Sunday, March 30, 2014


Pages: 80
Date: 29/03/2014
Grade: 4
Details: Stories
             Received from Torquere Press Publishers
             Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“From first timers to hard core lovers, this collection of five BDSM themed short stories by Sean Michael has something for everyone who loves hot m/m action and a great love story.

Stories include: Playing for Keeps, The Twelve Kinks of Christmas, Payday, Following My Heart and Finding Kasey.”


My thoughts:

While I will write a proper review of this book below, I’m hard pressed to improve on the official description of this book which really does tell you all you need to know:

“From first timers to hard core lovers, this collection of five BDSM themed short stories by Sean Michael has something for everyone who loves hot m/m action and a great love story.”

‘Yes, Master’ is a collection of five short stories all of which deal with BDSM in some shape or form; from barely there D/s (Finding Kasey) to all out possession (Following My Heart) and everything in between. We are treated to bratty, provocative subs (Playing for Keeps), a dream come true for two men who have been friends for years (The Twelve Kinks of Christmas) as well as a supernatural encounter between a demon and the two men who struck a deal with him (Payday).

All five stories are hot, and very descriptive when it comes to the sexual action between the men involved. Yet all five stories at the same time ooze love, commitment as well as fun. I was squirming while reading these stories, found myself smiling at the interactions between the characters and got mildly emotional at the obvious love (either well established, recently discovered just a possibility).

If I had to pick favourites between these five stories my choice would be ‘The Twelve Kings of Christmas’ – just for the idea behind the story and the sheer delight the characters experience when they discover their mutual attraction -  and ‘Following My Heart’ – for the heady combination of fear and need. And if there was one story that did less for me than the others it was ‘Payday’. Having said that, there was so little to separate these stories when it came to the enjoyment they gave me that I decided not to review and rate them individually – as I have been known to do with collections like this – and instead treat the book as one whole.

I am kind of impressed with these stories. None of them are very long yet all of them managed to give me a clear impression of the characters as well as a good idea of the situation they find themselves in and their feelings. While all of these stories focus on the sexual aspect of the relationships between these men there is never any doubt that the story is about more than just the physical attraction between them. What impressed me most is the fact that while I would have loved to read more about most if not all characters and relationships in this collection I didn’t feel that I had missed out on anything when the story ended. These are self-contained stories with a beginning, middle and end. At no point did I have the feeling that I was missing information or that the story had been rushed. Since these are my pet peeves when it comes to shorter fiction I was very pleasantly surprised.

I read one previous book by Sean Michael and wasn’t as impressed with that book as I was with this collection. I’m so glad I didn’t allow that earlier experience to put me off reading more by this author. I would not have wanted to miss out on this book and look forward to reading more by Sean Michael in the not too distant future.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Pages: 379
Date: 29/03/2014
Grade: 4+
Details: No. 5 Inspector Devlin
             A Dialogues Through Literature
             Reading group read

The blurb:

“'You can't investigate the baby, Inspector. It's the law.' 

Declan Cleary's body has never been found, but everyone believes he was killed for informing on a friend over thirty years ago.

Now the Commission for Location of Victims' Remains is following a tip-off that he was buried on the small isle of Islandmore, in the middle of the River Foyle. Instead, the dig uncovers a baby's skeleton, and it doesn't look like death by natural causes. But evidence revealed by the Commission's activities cannot lead to prosecution. 

Inspector Devlin is torn. He has no desire to resurrect the violent divisions of the recent past. Neither can he let a suspected murderer go unpunished. Now the secret is out, more deaths follow. Devlin must trust his conscience - even when that puts those closest to him at terrible risk.”


My thoughts:

The disappeared:
“Individuals who, during the early days of the Troubles in the North, had been targeted because of some slight, imagined or actual, against the local IRA commanders.”

This book is the fifth title in a series in which I haven’t read any of the previous stories. Although I didn’t feel that affected the way I experienced this book it is of course possible that my review would have been slightly different if I had read the book after the previous four.

