Review: Slap and Tickle (With a Kick #3) by Clare London

Bryan Harrison is a successful accountant and a man who admires order and self-discipline. It’s a startling break from his routine when he literally bumps into Phiz Bussman outside With A Kick. Phiz’s lifestyle and behaviour are in complete contrast to Bryan’s, and appear totally chaotic. But they each recognise something in the other that they need.

Bryan has been helping With A Kick with its financial difficulties, and is finding it difficult to balance his professional persona with friendship with the owners. But then he’s always found it tricky to expose his more vulnerable feelings. His cool facade hides loneliness: he believes he’ll never find a lover who accepts and welcomes his secret desire.

Whereas Phiz is all about exposure! He’s defined by his cheerful but clumsy liveliness, his open-hearted emotions, and his physical needs. Despite that, he’s lonely as well. He craves someone who will help him bring purpose and focus into his life, and admits freely he needs a firm hand – in every way.

If they can both accept a friendship that’s destined for more, Bryan may be just the man to provide it.

This is the third installment of the With a Kick series and every time I read one I crave the concoctions Lee and Patrick come up with even harder. And, I’m not even a big ice cream far. The Slap and Tickle though, I’d be all over that. While this is part of a series I’d say it could definitely be read as a stand-alone. The commonality is the location and With a Kick’s proprietors, but we don’t have their whole story yet so you can definitely read this one for Bryan and mostly for Phiz.

I loved Phiz. He’s the definition of a hot mess. He’s clumsy, speaks in stream of consciousness rants laced with f-bombs and he can’t hold a job to save his life. It’s not that he isn’t motivated or a hard worker, he’s just not comfortable in crowds and lacks the formal education to do what he loves in arts and graphics. He definitely has the soul of an artist but he completely lacks the ability to control his own chaos. Now Bryan, the accountant for With a Kick, on the other hand, is nothing but control and order. This poor dude is so tightly wound he’s in a constant clench. It’s really a good thing we got to read his inner musings because on the surface he just sounds like an uptight asshole. He’s not though, he’s just kind of socially awkward. He blurts out things that come across all wrong then berates himself internally for opening his big fat yapper.

Bryan’s also had his heart broken and because he doesn’t really see himself as the lovable type, he’s resigned himself to being alone. He’s just Sad Bryan until Phiz comes along and messes up his order.
Bryan has more than heartbreak and awkwardness going on. He’s got a bit of a kinky streak in him that none of his previous boyfriends would go for. It’s not even really hardcore, he just gets off on being in charge and dishing out the spanks. I felt bad for the poor guy, because his kink really fit his personality and I couldn’t help but think if he could find his match he could finally be comfortable in his own skin. Good thing my Phiz came along. Phiz not only gets off on being controlled and having his cute little bum taken to task, he needs it.

Who better to help focus a hot mess with a little discipline than a repressed accountant with a spanking kink? Bryan I tells ya, that’s who! Bryan helps Phiz keep centered and the sexy scenes between these two were damn good. They did communicate, if a little awkwardly at times. It made me feel like things were just hanging there waiting to be said at times, but given these two and their personalities it actually fit.

The wrap up at the end was a little quick and I was a little confuzzled as to what went down with With a Kick. Without going into detail, Phiz and With a Kick both had problems solved, but the way it was told without really telling left enough gray area to make me question what I figured actually happened, or may have happened. Not totally sure. That took nothing away from the story though as the story really belongs to Phiz and Bryan. I just love Patrick and Lee and can’t wait for their tale. I really hope that happens soon. Maybe that’s what it missing for me, I’m intrigued by Lee and Patrick and just want more from them. Either/or this is a fun and quirky series that’s both hot and sweet, I’ll definitely be reading the next one.

For more info on Slap and Tickle, check it out on Goodreads!
**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Review: Just a Game by A.J. Ridges

When Bryan reluctantly agrees to let his new neighbor, Ben come over to watch the hockey game, he has no idea that his gay roommate, Tim is home or that Tim has company – male company. While Ben and Bryan are forced to endure the telltale sounds of sex coming from Tim’s bedroom, desires they never knew existed come to the surface.

This book contains erotic m/m sexual content and language that is intended for adult readers.

Just a Game is by a new author so when the request came in I waffled quite a bit before accepting the book for review. I'm glad I said "yes"! This is what I'd call a fantasy erotic romance. Fantasy as in something you'd fantasize about, not fantasy as in unicorns and fairies. It is double GFY and smokin HOT!

I don't want to spoil anything in this short story so I'm just going to make a few observations and let you decide if it's right for you.

