TWO 5 Star and ONE 4 star Reviews for Beneath the Waves by Ali Vali #FF #Romance

CoverTitle: Beneath the Waves
Author Name & Publisher: Ali Vali (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: May 17, 2016 – 264 pgs

Synopsis

No one has her life more mapped out than Kai Merlin. She’ll succeed her mother Galen and carry out every duty expected of her—the most important of which is to keep hidden the secrets her people have kept for eons.

Vivien Palmer’s life has been just as planned out by her parents, and their dream is for her and her brother Franklin to eventually run the family business. But Vivien’s dreams lie in the depths of the oceans searching for clues to the shells she and Franklin wear around their necks.

A chance encounter as children forever linked Kai and Vivien for life, but can they find a way to be together despite what’s expected of them?

The answers lie Beneath the Waves.

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Review

FiveStars

Vivien Palmer and her brother Frankie meet a young girl on the beach when they are kids.  They remember the brief encounter always but no-one believed it happened as the girl disappeared back into the sea, with sharks accompanying her.  Vivien and Frankie are heirs to an oil company and much is expected of them.  The girl from the sea, Kai, is an Atlantean and heir to the throne of her realm.  When they meet again as adults an instant connection is felt between Vivien and Kai and they are drawn to each other, craving each other.  As they try to save the oil company and the environment together they find themselves and their families in huge danger.
When I started reading this book I wasn’t at all sure I was going to like it, as it went between the very formal Atlantean realm and a very modern setting with contemporary language. As the story went on though I found myself immersed in both worlds.  The premise of an ancient but much advanced Atlantean race under the sea was brilliantly constructed, with an all female world and an ability to procreate without men.  It was skilfully written and the imagination that went into it was fantastic.  The modern world on land, with big business, environmental worries and a hateful creepy male suitor in the guise of Steve was well thought out and oh so real.  The author managed to insert a real fear and menace into the story and had me totally engrossed.  The love story between Vivien and Kai was slow burning but beautifully pitched.  Kai had so many secrets that she could not share with Vivien as her world was at stake, but as they fell in love and the bond between them became so vital, she had no choice but to open herself totally.  The love scenes were tender and loving but also very hot. I loved this book and it gave so much more than I expected.  A wonderful passionate love story with a great mystery.
Kitty Kat
FiveStars
A  remarkable book that weaves fantasy and folk lore with just a little reality to create a really memorable tale.
The characters were interesting and likable individuals. Enough background was given on each woman and her family to familiarize the reader and make them understand where they were coming from.
The love interest between the two leading women was slowly and tenderly portrayed. The plot that was gradually exposed was interesting and in keeping with both of the womens  backgrounds and personalities.
As in all good stories good overcame evil and our hero survived to live and love.
The ending, although predictable, was fitting and satisfying.
Chris
FourStars

I really enjoyed the storyline in this book. Farfetched? Sure. Entertaining? Definitely. A new and interesting take on the legend of Atlantis, it was fun to read.  Kai definitely has that otherworldly Alpha thing going on, and Vivien is no nonsense but troubled due to a childhood encounter. Vivien battles against her parents, who feel they know what’s best for her and are pressuring her to fall in line. Her only bastion against this pressure is her brother, Frankie. The two support each other completely. When Kai appears on the scene, she becomes another lodestone for Vivien, even though Vivien isn’t sure why she’s attracted to Kai. Things seem hopeless as far as their future goes, but Kai is unable to stop herself from getting involved with Vivien. The underlying cause for the events in this book was rather surprising, and the resolution was intriguing. The resolution of Vivien and Kai’s future is a good ride as well. Two things that kept this from getting a higher rating from me: First, Vivien seems asexual before meeting Kai. I believe this is explained by the unnatural link between Frankie and Vivien (Kai’s mistake so many years ago) being so intense that there wasn’t room for anybody else. But she doesn’t seem too weirded out by waking up one day intensely attracted to a woman. Second, it seemed overly easy for Kai’s people to find out what was going on. Perhaps the only reason they didn’t catch what was happening earlier is because nobody ever thought it could happen, so nobody expected it. But I would have thought people bent on world domination would hide their plans better.

Anyway, I recommend the book to anyone who wants a little paranormal fantasy with their romance – especially a little fantasy that is different from the usual paranormal fare. It definitely kept me turning pages.

