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review 2017-04-22 22:06
Pleasure and Pain
Binding the Edges (Tales from The Edge Book 8) - L.M. Somerton

Pleasure and pain…. Pleasure through pain. How appropriate that’s exactly what reading this book felt like. The pure pleasure of spending time with Olly & Joe, Aiden & Heath and all their assorted friends has now been tempered by the pain of having to say goodbye. But then again, I’m sure Joe and Heath wouldn’t hesitate before explaining that the pain only heightens and confirms the pleasure.

 

*Sighs* All good things must come to an end—or so the saying goes, I’m not at all convinced. And as series go, Tales from the Edge is most definitely a wondrous thing and as a result I’m heartbroken that with Binding the Edges we do indeed reach the conclusion of what has been a joyful and utterly delightful reading experience.

 

I’m so happy that Binding the Edges turned out to be the perfect finale to what has been an amazing and thoroughly enjoyable journey. In this story the edges are indeed bound, every thread is beautifully and satisfactory tied off, and the ending to Olly and Joe’s storyline is as perfect as I could have hoped for.

 

Of course these men have a road to travel before they’re allowed to reach their happily ever after. And what a journey it is—roller coaster ride is probably a better term. Between the hilarious preparations for the anniversary celebrations, the kinky times Joe and Olly indulge in every time they have the opportunity, and danger in the form of deranged Dom Mark Vickery once again raising its ugly head, the reader is thrown from one emotion into the next with barely a moment’s respite to catch her breath; delicious.

 

I could continue gushing about this book, but I’d rather spend some time and words declaring my love for this series. For me a book or series of books is a success when the characters get under my skin, crawl into my heart, and become so well defined that I know I would recognise them if I ran across them in the street. And that’s exactly what happened with the men in these books. Maybe they’re not all equally clear in my mind’s eye but I can’t deny that especially Olly, Joe, Heath and Aiden have now claimed their place among my favourite characters ever. The close to perfect combination of romance, kinky sexiness, and suspense had me hooked from the very first book. And while none of the individual titles in this series made it on to my ‘extra-special’ list, theTales from The Edge series as a whole has found its place near the top of that particular ranking.

No matter how sad I am that this is the last book in this series I have to admit Binding the Edges is a fabulous conclusion to a wonderful series.

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review 2016-12-26 13:43
Gush-fest
The Farther He Runs: A Kick Novel - Lynda Aicher

I received my copy from Loveswept through Netgalley in return for an honest review.

 

The Farther He Runs is the third book in the ‘Kick’ series but can, in my opinion, be read and thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

 

This is one emotionally charged book. Finn and Tanner put themselves through an emotional wringer and pull the reader right along with them. From the opening chapters, when they say goodbye to the brother they lost, through the doubts and raging sexual tension, to finally giving in to a love and attraction they’ve both been hiding for years, they kept me hooked on their every thought, action, and feeling.

 

When Tanner and Finn at last give into the heat flowing between them (after what may well be the hottest workout known to men) it means that Tanner can at last show sides of himself he’s been hiding for decades. He embraces his gayness and allows his submissive side to surface.

 

“He’d never be a submissive in the purest sense of the word. Yet he longed to give his control over—even for a little while—to Finn and know, without question, that he’d be safe.”

 

Even more stunning than Tanner’s willingness to give his all in the aid of Finn’s recovery, is Finn’s growth from broken and close to desperate victim, to strong and dominant survivor. I found myself cheering him along every time Finn recovered another part of his old self as he and Tanner spend time together and push him towards life again.

 

“Lust blazed. Want called. Desire begged.

And Finn responded. His dominant side breaking free to take everything Tanner was offering.”

 

Finn’s journey was a marvellous thing to read. There are no short cuts for him; he doesn’t get an easy ride. Every step is hard, painful, and often frustrating and yet he perseveres because Tanner won’t allow him to fail. I felt such joy as he grew, got stronger, found himself again, and became all he had always been; everything he had lost.

 

Tanner on the other hand…. *sighs*. What to say about Tanner? On the one hand he took my breath away. Everything he’s willing to do Finn, the way he opens up, gives all of himself to the man he’s loved in secret for years, is nothing short of stunning. He bears his soul and hides nothing because his love runs deep and he’ll go to hell and back if it means helping Finn to become the man he’s supposed to be again. And yet…. When his leave is up and it’s time to say goodbye I could have taken him by the scruff of his neck and shaken him like you do a naughty puppy. Boy did he frustrate me. I wished for means to dive into my Kindle and confront him, tell him to embrace and accept himself as Finn does and stop hiding. I had a hard time reading that part of the story. In fact, I seriously considered skipping it. Part of that was my inability to deal with angst, especially when it happens to two characters I’ve come to care deeply about, and part of it was pure frustration with the character. I didn’t, of course, because if an author is able to make me get that drawn into a story it’s impossible not to read every single word, no matter how painful they may be. And of course it paid off...in the most wonderful fashion. Tanner may have needed a bit of a push, but when he does come through, he bloody shines.

