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review 2016-05-31 21:38
ARC Review: Butt Villains On Vacation - anthology
Butt Villains On Vacation - Kage Alan,Ally Blue,TC Blue,Kiernan Kelly

What do you get if you mix a proven team of 4 authors, snark, sarcasm, and a good dose of humorous antics? Why, you get another butt-thology, of course.

In this latest anthology from Kage Alan, TC Blue, Kiernan Kelly, and Ally Blue, we get Butt Villains On Vacation!

I'll review all 4 stories separately.

First up, Master Malevolence in The Tail Of The Fluffy Monkey, by Kage Alan:

This story could only have been written by Kage. I mean, seriously, it has what we shall call Kageisms all over the whole thing. I was howling with laughter only a few pages in, because the clever snark just does it for me. I have a weird sense of humor sometimes, and that's what Mr. Alan usually delivers. Snark. Sarcasm. Witty one-liners. Acronyms that make me giggle, such as Plot Outline Of Peonage, aka POOP. I'm also secretly a 12 year old boy... sometimes.

We enter this story at an awards ceremony for villains....

"In the category of Villainous Acts Green, or VAG, our first nominee is [] for her victory in unknowingly getting the members of a certain church in Harlem hooked on the taste of semen in their coffee."


"Mr. Malevolence [the guy from the title] piped an invisible [] gas into Congress that had every male politician believing they'd grown female genitalia just prior to a vote on limiting healthcare..."

*dies laughing*

Another nominee perpetuated a hoax that all gay people were going to relocate to Texas which had Texas secede from the Union in protest, and.... well, you read this for yourself.

I was laughing so hard, I cried. I couldn't breathe, gasping for air. The way all these current affairs are woven into the speech just left me in stitches.

And on it goes, with snark, and more snark, a wee bit of possibly romantic feelings between two villains, one of them The Fluffy Monkey, lots of references to Gweilos, surely a nod to Mr. Alan's HH and Little Brother, and a conspiracy plot, plus sexing up villain-style - it's a fast ride, it's hilarious, and it earned itself five shiny stars for being so fabulous.

Bonus points for honoring the memory of someone from our FB community who is no longer with us.

The Flaming Skull B&B, by Ally Blue:

What do you get when you mix an on-the-run alien villain running a B&B with an Earthling bartender? Why, you get this funny and quite sweet story, of course.

Kynn-ang-Peen, the aforementioned alien, is supposed to be a villain, but only wants to make people happy. Not exactly in the villain job description, amirite, so he's been running off his home planet and landing on Earth, where he now runs a very unsuccessful B&B. This might possibly be because Kynn-ang-Peen has no "earthly" idea what earthlings look for in a nice, quiet B&B, and his idea of one doesn't mesh with his customers. Or non-customers, because nobody is staying.

His vassal, aptly named Thfft, is mostly interested in hunting and eating crabs, so when the latest potential customer leaves (and then goes up in a heap of smoke, because angry and disappointed villain right there), our lovable alien hies himself to the local bar, Cajun Alley. Where he meets Riley Jackson, bartender, and this is where the plot takes off and goes from villainous and fun to mostly sweet and fun.

It's really rather cute, with misunderstandings between alien notions and Earth reality, and while Riley may be just a little too perfect in his actions and understanding and reaction to coming face to face with an alien, I did like this quite a lot, and thought the ending was just perfect.

4 stars!

Attack Of The Undead Enema, by T.C. Blue:

This was more on the sweet side as well, telling the story of Jake Green, villain-in-hiding, and Griffin, waiter at the resort where Jake is staying/hiding. It has a real villain (The Undead Enema), a bit of angst, and a great romance between the two main characters. I really liked how Griffin stood up for Jake, and basically showing him that their love was worth fighting for, and that the Undead Enema mustn't be allowed to win. I really liked Jake, who was supposed to be a villain, but not, and who loved strongly, and just wanted to do the right thing. He carries a lot of guilt from something that he thought he caused a couple of years back, and I felt sorry for him. I rooted for him and Griffin throughout.

Lovely ending too.

4 stars!

Hero Land, by Kiernan Kelly:

Sadly my least favorite of the four stories in this anthology, mostly because I felt that it wasn't long enough to do itself justice.

The Assassin Bandit (or Ass Bandit, as his travel agent Loki calls him) has been booked for a holiday in Hero Land instead of the Rogue Empire Resort where he expected to stay. Whoopsie. Loki done messed up, but Loki ain't sorry. Faced with impertinence from his not-sorry travel agent, this Super Villain decides to wreak chaos and mayhem in Hero Land instead, because, you know, one's got a reputation to keep.

Except he's foiled in his plans by the Golden Adonis, a hero from Hero Land, whose primarily claim to fame are his adonis-like looks and physique. Shocked that his usually overwhelming smile does not work its magic on Mr. Ass Bandit, our hero feels spurred into action.

It's a Code 69. All of Hero Land must be warned that a villain is in their midst, OMG. Except Adonis, The Golden, feels a stirring in his loins, one that may possibly be reciprocated by our Ass(assin) Bandit, and off they go to possibly fornicate.

