Review: “An Island in the Stars” by Susan Laine

TITLE: An Island in the Stars
AUTHOR: Susan Laine
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anna Sikorska
GENRE: New adult; Sci-fi
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 210 PAGES
RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 –paperback
  

BLURB:

Sam, a geeky college freshman, has bigger problems than lusting after Marcus, sexy jock, college junior, and his big brother’s best friend. Chasing after a beanie caught in the winter wind turns into a tumble down the rabbit hole for them both—science fiction style.

Sam and Marcus find themselves trapped on a tropical island in the middle of a strange ocean on an alien moon. The sole structure is a ruined temple devoted to the art of love. Flustered, confused, and unable to return home, they need to figure out a means of escape from a hostile jungle teeming with dangerous life-forms.

In this tale where opposites attract and secret crushes are revealed, two very dissimilar young men discover they actually have a lot in common after all, but it will take their differences as much as their points of connection to survive on an island in the stars


One day, when they were heading home after college, Sam and Marcus fell in a rabbit hole which leads to an Island on a Moon.
Sam is a “geek” in love with Marcus, his brother’s best friend for years. Too shy, too unsure and too scared to confess his feelings, Sam, spends most of his time in defense mode or running away from Marcus.
Marcus tries his best to gain Sam’s attention but fails each time. He is crazy in love with the young geek but doesn’t know how to gain his trust and love.
When they end up on an Island on an alien moon, they don’t have other choices but to stick together in order to survive and find a way to come back to their home.
It was a sweet love story between Sam & Marcus. They are adorable together especially Marcus.
I like this big guy, he is sweet, brave and fights for what he wants. And he’s wanted Sam for years, when he has the opportunity, he takes it. I like his devotion for Sam too. I had a little crush for Marcus.

Sam is really smart, like super mega smart, and his brain sure helps them on this alien Island, but he has difficulty interacting with people, and especially with the guy he is in love with, Marcus. But this island will help him to face his fear, to surpass himself and fight for his life and that of Marcus.
The author mixes different genres, adventure, Sci-fi, Romance, the whole sprinkled with a dose of humor.

It’s a mix between Jules Verne, Daniel Defoe and Lewis Carroll. A fall in a rabbit hole that leads to an extraterrestrial room that leads to an island on an alien moon, populated with extraordinary alien creatures, add 2 gay men, horny and in love, and you have this sweet novel.

I recommend this book for younger people 14-18 years old.

****The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****

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Review: “Scar” by Baylin Crow

TITLE: Scar
AUTHOR: Baylin Crow
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Baylin Crow
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 122 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 19, 2016
PRICE: $2.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

Beard

I just wanted to be left alone. After the disastrous turn my life took four years ago, I swore that I’d never let my guard down for anyone ever again. I left everything I knew behind and started over again. Things were going just fine until nearly six feet of pure temptation walked through the doors of my bar. It’s been a year and I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding him. Things change when his friends get him drunk and leave him stranded on his birthday. I shouldn’t have given him a place to crash because now I can’t shake him.

Soccer

He intrigued me from the moment we met, and I haven’t exactly been subtle about wanting him. The green-eyed bartender seems to want nothing to do with me, but I don’t miss the way he watches me when he thinks no one will notice. I’ve let him pretend long enough, and it’s definitely time to make my move. On the field, I face tough competitors every week, but this one will make me work harder than I ever have before. If I want to win, I’m going to have to up my game because he is a pro at pushing me away.

This is a standalone novella with no cliffhanger.


As a debut book, this story has set a high standard for the author to meet with future releases. It was a very sweet and incredibly sexy little romance that had me smiling from ear to ear, but also needing a fan to cool down (it’s pretty hot). Written in first person with dual POV, it grabbed my attention from the minute I saw the cover and read the blurb. As soon as I started reading the book, I just couldn’t stop. Football (soccer) is my joint favorite sport, so any book that includes it as part of the storyline then I’m going to read it, and this one definitely didn’t disappoint.

