A MelanieM Review: The Shape of Honey by Ki Brightly

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

The Shape of HoneyYulian Volkov is an entrepreneur and lone werewolf who hates the city. At a pack meeting, he learns the only member he’s attracted to is being expelled for crimes unspecified. Yulian strikes a deal with the pack leader to allow Rolly Witten to live on his farm and work in his Meadery. Although enjoying handsome Rolly’s company, Yulian must tread carefully, since Rolly doesn’t trust him and the pack doesn’t acknowledge homosexuality exists. Meanwhile, Yulian stealthily courts Rolly by teaching him the value of his wolf side.

Rolly, who’s known he was gay since he was a teen, has accepted a life of solitude-and a life of crime. He has no desire to relocate. Yet Yulian’s trust in his ability to do honest work builds his confidence. As life is settling well for them, Rolly learns a friend from his old pack had a crush on him, and he’s torn between returning his friend’s feelings or pursuing the budding relationship with Yulian. But that’s not their worst problem. Assassins are trying to take out both wolves, and they need to figure out who wants them dead or all the trust and happiness they’re building together won’t matter.

The Shape of Honey by Ki Brightly had some wonderful elements, things going for it. The author conceived of an interesting plot, came up with Yulian Volkov and his Meadery, a working Meadery, readers! And then created a troubled Rolly clearly in need of Yulian and all that the Meadery offered. What a great concept. What terrific characters and to back those two up, Brightly had a ancient Russian wolf shifter culture thrown in as well, especially the thuggish, hard scrabble nature of the shifters we meet inside it. So what happened? A multitude of voices, too many plots, that left this novel feeling muddied and the bright elements trampled. That’s what happened.

Rolly’s self centered mother’s got a new mate, which precipitates Rolly leaving home and finally being thrown out of the pack due to his friends. Rolly was hanging around with a bad group of kids/kits/werewolf juvenile delinquents, each of whom is given their own major voice here and  part of the story, especially once Rolly separates from them.  You can only imagine how frustrating that becomes when over and over again you are deeply connected to the drama and dynamics of the Rolly/Yulian relationship  when suddenly the author switches over to the small pack of wolves/brats that got Rolly in trouble, specifically a ruthless young female shifter, Ava.

The worst  part?  Ava is a great character who really deserves her own story, but to throw her in here along with the others, and their  competing plots, just continues to muddy this novel further until it becomes a total quagmire of competing wolf gangs, serpent shifters, destroyed loyalties and somehow the real relationship basics are almost totally forgotten.

The things I loved about this story were absolute treasures.  The Meadery, the employees and the gruff Yulian who built it and loves not only the honey and mead he makes but has such a deep connection to the land?  That’s the element that rings so true.  Rolly?  So torn and in need of love?  Perfection when combined with the old, almost rock-like elemental nature of Yulian.  Oh for the editor with a ruthless pen and good sense to have slashed everything else away.  Or to have left it for another story.

Well, that didn’t happen and I have to review The Shape of Honey and the promise left at the door.  That means I just can’t recommend this story, especially if you are asked to invest yourself in over 390 pages of your time.  I hope Ki Brightly uses her wonderful imagination to create more tales for us, because of all of the wonderful elements that shine so brightly here.

Cover Art by Aaron Anderson is beautiful. I love the mix between man and wolf as well as the meadow below. Perfection.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published October 19th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB0160ALC5K
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Free Dreamer Review: Opening Moves (Chess #1) by Sean Michael

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Opening Moves 2Threesome Rook, Knight and Bishop make Jason an offer he can’t refuse. Can the four of them be exactly what they each need? Find out in this Opening Move.

Rook, Knight and Bishop have been searching for a fourth man to join their threesome for quite a while when Knight meets Jason, the live model in the art class he’s auditing. He thinks that Jason is the perfect man for them and his lovers Rook and Bishop quickly agree. The trick will be convincing Jason…

Join these sexy men as they make their Opening Moves.

It always seems that there’s no way around Sean Michael, if you’re a fan of M/M BDSM Erotica. So I figured it was high time I gave this famous author a try as well. And a M/M/M/M romance/erotica is not something I’ve ever read before, so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed.

