Categories
2.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Part of a Series Shifter

Daily Dose Short Story: Alpaca Lies by Elizabeth Coldwell

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/alpaca-lies-by-elizabeth-coldwell-7173-b

alpaca-liesBlurb

Alpaca shifter Alfie dreams of a life beyond the petting zoo at stately Mattock Hall. He can’t explore his crush on Simon Mattock, heir to the estate and caretaker to the animals, for two reasons. One, he’s never shifted into human form, and two, Simon is saddled with a boyfriend who’s exploiting him for his wealth. But when a fire threatens both the zoo and Simon, Alfie knows the time has come to put his fears aside, make his first shift, and save them. He just hopes Simon will like what he sees.

Category: Paranormal, Werewolf/Shifter
Pages: 23

 

Review

If you absolutely ignore some pretty big plot holes, this is a cute and somewhat unique shifter story.

Alfie the Alpaca is hiding out in his animal form (for unknown reasons) on a petting farm and in lust with his keeper, Simon, a lord in training. When Simon is put in danger Alfie has to make a tough decision.

Once revealed the question remains – what will happen now? And so… most of the story is spent pondering the wonders of Simon and a brief moment of passion is shared between the two but the story ends before it can really make the reader either really care about the MCs or even know much about them.

I liked where the story was headed but it was far too short to feel complete or satisfying.

2.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
2.5 stars Angst Level Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Dancer Dreamspinner Established Couple Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Holiday Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Thanksgiving

Code Yellow (Heroes at Heart Book 3) By Susan Laine

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7702

 

CodeYellowLGBlurb

 

Two years have passed since that long, dark, night of despair and near death when English-lit geek Yancy Bell met dancing jock Curt Donovan. Now a couple living in New York, they appear happy and well suited to one another.

But appearances can be deceptive.

Yancy feels Curt is growing distant, and they barely see each other. At Juilliard, Curt has bonded with a new friend, Greg. Yancy fears his relationship with Curt is coming to a head. Meanwhile,Curt harbors a secret that could spell the end of Yancy’s love for him.

Yet neither man dares to confront his fears—or the other.

Will their fate be a code yellow or a golden opportunity?

Review

So this is the third installment – you’re only reading this is you know about Yancy and Curt and how they met, etcetera. Now, Curt’s in Julliard and Yancy’s finishing school and the two are not taking time out for their relationship. Instead, Yancy frets that Curt is lying about all his practice and is instead cheating with a classmate, Greg.

Instead of talking about it, Yancy stalks Greg and calls Curt’s family.

**

So… on the one hand our heroes are back to being happy by the end of the story and we get some really sweet smexy times. On the other hand – most of the book is spent with Yancy pulling his hair out while the reader wants to punch him in the face for not just SAYING SOMETHING!

When he does finally confront Curt, the two have a long discussion that shows Curt’s dark, depressive mind at work again. While I was glad the bladder thing seems to have taken a back seat – at last! – and our couple is working out some more “adult” issues – I really felt that the dialog and the set-up and the “in-laws” and even the classmate were just too “perfect”. None of it rang authentically at all.

The way the young lovers talk to each other is stilted and not at all what people their age would say. Yancy – unfortunately – comes across as extremely needy and co-dependent while Curt comes across as juvenile and insecure.

I had really, really liked these guys in book one, felt not as great by book two and now in book three (with a similar situation facing them based on the excerpt for book four) I think I might be done with this series.

I loved the idea and the unique flavors these characters brought to the table, but the execution in these last two books just left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

2.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Exploration Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan Music/Rock Star Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) second chance at love Virgin

Pop Life by Ryan Loveless

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7622

PopLifeLGBlurb

2nd Edition

Andrew writes the songs everyone sings along with on the radio—tunes full of love, longing, and heartbreak. He has a knack for tapping into emotions, but when it comes to his own, the feelings aren’t so easy to manage. Sent to New York City to work on Irish singer Paeder Brogan’s first solo album, Andrew is caught in the middle of a boy band’s infighting and secret love affairs while battling the memories of his last trip to the Big Apple, which ended when English pop star Jamie Webster drunkenly kissed him.

Andrew’s heart leaps when he discovers he’s staying at the same hotel as Jamie, yet he doubts Jamie recalls him, even though Andrew wrote his biggest hit. Jamie remembers him, though, and he seems to think Andrew is the only person who can save him from his downward spiral. Even as his feelings for Jamie swell, Andrew faces the real threat that the maelstrom he’s walked into will pull him down alongside Jamie.

