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review 2017-04-06 05:53
When you just want to lik-- SQUIRREL!
King of the Sea - Nathan Bay,Daryl Banner
2.5 HEARTS--New author Nathan Bay's novella, King of the Sea, is a story with a lot of elements. Set in San Francisco, 28 year-old Carlos Santiago has survived. His testicular cancer is in remission. But his body wears the scars from the battle. He has a single testicle. The scars from the surgery is wreaking havoc on his body including his pleasure for sex. His older lover, obstetrician Tyson, has been distant and not helpful during his recovery. And he finally has had enough. On their one year anniversary, Carlos made a decision to leave his lover. Saying a final goodbye to the lavish lifestyle Dr. Tyson afforded him, Carlos goes to a rocky ridge by the sea that night. High on Oxycodone, he plans what he'll do in his future and what he will tell Tyson but he sees a hand in the water to greet him.

Was he hallucinating? He leans further to inspect and falls in.

He's saved by Ross, the iPad watching merman with healing capabilities. After the first chapter the story suffers from first-book-itis: too many ideas, not executed to the best ability aka SQUIRREL!

So much SQUIRREL! that I don't know why half of the things happened in this story. But it did.

The merman with no actual name calls himself Ross from his favorite Friends TV character. How he came to be able to watch an iPad and keep it charged is answered. But the story goes to wonky really quick as it progresses. Carlos and Ross share an intimate encounter. Carlos is energized to end things but then he goes to his home and sneaks into his lover's locked guest house on their estate. There he meets an even weirder secret.

It went to a weird experiment suspense yet very hokey twist.

Carlos meets a prisoner who doesn't want to be saved. Then proceeds to go to Folsom Street to have a little public sex in a seedy leather bar to declare he's back on the market.

Why did the spot of BDSM get added in when it was unnecessary? *shrugs*

There was a sexy dick contest and a sex sling but the moment is aborted because of telepathy. Then we have a suicide attempt that becomes accidental. Royalty that should have been introduced from the first introduction. A mystery that wasn't as interesting because of drugging and any interesting action happening off page. It was a lot.

This book needed a better edit, especially content wise. There were too many ideas to get a grasp. I think it if was simpler, let the hint of romance develop a little more solidly with just interactions primarily between Ross and Carlos, since it ends with a romantic-ish finish, the story would have made a better impact for me.

It was SQUIRRELLY to the point where you could read each point the author had a new idea to throw in. Some really cool ideas (genetically enhanced mermen, global warming and its effects) that in swirled in with throwaway ideas (suspense, self sacrificing MC, BDSM scenes, drug abuse). It wasn't added in smooth enough, which made for a lackluster, disjointed read.

The blurb states it was dark, I don't think it was. It was more corny than anything. The jokes were flat. The mystery could have been more interesting but SQUIRREL! The unanswered questions kind of bothered me such as if Ross is super important yadda yadda...why let him roam free in the sea unchecked? *shrugs* Diagnosis: first-book-itis

Having a cancer survivor who seemed to be on the search on finding himself in life was a good concept. He finally was starting to realize what he wanted in life. The SQUIRREL just got in the way. I kinda wished the vibe from the first chapter continued, it was more serious, more focused.

So in closing...


A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-02-06 07:18
A little confuzzled, slightly around and wanting more...
Act Two: New Beginnings (For Whom the Heart Stone Burns Book 2) - Kari Gregg

3.75 HEARTS--Once again, I finished a story by the Gregg a little confuzzled, slightly aroused and wanting more.

Act Two: New Beginnings starts directly after that steamy ending in Act One: Safe Travels. You will be lost not reading in order.

Becket, the bibleot, is fully ensconced in the world of Ket. The giant ginger from Earth is to be trothed (arranged married) due to a sentinel scrying for him. His sentinel is Becket's uncle Theo's rival, Kellan is immediately attracted to Becket. And Becket can't deny immediate attraction as well.

So maybe this magic stuff might not be all that bad for the man devoid of magic?

The two have to be guarded until Becket makes a decision. Bibelots are to be protected since they're suppose to be unworldly. Becket doesn't fit the mold. And Kellan wants his man, his bibleot...now. He schemes to get his ginger right where he wants him.

The kittery buzz of arousal arcing between him and Becket wasn't a magic Kellan could scry in a pool of water or mix inside a witch's bottle. It couldn't be conjured with herbs or focused with stones, candles, or heartfelt pleas to the four powers. The attraction that drew Becket a stumbling step closer was more primal. Elemental.

Told from Kellan's POV, Act Two continues the heavy high fantasy world building. It starts in the constrictive, stone dwelling aerie Nitcha and ends in the tree dwelling aerie of Melaeum (think massive Redwoods with elevators!) Besides the hot attraction between Kellan and Becket, there is the mystery of both men. Kellan is a master magic practitioner who knows Becket is lying about where he's from and can't figure out why he is or who he is. The reader already knows Becket's background from Act One, don't expect a rehash in Act Two.

