Monday, October 26, 2015

Review: All Kinds of Tied Down by Mary Calmes

Reviewed by Sin
All Kinds of Tied Down (Marshals #1) by Mary Calmes
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 290pgs
4 Pants Off

Blurb: Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they've gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more.

As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn't working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn't work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn't being tied down at all.

This is an action-packed and unpredictable story. The MCs are US Marshalls who have to chase down suspects, secure witnesses, dodge bullets and grenades, and jump off balconies. The story starts off with Miro and Ian already being devoted teammates and best friends. We don't get to see the transitions from strangers to friends like it says in the blurb, but they still need to make the leap from friends to lovers. After many dangerous situations on the job, Miro and Ian gradually realize they are "the one" for each other and they're practically an old, bickering couple anyway.

Ian is an US Marshall whose mindset is "shoot first, ask questions later" and with a mantra of "screw the pain." Ian has almost no interpersonal skills. Throughout the story, he pisses off other law enforcement officers, his girlfriend, and his boss constantly. This demonstrates that he cannot survive in society without Miro to mend his broken bridges. Despite the many dangerous situations he gets into, he gets off with hardly a scratch while Miro, the more rational partner, seems to get injured every time. I find that contradictory but that doesn't distract me from the story too much. Even by the end of the story, Ian has too many secrets and I don't completely understand him.

In my opinion, Miro lets Ian get away with too much. He lets Ian eat his food, walks Ian's dog, etc. At least in their hearts, they are each others number one person. That makes Miro's painful one-sided love worth it in the end. There is a lot of contrast between Miro and Ian. Miro is more rational, has better interpersonal skills, and is more fashion conscious. Miro wears his nice (and expensive) clothes to work that end up getting ruined after chasing suspects or escaping with witnesses. Miro is really the best match for Ian and he makes up for Ian's shortcomings but I don't really see it working the other way around. While Ian was called away to do a secret mission for the army, we get to see some of Miro's childhood and get to know why he works in law enforcement. This part of the story progresses slowly. I love reading the dialogues between Miro and Ian but when there is only Miro, the story seems off track and missing the excitement in the beginning of the story. 

They finally take their relationship to the next level when Miro takes a leap of faith and they end up together. Ian is difficult to live with and it takes a special person to get into his heart. We don't get to see his background story but he's quiet, intense, and needs reassurance of where he stands in Miro's heart.

I really love the dialogue between the MCs. It's fun and natural when Miro and Ian are bickering. I also love the side characters, each has a unique personality. The best side character is Chickie, the wolf-sized dog. It's everyone's dream dog that's super loyal, affectionate, protective and can scare off a would-be robber. Overall, this is a fun and action-packed story with lots of tension between the MCs. Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Omo, I am so excited right now. As You can see Pants Off Reviews got a makeover and I am so happy with it (like legit my fave thing). I am so grateful to Emily over at Blogaholic Designs for making it happen. She really came through. Its simple but yet so totally me, its the epitome of all my pants losing feels.

In celebration of the return of POR, I am doing a giveaway. I am so excited to be back and I hope you guys are too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Review: Changing the Things You Can by Ari McKay

Reviewed by SinChan
Changing the Things You Can by Ari McKay
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 43pgs
4 Pants Off

Blurb: Devastated by the death of his best friend from a drug overdose, rock star Devon Bailey retreats to his hometown to grieve. When his fragile emotional state causes him to break down in a local bakery, owner Michael Behrman comes to his rescue.

Michael's nurturing instincts prompt him to reach out to Devon, offering support and a comforting shoulder, and the two grow closer. Michael's feelings for Devon deepen into something more--but how can he know whether Devon feels anything more for him than gratitude?

Devon, lead singer of a popular rock band, returns to his hometown to escape the media after the death of his best friend and drummer in the same band from drug abuse. In the midst of grief, he stumbles upon Michael who comforts him.

The story focuses on Devon dealing with his grief and how Michael and Devon develop their relationship from friends to lovers. The transition from friends to lovers is a little fast in my opinion, especially in the middle of dealing with grief. However, I can believe they will make a great couple in the future since their meeting is so well written.

Michael is the knight in shining armor. Sometimes he's too perfect, like how he knows exacting the right things to say and do to comfort Devon. There's not enough pages for the reader to get to know Michael but there are hints that Michael is not a perfect person, just perfect for Devon.

Devon has a lot on his plate. His best friend just died from overdose, his dead friend's mother blames him for the death, the media is invading his privacy and he wants a career change. I think he's very fortunate to find Michael during these troubled times. His situation is portrayed very realistically and down to earth.

This short story leaves me with a smile on my face. It's a very heart warming story with a lesson. The story is set at an easy pace. I especially liked how Devon slowly reveals his problems and talks about Chad's death to Michael. It was more realistic for me to see a step by step progression. Overall, I'm impressed with how complete this short story feels.

