Review: Enslaved Valentine (BDSM Voyages #1) by A.J. Llewellyn & D.J. Manly

Hamish never thought he’d want to be dominated until Paul Murdock showed up with the key to his padlocked heart.

It’s been said that all a submissive can do when they are bound and tied, is feel. For former boxer Hamish Murdock, all he’s ever done is feel. Feel bad that is. He never took pleasure from pain until meeting Paul, whom he thinks of as his tikkun, the man who rights all the wrongs in his life. For Paul and Hamish, pain is pleasure in their most secret, private moments. On the outside, they are a normal, devoted couple with successful businesses…

But deep down, theirs is a strict D/s relationship that’s about to be tested in their first BDSM vacation. Paul’s chosen a secret destination for Hamish in their Valentine’s Day long-weekend. Can Hamish handle what Paul has in mind? More importantly, will Paul be able to keep his secret and keep his man under control? Or will their first BDSM voyage be their last?

WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT. YOU MUST BE AT LEAST 18 YEARS OF AGE TO PURCHASE THIS TITLE.





I so wanted to like this more than I did. I mean, would you look at that cover? I've read work by this team before and figured I was in for a kinky good time. But I found myself... bored.





All the ingredients for a Cupcake approved stroke fic were there-rope bondage, CBT, humiliation, a little flogging, wax, even a gang bang! But it was all so clinical and repetitive and dry that I found myself finding other things to do. Insert peen A into slutty hole B and wait for awesmatastic orgasm that erupts like a geyser 2-3 times in a row and disrupts the Earth's trajectory because it's SO INTENSE is a formula that needs some padding to make work.

Like a pornstache.

Hamish and Paul are a married couple who celebrate every holiday by taking a romantic and kinky vacation. For Valentine's Day Paul has planned a trip to Russian River with a stop for a gang bang along the way that involves two porn stars who are cousins so... incest happens. AND HOW THE FUCK MUCH DOES THAT SET ONE BACK??? Inquiring minds wanna know.

Hamish not to be outdone secures a twink with a Daddy kink for a little threesome. I know all of this sounds delicious and were it not for the odd storytelling style things could've gone swimmingly. A couple of moments gave me pause in the SSC department, but I figured they're an established couple so they know each other's limits? I hope.

If it had been imaginative or creative I'd be rating it higher. This, however, deleted the stroke out of my stroke fic, a grievous error indeed. My other main issue is the odd language and tangentiality. And what's was with the political messages? I want no talk of sociopolitical event horizons in my stroke fic thankyouverymuch. Stay in your satire lane, please.
Hamish's cock was a dynamo.

Was it now?


That coupled with the odd and out of context info dumps on their backstories and those dangling tangents left me scratching my head. Why the sequence with the father was necessary at all is beyond me. I think the initial incident with the I Love Lucy phone which caused a fall that resulted in their bedroom looking like a cosplay scene gone horribly awry was meant to be cutesy or amusing but it fell flat. And, p.s., inserting your actual Dad between kinky scenes is the fastest way to kill a mood.







This is book one so maybe there's a grand plan for these hanging threads and they'll all come together in the end to make a lovely scarf set, but I'm going to bow out now and wish them well in their future endeavors.








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

Find out more on Goodreads.

Guest Review: So Into You (Intoxication, #1) by Remmy Duchene


Lust to Love in its purest form...

Alfred Leung’s life is in the crapper. From his gold-digging, racist mother and a cheating ex-boyfriend to his hang-ups about sex—everything in his existence depresses him. Add to it spending his days serving faux French food in a diner. It isn’t how he planned on spending the rest of his life—the fates have definitely conspired against him. Just out of a relationship, he decides to focus on work and going back to one of the things that makes him happy—photography. Then Darius Stark in his Armani suit walks through the door of the diner, and Alfred’s world is about to take on a spin he never saw coming.

Darius Stark hasn’t been with a man in years. Men see the suit and run screaming in the other direction or they tear-ass toward him because they see dancing dollar signs. He decides to focus on his business, but soon he’s buried himself so deeply in his work that years goes by without someone to love. Finally, he sees Alfred and wants him, but Darius is about to find out not everyone thinks he’s almighty and that some men are flawed.


Guest Reviewer: Fantasy Living

Darius is tired of finding himself with people who only see his money, and his power, so he has been on a two year celibacy ride. When he sees the awkward waiter, Alfred, at a little restaurant he is forced to eat at, because his usual stomping grounds are all full, he is intrigued.