My very first thought as I began reading was "whoa, Ben & Tim?" (MCs from Jay Bell's "Something Like...." series) but it didn't take but a page or two to get over that shock and it never crossed my mind again. Tim is not one of the two main characters, he's Bryan's roommate.

I mentioned fantasy earlier. You're going to need to suspend reality just a bit here in order for this to work. I expected this going in because I knew it was a short story and I knew it was GFY. If you know that ahead of time, like I did, it will allow you to enjoy the story without the expectation that it's true to life. I hate mentioning this but I feel I need to; there's unprotected (bareback) sex in this story. Again, I read this as fantasy so it didn't bother me but I know it's a deal breaker for some.

There's not a lot of romance here but there is a touch and it ends with a HFN.

If you're intrigued and you're willing to give this a chance, I don't think you'll be disappointed. This story is available at Smashwords and Amazon for $.99. I enjoyed it and look forward to more from this author.

A copy was provided by the Author for an honest review. This is an erotic short story and I rated it accordingly.

Find more info on Goodreads

Review: Last Marine Standing (Heroes #2) by RJ Scott

Former Marine Recon, Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Jackson has secrets. The things he did for his country, the things he saw, must never be spoken about. Until that is, his team is targeted.

A shift in political alliances means one particular mission undertaken by Mac and his Fire Team needs to be wiped from the history books. Starting with the team itself.

Forest Ranger, Samuel Larson wants to find the Marines who saved his life. He just wants to say thank you. What he can’t know is that he's walking into a firestorm of betrayal and murder.

When Samuel arrives at Mac's place he throws Mac's plans for hiding out of the window. Abruptly Mac has to protect a man who threatens his heart, only this time he can't be sure he will succeed in keeping Sam alive.

When the people you trusted turn on you, when you are the last one standing, should you take your secrets to the grave? Or make the murderers pay?

I love RJ Scott’s stories, I always know I’m going to get a good read no matter what, it’s a given. Last Marine Standing was no exception. I liked the first story, A Reason to Stay, but didn’t love one of the MC’s (Viktor, I’m glaring at you), but this installment gave me two heroes I could totally get behind. I think that’s why I like RJ’s characters so much, I mean, sure Mac was the hero on paper, but Sam was no less a hero for his strength and character. So, you get double your heroes for your dollar and the characters read as true equals and less stereotypical.

Sam went through a horrific experience as a teenager and was saved by Mac. Years later Sam has put himself back together and made a life for himself that he is proud of even if he is lonely. I remember when I finished A Reason to Stay (Sam is Aiden’s BFF) that I really, really wanted to read Sam’s story. I was hooked on him in book 1 and I wanted him to get his HEA. RJ never disappoints with the HEA. Years later he feels he needs to thank the Marines that saved him in order to truly put his past behind him. He also may just have a smidge of a lingering crush on Mac from all those years ago.

But, Mac and his team are on a really short list of disposable collateral related to their final mission as a team. He and the remaining member, Spider are going off the grid and being found by Sam, who obviously has the best of intentions and no clue as to the shitstorm he’s walking into, is, shall we say, less than optimal. What follows is mystery, action and a fuckton of UST. All good stuff. I will say though, if you are a pure romance reader, Last Marine Standing may not be a match for you. The romance takes a backseat to the mystery. The romance was still there, it came later in the book, but the way it happened fit the characters (especially Mac) really well. Anything different wouldn't have worked in my mind. Mac has really only known his military life. Their story wasn’t a plethora of hearts and flowers, it was subtle, but it was clear. A different approach would have discounted Mac's experiences and not done him justice. But, make no mistake, these two cats were falling in love.

I liked the flashback to the characters from A Reason to Stay back home in the Green Mountains and I appreciated the fact that Viktor had a voice in this one. It felt like he had his full emotional maturity happen and I wanted that for Aiden and needed it for Viktor. It read like a natural fit to this story too, it wasn’t a forced plot point just to make me happy (I mean isn’t that what authors want to do? Make me happy? Don’t burst my bubble and tell me otherwise, I’m a needy Peachy). It gave Aiden and Viktor their complete HEA that I felt A Reason to Stay was missing.

The epilogue was perfect and made me want to snuggle in front of a fire in a cabin with these two. I promise I would just park it in the corner and lurk. Not creepy at all. It was hot and sweet and it gave me all the romance I needed after the slow build up that fit for this story.

