ARC Book Review – Back Piece

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Title:  Back Piece

Author: L.A Witt

Synopsis: Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy naval officer approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.

Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.

As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?

Back Piece is a sexy, emotional journey of two people learning to love and finding acceptance for who they really are.

Rating:  4 and a half stars

Review:  I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Colin and Daniel meet at the local gym – Daniel, a young Naval officer, and Colin, a local tattoo artist – and sparks fly almost immediately. Both men have their insecurities, however, and despite their initial ‘casual’ relationship, feelings and inner demons soon appear.

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of L.A Witt, so getting this ARC on Netgalley was amazing. First, I’m going to quickly go into why I only gave this one four and a half stars, instead of the usual five star rating, and then I’ll explain further why I loved this book.

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The only qualm I had with it was the extensive sex scenes. I know it’s the point of the book, but to me, there was too much sex in this one, and not enough other scenes to balance it out. That’s a personal opinion though, so just ignore that.

Now onto the good points:

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I loved how Witt wrote one of the characters as being a man with an eating disorder. That’s something that’s not represented well in media as a whole, so I appreciated the diversity there, where a lot of authors just have women with the eating disorders. Respect. Also, there’s a character who’s 26, and still a virgin, and I appreciated that even more, because in books, you generally find teenagers finding each other and losing their virginity to each other, and whatever, but as someone who’s 22 and never even dated before, it was especially nice to see a character in a book like that.

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As usual, the sexy scenes were brilliantly done – if a book can get me hot and bothered with just the sexual tension? It’s a keeper. I mean, damn! I loved reading about Colin and Daniel getting together, and figuring out what they both liked to do, and seeing that develop over the book? Wow.

Now for some quotes that I particularly liked – think of them as little tidbits to whet your appetite for this book:

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He was lucky to have shipmates who weren’t homophobic at all, let alone the type who could be menacing or dangerous Quite the opposite in fact – mostly they just tried to get him laid. Maybe not very skillfully, but they tried.

That was Colin’s Achilles’ heel. Hot men were great. Adorable guys? Want.

 

So that’s why everyone likes blowjobs so much.

The thought almost made him laugh out loud like a drunken idiot. And he still didn’t care.

 

“Well if you’re worried about your lack of skill, you’re more than welcome to practice on me.” He sighed melodramatically. “If that’s the sacrifice I have to make for the good of gay mankind, then…. Then-” He took a deep breath. “-I’m ready.”

Was this karma for taking so long to find someone? It was like the universe was saying, Sorry about keeping you a virgin for twenty-six years. Here’s an ex-porn star with tattoos and a six pack. Enjoy.

Don’t mind if I do.

 

Was Colin going to be upset? Think he wasn’t really enjoying it? Oh Christ, had he actually found a way to fuck up being fucked?

