2015 – Part 1

AWARD - Anthology

23926490

Book Title: A Gay Holiday Box Set

Author: G.R. Richards

My Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: Just in time for the holidays, grab this great new anthology of six gay Christmas and New Year’s romance shorts by G.R. Richards!
Folksy storyteller Patrick O’Hara is facing another Christmas alone until his favorite cam guy shows up at his lonely hotel room.
Brett’s got the world’s noisiest neighbors. When he escapes to the stairwell in search of silence, the last thing he expects to find is… Santa?
When Devon invites his fellow student Shiv to spend Christmas at his family’s farm, will they realize there’s more to a relationship than sex?
Randy’s mom has been so supportive of his transition from female to male he decides to sell some vintage toys to buy her a great gift. What happens when antiques dealer Max discovers his best-kept secret?
Max is too emotionally attached to a lot of his “junk” to sell it, and Randy’s starting to think material possessions mean more than he does. Can Max convince him otherwise in time for Christmas?
When Turner shows up on his former teacher’s doorstep on New Year’s Eve, will Mr. Fairfield be waiting for him… or does Neville have a New Year’s date of his own?

My Review: I’m a huge fan of G.R. Richards and this compilation didn’t disappoint. I’d already read Ivy League, Vintage Toys for Lucky Boys and Junk, before reading this little collection, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable.
On Top of the World
This one was a quick, hot read, about two people living in the same apartment block finding each other at the right time. It kind of skips the romantic stuff and goes straight into hot and sexy, but the way it’s written makes it work perfectly well. It doesn’t feel rushed or unnatural.
By Any Other Name
I accidentally read the second part to this, last year, before I realised it was a part two. It made reading this even better, because it made sense of everything I read after it. I love how nervous and proper Patrick is, while James or ‘G’ is easy flowing and casual. He’s such a support and so understanding.
Absolute Virgin
This was a funny, cutesy little hot story. I thought Turner was brilliant. When he threw a fit, because things didn’t quite go as he’d planned, it was hilarious. Cass was super hot and Neville was a great guiding hand. I’d love to read more about these characters.

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~

AWARD - Best MF

23501723

Book Title: Touched by A Vampire (Eternally Yours #1)

Author: Sophie Slade

My Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: Dr. Leila Reynolds is working her shift at Southside Medical Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, when she meets a mysterious man, Lance Steel. Although Leila is a married woman, she is enticed by this bold Renaissance man. Lance seduces her, surprising her with the most erotic weekend of her life … with a vampire. She convinces herself that it was just an affair, but she can’t get Lance—or the time they shared—out of her mind.
As owner of the Caprice Casino and the exclusive Club Moroii, Lance has more money and heartbreaking good looks than any one man deserves. He soon introduces her to an underground world that she never knew existed, fraught with sex, booze, blood … and danger.
When Leila’s life crumbles around her, Lance is there to pick up the pieces … but her connection with him has a price. Can Leila leave the past behind and become eternally his, allowing her heart—as well as her body—to be touched by a vampire?

My Review: The best part about the book is that it builds at a slow, hot pace and has great moments of action, excitement and intrigue. There’s a mystery to be solved early on and you can’t trust anyone.
In the end, the story finishes with a HEA, though you know there’s definite chance of a second book. There’s no way that these two are lucky enough to get a HEA without any more trouble ahead. 🙂

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AWARD - Christmas

23618019

Book Title: Twelve Black Hearts for Christmas

Author: Wulf Francu Godgluck

My Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: For every good there is a dark… Christmas is no exception…
This story is free and can be downloaded from the authors website and All Romance.

My Review: This was my first story by Wulf Francu Godgluck and it made me want to read more. I’ve never read a story with this premise before and it was both original and intriguing. At first, I felt like I’d walked in halfway through a story, but then it all began to make sense and I could see that although part of the ‘A Tooth, Claw and Horns Chronicle’, it could easily be read on its own and still make sense.
I loved the way that the story was told gradually, keeping secrets until the very end. I would love to read more about these characters and this world.

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AWARD - Fantasy

22558396

Book Title: The Journeyman (The Commons #1)

Author: Michael Alan Peck

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Blurb: “Paul Reid died in the snow at seventeen. The day of his death, he told a lie—and for the rest of his life, he wondered if that was what killed him.”
And so begins the battle for the afterlife, known as The Commons. It’s been taken over by a corporate raider who uses the energy of its souls to maintain his brutal control. The result is an imaginary landscape of a broken America—stuck in time and overrun by the heroes, monsters, dreams, and nightmares of the imprisoned dead.
Three people board a bus to nowhere: a New York street kid, an Iraq War veteran, and her five-year-old special-needs son. After a horrific accident, they are the last, best hope for The Commons to free itself. Along for the ride are a shotgun-toting goth girl, a six-foot-six mummy, a mute Shaolin monk with anger-management issues, and the only guide left to lead them.
Three Journeys: separate but joined. One mission: to save forever.
But first they have to save themselves.

