Saturday, August 29, 2015

MEME - Stacking the Shelves - 08-29-15 #008


Got a couple more, but I think these are the current cream of the crop. Really hoping they're all awesome! Particularly confident of The Martian because I've heard a lot about it, and Amy's Forbidden Fantasy is by Nikki Sex who's Abuse novel I LOVED.

Purchased:


Freebies: 





Wednesday, August 26, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - Omega in the Shadows - Lost Wolves Book 1

 

Author: Zoe Perdita - http://zoeperdita.blogspot.com/
Format: Kindle eBook (free at the time from amazon)
Did it feel like a full novel: yes
Cliffhanger: nope
Genre: m/m romance, werewolves
Dates Read: Aug 8-10, 2015
Official Blurb: Rowan Gregor is a CIA agent who vows never to get close to another wolf after his pack is brutally murdered by hunters. Enter Elijah Kane, an efficient and shadowy omega assassin on the run from the CIA. When Rowan is tasked with hunting down Kane, he ends up at the mercy of a wolf with nothing left to lose - a wolf who is sure Rowan is his mate. Elijah Kane is hell bent on proving he's stronger and smarter than every alpha he meets - including the alpha CIA agent sent to kill him. But Rowan lights a fire of lust that Elijah can't ignore. They share a rare connection - a mate connection - and he's not going to give up on Rowan until the man sees it too. Trapped in a snowy wilderness and besieged by hunters, desire sizzles between Elijah and Rowan. Can they overcome their differences, and their pasts, and forge a bond to save their future?

The two characters really drove the story. They didn’t need for any other character (pretty much all antagonists of some kind) to be more than 2-dimensional. It was enough for them to work off of (since they were great at foiling and later holding each other up). Rowan is a big brooding alpha, and Elijah is an omega who is done with the world treating him like crap. At the very beginning you don’t see how these two are gonna get together realistically without being railroaded, but Perdita handles it well. The two guys may be mated by their moon goddess, but they also start to get to know each other and care for each other’s true self. I am a bit picky when it comes to ‘pretermined mate’ books though I love werewolves, so I was delighted to read how she handled it. Granted, Kane killed someone, then breaks an innocent person's arms later, and it feels like this was added just to make him sound like a heartless assassin. But the more you learn about him later, like his reason for why he does his job and his past, you don't see that he would be able to do both so offhandedly. But I guess it was needed to make him feel more of a 'bad guy'.

I LOVED the scenes where one doesn’t expect the other to help/save/stand up for them and they DO. Lots of that in here which is so perfect. A wee bit of torture, and lovely hurt/comfort points. Elijah was a badass assassin with his need to prove himself as strong. Even though he did have a solid inner strength, he just was so sure he had to bluster and bluff since he stopped being a punching bag that he didn’t see it. Rowan was stoic-hot, I like those kinds of characters. He ‘discovers’ he gay in a slow progressive method, not just all of a sudden in a fake manner. The two hurt each other on purpose and later by accident as well, and you see they could destroy each other later on if they choose. But it’s all about trust, and that just gets me in the feels. I wish I could reread this book again for the ‘first’ time, just to experience it all.

There is a tub scene where I lose track of what’s going on, though it’s still a wee bit hot. And the final battle climax has a beautiful build up, even within the scene, then it’s suddenly over and though it kinda makes sense, you feel it was so quick as to be a little cheap. Easy to overlook if only because having these two together is soothing. I am hoping for a sequel of their story, but I  suppose it’s enough of a HEA to satisfy, though I really want to see how Perdita’s other character find their partners!

I think the main guy on the cover is supposed to be Kane, but I actually saw him a touch more as Rowan. Instead my mind brought a specific Elijah Kane to mind when I started, and once there, it would not leave. Who? Someone lean who is used to using his brains and dresses in fabulous clothing.... Matt Bromer! Particularly when playing Neal on White Collar, he felt like the perfect choice. Have some photos of this gorgeous man!





I tried to find others of a specific Rowan, but couldn’t really do him justice. Especially with the combination of auburn hair and dark eyes. So instead, have some Matt and Tim DeKay (plays Pete on White Collar) fun, which may not fit the wild aspect of this, but there is a lot of chasing and being irritated by each other in a similar way. It did remind me of the show, enough so that if you like either this book or that show, it couldn’t hurt to try the other ;) Pete is very protective of Neal, and yet still needs to tell him what to do and keep a watchful eye on him, plus he uses a lot of physicality in his body movements I can see Rowan have if he could relax a bit.




