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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 2017-04-16 04:42
Stalkery alpha-type... why, yes, I do enjoy reading about those types.
Jumping In - Cardeno C.

3.5 HEARTS--Officer Clint Rivera is having a very, very bad day.




So bad it feels like the universe is against him. Why?

He's being kicked out his apartment, his closeted ex-lover--who he wasted many months on--is suddenly getting married after two weeks of leaving Clint. And this cheating douchcanoe had the audacity to send Clint an invitation to his engagement. After internally raging, he returns to his soon-to-be ex-home to find it destroyed by his lovely dogs.  This would drive a man to drink an ice cold stiff one, but he's out of that too after a clumsy catastrophe that caused all his bottles of beers to break.

He'd had enough. Life keeps taking the piss, so he figures his ex owes him all the alcohol after the last couple of shitty hours he's had.





Enter hunky deputy mayor of Clint's small New Mexico town, Hawk. The 6' 6" blue eyed man seems to always be underfoot whenever Clint least expects it. If only he could get over his crush on the hunky, boner inducing man. The best he can manage around Hawk is be adorably tongued tied. Besides, Clint's pretty sure Hawk's straight. Especially with his luck, the best he could do is keep Hawk in his spank bank.

Enter a boozy night where he's rescued by a patient, possessive stalker of a knight in shining armor: Hawk!

Hawk has changed his entire life waiting for his man to be free of that douchecanoe. And he swoops in just like a Cardeno C. possessive hero can do.

We're talking hot dirty talking, sweet courting and possessive insta-love.

And hot sex all over the place once Hawk gets his hands on his man. *coughs* *hint* An appliance might need to take a pregnancy test after a really rocking time.

I'm still fairly new to this author. Cardeno's contemporary seems to do it for me. I wanted possessive alpha that is intense in getting their man. It's exactly what was delivered. It's short enough not to bore and read in between novels.

Some of it was super quick. I mean the coupling lasted for a weekend before we're plopped into a HEA. Something tells me they're going to stick together forever and ever.

And if Clint ever gets second thoughts... well Hawk is just going to have to show him what his amazing tongue and "eight and half inches" can really do.

Newsflash: A fucking lot.





And I'm not mad at it.

Recommended for smutsters who want to read something possessive, hot and sweet all at the same time. 

You know, when you're in a mood. ;D



A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2017-04-03 07:38
*sigh* I wanted to like this.
Fair Catch - Leigh Carman
1.5 HEARTS--Told in dual first person POV, Fair Catch is a new adult romance (I use that term in the loosest of terms) between 22 year old yoga instructor, parkour enthusiast, genius techie and millionaire 5' 6" Tobias "Toby" Bennett and 25 year old Superbowl winning, best NFL wide receiver in the league, 6' 6" alpha male Sullivan "Van" Archer.

That's a lot of hats these main characters wear. Usually when I read a story that give their MC holds many titles, it's used as the depth and characteristics that story lacks.

So is the case with Fair Catch. It was the equivalent of reading about paper thin types play acting a romance. I'm not a fan of those.





Also this story doesn't have trigger warnings, so let me get those out the way: domestic abuse, gay bashing, attempted rape and domestic violence.

The story starts out roughly, Toby (the smaller, beautiful owner of crystalline eyes) is herded into an office but a club owner (best friend of Van) for closeted Van Archer's pick of ass for the night. Toby was celibate and allegedly wary of others since his last relationship, one with a controlling abusive older, larger lawyer. So what does young Toby do when grabbed and told to go into the room? Why he drops to his knees and hooks up with the intimidating stranger's friend. Makes sense.

This monumental hookup is mentioned in the blurb, however, there is no description of this life changing scene, just exaltation of why the MC is so beautiful and smaller, there's a foot difference in height, don't you know?
The story jumps around to Van winning the Superbowl but getting an owwie. Then we jump to a yoga class with Toby as the teach. And it continues to jump all around to make for a bumpy transitions, declarations of not doing an action and then doing it either before or a few paragraphs down the line. The disjointed brand of story telling continues throughout. And the thing is, though weeks and months pass, the main characters basically spend a handful of days together, with no meaningful events written and shown to the reader.

