Review: Levi (Leopard's Spots, #1) by Bailey Bradford

A run through the woods turned anything but typical when Levi found the one thing he never expected to find-his mate.

After a week spent in family reunion hell, Levi Travis is more than ready for a little break. But who knew shifting into a snow leopard and loping around in the woods could turn into such a steamy event?

When Levi encounters a cougar shifter in the woods, the attraction is so hot it threatens to shoot off sparks. Levi has fantasized about having a stronger man than him want him, and he's sure the cougar is just such a man. Which is why Levi lets himself get caught, and the intensity of their mating is only equaled by Levi's confusion when the man shifts back into a cougar then turns tail and runs.

Lyndon Hines has been running for months. Hunted, taunted, he didn't know what else to do—until he met a man who made him realize that some things were worth fighting for. Two shifters, each a different breed, neither knowing much about their heritage, Levi and Lyndon come together and find the strength to take on the mad man who is out to end Lyndon's life.

Publisher's Note: This book has previously been released by Pride Publishing. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release. This book is best read in sequence, as part of a series but can be read as a standalone.



One made up word: Smutfest

Yes, this is a very smutty book, with lots of growling, biting, and pounding.

I can see how this series is going to develop, and I found the plot enjoyable, but I was completely distracted by all the sex these two were having. I actually think there is such a thing as too much erotica in a story, and this reached its limit for me. When I start skimming over the sex scenes, I know there is a problem, and it doesn’t matter how sexy the scenes are in their own right, it is too much.

Some may not agree with me, and that’s great, you will enjoy the fuck out of this story (pun absolutely intended). For me, after the first two times, I wanted to get on with the actual plot.

Lyndon is on the run because he is being hunted by another cougar. He doesn’t know who, but they have been marking his belongings and hotel rooms for quite some time. He manages to find himself in the woods, when he comes across another cat shifter, but not a cougar. And that cat shifter smells like they’re in heat.

Levi can’t believe he’s in heat, as it has never happened before and he didn’t think it would happen to the males of the Snow Leopard shifter species. However, he admits that his family doesn’t know much about shifters history as his grandmother’s entire clan was wiped out when she was a child making her the single survivor.

I actually like this part of the plot. This group of shifters are completely oblivious and don’t appear to have ventured out of their own town far enough to discover if there are other shifters. It leaves a lot of questions to be discovered, and I imagine that is what this series is setting up to reveal.

Levi and Lyndon have great sexual chemistry, and the wood scene when they first meet is heat level high. It definitely got my blood pumping, and kept me engaged.

I’m not really a fan of fated mates shifter stories. They’re just really predictable from a romance point of view, and it doesn’t leave much in the way of relationship development in this particular story. I know this trope can be done well, and I have a favourite series that is fated mates, but it is the exception for me, and this story followed the rule.

But…. the rest of this story (where they aren’t humping each other) makes for interesting reading, and I think the plot worked really well with the discovery of other shifter species.

If you like fluffy smut with a bit of drama, and a decent overall story arc, I think this could be worth the time. If you are averse to fated mate stories then you probably won’t be able to avoid the disdain of that trope here, but if you can tolerate it, this is a fun read.


A review copy was provided for an honest opinion

Review: Caught In Between (Daniel and Ryan #8) by Tamryn Eradani

As a natural extension of their last scene, Daniel and Ryan invite a third to join them for one night.

















So when the idea of this book came up, of them moving forward this way I was worried because it didn't seem like Daniel would want to share Ryan and I was right. He doesn't want to share Ryan, he wants Ryan to share him and Ryan absolutely is on board with the idea.

Once again I am going to keep the review short as this is a serial installment and therefore short on pages.

Caught in Between shows the amazing character growth in Daniel and the amount of confidence Ryan has given him with their relationship. It’s not as if Daniel is shy in bed or never voiced what he wants but this side, this exploration is new and it’s sexy as hell.

For Daniel to fantasize about a one night threesome with Ryan calling the shots isn’t out of the norm but it comes to bug him with wanting and guilt. He knows if Ryan were to propose they take a third Daniel would feel as if he weren’t enough for Ryan and he doesn’t want to lose Ryan. But when he finally gives up and tells Ryan what he wants, he’s mildly shocked that Ryan instantly agrees. He shouldn’t have been. From the beginning Ryan has always known what Daniel wants without Daniel having to be vocal about it. That’s what I adore about these two when they are together, the nonverbal communication is so intimate and sensual it give me goosebumps at how well they work together.

You think I don’t want to watch someone else make a mess of you and then watch as you pull yourself back together for me? Because you know if I arrange for someone else to join us, then you won’t be giving either of us sloppy seconds. If you want two cocks, then you better be ready to give them both the attention they deserve.