Thus begins his pursuit of Alfred, and Alfred’s resistance to his charms, because why would someone who looks like that want someone like him? Alfred does not believe that multi-millionaire Game developer Darius would really be interested in him, but he sure does love looking at the man in his power suits.

It takes a bit of convincing, and some serious seduction, the get Alfred to believe that Darius is really into him. Poor awkward Alfred. On top of that, Alfred’s mother wants him to go back to the ex who cheated on him simply because he is Chinese, and rich. She will never accept a black man as a viable mate for Alfred.

This story started off shaky. I had some issues with the conversation Alfred had with his friend Ravinder in a bar after he has met Darius. It was teenage-girlish. I wasn’t impressed. I was tempted to skip the exchange entirely, but didn’t want to miss any important information. I just rolled my eyes and kept going like it didn’t even happen, once I got over it.

I enjoyed Darius, immensely. He was sexy and seductive, and if he breathed on me the way he breathed on Alfred during their first official date, I think I would have cum in my pants too. Hawt! Very hot!

Alfred’s inexperience and inability to talk about sex without blushing was irritating. But I got it. Being repressed by your environment and upbring is a real thing. I’m sure of it. I had a catholic friend once who almost keeled over when I and another friend started discussing our favourite positions for quickest achievable orgasm. She was on her third baby at the time…… Should we have had “the talk” with her? Before anyone gets angry at my generalisation, I wasn’t judging her any more than she was judging me and my slutty ways. I wanted Alfred to turn into a slutty freak. With all the slutty, freakish thoughts he was having about being tied up and debauched, I wanted him to let go and be a real screamer. That would have taken the sex to the next level. A bossy bottom is so hot.

Moving away from the sex (sometimes it was awkward, but mostly it was sweet and sexy), and to the relationship building. This relationship worked because it was a slow build relationship. In the feels department anyway. You could tell they were taking it seriously, and moving towards something strong. I enjoyed seeing Alfred come out of his shell and become more confident. His relationship with Darius’ family was equally sweet to see. They welcomed him in and gave him the support he couldn’t get from his mother.

A grammatical choice I found jarring: The use of “for” as a conjunction created this formal flow that didn’t really fit into the contemporary language of the story. This quote shows why I found the word “for” to be a poor choice.

“I do? Well, I was reading a few books. I want to do well by you for this is new to me” - Loc 900

No one speaks like that anymore! Not even a mother born in the 50’s. I asked my own mother before I passed judgment and she said it sounded weird in this context. If this were a historical novel, it may have passed without notice, but I have never met anyone, my extremely formal grandmother included, who would ever speak like this in real life during a casual conversation. I started logging the use of this word at Loc 900 (I noticed it before then but this was the point that really got to me) and found that there were 10 instances where this word created issues for me. I would recommend the author re-think using it so often and thinking carefully about placement of this word in contemporary work.

Aside from that distraction, I found the story compelling. The heat factor could have been pumped up a little (remember I mentioned bossy, screaming bottoms are hawt?! I meant it). The plot was good and consistent. I think Alfred was supposed to be awkward and naive, and he definitely came across that way. This is an author I would go to for a feel-good, sweet romance with an edge. This story is low angst, but with enough to make this new relationship believable.

Check out on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Review: Tracefinder: Contact (Tracefinder, #1) by Kaje Harper

What could an undercover cop and a drug lord’s pet psychic have in common?

Brian Kerr has spent years hiding behind a façade of mental slowness. His brother and sister got all three of them off the streets and into a cushy life, under the protection of a dangerous criminal. But to keep that safety, Brian has to use his Finding talent to track down the boss’s enemies. Although he pretends not to know what he’s really doing, each Find takes its toll, and he’s trapped in a life he hates, losing touch with his true self.

Nick Rugo’s job is to protect and serve the people of Minneapolis as an undercover cop. He isn’t closeted, but he isn’t out at work, and there’s a wild, angry side to him that he’s managed to keep hidden until now. When he’s assigned to bring Brian’s boss to justice, he intends to use anything and anyone it takes to do that.

Nick initially sees Brian as a pawn to be played in his case, but he keeps getting glimpses of a different man behind the slow, simpleminded mask. As the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear they share secrets, some of which might get them both killed.


A badly written short story can sometimes feel like the longest tome on Earth. Books that haven't been 'for me' can become almost painful to read. I have the complete opposite problem with Kaje Harper's work. It is no secret she often writes long stories, yet when I read them they fly past and I often can't believe it when I reach the end. I inevitably want MORE. It was certainly true in this case; this book is the first in a new series and I truly cannot wait to get my hands on the next volume.

