Nora Phoenix-Slow Hand

Slow Hand is the first Nora Phoenix book I’ve reviewed here, I believe. She’s an MM author, and often writes a lot more than just 2 Ms. She writes Omegaverse as well as regular. She has contemporary and some post-apocalyptic stories too. This one is one of her contemporary stories. It’s the 4th book in a series, but it’s standalone enough that you aren’t going to miss anything if you haven’t read the others. This one is an Mmm, and it deals with some past abuse on the case of the subs. We don’t see any of the abuse, but they do talk about it. It’s also a Daddy book, in a couple of different ways.

So, Master Ford gets a call from his friend, who owns a club. He was contacted by a mutual friend, who is a cop and a Dom. He has rescued 2 young men who had been kept captive by a complete sadist and monster who claimed to be a master, but wasn’t any kind of Dom at all. He was just an abusive monster. Jathan and Thierry have gone through terrible, terrible things. They are fragile, both physically and emotionally. Ford doesn’t know what he’s going to do with them, but he already feels protective about them.

Thierry doesn’t speak. He is able to speak, physically, but it feels like the words get caught in his throat when he tries to talk. They are just trapped. Jathan, on the other hand, has no problem with speaking. He’s angry at the world, and especially Thierry. He has no problem telling everyone how unhappy he is.

I really like Ford. He is endlessly patient, in a situation that he was thrust into, without any kind of rule book. He made mistakes, because who isn’t in that situation, but he also admitted that he made mistakes, apologized and did what he could to make it better. Everyone had a lot of stuff they had to work through. Ford was trying to deal with his changing Dom tendencies and the way that his life is changing, and trying to handle the vastly different needs of Jathan and Thierry. They both have some needs that are the same, but they are also both traumatized by different things, and need different levels of D/s.

Thierry is a sweet, sweet boy. He was really just a light. I was so sad that he had gone through what he did. No one deserves to be treated that way, but when it is just someone who is as precious and innocent as Theirry is, it’s even worse, I think. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he’s a filthy little boy, but he’s also just sweet and innocent, if you know what I mean.

Jathan has such a tough shell. And it’s really no wonder why. I mean, the horrible stuff that has happened really just hurt him so much. But, he’s also got a really good heart, and a marshmallowy center. He has so much love to give, and it’s great to watch his healing journey.

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I love how J&T connect and reconnect.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

A. F. Zoelle-Bet on Love

A. F. Zoelle is a new author to me, but I think that won’t last very long. I enjoyed Bet on Me, and I’m looking forward to the next books in the series, because I’m pretty sure that they are going to be good. There were a couple of places that I thought that this one was a tiny bit problematical, but it wasn’t anything serious, and it may have been problematical from only my viewpoint. Like I said, it wasn’t enough to cancel out my enjoyment of the books, so there’s that.

So, Rhys is in Las Vegas to marry his witch of a girlfriend, Olivia. He’s not happy, and he’s sitting on his bed with his best friend and best man, Lucien AKA Luci, talking about it. That’s when he has the best bad idea ever. What would happen if he got married to someone BEFORE he had to marry Olivia? Just walk into a wedding chapel, find an Elvis impersonator, and get married? Obviously he was just little tipsy. And Luci was just tipsy enough to go along with it.

The next morning, Rhys wakes up with a naked body next to him. The problem? It’s not who he expects it to be. It’s not Olivia, it’s definitely Luci. The two of them finally figure out that they are well and truly legally married. And oh, Luci is wearing Olivia’s wedding ring.

So, I read a lot of MM, and I’ve read a lot about a gay man being in love with his straight best friend, and his straight best friend finally figuring out he’s not so straight, AKA gay for you or GFY. This one is almost like that, but not quite. In fact, as I was reading it, I realized that I couldn’t really come up with a trope for it.

Here’s the thing, these guys have been best friends since pretty much birth. There was some experimenting when they were teenagers, but they managed to shove it down inside themselves (that’s what he said) for whatever reason. And in the years since, they’ve both thought that they were straight and have been with women. So, here’s the question, are they gay, bi, pan? That’s not anything that AF goes into in this one, and you know what? I like that. They aren’t trying to figure out what the label is, they are trying to figure out what the relationship is and what they are to each other. I think it works quite well.

