Review: Half a Million Dead Cannibals by Kari Gregg

All that’s keeping Riley from the man he’s falling in love with are the ruins of a city filled with half a million dead cannibals.

Strangers, Riley and Graham sheltered together in a basement storage unit when the zombie outbreak slammed into the world three months ago. They lived through the first blast of the plague, but they may not last much longer among survivors scrambling for dwindling resources. They agree to hike from the city and to the safety of the mountains.

They don’t count on the storm they hoped would cover their exit developing into a Nor’easter, though, and they sure don’t think their visibility would shrink so badly that they’d hike into the leading edge of a zombie swarm, either. In the chaos of escaping the ravenous horde, they are separated, with Graham racing toward feral dog packs to the east and Riley sprinting to hostile survivors hunting them to the west.

Nobody said finding and keeping a quality guy (alive) during the apocalypse would be easy.






Wow. That was good stuff.

Riley and Graham were surviving together since the zombie outbreak three months ago. They battle against zombies, feral dogs and other survivors who want their stuff. This post-apocalyptic shit isn’t easy.

Let me tell you a bit about Riley and his kickassness. He can kick some zombie ass, that guy. Give him a bat and his running shoes, and he’s good. But why did I love him even more? He didn't lose himself in this zombie shuffle that’s happening. He still looked damn good when he did it, with his nails freshly painted, his lips glossed and his guyliner. He stays true to himself and, I think, that helped him stay sane.

Graham was just as awesome. He’d lost a lot of people, just like everyone else, but he wasn’t losing this guy. This guy he stumbled upon and grew to love, he wasn’t letting this one die. His love for Riley was so apparent, even before he was willing to admit it. And once he did? *swoon* He was so damn sexy and turned into Mr. Bossy Toppy Topperson. *double swoon* Then he was just plain adorable with his complete devotion to Riley. *swoon again*

These guys. These fucking guys! Their chemistry was crazy good. This story starts after they had met and been surviving for three months already. Even though I didn’t get the chance to read about their beginning, I could feel their attraction instantly and the buildup that had been happening. Needless to say, the tension was thick. So thick that when it happened, HOLY DAMN, they were so hot and so sweet and loving. Gawd! I loved their love. It was perfect.

Yup. This was good. I would love to read more about them since their ending was more of a HFN, a satisfying and believable HFN, but still, it left me wanting.


Find out more info in Goodreads
 

Spotlight on the "Another Place in Time" Anthology



Today we shine a spotlight on a really nifty book collaboration! Check out the superstar authors who contributed to this collection of historical short stories and enter the giveaway below. The proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the AllOut.org charity, so if you've ever felt curious about historicals but weren't sure about committing to them, here's your opportunity to sample some historical flavors and help out a good cause.

BOOK BLURB:

Welcome to another place in time...where one can be swept away into lands and eras long forgotten. 

This collection of short stories was birthed because a sworn "I don't like historicals" reader fell in love with what have become some of her favorite books by most of her favorite writers. Surprisingly, they were all historicals. Determined to make others feel the love, these authors were asked to contribute small tastes of how amazing historical storytelling can be. 

Included in this anthology:

"Office Romance" by Tamara Allen
"Introducing Mr. Winterbourne" by Joanna Chambers
"The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh" by KJ Charles
"Unfair in Love and War" by Kaje Harper
"Carousel" by Jordan L. Hawk
"Deliverance" by Aleksandr Voinov

Along with a foreword written by Alex Beecroft, enjoy these original short stories that make up "Another Place in Time". 

All proceeds from the purchase of this anthology will be donated to AllOut.org in celebration of LGBT History Month, October 2014.



Included in this anthology:

"Office Romance" by Tamara Allen
The post-war economy is at a standstill, much like Foster Wetherly’s life until he’s forced to do battle with irritatingly confident—and competent—fellow ex-doughboy Casey Gladwin for a position in their shrinking department at Manhattan Security Mutual.

"Introducing Mr. Winterbourne" by Joanna Chambers
Lysander Winterbourne appears to lead a charmed life. Handsome, amiable, and a renowned sportsman, he is the darling of London society. As far as Adam Freeman is concerned though, Lysander is just another spoiled aristocrat.
A wealthy mill owner, Adam has no time for the frivolous world of the ton, but when his younger brother becomes engaged to Althea Winterbourne, he reluctantly agrees to be introduced to society–with the Winterbourne clan’s golden boy as his guide.
Resigning himself to a few days of boredom, Adam is surprised to learn that there is much more to Lysander than his perfect surface. But will Adam have the courage to introduce Lysander Winterbourne to his own secret self?

"The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh" by KJ Charles
 Lord Gabriel Ashleigh is a ruined man. Last night he lost everything at the card tables to his brother’s worst enemy, notorious gambler Francis Webster. Tonight, he’s going back for one more game. Ash thinks he has nothing left to lose. But Francis sets the stakes, and they’re higher than Ash could have imagined…

Two Regency bucks. One game of cards. Everything to play for.

