A MelanieM Review: Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

callinghisbluff1400x2100Patrick’s loss is Remy’s gain.

A Club Raven Novel

After his twin dies in battle, it’s Patrick Daniels’ duty to marry his brother’s fiancée. Too bad he can’t make himself do it, and in his distress, he manifests a psychic talent that’s stronger than the tornadoes in his native East Texas. Then a mysterious man from a place called Club Raven steps in and sweeps Patrick off to the booming East Coast city of Baltimore.

Club Raven veteran Remy Blanchard sees Patrick and knows, even though Patrick is very ill, that this is the challenge he’s been waiting for. He nurses Patrick back to health, and begins to teach Patrick to control his talent. His methods might be unconventional, and Patrick might be new to the kinds of sexual games Remy knows best, but the two of them find something in each other that might be just as magical as the gentleman’s club where they meet.

 

Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by B.A. Tortuga is the best of the 3 Club Raven stories in my opinion.  All three are have at their center Club Raven, a mysterious living structure located at the locus of paranormal and/or supernatural power.  On the outside its a gentlemen’s club for the wealthy with kinky tastes, occasional dungeon parties in the 1890’s sort of thing but inside?  It houses men (and beings) with varying powers who conduct research, provide their own sort of paranormal law enforcement, power training, well, they do whatever they feel is necessary to protect themselves and the fact that paranormals exist.  It  provides these authors with a broad base with which to have their stories and character flow in whatever direction they choose within the vaguest of constraints.  There is only a  small circle of characters that interact with each other in each story.  And yes, all three definitely use the BDSM and D/s elements in their relationships.

Here, B.A. Tortuga uses those two elements in the strongest most logical manner.  Its also one of the reasons I feel this is the best of the three stories.  That and the characters have layers, real depth to them lacking in the other stories.

Patrick Daniels’ twin brother has died on the battlefield that Patrick survived.  Those circumstances are mysterious but now he’s being pushed by his family to marry his brother’s fiancée and take over his brother’s responsibilities.  There’s a couple of problems with this plan of his father’s.  One is Patrick’s attraction to men (not a legal or understandable thing in the 1890’s).  The other?  A head injury that has left Patrick with memory issues and now the power to call up a power with enough destructive force to blowup buildings.  Of course, his family would call it the devil in him.  So he’s hauled off in a cage to Club Raven.

Tortuga gives us the man with memories that come and go, flashes of something full of pain, stresses that bring on power he can’t control, and a wound in the back of his head he won’t let anyone near.  He’s a danger to himself and everyone around him.  The choices are dire.  Kill him or teach him.  Immediately.

This is where Remy Blanchard comes in.  Another great character who understands and sees something in this young, wounded man.  And not just because Patrick is gorgeous.  But his pain and need.  In so many ways, Patrick is a blank slate because of his wounds (physical and emotional).  Here the D/s dynamics make sense as does the need for the relationship to start immediately.  There is no time for them to move slowly because of the threat Patrick’s uncontrolled power poses to everyone (towns) in the vicinity and the possible exposure of paranormals to the outside world.  Something to be avoided at all costs. Still Remy is as gentle and kind as he can be.

I actually wanted to rate this story higher yet a few things held me back.   One was some of the unanswered questions that remained at the end of the story.  I wasn’t sure if that was because the author intended on revisiting this couple or what have you.  I don’t want to go into these “holes” here but they pertain to Patrick’s history and brother.  It was hinted at and I kept coming up with several possible options of my own.  But to never know exactly what the truth was is still a teeth grinding issue.  Other than that?  Just an terrific tale.  Read this, skip the other two. And yes, I hope BA Tortuga eventually comes back to this and gives me the answers I seek about Patrick and his brother.

Cover art  again works for the series branding and for the characters in the story.

Sales Links

Evil Plot Bunny | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 201 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Evil Plot Bunny LLC
ISBN139781942831426
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesClub Raven #3

A Free Dreamer Review: Wasted Youth (The Secret Art of Mercy #1) by H.B. Kurtzwilde

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

wasted-youthApprentice Sebastian has long cherished his love for his master. For years, Master D’arcy Qyn has respected Sebastian’s right to choose whom he embraces in the sexual arts known to the Fellowship of Servitors. But when the fashions and opinions of other Servitors are no longer enough to keep them apart, they rely wholeheartedly on the vows that have made them student and teacher.

Abiding dutifully by the formal roles prescribed for so taboo a relationship, each must find his way with desires and pleasures they would not otherwise enjoy. Together they must prove their love in all its expressions without shame and eternally beyond reproach.

Publisher’s Note: Although this book is set in the same universe as The Secret Art of Failure, it is the beginning of a new standalone series.

First off: I don’t think the publisher’s note is right about this being the beginning of a standalone series. I haven’t read “The Secret Art of Failure” and I felt very lost at times.

SciFi is one of my favourite genres and “Wasted Youth” sounded really promising. I took the publisher’s note to heart and was really looking forward to reading this book.

Sebastian has had a thing for his master for a while now. Or rather, for the idea of having an affair with his master and the thrill of doing something not quite socially acceptable. When D’arcy Qyn finally makes his fantasies come true, the affair turns out to be quite different from what he’d imagined.

I liked both D’arcy and Sebastian, even though I sometimes had a hard time understanding D’arcy. He’s always so mysterious.

The sex that happens between the two of them is damn hot. There’s quite a bit of humiliation and other BDSM elements. There’s even some consent play, so if you’re triggered by that, stay away from this book. Personally, I just found it hot.

There was quite a bit of action thrown into the lot as well. I didn’t understand the reasons behind a lot of things, though. It certainly never got boring, though.

