Saturday, July 14, 2018

Review: Alpha Heat by Leta Blake

Alpha Heat (Heat of Love #2) by Leta Blake
Amazon, Goodreads
Novel: 424pgs

4 Pants Off

Blurb: A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.

Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy-ever-after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.

Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart—and so does he.

But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.

This gay romance novel by Leta Blake is the second in the Slow Heat universe. It’s 130,000 words, with a strong happy ending and a well-crafted, non-shifter Omegaverse. It features alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. No cheating. Content warning for brief sexual violence.

Review

ALPHA SIZED OMEGA

All the ways I was excited to read this after falling truly, madly, deeply in love with the first book Slow Heat. Alpha Heat was very much on my radar featuring two characters that really pissed me off but who I eventually grew to like. Alpha Heat brought the sexy but it also brought heart. 

Xan Heelies is a young Alpha who doesn’t feel like an alpha. For his entire life Xan has known that he doesn’t fit the make and model of what an alpha should be. His desires are forbidden and will never be looked at favourably because you see Xan knows with every fibre of his being that he’s an Omega and though the world sees Alpha it’s the one thing he can never be truly. Xan slates his desire in the worst way possible and it often leaves him bloody and bruised. He once felt loved when he was with his best-friend but his friend found his own omega, his one true mate. Yet, Xan has to live an Alpha life and that means having his own omega and producing children regardless of what he feels inside. Then there is Urho, all that is Alpha and man  Xan yearns for but what Alpha would want a man that’s broken and is only an Omega in feeling. 

“I don’t think what’s wrong with me is something that can ever heal.” 

Urho lost his true mate (erosgape) a long time ago and his long time lover not too long ago. His life is pretty much picturesque and he’s fulfilled by his job and friends. He’s old fashioned and set in his ways and that does cause some strife between him and his friends but no one gets to him like Xan, Xan the mouthy Alpha who invokes feelings in him that he has no business feeling. And mostly it makes him angry because the things he wants is not allowed. 

A chance meeting between the men lead to some awful truths and also some inevitable ones. If Urho can give Xan what he needs then he can also keep him safe and besides he’s realizing that it’s also something he craves and one things for sure his alpha sized omega will be his undoing.  

Together they navigate a forbidden attraction and pair that with Xans contracted but asexual omega and you have a unique story filled with many delights. For me the first 50% was hot as hell and so incredibly sexy. The push pull dance between Urho and Xan was done so well I think I almost passed out from holding my breath for a few minutes. That part was done amazingly and yet it really started to fizzle out for me, not so much where it wasn’t enjoyable but enough for it to lose what made it exciting. 

As I mentioned I didn’t much like Xan when first introduced but he turned out to be a multilayered character, and Urho was just Urho (which is surprising because I couldn’t stand him in book 1. He was a obnoxious, condescending prick) a great fit for Xan and an even better alpha for him. Throw in characters that I’ve come to love and new ones that I’m starting to appreciate and you have a solid second story in the ABO verse.  

I did have a few things I didn’t like. First, I caught Xan in many lies and then he sorta just brushed it over. Second, how you gon feel it’s ok to be beaten to an inch of your life and think that’s ok because you “need” sex, I’m sure there’s many avenues he could have gone and I’m trying to understand why it had to be him πŸ€”. Third, how Mr abuser was conveniently handled but also how it felt like what he did was no big deal (The he was a problem, we made him more of a problem and then snipered him out). Fourth, and this really bothered me. The description of Urho being dark skinned but I’ve been trying to figure exactly what that means. Dark skinned as in black man, dark skinned as being south Asian or just dark skinned as being tanner than the other characters? Representation is an important thing and I found that with not saying exactly what he was just felt like avoidance, but that’s just my opinion. Last but not least the crazy ending there. It followed the same pattern of the first book where all the crazy just happen at once and I wasn’t checking for that.. 

Overall, I still very much liked this story and while I didn’t fall in love like I did the first book, I still really liked it. It missed it mark by trying to follow the same steps or setup and what worked for a Slow Heat didn’t work for this one but it’s still an enjoyable story. If you’re like me and love Mpreg and Alpha/Beta/Omega dynamics then this series is definitely something to check out. 

SideNote: I need this on Audio asap. Michael F. I’m looking at you baby 😁


Audio Review: Salvation by Sloane Kennedy

Salvation (The Protectors #2) by Sloane Kennedy, Narration by Joel Leslie
Audible, Amazon, Goodreads
Time: 7hrs and 56 minutes
3 Pants Off

Blurb: "I lifted my gaze to tell Seth no but then I saw it. The thing I'd feared I'd lost. It wasn't hero worship or the wayward emotions of an innocent child. And it wasn't some distorted reflection of a man who no longer existed. All I saw was me...the way he saw me." (Ronan)

Trauma surgeon Ronan Grisham lost everything the day the man he loved was stolen from him in a brutal attack. Driven by a thirst for vengeance, he turns his hatred into building an underground group that can do what he couldn't that fateful day...take the lives of the guilty to save the lives of the innocent. But years later, he's forced to confront the one link to his past that he can't sever.