"Unfair in Love and War" by Kaje Harper
Many men lost brothers overseas in the summer of 1944. Warren Burch was one of them. For months he still clung to his big city life in Philadelphia, but finally he's made the difficult choice to return to his home town. Warren's polio-stricken leg won't let him serve, so the least he can do is be there for his mother, when brother Charlie never again will. Arriving home means a whole new life, constrained by the rhythms and prejudices of a small town. Fortunately, it's made more interesting by the mysterious and attractive young man next door.

"Carousel" by Jordan L. Hawk
When a child goes missing, is it a simple case of a young runaway, or are more sinister forces at work?

“Carousel” is part of the Whyborne & Griffin series and takes place between the events of Stormhaven and Necropolis. It can be read as a standalone.

"Deliverance" by Aleksandr Voinov

This is a re-vamped, re-edited, improved version of "Deliverance". It's about William Raven, a templar, who thought he'd escaped his past. (Same character as in The Lion of Kent.)



BOOK INFO:


Publisher:                Self-published
Release Date:         October 1, 2014
Purchase Links:      Amazon, Smashwords


THE AUTHORS:

Tamara Allen

Joanna Chambers

KJ Charles

Kaje Harper

Jordan L. Hawk

Aleksandr Voinov

Foreword by Alex Beecroft



GIVEAWAY:

There is a giveaway that will be available throughout all blog tour stops.

·        A backlist ebook from ALL of the authors participating in the anthology (one each from Tamara Allen, Joanna Chambers, KJ Charles, Kaje Harper, Jordan L. Hawk, Aleksandr Voinov, and Alex Beecroft)...7 books in total!
·        A $50 Amazon giftcard
·        A $50 donation in the winner’s name to AllOut.org (all proceeds from the sale of this anthology will also be donated to this charity)


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thanks for stopping by to check out Another Place in Time!

Review: Out in the Open by A.J. Truman

Libraries are meant for studying – not sex

College sophomore Ethan Follett never says what’s on his mind and never wants to rock the boat. After a high school social life spent anonymous and alone, things are finally falling into place for him. He’s found a group of friends just as studious as he, and is on track for a promising legal career. Out in the open, things couldn’t be better, but secretly Ethan yearns for some real excitement in his life.

He finds it in cocky fratboy Greg Sanderson, who challenges every rigid, preconceived notion Ethan lives by. Soon, their sparring relationship turns sexual, and these enemies-with-benefits get their freak on all over campus. Yet the more Ethan comes out of his shell, the more Greg retreats into his, working overtime to keep his ladies man public persona intact. As the sex gets hotter, and they get closer to getting caught, one part of their arrangement can’t stay hidden any longer: love.

OUT IN THE OPEN is a M/M new adult romance filled with humor, heart, and hot guys. The book is intended for audiences 18+ as it contains explicit sex and language.





When the request for this book came in I wanted so badly to jump on it. This book sounded really good based on the blurb. It also sounded like my type of romance. I held off though because I usually choke and develop writer's block when I have to write a review, even if it's for a book I love. But the day this went on sale I snatched it up. Boy, am I glad I did.

This is a play on the jock & geek trope. This new author, A.J. Truman, put a slightly different spin on it and I think he was very successful. We have Greg, the partying Frat boy and Ethan, his out of the closet, yet shy and studious classmate. They end up sharing the back row of a Constitutional Law class and the sparks fly. But NOT in a good way. They clash and the snarky banter begins.

The first few chapters were a tad slow for me. Not to the point of wanting to quit but I was worried that it wouldn't get better. As the next chapters unfolded it did get better. Much better. Then I realized that I needed those beginning chapters. They were the foundation to the relationship that I now had with Greg, Ethan and their friends. Without those first few chapters I'd be using this space to bitch about lack of character development and needing more background. The beginning is a tad sluggish but don't be fooled, the action picks up quickly.

Speaking of action, this book has some action in it. Good action. Really good action! In public places. Just out of sight. I don't want to go in detail but I will tell you the sexy times are in good supply and smoking hot!

The two MCs are easy to like, though at times I did get angry with Greg. He always managed to redeem himself quickly though and I never stopped rooting for him to do the right thing. The secondary characters are mostly unique and definitely added dimension to the story. Perhaps one or two were a bit clich├ęd and predictable in their actions, but only if I'm really trying to find fault.

There were a few niggles and such that I'll point out. There's an inconsistency or two with some of the descriptions. Nothing major but if I picked up on them you will too. There was perhaps one minor timeline issue that I picked up on, though it could have been my interpretation. I kept going and didn't let it pull me out of the story because it was insignificant and irrelevant. I also remember either a missing or extra word once or twice but again nothing major and nothing too distracting.