Rating: 5 stars


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - TUESDAY FLIRTATIONS - Impulse (Infinitus Billionaire Book 1)




I'm sure a lot of us download free romance novels to read because there are SO very many of them out there. And then the little guys breed like rabbits in our eReaders. Why don't we share our reviews/impressions so we can find the best ones to read?

Rules:
1. Read a free romance book (this was started for legally free eBooks, but you can count anything gifted, borrowed, ARC, etc!)
2. Review it on your blog. If you can and it's still available, share the link to the free book.
3. Link back here by using the code below.
4. Leave your link to the specific blog post (NOT your main site) in a comment on the recent week's TF post or via the linky.
5. Delight in reading reviews by real people who's likes/dislikes you can compare to and thus find a romance you most likely will enjoy :D



 

Author: E.B. Walters - http://www.author-ebwalters.com/
Format: Kindle eBook (free at the time on amazon
Did it feel like a full novel: yes
Cliffhanger: no
Genre: romance
Dates Read: July 31-Aug 3, 2015
Official Blurb: Lex Fitzgerald is not your average billionaire. He leads a double life as the conscientious head of his family and the pleasure-seeking rogue who parties hard and pushes the limits in and out of the bedroom. His two worlds are about to collide because of one woman, Jillian Finnegan. 

Lex needs a secret weapon to defeat a competitor and finds it in Jillian Finnegan. He has no intention of letting her potty mouth, her crazy lifestyle, or her eccentric family get in his way. So when he makes her an offer, he expects her to accept. However, sparks start to fly when Jillian gives him a counteroffer and dares him to refuse. Has Lex finally met his match? 

Good gravy this was such a good romance! Jillian intrigued me from the beginning, seeming so strong that I worried that it’d go over the top. But nope, never did! She was a BAMF when it came to her stunts and sports, yet she never gets bitter about how independent she is. I’m sure many of you know how some writers can’t do strong without bitchy. But Walters handles Jillian well!

Then there’s Lex. Based on the blurb and the way most billionaire books go, I thought he’d be more than a little bit overbearing and possessive. Nope, not exactly. He’s perseverant and infatuated, which I just LOVED. Lex is an awesome boyfriend and lover, strong and sexy while pretty much being a feminist how men can realistically be. He wanted to protect Jill not because she was a woman, but because he loved her and didn’t want her to be hurt. 

The other characters were great--please tell me there’s a Chris & Greg book in this author’s works!--to include Douglas, Matthews, the other Fitzgeralds, the rest of the Infinitus members, even actor Keith. Speaking of Keith, I liked that Jill tells him she has someone special when he’s trying to flirt, and he doesn’t act like a jerk, pulling out that friendzone BS or anything like that. He respects her and pretty much drops his hitting on her for the rest of his scenes. 

Anyway, the relationship between the two is great. They’re playful and like 90-95% honest with each other. The drama comes from outside, stressful sources, not annoying hidden grudges (though they do see their relationship from slightly different viewpoints). Well yeah, and “the secret”, but it’s not a dramatic type like “I saw him kiss someone else but didn’t ask about it.” There’s a good plot to this that develops with them, which gets deeper and has a nifty twist later on. 

I was also very impressed with the sex. Just enough detail to be sexy without being raunchy. Often enough you can see how much they want each other without it overtaking the story. And they weren’t repetitive. The two went great together, pleasing each other and being at each other’s mercies in turn. I’m not cool with only one partner being used for the other’s pleasure (unless it’s a game or being shown as a Bad Thing), and you can feel how hot these two are for each other, but not just that. They honestly care for each other, and it’s enjoyable to read about.

My only real complaint (and it’s something that isn’t really that big) is that Jill is considered a “potty mouth”. I mean, seriously? Working Hollywood? I think that was a stretch to believe. She barely curses, and they’re short things, not the long drawn out combinations of someone who REALLY likes to swear. But I guess it was an attempt to make her sound more of a ‘bad girl’ than she really is. It wasn’t very big, it just bugged me.

So as you can see, I really enjoyed reading this book and having time to lull on it even several days later. The ending cuts off like an average book, but apparently leads way to the next which I really need to get soon! Plus, I want to DEVOUR everything else Walters has written, because she is a very impressive storyteller. 

Rating: 5 stars



Saturday, August 22, 2015

MEME - Stacking the Shelves - 08-22-15 #007

Got a couple this week, but these are the ones that most called to me. I still got a LOT from past STS that I feel very guilty about not getting to. Oh boy, nt sure I'll ever manage to catch up!