My Review: Overall, this story was original, captivating and enthralling. The more I read of Paul and Zach, the more I loved them. I even grew to appreciate horrible old June, in the end. I got some conflicting vibes about Brill’s assistant, Truitt, though, because I knew he was important, but I couldn’t be certain how or what part he was going to play. I couldn’t even decide if he was good or bad.

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AWARD - MM Historical

23587053

Book Title: The Gentleman and the Lamplighter

Author: Summer Devon

My Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: You Can’t Walk Away from Love.
Destroyed by the death of his former schoolmate yet unable to show it publicly, Giles Fullerton has taken to walking the streets of London in the middle of the night, the only time he can safely mourn the only person he’s ever loved—until one chance meeting with a lamplighter changes everything….
But You Can Walk Toward It…
Widower John Banks knows a thing or two about grief, and immediately recognizes a kindred spirit when he finally meets the handsome, haunted gentleman he’s admired from afar. And in fact, the two men discover shared passions and the possibility of a forever love—if they can overcome social taboos, and their own fears….

My Review: I think this short story can be summed up in one word:
Perfection.
The entire thing was beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with it, you get intense chemistry, brilliant characterisation, beautiful words and longing, all in a short story that you can read in one sitting. Which I did.
It’s the perfect blend of adorable romance, sadness, love and everything in between. I fell in love with John and Giles and will forever hate Wool, with a passion, for using Giles but never loving him. Thank God that John came along.

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AWARD - MM Novel

23110843

Book Title: Menoetius (Of Gods and Monsters)

Author: Wulf Francu Godgluck

My Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: Go ahead…hate me.
Slaughter me against the wall.
I never introduced myself as the goddamn hero. Even labeling me a pussy bad boy.
I’m an imperious villain! A tyrant cut from the bone of the worst kind of monster.
This is my story and I won’t change it for anyone in the world, but…
For him? The one who calls me Master… This is no forever fairy tale romance. This is RAW. This is ripping your heart out and trampling it till there’s nothing left but an angry bloody mess RAW.
He was the one who saw through my cracks, who would suffer my pain, blood and tears, working to mend those still bleeding wounds on my soul.
He stood through my violent storm, hiding the battle raging inside him, one I was too stupid to see, that was tearing apart the only man I would ever love.
It took almost losing him to see that, to understand, to comprehend what he truly was to me.
Mine.
My precious boy.
My beautiful Beo.

My Review: As my first novel by Wulf Francu Godgluck, I was awestruck right away. This style, writing, plot, characterisation…it was perfect from page one.
I actually ended up staying up all night – literally – to finish this story. I’d only intended to dip my toe in, to see how the story panned out and where it might lead, but I couldn’t put it down. Every page had my captive, locked in the story and unable to think about anything else.
The story itself was a surprise for me. I’ve read some BDSM, Dom/sub stories, but this one blew them all out of the water. The detail, the depth and the way that no one proved infallible was addictive to read. The characters were so real and relateable. Through explorations of their past and their present day experiences, we see the cracks in each person and the prospects for their future.
The kink was real, sometimes raw and surprising, but always plausible and nothing felt out of place. The club, the people and the words all felt like they belonged and so did I, for a while. Reading that last line was heartbreaking. I cried a few times and will probably cry every single time I come back to read this story. Which I’ll be doing often.
I can’t wait to read more from these characters and the others from this story. I’ll be waiting impatiently for my next fix.

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AWARD - MM Short

24807625

Book Title: Two Night Stand

Author: Ellis Carrington

My Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: Two guys meet outside of a small town girlie bar. Both of them would rather be anywhere else.
Gabe needs a sober ride home without his douchey ex bringing him down. Lincoln needs to put the mistakes that brought him to Hollow Forge behind him for good. A simple lift back to campus turns into one night together that leaves them both wanting more. One night becomes two, but soon their pasts are knocking at the door and the clock is running out on their weekend.

My Review: Ugh! What can I say…..I ADORED this!
It was simple, straight to the point and adorable in a dozen different ways. I loved the characters, Lincoln and Cabe, and would love to read more about them. I love the hesitations, the uncertainties, the progression of their relationship and how impossible and silly they find it, to fall so hard for each other, so quickly.
It’s realistic, loveable and there isn’t one thing that I don’t like about it. I even love the whole discussion about having no ‘supplies’ in the apartment, how they both talk, frequently, about their exes and how it’s affected them. Too many authors try to have their characters move on from an ex, without admitting that their ex screwed them up and that it’s going to affect their relationship.

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