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review 2018-01-22 23:07
Another great book jam packed with intrigue, mystery, murder, and some hot, sweet lovin'!

Dantès Unglued (Ward Security, #2)Dantès Unglued by Jocelynn Drake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've loved the writing team of Drake and Elliott since I got my paws on Shiver (can we take a moment for ::sigh:: Andrei?.... aaaaaand I'm back). And then they upped the intensity with Shattered (Snow.... guhhhhhh...... aaaand I'm back again). Let's not even start with Rowe in Torched, and Ian in Devour... these ladies made boys that leave you equal parts breathless and wrecked, and this new series gives us a whole new group of boys to love and obsess over in the Ward Security Series. And, they still have the Unbreakable Boys drop in from time to time to add to the mayhem.

In Dantes Unglued we get to learn more about Jude Torres' old friend Shane Stephens - PI. Shane is hired by the mayor of Cincinnati to track down the hacker who has been threatening him; Shane is sure that this case is going to really launch his detective agency's reputation. There's just one problem. He needs a Hacker. Luckily he has connections to Ward Security thanks to his employee, Hollis Banner, and in short order he acquires the use of one of Ward's two extraordinary computer geeks, Quinn Lake.

Quinn is cyber chic, with dark rimmed glasses, gamer speak, and hipster hair. He's also moody, prickly and oh so very very attractive, much to Shane's surprise. The attraction is mutual and soon Shane and Quinn are engaging in some no holds barred, no strings fun.

Quinn Lake likes sex... in concept. Reality was never quite as amazing as fantasy, however, so he'd pretty much given up on actual physical sex so his attraction to Shane was shocking on a number of levels, but he wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially one tall, lean drink of water like Shane! Except Quinn doesn't do casual, no strings attached fun and that's all Shane does. But he was on loan for a month and he figured, why not go for it? What could go wrong?

As the case and their relationship heat up, the men are thrown curve ball after curve ball which draw them closer together as well as reunite them with some familiar faces. But can the computer geek and the good time PI solve the mystery, save the day, and maybe find their own happily ever after?

Read this book to find out :D

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review 2018-01-21 21:18
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances - Alyssa Cole,Rose Lerner,Courtney Milan

The Siege of Yorktown 1781. Colonel Hamilton has his army in place and is just obliterating the small town while awaiting for reinforcements. Two of the stories arise from the battlefield; the third is tied to the descendant of someone at Yorktown. They share their stories in letters and interviews with Eliza Hamilton as she writes her husband's biography after his death (roughly in the late 1810s and early 1820s).

 

Promised Land by Rose Lerner - 4 stars

Rachel faked her death to run away from her marriage and towards Washington's army. She meets up with her husband (one of Washington's spies) at Yorktown. I love a good "can this marriage be saved?" trope in historical romance and this one delivered. Both MCs are Jewish and the story really shined with the choice to have the MCs be of a religious minority; certain scenes that depicted how the Jews dealt with Jewish law and customs while also serving in the military were used to deepen their relationship. I thought the one sex scene was shoe-horned in and didn't add to the story, but by the time it happened I was already rooting for Rachel and Nathanial's HEA. This was my first time reading Lerner, but it won't be my last.

 

The Pursuit of.....(Worth Saga) by Courtney Milan - 4 stars

This novella falls third (or maybe #2.5) in the Worth Saga series, but you don't have to read the first two books to understand what is going on in this story. John Hunter is an ex-slave (ran away from his master, then returned to rescue his sister and mother) living in Rhode Island when the call for black men to enlist in Washington's army comes with an entitlement to freedom papers after the war. John's sister is married to enslaved man, so to keep her man at home while also earning his brother's freedom papers, John enlists in his stead. At Yorktown, he meets British Lt Henry Latham (see post from last week). John helps Henry escape from the British army; in return, Henry accompanies John on his way back to Rhode Island and his family. I love road trips, although this one is longer due to being on foot. There is stinky cheese, the sexual politics and morality of slavery, plus actual courting after John is reunited with his family and Henry goes back to Britain. I loved John and Henry, and seeing them as older men (thirty or so years after the HEA) was a real treat. The Milan magic is in full force here.