4 Pants Off

Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: The Byte of Betrayal by Ashavan Doyon

Reviewed by SinChan
The Byte of Betrayal by Ashavan Doyon
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 73pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Caleb McDonnell lives his life online. A thirty-year-old fast food worker, he spends his time talking in an Internet world where his job and living conditions can't dictate his friendships. He's found acceptance, friendship, and even romance. But when an online friend is revealed as a fake, Caleb loses all sense of trust. To stave off the emotional collapse of his betrayal, Caleb leaves his online life behind and retreats into the monotony of his job.

Nicodemus Rokos feels like his heart has been torn out. He knew Caleb would be hurt, but he'd hoped not to be shut out of his boyfriend's life. He can only hope Caleb still feels something when he shows up in person to reclaim what he's lost.

Caleb has a crush on Nic but he doesn't have the courage to tell him so he tells his online best friend, Kevin. He also can't afford a trip to visit Nic since he's so poor, he's eating Ramen noodles and stale bread. He's living his life online and having online friends. A thousand miles away, Nic wants to be Caleb's boyfriend and discovers Kevin is a fake. Nic tells Caleb the truth but he can't accept it.

Caleb is getting depressive and reliant on his online relationships to feel a connection. When he discovers his best friend (online) is a fake person, he spirals into depression. He's background is really sad. He used to live on the streets so he's proud to have a home even though its a crappy one. Not many people understand how reliant he is on online relationships/friendships. He thinks real people on the street are impersonal and trusts his online best friend, Kevin. It turns out that Kevin is really Tami, who's a boring and mousy character that wants people to talk to her and gets addicted to using a fake persona. My heart goes out to him and hope he trusts people again with Nic's help.

Nic is the nice guy and the perfect hero for Caleb. However, his home situation is weird. He's financially supporting his friend and her child. His friend becomes reliant on him and tries to break up his relationship so Nic will never leave her. They are not husband and wife but they give off a very domestic feel. It would be difficult to add Caleb into the mix.

The online chat format may take a little to get used to. The ending of Nic coming to rescue Caleb and his recovery is rushed. Overall though, the story ends with a HEA and at a very hopeful note. Fans of the hurt/comfort trope would enjoy this story.

3.5 Pants Off

Review: Cross and Crown by Abigail Roux

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Cross & Crown (Sidewinder #2) by Abigail Roux
Riptide Publishing
Novel: 225pgs
5 Pants Off

When Nick O'Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time.

Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide. The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity.

Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

HOLY HANNAH !!! I so couldn’t wait to read this book. To see how Nick and Kelly were evolving in their relationship. This book was a thrill-ride that just wouldn’t quit!!! I’m a HUGE Ty and Zane fan, so these two guys had so much to live up too.  These Guys Knocked It Out Of The Park!!  

As we know from the C&R series, Nick is a detective in Boston and he’s been working desk duty after donating part of his liver for his father. So, you can believe that Nick is ready to hit the streets and get some action!! Nick is the kind of guy who you’d want on your side if things were going off the rails. He is strong, kind, caring and logical. Nick is always so focused on getting to the truth and the bottom of things, that he doesn’t let emotions get in the way. He makes a promise and you better believe that he’ll move heaven and earth to fulfill it.  Nick is such a wonderful character, he’s sexy, dangerous and so very Alpha. 

It’s such a pleasure to get to know more about him.  Kelly is such a great character.  He was the team medic and yet, he’s so much more than that.  He’s got this wonderful job as a counselor for a camp for children.  He’s a wonderful little stoner who seems so laid-back and yet, when it comes to his boys), he becomes rather dangerous. Nick is Kelly’s first relationship with a man and yet, these two just seem to click together. I don’t know if it’s because they’ve known each other for 15 years or not, Kelly is as in love with Nick and Nick is with Kelly. Kelly truly sees Nick in a way that no one else does.  He knows Nick and that allows him to be the very best partner to Nick. Kelly is fun loving, kind, generous and so focused on Nick and their relationship.  It’s really a pleasure to see Kelly open himself up to this love.  

The secondary characters in this book…So Great.  JD, which stands for John Doe, is either a witness or a suspect, is this great mixture of innocence and intelligence.  Hagen, Nick’s partner on the force really cares for him and they really work well as partners.  Julian…what can I say about Julian that we’ve not heard before?  Julian is witty, sarcastic, wicked smart and plain dangerous.   His deadpanned delivery of lines just makes me laugh.  Ty and Zane both make cameo appearances in this story, and we all know about them.  

