Review: Happy by Chris Scully

Growing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. In his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.

When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who's keeping secrets.

As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand, and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.



Maybe I just read it at the wrong time, but ‘Happy’ didn’t work for me as well as I’d thought it would.

description

Peter Georgiou has always put his family first. He gave up his career, and any hopes of living out in the open, in order please his parents. Seeing his best friends fall in love with each other while he remains in the closet, Peter is increasingly lonely and restless. Louie Papadakis returns home after a failed relationship, and finds that his high school crush in now dating his sister. Peter and Louie become friends, reconnecting over their similar childhoods in the Greek community of Toronto. The two soon realize that they want more from each other than just friendship.

One of Toronto’s most famous neighbourhoods is Greektown, commonly referred to as the Danforth. Every year thousands of Torontonians flock to the area for the Taste of the Danforth festival, which celebrates Greek food and culture in the city. It’s one of my favourite events of the summer, so I was stoked to read a book set in the area. Unfortunately, the story just didn’t pan out.

I liked the initial setup of Peter and Louie’s relationship. The two go from former acquaintances to cautious friends. Louie is alone, having lost touch with most people from his childhood, while Peter is tired of hanging around his happily-hitched friends. The two get to know each other, and are soon making plans to spend time together. It was a promising start.

However, once the two moved on to being lovers is where things got shaky. While I could understand why the two would want to jump under the sheets together, I really didn’t get the quick move from new friends to forever-and-ever. Throw in that Louie wasn’t really over his ex yet, and I wasn’t feeling the love.

It all just seemed too forced, and I didn’t connect with the characters, as either individuals or as a couple.

But what really bogged down the book was the family drama. Peter gave up his career and ambitions to live in his parents basement, all to help his ailing yet ungrateful father and guilt-tripping mother. I had a very low opinion of the parents, but Peter wasn’t much better. If a character can truly pluck at my heartstrings, I’ll overlook anything. But Peter was just pitiful. A man in his thirties being led around by his mother isn’t a pretty sight.

It got to the point where the focus of the book was about Peter’s family, rather than the relationship between him and Louie. The resolution to it wasn’t very believable. Given how messy things were throughout the book, the quick change of heart of Peter’s family didn’t ring true. And even at the end, Peter still puts his own career ambitions aside to make his parents happy.

Overall, this book was just okay. I liked the beginning of Peter and Louie’s relationship and the setting of Toronto’s Greektown, but the excessive family drama and lacklustre romance didn’t do it for me.


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Review: Despite the Odds (Odds Are #1) Audiobook by Chris T. Kat

Never judge a book by its cover.

Michael Campbell can’t hold a job for more than a few days. He’s lucky his foreman is giving him another chance with the solar panel project at an elementary school in Atlantic City. When he spies a man walking strangely in front of the school, Michael laughs, assuming he’s drunk or high. Little does he realize that Joshua Stone, a teaching assistant, has cerebral palsy, and he’s having a bad muscle control day. Taking a tumble right in front of the handsome construction worker is just his luck.

When Michael learns the truth, he feels bad for his cruel behavior. He offers to give Joshua—and his tricycle, the Racing Rhonda—a lift. Joshua accepts the help, and suddenly there’s a gorgeous man breezing into his life, turning his world upside down. But Michael has more issues than his inability to hold down a job, and neither man is sure if they’ll be able to overcome their fears in order to be together.

Narrated by Joel Leslie
Listening Length: 3 hours and 20 minutes


I’m going to start this review with the narration. Full disclosure. I am hearing impaired. While I can hear noise on most of the sound spectrum, words are a little more difficult to decipher, and it can take a small delay between hearing a word, and figuring out the word, most likely because I am trying to fit the right word into the sequence so the sentence makes sense. Soft voices are a killer for me. I have actually, unknowingly walked away from people while they are still speaking because I didn’t know they were still speaking (oops). I lip-read a lot. I have hearing aids that make the world way too loud, because I have been without them for 26 years, so I use them sparingly. On a hearing test, I can catch about 53% of word-sounds without aids. So the point of all of that is to say, I use noise canceling headphones, and have the sound up just the wrong side of the hearing warning alert on my phone so that I can hear word-sounds.

The quality of this audio for the first few chapters was not good. It was warbled and it sounded like the audio filters were all wrong. It may have been just me, again, my hearing, but it may be worth the author checking it out just in case it’s broken. Coupled with the narrator’s soft husky voice and this was painful and frustrating for me. I missed a bit of the first few chapters because I just couldn’t hear, no matter how high I turned it up. So yeah, up until Chapter four, I struggled. And it irritated me because it reminds me that I miss a lot. This is the first audiobook that has made me feel like crap, and made me hyperaware of my disability, which is pretty freaking ironic, given the content of the story.

At around Chapter four, the sound quality improved dramatically, and I was able to enjoy the story from that point. While the narrator’s voice is not the best for my hearing, it is still a nice voice for narration, and he did really well in selling the story.

On to the story…….

Michael is a fly by the seat of his pants kind of guy. He just doesn’t seem to know how to keep it together enough to keep a job, or keep his big mouth shut. He’s flighty, impulsive, and almost lazy.

An encounter at a job site, where he sees a man stumbling around, shows how truly impulsive and quick to judge he is. Much to his horror, the man he thought was “drunk” actually has Cerebral Palsy and is having a particularly hard day with motor control. Joshua hears the mouthy bastard and is obviously upset, but when he struggles to get on his trike at the end of the day, he allows Michael to repent for his bad behaviour by accepting a ride home.

