He’s just not that into you by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo


For ages women have come together over coffee, cocktails, or late-night phone chats to analyze the puzzling behavior of men. He’s afraid to get hurt again. Maybe he doesn’t want to ruin the friendship. Maybe he’s intimidated by me. He just got out of a relationship.

Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo are here to say that — despite good intentions — you’re wasting your time. Men are not complicated, although they’d like you to think they are. And there are no mixed messages.

The truth may be He’s just not that into you.

Unfortunately guys are too terrified to ever directly tell a woman, "You’re not the one." But their actions absolutely show how they feel.

He’s Just Not That Into You — based on a popular episode of Sex and the City — educates otherwise smart women on how to tell when a guy just doesn’t like them enough, so they can stop wasting time making excuses for a dead-end relationship.

Reexamining familiar scenarios and classic mindsets that keep us in unsatisfying relationships, Behrendt and Tuccillo’s wise and wry understanding of the sexes spares women hours of waiting by the phone, obsessing over the details with sympathetic girlfriends, and hoping his mixed messages really mean "I’m in love with you and want to be with you."

He’s Just Not That Into You is provocative, hilarious, and, above all, intoxicatingly liberating. It deserves a place on every woman’s night table. It knows you’re a beautiful, smart, funny woman who deserves better. The next time you feel the need to start "figuring him out," consider the glorious thought that maybe He’s just not that into you. And then set yourself loose to go find the one who is.

My thoughts: 

This is the first book I read for my “relationships topic” for the One, Two, Theme Challenge. I don’t know exactly what I expected other than an entertaining read, but I was disappointed. Yes, it was an entertaining read, but other than that reading it is as enlightening as reading no book about relationships at all.

The book takes various situations, e.g. he doesn’t call when he said he would, he puts you down in front of others, he doesn’t want to marry you…., and evaluates them. The result of that evaluation is invariably the same, “he’s just not that into you”. Greg Behrendt’s world is black and white. If the man doesn’t do what he said he would and/or doesn’t do what you expect him to, dump the loser!

He doesn’t call on Monday, like he said, but on Tuesday? What a jerk! Dump him! He doesn’t want to marry you even though he knows how important it is for you to get married? You know now what to do.

Admittedly, there are some situations where the dumping is appropriate, but in others a readiness for compromise would help a bit. Also, your own feelings towards the jerk seem of no importance. You might be crazily in love with the guy who’s just not that into you. Doesn’t matter, get rid of him anyway.

The basic statement of the book “Better to be alone than to be with someone that makes you unhappy” might be sane and sound, but I am not sure that 100% of the women out there would agree with that. Liz Tuccillo, the co-writer of this book and the girl voice likes Greg’s wisdom and lives by it. Strangely enough, even though he assures the female reader continuously that she is a. hot stuff (how he knows this is beyond me, not all of us are hot stuff) and b. a better man is somewhere out there waiting for her, Liz is still single at 40 something and looking.

I’m ambivalent about this. Some advice is good, makes sense and should be followed, but that is advice that your mother would give you, too. The writing style is entertaining and every woman recognizes herself in the stories. However, a few more shades of grey would have done a great deal to make this book more helpful all in all.

Title He’s just not that into you
Author Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo
Publisher Simon & Schuster
ISBN 978-1416948674
Buy link Buy He’s Just Not That Into You

Tooth and Nail by Mary Calmes


Nineteen-year-old Dylan Shaw is possibly the most beautiful thing Malic Sunden has ever seen. After Malic rescues Dylan from an attack, Dylan makes it very clear that he is more than interested, but Malic won’t even consider sleeping with Dylan because of his age. Malic is sure he’s not good enough for Dylan, who has his whole life ahead of him, and can’t conceive of burdening Dylan with his secrets.

But the darkness in Malic’s life won’t be denied, and soon Dylan is drawn into the dangerous paranormal world that is Malic’s reality. Malic fights tooth and nail to push Dylan away, to keep him safe… no matter that Dylan is the key to Malic’s strength and the only hope for his future.

My thoughts: 

This is book two in the Warder series and we already know Malic from the first book His hearth. There he is introduced as a loner with a tense relationship with Ryan. He seems to be the only warder left without a hearth, so now it is his turn.

I found the story was quite different from the first one. Where the first one solely focuses on the relationship between Ryan and Julian, here Malic is constantly out fighting and, as a consequence, getting into one trouble or other from which his friends have to rescue him. That Dylan is always there somehow and won’t be driven away is somewhat a side product. Malic wants him, but then again doesn’t, and can’t make up his mind what to do with him. I found this a bit over the top. For a notorious bad boy he was decidedly too good (aren’t they often?) and just couldn’t bring himself to get together with Dylan for fear of hurting him. I kept thinking, for Christ’s sake, now, go already!

Other than that it was an interesting sequel as it gave more insight into the world, how the guys fight, what other creatures are out there etc. And Malic is quite delicious, which is always a good thing.

I am wondering, however, whether there will be another instalment. Two books is not very much, considering it is called a series, but it seems all the boys are taken, so who is left? Unless, maybe, more and other beings come into play. We will see, I suppose.

Title Tooth and Nail
Author Mary Calmes
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 978-1-61581-692-7
Buy link Buy Tooth and Nail

His Hearth by Mary Calmes


Julian Nash should be excited: he’s just earned a huge promotion at work and is going out to celebrate. But his happiness fades when he discovers his date cheating on him an hour before. Suddenly alone when everyone knows he’s supposed to have a plus one, Julian is set for a long night until longtime acquaintance Ryan Dean bails him out of the embarrassing situation. During dinner, they discover they have more than just friendship between them: there is mutual admiration and heated attraction. But getting to know Ryan better—and finding a place in his life—will bring Julian frightening surprises and paranormal danger he never expected or dreamed existed.

My thoughts: 

I had somehow missed the “paranormal danger” part when reading the blurb. So after about one third of the book I was wondering what the rest of it will contain. There didn’t seem to be any problems to overcome between Ryan and Julian, there was great chemistry, no misunderstandings etc. etc. So I had another look at the blurb and noticed there must be something else waiting.

So, basically the first half of the story is a romance without anything extraordinary to happen. However, all of a sudden, a rather upsetting encounter takes place in Julian’s kitchen that changes the scenario quite a bit. He and Ryan go from run of the mill contemporary couple to rather intense and different.

There is not much of a side plot apart from the romance. It is rather short and a quick read. I enjoyed reading it very much and am already in the middle of the second instalment of the “Warder Series”, “Tooth and Nail”.

Title His hearth
Author Mary Calmes
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 978-1-61581-572-2
Buy link Buy His hearth

Life changes everything by TC Blue


Ben might be young and only recently out, but he knows what he wants, and the hot blond on the dance floor definitely fits the bill. The last thing he expects is to discover that he’s not only met Aaron before, but that he likes the guy as well. That’s something he’s never encountered before.
Aaron’s no player, but when the universe throws a tall, built slab of gorgeous beefcake in his path, Aaron knows better than to question his luck. Ben unexpectedly turns out to be smart, funny, and a really good fit, which is definitely a bonus. Ben might be young, but he’s mature enough to keep Aaron interested, and happy.
They both have pasts and regrets, but everyone does. They’re determined to work through their issues, though, and just when they’ve started to move on together, life happens, throwing complications in their path. Can their fledgling relationship survive when everything changes?

