Review: Come To My Window by Mia Kerick

Justine Laraby and Kemina Lopez are intimate acquaintances yet they have never exchanged so much as a single word. For months, high school senior Justine, and famed model, “Kemina, the Baby Vixen” of Nightingale Lingerie, have been peering at each other across a narrow alley between brownstones in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This mutual observation soon turns into the exchange of handwritten messages on signs they hold up whenever they come to their bedroom windows. Via this “sign language,” a friendship grows, and Justine learns that Kemina is, like her, a high school senior, but with a controlling mother and a modeling career that requires her to maintain an unnaturally thin physique. And through the window, she also witnesses her new friend exercising fanatically, hoarding food, and being physically and emotionally abused by her ambitious mother.

Window messages evolve into clandestine meetings and soon a tentative romance blooms. But Justine must come to terms with her own “mommy issues,” as well as accept her gender identity and sexual orientation, before she can provide Kemina with the support she needs to survive a family life that resembles a ruthless business transaction.

Will Justine be strong enough to throw open the window so Kemina can escape society’s suffocating expectations?




I'm breaking our non-existent rules and reviewing a girl meets girls kind of book, instead of our usual boy meets boy. But it's Mia Kerick YA, so I just couldn't help myself. 

Justine and Kemina are neighbors and have been communicating through their windows by holding up signs to each other. They have yet to actually meet up with each other, but Justine already knows she has a thing for the hot girl next door. When they finally do meet, the chemistry is all that Justine hoped it would be. 

Justine wooed her girl. She was deliberate and confident in her wooing, but at the same time was completely unsure and had no idea what she was doing. She had no experience with such things, but tried to act cool. I'm pretty sure she was caught, I don't think Kemina bought her cool demeanor. All this only made Justine more adorable. She was completely taken by Kemina. Not just by Kemina's beauty, but by everything about her. Justine made sure to let Kemina know this at every opportunity. 

I absolutely adored Justine.  

She was naive, but strong. She was strong for everyone in her life. She stood up for the people she loved. Whether it was her brothers or her girl, they were all hers and she'd always make sure they were good. 

She was innocent, but also wise. She hasn't lived an easy life and doesn't have much faith in a mom's love. She's realistic. She knows what really matters in life. 

The positive message Come to My Window sends is strong, and so necessary.  It's about inner beauty vs. outer beauty, and the pressures young people (and adults!) feel to achieve "perfection". Kemi is striving towards this goal of "perfection" with her body. He mother sets unattainable goals for her and is an all-around horrible person. She's ruined her daughters confidence and forces her to be unhealthy. An all-around horrible person is too light a description... she needs to be punched in the fucking throat. I'd say I'd want to do it, but I don't pack enough of a punch.  

Then there's Justine. She's a voice of reason for Kemi. She shows Kemi what it means to be beautiful. She gives her the confidence to do what she should have done long ago.  

Can I just say one more time... I absolutely adore Justine. I felt like I knew her. I couldn't help but cry happy tears for her in the end. It was silly, what I was crying over. But I felt so much for Justine that I couldn't help but feel ridiculously happy for her.

This style of first person is so personable and let's me see a character in a way that's real. Again, I felt like I knew her. Mia Kerick does first person YA so well, I think this is where she shines. She really captures all the drama, excitement, irrational behavior and complete faith teenagers have in their first love. I never had to remind myself that Justine is just a teenager (as I often do when reading YA), because it was always there. In her actions and inner-dialogue, I could never forget who she was because her character was so well defined.  

Come To My Window should be shelved right next to Mia's The Red Sheet in every library, accessible to all teens. They need to read this dose of reality, one I'm sure most teenagers can relate to, and maybe find some hope in a hopeless time in their life.   

This isn't only an adorable story with a sweet girl discovering who she is, and getting the hot girl for herself (although, it is definitely that), it's powerful with it's message. Not only to the kids who are struggling, but to the adults who are responsible for them.   

Whether you're a F/F reader or not, I can't help but recommend this story to everyone. Notice the tag, 'Recommended to Everybody'.



A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info in Goodreads!

Review: Take The Long Way Home by J.A. Rock

Dresden Marich has failed out of high school three months shy of graduation. He’s infatuated with his online friend, Evan, alienated from his family and former classmates, and still trying to recover from his father’s death six years ago. He’s also keeping a troubling secret about his older brother, Gunner, who is away at boot camp.


Then Dresden meets Caleb, a judgmental environmentalist who’s hardly Dresden’s fantasy come true. But Caleb seems to understand Dresden’s desire for rough sex, big feelings, and, ultimately, safety. As Dresden becomes embroiled in a farmers market drama involving Caleb, a couple of bullying tomato enthusiasts, and a gang of vigilante vegans, he discovers he might be willing to trade a fantasy relationship with Evan for a shot at something real with Caleb.


But Dresden fears telling quick-to-judge Caleb his secret, and the news that Gunner is coming home sends him fleeing to California for a chance to meet Evan in person and hopefully fall in love. When the encounter doesn’t go as expected, Dresden faces a choice: stay in California and carve out a new life, or take the long road home to his family, Caleb, and a past he must face if he has any hope for a future.
 