Anyone who reads my reviews will know that I often bang on about characters and how important they are to me, in my reading. One thing all my favourite authors have in common is characters that I believe 100% in. Characters who are perfectly imperfect. Ordinary or extraordinary, but never caricatures and rarely cliché. I fell for Brian and Nick. I loved the character of Brian especially, because he was so different to pretty much anyone I've ever read. Between his talent and the parts of him he hides, he is a truly interesting person. The relationship between him and the other characters is fascinating. Each person interacts and reacts differently with/to him. I particularly found the dynamics between Brian and his siblings interesting. The good and the bad, and just how he was both used and protected by them

Nick was really the first person to glimpse the real Brian and how Kaje Harper wrote this was brilliant. She's very careful with her words; with how she pens interactions and revelations. Not a thing is there for the sake of being there. Everything feels genuine and not a badly construed plot device. Perhaps this is what I enjoy most about her writing. Nick could have been that clichéd undercover-closeted-jaded cop. But he wasn't. Sure, he was all those things (well, partly closeted), but not in a pick a characteristic from columns A, B and C to create your character way. I liked that he struggled all the way through to do what is right (as defined by the law and his job) and what is right (defined by his sense of self, beliefs, convictions and morals). Whether we like it or not, that is life. Rarely is anything as clean cut as we would probably all wish it could be. It's not like children's fairy tales where the good are inherently good and the bad just plain evil. Nick is an instinctual person, yet he often questions his own choices. I really liked him.

In a story that twisted and turned; a crime thriller with a paranormal twist, Tracefinder kept me glued to its pages, speed reading my way to the conclusion and then feeling decidedly deflated that I read so quick because it's a new release and I'm going to have to wait for the sequel. Kaje Harper is an auto-read author for me. I don't read the blurb, I see her name and I know I'll like it. She writes in many different sub-genres, and I've yet to find a book she doesn't absolutely win at writing. I would highly recommend this story.

For more information see Goodreads.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Leading Me Home (Harrington Hills #1) by Megan Linden

Pretending to date the guy he has a crush on? Kevin’s sure he’s heading for a disaster. A broken heart, at least.

Kevin has been a lone wolf almost his entire life and he’s comfortable with that. Now that he no longer works for the guy he hated, Kevin has only one problem—his crush on his neighbor and best friend.

Taylor is the Alpha’s Son, the heir to the Harrington Pack. He left his hometown and moved to San Francisco as a rite of passage, but it was always temporary, since his place is in Harrington Hills with his pack. Now Taylor is heading back home for a wedding and since his mother is threatening to set him up if he comes alone, he needs a date. Asking Kevin to be his pretend boyfriend sounds like a perfect solution.

What happens when they arrive in Harrington Hills and learn to see each other in a different light? With their relationship changing, can they drop the act and realize that what they have is real?


I’ve been on a shifter bender lately and have gotten really lucky with my recent reads. They’ve been great and exactly how I like my shifter stories. Leading Me Home is no exception. When I first discovered MM I read some really stereotypical OTT alpha shifter stories and they all ran together pretty quickly which kind of put me off the whole trope for a long time. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that the whole shifter story theme has gotten so much better and/or I was picking the wrong books. Either way, Leading Me Home was a treat to read. It’s very much a character driven story and those are my favorite.

Leading Me Home is the story of two best friends, both are wolf shifters who live in San Francisco. Taylor is a graphic designer and son of his pack’s Alpha who is in the city, gaining some life experience and independence, but he’s always known he would go back home eventually to assume the Alpha role. Kevin is a lone wolf who is recently unemployed. He’s been on his own since he was a child and he’s pretty OK with that. Living in the city keeps him busy and having Taylor keeps him from being lonely. He’s got a major unrequited love/crush for Taylor and keeps things on the friend level to protect his heart and their friendship.

Taylor has to go home for a wedding and because his family is always nagging him to settle down he convinces a reluctant Kevin to pose as his boyfriend to keep the family off his back and he’s always wanted to show Kevin his home, so what could possibly be the problem? Kevin knows this is going to take a toll on his feels, he agrees, but he’s not overly thrilled with the whole plan.

Because they are best friends, it’s obvious to the rest of the pack that they have a connection, so the ruse is working pretty well. The Alpha and Beta, Taylor’s two moms, approve of Kevin wholeheartedly. This makes Taylor a little nervous, he thinks the inevitable “break up” will end up being too hard on the family and he doesn’t want any eventual blame to fall on Kevin unfairly. As an aside, I liked how the author worked all the pack dynamics into the story organically. I was able to see how everything worked easily as Kevin was introduced around. It was pretty cool they had a female Alpha as well. Add to that she is in a lesbian relationship, it makes sense that the pack as a whole is accepting of an individual’s sexuality, so there was no small town homophobic drama that happens all too often.

