Review: Galway Bound

Reviewed by Shelly

Couple of disclaimers – I didn’t read the first book in the series prior to doing this review, but Jen did a review of the first story in the series (so check that out). Now that being said, I was warned that this short story contained – D/s, impact play, edging/orgasm denial, bondage, toys, and light voyeurism. Heed those warnings, folks: they’re serious, because I dare say that some of it made me a little uncomfortable.

Cormac Kelly and Sean Ohara have been together for a year and during that time, their busy schedules have kept them from enjoying some quality time. Cormac, feeling the need for some kink, decides to book them into a hotel where they can both get away and enjoy themselves.

Now I can’t say too much or I’m gonna give the whole thing away. Once the guys get to the hotel, the action starts quickly so there’s not a big build up here.  It’s down and dirty, but in a good way (if ya like that sort of thing – *wink*.)  I was a bit skeptical at first for a couple of reasons. I don’t like that whole gagging thing, especially when the gaggee’s hands are bound, and I absolutely do NOT agree with ever leaving someone tied up by themselves for any period of time. Other than those issues, I thought this short did a good job of showing the love and more importantly, the trust that Sean and Cormac have for each other.

Just in case I wasn’t clear – the sex betwixt these two is smokin’ HOT! And if you’re a fan of the first story, be sure to read this one because it’s a nice interlude. If you’re not a fan or haven’t read the first story, it’s a good short standalone and is a nice window into Sean and Cormac’s life together.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: B

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Galway Bound
by Heidi Belleau & Violetta Vane
Release Date: October 8, 2012

Review: The Druid Stone

Reviewed by Jen

I love dark stories about the fae.  And this definitely fits the bill.  The Druid Stone is haunting, disturbing, stirring, and sexy all at once.

Sean has been having the same horrific dream over and over again for more than a year.  In it, he relives the grisly torture and murder of a man in Ireland nearly 100 years in the past. He’s seen doctors and shrinks, he’s tried drugs of all kinds, but every night the dream comes back with the same brutal clarity. He’s come to believe that he was cursed by his great-grandfather, who gave him a mysterious stone he can’t get rid of.  Research leads him to Cormac, a Druid, and he hops aboard a plane to Ireland, hoping he can get the curse removed.

Cormac is a man damaged by the mysterious disappearance of his lover 10 years ago.  He does his duty with his magic, but lives his life with meaningless one-night stands with random men.  When Sean shows up on his doorstep, he thinks the man is a flake and sends him on his way.  But thankfully, when Sean is targeted by the Fae King, Cormac is there to rescue him.  Of course, at that point, the Druid realizes his mistake.

The story follows Cormac and Sean as they try to unravel the mystery of the stone and figure out the identity of the man dying in Sean’s dreams.  This, as the two men realize a growing attraction between them.

I definitely enjoyed the book.  The authors do a great job presenting the Fae as twisted, selfish, and downright scary.  The mystery was good and the resolution was very interesting.  But just as good is the characterization of our two male leads.  Both men are deeply scarred by their past. The depth of their issues is slowly revealed over the course of the book and it wreaks havoc with their growing feelings for one another.  Their friendship is believable. The sexual tension is great. And the love scenes are hot.

I did have a couple of issues. One is the fact that these two fell in love in a week.  I can suspend my disbelief for a lot of things in Urban Fantasy, but this is just one of my biggest romance peeves. Sexual attraction, sure. Affection, absolutely. Hope for a future, I’m all on board. But when people profess to love each other in seven days, I can’t do anything but roll my eyes.  And that’s a shame, because almost everything else about the relationship clicked for me.

My only other problem was that there were a couple of times that I got confused about what was going on in the Fae realm.  I didn’t entirely understand what was happening, especially in the “dreaming” parts. I got the impression it was supposed to be disjointed, due to the unreality of the realm, but I found myself re-reading a couple of parts, looking for a clarity I didn’t find.

Overall, though, I did like this one.  It was just the right amount of darkness.  It was surprising and sexy and… different.  It was good.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Druid Stone
by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Release Date: August 6, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press

Review: Hawaiian Gothic

Reviewed by Jen

This was an unusual story.  One tough to categorize.  It’s a love story and a ghost story. It’s about loyalty and sacrifice, yearning and hope.  It’s got mystery, mythology, emotion and sensuality.  I’m not sure I’ve read anything quite like it.

As the story begins, Ori is on his way back home to Hawaii after spending the past three years in the army and in military prison.  He’s been dishonorably discharged and has no idea what he is going to do with his future. The only thing he knows for sure is that he needs to get back to Kalani.  He wasn’t there when his best friend needed him most –when he was jumped and beaten into a coma.  Now the doctors are ready to give up. But Ori is holding on to hope for a miracle.

Ori has been in love with Kalani almost his entire life, but never believed his feelings could be returned.  It seems even more hopeless once he sees his friend’s lifeless eyes and wasted body.  Everything changes, though, when he is visited by Kalini’s spirit.  He finds out that Kalini returns his feelings and for the first time, they can express their love.  Unfortunately, Kalini doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to return to his body. That sends Ori on a quest to find a spiritual way to help his lover return to the land of the living.

The beginning of the book is emotionally heavy.  Then it grows sexy. But then it gets really wrapped up in Hawaiian mythology.  It’s a really important element of the book, but one of the things I liked about it the least.  Maybe it’s my lack familiarity with the culture, but I just didn’t connect with what was happening in the spiritual plane… at least not to the great degree it was explored in the second half.  There was also a lot of time jumping which I found hard to follow at some points.  The flashbacks were frequent and didn’t follow a strict chronology. I didn’t exactly get lost, but there were times they felt disjointed, even as the past helped unravel the mysteries of the present.

What I did really like was the relationship between Ori and Kalani.  The love between them was palpable.  Their sex scenes were steamy, but they clearly sprang from deep and true emotions.  It was worth it for me to hang on through their metaphysical journey to see how their love story would end.

Rating: C+

*ARC provided by authors for review

Hawaiian Gothic
by Heidi Belleau & Violetta Vane
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Loose ID