Tag: M/M romantic suspense

Guest Review: Missing Daughter, Shattered Family by Liz Strange

Posted July 15, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

When a brutal homophobic attack ended David Lloyd’s career as a police officer, his life was changed forever. Five years later David is running his own private detective agency, where a missing person’s case comes to his attention. Digging into the circumstances of her disappearance forces David to realize he has not dealt with what happened to him, and that he can no loner deal with his long-time partner’s fear of being honest about their relationship.
Solving the case might not only bring peace to a shattered family, but could finally put David’s own demons to rest.
David Lloyd is hired by a mother looking for her 23 year old daughter. Since the girl isn’t a minor and she has a history of drug abuse the police aren’t taking the missing persons report too seriously. David starts looking in the obvious places for Stella – old haunts and old friends but what he finds really doesn’t add up in his head. He starts to unravel a story that is so horrible and crazy that he can’t even believe it. On top of this David is dealing with his long time boyfriend who has never come out of the closet as well as his memories of the brutal attack he survived but is still haunted by.
The story started off pretty slow for me. I wasn’t sure if I was really going to like the book but it was well written so I kept going despite my misgivings about whether the story would really work for me. I was definitely glad I continued as the story picked up and one thing after another started happening.
I loved the intricacy of the characters and though there were many people involved in the tangled web that David had to push through I never got lost as to what was happening or who was who. Strange did a great job of clearly keeping the book on track. David’s relationship with Jamie had me on pins and needles as they worked through their issues. I was so glad that it all worked out in the end with both of them happy with the decisions that were made.
The story at times is hard to read as when the title says shattered family they are SERIOUS. The family is messed up beyond belief and it hurt my heart to read everything that the mom and Stella had gone through throughout the years.
Overall I really liked the book and was happy with the outcome. If you start the story and feel it’s a bit slow, just keep going, it’s worth the read.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from MLR Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Hair of the Dog by Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James

Posted March 25, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Tracy’s review of Hair of the Dog by Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James

It’s nine o’clock the morning after his father’s funeral, and Ezra Jones already knows it’s going to be a bad day. He wakes up hungover, sore, and covered in blood. Then it gets worse: the handsome and compelling Callum Dawson shows up on his doorstep claiming Ezra’s been turned into a werewolf. Ezra wants to be skeptical, but the evidence is hard to ignore.

Ezra doesn’t have a lot of time to get used to the rules Alpha Callum imposes—or the way his body responds to Callum’s dominance—as he’s busily working for the CDC to help uncover the origins of a lycan epidemic. When the sexual tension finally breaks, Ezra barely has time to enjoy it, because a new danger threatens. Someone wants Ezra for their own unscrupulous purposes and will do anything to get him.

Ezra feels like he’s been run over by a truck. His entire body aches and he has dried blood in his hair. As far as he can remember he was walking home from his father’s wake and he didn’t think he drank all that much. Why can’t he remember what happened.

When his doorbell rings Ezra is confronted with men in black – or at least that’s how he looks at it. He let’s the men in and they soon come up with a story that is beyond ridiculous…that he was bit by a sick werewolf – they prefer Lycan – and that he will soon turn into one as well. What? Really? He’s more than skeptical until the Alpha of the pack shows his teeth growing. Ezra follows directions and is soon ensconced in one of the pack members homes just waiting for the full moon. He’s bored and the hormones flying around – that he can now feel and almost taste on his tongue because of his heightened sense – are making him hornier than hell. Of course he wants nothing more than to take care of that issue with Callum but he was told that he wasn’t supposed to have sex until the full moon.

Ezra finally gets bored enough to force his way in to the Lycan side of the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and offers to become Callum’s unpaid assistant. Callum is trying to figure out how the lycan that bit Ezra got sick. Callum thinks that it’s a disease but he’s not sure how to stop the hormones that are going crazy in the lycan’s system. Ezra helps and then in a twist of fate discovers that it’s not a disease at all but someone actually injecting the hormones into the lycans. Callum, Ezra and soon the FBI try to figure out who’s behind the atrocities before they can do any further damage.

Hair of the Dog is a decent suspense novel that I felt had a relationship in it. Can I call it a romance? Probably not but there are lust, sex and the I Love You’s involved.

The story of the hormone problem and the investigation that ensues really takes up the majority of the book. I really liked how the characters went about figuring things out and Ezra using his computer programming skills to help out. That part of the story worked really well for me.

Then there’s the relationship. We know from the get go that Ezra would jump Callum in a hot minute and that Callum pretty much feels the same but nothing can be done about it until the full moon. Once that moon rises Callum is all over Ezra and Ezra’s right there with him. From there Callum has Ezra in his bed and there’s no question that he will remain there. I liked that Callum finally made his move on Ezra but from that time we saw nothing of the daily ins and outs of the relationship as the men were caught up in the investigation. I understand that it was on their minds but I missed seeing the connection between the two men more clearly. I think the possessiveness was clear and present on Callum’s side and I could tell Ezra was getting more attached – I would have loved to have been shown the budding relationship more. The end I Love You scene just didn’t have the same punch as it would have had we had more insight.

