read was easily forgotten. 

2.5 Stars

The quotes for you to sample:

“Dak,” Patrick said, coming closer,
“Patrick, don‘t,” he said. He took off his hat, gave him a faint smile and then left Patrick standing there in the barn.
Don’t? Don’t what? Don’t say it, don’t express the mess my emotions are in, twirling around inside of me, taking my breath away? Don’t feel it? Maybe Dak was used to pushing everything deep inside, but he wasn‘t.
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17 May 2011

ARC Review: A rare occurrance. Karina Cooper - Before The Witches

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ISBN: 9780062105172; ISBN10: 0062105175;
Imprint: Avon Impulse ;
On Sale: 5/17/2011;
Format: eBook;
Ages: 18 and Up;
Genre; Paranormal Romance
Novella (prequel in Dark Mission series)
Received an e-ARC from Publisher via NetGalley

Cover Summary;
In America, they didn't care about witches. But all that was about to change.

Katya Zhuvova fled a country that feared her gifts, but her escape to Seattle left her at the mercy of a ruthless man. With no one left to turn to, Katya hatches a desperate escape plan. Undercover Detective Nigel Ferris is determined to bring down a prostitution ring, whatever the cost. In order to the get answers he needs, he attempts to win the trust of one of the prostitutes involved—but one look at the deceptively sultry Katya and the cool, objective cop disappears. Before either can put their plans into place, Mother Nature shrugs: a cataclysm rocks Seattle, and life is turned upside down.

Brought together by chance, Nigel and Katya are in the fight for their lives. Surrounded by death and fear, shattered by immeasurable loss, they have only a bond forged in fire to cling to as they struggle to survive in a world gone straight to hell.

My Review: I have to confess I have a push-pull relationship with novella’s. Often it just doesn’t have the ability to give me that kick, that thrill that tells me I’m swept in to the story, but every so often I find a surprise. Karina Cooper managed to impress me with an awesome prequel to her Dark Mission series. It tells the story of Ekaterina “Katya” Zhuvova who is forced in to prostitution. She has the ability to tell if people speak the truth or not and when cop Nigel Ferris wants to blow a case wide open they meet. Together though, they have to survive a lot more than some mobsters, they have to face apocalyptic events which will forever change the Earth as they know it.

From page one Ms. Cooper holds nothing back and plunges the reader into a fascinating world with distinctive characters! There wasn’t much back story on either Katya or Nigel but just enough to create an understanding how they ended up in their present situation. While it is a small thread within this novella I could taste the authors potential for sensual romance. The chemistry between Nigel and Katya is one of instant hunger but countered by a gradual growing trust. I enjoyed the interaction of small quips and quirks between them. What I really think was a brilliant move from this author is to first establish a sympathy for the main and secondary characters. I came to understand their predicament and connected to them.

With that connection made, the author shifted her focus on the plot where I experienced a gradual increase of disasters and the pending doom born from it is fantastic! First I got small notions something was off and from there on out I was reading on with bated breath, crying out my “oh no’s” – “don’t go there” – “run, run!” and “for the love of the gods, JUMP!!” At one moment I had a trembling lip when Karina Cooper paints a catastrophic scene rife with emotional pain for both main characters. In rapid succession emotions were pounding in to me as I read the pages. I just couldn’t believe all that was happening yet the words conjured vivid scenes into my mind’s eye letting me witness it all.

I don’t often come across a novella which masterfully introduces the reader to a new series but Karina Cooper has done it. Every event in Before The Witches leads up to how the world came to be in Blood Of The Wicked. The lure to find out how things pan out is something I can hardly ignore.

Before The Witches gives a tempting sample of what this author and series has to offer. A pulls-pounding thrill ride of a story!

4 stars

Quotes for you to sample:

There was only Nigel Ferris; dirty cop with a mouth to die for.
He groaned raggedly, the wordless confession welling from deep, deep inside his chest as he caught her face between his hands. As he had before his thumbs dug in by her mouth. Tilted her face up, forced her lips to open, to surrender to the hot, wet, almost angry insistence of a kiss that rocked her down her shaky soul.