Oh, there is sex. Repetitive sex that I could write the script for you: big hulking guy manhandles the little guy, calls him "beautiful" two finger probe into the "little hole", condom, lube, insert dick, thrust, "mine", cums and falls on top. Rinse and repeat.

Fair Catch was swimming around the 2.5 mark until the repeated attempted rapes plot line. Actually it's right around when the unnecessary villain/ex-boyfriend with the extremely weak blackmail twist was thrown in. After that, the story went onto an over the top tangent with a lot of bruises, tears, possessive behavior and and stereotypes.

The best things about the novel is the concept and the readability. It's very simple to read and you can quickly zip through.

The negatives outweigh the positives however.





The writing style - Too telling, contradictory and relies on stereotypical characters to make the story "interesting" and for added drama. The telling is so heavy, an example is that a character would need to look in the mirror to tell the reader they were horny and describe to you, instead of just writing it and letting the reader figure it out on their own. To say the book needed a through edit, content wise, is not wrong. There are too many examples of this writing style where it fails to showcase the character. More descriptive and time were spent on the superficial things rather than letting the character have a hint of depth. And key scenes that could have actually used a thorough description were ignored.

All of the character could instantly know what the other characters were thinking, been through, etc. Maybe clairvoyant is an unofficial hat to add to the list of jobs they all have.

The stereotypes - I really was not a fan of the way Leo, Toby's best friend was written. He was nothing more that a loud color wearing, cock hound who went into hysterics at a drop of a hat.

The abuse/domestic violence - I am always on the side of an abuse victim. However they react is their right. This book minimizes abuse (also again the characters can just tell what happened to each other):

"My last boyfriend. He was... not nice."
"What do you mean?" Then Leo gasps, gripping his shirt over his chest. "Oh My God, Toby. Did he hit you?"
"Not exactly. Well, sort of. I don't know, Leo. It was abusive, I know, but it all built up over such a long period of time, I didn't realize what was going on until it was too late."

Toby can't tell if he was abused? It was just last year when he described being raped and beaten. Or the fact Toby stated he felt worse for his friend being called homophobic slurs than suffering through actual physical abuse and being raped. Both are horrible, let me be clear, but they are not equal.

And in case the past rape wasn't used enough, the attempted rape plot device was added... TWICE!

To create dramatic effect? The last one made no sense, nor did it add to anything other than it gave the alpha hero a shot to flex his muscles and allegedly save the day. The thing is Van wasn't there the first time the attempted rape card was brought to the table and he didn't seem as cut about it afterwards.

Van - I know he's supposed to read like a good guy. But the way he was written was not as effective, He realized his true self as being a gay man by not wearing sweats and sneakers but rather tailored, designer clothes. Seriously? Or how about the fact he knows about Toby's abused past but didn't care when he got mad at his lover and started to go apeshit on him? Or manhandling Toby in the heat of sexy times so soon after Toby gets beaten again.

If an abuse victim closes himself off from others, why would Van be the one to break their celibacy on? Nothing was shown to support that. The reader is told they're horny for one another, told they're soul mates, told they love each other...but nothing is shown.

This book has the potential to appeal to certain readers, if you rather not learn main characters' life stories, just want a beginning and middle and end with some sex thrown in and a lot of drama, then Fair Catch might be the book for you.

For me:




I'm sure this is my last Leigh Carman I'll read.




A copy provided for an honest review.

 

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review 2017-03-24 11:32
NSFW: For those who like it twisted...M. Caspian always gets the tone right.
The Salt of Your Tears - M. Caspian

For the dudes and dudettes who like it extremely dark and kinky!

Twisted folks step right on up!

 

 

In His Skin - 4 Hearts


A mute submissive is given the world by his Master, but it comes with a price.


Warning: do not enter if you can't handle pain play, blood play, sharing amongst partners and piercing certain sensitive parts.

 

 

Dylan yearns to please his master Harrison. He tries his hardest to follow his rules and be the best that he can be. But he yearns for something...the sea.

 

Dylan doesn't have to cook or clean. All he has to do is please Harrison, obviously in the bedroom. Though he never utters a word throughout the story, Dylan's thoughts and emotions were very present. The story is slightly mysterious as well as erotic. Who Dylan is and how he came to be with Harrison is the leading the question that pulled me into the story.

