Book Reviews

Sins of Summer Anthology by D.J. Manly, A.J. Llewellyn, and Serena Yates at Pride Publishing

Genre Gay / Mixed Time Periods/Genres / Vampires / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 24-August-2011

Book Blurb

The seven deadly sins: lust, wrath, greed, gluttony, envy, pride and sloth.

The Sins of Summer weaves a general thread of deception loosely tying these tales together. Envy, lust and wrath are explored in these scorching m/m tales involving action, burning hot sex and sinful adventures that will have you cranking up the Air Conditioning.

'Mayze' by D.J.Manly
D.J. Manly tackles the sin of lust in his paranormal tale

Jas’s joy of being reunited with his sister is short lived when one night she is murdered by a madman, a madman his foster brother claims is a vampire. Sent out on a mission to find a monster, Jas meets Mayze, and he’s like no one he’s ever met before. Is he the monster who killed his sister, or could he just be the answer to his prayers?

'Burnt Island' by A.J.Llewellyn
A.J. Llewellyn tackles the sin of jealousy in Burnt Island

Manhattan-based private investigator, Leo Gannet, accepts an assignment to tail his father’s boyfriend, theater director Thane Covey on a clandestine trip to a tiny Greek island. With only three hundred inhabitants and four miles to cover, Leo worries about pulling off his mission. He soon discovers he's got bigger problems: Thane Covey is the sexiest man he's ever seen. And he's not alone. Leo soon becomes insanely jealous, then very worried. To top it off, Thane also seems to have somebody else's attention...a hitman's.

'Summer Escape' by Serena Yates
In Summer Escape, Serena Yates tackles the sin of wrath.

New York banker Carlton Jaymes Pearce receives an ultimatum from his doctor: accept a lifestyle change and early retirement to reduce his astronomical stress levels or be prepared to have a heart attack - soon. Being only thirty-eight, Carlton isn't ready to die and decides to finally learn how to sail. Neither he nor his private sailing instructor, Troy Nicholls, are ready for the almost instant attraction that leads to a hot and heavy summer fling. But all is not well because someone from Carlton's past appears on the scene to exact revenge for a perceived injustice. Carlton and Troy are kidnapped and left on a deserted island. Will the mysterious man's wrath cost them their lives?


Book Review

'Mayze' by D.J.Manly
I don't normally think of a vampire as being a hero, but in 'Mayze' by D.J. Manly, that's exactly the case. Mayze may be a creature of the night, but he's also hell bent on saving humans from what he considers a fate worse than death—living forever. When Thanatos, the vampire who turned Mayze against his will, goes on an irresponsible killing spree, Mayze sets out to stop him. Imagine his surprise when he meets Jas in a gay bar who is proclaiming he's hunting for a vampire.

D.J.'s comparison of the two men's motivation makes the story exceptional. When a tragedy gives them a common enemy, Mayze and Jas join forces to defeat Thanatos and fight for the innocents. Mayze feels obligated because of Thanatos's cruelty and Jas for his guilt about escaping from the war in Bosnia. Mayze and Jas soon realize that their quest is not the only thing that binds them. They discover powerful feelings of love and lust for each other which threaten to consume them. Mayze appealed to me at a much deeper level than most vampires do. I appreciated D.J.’s portrayal of him as a compassionate, responsible person with great capacity for love. Jas broke my heart for not being able to immediately see this side of him; yet I was overjoyed when he finally did.

'Mayze’ is a unique, but compelling love story. As Jas put it: “I love you...and that love is the lustiest love I've ever known...” The characters are vivid, the story line is unpredictable, suspenseful, and scary. There is love, lust, pain, and retribution—a perfectly, happily ever after ending, right? Thanks D.J.!

'Burnt Island' by A.J. Llewellyn
Told in first person, Leo Gannert, the main character of 'Burnt Island' by A. J. Llewellyn, affords us with the opportunity to experience events along with Leo throughout the story. His portrayal ranges from funny, witty and poignant, to downright dangerous, revealing not only the action, but his thoughts and feelings about it as well. Leo won my support right away for the sacrifices he's willing make for Jez, his dog. When his father offers to pay for Jez's medical care, Leo goes against his better judgment and agrees to follow his father's lover, Thane Covy. I didn't like Leo's father from the beginning; he comes across as a selfish, pompous, controlling ass from the start by using Leo's love for Jez to get him to do something he doesn't believe is right. It's obvious that he's self centered and conceited and untrustworthy.

Investigating Thane is not easy for Leo. The jealousy he feels skews his perception, which makes it difficult for him to see things as they really are. After he and Thane get together and he' hears Thane's side of the story, Leo is able to put things in proper perspective. Unfortunately, he's forced to accept a painful truth which is difficult to believe, yet one he needs to face immediately. Things with Leo's father are far more complicated and sinister than Leo perceives them to be as well. It didn't surprise Leo that his father was jealous and vindictive, considering his personality, but he never dreamed that his father would be capable of the amount of chaos he caused because of his jealousy.

I enjoyed 'Burnt Island'. It's an adventure full of intrigue, deceit and lots of hot sex, with good triumphing over evil and love winning out in the end. Thanks, A.J., for the exciting Greek vacation.

'Summer Escape' by Serena Yates
Although out of necessity, Carlton Jaymes Pierce, of 'Summer Escape' by Serena Yates, decides to completely change his lifestyle. I have to admit to being a bit jealous. It would be wonderful to decide on doing something I've always dreamed of doing and actually be able to drop everything and just do it. Carlton's choice of learning to sail is an interesting one and indeed gives him a new start. He learns to focus on the present, setting aside all of the stress and concentrates on enjoying life. In doing so, Carlton discovers a great deal about himself, what he wants and needs. One of the needs he discovers is for companionship, for someone with whom to share his life. When he meets Troy Nicholls, his sailing instructor, he's instantly attracted to him, but Carlton is shy. His sexual experience is limited and his ex-boyfriend, Michael, made him feel less than competent.

I intensely felt his sadness and pain when he told Troy that he'd never had a lover who was also a friend. In this story, as with many of Serena's works, the romantic encounters are passionate and steamy, but they are also particularly poignant because of Troy's sensitivity to Carlton's inexperience. He endeared himself to me for his patience and understanding. It's great to watch Carlton open up under Troy's nurturing and realize how much they have in common.

'Summer Escape' is an intense adventure into the world of love, jealousy, and intrigue. Pirates and the over the top jealousy of an ex-boyfriend add an aura of danger, however, it also gives Troy and Carlton time to realize how intense their feelings for each other are. They find their soulmate in each other and finding true love is always worth the angst it brings with it. Thanks, Serena, for once again making my romantic heart beat a little faster.





Disclaimer: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Pride Publishing for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Anthology/3 novellas, 197 pages/68000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-August-2011
Price $7.50 ebook, $15.99 print
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