SheReadsALot...seriously.

she's just a girl who loves books.

Consider me impressed... again!

The Poison Within: An Order Universe Short Story (Inspector Skaer Book 1) - Kasia Bacon
FOUR HEARTS--And once again, I'm impressed with this author's writes.



Two for two, both short stories that left me wanting more but enjoyed the hell at what was given.

Set in the Order universe, a fantasy based world with supernatural beings and humans coincide, The Poison Withinis another creation from the author where the characters took a mind of their own.

And I'm not mad at it.

In fact, I need to send a bottle of bubbly to those blokes for getting their stories, or should say, start of their stories out for public consumption.

Clandestine human lovers of two years, low born Inspector Käyru Skaer has been meeting whenever he can with his lover, Count Ellydhar Finn-Jánn. Käyru worries that his lower class status will call an end to this love affair with his "Elly". He knows one of these days Elly will wise up and leave him, even if it would crush his heart. He'd let his lover go. He tries to hide his feelings and takes all that he can get. Did I mention there is a noted size difference? And D/s undertones? Someone has a penchant for writing hints of D/s.

*stares*

The world they live in is xenophobic, some humans regard non-humans are lesser. Political warfare and unjust treatment runs rampant. Case in fact, nymphs are living on Elly's land due to being ousted by a power hungry, racist power that fuels on scaring the masses (sounds familiar?) Käyru is called on duty from his lover's thighs to a solve a multiple murder. And it gets a little graphic when described which I liked.

The suspense is very quick. Justice is met swiftly--hooray! And we're introduced to a new being, cousin to the vampire, the Furia. What they can do is cool! (And if this character shows up in future works, I'll have excite)

I can go either way with established couples. This couple wasn't boring in the least. The story is told from the Inspector's POV, so the reader has to rely on his feelings for Elly to get a sense of their relationship.


I craved his proximity to a degree that would've been mortifying if I hadn't long stopped caring about hiding my want for him.


I thought the author succeeded on that front. There was even snatches of snark. I don't want to include my fave snippet as it'd give away a key part to the action/suspense bit.

Now my nitpick: despite the story being short, there were two instances where the scene ended weird. Like there was either something more to be said or done or shown. Both instances are when Inspector Skaer leaves Elly. The last time, after such a pivotal moment, seemed off. The love of his life just survived, and he leaves quietly? It's a minor nitpick and most likely a me thing. The inspector has a bit of an issue with his self confidence with his lover... so it could just be his way,

This is the start of a serial, by the way. The story ends with: to be continued . After 'the end', has there ever been more cursed words?

The writing is sharp. The sense of setting is just right. The story has a way of pulling the reader in. This story has a little bit of a lot of things I enjoy reading: hint of kink, strong main characters, interesting worldbuilding, cool concepts and a hint of dark. (I wonder how dark this author could get, hm?)

A suggestion as this world and the beings seem to be intricate; a glossary of the types of beings wouldn't hurt. Especially if there are going to be more detours from the main event.

I've fold my napkin.

I'm holding my utensils.

I'm waiting super patiently.



So patiently.

Consider me there once the novel drops, which I hope is soon. Or maybe I'll need to chat with the characters a bit, ask them to plague the author.

The Order universe has facets. I'm curious to read them all. And looks like I'm victim of another serial. ;D

Recommended.

Age gap yum yum!

At Attention - Annabeth Albert
  • A Group Unicorn Review with Adam and Cupcake



    FOUR HEARTS--I've seen this author's work, perused the blurbs and I didn't bite.

    But this blurb was the prettiest show pony with SRAL approved buzz words and themes:


    widower still grieving after partner's passing (bring on the pain)
    widower has kidlets AND needs a manny
    manny is the widower's best friend's little brother
    best friend's brother has had a crush on widower since his teens
    AGE GAP
    NAVY SEAL


    RING A DING DING!!! GUESS WHO IS COMING HOME WITH ME?



    Of course, I lassoed the hell out of this book and gobbled all the words.

    Being as it's my first Annabeth Albert read, I'm not sure how it rates on the Annabeth Albert scale. If this was very on her A-game or there's better? *shrugs*

    I was entertained and had a great time reading At Attention.

    23 year-old Dylan gets a chance of his lifetime when his unrequited crush hires and moves him in his San Diego home for the summer. Dylan's crush, 34 year old Apollo needs a nanny to take care of his adorable 4 year old twins whole Apollo works on a naval base. This book can be read as a standalone, I wasn't lost. And I'm curious about the previous and future pairings.

    Dylan tries to tamp down his lusty feelings as Apollo works through his grief. Two years has passed but there is no time limit on grieving. And Apollo is a grumpy, more reserved bundle of emotions. He would take time to start to contemplate having feelings for another man. Luckily, Apollo's libido isn't broken. And try as he might, he can't deny the easiness he has with Dylan. The camaraderie and sharing his daily worries of being a single parent added more base to their friendship foundation formed with Dylan was just a teen.

    The story is a good mix of nerdy, adorable, (lightly) angsty, sexy and sweet. Dylan can't stop his feelings from blooming once again. Apollo sees his friend's kid brother in a new light, an adult. They try going the friendship route on equal terms, but their bodies won't be denied.

    The sex in this book?




    The sex was...hot. If I had to give it a flavor, it's hot vanilla custard. Sweet, varied and with a hint of spice. (highlights: intercrural (yay!), frottage, light domination/ control a smidge of exhibition) There is mirror sex but, it could've been hotter in my opinion. I might have been spoiled by a hotter mirror scene in another NA series I've read.

    The grieving and the time given for Apollo to work through his process was more important factor for me. Apollo plays hot and cold. The ghost of his lover is one he surrounds himself with daily and it's hard to break through. Dylan makes him crack through the shell. Plus, he's possessive and doesn't want any other guy getting Dylan's time. He wants it all to his self. That was bonus characteristics that I enjoy. The possessiveness and the control in the bedroom (of course).

    The best bonus of all? Dylan wasn't a pushover. And he spoke his mind even if might hurt, be it himself or Apollo. I'm #teamDylan all day!

    This story was really good. Not Earth shattering, or extremely memorable. For all themes it had going on, it worked. The writing is easy to read, all of the characters are likeable. All of them from kids to grandmas. I really liked how it ended, well maybe before the fluffed ending. It was added sugar I could have done without. But HEA lovers will totes lurve it.

    This couple totally worked for me and I see them having a long loving future ahead of them.

    Recommended for readers who enjoy contemporary, like the tropes I listed and wallow in second chance romance.

    Come join me as I ride my pretty pony into the sunset.



    #NoRegrets #teamDylan

    A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.

Gimme gimme that cracky fluff... aaahh!

Tall, Dark, and Deported (Dreamspun Desires) - Bru Baker

A tag team review with Sara

4.5 HEARTS--
And now I have another book to add to my top favorites Dreamspun Desires list!

I've been fluffed. Pour it all over my face, baby. Just watch me melt.



