Review: Acquainted with the Night by Tymber Dalton

Dale despised the Terran military. He was drafted, not a volunteer. He never expected to get captured by the Algonquans and sold as a breeder pet, either. He only prays his new owner is kind and doesn’t eat him. Then he meets fellow pet, Mark, who informs him getting captured was the luckiest day of their lives. Mark also hated the military and now spends his days in a life of sexual leisure, enjoying poetry and totally at peace with his fate.

Dale settles in and finds not only does he enjoy this life, he loves Mark, too. Despite tragedy striking too close to home in their protected world, they find room to love their Master’s newest pets, Cooper and Nate.

When the war ends and the Terran pets are granted their freedom, the men are faced with a choice: return, or stay with the owner they’ve grown to love?

First up, there is some weird-ass shit in this book. No lie.

✓ humans as sex pets
✓ collars and ear tags
✓ dick milking machines
✓ eggs implanted in asses
multiple... erhm... egg laying 


This is a story with such an emotional punch it knocked me right off my feet. Is it for everyone? No, probably not. There is a lot of weirdness to digest to be able to get to the good stuff. But, for me, the weird stuff was more fascinating than off-putting. I loved it, I loved the dynamics of the master and their pets. I loved the introduction to their planet, there was no doubt that these men were seen, literally, as pets. 

They were in frames, in a strip mall, waiting to be purchased. Before they were bought the aliens inspected them for breed-ability. Once they were bought, they had an identification tag pierced in their ears. So, yeah. They were pets, no doubt. Did that make their relationships less loving and real? Absolutely not. 

I love the love that Dale and Mark shared. The unconditional, forever, no-matter-what love they had for each other. Just thinking about them gets me all gooey and weepy. Yes, they were in a relationship with their master and (eventually) his two other pets. Yes, they loved their master and needed him almost as much as they needed each other. But Mark and Dale put each other first, always. They had this complete, all-consuming need for each other that I could feel almost from the moment they met.

Acquainted with the Night spans about 40 years or so, there was a lot of heart ache and changes for Mark and Dale along the way, including the introduction of two more pets into the household.  I always enjoy books that have a large time span. I like being able to see the couple(s) survive through life and the crap that happens post-HEA. Because that's what happens in life, a bunch of crap and being happy with someone amongst all the crap is hard work. So, despite the cuh-ray-zay world building, there was a believability to their relationship. Seeing all the ups and downs and the struggles only added to my investment in these characters and the life they shared. It was wonderful and beautiful and, in the end, heartbreaking.

There are definitely some things I could gripe about, namely, all the sex. There was a lot. No really, I don't think they had any cum left in their balls. More sex than I've ever read in a book before, ever. That much. But I had so many damn feels in every scene that I don't even care. So I have complaints, *shrugs* I'm still giving this bad boy 5 hearts.

This was an odd story, set in odd circumstances. But ultimately, it's an intense, highly emotional, character driven love story. One I won't be forgetting and will most likely be rereading in the future.

Series Review: Chronicles of the Shifter Directive by Scarlet Hyacinth

Hundreds of years ago, werewolves and vampires started a war that nearly wiped out all of humankind. They lost, and to pay for their crimes, they became the slaves of the draechen, trapped by the provisions of the new Shifter Directive.



 So, I am sitting here one day in between books and I think to myself, “I wanna read some fluff.  Some shifter fluff.  Yeah, with mpreg!”.  I search around for a bit until I come across Scarlet Hyacinth.  Now, I’ve already read her entire Mate or Meal series so I know what I’m in for.  I decide to check out her other works.  I see Werewolf’s Way and think, “why not?”.  I settle down for a nice, light, fluffy afternoon read.

Boy, was I wrong!

This series was an epic, and I do mean EPIC, story.  I should have known.  I mean, the cover of each book clearly states “Epic Romance” but I didn’t pay it any attention.  I just wanted my fluff.  Yes, it had shifters.  Yes, it had mpreg and matings and claimings and all the stuff I was looking for.  But that’s not all I got.  I also got action and adventure and intrigue.  I got a mystery with convoluted plot lines.  I got the whole gamut of emotions.  I got stories within stories within stories.  And let me just tell you; there was not a single plot hole anywhere to be found.  I was not prepared to be sucked into this series like I was.  As soon as I finished one book I was immediately purchasing the next (at full price no less).  I hungered for these books.

In the first book, Werewolf’s Way, we meet Caelyn, a sprite and Graham, his werewolf mate.  Theirs is a forbidden love and we see their flight to freedom.  Do they make it?  Do they stay together or are they ripped apart by the evil Draechen?

The second book, Draechen’s Mate is about Prince Karien of the Draechen (dragons) and his arranged marriage to Prince Sari of the fae.  In this book we get to see that the Draechen may not be so evil after all.  Well, at least some of them aren’t.

The third book, Warrior’s Dream, is about Kael and Tali.  They are the stuff of legends and we finally get to learn all about the Great Sacrifice.  You have to pay attention with this one because it is the reason behind the entire story arc.

Book four, Naga’s Concubine,  introduces us to Lieutenant Sage of the Draechen and Prince Camden of the Naga.  Here we learn more about the ins and outs of the Shifter Directive and why it needs to be abolished.

Book five,  Emperor’s Consort, is about Hareem and Taryn.  This story plays a pivotal role in the overall arc.  This is also one of my favorites.  Taryn will always hold a special place in my heart.

In book six, Fire’s Embrace, we get to experience the love between Alwyn and Rachen.  We also get to experience one of the most tender and passionate love scenes I have ever read.  I thought my heart would burst from reading it.  This book also ends on a MAJOR cliffhanger. 

Each of these stories was closely interwoven with the others.  All of the main characters and most of the secondary ones are in every book.  The plot is intricate and full of red herrings.  It kept my attention throughout.

But wait!  What about the seventh and final book? 

