Review: Rannigan’s Redemption: Part 2: Running Rogue by Pandora Spocks

This story picks up right where Part 1 left off. I think someone who hadn’t read Part 1 could still enjoy this book, but you definitely should read Part 1 first in order to get the full emotional impact of the characters. And be warned – if you pick this one up, you’ll find yourself needing to go get Part 3!

This episode really adds some unexpected twists. So often romance novels are awfully predictable. Not so here! This book is full of surprises. But just like Part 1 the characters are realistic and multidimensional. They handle this wild ride in a way that is authentic and real. By the end, you feel like they are all old friends.


Review: Out: Five Erotic Stories of Gay Self-Discovery by Patient Lee

Out: Five Erotic Stories of Gay Self-Discovery by Patient Lee

This is a collection of MM erotic stories. More than that, though, these are stories of discovery. Men discovering new realms of sexual pleasure, and, as a result, discovering things about themselves. It’s a really fun and uplifting collection. The stories are:

“Come With a Friend” — I’ve reviewed this story as a stand-alone, so I won’t say much more here except to mention that this is a great, great story.

“Christmas in July” — this one brings the sweetness. It’s a tender story of a wounded man finding support and a place to belong.

“Come on Down” — this one brings the silliness. The Price is Right tie-ins might make you roll your eyes, but the sex scenes are scorching hot. A “F” is added to the MM here for some truly engaging three-way action.

“Gay Greenhorn” — a brilliant story. I’ve reviewed this also as a stand-alone, so I’ll only mention that this story alone is worth the 5-star rating.

“Love and a Hate Crime” — this story is deep. We see homophobic bias through the eyes of a mentally challenged man. In his simple wisdom, he wonders why he’s supposed to hate “the queers” just because they love each other. It’s a powerful message and very nicely sums up the attitude of this collection: Love is Love.


Review: A Bride For Seven Brothers by Fionna Guillaume

A Bride For Seven Brothers by Fionna Guillaume

There is erotica that uses sex to tell a story. Then there is erotica where sex is the story. This is the second kind. There is a lot of sex going on in this little book. But it never becomes repetitive or tedious. The author shows tremendous creativity by coming up with many varied and diverse scenarios to keep the readers’ interest. The writing style is crisp and efficient — the kind of writing that never gets in its own way.

My one issue was how the young, virgin bride turns into a fantastic dominatrix literally overnight. I mean, one day she’s never seen a naked man before and the next day she’s performing simultaneous prostate massage and fellatio. That strains credibility a little bit.

But it does contribute to the amazing positive vibe of this story. This is a situation where even the most capable woman might feel over her head. (Seven husbands! Yikes!) Instead this bride shows how the right amount of domination can bring joy and harmony to a relationship. Sexual expression brings this family together in a way in which everyone wins. And wins. And wins. And…


Review: Lustrous Soul by Shaheen Darr

The Lustrous Soul by Shaheen Darr

Each of the 18 short chapters in this book presents a little nugget of wisdom — a bit of advice on how to live a life of gratitude and contentment. Many of these will be familiar, particularly if you’ve done any study on emotional intelligence. Where this book shines, however, is in the gliding, luxurious prose. It’s a pleasure to read. It does occasionally stray into mysticism and pseudoscience which may rankle more skeptical readers, but by and large these are common-sense suggestions that can be applied to everyday life.


Review: Rannigan’s Redemption by Pandora Spocks

Rannigan’s Redemption: Part 1: Resisting Risk by Pandora Spocks

This is a story about hiding from love. The main character, Michael Rannigan, is a big-shot lawyer and ladies’ man. He maintains a stable of gorgeous blonde bombshells and gets plenty of action, but very little intimacy. He seems to like it that way — trauma in his past has led him to hide his heart away. Enter Maggie Flynn, a bright young law school grad who comes to work at his firm. She catches Michael’s eye, but also appeals to his mind and his soul. We soon see that these two are Perfect For Each Other, but Michael keeps her at arm’s length. He is simultaneously drawn to her, but also knows that she is someone who would break down the wall he has built around his heart. He can’t have that. These two circle around each other throughout the book like boxers each waiting for the other to throw the first punch. Will they or won’t they? Well, this is a romance novel, so of course they will. But how they get there and when — that’s the drama.

These two characters have a lot of depth and texture. We get to know them pretty well through the course of the novel. Even like them. With a character who is such a womanizer, there is a risk of him being unlikable. That’s not the case with Rannigan. He’s thankfully not some crass PUA douchbag or a rich entitled jerk. His relationships are shallow, but that seems to suit everyone involved. His “girlfriends” don’t want real intimacy any more than he does. We see his inner thoughts so we know he isn’t always terribly impressed with his vapid companions, but outwardly he consistently behaves like a gentleman.

In conclusion, this is a definite fun read for romance fans. Strong, realistic characters and some great steamy sex scenes. One warning, however: this novel leaves you hanging a bit at the end. So if you get into it, you might want to plan on getting Book 2!


Review: Bleak by Ian Martyn

Bleak: The Story of a Shapeshifter by Ian Martyn

I wouldn’t call this absolute hard science fiction, but it’s definitely not soft. I’d say maybe 4 out of 6 on the hardness scale. More scientifically rigorous than, say, Star Trek but not quite 2001: A Space Odyssey either. It includes such things as FTL travel and shapeshifters (obviously) but these are purely scientific accomplishments in the universe of the novel.

In particular I was impressed at how the main character, whose name is Bleak, requires several days of exertion to fully take on a new appearance. So often these kind of abilities are almost instantaneous — in the blink of an eye there’s a whole different person standing there. I’m all for suspension of disbelief, but there’s just no way it can be that easy! It was nice to see an author with the discipline to avoid that comicbook-esque take on shapeshifting.

The tone was a bit less consistent. At times it felt like a dark, noir thriller. Some of the best writing in the novel can be found in those moments:

As he sat, a yellow overhead light nudged some of the shadows to one side.

But at other times the tone was more lighthearted and earnest. I think this dichotomy comes from the way the main character, Bleak, is depicted. At times he is shown as a badass warrior and at other times he’s a lovable chump. Of course, a character needs some depth and dimension, but I’d like to be able to figure out if I’m looking at Dirty Harry or Barney Fife.

The plot has a lot of action and moves along at a steady pace, although I felt it dragged in the middle. All around, though, this is an engaging adventure for hard science fiction fans.


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