For more info on Last Marine Standing Heroes #2 check it out on Goodreads!
**a copy of this story was provided by the author for an honest review**

CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME: The Stallion vs. Cupcake

Mark Cooper is angry, homesick, and about to take his stepdad’s dubious advice and rush Prescott College’s biggest party fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi. Greek life is as foreign to Aussie transplant Mark as Pennsylvania’s snowstorms and bear sightings. So, when the fraternity extends Mark a bid, Mark vows to get himself kicked out by the end of pledge period. But then he’s drawn into Alpha Delt’s feud with a neighboring fraternity.

Studious Deacon Holt is disappointed to learn Mark’s pledging Alpha Delt, his fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa’s sworn enemy. Mark is too beautiful for Deacon to pass up an invitation for sex, but beyond sex, Deacon’s not sure. He wants a relationship, but a difficult family situation prevents him from pursuing anything beyond his studies.

Mark and Deacon’s affair heats up as the war between their fraternities escalates. They explore kinks they didn’t know they had while keeping their liaison a secret from their brothers. But what Romeo and Juliet didn’t teach these star-crossed lovers is how to move beyond sex and into a place where they share more than a bed. That’s something they’ll have to figure out on their own—if the friction between their houses, and between Mark and America, doesn’t tear them apart.

Why did Cupcake choose this book for me? Because she knew I would love it if I would just get over my stubbornness and give it a chance. She was 100% correct. Did I have to step out of my comfort zone? Oh yeah! Did I enjoy every aspect of the book? No, I could have done without the big taboo, the reason I didn't want to read the book in the first place. But I will say that these two authors somehow managed to make it something I was ok reading about. It was tasteful if such an act can be called that. I'm not going to dwell on it, but it was talked about quite a bit in the book. I'll just tell you if that's your only reason for not wanting to give the a try, do yourself a favor and get over it. I'm so glad I did.

The characters made this book a hit more so than the story itself for me. Mark Cooper was such a lovable guy and needed someone like Deacon so badly. And Deacon adored Mark. He accepted him completely and didn't try to change him. 

I also loved the supporting characters especially Brandon and Blake. 

The book touched on some heavy subjects and the hazing was a bit much for me. I wanted to skim most of the frat stuff but I was afraid I'd miss something important so I didn't. 

This book has heart. This book has humor. It also has some major kink. But these guys prove that love is love and I'm so glad I accepted the challenge to read Mark Cooper versus America

Thank you, Cupcake! 

You're welcome, Stallion and… 

*assist for MANTIES*
My personal have from this book and just because.

Boots McHenry and his boyfriend Ryan are young superstars in the North American Paintball League, a high-stakes sport where losers face exile -- five full years of it, on an island so secret no one can be sure it even exists. After Ryan has a tragic collision with an opposing team's paintball, the rules of the game force the boyfriends apart.

Boots is shattered without Ryan, so when his best friend Clemente Santiago suggests a daring, high-seas mission to find the island and reunite the pair, Boots jumps at the chance. They assemble a crack team to join them, including fashion model and mixed-martial-arts champ Colby Kroft, hunky-but-shy sea-captain Marcus Tumble, and Piper Pernfors, the ex who's aching to make Boots forget Ryan ever existed.

HOMO ACTION LOVE STORY! is a lighthearted, sex-filled adventure from the author of THE CRANBERRY HUSH and THE PAINTING OF PORCUPINE CITY. It's a perfect storm of beautiful fishermen, murderous pirates, blossoming romances, and secrets that call almost everyone's motives into question. Land, ho! This page-turner is sure to float your boat.

Silly Fun!

I don't even know what to say about this book. I'm going with tagging it as scfy, but it's kind of a satire as well as an adventure. There were some feels that added poignancy, but didn't tip the scales to overkill. All of it is farfetched and kept me entertained.

Boots McHenry is a professional paintballer along with his boyfriend, Ryan, when we first meet them. All of the story is told from Boots' perspective and let me tell you, Boots is a dude. He calls everyone dude, he thinks like a dude, he acts like a dude-not dumb, just a dude. A pretty entertaining dude at that. At any rate, paintball is like professional soccer in this society, so he and his boyfriend are under the microscope all the time. It's clear from the get-go that something is amiss with Ryan. Their team, Theban Warriors, are contenders for The Splatter Cup and during a big match Ryan gets "killed". When you get "killed" in professional paintball you are sent to exile island for 5 years. Immediately. 

What do you do when your boyfriend unexpectedly gets taken away from you for 5 years? Well, first you hook up with your straight best friend, Clemente, in an epic butt cherry popping event wherein the sheets got ripped because they were both so sweaty it was hard getting traction for the pounding.

