Daily Archives: December 13, 2014

Three Wise Men by Connie Bailey


Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5863

ThreeWiseMen
Blurb

Joon, Tae, and Sangsun belong together, but a relationship will mean defying tradition and coming out of the closet.
College friends Joon, Tae, and Sangsun parted ways after an aborted attempt at a threesome. Ten years later, life has carried them down very different paths, but Joon misses his friends and decides to invite them to his home in South Korea for Christmas. He believes they belong together, but convincing the others to defy tradition and try again will take faith, hope, and a lot of talking—especially since all three of them are still in the closet.

 

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Review

The blurb pretty much says it all. When they were young, the three men were close and attempted to form a threesome, but Sangsun got scared and ran. In the 10 years since then, Joon has remained a virgin, Sangsun has been only with women and Tae has been with men, but only very casually.

Joon decides he needs the threesome to feel complete, so he calls the other two and invites them for Christmas. With only a little bit of talking (the whole story is only 20 pages) he convinces them to give up their very traditional and closeted lives to be together in a threesome/triad relationship, and they have sex.

**
I know that you have to judge short stories with a different standard than a novella or novel, but there are ways to move a story forward that makes sense even with only a few words or pages. This story does not do that. One second they’re all discussing their lives and bemoaning the fact that their traditional Korean lifestyles do not mesh at all with being gay, much less being in a threesome, the next they’re getting naked.

This felt like a long fantasy rather than a developed short story and it just didn’t feel authentic or remotely plausible. The “Christmas” part of the story also felt forced and again emphasized that this was a fantasy disguised as a holiday short story.

I give it a 2.5 of 5 hearts

2.5

Finding Matt by JD Ruskin

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5767

finding mattBlurb

When six-year-old Matt Wilson and his Shih Tzu, Pixie, step out of the Stanton Community Hospital and disappear, his desperate parents convince Jaron Greenberg, a local pet psychic, to aid the police in the search. Jaron specializes in finding lost kitties and fixing problem pooches. He isn’t prepared for a case with so much at stake. And as soon as he starts, the abilities he’s had since childhood begin changing and growing in unexpected ways.

Paulo Silva is a veteran detective new to the small town of Stanton. As the low man on the totem pole at Stanton PD, he isn’t happy when the chief assigns him to babysit the pet psychic instead of actively working the missing child case. As Jaron uncovers clues, Paulo starts to wonder if he might be the real thing. Or maybe it’s just his testosterone reacting to what he’s sure is mutual attraction.

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Review
(Some spoilers included at the end.)

Jaron is a pet psychic who works for his best friend at a dog salon. He barely scrapes by, lives in the back room of the salon and has the most amazing dog ever- Bear.

Paulo is the skeptical cop assigned to the case Jaron is called in on. Matt, a six year-old boy and his dog Pixie have gone missing and Jaron is asked to help find the dog and thus (hopefully) the boy. Paulo doesn’t want to believe in Jaron’s skills, even though he is immediately attracted to the man.

Over time Paulo is convinced of Jaron’s integrity and his abilities. They work together – sometimes illegally – to do everything they can to bring Matt back to his family.

While doing the investigation Jaron’s skills begin to change. His body begins to weaken and he even seizures as he sees more and more deeply into the mind’s eye of Pixie, the missing dog.

There is also some drama with Jaron’s best friend who is suddenly acting like a jealous boyfriend and kicking Jaron out of his home. Paulo’s ex gets involved as well, stirring the pot and causing trouble for Paulo on the police force. Not to mention there are psychic “haters” accusing Jaron of witchcraft and communing with the devil.

If all that weren’t enough, part way through the story tragedy hits and we begin to wonder if it’s at all possible for Matt to be found. (If you are worried about Matt being found or the fate of his dog – I put a spoiler in the end of the review – for some it might make the difference of whether or not you’d read this book.)

With the clock ticking and Jaron’s body failing him as well as new “powers” overwhelming him Paulo and Jaron and the ex take a road trip hoping to find Matt before it’s too late.

**
I was really prepared not to like this story. As an animal person, I was really worried when I read some of the early reviews and was prepared to be really upset.
But… I gotta tell you, I thought this book was a page turner.

The drama is right on the money. Though I hate books where we see things from the villain’s POV, I was able to follow the story easily even though I skipped those sections.

The romance is definitely not the star of the show. Sure, Jaron and Paulo end up with a very HFN that feels pretty solid, but most of this was about the mystery and the growth of Jaron’s psychic powers. It was fascinating. I loved how he was able to be in the mind of the pet and then later in the mind of people.

As a mother, reading a book about a missing child is bone chilling. There is nothing quite like worrying about your baby being taken – all of us can relate to that fear. So if you’re squeamish about that plot line – by all means skip this book. No doubt about it – it’s a hard one for some people.

However, the mystery was done really well and I appreciated that there was next to no physical damage done to Matt –the emotional scars from being abducted are bad enough.

Sometimes I thought there were a few too many “dramas” thrown in for story clarity. There was the best friend, the ex, the history with the old police force… I’m not sure these added to the story enough to be included, unless this is the beginning of a series and we need all that to help us understand future books. I really didn’t need to know the details of the case that sent Paulo packing to another job – really. I didn’t.

So – I have a hard time rating this. As a romance I’d give it a 3 of 5. There was some heat, some tension, and a pretty solid HFN. I liked Paulo and Jaron as a couple and hope we might see them again in a sequel.

As a mystery/thriller I’d give it a 4 of 5. I loved Jaron’s powers and thought the laying out of the mystery was well played even though we (as the audience) knew who the villain was the entire time. I had to subtract some points for the drama and for the villain POV.

So – as a compromise I’ll give it a 3.5 of 5 hearts and let you decide for yourself. If you want a hearts and flowers romance – this is definitely not for you. If you want a captivating mystery with romantic gay elements – I think you’ll find this book right up your alley. If you are a pet lover with a low tolerance for anything bad happening to a pet – you may want to read the spoilers or just plain skip this book.

3.5

 

 

 

**Spoilers**

(I won’t leave you hanging – you gotta know Matt gets found – I wouldn’t be able to read something like this if he wasn’t. Pixie however doesn’t make it.)