I liked the writing in this story for its witty and clever references. Unfortunately, I didn't quite buy the romance and the changes in attitude on the Adonis' part in the timeframe we're given here. It was just too short.

3 stars!

** I received a free copy of this book from one of its authors, because he knew I was salivating for more butt-thology. Thank you, Kage! A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2016-02-20 02:07
ARC Review: Nate And The New Yorker by Kevin Klehr
Nate And The new Yorker - Kevin Klehr

This book felt rushed to me, and it didn't work for me. Nathan (Nate from the title) is from Sydney, Australia, and traveling Europe with his friends/co-workers, when he comes across Cameron. Lust burns hot and heavy between the men, and Cameron leaves Nathan with an invitation to visit him in New York.

Upon returning to Australia, Nate decides to take Cameron up on the offer, to some degree at the prodding of his friends who see Cameron as Nathan's fantasy romance come true.

To some degree, this book felt OTT, as we find out more about Cameron and his ever-present butler, and Nathan feels overwhelmed and out of his league in the art galleries and fancy restaurants Cameron drags him too.

Cameron is more of a dreamer, a lover, someone who freely gives his heart away, whereas Nathan is a realist, who's also still smarting and somewhat bitter from previous heartache. Their differences are very clear from the get-go, and that was fine with me (opposites-attract is a fabulous trope), but then the book veered into total OTT, and that just didn't work for me.

Maybe I'm just not getting what this book is trying to do, and it may work perfectly well for someone else. There were moments that were really good, and those are why I don't regret reading it, but I don't feel that I ever really connected with Nathan or with Cameron on any level that would have made me care about them and their romance.

So, this is most likely a case of "it's not the book, it's me", so do give this a chance and don't let my review scare you off.

** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2016-01-04 01:59
ARC Review: The Boys Of Banana Court: Mitch And Austin by Alex Carreras
The Boys Of Banana Court: Mitch And Austin - Alex Carreras

Young, gay college students living it up on Florida's west coast, while working part-time and having all the fun. A little too much naughty times, self-inflicted and/or coupled, for how short this book is.

Young and hot Mitch Montgomery has just moved into an apartment with his best friend Josh and landed a job at the most fabulous gay gym around, while also attending community college part-time. He's still nursing some disappointment after blowing out his knee during a football game which ruined his chances at playing college ball.

Right across the hall is Austin Grey, also young and hot, who is still hung up on his fat past.

Since this is a small world, Austin used to be in the same high school as Mitch and Josh, but didn't look the way he does now, which explains why neither Mitch nor Josh initially recognize him.

Mitch just sees a hot piece of ass and wants to get his hands on that.

Austin still sees his former fat self whenever he looks in the mirror.

There's a bit too much drama in this novella for my taste, especially since it raises some big conflicts - Mitch's divorced parents and his almost non-existent relationship with dear old dad, Austin's hang-ups with his self-image and the trouble with his mother, plus his reaction once Mitch realizes who he is - but doesn't delve deeply enough into the issues it tries to cover.

Kudos to Mitch though for taking his head out of his ass and fixing what he and Josh broke.

Therefore, this isn't a bad way to spend your lunch hour (bring a towel), but it's also not anything to be taken seriously. This appears to be a series, as this is billed as book 1. I may have to check out the next one when available.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2015-09-24 17:24
ARC Review: Unbreak Broken by JK Hogan
Unbreak Broken - J.K. Hogan

Pre-read notes:

While I knew that Rory had some issues, I didn't realize what they were. This blurb makes me worried. Yes, I know this is a fictional character, but childhood trauma won't be easy to handle. And if this trauma is sexual in nature, I'll likely be crying.


Well, damn. I cried. Not just once.

In this 3rd installment of the Coming About series, we find out about Rory's story. Rory, who's steady and reliable, and kind of tends to fade into the background, even as big as he is, because nobody really sees behind his mask of jolliness, and nobody knows, not even Rory, what's making him so sad and feeling lonely.

I'd never heard of skin hunger, but then I googled that, and OMG. Cue the tears. To think that Rory craves touch, needs it like he needs food and water, but can't get it because he can't meet the expectations behind his wife's touches, was simply heartbreaking.

Rory, a photography teacher at a private school, is in therapy because his young marriage is failing miserably. He doesn't like sex, and his wife is demanding it. He can't perform in bed, doesn't get anything out of it, and he wants to get help to make it all better. Because that is the kind of person Rory is - he's there for others and doesn't ask for much himself.

While in therapy, the childhood trauma hinted at in the blurb comes to light.

Yep, cue the tears #2.

Stunned at having forgotten this horrific experience, Rory doesn't know how to deal, until his therapist makes a suggestion - stop all sexual activities, and find out what works for you.

Rory's wife Maia moves out, having expressed in a joined session that she's not strong enough to help him. WTF, Maia? That's your husband asking you for help with a traumatic incident that he's working through for your sake too? I found her reaction callous and uncaring, and good riddance to her.

Rory has a student in his class, Addison, through whom he meets Bennett Foster.

