a tasting smorgasbord

When I realised I had about six books people wanted me to taste, I thought why not pig out and take a bite out of the lot of ‘em. (FYI – This is still me NOT being lazy.)

Feast and be merry, my invisible friends.

Longhorns by Victor J Banis (for Tracy & Lily)

Why I bought it: Love VJB. Love. Him.


Dislike~ I still cringe in an ‘ouch that’s gotta hurt but not in a dub con’ way when it comes to VJB’s sex scenes. However, it does work within the context of the story and in relation to the characters. That is, it’s believable.

Like~ VJB is such a terrific storyteller. I find his work has a great, gritty realism to it. I‘ve also yet to meet a character of his that didn’t engage me in some way.

So, what I think: A must for VJB and for cowboy fans.

Happy Ending by L B Gregg (for Tracy & Jen)

Why I bought it: Liked Gobsmacked and thought I’d try another. 🙂


Dislike~ I did think the ending was a little rushed and I also guessed whodunit, yet neither of these issues really impacted my overall enjoyment of this book.

Like~ Awesome opening scene. LBG is very good at grabbing the reader’s attention from the outset and pulling them along for the ride.

So, what I think: Those who liked Gobsmacked will enjoy this one too, although don’t expect it to be as LOL funny as the first because it has more serious themes.

Collared: Turquoise and Leather by Kim Dare (for Tracy & Lily)

Why I bought it: I was browsing at Total-E-Bound and this looked interesting.


Dislike~ I’m a reader who is always happy to be convinced by a HFN ending, but I’m not sure I really believe one where an experienced dom hooks up with a green sub, who, despite being hesitant at first, is willing to consider being collared by the next morning. Hmm…

Like~ Regardless of the above, I found this new-to-me author extremely readable and the novella had very good pacing, which is pretty important for me, especially in a short read.

So, what I think: I bought two other shorts by this author at the same time I got this and I admit that I preferred them. Of these, my fave was Gaydar. I was much more satisfied by the characters and the HFN so would suggest you go for this one if you want a taste of this author.

To Hate and To Hold by Dakota Rebel (for Tam & Lily)

Why I bought it: The cruising at Total-E-Bound thing.


Dislike~ Predictable. Not bad, but for me… meh-ish.

Like~ The main thing I liked about this was the worldbuilding. It offered something a little different for the readers of m/m paranormal romance.

So, what I think: I think this is for fans of this author and for fangbangers (points to those who get this reference).

Carey’d Away by J M Snyder (for Tam)

Why I bought it: It was a pressie from someone who knows I like this author. *blushes*


Dislike~ I realise one of the main characters, Patrick, was very shy, but I was still vaguely uncomfortable by the way Carey (of Carey-d Away fame) insisted on sexually teasing him in front of his friends. Perhaps the prude in me was coming out?? *ponders*

Like~ It’s J M Snyder. Writing = good.

So, what I think: For those in the mood for a short, sexy hook up story.

Freeman by Clare London (for Jen)

Why I bought it: Clare London is pretty much an auto buy for me. *g*


Dislike~ This is more of a warning to those readers who prefer their characters to be more palatable. I was going to say that neither of the protags (Freeman nor Kit) are very likeable; however, on reflection, I think it was more their actions that some might find objectionable. Kit especially seems to be a very immature and selfish person. Still, his character grows as the plot develops and by the end of the story the reader is left feeling he had redeemed himself.

Like~ I LOVED the gritty, British underworld feel to this book with its dark and seedy setting, unrepentant cast of characters and the murky convergence of their past and present lives. It was a very engrossing read and I gobbled it up trying to find out what would happen next.

So, what I think: This is an excellent story; great writing, terrific characters and a wonderful, twisty plot. I would highly recommend Freeman.


‘Tasting’ is my version of a mini-review where I talk a (very) little about what I liked and disliked about a book as well as who I think the story will appeal to. Oh, and I’ve added a bit about why I picked up the book in the first place – sometimes this can be interesting to know.

About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
This entry was posted in clare london, Dakota Rebel, j m snyder, Kim Dare, L B Gregg, m/m, tasting, Victor J Banis. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to a tasting smorgasbord

  1. I’ve read more than a few of those. Fangbangers? You a Sookie fan?

  2. Lily says:

    I’ve a few of these in my TBR, thanks for tasting them. Looks like I’ll pretty much enjoy reading them when I get to them :)Lol on the fangbangers!!

  3. Tam says:

    I liked to Hate and to Hold although I couldn’t believe someone (a character) though the whole concept was a great idea, especially that it was his mother. Right. Thank god my Mom doesn’t love me like that. LOLAs I commented on Wave’s blog I found Carey’d Away annoying. That’s what friends are like? Damn. I think I’ll stick with enemies who treat me better. There being snarky and funny and there’s being out and out mean. Didn’t hate it but I found it hard to love it because I was so annoyed with the behaviour. I want to check out Happy Endings but not sure Freeman is my cup of tea nor cowboys right now. I’m kind of off cowboys, especially historical ones. Oh I also liked Gaydar but not sure enough to pursue this other especially as you said it really didn’t turn your crank. (so to speak)

  4. Jenre says:

    Yep, your thoughts and mine pretty much tallied again. The psychic connection still going strong after the slight hiccup a few weeks ago.

