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review 2016-08-01 19:53
Decent premise but I couldn't ignore the missteps
Cervena - Louise Lyons

TWO HEARTS--Words I'd hope to describe Červenà (prior to reading): hot, plotty, and a believable romance.

Words to describe after reading: soft, sugary fluff and sweet.

And none of the words I'd hope to see.

A book that has crime, a big age gap, cultural differences, opposites attract...weak, too ambitious and boring. Never thought I'd see the day.

As the blurb states, Joel is a premier gay nightclub owner in Prague. The Brit has a heart of gold and is very sweet to all. He know he's "soft hearted". And has doormat underneath the "boss" facade. He saves a homeless youth who calls himself Sasha. Sasha is twenty, been living on the streets for years due to being kicked out by his homophobic parents. Joel takes one look at Sasha, sneaking food out of the club's yard and offers him a job on the spot. That should have been my first warning sign. OR maybe the nonsensical MANTEARS at Sasha revealing his name is false (under no duress) at 6%.

Thus began a never ending rush into insta-love, script like dialogue and poor development (which the characters remarked on from time to time) in Červenà.

What do you get when the entire plot is not only given in the blurb, but is completed before the halfway mark?

A lot of unnecessary filler and no romance development.

Let's get into my ARC quibbles, shall we?

There were many which I hope are problems of the ARC version and not in the final such as:

- The length & pace - They work hand in hand due to the fact the pace is lopsided - lukewarm start lead to rushed info dumpy middle and dragged out ending. The blurb was promising but when the reader is told every thing and still don't get a sense of the main characters or characters for that matter, it makes for a lackluster read. The length could work as long as the weak spots are formed, trimmed and expanded on when needed. Maybe it's fixed on the published version?

- The characters  - flatter than a pancake flatbread sandwich with flatulence. With the style of telling so heavy in this novel, any sense of with main character is lost anytime there was promise. Joel read older than 35, maybe this was cleaned up in the final version but he was out of character for owning a business like Červenà. He was too polite, any conflict he had was readily explained within the next few sentences and he was more troubled about a headache than dealing with a shady partner from the moment there was a hint of trouble. Just writing he was "soft" didn't cut it. And the way Sasha is readily accepted into his world without giving a sense of the harsh life he left behind...c'mon now. Writing homeless characters who are barely homeless in the story is a pet peeve of mine. Why introduce a homeless character if it'll barely be used?  Both were too cookie cutter and their caricature of their characters didn't fit. At one point, Joel tells Sasha (who said he didn't mind stripping) that Sasha doesn't like stripping, he will need to look into a new job. Too many missteps made for a uneven read.

- The style - info dump central and waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much telling. Nothing is shown. The conflict read too difficult for what the author could offer. If softness and romance was the aim, it should have stuck there. The story suffered from this style.

There were also parts that read underdeveloped and not researched. An example:

- Filipov - I do hope in the final version the mistake with Sasha's sister is corrected. I'm not fluent in Russian but I knew his sister being named, "Elena Filipov" was wrong. It should have been Filipova . Sadly, a quick search would have shown the area the author chose wouldn't have worked for Sasha's hometown. Book says he's from Russia, online that surname is prominent in Bulgaria. This is from less than a minute research. So...

I'm not the type of reader who gets excited just because strippers as a plot point are used in a book. I actually expect some work and research on the author's part to make an interesting read. A land where there are probably 100 (or more) romance books featuring strippers, it should stand out or at least attempt to.

This book is too polite and too ambitious. It'd probably work best if it was kept simple, lost the crime since it was sloppily handled with polite "criminals" and tied up way too easily in sentences when it should have been chapters.

I did not like the main characters, I'm pretty sure once Sasha is exposed to more than just the savior/boss he can do so much better. It came off as gratitude rather than love. It's a little sad actually. Criminals who offer their home for you to recover from injuries. Sales of businesses and contracts to be completed in a matter of hours. Love that is told to happen after the main characters remark they haven't spent any time together (it shows). The entire story could have been a 60pg novella at that rate.

My rating is for the attempt (though it fell short), the sex wasn't anything to write home about but it was decently done.

Probably won't be reading more from this author - the style didn't work for me.

Recommended for readers who prefer telling, not learning much from the characters or story, extremely easy answers to conflict and sugar.

A copy provided for an honest review

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review 2016-07-04 02:35
Damaged Hero hurt/comfort yum yum with a HONEY BADGER/COBRA romance
A Cobra's Charm - Meghan Maslow

FIVE HEARTS--Where are my honey badger lovers at?



