Review of Dance by Teodora Kostova

Dance (West End #1)Dance by Teodora Kostova

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

***The following contains minor spoilers***

This was not a book for me, but many people loved it, so please do not let my review stand alone if you are thinking about buying it.

I listened to the audio version of this story, which was narrated in a slightly whiny, dreamy voice, which never grew on me, but nevertheless suited the story perfectly. Because this was, in essence a teenage dream.

The two meet, eyes across a crowded dancefloor, instant attraction and he wants you so much, he can’t tolerate other peoples hands on you, you go home together and are lost to the world and each other – cocooned in a bubble, just you and him, enough. It’s love at first sight and you move in together within 24 hours, never again spending a night apart. You ditch your friends, to just be with him and he can’t keep his hands of you, whenever he sets eyes on you… All lovely – if you are a teenager…

But twenty years after leaving my teens I don’t buy it and all I see are red flags. Infatuation, moving too fast, creepy codependency and controlling behavior: How can you opt to go live with a stranger, whilst your house is being renovated for almost a month, just because said stranger doesn’t want you to move in with a friend? How creepy is that?  It sincerely creeped me out!

I never recovered from that. I never believed that this was love. All I saw was lust and obsession. In my mind the book would have been a lot better off editing out the first 15-20 chapters and starting out when Fenix returns to London, as a second chance romance, but, hey, that’s just me…

Fenix’ career beckons him to Broadway – his life long dream we are told – and the couple split up. This however only further fuels the teenage dream impression as Jared goes into a sulk and depressively moping around worthy of Bella Swan in Twilight.

The second part of the story was slightly better, even if – again – we do wander around in Wonderland, where one diva can apparently move an entire production from Broadway to London’s West End, no worries. Sorry, but that just didn’t fly with me. Tony award winner or not. This was Fenix first and only role… I cannot believe he was that influential!

Other than the insta-love and everything just being a tad too easy, the story’s biggest problem is that it is 100% tell and no show what so ever. I am told that they love eachother, told that the business is cut throat, told that Jared is hurt by his mother’s behaviour – That story line was completely superflous by the way, and should have been edited out – the same goes for Fenix’ parents story. What was the deal with giving me the tidbit about Evelyn’s accident being foul play and then never following up on it? etc. etc. But I am never shown any of this in actions or behaviours. Do not tell me! Show me! Telling me relegates me to the sidelines of the story.

The ending and epilogue left us firmly where we started. A teenagers dream of a perfect happy ending. Saccharine sweet, but too much for me to stomach.

Others have told me, that the second book is better and Adam was the only character in the story that I could actually relate to and kind of liked – at least he reacted like a normal person to most things! So I might still try it out at some point, even if this one wasn’t for me.

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Review of Crossroads by Riley Hart

Crossroads (Crossroads, #1)Crossroads by Riley Hart

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1.5-2 stars

This was not for me! But since everyone – and I do mean everyone – seem to love this story, please do not let my review stand alone, if you are considering it.

Nick, a restaurant owner, is divorced and moving into his new home. A small double house with a shared yard. In the other unit moves another single man, Bryce. The two form a friendship, which then develops into more.

GFY is hard to do right – double GFY – double hard. And this one just did not work for me, at all! I never saw the chemistry or love between the two, even if I was told repeatedly that it was there. And that was, in actual fact, the main problem for me with the entirety of this story. It was tell, tell, tell and never show…
And why the big empahsis on the shared yard, when it was never used, until the very last scene of the book? Why wasn’t it used to build tension? Sunbathing, yard work in skimpy outfits, whatever… such a missed opportunity…

I just could not get invested. Other than that I found Bryce incredibly unappealing, and a bit of an asshole to be frank, Nick was completely bland and the whole of both of their families annoying and 2-dimensional. Their mothers’ especially, were horrid, Nick’s mother running off with Bitch of the Year award…
It took me almost 2 weeks to get through this book, and I read a book a day on average, so it’s not because I am a slow reader. I just had no interest in this story or this couple.

