An Ali Review: My Dark Knight (Kings Of Hell MC #2) by KA Merikan

Standard
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Love or hate. Life or death. No inbetween. No compromise. No rules in love and war.

Knight. Party monster. Handsome Savage. Doesn’t do monogamy.
Elliot. Obsessive. Intense. Uncompromising.

Newly single, Knight is done with relationships. All he’s interested in is bringing down The Count, an Internet personality who is tarnishing his family name. An opportunity to crush him comes when the audacious clown shows up at the Kings of Hell MC clubhouse to film for his YouTube channel. But when Knight meets Elliot, the man behind The Count, he no longer knows what to do with him.

Knight has never seen a more pathetic creature than Elliot. He’s also never met anyone who needed him more. Skinny, messed up, and a bucket of trouble as thick as tar, everything Elliot does seems to be a wordless death wish. No matter how much Knight hates Elliot’s alter ego, under the makeup and theatrics hides a fragile young guy with a passion for history, and Knight can’t help but catch Elliot every time he falls.

Elliot has bad taste in men. Always hopelessly attracted to violent brutes, his favorite is a long dead serial killer. But he gets more than he’s bargained for when he seizes an opportunity to meet the man of his dreams. The ghost is manipulative and dangerous, offering Elliot all he’s always wanted, for a price he can’t possibly pay.
Elliot is faced with an impossible choice between two men
One alive, one dead.
One carnal and honest, one drizzling sweet, poisoned promises into his ear.
One unwilling to commit, the other promising an eternity together.
And Elliot doesn’t settle for half-measures. He craves a love that is all or nothing, passion that will consume him, and desire to burn him alive. 
Elliot is ready to either get that, or die trying.
The set up for this book was presented to us at the end of the first book and I wondered how the authors were going to deal with Elliot since he seemed a bit nutty.  I should have known they wouldn’t shy away from the crazy.  I spent the beginning of the story a bit gobsmacked at Elliot’s behavior.  He was in infatuation with a serial killer and I couldn’t quite get my head around his character.  But as the story went on, I found myself feeling sorry for him and then really liking him.  Yes, he was a bit of a mess, but he was also a sweet guy that just needed someone to love him.
I absolutely loved these two together.  They start as adversaries but over the course of the story they become good friends and of course, eventually fall in love.  I really enjoyed their banter and it was entertaining to see Knight have to admit he was falling in love.  By the end I was totally invested in their romance and I felt they were really good together.
The supernatural aspect of the story continues and there were some very interesting twists in regards to this part of the plotline.  I really enjoyed it a lot.  It was pretty fast paced and entertaining.
We see a bunch of the characters from book one and both Laurent and Beast are in this a lot.  The end of this book sets up the third one in the series and I am already eager to get my hands on that one.
This is the second book in the series and I think these should be read in order.  You could follow this easily enough but I think you need to know the back story to really enjoy this one.
I found this completely and totally entertaining and I would definitely recommend it to fans of the series.
Cover:  I really like this cover.  It fits the plot well and is in the same style as the first book in the series.
Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 466 pages
Published August 10th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd
ASINB074L7R7CG
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesKings of Hell MC #2
CharactersElla, “Travis Mercier,

A Caryn Pre Release Review: The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple by K.A. Merikan

Standard

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

the-black-sheep-and-the-rotten-apple-by-k-a-merikanFirst, the official blurb:

“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”

“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”

Cornwall, 1785

Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.

Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.

No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.

When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.

Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.

But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.

I had to include the blurb, because it was really well written and catches your attention, and it truly does describe the plot, and the nature of the book.  There are layers and layers to the two main characters, and I actually read the book through twice before writing this review, because, well, it deserved it.

The first read through, I felt this was a tale of two men who descended into an amoral quagmire, as each crime committed led to another, until they truly were deserving of punishment.  The second read through was a little different and I could appreciate more of how Evan and Julian interacted with each other, as well as the way they rationalized their actions, even as their crimes escalated.  The blurb mentions “morally ambiguous protagonists” and that was the god’s honest truth – and got to me a little more than I thought it would.  I guess I’ve gotten way too used to my romances involving characters who are always, at the deepest level, good men, or at least men who have repented and changed by the time the book ends.  Not so here.

