18% Gray by Anne Tenino

18% Gray by Anne Tenino
Stars: 4.5/5 (Practically a 5 though)

In a future where the United States has split along party lines, Agent Matt Tennimore’s job is to get people out of the Confederated Red States, whether they’re captured special ops agents from his own country or gay CRS citizens who’ve petitioned for asylum. He never expected to have to retrieve his high school crush, aka the guy who ostracized him for being gay.

Rescuing James Ayala isn’t going to be easy: he’s crawling with tracking nanos and has a cybernetic brain implant that’s granted him psychic power he isn’t sure how to control. That’s the good news. The bad? The implant is compromising James’s mental stability.

So they’re on the run, avoiding surveillance by AI aircraft and hiding from enemy militia. Then James confesses he tormented Matt in high school because James wanted him. Matt can’t resist the temptation James offers, but he wants so much more than sex, assuming they ever make it home alive. Is James really a good bet when he’s got a ticking time bomb in his brain and there’s the question of how much he’s actually changed?

This novel is two stories structured like DNA strands, all tangled together. Half the story is how Matt is going to help James get out of the Red States, the struggles they face, James' brain implant, and lots of running, jumping, climbing trees (or hiding in ditches). The other half of the story is Matt and James' relationship, building up and mending from their high school days, and dealing with the feelings--both emotional and physical--that pass between them. What I loved about this novel is the excellent blending of the two parts, so things never overbalanced on either end and we never wondered when the other half of the story was going to progress.

The writing, story, pacing, characters and, well, just about everything was really good. Even the "weaknesses" are pretty flimsy. Although this novel didn't dig into my emotions and rip out my heart, and it didn't amaze me into speechlessness, it was an excellent, amazing novel that deserves a read from just about everyone. Really loved it.

What grabbed me right off the bat was the creativity of the promised story. While the romance plays a pivotal role, there is so much more. The world development was detailed and exact, to the point where I could almost imagine everything they were discussing, even if the tools they were using weren't described, the way the characters used those tools told me enough. Everything was balanced, too, so the world building never overwhelmed, although at times it did take center stage.

The plot was pretty wonderful, although it could be summed up in one sentence (Guy A goes into enemy territory and extracts Guy B.). Of course there is more than that one sentence reveals, but the fact that the plot is pretty clear cut makes the unraveling all that more amazing. While the characters (and their motivations) really drive the story, this isn't what I would call character-centric, as their task keeps this a pretty action-packed story.

The journey through the desert could easily fall apart as boring, but strong writing and wise author decisions kept the story moving at a good pace and interesting. In addition, several times Tenino sets up the potential for the classic Misunderstanding or I'm Doing This For Your Own Good, but instead of sinking into that hole, she has her characters actually talk, which further develops them, helps the story move along, and shows that people can struggle with emotions without the Big Misunderstanding being the cause.

The characters were both interesting, fun, with rough edges and soft squishy centers. Although they both “fell in love” rather quickly (not fast enough to ping my insta-love radar, especially under the circumstances), I felt their internal and external struggles were handled well and thoroughly explored these characters. Matt is snarky and a little jaded, but not jaded enough to hold a grudge forever. James is dealing with some heavy duty issues (whole chip in brain thing), but doesn't obsess (too much) about it. They both are fighting to be their best for each other without being someone they aren't. The feeling of them being “average Joes” when they so obviously aren't was refreshing.

This novel poked a pet peeve, but it didn't bother me as much as normal for a few reasons: 1) there was a pretty good reason behind it and 2) it was so well-written overall that I can forgive it. The peeve? Point of view switching. The whole novel is Matt or James, and then at the end we suddenly get others, mostly Laslo. (Of course, if there is going to be a sequel, maybe this was prep for it...). There is a good reason behind this, as the other narrators wouldn't be much help at this point, and for all the other things to be shown and not told about later, perspective needed to changed. So I forgive it, even though it's normally a huge No-no for me. Plus, I kind of like Laslo!

The second weakness, which doesn't really count, is that there were enough unanswered questions at the end that made me think there will be a sequel with some of the other characters (Laslo and Logan, yes?). There were a few other very tiny things left unfinished, but I can assume happy endings for those things and really don't want more. But there are a few small things I would have liked wrapped up in passing mention or would like to see developed in a sequel.