This story was difficult for me, beyond the above mentioned hearing issues with the narrator. I found Michael’s character too brazen and ignorant. His privilege seemed to trip him up quite a lot, even though he was trying to be understanding. This just pissed me off, because it was not up to Michael to make himself feel better at Joshua’s expense. It was not Joshua’s job to console Michael’s embarrassment. He was a dick, and I was upset that Joshua felt the need to assure Michael that it was okay. No it really wasn’t okay. At all.

The story did progress to the point where Michael redeemed himself a little. Especially when his biggest worry was that Joshua was too good for him to pursue. He was respectful of Joshua’s limits in the relationship building, but still a bit annoying in his assumptions about Joshua’s ability to know his own physical limits.

Joshua was a joy to read about. The insecurities were understandable. That aside, I really liked that he pushed back and advocated for himself. He made it very clear the way Michael behaved at times was unacceptable. I’m just sad that he had to do it. I’m also sad that he felt the need to reassure Michael when Michael got upset and embarrassed about his own poor behaviour.

Nevertheless this was a good start to a series. I think that the characters have a good emotional foundation to move forward, and I would be interested to see where that goes.

I thought the representation of Joshua was well done. Michael still has work to do to fully redeem himself, even though I know some of his behaviour was based on his own insecurities about his abilities. No excuse. You don’t make yourself feel better at someone else’s expense. But I will allow the story to unfold before I make up my mind about his character.

This audiobook is not recommended for those who have hearing impairment and find soft voices difficult to hear. For those who have no problem, this is recommended for those who like to see everyone find someone they can connect with, not matter their abilities or perceived limitations.




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

Find out more on Goodreads or Dreamspinner Press.

Review: The Cattery by K.A. Merikan

--- Role-playing a cat for six months? You said you’re paying how much? ---

Goran’s mouth has no filter, and it’s losing him job after job. Desperate and a week away from being homeless, he finds an offer online that sounds too good to be true. Spending six months in a mansion by the beach in return for a hundred thousand dollars as long as he sticks to the house rules.

This might be the one job where his unruly mouth doesn’t get in the way. After all, saying the wrong thing is impossible… when you’re role-playing a cat.

Meeting all the other guys at the cattery seems to be the icing on the cake, but the inconvenient truth he dishes out turns out to be too much. Goran makes everyone his enemy, but worst of all, Ollie, the prettiest cat of the bunch, the one who’s been in the cattery the longest, and the one who makes Goran’s heart skip a beat.

Ollie’s big blue eyes hold secrets Goran is intent on cracking, but to do so, he will need to learn to bite his tongue and listen. Too bad the pretty blond ice prince is set on getting Goran kicked out of the cattery for good.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: debt, enemies to lovers, cat-play, Miami, immigrant, billionaire, love triangle, social anxiety, rent boy, backstabbing

Genre: M/M contemporary romance, sugar kink

Length: ~61,000 words (standalone novel)

WARNING: Adult content that might be considered taboo. Explicit content, strong language, multiple partner scenes. Reader discretion advised
.


I was so super excited to read this one! I loved K.A. Merikans ‘Crazy Kinky Dirty Love’ series for its kinky lightness, so to hear they were starting another kinky series had me squealing! I love animal role-play books, I haven’t read nearly enough so I still find myself giggly at the weirdness of it all, but my goodness it is hot!! The Cattery absolutely delivered on all of that!


Goran is working in the US to try and repay his debt to his parents in Croatia. When he’s fired from his current job, he takes a position as… well a sex kitten for Luis, the eccentric billionaire of this story. There are four other men who ‘work’ at the cattery for Luis. One of them is Ollie who has lived at the cattery for 2 years. Goran’s non-filter mouth digs him a big hole when he first arrives, and Ollie takes an instant dislike to Goran despite their mutual attraction.

Ollie’s character is where this lost hearts for me. He was a very cleverly written character, but I just did not like him. Ollie has been at the cattery for 2 years, mainly because he is in love with Luis and can’t bring himself to leave, and he has grown so dependent on Luis and his affections that he is starting to forget he is a man as well. This makes him hate Goran for his honest words and real-life views on Luis and the Cattery.

Ollie is not a nice person, he was always misinterpreting Goran’s words and actions and backstabbing him. He acted like a petty teenager for most of the story, or a really pissed off, spoilt cat. At about the 65% mark we start to understand the conflict that Ollie is living with a bit better and it adds that slice of sympathy I needed to forgive him enough to want his HEA.
“I miss being more than a pet. You made me realize that,”
I loved Goran. He felt like a real person. He was honest with his mouth and his feelings. He had flaws he was trying to work through and hopes for his life once he left the cattery. The progression of his and Ollie’s love story was nice and slow, which was good and realistic, it was also very frustrating, because Ollie acts like a child for most of it and you don’t want Goran to have to put up with that.

Then there’s Luis, oh Luis… you kinky, kinky bastard! He was a sweetheart and I really really loved him, but my goodness he is so weird!
“Here, kitty, kitty, kitty,” came in a hoarse voice.
So let's talk about the kinky stuff!


