A Free Dreamer Review: Strength To Let Go (Tales of the Werewolf Tribes #1) by Alina Popescu

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Strength to Let Go coverAfter being abandoned by his mates, Shiki Kirishima, beta of the Dragons of the Fang werewolf tribe, returns to his home in Tokyo.

Crippled by grief, Shiki decides to end it all by going into the territory of the Siberian Killers tribe and challenging them to a battle to the death.

His death.

Ganzorig, beta of the Siberian Killers, however, sees the potentially disastrous consequences of having Shiki die in battle.

Instead, he saves him.

Having suffered loss himself, Ganz takes it upon himself to help Shiki deal with his pain.

Blake, Shiki’s best friend since childhood, is as determined to show him there is life after a wolf’s ultimate loss.

Could there also be something ‘more’ for them after friendship?  I was looking forward to this so very much. Shifters in Tokyo? Abandoned by his mates? That sounded like it could be truly amazing. Sadly, it truly wasn’t.

I had a lot of issues with this book. First of all: Shiki. I did not like him the least bit. He was whiny, annoying and stupid. Yes, he was dumped by his mates, which simply doesn’t happen in werewolf culture. Yes, I know that hurts. But he has two toddlers that need looking after. And what does Shiki do? Well, the sensible thing of course. NOT. Instead of taking care of his children and slowly patching up his life, he leaves his children in the care of his brother and his mates and goes off to kill himself.

Of course since he’s Japanese, he can’t just hang himself or something equally simple. No, he’s determined to go down like a true samurai. Never mind that it’s the 21st century. He’s still determined to kill innocent werewolves who never hurt him, only to make his death “honourable”. But then Ganz swoops in to save the day. Of course he’s not angry at Shiki for killing men from his tribe. Instead, he takes it upon himself to make sure Shiki stays alive. So of course Shiki is pissed. But it’s okay, they become best friends and fuck buddies after a while. Because while Shiki is apparently still crushed and suicidal, his libido works perfectly fine.

Oh yeah, and then the best friend shows up. Shiki’s been hiding from the world for two months and keeps hiding with said best friend for several more months. All this time, he doesn’t once call his children. Or talk about them. Or somehow maybe miss them. No, he’s busy throwing himself a pity party and generally making an ass of himself.

Then there was the non-existent world building. We learn that there are several werewolf tribes all over the world. There’s Fae too, and they have their own world. And of course we have humans as well. I still don’t know if humans know about those supernatural beings or not, whether the werewolves suppress the humans or vice versa, and I’m still wondering if there are other beings as well. If you can’t be bothered to do any world building, then don’t write fantasy! And it’s no excuse that this is a romance novel, first and foremost. I need at least some very basic world building to be able to enjoy a fantasy setting. And the author didn’t do any of that. . It was maddening.

One of the reasons why I wanted to read this book so badly was the setting. I love reading about Japan. But the setting was utterly generic. It was mentioned that it’s set in Tokyo, but it didn’t feel like it. It might as well have been set in an unnamed city in America. Aside from his ridiculous notions about an honourable suicide, Shiki wasn’t very Japanese either. He constantly makes reference along the lines of “feeling like a stuffed Thanksgiving turkey”. Celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey is such a very North-American thing, it was very jarring to hear it from a Japanese. And it’s not like Shiki grew up in the USA either.

The plot was sadly lacking as well. Nothing much happens, other than Shiki whining and Shiki fucking. There are no details, no explanations, for anything. We never learn why Shiki’s mates left him and their children. We never learn who killed Shiki’s parents. We never learn why Blake was sent to Japan to learn how to fight. We never learn where Shiki grew up and why he was separated from his siblings.

The sex scenes were nice enough the first few times. Then they got kind of boring and repetitive and finally they became annoying. The sex was never hot. Actually, it sounded rather painful. With descriptions like “my now reddened and sensitive head”, it sounded like Shiki should have that looked at by a doctor. All those swollen, red, sensitive cocks eventually made me roll my eyes.