Essentially, this was porn without plot. There’s not a single page without sex or thinking or talking about sex in the entire book. Porn isn’t so bad every now and then, but somehow the sex was rather boring here. It probably didn’t help that I really struggled to keep Rook, Knight and Bishop apart, so I was constantly wondering who was doing what. The sex felt kind of formulaic, to be honest. We start off with sucking and end up fucking. There was a bit of BDSM between Bishop and Knight, but that wasn’t really all that exciting either.

The whole set up was a little silly and unrealistic. There’s Rook, Bishop and Knight in a happy relationship. They have tons of money and find themselves craving a fourth man in their relationship. So they decide to hire a boy to play with for a year. They choose Jason. Now, Jason isn’t gay, but he’s broke and likes the trial sex with Rook, so he agrees. Turns out Jason is very much gay and loves every sexual activity with the three men. He occasionally questions his sexuality, but then sex ensues and he kind of seems to forget about the whole thing.

Another issue with this book was the characters themselves. I was simply unable to connect to them at all. There was so much sex, there was no room for any real feelings to develop. I didn’t dislike them, I just didn’t care about them at all. Again, my inability to keep them apart didn’t help.

Still, the idea behind the story is definitely unusual and does have potential. In the beginning, the sex was quite alright, too, till it started getting repetitive.

Cover art works for the story.

Sales Link: Pride Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 120 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Pride Publishing (first published January 30th 2012)
ISBN139781784308087
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesChess #1

A BJ Audiobook Review: Catch a Ghost (Hell and High Water #1) by S.E. Jakes and Adam North (Narrator)

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Catch A Ghost AudiobookEveryone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them both head on.

Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still he’s determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.

Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches, while fighting their own dangerous attraction. And when they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners are forced to trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.

If you enjoy alpha males and need heat in your m/m books, look no further! Grab this series right the heck now! If I had three words to describe this story, they would be “intense” and “flaming hot.”

Prophet and Tom together are like a volcano gouging out steam and flames and hot, sizzling lava. Okay, yeah, sometimes the refractory time is really short and their uh, hardiness borders on unrealistic. But there is no doubt at all about their chemistry, and both are well-realized characters with complex backstories which come strongly into play in this series. A few times the backstory on Prophet got a bit complex for me to follow easily, especially given the often fast pace of the storyline. There were a lot of people and details and twists and turns to keep track of… especially as it neared the end. This ending is left largely unsettled as far as the relationship, so its not a HEA/HFN. But  it totally makes me want to read on in the series and get to know what happens with these guys.

I’d already read the book and rated it four stars, but since I’d purchased but not yet finished reading the whole series, I was intrigued when it came out on audio. The narrator was new on audible, but I decided to take a chance and see if the narration would add another dimension to this previously enjoyed story. It totally did! I adored Tom’s Cajun accent… and both men sounded pretty much as I’d imagined. I had no trouble telling the speakers apart. It’s sometimes hard for me to say whether I prefer the audio or reading experience, mostly because only rarely do I partake of a story in both formats. Overall, I enjoyed the audio and the one small part where I felt the book was a bit better had pretty much nothing to do with the narrator. Near the end, in the parts there’s a part where a lot is going on, it was even harder for me to take in and visualize when heard than when reading. Probably because in print, I can read back over a sentence here or there if there’s a need to ground myself more firmly in the details. Since I’m most often driving when listening to audio, rewind isn’t something I do.

The audiobook cover is basically the same as the book… and it’s perfect for the story. The tattoo is just as imagined and love the nipple bar! Beautiful, sexy, hot cover.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon |  Audible  | Buy It Here


Book Details:  

Audible Audio, 9 pages, 8 hrs 3 mins

Adam North (Narrator)
Published December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios (first published September 7th 2013)
Original TitleCatch A Ghost
ASINB016DW5VUC
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHell or High Water #1, Extreme Escapes, Ltd.December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios

Law and Supernatural Order? Its Silvia Violet’s Sex on the Hoof! (excerpt and giveaway)

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SOTHBlogBanner

Sex on the Hoof

Silvia Violet

M/M Romance

Sex on the Hoof Cover

Cover Design: AJ Corza

Cover Photo:  Stock Photo

Release Date: 12.31.15

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1PeLrl8

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1QD5Y68

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1J15apd

iTunes: http://apple.co/1QD6gK7

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1NwQj4E

ARe: http://bit.ly/1OEFjzS

BLURB:

 A stag and a vampire. Mortal peril. True love.