"Honestly, it's not so different from these MMAC fights, except that there's jizz at the end."

Then, you charter a boat and set out to find exile island so you can have a powwow with your newly estranged boyfriend. This is the most ragtag bunch of rescuers I've ever come across. I mean, who organizes a team comprised of their ex-boyfriend who's still got it bad for Boots, their pound buddy who you shredded the sheets with, your boyfriend's brother and your boyfriend's replacement's brother on the team as the captain? Who does that? Boots McHenry, that's who. Technically, it was Clemente's idea, but still. It made for some high seas hijinks to be sure.

Piper, Colby, Marcus, Clemente and Boots make a good team when the "plastic" pirates hijack their yacht. The plastic pirates are a ill-kempt and stinky bunch who picked the wrong professional paintballers to fuck with. Eighteen hours in the Pacific and witnessing a shark attack can't stop these dudes! Waterproof smartphone will fix that deal. Suck it, plastic pirates!

Throughout the trip the tension between Boots and Clemente builds and builds but the specter of Ryan looms between them. 

Some guys are cute and you want to pinch their cheeks and make sure they get home OK. Some guys are hot and you want them to bend you over a barrel and pound heaven into you.

I will admit I was uncomfortable with what I interpreted as a quick rebound time initially, but Boots' and Clemente's chemistry cannot be denied. Truthfully, I liked all of these dudes, probably Colby the most because of his exuberance and joie de vivre or maybe his name… Even Piper I kept thinking his heart was in the right place even though it's clear Boots isn't returning to his fuck truck any time soon. Poor guy. Despite the cockamamie premise of Homo Action Love Story!, I found the characters authentic and the relational aspects between them very organic along with the dialogue only with speedboats, pirates, shark attacks and typical action hero antics thrown in to push the story forward.

In a word, popcorn entertainment. Oh wait, that's 2 words. Oops. 

A special thank you to Mr. Monopoli for 'BILF' and 'dudenheimer'. *pets new words*

Recommend for GFY and adventure fans. 

Many thanks to The Stallion for choosing this for me. I'm certain had he not pointed it out, I'd never have run across it.

CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME Part III-The Oddest One of Them All…

You know that saying the third time's the charm? Was this one of those times? You decide.

The Stallion was coaxed out of the stables. A rarity indeed.
The Stallion didn't quite adhere to the rules of CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME…  
Then again, he answers to no one and makes his own rules. 
It's his stable. We just work here. 'Work' being a relative term.

Our synchronicity wasn't up our usual exacting CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME standards… 

He took off out of the starting gate like they were giving away free cars at the finish line. I mean, he dusted me so bad! SO. BAD. 

Maybe he had a cougar in the car with him. I don't know. I do know I had to get all jacked up on Mt. Dew just to try to catch him. However, even though he Ricky Bobby'd the bejeezus out of me, there were no losers in CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME.

Naturally, he was a gentleman and waited an interminable amount of time at the finish line for me to answer some post-DOME questions. *cough* Like three months but who's counting?

The Interview

Actually I did, but The Stallion made it crystal clear that while he did enjoy popping his fisting reading cherry he has never and will never be fisted nor does he have any desire to engage in any fisting type activities. Ever.

*puts away gloves and lube with a heavy heart*

1.  How awesome was your CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME experience?

The Stallion:  I had a blast! Cupcake is a hoot so it was a party even though it was just the two of us. 

Cupcake:  I popped The Stallion's fisting reading cherry. *buffs nails* It doesn't get much better than that.

2.  Did your challenger choose well or miss the mark?

The Stallion:  Cupcake nailed it when she picked Mark Cooper for me. I don't think I would have read this book if I hadn't been challenged to read it. And that would have sucked for me because it was fantastic! I liked it so much I couldn't wait to read book 2 of the series and downloaded it as soon as it was released. 

Cupcake:  I'll admit to being skeptical when I started Homo Action Love Story!, but The Stallion knows I love dudes being dudes and good characters and pirates. This was a win on all fronts. AND I picked up new lingo from this thing. Amusing AND useful? The book practically paid for itself!

3.  Favorite scene from the book?

The Stallion:  There's just too many to list but this passage really hit home when I read it:
"Deacon smoothed Mark’s hair back from his forehead. Asleep, with all his attitude stripped away, there was no trace of angry bunny at all. Just tired bunny. Sweet bunny. Maybe lost bunny, who had looked up at the stars only to discover that they were wrong, that he didn’t recognize them anymore."
 Awwww, this was so sweet and romantic! 

