Boys and Beasts

THE CELLAR by Richard Laymon

This is another book in the Beast House series. No, not series, because they didn’t rely on each other; instead they have similar themes of ugly, vicious beasts with an over-the-top sexuality. I can’t help but wonder if Laymon wants to make a point about humanity, or is he simply trying to scare us?

When Donna learns her ex-husband has been freed from jail – after serving his sentence for raping their young daughter – she grabs young Sandy and flees. She wrecks the car in the same sleepy little town that is home to the Beast House, a carnival-like attraction known for the hideous murders throughout its past.

The lone survivor of the Beast is haunted by the memories decades later. When he hires Jud to help him hunt the beast, their paths cross with Donna and Sandy and, together, the foursome face down the violence in Donna’s ex and the one in the Beast House.

My only complaint about this story is the last chapter, the final resolution, that is the last few pages after the beast and Jud have their showdown (and I won’t spoil anything for you there – certainly, if you’ve read Laymon, you have an idea of what kind of beast Jud will find). The wrap up seemed tacked on and anti-climatic. I say this because it doesn’t suit the story or the characters. The rest of the story was well worth reading however, so I will be adding Laymon to my TBR pile again soon.

MALE CALL by Denise Agnew

I’m starting to lose interest in anything marked as a Kindle Freebie. At first I thought this would be a good idea for my own stuff (once I manage to start publishing some of that crap anyway) but now I have my doubts.

Agnew starts off with a premise that should be interesting, but quickly lost me with mundane things that should’ve been edited out or slipped in with subtlety. The story start with Eve debating on going to a “male review show” and then bolts into a plotline that is little more than the exchange of letters between her and Sean, a computer geek deployed in Iraq. After a dozen pages, the connection between the revue (by the way Agnew, when referring to a theatrical show it’s spelled revue) and the letters between her and Sean still did not exist and the transitional sentences between letters would be better off left out completely for all the help (aka damage) they did. The letters themselves didn’t propel the story forward quick enough to keep my attention as a reader.

I’m sorry to say, I didn’t make my quota of fifty pages before quitting on this one. There was both too much and not enough going on and none of it was connected enough to be interesting. I’m glad this one was free because I’d have been disappointed if I spent even a single dollar on it.

DARK ANGEL by GA Hauser

Here we have yet another freebie from the vast stores of the M/M world. Quite often freebies can entice readers to buy books they might not otherwise read. Other times, this strategy backfires, like today. While I have heard that Hauser has some great stories out there, I wasn’t impressed with DARK ANGEL. The story opened in the middle of a conversation between vampire, Daniel, and Jayden, who we never learn anything about other than Daniel doesn’t want to talk to him and he can vanish into thin air.

Daniel is the typical broken vampire with a burning, insatiable hunger and the cold-heartedness of centuries of murder for survival. Hauser takes the time to introduce his history but she doesn’t take any to introduce romance, or even lust. The heat level in this story is zero and, when Daniel finally meets his match, he immediately decides he can try out his first emotion and maybe even fall in love, but his match is nothing but a player – a different kind of predator. There is no spark, nothing in either man to convince me that Daniel should give an iota of a damn, let alone let down his guard to fall in love.

While it was written as such in Daniel’s voice, this wasn’t HEA, or even an ending at all. This story read more like a couple of chapters in the middle of a larger work. This is distracting enough, but then add in the glaring formatting errors and it’s not surprising that I had difficulty suspending disbelief for this short story.

If Hauser has something better, please let me know. I’d like to see something that lives up to what I’ve heard of her boys.

NASHVILLE HEAT by Bethany Michaels

This is a rare choice for me, as NASHVILLE HEAT  is an M/F erotic romance. Overall, the sex scenes were steamy but the push and pull of the two lovers got annoying after a while. I suspect, this is expected by romance fans since so many of these books do this. Me, I find it interesting until about halfway through and then I want to strangle the heroine because I already figured out how the story will end even if she doesn’t seem capable of doing so herself.

For boy-girl romance, yes, Michaels knows her stuff. If you’ve been here before, you know this genre isn’t my first choice, but I do pick them up for a chance of pace and a quick read. So, my not-quite-glowing discussion of NASHVILLE HEAT is actually a good review. I did enjoy most of the story and me wanting to slap the heroine is par for the course. I do admit that the setting wasn’t my thing, but it was interesting as portrayed – Nashville, country music, and a sexy, handsome cowboy singer. I hate country music, but Michaels did a great job setting up the scene for a young girl trying to make it big in Nashville. Her passion for musical talent and for the city is evident in her prose.

I did skip the last sex scene because, though it served a purpose, it came right after a steamy encounter in a bathroom. I skimmed it to get to the resolution. I usually prefer to reread the good smut, but this one after all of the others, didn’t sit right with me. Call me a whore for the quickies, because I loved those encounters each time the heroine met her cowboy star. If you like M/F erotic romances, check out NASHVILLE HEAT. It’s a quick, steamy read with a sexy musical twist.

Coming up soon:

THE SHINING by Stephen King
BODY & SOUL by Jordan Castillo Price
THE SURGEON by Tess Gerritsen
The CONQUEROR WORMS by Brian Keene

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