Monthly Archives: October 2016

ADULTING 101 by LISA HENRY :: REVIEW

A standalone coming of age MM romance

adulting

SYNOPSIS

The struggle is real.

Nick Stahlnecker is eighteen and not ready to grow up yet. He has a summer job, a case of existential panic, and a hopeless crush on the unattainable Jai Hazenbrook. Except how do you know that your coworker’s unattainable unless you ask to blow him in the porta-potty?

That’s probably not what Dad meant when he said Nick should act more like an adult.

Twenty-five-year-old Jai is back in his hometown of Franklin, Ohio, just long enough to earn the money to get the hell out again. His long-term goal of seeing more of the world is worth the short-term pain of living in his mother’s basement, but only barely.

Meeting Nick doesn’t fit in with Jai’s plans at all, but, as Jai soon learns, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to have the adventure of a lifetime.

This is not a summer romance. This is a summer friendship-with-benefits. It’s got pizza with disgusting toppings, Netflix and chill, and accidental exhibitionism. That’s all. There are no feelings here. None. Shut up.

Available to purchase below

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Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

Adulting 101

‘The struggle is real.’

Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry was such a well written coming of age story that had bucket loads of humour and both real and imagined anxiety. It was a realistic snapshot of the emotional turmoil of a teenage boy who hasn’t yet found his place in the world, but is suffering under the expectations of his parents and his imminent arrival at responsible adulthood.

‘Nick’s not the kind of guy who can write sonnets or anything, mostly because he can’t remember how to, but if he happens to have a page in his notebook dedicated entirely to ass-related haikus, that’s his business, right?’

Nick is such a lovable character it’s hard not to completely empathise with him. Sure he’s incredibly naïve, outspoken with no filter and over the top at times displaying typical teenage tendencies but that’s him and many fellow eighteen year old lads. His personality could fill a room and then some. We absolutely loved him and wanted to take him under our wing and out for Pizza. He had us crying with laughter.

“Jai Hazenbrook is not just some guy, Dev. Jai Hazenbrook is a glorious, beautiful, dangerous creature who makes Legolas look kind of plain. “– Nick

“Dude, you need to stop jerking off to the Fellowship of the Ring.” – Devon

Devon, Nick’s best mate and sounding board. These two have an incredible friendship that is just so pure and heart-warming. They bounce off each other, their banter is hilarious, yet their support and mutual understanding unbreakable and so very tender at times. It was the kind of friendship you want to bottle up for those dark rainy days.

“You’re not a bad person, you just have terrible impulse control.”

Jai, the twenty-five year old drifter who still lives with adventure and travel in his blood, partly as an escape partly to live life on his terms. He works odd jobs to fund his travels, whilst living with his Mum and extended family. Jai was the voice of reason to Nick’s off the cuff rantings. He was the one who saw past Nick’s bravado as well as the one in the firing line of Nick’s eager to explore sexual awakening. Their relationship was on the whole hilarious and sweet yet quite emotional too as Jai is more than just a hot arse for Nick when push comes to shove. They’re night and day and at different stages in life but somehow it just works. They stabilise something in each other.

‘Like, does becoming an adult mean losing a part of himself? Or is he just being a fucking teenage drama queen?’

The story of Jai and Nick is a standalone but we’re crossing our fingers for a ‘where are they now’ and not just for Jai and Nick, but the lovable Devon too! We really enjoyed this one and recommend it to readers of m/m who love a laugh and a giggle with the real struggle of an impending adulthood theme.

‘By rights, Jai should find him exasperating. Instead, he finds him oddly charming.’

