A MelanieM Review:33 Degrees of Separation (Legacy Book 3) by Rain Carrington

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Rating: 2.25 stars out of 5

​I’m Ian, and this is my story. Like the others, I have a legacy. I was raised with the best of everything, one of the riches kids I knew. That isn’t the legacy, however. That is to be a part of something I didn’t want, and never asked for it’s tearing me apart, but I can fight it. With some help, I can fight it.
Meeting Pat Castaldo, the hot, muscled FBI agent was the beginning of a life I thought was ending. I am terrified I’ll get him killed, and others, if I can’t stand up to my father and the other men that make up the terrible secret society. My family has been members for hundreds of years, and it was supposed to be passed to me. I don’t want it, but I took it, and I took it to end them once and for all.

In the middle of all this, I am falling in love. That was a surprise, and one that possibly terrifies me more than the Gilded Grail. This could hurt, and I could get this beautiful man killed, along with a lot of others if I fail. My money may be able to solve some of my troubles, but there is much more that it can’t.
I’ve never had to be brave or fight for anything. This is my fight, though, and I will win. I’ll win it for my friends, for humanity and, maybe most of all, I’ll win it for Pat.

Raised in wealth most could only dream of, Ian Andrews III didn’t know another way of life existed until he went to college and learned about the world. There he met friends and came down from his palace to try to be like everyone else, but he had too much money to achieve that.

When he was set to finish graduate school, his father took him on a trip to learn the destiny that had been chosen for him. He would become a member of the Gilded Grail, a secret society that had members whose families had been a part of it for hundreds of years.

He was a legacy, and there was no choice for him. He would become a member, or he’d die.

Learning about this secret society, hearing their ways and goals, then going through the initiation, he was terrified and ran off to hide away from them and everyone.
His best friend worried when he’d been gone for days, his phone left in his room, not a word from him. Calling in help, it came in the form of an FBI agent in town on business. He was doing a favor, checking up on the missing college student, and right away smelled trouble. When he saw Ian’s computer history and the name Gilded Grail, he knew he had to find Ian.
Once he did, he learned the secrets that no one outside the order knew. Together, they decided to try to stop them from a horrible goal they’d set, one that threatened every man, woman and child in the world.

Falling in love with one another was easy but keeping that attraction at bay to try to save everyone a horrible fate, Ian and Pat struggled. Pat called for more help, and Javier Duran came, an old lover of Pat’s, and one of the world best mercenaries.

Sparks fly and jealousies ignite. Saving the world and falling in love at the same time wasn’t easy on any man. It could tear them apart or make them more determined to have the other in their lives forever. That was considering if they could stop the Grail and there was a forever…

When it comes to deciding on ratings and writing a review, often it is harder to do so for a story that falls short of what you expect a good or terrific story to be rather than a story that meets or exceeds those standards.  Praise comes easily.  But putting into words why a story falls flat?  That should actually be more precise and perhaps well thought out.

Reviews, while a subjective animal, should be as objective still as possible, as weird as that may be. And that has to do with the fact that for the most part we are talking about books that authors have put their heart into (excluding the new book mills out there).

All this is leading up to the fact that when giving out low ratings we should be as objective and specific and perhaps thoughtful as possible.

Yes,33 Degrees of Separation (Legacy Book 3) by Rain Carrington  was a story that I had some issues with.

It does have some promising elements here.   There was some really nice twists to the plot I enjoyed, hence the .5 in the rating.  But there were also quite a few elements that had me reevaluating the characters, their professionalism, and the entire plot structure. That doesn’t even address the problems I had with the main characters relationships and the BDSM aspect.

Characterization and their Professions:  I will use this as just one of the examples of the issues I have here.  One of the main characters, Pat Castaldo, is a FBI agent, who specializes in cults etc.  Without putting anything into context, he makes a move on a traumatized young man (who has no idea who this FBI guy is btw) hiding out in a cabin, sends the young man’s black roommate out into the night to a small , nearby white homogeneous small town to get supplies for all three of them while they figure out what their next plans are.  Smh!  Anyone who watches TV cop shows would be groaning here.  So yes.  This is a small white town where most grocery stores never stay open late.  Usually it’s the quikmart as the gas stations where there are cameras and people plenty suspicious of strangers.  So why not let the roommate stay and comfort his best friend, and the big bad FBI white agent leaves  with all training, and obtains the supplies while checking out to see if anyone followed them? Nope, that doesn’t happen.

