Ava Sinclair-Drilled

Ava has decided that she’s going to join into all the Hard ‘n Dirty fun too. And I say yay! Drilled is hard, dirty, and fun. It’s nice to get the blue collar hero when we get a lot of rich heroes. Frankly, as long as the hero is fucking hawt, I really don’t care, but it’s still a nice change.

Today we’re down in TX. Iris Tremaine is the apple of her father Roger’s eye, at least whenever someone is paying attention to them or he wants to impress someone. The rest of the time, she’s just a piece on his chess board. And I’m not talking about the queen either, because we all know that the queen is the most powerful piece on the board. No, we’re talking pawn. When Roger barks at her to jump, Iris doesn’t even ask how high, she just starts jumping and hopes he leaves her alone. This time, his version of jump is to hire her to be the new press spokesperson for his oil company. They’ve had some problems with safety, and Roger figures that a pretty, young Junior Miss Texas runner-up who has done modeling and just graduated with a communications degree will make the company look good. In fact, he thinks that so much that instead of staying with the discreet press release that she sent out stating that she would now be working for him, he sent out one with modeling shots and all her history. Way to take away all of her credibility there, man. I don’t like Roger. He’s bombastic, racist, misogynistic, and a whole lot of other unpleasant -tics, and rants about how the media is lying about him and his business.

Then we have Cal Beaumont, half Mexican, half Creole. He had to leave Louisiana after his mother died and his ex told him that she needed to be with someone who was going somewhere, and she just didn’t see him going anywhere. So he ended up in BFE, TX so that he could work as a roustabout for Tremaine Oil. One night, while hanging out at the bar, one of the foremen was talking about how there wasn’t enough safety equipment, which Tremaine is supposed to be paying fines for. But, it just seems like it’s a bunch of talk, nothing going nowhere.

Iris and Cal first met because her tire went flat when she was at the field and she went to the motor pool to get it fixed, and Cal was the guy to do it. He figured that she was Daddy’s Spoiled Little Princess without a thought in her head other than how to spend Daddy’s money, but she has a perfect ass. She thinks he’s pretty hot, because, well, he is.

I know that Ava probably didn’t mean to make me think of someone who is pretty bombastic and is in the news a lot who also complains about the press. I’m sure that is just me though.

I like Iris. She’s smart. She’s in a hard place though. It’s one thing to know that your father is shitty in an abstract way, but he has to shove it in her face and show her exactly how shitty he is. I like Cal too. He’s all alpha without being over the top about it. He’s concerned about doing the right thing and about making sure that Iris is taken care of. He’s definitely a good guy.

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I won’t admit to any wish fulfillment when Roger had a heart attack, but I also won’t deny that I was pretty happy about it. Yeah, I’m petty af sometimes.

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

 

Carian Cole-No Tomorrow

Fuck. Just fuck. This book hit really close to home in a lot of ways for me. I spent a lot of time in the full-on ugly cry mode. I am kind of raw from it still. Before I get started, No Tomorrow does have triggers for mental health issues as well as drug abuse issues. But, it’s amazing af, just amazing as absolute fuck. Probably one of my Top Ten for this year. Definitely one of the best books dealing with mental illness I’ve read. The other one in that category is a K. Webster book. So let’s get into the book.

The book spans 14 years. We don’t see all 14 years, we do get bits and pieces of it here and there, but enough to get a real look at the life that Piper and Blue/Evan live and lead.

When Piper is 21, she’s working as a receptionist. Every day for lunch, she goes out to a nearby park and sits and reads while enjoying her lunch. One day, a beautiful musician moves into the park and plays across from her bench, along with his dog who raises his paw whenever anyone puts money in the cup. She enjoys listening to the music for a few days, before she buys the musician and his dog lunch one day. She finds out that his name is Evan but everyone calls him Blue and his dog is named Acorn. They eventually become good friends. When he’s not there one day, she goes down to the bridge that she knows that he sleeps under and finds out that he’s not feeling well and has a migraine. She ends up going home and getting stuff to take care of him and bringing it to him. And they have sex. It was her first time. And that’s the start of this odyssey that these two go on.