To Review (Net Galley)


Freebies








Thursday, August 20, 2015

READ ALONG - Atlas Shrugged - Mini-Review and Discussion (mainly about Bioshock)


Ti from www.Bookchatter.net had an awesome Read Along for this novel and I am just SO GLAD I joined in. It took me longer than the planned dates to finish it, but having an organized RAL helped keep me on track! I was curious about this book mainly because I knew there had to be some similarities with the Bioshock video game, but it was also a classic so it was a double reason to read it. Ti kept things fun with twitter, and I met some cool people because we'd talk a little bit as we went through it. 

Mini-Review
This is a short one because I have difficulty reviewing these kinds of important classic books. As just the story, I frickin’ LOVED IT. I enjoyed most of the protagonists, most of them getting better the more they developed. Dagny was a fantastic heroine who just wanted to protect her railroad because she was Nat Taggart reborn. The chapter about the Taggart Tunnel disaster was my favorite. It was so set up, like a room-wide domino chain where every little piece had as much to do with it as each other. The general sequence of events was great because in parts one and two it just getting so much worse that you didn’t know what else could happen, but oh no. IT COULD HAPPEN. 




Part Three was not the same, but there was a lovely rescue scene that leveled it out. However, as a literary novel with themes and archetypes and all those other things you talk about in English class... Well that was also pretty great, really. Whilst I don’t buy into 100% of objectivism, I do think a lot of its points are important. I was not able to finish the John Galt speech. Read about half of it, then skimmed the rest. I'd like to reread it the next time I go thorough it, as I won't be left in suspense as to what's going to happen in the story since I know it now. But otherwise, this is a book that should be read by lots of people for the depth of the philosophy, not just the story. But really, the story is fantastic. Srsly. 

RATING: 5 stars


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Discussion and Comparison to Bioshock

WARNING! SPOILERS ABOUND SO DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK OR PLAYED THE FIRST BIOSHOCK GAME! Or if you don’t mind getting either spoiled a wee bit :]
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OK, so I’ll give you my main complaint. Why did Eddie have such a shitty end? I can understand Cherryl, I can see her unfortunate train-wreck coming. Perhaps I was merely more prepared. But though I knew Dagny wouldn’t be able to help him because they'd said goodbye, I figured he’d be OK otherwise. And then Rand just abandons him to an unknown fate!


He stepped to the front of the engine and looked up at the letters TT. Then he collapsed across the rail and lay sobbing at the foot of the engine, with the beam of a motionless headlight above him going off into a limitless night.

Was Rand just showing what happens to the average masses while the looters die and the producers hide? Well it could have been exemplified like so many of the passengers who died in Taggart Tunnel without crushing poor Eddie. He could have joined the disembarking passengers, hell, maybe he could have led them after a bit of soul-searching. The train breaking down could have merely been a parallel of that tree that was hit by lightning when he was little. He would have felt the same betrayal thinking about something grander than himself, but as then, he would have continued onward. I was just so frustrated with that part I had to complain out loud for like 10 minutes after finishing the book. 

But anyway, regarding Bioshock. Well if you haven’t gotten to play it, the gist of it is that a man called Andrew Ryan, from Russia I think, is a business magnate in the 1940/50s who wants to create an isolated utopia for others like him. He wants to get away from the “parasites” who are government, religion, and pretty much anyone who wants to limit him. 


Andrew Ryan: I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No!' says the man in Washington, 'It belongs to the poor.' 'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'It belongs to God.' 'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'It belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture, a city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, Where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well. 

Sound a bit like John Galt, right? So he establishes Rapture under the sea, which reminds me of this line in the book:


John Galt was a millionaire, a man of inestimable wealth. He was sailing his yacht one night, in the mid-Atlantic, fighting the worst storm ever wreaked upon the world, when he found it. He saw it in the depth, where it had sunk to escape the reach of men. He saw the towers of Atlantis shining on the bottom of the ocean. It was a sight of such kind that when one had seen it, one could no longer wish to look at the rest of the earth. John Galt sank his ship and went down with his entire crew.

But in Rapture, though things are great for a good while, they go bad. Bioshock is a sort of eventuality of what would befall Galt’s Gulch because human nature is what it is. They all produce, some will naturally produce more and some less. Some came with more money, others less. Classes will divide, not just economical, but based on ability as well (is a piece of art worth the same as a handmade piece of furniture? What if one takes five times longer to build?). Combine the fact that they are for the most part, stuck together without able to go somewhere else while the crisis is happening. Then, in Rapture at least, there’s a new scientific discovery of a substance that can grant persons super human powers such as telekinesis, pyrokinesis, etc. It's limited in quantity, and becomes a precious commodity only certain people can afford to obtain. A second faction is created from the lower classes, led by their ‘everyman’, Atlas. Lotsa fighting and destruction, utopia is now destroyed.

