Category Archives: Alyson

4 stars for Choices (Golden Collar #1) by Grace R. Duncan #MMM #MMMM #Poly #MM #BDSM @GraceRDuncan

CoverTitle: Choices (Golden Collar #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Grace R. Duncan (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 4, 2013 – 380 pgs

Synopsis

Born and raised a gypsy in the late eleventh century, Teman values freedom over everything. He and his best friend, Jasim, are thieves for hire—until one night they’re caught and their precious freedom is revoked. Given the choice between the dungeons or palace pleasure slavery, they become slaves, but Teman vows to escape someday.

Bathasar doesn’t want the throne. He supports his brother instead, which suits their sadistic father, Mukesh. When Teman, the handsome slave Bathasar has secretly been watching, saves his life, Bathasar requests a slave for the first time. Before long, Bathasar and Teman fall in love. But all is not well. One day Mukesh brutalizes Teman before the court, angering the empress of a neighboring nation. To appease her, he then offers her Jasim as a gift, and Teman decides to stay with Bathasar for now—despite the abuse he may suffer.

The peace doesn’t last. Mukesh plans to invade Jasim’s new country, and Bathasar must find a way to stop the destruction. But if he succeeds, he’ll ascend to the throne and have the power to grant Teman his liberty. Then Teman will surely leave him. What other choice could a gypsy make?

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Review
FourStars

****this review contains spoilers****
Choices, by Grace R. Duncan, follows a gypsy slave Teman and his master, the amir (prince) Bathasar. There was quite a bit that I loved about this book. The dynamic between Teman and Bathasar was perfect, the way Bathasar tried his best to make them as equal as possible, while Teman struggled with his desire to submit to his master. On top of that, I was happy that Jasim found happiness in the end as well. Relationships aside, the political aspect of it, with the planned assassination was amazing and I loved that the malik ended up dying because he was just a terrible person anyway. The manner of his death, too, was incredibly fitting.
On the other hand, there were a few things that I didn’t particularly care for. Three, in particular. The first was Cyrus and Nadir’s relationship, and the way they fit in with everyone else. Poly relationships can work really well, but this one just didn’t…click. It wasn’t quite poly, but it wasn’t quite monogamous, either. While Cyrus and Nadir did love each other, it didn’t really feel like it all the time. At times, it felt like Nadir loved Jasim more than he loved Cyrus, and the same with Cyrus and Teman. That part left me more than a bit confused, and I wasn’t particularly fond of it. Additionally, the setting was a bit confusing. The book was supposed to be set in a fantasy world, with fantasy kingdoms, and yet there were pieces of our own world, like the mention of Beowulf. So that threw me just a bit. Thirdly, and this is completely my own personal taste, there was far too much focus on denial. The first few times was great, but eventually it became a bit repetitive, and I have to admit I skimmed over those parts toward the end.
Overall, though, this was a really good book, and I highly recommend it to people who love master/slave relationships, menage scenes, and orgasm denial. A bit of warning, there is a lot of violence in the book, done by the malik, but it isn’t condoned at all. So just take note of that.
~Alyson

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NEW RELEASE: 4 star, 5 star and 3. 5 star reviews for Wanton by Lynn Michaels #MM #Romance #BDSM

Wanton_FS

Title: Wanton
Author Name & Publisher: Lynn Michaels (Rubicon Fiction)
Publication Date & Length: April 15, 2015 — 190 Pages

Synopsis

Corey has graduated from college and is trying to find his way, but when his Dom/boyfriend, Jack, demands that he move in with him, Corey loses himself in emotion, fighting Jack every step of the way.

Jack is a rich owner of a real estate investment firm and he’s determined keep his submissive/boyfriend in line, even though Corey refuses to use his safe words.

Will their play become all consuming, or will they learn to trust each other enough to find love?

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Review

FourStars

This was a difficult story for me.  It had both an irresponsible sub and an irresponsible Dom.  That made the story not only difficult to read through, but made me dislike both MC’s right away.

You have Corey, who is a sub who is also a masochist.  He has a difficult time using his safe-words, mainly because he has a misguided notion that using them takes back his submission.  Not only is this unsafe, it’s untrue.  His character is trying to figure out where he belongs in this BDSM world and throughout his journey, he fails to research or talk to any other subs.  And, while I do feel bad for his character for most of this story, as I feel like he was left to figure it out somewhat on his own, I can’t let him totally blame his Dom either.

