What Sirius has been reading
Common Goal (Game Changers #4) by Rachel Reid
New York Admirals goalie Eric never thought his friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger Kyle would leave them both wanting more…
Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time.
Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away.
Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings.
Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it.
This is book four of the series. You can read it as stand alone. The characters from the previous books pop up as supporting characters, but you won’t be confused if you start with this book. For example the couple from the first book is probably playing the bigger supporting role than other guys and I have not read the first one. I have read the second and third books though.
Both Erik and Kyle are interesting and complex enough characters and overall I did like them together, but some developments in the relationship just felt off for me. Like of course Erik, who used to be in control of every aspect of his life would be nervous and cautious at first in exploring the new territory, but I just could not wrap my head around some things. I mean it is a fairly standard trope – “let friends with benefits realize that they have feelings for each other”. I am not knocking it down, I think author did it well, but I felt like it was mixed with oh “let me help you get hooked up with other people” and I don’t know, it just felt false to me.
I did not expect them to quickly decide that they want a relationship, but realizing that you want the person (even if you mistakenly think it is only sexual desire), but still try to make them find somebody else, just felt false to me and me wanting to slap the characters is not a good feeling.
Max, the stranded Earth pilot, and Rick, his tentacled partner in love, are forced to return to a universe that dismisses Rick as an asymmetrical, loud outcast. But Rick hasn’t told Max the whole story. Max wants to live in a universe where his children and his lover are respected and given a chance to shine. He doesn’t know the odds are stacked against them. Max is going to have to catch up fast if he wants to win a battle that is less about weapons than manipulating the rest of the universe into being fair.
To protect his sweet, belchy partner in love and their three offspring, Max will change the universe, one stubborn alien at a time, and he might have to start with the one he loves.
This is a sequel to “Earth Fathers are weird”. The first book contained male pregnancy, this one does not although at the end there is a possibility that Rick and Max will make more kiddos eventually.
I am not a fan of male pregnancy – I went in the first book with the opened eyes, but I certainly did it only because I don’t usually miss this writer’s books. I was certainly grateful to be spared the vision of little octopus like beings popping out of Max’s body parts. Having said that I certainly enjoyed the first book after we were done with the pregnancy. I thought there was a plenty of humor and I thought Rick and Max had good chemistry together and the kids were adorable. Oh, and the sex was hot and mind you I am usually not seeking out tentacles sex either.
I was happy to pick up the sequel but I was kind off disappointed. I always enjoy when this writer explores the communication issues the beings from the different worlds are bound to have when they are trying to find common ground and this book was no exception. Although while in the first book Rick and Max were trying to understand each other, in this Max is trying to make sure Rick and his people are better understood and respected in the universe Max finds himself living for the foreseeable future and maybe forever.
All of this was nice and I loved that Rick has to abandon his stance of “let’s hide” when he has to confront the people and issues in order to help Max, I liked that.
Overall though, I felt that story had an episodic feel. Whatever was happening, just was not enough for me where conflict is concerned. It is nice and all to have the stories with little to no conflict (again, something certainly happened, but I never felt that our heroes were truly in danger from the outside universe or that they were in serious conflict with each other), but it also becomes a little boring.
Rick and kids were funny and their personalities were nicely drawn, but I won’t lie I was sort of bored.
THREE TALES is a collection of short stories from the world of LORD MOUSE and THE SHADOW MARK, and take place in and around the small coastal village of Havenwood.
I enjoyed three novels by this author that I have read previously and I periodically keep checking if he has the new ones out. Today I saw that he had this collection of three short stories out set in the world of the novels. I decided to grab it – I had been frustrated with m/m short stories in the past, but was curious to see what this writer will do within the constraints of the short story.
I really liked it overall. However it is very frustrating to review because almost everything I say may end up being a spoiler.
The Black Chest. Main character Jaromir is coming back to the village of Havenwood. He is running from something, initially we don’t know what, and he has a black chest with him which a group of thieves have the stupidity to try and steal from Jaromir. Jaromir fights to get it back. I bet you won’t guess what was in the chest. I know I didn’t. I really liked it. One of the reasons why I had been frustrated with most m/m short stories I have read was because m/m short stories often tend to be an outlines for novels, rather than self sufficient short tales. This one can certainly be expanded but it is also stands on its own quite well. B
The Ode to Gam Dossa. The bard is traveling around to sing magical songs and very often young men realize their heart’s desires after listening to him. It was a nice message for sure, but I think I really disliked the plot device that author used to execute such a message. It was just weird and made me not like main character much. Man it is hard to review twenty pages story without spoilers. C+
Herb.This was excellent and I think had the most fairy tale like feel out of three stories. A young man is traveling to Havenwood and gets distracted from his journey by the call for help from the dying dryad. Since the young man yearns for adventure, he decides to risk life and limb to help the dryad.
I loved the story, it was entertaining , BUT I would not want to reread it. Why? Because of the twist – it suited the story and was unexpected, but it did not make me feel good and that’s all I am going to say.
I will say this much though – none of the stories are romances, they are too short for that, but I would go further and say that only first story had romantic element.
None of the stories are tragic either, but again, where the endings are concerned – I was less and less satisfied. All three stories were executed well, but only first story made me feel good about romantic element of the storyline.
B for the third story and for the collection overall.