I was kind of reticent in starting this. I mean, the first line was "When the mermaid’s skin turned a dark golden hue, the kitchen staff moved the spi...moreI was kind of reticent in starting this. I mean, the first line was "When the mermaid’s skin turned a dark golden hue, the kitchen staff moved the spit roast away from the fire and placed her grotesquely contorted body on a metal stand at the main table." and I was already envisioning scary, torturous scenes where the main character barely escapes with his life... or not. The actual story wasn't that scary (thank God).
But it was very original. Each character with a unique set of traits and physical elements. And I really could envision that Llawan was a merman with every tiny, seemingly insignificant detail added in the story, twitch of a fin, glide of the body through the water, breathing the air without the comfort of water. The plot itself was a mix between seduction and horror and yet, just like Llawan, I found myself wanting to read more about the pair, discover what else is in store for them.
Recommended for original story and characters and interesting play on impressions.(less)
Smug is the cutest dragon ever! 3.5 stars for him alone!
You have to suspend reality if you want to enjoy this. But once you do, it's all fun and a lit...moreSmug is the cutest dragon ever! 3.5 stars for him alone!
You have to suspend reality if you want to enjoy this. But once you do, it's all fun and a little magic! (view spoiler)[Smug was absolutely adorable when he was on stage performing his magic tricks or when he was shy in front of Adam yet being honest about his dragon heritage or when he was anxiously waiting to see if Adam would not believe him and walk out!(view spoiler)[ Mr. Smuggles was just so cute and a perfect sidekick.
It was a nice story but didn't grab my full attention. There wasn't enough of the characters to make me love them.
(view spoiler)[The plot is standard....moreIt was a nice story but didn't grab my full attention. There wasn't enough of the characters to make me love them.
(view spoiler)[The plot is standard. Clumsy (almost) courtesan is picked by the ruling lord. An uncle (in this case) sets his eyes on said courtesan, while at the same time trying to kill the lord and assume power. Cole had a sassy attitude (and, for some reason, I expected him to be as vivacious as Ryan from In the Blaze of His Hungers). But then again, I didn't really get a feel for the characters to empathise with them or care more deeply about what might happen to them. Plus, I was annoyed by the present tense used in the story telling (I blame Emma and Julio for this). And why did Darren have to set Cole free? Perhaps the man would have much rather enjoyed being kept as slave, then apprentice a physician. I'm just saying there was that possibility. (hide spoiler)]
It's good for a slave being released type of story, for characters that are not overly emotional, for minor plotting and a happy ending. I just wanted a more meaningful connection.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Priceless! I laughed so hard while reading the last pages of this interlude.
I am loving Crane and Stephen more and more. So man...more"I have lost a tattoo."
Priceless! I laughed so hard while reading the last pages of this interlude.
I am loving Crane and Stephen more and more. So many questions. (view spoiler)[Will Crane be allowed to go back to China? Who and how would Crane's power be used? How will things progress between the two? (hide spoiler)]
When is the next volume coming out?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Decidedly a very good book. I understand why all the fuss about it. 4.6 stars because there were a couple of things that bugged me.
(view spoiler)[The...moreDecidedly a very good book. I understand why all the fuss about it. 4.6 stars because there were a couple of things that bugged me.
(view spoiler)[The things that pulled me out of the story were: the first couple of pages in the book where I wasn't sure in which time period the action was set and had to accommodate the language. The other thing was the need for clearer delimitation when POV were switched. It starts with a chapter dedicated to each MC, then POV switch within the chapters. And I would have been fine with that but there was no spacing whatsoever to indicate the change. Suddenly, moving from one paragraph to the next, I was seeing things from Stephen's POV instead of Crane. Confusing and irritating.
But even with those editorial glitches, I was sucked in by the story. The paranormal element was outstanding. Coursed items, ghosts, influencing, magical attacks and the amazing final battle. Everything ran smoothly. I was totally sucked in by the mystery and magical and fantastical elements introduced in the book and not once did I question anything. I simply waited for the author to solve each puzzle and show me what the characters would do. Even the last minute save was superbly done and blended nicely in the story.
Now Stephen and Crane. I was pleasantly surprised by them as they showed characteristics outside the standard norm. Crane wasn't the stoic alpha male, not letting himself be scared by anything and bravely confronting everything. He recognised his less than perfect past and was proud of it, was honest in admitting he would run if scared and (my favourite) he totally supported the cruel death penalty dealt to his father and brother. And Stephen seemed dull at first but despite his concealing magic, his qualities shine through and you discover throughout the story his gentle nature, his resolve to rid the world of warlocks, his strength to defend what is right and his fragile heart slowly falling for Crane. They really brought spark to the story. I became quite attached to them. (hide spoiler)]
(view spoiler)[Let's get one thing clear. I could not believe for one second that Peter was dead. Despite all the evidence (and trust me, it doesn't g...more(view spoiler)[Let's get one thing clear. I could not believe for one second that Peter was dead. Despite all the evidence (and trust me, it doesn't get more real than a funeral), I refused to acknowledge that Peter had died. I hung with teeth and nails to the idea it was a hoax to allow Peter to get away from Rebecca and all the secret agencies behind her. A ruse that required Darwin to also believe he was dead.
