Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Beyond Control by Kit Rocha


Beyond - Book 2

4.5 stars!! OH man, I AM HOOKED! I thought it was bad after the first novel, Beyond Shame, but I swear, when an erotic romance makes you SOB for the length of 2, almost 3 chapters, you are SO sunk. *LOL*

Lex, Alexa, the queen, OMG, what a woman! See, I wasn't 100% sold on the idea of these women being completely happy while 'belonging' to their man/men. There's so much feminism, entitlement, agency - all that kind of talk in my twitter timeline, that I found myself feeling a little guilty about enjoying these novels so much - especially after the first one. But in reading Lex's story, it became so clear to me that she - and the other women - were just as strong, if not STRONGER than those men. :) 

So, thank you, Alexa, for showing me that it's just playing that game to feel guilty. 

The sex scenes - and there are a TON of them - are so damned hot and steamy that you really need to read them to have any idea. :) But it's not only about that. There's a story here. A plot. Some great world-building. Secondary characters that are more than cardboard cutouts or walk-on extras. These are BOOKS people!! It's as if Sons of Anarchy met the world of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series and had an illegitimate child.

And the m/m element that I sensed in the first book makes itself known in this volume and while it's not a lot, MAN, it's hot! And it makes me happy. I cannot WAIT for the next book, Beyond Pain. Oh, and if anyone is wondering, my favourite O'Kane is still Ace, the tattoo artist. THANK YOU, Lauren Dane, for recommending these books on Twitter!! And yes, the books are definite re-read material. :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha


Beyond - Book 1

THIS is the book that the moronic 50 Shades of Grey could have been in the hands of someone who could a) write and b) knew what they were talking about.

This book, this series of books, reminds me of the TV show Sons of Anarchy. The men are tough, violent and sexy and the women are hot, sexy, violent too, and have found a way to be powerful themselves in a world geared to respect only brute strength, it seems. It's not lost on me that many of the key jobs of the gang are taken care of by women. 

I wasn't totally enamoured of Noelle, the female protagonist. I found her too clueless even given her background. She grated on me, but I wonder if that's a function of me being a 'woman of a certain age'? 

HOWEVER, she was far more likable than that crazy girl who kept talking to an inner goddess every time she got horny. At least she redeemed herself some in the last couple of chapters of the book. 

Anyway, a dystopian tale of hot sex and violence and people damaged in so many different ways. The supporting cast was stellar and I am totally in love with the smart-ass tattoo artist, Ace. :) I really, really enjoyed it - so much that I went directly to my computer and bought the second book in the series which just was published a couple of weeks ago.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Counterpoint by Rachel Haimowitz


Song of the Fallen - Book 1

I love it when two of my favorite genres, fantasy and romance come together successfully. (Especially written by an author I've come to really enjoy.) 

In Counterpoint, that's exactly what happens. 

I had a few nitpicks - I wasn't quite clear how Ella was able to get by so easily, I had a tough time getting a visual in my head for both Ayden and Freyrik (probably more my fault than the author's), and I found myself wondering a lot about Kona. But, all this is small potatoes, really. :)

The elf and the human falling in love, we see it a lot in fantasy. When it's done badly, it's BAD, when it's well done, it's the story of Ayden and Rik. The emotions take their time to develop, they're questioned and studied by the characters involved and in the end, you believe it because it seemed so damned natural. 

Another thing that was so well done was the epic battle scene. It flowed, it was detailed, you could hear and smell the battle. The author obviously did her homework because it worked perfectly!

My only real complaint is the cliffhanger at the end. I knew this was the first of a series, but the ending totally caught me off guard. I'm not a huge fan of the dum-dum-duuuum endings, preferring a resolution to the current storyline with the hint, the suspicion, the feeling that something else is coming. Your mileage may vary. :)

Anyway, I loved it and am looking forward to reading Crescendo, book 2 of the series. If fantasy and romance turns your crank, I can highly recommend Counterpoint.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton


4.5 stars, guys, 4.5!! 

Okay, really? Heidi and Marie deliver a gorgeous love story with two real guys. They have faults and they have amazing qualities. They both have families that are super loving and super painful at times. 