My thoughts: 

I liked the prequel “Life or something scary like that”, so I was quite looking forward to reading this one. It is not a real sequel, since the main character was a side character in the previous book, but Cliff and Jack still are quite prominent here.

Unfortunately I was not too thrilled with this one. The reason is that a main plot element is a problem with Ben’s little sister and the struggle to get her out of the trouble she got herself into. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, of course, but, like I already must have said ten times on this blog, I just dislike issues with “children” that the main characters have to solve for them. Whether it is a sixteen year old sister or a 10 year old son makes no difference to me. I just don’t like children or teenagers in stories, period. So the second half of the story was wasted on me.

Also, the revelation that Jack came out with towards the end of the book was so out of place – time wise and topic wise – that I started to thoroughly dislike him. It is a bit difficult to comment on it without giving away what Jack said, but he really should have kept his mouth shut. The fact that Cliff, his partner, came up with an explanation for it and that he was ok with it was even more surprising. Had I been Cliff I wouldn’t have been too pleased.

I liked the main characters, the way they got together and how they overcame all the problems arising. However, how the issue with Teeny, Ben’s little sister, came to a satisfactory ending, was a bit rushed. Somehow their mother, who was made out to be very strict, conservative, homophobe and what not, somehow turned out to be not so bad after all. I would have expected more drama towards the end.

The character I definitely liked best was Aaron’s mother. She surprised me with her actions and her attitude. The way she took Teeny under her wing was very nice and comforting. With a woman like that giving her advice I am sure Teeny will be fine.

Due to the turn the plot took in the middle of the book, this story was just not for me. If you don’t mind situations like the one I mentioned, you will probably like it, though.

Title Life changes everything
Author TC Blue
Publisher Torquere Books
ISBN 978-1-61040-100-5
Buy link Buy Life changes everything

Life or something scary like that by TC Blue


When Jack Cutler’s roommate Paul ditches him to move in with his pregnant girlfriend, Melissa, he recommends someone else to take his place: Melissa’s brother, Cliff. Cliff is young and hot, but Jack is sure that Cliff is straight. And even once Jack learns the truth, he knows he’s not right for Cliff. Cliff wants the real thing, commitment, and Jack’s not heading down that path again. When jealousy flares once Cliff starts dating someone, Jack must re-evaluate his position on long-term relationships and whether he wants to risk one with Cliff.
When Cliff gets sick, the shaky foundation of Jack and Cliff’s relationship is tested. Even so, sometimes true love really does conquer all, for the moment, anyway.

My thoughts: 

I know that I can usually count on TC Blue. She is one of my favourite writers and once more she did not disappoint me.

I liked the plot very much and it worked well for me. I had a few little misgivings, but I will come to them in a minute. If it had been another author I wouldn’t have liked the constant meddling of people to get Jack and Cliff together, but somehow I didn’t mind it here at all. Especially Ben was a real sweetheart. I don’t think I have read a story so far where the two characters took so long to finally get together (with the exception of “Take my picture” maybe, but that one is a totally different case).

God, the way those two were attracted to each other and never got it. On the one hand I wanted to smack them, on the other I hoped it would take a while still. TC pulled that off really nicely.

She even came up with a plausible (if rather hoorifying) explanation for Jacks reluctance to start another serious relationship. It just worked all out.

What I was not too enthusiastic about is the fact that Melissa and Paul left Jack in the dark as to Cliff’s orientation. THAT made no sense at all. It was one of the reasons why Jack did not approach Cliff, but since Melissa counted on their getting together, why not tell Jack right away. It took him ages to figure it out, it was painful to read. I’m not kidding.

Also Cliff and Jack very often misunderstood each other simply because they never said exactly what they meant. A pet peeve of mine. However, they always realized their own stupidity right in the next paragraph, that reconciled me a bit. I will never understand the need for misunderstandings in romance. Life is already hard enough without them.

Apart from those tiny things that I could live with, I very much enjoyed this. Especially if you like TC Blue’s writing style this is a must read. The sequel “Life changes everything” is already waiting for me to be read. It is Ben’s story and I am sure it will be just as good.


Title Life or something scary like that
Author TC Blue
Publisher Torquere Books
ISBN 978-1-60370-323-9
Buy link Buy Life or something scary like that

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh


In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of "rehabilitation"- the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion-and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities-or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

My thoughts: 

So I finally jumped on the bandwagon and read Slave to Sensation. I have been very curious about this book, but always found the title quite unappealing. But I have read so much praise for it that I finally got it on my swap site and went for it.

Don’t let the title mislead you. Sascha is by no means a “slave to sensation”. She is an interesting character, since she has never known emotion and yet her ability is worth nothing without it. However, she is still her own person and does what she thinks is right. She is not ruled by her desire for sensation.

I was very impressed with the world building. The world of the Psy was well developed and explained and a good contrast to the world of the changelings. I always had a liking for unemotional characters and I loved the Psy and their ordered, tidy world. I also liked their counterparts, the changelings with their emotions flaring up and their structures where family or pack is everything.

Sascha and Lucas meet for business and how it went from there was nicely done. To me everything that happened made sense, the side characters were introduced well, not overwhelming the plot but enough to make me want to find out more about them, especially Dorian and Hawke.

With the ending and the solution to the problem that occupied Sascha for a long time – a solution, by the way, that made sense and was not something far fetched – Nalini Singh has opened a lot of possibilities for other stories between Psy and changelings. I can’t wait to read them.


Title Slave to Sensation
Author Nalini Singh
Publisher Berkley
ISBN 978-0425212868
Buy link Buy Slave to Sensation

Sunrise over Texas by M. J. Fredrick


Texas Frontier, 1826

Kit Barclay followed her husband into the wilds of Texas only to be widowed. Stranded with her mother- and sister-in-law to care for, with no hope of rescue before winter sets in, Kit has only one goal: survival. So when a lone horseman appears on the horizon, and then falls from his mount in fever, Kit must weigh the safety of her family against offering aid and shelter to the handsome stranger.

Trace Watson has lost everything that ever mattered to him. Trying to forget, he heads to the frontier colony of San Felipe, not caring if he lives or dies. But when he wakes to discover he’s being nursed back to health by a brave young widow, he vows to repay her kindness by guiding the three women back to civilization, no matter what the cost.

Soon, Kit and Trace are fighting the elements, Indian attacks and outlaws-as well as feelings they both thought were long buried…

My thoughts: 

This is another story that I am not quite sure about. There were several points that I was not happy about.

I liked Kit’s character. She was down-to-earth, in control and hard working. Trace came over as just the right kind of man for her. Their situation was tricky and by working together they managed to get to safety. That was all good.