The two female FBI agents were….interesting. I seriously didn’t know what to make of them when they first came on the scene. One talked like a tomboy surfer dude and the other was just odd. I honestly thought they weren’t really FBI and were playing Callum and Ezra until the book went on further. I kept thinking they were on the wrong side of the law. I was surprised when I realized they were on the up and up! lol

In the end it was a good book that I enjoyed reading but I did have some issues with it as you can see. I would definitely read more from these authors in the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Dreamspinner Press. You can buy it here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Cut & Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Posted November 17, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Tracy’s review of Cut & Run (Cut & Run #1) by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case.

Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work after his case blows up in his face. He’s cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does. But when he’s paired with Special Agent Zane Garrett, it’s hate at first sight. Garrett is the perfect image of an agent: serious, sober, and focused, which makes their partnership a classic cliché: total opposites, good cop-bad cop, the odd couple. They both know immediately that their partnership will pose more of an obstacle than the lack of evidence left by the murderer.

Practically before their special assignment starts, the murderer strikes again – this time at them. Now on the run, trying to track down a man who has focused on killing his pursuers, Grady and Garrett will have to figure out how to work together before they become two more notches in the murderer’s knife.

FBI agents Ty Grady – a brash and harsh man who doesn’t give a shit about anything but getting his many and Zane Garrett – a man who has made himself into the perfect agent in order to keep his life on the straight and narrow – are paired on a criminal case to try and find a serial killer. Ty is good with puzzles as is Zane and together the FBI hopes that they will find their killer.

Ty is not pleased to, say the least, to be partnered with a man who has a stick so far up his ass he can hardly turn his head but he soon learns that there’s much more to SA Garrett than he originally thought. Garrett can’t believe his crap luck in getting Ty for a partner but he also finds that there’s more behind the gruff exterior than her first believed. The problem with Garrett is that he’s incredibly interested in Ty in a way that he doesn’t want to be and that’s physically.

The men struggle to find out who is behind the killings – especially when they start to believe that it’s an actual fellow FBI agent that is the killer. They are trying to solve the case, running from the killer and starting a relationship that neither one of them knows how to handle.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I opened this book but it soon had me turning pages faster and faster. I really loved Ty and Zane and their characters. I knew that there were more layers to them than we first saw and I couldn’t wait until they got peeled away and when those layers did get stripped it was well worth the wait.

Ty, as I said, was very harsh and wasn’t afraid to tell anyone, including Zane exactly what he thought of him. But after a while and some serious shit that went down he mellowed. Zane on the other hand was a real structured, dare I say, completely anal guy. He was a by-the-book agent at first but when we got to know him we realized that this was a defense mechanism for him and something he did to keep his anger issues as well as his addictions in check. Once that man let loose he was hell on wheels.

The relationship in this book was fantastic. It really ran the gambit from hate to like to something stronger but the men truly weren’t sure what to do with it and how to handle it. The myriad of emotions that the authors showed us were truly mind-boggling and I was highly impressed with how it was all handled. The indecision, the awkwardness, the tenderness and of course the very hot sexin between Ty and Zane was exquisite and I soaked up every word.

The killer was another mystery and that plot was also well thought out. I wasn’t exactly sure until the end who the killer was even though I had my suspicions.

My one niggle with the story was the head hopping that was constant throughout the book.  It didn’t ruin my enjoyment too too much but it did get a bit annoying at times.

This book has definitely made me want to read more in this series and learn more about Ty and Zane and what’s in store for them in the future. If you’ve been thinking about reading this one but wasn’t sold, you should be – it’s well worth the read.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Dreamspinner Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Smashed Into Pieces by Scarlet Blackwell

Posted July 2, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of Smashed Into Pieces (Clear Water Creek Chronicles #2) by Scarlet Blackwell

Sheriff Brandon Schofield is smitten by the new arrival in Clear Water Creek, Finn Austen. But Finn is living in the house by the lake where a murder took place and his story is no less unhappy than the previous occupant’s. Finn is on the run from a violent past and he trusts no one.

Brandon is desperate to break down his defenses and win Finn’s love and trust but time is running out and perhaps he can only protect Finn for so long.

Brandon is the relatively new sheriff in town. When he discovers that there’s a new man in town and no one seems to know anything about him he goes about trying to get information. But from the get go I was curious as to his motivations. Yes, he needed to keep his town safe but there was the attraction that he felt toward this new man as well that had him butting into Finn’s business.

Brandon’s attempts at info are unsuccessful so he decides to go to the source. He pretty much badgers Finn until the man literally crumbles emotionally and tells him about how his previous boyfriend abused him. It’s horrifying and I felt so badly for Finn but instead of leaving Finn to deal with his personal demons Brandon is determined to keep him safe. He’s the Sheriff, I get that, but it was more than personal and Brandon was in love with Finn.