AmyP

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AUDIOBOOK: 5 Star Review for Helping Hand by Jay Northcote #MM #Romance @jay_northcote

Helping Hand_FINAL

Title: Helping Hand
Author Name : Jay Northcote
Publication Date & Length: June 26, 2015 – 33, 000 Words

Synopsis

Wanking with a mate isn’t gay—as long as you keep your hands to yourself.

Jez Fielding and James MacKenzie—Big Mac to his mates—are in their second year at uni. After partying too hard last year, they make a pact to rein themselves in. While their housemates are out drinking every weekend, Jez and Mac stay in to save cash and focus on their studies.

When Jez suggests watching some porn together, he isn’t expecting Mac to agree to it. One thing leads to another, and soon their arrangement becomes hands-on rather than hands-off. But falling for your straight friend can only end badly, unless there’s a chance he might feel the same.

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Review

FiveStars
Another hit by Jay Northcote! I absolutely loved this story from start to finish. Two men who didn’t realize they were attracted to other men, but figure it out together was a nice plot. I loved the way they handled the ups and downs and awkward moments. While this rang a bit like ‘gay for you’ it didn’t at the same time. I really loved the way it all worked together.
It was a great read that was sweet and sexy all at the same time. I loved the secondary characters as they only added to the story and make it just that much better.
The narrator did a good job with the story, except I specifically remember in one sexy scene he started reading it too fast as if it was a bomb going to go off instead of a hot and heavy scene.
Renee

Excerpt

Afterwards, Jez blamed the alcohol for loosening his tongue, because he didn’t think about it before he spoke. The words tumbled out before he could stop them.

“Man, I’m seriously horny now. Have you got any decent porn on that laptop?”

“Huh?” Mac snapped his head around to meet Jez’s gaze. Jez’s heart pounded erratically, but his dick was still standing to attention. “What… you mean, you want to wank in here? Now? Wouldn’t that be weird?” Mac sounded seriously freaked out.

Jez backtracked quickly, cheeks hot. “It doesn’t have to be weird. I’ve done it before with guys at school, and it’s never been a big deal. But don’t worry about it. I’ll go and watch my own stash instead. But I need something soon, ’cause I’m gonna explode after watching that sex scene.”

Jez was expecting an instant no from Mac. He wouldn’t have blamed him. A lot of guys wouldn’t be into what Jez was suggesting. Jez’s heart still thumped hard, but his arousal didn’t abate despite his anxiety. He was shocked by how much he wanted this.

Mac bit his lip and frowned. “Seriously. You’ve done that?”

Jez shrugged, trying to look nonchalant. “Yeah. Like I said, it was no big deal. Just guys messing around.”

Mac stared a moment longer, then he stood, and Jez’s heart sank as he walked away. But Mac only went to fetch his laptop from the dining table. He sat back down and then opened it and tapped in his password.

“What sort of stuff do you wanna watch?” Mac’s voice was gruff and he focused on the screen rather than Jez.

Fuck. They were really going to do this, then.

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5 Star, 4.5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for A Touch of Temptation by Julie Blair #FF #Erotica

CoverTitle: A Touch of Temptation
Author Name & Publisher: Julie Blair (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: May 17, 2016 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

Stanford law graduate Kate Dawson is focused on the future laid out for her—partnership in her family’s law firm and marriage. When she moves to a cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains to study for the bar exam, crossing paths with her intriguing neighbor leads to a journey of sexual awakening and self-discovery that wasn’t part of the plan.

Landscaper and handsome butch top Chris Brent has a well-deserved reputation as a considerate lover. Avoiding relationships with all their emotional messiness, she indulges in her favorite pastime at sex parties and with casual lovers. She enthusiastically agrees to initiate her cute neighbor to ways of sexual pleasure.

Sex was the deal. Falling in love ruins everything. Or does it?

