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One day I was browsing the Internet for nothing in particular and I saw a picture of two male seahorses carrying their babies (not big in bioligy, but from what I understand, female seahorses lie the eggs and male seahorses carry the babies in their pouches until their are ready to leave the "nest"). I thought, this would be a good plot bunny and they I thought, impossible no one has already written it and with a short internet search I found two titles The Shark Who Rode a Seahorse & The Seahorse Who Loved the Wrong Lynx.

The first one is more traditional (if traditional can be used in a paranormal shapeshifter story...) and it is about a shapeshifter shark falling for a shapeshifter seahorse. Of course Byron and Skylar, the human version of them, are reflecting their shifted forms, and Byron is all domineering towards the cute and shy Skylar. Indeed, Byron and Skylar know each other, but Byron is trying to avoid Skylar as much as possible, not trusting himself near the fragile man. But of course, as soon as Skylar needs protection, Byron will be there ready to claim his mate.

It's a cute story and most of the focus is on the expected outcome, Skylar will get pregnant with Byron, and he will carry one little shark and one little seahorse. Maybe the nice twist is that, the baby shark will inherit his seahorse father attitude, and instead the baby seahorse will take upon his shark father, becoming in the end a spoiled brat young man, who will star in the second book, The Seahorse Who Loved the Wrong Lynx.

The second pair, seahorse Layton and lynx Preston is maybe more "strange" than expected, and in a way, it's odd to think two really different creature, one from the water, the other from the ground, can not only mix, but having babies together. But that is indeed a futile reasoning, this is paranormal fiction and everything is possible.

Layton and Preston's story is more comedy than that of Layton's parents; from Layton's bratty behavior to him getting knocked up the first time he had sex cause he wasn't considering the option.

Anyway, these two stories filled my impromptu thought of a story involving a shapeshifter seahorse and male pregnancy.

The Shark Who Rode a Seahorse
Series: Mate Or Meal
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc. (May 11, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162241022X
ISBN-13: 978-1622410224
Amazon: The Shark Who Rode a Seahorse
Amazon Kindle: The Shark Who Rode a Seahorse

The Seahorse Who Loved the Wrong Lynx
Series: Mate Or Meal, Siren Publishing Classic Manlove
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc. (June 20, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1622411900
ISBN-13: 978-1622411900
Amazon: The Seahorse Who Loved the Wrong Lynx
Amazon Kindle: The Seahorse Who Loved the Wrong Lynx

More Reviews at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews

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I have always been more an historical or contemporary kind of reader, but sometime I don't mind a paranormal here or there; true, I'm not really a fan of the big paranormal novel, special effects and all, I prefer ordinary story, and so a novel about house cat shifters was up my alley. Trouble Comes in Threes is about Dolf and Tal, a black and white domestic cats who are already mated to each other, but their Goddess decides to give them another mate, a human, that is, more or less, in the middle between them: Dolf is an Alpha male, the future leader of their clowder, Tal is an Omega male, gentle and kind, and sometime he is not able to meet Dolf's needs of dominance; at the same time, Tal is also a male, and so he has needs Dolf, a full dominant, isn't able to fullfill.

It was nice to see the three of them interact; Kirk, the human mate, was indeed perfect, a mix of strenghtness in body and gentleness in soul, a flavor for kinky that can match Dolf's desires, but also a willingness to submit, that makes him the perfect companion for someone like Tal, who isn't Dominant at all, but needs to dominate sometime; a stronger man wouldn't do, cause Tal needs to feel like he can be the leader sometime.

It wasn't a complex plot, and in a way, I enjoyed more when the plot was even more simple, just the three of them in the remote cabin of Kirk, but even when they joined Tal and Dolf's clowder, the mood was mostly homemade. As I said, I prefer a paranormal novel which is more ordinary than extraordinary, and so this one was fitting my needs.

Paperback: 234 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 29, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632165503
ISBN-13: 978-1632165503
Amazon: Trouble Comes in Threes
Amazon Kindle: Trouble Comes in Threes

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This was quick and nice, actually I think I missed the book where Braxton was introduced, but I managed nevertheless to "know" his character: truth be told, I think he wasn't really a positive one before, sure he loves his brothers, but he has a lot of improve in the trusting field; Braxton is "defective" and in a shapeshifters world where defective means death, he thinks he will never be part of a pack. But then he meets Wright, a wolf shifter on the run, and Wright doesn't care about Braxton's defects, cause to the eyes of a mate he is perfect. Through Wright's eyes, Braxton sees himself and their world in a different way and will be finally able to accept himself: that is, it wasn't their world not accepting him, it was the same Braxton who hated who he was.

As I said, quick but nice, the sex wasn't really the main theme of this one, I felt like Braxton and Wright were "young", maybe not of age, but for sure to an emotional development level. They are just learning how to love, and through it, how to grow in better men.

Publisher: eXtasy Books (January 1, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: Braxton's Salvation (Wayne County Wolves 4)

Series: Wayne County Wolves
1) Ervin's Dilemma
2) Run, Alger, Run
3) The Odds Maker
4) Braxton's Salvation

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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There is one thing to be said for sure about this series, and yes, I'm saying it with a positive meaning, it's totally freed of heavyness; once you start one book, you are more likely able to finish it in one gulp, it goes down smoothly and easily.

Each story has a strong point, and this time is the contraposition between Alpha and Gamma roles in the pack hierarchy moved to a relationship: in the Dark Hollow Wolf Pack homosexuality isn't something frowned upon, but a relationship between two wolf, that is something unheard of. And so when Rory, not only the Gamma of the pack but also the nephew of the Alpha, Mateo, finds out his mate his another wolf, and an Alpha to both, that is when there are trouble; basically to accept the mating bond Rory, the lesser wolf, had to renounce to his priviliged status in the hierarchy pack... even if there is who is saying the pets, the mates of the wolves, are the ones really ruling the relationships.

Anyway, I did enjoy this story, it was like giving freedom to the brain for an hour or two, to just rest and relax.

Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing (September 27, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1618859080
ISBN-13: 978-1618859082
Amazon: Cry Wolf (Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series 2)
Amazon Kindle: Cry Wolf (Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series 2)

Series: Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series
1) The Alpha's Pet: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1628201.html
2) Cry Wolf

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews

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This installment in the Assassin/Shifter series by Sandrine Gasq-Dion is like a glue piece in the series, in a way, most of Tucker Storm & Austin Jacobson and Kurt Maguire & Wesley Foster's story is already told in the previous book, and with their book, Reflash, the author is simply giving them the time to consolidate their relationships. Tucker and Wesley seem to be joined at the hips, they were changed together, they found shelter in Wayne's home and they both became cops. They are not twin but it's like they were, and it was fitting that, not only they find their soul mate at the same time, but also that Austin and Kurt are friends and with very similar upbringing.

Austin and Kurt are from very conservative families, Kurt's family even arriving to host a anti-gay camp for "troubled" kids. No wonder that, even if they are probably both gays, they weren't able to live their sexual orientation freely while living at home. Austin and Kurt moved from different places to Seattle, to work at the local fire department, and it was logical they became roommate. Like there isn't a sexual relationship between Tucker and Wesley, so is for Austin and Kurt, they are all really good friends with each other. And so, when both find their pairing, there isn't jealousy but actually support, a support that is also emotional, helping each other to come to term with their feelings, feelings they were taught are wrong, but that to them, didn't feel wrong at all.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Skull Blaster Publishing LLC (September 30, 2013); 10 edition (October 20, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1480156744
ISBN-13: 978-1480156746
Amazon: Reflash (Assassin/Shifter)
Amazon Kindle: Reflash (Assassin/Shifter)

Series: Assassin/Shifter
1) A Marked Man: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1866493.html
2) Alaska, with Love: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1878006.html
3) By the Light of the Moon
4) Half Moon Rising
5) Best Laid Plans
6) For the Love of Caden
7) The General’s Lover
8) Russian Prey: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1737908.html
9) An Ignited Passion: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1777760.html
10) Reflash

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Being an old fan of Native American history and traditions, I found the theme of the book more than appealing to my taste. Even the love story between Devon and Jameson, with the back and forth between past and present was nicely done, and gave a sweet memories feeling to the story.

Truth be told, the real main character of the story was Moon, the half-wolf pet of Devon; she was the one connecting Devon with her own soul, the voice always encouraging her, the link she needed to be able to grasp an happiness that, until now, seemed always to be out of reach. The author clearly displayed her love for Native American tradition and for all living being, human or animal. The novel is dedicated to the author's beloved pet, and all her love is clearly woven in the threads of the story.

