Review: The Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis, by E.E. Ottoman (Rating: 3.5/5)

ottoman-thepossessionoflawrenceeugenedavisThe Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis, by E.E. Ottoman
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (September 2, 2015)
Word Count: approx. 35,000 words
Genre: Gay (M/M) Romance; Menage/Poly; Horror/Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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* I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

This book was creepy and sexy all at the same time! I really enjoyed this novella, and I thought the balance of horror and romance was excellent. Lawrence is a man who’s seen some truly horrifying things, so at first the odd, eerie sounds and feelings he encounters in the house he’s inherited don’t cause him any worry. He still has nightmares from fighting in WWI, and his body is scarred and damaged from battle. But when the bumps in the night turn into full-fledged waking nightmares, Lawrence calls for help… and his call is answered by Elijah, an incubus who uses sex to power his vendetta against flesh-eating demons.

The memory of the pain and the hand pushing out at the skin of his stomach, the shape of it, so much like a human hand, rose up again. “Please.” Lawrence couldn’t remember begging like this since he’d come back from the war. “Please, I’ll do anything.” (Kindle Loc. 230)

Given the time period, I did struggle with Lawrence’s (and eventually Billy’s) easy acceptance of Elijah’s need for sex. This is a period when homosexuality is still illegal and disgraceful, and Lawrence and Billy are unwilling to act on their attraction to one another. So it was weird for me that they barely batted an eye when Elijah asks them for sex (often during extremely unsexy moments, like while Lawrence is still covered in blood and gore after an encounter with a demon).

“Best I could do.” Elijah held up his hands. “Especially at such short notice, but still, he won’t be coming back here anytime soon. And now I need to feed.”

“What exactly will that entail?” Lawrence swallowed, thinking he already had a good idea of what Elijah wanted.

“Us fucking.” Elijah smiled, leaning closer. (Kindle Loc. 446)

Honestly, the timing of the erotic scenes is really what brought my rating for this novella down. There would be a delightful horror scene, and great descriptions of demons and the like, and then bam, a sex scene when I had no interest in reading about one. That said, I really loved the mystery and the ghost story, and I liked the way Elijah slotted neatly into Lawrence and Billy’s relationship. This was a short novella, and I would have liked to see it extended to include more plot and character backstory, but it was still very enjoyable!

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Review: Fleur de Nuit, by Cat Montmorency (Rating: 3.5/5)

montmorency-fleur-de-nuitFleur de Nuit, by Cat Montmorency (Bourbon Street Bondage, Book 1)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (September 1, 2015)
Page Count: 291 pages
Genre: Lesbian (F/F) Romance, Menage (M/F/M), Het (M/F)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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* I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

Summary: Moira has been a ghost of her former self ever since her ex-boyfriend raped her and tried to kill her. Her best friend Kara is the steady rock in her life; when Kara begs Moira to come to an exclusive BDSM club with her, Moira finally sees a chance to reclaim the control that she lost all those years ago.

Let’s start with the things I disliked. The first part of the novel was super rushed. Moira goes from being a timid introvert to being a confident, sexy Domme in the first quarter of the book. There was very little character development though, nothing to show that she was really evolving.

“It’s just so sudden.”

“We can wait, if you’re not ready. But I really think you are.”

Yeah, but I don’t think I’m ready! I couldn’t buy into Moira the Domme, because her transition sped past in the blink of an eye.

Also, Adrian’s over-the-top French was a pain to read. I speak French pretty well (and read it almost fluently), but the way he used just one or two words of French in every sentence was honestly ridiculous. It made him seem like human Pepe Le Pew, instead of the suave and eccentric Dom he was supposed to be.
pepe le pew run away

Now, what I liked? Pretty much everything else. Moira’s realization of her feelings for Kara is lovely, and the jealousy and conflicted emotions she feels when Mistress Tamara comes back to town is fantastic. And while I thought the [spoiler, highlight to read] reappearance of Moira’s murdering, raping ex-boyfriend was a cheap and lame plot twist, the character’s reactions and the emotional turbulence it caused was so great!

