Friday, August 1, 2014

ARC Review: His Familiar Scars by Dani Myrick

His Familiar Scars
From the blurb:

Ever since Ben’s childish dare caused Nazil to break his arm, the two have been inseparable best friends. Over the last three years, Ben has grown accustomed to Nazil’s outspoken personality and crazy schemes, but he is totally unprepared for the secret Nazil has been hiding--Nazil’s feelings for Ben go way past friendship. Spurred into action by a family move out of state, Nazil finally confesses. After the initial shock wears off, Ben finds that he returns Nazil’s affection. Now they must pull off Nazil’s wildest scheme yet in order to convince Nazil's homophobic parents that he should stay behind with Ben when the rest of them move away.

Rosa's rating:

His Familiar Scars is lighthearted novella that deals with some dark issues by new author Dani Myrick.

The Yay!

I love, love, love the friends-to-lovers trope. Two BFFs, one in love with the other but unable to say anything for fear of losing their friendship? The most precious relationship in their world? Come on! How sweet it that?

I also love, love, love romances between two total opposites like Ben and Nazil. Ben is a pudgy, shy guy with glasses. Nazil is unpredictable and wild with the hair and piercings to prove it.

Although there are a few places in this book that are more telling than showing (Nazil is this, Nazil is that) I was impressed by the smoothness of the writing. Very little about it shrieked NEWBIE WRITER to me. Myrick even does a good job with the first person narration, which looks easy but rarely seems to turn out well.

Although it feels odd that there’s never any discussion regarding Ben’s sexuality (is Ben gay or gay for Nazil or bi?), at the same time it’s a relief not to have read about yet another man (or young man in this case) coming to terms with a sudden change in sexual preference. It felt a little unrealistic (we just love our labels) but at the same time I enjoyed the lack of angst. Ben’s just a guy who loves another guy – no drama necessary.

I also enjoyed the dialogue which is quick-witted and fun.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

ARC Review: Lucas by D.B. Reynolds

Lucas (Vampires In America, #6)From the blurb:

LUCAS DONLON, Vampire Lord, is one of the most powerful vampires in North America and beyond. Charming and irreverent to his friends and lovers, he enjoys everything about his life as a vampire. But when a neighboring lord makes the mistake of declaring war, he quickly discovers that Lucas is every bit as lethal as he is charming. 
KATHRYN HUNTER doesn't care about powerful vampires or their wars. Her baby brother is missing and she will do anything to find him, even if it means going against both her FBI bosses and the local vampire lord. But Lucas Donlon has other plans for the lovely FBI agent who's landed on his doorstep.  
Waging war against their enemies and each other, Lucas and Kathryn will risk everything to keep the most deadly vampire war in hundreds of years from engulfing every vampire, and human, in North America.

Heather's rating:

He gazed down at the sniveling vampire dispassionately, then stepped back and started breaking bones, beginning with the little ones, fingers and toes, the delicate bones in the hand. Heintz groaned softly as first, but by the time Lucas had started on the big bones- the tibia and fibula in the calf, the thick femur in the thigh- the vampire was grunting like a rutting pig, the only sounds of pain he was able to make. Bloody tears streamed down his face as he groveled on the ground, unable to even wipe the snot from his chin.

DAMMMNNNNN, homey don't play!

The funny thing about this series is that when I started it, I was turned off by all the killing and gore. The vampires in ViA are ruthless, utterly ruthless. They aren't the hero that takes the high road and doesn't kill the enemy, they are the kinds of heroes that kill the bad guy slowly and with as much pain as possible.

And I kind of love it now.

"Lucas" was one of the high points in the series, after the more disappointing Duncan. I loved Lucas's Irish twist, his little Gaelic touches. I'm a huge sucker for anyone calling his love, a cuisle, and Lucas just stole my heart.

