Tag Archives: insta-love


Review – Summoned by J. P. Jackson

J. P. Jackson will be interviewed by WROTE in the very near future. In the meantime, I received an ARC of his new novel, Summoned, in return for an honest and fair review.

Is it wrong to say my favourite character was a twig? Bear with me…

This was a fun story which grips from the first page. Full of sexy times, gory bits and terrific world building, I’d go so far to say this is his best book yet. Daimonion and Magic or Die were fun, deliciously dark reads, but this is on another level.

The main character, Dev, has had a lifelong wish to join the Shadow Realm and become a witch, but he gets more than he bargains for when he buys a summoning board and persuades his best friend, Cam, to have a go with him. The moral to take from this story is a) be careful what you wish for and b) never meet your heroes. I could also add c) don’t fall head over heels in love with a friendly, sexy redhead who seems perfect. He won’t be. And d) don’t rely on your best friend not to say something stupid. They will.

I made the mistake of picking this up ahead of every other book I’m supposed to review, just to have a peek and see what I was letting myself in for. Of course, I ended up reading the whole damned thing.

There are some great spell-casting scenes, a lovely burgeoning relationship between Cam and a grumpy werewolf after they find themselves trapped in the same dungeon, and some sexy, hairy scenes between husky Dev and the ginger bear-ish man of his dreams. Or is he? On a side note – these aren’t ripped, model-gorgeous, no-hair, twinky guys but normal men with hair and bellies and morning breath. They felt real.

I also loved Byron and Addas, his partner, who he is trying to save from being infected with werewolf venom. The methods an increasingly desperate Byron resorts to in order to save him are disturbing to say the least, made more so by their early domestic scenes, which are lovely.

Top marks for world-building and great side characters, including Cam’s mum, who is hilarious even though she only has a small part to play. And the twig. If you don’t have a lump in your throat after discovering the fate of the Spriggan, you’re a psychopath. End of.

All the dialogue runs smoothly and feels natural, and the characters are convincing to the max, with all their human frailties and foibles, as well as their strengths. The story didn’t end on too much of a cliffhanger, although there is another book to come. It could be read as a standalone, I guess, but my bet is no one will be happy with just one helping of these great characters.

It was a great read and I can’t wait for the next one!


Devid Khandelwal desperately wants to experience the supernatural. After years of studying everything from crystals to tarot to spellcasting, nothing has happened that would tell him the Shadow Realm is real. And that kills Dev. As a last-ditch resort, he purchases a summoning board, an occult tool that will grant him his ultimate desires.

Cameron Habersham is Dev’s best friend. Cam loves Dev like a brother and will do anything for him, as long as he looks good doing it. So when Dev asks him to perform the summoning board’s ritual, he reluctantly agrees, but he knows nothing will come of it. Nothing ever does.

However, within a day, Dev and Cam’s lives are turned upside down as wishes begin to come true. They discover the existence of a supernatural world beyond their imagination, but peace between the species is tenuous at best.

Dev finally gets to see the Shadow Realm, meets the man of his dreams, and is inducted into the local male coven. But for all the desires that were summoned into existence, Dev soon realizes the magical community dances the line between good and evil, and Cam ends up on the wrong side of everything.

The old adage is true: Be careful what you wish for.


Irresistible by Andrew J Peters

Andrew J Peters has very recently been a guest on our little show! To check out his work and listen to his interview, check out Episode 180: A Very Spoofy Rom-Com

This was a difficult one to review fairly. I decided to go in and start reading without checking the blurb first, liking the element of surprise. The cover is gorgeous and I was expecting a fairly standard romance, if I’m honest.

I liked Brendan, although he clearly has issues with falling in insta-love and not learning his lesson when it all goes horribly wrong. He’s a modest guy, still reeling from the latest romantic disaster, when his head is turned by a gorgeous blond antique seller in New York. It must be love!

From there, the cynics will be gnashing their teeth. Insta-love, a Big Misunderstanding caused by the iffy-est of circumstances. And then it gets really weird. Suddenly I’m reading about lecherous drug dealers and a military coup.

I can’t actually say more about the plot without giving it away. It’s a real mixed bag, with dilemmas that kept me turning the page to find out what on earth was going to happen next. There were also some sweet moments (Faraj!) And some frankly ludicrous ones. (If I was escaping kidnap from gun-wielding terrorists, I wouldn’t stop to give my rescuer a blow job, however cute he was.)

Because I hadn’t read the blurb, I didn’t realise this was a comedy of errors, so there were a few “wait, is he serious?” moments, before I decided to sit back, enjoy the ride and not take it too seriously. The problem with labelling a book “comedy” is that people will expect funnies, and what’s funny for some won’t be for others. I found the balance between serious and comedic a little bit lumpy in places. If a laugh is unexpected, that’s one thing. But when the reader can see the set up a mile off, knowing they’re expected to find the situation funny at the end, it loses something for me. This book shows why comedy is so hard to write.

But comedy is subjective, and what I find funny (the darker the better) isn’t going to be the same as someone else’s. The long-running theme of Cal being “irresistible” was pretty funny, as was some of the dialogue between him and his ardent suitors. I winced a bit at the racial and cultural stereotypes, but having thought about it, I’m wondering if that really was the whole point. No one is safe. And yes, I did pick up on the irony of the line, “You can’t just buy people. At least, not in America.” (Trump, anyone?)

Also, the book mocks the stereotypical MM Romance expectation on so many levels: insta-love, Everyone Is Gay! The bitchy mother-in-law, rich man/poor man dynamic. I could list quite a few of them.

So while the book didn’t quite work for me, I applaud the boldness of it, the big fat one-fingered tribute to those who like their tropes in narrow straight lines with no diversions, and the courage to throw the reader headlong into unexpected WTF situations. If I did a star system, I would award an extra star for the FUCK YOU element, especially one delivered with such a sweet, mischievous grin.


Brendan Thackeray-Prentiss is an Ivy League-educated trust-funder who Gotham Magazine named the most eligible gay bachelor in New York City. He lives for finding his soulmate, but after walking in on his boyfriend of three transcendent months soaping up in the shower with an older female publicist, he’s on a steady diet of scotch, benzodiazepines, and compulsive yoga. Men are completely off the menu.

Callisthenes Panagopoulos has a problem most guys dream of. With the body and face of a European soccer heartthrob, the vigorous blond hair of a Mormon missionary, and a smile that makes traffic cops stuff their ticket books back in their utility belts, he’s irresistible to everyone. But being a constant guy-magnet comes with its discontents, like an ex-boyfriend who tried to drive his Smart car through Cal’s front door. It makes him wonder if he’s been cursed when it comes to love.

When Brendan and Cal meet, the attraction is meteoric, and they go from date to mates at the speed of time-lapse photography. But to stay together, they’ll have to overcome Cal’s jealous BFF, Romanian mobsters, hermit widowers, and a dictatorship on the brink of revolution during a dream wedding in the Greek isles that becomes a madcap odyssey.

A gay romantic comedy of errors based on Chariton’s Callirhoe, the world’s oldest extant romance novel.