Monthly Archives: September 2009

Breaking the Devil by Bailey Bradford

Breaking the Devil by Bailey Bradford

Blurb:

Mack and Justin grew up together and were best friends for years, until one day that friendship turned into something hotter and more powerful than either man had ever experienced before. A passionate coupling that branded each man forever—or so Mack thought, until the dreaded day after. That’s when Justin told Mack the whole thing didn’t mean anything to him, and walked away from Mack’s promises of forever.

Mack has never been able to get past that one traumatic event in his life. A dozen years have passed without a word from Justin. But when that red-haired devil reappears, Mack finds out that he can’t resist giving in to his body’s needs—no matter what his head tells him.

Two stubborn, determined alpha males—one nursing a twelve-year fury and the other with a redhead’s temper—who have been denied what they want most for so many years, come together in an explosion of heat and passion that overrides everything else in their lives. Now, if only Mack and Justin can keep their hands, and other body parts, off each other long enough to talk, they might be able to get to the truth behind what happened twelve years ago…and while they’re doing it, they might just have some luck breaking the devil.

 

Review:

This short novella has lots of sex, sex, and more sex. Oh there is a thin plot somewhere between the lube, spit, sex, blowjobs, and tears but it’s rather weak and almost non-existent. There is however, lots of sweaty, rough, cowboy sex. Now, I’m always up for a good porn without plot staring cowboys (ok I have a weakness for hot cowboy on cowboy action), but unfortunately there are several editing errors and writing quirks that ultimately took away my enjoyment of this ranch porn. So if you can overlook some of the problems I mention and you are looking for a complete sex based piece of fluff – this might fulfill that craving.

The blurb summarizes the so-called plot more than the actual story does. The book opens with Mack moping about his long lost love, Justin. Lo and behold though Justin happens to be right there and the two engage in some sweaty hand jobs right out there on the ranch in broad daylight within minutes of their first hellos in twelve years. Thank god no one is actually working to see their bit of exhibitionism. The two then stumble into the ranch house and proceed to have more sex while a word or two is exchanged about the prolonged absence. Repeat this several times, throw in an unnecessary and predictable villain, and that is the book.

The characters are very weak and not explored at all. There is very little depth or interest to either as they have sex for the majority of their interaction and yet the sex scenes do not advance the characters at all. The two act as though no time has past and Julian especially is overbearing and possessive, as if Mack had no right to ever even look at another man in the years they were apart. Additionally neither Mack nor Julian actually questions their future, their past, or how the two immediately started having sex without addressing the problem of their long separation and the changes in their lives. Fortunately for Julian, Mack has been suspended in time for twelve years, waiting for Julian to return. Once Julian is back, Mack waffles between anger at the long separation and just being happy Julian is back in his bed.

Neither man really exists outside of the sexual component of the book. Julian never seems to work on his ranch but instead just happens to always pop up on Mack’s ranch at the exact moment Mack is having an argument or well, Julian never seems to leave Mack’s ranch to run his own. Furthermore there is the evil, predictable plot to keep the two young men apart that forces Julian to break Mack’s heart against his will. Of course there is a villain close to home and one Julian can vanquish to save Mack’s tender feelings. Unfortunately this plot point felt so weak and tired, over used, unoriginal and just boring that even the numerous sex scenes couldn’t save this at that point.

The prose is basic without a lot of complexity or nuance, which fits well with the repeated and numerous sex scenes. Unfortunately there are several quirks to the writing that threw me off and made the story difficult to enjoy and get into – beyond the obvious problems with the weak plot and wooden characters. Mack says “Jayzus” over twenty times in the short novella. Perhaps this is meant to be an affectation but the repeated use of the single word became incredibly annoying instead of charming. Some of the descriptions were unattractive such as the use of “shit-eating grin” close to a scene when one man is rimming the other. The reminder is just, not good. Additionally the writing tended to have rhetorical questions within the story, which could have been stronger if the writing addressed the questions. There are numerous editing errors with internal thoughts not italicized, misspelled words, and similar smaller mistakes.

