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review 2017-09-19 02:01
ARC Review: Saved (Breaking Free #1) by A.M. Arthur
Saved: Breaking Free #1: An Omegaverse Story - A.M. Arthur

I've never read an A/B/O book such as this one. My only exposure to Alpha/Beta/Omega is in shifter books, but this isn't a shifter book.

In this A/B/O universe, there are no shifters. There are no females. There are Alphas who are in charge, Betas who are barren but are allowed to hold jobs and adopt children (usually Beta and Omega children), and Omegas who are the lowest of the low and whose sole purpose, it seems, is to be mated to Alphas and be good little breeders.

Hmmm... that sounds familiar.

In this dystopian future of the United States, the Federal Government is no more, constitutional rights are a thing of the past, and the country is broken up into small provinces which all have their own rules and laws. 

We first meet Braun, an Omega, 20 and close to his first heat, upon his father's death. Now a ward of the state, since omegas are third-class citizens at best, unable to inherit, unable to make any personal choices, Braun is sent to a group home for orphaned omegas. Beaten regularly by his father, abused not just physically but mentally as well, told all his life that his sole purpose is to become some alpha-hole's breeding bitch, Braun is certain that alphas cannot be trusted and that happiness is not something he can expect at all. His own brother Kell is mated to a horrible Alpha, and Braun knows that Kell's lot in life is his future as well.

This was a difficult book to read, and it's just as difficult to write a coherent review without spoilers. I would advise any potential reader to heed the warnings in the blurb. Be prepared to RAGE at the injustices within. There were numerous times when I sat in my chair, my Nook gripped in my hands, and my eyes blinded with tears caused by helpless rage. 

Consent isn't required between an Alpha and his Omega. Domestic discipline is within the law. Omegas have no rights to speak of, and little protection from abuse. 

Yeah, I raged. A lot. 

The themes in this book are rather comparable to our current political climate, and there are many parallels that can be drawn between what happens in the book and what's happening in this world today. 

I liked that Braun, despite his circumstances, still had fight left in him. I liked that Tarek (the Alpha who helps Braun) was considerate and kind and patient. He took the time to win Braun's trust, something Braun didn't give easily, and he helped Braun as much as he could. He wasn't perfect, far from it, but he tried and tried to do the right thing by the young man in his care, no matter how hard Braun fought believing that an Alpha could be kind. 

I also quite liked the two Betas who take Braun in and conceal him, and who help him through his first heat. It wasn't easy reading to watch Braun go through that.

None of this book was easy reading, though there is reason for hope that things may start to change to make the lives of omegas a little easier. 

Kell's book is next. That will likely be even more difficult to get through.

Despite the dark themes inside, I would recommend this series. 



** I received a free copy of this book from Indigo Marketing & Design. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-08-21 17:00
ARC Review: Gabriel (Legacy Ranch #2) by RJ Scott
Gabriel (Legacy Series Book 2) - RJ Scott

Gabriel, book 2 in the Legacy Ranch series by this author, was a difficult book to read, primarily because of the abuse Gabriel suffers and has suffered. If you saw my status updates while I was reading this book, you know that I wished a painful and horrific death upon Stefan, the pimp who picked up Gabriel after the trial and who exploited Gabriel's low self-esteem, his weakness and pain, to make him hurt even more.

I'm not sorry for wanting that slimeball dead. 

Gabriel is trapped. While he has escaped the abuse he suffered at the ranch, he's still not free of it. He honestly believes that all he's good for is sex, a lie fed to him repeatedly, constantly, by his pimp, and on those few occasions that Gabriel dares reach for just a little more, like Kyle's letters inviting him to Legacy Ranch, Stefan knows how to keep him down. With fists and dub-con sex, telling him that he's good for nothing else, reinforcing what Gabriel already believes himself to be.

Cameron Stafford, hotel owner, nearly blind from a degenerative disease, just wants his awful, cruel family off his back. His last boyfriend was a no-good thief who stole from him, and Cam has no delusions of finding someone permanent, and he relies heavily on Six, his bodyguard/friend, who's been with him for many years. 

Gabe's latest client has booked a room in Cam's hotel, which is how Cam finds out about Gabe and then decides to hire him as a fake boyfriend. 

It's not as cute as that may sound. Cam's family is ridiculously nasty to him, over the top nasty, to be honest, and Cam's father is trying to take running the hotel away from him, because clearly, someone who's blind cannot possibly run a hotel. Right. Sit down, you jerk.

And Gabe - OMG, he broke my heart. There are a few outs that present themselves to Gabe, ways out of the hell he lives in, but he's too broken, too afraid, to trust and take them, instead returning time and again to his abusive pimp. I cried and cried, and wanted Stefan dead. I don't usually react with such violence to a fictional character, so my reaction to Stefan should tell you how abhorrent his character truly is. There is nothing redeeming about him, and when he meets his demise, I cheered. 

I would have liked to see a bit more development of Cam's and Gabe's romantic relationship - unfortunately, we are mostly told that they develop feelings for each other. Cam tries hard to show Gabe that there is another way, that he doesn't have to stay with Stefan, and I liked that he didn't give up. Sure, he had help from Six, even if it was reluctantly given, but I could see that Six only wanted what was best for Cam, and didn't at first believe that Gabe fit the bill. 

Both characters have experienced pain and hurt, though Gabe's abuse was obviously much more horrific. I felt for both of them, cried at the damage inflicted on them by others, and I wanted them to have their happy ending.