Overall, I really enjoyed this author's first book and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. If a contemporary romance between a cocky frat boy and a shy law school student sounds intriguing, I highly recommend Out in the Open!



Find more info on Goodreads.

Happy Hour Chat: "Pushing the Envelope" No. 1-3 by Kim Dare


For this month's Happy Hour Chat, we're doing things a little differently. That is to say...a serial story! And not just that, but BDSM, too!

The focus of October's Happy Hour Chat here at Boy Meets Boy Reviews is the first three stories in the Pushing the Envelope series by Kim Dare. We're chatting about For The Attention Of, RSVP, and Written Request, BUT there are a lot more in this series that a number of the unicorns decided to read afterward, too. If you like the way it all sounds, definitely check out the rest!

Kim Dare will be October's Author of the Month, so keep an eye out for more reviews of her work and an interview with her later this month.


Cupcake: B's here, Jet's drunk, let's get this party started!
Jenni Lea: Crap, Audrey's not here to herd us.
Sunny: I'm ready to do the copying, but can someone do the intro?
SRAL is a frigging Pirate!: There be an intro?
Justin: Intro?
Sunny: Audrey usually does a blurb, but this is three books...not sure what to do for that
Breann: There are letters
Breann: with instructions
Breann: for sex things
Breann: GO!
Sunny: I like sex things
Cupcake: I think we've established we all like sex things.
Jenni Lea: Paddle? Check. Flogger? Check. Leather cuffs? Check. Scott has gathered his supplies. He's sent the anonymous note to his fantasy dominant. All he can do now is wait, and hope like hell that Joe's curiosity will get the better of him. If Joe doesn't accept his invitation, Scott will be heartbroken. But if Joe does accept it, well, anything could happen.
Jenni Lea: TA DA!
Breann: *high five* JL!
ANN: WOOOP! That's my JEM!
Lorix: Good job!
SRAL is a frigging Pirate!: Ahoy mateys and lovies! Tis a fine day! It's Book Chat Day!
Sunny: Thank you, JL!
Cupcake: well done, Jem!
SRAL is a frigging Pirate!: Aye JL!
Jenni Lea: *bows*

Want to read more about paddles, floggers, and leather cuffs, oh my!? Then check out the October Happy Hour Chat after the jump!


Review: Bad Things by Varian Krylov

Xavier makes a lot of people nervous. The rest, he flat-out scares. More than his hulking, tattooed body, it's his predator's gaze that makes people feel vulnerable, as if he had the power to read their thoughts and see their soul. For his lovers, it's Xavier's ravenous appetite for all things carnal—for the taste of flesh under his tongue and the feel of a trembling body under his control, for whispered pleas and muffled cries—that makes him dangerous. 

But recently, driven by a festering rage against the men who attacked his sister a decade ago, Xavier has developed a taste for a different kind of hunt and conquest: stalking men who do truly bad things and punishing the predators he sniffs out. The problem with vigilante justice, though, is sometimes the man in your trap is innocent. 

Carson suspects he's playing a risky game with dangerous men. But the lies are convincing, especially when they're slipped to him among hundred dollar bills. He never guessed how big and dark the secret hidden under all the lies and money could be. And he has no idea he's not the predator, but the prey, until it's too late. 

And you can't beg for mercy when there's a gag in your mouth. 

But when Carson escapes from Xavier's trap, he's forced to accept that Xavier is far from his most dangerous enemy. Xavier may even hold the key to overcoming the painful past that has kept Carson prisoner for almost two decades.





This book… I swear to all the deities… It did things to me. Nice things. Not nice things. All kinds of things.





“The humiliations and defeats, given with a primitive honesty, end not in frustration, despair or futility, but in hunger, an ecstatic devouring hunger-for more life.”

~Anais Nin


Cards on the table. Bad Things won't be for everyone. It's intense, full of angst and… it's completely fucked. Seriously. F-U-C-K-E-D. The subject matter, Xavi and Carson's relationship, the situations they find themselves in, their reactions to those situations, all completely fucked. Yet, I totes loved them. I was enchanted from the start by Xavi in Dangerously Happy. I’m fairly certain that alone cements my depravity.

Xavi is an antihero. He gets things done using unorthodox methods, but he is loyal to those he loves. He'll do anything for them which is how he winds up in this clusterfuck of a situation. His sister, Elena, was gang raped at 18 which was the catalyst for a suicide attempt and her subsequent decision to enter law enforcement. At the beginning of Bad Things she witnesses a gang rape which dregs up the past for her and Xavi. For Xavi this translates into going undercover and isn't strictly legal. He sets out to right a wrong on a human trafficking case of Elena's that got dismissed on a technicality and ends up as a bouncer at Gomorrah where he meets Carson, the bartender, along with a cadre of unsavory characters. 