And I was proven right about 1/3 way into the book. Which is about the same time I wanted to strangle Whitcomb to death. However, the mourning D went through was very real and heartfelt. I felt really sad for him. Probably more sad, because I was repeating in my head "But Peter isn't really dead! You just don't know it yet." And Raithe... oh, he was a jewel. So caring and thoughtful! I want a happy ending for him too after everything he did for D, the way he took care of him and fought to keep him alive when D had given up all hope, then helped D in getting the truth out of Whitcomb (that almost rape scene was priceless!!) and going with D to save Peter My heart melted at all that selflessness.
The second half of the book took on a more paranormal/sci-fi edge as the cast struggled to break the metaphysical bond between Peter and Darwin. I thought that bond existed for some time so why not leave it be? (well, other than Withcomb wanting to have Peter for himself). Why was the bond suddenly dangerous to Darwin? Or was it a ploy to get him to the facility? And I hate Darwin for being so indifferent to the reasons why he was wanted by Rebecca, why and how he was different leaving the reader in the dark. This must mean another installment will be written, right? (hide spoiler)]
Darwin and Peter forma great pair. I love reading about them. Hopefully, Raithe will not disappear from the scenery and we'll get to hear more from all of them.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** Probably not a good idea to read this in between the books from Darwin's Theory series. Oh well. There wasn't anything truly excitin...more**spoiler alert** Probably not a good idea to read this in between the books from Darwin's Theory series. Oh well. There wasn't anything truly exciting happening. Which is why I had a hard time investing any interest. That and the fact Cole read like a 12 year old boy, not a lonely man tending a lighthouse.
A fact that was confirmed when Cole referred to his lover's private parts as "He was long in another way, too, if you get my meaning." It's ok to say penis. Cock. Dick. Love rod. Meat stick. And so on. Another thing slightly annoying was the speed with which Cole would get aroused. I suppose it's due to his long term forced isolation that anything, really, was a trigger.
So yes. A cute story overall but average and quickly forgettable for me.(less)
Fun times and hard times. Literally and figuratively speaking.
(view spoiler)[I am still a bit grossed out by the biting thing. It definitely adds a sp...moreFun times and hard times. Literally and figuratively speaking.
(view spoiler)[I am still a bit grossed out by the biting thing. It definitely adds a spark of originality and authenticity to the Kin/Lesser-Bred element in the story it's just that I can't stomach it (no pun intended). I understand and appreciate its use but feel the need to avert my eyes when reading those passages.
Other than that, I really feel one with D. There were a couple of moments in the book that I thought along the same lines as he did (the part with the stain marring one of Raithe's cheeks - and me wondering which cheek he was talking about - and then the scene in the bathroom, Peter saying it fell off - and me wondering what fell off. And I guarantee you, I wasn't thinking of the shampoo.
I really like the love flowing between the two. There are scary moments they are going through and yet, despite everything thrown at them, their love is the one thing unchanged. The reader gets a deeper sense of their relationship as you see past D's adoration and see the same level of trust and devotion on both sides.
I was a bit putt off with not knowing more about D's ability to set things on fire and what that means exactly. (hide spoiler)] And I also hate the cliffhanger ending. Good thing this is a complete series (it is complete, right) or I would have blown a casket. Hoping the next installment elucidates the still unanswered questions.
I love the little twists and turns this story is taking. I might have some small personal nitpicks with a couple of things within but this is a solid...moreI love the little twists and turns this story is taking. I might have some small personal nitpicks with a couple of things within but this is a solid 4 stars.
(view spoiler)[Secret military funding, the answer to understanding the transition to Lesser-Breds. Kidnapping. Declarations of undying love. Hot sex scenes. But what stood out to me was one small scene that captured all my interest. D catching fire? I was immediately thinking of a different type of Becoming Lesser-Bred or becoming Kin. Or even better, a new species all together. And the change is thanks to Darwin's absolute love of Peter. What can I say, I'm a sucker for that. And it would explain his passion for fire and pyrotechnics displays.
I did turn a bit squeamish when Peter actually bit and... *shudders* chewed a piece of Darwin? I thought I understood how far Darwin would go out of love but this seemed a bit too much. The fact he found it arousing made it that more unappetising. It drives home the fact that D has no logic or survival instinct if it involves Peter. Yet, it was disturbing. (hide spoiler)]
Can't wait to see what happens next in Lost.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[I knew there was something off with Peter. Unlike D, I wasn't blinded by love to find Peter's su...moreThings are getting serious. And hotter.
(view spoiler)[I knew there was something off with Peter. Unlike D, I wasn't blinded by love to find Peter's sudden change of heart about sex natural. And going by what D knew of him, he too should have found it odd that Peter gave up school and sexual intercourse so easily.
I wanted to cast Whitcomb as the bad guy (and granted, he has some hidden agenda of his won) but I was mellowed out by his sincere concern over D and Peter's fate and their chances of surviving Peter's change without any help. I put a fairy tale glow over their dilemma and refused to think anything bad could happen to them. But Whitcomb's words and D's worries broke that bubble. The Shift is dangerous for both of them. I'm curious to learn more about Kin and Lesser-Bred and the pair's adventures. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It's a good thing I have the next installment or the ending would have made me really mad. You don't stop right in the middle of the scene. It's just...moreIt's a good thing I have the next installment or the ending would have made me really mad. You don't stop right in the middle of the scene. It's just not cool!