The third perceived weakness is the likelihood of two trained military men getting so distracted by one another that they, well, get distracted from their mission. Honestly, I never felt they got too off track from what they were supposed to be doing, and for the most part they saved their relationship things for appropriate times, but some people may get ruffled feathers over that. It didn't bother me, although I obviously noticed it. I think it was the scene against the tree that drove the point home the most.

Requested this book for review.


Daughters of Artemis, an anthology

Daughters of Artemis, an anthology
Stars: 3/5

Werewolf lore has long been dominated by tales of the strong alpha male, but what of the strong alpha females? The Storm Moon Press anthology "Daughters of Artemis" explores this mostly neglected aspect of the werewolf mythos, with an erotic twist.

Note: It's been a long time since I've read lesbian romance, and even when I did, I was very particular about it, favoring romances to erotic tales. Please keep this in mind when considering this review.

Anthologies are always hard to judge, since the writing varies, both based on strength and personal preferences. This anthology was a mix of mediocre and good, with just about every other story being well written. For fans of the genre, this will be an enjoyable dip into several different worlds with varying takes on werewolves and steamy scenes between our heroines. It's worth a shot if these two things push all your buttons, but the stories aren't strong enough on their own to tempt an outsider.

The Fullness That Love Began by Marie Carlson
A story that focuses more on sex than plot, there are several major issues that arise during the story. However, all the Big Deals aren't dealt with by the end, and although it "leaves you hanging," I didn't feel frustrated. It feels like it's the beginning of something bigger, but I wasn't involved with the characters enough to be worried. A bit too sex heavy for my liking, especially as the first in the anthology, but people may feel differently about it.

The Fire of Her Eyes by K. Piet
Starting and ending with action, this story has a nice lull in the center where everything becomes peaceful and domestic, letting the reader see how the characters react in urgent, political, and romantic settings. The difference and variety quickly develop the characters and the bond between the two leading females. Everything flowed nicely and the story was well constructed.

While she is arguably the more secondary of the two characters, since she's not the narrator, Yun stole the show for me. With her quiet strength, awesome ability, and talents, in addition to her blindness, she is very likable. Plus, the sensuality described between the two characters in bed gives the sex scenes a greater purpose than the tawdry. A nice, compact glimpse into this wolf pack.

Luna's Mate by Shashauna P. Thomas
My first impression of this story was that it was going to be humorous because the writing style seemed to focus on the silly: Luna's bad luck and clumsiness. However, it quickly turned darker as Luna is attacked by wolves and her luck just seems to get worse from there. The plot line had great potential as the awkward misfit finds her place in the world after two harrowing encounters.

However, I was never able to really enjoy this story because the writing kept me from sinking into the characters and really being absorbed in their problems and emotions. The writing wasn't bad, but it wasn't smooth enough to let me forget that I was reading. I felt like I was being told more what was happening than being shown it, although things were written in an active voice. Part of the problem could stem from the feeling that this was a larger story clipped into a short, thus it left the author trying to prune facts to be able to fit into it, making some of the writing come across choppy.

To Pierce the Sky by Erik Moore
I'll be honest, I had a little snicker at the title, because sometimes I have the maturity of a twelve-year-old. However, this is a good story, with nice pacing, and interesting if not unimaginative characters. The conflict and resolution are believable and realistic (which I think we can agree are different things when talking about a world with werewolves). Susan also had a character development point that I thought worked well for her history and her character and helped make her more interesting.

The story takes place in a Lakota tribe (of werewolves, of course), and mixes tradition with modern conveniences, as well as doing an excellent job of weaving white and Lakota culture/myths. And since it did make me laugh at first, there was a good reference of the myth in the title. Overall enjoyable.

Protect the Moon by Della R. Buckland
This short action fantasy felt a little too cliche for my tastes, as the (special) big, tough werewolf is sent to protect the (special) new-age witch. Much of the story seemed to happen without much explanation as though it was just a taste of the world, although it didn't really entice me to want more. It read like it was pulled from a table top RPG, from the specificity of clothing and weapons and the set up of the politics to the amount of detail given to the characters' appearances.

The writing was stiff, probably due to the consistently short sentence structure, although I recognize I'm hypersensitive about this. In addition, Jade presented as an innocent woman who is being sucked into a world that's bigger than she thought. Several of her actions in the beginning of the novel take an almost wicked angle once the reader has knowledge of the facts at the end. I didn't like her, didn't trust, and wasn't sure our lead female should trust her either.