If there hadn’t been, for example

  • Kit’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Those two got on my nerves. They might have been used to better living conditions, but so was Kit. So I don’t really see any reason why they let her do all the work and give her a hard time on top of it. When they prepare to leave the fort and plan what to take with them her mother-in-law wants to take her French china, for crying out loud! What’s wrong with the woman? Talk about priorities.
  • John, Kit’s deceased husband. He takes his wife and his two female family members with him to Texas, even though they are used to living in New Orleans. Then he leaves them alone again back at the fort and dies when out on some mission. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to leave his family at home for the time being?
  • Then the commanding officer of the fort who leaves them alone with two soldiers and a cow. No wonder, Trace ends up in jail for attacking him.
  • Kit’s and Trace’s sudden problem talking to each other once they got to the settlement. All the time before they were perfectly good together and talked about everything.
  • The author’s obvious feeling that a separation was in order and what better way to achieve it than by resurrecting the supposed dead husband? I didn’t feel very charitable towards him, but at least it was good to see that the poor chap did not desert his wife on purpose but couldn’t help it. But now that he was back the next problem arises. How would Kit and Trace reunite? Easy! Husband obligingly dies after a couple of months. This time for good.
  • Kit’s and Trace’s communication problems once more. What’s wrong with the man? He is not the first person who has to deal with loss and he won’t be the last. Why does he want to suppress his feelings like that? I wanted to throttle him.

So once more I’m very ambivalent about the story. For fans of Western historical romance this is definitely worth a read. If you don’t like meddlesome relatives and sudden misunderstanding out of the blue, you might want to give this a miss.

Title Sunrise over Texas
Author M. J. Fredrick
Publisher Carina Press
ISBN 9781426890543
Buy link Buy Sunrise over Texas

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater



For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.


My thoughts: 

Even though I am not into YA in general I read Shiver along with Carin because I have heard a lot of good things about it. I like the "lovers who can’t stay together due to circumstances" topic, so I was not disappointed with the general idea of the story.
Grace and Sam have been in love for what seems like forever, even though they didn’t know each other in person. Very romantic. I liked the uncomplicated plot without many twists and turns which made for a quick and pleasant read, I suppose this is quite typical of a YA story where there are not obstacles at every corner (and given the situation there could have been A LOT of them).

I already said in my update #1 of the readalong that I didn’t get the Fahrenheit degrees at all, which supposedly took some of the building tension away. In retrospect I am pretty sure knowing my way around Fahrenheit wouldn’t have made a big difference. OK, it got colder and change was coming closer – I got that without the exact temperature info, especially since the indicators of when Sam would change were more than unreliable anyway.
It seemed the wolves changed at random, yes, based on the seasons, but nobody knew exactly when they would change, when they would change back, when they would stay a wolf for good etc. I found this quite confusing. It wasn’t as if with the temperature reaching a certain point the change would invariably happen, so I am not sure what the temperature was supposed to tell us exactly.

The fact that Grace’s parents were totally oblivious to the fact that Sam was practically living in their house was strange to say the least. OK, they left Grace pretty much to her own devices but how can parents be so clueless and uninterested? This could have been one source of conflict that was not fully explored here. Grace deals with it in her head, but never confronts her parents.

I have heard from someone that a few people have complained about Grace having no backbone. I really have no idea where those people are coming from. I liked her. She was matter-of-fact, independent, reliable and quite practical when it came to helping Sam out in tricky situations or when she was with Jack and had to think of a way to get help for herself.

Another thing I had also read somewhere before was that Sam was constantly writing song lyrics reflecting his emotions. That sounded rather interesting, but somehow I didn’t particularly care for them. The choice of poetry that Sam read to Grace was equally unsatisfactory to me. I love poetry but Rainer Maria Rilke wouldn’t have been my first choice if I wanted to introduce someone to either poetry or German.

One side character I particularly liked was Isabel, Jack’s sister. Even though at first she is the condescending, rich and spoilt girl with her little dog in her purse, she later turns out to be helpful and sincere. Her snappy way and bitchy attitude could not hide the fact that she is a good person after all. From what I read she will be also a major character in "Linger", the sequel to "Shiver", and I am really looking forward to reading more about her.

I’m not sure whether I liked the ending. First of all, the whole cure theory and the execution of administering it was more than dubious. Was it realistic how Isabel got the blood? Was it realistic how they got them all to the hospital and out again? That all sounded very half-baked and it was happening too fast.

The re-unification of Grace and Sam was, well, nice, but I was missing some sort of explanation as to what happened to him after he ran away. Grace assumed he was dead, and then, all of a sudden, he returns and that’s it? That was anticlimatic. I can only hope that "Linger" will pick up exactly at this point and will deliver what I have been missing. 


Title Shiver
Author Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher Scholastic
ISBN 978-0545123273
Buy link Buy Shiver


Want to read what others think about this book?

Read Carin’s review of Shiver. Her thoughts went along a totally different line.

Here is Leeswammes review of it.

And this is what Iris has to say about it.  

Chachic’s thoughts on it.  


Her kind of hero by Kathleen Dienne


Kissing him is better than nothing.
Young widow Vanessa Bingham is ready to stop mourning. She misses the intimacy and tenderness of a man’s touch. It’s obvious her old friend Derek Lane wants her, so why does her first attempt at seduction cause him to flee?
Kissing her is a dream come true.
Derek has been in love with Vanessa forever. His feelings have kept him from having a serious relationship-or a casual one-with any other woman. So when she finally turns to him, he doesn’t want to settle for being friends with benefits.
But Vanessa is a hard woman to resist for long…
Someone doesn’t want them kissing at all.
Just as things with Derek begin heating up, disturbing photos start to arrive at Vanessa’s door. Someone is watching her every move: someone she may know. Terrified by the stalker’s very real threats, Vanessa soon realizes that Derek may be just the hero she needs after all.

My thoughts: 

This sounds like your run of the mill “budding love vs. creepy stalker” story. It was quite nice though. If more so called boring guys were like Derek, they would be in much more demand.

Derek is thoughtful, considerate, a DIY wizard, strong, smart, reliable, has a face like a model and the body of a god. Anything else? Vanessa knows what she wants and has no problem with saying it, too.

Very soon, however, it is obvious that Derek has some issues, because he doesn’t want to give Vanessa what she craves. Not a big surprise here. The reader already knows where he is coming from way before Vanessa does, which made her look a bit slow in my eyes.

The stalker problem is another thing. First of all, it is more than obvious who the stalker is. You don’t have to be an experienced mystery reader to figure that one out. Vanessa, however, is oblivious. Fair enough. What I didn’t understand was how she and Derek could be so nonchalant about the threat coming from the stalker. Derek frequently leaves her alone at her house even though it is by no means certain she is safe there. If I had a crazy stalker watching me 24/7 AND if I was mad about Derek, I’d take every opportunity I could get to sleep over at Derek’s house, especially since he was offering. That didn’t make any sense to me.

Anyway, Derek’s little problem solved, the stalker under lock and key, everybody is happy and we end up with a proposal. I could have done without that, but I suppose, given Derek’s nature, Vanessa had it coming. Unless it is a historical where a wedding seems to be a sine qua non, a proposal or wedding always adds a bit too much sugar for my taste. But that is me.