Although I didn’t realize the book is meant as pure titillation, I was willing be carried along for the ride of hot sex. Unfortunately it didn’t deliver for many reasons but other readers may actually quite enjoy the sex scenes and not be bothered by the problems and quirks I’ve mentioned. As a classic PWP (porn without plot), I can easily see how the erotica will appeal to some readers and only wish I could have enjoyed the offering as well. Sadly, I wanted a brain scrub. 

Get it HERE!


New Rainbow Reviews

New Rainbow Reviews!

Unfortunately nothing great but a few decent ones such as the memoir from Lethe Press and the Pepper Espinoza paranormal.

                                     

Bad for Business by B.A. Tortuga

Guys Named Walter Aren’t Sexy by Morgan Ferdinand

Harder Than It Looks by Julia Talbot

On a Bruised Road by Pepper Espinoza

A Report from Winter by Wayne Courtois


GS Wiley’s Sweet Tooth

GS Wiley’s Sweet Tooth

Blurb:

Middle-aged Marshall Vincent is less than thrilled when his wife tells him she wants to take a bus tour of Europe. Once on the tour, Marshall, a great candy lover, is thrilled to find what is quite possibly the best chocolate shop in the world in a quaint Swiss village.

When Marshall takes a peek into the shop’s back room, he goes from innocent tourist to accidental voyeur. What he sees reminds him of an uncomfortable incident from his past, something he’s spent the last three decades trying to forget.

 

straight guy on vacation turns gay from chocolate!


Cost at Dreamspinner Press

 

 

Dreamspinner Press

Continuing in my publisher price breakdown, we’ve reviewed the absolute mess that loveyoudivine pricing is so there is definitely a buyer beware over there. But what about a more popular press and well known amongst many readers – here I’m choosing Dreamspinner Press as the next on the block about pricing. 


Dreamspinner’s website doesn’t list actual word count and I’ve found this to be standard among publishers. However, I do have a source when I come to a stumbling block about, well most things gay and annoying. So they’ve been dubbed “cupid’s cocktease” for my amusement and ease of always referring to the same helpful individual. Anyway, the Cocktease mentioned the greatness of Fictionwise which lists books by list cost and word count. So fabulous!

Here’s the breakdown:

Daydreams are all $1.49.

Nap Sized Dreams are all $2.99.

Novellas are either $3.99 or $4.99.

Novella Plus are $5.99.

Novels are all $6.99.

 

DSP breaks down their books by this:

Day Dreams are 0 to 7500 words.

Nap Sized Dreams are 7500 to 15000 words.

Novellas are 15000 to 40000 words.

Novels are 40000 words and up.

 

Novellas:

15500 to 23500 words are all $3.99.

23600 to 38200 are $3.99 or $4.99.

 

Books over 48000 words are $5.99 or $6.99

*the one exception to this is a 50,000 word book for $4.99

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1065

 

Interestingly enough what I also found was that FW prices differed from DSP prices on their website. Sometimes higher and sometimes lower. Hence the difference in pricing listed above. Here are some examples:

 

 

24177 for $4.99 FW / $3.99 DSP

http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b87774/Saving-Trevor/Steve-Sampson/?si=0

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1058

 

25122 for $4.99 FW / $3.99 DSP

http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b93318/Come-Back-to-Me/Lisa-Marie-Davis/?si=0

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1064

 

59242 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP

http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b90848/Slight-Details/Eric-Arvin/?si=0

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=963

 

62283 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP

http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b89051/Sparks-Fly/Clare-London/?si=0

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=971

 

73846 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP

http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b85483/Alliance-in-Blood/Ariel-Tachna/?si=0

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=966

 

82375 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP

http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b87267/Caught-Running/Madeleine-Urban/?si=0

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=960

 

86895 for $5.99 FW / $6.99 DSP

http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b88475/The-Gold-Warrior/Clare-London/?si=0

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=964

 

246670 for $8.99 DSP and FW

http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b88465/The-Archer/Abigail-Roux/?si=0

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=965

 

So what I found was an actual consistency at least as far as the DSP website is concerned about pricing but you may be better off comparing the publisher’s cost with some of the other e-tailers for the cheaper book. 