In this story, we have the two main characters, Beard (nicknamed because he has a thick and longish beard and no other reason) and Soccer (because he plays college soccer). The two men gave each other the nicknames because Soccer refused to call Beard by his proper name, even though he knows it. Beard played along with the game, and also refused to call Soccer by his name, now it’s a battle of wills, and they won’t back down or give in. Beard works at and owns a bar that used to belong to his grandfather where Soccer and his friends go mostly after playing their game on match-days. The team have become regulars at the bar, and Beard loves this, yet hates it at the same time.

Beard has quite a brooding and serious personality, and although he’s had a crush on Soccer since they first met, he tries to avoid him as much as he can to try and hide the attraction. He knows and accepts he’s gay, but due to an incident that occurred 4 years before, he’s in the closet and plans on staying that way. Soccer is almost the exact opposite of Beard, he’s happy and outgoing, yet fiercely competitive and determined. He’s also out to everyone he knows and is not shy about trying to get Beards attention. When Soccer’s friends hatch a plan to try and set the two men up, it doesn’t exactly work out as expected, but it ignites the spark of the smouldering feelings and chemistry that Beard and Soccer have. It gives Beard the little wake-up call he’s needed to face up to his past, and to move on with his future.

This was a fantastic little story to read. It was well written, flowed perfectly and there were no loose ends. The characters were well developed with just enough back story to fill you in, but not take over the main plot of the book. This is an author that I will definitely be looking out for from now on, if this book is anything to go by, I’d say we’re in for a real treat.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Driven” by MB Mulhall

TITLE: Driven
AUTHOR: MB Mulhall
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Harmony Ink Press
COVER ARTIST: Anna Sikorska
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 210 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback
  

BLURB:

Eighteen-year-old Oliver’s troubles don’t end when he’s released from prison. He has nowhere to go, and he can’t even think about moving past his crimes while trying to survive homelessness.

Helping an elderly woman after a fall guides Oliver into at least a temporary home. In exchange for odd jobs and some assistance, he’s welcomed into a life with the old twin spinsters, and it seems too good to be true. The neighbor, Simon, certainly thinks it is. He doesn’t trust Oliver or his motives. Oliver is used to that kind of judgment, but it isn’t helping him overcome his guilt. Maybe Simon is right and Oliver doesn’t deserve happiness—or any of the other feelings stirring in a heart Oliver thought he’d closed off for good.

Oliver has two options: let the pain of his past swallow him and destroy all hope for the future, or move on to the new possibilities in front of him. Choosing to live won’t be easy, and Oliver might not be able to do it alone.


I don’t really know where to start with this review that would even come close to doing this book, and what I can only describe as a phenomenal piece of writing proper justice. I also don’t want to give anything about the story away because the way the story builds, progresses and flows is something you need to experience yourself. From the very first paragraph, I was completely and utterly hooked and read it straight through in one sitting.

The story centres around the main character, Oliver Sutton, who for the last 2 years has spent his time in prison and then on the streets. One day whilst on the street, he meets Tude Westling, an elderly lady who has taken a fall. After some not so subtle prompting, Oliver agrees to help Tude home, here he meets her twin sister Vera. As a thank you for his help, the ladies ask him to stay for dinner and then the night. The next day, Oliver literally bumps into Simon Green, who’s the young and handsome neighbor of Tude and Vera. From this point, everything in Oliver’s life changes. With the help of the twins, Simon and his Parole Officer, John Richards, Oliver discovers what family, love, acceptance and forgiveness really means.

The plot of the story was simply brilliant and had me on the edge of my seat desperate to find out what the next pages and chapters were going to bring. There’s nothing at all about this book that I can fault. The author took us on a journey of Oliver’s life. We got to see the background story that led us to this point, but there was mystery and intrigue and secrets that remained hidden until exactly the right moment for their reveal which added to the excitement. There were quite a few times I had to force back the tears that were threatening because my heart was shattering for Oliver and the way he treated himself because he thought it’s what he deserved. Every character and moment in the book felt real, nothing seemed like it was far-fetched and couldn’t happen in daily life and I think that’s why I connected with the story as much as I did.