Xavi is a tattoo artist and a sadist, but more than that, he's one of those people that have perfected the art of reading others. Not in that weird prescient way which is so populations in romance fiction-"the perfect dom", all-knowing, all powerful, precognitive… total bullshit. He watches, learns, looks for signals and isn't always right. Just 90th percentile. All of which makes him exceptional at the mindfuck and he mindfucks the bejesus out of Carson.

Carson is a naive, somewhat desperate young man who gets caught up in a situation that is bigger than him and through a series of events lands him in Xavi's basement naked, bound, gagged and terrified. The trouble is he's desperately, perhaps foolishly attracted to Xavi. An attraction he's denied since he was a boy thanks to some vile parents who decided to eviscerate a nine year old. The shame and humiliation that wafts off Carson feeds directly into Xavi’s sadistic nature.

Does Xavi go too far?

Probably.

Possibly.

I'm of the opinion that the ends justify the means which isn't a popular opinion, but there you have it. I told you. Depraved. *shrugs*

I think Carson needs Xavi and all the "scary" to face himself and the demons of his past. I also think Xavi needs Carson to bring some light into all that dark and to give him someone that's his. They've both been alone for far too long. Their relationship is unconventional in both its genesis and evolution, but it is one that I’ll not soon forget.

Cuffed to the bed (because Carson still needed that, not to surrender to Xavier, but to surrender to himself), and carefully (which didn’t necessarily mean gently) palpitate his soul, find his dark, empty places, and fill them all, one-by-one.

What I like about Ms. Krylov's writing style is her uncanny ability to plumb the depths of the human psyche. She is exceptional at illustrating how complex and unpredictable humans can be. She turns her characters inside out and gives you all of them, even the distasteful and irrational. She excels at illustrating the duality of weaknesses for what they are as well as strengths and individuality. The healing but not transformative power of love seems to be a constant in her work which is something I appreciate over magic cocks.

She has the erotica gift. Damn. She does for erotica what Jake Jaxson does for adult films-shows you the beauty of it. She captures the total experience from the emotions to the enivironment in such vivid detail it becomes visceral. As you can imagine, to achieve this takes words, but I'll give latitude when the author is painting a picture this gratifying. 

“Holy Christ, the look on your face,” Xavier growled. “I want to fucking devour you. Like parents have that urge to eat their young.”


Word. <---pun intended.

This wasn’t the book I was expecting. I expected a more conventional romance between these two with more sadomasochism and traditional scening. What I got was more complex, and ultimately, more satisfying.

It’s not perfect. There are editing issues and I concede the story is not everyone’s cuppa, but it was perfect for me and probably some kindred depraved souls out there.



An  ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads

Review: A Twist and Two Balls by Clare London

Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage and screen. Or that was the plan. His alter ego Eddy March hasn't got further than the chorus and a bit part in a TV series. His parents aren't supportive, his agent can’t place his particular skills, and he's finding it hard to hang onto his young dreams. Things go from bad to worse when he's late for an important audition, hasn't got enough to money to pay the taxi fare, and is chased across the streets of Soho by the irate driver.

Eddy reaches what he believes is sanctuary - With A Kick, a store where ice creams are blended with alcohol and imagination, and where his friends can help him. But Nuri the taxi driver is persistent in his steady pursuit, above and beyond the money he’s owed. Despite their very different characters and background, Eddy and Nuri’s relationship goes from a complete unknown to a wary balancing act. There are still mistakes to be made, and hurdles to clear. And both of them have to admit that their life so far hasn’t gone the way they planned.

But maybe being caught by Nuri was just what Eddy’s career needed – both for his job and his heart.

Just a warning, when you read this book, you will crave ice cream.

Just like that ice cream is a delicious little snacky, this story will give you the same kind of satisfying happy feeling. Eduardo Mancini has got some problems of his own making and lucky for him his bad luck takes a turn in the form of taxi driver Nuri. What starts off as a day from hell ends up being the best opportunity Eddy will ever get. And, make no mistake, as much as his stage diva self would like to be Eduardo Mancini, he’s really Eddy March and it isn’t until he can accept himself as Eddy with all his faults and fears that Eddy will ever be happy. Eddy has big dreams of life on stage to the exclusion of reality unfortunately and his view of himself is holding him back from achieving any kind of success with his narrow minded view of what his life should be. It was really cute how he knew he was a bit of a ridiculous diva, but he held on to it like a shield and his attitude got him through some rough times. It’s also what catches the eye of the slightly intimidating Nuri. It takes some time for Eddy to understand that all the things that drive Eddy crazy about himself are all the things that Nuri is attracted to.

