Category Archives: Amy

3.5 Stars for Small Town Troubly by Jean Erhardt – #FF #Mystery

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Title: Small Town Trouble
Author Name: Jean Erhardt
Publication Date & Length: April 1, 2013 – 192 pgs

Synopsis

In Small Town Trouble, the first in my mystery series, you get acquainted with Kim Claypoole’s irreverent ways of dealing with the peculiar characters and events that seem to follow her around. Claypoole’s misadventures begin as she leaves her home in the Smoky Mountains to help save her kooky mother Evelyn’s from financial disaster. Setting off to assist Evelyn, AKA “The Other Scarlett O’Hara,” with her newest personal crisis, Claypoole leaves her Gatlinburg doublewide and the Little Pigeon, the restaurant that she owns with her partner and sometimes best friend Mad Ted Weber as well as a steamy love affair with TV diva Nancy Merit.

Claypoole’s savior complex leads to more trouble when she bumps into an old flame in her hometown who asks for help clearing her hapless brother of a recent murder charge. In true Claypoole fashion, she gets more than she bargained for when she gets dragged into a complicated quest to find the true killer that involves topless dancers, small-town cops, a stream of backwater character and even a meeting with the Grim Reaper. We’re never sure if Claypoole can muddle her way through the murky depths of this bizarre murder mystery before it’s too late. With biting humor and wit, Small Town Trouble will leave you guessing what’s around the next corner in the quirky world of Kim Claypoole and looking forward to her next adventure.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

If you’re looking for something in classic mystery-detective style, this is the book for you. Kim Claypoole is every bit the smart, witty narrator you expect in a story like this.

I really liked the different characters and their interactions with Kim. They were just this side of over-the-top, which is exactly what I would expect and want in a mystery novel, especially one written with women in mind. Kim’s sense of humor and her random pop culture references were also spot on.

I didn’t have any real concerns with the novel. There weren’t any obvious bad stereotypes, and the cliches were ones I anticipated (and belong in this kind of story). It was a little hard to get into at first, and the real action didn’t start until partway through. I would have liked it to happen a bit sooner. Also, though I think it fit the character, I was a little distracted by her almost constant thoughts on other women’s bodies.

Overall, I mostly just found this to be a fairly typical genre book. Nothing stood out to make me either love or hate it. However, I still feel good about recommending it to mystery lovers.

I give it 3.5 stars.

Amy

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AuthorBio

I was raised in the small rural town of Amelia, Ohio, about twenty five miles out of Cincinnati. My younger brother and sister and I had a pony, a horse, many great dogs and a couple of motorcycles. We raised a lot of hell. My father served in The Big One at 17 and, after riding a motorcycle around Europe, became a lawyer and later a judge. My mother worked as a homemaker and nurse, a skill she had to use a lot with all of the injuries my siblings and I subjected ourselves and one another to.

I wrote my first mystery story when I was in fourth grade. It was about a kid a lot like me who heard strange noises coming from the attic and became convinced that the attic was haunted. Eventually, the mystery was solved when she investigated and found a squirrel eating nuts in a dark corner. It wasn’t a terribly exciting conclusion, but my teacher gave me an A anyway.

As a teenager I worked at a lot of different jobs. I worked at a gift shop in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is a frequent locale in my books. I was a swimming instructor and a lifeguard where my primary goal was to never get wet. I did a stint in a stuffed animal gift shop at the Kings Island amusement park where I actually sort of met the Partridge Family when they shot an episode there. After graduating from high school, I went on to attend Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, a stone’s throw from the Great Smoky Mountains. There was some more hell raising at college and I made some very good friends and occasionally we have our own private reunions.

In high school and college I played basketball and I graduated from Maryville College with a degree in Phys Ed. I went on to teach at Amelia Junior High, the same junior high that I had attended. There was something a little weird about passing by my old school locker every day when I walked down the hall as a teacher. Plus, some of the teachers I’d had back when I was in junior high were still working when I started to teach. Some of them had been none too fond of me as a student and I don’t think they were much fonder of me as a teacher! I coached the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams which was the best part of my job.

In my late 20’s I moved to the West Coast to get a broader perspective on life or something like that. I ended up working in retail security, or loss prevention, as it is now known, at an upscale Northwest retailer. I kept getting promoted and with each promotion, the job became less and less fun. It was a lot more fun catching shoplifters than sitting in endless meetings and crunching budgets. After ten years of that, I quit to try my hand at some serious writing. I wrote two books of fiction (not mysteries), Benny’s World and Kippo’s World, as well as a book of not-especially-reverent poetry called A Girl’s Guide to God and numerous short stories, articles and poems which have appeared in The Sonora Review, The Quarterly, Word of Mouth, Blue Stocking and 8-Track Mind.

After that, it was time to go back to work. I got my private investigator’s license and hung out my shingle. At first, I took a lot of the cheaters cases. It seemed to me that if a guy thought his woman was cheating, he was usually wrong. On the other hand, if a woman thought her guy was cheating, she was almost always right. Eventually, I moved on to take mostly criminal defense investigation work which often involved trying to figure out what the client did and didn’t do and then minimize the damage of what they usually did do. There were so many crazy ways that people could get themselves in trouble. In one case, the attorney I was working for represented a wife who had gotten so enraged about all of the time and affection her husband lavished on his pet iguana that she shot the poor iguana and killed it. The husband was furious and wanted the district attorney to press charges. The wife was eventually charged with reckless endangerment and took a pretty sweet deal because even the DA felt sorry for the fact that she was married to such a schmuck.

It was an interesting ten years. Somewhere in this time period I began to write the Kim Claypoole Mystery Series, which was a great distraction and a lot of fun. I liked the idea of having many of the same characters appear in each book. So here I am now, working on the fifth book in the series. Wish me luck.

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TWO Four Star Reviews for The Scent of Jasmine by Lila Bruce (w/ Interview) – #FF Romance

The Scent of Jasmine

Title: The Scent of Jasmine
Author Name: Lila Bruce
Publication Date & Length: October 6, 2014 – 55pgs

Synopsis

Four years ago Jessica Taylor thought she was ready to leave small town living behind and headed West. Now she’s back in Cedar Creek, a little older, a lot wiser, and ready to live the quiet life for a while.