Sacrifices by SL Armstrong
The werewolves in this story weren't really werewolves, although wolves were the theme of the group of elves. The culture and society in which this story takes place seems deeply involved, although the reader is only given a glimpse. Although I'd liked to have learned more, I appreciate that the story wasn't burdened with information and the reader is left to make some leaps and fill in some blanks. However, that being said, some clarification on what exactly the characters in the story were would have been helpful. Things were a little too vague at times.

Still, this was an enjoyable story where the main character has to appease her King, her mate, and her pack while also finding her own happiness. While the plot didn't blow me away, the writing was strong and it was a good finish to the anthology. It's also interesting to note that the first and last stories in the group both involve het sex and child bearing.

Received this book for review.


Magic Fingers by Etienne

Magic Fingers by Etienne
Stars: 2/5

David Majors should be looking forward to a long and prosperous life: after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he’s attending college courtesy of Uncle Sam and riding the fast track to success. He’s tall, fit, and good-looking, so shouldn’t the world be his oyster? But underneath his clothes—and beneath the surface—David is a mess of scar tissue and insecurity.

Then he meets Kevin Boxer, another former Army Ranger. Their first night together, Kevin stares David’s scars in the face and doesn’t flinch, instead showering David with the passion and attention he craves but never imagined possible. Slowly but surely, Kevin helps David rebuild his confidence, and the two of them begin to build their life together. But their journey is far from over, and it turns out Kevin may need David to help him heal some scars of his own.

Although this books is promoted as stand alone (part of the Avondale series), I don't think readers who aren't already familiar with the characters from the other Avondale stories will take much from this novel. Although the initial premise is interesting and promises emotional and psychological exploration, the story mainly just follows Kevin and David from their first passionate meeting through to many years later.

The difficulty of finishing the novel is that if you haven't read any of the previous Avondale books, very few, if any, of the characters hold much meaning, so the reader is just guided through everyday life while constantly waiting for something to happen. Nothing does. This may be a good read for fans of Avondale who want to know more about this couple, who I'm guessing make appearances in the other novels (which is why the story got 2 stars instead of 1), but I wouldn't recommend it to the random reader.

This story has a very interesting concept that I was eager to see explored: A man deprived of his manhood in modern day America. I've dealt with similar concepts before, but the social environment was never the same, although certain implications still stood true. In Magic Fingers, David not only has to come to terms with his injury, but he has to face others judging him in a very personal, intimate manner. And until he meets Kevin, he's never come across someone who hasn't walked out. There was a potential for great emotional and psychological depth to be explored here.

The writing wasn't bad, but it did feel a little stiff--or at least not strong enough to make up for the lack of story. It was good enough that I did finish the novel, even though the plot and characters didn't entice me.

This story lacks any real plot line. Although plenty of things happen from beginning to end, none of them are explored thoroughly or as a driving focus of the story, except maybe David's injury. But even that isn't given it's due as while it affects multiple things in the story, it never really goes beyond surface tension. The lack of plot is the biggest weakness of this story as it takes two characters and gives them easy challenges that they always overcome, sometimes with the help of family and friends. The conflicts are always outside sources that are taken care of within a few pages. This read more like a happy dream-fantasy than a novel.

I was also a little disturbed with how David told his father about his injury. Perhaps that shows my own prejudice, but I don't know many sons who would just drop their shorts in front of their father. This was after several other incidents (the party where David first walks around naked in front of other people) that made me feel very disconnected to the characters. They live in a very different world from me and the author never helped me bond with them.

Spoilers below
I think the most frustrating part of this story is that there are so many potential points of interest that could have been developed. David's injury obviously caused him plenty of previous psychological issues, but when Kevin accepts him (instantly) there is little further drama, except when David is expected to walk around nude or tell his family. Potential for emotional/psychological development that was never touched upon.

Kevin's family is pretty messed up, but he's turned out alright, probably due to his great aunt's and grandmother's influences. The book blurb is probably referring to this as the scars that David will help him heal, but these didn't feel like scars so much as scratches from a pricker bush. Band-aids and kisses made them all better.

Finally, they adopt Kevin's nephew, who has abandonment issues, which they talk about and are careful about, but never really need to face. Another potential for developing characters that was left as something that was talked about but never explored.