Two things you should know from the outset:
  • This is not my kind of book. Generally speaking, I'm not a feelz book reader. This is a feelz book. It’s also the quintessential slice of life book whereas I tend to gravitate to books with more of an action bent.
  • I got hoodwinked by J.A. Rock. J.A. dropped by the blog to promote this book not too long ago. I read the excerpt and I thought it was going to be a fun rom-com wherein some vegans get butthurt and possibly fall in love. HOODWINKED! Fun is not the first word that comes to mind when describing Take The Long Way Home, though it does have its moments.
However, Dresden despite himself and against all odds won me over. I wanted to choke him, hug him, strangle him and tuck him in at night whispering to him how everything would be ok, to not be so hard on himself. Take The Long Way Home is told in first person present tense and Dresden is the embodiment of present-wholly, completely and utterly present. He’s stunningly intelligent, heartbreakingly observant and he bears his imperfect soul to us for a few short chapters. He’s lost, lonely, fucked up in a lot of ways but he cares, probably too much for his own good. He might not know how to show it or say it, but he tries and at the end of the day that’s all any of us can do. 


I stop panting for a moment so I can listen to him. He stops too, and then he crushes me to him, and I feel so fucking okay it's ridiculous. I turn and put my head against his chest, which is not something I would normally do to a stranger, but his body suddenly seems like the only fucking thing I trust in the world.

Dresden and Caleb’s relationship is quiet and organic but theirs is not a traditional love story. There are no big declarations of love or everlasting devotion. It's not fluffy or sweet. They're both damaged. Their relationship has an honesty that I found profound in its simplicity; it’s beauty in its simplest form. They are two flawed people who are trying to figure out if all their imperfections add up to something extraordinary or something commonplace. I feel like Caleb is the lone weakness in this altogether brilliant story. I can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to him and his own darkness than what we were given and I wish Dresden would’ve explored it more. For that I’m deducting a half star.




My barometer on familial dysfunction is skewed to hell and back, so I’ll lay out Dresden’s backstory. He was abused and terrorized by his older brother. His father died suddenly when he was a pre-teen leaving a mother ill-equipped to parent three children and who failed them all more often than not. His sister cuts the heads off her dolls and likes to pretend they’re Mafiosi who snuff each other out in her dollhouse. Whatever that equates to, is what it is. Dresden’s road isn’t the toughest nor is it the most scenic but he’s trying to make sense of this road we call life in healthy and unhealthy ways and in making sense of it maybe he can figure out how he can make his own little home a tiny bit better.


I never, in all my dumbfuck life, would have thought some guy with watermelons and rescued wood could end the noise in my head.

J.A. has accomplished a level of authenticity here that should be lauded. Take The Long Way Home is a spectacular achievement, one which is a departure from previous works I’ve read of hers and one that demonstrably exemplifies a new level of maturity in her writing, in my opinion.

Highly recommend to fans of slice of life stories with complicated characters and feelz. Tons of feelz.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Happy Hour Chat: What Can Be by Mary Calmes

Guess what time it is...??

It's Happy Hour Chat time!

*busts out the margaritas*

For today's Happy Hour Chat, we'll be chit chatting about What Can Be by Mary Calmes. Mary Calmes will be our February Author of the Month (and, OMG, you would not believe how much squeeing there was from a certain clubhouse contingent), so keep an eye out for more reviews of her work, plus an interview, later this month!


Warning: This chat will contain spoilers.



JL + Mary = 4eva: I KNEW he was in the WPP before I even read it. She uses it a lot in her books
Ann: Well, that's convenient - the WPP i mean
Sunny: MC= convenient
JL + Mary = 4eva: MC = awesome
Sméagol: MC = joy
Justin: MC = Crackwhore
JL + Mary = 4eva: yes!
JL + Mary = 4eva: no! J!
Sméagol: The best kinda crack there is.
Sméagol: :D
JL + Mary = 4eva: Jet, you better park your butt right here and talk about this book!
Ann: MC = overly dramatic drama with big beautiful gold digging drama queens
Sunny: Did you like anything about the story, Ann?
Justin: Yes Jet, and don't hold anything back
Ann: Ummmmmmm - hold please
Ann: The boyfriend dude was ok
Sunny: I liked Craig. I'd like a Craig. Billionaire fantasy guy who loves me.
Ann: The rest of them were looney tunes
JL + Mary = 4eva: Me too. I want a Craig Zhao
Sméagol: Craig was hot.
Ann: Except he kept telling everybody what to do.
Ann: Don't tell me how to live my life Craig Zhao!
Justin: You mean the almost billionaire that kept saying "mine"? That boyfriend?
Sunny: He was taking care of him!
Sméagol: He was all, "JakEli, cute the shit"
Sméagol: cut*
Sunny: because Jake was a mess
Ann: What the fuck was with step mommy? "Are you a billionaire" WTAF?
Sméagol: I hated the step mom. She's a bitch
JL + Mary = 4eva: Craig Zhao was awesome. Craig Zhao loved Jake/Eli so much. Did anyone else notice his name was always Craig Zhao in the book?
Ann: *pft*
Sméagol: I was not fooled

This was kind of a wild one, but if you think you're game, check out the rest of the chat after the jump (and take the fuck truck to pound town!).