It’s been eight months since her fiancée walked out and shattered Grace Donnelly’s dreams of a happily ever after. Her friends tell her it’s time to put herself out there, but the breakup with Emma was still just too raw for Grace to wash and move on

After a meeting a chance meeting at her brother’s bakery, Jessica finds herself unable to get Grace off of mind. She’s sure she feels an attraction from Grace as well, but will Jessica be able to convince Grace to stop living in the past and take a chance on a future together with her…

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Review

FourStars

This is a quick, fun read full of sweetness (both of the love and the bakery variety).

Characters are always my favorite part of any story, and I loved the two main characters, Jessica and Grace. They’re both strong, independent professional women, yet they’re remarkably down-to-earth and relatable. They each have their vulnerabilities which round them out as people.

Personally, I would have liked to see this as a longer story. It seems like there’s a lot underneath these two women that I would have loved to discover. There wasn’t quite enough spark or tension to really grab my interest, but with a longer story, I think there would have been.

I give it 4 stars.
Amy
FourStars

This book was a quick, easy and very sweet read. The characters had their own personalities that meshed together with a strong sexual tension throughout the majority of the book. I was worried for a while because it’s set up like it could be a full-length novel, but I was completely satisfied by the ending of it.

The two characters run their own lives and are very successful women. They each have their careers but aren’t afraid of how a relationship will affect that. It was very nice to read and see that; I don’t think it’s done enough. Both women in this story carry their own.

It’s very well-written. There are a few words missing here and there, which is distracting but not to the point where I wanted to put the book down. Overall, this is a fantastic read for a rainy day.

~AJ

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AuthorBio

Lila Bruce lives in the North Georgia Mountains, where the air is sweet and the summers are hot. When not writing, she spends her time adding to her ever-growing pack of basset hounds and dreaming of being able one day to leave behind her evil day job.

AuthorInterview

  • Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?

I have this very large, very nice desk setup in the back room of my house. I love it because it gives me room to spread out and still have room for my writing partner, Fin Foo the Beta Fish. I typically will have The Cowboy Junkies playing on Pandora Radio and the door to “my office” closed to keep the Basset Hounds (my number one distraction when writing) out. If you’ve ever had a Basset then you would know the only thing they love more than going outside, is coming right back inside. Over and over and over again.

  • Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?

Honestly, any and all of them. I think there are small pieces of me in all the characters I write. Small pieces of people that I know, certainly. I think at some point in all our lives we’ve been “that person”. That person who’s been dumped by someone they thought was ‘the one’, that person who freaked out because everything wasn’t just right for an important meeting, that person who left for the big city in search of something more but found themselves missing the simple comforts of home and family.

  • If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?

Well, it would be nice to just be an author. Sadly, the Evil Day Job beckons forty-something hours a week. But, if money was not an object and writing was off the table, then…I don’t know. I think I’d like to run a bed and breakfast in an old house somewhere near a lake. The sort of place that I could set my own hours, see people who are generally happy, and be able to go fishing whenever the mood strikes.

  • Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?

To always keep a notebook with me. Or at least a pad of some sort to write down the ideas when they come flooding in.

  • Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?

Probably about a million things. I’m the sort of person who checks the alarm clock three times before going to bed to make sure it’s set on AM and not PM.

  • How do you come up with new ideas for your story?

For The Scent of Jasmine I got the idea after being dragged to a nail shop by a friend of mine to have a pedicure. I am not a ‘foot’ person and despised every second of it, but did learn firsthand the dangers of what can happen when one bets on a football game and loses. There were lots of women at the nail shop, all talking about relationships and giving each other advice on what they would do in the other’s shoes, that sort of thing, and it occurred to me that was the perfect place to start a story. The rest of it just grew from there.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I want to continue Jessica and Grace’s story. At least for a little while. I feel like I left them on a cliffhanger of sorts and I’d like to see what happens next in their relationship.

  • Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?

I live in Georgia at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It certainly influences how I write as well as what I write. I think there are a lot of stereotypes about people in the South and their attitudes towards the LGBT community. Deep down most Southerners are polite to a fault and tend to treat everyone like family, whether they are or not. But stereotypes exist for a reason. I would say that a large portion of the population (of at least North Georgia) has no ‘issue’ with homosexuality, but at the same time still whispers the word lesbian in polite company. A really good friend of mine just got married to her partner and had to go out of state to do it. While they threw one hell of a reception here at home, they fact that couldn’t get married in their own backyard is (in my humble opinion) wrong. There is no way you can write about a modern lesbian relationship in the South and not have its social attitudes color the story in at least some small way.

  • What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?

Deep down I’m a straight up Sci Fi / Fantasy girl. I grew up reading Mercedes Lackey, Robin McKinley, and Elizabeth Moon. I loved these authors and their books and still have a tattered copy of The Blue Sword around here somewhere. It’s the original version of the paperback, the one that has Harry looking all badass on horseback while holding up the glowing blue sword. These authors spoke to who I was growing up. They didn’t write about damsels in distress, but strong, not always confident women, who kicked ass and took names in ‘a man’s world’.

  • Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?

Coffee certainly. The day does not begin until I’ve had my second cup. The Blacklist definitely. Don’t even bother calling my house while that’s on television.

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4 Stars for Foundation of Trust by A.M. Arthur – #MM #MMRomance

Foundation of Trust

Title: Foundations of Trust
Author Name: A.M. Arthur
Publication Date & Length: October 21, 2014 – 239 pgs

Synopsis

Not everyone gets a second chance with their first love.

Cost of Repairs, Book 5

David Weller thought he had it all—a loving partner who gave him a ring, a steady job he didn’t hate, and so much hope for the future. But in the wake of a devastating diagnosis, everything he thought was solid and real lay in pieces at his feet.

Four years later, he’s still sifting through the rubble of his life. His catering partnership occupies his days, while his nights are filled with dangerous sexual hookups and very bad decisions. Then the last person he ever expected to see again walks back into his life.