There was lots of action in this story.  This was a thrill-ride from the first word on the page until the last. They mystery of JD, the Cross & Crown, helping Julian, it was AMAZING!! The gun fights, the chasing clues and Oh My Lanta, the first time that Kelly and Julian meet…WATCH OUT!!  I will say that there was lots of history being shown in this story, so get your thinking hat out!! Hehehe  

As we all know, Abi is a great writer who can blend adventure/suspense and mystery together and make you so invested in her characters and in her story that you fall under her spell and don’t want to get out.  Abi did the very same thing with this book.  She grabbed you and didn’t let go.  What fun this book was.  Abi blended the right amount of suspense/action and humor. My favorite quote was Kelly saying “Romantic, but are you sure this isn’t just a history nerdgasm you’re having right now?”  I giggled for a while after reading that. Nerdgasm.  As you know, Abi does really good hot sex and this book was no exception.  It was hot and yet, it was so intimate between the two of them. The sex doesn’t overwhelm the story, it just adds another layer to Nick and Kelly’s bond.  

I was glad that Nick and Ty spoke, but it was hard to read. Knowing that they aren’t as solid as they had been. However, it was good to see them again, as always. I do hope that Ty and Nick get back to being the way they were.  These guys have been through too much to allow their relationship to end.  
The relationship between Nick and Kelly is smooth and easy.  Not angst-filled in the way that you read about for some couples.  These two men come with their own issues and worries, and yet it’s really sweet to watch them handle being in a relationship.  I smile just thinking about them together.  

So, if you’re ready for another Adventure filled, Thrill-ride…this is the story for you!!  You get to go on such a fun journey and truly meet some Great Characters to fall in love with..this is for you!! So.. grab a drink, get comfy and get lost in a book that you’ll read again and again, many times. 

5 Pants Off
Review: Book 1 Shock & Awe

Review: The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick and C.Kennedy

Reviewed by SinChan
The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick
Harmony Ink Press
Novel: 190pgs
3 Pants Off

One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person—helpful, generous, and chivalrous—a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn’t recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.

Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can’t hold back from retrieving kittens from tall trees, helping little old ladies cross busy streets, and defending innocence anywhere he finds it.

Shockingly, at school, he realizes he used to be a bully. He’s attracted to the former victim of his bullying, Scott Beckett, though he has no memory of Scott from before “the change.” Where he’d been lazy in academics, overly aggressive in sports, and socially insecure, he’s a new person. And although he can recall behaving egotistically, he cannot remember his motivations.

Everyone, from his mother to his teachers to his “superjock” former pals, is shocked by his dramatic transformation. However, Scott Beckett is not impressed by Bryan’s newfound virtue. And convincing Scott he’s genuinely changed and improved, hopefully gaining Scott’s trust and maybe even his love, becomes Bryan’s obsession.

Byran likes Scott in secret. He gets a sudden obsession with red sheets (as a cape) and being a superhero. He has no memories of his past behaviors as a bully, especially towards Scott, but he has a crush on Scott and Scott wants nothing to do with him. Byran's behavior is unrealistic and weird to me so I can't really connect with him and understand his dilemmas. Even his mother thinks his new behavior is out of character. It seems like he is possessed by aliens or something. I'm giving props to Scott for being cautious about Byran's new and improved behaviors.

Even though Byran's personality went through a big change, he is still an awkward teenager. I love how he enlists his teacher's help to get more chances to interact with Scott. He forms a social justice team, comes out of the closet, and becomes a superhero in the end. I like that he is concerned with doing the right thing that is just and moral.

Byran's biggest obstacle is Brandon, who is the biggest homophobe and a superjock at the school, but may also have a crush on Scott. He is the bad guy in the story, yet he's in a very similar situation to Byran. This story could have easily been about Brandon's transformation from superjock to superhero. The story is super slow paced with Byran discovering his love of red sheets and lost memories and testing if he can fly.

The story finally picks up the pace and reveals what happened that night with Scott and Brandon that led to him subconsciously repressing his memories. Once that is out of the way, Byran and Scott can move forward and forgive past transgressions.

The story gets very inspirational with Ghandi quotes and Bryan's self discovery. Even though the beginning is slow paced, I enjoy reading the love story from the bully's perspective. 

3 Pants Off

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: To Say I Love You by Anna Martin

Reviewed by Whuppsy
To Say I love You (Another Way #3) by Anna Martin
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 224pgs
4 Pants Off

After six years of romance and kink, Jesse Ross and Will Anderson have had their ups and downs and come through them stronger and happier. But when Jesse’s mother dies unexpectedly, Jesse is forced to return to his childhood home in Georgia to help his family cope. Will transfers from Seattle to his company’s Atlanta office, but love their way is out of the question while they’re staying in Jesse’s parents’ home. So Will buys a small house for them to fix up and find some privacy.

When their lives start to settle back into something like normality, Will and Jesse resume their recently neglected BDSM relationship. Along with the security of Jesse’s submission comes trouble, as a local man tries to lure a lonely, grieving Jesse away from Will, and one of Will’s coworkers causes tension between them. Both men are forced to reassess what really matters, and where their romance is heading.