Book seven, From the Ashes, took every storyline in all the previous books, stuffed them in a jar, shook them up and dumped them on their heads.  At first I didn’t know my up from down, my right from left, my backward from forward.  Everything I learned was gone; all the truths were now lies.  I felt a pang of loss so great that it was a physical thing.  I grieved for these characters and what they were put through.  I still haven’t completely recovered from this book.

Overall, this series was beautifully written.  Scarlet Hyacinth has a way of describing scenes to where you can’t help but feel like you’re there in the story even if there’s no way it could be real.  Her words when expressing how a character feels are almost like poetry.  My heartstrings were not just tugged - they were yanked on.  You can really tell a great deal of thought was put into this series.  It was so detailed, so intricate and absolutely nothing was left out. 

So, while I may not have gotten what I was originally searching for I am delighted at what I discovered.  If you like shifters, claimings and matings, you should check out this series.  If you like fantasy with fae and magic, you should check out this series.  If you like an epic story filled with action and intrigue and mystery, you need to read this series.  If you like paranormal romance, read this.  I certainly will read this again and again.  Just make sure you set aside enough time to read the whole thing because, seriously, it will suck you in and not let go until the end.

Review: Winter Knights by Harper Fox

Historian Gavin Lowden is in Northumberland on Christmas Eve for two reasons: to find evidence of a romantic bond between Arthur and Lancelot, and to finally tell his partner Piers that he loves him. Piers has promised to come clean with his conservative family and join Gavin for their first holiday as a couple, but at the last minute, he bails. Devastated, Gavin heads out onto the moors alone, just as snow begins to fall…

Gavin stumbles into an underground chamber, where strange happenings cause him to question what is real and what is fantasy. He’s found by two mysterious men, who offer him a bed for the night–and awaken him to nuances of erotic pleasure he didn’t know existed. Pleasure he hopes to be able to share with Piers.

When Piers learns that Gavin has gone missing, he is desperate to find him. He knows now breaking up was a terrible mistake, and he’s ready to take the next step in their relationship—if it’s not already too late.

It's winter time, so throw some coal on the fire, pour yourself a warming glass of mulled wine and curl up with a good book - I've got a great recommendation for you. Winter Knights by Harper Fox features snow, Arthurian legends and, of course, romance. What more do you need on a dark December night?

I loved the setting of this story, deep in the English countryside - I may be a little biased but it is one of my favourite places to be! Harper Lee obviously loves the area the book was set and it was so easy to imagine it, the snowy hills and cut off villages. The small mountain rescue shack and the underground cave. Perfect.

I also absolutely adored the Arthurian legend incorporated into this story, Gavin was so believable as the scholar determined to prove his own theory about Arthur and Lancelot. It didn't feel at all contrived, again I would say the author researched her subject well - and while Gavin's theories cannot necessarily be proven they totally worked within the context of the story.

Piers is a great and believable character, we first see him through Gavin's eyes - as the great love of his life and them the person who breaks his heart. As the story progresses though we see that it isn't black and white, Gavin isn't the only injured party, it does, as they say, take two to tango!

Artie and Lance the rescue guys - take one broken hearted historian and throw in two hot mountain rescuers and you have yourself some hot lovin'. I loved Artie and Lance and their story, though to be honest (close your ears unicorns) I could have lived without the sex - hot or not - because I wanted more about them and the mystery that surrounded them.

It's really my only complaint, instead of being a novella this story had all the makings and the wonderful writing of being a longer story. It was great as it was but I wasn't ready to stop reading, I could definitely have lived with the mystery deepening and the legends being expanded on, but it could just be me being greedy. Well it is the season of over-indulgence. ;)

Review: Let it Snow by Heidi Cullinan

The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot. Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up. Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other. Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.

So, I didn’t pop my MM cherry on a Heidi Cullinan book, but damn if it wasn’t one of hers that cemented my love for them. So, when I found out the blog was going to be a stop on the Let It Snow book tour I bronco kicked a few fellow unicorns out of the way and dove on this one.
Actually I may have just whined and said, “memememememememe – pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease”.
Yeah, I won.

When you read the blurb it seems like you are going to be reading a sweet Christmas story about a bear a twink and more bears. One thing you will always get from this author’s books is real depth in the characters. They aren’t even characters to me and definitely are not the stereotypical ones you expect. They are fully fleshed out people and so they will always surprise and impress more than you think. I always get completely invested in all the feelings and this was no exception.

Frankie Blackburn is a directionally impaired stylist who is on his way home from his parent’s new home when he takes at least a few wrong turns and ends up in the back end of Nowhere, Minnesota and there is a blizzard bearing down on him. He’s nervous about stopping for directions. He defines himself as “swishy” and he knows how residents of a backwoods small town will perceive him, it scares him and saddens him at the same time. He grew up in a small town and couldn’t wait to get out. He moved to the city and really just traded one type of loneliness for another. Frankie can be himself in the city, but he doesn’t get the connection and acceptance he longs for. His ideal would be to live in a small town, one where he doesn’t have to hide who he is, and where he can love and be loved. He’s sure it’s just a pipedream so he hides in plain sight in the city.

Marcus Gardner is a lumberjack, former lawyer who became disillusioned with his career and after an ugly breakup, flees the city to go back home to Logan, MN. About the same time his big city life is falling apart his mother has to move into a nursing home as she is suffering from Alzheimer’s and her disease is progressing. With his mother’s illness, moving back home is a pretty easy decision. So, there he is, former hotshot lawyer, now sleeping on his friend Arthur’s couch in a cabin almost, but not quite, off the grid. Marcus works, visits his mother, spends time with Arthur and Paul, his best friends growing up and sleeps. The next day he repeats the process. He’s pretty much resigned himself to this existence because, in his words, “He’d be fine. Lonely, but fine.”

As Frankie tries to get himself coordinated and on the road, he has an accident and ends up with his car in a ditch and the blizzard fast approaching. He quickly grabs his things and hits the road looking for the nearest shelter to wait out the storm. He finds a small cabin and while no one is home, the door is unlocked and he lets himself in. Fate being what it is, the cabin just happens to be Arthur’s and it isn’t long before Arthur, Paul and Marcus arrive back home. The storm that is coming promises to shut down all travel until further notice and since Frankie is without a car now anyway, the three lumberjack bears take him in and they all hunker down to ride out the storm.