In the 1960s, your playable character enters this, a guy named Jack who crashed his plane and managed to get down to Rapture. There’s a bunch of story line that follows here via gameplay, with rather a lot more bits inspired by or as an ode to Atlas Shrugged. But the end is the part that resonates strongly with me, mainly when I played it, but now more so after finishing Atlas Shrugged.

Jack has no lines throughout the game, and he pretty much does things based off others’ instructions. The substance that makes you powerful is called ADAM, and originally it was implanted in young girls who were dubbed Little Sisters. Later large monstrous creatures called Big Daddies were made to protect them. 



During the game, you can choose to harvest ADAM from the Little Sisters (and get stronger), or you can save them (don't get as strong, but later you get good stuff). There are three endings based on if you harvested all the Little Sisters, only some (same ending as previous but with a sadder narration), or saved them instead. If you’re not going to play the game and don’t mind spoiling the exact bits, I would recommend searching for “good ending Bioshock” on YouTube and watching it. My summary now is that Jack gets a happy ending, and it’s a sweet one filled with love (that you learn he really missed out on in his past).

Now here’s the part where I connect it back to Eddie. Remember how Eddie and Dagny were talking about their futures while they were kids?


That day, in a clearing in the woods, the once precious companion of his childhood told him what they would do when they grew up. The words were harsh and glowing, like the sunlight. He listened in admiration and in wonder. When he was asked what he would want to do, he answered at once, "Whatever is right," and added "You ought to do something great...I mean the two of us together." "What?" she asked. He said "I don't know. That's what we ought to find out. Not just business and earning a living."... What do you suppose is the best within us?" "I don't know." "We'll have to find out." She did not answer; she was looking away, up the railroad track. 

So it seems like Eddie is very wishy-washy, and when he and Dagny say goodbye, he even says:


"It's still Taggart Transcontinental. I'll stand by it. Dagny, wherever you go, you'll always be able to build a railroad. I couldn't. I don't even want to make a new start. Not any more. Not after what I've seen. You should. I can't. Let me do what I can."

So it makes him seem like he can’t do anything without Dagny being there to guide him. But let’s go back to their kid versions. He wants to do “Whatever is right” primarily. The rest is merely added on, likely because he’s a kid and he’s not sure exactly what he must do for his main calling. As the story develops, you see he is an honest, hard-working, and moral man. Imagine if Eddie got up after collapsing on the rails, making the sacrifice that the other producers had to as well (Galt and his motor, Rearden and his metal, Dagny and her railroad). Imagine he either continued to live outside, being with the other average people, or if he managed to arrive at Galt’s Gulch, possibly being rescued by one of them. Regardless of where he would end up, not having Dagny to be his guide, he would fall back on his base plan for adulthood. If someone needed another pair of hands building a house, he would help. If someone was hurting another person, he would stop it. He would arbitrate and assist others in any way possible, not in the wrongful altruistic way of the looters, but to set things back on the path of right, now that the looters have no more power to order about the masses.

Jack in Bioshock was ordered around, but (based on how I played) he saved the Little Sisters because that was right. Eddie would also have done so if in the same position, and perhaps Jack’s good ending was a dedication to Eddie himself and all the others like him. Though it’s the geniuses with productive abilities that rule the world, Galt’s Gulch, and Rapture, it’s the average people who act to decide their own fate who will ultimately survive. 



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - Hope for Garbage

 

Author: Alex Tully - http://www.alextullywriter.com
Format: Kindle eBook (free at the time on amazon
Did it feel like a full novel: yes
Cliffhanger: no
Genre: young adult
Dates Read: July 16-18, 2015
Official Blurb: Welcome to the cruel world of Trevor McNulty. No matter how hard he tries, this seventeen year-old just can’t get a break. Through no fault of his own, he finds himself living with his alcoholic uncle on the outskirts of Cleveland. His days are filled with garbage-picking and hanging out with his seventy year-old neighbor, who also happens to be his best friend.

One early morning while scanning the streets in a posh suburb, he meets Bea, a rebellious rich girl with problems of her own. She’s smart, cute, and a glimmer of light in his dark world.
But in the midst of their budding romance, Bea’s beautiful mother enters the picture with an agenda of her own. She sets off a chain of events so shocking and destructive, Trevor's crazy life soon becomes more than he can handle. While he is desperate to save his relationship with Bea, he learns that nothing in his world can be saved unless he first saves himself.

Hope for Garbage is a story about resilience-about overcoming adversity under the most extraordinary circumstances-about never, ever, giving up hope.