This story by new author Megan Maslow shows why honey badgers are DA SHIT. (I heard of a honey badger but didn't know of their ferociousness - seriously, if you don't know - Google it)




This story was damaged hero catnip aka my type of story. Triggers: off page rape, implied child abuse


Set in Libya, Jiri is an abused cobra shifter held captive in a human collector's shifter prison. Various shifters, predator and prey are kept for the greedy human collector, Demetrius's amusement. And Jiri is his coveted prize. Captured at eleven years old and now in his early twenties, orphan Jiri doesn't remember what it's like to be free and doesn't dream. He's been beaten down, made to wear a hood to cover his mesmerizing eyes and doesn't realize he's a predator too.


Miksa, is a vicious honey badge and Demetrius's latest acquisition. But the collector gets more than he bargains for in Miksa. Honey badgers aren't called tenacious for a reason. Miksa is made to fight but he catches Jiri's eyes. And more importantly, Jiri catches Miksa's.




Belly dancing Jiri can get in my pocket and stay there forever and ever.




The writing? Consider me impressed. The writing was great, the setup even great and the way it's written? Didn't seem like a first timer. The setting read authentic and more importantly the little details made the difference. You can tell the author made the effort. An example, Miksa is an American who is fluent in Arabic. But his Arabic was different to local Jiri. And...he SAID so.


Miksa is adamant in not caring for or about Jiri, but he can't help his protective instincts. And a protective, fierce warrior who cares for a damaged hero is awesome. But when the damaged hero proves he can take care of his own just as fiercely? Why that makes it the best. You can't keep predators locked up for long. Trust. ;)


Loved the ending and the revenge. It just read sweeter to me. My lusty self was satisfied.


"A Cobra's Charm" didn't even feel short, it's a complete story. Doesn't mean I wouldn't love to revisit this world, maybe starring Miksa's feline opponents? There are options for more in the future. *bats lashes*  #hopeful


This is definitely in my top three of the anthology. I'll be rereading this shortly (a testament as to how much I enjoyed this story)

Highly recommended to unusual shifter lovers - this is the ultimate treasure trove: natural animal enemies who find a HEA. Ms. Maslow, can't wait to read what you write next.


Honey Badgers FTW!!!


A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2016-02-03 05:40
When will I learn...
Forbidden - Scarlet Blackwell
  Let me start off by saying: A big THANK YOU to my surprise not-so-secret Santa who jizzernated this book to me because he's the bestest Stallion in the entire world (and fuck what ya heard). He gets all the stars, hearts, whatever cutesy rating system people come up with nowadays - hot dogs, bobsleds, kisses, staple guns, mugs, chia pets, etc. He gets them all! He's a 5++++infinity friend!! Thank you for this!!



Now...maybe you want to leave the room? *smh* Probably not.

Okay...onto why this book made me wear the biggest WTF face in history! (I exaggerate - it was only for an hour or two.) But it's been sometime since I got ramrodded by Blackwell fuckery.

Forgive me.

This is a 2.5 bobsled hotdog stars at the most.

Y'see, I like rent boy stories. Wait, hold on...I love them. And the strippers. Oh, do I enjoy those stories too. And you might have seen me gush once or thirty times about billionaires. I like reading how the rich folk get with the poor folk. So "Forbidden" with the blue collared, down on his luck stripper (Jeremy), who also sells his ass on the side finally gets his HEA with a mild mannered wealthy gentleman (David) I had to have it.

I know what to expect with Blackwell. Sometimes when the cray-cray is reined just right, there can be magic. Other times it's "WTFuckery" (thanks Sara) and this is leaning heaving on those WTF letters. In fact this book is bent over while getting double rimmed by WT and fucking F in hotpants.

Triggers: Rape (off page), abuse, on page violence for those curious to try this path.

Jeremy is a stripper. He's being pimped, abused and raped (but seems so blase about it all) by a weird villain/club owner pimp. He sees closeted David one night and lets him touch his dick. It was magic. *rolls eyes* The two start a whirlwind...romance? Is that what it is? Probably to them because they had mushy thoughts when it was so soon and odd for their characters while David continues to hide in the closets for reasons (which aren't given). Both characters weren't as concrete as I'd have liked them, especially David who seemed to have a personality transplant somewhere around 60% or so.


I'm conflicted.

