Reading BDSM books can be a challenge. Sometimes authors write about the power exchange and the deep emotional connections, and other times they just...moreReading BDSM books can be a challenge. Sometimes authors write about the power exchange and the deep emotional connections, and other times they just write it as kinky sex fun time.
Now, this book has lots of hot sex, so be ready for that. However, this book does give us the more serious dynamics of the lifestyle and all the technical things that go along with it. It is not light and fluffy, so if that is what you are going for, then this might not be for you.
However, I was very glad that I read the book and I can put it in the pile of some of my fav BDSM reads.
*This is an advance reader copy given to me by the author for an honest review. As with all of my review, these are my own opinions.
I recently review...more*This is an advance reader copy given to me by the author for an honest review. As with all of my review, these are my own opinions.
I recently reviewed another book of Rain Carrington, called Honky Tonk. While I overall enjoyed the book, my main concern was the rushed ending. So, when I got the opportunity to try Rebel Yells, I jumped at the chance to see if this one had a better ending and pacing.
Jack Colton is the local Sheriff who currently recovers from the loss of his long-time romantic partner, Martin. They were deeply in love and it has been hard for Jack to get back into dating. He’s lonely, but Jack is not sure if he will be ever ready to try love again.
Enter Rebel Marino, a hot young stud who rides into down on a Harley with lots of attitude. Funny thing is, the town doesn’t seem to like him any more than Rebels likes it. However, there is instant chemistry between Rebel and Jack. Can Rebel give Jack the spark to start living again? Can Jack be the something stable that Rebel has been yearning for?
This book deals with a lot of BDSM, Master/slave type. BDSM is one of those things where an author can make it “light, sexy time” or to a more lifestyle Master/slave intensity. Rain is used to writing BDSM, so I was ready to read something that was fairly accurate in depiction of the lifestyle.
Jack is a Dominant. We learn as the story goes along about his relationship with Martin. I do not want to give away their back story, as it is developed organically as the book proceeds.
Jack chuckled and got out of the car slowly walking along the narrow shoulder. As he approached the rider got off of the bike by swinging his leg over and then sat sideways on the seat. He turned his head and Jack stopped in his tracks. He was fucking beautiful. The cocky smile alone made feelings awaken in Jack that he had thought he buried with Martin. He pushed them away. Those feelings belonged to Martin and only Martin.
What we find out is that not only has Rebel awaken his physical desire, he has also awaken his desire to become a Master. What we find in Jack is someone who is not a perfect Dominant, he makes mistakes. What I like about how Rain creates this character is that he is not some sort of magical Dom who does everything perfectly every time. He has knowledge and skills, true, but he is also a human who can make some wrong assumptions and decisions.
Rebel is a young, brash, and complicated person. On the surface he seems to be indifferent to life and settling down. However, what we find out is that he really has been searching for something, someone who could take care of the restlessness within. What Rebel finds out is that by accepting Jack as his Dom, the fears and anxiety within is lessened.
Dark like his past, like the things haunting him and the things he was bringing to Jack now. It wasn’t fair to Jack. All the man had done was treat him with loving kindness. He didn’t deserve the fear Rebel had inflicted on him finding his unconscious body. He deserved the world and as his tears continued to fall he resolved to give Jack everything he could, do anything to make him as happy as he possibly could.
The question becomes, can Rebel handle all of the emotions and questions that come to him as he begins his journey as a slave.
One of the strong points of this book are the sex scenes. Rain Carrington knows how to write a sex scene, certainly one of the hottest I have ever read. She manages to give us sex scenes that advance the romance / relationship development as well as provide extremely hot descriptions.
I enjoyed this book better than the last Carrington book. While I felt that Carrington understood what BDSM was in the last one, in this one she reaches deeper into the Master/slave dynamic. Master/slave story lines can often be off-putting to some readers. After all, it is more than just “Kinky in the bedroom”, so some folks might not feel comfortable reading about how Rebel willingly gives up control of his life. I know some people who have similar relationships as described here, so Rain’s writing is in the ball park.
What could be better?