Kellan can't put his finger on where the lies start with his bibleot, but Becket is his. And he'll take him, lies and all. I enjoyed being in Kellan's head. I want to know more of these "secrets" that he kept alluding to. Melaeum definitely is a more interesting world. Kellan and Co. had to fly to get there on mythical creatures!

My fantasy loving heart squeed when Pegasus, griffins and phoenixes were mentioned. I hope for more of that in future Acts. The story is the beginning of Kellan and Becket's bonding. Becket's uncle and his magical crusade is secondary to Kellan's rush to troth, There is a presence of imminent danger, but no one knows where it's coming from.

Becket and Kellan succumb to their lust but surprisingly it doesn't take up the entire book. What does is more of the world building. We get to read about stones and their magic or gardening and its yield. It doesn't overtake the book, but it is heavy throughout.

Immediate gratification lovers, this is still not one for you.

The story is still slowly unfurling, along with the world.

But this was the start of the foundation of Kellan and Becket. I like them together. I can't wait to read how they grow together s a couple and how they face this magical world of Ket with its intrigues.

A copy provided for an honest review. 

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review 2016-07-01 07:07
Uniporn fans might not enjoy this...
More Beautiful Than a Unicorn (2016 Daily Dose - A Walk on the Wild Side) - Bell Ellis
Three Hearts--

"I approve. Go out and fuck all the unicorns you want."

I read the blurb and I won't lie...my mind went straight to uniporn.

Virgin...unicorn...somebody was going to be defiling that virgin...

Not this story.

I know, I know uniporn enthusiasts...better luck next time.

Bell Ellis tried a thing, a unicorn shifter romance between a 3000+ year old shifter and a 25 year old virgin someplace set in present day East Coast in "More Beautiful Than a Unicorn". And while the unicorn mythology used is 4 Hearts quality just for being interesting. (seriously this is one of the coolest unicorn history ever), the story is a tepid 2 Hearts. I'll average, because I girl-nerded and looked up Indian unicorns (I'll get to that later) So 3 Hearts for me (but it's a tentative 3).

Essentially, this is a loner meets his dream man romance. But the interesting characteristics couldn't save the kind of hum drum tone. Tobias meets Amar, a mysterious Indian man, one night after being saved by him from a pack of teens. Tobias also sees a unicorn staring at him at night...coincidence? You'll have to read to find out. The unicorn vision was more prevalent than Amar who can only see him once a month, at night.

The romance? *sigh* Tobias was depressing and he got even more depressed during the story Then he had a turnabout for instalove? I worry about his mental stability if it goes all to shit for a man. What in the world was holding his sanity in for the previous twenty five years that he just throws all away for an equivalent of half a day together?

Let's get into his only friend's name is Marzipan and NO ONE MENTIONED...why she was named after the sweet treat. Granted, Marzipan had the best line in the story. But she was weird. You know what else is weird, the kidnapping angle. *tilts head* Too rushed, too easy, too odd.

The Indian unicorn angle was the saving grace for this short. I loved the virgin and unicorn angle. And the way Tobias sacrificed himself for that angle was a decent touch, a little martyrish but nice. There was hints of magic: Amar's history, the unicorn culture as a whole, there was even a brief mention of magic with the first kiss.

But the tone pounds the moments of fun down to the ground.

Do I wish it was longer? No. What I do wish is that the story got to have Amar's POV to help balance the boring with Tobias.

Different type of unicorn romance with a few memorable moments.

For Ann's & the unicorns' #ShifterSundayFunday reviews:

A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2016-06-16 01:16
Yawr! This unicorn pirate loves mermen!
Tempestuous Tides (Mermen & Magic Book 2) - L.M. Brown
FOUR HEARTS--Strong mermen sequel from L.M. Brown!

Tempestuous Tides is book #2 in L.M. Brown's Mermen & Magic series. I don't think it's necessary to read the series in order to follow along BUT I'd suggest reading in order. Either book could be standalone.

New mermen! More mythology! More magic! And a race against a ticking clock to save the one you love.

The story is an entertaining read: easy to read and follow nearly all plot twists. The story starts with dual timelines - Lucas, a junior adviser to the Atlantean king Nereus is closeted and can't let anyone find out about his homosexuality. He has to stave off the pesky mating heat by either abstaining which causes pain or be used by whoever will set off his mating trigger. While Justin is an merman orphan raised by immortals and wants nothing to do with his merman heritage in present day Britain. The two men meet up thanks to a decree from king Nereus, Justin's dad. Before they meet, the interfering Atlantean gods push their nose in Justin's business, invoking a curse that could make or break them before they begin.

