Review: “Dim Sum Asylum” by Rhys Ford

TITLE: Dim Sum Asylum
AUTHOR: Rhys Ford
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense; Urban Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 9, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 –paperback
  

BLURB:

* Novel-length expansion of original short story found in Charmed & Dangerous anthology. *

Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that’s running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake.
Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.

While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart… even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down.


When I started Rhys’s books, I always need like 60 pages to get in the right mindset to read her stories. Her style is unusual, and me not being a native English, I struggle a bit about the author’s poetic metaphors.
That said, I must be honest, I spent a lot of time researching on Google for this story, in order to know what certain terms meant.

The story takes place in San Francisco’s Chinatown, where Roku is an investigator. Roku’s mother was a fairy (well it’s not clear, but I suppose) and his father was the son of the head of the China Mob in San Francisco. This book has a lot of Chinese/Japanese/Korean terms. It wasn’t an easy read, half of the time I spent on Google. For all those who have more knowledge about China/Japanese culture, maybe wouldn’t be as difficult as it was for me.

This is a slow read for all those who are not familiar with those terms, but at the same time, Rhys’s sweet way of telling it makes you keep reading the book.

As I said, Roku is an investigator, and after he’s forced to shot his partner, he gets another one. Insta-desire is an understatement. Trent is an ex-solider, who was working for a secret-not-so-secret organization. Trent is tall, and muscle-built, dark-blonde, very Nordic. But Roku knows that acting on this desire is wrong.

The story is a fantasy, with fairies who are not always good. They’re either pushed by sexual desire or the desire to kill. We’ll have the chance to navigate in this mythical world oh Rhys’s. There will be Gods, and temples also will see the ins-and-outs of the low-life of Asylum.

Rhys has this cunning way of inserting romance in the middle of an angst scene. And by romance I mean lyric. I have no other world to subscribe her…lyrical…

I suggest this book to those readers who have knowledge about Chinese and Japanese mysticism.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Sealed with Beauty” by Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus

TITLE: Sealed with Beauty
AUTHOR: Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus
SERIES: Signed, Sealed, Delivered
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Angela Waters
GENRE: Paranormal; Shapeshifter
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 44 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2017
PRICE: $2.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

Can beauty tame this wild beast?

To his family, Elan is something precious and beautiful to be secreted away and protected at all costs. He’s never allowed to be alone and his only hope of freedom is when his parents decide to mate him off. He’s felt like a prisoner for years, and he’s sick of it. He’s a hawk, and he just wants to fly away.

Raja was badly burned in a magical fire, and his scars have left him feeling like a monster. He lives a life of isolation, only interrupted by his father’s insistence that he get out and explore the world and stop letting his physical appearance limit him. At his wit’s end, his father decides to mate him to Elan, a man Raja could never hope to attract the attention of on his own.

Elan wants his freedom, and Raja only wants to be left alone. It should be a simple arrangement where they both get exactly what they want, only falling in love is never so easy, especially when it comes to a beauty and a beast.


Sealed with Beauty’s a cute Beauty and the Beast adaptation. There’s just something special about reading a book where a character with a heart of gold ends up helping a tormented and troubled soul find his way back to the light and happiness that just gives me warm and fuzzy feelings and this book gave me those feelings. My only complaint was that I didn’t want it to end. It’s unfortunately only a short story.

Raja, a bear shifter, has become reclusive after being burned by magic fire and sustaining scars over a lot of his body. He can’t stand for anybody to see how monstrous he’s become and so he covers as much of his body as he can if he’s going to be around anybody including his family.

Elan, a hawk shifter, has a huge overly protective family that will do anything to keep his purity intact before he is mated. Elan’s tired of constantly being watched and told what he can and can’t do. Elan’s tired of being stifled and can’t wait to be mated so he can have some freedom.

Not wanting his son to be lonely anymore, Raja’s father arranges a mating for him so that when he dies his son will have somebody to share his life with. However, Raja has other ideas for after he’s married and has no intentions of interacting with his new mate and wants a marriage in name only after the marriage is consummated. Elan has just as many ideas for his new mated life, and it includes having a partner, lover and best friend.
I loved the interactions between Raja and Elan when they first meet and after they are mated. I loved when Elan nicknamed Raja “Grumpy butt” and how he stood up for himself and refused to be bullied and refused to have a mate that wouldn’t interact and do things with him.

The storyline and plot were great, and so was the editing, but I would have liked the story to be longer. I wanted to read more about Raja and Elan after they were mated, like when they went out for the first time as a couple without Raja being completely covered up and stuff like that. I wanted to see how they developed as a couple and see how Raja blossomed into a confident guy again with Elan’s help.

