Self-Published

The Persistence of Memory by Jordan Castillo Price

MnevermindRating: Unrated
Genre: 
Sci-Fi
Publication day: 
May 4, 2012
Length: 
158 pages  
Publisher: 
JCP Books

Every day, Daniel Schroeder breaks his father’s heart.

The two of them have always been close, which makes it all the more difficult to break the daily news: the last five years were nothing like Big Dan remembers.

They’re both professionals in the memory field–they even run their own memory palace. So shouldn’t they be able to figure out a way to overwrite the persistent false memory that’s wreaking havoc on both of their lives? Daniel thought he was holding it together, but the situation is sliding out of control. Now even his own equipment has turned against him, reminding him he hasn’t had a date in ages by taunting him with flashes of an elusive man in black that only he can see.

The Elijah character makes no sense. Not only does he claim to be straight–which has never piqued Daniel’s interest–but he’s appearing in manufactured memories in which he’s never been programmed. Is it some quirk of the circuitry, or is Daniel’s desire to connect with someone clouding his own memory?

My View: The Persistence of Memory is an interesting view of Science Fiction in an Alternate Universe. Realistic enough to happen in this era, but with enough twists and turns to be separated from our time.

I’m not giving the story a rating because I don’t have a good reference point to compare it to since I’m not an avid Sci-Fi reader. Also, I had some trouble in the beginning getting used to the terms and the events even after reading the notes provided. And the end isn’t a cliffhanger, but can’t be considered a HFN.

The main characters were great individually, and I wished they had stayed as friends, without the benefits. They make a great team, but the little to no romance between them made their time together awkward. The rest of the cast worked well with the story, and I did enjoy the world the author built.

I’m interested in knowing what happens next, but I’m in no rush. But, if you are a Sci-Fi fan, I highly recommend it.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Softpaw by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

SoftpawRate: 3.75 stars
Genre: 
Paranormal – Shifters
Publication day: 
July 14, 2016
Length: 
219 pages  
Publisher: 
Self-Published – Extras

Connor’s life could have been the dream of any cultured werecat. He is spending his days in Paris’ gay quarter with comfortably little real work, playing the piano, surrounded by art, fine food and good friends. It could have been, if not for a feral vampire preying on the prostitutes of ‘his’ quarter, killing the boys of the Marais one by one.

When Connor invites a newly arrived hooker to stay on his houseboat, the last thing he expects is Michel to be a member of the Brigade Criminelle – a troubled, hunky rookie cop sent undercover to explore Connor’s connection to the murders, picked mostly because he had been a boy of the Marais himself, not so long ago.

Hiding their true nature becomes a problem for both when their realize there maybe is more to their inital attraction. But in order to bring down the serial killer and maybe have a chance at making their relationship work out, one of them will have to
take the first, critical leap.

My View: I had said, multiple times, that I have a soft spot for stories with rentboys and escorts. I like seeing how they evolved through the story and what caused those changes. In this case, we see a different side of the equation. And combined with an undercover investigation and a werecat, this story has the bones to be great.

This story got me more interested in the mystery aspect than the romance. Yes, it was nice to see how Connor’s and Michel’s feelings developed, but I see them more like a paranormal version of classic superheroes. They want to do good, and both have their secrets. Unknowingly, they’re working to get the same killer down and perhaps, and earlier alliance may have added to the suspense.

The secondary characters in this story are multi-dimensional and fit the story arc. Everyone has a reason to be and help the story move forward. It’s easy to get attached to them, even those we have only met in passing. The settings are interesting and put together in a way we can see the fictitious areas bloom within the real streets of Paris.

My only complaint about this story is the lack of a strong connection between the reasons for the killer to attack and the end result. Yes, we get to know the police’s assumptions and Connor’s, but we don’t get enough from the killer’s perspective. Plus, some of the encounters between Connor and the killer pushed the “reality” boundaries established by the authors.

There’s a small setup for the next book in the series, but not enough to entice a reader to continue reading; unless you read the extra content at the end of the book. Then, you’ll want to know more about the next installment.

What I liked the most: The amount of detail in the descriptions.

I wanted more: Time between Michel and Connor’s cat.

Who should read it: Fans of werecats and humans couples.

ARC provided by the author as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group Don’t Buy My Love Program.

Promises Part 2 by A.E. Via

Promises Part 2Rate: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary
Publication day: March 20, 2016
Length:  290 pages
Publisher: Via Star Wings Books

Roman “Quick” Webb is one badass bounty hunter on the crime-filled streets of Atlanta. He’s fearless when it comes to carrying out his dangerous job alongside his longtime best friend and business partner, Duke. However, there is one thing that has begun to cause Quick concern and it’s the dreadful thought of living out the rest of his life alone. Seeing his best friend and his son fall in love and sharing the special connection that only true soulmates can, has made him all the more aware of what’s lacking in his life.

Love.

