Review: Just Jack by Meredith Russell

When the line between fairy tales, magic, and the real world become blurred, can love really conquer anything?

Leo Marsh is having a bad day. He just caught his boyfriend cheating on him, and not for the first time, then he falls, quite literally, for a man who has to be too good to be true....
When Leo slips and falls on some ice in front of Jack, Jack sees something all too familiar in Leo's eyes. For over fifty years, Jack has existed in a solitary life of ice and bitterness. Just like Leo, he was betrayed by a man he loved, and swore no one would ever break his heart again: he gave up on love, and it seemed love had given up on him.

But if by fate or magic, Jack and Leo find their paths crossing for a second time, and with a little guidance from friends, dare to take a chance on each other. The problem is, Jack isn't the charming and uncomplicated guy Leo thinks he is. When Jack gave away his ability to love, he became something else, someone cold and unloving. He became Jack Frost.

As Jack and Leo get closer, Jack is left torn and confused. Jack yearns for anything that reminds him of his humanity, but the truth is, he feels nothing, not warmth, not love, and he knows he might never be able to love Leo the way he deserves to be loved.

Books that blur the lines between fantasy and reality are a favourite of mine. Reading is my number one for of escapism and I like the fact that worlds created are not restricted by what we know about this world but only by an author's imagination.

In Just Jack, Meredith Russell creates just such a world. Jack - a real life Jack Frost - had his heart broken years ago and he vowed to never love again.The supernatural took that vow and turned him into one of many Jack Frosts, cold hearted mischief makers. For Leo Frost the day he wants to vow to never love again is the day that he meets Jack and for both of these men life is about to change.

Though this book is on the light-hearted side of writing it explores the love we share with fellow humans, as friends, as lovers and how it is an integral part of being human. A heart is easily broken but is it really better to close ones self of from all hope of love? In a world where Jack has wondrous abilities with ice but a cold heart we share his venture into trusting again.

Is it possible for him to trust again? And how much of a hand does fate have in Jack and Leo's interactions? I enjoyed this story, it was just different enough to catch my interest with the age old debate of love and love lost at its heart.

Review: Dreams of the Forgotten (Book 3 of Sumeria's Sons) by Lexi Ander

For Tristan and Ushna, nothing comes easy and with each passing day the challenges grow and the dangers multiply. The safe home they are building for their family and tribe is threatened from all sides, and the peace they seek is being torn apart by enemies and internal strife. Tristan dares not reveal his condition to any but those closest to him, all the while he's plagued by dreams he cannot remember upon waking…

And over all of it hangs the knowledge that his time with Ushna is running out. Because Ushna already has a Flame awaiting rebirth, and though Tristan would die to protect that bond, he constantly struggles against his beast who demands they bind Ushna to their side.

Objectively speaking (or at least my attempt at objectivity) if you enjoy MPREG, you'll probably enjoy this installment. I, on the other hand, do not enjoy MPREG. I like smut and adventure, both of which are woefully lacking in this installment. THEY DON'T EVEN BANG IN THIS ONE! NOT ONCE! This is precisely why I don't like the pregnancy plot twist in my reads, not even my M/F reads. Once somebody gets knocked up there goes all the smut. Right out the window.

In this installment Tristan is even more of a delicate flower and because he's hormonal he gets treated with kid gloves. By everyone. Oodles of pregnancy talk/woes/bitching permeate book 3, none of which was interesting in the slightest. Tristan's beast keeps trying to unleash and he keeps it leashed for fear of harming the pups, though that doesn't stop "the beast" from rising to the surface every 15 minutes or so, usually snarling or growling or some such thing. Tristan begins having dreams which morph into nightmares involving a triad and the tribe continues to expand. There were a couple of interesting plot twists, though I'm not sure those will be enough to motivate me to continue with this series.

