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review 2017-10-18 11:31
Loved by You (Tropical Heat) by Sophia Knightly
Loved by You (Tropical Heat Series, #5) - Sophia Knightly

 

Fate tends to make an appearance at just the right time.  There are moments where life can become unbearable, but then fate sneaks up to tap you on the shoulder and turn life in a whole new direction.  Piper and Roman have a history.  What began as young love matured into broken hearts. Life pulled them in different directions, but a chance meeting could be a new beginning for a love interrupted.  Ms. Knightly showcases humor, heart and a hint of mystery in Loved by You.  Sometimes crazy, but always delightful and that makes it irresistibly entertaining. 

 

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review 2017-10-02 06:58
1 1/2 out of 3 ain't bad?
Primal Need: A Sexy Male/Male Shifter Anthology: Wolf in King's ClothingThe Alpha's ClaimDark Water - Holley Trent,Parker Foye
THREE HEARTS--For a shifter anthology, this didn't deliver as expected. (avg. doesn't include the 2nd story)

Wolf in King's Clothing by Parker Foye - 3.5-3.75 Hearts

They call him "Prince".

A half breed, small assassin that has had the worst life ended up being my favorite of the anthology, go figure?



The unlikely hero who has been shat on, exiled and doesn't speak due to lacking social manners? My toes couldn't stop curling. Set in alternate Victorian period where werewolves are known, "Prince" aka Kent doesn't really know his true name. He's been collared and kept as a witch's assassin as an adult. He's been bartered over and kept like trash, exiled from wolf packs, he has no kind to call his own. His owner tasks him to do one more retrieval and he will have his freedom, Kent agreed before she even finished her sentence. Kent goes to the highlands to rescue an alpha who isn't like any alpha Kent's met.

But he doesn't care for the alpha, Hadrian's peculiar nature, he just needs to make sure he brings Hadrian back in one piece to his master. The road trip back to York is eventful, as the rival pack that kept Hadrian wants him back. The reasons why Hadrian needed to be retrieved are a little murky.

However personable Hadrian who has his own magical secret was a good choice as a foil to Kent's surly silence. The chip is mega wide on Kent's shoulder and Hadrian's steady persistence to at first befriend Kent was fun to read. The camaraderie, bodyguard/ward relationship takes a romantic turn. And it's subtle, which worked one hand and didn't on the other. The romance is pretty subtle, too subtle in the primal need department. Hadrian is alpha? He read like a beta which I can be down with. But when push comes to shove, he didn't claim his mate.

Kent still has to go through trials during this novella. And it endeared me to him. The story has a nice action/suspense twist and the reader gets to slowly learn about Kent's past and why he's so special.

I thought the reason why Kent is badass was cool. I haven't read about his type much in urban fantasy I've read.

The sex? One scene and no penetration for the smutsters keeping score. The story is interesting and evenly paced. I enjoyed the world building, pretty close to Victorian period with magical/paranormal exceptions.

Out of all the stories, this was the one that showed the most promise. If it's ever re-edited and lengthened, I'm there. Definitely would read more from this author!

The Alpha's Claim by Holley Trent - DNF Delight

A lot of anthologies have a stink bomb or two in their arsenal... this is Primal Need's



The writing style leaves a lot to be desired. Telling, shallow and none of the characters have substance. Then the setting bungle. It's supposed to be set in New York but the setting seemed like it was an internet search and find deal.

If a customer stiffs you repeatedly from tips for weeks... you end up in his bed to get the money you earned?

For what I've read, it's definitely stink face inducing.



Shifter fail. Plot fail.

NOPE.

Save yourself the time.

Dark Water by K.L. White - 2.5 Hearts

If you read the anthology, after the reading the previous stink bomb, Dark Water might read as manna from heaven.

Kelpie shifter lead is definitely on the unusual side of go to shifters.




Being as I didn't suffer through that, I read this without fume-weary eyes. This story is from a debut author... and it reads like it's from a new author. Not a bad thing, I love newbie authors. But the story, while more unusual due to the kelpie shifter mythology brought to the table, the execution has some hits and misses.