So, this is the 3rd book in the Another Way series and I’ve got to tell you, it was a pretty good read.  I’ve not read the other books, so this was a first read for me. 

Will and Jesse are already established couple.  They have gone through their ups and downs in their relationship and have come out the other side as a stronger couple. This story is truly a journey for both of these men.  They are dealing with being in a different environment than what they live in at home.  They are more dependent on each other and making it through this period of their lives.

This story starts off after the death of Jesse’s momma.  They’ve been in Georgia awhile now and Jesse isn’t ready yet to go home to Seattle.  He feels that he’s should stay there to be close to his father and sister.  Jesse also feels the need to find some semblance of balance back into his life.  They end up staying in Georgia for a bit and this is where our boys start to heal and deal.

Jesse is so off-balanced from the loss of his momma that he’s not really sure if he’s coming or going. He’s just not ready to say goodbye and leave.  Jesse is such a sweet character, he’s loving and loyal and kind and just a really good guy. He wants to be able to do the right thing for everyone and yet, he’s not really sure what that actually means. Will was a harder character for me to get a read on.  As the story is from Jesse’s POV, it was difficult to really get much of a feeling from him.  He seemed like a really good guy.  He loves Jesse, so very much.  That came through loud and clear.  He moved his life around to be able to support Jesse as he’s struggling.  He’s loyal and he loves Jesse without any reservations.  He’s a great guy.  I just found him to be aloof.  I couldn’t really put any one thought of how I feel about him.  

There was a fair bit of sex in this book.  It’s got lots of BDSM elements in here as well.  I assume if you’ve read the previous books, you know that their relationship was based on this from the very beginning.  However, that’s not all there is to their relationship.  They are a committed, loving couple.  The love that they have for each other was felt on every page of this book.  They are each other’s world. There was an instance of ménage in this story.  It was done so beautifully and tasteful, that I was really surprised and very happy at how it was written.  

There were a few characters in the story that were making a play for our MC’s, but it never went anywhere.  These two would never cheat or leave each other.  It was really nice to see that Will didn’t even notice that this character was interested in him.  He just thought that they were friends.  Jesse’s guy, the one that they had a threesome with, he was in a totally different mindset than Jesse.  Jesse was lonely and wanted a friend.  He thought that it was and when it came to a head, he let the guy down and let him know that it was only Will for him.  I think that it was really sweet the times that they made love to each other.  It showed that they are truly a couple that love each other deeply. 

The story was really good.  It flowed smoothly and I was never taken out of it by grammar errors, etc.  This was such a wonderful story of an ever-evolving relationship.  I really liked that they were an established couple and that they were staying that way.   I will say that I really enjoyed this book.  If you are indeed a fan of the series, I would say this is a great addition.  If like me, you’ve not read the previous books, this will make you want to go back and read about them from the very beginning.  They were wonderful together and I enjoyed their story. I’m intrigued to see how they got together in the beginning.

So, take the time to read this story and either fall in love with them for the first time, or fall further in love with these guys. This book had it all lots of Love, Sex and very low angst.  So, grab a drink, sit in a comfy chair and enjoy. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

4 Pants Off

Review: Lineage by Angela Fiddler

Reviewed by SinChan
Lineage (Master of the Lines #1) by Angela Fiddler
Novella: 157pgs
4 Pants Off

Love didn’t just kick you when it were down; it staked you out and turned you into a vampire. Not that Vision was bitter. His ex-lover taught him nothing lasts forever, while his ex-master taught him to submit and the fine art of not resisting silk restraints. In exchange, Vision let both of them keep their heads. He considered it a fair trade-off.

Now Vision is a master, but still finds himself wanting to be on his knees.

Enter Hanz. He’s just a driver, but he knows what Vision wants and how to make it sting the way Vision likes most.

Vision won’t be fooled again. Sure, Hanz is sweet. The respect feels genuine, and, what’s worse, he honestly seems to love Vision. Older, wiser masters counsel Vision against Hanz. And, of course, they’re right. Hanz does have something to hide.And, as if on cue, along comes Vision’s ex-lover, the cause of and solution to being kicked, staked, and vamped. Vision is caught again, and this time not with ropes and silk. Now if he can only keep his neck and his heart intact…

Steven (Seraph) and Vic (Vision) lived on the streets together as prostitutes when Gabriel found them and turned them into vampires. Now Gabriel is low on power and influence, he uses Seraph to force Vision to submit. However, Vision is now a leader in the vampire world, having control of two ley lines. He has status, prestige, and extra power from the ley lines. He just needs to cement Hanz's position in the vampire world and by his side and prevent other vampires from stealing his lines.