The base part of me...she loved the fuck scenes, especially since more than half
(spoiler show)
of the fuck scenes were in PUBLIC! And that is my SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT! Fucking on a stripper pole, orgies (that's right multiple), alleyway, pantry...

Sometimes the filler didn't make sense but it didn't seem like the author cared too much as long as we got to an awesome fuck scene. Who am I not to bask in PUBLIC fucking?

Even when the characters are weak as fuck, the telling got in the way and the suspense subplot was as strong as a overcooked noodle.

EXHIBITIONISM! Just ignore the nonsense and say yes to the genitals being shoved to and fro in public!

Now onto something else that is standard in a Blackwell 'American' story. *sigh* Let me find my fave gif.

This is the couple's initial meeting.
"Is that your stage name or real name?"
"Would I choose Jeremy as a stage name? It sounds like a British public school name."

Because American guys totally would think of Jeremy as a British public school name. Right? ;)

Scarlet Blackwell, I implore to you. If your characters think British, SPEAK BRITISH, the entire story's tone is British and the only thing supposedly tying them to my country of the US of A is just a couple of Googled American places, why not just set the book in the UK?

This is not the first time a reviewer has spoken out about Blackwell's 'American' stories. Sometimes it's funny when I read it, when I don't know what the hell the characters are talking about. But how many "kerbs" must I read about? I could gripe about some editing/ content issues but this isn't a review book for me.

The ending was rushed and slapped together with loose strings.

So much telling. I think I know why too, to fit another fuck scene in the book.

Was it scorching? Of course.

But so far from realistic.
These two men should not have been able to move much less have wall pounding sex. The author details the injuries: they're extensive - sprains, cuts, black eyes, etc. David concussed TWICE. DAVID WAS DRUGGED! Jeremy and David probably suffered smoke inhalation and went to the hospital and they still manage to DRINK WINE to CHAMPAGNE and FUCK EACH OTHER MULTIPLE TIMES?!! AM I STILL ON EARTH? ARE THEY?!
(spoiler show)

Also whhhhhhhhhhhhhy end the story with such a loose end and then write that epilogue?

(spoiler show)

One of these days, my love of rent boy stories will bite me in the ass. Surprisingly, today is not the day.

Because I expect WTFuckery from this author.

Because though the plot was sort of lame, it sort of wasn't...but close to was. Yeah.

Because most importantly public sex.

Hey, we all have our crosses to bear.


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review 2016-01-09 20:59
When you get bespelled by good blurbs and the writing can't back it up...
Stalked - H.C. Brown

1.5 HEARTS--Come join me in WTF land, won't you? There are pancakes.

We'll need the sustenance.

New to me author, H.C. Brown's "Stalked" is the second book in The Slayers series. It is about nano enhanced super soldiers or ex-soldiers who are extremely rich, like mega billionaires (they like throwing that around while stating it's not a big deal) who investigate murders under the FBI's nose (for why?) and run an ultra exclusive BDSM club.

The setting is supposed to be New York City where the city that never sleeps actually sleeps: "the road is empty and I'd say the entire population is asleep". And has a murderer on the loose, the Stripper Ripper. The Stripper Ripper is targeting dark haired gay twinks. Micah who is 5'2" , a stripper and submissive is hiding a past and secrets (that is never explained in the book). His real name is Jeremiah Sterling but he goes by the stage name Snake. He's the next target of the murder but is truly doing the space cadet league of the TSTL Academy proud because he continues to bumble his way into the killer's path over and over again.

Oh...while making time to strip and be submissive. For whom? The Slayers, of course! The Slayers are cyborgs? *scratches head* Some of them are and all of their blood is. Who cares?! They play pretend at BDSM and have lots of cash like at a time $5000!! They have billions in the bank! Whoop whoop, hooray for superficiality!

Soren is the big bad 'Dom' Slayer who doesn't care because he's programmed that way. But he likes the "butterfly" aka Micah. While searching for the killer (LOL to the search and the killer), Soren forces Micah to have sex under the guise of using their nano pheromone the first time since Micah was iffy with his consent. He basically told Micah to shut up and take it. It was supposed to be sexy? So I'll warnif the book doesn't, dubious consent. The rest of the times the sex happened, it wasn't SSC [safe, sane, consensual] or BDSM but in WTF land I think it's considered BDSM...so...

The BDSM...I am tagging it as such because the book is tagged as such. Please don't think this is. This is some made BDSM that is just abuse. You have a nano enhanced 6'7" asshole who admits he wants to torture his "pup" and flay his skin off since the nanos will heal him. He think it's "pain pleasure"/ "edge play" or whatever bullshit he wants to package it as but it is abuse. That is not BDSM.

