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review 2018-10-01 01:22
ARC Review: Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall
Hard Truths - Alex Whitehall

On one hand, this book was less superficial than I expected, considering the blurb. I love the fake boyfriend trope, and I was looking forward to a fun book. While there was lots of humor, the depth within surprised me.

On the other hand, I would have liked to repeatedly smack Isaac over the head, not only for continuing to hide Logan being his boyfriend, but also for not realizing that family isn't always determined by blood, especially when your parents are homophobic racist jerks. 

I think what bothered me the most is that Isaac often sounded much younger than I was told he is, especially when he's around his parents, and that he was too blind to realize that he was hurting Logan, and his friends, with his ridiculous stance. While I could understand his fears, those fears blinded him to what he already has, and he only saw what he stood to lose. He lives a couple of hours away from his parents, and he's out to everyone in his life, except for them. But every time he goes home, it is very clear that not only does he not like his parents, especially his father, but he also mocks and ridicules them. And thus I couldn't for the life of me understand what was stopping him from telling them to shove it and tell them who he truly is. 

The romance is definitely whirlwind, much like the blurb promises, and there is hot sex and cheesy puns, and I believed that both Isaac and Logan had feelings for each other. They have a lot in common, and the growth in their relationship felt realistic to me given the timeframe of this book. 

I guess Isaac still needed to grow up. And I guess he does by book's end; he just leaves a whole lot of hurt in his wake that could have been avoided, had he been more emotionally mature. 

The entire book is written from Isaac's POV, so we don't get a whole lot of true insights to Logan, and Isaac's friends, since his view is somewhat skewered and distorted though his lens. The humor was fun (not cheesy, really), and outside of Isaac's behavior with his parents, I did like him as a person. He's kind and considerate to others - just emotionally stunted. Which is likely a result of his upbringing, but I didn't see the same in his sister, and she grew up in the same emotionally stunted home. 

I liked the writing style, and I'm definitely going to check out more books by this author. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-10-01 00:50
ARC Review: Midnight In Berlin by JL Merrow
Midnight in Berlin - J.L. Merrow

I loved Leon's irreverent narrative - he was my favorite person in the book.

In a case of mistaken identity, a werewolf bites a human. Oops.

Christoph, a lawyer of sorts, and Lycan, driving through Berlin in his Porsche very late at night, spots Leon, a student/drifter, who's hitchhiking his way back to this hostel. Leon is covered in feather, after a pillow fight at a concert and some rain, and Christoph thinks Leon is Lycan too and has just killed a large bird. So he stops, offers him a rider, and takes him to his pack house in one of the Berlin 'burbs. Because wolves aren't supposed to run around arousing suspicion, and Christoph chides Leon for potentially revealing the secret.

Leon has no idea what the guy with the Porsche is babbling about, but he's not liking it. And never mind the guy's face growing fangs and sprouting hair. When the car stops, Leon bolts just as soon as Christoph realizes his mistake.

Long story short, Leon wakes up Lycan (oops) after Christoph bit him. Christoph is nowhere to be found, and nobody living in the house where Christoph took him is telling him anything useful.

The pack is led by a horrible man named Schreiber. He's brutal, he treats his pack members like crap, and he's not happy that Leon is now a wolf.

Leon discovers where Christoph is being caged for punishment (that was hard to read, OMG), and together with Schreiber's daughter, they flee the house. 

The rest of the story is basically telling us about their escape and their movements through Berlin, trying to find out what they can about the experiment Schreiber appears to be running. There's a side story with another pack, this one full wolves.

The plot is fast-moving and the action scenes were fascinating, but the romance was rather bland. Outside of some sort of mating bond, I didn't really feel it at all. 

Leon's character stood out for me - the rest of them all were more or less one-dimensional. Christoph was okay, once he let go of his guilt a bit, and we do get a HEA. The descriptions of Berlin felt accurate, and most of the dialogue rang organic and realistic for the characters. 

Not one of my favorites by this author, but I enjoyed it. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-09-30 19:15
Not That Bad
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture - Roxane Gay

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

This collection of essays is a very enlightening one: about people who were raped and/or sexually assaulted, about those who work with them, about the rape culture that permeates so many places and societies.

The latter especially is worth mentioning, because little gestures, little ‘jokes’, everyday sexism and attitudes and ‘if you wear those clothes then You’re Asking For It’ sayings are the foundations of something deeper, something that leads to rape, and make it so that no matter what, the victims are still the ones who have to justify themselves. Justify the amount of times they said ‘no’; or whether they said it clearly enough (apparently, for many people, a woman who says no actually means yes… and they never question it, and therefore make a decision based on what they want to hear). Justify and quantify their pain: if it was ‘so bad’, shouldn’t they be dead? And, since they aren't, shouldn’t they be grateful that ‘at least they’re not dead’ (as if that could erase and negate what was done to them)? As if this was but a trifle, something that you just can, and have to, get over with, because mentioning it will Make Other People Uncomfortable.

I guess I should be grateful that the ‘only’ aggression I had to go through dealt with random guys deciding that fondling my thigh in the train was something they had a God-given right to do. Or grateful that they ‘only’ flashed their dick in front of my face. It wasn’t ‘that bad’, right? Well, screw that. At the root of it, our stupid, crappy society is still stuck on Man Sees, Man Takes (sometimes women do that, too, but it’s nevertheless much more often the other way ‘round, because Boys Will Be Boys, and all that rubbish we dump into boys’ heads when they’re still so little). And as long as we don’t wake up and grow up for a change, this won’t go away.