The story is told by alternating the present time with Vision and Hanz and the past before he came to power. There is so many years difference between the past and present that Vic and Vision are like two different people. It's a little disorienting when the perspective switched after each short passage.
Vision's relationship with Hanz is unclear at first but Hanz is a critical player later in the story. Vision wants to be dominated by Hanz even though he is the superior one. This juxtaposition is intriguing and adds more problems for Vision. He is also the youngest vampire in the council but inherited two elder ley lines. He has a lot to prove and it's fascinating to see how he became so powerful.

This story is filled with fascinating vampire politics and world building. Men and women seems to use the ley lines differently and this causes a difference in how power is divided between the sexes. The story keeps me on my toes with shows of Vision's power in public, his submissive side in private with Hanz, and his past. Vision is a fascinating character and he keeps me turning the pages to figure out who he is.

Overall, this story has a good set of intriguing characters in a fascinating world. Even though the shifting time frames could be tiresome, it was a fast read for me. I would recommend this story for vampire fans.
4 Pants Off

Review: Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny's Lair by Amy Lane

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny's Lair (Granby Knitting #4) by Amy Lane
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 244pgs
5 Pants Off

Blurb: After three years of waiting for “rabbit” Jeremy to commit to a life in Granby—and a life together—Aiden Rhodes was appalled when Jeremy sustained a nearly fatal beating to keep a friend out of harm's way. How could Aiden’s bunny put himself in danger like that?

Aiden needs to get over himself, because Jeremy has a long road to recovery, and he's going to need Aiden's promise of love every step of the way. Jeremy has new scars on his face and body to deal with, and his heart can’t afford any more wounds.

When their friend’s baby needs some special care, the two men find common ground to firm up their shaky union. With Aiden’s support and his boss’s inspiration, Jeremy comes up with a plan to make sure Ariadne's little blackbird comes into this world with everything she needs. While Jeremy grows into his new role as protector, Aiden needs to ease back on his protectiveness over his once-timid lover. Aiden may be a wolf in student's clothing and Jeremy may be a rabbit of a man, but that doesn’t mean they can’t walk the wilds of Granby together.

This is this book is a continuation of the series, however, it’s mostly about Aiden and Jeremy. I have read lots of Amy Lane’s books before, but not this series, so I was very interested in coming into this series and seeing if I could fall for these characters. I should have known better. Once again Amy has delivered a wonderful book.

We pick up this book at Jeremy is sacrificing himself for Stanley. Well, part of it was for Johnny who saved his bacon 3 years ago and who is involved with Stanley and would be heartbroken if anything happened to him. Jeremy has finally decided to stop running and is standing still.

Jeremy is having to come to grips with the decision that he made in the sense that he no longer looks the same as before. He’s got this really great heart and he only wants to be seen as a good man. Yes, he’s made his mistakes, but he’s served his time as is trying to have a better life. Jeremy is so sweet and so giving and yet, he really doesn’t see how good of a man he truly has become. For some reason, Jeremy seems to think that his past is all that there is to him and he doesn’t see that those in his life know very well that that isn’t true. Jeremy just needs to see that for himself.

Aiden on the other hand is dealing with getting Jeremy back up and running. Letting go of the anger that he feels. How could Jeremy do that? Put his life in jeopardy like that? Aiden is having to really come to grips with what happened and just what Jeremy means to him. That he wanted Jeremy. That he waited until Jeremy was ready for him. Aiden is this great guy who has this family that loves him so much. He’s got this other family at the mill where he works that show him love and acceptance and guidance if needed. Aiden is so strong and so determined for Jeremy to know that he’s loved, both the good and bad sides of himself, equally.
The secondary characters are so wonderful. You get the feeling of such love and acceptance and understanding from them. Craw is this wonderful gruff man who does what he can for those in his life that he loves. I love that he’s got this really tender side to him. Ariadne has become Jeremy’s best friend. Ariadne and her husband, Rory are going to have a baby with a cleft palate and they will be in need. Even with all that is going on with them, there is love and acceptance there. Jeremy and Ari’s relationship blossoms and grows into such love and friendship, it was really sweet to watch.
This story had so much going on. Love. Not only romantic love, but the love of your family and also the family that you have created. Acceptance of the past and who you are now. I guess you can call that acceptance of self. I love the sense of community that this story had. I loved the way everyone came out to help Ari and Rory was beautiful. I love that Jeremy got the chance to seek and gain redemption. That commitment was needed and how Jeremy stepped up to the plate and decided to knock it out of the park.

Amy is a Master Storyteller. I have read her works and have never read a book that made me not fall in love with her characters. I’m in there with them and going on the journey right along side of them. There was actually no real angst in this story. Just Jeremy’s in regard to commitment, but other than that, angst-free. I’m not much of a knitter, but the way Amy described the knitting in this book, it just amazing!! I could actually see what the patterns were. AMAZING!!
This book was beautiful to read. I enjoyed the ride and I know that if you love Amy’s Granby Knitting Series, this is one that you’ll really love. Don’t wait, go and get this book and be prepared to be taken on a journey.