Overall, I'm still not on the Tristan bandwagon and I'm actually thinking his temperament is ill-suited for leadership but he seems to be adjusting well to motherhood/parenting. He'll be that crazy parent in the stands at the peewee games yelling at the other kids for not stepping up like his baby or he'll use "the voice" and have everyone within a 5 mile radius kneeling in supplication. 

Like I said previously, had I known in advance MPREG was on the horizon I wouldn't have requested these to review, but here we are nonetheless. Again, this series is not my cuppa but many others will enjoy it. 

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Dreams of the Forgotten by Lexi Ander

Book 3 of the Sumeria's Sons series


For Tristan and Ushna, nothing comes easy and with each passing day the challenges grow and the dangers multiply. The safe home they are building for their family and tribe is threatened from all sides, and the peace they seek is being torn apart by enemies and internal strife. Tristan dares not reveal his condition to any but those closest to him, all the while he's plagued by dreams he cannot remember upon waking...

And over all of it hangs the knowledge that his time with Ushna is running out. Because Ushna already has a Flame awaiting rebirth, and though Tristan would die to protect that bond, he constantly struggles against his beast who demands they bind Ushna to their side.

Pages or Words: 63,000

Categories: Fantasy, Gay, Paranormal, Polyamory, Urban Fantasy
Goodreads Link 
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Cover Artist: London Burden

Ushna's Lupe, the third form of half-man and half-wolf that all Lycan warriors used for battle, pushed forward as his need to protect took over. Short, fine, black hair burst through his skin under my hands as his chest and arms thickened, his face elongated, and his mouth filled with jagged teeth. Even with fingers tipped with razor-sharp claws, he was careful as he delicately held me in his protective arms. He growled loud and long in warning.

The light switched on, flooding the room with blinding white light. I heard Gregori in the background yelling in anger, followed by a hollow thumping noise, and wounded yells. I scented who'd invaded our bedroom before I gazed over Ushna's shoulder.

Several weeks ago, Elder Koller had made a call to pull childhood friends of ours, Stanley Kendall and Jory Swaine, from California. The suggestion had been made after the Magi Triad had tried to kidnap both Gregori and Ushna, and the elder knew these two were men I trusted. We had been expecting them at any time, and I would've laughed at their antics if I wasn't worried Ushna would eviscerate our friends.

Gregori, his red hair wild, clad only in blue sleep pants, had a fistful of Stan's dark hair and a foot planted in the middle of his back, bowing Stan over backward. Gregori wielded a shoe like it was a Sumerian sword and beat Jory with it. Jory tried to defend himself against the onslaught of the shoe and fight off the two guards who were attempting to subdue him.

"You stupid idiots!" Gregori yelled at the top of his lungs. "You could've hurt him, you oversized oafs! What's wrong with knocking?!"

Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.

"Ushna is going to eat you and I should let him! It would remind you to respect your alpha!"

Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.

"Senseless overgrown children!"

Half a dozen guards filed into the room, taking charge of Stan and Jory, relieving a bedraggled Gregori. Scowling furiously at our friends, Gregori gradually crawled onto the bed, talking soothingly to Ushna, who hadn't stopped growling. I ran my hands down his fur-covered back to soothe him.

"Everything is okay, Ushna," Gregori cooed.

I cupped my hands around his face, gazing into his ruby red eyes. "I'm okay," I whispered to him. "Come back to me."

He released the Lupe, and Ushna the man emerged, the harsh and horrific features melting away. His body shuddered, muscles clenched and convulsed as his control returned.

It'd been years since I'd seen our two friends. Where Stan was dark, Jory was light. Stanley Kendall had wavy dark brown hair that roughly covered his brow, but didn't quite touch his collar. His eyes were so brown they were virtually black. He sported a couple days of growth on his chin and cheeks. The stubble looked good against his bronzed skin.