 

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole - 4 stars

This novella ties into another of Cole's stand alone novellas, Be Not Afraid (from the anthology For Love and Liberty). In this novella, Andromeda Stiel (granddaughter of Elijah and Kate Sutton from Be Not Afraid) visits The Grange in her grandfather's place to give his story of serving under Hamilton (both in New York and Yorktown) to Eliza. It is at The Grange that Andromeda meets Mercy Alston, the maid and secretary for Eliza. I finally get a Boston marriage-style HEA! This is the shortest of the stories, as there is no military action or duties to add to the story. It also has a mostly fade to black sex scene.

 

I gave a half star more because of the authors' notes found in the back of the book. The authors tell the readers where they got their inspiration (each acknowledged Lin-Manual Miranda and his show) and historical research, plus what drove them to put the project together in the first place.

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review 2018-01-21 20:06
Love is Love by Various Authors
Love is Love - Phil Jimenez,Various

This anthology was created to raise money for Equality Orlando and the organization's support of victims' families and the survivors of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in June 2016. I think that because the anthology was the comic book industry's way of helping and coping with the incident, I was a bit more giving in the ratings area.

 

IDW publishing, with support from DC Entertainment, gave free rein to their artists and writers, so there are pages with familiar characters on some pages. Most of the artwork is amazing, and conveys the deep emotional impact as well as the broad spectrum of emotions this incident wrung out of people. My favorites, even after a week of thinking and giving the work another look, was the Wonder Woman page, the Muslim man meeting a gay couple on the street and hugging them after the incident made the news (from G. Willow Wilson of course!), the Supergirl page, and the page with older LGBTQIAA members giving solace to the young members of the community (those older community members who lived through the gay rights movement and the HIV/AIDS crisis).

 

With that being said, it was an okay effort in terms of quality of writing and introspection. I had a few problems with some of the work showcased, not for what it tried to convey but it's placement in this anthology in the first place.

 

Issues:

1. For an incident that affected a big part of the Latinx part of the LGBTQIAA community, this anthology had a lot of white cishets working out their disbelief and grief over what happened, and many didn't know anyone in the area, let alone was affected by the incident. There wasn't very much Latinx voices in this anthology. Too much "how will I explain this to my kids" hand wringing as well - uh, the same thing you tell them about Las Vegas and Newtown - and just try to answer their questions as honestly as you can. Sometimes that honesty comes in "I don't know why".

 

2. Ace/Aros, pansexuals, and bisexuals got the short end of the stick here. Aces/Aros were mentioned once and used as kind of a punch line so that the writer could shake his/her finger at judgmental people. It distort the message and made it sound hypocritical. Bisexuals got Wonder Woman and that is it (and she doesn't even self-identify as one in the page). Pansexuals didn't get mentioned once. The predominance was white, gay, somewhat affluent in terms of character type.

 

3. Too much Batman. Seriously, the Gotham universe is not exactly a well of diversity, and having the rich white guy savior show up every 15 pages was not needed. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy's relationship gets a page, but it was more like "lesbians - aren't they cute" sort of way.

 

4. The beginning of the book was too heavy on the dark and disturbing, especially when artists showed dead bodies lying everywhere. Or the use of multiple cell phones going off and nobody answering. There was a lot artistic renderings of the crime scene that did not add any value to a book that is supposed to celebrating love and life. Not much humor found in the rest of the book - maybe a line here or there, some unintentionally.

 

5. Some of the transgender characters were used to explore others' feelings about transgenderism rather than about the transgender characters' feelings or storyline.

