I was just going to review my highlights in preparation for the release of Succubus Revealed, and it totally sucked me right back in. Read it all overI was just going to review my highlights in preparation for the release of Succubus Revealed, and it totally sucked me right back in. Read it all over again, and it was just as fabulous the 3rd time around. I love Georgina...she's so witty and charismatic, and yet my heart breaks for her as she can never find an eternal love. I think there are soooooo many clues in this book that will be key in wrapping up the series, but the most important of all (I believe, anyway), has to do with Ariston. Can't wait to see how it all plays out!...more
OMG, OMG, OMG....this is the 3rd time i've read this book, and i swear to God, it breaks me up just as badly as it did the first time around. GeorginaOMG, OMG, OMG....this is the 3rd time i've read this book, and i swear to God, it breaks me up just as badly as it did the first time around. Georgina has more mysteries to solve: Why is she continuing to have a very real dream, over and over, only to wake up completely depleted of her succubus energy? Why is there a gaggle of angels in town? Why did Niphon come back? Added to all this, she and Seth are feeling the effects of the rocky road in their relationship. It has its very HIGH moments (his early Christmas gift to her; the massage; their yummy time in the kitchen), only to be followed by some very LOW moments (OMG - **TEARS**). It is a FABULOUS book, because to be able to feel such emotion while reading it is living proof of Mead's excellency in telling a story, but it is just heartbreaking. Onto the next......more
I stand by every word of my 2010 re-read review. Oh my, how I just love that cop from Southie.
I LOVE Butch!!! Re-reading thi2011 re-read:
I stand by every word of my 2010 re-read review. Oh my, how I just love that cop from Southie.
I LOVE Butch!!! Re-reading this book was such a joy for me. I just love Butch...his personality cracks me up, and I found myself smiling through most of book while reading. While I think using the word "Baby" throughout sexy time could come off as non-personal in certain situations or w/ certain people, I just love the way Butch does it w/ Marissa.
I really like Marissa a lot, too. She grew and developed as a character all on her own. Her a$$ brother treated her in the most despicable way by kicking her out of the house 30 minutes before sunrise, but Marissa pulled herself up by her bootstraps and carried on. And even when she thought things were through b/t her and Butch, she continued to be strong, and she continued to carry on in creating and setting up Safe Place.
Of final note, I loved the growth and what we got to see of the relationship of V & Butch. V is having a hard time w/ things currently b/c he has these deep feelings for Butch, but more important to him is Butch's happiness, and he never stood in the way of Butch and Marissa's happiness...in fact, he helped foster it when he could. One of my absolute favorite scenes in the series took place in this book, and that was Butch's initiation into the Brotherhood. When V took his turn and Butch leaned his head to the side to offer V an easy path to his vein, and then when he let go and grabbed onto V's hips...just O.M.G. that was H.A.W.T.!!!!!!! loved it!!
all in all, i'm so happy for Butch that he and Marissa persevered and were mated. i think they are a beautiful couple! and now onto my re-read of Lover Unbound.... :)...more
Re-reading in preparation for Succubus Revealed! GAH!!!! It's almost here!!!!
As with all the others, I loved it just as much as the first time around,Re-reading in preparation for Succubus Revealed! GAH!!!! It's almost here!!!!
As with all the others, I loved it just as much as the first time around, and still, I think this is definitely my favorite Georgina book. In true Mead fashion, it is a rollercoaster of emotions, but there are some super super highs, and those just made it the amazing book it was (even with the heartbreak at the end). So, so happy for those moments. **sigh**
Onto Shadows, and then less than 1 day for Revealed!! YAHOOOOOO!!!!!...more
After re-reading Phury's book, I definitely am moving this from a 3-star read up to 4-stars. I would love to give it 5, but IReview from 2011 re-read:
After re-reading Phury's book, I definitely am moving this from a 3-star read up to 4-stars. I would love to give it 5, but I still feel shortchanged with Phury's story...the love story that is. I have always fully appreciated everything that he went through w/ the Wizard and all the heartache, and actually I think he did a lot better with his hardships than I would have. And I really did like him and Cormia together...but it still boggles me that she was in that mansion for 5 months and basically no one reached out to her. Really???? It's just surprising that he didn't seem to be more attached or attracted to her after his initial reaction to her in Lover Unbound on the far side, and also that none of the other shellans reached out to her during those months. I also have to say that Z really disappointed me in this book with regard to Phury. I think that Phury had such a valid reason for feeling like he deserved thanks for ALL of the sacrifices he has always made, but when he continued in his downward spiral, I felt like everyone...Wrath, Z, the Brothers...all just kind of left Phury to his own devices and wiped him off their radar. I was so surprised that he got thrown out of the Brotherhood so easily, that Z just kind of wiped his hands of him after the OD, and that we didn't really see any of the other Brothers reach out to him during all this time. Phury is such a noble male of worth, constantly sacrificing for EVERYONE, but who was there for him? It really makes me sad. I was happy to see him end up happy with Cormia at the end, and to finally see them make some more sweet love after that came to be, but I just wished there was more. I think the WARDen should have definitely epilogued Phury's book with the mating ceremony.
With regard to Cormia, I really like the female she grew to be. It's kind of difficult (read: unbelievable) to see her go from a shy, quiet Chosen that she had been all her life (including the 5 months in the mansion during which she didn't seem to do anything but make her pea and toothpick constructions) to a female with as much gumption that she ended up displaying as the book went on, but for that, and for knowing what she wanted and going after it (i.e., special alone and sexy time with Phury), I applaud her.
So, those are my thoughts on Phury and Cormia. I really, truly hope that we get to see a Slice of Life on them soon, or that Phury might have a more prominent role in the future books because we need more of this male!!