 

The breakdown in cost per word (as best as I could manage with the information offered):

You pay significantly LESS per word for longer books. You pay more than 3x that for shorter stories. This is also just an internal comparison. 

 

Compared to loveyoudivine – DSP is cheaper for 0-5000 words but slightly more expensive for for over 5000 words (remember LYD pricing) and the novella size for both sites has comparable prices. 

 

 

BOTTOMLINE:

Are you getting your money’s worth out of Dreamspinner?

Well they are mostly consistent, which is a big point. Whether you think you’re getting your money’s worth or not, you most likely can be confident the next book is similar in price. However, does that still mean the book is worth your buck?

$6.99 for 50,000 – 90,000 doesn’t seem like a bargain to me. Well the 90k perhaps, but not the 50k end.

For $7.99 I can buy Tim LaHaye’s Babylon Rising: The Edge of Darkness in ebook or print for the same price, which is listed as 448 pages – and off topic was a good book. Although the word count isn’t listed, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s more than 100k words.

PS. I own the above in paperback and paid $7.99. Do we even want to get into the $12 trade paperbacks POD from e-publishers? That’s an easy choice – totally not worth your money.

 

As always, what do you think?

 


Flying Fish by Sedonia Guillone

Flying Fish by Sedonia Guillone
Length: Novella / 25,100 words / $4.99

Blurb:

In seventeenth century Japan, during the golden age of samurai and of the Kabuki theater, young actors known as "flying fish" traveled the countryside, performing for audiences by day and giving their bodies to their samurai patrons at night.

Genji Sakura is one such flying fish, yet he dreams of the day he’ll find the man he can give his heart to and leave the loneliness of his itinerant life behind. Though he loves theater, he doesn’t love every part of his profession, especially some of the patrons. So when a handsome ronin, or masterless samurai, comes upon him stealing some solitude for a bath in a hot spring and their encounter turns passionate and profoundly erotic, Genji’s surprised and delighted. 

Daisuke Minamoto’s past fills his life with a bitterness that grips his soul and makes him dangerous. Yet his passion takes him when he spies on a graceful young man bathing naked in a hot spring. He has always loved women but he can’t deny the call of his heart or his baser interests.

After an afternoon of sexual bliss, his heart and soul are tormented and torn. Keeping this miraculous lover will require giving up the one thing that has kept him alive for years: his hatred for the lord who murdered his wife. If he loves another, how will he go on and who will he become?

 

 

Review: 

A sweet and gentle love story set in a unique historical culture and setting. There are a few minor qualms with the story, but the wonderful characters and real flavor given to the setting elevate this tale into something different and quite enjoyable. Here a young man, Genji, has been raised in the theatre after sold as a slave. The bargain he has made with the manager of the traveling theatre group is that in exchange for performing on stage, Genji will act as a prostitute for lusty samurai after the show. One day Genji stumbles upon a bitter, angry samurai and both their lives change.

The characters are well drawn and developed from the beginning and although there is a lot of sex between the two, the gentle nature and emotion involved always deepens the relationship. Genji is a sweet and loving young man even as he struggles with the emotional toll his life has taken. He is jaded and lost, still very young in many ways as he looks to Daisuke for guidance and support. Genji is not a typical weak character even though he is described in almost feminine terms. His beauty, demeanor, and dress are often described as that of a woman. Whether this is to help explain Daisuke’s feelings or to reinforce the traditional dynamic is unclear, but for all the feminine descriptions Genji is a man with courage and strength of will.

