Samhain Publishing


Realms of Fantasy

Shayne Carmichael & Mychael Black
ebook
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Created to be equal, yet divided by the Fall.
Hunter and the Prey
When is it in the best interests of an angel to run like hell? Lev is about to finds out when he tries to destroy Alael, a demon from the Order of Blood.
Angels of Blood
The Order of Chaos sends Adon on a mission to exterminate Irael, a rogue angel who has set himself up as a god on the ninth world of the universe. But Adon has his own agenda, and the chaos that follows could very well destroy them both.

Unholy Need
As an angel of the Lower Order of Creation, Nichael’s mission is to stop a power-hungry wizard from shifting the balance of power between Michael and Lucifer. His own equilibrium is thrown when he’s dragged into saving the life of Nias, a young demon.
Order of the Highest
Talah, a demon of the Disillusioned, is sent by the powerful ruler Sepha to scout the Order of the Highest. There he encounters Aridas, equal in power and just as determined. Can Talah survive their power struggle?
The True Fall of Lucifer
Cast out from The Court of Heaven, blinded by eons of pain and bitterness, Lucifer has been separated far too long from the other half of his soul. Michael must show Lucifer the truth of their existence—or lose his only chance to bring the Prince of Hell back to where he truly belongs.

Top:
It was a travesty, really.
First of all, I disapproved of the cover art. It’s not that the art is bad. It just doesn’t fit. I’m supposed to be reading stories about angels and demons, or at least, that’s what the advertisements said I was going to be reading, so why does the cover depict two models reminiscent of Conan the Barbarian? No wings, halos, or forked tongues in sight.

Second, I don’t think I’ve ever read a collection of short stories in which every story was worth the cover price. This one is different only in the fact that none of the stories turned out to be worth buying.
The idea of angels is a grand, sweeping, encompassing idea, so deep and wide in its scope that it still holds millions of people in its grip even in this modern era of cynicism and disillusionment. Angels, and their demonic counterparts, capture the human imagination in a way that even vampires and werewolves can’t hope to match. It’s an enchantment that has spawned blockbuster hits, bestsellers, cult classics and even actual cults. But not this time. Carmichael and Black failed to capture any part of the mystique, the beauty, the awesomeness of their intended subject. Failed utterly, miserably, and pathetically. It’s mind-boggling, really. They had over two thousand years’ worth of mythology to draw on, none of which is copyrighted. How hard could it have been to do a decent job of it? Apparently impossible – perhaps Black and Carmichael saved that awesomeness for their lunch, because they certainly didn’t pass it on to their readers.

I had so many problems with this book that it’s difficult to keep track of them. Let’s start with the writing. The angst and the attempted romance is… sappy. Syrupy. You could pour it over pancakes. It would be overly-generous to say that they gave lip-service to a plot, because they didn’t even give it that much. It seemed to me that they were rushing over all the boring plot-like things in order to get back to the porn. They presented a progression of events as though it were a logical progression, sensible, and yet it wasn’t. They didn’t bother to give any information as to why they thought it might be sensible. The entire thing was unbelievable; not the good kind of unbelievable, but the other kind, as in, it’s not possible for me to believe that these writers knew what they were doing.

The editing was non-existent. I don’t mean this in the way that I usually bitch about editing, either. For instance, in the third story, Nias’ hair was either auburn or ebony, depending on which paragraph you were reading. How hard would that have been for an editor to catch in the first read-through? I caught it immediately, while skimming through it. By no stretch of the imagination are these programming errors, nor are they obscure oopsies. Either the editor blew off his or her responsibilities, or Samhain Publishing doesn’t care if they’re selling unedited crap to unsuspecting readers. Or maybe it’s both, which wouldn’t surprise me at all.

I, personally, would never let LdD publish something like this without a healthy slap upside the head and a great deal of red-marking. I would have informed her that “auburn” and “ebony” are not, in fact, the same hair color. I would have educated her on the catastrophic visual effects of emerald feathers against red sheets. I would have given her a list of possible substitutes for actual lube. I’m thinking that maybe the publishing companies should just start hiring from the fanfiction pool of beta-readers. It’s saying something that the free fanfiction online has better editing in many cases than the stuff one buys at the ebook sites. And what it’s saying isn’t very nice.