The attraction between the two of them is obvious and their personalities are perfectly balanced against each other. The natural progression of things is to meet the family and Nuri takes Eddy home to meet his. Nuri’s family is big, loud, loving and a little overwhelming to poor Eddy. Things started out well and because things were going too well, it was time to throw some angst into the story. Eddy’s diva takes over when he learns things about Nuri that were a surprise to him. The things he learned were actually all good things, but he was hurt that Nuri didn’t share more of himself sooner and he pitched a bitch-fit in front of the family. Woops. I wanted to throttle Eddy at that point myself much like Nuri’s mother did. To be fair, Nuri should have been more willing to share of himself, you can only be the strong, solid, and obviously too quiet character for so long.

The guys took a ride on the angst train, but it’s nothing too heavy and it’s reasonably resolved. Eddy has some growing up to do and thankfully he has his rock that is Nuri who’s got his back no matter what and Nuri has the firecracker that is Eddy to give him the kick in the ass motivation when he needs it. They also have their sanctuary, With a Kick, the ice cream shop that blends tasty frozen treats with alcohol run by his good friends, Lee and Patrick. I’m hoping the next story in the series is about them. They obviously have a story to tell! I’d also like a With a Kick shop to open up in my neighborhood ASAP.

This was a sweet little start to a feel good series that I would definitely recommend to cleanse your palate between more angsty and heavy reads. The characters were unique and I liked that they had flaws to keep them interesting and memorable. The end felt a little rushed as I would have liked to see more of them after they pulled it together, but hopefully they’ll make an appearance in book 2.



Find out more about this book over on Goodreads!

***a copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review***

Review: Tales of the City: Anthology by Vaughn R. Demont

A collection of previously unpublished vignettes and longer works which introduce new characters and stories to Demont's ever-growing cast and setting.

In "Drive-Through", a late-night run for barbecue takes an unexpected turn, while "The Line of the Hunt" tells the tale of a were-cheetah struggling to maintain a normal life despite his bestial nature, and how a chance encounter with another of his kind threatens to bring his house of cards tumbling down. "Happy Birthday" returns the reader to the romantic leads of "The Vampire Fred" for a brief but important night in Fred's life. The collection finishes with the novella "Let the River Run", the story of an incubus accused of murder who recounts his story and origins in an attempt to prove his innocence.

Warning: This work contains scenes of explicit erotic content.

When you read this one, make sure to read the Author’s Note at the beginning. I love to read the evolution of stories and what the author thinks about their characters. This is an especially good one and is a must read!

The thing I really like about this author’s stories, besides the humor and the unique take on the paranormal, are the endings. The endings are perfect. There’s an HEA but the bow on that package isn’t too pretty, but it’s believable and that is so much better.

Drive –Through

Well, hello you dirty little intro to this book. I like you very much. This was a hot little snippet that piqued my interest in Chuck and made me wish, desperately, that I had a drive through BBQ joint near my house.

The Line of the Hunt

I do like a decent shifter story, but I love a unique one that takes the theme and comes at it from a different angle and makes me see the characters as more than just shifters and the story is more than just a mating and insta love. That is exactly what this one is and I was hooked from the very beginning. Told from Jasper’s perspective, he’s a shifter with a big gap in his memory and no real coping skills to deal with what he is. He stumbles through life, just existing and hating the cat inside of him. He hates him and he fears him and his life just kind of broke my heart.

Then he meets Lou. Lou who likes “comic books and peanut butter and listening to live recordings of Lynyrd Skynyrd.” I really liked Lou and Lou really likes Jasper. Problem is, Jasper is confused and afraid and the story follows along in Jasper’s head as Lou follows Jasper and tries to convince him to let Lou teach him balance and maybe, eventually, there will be something more between them.

It was really sweet reading Lou’s version of shifter courtship as he broke down Jasper’s walls. For a short story it had some really great world building that didn’t feel shortchanged for the length it was and it read completely logically for all the things a city shifter would have to deal with. There was a lot of emotion on Jasper’s part and Lou’s caretaking made me melt. The ending brought balance and real romance. Not shifter insta love romance, but real romance. Not to mention some seriously hot mating that created quite the perfect pretty bow on this story.

Happy Birthday

I was SO anxious to read this one. I fell in love with Fred and Daniel in The Vampire Fred and this was a sweet and sentimental moment with a couple of my favorite characters.

Let the River Run

Man, I was hooked on this one from the very beginning too An incubus in trouble, angels, demons, humans and a dead body, who doesn’t want to know all about all of it? Vaughn R. Demont has the first person POV down pat. It makes it so easy to get into the characters head and feel everything he is feeling.

Chuck is an incubus. He’s not really a good guy, but being in his head made root for him from the very start. The story is told through Chuck being interrogated by an angel, his flashbacks to when he was turned and his relationship with both Will (the unsuspecting and completely lovable human) and Harris, his super evil mentor/supervisor. Chuck and Will have a real connection and it goes against everything Chuck knows in his life now. Harris has assigned Chuck to take Will to the Fifth Degree and as Will is a pastor’s son, he’s a pretty sweet mark for an incubus who needs to reach his quota. Just FYI, Fifth Degree is BAD.

