The British Devil by Greg Hogben

Title:  The British Devil

Author:  Greg Hogben

Genre:   Contemporary

Length:  703 KB (290 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (July 30, 2012)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts-loved it

Blurb:   British national Greg Stephens knew there would be challenges in his new relationship with handsome American Navy officer Danny Taylor: long distance; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; the Defense of Marriage Act; US immigration….

But he didn’t anticipate his greatest obstacle: Danny’s born-again Christian mother, Vivien. A secretary in a small-town Southern Baptist church in Texas, she bristles at Greg’s secular beliefs. Through passive-aggressive manipulation, subtle deceit, or outright battle, Vivien resolves to banish Greg and return Danny to the fold, come hell or high water. Greg’s hold on Danny’s heart is pitted against Vivien’s crusade for Danny’s soul.

All the while, Greg devotes himself to keeping Danny happy while negotiating the cultural differences of his life in America. Danny’s new career as a lawyer takes them from his native Texas to New York. But with Vivien testing Greg’s stiff upper lip at every turn, something has to give.

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Reviewer:   Artemis

Review:  The British Devil is a long novel that encompasses several years’ worth of the relationship between Greg and Danny. all the way from their first meeting to a very nice happily ever after.  Greg meets Danny just as he is finishing his tour in the Navy and heading back to the US for law school.  As a British national, Greg knows that they have quite a few struggles ahead of them if their relationship is going to survive.  Immigration laws are tough and Greg has several years of school ahead of him, but the biggest obstacle for the two men to overcome is Danny’s extremely religious and conservative mother.

I was excited to read this book because of its ties to the right wing conservative and religious population of Texas.  Having lived there for a number of years, I am very familiar with the attitude of the gun toting, anti-gay, Baptist population.  Obviously, not everyone in the area has the same beliefs, but Danny’s mom certainly would not be unusual in that area of the US.

This book touches on a number of very heavy subjects, but does so in an informative way that doesn’t really feel oppressive.  Greg’s character has quite a bit of wit and humor in him and I am truly amazed at the patience he shows towards Danny’s mom.  In fact, there were a number of times I wanted to smack Danny for his blindness and stupidity when it came to how his mother treated the partner he professed to care so much about.

I loved Greg….he was patient and kind, with a lighthearted humor that seemed to just win over everyone he encountered…except Danny’s mother.  She was just freakishly scary in her religious beliefs and I couldn’t understand how she could ‘forgive’ her son for being gay, but had such a huge problem with Greg for not believing in God and Jesus the way she did.  She did everything in her power to drag the two men apart and I really don’t know how the people in her life didn’t throttle her.

I was a little surprised that the ending offered such a rapid turnaround in terms of her opinions.  There is an extremely heated scene with lots of screaming and all of a sudden there is crying and a completely new mom.  I think the switch happened a little too fast for me to feel comfortable with.  I was happy to see the happily ever after, but I think that portion needed a little bit more time to develop.

There were a few scenes where I thought the author delved a little too deeply into a thread that didn’t need that much analysis, but overall, he did a great job of showing us who each character was and how they got to be where they are today.  The secondary characters were all well developed and I hope Tucker has a book coming up where he grows up a bit and finds someone he can have his own happily ever after with!

This is less of a romance and more of a look into the struggles a gay couple have to deal with in terms of society.  It is sad that Danny and Greg (or any couple!) has to deal with this sort of stuff and I can only hope that laws in the US change QUICKLY so that other couples don’t have to go through what they did

Alaska Hunt by Shelter Somerset

Title: Alaska Hunt

Series: N/A

Author: Shelter Somerset

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Length: Novel

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 6th, 2012)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

 Blurb: For Alaska Wildlife Trooper Zanebono Fusca, it’s just another summer in Anchorage until a slew of inexplicable fatal bear attacks sets the city reeling. As far as Zane is concerned, the timing couldn’t be worse. He’s besieged with his own demons, coping with personal loss and an identity crisis that clutches him worse than a grizzly’s pickaxe-sized fangs. Ten years before, he hoped Alaska would bring him a sense of his manhood. Now the “last frontier” could put him in an early grave.

Zane’s role to protect Alaska’s teeming wildlife gets even more tangled when handsome twenty-five-year-old Joshua Gaffner arrives seeking the details of his uncle’s gruesome death. But Alaskan officials have few answers. Against his better judgment, Zane takes Joshua deep into Anchorage’s far-flung backcountry—populated with eccentric recluses and ego-driven ecologists—in search of the truth. As the bizarre attacks increase, Zane and Josh continue to push for clues to crack the mystery. Finally Zane unravels a shocking discovery that makes the pieces fall into place. The trouble is Josh stands in the perfect position to become the next victim.

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Reviewer: Thommie

Review: Alaska Hunt is a novel that grips you from page one and doesn’t let go. Definitely not light reading, yet the plot, the storyline, the agony and suspense make it really difficult for you to let the book down until it’s over. The intro is extremely rough. It starts with a crazy bear’s point of view and for a moment there, I was alarmed this might be a paranormal story after all. It’s not. The effect of having a bear’s point of view was unexpectedly strong and gruesome, and it is also a huge plot revelation.