Deer shifter, Jason Fleetfoot, has turned his life around. After years of taking chances, he’s working as a crime lab technician, and he’s determined to forgo the risky behavior of his past. Then he meets Drew Danvers, the only undead detective in the city. Jason hates vampires, or does he? Drew defies all the stereotypes of his kind and something about him has taken hold of Jason and won’t let go. Jason might just dare to take a chance on a man others would label a risk to his health if not his very life.

This novella was previously published. It has been re-edited and expanded by over 35%.

TEASERS

SOTHTEas

SOTHTeas1Final

EXCERPT

I’m Jason Fleetfoot. I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes in my life. The stupidest of all was taking a job with some assholes intent on manufacturing illegal chemical weapons.

My sister, Natalie, lost her job when her company folded, and I lost mine because my fucking boss was a bastard. I’ve got authority issues. And control issues. All right, I’m seriously fucked up, but I wasn’t going to let my sister starve because I couldn’t keep it together.

So I made a deal with the devil and damn near got myself and Natalie killed. She saved me. She and her cop boyfriend, Wolf. The name’s not a joke. He’s a werewolf. Did I mention we’re shifters, Natalie and I? Deer shifters. If you think my human form is impressive, you should see me as a ten-point buck. So yeah, a werewolf and a deer shifter. Somehow they’re making it work.

When I was a kid, we were all in hiding—wolves, deer, rabbits, foxes, and all the other shifters, vampires and demons too. Then the Big Collapse happened. Worst econ crash since the Great Depression. The world was in chaos, the US Government near collapse, the unemployed filling the streets. A bunch of supernaturals said, fuck it, the humans can barely keep themselves together, it’s time we had our day. I thought there’d be a war, but none of us were organized enough to attack and the humans had their own problems so now we all live together.

Peacefully? Fuck no. Most humans tolerate us, just. Some love us only for the thrill we can give them. And others would like to kill us on sight, but at least we don’t have to pretend anymore. I love what my body can do and I’m never going to apologize for it.

But that’s enough history. Let’s get back to the now and my life on the straight-and-narrow, working hard to earn an honest dollar. I fucking hate being beholden to Wolf, but I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for him. Once the Atlanta PD cleared me, Wolf helped me get a job in the crime lab where I can use my knowledge of chemistry and computers for the good guys.

As the newest hire, I work nights, babysitting the equipment and working on what comes in during the wee hours. For the most part, I like it. It’s quiet and I get a chance to play around with new techniques and do a bit of programming. There’s only one problem: Detective Drew Danvers.

He works nights too. Not because he’s new, but because he’s a goddamned vampire. They say he was Changed against his will. But what the hell was he doing picking up a vampire at a bar? I certainly have no intention of fucking a vampire. No matter how damn fuckable Drew is. Yeah, I like men, what of it? And Drew is a fine specimen of a man, like some Viking warrior. He’s at least six three with sculpted arms and pecs that make him look like he could lift a truck one-handed. Considering he’s a vamp, he probably can.

Getting involved with Drew would be stupid on too many levels to count. And I’m finished with making stupid decisions. So why does my body want so desperately to be impaled on him—his cock, his fangs, anything he’d like to stick in me. Natalie’s right, my dick really doesn’t communicate with my brain. I don’t just want to fuck him, I want to be taken by him, and I never want that. Like I said, I have control issues. But with Drew… No, there’s never going to be anything with Drew.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Silvia Violet writes erotic romance in a variety of genres including sci fi, paranormal, alternate history, and historical.