I like how Ryan sets up the Daniel to meet the third and I have to say I LOVED who it was to the point I want more of him. Not more of him with Ryan and Daniel though I wouldn’t be opposed to that, I just clicked with him as a character and wouldn’t mind exploring him a bit more.

I am curious as always where, not when, the serial will end with Ryan and Daniel. They are headed in the direction of a kinky HEA but what I would love before it all ends is to just once, get Ryan’s POV. I know we get a lot of him through Daniel and I love how he sees Daniel but a man with so much control who can demand so much control just with his voice needs to tell me a few things.



Blog Tour + Giveaway: Knight of Sherwood (Outlaw’s Legacy #2) by N.B. Dixon


N.B. Dixon and LoveBound Promotions drop by the clubhouse today in support of the latest in the Outlaw's Legacy series, Knight of Sherwood! Check out today's stop, review and giveaway! You can win an ecopy of Knight of Sherwood!

KnightOfSherwood_TourBanner

Title: Knight of Sherwood

Series: Outlaw’s Legacy, Book 2

Author: N.B. Dixon

Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: September 14, 2017

Romance Genre(s): Historical, LGBT

Words: 145,000

View on Goodreads

About the Book


Blurb


KnightOfSherwood

Robin returns to England after four years fighting in the holy land. On arriving at Locksley, he discovers that Guy of Gisborne, his most hated enemy, has been made Sheriff of Nottingham. Forced to flee into Sherwood, Robin sets himself up as champion of the poor.

But Robin has a secret. His feelings for his friend Will Scathelock have deepened, but to acknowledge the truth would mean facing up to his past. Meanwhile Lady Marian Fitzwalter, heiress to the vast Huntingdon estate is determined to claim Robin for her own.

Buy Links


Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

About N.B. Dixon


Author Bio


N.B. Dixon is an author of historical fiction. Her love for the Robin Hood legend began in a neglected corner of the school library and has continued ever since. She is a self-confessed bookworm and also a musician.

She began work on the Outlaw's Legacy series in 2013, and was accepted by Beaten Track Publishing in 2016. Outlaw's Legacy is a historical series based around the Robin Hood legend. The author describes it as Exciting Historical Adventure with GLBT romance.

Connect with N.B.


Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway


To celebrate the release of Knight of Sherwood, the second novel in the Outlaw’s Legacy series, N.B. Dixon is giving away an e-copy to 3 lucky winners. For your chance to win, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. The contest closes at midnight EST on September 29, 2017, and is open to entrants worldwide.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Stops


September 18:

Author Interview with Boys on the Brink
Exclusive Excerpt at Outrageous Heroes of Romance

September 19:

Author Interview with A.M. Leibowitz
Exclusive Excerpt at Fictional Rendezvous

September 20:

Spotlight on The Broke Book Bank
Exclusive Excerpt at Romance Novel Giveaways

September 21:

Book Review by Making It Happen
Exclusive Excerpt at Happily Ever Chapter

September 22:

Book Review by Drops of Ink
Exclusive Excerpt at Always Love Me Some Books

September 23:

Author Interview with Liz's Reading Life
Exclusive Excerpt at Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

September 24:

Book Review by Bayou Book Junkie
Book Review by Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Tour Hosted by LoveBound Promotions

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Review: Knight of Sherwood (Outlaw's Legacy, #2) by N.B. Dixon

Robin returns to England after four years fighting in the Holy Land. On arriving at Locksley, he discovers that Guy of Gisborne, his most hated enemy, has been made Sheriff of Nottingham. Forced to flee into Sherwood, Robin sets himself up as champion of the poor.

But Robin has a secret. His feelings for his friend Will Scathelock have deepened, but to acknowledge the truth would mean facing up to his past. Meanwhile, Lady Marian Fitzwalter, heiress to the vast Huntingdon estate, is determined to claim Robin for her own.

""Never underestimate a man with a big stick," Will told him."


I have soooo much love for this book. So. Much. Love. It is my absolute favourite book of the year and I just want to gush and read it again and make everyone read it and tell everyone who disagrees with me that they are utterly wrong and...


I just love this book.

I loved the first one in the series but this just ups the game for me. I have so many words, so many thoughts, I'm not sure where to start.

Okay. The setting.
I love historical novels, especially those set in Britain, and the legend of Robin Hood is a classic tale told, and re-told, for generations, and I love that this is an M/M version of that tale. What I love even more is that it's believably so. It's not written for titillation, it's exploring another way of viewing this classic hero, written sympathetically for the time in which it's set. 

The hardship of life in the 12th century is portrayed so well. The way the lives of the poor were dictated by the whims of the rich. Where women held no power, where the poor held no power, where life was so easily thrown away, even the lives of children. Life was hard. Food was scarce, taxes were numerous (and increasing), and loyalties could have you killed in a second.

NB Dixon depicts this time so well. She makes the reader fall for the characters, understand the deprivations they face and how difficult decisions were. She's very clever though, because she still manages to give us strong female characters, even in this time of oppression of women. 