 

~~~~~

 

Back Piece is the first in a brand new series, and was released on April 25th 2017.

 

Happy reading!

Book Review – Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races #3)

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Title: Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races #3)

Author: Thea Harrison

Synopsis: In order to save his friend’s life, Wyr sentinel Rune Ainissesthai made a bargain with Vampyre Queen Carling—without knowing what she would ask from him in return. But when Rune attempts to make good on his debt, he finds a woman on the edge.

Recently, Carling’s Power has become erratic, forcing her followers to flee in fear. Despite the danger, Rune is drawn to the ailing Queen and decides to help her find a cure for the serpent’s kiss—the vampyric disease that’s killing her.

With their desire for each other escalating just as quickly as Carling’s instability spirals out of control, the sentinel and the Queen will have to rely on each other if they have any hope of surviving the serpent’s kiss

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Okay, so I’ve just binge-read the first three books in the Elder Races series so far, and I’m in love! This is the third book in the series, and while the first two were centered around Dragos and Tiago respectively, this one focuses on Rune Ainissesthai, Dragos’ second-in-command and best friend, and Carling Severan, the Vampyre representative on the Council. Rune owes Carling a favour, but whenever Carling calls that favour in, there’s something not quite right about the gorgeous Vampyre.

I’ve seen three Elder-Races guys so far – Dragos, Tiago, and Rune – and aside from Dragos (always my favourite!), I love Rune’s character in this. He uses words like ‘bitchin’ and ‘dude’ and I love that. It brings to mind the image of a hippie guy in board shorts, with a surfboard, and long blond hair, for some reason. I was a bit averse to him in the last book, but I genuinely did warm to him this time around.

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Carling’s okay, as far as heroines go, but in comparison to Niniane, and Pia, she was sort of a let down. I didn’t really connect with her like I did with Pia and Niniane, and for me, she didn’t give me that spark that a reader gets for a character.

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That being said, Thea Harrison is an amazing writer, and there were quite a few times I found myself laughing out loud while reading this.

Some of my favourite parts include:

How like a male. Pull out some tools and start banging on something, and they flocked in from miles around.

“If you fail in the slightest to do this one thing, I will find you. I will pull out your entrails and leave you to watch them bake in the noonday sun. Do you understand me?”

 

“My give-a-shit button’s broken, baby.”

 

Khalil scowled. “I could have sat on the children.”

“Sat with the children,” Carling murmured, as she fought the sudden urge to laugh. “With, not on.”

 

Carling made a note on her new iPad to remind herself to go a Google search for a definition of booyah.

 

Overall, I’d have to say that while this isn’t my favourite Elder Races book of the series so far, it’s still enjoyable, and well-written. LIke I’ve said before, if you like urban fantasy with a whole lot of sexual tension, this is a must-read series.

 

Happy reading!

ARC Review- The Upside of Unrequited

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Title: The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

Rating: 4 and a half stars

Review:

First of all, thank you so much to Penguin Random House for supplying me with this review copy to read – when I read the email that said my review request had been accepted, I think part of me died and went to heaven, purely because this happens to be the book I’ve been most looking forward to reading.

Okay, for this review, I think I’ll do it a little differently – first I’ll quickly go through why I didn’t rate this a full five stars, and then I’ll list some of the reasons why you HAVE to read it. Sound good? Okay, lets get cracking.

 

I didn’t relate to Molly as much as I related to Simon in the first book – Simon’s the adorkable Harry-Potter-loving, secret romantic, and I get that so much, whereas with Molly, I didn’t connect with her in the same way. That’s nothing against the author – it’s a purely personal thing. I understood how Simon was feeling, because I’ve had to deal with similar stuff myself, but since I’ve never had to experience Molly’s issues, I didn’t fully connect. Hence, the four and a half stars.

Another little thing that I find issue with, is the use of the word ‘fat’ to describe Molly. Again, maybe this is just me, but I hate that word and the connotations behind it. I’d much rather have preferred to read other words like ‘big girl’  or ‘plus-size’ rather than ‘fat’ – that word gives me the squicks, and a horrible feeling inside.

Other than that, I adored this book, and these are just five of the many reasons you should read it when it’s released in April:

  1. SO MUCH DIVERSITY!! I love how much diversity is in thi
    s book – there’s Molly’s who’s a plus-sized Jewish girl; Cassie who’s gay; their interracial mums, one of whom happens to be bisexual (!); Mina who is pansexual….the list goes on and on, and it’s wonderful.

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  1. Reid Wertheim – just….Reid. He’s a Game of Thrones/Tolkien fan, and he’s just amazing. I want to marry him so freaking much, and just have lots of little nerd babies with him….and I’m getting carried away now. Moving on-
  2. Cameos from ‘Simon Vs’ characters – you better believe I was fangirling when Simon appeared suddenly. I was basically like this:

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  1. The mothers – Patty and Nadine are so cool, I almost want them to be my mums too! They’re so chill about basically everything, and they treat Cassie and Molly like adults, instead of little kids, which is very nice to read.
  2. The Supreme Court legalising same-sex marriage – part of the book happens at this time, and it actually talks about it, and I’m so happy that something as important as this ruling was given its own moment in the book. This alone should be reason for you to read ‘The Upside of Unrequited.’

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And now, let me tease you with some of my favourite quotes from the book:

