Friday, March 30, 2018

Review: All These Hidden Scars by Avril Ashton

All These Hidden Scars (Loose Ends, 0.5) by Avril Ashton
Novella: 185pgs

4 Pants Off

Blurb: When I leave, I never return the same

Pretending came far too easily for Sullivan Black. One of the reasons he rejected his privileged family and joined the FBI. But those dangerous assignments take something from him every time, leaving him a mess, unfamiliar even to himself. As he struggles to shed the skin of his latest op, he finds solace in the most random of places.

Bar manager, Carter Renault’s only intention was to escort the lonely stranger out of his place before he locked up. Yet somehow they end up in an alley, Carter’s pants around his ankles. Their encounter is intense. A onetime thing. Except months later Sullivan is sneaking through Carter’s window, appearing and disappearing at random. The blistering-hot sex doesn’t hide the obvious torment Sullivan is going through, but Carter doesn’t want to be caught in the middle.

Just when he thinks he’s seen the end of that undercover life, Sullivan gets pulled back in. But this time, his identity is no longer a secret, and the aggressive need he has for Carter could get the other man killed. To set everything right, Sullivan has to face the one man he loves and hates in equal measure… his twin.


I was in a book slump until I started reading this book and it started a slope of me really getting into this series. All The Hidden Scars is dirty, angst filled, and just a overall good time. Seems Ms Avril Ashton never disappoints. 

Sullivan Black finds it hard to shed the skin of the people he pays when he goes undercover. Sometimes he wonders if being a man who sells people and peddle drugs is who he really is. He knows that he has to get out in order to retain even a fragment of his former self. Drinking himself into a oblivion seems like a good way to drown his sorrows but what he wasn’t expecting is his instant attraction to the bar owner. Carter has Sullivan feeling some sort of way and fucking him will relieve the itch he never knew he needed scratched, what was to be a quick nut in an alley way turns into something more and all Sullivan can do is breathe all that is Carter. 

Carter doesn’t do love after the ultimate betrayal from his last relationship. So, when a drunken ass Sullivan gets too cheeky flashing his badge and making moves, Carter knows he shouldn’t fall for it because the man's face spells trouble but Sullivan is irresistible, and soon Carter has his pants at his ankles whispering “go”. 

"They fucked. In the shadows of his living room, near-silent save for the muted slap of skin when they connected. Flesh against flesh. Damp and hot. And their grunts. His Moans. Sullivan's hiss. They fucked. 

What was supposed to be a onetime thing turns into a many a time thing and suddenly feelings are all over the place and Sulli is fighting it with all he’s got. But Carter brings him to life, he’s willing to give it all to be with him, too bad he’s gotta crazy twin brother who won’t let him go and he’s pulled Carter into the freak show that is his life. Sullivan gets called into a mission he doesn’t want, and he knows that once he goes in he might not make it out a live, but duty calls and shit and man if given the opportunity has to save as many lives as he can.  
The men do a dance that is both angst and sexy and I swear this shit is officially my mood. I love how unapologetic these dudes are about killing and protecting. I live for it sir!! 

"On the list of places, I want to be, and people I want to be with, there's only one." He Lowered his arm and stared up at Carter with those seriously dark and piercing eyes. "You" 

If you’ve read Avril’s previous series then you know all of her stories are very intertwined with fave character popping out and protecting their friends. Sullivan while not my fave character from this series, I still dig him. Carter is the sweet well balanced to Sulli’s ruthlessness and also his home. I can’t say I had a complete handle on his character but I didn’t mind him.  

Once again, the author offers up a wide diverse set of characters which is never surprising. Avril is that author that has representation in every book. Black, Latino, Asian, and wide range of races can be found in her books, also with strong female characters, trans characters and all the cultural stuff just done very well. If I ever find fault it won’t be for those reasons. I love it, I love it, I love it.  

All These Hidden Scars while not my favourite, or one of her best books out there, it still was an entertaining read with lose your panties scene. Can I get an Amen for my bad boys..Amen! 