Then you have Jack.  I found his Dom performance utterly disappointing.  He left his sub alone and vulnerable numerous times because his own headspace was lacking.  That’s a terrible thing for a Dom to do.  When he realized that he was struggling, he should have stopped immediately.  However, because he didn’t and because he didn’t know where his sub’s limits were, Jack found himself floundering in his own BDSM world.

You get glimpses of Jack’s training – just in hints and guesses – but from the gist, he was trained poorly.  That’s very clear throughout the story – he lacks the training to fully understand his sub and himself.

The drama that ensues in this story is just that, drama.  It helps only a little with the story, because it’s necessary.  However, I think Michaels could have taken this story on a very different journey and the main characters were have been more likable and real.

Overall, this story was exactly what not to do when engaged in a Dom/sub relationship.  Despite my 4 star rating, that was mostly because the story was told well, no editing mistakes and it all came together, but reader beware.

~AvidReader

FiveStars

I have to say that Lynn Michaels truly has a hit with this book.

Jack made me way to scream and shake him more then once through out this book. He is supposed to be a Dom but there are a lot of times through this book I found myself wanting to ask where he had his training and to tell him he needed to go to another Dom and be retrained. It is one thing to be possessive of his submissive and to not want other Doms to touch him (or anyone else for that matter) and it also ok that he wants to push his submissive out of his comfort zone but what was not ok was making his submissive question if he was good enough for him. As a Dom I felt that some of Jacks unfinished sentences left it to where his submissive was to drawl his own conclusions as to what the end of the statement was going to be and of course his submissive jumped to the worst possible conclusion. Also I do not feel that Jack provided proper aftercare for his sub after a scene. Those couple of things alone made it to add undue misunderstanding and doubt in both him as a Dom and his sub.

Corey is a serious masochist. He needs pain to bring him relief and put him in the right place mind and body wise. I feel like if he does not have it he is just floundering and does not know what to do but seek out that pain to make him feel normal and level headed again. I also believe that Corey is confused about his feelings for Jack and does not fully trust him as his Dom. And that is not a good thing for either of them.

I love how this book showed the bad as far as a DOM/SUB relationship when all factors in the relationship are not met but I also love that the author took those factors and helped the DOM/SUB grow into something better when the problems where addressed and outside help from the BDSM community was brought in to help. But more importantly it also helped in their relationship outside of BDSM and made them stronger as a couple.

I really liked this book. I am sure many more will enjoy it as much if not more then I did also. Great job on a book well done Lynn and cannot wait to read more of your books in the future.

~Tosha

ThreeandHalfStars

Wanton, by Lynn Michaels, tells the story of Corey and Jack as they try to understand both themselves and each other in the context of a BDSM relationship.

There was so much of this that I absolutely loved. I loved that as much as Jack loves being a Dom, he’s still reluctant to accept this part of himself that enjoys bringing pain, and it’s something he struggles with throughout the entire novel. On the flipside, I also loved the way Corey understands, at the start, that he would never—could never—use his safeword against Jack. He could never ask Jack to stop in the moment. And the way they move forward from there is really great. I also loved their character development. I’m not going to lie. In the beginning, I absolutely hated Jack. He was an asshole of a character and I couldn’t find much to like about him. But as he grew, and as Corey grew, I found myself liking him more and more. I was pleased to see Corey stand up for himself in the end, and take control both of the situation at hand and his relationship as a whole.

One thing I didn’t like was the BDSM group’s acceptance of Colin. How could they not sanction him after what he did? It was more than just a dick move. It was sexual assault. And reading that left me a bit uneasy. No wonder they didn’t stay part of that group after they got back together. I also wasn’t a fan of the interaction with Eric, but I understand where Corey was coming from there. He needed something self-destructive, and Eric certainly was that. But really though…who stabs someone during a scene like that? That was really the only thing that threw me about that entire encounter.

Overall, it was a really good read and one that I would definitely pick up again.

~Alyson

Excerpt

Corey sat down quietly at the dining room table, tucking one foot underneath him and waited until Jack brought him a mug of coffee.

“I’m sorry, baby,” he said, setting the mug in front of Corey.

“Me too.” Corey took a sip of coffee, black with just a little sugar, perfect.

“I won’t get all in your job hunt, if you just don’t go work for Apex, okay. Settled?” Jack stood beside him and ran fingers through Corey’s hair.

“Yes.”

“I just want one thing in return.”

Corey’s heart started pumping. When Jack wanted something from him, it was either going to be incredibly sexy or start another argument. “What?” He held his breath.

“I want to introduce you to my club. Properly.”