(view spoiler)[Darwin is certainly an interesting character. I'm not sure whether the suffering he mentions is due to him pining after Peter for so many years or something else altogether. His self-destruct routine is heart wrenching and makes me want to hug him and try and make things better for him. But I love his *I don't care* attitude and his fierce protection of Peter.
I need more information to understand what the Kin, the Lesser-Breds really are and how they fit into the story. And I wonder whether Peter's sudden change of heart had anything to do with the video Mark Tolbert, Darwin's arch nemesis, had sent or something more sinister. A second point of view would also help since I can't believe Peter is all that perfect. D just sees him through loved filled eyes. (hide spoiler)]
3.5 stars and off to read Secrets.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I had two major issues with the story which made me give it 2 stars.
(view spoiler)[One.Both MCs were shy in making a move towards the other. The first...moreI had two major issues with the story which made me give it 2 stars.
(view spoiler)[One.Both MCs were shy in making a move towards the other. The first half of the book was filled with either Dan or Leif pining after the other, making no move towards something physical and listing the reasons why they shouldn't get involved. At one point I started to wonder if anything would happen between them since neither was inclined to approach the other. Luckily the author solved that by putting one of them (Leif) in danger and used the resulting adrenaline and fear to make the pair get intimate. The second half of the book was lukewarm at best in terms of romance for Dan and Leif, Dan tried to hide his sexuality from the people in town and then they had to battle Leif away from his abusive master. I was a bit put off that, after spending 2.3 of the book listing reasons and staying away, their relationship was nicely wrapped up with them moving away and living happily ever after. All of a sudden and just like that? That's just too easy for me.
Second. The action scenes. I was expecting adrenaline packed moments, uneasy and fearful scenes spanning for pages where Dan or Leif fought a ghost. But all I got were sparks. Before I had a chance to get into the mood, the problem was solved and the ghost laid to rest. The only lengthy fight was at the end, an amalgam of discovering the secret cave, killing Leif's former master, Runar and defeating Ezekiel, busybody/blackmailer/sorcerer that had lived hundreds of years before. And frankly, I found it a bit amusing to imagine Dan waving those antlers to help the ghosts cross over.
Second and 1/2. I remembered there was one other thing that bugged me. And that was Dan lamenting his inability to save his mother. I counted at least 3 or 4 times throughout the book (I was afraid to actually check the real number of times) where he went over the same lines: not saving his mother, letting her die alone, he was useless. I was just about ready to bitch slap him and ask him to man up. (hide spoiler)]
I suppose the plot and the characters just weren't my type. It was an ok read but not something that I'm going to remember on the long run.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I assumed this was meant to be an alternate universe or some sort, where society approved of slaves and...moreWell, this was disappointing. 1.5 stars worthy.
I assumed this was meant to be an alternate universe or some sort, where society approved of slaves and eunuchs. But some of the masters did all the work in the house, letting the slaves rest (or maybe they just did that with Vasilios only). Can't say how many times I rolled my eyes at having Markos or Nereida take care of Vasilios. Bottom line was partway into the story, I couldn't really understand the dynamics between the characters. I felt cut off and couldn't really enjoy the story.
I couldn't understand how after more than 2 decades of following orders, being calm and collected, Vasilios was losing control, crying and raging against his fate. Once you follow a pattern for some time (especially as long as Vasilios has been a castrato and serving Panagiotis) one develops a routine, it becomes ingrained in you. Yet suddenly, Vasilios was complaining about not speaking up when he was sent to Anthimos. My understanding of social hierarchy was that his status did not allow him that privilege. He only had to do what he was being told.
I didn't understand the part of Vasilios being named 'the Patient'. Was it supposed to make reference to him enduring the rough treatment from Anthimos? If that's the case, then it's soooo corny. Otherwise, that was just added to the story without any value to the story as it was never brought up again.
What exactly made Markos fall in love with Vasilios when they rarely saw each other? Towards the end of the book the author seems to realise there was no basis for Markos to have any feelings for Vasilios and had Markos make some comments that he had noticed Vasilios for some time.
I was thrown off course by the whole religious vibe throughout the story, mixing Christian elements with other religions and just throwing that combo over the story. For that fact, it was somewhat off-putting to focus one moment on supernatural elements and finding a way to kill the demon, then the next moment focus on Vasilios’ abuse and hard living. It was like the author couldn't decide which plot line to focus on. And just to be bitchy all the way, I saw no reason why Vasilios had to be an eunuch. His social standing could have been added to the overall hierarchy without actually cutting off genitals. The last few pages of the book where Markos and Vasilios become intimate were right down ludicrous. Markos did not enjoy penetration, Vasilios didn't either and also disliked blowjobs. So, it pretty much summarised the whole book, where there had been only a platonic, romantic notion between the two. I really didn't care to read about them rubbing against each other.