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Review

FiveStars

Kate misses her bar exams after becoming ill and her gran suggests she go away to her cabin for a couple of months to recuperate and study for the next round of exams.  Her mother expects her to become a hot-shot lawyer, marry a suitable man and take her place in society.  Kate begins to question these expectations, especially when she meets Chris, her lesbian next door neighbour who wakens in her a craving she never knew she had.
This was an amazing story with two very likeable main characters, who were both fighting against strict rules they had set up for themselves.  Kate was going to go along with her mother’s wishes and end up miserable for the rest of her life and Chris had vowed never to fall in love.  When Chris initiates Kate in the ways of lesbian love in the sexiest of ways she sees that there is no turning back.  The problem is she wants a relationship and not just sex, whereas Chris has spent her whole adult life avoiding love and enjoying a very varied sex life, with parties, many partners and a bit of risk.  Would either of them be able to change enough to be happy together?  Finding out the answer was very hot, delicious and truly fascinating.  Julie Blair has a wonderful imagination and put it to good use in the steamy scenes between Kate and Chris.  I was constantly surprised.
The other characters in the story were well written too.  Kate’s Gran, Katherine,  was a gem and without her things could have been very different.  She was the catalyst in the tale and I loved her.  Kate’s mother was an awful woman – manipulative, single-minded and immensely annoying.  But we always need a baddie! In this book we had two as Nicole, Kate’s college friend was an evil, calculating bitch and a thorn in Chris’s side.  The lovers had to fight against their own expectations of themselves as well as that of other people in their circles.  Homophobia just under the surface was bad enough, but they were also fighting the bi-phobia of some friends.
This was a beautiful love story between two people that just had to be together.  Their journey together was full of tension and worry as well as some very sexy moments.  A well deserved 5 Stars.
Kitty Kat
FourStars
I must admit I found this novel to be a bit of a dichotomy,  I couldn’t decide if it was a passionate romance or an erotic affair.
In the end, for me, the loving relationship between the two women won through. Ms Blair’s clever interpretation and articulate writing of the growing relationship between two very different women was a pleasure to read.
The ending finally tipped the scales on the romantic front. An emotional and at times steamy novel well worth reading.
Chris

FourandHalfStars

This was a really nice story. Kate has her life planned out, not ever really realizing that the plans aren’t actually her own. Everything is going according to her mother’s plans, and she goes along with things because that’s how she’s been trained to think. Until a life-threatening illness forces her out of her planned life. To get herself back on track, she takes her grandmother’s advice to recuperate and study at her Gran’s cabin outside the city. While there, she meets Chris, a butch landscaper who knows who she is and what she wants. She doesn’t want a messy relationship, so she focuses on casual sex with many different partners. This way feelings aren’t involved. The two strike up an unexpected friendship based on small home improvement projects and a love of old movies. Kate decides to enlist this Lesbian Casanova to help her explore and learn about her own sexuality. In the ensuing ‘lessons’, both women find that emotions aren’t easy to keep from having. Now they have to fight for their relationship because Kate comes from money, and affluence, and this is not acceptable in her social circles. When Kate’s mother learns of their relationship, things come to a screeching halt, and it looks like it might be over. Kate has to find the courage to stand against the pressure of the ‘perfect’ life, and Chris has to accept that she’s worthy of someone she thinks is out of her league. I love the story line, and like that Blair has included some exploration of BDSM and power dynamics, but accurately explaining how it works and how to make it safe without too much fuss. I really enjoyed the book.

AmyP

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TWO 5 Star Reviews for Girls on Campus by Janelle Reston and Robyn Nyx #FF #Anthology

CoverTitle: Girls on Campus
Author Name & Publisher: Janelle Reston and Robyn Nyx (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: May 17, 2016 – 240 pgs

Synopsis

College: four years when anything goes and rules are made to be broken. A time for freedom, experimentation, and guiltless pleasures. Come join the co-eds for a homecoming bash, crash a girls-only party, and enjoy study hall where the topic is Eros. From roommates with benefits to sexy sorority initiations, hot professors demanding extra credit after class and summer vacation threesomes, this collection is required reading for anyone looking to earn an A in sex-ed.

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Review

FiveStars

Girls on Campus is unbelievably hot and the perfect book to keep on your bedside table.  Some of the stories are so good that I’m sure I’ll want to go back and re-read them again and again.  Radclyffe’s ‘Pledge Night’ was a brilliant start to the book and will leave you breathless and to follow it with ‘In the Stacks’ by Aurora Rey was a great choice.  These ladies really know how to get the pulse racing.  I also really loved ‘Final Exam by Meghan O’Brien, which had first timer Jess finding out what sex is all about from butch friend Mike.  Both were really lovely characters and I’d really like to find out more about them in a longer story.  ‘A Gift from McGovern’ by Lea Daley was a really sweet story about how things have changed for lesbians since her characters met in 1972.  I loved it and this would definitely make a terrific novel if the author is interested in taking it further.  ‘The First Move by Rose P Lethe was a librarian fantasy and utterly filthy – a really hot read.  The final story ‘Practice makes Perfect’ by Sandy Lowe was sublime erotica and the ideal way to end this anthology.  Sylvie is upset that her boyfriend says she’s a bad kisser so her room-mate Bennett offers to help her learn.  She helps her learn a whole lot more and there is a beautiful emotional connection there too.  It was very sexy and tender at the same time.  This was an excellent anthology and makes me realise why I love just about anything that comes from Bold Strokes Books.  Their writers are top-notch and it really shows in this book.
Kitty Kat
FiveStars