Aside from the main characters, I have to say that some (MOST) of my absolute favorite parts of this book all revolve around JM, Qhuinn and Blay. And Chapter 42...ahhhh...."THE" kiss. O.M.G....who would've ever thought that it would have gotten me as riled up as it did?!? I know I sure didn't expect it, but I am soooooooooo glad that the WARDen "went there". ;) Overall, the WARDen did a fabulous job of developing their stories further (JM and Xhex - oh la la sexy!; and of course, Qhuay together), and I look so forward to reading more of them again and in the current book.
Moreover, we got Tohr back in this book, and we were introduced to Lassiter!! Excellent storylines that I look forward to seeing developed more and more in future books!
Lastly, I loved that Rehv was set up in this book for the next as well. He's a great character, and I really look forward to re-reading Lover Avenged. ...more
Loved, loved, LOVED the latest installment of Georgina Kincaid! Mead did a fantastic job of making the story flow, keeping the reader engaged and emotLoved, loved, LOVED the latest installment of Georgina Kincaid! Mead did a fantastic job of making the story flow, keeping the reader engaged and emotionally drawn into the story, but also keeping the reader wanting more as there was always something new at each turn of the page.
Georgina is developing beautifully as a character...learning from her flaws and trying to overcome those mistakes previously made (often times repeatedly). Seth is doing the same. For those who have read the previous books and were unhappy w/ Seth's choices, I think he truly redeemed himself in SS. I look so forward to seeing Georgina & Seth's relationship develop further in the last and final Georgina book.
There are a lot of twists and turns, and while some issues (even major ones) are resolved, there are many doors that have opened, keeping the reader interested in what will happen in #6. Can't wait to read all about them!
Some things are destined to be - it just takes us a couple of tries to get there.
O.M.G....seriously, there just truly are not enough proper words for me to describe this book. It is my absolute all-time favorite book, EVER, and it features my all-time favorite hero, John Matthew!
There are just so many wonderful things that this book encompasses, and if I tried to talk about all of them, my review could be as long as the book itself.
Just know that I love, love, LOVE that my boy is all grown up, he is a warrior, he is a fighter, he feels that draw that is Darius within his veins, and his circle was closed when he mated his female. It all came full circle for him, and for that, I am so very happy. He is SUCH a male of worth...he is kind, caring, loyal, strong, fierce, and just the most amazing, loving male there is. Hands.Down. I look forward to re-reading this book many, many times....more
This is the 2nd time I have read Lover Unbound, and I just have to say that I have changed my initial 4 stars to 5, and would consider it2011 re-read:
This is the 2nd time I have read Lover Unbound, and I just have to say that I have changed my initial 4 stars to 5, and would consider it a 5+. Wow...I'm completely blown away with how much I loved reading this book for the second time. It's been over a year since I read it the first time, and I had forgotten sooooo many things, and I just LOVED every single moment of them, feeling like I was reading it again for a 1st time, but with a greater appreciation b/c I knew how things played out in the end.
The reason for my initial 4 stars last year was b/c of the way it had ending, with Jane coming back as a ghost. That killed me. I was like "Wha??????!!!????" But now, after being current with the entire series, I can better appreciate the benefits of Jane's current existence and know that it is better for both V and the Brotherhood as a whole.
I think the WARDen did a fabulous job with all of the storylines in this book. V's story was so powerful to me...he has moved up so much further on my list of beloved Brothers. And all the while, my heart still breaks for him. I know that the majority of readers love Z as he is he dubbed the most tortured soul and the bad boy, too. But IMO, I honestly think that V lives a more tortured life than Z. Both are different, but while Z's torture finally ended, there really is no end for V, as we will come to find out in later books, and which I suspect will continue to be addressed in the soon-to-be-released Lover Unleashed. Sure, Z will continually live with the Mistress' torture as a monkey on his back through memories, but thank God, he found Bella to help him resume living again. V, on the other hand, was born unto this world to who I think have to be the worst parents in the world. From the time he was 3 until he was outcast after his transition, V had to endure the hardship and torture of the Bloodletter's camp, as well as the torture of the Bloodletter himself, his own father. Through her selfishness, the SV sought to bear her own children, and wasn't there for V to nurture or take care of him the way a mother should. On top of it all, he was born with his curse, always alone through the sake of his "gifts," and once he finally connected with someone, truly, who ended up being Butch, this love of his went out of his reach as Butch took a mate in Marissa. He had to endure that loss of his love, and while there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel in what he found in Jane, she then, too, was taken away from him. Yes, she returned as a ghost, made corporeal by his curse, but it still saddens me to know that V couldn't have something "whole," that he received less than what I think he deserves. And then to find out, unbeknownst to him, that he has a twin...a secret that was kept from him for over 300 years. Could he truly be screwed over by his mother any more? I honestly cannot wait to read more about him and this storyline in Lover Unleashed.
Back to Lover Unbound, though, while Jane had never been one of my favorite shellans, as I reread this story, I felt like I connected so much more with her as I could truly see just how perfect she is for V. My God, she really is his double in a female's body. I loved their exchanges, and I love, love, LOVED how much time they had together, getting to know each other, and seeing that their falling in love was real, true, and tangible. Yes, it began with a Mine moment, but at the same time, it was neat to see their relationship grow and develop. I just loved it when V, while taken aback by all his feelings, would just blurt out, "I love your mind," "I love to hear you talk," and then eventually to himself that he admitted he was falling in love with this female. It truly was a beautiful love story. And not to mention some of the hottest sex scenes...*sigh* holy goodness, that bathroom scene is just hawt, hawt, HAWT!
There were so many fabulous scenes and back stories in this book. Another favorite was the shared moment between V and Butch in the gym. Wow - what an amazing realization for V to put into words for Butch, and for Butch not to get freaked, but to still stand there next to his best friend, accepting him for all he is and all he feels, without being taken aback or freaked out. They have such a beautiful friendship, there really are no words to describe it so well.