So yeah, complete opposite to what I was expecting. This gets a very low rating from me.(less)
Blasphemer, Sinner, S...moreResurrection Man - 3 stars
Mating Season - no rating
Flesh and Song - 2 stars
Out from Under - 2 stars
Sleeping with Ghosts - 4 stars
Blasphemer, Sinner, Saint - 5 stars
Resurrection Man. (view spoiler)[What I liked about this story was the sense of foreboding pervading the entirety of the story, Josef's hopeless despair. He saw, felt, sensed the unnaturalness that had become Adel once the ritual was completed but could not turn back on what he's done or give up on Adel. That feeling of fear and the possibility of what Adel might become or ask in the future were the ones that stayed with me after I finished the story. (hide spoiler)]
Mating Season. (view spoiler)[If I were to give it a rating, it would be about 4 stars for the impression it left on me and how affected I was by it. But I usually reserve that rating for stories that I enjoyed and would gladly revisit. Which was not the case here. Danny's ordeal left me gagging and nauseous. Kari Gregg has a style of writing that makes me visualise all too well the horrors being depicted. Coupled with a sexual play I dislike (fisting), the story had me trapped between wanting to read faster to finish it and not daring to find out anything else horrendous happening to Danny. I hated what was done to Danny, the hopelessness of being trapped (first by the beast, then by his supposed friend, Keith). And the scenes where the cephalopod shoved those eggs inside or Keith promised to keep Danny open with a huge plug so he could check on the eggs, I could almost imagine Danny being tore up, a ragdoll of his former self. I shudder even now as I have to recall. And as if that physical torture wasn't enough, Danny was left as the thing's incubator. Though it might have been the best outcome after what Danny had endured, I kind of wish he had died instead. (hide spoiler)]
Flesh and Song. (view spoiler)[This was simply a merman calling a fisherman astray instead of the usual siren. It was less traumatizing than the rest of the stories. At least it was to me. Perhaps I just couldn’t feel the character losing himself in the merman, it all happened so fast. (hide spoiler)]
Out from Under. (view spoiler)[This was a strange little story. I didn’t fully understand how Brant had come to be under Fromunder’s curse and what kind of monsters Fromunder and Noel were. And then when I was focused on Fromunder and Brant and how the latter will try to bring Jason back to life, Noel came into the picture. I knew too little about Jason and how one would behave after being brought back to life to even care that Fromunder wasn’t gone completely. (hide spoiler)]
Sleeping with Ghosts. (view spoiler)[The background was really interesting. I would have wanted this to be longer just so I could enjoy the world more, with orders for “She Who Turns the Page” or “She Who Winds the Thread” or “He Who Loves Cold Iron”. I wanted to know how they came to exist why some orders worshipped women while other men. And the world itself, similar to our own but with unique characteristics. I rather skimmed over the sex scene because the characters held more interest to me: Yordan tricked into ending a life and Kardam, victim of political machinations. I wasn’t impressed by the paranormal aspect of the story as much as I was by the world and characters themselves. (hide spoiler)]
Blasphemer, Sinner, Saint. (view spoiler)[This was by far the best read of the anthology (so glad it was the last one). I truly felt I was inside Tobias' head. I could feel his turmoil at having to face an old lover and half-forgotten passions. Then he was forced to decide what price to place on David’s life. The self-doubt and recriminations that followed once Tobias became aware what a hypocrite he really was. The last perfect element to be added to this tension filled story were the mind games and physical torment Tobias had to endure at the hands and will of Mr. Ashmedai. He was given no reprieve, no happy memory to ease the pain and humiliation bestowed by the demon. And Tobias would pay Mr. Ashmedai with his body year by year for the privilege to earn David’s forgiveness and offer him a chance at a better life. But Tobias also learnt the truth under the abuse of the demon. David owned him completely. For it was out of love for David that Tobias would submit to Mr. Ashmedai. Chilling story. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Well, contrary to general belief, I did not like this one bit.
I kept vacillating between thinking of this as a bad action/romance movie put on paper a...moreWell, contrary to general belief, I did not like this one bit.
I kept vacillating between thinking of this as a bad action/romance movie put on paper and thinking of Cat as this 15 year old teenager with no idea how to handle the real world. Perhaps my dislike of the wondrous vampire slayer coloured everything a dull grey. I found all reasoning in the book weak and unbelievable. I found the plot feeble at best and the characters roughly shaped. (view spoiler)[Everything was easily surpassed by the main characters and not once did I feel any actual fear or trepidation that something bad might happen to them. They were always smarter, stronger, faster than their opponents. And to top it off, I was actually more annoyed at the sex sequences that disturbed any semblance of action in the book.
Let's talk about Cat. She's a 22-year old half vampire-half human that has been killing vampires for over 6 years using herself as sexual bait to the vampires (good thing she didn't come across any gay ones). And yet she blushes at the slightest innuendo. Despite her profession, she's still squeamish about deaths and bodies. And as the heroine of the series, all sort of bad things happen to her: she's drugged with Rohypnol, a girl in college tries to abduct her. When she's not in the middle of hunting vampires, she worries about her mother and grandparents. Yet, I never found anything of depth to make me understand her feelings or what exactly pushed her to feel that way. And then there is her relationship with Bones. This was the part that made me see her as this barely teenage girl. She hides her feelings, does what others tell her and has childish reactions (point in case: she actually runs from Bones after the first time they have sex or when faced with a beautiful vampire hitting on Bones her reaction is to grab him by the penis and stake her claim on him <-- massive eye roll here).