Title Her kind of hero
Author Kathleen Dienne
Publisher Carina Press
ISBN 9781426890789
Buy link Her kind of hero will be available on 11/22 at the Carina Press website

Soulless by Gail Carriger


Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

My thoughts: 

This is the first book I read for my Steampunk challenge. Everybody talks about the Parasol Protectorate series, of which this is the first book with Changeless and Blameless to follow. Two more sequels, Heartless and Timeless, will be released in the next two years.

Since this is the first steampunk book I have ever read (except a m/m novella which I don’t count here) I have no idea how to rate it as far as the steampunk factor is concerned. It is set in an alternative Victorian London; werewolves, vampires, ghosts and other supernatural beings have come out years before and are now an official, if not 100% popular, part of society. The plot revolves around mysterious appearances and disappearances of supernatural beings and it is up to Alexia and Lord Maccon to detect what is going on (if only by accident and with the help of a few delectable dandies).

Alexia is a preternatural, the only one known in fact, who can neutralize supernatural powers merely through touch. I found this an interesting twist. In no paranormal story I have read so far did I come across anybody who could negate the supernatural at all, let alone this easily. Her interactions with her paramour-to-be were delightful. Both thoroughly dislike each other – or so they think – and that made for some very agreeable banter.

The other main characters are all fleshed out and, if not likeable, at least believable. The typical werewolf – vampire differences are in place. The vampires are refined to foppish, the werewolves down-to-earth to rough and boisterous. I absolutely loved Lord Akeldama and his drones. I hope I will see more of them in the future.

One thing I could have done without were the descriptions of the experiments in the club. I hate that sort of thing and I would have known that those scientists were rather crazy, fanatical and dangerous without reading all that. So I skipped some of it, even though I am sure I missed out on some great machinery ideas that way.

The idea to lock Alexia into the cell with the biggest werewolf gave a chance to throw in a lovely scene between her and Lord Maccon. Strange how people in love are inclined to kiss and pet even in the worst circumstances. But then, I suppose they were locked in and could only wait. So what better pastime than to make out?

I very much enjoyed reading Soulless and will definitely continue with that series. If you like the paranormal, romance (not too explicit), an element of humour and a lot of entertainment, get it!

On Gail Carriger’s website you will find a page about Alexia’s London, along with sketches of characters and outfits, deleted scenes and more. A nice addition to the reading experience.

Title Soulless
Author Gail Carriger
Publisher Orbit Books
ISBN 978-0316056632
Buy link Buy Soulless

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.


Heather at Books and Quilts 


Aquamarine by Sara Bell


Derek is an award winning football player who also happens to be out as a gay man. His college and his coach are behind him, as is his best friend and fellow player, Ford. The only person who doesn’t seem to support him is his boyfriend, and the other teams aren’t fond of him.

When his promising career is cut short, Derek has to re-evaluate his whole life. Everyone gathers around to support him, but some things he has to figure out for himself, like his relationship with his boyfriend, and his friendship with Ford. Will Derek make the right choices and find a way to get everything he wants?

Originally published as the Birthstone Aquamarine.

My thoughts: 

When I read the blurb of this re-release I had to get it right away. It sounded just too nice to give it a pass.

This story was just so sweet. It is short and there is no conflict to speak of, it still is captivating. You just have to love Derek and Ford and absolutely hate Paul, Derek’s boyfriend. Ugh, what a superficial, selfish, career driven bastard. By rights Derek should have sent him packing months ago. But then, I could see why he held on to this lacklustre relationship when he thought he can’t have what he really wanted.

First I was wondering whether this would turn out as a gay for you story, but it didn’t. The reason for Ford’s rejection of Derek that was given was valid; it was not some far fetched explanation that would have made the whole plot unrealistic.

I am not sure whether the ending and the fact that Derek was an officially gay football player to begin with isn’t a bit too good to be true. I don’t know anything about American Football, but if it is anything like soccer over here there is probably a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in place that makes it extremely hard to come out. So this aspect of the story might be a bit too optimistic, but it was definitely enjoyable to read for once about a successful athlete who doesn’t need to hide his proclivities.

I wasn’t familiar with Sara Bell before, but after reading Aquamarine I definitely will check out her backlist. If you like a quick read with two lovely young guys who finally realize what they really want, a supportive family and a super sweet ending and epilogue, get it!

Title Aquamarine
Author Sara Bell
Publisher Torquere Books
ISBN 978-1-60370-308-6
Buy link Buy Aquamarine

Last Snow of Winter by Ian Muise


As spring break arrives, Mark Poole is focused on his goal of becoming a veterinarian, set on pleasing his proud parents even though he really wants to be an artist. He also carefully keeps his desires frozen—for their sake. But he can’t help the attraction he feels for the burly, unapproachable lineman who shares two of his classes.

Cliff Stevens is equally set on achieving his adopted dream of becoming a professional football player to the exclusion of almost everything else. Cliff drifts through the days alone, but he can guess what Mark has in mind when he catches him watching one day.

After an accidental encounter, Cliff proposes a bargain: for one week during the break, they will set aside their reservations and play at being together, exploring each other, and perhaps even learning a little about themselves as well.

My thoughts: 

I don’t know yet whether I liked this or not. I am ambivalent about it.

The blurb sounded good. When I saw this one as an upcoming release on Dreamspinner I decided to get it as soon as it became available. Not that I am a big fan of jocks, but I love a nice contrast.

The overall feel of the story, even though it was not a cabin romance, was almost as if the two men were secluded from the rest of the world. The town was practically deserted with most of the students gone, the families were far away, the roommate had left, the football teammates likewise, except for a couple of them. Mark and Cliff were either alone or together with no other people around (with a few exceptions, but they were few and far between).

How Mark got together with Cliff and that both had been thinking about each other for a while, I was fine with that as well. So, what is it that put me off?

I found the writing style somewhat choppy. Maybe this is because I am German and we love long, complicated sentences with lots of subordinate clauses; the sentence structure here didn’t make for a smooth reading. Maybe I am nitpicking but when I read one subject – predicate – object – sentence after another I get bored.

Cliff and Mark were continuously second guessing what they were doing and were often in a situation where one or the other was afraid they might have hurt the other man. That is realistic to a certain extent, but at one point I had enough of that. It was always either Mark wondering what Cliff had on his mind now since he was quiet and subdued, the next moment it was the other way around. Chill out a bit, guys!

Then, one of my pet peeves came along. The breaking up because “you deserve better”. Haven’t we all heard that before? Well, I have. And nothing irritates me more. It’s trite, it’s cheap and it’s the default statement because it makes the one who breaks up feeling better about it. After all he only does it FOR the breakee (is that a word at all? It sounds like straight out of Seinfeld). Yeah, right.

And the ending? I am not sure about this one either. Cliff’s change of mind came a bit too fast for me. He knew all about his football career prospects being a bit uncertain for quite some time and still he kept hanging on to them. Then, all of a sudden, he turns around by 180 degrees.

After writing all this I still am undecided. I liked it and I didn’t. So, I guess, you will have to go and see for yourself.

