Bea's Reading Den

I love to read romances, any kind!  Check out my blog over at for detailed reviews and such.  I am checking this out from goodreads...

The Return - Brad Boney First things first: this book review will not do justice to the novel, The Return , by Brad Boney. So much of the book, the theme, the plot line is based on a “twist” that if I divulge it, it would ruin the surprise. The best thing that I can say about The Return is that you have to read it. It is more than simply a romance book: it tells the story of two men (and their friends) who were lost and finally find home. It has philosophy, humor, and passion, that led me to tears numerous times. Basic Plot: Topher (Christopher) Manning is a mechanic, but his passion is to become a musician. While he has big dreams, his music writing has hit a road block. That is until he has a chance meeting with music reviewer Stanton Porter. Porter is famous and intriguing, a man who Topher yearns to learn more about. An impromptu invitation to a Springsteen concert could mean Topher’s dream finally coming true. But now Topher wonders if Stanton can become more than just friends? Topher Manning: Topher has aspirations, but while he has a lot of talent, he has never “made it big”. How many of us have some sort of private dream that we always wanted to pursue, but either never started or just never could succeed? I’ve always wanted to become a successful writer, but while I have written a book (poorly) I never got it published. I’ve written lots of poetry for my love, but never published. Topher has these dreams and the talent, just something is missing to unlock his greatness. This novel is about how he finds that thing (friendship and love) to set him free. Everything that I do and everything that you do — and everything that any one of us ever does — is ultimately an attempt to connect our puny little lives to that bigger something. Nothing makes that connection like music — not a painting or a sculpture or even a book or play — so that’s why I get up on stage and sing songs. I’m trying to plug into the universe. This aspect of Topher is why I love his character. He is deeper than just some young punk who wants to become famous and bang a lot of chicks. He finds meaning in his gift and he yearns to do more than just be some rock star. Stanton Porter: What’s important to Stanton is his friends. His best friend Marvin has been there for him for years. Stanton suffered a loss so great in the past that it broke him in many ways. He has forsaken love and has focused the recent decades on his career. But now, this young man, too young in his opinion, has come into his life and reawaken his yearning for a mate. “Love, friendship, and loyalty. That pretty much sums up what’s important to me.” Stanton’s biggest roadblock to his own happiest is himself. This is something else that I could relate. We all have aspects of our past that hamper our forward momentum. A failed marriage? A bad childhood? These things affect our psyche and influence our actions. For Stanton, he has to learn to let go of the past. Strong Points: When I give a book a 5 star rating, customarily it is due to the massive amount of quotes I highlight. In The Return, I found myself highlighting constantly. The main characters and the bunch of characters that call them friends constantly gave memorable quotes. One example: That’s the whole point of us being friends. We don’t have to face shit alone. The other thing that got me about this book was the intensity of the writing. Mr. Boney writes about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s and starkly paints the picture of the fear, shame, and devastation it preyed on gay men. While we could discuss the improvements on science and medicine today, we can not forget how HIV meant death and how that affected the characters in this book. I dare you to read this book and not be moved to tears. What could be better? Absolutely nothing. Conclusions: I could spend hours quoting from this book and discussing the hidden depth to their meaning. So often I read a romance book and find tropes or plot devices to throw our characters together. But this novel is more like a full length character development of Topher and Stanton as individuals and then as a couple. Keep in mind that while there are times of humor and passion, I would classify this as a “dramatic romance”. Be prepared for a lot of tears.And what else can I say but — “Play the long game.” You will not be disappointed.

Sweet Young Thang (Theta Alpha Gamma)