Just as Genji is more of the nurturer in the relationship, Daisuke is the masculine provider in the relationship. His change from embittered, angry man to loving, loyal subject is somewhat fast – the story happens over the course of weeks. Considering Daisuke has been carrying his hatred and need for revenge for over five years, the short time to letting that go does create a small problem. However, the development of an emotional connection between Daisuke and Genji given the constraints of the novella does help. Daisuke’s gentle and tender care of Genji is wonderful to watch unfolding as his desire and feelings for the young man are never tainted by concern over Genji’s gender.

The atmosphere of the culture and time is wonderfully done. The use of terminology and descriptions create a beautiful setting and gives descriptions for the words used through context so the reader isn’t lost in unfamiliar terms. This helps maintain the feeling of the historical time even as the issues raised are timeless. There are a few writing problems in that the point of view switches between Genji and Daisuke almost arbitrarily and not always at the best points. Genji’s negative reactions to Daisuke’s protection towards the end of the story are only shown through Daisuke’s point of view, which isolates Genji and cuts the reader off from understanding his choices and actions. It would have been nice to see from Genji’s perspective his thoughts and feelings over the sudden changes. There are a few other examples where the point of view changes are awkward and clumsy instead of seamless, but these are minor qualms.

Overall, this is a lovely story with a very historical and culture atmosphere, lending beautifully to the theme and characters. Although the author claims to have taken some leeway with the time period and other aspects, since I’m not familiar with that culture, it didn’t detract any enjoyment. This novella is an easy and luxurious read with good pacing and very romantic overtones. Fans of the genre will want to experience this unique offering. 

Get it HERE!

 


Star Flyer by Bonnie Dee — First Impressions, help!

 

impressions from the first chapter and DNF concerns…


Annmarie McKenna’s Starting Over

Starting Over by Annmarie McKenna
Length: Novella / 24,000 / $4.99 

Blurb:
Two years ago, Aaron lost his partner in a drowning accident. He’s trying to move on, but letting go of the past, of the life they were building, is hard. One thing he knows he’s not ready for is a new relationship, but Garrett and Dane are determined to change that.

Lifepartners Garrett and Dane, a cop and an ER doc, bring Aaron home after an accident. They’re happy in their light Dom/sub relationship, fulfilled and in love, but they’ve been keeping their eyes open for a third. It doesn’t take long for them to decide that wounded, pretty Aaron is exactly who they’ve been looking for.

The three get along great, but Garrett and Dane have their work cut out for them in convincing Aaron there’s a time for starting over.

 

 

[More naked chests. I mean the cover is fine - Loose Id has good covers. It's just boring for me.]

Review:

This is a sweet story about moving on after the death of a partner. The sex is hot and the connection between the established couple is strong and evident while the grieving partner is sympathetic. Mostly well written with a few holes in the story and emotional connection, nonetheless this is an easy, enjoyable story that will appeal to fans. Although this wasn’t entirely successful, it does open my eyes to a new author I’d buy again.

The book opens with Aaron being involved in a dramatic and painful motorcycle accident. Nearby cop Garrett happened to see the accident and was the first on the scene. Garrett instinctively feels something for the injured Aaron, a feeling that is later reiterated by Garrett’s partner, Dane. Although the two have a full and very satisfying relationship, teasing into light D/s, they have been talking about adding a third and Aaron seems to be that person. Unfortunately Aaron’s not so sure he can love again.

The story is a shorter novella (~85 pgs) and doesn’t do justice to the full concept in my opinion. The established relationship of Garrett and Dane along with their light D/s is well crafted and shows the strong love between the two. However, the reason for wanting a third in their relationship is never explained. Whether it’s due to their opposing schedules, wanting more variety in the bedroom, or another reason – this is a muddled part of the narrative. They are very receptive and instantly want Aaron into their relationship while knowing almost nothing about the man. This is a weakness in the story since within a month all three are deeply in love and that emotional connection is definitely missing. The declarations of love between Aaron and Garrett and Dane seem false and too soon.