Mateus is a Portuguese botanist who is staying with his brother and pregnant sister-in-law on their orchard in Washington state. Mateus is helping with his family's failing orchard and wants to stay in America. Unfortunately, he has an expiring tourist visa and searched online for a scheme to stay in the country: go to Canada, get his visa stamped and reset and return to America for another 3 months. Sounds too good to be true?

It's because it is.

Luckily, older stoic boutique hotel auditor/ businessman Crawford is being forced to Canada for work. His boss is sending him to the chain's failing Vancouver hotel for the next two weeks... along with Crawford's ex-husband. The bitter divorce happened three years ago and he's still jaded from his cheating ex. He doesn't believe love exists.

Thanks to a plane delay in Seattle, love weary Crawford meets Mateus and the connection is imminent. They strike up a conversation and are just vibing off each other over Auntie Anne's pretzel nuggets out of all things. The delay becomes a cancelled flight and the new acquaintances are thrown together through a series of events. And events get crazier as an impromptu drive to the Canadian border becomes Mateus not being able to cross either side of the border.

Ring a ling ling, did someone call a knight in shining armor?

Crawford obviously heard the call and he rescues Mateus.

Older, jaded hero meets younger loyal family man who just wants to stay and help the orchard...

And then a fake marriage trope is added to help save the day.

Those tropes were a cracky fluff jackpot and I... ate... it... up!



Bru Baker wrote fleshed out main characters in Crawford and Mateus. She built a solid foundation by showcasing a glimpse of their daily lives. Crawford is a point where he's not exactly happy, his only family connection a brother and nephew he helped raise are going to move away. So there is nothing really holding him in Los Angeles. And Mateus wants to leave Portugal to help out with his only sibling's growing family. All the characters read like real people.

The cracky fluff button was engaged once the fake marriage to get a visa to stay in the USA came up. But reading how Crawford is, it worked. The two get married and thankfully the author showed the real side of marrying an immigrant...it's not as easy as they originally thought. The couple stays in Canada for two weeks due to Crawford's job. And we even get to experience his ex-husband, a good antagonist that didn't overtake the plot with obscene dramatics.

The bread and butter of the story is the undeniable, easy connection Crawford and Mateus have. The attraction is there and it's a slow burn. Crawford being a knight in shining armor tries to be noble and a gentleman. His heart is iced in the middle... good thing Mateus knows to make him melt.

There is only one sexy moment throughout the entire story. But the sexual tension was written strongly and was well paced. I lived for each kiss. Were there times that I wanted to knock Crawford in the back of the head? Yep... he's a stubborn one. And has bad Tim Hortons judgement. (I'm still trying not to hold it against him) Other than that, he's a dream guy, as is Mateus.

The story is split between Vancouver and Washington. And even when apart, they're still connected. And when the sexual tension finally comes to a melting point. Let's just say it was a swoon worthy moment.

And the last 5% of the story?

So damn romantic, I want to get drunk off the cracky fluff. *swoons* *gulps*




Recommended for fans of the Dreamspun Desires line, this is definitely not one to skip. Crawford and Mateus as a couple left a lasting impression from the Dreamspun Desires leading men I've read so far.

Not my first time reading this author, but I enjoy the way she writes her characters a lot. And if you're a fan of any of the tropes I mentioned, get ready for quality cracky fluff.

What a sweet treat!



A copy provided for an honest review.

Stalkery alpha-type... why, yes, I do enjoy reading about those types.

Jumping In - Cardeno C.

3.5 HEARTS--Officer Clint Rivera is having a very, very bad day.




So bad it feels like the universe is against him. Why?

He's being kicked out his apartment, his closeted ex-lover--who he wasted many months on--is suddenly getting married after two weeks of leaving Clint. And this cheating douchcanoe had the audacity to send Clint an invitation to his engagement. After internally raging, he returns to his soon-to-be ex-home to find it destroyed by his lovely dogs.  This would drive a man to drink an ice cold stiff one, but he's out of that too after a clumsy catastrophe that caused all his bottles of beers to break.

He'd had enough. Life keeps taking the piss, so he figures his ex owes him all the alcohol after the last couple of shitty hours he's had.





Enter hunky deputy mayor of Clint's small New Mexico town, Hawk. The 6' 6" blue eyed man seems to always be underfoot whenever Clint least expects it. If only he could get over his crush on the hunky, boner inducing man. The best he can manage around Hawk is be adorably tongued tied. Besides, Clint's pretty sure Hawk's straight. Especially with his luck, the best he could do is keep Hawk in his spank bank.

Enter a boozy night where he's rescued by a patient, possessive stalker of a knight in shining armor: Hawk!

Hawk has changed his entire life waiting for his man to be free of that douchecanoe. And he swoops in just like a Cardeno C. possessive hero can do.

We're talking hot dirty talking, sweet courting and possessive insta-love.

And hot sex all over the place once Hawk gets his hands on his man. *coughs* *hint* An appliance might need to take a pregnancy test after a really rocking time.

I'm still fairly new to this author. Cardeno's contemporary seems to do it for me. I wanted possessive alpha that is intense in getting their man. It's exactly what was delivered. It's short enough not to bore and read in between novels.

Some of it was super quick. I mean the coupling lasted for a weekend before we're plopped into a HEA. Something tells me they're going to stick together forever and ever.

And if Clint ever gets second thoughts... well Hawk is just going to have to show him what his amazing tongue and "eight and half inches" can really do.

Newsflash: A fucking lot.





And I'm not mad at it.

Recommended for smutsters who want to read something possessive, hot and sweet all at the same time. 

You know, when you're in a mood. ;D



A copy provided for an honest review.

NSFW-ish review of a funny erotica...menage?

From Top to Bottom - Kevin Klehr

THREE HEARTS--

Before Reading:

 

 

 

1 room, 3 tops and someone will be ENTERED

 

 

After Reading: It's all about the C's. Cum , Cocks and...Cakes?!

 

"You brought cake," I said. I tried not to let the look of horror show on my face.

"For afterward," Butch replied. "I baked it myself. Is there room in the fridge?"

Hadn't this guy heard of the definition of "eternity"? The time between you cum and they leave. Who ever heard of cake after sex?

 

Actual cakes.

 

 

 

Not an ass euphemism. Don't look at me like that, we both know you went there. ;) It's an erotica short, it's to be expected.

 

"But you're not thinking of topping him--you want him in your secret chamber."

"Secret chamber?"

"Man cave. Boy pussy. Man-gina. Lurve canal."

 

From Top to Bottom by Kevin Klehr was not what I expected it to be based on the blurb. I thought it was just going to be 3 cherries served on a platter. However it happened in this PWP, it was just going to happen.

 

 

Not so, totally not so.

 

Told from 1st POV in a British setting possibly(?), Tony is thirty, very close to his father (like they discuss their sex lives--his dad was actually my fave character--get to that later). Tony loves sex and isn't very discriminate. Plus, he's a bonafide top.