The story of good versus evil is an old, old tale. What makes this story important to me as a reader is how much I care for the characters. Not just Robin and Will, but all the 'good' guys ... and equally, how much loathing I had for Guy and Prince John and others.  The good guys aren't all honourable in every way, they are human and make mistakes too. Even Robin. Sometimes especially Robin... pride comes before a fall...

This was apparent in how Dixon wrote King Richard the Lionheart. Hailed as a hero in literature, we see his true colours and his love of war. We see how the choice to follow him was the lesser of two evils to many. To Robin especially. This story is about humanity and love-for-humanity. It's about politics. It's about religion. It's about choices and decisions and effect and cause and...

It's about right and wrong.  The black, the white and the grey. 

God, it's about love and trust and caring for others. 

It's about a harshness of life that is scary.  

It's about manipulation and honour.

It's about the harsh reality of life. It's so, so, so, so, so good.

Of course, this story is also about Robin and Will. I love these two. I love the hardness of their love. The trueness of it. For me friendship is the strongest, most important pull in a relationship. A soul deep friendship is more of a turn on than any amount of on-page, descriptive sex. I have to say, if you're looking for pages of sexual fantasy between Robin and another man, well you're in the wrong place. This book has very little on-page sex, and not even that much off the page if I'm honest. I only feel I need to mention it because I know for some readers it is important - for me though, it is not needed. Robin and Will have the slowest of burns and the relationship is primarily of friendship (and love). 

Dixon nearly had me throwing my kindle at the wall at the end, no spoilers but I need the next book. The only problem with falling in love with a review book is knowing that I will have to wait for the next instalment (as opposed to buying and binging on a whole series in one go). 

This is the book I am going to recommend as my 2017 must-read, I loved and adored every single word. I know this book won't be for everyone (though I encourage all to try) but for me it is a complete and utter winner who's destined to be a forever favourite.

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


Visit the Knight of Sherwood blog tour HERE!

Audiobook Review: Learning to Love by Felice Stevens

After ten years away from home, bad boy caterer Gideon Marks has a lot to prove. Getting the holiday catering job at his childhood synagogue is the first step in demonstrating to everyone he didn’t turn out to be the failure they predicted. What he doesn’t count on is Rabbi Jonah Fine, his high school nemesis and secret crush, stirring up old feelings Gideon thought long gone and secrets he’s buried deep for years.

An unexpectedly passionate encounter shocks Gideon, but he pushes Jonah away, convinced he isn’t good enough to be in a relationship and would never be accepted by Jonah’s father. But Jonah hangs tough—he won’t allow Gideon to hide or run away from life again. And when it comes to love, Gideon learns the most important lessons aren’t always taught in school.

Narrated by: Derrick McClain
Listening Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes



Guest Reviewer - Annery

***3.00 for the book, 3.5 for the Audio***

This is my third Felice Stevens read and I’m beginning to sense a pattern. The landscape is authentic and recognizable along with the usual cast of New York characters. In this case some nice Jewish boys from Brooklyn and their friends and family. I like to read about everyday people but this one was just on the ‘underwhelming’ side.

Usually when I do audios I follow along with the print just to ‘see’ the words or even highlight but in this instance I stuck strictly to my ears and the performance by Derrick McClain. I happen to like Derrick very much and once again he didn’t disappoint. There’s a clear distinction between characters and a nice but not over dramatized narration. He even does nice voices for the women in the story. I’m not sure he did any favors to the main MC, Gideon Marks. No fault on Derrick’s part but rather on who Gideon is or how he is written.

Gideon Marks has come home to Brooklyn from a self imposed Florida exile. He wants to make a success of his catering business but he also wants to rub it in the face of those who thought he wouldn’t amount to anything. He particularly wants to impress one Jonah Fine and Jonah is impressed. So what was my problem? Glad you asked. I had a few, though none of them were deal breakers, more like sand in your shoes. Not as bad as pebbles but annoying nonetheless.

The major stumble for me is Gideon himself and when you sort of dislike the main MC everything teeters. He had the standard issue fraught childhood, his mother and beloved grandmother were killed in an accident leaving him with an alcoholic father who was ill equipped to deal with Gideon’s needs which went beyond the usual teenage growing pains. What said needs were/are the reader can figure out pretty soon before being told. It’s very noble of the author to have a character with these issues and having him deal with them, but Gideon is a bit of an insufferable ass and with something like a boulder on his shoulder. For one thing all those nay sayers he’s come home to stare down are mostly in his head and while this attitude is perfectly believable and understandable in a troubled teenager it gets harder to swallow from an almost 30 successful businessman. It annoys me to no end to have people jump to conclusions about the intentions or motivations of others when their main complaint is being unfairly judged. Also when people do nothing but snap at others when they’re being shown nothing but kindness I want to reach in the book and slap them. I wanted to grab Gideon by his curly locks and drag him around a bit and hug him later.