The story of the dynamics of these four was in turn, fun, heartbreaking, tense and sexy as hell. Marcus and Frankie are sooooo attracted to one another, but each has their reasons for holding back and this is where the story became more than just a Christmas time romance. There is a recurring theme of perceptions and illusions here that I thought were incredibly interesting.

Both Frankie and Marcus have a set perception in their mind about what the other is like and how they think based on what they expect their stereotype to be. Marcus is a big strong bear of a man, he should always be in control and take care of everything and everyone. Frankie is sweet, flamboyant and effeminate, he needs to be taken care of and he should always look pretty. What they each find out as they get to know one another is that their expectations are just illusions and they are subconsciously perpetuating the same stereotypes that they each rail against.

On a bigger scale both Frankie and Marcus are applying stereotypical bindings to their homes. It’s easier that way. It’s much easier to believe that all small towns are the same, riddled with homophobia and small mindedness, than to take a chance and be proven wrong. It’s much easier to believe that the big city is safer because there are more people, it’s easier to blend in, it’s easier to hide. Both think the potential to be hurt is too great to look beyond the illusion of what they expect and it takes some outside forces and strong words from a good friend to give each of them they kick in the ass they need to open their eyes to the reality and not just see the illusions they’ve created.

So, while this is an incredibly sweet and wonderful Christmas love story, it’s also a reminder that everyone can, and should be, a princess at some time. And they shouldn’t be surprised if their knight shows up in a bright red ski coat and perfectly styled hair instead of armor to save them and give them a happily ever after.

Author Visit: RJ Scott Q&A and Giveaway!

Today we have our author of the month, RJ Scott, visiting us for a Q&A session. She brought along a goodie, too, so check out the interview and then enter the giveaway below! :D

BMBR: When we had our happy hour chat, there was a divided line between those that wanted more story (filling in the time gaps and making a full length novel) and those who were perfectly content with the jumps and the novella length. Was there ever any consideration to making this story full novel length?
RJ: Throwaway started out as a short story, and when I say short I mean half the size of chapter one. I wrote it for a friend who was ill a few Christmases before it was published and it ended with Zach having a Christmas miracle in that Ben found him. Then when I decided it would make a book I just sat and wrote it. I don’t really consciously decide how long a book will be until I sit and am typing. With Throwaway the first draft ended without the last chapter, but when I re-read I knew I wanted to write that last chapter, and it certainly wasn’t a story I could write THE END on because for Zach and Ben it really was THE BEGINNING. 
I have had *quite a lot* of people want a sequel, but whilst I have a story in my head I am utterly scared I will not do it justice. Throwaway is by far my best selling book (along with The Heart Of Texas) and it would be very easy I guess to write a sequel with the story I have. I just don’t feel I am ready to do it yet. Maybe one day.
BMBR: We have incredibly grand plans (in our own minds) to one day have the UM Production Co. that will produce our favorite MM reads into film. The powers that be at the currently non-existent holiday division want to see The Christmas Throwaway put into production. Who would you see playing the main characters?
RJ: Oh Jeez, I would adore Throwaway to be made into a film… playing the main characters, that is a difficult one. 
Colin Donnell (from CW's Arrow) would make a great Ben, serious, dark haired, heroic, I like that. For Zach, jeez, that is the hardest every question… I was asked this last December and the two I chose are no longer what I want… I have no idea… I liked the young actor who played wee Sam in Supernatural (Colin Ford) he’s all gangly and cute so maybe him.
BMBR: A couple of us were introduced to the term ‘throwaway’ when we are so used to hearing ‘runaway’ when talking about the kids tossed out by their bigoted families. It’s such a hard, but unfortunately real, concept for us to understand. Was there a particular story or event that prompted you to make Zach a ‘throwaway’ vs a ‘runaway’?
RJ: The first draft of this book was called The Christmas Miracle. The miracle being that Zach found safety and love even though his life had basically disintegrated around him. When I researched the course that Ben attended to be able to support teens I found all these articles about Throwaways. Like you it wasn’t a term I had come across before. I always thought a person who wasn’t welcome at home was a Runaway, but then it made sense, kids like Zach didn’t want to leave home. They always, every day, hoped for a better family, and understanding. Zach wanted to be there to protect his sister but he had no choice but to go, he was in fact thrown away out of the home he knew.
BMBR: While all the abuse Zach suffered was off page and not described in overly graphic detail, the reality of what he went through was painfully clear. We were all impressed with how the characters treated Zach like an individual and not a victim. How hard was it to balance Zach’s past with the potential romance with Ben?
RJ: I wasn’t ready to detail the abuse. I wanted to show it through the panic attacks, and the wood slivers in Zach’s back, and the skittish way he was with people. I wanted to show the damage done to him, psychologically and physically, had taken the most valuable of things we take for granted, such as trust and hope. Thank you for your comments on this and that I managed to show the other characters and how they approached Zach. Zach is a strong person inside, he has to be to have even survived the things he has gone through. I tried to show the other people around him could see this strength and that their role in the story was to get him to see it for himself. 
Zach hadn’t really fallen in love before, and it takes him a long time to realize that is what is happening. But before he could give any part of himself wholly to Ben he has to be able to get things straight in his head. Some reviewers say I left any sex scenes until he was 18, but actually that wasn’t my intention, I simply wanted time for Zach to begin healing. I always wanted to write hope that Zach could feel like he was normal, that he was okay and that he hadn’t deserved any of what was thrown at him.
BMBR: You have a number of lengthy series going at once. With so many characters and so many plot lines, I’m imagining all kinds of flow charts and spreadsheets. How do you keep them all organized and on track?
RJ: I have A3 sheets that I plot family trees on. From main characters to small details, such as the fact Riley and Jack in Texas have platinum wedding bands, or that Connor the werewolf from The Vampire Contract has three younger sisters. I always re read the other books before embarking on another book in a series. For example writing Texas 4 had me re-reading T1 – T3 with a whole pile of post it notes so I could collate all the information. Also, especially with T4, it’s vital the part that my editor, Erika Orrick, played in seeing holes in any of my plots. 
When I am mid story I tack the A3 page to the wall in front of me then I can glance up if I need to recall the colour of the coat that character X was wearing in Chapter Y.
I also have all my plot lines in my head for series where I have already planned the whole series. For example Ellery with Totally Bound, or Supernatural Bounty Hunters with eXtasy, I already know what will be the main story arc.
BMBR: Now, when you aren’t writing, and looking at your works in progress on your blog that isn’t too often, what is that you like to read? We’re big fans of ‘under the radar’ books, what would you recommend to a friend? Also, what would you recommend to a reader new to the MM genre?
RJ: I read everything, from books to the back of sauce bottles. Honestly. I can’t sit down and just relax with nothing to read unless I am watching TV. On my website I recommend books, and this is fraught with danger for a writer. I only EVER post reviews of books that really blew me away, because I have a responsibility not to guide any readers who might try my recommendations astray. People who like my writing (and gah, thank you all so much!) may well see something I have recommended and go buy it. 
I have my favorite authors, and authors new to me. Any reviews I have posted are here. To anyone new to reading in the MM genre, I would suggest going to the top 100 on Amazon gay fiction and have a rummage. Read the blurbs and the reviews, download the excerpt and see what you think. There are some classics out there but you can often find them through recommendation on review sites, especially when they do *bump* posts looking at older books.
BMBR: Of all your characters, which has been your easiest and hardest to write? And, we promise not to tell the rest, but which character of yours is your all time favorite, the one you would most like to meet in real life?
RJ: My Texas boys are my easiest to write in way of character, but hardest to write with stories. I feel a huge responsibility to my readers with this couple and their growing family and after the Heart of texas with all it’s soap opera drama I have a lot to live up to. 
Writing The Journal of Sanctuary One (Sanctuary book 6) was one of the hardest books I ever wrote for many reasons, not least personal turmoil I was experiencing at the time, but Worlds Collide (Sanctuary book 7) flowed like warm honey! 
To meet one of my characters? I have to pick one? Jeez… *thinks* Riley from Texas is all mine, in case anyone is thinking of dating him, he’s the character I would want to meet the most, all six four of blond Texan. Sighs. I would love to meet Zach and Ben as a couple and see how they’re doing. And, the same with my couple from The Decisions We Make now they are at college. Oh and can Meredith Russell and I go visit Sapphire Cay for real? ROFL
BMBR: We have to know, exactly how many ugly Christmas sweaters do you own?
RJ: ROFLMAO… actually none. Although I am a ho for all things Christmas, my boobs are too big and the snowman’s head would disappear into my cleavage.