I also think that Kathryn was a great female MC, holding her own and being a nice counterpart to Lucas. She is no Cyn, but Cynthia happens to be one of my all time favorite female MCs. Kathryn was strong, loyal and was someone I absolutely rooted for.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ARC Review: Home the Hard Way by Z.A. Maxfield

Home the Hard Way
 From the blurb:

Dare Buckley has come home—or at least, he’s come back to Palladian, the small town he left as a teenager. After a major lapse in judgment forced him to resign from the Seattle PD, Palladian is the only place that’ll hire him. There’s one benefit to hitting rock bottom, though: the chance to investigate the mystery of his father’s suicide.
Dare also gets to reacquaint himself with Finn Fowler, whose childhood hero worship ended in uncomfortable silence when Dare moved away. But Finn isn’t the same little kid Dare once protected. He’s grown into an attractive, enigmatic stranger who neither wants nor needs what Dare has to offer.
In fact, Dare soon realizes that Finn’s keeping secrets—his own and the town’s. And he doesn’t seem to care that Dare needs answers. The atmosphere in Palladian, like its namesake river, appears placid, but dark currents churn underneath. When danger closes in, Dare must pit his ingenuity against his heart, and find his way home the hard way.

Rosa's rating:


 Home the Hard Way started out so well. I was reading along enjoying the novel with that oooh, this one’s gonna be good feeling when suddenly I hit a wall. There was a major change in one of the characters and after that I was so blindsided I spent the rest of the book wondering what the hell happened instead of involving myself in the story. Frankly, I’m not quite sure if the problem is me or the book. Probably it’s me. Possibly it’s both. I still can’t decide.

The plot of the book is practically a cliché, but one I very much enjoy. A cop, once the hometown hero, returns in disgrace only to take up with the man he left behind. The cop, Dare, is supposed to be the macho character while Flynn is supposed to be smaller and more delicate. There’s a mystery that brings them together and eventually everything is resolved and our two heroes live happily ever after. That’s basically the plot and yet it isn’t. Maxfield takes our expectations, adds some major twists in the characters and completely turns the whole thing around. It’s pretty impressive writing.

My problem is Flynn. On one hand he seems to want love even though he’s scared of it. On the other hand he states quite firmly that he doesn’t have relationships, he fucks people. It’s like he’s the clichéd cop character and the sweeter character combined. It’s an interesting mash up but it never rang true for me. Instead of feeling like Flynn is conflicted, I felt like I was reading about two different people. His attitude changed from scene to scene and I never knew which personality was going to show up. Perhaps Maxfield did this on purpose to create more suspense and a more complicated character but I just felt confused. I had a hard time liking him as a result.

ARC Review: Filthy Acquisitions by Edmond Manning

Filthy AcquisitionsFrom the blurb:

Keldon Thurman hates his job, purchasing serial killer art for a private investor. He would quit if he weren’t completely impoverished, but with no life skills and no ways to generate income, Keldon has no options. 
However, Acquisition Number Five proves to be more challenging than expected. Wheel-chair bound Irene Woullet and her handsome nurse caretaker, Joshua Greene, refuse to cooperate. Keldon’s only chance is to seduce the old-fashioned, simple-living Josh in the hopes that Joshua can persuade Irene. But Keldon has to work fast—he has only two dates to win Josh’s affection. 
With love’s potential in bloom, how can Keldon live with his own worsening conscience as he gathers these filthy acquisitions?

Heather's rating:

Edmond Manning is the author I turn to when I want something offbeat, something a little different than the average M/M romance fare. His stories are unique, quirky, and funny.

This is my third book by him, and I'd say it's the most mainstream. While it still has that "Edmond touch," it is a book that will appeal to just about everyone. Everyone who is interested in a story about a guy collecting serial killer art for a wealthy patron, that is.

Keldon is just the kind of MC I like to read about. He is in a rut, having spend most of his 20s being a pretty boy hanger-on to older rich men, he is now desperate, poor, and confused. Used to using his good looks and powers of manipulation to get what he wants, Keldon has to fight to keep his own desires and morals from disappearing while doing a job that he secretly loathes.

Josh, the nurse of the wealthy, older woman, who possesses the art that Keldon must buy, was one of the most refreshing characters that I've read about in a long time. It isn't often that I read about MCs that are crunchy granola, Luddite-ish men. Sure, it's trendy now to buy organic and local, but Josh takes it to the extreme, living by the sun's cycle, using candles, not owning a car, and being devoted to gardening. Though he splurges with electricity and modernity from time to time, I really got the sense that it would be hard for him to find a guy that wants to live his kind of lifestyle.

These two guys were nice together. They had a tender, sweet chemistry and a lovely emotional connection. Though there was only one sex scene (this book is light on sex content), there was still a good amount of heat between them.

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