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review 2018-01-20 20:45
Undercover Princess
Undercover Princess (Rosewood Chronicles) - Connie Glynn

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

There were good ideas in there, and I was fairly thrilled at first at the setting and prospects (a boarding school in England, hidden royals that looked like they’d be badass, etc.), but I must say that in the end, even though I read the novel in a rather short time and it didn’t fall from my hands, it was all sort of bland.

The writing itself was clunky, and while it did have good parts (the descriptions of the school, for instance, made the latter easy to picture), it was more telling, not showing most of the time. I’m usually not too regarding on that, I tend to judge first on plot and characters, and then only on style, but here I found it disruptive. For instance, the relationship between Ellie and Lottie has a few moments that border on the ‘what the hell’ quality: I could sense they were supposed to hint at possible romantic involvement (or at an evolution in that direction later), but the way they were described, it felt completely awkward (and not ‘teenage-girls-discovering-love’ cute/awkward).

The characters were mostly, well, bland. I feel it was partly tied to another problem I’ll mention later, namely that things occur too fast, so we had quite a few characters introduced, but not developed. Some of their actions didn’t make sense either, starting with Princess Eleanor Wolfson whose name undercover gets to be... Ellie Wolf? I’m surprised she wasn’t found out from day one, to be honest. Or the head of the house who catches the girls sneaking out at night and punishes them by offering them a cup of tea (there was no particular reason for her to be lenient towards them at the time, and if that was meant to hint at a further plot point, then we never reached that point in the novel).

(On that subject, I did however like the Ellie/Lottie friendship in general. It started in a rocky way, that at first made me wonder how come they went from antipathy to friendship in five minutes; however, considering the first-impression antipathy was mostly based on misunderstanding and a bit of a housework matter, it’s not like it made for great enmity reasons either, so friendship stemming from the misunderstanding didn’t seem so silly in hindsight. For some reason, too, the girls kind of made me think of ‘Utena’—probably because of the setting, and because Ellie is boyish and sometimes described as a prince rather than a princess.)

The story, in my opinion, suffers from both a case of ‘nothing happens’ and ‘too many things happen’. It played with several different plot directions: boarding school life; undercover princess trying to keep her secret while another girl tries to divert all attention on her as the official princess; prince (and potential romantic interest) showing up; mysterious boy (and potential romantic interest in a totally different way) showing up; the girls who may or may not be romantically involved in the future; trying to find out who’s leaving threatening messages; Binah’s little enigma, and the way it ties into the school’s history, and will that ever play a part or not; Anastacia and the others, and who among them leaked the rumour; going to Maradova; the summer ball; the villains and their motivations. *If* more time had been spent on these subplots, with more character development, I believe the whole result would’ve been more exciting. Yet at the same time all this gets crammed into the novel, there’s no real sense of urgency either, except in the last few chapters. That was a weird dichotomy to contend with.

Conclusion: 1.5 stars. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be interested in reading the second book. I did like the vibes between Lottie and Ellie, though.

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review 2018-01-18 08:39
Release Day Blitz - A Way With You

 
TitleA Way with You
Series: A Way With, Book 2
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Amazon
Release Date: January 18, 2018
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 30K
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Humor, Office Romance, New York City
 
 

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Synopsis:

 

Reeve Nelson is determined to make it in Manhattan. He’s hardworking, dedicated and willing to put in the extra hours required to be successful at his new job at a prestigious real estate firm in the city. There’s no way he’s going back to small-town living and an ex-girlfriend who won’t let go. But his boss isn’t making it easy. 
 
Leo Rodriguez enjoys his reputation as a ruthless businessman. He’s a lone wolf who’s scraped his way from the gutter to rebuild his life and launch a distinguished career on his terms. When an opportunity to expand in the market comes up, Leo wants the eager new agent with a sense of wonder on the project. But nothing goes quite as planned. Reeve expected to be intimidated and overwhelmed by Leo, however, the explosive mutual attraction and fierce desire between them is a big surprise. Neither man is looking for love and yet, something special just might happen if they can find their way…together.