“What’s that mean?”

The sexy smirk on Jack’s face told him more than he wanted to know. This time, Jack’s desires would be both incredibly sexy and start an argument. Corey put his coffee on the table and clasped his hands in his lap.

“It means I want to show you off. Present you.”

“To your BDSM group?”

“Yeah?”

“How exactly?”

Jack leaned back against the breakfast bar that separated the kitchen from the dining room. “You’ll wear something fetish. Leather, probably. And you’ll be in submissive role. I’ll set you up in the center of the room. Maybe spank you a little. That’s all. A little show so everyone will know what I have.”

“Like a possession.” Corey made it a statement, rather than a question. He understood exactly what Jack was saying.

“Yes, but only for the party. You know I think much more of you than that,” he pleaded, hopefully.

“You really want this?” He didn’t understand it, but he didn’t understand why he needed the pain either.

“Do you?” Jack asked, as if it mattered. Maybe it did.

Corey thought about it and realized his cock had gotten harder and harder the more Jack talked about it. The thought of others watching him, half naked, playing with Jack as Jack’s sub, made his blood tingle. The submissive in him did want to please his Dom. Instead of answering, Corey pushed his chair back a little and flipped the front of his boxers down. His hard cock stood right at attention for Jack to see.

“How rude at the breakfast table Corey.” For a moment, he sounded totally serious. Then, Corey watched as Jack licked his lips, his eyes going dark, and he knew Jack was ready to play.

Corey teased, “How about you have my sausage for breakfast, Jack?”

“Bold, Corey.”

Jack’s cock was tenting out the front of his athletic shorts. Corey was getting to him, and the thought had him giddy enough to start squirming in his seat. Before Corey had a chance to think of anything else to say, Jack tossed his leg over Corey’s thighs, straddling him in the chair. He rolled his hips, rubbing his dick into Corey’ groin.

“I want you to fuck me right here, Jack, right now,” he panted.

“That can be accommodated.” Jack stood up and moved Corey’s coffee mug off of the table. Then he pulled Corey up and with a quick twist, he shoved Corey against the table, pushing his chest against the flat surface. “Grab the edges of the table.”

Corey did as he was told. Even without the signal, he knew Jack had slipped into his Dom role, and at the moment, Corey was happy to slide into his own submissive persona.

Jack jerked Corey’s hips back away from the table, and pulled his boxers down, then kicked Corey’s legs apart leaving the boxers wrapped around one ankle. He ran his fingers down Corey’s spine, making him squirm with goose bumps. “Damn, you look good like this. How bad is your bottom, Corey? Tell me the truth.”

“Do you want to spank me?”

Jack barked at him with his full on Dom-voice, “Answer my question, Corey.” When Jack used that tone, Corey felt compelled to obey and that sent delicious tingles through his belly.

“It’s not too bad, as long as you don’t use anything studded.”

“Mmm.” Corey listened as Jack went down the hallway. He couldn’t see from where he was stretched out across the table, but he didn’t dare move. He tried to keep still, but he couldn’t. His body thrummed with anticipation and his leg shook uncontrollably. He had to move something to ease the tension.

A few minutes later, Jack returned. He put his hand on Corey’s lower back then rubbed along his bottom. He dropped something on the breakfast bar, but Corey couldn’t see what it was. Wondering what Jack was going to use sent a shiver down his spine.

“There’s a little bit of bruising, Corey.” Jack sounded concerned.

“I don’t care.” He loved the lingering ache and wanted more.

“Fine. I’ll avoid those spots.”

“You don’t have to.”

“Be still, Corey. You don’t know– Hell, you’d probably end up killing yourself. You have to be able to say no, baby.”

Corey didn’t answer. He wanted fucked, not an argument. He’d damn well say no when he damn well meant it, but right now was not the time.

“Fine,” Jack huffed. “You’ve been very disrespectful at this table, Corey.” Jack’s words were gruff, but that only made Corey smile wider.

“Yes, sir.”

The first smack made Corey jump. It was hard, but didn’t sting too bad. It felt like just a flat paddle. The second smack hit his opposite cheek, then back to the first. Corey settled in and his body stilled.

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Pre-Release Reviews: 5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for A Gentleman’s Position (Society of Gentlemen #3) by K.J. Charles #MM #Historical @KJ_Charles

CoverTitle: A Gentleman’s Position (Society of Gentlemen #3)
Author Name & Publisher: K.J. Charles (Loveswept)
Publication Date & Length: April 5, 2016 – 246 pgs

Synopsis

Power, privilege, and the rigid rules of class leave two hearts yearning for connection in the sizzling new Society of Gentlemen novel from K. J. Charles.
 