Jory Swaine, on the other hand, had short blond hair, was clean shaven with bright turquoise eyes and golden skin. Stan was broader through the chest with his athletic build while Jory was leaner. Both wore leathers; Jory's pants where loose, hanging low on his hips and revealing the waistband of his boxers, while Stan looked like he was poured into his.

Ushna turned a furious gaze on Stan and Jory, who were standing in the farthest corner, appearing chastised and contrite. "What in the hell were you thinking!" He roared at them. Gregori and I made shushing noises, but Ushna continued to rumble.

"Ah… surprise?" Stan offered weakly, slightly confused.

"Ushna, it's okay; they didn't know," I said.

Ushna snapped his human teeth at our friends. I swear if we'd been alone, I would've jumped and taken him right there.

"Xenres, are you injured?" Corey Bahar was the first to swear a blood oath to me. He'd been Captain until this unexpected growth of the tribe and now he was the newly appointed Arms Master of the Royal Guard. In private, he was most adamant in the use of my title, Xenres, which meant prince in our language. Corey didn't take his sable gaze off Stan and Jory as he approached me. The man looked like he'd been up for hours with his braided blond hair gleaming, clothes pressed and tucked. Did he ever sleep?

Jory chortled at Corey's words, which caused Gregori to throw a shoe and bean Jory in the head.

A string of curse words exploded from Jory. "Dammit, Gregori! What the hell was that for?" He rubbed the sore spot.

Gregori didn't answer. Corey's question was all it took to make Ushna start snarling again as he ran his hands over me, checking for obvious injury. Gregori rubbed small circles on Ushna's back. I grabbed his hands and craned my head around to get him to look me in the eye, to see me.

"Hey, hey! I'm okay. I'm not hurt." I kissed his hands.

"I want Nathan to look at you." Ushna's worried gaze continued to study me. Nathan Janick, my brother and the resident doctor, had meticulously cared for me during my pregnancy so far.

"All right." I knew nothing less would appease him.

Stan watched our exchange. The longer he listened, the more confused he appeared. "What's the big deal?" He crossed his arms, scowling hard. He and Jory had acted as they normally would around us, with carefree roughhousing.

I grabbed Ushna's attention before he could bark back a reply. We'd purposely kept my pregnancy within my inner circle. I hadn't left the Clearwater area, which was my territory. When I needed to go to town, I wore a ring Gregori had made for me, a ring of illusion that had hid my swollen stomach. I didn't meet with outsiders without it.

We hadn't told Stan and Jory. All communication had gone through Elder Janus Koller, who'd recruited them to work for the Elder Council in the Enforcement Division. Neither Ushna nor I had spoken to these two before now. Needless to say, we hadn't anticipated their surprise.

"Master Corey," I calmly said, "we're all right. I'm sorry we woke you." I needed privacy for the talk we were going to have with our old friends.

Corey gave a slight bow. The expression on his face let me know we would be revisiting the issue of posting guards outside the bedroom. I had been successful at convincing Corey that the small group of warriors staying in the house was enough security. We didn't need someone standing on sentry duty in the hallway. To appease Corey, I had even agreed to allow an armed detail to shadow me around the ranch when I left the house. This stunt of Stan's and Jory's would make Cory feel vindicated in his original assessment. I would have to talk quick at the next security meeting to keep the arrangements the way they were now. 

"It was no bother, Xenres." Corey shot Jory a hard look when my friend snorted a laugh. He appeared to be gauging whether Jory was being disrespectful to me or making fun of him. "I won't be far if you need me," he said before closing the door behind him.

Jory tried to hide his smirk by rubbing a hand over his face. I knew what was coming before he opened his mouth. "Damn, Tristan. You've got people bowing and scraping to you. What've you been doing?"

Lexi was kind enough to indulge our curiosity and put together a play list for our viewing/listening pleasure!