Blue is homeless, which doesn’t bother him as much as it bothers Piper at times. He has chosen this life because he likes to just walk around and move from place to place to place. Right now, he’s in this small New Hampshire town, but no one knows where he’ll be next. He doesn’t make any plans, he doesn’t necessarily know what day it is. He’s pretty happy that way. However, Piper is much more traditional, and she wants everything with Blue because they have fallen in love. Her friend Ditra wants her to leave Blue alone because he’s some homeless drifter musician, but Piper keeps telling her that Blue isn’t like that.

Piper and Blue get to have a few good months, but then one day, Blue disappears. He left Piper behind. He left Acorn behind. He left Piper with another little surprise.

At the very heart of No Tomorrow is love. It’s what it takes to love someone even when it’s hard, in fact, especially when it’s hard. It’s about what makes up a family. It’s about learning to take care of yourself when the person you love is hurting themselves and destroying themselves and is just a person that you can’t be around. And how hard it is to stay in love with a person when you aren’t anywhere near that person and when no one in your life supports your love. Piper and Blue really do walk through hell a lot of the time. It’s not easy on either of them. Most of the book is told from Piper’s POV, but we do have a few chapters of Blue’s POV which I found to be really helpful. I’m not going to lie to you. You are going to fucking cry. I mean, full on ugly, have a box of tissue next to you cry. I’ve gotten teary at books before, but this one left me with an emotional hangover.

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I kind of guessed many of Evan’s issues before the diagnoses popped up in the book, but that’s because I’ve loved a man for 25 years who has had hallucinations, hospitalizations, and suicide attempts. So some of the stuff that Blue did were really familiar to me, both through that experience as well as my own bipolar experience. Being the person who can’t trust their brain isn’t easy. Neither is loving the person who can’t trust their brain. That’s what makes this one so incredibly personal to me. And to make my story even closer to Blue and Piper’s, my husband and I spent 9 years apart for reasons.

This was truly amazing, and I recommend everyone read it. I’d say happy reading, but it isn’t always. Good reading instead.

Alta Hensley & Maggie Ryan-Kings and Sinners

Oh, Alta and Maggie, how I love thee. Kings and Sinners is a box set of 3 of their books, Maddox, Stryder, and Anson. I think that Maddox might’ve been the first Maggie Ryan book that I read, and it was close to the first book of Alta’s I read. I got it through a freebie, a newsletter or Instafreebie back in the day, but it’s been a while, so don’t quote me on that.

The books can all be read as standalones, but they are all related. Maddox, Stryder, and Anson are brothers, who work with their father Drake Steele. They help out people in the underground and help protect innocents. Their ranch is a working ranch, but it’s also a safe house of sorts. The house is built with the back right up to a mountain, which allows them to have control rooms and a *ahem* playroom down in safe areas. They all live together in the house with their housekeeper Jennie, who is basically their surrogate mother, as well as a hippie vegetarian who keeps her boys healthy and happy, and keeps them away from meat.

Jennie is a pretty awesome character. She dances with bees and the bees seem to like it. She has this kind of all-mother vibe around her. She just makes everyone happy and if they are scared, she helps them feel better. I really like her.

Now, remember how I said that Maddox, Anson, and Stryder are all brothers? Well, they aren’t brothers by blood. Drake is Maddox’s father, but there was an incident in which the rest of their family was murdered. Anson and Stryder both came to be parts of the family in different ways, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t any less Drake’s child than Maddox is. They are definitely family and they all love each other fiercely.

Maddox.

