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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 2017-09-27 03:35
This is how I like my pirates!!!!!!
The Puritan Pirate - Jules Radcliffe
FIVE HEARTS-- It's like it was written for me...
"Will you punish me?"
"Do you need to be punished?"
"I have such... wicked thoughts of you."
"Dear God, I hope you do."




Pirate fans? This is the book for you. I can't believe how wonderful this book was. And as I look through my pages upon pages of quotes, I can't help but gush from this novel. (Seriously, I probably highlighted a third of this book)

New-to-me author Jules Radcliffe delivered historical kinky pirates with action and adventure. "Perry" aka Lieutenant Thomas Peregrine is an uptight Puritan British naval soldier ordered to be on buccaneer (pirate) ship, Audacious. Pirates and the British are working together, pirates no longer are considered against the King's army with proper documents. But on Audacious, led by the famous captain Black Wolf, no one trusts Perry.

And Perry doesn't make it easy to be liked. He is quiet, judgmental and with the former quartermaster, Irish Gabriel Quinn, he can't seem to hold his tongue. There's been animosity between the two from the moment Perry stepped on the ship. Enemies that are filled with passion can make the best lovers when they put their mind to it.

Quinn saves Perry one night and the passion takes a sharp turn into more. The thing is the story is not linear and the sexy times happen fairly early. It felt like the culmination already happened in the beginning. I warn of this because the story isn't written linearly. And if you need the story to be straight, you'll be disappointed. The story uses flashbacks to help flesh out the plot. The characters come in their own as the story moves along.

How so? The gift that is Perry's submission and his acceptance of his needs, Gabriel's mastery of Perry is showed a thousand times fold.


"Gabriel, what I give to you cannot be taken; 'tis a thing you've earned. To submit is my gift to you, and pleasure is your gift."


At only 22 years old, Perry has had a hard life. He's been used and abused (trigger warning: off page abuse, torture) and he carries the scars, figuratively and literally. Gabriel knows his man and follows Perry's cues.

The flashbacks show when the men originally met, Perry's start in the navy. Also, how Quinn left the Audacious to be another master on the female led pirate ship! I wondered how could the men have so much chemistry if they weren't on the same ship. But their chemistry is just that palpable.



The novel isn't just sex. There are pirate ship fights, double crossing, some suspense and cool adventurous rescue! The author interjected wit within historically accurate dialogue. I'll admit the dictionary function on my Kindle became my BFF while reading this book. But I wasn't lost.

The enemies are the Spanish navy. And they show themselves while the pirate crew are on the open seas. And the novel got a little dark which enhanced the entire experience. While the action and adventure satisfied the pirate lover in me. It's the romantic side that gutted me.


"God, but I love being inside you," he whispered in his own tongue. "So perfect, your body iron hard and petal soft. So beautiful, your satin mouth, your starlight eyes, your silken skin. My heart beats for you, sings for you."


Gabriel, the rough and tough Dom with a heart of gold, was possessively smitten by his needy kitten, Perry. Perry knew his was submissive, but Gabriel nurtured that side. Gave his boy just what he needed. And it was kinkly delightful: CBT! Bondage! Spanking!

I haven't been this pirate satisfied since Caged.

The writing is very strong, the tale entertaining. I didn't want it to end.


"They'll know I tamed you, and it's no secret I've a liking for rough play. But exactly what goes on betwixt us?" [...] "Your submission belongs to me alone. But everyone is to know you're mine, and no one else is to lay a hand on you. No one."


And that ending? Fitting for the time and just swoon-worthy. Matelot squee!

If I had to nitpick, it got a tad schmoopy in the last bit. But overall, this novel is stellar. It's on my 2017 favorites list. The author took time to detail without making it drag, the research is very evident. And a lot of showing how the characters choose the paths they follow.

And this pirate will battle ye if ye say nay!




Arr! Just kidding, mateys. I'll love this book even ye'll not love it.

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy pirates, historically accurate writings that doesn't give contemporary feels and a yummy kinky love story!




A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-04-03 07:41
Fantasy lovers, this is one to read! O_O
The Mutt: An Order Series Short Story - Kasia Bacon

4.5 HEARTS--


I wanted his attention, but he refused to give it to me.
So I had to find a way to claim it.


This story... listen, this story? It's phenomenal. And for just 41 pages, it packs a wallop into a fantasy world I want to be a part of.





The Mutt by new author Kasia Bacon is a prequel of sorts set in the Order universe, a fantasy based world with a contemporary feel. The author begins with a note stating the characters would not let up until she told their beginning. I personally want to thank Lochan and Ervyn. And I also want to let them know, I hope they nag the author (I mean it in the sweetest way possible) because this a winning concept and the novel needs to be out like yesterday.

Highland Dark elf, Ervyn, sees his man at training camp and wants his eyes on him. His man, Lochan, half human/half elf aka mutt, doesn't know it yet but he's been claimed. The aloof, talented assassin in training doesn't notice anyone and it perplexes and frustrates Ervyn. Nothing gets the blue eyed half breed's attention. Ervyn is set to be an archer once training camp is completed. It's a family tradition. Watching Lochan tests what he wants, Lochan's skills are some of the best seen. And he just wants to bask in his greatness.

And kiss him too.


"There was a fair amount of feral in that grin. I longed to be the one to tame the predator in him."



Fantasy fans this is going to be a winner. The world building, the taste that the author introduces is layered. There is even a language! And if you love reading sexual tension as much as I do, this story is filled with it. That even a mere kiss blew my top.

Plus the elves are reminiscent of Prince Nuada from Hellboy, who I have a major nerd boner for. So anything remotely written like the (misunderstood) bad guy with dark elves, emotionally stunted communication, baggage, sword and killing skills...I am ALL over it.





My one complaint is probably going to be it should have been longer. But that's the greed talking.

The author states this is a beginning and it reads just like that. We know the two men (late teens at this point, the cusp of adulthood) will have a deeper story as they hint at the future from the beginning. The story while filled with sexual tension, doesn't have an overabundance of sex. This works highly because it made me want to know more and appreciate every second either two interacted.


"What are you doing?" he breathed.
"I want to kiss you. If you want that too, you'll say, "Please, Ervyn."
[...]
"Please, Ervyn," he said in a guttural voice.


Have I mentioned there is a hint of future D/s? Someone's possessive. I'm all about it.

I haven't been as impressed with a short story in sometime.  If the author continues with the rich writing, she'll have a fan in me. I'm kind of in love with this couple already.





Highly recommended especially for fans of fantasy, elves, assassins and cool concepts.



A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2017-03-18 23:31
Easton kicks Dreamspun Desires ass yet again!
Snowblind (Dreamspun Desires Book 29) - Eli Easton

4.25 HEARTS--Tag team review with Adam

Dreamspun Desires aka cracky fluff has another home run with Snowblind by Eli Easton.



Me= when a new Dreamspun title is released

What fun romance tropes to find from the latest Dreamspun treasure? Stranded in a snowy cabin mixed with a damaged hero and disguise.

Delicious.

My favorite of the house line (so far) happens to be by this same author, so this book had big shoes to fill. A total 180 from The Stolen Suitor , this book toed the line of cracky fluff with dashes of realism. If this isn't your first time with the line, you know to expect some cheese, some sugar and fluff.

All founded in this novel.

Set in Alaska, Hutch is a damaged solitary former Marine (oohrah!) with a lot of baggage and not a lot of patience for others. He's suspicious of a nearly frostbitten stranger that falls on his property. He has a secluded cabin for a reason and is on high alert with the frozen man's arrival. The frozen man being model Jude Devereaux. Jude thaws...and so does Hutch. The story for the first half is all Hutch's POV.

What is it about their connection he wonders. Is it the fact they're stuck in a blizzard and have no chance for escape? Maybe the need for companionship? Whatever the circumstances, the men are trapped in that house for three days.

And what a hot three days it was...



I'm sure you heard all about it.

But sex only this story is not. It has quite a twisty plot. And the twists and turns change from instalove/stranded highs to betrayal, action, murder, gun fights...

Dudes, it was a wild and crazy ride.

The story doesn't feature Jude's POV until 51%. And once it does, the story twists even more. I got swept away in the cabin fever feelings and could almost but the love. See, it wasn't instantaneous ILY's but close. And the author did a decent job portraying the men's inner thoughts as to what drove them for the crazy actions.

I'll keep all the crazy plot twists to a minimum as to not spoil the read. Because even if you guess what went down, you get the scope of it until you read it.

How's the sex? Hot when it's there, even the fade to black/non-graphic interludes were hot. In the bedroom, the men do lack the chemistry. For what is allowed in the houseline, I found it to be hot.

How's the fluff? Not as fluffy and sugary, but it's there. A little heavier in the whipped sweet fluff in the second half.

It's a close second to my fave, just because there were moments when my fluff bubble popped. And I questioned Hutch's motives once or twice.

The extreme climes, the action, the subterfuge and intrigue....the romance. It all in all made it a satisfying read.

Recommended for fans of the cracky fluff, who like hot alpha men who are more on the silent side. But when it comes to their men, you can hear them loud and clear!



A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2017-02-08 05:50
Gearing up for my fave author's first MM!
Shadow's Claim - Kresley Cole

I think my love for this author's words are well documented. She's definitely one of my faves.

How? I'm still reading a series after how many years now? A decade? Little over, under?

I just open up the wallet and send over my ducats to anything remotely IAD related. I own the series, or the series owns me? Hmm...



So the Dacians...borne from one the best frigging vampires EVER, Lothaire. I will forever <3 this evil, diabolical creature. And the Dacians, his royal family are intriguing.

I finally got to this story so I can be prepared for Shadow's Seduction, Cole's first MM!


(I'm so ready)

So how was book #1? The Dacians, Salem and Lothaire saved this story.

Princess Bettina of demon realm Abbondae, half demon/half Soceri, pines for the unattainable, her childhood best friend, the demon man whore, Caspion the Tracker. They've just become immortal (that's how young these two are which helps explain why they acted so...young for lack of a better word). But Bettina's crush/love for Caspion is not returned nor will it ever be. And you can read between the lines from the start he was not attracted to her. He's the star of book #2 which answered the vibes I got from him. (The hints Cole wrote as well helped. ;P) Bettina is ravaged by a bunch of Vrekners and nearly dies.

Does she avenge her attack? No. She suffers from anxiety and PTSD. (This I had no issue with)

Prince Trehan of Dacia, is a cold blooded assassin that is the 'sword of Dacia'. Due to Caspion's meetup with a royal Dacian cousin, Trehan leaves to hunt the young demon down and finds his Bride who bloods him...Bettina.

Out of the entire Lore, the Soceri are one of my least favorites. Witches aren't normally my fave but my intro to the Soceri was Sabine, who is hands down my least fave heroine from the entire series.

Bettina is a close second.

Two heroines whose mates are too good for them, IMO. The only Soceri female who is worth rereads is Melanthe. I <3 her to pieces. Bettina was a doormat. She whines, rolls over for her guardians and lets everyone else rule her life. She is the next in line to rule the kingdom but she doesn't act like it. So soft.

Cole uses another 'immortal to the death tournament' plot device with virgin Bettina and her kingdom as prize. So it was like reading reused tea bag tea. Because you can read the same kind of tournament in the first bunch of books from Immortals After Dark with stronger female characters.

Granted, the tournament was entertaining with Bettina's guardians/ godparents as side characters. There is something about Morgana, the Queen of Sorceri that is funny to read.

And Salem, the foul-mouthed, cockney speaking, invisible phantom? I could read him all by himself, he was so entertaining. What a crass pervert! Loved him

We do get more of the vampire realm, Dacia. Their history is interesting. Trehan was a great hero - patient, calculating, confident and in love with an obstinate woman who thinks a crush with her uninterested friend is the best thing since sliced bread.

And Caspion was a dick and not worth the infatuation. I understand why Bettina was infatuated in the beginning, first crush, etc But c'mon...

he's sleeping with other people --they never made any promises

(spoiler show)



So the impossible becomes possible, hot near sex (and actual sex happens), Nix shows makes a cameo--doesn't say a thing but my Valkyrie loving heart was ecstatic for the bit role she played, and LOTHAIRE shows why he's KANG for like 5 minutes.

The story ends with a HEA, an obvious send off as to who will be the players in book #2.

I'm wavering between a 3 and 4, so I'll rate 3.5 stars

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