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review 2017-10-02 07:03
Is that a bunch of tropes in your pocket or are you happy to see me?
Unshakeable Faith - Lisa Worrall
FOUR HEARTS--Come along with me won't you? Join me in the tropey goodness of Unshakable Faith.

Because I'm still huffing the fumes of this OTT treat. If I had to quickly describe this book (or should say experience), it's like a sexier Dreamspun Desires title on meth.


*stares at the fumes*

This was an experience of tomfoolery, unrealistic actions, hot sex, door slamming, jealousy, pounding, almost cheating, shattered hearts, a punch that saves all ills and the sweet cracky fluff.
And did I mention the sex?



Because the trip to Poundtown was so fruitful, it cured all woes.




Not mad at it all.

If you're looking for escapism, look no further. Not my first Lisa Worrall, so I knew ahead of time to expect some over the top-ness. Not disappointed.

It all starts on a fateful day in a San Antonio bar owned by secret rich boy (and humble) Brody Tyler. He's a gentle giant, 6'4" with a soft heart for those in need. Enter the most beautiful man with green eyes, Nash. Nash doesn't remember who he is, only knows he was attacked three months ago and his body is riddled with scars and a nurse named him Paul. But it doesn't feel right. What should the sweet bartender do? Why offer him a job and a room in his home, of course.


I see the eye rolls from here. ;P

Not Paul renames himself Nash. Amnesia Nash is so sweet. He is grateful for the help and befriends the bar workers including Wyatt, Brody's best friend and the best goddamned secondary character in this novel. (I'll get to Wyatt's awesomeness later). Brody is obviously attracted to Nash but tries to be a friend. It's Nash who makes a move after a few weeks in a hot possessive glory.

I was getting Calmesian feels at that point, all systems are a go.

What more could happen to mess with that fluff bubble?

A killer plot! Someone knows who Nash really is and wants him dead!



And the killer is sloppy (obviously since the first go round didn't work) and sloppily attempts to get Nash again.

So now Nash is in the hospital for a second time and now he remembers everything before the first incident but not the last six months.

And the real Nash? He's an asshole. I cursed not having the ability to reach through the book (I read along and listened to the audiobook) and smack the ever living shit out of Nash. Nash is a wealthy businessman with a heart made of coal. And he enjoyed himself.



I wondered how the author was going to pull these two men together with Nash not having any memory of being booed up and now having the jerk quality about him. Enter tropey plot device a la: bodyguard/ward twist. Brody haphazardly ends up being Nash's bodyguard (yes without having any experience or training) You just have to leave reality with me for this one.

Here, have a hot dog.


Have a few.

Asshole Nash + Fake Bodyguard Brody + Sloppy As Hell Murder Plot + Secrets = DRAMA!

There was enough drama for me, you and the entire world. Between the narrator's over-acting and this crazy ass plot, I was HIGHLY entertained!



I'm going to have to disagree, Tim Gunn. Yes, do that! Do that please!

It was like reading about teens at times. What with the emotions, tears, door slamming (seriously what was up with all the slamming of the doors?), brushes with death (so many...) and the weaksauce reason behind all the attempted murder, this book could go either way.

But it worked? Well for me anyway.

This was my first time listening to Sean Lenhart. The story is set in Texas and the narrator is clearly not from the South. I heard all East Coast even though he tried. It got to be distracting at first, then after reading the story while listening, I noticed there was an OTT-ness to it all. And Lenhart definitely did the thing with that. His crying, dramatic gasping and high emotion scenes sounded the same like the sex scenes. I laughed for all the wrong reasons. His Brody was great. His Nash? LOL wow. No, that accent was so bad it was good in a way. Overall, it fit the theme in a weird way. I rate the narration 3.75 Hearts. I'd give another book narrated by Lenhart a try.

Unshakeable Faith with all the crazy and cracky fluff, it got the job done. I looked forward to listening to the story. It was like a soap opera with all that it had going on. Is the story perfect? Far from it. There are plot holes scattered throughout, reality just doesn't exist here.