And then there was *sigh* JM....my baby, the love of my life. I had completely forgotten how he killed the lessers in the alley leading right up to his transition, and I thought it was just awesome. He came through for his friends, as they had for him. Of course, my heart just broke for him when it came to him dealing with his feeling of inadequacy after his transition, and then I cried like a baby when he was feeling bad that while Rhage had gotten Mary back, and V had gotten Jane back, he still had no Tohr or Wellsie. And then Z comes to him, reading his feelings, and presents him with Darius' diary. *tears* It was beautiful. And I just love all we got to see of Z, worrying over Bella pregnant with his young, but becoming such a wonderful mentor and stronghold for JM. Watching their relationship grow is beautiful.
And lastly, we get to see the amazing lead-in into Phury's story. The WARDen has a great gift, and she does it flawlessly. We get to see Phury dealing with his demons, mostly unbeknownst to everyone else b/c as always, even when in pain, he comes through with great nobility for EVERYONE! He is the most loyal and nobel of all Brothers, always sacrificing himself for another, and making sure that everyone, other than himself, is treated well and fair. He is such an amazing male of worth, and I look so forward to re-reading his story next....more
A great short story that involved Travis...ugh!! I was glad for it, though...it allowed Jake and Tor to have more closure into their largest obstacleA great short story that involved Travis...ugh!! I was glad for it, though...it allowed Jake and Tor to have more closure into their largest obstacle in their relationship. So glad that Jake punched him. Take that, you home-wrecking bastard!...more
HORN GATE is the first book in an urban fantasy series that is well thought out and beautifullyReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
HORN GATE is the first book in an urban fantasy series that is well thought out and beautifully written, and it is a great and intriguing start to a series that I cannot wait to read about some more!
Isaac is just your average Joe…a young gay man who’s a little overweight, with a few skin issues to boot. He decides that for his birthday, however, he is going to step outside of the box and do something a bit daring…he is going to go to an off-the-map sex club and become a voyeur for a few hours. What he finds instead is something that will seemingly change his life forever.
After entering Gehenna, Isaac goes to explore the sex lounge, and is lured by a calling to a small room where he finds a preternaturally beautiful being which he believes to be an angel. This angel of his is Scratch.
The day after Isaac’s visit to Gehenna, Isaac is set to do research on an old tome that brings forth memories from the night before, causing him to go seek out Scratch once again. When he finds him, Isaac discovers that Scratch is not an angel at all, but rather a demon or a spirit of sorts – an Incubus. Unlike the mythology usually associated with Incubi, in which they generally feed off of lust and sex, Scratch feeds on other things – pain, fear, and woe. And so their story begins.
I really enjoyed this series opener. Suede has created a complex world that is very intriguing, and he has written two characters who I really enjoyed reading about – an average guy and a demon. The idea of Scratch as an Incubus who feeds on things other than lust and sex is a creative and new concept, and I look forward to this being explored further. I am a complete sucker for demons, too, so that drew me in immediately as well.
Even with the veritable shortness of this novella, I got pulled into Isaac and Scratch’s story and who they are as characters both individually and together. Isaac is drawn to Scratch as equally as Scratch is protective of Isaac, and there is a compelling lure between them. There is a strong sexual attraction between the two of them, too, and although the pages are charged with that, there is no sex in this book. I, for one, think that it was perfect without it. The story wouldn’t be what it was if there was. This was a story of setting up an urban fantasy world, meeting the main characters, and laying a foundation on which to build. Sex would have done the book a disservice, and that is something that we can just look forward to in the future. To tide us romance readers over, though, there are some very sexy kisses and tenderness shared between Scratch and Isaac.
The primary thing that I just loved about HORN GATE was the prose and writing. Suede writes so beautifully. He weaves an intricate tale with imagery and detail that allows me to see exactly what is being described on the page so perfectly in my mind. And the way in which those details are written is just so lovely. The metaphors and analogies Suede uses describe the scene so well, so vividly. I believe that HORN GATE is a testament to Suede’s diversity as an author – he can create a multi-dimensional fantasy world on which to build and explore as well as he can write an amazing contemporary romance.
One of the other things that I loved about HORN GATE was also the one downside I had with it: the world building. The mythos that Suede created for his HORN GATE world was so intricate, detailed, and intriguing. There is a lot of Hebrew culture and learning involved, as well theology and demonology. The amount of knowledge and research that Suede put forth in the book was just incredible. At the same time, that amount of information provided to explain a very in-depth and potentially complicated mythos for the world building was extremely large, and I would have liked to have seen it flushed out further in a longer story. Of course, the consolation to this is knowing that this is a series that will continue to follow Isaac and Scratch, and from that, I am sure we will learn more in the books to come.
Another element in this book that intrigued me was how Scratch’s feeding also caused a transformation in Isaac. Whether that transformation is a result of the feeding or caused by it, I am not sure, but I found it so interesting. Scratch got drunk on Isaac’s misery – a trait which Scratch states makes Isaac mortal – but at the same time, Isaac then transformed into a beautiful being. He lost the fallibility in his physical traits and became as preternaturally attractive to others as Scratch is to him. This is an element that I hope will be flushed out and explained further as the series continues.
All in all, HORN GATE was an excellent series opener, and I look very forward to learning more about Isaac and Scratch and their journey into the Horn Gate.
Oh, what an amazing book Let it Snow is, and it is THE perfect read for a cold, snowy night whilReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog
Oh, what an amazing book Let it Snow is, and it is THE perfect read for a cold, snowy night while curled up by the fire. Clear your calendar, and make sure you have no place to go so you can do just that.
Frankie Blackburn is trying to drive away from a blizzard in Minnesota when his GPS gets him lost, so that instead of heading home to Minneapolis, he finds himself in the northern small town Logan, Minnesota. An accident on the highway has him seeking shelter to prevent himself from freezing to death in the blizzard. Luckily, he finds an empty cabin and hunkers down for the night. He comes to realize, though, that the cabin is home to three bears. No, not those kind of bears…but the other kind – big, burly, hairy gay men who also happen to be lumberjacks. They are the antithesis to everything that Frankie is – a hairstylist who is a sassy and chic twink.