Among his eccentric though strictly principled group of friends, Lord Richard Vane is the confidant on whom everyone depends for advice, moral rectitude, and discreet assistance. Yet when Richard has a problem, he turns to his valet, a fixer of unparalleled genius—and the object of Richard’s deepest desires. If there is one rule a gentleman must follow, it is never to dally with servants. But when David is close enough to touch, the rules of class collide with the basest sort of animal instinct: overpowering lust.

For David Cyprian, burglary and blackmail are as much in a day’s work as bootblacking—anything for the man he’s devoted to. But the one thing he wants for himself is the one thing Richard refuses to give: his heart. With the tension between them growing to be unbearable, David’s seemingly incorruptible master has left him no choice. Putting his finely honed skills of seduction and manipulation to good use, he will convince Richard to forget all about his well-meaning objections and give in to sweet, sinful temptation.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

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Review

FiveStars

What do you get when you take M/M historical romance, add in a scoop of pining and a dollop of nefarious plotting? A Gentleman’s Position.

Let’s start off with Richard and David’s relationship. As Richard’s valet, David’s job is to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Not only is he good, he’s exceptional, putting in 110%.

Unfortunately, that last 10% comes from the fact that he’s in love with his master. Lord Richard Vane wants David desperately, but doesn’t think it’s right, since David wouldn’t be in a position to refuse. The unresolved romantic (and sexual) tension was strong in this book, in all the right ways. Pining is quite possibly my favourite thing in a book, which probably says something about me. There’s something about watching two characters want each other so badly but refuse to act on it, for whatever reason, that really makes my heart clench, and it makes the final get-together that much sweeter. This was absolutely no exception. It was beautiful. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say you definitely won’t be disappointed.

*I’ll preface all of my next comments by saying I didn’t know until I was about ¾ of the way through that this was part of a series. I’ve subsequently bought both the first and second book, along with the short story.*

In addition to having really great main characters in Richard and David, A Gentleman’s Position also had amazing supporting characters, including a gay trans man and a gay black man. Honestly each and every character was so fleshed out and so real. They all had motives, they all had relationships. And granted this was because they were all part of a bigger series, but even in the context of this one book, they weren’t just side characters.

The one thing that I would have to say is that it starts out a bit slowly. And again, the fact that I hadn’t read the first two books in the series probably had something to do with this. Connections were already there that I didn’t know about, so it took a bit to piece everything together. It’s not impossible, but I would absolutely recommend reading the others in the series before A Gentleman’s Position.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It was well written, it kept me engaged all the way throughout, and it was so good that I one-clicked the others in the series without even looking at the blurb. I can safely say that this is one author that I will be reading more of in the future. If you love Regency era romance and books that really tug on your heart, this is definitely one to check out.

Alyson

FourStars

This is the 3rd novel I have read in the Society of Gentlemen stories.
When you read a Historical Romance, there are expectations; angst, forbidden passion, and a character that can’t make up their mind.
I was intrigued with the story that began in the first book, however I was slightly disappointed with the way Richard often behaved. l found myself skimming pages at times because his attitude was just too pompous. I did adore David and remained captivated when he was featured.
I do enjoy KJ Charles’ writing and would read more by this author.
Kimberly

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New Release: 3.5 Star Review for Riverdance Anthology by L.J. Hamlin, Asta Idonea, Dale Cameron Lowry, Morwen Navarre, Lynn Townsend #MM @torquere

riverdance1400Title: Riverdance Anthology
Author Name & Publisher: L.J. Hamlin, Asta Idonea, Dale Cameron Lowry, Morwen Navarre, Lynn Townsend (Torquere Press)
Publication Date & Length: March 15, 2016 – 32,900 Words

Synopsis

Riverdance is a compilation of all things Irish. From fae flitting hither and thither trying to trick their quarry, to a modern-day Highland games, complete with caber tossing and traditional dance, our romantic compilation of Celtic tales and lore are sure to remind readers that love is the pot-o-gold at the end of the rainbow.