Owen Hart’s single biggest regret is the way he was forced to leave David behind—no explanations, no chance to make it right. Until now. Finally free of eight years of lies, Owen’s back for the only man he’s ever loved.

An incendiary encounter in a club proves that time hasn’t weakened their physical connection, but David’s wounds run deeper than Owen’s deception. And if David can’t first forgive, Owen doesn’t have a second chance in hell.

Warning: This book contains an Australian transplant with a head full of secrets, a party planner with enough baggage to sink a battleship, and a surly teenager who just wants them both to get over themselves.

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Review

FourStars

A. M. Arthur wrote a great story about second chances in love and in life. The characters were David, Owen and Michael, Owen’s son. Despite having created a beautiful life together, David and Owen’s relationship is left in shambles when Michael and Owen must pick up and leave David behind.
The story really begins when Owen returns with Michael, in search of David, once again. I enjoyed where the story began, because the reader was given a glimpse in to how David’s life was going at the time. Despite having some recent success in his party planning/catering business, David is still missing something in his life. He had past hurts that cut him deep and dealing with those feelings was not going so well for him.
Owen has dragged poor Michael all around in his attempt to keep his child safe from past mistakes. Michael is a typical teenager, who has been moved around quite a bit. His attitude towards his father is what you would expect of a normal teenager, but his overwhelming love and protectiveness of his father is heart warming too. Michael stands up for his family in a way that most teenagers would cower at. I really enjoyed reading Michael’s character and watching his development.
The story has a somewhat strange spin off of a less than important side story. I am unsure if this was to create some angst within the story that does not involve David and Owen’s feelings, but rather to show protectiveness within the relationship. I don’t quite know how I feel about this story twist – it kind of adds to the story – it allows for the author to show the protective streak in both Owen and Michael, on behalf of David, but otherwise, I am not sure it really adds to the story. I believe the author was already bringing the characters back together in a much more cohesive manner and then, it seems like they decided to throw this twist in, in the hope that it would end the story quickly rather than continue on the started path of bringing David and Owen together based on love, forgiveness and family.
David and Owen meet again, but must overcome some monumental hurdles in order to have their second chance at love. Forgiving both themselves and each other is probably the most difficult things they must deal with. I really enjoyed the story, despite the strange twist.
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ThreeStar

I have to admit, I didn’t particularly enjoy this book. I thought it started off strong, and I was interested to see why the relationship between David and Owen ended and how they would rebuild it. I thought it was an interesting and fresh take on the subject, and I did like that it wasn’t easily resolved as a misunderstanding. Unfortunately, for me, it was all downhill from there.

The first problem I had was that Owen kept reminding us–at least once per chapter–that he’s gay. It annoyed me for two reasons. One, everyone he told already knew, and it wasn’t necessary to rehash it. Second, the author established his being gay in a way that puts me off. She set him up as potentially bisexual, but then had him “discover” that he’s really gay. The problem is, it never actually appeared that way. He referenced being attracted to women; never showed any interest in any men other than David; David was his “catalyst” to being gay; and Owen even seemed somewhat repulsed by the idea of being with any other men. Yet he keeps talking about how gay he is. It came across as Owen trying to convince the readers while not really being convinced himself, and it made it look like the author was trying to avoid the “messiness” of a bisexual character. I see that as lazy writing, used for the sake of having a “coming out” story rather than one about a relationship.

My second problem was all the women in the story. With one exception (David’s friend Lindy), the women were either dead or shrews or both. It upsets me greatly that a woman would write a story with such poor examples of womanhood. I would rather have seen no women at all than have all of them be horrible people with largely no redeeming qualities.

Third, I felt that a lot of the plot was contrived and some of the events just didn’t make sense other than as filler. There was a subplot towards the end that didn’t have any bearing on the rest of the story. There were a couple of prior things that occurred in the story, and I thought this subplot might be connected. As it turned out, it wasn’t at all, and it seemed almost silly. It looked more like just a way to say, “Hey, how can we screw up an important day for these guys?”

The one thing I did like was the relationship between Owen and David. If that could have carried the whole book, it would have been much better. The way they resolved things and the discovery of David’s demons were fantastic and very strong writing. However, the tropes in the rest of the narrative were not necessary to the relationship at all. The same story could have been written with Owen as bisexual or as established gay; the coming out part was so minimal it was unnecessary. The women could have been more varied and nuanced; the two women who were “bad” but also instrumental to the plot were sufficient.

I have no doubt someone will love this book, but that someone was not me.

I give it 3 stars.

~Amy

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AuthorBio

No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and “bromance” (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments. You can contact her at AM_Arthur(at)yahoo(dot)com

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5 Stars for Most Beautiful Words by Raine O’Tierney – @RaineOTierney #MM #Romance

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Title: Most Beautiful Words
Author Name: Raine O’ Tierney
Publication Date & Length: October 10, 2014 – 200pgs

Synopsis

Twelve-year-old Autumn’s world is shattered when her beloved Great-Pop, Tommy Johnson, suffers a stroke that leaves him comatose. With everyone around her resigning themselves to the inevitable, Autumn is the only one not willing to give up. She and Great-Pop have more secret stories to share with each other, after all. More stories about Roy McMillan—the great love of Tommy’s life whom he lost fifty years ago.

Autumn struggles to keep Great-Pop on this side of death’s door. But how can she compete with the beautiful and mysterious Valley—a place of surreal magic where the sun never fully sets? Especially when there’s someone familiar in the Valley who will do everything he can to keep Great-Pop from returning to her.

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Review

FiveStars

After reading this, I’m going to have to stop saying, “I don’t read YA.” This was by far one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

This is not merely a book about two men who fell in love at a time when they had to keep everything secret. It’s also not merely a book about a dying man and his relationship with his beloved great-granddaughter. It’s about how all relationships are complex and multi-faceted and how love doesn’t just have one size or shape.

I loved the main narrator, Autumn, and her spirit. At twelve, she came across as perfectly realistic. She’s at once very innocent and young, yet she knows a lot about complicated grown-up things. It’s her journey of self-discovery that’s most relatable, even for adults. She’s learning how to both let go and hang on, something most people struggle a lifetime to discover.