Review: Devout: A Storm Moon Press Anthology

Let's face it; spirituality can be sexy. That goes double for men of the cloth, who display such passion and devotion toward their chosen deities. For some, nothing is more erotic than men dedicating their lives to faith and service. However, even the most pious men aren't above temptation, and the men of Devout find themselves more than eager to explore a more carnal interpretation of worship. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy five doses of old-time religion spiked with erotic intrigue and a delicious hint of sin that will have you reaching for some holy water, preferably with ice.

Changing hearts and opening minds has been an uphill battle for Reverend Philip, one that has sent him even further into the closet. Little does he know the simple act of protecting a bullied outsider will force him out of the closet and face to face with the powers of those who have been Transformed. Helping Evan quickly becomes less a question of right and wrong and more A Question of Faith, both in God and in his own abilities.

Wearing a Roman collar shows without words that Paul is Never Not a Priest, but the weight of that fact has kept him from fully embracing himself and his lover, Tyler. When the bishop of his diocese announces the Anglican Church will marry those within the LGBT community, Paul is forced to rethink his now-pre-marital affairs.

Giving in to lust demons is an occupational hazard for priests like Leo, but his half-brother Theo has always been a grounding force amidst the maddening pleasure. Higher level demons mean trouble, though, and even with many exorcisms under his belt, the town of Fieldstream might just have more Lust Allure than Leo can handle.

Lord Rhys, heir to the earldom of Kent, is intelligent and unattainable as far as Father Andrew is concerned. To avoid a great famine, the unlikely pair sets out to commission an engineer to build a much needed Water Wheel. However, if the power-hungry Bishop of Rochester has his way, their quest and budding affection are both doomed to failure.

Tyson may be the Son of a Preacher Man, but he's certainly no saint. Exorcising demons is taxing work, and his partner, Seb, certainly knows how to relieve the tension. Their latest assignment seems ordinary enough, but Seb's connection to this particular hellspawn means Ty might have to strike a deal, and the terms will be questionable at best.

3.9 Hearts to be exact but through the power of hot priests, I will round up! ;D

Halleloo!

This anthology is a mixed bag five totally different stories and takes on the men of faith - ranges from modern day to historical to urban fantasy to paranormal, Devout delivers the hotness (mostly) With only one dud in the bunch I think this anthology is worth the time and effort, if you're curious.

A Question of Faith by D.K. Jernigan - 2 Hearts
If I'd never read this author before in the Tall, Dark and Wriggly anthology, I wouldn't know how good of a writer they are. This story was odd and not a strong start to the anthology. A Question of Faith? Good title choice because I have more questions than answers at the end of this story.  A priest in Idaho saves a younger gay man (or teen?) from being beat up in front of his church. The young man is named Evan and he's Infected or Transformed. Being Infected means you have a superpower from what or whom? *shrugs* You can get it from sex, maybe? *shrugs* The priest, Phillip, is thirty and closeted in a conservative town. he helps Evan, then loses Evan to angry mob, then finds Evan again with the help of Evan's sister. The siblings are both Infected with not entertaining superpowers - they were meh. The story was meh. Why introduce the paranormal aspect if it wasn't going to enhance the story? It just made an easy kidnap find easy. There's a handjob which I question because if I got my faced kicked in more than once, I'm not worrying about sexy times. The kid is beat up and drunk...why is he worried about his penis or Phillip's? It read weak. The entire story is weak. A decent idea, haphazardly written with a weak sort of HFN ending.

Never Not a Priest by Annabeth Leong - 4 Hearts
"Didn't Mary Magdalene wash Jesus' feet with her hair at some point? I don't see why I can't wash yours with my tongue."
"I didn't know you knew this much about the Bible."
"I know enough to be dangerous."

Who knew feet washing could be so erotic? This was a great addition to Devout. For the length, I got a great sense of the main characters. And they came off real...like regular flawed human beings. And I could've done with out the sex (though it's a yummy addition) Whoa. I can't believe I said that but it was so good. Anglican priest Paul is gay and has been living in the "shadows" by fornicating with Tyler, a sculptor, for 5 years. It's more of a "fuck buddy" relationship but during that time the men came to care and love one another. Paul wrestles with his faith and following his bishop's recommendation, so the moment he receives a letter from his bishop acknowledging LGBT parishioners and clergy including their marriages and civil unions, he wants to propose to Tyler and stop his sinning. So he does and they walk off into the sunset? WRONG! And that's why this story rocked. The two go back and forth discussing their concerns and don't jump into the next level of their relationship without talking and thinking things over. Sweet story, it got wordy with the religion's views about the LGBT community in a few spots but overall a satisfying short.


Lust Allure by Ann Anderson - 4 Hearts
Okay...I thought this was going to brocest. I barely finished the story's blurb once I saw half-brother and demon. I was ready. But it's not brocest. Instead it's sort of a fantasy/paranormal with an Old Western feel with super hot sex between an exorcist priest and a lust demon. If I rated the story based on that hot rough sex scene, it'd be 4-4.5 hearts, easy. But the story introduces you to this interesting world and gives the bare minimum. Good enough to answer some of the pertinent questions but not enough, not nearly enough. I stared at the end thinking another 20 pages were going to sprout out the screen. Leo is the exorcist priest who battles lust demons with magic , runes, a little help from his half demon brother but mostly through fucking the enemy. Hot. Hot! Getting impaled on demon cock on an altar? *trembles* I wished it was longer. I wish there was more resolution written about the town of Fieldstream. The story is maybe 3.5 if based on the plot - great ideas, good enough execution. And the ending left me wanting more. I'll average the hotness factor and the plot to rate this one.