Benjamin is on the brink. He's a former naval officer in Maryland who leaves the hospital to kill himself. Trigger warning: attempted suicide. He's blind, has no friends or family other than a racist dementia diagnosed father who wouldn't recognize Benjamin on a good day. He best friend Rez was killed in front of him while trying to save his fellow officers. It's one of the last images in Benjamin's mind. He goes to the beloved beach to die.

At that beach, a kelpie marks him for sacrifice. The kelpie turns out to be Rez, Benjamin's best friend thought to have died on that deadly mission. The mark means Benjamin must die but Rez can't do it. And tries to save his friend. This mission of saving Benjamin gets buried under repetition, different threads to a plot that would've be best kept simple and an underwhelming chemistry.

The length could have been longer to tackle the heavy topics such as a veteran battling depression suicidal thoughts, a new permanent disability, PTSD. The items are touched on, but those are weighty topics that deserved more meat.

And to add more issues: sexuality. Benajimn identifies as heterosexual and never had any sexual feelings toward his friend. Being savd, learning his friend is actually alive and hearing his friend kiss another man helps him discover a part of sexuality he's never questioned?




Benjamin loved Rez as a friend, and while they'd kissed and touched, he didn't know if he was seeking comfort in blindness.


I'm leaning toward that camp of questioning Benjamin's motives as Rez seemed like he wasn't attracted then he was, then he kissed another man even tough he shot the persistent guy down. And now he wants to mate for life to Benjamin.

The kelpie population is dying and the men are charged to mate and make new kelpie foals with female kelpies. Another factor that makes me question the entire relationship factor as Rez wants to do his duty but needs to save his friend more.

And when they have sex, it was "I'm not attracted to males" vs. "but I have to sleep with you to save your life". I'm not liking the way the chips are stacked. It read forced and not sexy. Rough sex for an anal virgin? The possessive streak is usually my go to hot factor but I wasn't feeling it in this context. And the suicidal thoughts were still there close to the end.  I get why the need to mate was needed to keep Benjamin alive but I'm not liking the reasons.

And then way everything is neatly tied up? Uh-uh. Right. Sure.

The ideas are good. The execution is questionable. The story would have been better for me both men had an inkling of shared passion prior to meeting, the suicide and killing didn't happen and the plot remained simple.

My rating is for the kelpie folklore mostly and the premise.

The title of this anthology is Primal Need and not one story addressed that factor. So if you're a reader looking for primal shifters, look somewhere else. The good thing about this anthology is the stories are also sold separately. I'd read samples before getting any of the titles.

So, 1 1/2 out of 3?



A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.
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review 2017-09-26 00:27
Gave good enemies to lovers vibes!
Rough Edges - Cardeno C.
3.75 HEARTS--Another Cardeno C winner for me! Short and contemporary from this author seems to work for me.

I love a lot of tropes, but enemies to lovers is near and dear. In Rough Edges, the enemies are within a group of friends.




Can we say awkward especially when they all hangout?

Thirty-something year old Kyle is determined. He's come a long way from that trailer park in Alabama. He fought and studied hard to be a professional at a prestigious firm in LA. He's got the right clothes, the perfect job, and soon to be the perfect condo. And others think he's a pretentious snob, so what? He's earned it. What he can't stand are people who are "lazy" and live off their trust funds without working and making something of themselves.

Unfortunately, the guy he started to crush on when he first moved to LA, Brent, falls under that category. And Kyle's been prejudiced ever since. Two years has passed from that initial magic meeting. The vitriol that Kyle spews is still iron strong. He digs at the happy go lucky Brent any chance he gets.

One day Kyle loses it all. (Cardeno is good at that, giving a character maximum crap day dealings by the boatload) And you know who helps the pissy guy out? You guessed it, Brent. They become roommates.

In this book the enmity read more one sided but Brent had the mouth and backbone to give as good as he got. But damn is Kyle a prick to Brent. I get Kyle's mindset: when you come from nothing and have to fight for any semblance normal you can get, you could resent others who have it easier aka born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

But Brent's not that guy. He's so likeable. He gets under Kyle's skin. And best part is he gets why Kyle is the way he is toward him.

