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review 2017-03-22 18:36
Review: "Role Play" (Play, #1) by Morticia Knight
Role Play - Morticia Knight

"I love you, Phil, Sir, all of the yous."

Phil chuckled against the side of his neck then inhaled as if taking some of Terry inside of him. "I love all of the yous too."

 

Trigger warning: the title refers to a consensual rape scene between a master and his sub!

 

Well, wasn't this a nice little find. Of course, the premise was more than a little silly: three years ago, Phil abruptly left Terry because of a job. He basically dumped him without a proper explanation or good-bye. Now, Phil is back and tries to rekindle things with Terry. They agree to go out for lunch, where Phil confesses to Terry that during his absence he discovered that he's a Dom and into the BDSM lifestyle. And while Terry had never wasted much thought on BDSM at all, he immediately jumps head first into the role of Phil's sub only a few hours later. Um, sure. Ok. Whatevs.

 

 

But once I accepted that premise (or better: once I've put on my pink glasses) and decided to just roll with the story, it turned out to be actually really good.

 

 

The writing was more than just a little decent, it was actually surprisingly good and fresh. That and the author did a really nice job explaining the BDSM 101 basics.

 

The final chapter, which culminates in the title's role play scene, was really well explained and executed. While Terry's dark rape fantasy didn't bother me (probably because I saw how much effort Phil has put into it to make it satisfying for both Terry AND himself), it might still be a little too much for some readers, maybe even upsetting. So mind my trigger warning!

 

I recommend this book to people who never read a BDSM story before and want to dip their toes into this genre. You'll be rewarded with two flawed, but likable MCs, a respectful D/s relationship, and a second chance story with a lot of love. Oh, and did I mention that it was also HAWT?

 

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review 2017-03-20 19:13
Review: "The Impossible Boy" by Anna Martin
The Impossible Boy - Anna Martin

"You make me feel--" Stan said, then cut off the thought before he could voice it.

"Tell me."

"So feminine."

 

Oh man, it was an ordeal to finish this book. AN ORDEAL, I'm telling you!

 

I really liked the premise of a gender-fluid character who suffered from anorexia. Just think of all the possibilities. How does a character like Stan become this confident person at the age of only 21 that he is at the beginning of the book? How does he live his everyday life? How much of a struggle is it for someone who identifies him- or herself as neither male nor female? How is your environment, your friends, your family treating you?

 

 

Alas, I didn't get any of that. What I got instead were endless descriptions of THE most superficial stuff, like putting on make-up and clothes, wearing designer bags, showering! (OMIGOD, all those numerous shower scenes!), washing and conditioning your hair, and body care in general.

 

NOTHING about the everyday struggles of someone who identifies as gender-fluid.

NOTHING even remotely deep about how Stan became the person that he is today.

NOTHING about anything that goes beyond hair styles and wardrobe.

 

I honestly was bored out of my mind during the first part of the story.

 

 

Unfortunately, the second part that dealt with Stan's anorexia wasn't any better. Since the first part was all about his appearances and clothes, his illness has been so neglected at that point that the real severeness of his condition came out of nowhere for me. So much so that I couldn't really relate to it anymore. I really wish the author would have concentrated on THAT part of Stan's personality in the beginning, instead of throwing brands, make-up, clothes, shoes, dresses and handbags at my face.

 

 

It also didn't help that there were A LOT of descriptions that didn't matter at all to the overall story and just made for a boring read. Like

"Remembering they were out of soy milk, he wrote it on the shopping list Ben had brought. It was magnetic and stuck to the fridge, so they shouldn't forget stuff like that anymore."

Um, ok. I know that amplifying a story is important and all, but ENDLESS descriptions of stuff like that that just doesn't matter is nothing but annoying AF.

 

 

But kudos to the author for writing a book with a diverse character. I seriously appreciate that. But if looks, clothes and hair care is all there is to gender-fluidity, then I'm pretty much done with that whole trope already.

 

Thanks again to Julie for accompanying me during another frustrating BR!

 

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review 2017-03-12 15:33
Review: "Shadow Bound" by Garrett Leigh
Shadow Bound - Garrett Leigh

"Luca leaned back into Dash's embrace, feeling the rays of the 

dawning sun bond with the heat of Dash's vibrant form. He tilted his neck to feel the warmth of Dash's lips on his crystalline skin. "Why?"

"Because you have found your soul. Now come with me and let me show you the world."

 

After being attacked by werewolves (off-page), a wounded vampire gets healed by a cat shifter's jizz (!), and they bond. That's it. That was the plot.

 

This felt more like a rough draft for a full novel rather than a short story that can hold its own. The world building was superficial and a lot of things were being left unexplained.

 

 

If this would be a freebie at least, then it would have made for a nice read for a rainy Sunday afternoon. But certainly not for $1.05 (Amazon price at the time of this review).

 

Cannot recommend.

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review 2017-03-10 21:53
Review: "The Imperfection of Swans" by Brandon Witt
The Imperfection of Swans - Brandon Witt

"He was more than a pretty face, this Kevin Bivanti. Maybe he was worth crying over in a bathroom. “Because of fate. We have to have both. Fate and hard work. And the willingness to leap."

 

This was even more wonderful in the reread. So I'm bumping up my initial rating from 4.5 to 5 stars while also putting this gem on my "favorite" shelf.

 

If this book was a wedding dress, it would have been designed by Vera Wang.

 

 

********************************************

First read: January 28th, 2016

1st reread: March 10th, 2017

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review 2017-03-09 19:11
Review: "Hard Wired" (Cyberlove, #3) by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Hard Wired - Megan Erickson,Santino Hassell

"Why are ninety percent of our conversations propping each other up?"

"We both need a lot of propping? I don't know. Why are we like this?"

Good question.

 

 

I had high hopes for the third Cyberlove book after Strong Signal and especially Fast Connection, the phenomenal second book in this series. And while I still loved the writing and the general premise of this series (falling in love online), I'm afraid that this book just missed the mark for me. Which pains me to admit, because I'm a big fan of the Cyberlove series.

 

I usually don't mind angst in my books; in fact I love me some angst, it makes the HEA so much more earned and deserved. What I don't like though is melodrama. Especially unnecessary melodrama. I couldn't, for the life of me, connect to Ian's issue with his different (online) personalities. I mean, don't we all have different personalities, considering who we're interacting with and given the circumstances? I know that *I* am certainly acting and behaving differently when I'm talking to my parents than when I'm talking to my fellow M/M pervs online.

 

 

And I know that this was supposed to be a mutual hurt/comfort story, but for me, the comfort part in Ian's and Jesse's relationship was totally one-sided. I feel like 95% of every conversation/discussion/fight revolved around Ian and his online persona Cerise. There was only little to no support from Ian at all that led to Jesse finally standing up to his parents, and Jesse was THIS close to being a total doormat personality. I don't know why he kept bothering with Ian after their first encounter. Ian,...

 

 

The ending was also rushed, and given Ian's emotional trauma (I think he's been abused by his foster father, but that aspect has never really been fully explained nor dealt with) and social anxiety, it felt also incredibly forced and unbelievable.

 

The guys decided to move in together after one hookup at a con and after spending three days together months later. This was a little too much Disney fairy tale ending for my taste; I think Ian should have at least considered some therapy.

 

 

(spoiler show)

 

A nice addition to this book is the Cerise's fanart page on Tumblr; I totally dig additional website pages and fan services like that.

 

 

So anyway, I'll just consider this book as a minor slip-up in this otherwise excellent series, and I will still be looking forward to the next installment.

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