I think I started crying by chapter three and sniffled on and off for the duration of the story (I completely lost it by the end). But as weird as this may sound, it was a happy kind of sad. Be prepared to invest in a lot of tissues when reading this one.

The shifts in point of view/narration and the parts that are fantasy surprised me a little, but I don’t think that took away from the story. I loved the way everything came together in the end, and it made sense to tell the story that way.

I don’t have a single negative thing to say about this book. I have a child around the same age as Autumn, and this book is definitely appropriate for me to share with him. (Other parents may not agree; there are references to intimacy, though nothing graphic, and it’s clear in the story that Autumn’s Great-Pop has shared them with her.) Everyone should read this book, and I’m of the opinion we should share it with our kids and talk with them about the themes.

Ms. O’Tierney has earned a new fan, and I plan to find and read as many of her other works as I can.

I give it 5 stars.

Amy

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AuthorBio

Called “Queen of the Sweetness” (well, two or three people said it anyway!) Raine O’Tierney loves writing sweet stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and…friskiness?

Raine O’Tierney lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Siôn O’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either asleep, or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers. Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on M/M) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!

AuthorInterview

  • Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?

I call it my writing cove. I’ve got dried roses, absinthe, a 1940s Royal Arrow Typewriter, an apothecary set, urban decay photography, and original artwork. It’s my favorite place in the world.

  • Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?

 

There’s usually some part of myself in each of my MCs—even if it’s just something I would say or something I would do. Sometimes I try to work through issues along with my MCs which is an interesting process.

 

  • If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?

I would definitely be a librarian which…as luck would have it…I do for my not-so-evil day job! J I’m very lucky to be able to do the two things I love the most. Work for the library and write.

  • Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?

 

I wish I had known beforehand how emotionally taxing the whole process can be. And I do mean the whole process. Drafting, editing, crying because you now think you’re the worst writer in the world, sharing with friends, finding a beta, re-editing, crying some more, getting it ready for submission, and so on… I think I would have started therapy before I tried to publish had I known how much would go into the process emotionally speaking. ^_~

  • Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?

You know, it might be different with my other works, but for this one? I’m satisfied. My family, unfortunately, thinks the whole story is about them…but even so, I wouldn’t change the way I wrote it.

  • How do you come up with new ideas for your story?

Usually totally randomly. I’m inspired by totally random things, because I’m a very random person! Sometimes my dachshund will give me a quizzical look, and voila! Inspired!

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

I have two releases in December: X-Mas Cake (A Modern Fairytale) from Beaten Track Publishing and Bowl Full of Cherries from Dreamspinner Press, then in January the M/M romance I wrote with my husband, Alchemy Ever After comes out from Dreamspinner Press, and finally in March, my YA I’ll Always Miss You is released from Harmony Ink. In the meantime, writing writing and more writing!

  • Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?

I live in a small suburb outside of Kansas City, Missouri and I definitely think it influences how I write. You’ll find locations in KC either directly references or the landscape of Missouri discussed.

  • What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?

I am fond of absolutely everything if it’s well written! I like science fiction and romance and fantasy and horror and I’ve even enjoyed a western or two (with no romance plots whatsoever!)

  • Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?

Sushi. God, I spend so much money on sushi. And video games.

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Author’s Website: http://raineotierney.com/

TWO 4 Star Reviews for The BlueBird and The Devil by Zac Blue – @mugwumppress #FF #Bi #bisexual #Erotic #Short

The BlueBird and the Devil

Title: The Bluebird and the Devil
Author Name: Zac Blue
Publication Date & Length: October 2, 2014 – 44pgs

Synopsis

Prior to the events of Jane Eyre, Grace Poole is drawn into the mystery surrounding her employer’s marriage as she becomes sexually entangled with both the dark, enigmatic Mr. Rochester and his virgin wife.

Nineteen-year-old Grace Poole knows the unspoken rules of Victorian society.

It is the right of the nobility to act as their desires dictate, a luxury denied to those who serve them. Grace, however, refuses to be bound by her station; and from the moment she arrives at Thornfield Hall, the bisexual maid seduces footmen and maids alike even as she wonders when the elusive Mr. Rochester will return home and demand from her that which all masters invariably do.

Bertha Rochester is the dark, voluptuous and shockingly innocent mistress of Thornfield.

Under the orders of her absent husband, she is kept pampered and isolated in her third floor rooms. The servants whisper about the young mistress who, despite her married status, remains a virgin.

The temptation of a virgin mistress is one which Grace cannot resist, yet love is an indulgence she can ill afford.

She attempts to master her feelings as she initiates Bertha into her world of wanton, dark desire. Unwilling to allow love to make her weak, Grace continues her seduction of the household’s servants, with no regard for Victorian propriety, as part of her plan to free both women from the tyranny of the absent master of Thornfield. Her scheme culminates in a decadent bisexual orgy where several of Thornfield’s male servants make a cuckold of the still-absent Mr. Rochester.

The full ramifications of that night, however, will not be felt until Rochester returns to Thornfield.

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AuthorInterview

  • Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?

My writing environment is my mind. Oh wait, stop raising eyebrows and rolling eyes! I work so much in my head before I write that everything is built there, including my plush Victorian library with a roaring blood red hearth, high wing backed chairs and a large writing desk, with quills and wells brimming with red ink.

  • Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?

I brood like Mr. Rochester and fuck like Grace Poole. Of course they are not ‘my’ characters as such, but in my books I control them and mutate them and pull them from Bronte’s world and put them in dark, sexy places and watch them play.

  •  If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?

Wow, that is a tough one. Writing is essential to my existence. I’d be pretty much lost, wandering the moors for my lost love…oh wait, wrong Bronte.

  •  Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?

Every time I write I learn something and sometimes you find dead ends in your work and have to unpick the stitches and start again, but that dead end is now signposted and I won’t travel that road again, so no journey is ever wasted.

  • Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?

I am lucky to have a brilliant editor who worked with me on the book and has a meticulous eye for detail and I knew going in how the Thornfield trilogy would progress so I can honestly say that I am 100 percent happy with The Bluebird and the Devil.