The writing in it self was fine, there were some tense issues now and then that pulled me slightly out of the story, but nothing major. But, as stated in the beginning, everyone loves this story, so I am probably the odd one out here. I have read and enjoyed other books by this author, so i’ll just mark this down as a glitch.

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Review of Off Campus by Mary Jo Cousins

Off Campus (Bend or Break, #1)Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Upon re-reading I stand by my 5 stars. I read this one in one sitting the first time round and did the same the second time round. And once again I find myself in love with Reese and Tom and needing to just hug them tightly.

Tom was the golden boy all his life. Good looking, wealthy, popular and part of the in-crowd. Until his father is arrested for a ponzi scheme and his entire world unravels and he is left with nothing. No home, no money, no friends and no tuition for his ivy league college tuition.

He gets by, by the skin of his teeth by working round the clock, living in his car and saving every dime he gets, in order to pay for the next term. All the while dodging journalists and everyone else. His plan is to keep his head down, work his ass off and get his education, so he can finally start his life. A life he earned all on his own merit.

He is perscribed a room in an off campus house, where he finds himself sharing with a very unwelcoming room mate, Reese.
Reese is out and proud gay, vary of jocks for good reasons and not willing to share his room with one. So he starts a campaign to get the straight boy out of his life as soon as humanly possible. As Reese’s campaign develops, Tom finds himself curiously attracted to his grumpy roommate. But even if acting on a same sex attraction is not completely foreign to him, it really doesn’t mesh well with keeping his head down.

Reese and Tom are wonderful together, and even though this story is angsty, sad and frustrating in places, it is also a wonderful story about friendship and people having your back. Warmly recommended.

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Review of Yogi and the Bear by Nix Knox

Yogi and the BearYogi and the Bear by Nix Knox

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2,5 stars

I received a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Ryan is a construction worker, who suffers chronic back pain after an accident at work. In desperation he tries out yoga to soothe the pain and meets yoga-instructor Nic.

I am not sure where to start with this review. I had great expectations for this book, it sounded delicious, and who doesn’t love a big burly submissive guy? Unfortunately I ended up disappointed. The story started out strong, but went pear shaped along the way.

Ryan was lovely. I didn’t understand why he had to be from a religious nut job family and I really did not – in any way, shape or form, see the relevance of the Rachael side-plot – that should have been edited out, if you asked me. But I liked him as a character and rooted for him, even if I had a few minor quips about his character, that didn’t quite match up.
(view spoiler)

Unfortunately, that issue became even more pronounced when we meet Nic. Nic is all over the place, character wise, and I am sorry, but I never really bought in to the whole Nic / Julian debacle. And since that is one of the major plot points, it made it difficult for me to enjoy the story.
I never felt, that Nic’s story added up or that he did, for that matter. None of it made sense!

I really disliked the meet, as – again – it made no sense. Imagine you had taken a vow of chastity, because you were assaulted and a bit afraid of your own urges as well. You are in a public bathroom, the power goes out and a guy you have never met – or even seen – asks you for ‘a hand’… Wouldn’t you go: “eeeew, pervy old git!” rather than go for it? So, yeah, the reasoning behind the bath room hook up didn’t mesh in my head.

The writing over all was fine – if a bit too much telling and not enough showing, there were no major editing errors, and I would probably try this author again, to give him another chance, because there was a very interesting story in there, somewhere, even if it lacked a bit in execution.

The story was 2,5 stars, but I adored the title, so I gave it a 3 star rating 😉

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Review of A Seditious Affair by K.J. Charles

A Seditious Affair (Society of Gentlemen, #2)A Seditious Affair by K.J. Charles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I am not sure I breathed at all through this. It was so fast paced and furious that I just couldn’t stop reading.

This is the second book in The Society of Gentlemen, and even though I guess you could read it as a stand alone, I wouldn’t advice it, as you would lose an awful lot of backstory that adds to the richness of the character gallery, the setting and the story itself.