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16 May 2011

ARC Review: A fantastic series! A must have book! J.P. Barnaby - Abandoned

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Little Boy Lost, Book Two
Release date; May 16, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61581-870-9
Pages: 200
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Categories: Novels, Contemporary, M/M, Little Boy Lost by J.P. Barnaby
Book Type: eBook
I received the first edition of ABANDONED from the author.

Cover Summary:
Jamie is gone.

Brian's secret has been revealed.

Brian McAllister's story continues as he tries to cope with the loss of his best friend and soul mate amid the alienation and ridicule of his classmates. When hatred turns to violence, Brian narrows his focus to two goals: surviving and finding Jamie. Along the way he meets Adam, whose life has also been shattered by violence and cruelty. Can Adam fill the hole in Brian's life left by Jamie's absence? The answer will change everything.

My Review: I’ve never been so much in the grip of a M/M series with young adult protags as I’ve been with the Little Boys Lost series. I’m completely enamored with the depth of storytelling J.P Barnaby possesses and the way she incorporates issues and adversity for Brian to deal with. ABADONED is very angst and tension filled due to the situation Brian finds himself in. School has become a nightmare, fear is Brian’s shadow and the constant mockery and bullying takes its toll. Even though certain situations give a darker tone to this story it fuels the inner conflict and showcases the resilience Brian has.

Brian’s character growth really held me captivated throughout the story. At first the intense emotions protruding from Brian rubbed me raw, he is utterly devastated after the final events in book one; ENLIGHTENED, and now has to deal with the aftermath. He knows fear, he has to struggle through all of his emotions and the single minded love he feels for Jamie burns fierce. There is a mix of angst and strength to Brian’s character that drew me to him like a moth to a flame. Even though a lot of bad stuff happens to Brian the author never gets into the over dramatic. She balances it with friendship, family and their support which allows a level of realism in the story that packs a very unique emotional punch.

Throughout the chapters I could feel Brian grow in to a stronger, more centered man, and that raw edge of the first half of the story turns in to doubts whether his initial plan is worth it to give up on a new friend; Adam, and his foster parents; Carolyn and Richard Schreiber. With the first person narrative and my strong connection to Brian I was completely emerged in his mind and life. I seriously wondered at one point what he would do! It only signaled the genuine emotions and confusion coming from Brian and the way he affected me. To be honest, I don’t know if I would’ve accepted any other outcome of this story yet simultaneously it delivers a signal that J.P Barnaby has so much more in store for Brian. What that will be, I don't know, but I'm very eager to join Brian in his journey!

J.P Barnaby is one of those rare authors on my e-shelves who can pull it off to make me feel completely satisfied in a category length book. While the romance and eroticism is taking a backseat I didn’t mind it at all. I was absorbed by the internal warring and the external threats which provided fuel for such intrinsic character development it captivated me from the first word. The story spans a year and in that time so much is going on yet the author keeps it very centered on only a handful of key characters. There were dialogues that spoke of support, of courage, of love and of conquering your fears, and it strengthened the bond between them all. Without stating the obvious it held a subtle but powerful message

What this author does in ABANDONED is just amazing, it is a pure and honest kind of writing that bares the soul of a seventeen, going on eighteen year old. It offers the worst of circumstances in which various forms of love can ignite, nourish and inspire Brian on his journey. I never expected to experience such a strong connection to the person Brian is. I’m still amazed by it and savoring it every chance I get.

ABADONED blew me away as J.P. Barnaby continues the story of memorable characters who just go for your heart. This is just about as good as it gets in the M/M genre!

4.5 stars

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11 May 2011

Review: The first, but not my last! Steve Kluger - Almost Like being In Love

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stand-alone m/m romance novel
Release date: May 1, 2004
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 0060595833
ASIN: B0007XWN96
read a copy from own library

Cover Summary:
A high school jock and nerd fall in love senior year, only to part after an amazing summer of discovery to attend their respective colleges. They keep in touch at first, but then slowly drift apart.

Flash forward twenty years.