  • How do you come up with new ideas for your story?

I read between the lines of literary classics and see the seamy side and document the sin.

  •  What’s next for you as a writer?

Part two of the Thornfield trilogy The Mistress of Thornfield will be out hopefully next month. It continues Grace’s story, with the arrival of a mysterious gypsy, the descent of Mrs. Rochester into cruel vicious madness and lots of hot sex!

  • Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?

In the countryside. It is very isolated and at night I walk and plan my writing for the next day, I think the dark desolation is perfect for the twisted tales of Thornfield.

  •  What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?

I love the literary classics that inspire my writing. I have read them since I was a child and now they are like blueprints helping me to unlock my own little universes within them of hidden desires and sexual longing.

  • Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?

My whole life is one big vice.

Review

FourStars

I’m going to have to stop saying “I don’t read [X genre]” because every time I say that, I read something and get surprised by how much I enjoy it.

This is essentially pure literary erotica–there’s not really much of a plot. I love all things Jane Eyre, so I figured I’d take a chance despite not being a fan of plotless erotica. This was a fun, short read.

The best way I can think to describe it is Masterpiece Theater meets Free Internet Porn. It had all the best elements of both–the old-fashioned literary setting and the hot, delicious, way over-the-top sex. If you want an erotically charged book companion on a lazy Saturday, this is a good choice.

My only complaint was the first sex scene. It’s outright rape, and I dislike when writers get lazy and use rape as a lead-in to lust/love. There are far better ways to accomplish the same thing. In fact, this was set up in a way that it could have been completely consensual–the rape was unnecessary. For me, that makes this book drop an entire star rating.

I’m looking forward to the continuation of the series.

I give it 4 stars.

Amy

FourStars

This was a quick and easy read. There isn’t much story line there, it’s basically PWP  (Plot? What Plot?) if you’re from the fanfiction world, which is exactly how this reads. Really good fanfiction.

This story is erotica, short, simple, sweet, hot and heavy. It stems from the Jane Eyre and is a bisexual piece. Two reasons why I picked it up. I was not disappointed. I would have preferred more plot, mostly because I prefer erotic romance over erotica, but this piece definitely satisfied.

There were times when I felt drawn out of the book. There’s an abundance of wetness and leaking and being wet through clothes that, honestly, just doesn’t every happen or get anywhere near where it does in this piece in real life. There’s also an obsession with boobs and their size and perkiness that isn’t seen from most POVs of women–because again, I find it unrealistic.

However, this story did draw me in. I was curious what Grace’s plans were, though I think that could have been laid out (pun intended) in the piece better. She seemed to go from wanting sex with everyone and having it more than a paid prostitute, to the transverse of being in love and willing to kill for it without transition.

All in all, this book and books like it, should not be read for the plot. They’re read for the sex and the “banging” as Mugwump Press so wants. It is a quick, fast, sexy read, and I really can’t wait for the next two installments.

4 stars

~AJ

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Excerpt

Bertha lowered her head, but her eyes never left Grace’s. She saw the love and the desire; it made her even more certain of her actions.

“He says I can never be touched in that way. That I am evil and it will ignite dark demons inside me.” Bertha’s head was still lowered.

Grace took her face in her hands and raised it up and pulled it close to hers. “He is the evil one, my sweet little thing. He denies you what is your right as a woman and a wife, so we will take his rights and that will just be the start of it.”

Bertha was trembling, her eyes wide and afraid. “What are you going to do? Oh Grace, he is the master; he is a man. We are just women.”

“He shall be a cuckold, not a man, and I shall show him who is the master of Thornfield.”

Publisher’s Note: The Bluebird and the Devil is a 12,000 word Victorian erotic short. Book one of three in a trilogy. Contains explicit heterosexual and lesbian sex as well as an orgy involving bisexual women and straight men. A dark Gothic tale with elements of sexual violence, this is not Charlotte Brontë’s Mr. Rochester

AuthorBio

Zachary Bluebird III lives in the burnt out ruin of his imagination after his crazy ex-wife tried to set it on fire. She may still be running round on the third floor of his psyche somewhere. He writes erotica with a literary twist that sometimes gets very twisted. He is a slave to the Mugwump ethos of banging it hard. He has lots of headaches and sore thumbs, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

SocialLinks

Facebook: www.facebook.com/zacbluebird
www.facebook.com/mugwumppress
Twitter: @mugwumppress
Website: www.mugwumppress.com/bluebird

4.5 Stars for The Rise and Fall of Radiation Canary – @GeonnCannon #F/F

Radiation Canary

Title: The Rise and Fall of Radiation Canary
Author Name: Geonn Cannon
Publication Date & Length: March 13, 2013 –  439 pgs

Synopsis

Karen Everett isn’t looking to join a band the day she loses her notebook of poetry. She plays the cello and is unsure about what she wants in life, but she’s pretty sure it doesn’t involve being a professional musician. But a crush on the band’s beautiful lead singer Lana Kent, along with the desire to have her poetry shared with a larger audience, leads her to throw caution to the wind and play an audition that leads to her being invited to join the band at gigs. After a spur of the moment decision lands them a spot on national television, Karen and the band find themselves riding an unexpected wave of popularity. Soon they’re touring the country, recording albums, making music videos, and trying to find time to have a personal life amid all the craziness. Aware that their surge in popularity is due to a fortuitous comradiationcanarybination of popular trends and knowing they only have a few good years before their celebrity begins to wane, the ladies of Radiation Canary strive to make the most of their time in the spotlight before the public moves on. With one eye on the inevitable end of their fame even as their popularity hits its peak, the band learns that it’s not how high you fly, it’s how gracefully you fall.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

I picked this book because I’m a “fangirl” (I love Geonn Cannon’s writing). I’m so glad I did. By the end of the book, I didn’t want to let go of these wonderful women I’d come to know through the pages.

The first–and best–thing about the story is, of course, the characters. They are marvelous. I’m used to reading about worlds populated by men in which women are peripheral or accessories, especially when the story is about the entertainment industry. This is a complete reversal–most of the men are relatively unimportant side characters. Instead, we’re treated to the rich lives of strong, competent, talented women. I left the story feeling like I’d made new friends.