Here is the link to the public Youtube playlist 

Dreams of the Forgotten Soundtrack

As I'm world building, I choose music that I think will go well. I don't always select something because of the words of the song. Most of the time it has to do with the underlying feeling of the song that lends to the mood of what I'm writing. There really isn't one music genre I don't listen to. From instrumental to thrash metal, a wide range of songs usually end up on the soundtracks I create for my stories. There are a few song that are staples, no matter what I'm working on. 

Let's get the smexin' on:
Alex & Sierra - Little Do You Know
Avril Lavigne - Let Me Go ft. Chad Kroeger
Bad Company - Feel Like Making Love

Celtic Music 
Adrian von Ziegler - Wolf Blood
Adrian von Ziegler - Feather & Skull
Adrian von Ziegler - Prophecy

Demon Hunter - I Am a Stone
finger eleven - One Thing
Hoobastank - Crawling In The Dark
Korn - Coming Undone
Lifehouse - All In
Unkiss Me - Maroon 5
Metallica - The Unforgiven
Foo Fighters - The Pretender
Train - Ordinary
Fight Inside - Red
Rev Theory- The fire
Seether - Words As Weapons
Tantric - Down & Out
Skillet - Hero 
SHINEDOWN - The Crow & the Butterfly
10 Years - Shoot It Out
The Cure - Burn

A huge thank you to Boy Meets Boy for hosting me today. I hope you enjoyed the list and good luck with the giveaway!

About the author:

Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.

Where to find the author:

Buy Link:  Less Than Three Press

1.     $20 Amazon Gift card, $20 All Romance Gift card, hard copy of Dreams of the Forgotten, swag (pens, bookmarks, and such)
2.     $20 All Romance Gift card, hard copy of Dreams of the Forgotten, swag (pens, bookmarks, and such)
3.     hard copy of Dreams of the Forgotten, swag (pens, bookmarks, and such)
4.     e-book copy of Dreams of the Forgotten

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Dates & Stops: 
27-Apr Joyfully Jay, Emotion in Motion; 28-Apr Prism Book Alliance, Hearts on Fire; 29-Apr Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Love Bytes, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My; 30-Apr The Novel Approach, Decadent Delights; 1-May BFD Book Blog, Divine Magazine; 4-May Molly Lolly, MM Good Book Reviews; 5-May My Fiction Nook,Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves; 6-May Inked Rainbow Reads, Chris McHart; 7-May Amanda C. Stone, Cate Ashwood; 8-May Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews

Audiobook Review: Something Like Winter (Seasons #2) by Jay Bell

There are two sides to every story. When you’re Tim Wyman, sometimes there are three.

Tim hoped moving to Texas would mean a new beginning but soon finds himself falling into the same tired patterns. Until he meets recklessly brave Benjamin Bentley, who introduces Tim to a world of love, sex, and warmth. Certain that society won’t understand what he and Ben have together, Tim struggles to protect their relationship, even if it means twisting the truth. Buried beneath his own deceptions, Tim must claw his way to the surface in the hopes of learning to fly.

To say this book is beautiful would be a gross understatement. 

There's just something about Tim's story that is so real and heartbreaking and humbling. 

As a teenager, he was confused and unsure about his attraction to guys. He knew it was there, but he certainly didn't think it meant he was gay. Let's not be hasty here.

But he met Ben, and I completely agree with Tim, Ben brings out the best in him. Tim was growing and learning and changing. He learned so much about himself through his time with Ben. But some things happened too fast for Tim. He lost control of the situation with Ben, and with that, lost the most important thing in his life. 

Tim moves forward, I wouldn't say he moves on, but definitely forward. He floats through life; he finds some successful relationships and some very damaging relationships along the way. His story was the most heartbreaking for me, he was so broken and so lost. Nobody was there to really love him except his best friend, Eric. He became Tim's closest friend, something he could trust and confide in. They were never anything more than that, but it was everything to Tim. 

Oh, Tim. Every time he thought he found something solid to hang onto, it was gone. He was again left alone. He was floundering. He was desperate. He made some great mistakes, but it was all in the name of love. That makes it sorta okay. Right? Right??!? 