 

 

 

Excerpt:

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Yeah, this was my idea but I wasn’t prepared to be this close to Leo again. His mere presence overwhelmed me. He smelled so good. I wanted to bury my nose in the collar of his button-down shirt and just…breathe. I told myself Leo was a regular guy like every other guy here, but truthfully, he wasn’t the least bit ordinary. Even in executive chic, Leo turned more heads than the shirtless bartenders. And when he smiled at the young man next to me who offered him his stool, he added another admirer to his list.
 
I’d never been around anyone who changed the temperature in a room simply by entering it the way he did. It wasn’t his appearance either. His height and sharp sense of style might garner a second glance, but his true appeal was innate. It was in the way he spoke and moved. He didn’t mince words or waste time. He was concise and direct and acted with purpose. I got the impression Leo Rodriguez had a reason for everything he did, including wanting to meet with me.
 
Leo perched on the vacated stool and then hooked his thumb at me when I didn’t reply. “He’ll have a martini too.”
 
“No. I mean, yes. But with olives, please. No onions.” I thanked the bartender then swiveled to face Leo, accidentally bumping his knee.
 
I muttered a quick apology and cautioned myself to pull it together. Leo wasn’t my boss anymore, for fuck’s sake. I just wished he didn’t make me so anxious.
 
Commence the nervous chatter.
 
“Onions? No one orders onions,” I snorted. “And vodka-soaked onions are especially gross.”
 
Leo’s lip curled on one side like a pirate. “When was the last time you had a vodka-soaked onion?”
 
“Uh…well, never,” I admitted with a frown. “But it sounds gross.”
 
“Chocolate covered scorpions and braised frog legs are gross. Onions aren’t in the same zip code.”
 
I made a face and shivered. “Have you actually eaten those things?”
 
“Yeah, and actually, they’re not so bad. Chocolate hides the taste of anything, even insects, and frog legs taste like chicken. But you never know unless you try.”
 
“No thanks.”
 
Leo tsked playfully. “You have big opinions, a big mouth, and a hot temper, Nelson. No wonder I like you.” He nodded his thanks when the bartender delivered our cocktails then raised his glass in a mock toast. “To onions.”
 
“Onions?”
 
“We sure as fuck ain’t drinkin’ to olives,” he quipped.
 
I chuckled at his comedic expression then sipped my martini while I wracked my brain for a non-confrontational topic of conversation to stall the inevitable one.
 
“What do you have against olives?” Weak. But it was better than nothing, and Leo seemed willing to play along.
 
“Nothing. It’s a texture thing. I don’t eat them if I can help it but I love olive oil. And tapenade is cool as long as those little suckers are chopped really fine. Otherwise, olives are a hard pass for me. Everyone has a food like that. What’s yours?”
 
“Kidney beans,” I replied quickly. “I like them in chili but not in salad. I have a great recipe for spicy chili that requires multiple glasses of water on standby. My grandmother made it when we were kids and”—I stopped to take a gulp of my drink before braving a look his way—“I’m sorry. You make me nervous.”
 
“Why, Reeve?” he purred, leaning into his elbow on the bar next to mine. “Is it because of last night?”

 

 

Purchase at Amazon:   

 

Amazon

 

 

 

 

A Way with YouA Way with You by Lane Hayes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is book #9, in the Memories With The Breakfast Club series in the Kindle Worlds. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

Reeve applies for his dream job in the city. Then his boss makes him offer he has to refuse. To make matters even worse, the attraction between them intensifies. You just cannot be intimate with your boss.

Leo has been hurt so much in the past. He has so many walls up. Each day it seems like Reeve is breaking them down one by one. Can he trust that his heart is telling him the truth?

This was such an amazing story. There is so much to it. The characters are both strong. The banter is set at a nice quick pace. This was a great addition to this series. It was exciting to read the character development and see the conclusion come together. This book was a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

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Meet the Author:

 

 

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

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