Cupcake:  I have 2. The first time Boots and Clemente hooked up-the whole sequence from their banter at Yon's to the microphone usage to dissipate Clemente's nervousness to tearing the sheets-the whole thing was a win. The other was them clinging to the ice chest in the middle of the Pacific, thinking it was the end and Clemente stroking Boots' face. So romantic.
Honorable mention for the lube "wrestling" bit. *eyebrow waggle*

4.  Would you willingly enter THE DOME again?

The Stallion:  HELL YES! My unicorns know me well and haven't let me down yet. 

Cupcake:  I ❤ THE DOME! It's so glittery and has a candy center! Plus, who can resist lubed up dudes wrestling? You never know what sort of things you might find in THE DOME. It's always a good time.

5.  Any chance you'd don some MANTIES for promotional purposes or y'know science? 

The Stallion:  *blushes* I'll never tell! ;)

Cupcake:  Well, it was worth a shot. 

That's all for now. The Stallion & I thank you kindly for reading.

Look for more CANDYLAND THUNDERDOME battles soonish. Til then remember to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I'm here to party.

Shake and Bake 4-ever!

Review: Tame a Wild Human by Kari Gregg

Drugged, bound, and left as bait on the cusp of the lunar cycle, Wyatt Redding is faced with a terrifying set of no-win scenarios. Best case: he survives the coming days as a werewolf pack’s plaything and returns to the city as a second-class citizen with the mark—and protection—of the pack. Worst case: the wolves sate their lusts with Wyatt’s body, then send him home without their protection, condemning him to live out the rest of his short life as a slave to the worst of humanity’s scorn and abuse.

Wyatt’s only chance is to swallow every ounce of pride, bury his fear, and meekly comply with every wicked desire and carnal demand the wolf pack makes of him. He expects three days of sex and humiliation. What he doesn’t expect is to start enjoying it. Or to grow attached to his captor and pack Alpha, Cole.

As the lunar cycle ends, Wyatt begins to realize that the only thing to fear more than being sent home without the pack’s protection is being sent home at all. 

"You need a dick in this ass, human. A lot of dicks. Fortunate for you that you'll be fucked in abundance. Now shut up."

This starts the tone of Kari Gregg's latest, "Tame a Wild Human" but it does not define this paranormal erotica treat. Set in an urban fantasy setting, this story reminded me a little of the movie, "The Purge". In this world, instead of purging out the weak, wolves and humans live together but every full moon, wolves are allowed to unleash their beast and hunt humans for fucking and more.

No one dies in this book, but the way this society is set up, humans are low on the totem pole of superior beings. They're weak, greedy and untrustworthy. Wolves sift through the humans that aren't hiding behind fortified buildings, fuck them. Whether they want it or not. Here's my trigger warning: non-con gang banging, some violence (it's not just a huge fuckfest) and some gore. Don't get me wrong, the triggers do play a major part of this story but that is not the only player. It created a werewolf society that actually hunts for mates but they don't ask or woo or go through the hearts and flowers preamble. (I don't mind the preamble but sometimes I want to get to the point -this story does this) They take what they want. It might be vicious to some and if you rather werewolves that act more like humans than the true predator that they are supposed to be, I wouldn't suggest this.

You add a shifter to story, I'm checking it out. Kari Gregg writes a shifter anything...I'm on it.

And she didn't disappoint me. She writes great animal shifters - they usually don't play by the rules, they do some filthy, squeamish things and revel in their nature. Was this dark? I guess? My scale is pretty warped so it wasn't scary or extremely dark to me, as more hot and cool. Because the beast in this story is the human.

Wyatt is a human, sold out by his brother, Andrew, to settle his brother's gambling debts on the first night of the full moon. In this society, humans who are used by the werewolves for rutting and survive, have two options. Either come back with a wolf token (ear piercing) or nothing at all. If you have a token, you have protection of wolves against the other humans. If you don't come back with a token, you can be used however the humans want to use you. Any wages you earn upon return, goes to the next of kin which would be Andrew. Andrew got to steal his brother's life because he's greedy and immoral.

Wyatt's brother drugs, binds him and leaves him in the woods. An alpha and his pack finds the straight Wyatt and shows him quite a gang banging time for the first day. As the full moon progressed, I learned about the werewolf culture. Humans are there to fuck, protect, mate. Humans can be too selfish to understand their worth to a werewolf. Sluts are there to slake the pack's needs. That is how Wyatt starts out. He's terrified but he's also strong because he steels himself to accept whatever the pack dishes out to survive. He might seem resigned but there was strength in his actions. He wanted to survive even if he had to be used to get to his endgame -a token and running away from the wolves.