This book has a lot going on between its covers. Inspector Devlin is overseeing a search for one of the disappeared when the body of a baby is found. Not only does the baby show signs of having been born with birth-defects, it is also clear she was murdered. The death of an innocent baby, even if it happened decades ago, is not something Devlin can ignore even if he does know that he can’t officially investigate the dead nor use anything he discovers in a prosecution.

Things get more complicated when the son of the ‘disappeared’ man they are searching for is murdered. The waters are muddied even further when a second man is found dead.

When several other babies are found buried, all with similar birth defects, the case reaches a new level of frustration for Devlin. He can’t help feeling that the man who was ‘disappeared’ decades ago, the babies and the recent murders are all connected in some way. But with the law as it stands, he is officially not allowed to investigate anything except the recent murders.

When everything is eventually revealed it does provide answers, but whether or not justice has been served is anybody’s guess.

It is clear from my description there is a lot going on in this book. The disappeared, unbaptised babies, a crying baby that doesn’t appear to exist, ‘normal’, present day murders, ghost estates, cross-border jurisdiction, and private issues in the Devlin household all add to the story in what, occasionally, seemed to be almost an overload of story-line. Having said that, I was impressed with the way in which the author managed to pull all those, apparently separate, issues together in what was a well plotted although not entirely satisfactory conclusion. I would love to say more about this and explain why I found the ending less than satisfactory but can’t do so without spoiling the story. All I say is that it had nothing to do with the writing or the plotting, and shouldn’t be a reason for anyone to not pick up the book.

This book did make me think though. I’ve been aware of the disappeared and the efforts to find them for as long as I’ve been living in Ireland. I have to admit though, that I hadn’t really given it any thought before reading this book. It is one hell of a dilemma. Of course everybody wants to find those who disappeared without a trace decades ago, if only so that their families at last have certainty and the opportunity to bury their dead. On the other hand, the price for that scant comfort – no investigation and no prosecution – seems incredibly high. Just as the fact that those who committed those murders are getting off without any punishment just feels wrong and very far removed from anything justice is supposed to be.

Overall I would call this a good mystery, filled with realistic characters and more than enough issues to ensure the discussion my reading group will be having next week should be lively.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Pages: 221
Date: 27/03/2014
Grade: 5
Details: no. 7 Market Garden
            Received from Riptide Publishing
            Through Love Romances and More
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“After driving James Harcourt, his wealthy banker boss, around for a year and a half, Cal isn’t surprised by much anymore. Not even James’s regular trips to Market Garden, London’s most elite gay brothel.

But when James leaves the Garden alone one night and turns to Cal instead, Cal’s floored. After crushing on his boss for ages, it’s his wet dream come true . . . until the awkward morning after. Cal still has a job to do, but he wants to offer more. Yet James doesn’t take him up on it; he keeps Cal at arm’s length and continues his chauffeured jaunts to Market Garden.

As Cal learns what James needs from the rentboys, he tries to fill that need himself. But there’s more to James’s penchant for rentboys than Cal realizes, and it may be one role that Cal can’t fill without overstepping his duty.


“Very much a Been There, Done it and Got the Whip Coordination to Prove it kind of vibe.”

Cal has been working as James Harcourt’s private driver for 18 months and in most ways it is a job that suits him perfectly. It pays well, comes with housing and leaves him plenty of time for his writing. The only problem Cal faces is that he’s developed feelings for his employer, feelings he could never admit to or act upon. Instead he has to deal with James’ regular visits to the ‘Market Garden’ where the man picks up rentboys to fulfil whatever his needs may be at home.

When a visit to the ‘Market Garden’ ends with James leaving alone, Cal is surprised. When James subsequently invites him into his house and his bed Cal is delighted and worried in same measure. Spending the night with the man who has the centre of all his fantasies is a dream come true. But the morning after is a nightmare. And although Cal would happily build on his one night with James it isn’t long before the visits to the ‘Market Garden’ resume, leaving Cal hurt and confused.

Convinced that James needs something more than he is able to provide, Cal is determined to find out what that something is and learn whatever it takes in order to provide it.