Another interesting point was how women are the real core of the story, and not only Devon and Jameson. Again this is something that is, from my knowledge, coming from the Native American traditions, Mother Nature was indeed female, and there was always respect for who was able to give life. It's not that the male characters are all negative, but for sure the heart of the story lies with the women.

This is not an only book, lose trends will have to be tightened probably in a sequel, or in a second book in the same universe. Nonetheless, the story was compelling and fulfilling.

Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: Melange Books (June 29, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1612356370
ISBN-13: 978-1612356372
Amazon: Long Snows Moon
Amazon Kindle: Long Snows Moon

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What is probably the first you notice in Cowboys & Vampires, the first adventure in the Venom Valley series, is the horror: a living dead zombie, a man who is forced to "kill again" the woman he has always considered his mother, the difficult of trying to scind the memories of the good time past and the present horror. Sincerely I'm not a fan of horror stories, so the first instinct should have been to not continue with the reading, but there was something in Josh, an innocence and naivete that was a stark contrast with the horror.

And as soon as Dex enters the scene, I was bought. Josh's secret, the hidden force that linked me to him, was now clear, it was Dex. The boys growing old together, both of them having feeling for each other, both of them not having the courage to say it. But the horrific events, instead of tearing them apart, is the reason to finally come true. The sweetness of their love was the right counterbalance for the horror and the main reason why I wanted to go on and see what happened.

A small warning, Cowboys & Vampires more than a first novel in the series, is a first part of the story, to fully enjoy it you have probably to read it together with the second installment, Stakes and Spurs.

Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Wilde City Press, LLC; 2 edition (August 21, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1925031462
ISBN-13: 978-1925031461
Amazon: Cowboys & Vampires/Stakes & Spurs
Amazon Kindle: Cowboys & Vampires: Venom Valley Book One

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Considering the setting, 1799, quite original just like that, and the plot device, a young man sent as endured servant for 5 years, I was expecting for this story to be very gothic like, dark and brooding, maybe even a little dramatic.

So it was with a little surprise that, page after page, I was discovering a romantic story, almost a sweet romance, with a kind Master who seemed more interested in taking care of his servant than using him; my prejudices almost pushed me to believe the Master was some sort of ogre and that he was fattening up the servant, but do not worry, this wasn’t the case.

Anyway, William is really a clever boy, even if only 18 years old, he had already his business as bookseller, but he had bad companies, and he ended up to pay for all his fellow mates. Merrick, his Master, is some sort of hermit, a well-respected apothecary who hides his features behind a cloak he doesn’t remove neither in front of William. But he is gentle and kind, and he treats William in a good way, so much that William starts to believe his bad fate isn’t so bad after all, and even if he has never been interested in men, now that he is in close proximity with Merrick, he is very much attracted by the man: another device plot I was used in my old fashioned romance novels, William falls for Merrick without even knowing his looks, he falls in love for the kind man who is behind the cloak, not for a pretty face.

A some sort of Beauty and the Beast, also here there is a reason for Merrick to hide himself, and William will have to prove that he loves Merrick despite all.

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle: Merrick

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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This was a strange mix, deep horror and humoristic satire, sometime you didn’t know if laughing out loud or cringing in fear. For sure the comedy streak for which this author is well known is again present in this novel.

It was interesting the “stranger” setting, Berlin, Germany, instead of the usual UK. Considering the plot development, I think the author needed a place with a recent political upturn, and, yes, maybe the right folklore to give an additional layer to the story.

The plot, the twists, were the principal elements of the story, more than the love story between Leon and Christoph, but, even if secondary to the plot, I really enjoyed their relationship, Leon was this mix of cute and harsh angle, and Christoph was like the best brooding heroes of the gothic novels from the past.

I’m not sure if the author will like to revisit some of the supporting characters, but she gave them enough deepness to have at least 3 or 4 possible developments.

Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (January 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1609288904
ISBN-13: 978-1609288907
Amazon: Midnight in Berlin
Amazon Kindle: Midnight in Berlin



More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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That of Nik and Colin was almost a “known” story from my perception, having read books in this series up and down and around this specific one. I’m actually missing one important piece for this perspective, that of Andrej, one of Nik’s father, and how and when he separated from Vince, cause at the beginning of The Nik of Time they are happy together, and very much in love. I remember I read Vince and Keegan’s story, and I know Andrej found love with Devin, but I haven’t read his story. I think I want to.

Anyway, Nik and Colin’s was a refreshing perspective; they met when Colin was 4 and Nik a newborn baby, and they fell in love, with much amusement of their respective fathers. There is even a familiar connection cause Nik’s surrogate mother is the same of Colin’s sister, so in a way, they are relative, if not blood-ones. But then Nik went through a traumatic experience and he lost all memories of the past, and with them, also Colin. He built a separate life, he had relationships, until the day he meets Colin again, and everything crushes upon him: he knows Colin is the love of his life, the problem is he doesn’t remember him. And Colin, who was waiting for Nik (yes, in every way, also sexual) is upset that Nik instead didn’t.

Even if there was the usual crash-boom-bang of assassins, shifters, Italian an Russian mafia, and some other deadly organization, I mostly enjoy the young and somewhat sweet love of Nik and Colin. My favorite parts were those of them at college, and I wanted more of them with their family. The first part, with them as children, was really nice, very cute and tender.

Series: Assassin/Shifters
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1482722925
ISBN-13: 978-1482722925
Amazon: The Nik of Time (Assassin/Shifters)
Amazon Kindle: The Nik of Time (Assassin/Shifters)

Series: Assassin/Shifter
1) A Marked Man: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1866493.html
2) Alaska, with Love: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1878006.html
3) By the Light of the Moon
4) Half Moon Rising
5) Best Laid Plans
6) For the Love of Caden
7) The General’s Lover
8) Russian Prey: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1737908.html
9) An Ignited Passion: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1777760.html
10) Reflash: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2788763.html
11) The Red Zone: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2251976.html
12) Irish Wishes: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2319427.html
13) Pleading the Fifth: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2130301.html
14) Betrayed
15) Summer of Awakenings
16) Into the Lyons Den
17) The Nik of Time

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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I don’t think it was a chance this novel reminded me of Frankenstein Junior by Mel Brooks, Igor was too much a giveaway, but, considering that was one of my favorite movie when I was younger, it was with a sort of delight I read this book, and this is strange enough to say for a paranormal/horror story.

The Vampire/Werewolf pair was probably the first one I read long ago when approaching the Gay Paranormal Romance genre, but the main big difference in this story is the humor that Rob Rosen is using, a common element in his stories, like, in a way, the drag queens; and one thing is not unrelated to the other, cause Rosen’s humor is as colorful and outrageous like the most beautiful drag queens, in your face, and without any regret. It’s sexy but funny, carelessness but clever.

Jack is a young gay man living in a small Castro apartment; truth be told, he didn’t strike me as the sharpest tool in the lot, right from the first moment when, faced with the chance to become a vampire, instead of running away in the opposite direction, he is lured into it. All right, maybe the lure is exactly the reason why he wasn’t able to go away, but still, it seems events lead him more than him being the leader. And considering he is not only the last of his family, and so in a way, Alpha of his coven, he is also just “mated” with a hot and young werewolf, who happens to be the Alpha of his pack. But nevertheless, Jack is not the “hero”, and I’m pretty sure he would prefer a night out with the girls more than playing the last immortal with the boys. But in him being like this lies all the lightness of this novel and though the reason to enjoy it.

Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: MLR Press (July 12, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1608208788
ISBN-13: 978-1608208784
Amazon: Vamp
Amazon Kindle: Vamp

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Considering the other Dark Hollow Wolf Pack’s books I read in this series, Logan’s Choice is probably the one who has also another plot in parallel with the one about an Alpha man meeting his soul mate. Ian is the Beta of his pack, the second hand to Marco, and he is also the only young widower, having lost his wife five years earlier. The woman was his blood match, so Ian knows there will be no other for him, and when someone has to be picked as the one to turn an Hunter captive, to avoid killing him, Ian agrees not only to turn Logan, but also to make him his pet if Logan agrees. Now, truth be told, asking to a man in “heat” if he wants to have sex with Ian, isn’t exactly giving him a choice, but fair enough, Logan enjoyed it.

While nor Ian or Logan had same-sex relationship before, this is not a gay for you story; Ian admits that, for werewolves, gender is basically just another attribute, like hair or eyes color: there is no prejudices, and they can mate with men or women, according to who they desire; it’s attraction that leads their bodies, and if they are attracted to a same-sex partner, their mind doesn’t prevent them from following their desire. For Logan is different, considering he has an homophobic parent.