 

He gets told by a bottom, "it's just another way to feel cock". And Tony has a revelation. Why not try bottoming? So he places an ad online, "top curious about being a bottom, wants to meet likeminded tops." Two like-minded blokes respond: Butch, cake baking bear with a philosophical look on life and Ford, a top who has a boyfriend and just wants to get down to fucking.

 

I was in accord with Ford. Butch and Tony were very poetic, and the prose had a tendency to get purple-y.

 

I won't say who first pops their road to "nirvana", but the story gets straight down to sex.

 

 

*growls*

 

While erotic, it also was quirky. There were so many slang for ass. Soooooooooo many. Some good, some weird as fuck like "chew my gremlin". I have to save that in my all time quotes. Some I haven't even heard before. And this is coming from a Dallas Sketchman fangirl (RIP).

 

Who wouldn't laugh at:

 

"My gremlin feels satisfied"

 

or

 

"My gremlin is hungry. My gremlin's been watching soap opera and wants to feel the leading man."

 

The leading man, of course being:

 

 

 

 

While chewing over the gremlin ass talk, the author ups the ante with a spoken word session on the joys of gay sex. And it's hosted at an honest to goodness orgy.

 

Here I am thinking it's just going to be quick one and done type of deal. But no ma'am, Tony and Butch pound their way through the flesh "playground". The sex was described in a joyous, ritualistic tone, where it was an ode more than erotic.

 

For the smutsters: rimming, felching, snowballing, double penetration was had. (pssst...someone fibbed about being a backdoor virgin)

 

The story was different. And while weird euphemisms get thrown in the mix, Tony's dad added more hilariousness. He's very upfront. Tony explores the pleasures of being topped.

 

As does his dad.

 

 

 

 

 

His dad goes into detail how much he shot after discovering his G-spot. Truthfully, my favorite scenes included Tony's dad from getting a colonic, to his pegging joy. I was fully there for Dad, despite the weirdness.

 

There was a message with this erotica. I think I know what the author was going for and I enjoyed that. The story was memorable more to me for the odd words and descriptions, not so much for the erotic bit. Which is the point of PWP for me.

 

 

The story ends at an odd place. Two of the original three tops form a friendship. A crush isn't returned. I wouldn't say it was faptastic. Weird and poetic mainly.

 

But hey at least there was cake?

 

 

 

Am I right?

 



A copy provided for an honest review.

 

 

 

Hot sci-fi erotica... oh how I enjoy F.I.S.T.S.

Murphy (F.I.S.T.S. Book 2) - Bey Deckard, Starr Waddell
A Double Tag Team Review with Ann!

4 HEARTS
--

"Well, well, well... What the fuck's got you so damn worked up, son?" he says, and flicks the head of my cock hard; I wince but manage not to make a sound. "Have you been a bad boy and touched something that doesn't belong to you? And don't you goddamn lie to me."

Excuse me as I melt. Murphy and Sarge could have melted my e-reader.







Established couples aren't my go to. I think it might be why I didn't rush to read this book. Because Murphy and Sarge's initial scenes are that special.

But I am so happy I finally got to it. This time around I listened on audiobook and read along to the second book in the F.I.S.T.S. series. It's months later after that last battle scene in Sarge. Murphy and his Sarge both go through some changes, moving up the ranks, more erotic D/s scenes.

Murphy and Sarge already had a connection, this book was a deeper exploration of their bond. It was hot. There were a tender moment here and there. But overall, the two are made for each other.

And did I mention hot?

"Will you look at the mess you've made of yourself? How long's your cock been drooling all over you?"
"All day, Sarge. Like you wanted."


Because it continued the scorch from book #1.

Someone is possessive and demanding. I'm all about that. And in between the molten D/s times, there was a little suspense added. The men are sent to a swampy alien world and everything is not how it seems. Murphy's synesthesia comes back into play in this story. I thought it added a nice touch.

A little action, a lot sexy and an easy read. The series left on a note with a possible revolution, or possible attack on the leaders? There's room for more in the series should the author pursue but the couple is definitely solid. I liked the narration in Murphy more. I agree with Ann, if you go the audiobook route, listen to them back to back. It helps and I finished it with a smile. So maybe the narrator is growing on me. His Sarge voice was still consistent, gruff and growly.

I definitely recommend this series if sci-fi erotica is your type of read.




A copy provided for an honest review.

Sometimes easy breezy and sweet is all you need.

Rainbow Sprinkles - Anna  Martin
3.5 HEARTS--In the mood for something cute, light, easy and breezy? Anna Martin's Rainbow Sprinkles fits that description to a T.




Set in California, Cooper Reed is perfectly content working two jobs, one as a bartender, the other as worker/ ice cream creator at the Dreamery Creamery. He makes enough to get by and he also gets to fawn over his weekly customer with questionable ice cream tastes, Drew. Drew will combine some crazy flavors but never, ever forgets the rainbow sprinkles.

Is it a little pathetic that Mr. Rainbow Sprinkles has been delegated to wank fodder? Maybe, but Cooper's happy to keep his man of his dreams as just that in his dreams. Until one day, Drew shows a little interest.

Then dream man becomes real man. *smile*

Drew is a real live Disney prince! Okay, okay, he acts as one in nearby Disneyland. And he shows behind the Disney scenes in this book. I enjoyed the glimpses. Drew's sweetness and romantic side draws the more sarcastic Cooper in.



Both men are in mid twenties and they read their age. They fall for one another kind of quickly, kind of not, since they shared the employee/customer relationship for sometime prior to the start of the book. And like some twenty-somethings, they don't have it all figured out as of yet. The story has zero angst. We get meet cute into budding relationship into first fights and learning that when it matters, you have to communicate.

The boys drag their feet into resolving the internal conflict. That part kinda pissed me off a little. We go from one of them sending texts over and over on a daily basis (loved that) to just dropping off the face of the Earth when the going got a little tough.

I hope they work on it. I think they could.

The side characters are great and compliment Cooper and Drew. Their BFF's are cute and I was super happy with their development as well at the end.

It's my first foray into Dreamspinner Press' States of Love collection. I'd definitely return. The setting read authentic - down to the temperature, the traffic, the laid-backness. I never been to Cali but I imagine it to be something like this from what I've seen through media. There were tiny spots when the dialogue read British here and there if I had to nitpick.

I think this would work best for Anna Martin fans who like the quieter romance, fans of light, no angst reads and of course, Disney-stans.






Overall, pretty sweet.



A copy provided for an honest review.

When you just want to lik-- SQUIRREL!

King of the Sea - Nathan Bay, Daryl Banner
2.5 HEARTS--New author Nathan Bay's novella, King of the Sea, is a story with a lot of elements. Set in San Francisco, 28 year-old Carlos Santiago has survived. His testicular cancer is in remission. But his body wears the scars from the battle. He has a single testicle. The scars from the surgery is wreaking havoc on his body including his pleasure for sex. His older lover, obstetrician Tyson, has been distant and not helpful during his recovery. And he finally has had enough. On their one year anniversary, Carlos made a decision to leave his lover. Saying a final goodbye to the lavish lifestyle Dr. Tyson afforded him, Carlos goes to a rocky ridge by the sea that night. High on Oxycodone, he plans what he'll do in his future and what he will tell Tyson but he sees a hand in the water to greet him.

