Tag Archives: Historical

Let Your Heart Decide, by Lily G Blunt

Let Your Heart Decide
Let Your Heart Decide

Rating: 4.5 stars

WARNING: Please note this is a taboo romance featuring two brothers.

BLURB

New house, new job. A new start with his brother…. Two out of three isn’t bad, right? Rhys returns to his hometown and must face the brother he’s been avoiding for two years. In his heart, Rhys still hopes to recapture the bond they once shared.

Jake willingly offers him the hand of friendship, but Rhys is reluctant to confront their past, fearing it will only rip them apart again.

When Rhys sees ghostly figures in the grounds of a local historic house, it leads him to investigate their shocking past— and to face his heart’s true desire.

Please note this is a taboo romance featuring two brothers.

Let Your Heart Decide

Wow. OK. Let’s see where I begin. When I first heard about this book from one of my fave authors my ears perked up. I mean, taboo! Moth, meet flame. I’ve read a few taboo books and it all depends on how the whole subject is approached and what I found here really rocked, big time. Not only is this done in a really sensitive, honest manner but the whole paranormal angle is just brilliant. Yeah, I really couldn’t put this one down. I’m going to repeat this one more time:

Please note this is a taboo romance featuring two brothers.

THE CHARACTERS

Jake:

Still six feet of lean, manly man, his navy T-shirt clinging to his broad chest. Maybe he’d filled out, bulked up more. He walked to the front door, a hand sweeping over the top of his dark blond hair, his jean-clad legs taking large, confident strides towards me.

Rhys:

He didn’t respond at first but smiled absently, his gaze skimming down my damp chest to my towel-covered groin. Our eyes met again when he finished ogling me. His whole face exuded want, his pupils enlarged with need and lust. That was so wrong. Why did it feel so right? Jet interrupted the moment, nuzzling my balls and sniffing my blossoming erection. “Down, boy.” Jake grinned at me, then looked at the dog. “And you, Jet!” He chuckled as I turned and returned upstairs to dress.

THE STORY

Yeah, the story… This is a wonderfully written, sensitive story of two brothers, two years apart, that grow up together, experiencing all the wonderful experiences of two young boys, two young men, and form a bond that is beyond anything else. Their shared emotions, parental difficulties, coming of age hormonal urges, all shared in a spirit of love and caring and bonding beyond anything either of them could possibly hope for, however, there was one line they never crossed… until their mother’s death. Once that line was crossed things changed radically. It’s how Rhys and Jake deal with this, each in his own way, that lays the groundwork for Rhys’ return to their hometown after breaking up with his cad boyfriend, Myles. Add to this the paranormal element of Thomas and Samuel and their beyond the grave connection to Jake and Rhys and you have the ingredients for one riveting story. I was drawn in by Thomas and Samuel’s tragic story and yearned for the ending they deserved. Yes, definitely taboo, definitely hot, and definitely couldn’t put it down.

THE WRITING

The writing is amazing. The prologue grabbed ahold of me in a myriad of ways, all of them good. I’ll let your imagination go there. The rest of the story flows at a wonderful pace, the secondary characters, Phillip and Clare, and the two men from the past, Thomas and Samuel, so well written and developed that this book was such a pleasure to read. The beta reading and editing is top notch, no hiccups or WTF’s. All in all, this was a pleasure to read and I highly recommend it. A great love story, albeit not for everyone.

I must admit that with this book I am at quandary. There is a wonderful poem that weaves its way through this book, a really beautiful poem that drove me to tears. I’ve debated whether to quote it in this review and have opted not to. Please do yourself a favor, read this book, experience the poem throughout, and come home to it at the Appendix. I have some Kleenex right here.

THE DISCLAIMER

I purchased my copy of Let Your Hear Decide for my own enjoyment and reviewing.

THE AUTHOR

Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men’s feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page. There never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing! Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/ m romance novels five years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work. Lily subsequently self-published several stories via Amazon and later published short stories with Torquere Press, Wayward Ink Publishing, and Pride Publishing. Lily lives in central England with her rather bemused husband and a ‘mad as a bag of frogs’ Shetland Sheepdog called Barney. Lily loves to hear from readers.
You can find her contact information, social media and other links at http://lilygblunt.wordpress.com

Let Your Heart Decide First Edition May 2016
Copyright © Lily G. Blunt 2016
Cover Art by Garrett Leigh at Black Jazz Designs © 2016
Editor: Sue Adams
Published May 10th 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN 1533117357 (ISBN13: 9781533117359)

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Ten Days in August, by Kate McMurray

 

Ten Days in August

Rating: 3.75 stars

THE BLURB

New York City, 1896. As the temperatures rise, so does the crime rate. At the peak of this sizzling heat wave, police inspector Hank Brandt is called to investigate the scandalous murder of a male prostitute. His colleagues think he should drop the case, but Hank’s interest is piqued, especially when he meets the intriguing key witness: a beautiful female impersonator named Nicholas Sharp.