And then I reflect on the great moments: the mens' first time, the moment one of their heart shattered, the best punch scene that could've never happened... but I didn't know I needed until it happened.

Wyatt, Brody's BFF, does what I'm sure many readers of this book wanted to do. He's what a BFF stands for. He was Brody's conscience, always had his back and told it like it needed to be told.

I was here for Wyatt.

I am here for Brody and Nash. If this six year old book was a soap opera, I'd still be watching it to this minute.




Recommended if you don't mind fluff, cracky plots, sweetness, fluff and crazy.
Leave reality at the door.



A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-10-02 06:58
1 1/2 out of 3 ain't bad?
Primal Need: A Sexy Male/Male Shifter Anthology: Wolf in King's ClothingThe Alpha's ClaimDark Water - Holley Trent,Parker Foye
THREE HEARTS--For a shifter anthology, this didn't deliver as expected. (avg. doesn't include the 2nd story)

Wolf in King's Clothing by Parker Foye - 3.5-3.75 Hearts

They call him "Prince".

A half breed, small assassin that has had the worst life ended up being my favorite of the anthology, go figure?



The unlikely hero who has been shat on, exiled and doesn't speak due to lacking social manners? My toes couldn't stop curling. Set in alternate Victorian period where werewolves are known, "Prince" aka Kent doesn't really know his true name. He's been collared and kept as a witch's assassin as an adult. He's been bartered over and kept like trash, exiled from wolf packs, he has no kind to call his own. His owner tasks him to do one more retrieval and he will have his freedom, Kent agreed before she even finished her sentence. Kent goes to the highlands to rescue an alpha who isn't like any alpha Kent's met.

But he doesn't care for the alpha, Hadrian's peculiar nature, he just needs to make sure he brings Hadrian back in one piece to his master. The road trip back to York is eventful, as the rival pack that kept Hadrian wants him back. The reasons why Hadrian needed to be retrieved are a little murky.

However personable Hadrian who has his own magical secret was a good choice as a foil to Kent's surly silence. The chip is mega wide on Kent's shoulder and Hadrian's steady persistence to at first befriend Kent was fun to read. The camaraderie, bodyguard/ward relationship takes a romantic turn. And it's subtle, which worked one hand and didn't on the other. The romance is pretty subtle, too subtle in the primal need department. Hadrian is alpha? He read like a beta which I can be down with. But when push comes to shove, he didn't claim his mate.

Kent still has to go through trials during this novella. And it endeared me to him. The story has a nice action/suspense twist and the reader gets to slowly learn about Kent's past and why he's so special.

I thought the reason why Kent is badass was cool. I haven't read about his type much in urban fantasy I've read.

The sex? One scene and no penetration for the smutsters keeping score. The story is interesting and evenly paced. I enjoyed the world building, pretty close to Victorian period with magical/paranormal exceptions.

Out of all the stories, this was the one that showed the most promise. If it's ever re-edited and lengthened, I'm there. Definitely would read more from this author!

The Alpha's Claim by Holley Trent - DNF Delight

A lot of anthologies have a stink bomb or two in their arsenal... this is Primal Need's



The writing style leaves a lot to be desired. Telling, shallow and none of the characters have substance. Then the setting bungle. It's supposed to be set in New York but the setting seemed like it was an internet search and find deal.

If a customer stiffs you repeatedly from tips for weeks... you end up in his bed to get the money you earned?

For what I've read, it's definitely stink face inducing.



Shifter fail. Plot fail.

NOPE.

Save yourself the time.

Dark Water by K.L. White - 2.5 Hearts

If you read the anthology, after the reading the previous stink bomb, Dark Water might read as manna from heaven.

Kelpie shifter lead is definitely on the unusual side of go to shifters.




Being as I didn't suffer through that, I read this without fume-weary eyes. This story is from a debut author... and it reads like it's from a new author. Not a bad thing, I love newbie authors. But the story, while more unusual due to the kelpie shifter mythology brought to the table, the execution has some hits and misses.