Was he hallucinating? He leans further to inspect and falls in.

He's saved by Ross, the iPad watching merman with healing capabilities. After the first chapter the story suffers from first-book-itis: too many ideas, not executed to the best ability aka SQUIRREL!



So much SQUIRREL! that I don't know why half of the things happened in this story. But it did.


The merman with no actual name calls himself Ross from his favorite Friends TV character. How he came to be able to watch an iPad and keep it charged is answered. But the story goes to wonky really quick as it progresses. Carlos and Ross share an intimate encounter. Carlos is energized to end things but then he goes to his home and sneaks into his lover's locked guest house on their estate. There he meets an even weirder secret.

It went to a weird experiment suspense yet very hokey twist.

Carlos meets a prisoner who doesn't want to be saved. Then proceeds to go to Folsom Street to have a little public sex in a seedy leather bar to declare he's back on the market.



Why did the spot of BDSM get added in when it was unnecessary? *shrugs*

There was a sexy dick contest and a sex sling but the moment is aborted because of telepathy. Then we have a suicide attempt that becomes accidental. Royalty that should have been introduced from the first introduction. A mystery that wasn't as interesting because of drugging and any interesting action happening off page. It was a lot.

This book needed a better edit, especially content wise. There were too many ideas to get a grasp. I think it if was simpler, let the hint of romance develop a little more solidly with just interactions primarily between Ross and Carlos, since it ends with a romantic-ish finish, the story would have made a better impact for me.

It was SQUIRRELLY to the point where you could read each point the author had a new idea to throw in. Some really cool ideas (genetically enhanced mermen, global warming and its effects) that in swirled in with throwaway ideas (suspense, self sacrificing MC, BDSM scenes, drug abuse). It wasn't added in smooth enough, which made for a lackluster, disjointed read.
 


The blurb states it was dark, I don't think it was. It was more corny than anything. The jokes were flat. The mystery could have been more interesting but SQUIRREL! The unanswered questions kind of bothered me such as if Ross is super important yadda yadda...why let him roam free in the sea unchecked? *shrugs* Diagnosis: first-book-itis

Having a cancer survivor who seemed to be on the search on finding himself in life was a good concept. He finally was starting to realize what he wanted in life. The SQUIRREL just got in the way. I kinda wished the vibe from the first chapter continued, it was more serious, more focused.

So in closing...

SQUIRREL!




A copy provided for an honest review.

Fantasy lovers, this is one to read! O_O

The Mutt: An Order Series Short Story - Kasia Bacon

4.5 HEARTS--


I wanted his attention, but he refused to give it to me.
So I had to find a way to claim it.


This story... listen, this story? It's phenomenal. And for just 41 pages, it packs a wallop into a fantasy world I want to be a part of.





The Mutt by new author Kasia Bacon is a prequel of sorts set in the Order universe, a fantasy based world with a contemporary feel. The author begins with a note stating the characters would not let up until she told their beginning. I personally want to thank Lochan and Ervyn. And I also want to let them know, I hope they nag the author (I mean it in the sweetest way possible) because this a winning concept and the novel needs to be out like yesterday.

Highland Dark elf, Ervyn, sees his man at training camp and wants his eyes on him. His man, Lochan, half human/half elf aka mutt, doesn't know it yet but he's been claimed. The aloof, talented assassin in training doesn't notice anyone and it perplexes and frustrates Ervyn. Nothing gets the blue eyed half breed's attention. Ervyn is set to be an archer once training camp is completed. It's a family tradition. Watching Lochan tests what he wants, Lochan's skills are some of the best seen. And he just wants to bask in his greatness.

And kiss him too.


"There was a fair amount of feral in that grin. I longed to be the one to tame the predator in him."



Fantasy fans this is going to be a winner. The world building, the taste that the author introduces is layered. There is even a language! And if you love reading sexual tension as much as I do, this story is filled with it. That even a mere kiss blew my top.

Plus the elves are reminiscent of Prince Nuada from Hellboy, who I have a major nerd boner for. So anything remotely written like the (misunderstood) bad guy with dark elves, emotionally stunted communication, baggage, sword and killing skills...I am ALL over it.





My one complaint is probably going to be it should have been longer. But that's the greed talking.

The author states this is a beginning and it reads just like that. We know the two men (late teens at this point, the cusp of adulthood) will have a deeper story as they hint at the future from the beginning. The story while filled with sexual tension, doesn't have an overabundance of sex. This works highly because it made me want to know more and appreciate every second either two interacted.


"What are you doing?" he breathed.
"I want to kiss you. If you want that too, you'll say, "Please, Ervyn."
[...]
"Please, Ervyn," he said in a guttural voice.


Have I mentioned there is a hint of future D/s? Someone's possessive. I'm all about it.

I haven't been as impressed with a short story in sometime.  If the author continues with the rich writing, she'll have a fan in me. I'm kind of in love with this couple already.





Highly recommended especially for fans of fantasy, elves, assassins and cool concepts.



A copy provided for an honest review.

*sigh* I wanted to like this.

Fair Catch - Leigh Carman
1.5 HEARTS--Told in dual first person POV, Fair Catch is a new adult romance (I use that term in the loosest of terms) between 22 year old yoga instructor, parkour enthusiast, genius techie and millionaire 5' 6" Tobias "Toby" Bennett and 25 year old Superbowl winning, best NFL wide receiver in the league, 6' 6" alpha male Sullivan "Van" Archer.

That's a lot of hats these main characters wear. Usually when I read a story that give their MC holds many titles, it's used as the depth and characteristics that story lacks.

So is the case with Fair Catch. It was the equivalent of reading about paper thin types play acting a romance. I'm not a fan of those.





Also this story doesn't have trigger warnings, so let me get those out the way: domestic abuse, gay bashing, attempted rape and domestic violence.

The story starts out roughly, Toby (the smaller, beautiful owner of crystalline eyes) is herded into an office but a club owner (best friend of Van) for closeted Van Archer's pick of ass for the night. Toby was celibate and allegedly wary of others since his last relationship, one with a controlling abusive older, larger lawyer. So what does young Toby do when grabbed and told to go into the room? Why he drops to his knees and hooks up with the intimidating stranger's friend. Makes sense.

This monumental hookup is mentioned in the blurb, however, there is no description of this life changing scene, just exaltation of why the MC is so beautiful and smaller, there's a foot difference in height, don't you know?
The story jumps around to Van winning the Superbowl but getting an owwie. Then we jump to a yoga class with Toby as the teach. And it continues to jump all around to make for a bumpy transitions, declarations of not doing an action and then doing it either before or a few paragraphs down the line. The disjointed brand of story telling continues throughout. And the thing is, though weeks and months pass, the main characters basically spend a handful of days together, with no meaningful events written and shown to the reader.