Another hurdle is that though Jonah and Gideon knew each other since they were teenagers I don’t see how they would get hung up on each other. As far as I could tell they only saw each other at temple; they went to different schools and weren’t even friends. So how smitten could they have been to the point where Jonah seems to have been waiting for Gideon for ten years when they never had anything going?

In any case after some back and forth of Jonah being unbelievably patient with Gideon and letting him figure out that he is and always was into Gideon our love birds are living in bliss when we have the ‘out of nowhere’ righteous indignation from Gideon, subsequent stomping out, and some groveling from Jonah and forgiveness from Gideon. Thing is in my book Jonah had nothing to apologize for. Another instance of Gideon being a prickly diva. More stuff happens, Gideon confronts and makes some sort of peace with his past and Jonah solves his non-problems. Good people doing good things. Amen.

The theme here seems to be that your enjoyment of this book will depend on how much you like or hate Gideon. I don’t hate him but I can see us having words.


A review copy was provided.

Guest Review: Year One: Would it Be Okay to Love You? by Amy Tasukada

A robot fanboy. An erotic voice actor. Will their secrets overwhelm their love?

Sato doesn’t get out much. The anime company accountant spends his days at a desk and his nights working on his own small-scale robots. His geeky life is like a dream, but it has just one piece missing…

The world only knows Aoi for his moans. The erotic voice actor has legions of fangirls obsessed with his gasps of simulated ecstasy. And his new boyfriend Sato can barely handle the attention.

As Aoi’s popularity rises and secrets about his past begin to reveal themselves, can the accountant and the voice actor rise above their problems to create something real?

Year One is a short story anthology collection unlike anything you’ve ever read. If you like geeky settings, and sweet romance, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s slice-of-life story.


Reviewer: R *A Reader Obsessed*

This was cuuuuuute.

A quaint romance about Sato and Aoi, they’re an established couple who are just starting to become serious. Basically, this is a month by month look at how they live their lives and how their feelings evolve and strengthen.

Sato and Aoi may be complete opposites, especially in their interests and what they do for a living, but somehow they make it work. Their interactions, their respect, and their kindness and love for each other warmed my cold heart - and there’s a bit of smexy just to keep things interesting.

Overall, nothing fancy, nothing dramatic. Throw in a little insecurity, a little twisty doubt, and mix it with a lot of sweet. Maybe as a warning, this seemed to end all of a sudden; Sato and Aoi have reached a milestone and are strong… I just wanted more of this simple love story.

Perhaps as a consolation, you can sign up for the author’s newsletter to receive monthly snippets about these two. I did!

Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review .




Don't miss the Would it Be Okay to Love You? Release Blitz HERE!

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Would It Be Okay to Love You? by Amy Tasukada


Amy Tasukada and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the release of Would It Be Okay To Love You? See our review HERE! Enter in the giveaway to win 2 ebooks: Would It Be Okay to Love You? and Year One!




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 41,000 words

Series

Would It Be Okay To Love You (Book #1)
Would It Be Okay To Love You: Year One (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

A robot fanboy. An erotic voice actor. When love comes calling, will they shed their armor?


Sato’s only long-term relationship is the one he shares with his Gundam collectibles. He dreams about the kind of unconditional love his parents enjoy. If only he could break out of his shell, he might find his special someone…


Outgoing playboy Aoi has sworn off relationships. He knows they only distract him from his budding voice acting career. He’s earned a few loyal fans, and if he keeps at it, he may even earn enough to never worry about being evicted again…


When Sato meets Aoi at the local anime store, there’s definitely a spark. But even as they tread carefully, their commitment issues and Aoi’s troubled past soon muck things up before they can start. In order for Sato and Aoi to have their happily-ever-after, they’ll both have to take a leap of faith… and hope to be caught.


Would It Be Okay to Love You? is the first book in a gay romance series set in Japan. If you like original characters, nerd culture, and simmering chemistry, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s charming multicultural love story.




Author Bio


Amy Tasukada lives in North Texas with a calico cat called O’Hara. As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. She can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.


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Review: His Pirate (Second Chance #2) by Stephanie Lake

Rhain Morgan is desperate to leave London and move his ailing sister to a climate that will save her life, so he books passage to their Caribbean plantation on the only available ship, captained by Alastair Breckenridge. Rhain fights his attraction to the alluring captain, who looks and acts like a pirate, but the man’s fairness wins Rhain over. The trip that once seemed endless is now too short.

For years, Alastair held people away from his heart, until Rhain. Finally admitting his feelings to himself, he tries to convince Rhain to stay on board, but it’s all in vain.