And used him they did.

And it was obscene. And lewd. Non-con was A gang rapes Wyatt.

But he was not defeated.

In fact, he comes to think like a wolf. Yes, he's still afraid but he understands them. I understood him. He became to need so prettily. Especially once the alpha really introduces him to werewolf physiology

The things Wyatt did. Damn. And when he began to crave those things, that's when the magic happened.

Wyatt was raped, over and over. They broke him down. He was a warm hole, a whore but he became an alpha's bitch, a mate. It might've been forced but I thought he was worthy. It might not be textbook romance but to me, mating surpasses that. Mates are together for life, there is no other. And I really, really liked this one. I liked how Wyatt was tamed.

And if this sounds like this is up your alley, enjoy!

Well written, fuckhot, giving you just enough to get a slice of Wyatt and his Master's life.

I've been Gregged and I liked. Wish there was more but I am satisfied enough with how it ended. I'm resigned to Kari Gregg endings. *shrugs*

Recommended for readers who don't mind non-con, forced mating and gang bangs. "Tame a Wild Human" will be released 1/19!!!!!!!

For more information on Goodreads and Booklikes!

Review: Paint the Sky by Lily G. Blunt

A love of art...
A mutual interest in art draws two shy university students together. Ben admires Vinnie’s painting of the university building, so Vinnie invites him to an exhibition of his artwork. From a wealthy family, Ben purchases some of Vinnie’s art and arranges for the artist to personally hang the paintings in his apartment.

Starry, starry night...
Ben commissions Vinnie to paint his portrait, in order to spend more time with the artist. On the night of the sitting, Vinnie fingerpaints the starry night on Ben’s chest... and they kiss. They begin a relationship beneath the night sky, God’s own canvas.

But every relationship has its ups and downs and so it is with theirs. When Ben thinks Vinnie spends too much time with a fellow artist, his jealousy drives a wedge between them and forces Vinnie into the very thing Ben dreads.

Hold tight to your dreams...
Ben and Vinnie will have to walk through fire before they can find one another again. But if they believe, and if they keep their faith in the night sky and each other, just maybe they can make their dreams of love come true.

Oh so close to a 4 Heart rating but not quite there.

Did I enjoy Paint The Sky? ABSOLUTELY! Were there things about it that drove me crazy? ABSOLUTELY!

I loved the writing. Let me repeat, I LOVED THE WRITING. Now that you know I loved the writing I going to say that at times, epecially in the beginning, I felt it was too descriptive. Here's an example "Choosing lightweight, comfortable clothing from my ample wardrobe to wear for the morning, I dressed in front of the full-length mirror. After adding gel to my fashionably wayward hair, and slipping a single gold stud into my ear, I admired the final look with a smile." For me that was too much. However, most of the writing was beautiful and the descriptions painted a very real story for me. A story that captured my heart and kept me glued to the page.

I loved both main characters. Vinnie and Ben were each very likable in their own way. Ben was a playboy and Vinnie was the shy art student. Together they made the perfect couple. A couple you wanted to root for and see happy. Vinnie's brothers and sister were great supporting characters. One brother, Finn, was a bit of a snake at one point but I forgave him easily.

The story was good. It was a bit predictable at times but the romantic moments more than made up for it. My biggest issue was the big misunderstanding. I found this one to go on just a tad too long. The author does a good job but it still was a stretch for me. There was just too many missed opportunities. I also didn't understand Vinnie's family not getting more involved at that point. They were very involved in his life before he and Ben seperated yet they didn't do enough to help him when he was obviously miserable without Ben.

Paint The Sky does have a happy ending and it's a beautiful romance. I laughed, I cried, I raged and I swooned. This book has it all, including a few great sex scenes. Although not perfect, I would recommend Paint The Sky and I would definitely read more from this author. And OMG, lets all take a moment to appreciate the GORGEOUS cover. GAH!

A copy of this book was provided by author in exchange for an honest review.

Find more info on Goodreads.

Review: Rasputin's Kiss (Investigating Love #1) by LM Somerton

What if the last thing you felt was the kiss of a knife? Rasputin's kiss is lethal. He's a ghost-killing and disappearing into the night. With few leads and four bodies on his conscience, Detective Inspector Alex Courtney and his team are running on empty and it's only a matter of time before Rasputin strikes again. When Alex recruits a young detective to play the part of his boyfriend and provide a tempting target for a killer, he knows he is taking a huge risk. He doesn't expect Conor Trethuan to be a perfect potential submissive. When their mutual attraction becomes more, Alex has to face the conflict between his possessive instincts and the need to push his young lover into danger. Investigating their feelings has to come second to investigating the case. There's no time to decide if what they feel for each other is real. With Rasputin closing in, they may not live to find out.
Yeah - so which rating is it? As soon as I figure it out, I'll let you know. It kinda depends on my mood. Maybe whether I've had enough chocolate or sleep or..