Travis and Craig both have great lives, careers, and loves. But something is missing .... Travis is the first to figure it out. He's still in love with Craig, and come what may, he's going after the boy who captured his heart, even if it means forsaking his job, making a fool of himself, and entering the great unknown. Told in narrative, letters, checklists, and more, this is the must-read novel for anyone who's wondered what ever happened to that first great love.

My Review

When Chris mentioned she was giving this fantastic book away in December I decided to Google it and for sure my interest was piqued. How was a story told via news clippings, e-mails, letters, checklists and some narrative going to work? But most of all I was fascinated how this author could pull it off to drive the story home filled with emotions, strong character voices and keep it coherent. So of course this curiosity had to be satisfied and I ordered the book.

The uppers:
*Graig McKenna a.k.a the all-star quarterback and Travis Puckett, the nerd. Both have classic traits of their archetypes but their interaction is so amazing and filled with funniness in sometimes the weirdest situations. I love their oddities , especially their train of thoughts (see quote below), the vibe they have together and from that first chapter I was fully invested in wherever Craig and Travis would go.

*The unique storytelling is such a powerful tool in de hands of this author! It created its own rhythm where I had to get used to it for a chapter but then it drew me in and kept me succumbed to the tale.

*The witty humor. It made me grin each time and that it a very hard feat for an author who has me as a reader. I cry easier then that I laugh, my humor is just quirky.

*If I find fantastic main characters in a book then I’m a pleased reader but to find awesome sidekicks as well is a treat beyond measure. Gordo, Charleen, A.J., Jody and Noah had a presence and added their own vivacity to the story.

*Even though the story used lots of information sources and some narrative to relay the tale of Graig and Travis their voices were distinct. They became full-fledged personalities that touched my heart and took me on an incredible journey that was their lives!

The downer:
*There were moments where I missed the one-on-one romance development between Graig and Travis. The beginning was rife with attraction that burned between the main men but then their lives take a turn, and after that the focus was on them separate. I understood the journey, loved to witness it, but I couldn’t help but want more of these guys together. It diminished my initial enthusiastic involvement a degree in their romantic development.

Synonyms for Almost Like Being In Love:
Touching – funny – heartwarming – easy going – quirky – sexy and different.

My Overall reaction:
The author’s unique approach in storytelling really paid off in Almost Like Being In Love. With a few bumps here and there I was engaged in the characters journey of falling in love, growing apart and finding one another again! There is no boring paragraph to be found and I wrapped myself up in the warmth and humor emanating from each character. The “what if” factor was the fuel for the romance but Travis and Graig’s lives were the main ingredient and focus of this story. All I wanted was for them to find each other again. Also, the sexing has a minor part yet I didn’t miss that and was rooting for the them all the way. The author kept me on my toes for 80% in what the outcome of this story was going to be but I can guarantee an ending that befitted all the characters and it satisfied me completely. It is an outcome I wouldn’t have wanted any other way.

Almost Like being In Love is a keeper where you get to be intricately involved with two men who will conquer your heart!

4 stars

Quotes for you to sample:

There we so many page long quotes but this is one of them I just couldn’t deny you!

Graig McKenna
Room 311
Beckley School
Tarrytown, New York

I kissed him. I fucking kissed him. First our noses touched and then I kissed him. I shouldn’t have smoked the joint. I knew that was a mistake! But what else can you do when you’re playing catch by a lake and it starts to pour? If there hadn’t been one of those metal arch things with the benches underneath, it would never have happened – we’d have jogged back to school, wet and un-kissed. This was a conspiracy! Say no to drugs. They’ll only ruin you. And I’m proof: one toke and his eyes got bluer, two tokes and I’d have killed for his smile, three tokes and I couldn’t remember a time we didn’t know each other, for tokes and I would have woken up Brigadoon for him. My life was over. Okay. Slow down. There’s probably a good explanation for this.

1. It was an accident.
How? You tripped over a rock and your mouth fell on his?

2. It’s only a phase.
Yeah. Like taking naked showers with him and tickling him every chance you get and telling him he needs work on his swing when you really want to do is touch him.

3. You were stoned.
For the first fifteen minutes. What about the other three hours? At least he had the balls to kiss you back cold turkey.