Water Wheel by Angelia Sparrow - 5 Hearts
“How wonderful and multitudinous the works of the Lord.” 
AMEN! This story was everything! Well written, full with fleshed out characters, an adventure, a little suspense and medieval historical romance. Oh, did I mention that it was H.O.T.? And there's a young, virgin ginger monk as a MC? *swoon*

Something about this story made me think of "Pillars of the Earth", could be the timeline. I dunno. But there's a villainous, lecherous bishop named Leo who is greedy and full of yuck and he has big dreams of papal domination. But not for himself, for the sweet, godly, redheaded Father Andrew. Father Andrew has his own secret, plays his cards very close to his chest and loves the young, handsome Lord Rhys from afar. Leo throw the two young men together on a road trip to help save Lord Rhys' lands. On this trip, the adventure never ends and the men get closer. How close?
"Then, he brought his hand, covered with streaks of white, to his mouth and licked some of it away. "Next time, I'll take it from the source," he whispered."
That close.
The sexual tension and kisses are full of aching passion. I could have read an entire novel just on these two. The writing was entertaining and I loved the end. It was a HEA and didn't leave any loose ends. I need more of this author in my life. I love her ideas.

Son of a Preacher Man by Cari Z. - 4.5 Hearts
Oh man, this was a little mini head trip but a fun one. First off the beginning starts of with a bang...literally in a gas station bathroom stall. Fuckhot! Oh yes! And it features and establish couple of sorts, an exorcist priest, Tyson and his lover with a hellish background, Seb. Together they battle, demons and send them back to Hell. But there are secrets that Seb never shares. On a exorcism call in Idaho, these secrets come to light. The would building (for the limited amount of words) was interesting. I'd read more of this world. The tinge of horror was nice touch. The writing was vivid and really put you into this alternate universe world. This is my second time of reading about Seb's kind (for lack of a better word) and it still interests me. Sexy, a little scary and some information. All in all a satisfying little nugget.

This anthology...



Recommended
For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Blog Tour and Give-Away: Guns N' Boys by KA Merikan


It is with great pleasure that we welcome KA Merikan into the clubhouse again. Here to talk about their latest release Guns N' Boys: Homicidal Instinct (Book 2). As well as talking about book 2, they are holding a giveaway for book 1 part 1 (which I have just read and ADORED, watch this space for a review). Anyway, I shall leave you in KA's capable hands.


We are so excited to be talking about our new release: Guns n’ Boys: Homicidal Instinct (Book 2) It is book two in our twisted, dark erotic romance mafia series based in the world of Italian mafia. The story is a long, turbulent journey of one couple deeply entrenched in the dealings of their criminal family. Behind the morbid humor and extreme violence hides the intense love affair of Domenico Acerbi, the mafia’s best hitman, and Seth Villani, the Don’s son.
Together, they have to deal with their blooming affection for each other, their family’s homophobia, their own prejudice, lust, jealousy, and violence. In true anti-hero fashion, they do so in most morally ambiguous ways.

On February 5th we are releasing book 2, so we are doing a giveaway of Book 1 Part 1. If you’re interested in the giveaway, have a look at the bottom of the post! :)


--- You can take a killer's memory, but not his instinct ---

All Seth wants is to live free with the man he loves. But escaping death at the hands of the mafia is just the beginning of an uphill struggle. When Domenico wakes up from his impromptu surgery and doesn’t even remember Seth’s name, Seth’s world falls apart. Suddenly it’s him who has to plan an escape from New York City and navigate their way to Mexico. All that without even knowing if the man of his life will ever love him again.

Domenico doesn’t know who to trust and what to believe. The man who introduces himself as his brother seems to hide dark secrets behind a cheerful smile. With the mafia breathing down their necks, there is no time to piece together the puzzle of Domenico’s life, and each time he thinks he’s solved it, a new part appears to be missing. Dom needs to find out who he really is, what he’s capable of... and what is the real story hidden behind Seth’s intense eyes.


POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
Themes: mafia, homophobia, assassin, organized crime, amnesia, road trip, chase
Genre: Dark, twisted erotic romance / crime thriller
Erotic content: Explicit gay sex

Length: ~88,000 words

WARNING: Adult content. If you are easily offended, this book is not for you.
‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a gritty story of extreme violence, offensive language, abuse, and morally ambiguous protagonists. Behind the morbid facade, there is a splash of inappropriate dark humor, and a love story that will crawl under your skin.