As the wedding celebrations and preparations continue, Kevin can see Taylor in his element and how he is meant to become the Alpha one day. He’s not used to having to share Taylor though and even though he’s enjoying his trip more than he expected, he misses his Taylor time. The two are becoming closer, and the line between friendship and more is getting blurry. It makes Kevin nervous and Taylor confused. From this point on were some of my favorite moments. The pack is very visceral and I could totally feel that in the writing of the scenes between Kevin and Taylor. Scent is a huge deal obviously, I mean, wolves after all, and Taylor scenting Kevin was a freakin’ moment I am telling you. This is where Taylor got the first inkling that Kevin may be more than just his best friend and the two of them can’t really deny what their wolves are trying to tell them. So, between the scenting, the dances they shared and the shifting and running through the woods together, I was totally sold on them being together.

All that being said, they still hadn’t really talked about what was happening, leading to inevitable confusion, a smidge of angst and their first argument ever. Thankfully it was all pretty short lived, they communicated to one another and sought advice from their elders. It helped solidify the roles of the secondary characters too, which were already strong, but this fit well for them too. One thing I would have liked was a little more in the beginning showing the two as best friends. I had no doubt they were from what the author told me, but a few strong anecdotes would have gone a long way. The story is told in a dual POV that read very smoothly but I felt like I knew Kevin much better than Taylor. I think a few ‘friend’ moments toward the beginning would have given me a stronger sense of who Taylor was earlier on in the story.

One thing Leading Me Home really nailed hard was the whole concept of “mine” that is always a predominant theme in the shifter world. It can be a hard concept for me to buy into sometimes when it comes before the two MC’s have barely spoken, but some lunar goddess has deemed it so, so they run/bone with it. Leading Me Home doesn’t do that. The thoughts that they both had about possession of one another came along subtly at first and ramped up as they spent more time over the friendship line. It made the whole idea so much easier to buy into. They’ve always carried one another’s scent as they spent so much time together, but when they consciously try to comingle their scents to pass as boyfriends Taylor really started to figure it out. There are no city distractions and the Kevin’s scent comingled with the scent of his pack is the trigger tripper Taylor needs to figure his shit out.
The pack had a particular scent, and Kevin wore is now as well, making Taylor’s wolf very happy. But Kevin’s scent was more than just that and Taylor wondered if he just had to smell his pack on top of Kevin’s smell to suddenly go from best friends to, You smell like mine. You should smell like that all the time.

I’m definitely going to be reading the next in the series. I’m hoping it’s going to be about Deputy Zach and the young carpenter. That sounds delish.


For more information on Leading Me Home, Harrington Hills #1, check it out on Goodreads.



**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Audiobook Review: Something Like Spring (Something Like #4) by Jay Bell

Nothing in this world is permanent. Friends, lovers, even family, can all disappear in the blink of an eye. Without these anchors, it’s all too easy to find oneself drifting.

Jason Grant doesn’t have much, aside from a beat-up old guitar and knack for getting kicked out of foster homes. His latest placement is set to be just another in a long line of failures. Then he meets Caesar Hubbard, a handsome guy who lives down the hall. For the first time in his life, Jason wants to stay, which means learning to be part of a family, and not letting his feelings—or his actions—ruin his first real chance of falling in love.

Something Like Spring introduces a new character to the Seasons story, one with a troubled past and an equally turbulent future. Jason must traverse a winding road fraught with emotional conflicts and tough decisions… a road that might just lead to a certain couple in Austin.



Whether you're a fan of this series or new to the Something Like books, they really should be experienced in audio. Kevin R. Free creates an experience when he reads Jay Bell's words. He brings the characters and the story to life. I've loved them even more after listening to the audio.

I've already reviewed the print version of Spring when it was first released, so I'll try not to rehash the entire story again (even though I really want to because I could talk about it for daaaayyyys).

Honestly, I can't pick a favorite character from this series, but Jason is right at the top. Competing with Jace... although I really love Tim. And Nathaniel. Gah! See? Impossible to choose. But really, Jason holds a special place in my heart. I think it's mostly due to how much his life changes throughout his story. He sets out to make changes in his life and the circumstances he's been dealt, and he does. He turns his seriously crappy situation around and finds a family, a home, and love. Of course, not without some heartbreak.