It’s not logical, it’s not great procedure, and tbh, it’s one of the many issues you have with the lack of professionalism here that it takes you out of the story and disconnects the reader from the characters and plot.  It will get worse.  So I will leave it at one example. They felt extremely under researched and lacking in details.  Just not believable in any way.

Romance, Relationships and BDSM:  I am unfamiliar with this author’s previous stories or this series so I don’t know if BDSM figures prominently in Carrington’s other novels.  From the author’s note, the main couple’s relationship was to contain a small amount of BDSM (D/s).  I am not sure how much research or where this author conducted that research, but what happens here between Pat and Ian in no way reads like any “in the lifestyle” D/s relationship I have read or met.  In fact it borders on abusive and ignorant, labeling the use of force as BDSM and being the aggressor as Dom without having the necessary structure or understanding in place.  In one scene, Ian is actually beaten into agreeing to a course of action and that’s labeling BDSM.  If you are not familiar with BDSM, perhaps as a reader, you might think ok, that’s what a D/s relationship is all about.  But even if you are a pain slut, there are discussions and agreements to be held, none of which happens here.  This is a total mess IMO.  And I haven’t even gone into the instalove aspect.

I think that’s plenty.  Won’t even go into that ending.  Apparently there is more to come in this series.  I won’t be venturing further.

Poor characterization,  unrealistic backgrounds and professions, plotting I didn’t believe in, and  labeled sexualities that don’t follow the basic tenets for safety all conspire to do this story in.

That’s my recommendation.  Do with it what you will.

Cover art is interesting but doesn’t tell you much about the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 353 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by AAS Publishing
ASINB07ZGMFN3W

A MelanieM Review: The Dragon CEO’s Assistant (Golden Kingdom) by Jenn Burke

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A Golden Kingdom Novel

The heart remembers.

When Aidan Bishop staggers out of the woods, naked and suffering from amnesia, he needs to relearn who he is and where he fits in the world.

His boss, nearly five-hundred-year-old dragon Nassim, head of a successful tech company, hurries to claim his wayward assistant and guide him back into the life he disappeared from. As they get to know each other again, Aidan wonders if their relationship went deeper than employer and employee. But Nassim isn’t telling, and Aidan has a secret of his own… even if he doesn’t know it yet.

I am always up for a dragon book.  Can’t help myself.  So The Dragon CEO’s Assistant by Jenn Burke felt like it was in my wheelhouse.  Fantasy, a mit of a mystery, romance, and yes, a dragon!  Yippee!

Turns out I enjoyed Jenn Burke’s tale of dragon romance and mystery, although I hadn’t realized it was part of a series, one I wasn’t familiar with.  Not that it made a difference here as this story works very well as a standalone.

We are dumped immediately into the mystery as Aiden appears naked and without memory coming out of the woods within distance of a building.  One that happens to be one where he used to work.  From there we meet several co-workers, and of course,, his boss, the gorgeous and impressive dragon,Nassim.  The story is told from Aiden’s perspective so we get his total puzzlement, his lack of foundation for everything around him, and his awareness of Nassim on many levels.

The story progresses as Aiden tries  to figure out who he is and where he figures out his place in the world, getting hints that all isn’t well from things happening around him.

Burke gives us different fantasy beings, elements of mystery and suspense while not forgetting the romance and love.  I wish I could say that the aspect of romance and love felt substantial here but that didn’t feel like it to me.  That was the only element that I thought needed strengthening.  The mystery, the suspense?  All good but the relationship?  The love and background between Aiden and Nassim?  That was missing and the story felt the lack

The Dragon CEO’s Assistant by Jenn Burke was a sweet fantasy romance with a touch of mystery and suspense.  I enjoyed it as I do most of this author’s writings. If you like dragon’s, lovers reunited, and second chance stories, I am sure this is one you will enjoy too.

Cover art: really works for the character and story.  Nice!

Sales Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X3T8JYJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-dragon-ceo-s-assistant

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dragon-ceos-assistant-jenn-burke/1132374115?ean=9781644055175

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/the-dragon-ceos-assistant/id1471192566

Book Details:

ebook, 211 pages
Expected publication: October 29th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Dragon CEO’s Assistant
ISBN 139781644055175
Edition Language English
Series Golden Kingdom

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Natural Disaster (Storm Chasers #1) by Erin McLellan

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

This story had so much energy! There’s a constant underlying tension in the KTTY newsroom as storm chasers tackle coverage of tornadoes across the Oklahoma countryside. The tension spreads to readers as we get to know the storm chaser characters, their hopes, dreams, and their fears. 