Goodreads - Guns N' Boys: Homicidal Instinct (Book 2)
And you can check out some hot inspiration for Guns n’ Boys here:
Pinterest
So KA Merikan have kindly offered up an e copy of book 1 for the giveaway (and as I said earlier I LOVED this book - though I would recommend reading the book tags before entering the competition - and would highly recommend it, in fact I already have recommended it to friends!). I'm sure you know the drill, but if you're a newby to BMBR ...firstly HI!!!, secondly, leave a comment on this blog post, tell us something interesting or funny. Funny is good, it's grey and miserable out there. Don't forget to leave your name and a way of contacting you (e mail, twitter, facebook etc). A winner will be drawn at random a week from today and their name willbe passed on to KA Merikan. GOOD LUCK!

Goodreads - Guns N' Boys (Book 1, Part 1)


About the authors;
K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of - it will be full of surprises.

e-mail: kamerikan@gmail.com

More information about ongoing projects, works in progress and publishing at:
K.A. Merikan’s author page: http://kamerikan.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KAMerikan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KA_Merikan
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6150530.K_A_Merikan
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KAMerikan/

Review: William by Claire Cray



The story of William and Merrick continues in this sequel to the spellbinding bestseller Merrick.

In the summer of 1799, young William Lacy watched his carefree life go up in smoke when a night of mischief landed him in shackles. Beaten, jailed, and sentenced to a long apprenticeship in the dreary woods of upstate New York, William was braced for the worst.

But he wasn’t prepared to fall in love with his master, a renowned and reclusive apothecary — a man — by the name of Silas Merrick. And he damn well never expected Merrick to be a blasted vampire.

Now, nearly one year after that summer of mystery, longing and unspeakable pleasure, William is still waiting to begin the future with Merrick he was promised. But it’s not easy becoming a vampire. Not only has Merrick become more secretive than ever about his nature and his past, but his feud with the beautiful and ruthless vampire Theo raises ever more troubling questions about the dark world William is about to enter.

William is determined to unravel the mysteries and find his happily ever after. But to do it, he must resolve Merrick’s doubts for himself. Can there be love and joy in this life of death and darkness? And will Merrick ever learn to open his heart?

Set in New York and Boston several months after the events of Claire Cray’s bestseller Merrick, William is another haunting, sensual story of love and desire in the shadows…and the adaptability of the human spirit.





Merrick, the first book about the vampire and his apprentice, was an enjoyable read for me, and I was looking forward to the continuation of their story, so I couldn't let it go when the request came in to BMBR to review it. So glad I picked up!  What a treat this was.

The first thing I noticed was the sense of melancholy that permeated the story in the beginning. It showed in William's conflicted, bittersweet feelings and in his friend Jeremy's concern and protectiveness.  William's last moments with Jeremy made me so sad, I was spinning tales in my head of Jeremy being with Theo so William and Jeremy would always have that special friendship.

There was a lot of showing here...with words that gave the story a strong sense of time and place, small details that set me firmly in place next to William, but it was the words that showed how the characters were feeling that I really loved. 
The words left a bitter taste in my mouth. For all I loved Merrick, I was not yet free of shame.
and
Here the formal veneer began to flake away, and with each word I felt a most exquisite confidence gathering in my breast.

William's voice was so well done, consistently revealing his personality through his thoughts and dialogue. Young, impatient, determined, and a little bit afraid.  He had me empathizing with his frustrated self but also grinning at his observations, especially his thoughts about Theo.
Theo sat on the edge of the chaise in his usual manner, his slender limbs arranged as though posed for a portrait. Insufferable Prat in Repose.
and
I wanted to strangle him. And how gleefully he stoked my fury, flirting with the coffee-man while I was forced to fume in silence!
Oh! And
With Theo, every movement was performed with the elegant glee of a Harlequin.
*grins*
 I loved seeing Theo through William's eyes. Together, they were so entertaining. I won't quote examples of their banter because it belongs in the context of the story, but know that it was delightful.

But enough of William and Theo, no matter my fondness for the pair.  William's focus was on Merrick and his insistence on delaying William's turning.
 I was terrified that he despised me for it, and that this was the real reason for his lengthening absences—not mercy, not reluctance, but resentment.
While he waited, William ached for Merrick, but in Merrick's note to him, we saw the feeling was mutual.
 ...it is difficult even to write you, as the very act only sharpens your absence.
After the long (in William's eyes) wait, the turning was a bit anticlimactic, but I liked the dreamlike scene even as it all seemed too easy.  I expected a more painful change, a more difficult transition.  It was all joy and excitement, though, as William adjusted to his new self and Merrick finally relaxed and enjoyed their changed relationship.   The author did a good job describing the heightened senses William experienced. A lot of introspection followed, and the pacing slowed, but my interest was still kept.

When Merrick and William came together as vampires, it was steamy, but tender.  No more holding back on Merrick's part.  I thought the prose edged toward purple and felt excessive in a few places, but it was a great scene overall.

I found humor in William's observances of the humans surrounding him.  Especially in one instance where his thirst competed with his appreciation for a finely knotted cravat and his reluctance to mess it up.  And Merrick showed glimpses of humor with dry quips that had me grinning. When he shared his story, though, the grinning stopped, and my heart ached for him.

Although I loved William and Merrick together,  I wanted more tension, or humor, or something, not just the sweet, almost polite love that followed William's turning.  The story itself also became more...gentle. It was sweet, with a touch of sadness and a bit of humor, but nothing really happened. Other than learning about Merrick's past, it was all about William's adjustment...not enough plot for that many pages. 