This book had me equal parts super turned on and suppressing awkward giggling.
Goran leaned over to Luis’s hand and lapped at it to lick up the sperm. The digits trembled, only smearing the salty liquid on Goran’s eager lips.
“Oh, yes, that’s a good kitty. You’re such a sweet, caring cat, Smokey,”
The animal play is full-on so if it's not something you’d be interested in, tread very carefully!

There are threesome scenes and orgies, cat dress-ups, and a lot of cum licking and it was all INCREDIBLY HOT, as in true Merikan style. I know this will be important to a lot of people but it is a tad spoilerish, so BEWARE SPOILER AHEAD ….

Once Ollie and Goran decide to become exclusive they don’t have sex with anyone else, although obviously there is still exhibitionism and voyeurism as they live with four other men constantly having sex.

If you don’t mind your kink to be kinky, you don’t mind some frustrating characters who have to mature to become better people, and you like a satisfying HEA, I’d definitely recommend this!!!

I so want more from this series!

Check out on Goodreads!

Book Blitz: The Cattery by K.A. Merikan


The Cattery was born out of need for a bit of light-hearted writing during a month of constant traveling and overall chaos in our lives. During our vacation in Croatia last year, we spoke to many local residents about the ups and downs of working in the tourist business. It inspired some elements of Goran’s backstory. With his family in debt, he is seeking a way to earn the money they so desperately need, but his big mouth and all-too-straightforward attitude aren’t making him any friends. How ironic that it’s a sketchy-sounding online advert that changes Goran’s fate.

He joins a group of handsome men, who spend their days having fun, and whose only job is to, every few days, pretend they are cats. As weird as it sounds at first, Goran quickly immerses himself in the outrageous luxuries of the cattery. While the promise of a large financial reward at the end remains the main motive behind his stay, the stakes become much higher when Goran’s interest in Ollie, a guy whom he antagonized at the beginning, turns from lust into something much deeper. As their feelings grow in secret, it becomes increasingly difficult not to acknowledge that they are breaking the cattery’s rules, and if their master finds out, Goran will have to leave without the money he staked everything on.

RELEASE DATE: April 8th.

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--- Role-playing a cat for six months? You said you’re paying how much? ---

Goran’s mouth has no filter, and it’s losing him job after job. Desperate and a week away from being homeless, he finds an offer online that sounds too good to be true. Spending six months in a mansion by the beach in return for a hundred thousand dollars as long as he sticks to the house rules.

This might be the one job where his unruly mouth doesn’t get in the way. After all, saying the wrong thing is impossible… when you’re role-playing a cat.

Meeting all the other guys at the cattery seems to be the icing on the cake, but the inconvenient truth he dishes out turns out to be too much. Goran makes everyone his enemy, but worst of all, Ollie, the prettiest cat of the bunch, the one who’s been in the cattery the longest, and the one who makes Goran’s heart skip a beat.

Ollie’s big blue eyes hold secrets Goran is intent on cracking, but to do so, he will need to learn to bite his tongue and listen. Too bad the pretty blond ice prince is set on getting Goran kicked out of the cattery for good.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: debt, enemies to lovers, cat-play, Miami, immigrant, billionaire, love triangle, social anxiety, rent boy, backstabbing

Genre: M/M contemporary romance, sugar kink

Length: ~61,000 words (standalone novel)

WARNING: Adult content that might be considered taboo. Explicit content, strong language, multiple partner scenes. Reader discretion advised.




About the Author

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are taken 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.

http://kamerikan.com

Blog Tour & Giveaway: An Erie Garden Party by V.L. Locey



Erie Garden Party Banner v2

Title: An Erie Garden Party
Author: V.L. Locey
Series: Lake Erie Shifters, Book 3
Publisher: Torquere Press
Release Date: 4/13/16
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 32k words
Genre/Tags: Paranormal, M/M Romance

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An Erie Garden Party

Synopsis

Spring has finally arrived along the shores of Lake Erie and no one is happier than skunk shifter, Templeton Reed. Now that the snows have melted, he can frolic and play on the grounds of Lupei Manor, the formidable home that he shares with his life partner, Mikel Lupei, the alpha of the Lake Erie pack. What a pity that his joy is short lived.

Not only does a stranger appear to shake things up in the manor, bodies begin showing up on the grounds as well! Could the newcomer to the pack be the one viciously killing innocent humans and shifters? Or is there a more nefarious force at work lurking just outside the boundaries of the ancient manse Templeton, Mikel, and their LGBT friends call home?


Excerpt

"Son of a human," Mikel snarled. He stripped and shifted. I stood with his clothes over my arms, watching the wolf work the scent. He padded to the lake, snuffled the shore intently, and then slowly made his way back to the corpse. I turned my head to stare at Erie when he shoved his head under the bloody sheet to smell the body. The water seemed almost tranquil today. How I wished we were planning our spring fete instead of standing here beside a dead man. Mikel tapping my arm brought my attention from the Great Lake back to him. I handed him his pants.

"So, what can you tell us about this poor man's fate?"

"He's human." Mikel zipped his trousers vehemently. "And he was killed by a large animal, either wolf or bruin. Whoever did this dragged him through the lake to mask the scent. I'll have to gather the pack to scour the woods. Damnation."

"Oh dear me," I sighed. "I suppose the call must be made then."

Mikel threw his head back and stared at the soft white clouds ambling past. "Yes. We have to notify the Elder counsel. That is standard operating procedure when a human is involved in mystical matters. Damnation!"