4. He’s just a buddy.
Which is how come every third word out of your mouth is “Travis.” If they got rid of his name from the alphabet, you wouldn’t have a vocabulary left. Except for “ubiquitous.”

5. Maybe you’re just searching for a homoerotic substitute.
Maybe you just found one.

6. You were curios.
Curios to do it again?

What’s the use? I kissed him! It’s like the atom bomb – it can’t be undone.
My father would kill me.

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10 May 2011

It's a party and I squee if I want to...

This morning I received an e-mail from Dreamspinner press that they are celebrating their fourth anniversary *throws confetti in the air* This is one of the online bookstores where I always find myself wonderful m/m stories. Guess what they have in store for us readers to celebrate it with us? There is a drawing each week for an ebook reader of the winner's choice: Kindle WiFi, NOOK WiFi, or Sony PRS 350SC – WOW!!! But what got me so psyched in the third week giveaways because Dreamspinner Press is giving away free books!!!

Let me tell you which one’s:

Week Three Specials

Download the first book from seven of our most popular series FREE - a different book each day.
Sunday - May 15 - Condor One by John Simpson
Monday - May 16 - Litha's Constant Whim by Amy Lane
Tuesday - May 17 - Cut & Run by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Wednesday - May 18 - Promises by Marie Sexton
Thursday - May 19 - His Hearth by Mary Calmes
Friday - May 20 - Love Means... No Shame by Andrew Grey
Saturday - May 21 - Luke by Jan Irving

Personally I'm being confronted with Andrew Grey alot these days and I see it as a sign I must read something of this author! The blurbs of his books sounds great but as you can see what I'm reading now is Vadim and Dan reeling me back into their Special Forces drama and Mercenaries has started with a bang!
This intrigues me very much as well.

Check the Dreamspinner Press Homepage May 29, 30, and 31st for three special surprises.

They have much more in story with; Week Two Specials - 30% off all ebooks that are turning 3 - this is going on now! And this is the Week Four Specials: All Dreamspinner Press Anthology ebooks 50% off!

*nostalgic sigh* It has been almost two years ago that I discovered the m/m (erotic) romance and it has enriched my reading world with fantastic romances. So here's to you Dreamspinner Press *raises glass of bubbly* May you have many more fruitfull years of delivering us gay romance!

How long have you've been a gay romance reader?

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04 May 2011

2-1 Review: Joey W Hill - Ice Queen and The Mirror Of My Soul

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Book III - Nature of Desire Series Ice Queen
(can read as standalone, but story continued in sequel Mirror of my Soul)
Erotic/BDSM Contemporary Romance
Ellora's Cave Publishing
March 2006

Cover Summary:
They call her the Ice Queen. At the exclusive BDSM club known as The Zone, Mistress Marguerite is a legend. Tyler Winterman has been fascinated with her since he’s known her, though the rules of their world say they shouldn’t share more than mutual admiration. He is her male counterpart, one of the most powerful male Doms practicing at The Zone.

Due to a computer error, Marguerite lacks the mentoring program stipulation required of all Zone Doms, which includes spending a number of hours learning about BDSM from the submissive’s perspective. Tyler considers it an act of fate that Marguerite chooses him to be the Dom who helps her fulfill that requirement. He is convinced she is a “switch”, a closet submissive, but the truth will be even more remarkable than the theory, changing their lives in ways neither of them anticipates.

Having no equal except one another in their skills at stripping a sub’s defenses bare, these two Dominants will turn their considerable talents on each other and discover that who is Master and who is slave doesn’t matter, not when two souls have found their mate.

Book IV of Nature of Desire series Mirror Of My Soul (sequel to Ice Queen)
Erotic/BDSM Contemporary Romance
Ellora's Cave Publishing

Some stories can't be contained between the covers of just one book...
Marguerite and Tyler’s story, which began in Ice Queen, continues in Mirror of My Soul. Having resolved some of the issues that arose between them as two sexual dominants, they now explore whether Marguerite’s desire to be Mistress and slave both will be accepted by Tyler, and whether the shadows of their respective pasts will have the power to destroy the love growing between them.