I just don't know how to rate this damn book. 

Warning: This review may contain spoilers.

58.0%"Me & this book, we got issues...


I don't very often start with my issues in a book, but I am going to here. First though, please remember, these are my thoughts and opinions and are personal to me. They're my issues - you might share them - but it's not a case of bad writing. 

26.0%  "First impression of Alex; determined, good boss, gonna like him.
Second impression of Alex; what a f****** knob.
Hmmm. Wonder which will be true by the end of the book..."
Alex. I had issues with Alex. He's the DI on the (pressed dubbed) Rasputin case. My very first impression of him was that he was going to be a great character. A good boss, firm but fair, hardworking and humorous. This opinion changed pretty quickly and he began to annoy me. Firstly, he needs an undercover officer to pose as his boyfriend to lure the Rasputin killer out. Rasputin preys on submissives, so DI Alex needed someone to play the part of his sub boyfriend and be seen with him. And, what do you know, there happens to be a recently-transferred, decidedly gorgeous hunk of a copper working for a homophobe in the filing department who fits the role perfectly. And just to add the cherry to that nicely iced bun, it turns out he's actually gay. Actually attracted to DI Alex (who is also gay) and actually has submissive tendencies. Talk about a pot of freaking gold landing on your lap. Yeah, conveniently written coincidences annoy me a tad. But I got passed that. Kinda.

So Alex lets (young, gorgeous) Connor know that he is a tough but fair boss, if he says something he expects it done exactly as he said. Fair enough right? I mean, sure  a boss is in charge but...

...and maybe this is just me being belligerent...

...when Alex gave the order that Conor wasn't allowed to leave the building (and there was no reason for this, just it was his order) and then had him escorted back to his desk like a naughty little school boy by some uniformed officers...let's just say my e-reader nearly went across the room. 

If it was me I'd have told him to fuck right off. He's a grown man FFS, and the DI left orders that he couldn't even go and get a sandwich in his lunch hour. Maybe I have issues with discipline, but it really, really, REALLY annoyed me. (And to make matters worse he waltzed in with the exact sarnie Conor was going to get grinning at Conor being sent back to the desk, liking the fact that he was the talk of the front desk. Fucking prick. I'd have shoved the sandwich where the sun don't shine. But then I would already have eaten, if I was hungry two hours ago you can bet your life I'd have already eaten.) I'm quite mild mannered really. honest.

42.0%"What? Really? Hmmm...'hot' situations there to manipulate a story don't work. The story is in conflict with the characters. IMO, the sex is written in a way to titillate and doesn't fit. 

Okay. So the sub/dom thing. I like a bit of D/s in my books as much as the next person - when it fits the characters and doesn't just feel like it is there for titillation and a convenient storyline. I could see what the author was trying to do but in my opinion (and I reiterate that is only what this is) it didn't work. Maybe I hadn't yet got over the coincidence of the perfect candidate for the job being right there at the right time. Then for them to be instantly attracted to each other....I can feel my blood pressure rising just writing this. But I got over it again. Kinda. Until Alex turned into even more of a fucking bully. These two are colleagues. Alex is the boss. They are on an undercover operation together. This does not mean you stick a load of super-sexy clothes on a bed, attach an (undisclosed, un-removable) tracking device and tell your colleague that is what he is going to wear tonight while they are setting the trap.

Fuck off.

A discussion between them, an explanation....just anything except orders. I guess I'm not cut out for a military career, huh? HE'S A GROWN MAN. 

I t'was annoyed. 

And I haven't even ventured into the whole Conor was a virgin thing. He's a gorgeous gay twenty-three year old who happens to be a virgin (by what definition??) yet he's straight into all this D/s stuff no ifs no buts, no coconuts. I'm far from claiming to be an expert on this. FAR from it. But to me it felt like it was not true to the characters. It didn't feel real. It felt like bullying, not a D/s relationship. As I said, I only know what I've read in books, but as a  reader, to me, this felt wrong. Compared to other books I've read that felt, well researched and real, this...just didn't. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is just my opinion.