 

These guys are, at times, literally able to read each other’s thoughts. The first time I encountered that it made me frown for a moment and then I loved it. Because I know it to be true that once you know someone well enough, love them deeply enough, and spend enough time with them, you do reach a point where you know what the other is thinking, long before they open their mouth. And Finn and Tanner had loved and known each other for a long time. And, what’s more, they’d been in situations where being able to communicate without words had literally been a matter of life and death; being a Marine will do that to you.

 

“Love me like no one else ever has. Be my strength when I can’t be strong. My courage when I’m scared shitless. My confidence when I’m doubting.

“I will. I do.””

 

Lynda Aicher has always had a habit of messing with my heart. More often than not her stories take me beyond my emotional comfort zone. But every single time I’ve allowed her to take me where I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, she’s rewarded me by giving me the most memorable of reading experiences. This story may have pushed me harder and further than any of the previous ones; it also had me crying happy tears when it ended. I totally recommend this steaming hot, emotionally engrossing, and very memorable story featuring two men I’m not likely to forget any time soon.

 

And with that, I apologise for yet another gush-fest.

 

“Finn was his point, and Tanner would have his six for the rest of his life.”

 

And

 

“Tanner was his point, and Finn had his six.”

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review 2016-12-26 11:57
Wonderful and hilarious
The Misadventures of Doc and Dirk, Volume III - Dan Skinner,Tina Adamski

“I found him to be the equivalent of a nineteen-year-old, hyperactive Borg: resistance is futile.”

 

This is the third episode of these ‘misadventures. While I strongly advice and highly recommend that you read these (short) books in order, I have to admit you would get away with starting with book two or book three. Dan/Doc has been kind enough to include a ‘this is how we met’ chapter at the start of each of these instalments. So even if you’ve so far managed to miss Dan’s post about Dirk on Facebook and are completely new to this fabulous partnership, you won’t be lost, no matter where you start reading.

 

What attracts me most to these books is that while they appear to be about Dirk, the ‘muse-nerd’ we learn at least as much about Dan/Doc as we do about his young apprentice. I imagine it works in real life as it appears to do in these tales; Dan/Doc is helpless in the face of Dirk’s curiosity and enthusiasm. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he never set to reveal as much of himself as he does, but sorta fell into it as a result of Dirk’s inquisitiveness.

 

Younger Dan’s disastrous birthday pick-up is a hoot, as is the story Dirk shares in return, if only because they reminded me of one or two ‘oh my God, how did I end up in this situation’ experiences from my own life.

 

I’ll share a few random quotes and thoughts, just because I can.

 

“Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat with Dirk. He just becomes a bigger cat.”

 

I had to google ‘Tootsie Pops’ but once I had, Dirk’s comment made perfect sense—as did his mother’s response. (And that’s all I’m saying; read the book if you want to know more).

 

I love this description of Dirk:

 

“I remind you that this is a young man who not only thinks outside the box, but doesn’t recognize that there’s a box in the first place.”

 

As I’ve come to expect by now, I read this book with a permanent grin on my face, except for those moments when I found myself laughing out loud. But, these stories are more than light-hearted fun to me. They paint a beautiful picture of a developing friendship, of loyalty, and of what it takes to really get to know someone. The Dirkisms combined with Dan/Doc’s observations about them and the person who makes them, while always making me smile, also make me think that we should really pay more attention to other people and try to look beyond the obvious first impressions. This episode ends on a wonderful tale about Dirk and cat ears (which I’m not going to share either) and a quote we would all do well to take to heart when dealing with the quirks of others:

 

“It made me realize what we see as odd… may simply be something that makes someone else more comfortable.”

 

I’ll end this review with a wish, which is also my plea aimed at Dan/Doc and Dirk; please, whatever you do, never stop sharing these wonderful scenes with us.

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review 2016-12-26 08:59
All Sorts of Wonderful
The Misadventures of Doc and Dirk, Volume II - Dan Skinner,Tina Adamski

“Because that’s how dreams find life….words…..Words.”

 

This book could also have been titled ‘The Birth of the MuseNerd’ as we learn how he inspires Doc/Dan to write A Summer of Guiltless Sex (and thank you very much for that moment of inspiration, MuseNerd; I simply adored that book) as well as this particular series of delightful reads.

 

Getting to know Dirk is a pure pleasure. I imagine it might be quite exhausting in real life, but on my Kindle he is wonderful company. His honesty and lack of filters are in fact refreshing in a world where political correctness does appear to have gone mad. All of us have been programmed, from a very early age, to think before we speak and to not stand out – fade to grey, don’t look for the spotlight, don’t stand out from the crowd. Dirk isn’t built that way and couldn’t stop standing out if you paid him to do so. Personally I think the world would be a nicer, probably more tolerant and definitely more entertaining place if we could all take at least a small leaf out of Dirk’s book and occasionally approach life with uncensored honesty without fearing the repercussions.

