Robert Winter hits the festive heights with a vampire twist

Vampire ClausVampire Claus by Robert Winter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twas the night before Christmas, but what’s stirring is a little more dangerous than a mouse.

This was ace! Robert Winter’s festive fare really hit the heights for me, I loved Taviano the jaded vampire wondering what it was all about and sweet Paul, who he saves from a mugging.

The Boston setting felt like another character as well although it just gently anchored the story in the background but I got a real feel for Little Italy and the foggy and potentially dangerous streets.

Paul was seriously funny, a fully developed character who came into his own when suddenly confronted by someone (or something) his eyes were telling him couldn’t be real. His outbursts had me actually laughing out loud as I read this book.

The humour also creeps up on you as Taviano realises he’s been slowly coerced into being a festive elf for a bunch of LBGT kids who otherwise wouldn’t know the joys of Christmas morning gifts from Santa. The scene as he sneaks through the centre to drop off the presents Paul has bought is delightful.

Without spoiling the story, there’s a bit of drama before their romance gets nicely wrapped up in a beautiful big Christmas bow (and a Happy Ever After that might last just a wee bit longer than most)

#ARC received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: Whiskey Kisses by Anna Martin

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 19,000 words

Blurb

In a small town about an hours’ drive outside Dublin, there’s a whiskey distillery.

Jim has worked in the distillery as its business manager since he returned to his home town after getting his degree. Whiskey is a slow business and rural life is quiet, but Jim takes it in his stride. That is, until the handsome and mysterious Mr Aiden Rooney moves into a room above the local pub and sets off a flurry of gossip.

Aiden’s an artist, and his devil-may-care attitude is a revelation to Jim. But he still lives in a small town in rural Ireland, and he’s not even sure if he wants to be out and proud. The choices they make could change everything, if only Jim dares to follow his heart.

 

Author Bio

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south west of England and now lives in Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before turning her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theatre (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), visiting friends who live in other countries, Marvel Comics, learning new things, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Although her most recent work is in the LGBT Adult Fiction genre, in the past Anna has worked on a variety of different projects including short stories, drabbles, flash fiction, fan fiction, plays for both children and adults, and poetry. She has written novels in the Teen/ Young Adult genre, Romance, and Fantasy novels.

Anna is, by her own admission, almost unhealthily obsessed with books. The library she has amassed is both large and diverse; “My favourite books,” she says, “are The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.” She also several well-read copies of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park books and re-reads the Harry Potter novels with almost startling regularity.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading and creative ass-kicking provided by her closest friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept any responsibility for anything Anna has written.

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Devilish fun on this demon summoning ride

His Soul DesireHis Soul Desire by Casey Cameron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cracking good spooky (not really but hey, it’s a Halloween release) romance with a devilish sense of humour and a sweet happy ever after.

I enjoyed watching Gideon fall for the human who’d mistakenly summoned him and proved to be a bit of a tough nut to crack. Sean was just your every day nice guy, drifting a bit but generally doing his best to get by without stepping on anyone’s toes.

Their road trip to try and break the demonic bond is filled with unlikely acts of kindness, a seriously pissed off superior, a bit of a bad witch and a tiny smattering of feelings.

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Whiskey Kisses from Anna Martin is as smooth as the drink

BlurbGraphic

I loved this short from Anna Martin. It’s as smooth as the drink it features and the two MCs were just a delight. James has returned home to his small back of nowhere Irish village where little changes and the biggest news is the fact there’s a new bloke staying above the pub.

Said new bloke Aiden attracts the attention of James’ sister but it’s not the girls he’s got an eye for and when  he bumps – literally – into James in the bakery, it’s game on. Their romance is speedy but I fully felt all the attraction between the two men.

Aiden is mysterious and for a while I wondered if there’s be a supernatural element introduced but no, he’s just that Irish charmer we see so often portrayed in the cinema and on the small screen.

Give me all the ice hockey men! Love these stories

Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers, #1)Changing Lines by R.J. Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The sign of a good book for me is when the ending comes upon you without you realising you’ve got through the whole narrative without wondering how long it is.

This book did just that for me. I’m a fan of RJ Scott anyway, this was the first I’ve read of VL Locey (although I have her Point Shot series on my Kindle waiting to be read) and together they put down a very good ice hockey romance.

