Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: Vices

Vices by Nash Summers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Romance Review

Intrigue, enhanced super solders and rough sex are all rolled up into this futuristic suspense.

Conspiracy theorists will enjoy this m/m story as it covers underhanded dealings, espionage and government assignations. Jones is an orphan picked up when he was young by the government. Over the years, he's been physically changed into a killing machine. As part of an elite force, he and his team are the enforcers who put down dissensions so that the world can be a better and safer place. Yet the world doesn't seem to get any better. It's only become worse.

Ms. Summers creates a world filled with tangled webs. Who is friend and who is foe is hard to discern. For Jones who isn't the brightest bulb, he is constantly in the dark. It doesn't help he is strung out on drugs to keep him sane. In this dysfunctional world, there are plots within plots within plots. The only constants for Jones are his best friend and the stone cold killer Carver.

Jones' fatal attraction to Carver is his undoing. It doesn't help that Carver is the one who slips into Jones' secure room night after night. The sex in this story is hawt. The controlled violence in the sexual acts is arousing for those who enjoy dubious consent. For those who enjoy alpha males wrestling for top dog, this story is one to read. The underlying sexual tension through physical dominance in the dark will cause a submissive reader to whimper in desire. There are several moan-worthy scenes sprinkled throughout the deadly action.

This story reminds me of the Bourne Identity films in the way the government may or may not be the good guys. Ms. Summers does a good job of creating a world of gray where very little is definite. Just when the reader believes they know the facts, new information is revealed to convince the reader otherwise. This book is not predictable, which is a good thing.

A new-to-me author, Ms. Summers is one I will be watching. VICES ends in a rather startling manner and makes me yearn for the next book. Hopefully Ms. Summers will write a bit faster so the next book will be provided soon. This erotic suspense is recommended for m/m lovers who enjoy inhumane machination.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: Burn for Me

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I eagerly awaited this new series.  There have been hints of more romance.  Maybe even sex.  Yes... SEX!  Well, there was a little sex.  It was glossed over which was okay for me.  I don't read Ilona Andrews for sex.  I read them for a heroine who is doing her best to survive.  She is the one the entire family depends upon.  Authors Ilona Andrews does not disappoint.  This new series is going to be one I will love and read over and over again.  I've read it at least six times within the first 3 days after I downloaded onto my kindle on the release day.  Considering I was stuck in Brazil on a business trip, I'd say this is dedication.

Our new "Kate" is Nevada Baylor.  She has a power which no one is privy to except her immediate family, and for good reason.  Our new "Curran" is Mad Rogan.  Oh boy, I love Rogan.  He's powerful, dominating and well prepared. 

Nevada is put in a position which is a lose-lose.  There is no way she is to survive this case assigned to her.  If she refuses it, she will lose her home and her entire family will become homeless.  If she accepts it, she will most likely die.  An underdog to root for!  YAY!  I'm not going to provide spoilers but I will provide my favourite quotes.  The humour in this story is right up my alley - quirky and irreverent.  Nevada doesn't respect authority much and it shows.  When she goes up against Mad Rogan who is used to people yelling "How high", it's a firestorm.  I love it.

There is a villainous character - Adam.  While it's been posed if he is redeemable.  My answer is no.  Leave him in a hell hole or kill him.  Adam is a rich boy who believes he can have anything and if he wants to fuck a woman, he can.  Nevada puts him in his place.

“If you’re really hard up, I can introduce you to my grandmother. She’s a fan.”

Adam blinked.

“She doesn’t typically sleep with pretty young things, but she would make an exception in your case. You might even learn a trick or two.”

He finally regained his ability to speak. “Your grandmother?” (loc. 1583-1587)

Oh no they didn't!  Yes, they did!  Ilona Andrews gave a nod to GILF.  Wowza.

Then they go on to show how crazy Nevada can be.

“Mom?” Mother [Nevada's mother] turned to Grandmother.


“She’s going to lunch with her kidnapper!”

“Take a picture for me,” Grandma said.

“This family will put me into an early grave,” my mother growled.

“I’m coming with you. Mother, lock the doors and set the alarm. We’ll take the van and the Barrett.”(loc. 1844-1848)

Why do I love Mad Rogan?