Julian is a narcissistic, entitled, shallow, immature, spoiled brat, who thinks nothing of using other people – family, friends, and strangers alike.  And though he is forced to recognize all of those traits in himself, and how despicable they make him, he didn’t care who he hurt to save Evan.  Was he a better man at the end of the book than at the beginning?  Jury is out on that one.  Evan probably started out as a good man, but abuse and neglect from his family, self-loathing for his homosexuality and punishment kink, a misplaced sense of responsibility, and a tragic end to his first love affair have left him with his priorities really screwed up.  Which not only led to his first theft, but kept him going on that path until the denouement that was shockingly violent.

Whew.  Not for the faint of heart, but definitely a book that will leave its mark on you.  If you truly believe “all’s fair in love and war” – and I mean, you really think it is OK to hurt anyone who stands in the way of true love – you will like the ending, and you will like the book.  I have qualms about that attitude, even when it’s absolutely appropriate for the setting of the book, so the whole thing left me a little disturbed.  Did I like the book?  I’m not quite sure because I’m so conflicted – I truly got invested in the characters, the romance was emotionally very passionate, and I wanted them to overcome obstacles, but the way they did that, well….. 

The kink level was not nearly as high as I expected from the blurb.  The historical perspective of homosexuality, class privilege, and gender roles was very well done, really reinforcing the fact that 1785 was a more violent time with very different social mores than 2017.

Cover art by Tiferet Design is nice in a very Fabio/regency romance way.

Sales Link coming soon

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details:

ebook, 471 pages
Expected publication: February 7th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Caryn Review: Hipster Brothel by K.A. Merikan

Standard

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

hipster-brothel-by-k-a-merikanFrom the very first sentence, I was laughing at the way the authors poked fun at pretty much every stereotype that exists about hipsters.  And there were probably an awful lot I missed too, because in my neck of the woods – Southwest Florida – we aren’t exactly on the cutting edge of anything, so I’m not exactly current with hipster culture. 

Jo is a Chinese-American who wears a man bun, is an edgy dresser who spends a lot on shoes, rides a bicycle, lives in his parent’s basement, and works part time writing (I forget what, but I’m sure it was ironic).  He is bisexual, but has only dated and had sex with girls in the past, having never found a man that he thought was worth the extra effort.  His best friend, Mr. B, really is Jo’s ideal man, but Mr. B has a serious long term boyfriend and Jo doesn’t poach, though he’s not above a little fantasizing…

Until Mr. A breaks up with Mr. B.

B is the original lumbersexual.  He’s a big, blond, bear of a man.  He makes furniture – upcycled, of course – has a full beard, lives in a converted train car in the woods.  But he’s also sweet, cheery, an absolute teddy bear, and he’s been crushing on Jo for a long time but had no idea that Jo is not entirely straight.  When Mr. A breaks up with him after a 5 years relationship, he is not quite devastated – after all, he saw this coming months before it happened – but his self esteem definitely took a hit.  He also quit his job making furniture for the shop Mr. A owned, knowing it would be too awkward to remain there.  Jo is the perfect friend to invite over for some drunken commiserating – over home brewed peach brandy naturally – and while Mr. B rants about everything that was wrong with his relationship with Mr. A, and with him, he and Jo come up with a new life plan. 

They are going to be partners in a business making home made jam, with booze, and sell it at farmer’s markets.

But they need to get some seed money to get the venture going.  And that is where all the drunken rambling and joking come together in Mr. B deciding to market himself as the “Lumbersexual Experience”, complete with pipe smoking lessons and wood chopping exercises in his rustic refurbished train car, AKA hipster brothel.  As he says, “I’m single, I’m open-minded…Sharing economy, right?  Someone lacks sex and I have a nice body.”

I love it when an author can make something so ridiculous work!

Unfortunately, those were the best parts of the book.  Although the comedy didn’t disappear, once they started to have sex – and that’s a really big part of the book – it was as if the book was trying to be a typical contemporary romance instead.  So we have two men who don’t speak their minds, make assumptions which lead to misunderstandings, which delays the inevitable moment when they finally get together.  I wish there had been fewer sex scenes, and more mockery of the hipster culture that made the opening chapters so good.

Despite that, it was a fun, quick, read, Mr. B was adorable, and Jo was a great foil to him.

Cover art by Natasha Snow was a great lumbersexual, although I pictured Mr. B with a cute, open grin instead of the self satisfied smirk seen on this model.

Sales Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2jHLexz | Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2iTzSt7

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 162 pages
Published January 24th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd (first published January 22nd 2017)
Original TitleHipster Brothel
Edition LanguageEnglish