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Review - Dark Waters

Posted in Book Reviews on Jun 08, 2013

Dark Waters

Flein has an itch to travel, and he's seen more of the world than just about any man alive. Then again, Flein is only half human. He is the offspring of one of the Norse gods who mated with a human, and staying on the move helps keep people from realizing that he doesn't age and is in fact a thousand years old or more.

His wanderings take him to a small village in the Scottish Highlands, where a series of rapes and murders have been blamed on a mysterious creature that inhabits the loch. Flein meets the creature, a waterhorse that can shift to human form. Both the man and horse forms are beautiful, and deadly. The waterhorse considers the loch and glen its domain, and hunts what it chooses. But Flein doesn't think the creature is responsible for the recent deaths. More...

Review - Cereus: Opening

Posted in Book Reviews on Feb 14, 2013

Cereus: Opening

This review originally appeared on the BDSM Book Reviews site.

If, like me, you haven't read the first collection of stories in this series, it seems to boil down to this: A dragon, a vampire and a werewolf walk into a bar... or whatever, and decide to open a resort for all the things that go bump in the night; sort of a Club Med for the fanged and furry. The first book contained stories covering the building of Cereus, and now this collection recounts three tales from the opening. Each of the short stories focuses on a different set of characters, although there are also common players that appear in all the tales.

In the first story, “Pack Rules” by BA Tortuga and Julia Talbot, werewolf security chief “Van” Donovan has to come to terms with his former lover Mik, a vampire. The two fell out some years ago over Van's need to serve his pack, but the two have never really gotten over each other, and now they're forced to work together. Van is determined not to let his 'mate' get away from him again, just as Mik is trying to avoid getting hurt by what he saw as a betrayal. He tries to keep away from Van, but the wolf enjoys a chase, just as he enjoys domination. And while vampires may be known as tops, in truth Mik likes being dominated, and even needs a little discipline from time to time. More...

Review - Wishes

Posted in Book Reviews on Nov 27, 2012

Wishes

Wishes by J.C. Owens

My rating: [rating=3]

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Auri is a young man determined to go places. He has risen through the ranks in the service of the Empire without the aid of any family connections, and now he is a first lieutenant on a diplomatic starship. Auri has gotten where he is by being stern and demanding. He gets things done. But there's nobody on his current assignment that he can call a friend. Even his own captain thinks he is a little too uptight.

As “Wishes” opens, Auri's ship has just received orders to take a diplomatic mission to Felin, a world occupied by a feline species that are considered barbarians by the empire. Auri has heard stories and rumors about the Felin's taste for humans, which, the rumors go, serve as slaves, so he is quite disturbed when he finally meets up with the cat-like humanoids, who seem to show an interest in him.

Auri will be relieved when the mission is over. There's just one more task to attend to, the signing of the agreement, and then they can leave. Only, it turns out that the young man is part of the deal. The diplomats have agreed to give Auri to the Felin king, without consulting with the young man. Auri is informed he is now the mate of the cat, and left there. More...

Review - Woke Up in a Strange Place

Posted in Book Reviews on Nov 20, 2012

Woke Up in a Strange Place

Joe has indeed, as the title says, woke up in a strange place. The strange place is heaven, or rather, the afterlife. There aren't exactly any pearly gates and Saint Peter is nowhere in sight. Joe is, at first, alone in a golden field of barley, with no memory of his former life or how he died, but soon he meets his quirky guide, Baker, and together they set out on a journey to rediscover the key people and events of his earthbound existence.

Joe's challenge is to truly find himself, in almost the very literal sense, as he explores a world where the only limits are those that people place on themselves and the only real dangers are the things left undone.

“Woke Up in a Strange Place” is a very episodic tale as Joe meets the key people and remembers the experiences that shaped his life. Some of the reunions are joyous, some are bittersweet, and a few are downright melancholy. The prologue gives us an idea of where Joe needs to end up, but while there are a few surprises in store, in some ways it's the journey that's more important than the destination in this tale. More...

Review - Scorpion

Posted in Book Reviews on Sep 22, 2012

Scorpion

As “Scorpion” opens, Kendras is limping into the seedy underbelly of the city where he grew up. He was wounded in battle, his foot almost crushed, and then dumped back in the city that hired him without money or means to live. Kendras is a Scorpion, an elite force of mercenaries. He might be the only one left.

While sitting in a tavern trying to avoid attracting attention, Kendras is spotted by Steel, a mysterious man who needs Kendras for his own plans, but who is also strongly attracted to the Scorpion. Steel rescues Kendras, getting his wound treated and then taking him to a place where he can recover.