The styles are varied, by various authors (female, male, trans), including even an essay in comics format, while being close enough to clearly resonate as a whole. They read quickly and easily in terms of grammar/vocabulary, and yet remain powerful and hard to stomach as well, due to the theme they explore and the pain they deal with, whether they are actually depressing or carrying some form of hope.

These essays are definitely worth reading: as an eye opener for some, as a reminder in general of what is at stake, of the day to day attitudes towards sexual harassment, of all the tiny ways well-meaning people can and will say/do the wrong things.

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review 2018-09-29 00:19
ARC Review: Threepeat (Secrets #3) by KC Wells and Parker Williams
Threepeat - K.C. Wells,Parker Williams

Super late to the party with this review, but life took a left turn that still has me scrambling to catch up... well, enough of me and my poor excuses.


I'm not usually one to read menages. There are but a few I've read in my time on GR, and I can probably count them on one hand. However, not only is this book 3 in the Secretsseries, but also written by the fabulous team Wells/Williams, so I definitely had grabby hands.

I have but one complaint after reading this book - why, oh why didn't we get to see Tim's blood family get what's coming to them? Why? I want to read that. 

Anyway, getting ahead of myself.

Aaron and Sam are an established couple, both into the BDSM scene, and both Doms. Obviously, that's a little tricky to navigate but for a good six years, they had a submissive that lived with them, whom they both loved, and who out of the blue decided to leave and break the contract, no explanation given. 

Obviously, this left them reeling, and two years later, Aaron is not ready to try again, and Sam doesn't know what to do. They're in danger of breaking up - that much is clear from the narrative. 

Then Aaron finds Tim, out on the streets after the poor young man was kicked out of his home for being gay, rescuing him from a situation that might have turned real ugly if Aaron hadn't shown up.

So, Aaron takes Tim home to Sam, and after nursing him back to health, the two older men offer him a roof over his head in exchange for some light house-keeping and cooking and such. Sex is definitely not on the table, which - thank goodness, because that would have been super gross, and I wouldn't have liked the characters if they'd done that. These are good men, so they don't. 

Tim sees the two men, thinks them hunky, observes them, learns about them, and realizes that they are exactly what he wants and needs. If only...

This is a sweet read. Not over the top sweet, but engaging and heartwarming and just smile-inducing sweet. I had some giggles too. There were some edge of my seat moments. 

I liked all three characters. Aaron was the softer of the two initially, but there is softness in Sam too - he just hides it better. There was so much sweetness in Tim, but also a lot of steel in his spine. I enjoyed seeing all three men's points of view, with each bringing something unique to the relationship. I enjoyed them learning about each other, learning to navigate the unknown waters, learning to make their threesome fit. I enjoyed the sexy times - I can always count with these authors to make them highly emotional. 

Obviously, this couldn't be a Wells/Williams book without a bit of drama. I won't go into detail here, but it's rooted, as these things often are, in lack of communication and bad assumptions. It doesn't last long, thank goodness, and all three men learn from the experience. 

The characters from the previous books all make an appearance, including Eli and Jarod, the owners of Secrets, and Jarod's indomitable mother, who not only provides a bit of humor but also a lot of really good advice. 

The ending was perfect and oh so swoon-worthy. Loved it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can hardly wait to see what these authors come up with next. It's definitely best to read this series in order, though each book works as a standalone. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-09-28 23:24
ARC Review: Liam For Hire by A. Zukowski
Liam For Hire - A. Zukowski

This was my first book by this author, read and reviewed upon request. 

I liked it for the most part. The tropes used are not new, but the age-gap, baby-gay, and falling-for-your-escort themes worked for me. Ali, the older of the two Mcs is at mid-forty nearly 25 years older than Liam (he of the title), when he hires Liam to teach him about gay sex. 

See, Ali (short for Alastair) has been married, and his late wife never knew that he was gay. It's obviously something that Ali has suppressed for a long time, and he's only recently realized his true sexuality. 

Liam, having left Ireland and his farmhouse home at 16, makes his living as an escort in pricey London after having kicked his drug habit. He rents a room in a shared flat, and still struggles not to relapse into addiction. When Ali hires him, he's initially somewhat taken aback at Ali's request that they "make love" instead of simply having sex. But hey, money is money, and rent needs paying, so Liam gives Ali what he's asking for.

I like that the author didn't flinch at showing the reader what's going on in Liam's head and Ali's head. Their struggles, individual and specific as they may be, felt realistic and believable. While this book isn't full of drama, there is enough of it to earn itself that shelf - for both Liam and Ali. 

The sexy times were, while plentiful for me, not gratuitous. Obviously, there is sex in this book. Liam is an escort, and Ali hires him for sex, however the author made a point that Liam realizes early on that sex with Ali isn't just sex.

I liked Ali a lot. I liked Liam too. Ali is a nice guy. Even as he and Liam deepen their relationship, there is never any pressure from Ali for Liam to quit escorting. He respects Liam's means of income, and never makes him feel cheap or trashy for earning his living that way. And I think that had a lot to do with Liam beginning to trust Ali more and more, and start to believe that maybe they have a chance of making things last.

This was a good book. I enjoyed reading it, and I think you would too. I'm definitely willing to check out more of what A. Zukowski has written. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its author in exchange for an honest review. **

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