4 Stars

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SIREN by JAIMIE ROBERTS :: REVIEW

Standalone dark and twisted erotic story.
****SPOILER FREE REVIEW****

siren-cover

SYNOPSIS
I’m not a good person. In fact, I’m a real bitch. If the opportunity arises, I will take your husband, give him the best sex he’s ever had, and laugh behind your back once I’m done with him. I do not put on airs and graces. I just take what I want whenever I want it.
I am the abused who has become the abuser. I live for power because all power had been stripped from me for years. Now that I have it back, I feed off of it like it’s my primary sustenance, and I don’t care who I hurt in the process.
Every woman hates me, but do you know what? I don’t give a shit.
You won’t like me. I’m not here to be liked. You want to know my story? I won’t stop you from observing. Just know that once I’m done with you, no shower—no matter how scalding—will ever get me out from under your skin.
Warning: If you’re looking for pink, fluffy clouds, rainbows, and HEA’s, then this book is not for you. These pages contain flashback scenes of child abuse in all forms (physical, sexual, and emotional) as well as BDSM and other taboo themes.
Love does not live in this book. Only dark, twisted, and sick obsessions thrive here.
You. Have. Been. Warned!

Siren is available to purchase below:

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✲✲✲✲

siren

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

‘I’m so going to hell for this.’

Woah….we have no words. What an ugly, tragic and dark erotic tale Siren is. This book is definitely not for everyone and if you’re a reader who has a list of triggers then skipping this one might be an idea. We’re not trying to turn anyone off this story but it really is quite a disturbing and intense journey that has so many issues you lose count. But we couldn’t look away, we were riveted by the perversity and fucked-upness.

‘He is the only man I would let treat me the way that he does because he is the only man to really take care of me…to love me the only way he knows I crave.’

There’s nothing typical about this book, you want taboo and over the top? This is it. It’s graphic and raw. Dirty and heart-breaking. It’s erotic and repulsive. Now, we’ve met this Author and she is sweetness personified with a gentle nature. Yeah, looks can be deceiving because this Lady sure can write from the depths of darkness and her mind scares us. Now all of what we’ve just mentioned shows what a fantastic writer this Author is and like they say, it’s always the quiet ones. If you enjoy books where your boundaries are tested then this is the one for you!

‘…all I want is cruelty, pain, and vindication for all the wrongs that have been put solely on me and no one else. Me. Am I not allowed to need this perverse sense of justice against the world for everything that was thrown on me when I was just a teenaged girl?’

As far as romance goes this is –again- not your typical romance, there really are too many players and each serves a purpose in a dark convoluted web of revenge and retribution. The real and true romance is hidden, until it’s not and it broke our bloody hearts. Imagine the words of this story – as they enter your mind they twist and impale you, then they slowly work their way through your bloodstream like a venomous entity. It really is so horrifying and depraved at times you just want to turn away. But you can’t. The reason why? Because at the heart of it is a young girl, a teenager then a young woman who’s suffered so immensely by the hands of those meant to love her.  Now, her heart has a layer of concrete around it, shielding it from further penetration. Moments produce cracks but it’ll take a true love and protectiveness to hammer through to reveal the broken heart and mend it and rid our heroine of her perceived ugliness and false sense of love.

‘This man. This beautiful man who I thought I would end up breaking. I’m sure his time will come, too. I’m sure I will break him one da. But I never predicted…never anticipated…that he would break me first.’

Like we said, we couldn’t look away and we actually loved parts of it and felt the emotional torment and need to be understood. Revenge, retribution and survival dressed up in a cloak of femme fatale.  The writing was fabulous, though some aspects were left hanging and unexplored. Also, there were a couple of times inconsistency and repetition compromised the story. At the end of the day though it’s one of those books where we hate to admit- we loved it. Where we should’ve cringed or walked away, we felt hot under the collar and fascinated by what we were reading.

“I told you to stop pursuing me. I told you I would end up breaking your heart. I warned you.”

4 Stars

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MARRIAGE GAMES (The Games Duet #1) by CD REISS :: REVIEW

Book One of a duet. Powerful, emotional, raw, erotic and moving.

25th

SYNOPSIS

THIRTY DAYS
That’s all Adam Steinbeck demands of his wife.
Thirty days in a remote cottage, doing everything he demands. After that, he’ll sign her divorce papers and give her complete ownership of their company.

