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review 2014-04-03 04:46
Prince's Valentine - Hunter Raines

2.5 stars. Kinda pricey for a story I read in a half hour (which definitely took some of my enjoyment away).

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review 2014-01-17 22:46
Fun but could have been more
The Groom Wore Nothing at All - Hunter Raines

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Matthew Owens is as straight laced as they come, or so it would seem. He is a successful lawyer with a reputation to uphold. He is also deeply in love with his fiancé, Joe Khalousi and on the surface it would appear that Joe is as respectable as Matt is. Except that while Joe is an accountant he does the books for a strip club, a detail Matt prefers not to mention to his colleagues, friends and family. Just as Joe’s tattoos are kept well hidden unless the two men are on their own.


It is the evening before Matt and Joe’s wedding and much to Matt’s horror his friends decide to surprise him. Instead of a quiet dinner followed by a few drinks they are taking Matt to a strip club, where they have a very special surprise planned for him.


When Joe’s employer all but begs Joe to perform as a stripper for just one night, Joe finds it hard to refuse. His boss is also his lifelong friend and desperate. It is only just before he goes on stage that Joe finds out he’ll also have to perform a private dance for an unsuspecting member of a bachelor party.


Neither Joe nor Matt knows their worlds are about to collide. When the lights come on and all secrets are revealed it is make or break time for these two men. Is the love between them enough to overcome the differences or are Matt’s hang-ups about respectability going to end their marriage before they’ve even taken their vows?


Let me start by saying that this is a short and rather sex driven novella. While we do get to know Matt and Joe it is really only in the context of the 24 hours or so this story spans. So we discover that Joe is a bit of a bad boy; tattooed, working in a sex club and rather dominant. Yet, he isn’t completely one dimensional because it is perfectly clear that he cares deeply for Matt. He’s prepared to cover up when he meets his partner’s friends, family and colleagues and goes out of his way to get in touch with Matt before going on stage.


Matt was, for me, not as well established as Joe. For most of the story he seemed to be unsure of what he wanted, needed and should be doing. I couldn’t help wondering if he should be marrying at all if he wouldn’t allow his future husband to be himself around the other people in Matt’s life. Having said that, Matt’s ambivalence about Joe and their relationship did make the moment when he gives in to his feelings and shuts his mind up, all the more powerful.


I did have my doubts about the final scene in the book. I can’t and won’t describe it since I don’t believe in spoilers, but do need to say that I wasn’t convinced that what was described there is really possible, never mind advisable. Still, it was a beautiful way to end story.


There were other parts of the book I really enjoyed. The hot phone call between Matt and Joe was a wonderful way of throwing the reader straight into the action and I loved the way Joe discovers the delights of and the power derived from stripping while doing his friend and boss a favour. I was less convinced that Matt, being the rather stuck up person that he is, would really have reacted the way he did. But, again, it did make the story a hot delight.


I don’t want to sound negative about this book. It is a well written story; it captures the reader’s attention right from the start and the smooth writing and intriguing story make sure that attention never wavers.  

Overall I would say that this story is as at least as much about the act of lovemaking as it is about the actual love and relationship between these two men. There is nothing wrong with that of course, but I wouldn’t have minded reading a little bit more about the emotions that drive the characters. As a description of one man’s sexual liberation this story worked relatively well. I’m not convinced that anybody would make a complete turnaround as quickly as Matt does in this book, but I liked the idea and enjoyed all the heat between Joe and Matt. It is almost a shame this story was as short as it was. I can’t help feeling that more words would have turned this nice story into a fascinating book.

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review 2013-09-06 00:00
Sight Unseen
Sight Unseen - Hunter Raines I have mixed feelings about this book. If I had to use one sentence to describe it, I would say, "It fell short."

I can't say that I loved this book or that I hated it. There was an interesting concept and interesting theories that had to do with ghosts, poltergeists, energy strands, orbs, manifestations, possessions and ultimately, an exorcism. But still some of those issues were not fully explained or (for me) they did not make sense because some of it was inconsistent. Then you have the relationship between our heroes. I didn't buy into it. Daniel was a sweetheart. Logan was an ass or at least he was for the most part of the book. The only thing they had going for them was a bad case of insta-lust that continued throughout the book to the point that it seemed more a case of priapism than sensuality because these guys could get erect at the drop of a hat or if a breeze hit them. At one point, it got ridiculous or humorous, depending on how you look a it--and that includes the time they fled from the ghost naked, and created a kilt out of one newspaper they found in the car they took refuge in. I haven't mentioned Sophie, the Psycho-ex-wife, now ghost, that wanted revenge on Logan, and was quite a strong presence throughout the book. At least her motivation was clear. Logan and Daniel, not so much.

One thing that I didn't care too much was that this book had three POV's, and it could get confusing. At Sophie's last manifestation, we had her POV, then the next sentence it was Daniels, and the next paragraph, Logans.

The book held my attention, and I liked many things about it, but maybe it required more length and some edits to bring it up to a 3.5 or 4.
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review 2013-05-22 00:00
Sight Unseen - Hunter Raines Ehh didn't see the spark between the two unless you count the blind man loved the smell of the other guy and the other guy liked the look of the blind guy. The ghost business could have been better. The ending was rushed and didn't make sense really. Other wise forgettable story.
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review 2012-10-27 00:00
Scandal Fever - Hunter Raines I must have been in the mood for some over-the-top-ness, 'cause I LOVED this book!

Yes, the characters were fairly stereotypical (the mc's only to a certain degree, but all of the secondary characters were like cookie cut-outs), and the romance was predictable. But the mc's were also very likable and sympathetic and the romance was very sweet and delightfully paced.

The things that keep this from getting more stars are the treatment of the supporting characters and the way everything is always resolved so simply and in the best possible way.

Rob's mother and his partner were, for me, the most disappointing. The mother is spoken of almost with outright disdain, and is forced to fit several stereotypes, none of which are likable. The partner was a cliche right from the start, and his abrupt about-face at the end was ridiculous and unbelievable.

Apart from those things, though, this was a lot of fun to read. So much so that it'll probably make my guilty pleasures shelf. I really did like Gavin and Rob--each on their own and also together as a couple. I was rooting for them, and hoping things would work out for them (perhaps not quite as simplistically as it happened... but I'll not look a HEA in the mouth :P).

Recommended as a light, fun, read sometime when you're prepared to suspend all disbelief.
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