Review Writing Songs:  
I Luv This Shit by August Alsina 
Sativa by Jhene Aiko

Release Blitz: Rended Hearts by Riza Curtis

Length: 35,000 words approx.


After a life on the run, witch Gabriel just wants to enjoy having a home. He’s perfectly happy pottering around his garden and using magic to quietly help people. Then the Alpha of the local wolf pack is attacked by a member of the local coven, and everything changes. There’s no love lost between the witch and the wolves, but Gabriel saves the life of the Alpha in an attempt to keep the peace.

Simon finds his mate in the witch that saves his life, but the coven is coming for Gabriel, and they don’t care who gets in their way...


“That’s better.” Simon couldn’t help his own smile after seeing Gabriel’s joy. His face was flushed pink from laughing, and he looked radiant in the soft light of the clinic.

“What is?”

Simon took a chance and moved closer. Gabriel’s eyes widened as he startled, but he didn’t seem alarmed. “Seeing you smile.”

Gabriel flushed a deeper red, a hint of confusion displayed on his face.

Simon took another step closer so that he was face-to-face with a flustered Gabriel. He brought his hand up to gently touch the side of the Gabriel’s face. His skin was softer than Simon had thought possible.

“Are you—” Gabriel broke off the sentence and moved back. Simon dropped his hand immediately. He didn’t want to make Gabriel uncomfortable.

Gabriel glanced at Simon and took a hesitant breath. Simon tried to look reassuring.

“Forgive me if I’m wrong, but you’re flirting with me? Why?”

Simon chuckled. Gabriel was adorable. “Because I like you.”

Gabriel frowned before glancing away. He didn’t seem satisfied with the answer.

“But wolves have mates,” he interjected.

Simon’s eyes widened momentarily. He hadn’t thought Gabriel would know about mates, but maybe this would be a good thing—maybe Gabriel would be more receptive, more understanding about the situation.

“Why do you think I am flirting with you?” Simon asked, dropping his voice to no louder than a whisper, soft and alluring.

Gabriel inhaled sharply, and his eyes widened. “Surely not?”

Simon didn’t know if that was positive or negative, but he couldn’t take it back now. He nodded, moving closer and crowding Gabriel against the wall.

“Don’t you feel it too?” he asked. “My mate?”

Author Bio

Riza began writing stories at a young age to the a?n?n?o?y?a?n?c?e? delight of anyone she could b?u?l?l?y? persuade to read them. Now somewhat older, if not wiser, things haven't really changed.

Riza lives in England where they enjoy adding extra letters to words, tea, and discussing the weather (it's always raining). She has a FdSci in Manufacturing Engineering and is currently working towards her BEng. When she's not writing, studying or doing her day job, Riza is obsessed with target archery and enjoys shooting barebow.
Twitter: @rizacurtis

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Release Blitz: Souls for Sale by Asta Idonea

Title: Souls for Sale
Author: Asta Idonea
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: March 26, 2018
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 51600
Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, humor, demons, angels, nerds-geeks, artists, hell


When demon Saul persuades comic book artist Tom to sign over his soul in exchange for a night of passion, little does he know what lies in store. Demons can’t fall in love—or so he’s been told—but he finds himself smitten and attempts to destroy the contract, desperate to save Tom from an eternity of torture.

With Saul and Tom forced to run, a showdown between Heaven and Hell ensues as the angels and demons argue over who owns Tom’s soul. But does either party have a stronger claim than Saul?


Souls for Sale
Asta Idonea © 2018
All Rights Reserved


It’s tough being a demon in this day and age. Times are hard and souls just aren’t what they used to be. I should know; it’s my job to collect them. Or try to, anyway. What I wouldn’t give to go back to the good ol’ days when you could buy a soul as easily as an apple at the marketplace. And I mean a proper apple, plucked straight from the tree that morning. None of this modified, refrigerated crap that passes as fresh fruit nowadays.