Due to the expected snowfall from the blizzard, the bears – Paul, Arthur, and Marcus – take Frankie in to keep him safe for the duration of the storm. Paul and Arthur are happy to do so; Marcus, on the other hand, is gruff and grouchy, and Frankie believes that Marcus is exactly the type of person that he’s always feared. Frankie’s outward appearance and the way he carries himself makes it very clear that he is gay, and he avoids all possibilities of running into large, masculine men for fear of being bullied and beaten. At first, Frankie thinks that Marcus might be this type of person. He is shocked to find out Marcus is actually gay as well. And in fact, each of them is exactly the type of person that they are normally attracted to. Still, though, Marcus’ grouchiness towards Frankie continues unexplained, until Frankie takes the bull by the horns and confronts Marcus and his sullen behavior. What happens next is enough to melt away the blizzard drifts building outside the cabin (and the nearby barn).
Wow – just wow! That is a perfect way to sum up Let it Snow. Cullinan has penned a fabulous winter story with amazing characters – both the main characters as well as the peripheral ones. One of the things that I loved most about Let it Snow was how there was a build up for Frankie and Marcus’ relationship. The sexual tension between them escalates at a great pace – not too fast, not too slow, but juuuuust right – and then it becomes so thick, it is nearly tangible. It is great to see how Frankie finally pushes aside his fear of being hated and rejected and stands up for himself and confronts his fear – and Marcus – head on. Besides the fact that Frankie is completely endearing from the first paragraph in the book, seeing him take this huge step for himself makes him even more lovable. Marcus, on the other hand, is a complete grouch – almost to the point where you just want to slap him. Almost. Because even through his gruff and grouchy display, it is clearly evident that he is a very caring person who experiences a lot of feeling even when he doesn’t necessarily want to. He just tries to hide that part of himself. Fortunately, he’s not too good at doing so.
Once these men get together, watch out! Their sexy time is incredibly passionate and hot – more than enough to keep them warm on those cold winter nights. So much so, I’m surprised they didn’t burn down the cabin. More than that, though, their time together is affectionate, sweet, and caring – there is so much more to them than just lust and physical attraction.
During the time that Frankie is snowbound in Logan, he and Marcus develop a very sweet relationship. Even though they are opposites in just about every sense of the word, they work together perfectly. Marcus truly loves taking care of Frankie, and Frankie takes some big steps out of his shell of fear with the support that Marcus provides him. Individually, they both still have to work through their inner demons, though. For Marcus, he fears being badly hurt like he was in his previous relationship. For Frankie, his lack of confidence and fears of rejection and being bullied are often crippling for him. Luckily, they are able to establish a strong foundation for a relationship even in the short time that they have together.
In addition to Frankie and Marcus, Cullinan writes fabulous supporting characters as well. Paul and Arthur have their problems, but they are good men who help Frankie and Marcus when there is a need. They are incredibly supportive, thoughtful, and kind, but they tell it like it is when needed as well. And Marcus’ mom is just a dear. Battling Alzheimer’s, Marcus makes sure to visit her every day, and Frankie is happy to help provide her with the one thing that she constantly worries about – doing her hair and helping her look nice.
I cannot recommend this book enough, I am a total sucker for all the elements that Cullinan has in Let it Snow – obstacles to overcome, personal and relationship growth, serious chemistry, hot and passionate sex, and when it all boils down to it, a completely sweet, and heart melting story. Let it Snow is truly a comfort read, and I know I’ll be cuddling up with it again very soon.
Holy Mary, Mother of God!! In what has been an amazing series of books the likes of which I haveReview can also be read at Under the Covers Book Blog.
Holy Mary, Mother of God!! In what has been an amazing series of books the likes of which I have not read anywhere else, Trials & Errors was hands-down the best thus far!
For the first time in awhile, we see Mat pull himself up by his bootstraps and reveal his fortitude in doing what he needs to do to survive and to protect both Dougie and Roger. His attitude is back, and it’s wonderful to see. Of course, part of me cringes when he behaves this way because Lord only knows how Nikolai will respond, but at the same time, I am cheering him on for not succumbing to a fate worse than death.
My sweet, poor Dougie, however, has seemingly transformed into exactly what Nikolai wants. He has become his slave, and although he has been a “good” boy, Dougie still endures things that no man should even think are possible. But he does, and he does it with a grace and self sacrifice which makes Nikolai more than proud, and as a result, Dougie is happy. Happy, people!! Slay me, now! The saddest part is that not only is Dougie happy, but throughout this book, the reader can truly see just how mentally fucked up Dougie is – that Nikolai succeeded in his work, the rat bastard that he is.
Of course, too much of a good thing never can last, and it doesn’t. And as I have said in prior reviews, when you think that Haimowitz and Belleau could not come up with something worse than anything they’ve written before, they do. And like Nikolai tells Mat when Mat makes some demands of his own, be careful what you wish for. And he should have been. Mat got what he wanted, but never in a way he could have imagined.
Without giving anything away, I will just say that as I read Trials & Errors, my heart was racing a mile-a-minute, and it took every ounce of wherewithal for me not to flip ahead to see what might happen. This installment of The Flesh Cartel will leave you on the edge of your seat, and dare I say it, it gives you hope.
Just when I think that I can’t be shocked anymore than I already have in reading The Flesh CartReview can also be found at Under the Covers Book Blog.
Just when I think that I can’t be shocked anymore than I already have in reading The Flesh Cartel, Haimowitz and Belleau prove me completely wrong! They have penned another excellent episode in Loyalties, one that leaves me wanting more…and then hating myself for doing so. Because, really, how much of a sadist must I be to keep wanting to read this torturous, albeit amazing, series?
