Book Review: Point Pleasant by Jen Archer Wood

Point Pleasant
by Jen Archer Wood
Horror with some M/M romance elements
4 Stars


Ben Wisehart grew up in the idyllic town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. An early encounter with the supernatural shaped his worldview and served as the catalyst for his career as a bestselling horror writer.

Ben left Point Pleasant at the age of twenty. Thirteen years after abandoning his home, he returns to the town to investigate the apparent reemergence of the terrifying creature responsible for his childhood nightmares.

In Point Pleasant, Ben is confronted not only by the town’s resident monster, the Mothman, but also by Nicholas Nolan, Ben’s former best friend. Together, with Bill Tucker—the old recluse who lives on the edge of town—Ben and Nicholas uncover the mystery of the monster in the woods and discover that the ghosts that haunt us are sometimes made of flesh and blood. And sometimes, they lead us home.


Thirteen years ago Ben Wisehart left his home town of Point Pleasant after he had his heart broken by his best friend, Nicholas, who had just announced his engagement. In love with Nic for years, Ben admitted his feelings, only to be rejected and have them crushed to nothing.

He's made a life for himself in Boston as a horror writer under the pen name Preston James but his next book isn't flowing as well as he'd like. As a child, he and Nic had been chased through the woods by the town's resident monster, what the inhabitants had taken to calling the Mothman. Perhaps there is a story there, so Ben decided to return home and find out all he can about this creature.

Reading through the town's newspaper archives, he discovers old photos and it seems the monster had appeared every time before some sort of disaster. But what was really happening? Is it an omen of bad news? Or is it actually causing all these deaths?

What he hadn't counted on was the town's open hostility towards him and even Nicholas, now the sheriff, doesn't seem to want anything to do with him. But strange things are happening in the town and they need to work together to find out what the creature in the wood really is and what it wants.

This was an interesting, engaging novel with vividly drawn characters and quite a few twists.

What was strange for me, was how long the chapters were. For such a long novel, there were only about six chapters, which seemed odd. It made the book drag a bit, even though there were lots of exciting things happening. Shorter chapters could have prevented that.

The romance between Ben and Nic seemed to happen quite fast, considering most of the book took place over about two weeks. It was very introspective, most of it from Ben's point of view and so we only got Ben's view of the other characters. I would have liked to have been in Nic's head for some of it, to see how he really felt.

There were some tense, scary moments, but all in all it's a book about the characters, how they feel, how they cope with the things that life throws at them, love, loss and everything in between. Ben is very sympathetic and easy to relate to and despite the fast moving romance, you want him and Nic to have their happily ever after.

There were some illustrations in the book, but I couldn't really see them very well on my Kindle Keyboard, they probably look a lot better in the print version :)

An enjoyable read.

Book Review: Ghost by Carole Cummings

Ghost: Wolf's Own #1 
by Carole Cummings
Dreamspinner Press
Male/Male Fantasy Romance
5 Stars

Dwelling in the land of Ada and defending magic users called the Jin, Fen Jacin-rei is a trained assassin and an Untouchable, one whose mind hosts the Voices of the Ancestors, spirits of long-dead magicians. His fate should be one of madness and solitude, yet Fen Jacin-rei desperately clings to his sanity and ferociously protects the family he loves. But how does Fen do it? Kamen Malick has every intention of finding out.

When Malick and his own small band of assassins ambush Fen in an alley, Malick offers Fen one choice: join us or die. Determined to decode the intrigue that surrounds Fen—and to have the Untouchable for himself—Malick sets to unraveling Fen’s past while Fen delves into the mysteries surrounding Malick.

As Fen’s secrets slowly unfold, Malick is drawn into a crusade that isn’t his, one surprisingly similar to his own quest for vengeance. Yet irony is a bitter reward when Malick discovers the one he wants is already hopelessly entangled with the one he hunts


This is how all fantasy novels should be: a fantastical world with its own culture, history and religion that lets the imagination take flight. Where gods walk among mortals and either help or hinder.

Fen Jacin-rei is an Untouchable of his people, the Jin, those who are cursed to hear the voices of the Ancestors and in the process lose their sanity. At the birth of Fen and his twin brother, a strange magician bargains for Fen's life and in return he won't harm Fen's mother or twin.

Taken in by the magician Asai in early adolescence, Fen thinks he has been saved at last and falls in love with his captor, for in effect that is what Asai is, although Fen doesn't know it yet.

Trained as an assassin by Asai, at first Fen does everything Asai tells him and kills those people Asai wants him to, but as the years pass Fen realises Asai is not truly what he seems and he is not so sure of his master's agenda anymore.

