Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Power Exchange by AJ Rose

TITLE: Power Exchange
PUBLISHER: Voodoo Lily Press
RATED: 5/5 Hearts

From the moment Detective Gavin DeGrassi steps into the world of BDSM to solve the brutal slaying of Dom George Kaiser, his course is not his own. Mesmerized by the context in which the victim lived and the images of the lifestyle seared into his soul, Gavin must find a way to navigate these unknown waters. With his personal life in upheaval due to marital trouble, and his professional life uncertain with the assignment of a new partner, Gavin needs all the help he can get understanding the case.
Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and a well known Dom. With Ben’s help as a consultant and attention to Gavin’s own murky truths, Gavin delves deeper than he ever thought he would into the world of restraints and paddles. Forced to scrutinize his true nature and his innermost desires, Gavin has a choice: keep the fear of submitting at bay, or dive in and solve the case with the knowledge he gains. When another victim is discovered, Gavin’s choice is made for him, and he’s pulled headlong into the deepest, most emotional journey of his life.
Unfortunately for him and Ben, a killer has noticed, has taken stock, and has set his sights on the D/s pair. Can Gavin outwit him, or will his first exchange of power be his last?

Apparently it is small press/ self publish month here at Smoocher's Voice, AND men's month. Not that I'm complaining. This is the 4th great book I've had the opportunity to review this month. As most of the reviews on this blog are, this came as an author request. I'd never read Mr. Rose's work before, but the cover certainly had me intrigued.

I loved the character Gavin, from the beginning of the book, and loved the way that the relationship builds between him and Ben. I liked that it was obvious that a lot of research went into this book. It was knowledgeable about the BDSM lifestyle. It made it very easy to understand why some people are drawn to it, and why Gavin in particular was.

I was impressed with this novel. BDSM books are a guilty pleasure. I love to read them even when they are somewhat awful. This was a meaty story that was much more than an excuse to write kinky sex. These characters have thoughts and feelings, fears and aspirations. They also have a great capacity to love.

The case of this brutal slaying opened an entirely different world for Gavin, and Ben was there to help him navigate the unfamiliar waters. What starts off as a professional consultation eventually develops into much more. I can't express how much I enjoyed being able to go along for the journey with Gavin and Ben. This type of book isn't for everyone, but I do feel that its a good "starter" book for someone that might perhaps be interested in this genre, but are looking for an actual story and not just sex scene after sex scene.

I really have no complaints about this novel. I also really loved a few other things about the book, but it would totally spoil the end if I told. I look forward to reading future works by Mr. Rose, and seeing more work published by Voodoo Lily Press.

If you want to pick up the novel:

Buy: Power Exchange at Swashwords for $4.99. Available in multiple formats.
Buy: Power Exchange at Amazon for $4.99. Kindle format.
Buy: Power Exchange at All Romance Ebooks for $4.99!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: One Boy's Shadow by Ross A. McCoubrey

TITLE: One Boy's Shadow

AUTHOR: Ross A. McCoubrey

PUBLISHER: iUniverse 

Rated: 5/5 Hearts

Fifteen-year-old Caleb Mackenzie doesn’t put up a fight when his father announces the family is moving to Stapeton, Nova Scotia. In fact, Caleb looks forward to a fresh start in the scenic little area. Their new home, Wakefield House, sports large rooms, a big barn where Caleb can work on cars, and acres of forested land for privacy. But it also has a troubling past. In 1943, a boy who lived in the home vanished.

Caleb hears the stories about what may have occurred so many years ago, but he passes them off as folklore until one day he’s alone in the woods and hears the faintest whisper. Did someone in the distance just call his name? And what about his discovery in the hayloft? Could there be something to those old stories after all?

The initial need to dismiss everything as coincidence becomes a soul-searching journey into the past where Caleb is determined to uncover the truth about what really happened to the missing boy. And in the process, he learns even more about himself and what’s really important.

Set in Nova Scotia, Ross McCoubrey, penned a young adult coming of age tale all wrapped up in a mystery that is decades old. When Caleb's parents decided to purchase Wakefield House, he quickly made friends with Shane, a boy his age that tells him of the home's mysterious past. Shane tells the story of a young man who disappears into the woods, never to be found again. 

Caleb and Shane were fast friends, that grow into more. As they discover their awakening feelings for each other, and they deal with what that means, with their friends, family and each other, they are also searching to find the answers to what happened to young Tobey Everett. 

Throughout the story you really come to know Shane, Caleb, and Tobey. You get to know some of the fears and issues that coming out as a young gay person an be. The fears that the people that love and are for you would turn their backs over something you cannot control. It was a beautifully crafted story, about what's important, about falling in love and about holding on to  the important things. You also find out what hate can do, and how vicious it can be. 