I was actively reminding myself not to get emotionally involved in this. Because the end (view spoiler)[ where she tricks Bones and goes to join the government agency (hide spoiler)] was so ludicrous I wanted to smack her against every available wall. Her excuse that she was sacrificing herself to save him was such utter bullshit, I was glad it was added in the last few pages of the book. While I imagine the intention was to make the reader jump to the next volume, it totally and completely put me off the book. (hide spoiler)]
There are a dozen other small things that bugged me about Cat, the plot, even Bones. I just don't have the mood to waste any more time writing about it, time I could be spending reading something to help me forget this story. It was a total fail for me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I started the book expecting the usual. A pirate forcing his way into the heart of a prince. Instead, I got something...moreThis was quite a lovely surprise.
I started the book expecting the usual. A pirate forcing his way into the heart of a prince. Instead, I got something new and yummy flavoured. Alessander and Celandine are twins heirs to the king of Aël. He is naive enough to go along with his sister's plan to fool the pirate lord. Only the jest is on him. The charade is discovered about the same time it becomes known Celandine has fled. As expected from him, Dagon Blackstone takes Alessander as hostage/guest aboard his flagship till the princess is recovered.
(view spoiler)[Seems like your usual, bland storyline. But there are differences, nuances. Alessander is a likable character and any angst and tension in the book are not because of misconceptions or wrongly placed pride or prudeness. It's due to the honest and deep soul searches he does during the voyage to find his sister. He admits to the attraction he feels for Dagon and recognises the shame that accompanies it, not because it was frown upon for two men to seek pleasure in one another but because he knows Dagon has been waiting 10 years to marry his twin sister. And even if this could be overlooked, Dagon is adamant about securing peace between Aël and Blackstone. So, while there are feelings awakening between them, Alessander ultimately knows their time is short. Yet, surprises still pop up along the way. Celandine has married in the old temples to escape Dagon and it is within the temple that Alessander finally confesses his feelings out loud and thinks of another solution that will not require blodshed and his sister trapped in a loveless marriage.
Another thing I enjoyed about this story was that Dagon was not the heartless pirate. He woos and enchants Alessander, treats him with respect and still maintain the aura of power. He does not take advantage of the prince's weaknesses or the nefarious situation Celandine had put the kingdom. As he himself mentioned it in the book, he is no lord, but a man willing to use his wits and strength of character to lead an honest life. (hide spoiler)]
It was quite a delight to read this and I'm sorry it proved so short. I'm sure more adventures could have been devised before or after the conclusion. Hope to meet this pair in a sequel.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I would rate this somewhere between 1.5 and 2 stars.
(view spoiler)[My greatest peeves were that I had envisioned the Scotsman to behave differently wh...moreI would rate this somewhere between 1.5 and 2 stars.
(view spoiler)[My greatest peeves were that I had envisioned the Scotsman to behave differently when faced with the modern world. So when reading that he quickly and easily adjusted to stone and glass buildings, television, cars, mobile phones and condoms, I rolled my eyes and stopped caring about the characters or the story. I was also disappointed that, minus a couple of exceptions, there was no language barrier despite the hundred of years of cultural and etymological diversity separating the men. I wanted to believe and really be invested in the story but when they jumped straight to sex, I figured there was no point in trying to immerse within the story telling. Which was just as well because seeing that one character was named Darren and the other Duncan could have royally pissed me off. As it stands, I only had to re-read some passages to figure out who was saying/doing what. (hide spoiler)]
The book had good premises, which is why I wanted to read it. However, it was poorly delivered, at least compared to what I expected. Thus the low rating.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(view spoiler)[It was such a nice read! I really liked Ferro with with mouthy attitude, his confidence that he would be rescued by his family, even if his being sold as slave was punishment for angering his parents. He was under the impression that there wasn't anything he couldn't handle. And then he met Lisias. A mysterious sheep tender that had many remarkable qualities and who managed to surprise Ferro and gain the upper hand. Lisias made Ferro understand what desire and commitment really meant and how those feelings can change a person. There were moments when I felt a teacher and pupil relationship between the two, a wise man and a foolish youth brought together by fate or gods. But as you reach the conclusion of the book, it's obvious they are meant for each other, making a stronger unit together. (hide spoiler)]
Very nice indeed!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** Really enjoyed this. I had a vague ideas as to what I expected from this story. But it turned out even better than that.
It's a relat...more**spoiler alert** Really enjoyed this. I had a vague ideas as to what I expected from this story. But it turned out even better than that.
It's a relationship that spans centuries. It encompasses an array of emotions. It shows the development of Eryx from a pouty child to a full grown man, trying to bring together science and magic. I liked how Thanos first approached the child in hopes of having the curse lifted and slowly came to love Eryx.
I was a bit surprised to go from ancient Greek and all that entailed... to mentions of The Avengers and the Kardashians. Funny but weird. And I was curious how Thanos would survive the new world despite his contact with it. Perhaps there will be a sequel to tell us if he'll be immortal like Eryx and how they will spend the rest of their lives.(less)
Sadly I got lost trying to understand if the human world resembled reality and how exactly the fairy world was c...more**spoiler alert** It was a nice story.