“Maybe you should make me a list of people I can kill and ways in which they’re allowed to die,” he said.

“You are not funny.”

“I’m very funny. Just ask Peaches.” (loc. 2556-2558)

I laughed out loud at that dialog.  I feel like Mad Rogan.  People just don't get my humour.  Why do I love Mad Rogan?  Because he gets straight to the point.  And he's a sociopath which is something I'm inexplicably attracted to - male or female.

He [Mad Rogan] nodded. “Okay. We got it out in the open. Here it is. This is your moment to be angry at your own laziness and wallow in self-pity. A moment is all you get, because any minute [redacted] might set Houston on fire. Take a few minutes for your pity party. Would five be enough?” (loc. 4953-4955)

Why can't I say this at work?  Oh right, I'm not a super star like Mad Rogan.  I wish I could say this though.  "Would five be enough?"  And yet it continues!  This is the kind of conversations I'd like to have with some of the people reporting to me.

“You’re an asshole.” [Nevada]

“Yes, but I’m a very well-trained asshole. I’m offering you the use of my expertise. So suck it up, get over this bump, and let’s go. Are you with me?” [Mad Rogan](loc. 4956-4958)

Finally, I must note, this book is a romance one because only in a romance would we have a hero who - "tasted like the glory of heaven and the sin of hell rolled into one." (loc. 5395-5396)

The world building in this book is just starting.  There is more character building with how Mad Rogan hires loyal people.  And how Nevada relates to the magical houses and her own family.  This is a must read book.  Buy it and read it.  I can't wait for the next book. Recommended for those who enjoy a downtrodden heroine who doesn't roll over when the alpha male commands it.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: Black Widow

Black Widow
Black Widow by Jennifer Estep

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After making a statement with killing one of the most feared underworld bosses, one would think the underworld would leave Gin Blanco alone. Not so. There are still plenty trying to kill Gin. The most concerning one is Mab Monroe's daughter, Madeline. She's here to avenge her mother's death. Or at least that is how it looks like on the surface. Madeline is a sly snake laying in the grass. She attacks Gin on all fronts - through her friends and family.

Is it really paranoid if someone is really out to get you? This is how Gin feels and is vindicated when a series of unfortunate events hits her loved ones. While everyone is scrambling to fight the problems Madeline's thrown in their way, Madeline goes for the kill with Gin. The first third of this book is knuckle whitening. A reader can see from far away how this is all going to go down. While Gin's loved ones reassure her that Madeline isn't doing anything, Gin and the reader can see the writing on the walls.

Ms. Estep does a great set up for Gin to fall. This domino effect could crush most people. Gin fights it to the death. Gin is one of those people who just doesn't believe in laying down for her enemies. She's tenacious and I love this about her. The way Ms. Estep flashes back to Gin's prior experiences makes this book so good to read. It's a predictable device Ms. Estep uses and it works because it enhances the reader experience. It shows how Gin's past work and her lessons learned from her adoptive father help make her one of the best assassins.

What I like about Gin is that she isn't indestructible. She makes mistakes and she takes the hits. She accepts the consequences of her decisions and then works to rectify the issue. She is able to just barely get through all the people coming after her. In each book, she doesn't increase in abilities. What she does increase in is wisdom. She learns from her previous missteps and continues to grow. In this book, Gin learns some hard lessons and ends in a better place, one could hope.

The twists and turns in this book are easy to follow. I'm always afraid the latest book in the series will be the one to jump the shark. I would have thought after killing Mab Monroe, Ms. Estep would end this series while it's at its high point. Ms. Estep bravely pressed on and brings more enjoyable adventures with Gin. The next one is one I can't wait to read. It looks quite promising for more headaches and new fun for all. This paranormal romance is recommended for those who like a strong heroine who never gives up.

*provided by NetGalley

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review: Otherworld Nights

Otherworld Nights
Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fans of the Otherworld Series will appreciate and enjoy this collection. For those who don't enjoy searching through anthologies to find an author's work, Ms. Armstrong makes it easy with three collections. In this collection, there are eight short stories featuring the different characters in the Otherworld. For those who have never read this series, this is a great place to start.