I know what you’re thinking. Trust me; I’ve heard it all before. You’re wondering how it could be so hard to get someone to sign away their soul in an age when everything can be obtained for a price, when everything is for sale. Actors, bankers, politicians. You’d think rich pickings; am I right? Well, you’d be wrong.

Problem is that no one believes anymore. Picture this: I walk up to someone and offer to grant them anything their heart desires in exchange for their soul. Now, in times past they’d either
tremble in fear and drop to their knees, praying to the guy upstairs (my cue to leave), or they’d tremble in fear for a moment and then sign on the dotted line. Simple. Everyone knew where they stood. But if I were to try that today, most people would laugh in my face and walk off, or else they’d look uneasy and slink away from the ‘deranged lunatic’ as soon as possible. Hell, I miss the fear.

The faith is gone, you see, supplanted with technology, gizmos, and gadgets. An age of information. Everything you want, obtainable at the press of a button. What is there to long for anymore? What is there worth selling your soul for that you couldn’t get another way? Sure, you still have the old standards, the favourites—riches, power, and sex—but as I said, the belief is sadly lacking.

Every passing year it gets harder and harder to fill my quota. I have the boss breathing fire down my neck—both metaphorically and literally—and damned if I know how to get around the problem. It’s not just me. My colleagues are equally exasperated. It won’t be too much longer until it’s impossible to sign up even one new soul to burn in everlasting Hell. Then what’s a conscientious, hard-working demon to do?

Anyhow, I guess it’s about time I introduced myself. The name’s Saul. Yeah, I know, but it’s not like I picked it. We get what the boss dishes out, and I drew the short straw that day. Guess he was in one of his funny moods. I’m here today following a mark. I’m actually pretty stoked I found this guy, as he’s shaping up to be the most promising potential soul-seller I’ve seen in several months. Hey, try saying that three times fast! The trick now is not to rush things, not to push him too hard or too fast.

Oh, here he comes. See if you can pick him from the crowd. No? Hard, isn’t it? Everyone looks the same these days. It used to be so much easier to tell a sinner from a saint. Now the line is so blurred it barely exists at all.

But I digress. Just wait a moment… There! See the guy heading into the pub? The one in the Marvel T-shirt? With the blond curls? That’s our man. Bit of a stereotype of a comic-book nerd, isn’t he? Unlikely to sell his soul, you think? Well, we’ll soon see.

Purchase Links

NineStar Press
Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theater, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing. She is never found too far from her much-loved library/music room.

Author Links


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Monday, March 26, 2018

Review: Safe and Sound by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy

Safe and Sound (Twist of Fate, #2) by Lucy Lennox & Sloane Kennedy
Self Published
Novel: 362pgs

3 Pants Off (could have been a 4 but that ending...)

Blurb: I've been drowning for a long time. I never thought I'd find someone who knows what that's like...
Self-proclaimed playboy, Aiden Vale, has it all - good looks, successful career, plenty of cash in the bank and an endless supply of men who know the score... that one night is just that. So the last thing he wants, or needs, is to forge a connection that might mean revealing more of himself than he's ready to. But when fate intervenes, putting Aiden in the path of someone who threatens to knock down his carefully constructed walls, he's quick to realize the young man he's become infatuated with is hiding a painful secret.

I finally have a shot at freedom. I'll never let anyone take that from me ever again...
Ash Valentine is just looking for a way out, and the last thing he wants or needs is another man controlling every aspect of his life. Desperate for the cash that will help him flee his abusive boyfriend, Ash accepts what is supposed to be a temporary job at a local coffee shop. But nothing prepares him for the gorgeous and enigmatic Aiden Vale, and the small acts of kindness the charming coffee shop regular bestows on him or the new friends he begins to make along the way. 

Terrified of once again becoming too reliant on someone else to take care of him, Ash refuses Aiden's repeated offers of help in any form. But when it becomes clear that there's something more behind Aiden's need to save him, Ash begins to wonder if he's found someone who needs saving just as badly.