My Review

A personal note:
I found out that some authors can captivate me no matter what I’m going through in life. Joey W Hill is one of those authors and in December, when I read Ice Queen and Mirror Of My Soul, I was immensely grateful for that! One of the main reasons I was compelled to read these connected books was the fact that Marguerite is the sister of David who is the leading man in A Witch’s Beauty (my all-time favorite read of JWH) His story was also a 5 star read for me.

The story in a nutshell:
Marguerite is an extraordinary Domme, she is always in control of her scene with her chosen submissive and together they create a mesmerizing synergy. She is in control of her emotions and her life…until Tyler, another Dom, gets in to her personal space and stirs things better left dormant. Together they start a dance as intricate and passionate as a Paso Doble.

The man who is Tyler:
Oh yeah, Tyler Winterman is the epitome of an attention-grabbing male. He exudes confidence like it’s his own brand of cologne. He is so in sync with himself you wonder if he’ll ever not get the things he wants and he has patience and compassion to boot. He appeals to me in so many ways, if Marguerite hadn't already claimed him I would be all over him in a heartbeat.

The woman who is Marguerite:
Marguerite Perruquet touched me in so many ways! She is a Domme and takes her submissive’s on such a soul rendering journey in her scenes, I just had to be wow-ed by her. But behind that exterior of control lies a complex and shattered self that I was absolutely fascinated by. One careful step at the time I got more access to Marguerite’s heart and mind and what I found was such a fascinating contradiction. There was strength and weakness, pain and pleasure, joy and sadness and it was all amplified by Joey W Hills powerful storytelling.

The emotional journey:
Joey W Hill gave me an absorbing character driven tale with a scintillating chemistry between the leading lady and man. I’ve been given great insight in the working of the heart and mind of Marguerite and Tyler. Together they display a mesmerizing interplay between a Dom and his sub. I loved the development with Marguerite as a Domme finding her submissive side. Her scenes are poised, almost elevating it to sheer artistry, sweeping along all spectators in the momentum. She combines grace and profound knowledge of what a sub needs to find completion. To see Marguerite opposite Tyler in a different role allows Tyler to take the spotlight as a Dom who is completely going for his sub. He has his own issues to deal with but his feelings for Marguerite are shown in everything he does. The character growth of both of them is believable, it is fraught with trust issues, surrendering one’s true self and a past that still has it’s tentacles in both Tyler and Marguerite’s heart.

The sizzling sexiness:
The way Joey W Hill allows a scene to come alive and gradually reach an erotic pinnacle always completely absorbs me. It’s like she plugs in an emotional power chord to a hot-as-hell erotic scene where then the eroticism is elevated to another kind of awesome! I just have no other words. Tyler + Marguerite = a sensual smorgasbord!

My Synonyms for Ice Queen and Mirror To My Soul:
Intense – layered – emotional – absorbing – toe-curling – dark – soul searching – pain and pleasure.

My Overall reaction:
Everything this author is known for is present in Ice Queen and continues in The Mirror Of My Soul. The compelling blend of excellent – leap of the pages – characters, raw emotions, sensuality, strong dialogues and a journey for both characters kept me riveted to the pages. I keep saying it but the characters this author manages to breathe to life are characters I immediately feel a strong connection to. The strength of Marguerite and Tyler facing adversity, the sensual interaction blooming between them, the well of emotions poured on paper and the message it contains; it’s an almost overwhelming sensation to read. Joey W Hill is a constant supplier of phenomenal erotic romance, she has a class few authors possess!