While RJ might not be wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, she definitely arrived at unipornian headquarters full of holiday spirit! She's offering a giveaway of any one ebook from her backlist. Woohoo!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below with a method of contacting you (e.g., email, Twitter handle, or Goodreads profile link if you accept messages on GR, etc.). The contest to win one ebook from RJ Scott's backlist is open until 11PM Pacific time on December 22nd, and a winner will be announced on BMBR shortly thereafter.

Thanks for stopping by the clubhouse, RJ! We, too, are hos for all things Christmas and really enjoyed chatting with you about The Christmas Throwaway. =)

The Christmas Throwaway is available now at AmazonBarnes & NobleAll Romance eBooks, and Love Lane Books. Also check out RJ's latest holiday story, Christmas in the Sun (written with Meredith Russell), now available at Amazon, ARe, and Love Lane Books! You can find out more about RJ online at

P.S. As December's author of the month, we've made RJ Scott an honorary unicorn! RJ's unicorn secret (or not so secret?) identity is Violet Dapple Foal.

Review: The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes

Professionally, Dr. Alec Johnson has almost reached his goals. As this year’s recipient of a humanitarian award with his ex, Dr. Tyler Hall, Alec’s work with the homeless is about to be recognized. Unfortunately, his personal life sucks because now he has to attend several events alongside Tyler—with his ex’s new boyfriend in tow. In an attempt to lift his mood and break out of his rut, Alec purchases a motorcycle he has no idea how to start.

Dylan Booth doesn't have time for Dr. Clueless and his fickle 1964 Harley, but the cocky mechanic can’t say no to the request for help. Having spent his teen years on the streets, and losing his best friend to HIV, Dylan decides teaching the do-gooder how to ride is the least he can do. But watching Alec flounder in his ex's company throws Dylan into protector mode, and the confirmed hetero introduces himself as Alec's new boyfriend.
The ex suspects Dylan is lying.
Alec claims Dylan’s plan is insane.
And Dylan’s not sure he can fake being gay.

But he’s a master bullshitter, and the phony PDA soon turns ultra-hot. Alec can’t afford to get attached, and Dylan’s learned everyone eventually leaves. Unfortunately, playing the backup boyfriend is starting to feel way too real…

     The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes is getting all types of positive accolades from glowing amazeballs reviews to "....but these go to eleven" ratings.

I know some of you are going to being throwing literary stones at me but I love, love, love the "Gay-for You "plot in books  in fact I will buy and read almost any book using that device and yes there are times when it is obviously just a device and not very believable.   I will own the fact that I am one of those readers that will go along with the story no matter what crazy scheme the author devices for why Super Hetero guy all of a sudden likes the cut of a mans' jib.... I just close my eyes and click my heels together and "believe" the trope but now that my opinion is totally devalued -- this is one of the most realistic portrayals I have read.  The story revolves around finding the person attractive not the gender and there is something in Alec that makes Dylan hummm... We have all been there that special feeling we get when you connect with another person at all levels and then realize "hey this person is very attractive."