It’s obviously Maddox’s story, but it’s also the story of Adira. The book starts out with a horse auction in Dubai that Adira’s father is putting on. Maddox and Drake are there to bid on horses, but that’s not the only reason that they are there. They owe Hadi, Adira’s grandfather, a life debt and he has asked them to come and save his family because they are threatened. Sadly, the only member of his family they are able to save is Adira, and only because they manage to pull her out of the Persian Gulf after a yacht with her entire family on it blows up. They manage to smuggle her out of Dubai and into Texas, where she and Maddox start to come together while they are figuring out who wanted all of her family dead.

Adira is strong, feisty, and really smart. Her family was celebrating her graduation with her doctorate. However, she’s also been fairly sheltered because she hasn’t been able to go anywhere without security. She knew that her father and grandfather were into the darker side of the law, but she didn’t know exactly what, and she really didn’t want to know. Maddox is definitely protective and kind of Domly. He’s really good for Adira, I think, because she needed someone steady and protective as she was trying to deal with what happened to her family. And if he paddled her ass, tied her down, and made her come, she wasn’t going to argue with that.

Stryder

This one starts out in very cold Moscow. Using information that they got while looking for the culprits behind what happened to Adira’s family, Stryder and Anson are there to track down a Russian who is involved in human trafficking. They get two tickets to an auction where the evil man is selling off women. When Stryder sees Zoya on the dais about to be sold, he knows that he has to be the one to have her. He needs to save this poor young Russian woman who had spent her whole life on the farm before she came to Moscow and ended up abducted so that she could be sold. After Stryder buys her, and before they can leave, he has to whip her. Luckily, he’s a genius with a whip and he and Anson whisper to her to scream and make it look like it hurts while Stryder whips her gently, but makes it look like he’s doing it hard. The Steele boys smuggle her out of Russia and into Texas, where she settles into life in the Steele household.

I thought that Zoya was pretty awesome. I mean, she’s able to use her art skills in order to help out all the other women who Poplov had kidnapped and sold off. It couldn’t have been easy for her to remember everything that she had been through, but she was bound and determined to do it. Zoya sees things that happened to her and the people who were involved in what happened in one particular way, which is only normal, I would too. But Stryder has a different perspective, and it makes it hard for Zoya sometimes. But, the Steele family are all there and all willing to help the two of them out.

Anson

Anson, working from Zoya’s art and his computer research is in Argentina, searching out Natalia, who was Zoya’s friend, and who has been sold to Juan Montez at the same auction where Zoya was sold. He’s pretty much nose-to-nose with a fer de lance snake when the book opens, so there’s that. But he’s there to get Natalia, and he’s not going to let that snake stop him. Meanwhile, Natalia is dealing with her own snake, only it’s not nearly as lively as the one Anson sees. Montez may have bought her for a sex slave, but he can’t get it up. That doesn’t stop him from doing other things to her. But, she has a plan. Montez destroyed her entire family, and she’s going to take him down. She spent a lot of years training in nasty ways so that she could kill him and at the auction, she did what she could to get his attention to get him to buy her. Eventually, Anson and Natalia manage to help each other and they escape out into the jungles of Argentina. Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Natalia doesn’t want to be rescued because she wants to kill Montez and Anson doesn’t want to not rescue her.

All three of the women in these books are strong, but I kind of think that Natalia is the strongest. Yes, Adira lost all her family too, and Zoya was also sold off as a sex slave, but Natalia had a plan. She had revenge on her mind and everything she did for years was for her revenge. Plus, she had to actually go through months and months of brutalization that Zoya was saved and Maddox was right there for Adira. Natalia went through all that without the hope of someone being there to help her out and get her safe, anyone other than herself, and that, to me, makes her really strong. I felt sorriest for Anson for having to deal with her stubborness, but that same stubborn comes in handy, later in the book.

I really enjoyed reading this series and each of the books. I think that Anson is my favorite of the brothers. I can’t tell you why that’s true, but it is. It’s nice to have the whole series in one handy place, making it easy for me to read. Go check them out! Happy reading! No spoilers today, but have a pretty picture of a horse.