I loved it. Zane is an amazing character, having his demons that hunt him day and night. Guilt eating away his soul and yet strong and determined to help anyone he can. One might think he suffers a bit from the Super Hero Syndrome, but it suits him; gives him even greater charm. Joshua is also a very agreeable character. Young, yet strong and smart, he inevitably entangles himself with Zane. It felt so natural for those two to hook up together, while they were in the search of answers for the inexplicable fatal bear attacks. They do not have the typical romance, that’s for sure. The way their relationship evolves is so manly and somehow easy-going that made me breath and relax into it. Yes, Zane has his thoughts about it, too many for my liking, but then again he has too many thoughts about everything. Comes with the job I suppose. Their lovemaking was also not the sensual or the explicit one, but it was definitely hot for my eyes. I loved everything about this pair.

Secondary characters were somehow odd. I understood Julie, the ex-wife, her obsession with being independent. After all, no one can live with a man who feels the guilt as strongly as Zane, especially if their relationship didn’t stand strong before the incident. But, Dana confused me. I still don’t get it, did she refused Zane for being an Alpha male..? And what was it with the in-laws? Nothing in this book churned my stomach more than them, not even when bears started eating human flesh. that I could handle, but in-laws not letting a father see his kid, that enraged me. I suppose the author achieved that very well.

The “who” and the “why” was almost too easy for me to see, as I said the intro was a huge plot reveal, but I enjoyed every bit of the book and the journey that led to the end. What really made an impression to me was the fact that the author seemed to have done a great amount of research. Everything felt so very real and as if it came straight from some university researching team. Invigorating! The description of the scenery and the Alaskan environment was also excellent. made me feel as if I was hiking along with the guys. Yes, I think this is what won me over more than anything. The book was so well written that it made me live it, not just read it. In the end this book was more than I expected.

Highly recommended for anyone who has the stomach to stand a bit of blood and gore 😉



All or Nothing at All by Carolina Valdez

Title: All or Nothing at All

Author: Carolina Valdez

Genre:  Gay / Science Fiction / Futuristic / Action / Adventure / Ménage (M/M/M) / Group Sex / Exhibitionism / Public Places

Length: 156 Pages

Publisher:  Amber Quill Press (November 13, 2011)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3Hearts

Blurb:  Duty robbed them of their last night together. A deadly fireball struck Earth’s New Los Angeles in the late afternoon, and instead of an evening of dinner and passionate sex with his lover, Battalion Chief David Garrison reported for duty and led his elite fire warrior squadron to fight the raging flames engulfing historic L.A. At first light the next morning, duty sends David’s lover, Dillon Rapner, a special agent working undercover, off world to ferret out the source of these incendiary bombs destroying Old Town.

During his search, Dillon is captured and enslaved for several years on another planet. Only thoughts of returning to David, the man he would love forever, keeps Dillon alive and determined to escape.

Never in his wildest imaginings, however, did Dillon expect that when he returned to Earth he’d find another man in David’s bed…

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Reviewer:  Madison

Review: Well, the blurb pretty much gives everything about the plot away except for the resolution, which you can probably guess before even reading the first sentence. At least I did. I would have enjoyed this one more had I not read the blurb beforehand. There simply weren’t any surprises in the story.

Kudos to the author for making me cry, though. My heart went out to poor Dillon. I can overlook a lot of problems if I’m drawn into the story emotionally, and I was. I also enjoyed the world building. Especially the futuristic sex toys.

A good editor would have probably scrapped a few lines here and there. For example, the explanation about why they weren’t using condoms (thanks to modern medicine) was silly, and not something either of the men would have been thinking about in the heat of the moment. There were also at least three places where the wrong name was used (David instead of Dillon, or vice versa). I had been so proud of myself for keeping the two D’s straight, and then the name errors pulled me out of the story. These were minor disturbances, though. Overall, the writing was good and it was a quick, enjoyable read.