Title Last Snow of Winter
Author Ian Muise
Publisher Dreamspinner Press


Buy link Buy Last Snow of Winter

Broken by S. L. Carpenter


Jesse Andersen is a broken man. His life is shattering around him, leaving him tired and alone—wondering if there is anything left of his soul. Then one rainy night, the winds of fate blow his way and suddenly he finds a woman who can make him smile once more.
Kari Hawkins has her own wounds to heal. Dating Jesse is a risky proposition—a gamble with emotions that are still raw and painful. Except something about this man calls to her heart with a voice that shares her sadness and offers hope. Hope that maybe, just maybe, he can be the one…
Like the pieces of a puzzle, Kari and Jesse come together for solace, for warmth and finally for passion. It’s not easy or casual, but it is hot and sensual—and what they both need. Neither wants to ask if it will last—nor do they anticipate the future until it confronts them head-on. Then it’s time to ask if their broken lives have truly healed…

My thoughts: 

At first I thought not to blog about this story at all. My reviews usually are quite balanced, at least I hope so, and I don’t do snark. Then I thought about this sorry piece of work again and decided to talk about it after all, if only to prevent people from reading it.

I know from experience that stories published by Ellora’s Cave are heavy on the sex side, but this story was not only that but badly written to boot. On top of everything else its plot made no sense whatsoever.

Talking about that plot and its inconsistencies already gives this book too much credit since it indicates there is actually a plot to discuss. I’ll try anyway for the benefit of potential readers. Forewarned is forearmed.

Kari is recovering from an abusive relationship and longs for a new and steady one. What does she do in the prologue? She goes out with friends to have a look at what is out there. Nothing wrong with that. She picks up a piano player at a bar and decides "she had found the warm body she wanted for this night". What follows is a sex scene that is totally not enjoyable (for both, her and the reader). Is that the behaviour of someone who is looking for a serious relationship? Find a body “for this night”?

Anyway, the next day she meets Jesse in front of her house when she goes to work. Jesse who is totally plastered watched Kari through a gap in the curtain crying her little heart out while she was showering the night before. He recognizes her through his stupor and after sobering up visits her in the diner she works at. They arrange a date. Right, I can only repeat it, the woman who just experienced a bad one night stand and who longs for a serious relationship with a nice fellow (I’m not saying Jesse won’t turn out as a nice fellow, he will, but she doesn’t know that yet, does she?) is arranging a date with a man she met a few hours earlier while he was half slouching over her car, half sitting in a pile of trash with rubbish in his hair, pissed as a newt. Makes sense?

Jesse’s issues have to do with his ex girlfriend who told him he was not good enough for her and that he doesn’t give her enough freedom. As a result he is "broken". Oh, is he? Not so sure about that. He is pretty social, open, invites Kari on a date and more or less immediately wants to fuck her. There is no indication he is down, depressed or crushed, other than that we are told frequently that he is. No, wait a minute, he does slump in his chair a bit after meeting his ex at a restaurant during his date with Kari. And a few lines later he “was now withdrawn, somewhat hidden”. Does that count?

And there we come to the main problem with this story. I often wondered about what the difference was between telling and showing. Now I know. If you need a prime example of a story where things are being told constantly but never shown then read this one.

Just one example:

Before he could reach the latch, she kissed him.

Her tongue was hot and wet as it slid into Jesse’s mouth. Kari’s pussy was already hot and was now becoming wetter by the moment as his hands fondled her body.

This was passion at its peak.

Oh, was it? You could have fooled me. "Passion at its peak" might be a nice alliteration but the fact remains that I didn’t notice anything particularly passionate about the character’s actions.

I am no native English speaker so I hardly ever comment on choice of words, sentence structure and on whether a certain expression is appropriate in a given context or not. However, I can’t refrain from doing so in this case.

A passage (one of many) that struck me a little odd:

“God, I thought you were full from dinner. Oh, my…” Jesse moaned, feeling her pull up.

With a pop, Kari let him free from her tight lips. Panting, she answered back. “It’s not this pair of lips that are hungry. It’s these.”

She climbed on Jesse and reached back to close the open car door.

Isn’t this just awful? Is this supposed to be witty, funny or seductive? Sorry, it is neither. There are plenty of examples for this sort of “dialogue” along the lines of “I am hungry” – “I’ll give you something to swallow”. Wow, I’ve got to say, I am impressed. If a man said that to me I’d be his sex slave for life.


Kari dug into her purse  on the floorboard. She smeared her juices along the length of his cock resting between the lips of her pussy.

Did she find her juices in her purse and got them out in order to use them? As it turns out she dug into her purse for a condom, but for a second I was surprised.

Also, this is erotica (at least I thought so before I started reading) and I personally do not think it is very erotic to read about people who are literally drooling. And they drool quite a bit – either because they are drunk or horny. Also, I find the following expression a bit unfortunate:

Her mind was a blur of thoughts. Her mouth sucking and slobbering over Jesse’s straining cock.

Excuse me? She was "slobbering" over his cock? Isn’t that what dogs do? Well, not necessarily over a man’s dick, but in general? The image of a woman "slobbering" is such a turn off that I didn’t want to continue reading.

And that is why I stopped. I can’t believe I paid money for this miserable excuse for an erotic story. It is neither erotic nor sensual. Before you go and spend anything on this go and look for free erotic stories on the net. I assure you you cannot do worse and you will probably do much better.


Title Broken
Author S. L. Carpenter
Publisher Ellora’s Cave


Buy link Buy Broken, if you must

Model Student by Shae Connor


Making his living as a model allows Aaron Stevens to pay his way through film school at NYU. While on a photo shoot, he meets Matt Carson, a journalism student who wants to interview Aaron for his senior project, and they feel an instant connection that catches them both off guard. As their relationship develops over the next week, they open up to each other about their pasts, but attraction won’t be enough to keep them together unless they can share their secrets too.

My thoughts: 

In the author bio at the end of the story it says about Shae Connor she “writes about pretty boys falling in love”. Yeah, you can say that. Aaron and Matt are both pretty boys, one is a part time model, the other good looking enough that he could be, and they fall in love at first sight. So far, so good.

There is instant attraction, but soon it becomes apparent that both men have issues to resolve. And not minor ones. Due to Aaron’s problem with being lied to (not that I blame him, nobody likes that, but his temper issue blew that fib totally out of proportion) he and Matt separated. Aaron’s overreaction was met by Matt’s who took the blame for lying in a big way when, in reality, they should have just talked it over and reconciled. Matt’s further issue I found much more difficult even though it did not pose an immediate problem. The two guys have quite a lot of baggage to carry around: that’s why their making up happened a bit too quickly for me. Mind you, I was all for it, I really liked them both, but they resolved this major lying issue (even though to me it would have been a minor one) within two days and there comes the happily ever after. Once more the oh so popular novella format has cut the story short.

As to the end, I totally loved the last sentence which gave a humorous note to an otherwise pretty serious story. I can already see Matt’s new fetish coming along here, :).  