 

While we obviously get to know Dirk better with each subsequent instalment of this series, the same can be said for Doc/Dan. Not that he describes himself in details similar to the one he uses for his apprentice. It is more that we get an insight in to the author from the way he reacts to and thinks about Dirk as he describes their misadventures.

 

Our Dirk is an undemanding muse. He’s not in it for recognition. He just has these genius ideas for stories and sequels to stories and, because he has no filter, he blurts them out, leaving Doc/Dan scrambling to keep up while writing them all down on whatever writing material he can find.

 

“…sometimes only ten words out of a thousand I say make sense. So if you can make sense of it, more power, dude.”

 

The Dirkisms, both those shared by Doc/Dan on Facebook and the ones you’ll find in this book are fun. I thought about sharing one or two of them here but that would mean having to choose, pick favourites, and that’s just impossible for me. I’ll say this much though, if you want to read with a huge grin on your face and happy spreading through your body, read them these books and the Dirkisms they contain for yourself; they will, without a doubt, brighten your day.

 

 

“He puts both the whip and snap in whippersnapper.”

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review 2016-12-26 08:28
Stunning
Sweet Summer Sweat - Clare London

“It’s the stuff of your imagination. Your dreams,” Connor murmured. “Isn’t it?”

 

 

This is one stunning and extra-special book.

 

Sensual, sexy even, with an understated note of creepy, I experienced—felt—this story as much as I read it. Sweet Summer Sweat mesmerized me, which was very appropriate considering it’s all about two young men being mesmerized by the motel where they end up and the three men who exist there. I loved how conflicted Scot felt, torn between being seduced by his surroundings— by the constant sensuality surrounding him—and his yearning for freedom and the wider world. I could feel his confusion and understood how he tittered on the edge of giving in to the promise of unending intimacy only to be pulled back from the edge by the knowledge that it might not be enough for him, that his dreams were bigger than that.

 

The connection between these five men, but especially between Scot and Connor, is like something out of a dream; they can hear each other’s thoughts, touch each other without physical contact, and recognise each other without ever having met before. At first glance it would appear that Scot and Jerry have stumbled upon their personal version of paradise. But while the motel may be exactly what Jerry needs, Scot can’t escape the feeling that what looks like heaven could just as easily turn out to be hell.

 

I loved the magical realism in this book. The motel and what happens there is definitely otherworldly, and yet because we experience it all through Scot’s eyes, emotions, and thoughts we are never fully ripped from the real world. I’m glad that we never get a full explanation of exactly what is going on in the Motel, or how any of it is possible. The mystery, the magic of it all, only added to the charm of this story.

 

I’m in awe of the way in which Clare London managed to tell a lot of this story not through dialogue or thoughts but through sensuality, physical contact and intimacy. This is one of the sexiest stories I’ve ever read and yet at no point did it feel as if the sex was there for any other reason than to push the story forward, to explain the characters’ emotions to the readers.

 

This is one of those occasions when my vocabulary isn’t big enough to convey all the emotions I felt while reading this book. The story pulled me into a magical spell and captured me, not unlike the way in which the motel captured Jerry and Scot. And just like those two young men discover that they can’t really (bring themselves to) leave the motel, I found it impossible to look away from my Kindle until I’d finished the story.

 

The ending of this book is deliciously ambiguous. Not as far as the happily ever after is concerned, but other than that it is up to the reader to decide what happens next, and I love it when a story allows me to fantasize on after I’ve read the last page of a book.

 

On a final note I want to say this. As soon as I read the blurb I was reminded of the song ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles. Now that I’ve read the book I’m convinced that Clare London was inspired by this song; the coincidences would be too extra-ordinary otherwise. For example, the lyrics say the following:

 

*Welcome to the Hotel California

Such a lovely place

Such a lovely face

They livin’ it up at the Hotel California

What a nice surprise, bring your alibis*

 

And then, at some point Connor says to Scot: “You had your own agenda, your own alibis”. And later on in reference to another part of the song, Connor says: “A prisoner…well, I can see how it might be seen like that. But it’s by my own device, Scot.” Of course, the biggest clue can be found in the title itself.

 

For me this connection was perfect. I’ve loved the song and the story its lyrics tell since the very first time I heard it, and it has always been a source of inspiration for me—the words allowed all sorts of stories to pop up in my head long before I ever thought about writing. It is wonderful to read a book that mirrors the fantasies I’ve had over the years so closely. In fact, it’s a bit like the story in this book, stunning and at the same time somewhat creepy. Scot and Connor can hear each other’s thoughts and that is very easy to believe when it feels as if the author has been listening to mine.

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