 

I'm not one for pain play, so not on #TeamPain. (#Team Lube represent!) But the verbal humiliation helped ease my squickiness. And when  Harrison and Dylan are alone together, the trademark Caspian possessiveness came tot he forefront, where hot breaths and threats are prevalent.

 

"Did your hole get enough tonight? Oh, no, wait, it didn't because I haven't fucked you yet. Only me, you hear me? It's only me who gets to have you."

 

That I liked. I figured out the mystery close to the end. The writing read poetic and a little somber at times. But I was super happy with the concept. It's my kind of paranormal.

 

 

 

At the end, Dylan prioritized what he needed the most. I'd like to think was a HEA.

 

Please heed the warnings before trying.

 

Asking For It - 5 Hearts

 

CHEESUS AND CRACKERS! THIS IS LIKE IT WAS WRITTEN FOR ME!

 

 

 

7+k words - I kid you not, I have about half of this story highlighted.  

"Bet you want it all the time, don't you, a boy like you? I'll have to visit you at work on your lunch break, gag you and tie your hands in the men's room, turn you around in a stall and fuck you 'til you're crying, then make you go back to your afternoon meeting with my seed dripping out of you."

 

 

 

All my favorites words came to play: cockslut, cunt, fuckboy!

 

Pornupcopia jackpot! Filth! Smut at its finest!

 

Cole needs. He needs bad. The 22 year old has been a good boy. He's repressed at work, doesn't try to explore the kink, the need in him. And when he tries to finally do something about it with a date with a Daddy type from online, he doesn't meet with much success.

 

Or does he?

"Your eyes are hungry, did you know that?"

Bar owner and bartender Garrett sees everything that night. And answers the body call Cole has going on.

 

"But you still need, don't you? It's okay boy. You've found me now."

 

Semi-public sex, humiliation dirty talk, possessive alpha Dom...I just don't where to begin on the high points.

 

The thrill Cole feels, the slight, miniscule dub-con feel to it all...oh the words.

 

If only that pool table could talk.

"I can't wait to fuck you raw, watch you push my cum out, see it dripping out of your hole."

Cole gets shown, owned and is so satisfied by Garret, any reservation has flew the coop.

 

And I imagine a very cum filled happy ending. From random hookup to lasting D/s relationship...

 

 

 

Aces in my book! ;)

Re-read worthy for sure!

 

 

A Song in the Blood - 4.5 Hearts

 

Where a masochist with a penchant for blood play finally meets his match.

 

 

Here's the thing. I started this a little confuzzled.

 

Then is as I read along I released this was “It is Our Bounden Duty To Protect The Empire”. (Love this new title BTW) and the tags helped make it clearer.

 

The tags: gun play, extreme violence, paranormal, power exchange, HEA, historical setting, Kiwi MC, extreme violence. All acts are consensual by the way.

 

Set after the turn of the 20th century, Corran McKenzie is a Kiwi soldier slowly dying in the African desert. He's picked up a friend by the name of Sephtis. And Sephtis watches and goads the young man as his will to live keeps him going.

 

Now if you look up the name Sephtis, you'll see exactly who Septhis is. Or I should say what he represents. Clever, clever, author. (It's a reason why I rated so high) We get a case study of Corran's life and the start of when he craved real pain and couldn't have his needs fulfilled.

"Your want is delicious."

All he needs is to make it hurt, to bleed.

 

Sephtis scratches that unfathomable itch. The story starts in 1902 and carries on into present day. There are erotic moments and scenes...like this:

 

 

Add that to the mindfuckery and it's a hot little number.

"Did you know your soul hungers? No wonder I heard you all the way out here in the middle of nowhere."

It reminded me of Deckard's "Better The Devil You Know", which had similar depravity, a witty entity and crisp writing.


Recommended for readers who can actually handle the tags, DMC and those who like extreme dark mixed in with their kink.

 



A copy provided for an honest review.

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review 2017-03-15 07:13
The writing, the characters....oh this book is too great! *hugs*
Private Truths - C.B. Lewis
Tag Team Review w/ Sara

FIVE HEARTS
--I love reading romance.