Part of this is due to the fact that the narrative skips over the recovery time in a few hops. This is to fast forward from the time that Aaron is unable to have sex to when he can fool around again but even this was too soon for his injuries. At the same time, supposedly the three men develop a deeper emotional connection but that is surprisingly never told or shown. Instead the evident lust dominates the story, which isn’t bad since the author can write smoking hot sex scenes and the touch of D/s is light and wonderful. The enjoyment of reading these scenes and the relationship between Garrett and Dane do help keep the story entertaining and somewhat makeup for the lack of a deeper emotional connection with Aaron.

For his part Aaron is a sympathetic character struggling to get his life back together two years after the death of his partner. Aaron is trying to move on, which is admirable and sets him up to be open to the relationship between Garrett and Dane. However, Aaron’s only concern is whether he’s ready to be in another relationship and doesn’t seem to question where he’d fit in with the two men, or if jealousy is an issue or where he would be with the light D/s dynamic going on. The only real concern Aaron had was his perpetual horny nature coupled with an inability to properly masturbate. This definitely contributed to his emotional distance with the other two men but the witty dialogue kept this a quick, fun read even despite these problems.

Overall I’d easily suggest this as a decent read with some fun, hot sex between gorgeous men. Although clearly Aaron would be too hurt to actually have sex so soon and the threesome wasn’t entirely established, that isn’t likely to turn too many readers away. You’ll still enjoy the narrative regardless. 

Get it HERE!

 


Veiled Security by Carolyn LeVine Topol

Veiled Security by Carolyn LeVine Topol

Blurb:
Del Mathers and Joey Dixon have settled in the West Village of New York City, trying to launch their careers at a local and well-respected drag club. Del is balancing his devotion to his lover and his desire to perform on stage; his drag queen alter-ego, Venus, a bold and sultry chanteuse, exists to mask his identity because he’s not out to his family. Joey, a gifted musician and lyricist, treasures Del as his inspiration, but he has his own frustrations and is hiding behind a series of conditions, throwing roadblocks into their uncertain path to complete and unconditional commitment. 

As if dealing with a faltering relationship and Del’s overbearing parents isn’t enough, Del and Joey face danger when a group of homophobic vigilantes starts targeting the gay community. All it takes is a moment’s carelessness, and everything they have struggled to build could be destroyed.

 

sometimes you just want the serial killer to win..


Lessons in Discovery by Charlie Cochrane

Lessons in Discovery by Charlie Cochrane

Blurb:
Orlando’s broken memory may break his lover’s heart.

Cambridge Fellows Mysteries, Book 3

Cambridge, 1906.

On the very day Jonty Stewart proposes that he and Orlando Coppersmith move in together, Fate trips them up. Rather, it trips Orlando, sending him down a flight of stairs and leaving him with an injury that erases his memory. Instead of taking the next step in their relationship, they’re back to square one. It’s bad enough that Orlando doesn’t remember being intimate with Jonty—he doesn’t remember Jonty at all.

Back inside the introverted, sexually innocent shell he inhabited before he met Jonty, Orlando is faced with two puzzles. Not only does he need to recover the lost pieces of his past, he’s also been tasked by the Master to solve a four-hundred-year-old murder before the end of term. The college’s reputation is riding on it.

Crushed that his lover doesn’t remember him, Jonty puts aside his grief to help decode old documents for clues to the murder. But a greater mystery remains—one involving the human heart.

To solve it, Orlando must hear the truth about himself—even if it means he may not fall in love with Jonty the second time around…

This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.

 

Review:

 

Continuing my reviews of this series, we’re now into book three. The series has definitely settled into a pattern with good characters that develop slowly in the context of each book while having a parallel light mystery occurring at the same time. The mystery is afforded as much page time as the actual relationship of Orlando and Jonty, yet the focus is firmly on the characters themselves. The solid writing is more engaging in this offering and the humor and light hearted wit bring more entertainment within the wonderfully historical setting. Although this book is a bit of a throwback to the original, this is the most enjoyable of the series so far and has got me hooked for future offerings. This is a reprint so those who have already read this series probably don’t need to re-buy but those new to the author/series definitely should.