And let’s not even talk about how Shiki kept coming up with ridiculous pet names like “Blakey” and how everybody loved him and forgave him and pitied him.

To sum it up, I really didn’t like this book. I hated Shiki, the setting was generic, there was no world building and the sex was badly written. Add to that a few too many typos and you have yourself one very annoyed and disappointed reader. Not going to continue this series and will stay far, far away from this author in the future.

Cover art by Jay’s Covers by Design. The cover is very pretty. It shows Shiki forlornly staring off into nothingness. The colours match beautifully and the Japanese character looks great too.

Sales Links:   Waywark Ink Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details: 

eBook,Published June 24th 2015 by Wayward Ink Publishing
original title Strength To Let Go
ASIN B010EJQU8C
edition language English

 

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Pura Vida by Sara Alva ~ Audiobook narrated by Joseph Northton

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5audiobook clipart bw
Pura Vida coverSimon arrives in Costa Rica to spend the summer with his family as his parents seal the deal on a real estate deal while taking the time to enjoy their family. Simon is free to hook up since his college boyfriend has asked for an open relationship so that each can go their own way for the summer. In other words, he isn’t interested in making a commitment to Simon, and Simon is pretty disgusted just thinking about what that lack of commitment means.

He runs into a young man named Juan late one night while walking on the beach. Actually, he literally runs headfirst into a sea turtle making her way to shore to lay her eggs and scares her off. This, in turn, brings Juan out of his cover to berate Simon for being so clumsy and stupid and careless of the nature on the island. Intrigued, Simon learns more about both Juan and the sea turtles, and when the tension between the two heats up, they decide to slake their sexual appetites with each other.

Though Simon and Juan get close over their weeks together, Simon knows that he’s destined to leave and go back to school, and he doesn’t see how he and Juan can create something long term. The plight of the sea turtles and the intrigue surrounding Juan as they fight to keep the eggs from being stolen by poachers bring the two young men even closer. But when Simon’s parents decide to leave the area before their originally planned departure, Simon has to face the fact that he and Juan may never see each other again.

This was a sweet, young adult M/M romance. It was fairly short and not overly detailed, but considering its length, the author managed to convey two very interesting characters and work in the plight of an endangered species. Adding an epilogue at the end to bring readers up-to-date on the status of both young men the next year was just the perfect icing on the cake. Narrator Joseph Northton was good, with clear pronunciation, and good vocalizations for both characters.