There were plenty of terrific little surprises sprinkled throughout, including a few random 1980s/1990s pop culture references subtle enough to not distract but noticeable to anyone who recognized them. It made for a lot of fun as I spotted them.

There were a fair number of sex scenes, some detailed and some fade-to-black. I thought it was a perfect balance, especially since it’s not technically a romance. It was fantastic reading about women relating to one another in very real ways. And of course, there were plenty of nicely steamy moments to keep me happy.

There were only a few minor things to mention, and it’s those that bring my rating down by half a star. First, it was a little hard to get into after the first few chapters. The pacing was just a bit slow–not at the beginning but from about a quarter of the way in until about halfway. Second, it never seemed like there was much real conflict or tension. Some, yes, but it resolved fairly easily. I especially kept waiting for the women’s pasts to catch up with them, for someone to broadcast their misdeeds everywhere and for them to have to clean those messes up.

Outside of that, the writing is brilliant, the characters fantastic, and the story absorbing. There’s no doubt at all that I’ll be reading just about anything Cannon writes in the future.

I give it 4.5 stars.

Amy

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AuthorBio

Geonn Cannon was born in a barn and raised to know better than that. He was born and raised in Oklahoma where he’s been enslaved by a series of cats, dogs, two birds and one unexpected turtle. He’s spent his entire life creating stories but only became serious about it when he realized it was a talent that could impress girls. Learning to write well was easier than learning to juggle, so a career was underway. His high school years were spent writing stories among a small group of friends and reading whatever books he could get his hands on.

Geonn was inspired to create the fictional Squire’s Isle after a 2004 trip to San Juan Island in Washington State. His first novel set on the island, On the Air, was written almost as a side project to another story he wanted to tell. Reception to the story was so strong that the original story was put on the back burner to deal with the world created in On the Air. His second novel set in the same universe, Gemini, was also very well received and went on to win the Golden Crown Literary Society Award for Best Novel, Dramatic/General Fiction. Geonn was the first male author to receive the honor.

While some of his novels haven’t focused as heavily on Squire’s Isle, the vast majority of Geonn’s works take place in the same universe and have connections back to the island and its cast of characters (the exception being the Riley Parra series). In addition to writing more novels based on the inhabitants of Squire’s Isle, Geonn hopes to one day move to the real-life equivalent to inspire further stories.

SocialLinks

Twitter: www.twitter.com/GeonnCannon

3.5 Stars for Wet Paint by Will Parkinson – #M/M @WillParkinsonau

Wet Paint

Title: Wet Paint
Author Name: Will Parkinson
Publication Date & Length: September 18, 2014 – 212 pgs

Synopsis

Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.

High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.

When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what – or who – they face, they belong together.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars
I’ll be honest–I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this one. Stories about abuse can be difficult even under the best circumstances. Yet as I read, I was more than impressed with the sensitive way in which the abuse suffered by two of the characters, Addy and Liam, was handled.

For the most part, I enjoyed the story. It was a decent adolescent drama with plenty of touching moments. I really liked the two main characters, Benny and Addy, and their relationship is very sweet. I liked that they aren’t stereotypes–I love characters who defy our expectations. Benny in particular is a complex person who doesn’t fit a certain mold.

I think this book would have worked better as two novellas rather than one full-length novel. It seemed to have two separate plots, the first half and the second half, with nothing to tie them together except a brief mention of an email related to the first half.
There were also several moments in which I had to suspend my disbelief. I’m not sure that teenage boys talk so openly about their thoughts and feelings, and there were a couple of key moments (the scene with Addy’s biological father and the scene at the end of the book come to mind) which seemed pretty unrealistic and actually distracted from the plot rather than adding anything.
My one biggest frustration was yet again reading the same tired treatment of bisexuality found in so many stories. Towards the beginning, Benny establishes that he sometimes has feelings for girls and sometimes for boys. I was thrilled! But then I was upset by the part where his mother–who comes off in that scene as ignorant anyway–tells him he’s gay because he’s with a boy (and doesn’t have plans to break up with him) and Benny agrees. I don’t think the character owed his mother an argument, but the author has a responsibility to make things clear in those moments. This is especially true in YA fiction where readers themselves may be sorting things out and could potentially be confused or upset by reading beloved characters giving them misinformation. It would have been one thing to show Benny as feeling conflicted; it’s entirely different to leave readers confused.
Despite all that, I would still recommend this as long as a teen reading it had someone to discuss it with. I like the author’s style, and I see a lot of potential there for fantastic writing in the future.
If I only read the first half, I would give it 4 stars; the second half gets 3, so it averages out to 3.5 stars.
~Amy

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Teaser

WetPaint600x600BannerRed

Excerpt

ADDY SAT in the car, worry creasing his brow. Not even an hour ago, he’d been so happy. Why was he so nervous now? His thoughts drifted back to his conversation with his dad. Would Benny still want him when he found out what had happened? Would he think Addy was too broken? Addy shivered. He tried to tell himself Benny would never be like that, but how could he know for sure?

“What’s up, little man? I can hear you thinking from over here.” Benny chuckled.

“Nothing, Benny. I’m okay.”

“Addy, c’mon. I can tell you’ve got something on your mind. I need to know what it is. I can’t help if you won’t let me.”

Addy took a deep breath. “I’m afraid,” he admitted. “Of what? Camp?” “No… of losing you.”

“I don’t understand. Why would you think you’d lose me?”

“Benny.” Addy sighed. “I need to tell you some stuff. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s really not going to be nice.”

AuthorBio

WILL PARKINSON believes that no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path of young love, it will always find a way to win in the end. He wants his characters to have their happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easily.

None of this would have happened if he had followed the advice he was given many years ago. “What are you wasting your time on that for? It’s never going to amount to anything.” He believed it for the longest time, abandoning characters he’d created in his childhood.

He picked up his very first m/m story by a writer named Eden Winters, who was an absolute joy when they corresponded. She asked him if he wrote and he told her the story. Eden explained to Will that the voices in his head would never go away and how he needed to let them out. With that thought in mind, Will put e-pen to e-paper once more. It was truly a liberating experience and one he has no intention of giving up again.