5 Pants Off

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review: Holding out For a Fairy Tale by A.J Thomas

Reviewed by Whuppsy
Holding Out for a Fairy Tale (Least Likely Partnership #2) by A.J Thomas
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 250pgs
4.5 Pants Off

When his vicious cousin Alejandro makes a violent late-night visit, San Diego homicide detective Ray Delgado gets a brutal reminder of why he left his family behind. Alejandro wants Ray to find his sister, Sophia, who disappeared from the UC San Diego campus, before the FBI digs too deep into his business.

Special Agent Elliot Belkamp spent his entire life jumping from one place to another, but his new assignment assisting a FBI task force offers him a chance to settle down. When Elliot catches a missing person's case as his first assignment, the last person he expects to find poking around the victim’s dorm room is Ray, a one-time hookup he’s more inclined to punch in the face than kiss hello. After discovering Sophia's disappearance is linked to a massive computer-based theft that has two powerful crime families ready to declare war, Elliot focuses on his investigation and tries to ignore Ray. As the search for Sophia turns dangerous, Elliot and Ray discover that tackling organized crime might be easier than resisting the urge to tackle each other.

I had read the first book, A Casual Weekend Thing and I really liked it.  I was really excited to read the second book in the series and I’m really glad that I did.

Ray Delgado is this really very smart, loves science fiction and computers and playing wonderful, elaborate jokes.  Ray is a great cop.  The analytical way that his brain works to
move pieces together is one of his endearing traits.  The other is his self-proclaimed nerdom.  Ray is loyal and kind and so very giving.  If he cares about you, you know that he’d be there in a hot minute if you needed him.  Ray is closeted at the moment. He doesn’t want his fellow cops to know that he’s bisexual, leaning towards gay.  Ray’s family is just so damn hard on him.  He’s on the other side of the law from his family and he’s done things that they can’t forgive him for. 

Elliot Belkamp is a special agent with the FBI who we also met in the first book.  Elliott is a much more complex character than you would have originally thought.  Elliot is a war veteran, martial artist besides being an up and coming special agent.  Elliot is open about his sexuality.  He doesn’t advertise, but he doesn’t deny it.  Elliot is such a great character.  He’s honest and open and so very kind.  He is also more dangerous than you’d think.  I like the fact that Elliot is so honest about what he’s thinking and feeling. It’s a nice foil for Ray’s behavior. Elliot strives so hard to do the right thing and do the very best job that he can.

There were some good secondary characters in this story.  The people from Ray’s job, they were such a great bunch of people.  They truly cared about him and did what they could to help him out during his time of need.  Elliot’s boss, who was more than a boss, but also a friend.  Special agent Hathaway, a co-worker of Elliot’s was more of a joke for the majority of this book.  You could tell that this character had some things going on and I actually surprised when I got further into the story about him. Carmen, Ray’s sister, well I thought she was just ok until the end of the story and then I didn’t like her at all.  Alejandro, Ray’s cousin, WOW!!  He was great!! 

I like the dangerous way he acted during the entire book.  He was one character that you didn’t have to worry about.  Well, if he didn’t want to kill you, that is.  Alejandro is dangerous and truly without a conscience.  He’s the kind of bad guy that you end up liking a bit.  I know that I did. Hayes and Doug make a brief appearance in the book and it was really good to see them again.  I love seeing them again and seeing how their relationship is going.  

There was a bit of sex in this story, but it never overwhelmed the story in the least.  The amount of sex truly was done in a way that expressed emotions between our MC’s.  It was never over the top and it only helped to move our story along.  Really tastefully done.

I will say that the mystery/suspense part of the story was so well done that I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what was really happening and in doing so, didn’t see what was right in front of me.  Which is sad to say for someone like me who likes to know exactly who’s doing what and picking up the bad guy from the beginning.  I give mad props to AJ for making me work for it in the end.

I really liked this book and am looking forward to more books from this author in the future.  So, settle back in a comfy chair and get ready for a wonderful story that will have you entertained from the minute you start reading until the very last word is read.           

Review: The Art of Breathing by TJ Klune

Reviewed by Whuppsy
The Art of Breathing (Bear, Otter, and Kid #3) by TJ Klune
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 350 pgs
5 Pants Off

Tyson Thompson graduated high school at sixteen and left the town of Seafare, Oregon, bound for what he assumed would be bigger and better things. He soon found out the real world has teeth, and he returns to the coast with four years of failure, addiction, and a diagnosis of panic disorder trailing behind him. His brother, Bear, and his brother's husband, Otter, believe coming home is exactly what Tyson needs to find himself again. Surrounded by family in the Green Monstrosity, Tyson attempts to put the pieces of his broken life back together.