Let’s talk about the porn. I refuse to give it the more elegant title of “erotica,” first, because it wasn’t particularly erotic, and second, because “erotica” implies, to me, a level of artistry that was missing completely. As a matter of fact, I could almost hear the “boom chicka wow wow.” But let’s forget for just a moment that I would defy any person reading this to find me a man who wouldn’t protest being anally penetrated, forcefully, without any hint of lube or preparation. Let’s forget for a moment that the authors need to be slapped with an anatomy book, or maybe, if you want to be more polite about it, emailed a link to Google with a list of possible search words.

I want to talk about the prostate-licking.

My biggest pet peeve in M/M fiction is prostate-licking. I hate it. It’s ridiculous. It’s not cute, not sexy, and not physically possible, and I don’t care if the top is a demon that the authors endowed with the miraculous (and oh-so-convenient) ability to manipulate his own tongue into becoming longer and stronger. It was an absolutely pathetic piece of drivel that caused me to lose any amount of respect I might have had for the authors. Still, I could have ignored it once, if only the rest of the porn had been well-written (which it emphatically wasn’t). But then it happened again. I’m surprised that the after-shocks of my temper exploding didn’t cause a natural disaster somewhere in the world.

From the very beginning, I was praying for it to end. I never expected that the authors would answer my prayers by making it just stop. It didn’t end. It stopped! Somewhere in the universe of this book is a renegade mage playing havoc with some sort of mystic power while the angels are off screwing each other, and… Oh. Oh, God. Let this not be the harbinger of a sequel. Let it end. Please.

Do I recommend this book?
Hell no.

Bottom:
Unfortunately, the only thing in which CW and I have a difference of opinion regarding this book is the cover. I loved the cover. My favorite facet of angels is their warrior aspect. So seeing gladiator-bodied angels and demons on the cover was very exciting to me and made me force the issue of buying and reviewing this book. Regrettably, Anne Caine’s gorgeous cover art couldn’t save this book. (Or my hide once CW had gotten through it. I said I was sorry!)

I have a real angel/demon fetish, so when I came across mention of this book, I was very excited. I was even more excited when I read the blurbs for the stories. Oh, how I wish I hadn’t been so incredibly disappointed.

Technically, the writing is okay. I didn’t find a slew of typos. It’s the plots and characters that leave much to be desired. The angels and demons did not act at all like their namesakes. At all. The only thing the celestial beings and the characters in the book had in common were wings. Otherwise, they were something completely different, so I am not sure why they were called those names. The concept of expanding the idea and scope of demons and angels was fascinating and exciting, but the result in this book did not work. As the reader, I’m going to have certain preconceived notions of characters called angels or demons. If my notions are not going to work, then the author has to help me out by explaining the mechanics. If a character is called a demon, I expect demonic things from him. If the character is called a fallen angel, I will need the author to explain the difference to me in regard to the particular story. Dumping me in a new world with different laws without a map is not going to work. I was confused and pretty disappointed.

Throughout the book, there is talk of Orders. There is never any clear understanding what any of these Orders do or mean until the second-to-last story. I really wish the history lesson slid into this story had been put in the front of the book. It would have given so much more feeling and understanding behind the words the characters mouthed. Also in the second-to-last story, we finally are told of the “twin souls” thing, which makes so many other parts of the book make some sense. All the pairings had these “I’m drawn to you but I don’t know why” emotions and mentions of ‘threads’ to one another. Not until near the end of the entire book, do the authors mention the twin souls, one of light and one of dark. That would have been so much more appreciated right from the beginning. Without it, it just made the characters shallow, silly, and a bit stupid. Even with this information, much of the characters antics were just not explained enough, or explained in a way that is believable. When you have a character seek out the other, when he is aggressive, demanding, dominating, and possessive, and then having him suddenly think, “Oh, I mustn’t run away anymore, he is my soul twin,” it makes absolutely no sense.