And I just love the fake relationship shenanigans in books --- sooooooo gooooood. You know there will come a point when the relationship turns real and that anticipation is just as exciting for me as the build up to any sexual tension.

 Also the super brainy cute guy with the rough hot guy from the streets who runs vintage motorcycle repair chop.. Sexy motorcycle guy is a given on the hot meter.  Who doesn't want to parade that guy in front of the ex who left. I mean it is a walking talking "FU" without having to be crass. The fact that Alec and Dylan actually develop a friendship first is just the cherry on top of this fun sundae.

I love Dylan and the fact that I share the tendency to open my mouth and say whatever it takes to defend a friend even if what I say is stupid, just makes me that much more stubborn I will stick to the story to the end.. I don't live in the land of the Alamo for nothing. So I 100% buy that Dylan will do whatever it takes to give truth to his lie just to prove an asshat wrong.

Alec's reasons for going along with the charade are also believable . I mean come on I would be, and have been despondent for eons when dumped.  Hands up on how many of us were more crushed on being the dumpee as opposed to the dumper (ughh wait is that a legitmate word for this) anyway... then Tyler has the nerve to hook up with younger/thinner/hotter..... oh wait that is my phobia but still you get the point. So then Alec's decision to buy a bike when he did no research, didn't ask any questions and has no clue how to maintain the dang thing is really par for the course and again totally believeable in the realm of idiotic things our crazed up brains will think is alright when we are grieving.

There are many other plot points and character revelations that I really enjoyed, not all is evil in Tyler land, Alec's realization on what a relationship and the freedom of choice really mean and his whole discussion with his mom on that very topic is beautifully crafted by River Jaymes.

There are some really harsh truths shown by Ms. Jaymes. Rick and Noah's relationship; living on the streets and what a person  would do just for a bite to eat.. River Jaymes does not trivialize the reality of kids living on the street and what they have to do for money. She also points out all the benefits to Care clinics for HIV treatment and what they mean to those with access and sadly to the far too many without, yet all of this is done without it being preachy and coming across as a social service ad. It will break your heart but if you don't feel the need to act or contribute in some way then you really just don't have one.

River Jaymes has some very sensual and "artistic" sex scenes that I can not spoil but trust me it is a very "genius" take on the beauty of the human body. Yes.. Yes I am being cutesy with my words

Really the more I write the more I am afraid to ruin the journey for the readers. It is a good one.

A copy provided by the author for an honest review.


Author of the Month Review: Oracle by RJ Scott


Alex Sheridan.  An empath with no memory of his early childhood.  His body is covered in patterns and scars.

Luke MacKinnon. A professor of ancient languages. The US Army knows he is the person to find answers.

Words in an ancient script leading them to a weapon to win the war to end all wars. Others want Luke to find the Oracle for revenge as old as time.

The legend. The power of the Oracle returning after fifty generations, sent by the Gods on Olympus. When Alex and Luke meet there is more than just lust between them. There is a connection they cannot understand but how can they survive the evil that wants the Oracle?

In ancient Greece the person (such as a priestess) through whom a god was believed to speak or the place (such as a shrine) where people went to ask questions of an oracle.

Many moons ago when I was but a wee unicorn I wasn’t into princesses and fairytales, I liked Hot Wheels and got my fantasy fix from Greek mythology. I’d already read quite a few of R.J. Scott’s books when we asked her to be our Author of the Month and I’d been wanting to read Oracle forever. It was an easy pick for me to figure out which book from her backlist I wanted to read and review and man did I pick a winner.

Alex Sheridan is a young man covered from the neck down in horrific scars and he has no memory of how they happened. He washed ashore as a young boy and was taken in by a big hearted Greek Thanos Castellanos who takes him in as a father figure and protector. Thanos is a true believer in the Greek myths and recognizes something in Alex, and knows he must be protected. Others take notice of Alex and well and Thanos sends him off to America to be adopted and to be safe.

When Alex gets older he gets tattoos to cover the scars and his body is a canvas of ancient Greek symbols and words. His illustrated body tells the story of a past life, the life of a young boy, Athanasios, that was taken in sacrifice at Apollo’s temple. There is a splinter group, Xanos, headed by a priest who thrives on greed and power and there is nothing more powerful than that of the Oracle. The boy is spared by the gods, destiny determined that it was not his time and he lives with the gods, for fifty generations, until it is his time to be returned to earth to fulfill his destiny. So, this would be the Alex washing ashore part.

Alex is also an empath who can perform telekinesis. He feels too much and must keep shields up at all times to protect himself. He can also control electronics and move inanimate objects. The only person he opens up to is his lover Edward and even then his boundaries are in place. Lowered, but in place. One fateful night Edward is murdered in what appears to be a random drive by shooting and his last directive to Alex is to return to Greece.

Luke MacKinnon is a professor of ancient languages who is contracted by the Army to translate some documents that have been found. Luke’s discoveries in the documents have his professor’s brain in cloud 9 and his protector and babysitter Lt. Christopher Samuels and he are soon off to Greece for more investigation. What he finds in his translations that he is able to complete with the information he has say,

“They speak of a man who can lead to the Oracle. A man of twenty seven summers who is not of our time. A man who can stop war and bring peace.”

He goes on to say,

“They’re some kind of unseen story, a new myth – a new legend from ancient Greece.”
“They describe this man as impossibly tall, with eyes of the sky and sea, and a body painted by the gods.”

Sound like anybody we know?

For a professor of ancient languages this is like winning the lottery and Luke and Samuels pretty quickly come to the conclusion that this new legend would be of great interest to any government who could find him if the legend turned out to be true. Luke relates it to the Nazi’s going after the Arc of the Covenant in Raiders and we learn a little about Luke’s crush on Harrison Ford in a fedora that I can totally support. Harrison Ford locked in time as Indy in Raiders is a permanent fixture on my desert island, sorry Luke.