Loyalties picks up immediately where Homecoming had stopped with its huge cliffhanger. Of course, I just knew that the big shocker wouldn’t actually take place, but nonetheless, I devoured this episode to make sure. The scary part of it all, though, is that I was almost sad that it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want anything to happen to my beloved Mat or Dougie, other than to escape and get sweet, sweet revenge. But seeing how that seems nearly impossible at this point, I was almost happy for Mat taking charge in ending the torture he’s lived and endured since his capture. While Mat wasn’t actually physically tortured in this episode, he is still being mentally tortured, both by Nikolai and Roger, as well as by himself. It is heartbreaking to see how his strength continues to be whittled down episode by episode.
And then Dougie, oh my sweet Dougie…I am as tortured and fucked up by Nikolai’s actions as Dougie is. One moment he is being treated decently, and I want to jump for joy, and then the next, he’s being treated worse than awful (and accepting it!), and I want to gouge out Nikolai’s eyes…with a spoon! But Haimowitz and Belleau continue to evolve the characters and their depth, and the plot keeps moving right on along at a good pace. Transformations continue on all levels – for those of the characters and for me as the reader. Dare I say that some of the sex scenes are even titillating to me?? Does that make me an awful human being? Just when I begin to wonder, though, Nikolai shows his true colors, devoid of humanity and decency, and I can rest assured that I’m not too fucked up. Yet.
With a wedge successfully driven between Mat and Dougie, Nikolai is now completely taking advantage of it and creating a pet out of Dougie just as he always planned. And poor Mat is barely holding on…to life or hope.
In HOMECOMING, the mind fuck of all mind fuck continues, but it is with this episode that the mind fuck is more for the reader than for Mat or Dougie. For as much as I hate, loathe, and abhor Nikolai, there’s always been a part of me that cheers inside when he shows tenderness to Dougie. Well, with this episode, Nikolai “spoils” Dougie with a taste of life outside of his windowless, basement “room,” and gives him things that he loved from his past. And as been happening with each show and display of tenderness, Dougie thinks that maybe he CAN be the type of person Nikolai wants him to be. He thinks that maybe Nikolai really does care for him. That he really does LOVE him. And maybe, just maybe with time, he can learn to love Nikolai back. And as the reader, how do I find myself? Almost rooting for this to happen! I mean, WTF??? Curse you Haimowitz and Belleau – what are you doing to me???
This “relationship,” if you will, is really developed in HOMECOMING, and we see very little of Mat. What we do see, though, is just heart-wrenching. In the last episode, he did what he promised Nikolai he would do, and he didn’t interfere with Dougie’s abhorrent treatment. He didn’t come to Dougie’s rescue. It was probably harder than anything he’s ever done before, but Mat knew that if he didn’t do as Nikolai told him, Dougie would suffer the consequences worse than those that were being delivered. So Mat stood back and stayed seemingly aloof as best he could. While he succeeded in fulfilling Nikolai’s wishes, what Mat did was something that he can’t forgive himself for. So in this episode, we find Mat in probably the darkest place he’s ever been, and really, after all the torture he’s received, that’s saying something.
So, once again, the crack duo writing team of Haimowitz and Belleau had me reading non-stop and hanging onto every last word written on the page, waiting with bated for the next episode. I think I’m ready…yeah, I’m ready. Bring it!!
PLAN B is a wonderful story of attraction, friendship, secret love, heartbreak, and starting anew. Danny isReview posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
PLAN B is a wonderful story of attraction, friendship, secret love, heartbreak, and starting anew. Danny is a flamboyant gay 20-year old drama major who loves to wear gorgeous, smoky eye shadow and 6-inch stiletto boots, but as he says, he doesn’t “hide behind the flair.” He is out and very proud of who he is. While accompanying his best friend, Bo, to a frat party, he catches the eye of Lance, big buff football player, who is flat out rude to Danny. Nonetheless, Danny can’t stop thinking about Lance’s mesmerizing, gray-eyed piercing stare.
The same is true for Lance as well, who seeks Danny out on campus and tries to get to know him better, apologizing for his behavior at the party. To make matters worse (or better, depending on who you ask), Lance is the twin brother of Katie, the girl that Bo just started dating. Lance uses that as his excuse to get closer to Danny. With time, their initial attraction for each other only intensifies, but there’s an obstacle…Lance has barely come to grips with himself that he might be gay. He knows he’s attracted to Danny, but is it because Danny has feminine qualities? Danny is willing to be Lance’s closeted experiment, but he makes sure that Lance knows what he is – a man – and not what he thinks Lance pretends him to be – a chick.
Before long, their attraction to each other develops into some seriously hot sexy time, friendship, and admist all of that, more than just lustful feelings. The problem is Lance has only one plan for his life – to play in the NFL. There is no other option, no plan B, and because of that, coming out of the closet does not fit into his plan. Complicating matters further, Danny realizes this at the same time he realizes he has fallen hard for Lance. So what’s left for him to do? Guess you gotta read it to find out. ;)
I love the gay-for-you/out-for-you trope in my m/m romance, and Peterson definitely delivers that well in PLAN B. She also writes wonderful characters. Although he can be quite conceited, Danny is just fabulous. Even at such a young age, he is confident in who he is, embraces it, and makes no apologies for it. While Lance is not ready to out himself publicly, I give him props for making baby steps in acknowledging it. I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow as well. It was a great progression throughout the school year.
There were a few issues with this book that prevented me from giving it more stars. First, the editing (both content and grammatical) could have been better. It wasn’t completely distracting, but I did get caught up on some errors every here and there, and with a closer review and editing eye, that wouldn’t have been the case. Lastly, while I was very happy with how the book ended in general, I felt like there were some questions that were never answered, or that could have been developed further. I will try not to be to give away too much here, but be warned that these questions are somewhat spoilerish. I wanted to learn more about Lance’s life after college – Did he have any relationships other than his attempt with Morgan (specifically, did he ever have any trysts with any other men)? While his eventual Plan B involved Danny, what did he decide to do for a living? I felt like this type of information was just glossed over, and I would liked to have seen more.
Overall, though, I really did enjoy PLAN B, so much so that I was hooked and read it in the course of one day. It was full of great sexual tension, just the right amount of angst, and even a little heartbreak – all of which made the HEA that much sweeter.