Benjamin is on the brink. He's a former naval officer in Maryland who leaves the hospital to kill himself. Trigger warning: attempted suicide. He's blind, has no friends or family other than a racist dementia diagnosed father who wouldn't recognize Benjamin on a good day. He best friend Rez was killed in front of him while trying to save his fellow officers. It's one of the last images in Benjamin's mind. He goes to the beloved beach to die.

At that beach, a kelpie marks him for sacrifice. The kelpie turns out to be Rez, Benjamin's best friend thought to have died on that deadly mission. The mark means Benjamin must die but Rez can't do it. And tries to save his friend. This mission of saving Benjamin gets buried under repetition, different threads to a plot that would've be best kept simple and an underwhelming chemistry.

The length could have been longer to tackle the heavy topics such as a veteran battling depression suicidal thoughts, a new permanent disability, PTSD. The items are touched on, but those are weighty topics that deserved more meat.

And to add more issues: sexuality. Benajimn identifies as heterosexual and never had any sexual feelings toward his friend. Being savd, learning his friend is actually alive and hearing his friend kiss another man helps him discover a part of sexuality he's never questioned?




Benjamin loved Rez as a friend, and while they'd kissed and touched, he didn't know if he was seeking comfort in blindness.


I'm leaning toward that camp of questioning Benjamin's motives as Rez seemed like he wasn't attracted then he was, then he kissed another man even tough he shot the persistent guy down. And now he wants to mate for life to Benjamin.

The kelpie population is dying and the men are charged to mate and make new kelpie foals with female kelpies. Another factor that makes me question the entire relationship factor as Rez wants to do his duty but needs to save his friend more.

And when they have sex, it was "I'm not attracted to males" vs. "but I have to sleep with you to save your life". I'm not liking the way the chips are stacked. It read forced and not sexy. Rough sex for an anal virgin? The possessive streak is usually my go to hot factor but I wasn't feeling it in this context. And the suicidal thoughts were still there close to the end.  I get why the need to mate was needed to keep Benjamin alive but I'm not liking the reasons.

And then way everything is neatly tied up? Uh-uh. Right. Sure.

The ideas are good. The execution is questionable. The story would have been better for me both men had an inkling of shared passion prior to meeting, the suicide and killing didn't happen and the plot remained simple.

My rating is for the kelpie folklore mostly and the premise.

The title of this anthology is Primal Need and not one story addressed that factor. So if you're a reader looking for primal shifters, look somewhere else. The good thing about this anthology is the stories are also sold separately. I'd read samples before getting any of the titles.

So, 1 1/2 out of 3?



A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.
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review 2017-05-26 06:27
Age gap yum yum!
At Attention - Annabeth Albert
  • A Group Unicorn Review with Adam and Cupcake



    FOUR HEARTS--I've seen this author's work, perused the blurbs and I didn't bite.

    But this blurb was the prettiest show pony with SRAL approved buzz words and themes:


    widower still grieving after partner's passing (bring on the pain)
    widower has kidlets AND needs a manny
    manny is the widower's best friend's little brother
    best friend's brother has had a crush on widower since his teens
    AGE GAP
    NAVY SEAL


    RING A DING DING!!! GUESS WHO IS COMING HOME WITH ME?



    Of course, I lassoed the hell out of this book and gobbled all the words.

    Being as it's my first Annabeth Albert read, I'm not sure how it rates on the Annabeth Albert scale. If this was very on her A-game or there's better? *shrugs*

    I was entertained and had a great time reading At Attention.

    23 year-old Dylan gets a chance of his lifetime when his unrequited crush hires and moves him in his San Diego home for the summer. Dylan's crush, 34 year old Apollo needs a nanny to take care of his adorable 4 year old twins whole Apollo works on a naval base. This book can be read as a standalone, I wasn't lost. And I'm curious about the previous and future pairings.