This was what was fun about this story, some really good adventure but not so much action that you’re dragged away from the romance or the mystery, the elements were balanced well. I loved this,

" . . . . fifty generations from the last time the Oracle spoke it would rise to be used again, through the knowledge of a soldier, a scholar, and a painted man."

That sentence just sounds all kinds of badass.

Since this is really a book about fate and destiny Luke and Alex meet and to say their connection is explosive is an understatement. Each one had been showing up in the others dreams in the most intimate of ways. Neither completely understands the why’s and the how’s about what is happening between them but as I read about how lonely both men really were, it was so heartening to read about their connection. Alex finally being able to share his whole self with someone enough to be able to lower his shields and truly expose himself to another person for the first time. Then, seeing Luke drag his nose out of ancient texts long enough to become aware of another person. His longest relationships could be measured in weeks and probably were even shorter than he thought. He just wasn’t paying attention enough to know he’d been dumped. The all over tattoo inspection soon after they met was a favorite scene of mine and RJ Scott can really write the sexual tension.

While Alex is the reincarnation of Athanasios, there is of course a reincarnation of the evil priest who sacrificed the young boy so many centuries ago. Alex and Luke are kidnapped and are forced to show the members of Xanos where the Oracle is hidden. The action and ultimate resolution that happens on the mountain is pretty satisfying, wraps up the mystery well and answers all the questions that were floating around.

What happens when Alex and Luke return to real life really needs to be read and not told, it’s too good to be read about second hand. I liked that the changes in Alex after all the action are dealt with and while it throws some new insecurities into the relationship, you do know the Fates had it right for these two.

I’ll definitely be reading Book of Secrets, the continuation of the story and would highly recommend Oracle, it was a great read I really enjoyed.

Review: Kick Start by Josh Lanyon

Will is finally braced to bring Taylor home to meet the folks. Unfortunately, not every member of the Brandt clan loves Taylor the way Will does. Then again, not everyone loves the Brandts. In fact, someone has a score to settle -- and too bad for any former DS agents who get in the way when the bullets start to fly.

Homecoming. It was never sweeter.

The fifth installment in the Dangerous Ground series.
This review will contain spoilers.

I recently finished reading up on the first four books in this series, and let me tell you, they get better the further into the series you get. Maybe it’s because I develop an emotional attachment to Lanyon characters so easily. I don’t know what it is, but I was not disappointed. To see the review of the previous four books in this series, have a looksy over here: Reviews.

If you know me or have ever read any of my reviews then you’ll know that I essentially eat, sleep, breathe, practice-the-religion-of Lanyon books. The intrigue, the easy flow, the subtle sexiness. I’m not the only one who feels this way, obviously, but again and again I feel the need to reiterate that even if the book isn’t for you, you can hopefully appreciate the beautiful writing.

Taylor. Perhaps one of my new book crushes. It’s a tall pedestal, but I think he reserves the rights to it for a while. The characters were well established earlier in the series, and this book helps to see a little bit more of each of our favorite MCs. Taylor impressed me a lot in this book, as he has throughout the series, but this book in particular he seems to have let go of a few of his insecurities. He seems more accepting of Will’s reluctance to play Show and Tell with his feelings, and that displays a certain level of comfort and understanding in their relationship.
I was also very impressed by Taylor’s ability to be so understanding about Will’s relationship with his younger brother Grant. There were a few scenarios where Taylor showed a lot of restraint from lashing out at Grant for the sake of Will, and I thought that was extremely mature. He also seemed more aware of their relationship and more secure in general.

“No. You don’t want me. Will does. And how come his feelings don’t matter?”

William. Well, well, someone has grown up since the last time I heard from him. In Kick Start, Will seems, like Taylor, more self-aware not only of his feelings, but of his mistakes. Maybe most importantly, as the book progresses, he seems more aware and respectful of his partner’s wants and needs. He makes a lot of great decisions on how to handle things with Taylor and it made my heart feel warm and happy. But when he did make mistakes (Paris), at least he was able to admit he was wrong. I like Will a lot more in this book than I have in previous books.

Finally, a story I can follow! *streamers and confetti everywhere*
Now, I’m not saying I didn’t follow some of the previous Dangerous Ground books, I’m just saying it was a lot harder for me. Not harder as in I have the IQ of a goat, I just didn’t have to Google anything to understand where/what it was. I had to do this a good amount of times during Dead Run, and I suppose that’s a good thing because I learned a few new things, but for this read, I wanted it to go a look smoother for me. I followed everything in this book from even minor characters to major characters. Bill, Grant, the Dooleys, cousin Dennis, the PI, Madonna, and for me, this was a major breakthrough because I usually don’t care about the minor characters quite so much. I loved how the drama was easy drama. Loved it. The boys were on vacation visiting pop and bro, just out to do some fishing, and for a change, they didn’t exactly go looking for trouble or decide to do something stupid. *cough*Hedwig*cough* They never picked fights, in fact they tried to avoid them, and they didn’t wander around town looking to hunt down Jem, which I totally thought they were going to do and it was going to give me anxiety. They just carried on with their days like normal folk, and I appreciated that.

I loved the story! I loved how Jem wasn’t even in town, the Dooley’s were just a gaggle of redneck idiots, loved how Grant came to sort-of terms with William being with Taylor, loved the fumbling and relatively useless PI, but most of all I think I loved cousin Dennis. He doesn’t really even have a place in the story besides creating hilarious mischief! He might in the future turn out to be a dirty little liar and actually be connected with the Russian mob, but until then, I’m taking him as he is: a hilariously erratic minor character that I really enjoyed. He does silly things and shows up at inopportune times, and seems quite useless, but has a few reserved skills that I’d like to know more about.

Why Kick Start is my favorite of the series:
- Only one mention of David Bradley
- Taylor punched cousin Dennis
- Cousin Dennis in general
- William growing up and acknowledging some of his feelings and mistakes
- Bill
- A buck watching them fuck
- Super hot sex
- General easiness of plot
- the Dooleys

There will be another book. Of course there will be another book! But it can’t come soon enough to make me happy. I loved this book and I’d so happy I got to read it for the blog tour! I personally think that this book alone made the other four in the series worth reading. If you aren’t read this series yet (Jo!) but are sitting on the fence, keep in mind that the books just keep getting better.