This was an awesome book of short erotic stories. I loved that I got to read so many stories from so many of my favorite authors, but also got introduced to a few new ones to follow as well. The only common theme was that the stories were based on college campuses, and the stories run the gamut. They were hot, and sweet, and romantic, and hot! Definitely worth it.

AmyP

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Audiobook: 5 Star Review for Betrayed (Cursed #2) by Rhianne Aile #MM #Paranormal @dreamspinners

CoverTitle: Betrayed (Cursed #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Rhianne Aile (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 22, 2010 – 277 pgs

Synopsis

Will Northland’s brother, Tristan, went to America to break a centuries-old curse and found love in the most unexpected of places: within the heart of a werewolf. When Will goes to visit, he meets not only Tristan’s mate, Benjamin, but their friend Raul, who receives a plea for help from his old werepack: his twin brother, Richard, has gone missing and is possibly under the influence of a witch. Raul leaves to find his brother, and Will goes with him, offering to use his magic to both locate Richard and protect them all from the threat of dark magic. But when they find him, a totally unexpected passion explodes between Richard and Will, stunning them both. Suddenly, discovering who betrayed Raul and Richard isn’t the only challenge. It’s now a struggle to solve the mystery so Will can claim Richard’s heart just as the wolf has claimed Will as his mate. Don’t miss Cursed, the story of Will Northland’s twin brother, Tristan, and his struggle to free Benjamin Sterling from a centuries-old curse.

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Review

FiveStars

This review is for the audiobook version, narrated by John Lamberti. The reading of this book is better than in the first book of the series. It’s not fantastic, but it’s good, and it doesn’t take anything away from the story.
Betrayed is a wild ride – a sexy and engaging continuation of the world and characters we were introduced to in Cursed. The characters are well developed, and the large community of characters adds a richness to the story. The story is unique and intriguing. The plot twists wonderfully, and the pacing is perfect. It’s very engaging from beginning to end.
This is a very erotic book, with many hot sex scenes. I love the way the metaphysical elements of werewolves and magic are woven into the physical and emotional intimacy.
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, Betrayed took things to another level for me. I’ll be looking for more from this author for sure!
I don’t recommend this as a stand alone, but I highly recommend this series for anyone looking for a highly erotic paranormal romance story.
Amanda

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4.5 Star Review for Sicario: A Novel (World’s End #3) by Kai Tyler #MM #Dystopian @kaitylerauthor

SicarioCover_600pwTitle: Sicario: A Novel (World’s End #3)
Author Name: Kai Tyler
Publication Date & Length: June 20, 2016

Synopsis

Sold by his parents and bred in a lab, Lexan Cesare is trained for one purpose—to execute his boss’s orders. In the mafia life, loyalty is everything. Emotions have no place and he never questions the rights or wrongs of the decisions that send him to terminate lives again and again. Until one assignment draws emotions he's never felt before and makes him question his true allegiance.

When a stranger walks into Enzo Mattia ranch in search of a job, his life is changed irrevocably. He is ripped apart from his family and everything he knows and ends up sold into slavery. He swears to mete revenge on all who have wronged him.

First he has to escape from his new owner, Lexan, a man who captivates him and makes him want to act on impulses he's suppressed for a long time. Impulses that can lead to death.

With corrupt lawmakers and deadly cartels, the world is in flux. Loyalties shift at the speed of a bullet and betrayal abounds. In the new world falling in love is just a death wish.

This is a full length male/male romantic thriller set on a dystopian earth.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

I have to say after reading the short story and novel that preceeded this novel, I was super excited to dive into this one. However, that being said, I think I would almost recommend skipping the short story that started this series. The fact that there were overlapping scenes and they didn’t seem to quite match up from the first to the third story (or maybe it’s simply how I remember them) made it harder to get into certain parts of the story.

BUT.. I did really enjoy this story and the way we got the before story, the history between the characters and what happened only to have it followed up with what happened to bring about the short story.

I really loved Lexan’s character. He had a hard life and was trying to do what he felt was right. Things didn’t work out perfectly. There were hardships that neither man saw coming and things that were hard to get over for both.