Despite his own burgeoning feelings for Alastair, Rhain wants to prove himself and refuses to let go of his dream of making a home for his sister and himself on their plantation. But as Alastair’s ship sails away, Rhain is left alone to make the best of disastrous circumstances and overwhelmed by regret, nurses his broken heart.

When all seems lost, could they dare hope for a second chance to set things right and love again?


If I had to describe His Pirate, the second standalone in the Second Chance series by author duo Stephanie Lake briefly: it read like Jack Sparrow porn.


But instead of the pirate chasing light skirts and rum, he was all about the men and pirating. (mainly men)

Not mad at it.

"I'm going to slip another finger into that hot hole of yours. Let your muscles play with them, stroke them, hold them tight."

Not at all.

His Pirate is set in the late Georgian era, orphan Rhain Morgan only has his ailing sister as family. The London air doesn't agree with his frail sister and the longer they live there, the worse it will be for her. Before Rhain's father died, he bought a plantation on the island of Dominica. Rhain sells his meager savings to have enough money to book a trip for his small family.

Sadly, it's late in the sailing season and no one but a dandy pirate, Captain Alastair Breckenridge is the only one around to set sail to the Caribbean. The spark of heat flares from the moment they set eyes on each other. Rhain vows not to dally with men anymore. He plans to find a wife and lie to himself to produce an heir.

But Alastair notices the attraction. And he day dreams about getting the tall and thick Rhain to pound him into next week. (I was wishing for something a little more devious or daring)

Now, the beginning of the story had potential to be an epic read. The reader gets crumbs on the main characters' back story: Alastair has family issues that make him the man he is today, Rhain is brokenhearted. They have some damage but the story tone is light and low angst.

In fact, it could even be described as fanciful and over the top. Historically accurate? Not really. It read modern for the time period. But it definitely is fun.

And the smut is heavy:

"--bent over the captain's table and tried to feel the man's tonsils with his cock by ramming it as far as he could up the man's arse."
For as pirate who has something to prove to his father, it gets pushed aside once Rhain's cock turned out to play. Unfortunately, this pirate lover had her socks knocked off earlier this year by another story and I can't help but compare the light and not really deep to something that had depth and characters that made you think and feel.


His Pirate had good secondary characters in Rhain's sister and Captain Jack Alastair's first mate. There is a cute little side love story going that doesn't over take the main plot. The issue is the main plot didn't go much further than nautical road trip and pirate banging. The guys are day dreaming and lolly gagging when I expected more pirating. Seriously, the penis was constantly on the brain. The characters barely pass the three dimensional mark, they have some back story but it's told rather than shown and sort of info dumped.

The series is titled Second Chance. I read the first book in this standalone series (and I found it slightly stronger). Both books featured second chances. But where as the first book used it as the main conflict, His Pirate really doesn't. The second chance bit was short (after 86%). And I wanted to throttle Rhain for his bonehead move. And since the second chance happens so late in the game, it read rushed and there was not enough grovelling in my opinion. Alastair just rolled over and opened his legs. It also made me question the sincerity of Rhain.

But I'm looking too deep for something that doesn't have much depth. It's a good time, a smutty time, lots of fun.

I'd recommend for readers who'd rather fun light pirating and heavy smut. It's low angst historical that didn't read too plot heavy.

Besides who wouldn't like to read about a bottom happy Jack Sparrow type?


Arrrr!






Guest Review: Saved: An Omegaverse Story (Breaking Free #1) by A.M. Arthur

He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…

Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.

Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”

The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.

NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.


Reviewer: R *A Reader Obsessed*

It’s a cruel cruel world for omega’s in this particular universe, where they’re used and abused to be breeders for alphas to beget more alphas, having very little, if at all, basic human rights.

This is a non-shifter ABO story, and it starts off with Braun being sent to an omega halfway house after his father passes away, as he’s not deemed capable of taking care of himself, let alone have control over his own life. Perhaps fortuitously, Braun witnesses a terrible abuse on one of his fellow omegas which spurs him to escape, fearing that he too, will be up for such a horrible fate. Luckily, he comes across some kind betas who take him in and who happen to be bff’s with Tarek, a constable and rare alpha who’s a strong supporter of omega rights.

Immediately of course, Tarek and Braun realize that they’re potential bond mates, a situation that says they’re pheromone compatible, strongly urging them both to make it official. However, Braun has been brutalized by a cruel alpha father and doesn't trust any alphas, nor wants to be tied to one ever. It doesn't help either that his brother Kell, is mated to a monster whose constant cruelty is accepted with very little backlash. There’s no way in hell Braun is going to just blithely mate with the first alpha that sparks his interest. Tarek definitely has his work cut out for him to show he’s worthy, for it’s going to take a lot more than just pretty words and promises to win Braun over.