Because sooner or later, everybody gets a break

Blurb really made me curious. Perhaps it was not as pathetic a situation for Trevor as I imagined, but he sill has a really hard life, and it gets worse the more you read. The dialogue felt a bit plastic and fake until about a third of the way through for some reason, but then picked up well. Characters like Trevor, Mr. T, and Lorene were well written. I could see who they were, and their reasons for doing what they did. Mr. T’s relationship with Trevor is a beautiful one, which I thought was well-done in spite of their age differences. Or because of them?

I don’t want to spoil something, but I could not see why a certain character does something to hurt Trevor pretty badly. I didn’t see the reasoning for the way it was handled, even if it did make sense for why it happened. I guess it’s nice to have a happy ending that feels a bit more like real life, not everything working out perfectly. 

This was easy to breeze through once the dialogue leveled out, and the plot climax isn’t crazy cliffhanger style, but realistically intense. Trevor is a wonderful character who’s good hearted but isn’t an exaggerated phony. You can really feel he’s a conscientious person without having to be told. Finding out the details of his difficult past make your heart ache as they compound with the crappy stuff in his present.  

There is a wee bit of romance, but it feels like more of a coming-of-age story. I really enjoyed it and though part of me wants another novel continuing the story, I feel satisfied stopping here. Another novel would undoubtedly cause Trevor more pain, so I can live quite well without that, thank you very much. Rather different from the common YA storylines, and all the better for it. Can’t wait to read another book by this author!

Rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - TUESDAY FLIRTATIONS - Alpha Contender Vol 1




I'm sure a lot of us download free romance novels to read because there are SO very many of them out there. And then the little guys breed like rabbits in our eReaders. Why don't we share our reviews/impressions so we can find the best ones to read?
Rules:
1. Read a free romance book (this was started for legally free eBooks, but you can count anything gifted, borrowed, ARC, etc!)
2. Review it on your blog. If you can and it's still available, share the link to the free book.
3. Link back here by using the code below.
4. Leave your link to the specific blog post (NOT your main site) in a comment on the recent week's TF post or via the linky.
5. Delight in reading reviews by real people who's likes/dislikes you can compare to and thus find a romance you most likely will enjoy :D





Author: Terry Bolryder  - http://terrybolryder.com/
Format: Kindle eBook from amazon (free at the time)
Did it feel like a full novel: no, more like a third of one
Cliffhanger: a little
Genre: romance, werewolves
Dates Read: July 24, 2015
Official Blurb: Misty has few expectations from life. Work, read, sleep. But when she hears from a complete stranger that she's actually a powerful, shape-shifting werewolf, her life changes forever. 

Lindon believes he already had his shot at love long ago. And lost it. The tall, blond, sexy shifter is now only trying to keep his promise to his father by protecting Misty as she learns about her new place in the world and seeks to find a future mate. 

The only problem: she'll be meeting all of her prospective suitors at one time, and in one place. All TEN of them. All hot, single, alpha males competing for her heart. 

I'm sorry this was unfortunately disappointing for me. I expected a lot, being there was mention of so many super hot dudes Misty was going to meet. And that they'd be fighting for her and whatnot. But though that's generally accurate, there's other things that just drove me nuts.

Firstly, supposedly werewolves are 'naturally good looking'. Yeah, according to what standard? Second is that the really important parts relating to Misty's history and werewolves in general is summarized by Misty, in like a paragraph. That would have been better shown in conversations and the like I think, than just "let me sum up, now back to smexy wolves!" Third, she's told she'll be happy once she's married. If she WANTED to find a husband originally, I wouldn't doubt this. But she was just chilling in her life, not needing no man, ya follow me? Then there's a bit more, like the way these werewolves seem to have mating on their minds, but in this fakey reality show kind of way. Yes, they will 'win' if Misty picks them, but I can't stand how they don't seem to want to learn to care about her, they just wanna jump her bones and claim her to their own pack. Lindon acted like a child at times, but otherwise, he was a bit more real of a character. And he actually seemed interested in Misty for herself.

I've seen in reviews that there's much more to the story later on, but I don't think I can bring myself to continue it. I do need to find someone who has read it all the way through though, so I can find out which wolf gets picked. I’m rooting for Lindon, but I'll take Lock otherwise ;) 

Rating: 2 stars

Saturday, August 15, 2015

MEME - Stacking the Shelves - 08-15-15 #006



Greetings for another STS post folks! I managed to read one and a half of the books from last time, so I'm hoping I can do better this time around. Today should have been the last day for the Atlas Shrugged Read Along but I am still a wee bit behind, eep. Once that's done I think it may free me up a bit since it's a book you have to concentrate for and sometimes does not well lend itself to switching about. 