Sadly I got lost trying to understand if the human world resembled reality and how exactly the fairy world was constructed. And then I couldn't really get a feel for Aeron and Tam. They were nicely shaped out but I didn't connect. So I read this from far away. The attraction and sex seemed to come out of nowhere as there wasn't much time for the characters to know each other, or even spend some time together. I wondered what relationship existed between Kamala and Tammas, why she would help him. One thing that I really liked was the original idea of making the wings an important part in the foreplay. Made for quite an attractive image.
So yea, bottom line, I wasn't comfortable in the world depicted here, thus a somewhat reserved feel for the overall story.(less)
Aire is a young musician in Greek times, forced to sail with his brother around the mainland when they reach a seemin...more**spoiler alert** Cute and short.
Aire is a young musician in Greek times, forced to sail with his brother around the mainland when they reach a seemingly deserted island. He encounters a tentacle god within the depth of a small pond and is happy to serve him.
It was easy to get into the feel of the story, come to like Aire and enjoy his little tryst with Sidian. I would have wanted Sidian to keep Aire, not return him to the human world. But oh well.(less)
Wow, now that was quite a story. 4.5 stars for it.
It's a gripping story. I wasn't sure what to expect as I read but what I found on the page was quite...moreWow, now that was quite a story. 4.5 stars for it.
It's a gripping story. I wasn't sure what to expect as I read but what I found on the page was quite exciting. It wasn't your every day story of a whore picked up from the street and taught the ways of love by an alien species. Or better said, this idea is present in the book but hidden under so many other motifs it hardly gets any attention.
(view spoiler)[Wishbone is purchased for one night by a shih-aan, a race with whom the humans have been at war and are currently at frail peace. As the ways of his trade, he leaves the house with a comb stolen from Sir. The comb proves to be cursed as Wishbone is captured by the Dock Patrol, all his money stolen and beaten to an inch of his life. He takes the comb back and is forced to submit to the House of Justice, being branded with the letter X on his right cheek to mark him as a thief. But the story doesn't end there. Wishbone manages to get a pardon from the shih-aan and a promise to be taken care of. And so their journey begins. Wishbone learns not only how to curb his wayward hands but also the ways of the shih-aan, how to respect someone and ultimately how to fall in love.
I was quite drawn to the psychological profiling the characters offered throughout the story both about the other as well as themselves. Add to it the mysterious ways, customs and traditions of the shih-aan and it was a magical ride. For me at least. They depicted a world where lust, hurt and care were mingled in a cohesive whole and it was fascinating to watch Senjian and Wishbone find their way through hints at the core of it. Their journey is pretty hardcore (and not for the faint of heart who shudder at the mention of blood) and there were times where I cringed in sympathy as one or the other would suffer during their sex play. In fact the book starts pretty heavy with Wishbone being fisted that first night he is purchased by Senjian. But even this rough sex playing is embedded in the characters' personality and works as another link to tie them together. And the writing is so good, that I was often able to move past concentrating on the pain but rather on the overall sensation of the act itself. (hide spoiler)]
As I said, not a light BDSM reading. But the characters, the story and the slow way in which they come together is well worth the read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Where to start? How to review this one? Its rating is a mix between the 4.5 stars of the first half of the story and the 2 stars for the other half.
(v...moreWhere to start? How to review this one? Its rating is a mix between the 4.5 stars of the first half of the story and the 2 stars for the other half.
(view spoiler)[It wasn't an original idea. There are other stories out there of a slave with magical powers being rescued from the grips of his cruel master. I liked how it was done in this book. The first timid steps between Aedan and Demitrios, the slow introduction into the kind of life Aedan had while imprisoned by Griffiths was very well done. I quickly fell into the story and came to like the characters. There were surprises along the way, to keep me on my toes (like Griffiths' penchant for spanking and being called daddy, Demitrios liking to lick Aedan clean after their sex, Demitrios various forms between human and wolf, the knot). I was breathing heavily during every action scene as well as the erotic ones, so well written it completely took me away from reality. Then Aedan is saved from the arena and from Lorcan's evil plans and set free among a pack of beastmen. And things started to feel shifty. I couldn't quite connect with Aedan as he wavered between being able to make his own decisions and conniving for a way to bond with Demitrios. I had no problem with the plans he made if only they had been more defined instead of vague.
And then Lorcan came back. And Aedan gave himself up to Lorcan in exchange for a promise of safety for the others. I really liked Aedan and then he had to go pull a stupid stunt like that. Man was I pissed off. When he had no idea if the power he was giving Lorcan might enable him to escape the curse, when an entire village fought to keep Aedan safe, teach him the value and taste of freedom, when he knew how easy it is for people to go back on their promises, Aedan could not think of anything else than surrender to Lorcan. I got disconnected from the character by these actions. I simply refused to admit his choice as the logical option. So, I was pretty detached as he suffered at the hands of Lorcan. I was quite fed up with the story at this point. It felt as if I was forced to feel pity and sorrow for the horrors Aedan and his saviors endured at Lorcan’s hands when it was a conscious choice.
That last stretch of the story completely ruined the magic. I was glad they all made it and that Lorcan was destroyed and everyone got their happily ever after but it was a distant emotion. I wasn't in the story anymore. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** Oh my God! I don't know whether to laugh or throw a 1 star rating to this and call it quits.