I love reading about all types of protagonists: the socially awkward, the ultra-suave, the shy, the grumpy, etc. Hell even the super possessive 'alpha' has a place and time. Call it fantasy, guilty pleasure, whatever, just give me a good romance where the main characters have to work for a happy ending, and you will have a fan in me.




Private Truths by C.B. Lewis did this for me, hooked me with layered main characters who didn't expect love to be the final order....and were so happy that it happened to them.

A publicly closeted aristocrat and a war damaged veteran, who at the core of what matters, are great people who totally deserve each other. That's what you can find in Private Truths. This is my first 2017 fave for a reason, it's getting harder and harder I'm finding to read a book I actively want to re-read and bask in. I took joy in starting my day reading about Jack and Edward and seeing what the world threw at them next.

Set in present day London, the book starts with ginger haired vet Jack McCall being sort of forced into promoting his charity for vets in need, Those Returned, at a dress up event. His boss put him on the trail of wealthy Edward Marsden, Viscount Routhsley. Jack awkwardly places a bid for Those Returned, doesn't make much small talk and hightails it out of there as soon as he could. What he doesn't expect is really capturing the attention of the presumed ladies man viscount Routhsley.

I knew this book was going to be a winner from 4%. Jack and Edward have a chemistry that slow burned and simmered from that event and it carried itself all the way to the final page.

"I had no notion I would grow so attached to you, Mr. McCall."
"I'll second that." He leaned sideways until his shoulder rested against Edward's hip. Edward's fingers stroked through his hair and brushed down his neck. There was something comforting about the casual intimacy of that touch. "I'm glad it happened, though."
Edward kneaded his neck gently. "And I," he murmured, "shall second that."


Class differences? Yes. But Lewis didn't make it be the leading difference. Edward is smooth but he cares for people. And he takes a shine on Jack. However his public life is fodder for the gossip rags and ruthless paparazzi. So in the closet Edward remains. He and a reluctant Jack start of as men with a shared passion to help others in need, to friends, to lovers.

Jack gets swept into Edward's world. But Jack's had a taste of the limelight via harassing paparazzi. and for a man on edge and has PTSD, the results weren't favorable.

The story shines a light on those who suffer PTSD without going to extremes or brushing the aftereffects for a far fetched plot line. It's realistic. The relationship between the men doesn't happen overnight, the author wonderfully gives them time. Slow burn is the aim, over saturated sex-fests that drown out the plot won't be found here.

"Why the hell do you care?"
Edward's hand was warm against his cheek, and he had to fight the urge to tilt his head into Edward's touch.
"Why wouldn't I?" Edward asked quietly.

The passion is abundant as is the romance. The author (yes I nerded out to find out more about this author after reading) calls this book an "old fashioned romance", I couldn't agree more. At times, it gave me historical romance in present day feels. I could have easily put two men in a different time period and the story would still work.

The story mainly from Jack's POV. The reader gets to share in his wide range of emotion. The lust (yes, there is a good amount of sex, though not overly graphic), the fear and the uncertainty of falling for someone. Plus, the paparazzi/villainous angle also helped move the story along.

And the humor!

"Jesus Christ!" he exclaimed, rushing around the table to hug her, her round belly knocking against his ribs. "What's that big clown been doing to you?"
"Same thing you lads just done," Tommy said smugly, "with a hundred percent more fanny."

The humor was wonderfully mixed in throughout the book. Edward was a dashing leading man. I could buy why Jack was enamored. And Edward's parents are a hilarious delight. Even when times got rough, the humor peeked though, Great mix.

Another facet of this story is that it's on the quieter side of romance but their chemistry spoke volumes. I do enjoy a well written quieter romance, where the little moments tell a lot about the main characters' feelings. A touch can say so much.

I'm a quote-nista. I love a good quote. The more I love a story, the more quotes I save like a mad woman. Sara has 5 pages of quotes. (I'm pretty close w/ # pages of quotes from Private Truths) After my first time reading C.B. Lewis, I am a fan. I loved her words, pacing, the moments & in-between and all of her characters (even the arsehole ones)

Good persevered, an important light on veterans was portrayed with respect and a romance that definitely left a lasting impression was written. This ends with a solid HEA for me.

I'll be looking for more C.B. Lewis with bells on.

Recommended to readers who love romance between layered characters and enjoy reading slow burn.



A copy provided for an honest review.
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