Oh, there is sex. Repetitive sex that I could write the script for you: big hulking guy manhandles the little guy, calls him "beautiful" two finger probe into the "little hole", condom, lube, insert dick, thrust, "mine", cums and falls on top. Rinse and repeat.

Fair Catch was swimming around the 2.5 mark until the repeated attempted rapes plot line. Actually it's right around when the unnecessary villain/ex-boyfriend with the extremely weak blackmail twist was thrown in. After that, the story went onto an over the top tangent with a lot of bruises, tears, possessive behavior and and stereotypes.

The best things about the novel is the concept and the readability. It's very simple to read and you can quickly zip through.

The negatives outweigh the positives however.





The writing style - Too telling, contradictory and relies on stereotypical characters to make the story "interesting" and for added drama. The telling is so heavy, an example is that a character would need to look in the mirror to tell the reader they were horny and describe to you, instead of just writing it and letting the reader figure it out on their own. To say the book needed a through edit, content wise, is not wrong. There are too many examples of this writing style where it fails to showcase the character. More descriptive and time were spent on the superficial things rather than letting the character have a hint of depth. And key scenes that could have actually used a thorough description were ignored.

All of the character could instantly know what the other characters were thinking, been through, etc. Maybe clairvoyant is an unofficial hat to add to the list of jobs they all have.

The stereotypes - I really was not a fan of the way Leo, Toby's best friend was written. He was nothing more that a loud color wearing, cock hound who went into hysterics at a drop of a hat.

The abuse/domestic violence - I am always on the side of an abuse victim. However they react is their right. This book minimizes abuse (also again the characters can just tell what happened to each other):

"My last boyfriend. He was... not nice."
"What do you mean?" Then Leo gasps, gripping his shirt over his chest. "Oh My God, Toby. Did he hit you?"
"Not exactly. Well, sort of. I don't know, Leo. It was abusive, I know, but it all built up over such a long period of time, I didn't realize what was going on until it was too late."

Toby can't tell if he was abused? It was just last year when he described being raped and beaten. Or the fact Toby stated he felt worse for his friend being called homophobic slurs than suffering through actual physical abuse and being raped. Both are horrible, let me be clear, but they are not equal.

And in case the past rape wasn't used enough, the attempted rape plot device was added... TWICE!

To create dramatic effect? The last one made no sense, nor did it add to anything other than it gave the alpha hero a shot to flex his muscles and allegedly save the day. The thing is Van wasn't there the first time the attempted rape card was brought to the table and he didn't seem as cut about it afterwards.

Van - I know he's supposed to read like a good guy. But the way he was written was not as effective, He realized his true self as being a gay man by not wearing sweats and sneakers but rather tailored, designer clothes. Seriously? Or how about the fact he knows about Toby's abused past but didn't care when he got mad at his lover and started to go apeshit on him? Or manhandling Toby in the heat of sexy times so soon after Toby gets beaten again.

If an abuse victim closes himself off from others, why would Van be the one to break their celibacy on? Nothing was shown to support that. The reader is told they're horny for one another, told they're soul mates, told they love each other...but nothing is shown.

This book has the potential to appeal to certain readers, if you rather not learn main characters' life stories, just want a beginning and middle and end with some sex thrown in and a lot of drama, then Fair Catch might be the book for you.

For me:




I'm sure this is my last Leigh Carman I'll read.




A copy provided for an honest review.

 

Sweet daddy kink. It's a thing. ;D

Exposed - Bey Deckard

It's a Unicorn Bang Review! Chelsea, Sara and I get into the sweet daddy kink that is Exposed.



4.5 Hearts--Seduction by photo shoot.



A sweet love story with a side of daddy kink. Not what I expected prior to going in...


"It's like I want to crush him up into a little ball and tuck him directly into my heart..."


...but it works.

Exposed is foremost a romance between two damaged souls who happen to meet by chance one rainy night in London, of all places. Emyr is a Welsh twenty year old rising rock star. His innocent looks and provocative lyrics have a following. Greg, forty two year old Canadian web designer and photographer, couldn't imagine his luck bucking into the crying man. Emyr's face begs to be captured on camera, Greg's camera. But even more so Greg notices someone who is cracking at the seams, he's been there, is still there. So he invites a stranger to his hotel room, just to talk. And Emyr accepts.

Thus begins their connection and their path to more.

"I am, you know," he said after a moment.
"Are what?"
"Yours. Completely."
"Ha... When did I ask you that?"
"You didn't have to."



Greg is a dominant who is still reeling from his last sub and the aftermath of what he thought was a scene. It's been five years and his self imposed celibacy has never been tested as it is with Emyr. There's an innocence that is alluring. But once he sees how obedient Emyr is, well it just calls to him. From the moment these two men meet, their connection is palpable. I kept reading along, saying to myself, this couldn't really happen, could it? Meeting a rock star and tumbling into their world?




But it's Greg and Emyr's connection, their ease with one another, the way they exposed their inner workings to each other. (Not without hesitation from one of the men) That's what I bought. It's what sold me anytime I questioned an initial response.

Greg tries to back away from the celebrity. Emyr is too young, probably straight. The impromptu photo shoot/ session didn't break his celibacy. But Greg's subconscious and feelings won't be denied. The boy got under his skin.


You get sort of numb after a while when you cut off human contact, and you end up telling yourself all sorts of bullshit--like, that you don't actually need it, that it's not so bad going without--and then you carry on building a shell around yourself with these lies. But, what you don't realize is that shell is brittle and thin and made of denial, barely containing the visceral need growing in your guts like some formless, ravenous, single-minded creature.

 




Though the story is told from Greg's POV, we get a good sense of Emyr. He might be young and inexperienced, but he was mature in a lot aspects. He was persistent and willing to try new things. I loved that as the daddy kink was presented on the table, he researched! And discovered a part of himself he didn't knew existed. Greg is his first real relationship, and in a way, it's Greg's first real relationship too.


"Trust me, Daddy."
Daddy. I smiled, and he gave me a coy grin in return. "You're determined to wear me down."
"I am that."
"You're incorrigible."
"That too."


I'm a fan of age gaps, damaged protagonists with internal baggage, heroes who aren't the best at communicating their emotions. Exposed definitely has that. The angst is more internal struggles than external. Greg and Emyr have to trust, communicate. And I think it was my most favorite thing about this novel, (besides the daddy kink, duh). It was that the two communicated, even when it hurt. It was equal footing where it counted.

Now let's get to the daddy kink shall we?