Finn was a broken man. He endured physical and emotional pain and anguish for 10 years until he finally got the nerve to leave. I understand that abuse victims get so beaten down that they don’t feel they’re worth anything to anyone so they stay with their abusers. I was so happy to see that Finn had finally broken away but the man just wanted to be left alone. But Brandon wouldn’t let him be. He kept at Finn and it made me a bit nuts. Brandon crowded Finn and took over at times like an alpha male and that was the last thing on earth that Finn needed. Sure Brandon felt bad about it afterwards but it didn’t stop him from doing it again and again. I can’t tell you how many times Finn told Brandon to just go away and leave him alone. Brandon started to seem more like a stalker to me than someone who was concerned about Finn’s well-being. And when Brandon declares his love? Oh holy crap, why? Not that Finn isn’t worthy but Brandon knew nothing about him as a person – nothing. How could he love someone he didn’t even know?? Though there was an HEA it truly felt like a one-sided relationship to me (and even that I highly questioned) and that just doesn’t speak of romance in my book.

I’m sure this story was written with the intention of showing us that everyone needs and deserves love and that there’s someone out there for everyone but I just couldn’t drum up that feeling. As much as we’d like to believe it, loved does not conquer all.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

The Series:
Into the Light (Clear Water Creek Chronicles)Smashed into Pieces (Clear Water Creek Chronicles)

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Silver Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Snowball in Hell by Josh Lanyon

Posted May 21, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Snowball in Hell by Josh Lanyon.

It’s 1943 and the world is at war. Journalist Nathan Doyle has just returned home from North Africa–still recovering from wounds received in the Western Desert Campaign–when he’s asked to cover the murder of a society blackmailer.

Lt. Matthew Spain of the LAPD homicide squad hates the holidays since the death of his beloved wife a few months earlier, and this year isn’t looking much cheerier what with the threat of attack by the Japanese and a high-profile homicide investigation. Matt likes Nathan; maybe too much. If only he didn’t suspect that Nathan had every reason to commit murder.

This is a really wonderful murder mystery/romance novel set in the time frame of WWII and immediately gave me much the same feel as the Erle Stanley Gardner/Mike Hammer mystery series set in a similar time frame. Lt. Spain is himself a war veteran of the Marine invasion of Guadalcanal and has resumed his career as a LAPD police officer in homicide. He and his partner are called in to handle the investigation of a body found in the Brea Tar Pits of Los Angeles just a few days before Christmas. Even in So. California it is cold and gray and rainy and for people like Lt. Spain who has little to celebrate this Christmas having only recently buried his wife, it is a cold, gray, spiritless season. Nathan Doyle has also recently returned from the war in North Africa and is still recovering from wounds that almost claimed his life. He, too, shows up when the body is found and it is Doyle who first recognizes the victim as brother of one of his long-time friends and former school classmates. Lt. Spain and Doyle also seem to recognize an attraction for each other but it is one that is kept under wraps–it is not a time or a social environment when being homosexual is healthy for one career-wise or actually in any other aspect of ordinary living.

Matthew Spain has indeed grieved over the death of his wife, a woman who was his high school sweetheart and a person he deeply loved. But has long been aware of his attraction for men and it is one that he has carefully kept hidden for years, acting on it only in very limited ways while overseas. Doyle knows that his orientation is toward men but has used the tension and danger of being a war correspondent to help divert his inner struggles and sexual energy. Now he is home and he continues to wonder if he can continue to live with this burden, one that puts his life and his career in danger as well /as endangering any other person with whom he seeks to have a relationship. He and Matthew do indeed find each other and bring some deep and satisfying joy into each other’s lives for the span of a few days. The reader is kept wondering of these two fine men can manage to endure and meet this challenge in a society that thinks of homosexuals as psycho-perverts or mentally ill.

The other main strand of this novel is the murder mystery and Lt. Spain is carrying on his investigation while Doyle is trying to follow up on his own hunches and leads. That they manage to solve the mystery is another way in which these two men merge their efforts and find that they have that investigative curiosity in common.

This novel is about the curious mix of fast and loose living in the United States during the war coupled with social mores that are exceedingly suppressive and oppressive. It is the time of food rationing and gas rationing and being unable to buy tires for cars (all the rubber is going toward the war effort.) It is the glory days for some of the establishments that still stand in Los Angeles even though now some of them are weary and worn around the edges. I have been to the Biltmore Hotel for several conferences and celebrations even now it has the grace of a stately old dowager. It must have been glorious in 1943. It is also a time when even the adversarial relationship between law enforcement and the press–never really a comfortable relationship, didn’t seem quite so ascerbic as it is now. There were some boundaries that seem to have evaporated in the decades since. This story also embraces the sadness that is a permanent component in the minds and hearts of those who are not considered acceptable by society, and it also celebrates the warmth and deep inner completion that comes when two people find a genuine caring and basic respect for one another–a level of comfort and belonging that simply wasn’t available to gay couples unless they were exceptionally devious and very good at covering their tracks. Even then there was always a element of danger that ate away at that comfort level all human beings seek from those who are their significant others.

As always, Josh Lanyon lays it right on the line and wraps it all up in the experiences and adventures of a 1940’s murder mystery. it is a delightful read and one that stretches the emotions, feeds the mind, stimulates the imagination, and educates the heart.

It is just one darn fine read and I give it a 4.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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