"Can we discuss boundaries? A contract perhaps?"

Soren wanted to shake him. Boundaries, holy fuck, would this little shit ever trust? "No! I refuse to discuss limitations, or contracts. I am a Dom and in my dungeon, we go by my rules. I will push you to the edge and you willtrust me to give you pleasure."

There is nothing more that I loathe than Doms written like Soren. This book went from a possible 2.5-3 Hearts to a straight D- aka 1.5 Hearts with that bullshit. Ordering someone around and declaring yourself a Dom while wearing black leather and having a "dungeon" doesn't make you a Dom.

With that asinine logic I should go to my bank and declare myself a frigging millionaire!

The book barely knew the basics of BDSM. Anytime it sort of got something right, there goes Soren or the Slayers or whatever other hokey thing barging in to muck it up.

The book started like a bad B movie, it was laughable, but sort of fun. However, once the crap BDSM started, and the way Soren treated Micah happened, it wasn't fun anymore. I can only stretch my reality suspension rubber band so far. It broke somewhere in the middle. The author didn't seem to care about characterizations or plots or setting as much as the story continued.


* Have an American read future stories in this series over if there will be more since it read like pseudo Brit/Aussie mish-mash. This is supposed to be set in America and it doesn't read like it.

* Know the setting - just because New York City points of interests can be Googled doesn't mean it will read authentic. It doesn't. Was this an alternative universe? A different planet with a fake Manhattan? If it was, it should have been clearer.
* Having all of your characters use the same colloquialisms and share the same thought processes melds all of your characters together. Though this story is a deep as a pocket of air, it made the story useless by the end. Um...Sorren style. (What was up with the lame and awkward dialogue and catchphrases by the way?)

* A person who is 6' 7" can not just stand straight and have sex with another person who is 5' 2" without some body mechanics issues. Think...of the logistics. The taller one's cock will automatically land in the shorter one's ass when in the book he complained about the shorter one barely reaching his shoulders? Unless the shorter twink has freakishly long toes, about 12 inches or so. Excuse me.

* Since when did stripper = sub? A stripper can be a sub but it doesn't mean that all strippers are submissives. So why would a random person call a gay strip club to order a personal night with a submissive? Is there a menu that I missed? The strip club (Pinkies) where the twink originally worked did not state at any time that it was also BDSM club. In the land of WTF, this is all okay and $5000 seems to be the golden ticket to anything. (Please refer to the awesome gif above.)

The suspense part was ridiculous. The murder? why? The entire thing was stretched out. He could have struck so many months earlier. The couple is ridiculous. The premise was interesting, maybe written differently...it could've been something? I didn't read the previous book. I was lost about the backgrounds of the Slayers but I think I'd still be lost if I did read the first book. There were questions unanswered, items not developed. I'm not interested in reading any more of this series. My eyes can't roll any more for today.

Why not the just give it a 1? Hm...it wasn't so bad in the beginning. cheesy as hell, weak characters and surprisingly not all about sex but once the sex started, it went to shit. And the cover isn't bad. *shrugs*

Now it's time for me to leave WTF land. I'd love to eat pancakes all day but I can't. Bye!

Not recommended for anyone I know. I highly doubt I'll be reading this author again.

A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2015-08-03 05:40
I will make it rain (singles) on someone...the search continues.
First Dance - E. Davies

I saw stripper and I got excited. Anytime I see stripper tag attached to a romance I think:

I get my singles ready and everything.

But this isn't that kinda romance.

This is Fluffy McSugarson with a bowl full of Aw!

No sex (not necessary), full of college geek awkwardness and a stripper who likes to memorize poetry to help with his anxiety.

I'm glad both main characters has similar anxieties and their conversations tapped into my barrel of aw! Because they were awkward kinda cute. I'm not really amazed by poetry memorization but I picture Danny (the stripper) and his Scottish accent reciting Shakespeare and I smile.

Maybe do some of this too:

Danny, you could have had a thong full of singles if you turned it into that kinda romance.

His loss. ;P

Sweet and funny at times. Not extremely memorable but there's something about this that made me root for the nerdy bookstore worker protagonist (Kyle) finally coming out of his shell and possibly meeting the other half to his nerd soul.

I'll round up

So I'm going to take my singles and hit the road. The search for that kinda romance with the essence of ratchetness continues.

My thanks to the author and the team behind the event. 

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