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OMG, the scene at breakfast with Olivia and her family and the scene in the honeymoon suite had me laughing my ass off.

OK, that’s all for this one! Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Sorcha Black-The Sharp Edge of Bliss

So, Sorcha Black is back. And she’s back in spectacular style with The Sharp Edge of Bliss. Sorcha classifies this as an enemy to lovers book, and it’s MMF. I’ll definitely agree to the MMF, but I’m not quite as sure on the enemy to lovers. I’m going to say that it’s probably the closest description, so I guess I’ll agree.

Here’s our story. Star is a young woman whose uncle uses her as payment. If he owes someone money or a favor, Star is going to pay it back. She’s been doing this for more years than she should’ve ought’ve been, but her uncle basically owns her and she has to pay him back for everything she owes him.

Today, she’s being dropped off in front of Mr. Rathburn’s house. She’s not sure how long she’s going to be there, she just knows that her uncle told her that Rathburn is her boss right now, and she has to do whatever he says. So, she walks into his office, expects that she’s about to be told to strip off, but she’s in for a huge surprise. Rathburn tells his associate, Otis, to go get the boy.

In walks an angel, or at least someone who looks like an angel, Blaise. Star is told that she’s there for him, and whatever he wants her to do, she will. Only, Blaise isn’t happy. He doesn’t want her, he wants Rathburn. But that’s not happening. Nope, Star’s there to make him happy, no matter what Blaise really wants. Rathburn has spoken, and really, don’t fuck with Avery Rathburn. You will not like the results.

This story is all told from Star’s POV. I don’t think that it would’ve worked if we went back and forth in perspectives. I think her innocence (which yeah, I know it’s odd to call a sex worker innocent, but she really has this whole childlike innocence going on) and naivete really let us see Blaise and Avery the way that they really are. She sees things that they don’t see about themselves. She’s also had to learn how to read people, for her own safety, and that gives her more insight too. I think that for as worldly and experienced Blaise and Avery are, Star is better at reading people than they are.

I would periodically get angry at Blaise and Avery because they would just assume that Star would know or understand something, even though she kept telling them that she didn’t quite get whatever. They just didn’t have the same experience set that she had, and it’s hard to understand her experiences when it’s not anything that they’ve ever had to deal with. I mean, they do try, but they just don’t quite get it, and it’s frustrating to me.

I really enjoyed watching Star grow into her power and become the strong person that she is.

I love Sorcha, and I love the way that she writes MMF. I’m going to have to go read about Sev again this weekend.

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I was happy with what Star did to some unpleasant people.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out. Happy reading!

2019 Round Up-Top 10 MM Pt. 2

As a totally off-topic notification, I’m now an Amazon Affiliate, and any qualifying purchases can give me a commission. 

If you missed the first part of this list, go check it out here. And now, on to the second part of the list.

AJ Sherwood-Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case

Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case is a totally fun title, and it’s a great book. Before you read the book, you need to make sure that you read the trigger warnings, because they are hilarious. This is the TW and tags from this one.

“Trigger Warnings:
Your average cop show violence and criminals

Tags:
Companionable snark, Flirting, Kissing, Jon needs a hug, Donovan gives the best hugs, Getting together, Self-esteem issues, Explicit content, Anal Sex, Romantic Sex, Random shooting, Which Donovan isn’t happy about, Donovan is a gentleman, Sort of, Jon just makes it REALLY REALLY HARD Okay?, Bisexual character, Public displays of affection, Muscles, Communication, Healthy relationships, The fluff might kill you, Supernatural elements, Modern with Magic, Feels, All the Feels, Mostly accurate medical stuff, Multiple electronics died in the creation of this story, blame Jon”

Anyway, I would probably put this in the urban fantasy because it has a heavy paranormal side. Jon is a psychic who has some serious strong powers. He helps to solve crimes for the police and for anyone who hires the agency he works for. He is in need of an anchor, someone who can help him shield. He also needs a bodyguard, which is where Donovan comes in. This is a slow burn, but a good one. There are also 2 direct sequels, and a spinoff novella. So worth reading.