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Seanan McGuire-Night and Silence

I love Urban Fantasy, and there are a few authors that are auto reads for me. Seanan McGuire is one of those, especially when it comes to her Toby Daye series. She has a couple of other series under her name, as well as one under Mira Grant. That one is a zombie series, and the first book freaking devastated me. But, today we’re here to talk about the latest Toby Daye book, Night and Silence. I haven’t reviewed the entire series here, but I did review the previous book, Brightest Fell here, so there is some history on the blog.

Toby and Tybalt and May and Jazz are trying to put their lives back together after her mother Amandine captured Tybalt and Jazz in order to make Toby look for August, her older sister. As a reminder, Toby is a changeling, her mother, Amandine is one of the First, the progenitor of a species of Fae, a very exclusive species, consisting of Amandine, August, and Toby. Toby’s father was human, but she and her mother left when Toby was 7. These days, Toby has very little human blood, because as part of her innate magic, she can change the balance of her blood and pull out her human-ness.  Tybalt is her Cait Sidhe lover, and the local King of Cats. He has two forms, he can be a cat or he can be a man. They are engaged to be married. May is Toby’s Fetch. A fetch is an omen of death, and yeah, Toby has died, but she got better. May is nearly Toby’s clone, sharing the same memories up until the moment that she was created to be Toby’s Fetch. Now, they are sisters, sharing their lives together. Jazz is a Raven Maid, which means she has two forms, a woman and a raven. Amandine kept Jazz and Tybalt in their animal forms while she kept them captive, and now both of them are having a hard time dealing with it, and haven’t been able to shift back to their animal forms since. They have some serious PTSD going on.

All of a sudden, Toby’s ex and his new wife burst into Toby’s house and accuse her of stealing her daughter, who is now college age and going to Berkley. She’s disappeared, and they want to blame Toby. However, Toby has had nothing to do with it, but being who she is, a private investigator and a knight and hero of the Kingdom of The Mists of Faerie, as well as a mother, even if Gillian hasn’t wanted to see her in years, she will go out and do what she can to find her daughter. And she’ll do what she can to try and help Tybalt get better and hopefully bring him back to her.

Tybalt has been one of my favorite characters from the very first time he burst onto the scene in the first book. Even before he and Toby became lovers, he was always there for her, even when she thought that he hated her. He has always just been a steadfast being, and flamboyant in all the best ways. There’s a novella about him in one book or another, and it’s the history of Tybalt in London in 1666. It was fascinating. This book made me happy and sad for several reasons, but only in the best way. It has brought about a lot of changes and revelations, which ought to be really interesting in the books to come. But now I have to wait for a year to find out what is going to happen. That is so sad. Oh well, Seanan McGuire is totally worth the wait.

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I’m going to be very interested to see how Gillian’s new circumstances are going to work out. I mean, everyone has worked hard to keep her out of Faerie, and now she’s right smack dab in it. And the fact that her step-mother is her immortal great-grandmother and the mother of one of the First? Yeah, that’s going to be so fascinating.

I can’t wait for Tybalt and Toby’s wedding. I hope it is so fantastic! And I hope it’s in the next book.

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

Jane Henry-Jacked Up

Jane has decided to put her stamp on the Hard n’ Dirty books, which I still think should be called the Hot n’ Dirty books, but no one consulted me. That’s OK. I’ll still read them. 🙂 It takes a lot to get me to not read a book. Jane put her personal stamp on Jacked Up and turned it into a Daddy book too. She is sooooo good at Daddy books and I’m always excited to read one of her books. So let’s get all hot and dirty, shall we?

