Tag Archives: bisexual

Review of Thorns and Fangs, by Gillian St. Kevern

I picked up a copy of Gillian St. Kevern‘s Thorns and Fangs from the Nine Star Press website.

Description from Goodreads:

Nate is caught between two dangerously hot vampires who can compel people to do whatever they want and a ruthless necromancer who wants Nate for all the wrong reasons—and that’s only the start of his problems.

Escort Nate prides himself on two things: his ability to please his clients and his normality – living in the monster capital of the world, ordinary is rare. Hunter, a darkly charming vampire with more charisma than is good for him, decides Nate is just what he needs. Nate’s sympathetic nature and skill in the bedroom are put to the ultimate test. But Hunter wants Nate for someone else – his brother, Ben. Nate is immediately attracted by the control with which Ben holds his sensitive nature in force. Too afraid of becoming a monster to allow himself to feel, Ben struggles to resist Nate’s generosity of emotion. As a vindictive necromancer makes Ben his target of revenge, Nate discovers that making people feel good doesn’t compare to making Ben feel. As Nate’s normal world crumbles around him, and he desperately searches for a way to save Ben, Nate is unable to escape becoming the necromancer’s latest victim.

But Nate’s death is only the beginning. Coming back to life in the bathroom of Gunn, a Department Seven officer who hates the vampire family that Ben and Hunter belong to, Nate doesn’t know who to trust or even what he is. As the necromancer’s trap pulls tighter around himself and Ben, Nate is forced to let go of normal and embrace powers he doesn’t fully understand. In defiance of Ben’s vampire sire and hunted by Department Seven, Nate and Ben finally learn to trust and rely on each other. But when the necromancer succeeds in capturing Ben, Nate alone can come to his rescue.

Review:

I quite enjoyed this, but I’m not entirely sure it knows what it wants to be. It starts out quite erotic, heavy on the sex (including a 4-way ménage and double penetration). But then all that is set aside and most of the book is a paranormal thriller, with two leads who feel quite young. If not for the way it starts, I might call it a New Adult book. (The main character is 21, after all.) I had some similar complaints with pacing. The book feels longer than it is.

Having said all that, I did enjoy it. I liked the characters. I liked the paranormal world set up. I found quite a lot of humor in it, and the writing/editing is pretty sharp. I’d be more than willing to continue the series.

Review of Captive (Beautiful Monsters, #1), by Jex Lane

CaptiveI received a free ARC of Captive, by Jex Lane, in exchange for an honest review.

Description from Goodreads:
Matthew Callahan has spent seven years struggling against the insatiable hunger for blood consuming him. Unable to stop the vampire inside from preying on humans, he keeps himself confined to a lonely existence.

Everything changes the night he is lured into a trap and taken prisoner by High Lord General Tarrick—a seductive incubus who feeds off sexual energy. Forced into the middle of a war between vampires and incubi, Matthew is used as a weapon against his own kind. Although he’s desperate for freedom, he is unable to deny the burning desire drawing him to the incubus general he now calls Master.

Review:
Man, I hate being the first person to give a book a poor review, but I just can’t agree with the majority here. I did not enjoy this book. The writing and editing are fine, but I had some major problems. The first of which was a preference thing. I’m not into the master/slave thing. It’s not my kink. Watching a man be broken and then come to love his enslavement is just not something I enjoy. I personally find it abhorrent. Not morally or anything, I wouldn’t bring that into a review. But I don’t find anything about it sexy. I consider it torture porn and, again, not my kink. I wouldn’t have picked the book up at all if I’d really believed this was the plot.

But outside of just not liking the type of book this turned out to be, I also basically thought this was 200+ pages of Matthew being too perfect and that just got old really, really fast. He started out clueless and I liked him as a character. But as soon as he got a little information he excelled at everything. He was faster, stronger, smarter, sexier, wittier, etc than everyone else. And not just a little bit better, but four times stronger than any other vampire. Plus, he had additional skills that I won’t mention so as not to include a spoiler, but he shouldn’t be impossible. He could charge into a room head-on, outnumbered and over-powered and win every time. Well, knowing that it’s hard to feel any real tension in any of the numerous fight sequences.

I did not feel the supposed affection between him and Tarrick (even when keeping a mind open for lies of protection). Please, don’t mistake this for a romance just because there is sex in it. You will be disappointed. I did appreciate that Matthew and other characters had both M/M and M/F sex, but I was shocked to find incubi and succubi with such HUMAN sentiments toward sex and relationships.

Humans were shockingly disposable. The narrative frequently fell into long tell heavy passages, as time passed. Matthew accepted his situation with shocking ease. The answer to the ‘what am I’ mystery was painfully obvious. The book felt overly long and, worst of all, never really accomplished anything significant before concluding with an open ending.

All in all, while it might be a matter of matching a book to a reader, I was disappointed with Captive. I could see what the author was trying to create with it, but I don’t feel it ever really accomplished it.

Review of Sunset Park (Five Boroughs #2), by Santino Hassell

Sunset ParkI bought a copy of Santino Hassell‘s Sunset Park. It’s the sequel to Sutphin Boulevard, which I reviewed last year.

Description from Goodreads:
Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

Review:
Oh man, another winner from Hassell. I’ve said it before, but I just love his voice. There is a certain realistic grittiness to it that I just swoon over. He writes real people and you can’t help but relate to them.

For me, Raymond was the undisputed star of this show. I just loved the way he could be so easy going but still 100% willing to go for what he wants (in some areas of his life). It was incredibly endearing.

I liked David too and completely understood his hesitancies and struggles to risk his heart on what he perceived as a maybe. Though it’s never said, it boiled down to a basic distrust of Raymond’s bisexuality and this is something real and hurtful that bisexuals deal with that rarely gets discussed. Trust Hassell, who never seems to flinch away from difficult themes, to slip that one in there successfully.

The sex is hot but not so frequent as to overpower the plot. The characters are appreciably blue collar (when almost everywhere else I look I’m finding billionaires and rock stars). The writing is tight. The dialogue is sharp. The drama did seem to drag on a bit and some of the blow ups seemed a little overblown, but for the most part, I’m almost wholly without complaints.