Adara Wolf-Blue Storm

Adara tends to write on the heavier end of kink and dub/noncon. Blue Storm does dabble into that side of the pool, but not as much as some of her other books. In this one, people have some basic magic, which lets them know their true names, which protects their souls. Then, there are the Nameless, who don’t have magic, and have to be bound as slaves, and named as their owners or they basically splinter into painful pieces. Blue Storm was named by his owners, and the book is about his struggle with his name and with what his owners want.

Barrie Farris-Ingenious

Ingenious is a dystopian story. The way that it works is that women have taken over the world and currently run it. Men rise and fall by the women that they marry and if they can breed children. Enter Quiggs who is a bloody genius, Einstein and DaVinci mushed up together. There is great world building in here, and the relationships between Quiggs, Max, and Beau are really interesting. I am eagerly waiting for the next book, but it is taking its own sweet time.

Susan Hawke-How Not to Tuck

How Not to Tuck is a novella in the Lovestrong series. This is the story of Larry, AKA Honey Combover, a drag queen we meet in the first book. Mama Honey is hilarious, especially when it comes to the descriptions of her tuck failing and her python. Yeah, it’s just that big and that funny. For an even better description, and one that goes on for several pages, check out How Not to Blend, the first book in the series. It’s a quick read, and one that’s just a lot of fun to read.

K Webster-The Glue

Yup, The Glue is K’s second appearance on this list. And this one isn’t technically an MM book, it’s an MMF, but I’ve decided that it counts. This is one of K’s taboo treats, starring Aidan and married couple Vale and Vaughn, one his boss, the other his professor. Like all of the other taboo treats, it’s a standalone, but it is all interconnected with other books. I loved watching Aidan figuring out who he was and what he wanted. It’s a very sexy story, and I am always looking forward to K’s new books.

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2019 Round Up-Top 10 MM Books Pt. 1

I’ve read MM for years, but this year, it seemed to ramp up even more. It ramped up enough that I’m giving it its own Top 10 list this year. Remember, these are in no particular order.

K. Webster-Wicked Lies Boys Tell

Once a year or so, K writes an amazingly, overwhelmingly emotional book that rips you apart and puts you back together. Her books My Torin and The Day She Cried fall into this category. So does Wicked Lies Boys Tell. This is a friends to enemies to lovers kind of story with some coming of age tossed in. The relationship between Penn and Cope is beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. I will fully admit that there were times that I cried during this. K really just knows how to create characters that break me down and stick with me for a while.

Nicky James-Long Way Home

Long Way Home was beautiful and devastating. It’s the story of Gavin and Owen. They were high school sweethearts, but when they turned 18, they ended up being split up, and the story spans many years of their lives. We get to see what happens to each of them. It sounds like it could be nothing but a heartbreak, but I promise that it’s not. It really is a beautiful story. It was the first Nicky James book that I read, but not the last.

Susan Hawke-How to Heal

Susan Hawke is also Susi Hawke, but she writes contemporary under this name. Her first series was the Lovestrong series, and How to Heal was the last book in that series. It’s a great series, with a lot of humor and love. There is also a lot of pain, especially in this book. This is my favorite book in the series. It’s a hurt/comfort, redemption, Daddy/boy kind of book, and it works so perfectly together. Clark had been a bully in the first couple of books, but this one takes place several years later, after he has changed, but he still thinks that he has to pay a penance for what he did. His journey is a hard one, but a beautiful one. I have all these books signed, and I ARCed most of them. How to Heal is also the book I’m currently listening to in my car when I’m alone. I’ve read it at least 2xx this year.