    Dylan tries to tamp down his lusty feelings as Apollo works through his grief. Two years has passed but there is no time limit on grieving. And Apollo is a grumpy, more reserved bundle of emotions. He would take time to start to contemplate having feelings for another man. Luckily, Apollo's libido isn't broken. And try as he might, he can't deny the easiness he has with Dylan. The camaraderie and sharing his daily worries of being a single parent added more base to their friendship foundation formed with Dylan was just a teen.

    The story is a good mix of nerdy, adorable, (lightly) angsty, sexy and sweet. Dylan can't stop his feelings from blooming once again. Apollo sees his friend's kid brother in a new light, an adult. They try going the friendship route on equal terms, but their bodies won't be denied.

    The sex in this book?




    The sex was...hot. If I had to give it a flavor, it's hot vanilla custard. Sweet, varied and with a hint of spice. (highlights: intercrural (yay!), frottage, light domination/ control a smidge of exhibition) There is mirror sex but, it could've been hotter in my opinion. I might have been spoiled by a hotter mirror scene in another NA series I've read.

    The grieving and the time given for Apollo to work through his process was more important factor for me. Apollo plays hot and cold. The ghost of his lover is one he surrounds himself with daily and it's hard to break through. Dylan makes him crack through the shell. Plus, he's possessive and doesn't want any other guy getting Dylan's time. He wants it all to his self. That was bonus characteristics that I enjoy. The possessiveness and the control in the bedroom (of course).

    The best bonus of all? Dylan wasn't a pushover. And he spoke his mind even if might hurt, be it himself or Apollo. I'm #teamDylan all day!

    This story was really good. Not Earth shattering, or extremely memorable. For all themes it had going on, it worked. The writing is easy to read, all of the characters are likeable. All of them from kids to grandmas. I really liked how it ended, well maybe before the fluffed ending. It was added sugar I could have done without. But HEA lovers will totes lurve it.

    This couple totally worked for me and I see them having a long loving future ahead of them.

    Recommended for readers who enjoy contemporary, like the tropes I listed and wallow in second chance romance.

    Come join me as I ride my pretty pony into the sunset.



    #NoRegrets #teamDylan

    A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.
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review 2017-04-16 05:55
Gimme gimme that cracky fluff... aaahh!
Tall, Dark, and Deported (Dreamspun Desires) - Bru Baker

A tag team review with Sara

4.5 HEARTS--
And now I have another book to add to my top favorites Dreamspun Desires list!

I've been fluffed. Pour it all over my face, baby. Just watch me melt.



Mateus is a Portuguese botanist who is staying with his brother and pregnant sister-in-law on their orchard in Washington state. Mateus is helping with his family's failing orchard and wants to stay in America. Unfortunately, he has an expiring tourist visa and searched online for a scheme to stay in the country: go to Canada, get his visa stamped and reset and return to America for another 3 months. Sounds too good to be true?

It's because it is.

Luckily, older stoic boutique hotel auditor/ businessman Crawford is being forced to Canada for work. His boss is sending him to the chain's failing Vancouver hotel for the next two weeks... along with Crawford's ex-husband. The bitter divorce happened three years ago and he's still jaded from his cheating ex. He doesn't believe love exists.

Thanks to a plane delay in Seattle, love weary Crawford meets Mateus and the connection is imminent. They strike up a conversation and are just vibing off each other over Auntie Anne's pretzel nuggets out of all things. The delay becomes a cancelled flight and the new acquaintances are thrown together through a series of events. And events get crazier as an impromptu drive to the Canadian border becomes Mateus not being able to cross either side of the border.

Ring a ling ling, did someone call a knight in shining armor?

Crawford obviously heard the call and he rescues Mateus.

Older, jaded hero meets younger loyal family man who just wants to stay and help the orchard...

And then a fake marriage trope is added to help save the day.

Those tropes were a cracky fluff jackpot and I... ate... it... up!



