January 2014 Cephalopod Coffeehouse–NOT HIS KISS TO TAKE–A Review

Welcome one and all to the Armchair Squid’s Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

I’m happy to join in with one of the books I read this past month. As a reviewer of all things ‘women’s fiction’ I have quite a large range. Typically, YA Anything all the way through Erotica. I’ve recently noticed a shift of mainstream romance authors into M/M (male/male) romance–so of course, I’ve checked it out. After reading about 15 of these in the past two months–I must say, I’m pretty impressed. So I chose one that I continue to go back to, because it’s everything I love in a romance (slow build, true emotion), and everything I long for in erotica. (Kink-tastic!)

Not His Kiss to TakeNOT HIS KISS TO TAKE by Finn Marlowe is a contemporary M/M romance set in Spokane, WA.

Dr. Evan Harrison, a gay man and Emergency room physician, suffers debilitating migraines. Due to his inability to function without constant painkillers, he’s stepped away from medicine–and yet the headaches remain. He’s a virtual recluse, shunning bright areas, loud crowds, and general human interaction most of the time. He has a fave watering hole–a quiet dive bar a short walk from his penthouse condo. One snowy night Evan’s hanging out having a beer when an angel walks through the door. Blonde hair, blue eyes, supple young body… Clearly straight, the man captivates him anyway.

Jamie, a good-looking young man, enters the wrong bar on the wrong night. While using the toilet he’s beaten senseless by a trio of homophobes. Problem is, Jamie’s not gay. Still, he’s humiliated and barely coherent when he’s discovered by the strong man who seems to know his way around a body. Afraid that a hospital visit will drain his already meager savings, Jamie begs his guardian stranger to take him anywhere but the emergency room.

Evan complies, taking Jamie to his own home instead. He carefully tends this bright young charge, giving the best care possible. It’s a tender and kind treatment that Jamie has never received. Not from his father–who left a decade ago. Not from his mother who’s too beat down by life to really care–and certainly not from his abusive step-father.

Jamie knows that Evan is gay. And, he knows Evan’s aroused by him. But, he doesn’t seduce him. No, Jamie’s own voracious curiosity is what leads this pair down the rabbit hole together.

In the course of events, both men find what fills their souls–their companionship and eventual sexual relationship. It is a constant push-pull emotionally. Evan knows he’s doing harm by entering into a relationship with Jamie. He’s fourteen years older than his lover, and sure that his sassy angel, Jamie, will bolt back to heterosexuality at any moment. Jamie’s curiously attracted to ‘pervy’ Evan even if he can’t commit to a lifetime of their ‘messing around’–he’s not gay after all–still he’s captivated by the love and kindness Evan lavishes on him. And yet, he’s unable to give the one thing Evan covets most–a kiss.

Yes, they separate, but come together again, stronger, and on more equal terms. This is what is called a GFY story (“Gay For You”) in that one of the characters has never been with a man, but finds the relationship with one man so much more fulfilling than those before that he ‘switches teams’ for his soul mate. It’s the epitome of a romance–with more poignant hardships due to prejudice and homophobia.

If anyone is interested in NOT HIS KISS TO TAKE, the full-length novel can be downloaded FREE ( in multiple digital formats) from Smashwords here. I highly recommend it to fans of women’s romance and erotica. The sex is deliciously written, and there’s a good bit of it, so…YAY!!!

See those links below?  Hopefully you’ll click through to check out the posts of my coffeehouse brethren.  And, as always, keep reading my friends!

1. The Armchair Squid 2. What’s up, MOCK?!
3. Words Incorporated 4. Scouring Monk
5. Huntress 6. A Creative Exercise
7. Libby Heily 8. Trisha @ WORD STUFF
9. Wishbone Soup Cures Everything 10. mainewords
11. Julie Flanders 12. Hungry Enough To Eat Six
13. Yolanda Renee 14. M.J. Fifield
15. StrangePegs — Turn Coat 16. The Writing Sisterhood
17. Ed and Reub 18. StrangePegs — Vader’s Offspring
19. V’s Reads

Cephalopod Coffeehouse November 2013–The Grave Danger of Loving Darynda Jones’s Fiction

Hi there and welcome to my review for this month’s Cephalopod Coffeehouse–a book review forum hosted by the Armchair Squid. I had a surprisingly hard time choosing a book for this month’s feature.

As usual I read a killer ton–thirty books, I think. Most I reviewed for my blog, a few for NetGalley, the others for my own guilty pleasure…

I had considered His Name is Sir by Deena Ward. This is absolutely what Pride and Prejudice would have been if Jane Austen wrote BDSM romance. I adored it–and all four books in her Power to Please Collection.

I also considered Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning–the first of her uber-steamy Sinners on Tour series–which delivers EXACTLY what the tagline of the book promises: Love, Sex and Rock-n-Roll.

Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5)But I think I’ll go with Darynda Jones’s FIFTH GRAVE PAST THE LIGHT. This is the newest installment of the Charley Davidson series. I reviewed First Grave on the Right last month in my Halloween Spooktacular of paranormal romance features, and the fifth book in the series is not a let down.

If anything, I’m trying to locate the lovely Ms. Jones’s net server so I can hack in for her e-galley of the next book in the series.

Why?

Because she–somehow–made a gal raised in a christian home fall in love with the son of Satan.