Lucy Lennox-Wilde Love

Lucy Lennox has two main series that she’s written. They are the Made Marian and the Forever Wilde books. The two series are interconnected. Marian came first, but I read the Wilde books first and I fell in love with Grandpa and Doc, because it’s totally impossible not to. I, like all of Lucy’s readers, was desperate to find out all of their story, and thus Wilde Love was born. I own both an e and an audio copy of this. I took a mini-vacation this year and listened to this on my drive. It starts with when the guys first meet, during Vietnam while they were both serving, and runs through the current day. There are so many beautiful little moments in here and so many heartbreaking ones at the same time, and sometimes they are the same moments. This book made me just love Grandpa and Doc so much more.

Alice Winters-The Hitman’s Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love

I laughed hysterically the whole time I read The Hitman’s Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love. Leland is a hitman, no really, a real hitman, and Jackson is the PI who is trying to help catch him. Leland is so fucking snarky and may or may not have a gun fetish. I mean, honestly, Alice writes a damn good story that keeps you interested, while letting you laugh at the most ridiculous stuff possible. I swear that Leland just has no filter at all, and it’s glorious.

Tune in for part 2 tomorrow!

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2019 Round Up-Top 10 Darkest Reads, Pt. 2

Hopefully, you’ve read the first part of this particular list, if not, go check it out here. Like any of my Top 10 lists, the books are in no particular order, because I find it really hard to put things in order like that.

Kay Elle Parker-Monsters and Guardians

Monsters and Guardians actually got banned from Amazon because of how dark and noncon-y it is. This is probably one of the most noncon-y books I’ve ever read, and considering how much I enjoy reading noncon, dark, and disturbing, that’s saying something. M&G covers a whole lot of tropes/genres. It’s RH, shifter, and omegaverse-light. And Raine, the heroine, for all the fucking hell she goes through in this one, is pretty damn kickass. One of my favorite moments is when she hits one of the guys, then apologizes to him. And as a result of talking about it here, I’m currently rereading it. The next book is what I will be rereading when I’m done with M&G.

Scarlett Snow & Loxley Savage-Saphyre

Saphyre is literally the only book I’m aware of that was banned by Amazon under 2, count them 2, different names. When it got banned under Saphyre, Scarlett and Loxley put it out under Ember, with a little editing, which then got banned too. So the ladies went out and found a new place to sell it, and that’s when I was able to get a hold of it. This is dark, post-apocalyptic, disturbing, absolutely brutal in places, and dystopian. It was also fantastic. Saphyre, our heroine, is rather tricksy, and I lived for it.

Felicity Brandon-Daddy’s Little Captive

Daddy’s little Captive is the first book in Felicity’s newest trilogy. It involves Sophie, who has had a hard time with her husband, because he’s vanilla and she’s rocky road. So, she went online and was talking to people in a kink forum, which led her to meeting Jared. I had a hard time with this one, mostly because I hated Jared, a lot. It is dark and a lot of terrible things happen in the book. The second book came out a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m waiting for book 3, because Felicity is mean and left us hanging.

Brittany Cournoyer-Sinister Shadows

Sinister Shadows is the only MM book on this list. I think that I’m going to have a Top 10 MM books coming up. This one is dark, mostly because it’s a mindfuck. Duncan wakes him, doesn’t remember what’s going on, nor does he remember the man who says that he’s Duncan history. We spend the whole book trying to figure out what’s going on and who everyone actually is. I wouldn’t call it a romance so much as I would call it suspense or a mystery.

Ivy Chapman-Torn Apart

Torn Apart is a very, very dark Omegaverse story. It is seriously dystopian. It is one of those dystopian stories that make you worry about reading dystopian stories ever again. This story is about twins Seraphine (F) and Arden (M), who are both omegas in a time when there aren’t a whole lot of free omegas floating around. We get the stories of both twins, and they aren’t pretty, not at all. This one left me breathless.

OK, that’s my Top 10 darkest reads of 2019. Most of them appeared on my blog during the year, so if you want more of what I thought of them, you should be able to find the posts pretty easily.

I hope everyone had a good holiday!

 

Posy Roberts-Socks For an Otter

Posy Roberts is a new author to me, so a new author to the blog. But I really wanted to write about her newest book, Socks For an Otter, because it really just gave me the feelz.

Before we get into the story, I need to tell you that there are no real otters in this story. Instead, the otter in the story is a gay man. There are a lot of terms that people use to describe various types of gay men. The only two we need to worry about right now are otters and wolves. But first, we need to understand bears. Yeah, I know, all these terms. So, bears are the big, hairy, cuddly gay men. They like beer, wear flannel and plaid, you know the kind. Think lumberjack. That’s the surface level description. Then you have otters. Otters are basically bears-lite. They are generally leaner and less hairy. A wolf is somewhere in between an otter and a bear, but they are more aggressive than bears are. But not aggressive in a bad way. Now that we know that, we can talk about this story.

Sebastian, Bash, is a young, homeless gay man on the streets of Washington DC. He has been homeless for nearly a year now, and it hasn’t been easy. He was born a rich boy. He had all the money ever, all the privilege, and was basically brought up to be decorative. Then his father kicked him out, without a cent. No friends, no money, no nothing, Bash ends up on the streets. He left NYC to go to DC because he thought the weather would be a little better, but this winter is showing him that he’s wrong. It wouldn’t be so bad, except the city just did a huge sweep and trashed a lot of stuff, including the tent that he had worked so hard to get. Now, it’s freezing, a huge storm is coming in, he’s starving, he doesn’t have a warm coat, his shoes are falling apart, and on his way into the food pantry, he ran into some asshole who is donating blue crabs, of all things.

Louis grew up on Chesapeake Bay. Sometimes quite literally on the bay. His father was a water man, and he would go out and help his father fish. On this snowy night, at Christmas time, he has just left his parents’ home with a whole buttload of crabs that his father caught. Louis has kept as many as he can eat, but he still has a lot, so he decides that he will take them to the food pantry where he often donates and volunteers. He does a lot of work with the homeless and low income population as a volunteer, plus for work, he helps to create policy around those same things. On his way into the pantry, he runs into a guy because he was busy looking at his cell phone. The guy kinda yells at him, but Louis, for some reason, invites the guy to come to dinner at his house. They both end up in the pantry, through different routes, and are introduced to each other. Eventually, Bash gets convinced to go to Louis’ house for dinner.

One of the things that really got to me about this book is that it doesn’t glamourize homelessness. Nor does it gloss it over. We get what I think is a realistic look at homelessness, especially when it comes to being a single, gay man. There aren’t a lot of shelters that have space for single men, and there are a lot of shelters where queer people just aren’t safe, for whatever reason. And we get to see that from Bash’s POV.

Louis, for all of his knowledge and volunteer work, learns things from Bash, things that he would’ve never really thought of before. Like that there are a lot of things that get donated to shelters and food pantries that aren’t as helpful as they could be. And the fact that one of the number one things that shelters and other agencies look to be donated are socks. Which is where the title of the book comes from. Never, ever underestimate the power of a nice, warm pair of socks. They don’t have to be fancy, or have patterns on them, but a nice new pair of socks can be heaven. If you want to ever donate anything, socks, underwear, and toiletries are totally awesome, especially the sample or travel sizes. Or, you can totally use Bombas, who donate a pair of socks for every pair of socks purchased.

Part of the reason that this book gave me so many feelz is because my family was homeless when my son was a baby. My husband, infant son, and I spent his first Christmas in a family shelter. We lived there for several weeks, and then lived with my MIL. Being homeless is scary, and we were lucky enough to be in a shelter and not have to worry about living on the streets during a nasty winter, and it was nasty that year.

Anyway, I really like Sebastian. He learned a lot of things, but I don’t think that he really let what happened turn him really bitter, which could’ve happened, easily. I mean, no, he wasn’t all sweetness and light about it, but he didn’t turn hateful. He did turn guarded and walled himself off a lot, but yeah, who wouldn’t be when they were basically thrown away.

Louis has a really good heart. When he made mistakes, he did it because his heart was in the right place and he really wanted to try to do his best, not because he was a clueless idiot just fumbling around. And he tried really hard to not make those mistakes again. He learns from those mistakes and takes those lessons and goes on to do better.

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Javon had a good heart, but I think his implementation could’ve used some work.

I hate Bash’s dad.

OK, that’s all there is to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!