She can often be found haunting coffee shops looking for the darkest, strongest cup of coffee she can find. Once equipped with the needed fuel, she can happily sit for hours pounding away at her laptop. Silvia typically leaves home disguised as a suburban stay-at-home-mom, and other coffee shop patrons tend to ask her hilarious questions like “Do you write children’s books?” She loves watching the looks on their faces when they learn what she’s actually up to. When not writing, Silvia enjoys baking sinful chocolate treats, exploring new styles of cooking, and reading children’s books to her wickedly smart offspring.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Newsletter: http://silviaviolet.com/newsletter

Facebook: http://facebook.com/silvia.violet

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Silvia_Violet

Tumblr: http://silviaviolet.tumblr.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/silviaviolet/

 

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Romance is in the Air with ‘When I’m Weak’ by Aria Grace part 2 (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: When I’m Weak
Series: Mile High Romance #2
Author: Aria Grace
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: December 19, 2015 
Jamie presents a flamboyant and slutty attitude to the world because he’s been hurt before. Even though it’s mostly an act, he hides behind his persona to keep people at arm’s length. With only a small group of trusted friends, he’s vowed to never allow a man to have power over him again. Power to hurt him. Power to take away his freedom. Power to label him as a predator for the rest of his life.
Reed and his sister run a home preschool for toddlers. His focus is on getting credentialed so he can take some of the burden from Abby. He doesn’t have time for friends, much less a lover, but when he meets Jamie, he recognizes something in the man that makes him want to get closer. 
Unfortunately, Jamie’s past prevents him from truly integrating into Reed’s future. It’s not just a matter of the heart. It’s a matter of the law.
The Unicorn is packed for a Wednesday night. Lots of new faces blend in with the regulars and I’ve been running nonstop since I got here three hours ago.
“Hey, hot stuff.” Ross, a big meathead that comes in practically every night, is reaching for my wrist as I pass by him. “Bring that sweet ass of yours over here, would you?”
“Just a minute, sugar. I’ll be right back.”
After dropping off the drinks at table seven, I head to a two top in the back corner where a new guy is sitting with a book. I don’t see many people reading books in here. In fact, I think this is a first.
His light yellow polo shirt and baggy jeans aren’t the norm either, but he probably didn’t come here for fashion advice. Like everyone else in this bar, he’s here for a drink and I’m here to serve him.
“Hey there. Can I help you?” I use my mellow voice. I have many voices when I’m at work. The high-pitched whine. The sexy drawl. The bitchy diva. Throughout the course of the night, I’ll work them all in with each of my different customers. Everybody wants something different out of me. And if I want decent tips, I have to give them what they need.
But this guy doesn’t seem like he’s looking for any of that. He’s not looking for entertainment. At least, it doesn’t seem like it. Sadly.
His eyes quickly scan my leather hot pants and pink mesh tank top. This is practically my work uniform.
“Yeah, can I just get a Coors light?”
I’m tempted to ask if he’s in the right place, but I hold back. “Sure thing, honey. Are you gonna be ordering any food?”
Looking up at the bar, he’s probably surprised that we even offer food. Truth is, the stuff we serve can barely be classified as edible, so he should consider himself lucky when he shakes his head and turns back to his book.
Okay. Not one for small talk. No problem. I turn around and slink over to Ross, leaning against the table so I’m facing him. “Hello, sweet thing. What can Jamie get for you?” His hand wraps around my thigh and slides up until his fingers are playing at the swell of my ass. I smile tightly and try to scoot away but his strong grip keeps me in place. 
“Ross…” I try to keep my tone light while letting him know this isn’t okay.
“I love how you say my name, baby.” His fingertip presses against my hole as he looks at me. “For now, I’ll take another long island iced tea. But when you get your next break, I’ll take this,” he says as his finger rubs my pucker.
“You know I can’t do that, sweetie, but I’ll get your drink back here in two shakes.”
I give my ass a couple shakes as I walk away to punctuate my point. Ross is always flirty, especially when he’s drinking tequila, but this is the first time he’s been so physical. Usually it’s just words and rough smacks, but the fucker almost penetrated this time. I glance over at Billy, the manager. He’s watching me, so I know he saw what happened. As soon as I place the new orders with Trixie, I walk over to him.
“Can you keep an eye on Ross?”