The subplot about Logan being an Hunter, and his behavior once he will face with the chance of abandoning everything he knows to become Ian’s pet was well played, according to me; it was enough believable, cause it wasn’t an easy decision for Logan, and not something that could be easily replace by good sex only. Ian, on the other hand, was this strong man who was able to balance his desires but also his duties as Beta of the pack.

Series: Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series
Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing (September 27, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1618859099
ISBN-13: 978-1618859099
Amazon: Logan's Choice (Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series 3)
Amazon Kindle: Logan's Choice (Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series 3)

Series: Dark Hollow Wolf Pack
1) The Alpha's Pet: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1628201.html
2) Cry Wolf: reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4388297.html
3) Logan's Choice

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Jeff Mann isn’t shy in using a rough imaginary to set his stories, whereas they are in XIX century American frontier, or in XVIII century Scotland, but even amidst the blood and sweat, and tears, you can find the tenderness of two men loving each other.

Angus and Derek are like two halves of the same apple, they were brought up together, Derek the laird’s son, and Angus his second hand, his protector, the one who has to give up his life in case to protect Derek. And he will do. But not only for a born duty, but also cause Angus is deeply in love with Derek and they call each other such, “lover”. The same night Angus is killed, Derek is turned into a vampire, in a ceremony that mixes love and death, sex and rape; yes, it’s rape, even if Derek will enjoy the act, he clearly didn’t want it, he was still mourning the loss of his half soul. That is the tenderness amidst the violence, a Derek in search of vengeance who is asking his sire to not have sex with him, cause, yes, he is in mourn, and he needs the time to heal.

The first story, the making of Derek, is probably the longer, taking half the book; after that we follow Derek in the centuries to come, up until modern time, with Derek paired with an husbear, Matt; not being familiar with the bear culture, it was the first time I “met” a bear bottom: it’s not really a term to describe their preferred sexual position, cause, as Derek said, they switch sometime, but it’s more to describe Matt’s playful attitude, something that remains with him way longer his young age, cause, in the end, Matt is more than 40, but nevertheless, still a bear bottom.

I didn’t really understand the decision of Derek to not turn Matt, they seem happy together. What I can think is that, deep down, Derek is still in love with Angus, a man that was totally opposite to Matt, in a way, Matt is to Derek, what Derek was to Angus, and so Derek needs someone different than Matt, someone who can be to him what Angus was. Still, deep down, I’m hoping he will change mind.

Paperback: 202 pages
Publisher: Bear Bones Books (August 25, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590213939
ISBN-13: 978-1590213933
Amazon: Desire & Devour: Stories of Blood & Sweat
Amazon Kindle: Desire & Devour: Stories of Blood & Sweat



More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Surprisingly less frightening than expected, even if the gory details didn’t lack, I found myself enjoying this novel very much, even considering I’m not really a huge fun of ghost stories. More, I found it sweet and even cute at time.

Probably the element I liked more was the couple, museum curator Wyatt and flair bartender Ash, who comes along equipped with very interesting tongue piercings. So of course, you are expecting for the nerdy professor to be captivated by the domineering bartender, and instead? Wyatt displays a strong, almost dominant attitude toward Ash, especially during intimacy, making him more the protector than the captive. And Ash will unveil an endearing fragility, and here the cuteness factor came out strong and loud.

The setting was a protagonist as well, Richmond, Virginia, coming out from the pages in full force, a mix of past and current, mixed together that, while it was obvious a contemporary story, sometime it seemed we very living in the past; sure, the Gaslight ambience of the Gravedigger’s Tavern, the place where Ash is bartending, was helping in this feeling, but it was also the cobblestone streets and the old building, the tidbits of history the author was springing around, and of course, the Historian society for which Wyatt is a curator. Oh, yes, also Noah and his strange history lectures.

If you usually avoid the ghost themed stories cause they are too “involving” or scaring, mind you that, in a way, this was more a romantic thriller than a horror story.

Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (October 9, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937551539
ISBN-13: 978-1937551537
Amazon: The Gravedigger's Brawl
Amazon Kindle: The Gravedigger's Brawl



More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Sometime you need something with no emotional involvement, meaning no angst, no drama, something funny and cute, and so, even if I have tons of books I need to read, yesterday night I browsed the kindle ebooks and picked this one: a rabbit shifter mated with a dragon? Well, it had to be funny! And what promised, it delivered. But actually, considering I’m not new to a Stormy Glenn’s comedy, I have to say I noticed a huge improvement, while preserving her distinctive touch of cute bottom boys, this time Beauregard “Bunny” is not really over the top; he has his quirks, he likes shiny things, and yes, truth be told, he is maybe a little bit naïve, he doesn’t really question life or events, but he is cute, and sweet, and that is his strength and the reason why he really conquers Sebastian, without really trying.

A point I notice about this Midnight Matings “universe”, and considering this is the only book I read, I’m not sure if it’s only this book or the whole series, is that there is no “gender”, meaning that, Beauregard or Sebastian aren’t gay, straight, bisexual or else, they simply do not consider gender at all, so much that, when newborns are in the story, not one questions if they are boys or girls, they are simply babies, to be cherished and loved.

Series: Midnight Matings
Paperback: 152 pages
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc. (July 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1610348087
ISBN-13: 978-1610348089
Amazon: Scales and a Tail [Midnight Matings]
Amazon Kindle: Scales and a Tail [Midnight Matings]

Series: Midnight Matings
1) Squeak And A Roar by Joyee Flynn
2) Scales And A Tail by Stormy Glenn

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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The best achievement of this book? Having me read a story where the main character is a spider shifter! I hate, totally hate spiders, really, I cannot find anything pretty about them, and instead, when Haben shifts into a tarantula, the author manages to make him cute, in a way that, when Lou, rightfully got scared by his shifter appearance, I felt bad for Haben, and wanted to cuddle him.

This story was really quick, or maybe, as I said, the author was good in having me caring for Haben that, when it ended, I was sad, I wanted a little more. Haben is quite an interesting character, he is for sure the top in the relationship with Lou, but he was also really caring, sweet and protective of Lou, but never once overwhelming or domineering; not in a way that made him weak, but more making him a really good candidate to be the partner of a single man with a child, I could totally see Haben as a father of a teenager.

And also Lou was a nice and original character, from his pudginess (again presented in a totally positive way), to his “homely” sexiness: Lou is not a party boy, but he is also someone who enjoys sex. Maybe I missed a little having a backstory on Lou’s previous partner (and the biological father of his son): was he gay and used a surrogate mother for his child? Was he bisexual? How was his relationship with Lou? But this man is already dead, so maybe it wasn’t necessary to dig on him.

Publisher: eXtasy Books (August 15, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Spider Sense (Kontra's Menagerie)

Series: Kontra's Menagerie
1) Mutegi's Sweet One
2) Catlin's Appaloosa
3) Hope for a Buffalo
4) Dominating the Wolf
5) Spider Sense

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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I haven’t read all the books in the series, but one thing I noticed, this series is more mainstream than genre fiction, actually I think the whole series is one of the best example of urban fantasy out there right now. The writing style is unique, the main and supporting characters are original, in their being heroic without being heroes, and the storyline is tragic and engaging, always leaving the reader with the feeling of wanting more, and more will be delivered.

As the same Dylan says, they will be always in three, Roan, him and the ghost of Paris, who basically has never left Roan, living in his skin, lingering on his needs. Roan loves Dylan, I can feel it, but I also feel like Roan doesn’t believe there is a future for Dylan and me, and in a way, would prefer for Dylan to be as much as possible detached from him. I’m not sure if Roan hates the shifter in him, or if, deep down, he feels like he is that shifter, and that denying him he is denying his own self. Dylan represent normalcy, and if he wants to be with Dylan he has to refuse his lion; in a way, Roan is rejecting the lion while, in the end, I had this lingering sensation that Dylan wouldn’t be against the idea to accept it, cause, better than Roan, Dylan understand the lion is not the bad side of Roan, it’s just another side of him.

Yes, that is, after 6 books, my conclusion is that Roan hasn’t to fight the lion, but instead he has to find a way to have it coming out and being a part of him, and both of them need to “know” Dylan to love him completely (well, this is the romance reader speaking).