What better a way to face the Monday blues? Well, by reading an amazing story from one of your favorite authors is one; having it be a freebie is justWhat better a way to face the Monday blues? Well, by reading an amazing story from one of your favorite authors is one; having it be a freebie is just an added bonus!
TO FEEL THE SUN is an amazing vignette that takes place in 1918, and weaves a beautiful story of forbidden love. Benjamin and Teddy are childhood friends, but in 1917, they take that friendship another step further and explore each other as lovers. The time is not one that is conducive to the acceptance of homosexuality, however. Understanding that there is little chance of a future for these two men, Teddy enlists and goes to war. Sexton then tells a story of Benjamin's reflection and dreams about this tragic love.
Sexton did in 6 pages what many full length novels never achieve - she writes a story full of beautiful imagery, makes the reader feel for the main characters immediately, and pulls at your heartstrings enough to cause tears of both sadness and happiness in a matter of pages.
The imagery of Sexton's writing was so tangible, I could picture the setting perfectly. The cover truly captures that image as well. While the love scenes are not explicit, they don't need to be. They still invoke the strong feelings of passion, desire, and love. And although there is tragic sadness due to loss, there is also healing through spirituality and love....more
Aw, this was such an awesome novella – I just loved it! Bryan and Aaron have been best frie4.5 stars; Review also posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
Aw, this was such an awesome novella – I just loved it! Bryan and Aaron have been best friends since middle school, and they have been there for each other through thick and thin. Bryan’s brother-in-law has passed away; his sister, Chloe, was diagnosed with Lupus; and Bryan and Aaron have both been integral in helping raise Chloe’s son, Wyatt, who loves both his Uncle Bryan and his honorary Uncle Aaron. And throughout all of this time, Bryan, a surgical tech student, has been in love with Aaron, a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard. Bryan has yet to come out to anyone, however. His best friend included. Even with everything they’ve been through together, Bryan has not confided in Aaron because he doesn’t want to risk screwing up their friendship.
Fate has different plans, though; it steps in, takes over, and yanks Bryan out of the closet hard and fast. But the repercussions are nothing he expected; instead, he is rewarded with the divulging of his secret by finding out that Aaron feels the exact same way. And once their secrets are revealed, watch out – the sparks immediately fly!
This novella is a super sweet story of friendship, love, family, and commitment. Bryan and Aaron are so cute together, but also fun to read as they like to give each other a hard time in a cute and playful way, and usually with regard to the other being a sap (which they actually both are). The peripheral characters are great as well, especially Wyatt, who is a adorable, and Chloe, who is loving, accepting, and full of snark (just my kind of gal). I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a very sweet, angst-free story with a few sizzling love scenes.
Holy Goodness – talk about hot, hot, HOT!!!! Quid Pro Quo is a very short novella that left me hot and bothReview posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
Holy Goodness – talk about hot, hot, HOT!!!! Quid Pro Quo is a very short novella that left me hot and bothered, satisfied, and then wanting some more! Yes, I am a greedy bitch like that! ;)
In Quid Pro Quo, we find two rent boys, Jared and Tristan, talking about the slowness of the holiday season at their upscale sex-selling club in London, the Market Garden. Jared is worried about making his rent, but finds himself happy not to be working just so he can spend more time with Tristan, one of the club’s most sought after boys, who he has had a crush on for months. Well, as luck would have it, a john approaches them and asks what’ll cost to have them both together. Negotiations are made, and so the night begins.
Seriously, while this novella is basically one long sex scene, it is hot, engaging, and wholly erotic. There is a build up of the most sensual kind. The john who has hired them is very well off, if the thickness of his wallet, his Jaguar, and his hotel suite have anything to say for it. Yet, a business man is always a business man, and so he is not willing to pay upfront what Tristan had suggested for his and Jared’s services. Instead, he takes them for a test drive, likes what he sees, and then steadily throws more money (quid) on the table as he requests the boys to escalate their performance. At the same time that Tristan and Jared’s kisses, heavy petting, and lustfulness are obviously getting the john quite hot and excited, they are having the same, if not stronger, effect on Jared. And, much to Jared’s pleasure, it seems that the same could be true for Tristan as well.
I loved the build up and progression of this amazing sex scene/novella. It was full of lust, sensuality, and eroticism, and even though it was a short story, I was left very fulfilled with how it ended…for now. ;) This wasn’t a story of sex just for the sake of sex. It was a story of sex, but there was so much more to it than that. I liked how the john never gave his name…it wasn’t important. The story is about Jared and Tristan, and them possibly having a mutual attraction for the other outside of their work. It was about the sensuality shared between these boys, and the possibility that there could be more. Voinov and Witt do not disappoint in executing such an amazing novella, and I hope that they will bring us more of Jared and Tristan, STAT!
Oh, this was such an amazing book – I had a smile on my face practically the whole time I was readingReview also posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
Oh, this was such an amazing book – I had a smile on my face practically the whole time I was reading it! Anne Tenino has absolutely outdone herself, and she continues to remain an auto-buy author for me. Her writing incorporates all the elements I love: well developed characters; no insta-love; clever wit and great humor; very sexy smexy time; and an excellent HEA.
Sam is a self-proclaimed “too-tall, too-skinny, not-very-attractive, very-obviously-gay dork,” and he totally, completely endeared himself to me from the get-go. Like so many of us readers, Sam is addicted to romance novels, and a hot highlander in a kilt is his weakness (yes, Sam is VERY smart!). Through a little bit of chance, and probably a lot of fate, Sam meets his “hero,” Ian, while hurrying home with a romance novel featuring a kilted hottie in tow. It doesn’t take long before Sam starts imagining Ian as his very own kilted highlander. And as fate would have it, they end up at a party together, where the sparks and hormones begin to fly. But Ian has had a troubled history with coming out and having relationships, and while he is trying to start afresh with his life, getting into a relationship is not in his plans. In fact, he comes across pretty crass as he makes it clear that Sam is not normally his type. Sam, who too has had a difficult time with relationships in the past, feels just the opposite. He is completely besotted with Ian, but with even that being the case, he does a lot to protect his heart, feeling that there is no way that Ian could ever feel the same way about him.