4.5 stars for Ice Queen – 5 stars for Mirror Of My Soul

Quotes for you to sample:

MOMS: “Tell me what you want.” His mouth whispered it, those lips close to hers. Her own parted, letting out a breath that was a near sob. “I want to be whole. Feel it just once more.” She raised her palms before her face. “I remember lying there with David beneath feeling his heart stop beating. I tried to cup his head in my hands and it was wet…so soft. Softer than a baby’s skull. “And there were these people around. Staring at us. But I felt so alone, because David was gone. His heart was no longer my heart, his voice in my head was gone. And they didn’t know me, didn’t know us. And I wondered, ‘Will anyone ever share my soul again? Get inside me and know my thoughts?’ No. Surely not. And yet, I didn’t die. That’s the most intolerable cruelty, that you can realize that truth and not die. It seems a revelation like that should simply pluck your soul right out of you, cast it into the earth. And I think it did. I am a vampire. Sitting in the shadows, sucking in everyone else’s light and life to feed my own, but it’s false, because there’s only darkness within me.” When Tyler took her hands from her face, he was alarmed to feel her cold skin had gotten even colder. “I don’t believe that. Sshhh…” He soothed her, touching his lips to the juncture of her neck with her shoulder. His hair brushed her jaw line and she tilted her head despite the scream of resistance in her head. Easing one arm around her back, he brought her a step closer. Turned her to face him. “Let me in,” he said softly. “And I’ll light a candle.”
This moment made me cry a river and then some… 

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02 May 2011

Giveaway - Celebrating the romance (part one)

The last couple of weeks the weather has been full of sunshine, blue skies and puffy white clouds so spring has definitely entered the Netherlands. It gives me a tingly feeling of life, love and laughter and the need to share this with you all. That was when I got to think about what way to share this. The main objective of my blog is, and always will be, to share my passion for the romance genre, the love for reading and in my own quirky way be a part of the romance community, and suddenly an idea popped in my head. The easiest way for me to celebrate the romance with you is to host a giveaway. I love to brighten someone else’s day with the news; “You’ve won…” but I also want to talk about all aspects of the romance. So I just put one and one together where, from now on, I’ll be hosting a monthly giveaway and talking about a topic regarding the romance genre.

The ground rules – yeah I know, not the most fun part but it has to be done!

* The giveaway is internationally (or where the Book Depository can deliver)

* The giveaway starts on the first Monday of the month and ends two weeks later, the winner will be announced a day later.

* You have a choice from a romance (and sub-genres) title released in the month of the giveaway, so that’s a whole heap of choice IMO ;) If you chose a print book - only via BookDepository.com. Or if you chose an e-book, it will depend if I have a payment option available to me. You can chose a book up to a price of $6,99

* If you win the ‘Celebrating the romance’ giveaway I’ll e-mail you (e-mail must be part of your profile/ a part of your comment or e-mailed to me)

* I am not responsible for lost or damaged books. Once the order is placed it is out of my hands!

The Topic; The trope of the May-December romance.

I’ve heard this phrase drop a few times on twitter and I was intrigued. To my knowledge I never read a ‘May-December’ romance so I turned to Google and found an explanation of the term:

The term refers to a romantic pairing where one person is significantly older than the other. The age difference is at least a decade, but often more. The phrase comes from the younger person being in the "spring" of his or her life (i.e., May), while the older partner is in his or her "winter" (i.e., December). Explanation by d_r_siva

If I’m reading this correct isn’t the ‘cougar trope’ a sibling from this? I do not consider a cougar woman in “the winter of her life” which makes me think about what kind of age difference there has to be between two people to be referred to as a ‘May-December’ romance.

I’m the kind of person who thinks love between two consenting adults/teenagers can blossom in many situations. Still, I’ve got no clue what to expect from this kind of romance trope. I mean, do I need to think one person thirty, the other one like fifty-five or sixty? Because suddenly I’ve got a scene in front of my eyes where Sex In The City; Samantha Jones, gets involved with a charming man in his sixties. When they get it going on and he needs to go to the bathroom I was treated to a vision of a wilting butt. It is reality but how does it work in a romance novel? 

This leads me to my question; “What is the general age difference and have you ever read a ‘May-December’ story?” Did you enjoy the trope or didn’t you?
Among the books released in May are:

Thea Harrison – Dragon Bound

Virna DePaul – Chosen By Blood

Katie McAllister - The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons

Red Garnier – The Last Kiss

Julia Quinn - Just Like Heaven (The Smythe-Smiths)

Karen Hawkins – Scandal In Scotland

Andrew Grey – A Serving Of Love, e-book

J.P. Barnaby – Abandoned, e-book

Looking forward to hearing from you ;)

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