Apart from some kissing and lustful excitement, there isn’t anything sexual about this book. So if you’re looking for hot and steamy sex then this is not for you, but if you want a story that will grip you, pull at your heart strings and then leave you feeling warm and fuzzy at the end, then this book couldn’t be more perfect.

This is my first time reading anything by this author, but she is one I will definitely be keeping a look out for from now on. With this one book she has gained a reader/fan for life. A very easy 5 star read, I only wish I could give it more.

***The ARC was provided by Harmony Ink Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Darkest Desires” by Noah Harris

TITLE: Darkest Desires
AUTHOR: Noah Harris
SERIES: City of Sinners
PUBLISHER: Books Unite People
COVER ARTIST: Stefan Morgan
GENRE: Paranormal; New Adult; Come to Age
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 508 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2017
PRICE: $2.99 -e-book / $17.99 –paperback
  

BLURB:

New York City, 1977

Disco. Gay liberation. The Son of Sam. Urban blight. It was a wild time in a wild city, and no one wanted to get wilder than a young man from a hick town in Missouri. Fresh out of high school, Richard Miller has come to the Big Apple to take a big bite of forbidden fruit.

But among the dark corners of the city’s cruising scene stalks an ancient evil. It is hungry for virgin male flesh, and it knows just how to tempt a young man eager for thrills and new experiences.
As Richard learns, this temptation threatens his new community, and even the city itself.

Darkest Desires is a dark romance with steamy scenes and bad language. It’s only recommended for readers 18+.


jologooptimummThis book is not just maturely and cleverly written, it’s a unique vision of dark desire, twisted with snippets of, well researched, historical fact and erotic imagination. I warn you this book is not for the faint hearted! However, if you’re open minded and strong hearted enough it carries you, slowly at first, into another world. It’s like climbing the first incline of a roller coaster and then, when you reach the top, hold onto your hats as you’re plunged over the edge into a descent the likes of which you rarely get to experience in a book.
It’s 1977, Richard has just left high school and moved to New York City to get away from the small-mindedness of his hometown. He’s finally able to openly shout ‘I’m gay!’ Noah takes us on Richard’s tortured journey as he finds lodgings, is mugged and tentatively takes his first steps in a seemingly open, gay environment. He eventually makes good friends within the gay community and quickly finds out about the reality of life as a gay man in a big city. In the process, he also loses his virginity and learns so much more about his own desires and needs!

The 1977 Everard Bathhouse fire is part of his journey, and Noah offers his own fictional explanation as to the origins of the tragedy. Noah also gives the reader an eye opening, incredible sense of life as part of a minority often persecuted in the 70’s.
Although it actually starts out as a typical gay ‘coming of age’ tale it quickly becomes a much more mature, darker and more erotic, paranormal offering than even Noah’s usual stories. The plot includes, among other things, drug use, demons, the occult and rape, which some may find disturbing. However, they’re not gratuitous and add, deliciously, to the edgy feel of the book. There are so many incredible layers to this story it’s hard to put into words what I felt when reading it, which I did in one session as I couldn’t put it down. Time meant nothing as I was carried away on a tide of emotion, erotica and yes, horror!

The ending is well finished off, and the final chapters are a real high as Richard fights his demons, literally, realises his potential and comes into his own as a powerful, gay man. Noah also very cleverly leaves enough open for a second book! This is Noah’s mature, creative talent, clever intellect and twisted imagination working at it’s very best to create something much bigger than the sum of its parts. I believe I’m going to enjoy this series immensely and can’t wait for book two. Miss out on this book and you miss out on an awesome reading experience! But…as I said before, this is not for the faint hearted!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC.  My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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