Sweet Young Thang - Anne Tenino First things first : I have seen some “Meh” reviews out there for this book on Goodreads. One explanation of the rating is that one of our characters, Eric, calls Collin some version of “Sweet” as pet names often. I suppose some people don’t like pet names, either in novels or in real life. But it did not bother me enough to reduce a star. So this review will not focus on that and that will not affect any type of rating. Second note : This is book three of Tenino’s series, Theta Alpha Gamma, so if you have not read those (#1 Frat Boy and Toppy) (#2 Love Hypothetically) I would recommend reading them first. Actually, I suggest that you read book #1 to get the best out of this book. I never read the second one, with only 100 pages I did not want to invest the money in that short of a book. I think that you will understand the world better if you read book 1 first. Basic Plot :Collin Montes is in his Senior year at college and is the Alumni Representative for his fraternity, Theta Alpha Gamma. Most of his world revolves around either his studies, his fraternity, or family. His sexuality is very much in the closet. Collin wants to come out, but his family, especially his powerful uncle Monty, might not approve. His fraternity has recently changed their charter to explicitly not discriminate against sexual orientation and things start heating up – literally. Now can Collin every come out of the closet and will things turn tragic at the House?Eric Dixon is a fire fighter para-medic who is on the scene early when his former fraternity house has an explosion. In the mass confusion, one boy stands out: Collin. There is something that is just sweet and compelling about this boy. But could they build a lasting relationship, an out older man and a closeted sweet young thang? Collin Montes :What I like about Collin is that he is so relatable. When we saw him in book one, he was sweet on Brad, but was merely a secondary character. But for me, I always wanted to know more about him, he seemed someone who had a large back story to be told.We learn early on that Collin, while having a rich Uncle Monty who runs the family business, he is not like other “rich boys”. He has his entire future mapped out, from his experience within the frat as well as his studies. His mother has kept him grounded, but with the death of his father at an early age, Uncle Monty has become a father figure. The problem with this is that Monty is a harsh taskmaster, acting as a svengali and shaping Collin’s future for what Monty has in plan.So, Collin struggles with his self-identity, not just his sexuality and wonders if he can ever measure up. Collin felt like he’d lived a half a lifetime in the last twenty-four hours. In his sophomore philosophy class (why did they schedule those damn things at seven in the morning? Who really needs philosophy before breakfast?), he’d read something that had stuck with him since: “Each day is a little life.” Who said that? Schopenhauer, he thought. Collin attempts to please everyone in his life, his frat, his instructors, his family, his uncle, but never really doing what he wants to do. And with all of this comes loads of responsibility he feels he cannot shirk. What Collin needs is someone who will support him. Eric Dixon :Eric is the strong, silent type, an older man at 36, comfortable in his life. He has two careers, one is the paramedic with the firefighter, and the other is a side project as photographer. He is someone who other people depend on and while he might look badass, he has a very caring heart. But he’s lonely and ready to meet someone to settle down with and even though Collin is young, he sees in him the qualities to make their relationship last. We see Eric’s attitude when talking about his former boyfriend, Jay: Eric laughed along with Lincoln. Mandy always had his back when it came to his love life. Thank God, because it had taken him a while to get over that asshole. He should have realized that it was a setup when Jay had said he didn’t know if he could be faithful. Then when he did fuck around, he’d been able to say, “Well, I warned you.” As if that made it all right.” What I liked about Eric is that he is such a loving, caring person, who in his place, we would want to do the same thing. We all want someone who will be there when we come home, eat a good meal, sit by the fire and make love. Strong Points :The humor is the strongest point within this book. The author has such a great way of making me laugh out loud, which our boys in Theta Alpha Gamma do. Danny stared at him, goggle-eyed, mouth hanging open. “Dude!” He stood up, reaching out to grip Collin’s shoulder. “You mean no one told you you’re gay? Shit man, I’m sorry, I didn’t know…” He turned to Kyle. “What am I supposed to do in this situation? They did not cover this in that sensitivity training class we took fall term. That’s a major oversight, man.” I also liked the mystery aspect. While I had an idea of the “who done it” early on, how the plot became unexpectedly twisted and it remained entertaining. What could be better? There was quite a bit of sex in this book, which while it did not bother me, toward the end I did skim the scenes. I will mention the “Sweet” thing again, because it bothered other folks, but for me it was fine. Some people also complained of the “insta-love” in this book, but that was not something that bothered me. I met my husband and after a weekend I knew I would spend my life with him. We are still as deeply (if not more) in passionate love together 15 years later. Conclusions: I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and have placed it in my favorites section to be a re-read. It had excellent pacing and kept me interested as I finished it in one sitting. If I had any draw back, it would be a lack of “relationship” building. While there are some “external conflicts” that affect the relationship, neither men have any angsty drama between them.So, what we end up getting is a humorous, sexy romp through a mystery and end up with truelove. How could that get any better?