Overall, I enjoyed the book. However, there was a part that I felt was not realistic either in “real-life” or in the BDSM world. Jack and Rebel “fall in love” fairly quickly in the book. Which is not a problem normally in a romance book. However, because this is a BDSM novel, ”instant trust” can be dangerous.
Which is my problem #1. Rebel allows Jack a lot of fairly heavy BDSM activities which requires a lot of trust. I find it hard to believe that he would do this based on what we know about his history. In my opinion, even a person who is naturally submissive would struggle more with the role of a slave.
Problem #2: There is no contract. They agree to a trial of 30 days and they do not discuss a contract until near the end of the 30 days. I find it very hard to believe that a competent Dom would actually disregard the need to discuss the contract at this late date, especially because we are talking about a Master/slave rather than just a Top/bottom or Dominant/submissive relationship with someone who is new to the scene.
Did it hamper my enjoyment of the book? No. It just kinda irked me.
I enjoyed this book, in fact, I was close to giving this a 4-star rating. But again the rushed ending (the entire Lonnie thing was odd to me) made me round down. Although I did enjoy this book more than Honky Tonk, it suffered from the same problems.
Yet, I have put Rain Carrington on my must read list of BDSM authors. She provides an entertaining story as well as some exciting sexual dynamics. I have a feeling that as she continues to develop her craft, my rating scores will increase. I look forward to reading more by this author.
**This is an advance reader copy given to me by the author for an honest review. As with all of my review, these are my own opinions.**
I have loved AJ...more**This is an advance reader copy given to me by the author for an honest review. As with all of my review, these are my own opinions.**
I have loved AJ Rose’s writing, starting with the amazing Power Exchange. Back in November 2012, I wrote a review and gave it 5 Stars. What I loved about it was the strong theme, and the great depth in character development. It was more than just a romance book, but more like message about self-discovery and being truthful to one’s self.
So, when I was given the opportunity to read Queers, I was both excited as well as nervous. What happens if I didn’t like this book as much? Based on the cover and the back of the book, it is nothing like the other series. But finally, I said, “the heck with it”, and started reading.
Duff McKinley is a singer on his way to the big show, well, as soon as he is discovered that is. His first break is landing a job at Brad Mosely’s bar/club called Queers. Will this turn out to be a once in a life-time for his career and love life, or will he be stuck with settling?
Garrett Slater is Duff’s best friend, and he moved across the country to support him. But now is Garrett’s time to shine as he finds Mr Right in the form of Landon Kennedy. Yet, as Garrett drifts away from his friends like Jackson Moriarty, is he wasting is chance for happiness and true-love or living his dream?
There is a lot going on in this book. There are two “main” love stories here, both are explored fully; we see Duff and Brad’s story first and then Garrett, Landon, and Jackson’s stories are folded into it.
I have not read many of the other reviews on Goodreads about Queers. I noticed that the range was wide on this one, some readers giving 1 stars with just as many giving 5. I decided not to read much until after I had finished the book primarily to keep the influence down to a minimum.
I think that two things might have swayed the readers to the lower: the complex story lines here and the domestic violence. I will discuss both further in my review, but I believe that was the gist of what their issues were.
Duff McKinley & Brad Mosely:
This is the easy couple to talk about. Duff is the first person introduced to and I was enchanted from the start. He is a dedicated and talented singer who landed in LA to “Make it big.” Now he is ready to make that break into contract-land and needs the job at Queers to get there. We see into Duff very quickly:
This never gets easier, he thought, approaching the bartender, his back ramrod straight as he faked confidence in an effort to convince both himself and her.
We can easily identify with Duff. Who hasn’t applied for a job and then was terrified that we wouldn’t get it? When we meet Brad, we can tell that there is more going on then just his cranky demeanor.
“Pep talk time. Don’t be afraid of Brad. He’s a fantastic guy, a lot of fun if you get to know him, and he’s nowhere near as sour as he seems at first. He’s very loyal, but you have to earn it.”
There’s much to say about Brad, but I do not want to spoil his back story. Suffice it to say, he has a past love that still causes him pain and he has not moved on yet. It isn’t until he meets Duff that he realizes it might be time to return.