Classic adult logic. Reid and I are vaguely the same age, so of course we’re basically soul mates.

That’s two legit new friends today, and it’s not even four thirty. Mina of the Labia and Middle Earth Reid.

I’ve had crushes on twenty-six people, twenty-five of whom are not Lin-Manuel Miranda.

It would be nice if I were the kind of person who didn’t require a battalion of wingwomen to make this happen.

I mean, how does a person explain YouTube to her seventy-year-old grandmother?

When Patty came out, the first thing Grandma did was try to set her up with the cantor’s daughter. Who is actually straight, but Grandma gets thrown off when women have short hair.

“Yeah, so this one and his boyfriend just spent two hours arguing about whether I’m a Gryffindor or a Hufflelump.”

Hufflelump?” Simon covers his face. “I can’t. Jesus Christ. Abby, you’re embarrassing yourself.”

 

The Upside of Unrequited is being released on April 11th 2017

Book Review – Possessed

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Title: Possessed

Author: Niki Valentine

Synopsis: Who do you trust when you can no longer trust your own mind?

Emma’s life has always been a struggle, and now she’s been accepted at a prestigious music school, she is determined to excel. But when the impossibly chic twins, confident Sophie and quieter Matilde, come crashing into her life – surrounding her with champagne and parties – they demand Emma’s full attention.

Then shy Matilde commits suicide and shockingly, her identical twin Sophie flourishes. Now odd things are happening to Emma: blackouts, waking up in strange places, bizarre dreams. Something, or someone, is consuming Emma’s mind. Terrified, Emma begins to doubt everything and everyone around her, especially the beautiful Sophie…

Rating: 5 stars

Review: Reading this book feels like falling down the rabbit hole into insanity. That’s really the only way I can describe it accurately.

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Emma’s dreams seem to be coming true – she’s at a prestigious music school, she’s made two great friends almost immediately – but things aren’t quite as they seem, especially the weird dynamic between Matilde and Sophie. When Matilde dies, that’s when Sophie seems to go off the end, and Emma starts blacking out at weird moments. Is it just stress, or is there something paranormal haunting her?

I was throroughly shaken by the book, and how it ended – and that doesn’t happen often. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE psychological thrillers, that leave me questioning my own sanity, and I did love this one as well, but it unnerved me so much I could even feel Emma’s terror through the page. It was seriously intense, to say the very least.

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The character of Sophie was so well written though –  she’s this manipulation queen, who can control everyone around her, and she knows it.

Sophie was her animated self, holding court about some of the professors….. Now she was spinning a story around Margie, turning her into a witch who ate children, playing up to the shrieks of laughter she was getting from the girls around her.

Her entirely too unhealthy relationship with Matilde was one of this things which freaked me out the most, I think, over the course of the novel, even though it was insanely well woven into the plot.

She thought about the twins. Sophie, who now had a boyfriend, and Matilde, who did not. They hadn’t rowed about it. Matilde had simply stepped aside.

I found Emma to be a little annoying though – I mean, if you’re really this disturbed, then freaking leave! Also, isn’t there other teachers at this school you could have told? Get a grip, woman.

Overall though, this was a fantastic psychological thriller. On the cover, it compares this book to the movie ‘Black Swan’, and even though I’ve never seen this movie before, I really want to see it now, just to see if it really is like this.

If you like psychological thriller novels, and aren’t afraid of a good scare, this is a book you should read. Get it online, or at a book shop, or at the local library – just read it!

Here are a few of my favourite psycho quotes from the book (just to show you a little bit of how truly messed up it is):

“Oh you don’t want me to smash up your mirror.” She cocked her head. “That’s a shame.” She smiled, a fake cracked smile like a broken doll. “I’m going to do it anyway.

She looked drunk on the blood, as if she needed more.

She realised that the girl was cruel, nasty; whatever her reasons, she was truly foul in the things she did.

“You know you’ll do it. You always do what I tell you, in the end, Tilly.” Her voice was cold.

Book Review – Matched

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Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Synopsis: In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Rating: 3 and a half stars

Review: I got this book from my local library, and honestly? I was expecting to enjoy it more than I did.

Set in a dystopian world where the goverment decides what your optimal age is for getting married, having kids, dying, and where they decide who you marry, everything seems ideal. Nothing is left to chance. Cassia’s Matching seems to go perfectly – she gets paired with her best friend, who’s pretty awesome in his own right – but then things start happening, and she isn’t sure what’s right.

Am I the only who thinks that Cassia’s a very unlikable character? I just found her to be so damn irritating in so many ways. I mean, all she had to do was be with Xander, and not poke her nose into anything else. Yet she couldn’t even do that. I just didn’t like her throughout the book.

I liked Ky Markham though – he was, in my opinion, one of the the few characters who didn’t have the personality of a robot. I really liked the writing scenes, because it showed Ky’s personality, not his social status, and that he really does have a heart.

I’m rating this book as a ‘three-and-a-half stars’ book, because even through the good parts of the book, I think it’s too similar to other dystopian books out there at the moment – a goverment who has changed a lot, but over the generations, it’s become normal even though it’s messed up.

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I probably won’t read the second one, but if you like dystopians, I recommend at least trying this one. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it more than I did.

Book Review – The Wheel Mages