I reached out to pat his thick bicep. I wasn't sure he wanted consolation but I offered it anyway. He placed his hand over mine.

"Let me know when they plan to arrive. I'll take a long stroll through the woods."

Mikel's lip rolled as he turned to look down at me. "I hate that as well. You should be at my side. This mansion is as much your home as it is mine."

"Yes, well, the times they aren't a changing as rapidly as needed," I smiled then snuggled into his wide chest. His arms cinched around me tightly, his smoky shirt smashed between us. My ear rested over his strong heart. "If one of the Elders saw me here it would raise questions. I know we have a lie all in place, but I for one do not wish to put that lie to the test. Better I enjoy the forest for an hour or so while they attend to this mess."

"I love you beyond words, Templeton," Mikel said into my black hair. "Someday, I swear, we shall not have to hide our love for each other."

"From your mouth to the Elders' ears," I whispered, then tipped my head up for a kiss. We both needed one. Pity it couldn't be a longer one, but it was tender.

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Torquere Press

Erie Garden Party Square v1 

Meet the Author

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and three Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | tsĂș

To celebrate her upcoming release, V.L. Locey is hosting a giveaway where one winner will be selected to win an eBook copy of An Erie Garden Party! Maybe it could be you? Good luck!

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Review: Psychic Says (Revelations #2) by J.J. Black

A spirit is a terrible thing to waste.

Stephen Jurgens has always gone his own way, both professionally and personally. Disowned as a child by parents who did not approve of his gifts, Stephen struck out on his own and, along the way, became a highly sought-after psychic. Between his own private clients and the consulting work he does for Revelations, business has never been better. If only his love life was meeting with as much success. Despite his efforts to reach out and enjoy the dating scene, his heart remains drawn to only one man—Maddox Blackwood.

Alpha of the Pontiac wolf pack, Maddox Blackwood is the only man Stephen has ever met who has the power to destroy him. Their initial meeting led to a rejection of epic proportions that left Stephen wary of any kind of romantic entanglement. Now, eight years later, Maddox is back and ready to claim Stephen as his own, as he should have done all those years ago. The only question is, can Stephen find it in himself to forgive the past and accept the future Maddox is offering?

All thoughts of mating are put on the back burner when Revelations receives a call for help from a local cougar pride. People are dying, but are their deaths as mundane as they appear or is something more nefarious plaguing the Pride lands? With their investigation underway, Stephen and his team soon discover that things aren’t always what they seem, and just because you don’t see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t hunting you.



Stephen was an interesting character, and I really enjoyed him in the beginning of this story. Smart, articulate, and fine being on his own, after he was heart-broken a few years prior, he has made a name for himself, and is highly sought after as a medium.

I enjoyed learning about his gifts, his past, and how he interacted with the other characters. I found him to be fierce in his own right, even if he isn’t a shapeshifter.

What threw me about him was his behaviour once Maddox got under his skin. His personality kind of transformed into someone insecure and needy. I didn’t like that change in him. It didn’t appear to be hidden in the beginning of the story, and drawn out of him; it sort of developed through Maddox’s persistence, and didn’t mesh with what I had learned about him already. I was not a fan of that change, and I’m somewhat disappointed in it. I would have been fine if he only submitted in the bedroom, but the way he behaved in general, after the first sex scene, sent me mixed messages about him.

Maddox was a typical growly Alpha. He was of course, sexy. Growly = sexy ya see. But with the age difference and the fact that Stephen said “No”, the stalking lost some of its sex appeal for me.

I also had a slight issue with the dirty talk. It wasn’t so much dirty talk as a full conversation, which drew out the sex a little too much. I’m okay with long sex scenes, but they are a real balancing act. Too much dialogue and it becomes unrealistic and boring. This was the case a few times during their love making. I wanted them both to stfu and just finish so I could move back to the plot. That is not a good feeling for me during an erotic-romance. I want the sex as much as the plot, but for this story, the sex didn’t really hold my attention.

I really enjoyed the development of Stephen’s other gifts, and the overall plot. It was somewhat consistent, and the supporting characters worked well together. I wanted to know the side characters more, and hope that this series gives these characters a chance to shine.

A few inconsistencies had me lost. The blurb says Stephen was rejected by Maddox eight years ago, and makes it sound like this is the reason he won’t go back for more, but that is not the case. Or at least not what I got from the story.

Stephen was burned by another shifter 2 or 3 years prior, and that is why he doesn’t trust the term “Mate”. It was used against him by the previous boyfriend and so he has little faith when Maddox comes along, even though he feels the pull. There is a very large age-gap between Maddox and Stephen, Maddox being younger, and so Stephen has even less trust in his maturity, and his sincerity. I was a little lost because of these inconsistencies, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the enjoyment of the story.

Magic isn’t really my thing. Neither are psychic’s or ghosts, but this was put together in a really well thought out way. I haven’t read the first book in this series, but I am considering it after this one. I think this is a solid read, and I’m interested to see where this cast of characters started, and where this series is heading.

Recommended to fans of paranormal, supernatural, and magic urban fantasy stories. There are Shifters, demons, and of course, a Psychic as the hero.


A review copy was provided in exchange an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: Sinders and Ash by Tara Lain, Narrated by Kale Williams

Housekeeper Mark Sintorella (Sinders) works diligently at a resort hotel while designing clothes anonymously, hoping to get into fashion school. Then his carefully planned life is upended with the arrival of Ashton Armitage, son of the fifth richest man in America - and the most beautiful guy Mark has ever seen. Ash must find a wife or he'll lose his grandfather's inheritance, and he settles on Bitsy Fanderel. But secretly Ash is gay, and the guy who cleans the fireplaces sets his heart ablaze.