Even so, I very much enjoyed their beautiful love story and would love to read more of William and Merrick...and Theo!

Side Note:
While this is a sequel to 'Merrick', the author does a nice job of bringing the reader up to date if they haven't read the first book.  I'd recommend reading it anyway, if only for the delicious tension between the MCs as they get to know each other.


Find more info on Goodreads!

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Review: The Devil Will Do by Heidi Cullinan

In a land unforgiving of indulgent, dangerous sex, merchantman Eryn does his best to keep his desires in the dark…until the plight of a beautiful prince leads him out of the shadows and into adventures both sensual and terrible.

Capture, curse, and torture litter Eryn’s road to true love, along with carnal delights beyond his most wicked imaginings. His strengths and limitations are exposed—and the hard truth, that nothing holds him back more than the monster of self-loathing in his heart. Prince Wyn might be everything he’s dreamed of in a man—and master—but before Eryn can accept the exquisitely wicked affections of his one true love, he must first save himself…from himself.

This novella was originally published under the title Sweet Son and has been significantly revised.

If you're familiar with me you know I love HC. I dubbed her Queen Shit of Fuck Mountain. That being said, I didn't think HC had it in her to be this depraved. As depraved as it is it ironically retains the fairy tale feel throughout. A feat and proof positive that my devotion to her is well placed.

Were HC an actor she'd be one of those that needs no first name-Hoffman, De Niro, Streep. They've earned that rarified last name only air by their diversity and transformative capabilities. They fully immerse themselves into the characters they portray and choose roles that stymie pigeonholing. I don't love everything they put out nor have a read HC's complete backlist, but I respect their abilities regardless. True, HC writes exclusively M/M but she's not bound to any particular sub-genre. The Devil Will Do is further verification of that.




The Devil Will Do is a re-imagining of Snow White minus the dwarves with a poignant undercurrent. Eryn is cast as the prince. Wyn as Snow White. In this retelling Eryn must prove himself worthy to be consort to the future king of the Northern Isles. Eryn goes on a journey of self-discovery that includes debasement, humiliation, gang bangs, exhibitionism, enslavement, torture, demons, witches and ends with true love of himself and his Prince. 


"This is my throat I fuck. I have bought you, and you are mine. This is all you are now. Whatever I tell you to do. To be."

It feels odd to say I had a goofy grin on my face while reading a story with all those tags but I did. Not the entire time because it wouldn't have been as satisfying if Eryn's path had been an easy one. Eryn struggles mightily with feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing for his deviant desires, but his desire to save Wyn motivates him to at least try to overcome those feelings. His master pushes at those boundaries, always with the endgame of both preparing him to be worthy of his true love as well as the obstacles that will face him along the way.

Some of those obstacles are harrowing but most of the torture happens off the page, if you're squeamish. And remember this is a fairy tale and they always end happily and usually have some cute animals too. Snow fulfilled that quota. Snow is an imperious white stallion who seems to understand Eryn and is no ordinary stallion. I'll say no more, though.

The Devil Will Do is a delightful read brimming with love, overcoming adversity and self-acceptance. Another favorite of mine from HC.

I only thought she'd earned the moniker Queen Shit of Fuck Mountain before but now… 


His holes were full. He was a hole, accepting. Taking. Enduring. Loving. Oh, he loved every moment of this.

Yep. It's official now.

Recommend to fans of depraved fairy tales? Whomever you may be. 

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: Second Act by Kaje Harper

Sometimes you have to go home again.

When Bryce Edwards left Minnesota for the bright lights of Hollywood ten years ago, he was determined not to look back. He's built a solid acting career through his own hard work and talent. But when he finds himself unemployed right before Christmas, the memories he's been ignoring start to rise up and annoy him.

Maybe it's time to take a different approach; maybe it's time to confront his past and not just use it as motivation for his next angsty scene. If he can make peace with what happened back then— the small-town bigots who drove him away, and his first boyfriend who refused to leave with him— maybe he'll be free to move on to something better. He's not sure what “something better” will look like, but he's finally ready to get on a plane, go home, and find out.
 


Kaje Harper is one of my favourite authors - one of my auto-buy authors, you know, the kind where the blurb isn't even read because you know you'll love it whatever - and so when the chance to review Second Act came up I was flattening unicorns to get to the front of the line. (I jest, I just told them there were cocky boys warming up outside the clubhouse and that place was as empty as bottle of red on a Friday night). Anywho, as I was saying I was really pleased to get the chance to read this book - even though it was about an actor.

Everyone has those books that don't quite work for them. If it features famous people (actors, celebrities or singers), the very wealthy or cowboys, then often I find them boring. It's a me thing. Doesn't mean I never read them, but they are never usually near the top of my TBR pile and often when I do read them I'm left with an unsatisfied feeling, like the book didn't quite hit the spot. I can honestly say this was not the case with this book.

Kaje writes as beautifully as ever about characters that I care about. Bryce Edwards ( the actor in question) had me on side from the start. I wanted - oh how I wanted -  for things to work out for him. In fact, I was sure things were going to go his way, so sure, that when things took a turn I hadn't anticipated - well I was left feeling hugely sad. Like that burn at the back of the throat sad, don't talk to me now or I might cry sad. Luckily, it didn't last too long. This is not an angsty-angst fest book. But it was a surprise.