As a warning, this contains physical and emotional abuse, attempted rape, non MC rape, and dubious consent (but that’s typically the norm when it comes to most heat cycles). This was also way more than just a romance as it depicts a world where omegas (and betas to a smaller extent) are treated little better than slaves, and there’s some simmering dissent hopefully hinting at some big changes that are on the horizon.

So, in addition to heat cycles, uncontrollable urges with crazy pheromones running amuck, plus KNOTTING, this also had a decent plot regarding Braun and how he becomes empowered to make some much needed change to his life and that of his fellow omegas. This kinda sorta ends on a cliffhanger mostly regarding Braun’s poor abused brother. Be reassured that Braun and Tarek, after going through some tough relationship learning curves, are at a strong point, but the overall arc leaves us hanging. I enjoyed this and am definitely intrigued enough to see how this plays out when the next book arrives!


Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.


Review: Surrendered to the Sea by Dessa Lux

When an omega werewolf cast himself into the sea, he never expected someone would be there to catch him...

Omega Devon Griffith feels like his life is already over; he's failed out of school and it's just a matter of time before his parents arrange a loveless mating for the good of the pack. He wants someone to love him for himself, but it seems like he's missed his chance. When he gives in to a dark impulse and slips into the sea, he thinks that one moment of surrender will be the end...

Sea god Lir has spent years living only in the present, forgetting his own troubled past and never worrying about the future. Then his father issues an ultimatum: Lir needs to prove he can care for someone else, or he'll be banished from the sea forever. Lir doesn't even know where to start, until a werewolf falls into his sea and nearly drowns. This is Lir's chance to show he can be responsible for a mortal. He may not know anything about werewolves, but how hard can it be?

When Devon's heat arrives, Lir quickly discovers that caring for him takes more than just food, water, and shelter... and Devon finally feels like he has a future worth looking forward to. Alone together on Lir's enchanted island with a baby on the way, their love quickly blooms. But Devon can't quite forget his life on land, no matter how hard Lir tries to keep him happy in their hideaway. Can Lir and Devon's love survive beyond their magical island, or will too much reality break the sea's spell?

Surrendered to the Sea is an m/m mpreg romance featuring a lost omega werewolf, a lonely sea god, and a happy ending hot enough to melt icebergs!



Devon Griffith is unhappy and slightly depressed as we meet the young Omega aboard a rented yacht with his family in the middle of the sea. Devon doesn’t want an arranged marriage to some Alpha who his family can profit off of for social and financial status, Devon wants to be taken care of, to love and to be loved equally in return. In a moment of despair, he decides to take fate into his own hands and plunges into the cold sea, offering himself to the dark depths if the moon won’t have him.

Lir is a sea god who has displeased Father North aka his dad. He is told he must learn to respect land-dwellers and have a care for their ways even though is domain over the sea does not reach the land. Father North has given Lir the timeline of one year to make this happen or he will send Lir to live among those he holds with such dismal regard. Lir takes this seriously and when he feels a presence in his domain of the sea, and the offer of giving one’s self to his sea, he rescues the land-dwellers and our story begins.

I really have to clear way of reviewing this without giving the entire story away so I will try to be simple about the review.

I adored this book! I know that Devon keeps referring to Lir as an Alpha and while he is indeed one, he isn’t the growly and rough Alpha’s I am used to with shifters. Lir is kind, supportive, protective and a wonderful caregiver to Devon. He wants nothing but to make Devon comfortable and happy and while the threat from Father North is present in his mind, Devon strikes a chord closer to Lir’s heart and that is where his actions come from.

Since Lir as a sea god is part of the sea, he needs to create land for his werewolf to live upon and Lir takes to this with great creativity and care. There is no way to say this but to put it out there…Lir makes a home for Devon, literally. He calls up on the plastic of the sea to come bind together to form an island which he commands moss to grow upon and it becomes a living organism that continues to grow and change into a floating island that later becomes like a reef of sorts that they build their home on. Yeah, the sea god is recycling plastics that assholes put in the ocean to build a home for Devon which is so stupidly romantic, the hippie and environmentalist in me forgets about the disgusting plastics polluting the oceans because Lir is creating an island for Devon to take care of him. He made him an island, folks. Talk about epic declarations, eh?

Anyway.

We get this story told in both POV’s which is lovely because both Devon and Lir are complicated creatures. It’s nice to see the depth and growth of their character through internal dialogue/actions as well as through the eyes of their mate.

So, Devon and Lir get used to one another and start a new life atop the floating island together and then one day, Devon remembers that he is an Omega and what Omega’s are made to do. Yeah, he kinda forgot that he would be going into heat soon, losing track of the days while being thrust into this new odd existence with a sea god who can take many forms, including one with tentacles (yes I had ideas about those tentacles and the heat – judge away) and explains to Lir what will happen with his heat and how much he will need Lir. All Lir wants to do is take care of Devon and he’s looked up mating on Google so he is ready though Devon starts to feel selfish for taking Lir away from whatever his responsibilities are as a sea god.