While I was reading, I constantly felt as if I was missing huge chunks of information. The characters were a mix of arrogant, needy, and blind. And vampiric in one WTF? instance. In one story I thought an angel was actually a demon once he shows his forked tongue, a character trait of the demon from the first story. But then this character is revealed as being one of the highest angels… so why the forked tongue? The settings were confusing and jumbled, as well. I was never sure where the hell I was, except for the one story that takes place almost entirely in an apartment while the mad mage the angel is supposed to be stopping runs rampant somewhere else.

Ultimately, I felt as if I had picked up the private journal of writers playing around with ideas and writing a fun story for themselves. For me, this book never felt as though it was ready for others to read. I can’t recommend this book to anyone. Honestly, even if the emotions in this weren’t so shallow and syrupy, it was still too confusing to make any sense to anybody, in my opinion.

Blood Brothers
Barbara Sheridan & Anne Cain
ebook
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In a world where the nights are darker and the passions run deeper, two young men go from friends to something more when a dangerous stranger appears on their doorstep.
In feudal Japan, war and famine tear through the countryside, and demons lurk in the darkness. Two young men struggle together on the outskirts of a ravaged village: the strong yet kind Liu Sakurai and his beloved gentle hearted Kiyoshi. And as their friendship endures the endless hardships, their bond grows into something more.
When the summer night brings a mysterious stranger to their door, the most dangerous desires of their dreams and nightmares are awakened. Blood now binds Kiyoshi and Sakurai together where once love did, but can this tie last an eternity?

Top:
I didn’t enjoy this story. In fact, I was irritated with it by the end of the first page and extremely relieved when I finally finished it.

The italicized terms made me expect (and wish for) a glossary at the end of the story. I actually don’t know the difference between a kosode and a yukata, but somehow, although the difference was obviously important enough to the authors to require the usage of both terms (in italics, no less), it was never actually explained in the story. The glossary would have been useful. As far as I’m concerned, if the author feels that something is important enough to add, then it’s the author’s job to explain it. I shouldn’t be required to reach for Google on every page.
Also, if I’d never seen a Japanese period film or even watched Inu Yasha, I would have been hopelessly lost in the setting. As it was, I was only slightly lost. Once again, Google rescued this story from being completely incomprehensible. It would have been nice of the authors to make a better attempt at explaining some of the culture, for those of us who don’t actually live in Japan, but, like the terminology, the authors didn’t seem to feel that this was necessary.
I didn’t like the uke any more than I liked the seme. Either of the semes. I didn’t like any of the characters. Kiyoshi had some sympathy value, but he was still no more interesting to me than Sakurai/Liu. I absolutely detested Kuro. By the end of the story, I was vindictively hoping that at least one of them would die. Preferably Kuro.
Worst, though, in my point of view? This was, in effect, a vampire story. It was really neat of the authors to go to the trouble of actually making it an authentic Japanese version of a vampire instead of cheating by transplanting a Western vampire to 16th century Japan, but that didn’t make it any less excruciating to read for someone who doesn’t actually like vampires. I’m not entirely positive that I would even have recognized the difference between Western vampires and Japanese vampires if I hadn’t had my browser open to a page that discusses it. And the tragic thing is that even I know that Japan has a huge pantheon of mythological creatures that could have been the centerpiece of this story. Could have been, but wasn’t. Is the market really clamoring that loudly for yet another vampire fic?

I can’t say that the story is badly-written, other than the lack of explanation. I’m aware that the artistic merit is sailing right over my head. I recognize that the authors did a good job of blending their separate styles so well that I can’t tell where one author ends and the other begins. I didn’t notice any technical errors such as poor grammar or discontinuity. The sex didn’t particularly interest me, but I can say that at least it gracefully served to further the plot instead of being a meaningless sidestep into mere porn. I have no idea whether or not the authors intended to emulate a Japanese style of story-telling, and I can’t tell if they succeeded. It was frustrating, at the very least.
If you are a Japanophile, then I suspect you’d enjoy this story. Academically, if nothing else. If you’re a vampire fan, then you’ll likely find Blood Brothers to be an intriguing foray into a whole new world. If you’re simply curious and want to know why I was so opposed to it, then by all means, buy the book and make up your own mind. But if you’re like me and you’re indifferent and/or opposed to reading either Japanese history or vampire fiction, then just take a pass.