Now, as I mentioned above, I really feel like this isn’t a standalone series. There seems to have been quite a bit of world building going on, but there are virtually no explanations in “Wasted Youth”. I just didn’t understand a lot of the traditions and the characters often remained mysteries to me. It really felt like I was missing some serious background info. I’m assuming this was all provided in the author’s previous series “The Secret of Failure”, which I haven’t read.

I think “Wasted Youth” had serious potential, but it left me feeling kind of “meh” in the end, simply because there was so much I just did not understand. I am curious about “The Secret of Failure” and have added the first book to my ever-growing list of books I’d like to read one day. I won’t continue with “The Secret Art of Mercy” for now, however.

The cover by April Martinez shows a beautiful landscape, overlaid with a picture of Sebastian. The landscape is gorgeous but I think the cover could’ve done without the young man at the top.

Sales Links

Loose Id

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 292 pages
Published September 5th 2016 by Loose Id LLC
ASINB01LOSQIHU
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Secret Art of Mercy #1

What Are Your Comfort Reads and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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 book-blanket

What Are Your Comfort Reads?

I know, I know.   Its February and I could have so much more to talk about.  Its Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and Love Stories and so much more. And I may get to those next week. But the truth of the matter is that I’m heart sore these days.  With all the news and politics and a President determined to see us and our rights thrown back to the fifties and nations at war, my heart and head feels like its being plundered, torn into pieces daily.

You do what you can, you speak up, sign petitions, march. But at night or whenever you need it, I know that I need to escape into my books and my comfort reads.

I’ve been falling back into some of my early stories from many authors, ones that have remained my “go to books” when I need that instant book blankey.  Don’t tell me you don’t have those.  A story that means an instant smuggle for you.  So you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.  Let’s see how they mesh if at all.  Some of mine include an entire series:

MelanieM’s Comfort Read’s (partial and constantly growing)

  • Amy Lane’s Keeping Promise Rock
  • Red Dirt Heart Series by N.R. Walker
  • Faith, Love & Devotion Series by Tere Michaels
  • Change of Heart series by Mary Calmes
  • Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell
  • The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye
  • Frog by Mary Calmes
  • No Going Home (Home #1) by T.A. Chase
  • Home Series by T.A. Chase

I think B.A. Tortuga’s new series, The Release, may find its way onto this list.  Too soon yet. But I wouldn’t be surprised.

That’s for starters, ones that just popped up without giving it any thought.  I know there’s more to come.  So pull up yours.  I want to know the stories you reach for when you want to feel good, happy.  We certainly can do with so much more of that these days.

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📚Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Giveaway!📚

Send us your List of Comfort Reads!  Your Snuggle Up To, Comfort Blankey Books!  One random reader with a List will be chosen to receive a $10 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press.  Contest ends February 17 at midnight.  Please leave your name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.

A young girl reading a book under the covers with a flashlight

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, February 5:

  • A Free Dreamer Review: Wasted Youth by H.B. Kurtzwilde
  • A MelanieM Review: Calling His Bluff (Club Raven #3) by B.A. Tortuga
  • What Are Your Comfort Reads?
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February 6:

  • INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR Storm Season by Pene Henson
  • Cover Reveal for No Regrets by Nicky James (excerpt and giveaway)
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Working It by Christine d’Abo (giveaway)
  • A Paul B Release Day Review: Wolfmanny by Julia Talbot
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: What Remains by Garrett Leigh and Craig Beck (Narrator)
  • An Ali Review: Working It (Ringside Romance #1) by Christine d’Abo
  • An Alisa Review:  They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase

Tuesday, February 7:

  • HARMONY INK PRESS GUEST POST: Sherrie Henry on Flag on the Play
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Embers by Kate Sherwood (giveaway)
  • DSP GUEST POST Ingela Bohm on The Seventh Flower
  • A Stella Review: Storm Season by Pene Henson
  • A VVivacious Review: The Puritan Pirate by Jules Radcliffe
  • An Ali Review:They Walk Among Us by T.A. Chase
  • A VVivacious Review: THE MUTT: AN ORDER SHORT STORY by Kasia Bacon

Wednesday, February 8:

  • DSP GUEST POST: Julia Talbot on Wolfmanny
  • HARMONY INK PRESS GUEST POST: Jo Ramsey on Midnight Chat
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Fire Balls by Tara Lain
  • A Jeri Review: Off Base by Annabeth Albert
  • A Stella Release Day Review: The Seventh Flower (World of Love) by Ingela Bohm
  • An Alisa Release Day Review:  Buyout by Dev Bentham

Thursday, February 9:

  • DSP GUEST POST: Jake C. Wallace on Jerricho’s Freedom
  • DSP GUEST POST:  Dirk Greyson on Darkness Rising
  • A Lila Review:  Tempted to Taste by Shawn Lane
  • A PaulB  Review: Descent of Kings: Books BUNDLE by Maria Albert
  • A Caryn Review: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling by Matthew Robbins
  • An Alisa Review: Fire Triangle by Iyana Jenna

Friday, February 10:

  • *FLAUNT by E Davies 2 week blog tour and giveaway
  • DSP GUEST POST Dev Bentham on Buyout – A Love Story
  • DSP GUEST POST Mason Thomas on The Shadow Mark
  • Release Day Blitz: Leaning Into Love by Lane Hayes
  • A Paul B Review: Sealed With Acceptance (Signed, Sealed, Delivered #5) by Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Jaeger (Order of the Black Knights #4) by Evelise Archer
  • An Ali Release Day Review:  Shifting Views (The Carlisles #4) by Meg Harding

Saturday, February 11:

  • A MelanieM Review: At Attention (Out of Uniform, #2) by Annabeth Albert
  • A MelanieM Review:  Necessary Medicine by M.K. York

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