Firstly, I'm not easily fooled by books (or author and their wily ways), I'm pretty much always sure I know which direction the story is going in and am proved wrong on very few occasions. Kaje managed it though. And secondly, not only did she manage it, but she did it without me spending half the book furious that things weren't going the way I'd expected. (What can I say, I'm a possessive reader and assume that every book has been written JUST FOR ME - nobody else can surely love the characters, the story, the book as much as I do!)

In fact, it was a nice surprise (I hate surprises) and I was so invested in the story and Bryce's journey to love.  And that is the talent of this author. She makes me love what i would have sworn blind I wouldn't. Actors and unanticipated directions all wrapped up in the super comfy blanket that is a Kaje Harper story. Thoroughly enjoyable.

A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Brit Boys: On Boys Anthology by Various Authors

From east to west and north to south, these British boys are having a blast in and out of the bedroom with the men of their dreams. They’re topping and bottoming from London to Cardiff, living out fantasies in the wildest fells and hooking up while serving HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

With passion and lust the name of the game, nothing is off limits. Throw in honed muscles, high-strength testosterone and an accent to die for and there is nothing they can’t do and no one they can’t get in this world or another.

Don’t miss Brit Boys: On Boys—a smokin’ hot box set, containing 147,000 words/440 pages of unforgettable M/M erotic romance from eight popular British authors.



I used to not like anthologies - until I realised they were a great way to try new authors. The Goodreads MM groups free DRitC events  were a wonderful revelation to me - I was able to dip my toe in this amazing genre and find authors I liked. Now I've built up a great group of like-minded readers and friends, but way back then I had no idea about any of these amazing authors.

Since then I have loved anthologies and the exposure they give me to new-to-me authors. This selection was no let-down. I have previously read some of these writers and some were completely new. It was great to read such a variety of work. Covering contemporary to futuristic/sci-fi to fantasy and friends to lovers, threesomes, royal marines and some plain old kinky nooky - this compilation is a great bundle of reads, pretty much guaranteed to make your heart beat faster and your nether regions tingle. And sometimes that's all I need from a book.

My personal favourites were;
Dish of the Day by Clare London - friends to hot 'n' kinky. Yes please. Excellent use of food if I do say so.
Love on Location by Lucy Felthouse - hmmm, can't put my finger quite on why, but this really, really worked for me. It left me with a silly grin on my face.
and
Locked Out by Josephine Myles - the one author I knew I liked before starting reading this anthology, Josephine Myles does not disappoint. With her trademark snappy sense of humour and some great sexy times this story was just yum. 

Although these three stood out for me, all the stories were fantabulous.


Bodywork
By Ashe Barker

Alex is doing okay. His body repair shop makes enough to live on, he has a decent apartment, life is fine. That all changes when he runs into Graham in a supermarket car park - literally. He offers to fix the damage to Graham’s car free of charge. The sparks soon fly, and the heat between them has nothing to do with welding equipment.


Breaking the Marine
By M.K. Elliott

Brandon Rosen hadn’t planned for his final night before enrolling in the Royal Marines to involve a hot stranger and a pub car park. And he certainly hadn’t planned for that same hot stranger to turn up at the barracks in the form of his Drill Instructor, Corporal Will Stewart. In the testosterone fuelled environment of the training camp, can Brandon and Will overcome past pains and face up to what they really want? Or will the Royal Marine Commando School break their relationship before it even gets started?

Love on Location
By Lucy Felthouse

When Theo Samuels heads off to film on location in the village of Stoneydale, he's expecting drama to take place on camera, not off. But when he meets gorgeous local lad, Eddie Henderson, he struggles to ignore his attraction. A relationship between the two of them would be utterly impractical, yet they're drawn together nonetheless. Can they overcome the seemingly endless hurdles between them? Or is their fling destined to remain as just that?

Landscapes
By K D Grace 

Alonso Darlington has a disturbing method of keeping landscaper, Reese Chambers, both safe from and oblivious to his dangerous lust for the man. But Reese isn’t easy to keep secrets from, and Alonso wants way more than to admire the man from afar. Can he risk a real relationship without risking Reese’s life?

The Chase
By Lily Harlem

Steve's killing time working in a comedy club. Why not? It makes him laugh and both the clientele and the comedians are not just fit but also great company. One stand up joker decides to create a wild goose chase for Steve and his ex Robert. Cavorting around Cardiff on a frosty night, however, does more than just show them the way to a threesome, it also reveals the reasons why they should give each other one more shot.

Dish of the Day
By Clare London

Richie’s sunk all his hopes and savings into a new restaurant in south London promoting British ingredients and recipes. His best friends Craig and Ben should be around to help him celebrate the grand opening, but it looks like it’s all heading for disaster - until his friends step in to tell him some home truths. Then they’ll help him relax and enjoy their loving, intimate menu instead. 

E2
By Sarah Masters

When Archie meets Dan after The Change, he realises there is no such thing as a random meeting of soul mates, it's all mapped out in the stars. Now all he's got to do is hope those orbiting planets stay in alignment and true love finds him again.