Paperback: 376 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 5, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1623800129
ISBN-13: 978-1623800123
Amazon: Infected: Lesser Evils
Amazon Kindle: Infected: Lesser Evils

Series: Infected
1) Prey
2) Bloodlines
3) Life After Death
4) Freefall: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1882986.html
5) Shift
6) Lesser Evils



More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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At first, Gabe’s Alpha seemed yet another topping from the bottom, omega versus Alpha plot. The main difference was the viciousness that was Gabe’s turning into a shifter, being raped and witnessing his mother’s murder. But as soon as Gabe met Zack, there was the comfort feeling of knowing what was happening, omega meets Alpha and they live happily ever after. Only that, instead of doing it out of love, to Gabe was more a way to avoid yet another painful shifting into a feral half man-half wolf, a creature he is not able to control. Accepting Zack’s rule and the pack’s life is not something that comes easy to Gabe and he will fight Zack over every simple decision.

There were many common elements to the usual topping from the bottom plot, but the author managed to make them being right for Gabe’s character, an independent man but also easy to lighten up like a little firecracker, to a point he sometime is able to recognize he went to much over to a point where is too late to come back, like the night his mother was killed, when he was sulking over some stupid argument.

Actually I think Gabe is still really young, not yet fully formed into a grown man; Gabe will change in the future, maybe becoming more settled and aware of the implications of his own actions, but I think he will also preserve this independent streak that will always cause Zack is headaches. But I also think Zack is welcoming them for the chance to have Gabe in his life.

Series: Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series
Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing (September 27, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1618859102
ISBN-13: 978-1618859105
Amazon: Gabe's Alpha (Dark Hollow Wolf Pack 4)
Amazon Kindle: Gabe's Alpha (Dark Hollow Wolf Pack 4)

Series: Dark Hollow Wolf Pack
1) The Alpha's Pet: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1628201.html
2) Cry Wolf: reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4388297.html
3) Logan's Choice: reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4189018.html
4) Gabe's Alpha

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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First of all a warning to potential readers, this is not a first book in a series, this is actually part 1 of a story.

The main concept is a revised version of the shapeshifter romance: two strangers meet and a sudden bond mate them forever, the turn of events here is that young Troy is at the same time the fated mate of Alpha Jared and his Beta Nick. Jared and Nick were always best friends other than fellow pack members and they well know what it means for one of them to renounce to Troy and so they agree to give Troy a “trial” period, 3 days with Jared, 3 days with Nick, 1 day off to decide who has to be his forever mate.

I quite enjoyed the author didn’t choose the easiest way to have Jared and Nick sharing Troy, even if I wouldn’t mind for this to eventually be their decision; instead the author pushed more on an almost “logical” solution, that, by the way, gives Troy the time he needs to decide if he wants to be in a relationship with a werewolf, a being he was never aware existed before.

The strange thing is that, while the author didn’t push much on the sex (there are a lot of innuendos but no real sex at all), there is quite a lot of violence. There is even an off the stage rape, and that is probably the only point it didn’t ring true to my ears (for how much true a paranormal romance can be): I’m not really sure a rape victim could be able to overcome it so easily. Sure there are panic attack, but it seems they are provoked more by a past abusive relationship than the current rape. My suggestion to the author would be to or remove the rape making it an attempt, or to deepen the victim reaction to it.

Aside from this, I think the werewolf theme was well played, the link to the Ancient Rome is not new but neither used so often, and it was nice to see it revised here.

Series: Troy's Turning
Paperback: 414 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 17, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1484993918
ISBN-13: 978-1484993910
Amazon: Caught in Between: A Supernatural Romance (Troy's Turning) (Volume 1)
Amazon Kindle: Caught in Between: A Supernatural Romance (Troy's Turning) (Volume 1)

More Reviews by Author at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Reviews
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Sometime you need serious, sometime you need playful… Poppy’s Pleasure is a pretty little story. Poppy is a cuteness overloaded character who is completely unaware of the danger he is for other men… not cause “he” is dangerous, but cause he can provoke an overdose of prettiness to the chosen companion. And I’m totally saying this with a positive perspective, it’s not easy to write a character like this one without falling into ridiculousness, but Stormy Glenn managed it without any stumble (maybe that is due to her experience with this character type).

Poppy is naïve cause he has always lived as a slave; he doesn’t have any memories of a previous different life, he doesn’t know there is any different life. Poppy truly believes the world is divided into Masters and slaves and that he is born slave and destined to be one. He is not a broken man, he still has a backbone, but he doesn’t know stubbornness, he doesn’t know rebellion, and so, most of the time, his attempts to escape that life always end with him being beaten and left half dead. The only lucky event in his life, for a reason that we will understand only later in the story, Poppy has passed from Master to Master with a contract that states he isn’t a sexual slave, and that he cannot be used for that purpose. So other than being naïve of life, Poppy is also naïve of sex.

Dean is on a rescue mission for one of his fellow Government Agency assassin, but instead of finding Marcus, he stumbles into Poppy and from that moment on, Poppy recognizes him as his Master, like a little duck with its mother hen, imprinting, and Dean cannot really leave him otherwise Poppy will have a mental breakdown. Dean becomes Poppy’s protector, lover, companion, and every other words you can imagine to describe a relationship that is more than love, it’s death or life.

As I said, sometime I need my overdose of cuteness.

Publisher: Silver Publishing (November 24, 2012)
Amazon Kindle: Poppy's Pleasure (Assassin's Pride)

Series: Assassin's Pride
1) The Cat's Meow
2) Poppy's Pleasure

Updates: http://www.goodreads.com/user/updates_rss/2156728?key=011e4dd0a1ff993d8c2322e691d6229ed9bbf74b
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I’m more a contemporary sort of reader, and while I may believe in “special” energy, I’m not really a believer in ghosts, in a way, I’m probably a little like Jordan; but maybe, if I had the chance to meet someone like Sunny, head investigator and founder of Sisters of Spirits, a paranormal society dedicated to helping others understand what they can’t see, I’d have more chance to change my attitude.

The strongest point of the story is its balance; good mix of romance, drama, horror, mystery, all of them melted together in a fluid plot, with no bump. In a way, this what I liked more, but what it makes it so different from previous horror novels I read (and I admit, I’m not really an horror story lovers): I don’t really like when there are too much ups and downs in the story, one effect here and there is good, but always being on a roller coast is not my thing. The Awakening is more psychological than horror, and that is what I liked.

From the romance point of view it’s an opposites attract theme, but with a twist, while Sunny’s job should led her to be the “darker” side of the couple, even in her name she is the more open, light and adjusted, while instead Jordan brings with her a baggage of pain and past angst. Sunny needs to help her to look inside herself, to be able to open up to other.

First in a trilogy, The Awakening is also a confirmation of Yvonne Heidt’s talent which was already highlighted with her debut novel, Sometime Yesterday.

Series: Sisterhood of Spirits Trilogy (Book 1)
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (January 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602827729
ISBN-13: 978-1602827721
Amazon: The Awakening (Sisterhood of Spirits Trilogy 1)
Amazon Kindle: The Awakening (Sisterhood of Spirits Trilogy 1)

Updates: http://www.goodreads.com/user/updates_rss/2156728?key=011e4dd0a1ff993d8c2322e691d6229ed9bbf74b

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For sure the story wins the originality badge for the choice of shifter: at first I thought it was a problem of my English knowledge, cause I was reading the story, and going through the first shift of Jake, and still I didn’t know which shifter he was. When also Vaughn had the same issue, I understood it was not me, but actually the key point of the story. Due to this, I will actually not say it, I think the author wanted for the discovery to be part of the enjoyment of reading the story, enough to say, this is probably the reason why you should read the story.

Another interesting point was the homely feeling of the plot; it was a strange melting pot, considering Vaughn and his cousin Maya, both trust fund boys, are living in Manhattan, but Jake Bander and his Ark of rescued animals are living in the wild. Again, I think it was intentional, to give the reader the feeling that even just outside your safety comfort zone, fantasy can happen. And the homely feeling is also in Jake himself, who isn’t really a paranormal hero, but more your next door neighbor, only with a “particularity”.

Yes, that is the word, I find Taming the Bander to be very particular, not yet again your paranormal romance; maybe I was a little gasping at the beginning, the reader is thrown in the middle of the story with very little background on the characters. It was like you were supposed to know them, and this was a sequel to another story, where maybe Jake and Vaughn weren’t the main characters but just supporting.