Throughout this book, Tenino very cleverly tells the tale of Sam and Ian’s story by having Sam think about his own situation with Ian as if it were a romance novel (ha!) and breaking it down for the reader. Doing so, Sam realizes that Ian is his TGH (Tortured, Gothic Hero), but that he himself is TSTL (Too Stupid To Live). Resigned to the fact of the matter, Sam continues to behave in such a way that he might eventually get an HEA with Ian. And this enlightenment and resignation lead to one of THE hottest blowjobs I have read in the genre. *PHEW*!!!
Well, even against Ian’s own plans, there is just something about Sam…so much so that Ian can’t stop thinking about him. And it is so much fun to watch the development of both Sam and Ian each individually, and as a couple as well. At one point when Ian finally admits to Sam that he has feelings for him, Sam’s thoughts about it sum it up perfectly: “Oh my God, how sweet was this shy, nervous guy where that uncaring bastard used to be?” Then to watch their courtship is just wonderful. Yes, of course their sexual chemistry together is off-the-charts hot, but we also get to see them in places other than just the bedroom, like shopping, or Ian picking Sam up from work just because he misses him and wants more time together. And back to the off-the-charts hot, all I gotta say is: Ian. Kilt. Laird. *THUD* Whoa! What a scene, on so many levels – the sex is BEYOND hot; the thought that Ian put into the evening, knowing how Sam loves romance novels, was outstanding; and this scene took their relationship to a whole new level. So well done!
And throughout their relationship, we see Sam who is sweet and kind, but also so very insecure of himself, to the point where he just can’t believe that Ian would ever fall for him. When Ian does start to fall, though, and his brittleness thaws, he really becomes that sweet hero that we all fall in love with. Again, Sam sums it up so perfectly: “But he wasn’t a bad boy, not really. Ian was amazing; loving and careful of Sam’s feelings and his insecurities. He defended [Sam's] honor.” And oh how he did. We see so much growth in Sam, too. Yes, he is super insecure, but we see his strength in pushing for what he wants, and acting in ways to both protect his heart, but putting it out there to take a chance on an HEA love. And Sam is just the cutest MC ever…I absolutely love all his quirks: how he thinks about everything in terms of a romance novel; how he falls asleep immediately post-coital (I absolutely cracked up when Ian wondered to himself how Sam jerks off in the shower); his relationship with and reliance on his BFF, Nik (who, along with Jurgeon (Sam’s cousin), is awesome!); how funny he is when doped up on painkillers; and how incredibly hot he was when the traditional “roles” got reversed.
Following in the steps of the traditional romance novel, Sam and Ian even had their “Big Mis,” or their big misunderstanding. And like all wonderful HEA couples, they fought for it, and they came out on the right side of love.
TSTL was a very cleverly written romance novel, incorporating excellent wit, humor, character and relationship development, and beautiful and uber-hot love scenes. I highly recommend this to anyone who reads m/m romance, and would even recommend it to those who just read hetero romance. It’s definitely a book that can hook one onto the genre. I absolutely loved it!
Lastly, I have a favorite quote. It is from the end of the book, so stop reading now if you don’t want to be spoiled. But being that TSTL follows the structure that makes up a romance novel, you should already know that it ends with an HEA. ;)
“And no more of that Too Stupid to Live stuff,” Ian whispered against his mouth.He felt Sam smile against his lips. “Being TSTL isn’t so bad. I forgot one thing about it.”
Ian kissed him quickly, tired of waiting, but wanting to know, “Yeah? What’s that?”
Sam kissed him back. “The TSTL character always gets their man and their happily ever after.”
Well, he did it. That manipulative bastard did exactly what he set out to do. Nikolai has been gearing up his psychological abusiveness to drive a wedge between Mat and Dougie, and he succeeded oh so well in his plan.
Again, as with all the previous episodes, Haimowitz and Belleau have just outdone themselves in episode #6 of the FLESH CARTEL. Their writing, plotting, and the aforethought that they put forth is simply brilliant. BROTHERHOOD is another heart wrenching episode, and like I say with practically every review, just when you don’t think the physical torture could get any worse, it actually does, along with the mental torture as well. It makes my stomach turn, but I.Just.Can’t.Stop! I am so truly committed to Mat and Dougie, and I have to continue reading to learn their eventual fate.
Mat starts this episode in a prideful mood and Nikolai teaches him a most difficult lesson. While Mat is down and feeling awful, and being tortured some more, Nikolai then really nourishes the seed he’s planted in his plans to drive the wedge between the brothers and sets everything in motion. Because Mat would do anything to make sure that no more harm comes to Dougie – anything – he finally becomes compliant.
Dougie, on the other hand, decides at the beginning of this episode, that enough is enough. He doesn’t care about his pride anymore. He just needs the pain and the torture to stop. And so Dougie becoming Nikolai’s pet truly begins.
Nikolia continues to be a character that I just love to hate. But he is also a character for which I find myself so torn! He “gifts” Dougie with tenderness and gentleness, and like Dougie, I want him to have as much of it as he can get because the abuse has been so bad, there needs to be some light in the darkness. But is Dougie starting to misinterpret that tenderness with love? He longs for it; he no longer wants to be alone. And it is amazing just how far Nikolai’s affections will go in both Dougie’s mind and heart.
So, all in all, even with all of the disdain and heartbreak one might feel while reading this series, this is another brilliant episode, and I hope there might be some more light in the next one. Well, one can hope, right?