I had no idea what went on in Daniel's h...more**spoiler alert** Oh my God! I don't know whether to laugh or throw a 1 star rating to this and call it quits.
I had no idea what went on in Daniel's head, how he could switch between moods so quickly. One moment he was cursing the creatures that captured him, the next he was dry humping them and licking his lips at the sexual images playing in his head. Even allowing for the notion that men think with their dick... I just couldn't buy the idea. I mean, shredded by claws, punched, shoved, pushed and beaten and the guy still got a hard on. Masochist much?
The explanation at the end that Mace was cold to Daniel to keep his alpha appearance was half assed. I was just as bewildered as Daniel when Mace would turn nasty. And personally, I hated the whole bullying theme. It has some logic that the wolves didn't really see Daniel as a woman/human enough to be gentle but not all the brutalities could be explained by it. Some of the roughing up was just that. Added to make you sympathise with the victim. Well, I didn't find any compassion for him. I wanted him to stand his ground, even if it got him killed or for the wolves to change attitude.
There was some potential in the plot. But it was so badly delivered that I'm not interested in seeing what happens next. Probably more sex, fights and more sex.(less)
What an intense reading. Deserving of 4.5 stars. I admit that some of its charm came from the parallel I drew to "Memoirs of a Geisha". But even witho...moreWhat an intense reading. Deserving of 4.5 stars. I admit that some of its charm came from the parallel I drew to "Memoirs of a Geisha". But even without that, the story had a particular pull, that kept me focused and within the story from first page till the last.
(view spoiler)[Etan was a young boy, thrown out into the world innocent and naive. By luck he ends up being a living canvas for an ink master. There is the veiled jealousy of a painted sister, vying for attention at displays. There is the imposed life style, of having to put your feelings second to pleasing your patron. There is the sudden change in social hierarchy plunging the two MCs into despair and altering their lives forever. I couldn't help comparing them to the story line in "Memoirs of a Geisha". But that is where the similarity ends. Etan is a young adult, unaware of the world around but slowly learning how to navigate the intricate political weaving of social etiquette. While fascinated by the glamour of the world he must beautify, his true passion falls on the man marking his skin and bringing life to the inked designs. And Etan's relationship with Isadel was this odd mix between camaraderie and competition.
Once I had finished the story, I couldn't say the characters' destiny was a surprise as even mighty men fall. And after the leisurely life they had, a bout of hardship was to be expected. It seemed natural that fate (or the author) would test their resolve and the depth of their feelings. There were two outcomes for this and I, for one, was glad to see them fare out changed but still with a hope of happiness despite all odds. But more than the average plot, it was Etan who drew me into the story, with his quiet presence, innocent allure, pure mind and steel resolve. I sensed his despair and uncertainty upon reaching the unfamiliar Grey City, felt small tremors at his first display, dizzied as he discovered and accepted the expanse of feelings he had for Roberd. And last but not least, I was enchanted with the magical inking process and the fanciful images coming to life on the Adorned. (hide spoiler)]
If you let yourself be captured by the mastery of the story line, the fanciful world and amazing characters then you are sure to love this book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Ground Mission by Laylah Hunter - 4 stars Wildwood by Thea Hayworth - 5 stars + Dark Covenant by Gryvon - 4.5 stars Situation Normal by Morgan Harcourt -...moreGround Mission by Laylah Hunter - 4 stars Wildwood by Thea Hayworth - 5 stars + Dark Covenant by Gryvon - 4.5 stars Situation Normal by Morgan Harcourt - 4.5 stars
(view spoiler)[Ground Mission was very intense. In fact, the author was so good at creating the tension of a team found on hostile territory and with unknown species attacking them that it stayed with me throughout the story. I kept waiting for something bad to happen, for Simon to turn evil and kill Adrian (right after the sex scene, of course). Or for the military to want to keep them in confinement and analyse them like lab rats or out right kill them for being contaminated by an alien. When in fact, everyone was pretty laid back in the face of a man now sprouting 6 tentacles, Simon quickly adjusted to them as if they were nothing more than another upgrade. And they got their happily ever after thanks to a doctor who suddenly decided to help out 2 strangers (out of hundreds of people she treated). The characters and story line were nicely drawn out but the little inconsistencies nagged at me.
Wildwood was amazing! I felt tempted at one point to stop midway, finish the anthology then come back to it. It was that good. Believable characters, stupendous world building and sizzling chemistry between the characters. I didn't want it to end! I loved how Koster was depicted as this big guy with an even bigger heart. Irising truly made me think of a forest guardian in the way he was physically as well as his behaviour. And the slow way in which they bonded, sparkled with drops of story from side characters made for a very enjoyable read. The action scenes were packed and tightly wound and kept me on edge and the romantic element was so subtly added on that I fell in love with both MC by the end of the story. Any chance this will be expanded into something longer?