91.0%"Just because it's M/M doesn't mean any women in the book have to be giggling eejits in awe of a beautiful man. Especially wpc's or nurses doing their job. FFS. Ooh, I'm really grumpy." 
I feel this shouldn't have to be said really - but the women we met in this book were all giggling idiots fawning over the gorgeous gay man and making him uncomfortable. GIVE. ME. A. BREAK. Now I'm not saying that us ladies don't admire a bit of eye candy. That we can't make the odd (or more) lewd comment towards a fit male thing...but not when we are in a professional capacity. Giggling WPC's. Nurses offering more than a patients fair share of bed baths. No. Just no.

Okay, so enough of grumpy me. What did I like? Surprisingly, I liked the writing style. It was easy to read, I loved the British setting and I even liked many of the characters (just not Alex). In fact, I'm looking forward to the next in the series. I feel if LM Somerton could just get the storyline down and write characters that fitted that I'd have really enjoyed this. I want to know what happened to the people we met in this book. I liked the mystery this author created and the crime storyline. 

On Goodreads, it seems as though this book is more loved than not, so I am far from telling people to avoid it. Heck, that's not my place anyway. All I can say is the bits that irked me left enough of an impression that even writing this review days later, I'm still irritable about it. I am however, perfectly willing to admit that Alex got on my last nerve and this may have skewed my reasoning for the rest of the book. Check out other reviews and see what others have thought, I am but just one lowly reader! I'll let you all know how I get on with the other two stories...

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review: Boston Boyfriends by Maggie Church

A hot hook up at a celebrity wedding leaves Porter Campbell wanting a whole lot more of gorgeous Stiegen Lange. Unfortunately for Porter, Stiegen's career as a voice over actor is skyrocketing, and a serious relationship isn't in his plans. Their hours together in Miami were more than a booty call for Porter, but what can he do?

Stiegen finds solace in Porter's arms when his best friend nearly dies. Then, he organizes an unforgettable weekend of passion with Porter back in Boston. His feelings deepen. Saying good-bye to Porter gets harder every time, leaving him wondering whether his career can remain the center of his universe.

Because Porter's in it for love and won't settle for less.

Reviewed by Samantha

Porter Campbell has a life in Boston. He's the owner of a school that helps kids, he loves to teach, and he loves not having to be around his family all the time. His sister's marriage to a famous rapper brings him down to Florida for the wedding, and it's there that he meets and has a hot fling with best man Stiegen Lange. Against his better judgement, he wouldn't mind seeing Stiegen again, but life calls, and it's back to Boston for Porter before long.

But life never is easy. Between the sale of the building that he rents for the school, a terrible accident that leaves his sister's husband injured, and a confusing situation with Stiegen, things are a bit of a mess for Porter, and they just might get worse before they get better.
“That would be nice. She’s nuts about him. I tried talking her out of marrying into this crazy lifestyle but obviously failed.”

“It’s her life, Porter. Your mom and I don’t really get your lifestyle choice…”

Lance talked as though Porter could become straight as easily as changing hair color. “Wearing kilts is a lifestyle choice. Being gay isn’t. How about stepping into the twenty-first century, Dad?”
I'd never read this author before, but the blurb sounded interesting enough, so I decided to give it a shot. Unfortunately, I found myself struggling to get through the book, and began skimming after about sixty percent.

I had a handful of problems with the book that made it difficult for me to get through. One of the biggest issues for me was the timing of events - they just seemed off. For example, Stiegen and Porter get into a pretty big fight about expectations and relationships the second time that they meet. At that point, it didn't seem to fit for me. They hadn't really built up much of anything, and the argument came out of nowhere for me. From there on, the progression was off. I felt like I was missing some huge piece of their relationship that I never got, like they'd grown together when I blinked, it all happened and I never saw it. So when the bigger issues came later in the book, it was all just off.

Furthermore, there was a bit of a mystery toward the end - but to me, it was completely obvious the entire time. I'm also questioning a few things surrounding it, for example (and this is purposefully vague to avoid spoilers) what about insurance? This, among other things, just felt poorly hashed and inconsistent.

The ending also just kind of happened. There was no real oomph to it, so it fell flat. This may be a result of my skimming, but I'm really not so sure that it was. It felt like I was walking along and hit the edge of a cliff all the sudden.

All of his is not to say that there weren't good things about the book. For one, I enjoyed Petra. She was certainly my favorite. The writing itself wasn't bad either. In terms of the language, it wasn't particularly choppy. I think the author would do well to focus more on her outline for the plot in the future, but she certainly has potential.

Overall an okay book, but pretty forgettable.
For more information on Goodreads or Booklikes!