For review from Net Galley:


For review from author:

     

Purchased:


Freebies:





Wednesday, August 12, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - Dirty Bad Savage (Dirty Bad #2)


Format: Kindle eBook purchased on amazon
Did it feel like a full novel: yes
Cliffhanger: no
Genre: romance, dark, erotica, bdsm
Dates Read: July 9-22, 2015
Official Blurb: They say Callum Jackson's a savage.
No home. No prospects. No self-restraint.
He's red-flagged on my system, a grade-1 aggression risk, totally off limits for a woman like me.
But the rules don't allow for my dangerous games; they don't bend for my twisted desires.
Callum Jackson is the most beautiful beast. 
A beast I can't stop thinking about, can't stop wanting, can't stop hunting...
...I just pray to God this beast bites.

Sophia Harding runs a tight ship. She may work in the dregs of housing association slums, but her patch is on the way up. 
Anti-social behaviour is down, employment is on the rise, and she's even been shortlisted for estate manager of the year.
It's looking good. Really good. Until Callum Jackson completes his jail time and lands right back on her doorstep.
She could do without a guy like him on her books: a failure of the system and a pain in the fucking ass.
She should tick the boxes, do her job and keep her distance – that's what the handbook says. The handbook says no one-on-one contact, no at-risk situations, no direct confrontation of any kind.
But the handbook doesn't know of her craving for hardcore submission.
The handbook has no fucking idea how she yearns to unleash Jackson at club Explicit, where his savage can really run wild.
The handbook doesn't know shit... 

Sophie and Callum are extreme opposites. But well done ones at that! You really get to see why they are how they are, not just one’s angry and one’s looking for adventure. Sophie works hard and plays hard, but isn’t satisfied right now. Callum has a shitty life which gets even worse but he sticks by it because it is his life. The way they meet each other was nicely handled, not just “here they see each other and instant love!”. Their relationship as cautious acquaintances-to-friends develops nicely and smoothly into a more romantic one, yet keeping with the ‘savage’ theme. 

Yes, the repetition that Callum is a ‘dirty bad savage’ grates on the nerves a bit, but I guess it’s one of Sohpie’s favorite things about Callum. Which could be good or bad, depending on how their relationship would develop post-book. Speaking of, the book starts off with a BDSM scene that is awesome in how real the lack of zing/chemistry can hurt it. The majority of the sex is written fairly well, with hot interactions between the characters. There is butt stuff, but minor. One scene near the end was gross not in the sexual aspect, but just pretty unappealing because of what happens during it, but also how it feels almost non-con despite consent being given. I don’t know how to explain that one, but it wasn’t a deal breaker, just something I had to read through to get past it. 

The side characters that were more than mentioned felt pretty real, even that crappy boss. Raven and Masque were three dimensional, so much so that I really want to know more about them! I purchased this book because it sounded great, and was delighted to find out the first novel is about Masque, who intrigues me. He sounds like a nicey-nice guy who’s BDSM persona is magnificently masterful. Can’t wait to read that one!

The writing was really high quality, so don’t doubt that! I felt a part of this book, so much so that at one scene where you know one character is about to hurt the other I had to put it down because I couldn’t bare to see the second one suffer! Kind of like second-hand embarrassment when you’re watching TV or a film and you’re like “No, stop! Just don’t do it!” Fabulous book despite those little bothers that are easy to push aside in favor of the rest of the story. I hope to read more of West’s novels as she releases them!

Rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - TUESDAY FLIRTATIONS - Abuse (Abuse #1)



I'm sure a lot of us download free romance novels to read because there are SO very many of them out there. And then the little guys breed like rabbits in our eReaders. Why don't we share our reviews/impressions so we can find the best ones to read?
 
Rules:
1. Read a free romance book (this was started for legally free eBooks, but you can count anything gifted, borrowed, ARC, etc!)
2. Review it on your blog. If you can and it's still available, share the link to the free book.
3. Link back here by using the code below.
4. Leave your link to the specific blog post (NOT your main site) in a comment on the recent week's TF post or via the linky.
5. Delight in reading reviews by real people who's likes/dislikes you can compare to and thus find a romance you most likely will enjoy :D





Format: Kindle eBook (free at the time on amazon but no longer)
Did it feel like a full novel: yes
Cliffhanger: yes, but you know it’s gonna happen like halfway through the book so you’re ready for it
Genre: romance, erotica, abuse
Dates Read: July 18-22, 2015
Official Blurb: Bonjour, my name is AndrĂ© Chevalier. It has been my joy and my great honor to help those who have lost their way. Not long after I began my journey, I met two such wounded souls. 