I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet young adult romance that would be perfect for an afternoon on the beach or in front of a cozy winter fire.

~~~
Cover art is a split screen with a photo of young man swimming or lying in the sand in the upper panel and a sea turtle in the sand in the lower frame, with the title of the story across the center. The artwork is a faded out gray-and-white and looks somewhat like a faded old photo. Though it does symbolize the story, I found the coloring unappealing.

No Sales Links – free here at the Goodreads M/M Romance Don’t Read in the Closet Event

Book Details:

ebook, 92 pages
Published July 25th 2013 by M/M Romance Group @ goodreads
edition languageEnglish
seriesDon’t Read in the Closet Events settingCosta Rica

Coffee Sip and Book Break with Roping Him In (Reining Him In #2) by Jena Wade

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Roping Him In (Reining Him In #2) by Jena Wade
Release Date: September 29, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Loose ID
Cover Artist: Mina Carter

Buy the book:  Loose ID | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Kobo

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Blurb

Lucas and Jason have been roping partners for five years and this year, together, they are going to win it all. Nothing is going to stop them. Their attraction to each other and fear of being outed keeps them from pursing their dreams.

One night of passion puts a road block in Jason’s plans to win the title. A title he desperately needed.

Lucas never dreamed Jason would still want to ride with him after their night together. They could compete together, but rules needed to be set to protect his heart. Then again, rules were meant to be broken.

 

Excerpt

LUCAS STOOD COMPLETELY still, intent on making good on his challenge. With every fiber of his being, he wanted to run and hide from what he’d said. After five years of thinking about kissing Jason, it was hard to believe he’d said it out loud.

Arousal flared in Jason’s eyes, and Lucas heart rate sped up. Holy shit. This is actually going to happen.

He parted his lips in anticipation.

Moving faster than a stubborn calf from a lasso, Jason wrapped his arms around Lucas’s shoulders and pulled him close. “You asked for it.”

Damn right he had. He’d wanted to ask for years.

Jason’s lips descended on his. The world stood still. Fireworks flashed behind Lucas’s eyes. It was just like in his dreams. Only better.

For a moment, Lucas lost himself in the kiss. He delved nto Jason’s warm, welcoming mouth and moaned. Nothing in the world should taste this good. Jason was pure ambrosia. Desire like he’d never known before, or even thought possible, fired within him.

With each passing second the kiss got deeper and faster. Lucas pulled at Jason’s shirt, intent on touching the bare skin underneath. Jason didn’t resist, which only spurred Lucas forward.

He ground his hips against Jason’s and shoved the two of them against his truck.

Jason pushed at his shoulders, and Lucas whimpered as the kiss broke.

“Holy shit. That was amazing. Better than I expected.” Jason reached down and adjusted himself through his jeans.

Lucas nearly groaned. He wanted to touch Jason’s hard cock.

“I think we ought to take this back to the hotel,” Jason said.

Blood rushed to Lucas’s cock. Was this for real? Was Jason serious? Or was he teasing him? Jason had never been the most serious person, but he wasn’t cruel.

The look in Jason’s eyes said yes, he was very serious.

Pages or Words: 29,000 words
Categories: Bisexual, Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance, Western/Cowboy

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About the Author

Jena lives in Michigan with her husband, two dogs, and one brand new baby boy. By day she works as a web developer and at night she writes. She was born and raised on a farm and spends most of her free time outdoors, playing in the garden or tending to her landscaping.

 

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, The Hat Party, Rainbow Gold Reviews, My Fiction Nook, MM Good Book Reviews, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Bayou Book Junkie, Divine Magazine, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Havan Fellows, BFD Book Blog, Inked Rainbow Reads, Happily Ever Chapter, Jessie G. Books, Reviews by Jessewave, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Three Books Over The Rainbow, QUEERcentric Books, Dawn’s Reading Nook

 

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Roping Him In.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prize and links provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Its Face Off Time! Check in Here for Lexi Ander’s Special Guest Post for Sumeria’s Sons#5 (guest post, special excerpt and contest)