As a nightclub performer living on the fringes of society, Nicky is reluctant to place his trust in a cop—even one as handsome as Hank. With Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt cracking down on vice in the city, Nicky’s afraid that getting involved could end his career. But when he realizes his life is in danger—and Hank is his strongest ally—the two men hit the streets together to solve the crime. From the tawdry tenements of the Lower East Side to the moneyed mansions of Fifth Avenue, Nicky and Hank are determined to uncover the truth. But when things start heating up between them, it’s not just their lives on the line. It’s their love…

Ten Days in August

I couldn’t help it. When I read the blurb on this book it called out to me immediately. I’ve always had a fascination for this time period, the late 19th century/turn of the 20th century. So many events were happening: cities had gotten to the point where science needed to step in to make them livable; things like air conditioning and a reliable source of potable water and dependable plumbing, refrigeration for foods, more efficient modes of individual transportation besides horse drawn carriages, things we take for granted these days.

The cities had drawn in huge numbers of people from all walks of life and all places on Earth, so for the first time people realized they weren’t alone, including gay people – thus begins the evolution that would lead to the modern gay rights movement, further propelled by the two World Wars.

THE CHARACTERS

Nicholas Sharp – Stage name Paulina Clodhopper:

…he found Nicholas – Nicky – beautiful. Nicky had stood there on the street with a soulful pout as Hank and Stephens had approached the scene, and there was something about Nicky’s sass and indifference – insouciance, perhaps – Hank found compelling. His blond hair had shone on his hatless head, his clothes were well tailored and fashionable, and Hank got the feeling this was a man who had seen a lot in his short life, though he still had something delicate about him.

Henry “Hank” Brandt – Acting Inspector NYPD:

This man was really quite attractive, in a sweaty, disheveled way, although Nicky supposed there was no way around that in this weather. The man pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and then pulled the dusty bowler hat off his head, revealing dark brown hair, cut short. He wiped his whole face from his damp forehead to his thick mustache before he dropped the hat back on his head. There seemed to be a strong body under the wrinkled clothing, but it was hard to tell. Still, this man intrigued Nicky. His companion in the uniform was blond and bearded and looked considerably more polished, but in a bland way. This disheveled man was far more interesting.

THE STORY

This is a fascinating story of a serial killer on the loose, taking advantage of the rent boys that flourished in The Bowery section of Manhattan at the end of the 19th century.  Set against the backdrop of the summer of 1896, with a 10-day heat wave that killed nearly 1,500 people, many of them tenement-dwellers, across New York City. Enter Theodore Roosevelt, Police Commissioner. It was Roosevelt that spurred the administration of Mayor Strong to open up the parks so people could sleep at night and escape the suffocating, murderous heat, and it was he who initiated the delivery of free ice to the suffering inhabitants. Add in the tumultuous election of 1896 between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan and the elaborate tapestry that binds this story together is all set.

THE WRITING

One can tell right away that this book was well researched. From the manner of speech to the affectations of the characters, from the historical backdrop of the heat wave to the tumultuous election of 1896 that would change American politics for the next 40 years, from the clothing fashions to the lifestyle of a bustling, dirty, smelly megalopolis that New York City was on the verge of becoming, this book seems to have been meticulously researched. What a joy this is when it is coupled with the smooth storytelling that Kate McMurray carries out in this book.

I could absolutely see the time period, smell the fetid, pungent smells of a city in the throes of a massive heat wave. A city that did not yet have the modern efficiencies of air conditioning to escape the heat and refrigeration to maintain the food from spoiling. I could feel and taste the dust of a horse drawn cab and the smells of sweat from our MC’s. This was really good, descriptive prose.

The story was well drawn and the story arc progressed at a good pace, not too fast and not too slow, just about right. Although I could feel the romance and attraction of our two MC’s, and our two SC’s, I do wish there had been more intense, descriptive sex between them as I could feel their desire and angst for each other. Delving a bit more into this aspect of their relationship would have propelled and made the story so much more. As it is, it is good, solid writing, well enjoyed.

THE DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank Kate McMurray and Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing Corp., for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

THE AUTHOR 

Kate McMurray is an award-winning author of gay romance and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with base­ball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
ISBN
1616508027 (ISBN13: 9781616508029)