Amazon: Taming the Bander
Amazon Kindle: Taming the Bander
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (February 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619216833
ISBN-13: 978-1619216839

Updates: http://www.goodreads.com/user/updates_rss/2156728?key=011e4dd0a1ff993d8c2322e691d6229ed9bbf74b
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The book is a sequel of Bite Club, but it can be a standalone, the main characters from the previous one, ancient vampire Christopher Driscoll, his new lover Troy, and coroner Becky O’Brien, are again together in an investigation, but now it’s not more about vampires, but werewolves… yes, since, after the discovery that vampires exist in Bite Club, gay population of West Hollywood is now threatened by werewolves. And of course there will be a new couple, werewolf Louis and drag queen Carlos/Shanda, so nice and cute as a couple that is a pity they are introduced more or less only half into the story.

The plot is mainly a mix of paranormal/comedy, with a push on the comic/comedy/paradox side, so much that I think the author wanted a little to parody the paranormal genre so much trendy in these past few years. But the character of Louis, an almost idiot savant, taken from his natural habitat and trust in the middle of West Hollywood, is among the most original and refreshing I have found lately in the genre.

For sure one of the main character of the novel is the suburb of West Hollywood; it’s clear the author lives and loves the city, and his able to transmit everything of it, history, planimetry, even the moods and the scent.

The story and plot is engaging, entertaining and very funny, with an ending that is worth of the most classical (West) Hollywood romantic comedies.

Amazon: The Trouble With Hairy (Volume 2)
Amazon Kindle: The Trouble With Hairy (Volume 2)
Paperback: 442 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 9, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1469926970
ISBN-13: 978-1469926971

Series:
1) Bite Club: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1537604.html
2) The Trouble With Hairy

Updates: http://www.goodreads.com/user/updates_rss/2156728?key=011e4dd0a1ff993d8c2322e691d6229ed9bbf74b
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This time the plot is a little more complex than others, maybe cause the story focuses on Wayne Maccon, who is one of the leaders of this series, the Alpha of the Delani pack, born werewolf centuries ago, powerful and always caring of the others. During the previous novel the reader had the chance to know him and Conner, his mate. The trouble is that Wayne isn’t gay and he has to come to term with the fact that his mate is a man. What probably is the funniest thing is that is a trouble only for him, cause nor his friends or his own family has a problem with that.

Once the finding your mate is out of the picture, this time the plot focuses on rescuing Conner from a pack of rogue wolves kidnapping him. The quest to rescue Conner is an excuse to gather all the team, humans, werewolves, Navy Seals, firefighters, FBI, and whatever other dream hero you can think of. Plus the introduction of some future plots, like Nikolai and his mate, Chance and Logan, Mitch and Locke…

I found Irish Wishes to be a little more fast paced and with and higher breath, like the author decided to bring her characters out for a field trip, in another country, Ireland, and with a more adventurous plot. Wayne and Conner’s story, for how much romantic it was, was like a parallel plot, but there were other important threads, the female pack, the wish of many of the previous pairs to become fathers, the tightening of different series into one. For the first time while reading this novel I wished I had a genealogy tree, to be able to collect and put together all the pieces.

Anyway, for who is following this series in its wholeness, Irish Wishes is an absolute needed reading.

Amazon: Irish Wishes (Volume 12)
Amazon Kindle: Irish Wishes (Volume 12)
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 27, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1480217883
ISBN-13: 978-1480217881

Series: Assassin/Shifter
1) A Marked Man: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1866493.html
2) Alaska, with Love: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1878006.html
3) By the Light of the Moon
4) Half Moon Rising
5) Best Laid Plans
6) For the Love of Caden
7) The General’s Lover
8) Russian Prey: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1737908.html
9) An Ignited Passion: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1777760.html
10) Reflash: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2788763.html
11) The Red Zone: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2251976.html
12) Irish Wishes

Updates: http://www.goodreads.com/user/updates_rss/2156728?key=011e4dd0a1ff993d8c2322e691d6229ed9bbf74b
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I did wonder why the author chose to set this story in 1992 and I found different reasons, the main two: maybe the author wanted a period in time when being gay in UK was still something that was better to keep into the closet, plus this was 1992, the peak of the AIDS plague and the characters are working in health services, I’m pretty sure being gay was a sure ticket to being fired, with a reason or the other; maybe it needed to be far away in time to the WWI, but not so away that everything was almost forgotten, all people witnessing it already dead. In case, whatever reason, the nice coincidence is that these men (and one woman) are travelling together towards Germany more or less in the same period I did, right after the falling down of the Berlin Wall, when the once DDR was again a place you could freely visit. It was a strange feeling to read about a time I could relate and at the same time being transported back at a period I have only read about.

I have already told in the past, I try to avoid reading about WWI stories, cause they almost always end in a bad way for their characters, there are not many happily ever after for those men, and most of the time they were so young, so full of life, that is heartbreaking reading of how their life was cut so soon. So that is the reason why I liked this novel, the idea, for how much fantastic could be, that some of those young souls will be able to have a second chance. Sure, at the beginning, thinking that Allan and Dennis will be the vessels of that chance it’s quite strange, truth be told I didn’t even have the feeling they were gay or interested in each other, but then, little by little, you understand that, among the group, Allan and Dennis are probably the ones with much in common, was that the connection with the past, or the real chance of a future together.

This is not the first time I read a book by Fitzroy, and so I wasn’t surprise this was not strictly a romance; btw I would like to highlight that it’s not mandatory that every story involving two gay characters has to be a romance, I prefer that, but it’s not mandatory; in a way, this is the ending of a past romance and the beginning of a future one. The strength of Fitzroy, and this novel, lies in the characters and setting, both of them very English-style, both of them carefully crafted.

Amazon Kindle: Between Now and Then
Publisher: Manifold Press (May 10, 2013)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Only with an English setting and probably only an English author, or at least one that knows very well the customs of that country, can write a story about tea, crumpets and supernatural being. Location is an small, cold, but homey cottage, the central piece of the story is the restoration of two small Elizabethan portraits too many people want and only one has the right to have.

Robert is a librarian by trade, but an antique paintings restorer by vocation; in today world, that is not an art that will help you making ends meet, and so he parked his dream and left his father’s shop. But now his father is immobilized in an hospital bed and wants for Rob to complete the restoration of what he affectionately calls Ann and Adam, the wedding portrait of a couple of the XVI century. Everyone is captivated by Ann, but actually Rob’s interest is more for Adam, even if he will never say something: Robert, a lover of beautiful things, has the tendency to fall for beautiful chaps who are a little flicky. And it seems he has not learned the lesson cause know he is falling for Fox, his little brother’s friend, a beautiful biker his brother decided has to play the role of Rob’s bodyguard until those valuable paintings will be in the house, only that, instead of being Fox guarding Robert, it appears that Robert spends a lot of time “guarding” Fox’s handsome body.

The pace is slow but not boring; it really aligns with the country setting, the slow pacing rhythms of who works in the antiquity field, where job are done little square by little square, taking weeks if not months. Same is the relationship building between Robert and Fox, which is the focus of the story, so much that, when the paranormal element enters the scene, it doesn’t seem important, or at least, it doesn’t change much the equilibrium Robert and Fox have already reached.

Amazon Kindle: Fox Hunt
Publisher: Manifold Press (May 4, 2013)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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In perfect harmony with all the series that is now a classic among the gay romance fans, The Red Zone plays again the card of the hot cop falling in love for the younger college student who needs to be reined (a little like the story of Preston and Wyatt). Actually Sebastian Price is Wyatt’s former boyfriend, the one that in Wyatt’s story doesn’t make a really good impression on the readers: he is abusive, prone to shifts in moods that make him unreliable. Only that now Sebastian is trying to make amend, and he is involved in various supporting groups for LGBT youths, plus he is the quarterback of his college football team. Being him on the spotlight as poster gay boy is also making him an easy target for homophobic pranks that escalate in danger, until the time police is involved and Nicholas Stevens enters the scene. A werewolf, he soon recognizes Sebastian as his mate.

I like the unexpected role play the author picked for her character: while Nicholas is a werewolf, a cop, and older than Sebastian, he is also someone who doesn’t believe in no strings attached relationships, and so he is basically almost a virgin, basically waiting for his own mate to show up to build a 2.5 kid white fence house in the suburbs scenario. That doesn’t make him weak, or in need of an alpha male beside him, it’s more a choice of mind, a life attitude that he has decided to take. On the other side Sebastian may be a little more reckless in love, not to the level to make him a slut, only more “friendly”, but at the same time he is young, so he hasn’t had really the time to become disillusioned by love; he is ripe to be picked, and ready to commit. This matching of state of mind make the meeting of Nicholas and Sebastian perfect in time, plus it shortens their difference in age, making it almost nonexistent.