All these points suffer from the reader being told the story instead of shown it. Even the writing style goes along these lines, as the first person perspective switches between the two leading males as if they are taking turns telling someone their life story. I think this would have worked better if we were shown one major event in their lives instead of being told about all of them.

Requested this book for review.


Movie Reviews for September 17

Note: There will be a lag of movie reviews after this, as my next few Netflix items are all Doctor Who discs, and no one needs reviews of them.

Food of Love - Ventura Pons writes and directs Food of Love, adapting the novel The Tale of Love by David Leavitt, which tells the complex story of a love affair between an 18-year-old man and his much older mentor. Paul (Kevin Bishop) is a music student working as an assistant for classical pianist Richard (Paul Rhys). The two meet in Barcelona and begin a passionate tryst, but they must contend with the disapproval of Paul's mother and Richard's boyfriend.

(rent) If you're familiar with David Leavitt's The Language of Cranes, then the feel of Food of Love will be familiar. While not exactly depressing, the realism of the end result mixed with a surreal plot left me struggling to keep my own head above water. The acting was superb, but most of the characters have few desirable traits, leaving me distant from all of them and the ending did little to endear me, although it was, in a way, satisfactory. While I think it's worth seeing, especially if you enjoy Leavitt's stuff, I wouldn't watch it more than once.

Chef's Special - Obsessed with his chic Madrid restaurant becoming rated in the prestigious Michelin guide, openly gay chef Maxi (Javier Cámara) runs into endless personal problems when his estranged children suddenly reenter his life and a hunky ex-footballer (Benjamín Vicuña) moves in next door. Full of delightful twists and turns, this Spanish romantic comedy co-stars Lola Dueñas, Chus Lampreave and Luis Varela.

(rent/buy) This is a wonderfully classic romantic comedy that had me laughing and groaning in amusement and horror as everything goes from crazy to crazier. The worst part of this movie is that it's subtitled and Spanish, which means it's a pretty fast paced, but not impossible to keep up with and whatever gets missed can be gleaned from body language. I didn't get into this movie immediately, as the main character is bit of a jerk sometimes/most the time and there are plenty of awkward moments, but everyone grew on me and it was a delightful laugh and story.

KM.0 - The love lives of 14 people intersect at the Plaza del Sol in Madrid one day in August. Vignettes include stories of mistaken identity and comedies of error involving people who are both gay and straight -- and everything in between. A young movie director mistakenly gets a ride from a prostitute; a struggling actress goes to desperate measures to impress the wrong director; a woman hires an escort who may be a relative.

(rent) Although this movie didn't grab me right off the bat, it definitely played out well, although it did have a saccharine ending. Sometimes the events are slightly beyond realistic, but if you watch just to watch, it's enjoyable. Not a great movie overall, there are some touching, wonderful moments that made the movie worthwhile for me. The acting ability covers the scale, although overall is good. This is in Spanish, and sometimes things are said very quickly, but the gist of what's going on is easy to follow.

Fogi Is a Bastard - Looking for adventure, 15-year-old Beni (Vincent Branchet) becomes a roadie for a rock band and promptly falls in love with the group's charismatic lead singer, Fogi (Frederic Andrau). Problems arise when Fogi takes advantage of Beni's affections and ushers him into a downward spiral. Drug addiction, sex and drunken excess await the innocent young lad. Writer-director Marcel Gisler helms this coming-of-age film based on the novel by Martin Frank.

(rent) I really don't know what to say about this movie, as it was nothing like I was expecting, not even after reading the above blurb. I kept expecting Fogi to really be a jerk, but aside from a few scenes (involving Beni behaving like a dog and Fogi selling him off), Fogi is mostly just rock-star attitude. This story is a wild ride as Beni immediately falls in love with Fogi and Fogi takes full advantage of that, while also bouncing around loving/needing Beni back. Be prepared for drugs, sex, rock'n'roll, and a touch of puppy-play (which completely surprised me). I think it's worth checking out (with an open mind) but not really owning, unless it speaks to you.

Fish Out of Water - Spurred by director Ky Dickens's own coming-out story, this playfully animated documentary confronts the slippery topic of homosexuality head on, homing in on Bible verses oft-cited as condemnatory and opening them to fresh interpretation. A cartoon narrator guides a broad-minded exploration of the thorny issue as a range of individuals in red states and blue, from theologians to barbershop denizens, weigh in with their experiences and beliefs.