And while James seems to relish the new and improved Cal, something still isn’t right. James keeps his distance and Cal doesn’t know what else to and has to consider that maybe what James needs is more than Cal could ever be.

To say I enjoyed this book would be a gross understatement. Cal and James captured my attention on the first page and refused to let me go until I had read the subsequent 220 pages. I laughed, smiled, frowned and felt my eyes tear up once or twice and enjoyed every single minute of it.

It was impossible to not fall in love with Cal while reading this book. The lengths he’s prepared to go to in order to find out whether or not he can ever be what James needs are breathtaking. Through it all, no matter how heartbroken he is Cam, can’t stop caring for James, wanting to make sure the man is alright even though he knows he should probably forget about him for his own sanity.

L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov make it look deceptively easy. Their words flow smoothly, their characters sparkle, the dialogue sounds just right and story seems to tell itself. This book is such a compulsive read that it is tempting to call it an easy story. It was only after I finished the book and reflected on what I had read that it struck me how talented a writer(s) it would take to create a work this compelling. I dare anyone to start this book and not get so engrossed that it is all but impossible to put it down before you’ve reached the end and have found out exactly what happens.

Since I was late to the party as far as ‘The Market Garden’ series is concerned and have been reading titles as they were released I’m left stuck with a wonderful prospect; I may be up to date as far as new releases are concerned, there still are four titles I haven’t read yet. After reading ‘If it Drives’ and getting a glimpse of Nick, I think I’ll have to go back and read his story next. ‘If it Flies’ and ‘If it Fornicates’ here I come.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Length: Novella / 14000 words
Date: 26/03/2014
Grade: 4
Details: Working Boys Book 2
             Received from author
Own / Kindle

The blurb:

“Andy Finnegan is a six foot three brown-haired, blue-eyed, Mack f*cking truck. A former marine who spends his nights dancing for your entertainment, he has a dark side hiding beneath the beautiful veneer.

Sweet little Stefan is awestruck by the big, gorgeous dancer with the rock hard abs and the lonely eyes. Determined to see what lurks behind the perfect surface, he gets a little more than he bargained for.”


My thoughts:

They say size isn’t everything and this story certainly confirms the truth in that statement. This may not be a very long novella but it sure packs a punch. And the same can be said for our main character.

Andy Finnegan is one angry and closed off hulk of a man. Ever since he left the Marines, Andy has kept his distance from others. He keeps his body in shape and does his job as a dancer in a gay club. Any hook up with another man is short, a one-off and completely on his terms. Determined to never be vulnerable again, Andy has his future planned. He wants to become a porn star. It’s the easiest way to make the money he needs and have the casual sexual encounters he craves. Tonight is the night. A porn producer will be in the club to watch him dance. If Andy plays his cards right, he might end up with exactly what he wants.

Two men seem determined to put a spanner in the works. The first is a former Marine buddy who can’t believe Andy has ended up where he did and offers him a ‘proper’ job. The other is a young man with dark hair. A young man who reminds him of somebody he has lost. A young man named Stefan who should be afraid of Andy and run away but does the opposite and stays, even after the Marine has shown him his worst.

Like I stated above, this is one short but powerful novella. When the story started I wasn’t sure I would be able to like Andy or even connect to him as a character. He came across as selfish, rough and mean. It is only as the story unfolds and we learn more about Andy, his past and his present that my feelings towards him started changing. By the time the story was over I had done a turn-around and developed a soft spot for this man who had only done what he felt he needed to do in order to keep his feelings locked up, deep inside, where he didn’t need to deal with them.

Stefan is just a sweetheart. Not nearly as well developed as Andy’s character he does manage to play a pivotal role in this story.

“How can you be so beautiful and hate yourself so much?”

I have a thing about stories in which the strong, seemingly untouchable man finds his redemption in the eyes and arms of someone who appears to be much weaker but turns out to have the ability to see beyond the obvious as well as the inner strength to persevere where stronger men would crumble.

This was a well written, hot and ultimately sweet story. It is also a clear indication that I’ve once again managed to find myself an author I need to further investigate. I seriously need more hours in my days.