But shortly after he arrives home, Tyson comes face to face with inevitability in the form of his childhood friend and first love, Dominic Miller, who he hasn't seen since the day he left Seafare. As their paths cross, old wounds reopen, new secrets are revealed, and Tyson discovers there is more to his own story than he was told all those years ago.

In a sea of familiar faces, new friends, and the memories of a mother's devastating choice, Tyson will learn that in order to have any hope for a future, he must fight the ghosts of his past.

So, I’m such a fan of Tj’s books.  He can make you feel so much with his words.  He draws you in his stories and you fall into them and you can’t get out until the very end.  Even then, it’s never fully over for you, trust me. When I heard that the Kid’s story was coming out, I KNEW I had to read this book.  I knew that I was going to cry because I cry in ALL of his books.  Especially his Bear, Otter and the Kid Chronicles.  So, are you ready?  Well, let’s get into itThis is the Kid’s (Ty’s) story. It’s a story BOATK fan has been waiting for.  But, I really don’t think that we were expecting the level of gut-wrenching that we got. But, I will say that it was worth it and Tj stayed in the realm that he has created so well.

Ty’s life isn’t going as well as he thought it would. He’s coming back to Seafare after being put on academic probation because of the problems that he’s faced over the last couple of years.  Ty was diagnosed with Panic Disorder and those attacks take so much from him. He got addicted to drugs and had to battle his way back.  Ty has so much fear in his life that he just can’t see a way out.  But he’s trying to get his life in order.  I love the resilience that Ty shows in trying to figure out his life. 

Ty has been in love with Dominic since he was young.  He at first though it was just friendship, but it wasn’t until he got older that he realized that it was love.  Dom has always been just his.  Dom helped to keep things from being too scary.  He was Ty’s heart and that kept him beating along. 

Ty says it perfectly:” Bear may be my rock, but Dom is the force that moves me.”

 Their way to happiness isn’t going to easy, but this is Tj Klune, so we know that there will be bumps and bruises along the way.  It was a slow build to their HEA.  Tj is known for making his characters deal with the issues that plague them.  Ty had so much to work on.  Dealing with the abandonment of his mother when he was five.  Dealing with the fractured relationship that he has with Dom.  Trying to deal with his own feelings of insecurities.  

Ty’s voice was so different from Bear’s voice.  Ty is neurotic thoughts are the same and yet so different from Bear’s. Ty is a vegetarian, hippish, ecoterrorist that will make your heart hurt and yet, you just want the very best for him.  Ty is dealing with so much and yet, his love for his family, the family that has been created during our tenure of BOATK’s chronicles is unmatched.  I love to see how he deals with all of the crazy that is his family.  The love that they all share is beyond beautiful to see.

Dom is Ty’s other half.  Dom realized that Ty was his as well.  Even though he’s so much older than Ty and he wants him to stay, he lets Ty go.  To allow Ty to realize his dreams.  It’s wonderful to see Dom again and he’s such a wonderful man.  I always liked Dom.  He was so strong and silent and yet, he’s always shown such consideration for Ty.  How gentle and kind he was with Ty.  I just fell for this guy.  He’s all that and so much more in this story.  So much more.  I fell more in love with his character in this book.

The secondary characters in this book, WOW!!  I loved them so much!!  Creed, Anna and JJ, their son had me in stitches!!  Creed is ALWAYS great for a laugh.  He’s still the same after so many years.  I love that about him.  Corey/Kori, I truly loved this character.  I learned about bigenderism and it was something that is so real and really needs to be explored more. Sandy, Paul, Vince and Darren made appearances in this story and can I just say…I WANT WAY MORE OF THEM!!  I can’t wait for Sandy and Darren’s story!!  Vince was his truly adorkable self and I still just wanted to kiss his cheek and listen to his sweetness. Paul…what can you say about Paul?  Paul just had me rolling. I was laughing out loud

reading him.  If you’ve not read Tell Me It’s Real, you’re missing so much and you must RUN to read that book.  You’ll totally laugh and cry your way through that book. Otter, is still the protective Father/Brother for Ty.  He’s Bear’s other half.  His sane half.  I love that Otter is still the rock that he’s always been.  Bear…I’ve saved Bear for last.  I love his protectiveness.  His love for Ty is unparalleled. To see Bear and watch him Freak Out is quite possibly the best part of these books.  Bear is just a hoot to read about.  You’ll enjoy his crazy as much as ever, possibly even more.  I know that I did. 