On a side note, I’d like to once again compliment the artist for her ability to create cover art. It’s well-balanced and evocative, while the poses and Liu’s expression perfectly convey what you can expect from the story itself.

Bottom:

Blood Brothers is a short and bloody tale, which I enjoyed.

Let me first say that, unlike my partner, I am a Japanophile and vampire enthusiast, so my take on this story is very different from CW’s. And from my point of view, Blood Brothers was worth the read.

There were, however, a few things that didn’t gel with me.

One of the lead character’s name switched back and forth. When we first meet him, he’s called Sakurai. I got to know Sakurai. I became comfortable with Sakurai. Then suddenly he is Liu. The name in the narrative changes as well as the dialogue. And then toward the end, he is back to Sakurai and Liu. I understood what the authors were trying to convey, I think it was just handled sloppily. It’s confusing, especially for Western readers not as comfortable with Japanese and Chinese names. Personally, I think they should have picked one to use in the narrative and changed his name in the dialogue to show the changes in his personality and the way he was being seen by others.

I, like CW, also thought the constant proper names for items was a bit much. I don’t mind a few, such as mentioning the fundoshi, a loin cloth, in order to properly show the setting and time period, but after that it became a bit annoying. It was having the Japanese in italics that bothered me because the reading voice in my head automatically emphasized those words. Also, I think those like CW, who are not into the culture of Japan, would just be confused (and needing that glossary), and for those like me, I already knew the proper names and didn’t need them repeated over and over. In italics. A little goes a long way, you know? This hindered the enjoyment of the sex scenes for me since I had to wade through kimono, yukata, kosode, fundoshi, some more. Otherwise, though, I thought the sex was good, hot, and not too much.

I was a bit disappointed in this book’s brevity, but it actually works well for the setting. It definitely calls to mind the ambiguous storytelling many Japanese stories and films have. It’s not my favorite way to read a story, and if it were any other book I’d have knocked it for this. But for this story, it worked, helping to set the tone. I’m not sure if it was intentional on the authors’ parts, but once I got into the groove, it helped pull me into the mood of the writing.

I really liked the way Sheridan and Cain showed the emotion of the characters. They set it up well, using action and words to show the way the two main characters feel for each other. They also really showed the change, the twisting, of it. Very nice and made me really sink into the story. Kiyoshi, the real heart of the story, is portrayed very well. I fell in love with him and rooted for him. I could feel his pain and confusion and desire.

What I really appreciated in this was that I thought the vampire was not there to just strut around looking Brooding and Evil. It wasn’t the vampire that was the evil, really. It was just the wedge, the shiny that pulled at Sakurai/Liu, causing a rift in his and Kiyoshi’s relationship. It could have been vampirism, drugs, booze, adultery, gambling, anything at all. And for that reason, I felt as if the vampire thing was more of a tool rather than a focus. Which was neat and, for me, made it not the central focus of this story. The central focus was definitely the relationship of Kiyoshi and Sakurai/Liu.

One of the best parts of this book is that it does not read like a role-playing script, which is always a possible (and, unfortunately, expected by me) pitfall when you have more than one author. I am very happy to say that Blood Brothers reads smoothly with no dizzying and annoying switching of point-of-view as each author has her say. Kudos to Sheridan and Cain for that.

Kudos also goes to Cain for the cover. Lovely. I enjoy their website for Cain’s art if nothing else. Really lovely.

Blood Brothers is the first, I believe, of the Sheridan-Cain collaboration for the Dragon’s Disciple series they have going. In the other book blurbs, I saw both Sakurai’s and Kiyoshi’s names, so that is definitely a perk in picking this book up.

I recommend Blood Brothers to anyone who is into the Japanese craze, the yaoi craze, or the vampire craze. If you enjoy all three, like me, you’ll definitely enjoy this book. It’s short, and not so sweet, and perfect for a nice dark evening’s reading. This book isn’t for the fluff at heart.