Further stirring the pot is the little elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, who has Mark wearing his own designs and masquerading as a girl to impress the fashion investors in the hotel. When the clock strikes 12, two beautiful princesses line up for the wedding - but one isn't a woman. Will the slipper fit? Only Mr. Pennymaker knows for sure.


Suspend belief all ye who enter here!

Not saying that’s a bad thing. But, you do need to know that this is very much a Hallmark type fairy tale so you can appreciate it for what it’s giving you. Everyone is exceptionally beautiful, the drama is dramatic as are the reactions to the drama and the ending is perfectly perfect.

Sinders, or Mark, is a beautifully sad and quirky character that cleans the fireplaces at a luxury resort along with a bunch of menial bullshit things that no one else wants to do. He lives in an attic room, saving all his money to one day go to design school. Ash is a delicious rich boy who, in order to claim his inheritance of eleventeen trillion dollars, must marry by his birthday. Needless to say he doesn’t have that handled and he’s at the resort to try and find himself a bride.

Mark is taken under the wing or a strange little man with the ultimate connections in the fashion industry named Carstairs Pennymaker. Mr. Pennymaker is the mastermind behind the meet cutes in the story and his plans to put Mark on the fashion map come with pearls of wisdom and self-confidence building bits of enlightenment. He’s very charming and quirky and I liked him a lot.

The bad guys were especially ugly and the part of the Evil Stepmother and sisters was played out well in a modern way. One of the sisters ends up being a good friend to Ash and the side story with Bitsy and Ronnie (Ash’s assistant) was really my favorite part of the story. I liked both of their characters and they were the most “real” of the lot.

I listened to the audio version of this story and I did like the narrator’s voice, my only problem was that his Mark and his Ash sounded the same as the story progressed. I never got confused about who was talking, but the sameness of it made it too easy for my brain to wander. When I read the book many moons ago I never realized how much the characters talked to themselves, the narration really emphasizes that and it got old after a bit. I started thinking, “who the hell are you even talking to?” It made the story sound more narrated than organic.

Go into Sinders and Ash knowing you are getting a contemporary fairy tale with a plethora of voice inducing situational boners and beautiful people getting happy endings with very little realism. Sometimes that flavor of brain candy is exactly what a person needs and if you’re in that moment, this is the story for you.

Check out Sinders and Ash for yourself over at Dreamspinner Press.


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

Review: Of Being Yours (Another Way #2) Audiobook by Anna Martin

Sequel to Another Way.

It's been three years since Jesse Ross had to choose between his master and his girlfriend - three years he's spent living in a loving relationship with Will, his dom, and finally being open about his sexuality. To the outside eye, Jesse and Will's relationship is settled, solid, and romantic: people expect them to settle down, get married, and have a family. It takes a car crash to expose the papered-over cracks in their life together.

Traumatized by the crash, Will finds his confidence shattered. After unintentionally causing Jesse pain during the accident, Will finds it impossible to hurt him in the bedroom, and suddenly he has to reassess his ability to be Jesse's dom. The emotional and physical deadlock leaves Jesse struggling to hold the pieces of their tattered relationship together. The physical scars may heal with time, but the emotional trauma has left more damage than either man could have anticipated...

Narrator: Brad Langer
Listening Length: 7 hours and 42 minutes


I am rather embarrassed to admit that this was my first ever audio book, but friends have been encouraging me for some time now so I thought I would take the plunge. This book had me chuckling right from the start as narrator took on the role of Jesse Ross. He has a great voice but his characterization of Jesse's Dom Will was simply too sexy to be believable.

Anyhow apart from a huge grin that manifested for me whenever Will was voiced, I found the story entirely engaging as Jesse related his life with Will with both humour and poignancy. Three years since they moved in together, they are still clearly in love. However, in an attempt to spend quality time together, they are involved in a car accident. This throws Will into turmoil that he was unable to protect Jesse and cracks begin to show in their relationship. I listened to this as a standalone novel and was entirely enraptured, trying to listen at every possible moment and barely able to contain my curiosity since nothing was predictable.

Anna Martin crafts a clever story that depicts a relationship between two protagonists who are both engaging and flawed individuals, making them all the more human because of their foibles.

Meanwhile as they negotiate their D/s relationship, their close friend and lifestyle mentor Laura struggles with a change of dynamic within her own family dynamic. I think lesser writers may have been tempted to find an easy solution to the challenges faced. Instead, life is depicted in all its messy exchanges, sometimes funny, sometimes mundane and at other times breathtakingly painful or unexpectedly heart warming. Nothing is straightforward, but that makes life's triumphs all the sweeter.

I have seen some reviews expressing disappointment that this second installment does not quite live up to the caliber of the first novel, but for me it was totally engaging and became a certainty that I would be reading the first installment 'Another Way' to discover more about how Will and Jesse met. I loved this book, the discoveries made in dealing with uncertainty. Working through the unexpected, facing disappointment and disagreement and forging moments of self discovery whilst learning to prioritize the important things in life.