In this 5th installment of THE FLESH CARTEL: WINS & LOSSES, the egotistical, maniacal, wicked sadist and mind-fuck extraordinaire, Nikolai, continues his torture of Dougie and Mat and really begins to work hard to divide the brothers. No, they still have not seen each other and only know the other to also be in Nikolai’s not-so-little house of torture because Nikolai has told them so. He knows that both Dougie and Mat – and Mat especially – continue to behave in ways because each puts the other at the forefront of his thoughts and actions.
Nikolai is sooooo damn good at what he does, torturing my beloved Mat and Dougie, both in very different ways. And he continues to make great strides in molding them to be exactly how he wants them. It’s not perfect yet, but he is getting there, and God, how I love to hate this man for the success that he is.
Dougie, although a straight man, has begun to begrudgingly enjoy the pleasures of the flesh that Nicolai has given him. And while he feels like Mat would think him a coward for his feelings and his reactions to Nikolai, it is hard to stop himself. His mind is breaking down in other ways as well: in some instances, he sees affection from Nikolai and begins to wonder if Nikolai is expressing love; in other instances, he is seeking it out. Similarly, Mat tries to continue to be strong and full of pride for both himself and Dougie, but admittedly, he knows that Nikolai has broken him in both mind and spirit as well.
Mat has a lot of introspection in this book. At Nikolai’s urging, he sits down and writes a list of all the joys for which he lives. Also, as part of Nikolai’s plan to strengthen him back up to being “fighting fit,” Mat receives from him exercise equipment to help him get back in shape.
As in prior episodes, Nikolai keeps reminding the brothers of their choices…that they have a choice in everything that happens, except that supposed freedom of choice is wrapped in layer upon layer of electrified barbed wire fencing so that there really is no choice at all. Especially when the consequences of those choices is the equivalent of being thrown upon that electrified barbed wire fencing while soaking wet.
A couple of interesting insights to Nikolai’s way of thinking come through in this episode. As Mat notes, when he calls him a derogatory name, Nikolai reacts in a way that shows a “chink in his armor.” I find it interesting as well that Nikolai is a hypocrite of infinite proportions. He blasts Mat for noting that “winning” is a joy of his, when in fact, Nikolai lives to win. And in order to do so, he has to torture his slaves to achieve his goals. But hypocrisy, sadist-loving asshole aside, he does his job, and he does it well.
Like the last episode, WINS & LOSSES truly further demonstrates Nikolai’s A-game in a mind-fuck of epic proportions. His torturous methods provide him the results he wants, and just his words (and lies) alone are the impetus in helping to divide the brothers as he needs them to be. Once again, Belleau and Haimowitz knock this episode out of the park while further developing a profound psychosexual thriller that this series truly is.
Well, here we are with episode #4 of the Flesh Cartel, the psychosexual serial, and this episode, CONReview also posted at Under the Covers Book Blog,
Well, here we are with episode #4 of the Flesh Cartel, the psychosexual serial, and this episode, CONSEQUENCES, truly enveloped the “psychosexual” aspect of the series. In the previous episodes, we have seen so many dark aspects of human trafficking at play – kidnapping, rape, torture, brutality, and mind games. But I think this episode truly embraced the mind games part so very, very well.
In this episode, Mat and Dougie are still at Nikolai’s house, as he has begun training them for his clients. In the previous episode, Nikolai begins to “teach” them that they have choices (ha!), but that their choices also have consequences. We see a little bit of Mat in this episode, and he continues to be head strong, fighting still for both his pride and for Dougie. After the tortuous consequences he received in CHOICES, though, he seems better inclined to make the “right” choice, but his mouth still gets him in trouble.
Nikolai is very focused on Dougie in this episode. He wants to teach him that if he submits appropriately, he can be rewarded greatly. But right now, this reward only appears as in the form of great sexual pleasure. While Nikolai believes that the rewards of submitting appropriately are so much more than that, I just cannot agree. And as much as it is comforting (for lack of a better word) to see Dougie receive pleasure for the first time in a long time, it is equally horrific, for he is still being raped, just not with the brutality as before. And of course, he is at such odds with it all since he loathes what it happening to him, but is still able to experience tremendous physical pleasure. It is a mind game – a mind fuck, if you will – of such epic proportions, and my heart just continues to break for him. I almost don’t know what it worse – the brutality he received in earlier episodes, or the fucked up “caring” he is receiving now. It truly is a toss up. Yet, I find myself rooting for him to make the “right” decision so that he doesn’t have to suffer the seemingly worst consequences for making the “wrong” choice. *sigh* Yes, it is a mind fuck for Mat, Dougie, and the reader as well. Kudos to Haimowitz and Belleau for being so damn good at their craft!
Another part of this episode that is bothersome is watching Nikolai repeatedly use words to break Dougie down, and not just with threats. But twisting events of his life in such a way that maybe one day, with enough repetition, and enough positive consequences delivered by his own hand, that Dougie just might start to believe him. And of course, it is all self-serving lies, and while Dougie as a psych major understands this, there will come a point I think, that he will start to doubt himself and believe Nikolai instead. Nikolai really gets to the heart of it (in his mind) with this quote:
“We are all creatures of our circumstances, Douglas. When those circumstances change, so too must we. Or be crushed by them. Don’t you want to be happy, Douglas? Don’t you want to live free of pain, free of fear?”
So, as I said at the outset, this episode truly plays on the psychosexual aspect of this series so very much. Eerily so – to the point where I feel like I really do have my own mind game going on. With each release, I loathe to read more of the abuse that Dougie and Mat have to endure, yet I am so engrained and fixated on the series and these characters, that I devour each episode the moment I get my hot little hands on it, and can’t wait until the next one. Haimowitz and Belleau clearly know their stuff if they can keep drawing in the reader for more torture. But like Mat and Dougie, I continue to have hope. Nikolai, though, has this to say about that:
“Hope,” Nikolai told him. “You hope for things. Hope is a fool’s game. Hope will only break your heart.”
Yet, I will continue to keep my hope alive, for the boys, and for me as a reader, because if I lose all my hope, then what’s the point, right?
Next episode up is called WINS AND LOSSES. Bring it!!