1st Edition published by Silver Publishing, 2011.

Review

Andrew writes songs for musicians like Jamie and a boy band called Icon. He’s just gotten divorced from a woman and has shared a drunken kiss with Jamie years ago.

Now, he’s in New York to work on an album with Icon and Jamie’s in the same hotel.

There are six main players: Icon – Paeder, Keelin and Russell; Jamie, Andrew and another guy – Jeff – a photographer. It’s very incestuous and it seems everyone has a past with everyone else.

Jamie and Andrew have a bizarre relationship dance that I never quite understood and finally – literally at 97% – they admit to and act upon their feelings.

**

This story was all over the place for me. There were too many people, too many sub-plots and too much drama that didn’t seem to follow any specific trajectory.

I’m not saying that nobody would enjoy this, but I didn’t. I didn’t see the appeal between Jamie and Andrew and found their relationship lacking in a good connection.

I think someone else said it best when they said looking at this like a piece of gay fiction is a better way to approach it than a romance.

I just didn’t “get” this book, though Ryan Loveless as an author still ranks as one of my number one favorites with “Ethan Who Loves Carter” being one of my all time re-reads/listens ever.

I’ll give this a 2.75 of 5 stars for the creativity and the writing, but it was a miss for me as far as emotional connections go.

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index m/m/m May/December Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Opposites attract Reviewer second chance at love

Taste of Ink by Francis Gideon

release day review

 

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7530

TasteOfInk[The]FSBlurb

Trevor Dunn has never gone to the Calgary Stampede, in spite of living in the city all his life. He would much rather listen to music and draw comics in his basement than hang out with a bunch of cowboys. When his sister drags him to the Stampede’s opening parade anyway, Trevor is drawn to a cowboy sporting a green hat.

Charlie opens Trevor’s mind to the world of country music and country boys. But then an old flame appears in the middle of the festival and Trevor is torn. He adores Charlie, but Mathieu—a punk singer turned acoustic crooner—was Trevor’s first love, and Trevor lost him by being too afraid to chase the dreams they shared.

When the Stampede ends, Charlie will go back to Toronto, Mathieu will go back on tour, and Trevor will go back to his basement. Realizing that’s not what he wants, Trevor enters a mechanical bull-riding contest in hopes of winning the heart of his true love—or maybe both of them. This time, fear won’t stop him from going after what he wants.

Review

Trevor lives at home and attends school online- this tendency to hide has cost him his first boyfriend. Years later, he thinks he’s finally ready to spread his wings and is making plans to leave Calgary. As a result he’s talked into attending the annual “Calgary Stampede” by his sister since he’s never been or even wanted to go.

The Stampede is full of cowboys and ugly clowns and smells and all the things he figured he was wasn’t missing all these years but then his eyes catch a cowboy in a green hat. The cowboy intrigues Trevor especially when he signals he might be interested in getting to know Trevor… better.

Trevor and Charlie meet at a gay bar and share a hookah –of all things – before agreeing to a bathroom tryst that leads to a week of sex and other explorations. They also run into Trevor’s first and only boyfriend, Mathieu – from 5 years ago – who happens to be in town still singing and still interested in Trevor.

Trevor, Charlie and Mathieu all end up at the same mechanical bull riding contest. It’s clear that Trevor still pines for Mathieu and vice versa. But Charlie also has an interest in Mathieu and vice versa. The question is- who will end up where and when?

**

I usually get to post rave reviews because I only pick books I think I’ll like and that I want to read.  So I hate it when a book isn’t my favorite and I have to write a negative review.  I want to say that the writing in this story is great- but this is just not a book for me.

This is a book that falls into one of two categories: either there is a lot of symbolism in this that I’m missing or it’s just not a book that I “get”.

I never liked Charlie. The way he spoke felt “off” to me and I never felt like he cared for Trevor and definitely didn’t feel any emotion for Mathieu from him. I liked Trevor and Mathieu together. They seemed to have a strong spark that was palpable even though we only see them together for a handful of pages at the end.

Trevor was the most developed character of the three and even he felt a bit flat to me in that I didn’t feel like I understood his motivations in more than a surface way. I definitely didn’t feel like I knew Mathieu at all and Charlie only in the barest sense.

I’m just not sure I understand why this was a ménage/triad/polyamory story. The three are hardly together but 24 hours before they’re running off to go on tour and I didn’t understand why any of them would do that. Perhaps this is a lead in to a sequel?

This was a miss for me. Though the writing was fine, the story just didn’t resonate with me.

2.5 of 5 stars

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