In Demonology, Ms. Armstrong teases a reader with an ending unfinished. It kicks off with Adam's mother trying to figure out what is wrong with her son. Why does Adam run so hot? Why are teachers accusing him of burning things? This is a lovely start with a devoted mother who loves her son, no matter what he is.

In Stalked, it's a funny glimpse into Clay and Elena's relationship now that they are together. Clay's funny side comes out as well as Elena's ruthlessness. It just shows how far they have come when they can be this way with each other and be fine in their skin. A fan of Clay, this story is a romantic one. Clay is a lover, not a fighter.

The rest of the stories are great snapshots in time of the much beloved characters. The vampire one breaks my heart a little. When a person fears losing love, sometimes they commit the most irrational acts. Cass's tossing away her lover and only to find his undying love for her moved me.

Ms. Armstrong is one of my favourite authors when it comes to paranormal. Her characters are flawed and human despite their paranormal designation. They struggle against those who would take advantage of the innocent. It a world where might equals right, her characters do their best to not abuse their power. They also do their best to prevent others in power from abusing and violating others. This is best shown in Vanishing Act. This story is a great ending to this collection. It leaves a reader wanting more. Recommended for paranormal lovers who enjoy reading about the underdog making a difference.

*provided by NetGalley

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Rich Tapestry

Rich Tapestry
Rich Tapestry by Ashe Barker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Romance Review
Propositioned by a stranger for a spanking can be rather frightening. For Summer Jones, it's frightening because it makes her yearn for an experience she doesn't know if it is healthy for her. New-to-me author Ms. Barker pens an erotica awakening story with sensitivity. She captures awkwardness and makes it relatable.

Summer's best friend is into BDSM. Whilst her friend is pushy about being a bottom and finds her happiness in the kinky lifestyle, Summer falls into it with her eyes wide shut. She flirts with the idea and spends a night with Daniel Riche. Daniel is the stranger years ago who offered her a spanking. Daniel is an experienced dominant who finds Summer's spunky attitude amusing. He is sure she is submissive and he pushes her hard to accept his dominance.

The BDSM in this story is interesting. Does it play out this way in real life? It can. Are there dominants like Daniel enticing newbies? Yes, there are some who are like Daniel who enjoy pulling a newbie into the kinky world and then tossing them aside when they are no longer shiny and new. In a slight twist, Summer is the one who runs from Daniel, not because he is no longer of interest, but because he is overwhelming. The part actually made me applaud for Summer. While she could have done it in a better manner, it demonstrates her self-preservation instincts are intact.

I like Summer because sometimes, I wish I could be like her. Sometimes confrontation is just too much. Summer does a sidestep and leaves. She so easily escapes with just a purse and nothing else. She's able to land on her feet and continue on. Her ability to disappear is enviable. It seems to be a skill she uses quite a bit. The surprise is when she reconnects to a person in her past, she runs into Daniel again.

The BDSM in this story is well integrated into the story. The caning and spankings are just the right balance for a newbie kinkster exploring the scene. Even if Daniel grates on me with his overly assertive manner, one cannot fault his interaction with Summer. I think my issue with Daniel is he isn't seducing a shy submissive into the lifestyle. Instead, it feels as if he is pushing a vanilla's limits just to get the satisfaction he wants.

Overall, this is a good read and recommended as a gateway to BDSM book.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review: How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps

How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps
How to Train Your Dom in Five Easy Steps by Josephine Myles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Push past the first five chapters and this book gets much better. Jeff White is a dom with little training and high demands for a submissive. Unfortunately for him, his name has already been circulated as an asshat crude dominant. Jeff is a blue collar worker with the accompanying stereotypes. He may be physically fit but he doesn't care about how dresses. He doesn't want to go to any classes to learn the skills for impact play or bondage. What he focuses on is sex, sex, sex and sex. He just wants kinky sex with a hot female willing to be spanked. Jeff believes a submissive female is to be ordered around and to suck his dick.

I won't lie. After the first two chapters, I was ready to rate this book a 1 star. I hated it. Jeff is a jerk. He's not someone I'd ever be willing to play with. His idea of BDSM is all about him and he just goes to munches to pick up a chick and convince her he's the one to fuck. Everything about Jeff grated on me. When Eddie Powell, an experienced bottom is introduced, it doesn't make it any better. Eddie is the gay guy who thinks he can convert any straight guy to enjoy m/m sex. With my eyes rolling, I gritted my teeth and continued to press on.