'Of Being Yours' was a joy to listen too, it brought laughter (and not just at Will's uber sexy and masterful voice) and tears. It is a celebration of love between two flawed individuals living in a complex world. They find the strength and compassion to strive to be better men for the sake of themselves and each other. I thought it was a beautiful exploration of passion and lust and the complexity of human nature.

Dreamspinner Press
Goodreads

Review: Fragments of a Unicorn's Soul by J.R. Loveless

Content with his life, Elek Keros never questions the ways of the Unicorn. Until one night the sense of something coming awakens him from a deep sleep. He breaks Unicorn law by leaving the enchanted glade his kind lives in to search for what is calling to him. Each night he returns home without answers, but he cannot stop entering the forest day after day to find what he seeks.

The answer lies in a small child Elek rescues. Over the years, he watches over the boy, learns all that he can about the human and steadily falls in love with him. But how can the love he feels possibly breach the divide between their two worlds?

Previously published by Silver Publishing.





I think it's safe to say, if you put a unicorn in a story, 9 times out of 10...I'm reading it. I like the horns.

Pop that top, Unicorn!
Actually, let's not pop that unicorn chaser top. It'll just cause me to go on about unicorns, a subject I could probably gab about all day. Let's talk about one specific unicorn, shall we?

J.R. Loveless re-released Fragments of a Unicorn's Soul, a story where unicorn meets the other half of his soul unexpectedly. Elek the unicorn lives in the magical world of...well, where exactly, I'm not too sure. It's in a forest in America, six hours from present day San Diego. Unicorns used to live out in the open in the human world but due to humans trying to harm and steal unicorns' immortality, the magical beings had to enchant a part of a forest with a veil, not visible to humans, to survive and hide their herd.


The story is basic - unicorn sees his child mate - waits for him to mature - does something about it when the mate's legal. Jonathan, the three year old Elek saves in the forest grows into a college aged teen. The years do nothing to destroy their connection. The story isn't squicky, it's more sweet and calm. I do think the idea was cool but for the length, too condensed to give the story full body. I think some more pages to show how the unicorns came to be, rather than have it told to the reader in a paragraph would have been fun. Or even a couple of section breaks wouldn't have hurt, the story zoomed over a decade in sentences.

My fave part is reading Elek's reactions to humans - their words, their modern ideas and inventions, their everything.And learning that the unicorns aren't shifters but unicorns was cool. Their history was also interesting.

There was sex but if there weren't any, I wouldn't have minded. I don't think it truly added to the men's connection but it was okay. *shrug*

I like this story but it didn't leave a lasting impression. This unicorn has read a number of unicorn tales to be discerning. Maybe if this story is expanded in the future, I might revisit.

Recommended to readers who like sweet little unicorn filled nuggets, don't want to be bothered with anything too deep and like a quick HEA.

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Review: Tempest by Cari Z.

Love can change a soul. But can it save one life?

Colm Weathercliff is a simple fisherman with an uncanny some might say preternatural knack for his trade. He thought leaving his small village to take his father s ashes to the capital city of Caithmor for a proper burial would be the grandest adventure of his life.

At first, all his hopes seem to be fulfilled. He finds a home where he's accepted without question, the freedom to use his talent to its fullest effect, and love with Nichol, a man with a longing for the sea as powerful as Colm's.

But Caithmor holds as many dangers as it does attractions. Colm's greatest secret turns out to be a dark revelation that gets him and his family shunned and changes everything he thought he knew about himself.

The truth about his parentage, his gift, even his physical form could poison his chance for love. And doom both him and Nichol to a gruesome, inescapable fate.


Warning: Contains graphic violence, explicit sex, and scenes of torture that may not be for the faint of heart. These mermen bear no resemblance to those you might have seen in a certain animated film.





If you're reading this review chances are you're familiar with the romance algorithm-person A meets person B, they fall in lurve at varying speeds, something bad happens that they must work through/survive on their way to an HFN/HEA. I like this algorithm. It's predictable, yes, but so many emotions, personality traits, adventures and conflicts can be packed into that algorithm to make it unique. My point being when an author can make me question the algorithm it always impresses me.





That coupled with Cari Z.'s range from fantasy to post apocalyptic dystopia to contemporary make it clear that she is the quintessential storyteller. I can't tell you how many times while I was reading this I thought how great it would be to sit around a campfire listening to her tell this tale. It's filed with adventure, villainous secondary characters, romance, violence, tragedy and triumph, creepy creatures, mythical creatures and a sprinkling of sexy times, though they are definitely in the side car of this story. 

Tempest is a slow burn with and a bit of a love triangle. Colm with the help of his stepmother flees his tiny mountain village after his father's death for fear he will be forced to marry. He has no desire to marry. He wants to live a quiet life as a fisherman, the thing he enjoys most in the world. He joins up with Fergus, who is a jolly lothario with an unknown number of wives (even he gets them mixed up), who sees him safely to Caithmor. Once there he meets aunt Megg and Nichol. 

Megg is a tough old bird who isn't gonna take any guff of anyone. She strong arms the town drunk into hiring Colm and he quickly makes a name for himself and along the way garners some unwanted attention. Colm has always had a knack for fishing, a knack which some people say is magic. Magic in all its permutations is illegal thus he is arrested and taken to Honored Strain, inquisitor. All of this wreaks of hypocrisy in that the priests can use magic while laypeople are tortured and jailed for doing so. Nice subtext.


"Living means you get jostled about a bit."