Daddy kink is fairly tamer on the BDSM scale. And this story is not necessarily a formalized, contract bound pairing. It read more natural. And if you're a reader who clutches their pearl at the mention of daddy kink, this is a romance first. The daddy kink if I had to rate it on a 1 to 5 of extremes, 5 being the most hardcore, it's a 1. There was role playing, a few spankings, D/s. Bonus for the bare backing, (semi)public sex, size difference and big guy bottoming scene. I like it when daddies get breached too. ;D

If you're going in expecting hardcore scenes, you might not enjoy this as much. The sex is melting hot (hello it's a Deckard), there are definitely re-read worthy chapters. What I enjoyed about it is that it wasn't overly long drawn out scenes. Every sexual encounter read organic and fit the main characters. I did slowly grow to love the main characters, separately and as a pair. I think they're perfect for each other.

It's no surprise I enjoy this author's work and his back list varies in taste. This was the most romantic, most sweet I've ever read from him.


"You've nothing to worry about, silly--I'm yours... And you're mine, and I'll take care of that poor, neglected heart of yours just as well as I take care of that poor, neglected cock."
"Well, it's not so neglected anymore," I said, making as if to mull it over what he had said. "You do take good care of it--that bodes well for my heart, I suppose."



I'm not surprised he wrote it, the tell tale signs of his writing are all there. Vivid settings, it's a road trip for a large chunk of Exposed, I felt like I was there with the pair and the cast of side characters at each location, an interesting cast of characters (Owain, Barrie, Rose and the nain dominatrix!) that you can't help to enjoy. His side characters have a tendency to enrich his stories without overtaking the shine from the main characters. There was a little suspense-ful twist, that wasn't over dramatic. It ended a little tamer than introduced.

Overall, a great read that I'm happy to add to my favorites of 2017 list.



This is sweet for this author, not necessarily your run of the mill schmoop. So if you're looking to finally delve into this author's work, Exposed is a great place to start. (His Actor's Circle series is also on the tamer side of the Deckard spectrum)

I don't know if the author will ever return to this couple. I think their HEA is pretty solid. But maybe a possible dabble into one of their scenes? I think I'm going to miss Daddy and his boy.

Who knew photo shoots could be so seductive?

Expect pure friends to lovers cowboy fluff and laughs with Two Cowboys and a Baby

Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires Book 30) - BA Tortuga
Tag Team review with Sara

3.5 Hearts
--

"Wings?"
"Only if they don't make you poot. Buffalo sauce poots make the baby Jesus cry."
"Well sure, nothing rules out ass-fucking like buffalo poots. 'Cept maybe Taco Bell."

Expect pure friends to lovers cowboy fluff and laughs with Two Cowboys and a Baby by BA Tortuga.

With a baby on the doorstep trope thrown on top!



No babies were harmed. Promise.


Set in Texas, this book features a little bull rider/cowboy with the nickname of Hoss (his real name is Wyatt Earp!) and his childhood best bud/digger/cowboy, Bradley. See Hoss is out of the closet and is painfully in love with straight best friend, even after his friend stopped talking to him after coming out to Bradley. After that year in high school, the two continued to go back to the way things were: being best friends.

Thing is all the time Hoss has pined for Bradley, if he looked a little closer, he might have noticed the same looks from Bradley.

Unrequited love fans out there? It's all fluffed out in the latest addition in the Dreamspun Desires line.



Giddy up the fluff!


The unrequited love with my straight best friend angle gets help from the unwanted baby plot. While the two cowboys share like feelings, they're two clueless to do anything about it. Thankfully, the little blonde baby girl on Hoss' doorstep helps bring them together.

The girl's mother just leaves her and Joanie, the adorable pet of Hoss, alerts her owner of the little bundle. Reading Hoss come to grips with his life changing as he knows it once the little girl arrives is hilarious. Hoss is a simple man whose only contact with babies are with baby farm animals.

So not the same.

But too funny.

Bradley, Hoss's #1, comes to the rescue as the two try to hunt down the little baby's birth mother. With the the help of the small town's Sheriff Pooter (I kid you not), Doc and Hoss's Momma and a whole slew of hilarious side characters. The country twang just oozes through this book's pores. I found myself charmed with it.




The romance doesn't happen immediately. And I definitely got the sense of the cowboys shared lives prior to the baby.

They sat together, arm to arm, not looking at each other. Then B reached out, twining their fingers together, holding on like they'd done this a thousand times.

Reading them slowly become a unit with the baby who Hoss didn't originally want, but now needs, is the magic for this title.

"Is this the way it normally happens with two guys, Hoss?"
"I'm usually the handjob in the barn type of guy, B. I've never been the type to be on love,so I don't know."
"I've been in love with you since high school. I don't know how the handjob in the barn even works."

It's not a smooth sailing; there is a big misunderstanding that provides a solid speed bump on their path to love. But the baby is the glue to making Hoss and Bradley stick.

And then there is the mega plot twist that took into into OTT-ville. Seriously, couldn't believe half of that happening in real life.

Thank goodness it's fiction, huh?

The crazy that gets twisted in, made for a fun read. Plus, it's why the Dreamspun line works for me. It's a good time that doesn't take itself too seriously while delivery cracky sweet romance.

The story isn't without minor issues but overall, the good outweighed the bad. It wasn't a life changing read, just something you can unplug your brain with.



Obligatory yeehaw!



A copy provided for an honest review.

This author has skills! Urban fantasy lovers might want to check it out

Warlock in Training - T.J. Nichols
  4.5 HEARTS--I knew this author's first novel would be great. It was magical.



This isn't my first T.J. Nichols; all previous works were urban fantasy/ paranormal short stories: The Vampire's Dinner and A Wolf's Resistance . Both works had great world building and paranormal ideas. The same can be said for Warlock in Training. But what I wanted to see is what the author could do with something novel length.

Not disappointed.

Earth has changed, new countries have formed and magic is known. Well I should say warlocks and wizards are real on Earth, or Humanside. The Earth is continuing to change, forget global warming, it's approaching an ice age. Most of the population doesn't know what the cause is for it. Warlocks are believed to be the saviors to stop it, But what they don't want people to know is they're the culprits. Magic exists in Humanside and Demonside, a second world where demons and other paranormal beings live. Demonside is experiencing extreme global warming, the world turning into a desert, water is scarce. Do these changes share something in common?

Wizards practice magic without using demons. Warlocks on the other hand drain demons for their magic to be more power, have stronger magic. Wizards are looked down on in the magical society. Warlocks are the upper echelon, the 1% if you will.

Nineteen year old ginger Angus Donohue doesn't want to be a warlock, despite his prestigious warlock family history. His father is forced him to attend warlock college and threatened him not embarrass the family name or him. Angus doesn't even want to summon a demon during a requisite class and tries to fail.

And that's where the magic begins.

Enter demon Saka (I am 1000% for him). He chooses Angus despite Angus trying to fail and takes him to Demonside across the void (the bridge between the two worlds). Points to the story being dual POV. Both worlds are too interesting not to immerse yourself in.

The cover is so fitting! Because I think Angus has the potential to be the bridge.

Saka is a demon mage and is trying to help his world. He's smart, calm and wicked with a knife. He shows Angus there is more to life and magic. I couldn't help but imagine Saka something like Hellboy (black horns instead, no hair, the similar skin tone)



I always try to find a Hellboy in demons I read about. LOL

Saka teaches different types of magic: soul, blood and sex. Saka's really great at the last two.