That’s right. I love her super-Alpha love interest Reyes Alexander Farrow. I may have some competition from Charley, but hey…

Here’s what happens. Charley is a reaper–actually the only living one in existence. Her humor is Outer Limits–I crack up reading her deadpan observations–which takes a bit of the “grimness” out of her reaper duties: being a portal through which the dead cross into the afterlife. When they pass through her, she absorbs some of their memories. Communicating with the dead is handy for Charley’s private investigator work. Especially when she helps her uncle solve crimes in his job as a Detective for the Albuquerque PD.

In this book, Charley’s longstanding attraction to Reyes Farrow is tested to the limit. See, Reyes has moved into her building–right next door. And he keeps leaving her these sexy Post-its telling her to come over. Charley would like to–but she’s nervous. First, as the son of Satan Reyes may be able to lead Lucifer’s army straight into Heaven by breaching Charley’s portal. Also, Charley suspects Reyes is behind a string of arsons that inexplicably have destroyed every dwelling Reyes ever shared with his sexually abusive step-father. Places where photographic evidence of Reyes’ molestation had been hidden in the walls…

At her core, Charley is an honest soul. She won’t hesitate to turn Reyes in if he’s a criminal. As she isn’t sure, she continues to search for evidence. In the meantime she and Reyes share some heated (read: smoking hot) encounters. Because–did I mention he makes me swoon?–he’s delicious. Intelligent, strong, virile, compassionate and head-over-heels for Charley without losing his magnetic charisma.

In the midst of her Reyes-confusion, Charley works on solving a newly-discovered serial killer case. She follows a few dead leads, and aids nearly thirty lost souls to find their eternal rest. Her discovery of the arsonist seemed more obvious (to me) but handily removes the tension betwixt herself and Reyes. It seems Charley’s life will move to the next level with Reyes into Happily Ever Land–until she’s kidnapped by a maniac.

The book ends with an arrangement I hope Charley will not refuse–even if it means the end of civilization as we know it.

These books are housed under Mystery at my library–only because they don’t have a “Smoking-Hot-Dead-Funny-Paranormal-Romance-Mystery” section in the stacks. If you’re interested, schedule some vacation time and read this series from the start. I think you’ll lose sleep. I know I have.

You can find these books at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, booksellers worldwide, or any library system worth its bricks.

If you check these out–let me know what you think in the comments.

And, as always, keep reading my friends!

Now, follow these links to check out the reviews of my fellow coffeehousers…
1. The Armchair Squid                       7. Trisha @ WORD STUFF

2. Scouring Monk                               8. Kate O’Sullivan Read, Write, Repeat 

3. mainewords                                     9. Bird’s Nest

4. Huntress                                          10. Hungry Enough to Eat Six

5. Denise C Covey                               11. The Random Book Review

6. A Creative Exercise                         12. Words Incorporated

13. Defending the Pen

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: August 2013

I’ve joined up with The Armchair Squid‘s once-monthly book review to link with other bloggers and offer suggestions of the best books read in the course of the month. We’re linking blogs on the final Friday of each month and each bringing you  the ‘Best of our Best’ just in case it strikes your fancy.

For my selection this month I’m discussing two novellas I found to be surprisingly good, the first two episodes in the Deadly Liaisons serial by Leigh Wilder.

Maybe it’s me, but when I hear of vampire erotica that’s ‘gayer than Twilight’ I get the giggles something fierce. I just had to bite… 😉

First up:  DRAIN ME DRY

See, I’ve read erotica. And I’ve read vampire. And I read a ton of romance. I’ve even read homoerotic tales…and I never expected this to work.

But it so did.

I really loved how Wilder created compassionate, and passionate, characters here. The setting is alt-history, small-town Pennsylvania where vampires exist openly and are allowed to feed, but not kill or turn a victim into a vampire. (Spoiler: um, yeah, sometimes either or both happens…)

Jamie is a nineteen y/o human with homoerotic desires, but has never tested himself. He’s also very insecure, undersized, and regularly abused by his alcoholic father. His Taco King job sucks and he’d like to die, but he’s too timid to kill himself. Working with a vampire, Jamie concocts a plan to have a vampire drain his blood. Reluctantly, his co-worker gives Jamie the name of a place where such a plan can become a reality.

Damian is THE vampire. The eldest of all vampires in town, he’s slumming in a blood den when Jamie approaches him, struck by Damian’s beauty.

Jamie wants this beautiful ‘angel’ to suck the life from him, but Damian realizes that Jamie’s something rather special. The result is a very well-written, tender interlude. Though it is a short read (this is the first of a serial) the end is satisfying for the reader as well as the characters.

Soon as I finished DRAIN ME DRY I downloaded Episode 2, ADDICTED TO THE BITE.

In this second episode, Damian and his Jamie-boy are back.
After one night in Damian’s bed, Jamie wants more. Especially now that his abusive father has been sorted. He is not happy to learn that he can’t be Damian’s steady lover…mostly because Damian must feed more regularly than Jamie’s body can withstand.
Damian, as head vampire, is prevailed upon to find a serial drainer–a vamp who has killed two young men in as many nights by sucking every drop of blood from their bodies. Law enforcement is on his case about the murders, meanwhile the Daybreakers, humans who hate vampires, plot to destroy Damian’s club.

Jamie, out to prove that he can survive frequent bleedings, meets a strange vampire in Damian’s club and get caught in the Daybreakers strike…

This episode moves quickly. While building upon the first story, its plot stands alone as well. Definitely more here than biting and screwing, and I’m intrigued to read on.

Next month I’ll get the linky-links for my fellow Coffeehousers–so hopefully you’ll check those out Sept 27th!