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.

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: Tempting His Mate

Tempting His Mate

Tempting His Mate (Crescent Moon #3) by Savannah Stuart
Pages:  81
Publisher: CrushStar Multimedia LLC
Review Source: Publisher
Release Date:  November 13, 2013
My Rating: 4 ★★★★☆

 

Synopsis:

She ran from him once…

Wild one night stands are not Ella Hayes’s style, but with her confidence at rock bottom after a devastating betrayal and her painful departure from her jaguar pride, who could blame her for falling into bed with a sexy wolf? She never thought she’d see him again. And never in her craziest dreams did she expect to come face-to-face with him on her first day with the Kincaid wolf pack. Sleeping with Asher had been one of the most intense experiences of her life—but now she wonders if they could have more.

He’s not letting her go again…

Tired of life as a lone wolf, shifter Asher has joined his cousin’s pack. The last person he expected to see was the sexy woman who ran out on him in the middle of the most incredible night of his life. The Ella he meets now is nothing like the wild, sensual woman he let his guard down with, but he likes both sides of the complicated female. But now somebody—or something—sinister is targeting Ella, and Asher moves quickly to get her under his roof and under his protection. Keeping the sexy female safe and proving they belong together are two missions he doesn’t plan to fail. Because this time, he’s playing for keeps.

My Thoughts:

Another well written and enjoyable read in the Crescent Moon series; this is book 3 but can be read as a standalone.

Ella decides to stop at a shifter only bar on her way to her new pack and do something she never does – let herself go and enjoy the alpha wolf that sets her blood to boiling. Ella never expected to see him again, especially as one of her new pack members. She still wants him, but needs to face her insecurities and the resent betrayal from her sister.

Asher is still reeling from a centuries old loss and doesn’t feel as if he deserves another chance at love. Then he runs into Ella in a bar and they have one wonderful night, but he finds her gone in the morning. Surprised to see her across the room as he meets with his new alpha Asher realizes he isn’t going to let her go. Asher pursues Ella with patience and tenderness. He’s the best mix of tough alpha and a caring male. He even opens up and talks about his past and feelings with Ella.

If you’re looking for steamy romance, hot shifters, and a bit of mystery I highly recommend this one.

Review: Fox Yearning 1

Fox Yearning1Fox Yearning 1 by April Hanna
Pages: 42
Publisher: April Hanna
Review Source: Author/NetGalley
Release Date: Nov. 10, 2013
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

Synopsis:

This novella is the first installment in a sizzling new paranormal shifter romance series.

Lia has always known that this day would come: Training is complete, her Initiation over…and now it’s time for her First Kill. She’s determined not to fail. After all, she’s a fox spirit– a member of a sacred sisterhood and a supreme sexual predator; the epitome of every man’s greatest dreams… and worst nightmares.

Human men are all the same – so she’s been told. But then she meets biotech billionaire, Alec Konrad, with his demonic good looks and smoldering grey eyes…

Now Lia no longer knows if she’s the seducer or the seduced. It’s one thing to enjoy your sexual prey. It’s another thing to develop feelings for them. She knows the rules: Fox spirits don’t fall in love. Especially not with humans.

My Thoughts:

The first thing you need to know is that this is a serial. This first installment is about 42 pages. I won’t go into detail about plot, the synopsis does fine and being so short I don’t want to spoil it.

Lia is sort of a cross between a vixen and a succubus who isn’t happy with the life she’s been dealt. That and the fact that she can’t bring herself to do what is expected of her where Alex is concerned are about all I know.

I like the basic premise of the story and think the Fox Spirit is a bit unique. It’s enjoyable for what it is, but falls just short of giving enough information and story to get me really hooked. I didn’t connect with the characters very well; I’ll probably read the next installment to see if it lives up to the potential I feel it has.  The one brief intimate interaction between Lia and Alex was fairly hot and well written.

Overall this was an OK and very quick read. I would rec this to anyone who likes serials with a bit of the paranormal.

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.