I know he wants to save me, but what if he's the one who needs saving...
As their tentative friendship turns into something more, long buried secrets begin to surface. When Aiden's need to protect Ash clashes with the younger man's desire for independence, memories of the one he couldn't save begin to tear at the fragile cords of Aiden's soul, and he's forced to face a truth he's been hiding from for a long time. 

Threatened with losing what they've only just found, will Aiden and Ash find a way to accept their pasts or will they let the pain drag them below the surface for good?

No cliffhangers and can be read as a stand-alone.

*** TRIGGER WARNING - includes scenes of domestic violence. *** 


I’m having a hard time rating this one but I’ll keep it in the 3 Pants off range because as much as I enjoyed the story I still had some issues with it. This review might even head in a rant mode because Ms Kennedy and Sloane really effed up what could have been a very good ending and not even their authors note made it any better. 

We first met Aiden Vale in the first book Lost and Found, and honestly I wasn’t really excited or interested in his story but I went ahead and read it anyway and I am both happy and disappointed at the same time. Aiden comes across a journal at his favourite coffee shop that touches him something deep. He knows the right thing to do would be to find it’s owner but the words on the pages have him longing to know the person behind such haunting words. When the coffee shop gets a new employee Aiden is drawn to the timid man something fierce and all his protective instincts kick in. He can tell the man was hurt, is still hurting and Aiden wants to be the one who rescues him. Plagued by guilt of his losing his little brother, Aiden just wants something or someone to believe in again and if Ash is that guy then he will fight for him. 

Ash Valentine is dealing with something that no one should ever have to deal with . Stuck in a violent domestic relationship he’s drowning and needs a way out. Tired of being a punching bag both physically and emotionally, Ash decides it time to leave and with his abusive boyfriend away he sets a plan into motion. He’ll work at the coffee shop where his boss Emily was kind enough to hire him, save money and leave his abusive home for good. Easier said than done, because the coffee shop has Aiden Vale and he is distracting as hell. Ash should be thinking of a way out and not lusting for a new man but Aiden makes it hard because he’s kind and someone is finally seeing him for the first time. 

Aiden and Ash then move forward into a tentative friendship but it is a friendship that I really enjoyed. Ash still lives in fear of his abusive boyfriend making an appearance and to be expected birch face Billy makes an appearance and shatter all of Ash’s hard work. What happens is quite unsettling to read and it made me so angry and I just wanted to punch a bitch out. Yet, Ash is very resilient and he knows how to play to make sure he survives and how to finally get away. 

What was a friendship soon blossoms into something more and our boys begin the journey in saving each other. Once two men were drowning and now they’re safely floating and get all the air. 

All right, I was enjoying this story to a point and by a point I meant close to the ending. It was going so great until the shocker of all shockers that epically surprised me (my face almost fell off) and then the bullshit ending came along and just freaked my freak. I enjoyed the boys friendship, it was sweet and through everything you could tell they really cared for each other. Aiden had first world problems, it didn’t take away from his character he was just a product of his environment. Ash, even through all the bullshit life dealt him he was still able to smile, still able to care. 

The fuck shit that happened I found very problematic!! I know what you’re thinking “Darien, this book is fiction” but domestic abuse is a real-life thing to many people. The way the authors went about handling a very serious situation really pissed me off and is my WTF for the month of March. 
First- Aiden knows how dangerous Ash’s ex is but just drop everything because of a restraining order and because Ash while under duress says some dumb shit. That hesitation in real circumstances could have resulted in death or permanent damage.  

Second- Ash was beaten, like hella beaten and the fact that a very violent person gets to walk even in a book is problematic. It was presented as a woman speaking up makes it viable where as Ash suffering is looked over and implies “he’s a dude he should suck it the fuck up”. His abuse is not addressed and I felt like it was just brushed under the rug. It really fucking pissed me off.  

The kick in the teeth is the little note at the end book discussing domestic abuse towards LGBTQ 🏳️‍🌈 relationships and yet don’t even deliver it in a victorious way in their own book is just…and I know authors write how the story comes to them but I’m not on board for that ending it sends a bad message. 