In the end, I probably could have done without the actual bondage part. I love BDSM in romance novels, especially when it’s well done, but it felt like a gimmick here. Still, Moira’s emotional relationships with the various characters, especially Kara and Landry, were really exceptional.

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Blog Tour: Uncharted Hearts, by Amelia Bishop (Excerpt, Interview, & Giveaway!)

Cover Artist: Amelia Bishop with photo by Dan Skinner

Cover Artist: Amelia Bishop with photo by Dan Skinner

Uncharted Hearts, by Amelia Bishop
Publisher: Self-Published (August 14, 2015)
Page Count: 240 pages
Genre: Gay (M/M) Historical Romance, Menage/Poly

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Welcome to the Blog Tour for Amelia Bishop’s new release, Uncharted Hearts! I’m thrilled to be hosting the tour here on Just Love today, and Amelia has joined us to answer some questions, and she’s also brought an excerpt from the novel along! Interested in a historical romance set on the high seas, with a sexy threesome relationship? Then keep reading to find out more about Uncharted Hearts, and enter to win an awesome giveaway!

Summary:

Clayton Taylor is smart and skilled, and born into privilege. His expertise with navigation lands him a job on The Irish Lady, a ship which promises a world of new experiences. Half in love with Peter, The Lady’s roguish captain, Clayton signs on for adventure and a chance to test his skill against the sea. Once aboard he meets Jorge, a pillar of quiet strength.

Clayton’s life among the sailors and thieves is happy, wild, and free. He learns to sail, to fit in with the crew, and to cheat at cards. There isn’t a course he can’t chart, or a job he can’t design.

But Clayton can’t navigate love, nor can he plan for the whims of his heart. Bold and direct and often stubborn, Clayton’s uncharted heart will plot its own course, bound for a union with two men who need him as much as he does them.

Together Clayton, Peter, and Jorge will discover the heart has no need of map and compass.

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Review: What He Left Behind, by L. A. Witt (Rating: 4/5)

witt-what-he-left-behindWhat He Left Behind, by L.A. Witt
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (August 18, 2015)
Page Count: 238 pages
Genre: Gay (M/M/M) Romance (Menage/Threesome)

Rating: 4 out of 5

* I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

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Summary: After getting out of an abusive long-term relationship, Josh’s best friend Michael is a shell of the man he used to be. He no longer likes to be touched, and Josh is devastated to see Michael unable to trust or let go of his fear to be with another man. Then Josh’s husband Ian proposes something insane: what if Josh helped Michael move past his fear of being intimate? After all, they were lovers as teenagers, and have remained best friends since then. It’s so insane that it might just work, as long as everyone can keep their emotions firmly in check.

My Thoughts: What He Left Behind was a page-turner from start to finish! I couldn’t put it down, because I was so eager to see what happened next. This is a novel that is all about the relationships, both about building them and keeping them intact. A lot of the plot is very predictable, but don’t let that stop you. The plot isn’t the important part here… the relationships are. As the saying goes, it’s all about the journey, not the destination, and Witt takes you on an amazing ride.

One of the highlights of this novel was seeing Josh’s patience with Michael. There’s still physical attraction between them, even more than a decade after they were last a couple, so Michael accepts Josh’s offer to help easily enough. But Michael’s mind isn’t as quick to accept Josh as his body is, and Josh is one hundred percent focused on Michael’s health through every step of the healing.

“Part of me wants to take you to bed right now because I know that for me, you’re the safest man on the planet. If I can’t handle sex with you, then I might as well stay celibate.”

My heart speeds up. “And the other part?”

