David’s Selfie by Daisy Harris

Grade: B-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m
Published: 11/18/14
Reviewed by Anne
99 ebook pages

David, single father to his three year old daughter, Maia, has decided to start dating again.  So he creates an online profile, lines up a babysitter, and takes himself to a bar to meet a guy he found online.  He’s enjoying the go-go dancer up on the bar when he sees his “date” across the bar.  The sight of the leather daddy gives David some very cold feet, and he ends up leaving the bar so quickly that he forgets his phone.

Thankfully, it’s picked up by Craig, a really nice guy who just happens to be the go-go dancer.  Looking through David’s phone for some contact information, Craig is happy to find the cock selfie David took for the hookup.  Craig talks with David and agrees to return the phone to him the next morning at a coffee shop.  And it turns out that even though David spent a lot of time looking at that go-go dancer, he apparently didn’t spend much time on the guys face, because he doesn’t recognize Craig.  David does think Craig is really attractive, though, and he’s surprised to find Craig flirting with him.

This is a hot and sweet novella, but I had some issue with it.  On the positive side, I enjoyed how David and Craig’s relationship unfolded.  Both have busy lives, so as much as they’d like to spend every moment getting to know each other, they end up moving somewhat slowly as they try to find time when they can be alone together.  Once they find themselves alone, they’re chemistry is hot and they find that they fit together very well.

Unfortunately I had issues with how David seemed to be rescuing Craig.  Craig has a really scummy landlord/roommate.  Although Craig was happy to sleep with him occaisionally in the past, apparently the landlord/roommate expects is as part of his rent, as well as expecting Craig to leave the apartment when l/r guy wants time to work on his art.  L/r guy acts like a creepy kind of parent to Craig at times.  Thankfully, David is there to step in and help Craig out, but that kind of came across as Craig trading one “daddy” for another.  I would have preferred Craig have more independence before the ending of the book.

Another problem I had with the story was my standard nit picking issue with foster care as used in romance.  *sigh* Because, of course, Craig has baggage from his time in foster care.  And is it because his birth parents lost custody of him before he was in kindergarten?  No.  He has issues because he landed in a foster home where the foster mom was mean and physically abusive.  Now I can buy that there are foster parents that are abusive.  Unfortunately, I know that is true.  I do find it hard to believe that Craig’s foster mom slapped kids in the parking lot of the grocery store, and that it happened often.  When I was a foster parent I felt like I was always under a microscope, and it was made very clear to us that using any kind of physical punishment would mean having all the foster kids pulled from our home, and possibly our biological kids, too.

On the other hand, the flashback and thoughts Craig had being around Maia did seem realistic to me.  Being around a child who was well taken care of triggered him to think more about his own upbringing.

So, that’s a lot of review for a ~100 page story.  Obviously it pushed some buttons for me, but I can recognize those aren’t things that would bother everyone.  Honestly, even with the buttons pushed, I still enjoyed the story, so I’d recommend it for anyone who likes m/m.

Beyond Possession by Kit Rocha

Grade: B
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Dystopian
Series: Beyond #5.5
Published: 11/10/14
Reviewed by Anne
103  pages

Tatiana is a business woman in the market of Sector 4.  She’s also the older daughter of the former (now deceased) sector leader.  Zan, a member of the O’Kane gang that runs Sector 4 has had his eye on Tatiana for a long time.  She’s got a thing for him, too, but she really values her independence.  She’s sure that allying with Zan will make her not only his possession, but Dallas O’Kane’s too.  That’s how things worked with her father, and that’s how she initially survived when he was killed, so it’s hard for her to picture any other way.

This was a good short story.  Zan and Tatiana were very likable characters.  Tatiana is very capable of standing on her own and defending herself, and that doesn’t threaten Zan at all.  Tatiana’s weakness for her younger sister was understandable, though it was also annoying.  As always, Kit Rocha’s sex scenes are scorchingly well written.  There’s no menage sex in this story, and that fit the characters.

This story could probably stand on its own, but it would be much more enjoyable if you’ve read the rest of the series.  We get a scene where some of the O’Kanes are enjoying a picnic, and that was delightful!  It probably wouldn’t have meant much if I didn’t know all the characters already.

If you’ve read this series, you’ll really enjoy this story.  It’s another solid entry in the Beyond world.  It doesn’t end in a cliffhanger, but it does leave me wanting more!  I can’t wait for the next book!

Duende by E.E. Ottoman

Grade: B-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Fantasy, m/m,
Series: Mechanical Universe #2
Published: 9/10/14
Reviewed by Anne
37 pages

Badri is the male lead in the city’s ballet company.  Aime is a famous opera singer.  They secretly each like the other.  On his birthday, Aime goes to see Badri dance, and then goes backstage to introduce himself.  Amidst all the other fans, Aime is very embarrassed and leaves quickly after meeting Badri.  However, that small act is enough to get Badri interested in Aime.

This is a very short story and it was very enjoyable.  I see that it’s part of the “Mechanical Universe” series, but it had a very historical feeling to it.  That was fine with me – a historical may as well be a fantasy when I read it.  I enjoyed seeing these men slowly but surely get to know each other.

Unfortunately, I found the cast of secondary characters confusing.  I would have enjoyed it more if it had concentrated fully on Aime and Badri.  It may be that reading the series in order would have made this one much more enjoyable.  It did leave me interested in checking out the first book in the series, though.