Title Model Student
Author Shae Connor
Publisher Dreamspinner Press


Buy link Buy Model Student

Perilous Partnership by Ariel Tachna


A year after the end of the war that brought them together, Raymond Payet and Jean Bellaiche have found a balance in their relationship: Jean drinks only Raymond’s blood; Raymond sleeps only in Jean’s bed. The demands of their public roles as president of l’Association Nationale de Sorcellerie and chef de la Cour of the Parisian vampires keep them busy dealing with fallout from the war and the alliance, particularly the not-always-successful partnerships between vampires and wizards.

The foundation of an institute to research and educate wizards and vampires about the implications of the partnership bonds only adds to those responsibilities. When political factions, both vampire and mortal, oppose their leaders’ decisions, the stress begins to affect Raymond and Jean’s deepening relationship. And when political opposition turns to vandalism and then to violence, they’ll have to find a way to reconcile their personal and professional lives before external and internal forces pull them apart.

My thoughts: 

If you liked the Partnership in Blood series as much as I did you will enjoy this spin-off. However, it is much different from the previous four books. Why?

It mainly concentrates on one couple, Jean and Raymond, instead of telling the stories of various couples. We meet Orlando and Alain, Sebastien and Thierry and others, but the main focus is on one couple. All the others are only side characters about whose lives we learn only very little if anything.

The story is less energetic. The war is over and there is no immediate danger to fight against. Therefore the pace is slightly slower until some occurrences force everybody to get out of their happy living routine and try to find out what is going on. There are some obstacles to overcome in regards to their plans with the institute, but they are not that big an issue.

The main couple is an established one. Jean and Raymond have been living together for some time and now they have to deal with how to shape their future together. There is no new love interest to pursue, no discovering the personality of someone new. Some anxiety, yes, but not the usual “I’m falling in love, does he love me back” kind.

Once I got my mind wrapped around all this, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this “sequel”. And it is a sequel as well as a spin-off. It picks up after the war with Raymond being the president of l’ANS and a new institute to be opened to research the partnerships in more depth. At the same time it is supposed to educate wizards and vampires on how partnerships work and help them to  find partners if they wish.

I had a problem with that education. It is a good idea to tell people beforehand what they are getting into, however, the instructors are not as open as I would have wished them to be. L’ANS is accused at some point of pandering, which is, of course, ridiculous. However, after those accusations Thierry points out that all partnerships (maybe with the exception of Marcel and M. Lombard, but they are a different league) turned sexual at one point, regardless of the previous preferences of the persons involved. Wouldn’t that be a very important aspect that needs addressing in those educational classes? It seems that all they tell the “students”, though, is that people can decide if they want to form a partnership before an actual blood exchange by checking if they are compatible in other ways. They say that they are in control over how the partnership develops. Nobody ever mentions that once blood is exchanged chances are you will have a sexual relationship. Even Jude and Adele who were NOT compatible in any way and hated each other’s guts had a sexual relationship, if you want to call it that.

At one point Raymond came over as the old prejudiced guy I thought he had shed. When Jean offers the Aveu de Sang his reaction was way over the top. He could have said, he will have to think about it instead of answering in such a dismissive way. Did Orlando treat Alain like cattle? I found this comparison with the branding quite unfair and harsh. It would have befitted a researcher of Raymond’s calibre to stop and think and maybe get an opinion of someone who knows before declining in such a rude manner. Jean must have considerable thick skin to not walk out the door for good after such a rejection.

Apart from those minor things it was a great continuation of the series which I liked a lot. I don’t know whether there is anything more planned, but the ending does not immediately suggest another spin-off or sequel. I really would have liked to see Adele and Jude come together. But that would have probably been a task to difficult even for Ariel herself :).

For readers who liked the Partnership in blood series, this is a must read. To all newcomers I recommend to read the previous four books first, otherwise you won’t get much fun out of this one.

Title Perilous Partnership
Author Ariel Tachna
Publisher Dreamspinner Press


Buy link Buy Perilous Partnership

Duncan’s World by T. A. Chase


Kyle MacDonald keeps his head down and tries to avoid making his father angry while traveling on the professional bull riding circuit. He’s learned the hard way how his father deals with being upset. The only rebellion Kyle’s allowed himself is helping out with the bulls after the event. It’s on one such night that Kyle meets Duncan Hornsby.

Duncan’s the reigning world Champion, and has everything he could want. Yet the shy young man whose father is Duncan’s biggest rival catches his eye. Kyle makes Duncan feel protective and passionate. Even though he’s fourteen years older than Kyle, Duncan’s ready to risk rejection to see if Kyle’s lips taste as sweet as they look.

Could a relationship grow between them amidst the macho atmosphere of bull riding and the danger presented by Kyle’s father? Or will Kyle and Duncan prove that age doesn’t count in matters of the heart?

My thoughts: 

I like age gap stories and when I looked around on Elisa Rolle’s LJ among the age gap tagged ones I stumbled upon this one.

I like a Western theme once in a while, so I got it.

I am not sure T. A. Chase is for me. I reviewed a story by that writer once before (Bound by Love) and it seems I now am writing almost the same review again.

The two men were attracted to each other immediately after meeting for the first time and landed in bed within hours. Given the fact that Kyle had suffered a severe beating up just a bit before and risked quite a lot by following Duncan into his room and given the fact that there was an age issue to overcome I found this somewhat overhasty. 

At first I thought the conflict with Kyle’s abusive father would be overwhelming, but as it turned out this was not so. Yes, he physically abused his son, which I do not want to play down, but he is basically a bully who caves when being threatened himself. So that issue got resolved without much fuss. A verbal threat to expose him was enough to send him packing.

So, what have we got?

  • Age issue? Duncan got over that quickly; he was a bit worried, got reassured by Kyle. Check.
  • Abusive father? Threatened Kyle and Duncan, then caved. Check.
  • Duncan being outed? No big deal as far as it went. Check.
  • Kyle’s family? Apart from the father they were more than ok with Kyle new relationship. Check.
  • Duncan’s grandfather? More progressive than a lot of younger guys. Check.

We’re all good.

Another thing I had a problem with is Kyle’s mother. I did not understand why she would never step in and tried to protect her son. The reason that was given made no sense whatsoever. She might not have been able to divorce that jerk, but she could have still tried to protect Kyle from the constant abuse (call police, report her husband, I could think of some more unpleasant ways). No husband of mine would ever abuse my child without suffering consequences. The mother seemed to be caring enough, so why she let that happen was beyond me.

All in all, I found this a quick and uncomplicated read. I never had to worry about the outcome of the story. If you like straightforward stories with instant attraction and only little conflict this might be something for you.

Title Duncan’s World
Author T. A. Chase
Publisher Amber Allure
ISBN 978-1-60272-668-0
Buy link Buy Duncan’s World

The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacob

The Monkey's Paw coverShort blurb:

The story is based on the famous "setup" in which three wishes are granted. In the story, the paw of a dead monkey is a talisman that grants its possessor three wishes, but the wishes come with an enormous price for interfering with fate.


My thoughts:

I decided to re-read this very short story for the “Short Story peril” option of the RIP challenge.

There is not much to be said about this story without giving anything away, since it is only ten pages long. It shows the reader very clearly what the saying “Be careful what you wish for” means and that everybody who wishes for things does it at his own peril.