I have to say that this book spanned more years than the previous books, but the way Tj did it and the reason was perfect.  This book was perfect.  There were times when I thought my heart would fall out of my chest with the sadness and sorrow that I felt.  Yet, there was times that I laughed out loud and snorted.  Tj has ALWAYS given you wonderful books that draw you in and you go on the journey with the characters.  He hasn’t lost that touch in the least.  In fact, he keeps getting better with every book that he does.  He did with this book.  Know that you are about to go on Ty’s journey with him and feel everything that he does. You will cheer his triumphs and hurt for him in his sadness. 

So, sit down and grab some tissues and be prepared to go on an emotional ride and never want to get off.

5 Pants Off

Review: Beast by Allison Cassatta & Tracey Michael

Reviewed by SinChan
Beast by Allison Cassatta & Tracey Michael
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 216pgs
4 Pants Off

Ara Costas has it all—riches, power, and the kind of beauty that attracts all the right people. He’s flying high and loves his life, until a serious car accident leaves him horribly scarred. Ara becomes an angry recluse, hiding away in his Chicago high-rise apartment, running his multimillion-dollar business from behind a computer screen.

Ilias Adams is a quiet farm boy who keeps his nose buried in books. A great education and stellar resume land him a job as Ara's assistant and liaison to the board of directors. Little did he know when he signed up for this dream job that he’d end up working for the world's moodiest, most uptight boss.

Ilias is scared of Ara at times, but he recognizes the challenge he faces when he meets Ara and sees the reason for the man’s anger. Ara is guarded and suspicious, since he can’t believe anyone can bear to look at him. Despite all this, Ilias is determined to turn the beast into a beauty again, at least on the inside, and tear down the walls Ara has so carefully constructed around him.

Ara is heavily scarred and retreats to live a hermit. His daily schedule is rigid and severe. He runs his company in his private office in his residence and avoids almost all human contact. His new employee, Ilias, is determined to get through to the lonely man and make Ara live a little bit more. 

This is a remake of Beauty and the Beast in a corporate world setting. There is definitely a lot of emotion stirred up in the story, especially from Ara. His insecurities, dreams of restoring his face with surgery, and struggles with agoraphobia make up this story. After years of living like a hermit, Ara doesn't know how to react to Ilias in a romance fashion and retreats to his room. Sometimes, it gets tiring to see Ara retreat back into his shell, even though it's normal to have doubts and insecurities. The side characters in the story doesn't make much impact because the story focuses a lot on Ara's growth from a recluse to a confident, caring lover. 

I like the slow progress of Ara's romance with Ilias, whose a really strong and sure character. Even though Ilias grew up as a farm boy and barely have any love experience, his heart is in the right place. He knows what is important in life and sees past Ara's scars to the man inside. He's also an avid reader and has a tablet full of ebooks. He's really charming when he makes little plans to open up Ara's heart and get him to live more freely. The build up of their relationship is hard-won and slow, but it's enjoyable to read their progression to being lovers. 

It would also be interesting to read more about Beni, who had a one-sided crush on Ara, and his love story. He reminds me of Ilias, but he isn't strong enough to handle Ara's demanding attitude. If Ara was a different man, Beni might have been the one to change him and bring Ara out of his shell. 

Overall, it's a great modern Beauty and the Beast story with a realistic portrayal of the isolation and emotional turmoil of the beast and then the courage needed to face the world again. 
4 Pants Off

Review: Branded by Bru Baker

Reviewed by SinChan
Branded by Bru Baker
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 36pgs
2 Pants Off

When a would-be assassin sneaks into the citadel disguised as a servant, the king requires that all servants who work in the castle be branded with the royal crest for easy identification. Prince Coren is powerless to fight the edict, but he refuses to allow his personal advisor and secret lover Brannir to suffer alone. Coren shows his devotion by wielding the brand to mark Brannir himself, even though he fears it will change their relationship. He's prepared for resentment, hurt, and anger--every outcome but the one he receives: unconditional love.

Since an assassin sneaked into the castle by disguising as a servant, all servants must be branded for identification. Bran will be forced to leave the castle if he isn't branded. Coren hates to mark his lover but he also can't disobey his father and out himself to the public, after all, he's the crown prince.
This is a very slow paced story without much action. There is too much detail going into the branding process and Coren working up the nerve to do it. Coren must brand Bran to protect him but also unwilling to hurt him. Their relationship have to remain a secret and survive the emotional and physical pain of hurting a lover. Their interaction might have been intense, but it lacks the background and length to explore their love and make this a truly deep and intense deep. 
 I keep anticipating the King finding out his son's relationship with his advisor or walking in on them. I want to know more about the popularity of the King with his people since he seems really cruel and paranoid, the setting, and the couple's next steps (they can't hide their relationship forever). The story mainly describes one scene (the branding) and its immediate aftermath. 
Overall, this is a very short and monotonous story. Most of the excitement is in the blurb. It has the potential to be an intense read and it's a great start to a good story. Fans of the hurt/comfort trope can give this a try. 

2 Pants Off