Ms. Myles does a brilliant job of setting up these characters for growth. If a reader can get past the initial abrasive and revolting personalities, the rest is smooth as silk. Jeff and Eddie's growth in this book is fabulous. Eddie softens Jeff's rough edges. Jeff becomes the type of dominant who can take care of a submissive. Jeff learns about power exchange and trust. Whilst it doesn't have to be sexual, Jeff does start to question his sexual inclination. Jeff's change through his interaction with Eddie is what makes this book worth reading.

Forget about the m/m aspect. From a newbie dominant perspective, this is a great portrayal of a person with preconceived notions of what BDSM should be. As they learn more, they realize just how little they know and some of the issues they had before make sense. Jeff's ability to change and become a better and safer dominant is a pleasure to witness. Eddie brings the best out of Jeff. In the same way, Jeff supplies and address's Eddie's needs. Eddie wants more than just a slap, tickle and a rough buggery. He wants a relationship. Granted, going after a hetero man for a relationship is pretty crazy. Still, Eddie perseveres and the chemistry is hot.

The BDSM in this story is okay. It comes across as more researched than experienced. It's the sex between the two men which is eye catching and mouthwatering. Once Jeff gets into manlove, there are fireworks every time the two of them come together. It is panty wetting goodness. This kinky romance is recommended for those who enjoy gay for you themes.

*provided by NetGalley

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review: 'Til Dragons Do Us Part

'Til Dragons Do Us Part
'Til Dragons Do Us Part by Lorenda Christensen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dragon lovers, this is a series to read. The dragons in here aren't sweet human loving creatures. Instead, they are powerful beasts with no regard for humans. Whilst this book's title suggests it is focused on a wedding, it isn't. The wedding is merely a plot device to keep this book's different tangents tied together.

Savannah Cavenaugh is a rarity. An orphan, her only family is her adopted brother and his family. In a world controlled by dragons, humans are just barely surviving. One thing which humans want are the treasures the dragons "appropriated" from museums and art galleries. Savannah is especially suited for "recovering" the treasures as she possesses the strength of a small dragon. She is one of the rare shifters who are human and dragon. She doesn’t know where she comes from and didn't know there was anyone else like her until recently. With the new job to steal back a painting, it may be the biggest pay day for Savannah and her brother. The only problem is Cameron Shaw, Lord Relobu's head of security.

Unbeknownst to Cameron and Savannah, they have crossed paths before and it didn't turn out well for Cameron. As Savannah figures out a way to steal the painting, she is thrown into Cameron's company - daily. She starts to develop feelings for him no matter how she resists. Cameron is suspicious of Savannah yet he can't stop his attraction for her. When Savannah learns how she hurt Cameron in the past, she is conflicted as it seems she is about to repeat screwing him over. This time, she knows him and is falling for him. To undo this cluster she's created will be difficult. Ms. Christensen does a nice job of resolving all the conflicts in a smooth manner.

This story is amusing for those who have a quirky sense of humour. I think I enjoy it more for how the dragons interact with the humans than anything else. The dragons come across as terrifying blood thirsty monsters with a very dry sense of humour. For those who can speak dragon, they get to enjoy the byplay. In this world, I don't understand how more humans don't learn to speak dragon. It's fascinating and well, it's dragons! For a dragon lover like me, it would be thrilling.

What is sad about this series is the hatred between dragons and humans. It seems whenever there is a difference or lack of understanding, the initial response from humans is to hate and kill. Ms. Christensen touches upon this a little with the hate groups as well as the terrorist attacks. I loath to say this, but I agree with Ms. Christensen's interpretation of how the world would respond to dragons like the ones in this series.

The characters in this book are distinctive and all amusing. The one who nearly stole the show is Savannah's crazy boss. She reminds me of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Savannah is similar Anne Hathaway's character with her lack of understanding in the wedding business. Savannah's life changing events is a long time coming. It's a story of where one happy chapter ends in life only to start a new and more exciting chapter. Although moving from an art thief to a legitimate job may seem mundane to some. This paranormal romance is recommended for dragon lovers who like a bad girl turned good.

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