When he meets Malick and his band of assassins in an alley, Fen is almost killed, despite his own skills and he has no choice but to join them or die.

But who is Malick really and what does he want from Fen?

This book was just absolutely wonderful. From the world-building, to the characters, everything just comes to life.

Malick falls in lust with Fen the first time he sees him, and he is a bit of a wild one, sowing wild oats wherever he can. Fen intrigues him and as Fen continually rebuffs his advances, that makes him even more determined to have him.

Gradually though, Malick comes to see Fen as something more than an object of his lust and as the book progresses, you realise he has fallen in love but just doesn't realise it yet.

Fen is guarded and lets no one in, but somehow Malick sneaks under his defences and their first love scene is so passionate and so poignant, for it's only when he's with Malick that the voices in Fen's head stop for a while. But he doesn't want to trust it, feels he can't trust anything after he was betrayed before.

I felt a real connection to Fen, he is so damaged that you want to reach in an hug him and tell him things are going to be fine, even if you don't know whether or not that is going to be true.

The writing is beautiful, with just the right amount of poignancy and action.

I loved it and I don't think any review can really do it justice, you have to experience it for yourself.

Book Spotlight: The Emperor's New Clothes by Aldous Mercer

Title: The Emperor’s New Clothes
Author: Aldous Mercer
Genre: SciFi M/M Romance

Imperial Agent Royce Ree needs to pull off the biggest heist the Universe has ever seen, or it's bye-bye cushy government job, hello cleaning toilets in a dive-bar on Baga-V.

To succeed, he will need help from the last person he’d ever ask: his ex.



Royce has a simple mission: steal some tech from the newly-discovered civilization of Baldessh. But Royce thinks HQ’s mission specifications are utterly stupid. So he disobeys a direct order, and goes to steal the tech his own way.

The Empire has survived wars, supernovae, democracy, and the collapse of a neighborhood universe. Let us hope it survives the good intentions of Agent Royce Ree.” 

- Author unknown (personal communication to the Emperor)


Royce’s primary mission has been abandoned in the chaos of Baldessh’s hostile takeover by a third party. Now his only objective is to get himself, and his fellow “agent” off-planet as fast as possible. Unfortunately for Royce, nobody is quite ready for him to leave just yet.

"I find it curious that the agent was not rescued before the comms-blockade, Spymaster." 

"Imperial Intelligence is not in a habit of rescuing AWOL agents, Councillor. Apprehend and prosecute, yes, but not rescue." 

"I suppose both of us must wait. For…evidence." 

"Would you mind waiting somewhere other than my office? Only, we can’t all be Councillors, Councillor, and I have real work to do." 

-Conversation, Imperial Intelligence Headquarters, Trinity Prime


Royce now has three days to rescue 40,000 space marines, and he’s just been told that the tech he came to Baldessh for doesn’t actually exist. He also has some real problems—his co-agent’s time is running out, and somewhere, far away, traitors are plotting to start a war that will engulf the entire Universe in flames.

Hope, however, can sometimes be found in the darkest of places. Like ventilation ducts.

“Every pre-FTL civilization we know of has alcohol. I mean, imagine being stuck to a single planet, wasting decades just crossing your own solar system! Who wouldn't invent vodka?" 
Gaste Trade Cartel Sales Representative (Conversation overheard at spaceport dive-bar, Gomo-Prime) 


Royce has been betrayed, Baldessh’s burgeoning rebellion is going to be crushed, and all the animals are going to be exterminated. But Royce is smiling. Because Royce, like always, has a Plan.

“An Imperial Agent cultivates paranoia the way an Imperial Gardener cultivates prize-winning rosebushes.” -

Master Mess-Remeier,”The Nature of Empire: Volume 7”, 1st Edition 


It looks like things are going to be OK for everyone except Royce and his ex. Looks can be deceiving—there are plots within plots, and Royce’s true test awaits him at the edge of Imperial Space.

“I’m sorry, sir, your payment didn't go through.” 

“What! Why?” 

“There is a hold on your accounts, pending a Deadbeat Investigation.” 

“I’m the Procurement Officer for the entire Kovan Fleet, woman!” 

“Yes, sir, I recognized your uniform. But I’m afraid your job description has nothing to do with this conversation.” 

“The hell it doesn't! What are my soldiers going to do if you don’t sell to us?” 

“Respectfully, sir, that’s not my problem.” 

“We’re in the middle of an invasion!” 

“I’m very sorry to hear that. Perhaps your soldiers could target a facility that manufactures the toilet paper 
you need?” 