The story starts out with Jason being sent to, yet another, foster home. But this home is different than the others. He wants to stay this time. This time he meets a boy that changed everything for him. Goodness, could Caesar be anymore charming? The dude drove me crazy! I hate that I love the guy. I tried to like him a little less this time, but with Kevin R. Free narrating... nah. Wasn't gonna happen. I couldn't help but root for Caesar and I really hope we get his story someday.

But I'm happy with how everything turned out, because William. Sweet and adorable William.

I think this is where Jason's character really shines. He'd had a rough life so far. Nothing had come easily for him. Now, he sees someone he wants and, fuck it all, he's going to get the guy. I loved his commitment to William. They really were perfect together and Jason knew this right away. He just had to make William see it, too. His methods weren't the most honest, but his scheming only made Jason even more endearing.

There were some seriously great Ben and Tim moments, too. They were a huge part of Jason's story and it was awesome to see their life post-HEA. Tim was especially wonderful. He had some major character growth and he has a special place in my heart. Right next to Jason. And Jace. And Nathaniel. These guys take up a lot of space.

Spring was so damn good. Kevin R. Free does an amazing job narrating. A couple of his voices bother me a bit, but he's got to be running out with so many characters to keep track of. I love that his voices for each character stay consistent throughout the series. I couldn't put it down and I kept making up excuses to keep listening. Like doing the dishes and laundry and cleaning the bathroom. That's how good it was! I wanted to scrub the toilet just to keep listening.


A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads.

 

Review: Evenfall: Volume I & II: Director's Cut (In the Company of Shadows) by Santino Hassell & Ais

Available at: www.inthecompanyofshadows.com

In a post-apocalyptic future, the Agency works behind the scenes to take down opposition groups that threaten the current government. Their goals justify all means, even when it comes to their own agents.

Sin is the Agency's most efficient killer. His fighting skills and talent at assassination have led to him being described as a living weapon. However, he is also known to go off on unauthorized killing sprees, and his assigned partners have all wound up dead.

Boyd is not afraid to die. When his mother, a high-ranking Agency official, volunteers him to be Sin's newest partner, he does not refuse. In fact, his life has been such an endless cycle of apathy and despair that he'd welcome death.

In the newly revised Director's Cut of Evenfall, the first volume follows these two cast-offs as they go from strangers to partners who can only rely on each other while avoiding death, imprisonment, and dehumanization by the Agency that employs them.

120,000 words.

Warnings: Explicit violence, physical and psychological abuse.

Note: This is the first of the two volumes comprising Evenfall, the first book in the ICoS series. 






I'll just start by saying this series is a teensy bit addictive AND FREE! It's not perfect and the authors acknowledge that in the prologue, but still really really good. These characterizations are on point with Sin being majestic in his "monstrosity" and Boyd will quite simply break your heart with his worthlessness, his bleak outlook on his place in the world and his façade of learned apathy.


After all, a life without living was simply a death without dying. What more was there to fear or hate but life, endless life, with no respite?

I knew when Sin said, "getting him to break will be fun" that I was going to like him. I won't go as far as saying I identified with him but I had a notion of who he was at that point and became greedy for every crumb of information about him and Boyd I could get to puzzle out what made them tick. These authors were stingy with their backstory, something I found equally frustrating and commendable. There are no easy answers where they are concerned. 


"I respect him because he doesn't let anyone break him. They try so hard and he just weaponizes his dehumanization."

At first glance they would seem an unlikely pair-Boyd, the androgynous novice to the explosive, dangerous and highly skilled assassin Sin. Both are well drawn, three dimensional and surprised me a time or two. And they make great partners which stuns everyone.


"I know he's done terrible things, but there's so much more to him than people know. He just needs someone to believe in him."

The world building is good it's not the best I've ever read, but they captured the atmosphere of a post-apocalyptic US after WWIII has decimated much of the planet leaving "scavengers" and what sounds like rampant drug usage. In the aftermath of the apocalypse a quasi governmental agency called simply the Agency has sprung up. I have to say I'm getting a distinctly Alias vibe from the Agency and its leadership. Three words-Shady. As. Fuck.

Sin and Boyd are sent on several missions of questionable merit with varied levels of success all while growing ever closer before pushing each other away. They take 2 steps forward and 20 back. I'm confident some of their confused feels would be decidedly less... no, they'll probably still be confused but they'll feel better once they do the deed! 


Even so, the contradictions Sin represented- the way he was violent and harsh with others but quiet and uncertain around Boyd-made him feel almost... special. Like his existence actually mattered.

In short, I'M DROWNING IN UST!



So many showers.
SAVE ME!

YOU'RE KILLING ME, SMALLS!