The story of Vince and Trey is wonderful and, dare I say it again, real. Hell, I fell in love with Vince! :) There are incredible moments of sweetness and joy just as there are moments of deep pain and despair. I cried reading this. And there was something very special - dancing. :) I love the dancing. 

Read it! I loved it!! (And it's got one of the best covers EVER!)

Edit: Upon moving here to Booklikes, I am able to give this the half star! Woot!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Doubtless by Cat Grant


Irresistible Attraction - Book 2

It should be more like 3.5 stars, but Goodreads doesn't do half stars, damn them! 

I really liked this novella in the end. I spent the first part of it disliking Steve and wanting to smack him upside the head. *LOL* Or at least shake him real good. I was just beginning to really like him and BAM, the story was done. I wanted more and I wanted it now, in the same book. :/ 

I'm not really a huge fan of the current trend of novellas and short stories in the m/m genre. The thing is, I really enjoy this author and would like to really sink my teeth into one of her tales. There was a bit of a problem in one scene with POVs suddenly switching mid-paragraph, but that was really the only thing that pulled me out of the story. I did like how the story ended, but I wanted more of Steve who was turning out to be a really nice guy.

Blessed Isle by Alex Beecroft


What a beautifully written novella! I was not expecting the story that I got. :) Told by the two main characters, alternating POVs, it's the tale of two officers of the British Navy in the time of Mutiny on the Bounty. 

Do not look for hot, detailed sex scenes or pages of bantering back and forth dialogue, for this novella doesn't have them (although there is one scene on the deck of a ship, while brief and hardly explicit is SO hot and needy...). What it does have is the story of how two men, Harry and Garnet, came to their HEA despite the time, despite their differing backgrounds, and despite the dangers faced by those that went down to the sea in that era. 

And written with such beautiful language. Rich and full; words and phrases that you want to savour, to roll on your mind's tongue like a fine wine. Give yourself rich treat and read Blessed Isle. I loved it.

Once A Brat by Kim Dare


Kinky Cupid - Book 1

Loved it! And I want more. :)

Fearless by Cat Grant


Irresistible Attraction - Book 3

A satisfying installment of the Irresistible Attraction series. We return to Connor and Wes, the stars of the first novella of the series on the occasion of their wedding. 

There is turbulence, much turbulence in their lives and while we were subject to many of Wes' thoughts and emotions about these upheavals, I felt a little short-changed by Connor's. I wanted more. I wanted to know more about the reasoning behind his final decision. 

I also found myself wanting to know more about his dilemma over his more aggressive desires and I wondered if there was going to come a point where he would reach a Wes boundary/limit and what they would do when it happened. 

Really, I think these are fascinating characters and want to know more about them. We're also introduced to Gil, who arrives in NYC with Steve, Connor's best friend and business partner - and the MC of the previous IA novella. Who the hell is he? Why is he there? It bothered me that we knew nothing about him, nor did ever get to know anything as the story went on. (Apparently we'll be learning about him in IA #4, due out in April 2013)

I liked the character of Dale, Wes' cousin. Wanted more of him too. *LOL*I guess, in the end, I would prefer if this series was written as actual novels, with all the fleshing out that comes with the territory. I think these characters are interesting enough to warrant the attention and the author is a good enough author to bring it off.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Flesh Cartel - Wins and Losses by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz


The Flesh Cartel - Episode 5

This installment of The Flesh Cartel packs as heavy an emotional punch as the first of the series did for me. Just when you think there might be a bit of a let up in what Mat and Dougie are forced to experience and endure, WHAM, Heidi and Rachel gut-punch you. 

This is some seriously well-written stuff, my friends. I had thought the brothers' world small and shrunken before, but in this volume, it shrinks and tightens around them even more. The hurt, the pain, the dashing of a sudden small glimmer of hope; I choked up more than once, I have to admit. 

What it takes to write this series must be incredibly draining, I would think. Rewarding too, because they make it work. 

And I don't know if I'm supposed to hate Nikolai, but I don't, so maybe all his tactics and mind-fucking are working on me! Next installment due at the end of the month. I will be waiting.