(rent) This was a very educational film and worth checking out for Christians, gay or straight, who have interest in the "gay issue." I found the approach very amiable and the points they made were very good, backed with scholarly research. My only qualm is that it was obviously pushing a specific stance and I wish we could have seen more scholarly opposition (it has to exist, right?). Not to confuse the issue, but to actually open up a dialogue between the two sides. However, I could be wrong and there is no scholarly opposition, in which case this was very well presented. Definitely worth the short watch time!

Avatar - Disabled Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) travels to planet Pandora to become an avatar, ingratiate himself with the natives and help Americans mine lucrative unobtainium. But he finds himself in an interstellar conflict after falling for Na'vi warrior Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). James Cameron writes and directs this Golden Globe-winning CGI odyssey that has broken box office records. Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang co-star.

(buy) I feel like I'm the last person to have seen this movie. I realize I should have seen it in theaters, because it is a beautiful, visual piece, but I don't often get to theaters as the single friend among couples. And then there was so much hype about it that I didn't want to see it, afraid it wouldn't be good enough. Plus I was just sick of hearing about it. So I was nervous, like going on a date with someone who your friends have been talking about. But I have to say it was really good. And I say that missing two chapters in the middle because of a faulty disc. The acting was excellent, to the point that it didn't feel like acting so much as it felt like I was interrupting someone's life, the visuals were all amazing, and the story was good, if not somewhat predictable. This movie is worth watching just for the sheer beautiful of the world that has been created.

Holding Trevor - Stuck in a dead-end relationship with a heroin addict boyfriend, Trevor (Brent Gorski) finds fresh hope in the form of hunky doctor Ephram (Eli Kranski). But when conflicts arise between Trevor and his best friends, Andie (Melissa Searing) and Jake (Jay Brannan), his newfound happiness crumbles. To pull himself together again, Trevor must decide what -- and who -- is most important to him.

(rent) This is a heavier movie that deals with serious topics. I'm not sure it succeeded, as often toward the end I was unsure about Trevor's motivations and decision. I also found Trevor's friends to be rather lacking, and even if Trevor isn't the best catch, I felt like he deserved better...mostly in the form of Ephram. The climax leads Trevor to a difficult decision, and you have to kind of respect whatever he chooses, although you don't have to agree with him, which I didn't. The acting was okay (nothing to write home about), and the camera work felt like it was going for a "natural" feel. Worth a watch, but not much else.

Bedrooms and Hallways - At the suggestion of a friend, gay Leo (Kevin McKidd) enters therapy after many failed relationships make him fear for his social life. In a group session (led by Simon Callow), Leo comes clean about his feelings for a straight member of the group (James Purefoy), which leads to an affair between the two. The situation becomes further complicated by the appearance of Leo's high school sweetheart (Jennifer Ehle), who still has feelings for him.

(rent) This was a cute, funny little film with the added benefit of Hugo Weaving having kinky sex as a side story. It was nice, because I couldn't see which direction it was headed, and even if I didn't particularly like the end result, it wasn't a bad thing either. This film had good acting, good dialogue, and a fun premise that kept me interested. Definitely worth a watch, although for me it isn't something I'd buy, other people may feel differently.




For those of you who haven't heard, I was in an accident this weekend. I was galloping at full speed when my horse stepped in a gopher hole up to his knee and fell forward. I feel forward off him, landing on my right side. I can barely move my shoulder, although there are no broken bones. I have a fever and a black eye as well. However, all the sore muscles and pain killers leave me exhausted. Typing and focusing are hard, so I may not be posting anything for a little while, depending on how quickly I heal. I have a few things already typed up, so I may post those reviews, but I'm not sure how up I'll be for writing reviews even if I do read things, especially after a full day of work.

This really shouldn't last long, but I didn't want to leave you hanging either.

Thanks for your patience.

ETA: My fever is dropping, but I think I'm getting a cold from the hospital.


Bear, Otter, and the Kid by TJ Klune

Bear, Otter, and the Kid by TJ Klune
Stars: 5/5

Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world... something or someone.

Wow. I picked this up to review only because I'd heard good things and the names intrigued me. I don't really like stories involving kids, especially since this one so obviously centered around kids, or at least the Kid. I'm glad I did, because if not I would have never experienced that which is the Kid and Otter and Bear (even if you want to beat some sense into him half the time) and Creed and Anna and Mrs. Paquinn. The cast is actually surprisingly small, considering how long the book is, but it's a constant roller coaster of emotions as these characters interact as only close friends and family can.