The time frame is about a week and in that one week pretty dreadful things happen to Mr. and Mrs. White and their son. Just shows you that you can never be too careful when expressing a wish. I found it quite interesting to hear that the old fakir who put the spell on the monkey’s paw did so to show “that those who interfered with it [i.e. fate] did so to their sorrow”. Unfortunately it seems that for most people that knowledge comes too late. They don’t listen to sound advice but need to know at first hand – and suffer the consequences as a result.

If you would like to read this story and haven’t got it, it is available as a free e-book at Project Gutenberg as well as a free audio book.

The Monkey’s Paw free e-book

The Monkey’s Paw free audio book


The Wish by Eden Winters


Alex Martin is arrogant, wealthy, spoiled and lonely. His never-ending stream of lovers sees only his wallet. Hiding behind a mask of aloof indifference, he really wants someone who can see past the money, someone who’ll stand up to him as an equal.

Down-to-earth bookstore owner Paul Sinclair insists on making his own way in life. He longs for someone who thinks, works, and doesn’t ask for hand outs: a true partner in every sense of the word.
After years of avoidance they finally meet, and neither is impressed. Though worlds apart they share a common bond: their uncles, Alfred and Byron, are long-term partners. And when the uncles conspire to match-make, a little thing like Byron’s being a ghost isn’t going to stop them.

My thoughts: 

After reading her free novel "The telling" and after hearing a lot of good about "The Wish"I decided to give it a try. I am not too enthusiastic about ghosts so I didn’t know how I would like that aspect of the story.

It starts with a funeral, something not too common. Soon it becomes clear that the deceased and his partner have a plan that needs carrying out. They want to play matchmaker and bring their two nephews together. Not easy, when one of them is a self-indulgent rich "playboy" and the other a serious bookshop owner who strongly dislikes his counterpart.

Alex, the “rich guy” is a mystery to me. He has a good character and is longing for a committed relationship, but is not able to find one, since nobody cares to look behind his facade to discover the real man. That is all nice and good, but seriously…If he is looking for a serious partner instead of one night stands and man sluts maybe he should look at other places than the clubbing scene and change the focus of his activities a bit. Behaving like a promiscuous, money flaunting show-off will mainly result in meeting promiscuous gold-diggers. Moaning about this without changing his way of life is somewhat silly.

Another thing that baffled me was that he so readily discarded his good opinion of his uncle and thought the worst of him. Even though he blamed Paul for "seducing" his uncle the fact remains that his uncle would have had to let himself be seduced. How likely is that after losing his partner of 30 years only a few days before?

The slow development of the relationship between Alex and Paul was nicely done.  Sometimes I found the eternal dancing around each other a bit too much, though. First Alex is the aggressor, then he promises to back off and does just that while Paul starts to wish he wouldn’t. Come on already!Somehow the pace was sometimes too slow and sometimes too fast for me.

Then there is the whole set up with the ghost. I’m undecided on whether I like ghosts or not. Somehow their presence makes things a bit too easy and at the same time too complicated. I believe that even without Byron’s machinations (as a ghost) eventually Alex and Paul would have found each other. The whole jealousy angle only made matters worse in my opinion instead of facilitate them. Then again, IF you want to meddle in affairs of men a ghost is a simple way to achieve this without having to explain a lot.

Towards the end it tends to become a bit too sappy for my taste. No, I worded this wrong, I don’t mind sappy in general, but not in combination with people dying and leaving video messages that leave everybody crying. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, I just don’t like to read about it.

All in all I am ambivalent about this story. I liked the characters, even though I sometimes didn’t understand the reason behind their behaviour, the plot development and the general set up. I am not too fussed about the ghost, all the deaths and the changing pace of the story. But this is all me. A lot of people liked The Wish, so you should definitely give it a try.


Title The Wish
Author Eden Winters
Publisher Torquere Books
ISBN 978-1-60370-918-7
Buy link Buy The Wish

The Princess Bride readalong, part 1

princess bride graphicThe readalong has started and I finally have the time to talk about it. So far we read until part 4, called “The preparations”.

This is a re-read for me so I already knew that all the talk about the book being written by S. Morgenstern and only abridged by William Goldman is all a big ruse.

I have to say that I found the introduction for the 25th Anniversary edition and then the preface or whatever you want to call it slightly lengthy if not boring. I skimmed it and was eager to finally get to “The Bride” part. Then the fun started.

I don’t know about you, but I have to admit that I don’t really like Buttercup very much. She seems to be quite cool with other people and especially condescending with Westley. Her sudden discovery that she loves him is based on jealousy and pretty shallow. Her declaration of love is sudden and totally over the top, and when she considers herself rejected, she turns it all into a joke. I can’t really find anything captivating in her – apart from her beauty, which is only revealed after she’s being told to bloody wash herself. How charming is that?

I love the style of writing with those little jokes that make the setting of time and place rather hard to determine. It is set before Europe, but AFTER America. The country Florin is set between Sweden and Germany, that would basically make it Denmark. Guilder is on the other side of the channel, God knows, what that might be, geographically it would be Sweden probably, but since we are speaking of a time before Europe, who knows. It’s all a bit vague.

Anyway, this is a fun read and I am already looking forward to the next part.

See Chrisbookarama’s post about the first part here.


The Telling by Eden Winters


Time in Iraq cost Michael Ritter some of his hearing and a friend whose death he feels responsible for. He’d left Alabama hoping to escape a dull, small-town life, but now, four years later, he’s returning, lugging a duffle full of personal demons. Engineering student Jay Ortiz attends college in a place where his heritage and orientation aren’t widely accepted. While adjusting to new surroundings he found a soldier’s picture. During lonely times he confided in the image of the somber young man, giving his heart away to a stranger. Now that stranger is coming home…

My thoughts: 

After bitching and moaning for the last weeks about stories that are too short for their topic I went and read another novel by a new author – new for me anyway. On Goodreads Kassa recommended Eden Winters to me and I gave her novel "The Telling" (I think it is her first one) a try. The story is available for free at the GLBT Bookshelf and it is well worth the read.

It is a rather quiet story about Michael and Jay falling in love and Michael slow healing process with only little interference from outsiders. Nothing exciting or dramatic, but incredibly sweet and lovely. Jay is absolutely perfect (I’d almost say too perfect. But his obsession with Michael before he even meets him makes him human after all), Michael, however, has issues to resolve. Together they are a good couple.

The side characters were almost all supportive and well drawn. I can’t say I was too fussed about Angie, Michael’s sister, though. I have no siblings, so I don’t really know anything about typical big sister behaviour but she seemed overly meddlesome to me. Too meddlesome for me anyway. The constant prodding for information, the matchmaking and telling Jay and Michael what to do or not to do really got on my nerves. In the scene when she comes to Michael’s house while Jay was still sleeping I would have just told her to bloody leave. Geez!

The story is quite long, almost 70.000 words and I finished it in half a day. I started reading in the afternoon and was done sometime at night. That should tell you all you need to know, considering that I usually I am a very slow reader. It’s that good.

If you are not familiar with Eden Winters, go and read it!