Cataclysmic Shift - Tara Lain This might be my favorite of the series, I certainly liked it better than the last one. I always loved Al and it was great to see he got his happy ending.
Attracting Anthony  - Amber Kell Meh. It started very good and it had potential for an actual book. Then it had random possessive alpha male action and weird BDSM. But hey, it was free!
Important Things - suzvoy I possibly might have a Sterek addiction. I finished this one recently, but I can't remember much about it their than I enjoyed the humor.
Out of the Blackness - Carter Quinn Perhaps my moods have been darker of late, but my choice of novels to review seem to have become darker in nature. Out of the Blackness, by Carter Quinn, while it does end on a positive note, fall under that category.This is the first time that I have read anything by Carter Quinn, but the buzz around Goodreads had been so positive about this novel that I gave it a chance. And boy am I glad that I did! Basic Plot: Avery has a history of personal abuse, one that has left him in a constant state of fear and anxiety. The only person in his life that he trusts is Sam, his brother who tries to help Avery heal. In the mix comes, Noah, the large, muscular someone who Avery fears yet finds attractive. Can Avery heal enough to be strong enough to take this chance at love? Avery: We see this story through the eyes of Avery. So that means all actions and motivations of the other characters are shaded by Avery’s perspective. In this case, it built tension, because most of the conflicts within this novel are internal and relationship based. However, as we see in the quote below, we can not fully trust Avery’s vision: I’m not fated to be some character in a gay romance novel-like love story. As much as that hurts– because wouldn’t that really be nice?– I know I’m much more like the Beagle dogs laboratories keep in kennels for testing purposes. My purpose is much more to be used and abused for someone else’s enjoyment than my own.” And with that quote, we get to the heart of the book and the heart of the problem. Avery doesn’t believe in his self-worth or that he is good enough for Noah, or really any happiness. When I spoke of a darkness of tone, Avery’s state of mind, thoughts of suicide, drug abuse, and panic attacks are just a few topics. But what we have to understand is that this novel takes these grim plot points and turns them into rays of hope. Noah: Our first introduction to Noah is a vision of manliness and vigor: He is so…huge. His presence, his personality, his physical body are all out of proportion to me. I’m the small guy who fades into the background, the one who hopes no one notices him. Noah is the big, beautiful man who draws everyone’s eyes like an irresistible magnet. He doesn’t mind being the center of attention. In fact, I suspect he rather likes it. He handles the spotlight and people well, even me. He’s insanely charming, ridiculously good looking and undeniably sexy. In short, he’s way out of my league, even if I wanted to play, which I don’t. So while we see Noah from Avery’s eyes, he is so much more. Noah sees Avery’s true self, under all of that fear and social anxiety, and he is willing to wait patiently until Avery is strong enough to accept the relationship and the chance of a future. Strong Points: The first strength within this novel is Quinn’s knowledge of the psychology of abuse and certain disorders. We see this in his descriptions of Avery’s thought processes, his panic attacks, and his dialogues with his therapist. From other authors I have seen these things written as half-assed over-the-top versions. But within Out of the Blackness, we get the drama, but not the over-drama. I felt his pain, I could understand what he felt and how he felt, because to some degree, I have been where he was. It is a powerful writer who can make us feel these things, who makes us believe in the characters and their motivations.The second strong point is of the supporting characters. This book is packed with scenes between Avery and his brother, his therapist, and his coworkers. We come to know quite a bit about them and we learn to appreciate their involvement in Avery’s life. What could be better? I would have changed very little within this book. However, I do want to warn those who look for action-packed scenes. There really is no “bad guy” who chases them, but rather these are internal conflicts. So, if you want gun fights and dramatic saves, this might not be not novel for you. Conclusions: I was in the mood for some thought-provoking reading when I found this novel. From the beginning of Out of the Blackness, I found a well written, emotionally complex read that kept me interested and engaged until the end. I reserve 5-star rating for those books that I can emotionally connect to and whose characters remain with me long after I have closed the book. I got exactly what I wanted from Out of the Blackness: a good read.