Catching a Buzz
Ally Blue
ebook
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Adam Holderman isn’t your typical twenty-something college boy. He prefers jazz to Goth, shuns body piercings and street-waif clothing, and despises the lack of vocabulary among his peers. Some call him uptight, but Adam doesn’t see it that way. Just because he prefers his men articulate and well-groomed doesn’t make him a stick-in-the-mud. He simply has standards, unlike most guys his age.
The new employee at Wild Waters Park, where Adam works, single-handedly throws a monkey wrench into Adam’s orderly world view. Buzz Stiles wears eyeliner and black clothes, listens to emo bands, and talks like a teenage skate punk. He’s the polar opposite of Adam’s avowed “type”. So why can’t Adam get him out of his head?
When Adam finally agrees to go out with Buzz, he finds there’s much more to Buzz than a hot body, a sharp wit, and a Goth fashion sense. Buzz is someone Adam can see himself being with for the long haul. But you need more than mind-melting sex to make a relationship last. Can they keep their hands off each other long enough to find out if they have what it takes?

Top:
I was angry when I finished Catching A Buzz.
First, the cover. It’s a gorgeous cover, there’s no doubt about it. It’s the kind of cover art that belongs on some beautiful, romantic tale, something with a few laughs, a few tears, a few life lessons, and the hope for a happy future. And hotness, too. The cover makes me want to read the book, want to like it, finish it with a smile and keep it forever. That’s what good cover art is supposed to do, and the artist, Anne Cain, succeeded in this admirably. It’s too bad that the story itself fell far short of the promise inherent in the art.

Apart from the false advertisement of the cover, I disliked this book for the complete waste of my time. I got nothing out of it: I didn’t learn anything from it, I didn’t react emotionally to any part of it, and I didn’t care one whit for any of the characters. I don’t think college boys are cute and I certainly don’t think they’re interesting. I don’t think that Goth boys are beautiful or alluring, I think they’re just boys in makeup and ugly clothing. I don’t happen to believe that a glass beer bottle is a thrilling or a safe substitute for a decent dildo. I’m not impressed by flashy cars. The nod to twincest left me cold, as did the club scene. Yes, it’s graphic, but I can get higher-quality erotica for free from any number of fandom sites where I actually like the characters. Every potential real-life issue for gay men that was raised in the story, as well as the resolution of the story itself, ended in a manner disgustingly reminiscent of a premature ejaculation.

Catching A Buzz is nothing but the recounting of a date between a pair of equally-insipid boys, and since no one in their right mind could possibly have expected me to be interested in this story if it had been a het pairing, the idea that the author expected me to be interested for no better reason than because it’s M/M… That’s simply insulting. Not just to me as a reader, but to the genre as a whole.

The book is technically well-written, I’ll give credit to Ally Blue for that. If there were any typos or major inconsistencies in the story, I can’t say I noticed them. I think the author has the ability to create stories that would be worth reading. I think that if a reader wants to waste their time and money on what’s basically a PWP, then there’s no reason not to buy this book. But do I personally recommend this story?
Absolutely, most certainly not.

Bottom:
Catching a Buzz was, I think, a half-hearted attempt. Or, if giving the author a lot more credit, it was a good attempt at giving an edgier romance story in short form. Either way, it didn’t quite work out.

The first thing the prospective purchaser should know is that although you buy ninety-one pages, you are only getting sixty-two pages relating to Catching a Buzz. The other twenty-eight pages are advertisements for other books. This, of course, is not the author’s fault. But I had no idea I was coming to the end of the story until it ended quite abruptly. Prior to that, I was happy to keep reading because I assumed I had another thirty pages or so for the resolution and whatnot. So when I was suddenly seeing “The End” not only was I surprised, but a bit disgruntled. I think given the other twenty-pages, the author could have pulled off a satisfying story.

Given the subject matter Ally Blue chose to use, I don’t think she gave herself adequate enough space to pull it off. The story seems to be a sweet little summer romance story. And that is how it starts. But when the two boys go off on their first date, they end up at a sex shop buying D/S paraphernalia. This wasn’t just a lark to one of them, this was something much more. During the night, Adam, wanting to please his kinky date, decides he wants to shove a beer bottle inside Buzz. Buzz wants the wide end. This scene isn’t extraordinary, but Adam is as vanilla as you can get, so this scenario screamed unsafe to me. But hey, it’s a romance story, right? Fiction. No prob. When Buzz wanted a swizzle stick from Adam’s drink shoved in his cock, I began to definitely question the characters’ abilities to have a lasting relationship or even a safe one. Urethral Play isn’t a sexual practice that you can just pick up and dabble in. We are talking about a very delicate piece of anatomy here. Not that it was technically handled poorly, but it still didn’t seem to be a very natural thing for these two boys to do on their very first date on top of the beer bottle thing.