I think so. 

Love is desperate and raw and messy and heartbreaking. Tim took all of that emotion, mashed it all together and made some really bad choices. But I'm pretty sure he'd do it again, if it meant getting Ben back. Ben was it for him. 

Throughout the 10 year or so span of these books Ben and Tim touch each others lives, coming in and out for brief moments but they were never able to find the right moment to be together. Well, in the end they finally found their moment. And it was beautiful.

All that and I didn't even mention the complete brilliance that is Kevin R. Free's narrating. He captured the essence of every character. He made me love characters that weren't particularly memorable for me before. Allison can step right on up as my #1 Book Girlfriend. 

Something Like Winter is more than worth the read and the reread. This was my second time, I originally read the ebook and have now listened to the audio. Next time (because there will so be a next time), I'll have to pick up a paperback.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads!

Review: Songs of the Earth (Book 2 of Sumeria's Sons) by Lexi Ander

Thrust into the role of Prince of the Lycans, Tristan strives to find his footing in a life suddenly rife with secrets and lies—and danger. Betrayed by a Goddess meant to safeguard him, desperate to protect his consort and their growing tribe, he can only prepare for the worst and struggle to hope.

And then the worst comes to kill them…

Oops. I tripped and fell into a MPREG series. MPREG is not my gig and I do wish this had come with a tag but since it didn't I'm endeavoring to maintain some neutrality. I did enjoy this installment of the series mostly because these two remind me a WHOLE LOT of another couple of wingnuts near and dear to my heart-Gideon and Eva. These two are not as coocoo for each other as Gideon and Eva but it's hard to top those two. I also enjoyed the mythological aspects and the battling. A good sword fight is always a win with me. There was even a golum! 

Book two picks up where book one left off with the first of Tristan's experiences with the Goddess Ki and Ushna getting all territorial. Ushna gets territorial frequently. Translation:  they fuck each other senseless. Often. In the office with biting and broken furniture and howling and in the middle of the day! They wrecked a desk and a chair got turned into kindling when someone walked in on them. Stupendous! If it was all sex and battling I'd be turning cartwheels right now, but the dialogue came across as stilted or just plain hokey, I'm not crazy about Tristan and then the MPREG... 

Songs of the Earth highlights my overarching issues with this trope-one of them always turns into the girl complete with all the cliched characteristics of a nesting/pregnant female. Tristan even begins to relish going to the grocery store. I'm certain I'm either over-thinking it or overreacting but this strikes me as misogynistic. Tristan is even the "alpha" of his tribe and future king yet Ushna frets over him like a baby doe, growling and barking at random strangers who look at him sideways. Granted, some of this is warranted but... As long as I'm on this soap box, when someone tells you you can have children and that's not something you ever thought possible YOU ASK QUESTIONS! It's not Ki's fault Tristan's a dipshit.

The story itself was entertaining with them trying to build a new tribe and several new secondary characters and plot twists with existing characters all of which kept the pacing upbeat. I have a good feeling about that curly haired ginger, Gregori, but I don't want to jinx myself. I'm also hopeful that Tristan will unleash the beast in the final installment.

Recommend to shifter fans and MPREG enthusiasts. 

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: A Shot of J&B by Lou Sylvre

Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie's uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.

When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other's frequent company. But they haven't factored in the claim Brian's police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.

The framework of this story is good; it's the fleshing out bits that I took issue with. I chose this book for obvious reasons and those reasons played only a bit part which, I admit, was disappointing, though not my primary quibble. The redundancy and spoon feeding of minutiae is what sapped my enjoyment. I will say if I'd read this book as little as two years ago I likely would've had a very different reaction, so bear that in mind.

