Thursday, November 8, 2012

Minis: Romance Suspense, Erotic Romance, M/M Romance

Here are my reactions to some of the books I read in October in my favorite short, quick mini-impressions format. They are featured in order of books read, and as you'll see below my grades fluctuate from a solid B to D+'s for these seven reads. Genres included are romance suspense, erotic romance, m/m romance and m/m romance suspense.

Black Ice (Ice #1) by Anne Stuart: What happened between this book and me? Well, I loved the suspense/thriller aspect of the book but didn't enjoy the romance. Why? Well I question whether there's consent from the heroine during the first sexual encounter. The hero is overwhelmingly cold and for most of the story is thinking how or when he will or might kill the heroine. Not very romantic. Stuart's heroine mentions and dismisses Stockholm syndrome as a reason for her feelings throughout the story, however that's the only way I see this woman falling in love with this man. The fact that she's a bit on the clueless side and her judgment seems to be impaired so that her actions magnify the danger do not help. This suspense/thriller romance would have worked really well for me without the romance though. If this couple had walked away from each other at the end, I would have been better satisfied because in my opinion Stuart can write some exciting, thrilling suspense and action scenes. Grade: C-

Old Poison (Dangerous Ground #2) by Josh Lanyon: I enjoyed the second book in the Dangerous Ground series by Josh Lanyon more than the first book! It has one of the best "happy birthday" bedroom scenes I've read in any book. *g* There's a good mixture of romantic and erotic scenes, as well as suspense and action. There are a few incidental details that I found out of place, but overall Old Poison is a solid, enjoyable gay romance/mystery suspense. As a result of liking this one, I will definitely read the next book of this series.  Grade B

Everything Changes (Alex Kennedy 1.5) by Megan Hart: A look at events that happened in Hart's Tempted from Alex's point of view. Written in broad strokes without much detail and very little emotion, this short piece didn't do much for me personally except to reiterate my initial thoughts about Jamie and Anne as two self-centered people who use and hurt Alex to please themselves. This is a sad story that I did not find erotic, nor does it showcase Hart's talent for rendering detail.  Note that the cover featuring two males is extremely misleading. I cannot recommend this novella as a standalone read, nor to first-time readers of Hart's works. However, I would say that this book is a "must" read for fans of the narrator, Alex, and the book Tempted. Grade: C-

Pressure Head by J. L. Merrow: I liked this romance between a man with psychic abilities and the bully who made his life a misery in high school. Merrow has a flair for featuring characters who are very different from each other and selling a happy ending, but this romance did not quite convince me in the end -- too much unresolved anger on both sides and not enough time to resolve all the issues to make this relationship work, made the happy ending questionable for me. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery the main characters solve together. An average read by this talented author. Grade: C

All Roads Lead To You by Harper Fox: I do enjoy a good gay romance by Harper Fox, unfortunately this was not it. Set in Italy, in my opinion this story about a model-turned-rent boy and his first love-turned-mafia boss tried too hard. It had a pretty unbelievable plot line with too many different conflicts going on at the same time and little room for development due to the short format. A good premise never realized. Grade D+

Heart Trouble Josh Lanyon: I love Josh Lanyon, but for me Heart Trouble turned out to be a surprisingly incomplete, outdated, and underdeveloped short story (very short), lacking in both detail and real emotion or connection between the two main characters. There is no happy ever after (which I don't usually mind), instead the story ends with the beginning of what might be a relationship. Why? I don't know. I didn't really understand when these two men 'clicked' with each other. A solid writer, Lanyon doesn't usually receive low grades from me, unfortunately I can't really recommend this story. Grade: D+

Perfect Day Josh Lanyon: Perfect Day is another very short story by Lanyon. This romance features the breakup between a man in love with a lover who lost his partner and is still grieving. In this short story, Lanyon successfully establishes an emotional connection between reader and narrator, but unfortunately there is an unlikely happy ending brought about or influenced by rather contrived circumstances. Grade: C-

That's the end to my minis, hope you enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Question: I love writing mini-impressions or mini-reviews. Do you enjoy reading mini-reviews? Or do you prefer the long, extended version of reviews with all the details and spoilers? 


  1. I like minis. I like long reviews, too. Sometimes a quick synopsis and a grade is enough to tell me if I'll be interested in the book or not. I don't need an in-depth description all the time. You should do what suits you :)

    1. Phyl, me too! I love writing minis, but there are times when I don't seem to find enough words to review a book! Those are the real long ones. LOL! Writing long or short all come with my mood, I guess. I do read and enjoy both...

  2. I like both, but it's nice to have a mini post occasionally - you can cover more books that way and it's a nice change. Sometimes, I just want to skim over the books and hit the high (or low) points.

    1. I agree, Jen! For me, minis make for a nice change of pace. Other times, I can just say what I want to say in a paragraph and don't have the need to expand -- a mini is sufficient. It's a comfort thing. :)

  3. I like your mini-reviews!

    I love Lanyon's Dangerous Ground novellas - I'm a sucker for angst, and there is quite a bit of that in these stories.

    Harper Fox has a tendency to go for OTT plotlines - sometimes they work, sometimes they don't (she just released a new story, BTW, which I really quite liked).

    On the last three self-published shorts, I think they were over-priced for what they were (admittedly I passed on the fourth once I found out story length). While it is obviously the author's prerogative to set their own prices for their self-published works (and I understand the royalty structure for Amazon discourages cheap pricing), I'd much rather them release a collection of short stories for a slightly higher price than sell individuals at a price comparable to what I'd pay for a novella.


    1. Oh good! I enjoy writing them, Li.

      I'm going to have to re-read the first book in the Dangerous Ground series by Lanyon. I don't know what happened there for me... maybe I read it at the wrong time? I really liked this second one!

      RE: Harper Fox, I agree about the OTT plotlines, so far the ones I've read have worked for me. This one? Not at all. I'll have to check out her latest though, thanks for the heads up. :)

      I absolutely agree that the JL's self-pub'd shorts are waaayyy over-priced! I took a chance on them because I love the author and don't mind the length if the story is a great one. Unfortunately, that was not the case this time and the risk didn't pay off for me. But, you make a great point, a collection where readers expect excellent, great, good, and not so good stories, would have been a great place for these shorts. :)


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