 

In this installment Jonty and Orlando are celebrating their one year anniversary in decadent style. It’s been one wonderful year since Jonty attempted to abscond with Orlando’s chair in the Senior Common Room and Jonty proposes the two move into a house together away from St. Bride’s. Reluctant to change, the always cautious Orlando doesn’t immediately agree but has other thoughts on his mind at present. When those distracting thoughts lead to an injury, the entire last year is lost from Orlando’s memory. As part of his recovery, Orlando attempts to solve an old mystery at the college while reconnecting with his best friend and forgotten lover, Jonty.

 

The story is quick and entertaining as the relationship of Orlando and Jonty takes a step back when the shy and gentle Orlando forgets he ever had a friend, let alone a male lover. At the same time, there is the mystery of a missing heir that has become lore within the college. The two storylines share equal page time yet the focus is on the relationship first and foremost. The relationship between Orlando and Jonty harkens back to the first book when Jonty slowly seduces the other man, yet thankfully the development Orlando has had over the course of two books and one year has not disappeared. The changes evident in the man are still there and he reacts rather well to the new information, so much so that the actual injury is almost unimportant. Almost but not quite as it does lend itself well to the story and plays into the relationship in a fun and entertaining way.

 

The mystery is rather light and solved by the characters without much intuition from the reader. The additional information needed is within the set of letters, something the reader can’t deduce, and thus this has a disconnected quality to the story. I was always reminded I’m reading a story rather than experiencing it since all the details are available to the characters but not to the reader. However, the light mystery is engaging and enjoyable to read as it doesn’t overpower the book but introduces the lovely character of Miss Peters. Far from being the token females, her character and that of Mrs. Stewart are delightful and almost steal the scenes.  This combined with the charm of watching Orlando fall in love with Jonty all over again, but thankfully quicker this time, made for a surprisingly quick, thoroughly enjoyable tale.

 

The writing is very affected with the style of speech and even phrasing always being very true and authentic to the historical time period. When reading this story there is no doubt of the time period and the frequent reminders are wonderful, adding to the experience of reading a story fully engaged in that setting. The thorough research is evident and very few – if any – concessions are made for the time in an attempt to accept the relationship. The threat of exposure is always present and the men behave in a suitable manner, yet the humor and love between the two is constant and obvious. An example of what I mean is below:

 

Jonty had readily agreed—if he was to be forbidden some of the usual festive amusements, then a little cerebral exercise would be most welcome. As much as he looked forward to being home again, and for all that he said regarding his mama, he’d missed her enormously while he had been ill. He kept muttering that it didn’t seem like it would be a real Christmas without a proper Hogmanay ball and, although his mother had promised that the event would take place, it was to be a modified version with the minimum of dancing and frolicking. When Jonty had said he was determined to put some sort of spanner in those works, Orlando dreaded to think what the little toad had in mind.

 

This is another well written offering in the series and with several more to come, the possibilities are intriguing. The character of Orlando has developed and changed the most so the next book promises to delve more deeply into Jonty’s personality. Given the wealth of opportunity with their respective pasts, I’m very curious where the author will go next. The romance is not explicit and often uses analogies for any sexual act, giving a very sweet, light feeling to those scenes. So those looking for scorching hot explicit sex are going to be disappointed. However those who enjoy an accurate historical setting with well developed characters and a wonderful romance without needing to ignore the consequences and actions of the time period will be very pleased with this series. Start at the beginning and you’ll likely be hooked as well. One of my few qualms about this piece is that there are numerous editing errors and considering this is a re-released, I’m surprised there are that many. 

Get it HERE!

Book 1 Lessons in Love Review

Book 2 Lessons in Desire Review


New Rainbow Reviews

 More RR!

Life on the List by Jeffrey Essmann

Love & Loyalty by Tere Michaels

Seeds of Time 3: Final Curtain by G.S. Wiley

Dreamlands by Felicitas Ivey


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