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.


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.


Book Review of Interborough (Five Boroughs #4), by Santino Hassell

InterboroughI received a copy of Interborough, by Santino Hassell, from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.


You know, I generally know what to expect when I pick up a Santino Hassell book and in that respect there were few surprises here. The characters were real and the situation gritty and über New York. He writes gay and bi men who struggle with relatable difficulties. It’s not the cotton candy fantasy many contemporary m/m romances portray and I love that about them.

In this one I unfortunately felt the under-framing a bit too much at times. There were certain scenes that felt abruptly added because the author had something to say on the subject. (Or maybe like he wrote a book around the theme instead of the other way around.) I’m not really complaining, I agreed with him and there are undoubtedly many who can relate and will appreciate seeing their experiences mirrored by the characters. And honestly the story really did call for them. An interracial romance could easily feel less authentic if racism wasn’t at least alluded to, for example.

But I thought that some scenes had jagged edges, where I could see where they’d been stitched into the plot. For example, privilege was addressed several times in the book—passing privilege, racial privilege, situational privilege (being able to be out or not), financial privilege. These are real-world issues and I’m glad to see them addressed, but sometimes I didn’t think they were dovetailed as smoothly into the plot as they should have been, even when accounting for the fact that some of these things, like a racist interaction with the police, can and often do pop up on any regular Tuesday. Thus, my ability to pick them out as the author’s issue de jour.

But man, if my biggest complaint is a little roughness around socially relevant scenes that I’m glad were there regardless, in a book that otherwise shines, that’s high praise in my opinion. And others I’ve spoken to didn’t even agree that any particular scenes stood out at all, so this is subjective anyhow.

While the book does stand alone, I think a reader would enjoy it significantly more if they’ve read Sunset Park. Otherwise, you might wonder why it’s so important to these two young men to fight for a relationship that truly seems to be making them miserable. As much as I adore Raymond and David, what really choked my up in this book was all the ways the reader is told that they are madly in love with one another. I really liked seeing the gruff, protective exteriors scrubbed away and the beating hearts underneath.

All in all, it’s another win from Hassell. I’ve somehow missed the third book in the series and I can’t wait to go back and read it.

Book 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.

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.