In Colm's case he's prohibited from fishing and becomes an outcast. Colm being Colm he makes the best of a bad situation, spends more time with Nichol and his friends until tragedy strikes. No sooner has Colm helped Nichol through that crisis before another obstacle gets thrown in their way. This is when the doubts started to creep in. 






"Sometimes there's no perfect solution. Sometimes you have to live out something bad in order to get to something better."

I shouldn't have doubted because Nichol never does even when things seem hopeless. Colm and Nichol are opposites. Nichol is a classic extrovert with many friends, a passion for life that permeates his every interaction and a thrill seeker. His optimism bolsters Colm and they keep working and fighting to find solutions even if they have to trust some unsavory characters. Besides being with Colm is the adventure Nichol's been waiting a lifetime for.

There are many things that I enjoyed about this story but what made me coo was how tactile they are. Nichol pretty much uses Colm as a body pillow. Always snuggling, oftentimes snoring, sometimes drooling and always on Colm.




The other can be summed up as Cari Z.'s writing style. She paid attention to the details and skillfully wove this story together. As a visual person that matters to me especially when you're building an alternate universe. The more I can visualize it the greater my enjoyment will be. She accomplished it without info dumping.




There are loose ends and I still have some questions mainly about secondary characters, so I'm crossing all the things that a follow up or two are planned.

Recommend to high fantasy fans.






An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Group Review: A Gentleman's Position (Society of Gentlemen #3) by K.J. Charles

Power, privilege, and the rigid rules of class leave two hearts yearning for connection in the sizzling new Society of Gentlemen novel from K. J. Charles.

Among his eccentric though strictly principled group of friends, Lord Richard Vane is the confidant on whom everyone depends for advice, moral rectitude, and discreet assistance. Yet when Richard has a problem, he turns to his valet, a fixer of unparalleled genius—and the object of Richard’s deepest desires. If there is one rule a gentleman must follow, it is never to dally with servants. But when David is close enough to touch, the rules of class collide with the basest sort of animal instinct: overpowering lust.

For David Cyprian, burglary and blackmail are as much in a day’s work as bootblacking—anything for the man he’s devoted to. But the one thing he wants for himself is the one thing Richard refuses to give: his heart. With the tension between them growing to be unbearable, David’s seemingly incorruptible master has left him no choice. Putting his finely honed skills of seduction and manipulation to good use, he will convince Richard to forget all about his well-meaning objections and give in to sweet, sinful temptation.

Adam-4.5 Hearts

When I finished the first book in the Society of Gentlemen series, I crossed my fingers and hoped that high and mighty Lord Richard Vane’s love interest would be his resourseful valet, David Cyprian. I ended up with another reason to fanboy over KJ Charles, because not only do Richard and David end up together, but their story was the romantic, sexy, and slightly angsty read that I was hoping for!

Wrapped in wealth and status, Richard Vane is outwardly a cold and distant man. As his closest friends find their own happiness, he can’t deny any longer that he wants to share his life with the one man he should remain the farthest from, his valet. David Cyprian has spent almost five years serving Richard, and has been in love with him for just as long. He’s remained silent for years, but is now determined to win the man he loves.

David’s devotion to his master was almost breathtaking. Seeing Richard through his eyes, and how much David just wanted to be with him, left no doubts about his love and the extent he was willing to go for them to throw aside class and social status. However, David does recognize that he needs to be independent of his employer, and be able to think rationally.

Despite becoming frustrated with Richard repeatedly denying David, I actually understood where he was coming from. Aware of his power, Richard put the welfare of his servants before his own desires, and that included the possibility of forcing his valet into a relationship that he might not be able to refuse. So I got it, though that didn’t mean I liked it. At a certain point I just wanted to yell at him to ignore his cumbersome morals and bend his very willing valet over the nearest sofa.

I loved getting to know both of the MCs and what made them tick. Though the two were important characters in the previous books, we didn’t get to know much about them, because of Richard’s closed-off attitude and David’s role as servant. Seeing the two connect over their family histories and shared experiences was a treat. I didn’t expect it, but Richard’s childhood in particular tugged at my heartstrings, and gave context for how he saw his own relationship with David.

I think ‘A Gentleman’s Position’ probably had the least sex scenes of the series, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t steamy. It takes a while for David and Richard to fall in to bed together, but in the meantime the UST was through the roof. And when they finally gave in, they were on fire. After spending years touching each other everyday yet denying what they wanted most, the two made up for it by being completely uninhibited.

The conflict with Lord Maltravers comes to a head in this final book. I’m not going to give away anything, but I’ll say that Maltravers got what he deserved. Though I loved seeing the Ricardians come together to deal with him, which was both entertaining and gave us another look at the happy couples. Plus, we get to see the great Cyprian at work.

KJ Charles concluded this series with a bang. ‘A Gentleman’s Position’ has the sweet romance, well-paced plot, and engaging writing that this author does so well. If you’re looking for MM Regency era romance, I can’t recommend the Society of Gentlemen series enough!



Cupcake-5 Hearts

This has been the most engaging and well-rounded Regency series I've read to date and I'm heartsick that it's over. I shan't forget these characters any time soon especially that dandy.

*clings to Julius*


The story of Richard and Cyprian (Riprian) was one I looked forward to from the beginning. I couldn't wait for the staunchly responsible Richard to capitulate to his valet. The class difference, the angst, the needing...delicious cocktail that makes and I was not disappointed. Ordinarily, I'm not one that needs the 'I love yous'. I'm a firm believer in actions speaking louder than words but I don't mind telling you all the declarations here made me swoon. I think I might've gotten a little drunk with the swoon worthy cocktails.