Title The Telling
Author Eden Winters
Publisher Free download
Download link Get The telling for free at the GLBT bookshelf (scroll down a bit)

Just a summer fling by Lily Grace


Broken-hearted, self-esteem shattered, and dragged on vacation by his parents, Ryan doesn’t think he could be more miserable. All that changes when he meets Chris, the most gorgeous surfer he’s ever seen. Shocked when Chris takes an interest in him, Ryan decides that maybe a summer fling is just what he needs to get over his ex. But Chris has a secret, and Ryan, still hurting from his failed relationship, isn’t at all prepared to deal with it. Could Chris’ revelation ruin their chances of a fling before things even get started? Or, is there a possibility of something more?

My thoughts: 

This is a very quick read and a very sweet story. Ryan definitely needs an ego boost after the break up with his jerk of a boyfriend and Chris is just the man to give it to him.

The two guys are very nice together and very likeable. The “secret” in the blurb is not as bad as it sounds and gets resolved rather quickly. Even though the story is very short it conveys a good summer-y atmosphere and makes you want to know more about what is going to happen next. I wouldn’t mind reading a sequel about Ryan and Chris.

Oh, if you insist on a hot sex scene or two, this is not for you. This story is as harmless as it can be. The Torquere rating is “bell pepper”, which is the lowest rating on their scale. 

Title Just a summer fling
Author Lily Grace
Publisher Torquere Books
Buy link Buy Just a summer fling

And is never shaken by Alexi Silversmith


Cassian Ford is a successful writer in his forties, established at the local university. Andy Havers is a book restorer in his early twenties who just moved to town. They have nothing in common, and yet somehow everywhere they go, they seem to run into each other. Despite a bumpy beginning—an exasperated Cassian accuses Andy of being a stalker—the gap in age, and their many other differences, a passionate romance develops between them. But just when Andy is convinced he’s found true love, secrets from Cassian’s past erupt into the present, and Andy realizes it might not be him Cassian wants at all….

My thoughts: 

I liked Alexi Silversmith’s “Ruby Slippers” (apart from my misgivings about the wrong format), so I gave her another go. And again, the story is too short. This is such a shame since I liked the plot, the characters and the writing a lot. Just the plot development was rushed once more to the extreme which resulted in an even more rushed ending that was way too abrupt.

The first chapter was a tiny bit over the top with emotions. That scene and the fact that Cassian came out with some of the truth about his relationship with Adam early on gave me that bad feeling about the outcome of the story that lasted until the end. Andy who was so down to earth, nice and sensible (all in a good way) should have been a bit more reserved in my opinion. When Andy told  Patrick, his friend and someone I would definitely like to know more about, about Cassian he reacted in the way I would have expected. His warning was dismissed, however, and I did not understand that. Andy just jumped into that relationship without any misgivings about Cassian’s motives whatsoever. I found that strange. My alarm bells would have been ringing.

All this sounds as if I hadn’t liked the story, but I loved it. I loved Andy and I liked Cassian. The romance was rushed, yes, but I could live with that. When Andy and Cassian part in front of Andy’s flat I couldn’t believe what Cassian said to him. Those guys only had established that they liked each other after their previous unfortunate meetings and then Cassian came onto Andy like that. Whoa! I liked it.

When Andy found out the “truth” his reaction was understandable but the resolution was too quick and easy. I would have preferred a longer format to give more room for exploring Andy’s feelings after hearing the truth and to give an outlook into the future. I am not a big fan of epilogues, but in this case an epilogue would have been the minimum I expected. Sorry, but those last lines were not adequate in the least – even though you might say that Shakespeare expresses it better than anybody else would have done. Speaking of Shakespeare, I wonder why Andy didn’t recite the sonnet completely, but left out the first line(s) earlier on in the book.

All that being said, I need to have a look whether Alexi Silversmith wrote other stories in a longer format. I think they would be a real treat.

Title And is never shaken
Author Alexi Silversmith
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 978-1-61581-445-9
Buy link Buy And is never shaken

Touch me Gently by J. R. Loveless

TouchMeGently Blurb:

Always hiding his tormented past along with his scarred body, Kaden James finds it difficult to keep a job. Luck finally turns his way when he finds work as a cook on a Montana ranch, where he meets terrifyingly handsome Logan Michaels. Logan is different from any man Kaden’s ever met, and before long, he finds himself falling in love with the big cowboy.
But Kaden’s nightmares won’t let go of him so easily, and he’s not just jumping at shadows. He has nearly a lifetime of abuse, horrifying memories, and pain addiction to overcome. Can Logan’s gentle touch help Kaden heal inside?

My thoughts: 

In the last few weeks I read a couple of books that were way too short for the story to be told properly, so I was looking forward to reading this novel. I’m all for the tortured hero and all and, God, nobody can be disappointed in that respect. Poor Kaden has suffered a lot during his childhood and it didn’t even stop once he got to Logan’s ranch. This was a bit much, really. Can’t you give the poor man a break? I found the fact that there was another one of those perverts right there on the ranch somewhat disturbing. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire.

There were a few more things that bothered me about the characters or the plot.

Gay for you

I’m not particularly keen on “gay for you” stories. That point didn’t come across very believable for me at all. Logan never felt anything for a man before and then along comes Kaden. From then on, Logan acted as if it was the most natural thing in the world to fall in love with a “boy” (more to that in bit). He was surprised about himself, admittedly, but took it in stride. How come there was no concern whatsoever about what other people might think when he is all of a sudden in a gay relationship. We’re talking about a ranch owner in a small town in Montana here.  And what about the woman he has been going out with? As much as it is desirable that she understands the sudden switch to men and the resulting dumping of hers (that happened tacitly), is it realistic?

Contradictive behaviour & jealousy

In the hospital first Kaden finds Becca’s father reacting cold towards her. Given the situation that father must be a right ass. Later on however, he acted like you would expect him to react, so what was the cold, detached father thing about?

Logan’s jealousy didn’t sit well with me at all. Somehow that went against his character the rest of the time. When he gets into the hospital room and finds another man touching “his” Kaden he is angry about this. Why? It’s a physical therapist, for crying out loud. The same later again when they are in the recording studio. He wants to lock Kaden away from the world so nobody can steal him away from him? If I was Kaden I’d run as fast as I could.

Christine Feehan for the m/m crowd

One thing that sort of spoiled the story for me completely was the way Logan addressed or thought of Kaden as his “little one” or “the kid”. If you read hetero romance and love Christine Feehan and you feel like trying out m/m, go and read this book! I wish they wouldn’t  have called him a “teen” constantly. OK, he IS a teen technically, but did that have to be mentioned all the time? He is 19 at the start of the book (Logan is 9 years older), and even almost 2 years later he still is “the little one”. Sorry, but he is not.

I love books with a large age gap and I have read books with minors and the young age of characters never bothers me, but this constant focus on Kaden being a boy and Logan being the oh so big, strong adult really rubbed me up the wrong way.

All those things are depending on the individual reader (as almost everything is), so if you like a very tortured and sensitive hero, characters very devoted to each other and  a slowly building relationship this might be for you.

Title Touch me Gently
Author J. R. Loveless
Publisher Dreamspinner Press


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