I will say this…The heat was hot as it always is with the need to fuck, self-lubricating holes made for fucking and a sea god who happens to KNOT during sex. Don’t ask about the knotting, just marinate in it and like it. Mmm Kay? Mmm Kay.

As the time passes during and after the heat, Lir and Devon start to develop feelings beyond what either thought they were made for and it was truly charming to read. I had no idea where a book with a sea god and a werewolf would lead but both of these men were lonely, depressed and yearning for love. They found it in one another but when the heat is successful and Devon laments the loss of his pack; Lir goes beyond what he should to make his mate happy.

There is a bit of angst in this story that made me sadder than I expected to. I adore Lir so much with all he does for Devon. He loves his land-dweller so much that he broke my heart when the angst appeared. How can you not love a sea god who wants to call Devon by an endearment and chooses to call him “Sunlight” because Lir is from the cold, dark depths of the sea? *sigh* I just love him but Lir has issues and he doesn’t remember the reason behind his father’s ultimatum and it’s not until a storm brews between Lir and Devon, that Devon learns the truth from Lir’s brother Mar.

Goodness, but this book packs in some sneaky emotions I wasn’t expecting. It is full of hurt/comfort so much that I feel like I need a tentacle hug from Lir and I don’t do hugs. It was so emotional and the angst made me cry. When Lir remembers the why of Father North’s ultimatum, it’s so freaking sad but he loves his Devon and will do whatever he has to do right his wrong.

Wow. Did I say anything of substance about this book? I am just floating along on this happy cloud having finished it. It’s not your traditional shifter romance as it borderlines a fairy tale with a few moments you just need to accept even though they are a tad outrageous like the laptop and phone, because it was so damn sweet.

That epilogue was adorable and the bit with Zoey made me giggle. I do wonder if they author has plans to make this a series because there seems to be something with Harry and Mar that I would love to see explored.


Review: Something Like Stories (Volume 2) by Jay Bell

The Something Like… series is drawing to a close! Before it ends, reunite with favorite characters and meet others for the first time in this special collection of fourteen stories. Highlights include Something Like Champagne, in which Marcello searches for the truth behind a drunken vision. In Something Like Bunnies, a young Jace Holden struggles with his first crush. Ben and Tim return in Something Like Memories as they debate when exactly they should celebrate their anniversary, and Jason finally makes an important decision about his future with William in Something Like Sun. Joyful reunions and tearful goodbyes await you, as do many affirmations of love, in this second volume of short stories.


I don't know where to start. I really, really don't. This is all going to come out in a jumble so I ask your forgiveness in advance.... please and thank you!

Okay. Firstly, this has been on my to-review pile for a while and I feel I should apologise to Jay Bell, and I would, but *I'm not speaking to him at the moment, or possibly ever again because MY HEART HURTS TOO MUCH. AGAIN. I'm not a fan of short stories and I think that's why I've put off reading it (yep, that's what we'll say, it's not because I'm a wimp). I personally think short stories are hard to get right and often find that authors who do fab novels don't hit the right spot for me short story-wise. Of course, this is Jay Bell, so I should have known better. I would tell him, but see above.*

Secondly, Jay's writing is amazing but oft times bloomin' harrowing. I've still not finished SL Autumn because I just can't. I did think that short stories wcouldn't be that bad and I was completely right... until I was wrong. A cat, Jay Bell. A freaking cat. You git.

Thirdly, I never know how to review anthology/short story compilations. Do I write a review for each story? Pick a few to concentrate on? Or just give a summary of the whole?

I know, right! Choices. Decisions.

I've decided to go for the summary option because frankly all you need to know is that every story in this book was a 4 or 5 heart read. Mostly 5 but I can't be too generous now, can I? There is something for everyone in here. Something Like fans - don't put off reading this (I'm surely not the only one who did?), it's such a fantastic way to read about the interim parts of various characters. 

As I was going to sleep last night I had a really clever (snorts) analogy worked out to describe the way these stories fill in the gaps of the books but fuck if I can remember what it was beyond it involving water...So in a non-clever way I'll say, these little insights to the characters lives that happen between the stories, or off page, or from another perspective are amazing. Each one can change how you view a story or character - let's face it, this is what Jay Bell does best. Everyone should read these books, even if it's just to gain understanding of the complexities of people and how to learn about people's actions/motives/perceptions/perspectives. 

Seriously, we know from the novels how cleverly this is shown, how we can 'hate' a character in one book and love him in the next, even set in the same timeline and events. These stories just add the decorations on top of the icing on the cake. They're the hundreds and thousands on top of the cherry. 

Each story is different though. Some are funny, some sad, some a little off the wall - but what they all have in common is fantastic writing and a need to read on, read more, gain that extra bit of understanding. The Something Like world is our world. It's the people we do and do not know. It's just brilliant.