Seven years after the loss of his parents in a violent home invasion that left him permanently scarred both inside and out, 21-year-old Seth Nichols is trying to put his life back together so he can take over the reins of his father's global shipping empire. But the last person he expects to come back into his life is the man he drove away with one innocent, stolen kiss.

With one brush of his lips, Seth managed to do to Ronan what no other had since the day Ronan watched the light in his fiancΓ©'s eyes go out forever. He made him need again. But Ronan can't need anyone, least of all his dead fiancΓ©'s younger brother. Because even one touch from Seth could shatter Ronan's carefully constructed world and Ronan knows there's no coming back from that a second time.

But when a series of escalating attacks against Seth forces Ronan back into his life, Seth knows it's his last chance to show Ronan he can be the man the broken surgeon needs. Only the Ronan who returns isn't the Ronan Seth fell in love with so long ago....

Can Seth be Ronan's salvation or will he end up destroying them both?


Review 

The Story: 3 Pants Off 

What in all the drama was this?  

Ronan Grisham. Trauma Surgeon, lover, and a fighter. Ronan had it all with the man he loved until tragedy came in and took everything from him. When he was given the opportunity to seek revenge he took the path he now walks as a Protector. Ronan is in charge of elite bunch of killers who rid the world of the worst type of scum. He’s very much detached from life but is all about his job. Then there’s Seth, beautiful innocent Seth the little brother of his slain lover. 

The things Ronan is feeling for Seth is a complication he doesn’t need but when Seth is assaulted Ronan makes his grand appearance into his life once again. It seems Ronan is here to stay when the violence against Seth starts to escalate to the point of dangerous 😜 and he needs to protect him. But sparks are flying and Seth has made it quite clear his feelings for Ronan hasn’t changed, and Ronan has never been able to deny Seth. 

This begins a push and pull of a man falling for his dead lovers little brother, and protecting him from harm.  

Seriously, this book had so much stuff going on and by stuff I mean all the bad happening that have happened to Seth. His parents are murdered and he was violently hurt in the process, his brother gets murdered and he’s left alone, then someone is trying to kill him now. It was just all a little too much and it just kept getting more ridiculous. This is only my second book in the series but it’s the most ridiculous so far and that’s counting that in the first book a man almost shot another man because he thought he was a pedophile 😩. 

Overall, ridiculousness x10 and Seth and Ronan didn’t really do anything for me 🀷🏽 

The Narration: 2 Pants Off 

πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­ those emojis are my reaction to my listening experience. There was just so much emoting especially on Ronan’s part. Who in the world thought this was acceptable? I’d like to have a word please. 

Joel Leslie you did a bad job here sir, and while the story should have been angst ridden I found myself laughing at random points and I couldn’t take anything seriously 

What a complete and utter disappointment. The story was already lacking and the narration just made it all the worse. 

It’s a no for me dawg. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Audio Review: Jack: Grime and Punishment by Z.A Maxfield

Jack: Grime and Punishment (The Brothers Grime #1) by Z.A Maxfield
Audible, Goodreads
Time: 5hrs and 52 minutes

4 Pants Off

Blurb: The Brothers Grime is Jack Masterson's way of helping people in crisis after disability ends his career as a firefighter. Jack's people get to a scene long after the physical trauma ends. They don't solve crime or rescue the victims. They help people move on. The new job is all Jack wants or needs, until he gets the call about old flame Nick Foasberg's suicide. Ryan Halloran's cousin Nick has been on a downhill slide for a long time. Despite that, Ryan does everything he knows to help. Ryan only understands part of what happened between Nick and Jack in high school, but after Nick's suicide, Ryan agrees both he and Jack need closure. They work together to clean the scene and despite the situation, heat flares between them. Jack is keeping a painful secret and fighting his attraction to Nick's lookalike cousin, Ryan. Ryan calls himself a magnet for lost causes and worries Jack might be the next in a long line of losers. Despite his misgivings, despite the past and the mistakes they've both made, Jack gives Ryan something to look forward to, and Ryan gives Jack a reason to stop looking back, in Grime And Punishment.


Review

I enjoyed this just as much the second time around. Z.A offered up a story with a profession that I’ve never read in m/m before and it just makes it so interesting, and plus I really enjoy the authors writing. 