"I love you, David. My red fox, my right hand, my flame."




FOUR YEARS! FOUR! Of denial and repression and furtive desire these two have been bottling up and once those flood gates opened I rode the love wave right along with them.




Of course their road was not paved with rose petals. What fun would that be? Richard has a difficult time of it, but KJC did a brilliant job of showing why they are seemingly at cross purposes.

Where David's cleverness hit a brick wall, Richard's power and wealth could smash through it and would.

Riprian make an excellent team and they have to band together to avert disaster once more. The addition of historical events and how they are interwoven throughout the whole of this trilogy was masterfully done and highly entertaining particularly in this installment. I was on pins and needles at White's right along with all the rest of the gawkers.

And if history isn't your gig there are plenty of scorching sexy times to entertain filled with desperation, ginger lovin', a marked size difference which is used to mouthwatering effect and YEARS of longing. Have I mention they waited for years?

"There is nothing you could ask of me I would not give you willingly. Nothing."

Definitely the romanciest of this romance series and one I look forward to rereading in the future.


SheReadsALot-4.5 Hearts

aka A Saran Wrap Review
"Do you think it is possible?"
"Most things are possible, if you look at them the right way."

Why Saran Wrap? I was on top of this book the moment I read A Fashionable Indulgence. I was pressed against it so tight, I clung to it like Saran Wrap.

Why? Because boss/employee relationships are my balm, K.J. Charles is word porn for the mind and it featured the 'gingerest of all gingers', David Cyprian aka FOXY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I shall blurt out my feels while going through book withdrawal and applauding this magnificent series called Society of Gentlemen.


Could you read the series out of order? I wouldn't suggest it. David & Richard's story was a long time coming *coughs*months for me, over four years for them*coughs* You could see the seeds of sexual tension in book one, the sprouts of the forbidden aspect and Richard's mulish ideas on masters tupping the help in book #2 and the longing and finally...the sprouts bloom in "A Gentleman's Position".

David Cyprian, redheaded valet extraordinaire who strived hard to be the best valet in England, has his fingers in a lot of pies all around the country in the name of his master, Lord Richard Vale, a marquess' second son. David would do anything for Lord Richard; he's proved this the previous books of this series. Quiet and unassuming, the man was a mastermind in his own right. And the biggest motivator pushing him? His love for Lord Richard. Four and a half years of making his master the best dressed, especially for a man of his remarkable size and what does David get for it? Nothing other than being so close and yet so far from his love.

Because Lord Richard would never touch a servant.

Even if Richard wants to.

Even if they both want to touch each other.

You know what happens when long time feelings are denied, right? Especially in those quiet types? *grins*
"Quite right. I should learn my place."
"It's here, between my legs."
"God help me, I think it is."
Passion explosion!


Out of all of the books, this is the most romantic of the bunch. I was a little surprised how romantic it got. And it reminded me the most of past Regencies I've read. (I do love a good valet/master romance) But what K.J. Charles did with this novel, breaking down why it is wrong, why privilege can blind the eyes even when you're in love, why saying you'll put yourself in another person's shoes and not get it when one is privileged...listen, the book taught a lesson and told a story. I had to stop reading during some parts because it was just so good. And inclusive! In a Regency romance!!

I did want to kick Richard a few times because he had privileged foot in mouth syndrome. And David, the cunning owner of a pair of steel balls started off timid for me in this book. I didn't like what he was becoming....it must have been the soft and pink aka love haze. But my ginger remembered his spine and at the right time in the story - sometimes you don't know how strong you are until you've been brought low. And he hits a low point, but discovered some things about himself.

The tension was strong, the love even stronger. The words spoken between Richard and David were some of the sweetest. And Richard, like me, knows red hair is to be cherished, not ridiculed. I still don't get why gingers get teased. Ginger lovers? You will be redeemed in this.
"I want to take handfuls of that hair for myself, to follow it all the way down and find out if you are red all over. It is irresistible. You are irresistible."
Plus, there was even time for a little action - blackmailing within the ton, so to speak.

We got to see the couples from the Ricardians come back to do what they do best. It was great to read the men. Let me say, I am a Julius Norreys fangirl, vice president of the club. But this book made me realize how much I also fangirl for Mason and Dominic. I can't even say I like more than the other - they are a pair, so solid that they give David and Richard a run for their money. They made excellent secondary characters. All of the secondary characters from the previous books and prior lead characters helped move the blackmail angle along.

The book's 'villain' - he's really a disgusting piece of work. I think since his name started with Mal-, I just thought of putrid things. And weirdly enough Draco Malfoy came to mind. If "you filthy little mudblood" was ever uttered from this book's villain's lips, I wouldn't have been surprised. And the way the blackmail came together was nothing short of brilliant.


The plot was well thought out and crafted, like watching chips falling together to solve a puzzle. I literally have a third of this book highlighted and to share the best of my quotes will give away too much. The sexual tension still had a good burn to it, slow in spots but bombastic throughout. It culminated at the right spot and the ending was damn near perfect.

The Society of Gentlemen series ends on a high note and I'll miss these men something fierce. Regency lovers...seriously, get this series (and read in order).

Long live Foxy and his master!

An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.