Locked Out
By Josephine Myles

Getting accidentally locked out of his hotel room on Valentine's Day night is embarrassing enough for teacher Martin Cooper, but the fact he's stark naked makes it even worse. It doesn't help that the one person he runs into is Rod, the gorgeous man he'd been checking out earlier in the hotel pool. But when Rod offers Martin a refuge, the night heats up. Now if only Martin could get the hang of this seduction business...
 



A copy of this book was provided in return for an honest review.

For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Review: Rated: XXXmas by Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock & E.F. Mulder

Fall on Your Knees
By: Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock


Asa and his longtime partner, Javier, are looking forward to a cozy, kinky Christmas together. But when Asa discovers his coworker Drew has nowhere to go for the holidays, he invites Drew home for dinner. His motives aren’t entirely pure: Asa and Javier are both dominant, and occasionally arrange one night stands with submissives. Asa’s been hot for Drew for months, even though he has no proof Drew is kinky.

Drew has wanted Asa since the day they met. Drew could never come between Asa and his partner, but it doesn’t stop him from fantasizing about belonging to Asa. About letting Asa do filthy, painful, incredible things to him. He accepts Asa’s dinner invitation reluctantly, not eager to witness Asa and Javier’s domestic bliss firsthand.

When Javier discovers Drew’s profile on a BDSM site shortly before Drew’s arrival, the game changes. A bold proposition leads to Asa and Jav sharing a night of play and passion with a dinner guest who’s nowhere near as innocent as he looks. But as their not-so-silent night progresses, all three find themselves on shaky ground. Can they keep this no strings attached? Or is there a way for each man to get what he really wants for Christmas?






MMMmmmmmm Kinkalicious

This Henrock short upends the kinky gear bag with one notable exception which I'll come back to shortly. Since it's a short the Henrock is concentrated down to a fine demi-glace of the ménage awesomeness. 

Asa and Javier are an established couple who are both dominants, so to quench their submissive thirsts they play with random submissives. Asa and Drew work together and the UST has been simmering. Opportunity presents itself via a snow storm in Minnesota and Asa jumps at the chance to invite Drew over for Christmas.

What. A. Weekend.

Good gravy.

Javier and Asa work Drew out harder than Jillian Michaels works out… everyone. I won't go into all the kinkanigans because there's too many to choose from, but I will say candy canes have a legitimate decorative purpose now.

What consistently impresses me about this duo is their ability to infuse their characters with life, make them three-dimensional and human. Above and beyond the kinkaliciousness I really, genuinely liked all three of these guys, and there is a sweetness between them that charmed me. The dialogue is crisp and fresh. They have a sense of humor. They're not the clichéd omnipotent doms nor is Drew a meek submissive. Henrock don't give us an easy journey between them or a outlandish HEA, but a first step towards a possible HEA.

A delightfully kinkalicious first step. Hopefully there will be a second and a third and I'm getting carried away now.

Now, about that missing element… *cough*MANTIES*cough*. I'd like a sequel to correct this egregious oversight. Pretty please.



✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ ✱ 

Shepherd, Wise Man, and the Little Drummer Boy
By: E.F. Mulder

They were as close as brothers, but hadn’t seen each other in a long time. The moment Shep sees Zeke again, standing there in his army fatigues, he wantes to strip him out of them. Shep's trying to salvage a toxic relationship, though, and giving into his desires for Zeke doesn't feel right to do. And even with Shep’s abusive ex gone for good, he still wants to wait.

When he and Zeke meet CJ by chance, however, CJ’s bold, brazen attitude lead to a sexual invitation they can't resist. Before Shep can say “three-way” he's lying beside the two, naked in CJ’s bed. The next morning, there are four of them. It seems like nirvana at first, but several partners engaged in sex is one thing; more than two to a relationship turns out to be something else. Shep has feelings for Zeke, and when it became obvious Zeke and CJ have feelings for each other, Shep's uncertain as to where that leaves him. He finds out quickly, and very soon discovers, that three might just be his lucky number for the best Christmas ever.



I'm not going to rate this one essentially because it'll make me feel like a total bitch to 1 star a first time author. I'm not sure how a first time author wound up in a book alongside Henrock. It's not a bad marketing strategy to ride their coattails but I think it backfired. You don't want to be sloppy seconds to Henrock with they bring the kink.  

I've no idea if there was a ménage prerequisite for entry into this publication, but this ménage never gelled. Everything about this story is awkward-the dialogue, the plot, the dynamics between all the characters, their reactions, the sex, everything. I think Mulder is going for raw authenticity with the dialogue, but it missed the mark and came off as strange, cheesy and/or stilted. OR the endgame is bad porn in which case DING DING DING. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

The characters have no depth and come across as mindless, horny drones who fall in and out of love at the drop of a hat. I've no problem with casual sex, one night stands, fuck buddies, whatever, but when you start talking about a future together after having spent 15 mins with that person and all the interactions you've had are superficial, I find that ridiculous and/or unstable. If you're going for characters that are unbalanced then they have to have depth otherwise I'm going to lose interest in a hurry and I did. They're all nonsensical, their actions are outlandish and, quite frankly, a lot of the things that came out of their mouths stunned me.

I appreciate the effort just not the execution.


A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.