A lot of urban fantasy, tends to have an alpha type as the lead. Not the case in Warlock in Training. Angus is nineteen and reads nineteen - unsure of himself, still learning his place in the world, exploring relationships with potential partners. But he's not the typical teenager. Demonside helps open his eyes.

There is a battle between two magical worlds that felt similar to what the political and global feel is right now. The 1% is ruining both worlds, damn the results as long as they're in power. It's magical politics. People are dying for a cause that does not benefit the greater good. The ones in charge lie to the masses and attacks any form of resistance.

But there is a resistance.



And it's growing.

The book ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. There are loose threads that need to be answered. Such as who really is in charge? Why the harvesting of so much power? The suspense is well written.

Before jumping all over this, I feel I should warn potential readers of possible triggers/deal breakers: There are romantic undertones rather than a defined romance. Both main characters have sex with other people (But I feel I should explain demons have different views on 'relationships' - monogamy is not the norm,) There were brief MF moments. (Also, didn't mind. The moments were a blip on the entire scale of things) Cutting is practiced for magical purposes.

How erotic does this get? There is on page sex but don't expect pages of a drawn out sex scene. (Quite happy about that, it can be a chore to read drawn out pages) The relationship between Saka and Angus is still forming, is kinda fluid. There is another character that has a potential of maybe making this a love/lust triangle. It's not romantic. More as a means to an end but there is potential for deeper feelings. Sex on Demonside can be and is used for ritualistic needs. If you are a reader who needs the one and only, I would say to approach with caution. Because the way the sex, relationship and openness is written fits the characters. And they struggle. But it's secondary to the world building, action and suspense.

I want to rate this all the hearts but I have tiny issues, pretty minor. Technically, the story reads well. But I feel some of the chapters ended in odd spots. I like the fact the chapters aren't overly long but some ended with where it could have just combined with half of the next chapter for better impact.

But I see this book as the foundation for more to come. War is approaching. What side are you on? Will the resistance win?

Bonus was that this book stars my favorite paranormal beings: DEMONS!



And a ginger warlock! It was like it was written just for me. ;P

Fans of urban fantasy should definitely check this series out because the world building is tops. The author obvious is an urban fantasy fan and it shows in their work. The first third is mostly building. The other two thirds are fast paced and filled with intrigue. My heart started to crumble in the last 5-8% but the author pulled it through.

I am so there for this series! And I'm definitely a fan of this author after this. It's 3 out of 3 for me!

Recommended.



A copy provided for an honest review.

 

NSFW: For those who like it twisted...M. Caspian always gets the tone right.

The Salt of Your Tears - M. Caspian

For the dudes and dudettes who like it extremely dark and kinky!

Twisted folks step right on up!

 

 

In His Skin - 4 Hearts


A mute submissive is given the world by his Master, but it comes with a price.


Warning: do not enter if you can't handle pain play, blood play, sharing amongst partners and piercing certain sensitive parts.

 

 

Dylan yearns to please his master Harrison. He tries his hardest to follow his rules and be the best that he can be. But he yearns for something...the sea.

 

Dylan doesn't have to cook or clean. All he has to do is please Harrison, obviously in the bedroom. Though he never utters a word throughout the story, Dylan's thoughts and emotions were very present. The story is slightly mysterious as well as erotic. Who Dylan is and how he came to be with Harrison is the leading the question that pulled me into the story.

 

I'm not one for pain play, so not on #TeamPain. (#Team Lube represent!) But the verbal humiliation helped ease my squickiness. And when  Harrison and Dylan are alone together, the trademark Caspian possessiveness came tot he forefront, where hot breaths and threats are prevalent.

 

"Did your hole get enough tonight? Oh, no, wait, it didn't because I haven't fucked you yet. Only me, you hear me? It's only me who gets to have you."

 

That I liked. I figured out the mystery close to the end. The writing read poetic and a little somber at times. But I was super happy with the concept. It's my kind of paranormal.

 

 

 

At the end, Dylan prioritized what he needed the most. I'd like to think was a HEA.

 

Please heed the warnings before trying.

 

Asking For It - 5 Hearts

 

CHEESUS AND CRACKERS! THIS IS LIKE IT WAS WRITTEN FOR ME!

 

 

 

7+k words - I kid you not, I have about half of this story highlighted.  

"Bet you want it all the time, don't you, a boy like you? I'll have to visit you at work on your lunch break, gag you and tie your hands in the men's room, turn you around in a stall and fuck you 'til you're crying, then make you go back to your afternoon meeting with my seed dripping out of you."

 

 

 

All my favorites words came to play: cockslut, cunt, fuckboy!

 

Pornupcopia jackpot! Filth! Smut at its finest!

 

Cole needs. He needs bad. The 22 year old has been a good boy. He's repressed at work, doesn't try to explore the kink, the need in him. And when he tries to finally do something about it with a date with a Daddy type from online, he doesn't meet with much success.

 

Or does he?

"Your eyes are hungry, did you know that?"

Bar owner and bartender Garrett sees everything that night. And answers the body call Cole has going on.

 

"But you still need, don't you? It's okay boy. You've found me now."

 

Semi-public sex, humiliation dirty talk, possessive alpha Dom...I just don't where to begin on the high points.

 

The thrill Cole feels, the slight, miniscule dub-con feel to it all...oh the words.

 

If only that pool table could talk.

"I can't wait to fuck you raw, watch you push my cum out, see it dripping out of your hole."

Cole gets shown, owned and is so satisfied by Garret, any reservation has flew the coop.

 

And I imagine a very cum filled happy ending. From random hookup to lasting D/s relationship...

 

 

 

Aces in my book! ;)

Re-read worthy for sure!

 

 

A Song in the Blood - 4.5 Hearts

 

Where a masochist with a penchant for blood play finally meets his match.

 

 

Here's the thing. I started this a little confuzzled.

 

Then is as I read along I released this was “It is Our Bounden Duty To Protect The Empire”. (Love this new title BTW) and the tags helped make it clearer.

 

The tags: gun play, extreme violence, paranormal, power exchange, HEA, historical setting, Kiwi MC, extreme violence. All acts are consensual by the way.

 

Set after the turn of the 20th century, Corran McKenzie is a Kiwi soldier slowly dying in the African desert. He's picked up a friend by the name of Sephtis. And Sephtis watches and goads the young man as his will to live keeps him going.

 

Now if you look up the name Sephtis, you'll see exactly who Septhis is. Or I should say what he represents. Clever, clever, author. (It's a reason why I rated so high) We get a case study of Corran's life and the start of when he craved real pain and couldn't have his needs fulfilled.

"Your want is delicious."

All he needs is to make it hurt, to bleed.

 

Sephtis scratches that unfathomable itch. The story starts in 1902 and carries on into present day. There are erotic moments and scenes...like this:

 

 

Add that to the mindfuckery and it's a hot little number.