Connor’s Courage by S. J. D. Peterson

Title: Conner’s Courage
Series: Whispering Pines Ranch 04
Author: S.J.D. Peterson
Genre: Western, Historical (1974)
Length: Novel (198pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (3rd August 2012)
Heat: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½Hearts
Reviewer: Pixie
Blurb: John Price and Conner Burnett have been part of the Whispering Pines Ranch for the past thirty-seven years. A loving couple who have overcome every obstacle thrown at them, John and Conner are a testament to the strength of true love. But now John is in the hospital with a diagnosis of cancer, fighting for his very life.
As his lover struggles, Conner looks back on when they first met. The early seventies wasn’t an easy time to be a gay man, especially in a small country town. Considering John’s pride, Conner’s need to be himself, shame, bitterness, and two stubborn natures, their love story almost wasn’t written. But they beat the odds, and Conner will be damned if he’ll let anyone take John from him now. He had the courage to stand up for what he wanted in 1974. If need be, he’ll go toe to toe with God himself to keep the man he fought so hard to love.
Review: John is in hospital having being diagnosed with cancer. It’s a diagnosis that Conner won’t accept, and he’s not losing the love of his life without a fight, not after 37 years of facing everything together. Conner looks back to the beginning of their relationship when they had to fight the hardest, against their own selves, as they tried to embark on a relationship that was still frowned upon in cowboy country.
This is a wonderful story that gives us fans of Whispering Pines Ranch the chance to get to know both Conner and John better, and also gives us their romance from the very beginning. As John lies in his hospital bed with Conner snuggled up against him, Conner takes us on the journey of the beginning of their relationship and the courage both men had to find to be the men that the other loved. Conner has already faced a lot in his 29 years and is comfortable with whom he is. But, John in his 32 years has always played it safe. He doesn’t want to lose the respect of the men around him. But when the two meet, they both have to make choices until they reach an impasse and they both realise just what is most important to them.
I loved this story. I love Conner and John in their sixties and I loved them just as much when they were younger. Being able to see the beginning of their relationship was a treat. I loved the ups and downs that they faced, as well as the emotional battles that they faced within themselves. Seeing them both come to the realisation as to what was really important to them, for Conner it was being himself even if it meant losing the man he loves, and for John it was about facing his life without the man he loves, compared to having the full respect of those around him.
This story isn’t as angsty or angry as the previous books in this series, and it isn’t as frustrating or hair pulling because we already know that Conner and John would get their happily ever after, but it still pulls at the heart-strings as we see the men we could love become the men we do love. S.J.D. has written another wonderful touching story that will stay with after you have finished the last page. As a little side note: please ignore the fact that the Bee Gees travelled back in time to 1974 with their song Jive Talkin’, which they didn’t record until 1975. Lol S.J.D.’s a good sport and said I could mention it.
So I will recommend this to those who love stories about rough, tough cowboys, about having courage to stand for what you want, for hot men falling in love, some hot cowboy sex and the beginning of what we know to be true love for two lovely wonderful men. Now to wait impatiently for Jess’s Journey ;-).

Pop Goes the Weasel by Stephen Osborne

Title: Pop Goes the Weasel

Author: Stephen Osborne

Genre: Humor, Contemporary, Comedy

Length: Novel (198pgs)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (10th August 2012)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Patrick Weasley, aka Weasel, is a fun-loving college student with a wealthy homophobic jerk stepfather and a best friend, Jake Winston, who’s just as gay as Weasel. When Jake’s aunt dies, many from the publishing world—including Jasper, Weasel’s weasel of a stepfather—gather at Winston Manor for the reading of the will, and Weasel is obligated to tag along.

Turns out all he has to do is three things: 1) swap the wills so Jake’s uncle inherits the house instead of the gardener, who’s also an old enemy of Weasel’s; 2) secure a publishing contract from author Cecily Talbot; and 3) hook Jake up with his deceased aunt’s male nurse. But what he ends up doing is 1) falling for Tony, one of the food servers; 2) accidentally affiancing himself to Cecily; and 3) fighting with Jake, who thinks he was making a play for the nurse.

To make matters worse, every time Weasel and Tony start to get intimate, Jasper is right around the corner. So when burglars come to steal a valuable piece of art, Weasel must 1) use all his ingenuity to keep the painting safe; 2) dis-engage himself from Cecily; 3) unite Jake with the nurse; and most importantly, 4) pursue Tony to an elusive happy ending.

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Review: Weasel is dragged to a country house by not only his best friend Cap, but also his step-father (who for forever more shall be referred to as stepmonster) to do favors for them. While at the house he is drawn (manipulated) into more shenanigans by Cap’s uncle. But Weasel meets Tony, a servant, who he is interested in getting to know better, but, with Weasel’s luck, a category of errors and misunderstandings occur which lead to fight’s, jealousy, a mistaken engagement and interrupting a burglary. Will Weasel be able to set all to rights and get his happy ending?

This is a very amusing story that will touch your funny bone several times as we spend a long weekend with Weasel. Weasel and Cap are both required to stay at Cap’s great-aunts estate for the reading of her will, but Weasel is drawn into doing favours for others, in the course of doing the favors though, Weasel’s luck just isn’t going his way and it leads to several humorous events. Throughout all that Weasel is trying to do, he meets Tony, the sexy servant, but nothing is going quite his way and his attempts to woo Tony are repeatedly interrupted.

So what can I really say about the characters in this book? Weasel is a bit of a frivolous but lovable character, he seems to spend most of his time drinking and sleeping and attracting trouble, Cap is harder to define but he seems very highly strung (or maybe Weasel makes him that way), Tony seems to be a very sweet character and Weasel is a whirlwind that will sweep him away. All the other characters add a great deal to this book with all of their quirks and make for a very interesting amusing story.

The storyline is funny and will keep you reading even if it is just to discover what disaster Weasel gets into next, watching his 1.) disastrous attempts to fix his friend up, 2.)romance the guy that he desires, 3.)switch the wills, 4.) avoid the gardener/cop, 5.) get chased with a mallet, 6.)stop some bungling burglars, and 7.)break the engagement with Cecily, is very amusing and I am sure I have left out other disasters that befall Weasel.

I will recommend this to those who want a great story that will leave you giggling, having characters that just seem to attract trouble, characters that do get the men they want and the beginning of something special between Weasel and Tony.