I loved the fact there actually was ice hockey in this book! Games happened on the ice, training happened, it wasn’t all off the ice with the relationship being the only story. I liked the complexities of the two main characters’ families.

The age gap element was well done, never felt like a big deal and – while everything goes swimmingly with very little angst and is perhaps a touch unrealistic – you know what, I didn’t care. I don’t want to read about the horrors of a sportsman or woman coming out because that shit already happens in Real Life and it makes me incandescently angry.

That Mads and Ten could just be themselves with only a few hiccups made me happy. As this is book one in an interconnected series, it may be that some of that side of the story still has to come and I’m happy with that too.

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Good bones of a story in this hockey romance

Country Boy (Hot off the Ice, #2)Country Boy by A.E. Wasp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

There’s a really good story here but it’s suffering under the weight of some editing and proofing lapses, there’s odd tenses, missing words and at one point, one of the MCs’s father’s name changes in the same paragraph.

As this is an ARC, I’m hoping they’ll be ironed out before release as AE Wasp has a real talent for putting some serious messages in the heart’s of her story telling.

This one surrounds the insidious way religion is used by a (thankfully small) minority to persecution and terrify the life out of those who don’t conform to heterosexual norms.

Paul has spent his whole life being told gays will go to Hell and that it’s wrong, a perversion, so he doesn’t react well after spending a night with college rival hockey player Robbie.

The proverbial hits big time though when he’s transferred to the same professional team a couple of years later and all those feelings of attraction are still there.

There’s a lot of complex emotions being dealt with in this book, as well as the sweet romance, and sometimes it gets itself all caught up in trying to do too much.

Robin’s inattentive parents and their disregard for his career, his transgender pseudo aunt Georgie playing college football with Paul’s dad and knowing there’s something off about his extreme religious views, should have been dealt with separately really.

It muddled up the narrative at that point so it felt like the big reveal from his past was there as a specific plot point.

However, the very sharp reminder of the terrifying events of the 1980s with the AIDS crises was very well done.

I don’t think people who weren’t alive at that time can quite understand the horror and the fear which was projected around the world including here in the UK as the “gay plague” saw people dying in their hundreds, then thousands.

I felt for Paul throughout but I also wanted to kick him up the backside but i accept its difficult to change a mindset which has been drip fed to you for so long.

Both characters are quite young but they read as fairly mature, both were able to communicate, albeit at times in sign language, so there was no misunderstanding plot here.

The ending is really lovely and there are more potential pairings set up in this for a third book.

#ARC received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Gray for You hit all the right notes

I might be your your fantasy. But I’m nobody’s forever…

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Spencer Spears’ second installment in the 8 Million Hearts series is a fun romp through the making of a high class porn film – yes there exists such a thing! In fiction at any rate, and centres on Gray, owner of Maggie’s Bar where Ben and Adam played their music in book one.

Now, you’d expect, it having the porn link (Gray is an ex New York porn star voted best in the game for four years running) that this book would be all about the sex.

But, surprisingly not. The other protagonist is former child star Tyler Lang, now in his early 20s and reeling after one two many disasters and a media storm of epic proportions.

He’s looking for something different, a way to take control of the life which had, up until his latest drugs related disaster (and oh how my heart went out to him when he couldn’t remember even buying the coke that had been found in his beat up minivan) been firmly operated by his presently estranged father (more on that ass later).

Their two worlds collide during the filming of a book which has been gaining attention as a high-brow, literary gay porn novel. Tyler is deliciously inexperienced but has a reputation for being a player, all untrue. He’s not even 100% sure he’s gay until he meets Gray and then watches one of his old scenes online.

For Gray, he’s been hanging on to the hope that his dick of a “boyfriend” will finally tell his family about them and admit they’re a couple when he’s dumped, yet again. He’s felt rejected and unworthy his whole life, with the exception of Maggie, who took him in, became his guardian angel and eventually left him her bar and a shedload of properties.

Together they start to navigate their way to a relationship which is both supportive and encouraging of each other, it’s beautiful to read how each opens up to the possibility that there might be someone who sees them for who they are.

#ARC received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review