Here’s how our story goes. Tanya is the heir to an automotive empire. Her dad deals in classic cars, and has a large collection of them. Including a 1967 Corvette Convertible L88. Which is an incredibly sexy car. I mean, yummmmmy sexy. It would look really sexy wrapped around me, but that’s neither here nor there. The problem is that Tanya’s now ex-boyfriend thought so too. Not only did he think so, he decided that he would take it for a ride and ended up crashing it. And like the annoying little twat that he was, he didn’t bother to get it taken care of. No, he left that all up to Tanya. She’s called all around to various car repair shops and found out that the only place to go is Jacked Up. And let’s just talk about that being the name of an auto repair shop. Love it!

Levi is the owner of Jacked Up and is pretty much a competitor of her dad’s. But he’s the only person in her area who can work on the Corvette, and not only that, he’s one of the best people she could possibly get to work on it, period. Tanya walks into his business, all dolled up showing lots of cleavage and legs, in a nice tight dress and fuck me daddy heels, and asks to speak to the owner. He says OK, and leaves the room. A few minutes later, he walks back into the room and tells her that he’s the owner. Whoops. She tells him her name is Felicia, and from that moment, I kept waiting for him to tell her “Bye, Felicia.” But, she tells him that her name is Felicia and she has a car that needs fixed. She shows him the damage and he tells her what it will take for him to fix it. She has to work for him for 2 weeks. You see, he figured out that Felicia isn’t her name, and when she told him who she was, he told her he didn’t want her daddy’s money.

I really liked Levi, and not only that, I liked him for the whole book. There are a lot of times when I like the Domly types, but there are parts where they annoy the living fuck out of me. This isn’t one of those times. He didn’t seem like he was running over Tanya the way that sometimes happens in these books. He still had to be in charge, but he was almost more mellow about it, if that makes sense. I like Tanya too. Although I wish she had kicked Leo’s ass because it needed to happen. I think that she was fierce. She was also unafraid of who she was and had her own power. I think that is pretty damn awesome. I would love to get another story about this one, even if it’s just a short story catching us up with them.

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See, super sexy car, right? Told you so. Don’t you wish you could drive that?

I never liked Spade from the very beginning, and Grease was another one who gave yucky vibes, so I’m glad that I wasn’t wrong about them. Too bad that Levi didn’t pound the shit out of the two of them because they so deserved it.

Is it wrong that I want a pinup calendar of Tanya on Levi’s Jag?

That’s all I have to say about this one. Go check it out, as well as all the other Hard n’ Dirty books. Happy reading!

K. Webster-The Glue

You know how I am when it comes to K. Webster. If it has her name on it, I will read it. I love all the worlds she creates. One of my favorites to visits and revisit is Taboo Town. And that’s where The Glue takes place.

As a reminder, these little taboo treats aren’t necessarily in any kind of order, and you can read them in any order you want to, but in this case, you are definitely going to want to read Lawn Boys before you read this one. The back of the book shows which order they were written in. And all of the characters are wound through the entire series, so you see Aiden in LB and Mr. Blakely. It’s a tiny town, and everyone knows everyone else and has their nose in everyone else’s business. My first peek into this world was Preach, which is now called Easton. And he shows up in this one too.

So here’s our story today. Aiden is 18 and in college. He’s also just about to start his job at a local coffee shop. One day, he’s drifting off through macroeconomics, texting his twin brother Anthony (from Lawn Boys), and his professor, Vaughn, notices and yells at him and wants to meet him later. Aiden is hot for teacher, because teach is hot. Then Aiden has to rush to work at his new job, where he meets Vale, and has lots of conversation heavy on innuendo. She is on a call asking someone who he’s planning on staying late with, it’s a woman isn’t it? She and Aiden do their stuff, including talking about making the business more successful, and he realizes he’s running late to his appointment with Vaughn. When he gets to Vaughn’s office, he’s on the phone talking to someone about it not being a woman he’s meeting with.

Are you catching the trend here? Yup, if you guessed it, you probably guessed it right. Aiden is attracted to both of them, they are both attracted to him. It’s a trio made in K. Webster heaven.