Choices and Changes

Choices and Changes - K.L. Belanger This was a great book! It was something g that I could read that was heart warming, had a bit of spice, and decent character development. Keep in mind that the sex was not really "on screen"; which was the only downer for me in this book. But overall? Great book!
By Any Other Name - entanglednow One of my favorite Sterek fan fics. I loved the concept, not overly complicated but still fun.
Dirty Day (Cole McGinnis, #3.5) - Rhys Ford Great little slice of life short story from Jae's perspective.
Black Dog Blues (Kai Gracen, #1) - Rhys Ford This is a novel that is more fantasy than romance. So for those who are expecting similar read as her Kiss series, they might be disappointed. For full disclosure this novel was given to me for review by the author, Rhys Ford. However, my review is unbiased and based on my opinion only. Basic Plot: Kai Gracen is a “Stalker,” a licensed hunter of bad things like Black Dogs, feral animals, mercenary for hire. When he gets a job he can not refuse to pick up a pregnant human, he finds more than he bargained. With him is a sidhe lord name Ryder of the Clan Sebac, High Lord of the Southern Rise Court and Third in the House of Devon. But with Kai’s help, the mission will fail and Kai must learn to rely on the help of Ryder. Background: The first thing with this book you have to understand is that there is much world building and back story. While the beginning of the book starts in action (a Ford trademark), there is a chapter or so needed to get into the world.This is an alternate universe type world set in California. However, there are things like Black Dog (vicious killers created by the unsidhe folk for hunting), breeding dragons, magic, and elfin races. Kai Gracen: We see the story through Kai’s eyes. This is excellent in many ways, it heightens the mystery and increases the tension. However, it is also makes our understanding based on Kai’s views which is often tainted by his self-contempt. But what we get from Kai is a man who has learned to make the best out of what he has been given, yet never pushing for more of a life. He will be satisfied with his current life.While Kai might be gorgeous on the outside, it is the quality of a man’s interior that he reflects: A real Stalker knew all of the tricks and never played them. Having a firm reputation for being reliable and honest was nearly as good as being a keen shot. As we see with Ryder’s character, a true hero is measured for what is within him not without. Ryder: We gain insight from Kai at first only by what he sees in Kai, which is superficial at first: He was handsome and strong-featured. Eons of fine breeding carved his face into the beauty an elfin was known for; a sensual mouth and strong aquiline nose provided a foundation for his deep green eyes. In a human, they’d be unnatural, a fiery emerald with flickers of opal and black set into the folds of his pupil. For a sidhe, they were pretty but unremarkable, save for their thick dark lashes. Ryder is at first someone who appears merely an ordinary side, but what because extraordinary is his devotion to his own mission and his friendship with Kai. Strong Points: The writing, as with all Rhys Ford novels is the strong point. She manages to give us a rich portrayal of the world around the heroes and yet does not make it bogged down with details. She gives us just enough detail to keep our interest, but doesn’t spoil the mystery. There is much I would like to put here that I can not because to ruin that would ruin the story. Needless to say, I suspected many things that were not uncovered until 2/3 of the way through the novel.I also love the philosophical quotes sprinkled throughout demonstrating the Ford’s skill. “Good luck with that,” I said. “There’s always crazy and mean in people. Doesn’t look like it matters if they’re elfin or human.” What could be better? A Five Star review gives me very little to find wrong with a novel. I suppose the only thing that I wish I could have the viewpoint of Ryder, but this one way perspective is the way Ford writes. So, there is very little that I would change about it. Conclusions: It is hard to really say how this will end as this is only the first book. While we are left with a “satisfactory” ending, it definitely is a cliffhanger ending. Also keep in mind that while there is a romance aspect to this book, it feels more fantasy than romance. I imagine that the relationship will build when we get into book two.I very pleased with this book, as always I love how this author writes