I’m not reading this series in order, so I’m the good example that it’s not necessary to engage for the whole series, but for sure this is a choral series, and all the characters from the previous and future books make appearances here and there, so to entice reader to go back or to continue in reading it.

Amazon: The Red Zone (Volume 11)
Amazon Kindle: The Red Zone (Volume 11)
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1480156760
ISBN-13: 978-1480156760

Series: Assassin/Shifter
1) A Marked Man: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1866493.html
2) Alaska, with Love: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1878006.html
3) By the Light of the Moon
4) Half Moon Rising
5) Best Laid Plans
6) For the Love of Caden
7) The General’s Lover
8) Russian Prey: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1737908.html
9) An Ignited Passion: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1777760.html
10) Reflash: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2788763.html
11) The Red Zone

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

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Big warning, this is a very dark anthology, no surprise that it won second place in the Paranormal/Horror category of the Rainbow Awards, highlight on the horror. But it has also another shade of dark other than horror, a dark humor, like right in the first story, The Other Man, where a sex doll becomes jealous of his owner. Despite the humor though, I wouldn't advice readers to embark in this anthology right before sleeping, at least not if you want to have sweet dreams.

The advice is mostly given since these stories centers around different types of fear, from the most evident one to the psychological; it's that type of fear represented by the boogie man of your childhood nightmare, the one your parents told it was not true... Only to discover in these stories that it was more than true, it was always there waiting for you. It's the horror of unexpected, that comes when you are feeling safe, and so you are not ready to fight it.

The fact that there is the erotica in the mix is not diluiting the horror making it less fearsome, on the contrary it's accentuating it, sex and fear, letting go and living your basic instincts, there is a feeble line between comfort and danger, and the eroticism is helping reader to open their barriers, only to have the horror striking with even more intensity.

Amazon: Words to Die By
Amazon Kindle: Words to Die By
Publisher Bold Strokes Books (March 13, 2012)
Language English
ISBN-10 1602826536
ISBN-13 978-1602826533



Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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I haven’t read all the books in this series, so that of Scott and Tristan was almost a new story to me, most of the supporting characters were known, but their dynamics not entirely clear and in a way, to me, this made for a better read, because nothing was “expected”. One trait of the author I found again in this novel is her satirical twist, a humor sense that says to the reader, come on, we are here to have fun, don’t take life too seriously. This series is made mostly of men (even if there are positive female characters here and there) and these guys want to have fun, they like to have sex, and to have a beer soon after, to watch sports while snuggling on the coach, to leave their dirty dishes on the kitchen sink until the morning after and maybe even later.

ETM Scott and lawyer Tristan are no different, considering also that, before being a lawyer, Tristan was a navy SEALS. Add to that both of them are werewolves, mates and both with an Alpha streak to the booth and you have the perfect recipe for a snarling before kissing romance. Scott and Tristan cannot bear each other but at the same time the mate bond is so strong they are driven to each other. They don’t want to mate, but they cannot have sex with other men, not only since, when one of them is trying, the other is ready to ruin everything.

Everyone around them is suggesting to let the fate have its course, but they are both stubborn and it will not easy to accept the unavoidable.

Due to the fact that I’m reading the books letting time pass between each of them, I’m not sure which is my favorite until now, but I quite liked the light core of this one, plus I found it sometime even cute and tender, without depriving the men of their 100% manliness.

Amazon: Pleading the fifth
Amazon Kindle: Pleading the fifth
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 26, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1480146919
ISBN-13: 978-1480146914

Series: Assassin/Shifter
1) A Marked Man: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1866493.html
2) Alaska, with Love: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1878006.html
3) By the Light of the Moon
4) Half Moon Rising
5) Best Laid Plans
6) For the Love of Caden
7) The General’s Lover
8) Russian Prey: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1737908.html
9) An Ignited Passion: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1777760.html
10) Reflash: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2788763.html
11) The Red Zone: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2251976.html
12) Irish Wishes: elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2319427.html
13) Pleading the Fifth

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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This novel reminded me of a very nice movie, Undertow, with a tragic ending, and so I was reading it teetering on the edge of fear, wanting to like these characters but afraid of what would be of them. Lucky for me, this is a romance, and of course, although non-conventional and not even totally rounded, there was a some sort of happily ever after for them.

Ori is finally coming back home, but unfortunately his childhood friend, and unrequited love, Kalani, is not waiting for him, or at least, not in a way Ori is happy to acknowledge. Kalani is in coma, according to the doctors it’s irreversible, and Kalani’s foster mother is asking Ori’s consent to detach the machines maintaining his body alive. When Kalani was attacked, Ori tried to come back home as soon as possible, but instead he ended up doing 1 year of prison for attacking his superior officer. Now one year later, Kalani’s situation didn’t change, and basically they are waiting only for Ori to have the chance to say goodbye. But the same night, Kalani’s spirit appears to Ori, and he is very much alive. Both Kalani than Ori know Kalani’s body is dying, and basically Kalani is asking Ori to let it go, but Ori thinks that, if he will be able to solve a mystery in Kalani’s past, that will allow his spirit to find peace. But finding peace will mean that Kalani will really go forever, in a place where Ori and him will not have the chance to be finally together, unless Ori doesn’t follow him there too.

Hawaiian’s tradition are quite complex, and they are a mix of religion and myth. What I always find in these novels is the feeling that the admixture between them is so strong that paranormal becomes almost ordinary, seeing spirits is exceptional but not extraordinaire, and to someone like Ori, after the first surprise, is natural to accept Kalani is real and in need of his help. Ori and Kalani’s relationship, before and after Kalani’s accident, is bittersweet, already marked by tragedy, even before they were born.

This is not an easy novel, the plot is complex, made even more that by the different flashback not in chronological order, and at one point we even go back before Ori and Kalani were born, to a totally different pair who perhaps share the same forbidden love. More than paranormal, Hawaiian Gothic is spiritual, new age, mystic; if you like all these you will love it.

http://www.loose-id.com/hawaiian-gothic.html

Amazon Kindle: Hawaiian Gothic
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (June 12, 2012)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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This is the first paranormal romance I read by this author, but it’s really not so different from the contemporary romance I was used to; Cardeno C. likes a lot the concept of together-forever, and often the characters are childhood friends who experiment together for the first time, from love to sex and everything else in between.

In this case Zev is a shapeshifter, living in a community just outside a small town and he recognize his mate, Jonah, a same age kid, when he is only 1 years old. In a way or the other, he first manages to become friend with the other kid as a wolf puppy, and then, at 7 years old, as schoolmate, and later as boyfriend. Zev knows that, once he will bond with Jonah, they will not be able to stay apart, and so Zev self-inflicts a torture, denying the need to have sex with Jonah until the time Jonah will be back from college… unfortunately Jonah decides to become a doctor and between college and residency, the target age is more around thirty than twenty.

As I said, this is a paranormal romance, but really, it’s pretty much a best friends/forever boyfriends story; not Zev or Jonah have any doubts each other is their soul mate, Jonah may question why Zev doesn’t want to have sex, and maybe he falters a little in his good proposal to stay faithful to his boyfriend even when living far apart, but it’s nothing major, nothing tragic or irreparable.

In the end the story was more cute and tender than “paranormal”, if to paranormal you give the usually connotation of adventure/thrilling plot with fast-paced rhythm.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3155

Amazon: Wake Me Up Inside
Amazon Kindle: Wake Me Up Inside
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613727119
ISBN-13: 978-1613727119

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Miami Moon is at the same time original and old fashioned. It's old fashioned for the way it looks on the vampire's lair, a den of debauchery where pain is mixed with pleasure and where the kiss of a vampire is both deadly than arousing. It's original for how it plots this novella, starting from the full light of a sunny day in Miami's South Beach to end in the moon light of a cold Chicago's night.

The first scene is like a Playgirl centerfold, an handsome blong guy with an hairless broad chest and beautiful blue eyes is soaking in the sun. Apparently he is like everyone else on that beach, someone who is spending the day lazing on the beach before heading home and probably towards a night of sex and play. But Jason is not like everyone else, he is a man who is running from a destiny that was already planned before he could decide anything; and at the beginning he was all right with it, but then he had a taste of how feeble human life is and of how powerless he was. Now Jason is searching a new meaning for his life and the sunny Miami seems the right place to find it.

In another scene that seems to come out from another glossy '70 or '80 magazine, Jason leads in the water while the sun is melting around, and it's like he is washing away his past and getting ready for what is expecting him that very night. Jason has not even time to get used to the city and the atmosphere that he is swallowed up by the night and thrown out in a vampire's lair.