HAVE THE SEEEEXXXXXX ALREADY!!!!!!!


IDK what I'm doing here. Just go with it. I'm on a roll.

JUST BANG!!!!!!!!!!



HURRY UP ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!




If somebody doesn't get dicked down on every horizontal and maybe even some vertical surfaces in Mexico I cannot be held responsible for my actions.

On to part deux.




Available at: www.inthecompanyofshadows.com

In a post-apocalyptic future, the Agency works behind the scenes to take down opposition groups that threaten the current government. Their goals justify all means, even when it comes to their own agents.

In the newly revised Director's Cut of Evenfall, the second volume follows Sin and Boyd through a long-term undercover mission in Mexico. They think the hardest part will be maintaining their covers and handling their attraction while living in close quarters, but that's only the beginning of their newest trials.

When hard and fast decisions lead to catastrophic consequences, the two agents realize getting out of Mexico alive may be their biggest challenge yet.

Warnings: Explicit violence, sex, physical and psychological abuse.
120,000 words.


Let's just start with the important stuff.


"You need to be fucked that bad, Boyd?"
"Yes," Boyd whispered. "Repeatedly. I need it right now like I need air. And I want it so fucking hard that I lose my mind the way I always do-trying so hard to keep quiet... but I always get loud."




Guess whose relationship evened out (relatively speaking) after they did the deed? I don't want to say I told you so but I TOLD YOU SO! Don't get me wrong, they're still possessive, jealous, prone to insecurity and have some hairy moments, but at least now they can angry sex it out. Everyone wins when angry sex is involved, ammariiiight?

Alright now that I got that off my chest let's talk about this book. THIS BOOK! It was an action packed thriller that somehow managed to preserve the delicate balance between the relationship and the suspense and even delivered some irresistible secondary characters. Their mission involves the Agency's nemesis-Janus. I continue to harbor a healthy amount of mistrust where the Agency is concerned and am left questioning whether or not Janus is really as wicked as they are purported to be. I'm also waiting for someone to honey badger Vivienne. Because she can suck it. The plot twists and turns caught me off guard a time or two, something I always find impressive and exciting.

Since becoming partners Boyd and Sin are alone on this eight month deep cover op without the constant surveillance, prying and judging eyes of Lexington. They're thrust together in a tiny loft with two twin beds, a shitty AC and an rage inducing broken door. It's tiny. It's hot. Boyd's skimpily dressed often. Sin seems to be naked a lot. You know where I'm going with this, right? Sorry. Not sorry. I waited a coon's age for this!

Sin is tasked to establish himself as Jason Alvarez so he gets a job as a bouncer at a popular club in Monterrey and begins to thrive. He makes friends and starts to come into his own. He even develops a sense of humor and shucks the permascowl.
"It's different here. I'm... different here."
Boyd pulled back to see Sin. "What do you mean?"
Sin shrugged. "I'm the monster and whatnot, right?"
"Not to me."
If you haven't caught on yet Sin's baseline is set to BAMF, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching him unthaw a bit. I still like stone cold Sin though not gonna lie and I have to tell you when he did the thing with the thing on top of the thing with the grenade!





I slow clapped. A BOOK!



You will not shame me, Katt!

Meanwhile Boyd is in charge of plotting multiple exit strategies out of Monterrey upon completion of the mission which leads him to befriend a street kid named Jorge whose characterization struck a chord with its gritty realism. He also runs across a very enticing character known simply as Lo Más Chingón (The Baddest Motherfucker). I need to know more about this dude. Who is he? How and where did he acquire his super stealth spidey skills? How does he know all the things???? Him combined with Boyd and Sin and their shenanigans will drive me to continue on with the series. Plus, Boyd is turning into quite the BAMF his own self something I *might* have had a slightly odd reaction to...




What can I say? I love an underdog subverting the stereotype. I also loved Boyd's evolution into a confident agent. That combined with his intelligence, compassion and perceptiveness make him a compelling character. When you put him and Sin together they weave a potent spell that I can't seem to get enough of, besides Sin doesn't even fully realize what's happening yet and I want a front row seat when that realization hits home.


"You've pretty much been my first everything, Boyd."

Perhaps another first might have something to do with a certain bad motherfucker? Please sweet baby jeezus in your golden fleece.

I want love to: roll me over slowly, Stick a knife inside me, and twist it all around.
I want love to: grab my fingers gently,
Slam them in a doorway, Put my face into the ground.
I want love to: murder my own mother,
Take her off to somewhere, like hell, or up above.
And I want love to: change my friends to enemies,
Change my friends to enemies, and show me how it's all my fault.