The ‘Unholy Bureaucracy’ that rules Chuck and his ‘Employer’ would be really funny if it didn’t ring so true for pretty much all bureaucracy and I could really appreciate the subtle evil from a corporate standpoint. The mystery throughout the story is good and edgy and the ongoing interrogation was fun to read. Joni, the interrogating angel was a great character who kept those scenes going like a pro.

The mystery continues all the way through and I was nervous and hopeful and frustrated and it was a great ride. A lot of great story for a short and it was paced perfectly. This gave me another couple of great characters that I won’t forget anytime soon. I can see why the author would say that Chuck is one of his personal favorites as well.

Check out more info on this book over at Goodreads.

Group Review: Rock by Anyta Sunday

Igneous.
   When Cooper’s parents divorce, he finds himself landed in Week About—one week with his mum and one week with his dad.
Only, it’s not just his dad he has to live with. There’s Lila, too: The other woman, the one who stole the rock-solid foundation of his life.
And then . . .
There’s Jace. Lila’s son. Lila’s smug, regurgitated-fish-scale-blue eyed son.
All Cooper wants is to have his family back the way it once was, but there’s something about this boy that promises things will never be the same again.


Sedimentary.
   Resisting the realities of his new life, Cooper and Jace get off to a rocky start. But rocky start or not, after hundreds of shared memories together, they forge something new. A close . . . friendship.
Because friendship is all they can have. Although it’s not like they are real brothers. . .
Metamorphic.
   But how does that friendship evolve under the pressures of life?
Under pressures of the heart?

Yep - you've got it. A never before seen, unprecedented 10 stars for this book. We're breaking all our (non-existent) rules.

If you follow the blog, or hang around on Goodreads, it has quite likely come to your attention that I am somewhat of an Anyta Sunday fangirl. There is no dignity in being a fangirl, let me tell you. Despite the fact that I have this book on pre-order, as soon as a request came into the blog to review it I answered straight away with a resounding YES. I may have remembered to add a please, but I quite honestly couldn't tell you. I mean, I had the opportunity to read this longed for book ELEVEN whole days before it was released. Eleven days peeps. I have no shame in telling you that the arc came through pretty quickly and I sat down and read the whole book straight away. As an unashamed fangirl though, I did think it was probably best to get some other unicorns on board because I really do not want my review to be seen as biased. So here they are, the unicorns views on this stunning book.

Jade Jenni Lea
Have you ever been searching for that one story, that one hidden gem, that one perfect read and then after almost giving up in frustration you suddenly find it?

I have.

I’ve been hesitant to write this review because I just don’t know how to put into words what I went through while reading this book.

I was going to say this book destroyed me but though it may have brought me to my knees quite often throughout, in the end I survived and was left with a feeling of hope and happiness.

This isn’t a romance. No, it’s a love story. A love story between a boy and his almost step-brother. A love story between a boy and his family, both the one he was born with and the one he accumulates along the way. A love story between a boy and himself.

It’s a story about rocks. A story about family. About love and hate and betrayal and loyalty and joy and fear and insecurity and laughter and hope and sadness and life and loss.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. OK, so it’s not very secret but whatever. I don’t read YA. I can’t stand YA. I may go so far as to say I loathe it. Yet this book made my ‘Best of the Best’ shelf before I even got a quarter of the way through it.

Gah! I don’t even know what I’m saying here. There’s too many emotions that I’m still feeling even a week after I finished reading.

This, I think, is Anyta Sunday’s masterpiece. It is the best book of hers that I have read. It is the best book I have read all year. I can’t even categorize this because it is in a class of it’s own. I have put this book on a pedestal with a giant spotlight on it and there it shall stay for all time.

I want to say this book was superb but that’s not good enough. I want to say it is wonderful, magnificent, amazing, stunning and awe-inspiring but those aren’t good enough either. Is there something better than fabulous, stupendous or incredible? Something that transcends marvelous, remarkable or spectacular? I can think of only one word.

Perfection.


Bloodstone Breann
There’s nothing loud or overstated about rock. The plot unfolded organically and beautifully. There was heartbreak and moments that I didn’t want to go on, but it wasn’t necessarily because of what was happening (although, there were some gut-wrenching moments) but it was mostly because of my affection for Cooper. His character was so completely developed and real that both the smallest and biggest moments of his life brought me to tears.

I don’t want to go over the plot because I really think it needs to be experienced by the reader through the author’s words. Not my mediocre attempt at rehashing them. I’m even hesitant to call this angst, because then I feel like it sounds forced. Nothing was forced. Even thinking back at the events there weren’t any super huge happenings, nothing I’ve never read before at least. For me, it was all about Cooper. I fell so hard for him that his everyday occurrences (although, unfortunate at times) hit me with so much force I was crying (read: sobbing) throughout the last 50%. And why? I was asking myself the same question. I mean, really? That made me sob? Yeah, it did. I’m telling you, the writing is superb. I had no choice but to feel every moment in Cooper’s life.