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Title: The Wheel Mages (Changing Tides #1) (Kindle book)

Author: Aimee Davis

Synopsis: Alena Kozlov is one of the last of a dying kind. As the first water mage to be inducted into the Sanctum in over fifty years, she has the opportunity to help the old order destroy a band of rebel mages who threaten the principles the Sanctum is founded upon.

Blinded by loyalty to the Sanctum and love for her master, Alena and three other mages set out to investigate the rebels, but the more she discovers, the less she understands.

Confronted with hard truths about the Sanctum she once believed in and the corruption she sees within it, Alena must make one of the most difficult decisions of her life: follow the path she’s trained for or leave the Sanctum behind.

Whatever the answer, she knows one thing for sure—the old Sanctum saying is true: It is a rocky road she must travel.

Rating: 5 stars

Review: I got this book straight from the author herself, and oh wow, I have so many feelings about it. I’m still reeling from what happened. Oh I know! Lets express my feelings in gifs!

When I started it:

 

 

Halfway Through Reading It:

 

When I finished it:

 

 

Okay, so lets begin actually putting these feelings into words.

When we first meet the main character – Alena – she’s finishing her mage training with her mentor Nikolai, and on her way to the mage headquarters, otherwise known as the Sanctum. When they get there, we meet another mentor-student pair; Catalina, and her sullen student Felipe. From there, everything snowballs out of control.

 

This book is just the perfect mix of all my favourite fantasy novels – the relationship between Alena and Nikolai reminds me of Maerad and Cadvan from Alison Croggon’s Pellinor series, and the constant twists and turns is very similar to Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series. Is it hard to tell I have a particular taste in books?

 

These mages were the magical world’s equivalent of royalty.

 

32d8b457cc5ce97cf92529b3389c7c6cThe whole way through though, I was flipping back and forth between what guy I wanted Alena to end up with – why did you have to make it so hard? Making me choose between the charismatic Felipe, and the absolutely darling Nikolai? Evil. Pure evil.

 

His pleading eyes shattered the fragile walls I’d tried to construct around my feelings for him.

I glanced at Nikolai again, at his high cheekbones, kind green eyes, messy brown hair, and broad muscular body.

 

The world building was exquisite, and the characters’ developments were written so well, that I just want to go back and read it all over again. The best thing though, is that everyone makes questionable decisions, and nobody’s either pure good or pure evil. Everyone has darkness in them, in real life and in this, and I appreciate that.

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Another important aspect I loved about this is that Aimee Davis effortlessly weaved in the existence of same-sex relationships into the story. That was especially nice to read about, since a lot of other fantasy books sidestep the subject with a few exceptions. It wasn’t made a big deal about, but it also wasn’t swept under the rug either. Props for that.

 

He’d said his father had sent Isabelle away because she liked girls.

 

“I wouldn’t expect your master to speak ill of the Sanctum, but there are unwritten rules. One of those rules is that they don’t train mages with my… proclivities.

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Overall, this is an incredible book, and I’m so thankful to the author for emailing me and bringing my attention to this magical world. I’m definitely going to be looking forward to reading more of her stuff when it’s published. If you like high fantasy, and magic, and men who are equally as attractive and sweet as each other, this is something you just have to read.

 

Book Review – Making Love

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Title: Making Love

Author: Aidan Wayne

Synopsis: Carla the cupid is an excellent shot, but her chemistry is so bad that most of her matches don’t last. Her dream is to shoot a True Love pair, but until her scores improve, she’s relegated to the Puppy Love division of Aphrodite Agency.

Leeta, a succubus, is looking for a True Love match. Which is highly unusual, as most succubi are aromantic. But Aphrodite Agency—her only hope—turns her away because the receptionist can’t believe she’s not just looking for an easy meal.

Carla agrees to take Leeta’s case on freelance. She figures it’s a win-win: Carla gets to put a succubus’s True Love match on her résumé, and Leeta gets to find her True Love! Except as Carla tries to find a match for Leeta, she finds herself maybe . . . relieved when the matches don’t end well. And Leeta seems to be getting pickier and pickier. Things will never work out until Carla learns enough about chemistry to figure out who’s truly best for Leeta, and until Leeta can admit what—or who—she truly wants.

Rating: 3 stars

Review: I received this title from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was an incredibly short read – only just under 100 pages long in total – but it was sweet. When I saw this on Netgalley, I was intrigued by the notion of a romance between a succubus and a cupid, so I gave it a go.

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Personally I found it to be overly brief, if that makes any sense? There wasn’t a lot of character building, and everything seemed to be over with very quickly. If it had been a full length novel, I would have gotten into it more, but this was very short and over too fast.

 

 

The concept is fantastic, I admit, and after finishing my last ARC (a serious romance novel), I was delighted to be able to indulge in a spot of super-cute fluffiness, because it really was very cute. I loved the upbeat nature of Carla, and her determination to find True Love for everyone, even for someone whom everyone says is incapable of True Love. I do wish we had more character building for Carla and Leeta though – they have the potential for so much development, but the novella was so short that their whole interaction seemed rushed.

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If you’re looking for a cute novella to read over your lunch break, with a demisexual Cupid and a succubus who just wants love, then this is something you’d enjoy.

 

Making Love is due to be published by Riptide Publishing on Jan 30th 2017.