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Dragon’s Eye (Sumeria’s Sons #5) by Lexi Ander
Release Date: October 7, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: LT3 Press
Cover Artist: London Burden

Buy the book: Less Than Three Press

Face-off: Marduk verses Ashur

I’m not a fan of Marduk. In the Sumeria’s Sons, he has been set up to be one of the villains because he is the one who holds the lock to the chains shackling the children of Tiamat. To me, Marduk is like a strutting peacock full of his own importance. He doesn’t go out and perform his own heroic deeds but steals them from both Enlil and Enki. As one of the lesser gods, Marduk’s background is pretty sketchy (non-existent) until he’s proclaimed the patron god of Babylon. The creation myth, Enuma Elish, which includes the battle against Tiamat (or as it’s called in Sumeria’s Sons, the Igigi War) was written to tell the story of Marduk’s heroic deeds, propaganda for the era and ruling civilization. The text was modified from an older epic replacing Enlil with Marduk as slayer of Tiamat.

Through the subjugation of the Tiamat’s children, Marduk used magic to transform them into protective charms used at the doorways to palaces, temples, and sometimes bedrooms. The only real threat to Marduk in his reigning era was the Assyrian god Assur (Ashur). As the supreme deity of Assyria, his popularity threatened Babylon and Marduk. Responding to that popularity, during the reign of Hammurabi (the king best known for the Hammurabi Code, the earliest surviving codes of law in recorded history) Marduk was elevated to the level of supreme god. He even took on Tiamat’s symbol of the snake-dragon.

Historically, the God Assur’s origin was much like that of Marduk, rising from obscurity. First becoming the equivalent of Sumeria’s Enlil and absorbing both Enlil’s consort and children. Then later after Assyria conquered Babylon, Assur became associated with Anshar, Sumeria’s sky god. Anshar’s name literally means “whole heaven” elevating Assur to the head of the Babylon pantheon. As such, Assur took the place of Marduk in the creation myth, slaying Tiamat and becoming king of the gods.

The author in me loved the competition between Marduk and Assur, but I also nitpicked what I wanted for the god’s history for Sumeria’s Sons. Anshar is and elder god called the skypivot, the God of the Horizon of Heaven and balanced by his consort Kishar the earthpivot, Goddess of the Horizon of the Earth. Together they make up the celestial poles and that balance coincides with the Twin Flames theme of Sumeria’s Sons. I used that animosity between them in the plot that further drew that line between good guy/bad guy between him and Marduk.

There is also a something else that I used after coming to understand the competition between the two cultures. These two gods derived their power from their worshippers. The more popular and widespread the god, the more powerful they became and I made that a physical manifestation in the series. I coupled that with the Marduk’s prophecy. Oh yes, he had his own prophecy stating that one day he would return and bring salvation to Babylon and wreak a terrible revenge. He-he. How could I leave that alone?

A huge thank you for allowing me to be a guest on the blog today! Throughout the blog tour for Dragon’s Eye, I hope you enjoy the behind the scenes look at the gods and mythos, and how they play a part in Sumeria’s Sons. For a visual representation, please visit my Pinterest page. (https://www.pinterest.com/lexiander1/sumeria-sons-inspirations/) During the tour I discuss the Sumerian pantheon, about who and what the Gods/Goddess are, and how I use them. Make sure you stop by the other blogs to get a complete look at the Gods and Goddess the Lycan’s follow.

Also, Less Than Three Press is running a special sale on Sumeria’s Sons from September 23rd  through October 7th (dates inclusive).

Twin Flames is $0.99.

Amazon () LT3 Press ()

25% off Songs of the Earth

Amazon () LT3 Press ()

25% off Dreams of the Forgotten

Amazon  | LT3 Press

25% off Surrounded by Crimson

Amazon |LT3 Press

Thank you for stopping by and reading!

RC

Blurb

In the wake of birth and betrayal, Ushna takes the God Ashur to Tristan in a last desperate bid to save Tristan’s life—and is helpless to do anything but watch as Ashur instead buries him in a grave. Though he has no desire to go on living, having now lost Brian and Tristan, Ushna has no choice. Not only do their children need him, the mysterious Simurgh has come out of hiding and forces him to continue on—for there is much to do and little time to do it, especially with treachery and danger closing in on them from every side.

Pages or Words: 98,000 words