Bru Baker wrote fleshed out main characters in Crawford and Mateus. She built a solid foundation by showcasing a glimpse of their daily lives. Crawford is a point where he's not exactly happy, his only family connection a brother and nephew he helped raise are going to move away. So there is nothing really holding him in Los Angeles. And Mateus wants to leave Portugal to help out with his only sibling's growing family. All the characters read like real people.

The cracky fluff button was engaged once the fake marriage to get a visa to stay in the USA came up. But reading how Crawford is, it worked. The two get married and thankfully the author showed the real side of marrying an immigrant...it's not as easy as they originally thought. The couple stays in Canada for two weeks due to Crawford's job. And we even get to experience his ex-husband, a good antagonist that didn't overtake the plot with obscene dramatics.

The bread and butter of the story is the undeniable, easy connection Crawford and Mateus have. The attraction is there and it's a slow burn. Crawford being a knight in shining armor tries to be noble and a gentleman. His heart is iced in the middle... good thing Mateus knows to make him melt.

There is only one sexy moment throughout the entire story. But the sexual tension was written strongly and was well paced. I lived for each kiss. Were there times that I wanted to knock Crawford in the back of the head? Yep... he's a stubborn one. And has bad Tim Hortons judgement. (I'm still trying not to hold it against him) Other than that, he's a dream guy, as is Mateus.

The story is split between Vancouver and Washington. And even when apart, they're still connected. And when the sexual tension finally comes to a melting point. Let's just say it was a swoon worthy moment.

And the last 5% of the story?

So damn romantic, I want to get drunk off the cracky fluff. *swoons* *gulps*




Recommended for fans of the Dreamspun Desires line, this is definitely not one to skip. Crawford and Mateus as a couple left a lasting impression from the Dreamspun Desires leading men I've read so far.

Not my first time reading this author, but I enjoy the way she writes her characters a lot. And if you're a fan of any of the tropes I mentioned, get ready for quality cracky fluff.

What a sweet treat!



A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2017-04-13 05:55
Hot sci-fi erotica... oh how I enjoy F.I.S.T.S.
Murphy (F.I.S.T.S. Book 2) - Bey Deckard,Starr Waddell
A Double Tag Team Review with Ann!

4 HEARTS
--

"Well, well, well... What the fuck's got you so damn worked up, son?" he says, and flicks the head of my cock hard; I wince but manage not to make a sound. "Have you been a bad boy and touched something that doesn't belong to you? And don't you goddamn lie to me."

Excuse me as I melt. Murphy and Sarge could have melted my e-reader.







Established couples aren't my go to. I think it might be why I didn't rush to read this book. Because Murphy and Sarge's initial scenes are that special.

But I am so happy I finally got to it. This time around I listened on audiobook and read along to the second book in the F.I.S.T.S. series. It's months later after that last battle scene in Sarge. Murphy and his Sarge both go through some changes, moving up the ranks, more erotic D/s scenes.

Murphy and Sarge already had a connection, this book was a deeper exploration of their bond. It was hot. There were a tender moment here and there. But overall, the two are made for each other.

And did I mention hot?

"Will you look at the mess you've made of yourself? How long's your cock been drooling all over you?"
"All day, Sarge. Like you wanted."


Because it continued the scorch from book #1.

Someone is possessive and demanding. I'm all about that. And in between the molten D/s times, there was a little suspense added. The men are sent to a swampy alien world and everything is not how it seems. Murphy's synesthesia comes back into play in this story. I thought it added a nice touch.

A little action, a lot sexy and an easy read. The series left on a note with a possible revolution, or possible attack on the leaders? There's room for more in the series should the author pursue but the couple is definitely solid. I liked the narration in Murphy more. I agree with Ann, if you go the audiobook route, listen to them back to back. It helps and I finished it with a smile. So maybe the narrator is growing on me. His Sarge voice was still consistent, gruff and growly.

I definitely recommend this series if sci-fi erotica is your type of read.




A copy provided for an honest review.
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