SocialLinks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/will.parkinson.520
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WillParkinsonau
Author’s Website: http://www.willparkinson.com/
Author’s GoodRead Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888013.Will_Parkinson

Giveaway

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4 Stars for Rescued by Felice Stevens – #M/M Romance

Rescued

Title: Rescued
Author Name: Felice Stevens
Publication Date & Length: August 19, 2012 – 212pgs

Synopsis

Ryder Daniels has spent the last year recovering from rejection: his parents couldn’t accept his sexuality and his lover chose drugs over his love. The only bright lights in his life are his younger brother and his rescued pit bull. But now his mother’s punishment for his lifestyle has cut him off from his brother he loves so deeply. Devastated, he throws himself into the work of the Pit Bull Foundation he and his friends started.

Jason Mallory can no longer hide the dissatisfaction of his relationship with his longtime girlfriend. When her marriage ultimatum pushes him to break things off, he’s determined not to jump into the dating scene. But when a group of injured pit bulls are found on his construction site, he can’t forget the guy who shows up to help.

After Jason adopts one of the dogs, he and Ryder become fast friends—until one night, Ryder lets down his guard and Jason recognizes his desire. Soon, they can’t deny the passion between them but will family differences and ugly prejudices keep them apart, or can they fight to prove that love is precious, no matter the flavor?

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Review

FourStars

I picked up this book because what could be better than men and dogs? I’m glad I took a chance on this one!

The two main characters, Ryder and Jason, are the perfect combination of sexy and sensitive in their own ways. They have incredible chemistry, and I love how the author didn’t just rush into an emotional connection between them. They were dealing with their own issues, and I thought that was very nicely done, for the most part.

I also like the juxtaposition of both men having very different families, and I loved reading their interactions with the people in their lives. I did end up feeling like Ryder’s mom was a bit over-the-top. Obviously, there are people like her in real life, but she came across as more of a caricature. But I loved the realism of Ryder being cut off from his family; that happens all too often.

The one thing that really put me off (and made me give this fewer stars than I think it actually should have) was how the author treated Jason’s coming out. She used nearly every tired theme possible to avoid having him be bisexual: The college “experiment”; the nasty ex-girlfriend; the not-gay-til-I-met-you; and the absolutely never, ever noticing any other men except Ryder (and going on and on about his hotness and how everyone else wanted him too). In fact, another character even remarks on it, and Jason completely denies the possibility that he’s bisexual–as though it makes him “better” somehow to be gay. It bothers me at a deep level because having genuinely bisexual men in m/m romance is rare, and writers go to great lengths to avoid it. It may not have been intentional on this author’s part, but I’m saddened that such a fantastic story was spoiled by not allowing a more natural scenario.

The other thing I noticed, but didn’t really feel was too much of an issue, since the romance/hot sex were kind of the point of the story, was that there wasn’t all that much conflict and it was wrapped up neatly at the end. That doesn’t bother me at all, but anyone looking for more complex drama and conflict might not like it.

That aside, I loved the story, loved the characters, and look forward to reading more from Ms. Stevens.

I give it 4 stars.

Amy

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AuthorBio

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.

But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

SocialLinks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/felice.stevens.1
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/felicestevensauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/FeliceStevens1
Author’s Website: http://www.felicestevens.com/
Author’s GoodRead Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8432880.Felice_Stevens

4 and 3.5 Stars for Underdogs by Geonn Cannon – #F/F #Paranormal @GeonnCannon

Underdogs

Title: Underdogs
Author Name: Geonn Cannon
Publication Date & Length: April 2012 – 185 pgs

Synopsis

Ariadne Willow is a private investigator with a secret weapon. She’s a canidae, a person with the ability to transform into a wolf at will. Using her heightened senses to track and her shapeshifting to follow people without being seen, she’s made a decent business for herself and her associate Dale Frye. When one of the richest women in Seattle wishes to hire her, Ari and Dale think their ship has finally come in. All Ari has to do is observe the client’s tabloid-friendly daughter, fresh out of rehab, and confirm that she’s truly clean.

Ari thinks the case will be a piece of cake, but a moment of shocking violence changes everything. Soon Ari finds herself backed into a corner with no way out, forced to either run or risk losing everything she holds dear by fighting an enemy with unlimited power and resources. With Dale refusing to leave her side, Ari decides to make a stand to remind her enemies that there’s only one rule in betting…

Always bet on the underdogs.

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Review

FourStars

This book came recommended, so I was excited to give it a read. I jokingly said, “No werewolf stories!” and was informed that I would like this one because the main character is a wolf (technically “canidae”), not a werewolf.I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t at all disappointed. It’s a fun, light read that had all the elements to make me happy: A bit of fairy tale/supernatural, a crime to solve, and women falling in love. What’s not to like?
The main characters, Ari and Dale, are likeable and fun. I enjoyed getting to know them as the story unfolded. They are smart, savvy, and capable, but they’re not specimens of perfect womanhood, which I appreciated. Their relationship felt natural to me, if a bit predictable (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
It felt a bit slow to start, though I was glad for the background information. The pace picked up quickly, however, and I was soon absorbed.
There were a few moments where I had to suspend my disbelief, and not regarding the wolf-human elements. For example, the climactic “take down the bad guys” scene was a bit over-the-top and unrealistic. However, it fit the story, and unless one cares about having a true-to-life crime story ending, it doesn’t really matter.
The “murder mystery” plot wasn’t much of a mystery, as it’s both predictable from the beginning and the whodunnit is known about halfway through. So if you’re looking for a true mystery, this is not it. The fun is in how Ari and Dale thwart the bad guys and find their happy-for-now ending. So if that’s your thing, this is definitely the book for you.
I did think there were some frequently-used detective story themes, and it was a bit hard to tell if those were intended as tongue-in-cheek or to be taken seriously. I lean towards the former because the general tone of the book is fairly light, but that might be off-putting for someone looking for a fresh take.
I thought the sensuality was just right in terms of how much/how descriptive relative to the rest of the plot. There were a few moments where it felt just a bit choppy, but it evened out.
Overall, I really enjoyed this and look forward to more.
I give it 4 stars.
Amy
ThreeandHalfStars
Underdogs by Geonn Cannon is right up my alley. I LOVE paranormal books. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, whatever, bring it on! That being said, I’m also quite picky about what I read. When I saw the word “shifter” in the description of this book, I was quite skeptical because the last thing I wanted to read was another version of Twilight.
This isn’t that. Underdogs is light, easy to read, and has a nice flow. I was able to get through it in a few hours with no problem. Also good is the character development. Ari and Dale both feel like real people. Their relationship feels real, the characters have flaws and they aren’t perfect. It’s rare to get such depth of development in a novel of this length, and Cannon did a masterful job there.
Now for the not so good. If you’re expecting the mystery aspect to be anything other than a vehicle for the relationship, you’re going to be disappointed. There isn’t much mystery to the “whodunit” aspect and the mystery part is pretty formulaic and simple. Overall, the novel is predictable from start to finish.
Overall, this was definitely worth my time, and I enjoyed reading it a lot. The predictability didn’t detract from the readability or the smoothness of the writing.
Rating: Three and a half stars.
Sirena