Bennett sees immediately that Rory is not the happy-go-lucky guy he pretends to be. Intrigued, he tries to get to know the man.

I absolutely loved the interactions between Bennett and Rory. Bennett seems to know exactly what Rory needs, and he holds back and lets the other man lead. Their relationship starts out very low-steam, more of a friendship, but blossoms over time as Rory finds out who he really is, what he really likes. It was simply beautiful to watch how Rory learns to ASK for what he needs, as he discovers what he really needs, and how Bennett was there every step of the way to provide it all. I liked that Rory's discovery of "I'm gay" wasn't a huge drama, that he had enough confidence to say "well, this is who I am, alright", and I loved how Bennett didn't fall into a major trap of questioning that discovery.

I also loved that Addison was a fully fleshed-out character, and her teenage angst and conflict rang true and authentic. She's a huge catalyst for Rory and Bennett's progress as well. Jessie, Bennett's best friend and baby-mama, also plays a big role, and she was well done too.

Overall, this is a sweet, somewhat quiet story about finding yourself, figuring out just who you are, overcoming a traumatic experience, and gaining your one true love. Through it all, even with the drama about Maia's brother, and the sadness with Addison's friend Sarah, the whole book has an overall tone of hope and light.

And so much love.

Superbly done; I couldn't put this down. While this can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend you read the entire series, in order, to get the full impact.

Now, JK Hogan, please write me a book about Neal Hesse, yeah? He needs a story too.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2015-09-24 15:05
Love And The Real Boy by JK Hogan
Love and the Real Boy - J.K. Hogan

I read this twice, by the way, and savored it the 2nd time around.

Love And The Real Boy is Rich's story. If you read the first book (I Survived Seattle), you'll remember Rich as Rory's friend/roommate who lashed out at Justice repeatedly and eventually outed the poor man. Needless to say, I didn't have much sympathy for Rich after the first book, and went into this one wondering how JK Hogan would redeem him.

The book starts out with Ricky, barely 13, and trying to save his brother John-Michael from his drunken, drug-addicted mother's boyfriend. Clearly the author is not pulling any punches - setting up her readers to immediately feel sorry for the kids. After a few years in foster care, Ricky's brother is adopted, and Ricky eventually ages out of the system.

Rich is born. Rich keeps the anger and hurt and pain tightly locked up within himself. He works his way up to Junior executive of a marketing firm. He uses his designer suits as an armor. He keeps his personal life, including his sexuality, completely to himself. He knows he's gay, but he doesn't feel that this is anyone's business, and nobody needs to know. He hides in a closet much like Justice did, if for different reasons. All he's known his life is loss, and he works hard to not lose again. Ever. Opening himself up to a relationship can only means future loss, so he avoids them at all cost.

And finds Rory on his doorstep. I liked that the author gave us a bit of background on just how Rich and Rory became friends and rooommates, including a scene where Rich figures out what's making Rory so sick all the time. She cemented the reason for their close relationship in that scene, and suddenly Rich's actions in book 1 became, if not excusable, at least understandable.

Rich projects all his longing for family on Rory, and believes he might be in love with the straight man, a love that will never see fruition, but if he can't have him as a lover, he will keep him as a best/good friend, which is what Justice threatened when he came into town for Rory's wedding. Which explains, but not justifies, Rich's behavior.

But Rory is married now, Justice has found love with Nic, and Rich needs to make amends for his terrible behavior. A suitable punishment is helping Justice and Rory work with Patrick O'Dowd to restore Nic's boat to its former glory as a wedding present from Justice to Nic.

I loved Patrick. A big, burly Irishman, with a lovely brogue and a good head on his shoulders, he was just the kind of man to pull Rich out from behind the walls he'd built all around himself. He saw the grieving child who only wanted to be safe, and provided that safety in his arms.

Their relationship is hot and heavy from the start, neither interesting in much more than a hard fuck, but it was also clear that both felt more than they were letting on.

Rich has demons to grapple with. The author did a fantastic job showing just what Rich has endured, what fears still plague him, and where his breaking point is. There were many moments in this book when my eyes filled with tears, and I clutched my Nook tightly, if only to sniffle through the scenes that unfold and smile when Rich finds that what has eluded him all his life - a family.

The O'Dowd clan was awesome, a big, loud, loving family, and they engulfed Rich in their midst without a second thought. But Patrick also carries his own demons, about a tragic accident and the fallout from it with not only his own guilt but also his brother Aidan's anger and grief.

Both men have these issues to work through, though I thought that the author did a much better job with Rich than with Patrick, and that Patrick's issue perhaps wasn't handled as well as it could have been.

Rich, though - you see him growing right before your eyes, and it's a sight to behold. His dream of a family of his own becomes reality, and Rich becomes a different man.

Well done, JK Hogan.

The book is well-written. It flows well, and any time jumps are seamlessly built in. The steamy scenes are holy hot boysecks, Batman, but with each one it is clear that the underlying emotions are right there in the words.

While this can certainly be read as a standalone, I would suggest that you read the books in this series in order.




** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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