It’s the fear that grabbed me in this story. Guthrie Gale, the well-known human interest reporter who’s the son of infamous storm chaser Slim Bridges wants no part of chasing tornadoes, but with budget cuts at the station, he’s strong-armed into taking on a rookie for the season. What no one knows however is that Guthrie had a close experience with a tornado when he was a child on a chase with his father that’s left him with high anxiety and the fear that he won’t survive the season.

Rookie chaser Luke Masters is a great guy. Young, sweet, good-looking, intelligent, interested, and with nerves of steel, Luke also shows compassion and a strong focus when they are in the field that helps calm Guthrie’s nerves, at least a little.

After one close storm, their attraction explodes into a close encounter of the sexual kind and the two realize they need to face the fact their attraction might lead to problems. So they make a pact to remain friends only, until the end of the season when they can explore whether they want to remain friends or start a relationship. For different reasons, both men are done playing the field and each would like a lasting relationship so they know there’s a chance for more after the season. But during the story, as the season progresses, so much happens to bring them closer and learn more about each other that it’s readily apparent they’d be good for each other.

The tornado season doesn’t pass quietly, though, and when they’re caught in the field with no backup and a twister heading their way, the real nail-biting begins.

I loved the slow burn, the banter, the camaraderie, and the way Guthrie’s anxiety is expressed, discussed, and shown throughout the book. Luke’s fear of abandonment is also addressed and explored. The story’s conclusion isn’t a quick resolution to everyone’s issues but does provide a satisfying hope for a happy future.

I definitely recommend this story to all lovers of MM romance, hashtags—friends to lovers, coworkers, dangerous professions, storm chasers, reporters, PTSD, anxiety disorder, and age gap. What a great book!

The cover by Brooke Albrecht features a man with a hand on a steering wheel against a dark background with a tornado in the lower panel. The scene eerily represents the tension of the storm chasers in the story. Very well done. 

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 201 pages
Published October 11th 2019 by Erin McLellan
ASINB07YPLRVK1
Edition Language English
Series Storm Chasers #1

An Alisa Review: The Boyfriend Trap by J.B. Buell

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Male stripper Jamie has been seeing his boss, club owner Luke, for a while now. Jamie wants a more committed relationship, but Luke is dragging his heels about getting more serious with Jamie or introducing Jamie to his daughter, Sofia.

But Sofia has had enough waiting around to meet her dad’s not-so-secret boyfriend, and devises a plan to get them together.

In this sweet rom-com, two grown men find themselves outwitted by a precocious eight-year-old.

This was a cute story and with some creativity from his daughter Luke is able to admit what he really wants in his relationship with Jamie.  I didn’t like that Luke was all about just going on as they had been when Jamie was continually trying to hint or get him to further their relationship, though we had a big gap from when they first had sex till a year later so we don’t really know how it had been going.  I thought it was cute how Sofia tricked them both a bit, though it was the kind of thing my own kids would have gotten in trouble for.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice and a cute picture of Luke and Jamie.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 23,965 words

Published: September 28, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781646560837

Edition Language: English

Audio Blitz and Giveaway for Nothing Special V by AE Via and Aiden Snow (Narrator)

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Narrated by: Aiden Snow
 
Length: 12hrs 29mins
 
Nothing Special Series



Book #1 – Nothing Special – Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Embracing His Syn – Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Here Comes Trouble – Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Don’t Judge – Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

 
Blurb
 

Atlanta’s notorious narcotics task force is at it again. They are stronger, bigger, and better than ever. Especially when a city councilman sends RECON Marine Edwin Steele – who’s been blacklisted from his Oakland department – to join the team.


Steele was ready to hang up his shield. He was done fighting with bigoted bastards that couldn’t respect the job. He was good at fighting; he just needed the right team to fight with. When his uncle – City Councilman Rasmus Steele – shows him a video of God’s team in action, he knows right away it’s where his nephew belongs in order to restore his faith.