Dominic and Isaac are opposites in every way it is possible to be. Class, opinions, wealth, upbringing, beliefs, occupation, well, you get the idea. And yet they are absolutely right for one another. Where the first one of this series was a story of assimilation: Harry and Julius both being chameleons, bendable and movable and not ones to cause waves, except in the fashion choices. Isaac and Dominic are their exact opposites. None of them bendable in the least, they believe in their own cause staunchly and are not willing to compromise and yet, they find, in each other, a way to realise that the world may not be as black and white as they believe.

If you are looking for sweetness and light, you will not find it here. The romance is set in between real life historical and political events and this may not work for every reader, but for me it only highlighted the romance between the two. The softening of corners is beautifully done through both men’s point of view, through debate, conversation, books and poetry. And oddly enough through very rough sex, submission and domination.

Isaac and Dominic’s story also touch many of the other ‘Ricardians’, it changes friendships and to some extent, beliefs. I enjoyed Harry and Julius’ story, but I loved this one. and I cannot wait for Richard’s story. Off to preorder!

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Review of First Contact by Alex Gabriel

First ContactFirst Contact by Alex Gabriel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Words have always been a problem for Rick.”

Well, I am experiencing some of the same problems. I have started and re-started this review again and again. Not knowing how to put what I want to say, into coherent words and sentences. Luckily, Alex Gabriel does not suffer from this same affliction!

Rick’s partner is suspended and he is assigned a new one, Jon, for an undercover job at a gay BDSM club. But whilst working under cover, it is sometimes very hard to separate reality and the job.

I have read all of Alex Gabriels books so far, and there is no denying the author’s talent and unique voice. But this is a wholly grown up Alex Gabriel, and holy hell, that Alex Gabriel is HOT! Rick and Jon scorches the pages together!

The story works very well, as it is, as a short hot ‘slice of life’ story of two cops undercover, Rick is quite well described through his actions and thoughts and Jon comes off as a very likable sympathetic character, even if we do not get much information about him, but I hope to God, that the author plans to run with the set up of the club and the undercover job, because it could be a phenomenal series. Please, please, pretty please?

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Review of Dirty Dining by E.M. Lynley

Dirty DiningDirty Dining by E.M. Lynley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3-3.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Let me just start out by admitting that books about sex workers are my guilty pleasure. Rent boys, strippers, go-go dancers, bring it! So when I read the blurp for this one: pretty boys taking off their skimpy costumes as part of the dinner entertainment! I was soooo there!

Jeremy is a PHD student working on his dissertation. His funding mainly covers his research, so in order to make money he takes a job as a server at “The Dinner Club”, where wealthy members pay for the pleasure of having a pretty, and more or less naked, boy cater to their every need during dinner.
Brice is a lawyer in a Venture Capital firm, coming to The Dinner Club as a guest of one of his co-workers and later bringing a client there. He is uncomfortable with the set up, but very much fascinated with his beautiful server.
After several dinners the two start dating and their relationship continue to develop until Jeremy’s research funding is pulled, due to a decision made by the company Brice is working for.

I would have loved to have granted this story more stars. It was well written, I liked the two MC’s, the story pulled me in and kept my attention, but… there was just a little something missing to push it from good to great.
I really enjoyed the Dinner Club setting at first, and I loved the other boys. But it seemed that it progressively got more and more orgy-like through each dinner – and that was kind of odd. The first dinner was very sedate compared to later dinners. Surely the rules didn’t change?

Also, Jeremy and Brice’s relationship needed more time to develop. It seemed to be based solely on sex. Yes, they had a few dates, and they clearly liked each other, but I didn’t feel like I saw the emotions develop into love.

And unlike most other reviewers, I actually didn’t like the ending! (view spoiler)

All in all though, it was a well written, very enjoyable and hot read. A beautiful cover, that just makes you want to pet the book, so pretty! And a story that lives up to it’s title! Would definitely try something else from this author.

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