My personal favourite is the last one (even though it's the reason I'm *no longer talking to the author). How anyone can write like that, from that perspective and still be so real and so loving and heartbreaking I don't know. The only other author I can think of who managed it is Michael Morpurgo. It's a talent and if someone explained the story I'd have been all 'nah, you're good mate, I'm not reading that, totally not my cuppa tea.' But they didn't and I did read it and I am so glad, and sad, and happy, and confused that I did.

So I say to you, dear reader, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read this book. 


*NB: just for the record, I am really still talking to Jay Bell. Mostly.


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


Giveaway + Blog Tour: Bad Boy's Bard by E.J. Russell


E.J. Russell is here today talking genealogy within her Fae Out of Water series. Bad Boy’s Bard is the latest installment & the grand prize of a $50 Riptide credit is still up for grabs, so be sure to leave a comment below to be entered to win. Good luck!



In the Fae Out of Water series, Gareth is tagged as the last true bard in Faerie—so that begs the question: if he’s the last one, how did he learn his craft? In The Druid Next Door, Mal confesses to Bryce that he outed Gareth as a bard when he discovered him healing his own hand with song. That resulted in Gareth being snapped up by Arawn, the ruler of Annwn, the Welsh otherworld (where, in my story world, the Kendrick brothers lived until Arawn departed, making Annwn inaccessible).

Gareth’s teacher was Gwydion, one of the sons of the goddess Dôn. Gwydion was a powerful magician as well as a bard, but his code of ethics was more than a little…shall we say…flexible? The story of how he caused a completely spurious war—which resulted in massive casualties on both sides, as well as the death of Pryderi, king of Dyved, at Gwydion’s own hand—to enable his brother to rape their uncle Math’s virginal attendant, is told in the fourth branch of the Mabinogion, tales from the oral traditions of pre-Christian (probably pre-Roman) Britain that were written down in the 12th or 13th centuries.

Here’s a partial tree of Gwydion’s happy little family:


In addition to the tale of Gwydion’s warmongering/procuring, the fourth branch also tells of his devotion to his nephew, Lleu Llaw Gyffes—in fact, he treats him like a son. In some interpretations of the Mabinogion, Gwydion is framed as the biological father of both of Arianrhod’s sons. I don’t claim to be a historian or a scholar of such things, but I’ve always had my suspicions about that. Now granted, incest was kind of a thing among ancient pantheons in a number of cultures, but one of the earliest translations of the Mabinogion doesn’t actually name Arianrhod’s partners. She gave more or less instant birth, thanks to Math’s magic wand, but Gwydion himself suggested her as an appropriate candidate for the post of Math’s foot virgin (don’t ask). Presumably, if he knew better, he wouldn’t have broached the subject.

Personally (and again—not the expert here, but it’s at least a possibility), I think Gwydion took responsibility for one of his magically born nephews because the northern kingdom (Gwynedd) was matrilineal at the time. Gwydion himself acted as his uncle’s heir, more or less. He’s referred to as Gwydion ap Dôn—no mention of his father. Arianrhod’s amorous adventures were her own business—until she tried to apply for a position for which she lacked the primary qualification.

Govannan, Gwydion’s brother, plays a pivotal role in Bad Boy’s Bard, but when it comes to finding references to him in the Mabinogion—or anywhere else for that matter—he doesn’t get much love. We know he was a smith, and that he threw a spear that killed his nephew Dylan (Arianrhod’s other magically induced son), but that’s about it.

From a reader’s perspective—and I devoured Evangeline Walton’s retelling of the Mabinogion back in the mid-seventies—this is terribly frustrating. From an author’s perspective, however, it’s a golden opportunity. In the absence of any contradictory information, we’re free to make up stuff! So in my story world, Govannan is still atoning for killing Dylan and Gwydion, the self-centered jerk, hasn’t learned compassion for anyone outside his younger brother and his nephew.

Gee, they sound like a couple of other Welsh brothers I know…


About Bad Boy’s Bard


As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.

Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.

Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/bad-boys-bard


About the Fae Out of Water Series


Once upon a time, there were three brothers, nobles of the Seelie Court of Faerie, who set out to seek their fortunes. The eldest—

Scratch that. Rrrrrewind.

Nowadays, when tales are told in 140 character bursts on tiny LED screens, rather than spun out by the glow of a midnight campfire, even Faerie’s elite have to get with the program.

The Kendrick brothers have traded longbow for briefcase, battle steed for Harley, and enchanted harp for electric guitar.  But while they’re finding their feet in the modern world, instead of finding their fortunes, they stumble straight into love.

#faeoutofwater



About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:
Website: ejrussell.com




To celebrate the release of all three books in the Fae Out of Water series, one lucky winner across all three tours will receive a GRAND PRIZE of a $50 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 23, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the Bad Boy’s Bard tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!