Buzz came off as either a pain/adrenaline junky or an excited novice in BDSM, which is a complete turn-around from the laid back guy we meet in the beginning of the story. Adam was a conservative and narrow-minded type individual, an ‘aged beyond his years” type. But then he begins to want to do these BDSM escapades. Okay. I could accept that. But then, the next morning, the story is done. I was left wondering if they could actually pull off anything more than a one-night stand even though they had decided to become boyfriends. It just didn’t sit well with me. Instead I was left with the distinct impression that the author had bitten off more than she could chew in sixty-one pages.

And for some reason, Adam had the voice of Scarlett in his head. Again, I think Blue tried to shove a bit too much into a short story. The voice was cute, but did sound more like Mammy on a few occasions rather than Scarlett.

The scene with the mother was horribly anti-climatic and happened just before the abrupt ending, adding to the sour taste left in my mouth.

This wasn’t a bad book, just a… not-quite-there book. A story that could have done much better if it had been allowed to flesh out a bit more. I recommend it for anyone who wants a quick and dirty read.

Without Reservations
J.L. Langley
ebook (also available in print)
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Sometimes love just catches you by the tail…
Chayton Winston is a veterinarian. He is also a werewolf. Much to his Native American parents chagrin, he has always dreamed of a fair-haired, Caucasian mate. However, he never imagined his mate would be male. As a heterosexual man, he’s not quite sure what to do with a male mate, but more than willing to find out.
Keaton Reynolds wakes up, in wolf form, and finds himself with a mate. He’s instantly attracted, but not so thrilled to find out the man is straight. Having been in a relationship once before where his partner professed to be “Not gay” left a bad taste in his mouth. Keaton wants to make a break for it and pretend he never set eyes on Chay—but Chay is not ready to let him go.
Together the two work to solidify their shaky relationship and battle the prejudices against homosexuals. Chay must deal with not only his mother’s prejudices against gay men but also her hatred of white people. When a power struggle in Keaton’s pack threatens Keaton’s life, the two men learn to depend on one another and their relationship to get them through it.

Top:
This book was published prematurely. That’s the only explanation I can think of for the mistakes, plot holes, and over-enthusiasm I found while reading. All the issues I had (and they were legion) could have been fixed in editing, and somehow weren’t. It made me a bit twitchy, to think that an otherwise good book could have been made that much smoother with just a little more time and effort.
Keaton is a little too good to be true. He’s a genius, comes from money, isn’t just a werewolf but is an Alpha alpha-wolf, has a rare third form, is liked by almost everyone, is only disliked by the other characters when they obviously have issues that have nothing to do with Keaton, claims to be socially retarded and yet shows no signs of being so, and is telepathic as a wolf. I literally rolled my eyes at that last one. Keaton is a mild, male version of a “Mary-Sue,” the character that the author loves and the readers often hate. This could have been easily fixed in editing to make him far more powerful and likable as a character.
There is nothing wrong with Chay. He’s smart, sexy, laid-back, tender-hearted, has a wicked sense of humor, and is basically a very good man. I liked him very much once I got over myself and ignored the fact that I, personally, would never have been able to fall in love with him. After all, the balance of personalities between Chay and Keaton was very smooth, very well-considered. Chay provides a safe harbor for someone like Keaton to take a deep breath, relax, and feel safe. In turn, Keaton provides exactly what Chay needs – a mate who wants to belong to him, but is strong enough, stubborn enough, and insecure enough to force Chay to work for it. Looking at the way the two of them deal with one another, one can easily understand why they are mates.
I didn’t respond strongly to either of the lead men, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I didn’t respond strongly to the sex scenes, either. The scenes are technically graphic, but something didn’t translate between the pages and my libido; I think it was the tenderness of the sex that lost me. Also, I was very disappointed that there was no werewolf sex, which, to my mind, was a gigantic waste of a perfect setup. To be fair, this isn’t a failure on the author’s part. Chalk this up to my own weird kinks, and keep in mind that other readers are better equipped to appreciate a romantic moment.
So why did I find my nose glued to the computer screen from beginning to end? Because, despite the disappointment in editing, I was drawn into the story almost immediately. Langley is a very good story-teller, and the book is surprisingly thick with plot and suspense. I wanted to know what would happen next, who that mysterious wolf was, why these things were happening to Keaton, how the characters were going to resolve their conflicts, and who the villain might be. The fact that there were a few plot-threads that haven’t been tied up yet is okay with me – it makes me hope and anticipate that Langley will publish a sequel to tell Remi’s story. If so, I have every intention of snatching it off the eShelf immediately.
Another thing that kept me reading was the humor. Both men’s sense of humor appealed to me, for different reasons. I laughed out loud in many places, and grinned through many, many more. Despite the fact that I would never desire either Chay or Keaton as a lover, and maybe not as friends, I was still intrigued and amused by their story.
I wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone looking for a sharp edge, but I do recommend it for anyone who wants to relax with a good story – if this book were clothing, I’d say that while it might not be a glamorous evening gown, it definitely makes one damned comfy sweater. I’ll keep this book, and likely re-read it many times in the future when I’m feeling stressed and worn-out. The best thing about this story being an eBook is that I won’t have to worry about the covers falling off.
I just really wish I’d been the one to edit it.