He swallows hard, and he’s staring at the floor again. “That part is scared to death of breaking that illusion.” (Kindle Loc. 364)

And that’s what the sex is at first. It’s healing in a way that Michael’s therapy can no longer manage. I’m sure a therapist reading this would be throwing up red flags, but I adore hurt/comfort stories and have no problem suspending belief a bit… especially when the relationship is so intimate and gorgeous! Josh helps Michael relearn touch and pleasure and the sensation of being loved. And when Josh starts to suffer after learning more details about Michael’s previous relationship, it’s Ian who helps him to heal.

Ian is a true hero in this novel. He’s not unselfish; he loves Josh, and has no intention of selflessly giving his husband up. But he also knows that Michael will never heal if Josh doesn’t help. I did struggle a bit with the ease in which Ian accepted his role in helping Michael, though; it seemed a bit forced, taking their friendship and some mild physical attraction and turning it sexual.

And as Michael does begin to heal, the sex shifts from healing to smoldering! Like I said before, the plot here is totally predictable… so yes, eventually the relationship moves into a threesome! But the characters mesh together so well, and the two relationships (Josh and Ian, and Josh and Michael) are able to shift to become Josh and Ian and Michael. There are still tensions and fear, and a healthy dose of confused emotions, but also trust and love and a hell of a lot of sexual attraction!

Definitely a really enjoyable read. I do wish the plot was a bit less obvious, but the relationship and characters (and Witt’s incredible talent at writing smokin’ hot sex scenes!) more than made up for it.

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Review: Bound With Passion, by Megan Mulry (Rating: 4/5)

Bound With Passion, by Megan Mulry
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (July 6, 2015)
Page Count: approx. 253 pages
Genre: Threesome (M/F/M) Erotica/Historical Romance

Rating: 4 out of 5 (what this rating means)

* I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

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Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Summary: When Lady Georgiana Cambury’s best friend informs her that he can’t inherit his family’s country house unless he marries, Georgie thinks she’s found the solution to all of her problems. She can help Trevor with his legal issue, and continue traveling Egypt in search of new horse stock to purchase without the burden of being an unwed woman. A marriage in name only. But Trevor is already madly in love with his long-time partner James, and Georgie doesn’t expect to find herself attracted to both of them as they begin to prepare for the wedding.

My Thoughts: Before you start reading this book, make sure you’re alone in the room and have a glass of ice water next to you, because damn this novel is hot! There’s a lot of sex here, in every combination you can imagine. But there’s also a really fantastic relationship winding its way through the passion, and that’s what made this novel so great for me.

Sometimes Georgie prefers to be the regal Lady Georgiana, while other times she prefers to be George, a slightly effeminate lad. But with whatever gender she prefers that day, the one thing she never wants is a relationship… she’s vowed to never fall in love.

James and Trevor want Georgiana and George both, but they’re going to have to work hard to chip away at her shell and unlock the love and emotions that she keeps hidden away. And Georgie is going to have to decide if she’s willing to give up her independence for a relationship, even if that relationship is one filled with love.

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Review: Book of Love, by Julia Talbot (Rating: 2/5)

Book of Love, by Julia Talbot
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (June 30, 2015)
Page Count: approx. 110 pages
Genre: Threesome (M/F/M) Erotica/Romance

Rating: 2 out of 5 (what’s this mean?)

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Cover Artist: Leah Kaye Suttle

Cover Artist: Leah Kaye Suttle

Summary: When Shiloh volunteers to watch her friend’s bookstore for a few days, she doesn’t expect anything exciting to happen. But when she finds a strange book on the shelf– a book filled with erotic drawings and strange symbols– she unknowingly unlocks a sexually-charged dark magic spell. Liam and Elijah, online friends who explore the paranormal, are called into the town to help, and get drawn into the sexual energy of the summoning with Shiloh.

My Thoughts: This novella is basically just a PWP– porn without plot. Or rather, there is a plot, but the plot exists solely to create as much erotica as possible, with little care given to anything else. Not that this is a bad thing! The erotica was pretty damn smokin’, and the three characters are gorgeous together.

The TV went on and, barring the fact they were naked, being hunted by a demon and relative strangers, it was totally normal.