He nods. “You okay?”
“I’m okay, but he’s getting a little more handsy than usual. I think he might… Well, just keep an eye on him.” Billy nods and his narrowed eyes shoot straight to Ross.
Ross isn’t even paying attention to me. The group of guys he’s with are all laughing about something when I bring his drink back a few minutes later. Ross tries to pull me into his lap, but this time I know better and twist out of his grip. “You know the rules,” I say as sweetly as I can. I still need his tips.
“What time do you get off tonight?” He isn’t slurring his words yet, but he’ll be there after this next drink. God, I hate drunks. Really hate drunks. That’s why I work here. Keeps me from getting too close to anyone.
“Really late.” I take a step back, trying to seem disappointed. “And I know you need to get on home. But don’t you worry, I’m sure you’ll find somebody in here who can take care of you much better than I can.”
Ross lunges forward and grabs my thigh, pulling me closer to him. I almost fall trying to support the tray in my hand, but manage to keep it steady. Without even having to look for him, Billy is standing over me. His huge hand is wrapped around Ross’s wrist.
“Let the fuck go and I won’t have to hurt you.” Billy is built like a tank. An old school biker bear with the leather and chains and all. He’s my height, about 5’ 10”, but he’s 220 pounds of solid muscle.
Ross doesn’t let go immediately, but after a stare down with Billy, he slowly releases his grip and spreads his fingers wide. I slip away and head straight to table nineteen to drop off their beers.
When I approach the cutie with a book, his eyes are wide. I frown, knowing that he saw everything. “Here you go, honey.” I bust out my perky voice, dropping the beer in front of him. “I’ll be back to check on you in a few minutes to see if you need a refill or if you change your mind about food.”
“Hey,” he says quietly as I turn to leave.
I stop and look back at him. “Yeah?”
“Are you okay?” He seems genuinely concerned. Seeing an emotion other than lust or superiority in someone’s eyes is new. For a minute, I don’t even know what he’s talking about. Then I realize he’s referring to Ross.
“Oh, that? Yeah. That happens all the time.” I shrug. “Comes with the job.”
“They allow that here?” he asks, glancing at Billy. I follow his gaze and watch as Billy none-too-gently escorts Ross out of the bar.
“Nope.” I nod my head toward the exit. “Billy took care of it.”
“Wow. That must suck.”
“It’s fine. Sometimes guys are assholes, but you just got to deal with it. Right?”
“I guess.” He shakes his head and turns back to his book. I leave him to read as I work the room, picking up empties and taking refill orders. When I make my way back to him twenty minutes later, he’s still sipping that same beer.
“So is this more relaxing than a library?” I tease, watching him try to concentrate on the book in his hands. Kneeling down on the other side of the table, I read the cover out loud. “Child Development in a Plugged In World. Sounds deep.”
He looks embarrassed as his hand brushes the cover like he’s trying to hide the title.
Too late.  
“I’m taking a class,” he shoves a napkin between his pages and lays it face down on the table, “and I really needed a beer after the day I’ve had.”
I cock an eyebrow and smirk, clearly letting him know I’m not buying it.
“Well,” he further explains, “I don’t keep alcohol at home, so I figured I’d hang out here and have a beer. I’m used to a lot of noise, so the music and people in the background doesn’t bother me. It’s kind of comforting, actually.”
“Okay.” It’s not how I like to cuddle with a book, but whatever floats his boat. “Are you sure you don’t want another beer?”
He tips his bottle to see how much is left then shakes his head. “Thanks, but one is enough for me.”
“Alright then. Just holler if you change your mind.”
“Thanks.” He’s checking out my chest, probably looking for a name tag.
“Jamie,” I say, winking at him. “Just call for Jamie and I’ll be right there.”
“Alright. Thanks, Jamie.” His smile is almost shy as he peeks up at me from under his dark lashes. I want a better look at the brown eyes that seem to be avoiding mine, but I just tip my chin and walk away.

Born and raised in beautiful California, Aria enjoys the year round sunshine and laid back environment of the west coast. Her career started out in tech writing and web development and has evolved into all things marketing with fingers in everything related to book publishing. 
She lives with her husband and two children and more pets than she can keep track of. Despite her crazy schedule, she loves the time she carves out to read and write. Whether it’s on the beach or on the couch at 2am, she is a woman obsessed!
She loves to hear from readers so please feel free to drop her a note or visit her at www.ariagracebooks.com.
If you’d like to know when Aria’s next book is coming out or where she’ll be signing, join her mailing list at: http://bit.ly/AriaGraceFanList

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