**** The ARC was provided by eXtasy Books. My review is an honest opinion of the book ****

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Review: “Riding the Circuit” by Julia Talbot

TITLE: Riding the Circuit
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: Riding Cowboy Flats
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Western, Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 73 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 e-book
  

BLURB:

Rodeo cowboy Frost Barton spends most of his time on tour, and that’s the way he likes it. But when his dad dies suddenly, Frost returns to southern New Mexico to attend the funeral and help his mom decide what to do with their small family ranch. Frost is already considering retiring from bull riding and planting his itchy feet in the ground. Meeting horse trainer Matt Morales just adds another pull in that direction, though Frost still isn’t sure he’s ready to give up the circuit—even if Matt makes settling down look mighty tempting.

Matt is old enough to know better, but he falls for Frost anyway. They only have so much time to spend together before Frost goes back on tour, but Matt believes they might have something special. He keeps the home fires burning while Frost earns his living, but Matt hopes he can convince Frost to come home—to stay.


Riding the Circuit by Julia Talbot is the third book in the Riding Cowboy Flats series. This is a great cowboy book. It was short enough to read in one sitting and held my attention from the first page to the last. The book was well written and nicely edited. The dialogue between the characters was witty and had me smiling and laughing on more than one occasion and had some very spicy scenes too.

Frost Barton’s a professional bull rider. A profession that isn’t supported by his hometown or the fact that he’s gay. He takes a lot of ribbing from the old timers and some of the bolder bullies. So he’s stayed away from home as a result. But he’s forced back to his family home to take care of his mom and the family ranch. But he’s going to have to deal with some feelings of worthlessness and frustration over the fact that his mother didn’t tell him that his father was sick so that he could make amends.
Matt Morales’ a horse trainer who had been hired by Frost’s dad to take care of the ranch when he got sick. He’s there to be a friend and confidant to Frost and help him figure out what he should do with his life and the ranch. He’s also great at tempering Frost’s hot-headedness.

I loved the chemistry between Matt and Frost. I also loved that the men were older more experienced men which’s a nice change from a lot of western books. I also liked that Matt being older than Frost had already gone through having to come home to take over the family ranch and caring for the remaining parent and so he was able to help Frost with sorting out his own family crisis. He’s also there to help support his decision to finish out his bull riding circuit and watch over his mom and the ranch.
Riding the Circuit’s a standalone book. You don’t have to read the other two books in the series to understand and enjoy what’s happening in this book. However, the other two books main characters are friends of Frost and Matt, and they do make cameos in this book, so reading the other two books could only enhance your reading experience.

That being said, I can’t wait to go back and read the first two books in the series and see how Tate and Dave from Jackass Flats and Herschel and Dalton from Just a Cowboy meet and fall in love.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “It Could Happen” by Mia Kerick

TITLE: It Could Happen
AUTHOR: Mia Kerick
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; MMM
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Three misfits, mismatched in every way—Henry Perkins, Brody Decker, and Danny Denisco—have been friends throughout high school. Now in their senior year, the boys realize their relationship is changing, that they’re falling in love. But they face opposition at every turn—from outside and from within themselves. Moving to the next level will take all the courage, understanding, and commitment they can muster. But it could happen.

Henry is a star athlete and the son of religious parents who have little concern for the future he wants. Brody is a quirky dreamer and adrenaline junkie, and Danny is an emo artist and the target of bullies. Despite their differences they’ve always had each other’s backs, and with each of them facing a new and unique set of challenges, that support is more important than ever. Is it worth risking the friendship they all depend on for the physical and romantic relationship they all desire?

In this unconventional new adult romance, three gay teens brave societal backlash—as well as the chance that they might lose their treasured friendship—to embark on a committed polyamorous relationship.


It Could Happen was a surprisingly sweet and emotional coming of age story about three 18-year-old high school best friends—Brody, Henry and Danny—who decide to take a chance to see if they can build a three-way relationship from the very close friendship that they have.

Brody’s the blonde-haired All-American boy. He’s the youngest of seven boys, and his conception was not planned. His parents are older and tend to live their own lives and leave Brody to get on with his. He gets anything he could want from them without question, except the love and attention he craves. Brody is a risk taker and loves nothing more than getting his adrenaline pumping by pulling some crazy and often dangerous stunts.

Henry’s one the very few African-American kids in the school. He’s 6′ 3″ of muscle and looks like the typical jock. He takes part in almost every sport in the school, but his specialty is cross country. His parents are fanatically religious and extremely strict. Henry has to obey their every rule, and is rarely allowed to think for himself or make his own decisions. But he has a very kind and sweet heart which makes him want to please everyone, even if it means denying himself of something.