I really can't tell you how much I loved this story. It goes to show that you don't need explicit sex scenes to make a novel (not that I am opposed to those because I like them.. a lot) This is a story I'd recommend to anyone. I'd encourage any teen to read it.

You may purchase the book at:

or at

You can find Ross on Facebook and Twitter

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Three of Swords by Theo Fenraven

TITLE: Three of Swords
AUTHOR: Theo Fenraven
PUBLISHER: Voodoo Lily Press
RATED: 4.5/5 Hearts


An old houseboat, a hot young guy, a couple of murders, and more mysterious keys than you can shake a stick at: this is what awaits Gray Vecello after his grandfather, Graham, is killed picking up high blood pressure pills.

A letter Graham left behind sends Gray and his unexpected ally, Cooper Key, on a journey downriver in an attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding an unknown treasure. On the way, they encounter both friends and enemies, one of whom will target Gray and Cooper for death. One thing working in Gray’s favor: he has the sight, just as Graham had, but will it be enough to save them both?

First book of the Precog in Peril series. 


I really enjoyed this book, which kind of surprised me because I tend to be extremely critical of paranormal/magic type books. The reason for this is that I cut my teeth on Anne Rice, Stephen King, Stan Lee, Chris Claremont, George Lucas, Warren Ellis among many many others. Suffice to say I'm picky. Theo Fenraven is a new author to me, and this is the first time I've read any of his work. When he asked me to review, I didn't bother reading the blurb or the excerpt that he sent me. I prefer to jump right in and form my own opinion without any outside influence. To be honest I don't like the blurb, and it is likely that had I read it, it would have lowered my expectations. In other words.. the blurb is NOT the book. 

I love how Gray gets over misconceptions about his grandfather as the story progresses. I love that the character took a chance and stepped out of the box, although I do believe that perhaps the characters believed a little to easily, but then there was a lot flying at them. My favorite was the poise of the character, Cooper. For his young age, he seemed more world wise than Gray. I also liked the fact that the author brought a little bit of awareness to adult illiteracy. 

I have no major complaints about this book. Minor things that are personal preference, but really in no way reflects upon the author. I'm not a huge fan of first person, but it was really well written. This was a unique story, in that I've never read a similar scenario. I really liked that. I also really like the unique setting of the houseboat. It was a great little mystery. :

All in all, I liked the little world that Theo Fenraven created, and I look forward to the second book Knight of Wands which will be coming this holiday season. 

You can purchase Three of Swords at:


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: Afflicted by Brandon Shire

Title: Afflicted

Author: Brandon Shire
Release date: September 15, 2012  Well, lucky people, Brandon decided to release early, so here is the Amazon link: Purchase Afflicted

Rated: 5/5 hearts  


A high priced male escort and a blind gay man meet by chance. What ensues is a hot, steamy romance by two men looking for something more than a one night stand. But can they reach beyond their own insecurities to grasp what they really desire?

Set in modern day Atlanta, Brandon Shire takes us on a journey of discovery. Hunter is a blind gay man, and he hooks up with high priced escort Dillon in a chance meeting. Never expecting to see Dillon again, Hunter is definitely thinking about him. Out of the blue Dillon shows back up at Hunter's to give him a refund, and it was the start of something wonderful. There is a subplot concerning Hunter's mother, which definitely throws some twists in there.  I love this author's ability to make you connect with the characters and feel what they are feeling. sorrow, loneliness. I loved how he described everything from Hunter's point of view. Being non-sighted, it is a completely different take on how he perceives the world. One of the things I love most about Shire's characters is that they are horribly flawed. These are not nice perfect men just looking for a chance at love. These men have had difficulties, and personality issues, trust issues. They are imperfect heroes all the way through. They don't know how wonderful they are, and they certainly have a hard time believing anyone else finds them wonderful.

I am a huge fan of Mr. Shire's work. (if you've read my review of Listening to Dust, you know that.. if you haven't.. go read it now) When he said he was penning a HEA story, I was worried. I told him I was worried. I shouldn't have been worried. Yes, this is a step out of the box compared to his other work, but its a great book, and definitely worth the read. (Plus the sex scenes are HOT!) I connected with all the characters, I loved his descriptions of places and people... I only have one complaint...  Cliffhanger... if there were not a sequel coming then I definitely would have taken some points off. I am very much looking forward to Afflicted 2.

Now to pick up Afflicted, you'll have to wait until September 15th. In the mean time, go read the excerpt here

P.S. When you purchase Mr. Shire's books, 10% goes to help LGBT Youth Charities. Great books AND you are helping a great cause!