Categories: Fantasy, M/M Romance, Menage/Poly, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Exclusive Excerpt #9

Prowling through the trees, I dared not use the new path that had been created with all the recent foot traffic. Sticking to the deepest shadows until the storage shed came into view, I crouched down, waiting and watching. Occasionally I scented the wind to make sure no one was around before I moved from the gloom. The darker patch of soil called to me. After so long, the dirt no longer appeared freshly turned and the fall leaves blanketed the area, partially hiding the spot where Ashur had placed Tristan. Even if snow covered the ground, I’d know the exact spot.

Dropping the bag to the side, I moved around the outer edge. Here the scent of magic was so sharp I sneezed several times. Ashur’s energy still lingered, faint with the passing of time, but that wasn’t what caught my attention. There was the trace of another’s power, heavy and bitter, and the scent clung to the back of my tongue. The soil hadn’t been physically disturbed but the magic permeated the ground.

Panic clawed at me. Why was someone casting spells over Tristan—unless, like me, they knew he was merely resting? I began to dig, the softened soil flying behind me as I envisioned discovering a dozen terrible things.

The embroidered hem of the red tunic Tristan had worn that day was revealed. After I changed back to my human form, I hastily put on my clothes. I hadn’t worn shoes or socks when I slipped away from Nathan’s and now the frosty ground quickly chilled my feet, but I didn’t care. Climbing down into the hole, I gingerly brushed the dirt away from material until I came to the edge where Tristan’s body should’ve been.

I didn’t understand; where was Tristan?

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About The Author

Meet Lexi Ander
Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.

Where to find Lexi Ander:

Web site: http://www.lexiander.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexi.ander.9
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LexiAnder1
Blog: http://lexiander.blogspot.com/
E-mail: lexi.ander.author@gmail.com

Contest

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize:
• Prize offered: Prize offered: $20 Amazon Gift card, $20 All Romance Gift card, hard copy of Dragon’s Eye, swag (pens, bookmarks)
• $20 All Romance Gift card, hard copy of Dragon’s Eye, swag (pens, bookmarks)
• hard copy of Dragon’s Eye, swag (pens, bookmarks)
• e-book copy of Dragon’s Eye
• e-book copy of Dragon’s Eye

Must be 18 years of age or older. Link and prizes provided by the author, and Pride Promotions.

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Tour Dates & Stops:

24-SepAndrew Q. Gordon, Christy Loves 2 Read

25-Sep Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews: http://wickedfaeriesreviews.blogspot.com/2015/09/dragons-eye-by-lexi-ander-blog-tour.html

Dawn’s Reading Nook: http://dawnsreadingnook.blogspot.com/2015/09/book-spotlight-and-giveaway-for-dragons.htm

Bayou Book Junkie: http://bayoubookjunkie.blogspot.com/2015/09/virtual-tour-mm-dragons-eye-by-lexi.html

28-Sep Hearts on Fire: http://heartsonfirereviews.com/lexi-ander-dragons-eye-sumerias-sons-5-deleted-scene-excerpt-and-giveaway/

Decadent Delights: http://machurch00.blogspot.com/2015/09/pride-promotions-presents-dragons-eye.html

MM Good Book Reviews: https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/dragons-eye-by-lexi-ander-blog-tour-guest-post-exclusive-excerpt-giveaway/

29-Sep Amanda C. Stone: http://www.amandastonebooks.com/2015/09/lexi-anders-dragons-eye/

Jessie G. Books: http://wp.me/p5wi3H-FO

The Novel Approach: http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/2015/09/29/guest-post-excerpt-and-giveaway-the-dragons-eye-blog-tour-with-lexi-ander/

30-Sep The Jena Wade: http://www.thejenawade.com/blog/book-blast-dragons-eye-lexi-ander

1-Oct Louise Lyons: https://louiselyonsauthor.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/new-release-dragons-eye-book-5-of-sumerias-sons-by-lexi-ander/

Lee Brazil: http://leebrazilauthor.blogspot.com/2015/10/crawl-in-bed-with-lexi-ander.html

BFD Book Blog: http://wp.me/p5fGQT-2BO

2-Oct Love Bytes: http://lovebytesreviews.com/2015/10/02/blog-tour-guest-post-exclusive-excerpt-giveaway-lexi-ander-dragons-eye/
Chris McHart: http://chrismchart.com/2015/10/02/blog-tour-guestpost-giveaway-dragons-eye-by-lexi-ander/

TTC Books and More: http://www.ttcbooksandmore.com/2015/10/sumeria-sons-by-lexiander1-blog-tour.html

5-Oct   Molly Lolly, Wake Up Your Wild Side

6-Oct   Three Books Over The Rainbow, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, GGR Review

7-Oct   Inked Rainbow Reads, Prism Book Alliance, Crystal’s Many Reviewers