Garrett Slater / Landon Kennedy / Jackson Moriarty:
This is the complex side of the book, full of angst. Garrett is Duff’s best friend, really more of a brother. He is also always been “Out”, not because of choice but rather because his sexuality was difficult to hide in the first place. This builds a character who is more of free spirit, rolling with the punches rather than hiding or being careful. It is this nature that attracts Landon and the trouble that follows. We see Landon’s charm as they meet for the first time:
Landon slowly, deliberately drew him closer until their bodies were pressed together. Garrett’s breath caught as the man’s warmth and expensive cologne enveloped him.
“I’ll temporarily let you go,” Landon said softly, commandingly. ”But expect my call.”
Jackson is another one of the best friends, a nurse who has loved Garrett from afar. Unfortunately, Garrett doesn’t believe he is serious about trying to date. Jackson’s known more as the “slut” in the past, and this stereotype doesn’t help him now. As he sees Garrett withdrawing more and more of himself in the relationship with Landon he fears for Garrett.
Strong Points :
AJ’s strength is in his descriptions and writing. I am always pulled straight into the story, and this is no exception:
What didn’t quite fit in was the girl behind the bar, looking more appropriate for a leather club than a dueling piano bar. Perhaps it was her influence that gave Queers its snap, as if it was closely thumbing its nose at pretension.
It is not just the main character that gets development, but also secondary characters like Moonshine and Jennica. In fact, I see Moonshine as the embodiment of the theme and our greek chorus.
What could be better?
If you glance through the reviews on Goodreads for Queers , you will see warnings about triggers. Remember when I said that AJ’s strength was in his writing? Well, that also goes into the descriptions of abuse that one character goes through. So, I give the warning, if you have suffered from domestic abuse, this might be a trigger.
I will be honest, domestic violence is a trigger for me, so there were several scenes where I had to skim through. I do believe that it needed to be said to advance the plot and the characters, but it is painful to read.
I will also say that the end did feel a bit like the magical fairy came through and tied up all of the loose endings; but after all of the angst and pain I was ready for a HEA.
This was a compelling read, one that I am very glad I experienced. Do not be put off by the silliness of the cover, it is a serious read. There are powerful emotions throughout, so be prepared to cry and cheer as our boys overcome their trials.
The message is one that I think we all could use. Family is not always blood, but certainly our friends can be the support that we need to survive. And when we fall down, they will be there to help us up. While they will encourage us to do better, ultimately it is up to make changes in our lives.
AJ Rose is a brilliant author. He always infuses his stories with powerful messages, like little kernels of truth and insight in hope that we will take the time to uncover. If you are currently in an abusive relationship, remember that you can always leave. You have family, friends, and outside support that will help, but you have to be the one to make the move for help. This book certainly made me appreciate the support of my friends and my husband. I have been very blessed; thank you AJ Rose for helping me to remember this truth.
Full Disclosure: This book was given to me by the author for a fair review. My opinions are always mine, and I strive for a honest review.
James L. Wol...moreFull Disclosure: This book was given to me by the author for a fair review. My opinions are always mine, and I strive for a honest review.
James L. Wolf’s Chaining Flame is a novella at 16,230 words, and I would consider it more of an erotic novella as opposed to a gay romance. So what does this mean? Well, there is not a lot of time to spend on developing characters or relationships, so the author usually chooses to advance the relationships through sex. In my opinion, that does not automatically lessen or improve my enjoyment of the book, but rather I leave that up to the author to keep me compelled with their writing.
Ilamaych is a war spoil turned slave, and is now on the road to the market. While traveling with fellow slaves and slavers, he is bought by a seemingly innocuous farmer, Earen. Ilamaych knows very little of the people here or of his new Master Earen, other than that Earen is attracted to him. But while Ilamaych strives to understand his new role, he is torn away from Earen only to discover yet another destiny. With these new changes, comes another potential lover, Ficus. Will Ilamaych’s life ever be the same?
I see this novella written into three parts (Ilamaych’s perspective, Earen’s perspective, and Ficus’s perspective). As we see through each character’s eyes, we begin to understand their backstories and the world around them. Because this is an erotic novella, I expected most of the development to be sexual, and while that was true, I found it more sexy and intriguing than smutty.