Dark Covenant had a fitting name. From the overall atmosphere of Lower Aurelia to the characters and pace of the story. It felt like a black cloud overhead as I witnessed Eli meeting Eramus for the first time, stopping the earthquake, being sent to the Academy and suffering at the hands of the Chancellor and Barnabus. And all the while, I was holding my breath for something bad to happen, as it progressively did. Stopping the earthquake sent Eli into the filthy hands of the two academics. Their lies and deceits led to the death of Eli's mother. What stopped me from loving this was the odd resistance against Eramus' suggestions when he seemed to be the good guy, despite the air of evil around him (good for Eli, at least). I didn't understand why Eli preferred being raped than asking for help. And the ending seemed abrupt. After being named Lord of the Dark (or thereabouts), Eli just continues with his normal life, going back to take care of his family. Really?! And what was with his family, almost all of them having names starting with E? Was that intentional?
Situation Normal was kinky, funny and captivating. It had some fluffy D/S games, alien sex and tentacles all rolled into one nifty story. Seb (or Red) was hilarious. Running his mouth off and flirty at the same time. And Ten was hot all authoritative but still caring. I was disappointed when the story ended just when things were getting interesting between the two. I was glad they were safe and had managed to apprehend Steals-the-Stars (really, I was laughing right along Red when I read/heard the name) but I wanted to know what happened afterwards. How were they going to be a couple with Red hovering on the line between legal and illegal and both of them spending more than half their time in space, in opposite directions? Not to mention Red's penchant for not using a safeword and Ten being Dominant but careful. I want a sequel! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This proved to be a book of contradictions for me. I vacillated between 2, 3 and 4 stars depending on where I was with the story. Finally, I opted for...moreThis proved to be a book of contradictions for me. I vacillated between 2, 3 and 4 stars depending on where I was with the story. Finally, I opted for 3 stars though it does not reflect the overall book. And this is partly my fault.
(view spoiler)[ I started the book on the premises that I would read about a dashing young man, brave and fearless forced to sacrifice himself for the good of his country. He would be dragged off into slavery kicking and screaming and would not give up fighting no matter what they did to him. He would, of course, fall in love with his captor and come to enjoy the 'tortures' he was subjected to and decide to stay with him once his freedom was restored. This story had none of that. It took me half the book to shake off this impression.
Kynon was too young to be chosed as tribute. Oh, he was of age and had spent 3 years battling the enemy but that, in no way, prepared him for life. I kept waiting for him to continue his struggle against Brasius and the Segasa people. And he didn't. Which frustrated me to no end (until I realised he was not the kind of character I had envisioned before starting the book).
Another thing that threw me off was the swift transition to pain lover. I didn't understand, or couldn't visualise/empathise with Kynon and how he transitioned from pain to pleasure, how exactly the Segasa chose to 'torture' the tributes. I was still in the mind set of courageous warrior forced into slavery. So, having the tributes forced to sexual peak time and time again was definitely original but took me a while to understand.
And last but not least, I might have spaced out a bit because I was just as confused as Kynon in regards to what attitude, position, behavior he should take before the Senate, before his master, before the procurators. I didn't understand (I'm hoping that I, at least, figured out the big picture by the end of the book) what the whole tribute process involved and what exactly the tributes would be doing after their training. Were they released back home? Did they stay and represent Segasa in other countries they took over? And for that matter, what kind of army did they have if former tributes were part of the army? What would Kynon do once he was set free? Actually, what exactly did he choose to do, after surviving Hera's punishment? (On that note, I believed at one point in the book that she might be Brasius's wife - to explain for her hate and harsh punishment - and thought it was a clever name for her, hinting to Hera of Olympus...) I'm rambling. (hide spoiler)]
Bottom line is that I read the book but not sure I completely understood the book. There were interesting concepts in the plot line and interesting characters (though I wish Brasius had had a voice in the book - it made it hard to read him when his wishes were in opposition of what the Senate and Hera wanted and he hardly communicated at peer level with Kynon). Everything was nicely grouped together to keep me reading until the end. The only problem is figuring out exactly where to place the book in my personal rating folder.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What a delightful story! Enjoyed every word of it! The only thing I hate about it is that it's over.
I couldn't find any flaw (or if there is any, I've...moreWhat a delightful story! Enjoyed every word of it! The only thing I hate about it is that it's over.
I couldn't find any flaw (or if there is any, I've happily ignored it for the contentedness that the story gave me). The story was intricate and detailed, the characters were shaped out and complex. It had the right combination of peril, humor, romantic moments and action scenes. Met all my criteria. And if that wasn't enough... it's free!!
(view spoiler)[ There was some confusion at first, while I had to get accustomed to names and references to strange places (I kept looking for a map or some other clue at the start of the story to help me figure out how the nations were arranged) and took me a bit to understand the expand of the fantasy elements (how much magic there was in the world, what each nation could do). However, once the base was set up, I quickly dove into the story and fell in love with Celyn and Sjurd. They seemed opposites with nothing in common except their hate for each other. And yet, spending time together and allying against a common enemy brought them together. I just love how their story unfolds and they grow to care for each other. That and the fact that neither of them was cowering before the other. It was always a battle of wits, courage and feelings with Celyn and Sjurd.
I also loved the fact that the female characters in the book were not harpies. I was quite fond of Mathilde and despite her short stay in the book, I was sad that she had to ride off in the sunset to fight and die for her people. (hide spoiler)]
Everything was pretty much wrapped by the end of the book and yet I wish there was a sequel of some sorts. Not quite ready to let them go. That good was the book!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)