--Transcript, Kovan Flagship: “Comms exchange between Fleet Procurement and Gaste Cartel Customer Service.” 

ROYCE REE #6: ON THE TAKE is coming out in 2014.



Starlight lit the most tastefully decorated interrogation room Royce had ever been in. Not that that was the room’s normal function, but to Royce’s mind, any room where one was being interrogated…

The Spymaster’s sigh brought Royce back to immediate concerns. Dressed in the most severely formal style, the glitter in the Spymaster’s eye could have been amusement.

“Tell me again, agent Ree,” he said, “did you understand your mission objective?”

Royce swallowed. “Yes, sir.”

“And what was it?”

“Covert retrieval from the Baldasshi, sir.”

As the Spymaster’s silence lengthened, Royce stared straight ahead at the wall behind his employer’s head. The swirled green-in-green pattern brought to mind the gentle sway of grass in a summer breeze.

“Retrieval of what, agent?” asked the Spymaster, finally.

“Their impeccable sense of style, sir.”

“And yet…and yet what you actually brought me was their Royal Princess, intent upon marrying the Emperor.”

Royce didn’t dare shift his gaze from that perfectly neutral wall to look at the other occupant of the room.

“You also,” continued the Spymaster, “brought me half of Baldessh’s parliament, six hundred Nova class battleships, and a menagerie of wild animals.”

“Psychic wild animals, sir,” ventured Royce.

“Of course,” said the Spymaster. “Psychic wild animals.”

“I finished my mission, sir!”

A soft laugh greeted Royce’s protest. Not from the Spymaster’s direction—he looked even more pissed off, though it was hard to tell.

“Tell us,” said the voice Royce was not supposed to acknowledge, “How this happened. From the beginning.”


About the Author:

A native of Toronto, Aldous Mercer enjoys martinis and relaxing on the beac-ha! No.

Aldous Mercer is a workaholic with a penchant for numerical mind games and caffeinated beverages. He uses his degree in Engineering to ensure that none of the spaceships in his books have cubic pressure-vessels. In real life he always annotates Engineering Drawings in Iambic Tetrameter.

Aldous can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Gmail.



Book Review: Hostile Beauty by Vanessa North

Hostile Beauty
by Vanessa North
Musa Publishing
M/M Contemporary erotic romance


Twenty years ago, Winnie Wexford--a vindictive state senator not above a smear campaign against Andrew. Andrew's grateful for the help of his erstwhile brother-in-law, David, until the help turns up in the form of PR guru Levi Beaumont, Andrew's every fantasy come to life.

Levi is beautiful, smart, and righteous. When his mentor, David asks him to take on a difficult client for the PR firm, Levi agrees, in spite of a very real risk to his career working with non-profits to get them the attention they deserve. He knows facing off against a powerful politician could destroy his career, but he agrees out of loyalty to his mentor.Andrew and Levi are thrown into tense proximity as they work to protect Andrew and expose Wexford.

As Andrew opens his tightly-guarded private life to Levi, hostility turns to respect, respect to passion, and the stakes go much deeper than career or reputation.

Review first published at The Romance Reviews


An interesting take on Beauty and the Beast trope.

Twenty years ago, Andrew Eccleston suffered horrific burns during a car accident and his life has never been the same since.

He lives for two things: his work and revenge on the man who caused the accident, a corrupt politician that Andrew wants to bring down in any way possible. When his lawyer brother-in-law sends Levi to help him do just that, Andrew wonders if David is being deliberately cruel or just didn't think.

For Levi is the perfect specimen of manhood and the sort of bloke Andrew would have gone for, if he wasn't so scarred. For how could someone so perfect even take a second look at someone like him?

I have to say I have a fondness for scarred or damaged heroes, and Ms. North doesn't disappoint here. It was wonderful that we got to see the story from both points of view and the readers knew that Levi loves Andrew, scars and all. But it's not just physical scars that Andrew has. He's an emotional wreck, closed off from nearly everyone and he finds it hard to trust.

There's a spark between them from their first meeting and it isn't long before they are having sex. When Andrew told Levi that's all it was, my heart dropped to somewhere near my feet. It was such an intense, emotional scene.

The love scenes are explicit and very sensual but what mattered most was the emotions the two men felt, because no matter what they said, it wasn't just sex for them.

But don't fret too much, this is a romance after all and you'll be rooting for the heroes to get their happily ever after.

My only niggle would be that the plot to bring down the politician seemed to go nowhere and I for one would have quite liked to see his comeuppance.

A beautiful, well-written erotic romance.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby
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