I want love to: walk right up and bite me,
Grab a hold of me and fight me, leave me dying on the ground.
I want love to: split my mouth wide open,
And cover up my ears and never let me hear a sound
I want love to: forget that you offended me,
Or how you have defended me when everybody tore me down
Yeah and I want love to: change my friends to enemies,
Change my friends to enemies, and show me how it's all my fault.

~Jack White



Quick side note: Class act with the Appendix not just for the translations but the context that was immensely helpful particularly with Jorge's character.




Review requested by authors. 

Find out more on Goodreads.

Guest Review: His Master's Summons (Azgarth's Chosen #1) by Cassie Sweet

At the chasm between life and death lurks the art of reanimation.

When world-famous violinist Andres Valentine is pushed from a window to his death by Herr Maestro Wilhelm Kering, he is snatched back from the abyss by a doctor well-versed in reanimation. Contrary to popular belief, Andres’s life up to this point has not been filled with opulent soirees and adoring fans, but is controlled by a hellish force, a being of the dark fae—Azgarth.

Henri Vauss is a medical student who works for a man capable of raising the dead. Even though the practice is controversial, Henri sees the revolutionary side of the science and enjoys the challenges he finds in Dr. Stanslovich’s lab. Ever since taking on the case of Valentine, though, odd occurrences have infected the manor, making Henri question everything he believes about science and the world.

When Valentine confides to Henri that he wants to be rid of Azgarth’s bonds, Henri vows to find a way to free him, never expecting to get caught in the snare of the fae master.



Guest Reviewer: Sheziss

Jury says this book is cool.


But it’s not the usual romantic M/M story. For starters, we have two “pairs” and only with that you can figure out there will be less pages for each one of them, either if you like both or if you prefer one of them over the other one. When I started this book I noticed three things: one, I was going to love the medical and scientific stuff. Two, the magic part was going to be a main character in this story, not just the background. And three: I had no idea who will fall in love with whom.

Because there are four characters. And it’s something like this: A is friends but-wanna-be-more with B, B is bewitched by C, C has insta-love for D and D is a poor guy between a sword and a wall who is not sure what’s going on but may have a protective instinct for C, because he’s vulnerable, but at the same time knows B will give him a hard time if he finds out C is not returning his love.

Yeah, I’m aware that last paragraph is either mindfuck or a Logic problem.


So you obviously understand I was scratching my head wondering how the author would fix this mess and leave all people satisfied, including the reader.

Well, something had to fail and it did. I felt the characters were only bidimensional, with no depth. Still, the “principal” couple has a sweet story, albeit a little hastened. I couldn’t feel that vibe that convinces you this love is for real. It was too forced for me, it needed a slower fire to make it really tasty. It was a pity because it could have been beautiful and fulfilling, but it was not.

Andres is a virtuoso violinist and has been controlled by Wilhem since he took him out of the streets and made him famous. He wants to be free, and tries to flee, but… he dies.


Do not worry, because Dr Stanslovich has been investigating how to resurrect dead beings (he calls it “reanimation”) and voilá!, he’s successful this time. I was truly repelled by him. I was being told constantly that he was not arrogant, but he was, that he was a good person, but treated his helper, Henri, with such a disdain and superiority I couldn’t bring myself to make an effort to like him. He is so stubborn he can’t believe in the paranormal even when it’s right in front of his very eyes.


And that’s lead us to another guy who also has had to endure his personality, but he can’t complain, because he is paid precisely for that, if only to make ends meet and finish his career of Medicine. When he accomplishes that, he plans to have a business of his own. If I have to choose I’d say Henri is the most interesting one. He’s a wannabe physician, and he didn’t have an easy life. But in truth his passion lies in creativeness. He’s a real inventor, his machines and devices are his speciality and his talent.


Dr Savoy is almost a third wheel here, which is unfair, but true. His POV is the only one lacking and I don’t completely understand this. We have lots of POV: Andres’s, Henri’s, Dr Stanslovich’s, even Wilhem’s, the bad guy… but not Dr Savoy’s. That says it all. He is Dr Stanslovich’s friend, and so, he has had to put up with him for years. I don’t know if I should admire him or pity him.


The constant change of POV was misleading. I had no time to feel sympathy for any character, and much less to truly know them all. They were all very superficial to me, they could have been so much more than that. Their interactions were too stiff, too orchestrated. I couldn’t say they were natural or that there was a real trust or friendship in them. It’s a bizarre feeling, but I honestly didn’t get why they stick together. Each one of them on their own path would have been much better, in my opinion.

