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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-09 17:31
Book Review: Lock and Key by Z. Allora
Lock and KeyLock and Key by Z. Allora
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A somewhat straightforward BDSM romance. Sort of May-December in that one of the main protagonists is 18 when the novel starts but 21 by the time the relationship actually starts.

18 year old Zack Davis knew the minute he met 26 year old Andrew (Drew) Nikeman that he wanting nothing more than to belong to the older man. The problem was that Zack's older brother Dusty was dating Drew's younger brother, Justin, which made it kind of weird. But as the friendship between the two men grew, so did Zack's feelings for Drew, until one day he made a play for the older man.... and was rejected.

Reeling from the devastation of being turned down for 'being too young' and 'family', Zack went to a low scale BDSM club to get what he truly needed from Drew but was denied - to say the encounter went badly was an understatement. Drew's rejection and the one bad encounter he had with subbing made Zack turn to being a Dominant. If he couldn't get what he truly needed and craved he'd make sure other submissives got what he'd been denied - a truly attentive Dom who looked out for their best interest, took care of them and gave them what they needed.

But denying his true nature was slowly destroying Zack inside. He hadn't been truly intimate with anyone since that fateful night 2 years ago. His soul still cried out for Andrew - as he forced himself to call the man he desperately craved to call Master. No longer Drew, Andrew was someone he had no choice but to associate with because of their brothers' relationship and because Sir Andrew belonged to the same exclusive BDSM club that Zack did.

Zack grew more into himself, avoided family get togethers when he could and made himself scared when he couldn't, all to protect his shattered heart.

Except Andrew finally realized he'd made a monumental mistake turning Zack down, that he craved and needed Zack as much as Zack had needed Drew. But was it too late? Had he denied the both of them a happy ever after because of his excuses that he was protecting his little brother's relationship?

A chance contest at their club, a night where a few Doms put themselves on the charity auction block to become subs for a weekend gave Drew the opportunity to show Zack that the younger man belonged with him - kneeling at Drew's feet as his submissive. But was it too little too late?

Read the book and find out!

View all my reviews

 

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review 2018-07-22 14:35
kinda creeps up on ya!
Edge Jump - Elizabeth Noble
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my copy of this book direct from the author, that I write a review was not required. Brett retired from professional ice hokey and now runs the centre his parents set up, to teach. His sister, Celia and her partner, Rylan, has moved onto ice dancing. But a senseless crime takes Celia away from both Brett and Rylan, and brings them both together at their darkest time. Then Rylan is hit with a far worse tragedy. Can they get through this, together? You know, sometimes, you read a blurb, and your brain plots away, and that's what you expect from the book?? Then the book actually goes off in a way you did not see coming?? And you loved it for it?? This book, right here! I have NO idea what I thought would happen here, but I was very surprised with it! It really did kinda-creep-up-on-me!! Brett and Rylan have chemistry, right from the start. But Brett keeps himself back a bit, and it pulls at you, the way Rylan reacts to that. There is a lot of pulling on the heart strings here! I loved the way Brett gradually introduced Rylan to BDSM, and that Rylan took to it, like a duck to water. I didn't think it overly explicit though and I LIKED that here, but that might just be me! I did not get how Celia and her fiance's deaths would play out. Did NOT see that one coming at me, not at all! Rylan's recovery from what happened is long and painful, but you feel it **taps chest* right here. Every time his brain threw self doubt at him. Every time Brett pulled him out of it, and you cheer, when he finally is able to get back on the ice. And when Rylan listens to Brett when he says "I'm not going anywhere!" I've read a couple of other books by Ms Noble, and I do like how she can switch from paranormal, to contemporary, to more sexy books. High skill of an author, I think! It crept up on, this book, it really did! 4.5 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-07-21 14:14
i need more of this author!
Hers, Unbroken (Hers #2) - Anna Adler
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. As head of the pet training centre, Holly knows exactly what that training involves. Chase deliberately gets himself caught to be taken to the training centre, because that is what he really wants! To be a sex slave. Holly though, wants to set him and all the other pets free. But Holly only has Chase for 48 hours before they come for him. Can they work together to get what they BOTH want?? This is book 2 in the Her series but you don't NEED to have read book one, Hers Untamed, for this one to make sense. However, personally, I think you SHOULD read it before this one. It will give you a better picture of the people of Silenia, and just what having a pet means to them. It will also give you a better picture of just how different Holly is from the rest of her people. Also, I said in my review for that book, I wanted Jax, the 'pet', to have a say, because he didn't. Chase DOES have a say here, and it does creep my star rating up a fraction but I still can't stretch to the full 5 stars. And I think that's mostly because the rebellion happens almost overnight! One day, they all want to keep their pets under lock and key, and the next, everyone is free!! Felt really kinda rushed to me. It's still a really great read, and I loved that Chase refuses to perform for anyone but Holly. Loved that she couldn't quite get her head round the fact he wanted to be a sex slave. And I did read it in one sitting! Are there more planned?? I hope so. Even with the rushed rebellion, I think these people have more to say. 4.5 stars, rounded up for the blog. **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-07-18 17:35
Corpora Delicti - Manna Francis
Corpora Delicti - Manna Francis

 