The story was wonderfully written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I have to say that I didn’t particularly feel like it was Dystopian since the only real difference to the world was that everyone lived in the southern hemisphere, but life pretty much went on as normal except for a few very small changes.

I hope we get more from this series as it was very captivating and the characters were great to read about.

Renee

Excerpt

Dressed, I headed across to Enzo’s room. He opened the door for me and my mouth dropped open. He looked amazing in a white dress shirt and navy slacks. I’d never seen him in anything other than jeans, chambray or t-shirts. Instead of boots, he wore brown leather brogues.

He stared at me with an odd expression before saying, “You look good,” and turning away.

“Wow,” Gianna said, looking me over. “You scrub up well for a ranch hand.”

She wore a lovely emerald silk dress that was cut off across one shoulder and draped in an asymmetrical style beyond her knees. Strappy diamante sandals and her hair styled in a loose chignon completed the classy outfit.

“He sure does,” Enzo added, still giving me that look that made my heart thud faster.

“And there I was worried you wouldn’t have anything suitable to wear.” She beamed a smile at me, and then turned to her brother, holding up a maroon silk tie. “Come on, Enzo. The tie will go great with your suit. Tell him for me please, Alex.”

“No, I don’t need one. Alex isn’t wearing one and he looks great.” He turned away as if he hadn’t expected the words to come out as awestruck as they did.

My smile blossomed into a full grin. He really liked me in a suit then.

“I don’t need a tie. As you say I’m just the ranch hand.” I winked at Gianna. “But the tie will work well with your suit. Here let me help you.”

I walked over to Gianna and took the tie from her. “You look totally amazing,” I said and pressed a kiss to her cheek.

Then I strode over to where Enzo leaned against the table. “Trust me, you’ll look great.”

“Hmmm,” was all he said, but he let me come close enough to turn the collar of his shirt up.

I was conscious of Gianna behind us so I maintained a reasonable gap between us as I slid the silk around his neck. Each breath I took filled my lungs with his scent—man and spice—that transported me back to the night in the log cabin.

As I looped and knotted the tie, I couldn’t help brushing my fingers against his chin. His breath hitched. A smile played at the corner of my mouth. He’d shaved the skin smooth. I missed the bristles and wanted them rubbing against my skin.

“I can’t find my perfume in my purse,” Gianna called out from behind. "I’m going to pop back to my room and get it."

My body trembled, knowing I'd be alone with Enzo for a few minutes. I could feel the tension coming off his body too.

As soon as the door closed behind his sister, I couldn't keep away any longer. I leaned my body against his, making sure he felt the bulge of my erection on his thigh.

“I’ve missed you,” I whispered before brushing my lips on his.

He gripped my low pony tail, angled my head and devoured my mouth.

I groaned long and deep as I sank into him, loving his strength, loving the contact. My hands slid around his back as I gathered him into me so that we were as physically close as we could be with clothes on.

I don’t know what happens to me whenever this man touched me, but I felt as if this was where I should be.

A rattling noise at the door broke us apart when Enzo shoved me away.

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4 Star Review for Frankie & Al (Frankie’s Series) by Sue Brown #MM #BDSM

CoverTitle: Frankie & Al (Frankie’s Series)
Author Name & Publisher: Sue Brown (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 21, 2014 – 158 pgs

Synopsis
Dumped by his boyfriend, Frankie Mason goes out with the girls, gets totally trashed, and ends his night by falling in front of a taxi. He’s rescued by a man with beautiful green eyes who takes care of him until he’s put into an ambulance. Frankie curses himself as he realizes he doesn’t have the man’s phone number. Still in pain a few days later, he is dragged out to a club only to be saved by Green Eyes once more. This time, he isn’t letting the man go.

Unfortunately Frankie has to attend a team-building exercise, nicknamed Womb Weekend, organized by his company. Al is working so he doesn’t mind, until he discovers who the team leader is. Al has a lot of explaining to do!

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Review

FourStars

First off, I have to admit I read Ed & Marchant before reading this book, so I knew basically how things were going to end up between Frankie & Al but I wanted to know how they got there. This was a good story, we see how they meet and end up falling for each other. Frankie met Al a few times before they finally started seeing each other, but the first time they met he didn’t remember until Al reminded him of a drunken night he had. These two are so sweet together, there wasn’t much action between the sheets but you still felt the chemistry and the desire. I am looking forward to reading more of the series.

Angie

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