Overall, this could have been a better read but the seriousness of the topic was diluted by dramatics and some flaky behaviours. Safe and Sound in some parts turned out to be soundly stupid and I am disappointed. Ash deserved better and bitch face Billy deserved to be roasted over a bonfire.  


Review: From The Ashes by Xen Sanders

From The Ashes (Fires of Redemption #1) by Xen Sanders
Entangled Publishing
Novel: 228pgs

4.5 Pants Off

Blurb: Sociopath. Killer. Deviant.

Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called this and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded countless crimes to build his father's inhuman empire. Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford--antisocial graduate researcher, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.

But one kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges everything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. When his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of humans and aberrants alike in Tobias's hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile higher, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean--or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?


A man that feels nothing and one that feels too much… 

Tobias Rutherford just seems like a normal graduate researcher. He’s unassuming, antisocial and draws no attention. Which works in his favour, because who he is really would scare the ever living hell out of those that surround him. He is “Spark” the destroyer, monster, a man with no humanity, a man without love and hope. He is on mission to stop research that would cause the destruction of his kind, research that would erase all that he is all that is family is.  

power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

Tobias is an aberrant what you might called an evolved human. The aberrants have super powers and are feared by humans because all they wield is destruction. Spark knows nothing else but murder and pain being the son of the most feared aberrant and dictator. With his father he’s brought nations to their knees and watched them burn. Tobias knows he’s a monster and he knows he has to protect his people from the humans because humans change and destroy what they cannot understand or they find a way to use them. He’s got a job to do and he's had to kill a few people along the way but the long game was always the protection of his people and believing in his cause until there was Sean Archer. Sean came and rearranged the very molecules of Tobias’s existence and challenged everything he thought he was. There is fine line between thinking you’re a monster and then finally realizing that you are. 

From the Ashes is a smart action packed read and quite different from anything I’ve read. It’s fiction with a purpose and I found myself taking pause to think about all that I was reading. It was just so brutal with its honest writing and I found myself connecting to some of Tobias thoughts. He’s wrong but mostly sometimes he’s also right, he’s the perfect anti hero and I really like him. What I got mostly from reading, is society’s demanding need to change what they don’t understand. As a mother with boys who have Autism I spend a lot of my time and their time changing them to be exactly what society demands (the world won’t change for them I have to change them for the world) my entire goal is to make them resemble what they call neuro-typical. If you don’t fit whether it be with race or disability we try to change or we get rid of it. So when I say connected to Tobias I really did man. His anger made him flawed but some of his reasoning's was sound. 

We don’t kill the hawk for being a different bird from the sparrow, though one is stronger and preys on the other. Yet we kill aberrants for being different from humans although they, too, are men, born of a common ancestor. Such hypocrisy is intolerable and unethical in the face of the basic right to life. 

Throw in a bit of romance with the violence and I was in heaven. Like I didn’t expect it to be so sweet but it really and truly was. Two guys from very different side of the tracks coming together so beautifully. Their thinking like night and day but their connection was real and in the long run created quite a few epic moments. Tobias as I said is the epitome of anti-hero but overall very likeable and when he sparked out (fans self) murderous angry dudes seem to be a big mood with me. He’s the product of an evil overlord father he knows no better. Sean is like a rainbow to Tobias’s dark clouds. He challenges him and makes him feel and I also enjoyed him as a character. Their sexy time was right amount of intensity mixed with sweet. 

As I said this is very smart read and very plot driven the world that Xen has created; its very interesting. The showdown at the end legit had my heart in my throat and I don’t want to give anything away but let’s just say scene was intense and heart wrenching to read. Another selling point is our anti-hero is a person of colour and that alone is already a win for me plus it’s featured on the book cover (what can I say, representation is a beautiful thing).

From the Ashes was an entertaining read with a great premise and I am looking very forward to book 2 in the series. Let’s just say Tobias has a few things to deal with, he’s got hella blood on his hands and he straight up defied his father. Plus, he’s got to learn and embrace the man he’s becoming and it will be hard. After all it’s a series on redemption.