  5. Kris says:

    Hey EmmyI’m a fan of the books, but not of the tv adaptation, which in the words of that famous kitteh suck big fat GINORMOUS hairy donkeys ballz. They friggin killed and CH is part of the writing team?? W. T. F! /rant

  6. Kris says:

    You are very welcome, Lily. 🙂 Most of the ones you wanted tasting are good reads and any issues I had with them may not be, well, issues for you. Fangbangers. *snort* I think I’ve coined a new term for fans of vamp fic. LOL.

  7. Kris says:

    Morning TamI didn’t not like “To Hate and To Hold”, but I didn’t love it. The writing, etc was decent. It was just that I could see some of the things coming a mile away and, as you noted, there were a couple of moments and outcomes where the reader had to suspend disbelief.One of the other issues I had with “Carey’d Away” was the friends thing. After all of the teasing and making fun, I was absolutely astonished that Patrick ended up wanting to have a set of friends like Carey. Umm, why???Out of all of them I would recommend “Freeman”. I reckon you would like it, Tam, if you did get it.

  8. Kris says:

    Tune in, Jen. What am I thinking now??

  9. Anonymous says:

    MMmmm… Fangbangers

    That would be the boy child’s word, would it not?

  10. K. Z. Snow says:

    Love these little niblets, Kris. They’re definitely worth considering when the time comes to tally up all opinions and tackle that cosmic question, <>To buy or not to buy?<>Fangbangers? Hey, some of my characters might take umbrage at that term! 🙂

  11. Kris says:

    Nope, Mumma. It’s a word he has willfully appropriated from elsewhere. He thinks it’s funny. *rolls eyes* Boys can be so stoopid.

  12. Kris says:

    “To buy or not to buy?” That is THE question. LOL.

    Glad you like ’em, K Z. It’s a lot less angsty (for me at least 🙂 ) way of getting to what I think are the pluses and minuses of a book.

    Umbrage at fangbangers?? Are they or are they not the bangers of folk with fangs ?? Take Tole and Ridley… yes, please! *nudge, nudge wink, wink*

  13. Clare London says:

    Hi Kris
    I really LIKE your short tasters – there’s more info and opinion in them than in many people’s long-winded “blurb ‘n’ review” *lol*. I like the way you give a snapshot of what you liked and disliked – it’s interesting to me as a potential reader, and also I think it mirrors the way many of us feel about a book when we’ve read it. We have an emotional reaction: ‘that was WOW, and that was BLEAHH’. LOL You can tell I’m tired this early UK morning and not at my most coherent.

    Thanks for the great recommendation for Freeman and I’m very glad the book worked for you. That means a lot to me.

    Now back to my vampire short story. Your ‘fangbangers’ has an eerie relevance to me this morning…LOL

  14. K. Z. Snow says:

    Kris, there’s another fangbanger … and he’s in the book coming out on Monday. Heh-heh.

    And as for <>Freeman<>? BUY IT, guys! My stamp of approval is all over that quietly eloquent, groundbreaking book. (And a stamp of approval is preferable to jam-coated fingers, eh?)

    The Fossil

  15. Kris says:

    Here a fangbanger, there a fangbanger, everywhere fangs and banging.

    Thanks Clare. Sometimes when I’m reading a review I feel like the person should just skip to the chase and tell us what they liked and what they didn’t about a book – similar to what Emmy does in her ‘bottom line up front’.

    I LOVED “Freeman”; both the book and the character. I felt like I was in the middle of a Micheal Caine or a Jason Staham movie. It was great. *GRIN*

  16. Kris says:

    Depends on the jam, The Fossil. Is it plum?? Cos that’s my favouritest.

  17. orannia says:

    Thank you Kris!

    <>The cruising at Total-E-Bound thing.<>Total-E-Bound? *looks pleadingly at Kris for an explanation and tries to cover up the ‘spot-the-newbie t-shirt*

  18. Kris says:

    *snort* Do we need to sit down and have THE TALK, Orannia??

    Total-E-Bound is one of the romance ebook publishers (http://www.total-e-bound.com/). They also sell via ebookstores such as Fictionwise, Books on Board (I think), etc.

    The bookstore I tend to shop at is All Romance eBooks because (being a cheap skate, although not as skinflintish as Jen) I get a freebie for every 10 books I buy. The link for ARe is http://www.allromanceebooks.com/.

  19. Tracy says:

    Great tastes!

    Now see, I enjoyed LB Gregg’s Happy Ending more than Gobsmacked. Something about Seth’s pov really got me I think.

  20. Kris says:

    Hey Tracy

    I think I liked “Gobsmacked” more because of the humour, but the characters in “Happy Ending” appealled more.

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