Yeah, that about sums it up. Three strangers come together because of a magical sex spell, and can’t resist the attraction between them. A lot of sex follows. But honestly, I didn’t have a problem with the fact that this was just an erotica short novel.

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Review: Kneel, Mr. President, by Lauren Gallagher (Rating: 4.5/5)

Kneel, Mr. President, by Lauren Gallagher
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (June 9, 2015)
Page Count: approx. 300 pages
Genre: Threesome (M/F/M) Romance

Cover Artist: Angela Waters

Cover Artist: Angela Waters

Short & Sweet: Take one stressed-out President, an extremely worried First Lady, and a head of Secret Service who will do anything to protect the man he secretly loves. Mix with a generous amount of BDSM and sex. Shake well. Twenty years ago, James and Kent were friends-with-benefits when they were in the Navy SEALs together, but James has since moved on to marry his love, Carlene, and is now President of the USA. Kent sticks as close as he can, sworn to protect James with his own life if need be. But when the stress of an impending war starts to take its toll on James, Carlene comes to Kent with an… unusual solution.

My Thoughts: Whew, you’re going to need a glass of ice water when you finish this one! I wish that I’d known going in that Lauren Gallagher writes under some very familiar pen names (L.A. Witt/Lori A. Witt), because then I would have known what to expect here and could have prepared myself for this incredibly well-written, scorching hot story!

James is cracking at the edges, and his wife, Carlene, is terrified that her husband is going to end up broken or worse– dead. In the middle of the night, when he’s tossing and turning, James calls one name over and over, and it’s not his wife’s… it’s Kent’s. But Carlene is desperate to help, so she proposes something to Kent that scares both of them: carte blanche for Kent to do whatever he needs to keep James from going over the edge.

“You two have a history.” She broke eye contact and glared out at the forest. “Go back to that history if you have to.”
“Our hist–” Kent blinked a few times. “Are you… are you asking me…”
“Sleep with my husband?”
He gulped and then nodded slowly.
Carlene squared her shoulders and lifted her chin slightly, still staring down the trees. “If that’s what it takes, then yes.” (ePub page 12)

It doesn’t take long for Kent to realize that what James needs is more than just sex; he needs to let go, to be dominated, and to forget about the weight of the world on his shoulders for a while.

This novel is fairly light on the actual kink, but heavy on the emotional power exchange. Kent and Carlene form an uneasy truce to dominate James, and for Carlene to learn from Kent’s own experience as a Dom. But there’s no sado-masochism or bondage here, just James’ desperate need to have someone controlling him. And Kent is more than happy to take up the role, even believing that their arrangement can never be anything more than temporary.

Because there was nothing in the universe hotter than a man with that much power getting down on his knees. Kneeling at Kent’s feet, completely focused on obedience and surrender and beautiful submission– willingly and gratefully offering up the most profound power exchange Kent had ever experienced. (ePub page 192-193)

And let’s not forget how amazing Carlene was! So often in these types of novels, the female is an after-thought, or isn’t treated as equal to the main characters. But Carlene was a strong, realistic character who was never dismissed in favor of Kent and James. She was loving, jealous, confused, everything a woman in that situation would be. And it was almost painful at times to read about Kent, long-suffering and self-sacrificing, showing his love for James in the only way he can. But James was the lynchpin, holding everything together, and loving both his wife and his best friend equally.

As a bonus, I like that James was definitively stated as being bisexual. He wasn’t just straight with a one-off for his best friend; there’s actually an entire scene where James discusses his bisexuality, and how he discovered what that meant.

I blazed through this novel in a single sitting. I literally couldn’t put it down, because I was so wrapped up in these characters and their emotional journey. It wasn’t just James’ discovery of his submissive tendencies, or Carlene’s desire to help her husband heal… it was the three lovers on a journey to come together in one relationship.

Despite the rather cheesy title, this was definitely one smokin’ hot, brilliantly-written novel!