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AuthorBio

Geonn Cannon was born in a barn and raised to know better than that. He was born and raised in Oklahoma where he’s been enslaved by a series of cats, dogs, two birds and one unexpected turtle. He’s spent his entire life creating stories but only became serious about it when he realized it was a talent that could impress girls. Learning to write well was easier than learning to juggle, so a career was underway. His high school years were spent writing stories among a small group of friends and reading whatever books he could get his hands on.

Geonn was inspired to create the fictional Squire’s Isle after a 2004 trip to San Juan Island in Washington State. His first novel set on the island, On the Air, was written almost as a side project to another story he wanted to tell. Reception to the story was so strong that the original story was put on the back burner to deal with the world created in On the Air. His second novel set in the same universe, Gemini, was also very well received and went on to win the Golden Crown Literary Society Award for Best Novel, Dramatic/General Fiction. Geonn was the first male author to receive the honor.

While some of his novels haven’t focused as heavily on Squire’s Isle, the vast majority of Geonn’s works take place in the same universe and have connections back to the island and its cast of characters (the exception being the Riley Parra series). In addition to writing more novels based on the inhabitants of Squire’s Isle, Geonn hopes to one day move to the real-life equivalent to inspire further stories.

SocialLinks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeonnCannon
Author’s Website: http://www.geonncannon.com/

3.5 Stars for Learning to Love by K.C. Wells – #M/M

Learning to Love: Final Exam

Title: Learning to Love: Final Exam
Author Name: K.C. Wells
Publication Date & Length: August 25, 2014 – 244pgs

Synopsis

One house, three couples, and one year left until their final exams….

Evan and Daniel want to take their D/s relationship to the next level. When Daniel suggests conducting a little research at a BDSM club, Evan is more than up for it. Trouble is, one of their housemates isn’t happy about this.

Finances tighten for new couple Josh and Chris. Wanting to ease some of the pressure on Chris, Josh starts as an agency nurse. But tackling a heavy workload at medical school and working late-shifts leaves little time for the couple. Something’s gotta give.

In Spain, Sean was diagnosed as suffering from migraines. But after the medications have no effect and he starts suffering from other complaints, he decides to get a second opinion without telling Michael. When Michael finds out, Sean’s usually laid-back husband’s reaction shocks everyone. But Michael needs to get his head sorted fast, because Sean needs his strength.

As their school career comes to a close and the one person who holds them all together starts to fall apart, the final exam is a true test of friendship.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars
This book is a fairly quick read, and the author definitely has skill with style and pacing. I appreciated that it was obviously well-edited, so there was nothing to distract from enjoying the story.

What I liked: There were several good, steamy sex scenes throughout the book, but not so many as to be tiresome. I liked that the couples were very much in love. I was a little hesitant reading about Evan and Daniel, the couple with the D/s relationship, as I’m not usually keen on BDSM. But this was BDSM-lite, so to speak, and their relationship was more about the D/s than anything else. I liked that the author showed it as part of a very healthy, caring relationship, too.

What I didn’t like: As much as I love reading about guys in love, this was a bit much. First, maybe this is a cultural difference, but these guys didn’t always read as men to me. Not one of the men in the entire story was terribly masculine. Though I personally prefer guys like that myself, it’s simply not realistic that an entire world is populated only by a very specific subset of gay men.

I was also bothered by all the matchmaking, including two teenagers, and how those all seemed to work out just perfectly. Not to mention at least two of the housemates have younger brothers who are also gay. Yes, that happens, but what bothered me was the conversation between Daniel and his brother, who was obviously working some things out. It appears that this world contains straight guys, “straight” guys (who don’t realize they’re gay yet) and gay guys. There are no bisexuals.

Another problem I noticed was that none of the housemates seemed to have a unique personality. They all read roughly the same to me, including their emotions and how they talked. It felt as though any one character could be swapped out with another and no one would have noticed.

There was virtually no tension in the story, and every last detail worked out perfectly. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, but honestly, Sean’s medical issues wrapped up a bit too neatly. Same for Josh’s issues with working too much. It was a bit too tidy for my tastes, and not at all realistic. Life is a lot messier than that.

Overall, it comes across like the author tried to do too much in a single book. I can’t tell how many of the problems I noted are because this is the last book in a series and I didn’t read the other ones. It does read like an extended epilogue, so it’s possible that if I’d read the entire series, I might have loved it for tying everything together with a bow. Unfortunately, that makes it a very poor stand-alone novel, despite the fact that I didn’t need to read the others to understand the previous story strands.

I wish I could rate it more highly. If the really good elements had been supported by a better plot/better characterization, I would have. The good news is, I would like to read the other books and see what I missed. I recommend anyone interested in this book read the others first rather than making a decision based on this review.

I give it 3.5 stars,

~Amy

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AuthorBio

Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C.Wells always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way.

K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, where the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings – writing about men in love was even hotter…

K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career.

The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.

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Email: k.c.wells@btinternet.com