Morwen Navarre brings us The Sidhe’s Apprentice—a tale of a young man desperately wanting to be a wizard, like his grandfather, who never banked on falling in love with his mentor. In Finding Balance, Lynn Townsend sets readers in the middle of the Highland games—as well as between two former lovers who need to forgive and forget. L. J. Hamline’s tale, Luck of the Irish, tells of some lucky days that turn into lucky nights. Born of Fire, Dale Cameron Lowry’s offering, brings readers the abduction of a human by fairies—and the greatest lesson of all: love is more than superficial. Finally, Asta Idonea’s The First Swallow of Spring chronicles an annual pilgrimage to the land of the fae, and how the wiley lord tries to keep a human for his own.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

I’m not normally one for anthologies, preferring one consistent story throughout, but I was drawn to the subject matter. I have a soft spot for all things Irish, and combined with my love of m/m romance, decided to give this one a try. There were five stories in the anthology, so I’ll break this review down by story.

The Sidhe’s Apprentice: I wanted so badly to love this story. The grandson of a sidhe-trained magician gets trained by the same sidhe. It had all the makings of a perfect story. Three things really took away from it. One, the buildup was far too long. By the time I heard all about Alistair’s history and his desire to become a magician, I’d lost quite a bit of interest. The second was the tie-in with the grandfather. It left me wanting to know more about that relationship. Finally, the switch from stern teacher to soft lover was almost like flipping on a light switch. There was no slow build, no build at all, really, and I would have liked to have seen that. Once Alistair and Cianán finally do realize their feelings for one another, the story picked up my interest again, but it was toward the end.

Finding Balance: I really enjoyed this one. The backstory with Wil and Danny was detailed and heartbreaking and great. I loved that both of them were still in love with each other and still wanted one another, but didn’t know how to say so. The setting of the Highland Games was the perfect backdrop for the reunion. The one thing I wasn’t really fond of was the use of the word ‘nae.’ It wouldn’t have been so noticeable if it had been used sparingly, but every instance of ‘not’ was replaced with ‘nae’ when Danny was speaking. It’s a small detail, but one that kind of pulled me out of the story, especially since he was the only one who used it. Apart from that, it was a sweet reunion story with a lovely ending.

Luck of the Irish: This was another story that just wasn’t for me. After Jamie picks up a four leaf clover, everything in his life starts to go right, from his job to his romantic prospects. I know it’s supposed to be a fun, comedic read. But between then long explanations and backstory and the fact that literally everything goes right for them, it just didn’t hold my interest. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. Maybe I just like drama. I don’t know. It could be a great story for someone, but that someone wasn’t me.

Born of Fire: This one was really cute. There was something to be gained or lost depending on the decisions made by Aodhán. I loved that Cainnech fell in love with Aodhán as he saw him in the moon, rather than the perfect fairy version. The fairies added an interesting element, with the changlings at the beginning and then how they brought the two men together, only to punish them. Overall, a lovely story.

The First Swallow of Spring: Undoubtedly, this was my favorite story of the anthology. I love the concept of fae circles and how fairies can tempt you to stay forever. It was great how Seannán had fallen in love with Iorweth, and how Iorweth returned the feeling over their years of seeing each other one day a year. I could completely understand Iorweth’s desire to keep Seannán forever, even if his trickery seemed a bit underhanded.

Overall, it was a good collection of Irish-related love stories. I would definitely recommend giving it a read!

Alyson

Excerpt

From Morwen Navarre’s The Sidhe’s Apprentice:

There was nothing for it but to follow the path which Master Lorcán had indicated. Master Lorcán’s parting words had not been comforting, and Alistair had a feeling this Master Cianán would be no warmer.

Alistair took the opportunity to look around as he walked, wondering how much magic was required to maintain this place. The transition was completely seamless, as though the door to the embassy had been a gate to another realm. None of the whispers had even hinted at the existence of such a portal, though, and Alistair was not too sure he would want to ask. The illusion was flawless, the sky a pearly glow above the tall treetops. The light was softer than sunlight, but far brighter than moonlight, and he wondered if it was designed to duplicate the sun of the Sidhe realm. He could hear faint birdsong, and there was a gentle breeze that brought the scent of honeysuckle with it. If this was Sidhe magic, he wanted to learn all he could.

The stream was not very wide, where Alistair approached it. A single stride would take him over it, but he had been told to wait, and not to cross it. Obedience was mandatory for a student of the Sidhe. That much was common knowledge. There was no place to sit, so Alistair stood and waited. He let his thoughts drift, trying to imagine what it would be like to live in this tranquil place for a year and a day.

“Are you contemplating running away? I wouldn’t recommend it.” The speaker was Sidhe, and there was a definite lilt to his English. Alistair felt his cheeks grow warm, and he bowed hastily as he straightened up. He swallowed as he got a good look at the speaker on the other side of the stream.

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