Danny’s the only out gay kid in the whole school. He’s also the stereotypical emo-goth. With his long black hair, black clothes, love of art and brooding but fiery personality, he often gets picked on by his not-so-pleasant classmates. His mother is an alcoholic who usually puts her latest boyfriend before him, so when he meets a guy who seems interested in him, he clings to the relationship because he just wants to feel that there’s someone who wants him and who will care about him.

The boys have made a plan to all attend Prospect University together. Brody knows his parents won’t care which college he picks, while Henry knows his parents won’t approve because it’s not one that they have chosen for him, and Danny doesn’t believe he’s got enough talent to get the scholarship he needs to be able to attend in the first place. But they send the applications anyway because they know that they want to do it together. When Henry suggests what they have is more than just a friendship and he thinks they should try being in a relationship together, at first he’s met with some scepticism from Brody and Danny because it’s not something that’s normally done. Especially amongst people of their age, but after a discussion they decide what they have is worth taking the chance on to see if they can find love and happiness with each other. It’s not all plain sailing though. They have to deal with a violent ex of Danny’s who seems to still have a hold over him, Brody trying to keep them together even though he has a few moments of uncertainty himself and Henry’s parents being their overbearing and controlling selves.

I enjoyed this story a lot. I liked that we got the points of view of the three characters, but just wish that there was more from Danny’s point of view than just his poetry. I would have liked more of an insight of what he was thinking and feeling, and I felt that the poetry just didn’t get this across a lot of the time unlike Brody and Henry’s parts. This was the first time I had read a NA book involving—as Brody would say—a threelationship and I’m pleased to say that I hope it won’t be my last. It was beautifully written, and I really felt a connection to the characters and their emotions, especially Brody. NA isn’t normally a sub-genre that would be my first choice, but I think that this book has shown me that it’s worth taking the risk, even when you have doubts. And I don’t mean just with choosing a book.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Switch Hitter” by Cheyenne Meadows

TITLE: Switch Hitter
AUTHOR: Cheyenne Meadows
SERIES: Shifter Hardball
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Shapeshifter, Gay for you
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback
  

BLURB:

Tucker Wilde’s life is in a tailspin. Twenty-four hours ago, he was one of the top second basemen in the all-shifter professional baseball league. Now, he’s lost his starting spot to a rookie, been dumped by his girlfriend, and had a night of explosive passion with a man—a teammate at that. He can’t get Dixon out of his mind—even though Tucker still believes himself to be straight. With his career in jeopardy, he’s unsure where to turn or how to fix the mess.

Dixon Foxx is a baseball prodigy, though a perfectionist father stole any joy he might find in the game. He only sticks with it because it’s all he knows—and because of Tucker, the man Dixon’s wanted since they met. His dreams come true one night, only to turn into a nightmare the next morning when Tucker blows off their incredible time together as a drunken mistake, never to happen again.

The life of a switch hitter is all about mixing things up. Tucker excels at it. Only this time, the game isn’t on the line—his heart is.


Gather around everyone…closer…a bit closer…now say CHEESE! And you can say that again, cheese. But before you go and start to badmouth the cheesy romance, lemme tell you dear reader, there is nothing wrong with a good cheesy romance book, like in this case here.

While at the beginning my tooth ached of the cheesiness at the end I was glad that I read this book. Yes, its romantic. Yes, its sweet. Yes, it’s cheesy, but aren’t we all needing this?!

First of all, this is about baseball. Well, I’m European, so I know absolutely nothing about baseball. I googled a lot about terms and rules. Thanks to that now I know more about baseball, well not as much as Dixon…

Speaking of Dixon. Dixon is a veteran, with a baseball heritage that he must keep up and also the good family name in this sport. He is calculated, very dedicated…in other words, his life is baseball. Dixon is gay. Everyone knows this, and he’s not hiding it.
Dixon is also a fox shifter with silver fur. And he finds himself lusting for Tucker. But he’s lusting in secret because Tucker is the very epitome of straight until…

Tucker is a wild dog hybrid shifter. He grew up without a pack, just him and his mother. When he turns 18 years-old, she drops him at the college and goes back to her pack. All his anger goes into practice. He is now part of a prestigious team, but this goes to his head, and he starts slacking. He made friends too, like Dixon. Dixon is his buddy.
When Tucker loses his starting spot, he gets a bit desperate then his girlfriend drops him for the very same reason and that leads to booze. He is a bit drunk, and Dixon takes him home, and by home, I mean Dixon’s home.
There Tucker goes from straight to power bottom in nanoseconds (well this part was funny in my opinion as a gay man, not so realistic though, but after all, we are dealing with shifters…). The next day he regrets everything…I’ll let you figure out the rest, or better yet, read the book!

The story is a sweet read, perfect for a cheesy afternoon…

****The ARC was provided by Harmony Ink Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****

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