A Shot of J&B can be read as a stand alone, though it seemed to be a spin-off of an earlier series involving Luki Vasquez. Brian is living in London and working his way up the ranks of Scotland Yard. Jackie and he met when Jackie was still jailbait. Brian was involved in rescuing him from a sociopath and they both left lasting impressions on one another. They meet up again and carry on a brief long distance relationship prior to Jackie being accepted to a graduate program in London. The secondary thriller storyline involves two women teaming up to study the effects of fear on the human psyche through a series of malevolent "experiments". Both of these women are whackadoodles and it's clear early on who they are and what the end game is which when coupled with the too tidy ending left me wanting.

The good elements to this book are a long haired ginger MC, shibari, MANTIES, thriller aspects, sort of part of a series-all things I like. It came down to the writing style, a writing style I found mostly frustrating and had me skimming frequently. 

He followed his own instructions, took some deep breaths, got himself a glass of water and drank it down, stretched, then sat down with the letter and a pocket knife. He cut the envelope neatly on one end and extracted the paper inside.

There's telling and there's showing and then there's overkill, overkill that usually involved sentences that stretched into paragraphs akin to the above topped off with stilted dialogue.

I will say the sex was medium hot. I could've done with less labeling of power dynamics and I'm not a fan of the sub being cast as perpetually in need of rescue and meek despite protestations to the contrary, but there is no doubt they are hot for each other. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to sustain my interest in the long run. 

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Review: Channeling Morpheus (Channeling Morpheus #1-5) by Jordan Castillo Price

Michael is a waif in eyeliner who's determined to wipe vampires off the face of the earth.

Wild Bill's got the hots for Michael, and will stop at nothing to go home with him.

Forget about moonlit castles and windswept moors. These bad boys haunt all-night diners and cheap motels, cut-rate department stores and long, lonely stretches of the Interstate. Ride along with Wild Bill and Michael as the twists and turns of Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary unfold in America's Heartland.

 "Mallet? Check. Wooden stake- hickory, of course? Check. Crucifix? Check. Holy water? Check. Eyeliner? Check."
This was on page one and all I could think was OMG THERE'S GUYLINER.

Then we met Wild Bill...
"He was... amazing. Tall and lean, with ripped up jeans and spiked blond hair, earrings, a snake tattoo on his neck and chipped black nail polish."
Well, fuck me, could they be any sexier? 

Ah yes, I found that they can.

Channeling Morpheus is a set of the first 5 novellas in crazy ride with Michael and Wild Bill. Michael is set out to find and kill the vampire who murdered his best friend, Scary Mary. Along the way, he meets Wild Bill. Bill decides to join in on the fun and help Michael out. Only thing is, Wild Bill is a vamp himself. Which kind of put a wrench in Michael's whole "all vamps are evil" theory. 

But, holy hell, thank the book gods that he did. 

Now, this isn't your run-of-the-mill vampire romance. Ha! No, it is certainly not. It's dark and gritty and twisted and creepy as all get out. And it's also sexy as fuck.

All the stories are under 100 pages, which makes for a fast paced read because a lot happens in each installment. Michael continues on his journey to rid the world of the bad vampires, but at the same time, learning more about them. It certainly makes me curious to know where they go from here. 

I totally felt the connection between Bill and Michael deepen throughout the novellas. 
"I'd been combing through my vocabulary for a word that meant lust-smacked. And skinless. And fucked up, and scared, and invincible. But I'd come up empty-handed. 

All I could say was, 'I love you, you know.' Because that was about as close as I could come up with words."
That, my unicorn friends, is great writing right there. This describes so perfectly what I felt between them. Something raw and lusty. I would have felt this regardless of this quote being there or not, it was woven into every part of their relationship. 

I loved the POV switches. Each book alternates the POV and book 1 started with Michael, so I was a little thrown when I started the second novella. It took me a minute to realize that it was Bill, but I was too ecstatic to be bothered.

All in all.. I FREAKING LOVED IT. Will I pick up the rest of the series? I'll give you one guess.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads.