M/M Review: Stand By You by A.M. Arthur

Stand by YouStand By You (Belonging #3) by A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Carina Press
Review Source: Publisher
Date Released: Oct. 20, 2014
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis:
Three months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job—bussing tables at his friend’s new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He’s working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.

From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex’s abuse, he’s wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it’s been easy—but Brendan’s feelings aren’t just friendly anymore…

When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy’s friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence—his heart.

My Thoughts:

This book was, overall, a very enjoyable read. The plot had just enough strife and self-doubt to keep it going, but not so much that it felt like you were getting bogged down in unnecessary conflict. It addressed many real life problems, such as abuse, self-discovery, social prejudice, and even rape. It was fast-paced but didn’t feel rushed.

The characters were all well-developed, even those that could’ve possibly been described as being a cliché. Through the book you begin to fall in love with Brandon, the tall, dark, and silent protagonist, and with Romy, a character who isn’t as much of a meek follower as is originally thought. The friends that they have lend a light-hearted and occasionally guiding component to the book. There was a family element, and that family accurately showed the reactions many non-heterosexual people have to face, everywhere from ignorant acceptance to hostile rejection. It kept the book from being unrealistically happy while keeping it out of the trenches of despair.

There was some confusion with the names for me, a few of them being too similar for me to be able to tell which one a character was referring to, but it’s very possible that was a problem with me and not the book.

Blitz: The Wrath of Sin

Wrath

The Wrath of Sin by Tabatha Vargo
(Mortal Sin #1)
Released on March 23, 2014

Wrath is everywhere, even in the deepest recesses of the innocent. It alters the souls of the desperate and depressed. Changing you, consuming you until all that’s left is the sick desire to destroy everything in your path.

I’m not a murderer, but hate will make you do crazy things. I hate the man who stole my life from me, and it’s only fair that I steal something precious from him. But revenge is bittersweet when passion overpowers your reason, and what’s precious to him has become the voice of reason for me. Pushing me to feel human again, she threatens to change everything.

She calls me Sin, and she’s about to feel my WRATH.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Tabatha Vargo“Tabatha Vargo is a USA Today bestselling author from a small town just outside of Charleston, SC. Tabatha is a sweet tea sippin’, front porch sittin’ kind of girl from the south. She loves old, historical anything, wind chimes, and all things romantic. She is the mother of a seven-year-old rockstar/princess and the wife of her very own Prince Charming. When she isn’t writing or reading, she’s texting book ideas to herself and spending time with her friends and family. Her first publication was a little poem in her elementary school paper and from that point on she was hooked. She finished her first novel, ‘Wicked Fate’, in 2009 and released it in November 2012. She has since released ‘On the Plus Side’, USA Today bestselling ‘Playing Patience’, and ‘Perfecting Patience’.”

 

Sinsavailable

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ARC Review: Took My Breath Away

*Warning: Contains BDSM elements with M/M spanking scenes.*

Took My Breath Away

Took My Breath Away (All They Ever Needed #2) by Thianna D.
Publisher: LazyDay Publishing
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Release Date: December 18, 2013
My Rating: 5 ★★★★★

Synopsis:

Sometimes taking control is what you need to do and sometimes the best thing you can do is give that control up.

In the summer between Logan’s junior and senior years of college, these two will find out more about each other and themselves than they imagined.

While unhappy to be missing four weeks of Christian’s company, Logan is thrilled to spend a month with his father’s relatives in New York.  A naturally gregarious individual, he is used to winning people over and getting things right. Unfortunately, the Mannettes are not what he expects and for the first time in his life, he finds himself seriously doubting who he is.

Christian has regained some of his old self-esteem and is taking on new challenges. Besides growing in the relationship he has with Logan, he takes the time his boyfriend is away to learn more about domestic discipline. He learns a little online but it is actually Gregory, Logan’s father, where he gains most of his information. Including the fact that his natural strength puts him in a leadership position he isn’t expecting.

When Logan returns to a strong, self-assured Christian, it is with complete relief. As discussions turn to domestic discipline and they realize their true roles within their current and future relationship, both of them are able to let their inhibitions go and together their connection grows surprising Logan to an epiphany.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the All They Ever Needed Trilogy and it starts out a few months after the end of As Natural As Breathing. You must read the first book before this one as it is the continuation of the story.

I fell even more in love with Christian. Watching him grow into a confident man who truly accepts himself in all aspects was heartwarming. I could feel his struggles and that made it all the sweeter when he was well enough to rescue Logan and be the man that he needed. The relationship between Christian and Logan’s dad was great. I was so glad when he had someone to talk things out with.

I got see the vulnerable side to Logan. There’s a bit more angst in this one with Logan’s family. They really know how to manipulate and get what they want. Logan’s confusion and the war within himself to be strong for his parents was gut wrenching. His emotional and mental anguish was palpable. When Logan finally admitted he needed help and leaned on Christian was wonderful and the love between the two just grew stronger.

Overall a fantastic read and one I will visit again and again. I’m just waiting not so patiently for the third book to come out.

ARC Review: The Professional: Part 1

The Professional part 1

The Professional: Part 1 (The Game Maker, #1) by Kresley Cole
Pages: 140
Publisher: Pocket Star
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Release Date: December 16, 2013
My Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis:

ARE YOU READY TO PLAY?

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole comes The Game Makers; a scorching new erotica series about a young woman desperate to uncover the mysteries of her past and the hitman bound to protect her.

From an opulent palace in Russian, to the wicked playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, to the sultry beaches of Spain, the two lovers will discover that even their most intimate—and forbidden—fantasies can come true…

My Thoughts:

Part one has some seriously hot erotic scenes, action, and humor. It’s well written and did pull me in; the only problem was it didn’t keep me. I was able to put it down and come back later. I really liked Sevastyan in all his scarred and tattooed glory. Natalie is a strong, confident woman. I could say a lot more but given the length of this first installment I don’t want to spoil it.

This is the first part in a serial that ends not only on a cliffhanger, but what felt like the very middle of a scene. I don’t usually like serials and avoid them; but overall this one wasn’t bad. I would’ve given 3 or 3.5 stars had it ended differently. I can’t decide if I was left wanting to continue or just very frustrated at the abruptness of it. If I’d know I would’ve held off until the final two installments were out before I started it. This is definitely a serial (one book broken into parts) and not a series.

Review: As Natural As Breathing

Contains BDSM elements with M/M spanking. If this content offends you, please do not continue.

As Natural As BreathingAs Natural As Breathing by Thianna D.
Pages: 213
Publisher:  LazyDay Publishing
Review Source: Publisher/Netgalley
Release Date: August 7, 2013
My Rating: 5  ★★★★★

Synopsis:

For Christian Darringer, life isn’t worth living. Just back from the Middle East; scarred and with permanent damage to one leg, he does not think anyone will want him for anything. Meeting a gorgeous man he finds himself thinking about constantly is not in his plans. Pulled toward the startling younger man with striking blue eyes, he begins to question a lot of things – especially his sexuality. Not one to hide from a challenge, he plunges ahead only to find himself more than just attracted to Logan who is full of life and joy, he finds himself head over heels in love.

Logan Mannette has almost everything he ever wanted: loving parents, happiness, friends and security. The only thing missing is finding the love of his life, a love that is just like his parents’. When he meets Christian at a party, everything changes. Instantly attracted, he does his best to help this sad man and quickly finds himself feeling more than he has ever felt before. Raised in a domestic discipline household, he holds that ideal as what he wants but his interest in spanking became a fetish and when Christian admits that he wants to be spanked; Logan believes he might have found the perfect man.

Just as everything begins for them, Christian’s past intercedes and one of his brothers makes waves about him dating a man. If it weren’t for Logan’s support, he might fold; but with the love of one amazing man, Christian finds that living his life rather than just existing is as natural as breathing.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this wonderful love story. I didn’t put it down until I was done. There’s little to no angst, don’t mistake that for no drama or tension there is that just not so much between Christian and Logan.

Christian is home after being injured, by his own men,  serving over sea. Not only does he have the physical injury and PTSD to deal with, he has to face the fact that his own men tried to kill him for standing up for another. He’s at his lowest point when he meets Logan, a young man that can actually make him laugh. Christian has never been attracted to a man and the struggle and growth he goes through to accept it in himself and with Logan was at times difficult to read. But to see the love between the two grow was wonderful. Thianna really made me feel Christians conflicting emotions and fight to accept himself.  It felt that just as Christian accepted his sexuality and comes out to his parents and closest friend, Kelli.  Then his brother, Brian, shows up with all his sanctimonious crap. I really hate Brian and people like him that make all Christians look bad. I really wanted Christian to kick his ass.

I can’t say enough good about Logan. I just love him. He is funny; I had a grin most of the way through the book. He was patient, understanding and compassionate  with Christian which was just what he needed. He may be the younger in the relationship, but with his experience he was the one in the lead, especially with the sexual aspects of the relationship. All I’ll say is  that Logan can give a good spanking 😉 The sexual tension and desire these two have for each other is palpable.

This first story ends with a very satisfying HFN.  I’m looking forward to the continuation of Christian and Logan’s story in Took My Breath Away which is due out on Dec. 18, 2013.

As Natural As Breathing on Amazon

Review: A Place to Land

A Place to LandA Place to Land by Mary Vine
Pages: 176
Publisher: Black Lyon Publishing
Review Source: Publisher
Release Date: December 1, 2009
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

Synopsis:

She isn’t afraid of the big, bad wolf. But he’s a little concerned about her.

When Uli’s impoverished family left Russia for America, she was only ten years old. From that point on, she’s been determined to make the American dream hers. When Headline Magazine offers the perfect story with which to launch her new writing career, Uli travels across Oregon to find out exactly how wolf and cowboy mix. As she finds her spirit guide in the wolf and her soul mate in the cattle rancher, a mysterious danger seems bent on finding her.

Movie-star handsome, Jackson Holt owns one of the largest ranches in eastern Oregon and like most ranchers, is none too happy with wolves crossing over the Idaho border near his livestock. The last thing he needs is a semi-environmentalist, journalist wannabe dogging his footsteps. Sure, Uli may be bright and sexy, but her need to prove herself and help her family threaten to lead her into the kind of harm he can’t protect her from—when all he wants to give her is … a place to land.

My Thoughts:

Uli is a young woman who has hung on the hurts from childhood. She was ignored and told to leave as a child when her family came over from Russia and she started school not knowing the language of her classmates. It didn’t help that her parents ran a traditional Russian household where the man was in charge and the women were basically subservient. Uli just wants to be a normal American girl and drag her family into the present with her. I could understand her feelings, but it honestly got to be too much. It started to feel a bit over the top with her trying to be someone she wasn’t; Uli actually started to come across as fake. I just couldn’t connect with her. I did like the part where she recognized that her family had the right to live how they saw fit, just as she did.

Jackson is a hardworking rancher and a genuinely nice guy. He didn’t agree with Uli’s article, but he helped her where he could. I liked Jackson but yet again there wasn’t any real connection there and that may have been because I just didn’t feel like I got to know him well.

The relationship between Uli and Jackson was sweet when they allowed it, but they both fought it too hard. Jackson couldn’t change that he was a rancher and had to stay put. Uli had herself painted into such a corner with her feelings of obligation to her family, which she put on herself; her family never asked her to take care of them.  All of this distracted me from what little mystery there was.

Over all this was an alright read for me. It was well written and edited. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a milder romance.

ARC Review: Ménage On 34th Street

DarkerReview/adults/over18

Menage on 34th StreetMénage on 34th Street by Elise Logan and Emily Ryan-Davis
Pages: 122
Publisher:  Carina Press
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Release Date: November 21, 2013
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis:

Katrina and Liam Holland have the perfect marriage, a home in the trendiest part of Baltimore, and a scorching sex life. As another Christmas approaches, there’s only one thing still on Kat’s wish list: Hunter Croft. But she made peace long ago with his decision to choose the marines over their relationship. Until seeing him again arouses feelings she thought were in the past…

Hunter has spent a decade outrunning his attraction to both Kat and Liam. But now that he’s stateside, his self-control crumbles when he comes face-to-face with the two people who star in all his favorite fantasies. Their reunion is both erotic and emotional—and has Hunter wondering if three’s really a crowd, after all.

Liam can’t imagine his life without Kat. But he can imagine a future where the three of them live and love under one roof. Liam and Kat have shared their bed with other men, but Hunter is the only one who could ever have a place in their hearts. And this holiday season, Liam intends to make their dream a reality.

My Thoughts:

This is a well written, very, very hot ménage. The M/M/F sex was really well done and with more than just a token of M/M sex that I’ve read in other ménages. I’m not sure where to start with this review. I really did like the story, but I have one issue that has me going between a 3 and 4 star rating.

Kat and Liam have a strong and loving marriage; they just occasionally bring in a third. They have both missed Hunter for 10 years, but the way Liam brings him back into the picture could’ve been handled better and Kat lets him know it.  The revelation of what Liam did when Hunter left really hurt Kat and I liked the way that was dealt with. I liked the foundation of trust, openness and sureness of each other within their marriage, but felt they were a bit too anxious, lenient, and maybe forgiving toward Hunter just so they’d have him in their lives. They are willing to rearrange absolutely everything but Hunter, not so much. I mean I get he’s a marine and has to watch his image for good reasons, but come on he’s basically hiding his partners in a closet. That’s what really got to me. Maybe the story ended too soon, it is a quick read. It seemed as if Hunter loosened up at the end, but really only in the bedroom with Liam. A bit more story where Hunter didn’t come across as embarrassed or ashamed of Kat and Liam would have bumped this up to 4 or 4.5 stars for me.

Overall I liked the story and connected with the characters, even if I didn’t like one of them some of the time. If you enjoy a really hot M/M/F that also has depth, real issues that three would face, and intensity in and out of the bedroom this would be a good pick.

 Pre-order Menage on 34th Street