This is the first of the Taboo Town books to deal with a poly relationship, and it’s an MMF relationship as well. I love MMF, you don’t just see enough of it in various stories, so when it shows up and shows up done well, I’m always happy. K did it well, and I really wanted to do a happy dance, because, well, two hot guys sharing themselves with a hot chick? What’s not to happy dance about? Altogether, it’s a great story. I’m so happy for Aiden to get a story where he gets to be the star and gets to be happy. I’m thinking it’s getting close to being Dane’s turn though. He’s in everyone’s story.

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Hmmm, not too many spoilers for down here, really. I do love all the epilogues and seeing Vale, Vaughn, and Aiden all happy. They all deserve to be happy, and to be happy with their family, even if it is 2 sets of twins. Can you imagine? Two sets of twins that close in age? Yikes.

OK, go check it out, as well as all the other taboo treat stories. You’ll love them. Happy reading!

Michael Kilman-Mimi of the Nowhere

So, one day, I’m just sitting minding my own business, stalking people on FB, you know, as one does, and Nicolina Martin says to me, hey, my friend Michael has a book that’s free on Kobo called Mimi of the Nowhere. It’s scifi, you like scifi? And when I told her that scifi was one of my first loves, she was all like hey, you wanna review it? And me being me, I was like sure, why the hell not. It’s a new book to me, it’s a new author to me, and we all know those are things that I love. So I went over to Kobo, got the book, and even better, figured out how to put it on my Kindle. Yay me! And I proceeded to read the fuck out of this book. And hey, spoiler. Mimi is still free on Kobo, and the 2nd book is currently 1/2 off, until 9/4, so rush over there and grab them.

Mimi is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel of the far future. In Mimi’s world, cities can actually walk. As in all of Manhattan was put on legs and is now walking around, trying to avoid the other cities, and trying to keep going. I almost see it as some kind of weird Baba Yaga like thing, and tried to imagine Manhattan being balanced on a pair of giant chicken legs. Left me with some interesting visuals, for sure. Inside the city, you have the Uppers, the Mids, and the Lowers. And each of those have their sub-categories as well. It’s a pretty strict class system that keeps everyone in one place pretty well. Then you have the Nowhere people. They are the people that everyone would like to forget about, the homeless, the forgotten, the despised. And our hero Mimi is one of those people.

Mimi is taking her current lover, Shannon, and showing her all the places in the Underground, and the ways to get around without anyone else knowing or seeing. Mimi knows all about these places, and more, because she’s been around for centuries upon centuries, almost as long as the city has been around. She also knows about these places because she can skim the minds of other people, which lets her know when she’s safe, when people are going to be around, and other things that she needs to know. Mimi hasn’t told Shannon her full story, even if she loves Shannon with her whole heart. Mimi is afraid to lose her, because everyone else who has learned even part of the truth has died. Mimi is pretty sure that she’s a curse to those she loves. But she does tell Shannon and takes her to the place she calls home. Shannon is totally accepting.

I feel so sorry for Mimi. She has lived for centuries, watching everything and everyone she loves die. She believes that she is the only person like herself out in all the millions of people in Manhasten. She lives lies and can’t tell her lovers everything. The last one she did, prior to Shannon, met a grisly end. I really did like this book. There is some romance, but it’s only a bit of flavoring, not the entire story. I’m really looking forward to the next one and seeing how it goes.

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The group that Mimi is now hooked up with is going to be really interesting to watch, as well as the group on the other side. I’m really looking forward to seeing how that plays out.

I’m wondering about the AI too. Is it sentient? That would be terrifying, considering that it appears to run everything.

Watching what happens with Shannon is going to be another interesting thing to pay attention to.

Go check it out on Kobo. I didn’t look to see if it’s on Amazon, but it’s pretty easy to sign up on Kobo and relatively easy to add to your device and read it there. Happy reading!