A copy of this work was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Review: Try by Ella Frank

Try – verb: to make an attempt or effort to do something or in this case…someone.

Sex. Logan Mitchell loves it, and ever since he realized his raw sexual appeal at a young age, he has had no problem using it to his advantage. Men and women alike fall into his bed—after all, Logan is not one to discriminate. He lives by one motto—if something interests you, why not just take a chance and try?
And he wants to try Tate Morrison.

Just coming out of a four-year marriage with an ex-wife from hell, a relationship is the last thing on Tate’s mind. He’s starting fresh and trying to get back on his feet with a new job at an upscale bar in downtown Chicago.
The only problem is, Tate has caught the unwavering and unwelcome attention of Mr. Logan Mitchell – a regular at the bar and a man who always gets what he wants.

Night after night Tate fends off the persistent advances of the undeniably charismatic man, but after an explosive moment in the bar, all bets are off as he finds his body stirring with a different desire than his mind.
As arrogance, stubbornness and sexual tension sizzles between the two, it threatens to change the very course of their lives.
Logan doesn’t do relationships. Tate doesn’t do men. But what would happen if they both just gave in and…tried?

Ok just read "Try" and I honestly can see why this book is getting so much buzz both negative and positive....I held off reading because I couldn’t get a grasp on the truth behind the reviews. Ella Frank is a very popular writer in Male/Female contemporary romance.   This was Ella Frank’s first M/M release and people seem to have very decided opinions about that fact. 

There was so much flack in the air it was hard to tell the die hard "see no wrong" fans from the antagonists who don't want any one crossing over.  So I decided to give it the one chapter rule and started reading and right away I was drawn into the story.  Despite the immediate presence of female nookie times  - Man giving up cursing is killing my writing, especially when doing these really erotic reviews.  I really liked the heat between Logan and Tate. I love that cat and mouse chase especially when one of them is saying "no, no" but his body is saying “take me hard”... then you get that very same hot scene between the two men.

... But therein lies the problem with this book. It is hot sexy times, angry words regretting and denying those time a lot of lust in public and then back to hot sexy times.  There was no real interaction between the characters outside of the "I want you/I hate you”. I  mean it is scene after scene.  I can’t believe I am saying this because usually I am the one telling the author to stop with the plot and get to the sex, but yes I was actually interested in some of the storylines introduced that went nowhere because Logan and Tate got distracted by each other and then cue the porn music. What is the opposite of 'blue balls'? Chaffing, yes I was rubbed raw by all the sex, lust and angry spats that  after a certain point I just wanted to relax with some nice relationship building. This book was the equivalent of me saying "baby not tonight can't we just cuddle and talk".  There is no denying that Ella Frank can show the heat between the two men but in an 300+ page book I need to know the men actually like who they are sleeping with. With no real interaction outside of their lust for each other how do you know the relationship will continue? You buy that Logan is hot smooth charm - You believe that Tate wants and needs him despite Logan being a man. Then you wake up tomorrow and the car won't start and the cat needs to go to the vet and life happens and these guys don't know how to communicate. This book could have easily been a 100 pages less and still have enough porn for pleasure and not drown out actual plot points.

I am rating the book 3 hearts because if you like undeniable chemistry and friction and great dirty talk for pages then this book is perfect for you, it is basically a very well written cockyboys movie. If only JB was in it.

Review: Blame it on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton

When physics grad student Fielding Monroe and skirt-chaser and football player Mick Colman become college housemates, they’re both in for a whole new education. Mick looks out for the absent-minded genius, and he helps Fielding clean up his appearance and discover all the silly pleasures his strict upbringing as a child prodigy denied him. They become best friends.

It’s all well and good until they run into a cheerleader who calls Mick the ‘best kisser on campus.’ Fielding has never been kissed, and he decides Mick and only Mick can teach him how it’s done. After all, the physics department’s Christmas party is coming up with its dreaded mistletoe. Fielding wants to impress his peers and look cool for once in his life. The thing about Fielding is, once he locks onto an idea, it’s almost impossible to get him to change his mind. And he just doesn't understand why his straight best friend would have a problem providing a little demonstration.

Mick knows kissing is a dangerous game. If he gives in, it would take a miracle for the thing not to turn into a disaster. Then again, if the kissing lessons get out of hand they can always blame it on the mistletoe.

If you're looking for a Christmas novella that'll get you in all the right places, then this is the one for you. Mick is the straight, ex-football player, girl chaser who has decided to spend more time away from his ex-team mates and more time studying. Fielding is the slightly eccentric, totally over mummied, genius who ends up as his house-mate. Despite the obvious differences between them they hit it off and become best friends. Mick enjoys introducing Fielding to life in general as he's been completely cosseted by his mum and Fielding helps Mick to see life in a different way. They were both great characters.

The plot of the story is just so crazy - but it works. They are so damn sweet together and truly the romance of it all will make you squirm - as I said before - in ALL the right places. It is cute and lovely and hot at the same time. It is Christmassy and snowy and just perfect. The ending may have gone a teensy bit too much HEA - but I can forgive it in a Christmas story. I want sweet and perfect. I want steamy and saccharine - a difficult combination to pull off, but Eli Easton manages it.

It's a short review but the essence of it is I absolutely recommend EVERYONE to read this book but especially those who love a bit of romance at Christmas.

Sunday Funday!!!

Flirtation Rules of the 1800s, or
In which we pretend to be civilized unicorns.

I started my romance reading back in high school with traditional Regencies. Now I'm reading m/m erotic romances with two-penised aliens, but I digress... *ahem*

When I came across this webpage that contained lists of flirtation rules of the 1800s, my little Regency-reading heart went all aflutter. Check it out here:

In a way, the flirtation rules remind me of the handkerchief code used to convey preferences and fetishes in gay culture.