I really enjoyed reading the follow up on the Atlantean gods, Caspian and his sister Cari. Finally we get to learn about Caspian's powers. And we get more of meddling Medina,the goddess of love and lust. For this book, neither merman seemed as awed by the gods as in the first book. I think I liked that aspect. The story uses a couple of themes - being raised in paranormal vs. normal worlds, closeted vs. out of the closet (and not trying to go back in) and a commitment-phobe falling in love. There was a decent amount of lightness and some humor to help move the story along, even with the ominous curse looming like a grey cloud over Justina nd Lucas' heads and making their relationship seem based on magic only.

It's not.

Reading Lucas first meet Justin and how they get together was fun. They didn't jump right into the sack on first meeting (despite magic trying to get one up on them). This story is sexy. But there definitely is plot too. No PWP here. I liked the couple in England slightly more then in Atlantis.

Let's talk about the sex because a few scenes hit my buttons. All of the erotic delights were even more fun to read. Can we say exhibition? Or voyeurism? Or aquarium sex?

The book kept the sex interesting. Neither man has any issues in the bedroom department when it comes to chemistry (though toward the end, a certain mer's constant begging of the same thing was starting to become one note)

There were a couple of quibbles for me: there were a few parts that could have been shaved - it read slight stretched in parts. I think the length of the novel was good, just wished a few areas were developed more:

Otus and his outcome - it seemed it was building steam once remembered in Atlantis and then we get this anticlimactic scene. He read vindictive...I expected more.

Jake, Finn and Kyle - our starring trio from Forbidden Waters, book #1. Now they are the secondary characters in this book. I think they weren't used to their advantage. Some parts were missed (ex. Finn grew up in Atlantis - he never remarked on Justin's face the way Lucas did first time meeting him), Finn and Kyle felt like they barely touched the surface in Lucas' acclimation. It was such a big part in book #1 and endeared me to the characters. It got glossed over here with Lucas.

The last 15% or so - the ending was good. There is a HEA. But...the main character's had a tendency to say they weren't going to do A)...then once confronted, they'd give in. I guess it can boil down to lovers' spats but, it either was a little too much or could have been developed more.

Overall, I was happy with the outcome. I was a little surprised that was all it took...but I really enjoyed reading Lucas and Justin. I do think they're a forever couple. I wasn't left with as much questions as with book #1. I'm definitely reading the rest of this series, hope for more merman tales and maybe some books starring Atlantean gods. Can't wait to see which other gods are waking from their slumber.

Recommended for mermen fans, those who don't mind reading the beginning and journey of falling in love and mythology tinged fantasy romances!

P.S. Job well done on getting the cover to match a main character's description. It's pretty much how imagined Lucas!

A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2016-05-04 22:46
Unicorn reading about a unicorn...
Fragments of a Unicorn's Soul - J.R. Loveless

THREE HEARTS--I think it's safe to say, if you put a unicorn in a story, 9 times out of 10...I'm reading it. I like the horns.

Pop that top, Unicorn!

Actually, let's not pop that unicorn chaser top. It'll just cause me to go on about unicorns, a subject I could probably gab about all day. Let's talk about one specific unicorn, shall we?

J.R. Loveless re-released Fragments of a Unicorn's Soul, a story where unicorn meets the other half of his soul unexpectedly. Elek the unicorn lives in the magical world of...well, where exactly, I'm not too sure. It's in a forest in America, six hours from present day San Diego. Unicorns used to live out in the open in the human world but due to humans trying to harm and steal unicorns' immortality, the magical beings had to enchant a part of a forest with a veil, not visible to humans, to survive and hide their herd.

The story is basic - unicorn sees his child mate - waits for him to mature - does something about it when the mate's legal. Jonathan, the three year old Elek saves in the forest grows into a college aged teen. The years do nothing to destroy their connection. The story isn't squicky, it's more sweet and calm. I do think the idea was cool but for the length, too condensed to give the story full body. I think some more pages to show how the unicorns came to be, rather than have it told to the reader in a paragraph would have been fun. Or even a couple of section breaks wouldn't have hurt, the story zoomed over a decade in sentences.

My fave part is reading Elek's reactions to humans - their words, their modern ideas and inventions, their everything.And learning that the unicorns aren't shifters but unicorns was cool. Their history was also interesting.

There was sex but if there weren't any, I wouldn't have minded. I don't think it truly added to the men's connection but it was okay. *shrug*

I like this story but it didn't leave a lasting impression. This unicorn has read a number of unicorn tales to be discerning. Maybe if this story is expanded in the future, I might revisit.

Recommended to readers who like sweet little unicorn filled nuggets, don't want to be bothered with anything too deep and like a quick HEA.

A copy provided for an honest review. 

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