Corpora Delicti is the 9th and so far most recent part in Manna Francis' The Administration series (aka TA). I guess most of my followers here are unfamiliar with it, therefore I'll use the first part's blurb as a short introduction:

 

There are no bad guys or good guys. There are only better guys and worse guys. One of the worse guys is Val Toreth. In a world in which torture is a legitimate part of the investigative process, he works for the Investigation and Interrogation Division, where his colleagues can be more dangerous than the criminals he investigates. One of the better guys is Keir Warrick. His small corporation, SimTech, is developing a "sim" system that places users in a fully immersive virtual reality. A minnow in a murky and dangerous pond, he is only beginning to discover how many compromises may be required for success. Their home is the dark future dystopia of New London. A totalitarian bureaucracy controls the European Administration, sharing political power with the corporations. The government uses violence and the many divisions of the feared Department of Internal Security to maintain control and crush resistance. The corporations fight among themselves, using lethal force under the euphemism of "corporate sabotage," uniting only to resist attempts by the Administration to extend its influence over them. Toreth and Warrick are more natural enemies than allies. But mutual attraction and the fight for survival can create unlikely bonds.

 

My love for this series knows no bounds, and it makes me a bit sad that, outside a group of hardcore fans, it's relatively unknown. It's often called m/m romance or slash, but those labels give a rather false impression. I'd describe The Administration as political thrillers set in a dark dystopia, an all-too-plausible world with all-too-plausible characters; an intricate mix of police procedural, soap opera-like family gatherings, foodporn, and porn-porn, with a heavy dose of the best and most realistic pansexual BDSM I've read up to this date. Unfortunately, this mix is somewhat of a niche product; the BDSM could scare off fans of police procedural, and people looking for juicy m/m action could be disappointed by the sometimes really dry procedural parts. And who wants to read corporate dystopias in this day and age anyway, when the real thing is waiting just outside the door?

 

So, yeah, somewhat of a niche product. But a very, very good one.

Corpora Delicti wasn't the most exciting adventure for our boys Toreth and Warrick. After a time of political unrest and personal challenges, they find themselves sharing a flat and dealing with the aftermath of a revolt that almost destroyed the Administration and their relationship. While Toreth has do deal with a case of, at first glance, quite boring white collar crime, Warrick wants to find answers to a personal question tormenting him. Although Toreth's case turns out to be a lot more murderous and complex than it seemed, and Warrick's stupid moves could endanger his life, the professional threats in this volume are rather low-level – especially compared to the emotional intensity of #6, First Against the Wall, and #7, Family Values.

 

Meanwhile, their relationship not only stagnates, but seems to make steps backwards. This has never been a conventional romance, it has never been a healthy relationship, but here even I felt like screaming: „Warrick, please get the fuck out!“ It's mostly Toreth – unfaithful, but deadly jealous - being a careless jerk, and Warrick putting up with it because his pet-torturer is the only one who can give him what he needs, the sense of losing control. Warrick gets off on fear (Francis is uncommonly explicit about this fact here), and Toreth provides the edge of real danger. And of course he is good at their game; he knows what to do because he tortures people for a living, a fact Warrick conveniently ignores most of the time. He's tiptoeing around Toreth, trying not to provoke him, constantly finding excuses for his bad behaviour – and if that doesn't ring all warning bells, then I don't know what's fucking wrong with you, but at some moments in this book the relationship skipped into the actual abusive. The repeat performance with Sara, Toreth's admin, is just the bitter icing on the cake. But just when I've begun to hate him - and such is the brilliance of Manna Francis - I'm back alone with Toreth and realize once again that he lacks the emotional maturity for any kind of meaningful relationship, is too disconnected from his own feelings to understand what others could possibly be experiencing. He's violent, he's dangerous, and Francis is careful not to glorify or romantisize his behaviour – and yet he's all too easy to like (if you're me, that is).

Analysing the relationship and analysing Toreth is half the fun when reading these books. Is he a sociopath or is he not? I don't think he is, although he displays signs of antisocial behaviour patterns. I've recently learned about alexithymia, and it seems to fit Toreth quite well. Maybe with the exception of „scarcity of fantasies“, because he's not lacking imagination when it comes to developing kinky scenarios for Warrick.

 

Stories and relationships in TA often make me feel uncomfortable. As far as I am concerned, that's one of the greatest qualities of the series, together with Manna Francis' crisp and clear prose, the realistic dialogue, and her outstanding character development. While Corpora Delicti was less intense than some of its predecessors, on this account it didn't disappoint. Most of all, it feels like an inbetween-book, setting up higher stakes for the next sequel; first through the meddling of one powerful and oh-so-very annoying Administration division, and secondly through not only rising tension between our boys, but with introducing possible competition for Toreth in form of a new co-worker for Warrick, who happens to be just his type and a lot saner and safer and less frustrating than torture-boy. I hope one day we will see how that plays out.

 

Given the subject matter, this series comes with all kind of content warnings, most importantly for torture and sexual violence/rape. It's rarely very explicit, but I find the implications to be even worse. Well, this is no pleasant world, these aren't pleasant characters, and while the books are very, very good, they are not exactly light-hearted.

 

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review 2018-07-13 20:20
One Man's Trash
One Man's Trash - Marie Sexton

Wow. Easily one of my favorite books this year. What a complex relationship. Love Warren and eagerly await Gray’s story.

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