Cooper and Jace. Gah. How I loved them together. They formed this inseparable bond, one that Cooper wholly believed in. Even though they were in and out of each other’s lives for years, it didn’t lessen what they had created and shared when they were younger. In fact, I think it proved the pure skill in the writing. They were apart, but I felt, (oh lord how I felt!) that they were completely meant to be. There was symbolism and so much meaning behind every moment they shared. Every moment had a purpose. There wasn’t any wasted space in this novel.

Leave the mascara off, grab your tissues and your unicorn stuffie. You’ll need it. But when it’s all said and done you’ll want to go back to page 1 and get to know Cooper all over again. Don't worry, it’ll be so worth it.

Jordanite Justin
How do you write a positive review for a book that absolutely destroyed you? A book that continuously stomped on your heart time and time again? While I was reading Rock, Lori, who’d already read the book, asked me if I was enjoying it. WHAT? HELL NO I was NOT enjoying it. It’s was slowly fucking KILLING ME! I’m an emotional reader anyway, but the characters created here are so real I physically ached for them. I wasn’t sure how I would feel at the end but I couldn’t put the book down. So with Lori cheering us on, me and my battered heart ignored RL (real life) responsibilities and plowed on. 

Back to my original question, how do you write a positive review for a book like this? Well first I’ll tell you that taken as a whole, it was worth every freaking heartbreaking minute! All of the angst, all of the dread, all of the sorrow was worth it when I read the final page and sighed “WOW, what a fucking ride!” Anyta Sunday puts you through a range of emotions in Rock. I laughed, I swooned and I cried. A LOT! But I don’t regret any of those tears and you won’t either. 

I highlighted several things but now I really don’t want to use any of those highlights in my review. They’re personal and I want you to experience them for the first time in the context of the story as a whole. 

There was one scene that felt unnecessary and slightly contrived. No one else in our group has mentioned it so it’s likely my issue alone. Even if you have a similar reaction to the scene, it’s insignificant and it certainly didn’t detract from my love of the story. 

This is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. I give a lot of five-star ratings but few books touch me the way this one did. It’s not an easy read but I cannot stress enough how AMAZING this book is. I highly recommend Rock and I happily claim my spot as “Anyta Sunday’s new bitch”.  

Get your copy NOW!


Lorimar Lorix (me)
I cannot begin to express how much love I have for this book - though I am going to attempt to here.

Friends to lovers is my favourite theme in reading, and this book covers this, but really it is so much more. So much more. I'm going to do my best to review this without any kind of spoilers as well.

So, for those of you not familiar with Anyta Sunday I have to tell you that she is  one of the most skillful story tellers I have had the pleasure to read. It is a pure gift. Her stories are a carefully woven fabrication of characterisation, story arc and emotion. This was absolutely no exception, in fact it's one of the best examples I've ever had the pleasure to read.

Characterisation:
Anyta's characters are never, ever two dimensional. Nor are they so quirky as to be ridiculous.Their oddities and quirkiness is part of who they are; not there as audience titillation. They manage to balance this wonderful line so they are human and real and have ticks, but not so they become a parody of a human being. Nor are they ever boring.
I don't know about you but, I've read so many stories where it is hard to tell one character from the next because their thoughts, actions and reactions just blend into one. The skill of this author is being able to tell who you are reading about with no clue other than voice and actions. Even secondary characters are fantastic. I loved Cooper's sister - angry at the world...but able to admit that much of it was her own stubbornness. Lila and even Cooper's dad. They are all amazing characters. It is not a two man show, despite Cooper and Jace being so damn wonderful.

Story Arc:
Feeding a story to a reader, bit by bit, so that even near the end you can't quite be sure of the outcome, is another skill this author possess. She manages to draw you into a story and keep you there, feeding you titbit's as the story unfolds, balancing those wonderful characters with action.
You know those books you can't put down? The ones that have you up til 3am, or burning the dinner, or getting to school/work late or cancelling your party invite because surely a party is not going to be as good as reading this book (come on admit it, it's safe to say it here) - yeah, you know those? This is one. The worst offender IMO. Prepare for a book hangover of highest proportions.
Anyone who thinks the only type of book that is a page turner is a rip-roaring mystery or high action adventure book, really need to read this author. I also need to add a note about the meticulous research the author does. It's rocks in the case of this book - yet we're not dumped with information about rocks, just fed little bits pertinant to the story. Amazing.