Ilamaych’s view is from what I would consider the reader’s viewpoint. We are not from this world; it is scary and new. We understand Ilamaych’s sadness, despair, and fear. Wolf does an excellent job of pulling us into the story immediately:
His leathers were filthy beyond anything Ilamaych would have ever tolerated given a choice. He was embarrassed by the smell and nudged them into an abject pile with his feet. The man sat in a rough-hewn chair and watched, stroking his scruffy beard. He did not comment. Ilamaych bore his gaze uneasily.
So, we get that feeling of non-consensual sex and slavery. As the story unfolds, including very sexy scenes, are we aroused? Do we feel disgusted? What does this mean? Are all three of these characters going to get their “happy every after”? Are they worth it?
For me, Earen was pretty assholian in the beginning of the book, but by the end he has the farthest character development. We are encouraged not to give up on him:
Earen wished he could touch Ilamaych’s hand or shoulder; some form of physical contact. After being alone for so long it had been astonishingly easy to draw someone into his little world.
I feel by the conclusion of the novella Earen deserves love and a second chance at life. We do not see enough of Ficus’ storyline, and Ilamaych is more of a “typical submissive” character. I could say more about the characters, but I do not want to spoil some of the story and surprises.
The Sex Scenes: These scenes are certainly erotic and graphic. While I would not call it “BDSM”, I would say that triggers and themes you would find in a BDSM novel can be found here. I would absolutely say that if you do not like BDSM type novels you would find the sex and relationships uncomfortable in Chaining Flame. Also note this is poly relationship, so if you are only after monogamy and churches this might not be for you.
The World Building: Right from the beginning of the novella, I was pulled into this world. The author impressively drew me into the backstory and concerned for Ilamaych’s wellbeing. How did he get to where he was? What would happen to him? It opens so mysteriously that you are compelled to keep reading.
What Could be Better:
Too Short: By definition, novella’s are short; which means that it is up to the author to give us as much information, plot, and development as he can before the end. I actually thought this book was well paced. Wolf spent enough time at the beginning to develop the world, Ilamaych, and Earen. The middle and ending sections we have Earen’s character development and the beginning of external conflict. While I think the addition of Ficus was important for the ending plot, he addition felt rushed. We knew little about him and did we truly care about his part of the relationship? A full length novel would have given us the chance to build his character.
Before reading Chaining Flame, I knew nothing about James. L. Wolf as a writer, so I jumped at the chance to read someone new. I was pleasantly surprised (the cover had that typical low-press composite feel that would have repelled me on the shelf). The book was well written with a robust world for the length of novel. I finished this book probably in less than 2 hours because I was that enthralled with the read.
That being said, there was room for improvement. If this had been a full length novel, I would have given it as 3 star because of the lack of development of the relationship and Ficus. But, this is a novella, which is designed to give us more of a “snippet” and power packed story, which was delivered. I will say that this has aroused my curiosity about Mr. Wolf’s writing and I will check out his other novels. If you want a hot, quick, BDSM-style fantasy read, give this one a shot!
Lately I have been trying to save money for our new house by not buying so many books. That combined with my new job and new friends means less time a...moreLately I have been trying to save money for our new house by not buying so many books. That combined with my new job and new friends means less time available to read. Next week, I will be reviewing Rhys Ford’s Clockwork Tangerine. But I just could not put this book down this week and was massively impressed with the concept, writing, and conclusion. So I HAD to do a review of Rat’s Alley by Auburn this week.
Normally with any Fan-Fiction, the author either goes into two directions: Same-world, just alternative storyline or alternate storyline. I have written several book reviews and blog posts which are here. For this book we have a post-apocalyptic setting, and while they are still werewolves and the same characters on the TV show, the setting and plot is completely different.
What happens to the Pack when a catastrophic electrical breakdown happens in society? Will they all make it back to Beacon Hill? Will they all survive? Will this be the chance for Stiles and Derek to stop fighting their attraction and accept fate?