"Did you know your soul hungers? No wonder I heard you all the way out here in the middle of nowhere."

It reminded me of Deckard's "Better The Devil You Know", which had similar depravity, a witty entity and crisp writing.


Recommended for readers who can actually handle the tags, DMC and those who like extreme dark mixed in with their kink.

 



A copy provided for an honest review.

Easton kicks Dreamspun Desires ass yet again!

Snowblind (Dreamspun Desires Book 29) - Eli Easton

4.25 HEARTS--Tag team review with Adam

Dreamspun Desires aka cracky fluff has another home run with Snowblind by Eli Easton.



Me= when a new Dreamspun title is released

What fun romance tropes to find from the latest Dreamspun treasure? Stranded in a snowy cabin mixed with a damaged hero and disguise.

Delicious.

My favorite of the house line (so far) happens to be by this same author, so this book had big shoes to fill. A total 180 from The Stolen Suitor , this book toed the line of cracky fluff with dashes of realism. If this isn't your first time with the line, you know to expect some cheese, some sugar and fluff.

All founded in this novel.

Set in Alaska, Hutch is a damaged solitary former Marine (oohrah!) with a lot of baggage and not a lot of patience for others. He's suspicious of a nearly frostbitten stranger that falls on his property. He has a secluded cabin for a reason and is on high alert with the frozen man's arrival. The frozen man being model Jude Devereaux. Jude thaws...and so does Hutch. The story for the first half is all Hutch's POV.

What is it about their connection he wonders. Is it the fact they're stuck in a blizzard and have no chance for escape? Maybe the need for companionship? Whatever the circumstances, the men are trapped in that house for three days.

And what a hot three days it was...



I'm sure you heard all about it.

But sex only this story is not. It has quite a twisty plot. And the twists and turns change from instalove/stranded highs to betrayal, action, murder, gun fights...

Dudes, it was a wild and crazy ride.

The story doesn't feature Jude's POV until 51%. And once it does, the story twists even more. I got swept away in the cabin fever feelings and could almost but the love. See, it wasn't instantaneous ILY's but close. And the author did a decent job portraying the men's inner thoughts as to what drove them for the crazy actions.

I'll keep all the crazy plot twists to a minimum as to not spoil the read. Because even if you guess what went down, you get the scope of it until you read it.

How's the sex? Hot when it's there, even the fade to black/non-graphic interludes were hot. In the bedroom, the men do lack the chemistry. For what is allowed in the houseline, I found it to be hot.

How's the fluff? Not as fluffy and sugary, but it's there. A little heavier in the whipped sweet fluff in the second half.

It's a close second to my fave, just because there were moments when my fluff bubble popped. And I questioned Hutch's motives once or twice.

The extreme climes, the action, the subterfuge and intrigue....the romance. It all in all made it a satisfying read.

Recommended for fans of the cracky fluff, who like hot alpha men who are more on the silent side. But when it comes to their men, you can hear them loud and clear!



A copy provided for an honest review.

This is definitely going to be a series to watch...

An Unseen Attraction - K.J. Charles

A Tag Team Review with Chelsea!

FOUR HEARTS--K.J. Charles' newest Victorian romance series, Sins of the Cities, starts off on the right foot with An Unseen Attraction. A slow burn with an encompassing mystery and romance between two unassuming souls can be found in this novel.


"Rowley, there are lots of people who think I'm worth looking at. Not so many who think I'm worth listening to. Not like you."
A spasm of something passed across Rowley's face. "Then there are a lot of fools out there."




Swoon.

The words were, as usual, a joy to read from this author. And the shared moments between 28-year-old Clement Talleyfer - lodging house keeper and 35 year old, Rowley Green, a solitary preserver (taxidermist) made this book special.

Clement, or Clem, is of Indian descent and grew up an outsider for his entire life. Rowley has not had an easy childhood and bears the scars to prove it. The author has a fine hand on writing inclusive characters be it race or QUILTBAG, no one gets left out. And An Unseen Attraction is on par.

But what makes this book even more special was including a character with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder or Dyspraxia). She wrote the character in such a way that respected the disorder and an affected person's feelings, rather than using his disorder as a characteristic and not following up. (I'm not a fan of books that write characters with intellectual disabilities and can't back it up with thorough research). Based on the obvious research alone put into this tale, it's rated all the hearts.

Clem runs the lodging house and crushes on his lodger of eight months, the small, quiet Mr. Green, who runs a preserve shop next door. Clem's not one to easily discern if Mr. Green would welcome his affections, so quiet friendship is what he relies on to keep in respectable contact within that time period. You know what they say about the quiet ones? Because quiet Mr. Green notices Clem just as much.

Told in dual POV, the two become closer while surround by interesting characters at the lodging house. Their shared attraction obvious. A mystery is literally dropped on the house doorsteps by way of a dead body. The pair bond even more, trying to figure out what is the cause of the violent acts. Both men have damaging pasts, with internal and external scars. Clem is gorgeous (great cover by the way - it's very close to how I picture Clem). But with DCD, most treat him like an imbecile. Rowley, knows he's not as handsome and he tends to downplay himself. Not to the point of annoyance but thankfully Clem sees him as a worthy partner and vice versa.

I loved both main characters. (Can you tell?) Flawed individuals who make each other stronger together and bring out the best in each other without losing a sense of self. They aren't overt characters, rather it's the quietness and the little things that they both do that grabs the attention.

And their compatibility exists both in and out of the bedroom!


"I like to be...undemanding in bed. To, well, have the other person make the decisions. there's something about someone doing what he wants to do with me..."






I-- *clears throat*

Yes, I'm very fine with that.

Edging and submissiveness...oh yes, these two were definitely hot together.

While the two check off so many boxes on my characters-I-enjoy list, the story isn't without minor flaws.

Why not full throttle and dump all the hearts at this book's feet? There are some open ended issues that I would love to be answered. There's an arc that has enough mystery to probably cover the entire series. (That epilogue is everything)

But...something about the 'villain(s) ending'-- something about it s sticking in my craw. Maybe it could be more of a me thing but I wanted justice. I wanted a big never ending battle royal as a climax to the action scenes scattered about the story.

The cowardice irks me. Who is the accomplice? Mastermind? Ah!

But I do think the author kept the main character's personalities at the forefront at all times, so I'll just have to swallow and build a bridge to get over it.

Or read the rest of this series, which I DEFINITELY will be. Because I am all in for "Polish Mark". This author has me pining for themes I tend to shy away from - mysteries and psychics. *shakes head*

The writing is that good.

I don't plan on running through the ignored lists of books with those themes but it seems that if K.J. Charles has written it, I'll make an exception.

The secondary characters are just as intriguing as the main characters. And the story overall, is well written enough, suspenseful enough and romantic enough to check out!

Recommended.



A copy provided for an honest review via Netgalley.

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Starfighter Chapter 2 by HamletMachine
Starfighter by HamletMachine