Renata Koreman, my little mouse. She came to me as a child—shy, mute, injured… broken. It took oh-so many years to start to bring her back to herself! Yet, I could not fully heal her. 

Years later, Grant Wilkinson, he too fell into my hands. The ex-Army Ranger was badly disfigured and saw himself as a monster. Isolated by secrets, solitary and self-contained, his colleagues affectionately named him ‘Frosty.’ Yet, how should one behave when besieged by a lifetime of confusion and guilt? 

The moment I saw him, I thought of her and I wondered. The eyes, they cannot always see clearly. And the heart? Ah, the heart can only guess at the truth. So it was that I remained uncertain. 

Could the mouse and the monster heal each other? 

The blurb felt like almost any other romance novel, but the fact that Grant sounds like a tortured hero was what made me get this. Reading the whole thing though, wow. It is so much more! The quality of writing is very good, and the way the plot moves through scenes is smooth and unhurried but not overly drawn out. On a pure literary basis, this is a damn nice novel!

Grant got my attention from the beginning. He is a lovely tortured hero who doesn’t pity himself, he honestly hates himself and feels sorry for others having to be around him. His introspection is fabulous in his chapters. You can really hear his inner voice, and when someone says something leading, you can feel his “Oh shit” thoughts before you read them. The author did a great job making Grant real, easy to relate to, and damn sympathetic without being piteous. You really see him grow throughout this book, and not backtrack unless there’s a good reason. 

Really, the only thing that dropped the score was the dichotomy of Renata. She is introduced as ‘a little mouse’ and though yes, she has helped herself get better, her interactions with Grant are often insanely full of confidence and are not 100% reflective of her inner thoughts. Grant feels better about himself, yet he still does unconscious/habitual things to hide his shame, and his actions show that he’s almost timid when it comes to certain things. Renata doesn’t have this as much. Then again, Renata has a head start, but I don’t know why her thoughts make her seem more fragile than she is. Hopefully this levels out in the next book but even if it doesn’t, I am totally going to read it!

Andre was adorable and fascinating, I am eager to later read more of the novels with him in them. I was thrown off by Stan’s chapters but then as you see how his story connects, you want to see what happens in his storyline. He had rather a decent sex scene too, heh. Grant’s mother and sister sound horrid, and I hope the next novel has more with Alex, especially when you consider some stuff that Grant tells Andre.

The sex is well done, with a good lead up and after-stuff, which a lot of romance novels will lack. It wasn’t superbly steamy, but it got the point across quite well. I can’t wait for these two to have more sex with one of them being more into the idea that this time around *wink wink nudge nudge*. 

Rating: 5 stars





Monday, August 10, 2015

What do you look for in your #romance novels?

That is a question I've been asking myself for the past two months since I've upped my reading amount (thank you eBooks, especially you free ones!). I'm not quite sure which authors are the ones I can grab stuff without reading the synopsis (I have got two hopefuls though), but at least I've got a better idea of my own likes.

1. Hero does not have to be an alpha, but it helps. I'd MUCH rather have a sweet beta than an alphahole though. Unless he grows as a character, then I like it. And as for what I count as alpha characteristics to me? Strength (physical or character, like where they stick to their moral codes), confidence, assertiveness, some aggression, leaders that help those under/weaker than them, natural protectors, and those kinds of things in general.

2. Tortured hero gets brownie points. Physical scars are a plus. Emotional scars where he is almost at his breaking point I just-

3. Heroine must have a goal/challenge she wants to do besides the romance. She doesn't have to be Sigourney Weaver-strong like in Alien franchise, but that definitely makes her more awesome!

4. M/m are a nice diversion, but I've yet to try F/f or trio books yet. They may not be sexy to me, but I am quite curious about the story lines.

5. So far it seems I have not found any naughty stuff that squicks me. Certain types (i.e. in the booty for ladies) is kinda 'bleh', but doesn't ruin any scenes yet. I haven't dealt with non-con/rape scenes in my reading, but I think it depends how it's presented. For instance, if it's a tragic backstory or attack - understandable. Poignancy that a partner is an anti-hero, or fantasy-style where the aggressor is so good at it the receiver stats to enjoy themselves - well maybe. Pointless and/or gratuitous - no thank you.

6a. Femdom novels with respect (gender equality) are delightful and I am currently on a quest for ones with alphas who are happy (or at least end up if they start unsure) with their ladies managing control. The type of alphas who would kill anyone who hurt their mistresses, but respect that their ladies can handle themselves. Alphas who give up control with trust and love, not fear. Ladies who humiliate their boys for mutual amusement or punishment, not cruelty.