The Story: 4 Pants Off  

Jack is one of the owners in The Brothers Grime, a crime scene clean up service. Once a firefighter, an accident left him unable to continue the job of his heart but was able to find another way to help others. One wouldn’t think about what happens after the cops leave but Jack and his crew think about all that comes. They make it easier to clean up so the family, or maybe a spouse won’t have to deal with the hard reality of worrying about getting blood off the walls and out of a carpet.  

When he gets the heads up from his detective on and off lover that his first love Nick from his teen years committed suicide Jacks knows he needs to bid for the job no matter that he’s too emotionally connected to the case. How he and Nick ended was very tragic and Jack still carry the scars of it all but deep down he knows he needs do the cleanup even though it will bring old hurts to the forefront. All that’s left is convincing his cousin Ryan who happens to be Nicks lookalike. Cleaning up what’s left of Nick while looking into eyes and face that’s a dead ringer to his once lover now dead is a bad idea of epic proportions. 

As I said. I love the crime cleanup part of the story. No one ever thinks about what happens to crime scenes and the care that’s needed to cleanup. Thinking about blood born pathogens and all that isn’t even on people’s radar but Z.A brings it up here and gives you something to think about. 

The relationship between Jack and Ryan wasn’t hot fire but I liked it well enough. What bothers me is how Ryan viewed Jack in the beginning without knowing anything and how Jack took everything on like it was his fault. I also didn’t understand why the story revolves around Nick and yet I know nothing about him expect he was a drug addicted asshole. He obviously was dealing with somethings and his story intrigued me because I just wanna know “why”. 

Overall, another solid book by ZAM. I’ve never really disliked a book by this author and this one had that dark morose element that doesn’t exist much in the other author’s work. It was a new type of pace. 

The Narration: 3.5 Pants Off  

The narration wasn’t horrible but I did find it forgettable. It’s a good thing the story is so enjoyable. The was no strong difference between the voice of Jack and some of the other characters. While not incredible I still enjoyed Joe Arden's narration. There was a lot of emoting and no actual strong emotions coming across and that stopped it from getting a higher rating.

Review: Absinthe of Malice by Rhys Ford

Absinthe of Malice (Sinners #5) by Rhys Ford
Dreamspinner Press, Goodreads, Amazon
Novel: 200pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Blurb: We’re getting the band back together.

Those six words send a chill down Miki St. John’s spine, especially when they’re spoken with a nearly religious fervor by his brother-in-all-but-blood, Damien Mitchell. However, those words were nothing compared to what Damien says next.

And we’re going on tour.

When Crossroads Gin hits the road, Damien hopes it will draw them closer together. There’s something magical about being on tour, especially when traveling in a van with no roadies, managers, or lovers to act as a buffer. The band is already close, but Damien knows they can be more—brothers of sorts, bound not only by familial ties but by their intense love for music.

As they travel from gig to gig, the band is haunted by past mistakes and personal demons, but they forge on. For Miki, Damie, Forest, and Rafe, the stage is where they all truly come alive, and the music they play is as important to them as the air they breathe.

But those demons and troubles won’t leave them alone, and with every mile under their belts, the band faces its greatest challenge—overcoming their deepest flaws and not killing one another along the way.

Review

A STORY WAS ABSINTHE

So the 5th book in the Sinners series and like the 4th book I didn’t like it a hell of a lot. While I understand the reason for this book because of course it’s the setup to the finale. There was just a whole lot of nothing IMO. 

The band is back on. Made up of the lovers of the Morgan family Miki St John and Damien decide to put the old band back together. No longer Sinners Gin but Crossroads Gin And their tour is one of rebirth and moving forward. Too bad the past won’t stay dead and someone is dead set on hindering their future. 

What I like: I loved getting glimpses into the lives of the boys and their significant others. Life on the road can be tough and so I just really enjoyed seeing their vulnerability and the strong sense of family they all have.  

A realistic approach to their issues. Especially dealing with Miki and Rafe, it was great to see them face their problems head on and finally start asking for help. Miki has been a head case since the beginning of time and I for one am hella happy he’s realizing that his thought process is a tad bit unhealthy.  

Throw in the mystery, the crazy that comes with most Rhys Ford book, and some steamy scenes and you have a nicely balanced book. 

I’d like to make this Public Service Announcement…I live for Forest and Connor. They have captured my heart and their book is my fave, Connor is my fave Morgan and I need an invite to the wedding.  

What I didn’t like: How easily I know that things will go boom. For once I’d like to be surprised and things don’t go the expected OTT route.  

I feel like a whole lot of nothing happened until the very end here and then I was excited again. I am looking forward to the final book in the series and I already know it’s going to go down. I’m gonna need everything wrapped up in a neat little bow, and for Miki to get his basket of a mind weaved a little tighter.  

Overall, another entertaining read which was just a nice little glimpse into the lives of the men we’ve grown to love.