THIRTY DAYS
That’s how long he has to rediscover the man he once was. The Dominant Master he hid when he fell in love with her five years ago.

THIRTY DAYS
She wants the business they built badly enough to go to the cottage for a month. Cut off ties to the world and do his bidding. She can submit to him with her body, but her heart will never yield.

She thinks this is his pathetic attempt to repair their marriage.

She’s wrong

Marriage Games is available to purchase below

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Separation Games (The Conclusion) 

separation

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marriage-games

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

4.5 Stars

‘I ached. My joints. My head. My heart. I ached with emptiness and helplessness. The pain was physical.’

And THIS, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why we fell in love with CD Reiss’ writing years ago. She’s a master story teller. Her command of the written word can be extraordinary, raw, gritty, poetic, beautiful, powerful, hard, soft and ugly depending on what she’s wanting you to feel, experience and embrace. Demanding your full attention and participation, as her words travel from the pages into your heart and mind.

“You tell me where you went wrong. Were you not good enough? Or was this just not what I wanted for you.”

Marriage Games felt unique and had a -rough feel- deliberately so, we feel. It showcased the layers that make up a person as a whole touching on each yet never fully unravelling to the core. Nearly, but not quite. We suspect the complete naked scrutiny will continue in order to fully expose two people’s very being to understand more of the why’s, the motivations and the stripping down to basic, in order to embrace identity and to grow.

‘She’d become immune to the venom of her detachment, and I kept on asking for the sting.’

Can you truly supress a part of your being and be happy for more than a moment in time? Can you make yourself believe that this hidden side of you won’t transfer into your actions, participation and way of living through behavioural patterns like withdrawal, mood and outward projection? How easy or difficult is it to differentiate between love and need? Can they be one and the same but in different guises?

“Everything’s changed. We aren’t us anymore.” “I don’t know you.” “We were never us.”

Adam knows one way of life, he lives his need- not to be mistaken for love. That is until he meets Diana in a business meeting of high emotions and future consequences.  Adam falls in love, which is a side of him he can’t reconcile with his need and hidden lifestyle. Consequently, Adam lives a lie in order to keep the love of his life, Diana. Appearances can be deceptive, yet at the same time they can be wholly transparent or misleading in their form. Can a secret life or lifestyle ever stay secret or masked? Do we ever show our complete true self to another? Do we ever get to fully know or even understand ourselves? Diana sets in motion a soul searching journey that will change everything or nothing through intense complexities. A journey which has not yet reached its destination.

“You can take that side of yourself and pretend it doesn’t exist. Put it where it can’t hurt you. But all that time, it’s beating down the doors to get out, and it ate at us alive.”

Marriage Games is a story that goes so much deeper than a couple struggling with their vows. It’s the beginning of a personal journey for both Adam and Diana- singularly and as a unit disguised as a challenge, the beginning of a game with the end result being who discovers what about themselves and each other. To instigate a challenge to validate, discover, prove or justify. No easy feat and perhaps too simplistic in description. We loved it yet struggled with aspects of it, which is perhaps the point? It’s like a song. You listen through the build-up and chorus waiting for that high note or that exact moment the song takes flight, making the hairs at the back of your neck stand up, bringing those chills. We never quite got there so we’re hoping the second instalment packs that much needed punch to take us through that crescendo.

 ‘I wanted her to go. I wanted her to stay. I wanted her on my terms. I wanted her on any terms. I wanted to be cured of the disease of love. I wanted to be cured of want.’

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For more TBB CD Reiss Recommendations, click below

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KEEPSAKE (True North #3) by SARINA BOWEN :: REVIEW

Standalone in the True North Series
Come and meet the men of True North, outdoorsy mountain men that populate this place, and the women who steal their hearts.

keepsake October

SYNOPSIS
There’s a first time for everything.
Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.
When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.
Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.
Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.
Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.

Keepsake is available to purchase below

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keepsake

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

“I’m a wreck.”
“I noticed.”
I rocked her against my chest. “I’ve been a wreck, too. It doesn’t last forever.”

Sarina Bowen has done such an exquisite job of putting us right in the thick of her True North series. We’ve been able to see, hear and smell all the surroundings she creates through her beautiful storytelling, where her characters are every bit as beautiful and colourful as the stunning Vermont landscape she so vividly captures.

“Everyone has a time when they need a lot more than they can give. It doesn’t matter how much you hate it. It’s just true.”

We’ve fallen in love with the Shipley’s and crew throughout the series, and especially the innocent and sweet Zach, the man who came to the Shipley farm after being tossed out of the polygamist cult he grew up in, where he’s suffered physical and emotional abuse. This man and his past reached into our hearts, he’s so sweet and endearing.  His healing and life education has been four years in the making working his arse off and becoming a special part of the Shipley family, and now, we bear witness to Zach opening up to love both physically and emotionally. It was so incredibly sweet and heart-warming, and quite passionate as well.

“I have scars,” she said quietly. “Mine don’t show.”
“I know,”
I whispered, stroking her foot. “I hope they heal up so you can’t feel them anymore. Mine don’t hurt now. I never think of them.”

Lark Wainwright, May Shipley’s best friend from College, is the opposite of Zach, in that she lives and craves a more transient lifestyle, where Zach craves permanence. However, following the trauma of her kidnapping whilst working in Guatemala, Lark feels she needs to escape her life in Boston, and at the request of May, heads to the Shipley farm in Vermont to soak in the idyllic lifestyle and forget the events that have left her so emotionally battered.

‘He was bright and shiny and flawless. And I wasn’t any of those things.’

There is an instant attraction between Lark and Zach, however both are wounded by their pasts, and so instead, a beautiful friendship develops between the worldlier Lark, and the sheltered Zach. It was mesmerizing bearing witness to the sweetness of their attraction; the furtive glances, the innocent touches, the sweet exchanges between them…completely stole our hearts, their passion sizzled!

“Nobody has a bigger heart than you, Zach. Just don’t give it away, hasty-like.”
“Too late.”

As Lark starts to confront and remember the events she experienced in Guatemala, her world is turned upside down and friendships and love are tested, but Zach, a man who’s never known love isn’t one to be put off that easily, rather he’s prepared to fight for Lark.

“I can handle it, Lark. Just lean on me. I’ll be your Apostate Farm.”

True North is abundant with rich beautiful storytelling, wonderful dialogue, swoony romance, warm, relatable and sweet characters all wrapped up in a glorious setting that makes us want to up sticks and join the Shipley crew for dinner on a Thursday night in Vermont! A series for the heart and one you shouldn’t miss!

**We have to mention the cover as it does no justice to the characters nor the book. This is a beautiful vivid story of such high emotion and scenery yet for us the cover suggests otherwise. This is such a shame in our opinion!

4.5 stars!

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THE TRUE NORTH SERIES by SARINA BOWEN

True North Series (1)

Bittersweet Book One :

                    

Steadfast Book Two

                   

Keepsake Book Three

                    


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CONFESSED by NICOLA RENDELL :: REVIEW

A super hot standalone

confessed

SYNOPSIS

Lucy Burchett is the heiress to a notoriously disastrous family, and she’s left home for good. But when she runs a big, black pickup off the road, totaling it, she finds herself stuck in the middle of nowhere with the driver. He’s got a body to die for and a hair-trigger temper. Vince Russo looks like a felon, but he’s also pretty funny. He’s on the lam from the cops… and a psychopathic, Russian mob boss who wants to put his balls on a barbeque. Literally.

After a night of ill-advised cocktails and bathroom-wrecking sex, Vince just can’t get Lucy off his mind. But he’s got plans to rob her. And Lucy’s life is about to get a little bit criminal too.

But can a bad boy and a good girl really escape from their troubles together? Can they trust each other at all?

In the steady march of disasters that follow them west, they fight and they laugh. They tease and they’re tender. They’re either oil and water, or chocolate and peanut butter.

Except, they can’t run from the real world forever. And there’s a hell of a surprise in store for both of them…

***

To the reader: Confessed is a standalone featuring Lucy, who readers met as the best friend in Professed. Both are standalones and do not need to be read together. Be advised, things get super dirty in this book. The sex is explicit, and the language is rude. It’s an erotic love story with fury. Other tasters’ notes: Bobby pins. Peculiar motels. Horses. Motorcycles. Aiding and abetting. Great Smoky Mountains. New Mexico.

Available to purchase below:

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confessed-collage

Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

So in Confessed we spent a – hot flush – ride with Lucy, who is Naomi’s best friend from Professed which we read and enjoyed too. Both books can be read as standalones so if this one tickles your fancy first then read it and be swept up in one passionately intense Bonnie and Clyde style ride that’ll burn the tips of your fingers and steal your heart in the same breath.

“We’ve got a problem.”

“Do we?”

“Yeah. I had this whole plan for today. Until you ran me off the road”

“I said I was sorry.”

“Fuck sorry. There’s a new plan. I want to make some bad fucking decisions with you…”

Having read Professed then moving straight onto Confessed we definitely noticed a difference in the second book by Nicola Rendell. It had more depth and polish and she’s certainly got a knack for hot and sexy alpha males with a vulnerable side. Once again Confessed is another easy and highly entertaining read which hits the target for readers who love their erotica and feel like indulging for a couple of hours. It had us riveted that’s for sure for those very delicious reasons.

‘There’s that phrase, an awakening. I never understood that until now, but that’s what’s happening to me. I know it. I love it. I need it. That trust, no inhibitions. No shame. That’s the thing that brings tears to my eyes. In front of him, I have no shame. I can be whatever I want. Whatever I am.’

Lucy on first impression is quite the spoilt airy fairy rich girl who needs her driving licence revoked because wow…stand back! However, when circumstances change and she becomes the daughter of a wanted man up for fraud who quite frankly drops her right in it, we see a different side of her. A very very different side once she literally bangs into Vince Russo.  She’s a flighty yet adorable and sassy girl.

“Peaches, we don’t choose where we come from. We only choose where we go.”

Vince Russo…hang on while we pick ourselves up off the floor where we’ve just spent a considerable amount of time in a hot puddle. This man is the definition of tattooed bad-arse alpha male. He was LUSH! Not only that, he had real heart and was creatively talented and gifted in many many things and ways.

‘Deep in my chest I feel this rush, this need, this fucking burning desire to protect her. Even from herself, even from her bad dreams.’

We loved the characters, the story development and as far as erotica is concerned this is definitely one of those that pack a punch as it was well written, flawless in characterisation and story. Erotica with an emotional beating heart.

Now excuse us while we go look for our bobby pins…..

4.5 Stars


professed

Also check out PROFESSED – Standalone

At a secret masked ball at Yale, Naomi Costa is literally swept off her stiletto-blistered feet by a man with a killer jawline, a perfect body, and an even-better kiss. They bust out of an emergency exit and have axis-shaking sex. He pours whiskey in her belly button and after they run out of condoms, they have to get creative. That kind of sex.
The next day, she learns that he is none other than Dr. Benjamin Beck, a brand new member of the Yale faculty and the hottest thing to happen to academia since… well, ever. She has to take his damned junior seminar to graduate, but it gets worse. He’s also her College Master: her boss, her advisor, her everything. And he’s just moved in, right downstairs.
They can’t stay away from each other. They’re either fusion or fission or both. They’re making out in libraries, hiding notes between stones, and sneaking off to nautically themed AirBnbs. Hear that sound? It’s the academic code of ethics going up in flames.
If they’re found out, he’ll lose his job and his reputation. She’ll lose her scholarship and be forced to return to the life of lobster fishing that she thought she’d escaped.
And they will be found out, yes they will.
So what the hell are they going to do?

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