The story doesn’t end in this book, it’s made clear there will be more. Why is that? Well, for the same reason superheroes movies keep having sequels: they kill the evil guy but there is a greater evil guy behind him. The gang will have to unite their forces again to save the day in the near future. Because the real menace hasn’t come yet. And of course, the love stories have to be developed, because one of them is obviously settled, but the other one is halfway there.

It sounds like I’m whining endlessly but that’s not true. I liked the book, it’s original premise and as I said before, I love the medical stuff. Not overly bloody or morbid, just a little creepy (we have a living dead person here, for God’s sake, that’s a tough issue, don’t you think?) and a little surgical (a cut here, a sewing there, an injection of something…) but no more than that. Just mildly unnerving details, which made my day.


The story is set sometime between 1895 and 1920: they mention Julio Verne and H.G. Wells, and the atmosphere has that romantic feeling that lasted until WWI, with science being an important matter, as well as music. Men wear hats and women still cover their bodies with heavy clothes. That as far as I can guess. And I could be wrong.

The fae world and atmosphere is confusing. I’m still not sure what’s going on here. It seems there is a parallel reality whose limits become blurred once and again. Azgarth is the villain, but it wasn’t made clear to me if he pulled all the strings by himself or not. Because he’s bad, but then he protects the characters, but then he punishes, but then he toys with them and puts the frustratingly easy “When the moment comes, you will know” card on the table that solves nothing. His mood swings are inconsistent and unbelievable. He sounded very childish sometimes, I honestly can’t explain why he is so feared when he is so ridiculous. I get he is powerful and he makes random demonstrations of that.


The problem is… they were random, I have no idea why he behaves this way or the other, which are his purposes, which are his motivations. Why he is bad, why he is good, why he is powerful. If you can do that, why do you do that in that scene or not in the one before? Why do you focus on this when that other thing was more important and urgent? If you can attack because you have that power, why don’t you? If you could win, why do you let them to live happily until they gather enough strength to fire back? Why there is a mess all of a sudden and then just by chance a weakness casually appears and hurts him? Why why why why why?


Too many questions, too few answers. I had the feeling this was a stage play where actors put faces to demonstrate they are afraid but those faces are fake, because, in truth there is nothing horrific about him but just to please him they act as if he was. The same way you indulge a little boy buying him a lollipop to make him stop crying.

So, all in all, it was an entertaining read. But sadly, it had lots of flaws, from my view.


A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.



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Guest Review: What Can Be (audiobook) by Mary Calmes

Thirteen years ago, Eli went on a summer trip with his mother and never came back. Now, existing in a new life as Jacob Somerville, he's again running from fear and memories, only to end up where he started. As Jacob struggles to reconnect with his father and brothers, he realizes that his lover, Craig Zhao, was the only thing filling his empty heart and standing between him and ghosts of the past. It will take the power of love - from his family, from Craig, and from himself - for Jacob to see that his life truly is filled with the promise of what can be.

A novella from the Dreamspinner Press 2011 Advent Calendar package I'll Be Home for Christmas

Listening Length: 2 hours and 29 minutes
Narrator: Robert Nieman


Guest Reviewer: Fantasy Living

This story was great…. The end.

But really, this story worked well for a short. Taking up a few hours at work and making it not so boring. The narrator worked well, giving Jacob/Eli a nice husky inner voice that created quiet reflection rather than chaos and drama.

This was a dramatic story. It was touching and intense, and emotionally draining. I worried for Jacob. I wondered what his damage was, and why he found it so difficult to trust, open up, and not flee from those who loved him.

The story unfolded slowly, with little pieces throughout that you had to really pay attention to before the big reveal. I had to suspend disbelief a few times because it didn’t quite add up.

I thought Craig was perfect for Jacob. I’m glad he didn’t accept Jacob’s brush off. It did make me wonder why, with someone so supportive, solid, and reliable, Jacob would take off in the first place, but given his issues, I guess it is plausible.

I wasn’t really a fan of the ending. Others may enjoy it, but it was a little too weird for me.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the step-mother (not in a she’s evil way, truly). When you see that someone is that damaged, and you have never met them until this point, you don’t force yourself into a situation that would cause that person to curl in on himself more, no matter how good and supportive you may think you’re being. But that’s just me. I’m not into being in everybody's business. If someone wants to tell me something they can, but I would never push, or try to instigate myself in a conversation that I have not been invited to.

The loving was sweet, and sexy. Jacob and Craig make a lovely couple, with hot dynamics in the bedroom. I’m glad for the HFN ending.


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