Stiles has the same personality that we see in the TV show. He is smart and sassy, always getting into trouble but uses his brain to find a way out. The story is set farther ahead in time, Stiles is now 20, with Derek being 26, so no longer do we have that conflict of “dating a teenager”. In the beginning of this book we see him in Mexico, south Mexico. He is doing some magical training with Consuelo, a witch. When the satellite phone stops working for several days, he knows something horrible has happened, so he begins his way back up Highway 1 to the pack in California. Luckily, the old Jeep is old enough to still run, most of the other cars won’t start.
Through Stiles we start to see how it must feel to have to rely on only yourself in isolation. He has to pack up and travel, alone in what he is beginning to understand is a something world-changing.
By the second day, Stiles had that crawling, hunch your shoulders and get ready to run feeling that always preceded another shit show. He hadn’t heard from the pack in more than a week. Derek insisted on weekly check ins — either someone called Stiles or he was supposed to call Derek to prove he was still alive. It went both ways: Stiles couldn’t settle if he was worrying about the pack. And now all he could do was worry about them and Derek in particular and, damn it, he should have taken his chances and said something to Derek before leaving, what if it was too late…?
We get that feeling of danger, tension, and deep feelings early on in the story that creates buy-in for their relationship to work.
Derek is one of my favorite characters on the TV show, and this book portrays his character correctly. Derek is physically strong, and steps in when he should to protect those that he loves or to do the right thing. We see early on in this book as he helps those in the car crash, that he has a moral strength in him to try to help others. But always, in the back of his mind is loyalty and duty to the pack. Pack always comes first. Keep in mind that this is Derek at 26, so he has matured as a person and as an Alpha, so some angst we might have seen with his character in the TV has left.
“You’re back,” she said eventually.
“I’ve got water,” Derek told her.
“This is Alex.”
“Angela Bailey. This is Billy.”
Billy peaked at Alex briefly then hid his face against his mother again.
They both looked at Derek. Derek handed Angela a bottle of water and didn’t offer his name.
Angela alternated drinking and giving sips to Billy. Alex winced when he saw Danny’s covered body and said nothing. He sipped slowly at the bottle of water Derek handed him and squinted westward. ”Any ideas?” he asked eventually.
“Walk,” Derek replied. A ragged line of people already had the same idea. Some were headed west down the side of the highway, though a few were marching back, maybe figuring they were closer to a town in that direction.
“My grand dad has a house in Afton,” Angela said unexpectedly. ”We should go there.”
Derek shrugged and finished his own water. ”I’ve got to get back to L.A.” He glanced down at Angela and Billy, then caught Alex’s gaze. ”keep the water.”
So we see early one from this quote that his focus is always the health and safety of his pack.
What did I love?
This author kicked it when it came to creating a dark and dangerous environment through writing. I was amazed at how unnerved I was while reading it. It gave me the same feelings that Stephen King’s The Stand did. Not because she was stealing plot or anything, she just has the ability to so thoroughly build the scene that you are SEEING it, FEELING it, and TASTING it. Be prepared, the first few chapters with Derek will have you drawn into the storyline quickly and it will be hard to put the book down.
A river of weekend gamblers were pouring back to the LA basin – Derek’s bail jumper had been one of them, now in the hands of the Las Vegas PD – and Derek let his foot press down the gas a little more, half intending to pass the mini-convoy of semis ahead of him. The SUV coughed and died instead; not just the engine but the electronics as well. Swift reflexes and strength let Derek wrestle the steering wheel right, hard enough to bounce off the Interstate and maintain control as it bounded onto the shoulder at eighty-five miles an hour. The SUV pin-balled and smashed sideways between two other vehicles in a horrendous screech of metal on metal and dust rose in a choking cloud around it.
So, the writing is compelling, but I also liked how the relationship of Sterek evolved through this book. We can tell based on when it happens that the friendship is strong, and they already do love each other, just neither had moved it to the physical because of fear of hurting the friendship. This story starts at that point and then because of nature of the trip, we don’t have sex every five minutes. There is actual plot and character development.
I also loved how the author ended this book. This is a traveling story, when the environment and journey IS the story; how Stiles and Derek handle the problems along the way back to Beacon Hill. So, as they get closer and closer, while the book is still building tension, you KNOWN that more trouble is coming. It was a great way to build the suspense within the storyline.
