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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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review 2017-03-15 07:16
For the fantasy lovers... aka me. ;P
The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia Book 2) - Mason Thomas
It's a unicorn gang review! Sara and Fantasy Living join the Mason Thomas reading party! (My 2 cents below):

3.75- 4 HEARTS
--I jumped at the chance to review The Shadow Mark without even reading the blurb. Why? Lord Mouse is one of my favorite reads last year (my review), and Mouse is hands down one of my fave characters written. What drew me in was the adventure, the fantasy based world Mason Thomas created, the snark and wit.

And of course, Mouse.

If you've read Lord Mouse first (it's not necessary, it can be read as a standalone), you know the snark is heavy. Mouse demands attention with his very being. He's just that type of personality.

That is not to be found in The Shadow Mark.

Auraq was a soldier with a lot of promise. Now he's living on edges of society due to being accused of murder. One night, his solitude is interrupted by a pair of small townsmen. The younger of the men, Kane has mysterious magical marks that attract the wrong attention, assassin attention. Upon a dying man's oath, Auraq ends up being Kane's protector and bodyguard while they try to search for answers to the mysterious marks.

It's a mostly fast paced adventure full of backstabbing characters, killers and fighting.




A captivating read from start to finish, though I'll have to say the second half outweighs the first half.

Where I find this author flourishes: action and suspense - Thomas is clearly a gamer and it shows. He knows how to set an action scene, make it impactful enough. I appreciate sword fights, especially well-written scenes. Thomas thinks out the swing, the lunges...it's great to read. Weaving a tale, keeping the suspense and action turned up high!




Where there is improvement: editing - Though I read an ARC, the tale in Shadow Mark is definitely more linear than Lord Mouse. Less time jumping which made a smoother read. Now as to a personal enjoyment, the fantasy is stepped up in Shadow Mark. The vocabulary read less modern compared to Lord Mouse (I don't mind either approach TBH)

Areas for improvement: The story is told mainly from Auraq POV, so his 'love' interest Kane and his attributes are told from Auraq. Auraq is tight-lipped and his 'romantic' feelings are definitely buried way, way, waaay deep. There wasn't much to go from since Kane was introduced as an annoyance and someone who was told to wait here and there, while Auraq took care of the grunt work. Kane could have been more even from Auraq's POV. He's introduced as young apprentice, didn't seem on much consequence. And he seemed like the means to an oath, not much a character with depth. Then the second half happened, where a romance sort of happens in between the mystery unfolds.

The romance is secondary in stories Thomas has presented so far. But I feel the initial reaction of Kane didn't wear off until way late. Just a glimpse or inkling more of Auraq's feelings would have made more of an impact for me. I'm fine with mere kisses, but the relationship goes from 0 to 100% and I'm still having difficulties buying it.

I live for tight-lipped heroes, especially ones that are not demonstrative. Auraq took that to an extreme. His protectiveness was palpable, it's what warmed me in the end. But the romance...it needed some work.

Readable? For sure.

But if you're a reader who needs sex in your romance or overly mushy displays, I wouldn't recommend The Shadow Mark. The novel is quieter than its predecessor, more of a tactical head game waiting to be played out.

The story and mystery are the main players, along with Auraq, the seemingly irredeemable criminal warrior with a heart of loyal gold. I loved the mystery, kinda guessed who was the culprit behind the treasonous crime. But how everything came together? That was fun.

Enjoyed the last chapter even more than the epilogue. Am I seeing a possible link between book #1 and #2's Lords? I really hope so.

Overall, great story stronger in all parts but romance than book #1. I'm definitely a fan of this series.



A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-03-09 06:27
A MM story I finally got to...heh.
Bullet - Garrett Leigh
3.75 HEARTS-- Always fashionably late to the party...



Look at the table setting at the Blue Boy party!

I think I might one of the few stragglers who hasn't read Bullet. This is also my second Garrett Leigh. Can I still visit the party with my low Leigh credentials? I promise after reading the re-release version of Bullet...I'll make more an effort to read her work.

The novella stars seasoned porn actor Levi Ramone is a well known top in the industry. Ripped, bearded and rough, Levi is a lumbersexual wet dream. (Oh the new cover fits him, does it not?)Does he enjoy his job? In a way, yes. He gets all the ass he wants and doesn't have to worry about commitments. But...he's virtually alone. His father committed suicide and his mother is an alcoholic with a grudge against her son, Levi doesn't have really close connections. The majority of his money is pay for his mother's bills despite her animosity towards him. He's desperate for cash to help.

It's a sad existence.

Enter the "bitchy twink" (in Levi's eyes) Sonny, a fellow Blue Boy porn actor who also works at the pron studio's go-go club as a dancer/stripper. Sonny sees there is more than meets the eye to Levi. He calls Levi out for not being into his porn scenes, being too aggressive and not considerate. When Sonny and Levi's boss offers more money to star in a threesome, Levi accepts. Even though Sonny gets under his skin and the fact that he'll have to lost his butt cherry.

That setup though...



"Dude, you don't want to go there for the first time without a good lead off. Do you want me to suck you off?"
"What? No!"
"You're kinda coy for a hard-core porn star. It's cute."


Sonny picks through the wall Levi builds around himself. He also helps Levi discover the untapped pleasures...below. As the upcoming bottoming scene looms as the novella progresses, there is also Levi's broken home/ dealing with a harridan of an alcoholic mother.

Now I thought it might've went one way with the mother, I was not expecting some of the resulting blows from that front. Or bottom assistance/prep/seduction

Though Sonny is helping his future scene actor out, there seems to be an underlying current of care...along with the obvious attraction between both men. Also for a book about porn, it's not as sex filled as you might think. I'm still new to Leigh's writing style, but methinks angst is her forte, yes? There was definitely a decent amount of emotions from Sonny to help carry this novella along, along with the obvious courting via anal play.

When Sonny and Levi finally culminate the obvious courting...the book ends!

Where is the rest of the story? I had to stop myself from shaking my Kindle upside down. There is no way Levi and Sonny just ends the relationship like that.

Right?

*listens to the squawking from the party*

There's follow up in the rest of the series? Is that so?

Well, hell looks like I need to rest of this series! I'm so curious to see what happens with the other characters. And Sonny and Levi of course...there's a hint of unresolved drug abuse somewhere along the line.

I'm invested.

Gonna see if I can get my Garrett Leigh dance card filled out now that I've joined the party:



I enjoy what I've read so far.

Recommended for readers who like some angst, some sexy and characters that have some baggage too.



A copy provided for an honest review.
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