Again it's like being in a lustful set for an erotic shot: men strutting around in nothing if not studded collars, candlelight, poshy furniture and a vampire master as naked as his thralls: he is alluring and tempting and he is promising something to Jason, the immortality, the lack of which was the first reason why Jason left his old life. And to add a cherry to the top, the immortality comes along with unbelievable sex, something Jason was not yet ready to admit, but that he probably already wanted.

Reading this book, the lasting impression I have is of sex that borders more on being erotic than vulgar, even if it's very detailed. There is a care to details that is clear both in the setting than in the sex scenes, sorry if I go too much into graphic description, but I believe it's the first time that in a sex scene the attention is equally distributed between the balls and its near companion... it really hit me and made me wondered if this is one of that things that let you understand when a sex scene is written by a woman or by a man.

http://www.wildecity.com/books/gay-erotica/miami-moon-vampires-lair-book-one/#.UY0xy8oazyA

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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I'm a faithful reader of T.A. Chance from the beginning; long or short, with cowboys or sport stars, fantasy, historical or contemporary, a new story by T.A. Chase always climbs the first place in my reading list. They are always different but still there is always this mix of romance and naughty sex that make them so good. And in a way, I can say that T.A. Chase loves everyone of his characters.

Padraig is a ghost; but he is not living in Paradise, he is wandering the earth since when he died, he left too much things behind, above all his unrequited love for Gareth. When he was in life, Padraig was an hot head; he worked in the docks in Belfast and he was not exactly a good boy. And probably he didn't believe he was good enough for Gareth, a shy man who worked as employee in the docks office. Padraig and Gareth exchanged glances but seldom words, and at the moment Padraig died in a fight bar, he had just gathered enough courage to go finally talk to Gareth. Only that he hadn't time to do so.

Gareth is a really nice character, but who came out in full in this novella is Padraig. I can almost see him, always self deprecating himself, always thinking that, someone like him, doesn't deserve anything better than what he gets. As a dead man, he almost arrives to think that, well, maybe it's better that he ended like that, for his mother and Gareth will only be better without him. Even when he has the possibility to come back to life in the body of another man, a dying man, he has still this little doubt that maybe the dying man was better than him, and so he shouldn't deprive him of his life: mind you, Patrick doesn't do nothing to "kill" the man, he only happens to be there at the right moment for him to possess the body of a man that would die in any case.

Ten years for Padraig were without "time". Padraig knew he was a ghost, but for him time means nothing and so, when on St. Patrick's Day he has a second chance with Gareth, for him it's like he left the man only seconds ago. Not the same for Gareth, who is mourning his lost chance with Padraig for years, even more since when Padraig died, he received his last gift, the token which should have marked the beginning of their love together. And so when he is approached in a bar by a man with the same green eyes of Padraig, he does the unthinkable, he brings him home. Probably since so many years ago Gareth hadn't the courage to grasp his chance at love, and he always regretted it, now Gareth gives to this "second" Padraig in his life the chance he didn't give to old Paddy.

This is a novella and so spans only a night and a day in Padraig and Gareth's life. Their present time together is spent practically always in bed, like they have to make up for the lost time; the romanticism and the sugary feelings arrive all from their past together, even in few words, T.A. Chase manages to let you imagine the life of these men, when they were young and full of hope, when they still had all their life ahead of them. From here derives the mix between sex and romance I said before: when the reader is almost to the edge of tears, thinking to all the lost things, then he is plunged in an erotic scene, that even if detailed, it's never vulgar.

http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=TACGHOST

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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Rowan McBride has a series of stories about the "growing muscle" event: one or both main characters change their looks to suit the taste of their beloved.

Joel is the perfect guy: six foot six of football player, he is not the usual jock, he has also a thinking brain. But he is too used to be adored by everyone, he can have all the girls he wants and all the friends he likes. At 19 yd he is the raising star of his college.

But everyone around him continue to warn him against his college roommate, Walker Cain, a creepy geek, always with a book in hand and that everyone seems to avoid. Walker is a skinny guy, five foot four, all bones and big eyes. But he has a costant perfume around him that appeals a lot to Joel, and told be truth, Joel likes to be around Walker. Obviously not in a sexual way, Joel has never had a second though on Walker in that way, but still he is comfortable around him.

Walker is cursed. He is the last descendent of the biblical Cain, and he now belong to a long line of wizard. All the Cain has the chance to cast a big spell in their life and Walker chooses to use it to bond Joel to him forever: through the bond he can make Joel doing everything he wants, and he forces Joel to have sex with him. Everytime Joel reaches a climax, he passes to Walker some of his strenght and physical appereance.

Both Walker and Joel think that the spell will stop when both of what Joel was will be pass to Walker, but they are wrong. And things seem to spiral down to a unthinkable end.

Joel is a character in travel: during the book he will experiment many lifes and different perspective and he will learn to deal with them. You can think that Joel is a victim, but truly he "needs" this experience to see the world in the right perspective. All the things he gives granted to his physical strenght, could be not so granted if you are weaker, but you can also learn that your attitude can represent you more than your look.

Walker is a sociopathic, no doubt in that. And he is also very selfish and without regrets. Even when he could see all the wrong things he has done, still he is not repentant: maybe, he says, he would do something different, but still he would cast the spell to bond Joel. Cause he wants Joel. Walker is not a good person: I think he can play the role of a good person if he has by his side Joel, but left alone, he can be a lethal weapon. He has not conscience by himself, his conscience and his good behaviour are given by Joel.

For this reason, the bond between Joel and Walker is almost a sickly one. But it is also a very powerful and enthralling one. Want Me is a very original and powerful book, a pretty long story which will take you bond to the book till the last page.

http://www.loose-id.com/want-me.html

Amazon: Want Me
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Wheatmark (February 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1587369346
ISBN-13: 978-1587369346

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading+list&view=elisa.rolle
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I stopped reading het romance more or less in 2006, but Sherrilyn Kenyon and J.R. Ward were among the last authors I read in that genre, and I remember I liked them. I especially liked the paranormal genre (while oddly I now prefer the contemporary ones) probably for their alpha male hero, always so strong, always so protective, always so bound to being honorable and right. That is not how Qhuinn and Blay are, or at least not totally; they are not really Alpha males, they are more enoforcerers, and till now they gravitated on the edge of the series, favorites to many readers but never having their own story. On the forums there was speculation they were gays, but the author never really gave them the definitive push, not until the book before this one: from what I gathered (since I haven’t read that one), Blay finally came out, but not to be with Qhuinn, but instead with Qhuinn’s cousin, Saxton; and to make things even more complicated, Qhuinn decides to have a child with a female, even if he didn’t mate with her.

So this is the situation we are when this book starts, and I was not sure I liked it. For Qhuinn and Blay to be together it meant Blay had to betray Saxton, and for what I could say, Saxton was a good man. And Layla, Qhuinn’s Chosen and the mother of his still unborn child? Was it right for her what was happening? And again, she was apparently a good and comprehensive woman, someone who deserved a lover of her own. So yes, I’m not sure why and if there was a reason, but J.R. Ward didn’t pave the path for these two to be together in an easy way, a lot of hurt had to be done and it seemed there was not solution for everyone to be happy.

The plot was running in two parallel but separate ways: one was the center piece story about Qhuinn and Blay, a plot that was introduced in the previous book and that was to find an end in this one; the other was about the ongoing fight of the Brotherhood and the personal target of Wrath to make a better kingdom for everyone to live in. Not having read the previous books (and I strongly suggest to read the summary of all previous books to have an idea of the characters and of what happened before), I have to be sincere, I didn’t care much for the second plot; I mostly focused on Qhuinn and Blay, with some spare interest on Layla, Saxton and John Matthew (actually I was hoping for more on this last supporting character). This story was good, pretty much as I remembered this author was, and the sex scenes were hot, and this statement arrives from someone that usually doesn’t care much for them. In my previous experience with an het romance author trying her hand to a gay romance, the feeling was that she didn’t dare too much in the sex department, but here J.R. Ward was not shy at all. Now don’t get me wrong, she neither went into almost analytical details, and maybe that is a bonus, she cannot go wrong in that way, but for sure she gave these two guys enough time and space to enjoy also the physical side of their relationship.

Amazon: Lover At Last: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
Amazon Kindle: Lover At Last: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: NAL Hardcover; 1 edition (March 26, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451239350
ISBN-13: 978-0451239358

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

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This is the second book centering on the same characters, Roan McKichan and Dylan, in a series that is at its fourth chapter, so yes, I paused before deciding to directly read this one skipping the others. Sincerely I don’t have the feeling I missed anything in the story, maybe I would have liked to read how Roan and Dylan met, I suppose that is in the previous book, but nevertheless the story plot in this one is complete.