Steel's motives for taking Kendras in remain unclear, although his attraction to the dark-skinned soldier is obvious. But Kendras can only think of his comrades and what may have become of them, especially the mysterious commander of the group, a man known only as “the officer.” The officer saved Kendras from the executioner and gave his life a purpose, as well as love. More...

Review - The Keeper

Posted in Book Reviews on Sep 11, 2012

The Keeper

Hadi is a young man with a full life in the middle of Milan's fashion world. He's not one of the star designers, but he's one of the people those stars trust to turn their concepts into fabulous reality. But then one day he receives an urgent call from his family back in France. Hadi must drop everything and take on the role of 'keeper'.

For generations, Hadi's family has been the guardians of a secret. It has been the duty of unattached males in the family to act as keeper. Hadi is told little about what is expected of him. He is only told that he is to go to a small city in Algeria to take care of a man.

Hadi is expecting a frail old man, but when he arrives at the country estate he is surprised to find a man who appears to be not much older than himself, and no invalid. Over the course of the first few days, the full extent of the secret Hadi's family has guarded is revealed. Hadi is descended from Jacob, the brother of Jesus, and his charge is none other than Judas. More...

Review - Strange Fortune

Posted in Book Reviews on Sep 03, 2012

Strange Fortune

Major Valentine Strange is a soldier of fortune with a rather sizable gambling debt, which is why he accepts a dubious commission from the church to retrieve powerful artifact from a monastery high up in the mountains far from the city of Hidush. To ensure his success, the Holy Order assigns Aleister Grimshaw, a powerful witch, to accompany Strange on his mission. Master Grimshaw has his own questionable past to live down.

The two men face several challenges, from other men, nature and the supernatural, but still manage to find the curiously fortress-like home to the small and ancient religious community that possesses the artifact, a diadem that once belonged to a god, or maybe not. But finding the diadem is only the start of the curious journey of Strange and Grimshaw.

“Strange Fortune” is set in a time and place somewhat reminiscent of India during British colonial times. There is, or was as a background to the time the book is set, a terrible clash of two cultures that resulted in an open rebellion in the lifetimes of our two main characters. While the setting is somewhat familiar, this is a fantasy where magic and witchcraft are very real, and entirely different things, apparently. More...

Review - Forest of Glass

Posted in Book Reviews on Aug 19, 2012

Forest of Glass

This review originally appeared at BDSM Book Reviews.

In a medieval fantasy world, Leith is the bastard son of the lord of the castle. He is nearing his twentieth year, when he knows he must leave his father's home and find his own place in the world. Then one day the Fair pays a visit to the castle. The Fair are a superhuman race that makes their home in the Blackwood Forest. They once terrorized the human population, stealing and taking slaves, but a treaty between the humans and the Fair have put an end to that. The Fair visits each of the castles from time to time to collect a tithe, but otherwise they leave the humans alone.

The visit from the Fair comes at a bad time for Leith's father. The harvest has not been good and he feels he cannot afford the tithe, so he offers up his bastard son instead. However, the Fair don't take slaves anymore, but the Fair leader Orias seems taken with Leith, so he makes him a bargain: spend a year in Orias' service and he will be rewarded with his own title and land. More...

Review - The Viking in My Bed

Posted in Book Reviews on May 12, 2012

The Viking in My Bed

This review first appeared at BDSM Book Reviews.

College student Bailey wakes up with a heavy weight on his shoulders, quite literally. There's a viking in his bed, who seems to know every little secret spot on Bailey's body that will make him shiver with lust. He assumes the naked Norseman is some kind of prank by his roommates. The blond bronzed god is out of his league. But the viking, Frey, insists he is there for Bailey. Frey is the Guardian and Bailey is the Guide.

It all sounds like part of the joke to Bailey, and fearing the powerful emotions Frey brings out in him, he flees to his classes. As the day wears on, strange things start to happen, which make Bailey believe that, however impossible it may seem, Frey really is a warrior from the past, or another dimension, sent to protect and help him. The two must work together to banish the demons that have been let into Bailey's world.

More...

Review - Kei's Gift

Posted in Book Reviews on Dec 03, 2011

Kei's Gift

The best word I can think of to describe Kei's Gift is "epic" - in the very classical sense of the word. This is a broad tale of the clash of two cultures, set in an alternate world not far removed from Earth's ancient antiquity. The 'clash' is actually More...

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