Kyle is angry and pretentious and that stick in his ass is rooted deep. (The thing is I expected Kyle to be appreciative and humble. But he's not that guy.)




Thankfully, the chemistry is there. And we got dual POV because if it was one sided, I might not have bought it.

I both read and listened to new to me narrator, Kevin Chandler. I think he did a pretty good job. And I would listen to him again. Chandler didn't make all the voices distinct.  But I loved what he does for Kyle's voice. I knew exactly where he was from (the South). And when Kyle gets upset, the Southern intensifies. That was the best part of the audiobook, his take on Kyle.

The roommates learn about each other. That years long lust that was shelved for Kyle's ridiculousness? It comes off the shelf...


"When you want more, I'll give you my dick and then we can see which of us is begging to finish first."



Yes!

The sex is hot, nothing extreme. But the author sets up the characters to share just enough of themselves for the moment to feel intimate. Having Chandler narrate those bits didn't hurt.

Someone's monogamous and definitely a relationship guy. (Cardeno C staple!) Once bedroom action happens, he wants his man. The relationship is not one sided. And the guys seemed to be a great fit, in and out of the bedroom.

Kyle's the type of character who needs to learn as a person to grow. I think he's still a work in progress. He shares his inner demons with Brent. And Brent brings out the best in him.

Overall, a pretty great story with good narration. I'd recommend either version: ebook or audio.



A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-09-13 03:24
Review: John Dies At The End
John Dies at the End - David Wong,Stephen R. Thorne

This book was an exercise in insanity!  This is not the first time I've said this about a book, and considering there are two sequels to this, it won't be the last!

 

Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm too generous with my book ratings, or if I just have superb taste and amazing luck at picking great ones. I'd like to believe it's the latter...so I will.

 

My hubby and I, on a late night Netflix binge, saw this movie and were intrigued by the title--hello, spoilers!  So we watched knowing it would be my kind of flick.   It was bizarre and yet good.  Bizarrely good.  Horror/comedy with a bit of camp.  Everything you need to make a future cult classic.  And of course the moment I found out it was based on a book, it went on my wishlist.   And let me tell you, it is surprisingly hard to get a used copy of this book!  (I was on a budget and trying not to give Amazon any more of my money.)

 

And after I finally got a copy, I didn't read it right away.  Big mistake! Huge!  If I could kick my own butt for waiting so long, I would.

 

The whole thing is told from David Wong's point of view (yes the author is also a character).  I normally hate first person stories, but this was great.  It's about David and John and their ridiculous shenanigans.  It's like they get into the kind of situations that you just can't make up.  I had a friend like that once. She would get into the craziest stuff, and I was there half the time, so I know she wasn't making it up.

 

In the story there's this drug called 'soy sauce' and it's pretty much a gateway to hell--or so Dave and John think.  Crazy things happen when you're on the sauce, a whole new part of your mind is opened up to you.  And once it's opened, there's no closing it!

 

John takes it on purpose, and Dave is accidentially stabbed by the needle he confiscated from John.  Now they are seeing things they would have never wanted in a million years, ever wanted to see.  And they're able to do things--almost supernatural type things.  They get caught up in some serious mess all because of this 'soy sauce', and no matter how hard Dave tries to pull them out, John keeps dragging them in deeper.  It's almost like their [undisclosed] town is situated on a hellmouth!  And John and Dave are the 'slayers' poised to save the world.

 

Everything in this book is just insane. It's the right amount of dark, creepy, crazy and funny.  It's like Evil Dead with two good Ashes.  I loved every minute of it.  And now I'm about to dive into the sequel as soon as I post this.

 

...Why does it always have to be spiders?!

 

 

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text 2017-09-12 15:42
Reading progress update: I've read 306 out of 466 pages.
John Dies at the End - David Wong,Stephen R. Thorne

So much insanity!  The movie was pretty on the nose, but this book is soooo much more. 

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