This story takes the reader on a trip that is several layers of amazing and heavy-duty emotional turmoil. It's not playing at being great literature, but it is doing exactly what the story sets out to do: Rip your heart out, pour salt on it, then shove it back in your chest. And it does this several times, although one time is especially painful. For those who thrive off this pain, the book will be delicious, trust me. Those who don't enjoy this agony will probably find it long. I loved it (see below: Emotional Masochist).

The characters were funny, sweet, caring and incredibly human (even if I wanted to throttle Bear). Even Bear is lovable because while wanting to kill him, you more want to kill his mother who inflicted the emotional damage and left him that way. And while that doesn't excuse everything, for him it does at least a little, because he strives so hard to protect the Kid and himself from getting hurt now, even though it ends up just hurting them both more. And Otter has to be the most patient and biggest besotted fool that ever lived. But I love him. I want to curl up on him and take him home in a big box (with holes) and keep him. (Yes, I'm a sap sometimes.) Also, since I don't like children stories that much, I was glad to find that the Kid is very mature for his age.

While the writing wasn't amazing, it remained honest to the narrator's voice, and since this was first person, much of the "style" is dependent on keeping true to the narrator, which I felt was done here. It was good, strong writing that served its purpose and I look forward to reading more by the author to see if it will continue.

One final note on the plot. There are two main sections to the plot, one is Bear coming to terms with his sexuality and feelings toward Otter, and the second is him learning to trust his loved ones in a way he obviously hasn't for the last three years. This could almost be broken into two books, although it works just as well as one and there would be some down sides to it being two different books, especially because they are on such a short time line. This isn't a plot-heavy story in some ways, as the plot is definitely character driven, although some events are motivated by outside characters.

This is a long and angst-filled story, which I loved. But if you aren't in the mood for a long journey filled with more tears and poor decisions than you can shake a stick at, then you will want to put this aside for another day. I definitely recommend this book, but it won't be for everyone, especially if you don't like overly emotional, slightly maudlin tales. If you do, or are willing to get one a chance, this is a great, very well-done example.

With that in mind, even for me the story was a touch long. Half-way through I was like "Really, there's more?" and then stuff happened and I was swept up in it. But at times the rational part of my brain did point out the story was kind never ending and Bear is a super idiot. SUPER idiot. But he's also emotionally broken, so I forgave him. (And possibly because I'm an emotional masochist.)

Requested this book for review.


Ellery's Duty by Kim Dare

Ellery's Duty by Kim Dare
Stars: 3/5

As a well respected dominant, Ellery has been watching the subs from the local leather bars disappear into the lions’ den for far too long, and he’s not convinced that everything is as fine as they all claim it is. He’s determined to find out what really happens in there. If the only way he can do that is to volunteer to be thrown to the lions himself, so be it.

Kefir’s never worked out what the other lions find so interesting about the human sacrifices who visit their den, but this new man is unlike any other human he’s ever met, and Kefir’s captivated. Can the smallest lion in the pride claim a man like Ellery as his pet—is that even the way Kefir wants to think of his human mate?

After reading the the first book in this series, I immediately wanted to know more about Kefir, who was different from the other lions. And while I enjoyed his story, I was in no way enchanted. I think the problem is that I still love Kefir and I didn't really like Ellery much at all. He had his moments, normally when he was cuddling up with Kefir, but anytime he was dealing with anyone aside from Kefir, he came across as an arrogant prick.

Of course, if you like your dom to be an arrogant prick, then maybe you won't mind. After a second read through, he didn't come across so grating, but I still don't like him and how he handles Kefir, for the most part.

The weird thing is, I would re-read this story only because I really do like Kefir and I want him to have his happy ending, even if it's with Ellery.

Characters aside, there isn't too much to entice the reader, aside from shifters and BDSM, which may be enough for some people. The writing of this series continues to be middle of the road and the plots don't grab my attention. I almost feel (and I hope it's not just because of the mood I'm in) that the author has these characters and wants the story told, but just wants to get to the happy ending without having to trudge through all the work to really get the reader there. Don't get me wrong, I want the happy ending, but I also want the characters and the reader to have to earn it.