Emotion:
Emotion. Oh sweet chocolate bars, the emotion. Anyone who followed our updates on GR will know that not only are tissues required but wine, headache tablets (for the sad induced headache), pepto-bismal, something to cuddle...I'm sure I've forgotten something. Again, this author nails emotion. I NEVER cry when reading - I did in this book. I laughed and I cried and I felt so damn much. Yet, my overriding impression is one of joy and happiness. The sad feels come from being so invested in the characters you want nothing more than their happiness. And in this book, that may come at a price. Please, please don't be put of this by mention of emotion. I'm not an angst fan (honestly JJ, I'm not) but it works so well here. It's not angst for angst's sake. It is just part of the characters' journeys.

I really truly cannot sing high enough praises for this book. I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone. I feel so sad for people who don't get to read this book, who don't get to know the joy of these characters and their story. Please go and read it and then tell your friends about it. Share the love - I know I will be.

This book is available to pre-order now and is released on October 1st. I absolutely and most highly recommend it. A couple of the Unicorn's don't like books with feelz so much - I've challenged them in the CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME to read it though. We'll keep you posted on how that goes down...

To find out more about Anyta Sunday and her books visit Goodreads.

A copy of this story was given to us in exchange for an honest review (though some of us have already ordered our own copies!!)

CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME: Jem vs. Jet

Hear the monster trucks? See the pink and purple lights and lasers? The white clouds of smoke as the metal cage gets dropped over the arena? See the gay porn mascots, swishing their tails to the awesome beat of the unicorn glam rock band? The candy and chocolates being thrown in the air? The glitter bombs shooting across the sky?




This isn't a test, honey. You're not dreaming or hallucinating!



It's CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME! THUNDERDOME! THUNDERDOME! *echoes* 

The unicorns have cordially invited you to witness our epic reactions to books that we love and think fellow unicorns would enjoy. They just haven't got to it yet.

Well, not anymore!




It's CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME!

All the things happen inside the arena! Two readers enter! Two winners leave? Candy gets consumed? Naked mascots get groped?! What?

This match is Jet (Ann) vs. Jem (Jenni Lea)!

Ann has to read - Stories Beneath Our Skin by Veronica Sloane

Jenni Lea has to read - Stealing West by Jamie Craig

Jem
- Why Stories Beneath Our Skin ?

 Pretty much because I love this book so much and I need for everyone to read it.  But mostly because I think Jet will love it too.  It has everything she likes:  smart writing, multi-dimensional characters,  a mature plot line but most of all it has SMARK!  I know Jet loves SMARK just as much as Jem does.

When I first read Stories Beneath our Skin I was overcome by the sheer brilliance of the writing.  I had no words to describe how I felt.  I still don't have words good enough to describe it.  The words in this book are subtly amazing.  So beautiful in their simplicity.  No purple prose or fluff here!  I fell in love with all of the characters, not just the main protagonists.  It's a book that I could read over and over again and not tire of - ever.  I just want Jet to experience the awesome power of these words.  Plus it has tattoos and c'mon, who doesn't love tattoos?

Jet - Why Stealing West?

Why did I pick this book? Well, you know how sometimes you’ll read an older book, it’s not as new and shiny as the one you keep seeing in your update feed ad nauseam, but it’s so awesome you want ALL your peeps to read it NOW?

That’s what this book has always been for me. It was one of the early books I read when I first discovered the magic that is MM and I remember thinking, “This book is fucking filthy and I love it super hard!” I’m a big fan of the writing team that is Jamie Craig, and this is by far my favorite. Not only is it deliciously filthy, it is really incredibly romantic. Like, real romance. Not insta-love hearts and flowers BS, but the ‘these two dudes HAVE to be together or everything I know about the universe is a lie’ kind of romance and reading about them figuring it out has stuck in my head for years now. I ended up rereading it last year to see if it was just my newness to the genre that made me love it then or if the story really was that awesome to my now jaded self. It really is that awesome. Anyone who can make beautifully dirty kink deeply romantic at the same time (think, our resident Queen Shit of Fuck Mountain, Heidi Cullinan) is brilliant in my book.

Why did I pick this book for Jem? The obvious reason is she shares my love for the country boys and all that is the dirty. I’m hoping she’ll forgive me the fact that there is no shifting, knotting or knocking up of said country boys. But, I would be the biggest fool of all to try and rec any of that to our resident expert. No one knows more about the howl and growl than our Princess of Knottinghim, don’t even try and tell any unicorn otherwise. I do think she’ll get the romance out of the story though too and I mostly really need another unicorn to read this damn thing and Jem is a gamer who will give anything a fair shot.

Be good to my boys Jem! You don’t have to be gentle though, they aren’t fans of that nonsense. Enjoy!


Stay tuned for our reaction post later this week! It's CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME! THUNDERDOME! THUNDERDOME!

P.S. We have other matches/challenges coming in the future! A thing of beauty to see unicorns in their battle gear, prepared to read!