Steele was skeptical about his new placement, but when he meets God’s technology specialist/computer genius, “Tech”, he’s willing to give it his all, and he definitely shows and proves.


Tech is stunning. His sweater vest and khakis, a stark contrast to the blue-jeaned roughnecks he works with. A beautiful sheep amongst the wolves. Steel thinks there’s no way the brilliant man would be interested in a hardhead like him, but Tech has a few badass hidden talents of his own and manages to surprise him…surprise all of them.

A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for five years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay lit for over fifteen years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great new up and coming MM authors.


A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her. Writing.


A.E.’s writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.


Now that she’s gotten over her 10 books published hump, she’s kind of known now for her hardcore, play rough and love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes, but she won’t push herself into a whole other genre. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.


Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak at upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.

 

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Review Tour and Giveaway for 33 Degrees of Separation (Legacy #3) by Rain Carrington

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Buy Links: 
Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Legacy Series
 
Book #1 – Remember The Alamo – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
Book #2 – The Principle – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
 
Blurb
 

I’m Ian, and this is my story. Like the others, I have a legacy. I was raised with the best of everything, one of the riches kids I knew. That isn’t the legacy, however. That is to be a part of something I didn’t want, and never asked for it’s tearing me apart, but I can fight it. With some help, I can fight it.


Meeting Pat Castaldo, the hot, muscled FBI agent was the beginning of a life I thought was ending. I am terrified I’ll get him killed, and others, if I can’t stand up to my father and the other men that make up the terrible secret society. My family has been members for hundreds of years, and it was supposed to be passed to me. I don’t want it, but I took it, and I took it to end them once and for all.


In the middle of all this, I am falling in love. That was a surprise, and one that possibly terrifies me more than the Gilded Grail. This could hurt, and I could get this beautiful man killed, along with a lot of others if I fail. My money may be able to solve some of my troubles, but there is much more that it can’t.


I’ve never had to be brave or fight for anything. This is my fight, though, and I will win. I’ll win it for my friends, for humanity and, maybe most of all, I’ll win it for Pat. 

 
***



Raised in wealth most could only dream of, Ian Andrews III didn’t know another way of life existed until he went to college and learned about the world. There he met friends and came down from his palace to try to be like everyone else, but he had too much money to achieve that.


When he was set to finish graduate school, his father took him on a trip to learn the destiny that had been chosen for him. He would become a member of the Gilded Grail, a secret society that had members whose families had been a part of it for hundreds of years.


He was a legacy, and there was no choice for him. He would become a member, or he’d die.


Learning about this secret society, hearing their ways and goals, then going through the initiation, he was terrified and ran off to hide away from them and everyone.


His best friend worried when he’d been gone for days, his phone left in his room, not a word from him. Calling in help, it came in the form of an FBI agent in town on business. He was doing a favor, checking up on the missing college student, and right away smelled trouble. When he saw Ian’s computer history and the name Gilded Grail, he knew he had to find Ian.


Once he did, he learned the secrets that no one outside the order knew. Together, they decided to try to stop them from a horrible goal they’d set, one that threatened every man, woman and child in the world.


Falling in love with one another was easy but keeping that attraction at bay to try to save everyone a horrible fate, Ian and Pat struggled. Pat called for more help, and Javier Duran came, an old lover of Pat’s, and one of the world best mercenaries.


Sparks fly and jealousies ignite. Saving the world and falling in love at the same time wasn’t easy on any man. It could tear them apart or make them more determined to have the other in their lives forever. That was considering if they could stop the Grail and there was a forever…


 

About Rain
 

I love writing, it’s been my dream for many years, and in October of 2013, when my first book went live on Amazon, that dream came true.


Writing love stories that are centered on flawed but lovable characters is my passion. Finding love between people isn’t easy, nor should it be. Even in a book, there have to be obstacles for the story to feel real.


I am a mother of three amazing people, and three adorable fur babies. I live in Colorado, but love many other places besides my home. One state in particular is New Mexico, the state where I was born has always held a place in my heart.


People and places make my stories what they are. Each character I’ve written is a part of me in some way. Each place I write is as well. Adventures come in many ways, and each of my stories has taken me on an adventure that I treasure.


Come with me on my adventures and fall in love with my characters, as I have. I promise you will love the ride.


https://www.raincarrington.com
https://twitter.com/RainCarrington
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/rain-carrington
https://www.facebook.com/rain.carrington

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