*carries her parasol over her right shoulder*

What do you think? ;)

P.S. Okay, I lied, it's not a totally classy unicorn Sunday, after all. Why? Because I came across this awesome stuffed, um..."animal?" set!

Check out these Reproductive Plush Organs available at Uncommon Goods!

And with the holiday season upon us, these are the perfect something special for that someone special in your life!

Extra bonus: Now you can be sure to rub up against that magical little prostate every night. ;)

Review: Pretty Poison by Kari Gregg

Pretty Poison
Deadly poison…or exquisite cure?

Noah fell from an eighth story balcony as a toddler, cracking open his skull and shattering his body. The accident would’ve killed a human, but even shifter blood can’t heal some damage. After the pack recommended a mercy killing, Noah’s family ran. But there’s no outrunning the mating pact formed before Noah’s birth.

Wade, the new alpha, chooses an adult Noah to fulfill the pact. Wade believes the previous alpha was a fool to reject Noah as a weak and inferior wolf, but Noah’s family was wrong to hide him and starve his wolf, too. Human doctors with human medicines are poison to shifter physiology. Now that Noah is fully grown, halting his shift to retain the pins, plates, and bars holding him together hurts rather than helps him, and for Wade, more than Noah’s recovery is at stake.

Noah’s family sacrificed everything to keep him alive. Noah will do whatever it takes to save them—including mate with the alpha who is determined to correct past mistakes and defeat old prejudices contaminating the shifter community.

Too bad some still believe Noah is the true poison…and should be culled from the pack for good.

Content Warnings: Dubious consent, shifter knotting/tying, and Nerf gun assassination attempts. Ereaders (and you) may spontaneously combust–don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If I created a wish list of sorts for qualities I would like a MM shifter story to have, Kari Gregg checked off a good number of them with "Pretty Poison". There is a ginger MC (YES!), alpha mating (YES!), a strong-willed MC with a disability (YES!), hot sex (HELLO!) and a strong mating bond (SCORE!)
He hadn't been fucked. He'd been possessed.
This girl loves shifter paranormal romance...oh yes, I, yes I dooooooo! Especially wolf shifters!

Now when I see Kari Gregg attached to any project, I know to expect: hot, elemental, primal fucking with strong characters. Did she disappoint? Nope!

"None will be as thoroughly mated as you when the sun rises." He chuckled at Noah's quiver. "Rest, little wolf. You'll need it."

*grunts* Noah is twenty and for more than 3/4 of his life, he's known only pain, being coddled by family for being disabled. He fell off a balcony at the age of four, cracked his skull and damaged his limbs. But being a wolf shifter saved him from death. Unfortunately, he was a shifter and his pack wanted to mercy kill him. His family has been on the run ever since to protect him. He walks with crutches, takes poisonous pain medication and tries to live in hiding from the city shifters on his family's farm.

Noah was not safe from the city shifters' alpha from claiming him with a mating pact Noah's family signed before he was born. Sheltered Noah was in for a rude awakening the moment alpha Wade stepped into scene. Noah was redheaded an uncommon trait of the normally dark haired shifters, short due to his bones not being able to stretch, damaged and scarred from many surgeries and as close as human as a shifter could get.

Wade was an understanding alpha, not an alpha-hole in the least. I think my favorite quality of him was the sense of vulnerability he had at times. He was not all knowing. He was actually insecure...and ADMITTED it (grudgingly but it counts). When forced mating is in play I am always waiting for the stronger MC to play their hand because they usually have some trick up their sleeve. Wade did not have any tricks. He might have kept a secret or two to himself a few times but he shared when the time called for it. Did he speak soliloquies?
"Would you rather I tug your ridiculous shorts down and suck your pretty cock?" The alpha nudged Noah's thighs wider and heart pounding, Noah spread. A moan locked in his throat when Wade brushed his fingertips over Noah's balls. "Or bend you over right here and now?"
His type of sweet talk was dirty talk. And I was all for it!

Noah, at first was resigned to fulfill his alpha mate duties. But both he and Wade had to learn how to be a couple. There was more to life than hot fucking...though when they did, it was scorching! This is a Kari Gregg novella, so wimpy glitter vamp wolves need not apply. The pair did the 'let's-be-in-a-relationship-and-not-talk-to-each-other' plot device but broke the mold by...talking to one another. Go figure, talking works.

There was no weird drama thrown in to move the story along. It was mostly Noah's internal struggles with being confident with himself, trying to follow the antiquated shifter rules and accepting Wade caring for him. The author introduces a shifter world where humans know about shifters, gay pairings are accepted, not questioned and male shifters can have babies. The shifter world is not fully explained but enough information is given to not get lost. The reader is given enough information to draw conclusions on how shifter society works.

One of my all time favorite shifter MM books is by this author, "I, Omega". It still is. If I had to compare it to "Pretty Poison" I'll have to say it was a sweeter "I, Omega" with MCs on almost equal footing and romantic feel. Noah was not weak, even when giving into Wade. His will was strong. He talked back. He might give in once in awhile but he was stubborn about it. And Noah was not pitiful. His disability was not downplayed or mocked. He wasn't a meek little helpless submissive who only lived for Wade's command. It was my favorite quality of Noah.

"If I could, I'd take you onto the hunting grounds until the full moon and keep you to myself. All mine. Only mine."

Dubious Consent? I think I missed it. The capitulation was so rapid I didn't get a chance to enjoy any dubious consent (though to me the consent might not have been given freely at the beginning, it was still given because it was expected). Technically yes it was dubious consent but it was was there such a thing as light dubcon? If there is, then this was it.

The epilogue. Oh the epilogue, it was sweet, sexy and hopeful. And it even made a subject I'm not the biggest fan of...actually root for it in this story! "Pretty Poison" was a romantic werewolf novella that delivered hotness, a great plot and yummy characters. Great escapism to delve into when you don't want a super serious read.


A copy provided by the author for an honest review.
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