Bottom:
First, the cover is gorgeous. I adore the cover to this book. The models are perfect and the wolves are an excellent touch.
The story, though, needed to be tightened up in the worse way. Information was reiterated several times. There was also a lot of tell and a bit lean on the show. And a lot of “As you know…” type dialog. Very simple things were spelled out when there was just no reason to. Perhaps for the casual reader who read a chapter a night, this repetitiveness would be diluted and even needed. But for the reader who reads it straight through, it is tedious. If most of this excess had been cut away, the story would have been much tighter and smoother.
As for the character of Keaton, I liked him a lot. I adored the character; he is right up my alley as far as characters go. But, like CarvedWood pointed out: He was just a bit too perfect. Though I didn’t have too much issue with his other attributes, the telepathy had my eyes rolling as well. Especially when it was just not needed. The author was able to portray wolf body language just fine, so the addition of this amazing and rare quality was just a way to make Keaton all that much more perfect, which turned out to be a bit irritating.
Chay, in my opinion, was okay. He was your typical nice Boy-Next-Door type. With Keaton’s harder and feistier personality, the combination balanced them out perfectly. They meshed very well. Their interactions were good and very believable. I enjoyed them together; they fit. My only hang-up with these two stems, again, from the excess of repeated information. They found each other sexy. They thought of each other as the other half of themselves. They thought the other was hot. They both thought the other was perfect, cute, sexy, smart, etc. This sentiment was repeated over and over again until I just got tired of reading it.
The positive of this book is that the story is actually very good. I was interested enough in it to keep reading through the repetitions and reiterations to find out more. I genuinely liked the characters and wanted to see them happy. I was excited at the danger and mystery. It was fun. Details were rendered well, making scenes and people very clear in my mental eye. Langley used everyday type scenarios to really sink this story in reality. The climatic point of the book, though, was read with a small edge of irritation on my part due to, in my opinion, a completely superfluous change of location to find the mystery wolf who was obviously in the same place they were to begin with. Why they needed to fly to another state was not answered satisfactorily enough for me to fully immerse myself in the climax and resolve of the story. Was it well written? Yes. But, in my opinion, was only used to introduce other characters and resolve a major conflict in a small way.
I think this story is perfect as something to shove in your bag and carry with you as you go to the post office, doctor’s appointments, and other places where you can open the book and immediately be back where you left off without any confusion. It’s light and tender and sweet with just a bit of mystery. This isn’t a blood-rushing, exciting read, but it is a sweet book with love and softness. If you like fluffy stories, and ones in which you get to immerse yourself in the loving, happy relationship and the cute romantic parts, this is for you. Chay and Keaton are a couple who make you smile and happily sigh.