6b. Not exactly female dominant, but I enjoy hurt/comfort situations when the male needs a healing cuddle with his lover. When he loves her so much he can just drop any pretense and show weakness without being judged. Even if he's a little scared he might be, he knows his lady will still love him.



7. Billionaire Heroes who don't think they can just HAVE their partner just because they're used to getting whatever they want. If they think so to start but then are OK with having to properly court said partner, that's acceptable. Character development as in number 1 is awesome.

8. Limited instalove. Instalust is perfectly OK, and gives time for platonic/romantic love to develop while they have a good time.

9. I don't mind that ladies are virgins or have limited sexual experience, but when they have had enough experience to know what they like and can communicate to their partners.... yes please. Having had sex with more than one partner does not a 'slut' make. Nor does it detract from heroine's love with the hero (see John Green below) . BTW: to me, a slut is someone with unhygienic sexual practices like lots of unsafe sex with different partners.


10. Plotlines that are more than the two lovers getting together. While you two are enjoying each other's company, what else is going on in your lives? Because otherwise you seem a bit two-dimensional.

11. I can't deal with major drama that is the result of misunderstandings AND lack of communication. If someone would just tell the other WHY they're angry or sad and it'd prevent 100 pages of angst, I can't enjoy it. Shorter is OK and realistic, but I can't take it when it's drawn out.

12. BDSM is a plus, if it's done right. Kinky stuff should be fun for both parties! Remember BDSM should follow the three laws of Safe, Sane, and Consensual. Safe words MUST be observed. Aftercare is not "naughty deliciousness" but OMFG I bleeping LOVE IT.



So what kinds of things do you look for in your romances? What things are deal breakers? Leave me a link if you do a similar list, I think we should share recommendations if we think we've read something that matches someone else's list if they don't know about it :D

Sunday, August 9, 2015

BOOK REVIEW - Lord Byron's Secret Obsession [Net Galley]

Professional ReaderI shall be posting my Net Galley reviews up on Sundays to keep the separate from other reviews (and because adding them to the queue may back them up too much). This shall not be posted every Sunday, only when I have an NG book finished.





Author: H.C. Brown - http://www.hcbrown-author.com/
Format: Kindle eBook from Net Galley [I received a complimentary copy from the publisher thru Net Galley for an honest review.]
Did it feel like a full novel: yes
Cliffhanger: no
Genre: romance, gay, erotica
Dates Read: July 28-31, 2015
  • Publication Date: August 27, 2015
Official Blurb: Lord Byron Wilton leaves England for the Americas after a public argument with his secret lover, Lord David Litchfield. On his return, he finds, Lord David has become an unwilling sex partner for the reprobate Mr. Hale and his cohorts, due to unpaid gambling debts. After Mr. Hale refuses his offer to settle the debts, Lord Byron makes an outlandish and dangerous plan to outwit the trio. He must use every trick in the book, and a considerable amount of his fortune, in an effort to regain his lover's freedom.

Hadn't gotten much chance to read historical fiction of any type, though my m/m reading experience is from various fanfictions since I was a teen, heh heh. This started out with a super hot scene, totally grabbed my attention. The way the story developed was nice, and the ambiance with the vocabulary, clothing, and such was pretty realistic. Two small complaints though: 1) “bunghole” makes me giggle, not blush, so that kinda brought down scenes where it was mentioned a touch; 2) some of the vocab was not something I could easily look up and had to pick up from context, such as rake, chit, etc. Context is good, but sometimes I had no clue, bleh. The rest was written well, with a good variety of dialogue, sex, and plot advancement.

There were some very nice naughty bits, written with enough detail and diversity to keep sexy. The relationship between Byron and David was rich with a bit of drama but not too much. More like obstacles to overcome so they can be together (other people and David's having to get past some stuff too). I wasn't so sure that Byron really loved David at first though, I kinda figured he just desired his body, but later you feel they equally care for each other. It's probably bad of me, but I wanted more detailed scenes with David and Hale (plus his buddies). The way the blurb was written, I thought there was going to be more of that *snicker*. Had a nice end with most everything wrapped up in a nice bow except I had thought John had found a special someone, but perhaps that was a red herring, or maybe there'll be another book later? If so I really hope Brown will consider him and Joe getting together :D

Rating: 4 stars




Saturday, August 8, 2015

MEME - Stacking the Shelves - 08-08-15 #005


Tried not to get a lot of books this week, but I did! I don't have pictures, but my friend who got me into Alanna: The First Adventure lent me the rest of that series. In the general sense, I'm sure there were like 15-20 books in the reusable shopping bag, bwahaha! The best of the rest of my haul consists of:




 

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