What could be better?
I really could not think of anything better about this book. It is fan-fiction, so some editing might be expected (not for spelling but rather for pacing), but other than that it was a great book.
I have a love for fan-fiction, no doubt about it. What I like about it is the freedom to take something that originally was well thought-out in characterizations and world creating. Fan-fiction gives us a chance to play with the world and plot, giving us something new and exciting that is not limited by society, ratings, producers, or the networks.
In Rats’ Alley, we see this in action. The storyline is epic in scope and direction, more than “just a romance”. You will go through numerous emotions: fear, hope, pain, lust, love, and determination. When the ending happens, it makes you feel glad, but only when you realize that some things will never be the same and we can only adapt.
This is a wonderful book, and I hope that this fan-fiction author goes on to become a professional author because she certainly has the skill to do so.
This novella is written by Rhys Ford, someone whom I have adored as a writer for some time. Almost everything she writes I love, and it is always diff...moreThis novella is written by Rhys Ford, someone whom I have adored as a writer for some time. Almost everything she writes I love, and it is always difficult for me to find fault with her writing. As full disclosure, I was given this book for and honest review. However, my opinions are honest.
First things first, this is a novella, pretty short at 90 pages. So the criteria that I might have on a full-length book review would not be fair against this size. Thus, this will be a “Quickie Review”, with some different criteria.
Page count: 90
One night, Marcus Stenhill, Viscount Westwood discovers a man in the act of being beaten by some drunk youths. After saving the man, Marcus uncovers that this Robin Harris was responsible for death and mayhem years before by the Society. While there is chemistry between Marcus and Robin, is it safe or possible for them to forgive the past and move forward together?
What I liked about this story is that it is not “sex focused”, but rather gives a large percentage of the novella to the plot, world building, and backstories. That being said, this is HEA story with a hot sex scene at the end. We get perspectives from Robin and Marcus, which I appreciated. Because of the shortness of the novella, any interaction between the two main characters must be packed full of relationship building.
The World Building: This is the best aspect of the story. We get into the world quickly, as the author builds the story through Marcus’s memory and observations. Bits of the conflict in the past give us hints of what led to the world’s current environment:
Thousands had suffered at the hands of the Society. They’d brought about the rise of the Golems, creatures – humans according to the courts – created in workshops and grown to adolescence in bowls of plasma and blood, only to be used as shock troops and assassins for the Society’s cause. They’d been terrorists of the basest form, attacking the very foundation of the British Empire, but Marcus had a difficult time reconciling the idea of the man laid out before him had anything to do with their destructive agenda.
Even Has a Theme: I normally do not worry about a theme in this size of a novella. However, I found something powerful in the story:
A man with power protects and serves those lesser than he. It is only the weak who use their power to do harm.
This is the truth that both men have discovered and spend their energy in life now giving back to others. We see it with Marcus early on as he saves Robin; Robin has spent his recent time trying to make other’s lives better with his skills.
What Could be Better:
Too Short: That goes without saying because it is 90 pages. The reason that this is 4 stars instead of 5 stars was that while I did take the fact that it was a novella into account, I was still left wanting. We had a definitive ending, and it was happy. Yet, I still felt like some other action was needed. More exterior conflict? More relationship building?
I really enjoyed this book. There are some aspects to the world building that I do not want to get into here as it would spoil the plot. However, because it deals with homosexuality, laws, and society, I can see how this book would not work for a full length gay romance novel. I think the author did the right thing: give us an intriguing and entertaining look at a steam punk world to want more. I think now Rhys Ford can build a similar world with huge plot lines and characters that we will drool over for years and years of series…. hint…. hint…(less)
With Fan fiction, it is often either closely parallel the original plot or something completely different. In this case, the author went with somethin...moreWith Fan fiction, it is often either closely parallel the original plot or something completely different. In this case, the author went with something completely different and placed it several years afterward the movies/books.
This book was cute as a button and the story was entertaining. If you are looking for some snuggle kitty time, then this is it!(less)