Which, of course, they get. This is a romance, after all. I would have liked that to have been expanded on a bit more, and I felt that the ending wrapped up a bit too quickly. Most of the book also takes place away from Legacy Ranch, and we get only a few scenes there. 

Overall, this book had a very different feel than the first one in this spin-off series. It's a lot heavier, I believe, and on more than one occasion, I wanted to reach into the pages and alternately strangle Stefan, and grab Gabriel and Cameron and shield them both from the people who wanted to hurt them. 

Not an easy book to read, but, I would say, worth your time.


** I received a free copy of this book from its author via Signal Boost Promotions. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-06-30 00:38
ARC Review: Love And Other Hot Beverages by Laurie Loft
Love and Other Hot Beverages - Laurie Loft

2.5 stars

I wanted to like this, really, I did. I read the blurb and thought this was going to be a drama-filled romance, but it's not.

Oh, there's plenty of drama, alright, but not really the romance I expected. 

Todd Addison is working for a construction company after his last relationship ended with a bad and painful break-up. Having put many miles between himself and his former boyfriend, he's taken the construction job until he finds something better to do or until ex-boyfriend changes his mind. Oh, he's also now in the closet, because construction workers are generally homophobic, according to Todd. 

Sebastian (Sebby) Nye is out and proud and the office manager for the construction company. He is an outrageous flirt, and tries his charms on a very standoffish Todd, plying him with coffee and more. Eventually, Sebby gets what he wants. It's supposed to be healing Todd from heartbreak, and Sebby isn't planning to fall for the guy but he does anyway.

I really didn't like Todd. He exasperated me with his back and forth, and he hurt Sebby more than once. Their relationship is messy because Sebby isn't totally honest, and Todd is still pining for the cheating ex. 

I had a difficult time liking both characters, actually, and their actions and reactions were possibly a little to realistic for me. I don't mind realism in the books I read; I welcome it usually, but here it just got too much for me - I just didn't believe that these two men are going to make it, despite the HEA we get in the end. 

The writing is a bit stilted on occasion, and the dialogue felt off, especially when they were bantering. There are sexy times, but I wasn't super impressed with those either. 

Overall, it was just meh. 

 

 

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2016-09-26 02:17
Book Review: Bashed by Rick R. Reed
Bashed - Rick R. Reed

I don't have a lot of clever words for this one either, other than that it made me angry, so angry, because the gay-bashing within happens still all over the world, and it enrages me to know that people like Ronnie exists, people who hate others simply for who they are.

I cried a lot. Donald's grief and pain, and even his numbness, all rang true.

I wanted to reach in and throttle the young men who commit this horrible crime before it happened, so Mark could live, and he and Donald could be happy.

The afterword from the author about killed me. Thank you to the cop who showed up just in time so his story didn't end like Donald and Mark's.

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review 2016-07-11 15:22
Release Day ARC Review: Son Of Money by Brandon Witt
Son of Money - Brandon Witt

So, this is only my 2nd book by this author. (I suck, I know.) In my defense, though, I was mightily impressed with the first one I read, because it was so awesome, and it made my Best of 2015 list.

Then this came to me via Dreamspinner as an ARC (thank you!!), and I devoured it just the same.

Because, Brandon, man... this was fabulous. Two magnificent MCs, a fantastic romance, holy hot and dirty boysecks, Batman, and a bit of suspense/drama - what's not to love, amirite?

Randall has disinherited himself from his rich and super-controlling family. He's basically the black sheep, works as a photographer and masseur, and some of this clients get extra benefits. While this may sound sleazy at first, I assure you, it's not. Randall doesn't accept payment for sexual favors, and he certainly doesn't give every client those extracurricular activities, but hey, he's single, young, and why the hell not?

He stays in touch with his family mainly because he loves his controlled and emotionally abused sister in law, and his little niece Bailey, whom he adores. He's not rich, but he's happy. Mostly.

It's because of Bailey, sort of, that Randall decides to adopt a dog - if her daddy won't let her have one, Randall can do the next best thing, right?

So Randall is chosen by Harper, who must possibly be the ugliest dog I've ever seen described in the pages of a book. But she loves Randall, and Randall can't help but fall for her.

I myself pretty much fell for Randall from the start. There was just something about him, how he lived by his convictions, and how lonely he felt sometimes, that drew me in.

And then there was Noah. Holy shitballz, people, Noah was amazing. Direct, communicative, supportive, sweet, kind - and totally in love with Randall. He works at the Humane Society where Randall gets Harper, and then is pulled into the suspense plot by association as the story unfolds.

Speaking of the suspense - dayum, Brandon Witt, you had me clueless until the end as to who was behind it. And then utterly shocked when I found out.

I loved, loved the relationship between Randall and Noah, and the one Randall had with his niece and sister-in-law. And I loved, loved, LOVED that - well, read this for yourself. No spoilers here.

As this is a romance, it will not be a spoiler to let you know that we got our HEA, so there's that. Expected that, didn't you?

The writing - brilliant. I was drawn in from the start, laughing, hoping, fearing, and crying with the characters, fanning myself during the sexy times, and on the edge of my seat while they figured out the whodunit. And the author, while writing super hot sex scenes, does so sparingly, and only to further the plot. None of it is gratuitous, and I for one appreciate that very much. The scenes, while definitely requiring cold showers after, are also rather emotional, which is much more important to me in a romance. I want to see the emotional connection more so than how tab A is inserted into slot B, and I got that here in droves.

Fabulous, just fabulous, and highly recommended.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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