Catch My Breath

Catch My Breath - M.J. O'Shea I enjoyed this book.There were times when it felt unrealistic, I think a good lawyer before they signed a contract would have solved some problems. But hey, they were young and stupid.This book felt a lot like [b:Conquest|7052147|Conquest (Conquest, #1)|S.J. Frost||7303031] and [b:American Love Songs|9912820|American Love Songs|Ashlyn Kane||14805359], both of which I liked better than this one.That being said, if you like rock stars I do recommend tis book.
The ETA from You to Me - zimothy A really good piece of fan fiction. I always like it when they use the characters and put it in a completely different setting and plot point.
The Prisoner (Broken:, #1) - Kol Anderson For full disclosure this novel was given to me for review by the author, Kol Anderson. However, my review is unbiased and based on my opinion only.This is a going to be a difficult review for me to write, not because of quality, but rather because of how the book made me feel.I normally don’t read torture books, I don’t watch movies like Saw, and I don’t read books that are episodic. I normally read a happy, mindless (and sometimes suspenseful story) that conclude on an upbeat note. The Prisoner book is nothing like that, but rather an intensely gritty, horrific, and moving story about a man who becomes a sex slave. Basic Plot: Aaron Taylor is a prostitute (escort service) who is meeting a new client after a fight with his boyfriend, Sebastian. What turns out to be more than just a new client, Vincent Greene is a kidnapper who works for a sex slave trade organization. Now Aaron is really in hell, will anyone save him? Or does no one care about his pain? Will there be enough of Aaron to even be worth saving? Background: This review will be slightly different from my other ones, because this really isn’t a typical romance. In fact, I would not even say that it is one. It is more about a man’s deep dive into a terrifying new life as a sex slave. There are no laughs and no fun. This is a story about a man’s self-discovery and this only covers the first conflict. So if there is any character development, it is only Aaron and we are only see the beginning chapters, so to speak. Aaron Taylor: Early on in the story we come to realize that while he tries to make Sebastian (his lover who is currently in a serious relationship with someone else), he still feels alone and isolated: Aaron’s lips broke into a grin. What would a guy who’s had a protected childhood and even more protected adulthood know about being the mature one? ”I’m just used to it. You can’t be a homeless teenager and not grow up.”The smile still plastered on his face, Sebastian was looking at Aaron with fondness, his hands still glued to Aaron’s face as if he would never let go. ”Please, don’t give up on me.” So early on, we get the impression that Aaron doesn’t have anyone to really save him. When the “bad stuff” happens, we are just left devastated and desolate. What Does Episodic Mean? There are other series like this, and as a whole, I try to say away from dark books. But I felt like expanding my comfort zone. And to be honest, this book was way past my comfort zone. So, when reading this book, think of this as being the first episode of Supernatural or Teen Wolf , you will not get a conclusion, but really more like the end of Act 1. There is a second book (Hell and Beyond) coming out in July 2013, which continues the story. Although I doubt that we will get any “happier” in that one. Strong Points: I am not sure how the author researched sex slave training, but Anderson seemed to have an effective way of bringing the reader into the experience. The descriptions of the events, the feelings and the mental state of Aaron as he looses himself, was potent. We felt like we were there, and every humiliation felt like our own. Aaron no longer knew what to say to him. He felt like he was being hit by things that had no sense being in his world. These were things you heard about, that you didn’t even talk about most of the time because you didn’t want to believe they happened and now it was happening to him… What could be better? Some other complaints that I read of reviewers was on some copy editing issues. However, other than the abundance of “…”, I really did not notice anything that was too distracting. I also read the second version, so perhaps the previous version had issue that the author corrected. The formatting of the e-book was a little unusual and was intrusive. I will say that my score decreased because of the editorial issues. Conclusions: It is hard to really say what my conclusions are because the story is not done. Because of the nature of a serial story, this is only the beginning and it is an intense opening parry. If you like, violent, torturous story lines that will only leave you crying, then this book is for you. Please keep in mind that this is a brutal book when it comes to sex, so if you have any trauma experience, I would hesitate to recommend this book to you. I can not say that I would have bought this book without getting it for review, but I am glad that I did. I certainly learned something about myself and I learned gratefulness for the security and love of my family and friends.
Healed Beginnings (Men of Silo) - Diana DeRicci A big ol bucket of meh. The chemistry between characters was ok, but I have seen better. Certainly I have read better from this author. It was just continuous sex scenes tied together with snippets of angst. I quite frankly skimmed the second half just to finish it.
Permanent Fixture - linksofmemories Extremely well written alternative universe fan fiction of Teen Wolf and a romance between Stiles and Derek. It shows them from childhood onward and it was get how the author used the basic facts from the show, but gave us something unique.A must read for fan fic fans.
Whiskey and Wry - Rhys Ford The first time you will hear this for me, but I could not finish this book at 66%. The relationship seemed forced and the plot a bit too outrageous. I got interrupted and then, well have no urge to finish.I completely love the author and will continue to buy anything she puts out, this one just did nothing for me.I might try it again another time.

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