In the blurb the author alerts that Roan is still mourning, and supposedly in love, with his late husband Paris. That is for sure true, but I think that Roan is also angry with Paris (who committed suicide). Not sure if the reason is that Roan wanted to follow Paris, or maybe exactly the opposite, that he doesn’t approve Paris’s choice; or maybe there is even another reason, Roan is worried he will not have the same courage Paris had, when it will be his time. Against, pro, for sure Roan feelings are a boiling pot, and in the middle of that there is Dylan.

Dylan is like a balsam to Roan’s soul; you can think Roan sees Dylan more like someone he has to protect more than a lover, but this feeling will change with the story, more or less at the same time when Dylan will prove he is not those head on the clouds artist type he seems at first. Dylan is way stronger than what you think, and probably this strength is allowed also by his stability, all his living healthy and spiritual seems to do good to him.

This is not the first book I read by this author, but truth be told I didn’t have a strong opinion about her. Now I think she managed a worn theme, the paranormal shifter romance, in something new; true, this is not your classical romance, and the intimate scene between the main characters is not what you will remember of it (in a positive way, meaning that the story is not focused on sex), this is more a psychological urban fantasy than a paranormal romance and I suggest to the more selective reader to give it a shot. Maybe you will be more diligent than me and start with the first book in the series…

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2642

Amazon: Infected: Freefall
Amazon Kindle: Infected: Freefall
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (November 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613722494
ISBN-13: 978-1613722497

Series: Infected
1) Prey
2) Bloodlines
3) Life After Death
4) Freefall



Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle


Cover Art by Anne Cain

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This is the story of Emma and Mandy; if this sentence sounds strange, giving that Mandy is for most of the novel a second stage character we hear only through a phone, that was my feeling. I was really not liking much Emma at the beginning, since my idea was that she was not treating well Mandy; Emma and Mandy have a 15 years long relationship, and despite this, Emma is still hiding things to Mandy, something I relate to not trusting her, and who you can trust if not the person you love? i.e. Emma was not really in love with Mandy. I’m happy I was wrong, and what you will read, if you trust my words, is “also” the romance of Emma and Mandy.

There is a plethora of supporting characters, Beau, Peter, Genevieve, Sharon, and of course Cora Beth and Annie, but while I was intrigued by Cora Beth and Annie’s story, my heart and hope were on Emma and Mandy. Nevertheless I enjoyed this paranormal romance, how the author deals with Emma’s extra sensorial experience, must of all, I liked that everything felt realistic, even if the word could be odd in this contest: true, there is a paranormal experience, but in any case the focus remained in the very much ordinary, and contemporary, story of Emma and Mandy, with their highs and falls.

Yet another thing that intrigued me was Charleston; I have actually in mind to visit the place this same year, and coincidence was that I’m planning it right now. Reading this book gave me the push towards including the town in my trip that I needed. I cannot say if the descriptions are realistic, but I hope so, because I would like to find the same quaint feeling I had of it in the real thing.

Amazon: Out of the Past
Amazon Kindle: Out of the Past
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: L-Book ePublisher (August 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934889997
ISBN-13: 978-1934889992

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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When I open one of these paranormal romances, I’m well aware of what I have in my hands: an Alpha male/omega man story, one where the top man is “over the top” and the bottom boy is faking his submissive position well knowing that there, above the clouds, the brain is lightweighted, and the real mastermind of the relationship is the one below. It’s not easy to deal with such a story, you can well fall into parody, and making it totally “bleh”. I think Shannon West is good in pushing it almost to the edge, without tumbling beyond the abyss.

Evan, the young Hunter, is so totally not scaring, that you really wonder how they could think to enroll him in the Hunters’ army; he is young, petite, cute like a bunny, actually the right bait for a big bad wolf like Brett… only that, sincerely, neither Brett seems so scaring and bad. Brett is not an Alpha of his pack, he is a gamma wolf, an enforcer; he is strong, but he has not the coolness or cleverness to be a leader, he is a very good second hand, good to follow, ready to comply. Brett has no instinct to rebel, he doesn’t feel like he is constricted if he follows the command of his Alpha; everything is good if who is in charge is someone Brett perceives as a leader, as someone who is rightly atop of him in the hierarchy. But when it comes down to personal relationship, Brett is old fashioned, his mate has to be a pet, someone Brett can cherish but also order around.

At first Even fits the bill, he is a young, naïve man, driven more by his instinct than his brain; but as soon as he is “freed” by the constricting society he is living in, as soon as he meets other “submissive” pets (submissive is ironic, since these men are all other than submissive), he realizes he has a huge power in his hands, he is the one who can lead their relationship.

This is a specific, and popular, genre, I would even say a subgenre of the paranormal romance; it’s not really realistic, it’s about playing with the “top from the bottom” theme, as I said, pushing this them almost to the limit. You can totally love it, or you can hate it, but it has to be said, there is a market for it.

Amazon Kindle: Wolfsbane (Dark Hollow Wolf Pack 5)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Series: Dark Hollow Wolf Pack
1) The Alpha's Pet: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1628201.html
2) Cry Wolf: reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4388297.html
3) Logan's Choice: reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4189018.html
4) Gabe's Alpha: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2596406.html
5) Wolfsbane

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle
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I picked this title since I wanted to try something by this author, but truth be told I wasn’t expecting much; so it was a more than pleasant surprise to read a thoroughly enjoyable funny romance, sweet but also sexy.

The main theme of this series, of which Custom Toys Made to Order is the first book, is to pair sexually awkward young men with more experienced partner; a group of six friends, Atticus Drake, Thaddeus Young, Nigel Durbin, Brenner West, Cedric Barrows, and Dorian Elder (so I suppose there will be at least 6 books) own and operate Fantasy Creations, a company producing custom made sex toys for paranormal creatures. The strange thing is that all of them are virgins, nerds who have never had a chance to “test” the toys they produce.

Atticus “Atty” Drake meets his mate, vampire prince Salem Constantine and everything seems perfect, if not for the fact that Salem has to marry in less than a month and his consort has to be a vampire. Turning a shapeshifter into a vampire is a cruel thing, an act that can push the newly made vampire into suicide. There is a bit of drama due to this subplot but this is basically a sweet and sexy romance; Atty’s awkwardness is endearing, when his feline comes out he seems more a domestic pet than a wild animal, but nevertheless Salem loves that hidden side of his mate.

I also liked that the play role of both main characters were not rigid; sure Salem is the more experienced partner, and probably the dominant one, but he is not the usual obsolete Alpha male, he is able to be “light” and funny, and to conquer Atty more with tenderness than dominance.

If you enjoy the more lighter paranormal romances, give this author a chance, I bet you will not be disappointed.

Amazon: Custom Toys Made to Order [Sexually Awkward 1]
Amazon Kindle: Custom Toys Made to Order [Sexually Awkward 1]
Paperback: 146 pages
Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc. (June 20, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1622411897
ISBN-13: 978-1622411894

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
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I’m not really familiar with lesbian novel, but I wanted to give to Allison Moon a try, for various reason, one of which is that she was named a Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging LGBT Writers Fellow and Lunatic Fringe is her first novel. I’m happy I give her this chance, since, while for sure there is a lesbian theme, a love story between Lexie and Archer, this is mostly a story that could appeal to many different readers.

I had the feeling there was a feminist message underneath, Lexie going to college and facing a new life, was also her growing into an independent woman; maybe her doing so in an unconventional way was a message for the female reader that you can reach your targets even if you don’t align to what is expected from you.

I did like also the love story, I also liked that it was not the main focus of Lexie, as it’s proven by the end. I’m not sure this is the final point between Lexie and Archer, being this a first book in a series, maybe there is still space for some evolution in their story, for sure what Lexie will accomplish at the end of this story, is to reach a self-consciousness of herself and of what is in her power to do with her life.

There are many references to the concept of Mother Nature, the Moon as biological clock, ancient myths all centered around the imagine of the woman as main creator (even Archer’s work as carpenter and the same author’s name). For that reason I said I read a feminist message underneath, and for that reason I think that was the main focus of the author.

Amazon: Lunatic Fringe (Tales of the Pack, Book 1)
Amazon Kindle: Lunatic Fringe (Tales of the Pack, Book 1)
Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Lunatic Ink (September 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983830916
ISBN-13: 978-0983830917

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading_list&view=elisa.rolle

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