Friday, February 23, 2018

Review: Absolution by Sloane Kennedy

Absolution (Protectors #1) by Sloane Kennedy
Novel: 256pgs

3.5 Pants Off

Blurb: But what I felt most was the perfection of what these two men were giving me. And I knew in that moment that I would do anything to keep it. Anything. --Cole

After four years abroad, artist Jonas Davenport has come home to start building his dream of owning his own art studio and gallery. But just as he's ready to put the darkness of his past behind him forever, it comes roaring back with a vengeance.

The only thing keeping ex-cop Mace Calhoun from eating his own gun after an unthinkable loss is his role in an underground syndicate that seeks to get justice for the innocent by taking the lives of the guilty. Ending the life of the young artist who committed unspeakable crimes against the most vulnerable of victims should have been the easiest thing in the world. So why can't he bring himself to pull the trigger?

After years of fighting in an endless, soul-sucking war, Navy SEAL Cole Bridgerton has come home to fight another battle - dealing with the discovery that the younger sister who ran away from home eight years earlier is lost to him forever. He needs answers and the only person who can give them to him is a young man struggling to put his life back together. But he never expected to feel something more for the haunted artist.

Cole and Mace. One lives by the rules, the other makes his own. One seeks justice through the law while the other seeks it with his gun. Two men, one light, one dark, will find themselves and each other when they're forced to stand side by side to protect Jonas from an unseen evil that will stop at nothing to silence the young artist forever.

But each man's scars run deep and even the strength of three may not be enough to save them...

Note: This book contains M/M/M sexual content and is intended for mature audiences.

Trigger Warning : This book contains references to childhood sexual abuse.

Absolute Absurdity 

I like to think I’m a connoisseur in all things M/M/M, I know what I’m looking for and I want to see the things that make it a relationship and not just something that’s only about sex. Absolution offered up an OK take on a ménage relationship but it fell short in some areas. 

Jonas Davenport has been through some things. A life on the street has taught him that humans can be downright evil and sometimes there’s no one to save you. Jonas has gotten through every hardship life has thrown at him and he’s got the scars to show for it. Now he’s making a new life for himself, leaving his demons behind and maybe getting a chance at being happy. 

Mace Calhoun has got a job to do, but why is it so damn hard to pull the trigger. Getting rid of Jonas Davenport should be easy peasy, his rage for what he’s done to children should make putting a bullet through his head a no brainer. Yet, Mace is unable to pull the trigger and he finds himself wanting to get closer to the beautiful man. Is his innocent face and demeanour hiding something more sinister. Is he just a wolf in sheeps clothing. He protects but he also attacks.  

Cole Bridgerton, his ass just shows up. I’m having a hard time understanding his place and why he shows up. His connection is that Jonas was close with his sister for a bit, and had information to share. He gets caught in the web and so on and so forth. Now he’s got to protect the man/men he’s falling for. 

Alright Sloane Kennedy, I see you. I see what you were trying to do here but I feel the content was too heavy and the relationships not executed well. In what reality can anyone comeback from someone thinking they’re a pedophile. This disgraceful thing forever hanging in the air, and the only reason Jonas is alive is because Mace was thinking with his dick and not with his head (well his big head). While there was some anger on Jonas’s part I feel like his anger wasn’t enough. In a realistic feel, this shit needed a a few weeks to settle. 

The plot devices are “meh” at best. Would have made for a better read if the relationship was the focus instead of the after school special type bad guys. The relationship, and I use that word with some trepidation because it was three guys boning. A ménage needs to be discussed and handled with care and these three were running around like chickens without their heads. I have no clue what their setup was, and the intricacies that make a great ménage. Like can two guys have sex if one isn’t there, and at one point it felt like it was going down that road and it made me uncomfortable. I wanna know the details man…. 

I can’t say I like anyone character more than the other, they all felt very one dimensional and for me easily forgettable, actually let me retract that statement. I will never forget that Mace was gonna kill Jonas because he thought he was pedophile. On god, that will stay with me. Never forget. 

Overall, I didn’t hate it but I can’t say I’m in like either. It was a fun read 🤷🏽️ and I did get through the book quickly, but as I said it didn’t quite come together for me and I don’t find the ménage relationship believable. I will be checking out the rest of series because I do enjoy Sloan’s writing style and I’m interested in these protectors. Who else will they be shooting by mistake.  

Review: The Millionaire Upstairs by M.J. O'Shea

The Millionaire Upstairs (DreamSpun Desires #1) by M.J. O'Shea
Dreamspinner Press
Novella: 198pgs

2.5 Pants Off

Blurb: He might be hard to work for, but he's impossible to resist.

Sasha Sobieski has the perfect job working at legendary American fashion house Harrison Kingsley—or at least he used to. He just never thought he’d have to work for Harrison Kingsley himself. Harrison is exacting, difficult, cold, and hands-down the sexiest man Sasha has ever seen.

After years at the top, Harrison Kingsley knows what he wants, when he wants it, and exactly how he’d like it to be delivered to him. What he wants most right now? His new assistant. Sasha is mouthy, opinionated, and he drives Harrison mad. Problem is, Harrison can never tell if it’s with anger… or desire.

The Rich Asshole Upstairs  

So here I am on the Dreamspun Desires bandwagon, and wanting to see what all the fuss is about. I love the idea behind the series, and just the overall harlequin-y feel of it all. If there isn’t a title called “The Millionaires Secret Adoptive Baby” then I might as well call it quits now. Every series has to have a secret baby. 

Sasha Sobieski just landed his dream job of working with a top fashion designer house “Harrison Kingsley”. A small town boy like him never dreamt he’d be working with the big dogs, and after two years with the company he’s finally making a name for himself. To his utter shock and surprise, his boss asks him to lend a helping hand to her egotistical/asshole of a brother Harrison. Sasha and Harrison do not get along, based solely on the fact that Harrison has always been a class A jerk to him. Ruling out the fact that Harrison is drop dead gorgeous and his voice alone can send Sasha into vapors, he’s a jerk, brilliant but a jerk. 

Harrison Kingsley, designer extraordinaire and a Oscar worthy jerk. His sister grants him the use and expertise of Sasha and what does he do, treat him like a maid all in an effort to keep him at arms length. Because Sasha is too pretty and pretty things are a distraction (cue major eye rolls).  

Ah, what can I say. This started out strong, Sasha’s voice was exciting and interesting, then Harrison comes along and feck things up. There were moments of cuteness and breakthrough and Harrison and Sasha seemed like they would make a great couple and then Harrison would open is mouth and things would go down. I’m not talking just being mean, I’m talking the most demeaning shit you could say to a person. I wasn’t here for Harrison at all, because fool me once shame on you fool me twice, well shame on me. Fool me thrice, then I’d officially call myself a fucking idiot and this applies to Sasha. Dude should have packed his bag and left buddy in the rear. No sob story can cover up the fact that he’s an asshole.  

I would have loved this, man I would have loved this but the writing felt like some bad soap opera, this hot and cold thing was giving me whiplash. There was no clear balance and I was glad when it was over. I liked Sasha well enough but Harrison can suck it! Dreamspun your first offering left much to be desired but I’m not giving up on you yet.   

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: Remember When by Harper Logan

Remember When by Harper Logan
Novel: 216pgs

3 Pants Off

Blurb: Could forgetting everything bring them together? When Cuke awakes in the hospital, a piece of him is gone. Three years have disappeared from his mind, and he’s doesn’t even recognize his life - or the people in it. And then there's this super hot guy who appears to be his boyfriend...

Bouj will never be able to erase the memory of Cuke's skull cracking against the pavement during a typical game of basketball. He'd do anything to help his roommate piece his life back together, but he runs into an awkward situation when Cuke seems to think Bouj is his boyfriend. He knows he should correct his friend's mistake... and yet, something stops him.

Will Bouj realize that his feelings for Cuke run deeper than heterosexual affection? And even if they find love in each other's arms, will Cuke ever remember how they got to this point? 

Trying to Forget

I’m having a hard time with how I feel about this one. On one hand I really liked it and got through it quite quickly, and on the other hand; what in all the crack in the world. This was totally crazy, weird, and a touch juvenile. While the premise sounds like it could make for an interesting read, the delivery kind of fell short.  

Cuke just took a basketball to the head and now he’s in the hospital with no recollection of the past three years. Seems like the ball has left more than a little bump on the head, seemed it also shaked his brain up. In a hospital room with no one he recognizes, and the good looking guy holding his hand seems to be very familiar with him so there can only be one explanation. That guy is his boyfriend (because logic).  

What ensues is ridiculous game of charades between Cuke and Bouj. Cuke can’t explain the person his “boyfriend” is trying to tell him he’s been for the past 3yrs, nothing about anything makes any sense about the person he’s become and the one he remembers. He can’t quite figure out why his relationship with Bouj is so awkward and he’s wanting to got to the sexy bits already. Seems he’s got his head in the clouds and the boyfriend might actually just be a best-friend.  

Alright, so as I said the book had potential but it really turned out to be ok and lack lustre. The dialogue is juvenile, it lost most of it charm and became all cliché and I was not impressed. Surprisingly I was never bored reading it, and was surprised by how quickly I got through the story. I’ll give it that, I could not look away. 

Cuke and Bouj together didn’t quite work for me and then the insta-love element really threw me from their characters. I felt as if they were playing dress up with their lives and I couldn’t buy it. Their relationship started off as a lie, and just remained a lie to me. I wasn’t invested! 

Overall, I kinda liked it. The plot was over the top, it wasn’t executed quite well, and that cover has nothing to with anything. Remember When didn’t quite deliver but in all honesty I didn’t hate it. I’m willing to see what else the author has to offer.

Review: The Winning Edge by Keira Andrews

The Winning Edge (Cold War #1-2) by Keira Andrews
Novel: 214pgs

3.5 Pants Off

Blurb: After an explosive locker room confrontation with his Russian rival ends in the most intense sex of his life, American pairs skater Dev Avira is distracted to say the least. He’s worked for years to have a chance at Olympic gold, and he can’t let himself—or his partner—down. Playing cat and mouse with the steely and smoldering Mikhail Reznikov is the last thing he needs as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life, but they can’t keep their hands off each other as the Games approach.

Dev soon learns that beneath Mikhail’s arrogant and aloof exterior is Misha, a passionate man who warms Dev’s heart and scorches his bed. They’re both determined to win, but for Misha his freedom could be at stake if he and his partner take anything less than gold. Who will stand atop the podium? And can secret lovers from different worlds make a life together once the competition ends? 

This gay sports romance from Keira Andrews features enemies to lovers, two alpha men, sequins, and of course a happy ending. Content previously published as novellas Cold War and Holding the Edge.

Causing An Ice Melting

I’ve only read one Keira Andrew’s book previously and really liked it, so when I saw there was a figure skating romance being offered up by the author I had to jump on (Yuri on Ice feels anyone). This is also a enemies (rivals) to lovers story. Let’s just say, I don’t understand how they even had ice to skate on because things were hot, hot, hawt! 

Dev wants to be a champion on the ice, he wants the gold for him and his partner but theres a team stopping him from achieving his dream and it’s the Russians. The team also has Mikhail Reznikov, colder than the ice he skates on and crazy beautiful. Dev is feeling things he shouldn’t and his eyes should be on the prize and not gloriousity that is Mikhail’s ass. When an angry encounter leads to some mutual getting off, Dev has more to worry about than winning a competition he now has to protect his heart from the cold. 

Mikhail is seen as cold and aloof and he’s accepted that. He’s got a job to do and that’s winning gold at the olympics. Its not that he wants to win its that he needs to win at all cost. He has no love for skating anymore, its become a way to keep his family safe to keep himself safe but Dev Avira has come and put a chink in his plan. Their chemistry is molten and Mikhail is putting all that he is in jeopardy but staying away from Dev is impossibly hard. He makes him need! 

The book is broken down in two parts and honestly I liked the first part a lot more. It had intensity, excitement, and a taste of the forbidden. Dev and Misha are fighting an attraction that neither of them needs, but the chemistry is so delicious and risks behind it is all so electrifying. I loved their coming together and the apprehension that Dev faces knowing that his ass and mind should be on the ice and not on Misha (easier said than done). 

The second part, while alright is not without it's faults. This is where the story hit a plateau for me. There was all this excitement in the first part and the second became a repetitive storyline about why they shouldn’t be together. The sex, sizzling but that dirty talk got me feeling some sort of way. Like some badly produced porn with dialogue, I could not deal. I was all “no more talkie, please no more talkie”. I was all on board for them having their happy ending, but the balance was off and by the end their I was just waiting for it to be over.  

Overall, I liked the story. In the beginning I was loving the story, loving the figure skating just loving it all but by the end there it was falling apart for me. The conflict was dragged out and then came together with an anti-climatic reveal. So this one was just an alright read for me, sucks cus I really dig the figure skating.

SideNote- Big applause for representation. It is great o see a person of colour on the cover and also represented in the book.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Wolves of Black Pine by SJ Himes

Wolves of Black Pine (The Wolfkin Saga #1) by SJ Himes
Novel: 598pgs

4.5 Pants Off

Blurb: An ancient civilization long hidden from humanity is on the brink of chaos and war. 

Peaceful for thousands of years, the wolfkin clans are mysteriously losing packmates, kidnapped and killed by unknown foes. Among the dead is Luca, youngest grandson of the two most powerful wolves in the Northern Clans, but he is forced into a half-life, hidden in the far northern wilds of Canada and cut off from his kind. Those who raised him have no idea the creature they harbor in their midst, and name him Ghost. He begins to lose himself over the long years, and though he barely recalls his true name, the one wolf he never forgets is Kane.

Heir to the wolfkin clan Black Pine, Kane is charged with hunting down the traitors who betrayed their kind to the humans. Years fly by, and more wolves are dying. He refuses to give up, and he vows to never again fail another of their kind, as he failed young Luca years before. His heart tells him Luca lives, but his mind tells him that it’s foolish hope, his guilt eating him alive.

Fate and magic change the course of their lives, and the two wolves long separated by the years find their paths intertwining, though the reunion does not come without cost... 

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What a ride this was, a magical wolfy ride of epic proportions. I can say with honesty I’ve never read a gay shifter book where the characters are so woven into the world building. It wasn’t just about, you’re my mate and I claim you its a world of magic, politics, friendship, and family. I went in with a slight trepidation thinking it would take me at least a week to read or I might DNF at some point. Oh ever did I play myself!! I devoured this in a little over a day. Wolves of Black Pine gripped me by the pants and didn’t let go. 

Shamans, Alphas, Betas, lesser Alphas, all with some kind of strong gift is what this shifter world is made of. Little Luca was meant to be a great shaman, because his grandfather said so and he was to teach him ways of a wolf so revered and honoured by its people. Until a traitor among their midst snuffed his light and his family. Now he’s lost his grandfather and the security of the pack. He now has to navigate a world he doesn’t know in the body of a wolf that came too early. 

Kane has spent the last 15yrs searching for a traitor within their midst and looking for the humans responsible for the death of his pack-mates and of his little Luca. A light so bright gone so quick, but deep in hearts of hearts Kane feels like Luca isn’t gone. Even though 15yrs have passed but the hope in heart has never faded. Now wolves are going missing, turning up dead, and it’s all connecting to that heartbreaking day. Someone’s hunting wolves and Kane is hunting them.

I’m not gonna get too deep into the meat of it, but let’s say Kane’s feelings were spot on and little Luca ain’t so dead and ain’t so Luca anymore. Things happen, people change, and love comes a knocking. With all that they still have to catch some killers. 

Things I liked: The world building is A+ it totally had me captivated. Its not just a backdrop to a love story but intimately woven into the story telling. 

Love all the Alpha dynamics and hierarchy. It leads to salty feeling individuals. 

I loved the relationships, pretty much all the characters (except the assholes I didn’t like them). 

Things I didnt like: The coming together of Ghost (aka Luca) and Kane. It just didn’t sit well with me. It was too easy, too freaking perfect their coming together. I can understand Kane’s joy of finally having Luca home but their progression to an actual relationship was too soon. 

Which leads me to my other thing. Ghost took to everything like fish in water. Too easy peasy beautiful cover girl for my liking. All of it made the book a good read instead of a great one.

The fact that it is so damn long. While its entertaining, it needed a tightness because after awhile I felt like I was coming down from a sugar rush. I felt like it needed to be a lot cleaner. Every bad thing that happened felt too formulated. I wanted to be surprised and I never was. Ever!!

Regardless, I very much enjoyed reading Wolves of Black Pine. The author is solid at storytelling and created a wonderful shifter world. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel but I’m in no hurry.