Dr. Cayson Chauncey has been wildly attracted to the big, tattooed hunter for almost a year, ever since he performed the surgery that saved Quick’s best friend’s life. Cayson must’ve mistaken Quick’s gratitude for something more, because the one time he tried to make his desires known, he was harshly rebuffed and left on the man’s doorstep feeling stupid for hitting on an obviously very straight man.

Cayson never dated a man who was willing to come out of hiding and be with him. Now at almost forty, Cayson is intent on no longer being anyone’s dirty secret. Having experienced countless disappointments, and having taken a stand not to fall for any more tricks, Cayson is more than a little skeptical when Quick comes around asking for a second chance to prove himself. The gorgeous man had already made it clear that he was not interested in Cayson… or so he’d thought.

Dr. Chauncey stirred up Quick’s suppressed, most carnal desires from a place deep down inside of him. He’d reacted so badly the first time that now his sexy surgeon wanted nothing to do with him. It was going to take a fair amount of patience and a whole lot of wooing involved as Quick sets out to convince Cayson that he’s worth another chance and that he is the brave lover who Cayson has been looking for.

With a scorned ex and a very dangerous job thrown into the mix, Cayson’s happiness and all of Quick’s promises may not be as easy to keep as they’d hoped.

My View: Promises Part 2 is better than the first book. Perhaps, because we are familiar with the characters and with the exception of one chapter, we don’t get unnecessary POV shifts. Quick’s and Cayson’s personalities are distinctive enough for the first person narrative to work well.

The relationship between the MCs starts with a tentative truce and a slow burn. In the previous book, we get to see how Quick dismisses the doctor and how Cayson finds himself humiliated by it. We also get a peek into Cayson’s toxic relationship with Dr. Joe.

When this story starts, Quick is ready to embrace, not only his bisexuality but his attraction to Cayson. Cayson in the other hand doesn’t believe in Quick’s interest and thinks he’s only trying to play with the gay guy to humiliate him.

It takes time and several dates, for the MCs to get comfortable together. Plus, some poking from Duke and Vaugh. When they decided to start dating, they go all in even when the threat of Dr. Joe, Cayson’s scorned ex is present.

There’s action, love, and much more in this installment. The angst level is minimal even when they are dealing with the jealous ex. The smexy scenes are well balanced with the everyday events, and we can enjoy the novelty of their sexual exploration too.

The author did an excellent job incorporating the characters from the previous story into this book, and the guys from the crossover series, Nothing Special, as well. We get to see their loyalty and the family they represent. And we got a little hint of a possible couple. I hope I’m right in my assumption. Ford needs a little something for taking care of his brother.

What I liked the most: How comfortable Quick was with his sexuality.

I wanted more of: The main reason behind Quick’s rage.

Who should read it: Any fan of Law Enforcement stories.

ARC provided by the author as part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group Don’t Buy My Love Program.

Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

HimRate: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Sports (Hockey)
Length: 276 pages
Published: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Self-Published

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

My View: I kept putting this book down on my TBR because I’m not a big Hockey fan, but even when the sport is very present in the story, it was simply integrated. It’s as important as the characters’ relationship and isn’t put aside for other plot points.

What else can  I say? I love friends to lovers stories, especially when they have a sincere friendship to start with. The foundation of their love was strong and developed over time, morphing from fondness until it became necessary.

All the events were credible, including their dealings with homophobia and getting to know each other. The secondary characters had a purpose and helped the story moved forward. They also shaped the men Ryan and Jamie became.

Overall, this story is a lovely tale of two young men discovering their love for each other and how to keep it against the odds. It gives the reader a window into their lives and what made them care for each other. We see as well their love for the sport and others. And the distances they would go to help and achieve their goals.

What I liked the most: The MCs’ friendship.

I wanted more of: Nothing at all.

Who should read it: Fans of coming of age stories.

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

WiddershinsRate: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Paranormal, Historical
Pages: 236
Duration: 9 hours and 15 minutes
Narrator: Julian G. Simmons
Published: May 24, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published

Some things should stay buried.

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.

So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.

As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?

My View: I enjoyed this first in the series, but not as much as other books by the author. Perhaps because this is one of her oldest volumes and her writing had matured over time. Even so, the story was interesting and engaging; especially, the historical aspects.

I liked everything about this story, from the characters, the events, to the every day mundane situations. It almost read as an MM installment in the Indiana Jones franchise. The addition of Christine to the story gave more to the plot than a simple love story. At the same time, it helped the author set the characteristic of the time; in which women in the workforce were as frown upon as gay men.

The relationship between Griffin and Percival felt more like an HFN than an HEA to me. Maybe if Percival had taken a little longer to fall for Griffin, it would have worked better for me. He went from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds.

Narrator: I got the additional audio edition, but I didn’t like the narrator. I’m not sure if it was the quality of the recording or the voices; it needed a little more. It was good enough to listen as I drove or when cooking, but not a narration to be immersed on.

What I liked the most: The historical aspect and how well the author integrated little bits of history to the fictional elements.

I wanted more of: A relationship between Griffin and Percival. I felt more of a connection between Leander and Percival.

Who should read it: Jordan L. Hawk fans.